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October 31, 2013

Portland Archdiocese sued by man alleging abuse

OREGON
News Times

[Rev. Maurice R. Grammond—Assignment Record: BishopAccountability.org]

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — A man has filed a $6.35 million lawsuit against the Archdiocese of Portland, alleging he was sexually abused decades ago by the Rev. Maurice Grammond, Oregon's most notorious pedophile priest.

Grammond, who died in 2002, molested dozens boys between the 1950s and 1980s, and lawsuits stemming from his behavior cost the archdiocese more than $30 million in settlements by 2007 — the year its bankruptcy proceeding was finalized.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:41 PM

Second class-action suit targets Congrégation de Ste-Croix over abuse

CANADA
Montreal Gazette

BY SUE MONTGOMERY, GAZETTE JUSTICE REPORTER OCTOBER 31, 2013

MONTREAL — After paying $19 million in damages and issuing a lukewarm apology to the men they abused as children in their schools, the Congrégation de Ste-Croix may have to dip into its funds again.

Lawyers representing more alleged victims of the congregation filed a motion Thursday in Quebec Superior Court asking permission for a class-action suit on behalf of people abused in six other institutions run by the congregation’s priests and brothers, including the iconic St-Joseph’s Oratory.

Lawyer Alain Arsenault said 25 people have already come forward since the first lawsuit, which was settled earlier this year.

That class-action suit, which began with just one former student, compensated 206 victims of sexual abuse at the hands of the brothers, each receiving on average $60,890 in damages. The abuse took place in Collège Notre Dame, Collège de St-Césaire and Notre-Dame-de-Pohénégamook, and involved 80 perpetrators who were members of the religious order.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:18 PM

Sex-abuse lawsuit filed against Archdiocese of Portland alleging rape by notorious priest

OREGON
The Oregonian

By Helen Jung | hjung@oregonian.com
on October 31, 2013

A 47-year old Washington County man is suing the Archdiocese of Portland for more than $6.3 million, saying it failed to prevent or rein in a known pedophile priest from raping and assaulting him as a boy in the 1970s.

The lawsuit, filed Thursday in U.S. District Court in Portland, is one of dozens that have been lodged over the years against the archdiocese regarding alleged sexual abuse by Father Maurice Grammond, who served as a priest for more than 40 years in Oregon. The archdiocese has paid out more than $33 million in settlements with 54 victims of Grammond -- more than for any other of its priests.

Grammond was suspended from the priesthood in 1991 and died 11 years later at a Gresham care home for Alzheimer’s patients.

"The archdiocese knew for 20 years before my client was abused that Father Grammond was molesting boys, and yet that whole time it did nothing," said Kristian Roggendorf, the attorney for the plaintiff, who is named only by pseudonym. "It’s unfortunate that the only recourse he has now is a civil lawsuit for his broken life."

The archdiocese did not immediately comment on the suit.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:09 PM

Compliance, public nuisance, and some angry priests in MN

MINNESOTA
The Worthy Adversary

Posted by Joelle Casteix on October 31, 2013

First, let’s talk about compliance.

Since 2002, Catholics and the public have been “assured” time and time again that dioceses across the United States are “in compliance” with the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People, a set of rules created by the US Conference of Catholic Bishops after the scandals in Boston more than 11 years ago.

As recently as 2012, the Archdiocese of Minneapolis/St. Paul was in “full compliance” with the Charter to Protect Children and Young People.

So says the Archdiocese’s website:

The Archdiocese is grateful to everyone in parishes, Catholic schools and other locations who work to ensure that the Charter requirements are implemented. We appreciate your efforts and your continued cooperation to help create and maintain safe environments in local Church ministry.

The problem? Well, since the implementation Minnesota’s three-year civil window for adult victims of child sexual abuse, the public has learned that Archdiocese officials have very recently kept perpetrators in ministry and hid a cache of child porn in the chancery basement.

If THIS is compliance in Minnesota, what is going on in other dioceses nationwide? And what else is hiding in the bowels of chancery buildings across the state of Minnesota?

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:05 PM

Deputies: Church volunteer raped girl during Sunday school

FLORIDA
Fox 13

BRANDON (FOX 13) -
Hillsborough County Sheriff's investigators say in between music lessons and Sunday school, a church volunteer was able to molest a girl for three years without anyone noticing a thing.

It all started in 2010 when the girl was 9 years old. Investigators say William A. Richardson II, 47, of Brandon molested the girl when she was 9 years old, and then sexually battered her when she was 11.

It ended last week when another young girl told an adult. It was not immediately clear whether that girl was also a victim.

During a court appearance Thursday morning, the judge told Richardson that detectives have pretty good evidence against him.

Now, investigators are trying to figure out if there are more victims out there.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:02 PM

Brandon youth minister accused of sexually battering girl

FLORIDA
Tampa Bay Times

Times staff
Thursday, October 31, 2013

BRANDON — A youth minister was arrested Wednesday on charges he sexually battered a girl several times during Sunday school classes.

The Hillsborough County Sheriff's office said the abuse began when the girl was as young as 9 and continued until she was 11.

William A. Richardson II, 47, of Brandon first molested the girl in 2010 during Sunday school at First Baptist Church of Mango in Seffner, deputies said. The abuse happened again at least once this year during Sunday school, deputies said.

Richardson is the assistant youth ministries and choir director at the church, according to the Sheriff's Office.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:00 PM

William Richardson accused of sexually assaulting young girl during Sunday School

FLORIDA
WTSP

[with video]

Seffner, Florida -- A man is facing charges of sexually abusing a girl during Sunday school classes, detectives said.

Hillsborough County Sheriff's deputies arrested 47-year-old William A. Richardson II at his home on Lakewood Drive in Brandon.

He's facing the death penalty for charges he sexually battered an 11-year-old girl during Sunday school at First Baptist Church of Mango in Seffner.

Richardson is also accused of molesting the girl when she was 9 or 10 years old and sheriff's spokesman Larry McKinnon said fondling may have happened multiple times during the past three years.

Detectives say Richardson said things that made it clear he had committed the sexual battery during a phone call with the victim that deputies were listening in on.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:58 PM

11-Year-Old Molested During Sunday School Over 3-Year Period, Youth Volunteer Facing Death Penalty

FLORIDA
Christian Post

By Morgan Lee
October 31, 2013

A Florida man has been accused of repeatedly sexually molesting a girl over the course of several years during church Sunday school sessions, Hillsborough County detectives have alleged.

Hillsborough County Sheriff's deputies arrested 47-year-old William Richardson II on charges that between 2010 and October 2013 he molested a girl who was nine-years-old at the time the alleged abuse began at First Baptist Church of Mango.

In a news release, law enforcement also claimed that the most recent attack came this month, when "at 11 years old, Richardson on at least one occasion sexually battered [the girl.]"

Richardson is currently facing the death penalty for his actions because of the ages of himself and the alleged victim. Under Florida law, sexual battery is a capital felony when the victim is under the age of 12 and perpetrator over the age of 17.

Richardson has also been charged with felony molestation.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:56 PM

Lawyer gets 6 months to file Pa. abuse suits

PENNSYLVANIA
San Francisco Chronicle

HOLLIDAYSBURG, Pa. (AP) — A judge has given an attorney six months to settle claims on behalf of seven former students who allege they were molested by a Franciscan friar who helped as an athletic trainer at a Roman Catholic high school in Johnstown from 1992 to 2001.

The Blair County judge said the deadline should be long enough for Altoona attorney Richard Serbin to determine whether his clients' claims can be settled without the actual filing of lawsuits.

Serbin is one of several attorneys representing more than 50 former students at Bishop McCort High School in Johnstown, and schools in Ohio and Michigan, who have said they intend to sue or seek out-of-court settlements for the actions of Brother Stephen Baker.

Most of the plaintiffs are targeting Pennsylvania's Altoona-Johnstown diocese or school officials at Bishop McCort High School, where Baker taught and assisted with athletic training from 1992 to 2002. The school is about 60 miles east of Pittsburgh.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:53 PM

Extension granted for lawsuits in friar's sex-abuse case

PENNSYLVANIA
WJAC

Updated: Thursday, October 31 2013

BLAIR COUNTY, Pa. -- Five alleged sex abuse victims of a former athletic trainer at Bishop McCort High School in Johnstown will have more time to negotiate settlements in their cases.

Blair County Judge Jolene Kopriva granted attorney Richard Serbin six additional months so file civil lawsuits related to claims of sexual abuse made by his clients against the late Brother Stephen Baker.

Baker was a Franciscan friar and a former athletic trainer at Bishop McCort and was the subject of child abuse investigations in Ohio, Minnesota and Pennsylvania, Baker lived at St. Bernadine Monastery in Hollidaysburg when he committed suicide Jan. 26. Serbin asked for the additional time after the Bishop of the Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown Mark Bartchak announced earlier in October that the Altoona-Johnstown Diocese wanted to try to settle claims against Baker rather than litigate them.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:49 PM

Archdiocese did not require abusive priest to disclose full list of victims

MINNESOTA
Minnesota Public Radio

[the document]

by Madeleine Baran, Minnesota Public Radio
October 31, 2013

ST. PAUL, Minn. — The Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis did not require an abusive priest to give the church the names of every child he sexually assaulted, according to a document obtained by MPR News.

Top church official Rev. Kevin McDonough revealed the archdiocese's decision while responding to a man who reported in 2002 that he had been sexually abused by the Rev. Robert Thurner years earlier.

"I have no record that Father Thurner reported you as a victim, but we have not recently asked him to provide an exhaustive list," McDonough wrote in the letter, dated June 6, 2002. There is no indication that McDonough reported the man's allegation to police. Archdiocesan policy does not require church officials to report abuse to police if the victim is no longer a child.

"I do not know that my search of our records is going to be very satisfying to you," McDonough wrote in the letter. "There may be many things we will never know."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:47 PM

Ayacucho: Sacerdote violó a menor seminarista

PERU
Correo

09:29 | AYACUCHO -
Una nueva denuncia se suma en Ayacucho contra la iglesia católica. En esta ocasión un sacerdote identificado como Luis Alejandro Bazalar García fue acusado de violación.

Un menor de edad, quien era seminarista, denunció a Bazalar García de haberlo violado al interior de una parroquia ayacuchana, según informó RPP.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:43 PM

Ayacucho: Arquidiócesis rechaza denuncia de violación contra sacerdote

PERU
RPP

[Summary: The vicar general of the Ayacucho diocese has denied the facts of an allegation that priest Luis Alejandro Bazalar Garcia raped a former seminarian.]

Ante la apertura de la investigación por la Séptima Fiscalía Penal de Huamanga, debido al presunto abuso sexual de parte del sacerdote Luis Alejandro Bazalar García contra un exseminarista menor de edad, el vicario general de la Arquidiócesis de Ayacucho, Javier Obón, negó los hechos.

El hombre religioso manifestó que son patrañas de parte de la familia del joven contra el sacerdote.

Además, manifestó que el muchacho dijo ante la Fiscalía que fue violado por otro seminarista.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:39 PM

Arzobispado de Ayacucho no se pronuncia sobre denuncia a sacerdote

PERU
RPP

[Summary: Archbishop Salvador Pineiro, Metropolitan Bishop of Ayacucho, so far as not commented on the new sexual abuse allegation made against priest Luis Alejandro Bazalar Garcia. The victim's aunt made the accusation public following a medical examination of the 17-year-old victim which confirmed the act of rape. The victim is a former seminarian. The case is being investigated by the prosecutor and a lawyer for the family.]

Hasta el momento, el arzobispo metropolitano de Ayacucho, Salvador Piñeiro, no se ha pronunciado sobre la nueva denuncia de abuso sexual que recae contra otro sacerdote, Luis Alejandro Bazalar García.

Este miércoles, la tía del joven de 17 años, exseminariasta, Magaly de la Cruz Roca, hizo público el hecho tras conocer los resultados del examen médico que confirmó el acto de violación.

Por lo pronto, el caso es investigado por la Séptima Fiscalía Penal de Huamanga y por la Fiscalía de Familia.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:34 PM

Sex assault allegations against archbishop 'crazy:' witness at Winnipeg trial

CANADA
Montreal Gazette

WINNIPEG - A Winnipeg man who as a boy befriended an Orthodox archbishop says allegations that he sexually assaulted two brothers are "crazy."

Jason Rodgers told court that he first met Seraphim Storheim in 1985 when he was 10 years old.

Rodgers says Storheim befriended him and used to entertain neighbourhood children at his parish home in Winnipeg's north end.

Rodgers says he confided in Storheim about problems he was having.

Storheim is accused of sexually assaulting two pre-teen boys when they visited him in Winnipeg three decades ago.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:57 PM

‘Shatter needs to make a public statement on redress delay for Magdalene women’

IRELAND
The Journal

SINN FÉIN’S MARY Lou McDonald is calling on the Minister for Justice and Equality to make a public statement on the delay in issuing redress payments and promised supports to the surviving women of the Magdalene Laundries.

She said that over eight months have now passed since the Taoiseach apologised to the surviving women of the Magdalene Laundries, but that not a single redress payment has been made.

Supports

“In fact none of the vital supports provided for in Mr Justice Quirke’s report have been delivered on,” she said, adding, every week she receives receives phone calls from surviving women “desperately upset and confused” by the government’s failure to provide the redress and supports promised months ago.

She stated:

This failure is set against the government’s recent denial of widespread brutality and forced detention in the Laundries in response to very serious concerns raised by the United Nations Committee Against Torture with the state.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:55 PM

FEARFUL TODAY AND EVERY DAY IN MINNESOTA

MINNESOTA
Jeff Anderson and Associates

JEFFREY R. ANDERSON

It’s Halloween and you should be scared in Minnesota. There are dozens of credibly accused clerical offenders of children whose names are only known to the Catholic bishops and kept secret. You don’t know who they are, and you don’t know where they are. What we do know is that they could harm our children and that the hierarchs in Minnesota from Duluth to St. Cloud to New Ulm, to Winona and the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis know and have already determined the clerical offenders to be “credibly accused” of abuse of minors. But with only the desire to protect themselves, the Catholic hierarchs in Minnesota continue to worry more about their reputation than the well-being of the children. I wish we could say this was just a Halloween hazard, but this is a hazard that has been ongoing for a long time and will continue until these names are disclosed and made known to the communities in which these people are living and working. Our firm is working vigorously with survivors to force the disclosure of these names and of these lists across the state. Until they do, there is every reason to be scared on Halloween and on every day until there is a full and open disclosure.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:53 PM

CONSISTORY FOR THE CREATION OF CARDINALS IN FEBRUARY 2014

VATICAN CITY
Vatican Information Service

Vatican City, 31 October 2013 (VIS) – The director of the Holy See Press Office, Fr. Federico Lombardi S.J., made the following declaration this morning:

“On the occasion of the meeting of the 'Council of Cardinals' scheduled for early next October (1-3 October) and the subsequent meeting of the Synod Council (7-8 October), the Pope has informed the participants of his intention to convoke a Consistory for the creation of new cardinals on the occasion of the Feast of the Cathedral of St. Peter, 22 February. Pope Francis has decided to communicate his decision to convoke February's Consistory in advance in order to facilitate the planning of other meetings involving the participation of cardinals from different parts of the world.

“Indeed, it is foreseen that the Pope, like his predecessors on other occasions, intends for the Consistory to be preceded by a meeting of the College of Cardinals.

“Before this meeting – scheduled for the 17 and 18 February – there will take place the third meeting of the 'Council of Cardinals' (the so-called 'Eight Cardinals'), while after the Consistory, on 24 and 25 February, there will be the meeting of the Synod Council.

“The next meeting of the Council of Cardinals for economic and organisational matters of the Holy See (the so-called 'Council of Fifteen') is expected to be scheduled as in previous years for the month of February, probably during the preceding week”.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:05 AM

OTHER PONTIFICAL ACTS

VATICAN CITY
Vatican Information Service

Vatican City, 31 October 2013 (VIS) - Today, the Holy Father: ...

- accepted the resignation from the office of auxiliary of the archdiocese of Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, presented by Bishop Pablo Cedano Cedano, upon having reached the age limit.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:03 AM

WV – Mormon officials shirk wrongdoings; SNAP responds

WEST VIRGINIA
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

For immediate release: Oct 31, 2013

Statement by David Clohessy of St. Louis, Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (314 566 9790, SNAPclohessy@aol.com)

West Virginia Mormon church officials credibly accused of concealing and neglect regarding a predator are now refusing to accept responsibility.

[Herald Mail]

We are disappointed that Berkeley County Mormon church officials won't acknowledge their involvement with Christopher Michael Jensen, who is currently in prison for child sexual abuse and assault. These officials should be held accountable for ignoring accounts of abuse that were seen, heard or suspected by their congregation.

We urge anyone who was hurt by someone in a position of authority to step forward, speak up and get help to both recover personally and help others.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:56 AM

SNAP Takes Issue With Selection Of New Archbishop

HARTFORD (CT)
The Hartford Courant

by BERNIE DAVIDOW

The morning after Toledo Bishop Leonard P. Blair was named to take over the Hartford Archdiocese, a Connecticut representative of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests was on the front steps of the Cathedral of Saint Joseph in Hartford to air the organization’s concerns about the appointment.

The SNAP member, Gail Howard of Redding, said she was there with her husband Wednesday in part to draw attention to Blair’s behavior regarding the nationally publicized case of the Rev. Gerald Robinson, a Toledo diocesan priest, who ultimately was convicted in 2006 of killing a nun 26 years earlier.

SNAP has asked why Blair, bishop at the time of the trial, wasn’t more forthcoming with documents that the group says might have helped prosecute the case. The organization has also argued that Blair should have worked harder to get the priest, the Rev. Gerald Robinson, defrocked. The organization has called on Blair to explain his actions.

Attempts to reach two spokeswomen for the Toledo Diocese were unsuccessful Wednesday.

Howard said SNAP was also asking the Hartford Archdiocese to work harder to reach out to victims of sexual abuse by priests. One way, she said, would be to have parish priests read, from the altar, a list of all offending priests who have served in the archdiocese and to ask any of their victims to report the abuse.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:55 AM

Rev. Stephen O'Gara Slams Minnesota Archdiocese Over Handling Of Priest Abuse Cases, Is 'Embarrassed To Be Catholic'

MINNESOTA
Huffington Post

[with video]

There have been 18 lawsuits filed against members of the Minnesota Catholic clergy since May, when state law was changed to give abuse victims a three-year window to bring lawsuits that were previously barred by a statute of limitations. Many of the suits also point the finger at the archdiocese, which has a lot to explain when it comes to the alleged cover-ups that took place.

It's not just the victims who are speaking out about this issue. The Rev. Stephen O'Gara, a popular priest from St. Paul, stepped up to demand accountability from the diocese, criticizing Archbishop Nienstedt for his handling of sex abuse scandals in the clergy in a scathing sermon, which you can listen to above.

O'Gara said on Sunday:

He needs to stand before us and explain himself. Only then will we have the respect called to his office. It's about arrogance, and we all fall victim to arrogance in some degree or in some place in our lives. But this is more. This is not some small matter. This is a big deal. It's the first time, I must say, in 69 years that I'm embarrassed to be Catholic.

On Tuesday an unnamed Minnesota woman sued the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis for allegedly "failing to protect her from an abusive priest, reports Minnesota Public Radio.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:57 AM

Bad Religion stream Christmas album

UNITED STATES
Music News

Bad Religion are now streaming Christmas Songs, which was released on Monday via Epitaph and features the LA veterans takes on Christmas standards, including 'Hark! The Herald Angels Sing', 'White Christmas' and 'O Come All Ye Faithful'.

Bad Religion will contribute 20% of proceeds from Christmas Songs to SNAP, Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests. For more information visit: http://www.snapnetwork.org/.

Bad Religion have threatened to record an album of seasonal classics for years, and now they've gone and done it, tackling eight chestnuts in their classic punk rock style. From 'White Christmas' with its nod to pioneers The Ramones, to the glorious choirboy intro to 'Hark! The Herald Angels Sing,' 'Christmas Songs' is the record you need to get your holiday household's toes tapping.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:54 AM

WCCO Exclusive: Jane Doe Shares Video Describing Alleged Clergy Abuse

MINNESOTA
WCCO

[with video]

Reporting Esme Murphy

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A video statement obtained exclusively by WCCO shows a Minnesota woman describing alleged abuse by a Catholic priest.

Her case is part of a growing scandal accusing a cover-up by top officials of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis.

“You started rubbing my back and you put your hand under my shirt and you were rubbing the skin, skin against skin,” she said in the video.

She’s now suing him.

The woman told WCCO’s Esme Murphy she wanted to make the video public so that people could hear her story in her own words. She made the video in 2006 to present to the archdiocese panel that was investigating her claim of abuse from Keating. In the video she details the abuse, and addresses Keating.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:51 AM

Columnist says the Vatican should remove Bishop Robert Finn

MISSOURI
KMBZ

A nationally known religious columnist says Pope Francis should fire Bishop Robert Finn. Bill Tammeus, a veteran Kansas City religious columnist, wrote an open letter to Pope Francis in the National Catholic Reporter.

He likens what happened in the Kansas City-St. Joseph Diocese to Watergate and says Finn should be removed.

"I see no way for him to stay and have this Pope be taken serious to fix this scandal and so that's what led me to write this piece," says Tammeus.

Finn was convicted last year for failure to report suspected child abuse by ex-priest Shawn Ratigan, who is now in prison.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:43 AM

THE WAR ON THE BISHOPS

UNITED STATES
Catholic League

Bill Donohue comments on the latest attack on a bishop:

Last week, I defended St. Paul and Minneapolis Archbishop John Nienstedt when he was being attacked by left-wing Catholics, and ex-Catholics, from the Catholic Coalition for Church Reform; the group, which rejects the Church’s teachings on sexuality, called for the Vatican to remove Nienstedt from office.

Yesterday, another open letter was sent to the Vatican seeking the ouster of a bishop; Pope Francis is being asked to remove Kansas City-St. Joseph Bishop Robert Finn from office. The request is coming from another person who is not in communion with the Church—he never was—Presbyterian journalist Bill Tammeus. His letter is being featured by the National Catholic Reporter, a left-wing dissident weekly.

Tammeus claims that Bishop Finn was not duly protective of children in his diocese. Not only is he wrong about this, he has no moral standing to be pointing fingers at anyone. For years, Tammeus wrote for the Kansas City Star, yet in all of his columns on sexual abuse, he never took on the teachers’ unions for their obstructionist policies that contribute to child rape in the public schools.

Kansas is one of only two states where there are no laws requiring criminal history checks for public school teachers. In 2011, when an attempt was made to strengthen current regulations by mandating fingerprinting of prospective public school employees, the Kansas teachers’ unions fought it. Tammeus said nothing.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:45 AM

The Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis Amidst New Allegations

MINNESOTA
MDST 485 Class Blog

Once again, the Catholic Church is making headlines for its continued mishandling of abuse covered up over many years. What brought these issues to light this time, is a woman who filed who filed a sexual abuse lawsuit against the Rev. Michael Keating, a professor at the University of St. Thomas. The article can be seen here. As a whole, the Archdiocese is under the microscope. Since this lawsuit has been filed, Keating has taken a leave and former Archbishop Harry Flynn recently resigned from the St. Thomas Board of Trustees. Prior to this, the Rev. Kevin McDonough also resigned his position as vice chairman of the St. Thomas Board also. Essentially, they did not want their positions within the board and the Catholic Church to interfere with ongoing investigations. So many high-profile positions in such a short time makes one contemplate such actions.

Now, one man in St. Paul has started a petition on change.org calling for the resignation of Archbishop Neinstedt. The Petition is here. I urge you to read the articles in this blog post and sign the petition if you feel. The petition is short and to the point in calling for Neinstedt’s resignation. As Neinstedt himself states he is not stepping down, perhaps the popular voice of the public may change his mind. This may be a necessary step to show members of the Catholic church they have been heard and continued change is happening.

Perhaps now, with Pope Francis as the head of the Catholic Church, a new kind of change that has already been noticed with him will continue to filter throughout the church world-wide. Some of the changes and Francis’s demeanor can be seen in this article.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:07 AM

Judi Dench: My Irish roots helped me in my latest role

IRELAND
Irish Independent

BENJI WILSON – 30 OCTOBER 2013

As one of Britain's acting greats, Judi Dench is probably best known for playing Queen Victoria in Mrs Brown or 'M', head of M16, in the Bond films.

But the classically trained actress had no problem switching on an earthy Dublin accent for her latest movie, Philomena, the true story of Philomena Lee who was banished to a convent, for the 'sin' of having a child out of wedlock in 1952.

Then again, Judi has been studying the lilt from a young age. "[Philomena] is older than me but not much, so I can identify with her past and I can identify with Ireland.

"My Ma and her family were from Dublin."

Based on the book The Lost Child of Philomena Lee by Martin Sixsmith, the film, out on Friday, tells the story of Philomena's 50-year search for her son, Anthony, who was bundled into the back of a car aged three-and-a-half and never came back.

With the help of journalist Sixsmith (played by Steve Coogan in the film), she finally discovered her child, renamed Michael, had been adopted by a middle-class Catholic couple from St Louis, Missouri.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:03 AM

Humour cannot hide rage as Philomena searches for son

SCOTLAND
Herald Scotland

Philomena (12A)
Dir: Stephen Frears
With: Judi Dench, Steve Coogan, Sophie Kennedy Clark
Runtime: 98 minutes

SCOTS director Peter Mullan tackled the sins of the Magdalene laundries against those deemed "fallen women" in his searing 2002 drama, The Magdalene Sisters. Enraged and implacable, Mullan's film was a war cry from the heart.

Stephen Frears's Philomena comes at the subject in a gentler fashion, even managing to leaven the sadness with laughter. What sacrilege is this, one might wonder? What way is this to treat the subject of young women torn from their sons and daughters?

As it turns out, it is the best kind of irreverence, the kind that illuminates as it indicts, that takes no prisoners but does not go for the easy answers either. It is a difficult line to walk, and with anyone other than Judi Dench, Steve Coogan and Frears (The Queen, Dangerous Liaisons) it might have stumbled. While not without a misstep, Philomena links its arm into the audience's and chums them along the road. By the end, one would happily spend another hour in the company of the titular Philo-mena. Plus, and here is the clever part, one leaves the picture just as stirred as after Mullan's film.

Philomena is based on the investigative book The Lost Child of Philomena Lee by Martin Sixsmith, a former BBC newsman turned Labour Government spin doctor turned ex-spin doctor. When the film opens, Sixsmith, played by Coogan (who also wrote the screenplay with Jeff Pope) has recently been unfairly "resigned" by his minister boss and is feeling rather sorry for himself, despite eventually winning the argument and a nice chunk of change in compensation.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:00 AM

The Secret Gay Life of the Vatican: Inside a Hidden Netherworld of the Catholic Church

VATICAN CITY
Vanity Fair

As rumors of a powerful “gay lobby” within the Vatican make headlines and a new Pope promises reform, Vanity Fair contributing editor Michael Joseph Gross interviews dozens of current and former priests, gay monks, veteran Vatican journalists, Italian aristocrats, and gay men at Roman gyms, bars, nightclubs, sex clubs, and restaurants and finds that “to be gay in the Vatican is no guarantee of success, mark of belonging, or shortcut to erotic intrigue. Most basically it is a sentence of isolation,” a life “in a closet that has no door.”

According to Gross’s piece in the December issue of Vanity Fair (on stands today), a significant number of gay clerics at the Vatican are in positions of great authority, but they inhabit a secretive netherworld because homosexuality is officially condemned. The principal requirement of their power and priesthood is silence about who they really are—at least in public. According to Gross, “Clerics inhabit this silence in a variety of ways. A few keep their sexuality entirely private and adhere to the vow of celibacy. Many others quietly let themselves be known as gay to a limited degree … sometimes they remain celibate and sometimes they do not. A third way, perhaps the least common but certainly the most visible, involves living a double life.

Gross goes on to describe the codes and signals by which gay priests navigate life in the Vatican. “Camp is perhaps the most powerful and pervasive” code, with ironic, effeminate self-mockery allowing priests to “exercise some limited rebellion against their own isolation and invisibility.” One former gay priest describes clerical camp to Gross as “a natural way of expressing [gay identity] while celibate.” Yet in the Church, as in Italian society, Gross writes, “the right appearance—la bella figura­—is all.... Parties celebrating appointment to the Vatican and other high Church offices can be lavish … with many clerics in attendance being ‘gay men wearing everything handmade, perfect, queer as it comes,’” as a prominent figure in the Roman art world tells Gross. Still, Gross finds an every-man-for-himself dynamic in Rome’s gay clerical culture: gay clerics often fail to help one another, says a gay former seminarian who was robbed one night in a park while numerous men stood by, because solidarity entails the risk of being outed.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:55 AM

McCort seeks info on alleged victims

PENNSYLVANIA
Tribune-Democrat

Kathy Mellott
kmellott@tribdem.com

EBENSBURG — The board of directors of Bishop McCort Catholic High School is attempting to force a Greensburg attorney to provide more information regarding three former students who allege they were sexually molested by Brother Stephen Baker.

A request filed at the Cambria County Courthouse seeks to have attorney Susan Williams file the detailed lawsuit regarding plaintiffs who to date have been listed only as victims 1, 2 and 3.

The document is asking that Williams be given 20 days to file the complaint outlining details of the allegations made against Baker, a Franciscan friar who worked at Bishop McCort from the early 1990s through 2000.

Williams said she has received a copy of the request.

“I haven’t decided yet what I will do,” she said Wednesday.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:52 AM

Abuse claims deadline extended

PENNSYLVANIA
Altoona Mirror

October 31, 2013
By Phil Ray (pray@altoonamirror.com) , The Altoona Mirror

HOLLIDAYSBURG - President Judge Jolene G. Kopriva has given the Altoona attorney representing five alleged sexual abuse victims of Brother Stephen Baker another six months to determine if the cases can be resolved without filing civil lawsuits.

Attorney Richard Serbin has filed notice of seven possible lawsuits in the Baker case, but in early October, the judge notified Serbin that in five cases the 120-day limit had expired for the filing of civil complaints.

She gave Serbin 30 days to file the complaints that list the Roman Catholic Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown, Bishop McCort High School, where Baker served as an athletic trainer, St. Bernardine Monastery of Hollidaysburg, the Franciscan Friars of the Third Order Regular and retired Bishop Joseph Adamec as defendants.

On Oct. 11, Bishop Mark Bartchak issued a statement saying, "The parties believe that it would serve everyone's interest to devote time and resources to resolving the claims as opposed to engaging in formal litigation."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:50 AM

California Police Arrest Brooklyn Rabbi Wanted For Allegedly Sexually Molesting Boys

NEW YORK
NY1

[with video]

A Brooklyn rabbi wanted for allegedly sexually abusing boys was arrested Tuesday in California.

Menachem Tevel, who goes by the name Mendel Tevel, was arrested at the Jem Community Center in Beverly Hills, where he worked.

Four men are accusing Tevel of abusing them between 1995 and 2004 when they were minors.

A Jewish activist group warned the center about Tevel's past.

"People were notified," said Ilanit Glucosky of Jewish Community Watch. "The rabbis in Los Angeles were notified by Jewish Community Watch that he is a threat to children, that he has been accused of being a sexual predator."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:48 AM

Sacerdote es denunciado por violación en Ayacucho

PERU
RPP

[Summary: Another priest has been accused of rape in the Ayacucho region. Luis Alejandro Bazalar García is alleged to have molested his nephew, a 17-year-old former seminarian. After a medical examination confirmed the act of rape, the priest then asked the youth to get into a taxi where he would take him to another place. The victim's aunts saw what was happening and foiled the attempt. It is said that in the struggle the youth went into the kitchen, grabbed a knife and cut his wrist. He is now hospitalized. An aunt said her nephew was a seminarian but was removed two months ago and request of Bazalar Garcia.]

Un segundo caso de violación involucra a un sacerdote en la región Ayacucho. Esta vez, Luis Alejandro Bazalar García fue denunciado por Magaly de la Cruz Roca de abusar sexualmente de su sobrino, un exseminarista de 17 años.

Tras conocerse los resultados del examen médico que confirmó el acto de violación, el sacerdote acudió la tarde del miércoles al domicilio del menor y lo obligó a subir a un taxi para trasladarlo a otro lugar, pero fue sorprendido por las tías de la víctima y se frustró su intento, reveló De la Cruz.

Asimismo, contó que en el forcejeo, el sacerdote indujo al menor a suicidarse, por lo que el menor acudió a la cocina, cogió un cuchillo y se cortó la muñeca, motivo por el cual ahora está internado en un centro médico, añadió. En ese momento, una familiar también terminó con los brazos fracturados al caer sobre la vereda, dijo De la Cruz a RPP Noticias.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:40 AM

Priest accused in sex crimes with minor waives right to hearing

PENNSYLVANIA
Times-Tribune

SCRANTON - A suspended Diocese of Scranton priest accused of performing sex acts with a minor waived his right a preliminary hearing Wednesday.

The Rev. William Paulish, 56, 450 Third St., Blakely, was arrested in September after he was caught in his car with a 15-year-old boy in the parking lot at Penn State Worthington Scranton campus.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:38 AM

Mormon church denies lawsuit’s claims of sex abuse coverup

WEST VIRGINIA
Herald Mail

Posted on October 30, 2013
mumstead
by Matthew Umstead

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in a statement released Wednesday adamantly denied claims made in a lawsuit that it covered up sexual abuse of 12 children in Berkeley County by a member who has since been excommunicated and imprisoned.

The lawsuit filed Sept. 16 names Mormon church officials and excommunicated member Christopher Michael Jensen and his parents as defendants. It was filed in Berkeley County Circuit Court on behalf of five families and 12 children among them.

“The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has zero tolerance for abuse of any kind,” the church said in its statement, which was released by Martinsburg attorney William J. Powell, who is representing the church in this case.

The church also said it had reached out to all known victim families and has offered to provide counseling. The families were members of various wards of the Martinsburg, W.Va., Stake of the Mormon church at the time of the abuse, according to the lawsuit.

“Our hearts go out to victims and their families,” the church said in the statement.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:34 AM

Archbishop John Nienstedt denies any abuse cover-up

MINNESOTA
Sleepy Eye Herald Dispatch

Posted Oct. 31, 2013

Sleepy Eye, Minn.

Archbishop John Nienstedt, who served as Bishop of the Diocese of New Ulm from 2001 until 2007, when he was appointed Coadjutor Archbishop of St. Paul and Minneapolis, is under scrutiny over how he handled clergy misconduct in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis.

A Minnesota Public Radio news investigation found that church officials disregarded concerns over priest misconduct over the past 10 years.

In an e-mail response to that investigation, Nienstedt denied any abuse cover-up and expressed regret that some parishioners and priests have lost confidence in him over these concerns.

"As head of this local church, I accept responsibility for addressing the issues that have been raised and am completely committed to finding the truth and fixing the problems that exist," Nienstedt wrote. "My highest priorities are to ensure the safety of our children and to restore the trust of Catholics and our clergy. I will do everything in my power to do so." 

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:31 AM

Abuse victim died before seeing justice in case against priest

PENNSYLVANIA
Mercury

Editorial

Two weeks shy of his 27th birthday, the tortured life of Sean Patrick McIlmail reportedly ended with an accidental drug overdose.

The Montgomery County resident died four days shy of facing in courtthe man allegedly responsible for his torment.

The preliminary hearing of the Rev. Robert L. Brennan was scheduled for Oct. 17 in Philadelphia on charges of rape, involuntary deviate sexual intercourse and aggravated indecent assault for allegedly abusing McIlmail between 1998 and 2001 when he was an altar boy at Resurrection of Our Lord parish in Northeast Philadelphia. He was 11 when Brennan allegedly began assaulting him.

According to one of two Philadelphia Grand Jury reports on clerical sexual abuse, officials in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia under Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua were notified that Brennan had sexually or inappropriately touched more than 20 boys. One of those officials was the Rev. Monsignor William Lynn who was secretary of clergy for most of Bevilacqua’s tenure from 1988 to 2003.

On June 22, 2012 a Philadelphia jury found Lynn guilty of one felony count of endangering the welfare of children. Lynn was sentenced to three to six years in prison.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:28 AM

Ex-priest accused of molestation now out on bail

LOUISIANA
Daily World

LAKE CHARLES — A former Calcasieu Parish priest accused of molesting young parishioners is out of jail on bond.

Mark Anthony Broussard, 57, walked out of the Calcasieu Correctional Center Monday on a $1.5 million cash bond.

Broussard is accused of molesting boys while a priest in Calcasieu Parish between 1986 and 1991. Broussard served at Our Lady Queen of Heaven and St. Henry Catholic Church. He also served at St. Eugene in Cameron Parish.

He is charged with five counts of sexual abuse — two counts of aggravated rape, one count of aggravated oral sexual battery, one count of oral sexual battery and one count of molestation of a juvenile.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:23 AM

October 30, 2013

Mendel Tevel in Los Angeles jail awaiting extradition

BEVERLY HILLS (CA)
Jewish Journal

BY JARED SICHEL

Menachem Mendel Tewel, who goes by the name Mendel Tevel, remains in a Los Angeles jail awaiting extradition to Brooklyn. The rabbi and youth worker arrested Tuesday afternoon at the JEM Center in Beverly Hills is expected to be charged in New York with three counts of sexual abuse, according to officials in the Brooklyn District Attorney’s office and the New York Police Department.

Although Tevel’s indictment is sealed, Lt. Lincoln Hoshino, a spokesman for the Beverly Hills Police Department, told the Journal that the arrest warrant his department received from New York charges Tevel with three counts of criminal sexual acts in the first degree, five counts of criminal sexual acts in the third degree and three counts of sexual abuse in the first degree.

Tevel, 30, is currently being held without bail at Los Angeles County’s inmate reception center in downtown L.A.. He is scheduled for an extradition hearing as early as the morning of Thursday, Oct. 31, during which he can either fight the Brooklyn DA’s extradition request, or waive opposition to it, giving New York law enforcement officials 30 days to transport him to Brooklyn to be arraigned..

In an article in the Journal in August, four men said they had been victims of Tevel when they were minors (ranging from ages 6 to 14 at the time of the alleged abuse). They claimed Tevel performed acts that included spanking on bare skin, to sexually suggestive rubbing. The instances described by those who spoke with the Journal took place as early as around 1995 and as recently as around 2004.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:57 PM

Community Center Shaken After Rabbi’s Arrest On Sex Abuse Charges

BEVERLY HILLS (CA)
CBS Los Angeles

[with audio]

BEVERLY HILLS (CBSLA.com) — The arrest of a rabbi in Beverly Hills on sex abuse charges from New York City has shaken those at the community center where he worked.

KNX 1070′s Ed Mertz reports Menachem Tewel will go back to New York following his arrest at the JEM Community Center on Santa Monica Boulevard.

Tewel, 30, was taken into custody Tuesday afternoon on a warrant charging sexual abuse against four boys between 1995 and 2004.

“He will waive extradition and try to get back to New York as swiftly as possible,” attorney Dana Cole said.

JEM Community Center founder and director Rabbi Hertzel Illulian, who is also Tewel’s father-in-law, said the allegations were false.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:54 PM

Curia reform may increase Congregations, reduce Pontifical Councils

VATICAN CITY
Headlines from the Catholic World

Vatican City, Oct 30, 2013 / 12:31 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Pope Francis' reform of the Roman Curia is expected to produce a new document regulating the body, and to reduce the number of Pontifical Councils, while increasing the number of Congregations.

The group of eight cardinals advising Pope Francis on the reform and on the government of the Church will have their second meeting at the Vatican Dec. 3-5, following their Oct. 1-3 meeting.

“The cardinals are not thinking about an adjustment of Pastor Bonus; they are mostly thinking about sketching out a brand new pastoral constitution,” Fr. Federico Lombardi, Holy See press office director, said in a media briefing Oct. 2.

Pastor Bonus is the apostolic constitution issued by John Paul II in 1988 which regulates and defines charges, duties and composition of the offices of the Roman Curia.

Composing a new apostolic constitution is a tricky challenge: Pastor Bonus was finally issued after 16 years of studies and discussion. Nevertheless, the new apostolic constitution should re-design the Roman Curia.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:52 PM

Pastor resigns amid abuse allegations

GEORGIA
Associated Baptist Press

After a Southern Baptist leader said there is no place in the church for whistleblowers, an independent Baptist pastor in Georgia resigned his pulpit after 18-year-old abuse allegations in another state surfaced on the Internet.

By Bob Allen

An independent Baptist pastor has resigned his church in Georgia after allegations of sexual abuse 18 years ago in Michigan resurfaced on the Internet.

Leaders at King’s Way Baptist Church in Douglasville, Ga., confirmed in a letter dated Oct. 18 that Bill Wininger has resigned after more than 15 years as pastor. Another letter dated Oct. 27 acknowledged that church leaders were aware of allegations and charges surfacing recently on the Internet.

Wininger’s troubles started when a woman who is now 25 years old alleged serial abuse that began when she was 3 at North Sharon Baptist Church in Grass Lake, Mich. A Facebook group titled Justice for the Victims of Bill Wininger went online Oct. 23 and in the first week grew to 466 members.

“The beauty of the technological age we are in today is that perps cannot hide any longer,” Julie Silvestrone, an Iowa resident who studied at Hyles-Anderson College, posted Oct. 25. “We are forming an army that will not be silenced and powerful in-roads are being made behind the scenes.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:49 PM

Former St. Helena's pastor sentenced to 2 years in prison for stealing from church and elderly parishioner

OHIO
The Plain Dealer

By Rachel Dissell, The Plain Dealer
on October 30, 2013

CLEVELAND, Ohio -- A judge sentenced the former pastor of St. Helena Romanian Byzantine Catholic Church to two years in prison for siphoning money from parish coffers and stealing from an elderly churchgoer.

Andre Matthews, 54, had already pleaded guilty to charges that he stole $176,000 from the church and more than $100,000 from an 89-year-old woman.

Matthews, a longtime pastor at St. Helena on Cleveland's West Side, was suspended from his duties as a priest on July 18, which bars him from celebrating sacraments or representing himself as a priest.

Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Judge Richard McMonagle, after hearing from the elderly victim, Aurelia Papp, and a man representing parishioners, who packed the courtroom, said, "I know people want a little more blood out of this, but I can't do it."

McMonagle also ordered Matthews to pay restitution to the victims in the case.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:23 PM

Parishioners Pack Courtroom as Priest Sentenced to Prison

OHIO
Fox 8

[with video]

October 30, 2013, by Melissa Reid

CLEVELAND — Father Andre Matthews, 54, of Cleveland, was sentenced Wednesday to two years in prison for stealing money from his parish.

Matthews was a reverend at St. Helena Church on W. 65th Street in Cleveland.

In June, he plead guilty to stealing more than $175,000 from the church over a six-year period. The defense brought up a witness at his sentencing to testify how sick Matthews is.

“In my opinion, Father would fare very very badly, if at all, with penal incarceration,” said Dr. John Conomy.

Church members packed the courtroom. Through a translator, one of the church council members said Matthews betrayed their trust.

“I came here today to say that our faithful, our very own church, is suffering,” said Fabian Barbolovici, a parishioner.

Another one of his victims, an 89-year-old parishioner, wheeled herself forward to say Matthews broke her heart.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:21 PM

Plea Deal Possible in Priest Sex Assault Case?

PENNSYLVANIA
PA Homepage

A Catholic priest from Lackawanna County who is accused of having sexual contact with a teenage boy was in court Wednesday morning.

Both prosecutors and an attorney for Father W. Jeffrey Paulish confirm a plea deal is in the works.

When he was arrested last month, Father Paulish was charged with a number of crimes including indecent assault, indecent exposure and unlawful contact with a minor.

A plea deal could spare the 15-year-old boy from ever having to testify in a courtroom.

With the possible plea deal in the works, Father Paulish gave up his right to a preliminary hearing to challenge the evidence against him.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:17 PM

Leonard Blair, Hartford’s new archbishop, excites not

HARTFORD (CT)
Spiritual Politics

Mark Silk
Oct 30, 2013

Pope Francis’ choice as the next archbishop of Hartford, Toledo Bishop Leonard Blair, is cut from the same episcopal cloth as most of John Paul II’s and Benedict XVI’s American appointees.

Describing the appointment as a “countersign,” National Catholic Reporter blogger and Connecticut native Michael Sean Winters grumped, “This was a missed opportunity to send a signal to all the bishops in the United States that the Holy Father is calling for a different style of pastoral leadership in the Church.” Lauding Blair for his managerial skills, Whispers in the Loggia’s Rocco Palmo Blair called him “a figure none would mistake for being part of the USCCB’s centrist or progressive blocs.”

A longtime Vatican apparatchik, in Toledo Blair has been notable for standing with the forces of doctrinal control and hierarchical enforcement. In 2009, he was one of those bishops condemning Notre Dame for inviting President Obama to speak at commencement. The same year, he was tapped by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) to head its “doctrinal assessment” of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR), the organization representing most American nuns. His two reports set the stage for the CDF’s current project of subordinating the LCWR more closely to “the teachings and discipline of the Church.”

In a video made last year, Blair looks and sounds like he’s been sucking on a lemon as he defends the effort “to remedy significant and longstanding doctrinal problems connected with the activities and programs of the LCWR.” In his bill of particulars, he attacks the organization for giving its 2012 Outstanding Leadership Award to Sr. Sandra Schneiders, retired professor of New Testament studies and Christian spirituality at Santa Clara University. Schneiders, said Blair, “has expressed the view that the hierarchical structure of the church represents an institutionalized form of patriarchal domination that cannot be reconciled with the Gospel.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:14 PM

Catholics encouraged to acknowledge Blue Knot Day and support victims of child sexual abuse

AUSTRALIA
Christian Today

By: Truth Justice Healing Council
Thursday, 31 October 2013

CEO of the Truth Justice and Healing Council has written to more than 1,500 Catholic priests and women and men from religious orders across Australia encouraging support for the activities of Blue Knot Day and the possibility of recovery for the victims of child sexual abuse.

Blue Knot Day and other activities will conclude this Sunday (3 November). The week’s activities are part of an annual awareness campaign coordinated by the victims of child sexual abuse group, Adult Survivors of Childhood Trauma.

Mr Sullivan said Blue Knot day is an important event that focuses on the damage done to victims of child sexual abuse.

“This year’s Blue Knot activities are focused on recovery and spreading the message to both survivors and all community members that with the right care and support, recovery is possible,” Mr Sullivan said.

“It is important all members of the community, and particularly members of the Catholic Church, do whatever we can to help victims and survivors.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:11 PM

Children's advocates push for national protection agency

AUSTRALIA
The Australian

Pia Akerman
From: The Australian
October 31, 2013

RELIGIOUS orders and child safety advocates have called for the federal government to establish a national agency to oversee child protection standards, describing existing state-based measures as an "untenable" approach that increases the risk of sexual abuse.

A broad range of groups have demanded the new regulatory body in submissions to the royal commission investigating institutional responses to child sexual abuse, released yesterday as the commission continued public hearings in Sydney.

The Catholic Church's Truth, Justice and Healing Council says organisations dealing with children need a "substantial overhaul" of their policies and practices, and the absence of a mandatory national accreditations scheme backed by an external audit system is "a major limitation that increases risk".

"There is a strong moral and ethical imperative to commit to ending the sexual abuse of children within organisations," the council submission says. "A major shift is required to ensure that organisations become child-safe organisations."

The council acknowledged such reforms would increase costs and administrative workloads for organisations which dealt with children, including those which operated on a small scale and were staffed by volunteers.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:09 PM

Review of Murphy Commission's work says process it followed was unfair

IRELAND
National Catholic Reporter

Sarah MacDonald Catholic News Service | Oct. 30, 2013

DUBLIN A new review of the work of the Murphy Commission that investigated clerical sexual abuse in the archdiocese of Dublin charges that priests did not get even-handed treatment and that the process it followed was unfair.

Undertaken by the 1,000-member Association of Catholic Priests, the review also said the commission's work exceeded its announced plans to investigate institutions rather than individuals.

The review poses a challenge to Dublin Archbishop Diarmuid Martin, who defended the commission's findings in a statement Tuesday.

The commission published a scathing 814-page report in November 2009 in which diocesan officials in Ireland's largest diocese, including bishops, were roundly condemned for covering up and mishandling reports of sexual abuse of children.

The priest association's review was conducted by Fergal Sweeney, a retired Hong Kong High Court judge. The association represents about one-third of Ireland's priests.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:06 PM

Priest says he's been shunned, fired for discussing sex abuse

CANADA
The Record

MONTREAL - A Roman Catholic priest says his attempt to raise the issue of sexual abuse with colleagues resulted in him being ostracized and eventually fired from a famous Montreal church.

The story told by Rev. Andre Samson suggests that the Vatican's promises of a new, more open approach to dealing with sexual crimes has not necessarily translated through the church rank-and-file.

Samson says his troubles at St. Joseph's Oratory began in June, when a distraught young man confided in him about being sexually assaulted by a priest from another parish.

He says he now wants to go public about what happened next, in order to break the "code of silence" that he says endures in an era when Pope Francis is taking concrete steps to increase transparency about sexual violence and crack down on guilty priests.

"I had confidence in the church, I had confidence in St. Joseph's Oratory," Samson, a veteran priest of 30 years and a university professor, said in an interview.

"Perhaps I am naive, but I never would have believed that it would go this far.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:02 PM

Former reverend Andre Matthews sentenced to two years for stealing over $170,000 from church

OHIO
NewsNet5

By: Kristin Byrne, newsnet5.com

CLEVELAND, Ohio - A former Cleveland reverend was sentenced to serve two years in prison Wednesday for stealing over $170,000 from a church.

Andre Matthews, 54, a former reverend at St. Helena Catholic Church, stole the money from the church's bingo events.

He is also accused of stealing over $100,000 from a parishioner.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:54 PM

Does the DSM Say that the Bishops Were Right All Along?

UNITED STATES
Public Catholic

October 30, 2013 By Rebecca Hamilton

How many times have you heard a bishop try to explain away his actions concerning a child-molesting priest by saying “But we got him counseling. It was what the experts advised?”

And how many times, when you heard that, did you think, “Mr Bishop, nobody’s that dumb?”

There appears to be a growing move to legitimize child sexual abuse in our culture. It started a long time ago with the book Lolita and moved forward through lots of movies, books and plays such as American Beauty and others. I remember quite clearly the outrage in certain quarters when the government took a stab at holding Roman Polanski accountable for raping a 13-year-old girl.
In the words of one famous comedienne “It wasn’t rape-rape.”

It is increasingly becoming a fact rather than a conjecture that the sexual abuse of children is only really terrible in our society when it is committed by a Catholic priest, or occasionally, a referred football coach.

Now, my colleague Dr Gregory Popcak has published a post raising the question of whether or not the DSM has moved pedophilia into the gray area of “orientation.” Since the phrase “orientation” is loaded up to the top with political correctness, it has become something of a synonym in the popular imagination for an inborn trait or illness, like, say, Down’s Syndrome.

Dr Popcak makes clear that, the DSM has not changed its definition. The gray area was there all along and it comes outside the DSM, from the dilemma of how to define people who are sexually attracted to children but don’t molest them.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:51 PM

Child porn is a window into the soul of the church

UNITED STATES
The Worthy Adversary

Posted by Joelle Casteix on October 30, 2013

Why would a vowed celibate man have pictures of naked or semi-naked children on his computer? Why, when given the evidence of these photos, would this man’s supervisors do little or nothing, even when the crime is federal and one of the easiest to report?

Since, in this case, the supervisor is a Catholic bishop and the man with the pornography is a priest, the inaction of the bishop is a window into the fetid, rotten soul of hierarchy of the church.

This situation above reflects scandals that have rocked two midwest dioceses: St. Paul/Minneapolis and Kansas City/St. Joseph. In both instances, priests were in possession of evidence or photographs of naked or semi-naked children. The bishops, when finding out about the images, didn’t report. Instead they hid (or allegedly hid) evidence in order to protect the church.

The soul of the hierarchy of the church cannot get any more rotten than that.

In the real world, child pornography is a federal crime. It’s also one of the easiest crimes to report. The evidence is apparent and obvious. In the case of priests, the line is even more distinct: there is no reason whatsoever that an ordained and celibate cleric should have anything even remotely resembling child pornography is his possession. And if there is any question, a supervisor should report the photographs to law enforcement anyway.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:39 PM

Church probe continues into priest accused of assaulting boy

UNITED KINGDOM
Croydon Advertiser

By Gareth_Davies | Posted: October 30, 2013

CATHOLIC church leaders have still to decide whether to allow a priest accused of sexually assaulting a teenage boy to return to work.

Francis Moran has been withdrawn from St Andrew’s Roman Catholic Church, in Brook Road, Thornton Heath, since being arrested last September.

He was questioned by police after a man in his 30s made allegations that he had been abused when he was in his early teens.

In July police told Canon Moran there was insufficient evidence to charge or caution him and so he would face no further action.

However, the Archdiocese of Southwark, for which Canon Moran was a safeguarding officer, said it would conduct its own investigation before deciding whether he should return to St Andrew’s.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:25 PM

Haunting Questions Wednesday

CALIFORNIA
The Worthy Adversary

Posted by Joelle Casteix on October 30, 2013

In honor of Halloween, let’s ask some scary questions.

– How many California Bishops personally met with California Governor Jerry Brown (or spoke to him on the phone uninterrupted) to discuss the now-defeated Child Victims’ Act?

– How many victims were able to personally meet with Jerry Brown?

Considering Brown’s SB 131 veto letter, the answer is apparent. It is quite sad when high-powered tax-exempt religious leaders get greater access to our elected officials than tax-paying crime victims.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:21 PM

Chasidic Rabbi, Accused Sex Abuser, Arrested In L.A.

CALIFORNIA/NEW YORK
The Jewish Week

Police in Beverly Hills yesterday arrested Rabbi Mendel Tevel, a member of the Chabad-Lubavitch Chasidic community who is accused of committing acts of sexual abuse on minors in New York over a 20-year-period beginning in the mid-1990s, the Los Angeles Jewish Journal reported.

According to the Journal, Rabbi Tevel, who has worked at the JEM youth center in Los Angeles, was taken into custody at the center, and will be extradited back here to face charges. The paper reported in August that the rabbi, who is about 30 years old, had “performed acts that included spanking on bare skin, to sexually suggestive rubbing,” while he earlier lived in Brooklyn.

The Journal article cited charges by “four men” whose ages ranged “from ages 6 to 14 at the time of the alleged abuse.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:18 PM

Beverly Hills rabbi busted for ‘molesting boys in Brooklyn’

NEW YORK
New York Post

By Natasha Velez
October 30, 2013

A rabbi accused of sexually molesting boys in Brooklyn has been arrested in Beverly Hills, where he was working at a Jewish community center, authorities said.

Rabbi Mendel Tevel faces extradition after he was arrested Tuesday by authorities acting on a warrant issued in New York charging the rabbi with criminal sexual acts. Tevel was a youth worker in Brooklyn, New York City, at the time.

The indictment against Tevel involves a complaint from a Brooklyn man who accused the rabbi of performing oral sex on him several times in his car when Tevel was 22 and the alleged victim was 14.
The rabbi moved to Los Angeles and had recently been working at the JEM Center, a Jewish youth community center in Beverly Hills.

The JEM Center’s director, Rabbi Hertzel Illulian, is Tevel’s father-in-law.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:15 PM

Rabbi's actions brushed under rug, say community members

BEVERLY HILLS (CA)
KABC

[with video]

Darsha Philips
More: Bio, Recent Stories, News Team

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. (KABC) -- A rabbi, who worked at a Beverly Hills youth center, is accused of child sex abuse in New York. Some say his alleged crimes were known in the community, but they were just swept under the rug.

The 30-year-old rabbi was arrested on Tuesday on charges of sexual criminal acts. In the grand jury Indictment out of Brooklyn, Tevel is accused of performing an oral sex act on one victim several times in the past. The incidents occurred about eight years ago. Tevel was 22 at the time and the victim was 14.

Authorities say the victim was abused several times in Tevel's car starting in 2005. The victim was not sure if he should come forward to report the abuse, since so much time had passed. He finally alerted police on Sept. 12.

Though only one victim is mentioned in the indictment, authorities are investigating other possible allegations as well.

"He was arrested for child molestation allegations, on child endangerment allegations. Everything will, I'm sure, be publicized as soon as the official charges are made in New York," said Ilanit Gluckowsky with the Jewish Community Watch, an organization that focuses on child abuse prevention.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:13 PM

Calif. rabbi arrested on child sex abuse charges from N.Y.

BEVERLY HILLS (CA)
JTA

October 30, 2013

(JTA) — A rabbi was arrested at the Jewish youth center where he works in Beverly Hills, Calif., on child sex abuse charges from New York.

Menachem Tewel, known also as Mendel Tevel, was arrested Tuesday at the JEM Center, the Jewish Journal of Los Angeles reported.

A spokesman for the Beverly Hills Police Department told the Jewish Journal that Tewel would be extradited to New York under an outstanding warrant for his arrest charging criminal sexual acts there. The charges date back as far as the mid-1990s and as recently as 2004.

Tewel is married to the daughter of Rabbi Hertzel Illulian, director and founder of the JEM Center.

“God will help that it will show that it’s all false and will clear up, and people will see while we will still continue our good job for the community,” Illulian told KABC TV.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:11 PM

Rabbi arrested in Beverly Hills on NY warrant

CALIFORNIA
Wall Street Journal

Associated Press
BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. — A rabbi wanted in New York on sex-related crimes has been arrested in Beverly Hills.

City News Service reports 30-year-old Menachem Tewel was arrested late Tuesday at the request of the New York Police Department.

Police had an arrest warrant for investigation of two counts of criminal sexual acts and one count of sexual abuse.

Tewel is awaiting extradition to New York.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:09 PM

Brooklyn rabbi arrested in Beverly Hills ...

NEW YORK
New York Daily News

Brooklyn rabbi arrested in Beverly Hills on sexual abuse charges after man comes forward to allege abuse when he was 14-years-old

BY ROCCO PARASCANDOLA AND TINA MOORE / NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
PUBLISHED: WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 30, 2013

Beverly Hills cops busted a New York rabbi this week on a sex abuse warrant for allegedly molesting a child for one year in the Chabad community in Brooklyn, police said Wednesday.

Rabbi Menachem Tewel, 30, was arrested Tuesday on accusations that he abused a boy between 2005 and 2006, cops said in a statement.

A 22-year-old man reported the abuse on Sept. 12, telling cops that Tewel performed oral sex on him beginning in July 2005 when he was 14, police sources said.

Tewel, who was 22-years-old at the time, was his religious advisor.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:06 PM

Married rabbi, 30, arrested at Jewish youth centre ,,,

CALIFORNIA/NEW YORK
Daily Mail (UK)

Married rabbi, 30, arrested at Jewish youth centre in Beverly Hills for 'sexually molesting boys' in New York

A rabbi accused of sexually abusing boys in New York was arrested Tuesday afternoon at a Jewish community center in Beverly Hills, California.

Menachem Tewel, 30, also known as Mendel Tevel, was handcuffed and led away from the JEM Community Center at 9930 S. Santa Monica Boulevard, at around 1.30pm, where he was working a youth worker.

He is suspected of abusing four boys between 1995 and 2004 on two counts of criminal sexual acts and one count of sexual abuse.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:04 PM

Rabbi arrested in Beverly Hills on suspicion of sex abuse in New York

CALIFORNIA
Los Angeles Times

By Ari Bloomekatz
October 30, 2013

A rabbi working at a community center in Beverly Hills was arrested this week on suspicion of child sex abuse on a warrant from New York City.

The 30-year-old rabbi who reportedly goes by Menachem "Mendel" Tevel was arrested Tuesday about 1:30 p.m. in the 9900 block of South Santa Monica Boulevard. He was booked under the name Menachem Tewel, Beverly Hills police Sgt. Max Subin said.

Subin said the rabbi was taken into custody at the request of the New York Police Department, which advised Beverly Hills about an outstanding warrant for his arrest.

The warrant, Subin said, was for charges of criminal sex acts in the first and third degree, as well as sexual abuse in the first degree.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:02 PM

Protest targets former residential school supervisor facing indecent assault charges

CANADA
APTN

30. OCT, 2013

APTN National News
About a hundred people took part in a protest in Battleford, Sask., this week.

The group marched to the courthouse to express anger at former residential school supervisor Paul Leroux.

Leroux is on trial before a judge on charges of indecent assault of over a dozen children under his care in the 1960s.

The group's speakers included former residential schools survivors and their families. They called on Prime Minister Stephen Harper to honour the apology for residential school abuses.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:57 PM

Leroux trial wraps in Battleford

CANADA
News-Optimist

October 30, 2013

By John Cairns
Staff Reporter

A trial for a man accused of several indecent assaults involving former residential school students has wrapped up in Battleford.

Closing arguments in the case against Paul Leroux wrapped up Tuesday at Queen’s Bench Court.

The trial, which ran from Oct. 15, was conducted by judge alone. A decision in the case is expected to come down Nov. 5.

Leroux was a dormitory supervisor with the Beauval Indian Residential School and faced over a dozen counts of indecent assault, with the allegations stemming back to the 1960s. The incidents were alleged to have taken place over a period of about seven years.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:56 PM

OH - Groups challenge Toledo bishop on murder case

TOLEDO (OH)
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

For immediate release: Wednesday, Oct. 30, 2013

Statement by Gail Howard of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests ( 203 644 0387, Pennyq99@aol.com )

We are members of two organizations: a support group called the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP), and a reform group called Voice of the Faithful (VOTF)

We are here to challenge Hartford’s new Catholic Archbishop Leonard Blair to

1) explain his actions during the investigation of a priest who murdered a nun,

2) use his influence to try and get the priest defrocked, and

3) post on the archdiocesan website the names, photos and whereabouts of current and former Hartford area priests, nuns, seminarians and other child molesting clerics.

First, let’s be clear: neither Blair nor his staff have been formally charged with wrongdoing in the case of Fr. Gerald Robinson, who was convicted of brutally murdering Sister Margaret Ann Pahl. But there remain a number of troubling unresolved questions about how Blair and his top aides behaved before and during that investigation.

Initially Bishop Blair’s staff provided police with three pages of documents about Fr. Gerald Robinson, who had long been a suspect in the 1980 slaying of Sr. Margaret Ann Pahl. Believing church officials were withholding records, Toledo police twice executed “no knock” search warrants on Blair’s diocesan offices. They found scores and scores of more documents, some of which implicated Fr. Robinson.

[BishopAccountability.org]

Blair’s lawyers (and the prosecutors) went to court to block the release of what was found. Church officials won. To date, those files have never been released.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:52 PM

George Pell and Child Sexual Abuse in the Catholic Church - Adelaide Festival of Ideas Forum

AUSTRALIA
ABC = Late Night Live

Thursday 24 October 2013

The sexual abuse of young children by parish priests employed to take them into their pastoral care was something many people once considered inconceivable. The Catholic Church in Australia has been engulfed in this scandal, but it wasn't until members of Victoria's police refused to continue to stand back and let the Church deal with their paedophile priests that this ticking bomb was unleashed. Now there are at least two state parliamentary inquiries and a Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse. Cardinal George Pell has played a key role in the greatest challenge to face his church for centuries, and David Marr has investigated the man and his career, and his response to the issue of paedophile priests.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:29 PM

An open letter to Pope Francis about Bishop Robert Finn

UNITED STATES
National Catholic Reporter

Bill Tammeus | Oct. 30, 2013 A small c catholic

Dear Holy Father:

I write as a brother in Christ to say -- in words echoing what John Dean, former counsel to President Richard Nixon, once told Nixon in the midst of the Watergate scandal -- that there's a cancer growing on your remarkably hopeful papacy.

Radically unlike Nixon's mess, this one is not of your making, but only you can fix it.

You must remove Robert W. Finn as bishop of the Kansas City-St. Joseph, Mo., diocese. His continued presence there mocks the good-faith efforts the church is making to respond to the crisis of priests sexually abusing children.

As you're aware, Finn was convicted in court of failure to report to government authorities a priest suspected of child sex abuse. It was classified as a misdemeanor, but that label belittles the magnitude of Finn's failure.

Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI should have told Finn to resign immediately upon conviction, if not before. His failure to do so means the ball is in your court. And the longer it stays there without your response, the more it damages the church both Finn and you love.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:27 PM

LA - Predator priest makes bail; SNAP challenges bishop & family

LOUISIANA
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

For immediate release: Wednesday, Oct. 30, 2013

Statement by Barbara Dorris of St. Louis, Outreach Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests ( 314 862 7688 home, 314 503 0003 cell, SNAPdorris@gmail.com )

A credibly accused serial predator priest has made bail.

[Greenwich Time]

We are terribly afraid that Fr. Broussard may hurt more kids now that he’s no longer locked up.

We beg the Catholic bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Lake Charles to do everything he can to warn his flock about this dangerous predator. If he refuses, we beg every single Catholic church employee and member in the Lake Charles area to spread the word about Broussard.

Catholic officials recruited, educated, ordained, trained, transferred and protected Broussard for years. They still have a duty now – regardless of Broussard’s clerical status – to safeguard their flock and the public from him. The church hierarchy can’t suddenly wash their hands of a criminal cleric when it’s convenient for them, while doing little or nothing to alert parents, parishioners and the public about his history of child sex crimes.

The members of Broussard’s family who helped bail him out are taking an enormous risk. Every single relative who chipped in for his bail has a moral obligation to watch him and keep him away from kids. If he sexually assaults a niece or nephew, it will be very hard for that child to forgive his or her parents for enabling that horrific crime by helping to spring Broussard from jail.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:25 PM

US 'spied on future Pope Francis during Vatican conclave': Italian magazine

VATICAN CITY
Sydney Morning Herald

October 31, 2013

Nick Squires

The American spy agency monitored telephone calls made to and from the clerical residence in Rome where the then Archbishop Jorge Mario Bergoglio stayed during the conclave, the secret election at which cardinals chose him as pontiff.

The claims were made by Panorama, an Italian weekly news magazine, which said that the NSA monitored the telephone calls of many bishops and cardinals at the Vatican in the lead-up to the conclave, held in the Sistine Chapel.

The information gleaned was then reportedly divided into four categories – “leadership intentions”, “threats to financial system”, “foreign policy objectives” and “human rights”.

The allegations follow a report on surveillance website Cryptome which said the United States intercepted 46 million telephone calls in Italy between Dec 10 2012 and Jan 8 January 2013.

At the time, Benedict XVI was Pope, suggesting that the Vatican may also have been monitored during the last few weeks of his papacy, which came to an end when he announced his historic resignation from the Seat of St Peter.

"It is feared that the great American ear continued to tap prelates' conversations up to the eve of the conclave on March 12 2013," the weekly magazine said, adding that there were "suspicions that the conversations of the future Pope may have been monitored".

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:19 PM

Italian Magazine Says NSA Listened into Vatican and Pope

VATICAN CITY
National Catholic Register

by Edward Pentin Wednesday, October 30, 2013

The National Security Agency has been listening into telephone calls of the Pope and senior Vatican officials, an Italian magazine has claimed.

In an article in Panorama which will appear on newsstands tomorrow, the NSA is reported to have tapped the phonecalls of Vatican officials and senior prelates before and during the Conclave, as well as incoming and outgoing calls from the Domus Sanctae Marthae where the Pope is living.

Panorama also says there are suspicions that the conversations of the Pope were even monitored before he was elected. The magazine refers to the Wikileaks files which, it says, revealed that Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio had been under surveillance since 2005.

According to the Italian weekly, incoming and outgoing calls from the Vatican were classified into four categories: "leadership intentions", "threats to the financial system", "foreign policy objectives”, and "human rights".

There are also suspicions that calls surrounding the election earlier this year of the new President of the IOR (Vatican Bank), Ernst von Freyberg, were monitored. The IOR has been implementing a number of transparency measures over the past few years, one of which is aimed at eliminating the possibility of terrorist organisations using the Vatican Bank to launder money.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:16 PM

St. Louis Archbishop Carlson implicated ...

MISSOURI
St. Louis Post-Dispatch

St. Louis Archbishop Carlson implicated in child sex abuse claim in Minnesota

By Jesse Bogan jbogan@post-dispatch.com 314-340-825513

Archbishop Robert J. Carlson conducts the Anointing of Hands rite on the Rev. Joseph Xiu Hui Jiang during a ceremony at the Cathedral Basilica in St. Louis to ordain eight men into the priesthood on May 29, 2010. Photo by David Carson, dcarson@post-dispatch.com

St. Louis Archbishop Robert Carlson didn’t report a clergy sex abuse claim to police in the 1980s when he was a leader with the Roman Catholic Church in Minnesota, according to a lawsuit filed there Tuesday. And the same priest in question allegedly went on to do more harm.
Carlson “went along to get along, and he got along quite well,” attorney Jeff Anderson, who is representing the most recent alleged victim, said of the St. Louis archbishop.

The lawsuit filed by “Jane Doe 23” claims the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis was negligent for allowing the Rev. Robert M. Thurner to work as a priest — with access to children — after he admitted to then-Archbishop John Roach that he bought a 16-year-old boy alcohol and sexually abused him.

Carlson, who came to St. Louis in 2009 from Saginaw, Mich., previously served as an auxiliary bishop in Minnesota, where he grew up. Carlson is named in the lawsuit as one of four church leaders who “learned or should have learned that Thurner had abused at least one child.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:05 AM

Commissioner for Victims' Rights ...

AUSTRALIA
NEWS.com.au

Commissioner for Victims' Rights Michael O'Connell wants stringent checks on people who work with children

CHECKS on people who work with children should extend to door-knocking their neighbours if necessary, Commissioner for Victims' Rights Michael O'Connell says.

In a submission to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, he also warns that to avoid having a "checklist of empty promises", any requirements that come out of the commission must be properly implemented.

"For example, if a child-care centre is required to have two people present when changing a child's clothes/nappy the centre must be adequately resourced to ensure they have sufficient staff to meet this requirement," he writes.

TELL US: Would you support such measures?

Asked whether he thought there should be two people present for nappy changes, he said there were situations with adults where the law required a third person to be present - such as a police investigation of a sexual crime.

"It seems to me we owe no lesser obligation to young, vulnerable children," he said.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:42 AM

ROYAL COMMISSION PUBLISHES SUBMISSIONS ON CREATING CHILD SAFE INSTITUTIONS

AUSTRALIA
Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse

The Royal Commission’s third issues paper on Creating Child Safe Institutions has attracted more than 50 submissions*, including from the Salvation Army, Australian Human Rights Commission and the Truth Justice and Healing Council.

Royal Commission Chief Executive Officer, Janette Dines, said the Commission was pleased with the breadth of organisations who contributed their ideas.

“Submissions have been received from around Australia, from organisations which provide advocacy and support services for survivors of child sexual abuse, religious institutions, government agencies and individuals.

“Identifying what makes an institution safe for children is a key objective of this Royal Commission. A recurring theme in the submissions is the need for nation-wide accountability, monitoring and oversight of organisations with a responsibility for children,” said Ms Dines.

“There was strong support for establishing a clear statement of the requirements for child safe institutions. The need to include the views of children on what would make them feel safe and comfortable in reporting abuse was also identified”.

The public has until 8 November 2013 to comment on the Royal Commission’s fourth issues paper on preventing the sexual abuse of children in out-of-home care.

All issues papers and public submissions* can be found here:

http://www.childabuseroyalcommission.gov.au/our-work/issues-papers/

*Public submissions received by the Royal Commission for Issues Paper No.3 on Creating Child Safe Institutions that discuss principles and procedures are listed on our website in order of receipt. Information has been withheld in accordance with the advertised conditions.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:27 AM

CT - Groups challenge new Catholic official

HARTFORD (CT)
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

Priest was convicted of killing a nun on his watch
SNAP says Catholic officials hurt police investigation
Even in prison, murderer remains a priest & hasn’t been defrocked
New Hartford archbishop should post names of predators on website

WHAT
Holding signs and childhood photos at a sidewalk news conference, a clergy sex abuse victim and a concerned Catholic will challenge Hartford’s new Catholic archbishop to

--explain his actions during the investigation of a priest, who murdered a nun,
--use his influence to try and get the priest defrocked, and
--post on the archdiocesan website the names, photos and whereabouts of current and former Hartford area priests, nuns, seminarians and other child molesting clerics.

They will also urge Connecticut Catholics and citizens to report known and suspected clergy sex crimes and cover ups to police and prosecutors, not to church officials.

WHEN
TODAY, Wednesday, Oct. 30, at 11:30 a.m.

WHERE
On the sidewalk outside the Cathedral of St. Joseph, 140 Farmington Avenue (corner of Sigourney) in Hartford, Connecticut

WHO
A child sex abuse victim who belongs to a support group called the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP), and two Catholic parishioners who belong to a reform group called Voice of the Faithful (VOTF)

WHY
The new head of the Hartford Catholic archdiocese ran the Toledo diocese for a decade - before, during and after a diocesan priest was convicted of brutally and ritualistically murdering a nun. Clergy sex abuse victims say Archbishop Leonard Blair, the newly-elevated leader of the Hartford archdiocese, impeded a police investigation and should explain his actions in the case.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:21 AM

Ex-priest accused of molestation out on bail

LOUISIANA
Greenwich Times

LAKE CHARLES, La. (AP) — A former Calcasieu Parish priest accused of molesting young parishioners is out of jail on bond.

The American Press reports (http://bit.ly/cseYHv ) 57-year-old Mark Anthony Broussard walked out of the Calcasieu Correctional Center Monday on a $1.5 million cash bond.

Broussard is accused of molesting boys while a priest in Calcasieu Parish between 1986 and 1991. Broussard served at Our Lady Queen of Heaven and St. Henry Catholic Church. He also served at St. Eugene in Cameron Parish.

Defense attorney Tom Lorenzi asked Judge David Ritchie in May to reduce Broussard's bond from $3.42 million to $200,000, an amount Broussard's family could make.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:51 AM

Just a few things lacking in archdiocesan task force

MINNESOTA
MinnPost

By Barbara Dorris

Professionally accomplished people have been appointed to a new Minneapolis-St. Paul archdiocesan task force to look at local church abuse policies. But there are just a few things that they lack.

Objectivity

Most of the panel’s members are Catholic. That means they’ve been taught since birth to respect and revere priests and bishops, and consider these ordained men as “God’s representatives on earth.” Wouldn’t a tad less bias be helpful as this body does its work looking how church officials deal with abuse?

Victim's viewpoint

None of the task force members has identified him- or herself as having endured childhood victimization, either at the hands of a cleric or any other trusted adult authority figure. Again, wouldn’t having at least one person on this panel with that perspective be beneficial?

Credibility

Many Catholics, and certainly most victims, will be highly skeptical of a panel whose first member is a lawyer and whose first chair is a lawyer. Each panel member was chosen by Fr. Reginald Whitt, who is a lawyer himself. And Whitt was chosen by the now-embattled and widely criticized Archbishop John Nienstedt, whose actions and inaction led to the current scandal in the archdiocese. Given all this, how can people really trust this body?

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:49 AM

Pastor out at King’s Way as 1990s allegations of abuse in Michigan resurface

GEORGIA
Douglas County Sentinel

Mitch Sneed / Editor

A well-known local minister with more than 15 years service at his church is no longer at his post. A reason for his departure has not been made public, but in recent weeks, allegations of child molestation from more than a decade ago in Michigan recently surfaced on the web.

Rev. Bill Wininger, who had served as minister at King’s Way Baptist Church in Douglas County for more than 15 years, is no longer the minister and any mention of him is no longer on the church’s website. All previously recorded messages or sermons that were on the site have also been taken down.

King’s Way officials were cordial and understanding when contacted, but did not provide a statement on the matter in time for this report. Calls to a number listed for Wininger were not returned Tuesday. The home listed as his private residence is for sale and no one answered the door Tuesday.

Officials did inform parents at King’s Way Christian School about Wininger’s departure in a letter dated Oct. 18 and that they were aware of the allegations in a second letter dated Oct. 27.

“We want to prayerfully inform everyone that we have been informed that our pastor has resigned and will be submitting his formal resignation immediately,” Dr. Ray Conway, King’s Way Christian School administrator, wrote in the Oct. 18 letter. “Pastor Wininger will no longer be involved in the ministry of The King’s Way Baptist Church and King’s Way Christian School. As many of you already know, our pastor has inflicted life-threatening harm upon himself and we would prayerfully ask that you pray for his well-being.”

The letter went on to offer counseling to any of those who needed it in wake of the developments. The Oct. 27 letter addressed the abuse allegations.

“I have been receiving a few inquiries regarding the allegations against our former Pastor, Bill Wininger. As most of you know, we have accepted Bro. Wininger’s resignation,” Conway wrote in the letter. “Regardless of these events, the church and school leadership are committed to doing what is right and Godly.

“The allegations and charges that are surfacing on the Internet today were events that occurred while Bill Wininger pastored in Michigan 18 years ago. As administrator, I am not aware of any accusations, by students or minors, made against The King’s Way Baptist Church or any of the ministries. Moving forward, the safety and well-being of every child in the ministries of the King’s Way Baptist Church and Christian School has been and will continue to be our highest priority.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:17 AM

Incoming Catholic Archbishop Speaks Of Inclusion And Healing

HARTFORD (CT)
The Hartford Courant

By DANIELA ALTIMARI, altimari@courant.com
The Hartford Courant
10:06 p.m. EDT, October 29, 2013

BLOOMFIELD — A decade ago in his first year as bishop of Toledo, Ohio, Leonard P. Blair faced a number of flashpoints: priest sex abuse scandals, parish mergers and closings and the arrest of one of the diocese's priests in the murder of a nun decades earlier.

But Blair, appointed Tuesday as the fifth archbishop of Hartford, said the best way for the Catholic Church to heal from the "very sad, tragic things that have happened in recent years" is to be faithful to its mission, stay close to Christ and address people's material and spiritual needs.

"I am very struck by Pope Francis' image of the church being a field hospital for the wounded in today's world," Blair said. "There are so many people that are hurting, spiritually as well as materially."

The archbishop-designate joined Hartford church officials at a mid-morning press conference at St. Thomas Seminary in Bloomfield, about three hours after the Vatican formally announced his appointment to lead the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Hartford. He was introduced by the man he will succeed, Archbishop Henry J. Mansell, who, at 76, has passed the retirement age for archbishops.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:57 AM

Blair elevated to archbishop in Connecticut

TOLEDO (OH)
The Blade

BY TK BARGER
BLADE RELIGION EDITOR

Until Pope Francis names a new bishop for the Diocese of Toledo — an announcement that could be many months away — a diocesan administrator will be the top man in northwest Ohio’s Roman Catholic Church, and his main duty will be to not to change things.

The impending change comes after Tuesday’s papal announcement of Toledo Bishop Leonard P. Blair’s appointment to lead the Archdiocese of Hartford, Conn., succeeding retiring Archbishop Henry J. Mansell, 76.

The papal nuncio to the United States, Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, informed Bishop Blair, 64, of his appointment while the bishop was in Rome on Oct. 17, a day before he met with Pope Francis.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:55 AM

Ex-supervisor denies molesting boys at residential school

CANADA
CBC News

A three-week long trial of a former supervisor of an Indian residential school in Beauval, Sask., has concluded with the accused denying the allegations.

Paul Leroux is facing multiple counts of sexual abuse involving 14 young boys. The incidents are alleged to have occurred in the 1950s and 60s.

Leroux defended himself at the trial and, in his final arguments in court Tuesday, he denied all the charges.

The judge on the case will provide a decision in one week.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:52 AM

Saskatchewan judge to rule next week in alleged residential school molester case

CANADA
Ottawa Citizen

BY THE CANADIAN PRESS OCTOBER 29, 2013

BATTLEFORD, Sask. - A Saskatchewan judge will rule next week on whether a former supervisor at a residential school molested several students in the 1960s.

Paul Leroux, who is 72, has pleaded not guilty to indecent assault involving about a dozen former students at the Beauval Indian Residential School in the 1960s.

Leroux, who represented himself at his trial, denied all the charges against him in his final arguments on Tuesday.

He said one incident of sexual abuse couldn't possibly have happened because the room one complainant alleges he was molested in didn't exist at the time.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:51 AM

Molestation case against Perryville priest will be dismissed

PENNSYLVANIA
Cecil Daily

By Carl Hamilton cahamilton@cecilwhig.com

PHILADELPHIA— Less than a month after police arrested him at his Perryville home, prosecutors have announced that they will dismiss their case against a former Philadelphia priest who allegedly sexually abused an altar boy numerous times more than a decade ago because the victim died recently, according to the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office.

Perryville Police Department officers arrested Robert Lee Brennan, 75, on Sept. 25 after Philadelphia authorities contacted the agency and informed officials of the outstanding arrest warrant naming Brennan.

Brennan remained in the Cecil County Detention Center briefly on the sole charge of fugitive from justice in Pennsylvania before he was taken to Philadelphia, processed and then released on bond, prosecutors said, adding that he has since returned to Maryland.

Because of the death of 26-year-old Sean McIlmail – the alleged victim and the key witness for the prosecution – Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams had no choice but to drop the case against Brennan, explained Tasha Jamerson, director of communications for that office.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:49 AM

John Furlong drops Georgia Straight lawsuit, still targeting writer

CANADA
The Globe and Mail

SUNNY DHILLON
VANCOUVER — The Globe and Mail
Published Tuesday, Oct. 29 2013

On the same day former Vancouver Olympics CEO John Furlong announced he was dropping one lawsuit, his lawyer threatened to file another, sending a letter to a Danish sports institute in which he requested a freelance journalist not be permitted to speak at a conference.

Mr. Furlong, who had avoided the spotlight for months following claims he assaulted several former students when he was a physical education teacher in Burns Lake, B.C., four decades ago, spoke at length with The Globe and Mail on Monday.

It was then he announced he was dropping his lawsuit against the Georgia Straight, the weekly newspaper that last year published a story in which eight former students signed affidavits alleging physical abuse. Mr. Furlong said he would continue and escalate his lawsuit against the story’s author, freelance journalist Laura Robinson.

Ms. Robinson, who is in Denmark to give a talk about Mr. Furlong at the Play the Game conference, released a letter Tuesday that was sent to the organization by Mr. Furlong’s lawyer one day earlier. It asked that she not be given “an opportunity at your conference to make further defamatory statements about Mr. Furlong.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:43 AM

John Furlong continues counter-offensive ...

CANADA
The Province

The Canadian Press

John Furlong continues counter-offensive as writer Laura Robinson rejects ‘just about everything’ he’s saying

TORONTO — The man who organized the Vancouver Olympics is seizing a “pivotal moment” in a sexual abuse allegation scandal and holding it out for all Canadians to see in a bid to clear his name.

But, not content with leaving behind the “pain and suffering” over allegations that he vehemently denies, John Furlong is firing back with an offensive of his own against what he says is one reporter’s hateful “campaign.”

The sex abuse allegations surfaced following a newspaper article by freelance journalist Laura Robinson. It suggested Furlong physically and verbally abused First Nations students at Burns Lake while teaching at a Catholic school there in the late 1960s.

Three people, two women and one man, have filed lawsuits against Furlong alleging sexual abuse. The RCMP investigated a complaint by one of the women and found nothing to substantiate it.

Furlong, armed with the RCMP’s conclusion, went on a round of media interviews Monday and Tuesday to proclaim vindication.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:41 AM

Furlong attempts to halt speech by journalist he's suing, threatens further action

CANADA
Vancouver Sun

BY GORDON HOEKSTRA
OCTOBER 29, 2013

Former 2010 Vancouver Olympic CEO John Furlong is trying to halt a speech by Laura Robinson, a journalist and author of a controversial article alleging he abused former First Nations students.

Robinson is slated to give the speech today at a Danish sport conference called Play the Game. The title of the speech is Truth, Lies and History: John Furlong and Canadian Sport's Moral Vacuum.

More than 300 journalists, scientists and sports officials from 30 to 40 countries are expected to take part in the eighth iteration of the world communication conference on sport and society, which has tackled such issues as doping and corruption.

Furlong and Robinson are locked in a series of lawsuits related to the original article published last fall in the Georgia Straight. He claims her allegations are false and libellous. She, in turn, filed a countersuit defending her story, claiming it was true and in the public interest.

In an interview Tuesday, Furlong said he is speaking out to defend himself against her speech in front of an international audience.

"This campaign of harassment - and making false allegations has continued and continued and continued," he said Tuesday afternoon.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:37 AM

Polish archbishop in Dominican Republic accused of 'more than just child molesting'

POLAND/DOMINICAN REPUBLIC
The News

30.10.2013

A deacon in the Dominican Republic has claimed he procured boys for a Polish archbishop recently suspended from his position as the Vatican's representative in the country.

“This is a man who is sexually ill - this is about much more than just molesting children,” Deacon Francisco Xavier Reyes has told the TVP Polish public broadcaster about the charges facing Archbishop Jozef Wesolowski.

“It was anything that would satisfy his sexual appetite,” the deacon, who is himself facing charges of molesting minors, added.

“He told me that there was a particular type of sexual preference that he favoured.”

Deacon Francisco Xavier Reyes revealed that he had had a sexual relationship with the archbishop.

“He kept me [financially] although he was not lavish. Once he gave me 40,000 pesos, as I had a problem at home.”

Charges

It has emerged that the charges facing the archbishop include accusations even more serious than first reported when the case broke in the media in September.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:32 AM

BREAKING: Beverly Hills Police report arrest of alleged sex abuser

BEVERLY HILLS (CA)
Jewish Journal

BY JARED SICHEL

Mendel Tevel, a local rabbi and youth worker accused by multiple people in the New York Jewish community of sexual abuse, was arrested Tuesday, October 29, at the JEM Center in Beverly Hills.

The arrest was reported to the Jewish Journal by Lt. Lincoln Hoshino, a spokesman for the Beverly Hills Police Department. Calls to Tevel’s cell phone and to the JEM Center were not answered Tuesday afternoon.

The arrest warrant was issued for a Menachem “Mendel” Tewel by authorities in Brooklyn, N.Y., and was signed with an order for extradition by a Kings County judge, according to Hoshino. The man known as Mendel Tevel worked at the JEM center, and, according to Hoshino, despite the difference in spelling of the name is the same as the man arrested.

“He’s in custody,” Hoshino told the Journal Tuesday afternoon. “We have an outstanding warrant for his arrest charging criminal sexual acts out of New York.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:30 AM

Alleged Chabad Molester Arrested In Beverly Hills

BEVERLY HILLS (CA)/NEW YORK
Failed Messiah

Shmarya Rosenberg • FailedMessiah.com

Rabbi Menachem Mendel Tevel (Tewel) was arrested today at the JEM Center in Beverly Hills, The L.A. Jewish Journal reported. Tevel will be extradited to New York City where he will stand trial for allegedly sexually abusing children in the Chabad community of Crown Heights, Brooklyn.

The arrest was reported to the L.A. Jewish Journal by Lieutenant Lincoln Hoshino, a spokesman for the Beverly Hills Police Department. The arrest warrant was reportedly issued in Brooklyn, N.Y. for “Menachem ‘Mendel’ Tewel.”

Hoshino told the Jewish Journal that despite the difference in spelling of Tevel’s name, the right person was arrested.

Tevel works at the JEM center – a Beverly Hills Orthodox Jewish community center run by Chabad rabbis that primarily serves non-Chabad Iranian Jewish teens.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:27 AM

NYC Rabbi Arrested in Beverly Hills on Sex Abuse Allegations

BEVERLY HILLS (CA)
Patch

Posted by Matthew Sanderson (Editor) , October 29, 2013

A man suspected of sex-related offenses in New York City was arrested in Beverly Hills Tuesday.

Menachem Tewel, 30, was arrested around 1:30 p.m. at the JEM Community Center at 9930 South Santa Monica Boulevard at the request of the New York Police Department, said Beverly Hills police Lt. Lincoln Hoshino.

Tewel had a warrant for his arrest on suspicion of two counts of criminal sexual acts and one count of sexual abuse, Hoshino said.

He is awaiting extradition to New York, according to Hoshino, who referred questions about the case to New York police.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:25 AM

NY Rabbi Arrested In Beverly Hills On Molestation Charges

BEVERLY HILLS (CA)
CBS Los Angeles

BEVERLY HILLS (CBSLA.com) — A rabbi accused of sexually abusing boys in New York was arrested Tuesday afternoon at a Jewish community center in Beverly Hills, according to the Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles.

Menachem Tewel, who goes by the name Mendel Tevel, was taken into custody at the request of the New York Police Department around 1:30 p.m. at the JEM Community Center, 9930 S. Santa Monica Boulevard, said Beverly Hills police Lt. Lincoln Hoshino.

An arrest warrant had been issued for Tewel, who is suspected of abusing four boys between 1995 and 2004, on two counts of criminal sexual acts and one count of sexual abuse.

All of the boys Tewel is accused of abusing are now adults, the Jewish Journal reported.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:23 AM

BHPD Arrests Rabbi at JEM for Alleged Sexual Abuse on Charges in New York

BEVERLY HILLS (CA)
Beverly Hills Courier

Posted Wednesday, October 30

On October 29 at approximately 1:30 p.m. Beverly Hills Police officers and detectives responded to the 9900 block of S. Santa Monica Blvd. at the request of the New York Police Department to arrest Menachem Tewel, 30, of New York. Tewel was taken into custody for charges of “Criminal Sexual Act in the First Degree,” “Criminal Sexual Act in the Third Degree” and “Sexual Abuse in the First Degree.” Tewel is awaiting extradition to New York. No charges will be filed in California, said Lt. Lincoln Hoshino of the BHPD.

Tewel is a local rabbi and youth worker who works at the JEM Center in Beverly Hills,a Jewish Community Center featuring sports facilities and offering Jewish community education and services, reports the Jewish Journal. He was known locally as Mendel Tevel, confirmed Hoshino.

In August, Jewish parents held an event organized by Meyer Seewald, director of Jewish Community Watch, for residents to express their concerns about the rabbi’s alleged sexual abuse in Beverly Hills. In attendance was an alleged victim from New York who agreed to speak anonymously of abuse by Tewel. Tewel’s name is on the Jewish Community Watch as a perpetrator of child sexual abuse.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:21 AM

Ex-Brooklyn rabbi arrested on sex abuse charges in California

NEW YORK
WABC

[with video]

BROOKLYN (WABC) -- A rabbi who used to work in Brooklyn was arrested in California Tuesday over allegations of child sex abuse in our area.

Rabbi Menachem Tewel is expected to return to Brooklyn as early as Wednesday to face a series of criminal sex act charges.

He was taken into custody by police at the JEM Center, a Jewish youth community center on Santa Monica Boulevard in Beverly Hills, where he now works.

The Kings County District Attorney's Office confirmed that an arrest warrant was issued earlier this month for 30-year-old Rabbi Tewel.

"Mendel Tevel has been accused by many people of being a child molester," said Ilanit Gluckosky, of Jewish Community Watch, an organization that focuses on child abuse prevention. "It was brought to the attention of Jewish Community Watch."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:18 AM

Brooklyn child sex assault suspect busted in Beverly Hills

CALIFORNIA/NEW YORK
PIX

Beverly Hills Police officers and detectives have arrested a former Brooklyn man accused of molesting boys back in New York.

Cops responded to the 9900 block of S. Santa Monica Boulevard Tuesday afternoon at the request of the New York Police Department to execute an arrest warrant on Menachem Tewel, 30.

He was taken into custody without incident for the warrant charging New York statutes of “Criminal Sexual Act in the First Degree,” “Criminal Sexual Act in the Third Degree” and “Sexual Abuse in the First Degree”.

Tewel, who was arrested at a Beverly Hills community center, is awaiting extradition to New York.

There are no charges pending in California.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:16 AM

Rabbi arrested for alleged child sexual abuse

CALIFORNIA
KABC

Amy Powell

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. (KABC) -- A rabbi has been arrested and faces charges of child sexual abuse.

Rabbi Mendel Tevel was arrested Tuesday afternoon at the Beverly Hills youth center where he had been working. Authorities were acting on a warrant issued in New York charging the rabbi with criminal sexual acts.

"Mendel Tevel has been accused by many people of being a child molester. It was brought to the attention of Jewish Community Watch," said Ilanit Gluckosky with Jewish Community Watch, an organization that focuses on child abuse prevention.

According to the organization, the charges against Tevel go back to the mid-1990s and as recently as 2004.

The watchdog group reported on four men who accused Tevel of molesting them when they were boys. Tevel was a youth worker in Brooklyn, New York City, at the time.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:14 AM

Yeshiva U. Victims Stare Down School's Lawyers in Showdown Over $380M Suit

NEW YORK
The Jewish Daily Forward

By Paul Berger
Published October 30, 2013.

It was a seminal moment in the long-running Yeshiva University sexual abuse case. For the first time, former Y.U. high school students who say they were abused confronted lawyers for Y.U. in court as their attorney argued against a motion to dismiss their case.

Flanked by family members, about a dozen of the former students filed into the Manhattan courtroom on the afternoon of October 27 to witness arguments that hinged on one key point: Should these students have filed suit decades before the Forward published its first article about their abuse, in December 2012.

Y.U. lawyers said the students, who were abused during the 1970s and ’80s, should have launched their own investigation or reported their abuse to the police before the statute of limitations expired. In New York State, child victims of sexual abuse have until they turn 23 to report abuse.
Click to see the rest of the section, Click for more stories about abuse at Y.U.

Kevin Mulhearn, who represents 34 former Y.U. high school students, including all those present in court, said that because Y.U. ignored student complaints and maintained that George Finkelstein and Macy Gordon were men of good character — even after the university was warned of abuses — the students had no way of knowing that they had a chance of bringing a successful claim.

The students are now suing Y.U. for $380 million.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:11 AM

Sexually Abused Victims Filing Lawsuit Against Mormon Church

WEST VIRGINIA
Your4State

[with video]

Bejoy Joseph

BERKELEY COUNTY, W.Va. - A Berkeley county man is behind bars, and now several local families are suing the Mormon Church alleging that church officials could have stopped the sexual abuse of 12 children.

Christopher Jensen is serving a 35 to 75 year prison sentence in West Virginia's prison. Earlier this year, Jensen was convicted of sexually abusing 12 children ages three to 12 between 2006 and 2012 in Berkeley County.

Now the families of his victims have filed a lawsuit against the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, saying the church covered up his actions.

"All of my clients are young children. The perpetrator who was an elder of a Mormon church, was held up by the Mormon church as somebody who was trustworthy, safe, was in fact a sexual predator of children," said Tim Kosnoff, attorney for the victims' families.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:07 AM

Murphy commission ‘fell far short’ when it came to slamming Church over sexual abuse cases

IRELAND
Irish Central

[Commissions of Investigation and Procedural Fairness - Association of Catholic Priests]

[Murphy Report - via BishopAccountability.org]

By PATRICK COUNIHAN, IrishCentral Staff Writer

Ireland’s Association of Catholic Priests is to release a damning report into the findings of the tribunal set up to examine the church’s reaction to clerical sex abuse.

An ACP review of the Murphy commission report into the Catholic church’s handling of clerical sex abuse cases in Ireland says it ‘fell far short’ of meeting the requirements of natural and constitutional justice.

The review commissioned by the ACP says that the ‘practices and procedures’ of the Murphy commission left a lot to be desired where Catholic clergy called before it were concerned.

The Irish Times reports that the ACP review says the Murphy commission ‘veered off the tight rails imposed by the 2004 Commissions of Investigation Act and wandered into an adversarial arena that concentrated, to an alarming degree, on naming and shaming those clerics whom the Commission found wanting in child protection at that time.'

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:01 AM

Another Lawsuit Alleges Sexual Abuse From A Twin Cities Priest

MINNESOTA
WCCO

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Another victim came forward on Tuesday, alleging she was sexually abused by a Twin Cities Catholic clergy member.

St. Paul attorneys Jeff Anderson and Mike Finnegan announced a new lawsuit, claiming that the Rev. Robert Thurner sexually abused the woman, identified as Jane Doe 23, when she was a child in the 1984-85 school year.

The lawsuit also alleges that the archdiocese was negligent in allowing Thurner to continue to have access to children after he admitted to then-Archbishop Jon Roach that he sexually abused a 16-year-old boy and purchased alcohol for him in 1982.

“The archdiocese and its top officials made a choice — they chose to protect their own reputation and protect Father Thurner’s reputation rather than looking out for the well-being of a child,” Finnegan said.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:59 AM

Priest sued in abuse of West St. Paul girl, 8, in the 1980s

MINNESOTA
Star Tribune

Article by: JEAN HOPFENSPERGER and TONY KENNEDY , Star Tribune staff writers Updated: October 30, 2013

The case of a West St. Paul second-grader in the 1980s is the 18th in Minnesota since state law changed to allow more time for such suits.

A Catholic priest who served churches in St. Paul, West St. Paul and Hopkins was accused in a lawsuit Tuesday of abusing a girl in West St. Paul, bringing to 18 the number of suits filed against Minnesota Catholic clergy and leaders since May.

The lawsuit against the Rev. Robert Thurner, 87, and the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis also alleges that the archbishop of St. Louis — former Twin Cities auxiliary bishop Robert Carlson — was among church officials who were informed that Thurner had sexually abused another child before he was transferred to the girl’s church in 1983.

The lawsuit comes as the archdiocese reels from recent allegations of sexual misconduct among its clergy and lack of disciplinary action in the chancery. On Wednesday, archdiocese priests will gather for an all-day meeting that is expected to include discussion of the sexual abuse issue.

According to the latest complaint filed in Ramsey County District Court, Thurner admitted to archdiocese authorities in 1982 that he bought liquor for a 16-year-old boy and sexually abused him.

Carlson and former Twin Cities Archbishop John Roach were among four top archdiocese leaders who were privy to the admission, archdiocese internal memos indicate.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:57 AM

Archbishop Carlson Named in Child Sex Abuse Lawsuit

ST. LOUIS (MO)
KMOX

[lawsuit and documents]

ST. LOUIS (KMOX) - St. Louis Archbishop Robert Carlson has been named in a civil lawsuit filed in Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minn. accusing him of covering up a child sex abuse case when he was an assistant to a St. Paul archbishop in the 1980s.

The lawsuit claims Fr. Carlson was one of four top officials at the Twin Cities diocese who knew that Fr. Robert Thurner had admitted buying liquor for a 16-year old boy and then sexually abusing him.

“Instead of reporting it to law enforcement as he was required to do, he made a choice to conceal it and allow Thurner to go to other parishes,” Jeff Anderson, an attorney for the plaintiff in the case, alleges.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:54 AM

Woman files suit against archdiocese, alleges sexual abuse

MINNESOTA
MinnPost

By Brian Lambert

Another day, another lawsuit filed against the archdiocese. Madeleine Baran of MPR reports: “A Minnesota woman sued the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis [Tuesday] for allegedly failing to protect her from an abusive priest. The woman said she was sexually abused by the Rev. Robert Thurner at St. Joseph Catholic Church in West St. Paul when she was seven to eight years old. She is not named in the complaint, which was brought under a new state law that gives victims more time to sue. … Internal church documents released by attorneys representing the woman show top church leaders knew in 1982 that Thurner had sexually abused a minor. … The lawsuit filed today seeks damages and asks a judge to unseal a list of 33 priests accused of abuse. Lawyers for the archdiocese had provided the names in an earlier Ramsey County civil case, but a judge ordered the names be kept private.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:51 AM

October 29, 2013

“Reform is going to go deep”

CHILE
Vatican Insider

Chilean cardinal Francisco Javier Errázuriz Ossa - one of the members of Francis’ eight-member advisory Council - guarantees this

ALVER METALLI
BUENOS AIRES

Chilean cardinal Errázuriz is also called Francis, but in his case this is just his christening name. Francisco Javier Errázuriz Ossa, one of the members of Pope Francis’ G8 advisory group, was in Rome at the start of October, along with the other cardinals who have been tasked with reforming the Roman Curia. With him, he carried a bunch of papers containing a summary of the observations made by the Latin American Episcopal Council (CELAM), which he headed between 2003 and 2007. Errázuriz - who became an Emeritus on 15 December 2010 after Benedict XVI accepted his resignation as leader of the Archdiocese of Santiago because of age – spoke to the Argentinean edition of Vida Nueva magazine about the meetings in Rome.

He confirmed that the reforms the Pope has in mind will go deep and “could lead to a new Apostolic Constitution.” Errázuriz said cardinals had asked for this during the pre-Conclave meetings and Francis is acting on this collective wish.

The Chilean cardinal who belongs to the Schönstatt movement did not hide the general sense of unease towards the Roman Curia. “There is a longing for a Curia that encourages the new evangelisation and acts as a body that is there to serve the Pope and the dioceses, not as a control centre,” he said. The reform will aim to improve coordination between the Pope’s different “ministries” and to ensure more fluid communication between the Pope and the various heads.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:33 PM

Another local priest accused; another cover-up?

MINNESOTA
KARE

[lawsuit and documents]

[press conference video]

Blake McCoy

ST. PAUL, Minn. - Another lawsuit was filed Tuesday against the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis alleging a cover-up of child sex abuse in the priesthood.

"I applaud Jane Doe 23 for coming forward," attorney Michael Finnegan said.

Jane Doe 23 had never confronted her abuse until seeing recent media reports. That's when she decided to Google her alleged abuser. She discovered that Father Robert Thurner had abused before and the Archdiocese covered it up.

Internal documents dating back to 1982 show the archbishop at the time, John Roach, knew of the abuse against one boy at St. John the Evangelist in Hopkins. The confidential documents reveal Thurner's admission to the archbishop saying, "He had a brief sexual relationship with a 16-year-old boy and had also purchased liquor for that boy."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:20 PM

Archbishop Carlson accused of helping cover up sexual abuse

ST. LOUIS (MO)
KTVI

ST. LOUIS, MO (KTVI)– St. Louis Catholic Archbishop is being accused of helping cover up the sexual abuse of a second-grade girl and a teen boy by a priest when Robert Carlson was a church official in Minneapolis 30 years ago.

The lawsuit claims that Archbishop Carlson was one of four church officials in the twin cities who knew about the alleged abuse by the Reverend Robert Thurner and never reported it to police.
The abuse cases reportedly took place in the 1980′s.

Thurner retired from the priesthood in 1991 and still lives in the Minneapolis area.

Lawyers for the alleged victim say they will demand that Carlson answer questions in a deposition under oath in the case.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:16 PM

Cashflight prelate gets house arrest

ITALY
Gazzetta del Sud

(ANSA) - Rome, October 25 - A Rome court on Friday upheld a request by Msgr Nunzio Scarano, a disgraced Vatican prelate at the centre of a money-laundering scandal, to be released to house arrest. Scarano was arrested in June on suspicion of planning to elude customs with 20 million euros in cash for a family of boat-builders he was friends with.

He has denied charges that he conspired with a former Italian spy and a financial broker to try to secretly repatriate 20 million euros of laundered money from Switzerland to Italy. The court has rejected an appeal for house arrest for Giovanni Maria Zito, an agent in the AISI intelligence agency, and Rome broker Giovanni Carenzio, who were also arrested along with Scarano. Police said Scarano and Zito got a private jet to fly back from Switzerland to Italy 20 million euros in cash for a family who were friends with Scarano.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:14 PM

New archbishop named for Hartford diocese

CONNECTICUT
News Times

Frank Juliano and Susan Tuz
Published 5:43 pm, Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Deacon Roland Miller, of St. Francis Xavier Church in New Milford, was still processing the news Tuesday afternoon that the Most Rev. Leonard Blair, a Detroit native who has served two stints at the Vatican, was named the new Archbishop of Hartford.

"It's an exciting time," said Miller, 74. "Your imagination goes into high gear thinking `What is he going to ask us to do?' He's the new boss, anointed by Rome. He'll have a workforce of about 600 priests and deacons and he'll point his finger and direct each of us."

During a press conference at the St. Thomas Seminary in Bloomfield, the incoming Archbishop of Hartford explained to the gathered media exactly how the selection process works.

"You are told. You are not asked if you want to do it,'' Blair said. "That being said, I'm delighted to be appointed.''

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:11 PM

Letter regarding the removal of Hillsborough pastor

NEW JERSEY
Roman Catholic Diocese of Metuchen

Bishop's letter to parishioners of St. Joseph, Hillsborough, regarding the removal of Msgr. Cole.

Click here to read October 25, 2013 letter

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:08 PM

Pastor Reportedly Removed as '70s Abuse Allegation Investigated

NEW JERSEY
Patch

Posted by John Patten (Editor) , October 29, 2013

St. Joseph's Church Pastor, Monsignor Raymond Cole, has been removed from ministry as charges of a late 1970s child sexual abuse case are investigated, NJ.com reported.

According to the report, churchgoers were informed of the matter during the weekend Masses, when a letter from Metuchen Bishop Paul Bootkoski was read. In the letter, Bishop Bootkoski said the matter is under investigation by the diocese, and concerns an allegation dating to the time when Monsignor Cole was an associate pastor at St. Mary Parish in South Amboy.

Bishop Bootkoski said Monsignor Cole "steadfastly denies the charges against him," but added canon law requires the removal of a priest under when allegations have been determined to have a "semblance of truth."

The allegations were reported to have been investigated by a retired Middlesex County Prosecutor's Office detective and a panel of lay people and priests, called the Diocesan Review Board, who interviewed Monsignor Cole and the unnamed individual making the charge.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:06 PM

Millstone priest 'temporarily removed' because of 1970s sex abuse allegation

NEW JERSEY
My Central Jersey

Written by
Mike Deak
@MikeDeakMyCJ

MILLSTONE — Msgr. Raymond Cole has been temporarily removed as pastor of St. Joseph Parish because of an allegation that he sexually abused a minor at St. Mary Parish in South Amboy where he was associate pastor in the late 1970s.

Cole, who formerly served as executive director of the diocese’s Department of Pastoral Life, has “steadfastly” denied the charge, Bishop Paul G. Bootkoski wrote in a letter to parishioners on Friday.

The bishop added in the letter that Cole is “innocent until proven guilty” and will receive financial support from the diocese.

The Rev. Sean Broderick, pastor of Mary, Mother of God parish in Hillsborough, has been named temporary administrator of St. Joseph Parish, Erin Friedlander, the diocese’s communications officer, said.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:12 PM

MN- A new pedophile priest suit accuses archbishop of cover up

MINNESOTA
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

For immediate release: Tuesday, Oct. 29

Statement by Barbara Dorris of St. Louis, Outreach Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (314 862 7688 home, 314 503 0003 cell, SNAPdorris@gmail.com)

“The sitting archbishop in St. Louis (Robert Carlson) took part in covering up a case of child sexual abuse in the Twin Cities when he was an assistant bishop, attorneys for an alleged abuse victim said Tuesday after filing Minnesota’s latest clergy abuse lawsuit,” according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

[Star Tribune]

Carlson was “one of at least four prelates who were privy to a 1982 admission by Fr. Robert Thurner that Thurner bought liquor for a 16-year-old boy and sexually abused him. The abuse was kept secret from parishioners at St. John the Evangelist in Hopkins, where Thurner was stationed, and from parents of children at St. Joseph’s church and school in West St. Paul, where Thurner was transferred the following year. Roach appointed him associate pastor at St. Joseph’s, with no restrictions,” the Star Tribune reports.

Carlson may be deposed in the case.

We in SNAP are sad but not surprised. In St. Louis, Carlson has been secretive and reckless in clergy sex abuse and cover up cases. It should shock no one that he was back in Minnesota too. (In the recent civil and criminal abuse cases against Fr. Joseph Jiang, for example, Carlson discloses little or nothing and refuses to do outreach to other victims, witnesses and whistleblowers, even though Carlson is accused of attempted evidence tampering.)

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:09 PM

Commissions of Investigation and Procedural Fairness

IRELAND
Association of Catholic Priests

[Murphy Report - BishopAccountability.org]

A Review from a legal perspective of the Commissions of Investigation Act 2004 and of the
Report into the Catholic Archdiocese of Dublin (the “Murphy Report”) forwarded to the Minister on 21 July 2009 and released on 26 November 2009

Fergal Sweeney
2013

Note on the genesis of this document

When the Report of the “Murphy Commission” was released on 26thNovember 2009 it received exhaustive coverage and commentary in the media.

Commendation for the work of the Commission was almost universal. However, in light of some emerging concerns, the Association of Catholic Priests (ACP) in Ireland decided on a “post-match” review of Commissions of Investigation in general and the Murphy Commission in particular and requested Fergal Sweeney, an Irish barrister who has also served as a judge for many years in Hong Kong to undertake this review from a purely legal perspective.

This review is not intended to take away from the vast and valuable work accomplished by the Murphy Commission. It does not aim in any way to draw attention from the injustice and suffering of those who were abused by clerics in positions of trust, which gross injustice was aggravated by the many failures in addressing complaints brought to Church and State Authorities. It does not seek to absolve the failures of those in positions of authority in Church and State.

Rather, this review wishes to address certain areas of concern relating to statutory investigations under the Commissions of Investigation Act 2004 as a matter of natural and Constitutional justice.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:01 PM

New cardinals and a Consistory on reform on the way in February

VATICAN CITY
Vatican Insider

I-Media news agency broke the news: in February Francis will be naming some new cardinals but before he does this he will gather all the College’s members together for a consultation

ANDREA TORNIELLI
VATICAN CITY

French news agency I-Media has revealed that new cardinals are to be created in a Consistory which is to be held next 21 and 22 February. Pope Francis is to hold a meeting with all cardinals in Rome to discuss reforms with them.

As Vatican Insider wrote in a recent article, 120 cardinals eligible to vote according to the limit set by Paul VI. In February 2014 there will be 14 vacancies waiting to be filled by new cardinal electors below the age of 80 and this figure will rise to 16 at the end of March. So this is the number of cardinal electors Francis will be able to create.

In the Roman Curia there are three prelates who are cardinals but do not have the biretta: the Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Gerhard Ludwig Müller, the new Prefect of the Congregation for the Clergy, Beniamino Stella and the new Secretary of State, Pietro Parolin. The leaders of a number of archdioceses (Turin and Venice in Italy) which traditionally produced a lot of cardinals have not been given the biretta. It is too early, however, to make any predictions.

In the next few months the Curia’s structures and organisation will be radically reshaped and the process of confirming and replacing members will be complete. It is not known for certain what criteria Francis will use when selecting the new cardinals.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:40 PM

O'Gara Homily 10-27-2013

MINNESOTA
YouTube

Ann Farrell

Published on Oct 27, 2013
Church of the Assumption, Saint Paul,
Homily by Father Stephen O'Gara

As a choir member from the balcony, I intended to record a song, but inadvertently captured one of the most refreshingly honest and candid homilies imaginable. Especially given our recent history and climate of denial and arrogance from Catholic church leadership. I applaud Father O'Gara's courage and his faith in the Gospels.

2:15 - Ties the gospel into our local archdiocese scandal
3:25 - Calls out Niensted, somewhat diplomatically?
4:20 - Hits the main point
4:40 - Reveals his own shame
5:45 - States hard truth other leaders won't admit
6:25 - Bonus... after a long thunderous applause, he pauses before prayer to joke "and I could fall victim to arrogance!"

This is why I love the Assumption.
http://www.assumptionsp.org/

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:29 PM

New sexual abuse lawsuit filed against embattled Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis

MINNESOTA
The Republic

By STEVE KARNOWSKI Associated Press
October 29, 2013 - 3:08 pm EDT

MINNEAPOLIS — A woman who alleges a priest molested her in the mid-1980s when she was a young girl is suing him and the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis.

The lawsuit alleges the archdiocese was negligent when it placed the Rev. Robert Thurner at a West St. Paul church because he already had admitted to top church officials, including then-Archbishop John Roach, that he'd sexually abused a 16-year-old boy at his previous church in Hopkins.

Attorney Jeff Anderson says the woman, identified only as Doe 23, was 7 or 8 at the time. He says she came forward amid fresh public criticism of how current archdiocese leaders have handled other sexual misconduct allegations.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:26 PM

RCMP says investigation into abuse allegations...

CANADA
Toronto Star

RCMP says investigation into abuse allegations against former Olympics CEO John Furlong not over

Former Vancouver Olympics CEO John Furlong broke silence Tuesday on accusations that he abused students at a school in B.C. four decades ago.

By: Curtis Rush News reporter, Published on Tue Oct 29 2013

Former Vancouver Olympics CEO John Furlong broke his silence Tuesday about accusations that he abused students at a school in northern British Columbia four decades ago.

Releasing a statement that said “enough is enough,” Furlong declared that he has been cleared by the RCMP and that he is stepping up legal action against his accuser while dropping civil action against the newspaper that printed the story.

However, the RCMP has confirmed to the Toronto Star that the investigative file remains open.

When the investigation was completed, the RCMP asked for an independent review by major crime investigators from another province because of the serious and sensitive nature of the allegations, RCMP spokesman Sgt. Rob Vermeulen said.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:20 PM

Woman sues archdiocese for failing to protect her from abusive priest

MINNESOTA
Minnesota Public Radio

[lawsuit and documents]

by Madeleine Baran, Minnesota Public Radio
October 29, 2013

ST. PAUL, Minn. — A Minnesota woman sued the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis Tuesday for allegedly failing to protect her from an abusive priest.

The woman said she was sexually abused by the Rev. Robert Thurner at St. Joseph Catholic Church in West St. Paul when she was seven to eight years old. She is not named in the complaint filed today in Ramsey County District Court.

Thurner retired in 1991 and could not be immediately reached for comment. In a 1991 deposition, Thurner said he touched the genitals of two underage teenage boys in the late 1960s and early 1970s.

Today's lawsuit, filed by St. Paul attorney Jeffrey Anderson, alleges that the archdiocese knew of Thurner's abuse in 1982 but did not remove him from ministry.

Anderson filed lawsuits in 1991 and 1993 on behalf of two other people who accused Thurner of child sexual abuse, said Mike Finnegan, an attorney at Anderson's law firm. Both cases resulted in settlements for undisclosed amounts of money.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:18 PM

Another lawsuit filed against priest, archdiocese

MINNESOTA
Fox 9

[lawsuit and documents]

ST. PAUL, Minn. (KMSP) -
St. Paul attorney Jeff Anderson said he will unveil another lawsuit on Tuesday, Father Robert M. Thurner and the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis named the defendants.

The filing of the lawsuit is on behalf of a woman who says she was sexually abused by Thurner when she was a young girl at St. Joseph's parish in west St. Paul. The lawsuit claims the archdiocese allowed Thurner "continued access to children even after Thurner admitted in 1982, to then-Archbishop John Roach, that he sexually abused a 16 year-old boy and purchased alcohol for the boy," a news release said.

According to the release, a news conference in St. Paul will reveal internal documents and memos detailing meetings between top Archdiocesan officials and Thurner, who was transferred to St. Joseph's where the alleged abuse took place.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:15 PM

New clergy abuse lawsuit names St. Louis archbishop and Twin Cities priest

MINNESOTA
Star Tribune

[the lawsuit]

[documents and photographs]

Article by: TONY KENNEDY , Star Tribune Updated: October 29, 2013

The lawsuit alleges a priest abused a second-grade girl in West St. Paul after being transferred to her parish following another abuse case.

The sitting archbishop in St. Louis, Mo., took part in covering up a case of child sexual abuse in the Twin Cities when he was an assistant to then-Archbishop John Roach, attorneys for an alleged abuse victim said Tuesday after filing Minnesota’s latest clergy abuse lawsuit.

According to the complaint filed in Ramsey County District Court on behalf of “Doe 23,’’ the Rev. Robert Carlson was one of at least four prelates who were privy to a 1982 admission by the Rev. Robert Thurner that Thurner bought liquor for a 16-year-old boy and sexually abused him. The abuse was kept secret from parishioners at St. John the Evangelist in Hopkins, where Thurner was stationed, and from parents of children at St. Joseph’s church and school in West St. Paul, where Thurner was transferred the following year. Roach appointed him associate pastor at St. Joseph’s, with no restrictions.

In the 1984-85 school year, Thurner allegedly abused a girl who was 7 or 8 and in second grade, the lawsuit claims. St. Paul attorneys Jeff Anderson and Mike Finnegan, who are representing the victim, said she silently carried the abuse with her until recently speaking to a friend about it.

“She had never told anyone in her life,’’ Finnegan said.

She had believed that she was Thurner’s only victim until recent publicity about priest sex abuse and alleged coverups by the archdiocese prompted her to Google his name. The Internet search showed her that Anderson had sued Thurner and the archdiocese in the early 1990s on behalf of two men who said Thurner abused them when they were young teens.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:12 PM

Toledo Bishop Introduced As Hartford Archbishop Designate

HARTFORD (CT)
CT News Junkie

by Christine Stuart | Oct 29, 2013

He joked that he didn’t campaign for the position, but Toledo Bishop Leonard P. Blair said he happened to be in Rome when he learned he was being named Archbishop of Hartford and was able to thank Pope Francis in person.

“I asked for his blessing on the church in both Hartford and Toledo,” Blair said at a press conference Tuesday.

Blair, 64, will be installed on Dec. 16 as the fifth archbishop of the Hartford Catholic Diocese. He succeeds Archbishop Henry J. Mansell, 76, who served the diocese for 10 years and is past the mandatory retirement age of 75.

In recent years, the Catholic church has been plagued with priest sex abuse scandals and the Toledo diocese was not immune. According to news reports, Catholic officials in Toledo waited six months to investigate the sexual misdeeds of a Catholic school counselor in 2010.

Blair said his predecessor already had removed a number of accused priests and “subsequently I had to remove some as well, but I think there’s been a great process of healing and I think our diocese responded appropriately.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:20 PM

Victim attacks paedophile's resting place

AUSTRALIA
The Standard

By EVERARD HIMMELREICH Oct. 30, 2013

THE Warrnambool grave of a disgraced paedophile priest has been vandalised in an apparent attack by one of his victims.

The words “Australia (sic) most polific (sic) paedophile” have been spray-painted in red across the site’s marble slab.

Former police detective Denis Ryan, who unsuccessfully pursued charges against Monsignor John Day, said yesterday he was not surprised at the attack.

“If they dug the bastard up and burnt him, I would not care,” Ryan said.

The words written on the grave were borrowed from the book Unholy Trinity that Ryan released earlier this year.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:11 PM

Murphy report ‘highly critical’, ‘dismissive’, towards clergy

IRELAND
Irish Times

[with copy of the report]

Patsy McGarry

Tue, Oct 29, 2013

The practices and procedures of the Murphy commission “fell far short” of meeting the requirements of natural and constitutional justice where Catholic clergy called before it were concerned, a review has found.

The review, commissioned by the Association of Catholic Priests (ACP), says the commission “veered off the tight rails imposed by the 2004 Commissions of Investigation Act and wandered into an adversarial arena that concentrated, to an alarming degree, on ‘naming and shaming’ those clerics whom the Commission found wanting in child protection at that time,” it said.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:08 PM

‘Remember the victims’ in light of Murphy report criticism

IRELAND
Irish Independent

SARAH STACK – 29 OCTOBER 2013

THE Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin has said children who were abused by priests must be remembered during any criticisms of the Murphy report.

A review of the inquiry has claimed individual priests and bishops would not have been "under investigation" and named and shamed if the Murphy Commission had stayed true to its terms of reference.

The new study, commissioned by the Association of Catholic Priests (ACP), also accused the inquiry's practices and procedures of falling short of the requirements of natural and constitutional justice.

However Archbishop Martin said one should never overlook the context which gave rise to the establishment of the Murphy Report, which rocked the Catholic Church in 2009 when it revealed decades of abuse were ignored because clerics were effectively granted police immunity.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:07 PM

DOE 23 V. ARCHDIOCESE OF ST. PAUL & MINNEAPOLIS, FR. ROBERT M. THURNER

MINNESOTA
Jeff Anderson and Associates

On October 29, 2013 a lawsuit was filed on behalf of a woman in her 30s, naming as defendants Fr. Robert Thurner and the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis. The lawsuit claims the Archdiocese was negligent in allowing Father Thurner continued access to children.

In 1982, Thurner admitted to then-Archbishop Roach that he had sexually abused a 16 year-old boy and purchased alcohol for the boy. Despite Thurner’s admission, the Archdiocese chose to move Thurner into a new, unsuspecting parish where he subsequently abused Doe 23.

Read internal Archdiocesan documents below, including memos from Archbishop Roach and current St. Louis Archbishop Robert Carlson:

Summons and Complaint
Reverend Robert Michael Thurner Timeline
Memo from Archbishop Roach to Fr. Carlson and Msgr. Hayden re Fr. Thurner's sexual relationship with a boy 11-11-1982
Letter from Fr. Thurner to Archbishop Roach re Fr. Thurner's resignation from St. John the Evangelist
Letter from Archbishop Roach to Fr. Thurner re Fr. Thurner's resignation from St. John the Evangelist - 11-12-1982
Memo from Fr. Korf to Archbishop Roach re Fr. Thurner's resignation 4-13-1983
Fr. Thurner's resignation form - St. John the Evangelist - 4-13-1983
Letter from Archbishop Roach accepting Fr. Thurner's resignation from St. John the Evangelist 5-25-1983
Letter re Fr. Thurner being named Associate Pastor of St. Joseph's 5-27-1983
Letter from Fr. O'Connell referring Thurner to Schoener - 5-5-1988
Memo from Fr. O'Connell re Thurner Lawsuit 6-7-1990
Thurner Answers to Interrogatories 9-24-1990
Letter from Sepler to Anderson re Joe Doe v. Archdioocese - 7-8-1991
News Release - Thurner 10-28-13
Archdiocesan Officals
Fr. Robert Thurner photo

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:54 PM

WORLD SERIES TICKET COUNTERFEITER ARRESTED

ST. LOUIS (MO)
Berger's Beat

. .At a news conference in the Twin Cities today (Tuesday), an attorney for clergy sex abuse victims says he’ll release “internal documents” and a deposition of St. Louis Archbishop Robert Carlson as he files a new pedophile lawsuit.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:51 PM

Fr Tony Flannery ‘unlikely’ to return to active ministry

IRELAND
Limerick Leader

by Anne Sheridan
Published on the 29 October 2013

A FORMER rector of the Redemptorists in Limerick and a best-selling author believes his “days of being an active priest are over” - unless “the unpredictable” nature of Pope Francis turns in his favour.

Fr Tony Flannery has been barred from his ministry by the Vatican over his written views on women priests, contraception, celibacy and homosexuality.

The 66-year-old has been a Redemptorist priest for over forty years and was rector at Mount Saint Alphonsus in Limerick for six years. Speaking at the Limerick signing of his book Question of Conscience, he said his future as a ministering priest lies in the hands of the Pope.

“I have been forbidden to administer as a priest for the last 18 months, and the conditions that they have laid down for me to come back are such that I cannot accept, as I have laid out in my book. I don’t see the circumstances arising where I will ever come back into ministry again. The one proviso is that it’s a bit unpredictable what Pope Francis will do. Maybe there’s a glimmer of hope but I’d say that’s about all. The likelihood is that my days of being an active priest are over,” he said.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:04 PM

Ex-West St. Paul priest, archdiocese named in abuse lawsuit

MINNESOTA
Pioneer Press

By Emily Gurnon
egurnon@pioneerpress.com
POSTED: 10/29/2013 12:01:00 AM CDT | UPDATED: 86 MIN. AGO

A woman who alleged she was sexually abused by a former St. Paul priest filed a lawsuit Tuesday in Ramsey County District Court.

The woman, identified as Jane Doe 23, said the Rev. Robert M. Thurner abused her when she was a young girl at the Church of St. Joseph in West St. Paul.

That happened after Thurner admitted to archdiocese officials in 1982 that he sexually abused a 16-year-old boy and bought alcohol for him, the lawsuit alleged.

The archdiocese transferred Thurner to St. Joseph's after the incident with the boy, according to the suit.

The woman's attorneys, Jeff Anderson and Mike Finnegan, plan to release internal documents Tuesday afternoon describing meetings between top archdiocesan officials and Thurner, they said. Officials did not report the sexual abuse by Thurner to law enforcement, they alleged.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:00 PM

Commissions of Investigation and Procedural Fairness Report

IRELAND
Association of Catholic Priests

About eighteen months ago some priests of Dublin Archdiocese approached the ACP Leadership with the proposal that a study of Judge Yvonne Murphy’s Investigation of Clerical Child Abuse in the Archdiocese be conducted.

Retired High Court Judge from Hong Kong, Mr. Fergal Sweeney, was commissioned to do this work.

We here publish his report:
Commissions of Investigation and Procedural Fairness Report (40 pages, PDF)

In conjunction with this, Fr. Padraig McCarthy of the Archdiocese has just published a book on the same subject. This does not duplicate Fergal Sweeney’s work but includes further areas of analysis of the Murphy Report. Padraig’s book, An Unheard Story (published by Londubh) will be available in most bookshops.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:52 PM

Murphy Report unfairly ‘named, blamed and shamed’ individuals says review

IRELAND
The Journal

ARCHBISHOP DIARMUID MARTIN has defended the right of the Association for Catholic Priests (ACP) to request a review of the Murphy Report into sexual abuse but has said that any priests who engaged with the Murphy Commission were always entitled to legal representation.

His comments come in light of a report commissioned by the ACP which concluded that the Murphy Report “went well beyond its mandate” to “name, blame and shame individuals for their role in any such failure of institutional response” to sexual abuse.

The Murphy report was first published in 2009 to examine the handling of child sexual abuse claims in the diocese of Dublin.

The 42-page review undertaken by retired High Court Judge Fergal Sweeney and titled “Commissions of Investigation and Procedural Fairness” said that the Murphy Commission exceeded its brief by:

"building up and making a “case” (called “the Commission’s Assessment”) against individual clerics who testified before the Commission, instead of being “concerned only with the institutional response to complaints, suspicions and knowledge of child sexual abuse.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:50 PM

PRESS RELEASE: FATHER ROBERT M. THURNER NAMED IN SEXUAL ABUSE LAWSUIT

ST. PAUL (MN)
Jeff Anderson and Associates

[Assignment Record – Rev. Robert Michael Thurner - BishopAccountability.org]

October 28, 2013

St. Paul News Conference Tuesday Father Robert M. Thurner Named
In Sexual Abuse Lawsuit

Documents confirm long-standing pattern and practice of the Archdiocese of
St. Paul and Minneapolis’ handling of sexual abuse cases

WHAT: At a news conference Tuesday in St. Paul, clergy sexual abuse attorneys Jeff Anderson and Mike Finnegan will:

· Announce the filing of a Ramsey County lawsuit naming as defendants Father Robert M. Thurner and the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis on behalf of a woman now in her 30s, Doe 23, who was sexually abused by Fr. Thurner when she was a young girl at St. Joseph’s parish in West St. Paul. The lawsuit alleges that the Archdiocese was negligent in allowing Thurner continued access to children even after Thurner admitted in 1982, to then-Archbishop John Roach, that he sexually abused a 16 year-old boy and purchased alcohol for the boy.

· Reveal internal documents and memos detailing meetings between top Archdiocesan officials and Thurner. Instead of reporting to law enforcement, church officials chose to transfer Thurner to St. Joseph’s where he later abused Doe 23.

· Share information from prior depositions of current St. Louis Archbishop Robert Carlson, Father Thurner and Msgr. John Jerome Boxleitner.

WHEN: Tuesday, October 29, 2013 at 1:00 PM CDT

WHERE: Law Office of Jeff Anderson & Associates
366 Jackson Street
Suite 100
St. Paul, MN 55101

WHO: Sexual Abuse Attorneys Jeff Anderson and Mike Finnegan will release internal documents and memos exchanged by top Archdiocesan officials pertaining to Thurner as well as discuss Doe 23’s recent lawsuit filed in Ramsey County.

Notes:
Information packets and copies of the complaint will be available at the press conference.
Fr. Thurner worked in parishes in St. Paul, Prior Lake, Hopkins, West St. Paul and Bloomington, Minnesota.

Contact Jeff Anderson: Office/651.964.3458 Mobile/612.817.8665
Contact Mike Finnegan: Office/651.964.3458 Mobile/612.205.5531

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:43 PM

Priest demands Nienstedt explain handling of clergy sexual abuse

MINNESOTA
Minnesota Public Radio

by Madeleine Baran, Minnesota Public Radio
October 29, 2013

ST. PAUL, Minn. — A popular St. Paul priest on Sunday accused Archbishop John Nienstedt of arrogance and demanded an explanation for the clergy sexual abuse scandal.

"He needs to stand before us and explain himself," the Rev. Stephen O'Gara, pastor of the Church of the Assumption, said in a Sunday homily. "Only then will we have the respect called to his office. It's about arrogance, and we all fall victim to arrogance in some degree or in some place in our lives. But this is more. This is not some small matter. This is a big deal. It's the first time, I must say, in 69 years that I'm embarrassed to be Catholic."

O'Gara's homily references the recent revelations of the handling of clergy sexual abuse allegations by the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis. An MPR News investigation has found Nienstedt and other church leaders failed to warn parishioners of a priest's sexual misconduct, did not turn over possible child pornography to police for nine years and gave special payments to offending priests. Many of the revelations come from former church official Jennifer Haselberger, who resigned in April after Nienstedt and others failed to follow the church's sexual abuse policies.

"These are difficult days," O'Gara told parishioners. "They are hurtful and painful, and I think it's time that we come clean."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:13 AM

Zanardi: «C’è un’altra vittima di pedofilia a Ferrara»

ITALIA
QN

di Daniele Modica

Ferrara, 29 ottobre 2013 - Dopo il caso di Erik Zattoni cominciano ad emergere altre vittime di sacerdoti pedofili del nostro territorio. Ce lo racconta Francesco Zanardi, portavoce dell’associazione Rete Nazionale L’abuso. È stato lui che ha fatto sì che la storia di Cornacervina arrivasse ai media e sempre lui che sostiene tanti ragazzi e ragazze abusate.

Ci sono nuovi casi di persone violentate?

"Sì già qualche tempo fa una donna ferrarese di circa quarant’anni, spinta e forse incoraggiata dal caso di Erik, si è rivolta a me per denunciare la sua situazione".
Che situazione?

"Quando era ancora minorenne anche lei è stata abusata da un prete di Ferrara".

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:10 AM

New Archbishop for the Archdiocese of Hartford

CONNECTICUT
NBC Connecticut

The pope has appointed a new archbishop for the Archdiocese of Hartford.

Bishop Leonard Paul Blair succeeds Archbishop Henry J. Mansell, who has been the Archbishop of Hartford since December 2003, and passed the age of retirement, according to the archdiocese.

"I want to say how very happy and honored I am to be your new archbishop," Blair said.

The announcement of the fifth archbishop for the diocese was made this morning, and Bishop Blair was officially introduced as the new archbishop during a news conference at the Archdiocesan Center at Saint Thomas Seminary, 467 Bloomfield Ave., Bloomfield, this morning.

Blair said he was in Rome when he received word of his appointment and was able to thank Pope Francis in person.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:01 AM

Pope names three bishops for N. America

VATICAN CITY
Vatican Radio

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis has named three new bishops for North America in the past two days – two for the United States and one for Canada.

On Tuesday, Bishop Leonard P. Blair of Toledo, Ohio, was named archbishop of Hartford, Connecticut; he succeeds Archbishop Henry J. Mansell, whose resignation the Pope accepted in conformity with canon 401.

Fr. Kurt Burnette, rector of Saints Cyril and Methodius Seminary in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, was named the new bishop of the Ruthenian Eparchy of Passaic, one of the three eparchies of the Byzantine Catholic Church in the United States.

For the Catholic Church in Canada on Monday, the Pope named Bishop Richard Gagnon of Victoria, British Columbia, the new archbishop of Winnipeg, Manitoba; he succeeds Archbishop James Weisgerber, whose resignation the Pope also accepted in conformity with canon 401.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:56 AM

Pope Francis Appoints New Archbishop of Hartford

HARTFORD (CT)
Patch

Ohio Bishop Leonard Paul Blair was announced as the new leader of the Archdiocese of Hartford, succeeding Archbishop Henry Mansell.

Posted by Jessie Sawyer (Editor) , October 29, 2013

By Ronald DeRosa

Pope Francis has appointed Bishop Leonard Paul Blair as the fifth archbishop of the Archdiocese of Hartford, according to an announcement Tuesday morning.

Blair, 64, has been the bishop of the Diocese of Toledo since 2003. He was ordained a priest in 1976. He succeeds Henry J. Mansell, who has served as the archbishop of Hartford since 2003 and is past the age of retirement.

The Archdiocese of Hartfordservices 700,000 Roman Catholicsin Hartford, New Haven and Litchfield counties and operates multiple schools, hospitals, food pantries and shelters.

Archbishop-designate Blair will be installed as the Archbishop of Hartford on Monday, Dec. 16 at the Cathedral of Saint Joseph in Hartford.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:54 AM

Ohio bishop tapped to lead Hartford, Connecticut diocese

HARTFORD (CT)
DFW Catholic

Vatican City, Oct 29, 2013 / 06:59 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Pope Francis has appointed Bishop Leonard P. Blair of Toledo, Ohio to lead the diocese of Hartford, Connecticut, following the retirement of the diocese's previous archbishop.

“With joy we welcome the news that Our Holy Father Pope Francis has appointed Bishop Leonard P. Blair of the Diocese of Toledo, Ohio, to be the new Archbishop of Hartford,” outgoing Archbishop Henry J. Mansell said Oct. 29.

Bishop Blair, 64, will be replacing the 76-year-old Archbishop Mansell who has headed the Hartford diocese since 2003 until his recent application for resignation, having passed the age of retirement.

Born in Detroit in 1949, Bishop Blair was ordained to the priesthood in 1976 following the completion of his studies at the Sacred Heart Seminary in Detroit, as well as both the North American College and the Gregorian University in Rome.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:51 AM

Knights of Columbus Welcomes Archbishop Leonard Blair to Hartford

CONNECTICUT
News Gnomes

NEW HAVEN, Conn., Oct. 29, 2013 /NEWS.GNOM.ES/ — Statement of Supreme Knight Carl Anderson:

“As an organization headquartered in the Archdiocese of Hartford, the Knights of Columbus is pleased to welcome our new Archbishop – His Excellency Leonard Blair. Throughout his time in Michigan, at the Vatican and most recently in Ohio, our Archbishop-designate has shown himself to be a quintessential pastor and shepherd. We thank Pope Francis for this outstanding appointment and stand ready to assist our new Archbishop in whatever ways we can. As our brother Knight for more than 19 years, we hope he will find in this appointment something of a homecoming.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:46 AM

Not a Happy Day in Hartford

HARTFORD (CT)
National Catholic Reporter

Michael Sean Winters | Oct. 29, 2013 Distinctly Catholic

"Always be prepared to make a defense to anyone who calls you to account for the hope that is in you," we read in 1 Peter 3: 15. We are called to be "a people of hope." Some days, watching and listening to Pope Francis, being hopeful comes easy, even naturally.

Today is not one of those days. In naming Bishop Leonard Blair to become the next Archbishop of Hartford, the Holy See has sent what can only be described as a counter-sign. This was a missed opportunity to send a signal to all the bishops in the United States that the Holy Father is calling for a different style of pastoral leadership in the Church. In June, Pope Francis spoke to the nuncios from around the world assembled in Rome. He sketched the type of pastoral leadership he expected in the appointment of bishops. The Pope said he wanted pastors who would serve their people, not serve as overlords. They were, he famously said, to be men who "have the smell of the sheep."

The good news is that Archbishop-designate Blair has the smell of the sheep. The bad news is that one suspects he thinks the sheep stink.

Archbishop-designate Blair served his tour of duty at the Vatican as a top aide to Cardinal Szoka. It is time for the nuncios of the world, and for the Congregation for Bishops especially, to ask themselves this question: What exactly about serving at a desk in the Vatican inclines one to think the person would make a good pastor? Certainly, a tour of duty creates a network of friends in high places, it generates a familiarity with the "court" atmosphere, and a suppleness at navigating the Byzantine, sometimes Kabuki-like, methods that have ruled in those frescoed halls. One would be hard pressed to make the case that it inoculates one to clericalism, which Pope Francis has pronounced a scourge on the life of the Church.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:41 AM

Bishop Blair appointed archbishop by Pope Francis

TOLEDO (OH)
The Blade

Bishop Leonard Blair, bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Toledo for the past 10 years, has been appointed by Pope Francis as the new archbishop of the Archdiocese of Hartford, Conn., it was announced today.

Bishop Blair will be officially introduced as the new archbishop during a 10 a.m. news conference at the Archdiocesan Center at Saint Thomas Seminary in Bloomfield, Conn. today. The news conference will be streamed on the archdiocesan Web site at: archdioceseofhartford.org and ortv.org.

Bishop Blair, 64, has been the bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Toledo since 2003. He was ordained a priest in 1976. He succeeds Archbishop Henry J. Mansell, who has been the Archbishop of Hartford since December, 2003, and who has passed the age of retirement.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:40 AM

Pope taps Ohio bishop to lead Hartford archdiocese

HARTFORD (CT)
Houston Chronicle

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — An Ohio bishop will lead 700,000 Catholics as Hartford's new archbishop, Pope Francis announced Tuesday.

Bishop Leonard Paul Blair, 64, has led the Catholic Diocese of Toledo since 2003.

He succeeds Hartford Archbishop Henry J. Mansell, who has served since 2003 and at 76 has passed the age of retirement. Mansell has said he had told Pope Benedict XVI he was willing to retire last year. Pope Francis accepted his retirement on Tuesday.

Blair, who was ordained a priest in 1976, will be installed as archbishop on Dec. 16.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:36 AM

New Archbishop of Hartford Appointed: What Are His Views?

HARTFORD (CT)
WNPR

By TUCKER IVES

Pope Francis has appointed a new leader of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Hartford. Bishop Leonard P. Blair will succeed current Archbishop Henry Mansell.

The announcement was made in Vatican City at noon, local time. A press conference will held in Bloomfield later this morning, and Blair will formally take over on December 16.

After the election of Pope Francis last spring, Mansell told WFSB-TV that he was ready to retire. Mansell has been Hartford's archbishop since December 2003.

Blair will be the fifth archbishop of the Archdiocese. He's currently the bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Toledo, a position he has had since 2003. He has been an ordained priest since 1976.

During his time in Toledo, Blair was the bishop who assessed the Leadership Conference of Women Religious. The assessment was designed to determine if the LCWR, which represents about 80 percent of Catholic nuns, was acting in accordance with the church's teachings.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:34 AM

MN- SNAP to Catholic task force: “Resign now”

MINNESOTA
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

[the letter]

For immediate release: Tuesday, Oct. 29 2013

Statement by Barbara Dorris of St. Louis, Outreach Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests ( 314 862 7688 home, 314 503 0003 cell, SNAPdorris@gmail.com )

Archbishop John Neinstedt’s new abuse “task force” is a farce. We’ve felt so from the outset. Now it’s clear.

We call on members of that panel to end their complicity in this charade and resign in protest now.

Neinstedt claims his “task force” – headed by Fr. Reginald Whitt, a priest and lawyer who was hand-picked by Neinstedt - will somehow be “independent.” A new letter, however, has already been disproven this claim.

Last week, Neinstedt publicly said:

“The Task Force will have unprecedented authority to examine any and all issues associated with clergy sexual abuse."

And last week, Whitt privately said:

“Access to these files will be within my control and limited only to what is necessary for the task force to be able to make an informed decision.”

So Catholic officials shout “independent move” in public while maintaining control in private.

We have seen the same pattern over and over again in diocese across the country and saw the same pattern at the national church level a decade ago.

In 2002, America’s bishops claimed they adopted a “tough” abuse policy. But as the limelight faded, Vatican officials quietly gutted much of it.

Time and time again, Catholic officials say almost anything to get themselves out of a jam. Then, as public attention begins to wane, they quietly backpedal. And soon it’s “business as usual” again.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:31 AM

John Furlong breaks his silence on allegations of abuse by former students

CANADA
Global News

[with video]

By Amy Judd Global News

John Furlong says the past year of his life has been “like living in hell.”

In his first interview since the allegations, Furlong sat down with Global News anchor Chris Gailus to talk about his experience.

In an article in the Georgia Straight, the former head of the Vancouver 2010 Olympics was accused of allegedly assaulting aboriginal students in his care when he taught at a Catholic school in Burns Lake over four decades ago.

“After the games were over, I had this remarkable high and it was great fun walking around and sort of enjoying, and asking how the city was feeling,” says Furlong. “There was a smile on the face of Vancouver, and then this happened, and it was a horrible shocking thing to have happened. I was stunned, and I thought at the time it would go away quickly, because there’s no truth to this.”

He tells Global News it has been horrible for him and his family and says when people would ask him how it feels to have these allegations leveled against him, he would say “if you want to imagine yourself in this position, put yourself as far into hell as you can go, and then just keep on going. It’s an unimaginable place, because, first of all, the subject matter is vile, it’s horrible, it’s terrible, and to be in a conversation with anybody about it even now, it’s horrible. Who would want their name associated with anything like this?”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:30 AM

Statement From John Furlong: Enough is enough

CANADA
CNW

VANCOUVER, Oct. 29, 2013 /CNW/ - For the last year, I have remained largely silent on the horrible, heartless lies and innuendo that have been published and broadcast about me, originating in articles and court documents from the activist Laura Robinson.

Today that silence ends. Enough is enough. I have been declared innocent by the RCMP and I am dropping one legal action and will escalate another.

RCMP Investigation shows my innocence

After a thorough investigation, the RCMP have cleared me of the allegations that Ms. Robinson brought to the RCMP on behalf of Beverley Abraham in the summer of 2012. I have both written and verbal confirmation of this finding, now in the hands of senior RCMP officials.

In correspondence with my legal counsel, the RCMP's investigating officer stated: "I can tell you the RCMP have concluded their investigation into that matter and found nothing to substantiate the complaint". In a verbal briefing to my legal counsel last week the same RCMP officer advised that his thorough, 16-month investigation and final report confirms there is no truth to the claims she made against me.

I asked the RCMP for this investigation and I encouraged it. I then cooperated fully with the police. While this has been deeply painful and damaging in so many ways I thank the RCMP for their independence, professionalism and public service.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:27 AM

John Furlong vows to ‘escalate’ lawsuit against journalist who detailed abuse allegations

CANADA
The Province

BY CHERYL CHAN, THE PROVINCE OCTOBER 28, 2013

John Furlong said he is dropping his defamation suit against the Georgia Straight newspaper but vows to “escalate” action against the freelance journalist who wrote the article containing allegations Furlong abused former students.

In an interview with Global News broadcast Monday night, Furlong said he is not interested in pursuing the lawsuit against the Straight.

“My issue is not with the media,” said the former Vancouver 2010 Olympics boss. “We tried to convince them not to do it ... they printed the story. But the story was given to them by Laura Robinson. All of this was hers.”

The article, published last September, alleged Furlong physically and verbally abused eight First Nations students while he was a physical education teacher at Immaculata school in Burns Lake in the late 1960s. Furlong filed the defamation suits in November.

In July, two former students Beverly Abraham and Grace West filed separate lawsuits against Furlong alleging sexual abuse. Last month, a third lawsuit was filed by an unidentified man who claims he was sexually abused. None of these claims have been proven in court.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:24 AM

OH- Toledo bishop promoted to CT

OHIO/CONNECTICUT
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

For immediate release: Tuesday, Oct. 29

Statement by Barbara Blaine of Chicago, president of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests ( 312-399-4747, SNAPblaine@gmail.com )

Bishop Leonard Blair has done a poor job dealing with the church’s on-going child sex abuse and cover up crisis in Toledo. We are disappointed that, once again, Pope Francis has promoted a prelate who has failed to show real courage and compassion and refused to adequately protect the vulnerable and heal the wounded.

In 2010, Toledo Catholic officials kept quiet about and wanted six months to investigate alleged sexual misdeeds by a Catholic school counselor

Kevin Yeckley, a counselor and coach, admitted “periodically” hugging a girl, hiring her, working “alone for several consecutive Saturdays” with her and telling her “he was . . .having uncomfortable feelings for her.”

Toledo Catholic officials admit that in March 2009, a victim told a teacher about Yeckley’s alleged misdeeds but they started to investigate in October, some six or seven months later. Delays like this endanger kids and enable predators to intimidate victims, threaten whistle blowers, discredit witnesses, destroy evidence, fabricate alibis and keep hurting children.

(According to The News-Messenger newspaper, two top chancery office staffers - Frank DiLallo and Toledo diocesan human resources director Greg Reed – met with the predator months later.

Yeckley eventually resigned his position at a school in Fremont. State officials sanctioned him for "failing to maintain appropriate student-teacher boundaries." Still, a Catholic principal (Mike Gabel) deceitfully urged a public school to hire him, putting innocent kids at risk of child sex crimes. (Gabel also just resigned. Blair refused to denounce or discipline any of the Catholic school employees who were involved.)

Blair’s irresponsible handling of this case shows Catholic officials putting their reputations and careers above the well-being of children.

[BishopAccountability.org]

[BishopAccountability.org]

Blair’s first job in Hartford should be to post the names, photos and whereabouts of every child molesting cleric on the archdiocesan website and in all parish bulletins. He should aggressively reach out to anyone who may have seen suspected or suffered crimes or cover up by the 32 publicly accused, admitted and proven Hartford area predator priests and nuns.

And he should especially beg anyone with information or suspicions about Fr. Arthur Perrault to call police. Fr. Parrault is accused of abusing at least ten boys and girls, fled the diocese in 1992 and is believed to be in hiding.

Some may be tempted to give Blair “the benefit of the doubt” in clergy sexual abuse and misconduct cases. We urge them not to. We hope Hartford citizens and Catholics will continue to act prudently and report any known or suspected clergy sex crimes and cover ups to secular officials, not church officials.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:22 AM

Congratulations to Archbishop-Designate Leonard P. Blair on his appointment as the Fifth Archbishop of Hartford, CT

TOLEDO (OH)
Roman Catholic Diocese of Toledo

It was announced today by the Holy See that Pope Francis has appointed Bishop Leonard P. Blair as the Fifth Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Hartford, Connecticut. Archbishop-designate Blair's service follows that of the Most Reverend Henry Mansell, whose retirement the Holy Father accepted today.

Bishop Blair, who was appointed Bishop of Toledo on October 7, 2003 by Blessed Pope John Paul II, has served the diocese for almost 10 years. In accordance with Canon Law Archbishop-designate Blair will continue to preside over our local church on a limited basis until his installation in Hartford on December 16, 2013. Following the installation, the College of Consulters, a group of eight priests of the diocese who advise the bishop in the more important matters of the diocesan administration, will elect a priest of our diocese to serve as Diocesan Administrator until such time as the Pope appoints a new bishop for Toledo.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:19 AM

Bishop Leonard P. Blair is Appointed New Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Hartford

HARTFORD (CT)
Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Hartford

See Press Conference live TODAY at 10:00 A.M.
Abbreviated biography of Bishop Blair
Statement by Archbishop Mansell
Statement by Bishop Macaluso

For Immediate Release
Maria Zone
Director of Communications
Archdiocese of Hartford
(860) 541-6491
mzone@aohct.org

HARTFORD, Conn. – (October 29, 2013) His Holiness Pope Francis has appointed Bishop Leonard Paul Blair, STD as the fifth archbishop of the Archdiocese of Hartford. The announcement was made today, Tuesday, October 29th at 12:00 noon, Vatican City Time (7 a.m. EDT).

Bishop Blair will be officially introduced as the new archbishop during a press conference at the Archdiocesan Center at Saint Thomas Seminary, 467 Bloomfield Ave., Bloomfield, this morning, Tuesday, October 29th, at 10 a.m. The press conference will be streamed on the archdiocesan website at: archdioceseofhartford.org and ortv.org. It will be broadcast live on WJMJ-FM Radio (88.9/Hartford, 93.1/Hamden, 107.1/New Haven).

Bishop Blair, 64, has been the bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Toledo since 2003. He was ordained a priest in 1976. He succeeds Archbishop Henry J. Mansell, who has been the Archbishop of Hartford since December 2003, and who has passed the age of retirement.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:15 AM

Toledo Bishop Named New Archbishop In Hartford

CONNECTICUT
Hartford Courant

By DANIELA ALTIMARI, dnaltimari@courant.com
The Hartford Courant
9:08 a.m. EDT, October 29, 2013

HARTFORD – Pope Francis on Tuesday announced the appointment of Bishop Leonard P. Blair, the bishop of Toledo, Ohio, as Hartford's new archbishop.

"Pope Francis appoints Bishop Leonard Blair as my successor,'' Hartford's current Archbishop, Henry J. Mansell, tweeted this morning. "He has my heartfelt congratulations, prayers and support."

Blair, 64, will officially be installed on Dec. 16.

According to his biography on the Diocese of Toledo website, Blair was born in Detroit and was named the seventh bishop of Toledo on Oct. 7, 2003.

Blair was one of three bishops charged with assessing an organization that represents the majority of U.S. nuns. In that role, Blair oversaw a report in 2012 that was critical of the nuns' group, saying it undermined Catholic teaching on homosexuality and contraception and embraced radical feminism.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:14 AM

New bishop of Hartford Archdiocese named

CONNECTICUT
News-Times - Off Beat

Tuesday, October 29, 2013 by:Jim Shay

His Holiness Pope Francis has appointed Bishop Leonard Paul Blair, STD as the fifth archbishop of the Archdiocese of Hartford. The announcement was made today, Tuesday, October 29th at 12:00 noon, Vatican City Time (7 a.m. EDT).

Bishop Blair will be officially introduced as the new archbishop during a press conference at the Archdiocesan Center at Saint Thomas Seminary, 467 Bloomfield Ave., Bloomfield, this morning, Tuesday, October 29th, at 10 a.m. The press conference will be streamed on the archdiocesan website at: archdioceseofhartford.org and ortv.org. It will be broadcast live on WJMJ-FM Radio (88.9/Hartford, 93.1/Hamden, 107.1/New Haven).

Bishop Blair, 64, has been the bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Toledo since 2003. He was ordained a priest in 1976. He succeeds Archbishop Henry J. Mansell, who has been the Archbishop of Hartford since December 2003, and who has passed the age of retirement.

Archbishop-designate Blair will be installed as the Archbishop of Hartford on Monday, December 16th at the Cathedral of Saint Joseph, 140 Farmington Ave., Hartford

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:11 AM

OTHER PONTIFICAL ACTS

VATICAN CITY
Vatican Information Service

Vatican City, 29 October 2013 (VIS) - Today, the Holy Father:

- appointed Bishop Leonard Paul Blair of Toledo in America, U.S.A., as archbishop of Hartford (area 5,926, population 1,996,000, Catholics 718,000, priests 393, permanent deacons 289, religious 818), U.S.A. Bishop Blair was born in Detroit, U.S.A. in 1949, was ordained to the priesthood in 1976, and received episcopal ordination in 1999. He succeeds Archbishop Henry Joseph Mansell, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same archdiocese upon having reached the age limit was accepted by the Holy Father. ...

- appointed Rev. Kurt R. Burnette as bishop of the eparchal See of Passaic of the Ruthenians (catholics 14,729, priests 80, permanent deacons 26, religious 27), U.S.A. Bishop-elect Burnette was born in Fakenham, England in 1955 and was ordained a priest in 1988. He is currently rector of the Sts. Cyril and Methodius Seminary, Pittsburgh.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:06 AM

Priest calls out archbishop over clergy sex abuse response

MINNESOTA
Fox 9

[with video]

ST. PAUL, Minn. (KMSP) -
In churches and living rooms across the metro, the debate is on over how the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis has handled allegations of sexual abuse by clergy members -- but one priest used the power of the pulpit on during Sunday's sermon.

At Church of the Assumption, the faithful fill the pews every Sunday to hear from their parish priests -- and they got an earful this past weekend as the preacher took aim at church leaders over the growing scandal.

During his 6.5-minute homily, Father Stephen O'Gara admitted he's never gotten along with Archbishop John Nienstedt, and he didn't pull any punches when it came to the archbishop's response to allegations of clergy abuse and cover-ups.

"It's not going to be through e-mails and letters in the 'Catholic Spirit.' He needs to stand before us and explain himself," O'Gara insisted. "Only then will he have the respect called to his office."

O'Gara went on to say he believes the scandal is about arrogance, and he openly confessed that he feels conflicted about the Church's state of affairs.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:27 AM

Priest's spending from trust fund probed

ILLINOIS/WISCONSIN
Chicago Tribune

By Alexandra Chachkevitch and Lisa Black, Chicago Tribune reporters
7:15 a.m. CDT, October 29, 2013

Even after retiring to Florida, Ervin and Margaret Franczak stayed in regular contact with their longtime priest back in Milwaukee.

Especially after Ervin died in 2001, the Rev. James Dokos looked after Margaret, visiting her on occasion and sending poinsettias at Christmas, friends said. Records show she even updated her will to leave Dokos her condo and her car — part of a charitable trust the couple established whose value topped more than $1.2 million.

Documents obtained by the Tribune show that Dokos, now pastor at Sts. Peter and Paul Greek Orthodox Church in Glenview, wrote checks totaling tens of thousands of dollars from that trust fund to himself and used the fund to pay at least $32,000 in credit card bills. As sole trustee of the fund, Dokos also gave several thousand dollars from the trust to a high-ranking official in the Greek Orthodox archdiocese in Chicago, the documents show.

Now authorities in Milwaukee are conducting an investigation into how Dokos distributed the money from the Franczaks' fund and whether he paid himself more than the trust stipulated.

Officials at the Metropolis of Chicago, the Greek Orthodox archdiocese that oversees dozens of parishes in the Midwest, have said their "initial conclusion" was that the trust fund money was spent in accordance with Margaret Franczak's will and wishes and with the knowledge of the parish council at Milwaukee's Annunciation Church, which received the bulk of the money from the trust.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:23 AM

Investigators access to clergy abuse files limited

MINNESOTA
Seattle PI

[the letter]

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — A task force charged with independently investigating clergy sex abuse in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis will have limited access to information about priests.

In a recent letter to clergy, the Rev. Reginald Whitt said he will control the panel's access to information about clergy abuse, which will be "limited only to what is necessary" for the task force to make informed decisions.

Archbishop John Nienstadt, who appointed Whitt to create the task force, earlier characterized the panel's work as an independent review of clergy abuse. Nienstadt told Minnesota Public Radio (http://bit.ly/HsKwyT ) the task force would have "unprecedented authority to examine any and all issues associated with clergy sexual abuse."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:17 AM

RCMP dismiss sexual abuse allegation against John Furlong

CANADA
Global News

[with videos]

By Amy Judd Global News

The RCMP has found no evidence to substantiate the sexual abuse complaint against John Furlong.

The RCMP investigator sent Furlong a letter in April saying the RCMP has concluded its investigation and as it has found nothing to support the complaint of sexual abuse by Beverly Abraham, it will not be forwarding a report to Crown Counsel.

Furlong, the former head of the Vancouver 2010 Olympics, was accused in an interview in the Georgia Straight last fall of harming aboriginal students when he taught at a Catholic school in Burns Lake over four decades ago.

In July, Abraham and another woman, Grace West, launched a lawsuit against Furlong. In September a third lawsuit was filed against Furlong who has denied all claims of physical and sexual abuse.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:14 AM

Sex abuse allegation against John Furlong dropped: report

CANADA
1130 News

VANCOUVER (NEWS1130) – There are reports that one of the sexual abuse investigations involving the former head of the Olympic Games in Vancouver has been dropped.

In a statement to News1130, the RCMP will not confirm or deny the report, saying only that the “file remains open” in regards to John Furlong.

He has been accused of physical and sexual abuse when he worked as a teacher in BC’s north in the 1960s.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:11 AM

John Furlong cleared in one abuse case, still under investigation

CANADA
The Tyee

By BOB MACKIN
Published October 28, 2013

A strategy to rescue the bruised reputation of John Furlong, who was the CEO of the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics, unfolded throughout Monday.

Global TV's regional channel promoted a one-on-one interview of Furlong by anchor Chris Gailus for 7 p.m. Monday evening as Furlong's first such appearance since he was accused 13 months ago of abusing aboriginal children.

The interview was recorded in the Gastown office of Furlong's public relations representative, Twenty Ten Group, and was set to air the day after the Vancouver Whitecaps' ended their 2013 season. CTV national anchor Lisa LaFlamme also conducted an interview with Furlong, the executive chairman of the Bell-sponsored Major League Soccer club.

Almost five hours before the scheduled 30-minute program, Global reported that the RCMP cleared Furlong of allegations he abused Beverly Abraham when she was a child under his care at a Burns Lake school for aboriginal children in 1969 and 1970. Furlong had come to Canada from his native Ireland as an 18-year-old Catholic missionary and taught physical education at Immaculata Elementary School.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:09 AM

Furlong RCMP sex abuse file remains open, despite claim

CANADA
Metro

By Kate Webb
Metro

John Furlong says he’s “done” with allegations of sexual abuse raised by Beverly Abraham after the RCMP dismissed them in April — but RCMP say the investigation remains open after an independent review of their methods.

Abraham is one of three people who allege the former Olympics CEO sexually abused them more than 40 years ago. Another eight allege that he physically and verbally abused them when he was a teacher at a Burns Lake Catholic school.

None of the allegations have been proven in court and Furlong has filed several defamation suits denying all claims and seeking damages against the accusers.

“We are done with this. This is over,” Furlong told Global News on Sunday, after displaying a letter RCMP sent him in April indicating they had closed the Abraham case.

“I’m not going to put another second into this. I’m going to move on, as I’ve said, by escalating this case and exposing this and try to get on with my life.”

But senior RCMP spokesman Sgt. Rob Vermeulen said in an email on Monday that an independent review of the Mounties’ investigation by a major crime section in another province resulted in a number of investigative recommendations.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:07 AM

Mounties say Furlong ‘file remains open’

CANADA
Vancouver 24hrs

By Michael Mui, 24 Hours Vancouver
Monday, October 28, 2013

Mounties are continuing to follow up on “investigative recommendations” in allegations against former Vancouver Olympic chief John Furlong, despite a media report Monday suggesting a sexual abuse allegation has been dismissed.

According to RCMP Sgt. Rob Vermeulen, the force earlier this year asked for an independent review from out-of-province major crime investigators after completing its own investigation.

“That review resulted in a number of investigative recommendations that we continue to follow up on,” he said by email. “Our file remains open at this time.”

On Monday, Global BC reported a sexual abuse allegation by Beverly Abraham — one of several people who have filed suit against Furlong alleging unproven accounts of abuse — has been dismissed.

In an April letter obtained by the media outlet, police said they have “concluded their investigation into (Abraham’s) matter and have found nothing to substantiate the complaint,” adding no report will be forwarded to the Crown as a result.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:04 AM

Furlong says his name is cleared, but RCMP says case is still open

CANADA
The Globe and Mail

SUNNY DHILLON AND TU THANH HA
VANCOUVER and TORONTO — The Globe and Mail
Published Monday, Oct. 28 2013

Former Vancouver Olympics CEO John Furlong has stepped back into the spotlight after months of silence, declaring in an interview that he has been told an RCMP investigation into allegations he sexually abused a student when he was a teacher decades ago has proven his innocence.

But the RCMP says its file remains open. And while the criminal allegation to which Mr. Furlong referred was made by one person, civil lawsuits from the complainant and two other students alleging sexual abuse are ongoing.

In an interview in Toronto with The Globe and Mail on Monday, Mr. Furlong, who was the public face of the 2010 Games, said his lawyer was told last week the RCMP investigation concluded in his favour.

The initial probe, which ended in the spring, looked at allegations Mr. Furlong sexually molested Beverly Abraham when he was a physical education teacher at Immaculata Roman Catholic Elementary School in Burns Lake, B.C., four decades ago.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:02 AM

No evidence in Furlong molestation allegations, says RCMP

CANADA
CBC News

A woman who alleges that she was sexually assaulted by former VANOC CEO John Furlong says the RCMP has informed her they have found no evidence that the assaults took place.

Beverly Abraham, 55, claimed in a civil suit filed in July that Furlong molested her approximately 12 times in 1969 and 1970 while he was a physical education teacher at Immaculata Roman Catholic Elementary School in Burns Lake, B.C.

Furlong says he never abused her or another student who has made similar accusations. He has not been convicted of any offence relating to the allegations.

Abraham says that two weeks ago, an RCMP investigator informed her that they have found no evidence of the incidents and so cannot move forward with any charges.

"It's really, honestly, hurting me. It's hurting my heart so bad. It's like broken into a million pieces now, and it hurts my stomach. It's just like someone touching me all over again," she says.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:00 AM

Furlong 'escalating' one suit but dropping another

CANADA
The Province

BY CHERYL CHAN, THE PROVINCE OCTOBER 29, 2013

John Furlong said he is dropping his defamation suit against the Georgia Straight newspaper but vows to "escalate" action against the freelance journalist who wrote the article containing allegations Furlong abused former students.

In an interview with Global News broadcast Monday night, Furlong said he is not interested in pursuing the lawsuit against the Straight.

"My issue is not with the media," said the former Vancouver 2010 Olympics boss. "We tried to convince them not to do it ... they printed the story. But the story was given to them by Laura Robinson. All of this was hers."

The article, published last September, alleged Furlong physically and verbally abused eight First Nations students while he was a physical education teacher at Immaculata school in Burns Lake in the late 1960s. Furlong filed the defamation suits in November.

In July, two former students, Beverly Abraham and Grace West, filed separate lawsuits against Furlong alleging sexual abuse. Last month, a third lawsuit was filed by an unidentified man who claims he was sexually abused. None of these claims has been proven in court.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:57 AM

Furlong says RCMP unable to confirm abuse in one claim

CANADA
Vancouver Sun

BY MATTHEW ROBINSON AND BEV WAKE, VANCOUVER SUN, THE CANADIAN PRESS OCTOBER 29, 2013

John Furlong went on a media offensive Monday to proclaim his innocence as a police investigation into claims of abuse against his former students continues.

In television interviews, the organizer of the 2010 Vancouver Olympics shared a letter he said RCMP sent him in the spring stating they were unable to substantiate one of the complainants' claims of sexual abuse. But RCMP Sgt. Rob Vermeulen would not confirm police were finished with that claim - levelled by Beverly Abraham - and said the overall investigation remains open.

"Due to the serious and sensitive nature of the allegations, earlier this year we asked for an independent review of our complete investigation by major crime investigators from another province," said Sgt. Vermeulen in an email. "That review resulted in a number of investigative recommendations that we continue to follow up on."

The allegations against Furlong surfaced following an article, published last fall in the Georgia Straight, suggesting he physically and verbally abused First Nations students at Burns Lake while teaching at a Catholic school there in the late 1960s.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:56 AM

John Furlong says police have found nothing to substantiate allegations

CANADA
Macleans

by Ken MacQueen on Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Former Vancouver Olympic chief John Furlong took to the airwaves Monday night to defend his name after months of letting his lawyers deal with allegations of physical and sexual abuse filed by three former students while he was a volunteer missionary teacher at Catholic schools in Burns Lake and Prince George, B.C. in 1969 and 1970.

He told Global BC television anchor Chris Gailus he’s been living in “hell” since the first allegations surfaced some 13 months ago in an article in Vancouver’s Georgia Straight newspaper. “I was stunned and at the time I thought it’ll go away quickly because there’s no truth to this. So I just thought naively that it will just end. It’ll take a few weeks. Instead of ending, it got worse. It became quite horrible.”

In excerpts from the Global interview Furlong said the story “pulverized us. It pulverized me and my family very, very deeply.” He denied claims he physically abused students while he was a gym teacher. Any punishment he meted out used “phys-ed traditional means, like running laps or stuff like that.” Corporal punishment was not allowed and he didn’t use it, he said. “I’ve never had a strap in my hand in my life.”

This July, two former female students at Immaculata Elementary School in Burns Lake filed civil suits in B.C. Supreme Court against Furlong and the Roman Catholic diocese in both Vancouver and Prince George, accusing him of physical and sexual abuse, and the church of failing to protect its students. These have also been denied by Furlong.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:53 AM

John Furlong says he's been 'living in absolute hell' since allegations

CANADA
CTV

[with video]

CTVNews.ca Staff
Published Monday, October 28, 2013

John Furlong, the man who organized the 2010 Vancouver Olympics, says he is trying to reclaim his life by using the courts to fight back against allegations of sexual abuse brought against him last year.

In an interview with CTV’s Chief Anchor and Senior Editor Lisa LaFlamme, Furlong says he’s been “living in absolute hell” for the past 17 months after a weekly Vancouver newspaper published allegations claiming he physically and verbally abused First Nations students while working as an 18-year-old volunteer teacher in northern B.C. more than four decades ago.

In a report published last September, the Georgia Straight said eight former students signed affidavits about their experiences at Immaculata Elementary in Burns Lake, B.C., in the late ‘60s and early ‘70s. They alleged a young Furlong would hit and kick them, as well as make racist comments, while serving as a physical education teacher.

Over the summer, two women -- Beverly Abraham and Grace West -- filed separate civil lawsuits accusing Furlong of sexual abuse. A third student filed a third lawsuit last month, alleging he, too, was abused.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:51 AM

John Furlong says police have cleared him of abuse allegations made by student

CANADA
GlobalPost

The Canadian Press

VANCOUVER - The man who organized the Vancouver Olympics says he's been cleared by police of sexual-abuse allegations brought by a former student, though the RCMP says the file remains open.

The allegations against John Furlong surfaced following a newspaper article published last fall, suggesting he physically and verbally abused First Nations students at Burns Lake, B.C., while teaching at a Catholic school there in the late 1960s.

This past July, Beverly Abraham and Grace West filed separate lawsuits against Furlong alleging sexual abuse, and a third lawsuit was filed last month by a man who said he, too, was sexually abused.

Furlong said in an interview with Global News that police gave him a letter in April saying they found nothing to substantiate allegations by one of the complainants, identified as Abraham in a letter to Furlong that was posted online. According to the letter, the police would not be sending a report to Crown counsel.

"We are done with this," said Furlong. "I'm not going to put another second into this. I'm going to move on, as I've said by escalating this case and exposing this and try to get on with my life."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:47 AM

Department of Justice rejects Magdalene group’s criticism of McAleese report

IRELAND
Irish Times

Patsy McGarry

Tue, Oct 29, 2013

The Department of Justice has sharply criticised a submission by the Justice for Magdalenes (JFM) advocacy group to the McAleese committee on the extent of abuses in the Magdalene laundries.
The group had claimed that the McAleese report, published last February, minimised the physical and psychological abuse suffered by women in the laundries, as reported in its submission.

The McAleese report was also criticised by Felice de Gaer, rapporteur to the UN Committee Against Torture (Uncat), who wrote to the Government on May 22nd last on the issue.

She said Uncat had received information that the State was presented with extensive survivor testimony by the group “and was aware of the existence of possible criminal wrongdoings, including physical and psychological abuse”.

In its response to Ms de Gaer, the Department of Justice has acknowledged that JFM “did present a great volume of material purporting to point to the existence of possible criminal wrongdoings, including systematic physical and psychological abuse”.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:41 AM

Vatican City State receives elevated Standard Ethics Rating

VATICAN CITY
Vatican Radio

(Vatican Radio) The Standard Ethics independent rating agency has announced it has elevated the Standard Ethics Rating (SER) attributed to Vatican City State from “EE-” to “EE.”

The Standard Ethics Rating is a benchmarking tool on sustainability, social responsibility, governance and environment.

The sustainability ratings issued by Standard Ethics are the result of statistical and scientific work carried out to take a snapshot of the economic world in relation to ethical principles promoted by large international organisations.

In a note, Standard Ethics reported that since it was given a “positive outlook” last July, Vatican City State has successfully met international requests to provide greater financial and accounts transparency of its financial institutions.

The note clarifies that significant steps were taken against money laundering, illicit financial transactions and financing of terrorism, in great part due to the Vatican’s gradual adherence to criteria laid out by the Financial Action Task Force (Groupe d’action financière FATF-GAFI) and adoption of recommendations from the Moneyval Division of the Council of Europe.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:37 AM

CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE AND THE CHURCHES: A story of moral failure?

AUSTRALIA
The Smith Lecture 2013

Patrick Parkinson AM, Professor of Law, University of Sydney

Introduction

Some people may be puzzled, even angered, that the title to this lecture ends in a question-mark. Surely, we already know that the story of child sexual abuse in churches is a story of shocking moral failure. Story after story has appeared in the media in Australia in recent years of terrible sexual exploitation of children – and if that were not bad enough, the cover-up of those crimes by superiors in the Church who, for whatever reason, chose not to involve the police or to act protectively towards children. These are not just Australian stories. In the Catholic Church at least, these patterns have been replicated in many countries across the western world, and it is perhaps just a matter of time before stories emerge from other countries which reveal the same patterns.

In the court of public opinion, then, the judgment has already been delivered. It is only the consequences of that judgment which are still being worked out.

In this lecture, I will not for one moment deny that there have been serious moral failures, and it is likely that these are to be found in all churches over the years. I have played a small part in exposing some of those failures, in challenging wrongdoing, and seeking to promote higher standards of child protection in church communities. 1 I offer no defence for the failure of the churches, except to say that if the churches are particularly in the firing line now – and they are – it should be noted that it was so often the churches that were involved in caring for those that no-one else cared for. It was the churches that ran orphanages and children’s homes, that established boarding schools at a low cost to give educational opportunities to children from the country. It is churches which have been at the forefront of community life from one end of Australia to another, providing Sunday Schools, youth clubs and holiday camps. The moral failures of the churches ought to be assessed against the background of that enormous contribution to the care of children over the last century and more.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:32 AM

New trial date set for man in sexual assault case

HAWAII
The Garden Island

HILO, Hawaii (AP) — A May 27 trial date has been set for a convicted Big Island murderer charged with sexually assaulting a 12-year-old girl six years ago.

The 2009 conviction of 56-year-old Peter Kalani Bailey in the assault case was overturned. Supreme Court justices in March 2012 said a mistrial should have been declared because a juror had revealed Bailey's murder conviction.

The Hawaii Tribune-Herald (http://bit.ly/1aBaSd6) reports Bailey was convicted in 1979 of murder, kidnapping and robbery in the shooting death of a 17-year-old Oahu girl. He was paroled in 2002.

On July 22, 2007, he was working as choir director at Hamakua Coast Assembly of God Church and charged with four counts of attempted sexual assault of the girl at the church. He was sentenced to 20 years in prison.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:28 AM

Letter Raises Questions On Church Task Force Effectiveness

MINNESOTA
WCCO

[the letter]

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — WCCO-TV has obtained an internal Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis letter saying a high-ranking church leader will personally control what files a task force on clergy sex abuse will have access to.

The letter, from the Reverend Reginald Whitt to all priests in the diocese, says that he will decide which files the task force can look into. Earlier this month, the task force was formed to look into claims of clergy sex abuse and an alleged cover-up by the archdiocese.

However, Whitt’s letter to priests raises questions about whether or not the task force has the ability to operate independently of the archdiocese.

In the Oct. 21 letter, Whitt — a law professor at St. Thomas and the newly-named vicar for ministerial standards – wrote that the task force will be reviewing clergy files as part of the archdiocese’s investigation into clergy sexual misconduct.

“Access to these files,” Whitt wrote, “will be within my control and limited only to what is necessary for the task force to be able to make an informed decision.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:19 AM

Albany Diocese Bishop Hubbard reflects on his long tenure

NEW YORK
Saratogian

By Ian Benjamin, ibenjamin@troyrecord.com, @ibenja2 on Twitter
POSTED: 10/28/13

ALBANY >> “I’ve come a long way for a boy from the ’Burgh,” said Bishop Howard Hubbard, his voice reverberating within the vaulted arches of the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Albany.

For those who know him, that was not a pretentious statement, but rather one reflecting his amazement at being the spiritual leader for nearly 400,000 Catholics for more than three decades.

When Howard James Hubbard, then a 38-year-old priest from the Lansingburgh section of Troy, was ordained Bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany on March 27, 1977, he was the youngest bishop in the nation. He was dubbed the “boy bishop.”

The sobriquet has long since faded, and having served as bishop for more than 36 years, Hubbard is now the longest tenured bishop in the country. When the bishop celebrates his 75th birthday on Oct. 31, his career will begin to conclude.

By Papal law, that is the date by which Hubbard must submit his letter of resignation through official channels to the Vatican. It is only once Pope Francis names a successor, however, that he will actually step into retirement. ...

As the bishop has weathered the closure of parishes, he also led the diocese when cases of sexual abuse at the hands of priests have come to light. After the prosecution of five priests in the archdiocese of Boston received national attention in 2002, victims of pedophile priests began to come forward across the nation, creating a crisis for the church in America, and years of trouble for Hubbard. A number of victims have since come forward in the Albany Diocese. In 2004, two men brought allegations of sexual misconduct against Hubbard, but after an exhaustive $2 million investigation led by former prosecutor Mary Jo White, those accusations were found to be baseless.

While most of the cases of sexual abuse in the church occurred roughly between 1965 and 1985, the vast majority of the reports on those cases only began gaining national attention following the Boston scandal. The same year the scandal erupted, the church instituted a number of safeguards to prevent the sexual abuse of minors by priests. Those seeking to enter the priesthood are now required to undergo extensive background checks and a long interview process that can last up to a year.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:17 AM

Task force access to archdiocesan priest abuse files limited

MINNESOTA
Star Tribune

[the letter]

Article by: TONY KENNEDY , Star Tribune Updated: October 29, 2013

A task force appointed to conduct an independent examination of clergy sex abuse in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis will have to go through a top archdiocese official for access to internal files, according to a letter distributed to priests last week.

The Rev. Reginald Whitt, who was assigned this month to appoint the panel and receive its reports, told priests and deacons in a letter dated Oct. 21 that the task force may review specific files to determine whether the policies of the archdiocese concerning clergy sexual misconduct were properly followed. But, he wrote, “Access to these files will be within my control, and limited only to what is necessary for the task force.”

He also wrote that he recognized that many priests and deacons “may be anxious about your right to privacy and a good reputation.” He assured them that the archdiocese will proceed according to the principles of due process and uniform application of canon policy.

Whitt’s letter seemed to mark a sharp contrast to a statement issued on Oct. 6, when the task force was announced and the archdiocese said, “The task force will have full authority and all the resources needed to complete its work.” That statement also said the task force would operate “independently” of Whitt and Archbishop John Nienstedt, who appointed Whitt.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:13 AM

Archdiocese to control task force's access to information

MINNESOTA
MinnPost

[the letter]

By Brian Lambert

Uh, “controlling access” would seem to be pretty close to the nut of the problem … Tom Scheck and Madeleine Baran of MPR report: “A task force created to address the clergy sexual abuse crisis in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis will only have access to information provided by a church official. The task force will not investigate allegations against specific priests, and priest files will not be made public, according to an Oct. 21 letter to clergy by the Rev. Reginald Whitt. Whitt, chosen by Archbishop John Nienstedt to create the task force, will control the panel's access to information about clergy abuse. ‘Access to these files will be within my control, and limited only to what is necessary for the Task Force to be able to make an informed decision with respect to their policy review,’ he wrote.” Is the ecclesiastical definition of “clueless” the same as in the lay world?

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:11 AM

October 28, 2013

Archbishop to address priests on clergy sexual misconduct

MINNESOTA
Pioneer Press

By Emily Gurnon
egurnon@pioneerpress.com
POSTED: 10/28/2013

The archdiocese official in charge of handling clergy sexual misconduct issues has invited priests to a Wednesday briefing on how the matter is being handled.

Rev. Reginald Whitt also told fellow clerics in an Oct. 21 letter that he wanted to offer clarification about his role as the new Episcopal vicar for ministerial standards and that of the new lay task force whose members he chose.

Because "serious allegations" have surfaced over the last several weeks concerning certain priests and the handling of their cases, Whitt wrote, clergy would have an opportunity to be briefed and ask questions at Wednesday's "clergy study day."

Laurie Wohlers, an administrative assistant at the archdiocese, said in an Oct. 22 email to priests that Archbishop John Nienstedt would speak about the "current crisis" at the session. Later that day, she said, auxiliary Bishop Lee Piche would address the meeting.

Whitt said he would not attend. He teaches at St. Thomas that day, an archdiocese spokesman said.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:30 PM

Hillsborough pastor removed from ministry over '70s-era sex abuse allegation

NEW JERSEY
The Star-Ledger

By Mark Mueller/The Star-Ledger
on October 28, 2013 at 6:54 PM

The pastor of a Roman Catholic church in Hillsborough has been removed from ministry over allegations that he sexually abused a child in the late 1970s.

The Rev. Msgr. Raymond L. Cole, 70, who leads St. Joseph Parish in the Somerset County community, was an associate pastor at St. Mary Parish in South Amboy when the alleged abuse occurred, according to a letter read aloud during weekend Masses at St. Joseph.

Metuchen Bishop Paul Bootkoski wrote in the letter that Cole "steadfastly denies the charges against him." At the same time, the bishop wrote, canon law requires the removal of a priest when an allegation of sexual abuse "has been deemed to have a semblance of truth."

Bootkoski said he was alerted to the allegation by the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office, which did not pursue criminal charges because the statute of limitations had long since passed.

A retired investigator from the prosecutor’s office looked into the claim on behalf of the diocese. The Diocesan Review Board, a panel of lay people and clergy members who examine sex abuse allegations — also investigated the matter, interviewing Cole and the alleged victim, Bootkoski said.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:26 PM

Task force supervisor to control group's access to clergy abuse information

MINNESOTA
Minnesota Public Radio

by Madeleine Baran, Minnesota Public Radio,
Tom Scheck, Minnesota Public Radio
October 28, 2013

ST. PAUL, Minn. — A task force created to address the clergy sexual abuse crisis in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis will only have access to information provided by a church official.

The task force will not investigate allegations against specific priests, and priest files will not be made public, according to an Oct. 21 letter to clergy by the Rev. Reginald Whitt.

Whitt, chosen by Archbishop John Nienstedt to create the task force, will control the panel's access to information about clergy abuse. "Access to these files will be within my control, and limited only to what is necessary for the Task Force to be able to make an informed decision with respect to their policy review," he wrote.

Whitt's letter appears to contradict Nienstedt's characterization of the task force as independent. It also raises the question of how the task force will be able to make fully informed decisions without access to all information.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:02 PM

Exclusive tonight: The John Furlong interview

CANADA
Global News

[with video]

News Hour anchor Chris Gailus sits down exclusively tonight with John Furlong, the former head of the Vancouver 2010 Olympics and the man at the centre of allegations of physical and sexual abuse.

Three former students of a Catholic school in Northern B.C. have filed civil claims alleging abuse at the hands of Furlong over four decades ago.

For the first time tonight, Furlong speaks with News Hour anchor Chris Gailus, and tells his side of the story.

The full, 27-minute interview will air at 7 p.m. on BC1. It will also be live streamed on our website globalnews.ca/bc.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:18 PM

10 Year Prison Sentence For Teacher Who Repeatedly Contacted Victim

ARKANSAS
UALR Public Radio

By MICHAEL HIBBLEN

Former Mount St. Mary Academy teacher and volleyball coach Kelly O'Rourke, who pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting a student, was sentenced Monday to 10 years in prison for repeatedly contacting the victim.

The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reports Judge Barry Sims said he was coming down hard on the teacher for willfully disregarding the court’s no-contact order after pleading guilty in the case.

Last month O’Rourke pleaded guilty to violating the terms of her original sentence and read a statement in court apologizing for her actions.

O’Rourke is alleged to have called the student more than 50 times while serving a four month sentence.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:14 PM

Former MSM teacher given 10 years in prison for sex assault after contacting victim

ARKANSAS
Daily Journal

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
First Posted: October 28, 2013

LITTLE ROCK, Arkansas — An ex-teacher teacher at an all-girls school has been sentenced to 10 years in prison after contacting a girl she was convicted of sexually assaulting in 2010 and 2011.

Kelly O'Rourke was fired from Mount St. Mary Academy last year. Judge Barry Sims sentenced O'Rourke to a 15-year prison term but suspended all but 120 days and told the ex-teacher to stay away from the victim. Sims said Monday that O'Rourke instead contacted the girl more than 50 times.

Sims said O'Rourke willfully disregarded the court's order and that he had to come down "pretty hard" on the ex-teacher. O'Rourke apologized.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:09 PM

AR - Predator teacher sentenced for breaking parole, SNAP responds

ARKANSAS
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

For immediate release: Monday October 28, 2013

Statement by Barbara Dorris, Outreach Director, 314-862-7688 SNAPdorris@gmail.com

We are grateful that this dangerous predator was given a long sentence. Children are safe when predators are behind bars.

This woman chose to use her position of trust and respect as a teacher to harm a child entrusted to her care. This behavior cannot be tolerated. We applaud the judge for sending a strong statement to anyone who has the privilege of working with children; if you exploit your position for criminal behavior you will be held accountable.

Kelly O'Rourke was serving time when she broke the terms of her sentencing. Her blatant disregard for the judicial system makes us even more concerned that she cannot be trusted.

We beg anyone who has been harmed by her to come forward and begin healing. We encourage anyone with knowledge of these crimes to work with law enforcement so that she will continue to have no access to children.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:07 PM

Why Paige Patterson’s anti-outsider stance is wrong

UNITED STATES
Associated Baptist Press

If churches are to “act justly” in dealing with clergy sex abuse allegations, outsiders are essential.

By Christa Brown

Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary president Paige Patterson preaches that churches should resolve their conflicts internally and should not take them to “the world of unbelief.”

This means, he explains, that when a person has been “offended … misused and abused” within the church, he should take his complaint to church elders and the congregation, and should not go to the courts or talk to the press. In the final prayer of his sermon, Patterson included even “the government” among those to whom church members should not take their troubles.

This insular sort of anti-outsider stance is dreadfully dangerous. Yet, for decades, it has been a common Baptist teaching, and tragically, it is now being inculcated into still another generation of Baptist pastors.

Outsiders are essential to any organizational system of accountability. They bring objectivity and detachment, and these ingredients are critical for the effectiveness and credibility of an accountability system. Without outsiders, you get cover-ups and cronyism.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:06 PM

Church finding out the coverup hurts most

MINNESOTA
The Journal

October 27, 2013

It has been painful the past few weeks to watch the situation with the Archdiocese St. Paul and Minneapolis develop. Whether or not you are Catholic, the issue of child sex abuse, especially by clergy of any denomination, is a serious one. The fact that it continues to affect the Catholic Church can be frustrating.

The crux of the crisis with the archdiocese goes beyond the fact of the abuse that happened, but how the archdiocese has reportedly reacted in the past to allegations and reports of clerical sex abuse. Have archdiocesan officials reacted in a manner that would protect children and church members, or in a manner that would protect the church's reputation?

It is a truth that has been apparent in the U.S. since the Watergate scandal that it's not the crime, but the coverup that causes the most problems. When an organization - political, religious, whatever - finds itself dealing with the wrongdoing of a member or faction, the best course of action (and the hardest, it seems) is to come clean, denounce the wrongdoing, excise it from the organization and reaffirm that the organization is on the proper path. It is all too tempting to cover up, to hush up, to deny and to circle the wagons.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:37 PM

German 'Bishop of Bling's multi-million euro mansion to be used to serve needy

GERMANY
The Independent (UK)

TONY PATERSON Author Biography SUNDAY 27 OCTOBER 2013

Germany’s recently suspended “Bishop of Bling” faces the prospect of seeing his lavish multimillion euro residence turned into a refugee centre or a soup kitchen for the homeless, Catholic church officials in his home diocese announced today.

Bishop Franz Peter Tebartz-van Elst was formally suspended last week amid accusations that he had spent over €31m (£26.5m) on renovating his official residence in Limburg. The charges, which earned the 53-year-old bishop his nickname, provoked outrage among German Catholics.

Yesterday, church officials in Limburg said they were taking their own steps to admonish him.

“The residence is like an inherited sin which the bishop has left in his wake,” said a spokesman for the Caritas organisation for the homeless. “People who seek sanctuary with us could be given food in the residence,” he added.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:08 PM

OTHER PONTIFICAL ACTS

CANADA
Vatican Information Service

Vatican City, 28 October 2013 (VIS) – Today, the Holy Father:

- appointed Bishop Richard Joseph Gagnon as archbishop of Winnipeg (area 116,405, population 723,000, Catholics 169,000, priests 82, permanent deacons 19, religious 135), Canada. Archbishop Gagnon, previously bishop of Victoria, was born in Lethbridge, Canada in 1948, was ordained to the priesthood in 1983, and received episcopal ordination in 2004. He succeeds Archbishop James Weisgerber, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same archdiocese, upon having reached the age limit, was accepted by the Holy Father.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:22 PM

Roma!

UNITED STATES
skipshea

Skip Shea

There are certain times in an artists life that are used as milestones. I’m about to achieve one. My horror short, “Ave Maria“, will screen at the Interiora Horror Film Festival in Rome, Italy.

“Ave Maria” has already had is share of success and good fortune with film festivals having already screened at the Leamington Underground Cinema Film Festival in the UK, the Pawtucket film Festival in Rhode Island, the Horrible Imaginings Film Festival in San Diego, CA and Rock and Shock in Worcester, MA – which was also a milestone.

It is also still scheduled to screen at Germany After Dark Film Festival in Gronau, Germany and Buffalo Dreams Fantastic Film Festival in Buffalo, NY. All accomplishments I’m very proud of. But Rome…

It’s no secret but I’m often told I need to remind people that I am a survivor of clergy sexual abuse by a ring of Catholic priests in the Diocese of Worcester, MA. Survivor, victim etc. All words I can’t stand. But such was may path. And it has shaped the statements I make as an artist.

On November 2nd I’ll make a statement in Rome. It seems that, at least here in America all of these crimes are forgotten. People think it is over and done with. So much so that the likes of Cardinal Dolan of NY get to yuk it up with Stephen Colbert on the Colbert Report or get a special seat at the dinner table with men who would be presidents, or at least wanted to be.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:18 PM

Vatican City receives ethical upgrading by EU body

VATICAN CITY
Blue and Green Tomorrow

Monday, October 28th, 2013 By Ilaria Bertini

Vatican City has been upgraded to a rating of EE for ethics from its previous EE minus, following the country’s moves to fight money laundering and make its financial operations more transparent.

The upgrade comes courtesy of Standard Ethics, an EU agency that rates countries within the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) on sustainability, responsible conduct and governance.

The countries that score the highest mark – EEE – are Denmark, Iceland, Norway and Sweden. The UK is rated EEE minus, along with other EU countries such as Germany, Austria and Spain.
Vatican City used to be ranked EE minus, alongside Brazil, Mexico and Romania, but recent measures to tackle corruption and illicit funding have allowed the country to move towards a more positive EE rating.

According to Standards Ethics, the upgrading has been achieved thanks to relevant steps taken to fight terrorism funding, money laundering and illegal financial operations. In addition, one of the latest Vatican laws issued in October pushed for more transparent and controlled financial moves.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:41 AM

Restoring the image of the priest

WISONSIN
Kenosha News

By J.J. Steinhoff

Special to the Kenosha News

In the last few years I've noticed that many of the Catholic churches in Kenosha have reduced their Mass schedules. Even with these reductions, many parishes appear to be only half full during their weekly services and those in attendance seem to be more old than young. As a lifelong Catholic, I often wonder why so many people have left the church and what we can do to get them back. In my view, the first steps are to restore the image of the Catholic priest and to also make the public aware that the church has cleaned up its act.

To be clear, I was as disgusted as anyone when the sexual abuse scandals rocked the church back in 2002. The cover-up and subsequent payoffs by the Archdiocese of Milwaukee made it even worse. When the Kenosha News ran their front page story in July on the 10 local abusive priests, I studied documents on each one for hours. Some of the priests were alcoholics with emotional problems and some never should have been ordained to begin with. One in particular was nothing more than a monster who used his position of power to terrorize others. There is nothing that can be done to remove the pain of each victim, their families and all of those who were involved in this scandal. However, it's time to move on and look at some current facts about today's Catholic Church, and specifically its priests.

Almost all accusations against Catholic priests date from many decades ago, and nearly half of all abuse accusations concern priests who are already long dead. The 10 priests who were featured in the Kenosha News over the summer fit this profile. None of them had performed Mass in this area for many years, yet judging by their pictures on the front page, it appeared as if they were current and active priests. Nationally, in today's Catholic Church, accusations against current clergy are very rare and averaged only eight per year between 2005-2012. With an overall Catholic population of 77 million people, this is a very low number.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:47 AM

Accusations Of Coverups Roil Minnesota Archdiocese

MINNESOTA
SDPB

[with audio]

Transcript

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Now comes the kind of story George Polk would have pursued, sexual abuse within the Catholic Church. And indeed, several Boston newspapers won a Polk Award for their reporting on the subject back in 2003.

Recently, the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis was rocked by revelations of abuse. A former official says church leaders covered up numerous cases of sexual misconduct by priests and even made special payments to known pedophiles, this in archdiocese that claimed to be a national leader in dealing with the issue.

In this encore broadcast, Madeleine Baran of Minnesota Public Radio brings us the story last week.

MADELEINE BARAN, BYLINE: To understand what's happening now, it helps to go back to 2002, when the U.S. Catholic Church faced a crisis brought on by its failure to remove abusive priests from ministry. Archbishop Harry Flynn of St. Paul and Minneapolis emerged as a national leader on the issue, urging bishops at a now-historic conference in Dallas to root out what he called a cancer in the church.

ARCHBISHOP HARRY FLYNN ST. PAUL-MINNEAPOLIS ARCHDIOCESE: This is a defining moment for us this morning as bishops.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:36 AM

October 27, 2013

Former Promoter of Justice for Congregation of the Faith Addresses Canon Law Society about Abuse Situation: For Whom Is Canon Law Designed?

UNITED STATES
Bilgrimage

William D. Lindsey

In my previous posting, I referred to a report Fr. Thomas Reese has published at National Catholic Reporter regarding Bishop Charles Scicluna's recent address to the Canon Law Society of America. Scicluna was previously the Promoter of Justice for the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in the Vatican. In that capacity, he was, as Reese notes, roughly the equivalent of the Vatican's "chief prosecutor" for cases of clerical abuse in the Catholic church.

As I read what Scicluna has to say about how canon law addresses abuse cases, I'm struck by the following:

1. The emphasis of Scicluna's reading of canon law (and this reflects the emphasis of canon law itself) is far and away skewed in the direction of protecting the rights and serving the needs of clerics--while the rights and needs of lay Catholics, and notably of lay Catholics abused by clerics, are only distantly addressed by canon law.

2. Scicluna notes that canon law envisages three ends in any process considering the guilt of a cleric: these are "reparation of scandal, restitution of justice and the conversion of the accused." Only the second of these ends can in any way be said to address the needs of those abused by priests, and it does so only in a glancing way.

3. What's very clear in Scicluna's presentation is that canon law itself sees the primary problems in an abuse case as tamping down all reports that can lead to scandal and as "converting" the priest himself. Canon law has almost no room at all for considering the needs of lay Catholics who have been sexually abused by a priest, or for addressing the hurts and mending the injuries done to those who have been abused.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:08 PM

Parishioners learn details of possible priest embezzlement

WISCONSIN
Fox 6

October 27, 2013, by Derica Williams

WAUWATOSA (WITI) — The Milwaukee County District Attorney’s Office is investigating whether a former priest stole money from Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church in Wauwatosa.

Members of the congregation gathered on Sunday, October 27th to learn more about the alleged activity of their former priest, Father James Dokos. Church attorney Emmanuel Mamalakis presented members with the findings and sequence of events that led them to the District Attorney’s Office.

“We were doing some work on accounting. We were cleaning up papers and as we were going through, we noticed some issues,” explained Mamalakis.

The issue was first discovered in February when Father Dokos received a reimbursement check for his health insurance premium. It was later discovered that he was allegedly tapping into church funds.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:50 PM

Rape victims 'not being taken seriously' as prosecutions fall to five-year low

UNITED KINGDOM
Telegraph

The number of rape cases the police are referring to prosecutors has tumbled to its lowest level in five years prompting fears that adult victims in Jimmy Savile-like historic abuse cases are not being taken seriously as under-pressure officers ''cut corners''.

Police forces in the last financial year sent 5,404 rape cases to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) for it to decide whether to charge alleged offenders - over 2,700 less than in 2010-11, CPS figures released by Solicitor General Oliver Heald showed.

The drop-off came despite a steady increase in the number of rapes reported to the police in England and Wales between 2008 and 2013, prompting shadow attorney general Emily Thornberry to voice concerns that officers under pressure following budget cuts may be ''cutting corners''.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:00 PM

Brown Denies Justice to Victims – Guest Blog Post – Mark Crawford

CALIFORNIA
The Worthy Adversary

Governor Jerry Brown denies justice for those sexually abused as children

Mark Crawford

Last week Catholic officials were jubilant when Governor Jerry Brown chose to kill bill SB 131, which would have temporarily lifted the statute of limitations for some child victims of sexual abuse. The governor made several excuses as to why he struck down the bill. He referenced the Romans who first used the “statute of limitations” centuries ago. Curious choice, but had Governor Brown, the former Jesuit seminarian done his homework sufficiently he would have learned that the application of the statute of limitations, at that time, applied to debts, or money owed, not crimes. In fact, the Romans were more than harsh with those who violated the law for far lesser crimes. I have never heard of Pontius Pilot discussing the statute of limitations before ordering a crucifixion, have you?

Have church leaders and Governor Brown forgotten about a man called Jesus Christ? Only in the last 100 years have lawyers began to apply SOL to other “infractions” of the law. Church officials and the governor’s main argument is an example of hypocrisy at its finest. Both claimed the bill was “unfair” as it only applied to victims of private institutions, not public. Was it was unfair to exclude some of the victims? Perhaps, but their solution to this disparity was to deny everyone the opportunity for justice by vetoing bill SB 131. Why not pass this bill, as it afforded justice to some victims and THEN introduce a bill that would include public institutions as well? Neither Church officials nor the Governor has spoken of any such intention.

We have repeatedly heard church officials claim “evidence is lost, witnesses die and memories fade” as a reason to oppose reforming statute of limitation laws throughout our country. We now know in many cases the opposite is often true. There is in fact much evidence. Should we simply forget about the cases that have concrete record of criminal behavior or wrong-doing? Of course not. Then why should they be time-barred as well? I don’t hear the Catholic conference, our bishops or the governor speaking about that injustice.

We know there have been instances in which priests admitted to molesting children, plenty of examples in which the priest wrote or texted his victim discussing his sexual acts and we know there have been cases where church officials held documents detailing claims of previous victims. We saw several clear examples in the recently released files of the Los Angeles Archdiocese, where Cardinals and bishops worked to conceal these crimes from law enforcement and the faithful. How could Governor Brown not see the appalling injustice of protecting powerful institutions, which sought to violate civil law over the need to protect children from known predators? The acts of exposing past crimes and allowing victims civil rights protect children. They are also a deterrent to institutions that put self-preservation before child protection.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:56 PM

Religious practice drops in the US

UNITED STATES
Vatican Insider

A “Religious News Service” study warns that the number of baptisms and church weddings has dropped. “People want God but they’re not happy with churches”

MARCO TOSATTI
ROME

Religious News Service, an independent interfaith news service raised the alarm bell. The country which has “In God we trust” stamped on its currency seems in fact to be trusting in God less and less every year since the motto first appeared on coins in 1864 and later became the national motto in 1956.

The study carried out by the Religious New Service, shows that one in five Americans today say they have no religious identity. Religious practice has taken a dive among people of any denomination who call themselves Christian, starting with children’s baptism. In 1970 there were 426,000 marriages in U.S. Catholic churches — a full 20% of all U.S. marriages that year. By contrast, in 2011, there were 164,000 such weddings — only 8% of all marriages. But in both years, Catholics were 23% of the national population. Baptisms have followed the same trend. Back in 1970 there were approximately 1 million baptisms registered but by 2011 this had dropped to exactly 793,103.

“There is a de-emphasis on practicing faith. People want God but they’re not happy with churches,” the Rev. Frank Page, president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Executive Committee said. According to Page, sacraments such as baptism have fallen victim to an “anti-denominational, anti-institutional, even anti-church era.” Like the Catholic Church, the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) which rightly considers baptism a key part of the Christian faith, recorded 314,959 baptisms in 2012, a low which has not been seen since 1948. This is odd when one considers that the number of faithful joining the SBC has risen from 6 million back then to nearly 16 million now.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:24 PM

Catholics slam response to abuse

AUSTRALIA
The Australian

DAN BOX THE AUSTRALIAN OCTOBER 28, 2013

MORE than half of Catholics who attend mass believe the response of their church's leadership to cases of child sex abuse by clergy has been inadequate and shows a complete failure of responsibility.

New research from a survey of about 2800 churchgoers in more than 200 parishes across the nation also shows that almost half say that the scandal has damaged their confidence in church authorities.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:21 AM

Ruling favors priest

MINNESOTA
Faribault County Register

October 27, 2013
by Brock Buesing - Register Staff Writer (bbuesing@faribaultcountyregister.com) , Faribault County Register

A former Blue Earth priest facing criminal sexual conduct charges caught a break in Faribault County District Court last week.

Judge Douglas Richards ruled in favor of a motion that favored Father Leo Charles Koppala in a motion hearing on Friday, Oct. 18.

Koppala, 47, was serving as a priest for Saints Peter and Paul Catholic Church in Blue Earth and has been charged with second-degree criminal sexual conduct from an alleged event on June 7.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:00 AM

Jimmy Savile's victims suffering from 'war' stress condition after reliving abuse at hospitals

UNITED KINGDOM
Mirror

Some victims of Jimmy Savile have suffered Post Traumatic Stress Disorder as a result of revealing their experiences during the inquiries into the former DJ’s abuse at NHS hospitals.

They developed PTSD or had an ongoing PTSD made worse by the stress of having to go back to the hospitals where they were abused to tell their horrific stories.

Under the terms of the three separate inquiries, victims had to give evidence at either Broadmoor, Stoke Mandeville or Leeds General Infirmary.

They have revealed the experience of having to relive their ordeals at the place the abuse happened caused intense stress.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:55 AM

Ruben Rosario: To regain trust, Twin Cities archdiocese will have to come clean

MINNESOTA
Pioneer Press

By Ruben Rosario
POSTED: 10/26/2013

"Hide the truth and you hide Christ" -- A popular Greek saying.

It was 2002. A publicly embarrassing clergy child sex-abuse scandal was unfolding in a large city on the East Coast. Take a wild guess which one.

It wasn't long before Jonathan Bernstein's phone rang. Bernstein is a successful Los Angeles County-based crisis-management expert. The folks at the other end of the conference call included the archbishop, his spokesperson and a church lawyer.

They expressed interest in hiring his firm but first wanted his general advice on how best to snuff out the inferno of bad publicity.

Bernstein obliged.

"I told them that they needed to do three basic things -- total candor, total transparency and total humility," Bernstein told me last week. "They said, 'Thank you very much,' hung up, and I never heard from them again."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:51 AM

Revered for his work with the poor, McDonough now entangled in abuse cases

MINNESOTA
Star Tribune

Article by: BAIRD HELGESON , Star Tribune Updated: October 26, 2013

Revered for work with poor, the Rev. Kevin McDonough is accused of protecting abusers.

The Rev. Kevin McDonough charmed legislators as chaplain of the Minnesota Senate. He leveraged his community connections to revive a struggling St. Paul parish and school. On his way to the highest levels of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, he gained national stature in helping root out priest sexual misconduct.

Now the charismatic parish priest finds himself at the center of growing controversy and outrage over how the Twin Cities archdiocese handles cases of clergy sex abuse. Newly revealed documents paint a picture of someone protecting accused priests while methodically working behind the scenes to limit damage to the church.

McDonough had a key role in at least three cases of alleged priest sexual misconduct that, combined, have resulted in a lawsuit against the archdiocese, a priest in jail, the resignation of a top archdiocesan official and calls for the resignation of Archbishop John Nienstedt.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:48 AM

October 26, 2013

The Fall of the Roman Imperium?

UNITED STATES
Waiting for Godot to Leave

Kevin O'Brien

St. Peter Damian was writing about child molesting priests and bishops who enabled them a thousand years ago. This paper on Damian by C. Colt Anderson makes the argument that the magisterium is not to be confused with the imperium - that the teaching authority of the Catholic Church (which we believe has the guarantee of infallibility on matters of Faith and Morals) is not the same thing as the ruling authority of the Catholic Church.

In other words, the bishops will, in the long run, teach authoritatively, but they may not manage or administer authoritatively. Indeed, the worldly jurisdiction of the Church is not something clearly spelled out in Scripture or anywhere else, as far as I know. Who Christ is, what He asks of us and how Salvation works - this the Church passes on with a Divine authority. But exactly how the Church is to function as a Thing in the world, and how we are to implement this Thing, we are largely left to work out for ourselves.

One thing we know - the Church is not to function as it is today.

I gave just one example in my most recent post - a known child molesting priest being passed from parish to parish, while a string of bishops, who were fully aware of the harm this man was causing his innocent victims, not only failed to warn parishioners, but lauded the man as being "pious", praising his "character": the pious character of a man who got a 13-year-old pregnant, who tried to perform a forced abortion on her, and who sexually abused dozens of boys over his 30-plus year career.

* How can such bishops, successors to the apostles, not only allow but enable and to an extent pave the way for such crimes?

* How can the infamous German "Bishop of Bling" spend $45 million dollars of Church funds to build himself a house?

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:27 PM

Germany“Bling” Bishop’s 42 million Euros palace renovations…15 thousand Euros bathtub? Vatican Holy Shit!

UNITED STATES
Pope Crimes & Vatican Evils...

Paris Arrow

German Catholics are required to give 10% of their salaries to the Catholic Church (if they want to be buried in the Catholic cemetery). Germany’s church tax, collected by the state and handed over to the churches, raised 5.2 billion euros for the Catholics in 2012. Germany is one of the richest countries in the world. So what does the Vatican Prince – German Bishop do with all that money coming into the Catholic Church treasury? He renovates his Bishop’s Palace with 42 million Euros which includes a 15 thousand Euros bathtub! Vatican Holy Shit!

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:15 PM

He who Cannot be Trusted in Big Things ...

ILLINOIS
Waiting for Godot to Leave

Kevin O'Brien

Across the river from where I live, the neighboring diocese of Belleville, Illinois is a trend-setter. They led the way with the sex abuse scandal in the Church long before the story broke nationally.

NCR reports about Fr. Kownacki, a diocesan priest from the Belleville diocese ...

* In 1973, a 16-year-old girl, Gina Parks, contacted diocesan officials and claimed Kownacki, during a two-year period while he was pastor of a small parish in St. Francisville and later in a parish to which he was transferred in Washington Park, abused her sexually, had intercourse with her, even attempted to cause an abortion when she became pregnant. ... Parks said Kownacki gave her alcohol, promised to help her get into art school and assured her sex was OK because God "wanted people to love each other."

The bishop, knowing this, and knowing that Fr. Kownacki had molested a girl from Guatemala and that "twin boys from Guatemala were living in the Washington Park rectory and also involved sexually with Kownacki" transfers him to St. Theresa parish in Salem, and writes to the parishioners at St. Theresa's of Kownacki's "knowledge, piety, prudence, experience and general character".

* The diocese gathers evidence that while Kownacki is at St. Theresa's, he molests several boys, including an altar server who would later be awarded $5 million in compensation and punitive damages.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:20 PM

SNAP Calls Out Local “Bishop of Bling”

ST. LOUIS (MO)
CBS St. Louis

ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOX) - Does the St. Louis area have it’s own “Bishop of Bling?”

This week the Pope suspended a German bishop for his lavish expenses. David Clohessy, with the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) says a Belleville Bishop should be disciplined as well.

He says Bishop Edward Braxton has spent a small fortune renovating his home and taking trips to Africa.

“We’d like to think that if Bishops spent their money more prudently they could devote more resources to stopping abuse and to healing victims,” Clohessy said.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:28 AM

Bishop of bling

GERMANY
The Economist

THE faithful of Limburg, a diocese in Hesse, have been protesting in front of their Romanesque cathedral, a few even affixing “95 theses” to its door to make their views of their bishop unmistakable. But the prelate, Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst, had already gone to Rome, where he awaits a meeting with Pope Francis that will determine his future. The extent of his excesses is such that it is hard to say which detail most rankles Germans, and not only Catholic ones.

For some it is the petty lying. Last year the bishop flew first class to India to look at some do-goody projects. But when Der Spiegel, a news magazine, confronted him, he insisted that he had flown business class, even signing affidavits. On October 10th prosecutors in Hamburg indicted him for perjury.

For others it is the pomp and luxury. In 2010, two years after he became Germany’s youngest bishop at the age of 48, Bishop Franz-Peter began building a new residence next to the cathedral. The cost was estimated at €5.5m ($7.43m). Then his requests piled up. His bathtub cost €15,000. Instead of resting an advent wreath on an iron frame in his chapel, he wanted it suspended from the ceiling, requiring the roof to be cut open, at a cost of €100,000 instead of €10,000. In total, the cost estimates now run to €31m.

Germans usually expect to read about such clerical ostentation in history books about the Reformation. Pope Francis, who has chosen simplicity and modesty as his message, makes the incongruity even starker. In an increasingly secular Germany this latest scandal is disastrous for the churches.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:38 AM

Bishop Loses Paternity lawsuit, resigns

PERU
CNN

[video]

A Peruvian assistant bishop resigns after a woman reveals he fathered her daughter. Rafael Romo reports.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:42 AM

The Nienstedt shuffle.

MINNESOTA
dotCommonweal

Grant Gallicho October 25, 2013

Yesterday, after shying away from the press for weeks, Archbishop John Nienstedt of St. Paul and Minneapolis responded to the disturbing revelations about the way his diocese has been handling priests accused of sexual misconduct. He apologized to victims and their families. He promised to do better. And he pledged "before God and in memory of my beloved parents"--whose deaths he recounts at the top of his weekly column--"to do all in my power to restore trust here in this local church."

A tall order--made taller still by Nienstedt's reluctance to come clean about the facts of the cases in question. (Last month, Nienstedt's former top canon lawyer, Jennifer Haselberger, publicly revealed that the current and past archbishops of St. Paul-Minneapolis promoted a priest with a history of sexual misconduct--who later went on to abuse children--and failed to notify civil authorities when they learned that another priest had possessed "borderline illegal" images of what appeared to be minors.) In an e-mail interview with Minnesota Public Radio (MPR)--his first since they started reporting on this fiasco weeks ago--Nienstedt answers relatively straightforward questions with something shy of the whole truth.

MPR led by asking why Nienstedt didn't go to the police after learning about the priest whose computer apparently contained "borderline illegal" photos. Here's Nienstedt's response:

NIENSTEDT: The analysis completed in 2004 did not find evidence of possession of child pornography. The images that [former chancellor for canonical affairs Jennifer] Haselberger showed to coworkers were of pop-up ads. Pop-up ads are unsolicited and often attach to the hard drive without the user's awareness or permission.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:54 AM

Archdiocese of St.Paul and Minneapolis Searches for Firm to Review Clergy Files

MINNESOTA
KAAL

Top members of The Archdiocese of St.Paul and Minneapolis continue to search for a firm to review clergy files. Archbishop John Neinstedt called for the review in a post to the churches website Thursday. It is unclear if a law firm or other type of agency will carry out the review.

Legal experts tell KSTP TV that the key to this review will be transparency. Richard Painter of the University of Minnesota Law School said, "This happens in many contexts. In corporations, in government organizations and elsewhere. It is almost always better to confront problems earlier rather than later. To take steps to compensate people, take steps to hold those who are guilty accountable. If there is a cover up, the cost to be paid is going to be much more down the road."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:50 AM

James Valladares, PhD presents new examination of abuse allegations

AUSTRALIA
Digitial Journal

ADELAIDE, Australia (PRWEB) October 26, 2013

An insider’s perspective can sometimes be the most clear. Father James Valladares, takes a hard look at recent child abuse allegations against the Catholic church in his new book, “Hope Springs Eternal in the Priestly Breast: A Research Study on Procedural Justice for Priests-Diocesan and Religious” (published by iUniverse).

The book is a culmination of intense research and hours of candid conversations that Valladares facilitated among both priests and religious superiors. The goal, he says, was to determine a procedure for dealing with abuse allegations that would not compromise priest’s basic right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty as well as the sacred relationship between a priest and his superior.

“The deadliest attacks to the Catholic church are coming from within its own walls,” Valladares says. “I conducted this study to show that society is effectively tarring all priests with the same brush, using the allegations against a select few to discredit others.”

The procedure that Fr. Valladares developed, which is outlined in the book, is based on Scripture, Church traditions and teachings, as well as canon law, moral theology and pastoral praxis. Using this procedure, allegations can be promptly addressed without compromising the basic right of presumed innocence.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:46 AM

Mary Young: Bill would extend rights of child sex-abuse victims to sue

PENNSYLVANIA
Reading Eagle

State Rep. Mark Rozzi said he was talking to a group after a taxpayer rally in Harrisburg last month when someone asked him what else he was up to.

He told them about legislation he is co-sponsoring to raise the statute of limitations on the filing of civil suits in cases of child sexual abuse.

Afterward, one woman stayed behind and began crying.

Rozzi recalled her words: "Mark, I'm 75 years old. I was raped and abused by my uncle when I was 15. It was 60 years ago, and I have never forgotten one thing. I never told anybody."

"We cannot forget," said Rozzi, who alleges he was abused by a priest when he was 13. "It's in your mind every single day."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:40 AM

Hello and Goodbye – review

UNITED KINGDOM
The Guardian

Claire Kilroy
The Guardian, Friday 25 October 2013

Published in a flip-over format, Hello and Goodbye is billed as two Halloween horrors in a single volume: Patrick McCabe does Patrick McCabre, if you will, for McCabe is a master of both the demented narrative and demented narrator. Beneath the ghosts and ghoulies, however, lies a compassionate exploration of the aftermath of psychological damage.

The first novella, Hello Mr Bones, concerns a disgraced Christian Brother and an abused child. However – in a radical departure for Irish fiction – the abused child is the Christian Brother. As a boy, Valentine Shannon had been "interfered with" by the local psychopathic Anglo-Irish toff from the manor, "eccentric pervert" Balthazar Bowen, who styles himself as Mr Bones. Valentine goes on to join the Christian Brothers, only to be ejected after striking a student, one Martin Boan. In an effort to escape his past, he relocates to London and works as a lay teacher. His past, however, catches up with him when Valentine receives a phone call from Mr Bones. This call is even more disturbing than a call from one's abuser might usually be, given that Bowen, or Bohen, or Boan, or Mr Bones, is now dead.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:35 AM

October 25, 2013

Cleveland priest indicted on felony soliciting charge; failed to reveal he was HIV-positive

OHIO
The Plain Dealer

By James F. McCarty, The Plain Dealer
on October 25, 2013

CLEVELAND, Ohio – A Cuyahoga County grand jury today returned a three-count criminal indictment charging the Rev. James McGonegal, the 68-year-old pastor of St. Ignatius of Antioch Church, with soliciting sex from an undercover ranger at Edgewater Park two weeks ago.

Because McGonegal is HIV-positive, and failed to tell the ranger that, the soliciting charge is a third-degree felony.

McGonegal also was charged with abusing harmful intoxicants and public indecency, both misdemeanors.

His lawyer, Henry Hilow, said he had just learned about the indictments and had not yet discussed them with McGonegal.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:35 PM

Three Prison Terms Added For Felon Priest

MISSOURI
KCUR

By DAN VERBECK

A Catholic priest serving a 50-year federal sentence on a Kansas City area child pornography conviction will absorb a new sentence while behind bars.

Reverend Shawn Ratigan pleaded guilty October 25 to state charges at Liberty, MO.

The burly and bearded Ratigan will serve three consecutive 7 year sentences on his admission he had obscene pictures of girls, some under the age of 12.

The priest took the photos during his tenure at churches and schools of the Kansas City- St. Joseph Diocese.

The sentences will not be added to the federal punishment.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:32 PM

MO- Files released on two predators

SPRINGFIELD (MO)
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

Each abused in CA but spent time in MO
The clerics worked in Springfield-Cape diocese
And so did Missouri’s most notorious pedophile priest
Victims blast Spgfld Catholic officials for “continued secrecy”
SNAP to bishop: “Reach out to others who may be in pain right now”

WHAT
Holding signs at a sidewalk news conference, clergy sex abuse victims will urge Springfield - Cape Girardeau Catholic officials to

--publicly disclose the release of long-secret files about two child molesting clerics,
--announce the recent death of Missouri’s most notorious predator priest, and
--post the files and the announcement on diocesan websites and parish bulletins urging more victims, witnesses and whistleblowers to come forward (so that those who committed or concealed crimes will be prosecuted and kids will be safer and victims will get help).

WHEN
Saturday, Oct.26 at noon

WHERE
Outside the Springfield Catholic diocese headquarters (“chancery office”), 601 South Jefferson Ave., (corner of E. Harrison) in Springfield, MO

WHY
More than 200 pages of records about two predator priests who worked in the Springfield-Cape Girardeau diocese have recently been released.

More info about both men can be found at BishopAccountability.org and here:

http://www.semissourian.com/story/2005690.html

http://www.lorpb.com/documents/Clergy-September/Vincentians-(Farris).PDF

http://www.lorpb.com/documents/Clergy-September/Vincentians-(Ruhl).PDF

And last week, Missouri’s most notorious predator priest, Msgr. Thomas O’Brien passed away. He worked at St. Agnes parish in Springfield in the 1950s and has been sued dozens of times for sexually assaulting kids, mostly in the Kansas City area.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:29 PM

Canon lawyers hear from church prosecutor of sex abuse cases

UNITED STATES
National Catholic Reporter

Thomas Reese | Oct. 25, 2013

The experience of the sexual abuse crisis, hopefully, will "help us become more humble, less arrogant and bossy in our ministry," Bishop Charles Scicluna told members of the Canon Law Society of America on Oct. 16 at their annual meeting in Sacramento, Calif.

He described sexual abuse as "an egregious betrayal of sacred trust" that "has the power to stint the normal development of people" and "cause depression, post-traumatic disorders, loss of self-esteem and, most tragically, loss of faith." It "is an expression of the anti-Gospel, a betrayal of the message of compassion and love."

Scicluna began working as the first promoter of justice (roughly equivalent to chief prosecutor) at the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in May 2002, when a "tsunami" of abuse cases hit his office.

As an official of the doctrinal congregation, Scicluna conducted the investigation of Fr. Marcial Maciel Degollado, the founder of the Legionaries of Christ. Despite opposition from some curial cardinals but with the backing of Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, Scicluna pursued the investigation until Maciel was suspended from priestly ministry in 2006. Scicluna also reviewed hundreds of case files of priests who eventually were dismissed from ministry for sexual abuse. He left the congregation in 2012 to become an auxiliary bishop in Malta.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:27 PM

Catholic Church considers 'abuse victims as troublemakers'

AUSTRALIA
The Australian

Pia Akerman
From: The Australian
October 26, 2013

JOHN Ellis, whose lawsuit against the Catholic Church prompted a landmark ruling on the church's liability in sexual abuse claims, has condemned the church's Towards Healing process for treating victims like "troublemakers" and reviving their trauma.

In a submission released by the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, Mr Ellis and his wife Nicola describe their experience as solicitors who have acted for more than 200 victims of clerical sexual abuse.

They say participation in Towards Healing, which the church offers as an alternative to legal action, has led to "significant re-traumatisation" for many victims through its lack of transparency and accountability.

Mr Ellis himself has sought redress for being sexually abused by a priest in the 1970s, starting when he was a 14-year-old altar boy, and tried Towards Healing as an adult before suing the Sydney archdiocese trustees. The NSW Court of Appeal eventually ruled they could not be held liable for damages in abuse claims.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:44 PM

MO - Predator priest is sentenced but nothing changes, SNAP says

MISSOURI
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

For immediate release: Friday October 25, 2013

Statement by Barbara Dorris, Outreach Director, 314-862-7688 SNAPdorris@gmail.com

While today's sentencing ends a legal chapter on one Catholic cleric who committed heinous child sex crimes, it ends nothing about several Catholic clerics who concealed these crimes.

The Kansas City diocese is still headed by a convicted criminal. Every Other person who hid Fr. Ratigan's crimes and misdeeds is still on the church payroll. More lawyers have been brought in. More promises have been made.

But little has changed. Bishop Finn still fights tooth and nail against victims of priests, even those who are proven predators.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:36 PM

OH - Church must do outreach re arrested priest

OHIO
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

For immediate release: Friday October 25, 2013

Statement by Barbara Dorris, SNAP Outreach Director, 314-862-7688 SNAPdorris@gmail.com

Cleveland priest charged with three felony charges
Fr. James McGonegal was arrested after soliciting sex from a uniformed park ranger.

It is important that anyone in his parish, St. Ignatius of Antioch, that has any more information come forward in order to provide prosecutors with as much information as possible to keep this predator away from children or other possible targets.

We hope Cleveland Catholics will continue to speak out about abuse and cover ups. We hope every single Cleveland Catholic or citizen who sees, suspects or suffers abuse will call police, expose wrongdoers, protect kids, deter cover ups and start healing.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:34 PM

Petition calls for resignation of Archbishop John Neinstedt

MINNESOTA
Fox 9

[the petition]

Updated: Oct 25, 2013

ST. PAUL, Minn. (KMSP) -
A St. Paul parishioner has started an online petition calling for the resignation of Archbishop John Neinstedt.

Thomas Lyons collected about 70 signatures on his petition by Friday afternoon.

In a column published Thursday in the online version of The Catholic Sprit, Nienstedt apologized and ordered an outside review of all clergy files at the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis. The archbishop acknowledges "some serious mistakes" and vowed "prudent and ongoing disclosure."

The archdiocese has been under intense scrutiny since whistleblower Jennifer Haselberger went to the Ramsey County attorney's office with claims that church leaders mishandled and covered-up allegations of abuse by priests.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:31 PM

IN DEFENSE OF ARCHBISHOP NIENSTEDT

MINNESOTA
Catholic League

Bill Donohue sent the following letter today to Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganó, the U.S. Papal Nuncio:
Your Excellency:

This letter is in response to a missive sent to you by a motley group of dissident Catholics, as well as those no longer in communion with the Church, asking for the resignation of Archbishop John Nienstedt. The request is illegitimate: Those pressing this issue cite Canon law as the basis of their agenda, yet they themselves belong to organizations that expressly reject the teachings of the Catholic Church on many issues. That is why some U.S. bishops have excommunicated anyone who belongs to some of these rogue Catholic groups.

The Catholic Coalition for Church Reform never mentions the fact that the Archbishop of St. Paul and Minneapolis has no offending priests in ministry, or that he has taken exceptional steps to ensure the integrity of the archdiocese. Not surprisingly, some in the secular media are giving high profile to this orchestrated effort to unseat Archbishop Nienstedt. He deserves better.

The letter you were sent contains many factual errors, all intentionally designed to smear Archbishop Nienstedt. I am enclosing a piece that was published today by Joan Frawley Desmond in the National Catholic Register that accurately describes this issue.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:56 PM

Priest indicted for soliciting sex at park

OHIO
WKYC

CLEVELAND -- The Rev. James McGonegal has been indicted on sex related felony charges.

He has now been formally charged with felony soliciting, abusing harmful intoxicants and public indecency.

The indictment stems from an Oct. 11 incident where McGonegal, 68, a priest at St. Ignatius of Antioch Church on Lorain Avenue.

McGonegal has already pleaded not guilty and has posted bond and is out of jail.

He is accused of soliciting sex from a park ranger at Edgewater Park Oct. 11 by offering to pay him $50 to touch him and exposed himself.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:33 PM

Local Priest Indicted on Sex Related Charges

OHIO
Fox 8

October 25, 2013, by Peggy Sinkovich

CLEVELAND- A priest is now facing felony charges after being indicted on sex related charges.
Rev. James McGonegal is accused of soliciting sex at Edgewater Park earlier this month.
The indictment was released shortly after noon Friday.

McGonegal is now facing three counts, including counts of soliciting and public indecency.

The 68-year-old has “stepped away from his duties” at St. Ignatius of Antioch parish to “attend to his personal matters,” according to a statement released by the Diocese of Cleveland.

A police report states that McGonegal asked a ranger at the park to get into his vehicle.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:01 PM

Catholic priest Ratigan pleads guilty once again in child porn case

MISSOURI
The Kansas City Star

October 25
BY GLENN E. RICE
The Kansas City Star

The final criminal chapter in the child pornography case against a Northland Catholic priest concluded Friday when the Rev. Shawn F. Ratigan pleaded guilty in Clay County Circuit Court to three counts of possessing child pornography.

Ratigan was sentenced to seven years in prison on each felony charge, with the 21-year combined sentence to run concurrent to the 50-year sentence that he recently received in federal court for producing child pornography.

“There are certain offenses that shock the conscience when the defendant takes advantage of people who are unable to defend themselves, and this is one of those cases,” Presiding Circuit Judge Larry D. Harman said when announcing the sentence in Liberty.

Earlier in the hearing, Harman asked Ratigan to explain in his own words the crimes he committed.

Ratigan simply stated, “I possessed them.”

Harman asked if Ratigan was aware that possessing child pornography was illegal.

“Yes sir,” the 48-year-old priest answered.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:59 PM

Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis Confronts Scandal

MINNESOTA
National Catholic Register

by JOAN FRAWLEY DESMOND 10/25/2013

MINNEAPOLIS — In 2002, Archbishop Harry Flynn of St. Paul and Minneapolis spearheaded the passage of the 2002 “Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People,” the U.S. bishops’ landmark effort to overcome a scandalous legacy of clergy sexual abuse of minors and failed episcopal oversight.

Archbishop Flynn, who once chaired the U.S. bishops’ Ad Hoc Committee on Sexual Abuse, retired in 2008, but his successor, Archbishop John Nienstedt, now faces allegations that diocesan leaders, past and present, failed to remove troubled priests from ministry and to report suspected possession of child pornography. The archbishop has now called for an independent review of archdiocesan policies and procedures for handling clergy sexual misconduct.

The recent furor began when Jennifer Haselberger, a canon lawyer who previously worked for the archdiocese, alleged that Archbishop Nienstedt ignored her warnings about the past misconduct of a diocesan priest, Father Curtis Wehmeyer, who would later plead guilty to charges of criminal sexual conduct involving minors and possession of child pornography in November 2012.

Haselberger served as the archdiocese’s chancellor for canonical affairs and also managed the records department from Aug. 18, 2008, to April 30, 2013. After her voluntary departure, which she said was prompted by the archdiocese’s response to her concerns, Haselberger spoke with Minnesota Public Radio (MPR). Documents from the archdiocesan archives were supplied to local police and have been posted on MPR’s website.

She was also critical of instances where she believed the archdiocese failed to immediately forward concerns or allegations to local law enforcement, instead having chosen to conduct its own investigation in advance of such.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:35 PM

Wide-ranging reaction to Nienstedt apology: praise, gratitude — and more calls for resignation

MINNESOTA
MinnPost

By Beth Hawkins

Archbishop John Nienstedt’s apology to clergy sex abuse victims published Thursday drew reactions ranging from praise and gratitude to more calls for his resignation.

“The archbishop is offering humble, thoughtful and decisive leadership,” said Father Bill Deziel, a parish priest who earlier used his church bulletin to ask the archbishop to step down. After the archbishop's statements, the priest said in an email: “I fully support him and his team and these meaningful steps that he is implementing to ensure that no children are ever put in harms way by abusive clergy.”

The Catholic Coalition for Church Reform (CCCR), meanwhile, wrote to Papal Nuncio Carlo Maria Viganó asking for Nienstedt’s resignation and to have a voice in his replacement [PDF].

“We have grave concerns that the pastoral needs of the archdiocese will be compromised by the amount of time, energy and money that Archbishop Nienstedt will expend as he defends himself and his previous actions in the ongoing sexual abuse and cover-up crisis,” the group’s leaders wrote.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:32 PM

MPR SHOWS BIAS

MINNESOTA
Catholic League

Bill Donohue comments on an interview that St. Paul and Minneapolis Archbishop John Nienstedt gave to Minnesota Public Radio (MPR):

It is not uncommon for the leader of any organization to be on the firing line for decisions made by his predecessor and his staff. But in this regard, bishops have no rival: sitting bishops are being held responsible to an absurd degree for the rulings made by those who preceded them.

Two days ago, MPR published the e-mail interview it had with Archbishop Nienstedt. There was one question that showed palpable bias: “Why haven’t you released the names of offending priests?”

The question suggests that MPR knows about a cover-up of guilty priests. It turns out that it does not, which is why it did not name names. Nienstedt replied, “There are no offending priests in active ministry in our archdiocese.” So why did MPR assume he was guilty?

Nienstedt then addressed the issue of falsely accused priests who have been exonerated—a subject that MPR, and the media in general, have been strikingly incurious about—saying that it “would be wrong to publicize their names as offenders when they have not been proven to be offenders.” Good for him.

Equal justice demands that if the leaders of other religious and secular organizations do not publicize the names of those who are accused, but not convicted, then neither should the bishops. Does MPR’s parent organization, NPR, go public with accusations made against its employees?

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:29 PM

MN - Four more ways MN Catholic officials aren't "transparent"

MINNESOTA
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

For immediate release: Friday, Oct. 25

Statement by Bob Schwiderski Minnesota SNAP Director, (952 471 3422, skibrs@q.com )

You can’t make this stuff up.

Yesterday, Archbishop John Nienstedt wrote “We must also be committed to honesty and transparency.”

[Archdiocese]

But he refuses to give interviews. And he and other top Twin Cities Catholic officials refuse to disclose

--who’s allegedly been hired to review archdiocesan clergy child sex abuse files

[Minnesota Public Radio]

--who's allegedly been hired as the new outside archdiocesan public relations firm

--who’s allegedly investigating an accused predator priest at a Catholic university

[Star Tribune]

--who's on the archdiocesan ‘review board’ that looks at specific child sex abuse reports and that found a child sex abuse report against Fr. Michael Keating lacks “sufficient evidence.”

[Minnesota Public Radio]

This is being “open and transparent?”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:25 PM

Watykan wyda arcybiskupa do Polski? Chodzi o pedofilię

POLSKA
Dziennik

{Summary: Prosecutors are heading to the Vatican to seek help in its investigation of Archbishop Jozef Wesolowski, former papal nuncio to the Dominican Republic. Wesolowski allegedly abused minors in the Dominican Republic but he can be prosecuted in Poland under Polish law. The want to know if the archbishop is a national of the Vatican, are Vatican State authorities conducting their proceedings with respect to the allegations, is he covered by diplomatic immunity regarding acts of abuse of minors.]

Prokuratura Okręgowa w Warszawie kieruje do Watykanu kilka ważnych z punktu widzenia śledztwa pytań:

1. Czy arcybiskup Józef Wesołowski posiada obywatelstwo watykańskie?

2. Czy odpowiednie organy państwa watykańskiego prowadzą swoje postępowanie w sprawie czynów, o jakie podejrzewają byłego nuncjusza apostolskiego śledczy z Dominikany?

3. Czy prawo państwa watykańskiego dopuszcza możliwość ekstradowania swoich obywateli?

4. Czy czyny polegające na czynnościach seksualnych z wykorzystaniem osób poniżej lat 15 i utrwalaniu treści pornograficznych z małoletnimi poniżej lat 15 objęte były immunitetem dyplomatycznym przyznanym arcybiskupowi Józefowi Wesołowskiemu na Dominikanie, kiedy był nuncjuszem apostolskim. A jeśli tak, to czy po zakończeniu misji dyplomatycznej immunitet taki byłemu nuncjuszowi wciąż przysługuje?

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:02 PM

Will Churches Protect Themselves or Their Victims?

UNITED STATES
In a Mirror Dimly

A few years ago I attended a church that was on the brink of closing down. A previous pastor had left the church in a difficult situation that he’d successfully hidden until it was nearly too late. I was heart sick over the thought of losing our church.

Where would we go if it closed? Would we lose touch with all of our friends?

I really liked our pastor and the simple liturgy they used each Sunday with a focus on communion. They had a lot of great ministry partnerships with groups outside the church. I felt like I was surrounded by people who were on the same page with me.

This was the church where I began to heal from my previous wounds and missteps from evangelicalism in the past, and I hated the thought of losing it.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:51 AM

Pembroke priest charged again

CANADA
The Daily Observer

By Sean Chase, Daily Observer
Friday, October 25, 2013

PEMBROKE - A Pembroke priest is facing more charges of gross indecency and indecent assault

Ontario Provincial Police announced this week that Father Dan Miller had been arrested on the new charges connected with historical sexual offences.

The 69-year-old was released on a promise to appear and will make his next court appearance in Pembroke on Nov. 26.

Miller has already plead guilty to five counts of gross indecency and indecent assault. The incidents involving the boys occurred between 1969 and 1980. Police charged him with six counts in February, 2012, however, the crown has since dropped one of the charges. Ordained in Renfrew in 1969, Miller served in parishes in Arnprior, Deep River, Eganville and Petawawa before 1999 when he was suspended by the Pembroke Diocese.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:13 AM

A search for perspective on the Catholic Church

MINNESOTA
Minnesota Public Radio

10:06 AM, October 25, 2013

Recent revelations about the handling of troubled or abusive priests in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis have led to calls for Archbishop John Nienstedt to resign. Already, key figures in the archdiocese have resigned their leadership positions in the aftermath of a series of reports by MPR News.

In answering questions for the first time in response to the MPR News reports, Nienstedt said Wednesday that he would not resign and he insisted that no offending priests remain in active ministry in the archdiocese. He said he regretted that parishioners and priests had lost confidence in him.

As that story continues to unfold, we take a look at the future of the Roman Catholic Church in Minnesota and beyond. What lies ahead for Nienstedt? How has the church in America changed since the scandal that shook the Boston Archdiocese more than a decade ago? And what can Pope Francis do to help repair the church?

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:09 AM

Our View: Archdiocese risks losing credibility

MINNESOTA
St. Cloud Times

Editorial

Speaking truth to power and doing what you say you will do are hallmarks of credibility — whether it’s a person or an organization.

In the case of the Archdiocese of Minneapolis/St. Paul, a person — the Rev. Bill Deziel — is speaking truth to power because an organization — the archdiocese — is not doing what it said it will do.

Kudos to Dezeil for his courage and credibility. As for the credibility of the archdiocese, well, it’s hanging in the balance.

The Star Tribune reported earlier this week that Dezeil, who leads the 6,000-member Church of St. Peter in the Twin Cities, is openly asking if Archbishop John Nienstedt should step down after recent news reports show archdiocese leadership has failed this decade at doing what it said it would do starting in 2002 — stop covering up clergy sex abuse.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:06 AM

JOANNE McCARTHY: Guilt and redemption

AUSTRALIA
Newcastle Herald

THE last time I saw John was in late September.

He slipped into a public gallery seat in Newcastle Supreme Court. It was the final public hearing day of the NSW Special Commission of Inquiry into NSW Police and Catholic Church handling of child sex allegations.

John was one of the regulars. He nodded and smiled to others - victims of child sex abuse and their parents, like him - who have sat in the gallery since the inquiry started in May.

He smiled at me where I sat in seats taken over by journalists. I smiled back.

We first spoke in September 2007. I found his name in some documents and gave him a call. By that stage he wasn't an employee of the Catholic Church any more.

He was guarded, careful.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:04 AM

“I didn’t do enough.”

MINNESOTA
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

POSTED BY BARBARA DORRIS ON OCTOBER 25, 2013

That’s how one of the most heroic whistleblowers in Catholic history describes her efforts to expose predators and protect kids.

“I didn’t do enough.”

What haunting words. That must send a chill up the spine of anyone who works – or worked - for any Catholic entity in Minnesota.

That’s what Jennifer Haselberger told the Associated Press the other day.

[ABC News]

Haselberger was, for years, a high ranking archdiocesan chancery office staffer in the Twin Cities.

When she saw that her church colleagues and supervisors were ignoring or hiding evidence of possible crimes by predatory priests (including Fr. Jon Shelley and Fr. Curtis Wehmeyer), she spoke up and stepped down.

She’s done more to expose continuing clergy sex cirmes and cover ups than perhaps any Catholic employee since Fr. Thomas Doyle.

Even so, she now feels like she “didn’t do enough.”

Imagine how her former peers – in the chancery office, in parishes, in parochial schools – will feel years from now when the teacher or seminarian or nun or priest or brother who they suspected might have acted inappropriately with a child is arrested for child sex crimes (like Fr. Wehmeyer was) or for adult sex crimes (like Fr. Mark Huberty was) or found guilty in court (like Fr. Robert Kapoun was) or suspended (like Fr. Michael Keating was).

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:01 AM

A brave mother

CANADA
Sylvia's Site

Most of you are aware by now that further charges have been laid against convicted molester Father Daniel Miller.

I urge anyone out here who has sex abuse allegations against Father Miller and has been struggling to come forward to seriously consider doing so now.

My thoughts and prayers are with all of you – those victims who are awaiting the sentencing from the first set of charges, the complainant who recently came forward, and those who may still be struggling.

I also want to draw your attention to another Victim Impact Statement which has just been posted, this by a mother whose sons were sexually abused by Father Dan Miller. This is the woman who went to see Father Miller down and smacked him across the face after she found out that he had molested her boys. She is the mother who – believe it or not - was told by a bishop that she needed anger management counselling!

Here is the VIS of this brave mother whose world came tumbling down when she discovered that the priest she had confided in and trusted had been molesting her boys:

17 September 2013: Victim Impact Statement by mother whose sons were sexually abused by Father Daniel Miller

I thank her for allowing me to share her statement with all of you.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:04 AM

Child victim of former Chichester priest rejects compensation

UNITED KINGDOM
Bognor Regis Observer

THE VICTIM of child abuse by a former Chichester priest has rejected a compensation package from the diocese.

The man, who cannot be identified, was sexually abused as a boy between 1982 and 1984 in Chichester by Robert Coles, 71, who is now serving an eight-year jail term for the offences.

The victim told the BBC this week he wanted an amount ‘in proportion’ to his suffering.

He has rejected a six-figure sum from the diocese.

Coles pleaded guilty last December to 11 offences against this victim, and also two other boys, aged ten at the time.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:39 AM

Is the Catholic Church still the world's moral authority?

UNITED STATES
Fox News

By Christopher Snyder
Heard on Fox
Published October 24, 2013

The Catholic Church is more than 1 billion strong, but has been weakened in recent years by secularization and abuse scandals. While the church is growing globally, a recent Pew study found nearly one-third of Americans who were raised Catholic no longer practice the religion.

Fox News Chief Religion Correspondent Lauren Green asked former U.S. Ambassador to the Holy See Francis Rooney whether the Catholic Church is still the world's moral authority.

Rooney says even with the child sex abuse, Vatileaks scandals and a declining number of faithful attending church each week, the church still has the power to lead. “The principles which compromise the Holy See’s diplomatic outreach are enduring … in many parts of the world where scandal hasn’t occurred … [the Catholic Church has] the greatest impact in areas that are marginalized, where Christians are persecuted, “said Rooney.

Pope Benedict XVI resigned as the leader of the Catholic Church in February 2013. Green asked if it

“I don’t think it was the scandals per say… you gotta remember that Benedict was part of the solution … he was the fella that changed the procedures to make sure that the Vatican would have a voice when these [sex abuse] cases came up and that Bishops wouldn’t be able to sweep them under the rug and avoid calling in the civil authorities,” said Rooney.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:27 AM

Bishop of bling learns reform begins in washroom

UNITED STATES
St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Rev. Christopher W. Keating

As German bishop Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst learned this week, church reform begins at home. More to the point, it often starts in the bathroom.

In fact, one could argue that’s exactly how the Protestant Reformation began.

The bishop’s upscale taste landed him in hot water with the Vatican. Tebartz-van Elst was suspended from his post after it was revealed that he had spent millions renovating his church-owned residence in Limburg. Among other excesses, the bishop had ordered a $20,000 bathtub. Rubber ducky sold separately.

Germans who are church members, incidentally, are required by law to give 8-10% of their income to the church.

The remodeling news came to light after it was revealed that the bishop had recently flown business class on a trip to India to visit impoverished communities. All of this seems to have garnered the attention of the pope, who has shunned a lavish lifestyle and drives a 20-year old clunker around the Vatican grounds. The pope’s commitment to simple living has been a hallmark of his papacy. I’m sure he takes quick showers, too.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:24 AM

Accused takes the stand in Saskatchewan residential school abuse case

CANADA
Ottawa Citizen

BY THE CANADIAN PRESS OCTOBER 25, 2013

BATTLEFORD, Sask. - A former dormitory supervisor at a residential school in Saskatchewan has taken the stand in his defence and denied all charges of indecently assaulting students.

Paul Leroux, who is representing himself at trial, went through the list of allegations one by one Thursday and refuted them all.

He said one incident of sexual abuse couldn't possibly have happened because the room one complainant alleges he was molested in didn't exist at the time.

He said another alleged incident at a Saskatoon hotel couldn't have happened because he never travelled to Saskatoon with the school's choir or stayed in a hotel with them.

When his testimony was complete, Leroux finished by saying he wished all of his former students well, including his accusers.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:20 AM

Commission for victims of violence Catholic Church

NETHERLANDS
NL Times

A special committee will compensate people who fell victim to excessive force in the Roman Catholic Church as minors, announced the church on Thursday.The committee already started on October 15, and will offer help, and acknowledge the suffering of the victims.

The church started this initiative in response to the call of Wim Deetman, who studied female victims of excessive force in the Catholic Church. Victims who already reported to Deetman or the RKK Sexual Abuse Hotline, will be informed about compensation after November 30.

The independent committee consists of René Westra, Wiel Stevens, Pieter Kalbfleisch, and Secretary Bert Kreemers. They will look into reports of violence against children to the RKK Sexual Abuse Hotline and the Deetman commission. The focus is on sexual abuse, for which there is a different arrangement.

Wim Deetman proposed to establish such a committee in March. People who reported to the committee or Hotline will be informed after November 30 about the status of their report. The committee checks the validity of the report, and whether any additional information is needed from the victim.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:16 AM

Nienstedt Says Mistakes Were Made, Offers Apology

MINNESOTA
WCCO

[with video]

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Twin Cities Archbishop John Nienstedt acknowledged Thursday that “serious mistakes” have been made in how he’s handled allegations of clergy sexual misconduct. It’s his strongest wording yet over the ongoing scandal rocking the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis.

The Archbishop wrote his thoughts in the Catholic Spirit newspaper, titled “My Pledge to Restore Trust.”

In one sentence he writes, “with genuine sorrow, I apologize to all those who have been victimized, whether on my watch or not.”

In the lengthy column Nienstedt acknowledges that questions remain, specifically over policies and procedures used by the Archdiocese to identify and prevent clergy sexual misconduct. ...

Bob Schwiderski was abused by a priest as a child. Today, as state director of SNAP, which represents similar victims, he says another task force isn’t what’s needed.

“We don’t need independent people without subpoena power. We need law enforcement looking at potential crimes. We don’t need independent people picked by him,” Schwiderski adds.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:11 AM

Slachtoffers seksueel misbruik Kerk krijgen ongelijk

NEDERLAND
De Standaard

De katholieke kerk is niet aansprakelijk voor de ‘doofpotschade’ die de slachtoffers van seksueel misbruik hebben geleden. Dat heeft de Gentse rechtbank dinsdag beslist.

Verschillende slachtoffers van seksueel misbruik binnen de kerk stapten in groep naar de rechter en dienden een klacht in tegen de Heilige Stoel - de ‘ceo’s van de kerk’ - voor schuldig verzuim. Het ging de slachtoffers niet om de feiten van misbruik zelf, die al lang verjaard zijn, maar om het ‘onzorgvuldig beleid’ van de kerk, waardoor slachtoffers decennia in de kou zijn blijven staan. Ze eisten 1 miljoen euro schadevergoeding voor deze 'doofpotschade'.

De Gentse rechtbank sprak de kerk dinsdag echter over de hele lijn vrij. De rechter volgde de verdediging van de kerk dat de Heilige Stoel niet kan vervolgd worden omdat die soevereine immuniteit geniet.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:10 AM

Church-state issues and the Royal Commission

AUSTRALIA
Eureka Street

Frank Brennan | 24 October 2013

Address to the Australian Lawyers Alliance Conference, Rydges Lakeside, Canberra, 26 October 2013

Putting the case for state intervention in church affairs

On 31 October 2012, I was privileged to deliver the 2012 Law and Justice Oration at Parliament House in Sydney. I said:

You will all know that these are not easy times for Catholic priests; and they have never been easy times for those children in our society who have been sexually abused, a disproportionate number of them by Catholic priests. When in Sydney in July 2008, Pope Benedict XVI apologised in these words: 'I…acknowledge the shame which we have all felt as a result of the sexual abuse of minors by some clergy and religious in this country. Indeed, I am deeply sorry for the pain and suffering the victims have endured and I assure them that, as their pastor, I too share in their suffering. These misdeeds, which constitute so grave a betrayal of trust, deserve unequivocal condemnation.' I adopt his apology without demurrer.

Whatever our religion or none, whatever our love or loathing of the Catholic Church, what is to be done in the name of law and justice? Clearly, the Church itself cannot be left alone to get its house in order. That would be a wrongful invocation of freedom of religion in a pluralist, democratic society. The State may have a role to play. As our elected politicians prudentially decide how best to proceed, they need assistance from lawyers committed to justice, not lawyers acting primarily to protect the Church or to condemn it. The Catholic Church in Victoria has admitted that 'in the past 16 years, about 620 cases of criminal child abuse have been upheld by the Church in Victoria'. In the Archdiocese of Melbourne alone, 301 complaints have been upheld since 1996.

Professor Patrick Parkinson, probably the nation's most experienced academic lawyer in the field, having conducted the 2009 Study of Reported Child Sexual Abuse in the Anglican Church and having advised the Catholic Church on its Towards Healing protocol, informed the Victorian Parliament last month:

[T]here were 44 allegations of abuse [since 1990] within the Anglican diocese of Melbourne which fitted within the criteria of our study.

Archbishop Hart [the Catholic Archbishop of Melbourne] referred to 60 priests…of the archdiocese of Melbourne, who are substantiated offenders against children. We found 78 across the country against whom allegations were made in the Anglican Church. It gives you a sense of the scale of the problem.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:07 AM

Catholic priest speaks out on child abuse in Syracuse visit

NEW YORK
CNY Central

[with video]

by Kellie Cowan
Posted: 10.25.2013

The Catholic Church has been rocked by child abuse scandals that have received plenty of publicity in recent years, but the only thing perhaps more scandalous has been the reaction from the church regarding the victims. Silence, high-level cover ups, even threats have left many to wonder who the church hierarchy are actually trying to protect.

Tonight Rev. Tom Doyle, a catholic priest and retired Air Force Major, spoke at All Saints Church in Syracuse about the need for reform in the way the Catholic Church handles sexual abuse cases.

"Victims are just swept under the rug," said Parrish member Jane LeClair. "It's like it's all about trying to dismiss any embarrassment in the Catholic Church."

Doyle hopes that an open and honest discussion about child abuse within the church, and the way in which the church treats victims, will create much needed change. Though he has spoken across the country and the world on church reform, the Catholic Church has been apprehensive at best to give Doyle a platform. Tonight Doyle divulged that All Saints Church is just the fifth catholic venue to allow him to speak on the topic of child abuse within its walls.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:03 AM

October 24, 2013

Catholic Coalition for Church Reform Votes No Confidence in the Leadership of Archbishop John C. Nienstedt

MINNESOTA
The Progressive Catholic Voice

Minneapolis October 24, 2013 — Despite his statements of October 24 in The Catholic Spirit, the Catholic Coalition for Church Reform (CCCR) has urged Archbishop John C. Nienstedt to step down from his role as head of the Saint Paul/Minneapolis Archdiocese in a letter to him dated October 24, 2013.

At its meeting of October 16, 2013, the board of CCCR resolved to write to Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganó, the Vatican delegate to the U.S., stating its vote of no confidence in the leadership of the Archbishop. The Vatican delegate, whose office is at 3339 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington DC 20008, is charged with recommending episcopal appointments to the Vatican.

Also in its letter, CCCR sought recognition for lay consultation in selection of the archdiocese’s next bishop, whenever that happens. They asked the papal delegate “to seek recommendations from all the people of the Archdiocese—ordained and lay, as well as men and women religious—in the matter of a successor Archbishop or any bishops appointed hereafter.”

The letter to Archbishop Viganó was held pending the Archbishop’s statement in the Archdiocesan newspaper, The Catholic Spirit, October 24, then copied to Archbishop Nienstedt with the letter asking him to resign.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:39 PM

Archbishop Nienstedt says no offending priests are in active ministry

MINNESOTA
MinnPost

By Brian Lambert

The archbishop has spoken … or at least written. Madeleine Baran of MPR continues her coverage of the church’s local problems saying: “Archbishop John Nienstedt said he accepts responsibility for addressing the unfolding clergy sexual abuse crisis and regrets that a growing number of parishioners and priests in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis have ‘lost confidence’ in him. However, he denied any abuse cover-up or illegal actions and repeated the archdiocese's claim that there are no offending priests in active ministry. Nienstedt's remarks came in an e-mailed response to questions from MPR News. It's the first time the archbishop has answered questions about the scandal since MPR News began publishing investigative reports in late September. … Nienstedt wrote ... ‘My highest priorities are to ensure the safety of our children and to restore the trust of Catholics and our clergy. I will do everything in my power to do so.' " Will this be before or after the next anti-gay campaign?

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:28 PM

Mistakes made in Catholic clergy sex abuse probes: Minnesota archbishop

MINNESOTA
WTAQ

Thursday, October 24, 2013
MINNEAPOLIS (Reuters) - The Roman Catholic archbishop of the Minneapolis-St. Paul Archdiocese said on Thursday that serious mistakes had been made in the archdiocese's investigations of allegations of sex abuse by clergy and he has ordered a review of all of its files by an outside firm.

"To those who have been hurt, to the victims of clergy abuse and their family members, I can only tell you how sorry I am," Archbishop John Nienstedt said in the archdiocese's official publication. "I realize how damaging such actions are in violating the care of their human dignity."

But David Clohessy, director of the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests, said Nienstedt's review plan would only result in more secrecy and his statement did not reveal the names of sexual predators.

"He knows who should look at these records, the cops," Clohessy said. "But he continues to act irresponsibly, to protect the predators and to endanger kids."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:19 PM

Slachtoffers kerk krijgen schadevergoeding

NEDERLAND
FOK

[Summary: Those who as minors were victims of excessive violence in the Catholic church may received compensation. A special committee will review the cases, the church announced Thursday.]

Mensen die als minderjarige slachtoffer werden van excessief geweld in de katholieke kerk kunnen een schadevergoeding krijgen. Een speciale commissie gaat zich daarover buigen, heeft de kerk donderdag bekendgemaakt.

De kerk komt met de stap tegemoet aan de oproep van Wim Deetman, die onderzoek deed naar vrouwelijke slachtoffers van buitensporig geweld in de katholieke kerk. Slachtoffers die zich al bij Deetman of het Meldpunt Seksueel Misbruik RKK hebben gemeld, worden na 30 november over de schadevergoeding geïnformeerd.

De commissie bestaat uit Pieter Kalbfleisch, Wiel Stevens en René Westra en wordt ondersteund door psychologen en deskundigen. Als alle gevallen zijn afgehandeld, zal de commissie publiekelijk verantwoording afleggen.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:50 PM

Twin Cities archbishop plans outside audit of priest files

MINNESOTA
Pioneer Press

[Archbishop Addresses Media Questions - St. Paul and Minneapolis archdiocese]

[My pledge to restore trust]

By Emily Gurnon
egurnon@pioneerpress.com
POSTED: 10/24/2013

Archbishop John Nienstedt admitted to Catholics on Thursday that "some serious mistakes have been made" in the handling of clergy sex-abuse cases.

Nienstedt apologized to all victims of abusive priests and promised to institute changes, including "a review of all clergy files by an outside firm."

An archdiocese spokesman said Thursday that he did not know who that firm is.

In a written statement titled, "My pledge to restore trust," Nienstedt said that "sweeping changes" made in every diocese after the 2002 U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops in Dallas led him and others to hope that clergy sex abuse was a thing of the past.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:44 PM

Archbishop Nienstedt hires firm for external review

MINNESOTA
KARE

ST. PAUL, Minn. - Archbishop John Nienstedt has hired an outside firm to examine whether any priests in ministry pose a danger to children.

Writing in his weekly column, Nienstedt said he ordered the review after reading recent media reports and hearing from "so many Catholic faithful" that there is "real fear that some priests in ministry today constitute a danger to children."

He said would never knowingly allow such a situation and decided to order a review of all clergy files by an outside firm.

The announcement comes after intense scrutiny over how Nienstedt has handled clergy misconduct in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis. An MPR News investigation has found that church officials disregarded concerns over priest misconduct over the past ten years.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:41 PM

Abuse Allegations Leave Twin Cities Archdiocese In Turmoil

MINNESOTA
NPR

[with audio]

by MADELEINE BARAN
October 24, 2013

The Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis has been rocked in recent weeks by revelations from a top-level whistle-blower. The former official says church leaders covered up numerous cases of sexual misconduct by priests and even made special payments to pedophiles.

The scandal is notable not only because of the abuse but also because it happened in an archdiocese that claimed to be a national leader in dealing with the issue.

To understand what's happening now, it helps to go back to 2002, when the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops faced a crisis brought on by its failure to remove abusive priests from ministry.

'I Wanted Them To Do The Right Thing'

Archbishop Harry Flynn of St. Paul and Minneapolis emerged as a national leader on the issue, urging bishops at a now-historic conference in Dallas to root out what he called a cancer in the church.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:39 PM

Priest abuse: the difference women can make

UNITED STATES
National Catholic Reporter

Robert McClory | Oct. 24, 2013 NCR Today

The recent story about Jennifer Haselberger, a former chancellor for the St. Paul-Minneapolis archdiocese who finally blew the whistle on long unreported allegations of sexual abuse by priests, calls to mind a similar key role some years ago played by a woman in the Belleville, Ill., diocese.

In that case, a priest, Raymond Kownacki, was moved due to ecclesiastical indifference from parish to parish for more than 25 years despite a mounting host of allegations and complaints about his sexual activities with countless boys and at least one girl. During that time, three bishops of Belleville had to be personally aware of Kownacki's well-documented history. As the chancellor of the diocese testified at a later trial, "Everyone at the chancery office knew Kownacki was sick and liked to molest children."

Yet the parishes to which he was assigned were never given any warning. Bishops Albert Zuroweste, John Wurm and James Keleher sent these parishes glowing comments about Kownacki's dedicated priestly service and confidence in his ability to carry out his duties. In 1988, Kownacki was sent to a Belleville church that had a grade school next door. No restrictions of any kind were placed on his ministry or other activities.

In 1993, the Belleville diocese finally adopted a policy about clerical sexual misconduct and set up a seven-member review board (three priests and four lay members), which was given access to the diocesan records. It did not take long for Margie Mensen, the board's administrator and lone woman member, to see what had been going on. She viewed the evidence, met with parents, then firmly recommended that Kownacki be immediately removed from all ministry. The board unanimously supported her, and Kownacki was put on administrative leave, where he remains to this day. It is likely Mensen was the first woman to ever see that record of gross abuse that had been mounting for so many years.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:36 PM

Irish orders falling short of aid for abuse victims

IRELAND
National Catholic Reporter

Dennis Coday | Oct. 24, 2013 NCR Today

Five years ago, 18 religious orders in Ireland pledged to set aside 110 million euros (about $160 million at the time) to pay for the treatment for survivors of institutional abuse, but to date they are about 40 million euros short of that figure, The Irish Independent is reporting.

The orders, which ran various schools and residential homes for children and vulnerable adults in Ireland, including the Christian Brothers and the Daughters of Charity, turned over only 72 million euros to the Residential Institutions Statutory Fund, or RISF.

Some 15,000 people are thought to be eligible for grants from RISF, which is to begin issuing funds in January.

The orders have blamed the depressed property market for the shortfall, according the The Independent, which quote an unnamed source as saying: "They made the commitment at the time based on property and property prices. Obviously, as we all know, their value has fallen since then."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:33 PM

MN - Archbishop does "boilerplate PR"

MINNESOTA
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

MN archbishop will comment on his crisis today; SNAP responds

MN - What to look for today from Archbishop Nienstedt

MN archbishop's answer: "I'll hire more lawyers"

For immediate release: Thursday October

Statement by Barbara Dorris, Outreach Director, 314-862-7688 SNAPdorris@gmail.com

We agree with Nienstedt: he and his staff can “do better.” But they don’t.

Instead they posture. And they perpetuate the fallacy that child abuse is the root of this inexcusable horror.

It’s not.

Priests that sexually assault adults and kids are NOT the root of this crisis. All kinds of trusted adults sexually violate the vulnerable. (And it’s pretty hard to stop them, at least before the first offense.)

The cover up of those crimes that is the root of this crisis. (That’s what enables the second and 22nd offense. And that’s what enrages Catholics, citizens and victims – knowing that prompt, honest and responsible moves by Nienstedt and his staff would have prevented others from being hurt by at least some of the 34 publicly accused abusive Twin Cities clerics.)

And the cover up is what Nienstedt refuses to mention today. Conveniently, he focuses on just how bad those awful predator priests are, cleverly diverting attention from his actions that ignore, minimize, conceal and enable those predator priests to commit their heinous crimes.

It’s deliberate deception. It’s a carefully-devised public relations calculation designed to shift blame and attention to those who can’t control themselves (the predators) and attention away from those who won’t control them (their peers and supervisors, the Nienstedts, McDonoughs, Bairds, et al.)

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:04 PM

Archbishop orders outside review of all clergy abuse files

MINNESOTA
KMSP

by Mike Durkin

ST. PAUL, Minn. (KMSP) -
Archbishop John Nienstedt has ordered an outside review of all clergy files, while acknowledging "some serious mistakes" over the last decade in how the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis handled allegations of clergy sexual abuse.

Nienstedt's comments and action plan were published Thursday in a column for The Catholic Spirit, titled, "My pledge to restore trust."

"Having seen so many reports in the media and read the letters and emails of so many Catholic faithful as well as the general public, I am aware that there is real fear that some priests in ministry today constitute a danger to children. I could never knowingly allow such a situation," Nienstedt wrote. "In order to demonstrate this fact, I have ordered a review of all clergy files by an outside firm. We need to ascertain the facts, and this will lead us to prudent and ongoing disclosure."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:43 PM

Specter of bankruptcy may loom over archdiocese

MINNESOTA
MinnPost

By Brian Lambert | 10/23/13

It was only a matter of time before the question came up. Tom Scheck of MPR reports: “Recent reports about clergy misconduct in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis threaten to put new financial pressure on an institution already under some financial strain. Even before recent revelations about alleged misconduct of priests, the archdiocese was concerned about the impact a new law could bring in dozens of new lawsuits against the church for clergy sex abuse. In fact, church officials met privately with attorneys to discuss ways to protect archdiocese assets from creditors. … Scott Domeier, a former accountant for the archdiocese, said bankruptcy was discussed openly among top officials. Domeier, who is serving three years in prison for filing improper tax returns and stealing more than $600,000 from the archdiocese, said church leaders constantly worried about legislation that would extend the statute of limitations for sex abuse victims to file a civil suit against their abuser.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:41 PM

Priest: I didn't lure schoolgirl into sex

KENYA
Standard Digital

By Erick Abuga

A Catholic priest has denied luring a schoolgirl into bed with bananas and oranges for her sick mother.

Father Thomas Gori had allegedly been sending the 14-year-old girl with the fruits to her mother in hospital for three years before the sex attack.

On October 12 when he allegedly had sex with her in Ikuruma village, the priest had told the Standard 7 girl that he was going to pray for her, a Kisii court heard.

Resident magistrate Lucy Kaitani freed the priest on a Sh500,000 bond as he awaits trial.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:39 PM

My pledge to restore trust

MINNESOTA
The Catholic Spirit

Archbishop Addresses Media Questions

Archbishop John C. Nienstedt | October 24, 2013

It was Dec. 13, 2007. I remember it well. I had just returned from a meeting of the college of consultors of the New Ulm Diocese, having presided over the selection of a new apostolic administrator to take my place as bishop. The phone rang and my brother said, “Dad is dead.”

I pulled the car over to absorb those words. Six weeks later I stood at my mother’s hospital bed and watched her die. It was an extremely painful time in my life, losing both parents within such a short period. My parents had been very close to me. They had a huge influence on who I am. I could not have asked for better parents.

I recall those moments now, because the pain and sorrow I felt then reflects that which I have heard from so many of you in your own suffering and disillusionment these past few weeks. I want you to know that I have been praying for all of you. I am experiencing that pain, too. The media have been filled with all kinds of accusations and unanswered questions. There is cause here for sadness, confusion and anger.

After almost a month, I have come to understand more clearly what has happened to bring us to this point. I am grateful to my leadership team, which has helped me process this understanding. Practically all of my senior leadership team is new, with an average tenure of less than a year. We have been searching for answers. And while there is more to do, we have arrived at a better picture of the truth.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:24 PM

Archbishop Nienstedt hires firm for external review of clergy files

MINNESOTA
Minnesota Public Radio

by Tom Scheck, Minnesota Public Radio
October 24, 2013

ST. PAUL, Minn. — Archbishop John Nienstedt has hired an outside firm to examine whether any priests in ministry pose a danger to children.

Writing in his weekly column, Nienstedt said he ordered the review after reading recent media reports and hearing from "so many Catholic faithful" that there is "real fear that some priests in ministry today constitute a danger to children."

He said would never knowingly allow such a situation and decided to order a review of all clergy files by an outside firm.

The announcement comes after intense scrutiny over how Nienstedt has handled clergy misconduct in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis. An MPR News investigation has found that church officials disregarded concerns over priest misconduct over the past ten years.

"The first thing that must be acknowledged is that over the last decade some serious mistakes have been made," Nienstedt wrote Thursday. "There is reason to question whether or not the policies and procedures were uniformly followed. There is also a question as to the prudence of the judgments that have been made."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:18 PM

Archbishop admits mishandling of misconduct cases

MINNESOTA
Pioneer Press

By AMY FORLITI Associated Press
POSTED: 10/23/2013

MINNEAPOLIS—The Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis made serious mistakes in the way it handled allegations of clergy sexual misconduct in the last decade, Archbishop John Nienstedt acknowledged Thursday as he announced he has ordered an external review of all priest files.

Nienstedt apologized to victims in a column posted on the website of The Catholic Spirit, the archdiocese's official newspaper, and said he knows the ultimate responsibility is his as head of the local church.

"My heart is heavy with the agony that these errors have caused," he wrote.

The archdiocese has come under fire since a former employee claimed church leaders mishandled abuse allegations. Nienstedt's top deputy has stepped down, police are investigating, and there have been public calls for Nienstedt to resign. ...

David Clohessy, national director of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, said Nienstedt's words are just more of the same and any external review would not be independent if ordered by the archbishop.

"Nothing he can say will matter. Only what he does matters," Clohessy said. "And today he exposes no predators, disciplines no enablers, reveals no secrets, and deters no cover ups. It's just more promises from a bishop who has repeatedly broken promises."

Clohessy said secrecy is a key part of the problem. His group has called for the archdiocese to make public a list of 33 priests it has identified as having credible allegations of abuse lodged against them.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:15 PM

Activist says media helps fight abuse

UNITED STATES
Associated Baptist Press

“Something's terribly wrong when ESPN is calling for the truth, but the church remains silent.”

By Bob Allen

A lifelong Baptist who advocates on behalf of clergy sex-abuse victims says the media is doing more to promote healing and children’s safety than pastors who try to keep it out of the headlines.

Amy Smith, Houston representative of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, reacted to recent remarks by a Southern Baptist seminary president that church members should “just accept” wrong and injustice rather than taking church matters to civil authorities or the press.

“We don’t take matters before unbelievers,” Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary President Paige Patterson said in a chapel sermon Oct. 15. “What goes on in the church of God doesn’t go to the press.”

Patterson didn’t specify what kind of internal matters he meant, but critics termed his blanket statement ill-advised and potentially dangerous given evangelicals’ poor track record of mishandling reports of known or suspected criminal abuse in churches.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:48 PM

USA ambassador to Vatican - for what exactly? “Pray” with the pope in one office, in one basilica that equals “one country”?

UNITED STATES
Pope Crimes & Vatican Evils...

Paris Arrow

Updated October 24, 2013

On October 21, 2013, the Vatican Information Service publish the audiences that Pope Francis met - for a few minutes - and the new American Ambassador was one of them. It said a few words, Kenneth F. Hackett, the new ambassador of the United States to the Holy See, presenting his credential letters.

Credentials for what? Theology? Agreement for the Pope's ultra conservative doctrines that are totally obsolete and useless for the poor of Christ!

We do not need to pay millions of dollars for some theological papaers that anyone can now read in Google.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:46 PM

MN archbishop's answer: "I'll hire more lawyers"

MINNESOTA
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

MN archbishop will comment on his crisis today; SNAP responds

MN - What to look for today from Archbishop Nienstedt

For immediate release: Thursday, October 24

David Clohessy, Director, SNAP, Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, (7234 Arsenal Street, St. Louis MO 63143), 314 566 9790 cell ( SNAPclohessy@aol.com )

In response to scandal stemming from secrecy, Archbishop John Nienstedt proposes more secrecy.

[Catholic Spirit]

He does one thing today – he promises hiring more lawyers. That’s all. The rest of his column is just more promises from a powerful prelate who keeps breaking old promises.

Here’s the only real change: Soon the number of hand-picked, church-paid lawyers looking at predators' files will go from six or eight to 12 or 14. That's not progress.

Those files – all of them – must be turned over to law enforcement. Despite his protestations to the contrary, this is “clear” to Nienstedt. But he refuses to do it.

It doesn't matter if they're paid permanently or temporarily by Nienstedt. The lawyers he picks aren't police or prosecutors. They're regular employees or contract employees. They're beholden to him. And they'll help him keep his secrets secret, as church lawyers have virtually always done. (The one exception, obviously, is Jennifer Haselberger.)

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:41 PM

Archbishop Nienstedt apologizes to victims of clergy sex abuse

MINNESOTA
MinnPost

[Archbishop Addresses Media Questions - St. Paul and Minneapolis archdiocese]

By Beth Hawkins

As calls for his resignation swelled, Archbishop John Nienstedt issued a public apology this morning to victims of clergy sex abuse, saying that his understanding of the problem has become clearer over the last month.

“As the head of this local Church, I know that the ultimate responsibility here is mine. My heart is heavy with the agony that these errors have caused,” Nienstedt wrote in a column in the official publication of the Archdiocese, the Catholic Spirit.

“To those who have been hurt, to the victims of clergy abuse and their family members, I can only tell you how sorry I am,” he continued. “I realize how damaging such actions are in violating the care of their human dignity. And so, with genuine sorrow, I apologize to all those who have been victimized, whether on my watch or not.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:38 PM

Silenced priest Fr Iggy O’Donovan gets freedom of town honor in Drogheda

IRELAND
Irish Central

By NICK BRAMHILL, IrishCentral Staff Writer
Published Thursday, October 24, 2013

An outspoken Irish priest, who was removed from his post last month after performing an unconventional baptism, is to receive his former parish's highest honor on Thursday.

Augustinian priest Fr. Iggy O'Donovan clashed with the Vatican on several matters, most recently after a complaint was made that he went against Catholic tradition by allowing godparents to pour water on a baby's head during a baptism.

O’Donovan was hugely popular in Drogheda,a town of 40,000 30 miles from Dublin especially among young people . He is credited with saving many depressed young people from suicide.

The complaint, which was made without the knowledge of the parents who later said they fully supported the cleric, was addressed to Cardinal Sean Brady and subsequently forwarded to Rome.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:37 PM

Archbishop Nienstedt calls for outside audit of priest files

MINNESOTA
Star Tribune

[Archbishop Addresses Media Questions - St. Paul and Minneapolis archdiocese]

BAIRD HELGESON , Star Tribune Updated: October 24, 2013

Twin Cities Archbishop John Nienstedt writes in a new column to the faithful that he is hiring an outside firm to review of clergy files at the archdiocese.

Twin Cities Archbishop John Nienstedt writes in a new column to the faithful that he is hiring an outside firm to review of clergy files at the archdiocese.

Nienstedt’s ordered the review after a new wave of allegations of priest sexual abuse and recent revelations that archdiocese leaders tried to keep the accusations private.

“This is unacceptable,” Nienstedt wrote in a column published Thursday in The Catholic Spirit, the official publication of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis. “As the head of this local Church, I know that the ultimate responsibility here is mine. My heart is heavy with the agony that these errors have caused.”

Nienstedt also apologized to victims, their families and to those who’s faith has been shaken by the allegations.

“To those who have been hurt, to the victims of clergy abuse and their family members, I can only tell you how sorry I am,” he wrote. “The sexual abuse of a minor or vulnerable adult is reprehensible, morally repugnant and goes against Christ’s teachings to promote goodness, life and light. This is not who we are as the Catholic Church.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:33 PM

Victim of sex-abuse priest Robert Coles rejects payout

UNITED KINGDOM
BBC News

A man who was sexually abused as a boy by a Church of England priest has rejected a six-figure compensation offer.

The man, who cannot be identified, was one of a number of boys abused by Robert Coles when he was a priest in Horsham and Chichester, in Sussex.

Coles, of Upperton Road, Eastbourne, was jailed for eight years in February after admitting 11 sex abuse charges.

The victim, now 45, says he wants a sum "in proportion" to his suffering.

'Archbishop appalled'

He told the BBC: "I've been sectioned, I've self-harmed. I've tried to end my life.

"Numerous times I've been in intensive care."

The man, who said he had reported the abuse to Sussex Police in 1997, says he is prepared to go to court to get the compensation he believes he deserves.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:32 PM

Victims urge private funeral for KC priest accused of abuse

MISSOURI
National Catholic Reporter

Dennis Coday | Oct. 24, 2013 NCR Today

Msgr. Thomas J. O’Brien, subject of more than two dozen lawsuits alleging sexual abuse of minors, one of which ended in a $10 million settlement against the Kansas City-St. Joseph diocese, died this week according to his lawyer, The Kansas City Star is reporting. He was 87.

Leaders of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, SNAP, are asking Bishop Robert Finn of Kansas City-St. Joseph to keep funeral services for O’Brien discreet.

Six lawsuits against the diocese involving O’Brien are pending. In July the diocese settled a wrongful-death lawsuit for $2.25 million with the parents of a boy whose family claimed he took his own life 30 years ago because of repeated sexual abuse by O’Brien.

O’Brien, who was ordained a priest in 1950 and served in a number of Kansas City parish, was principal of a Catholic high school 1961-1968 and superintendent of Catholic schools for the diocese 1969-1971.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:29 PM

Nienstedt Says Mistakes Were Made, Offers Apology

MINNESOTA
WJON

[Archbishop Addresses Media Questions - St. Paul and Minneapolis archdiocese]

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) – St. Paul Archbishop John Nienstedt acknowledges “some serious” mistakes have been made in the way the archdiocese handled allegations of clergy sexual misconduct over the last decade, and he pledges new steps to protect the faithful.

Nienstedt made the comments in a column posted Thursday on the website of The Catholic Spirit, the archdiocese’s official newspaper.

The Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis has been under fire since a whistleblower went public with claims that church leaders mishandled abuse allegations. Nienstedt has denied interview requests from The Associated Press.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:26 PM

“CHELSEA LATELY” LIBELS TWO GROUPS

UNITED STATES
Catholic League

Bill Donohue comments on last night’s episode of the E! show, “Chelsea Lately”:

Priests and Germans were libeled last night by two of Chelsea Handler’s guests, Kurt Braunohler and Moshe Kasher.

The objectionable part began with a discussion of Bishop Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst, the German bishop who was suspended by Pope Francis for his opulent lifestyle.

Braunohler: “I love that the Catholic Church has like a zero tolerance policy on everything other than child abuse.”

Kasher: “It’s a German priest, so that’s a difficult set of circumstances. You know what I mean, it’s like-do I make out with that kid or do I kill that Jew.”

The remark by Braunohler came the day after the teachers unions, led by the National Education Association and the American Federation of Teachers, sought to stop a bill that would prohibit the hiring of convicted sex offenders in the public schools. The bill, which was approved by the House, is aimed at bringing the public schools up to speed so that they will have the same zero tolerance policy that Catholic schools have had for years.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:20 PM

Joe Conner pleads not guilty to child molestation charges

CALIFORNIA
Imperial Valley Press

[video]

By KARINA LOPEZ, Staff Writer
Posted on October 23, 2013

BRAWLEY — Joe Conner, a local pastor and Imperial Valley native, pleaded not guilty to multiple felony and misdemeanor counts of child molestation during an arraignment Wednesday afternoon at the Brawley Superior Court.

The Imperial County District Attorney’s Office filed the complaint last week. The complaint included five misdemeanor counts of child molestation, two felony counts of lewd or lascivious acts upon a child younger than 14 and one felony count of sexual battery by restraint. The complaint was filed by the District Attorney’s Office following a months-long investigation by the El Centro Police Department.

The three felony counts are alleged to have occurred as early as December 2004 and as late as December 2011, according to the complaint. The five misdemeanors were alleged to have occurred as early as August 2009 and as late as May 2013.

At the time of the alleged abuse, the two complaining female witnesses were minors, and reportedly one of them is still under the age of 18.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:17 PM

Football Coach & Pastor Accused of Child Molestation

CALIFORNIA
KYMA

After the arraignment, supporters of Joe Conner gathered outside of the courthouse for a rally in support of his innocence.

Conner a football coach at Southwest High School in El Centro pleaded not guilty to allegations of child molestation and lewd acts to his two stepdaughters who were under the age of 14.

"Enter a not guilty plea to all eight counts denying enhancements or special allegations," Conner's lawyer Joseph Camarata said.

His stepdaughters, now adults, are accusing him of molesting them. They claim it began in 2009.

Conner’s lawyer requested that Conner not be taken into custody and the judge granted the request... under these conditions.

"He’s to obey all laws. Number two, he’s to come to court whenever the court is set and he’s ordered to return. Number three he’s to have no contact with whatsoever with the alleged victims," Judge Brooks Anderholt said.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:14 PM

Archbishop Addresses Media Questions

MINNESOTA
Roman Catholic Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis

Date:Thursday, October 24, 2013

In the Q&A below, Archbishop Nienstedt answers many questions that have been asked recently by the media.

Question: Since your arrival as archbishop, has the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis followed the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People and the Essential Norms?

Archbishop John Nienstedt: Yes.

Q: Why didn't you go to police about the images found on Father Jon Shelley's computer?

Archbishop: The analysis completed in 2004 did not find evidence of possession of child pornography. The images that Haselberger showed to coworkers were of pop-up ads. Pop-up ads are unsolicited and often attach to the hard drive without the user’s awareness or permission. The St. Paul police completed a 7-month review of the same material from the hard drive that was analyzed in 2004 and came to the same conclusion: there is no evidence of possession of child pornography.

Q: Why were priests such as Robert Kapoun receiving additional retirement payments? Who authorized those payments, why did they continue, and which priests are still getting additional payments? What action did you take when Jennifer Haselberger reported these payments to you?

Archbishop: Every bishop is required by canon law to provide financial support for priests of his diocese. In some cases, it was determined that offenders should be removed from active priestly ministry, be subject to compliance with our monitoring program, and required to undergo therapy and spiritual direction to avoid reoffending. These decisions were made due to a number of factors, including the projected likelihood that the priest would be not be able to find secular employment or be a candidate for laicization.

Q: Has anything changed with the monitoring of Father Robert Kapoun?

Archbishop: The monitoring program is modeled after probation programs that include periodic visitations and determination of compliance with expected restrictions. Fr. Kapoun has met all requirements of the program, despite the inferences made by the media. We have no reason to believe he is a danger to the community.

Q: Why do you need a new task force?

Archbishop: Our own investigations give us reason to believe that our policies and procedures may not have been uniformly followed and that is a serious issue we have been addressing. At the same time, we believe that we need truly independent analysis from a group of outside and impartial experts to help tell how we can do better. That may mean changes or additions to policies, procedures or practices. It may mean better auditing to ensure compliance with current policies, procedures and practices. The Task Force will have unprecedented authority to examine any and all issues associated with clergy sexual abuse. Its findings and recommendations will be welcomed and implemented.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:08 PM

MN archbishop will comment on his crisis today; SNAP responds

MINNESOTA
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

For immediate release: Thursday, Oct. 24

Statement by Bob Schwiderski of Wayzata, SNAP Minnesota Director

Archbishop John Nienstedt is a coward. His archdiocese is embroiled in scandal. Already wounded clergy sex abuse victims feel re-victimized. And thousands of Nienstedt’s flock feels betrayed.

Based on the on-going recklessness, callousness and deceit by Nienstedt and his colleagues, those feelings are justified.

Yet the 'shepherd' of this 'flock' refuses to talk about the scandal he has largely created, despite repeated pledges, year after year, to be "open and transparent" about clergy sex crimes.

He answers a handful of questions, in writing, from Minnesota Public Radio yesterday and promises he’ll write about this crisis on his website today. Big deal.

That’s cowardice.

Nienstedt isn't alone. Most accused wrongdoers Twin Cities Catholic circles are dodging the media.

St. Thomas University officials are keeping silent about their alleged investigation into a predator priest on their payroll.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:05 PM

MN - What to look for today from Archbishop Nienstedt

MINNESOTA
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

For immediate release: Thursday, Oct. 24

Statement by Barbara Blaine of Chicago, president of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests ( 312-399-4747, SNAPblaine@gmail.com )

Here’s what we think you can expect from Archbishop John Nienstedt’s column today when he writes about the continuing crisis in his archdiocese stemming from repeated clergy child sex crimes and cover ups of those crimes.

Look for lots of spin, hair-splitting and word-parsing.

Look for Nienstedt to imply that he and his staff made “mistakes,” instead of admitting that he and his staff deliberately and repeatedly took self-serving, deceitful and secretive actions.

Look for lots of sweeping promises designed to mollify his outraged flock, promises that will be broken once the heat of intense scrutiny fades, like his earlier promises have been.

Look for Nienstedt to use the word “allegations” to describe what are really “revelations.” He and his public relations team are trying to ‘spin’ actual church documents as “accusations” when, in fact, they are “disclosures.” (Lawsuits are “allegations.” Actual archdiocesan memos are not.)

Look for Nienstedt to subtly distance himself from predator priests, instead of admitting that most are still on his payroll yet are monitored and supervised

Look for no disclosures today. That’s significant – and tragic – because secrecy is what largely is causing this mess. But today, and in the future, Nienstedt and his staff will continue to practice secrecy, because their reputations and clerical careers matter most to them and if their secrets are revealed, their reputations and clerical careers may suffer.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:02 PM

Praying Angry and Surviving Abuse

BROOKLYN (NY)
Social Science Research Council

By Marilyn McCord Adams

October 22, 2013

[Editor's Note: This post is in response to "Praying Angry" by Robert Orsi.]

Robert Orsi, in his sensitive and insightful piece, brings out how “praying angry” is a necessary spiritual exercise for many who have been touched by God and abused by life. I say “many,” because abuse convinces some to give up on God. They trusted God to “be there” for them, to protect them from the worst that we can suffer, be, or do. They cried to the Lord in their trouble. But no rescue was forthcoming. For some, abuse makes belief in God psychologically impossible. Others conclude that even if God exists, God is not the kind of person they want to have anything to do with. Abuse is evidence that God is a deadbeat deity, that God is aloof and doesn’t care, that God is callous or cruel, even that God hates us. Still, for whatever psycho-spiritual reason, many who have been touched by God and abused by life, find themselves unable to let go. They are hurt. They feel abandoned and betrayed by God. But they aren’t finished with God. They can’t heal without confronting the authorities that allowed the abuse to happen. In imitation of the bible’s Job, praying angry calls God to account.

Sexual abuse of children by adults on whom they depend for love and nurture always digs deep into the human person. Physical violation is an outward and visible sign of role confusion and shattered expectations. Orsi’s wider work helps us to appreciate how this struggle amplifies when children are abused by priests. Especially pre-Vatican II, the Roman Catholic church set itself up as the sole institution chosen by God to open heaven’s doors. It proclaimed the sacred office of priesthood as necessary for salvation. Because God is above reproach, holy church is likewise above reproach, and her sacred ministers participate in this presumption. Moreover, not only does the Roman Catholic church enforce beliefs by catechetical instruction; it also uses an elaborate material cult presided over by priests to habituate the worshipper to postures and gestures, rote prayers and responses—all of which root religious feeling and conviction in the body and unconscious as well the conscious self.

If the priest is an alter Christus, then predator priests send the message that God is a predator, that Christ is a pederast. The consecrated host stuck up the girl’s vagina turns the really present Christ into a sexual molester. [McCord is referring to the Cudemo case.] John Paul II’s encyclical insists that priests are not only sacrificers but shepherds. Predator priests advertise God as handing over the flock to hirelings who care nothing for the sheep, who sacrifice the lambs to meet their own needs.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 11:39 AM

MO - Victims want private funeral for priest

MISSOURI
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

Victims want private funeral for priest
He's accused of molesting dozens of kids
Abuse group writes Catholic bishop for help
"Please prevent more pain," SNAP urges Finn

For immediate release: Thursday, Oct. 24, 2013

For more information: David Clohessy (314) 566-9790 cell, SNAPclohessy@aol.com, Barbara Dorris (314) 862-7688 SNAPdorris@gmail.com

A support group for clergy sex abuse victims is writing the Diocese of Kansas City - St Joseph’s top Catholic official asking him to make sure that a priest's funeral is private, not public.

Leaders of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, are asking Bishop Robert Finn to keep services discreet and out of the parish’s spotlight for the funeral of a credibly accused predator clergy member.

Msgr. Thomas O'Brien was sued at least 20 times for sexually abusing boys and had worked in Springfield MO, Independence MO, as well as Kansas City.

[BishopAccountability.org]

“Dozens of boys who were sexually assaulted by Msgr. Thomas O'Brien have suffered enough. And thousands of Catholics who were scandalized and betrayed - by Msgr. O'Brien's crimes and church cover ups - have suffered enough,” said David Clohessy of St. Louis, SNAP’s director. “Please do not add to their pain. Please do not let Msgr. O'Brien be buried in a Catholic cemetery with full honors in a public ceremony. "

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:10 AM

IRE - Irish Catholic officials betray their flock again

IRELAND
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

For immediate release: Thursday, October 24, 2013

Statement by David Clohessy of St. Louis, Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests ( 314 566 9790, SNAPclohessy@aol.com )

Irish Catholic religious orders are refusing to live up to promises they made years ago to help victims of abuse. Shame on them.

[Irish Independent]

These selfish and cold-hearted church officials are victimizing the already-wounded for the third time. First, these innocent boys and girls were violated as kids. Second, they were violated again when a callous Catholic hierarchy ignored their pleas for help, openness and healing. Now, they are violating these still-suffering adults by breaking their promises of help.

Catholic officials are blaming the depressed property market for the shortfall." That's baloney. The Catholic church is a huge, wealthy monarchy. The hierarchy almost always seems to find money for its pet projects. When a pope visits a nation, all of that country's Catholic entities "chip in”, pool their funds to make sure they can capitalize on the energy and attention a papal visit brings.

When it's advantageous for them, they claim the church is a world-wide institution in which Catholic entities help one another financially. When it's advantageous to claim the reverse - that each Catholic entity is entirely separate - they claim the reverse. It's utterly deceitful.

We believe "Where there's a will, there's a way." In Boston, the now-disgraced Cardinal Bernard Law had the decency to at least borrow money (some $25 million) from the Knights of Columbus to help hundreds of victims. These religious orders can and should do the same if necessary.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:08 AM

The "Bling Bishop" Exits... Of Sorts

GERMANY
Whispers in the Loggia

Saying Bishop Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst "cannot, at the present moment, continue to exercise his episcopal ministry" after months of embarrassing revelations on the prelate's lavish spending for a new diocesan compound, while it was anything but surprising that Rome moved yesterday to depressurize the fraught situation in Limburg, the solution reached was a remarkable departure from the standard course of action.

Instead of accepting the 53 year-old prelate's resignation or announcing his forced removal from office, the Vatican instead relayed that Tebartz-van Elst was being "authorized" to spend "a period outside the diocese," pending the outcome of an investigation by the German bishops' conference. In addition, "by decision of the Holy See," a new vicar-general previously named by the embattled prelate and scheduled to take office in January was placed in post immediately to oversee the diocese in the absence of the so-called "luxury bishop."

With some 700,000 Catholics, the Limburg church encompasses the far larger city of Frankfurt and much of its sprawling metro area.

After disclosures that Tebartz-van Elst spent $475,000 on walk-in closets and $20,000 on a bathtub among other big-ticket items for his residence in the new facility adjacent to his cathedral, the Vatican's handling of the fallout is extraordinary on several fronts. First, because it precisely isn't the "suspension" that has been widely misreported – nor, indeed, is the move a formal canonical act of any kind – but likewise as it's a substantive instance of the anticipated fresh push for collegiality by Pope Francis. In other words, far from derailing a locally-called probe to impose a definitive, permanent resolution from on high, the Holy See has indicated that, in essence, the final verdict on Tebartz-van Elst's future lies with his confreres at home.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:36 AM

Top lawyer Patrick Parkinson says Catholic Church still tainted by rotten apples

AUSTRALIA
7 News

ABC News

BY KERRY BREWSTER -
October 24, 2013

A senior lawyer has warned that the Catholic Church will not win back public trust and confidence until its current "tainted" leaders have gone.

Patrick Parkinson, who reviewed the church's Towards Healing protocol for dealing with victims of sexual abuse, has previously described allegations of the church's cover-up of sexual abuse as amounting to organised criminality.

In a speech on Thursday night, the University of Sydney lawyer, a non-Catholic, declared there were still some rotten apples among the church's hierarchy.

"There are those still apparently who fail to understand their civic duty as citizens of this country to cooperate with the police," he said.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:32 AM

Most new sex abuse complaints 'historic'

AUSTRALIA
The Australian

JOHN FERGUSON THE AUSTRALIAN OCTOBER 24, 2013

THE Catholic Church in Victoria has received nearly 100 sex abuse complaints in the past financial year as the state's inquiry into the issue appears to have prompted victims to seek redress after many years of silence.

There is now a growing body of evidence to suggest the overwhelming majority of cases relate to decades ago, suggesting that the church has faced, and dealt with, the worst of the scandal.

New figures show the church's two dispute resolution processes have received 53 new complaints in Victoria in the past financial year related to the parliamentary investigation.

Of these, only seven people have referred the matters to police, underlining the reluctance of many victims to seek justice through the drawn-out process of the courts. A further 42 complaints were made directly to church entities, such as three religious orders and the dioceses that appeared before the inquiry.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:30 AM

Catholic Church must go further on child sex abuse

AUSTRALIA
Sydney Morning Herald

October 25, 2013

Patrick Parkinson

There ought to be little doubt that as a society, our record of dealing with child sexual abuse is one of shocking moral failure. It is a reasonable estimate to say that one in four Australian girls and one in 10 boys growing up in the 1970s and '80s experienced some form of sexual abuse before the age of 16. These are truly shocking figures.

Some of that abuse has occurred in church contexts. By far the most of these cases have been in the Catholic Church. Figures produced by the Victorian police of cases since 1950 indicated there were 10 times as many cases in the Catholic Church as in the Anglican Church, which was the next largest group. If that history were not bad enough, the cover-up of those crimes has been a scandal.

In the court of public opinion, the judgment has already been delivered. It is only the consequences of that judgment which are still being worked out in the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.

Yet there is still a need to understand why these failures occurred. The reality is that no church or other community organisation is free from reproach. In Australia, there have been three inquiries established by the Anglican Church into its past failings in dealing appropriately with child sexual abuse cases. Much has changed since the mid-1990s, and child protection is typically taken very seriously in churches. Nonetheless, there is no room for complacency in any community organisation.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:28 AM

Remove church's 'rotten apples'

AUSTRALIA
The Australian

DAN BOX THE AUSTRALIAN OCTOBER 25, 2013

A LAW professor who has worked closely with senior Catholic Church officials to review their response to child abuse by priests says some of its current leaders are "rotten apples" who need to be removed.

The University of Sydney's Professor Patrick Parkinson, who gave last night's annual Smith Lecture in Sydney, was recently cited by the Archbishop of Sydney, Cardinal George Pell, as a leading authority who twice reviewed the church's Towards Healing protocols on child sexual abuse.

"There remain a few rotten apples in the church's fruit bowl, and they have yet to be called to account. Those who still apparently fail to understand their civic obligations as citizens of Australia in terms of co-operation with the police. Those whose greatest concern would appear to be to protect their organisation from scandal rather than the children in their care," he said.

Professor Parkinson, who has publicly withdrawn his support from the church's National Committee for Professional Standards over its handling of his 2010 review, said many within the church have acted honestly and with compassion.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:50 AM

The Bishop of Bling and the Bishop Who Should be Bounced

UNITED STATES
National Survivor Advocates Coalition

EDITORIAL

Pope Francis suspended the German bishop, tagged as the bishop of bling, for his lavish spending not only on his mansion but as a way of life including his first class airline ticket to visit the poor in India.

Bishop of Limburg Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst, spent a reported $42 million in renovations for his home.

Here’s a link to the story:

[USA Today]

All well and good that he’s been removed – at least temporarily – to go to a hopefully less lavish room and think about what he’s done.

Now, where’s the action on convicted Bishop Robert Finn of the Diocese of Kansas City- St. Joseph?

Without action by Pope Francis the message is and will continue to hang heavy in the air if you get caught putting on the ritz you’re bounced, but if you’re convicted of knowledge of and non-reporting as a mandated reporter of a priest who was hip boot deep into child pornography and who is now serving a 50 year sentence in a federal prison for production of child pornography – it’s business as usual?

Germans were outraged about the bishop of bling and showed it.

Where is the outrage for what Bishop Finn failed to do?

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:40 AM

Rules tightened for residential schools settlement lawyers

CANADA
CBC News

This story may trigger painful memories for former residential school students. If that's the case for you, we encourage you to tell someone you trust about how you are feeling. You can also find help from the toll-free 24-hour crisis line for victims: 1-866-925-4419.

Federal authorities are tightening rules to protect Indian Residential School claimants from being taken advantage of by lawyers.

The new rules will curtail lawyers from giving clients high interest cash advances, charging finders fees, or billing for improper expenses.

Click here to listen to Dan Shapiro explaining the rule changes on The Trailbreaker with Loren McGinnis

"The vast majority do excellent work they’re ethical and very professional," says Dan Shapiro, chief adjudicator for the independent assessment secretariat, and the man responsible for making sure the settlement process is being handled appropriately. "There are, however, a handful of lawyers that have engaged in conduct that we feel is unconscionable and in some cases illegal."

Across the country, more than $2 billion has already been given out in compensation for victims of residential schools. The new rules aim to get rid of the bad apples in that process, to make sure unscrupulous lawyers don't skim more than they are entitled to from victims.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:04 AM

New measures announced to protect residential school claimants

CANADA
Nunatsiaq Online

The chief adjudicator of the Independent Assessment Process for residential school survivors announced new measure this week designed to protect claimants from lawyers who engage in illegal conduct.

The IAP is specifically for former students of residential schools who experienced serious physical, sexual, or emotional abuse during their time at school — distinct from the common experience payments, which were designed for anyone who attended residential school.

But the Indian Residential Schools Adjudication Secretariat, which oversees the IAP, became aware of a small number of lawyers who were bilking clients.

Complaints emerged about one particular Calgary-based lawyer, prompting an investigation.

“The vast majority of lawyers representing claimants in the IAP are diligent and do excellent and highly ethical work,” Dan Shapiro, the chief adjudicator, said in a news release.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:02 AM

Fallout at U. of St. Thomas on Sex-Abuse Allegations Elsewhere

MINNESOTA
Inside Higher Ed

October 21, 2013
The University of St. Thomas, in Minnesota, is facing fallout from a series of allegations about sexual abuse by Roman Catholic priests. The abuse is not alleged to have taken place at the university, but St. Thomas has been drawn into the scandal.

* The Rev. Michael Keating, a professor of Catholic studies, is on leave following the filing of a lawsuit by a woman alleging that he abused her in the late 1990s when she was 13 to 15 years old. While Father Keating has not spoken about the allegations, his lawyer has denied the allegations. Minnesota Public Radio has reported that documents it obtained suggest that church leaders may have planned to communicate with the university about the allegations as early as 2006.

* The Rev. Harry Flynn, a former archbishop of St. Paul and Minneapolis at a time that many victims say the church didn't do enough about abuse allegations, has resigned from the St. Thomas board.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:00 AM

Minnesota Sex Abuse Scandal ...

MINNESOTA
Cardinal Newman Society

Minnesota Sex Abuse Scandal Entangles University of St. Thomas; Leads to Clergy Resignations

October 23, 2013, at 9:49 AM | By Matthew Archbold

The University of St. Thomas in Minnesota has found itself in the middle of the ongoing sex abuse crisis in Minnesota, according to Inside Higher Ed. While none of the allegations of abuse took place at the university, several clergy implicated in the scandal either were employed at the institution or served on its board.

The Most Rev. Harry Flynn, the archbishop emeritus of the St. Paul and Minneapolis Archdiocese, recently resigned from the board amid allegations that he did not do enough to prevent the abuse. Flynn, according to the university, had served as board chair since 1995.

The board elected Michael Dougherty as interim chair. Dougherty, who has served as a trustee since 2003, said in a press release,“On behalf of the board of trustees, I want to thank Archbishop Flynn for his many years of dedicated service to the board and to the university.”

The Rev. Michael Keating, professor of Catholic studies, is also on leave from the university following the announcement of a lawsuit by a woman alleging abuse in the late 1990s when she was still a minor. Keating’s lawyer has denied the allegations.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:57 AM

AUDIENCES

VATICAN CITY
Vatican Information Service

Vatican City, 24 October 2013 (VIS) - Today, the Holy Father received in audience:

- His Royal Highness Prince Guillaume, hereditary Grand-Duke of Luxembourg, with Princess Stephanie and entourage.

- Archbishop Paul Richard Gallagher, apostolic nuncio to Australia.

- Archbishop Giuseppe Pinto, apostolic nuncio to the Philippines.

- Archbishop Jose Horacio Gomez of Los Angeles, U.S.A.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:54 AM

Bishop’s suspension a symptom of German Catholic Church’s wealth

GERMANY
The Salt Lake Tribune

By NELE MAILIN OBERMUELLER And JABEEN BHATTI | Religion News Service
First Published Oct 23 2013

Berlin • The $20,000 bathtub and $482,000 walk-in closets ordered by "Bishop Bling-Bling" — the moniker of Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst, the now-suspended bishop of Limburg — have scandalized the German public.

But Tebartz-van Elst, 52, is only the latest German clergyman to run into trouble since Pope Francis took the helm of the Roman Catholic Church. Francis temporarily suspended the bishop on Wednesday while a church commission investigates the expenditures on the $42 million residence complex.

As the new pontiff tries to reform the way the church does business, German dioceses, which reportedly include the world’s wealthiest in Cologne, are chafing under the new direction as membership numbers continue to dwindle.

"Tebartz-van Elst is just the tip of the iceberg," said Christian Weisner, spokesman for the German branch of We Are Church, an organization advocating Catholic Church reform. "There is a real clash of cultures between Germany’s current cardinals and bishops — nominated under John Paul II or Benedict XVI — and Pope Francis."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:50 AM

Suspended 'Bishop of Bling' was bound to irk austere Pope Francis

GERMANY
Los Angeles Times

By Carol J. Williams
October 23, 2013

When Bishop Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst of Germany traveled to India last year to minister to poor slum dwellers, he reportedly flew first class.

This year, renovations of the Roman Catholic bishop's church-owned residence in the city of Limburg ran massively over budget to cover $620,000 worth of artwork, $1.1 million in landscaping and last-minute design revisions -- $42 million in all, billed to the Vatican and German taxpayers, Hamburg's tabloid daily Bild reported.

Dubbed the "Bishop of Bling" by European media that have been avidly tracking the bespectacled clergyman's lavish lifestyle, Tebartz-van Elst was suspended from his post by Pope Francis on Wednesday in a clear sign that the new pontiff is serious about diverting resources from the "princes of the church" to the paupers in its congregations.

Tebartz-van Elst flew to Rome this month -- on budget carrier easyJet, Britain's Guardian newspaper reported -- to explain his finances to the pope after a Vatican delegation was dispatched last month to investigate what had become an embarrassing scandal for the church.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:48 AM

Profile: Bishop Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst

GERMANY
BBC News

Dubbed the "bishop of bling" by German media, Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst has been suspended by the Vatican over claims of excessive spending.

The Bishop of Limburg was ordered to leave his diocese for an "appropriate period" after a meeting with the Pope following a scandal about the spiralling costs of a multi-million-dollar renovation of his official residence.

He is accused of spending 31m euros (£26m; $42m) on the development, which was originally costed at 5.5m euros.

The bishop - and his alleged spending habits - has become infamous in Germany, where many people pay tax to the Catholic Church. ...
Bishop Tebartz-van Elst was born in the village of Twisteden in north-west Germany in 1959.

He has described himself as being a loner as a child, preferring to read rather than help on his family's farm, according to the German newspaper Der Zeit.

He was ordained as a priest in 1985 and named auxiliary bishop of Munster in 2003 by Pope John Paul II.

In an article for Deutsche Welle, German Catholic theologian David Berger says Bishop Tebartz-van Elst was a "professor of liberal ideas" while in Munster.

But this changed under Pope Benedict, he says, and he came to believe in the dominant authority of bishops.


Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:46 AM

'Bling bishop' ordered to leave German diocese

GERMANY/VATICAN CITY
RTE News

Pope Francis has ordered the German Roman Catholic prelate known as the "bishop of bling" for spending around €31m on a residence to leave his diocese for an unspecified period.

The move, just short of a resignation, was taken against Bishop Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst of Limburg.

It comes two days after he met the pope to discuss the scandal in the German church at a time when the pontiff is stressing the importance of humility and serving the poor.

The renovation costs went from an initial €5m to over €30m, with an additional €10m also likely due because of damage to surrounding streets and structures caused by the construction work.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:43 AM

Vatican suspends Germany's 'bishop bling' after multimillion-dollar renovation

GERMANY/VATICAN CITY
NBC News

By Becky Bratu, Staff Writer, NBC News

A senior member of the Catholic Church known as the "luxury bishop" has been suspended from his diocese in Germany while the Vatican investigates a house refurbishment that reportedly ran into the millions of dollars.

Bishop Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst of Limburg, who had been under pressure to resign, will leave his diocese for an unspecified period, the Vatican said in a statement on Wednesday. Monsignor Wolfgang Roesch will be in charge of the diocese during the bishop's absence, the Vatican added.

Tebartz-van Elst "cannot presently exercise his episcopal ministry," the statement said.

The Vatican also said it would audit spending on renovations to the bishop's residence, which Germany's Spiegel magazine reported cost up to 31 million euros ($42.70 million).

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:41 AM

Pope boots out 'bishop of bling' over £26m luxury home

VATICAN CITY/GERMANY
Telegraph (UK)

[with video]

Pope Francis has ordered Germany's Bishop of Limburg to leave his diocese after spending millions of Church money on refurbishing his home

The Vatican on Wednesday suspended indefinitely a German Catholic cleric dubbed the "bling bishop" for his luxury lifestyle, despite multiple calls in Germany for the prelate to be dismissed.

The bishop flew to Rome last week with low-cost airline Ryanair to explain himself to Pope Francis - following accusations he took an expensive ticket on a trip to India and squandered money.

His private quarters in a new diocesan building are reported to have cost up a €31 million (£26.4 million), and included a 63-square-metre dining room and a £12,000 bathtub - using the revenue from a religious tax in Germany.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:38 AM

Pope Francis gets tough with ‘Bling Bishop’

VATICAN CITY/GERMANY
Irish Examiner

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Pope Francis has banished a German Catholic prelate known as the “Bling Bishop” from his diocese for spending €31m of Church funds on his residence at a time when the pontiff is stressing austerity.

By Philip Pullella Vatican City

However, the pontiff stopped short of dismissing him outright, a step which many German Catholics and the media had called for.

In a highly unusual move, Bishop Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst of Limburg was ordered to leave his diocese while an investigation and audit into cost over-runs is held, a Vatican statement said.

The bishop, who met the Pope on Monday, “was currently not in a position to carry out his episcopal ministry”.

It said he should stay outside his diocese “for a period,” and that it would be administered in his absence by a vicar-general.

The issue has proven a major embarrassment for the Pope, who has called for a more austere Church that sides with the poor. He has told bishops not to live like princes, and has also promised to clean up the murky finances of the Vatican bank.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:36 AM

Children still at risk from abuse in institutions, warns report by crime agency

UNITED KINGDOM
Telegraph

By David Barrett, Home Affairs Correspondent
24 Oct 2013

Organisations are at risk of being “complacent” about tackling abuse because of a tendency to concentrate on historic cases, the new law enforcement agency has concluded in its first major report.

It said abusers can hide their grooming of children if they are working for institutions that are highly regarded or respected.

Poor leadership also makes it less likely that colleagues will raise concerns about suspected paedophiles, it said.

The report comes after a series of scandals involving high-profile institutions including the BBC and the Roman Catholic Church, as well as a number of care homes.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:34 AM

Children still at risk of abuse in schools, clubs and care homes, report warns

UNITED KINGDOM
The Guardian

Press Association

Children in institutions such as schools, churches and care homes are still not safe from abuse, child protection experts have warned in a new report.

More has to be done to keep children in institutions including sports clubs, youth groups and charities safe, the report published on Thursday by the National Crime Agency (NCA) warns.

The report, called The Foundations of Abuse, found that children are not only at risk from abusers but from "bystanders" who are aware of abuse but fail to report it.

And it warned that child sex offenders often manipulate victims into believing the attention they get is an "honour", making it hard for them to report abuse.

The report, carried out by the NCA's Child Exploitation and Online Protection (CEOP) Command, is the first "thematic assessment" published by the agency since it was launched three weeks ago and looked at the risk of child sexual abuse by adults in institutions.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:32 AM

I'll quit priesthood if Vatican censures my book, vows D'Arcy

IRELAND
Irish Independent

SARAH MACDONALD – 23 OCTOBER 2013

BROADCASTER and columnist Fr Brian D'Arcy has said his censure by the Vatican "destroyed" him "as a human being and as a priest" and almost caused him to leave the priesthood.

In his new book, 'Brian D'Arcy's Food for the Soul', the 68-year-old said it has been "the most devastating faith crisis of my life".

Recalling the events that led to his rap on the knuckles from the Vatican, Fr D'Arcy said that in 2010 he was formally censured by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF).

The then head of the CDF wrote to the Superior General of his religious order, the Passionists, accusing him of being "a source of great scandal".

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:28 AM

Fr D'Arcy – 'I'll quit Church if censured'

IRELAND
Herald

GREG HARKIN – 23 OCTOBER 2013 02:30 PM

FATHER Brian D'Arcy is prepared to quit the Church if he is censured by the Congregation of the Faith over his new book.

In his new book, Brian D'Arcy's Food for the Soul the cleric reveals that he almost walked away in the past – only for his mind to be changed by thousands of letters he received pleading with him not to give up the priesthood.

However, he has warned that if the Vatican attempts to censor his latest writings: "That would be it."

He explained: "The fact is there is nothing in it that Pope Francis hasn't said.

"I don't believe there would be any grounds for censoring me again or any attempt to shut me up.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:26 AM

The pope’s financial reforms

UNITED STATES
Religion News Service

Michael J. O'Loughlin | Oct 23, 2013

That Pope Francis has shaken up and reinvigorated parts of the Catholic Church is well known, but what may be less apparent are the changes he is implementing at the Vatican bank, reforming the once perennially corrupt institution to bring it up to international banking norms.

Earlier this month, the bank, known officially as the Institute for the Works of Religion, published an annual report for the first time in its 125-year history and highlighted its reforms. The bank’s new president, Ernst von Freyburg, told Vatican Radio that the bank has “reviewed our procedures for taking on clients to make sure that no money laundering can happen at the institute. We do have a new handbook, we do have new procedures, and we are also ready for inspection by third parties.”

To that end, the bank has contracted with US-based Promontory Financial Group to review all 19,000 accounts, totaling nearly $9 billion, held by the bank. This follows a 2012 evaluation by Moneyval, a European anti-money laundering organization, which praised the Vatican for “coming a long way in a short time.” According to the National Catholic Reporter’s John Allen, Promontory “currently has about twenty inspectors stationed inside the Vatican bank,” and Allen observes that a “new day is apparently dawning at the bank, where the old climate of trust is being leavened with a strong dose of ‘but verify.’”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:22 AM

Orders still €40m short of cash pledged over abuse

IRELAND
Irish Independent

SHANE PHELAN PUBLIC AFFAIRS EDITOR – 24 OCTOBER 2013

A scheme set up to pay for the treatment for survivors of institutional abuse faces being cut short after Catholic orders failed to stump up almost €40m in promised funding.

The 18 religious orders pledged €110m towards the Residential Institutions Statutory Fund (RISF), which will pay for mental health, social, educational and housing services for survivors.

However, the Irish Independent has learned just €72m has been received by the fund, which is due to begin issuing grants in January.

The scheme was initially anticipated to last up to five years, but this period may now have to be shortened due to the funding shortfall.

In contacts with the Department of Education, the religious orders – with the Christian Brothers and the Daughters of Charity to the forefront – have blamed the depressed property market for the shortfall.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:16 AM

Bishop of Bling v. USCCB’s Omertà

UNITED STATES
Spiritual Politics

Mark Silk
Oct 24, 2013

There’s no doubt that the profligate lifestyle of the Bishop of Limburg, Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst, stinks like the local cheese. One can hope that Pope Francis has exiled him him from his palatial residence to contemplate his behavior in a monastic cell with a hard cot, a diet of bread and legumes, and the bathroom down the hall.

But what Americans would do well to contemplate in this case of episcopal discipline is the criticism that the head of the German bishops conference, Archbishop Robert Zollitsch, has leveled at his colleague. Zollitsch said that Tebartz-van Elst had created credibility problems for the church. The “decisive” turning point came, he said, when the public prosecutor asked the court to fine the bishop for falsely testifying in a related case. He announced the creation of a church commission to investigate, and said it would do its work “quickly and carefully.”

Compare that to the response of the head of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, Cardinal Timothy Dolan, to misbehavior by his colleagues. Not a peep when Bishop Robert Finn of Kansas City is convicted of the crime of covering up a suspected case of child abuse. Not a peep when Archbishop Robert Myers of Newark is revealed to have failed to follow his agreement with the court on the handling of an abusive priest. Not a peep when it comes to light that Archbishop John Nienstedt of St. Paul and Minneapolis has been covering up abuse cases.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:07 AM

Husband Of Hasidic Sex Abuse Victim Getting Death Threats

NEW YORK
Gothamist

Last winter, ultra-Orthodox Jewish counselor Nechemya Weberman was convicted by a Brooklyn jury of 59 counts of sexually abusing a teenage girl, and was sentenced to 103 years in prison for his crimes.

During the trial, victim Boorey Deutsch testified about being abused from the ages of 12 through 17, despite threats of retaliation. Now, nearly 10 months later, she and her husband Hershy Deutsch are receiving death threats.

“I know my Jewish rights...I am allowed to kill you and that [is] what I am going to do,” the Post reports one person wrote on Deutsch's Facebook. “I AM GOING TO KILL YOU WITH IN THE NEXT THREE YEARS you may be stronger than one thousand satmar people but not stronger than a gun bullet."

The Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office is investigating the threat, which was left by "Ben Weiss" (believed to be a fake account) under one of the couple’s wedding photos. “If he can write such things, he might be able to actually do it. My body got very cold,” he told the Post. “I’m willing to do anything in the world to get him locked up.”

This isn't the first time the Deutsches have been harassed since the trial ended: back in September, the couple were harassed in their family’s synagogue on Rosh Hashanah.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:58 AM

Church minister arrested over allegation of historic child sex abuse

WALES
Wales Online

A church minister has been arrested over an allegation of historical child abuse.

The man, from Johnstown, Carmarthen, has been suspended from duties at two chapels pending the outcome of a police investigation.

Dr Geraint Tudur, general secretary of the Union of Welsh Independents, told the BBC his members were "naturally traumatised".

Dyfed Powys Police said: "An 81-year-old man was arrested in connection with an historic allegation of sexual activity with a minor.

"He remains on police bail while enquiries continue."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:55 AM

Victims still coming forward to Catholic Church pastoral processes

AUSTRALIA
Christian Today

By: Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne
Thursday, 24 October 2013

Victims of child sexual and physical abuse continued to come forward to the Catholic Church pastoral processes during the Victorian Parliamentary Inquiry into child abuse, the Church announced today.

Church spokesperson, Father Shane Mackinlay, said that in the 12 months to 30 June 2013, 53 complaints were received in Victoria by the Melbourne Response and Towards Healing that were relevant to the Inquiry.

Eighteen complaints were received by the Melbourne Response, with 13 upheld so far, and 35 complaints were received by Towards Healing, with 15 upheld to date.

The remaining five complaints to the Melbourne Response, and the 20 to Towards Healing, are still to be determined and are ongoing.

Seven of the Towards Healing complainants have chosen to go to the police and their cases will not resume until police actions are completed.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:52 AM

Worshippers at Battersea Ethiopian church work to secure peace after bust-up

UNITED KINGDOM
Your Local Guardian

By Alexandra Rucki, Senior Reporter

Worshippers at an Ethiopian church are working to secure peace after months of simmering tensions erupted into violence erupted last weekend.

Five people were arrested on October 19 following a protest against the current trustees of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church, in St Philip Street, Battersea.

Protests have been taking place at the building every weekend with the trustees accused of covering up a sexual abuse scandal.

The church has been closed since April, but was re-consecrated last weekend against the wishes of some members of the congregation who clashed violently with rivals despite a heavy police presence.

A meeting is now scheduled to take place with the Charity Commission on November 6 in a bid to find a solution to the disorder with the arguing parties.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:50 AM

Civil Suit Claims Walnut Hill Church Liable for Sexual Abuse

CONNECTICUT
Patch

Posted by Aaron Boyd (Editor) , October 23, 2013

Walnut Hill Community Church in Bethel and several of its youth program coordinators have been named as defendants in a civil suit asserting their culpability in the 2009 sexual abuse of a minor by a member of the church’s youth leadership.

Former church member Matthew Anastasia was arrested in April 2010 and pled "guilty" to felony risk of injury to a child and misdemeanor sexual assault in the fourth degree. He was sentenced in 2011 to 10 years imprisonment, suspended after one year, and five years probation.

The civil suit filed in Danbury Superior Court claims that the church should have been aware of Anastasia’s “propensity to sexually abuse… minor females within the youth program yet failed to take steps to prevent his sexual abuse of the minor plaintiff.”

Along with the church, the complaint names Senior Pastor Clive Calver, Pastor of Community Life Scott Shockley and Youth Pastor Craig Mowrey as defendants, stating that their role as leaders in the church’s youth program at the time made them “responsible for the actions and conduct of all persons affiliated with the youth ministry programs and youth leadership of the church.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:45 AM

Catholic Church of Victoria facing 95 new abuse complaints

AUSTRALIA
7 News

ABC News

The Catholic Church in Victoria says complaints about child sexual and physical abuse are continuing to pour in.

The Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne has released new information that shows 95 complaints from victims of child sexual and physical abuse were received in the last financial year.

Fifty-three of the complaints are being dealt with by the church's internal response programs, Towards Healing and the Melbourne Response.

The church says 28 of those complaints have been upheld so far.

Seven of the unresolved complaints have been taken to the police.

The church says another 42 complaints from child victims were made directly to representatives of the church after the Victorian parliamentary inquiry into child abuse.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:42 AM

Catholic Church sex abuse complaints top 100 since inquiry began

AUSTRALIA
Brisbane Times

October 24, 2013

Barney Zwartz
Religion editor, The Age.

More than 100 new complaints of clergy child abuse have been made to the Catholic Church in Victoria since the parliamentary inquiry into how the churches handled child sexual abuse began last year.

There were 95 new complaints in the 2012-13 financial year ended June 30, the Melbourne
Archdiocese announced on Thursday, and church spokesman Shane Mackinlay said that victims had come forward "at the same rate" in the first three months of this financial year.

Because the figures came from different sources he did not have precise figures for this year, but it would be about 25. The church gave the updated figures to the Victorian inquiry on Wednesday.

The new complaints relate to abuse from the 1940s to the 1990s, and one parish priest has been stood down and had his faculties removed, Father Mackinlay said.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:39 AM

Family's outrage as 'predatory pedophile priest', 75, escapes rape trial ...

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
Daily Mail (UK)

Family's outrage as 'predatory pedophile priest', 75, escapes rape trial for attack on 11-year-old altar boy in 1998 after his victim dies of a drugs overdose

By JAMES NYE

Philadelphia prosecutors today announced they have no choice but to drop child-rape charges against a priest because the only witness able to testify died two weeks ago of an overdose after battling substance abuse for years.

Sean McIlamil, 26, a former alter boy under Fr. Robert Brennan, came forward in January with startling allegations that the priest sexually abused him 15 years ago - but today his family spoke only of their grief and anger that Brennan will now walk free.

At a press conference today in the city his mother Debbie explained that her son spoke up because he wanted to be a voice against child abuse for his nephews sake's and other young children like them.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:37 AM

Calls for Archbishop's Resignation Come from Within Church

MINNESOTA
KAAL

As the priest sex abuse scandal continues to play out in the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis, some are calling for the resignation of Catholic Archbishop John Nienstedt.

In the weekly newsletter published for parishioners, Father Bill Deziel from the Church of St. Peter wrote, "These accounts of priest abuse and misconduct are disturbing, yet even more disturbing to many of the faithful is the apparent lack of good judgment and common sense on the part of archdiocesan leaders to deal with offending priests." Deziel later writes, "it may be time for a do over with our archdiocesan leadership."

Local attorney Thomas Lyons says he's a member of the Church of St. Peter. He says dissatisfaction with church response has boiled over, "At some point the rage rises to the level that you have to express that this is not acceptable. I don't know who is advising the bishop!"

Lyons says Archbishop Nienstedt does not meet the new Pope Francis' high standards, "Corruption, worldliness, arrogance, vanity and pride, and that's all put together in Nienstedt. He should resign for the purpose of allowing the Pope, who has this high standard, to appoint someone for that position."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:34 AM

Archdiocese paid $11 million for misconduct by priests

MINNESOTA
Star Tribune

by: TONY KENNEDY , Star Tribune Updated: October 23, 2013

Payments from 2003 to 2012 went to victims of abuse, as well as to priests, lawyers and therapists.

The Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis spent nearly $11 million from 2003 through 2012 to cover costs directly associated with sexual abuse and other misconduct committed by priests who were removed from active ministry, according to church documents obtained by the Star Tribune.

The archdiocese wrote checks directly to victims of abuse, in cases involving children and vulnerable adults, in every year of the period covered by the reports, totaling more than $476,000 over the decade. Also, $1.5 million was paid on behalf of victims to cover counseling, therapy and other medical services.

Additional money was distributed to child victims via a trust account funded by the archdiocese and managed by the St. Paul law firm Meier, Kennedy & Quinn.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:31 AM

Speaking up about sexual abuse in Catholic churches

NEW YORK
WBNG

[with video]

By Jillian Marshall

Binghamton, NY (WBNG Binghamton) Sexual abuse allegations against Catholic priests and bishops have been making headlines for decades. A former priest speaks out against child abuse in Catholic churches at a church in Binghamton.

Father Thomas Doyle was invited to St. Francis of Assisi Church in Binghamton to speak about the "unfinished business" of clergy sex abuse in the Catholic church.

Doyle was a priest in the Dominican Order for 49 years. He is no longer allowed to be an active priest in the institutionalized Catholic Church. Doyle believes it's because he's been standing with sexual abuse victims of the church for the past 30 years.

"I've spoken out too loudly and too often for the comfort level for the leadership of the Catholic church," Doyle said.

Doyle was invited by Fr. Tim Taugher, St. Francis of Assisi Church pastor and a leader of Upstate NY Call to Action.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:28 AM

Archbishop denies cover-up of priest sexual abuse

MINNESOTA
Faribault County Register

October 24, 2013
Associated Press

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Archbishop John Nienstedt said in remarks published Wednesday that he regrets some parishioners and priests have lost confidence in him over new concerns about alleged clergy sexual misconduct in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis.

But in an email response to Minnesota Public Radio's questions, Nienstedt denied any abuse cover-up. He repeated the archdiocese's assertion that there are no offending priests in active ministry. He also said he has not offered to resign.

"As head of this local Church, I accept responsibility for addressing the issues that have been raised and am completely committed to finding the truth and fixing the problems that exist," Nienstedt wrote. "My highest priorities are to ensure the safety of our children and to restore the trust of Catholics and our clergy. I will do everything in my power to do so."

MPR reported earlier that some who track weekly church collections are worried media reports of how church leaders handled warnings about at least two priests could cause parishioners to give less.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:26 AM

Archbishop Nienstedt says no offending priests are in active ministry

MINNESOTA
MinnPost

By Brian Lambert

The archbishop has spoken … or at least written. Madeleine Baran of MPR continues her coverage of the church’s local problems saying: “Archbishop John Nienstedt said he accepts responsibility for addressing the unfolding clergy sexual abuse crisis and regrets that a growing number of parishioners and priests in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis have ‘lost confidence’ in him. However, he denied any abuse cover-up or illegal actions and repeated the archdiocese's claim that there are no offending priests in active ministry. Nienstedt's remarks came in an e-mailed response to questions from MPR News. It's the first time the archbishop has answered questions about the scandal since MPR News began publishing investigative reports in late September. … Nienstedt wrote ... ‘My highest priorities are to ensure the safety of our children and to restore the trust of Catholics and our clergy. I will do everything in my power to do so.' " Will this be before or after the next anti-gay campaign?

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:23 AM

October 23, 2013

Another ruling favors Milwaukee Archdiocese in bankruptcy case

MILWAUKEE (WI)
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

By Annysa Johnson of the Journal Sentinel
Oct. 23, 2013

In a major victory for the Archdiocese of Milwaukee, a federal judge has ruled that a sex abuse victim, who was paid $80,000 in an earlier settlement, cannot seek additional compensation in the church's bankruptcy.

U.S. District Judge Rudolph T. Randa on Tuesday dismissed the claim of the victim, a deaf man molested by the late Father Lawrence Murphy, who alleged the archdiocese lied to him in meditation to get him to sign the settlement. If it stands, Randa's ruling could force the dismissal of nearly 100 of the 570-plus claims filed in the bankruptcy.

Milwaukee Archbishop Jerome Listecki was not available for comment. But Jerry Topczewski, his chief of staff, welcomed the ruling as "fair."

This is "another step forward...toward a plan of reorganization that will allow the Archdiocese of Milwaukee to emerge from bankruptcy," Topczewski said in an email.

Michael Finnegan, whose firm represents most of the victims in the bankruptcy, including this man, called the ruling a disappointment and said they are contemplating filing an appeal.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:48 PM

Judge: Church sex abuse victim can't get more money from bankruptcy case

WISCONSIN
WTAQ

MILWAUKEE (WTAQ) - A sex abuse victim who got an $80,000 settlement from the Milwaukee Archdiocese cannot get more money from the church's bankruptcy case.

That's according to a new ruling from Federal Judge Rudolph Randa.

The male victim took part in a mediation program set up by the Catholic archdiocese 10 years ago.

He said he deserves to be a creditor in the church's bankruptcy, saying he was lied to during the mediation process. Judge Randa disagreed. He said state laws protect what's said during mediation sessions -- and it cannot be used as evidence in the church's bankruptcy proceeding.

Church spokesman Jerry Topczewski praised the ruling, saying it's fair to everyone involved.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:45 PM

Vatikan verordnet Tebartz-van Elst eine Auszeit

DEUTSCHLAND
Frankfurter Allgemeine

23.10.2013 · Der Limburger Bischof Tebartz-van Elst darf seinen Posten vorerst behalten, muss sich aber von den Amtsgeschäften im Bistum zurückziehen. Mit sofortiger Wirkung setzte der Vatikan den designierten Generalvikar Wolfgang Rösch als Verwalter des Bistums ein.

Papst Franziskus hat am Mittwoch den Bischof von Limburg, Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst, auf unbestimmte Zeit von der Leitung seines Bistums entbunden. Dem Vernehmen nach soll sich Tebartz-van Elst, mit dessen Abreise aus Rom am Mittwoch gerechnet wurde, in ein Kloster zurückziehen.

Seines Amtes enthoben wurde der Generalvikar des Bistums Limburg, Franz Kaspar. Er wurde ersetzt durch den bisherigen Stadtdekan von Wiesbaden, Wolfgang Rösch. Tebartz-van Elst hatte diesen personellen Wechsel bisher erst zum Jahreswechsel vorgesehen. In einer am Mittwoch veröffentlichten Erklärung des Vatikans hieß es: „Auf Entscheidung des Heiligen Stuhls tritt die durch den Bischof von Limburg zum 1. Januar 2014 ausgesprochene Ernennung des Herrn Stadtdekan Wolfgang Rösch zum Generalvikar bereits mit dem heutigen Tag in Kraft.“

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:43 PM

Weise Entscheidung

ROM
Frankfurter Allgemeine

Es fiel Franziskus nicht schwer, dem Limburger Bischof für eine Zeit das Amt zu entziehen. Denn das Amt gibt er einem, der das Vertrauen von Tebartz-van Elst genießt.

Von JÖRG BREMER, ROM

Papst Franziskus hat weise entschieden. Er hat Bischof Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst aus der Schusslinie genommen und einen Administrator sede plena nach Limburg geschickt, der zwar die Arbeit des Bischofs übernimmt, aber nicht den Bischofsstuhl. Der soll Tebartz-van Elst zumindest so lange erhalten bleiben, bis die Prüfungskommission, die am vergangenen Freitag ihre Arbeit aufnahm, alle Kosten, und Rechnungen sowie den Ablauf der Entscheidungen überprüft hat. Das kann Wochen dauern. Vorher kann ein guter Dienstherr seinen Arbeitnehmer nicht feuern.

Es geht in Rom nicht nur um Tebartz-van Elst und den Strafantrag, der gegen ihn wegen Falschaussage an Eides statt erging. Und auch nicht nur um die Schwindel erregenden Kosten für seine Residenz beim Limburger Georgsdom, die von drei auf 30, wenn nicht gar auf 40 Millionen Euro anschwollen.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:40 PM

Die Kirche und das Recht

DEUTSCHLAND
Frankfurter Allgemeine

23.10.2013 · Dass Papst Franziskus den Kommissionsbericht abwarten will, bevor er den Limburger Bischof Tebartz-van Elst womöglich absetzt, ist ein Fortschritt. Doch wie viel Zeit lässt die Kirche vergehen, bevor sie aus Schaden klug wird und ihr Verwaltungsrecht reformiert?

Von DANIEL DECKERS

Es ist Zeit vergangen, bis Papst Franziskus und seine Berater erkannten, dass Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst sein Amt als Bischof von Limburg nicht mehr ausüben kann. Der materielle Schaden in der Amtszeit des Bischofs mag zu verkraften sein. Schwerer wiegt der immaterielle, um nicht zu sagen geistliche Schaden, der eingetreten ist.

Im Frühjahr vergangenen Jahres beklagte eine Gruppe von Priestern die „Atmosphäre lähmender Furcht“, die sich im Bistum Limburg ausgebreitet habe. Die Geistlichen werden bis heute als Quertreiber gegen einen rechtgläubigen und romtreuen Bischof dargestellt. Im Frühsommer dieses Jahres brach der Schutzwall aus Dementis und Halbwahrheiten zusammen, den Bischof und Generalvikar um die Baustelle des Bischofshauses errichtet hatten. Doch noch zwei Monate später versicherte der Vorsitzende der Deutschen Bischofskonferenz Zollitsch seinen Limburger Amtsbruder der „kollegialen Solidarität“. Der Münchner Kardinal Marx, der Anfang September öffentlich Zweifel an der rechten Amtsführung des Limburger Bischofs erkennen ließ, musste sich der Ahnungslosigkeit zeihen lassen – Grabenkämpfe, bei denen es auch um den demnächst vakanten Vorsitz der Bischofskonferenz geht. Weh dem, der solche Mitbrüder hat - und wohl denen, die trotz solcher Kabalen in ihrem Glauben nicht irre werden.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:37 PM

Catholic League outraged that imam costumes don’t come with erections

UNITED STATES
Daily Caller

The Catholic League is upset over a Halloween costume featuring a sexually aroused priest and issued a statement asking why the store Spirit Halloween doesn’t sell similar costumes for imams and rabbis.

Spirit Halloween sells the costume, known as “Happy Priest,” alongside a “Thank You Father” costume that shows a pregnant nun.

The League’s Bill Donohue called both the costumes “offensive.”

“Anyone who wants to buy a costume with a rabbi or imam sporting an erection is out of luck — there are none available,” Donohue said in a statement. “There are also no vulgar Jewish or Muslim women costumes available. Just ones for nuns.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:11 PM

Federal lawsuit against convicted priest advances

NEW YORK
Post-Star

DON LEHMAN -- dlehman@poststar.com

A federal judge has declined to dismiss a federal lawsuit against a former local Catholic priest who was convicted of repeatedly molesting two young male parishioners.

A Queensbury resident who has alleged he was molested by the Rev. Gary Mercure is seeking unspecified damages for “sexual exploitation and abuse of children.”

Mercure, who is serving a prison sentence in Massachusetts for child molestation, could stand trial in U.S. District Court in Vermont as early as the spring.

U.S. District Judge William Sessions III recently refused to dismiss the lawsuit, which also names as a defendant the Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany.

The diocese is accused of “breach of fiduciary duty” for not properly supervising Mercure.

The plaintiff, whose name is being withheld because The Post-Star does not identify victims of sexual abuse, filed the lawsuit in August 2011. It was filed in Vermont because Mercure is accused of taking the victim there for the purpose of sexual abuse.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:08 PM

Child Sex Assault Charges Against Former Priest Dropped

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
My Fox Philly

PHILADELPHIA -
Child sex abuse charges have been dropped against former Philadelphia priest Robert Brennan now that his 26-year-old accuser has died.

Brennan, now 75, was charged with sexually assaulting Sean McIlmail between 1998 and 2001 beginning when the boy was 11-years-old.

The abuse allegedly happened while McIlmail was serving as an altar boy at Resurrection of Our Lord Parish in Northeast Philadelphia.

He died unexpectedly of a suspected drug overdose last week.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:17 PM

Archbishop responds to sexual misconduct concerns

MINNESOTA
Pioneer Press

The Associated Press

ST. PAUL, Minn.—Archbishop John Nienstedt says he accepts responsibility for addressing fresh concerns about clergy sexual misconduct in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis.
And he tells Minnesota Public Radio ( http://bit.ly/1h9u5Wr) he regrets that a growing number of parishioners and priests have lost confidence in him.

But in an email response to MPR's questions, he denies any abuse cover-up or illegal actions. And he repeats the archdiocese's assertion that there are no offending priests in active ministry.

He says he's committed to finding the truth and fixing problems that exist. He says his highest priorities are ensuring children's safety and restoring trust.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:14 PM

Philly D.A.: Charges To Be Withdrawn Against Former Priest Robert Brennan

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
CBS Philly

PHILADELPHIA (CBS)– Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams announced charges will be withdrawn against former Philadelphia priest Robert Brennan.

The alleged victim,26-year-old Sean McIlmail, who had brought the charges against Brennan died unexpectedly last week of an accidental drug overdose.

Seth Williams released a statement saying, “Before announcing the status of the case against Robert L. Brennan, I would like to take a moment to again express my respect and gratitude to the victim in this case, 26-year-old Sean McIlmail. The sentiment that I expressed last week when it was discovered that Sean had unexpectedly passed away are the only words that I can find to say again today. The decades long demons and scars that Sean endured ended when he was found dead by Philadelphia Police Detectives. I can not say enough about the bravery Sean displayed in coming forward to bring these crimes to light. His courage should serve as an inspiration to us all.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:43 PM

Philly DA drops priest's rape case; accuser died

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
Capital Gazette

Associated Press

Philadelphia prosecutors will drop rape charges against a suspended priest because the 26-year-old accuser has died of an overdose.

District Attorney Seth Williams announced the decision regarding the Rev. Robert Brennan with the family of accuser Sean McIlmail by his side.

The family wants McIlmail's name publicized in the hope that sexual abuse victims will get help. The Associated Press does not usually identify sexual abuse victims.

Williams say there is not enough other evidence to go forward with the case, which was filed after McIlmail contacted authorities this year.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:41 PM

PA - Second SNAP statement re Brennan charges

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

For immediate release: Wednesday Oct 23, 2013

Statement by David Clohessy of St. Louis, Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests ( 314 566 9790, SNAPclohessy@aol.com )

This is dreadfully sad. A predator priest walks free and kids are at risk. Despite Fr. Robert Brennan’s age we still feel he is dangerous. (Most predators use cunning and manipulation not physical prowess to hurt kids)

It is clear what Archbishop Chaput will do now: virtually nothing. At most he might put a tiny mention of Brennan in his archdiocesan newspaper but more likely he will stay silent. And it is clear what he SHOULD do: personally visit each parish where Fr Brennan (starting with the most recent one) and beg victims, witnesses and whistleblowers to call the police. It is also clear what everybody who saw suspected or suffered Fr. Brennan’s crimes should do: speak up now!

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:36 PM

Pastor offers rare critique of Archbishop John Nienstedt

MINNESOTA
Star Tribune

Article by: BAIRD HELGESON , Star Tribune Updated: October 23, 2013

The pastor of a large Twin Cities parish has taken the unusual step of publicly questioning whether Archbishop John Nien­stedt should continue in his post amid a widening priest sex abuse scandal.

The Rev. Bill Deziel, who heads the 6,000-member Church of St. Peter, used his church’s Sunday bulletin to call for a “do-over” of archdiocesan leadership. “When things get this bad,” Deziel wrote to his parishioners, “sometimes a fresh start is needed for all involved.” Such a change, he said, “could get us moving again with all that Christ calls us to do.”

Jim Accurso, spokesman for the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, said Tuesday that Nienstedt will address clergy sexual misconduct in his column for the Catholic Spirit, which will be available online Thursday.

Deziel, who was appointed to his North St. Paul parish by Nienstedt in 2011, also publicly called on the archdiocese to release the names of 33 priests accused of sexually abused children and to open the so-called vault in the chancery offices so its files on priests can be inspected by law enforcement.

In addition, a St. Paul attorney has begun an online petition drive calling for Nienstedt’s resignation. Thomas Lyons, a Catholic and a former president of the Minnesota Trial Lawyers Association, said Tuesday that Nienstedt can no longer fulfill the duties of his office.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:32 PM

Nienstedt breaks silence: "There are no offending priests" in archdiocese

MINNESOTA
Minnesota Public Radio

by Madeleine Baran, Minnesota Public Radio
October 23, 2013

ST. PAUL, Minn. — Archbishop John Nienstedt said he accepts responsibility for addressing the unfolding clergy sexual abuse crisis and regrets that a growing number of parishioners and priests in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis have "lost confidence" in him.

However, he denied any abuse cover-up or illegal actions and repeated the archdiocese's claim that there are no offending priests in active ministry.

Nienstedt's remarks came in an e-mailed response to questions from MPR News. It's the first time the archbishop has answered questions about the scandal since MPR News began publishing investigative reports in late September.

"As head of this local Church, I accept responsibility for addressing the issues that have been raised and am completely committed to finding the truth and fixing the problems that exist," Nienstedt wrote. "My highest priorities are to ensure the safety of our children and to restore the trust of Catholics and our clergy. I will do everything in my power to do so."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:28 PM

Bishops in Disgrace and Whither the Church is Tending

UNITED STATES
Public Catholic

October 23, 2013 By Rebecca Hamilton

The so-called Bishop of Bling, Bishop Frantz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst, has been suspended for what may prove to be misappropriation of funds.

The charges against him are basically that he has been living large off monies that should have gone to Church ministries.

Other bishops find themselves in situations like that of Archbishop John Nienstedt of the Archdiocese of St Paul Minneapolis. This bishop is in trouble for failure to remove priests with pedophile problems from active ministry.

While the charges against both these bishops are serious, I don’t feel nearly as strongly about the things Bishop Tebartz-van Elst is accused of doing as those that Archbishop Nienstedt may have done. I am, as I said yesterday, out of patience with the refusal by some bishops to do their jobs vis a vis the clergy child sex abuse scandal.

Both these situations highlight a simple fact: The Church’s way of dealing with the public failings of its bishops is going to have to change.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:27 PM

Thompson Hires Gestetner As A Campaign Consultant

NEW YORK
Failed Messiah

Shmarya Rosenberg • FailedMessiah.com

Yossi Gestetner, who served as a spokesperson for the massive Williamsburg fundraising event for hasidic pedophile Nechemya Weberman, was hired by Thompson's campaign as a consultant to set up events in the hasidic community.

Gestetner was dumped by the New York State Republican party last year, which had hired him to be its Jewish liaison, after it learned about Gestetner's role in that Weberman fundraiser and about Gestetner's affiliation with a vehemently anti-Zionist hasidic group. Ken Thompson hired him anyway.

Months ago, Brooklyn D.A. Charles J. Hynes's primary campaign was allegedly negotiating with Gestetner with the aim of hiring him as a consultant to do much of the same things Gestetner is now doing for Thompson. But that deal apparently was never finalized and both Hynes and Gestetner at the time denied it.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:30 PM

Listen to Bad Religion's "O Come, O Come Emmanuel"

UNITED STATES
Artists Direct

Christmas is coming early and in punk rock style, as those icons known as Bad Religion are releasing a Christmas album, Christmas Songs, on October 29. Christmas Songs features eight new studio recordings of traditional Christmas hymns and an alternate mix of their single "American Jesus" by Andy Wallace.

Get in the holiday spirit and listen to Bad Religion's rendition of "O Come, O Come Emmanuel" below.

Bad Religion will contribute 20 percent of the proceeds from Christmas Songs to SNAP, Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests. For more information visit snapnetwork.org.

"This might be the most subversive album we've done," co-songwriter and guitarist Brett Gurewitz explains. "To me, what the album is indirectly stating is that this music, and thus the world, can be powerful and beautiful stripped of God and religion. These are just really good songs, and a historically non-religious band like Bad Religion can perform them with as much power and feeling as anyone."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:28 PM

PA - Group praises Philly victim's parents for speaking up

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

For immediate release: Wednesday October 23, 2013

Statement by Barbara Blaine of SNAP, 312 399 4747, SNAPblaine@gmail.com

We applaud this victim’s brave family for speaking up and hope their courage prods others who are suffering in silence to step forward.

It’s tough for anyone to talk about child sex crimes. It must be especially tough doing that when you have just lost a child because of the horror of such crimes. Still, it is clear that this family has chosen to step forward in the hopes of saving kids who might be abused in the future and in the hopes of helping adults who have been abused in the past.

They should be praised for taking this difficult but responsible and caring step.

Why aren’t Archbishop Charles Chaput and other catholic officials joining this grieving family in begging others who saw suspected or suffered clergy sex crimes and cover ups to step forward? Why does Chaput continue to hide behind his expensive defense lawyers and shrewd public relations professionals? Why won’t he act like a true shepherd and personally go to every parish where Fr. Brennan worked, strongly urge those with suspicions or knowledge of the allegations against Fr. Brennan to pick up the phone and call 911?

Please, if you were hurt, let his brave family’s compassion move you to break your silence and get help. If you might be able to share even a scintilla of information about clergy sexual misdeeds - however slight, old or seemingly insignificant it might be – with law enforcement, please act with generosity and courage now, so that others might be spared decades of pain.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:25 PM

Priest sex abuse charges dropped against Rev. Robert Brennan

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
WPVI

PHILADELPHIA - October 23, 2013 (WPVI) -- Sex abuse charges against a Philadelphia priest were formally dropped Wednesday, less than two weeks after his most recent accuser died of what his lawyers called a suspected drug overdose.

Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams made the announcement regarding Rev. Robert Brennan Wednesday, surrounded by the family of Brennan's accuser.

Williams said the family of Sean McIlmail wanted his name and the alleged abuse against him made public.

McIlmail, a former altar boy, came forward earlier this year to accuse Brennan of having molested him over a period of three years, beginning in 1998 when McIlmail was 11.

In withdrawing the charges, Williams said prosecutors determined that there was not enough evidence apart from McIlmail's testimony to try Brennan.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:11 PM

Philadelphia DA drops priest’s rape case...

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
Washington Post

Philadelphia DA drops priest’s rape case; accuser, 26, overdosed days before court hearing

By Associated Press, Updated: Wednesday, October 23, 2:46 PM
PHILADELPHIA — Philadelphia prosecutors will drop rape charges against a suspended priest because the 26-year-old accuser has died of an overdose.

District Attorney Seth Williams announced the decision regarding the Rev. Robert Brennan with the family of accuser Sean McIlmail by his side.

The family wants McIlmail’s name publicized in the hope that sexual abuse victims will get help. The Associated Press does not usually identify sexual abuse victims.

Williams say there is not enough other evidence to go forward with the case, which was filed after McIlmail contacted authorities this year.

An explosive 2005 Philadelphia grand jury report says Brennan was named in more than 20 complaints about inappropriate behavior around children.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:07 PM

Family of witness against priest breaks its silence

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
Philadelphia Inquirer

JOSEPH A. SLOBODZIAN, INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
LAST UPDATED: Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Sean Patrick McIlmail kept his secret for 12 years as it chewed away at him and his close-knit family watched him descend into mental illness and drug abuse.

On Wednesday - four days after they buried the 26-year-old - his parents, brother and sister decided the time for secrets was over.

In an interview at the home of their lawyer, McIlmail's parents, older brother and younger sister publicly confirmed that Sean was the person who accused former Philadelphia Catholic priest Robert L. Brennan of sexually molesting him over a four-year period beginning when he was 11 years old.

That prosecution by the Philadelphia District Attorney's office was called off Wednesday following McIlmail's accidental death on Oct. 13 from a drug overdose.

District Attorney Seth Williams has set an afternoon news conference and is expected to announce that prosecutors were wiithdrawing charges against Brennan, 75, of Perrysville, Md.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:51 PM

Clergy abuse reports pose financial concerns

MINNESOTA
LaCrosse Tribune

New questions about the way the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis handled allegations of clergy sexual misconduct are posing some financial concerns, including the potential for new legal expenses and a falloff in donations.

Minnesota Public Radio News reported ( http://bit.ly/1aFO9JA) some who track weekly church collections are worried media reports of how church leaders handled warnings about at least two priests could cause parishioners to give less.

Before these recent allegations came to light, the archdiocese was already concerned that a new law easing the statute of limitations for victims of childhood sexual abuse would open the church up to more lawsuits _ and legal expenses.

The archdiocese's finances have been under heightened scrutiny in recent years, mostly due to the nearly $1 million it spent between 2010 and 2012 on a failed campaign to ban same-sex marriage in Minnesota.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:50 PM

Sex Charges Dropped Against Philly Priest After Accuser Dies

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
NBC 10

Sex charges were dropped against a Philadelphia priest on Wednesday after his accuser died of a drug overdose.

Sean McIlmail, 26, was found dead last week. He was an alter boy under Fr. Robert Brennan and alleged the priest sexually abused him 15 years ago -- eventually coming forward in Jan.

"Sean suffered in silence for over a decade," said Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams on Wednesday. "Sean found his own way of self-medicating, which unfortunately led to his death."

Williams dropped rape and sexual assault charges levied against Brennan saying there was no longer enough evidence -- direct or circumstantial -- to continue a trial.

He called McIlmail courageous and a voice for child sexual abuse victims.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:46 PM

Priests, Rapists, Snap and Bad Religion's "Christmas Songs"

UNITED STATES
American Pancake

Two words that should not go together are Priest and Rapist but unfortunately these two words that should be morally opposite seemingly go hand in hand rather hold hands as it were with the remaining hands holding the hands of innocent children. The disgusting truth has been out there for decades and while the hierarchy of the Catholic Church has a history of easily half a century of feigning concern but really doing nothing there are organizations that have sprung up to not only fight the good fight but to give a voice to those who have been sexually, physically, mentally abused within the supposed sanctity of the "house of God."

Bad Religion is releasing "Christmas Songs" and 20% of the proceeds from the albums sales will be contributed to SNAP which is a "Survivors Network" for people sexually abused by Priests. I do not endorse SNAP as an organization because I don't know that much about it but their Mission Statement is a just one. I encourage anyone who donates to any organization to check them out to make sure they are who they say they are. Be smart and be just.
-
Fight the good fight!

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:42 PM

OH - Ohio bishop should "out" accused predator

OHIO
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

For immediate release: Wednesday Oct 23, 2013

Statement by Carol Zamonski, SNAP Central Ohio Leader ( snapcentralohio@yahoo.com, 614-447-2084 )

A Fisher Catholic High School teacher in Columbus was suspended a few days ago for allegedly “sexting” – sending nude or partially nude photos of herself to a student.

We in SNAP believe in the principle of “innocent until proven guilty.” This teacher should not be jailed unless she’s convicted.

[10TV]

But that concept doesn’t preclude common sense safety steps being taken right now, especially because kids are involved here, because sex crimes are most apt to be repeated and because she’s taught for five years, so the chances of there being other victims are higher.

In child sex cases, we must consider the reputation of one adult AND the well-being of multiple kids. And we must always come down on the side of protecting the safety of several youngsters over the privacy of one adult.

This teacher is suspended. But that doesn’t mean kids are safe. If, in fact, she committed these crimes, she used a cell phone to do so and likely still has a cell phone. So we must put the protection of kids first here.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:36 PM

Why Did The D.A. Wait Eight Months To Arrest Father Brennan?

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
Big Trial

By Ralph Cipriano
for Bigtrial.net

There's an unexplained mystery in the arrest of Father Robert L. Brennan.

The alleged victim in the case came forward in January 2013 to charge that between 1998 and 2001, when he was 11 to 14 years old, he was an altar boy sexually assaulted by Father Brennan. The Archdiocese of Philadelphia immediately reported the allegation to the district attorney's office. Yet, District Attorney Seth Williams waited eight months to arrest Father Brennan on Sept. 25th.

Yesterday, Brennan's lawyer, Trevan Borum, a former Philadelphia assistant district attorney, asked why.

"If the allegation was credible, why does it take nine months?" said Borum, who likened the case to Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter. "I've had no explanation whatsoever. I don't know what on earth took them so long."

For the past nine months, District Attorney Seth Williams has stonewalled questions from this reporter. So sadly, someone else in the all-too compliant local media will have to ask the D.A. to explain the eight-month gap in the record on Father Brennan.

All I can do is post the question publicly. So here goes: If Father Brennan was such a menace to society, as the D.A. contends, why wasn't he taken off the streets immediately?

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:30 PM

Der Papst gewinnt Zeit im "Fall Limburg"

DEUTSCHLAND
RP

Limburg/Rom (RPO). Aufgeschoben, nicht aufgehoben: Der Papst hat Bischof Tebartz-van Elst beurlaubt. Vor einem endgültigen Urteil will er Fakten auf dem Tisch haben. Damit gewinnt Franziskus zwar Zeit. Aber Frieden im Bistum herrscht deshalb noch lange nicht.

Der Papst setzt auf Zeit. Und er setzt auf die Kassenprüfer, wenn es darum geht, im krisengeschüttelten Limburger Bistum für Ruhe zu sorgen. Den seit Wochen schwer angeschlagenen Bischof Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst schickt Franziskus in den unfreiwilligen Urlaub, er entzieht ihm angesichts der Vorwürfe um Verschwendung und Verschleierung die Führung der Amtsgeschäfte - und wartet ab.

Zunächst will Papst Franziskus schwarz auf weiß sehen, ob das, was den Bischof ins Wanken bringt und die deutsche Kirche in eine Krise um Transparenz und Anspruchsdenken stürzt, der Wahrheit entspricht.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:23 PM

Tebartz-van Elst kann nicht nach Limburg zurück

DEUTSCHLAND
Die Welt

Von Claus Christian Malzahn

Die Tragikomödie um Bischof Franz Peter Tebartz-van Elst geht in den letzten Akt. Dass der Kirchenmann am Ende dieses kostenträchtigen Stücks noch in Limburg auf der Bühne stehen wird, ist kaum wahrscheinlich. Unmöglich ist es allerdings auch nicht.

Der neue Papst will sich in seiner endgültigen Entscheidung offenbar von niemandem treiben lassen. Das Votum des Prüfungsausschusses der deutschen Bischofskonferenz hält Franziskus wohl für wichtiger als das schnelle Urteil vieler Zeitungen und TV-Sender, denen der Limburger Kirchenfürst in den vergangenen Wochen eine Steilvorlage nach der anderen geliefert hat.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:21 PM

Ex-Rabbi At Long Island Yeshiva Abused Student, Cops Say

NEW YORK
The Jewish Week

Rabbi Gary Lieberman sexually abused a 10-year-old student at Hebrew Academy of Nassau County when he was a teacher there, police said Friday.

The abuse allegedly took place at the yeshiva’s lower school campus in West Hempstead between between November, 2009 and May 2010. The rabbi, who lives in Far Rockaway, was fired from the yeshiva for unspecified reasons in the summer of 2010.

“There was an allegation regarding an incident which allegedly occurred years ago which was recently brought to our attention regarding a teacher that has not worked at the school for several years,” said its executive director, Bob Shelley, in a statement emailed to The Jewish Week Friday.

The same message was sent to parents.

“The school was proactive in reporting the allegation to the police and we are continuing to cooperate with their investigation. We have been asked not to comment any further.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:09 PM

Justice and a Priest's Right of Defense in the Diocese of Manchester

NEW HAMPSHIRE
A Ram in the Thicket

By Ryan A. MacDonald

A right of defense for accused priests is supported on paper in the Diocese of Manchester, but in one case it has been suppressed and obstructed at every turn.

I became quite familiar with the scene above during a short trip this past summer. A nice 4-hour drive from New York took me along Interstate 91 and the Connecticut River. From Brattleboro, Vermont (locals call it "Brat") I drove east on Route 9 for 18 miles to the picturesque City of Keene, New Hampshire and its much admired downtown Main Street.

Keene is a small city with a population of about 23,500 - not counting the 5,000 students enrolled in Keene State College. The social and economic hub of southwest New Hampshire, it boasts the widest Main Street in the United States, and its bustling downtown collection of quaint and busy shops, restaurants, a theatre, offices, and concerts on the Keene Commons is the envy of many cities its size. Keene's downtown begins at the doors of St. Bernard Church, today part of a three-parish community known as the Parish of the Holy Spirit.

Saint Bernard Church and Rectory are depicted above. The building in the background is Saint Joseph RegionalCatholic School (grades K to 8). The entire complex is bordered on the left by the bustling campus of Keene State College, and on the right by busy downtown Keene. Across the wide, heavily traveled Main Street from the rectory is the region's largest and busiest U.S. Post Office, a pizza take-out, and a convenience store conducting a brisk college town business 24/7.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:57 PM

The Bravery Badge Awards!

UNITED STATES
Mary DeMuth

I anticipated writing a different post for today, but I remembered some brave folks and wanted to honor them for their courage. This isn’t just about my opinion, though. Read further for your role in nominating folks for the Bravery Badge.

Here are the five (and an amazing+1) folks I’m honoring today with Bravery Badges. ...

Ed Cyzewski. He wrote a post yesterday that ROCKED about churches protecting sexual abusers, dismissing their sin, marginalizing victims, and turning a blind eye to the scourge that many sexual abuse victims face when they dare to report their story. ...

Amy Smith of Watchkeep. We’ve not met, but she has been passionate about telling the truth about Bluebonnets 119predators. I’m sure she’s gotten flak about being vocal in her reporting, but I’m grateful she’s willing to highlight what has been going on in the nation in the realm of sexual abuse. Go Amy!

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:53 PM

LAW SHIELDS CHURCHES, LEAVES PENSIONS UNPROTECTED

UNITED STATES
Associated Press

By ADAM GELLER

PASSAIC, N.J. (AP) — Working at St. Mary's Hospital was all about making do. When supply shelves emptied, respiratory therapist Lori-Ann Ligon made frantic calls to compatriots at nearby medical centers, arranging meetings on the fly to barter for blood gaskets. For a couple of years, she and other managers were told the endless budget squeeze left no room for raises.

But when St. Mary's outlasted two competitors to become this city's lone hospital, executives heralded a new era: "Not just health care. Human care."

That care, though, only went so far.

"Presently, the retirement plan's trust is severely underfunded," the CEO wrote to employees in early 2011, blaming investment losses and the hospital's decision not to put any money into one of its pension plans for more than a decade. "As a federally recognized church plan," he continued, St. Mary's had the right to do that — and there was no government pension insurance to fall back on.

The news angered many St. Mary's workers, but their situation is not unique. Pension shortfalls at some religiously affiliated hospitals, businesses and social service agencies are raising new alarms and spotlighting a largely overlooked gap in the law protecting Americans' retirement benefits.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:50 PM

Explaining the Big Scandals in Jewish Charities: CEOs Too Cozy

UNITED STATES
Nonprofit Quarterly

WRITTEN BY RICK COHEN CREATED ON WEDNESDAY, 23 OCTOBER 2013

In the Jewish Daily Forward, Josh Nathan-Kazis takes on the subject of the spate of scandals that have hit a number of prominent Jewish charities. “One Jewish charity CEO hid allegedly stolen cash in his apartment closet. Another had an affair with his assistant while the assistant’s son-in-law stole from the CEO’s organization. A third covered up sex abuse charges for decades.”

The big scandals he’s discussing are Yeshiva University’s former president, Rabbi Norman Lamm, admitting to two decades of covering up sexual abuse of high school students; news that top officials at the Conference of Jewish Material Claims Against Germany had been told eight years earlier of a multimillion dollar scam; the firing of the CEO of the 92nd Street Y—after an affair with his executive assistant—whose Y-employed son was charged with taking kickbacks from vendors; and the firing of William Rapfogel, the CEO of the Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty, on charges of participating in a two-decade long $5 million kickback scheme.

Those are just the recent scandals. Nathan-Kazis also notes that Yeshiva University and the Met Council were also too close to the Madoff fraudulent investment scheme. Madoff was the chairman of the board of the University’s business school, and one J. Ezra Merkin on the university’s investment committee fed funds to Madoff—and negotiated an investment for the Met Council with Madoff that lost $1.4 million.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:48 PM

MN - Why MN predator priests get more $$ than non-offenders

MINNESOTA
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

For immediate release: Wednesday, Oct. 23, 2013

Statement by Barbara Dorris of St. Louis, Outreach Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests ( 314 862 7688 home, 314 503 0003 cell, SNAPdorris@gmail.com )

Some Minnesota child molesting clerics get paid more than their non-offending peers, a new MinnPost story reveals.

There’s a simple explanation: blackmail.

Predator priests are often cunning and selfish and insist on more money. We believe that bishops comply out of fear. They are scared that unless they comply, predator priests may tell what they know and suspect about other wrongdoing in the church – sexual and financial. And bishops – more than anything else – desperately want to avoid being dragged into a public scandal.

There’s an old saying: “Keep your friends close, but keep your enemies closer.” Bishops realize that priests know a lot about private misdeeds in their dioceses. This is especially true of predator priests. So if bishops “crack down” or threaten to “crack down” on predators, those predators can retaliate by disclosing wrongdoing by their peers or supervisors.

That’s why some predator priests get special treatment and “sweetheart deals.” That’s one reason why some get their tuition paid to return to school and get degrees in teaching or counseling (like Fr. Patrick O’Donnell in Seattle).

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:45 PM

Calling Out the Evangelical Culture of Sexual Abuse

UNITED STATES
In a Mirror Dimly

Christians have a tradition of “laying hands” on each other to impart the Holy Spirit, to heal, and to bless. My church “trains” people to pray, which basically means we teach people to ask questions like, “Can I put my hand on your shoulder as I pray for you.”

Touching and consent go “hand in hand.”

Touch has a foundationally sacred and important place in the Christian tradition.

Touching each other inappropriately undermines the healing and life that God desires to impart in our lives. Our hands can be used to destroy, imprison, and wound or they can be used to impart freedom, spiritual gifts, and blessings.

Our message collapses if we approve inappropriate touching in one moment and then reach out to heal in another. (Trigger warning below for sexual abuse and rape.)

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:44 PM

NY - Judge's ruling protects Cardinal Dolan

NEW YORK
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

For immediate release: Wednesday, Oct. 23, 2013

Statement by Peter Isely of Milwaukee, national board member of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests ( 414-429-7259, peterisely@yahoo.com )

A judge’s new ruling could further shield NY Cardinal Tim Dolan from the legal and public consequences of clergy child sex abuse cases he handled for eight years in Milwaukee.

The decision comes weeks after the same judge refused to rescue himself from the Milwaukee bankruptcy case even though he and his family have strong connections to the archdiocese.

Late yesterday, Judge Rudolph Randa ruled that a deaf survivor of the Fr. Lawrence Murphy is bound by an agreement he reached with church officials even though he was deceived in order to secure that agreement.

The agreement was reached in an archdiocesan program designed by Dolan in 2003. We believe the purpose of that program was to quickly and quietly settle with victims while deliberately misleading them about the archdiocese’s prior knowledge of the criminal history of abusers. At the same time, it induced victims to accept nominal restitution in exchange for waving all future legal rights. If the victim would later discover they had been deceived by Dolan and the archdiocese, as we now know they were, they would have no legal recourse.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:54 AM

Abuse victim writes to the Pope

CANADA
Northern Life

By: Darren MacDonald - Sudbury Northern Life | Oct 23, 2013

Jerome Myre has written a letter to Pope Francis, and is hoping for a personal reply. While it's a long shot, he's got a better chance of hearing from the pontiff than most of us.

Myre was 12 years old when he was sexually abused by Fr. Bernard Cloutier, a former priest who was convicted in 2009 for incidents that took place in Sudbury, Espanola and Massey. Myre, who is allowing his name and face to be made public, was one of five victims abused between 1974 and 1983. He attended a parole hearing last month, where he and another victim read their victim impact statements, doing their part to ensure Cloutier, 71, serves his full sentence, which runs until Oct. 14, 2014.

While no longer a Catholic, Myre says he still believes in God. But not in a church that refuses to defrock priests who abuse children. So he's written the Pope, asking for a change in policy.

“I think it would show some good faith to victims around the world,” Myre said. “To me, they shouldn't have any status whatsoever.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:42 AM

OH - Victims prod Catholic officials in sex case

OHIO
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

SNAP: “Disclose accused teacher’s name”
She allegedly sent inappropriate photos to student
Group wants Catholic school & church officials to “reach out”
“It’s especially hard for boys who are sexually exploited by females,” SNAP says

WHAT
Holding signs at a sidewalk news conference, clergy sex abuse victims will urge Catholic church and school officials to do more about allegations last week of child sex crimes by a teacher. They will prod Columbus’ Catholic bishop to

--disclose the accused teacher’s name,
--write to former staff, students and their families about her, and
--post notices about her in church bulletins and on church websites to “help police and prosecutors determine whether formal charges should be filed” and to “help find others who may have been hurt by her.”

WHEN
TODAY, Wednesday, Oct. 23 at 1:45 p.m.

WHO
Two members of a support group called SNAP (the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests), including a Columbus woman who is the organization’s local director

WHERE
On the sidewalk outside St. Joseph Cathedral, 212 East Broad Street (corner of N 5th St.) in downtown Columbus

WHY
For the sake of kids’ safety, and to help law enforcement, SNAP wants Columbus Bishop Frederick Campbell to publicly reveal the name of a Fisher Catholic High School teacher who has been suspended a few days ago for allegedly “sexting” – sending nude or partially nude photos of herself to a student.

[Newark Advocate]

The teacher also allegedly rubbed a boy’s leg under a desk in a classroom.

SNAP believes that too often, Catholic officials are secretive about alleged child sexual abuse. The group notes that for more than a decade, official church policy mandates “openness and transparency” in such cases.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:37 AM

Writer who was abused collapses after speech at protest

IRELAND
Irish Independent

Nicola Anderson – 23 October 2013
A WRITER who survived years of abuse at a religious institution collapsed after making an impassioned speech at a protest against government cuts.

Patrick Touher (72), from Balbriggan, who wrote 'Fear of the Collar, my Terrifying Childhood in Artane', was sent into the care of the Christian Brothers at the age of eight after the death of his mother and the departure of his father, who left the country.

In his book, he wrote about years of physical and sexual abuse during his time at Artane.

Two other people are believed to have collapsed at yesterday's protest which saw up to 5,000 demonstrators, most of them elderly, descend on Leinster House.

Many had travelled from the farthest-flung parts of the country and carried placards attacking the Government.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:00 AM

Archdiocese's priest pension-fund policy gives some abusers bigger checks than typical clerical retirees

MINNESOTA
MinnPost

By Beth Hawkins

Like pretty much every traditional American pension plan, Catholic clergy retirement funds are struggling to deal with the triple punch of an aging work force, lengthening lifespans and lagging investments.

The Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, however, has some special complications with its plan, sparked by recent sex abuse scandals and controversy over its handling of continuing "disability payments" to priests.

In some cases, critics say, the abusers end up with larger incomes from the pension fund than priests who retire with unblemished records.

Among the recent revelations: The woefully underfunded priests’ pension plan has been stretched even thinner by the church hierarchy’s decision to classify some priests accused of abuse as disabled and grant them early retirement.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:48 AM

Rome - Pope ousts one bishop but let’s convicted one stay

UNITED STATES
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

For immediate release: Wednesday, Oct. 23, 2013

Statement by Barbara Dorris of St. Louis, Outreach Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests ( 314 862 7688 home, 314 503 0003 cell, SNAPdorris@gmail.com )

Pope Francis has suspended a German bishop for financial misdeeds.

But he ignores bishops who have concealed or are concealing child sex crimes. He should suspend them promptly, starting with Bishop Robert Finn of Kansas City Missouri, who was convicted in 2012 of withholding evidence - hundreds of sexual photos of young girls - from police.

[Kansas City Star]

There are many bishops who should be suspended. But Finn is the most clearly proven wrongdoer. His guilt was established in an impartial trial in open court, despite a bevy of experienced and highly-paid lawyers fighting on his behalf.

Many Catholics no doubt applaud the German bishop’s suspension. But think about the message it sends hundreds of thousands of victims of child molesting clerics: “The Pope cares more about saving the church’s money than about saving the church’s children.”

One reason to suspend a wrongdoer is to deter others from emulating him. So what’s more crucial to deter? Child sex crimes and cover ups? Or financial extravagance?

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:43 AM

Denton priest quits after sex abuse probe against him is dropped

UNITED KINGDOM
Manchester Evening News

A Catholic priest has resigned despite being told he won’t be prosecuted over allegations he sexually abused a young girl.

Father Tim Hopkins, 44, was interviewed under caution last year by detectives investigating allegations a girl was molested on three occasions between 2004 and 2007. He was not arrested.

The M.E.N. revealed last week that the Crown Prosecution Service had decided to take no further action against the clergyman after considering a police file on the case.

Now it has emerged Fr Hopkins has resigned as priest for the St John Fisher and St Mary’s churches in Denton.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:13 AM

Vatican Not Amused by the 'Bling Bishop' and His $20,000 Bathtub

GERMANY/VATICAN CITY
The Atlantic Wire

ALEXANDER ABAD-SANTOS

Only a very few people on this earth will ever get a punishment handed down to them by the central governing body of the Catholic Church. One of those people is bishop Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst a.k.a. the "bling bishop" who was suspended by the Vatican on Wednesday for, among other things, spending $20,000 on his bathtub. Tebartz-van Elst, as the AFP reports, first got into trouble after it was reported that he purchased a business-class ticket to fly to India, which led to some digging into his other extravagant purchases.

"His private quarters in a new diocesan building are reported to have cost some 2.9 million euros ($3.9 million) and included a 63-square-metre dining room and a 15,000 euro bathtub — using the revenue from a religious tax in Germany," the AFP reported. This, of course brought up accusations that Tebartz -van Elst was squandering money, abusing his position, and basically living like a Kardashian. This luxurious spending goes against Pope Francis's aim to make the Catholic Church a "poor church that looked after others" after Pope Benedict's tenure was marred by financial corruption scandals and controversy.

Tebartz-van Elst flew on a low-cost airline to his meeting with Pope Francis on Wednesday, but that didn't save him from being put on leave. "The Vatican didn't say Wednesday if Bishop Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst would permanently leave the diocese of Limburg. But it said Limberg's newly named vicar general, Monsignor Wolfgang Roesch, would administer the diocese during Tebartz-van Elst's 'period of time away,'" the AP reports.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:10 AM

Vatican Expels German 'Bishop of Bling' Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst

GERMANY/VATICAN
International Business Times

[with video]

Pope Francis has temporarily expelled German bishop Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst, dubbed the "Bishop of Bling", over a scandal regarding his €31million (£26m, $40m) project to renew a sumptuous diocesan residence in the western small city of Limburg.

The Vatican said Tebartz-van Elst "could no longer exercise his episcopal ministry" and Limbrug's newly named vicar general, Monsignor Wolfgang Roesch would administer the diocese.

"The Holy See deems it appropriate to authorise a period of leave from the diocese for Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst," the Vatican said in a statement.

"The Holy Father has been continuously and objectively informed of the situation," it said.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:08 AM

'Bishop of Bling' banished from German diocese

GERMANY
Yahoo! News

[with video]

The so-called ‘Bishop of Bling’ has been banished from his diocese, following scandal over the high cost of his residence.

Pope Francis ordered Bishop Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst to leave his diocese in Limburg for an unspecified period of time, in a move just short of a resignation.

The bishop reportedly spent 31 million euros on a residence, including a 2.9 million euro private chapel and a 15,000 euro free-standing bath.

In the bishop’s absence, the diocese will be administered by a vicar.

The issue will doubtless cause embarrassment to the Pope, who has been preaching frugality since he took office in March.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:05 AM

Prayers to riches tale of ‘bling bishop’ puts German church in spotlight

VATICAN CITY/GERMANY
Irish Times

Derek Scally

Pope Francis had clear words at morning Mass on Monday. Hours before he met Germany’s so-called bling bishop to ask him about his €31 million new residence in Limburg, the pope – who called for a “poor church for the poor” – warned how “greed destroys people, families and human relationships”.

At noon, Pope Francis granted a 20-minute audience to the German bishop with the multi-barrelled name, Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Eltz, and an unenviable reputation in the German media.

On his watch, the small diocese of Limburg, near Frankfurt, approved a sprawling residence costing €5 million. The final bill is likely to be six times that, thanks to expensive fittings and special requests by its incoming resident: a now notorious €15,000 free-standing bath, €200,000 on special windows and €350,000 for wardrobes.

The anger over the case is spiralling out of control, prompting a Frankfurt bishop to warn of a “meltdown in the church”.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:02 AM

Bling bishop suspended by the Vatican

VATICAN CITY
Brisbane Times

October 23, 2013

Dario Thuburn

The Vatican has suspended a scandal-tainted German Catholic cleric dubbed the "bling bishop" for his luxury lifestyle, despite multiple calls for the prelate to be dismissed.

"The Holy See deems it appropriate to authorise a period of leave from the diocese for Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst," the Vatican said in a statement on Wednesday.

"The Holy Father has been continuously and objectively informed of the situation," it said.

"A situation has been created in which the bishop can no longer exercise his episcopal duties."

It did not specify how long the bishop would have to stay away but added that this would depend on an analysis of the finances of his Limburg diocese and the responsibilities for its high costs.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:00 AM

Second controversial ruling by federal Judge in Milwaukee further shields Dolan from fraud investigation

WISCONSIN
SNAP Wisconsin

Statement by Peter Isely, SNAP Midwest Director
CONTACT: 414.429.7259

Federal Judge Rudolph Randa has issued a second controversial ruling today in the Milwaukee Archdiocese bankruptcy case that could further shield New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan from the legal and public consequences of a pattern of fraudulent practices and conduct related to clergy child sex abuse cases while he was in charge of the Milwaukee Archdiocese from 2002 to 2010.

The decision comes weeks after Randa refused to recuse himself from rendering decisions in the archdiocese bankruptcy despite both he and his family having strong connections to the archdiocese.
In his decision today, Randa ruled that a deaf survivor of the notorious Fr. Lawrence Murphy must abide by an agreement he entered into in an archdiocesan run settlement program, even though he was deceived in order to secure that agreement.

The program was designed by former Archbishop Dolan in 2003 in an effort to secure victim settlements while, according to victims, deliberately misleading them as to the archdiocese’s prior knowledge of the criminal history of the abuser. At the same time, it induced victims to accept nominal restitution in exchange for waving all future legal rights. If the victim would later discover they had been deceived by Dolan and the archdiocese, as we now know they were, no legal remedy would be available.

For instance, court ordered released documents show that Dolan and the archdiocese misled both victims and the public about their true knowledge of Murphy’s history of assaulting deaf children and when they knew it.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:58 AM

Priest paraded victim, court told

AUSTRALIA
Newcastle Herald

By GABRIEL WINGATE-PEARSE Oct. 23, 2013

A PRIEST who befriended the family of a young boy from a violent home introduced the child to a paedophile, parading him to the man and telling him to ‘‘show us your muscles’’, Newcastle Local Court heard yesterday.

The introduction allegedly occurred at the presbytery of St Michael’s Catholic Church in Nelson Bay between 1982 and 1984, where Father Lewis Fenton was parish priest.

‘‘Father Lou’’, as he was known to the boy at the time, introduced Frank Tully to him in his office as his good friend, said the victim, who cannot be identified.

He was asked to ‘‘turn around’’ while Tully looked on, saying ‘‘nice, nice’’.

Shortly afterwards he was indecently assaulted by Tully in a room to the side of the church, until they were interrupted by the boy’s sister.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:51 AM

Críticas a arzobispo polaco por abuso infantil

POLONIA
El Nuevo Herald

BY POR MONIKA SCISLOWSKA
ASSOCIATED PRESS

VARSOVIA, Polonia -- El líder de la Iglesia católica polaca es objeto de una ola de condenas por lo que parece ser una sugerencia de que los niños tienen parte de la culpa de ser objeto de abusos sexuales a manos de sacerdotes.

El arzobispo Jozef Michalik, jefe del influyente Episcopado, hizo en comentario este mes cuando hablaba sobre sobre revelaciones relacionadas con sacerdotes polacos pedófilos. Un niño de una familia abrumada, dijo Michalik a los reporteros, "busca acercarse a otros, puede el rumbo y hacer que la otra persona también lo pierda".

Esas palabras provocaron fuertes protestas de inmediato, que Michalik trató de calmar el mismo día al disculparse diciendo que no habían entendido sus palabras. Dijo que no había sugerido que las víctimas menores de abusos sexuales tenían culpa alguna.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:47 AM

Top bishop bought bogus 'Man of the Year' certificate?

POLAND
The News

23.10.2013

Cambridge University has denied awarding a 'Man of the Year' title to the head of the Polish Episcopate, Archbishop Jozef Michalik, currently under fire for controversial remarks me made about paedophilia.

Catholic weekly Tygodnik Powszechny alleges that Archbishop Michalik bought a certificate for 'Man of the Year 1998-99' from a widely criticised private institution, and has since been promoting it on his official web site.

The allegations provide further embarrassment for the clergyman following a series of controversial remarks that appeared to shift the blame for child abuse by priests towards children and their families.

On the web site of the head of the Polish Episcopate, an entry notes that the archbishop received the 1998/99 honour from “the International Biographical Centre at the University of Cambridge” in a category for “individuals whose leadership and achievements stand out in the international community.”

However, Sian Jones, a press officer at the University of Cambridge has indicated that the information is incorrect.

“I do not know of any links between our university and the International Biographical Centre,” she said.

When approached by the Catholic weekly, the International Biographical Centre itself denied links with the university. The centre is a private institution dedicated to publishing biographical dictionaries.
However, it has been frequently criticised for allegedly luring potential candidates to sign up.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:44 AM

POLAND ARCHBISHOP SLAMMED OVER SEX ABUSE COMMENTS

POLAND
Associated Press

BY MONIKA SCISLOWSKA
ASSOCIATED PRESS

WARSAW, Poland (AP) -- The leader of Poland's Catholic Church has come under a wave of condemnation by appearing to suggest that children are partly to blame for being sexually abused by priests.

Archbishop Jozef Michalik, head of Poland's influential Episcopate, was commenting this month on revelations about Polish pedophile priests. A child from a troubled family, Michalik told reporters, "seeks closeness with others and may get lost and may get the other person involved, too."

The words triggered an immediate uproar - one that Michalik tried to stamp out the same day by apologizing and saying he had been misunderstood. He had not, he said, meant to suggest that child victims were in any way responsible.

But the damage was done.

Ordinary citizens joined prominent politicians in expressing outrage, and intense debate continues more than two weeks later. The media pointed out that Michalik had supported a parish priest convicted in 2004 of child sex abuse, and one of the priest's victims said she was horrified by Michalik's latest remarks.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:42 AM

Husband of Orthodox Jewish victim receives death threats

NEW YORK
New York Post

By Josh Saul
October 23, 2013

The husband of the brave Orthodox Jewish teen whose testimony helped convict the once-prominent Jewish counselor who sexually abused her is receiving death threats, The Post has learned.

“I know my Jewish rights . . . I am allowed to kill you and that [is] what I am going to do,” a thuggish coward posted Monday on the Facebook page of Boorey Deutsch, husband of imprisoned perv Nechemya Weberman’s now-18-year-old victim.

“I AM GOING TO KILL YOU WITH IN THE NEXT THREE YEARS you may be stronger than one thousand satmar people but not stronger than a gun bullet,” the posting raged.

The Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office is investigating the threat, spokeswoman Mia Goldberg confirmed.

“If he can write such things, he might be able to actually do it. My body got very cold,” Deutsch told The Post. “I’m willing to do anything in the world to get him locked up.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:39 AM

More Idaho Men Allege Sexual Abuse, Seek to Join Lawsuit Against Boy Scouts, LDS Church

IDAHO
Boise Weekly

POSTED BY GEORGE PRENTICE ON TUE, OCT 22, 2013

In September, Boise Weekly sat down with John Elliot, who decided to go public after previously remaining anonymous as "John Doe" in his lawsuit against the Boy Scouts of America and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.

Elliott, along with seven other men said the BSA and LDS church had not adequately protected them as boys when they were victims of sexual abuse.

At the time, Boise-based attorney Andrew Chasan told BW that he expected there to be more plaintiffs in the suit. And indeed, on October 21, four more men came forward with allegations of abuse and attorneys are now asking a judge to allow the additional men to join the suit.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:30 AM

DVD on impact of child sexual abuse to be screened in Cessnock

AUSTRALIA
The Advertiser

Oct. 23, 2013

A professionally-produced DVD about the impact of child sexual abuse will be screened at St. Patrick’s Primary School, Cessnock this Saturday (October 26).

Titled Breaking the Silence, the DVD was commissioned by the Catholic Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle’s Insights Team.

Insights is a program that has evolved from an identified need to explore the deep and lasting effects of child sexual abuse on the faith communities within the diocese.

The production of the DVD came about as a direct response to members of the community who attended Insights gatherings in recent years, and who wished to hear first-hand accounts from those who had been most affected.

Taking 18 months to produce, Breaking the Silence is stark in its simplicity.

Patricia Feenan, mother of Daniel, a victim of deceased priest James Fletcher, and Morpeth man Bob O'Toole, who was sexually abused by a Marist Brother at school, speak about their experiences, their treatment by the Church community and the impact of the abuse on their lives to this day.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:27 AM

Court hears priest introduced boy to his abuser

AUSTRALIA
ABC News

An alleged victim of child sexual abuse has told a Newcastle court a priest from the New South Wales Hunter Valley showed him off to the man that ended up abusing him.

81-year-old Lewis Dominic Fenton, from the Lake Macquarie suburb of Eleebana, is the second Australian to be charged with covering up child sexual abuse.

The retired Catholic priest is accused of concealing two offences committed by another Hunter Valley man, Frank Tully, against a boy aged eight or nine at the time.

The victim is giving evidence at Fenton's committal hearing in Newcastle local court, and said Fenton introduced him to Tully while he and his family were visiting the Nelson Bay presbytery.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:21 AM

Church wavers on child sex scandals in pope's homeland

GlobalPost

Simeon Tegel
October 23, 2013

LIMA, Peru — Pope Francis’ promise of a more humble, tolerant Catholic Church may have earned rave reviews around the world, but in Latin America, a string of child sex scandals has left some wondering what's really changed in the Vatican.

Along with landmark gestures such as dressing simply, publicly kissing followers’ feet and refusing to condemn gays, Francis has also vowed to punish pedophile priests.

Yet seven months into his papacy, the church’s questionable handling of child molestation cases in Argentina, Chile, the Dominican Republic and Peru is calling that commitment into doubt.

Campaigners say it may be no coincidence that the scandals have occurred in Latin America, the world’s most Catholic region, given the influence wielded here by an often conservative clergy.

In the Dominican Republic, the Vatican’s envoy, Josef Wesolowski, was secretly fired in August for allegedly paying underage boys for sex.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:19 AM

Priest at the center of multiple sexual abuse lawsuits dies

MISSOURI
Fox 4

[with video[

October 22, 2013, by Robert Townsend

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A Kansas City priest who was named in a series of lawsuits alleging sexual abuse has passed away. Monsignor Thomas O’Brien died this week. Barbara Doris, who’s with “Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests” (SNAP), confirmed O’Brien died over the weekend.

At present we do not know any more details about his death. O’Brien was at the center of more than two dozen lawsuits alleging sexual abuse. He was also among 12 current or former priests named in a 47-plaintiff case that the Kansas City-St. Joseph Diocese settled for $10 million in 2008.

O’Brien denied all abuse allegations. Six lawsuits against the diocese, and O’Brien, are pending.
In July the diocese settled a wrongful death suit for more than $2 million with the parents of Brian Teeman, whose family claimed Brian took his own life 30 years ago because of repeated sexual abuse by O’Brien.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:17 AM

North St. Paul Priest Wants Independent Investigation into Church Abuse Allegations

MINNESOTA
KSTP

[with video]

Created: 10/22/2013

By: Cassie Hart

A North St. Paul priest is calling for new leadership in the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis. It's just one of three suggestions Father Bill Deziel made in the Church of St. Peter's church bulletin.

He wrote that the Archdiocese needs an independent investigation to deal with two recent sexual allegations.

Two weeks ago the Archdiocese named a priest to lead the investigation. The priest's first step would be to have the Archdiocese release the list of 33 priests who it believes have been credibly accused of sexually abusing children.

Father Deziel said it leaves everyone wondering who those men are and who may be a threat to children and young people.

Second, he says the Archdiocese needs to open the "so-called vault" that contains files on priests and then allow law enforcement to inspect those files and make decisions on what ones contain potentially criminal behavior.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:15 AM

Reports: Thomas J. O'Brien, priest at center of sexual abuse lawsuits, has died

MISSOURI
KSHB

By: Steve Kaut
KANSAS CITY, Mo. - A priest accused in several sexual abuse lawsuits has died, according to media reports.

The Kansas City Star reported Thomas J. O'Brien died earlier this week at 87.

O'Brien spent decades as a priest in the Kansas City area, including posts at St. Elizabeth's and Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Independence.

He was a party in lawsuits that accused him of sexual abuse of boys, including one in which a victim's family received more than $2 million.

In a release sent to media on Tuesday, Barbara Dorris of the organization SNAP said she hoped alleged victims would feel a "measure of relief and closure."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:12 AM

Judge rejects 1 archdiocese bankruptcy claim Tuesday

MILWAUKEE (WI)
Sheboygan Press

Written by
M.L. Johnson
Associated Press

MILWAUKEE — A clergy sexual abuse victim who received $80,000 from the Archdiocese of Milwaukee during mediation cannot seek additional compensation in bankruptcy court, a federal judge ruled Tuesday.

The archdiocese is being sued for fraud in federal bankruptcy court by hundreds of victims who say it transferred problem priests to new churches without warning parishioners and covered up priests’ crimes for decades. Those victims include a number who previously settled with the archdiocese, and the latest decision could affect their cases as well.

According to court documents, the man was abused by Lawrence Murphy, a priest who served at St. John’s School for the Deaf in Milwaukee. Murphy, who died in 1998, has been accused of molesting hundreds of boys at the school.

It is not clear when the man reported the abuse. Former Milwaukee archbishop and New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan established the mediation program in 2003 after the national clergy sexual abuse scandal erupted. The archdiocese settled with hundreds of victims through that program. Most received about $50,000, along with therapy costs.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:10 AM

Bankruptcy an option for church confronting clergy misconduct, financial uncertainty

MINNESOTA
Minnesota Public Radio

by Tom Scheck, Minnesota Public Radio
October 23, 2013

ST. PAUL, Minn. — Recent reports about clergy misconduct in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis threaten to put new financial pressure on an institution already under some financial strain.

Even before recent revelations about alleged misconduct of priests, the archdiocese was concerned about the impact a new law could bring in dozens of new lawsuits against the church for clergy sex abuse. In fact, church officials met privately with attorneys to discuss ways to protect archdiocese assets from creditors.

It's not easy to put a dollar estimate on costs the archdiocese might face. An MPR News investigation published and broadcast over the past few weeks has found that key church leaders disregarded concerns brought to them over clergy misconduct.

Legal costs are only one concern. Another is the prospect of reduced income.

Some of the people who watch the weekly collection plate at parishes across Minnesota are worried. Negative publicity on how the archdiocese disregarded priest misconduct, they say, could prompt many in the pews to give less.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:08 AM

Vatican suspends 'bishop of bling'

VATICAN CITY/GERMANY
BBC News

The Vatican has suspended a senior German Church leader dubbed the "bishop of bling" by the media over his alleged lavish spending.

The Bishop of Limburg, Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst, is accused of spending over 31m euros (£26m; $42m) on renovating his official residence.

The Vatican said it deemed "appropriate... a period of leave from the diocese" for the bishop.

The suspension comes two days after he met the Pope to discuss the scandal.

"A situation has been created in which the bishop can no longer exercise his episcopal duties", a Vatican statement said.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:06 AM

October 22, 2013

Do you stand with abusers, or with victims?

HAWAII
The Worthy Adversary

Posted by Joelle Casteix on October 22, 2013

Survivors to Bishop: Stand with victims!
Three more victims file child sex abuse and cover-up lawsuits
Former bishop and two known predators named
Victims pass out postcards to neighbors, citizens
Group urges people to “pledge to stop donating” and “talk to family about abuse”

What: Holding pictures of themselves at the age they were abused, victims of child sex abuse and their supporters will:

–Announce three new child sex abuse and cover-up lawsuits against the Diocese of Honolulu, including a new lawsuit against a former bishop.
They will also:
– Pass out “pledge postcards” in the neighborhood where some of the abuse occurred and outside of the Diocese headquarters.

The postcards will ask Honolulu Bishop Clarence Silva to stand with victims and remove accused offenders from ministry. Senders can tell the bishop that they choose to stop donating; they will reach out to other victims; and/or they will turn evidence over to the law enforcement.

When/Where: Wednesday, Oct 23
10 am – In the neighborhood surrounding Damien Memorial School, 1401 Houghtailing St., Honolulu. (Please call 949-322-7434 for exact location)
12:30 pm – in the plaza outside of the Honolulu Diocese headquarters, 1184 Bishop Street, Honolulu

Who:
Members of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAPnetwork.org), the nation’s largest support group for men and women who were sexually abused in religious and institutional settings, including a California woman who is the group’s volunteer Western Regional Director.

Why:
On Tuesday, three Hawaii men filed child sex abuse and cover-up lawsuits against the Diocese of Honolulu. Three priests, including a three-time accused former bishop, have been named as predators.

Two of the victims were abused at Damien Memorial School in Honolulu. One of the victims charges he was abused by notorious offender Fr. Gerald Funcheon. Funcheon made headlines in March when attorneys for victims released Funcheon’s sworn video deposition, where the priest admitted to molesting children at Damien Memorial School from 1983-1985.

The other victim from Damien alleges he was abused by Fr. Larry Spellen in 1976. Spellen was removed from ministry in Salt Lake CIty in 1993, when then-Salt Lake Bishop Wiegand heard about accusations against Spellen from the 1980s and believed that they had merit. Bishop Wiegand referred the case to child and protective services. Spellen died in 2003.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:06 PM

Anger as another Magdalene survivor dies without receiving compensation

IRELAND
Irish Times

Patsy McGarry

Wed, Oct 23, 2013

The death of another woman who had been in a Magdalene laundry has been met with fury and upset by a representative group who have questioned the ongoing delay in payment of compensation to the women.

Steven O’Riordan of Magdalene Survivors Together has appealed to the Government to begin paying out the compensation “immediately”.

He pointed out that since the State apology to the women last February the group had seen “two of its members pass way without getting their full entitlement”.

‘Frail’

Magdalene survivor Mary Smyth said “the Government are dragging their heels on the issue; they know that most of the women are frail”.

A spokesman for the Department of Justice told The Irish Times yesterday that on June 25th “the Government approved the immediate implementation of a cash lump sum payments scheme based on duration of stay in laundries recommended by Judge (John) Quirke and tasked an Interdepartmental Group with giving further detailed consideration to the steps necessary to implement the other recommendations, some of which are complicated and will require legislation”.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:03 PM

Outrage as another Magdalene laundries survivor dies without receiving any compensation

IRELAND
Irish Mirror

A Magdalene laundries survivors group has slammed the Government after another victim died without receiving compensation.

Kathleen Whelan, 68, passed away in her home at Baile Na Aoire, Montonotte, Co Cork, last Sunday – the day of her birthday.

And the Magdelene Survivors Together has called on the Government to begin the process of paying out the compensation to the women immediately.

Spokesman for the group, Steven O’Riordan, expressed his disgust that gentle Kathleen died without getting to enjoy a penny of the €100,000 in compensation that was due to her.

He said: “We are all totally and utterly shocked with the passing of this lady. She was a kind, gentle woman.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:01 PM

N. St. Paul priest: 'Fresh start is needed' at archdiocese

MINNESOTA
Minnesota Public Radio

by Tom Scheck, Minnesota Public Radio
October 22, 2013

ST. PAUL, Minn. — A priest representing a North St. Paul parish is calling for change in leadership in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis saying "sometimes a fresh start is needed for all involved."

The Rev. Bill Deziel, pastor at The Church of St. Peter, wrote in the parish bulletin dated Oct. 20 that he's troubled by reports that the archdiocese disregarded alleged clergy misconduct.

"Things can't seem to be more twisted and out of hand," Deziel wrote. "It leaves us all crying foul and I

Deziel wrote that he believes three things need to change as a result of the scandal including "a do-over with our archdiocesan leadership."

Deziel also called for the archdiocese to release the names of 33 priests who have been credibly accused of sexually abusing children. The archdiocese has released the names in court but a judge placed those names under seal.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:58 PM

Twin Cities archdiocese delays $160M capital campaign

MINNESOTA
Minnesota Public Radio

by Tom Scheck, Minnesota Public Radio
October 22, 2013

ST. PAUL, Minn. — The Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis is suspending a final decision over a fundraising campaign that was slated to start next summer.

Church leaders informed parish priests as recently as September that they were moving forward with a $160 million capital campaign over the next four years.

On Tuesday, though, archdiocese spokesman Jim Accurso said a final decision on the campaign "has been put on pause with the intention of revisiting it again in January."

Accurso did not give a reason for the delay.

The decision comes as the archdiocese faces increasing criticism over how it has handled cases of clergy abuse. MPR News has found that church leaders disregarded warning signs over several priests.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:56 PM

Pastor offers rare critique of Archbishop Jon Nienstedt

MINNESOTA
Star Tribune

Article by: BAIRD HELGESON , Star Tribune Updated: October 22, 2013

A priest's message to the faithful and a petition drive are the latest signs of unrest for the Twin Cities archdiocese.

The pastor of a large Twin Cities parish has taken the unusual step of publicly questioning whether Archbishop John Nienstedt should continue in his post amid a widening priest sex abuse scandal.

Rev. Bill Deziel, who heads the 6,000-member Church of St. Peter, used his church’s Sunday bulletin to call for a “do-over” of diocesan leadership. “When things get this bad,” Deziel said in the bulletin to his parishioners, “sometimes a fresh start is needed for all involved.” Such a change, he said, “could get us moving again with all that Christ calls us to do.”

Archdiocese spokesman Jim Accurso said Tuesday that Nienstedt will address clergy sexual misconduct in his column for The Catholic Spirit, which will be available online Thursday.

Deziel, who was appointed to his parish by Nienstedt in 2011, also publicly called on the Twin Cities archdiocese to release the names of 33 priests accused of sexually abused children and the so-called vault in the archiodese’s chancery offices to be opened and its files on priests inspected by law enforcement.

In addition, a St. Paul attorney has begun an online petition drive calling for Nienstedt’s resignation. Thomas Lyons, a Catholic and former president of the Minnesota Trial Lawyers Association, said Tuesday that Nienstedt can no longer fulfill the duties of his office.

“What this man can do, if he is truly remorseful, he should resign and give the Pope an opportunity to appoint an uncorrupt person to serve the faithful of Minneapolis and St. Paul,” Lyons said.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:54 PM

Evidence concludes in sexual assault case against former Catholic priest Gabriele DelBianco

CANADA
The Observer

By Neil Bowen, Sarnia Observer
Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Testimony ended Thursday in the sexual abuse trial of former priest Garbriele DelBianco but the judge's verdict is not expected until mid-December.

Submissions to the judge from Crown and defence lawyers have been set for Dec. 18 in Sarnia Superior Court. Justice Joseph Donahue’s decision has tentatively been scheduled for Dec. 19.

Donohue said he expected the lawyers to address two key issues, possible consent to sexual activity and the reliability of the evidence.

DelBianco pleaded not guilty to 16 offences involving four teenage girls during the 1980s.

The trial started Oct. 16 and testimony from four women, now in their 40s, ended Thursday. DelBianco chose not to testify.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:54 PM

Geißler: Tebartz-van Elst könnte nach Afrika gehen

DEUTSCHLAND
Frankfurter Allgemeine

[Summary: Return to the Limburg diocese will be difficult for Bishop Franz-Peter Tebartz van Elst, according to Osnabruck Bishop Franz-Joseph Bode. He could not see how the Limburg bishop could minister effectively after recent controversies involved his lavish spending. CDU General Secretary Heiner Geissler said he could imagine a new beginning for the bishops in a developing country such as in Africa.].

22.10.2013 · Über die Zukunft des Limburger Bischofs Tebartz-van Elst wird weiter gestritten. Der CDU-Politiker und ehemalige Jesuitenschüler Heiner Geißler empfahl ihm jetzt einen Neuanfang in

Nach seiner Audienz bei Papst Franziskus am Montag ist die Zukunft des umstrittenen Limburger Bischofs Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst weiter offen. Im Anschluss an das etwa 20 Minuten dauernde Gespräch wurden keine Einzelheiten bekannt. „Eine Rückkehr in das Bistum Limburg wird sicher ganz schwierig“, sagte jedoch der Osnabrücker Bischof Franz-Josef Bode am Montag nach der Audienz in Rom. „Es ist natürlich inzwischen die ganze Situation so verfahren, dass etwas geschehen muss“, sagte der Osnabrücker Bischof Bode. Es gebe „bis in den Grund“ eine Vertrauenskrise. Er sehe nicht, wie der Bischof seinen Dienst dort vernünftig ausüben können sollte.

Der ehemalige CDU-Generalsekretär und Jesuitenschüler Heiner Geißler sagte, er könne sich für den Bischof einen Neuanfang in einem Entwicklungsland vorstellen. „Möglicherweise kann man dem Bischof empfehlen, dass er mal ein Bistum in Afrika übernimmt, wo er beweisen kann, dass er seine Glaubwürdigkeit wieder zurück bekommt, denn er ist ja und bleibt ja Bischof“, sagte Geißler am Dienstag im ARD-Morgenmagazin. „Deswegen wird der Papst, glaube ich, ihn nicht verdammen, sondern wird ihm eine neue Aufgabe geben.“ Einen Verbleib im Bistum Limburg dagegen könne er sich nicht vorstellen, sagte Geißler weiter, da der Bischof seine Glaubwürdigkeit verloren habe, sagte der ehemalige Jesuitenschüler Geißler: „Die muss er wiedergewinnen, aber die hat er nicht mehr. Und deswegen wird er im Bistum nicht mehr akzeptiert werden.“

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:45 PM

Attorney: Judge's decision could keep multiple Wisconsin clergy abuse claims out of court

MILWAUKEE (WI)
The Republic

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
October 22, 2013

MILWAUKEE — An attorney for clergy sexual abuse victims suing the Archdiocese of Milwaukee says a judge's decision barring a victim who received money in mediation from seeking additional compensation will force his team to re-examine its cases.

U.S. District Judge Rudolph T. Randa ruled Tuesday that a man who received $80,000 from the archdiocese through its mediation program couldn't pursue a claim in bankruptcy court.

The man claimed archdiocese officials committed fraud by lying to him in mediation. Randa's decision also bars evidence from mediation being used in the bankruptcy case.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:41 PM

MO- Missouri’s most awful predator priest will never again hurt a child

KANSAS CITY (MO)
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

For immediate release Tuesday October 22, 2013

Statement by Barbara Dorris 314 862 7688, SNAPdorris@gmail.com

Missouri’s most awful predator priest will never again hurt a child.

Msgr. Thomas J. O’Brien has passed away. He forced silence on some of the dozens of boys he sexually assaulted by telling them that they would be kicked out of the Catholic Church, they would go directly to hell and their parents would disown them.

[Kansas City Star]

O’Brien faced allegations of molesting more than two dozen children (sometimes along with fellow KC priest Fr. Thomas Reardon), often at a cabin on Lake Viking (northeast of Kansas City) and several parishes (St. Patrick’s in Kansas City North, St. Elizabeth’s, Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Independence). O’Brien worked at several Catholic institutions (St. Pius X High school and St. Joseph Health Center). O’Brien was also chaplain for the Kansas City Missouri Police Department. He remained a priest until his death.

He apparently lived his entire life in the KC area and kept working as a priest until 2002.

In 2008, Kansas City church officials refused demands by victims to have O’Brien defrocked. Shame on them.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:42 PM

Pastor calls for 'fresh start in leadership' for Catholic archdiocese over sex abuse cases

MINNESOTA
MinnPost

By Beth Hawkins

The pastor of a large, conservative North St. Paul Catholic parish has called for “a fresh start in leadership” in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis in the wake of recent revelations about the scope and severity of sex abuses cases here.

“These accounts of priest abuse, and misconduct are disturbing, yet even more disturbing to many of the faithful is the apparent lack of good judgment and common sense on the part of our archdiocesan leaders to deal with the offending priests,” Father Bill Deziel wrote Sunday in the parish weekly bulletin (PDF).

“Things can’t seem to be more twisted and out of hand,” he added. “It leaves us all crying foul and I share the frustration and outrage that many of you have expressed.”

The archdiocese, asked about Deziel's comments, said it was unable to comment immediately on the matter.

Deziel also did not immediately respond to an interview request from MinnPost, but several parishioners at the Church of St. Peter said they applauded the strongly worded letter and sermons in which the abuse scandal was also mentioned.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:52 PM

Pennsylvania Child Sexual Abuse Case Highlights Need ...

PENNSYLVANIA
RH Reality Check

Pennsylvania Child Sexual Abuse Case Highlights Need for Statute of Limitations Reform

by Tara Murtha
October 22, 2013

A 26-year-old man who, along with a number of other individuals, accused Father Robert L. Brennan of raping him as a child died of an accidental drug overdose last week. Now, the chance to finally put Father Brennan behind bars may have died along with him, despite a paper trail of abuse accusations stretching back 25 years.

The 26-year-old told authorities that the abuse lasted for three years, beginning when he was an 11-year-old altar boy and Brennan, then 60, was assistant pastor at Resurrection of Our Lord Parish in Northeast Philadelphia. All told, more than 20 boys from at least four Philadelphia parishes have filed complaints about Brennan, now 75, according to the second of three grand jury reports investigating the Philadelphia archdiocese. However, the 26-year-old’s allegations were the first to lead to legal charges, thanks to Pennsylvania’s statute of limitations on child sexual abuse. (In Pennsylvania, victims have until age 50 to open a criminal prosecution and age 30 to file a civil suit.)

In September, Brennan was arrested in his Maryland home and charged with rape, involuntary deviant sexual intercourse, and aggravated sexual assault.

But Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams, who publicly identifies as Catholic, said his office is reviewing whether the prosecution will continue. “The decades-long demons and scars the victim in this case endured ended this weekend,” Williams told the local CBS affiliate.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:49 PM

KC priest who was named in sex abuse lawsuits dies

KANSAS CITY (MO)
The Kansas City Star

October 22
BY JUDY L. THOMAS
The Kansas City Star

A Kansas City priest who has been the subject of numerous sexual abuse lawsuits — including one settled this year for more than $2 million — has died.

Monsignor Thomas J. O’Brien, 87, died this week, his lawyer confirmed on Tuesday.

“I don’t know any of the details, and I just got that information from family members,” said Gerald McGonagle, who has represented O’Brien for years.

A spokesman for the Kansas City-St. Joseph Diocese said he had no comment on the death.

O’Brien has been the subject of more than two dozen lawsuits alleging sexual abuse and was among 12 current or former priests named in a 47-plaintiff case that the diocese settled for $10 million in 2008. He repeatedly had denied all abuse allegations.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:47 PM

Benedict XVI surprised by IOR chief sacking, says secretary

VATICAN CITY
Gazzetta del Sud

Vatican City, October 22 - Benedict XVI's secretary admitted in an interview Tuesday that the pope emeritus was caught off-guard when the Vatican bank chairman was ousted during his tenure in May 2012. Ettore Gotti Tedeschi was sacked by the Institute of Religious Works (IOR) supervisory board amid reported disagreements over moves to get on the UN's white list of states with top credentials against money laundering. "Benedict XVI, who had called Gotti to the IOR to bring forward the policy of transparency remained surprised, very surprised" by the no-confidence vote, prelate Georg Gaenswein told newspaper Il Messaggero, when questioned whether Benedict XVI had been kept in the dark on the matter. Benedict XVI "esteemed and loved him, but out of respect for the competencies of those who were responsible (for the decision)," the pontiff "chose not to intervene in that moment", but later was in contact with the ex-chairman through "discreet" means. Gotti Tedeschi was replaced seven months later by German banker Ernest von Freyberg, who has focused on transparency and international compliance as the IOR copes with questions into its past and scandal stirred by the June arrest of a man who once led a key Vatican accounting unit, Msgr Nunzio Scarano, who is accused of trying to smuggle 20 million euros into the country.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:20 PM

Former Ontario priest faces historical sex assault charge

CANADA
CBC News

A former priest living in Pembroke, Ont., has been charged in connection to allegations of sexual offences from more than 40 years ago.

Renfrew County Ontario Provincial Police launched an investigation into a complaint that a teenage boy had been assaulted by a priest between 1970 and 1972.

Police charged the man with gross indecency and indecent assault.

He was released on a promise to appear before the Ontario Court of Justice in Pembroke on Nov. 26.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:48 PM

Twin Cities Archdiocese under Scrutiny

MINNESOTA
Minnesota Public Radio

This page includes a collection of several stories written so far on the scandals in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:41 PM

Church Whistleblower Says She 'Didn't Do Enough'

MINNESOTA
ABC News

After she made her First Communion as a little girl, Jennifer Haselberger was distraught to learn the Catholic church had no saint Jennifer, and she had no saint to call her own. So her mom opened up a book and pointed to Joan of Arc.

"There. That's yours," she said.

Years later, Haselberger is in a fight of her own after going public with claims that archdiocese leaders in St. Paul mishandled allegations of clergy sexual misconduct. Turns out, Haselberger may have borrowed a little bravery from the headstrong French heroine she has long admired.

Haselberger, a former canon lawyer for the archdiocese, took on leaders of the church she loves after she felt her warnings about troubled priests were being ignored, setting off a firestorm in the local church.

"If a child was hurt, Jennie would do everything within her power to stop that. The lengths that she went to were probably heroic," said Anne Maloney, Haselberger's former college adviser.

Haselberger resigned in April after she says Archbishop John Nienstedt and others did not respond appropriately when she found pornography, including images of possible child pornography, on computer disks that once belonged to a priest who was still in ministry. This came after she says church leaders ignored her repeated warnings dating back to 2008 about another priest who went on to molest two boys in his camper in 2010.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:38 PM

Whistleblower says she 'didn't do enough' to stop Church sex abuse

MINNESOTA
WTVQ

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — A former church employee, who went public with claims that archdiocese leaders in St. Paul mishandled allegations of clergy sexual misconduct, said Tuesday that she still feels like she didn't do enough.

Jennifer Haselberger said that as early as 2008, she had been warning church leaders about troubled priests in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis. However, she said, they didn't listen. In one case, a priest that she warned church officials about later molested two young boys.

Haselberger said the ordeal still weighs heavily on her. She ultimately resigned from her post with the church.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:36 PM

Ex-Ottawa Valley priest new sex assault charges on historical cases

CANADA
Ottawa Citizen

BY MEGHAN HURLEY, OTTAWA CITIZEN OCTOBER 22, 2013

OTTAWA — A retired Ottawa Valley priest has been charged with historical sexual offences for the second time in less than two years.

Daniel Miller, 69, was charged Tuesday with gross indecency and indecent assault involving a teenage boy between 1970 and 1972 in Deep River.

He was released from custody on a promise to appear in court on Nov. 26.

Police said they launched an investigation after a victim came forward following charges laid against Miller last year.

Miller was charged in March of 2012 with three counts each of gross indecency and indecent assault against boys and one man between 1970 and 1980.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:02 PM

Call for immediate compensation as second Magdalene survivor passes away

IRELAND
The Journal

A CALL HAS been made for compensation to be immediately paid to Magdalene laundries survivors following the death of two women.

The organisation Magdalene Survivors Together has said it is “extremely upset and disappointed” to announce the passing of Magdalene Survivors Together member Kathleen Whelan (68).

She is the second such member to die this year, and passed away very suddenly at her home in Cork City on Sunday 20 October, the day of her 68th birthday.

Compensation

Magdalene Survivors Together is now calling on the Irish Government to begin the process of paying out the compensation to the Magdalene women immediately and without further delay.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:57 PM

TX - Houston's top Catholic runs for national post

UNITED STATES
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

For immediate release: October 22, 2013

Statement by David Clohessy of St. Louis, national director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests ( 314 566 9790 cell, 314 645 5915 home )

Houston’s Cardinal Daniel DiNardo is a candidate to head the US Conference of Catholic Bishops. We hope he’ll withdraw or fail in his bid.

His record in Sioux City was abysmal. His record in Houston shows no improvement.

In 2008, we named DiNardo as one of the worst Cardinals in the US. Our view of him has not changed.

[SNAP]

In November 2007, a victim reported having been sexually abused by Fr. Stephen Horn between 1989 and 1993. DiNardo found him credible and suspended Horn. The Cardinal, however, kept the allegation and his determination secret from parishioners, police and the public for two months, despite US bishops’ repeated pledges to act quickly and openly with credibly sex abuse allegations. Finally, in mid-January, DiNardo disclosed his action. (The delay gave Horn, a credibly accused molester, ample opportunity to fabricate alibis, destroy evidence, intimidate victims, threaten witnesses, or even flee the country, as some pedophile priests have done.)

Part of DiNardo’s secrecy and delay occurred in the weeks between when the Pope announced that DiNardo would be named a Cardinal (October 2007) and when DiNardo was promoted amid much pageantry (November 24). Some Houston Catholics have speculated that DiNardo didn’t want the news of Horn’s crimes to ‘rain on [DiNardo’s] parade.’

At the time, we wrote DiNardo, urging him to explain and apologize for his secrecy and to visit parishes where Horn worked and emphatically beg victims and witnesses to come forward, get help and call the police. He has not responded to either the letter or the request. As best we can tell, he never did.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:09 AM

Does the Bible Sanction Child Abuse?

UNITED STATES
AlterNet

By Valerie Tarico

In the Bible fathers are elevated to the top of an ancient hierarchy in which position is power, might makes right, and children and women are property.

October 18, 2013 |
Christian fundamentalists often are as keen to promote the rights of parents as they are to block the rights of women and gays. Congressman Mark Meadows is the Sunday school Bible teacher and former restaurant owner from North Carolina who rallied the Tea Party in shutting down government operations this month. His passion for killing contraceptive access has been on national display. Less known is the fact that Meadows also is spearheading a fight against rights and protections for children. He is the lead sponsor of a “ parental rights amendment” that has 64 signers in Congress.

Or consider Scott Lively, the anti-gay preacher who recently announced that he is running for governor of Massachusetts. Lively is known internationally for fanning the sometimes lethal flames of homophobia in Uganda. But his admirers see him as more than a single-issue candidate. According to Tea Party enthusiast Brian Camenker, " He is principled, pro-family, pro-life, pro-traditional marriage, pro-2nd-amendment, pro-religion, pro-parents’ rights, and utterly fearless.”

Conservatives like Meadows and Lively oppose both national and international protections for children—including compulsory education—which they see as government overreach. Thanks to their advocacy, the United States is one of two nations (out of 196) that has failed to sign the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. (We stand with Somalia!) They also oppose the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities because it “replaces parental rights with the 'best interest of the child' standard.”

Why do parent rights make it onto the Tea Party list along with God, guns, gays and gyno-politics? To answer that question, one needs to look no further than the Bible. Futurist Sara Robinson points out that women in the Bible are actually possessions of men, protected (when they are) by property laws rather than civil rights laws. In this regard, women of the Iron Age fall into the same category with slaves, livestock and children.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:34 AM

MN - Victims prod singer Neil Diamond about predator priest

MINNESOTA
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

Victims group prod's Neil Diamond's guitarist
He complained privately of alleged child sex crimes
SNAP: "That's not good enough. Call the police now"

For immediate release: Tuesday, Oct. 22

For more information: David Clohessy 314 566 9790, SNAPclohessy@aol.com, Barbara Dorris 314 862 7688, SNAPdorris@gmail.com, Bob Schwiderski 952 471 3422, skibrs@q.com

A support group for allergy sex abuse victims is urging Neil Diamond's guitarist to call Minnesota law enforcement officials about a priest who faces a recently re-opened police investigation into possible child pornography.

Recently disclosed church documents show that Fr. Jonathan Shelley wrote to Diamond admitting that Hadley Hockensmith, Diamond’s guitarist, had been “spreading rumors” about Shelley having "indiscretions with young boys.” The priest urged the singer to put a stop to it.

[Jeff Anderson & Associates]

[Pioneer Press]

Leaders of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, are urging Hockensmith to immediately report what he knows or suspects about possible crimes by Fr. Shelley to the police.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:15 AM

Trial underway for man accused of molesting 14 boys at Sask. residential school

CANADA
The StarPhoenix

BY HANNAH SPRAY, THE STARPHOENIX OCTOBER 15, 2013

BATTLEFORD -- The trial for a former dormitory supervisor charged with molesting boys under his care opened with a look at how the residential school he worked at in northern Saskatchewan was run.

Paul Leroux, 73, faces 14 charges of indecent assault and three charges of committing gross indecency between 1959 and 1967 at the Beauval Indian Residential School. His three-week trial began Tuesday in Battleford Court of Queen's Bench.

Leroux, who is representing himself at the trial, pleaded not guilty to each of the 17 charges. The identities of the 14 complainants are protected by a publication ban. Students at the Beauval Indian Residential School came from across northwest Saskatchewan.

A video played during the first morning of the trial showed smiling children playing broomball, attending classes, celebrating Christmas, eating meals and getting ready to go to sleep in their dorm rooms, a stark contrast to the dark stories expected to be heard when the complainants begin to testify later in the trial.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:12 AM

Trial begins for accused residential school abuser

CANADA
The StarPhoenix

BY HANNAH SPRAY, THE STARPHOENIX OCTOBER 16, 2013

The trial of a former dormitory supervisor charged with molesting boys under his care opened with a look at the operations of the residential school where he worked in northern Saskatchewan.

Paul Leroux, 73, faces 14 charges of indecent assault and three charges of committing gross indecency between 1959 and 1967 at the Beauval Indian Residential School. His three-week trial began Tuesday in Battleford Court of Queen's Bench.

Leroux, who is representing himself at the trial, pleaded not guilty to each of the 17 charges. The identities of the 14 complainants are protected by a publication ban. Students at the Beauval Indian Residential School came from across northwest Saskatchewan.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:09 AM

Paul Leroux Residential School: Former Supervisor On Trial For Sexual Assault In Saskatchewan

CANADA
Huffington Post

The Canadian Press

NORTH BATTLEFORD, Sask. - A former dormitory supervisor charged with abusing boys at a northern Saskatchewan residential school is representing himself at his trial.

Paul Leroux, who is 72, has pleaded not guilty to indecent assault involving about a dozen former students of Beauval Indian Residential School for seven years during the 1960s.

His trial, which started Tuesday, is being heard by judge alone in Court of Queen's Bench in North Battleford.

Edward Mihalicz, who was a former teacher at the school form 1963 to 1985, testified he was unaware of any students being molested.

Mihalicz also said physical punishment was rarely used, except the strap in rare cases.

A video was shown in court of what life was like at the residential school during the 1960s — students' hockey games, outings to the lake, and get-togethers attended by staff.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:08 AM

PUBLIC HEARING COMMENCING 18 NOVEMBER 2013

AUSTRALIA
Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse

The Royal Commission will hold a public hearing in Sydney commencing Monday 18 November 2013. The public hearing will look into the response of the Anglican Diocese of Grafton to claims of child sexual abuse at the North Coast Children’s Home in Lismore.

The public hearing will examine issues including:

* The policies and procedures of the Diocese of Grafton for the handling of child sexual abuse claims

* The response of the Dioceses of Grafton and Newcastle to allegations of child sexual abuse by Allan Kitchingman

Royal Commission CEO Janette Dines said individuals and organisations, who believe that they have an interest in the Scope and Purpose of the public hearing, are invited to lodge an application for leave to appear.

“Applications for leave to appear can be made via the Royal Commission website and should outline why the applicant has a substantial and direct interest in appearing,” Ms Dines said.

The form and the submission should be lodged by 28 October 2013 with the Royal Commission via:

Email: solicitor@childabuseroyalcommission.gov.au ; or
Mail: GPO Box 5283, Sydney NSW 2001

For more information on lodging your submission call 8282 3824 or email
solicitor@childabuseroyalcommission.gov.au

The public can attend the hearing, or watch it live on the Royal Commission’s website. For more information, visit www.childabuseroyalcommission.gov.au or phone 1800 099 340.

Media enquiries: Alisha Chapman 0477 708 469 or media@childabuseroyalcommission.gov.au

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:03 AM

Trials continue

CANADA
Sylvia's Site

The two sex abuse trials continue today:

(1) The sex abuse trial of ex-priest Gabriel DelBianco in Sarnia, Ontario

(2) The sex abuse trial of Paul Leroux in Battleford, Saskatchewan

Please keep all the complainants in your prayers. And let’s pray for good media coverage in both trials so that we have an idea what’s happening in the courtroom. Any coverage from the Pail Leroux trial would be welcome. There has been nothing since Day One.; very disappointing.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:01 AM

Abuse inquiry sights on Grafton home

AUSTRALIA
Sky News

The royal commission into institutions and child sexual abuse will look at a church-run children's home on the NSW north coast next month.

The commission's second public hearing continues in Sydney on Tuesday, focusing on the responses by police and the YMCA to the abuse of children by former YMCA employee Jonathan Lord.

Lord is serving a 10-year sentence for molesting 12 boys aged between six and 11.

The commission on Tuesday announced it will hold a public hearing in Sydney from November 18, into the response of the Anglican Diocese of Grafton to claims of child sexual abuse at the North Coast Children's Home in Lismore.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:55 AM

PA - Philly archbishop seeks national post

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

Clergy sex abuse victims urge him to withdraw
They want him instead to focus on protecting local kids
Group also urges Chaput to “stop importing predators”
They are still being housed at a church facility in Downingtown

WHAT
Holding signs at a sidewalk news conference, clergy sex abuse victims will urge Philly’s top Catholic official to

--drop out of the race for presidency of the US’ bishops organization, and
--stop letting out-of-state predator priests move to Downingtown.

WHEN
Tuesday, Oct. 22 at 1:00 p.m.

WHERE
Outside the Philadelphia Catholic Archdiocese headquarters (chancery office), 222 N. 17th in Philadelphia. PA

WHY
Yesterday, candidates for the presidency of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops were announced. The head of the Philadelphia archdiocese, Archbishop Charles Chaput, is one of ten prelates in the running. The election will be held next month in Baltimore.

[U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops]

SNAP opposes this move and is asking Chaput to withdraw his name. The group feels his promotion would “rub even more salt into the already deep and still-fresh wounds of Philly Catholics and abuse victims.” SNAP also thinks Chaput should focus his efforts on “protecting Philly kids, not on burnishing his clerical career.”

SNAP also wants Chaput to stop “importing” of predator priests from elsewhere into the Philly archdiocese. Church officials house them at St. John Vianney Center in Downingtown. (The group will reveal a list of three such out-of-state priests who have been or are at Vianney Center.)

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:50 AM

Abuse victim welcomes chance to give evidence

AUSTRALIA
Newcastle Herald

By JOANNE McCARTHY Oct. 22, 2013

TOMMY Campion wept yesterday at the memory of Julia Gillard in November last year announcing a Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.

He cried that day as well.

The retired photographer, who lived at the Anglican Church’s North Coast Children’s Home for 14 years from the age of two, will give evidence next month, when the commission looks at how Grafton and Newcastle Anglican dioceses responded to child sex allegations about the home.

He hopes other victims will come forward.

At its third public hearing from November 18, the royal commission will look at how the dioceses handled complaints about Anglican minister Allan Kitchingman – a Newcastle church man from 1965 who sexually abused a child at the Lismore home in 1975, and was jailed for it in 2002.

Mr Campion, 65, fought a lonely battle against the Anglican Church for years.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:30 AM

WA Christian Brothers victim Fred Crocker mourned outisde Royal Commission

AUSTRALIA
Herald Sun

ANNETTE BLACKWELL AAP OCTOBER 22, 2013

IN PERTH on Monday they are burying Fred Crocker, a man who was at Boystown in the 1940s and suffered at the hands of the Christian Brothers who ran the centre where child migrants were sent.

Outside the office of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse in Sydney, his friend John Hennessey is holding a quiet candlelight vigil.

Mr Hennessey, the former deputy mayor of Campbelltown, has been calling for an inquiry for 20 years into what happened to him and his classmates at the home in Bindoon, north of Perth.

He has a picture of the class of 1947 - 60 per cent of them were abused and six have committed suicide, Mr Hennessey says.

The picture shows sad, ragged boys sitting on the front steps of the now notorious building.

"It has been the judiciary who let a lot of us down,'' Mr Hennessey said.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:34 AM

Vatican finance reform shows different opinions about process

VATICAN CITY
Headlines from the Catholic World

October 21, 2013 By CNA Daily News

Vatican City, Oct 21, 2013 / 02:12 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- As Vatican City commits to financial transparency, the hiring of a risk-management company to review the Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See may reveal differing opinions about financial reform.

The Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See – APSA – is the office that handles the Vatican’s investment portfolio and its real estate holdings, as well as serving as the Vatican employment office and procurements agency.

APSA announced Oct. 15 that a “due diligence” review by the Promontory Financial Group had begun. Promontory had already been hired to review all the accounts and the procedures of the Institute for Religious Works, the so-called 'Vatican bank'.

Due diligence is the “evaluation of risks” in investments and loans, particularly with regards to the clients in a bank.

However, APSA is not a bank. The Holy See told evaluators from Moneyval, the European Council committee that evaluates adherence to anti-money laundering standards, that while APSA holds some accounts, such banking-type activity is minimal and will be closed.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:17 AM

Diocese of San Jose in compliance following audit regarding child protection

CALIFORNIA
Valley Catholic

Posting Date: 10-22-2013

Roman Catholic dioceses in the United States are annually audited regarding compliance with the U.S. Bishops’ Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People (Office for the Protection of Children and Vulnerable Adults, in the Diocese of San Jose).

In late September, the DSJ was audited for several days by representatives of StoneBridge Business Partners who performed an on-site audit. Their letter to Bishop McGrath stated, “The Diocese has been found compliant with all audited Articles within the Charter…for the 2012/2013 audit period.”
Conclusions reached as to compliance are based upon inquiry, observation and the review of specifically requested documentation furnished to StoneBridge.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:15 AM

Fourth alleged victim testifies in sexual assault trial of former priest Gabriele DelBianco

CANADA
Chatham Daily News

By Neil Bowen, Sarnia Observer
Monday, October 21, 2013

A woman in her 40s testified in the sexual assault trial of a former priest that she believed her teenage sexual encounters with him would lead to them becoming a couple.

The trial of former priest Gabriele DelBianco, 57, on 16 sexual offences involving four teenage girls during the 1980s heard testimony from the fourth woman Monday in Sarnia Superior court.

He has pleaded not guilty.

DelBianco led her to believe they would be a couple, testified the woman, after describing how she performed oral sex on the priest in a church.

In a very soothing voice DelBianco had asked the girl, who was in Grade 7 at the time, if she wanted to make him feel good, she said.

After the encounter he got her a cookie, she said.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:09 AM

Catholic students torn over allegations

MINNESOTA
Minnesota Daily

ByAlexi Gusso Nathaniel Rabuzzi October 22, 2013

Following recent sexual abuse allegations against a prominent local Catholic priest, Catholic University of Minnesota students and student groups are seeking truth and accountability.

Rev. Michael Keating of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis has been sued for allegedly engaging in “multiple instances of unpermitted, harmful, and offensive sexual contact,” with an unnamed plaintiff while she was a minor, according to court summons.

The case follows recent allegations that church officials ignored or concealed issues brought to them regarding two other priests accused of possessing child pornography, one of whom has been convicted for abusing two children, according to a Minnesota Public Radio investigation.

Biochemistry and microbiology freshman Benji Schuneman said hearing about the allegations against Keating “hits a little close to home.”

Schuneman, who attended Catholic elementary and high schools in the Twin Cities, said he never knew Keating personally but had heard of him.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:06 AM

Guest editorial: Actions, not words needed on clergy abuse allegations

MINNESOTA
The Northwestern

As much as leaders of the Catholic Church say they are doing everything possible to confront and combat clergy sex abuse, developments like those rocking the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis speak with much more force.

And sadly they deliver a familiar message: Top church leaders continue to fail to learn from the past, and the result is potentially dangerous priests are unknown to the public.

Witness MPR’s reports the past few weeks about Twin Cities Roman Catholic Church leaders being under fire for the handling of two priests. In both cases, the archdiocese’s own documentation shows leaders did not adequately protect the public and contact law enforcement.

The most troubling involves the Rev. Curtis Wehmeyer, who pleaded guilty in 2012 to sexually abusing two brothers, ages 12 and 14, and possessing child pornography. At the time the archdiocese proclaimed it had done exactly what it was supposed to do -- immediately contact law enforcement when such allegations arose. Prosecuting attorneys even praised those efforts.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:02 AM

October 21, 2013

UPDATE: Man pleads guilty to embezzling from Venice church

FLORIDA
Herald-Tribune

STAFF REPORT
Published: Monday, October 21, 2013

SARASOTA COUNTY - The former administrator of a Venice church, accused of embezzling funds, will not go to jail as part of a plea deal.

Robert Kondratick was arrested in March for embezzling more than $50,000 from Holy Spirit Orthodox Church, 700 Shamrock Blvd.

The case was supposed to go to trial this week, but instead Kondratick entered a guilty plea on Oct. 16 to a second-degree felony charge of larceny, court records show.

He agreed to serve two years of community control and eight years of probation, said Assistant State Attorney Erika Quartermaine. He will also pay restitution.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:47 PM

Siblings suing Brady must prove issue on previous case

IRELAND
Irish Times

A brother and sister suing Cardinal Sean Brady and another bishop arising from abuse suffered at the hands of clerical child abuser Brendan Smyth will have to prove that a settlement of a previous case does not prevent them from bringing their legal action.

The president of the High Court, Mr Justice Nicholas Kearns, has directed a trial on November 28th of a preliminary issue as to whether the previous settlement of proceedings brought by the siblings from Belfast was “the subject of a prior accord and satisfaction”.

The pair are suing Cardinal Brady and the Bishop of Kilmore, Leo O’Reilly - as successor to the previous bishop of Kilmore, Francis McKiernan - alleging negligence over allegedly failing to take any or any adequate steps to ensure Smyth did not continue to perpetrate sexual assaults on them in the 1970s and 1980s.

Cardinal Brady is being sued in his personal capacity over his role as part-time secretary to Bishop McKiernan in 1975 during the investigation of complaints about Smyth, since deceased.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:49 PM

ON A RECENT ROUND OF CLERGY SEX ABUSE REVELATIONS…….

UNITED STATES
Emmanuel Mennonite Church

Posted on October 21, 2013 by Mathew Swora

With all the headlines in the Minneapolis Star-Tribune about clergy sex abuse and cover-ups, some are crying “Foul!” at what they see as a journalistic witch hunt aimed selectively at the Christian church. Consider all the good that churches do for the poor, the sick and the shut-ins, they say. And aren’t there other organizations and institutions, corporate and governmental, at least as guilty of crimes and cover-up?

Yes. But none of these entities lay quite the same claim to universal yet exclusive truths and values that the church does, claims directly at odds with the purported behavior and its cover-ups. As a Christian and a minister, I believe those claims, and have based my life on them. Those very claims shed a piercing, revealing light upon the weakness of human nature, beginning with the minister himself or herself. It should not surprise us then if the world should shine spotlights just as bright upon us as what our very own gospel does. And if the world should judge us less fairly and with less mercy than does God, counter-attacking and defensiveness will only betray our message and ministry. If our critics are correct, we know what we have to clean up. If our critics are wrong, “count it all joy,” for God will turn it to our favor; we will witness by our loving and peaceable patience.

There was a time when, to be a pastor or priest, meant automatic respect, appreciation and honors even outside the church in the form of free haircuts, coffee or even a meal. Those days are over, and I don’t lament their passing, for they also carried the danger of seducing us into illusions of power, prestige and privilege, to the domestication of the church and the adulteration of our motives for ministry. Now, increasingly, the clerical collar or the ordination title (“Reverend,” “Pastor,” “Father”) are met with indifference or even distrust and contempt. I wish it were only because we had so greatly loved society’s scapegoats and enemies, as did Jesus.

Knowing how intoxicating, seductive and mind-bending spiritual authority and the spiritual intimacy of prayer, communion and confession can be, we in ministry should be most careful and distrusting about ourselves. Entrusted with the sin-revealing and sin-healing message and ministry of Jesus Christ, every minister of the gospel must consider himself or herself not as a prince of the church, but as “the worst of sinners (I Tim. 1:15).” It is intoxicating to point fingers at the world, but “judgment begins with the household of God.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:47 PM

CA- Los Angeles archbishop seeks national post

UNITED STATES
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

For immediate release: Monday, October 21

Statement by David Clohessy of SNAP, 314 566 9790, SNAPclohessy@aol.com

Los Angeles Archbishop Jose Gomez is running for the presidency of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops. We hope he fails.

[National Catholic Reporter]

When hundreds of embarrassing pages about cover ups were disclosed in 2013 in Los Angeles, Gomez finally slapped the hand of his corrupt predecessor, Cardinal Roger Mahony, allegedly forbidding Mahony from public ministry. Then, after the public outcry subsided, Gomez essentially reneged and let Mahony resume his public role in the archdiocese.

[LA Daily News]

And Gomez refused to discipline any other church official who had ignored, concealed or enabled heinous child sex crimes.

Gomez has continued to pay for high-priced lawyers to continue to fight victims in their quest for justice, including victims of Nicolas Aguilar Rivera, whose cases are going to trial next year.

[U-T San Diego]

In the past few months, he has spent thousands of dollars and used the pulpit to fight California SB 131, which would have given some victims of sexual abuse in California the right to use the civil justice system to seek justice and expose their perpetrator thereby protecting children.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:02 PM

KY - Victims oppose Louisville Catholic archbishop's bid

UNITED STATES
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

For immediate release: Monday, October 21, 2013

Statement by Barbara Dorris, Outreach Director, 314-862-7688 SNAPdorris@gmail.com

Louisville Archbishop Joseph Kurtz is running for the presidency of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops. We hope he fails.

[National Catholic Reporter]

Kurtz refuses to join the ranks of 30 US bishops who have posted on their websites the names of proven, admitted and credibly accused child molesting clerics – a simple, inexpensive, proven public safety measure. In addition:

---In Knoxville, Kurtz continually defended his predecessor, Bishop Anthony J. O'Connell, an admitted child predator. [BishopAccountability.org]

--- Kurtz refused to remove photos and plaques dedicated to O'Connell in diocese schools and buildings [BishopAccountability.org]

--- Kurtz let a priest who (Fr. Bruce Ewing) was indicted on seven felony charges sodomy live in a parish for more than a year while and internal investigation was "pending" [BishopAccountability.org]

- When a church employee complained about the priest living at her parish, she says she was fired for being a whistle blower.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:56 PM

"Inattentive Seductiveness" and Other Silliness

UNITED STATES
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

POSTED BY DAVID CLOHESSY ON OCTOBER 21, 2013

When allegedly celibate men use words and phrases about sex that you’ve never heard, that’s when you know something’s being hidden.

For example, do remember when you first heard the word ‘ephebophilia?’ Chances are it was around 2002. And chances are you heard it used by a Catholic official who was desperately trying to avoid having people think that a priest was a pedophile or a child molester.

(If you don’t know the word, don’t be embarrassed. I’m told it’s not even in the DSM 5. I’ve never heard it used by anyone but a Catholic official or Catholic therapist.)

Example two ---Springfield Illinois Bishop Thomas Paprocki used a phrase I’ve never heard before. It’s “non-sexual self-bondage.” He used it when he put a clearly sexually troubled priest, Fr. Thomas Donovan, back on the job in September 2013.

[CBS St. Louis]

Example three --- On Friday, Minnesota Public Radio revealed new, long-secret church records involving Fr. Michael Keating of the Archdiocese of St. Paul/Minneapolis. In those records, here’ how s a high-ranking Catholic official, Fr. Kevin McDonough, called Fr. Keating’s actions: “inattentive seductiveness,” and “an ongoing pattern of irresponsible seductiveness (non-sexual)”

[Star Tribune]

Huh?

If this kind of hair-splitting and word-parsing and phrase-inventing was being used to protect purse-snatchers or shop-lifters, it might be amusing. But it’s being used to protect “men of God” who are, in theory, celibate but are, in reality, sexually assaulting kids or sexually exploiting adults. So there’s nothing amusing about it. In fact, it’s disturbing because it’s one way Catholic officials deliberately minimize the horror inflicted by clerics on innocent kids and vulnerable adults and then justify keeping these dangerous clerics on the job.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:51 PM

"Bling bishop" called to explain himself to pope

VATICAN CITY
Channel News Asia

A big-spending German Catholic bishop was called before Pope Francis on Monday, as speculation grows over whether he will be forced to resign for his high-roller lifestyle.

VATICAN CITY: A big-spending German Catholic bishop was called before Pope Francis on Monday, as speculation grows over whether he will be forced to resign for his high-roller lifestyle.

Bishop of Limburg, Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst, dubbed the "bling bishop" by the press for his extravagances, was received by the pontiff after a tense week's wait in Rome.

A Vatican statement confirmed the audience but did not offer any further details.

Tebartz-van Elst hit the headlines following accusations he took a business-class ticket on a trip to India and squandered money on luxuries.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:08 PM

'Bling bishop' of Limburg given Vatican audience after pope preaches on greed

VATICAN CITY
The Guardian (UK)

Philip Oltermann in Berlin
The Guardian, Monday 21 October 2013

The scandal-hit "luxury bishop" of Limburg met the pope in Rome today. The question of the bishop's possible resignation remained unresolved as the Vatican confirmed that a 20-minute meeting between Pope Francis and Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst had taken place at midday, but gave no further information. Tebartz-van Elst arrived in Rome last Sunday on a Ryanair flight, but had been kept waiting for a week to meet the pontiff.

Pointedly, Pope Francis had earlier in the day given a sermon in which he castigated greed: "Take care to guard against all greed, for though one may be rich, one's life does not consist of possessions," he said in the chapel of Santa Marta. The bishop of Limburg has been in the German media spotlight for allegedly spending lavish amounts of church funds on a new residence.

Before meeting Tebartz-van Elst, Pope Francis met a number of German clerics who know the bishop. Last Thursday, he received Robert Zollitsch, head of the German Bishops' conference, who had been very outspoken in his criticism. Before the meeting today, the pope also saw one of Tebartz-van Elst's allies, the Cologne archbishop, Cardinal Joachim Meisner.

More figures from the German Catholic church have distanced themselves from Tebartz-van Elst over recent days. On Sunday, a representative of the Catholic church in Bavaria described the bishop resuming his work in Limburg as "rather unlikely". The dean of the church in Limburg told Spiegel Online that "trust in the bishop is gone, and I don't see how trust can be rebuilt again". There have been demonstrations outside the church for several days.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:06 PM

Germany's 'luxury bishop' meets Pope Francis in Rome

VATICAN CITY
BBC News

A German bishop criticised for his alleged lavish spending has met the Pope in Rome to discuss his behaviour.

Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst, nicknamed "The Bishop of Bling" by the media, has faced calls to resign.

The Vatican has not yet commented on his brief meeting with Pope Francis.

He spent 31m euros (£26m; $42m) on his residence in Limburg - a project costed at about 5.5m euros in 2010. He was also criticised for a first-class flight to India to visit the poor.

Correspondents say the Roman Catholic bishop's style is starkly at odds with that of Pope Francis, who celebrates humility and serving the poor.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:01 PM

German 'luxury bishop' says meeting with Pope heartening

VATICAN CITY
Reuters

VATICAN CITY/BERLIN | Mon Oct 21, 2013
(Reuters) - A German bishop under pressure to resign for spending around 31 million euros ($42 million) on a luxurious residence said he had been heartened by a private audience with Pope Francis in Rome on Monday.

Bishop Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst of Limburg arrived in Rome more than a week ago after cost overruns on his residence stirred anger among German Catholics and protests outside his cathedral, at a time when the pontiff is stressing the importance of humility and serving the poor.

A statement released by Limburg diocese said the bishop was "grateful for the very heartening meeting". It added: "He and the pope agreed the tenor and contents of their meeting would remain confidential."

The Vatican gave no details about the meeting, merely announcing it on the pope's daily list of audiences.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:59 PM

Pope Meets With 'Bishop of Bling' Over Lavish Renovations

VATICAN CITY
ABC News

ROME, Oct. 21, 2013
By CLARK BENTSON

After being kept waiting nearly one week for an appointment, German Bishop Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst was able to meet with Pope Francis today at Vatican to explain his lavish use of church funds.

The Bishop of Limburg – now known as the Bishop of Bling --- has spent some $42 million to renovate his official residence and is accused of falsifying expense reports.

The pope, who has used the Throne of St. Peter to preach for a "poor" church and has set the example by rejecting the opulence available to his position, released no statement following the meeting.

Pope Francis had been briefed last week by the head of the German Bishop's conference. German press reports say the Vatican has asked Archbishop Robert Zollitsch to file an official report on the affair, speculating that the fate of Bishop Tebartz van Elst may only be decided after it is filed.

The bishop of Limburg admits using church funds to restore his residence but has defended his actions, saying the renovations of the church property involved 10 different buildings that had to be upgraded according to historical preservation laws. But the scandal has caused a great uproar in Germany, where a mandatory church tax for members brings in billions of dollars the German Catholic Church each year.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:56 PM

ST. PAUL POLICE AND RELIGIOUS PROFILING

MINNESOTA
Catholic League

Bill Donohue comments on how St. Paul police are handling investigations of sexual abuse:

St. Paul Police Commander Mary Nash is engaged in one of the most offensive religious profiling actions in recent history, and the fact that the Department is allowing her to continue is equally obscene. On October 17, she made a public plea asking anyone who at one time or another had been a victim of sexual abuse by a priest to come forward and report his case to the police. She did not ask if anyone had been molested by a minister, rabbi, imam, teacher, athletic coach, psychologist, social worker, stepfather, mother’s boyfriend, police officer, or anyone else—just priests.

Nash, a former Catholic, says she is simply following up on a case involving a priest who may have had child pornography on his computer in 2004. The priest was investigated, and after no evidence was found, the case was closed. Now the case has been reopened because new evidence has allegedly been found.

No one objects to reopening a case, but to use this incident as an opportunity to zero in on priests alone is indefensible. The Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis has expressed its willingness to cooperate with the police, and we commend them for doing so. What is not acceptable is for the police department to engage in religious profiling. This witch hunt should be called off immediately.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:54 PM

TN - Female Christian teacher accused of abuse; SNAP responds

TENNESSEE
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

For immediate release: Monday, Oct. 21, 2013

Statement by Steve Theisen of Hudson IA, Iowa director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests ( 319 231 1663, Ltreggiefan@cs.com )

A female Christian teacher is accused of abusing boys. As a child, I too was abused by a trusted older woman who was a nun.

[Huffington Post]

I’m sad to read about the pain these boys have endured and are enduring. But I’m grateful they’re helping police and prosecutors. Kids are safe when law enforcement pursues, charges and convicted child molesters – of either gender.

Reporters should watch their language on this one. It’s wrong to say “he had sex with her three times,” as one journalist has done. That implies a degree of consent that is not possible when a trusted adult manipulates and exploits a child.

Instead of quickly trying to distance themselves from Beth Scearce, officials at Christ Classical Academy should be working to find and help anyone else who may have seen, suspected or suffered her crimes.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:59 PM

Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst heute beim Papst

VATIKAN
RP

[Summary: Bishop Franz-Peter van Elst Tebartz met today with Pope Francis. Cardinal Joachim Meisner of Cologne was also invited to the audience. The Limburg bishop, who has said he will not voluntarily step down as bishop, has been criticized for lavish spending.]

Rom (RP). Der umstrittene Bischof will sein Amt nicht aufgeben. Auch Kardinal Meisner ist zur Audienz geladen.

Nach tagelangem Warten auf ein Gespräch mit dem Papst bekommt der Limburger Bischof Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst heute eine Audienz bei Papst Franziskus. Das hat ein Sprecher des Bistums gestern bestätigt. Eine Uhrzeit für das Treffen im Vatikan nannte er nicht. Nach Informationen der "Bild"-Zeitung soll das Treffen um 12 Uhr am Mittag stattfinden.

Tebartz-van Elst befindet sich seit Sonntag voriger Woche in Rom, ein Termin bei Franziskus war zunächst nicht zustande gekommen. Der Bischof steht wegen der enormen Kostensteigerung für den Neubau seiner Residenz unter Druck.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:55 PM

IL - Five men sue Chicago evangelist for child sex abuse

ILLINOIS
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

For immediate release: Monday October 21, 2013

Statement by David Clohessy of St. Louis, Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (314 566 9790, SNAPclohessy@aol.com)

A highly visible “urban evangelist” is accused of molesting five boys.

[Courthouse News Service]

Often, shrewd predators sexually assault “troubled” kids who likely won’t tell or be believed if they do tell. And they often seek close ties with law enforcement to give them added credibility. That’s what we suspect Rev. McLean has done.

We applaud these five brave men for speaking up, seeking justice and exposing a dangerous predator.

We hope that every person who saw, suspected or suffered Rev. McLean’s crimes will step forward, call police and get help.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:53 PM

Teacher charged with aggravated statutory rape

TENNESSEE
State Gazette

Thursday, October 17, 2013
Dyersburg State Gazette

A 37-year-old third-grade teacher at Christ Classical Academy in Dyersburg was arrested on Tuesday on three counts of aggravated statutory rape.

Beth Scearce of Halls, Tenn. was reportedly arrested by Lauderdale County law enforcement officials on Tuesday at Christ Classical Academy and booked into the Lauderdale County Jail on the charges.

According to a court affidavit, Scearce had allegedly had sexual intercourse with two males under the age of 18. One of the victims reportedly told a law enforcement official with the Lauderdale County Sheriff's Office that he had sex with Scearce on three occasions in the fall of 2012.

Christ Classical Academy Principal Janice Young stated Scearce was a third-grade teacher and she was in her second year of teaching at the school. However, she added that Scearce is now on leave. Although not naming Scearce directly as the person involved in the arrest, Young released a pr