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December 31, 2013

Column: Justice denied

PENNSYLVANIA
Lancaster Online

By ELIZABETH EISENSTADT-EVANS
Correspondent
bellettrelliz@gmail.com

There's a difference, sometimes a big difference, between justice and the law.

In June of 2012, Monsignor William Lynn, a high-ranking official in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, was convicted on one-count of child endangerment for providing a priest, Edward Avery, a venue in which he would go on to abuse a boy.

Formerly the archdiocesan secretary for clergy, Lynn's case seemed precedent-setting at the time because, while he wasn't directly involved in abusing children, he was the person responsible for oversight of clergy in the archdiocese.

Part of that responsibility, one would assume (as it turned out, wrongly), involved reporting abuse to secular authorities. Instead, Lynn transferred them from one church to another.

Last week, Lynn's conviction was reversed by the state appeals court. This week, the same judge who sentenced him to serve- 3 to 6 years in prison, M. Teresa Sarmina, has set the terms of bail on which he can be released (she also ruled that he must be subject to electronic monitoring and give up his passport as Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams appeals the reversal).

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:07 PM

Former Tulia Priest Pleads Guilty, Sentenced to 10 Years in Prison

TEXAS
My High Plains

[with video]

Martin Barbosa

TULIA -- A former Tulia priest will spend the next ten years behind bars after pleading guilty to Indecency With a Child.

John Salazar entered that plea yesterday.

He's guilty of one count of indeceny with a child. The incident happened back in 2001 in Tulia.

Salazar was a priest from the Amarillo Catholic Diocese working there until 2003.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:04 PM

Duluth list of accused priests includes 3 with Collegeville ties

MINNESOTA
St. Cloud Times

DULUTH — The Diocese of Duluth on Tuesday released the names of 17 priests who it says were credibly accused of sexual abuse.

Fourteen of the priests have died. All 17 were removed from the church, are under investigation or were dead when the accusations arose, the Duluth News Tribune reported.

Among those on the list are the Rev. Angelo Zankl, a priest and monk at St. John’s Abbey who died in 2007 at age 106. He was deceased at the time of the allegation, according to the Duluth diocese website.

Zankl served at St. Clement’s in Duluth from 1951 to 1967 and as a chaplain at the St. Scholastica Priory from 1974-87.

According to the St. Cloud Times archives, Zankl was head of the St. John’s University art department in 1934 when he designed the university’s seal. He taught theology at St. John’s Seminary and served as the university’s dean of men.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:00 PM

Owensboro pastor suspended after allegations of inappropriate conduct with minor

KENTUCKY
14 News

Posted by Kara Mattingly

OWENSBORO, KY (WFIE) -
An Owensboro pastor has been suspended after allegations of inappropriate conduct with a minor.

Blessed Mother Church officials released a statement saying Father John Meredith left the church earlier this month on a medical leave of absence. That leave of absence has now turned into a temporary suspension.

Officials aren't saying what he's accused of doing and the investigation is continuing. Police say no criminal charges have been filed.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:27 PM

Archdiocese Ordered To Surrender Names Of Priests Accused of Abuse

ST. LOUIS (MO)
KMOX

Brian Kelly Twitter:@brpkelly
December 31, 2013

ST. LOUIS (KMOX)-For the second time this year, a St. Louis Circuit Judge has ordered the St. Louis Archdiocese to turn over the names of priests credibly accused of sexual abuse between 1983 and 2003.

The Archdiocese has until Friday to turn surrender the information to the woman who is suing defrocked priest Joseph Ross and the Archdiocese for alleged abuse, and her attorneys.One her attorneys, Ken Chackes says Judge Robert Dierker has ruled the church’s history of dealing with sexual predators is relevant in the case, “He said that both prior history of how they dealt with sexually abusing priests is relevant to the case and how the Archdiocese continued to deal with complaints of sexual abuse even after our client was abused is relevant to the case.”Chackes calls the ruling “groundbreaking”, “It is the first time that a case has gotten this far and that the Archdiocese of St. Louis has been ordered to reveal the names of clergy that have been credibly accused by children.”Chackes says there were 234 credible cases over those 20 years. He cannot say how many priests were accused.

Chackes says the information will not be made public unless it comes out in trial. He adds that the names of the alleged victims will not be released.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:20 PM

Judge Orders Archdiocese To Release Records

ST. LOUIS (MO)
St. Louis Public Radio

By JOSEPH LEAHY AND MARIA ALTMAN

A judge is giving the Archdiocese of St. Louis until Friday to turn over documents requested in a sexual abuse case or face sanctions.

In a ruling Tuesday, St. Louis Circuit Court Judge Robert Dierker ordered the limited release of the names and locations of clergy proven, admitted or credibly accused of child sex abuse in the diocese.

The records, which will not be made public, pertain to a suit claiming the diocese intentionally failed to protect a young girl who was abused by formerly convicted priest Joseph Ross.

Ross was later defrocked by the Roman Catholic Church.

Dierker’s order is narrower in scope than what was originally requested by the prosecution six months ago, by excluding non-clergy records.

Yet David Clohessy, the director of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, says the ruling is important because it is critical for victims to prove they were put in harm’s way.

"It’s not enough just to say 'this priest molested this girl,'" Clohessy said. "The girl also has to prove that church officials knew he was dangerous, put him in her parish without warning anybody and did this kind of deceitful maneuver time and time and time again."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:17 PM

Big institutions, and their leaders, elude punishment

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
Newsworks

BY CHRIS SATULLO

When complex, powerful organizations become seedbeds of wrong-doing, how do you hold them accountable? Whom do you punish?

This is one we haven't figured out yet in America.

Think of two of the most damaging, most appalling scandals of recent times. First, the deceitful risk-taking on Wall Street that brought down the global economy. Second, the culture of silence and evasion in the Catholic Church that permitted repeated sexual abuse by clergy.

Philadelphia had been the site of the first American court case where a Catholic Church administrator was held to account for shifting abusive priests from one congregation or school to another.

But last week a Pennsylvania Superior Court panel ruled that the legal theory used to convict Monsignor William Lynn of child endangerment was invalid. The ruling didn't question the evidence that Lynn's decisions as a church official gave abusive priests new chances to ruin young lives, just that the statute didn't apply to those facts.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:15 PM

The Heron's Nest: The Holy War surrounding Monsignor Lynn

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
Delaware County Daily Times

By Phil Heron, Delaware County Daily Times
POSTED: 12/31/13

Seth Williams needs to tell us what he really thinks.

Make no mistake, the Philadelphia district attorney is not even a little bit happy about an appeals court ruling that threw out the case against Monsignor William Lynn, convicted of endangering the welfare of children in the children’s sexual abuse scandal that has engulfed the Philadelphia Archdiocese.

Yesterday a Philadelphia judge admitted she may have erred in her interpretation of the law, and set bail for the only high-ranking church official convicted in the scandals.

That did not sit particularly well with Williams. In fact, he decided to raise a little holy hell.

He railed against the ruling tossing the case against Lynn and called the move to grant him bail an abomination.

Williams vowed to do everything in his power to put Lynn “back where he belongs, behind bars.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:13 PM

Monsignor William Lynn posts bail, but not immediately freed from prison

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
Philly.com

ALEX WIGGLESWORTH, FOR PHILLY.COM
LAST UPDATED: Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Attorneys on Tuesday posted bail for Monsignor William Lynn, but the jailed former Catholic official isn't a free man yet.

Lynn's lead attorney Thomas Bergstrom said the legal team still has to straighten out issues related to the terms of Lynn's electronic monitoring, one of the conditions of his release.

"That could take a while," Bergstrom said, though he declined to speculate exactly how long.

Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas Judge Teresa Sarmina during a hearing Monday set Lynn's bail at $250,000 and ordered he surrender his passport and undergo weekly reporting and electronic monitoring.

Sarmina in 2012 sentenced Lynn, former Archdiocese of Philadelphia secretary for clergy, to 3 to 6 years in prison after he was convicted of felony child endangerment for transferring priests accused of child sex abuse to other parishes rather than reporting them to law enforcement. But a three-judge Superior Court panel on Thursday unanimously overturned Sarmina's ruling, finding the state's child-endangerment law was wrongly applied in the case.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:09 PM

Philly Archdiocese Helps Monsignor Post $250k Bail

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
ABC News

By MARYCLAIRE DALE Associated Press

The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Philadelphia helped post the $250,000 bail needed to release a former church official who has been imprisoned for 18 months in the clergy-abuse scandal.

Monsignor William Lynn's attorneys posted the bail on Tuesday after a state appeals court last week overturned his conviction for child endangerment. Lynn was expected to be released later this week after electronic monitoring can be arranged.

Lynn became the first U.S. church official ever convicted for his handling of abuse claims and was sent to prison in July 2012 for three to six years. But the mid-level appeals court found that the child-endangerment felony didn't apply to him, because he did not directly supervise children when he served as the archdiocese's secretary for clergy from 1992 to 2004. The law was changed in 2007.

Lawyers for Lynn also surrendered his passport, another bail condition.

Ken Gavin, a spokesman for the archdiocese, said the church "assisted" with the $25,000 needed to post bail.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:07 PM

Judge orders archdiocese to turn over by Friday names of priests accused of abuse

ST. LOUIS (MO)
St. Louis Post-Dispatch

By Doug Moore dmoore@post-dispatch.com 314-340-81250

A judge has ordered the St. Louis Archdiocese to release by end of day Friday the names of all priests accused of sexual abuse in the past 20 years.

But St. Louis Circuit Judge Robert Dierker said the archdiocese could withhold the names of those involved in cases the church determined were "unsubstantiated."

The ruling today is the latest in a civil suit against Joseph Ross, the first priest defrocked here as the child abuse scandal of the past few decades in the Roman Catholic Church has continued to play out in court.

The names of those involved in the complaints will be kept under seal, available only to the victim, known in court papers as Jane Doe, and her attorneys.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:08 PM

Owensboro Priest Suspended

KENTUCKY
Tristate Homepage

The Owensboro Catholic Diocese has suspended Father John Meredith.

Meredith was the pastor at Blessed Mother Catholic Church in Owensboro. According to a letter signed by Bishop William Medley and sent to members of Blessed Mother, Meredith left the church earlier this month for a "medical leave of absence," but that leave is now a temporary suspension. The Letter goes on to say there have been allegations against Meredith of in appropriate conduct with a minor.

The letter does not say what the inappropriate conduct might be, when it may have occurred, who the victim or victims might be, or when the Diocese was made aware of the allegations. It does say a Diocese Review Board has looked into the allegations and has found them to be credible.

In the letter Bishop Medley also asks for compassion for the person who brought the allegations to light, and he asks for prayers for Father John, his family and friends, and all of the Blessed Mother Community.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:58 PM

Tulia priest sentenced to prison in sex abuse case

TEXAS
Amarillo Globe-News

By Jim McBride
jim.mcbride@amarillo.com

A former Tulia priest has been sentenced to 10 years in prison after pleading guilty to molesting a young male parishioner who attended the Church of the Holy Spirit.

John Salazar, 58, pleaded guilty Monday in a Tulia Court to a second-degree felony charge of indecency with a child — sexual contact. Judge Robert W. Kincaid ordered him to pay a $1,500 fine and $734 in court costs, according to a copy of the plea agreement.

In 1987, Salazar pleaded guilty in Los Angeles to molesting two California altar boys. He served about half of a six-year sentence in California before the Diocese of Amarillo hired him to lead a Tulia church.

The Amarillo Diocese hired Salazar in 1991 directly from a New Mexico treatment program that treated pedophile priests and assigned him to the Church of the Holy Spirit in Tulia, but diocesan officials said earlier they had received no complaints during his service with the tiny parish.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:33 PM

Ex-West Texas priest gets prison in sex abuse case

TEXAS
U-T San Diego

TULIA, Texas (AP) — A former West Texas priest has been sentenced to 10 years in prison after pleading guilty to molesting a young male parishioner who attended the Church of the Holy Spirit in Tulia.

The Amarillo Globe-News (http://bit.ly/JrZpDp ) reports 58-year-old John Salazar pleaded guilty Monday to a second-degree felony charge of indecency with a child — sexual contact.

The Amarillo Diocese hired Salazar in 1991 directly from a New Mexico treatment program for pedophile priests, assigning him to the Tulia church. In 1987, Salazar pleaded guilty in Los Angeles to molesting two altar boys.

Former Amarillo Bishop Leroy Matthiesen, who died in 2010, defended hiring priests from the treatment program, saying they'd repented and were rehabilitated.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:28 PM

CORRECTION: PRIEST ABUSE-APPEAL STORY

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
Aurora Advocate

PHILADELPHIA (AP) -- In a story Dec. 26 about a church official whose child-endangerment conviction was overturned, The Associated Press misspelled the last name of the director of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests. He is David Clohessy.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:26 PM

Juicio contra sacerdote Audín Araya entra en su recta final: Arriesga 10 años de cárcel

CHILE
Bio Bio

Luego de concluir la entrega de pruebas por parte de la defensa del sacerdote Audín Araya, el juicio por el delito de abuso sexual de menores entró en la recta final.

El próximo jueves y viernes deberían desarrollarse los alegatos de clausura del Ministerio Público, del querellante y el abogado defensor del religioso.

Así, se prevé para la próxima semana la entrega del veredicto de los jueces de la Sexta Sala del Tribunal Oral de Concepción, respecto de la inocencia o culpabilidad del ex rector del Colegio Salesianos.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:24 PM

The Diocese of Duluth Release Their List ...

MINNESOTA
Legal Examiner

The Diocese of Duluth Release Their List of 17 Priests Accused of Sexually Abusing Minors

Posted by Mike Bryant
December 31, 2013

The Diocese of Duluth released a list today of 17 priests accused of sexually abusing minors. The release comes several weeks after a lawsuit was filed seeking the release of information on the 17 priests, these lists have been hidden until now. Along with the list the Bishop of Duluth, Rev. Paul Sirba released a statement.

The List

The list of 17 credibly accused priests includes:
- Kirby Blanchard
- Louis Brouillard
- Victor Chateauvert
- Leonard Colston
- Raymond Cossette
- Frederick Fox
- John Golobich
- Ralph Goniea
- Robert Klein
- Mark Makowski
- (Thomas) Gregory Manning
- John Nicholson
- Dennis Puhl
- Thomas Stack
- Joseph Thibaudeau
- Stephen Toporowitz
- Angelo Zankl

Additional accused priests with ties to the area:
- Cornelius Kelleher
- Vincent Fitzgerald
- Othmar Hohmann
- Richard Jeub
- Brennen Maiers

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:05 PM

Duluth diocese releases names of accused priests

MINNESOTA
Seattle PI

DULUTH, Minn. (AP) — The Diocese of Duluth has released the names of 17 priests whom it says were credibly accused of sexual abuse.

A Duluth News Tribune report (http://bit.ly/1lxttcF ) says 13 have died. All 17 were removed from the church, are under investigation or were dead when the accusations arose.

The list also mentions five priests with ties to the area, who were accused while working elsewhere.

Tuesday's release comes several weeks after a lawsuit was filed asking that information on the 17 priests be released.

Duluth Bishop Paul Sirba calls the history of abuse in the church "a sad truth that must be acknowledged."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:04 PM

Duluth Diocese Releases List of Priest Accused of Abuse

MINNESOTA
KSTP

By: Cassie Hart

The Duluth Diocese has released a list of names of priests who they say have been credibly accused of sexual abuse of a minor.

KSTP sister station WDIO reports the list has been in the works for several weeks. The goal of releasing it, according to Bishop Paul Sirba, is to encourage hope and healing for victims.

Anyone who believes they have more information about these priests is encouraged to call the Diocese and law enforcement.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:01 PM

Duluth diocese releases list of 17 priests accused of abusing children

MINNESOTA
Star Tribune

[list of names]

Article by: BY JEAN HOPFENSPERGER Updated: December 31, 2013

Duluth diocese is third in the state to release names of priests accused of child abuse.

The diocese of Duluth released the names of 17 Catholic priests Tuesday who have been credibly accused of molesting children.

None of the priests are in active ministry, according to the diocese, and most are no longer living. The diocese is releasing its list to bring healing on the issue, said Duluth Bishop Paul Sirba.

“The release of this information underscores a sad truth that must be acknowledged: Over the last 65 years, a number of clergy members in the Diocese of Duluth have violated the sacred trust placed in them by children, youth and their families,” said Sirba, at a morning news conference.

“These clergy have caused terrible harm to victims, to the victims’ families, to our community, to the Church and to the many, many good priests who faithfully carry out their duties to God’s people with love and generosity,” he said.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:56 PM

Clergy with credible claims against them concerning sexual abuse of a young person

MINNESOTA
Roman Catholic Diocese of Duluth

As part of the Diocese of Duluth’s ongoing efforts to foster safe environments for children and young people, Bishop Paul D. Sirba released on December 31, 2013 information about clergy members ho have been credibly accused of sexual abuse of young persons while serving or residing in the Duluth Diocese.

Included in the release are clergy members who served as diocesan priests as well as clergy from other dioceses or religious orders who at one time worked or resided in the Duluth Diocese. ...

1. Rev. Kirby Blanchard
Date of birth: 11/16/1928
Date of ordination: 5/30/1953
Cleric’s prior assignments in diocese:
Asst. Pastor: Cathedral of Our Lady of the Rosary, Duluth – 7/ 22/1953 – 1/ 7/1965
Pastor: Our Lady of Fatima Church, Garrison – 1/ 7/19 65 – 8/24/1966
Pastor: St. Joseph's Church, Deerwood – 1/7/1965 – 8/24/1966
Pastor: St. Augustine's Church, Cohasset – 8/24/1966 – 2/ 27/1969
Pastor: St. Mary's Church, Deer River – 8/24/1966 – 2/27/1969
Pastor: St. Christopher Church, Nisswa – 2/27/1969 – 3/17/1971
Pastor: St. Alice Church, Pequot Lakes – 2/ 27/1969 – 3/17/1971
Pastor: Our Lady of Lourdes Church, Pine River – 2/ 27/1969 – 3/17/1971
Pastor: St. Anthony's Church, Duluth – 3/17/1971 – 6/1/1976
Chaplain: St. Joseph's Hospital, Brainerd – 9/1/1976 – 12/5/1993
Retired: 12/ 5/1993
Diocese or religious order: Diocesan Priest
Date removed from ministry: 12/27/1995
Current location: Deceased
Current status: Died 8/11/2006

2. Rev. Louis Brouillard
Date of birth: 07/27/1921
Date of ordination: 12/17/1948
Cleric’s prior assignments in diocese:
Temporary Administrator: St. Joseph, Beroun - 7/27/1981 – 7/11/1984
Pastor: St. Mary, Kewatin - 7/11/1984 – 11/12/1985
Pastor: St. Anne, Kelly Lake - 7/11/1984 – 11/12/1985
Diocese or religious order: Priest of the Diocese of Agana, Guam
Date removed from ministry: 11/12/1985
Current location: Pine City, MN
Current status: Not in ministry, Faculties revoked

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:14 PM

Bishop Sirba releases names of credibly accused priests

MINNESOTA
Roman Catholic Diocese of Duluth

As part of the Diocese of Duluth’s ongoing efforts to foster safe environments for children and young
people, Bishop Paul D. Sirba released on Dec. 31, 2013, information about clergy members who have been credibly accused of sexual abuse of young persons while serving or residing in the Duluth Diocese.

Included in the release are clergy members who served as diocesan priests as well as clergy from other dioceses or religious orders who at one time worked or resided in the Duluth Diocese. Despite our best efforts to make sure our information is accurate and complete, we know that it may include errors or be incomplete. We ask that anyone who believes they have information about any instance of child sexual abuse involving any member of the clergy to contact their local law enforcement and the diocese or a diocesan assistance coordinator.

A list of names of those credibly accused
A Q&A on the Dec. 31 disclosure
A Q&A on the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People
A glossary of terms used in the John Jay Study

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:08 PM

Priest Surrenders Passport

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
NBC 10

Lawyers for a Roman Catholic church official have surrendered his passport as they try to get him out of prison on bail after 18 months.

WATCH: Explanation of Overturned Conviction

Monsignor William Lynn's bail has been set at $250,000 after an appeals court overturned his conviction in the clergy-abuse scandal.

Lynn is the first U.S. church official person ever convicted for hiding abuse complaints. But an appeals court now says the child-endangerment felony did not apply to him.

Officials at the state prison in Waymart, in northeastern Pennsylvania, are awaiting word Wednesday on when Lynn can be released.

Defense lawyer Thomas Bergstrom says he is trying to set up the electronic monitoring ordered by the trial judge.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:56 PM

Bishop Sirba releases names of 17 priests accused of sexual abuse in Duluth Diocese

MINNESOTA
Northlands News Center

Duluth, MN (NNCNOW.com) --- Duluth Bishop Paul Sirba has released the names of 17 priests who have been credibly accused of sexually abusing children in the Duluth Diocese.

During a news conference, officials with the Duluth Diocese said the priests on the list have been removed from the church, are under investigation or were deceased before the accusations were known.

Officials also released the names of five other priests with ties to the area who have been accused while working in other ministries.

The group Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, or SNAP, released the following statement concerning today's list of credibly accused priests:

"For the church to move forward, it’s important that all this information come out to learn how to never repeat it so Catholic officials can better protect kids right now. Still, we hope today's disclosure will prod others who saw, suspected or suffered clergy sex crimes or cover ups in Minnesota to step forward, call police, expose wrongdoers, protect kids and start healing."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:52 PM

Diocese of Duluth releases names of accused priests

MINNESOTA
Duluth News Tribune

By: Tom Olsen, Duluth News Tribune

The Diocese of Duluth today released a list of 17 of its former priests who have been determined to be credibly accused of sexually abusing children.

All 17 priests have been removed from the church, are under investigation or were deceased before the accusations surfaced. Four are alive today.

The list also includes five other priests with ties to the area who have been accused while working in other ministries.

Duluth Bishop Paul Sirba called the history of abuse in the church a “sad truth that must be acknowledged” and said the release of names will help victims heal and encourage other victims to come forward.

The list of 17 credibly accused priests includes:

Kirby Blanchard
Louis Brouillard
Victor Chateauvert
Leonard Colston
Raymond Cossette
Frederick Fox
John Golobich
Ralph Goniea
Robert Klein
Mark Makowski
(Thomas) Gregory Manning
John Nicholson
Dennis Puhl
Thomas Stack
Joseph Thibaudeau
Stephen Toporowitz
Angelo Zankl

Additional accused priests with ties to the area:

Cornelius Kelleher
Vincent Fitzgerald
Othmar Hohmann
Richard Jeub
Brennen Maiers

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:49 PM

MN - Duluth predator priests names released; SNAP responds

MINNESOTA
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

For immediate release: Tuesday December 31, 2013

Statement by Verne Wagner, Northeast MN director of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP), 218-340-1277,lwagsmn@yahoo.com

We are glad that Bishop Sirba is releasing the names of credibly accused priests here in the Northland. Kids are safer every time a child molester is exposed. Having more names of predator priests in the news today in Duluth is a first step in transparency, outreach to victims and support for them. But this is a first step, and we hope Bishop Sirba will open and release files and documents that tell where and when alleged abuse took place, and the actions that the Bishops did or didn’t take. With the release of these predator priests, we also hope the bishop includes photos of these clerics as well as their history.

When I filed my lawsuit against the Duluth Diocese and it made the news, other victims of Fr. John Nickelson called me saying they thought they were the only ones he molested. This information should never have been kept secret.

Just this week, we learned about former priest Harry Walsh a credibly accused child molester. He was never disciplined by the Twin Cities archbishop and was – until a week or so ago - working with troubled teens and vulnerable adults in Wright County here in Minnesota teaching sex education. Think about that! A child molester who was never disciplined by Catholic officials teaching sex ed to trouble kids and vulnerable adults with no warning given to his county by the diocese. Walsh’s past crimes were kept secret until outed by a former victim of his.

For the church to move forward, it’s important that all this information come out to learn how to never repeat it so Catholic officials can better protect kids right now. Still, we hope today's disclosure will prod others who saw, suspected or suffered clergy sex crimes or cover ups in Minnesota to step forward, call police, expose wrongdoers, protect kids and start healing.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:14 PM

Pa. monsignor surrenders passport, awaits release

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
Bellingham Herald

BY MARYCLAIRE DALE
Associated Press
December 31, 2013

PHILADELPHIA — Lawyers for a Roman Catholic church official have surrendered his passport as they try to get him out of prison on bail after 18 months.

Monsignor William Lynn's bail was set at $250,000 after a Pennsylvania appeals court overturned his conviction in a clergy sex-abuse scandal.

Lynn is the first U.S. church official ever convicted for his handling of abuse claims. But an appeals court now says the child-endangerment felony didn't apply to him.

Officials at the state prison in Waymart, in northeastern Pennsylvania, are awaiting word on when Lynn can be released.

Defense lawyer Thomas Bergstrom says he is trying to set up the electronic monitoring ordered by the trial judge.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:44 AM

Year’s End and an Empty Tank

UNITED STATES
National Survivor Advocates Coalition

In this space, we try to be clear, declarative and not overly burdensome.

We hope we are the same today with a message that we deliberately don’t make frequently. ...

We believe that men and women in Roman Catholic church pews and in the pews of other denominations and men and women of goodwill in society must stand against the evil of sexual abuse, against the perpetrators, of course, but also against the accomplices to abusers who cover up sexual abuse and the human roadblocks against the reform of the statutes of limitations that allow those who committed abuse and those who abetted and abet them by cover up to remain beyond the reach of the justice system in criminal and civil law as well as canon law.

There is an era of good feeling bubbling up in the Roman Catholic Church these days due to the election of Pope Francis.

We believe that many people in the pews as well as others in the general population think that the issues of the crisis will be solved or at least nicely and politely shelved by that good feeling.

We believe the opposite. We believe that the new year will bring tougher times in this fight. We believe that is foreshadowed by the court ruling regarding Monsignor Lynn.

We believe that this is no time to let down a guard.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:53 AM

MO-Catholics urge judge to “hold firm”

ST. LOUIS (MO)
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

POSTED BY BARBARA DORRIS ON DECEMBER 31, 2013

Catholics urge judge to “hold firm”
They want “openness” about predator priests
Groups to archbishop: “Start obeying court order”
“Our donations should not go to church lawyers,” they say
“Nor should our contributions finance more hurtful secrecy”

WHAT
Holding signs and childhood photos at a sidewalk news conference, local Catholics and child sex abuse victims will call upon

--a St. Louis archbishop to stop his “long and expensive fight” against a court order commanding him to release records of alleged predator priests, and
--a St. Louis judge to “hold firm” and insist on such disclosure immediately and hold the archbishop in contempt.

WHEN
TODAY, Tuesday, Dec. 31 at 1:00 p.m.

WHERE
On the sidewalk outside the “new” Cathedral, 4400 Lindell at Taylor in the city’s Central West End

WHO
A small group of Catholics who belong to three organizations - Voice of the Faithful, the Association for the Rights of Catholics, and the Faithful of Southern Illinois - along with two-three clergy sex abuse victims who belong to a support group called SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests.

WHY
More than six months ago, a local judge ordered St. Louis Archbishop Robert Carlson to turn over, privately, records about proven and alleged child molesting local clerics. But Carlson has essentially violated that order by providing only a little bit of the information. He refuses to provide the names of proven, admitted and accused predators, despite a clear command by Judge Robert Dierker to do so.

[St. Louis Post-Dispatch]

In contrast, the alleged victim in the case has complied with Dierker’s orders. She has provided Catholic officials hundreds of pages of her private emails and her medical records.

The case revolves around accusations that Fr. Joseph D. Ross repeatedly sexually abused a then-five year old girl for years at St. Cronan’s Catholic parish in the Grove neighborhood. She is now 20 and in 2011, she filed a lawsuit as a “Jane Doe.” The suit charges that top archdiocesan staffers knew that Ross was a convicted predator yet moved him to her parish without warning anyone about him.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:56 AM

Australian inquiry scrutinizes church

AUSTRALIA
National Catholic Reporter

Stephen Crittenden | Dec. 31, 2013

SYDNEY
Australian survivors of clerical sexual abuse have been complaining for years about their dissatisfaction with Towards Healing, the Catholic church's national protocol for responding to abuse.

The inner workings of Towards Healing were laid bare in November and December during two weeks of public hearings held here before the Royal Commission Into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, chaired by New South Wales Supreme Court Judge Peter McClellan.

The royal commission was established in November 2012 to inquire into how private, public and nongovernment institutions, including churches, have responded to child sexual abuse, and to make recommendations on improvements where systems have failed. With more than 5,000 people expected to come forward to tell their stories, it is likely to take years to complete its work. One thousand private hearings have already been conducted.

One of the most shocking revelations in early December concerned the handling of allegations of abuse by Marist Br. Raymond Foster, a teacher who committed suicide in 1999, just hours before he was due to face charges of abusing a 13-year-old boy in a north Queensland school in the early 1970s.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:52 AM

Amid joyful celebrations, wounds are reopened

MINNESOTA
Roman Catholic Diocese of Duluth

Bishop Paul D. Sirba

The month of October was filled with light and shadows for me. The bright lights were events surrounding the celebration of the Year of Faith. We hosted Baraga Days for the first time. Our Diocesan Assembly was held at Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College and celebrated the lives of St. Kateri and the Ven. Frederic Baraga and conferences on the New Evangelization.

We prayed for our health care professionals at our annual White Mass and listened to a presentation by the legal counsel of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops on Religious Liberty and the HHS mandate.

The Catholic school children, their principals and teachers from seven of our Catholic schools outside the city of Duluth, as well as home school families from around the diocese, made a pilgrimage to the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Rosary to gain the Year of Faith indulgence and celebrate the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass together.

I celebrated the Sacrament of Confirmation at St. Joseph’s in Chisholm, St. Michael’s in Duluth and St. Joseph’s in Grand Rapids. Our high school students opened their hearts and lives to the outpouring of God and the Holy Spirit, in this great Sacrament of Initiation.

As a member of the Committee on Home Missions for the USCCB, I was privileged to travel to one of the poorest dioceses in the country, Gallup, N.Mex., to disperse grants on behalf of the National Collection for Home Missions. Memories of reading Willa Cather’s “Death Comes for the Archbishop” came to life for me as we visited the descendants of the people and the places that she wrote about in her classic novel.

A dark past emerged

The shadows came in the painful realities surrounding past cases of clergy sexual abuse. I am so grateful for your prayers and for God’s mercy on our diocese. Any time a case comes to light the painful wounds are reopened.

I pray we reach out to the victims and their families, the faithful and the clergy to bring God’s healing and continue to make our diocese the safest place for children to be. The efforts of our diocese over the years in providing safe environment training have borne much fruit, contrary to the impressions and misstatements by our local press, but we still have much work to do.

Our clergy conference, which began on the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary, Oct. 7, was dedicated to clergy health and well-being. Coming after our most recent disclosure, the sadness, hurt and anger of our priests and deacons was palpable. We shifted the focus of our meeting to discuss what was most important to our family, as painful as it was to discuss it, the effects of clergy sexual abuse and our response to it.

As ordained men we cannot fathom at times the breaking of a sacred trust by a few of our brothers and the hurt caused to victims and their families. Since the vast majority of your priests serve with the heart of Jesus, the Good Shepherd, to fall under the pall of this terrible sin is most discouraging. We also have a heart for our brothers who offend and hope and pray for them.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:34 AM

D.A. to appeal Superior Court decision to free Msgr. Lynn on bail

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
Philadelphia Daily News

JENNY DEHUFF, DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITER DEHUFFJ@PHILLYNEWS.COM, 215-854-5218
POSTED: Tuesday, December 31, 2013

DISTRICT ATTORNEY Seth Williams is taking an appeals-court ruling to the state Supreme Court in attempt to keep Monsignor William Lynn behind bars.

But Lynn - whose felony child-endangerment conviction was overturned in state Superior Court last week - could walk free any day this week by posting 10 percent of $250,000 bail, which was granted yesterday by Common Pleas Judge M. Teresa Sarmina.

"We can say with great confidence that the way the Superior Court read this law is not how this law is supposed to work," Williams said during a news conference yesterday.

"I am disgusted by the ruling of the Superior Court panel that was persuaded by the defense argument that Monsignor Lynn did not have a duty to protect children. I have no doubt that a misguided, wealthy benefactor will pay for his release."

In June 2012, a jury found that Lynn was solely responsible for allowing pedophile priests to have contact with young boys and shuffling them from parish to parish to keep the abuse quiet.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:32 AM

Pope’s new broom sweeps Vatican Bank

VATICAN CITY
Irish Times

Paddy Agnew

As tourists walk past the Porta Sant’Anna in Rome, just off St Peter’s Square, few pay much attention to the strange-looking, rounded tower that sits just inside the gates of the Holy See. Built by the 15th century humanist pope Nicholas V, the tower looks more like a fortress than a palatial villa, a sort of Martello tower that contrasts starkly with the elegance of Bernini’s famous colonnade in the square.

The point about this Torrione di San Nicolò, of course, is that it is indeed a fortress, a fortress of money. For this tower is today the seat of the Vatican Bank, the Istituto Per le Opere di Religione, otherwise known as the IOR.

There was a time when, for the media at least, the bank was off limits. As of last summer, however, that has changed. And when I turned up at the Porta Sant’Anna recently, the IOR spokesman Markus Wieser and a Vatican gendarme were waiting at the gate.

On request, Wieser had invited me to the bank for what he called a “tour d’horizon”. His basic message was, and is: Look, we have nothing to hide, this is what we are doing now in the Great Clean-Up operation.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:41 AM

Judge Sarmina Declares She's Fallible, Lets Lynn Out Of Jail

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
Big Trial

By Ralph Cipriano
for Bigtrial.net

After declaring "I am fallible," the Hon. M. Teresa Sarmina today announced she would reverse course, and grant bail to Msgr. William J. Lynn.

It was Judge Sarmina who denied Lynn bail twice in 2012, before and after she put him away for three to six years after a jury found the monsignor guilty of one count of endangering the welfare of a child.

A three-judge panel of Superior Court appeal judges on Dec. 26th reversed that conviction, saying the "plain language" of the state's original child endangerment statute plainly didn't apply to Lynn. It only applied to adults who had direct contact with children, such as parents, teachers and guardians, the Superior Court judges said. It did not apply to the monsignor, who never even met the alleged victim in his case. [The state's original 1972 child endangerment law was amended in 2007 to include supervisors such as Lynn.]

The Superior Court judges went one step further, labeling Sarmina's handling of the law in the Lynn case as "fundamentally flawed." So no wonder Judge Sarmina looked like she was sucking on lemons today when she read a legal soliloquy from the bench that basically amounted to: I may have screwed up the case, but I really don't think so; I'm still the trial judge and you're not; and I bet I'm going to be upheld when the state Supreme Court takes this up on appeal.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:36 AM

Duluth Diocese to Release List of Accused Priests

MINNESOTA
KSTP

By: Leslie Dyste
The Diocese of Duluth plans Tuesday to release the names of its priests who have been credibly accused of sexual abuse.

The Duluth News Tribune reports the announcement comes several weeks after a lawsuit was filed seeking the release of information on the 17 priests.

The lawsuit alleges the diocese was negligent in allowing abuse to continue and has created a nuisance by not releasing the names of accused priests.

Earlier this month, the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis and the Diocese of Winona released lists of credibly abused priests, following a court order.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:10 AM

Duluth Diocese to Release Names of Priests Accused of Abuse

MINNESOTA
WDIO

The Diocese of Duluth says they will be releasing the names of priests accused of sexually abusing minors Tuesday morning.

A man known as "Doe 28" filed a lawsuit earlier this year alleging he was abused by Father Robert Klein in the 1970s.

The suit is seeking $50,000 and the identification of 17 total priests allegedly accused of abuse.

Tomorrow, Bishop Paul Sirba will release the names of priests that are "credibly accused." It is not clear how many that is.

The press conference starts at 10 a.m. Tuesday.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:06 AM

Duluth diocese to release list of accused priests

MINNESOTA
Seattle PI

DULUTH, Minn. (AP) — The Diocese of Duluth plans Tuesday to release the names of its priests who have been credibly accused of sexual abuse.

The Duluth News Tribune (http://bit.ly/1chFAbq ) reports the announcement comes several weeks after a lawsuit was filed seeking the release of information on the 17 priests.

The lawsuit alleges the diocese was negligent in allowing abuse to continue and has created a nuisance by not releasing the names of accused priests.

Earlier this month, the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis and the Diocese of Winona released lists of credibly abused priests, following a court order.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:04 AM

20% rise in reports of historic offences to Devon and Cornwall Police following Savile scandal

UNITED KINGDOM
Express and Echo

High profile sexual abuses cases including that of disgraced DJ Jimmy Savile have led to a 20% rise in reports of historic offences to Devon and Cornwall Police.

Savile, now exposed as a predatory paedophile, is thought to have targeted hundreds of youngsters across the country in attacks spanning from 1955 to 2009.

Investigations have been launched into complaints that four youngsters were abused by the star during visits to the Royal Marines’ prestigious Commando Training Centre at Lympstone, in East Devon. Another attack is said to have taken place at a mental health facility in Exeter in 1970.

Intense publicity surrounding Savile’s case, and investigations into other well-known celebrities, have seen the number of historic reports of abuse rocket.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:01 AM

'Jimmy Savile effect' sparks huge rise in reports of historic sex abuse in Plymouth area

UNITED KINGDOM
Herald

By ANDY GREENWOOD @hackintheshack

HIGH profile sexual abuses cases including that of disgraced DJ Jimmy Savile have led to a 20 per cent rise in reports of historic offences to Devon and Cornwall Police.

Savile, now exposed as a predatory paedophile, is thought to have targeted hundreds of youngsters across the country in attacks spanning from 1955 to 2009.

Investigations have been launched into complaints that four youngsters were abused by the star during visits to the Royal Marines’ prestigious Commando Training Centre at Lympstone, in East Devon. Another attack is said to have taken place at a mental health facility in Exeter in 1970.

Intense publicity surrounding Savile’s case, and investigations into other well-known celebrities, have seen the number of historic reports of abuse rocket.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:00 AM

Church lawyer turned whistleblower named 'person of the year'

MINNESOTA
Star Tribune

Article by: RICHARD MERYHEW , Star Tribune Updated: December 30, 2013

National Catholic publication honors former archdiocesan lawyer.

The whistleblower who set off a storm of controversy over clergy sex abuse in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis has been named “person of the year” by a national Catholic newspaper.

Jennifer Haselberger, 39, of St. Paul was honored Monday in an editorial by the National Catholic Reporter for her courage in speaking out against Archbishop John Nienstedt and his handling of evidence in potential child abuse cases involving archdiocesan priests.

“Thank God for the courage of abuse survivors and the families of victims who will not let our bishops and leaders forget the abuse and their complicity in it,” the editorial said. “Thank God for activists who stand with survivors. But most of all, thank God for one very special class of people: the priests and church personnel who do stand up to their leaders and cry out for justice. … Finally, thank God for Jennifer Haselberger.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:52 AM

Duluth Diocese to release list of ‘credibly accused’ priests

MINNESOTA
Duluth News Tribune

By: Tom Olsen, Duluth News Tribune

The Diocese of Duluth announced Monday that it will voluntarily release a list of its priests who have been credibly accused of sexually abusing children, a measure that abuse advocates are hailing as a “step forward” in restoring community trust.

Bishop Paul Sirba plans to reveal the list, believed to contain the names of at least 17 former priests, today during a 10 a.m. news conference.

Verne Wagner, the Northeastern Minnesota director of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, or SNAP, was not yet aware of the diocese’s plans when contacted Monday afternoon by the News Tribune.

“That’s great news,” he said. “I’m very pleased that the bishop made that decision. It’s the right thing for him to do.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:48 AM

Archdiocese of St. Louis fights judge's order ...

ST. LOUIS (MO)
St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Archdiocese of St. Louis fights judge's order to release unprecedented level of abuse records

By Jennifer S. Mann jmann@post-dispatch.com 314-621-580487

ST. LOUIS • The first priest defrocked here as the child abuse scandal erupted in the Roman Catholic Church is now at the center of a lawsuit burrowing more deeply into the issue than ever before.

A civil suit against Joseph Ross has the potential to reveal two decades of internal records on sexual abuse allegations made against St. Louis priests, if a judge’s order holds.

The suit, which also names Archbishop Robert Carlson and the Archdiocese of St. Louis, was filed in 2011 by a 19-year-old woman who says Ross began abusing her 16 years ago at St. Cronan’s Church.

Ross had been convicted of sexually assaulting an 11-year-old boy at a University City parish a decade earlier, and was sent away for treatment, then reassigned to the new parish. Years later, additional abuse allegations surfaced.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:45 AM

Law should prosecute criminals, not scapegoats

PENNSYLVANIA
Pottstown Mercury

In a decision that came as a surprise to many and a blow to some, the Superior Court of Pennsylvania last week voided the child-endangerment oversight conviction of Msgr. William Lynn, the former secretary for clergy in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. He has spent the last 18 months in prison as the highest-ranking official in the Roman Catholic Church to be convicted of charges stemming from the child sex-abuse scandal that has rocked the church from Philadelphia to the Vatican.

The unanimous 43-page opinion is sure to be unpopular with many, especially advocates for the victims of sexual abuse by the clergy. Indeed, Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams has vowed to an appeal.

But the ruling is legally sound. It’s hard to see how an appeal will be successful. That means that Lynn must be freed.

Since the early 1990s, beginning in Boston, it became clear that the Catholic Church had long tolerated abusers and pedophiles in its ranks. When a “problem” would surface, the “problem” priest would be transferred to a new parish, sometimes after receiving therapy and sometimes not. Usually neither the pastor nor the parishioners were warned about the monsters in their midst.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:43 AM

December 30, 2013

Duluth Diocese to reveal list of 'credibly accused' priests

MINNESOTA
Duluth News Tribune

The Duluth Diocese will release the names of its priests who have been credibly accused of sexual abuse Tuesday, a spokesman said today.

The announcement comes several weeks after a lawsuit was filed in State District Court seeking the release of information on 17 priests. The suit, filed Dec. 9 on the behalf of an anonymous victim, claimed that the diocese was negligent in allowing abuse to continue and has created a nuisance by not releasing the names of accused priests.

Earlier this month, the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis and the Diocese of Winona released lists of credibly abused priests, following a court order. That order stemmed from a suit brought by Twin Cities law firm Jeff Anderson and Associates, which also filed the Duluth suit.

Duluth Bishop Paul Sirba will release the list during a 10 a.m. news conference Tuesday at the diocese’s headquarters, communications director Kyle Eller said.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:00 PM

Duluth Bishop Sirba to release names of priests accused of sexual abuse

MINNESOTA
Northlands News Center

December 30, 2013
Updated Dec 30, 2013

Duluth, MN (NNCNOW.com) --- Duluth Bishop Paul Sirba will release names of priests in the Duluth Diocese who have been credibly accused of sexual abuse of a minor.

Bishop Sirba plans to host a press conference on Tuesday to release the list. Attorneys requested earlier this month that the names of 17 priests accused of sexual abuse be released to the public.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:57 PM

Greek Orthodox council moves to dismiss one of its priests

UTAH
The Salt Lake Tribune

By Peggy Fletcher Stack | The Salt Lake Tribune

The simmering tensions between the parish council of the Salt Lake Valley’s Greek Orthodox community and its priests erupted again this week.

In a letter dated Dec. 28, the council informed the Rev. Michael Kouremetis that "there are no funds allocated in the 2014 budget to pay your salary or compensation package beyond December 31, 2013."

The letter was signed by council chairman Dimitrios Tsagaris, who declined to comment beyond saying that the council would discuss the matter with the community in the coming weeks.

Kouremetis, though, has no intention of leaving the state, the priest told worshippers Sunday at Holladay’s Prophet Elias Greek Orthodox Church.

Kouremetis, who did not return a phone call seeking comment, said he is not going anywhere, according to congregants who were there. He serves "the Lord and the hierarchs of the church, not the parish council."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:52 PM

Former Los Angeles priest pleads guilty to molestation in Texas

TEXAS
Los Angeles Times

By Ashley Powers
December 30, 2013

A former priest convicted twice of sex crimes in California and Texas pleaded guilty Monday to a molestation charge, Texas authorities said.

John Salazar, the subject of a front-page story in The Times, was sentenced to 10 years in prison, according to the office of the Swisher County attorney.

Salazar, 58, had been accused of abusing a young man who attended the Church of the Holy Spirit in Tulia, Texas, where Salazar served as pastor. Salazar's lawyer did not return a phone call seeking comment.

The case was the fourth time Salazar has faced a criminal charge.

Salazar was ordained in Los Angeles in 1984. Within three years, he pleaded guilty to abusing two teenage boys and was sent to prison.

Upon his release, he met Bishop Leroy Matthiesen, who took him to the Diocese of Amarillo over the objections of church officials in L.A. Salazar started at the Tulia parish in 1991 and became a beloved figure in the Texas Panhandle community.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:49 PM

Church asks judge to loosen requirements for disclosing priest abuse allegations

MINNESOTA
Minnesota Public Radio

Madeleine Baran St. Paul, Minn. Dec 30, 2013

Lawyers for the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis have asked a judge to loosen an order requiring it to disclose the names of all priests accused of child sexual abuse since 2004.

The archdiocese now argues that it doesn't want to release the names of all priests accused of abuse. Rather, it wants time to investigate the allegations first and release the names of the accused priests only if Catholic Church officials determine the claims are credible.

Ramsey County Judge John Van de North ordered the Twin Cities archdiocese and the Diocese of Winona to release the names of all recently accused priests by Jan. 6. A hearing in the case is scheduled for Friday — three days before the Jan. 6 deadline.

In a Dec. 18 letter to Van de North, archdiocese attorney Tom Wieser asked the judge to grant the archdiocese "30 days upon learning of an accusation of sexual abuse of a minor to investigate the claim. If The Archdiocese determines that the claim is not credible, it shall be permitted an opportunity to seek an independent review and determination from the Court regarding The Archdiocese's obligation to publicly disclose the accusation," Wieser wrote.

The Diocese of Winona submitted a similar letter to Van de North, in which attorney Thomas Braun explained, "The Diocese shares concerns that a wholesale public disclosure of incredible, unsubstantiated, frivolous or malicious accusations would do irreparable harm to the reputations of those individuals without good cause."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:46 PM

Local Reactions To Monsg Lynn Getting Bail

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
My Fox Philly

[with video]

PHILADELPHIA -
"I'm disgusted by the Superior Court's cavalier disregard for the child victims…"

District Attorney Seth Williams says that the battle to get Monsignor William Lynn back behind bars has just begun.

After serving 18 months of his 36 year sentence, Monsignor William Lynn will be released from prison on bail. The 62-year old former Secretary of Clergy for the Archdiocese was convicted in July of 2012 for covering up sex abuse claims in his role of assigning priests.

Last week in state superior court, the landmark conviction was overturned on the grounds that the child endangerment law that he was convicted under didn't apply to him...

"He's gonna be out of jail and that's what pleases me. And we can accommodate your honor and we will so," said Tim Bergstrom, the defense lawyer.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:51 PM

DA to appeal superior court decision to free Msgr. Lynn on bail

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
Philly.com

Jenny DeHuff

POSTED: MONDAY, DECEMBER 30, 2013

District Attorney Seth Williams is taking an appeals court ruling to the state Supreme Court in attempt to keep Msgr. William Lynn behind bars.

Lynn could be sprung any day this week with the posting of 10 percent of $250,000 bail, granted yesterday by Superior Court Judge Teresa M. Sarmina, after his child endangerment conviction was overturned a day after Christmas.

“We can say with great confidence that the way the superior court read this law is not how this law is supposed to work,” Williams said during a press conference yesterday.

“I am disgusted by the ruling of the superior court panel that was persuaded by the defense argument that Monsignor Lynn did not have a duty to protect children. I have no doubt that a misguided, wealthy benefactor will pay for his release.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:49 PM

Gallup, Budgets, Insurance, and Game-Playing

NEW MEXICO
The Worthy Adversary

Posted by Joelle Casteix on December 30, 2013

I have been brewing about the bankruptcy debacle in Gallup for the past few days. And I keep coming up with the same fable:

Mortimer Snerd gets a speeding ticket. Instead of paying the ticket or going to traffic school (that is, being accountable for what he has done), our pal Snerd goes to the judge and says, “I am so poor. Look at my unitemized list of belongings. I am one of the poorest people I know. I have less than a fraction of the wealth of the majority of people in Newport Beach. I live in a simple condo and a family to support. I just can’t pay what you ask.”

But the truth is this: Snerd CAN pay. He has a job, knew he was speeding, and is just trying to get out of being accountable. He can pay the fines for his transgressions. But now, he claims he’s a victim, because he is not a multi-millionaire.

Snerd wouldn’t have an argument if he lived in Boise, where the same salary puts him in the 1%. It’s all in how he chose to frame himself. He’s not poor. He’s just not mega-rich.

So, we move on to Gallup.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:45 PM

Peter Bryce and Duncan Campbell Scott: the road not taken on residential schools

CANADA
Rabble

BY CHARLIE ANGUS | DECEMBER 30, 2013

This past fall, I was involved in the musical-historical project Four Horses that tells the story of a dark chapter in Canadian history. Working with University of Regina Press (publishers of Clearing the Plains) we set out to introduce a new generation to the story of how the federal government used disease and famine in an attempt to destroy First Nation identity in Canada. Until I was involved in this project, I would have thought that such accusations couldn’t be true in a country such as ours. The Four Horses project forced me to look closer, and the closer I looked, the starker the picture became.

So let’s look at the residential schools and the legacy of two men: one famous and one obscure. The famous man is Duncan Campbell Scott -- the architect of the 20th century’s brutal residential school regime. The obscure figure is a crusading bureaucrat named Peter Henderson Bryce.

Bryce was the Chief Medical Officer for the Department of Indian Affairs at the turn of the 20th century. In 1907 he released an explosive report On the Indian Schools Of Manitoba and the Northwest Territories that exposed the atrocious death rates of tuberculosis among children in the residential school system.

He laid the blame on both the Churches and the Federal government. To Bryce, it wasn’t simply a case of negligent local school officials but a systemic failure of the federal government to ensure adequately funded education and health support for Aboriginal children. He pointed out that a number of institutions didn’t even bother to provide soap or clean water for the children.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:41 PM

Archdiocese: Two priests reported to police

MINNESOTA
Minnesota Public Radio

[with audio]

Tom Scheck St. Paul, Minn. Dec 29, 2013

The Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis has forwarded information about two parish priests to law enforcement. The two priests in question are taking leaves from active ministry.

An outside firm found that the Rev. Joseph Gallatin and the Rev. Mark Wehmann were involved in incidents of "inappropriate conduct" with minors. The archdiocese didn't say how the firm reached its decision. No information about the allegations has been released.

The archdiocese said it reported the information to police recently. An official with the archdiocese described the acts by both men as boundary violations that "do not constitute criminal activity or sexual abuse" but didn't provide additional information.

Officials also didn't say why no one removed the men from ministry sooner. Church leaders have claimed for years to have zero tolerance for any sexual abuse of minors. Any priest with a credible allegation of child sexual abuse is supposed to be removed from ministry right away.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:38 PM

DA to appeal court's decision to overturn conviction of Catholic priest

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
CNN

By Luisa Navarro, CNN
updated 5:03 PM EST, Mon December 30, 2013

(CNN) -- Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams said Monday he will appeal a Superior Court's decision to reverse Monsignor William Lynn's conviction for covering up crimes of offending priests.

A three-judge panel ruled Thursday that Lynn -- who had been the first Roman Catholic priest in the United States to be convicted of covering up the abuses of others -- should be released, reversing his 2012 conviction for one count of child endangerment. He originally was sentenced to three to six years.

"There is something wrong with this Superior Court panel," Williams said.

Lynn's conviction was for not removing a defrocked priest, Edward Avery, from active ministry in the 1990s after learning Avery had molested a teen. Avery pleaded guilty in March 2012 to sexually assaulting the 10-year-old altar boy during the 1998-99 school year and remains in prison.

Williams adamantly expressed his disapproval of the Superior Court's decision.

"I am disgusted by the Superior Court's cavalier, disregard for the child victims of pedophile priests and Monsignor Lynn's role," Williams told reporters. "Monsignor William Lynn knew Father Avery had sexually molested children."

Lynn's attorneys had convinced the Superior Court panel that the laws at the time only applied to people who directly supervised children.

"Certainly, he (Williams) has a prerogative to appeal. I don't think his appeal will be successful, but he certainly has the right," Lynn's attorney, Thomas Bergstrom said.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:07 PM

US priest gets bail after abuse cover-up conviction reversed

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
Irish Times

A Philadelphia judge today set bail at $250,000 for a senior US Roman Catholic Church official whose conviction in a high-profile child sex abuse case was overturned last week.

Monsignor William Lynn (62), was convicted in June 2012 of endangering the welfare of a child for reassigning a priest with a history of sex abuse to a Philadelphia parish that was unaware of his past.

That priest, Edward Avery, later pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting a 10-year-old altar boy in the Philadelphia parish. ...

“Let’s be clear, William Lynn is no patsy, he is no fall guy,” District Attorney Seth Williams said in a statement, indicating his office would appeal the reversal of Lynn’s conviction.

“He is a cold, calculating man who endangered the welfare of countless children for decades by moving known predators throughout the Archdiocese of Philadelphia,” he said.

Lynn’s attorney, Thomas Bergstrom, said it would likely take until Thursday before arrangements for payment of the bail and monitoring are made. He said he does not know where Lynn will live when he is released from prison.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:03 PM

St. Paul archdiocese whistleblower lauded by Catholic newspaper

MINNESOTA
Pioneer Press

By Emily Gurnon
egurnon@pioneerpress.com
POSTED: 12/30/2013

A national independent Catholic newspaper has named Jennifer Haselberger of St. Paul its person of the year for 2013.

The Kansas City, Mo.-based National Catholic Reporter said Monday on its website that Haselberger was one of few who dared to speak out against an archbishop.

"Thank God for the courage of abuse survivors and the families of victims who will not let our bishops and leaders forget the abuse and their complicity in it," the editorial staff wrote. "Thank God for activists who stand with survivors. But most of all, thank God for one very special class of people: the priests and church personnel who do stand up to their leaders and cry out for justice."

Finally, it wrote, "thank God for Jennifer Haselberger."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:56 PM

$250,000 bail set for Philadelphia’s Monsignor William Lynn

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
Washington Post

By David Gibson | Religion News Service, Monday, December 30

The Philadelphia priest whose conviction for failing to report child-abusing clerics to authorities was overturned last week was granted a $250,000 bail on Monday (Dec. 30). But it could take at least another week before Monsignor William Lynn is free.

Common Pleas Court Judge M. Teresa Sarmina also ruled that Lynn, who has already spent 18 months of his three-to-six-year sentence behind bars, must surrender his passport and be subject to electronic monitoring and weekly reporting while on bail.

The Philadelphia district attorney’s office had requested that Lynn, 62, remain in jail while prosecutors appealed the reversal of his conviction.

Lynn’s June 2012 conviction on one count of child endangerment was seen as a milestone because it was the first time anyone in the upper levels of the Catholic Church had ever faced a trial or been found guilty for shielding molesters.

Lynn was responsible for clergy personnel and fielded abuse complaints for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia from 1992 to 2004. His lawyers said that in covering up for molesters he was following the orders and policies of his superiors, primarily the late Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua, who died in January 2012 before Lynn’s three-month trial began.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:40 PM

Pope's birthday a turning point in reform campaign

VATICAN CITY
National Catholic Reporter

John L. Allen Jr. | Dec. 30, 2013

ROME
Officially speaking, the Vatican doesn't do much to mark a pope's birthday. Celebrations are reserved for his saint's name day and the anniversary of his election, reflecting a preference to focus on the office rather than the man.

Unofficially, however, Francis marked the period around his 77th birthday Dec. 17 with a series of striking gestures and decisions that, taken together, represent a further turning point in his reform campaign.

Within the space of just four days, the pope reached out to the world with yet another blockbuster interview, laid the basis for a new generation of moderate "Francis bishops," saw a reform commission he erected in July hire two global consulting firms to reorganize the Vatican's PR operation and to beef up its accounting procedures, and also provided a new visual for his vision of a "poor church for the poor" by inviting three homeless men, as well as their dog, to join him for a birthday breakfast.

Given the Vatican's typically somnambulant pace at Christmastime, the frenzy offers a further index of the "Francis effect." This is a pope, it would seem, who just doesn't have an off switch.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:34 PM

The True Scandal of the Magdalene Laundries

IRELAND
Huffington Post

Sidonie Sawyer
Newspaper editor

The newly released movie Philomena, from British filmmaker Stephen Frears, starring Judi Dench and Steve Coogan, is inspired by a tragic book written by Martin Sixsmith. It is the true story of a woman searching for her lost son, a lifelong quest that will take her from the UK to America, a desperate quest and heart-wrenching saga.

Taking place in Ireland, which explains some of the conservative positions of the highly Catholic society in which she lives, Philomena, the woman in the film, found herself pregnant out of wedlock (such a word) shipped away to a convent of sort, and forced by nuns to give up her baby boy to a rich family.

The only choice available to her in those days, and in that society, was to live in hiding in one of the many "asylums" suited for scandalous behaviors and unspeakable actions, mostly errors of the flesh. It is highly probable that none of the residents were actually insane. Guarded by nuns, the women were subject to forced unpaid labor for the benefit of the Catholic Church.

These medieval and cruel institutions were known in Ireland as the Magdalene Laundries, maybe referring to the work the jailed victims were doing, and so named after Mary Magdalene, who was wrongly thought to be a prostitute. Several such places existed in Australia, England, Ireland and even in North America.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:19 PM

Philadelphia Monsignor to Be Released on Bail

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
The New York Times

By JON HURDLE
Published: December 30, 2013

PHILADELPHIA — A state judge ruled on Monday that a senior Catholic official who was sent to prison for his role in a sexual abuse scandal should be released on bail after an appeals court overturned his conviction for child endangerment.
Multimedia

Msgr. William J. Lynn, the most senior Catholic official to be convicted in connection with charges of sexual abuse of children by clergy members, was granted bail on Monday by Judge M. Teresa Sarmina of the Court of Common Pleas after the conviction reversal last week by the Pennsylvania Superior Court.

The appeals court ruled that prosecutors had provided “more than adequate” evidence that Monsignor Lynn “prioritized the archdiocese’s reputation over the safety of potential victims of sexually abusive priests.” But it rejected the argument, accepted at the trial last year, that a child welfare law applied to a “parent, guardian or other person supervising the welfare of a child” could be used to prosecute Monsignor Lynn.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:13 PM

Catholic group calls overturned Lynn conviction...

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
Philadelphia Weekly

Catholic group calls overturned Lynn conviction “win for justice”—but is it?

After serving 18 months in prison stemming from 2012 child endangerment charges, Philadelphia Msgr. William Lynn’s conviction was overturned last week.

The conviction stemmed from his covering up other priests’ sexual abuse and supervising priest Edward Avery as Avery was sexually abusing an altar boy in the 90s.

But the Pennsylvania Superior Court panel overturned the law because, they now say, the state’s child endangerment law was misapplied in this case.

At the time of the abuse, the law only applied to adults to regularly supervised children—not those who supervised other adults who supervised children. That law was broadened in 2007 to cover people like Lynn, when the abuse had already ended. And Lynn was the first conviction of someone who did not actually commit abuse, but supervised those who did.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:12 PM

Msgr. Lynn's bail set at $250K

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
Newsworks

BY HOLLY OTTERBEIN

A Philadelphia judge set bail at $250,000 for Monsignor William Lynn Monday, following a Superior Court decision last week overturning his conviction.

Lynn was the first official in the Roman Catholic Church to be convicted in the United States for mishandling allegations of clergy sex abuse.

To be released, Lynn must post $25,000, relinquish his passport, as well as submit to electronic monitoring and weekly reporting.

A jury found Lynn guilty of child endangerment in 2012. Prosecutors said he transferred priests who were accused of sexual abuse to other parishes, rather than removing them.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:09 PM

Judge sets bail at $250K for jailed Philly priest

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
MSN News

A judge granted bail to Monsignor William Lynn, a Roman Catholic priest whose conviction in the clergy sex abuse scandal was reversed by an appeals court.

PHILADELPHIA — A Roman Catholic official whose novel conviction in the clergy sex abuse scandal was overturned by a Pennsylvania appeals court could be freed this week after a judge set his bail Monday at $250,000.

Monsignor William Lynn, currently an inmate at the state prison in Waymart, would have to submit to electronic monitoring and surrender his passport.

Lynn has been serving a three- to six-year sentence after being the first church official ever convicted over his handling of abuse claims against other priests.

A three-judge appellate panel threw out his conviction last week, saying Lynn was tried under a child-endangerment law that didn't apply to him. On Monday, the defense lawyers asked Judge M. Teresa Sarmina to release the 62-year-old priest while prosecutors appeal.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:07 PM

Philadelphia priest gets bail after abuse cover-up conviction reversed

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
WKZO

By Dave Warner

PHILADELPHIA (Reuters) - A Philadelphia judge on Monday set bail at $250,000 for a senior U.S. Roman Catholic Church official whose conviction in a high-profile child sex abuse case was overturned last week.

Monsignor William Lynn, 62, was convicted in June 2012 of endangering the welfare of a child for reassigning a priest with a history of sex abuse to a Philadelphia parish that was unaware of his past.

That priest, Edward Avery, later pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting a 10-year-old altar boy in the Philadelphia parish.

Lynn, who was not accused of molesting children himself, was the first high-ranking U.S. Roman Catholic Church official to be found guilty of covering up allegations of molestation by a priest. Lynn was secretary of clergy for the Philadelphia Archdiocese from 1994 to 2004,

Common Pleas Court Judge Teresa Sarmina ordered Lynn to surrender his passport, wear an ankle-monitoring bracelet and check in weekly with authorities as part of the conditions of his release from state prison. He is expected to be released from prison later this week, attorneys in the case said.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:05 PM

Bottom Line: Msgr. Lynn Case Uncovered Decades of Coverup

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
Catholics4Change

DECEMBER 30, 2013 BY SUSAN MATTHEWS

As the judge set bail for Msgr. Lynn today, many are disheartened. However, justice isn’t the end game for many advocates and victims. It’s one of many means to an end. While many would like to paint victims as vengeful and money hungry, that simply isn’t the case for those I’ve met. Most lie awake at night worried that another child is enduring what they experienced. Protecting children is the victory.

Had Seth Williams not indicted Msgr. Lynn on child endangerment charges, no one would have seen the mountains of evidence proving a Church coverup of epic proportions. While Williams’ intentions have been called into question, they are irrelevant to me as a Catholic mother. What matters is that clergy child sex abuse will not continue completely unchecked in the Archdiocese if Philadelphia. At least now, many are carefully watching.

Now that we know there is a problem, we can seek solutions for our state and our Church. The first is difficult but doable. We will work together to strengthen Pennsylvania’s state laws. We will not settle for being a predator-friendly state. The latter leaves me with dwindling hope.

Msgr. Lynn may not be criminally liable but he is certainly morally liable. And shouldn’t that inform the next steps of the hierarchy? Yet, the archdiocesan press release falls woefully short of commenting on his actions. The Catholic Church will not call him or others involved in the cover up of clergy sex abuse out to the carpet. After all, he was just obeying his Bishop. And to date, no Bishops have been reprimanded or punished publicly by the Church. Will the Pope weigh in on this obscene clericalism that put predators in the midst of children? This isn’t about vengeance or even justice. This is about sending a message to the world that the Catholic Church values children – all children – above the institution.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:03 PM

The Salvation Army’s Global Abuse (Or: It’s Still Happening, Worldwide)

AUSTRALIA
lewisblayse.net

Whenever child sexual abuse by clergy is revealed, the church involved always says that these things happened decades ago, and that procedures are in place to ensure such crimes can no longer occur. This has been the theme at the recent New South Wales State government and Victorian State Parliamentary enquiries. It has also been used by the Catholic and Anglican churches, the YMCA and Scouts Australia at the hearings of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.

At the Royal Commission hearings, due to begin 28th January, the Salvation Army is most likely to say the same thing about abuses at its Children’s Homes.

However, such things are still occurring in recent years, not just recent decades. Further, since the Salvation Army is a multinational organisation, operating in 126 countries at last count, the total number of such recent offences is very large. Because a full coverage would constitute a book, a few cases have been selected, randomly (really!), from the many reported elsewhere.

When caught out in these more recent cases, the response has been altered to indicate, usually, that the organisation is co-operating fully with the relevant authorities, and reviewing its practices. It also is in the habit of claiming these are very rare, isolated cases. The Salvation Army’s many corporate business “partners” are having to review their associations with the organisation. For example, Target stores have banned the Salvo’s “red kettle” collections at Christmas outside its stores.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:47 AM

Phila. Monsignor To Be Released On Bail in Child Endangerment Case

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
CBS Philly

By Steve Tawa

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A Philadelphia judge said today that she will order Msgr. William Lynn released on bail while his conviction on child endangerment charges works through the appeals process.

Today, at the Criminal Justice Center, Philadelphia Common Please Court judge Teresa Sarmina said that she wants Lynn, 62, to appear in person before her when she outlines the full conditions of his bail.

An appeals court last week overturned Lynn’s 2012 conviction in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia child sex abuse case (see related story), saying the particular law under which he was found guilty did not apply to him at the time (see related story).

Sarmina, who oversaw the 2012 trial, acknowledged today that she may have erred but thinks she will be upheld when the Philadelphia district attorney appeals the case.

Hugh Burns, from the Philadelphia DA’s office, told the judge today that the DA will be filing an appeal to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. The DA charged that Lynn routinely returned predatory priests to positions within the archdiocese where they continued to have contact with children.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:36 AM

Judge sets bail at $250,000 for monsignor

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
Philadelphia Inquirer

ALLISON STEELE, INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
LAST UPDATED: Monday, December 30, 2013

Bail was set Monday at $250,000 for Msgr. William J. Lynn, four days after an appeals court ruled he was wrongly convicted of endangering children.

Common Pleas Court Judge M. Teresa Sarmina also ruled that Lynn must surrender his passport and be subject to electronic monitoring and weekly reporting while on bail.

He must post $25,000 to be released.

District Attorney Seth Williams scheduled a noon news conference to respond to the ruling.

Convicted after a three-month trial last year, Lynn, 62, was the first Catholic church official in the country to be tried and imprisoned for covering up child sex-abuse by priests.

The monsignor has served 18 months of a 3- to 6-year term imposed by Sarmina, mostly at the State Correctional Institution at Waymart, in northeastern Pennsylvania.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:34 AM

Judge Sets Bail at $250K for Jailed Philly Priest

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
ABC News

By MARYCLAIRE DALE Associated Press

A Roman Catholic priest whose conviction in the clergy sex abuse scandal was overturned by a Pennsylvania appeals court could be freed this week after a judge set his bail Monday at $250,000.

Monsignor William Lynn, currently jailed at a state prison in Waymart, will also have to submit to electronic monitoring and surrender his passport, Common Pleas Judge M. Teresa Sarmina ruled.

Lynn has been serving a three- to six-year sentence after being the first church official ever convicted over his handling of abuse claims.

A three-judge appellate panel threw out his case last week, saying Lynn was tried under a child-endangerment law that didn't apply to him. On Monday, the priests' lawyers asked Sarmina to release the 62-year-old priest while prosecutors appeal.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:30 AM

POPE FRANCIS APPOINTS BISHOP NUNZIO GALANTINO AS SECRETARY GENERAL OF THE ITALIAN EPISCOPAL CONFERENCE

VATICAN CITY
Vatican Information Service

Monday, December 30, 2013

Vatican City, 30 December 2013 (VIS) – A letter was published today, dated 28 December, by which the Holy Father Francis appointed Bishop Nunzio Galantino of Cassano all'Jonio, Italy, as secretary general “ad interim” of the Italian Episcopal Conference.

In relation to this appointment, Fr. Federico Lombardi, S.J., director of the Holy See Press Office, published the following communique:

“The appointment of the new secretary general of the Italian Episcopal Conference has become urgent to the ordinary functioning of the General Secretariat, and for a series of duties that require his presence.

The appointment is on an 'ad interim' basis: Bishop Galantino will have all the faculties of the secretary general, but the duration of his mandate has not yet been established.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:25 AM

Editorial: 2013's person of the year

UNITED STATES
National Catholic Reporter

NCR Editorial Staff | Dec. 30, 2013

EDITORIAL

It is a tale we have heard many times, too many times: Fr. James Spencer, testifying before Australia's Royal Commission Into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, said that in the 1990s and early 2000s when he was chancellor of the Brisbane archdiocese, he was concerned that the church's response to victims of clergy sexual abuse wasn't just. Priest perpetrators were going unpunished and lawyers were bullying victims.

"Did you ever say to the archbishop," this isn't right'?" the commission asked.

"I certainly inferred it," Spence answered. "One doesn't generally speak so directly to the archbishop. Perhaps one should."

Indeed, one doesn't generally speak so to the bishop, lord of his fiefdom, not if one wants to keep his job or advance in his career.

NCR has been reporting on the priest sex abuse crisis since 1984. It has been a soul-numbing experience, as we heard again and again of the pain of victims damaged by abuse and then re-victimized by bishops and chancery personnel and their lawyers who covered up abuse, stonewalled investigations and hid criminals "to protect the church," as if the church were something other than its most vulnerable members. No, one doesn't generally speak so to the archbishop, but thank God that some do.

Thank God for the courage of abuse survivors and the families of victims who will not let our bishops and leaders forget the abuse and their complicity in it. Thank God for activists who stand with survivors. But most of all, thank God for one very special class of people: the priests and church personnel who do stand up to their leaders and cry out for justice. People like Dominican Fr. Thomas Doyle and former Benedictine Patrick Wall, who sacrificed promising ecclesiastical careers because they sided with the victims of abuse and not with those who would cover it up. Thank God for the recently formed Catholic Whistleblowers, a group of mainly priests and religious women, Catholic insiders dedicated to fighting the scourge of sex abuse and its cover-up.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:23 AM

La Cámara Penal de Morón ratificó la prisión preventiva de Julio César Grassi

ARGENTINA
Infobae

La Justicia rechazó el recurso que había presentado la defensa del sacerdote. Venía gozando de una libertad vigilada luego de que la Corte confirmaran su condena de 2009 a 15 años de prisión por "abuso sexual"

Grassi había sido detenido el 7 de octubre pasado luego que la Cámara de Casación Bonaerense así como la Suprema Corte confirmaran su condena de 2009 a 15 años de prisión por "abuso sexual agravado por resultar sacerdote, encargado de la educación y de la guarda del menor víctima, reiterado, dos hechos, en concurso real entre sí, que a su vez concurren formalmente con corrupción de menores agravada".

El sacerdote venía gozando de una libertad vigilada por decisión del Tribunal que lo condenó y no había sido detenido en virtud de que el fallo no estaba firme. Al confirmar su condena, selló su detención y ahora sólo le resta que se pronuncie la Corte Suprema de Justicia de la Nación sobre el caso.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:20 AM

El cura Julio César Grassi continuará preso

ARGENTINA
El Tribuno

La Cámara Penal de Morón confirmó la prisión preventiva para el sacerdote Julio César Grassi, condenado a 15 años de prisión por abuso sexual agravado y detenido desde octubre pasado.

El tribunal rechazó un planteo del abogado Ricardo Walter Malvicini, quien representa al cura condenado.

Los jueces Fabián Cardoso, Aldo Acosta Argañaraz y Elisabet Fernández avalaron así la decisión de detener a Grassi, adoptada después de que la Suprema Corte Bonaerense confirmara la condena dictada por un tribunal oral por abuso contra alumnos de la Fundación Felices los Niños, que dirigía.

Grassi fue detenido por decisión del Tribunal Oral Criminal 1 de Morón que lo había condenado en julio de 2009 pero el sacerdote permaneció en libertad porque el fallo no estaba firme.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:15 AM

Argentine priest serving time for sex abuse loses bid for freedom pending appeal

ARGENTINA
Global News (Canada)

By Staff The Associated Press

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina – An Argentine priest serving 15 years in prison for sexually abusing a boy has lost another appeal.

Father Julio Cesar Grassi lived freely across the street from the orphanage where the crimes took place even as courts repeatedly found him guilty. He began serving the sentence behind bars in September after the provincial Supreme Court in Buenos Aires upheld the verdict.

The ruling published Monday on the justice system’s website said the appeals court turned down his lawyer’s request to free him pending a final appeal to the national Supreme Court, saying his arguments were unfounded.

Grassi was a celebrity priest who channeled big money donations to his Happy Children Foundation until he was accused of sex abuse in 1996. He was first convicted in 2009, and still maintains he is innocent.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:11 AM

MO - Victims blast archdiocese’s “self-serving secrecy”

ST. LOUIS (MO)
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

For immediate release: Monday, Dec. 30, 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 )

Twice recently, St. Louis Catholic officials have violated a local judge’s order. Archbishop Robert Carlson is choosing to keep information about years of horrific clergy child sex crimes and church cover ups hidden, like he and his predecessors have done for decades.

[St. Louis Post-Dispatch]

They are refusing to obey this judge’s ruling even though he gave them more than six months to comply and even though there’s a protective order that would prevent anyone but two attorneys from seeing the information.

Today’s Post-Dispatch story is long but here’s the key phrase: “The archdiocese is fighting . . . to keep accused priests’ names secret.” That strategy – keeping accused priests’ names secret - has long been the goal of virtually every Catholic official. And despite years of promises of reform, it still is.

Earlier this month in Minnesota, a judge forced two Catholic bishops to make names of predator priests public. But here in St. Louis, a judge apparently can’t even force one Catholic bishop to turn over such names in private (with a protective order, so no one can see who they are).

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:05 AM

PA - Victims want Catholic official to stay locked up

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

Statement by Barbara Dorris, SNAP Outreach Director, 314-862-7688 SNAPdorris@gmail.com

For immediate release: Monday December 30, 2013

We support DA Seth Williams' effort to keep Msgr. William Lynn behind bars for now. We too worry that he might flee overseas, like hundreds of predator priests - and several corrupt church officials - already have. Why take the risk that a complicit Catholic cleric might escape justice?

Shortly after Archbishop Charles Chaput came to Philly, he was meeting with hundreds of priests and they gave Lynn a rousing round of applause, even though he'd already been charged with endangering children's safety. And since he was convicted, virtually no Philly Catholic official has clearly denounced his wrongdoing.

So it's clear that Lynn continues to enjoy the support of many of his Catholic supervisors and peers, any of whom could help him flee.

For decades, many in the justice system - like many in the pews - have trusted the Catholic hierarchy to act responsibly. That trust has been, and continues to be, repeatedly and egregiously violating, bringing more and more harm to still-vulnerable kids and already-wounded adults. We hope that in this case, the judge takes a more prudent course and keeps Msgr. Lynn locked up until there's a final resolution.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:45 AM

The Heron's Nest: Justice for Monsignor Lynn

PENNSYLVANIA
Daily Times

By Phil Heron, Delaware County Daily Times
POSTED: 12/30/13

Attorneys for Monsignor William Lynn - the only high-ranking church official ever convicted in connection with the burgeoning child sex abuse scandal - will be in court today looking to have their client freed on bail.

I hope he gets it, and he goes free after 18 months behind bars.

That’s not because I condone for a second what I believe he and other archdiocesan officials did. It remains in my view no less horrendous, what amounts to a policy of putting the reputation of the church and problem priests over that of children.

I believe Monsignor Lynn was doing the bidding his job as best he could, implementing the policies put in place by Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua, who was not charged in the scandal.

I think his actions - and the church’s policies - did in fact endanger the welfare of children. Lynn himself while on the stand during his trial indicated that “doing his best” to protect kids was not enough. But opinions - even moral ones - do not trump the law.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:08 AM

Monsignor Asks to Leave Prison After Reversal

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
NBC 10

[with video]

A Roman Catholic monsignor could leave prison after 18 months after a Pennsylvania appeals court reversed his unusual conviction in the clergy-abuse scandal.

Monsignor William Lynn is the first church official ever convicted over his handling of abuse claims. However, an appeals court has thrown out his case, saying he was tried under a child-endangerment law that didn't apply to him.

His lawyers will be in court Monday to ask Common Pleas Judge M. Teresa Sarmina to release the 62-year-old priest.

Lynn is the former secretary for clergy in the Philadelphia archdiocese, a post he held from 1992-2004.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:38 AM

Bail hearing set for Msgr. Lynn

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
Philadelphia Inquirer

INQUIRER STAFF
LAST UPDATED: Monday, December 30, 2013

A bail hearing is set for Monday for Msgr. William J. Lynn in response to an appellate court ruling that he was wrongly convicted of endangering children.

Lynn is not expected to appear at the hearing before Common Pleas Court Judge M. Teresa Sarmina, who sentenced the priest to three to six years in prison, saying he had "enabled monsters in clerical garb ... to destroy the souls of children."

District Attorney Seth Williams' office said it would challenge the request by Lynn's lawyers that he be released from prison.

Convicted after a three-month trial last year, Lynn, 62, was the first Catholic church official in the country to be tried and imprisoned for covering up child sex-abuse by priests.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:36 AM

One troubled priest who got a second chance

TEXAS
Los Angeles Times

After he left Los Angeles, Father John Salazar-Jimenez became a trusted figure in a small Texas parish. But no one there knew his history.

By Ashley Powers
Reporting from Tulia, Texas
December 30, 2013

He was given a second chance here, in the High Plains of Texas, where a patchwork of cotton and wheat fields unfurls beneath a giant blue sky.

He was no longer Father John Salazar, a name typed across yellowed newspapers and courthouse microfilm more than a thousand miles away in Los Angeles. He was Father John Salazar-Jimenez, the face of Catholicism in this town of emptied grain elevators and darkened shop windows.
advertisement

Yolanda Villegas adored Father John. A pillar of the Church of the Holy Spirit, she knew nothing of his past. Few parishioners did. Nearly every Sunday for a decade, she arrived for the Spanish-language Mass, knelt in the same pew and wondered how he'd inspire her that week.

"When he lifted the chalice and lifted the host, it almost felt like Jesus was doing it," Villegas said.
They grew close as Villegas grieved for her daughter who had been killed in a car accident not long before the priest's arrival in 1991. He later helped her teenage grandson Beau practice Spanish.
One day, in the spring of 2002, he asked Villegas to gather her family. He had something to confess.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:32 AM

Bishop goes before bankruptcy trustee – Published in the Gallup Independent, Gallup, NM, Dec. 27, 2013

NEW MEXICO
The Worthy Adversary

Posted by Joelle Casteix on December 29, 2013

*The article is not available online, hence the repost here.*

My opinion: What a mess. If James Wall were a CEO, he would be fired. But he’s a smart man who has a lot of bishops helping him out. I can’t help but think that Wall’s “bumbling fool” tack is simply an act.

Bishop goes before bankruptcy trustee
Testimony points to few answers, poorly kept records

First in a two-part series

By Elizabeth Hardin-Burrola
Independent correspondent
religion@gallupindependent.com
ALBUQUERQUE — The Diocese of Gallup’s petition for Chapter 11 reorganization continues to raise far more questions about the diocese’s finances rather than provide answers.

With the initial bankruptcy filing, Gallup Bishop James S. Wall submitted an opening declaration in U.S. Bankruptcy Court stating the Gallup Diocese “is the poorest diocese in the United States” without providing any facts or figures to substantiate that claim. On Nov. 26, Wall submitted a lengthy Statement of Financial Affairs, featuring incomplete documentation of properties in Arizona and New Mexico with reportedly “unknown” real estate value.

Wall’s sworn testimony during an Unsecured Creditors Committee meeting Dec. 19 didn’t provide much more clarification. The public meeting was supposed to produce answers about the diocese’s finances to the largest group of unsecured creditors in the bankruptcy case, survivors of clergy sex abuse.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:29 AM

Iglesia pide perdón a familias de víctimas de abuso sexual en Oaxaca

MEXICO
Milenio

[Summary: The Oaxaca archdiocese has apologized to families of victims of sexual abuse caused by priest Silvestre Hernandez. Gonzalo Alonso Guerror Calzada, auxiliary bishop, said the Catholic Church condemns actions of clergy subject to criminal proceedings.]

OSCAR RODRÍGUEZ
29/12/2013

Oaxaca
La arquidiócesis de Oaxaca, pidió perdón a las familias de víctimas de abuso sexual, causada por el sacerdote Silvestre Hernández, quien fue arrestado en acatamiento a una orden de aprehensión librada por un juez local señalado de cometer el delito de pederastia.

El obispo auxiliar, Gonzalo Alonso Calzada Guerrero, dijo que la iglesia católica reprueba la actuación del clérigo sujeto a proceso penal, exigiendo a las autoridades judiciales aplicar todo el peso de la ley de resultar responsables de las acusaciones que se le imputan.

Detalló que la grey católica estatal se mantendrá atenta del procedimiento judicial instaurado contra el obispo, quien fue detenido por elementos de la Agencia Estatal de Investigaciones (AEI), dependiente de la Procuraduría General de Justicia (PGJ), luego de mantenerse prófugo de la justicia por casi más de un año.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:25 AM

The Truth Is In The Secrets

MINNESOTA
Legal Examiner

Posted by Mike Bryant
December 29, 2013

If the Church has nothing to be ashamed of, if they have nothing to hide, then why are there still so many secrets the Catholic Dioceses are trying to keep safe? It was fortunate for everyone earlier this month when the announcement came that some Dioceses must release the names of priests who have been accused of sexual assault. But why would information like this have to be court ordered for it to be made public in the first place? And why are these priests being protected when they themselves are the predators? Lawyers and advocates have been very hard at work getting answers to these questions.

The information that has been hidden for years regarding sexual abuse within the Catholic Church is proof enough that those who should be protecting us and providing us with moral and spiritual support, instead are taking it away from us.

Jennifer Haselberger, the former canon lawyer for the archdiocese resigned from her position after her attempt to bring to light information regarding evidence of illegal activity within the diocese. Archbishop John Nienstedt, among others, had allegedly hide this evidence to protect the priests and his church. We now have a great opportunity to uncover these truths and get survivors the help they are warranted.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:23 AM

Diocese questioned about finances

NEW MEXICO
Gallup Independent

Published in the Gallup Independent, Gallup, NM, Dec. 28, 2013

Second in a two-part series

By Elizabeth Hardin-Burrola
Independent correspondent
religion@gallupindependent.com

ALBUQUERQUE — Bishop James S. Wall’s recent testimony during the Diocese of Gallup’s Unsecured Creditors Committee meeting raised questions about just how well prepared diocesan officials were when they filed their Chapter 11 petition.

Wall and Christopher G. Linscott, the diocese’s recently hired financial consultant from Tucson, Ariz., offered sworn testimony about the Gallup Diocese’s finances at the public meeting, which was held in Albuquerque’s U.S. Bankruptcy Court Dec. 19. They were accompanied by Susan G. Boswell, the diocese’s lead bankruptcy attorney from Tucson, and Thomas D. Walker, its Albuquerque bankruptcy attorney.

Assistant U.S. Trustee Ronald E. Andazola, the Department of Justice official who conducted the meeting, asked the bishop what goals he had for the submission of a Chapter 11 reorganization plan.

“In terms of dates, not any hard dates,” Wall said. “As soon as possible.”

Andazola also asked Wall if the diocese was considering the liquidation of property to raise settlement money for clergy sex abuse claimants.

“I think we’re looking at everything. ... We want to come up with a good fund,” Wall said.

Timing questioned

But just how long will Wall have to submit a reorganization plan and raise settlement money? The timeline requirements of the federal bankruptcy court system and the vocal expectations of attorneys representing sex abuse claimants may force some “hard dates” on the Gallup bishop.

Two of those attorneys, John C. Manly of California and Robert E. Pastor of Arizona, co-counsels currently representing 14 sex abuse claimants, questioned why the Gallup Diocese filed its Chapter 11 petition without first taking the time to assemble complete and accurate financial data.

Manly, appearing to scoff when Linscott and Wall could not provide a figure for the diocese’s net worth, asked them if they didn’t think it would have been “a good first step” to determine the diocese’s net worth before filing for bankruptcy.

Under questioning by Pastor, Wall admitted he had been considering Chapter 11 reorganization for a long time and had begun talking with bankruptcy attorney Boswell about two years ago. Wall also agreed that Manly and Pastor had met with Boswell and Deacon James P. Hoy, the former diocesan chief financial officer, to discuss the diocese’s possible bankruptcy plans 18 months ago, in June 2012.

Confidential document

Pastor raised the ire of Boswell when he produced a 12-page confidential financial document that he said included a list of all real estate the Gallup Diocese owns in Arizona and New Mexico, along with financial values listed for each property.

Wall has submitted a Statement of Financial Affairs to the bankruptcy court, which includes a list of diocesan-owned property, but without any financial values included.

According to Pastor, attorneys for the diocese produced the confidential financial document during litigation negotiations involving the first clergy sex abuse lawsuit Pastor filed in Arizona’s Coconino County Superior Court.

Earlier in the meeting, Andazola had similarly questioned why the Gallup chancery property had been valued at more than $315,000 in a 2012 fiscal year audit report, but was listed as having an “unknown value” in the bankruptcy documents.

When Pastor attempted to give Wall a copy of the 12-page confidential document to review, Boswell jumped up from her seat, grabbed the document, and threw it back on Pastor’s table. After some bickering between the attorneys on different types of real estate valuations, Boswell agreed to accept the document for Wall and provide a copy to Andazola.

Legal argument

Much of the meeting’s testimony focused on the more than 160 pieces of “trust” and “real” property listed by Wall in his Statement of Financial Affairs and the differences between real estate replacement value and market value.

Because the diocese has not maintained a record of all its properties or copies of all its deeds, diocesan officials said they had to ask county officials in both states to search land records for diocesan property. According to Boswell, the diocese is now trying to retain brokers who can determine the market value of key properties.

“To date it has been a challenge,” Boswell admitted, explaining that the diocese owns various properties in widespread locations.

Other testimony centered on the diocese’s legal argument that Gallup priests and Gallup parishes are somehow separate from the Diocese of Gallup.

“No they’re not employees of the diocese,” Linscott said of Catholic priests working in the Diocese. Later in his testimony, Linscott admitted some parishes might need to contribute money to the diocese for settlements with sex abuse claimants.

When Manly asked Wall how much money parishes can spend without approval from the chancery or if parishes can enter into contracts without the chancery’s approval, Wall admitted he did not know the answers.

“Well, they’re on the website,” Manly said, explaining the Gallup Diocese had the information posted online under its fiscal guidelines.

“Can parishes fire their pastors?” Manly asked the bishop.

“I don’t believe so,” Wall replied.

Walker, the diocese’s Albuquerque attorney, angrily objected twice to Manly and Pastor’s line of questioning during the meeting. At one point, Walker held out his right arm in a blocking motion toward Pastor and said, “This isn’t a deposition, do you know that?”

This first Unsecured Creditors Committee meeting exceeded its scheduled time and ran nearly four hours. It will reconvene at 10 a.m., Jan. 23, in Judge David T. Thuma’s courtroom, located in Albuquerque’s U.S. Bankruptcy Court, 500 Gold Ave. S.W. The newly appointed committee, composed of seven clergy sex abuse survivors from the Gallup Diocese, should have an attorney by that date who will be able to ask further questions about diocesan finances. The meeting is open to the public.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:17 AM

Victim advocates take anger over Lynn decision to church

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
Philadelphia Inquirer

SULAIMAN ABDUR-RAHMAN, INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
LAST UPDATED: Monday, December 30, 2013

Under a steady rain Sunday, Judy and Chuck Miller took up spots that have often been occupied by child-abuse victim advocates: the steps of the Cathedral Basilica of SS. Peter and Paul.

Judy Miller leads the Delaware branch of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP), a group that hosted regular protests after the 2011 grand jury report about clergy sex-abuse in Philadelphia.

Her return Sunday was prompted by last week's Superior Court ruling that overturned the conviction of Msgr. William J. Lynn, the central figure in the case.

"In my humble opinion, he was certainly guilty," Miller, 74, said as she and her husband handed leaflets to attendees at the Mass.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:13 AM

Minnesota, 2 More Cases: No Dearth of Pedophilia Among Catholic Priests

MINNESOTA
Liberty Voice

Minnesota has just added two more names to a growing list of Catholic priests who have been found as credibly accused of sexually irresponsible behavior. Early in December the list was announced to have 34 names. Today they added the Rev. Joseph Gallatin and the Rev. Mark Wehmann to the list. These priests will be taking a leave of absence, according to the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis referring to the two names just added to their list.

In an attempt to be responsive and dutiful, a third-party consulting firm was hired to make evaluations. In this investigation the Minnesota firm, Kinsale Management Consulting, has sustained allegations of sexual misconduct among priests going back decades. This activity is a response to allegations that the Archdiocese has been slow to act once misconduct has been uncovered.

It is all part of a never-ending series of sexual misconduct allegations, most of which involve adolescents and young teens, that has begun to seem like the veritable unraveling of the Catholic clergy as an institution in western culture.

Moreover, it’s not as though we have had a questionable, small body of evidence surfacing after much investigation. Rather, it is as if there is no end to the rampant child sexual abuse, pedophilia, and disturbingly unethical behavior we keep hearing about on the part of priests.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:11 AM

Father Joseph Gallatin and Father Mark Wehmann...

MINNESOTA
Legal Examiner

Father Joseph Gallatin and Father Mark Wehmann Temporarily Removed by The Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis

Posted by Mike Bryant
December 29, 2013

The Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis announced today that they were removing temporarily Father Joseph Gallatin and Father Mark Wehmann for claims of inappropriate interactions with minors. Gallatin has been serving as pastor at the Church of St. Peter in Mendota since 2008.

Wehmann has been serving as pastor at St. Boniface in Minneapolis and also at Fairview University Hospital in Minneapolis. Previously he was at Church of St. Bridget of Sweden (Lindstrom). Neither name was on the list recently released by the Archdiocese.

According to the St Paul Pioneer Press:

A consulting firm that has been reviewing diocesan files identified the incidents.

Gallatin, who has been serving as a pastor at the Church of St. Peter since July 2008, was found to have had one incident of inappropriate conduct with a minor several years ago that involved a “boundary violation.” The incident did not involve a crime, the consulting firm said.

Wehmann, who has served as a pastor at St. Boniface since July 2013, was also found to have had inappropriate conduct with minors, but in several cases. The consulting firm said law enforcement had been informed about “most of these” in the past, and no criminal charges were filed. The archdiocese recently informed law enforcement about the remaining incidents. Until recently, Wehmann was a part-time chaplain at Fairview University Hospital in Minneapolis.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:07 AM

Scandal stunned Bishop McCort

PENNSYLVANIA
Tribune-Democrat

Kathy Mellott
kmellott@tribdem.com

JOHNSTOWN — The Tribune-Democrat is counting down the top stories of 2013, as determined by voting by newsroom employees. One story will appear each day in print and e-editions between now and the end of the year.

Readers can vote for their choice for the top story at www.tribdem.com/beststories.

A highly respected Roman Catholic high school, its alumni and students were rocked in January after it was learned that one of its beloved former instructors and friend to many had sexually molested what appears to have been nearly 100 people.

News hit the Johnstown area in mid-January that Franciscan friar Brother Stephen Baker had been accused of molesting male students at John F. Kennedy High School in Youngstown, Ohio, two decades ago. Church officials there reached a financial settlement with 11 of those accusers and all eyes turned toward Bishop McCort Catholic High School.

Baker came to Johnstown from Youngstown in 1992 and stayed through 2001. He was known by students as a religion teacher, but left his mark on mostly male athletes because he was a part of the athletic department.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:03 AM

St. Louis suit follows push toward transparency ...

ST. LOUIS (MO)
St. Louis Post-Dispatch

St. Louis suit follows push toward transparency in church sexual abuse claims

By Jennifer S. Mann jmann@post-dispatch.com 314-621-58040

ST. LOUIS • The lawsuit filed by an anonymous Jane Doe against a now-defrocked St. Louis priest echoes thousands of others nationwide that have forced more than $3 billion in legal awards and settlements from the Roman Catholic Church.

But it has particular relevance here because of an added promise: unprecedented disclosure.

Experts on the Catholic Church abuse scandal say Doe’s suit fits with a trend of the last decade or so, in which victims are increasingly pushing for transparency, and not just big payouts.

Timothy Lytton, author of “Holding Bishops Accountable: How Lawsuits Helped the Catholic Church Confront Clergy Sexual Abuse,” said that when plaintiff’s attorneys began filing suits against the church in the mid-1980s, they were motivated primarily by settlements and limited by judges who were disinclined to grant large discovery requests.

But gradually, over time, he said, three things began happening: The crisis was framed in terms of institutional failure, versus a few “bad apple” priests; lawsuits forced the Catholic Church to divulge information that prosecutors had been politically afraid of demanding; and the scandal gained the focus of major institutions — the church, law enforcement, legislatures and the press.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:59 AM

Archdiocese fights judge's order ...

ST. LOUIS (MO)
St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Archdiocese fights judge's order to release unprecedented level of abuse records

By Jennifer S. Mann jmann@post-dispatch.com > 314-621-58043

ST. LOUIS • The first priest defrocked here as the child abuse scandal erupted in the Roman Catholic Church is now at the center of a lawsuit burrowing more deeply into the issue than ever before.

A civil suit against Joseph Ross has the potential to reveal two decades of internal records on sexual abuse allegations made against St. Louis priests, if a judge’s order holds.

The suit, which also names Archbishop Robert Carlson and the Archdiocese of St. Louis, was filed in 2011 by a 19-year-old woman who says Ross began abusing her 16 years ago at St. Cronan’s Church.

Ross had been convicted of sexually assaulting an 11-year-old boy at a University City parish a decade earlier, and was sent away for treatment, then reassigned to the new parish. Years later, additional abuse allegations surfaced.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:56 AM

December 29, 2013

Bishop goes before bankruptcy trustee

NEW MEXICO
Gallup Independent

Published in the Gallup Independent, Gallup, NM, Dec. 27, 2013

Testimony points to few answers, poorly kept records

First in a two-part series

By Elizabeth Hardin-Burrola
Independent correspondent
religion@gallupindependent.com

ALBUQUERQUE — The Diocese of Gallup’s petition for Chapter 11 reorganization continues to raise far more questions about the diocese’s finances rather than provide answers.

With the initial bankruptcy filing, Gallup Bishop James S. Wall submitted an opening declaration in U.S. Bankruptcy Court stating the Gallup Diocese “is the poorest diocese in the United States” without providing any facts or figures to substantiate that claim. On Nov. 26, Wall submitted a lengthy Statement of Financial Affairs, featuring incomplete documentation of properties in Arizona and New Mexico with reportedly “unknown” real estate value.

Wall’s sworn testimony during an Unsecured Creditors Committee meeting Dec. 19 didn’t provide much more clarification. The public meeting was supposed to produce answers about the diocese’s finances to the largest group of unsecured creditors in the bankruptcy case, survivors of clergy sex abuse.

“This is an opportunity to learn what the resources of the diocese are,” Assistant U.S. Trustee Ronald Andazola said in his opening remarks.

Andazola, employed with the Department of Justice, oversaw the meeting and led the initial questioning.

Wall, however, was frequently not able to answer many of the questions posed to him about the diocese’s finances, its financial policies or the property it owns.

The individual who might have been able to answer those questions, Deacon James P. Hoy, the former diocesan chief financial officer for 14 years, was not in attendance. Hoy resigned June 30, about two months prior to the Chapter 11 announcement. Hoy’s financial policies and his financial record keeping, however, were the subject of many questions posed to the bishop.

Poorly kept records

In addition to Andazola, private attorneys John C. Manly and James I. Stang, of California, Robert E. Pastor, of Arizona, and Richard T. Fass, of Texas, all representing sex abuse claimants, also questioned the bishop.

Wall, looking somber and speaking very softly, was assisted with the questions by Christopher G. Linscott, the Diocese of Gallup’s recently hired financial consultant from Tucson. Susan G. Boswell, the diocese’s lead bankruptcy attorney, also from Tucson, occasionally advised Wall about how to answer.

During the meeting, which ran nearly four hours, Wall and Linscott testified about a variety of subjects including audits of the diocese, loans, bank accounts, clergy abuse lawsuits, an underfunded Priests Retirement Fund, oil and gas leases, and property deeds. Many of their answers spoke to a diocesan financial office in apparent disarray, with poorly kept records.

Andazola said he had been given a copy of the most recent audit of the diocese, which was for fiscal year 2012. He was given an incomplete copy, he said, and he requested the audit’s missing pages. Andazola noted the audit indicated the diocese had spent $114,000 on legal fees and settlement payments to clergy abuse victims during 2012.

Andazola also requested Wall give him a copy of the report the bishop submitted to the Vatican during his “ad limina” visit which reportedly includes financial information about the diocese.

Linscott was able to provide an annual diocesan revenue figure of $2.6 to $2.7 million for fiscal year 2012, but he was not able to specify how much revenue came from restricted or unrestricted funds. Neither Linscott nor Wall could explain some “allocations” listed in the 2012 audit.

Wall admitted he hadn’t authorized an audit of the most recent fiscal year, ending June 30, 2013, which fell just two months before his Chapter 11 announcement and which coincided with Hoy’s date of resignation. “The primary reason one wasn’t done this year was because of the costs,” Wall said.
Loans and leases

Two undated loans signed with other Catholic dioceses, $29,000 from the Archdiocese of Santa Fe and $200,000 from the Diocese of Phoenix, were arranged because the Gallup Diocese needed money to file its Chapter 11 petition, Wall explained.

The diocese also signed a $200,000 promissory note with Pinnacle Bank in 2011. Wall said he thought the money had been borrowed to assist Gallup Catholic School, but he was not sure as to the loan’s specific need.

According to Wall and Linscott, the diocese recently discovered 12 Wells Fargo bank accounts that were not in the diocese’s name but were using its tax I.D. number. Two accounts had no money, one account for the local Marriage Encounter program had $5,000, and the largest account, opened in the name of a parish on the Navajo Nation, had $150,000. Diocesan officials are now trying to determine who opened the accounts.

Although 13 clergy abuse lawsuits have been filed against the Gallup Diocese in Arizona’s Coconino County Superior Court, Wall was unaware the Gallup Diocese had an Arizona attorney representing the diocese in at least one of those cases, and he was not able to answer questions about what other Catholic dioceses or religious orders were co-defendants in the cases or which ones might share legal liability for clergy abuse claims.

Linscott admitted money intended for the Priest Retirement Fund or Pension Plan used to be deposited into a general checking account, but now the money is being put into the proper custodial account. “It is an underfunded plan,” Linscott said, adding he did not know what the total “underfunded amount” was.

Although Linscott said the diocese apparently receives about $10,000 annually from oil and gas leases, its financial office doesn’t have documentation as to where those properties are located.

And finally, Wall, Linscott and Boswell admitted that diocesan officials had to seek the help of county officials in Arizona and New Mexico to search county land records to develop a list of the diocese’s own real estate holdings.

Editor’s Note: Saturday’s Part 2 looks at the Diocese of Gallup’s list of properties and other contentious issues in the Unsecured Creditors Committee meeting.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:46 PM

2 metro priests placed on leave over 'boundary violations' with minors

MINNESOTA
Fox 9

by Shelby Capacio - email

MINNEAPOLIS (KMSP) -
On Sunday, the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis announced that two metro priests are being placed on leave pending a review of alleged inappropriate conduct involving minors.

Church officials say both Father Joseph Gallatin, pastor at the Church of St. Peter in Mendota, and Father Mark Wehmann, of St. Boniface in Minneapolis, agreed to take a leave of absence from active ministry; however, both will remain pastors until a final review is completed.

The move came as part of a review of clergy files that is still being performed by an outside professional firm, Kinsale Management Consulting, which is combing through the records of all clergy members in active ministry.

According to a pair of releases from the archdiocese, both cases involve so-called "boundary violations," but no further information was given.

FATHER JOSEPH GALLATIN

According to a release, a single incident of inappropriate conduct with a minor dating back many years ago was uncovered by the current review.

The archdiocese said the review team did not conclude that the incident was criminal, but law enforcement has since been notified "to ensure all appropriate steps have been taken."

Gallatin has served as a pastor in Mendota since July 2008.

FATHER MARK WEHMANN

In the case of Wehmann, the review team identified several instances of inappropriate conduct involving minors. Although law enforcement had been informed of most of the incidents in the past and decided not to press charges, the archdiocese has now informed police of the remaining incidents that were not previously disclosed.

Wehmann only recently came to be pastor at St. Boniface in Minneapolis in July 2013. Until recently, he had also served as a part-time chaplain at Fairview University Hospital in Minneapolis.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:45 PM

“Gunfight at Philly Corral” Lynn & Vatican vs. US Law

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
Christian Catholicism

Jerry Slevin

Philly’s Catholic DA, Seth Williams, is asking Jesuit educated Catholic trial judge, M. Teresa Sarmina, to deny bail to Cardinal Justin Rigali’s former top aide, Monsignor William Lynn, on the basis that Lynn is a “flight risk” who may seek refuge in the Vatican. Rigali had just been spotted on worldwide TV in the prime seats at Pope Francis’ Christmas Eve Mass at the Vatican. Will Lynn soon be reuniting with his old boss?

Is there a risk of flight of a priest implicated in decisions that placed many children at risk of priest predators? Amazingly, Lynn’s lawyer suggested that Lynn be put back to Church work, which likely would give him access to children.

There is, of course, some risk Lynn would flee to the Vatican to avoid returning to prison. Recently, for example, an allegedly child abusing Archbishop fled to Rome from the Dominican Republic, as reported at:

[CNN]

And a Polish priest facing likely charges of child sexual abuse also recently fled the Dominican Republic for Poland, as reported at:

[BBC News]

And over recent decades, numerous foreign Catholic priests have fled possible US criminal proceedings, with few returning and apparently little help from the Vatican in getting them to return; see, “Fugitives from justice: Roman Catholic priests”, as reported at:

[Chicago Tribune]

For some of other important implications of the Lynn case, see, “Monsignor Lynn Proves Why President Obama Must Step Up”, at: http://wp.me/P2YEZ3-WZ

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:47 PM

Pa. Priest Case Could Affect Penn State Trial

PENNSYLVANIA
WTRF

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) -
A legal ruling reversing the landmark conviction of a Roman Catholic priest might have implications for the criminal case against three former Penn State administrators.

Lawyers for the university officials charged in the Jerry Sandusky scandal say that child endangerment counts could be dropped because of the Superior Court's decision.

Judges ruled Thursday that Monsignor William Lynn should not have been retroactively charged under a 2007 child endangerment law for alleged actions that occurred in 1990s. Prosecutors say he shuffled predator priests among parishes in Philadelphia.

The former university officials are charged under the same law with endangering children for allegedly not reporting a molestation claim against Sandusky in 2001.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:33 PM

McMahon Comments that PA Appeal Court's Reversal of Monsignor Lynn's Endangering Welfare of Children Conviction Undermines Case Against Three Penn State Administrators

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
Digital Journal

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (PRWEB) December 29, 2013

The reversal of Monsignor William Lynn's criminal conviction for Endangering the Welfare of Children by the Pennsylvania Superior Court, docket 3201-EDA-2011, has caught the eye of law enforcement in its campaign to aggressively prosecute individuals who ignored or failed to report the conduct of child predators whom they previously controlled or supervised within their own institutions.

Monsignor Lynn, an Archdiocese of Philadelphia priest, was convicted of Endangering the Welfare of Children in Philadelphia County docket CP-51-CR-3530-2011, based on prosecution allegations that he knowingly reassigned suspected predator priests to different Catholic parishes, where further acts of child molestation were allegedly committed by the same transferred priests. The Superior Court's ruling that Lynn should never have been prosecuted in the first place under the 2007 statute retroactively, will likely result in his release from prison shortly where he has been serving a six year sentence.

The Lynn decision could also present a significant legal hurdle in the Attorney General's pending prosecutions in Dauphin County, docket CP-22-CR-3615-2013, against Graham Spanier, Tim Curley and Gary Schultz, the three Penn State administrators charged under the same 2007 statute in connection with the Sandusky case, according to John I. McMahon, Jr., Esquire.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:31 PM

No red herrings, please. Let’s talk about the REAL scandal in St. Paul

UNITED STATES
The Worthy Adversary

Posted by Joelle Casteix on December 29, 2013

The Red Herring Award of the month is a doozey:

Earlier this week, this op-ed appeared in the Port Huron MI Times Herald. The author, Mike Stechschulte, says that the media and the public need “perspective” about the clergy abuse crisis.

He cites “huge improvements in policies,” low numbers of recent clergy sex abuse cases, and a recent problematic abuse allegation made against St. Paul and Minneapolis Archbishop John Nienstedt (currently being investigated) as proof that we need to focus our attentions elsewhere.

But a single allegation against the Archbishop is NOT why there is a scandal in St. Paul. It’s a big, fat red herring and Stechschulte hopes that low-information citizens will fall in step.

Stechschulte is wrong. There is a huge scandal in St. Paul, and the media and public must maintain razor sharp focus. It’s not about a recent allegation, it’s about the COVER-UP.

Here’s what Stechschulte “forgot” to tell the folks in Port Huron:

- The fact that just this month, the Archdiocese was forced by the courts to make public the names of accused priests. When church officials “suddenly” decided to review their own files on these men, two priests were put on leave. Why didn’t the Archbishop put them on leave when the credible accusations were made and verified? Why didn’t church leaders warn parishioners and protect kids? THAT’S a scandal.

- Stechschulte neglected to include that the former Vicar for Clergy (and brother of Obama’s chief of staff) is refusing to cooperate with police and hired a personal attorney. THAT’S a scandal.

- He “forgot” to mention the Curtis Wehmeyer case, the child porn cache in the Archdiocese basement, and the whistleblower who blew the lid off of the cover-up just this past autumn. Yeah, you got it: THAT’S a scandal.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:25 PM

Two Priests Placed on Leave Following File Review by Outside Firm

MINNESOTA
KAAL

By: Megan Stewart

The Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis has placed two priests on leave following a review of clergy files conducted by an outside firm hired by the Archdiocese.

On Sunday, the Archdiocese announced in a statement that Father Mark Wehmann and Father Joseph Gallatin have agreed to take a leave of absence after their files were reviewed by a consulting firm specializing in investigative support for faith-based organizations.

Wehmann was placed on leave after the firm found several incidents of inappropriate conduct with minors. According to the statement, the Archdiocese notified law enforcement about most of the incidents in the past and determined no criminal charges were appropriate.

The Archdiocese recently informed law enforcement about the remaining issues, the statement said.
Wehmann has been serving as a pastor at St. Boniface in Minneapolis since July and, until recently, was a part-time chaplain at Fairview University Hospital.

The firm also identified an incident of inappropriate conduct involving Gallatin, who has been serving as a pastor at the Church of St. Peter in Mendota since July 2008, the Archdiocese said in a statement.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:05 PM

Minneapolis, Mendota priests take leave after 'inappropriate conduct' revealed

MINNESOTA
Pioneer Press

By Raya Zimmerman
rzimmerman@pioneerpress.com
POSTED: 12/29/2013

Two priests from Catholic churches in Minneapolis and Mendota are taking leaves of absence after a review of files revealed previous cases of inappropriate conduct with minors.

The priests were identified in a statement Sunday by the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis as the Rev. Joseph Gallatin from the Church of St. Peter in Mendota and the Rev. Mark Wehmann from St. Boniface Catholic Church in Minneapolis. A consulting firm that has been reviewing diocesan files identified the incidents.

Gallatin, who has been serving as a pastor at the Church of St. Peter since July 2008, was found to have had one incident of inappropriate conduct with a minor several years ago that involved a "boundary violation." The incident did not involve a crime, the consulting firm said.

Wehmann, who has served as a pastor at St. Boniface since July 2013, was also found to have had inappropriate conduct with minors, but in several cases. The consulting firm said law enforcement had been informed about "most of these" in the past, and no criminal charges were filed. The archdiocese recently informed law enforcement about the remaining incidents. Until recently, Wehmann was a part-time chaplain at Fairview University Hospital in Minneapolis.

Since this fall, the archdiocese has faced harsh criticism for failing to expose clergy who sexually abused children and for allegedly covering up cases. Earlier this month, the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis released a list of 34 priests "credibly accused" of sexually abusing children in decades prior. Los Angeles-based Kinsale Management Consulting has been conducting an ongoing review of all clergy files since mid-November.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:03 PM

2 Minn. priests to take leave of absence

MINNESOTA
KARE

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Two priests will be taking a leave of absence as a result of an ongoing review of clergy files, according to the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis.

In a statement released Sunday, the archdiocese announced the priests have agreed to take a leave of absence from their ministries. They state that the two situations are not related, but are both a result of the review of clergy files by an outside firm that archdiocese hired.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:01 PM

Statement Regarding Father Mark Wehmann

MINNESOTA
Roman Catholic Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis

Date: Sunday, December 29, 2013

Source: Jim Accurso

The Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis today announced that Fr. Mark Wehmann has agreed to take a leave of absence from active ministry. Fr. Wehmann’s clergy file recently was reviewed as a part of the comprehensive file review by an outside professional firm that currently is reviewing files of all clergy in active ministry.

This review has identified several incidents of inappropriate conduct with minors involving boundary violations. Law enforcement has been informed about most of these in the past and has determined that no criminal charges were appropriate. The archdiocese recently has informed law enforcement about the remaining incidents.

Fr. Wehmann has been serving as a pastor at St. Boniface in Minneapolis since July 2013 and until recently as a part time chaplain at Fairview University Hospital in Minneapolis. While on his leave of absence, Fr. Wehmann will remain pastor but will not be performing any public ministry until a final review is complete.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:18 PM

Statement Regarding Father Joseph Gallatin

MINNESOTA
Roman Catholic Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis

Date: Sunday, December 29, 2013

Source: Jim Accurso

The Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis today announced that Fr. Joseph Gallatin has agreed to take a leave of absence from active ministry. Fr. Gallatin’s clergy file recently was reviewed as a part of the comprehensive file review by an outside professional firm that currently is reviewing files of all clergy in active ministry.

This review has identified a single incident of inappropriate conduct with a minor many years ago involving a boundary violation. The outside professional review team has concluded that the incident did not involve a crime. However, to ensure all appropriate steps have been taken, the archdiocese also recently informed law enforcement about the incident.

Fr. Gallatin has been serving as a pastor at the Church of St. Peter in Mendota since July 2008. While on his leave of absence, Fr. Gallatin will remain pastor but will not be performing any public ministry until a final review is complete.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:17 PM

Archdiocese: 2 Priests On Leave Pending Review

MINNESOTA
CBS Minnesota

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The St. Paul-Minneapolis Archdiocese says two pastors are taking leaves as a result of an ongoing review of clergy files.

The Rev. Joseph Gallatin is pastor at the Church of St. Peter in Mendota. The Rev. Mark Wehmann is pastor at St. Boniface in Minneapolis. The archdiocese says they won’t be performing public ministry pending a final review.

The company reviewing the files found Gallatin was accused of one incident of inappropriate conduct with a minor involving what the church calls a “boundary violation.” The firm says the incident wasn’t criminal, but has referred it to police.

--The review of Wehmann found several incidents of boundary violations. The archdiocese says police were told about most of them previously and determined charges weren’t warranted.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:14 PM

Two Minnesota priests put on leave while under review

MINNESOTA
Star Tribune

Article by: JIM ADAMS , Star Tribune Updated: December 29, 2013

The priests were identified as being involved in inappropriate conduct years ago.

Two more Catholic priests have taken leaves from active ministry after an outside firm retained by the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis found the priests had been involved in inappropriate conduct with minors in past years.

The Archdiocese announced Sunday that the Rev. Mark Wehmann and the Rev. Joseph Gallatin have agreed to take leaves of absence after their files were reviewed by Kinsale Management Consulting, of Los Angeles. The two will remain pastors but won’t perform public ministry until the reviews of their “boundary violation” incidents are completed.

The leaves come as Twin Cities Catholics confront a flood of allegations of priest sexual abuse and accusations that some Catholic leaders ignored warnings of sexual misconduct.

The scandal already has toppled Archbishop John Nienstedt’s vicar general, the Rev. Peter Laird, and prompted abrupt resignations from the University of St. Thomas board by former Archbishop Harry Flynn and his former top deputy, the Rev. Kevin McDonough. Both have been criticized for not responding appropriately to allegations of sexual abuse by priests.

Archbishop Nienstedt also voluntarily stopped public ministry on Dec. 17, while St. Paul Police investigate an allegation that he inappropriately touched a male minor on the buttocks in 2009 during a group photography session following a confirmation ceremony. Nienstedt called the claim “absolutely and entirely false.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:11 PM

Assignment Record – Rev. Francis "Frank" J. Fallert, s.j.

UNITED STATES
BishopAccountability.org

Summary of Case: A Jesuit priest of the Oregon Province ordained in 1952, Fallert spent his entire career in rural Alaska. He was a school principal, parish pastor and, for five years, Alaska's Jesuit Superior General. He died in 1990. Fallert was accused in a 2009 lawsuit of the sexual abuse of a girl in St. Michael's, Alaska in the 1950s.

Ordained: 1952
Died: 1990

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:06 PM

Dolan: Pope Francis Has 'Shattered The Caricature Of The Church'

UNITED STATES
Talking Points Memo

CAITLIN MACNEAL – DECEMBER 29, 2013

Cardinal Timothy Dolan, the Archbishop of New York, on Sunday praised Pope Francis for changing the way the world views the Catholic church.

"This pope has successfully, finally shattered the caricature of the church that his predecessors have tried hard to do," Dolan said on ABC's "This Week." "What's that caricature? That the church is kind of mean and dour and always saying no and always telling us what we can't do and always telling us why we should be excluded. He's saying, no, come on in, the church is about warmth and tenderness."

Dolan said that Catholic leaders were surprised by how effective Pope Francis has been at improving the image of the church.

"What we were after was a good pastor with a track record of solid administration but fatherly warm, tender care for the sheep, for his people," Dolan said. "And, boy, we got that on steroids with Pope Francis. He's the world's parish priest."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:20 PM

Monday Bail Hearing

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
Road to Recovery

Road to Recovery, Inc.
P.O. Box 279
Livingston, NJ 07039
862-368-2800
roberthoatson@gmail.com

MEDIA RELEASE
DECEMBER 29, 2013

Bail hearing for Philadelphia priest, Msgr. William Lynn, who supervised sexually abusive clergy is another “punch in the gut” to clergy sexual abuse survivors

Survivors of sexual abuse will call on judge to deny bail to Philadelphia priest who enabled sexual abuse of children

Once again, highly-placed religious leaders might be “bailed out” of responsibility for enabling sexual abuse of children while many survivors will never be bailed out of their misery

What: A demonstration calling on Judge Teresa Sarmina to deny bail to Msgr. William
Lynn, former Secretary for Clergy for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, who was convicted by a jury of his peers in a Philadelphia courtroom of enabling the sexual abuse of children by his clergy colleagues.

When: Monday, December 30, 2013 at 9:00 A.M.

Where: On the sidewalk in front of the courthouse at 1301 Filbert Street, Philadelphia, PA
19107.

Who: Members of Road to Recovery, a non-profit charity that assists victims of sexual
abuse, including a man from suburban Philadelphia who will speak about his sexual abuse by a priest in another state. Many of the other demonstrators are survivors of clergy sexual abuse in the Philadelphia Archdiocese and surrounding dioceses and states.

Why: Once again, the criminal justice system favors sexual abusers and enablers of
sexual abuse. Monsignor William Lynn was convicted by a jury of his peers who heard months of testimony, including poignant and credible accounts by survivors of clergy sexual abuse. He was deemed to be a criminal, and survivors of clergy sexual abuse once again call on the courts for free and equitable treatment. Up to this point, laws and religious leaders have not bailed victims out of their trauma and treated them with the respect they deserve, and Msgr. William Lynn is one such church leader who has not treated clergy abuse victims honesty, truthfully, and compassionately. He was convicted for such behavior by a jury of citizens who judged his behavior to be criminal. Lynn does not deserve to be bailed out unless and until every one of the victims to whom he denied fair hearings is “bailed out” of their pain.

Contacts: Robert M. Hoatson, Ph.D. – President, Road to Recovery, Inc. – 862-368-2800

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:17 PM

Confessions of a Columnist

UNITED STATES
The New York Times

By ROSS DOUTHAT
Published: December 28, 2013

IN ancient Sanskrit, the word “pundit” meant “wise man” or “religious sage.” In modern English, it means “often wrong, rarely accountable.” There are ways that those of us who scribble about politics can avoid living down to that reputation — by keeping our predictions vague (it worked for Nostradamus), by sticking to sure things (I told you Herman Cain wouldn’t be elected president), or by deploying weasel words like “it’s possible that ...” at every opportunity. But time, chance and fallibility eventually make false prophets of us all. ...

2. I underestimated Pope Francis — or misread the media. In columns pegged to Pope Benedict’s unexpected retirement and Jorge Mario Bergoglio’s elevation to the papacy, I made two claims: first, that a new “Catholic moment” in American life could “only be made by Americans themselves,” and second, that the new pope’s “evocative name” and “humble posture” wouldn’t be sufficient to repair the church’s image absent concrete steps to extend accountability for the sex-abuse scandal to the upper reaches of the hierarchy.

Given the subsequent media fascination with Francis, my attempt to minimize the papacy’s importance in American religious life may have been somewhat premature. More important, I was entirely wrong about the Vatican’s image being inextricably tied to the legacy of the sex-abuse crisis. To date, the new pope has done much less than the underappreciated Benedict on that front, but nobody in the Western press seems to care: even as American bishops continue to mishandle abuse cases, Francis’s blend of charisma, asceticism and inclusivity have been sufficient to reverse a decade of bad press for Catholicism.

In a way, I’m grateful to have been wrong, since the message and mission of the church deserve as much attention as the continuing blindness of some bishops. But that blindness still needs to be addressed, and it’s troubling, and telling, that the media would give a more liberal-seeming pope a pass on an issue they hammered his predecessor on at every opportunity. And if I’d been just a little more cynical about these things, I probably would have seen it coming.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:04 PM

The Salvation Army – Olympics Connection (Or: Our Business Is Charity)

AUSTRALIA
lewisblayse.net

The Salvation Army knows how to strike a good business deal (see yesterday’s posting on Kettering Textiles). The Chairman of the trading company of the organisation in the U.K., “Lt-Col” Ivor Telfer, popped up as the Chairman of the Salvation Army’s Olympic Task Force. He got a good deal out of the London Olympics Committee.

The Salvation Army owns the 900 acre Hadleigh Farm, which is used to provide employment training and life skills for youth under various government programs. Somehow, Telfer convinced Olympics officials to make the farm the venue for the mountain bike events, over several other applicants. Normally, Olympic events sites remain in the hands of government bodies of one form or another.

In this case, the Salvation Army acquired a $1.2 million facility, at taxpayer expense, which it gets to keep, and make money from. The main income from the farm prior to the Olympics was selling the malt used to manufacture the popular confectionary, “Maltesers”.

The farm had also run a shop, café and tea-room before, relying on local tourism. As part of the deal, the government paid for highway and local road up-grades to Hadleigh Farm, enabling it, in future, to handle larger numbers of tourists.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:04 PM

District Attorney Says Msgr. Lynn Is A "Flight Risk"

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
Big Trial

By Ralph Cipriano
for Bigtrial.net

Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams is asking Judge M. Teresa Sarmina to deny bail to Msgr. William J. Lynn, on the basis that Lynn is a "flight risk" who may seek refuge in the Vatican.

A panel of three Superior Court judges on Dec. 26th reversed Lynn's "historic" 2012 conviction on one count of endangering the welfare of a child, and said that the monsignor should be "discharged forthwith." But the D.A. isn't going along with the higher court's opinion at a bail hearing scheduled for 10 a.m. Monday before Judge Sarmina.

Lynn was labeled a "flight risk" in a six-page answer to a petition for a bail hearing filed by Hugh J. Burns, Jr., chief of the D.A.'s appeals unit. The monsignor is a "high ranking official [in] a worldwide organization, the Roman Catholic Church, that has both diplomatic and non-diplomatic facilities in many nations," Burns wrote.

The evidence presented at Lynn's trial "established that numerous individuals within that organization are closely associated with [Lynn] and may be willing to improperly assist him out of personal interest without proper sanction," Burns wrote.

In response, Lynn's lawyer, Thomas A. Bergstrom, said, "The whole thing is idiotic. These guys [in the district attorney's office] are the most unprofessional lawyers I've ever run across in my life. They simply ignore the law and they're gonna continue to do it. But that [Superior Court] order applies to them as well."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:17 AM

Katholische Kirche zahlt 665 000 Euro an Missbrauchsopfer

DEUTSCHLAND
Allgemeine Zeitung

[Summary: The dioceses of Mainz, Speyer and Trier have paid at least 665,000 euros to victims of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church. A total of 113 applicants have been compensated so far.]

Von Birgit Reichert, dpa
Trier (dpa/lrs) - Die Bistümer Mainz, Speyer und Trier haben bislang mindestens 665 000 Euro an Opfer sexuellen Missbrauchs in der katholischen Kirche gezahlt. Insgesamt 113 Antragsteller seien bis dato entschädigt worden, ergab eine Umfrage der Nachrichtenagentur dpa.

Vor knapp vier Jahren hatte ein Missbrauchsskandal die katholische Kirche in Deutschland erschüttert. Die sexuellen Übergriffe von Priestern und Geistlichen lagen Jahrzehnte zurück, wurden dann aber erst aufgedeckt. Seitdem haben sich deutschlandweit rund 1300 Opfer bei der Deutschen Bischofskonferenz (DBK) gemeldet, sie wurden mittlerweile mit mehreren Millionen Euro entschädigt.

Als die katholische Kirche im März 2011 den Startschuss für «materielle Leistungen in Anerkennung des Leids der Opfer» gab, türmten sich die Anträge bei der DBK aus allen Bistümern. Knapp drei Jahre später ist die Antragsflut vorbei. «Die Zahl der Anträge ist massiv zurückgegangen», sagte der Missbrauchsbeauftragte der Bischofskonferenz, Triers Bischof Stephan Ackermann.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:57 AM

Katholische Kirche zahlt Millionen an Missbrauchsopfer

DEUTSCHLAND
Frankfurter Allgemeine

Knapp vier Jahre nach Enthüllung des Missbrauchsskandals hat die katholische Kirche schätzungsweise rund sechs Millionen Euro an die Opfer gezahlt. Rund 1300 Menschen stellten bei der Koordinierungsstelle der Deutschen Bischofskonferenz (DBK) einen Antrag auf Entschädigung. In den allermeisten Fällen habe die Expertenstelle eine Geldzahlung empfohlen, die über die jeweiligen Bistümer oder Orden erfolge, sagte ein Sprecher der DBK. Im Durchschnitt flossen pro bewilligtem Fall rund 5000 Euro, wie eine Umfrage der Nachrichtenagentur dpa ergab.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:55 AM

D: Sechs Millionen Euro an Missbrauchsopfer

DEUTSCHLAND
Radio Vatikan

[Summary: About 6 million euros have been paid to victims of abuse by the German Catholic Church. A total of 1,300 applications were made for compensation throught the coordination office of the German Bishops Conference. In most cases, experts have recommended payment of money.]

Etwa sechs Millionen Euro hat die katholische Kirche in Deutschland bisher an die Opfer von Missbrauchsfällen gezahlt. Das berichtet die die Nachrichtenagentur dpa. Insgesamt seien rund 1.300 Anträge auf Entschädigung bei der Koordinierungsstelle der Deutschen Bischofskonferenz (DBK) gestellt worden. In den allermeisten Fällen habe die Expertenstelle eine Geldzahlung empfohlen, die über die jeweiligen Bistümer oder Orden erfolge, sagte ein Sprecher der DBK. Im Durchschnitt flossen pro bewilligtem Fall rund 5.000 Euro, wie die Umfrage der Nachrichtenagentur ergab.

Situation in den einzelnen Bistümer
Die Bistümer Mainz, Speyer und Trier haben bislang mindestens 665.000 Euro an Opfer sexuellen Missbrauchs in der Kirche gezahlt. Insgesamt 113 Antragsteller seien bis dato entschädigt worden, ergab eine Umfrage der Deutschen Nachrichtenagentur. Im Erzbistum München und Freising wurden bei 36 Anträgen bislang in 26 Fällen insgesamt 134 000 Euro ausgezahlt. Daneben wurden Therapie- und Fahrtkosten übernommen in Höhe von etwas mehr als 32.000 Euro. Das Erzbistum Paderborn überwies bisher 297.500 Euro Entschädigungen. Hinzu kämen 21.500 Euro für Therapiekosten, sagte ein Bistumssprecher. Das Bistum Limburg, das sich auch über Teile von Rheinland-Pfalz erstreckt, hat nach früheren Angaben mindestens 91.000 Euro an Entschädigungen bezahlt. 28 Anträge wurden gestellt. In 24 Fällen davon seien Zahlungen geleistet worden. Das Bistum Limburg machte zur neuen Umfrage jedoch keine Angaben zur Zahl der Verdachtsfälle von sexuellem Missbrauch. Im Erzbistum Berlin bekamen bislang zwölf Opfer Geld: Insgesamt 53.000 Euro. Angaben zu den einzelnen Summen machte ein Sprecher nicht. 13 Personen hätten Anträge gestellt. Das Bistum Fulda entschädigte alle bekannten Opfer nach Angaben von Anfang Januar 2013 mit mindestens 37.500 Euro.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:51 AM

Christine Flowers: Justice served in Monsignor Lynn case

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
Delaware County Daily Times

By Christine Flowers, Delaware County Daily Times
POSTED: 12/29/13

Beware of those who want to be “on the right side of history.” Sometimes, that’s just code for “the law be damned, I’ll do whatever I, the omniscient arbiter of right and wrong, want to do.”

Kathleen Kane is one of those legal systems unto herself, looking at the Pennsylvania statutes as being optional, particularly the one that bars same-sex marriage. Bruce Haynes is another, following in the attorney general’s footsteps with his crusade to issue worthless marriage licenses to hopeful spouses. The members of Philadelphia City Council were in lockstep with them, passing gun control legislation even though they knew that the state had sole jurisdiction.

In the Haynes case, the Commonwealth Court slapped him down, telling Mr. “Right Side of History” that he better go back and take a remedial course in civics. City Council also had its comeuppance by the same appeals court. As for Queen Kathleen, the jury — or rather, the judge — is still out.

But she might take some guidance from what happened this week in the Superior Court of Pennsylvania, and realize that not every moral crusader gets away with spitting on the Constitution in the pursuit of a “noble” end.

On Thursday afternoon, the appeals court overturned the child endangerment conviction of Monsignor William Lynn, who had been convicted of the charges in what appeared to many as a fatally flawed prosecution back in 2012.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:41 AM

Vatican observers look for thaw between Pope Francis, U.S. nuns

UNITED STATES
Los Angeles Times

By Soumya Karlamangla
December 28, 2013

When the Vatican censured an organization representing thousands of American nuns, it did so in part because the group had not spoken out enough against gay marriage and abortion.

The Vatican said the Leadership Conference of Women Religious had espoused "radical feminist themes," adding, "Issues of crucial importance to the life of Church and society, such as the Church's Biblical view of family life and human sexuality, are not part of the LCWR agenda in a way that promotes Church teaching."

Now, some observers of the Roman Catholic Church are wondering whether the arrival of a new pope will thaw the frosty relationship between the nuns and the Holy See.

In September, 17 months after the censure, Pope Francis said: "We cannot insist only on issues related to abortion, gay marriage and the use of contraceptive methods." Since he took office in March, the pontiff has also repeatedly spoken about the need for economic justice, which would seem to match the nuns' emphasis on serving the poor.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:32 AM

Fighting Against Child Sexual Abuse

UNITED STATES
Legal Examiner

Posted by Mike Bryant
December 28, 2013

Fear, embarrassment, even guilt. These are things that most survivors of sexual abuse feel at some point. The strength it takes to move on after this abuse is tangible, and yet so many will still not fight against it. Being abused by anyone is tragic, especially when it comes from someone you are supposed to be able to trust. It changes your perspective on how you see people, even those closest to you. Over the next month as we continue to talk about sexual abuse inside the Catholic Church one thing needs to be made clear; it is okay to get help. Taking that first step and admitting you are or have been harmed is the hardest part, but you may be surprised to learn that you are not alone, and there are so many people willing to help you find the relief and justice you deserve.

We have been presented with huge opportunities to finally bring these cases out in the open and put them to rest. In May of 2013 the Child Victims Act was announced, most recently the Catholic Church has been ordered to present a list of names of those priests who have been accused of sexual abuse, more and more people are standing up to the suffering they have endured. The Catholic Church has been proven to hide incriminating evidence and move its priests to different parishes in the attempt to protect those who have been accused of abuse. Now is our chance to shine the light on what has happened and do what we can to put an end to it.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:29 AM

Faces of 2013: Pastor Geronimo Aguilar

VIRGINIA
Richmond Times-Dispatch

WHY YOU KNOW HIM: The founder and former senior pastor of the Richmond Outreach Center was arrested in May when Texas authorities charged him with sexually assaulting an 11-year-old girl and her 13-year-old sister.

About a year ago, Aguilar was flying high. His congregation followed his every word, his sermons were like rock concerts and the church he founded was poised for further growth.

Now, Aguilar has lost his job at the megachurch on Midlothian Turnpike, he’s been removed from the home where he lived and he is awaiting trial. A guilty verdict could send him to prison for the rest of his life.

Aguilar’s troubles began in May when he was arrested and charged with sexually assaulting two young girls in Texas. Authorities allege that the abuse began in September 1996 in the girls’ home, where Aguilar had been invited to live, and lasted about a year.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:25 AM

Lynn prosecutors always had doubts on charge

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
Philadelphia Inquirer

BEN FINLEY, INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
LAST UPDATED: Sunday, December 29, 2013

PHILADELPHIA Prosecuting Msgr. William J. Lynn was never going to be an open-and-shut case.

As far back as 2005, after scores of alleged victims told a grand jury about being abused by Philadelphia-area priests, prosecutors were divided over whether criminal charges would stick against the archdiocese's former secretary for clergy.

"Every prosecutor who looked at it could say, factually, these guys were endangering children," said Will Spade, an assistant district attorney at the time. "But some people thought the [state's child-endangerment] statute didn't apply, and others thought it did."

The debate resurfaced last week when Superior Court reversed Lynn's 2012 conviction on endangerment charges.

In a 43-page opinion released Thursday, the panel found that the Philadelphia prosecutors who ultimately charged Lynn two years ago and the trial judge who presided over his case had misapplied the law, which did not cover supervisors like Lynn until 2007.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:22 AM

December 28, 2013

Ruling on church official could favor ex-PSU administrators

PENNSYLVANIA
Tribune-Review

By Adam Smeltz

Published: Friday, Dec. 27, 2013

The reversed conviction of a former Roman Catholic Church official could be a big win for the defense for three former Penn State University executives accused of shielding pedophile Jerry Sandusky, several attorneys said Friday.

“Certainly, the court's opinion puts a big hole in the commonwealth's case” against the ex-administrators, said Donna McClelland, a Pittsburgh trial lawyer and former deputy attorney general.

She said the reversal for Monsignor William Lynn, 62, could weaken felony charges of child endangerment against Tim Curley, Gary Schultz and Graham Spanier, but not their related charges of perjury, obstruction of justice and failure to report.

Lynn was the first U.S. church official convicted for the handling of clergy abuse complaints when a Philadelphia jury found him guilty in June 2012. A Superior Court panel on Thursday unanimously rejected prosecution arguments that Lynn was legally accountable for the welfare of an abused boy in the late 1990s.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:25 PM

Why Is Pope Francis Avoiding Key Challenges?

UNITED STATES
Christian Catholicism

Jerry Slevin

In a surprisingly candid assessment about a much anticipated speech today by Pope Francis, a leading Vatican reporter, John Allen of CNN and the National Catholic Reporter, stated: “Given that a cleanup operation in the Roman Curia was a large part of the mandate Francis received from the cardinals who elected him, and given the fevered speculation in Rome about what further changes might be coming, many observers were anxious to see if Francis would drop some hints in his Saturday morning speech. In the end, there was nothing like that.”

So what else is new? How many cardinals really elected Francis to conduct a “clean up operation”, as opposed to a “preservation operation, to protect cardinals’ power and wealth?

This was unexpected candor, because too many Vatican reporters spend so much time promoting the distracting PR spin about Francis’ “popular nonsense”. Francis’ photo ops and sound bites are appealing, but will not ultimately satisfy. One suspects that Francis and his clique, including Cardinal Sodano, must chuckle often at how easy it has been for Francis to get Catholics to miss noticing Francis’ recurring avoidance of the real challenges the Catholic Church faces, like holding bishops accountable for enabling priest child abusers or worse or treating women equally and with respect.

These challenges may be avoided for now, but they will just get worse by Francis’ benign neglect. Changes are coming, whether the Vatican wants them or not. They will even come sooner than Francis and his clique expect. See, “A New Year’s Wish For Catholic Church Democracy”, at: http://wp.me/P2YEZ3-W7

One is reminded of Pope Pius IX, who tried to meet the pent up demands for reform by an absurd Syllabus of Errors, followed by a self serving declaration of papal infallibility in 1869. Pius IX also hyped Marian devotions, as Francis does so often. Distractions didn’t work for Pius IX and they won’t work for Francis. Most Catholics have had enough and want to return their Church to a consensual structure like the one the Apostles left behind.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:47 PM

The Salvos’ Rag Trade (Or: Rags To Riches, Literally)

AUSTRALIA
lewisblayse.net

The Salvation Army is the main beneficiary of donations of disused clothing items, which are people are led to believe, normally, sold through its thrift shops. The process is meant both to provide cheap clothing, and to yield profits for the organisations other charitable activities. Recycling donated clothing is both very profitable, and very competitive – so much so that many charitable groups have brought in the professionals.

It is not known how the business operates in Australia, because the Salvation Army does not offer up the information, and has no obligation to provide it. However, due to an investigation by the Guardian newspaper, in the U.K. something of the murky world of clothing recycling has been revealed.

Most people assumed, since there was nothing to say otherwise, that all profits returned to the Salvation Army. Not so, apparently, although the Salvation Army accused the Guardian of “selective reporting”. The professionals the U.K. Salvation Army brought in were Kettering Textiles. The involvement with this company goes back over 20 years.

The Salvation Army Trading Company looks after their business interests in the U.K. While they technically have an obligation under British charity laws to get the best value possible, it is not required to put anything to tender. The clothing recycling business was not put to tender, but simply awarded to Kettering, whose 78% major shareholder, Nigel Hanger, just happened to be a member of the board of the Salvation Army Trading Company (SATCoL). Kettering has the exclusive contract to sell the donated clothing.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:47 PM

Teen Blames Catholic Church for 'Forcible Rape'

ARIZONA
Courthouse News Service

By JAMIE ROSS

PHOENIX (CN) - After raping a teenager, a Catholic youth leader promised he would stop raping girls if she didn't tell police, so she kept quiet - but he broke his promise and sexually assaulted her friend, his first alleged victim claims in court.

Maraen Foley claims in the lawsuit that Catholic youth leader Brandon Eckerson forcibly raped her two days before Christmas in 2012. She was 18.

Eckerson "convinced plaintiff not to say anything further to anyone about his sexual exploitation of her; in exchange he promised to never again sexually assault anyone. It was understood that if plaintiff discovered he violated this sworn promise she would go to the police," Foley claims in the complaint in Maricopa County Court.

She says he broke that promise: that in June this year she learned that he had recently sexually assaulted another girl in the program, so she went to police.

She claims in the lawsuit that Eckerson's bosses at the highest level of the Diocese knew of the rape but did not report it to law enforcement because Vatican policy threatened them with excommunication if they did.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:58 AM

Backslider: Catholic youth leader raped victim after promising not to do it again

ARIZONA
The Raw Story

By Scott Kaufman
Friday, December 27, 2013

A Catholic youth leader who promised a teenager he had raped that he would never rape again if she didn’t report him to police was reported to police by his victim after he sexually assaulted her best friend.

In a complaint filed by Marain Foley against Brandon Eckerson, she claims that Eckerson forcibly raped her two days before Christmas in 2012. However, he convinced her “not to say anything further to anyone about his sexual exploitation of her; in exchange he promised to never again sexually assault anyone. It was understood that if plaintiff discovered he violated this sworn promise she would go to the police.”

According to complaint, the extent of Eckerson’s inappropriate behavior extended beyond sexual assault. As leader of a Catholic youth group, Foley alleges, Eckerson talked to her about “her life, seeking intimate details, including dating and sexual relationship,” and that youth group meetings were fraught with “permissive sexual dialogue, contact, spanking, slapping, gropings and ridicule.”

She also claims that Eckerson brought the group of minors to bars and restaurants in which they were illegally served alcohol, and that he frequently purchased alcohol for the group and consumed it with them during meetings.

She is also suing the Roman Catholic Diocese of Phoenix; its Bishop, Thomas Olmsted; and the Reverend Patrick Robertson, who was the nominal supervisor of the youth group Eckerson ran, because she claims that after she told her doctor about the rape, “in compliance with state law [he] sent notice to Blessed Sacrament Parish, which circulated an email on the subject.” The complaint alleges that the church “knew that Brandon Eckerson was a danger,” “shared that concern with other members of Blessed Sacrament Parish and the Phoenix Diocese,” but never went to the police.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:54 AM

PA -Victims to leaflet Philadelphia cathedral

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

POSTED BY BARBARA DORRIS ON DECEMBER 28, 2013

Victims to hand fliers out to church-goers
It urges those who “saw, suspected or suffered” crimes to speak up
They beg prosecutor to appeal
To Archbishop Chaput “stop stonewalling prosecutors”

WHAT
As parishioners leave mass, clergy sex abuse victims and supporters will hand out fliers urging them to

--ask their loved ones if they were hurt by Philadelphia Catholic clerics, and
--contact prosecutors urging them to appeal Lynn’s conviction being overturned.

They will also

--urge Philly Catholic officials to keep Msgr. Lynn from public ministry and any position of power
--beg every person who saw, suspected and suffered clergy sex crimes and cover ups in the Philadelphia Archdiocese (especially current and ex-Catholic employees) to come forward, call police, protect others and start healing

WHEN
Sunday, December 29 at 11:45 a.m.

WHERE
Outside the Cathedral of SS Peter and Paul, 18th Street and Benjamin Franklin Parkway, in Philly

WHO
Three –four members of a support group for victims of clergy abuse called SNAP (the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests)

WHY

On Thursday the Pennsylvania Supreme Court overturned Monsignor William Lynn’s conviction for child endangerment. This ruling gives corrupt Catholic officials encouragement to continue deceiving police, stonewalling prosecutors, ignoring victims, destroying evidence, fabricating alibis, hiding crimes, and protecting pedophiles.

[Associated Press]

The group believes that literally thousands of U.S. Catholic officials have done precisely what Msgr. Lynn did and were never even charged or exposed, much less convicted. They believe that hundreds or thousands of chancery officials across the globe are doing – right now - exactly what Msgr. Lynn did for years.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:48 AM

Priest prosecuted for sending sex text to boy

SWEDEN
The Local

A priest in southern Sweden has been prosecuted on a charge of sexual molestation after sending a text to a teenage boy saying that he wanted to have sex with him.

The priest, who was based in Kalmar county, has admitted that he sent the sex text and that it was wrong but has denied the charge of sexual molestation.

"I hope that we end up in bed and have sex. As I am gay and you are young and good looking," the priest wrote in the text which was sent in September.

Following the incident the priest has since been relieved of his duties entirely within the priesthood by the church.

The priest and the boy had got to know each other at a confirmation camp and remained in contact afterwards. At first the contact was friendly but relations came to an abrupt end when the boy received a text from the priest saying he wanted to have sex.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:00 AM

Prospects for the new year in Vatican news

VATICAN CITY
Catholic News Service

By Francis X. Rocca
Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- After a year that included the historic resignation of Pope Benedict XVI and a series of celebrated innovations by Pope Francis, it is hard to imagine 2014 at the Vatican could be nearly as eventful. Of course, the biggest stories are likely to be those that come by surprise, but in the meantime, here are developments bound to loom large in Vatican news over the coming year:

-- New Cardinals: Pope Francis is scheduled to create new cardinals Feb. 22. By that time, no more than 106 members of the College of Cardinals will be under the age of 80 and thus eligible to vote in a conclave to elect a new pope. Under rules established by Pope Paul VI, the college should not have more than 120 such members, though subsequent popes have occasionally exceeded that number. So Pope Francis can be expected to name at least 14 new cardinal electors.

The election of the first Latin American pope has raised expectations of greater geographical diversity among cardinal electors, so the new slate might prove relatively heavy on names from statistically underrepresented regions, especially Latin America and Africa.

-- Vatican reform: The eight-member Council of Cardinals that Pope Francis formed to advise him on governance of the universal church and reform of the Vatican bureaucracy has already joined him for two rounds of meetings at the Vatican and will do so again in February. The body is working on the first major overhaul of the Roman Curia, the church's central administration at the Vatican, since 1988.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:59 AM

Defense attorney: Pastor will plead guilty to sex abuse charge, church will close

TENNESSEE
WMC-TV

[with video[

MEMPHIS, TN -
(WMC-TV) - A Memphis COGIC pastor will plead guilty to a sexual battery charge and his church will shut down, according to his attorney.

Michael Bryant, pastor at Hour of Restoration COGIC in Memphis, was in general sessions court Thursday for what was supposed to be a bond reduction hearing.

Instead, defense attorney Art Horne says he and the prosecution worked out a plea agreement in a "criminal information" that will be brought before a judge in criminal court.

"The case is settled," said Bryant's defense attorney, Art Horne. "He's pleading guilty to sexual battery by an authority figure and the sentence will be six years at 30 percent. And we'll ask for probation."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:57 AM

Lawyer says pastor will plead guilty to sex charge

TENNESSEE
Houston Chronicle

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — A defense lawyer says a Memphis pastor is pleading guilty to sexual battery of a teenage girl and his church will shut down.

Attorney Art Horne tells WMC-TV (http://bit.ly/1edRliS ) that he and prosecutors have worked out a plea agreement for Michael Bryant, pastor at Hour of Restoration Church of God in Christ in Memphis.

Horne says Bryant is pleading guilty to sexual battery by an authority figure and the sentence will be six years.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:55 AM

Cura pederasta va a prisión 8 años después de ser denunciado

MEXICO
NSS Oaxaca

Gerardo Silvestre Hernández está acusado de abusar de al menos 45 niños indígenas de Oaxaca.

México.- El sacerdote, Gerardo Silvestre Hernández, fue encarcelado luego de ser hallado culpable de abusar de al menos 45 niños indígenas de Oaxaca.

El encarcelamiento se dio tras casi ocho años después de que las primeras denuncias se hicieran públicas y más de tres años de la presentación de pruebas y testimonios comprobables.

Según testimonios, el arzobispo José Luis Chávez Botello minimizó los hechos y permitió que el cura continuara ejerciendo durante los últimos tres años hasta que el pasado 27 de noviembre tuvo que suspenderlo de su ministerio al hacerse pública una denuncia que hizo un padre de familia, cuyo hijo de 9 años había sido acólito de la parroquia donde oficiaba Silvestre Hernández.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:53 AM

Cura pederasta de Oaxaca, que abusó de al menos 45 niños, va la cárcel

MEXICO
Vanguardia

Ciudad de México. En su columna “Astillero” de este viernes, publicada en el diario La Jornada, el periodista Julio Hernández López denuncia que el Arzobispo de la diócesis de Antequera, José Luis Chávez Botello, protegió al sacerdote señalado e incluso hostigó y amenazó a los religiosos que se atrevieron a denunciarlo, y permitió que Silvestre Hernández ejerciera por más de tres años.

El 22 de diciembre de este mes, medios locales publicaron la reacción del Arzobispo ante la orden de aprehensión girada por el Juez Séptimo de lo Penal, acusado de corrupción de menores de edad y abuso sexual en agravio de sus acólitos en la parroquia de Villa Alta, región de la Sierra Norte de Oaxaca.

Chávez Botello atinó a decir: “La Iglesia católica nunca ha entorpecido, al contrario siempre facilitará que se cumpla con la ley; nosotros no estamos interviniendo ni hemos intervenido”, publicó el periódico local E-Oaxaca.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:51 AM

Astillero

MEXICO
La Jornada

Julio Hernández López

Ha sido encarcelado el sacerdote Gerardo Silvestre Hernández, casi ocho años después de que comenzó a abusar de niños indígenas en Oaxaca (cuando menos 45 casos conocidos), y a cuatro años y medio de que el tema fuera expuesto y abundantemente demostrado ante el arzobispo José Luis Chávez Botello (quien redobló la protección a ese depredador sexual e intensificó el hostigamiento y castigo contra los religiosos denunciantes, nueve párrocos y un diácono).

El pasado 22, en reunión de temporada con periodistas oaxaqueños, el arzobispo Chávez Botello hubo de responder a preguntas sobre la orden de aprehensión girada por el juzgado séptimo de lo penal en la entidad y cumplida por la policía del gobierno de Gabino Cué, según notas publicadas en algunos diarios locales. Durante años, el jefe religioso regional había defendido con enjundia al sacerdote acusado de abusar de niños y jóvenes de zonas indígenas de Oaxaca. Chávez Botello no aceptaba ningún cargo contra el cura Silvestre Hernández, quien más de una vez había asegurado que tenía una gran cercanía personal con el arzobispo. Ahora, frente a acciones de la justicia civil que encontró indicios de lo que él nunca logró ver, a pesar de que se le hicieron llegar detallados testimonios y pruebas, el mismo Chávez Botello aseguró que la Iglesia católica no ha entorpecido la aplicación de la ley en cuanto a Silvestre Hernández y que, en todo caso, facilitaría que hubiera sanciones justicieras contra quien las mereciera (http://bit.ly/1ijFrtc).

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:49 AM

Fue encarcelado sacerdote acusado de violar a 45 niños indígenas en Oaxaca

MEXICO
Diario del Morelos

[Summary: Oaxaca -. Priest Gerardo Silvestre Hernández was accused of sexual abuse of at least 45 indigenous children eight years ago but was finally imprisoned on Dec. 22. According to journalist Julio Hernandez Lopez, writing in his Friday column in La Jornada, said the archbishop of the Antequera diocese, Jose Luis Chavez Botello, protected the pederast priest and harassed and threatened those who dared to denounce. The actions by the archbishop, according to Lopez, allowed the priest to abuse minors for more than three years.]

Oaxaca.- Gerardo Silvestre Hernández fue acusado del abuso sexual de por los menos 45 niños indígenas hace ocho años, sin embargo hasta el 22 de diciembre de este año, el sacerdote de Oaxaca fue encarcelado.

El periodista Julio Hernández López publicó este viernes en su columna “Astillero” del diario La Jornada, que el Arzobispo de la diócesis de Antequera, José Luis Chávez Botello, protegió al sacerdote pederasta, mientras hostigaba y amenazaba a los religiosos que se atrevieron a denunciarlo, lo que permitió a Silvestre Hernández ejercer su abuso por más de tres años.

El 22 de diciembre, medios locales publicaron la reacción del Arzobispo frente a la orden de aprehensión girada por el Juez Séptimo de lo Penal, en contra del sacerdote por los cargos de corrupción de menores y abuso sexual que padecieron los acólitos de la parroquia de Villa Alta en la región de la Sierra Norte de Oaxaca.

El Arzobispo aseguró que la Iglesia católica "nunca ha entorpecido, al contrario siempre facilitará que se cumpla con la ley", resaltando categóricamente que ellos no habían intervenido.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:42 AM

Monsignor Lynn to have bail hearing Monday

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
Philadelphia Daily News

DAVID GAMBACORTA, DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITER GAMBACD@PHILLYNEWS.COM, 215-854-5994
POSTED: Sunday, December 29, 2013

A COMMON PLEAS judge who once excoriated Monsignor William Lynn for shielding "monsters in clerical garb" will now decide if he'll be able to get out of prison.

Judge M. Teresa Sarmina will preside Monday over a bail hearing for Lynn, who on Thursday learned that the Superior Court of Pennsylvania had overturned his 2012 conviction on a felony child-endangerment charge.

The three-judge appeals panel sided with Lynn's lawyers, who argued that the state child-endangerment law that was in effect while Lynn served as the secretary for clergy for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia applied only to parents and guardians of children.

Thomas Bergstrom, one of Lynn's attorneys, had hoped that Lynn, 62, would be released from a state prison in Wayne County within a day or two.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:35 AM

Mike Stechschulte: Perspective badly needed in abuse crisis

UNITED STATES
Times-Herald

According to one study, approximately 546,000 children in the United States were sexually abused last year. According to another, 16 percent of youths 14-17 years old are sexually abused in any given year in the United States.

A third study says that over the course of their school careers, nearly 10 percent of K-12 students will be the victim of some form of sexual abuse at school, with one in 10 of those involving a teacher or school employee. If you draw the numbers out, that means roughly 4.5 million students currently in grade or high school have been abused by an educator, or 375,000 annually.

Unfortunately, there has never been a widespread, authoritative analysis of the issue of child sexual abuse in the United States to help shine light on the instances of exactly where, when, how often and by whom this scourge on civilized society continues to take place.

But if the scores of smaller studies indicate one thing clearly, it’s that it does continue to take place — in schools, homes, churches, day cares, and anywhere else adults have easy access to children — at an alarming rate.

The Catholic Church was rightly called on the issue of child sexual abuse when the Boston Globe first revealed the scope of the problem in 2002: A frightening 4,400 priests — 4 percent — had been accused of abusing a minor in a 52-year span between 1950 and 2002, with the vast majority of those cases between 1960-80. While the Catholic Church should be held to a higher standard in society, given the trust it once possessed and especially when dioceses were accused of hiding or ignoring abuse, 4 percent is still less than half the rate at which teachers — even today — are accused of abusing their students.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:32 AM

Memphis COGIC Pastor Arrested on Sexual Abuse...

TENNESSEE
MemphisRap

Memphis COGIC Pastor Arrested on Sexual Abuse of 16-Yr-Old Family Member, Church Members Knew About It and Prayed For Him!

A Memphis COGIC pastor has been arrested and charged with sexual battery for molesting a 16 year-old family member for years and the secret was even kept by fellow church members.

Michael Bryant, 48, was accused of sneaking in the bedroom of the teen-girl while her mother was asleep or was at work.

Bryant would expose himself and fondle the victim and he did it for the last two years while being the pastor of Hour of Restoration COGIC in Hickory Hill.

Michael Bryant was formerly an elder at Greater Community Temple COGIC.

Apparently, the victim revealed Bryant’s sexual abuse to other church and family members, who then kept the abuse a secret while choosing to pray for their pastor instead of turning him in to the police.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:23 AM

December 27, 2013

Catholic prelate seeks release after conviction overturned

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
Hamilton Spectator (Canada)

By Maryclaire Dale
PHILADELPHIA Lawyers for a Roman Catholic church official will demand his immediate release from prison Monday after an appeals court overturned his conviction in a novel priest-abuse case aimed squarely at the church hierarchy in Philadelphia.

Monsignor William Lynn, 62, is the first Catholic official ever prosecuted over his handling of priest sex-abuse complaints. He has served 18 months of the three- to six-year sentence handed down by a judge who said he helped predators remain in ministry, endangering new victims.

But the Superior Court threw out the conviction Thursday, ruling that the state's child-endangerment law did not apply in the late 1990s to church supervisors like Lynn. The Superior Court said the case never should have been filed.

"The laws at that time were inadequate to deal with this kind of problem. And I think that the judge and the prosecutor stretched the law, trying to find some way to punish somebody," Rev. Thomas Reese, a Jesuit theologian and senior analyst with the National Catholic Reporter, said Friday. "They stretched the law too far, in the opinion of the appeals court."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:22 PM

Judge Sarmina To Decide Whether Msgr. Lynn Gets Out Of Jail

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
Big Trial

By Ralph Cipriano
for Bigtrial.net

The state Superior Court has reversed the conviction of Msgr. William J. Lynn, saying he never should have been charged in the first place with the crime of endangering the welfare of a child.

But whether Lynn gets out of jail now is up to Judge M. Teresa Sarmina, the trial court judge who put Lynn away, and whose prior rulings in the case have been described by a panel of three Superior Court judges as "fundamentally flawed."

At 10 a.m. Monday, Judge Sarmina will convene a bail hearing to determine whether Msgr. Lynn gets out of jail. The hearing will be held in Courtroom 507 of the Criminal Justice Center. Several members of District Attorney Seth Williams' office are expected to attend, and argue that the monsignor deserves to stay in jail while the D.A. appeals the Superior Court opinion.

For Msgr. Lynn's lawyer, Thomas A. Bergstrom, this doesn't make much sense.

"The Superior Court has said he [Lynn] should be discharged forthwith, so I don’t think that requires any interpretation," Bergstrom said. "Seems to me she [Judge Sarmina] has to do exactly what they’ve ordered," Bergstrom said, referring to the panel of three Superior Court judges who reversed Lynn's conviction.

In the past, however, Judge Sarmina, has not exactly been partial, or merciful, when it comes to Msgr. Lynn.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:09 PM

The Archdiocese Lists Are Not Enough

MINNESOTA
Legal Examiner

Posted by Mike Bryant
December 26, 2013

Last week was a step in the right direction with the release of the Minneapolis/St Paul Archdiocese List , however there is a lot more information needed. The Archdiocese needs to come clean with the truth and give Zero Tolerance, meaning:

- They need to be open and disclose information voluntarily. The press release suggested that they were releasing the list on their own. Actually, it was the order of Judge John B. Van de North Jr.. The Church fought the release each time a request has been made.

- The real concern needs to be about the survivors. The day before the list disclosure emails and letters were sent out to 92 parishes warning them that they were churches where these pedophiles had been placed. It is an example of how backwards the information has come out. These churches in many cases should have never had these placements to begin with.

- The lists need to be updated. It is clear that there are names that are missing or potentially intentionally not being included. If there is a bankruptcy, you can be assured that they will have all of the names so that they are protecting their financing. It is another place where they are backwards in who should be protected.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:42 PM

Former St. Henry’s pastor, music director denies news report allegations

MINNESOTA
Monticello Times

By Tim Hennagir
December 26, 2013

Harry Walsh, former pastor and music director of St. Henry Catholic Church in Monticello, has denied a list of claims made against him in a recent news report.

Walsh provided an emailed statement to the Monticello Times last Friday (Dec. 20) that stated the following: “I am saddened by the Dec.19, 2013, Minnesota Public Radio (MPR) report. I am sad that facts are brushed aside and skewed to advance a narrative unrelated to me, and sad that sensationalism trivializes the real and important work that I do. Any allegations of abuse by me are unfounded.”

Walsh added: “I am not going to address every misstatement from the MPR report and [a] subsequent Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis press release, but I do want to address the two allegations and my decision to seek laicization [removal of rights to exercise the functions of an ordained ministry.]”

While Walsh’s name wasn’t on a recently released list of priests credibly accused of sexually abusing minors, MPR presented church documents that contained information he had been accused in the 1990s of molesting a 15-year-old girl in Detroit in the mid-1960s and a 12-year-old altar boy in in South St. Paul the early 1980s. The archdiocese contributed to a financial settlement for the girl in 1996, MPR reported in its investigative story, adding two archbishops allowed him to continue working in parishes until the fall of 2011.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:40 PM

Monsignor Lynn Proves Why President Obama Must Step Up

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
Christian Catholicism

Jerry Slevin

Monsignor Lynn’s trial court reversal, likely to be appealed further, turned on a narrow technical interpretation of a new statute. Importantly, the appellate court did not dispute the lower court’s substantial evidence about Lynn’s shameful role in shuffling several dozen predatory priests from parish to parish. Indeed, as reported in the Philadelphia Inquirer recently, the three appellate judge court indicated: “… We cannot dispute that the Commonwealth [ Philly prosecutors] presented more than adequate evidence to sufficiently demonstrate that [Lynn] prioritized the Archdiocese’s reputation over the safety of potential victims of sexually abusive priests and, by inference, that the same prioritization dominated [Lynn's] handling of [an abusive priest], … “, the ruling said.

Paradoxically, Lynn’s trial reversal, and the current publicity it is generating, are helping the cause of curtailing priest abuse. They also keep the pressure on Pope Francis to address the issue of bishop accountability directly and transparently, after nine months mainly of avoiding it.

Once again, the inadequate US state law criminal process for prosecuting the US Catholic hierarchy has failed children. Pennsylvania state officials are too often restricted by narrow laws pushed often by the Pennsylvania Catholic bishops’ very influential and well funded lobbyists. President Obama needs to follow Australia’s effective lead now, and set up a US national commission to investigate institututional child sexual abuse and to propose new national legislation. For more, see, “A New Year’s Wish For a Catholic Church Democracy”, at: http://wp.me/P2YEZ3-W7 .

Incidentally, Fr. Kevin McDonough, the priest brother of President Obama’s Chief of Staff, Denis McDonough, reportedly appears now potentially to be facing similar cover-up allegations in Minneapolis (USA). Significantly, the reported Minneapolis allegations in a couple of the reported cases involve the Vatican and relate also to Federal crimes, which may soon require Federal prosecutors, if they are not involved already. This may get sticky for the Obama Administration. Will Obama’s conservative opposition risk jeopardizing their current “political alliance” with US bishops and press Obama on any of the Minneapolis cases? Time should soon tell.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:37 PM

ANALYSIS: Philadelphia abuse reversal conveys a painful lesson

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
Religion News Service

David Gibson | Dec 27, 2013

(RNS) This week’s court decision that freed a senior cleric in Philadelphia who had been jailed for shielding an abusive priest was a symbolic setback for victims’ advocates but one with a substantial, and discouraging, message for their cause: None of the churchmen implicated in cover-ups during the worst decades of abuse will likely ever face charges.

The June 2012 conviction of Monsignor William Lynn was seen as a landmark verdict because until then no one in the upper levels of the Catholic Church had ever faced a trial or been found guilty for shielding molesters.

Lynn, who oversaw clergy and fielded abuse complaints for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia from 1992 to 2004, was sentenced to three to six years on one count of child endangerment. After serving 18 months in prison, Lynn was expected to be released from prison soon.

During the past few decades, a number of abusers have been convicted, and many defrocked. But public outrage was largely directed against the bishops and senior church officials like Lynn who, as the appeals court noted in its ruling on Thursday (Dec. 26), “prioritized the archdiocese’s reputation over the safety of potential victims of sexually abusive priests.”

But the appeals ruling also said that Lynn’s behavior, while outrageous to much of the Catholic faithful and the wider public, did not violate the child welfare law in place at the time of the abuse. ...

Nicholas Cafardi, a canon and civil lawyer at the Duquesne Law School in Pittsburgh and former head of the Catholic bishops’ national review board on clergy abuse, said Francis must broaden the mandate of the commission to include his brother bishops.

“We have to insist that there be repercussions for any bishop who would re-assign or cover-up for a sexually abusive priest,” Cafardi wrote in an email. “The church will never have closure on this issue unless the larger problem of hierarchical complicity is dealt with.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:15 PM

Church of England volunteers subject to 58,000 criminal records checks in last year

UNITED KINGDOM
Gloucester Citizen

THOUSANDS of church volunteers could be pushed into leaving their roles because of “overzealous” criminal record checks.

Figures show the Church of England carried out 58,000 such checks in the last 12 months alone before allowing people to work in parishes or take office roles.

In 2010, Annabel Hayter quit her role as chairman of the Gloucester Cathedral Flower Guild after being told she and her team would have to undergo the vetting process.

She had minimal contact with children, but church authorities were concerned that she and her fellow flower arrangers shared a lavatory with choirboys.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:09 PM

'Overzealous’ Church vets 58,000 workers in a year

UNITED KINGDOM
Telegraph

The Church of England has carried out tens of thousands of criminal record checks on volunteers in a move that critics claim risks driving away bell ringers and florists

By Graeme Paton 26 Dec 2013

Volunteer bell ringers, florists and organists risk being pushed out the Church of England because of a regime of “overzealous” criminal record checks, the Archbishop of Canterbury has been warned.

Figures obtained through the Freedom of Information Act show that at least 58,000 people have been vetted by the Church in the last 12 months alone before being allowed to work in parishes or take back office roles.

More than 80 per cent of the checks carried out by individual dioceses were on volunteers, it emerged.
In many cases, vetting procedures are used in relation to adults working with children in Sunday schools and church crèches – a target of the government’s Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS).

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:05 PM

The Pennsylvania Superior Court’s Ruling

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
National Survivor Advocates Coalition

EDITORIAL

The Pennsylvania Superior Court has dismissed the child endangerment conviction of Philadelphia’s Monsignor William Lynn.

The Court’s position is that Monsignor Lynn didn’t supervise the child or children who were sexually abused by a priest of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, and it doesn’t think that supervising the welfare of children is a standard that should hold in this case. The Court said it did not believe sufficient evidence was presented to convict Monsignor Lynn for child endangerment.

We hope the Church doesn’t take comfort in this ruling – particularly when it celebrates the Feast of the Innocents on December 28.

It was a dangerous time to be a child 2000 years ago in Herod’s reign if you were two years old or younger. Didn’t matter if the solider who drew his sword to kill you knew you or not. You were just as dead.

Time doesn’t correct everything.

It’s still a dangerous time to be a child.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:30 PM

Appeals court reverses child endangerment conviction of Msgr. Lynn

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
CatholicPhilly

BY MATTHEW GAMBINO

The highest ranking official of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia convicted of a crime in connection with the sexual abuse scandal of recent years may soon walk free from prison.

A three-judge panel of the Pennsylvania Superior Court reversed the conviction of Msgr. William Lynn Dec. 26. The former secretary for clergy of the archdiocese was convicted on one count of endangering the welfare of a child in June 2012.

The priest has spent the past 18 months, almost to the day, in Waymart state prison in Northeastern Pennsylvania, where he was serving a three-to-six year term.

“The decision by the Superior Court to overturn this conviction,” read a statement by the Philadelphia Archdiocese, “does not and will not alter the Church’s commitment to assist and support the survivors of sexual abuse on their journey toward healing or our dedicated efforts to ensure that all young people in our care are safe.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:26 PM

The Msgr. Lynn Case: A Reader Told Me So

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
The American Conservative

By ROD DREHER • December 27, 2013

Last year, when a Pennsylvania jury convicted Msgr William Lynn of the Catholic Archdiocese of Philadelphia to prison for his role in a child sex abuse cover-up, reader Mike Ehling wrote to me:

I’m an ex-Catholic, and I have no desire to defend a paternalistic hierarchy, and Lynn is no one I would ever want to hire as a personnel director, but I have a very real concern that….

(1) Judge Sarmina was just wa-a-ay too pro-prosecution.

(2) Lynn was being held to the standards of 2012 for his actions from 1992 to 2004, at a time when “one-strike” policies were simply not that prevalent and rehabilitation was seen as more of an option.

(3) Lynn was not a “mandatory reporter” under Pennsylvania law (blame the Pennsylvania legislature for this if you like), so he had no legal obligation (whatever moral obligation you might assert) to report suspected instances of child abuse to the police.

(4) Lynn had (in my view) the right to give a suspected priest the benefit of the doubt and aim for treatment rather than prosecution. Note that I’m not saying Lynn should have done this, only that I don’t think that his having done so is so outrageous as to justify criminal (as opposed to civil monetary) liability.

The real problem, I think, is that clergy in general make lousy personnel directors. Clergy are trained in a “helping” profession, while personnel directors often find themselves in the “enforcement” role. My reading of this case is that Lynn was a well-meaning priest who was trying to do right but who was in wa-a-ay over his head. Moreover, note that Cardinal Bevilacqua was not just Lynn’s boss and an important member of the hierarchy but that he was also a civil lawyer, with a degree from St. John’s University Law School in Queens, New York, which gives added emphasis to directions he gave to Lynn.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:24 PM

Msgr. Lynn still guilty, Reversal only says law did not apply to him

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
City of Angels

Kay Ebeling

The Philadelphia appeals court ruling yesterday did NOT say Monsignor William Lynn was innocent, it ruled only that the law did not cover him.

Lynn's attorneys won this appeal saying Pennsylvania's child-endangerment law at the time of the crimes applied only to parents and caregivers, not to “supervisors" such as the Monsignor. The reversal "turned on disputed interpretations of Pennsylvania's former child welfare law," as described in the New York Times.

There is no denial of Monsignor Lynn's guilt here, only attorneys finding a way once again to twist the Law to their client’s interest, with enough cash to pursue it until they win.

So as Donoho’ of the Catholic League and others jump in and call this a victory for a wrongfully accused priest, let’s take a minute to look at the whole truth.

Since his attorneys say he was not a caregiver, are they then arguing that he did not care? Because we all know that is the truth here.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:21 PM

Ruling in Roman Catholic official's sex abuse case could help former Penn State administrators

PENNSYLVANIA
PennLive

By Charles Thompson | cthompson@pennlive.com

A Roman Catholic priest lodged in a northeastern Pennsylvania prison cell may just have hit the legal equivalent of a home run for former Penn State President Graham Spanier and two of his former top aides at the university.

That’s because, some legal experts say, Pennsylvania Superior Court’s reversal Thursday of Monsignor William Lynn’s 2012 child endangerment conviction may well knock out similar charges lodged against Spanier, his athletic director, Tim Curley, and his vice president for business and finance Gary Schultz.

“There are huge implications for the Penn State prosecution from this case,” said Wes Oliver, a professor at the Duquesne University School of Law who has closely watched the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal.

“This could mean that some of the most serious charges (against Spanier, Curley and Schultz) are gone,” Oliver said.

The three former Penn State administrators face trial in Harrisburg next year on charges that they lied to state investigators about what they knew of child sex abuse allegations against Sandusky, then a beloved Penn State football hero, and what they did in response.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:17 PM

US court reverses Mgr. Lynn’s conviction for child endangerment

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
Vatican Insider

The Roman Catholic Church official had been accused of covering up child abuse committed by priests. The judge who sentenced Lynn in 2012, said he had "enabled monsters in clerical garb ... to destroy the souls of children"

VATICAN INSIDER STAFF
ROME

Mgr. William Lynn, the Roman Catholic Church official who was accused of covering up priest-abuse cases has had his conviction overturned by Philadelphia’s court of appeal. He is being released from prison after being sentenced to 3 to 6 years in prison back in July 2012.

Mgr. Lynn had been secretary for clergy for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia from 1992 to 2004, was in charge of assigning priests to the various parishes and investigating sex abuse claims. The US press said he had been accused of allowing a priest suspected of abusing minors to continue working with children.

According to the judge who sentenced Mgr. Lynn in 2012, the Church official had "enabled monsters in clerical garb ... to destroy the souls of children." But the appeal court ruled that "the evidence was insufficient to demonstrate that [Lynn] acted with the 'intent of promoting or facilitating'" the offence.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:24 PM

Monsignor's lawyers ask trial judge to free him

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
Philadelphia Inquirer

ALLISON STEELE, INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
POSTED: Friday, December 27, 2013

The Philadelphia judge who sentenced Msgr. William J. Lynn to three to six years in prison for his handling of priest sex-abuse complaints is now being asked to free him.

Lawyers for Lynn, whose 2012 conviction was overturned this week by a Superior Court panel, have filed a motion to Common Pleas Judge M. Teresa Sarmina to have Lynn immediately released on bail, lead lawyer Thomas A. Bergstrom said Friday.

Sarmina is expected to review Lynn's bail conditions and determine if she wants a hearing on the matter, Bergstrom said.

The judge will likely decide next week.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:15 PM

Bail Hearing Set for PA Monsignor After Reversal

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
ABC News

By MARYCLAIRE DALE Associated Press

A bail hearing has been set Monday for a Roman Catholic church official after his child-endangerment conviction was overturned.

Monsignor William Lynn won't be at the hearing in Philadelphia. He remains in custody at a state prison in northeast Pennsylvania.

The 62-year-old Lynn is the first church official ever prosecuted over his handling of priest sex-abuse complaints. Lynn has served 18 months of the 3- to 6-year sentence.

But the Superior Court threw out his conviction Thursday, saying the law did not apply in the late 1990s to church supervisors like Lynn.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:12 PM

SNAP Fumes Over Court Decision in Priest Sex Abuse Case

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
WNPV

A Superior Court Panel’s ruling that reverses the conviction of Monsignor William Lynn on charges that he sent predator priests to parishes in the Diocese of Philadelphia, where they were again in contact with children, is met with outrage. Karen Polesir is the Spokesperson for the Philadelphia region of The Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests or Snap.

“He knew what he was doing. He claimed he was doing it because he was told to do it. He’s a grownup and he’s supposed to be an ethical man, so when you are told to put children in harms way, you can say no.”

Polesir is asking people to protest the decision and urges Philadelphia D.A. Seth Williams to appeal the decision. Lynn’s attorney, Thomas Bergstrom, maintains that an injustice occurred when Lynn was convicted. Bergstrom says, Lynn is an innocent man. Lynn served 18 months of a 3 to 6 year prison term.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:35 PM

Monsignor Lynn may be off the hook for child endangerment, but that doesn't absolve him of moral culpability

PHILADLEPHIA (PA)
Catholic Online

PHILADELPHIA, PA (Catholic Online) - Last year, Monsignor William Lynn went to prison for covering up cases of priests in his charge who molested children. Instead of reporting those priests to authorities, he simply transferred them to other parishes where they went on to abuse other children.

Lynn, 62, was sentenced to three to six years in prison for the conviction.

However, a three-judge Superior Court panel has overturned his conviction saying that under the law, he could not be held responsible for what happened to the abused children.

The judges are right, therefore Monsignor Lynn will be released, possibly as early as today.

Thomas Bergstrom, Lynn's attorney, told the media following the ruling, "He's been in prison 18 months for a crime he didn't commit and couldn't commit under the law. It's incredible what happened to this man."

But is it really?

When Monsignor Lynn served as Secretary of the Clergy from 1992 to 2004, he knowingly reassigned pedophile priests to several different parishes in Philadelphia. He did the wrong thing and children paid the price. Although Lynn may not be legally culpable for what happened, he is certainly morally responsible. As faithful Catholics, we must hold our Church fathers to a higher standard of morality because the trust we have in them is virtually absolute and they are responsible for the most important aspect of our lives, which is our spiritual well-being. We trust these men with our children and our souls.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:19 PM

Fugitive priest found by Dallas Morning News pleads guilty again to sex-abuse charges

AUSTRALIA
The Dallas Morning News

By Reese Dunklin
rdunklin@dallasnews.com
9:45 am on December 27, 2013

A notorious figure from our 2004-2005 series about the Catholic Church’s global transfer of sexually abusive priests has admitted to molesting even more children.

Australian prosecutors had filed 34 criminal charges against Frank Klep. That number was cut to 12 in a guilty plea this month, according to news reports. The 70-year-old now awaits an April pre-sentencing hearing in Melbourne.

During the recent court hearing, Klep said only one word.

“Guilty.”

This is Klep’s third time through Australia’s justice system. The latest charges arose from a parliamentary inquiry last year and involve 14 now-grown boys.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:26 AM

Court reverses decision, orders Philly priest released from prison

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
The Pilot

PHILADELPHIA (CNS) -- A panel of judges for a Pennsylvania Superior Court reversed the decision on a priest's conviction in handling a clerical abuse case and ordered his release from prison.

The decision, announced Dec. 26, involves Msgr. William Lynn, former secretary for clergy in the Philadelphia Archdiocese. Msgr. Lynn has served 18 months of a 2012 prison sentence of three to six years after being found guilty of endangering the welfare of a child, a felony.

Prosecutors had argued that the priest had reassigned abusive priests to new parishes in the Philadelphia Archdiocese in his diocesan role as clergy secretary. However, Msgr. Lynn's attorneys argued that Pennsylvania's child-endangerment law at the time applied only to parents and caregivers, not to supervisors, which was Msgr. Lynn's role.

Prosecutors could appeal the Superior Court panel's decision or ask the full Superior Court to rehear the case.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:24 AM

Priest abuse victims deny they received therapy

MALTA
Times of Malta

Eleven men subjected to years of child abuse by two priests claim they have never received the therapy promised by the Church.

Lawrence Grech, speaking on behalf of the victims, told Times of Malta he had never been approached by the Church.

When contacted, a Curia spokesman denied Mr Grech’s claims. He insisted the men had all been contacted by the Missionary Society of St Paul in writing back in 2011. Since then, he added, some had even received counselling services.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:21 AM

JUSTICE FOR PHILLY’S MSGR. LYNN

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
Catholic League

Bill Donohue comments on the decision by a Pennsylvania appeals court to overturn the conviction of Msgr. William Lynn:

The guilty parties that worked overtime to convict an innocent man—they include attorneys, judges, newspapers, professional “victims’ groups,” activists, TV talking heads—have been disgraced. This is a monumental win for justice, and a tremendous setback for anti-Catholic bigots. Their goal is to “get a bishop,” and if that doesn’t work, then they settle for the next in line. They are fundamentally dishonest, and now they have been disabled.

Philadelphia District Attorney Lynne Abraham began this witch-hunt—she was authorized to pursue sexual misconduct in all religious communities, but instead she selectively chose to focus exclusively on Catholics—and then she passed the baton to her successor, Seth Williams. All of them knew that Msgr. Lynn did not know, or know of, the drug-addicted, lying, scheming, accuser, Billy Doe. They also knew that laws applied ex post facto (e.g., the 2007 amendment of the 1972 child endangerment statute) would not stand scrutiny on appeal. But none of this mattered.

So how does the Philadelphia Inquirer feel today? It refused $58,000 from the Catholic League for an ad earlier in the year that told the truth about this subject. How does David Clohessy, the vindictive, weeping, professional “victims’ group” head feel? How do rapacious lawyers like Jeffrey Anderson, Rebecca Randles, and Marci Hamilton feel?

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:12 AM

Former Legion followers criticize oversight of order

UNITED STATES
National Catholic Reporter

Jason Berry | Dec. 27, 2013

Top leaders of Regnum Christi, the lay wing of the Legion of Christ, knew as early as 2006 that Fr. Marcial Maciel Degollado, the scandal-tarnished founder of the order, had a grown daughter, but concealed the information from the members at least three years, NCR has learned.

In exclusive NCR interviews, Elizabeth Kunze, who spent 16 years as a consecrated celibate in Regnum Christi, and Legionary Fr. Peter Byrne, who is leaving the order, denounced rooted secrecy and betrayal in the order and a bungled Vatican reform effort.

Kunze, of Milwaukee, called Regnum Christi a "cult" and said the Vatican 2010 visitation, or investigation of the Legion, "was rigged."

"I've winced for years every time someone challenged [Regnum Christi], saying it was a cult or cult-like," said Kunze, 47, who works as a bilingual counselor for a Milwaukee Catholic school in a Latino community.

"Even now it is painful for me to consider that description, but a year ago I told someone about the movement" -- as Legionaries and Regnum Christi members call the joint effort -- "and I said quite plainly it was a cult. I feel ashamed for having been caught up in a cult for so many years. It is not easy to admit, but I finally feel free enough to say what I believe."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:18 AM

Our Left Wing Pope Is Just a Creation of Fox News

UNITED STATES
City of Angels

Kay Ebeling

It woke me up, this idea, probably many others have had it already but isn't it suspicious that our new left wing pope is being guided through the media by a Fox News trollop? This pic from NCR Online of Greg Burke, papal flack, praying for the camera, gives an idea of what more is in store as Fox News extends its fingers into Rome. Below pic is a stream of news stories about it, more to come from me in January.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:15 AM

Conviction Overturned For Priest Jailed In Abuse Scandal

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
OPB

After spending a year and a half in jail, a Philadelphia Roman Catholic priest convicted of child endangerment will go free after a court overturned the 2012 verdict.

NPR’s Jeff Brady says although Monsignor William Lynn, 62, was never accused of abuse himself, he was convicted in 2012 of putting children in danger by moving abusing priests to unwitting parishes. Lynn was an official of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia at the time.

On Thursday, however, a three-judge panel unanimously rejected prosecutors’ arguments that Lynn was legally responsible for the welfare the children allegedly abused by priests under his supervision.

“He’s been in prison 18 months for a crime he didn’t commit and couldn’t commit under the law,” Lynn’s attorney, Thomas Bergstrom, said. “It’s incredible what happened to this man.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:25 AM

Vote in the FOX UP Daily Pulse!

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
Upper Michigans Source

PHILADELPHIA, PA (AP) -- Lawyers for a Roman Catholic church official are going to try to get him released as early as this week from a state prison in Pennsylvania -- now that an appeals court has reversed his conviction for child endangerment.

The appeals panel is ordering the release of Monsignor William Lynn. But prosecutors are planning to fight the ruling, and resist any move to release him.

Lynn is serving a three-to-six-year prison sentence. He was charged over his handling of priest sex-abuse complaints. He was the first U.S. church official ever charged or convicted for the handling of those complaints. ...

Tonight in the Daily Pulse we're wondering: Do you think Monsignor William Lynn should be released from prison? Yes or no? Why or why not?

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:22 AM

Court overturns conviction of Philadelphia priest jailed in landmark case

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
Catholic Culture

In a unanimous ruling, a Pennsylvania appellate court has overturned the 2012 conviction of Msgr. William Lynn, who served as the Archdiocese of Philadelphia’s vicar of clergy from 1992 to 2004.

The court found that “the state’s child-endangerment law at the time of Lynn's conviction applied to parents and caregivers but did not extend to institutional supervisors,” the Philadelphia Inquirer reported.

“When Monsignor Lynn's sentence was announced last summer, the Archdiocese reemphasized that it has changed dramatically since the events over ten years ago that were at the center of the trial and reaffirmed that dramatic steps have been taken to ensure that all young people in our care find a safe and nurturing environment,” the archdiocese said in a statement. “It also expressed a hope that the nature of the sentence imposed on Monsignor Lynn would be objectively reviewed. That has happened.”

“The decision by the Superior Court to overturn this conviction does not and will not alter the Church's commitment to assist and support the survivors of sexual abuse on their journey toward healing or our dedicated efforts to ensure that all young people in our care are safe,” the statement continued.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:20 AM

Estados Unidos: revocan condena a sacerdote acusado de encubrir abuso infantil

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
Entorno Inteligente

El Comercio de Perú / BBC . Un tribunal de Pensilvania, en Estados Unidos, revocó la condena de un sacerdote católico encarcelado hace más de un año por acusaciones relacionadas al abuso sexual de niños.

Monseñor William Lynn, que trabajó en la Arquidiócesis hasta 2004, fue condenado por poner en peligro a los menores. Los fiscales sostuvieron que Lynn hizo arreglos para que curas acusados de abusar de niños fueran transferidos a otras parroquias en Filadelfia.

Fue el primer funcionario de la Iglesia Católica estadounidense en ser acusado o condenado por el manejo de las quejas de abuso infantil contra sacerdotes.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:18 AM

Revocan la sentencia contra un sacerdote acusado de encubrir casos de pederastia

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
Noticias 24

(Caracas, 26 de diciembre. AP).- La declaración de culpabilidad de un clérigo católico de Filadelfia encarcelado más de un año por su manejo de las quejas de abuso sexual cometido por sacerdotes fue sobreseída el jueves y se ordenó su liberación

Al desestimar el histórico caso penal, un panel de tres jueces de la Corte Superior rechazó por unanimidad los argumentos de los fiscales de que monseñor William Lynn, el primer clérigo estadounidense en ser acusado o declarado culpable por el manejo de las quejas de abuso sexual cometido por sacerdotes, supervisaba el bienestar de cualquier niño en particular.

“Ha estado en prisión durante 18 meses por un crimen que no cometió y que no podía cometer ante la ley”, dijo su abogado Thomas Bergstrom. “Es increíble lo que le sucedió a este hombre”.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:16 AM

Pope Mouth on Baby Jesus Thigh Image Turns Pedophile Priest Victims' Stomachs

UNITED STATES
City of Angels

Kay Ebeling

This pic may be religious to some, but with hundreds of thousands around the world going public that Catholic priests raped us as children, the Vatican should take great pains to avoid releasing images like this where the Pope appears to be nibbling on the Baby Jesus's thigh while the child looks up in ecstasy. Oh, no, I see, he's not nibbling the thigh he's just kissing it. Grotesque.

The photo churned up awful awful memories as soon as I saw it, since I was age five when Father Horne diddled me, and our position and posture was likely very similar to this image. The statue being Baby Jesus just adds to the confusion in the triggers the image musters.

The Vatican has recently revised its PR machine putting a former Fox News exec in charge, and they release this picture?

That they can be so crass as to put the Pope in this position with cameras around him tells me that Catholic Church heirarchy still don't see the damage they did to us, or the gravity of hundreds of thousands of sex crimes against children unprosecuted. With a wave of a hand to the cameraman, they dismiss the pain of victims all over the world who will see this photo.

Recent papal announcements of a new commission to investigate clergy sex abuse of children is more PR produced by that same Fox News guy, and it successfully distracted American news media from the prosecution being attempted against the Vatican by The Hague at this time. No one in Catholic Church hierarchy has shown an understanding of the epidemic of sex crimes against children they let happen in their parishes. Still, so many people go to their churches. Kinda makes you long for a new planet to live on.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:13 AM

Pa. Court Reverses Monsignor William Lynn’s Conviction

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
CBS Philly

By Steve Tawa and Ileana Diaz

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – In a major ruling in the local priest abuse case, an appeals court has dismissed the criminal case against a high-ranking church official in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. It says he was wrongly convicted for his handling of abuse complaints.

Monsignor William Lynn has been behind bars since June of 2012, serving three to six years in prison at Waymart, in northeastern Pennsylvania.

“The superior court has ordered him to be released forthwith,” his defense lawyer, Thomas Bergstrom said.

Bergstrom notes that the unanimous decision from Pennsylvania Superior Court reverses the child-endangerment conviction, saying the statute did not apply to him:

“And that he didn’t commit that crime, and as a matter of law, couldn’t commit that crime. Superior court’s opinion vindicates that position.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:09 AM

Court Reverses Church Official's Landmark Conviction

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
NBC 10

[with video]

A Roman Catholic church official who has been jailed for more than a year for his handling of priest sex-abuse complaints had his conviction reversed and was ordered released Thursday.

In dismissing the landmark criminal case, a three-judge Superior Court panel unanimously rejected prosecutors' arguments that Monsignor William Lynn, the first U.S. church official ever charged or convicted for the handling of clergy-abuse complaints, supervised the welfare of any particular child.

"It pours salt info the wounds of me and every other survivor out there. Every other survivor," said Phil Gaughn, who alleges sex abuse at Lynn's hands.

Gaughn claims he was sexually abused by a priest at a Northeast Philadelphia church by a priest that Monsignor Lynn placed there. Gaughn has a pending civil suit against Lynn and the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.

"He's been in prison 18 months for a crime he didn't commit and couldn't commit under the law," said Lynn's attorney, Thomas Bergstrom. "It's incredible what happened to this man."

Lynn, 62, is serving a three- to six-year prison sentence after his child-endangerment conviction last year. His lawyers will try to get him released as early as Thursday from the state prison in Waymart.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:07 AM

Court Reverses Philadelphia Monsignor’s Conviction

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
Wall Street Journal

[court document]

By Tamara Audi

A landmark criminal conviction of a Roman Catholic monsignor imprisoned for his handling of sexual-abuse allegations was overturned Thursday by a Pennsylvania appeals court.

A three-judge Superior Court panel ordered the release of Msgr. William Lynn, the first U.S. Catholic official ever convicted of a criminal charge related to the alleged coverup of sexual abuse of minors by other priests.

Msgr. Lynn, who served in the Philadelphia Archdiocese as a top aide to its archbishop, could be released as early as this week, his lawyer said. He already has served 18 months of a three-to-six-year sentence after a Pennsylvania jury last year found him guilty of child endangerment for allowing a priest accused of sexual abuse to continue to have contact with children.

In overturning his conviction, the court said it “cannot dispute” that there “was more than adequate evidence” presented at trial showing that Msgr. Lynn “prioritized the Archdiocese’s reputation over the safety of potential victims of sexually abusive priests.”

But, the court said, that wasn’t sufficient to prove that Msgr. Lynn was guilty of child endangerment or had “specific information that [the accused priest] intended or was preparing to molest…any other child.”
“I’m gratified and happy,” said Msgr. Lynn’s lawyer, Thomas Bergstrom, adding that the archdiocese has been supportive of Msgr. Lynn, who hopes to remain with the church “and fulfill some priestly duty” once released.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:03 AM

US church official seeks bail; conviction quashed

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
Zee News (India)

Philadelphia: A Roman Catholic church official sentenced to prison for his handling of priest-abuse cases had his conviction overturned, and may soon be back before a judge for bail.

Monsignor William Lynn had served 18 months of his three- to six-year term for child endangerment before the state Superior Court overturned the felony conviction yesterday.

The three-judge panel unanimously rejected arguments that Lynn, the first US church official ever charged or convicted for the handling of clergy-abuse complaints, was legally responsible for an abused boy's welfare. Defense lawyers have argued that Lynn, 62, was convicted under a law passed years after he left his post at the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.

"It was fundamentally unfair from the day it started," defense lawyer Thomas Bergstrom said. "He's been in prison 18 months for a crime he didn't commit and couldn't commit under the law. It's incredible what happened to this man."

Defense lawyers hoped for his immediate release from prison, but the appeals court sent the bail issue back to the trial court. That could put Lynn back before Common Pleas Judge M Teresa Sarmina, who had repeatedly denied defense efforts to have the case dropped before trial.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:01 AM

Holiday shocker: Lynn conviction overturned

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
Philadelphia Daily News

[court document]

DAVID GAMBACORTA, DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITER GAMBACD@PHILLYNEWS.COM, 215-854-5994
POSTED: Friday, December 27, 2013

MONSIGNOR William Lynn received a belated Christmas gift yesterday from the Superior Court of Pennsylvania: a get-out-of-jail-free card.

A three-judge appeals panel overturned Lynn's 2012 conviction of felony child endangerment for his questionable oversight of Edward Avery, a now-defrocked priest from the Archdiocese of Philadelphia who pleaded guilty in 2012 of sexually assaulting an altar boy in 1998.

Lynn, 62, who served as the archdiocese's secretary for clergy, has spent the last 18 months behind bars as part of a three- to six-year sentence.

He was the first Roman Catholic Church official in the U.S. to be convicted of a crime connected to abuse allegations against the clergy.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:53 AM

Court overturns landmark clergy sexual abuse conviction

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
Digital Journal

[court document]

By Yukio Strachan
Dec 26, 2013

Philadelphia - In shocking blow to victims of child sexual abuse and their advocates, a Roman Catholic Church senior official who was found guilty of covering up child sexual abuse for years had his conviction overturned Thursday by a Pennsylvania appeals court.

"[W]e are compelled to reverse Appellant’s judgment of sentence," John T. Bender, the president judge of the 15-member appellate court, wrote in the 43-page opinion. "And, as there are no other offenses for which he was convicted in this case, Appellant is ordered discharged."

And with those words, the 2012 landmark criminal conviction against Monsignor William J. Lynn of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, who was found guilty of endangering the welfare of children by assigning a known pedophile priest to a parish where he subsequently raped a child, was dismissed.

"He's been in prison 18 months for a crime he didn't commit and couldn't commit under the law," said his attorney, Thomas Bergstrom, the Associated Press reported.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:50 AM

Court reverses decision to convict Catholic priest of covering up sex abuse

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
WTVR

(CNN) — The first Roman Catholic priest in the United States imprisoned for covering up the crimes of offending priests was ordered to be released Thursday after an appeals court reversed his conviction.

Monsignor William Lynn has been in prison since he was convicted in July 2012. He was convicted of one count of child endangerment and sentenced to three to six years.

Attorney Thomas Bergstrom said Lynn could be released as soon as Friday, depending on paperwork.

Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams said his office likely will appeal the ruling.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:48 AM

Appeals court reverses monsignor's conviction in child sex abuse case

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

December 26, 2013

By Ben Finley, Allison Steele and Aubrey Whelen / Philadelphia Inquirer

PHILADELPHIA -- A state appeals court on Thursday reversed the conviction of Monsignor William J. Lynn, the former Archdiocese of Philadelphia administrator who became the first church official nationwide to be tried for covering up child sex abuse by priests.

In a 43-page opinion, a three-judge Superior Court panel wrote that prosecutors had misapplied Pennsylvania's child endangerment law by claiming that Monsignor Lynn, as the archdiocese secretary for clergy, was responsible for abuse because he supervised a priest, Edward Avery, when Avery sexually abused an altar boy in the mid-1990s.

The court wrote that the law, as it was written during Monsignor Lynn's tenure in the 1990s and early 2000s, only held accountable people who directly supervised children.

Monsignor Lynn, 62, has been serving a three- to six-year prison term since his conviction and sentencing last year. His lead lawyer, Thomas A. Bergstrom, said he hoped that the monsignor would be freed in a few days.

"It's the right result, and it's the right decision," Mr. Bergstrom said. "It's unfortunate that he had to spend 18 months in prison before we got it."

Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams said his office likely will appeal the decision. "I am disappointed and strongly disagree with the court's decision," he said. ...

David Clohessy, executive director of the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests, or SNAP, was disappointed by the decision. He said church officials have "time and time again" used expensive, smart lawyers to escape responsibility for abuses. "I think many, many survivors and betrayed Catholics will feel very sad about this decision," he said.

Monsignor Lynn's supporters maintained that he was being made a scapegoat for the church hierarchy, and he consistently maintained that he followed orders. "We can't have the Salem witch hunts on Catholic priests, like they've had in the past," said Joe Maher of Opus Bono, a network for priests accused of sexual assault. "This will send a message to other prosecutors that you really have to find and hold accountable those that have caused the harm to the victims, and not to those that may have been in authority over those who were abusing."

As the secretary for clergy under Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua for nearly a dozen years, Monsignor Lynn had responsibilities that included proposing assignments for priests and investigating complaints against them. Prosecutors portrayed him as a powerful gatekeeper who quietly shuffled abusive priests between parishes, misinformed parishioners and worked harder to protect the church's reputation than he did to protect children.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:46 AM

Long, unusual journey for accused Minnesota priest turned sexologist

MINNESOTA
Duluth News Tribune

By: Madeleine Baran, MPR.org/100.5 FM

When beloved priest Harry Walsh retired two years ago, parishioners of St. Henry’s Catholic Church in Monticello, Minn., decorated a VFW hall with paper shamrocks and musical notes to say goodbye.

They sang, gave speeches and cried. Walsh, then 77, had served as the parish’s music minister for nearly a decade.

“You developed close personal relationships with everybody and that gave us all the ability to trust you with all of our personal lives,” one person wrote on a tribute website for the Irish-born priest. “You have blessed this community immeasurably.”

But Walsh had a secret. He’d been accused of sexually abusing a 15-year-old girl and 12-year-old altar boy decades earlier, resulting in a financial settlement for the girl, according to church documents obtained by MPR News. Nonetheless, Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis archbishops Harry Flynn and John Nienstedt allowed him to continue working in parishes until the fall of 2011. And neither bishop called police or warned the public.

More recently, Walsh’s name was not included on a list of 30 “credibly accused” priests released Dec. 5 by the archdiocese.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:43 AM

ARCHDIOCESE RESPONDS TO SUPERIOR COURT RULING REGARDING SENTENCE OF MONSIGNOR WILLIAM J. LYNN

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Philadelphia

When Monsignor Lynn's sentence was announced last summer, the Archdiocese reemphasized that it has changed dramatically since the events over ten years ago that were at the center of the trial and reaffirmed that dramatic steps have been taken to ensure that all young people in our care find a safe and nurturing environment. It also expressed a hope that the nature of the sentence imposed on Monsignor Lynn would be objectively reviewed. That has happened.

The decision by the Superior Court to overturn this conviction does not and will not alter the Church's commitment to assist and support the survivors of sexual abuse on their journey toward healing or our dedicated efforts to ensure that all young people in our care are safe.

Our path forward is to remain vigilant in our efforts now and in the years to come. This path includes providing resources and support to survivors, our commitment to immediately report any allegation of sexual abuse involving a minor to law enforcement, and restoring the trust of the faithful and all those who look to the Church as a beacon of God's promise and love. The reputation of the Church can only be rebuilt through transparency, honesty and a fulfillment of our responsibility to the young people in our care and the victims and survivors who need our support.

We recognize that today's news is especially difficult for survivors and their families. We profoundly regret their pain.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:41 AM

Court rejects church official’s coverup conviction

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
Boston Globe

By Steven Yaccino | NEW YORK TIMES DECEMBER 27, 2013

NEW YORK — A Pennsylvania appeals court on Thursday overturned the child-endangerment conviction of a Roman Catholic official, upending a landmark court case that had found a senior church member guilty of covering up sexual abuses by priests under his supervision.

The unanimous decision by the Superior Court in Pennsylvania dismissed the criminal case against Monsignor William J. Lynn, who had been sentenced to three to six years.

In the ruling, state Superior Court judges said there was not sufficient evidence to prove that Lynn, 62, had intended to “promote or facilitate” acts of child endangerment, and they ordered his release from prison.

The Philadelphia district attorney, R. Seth Williams, said Thursday that he strongly disagreed with the decision and planned to appeal. ‘‘Because we will be appealing, the conviction still stands for now, and the defendant cannot be lawfully released until the end of the process,’’ Williams said.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:35 AM

Conviction overturned in Philadelphia priest sex-abuse case

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
Courier-Post

[court document]

Written by
Maryclaire Dale
Associated Press

PHILADELPHIA — A Roman Catholic church official jailed for more than a year for his handling of priest sex-abuse complaints had his landmark conviction reversed and was ordered released Thursday.

A three-judge Superior Court panel unanimously rejected prosecution arguments that Monsignor William Lynn, the first U.S. church official ever charged or convicted for the handling of clergy-abuse complaints, was legally responsible for an abused boy’s welfare in the late 1990s.

“He’s been in prison 18 months for a crime he didn’t commit and couldn’t commit under the law,” said his attorney, Thomas Bergstrom. “It’s incredible what happened to this man.”

Lynn, 62, is serving a three-to-six-year prison sentence after his child-endangerment conviction last year. His lawyers hoped for his immediate release Thursday from the state prison in Waymart, Pa., but the appeals court denied the request, instead sending the bail issue back to the trial court.

Prosecutors vowed to oppose bail and to challenge the 43-page opinion.

“Because we will be appealing, the conviction still stands for now, and the defendant cannot be lawfully released until the end of the process,” District Attorney Seth Williams said in a statement.

His office contended at trial that Lynn reassigned known predators to new parishes in Philadelphia while he was the archdiocese’s secretary for clergy from 1992 to 2004. Lynn’s conviction stems from the case of one priest, Edward Avery, found to have abused a child in 1998 after such a transfer.

Victims’ groups blasted the reversal.

“We know thousands of betrayed Catholics and wounded victims will be disheartened by this news,” said David Cloches, director of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests.

Lynn’s attorneys have long argued that the state’s child-endangerment law at the time applied only to parents and caregivers, not supervisors like Lynn. Common Pleas Judge M. Teresa Sarmina had rejected their argument and sent the case to trial.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:31 AM

Penn. appeals court overturns "historic" conviction of Msgr. William Lynn

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
Catholic World Report

December 27, 2013
By Carl E. Olson

The Wall Street Journal reports:

A landmark criminal conviction of a Roman Catholic monsignor imprisoned for his handling of sexual-abuse allegations was overturned Thursday by a Pennsylvania appeals court.

A three-judge Superior Court panel ordered the release of Msgr. William Lynn, the first U.S. Catholic official ever convicted of a criminal charge related to the alleged coverup of sexual abuse of minors by other priests.

Msgr. Lynn, who served in the Philadelphia Archdiocese as a top aide to its archbishop, could be released as early as this week, his lawyer said. He already has served 18 months of a three-to-six-year sentence after a Pennsylvania jury last year found him guilty of child endangerment for allowing a priest accused of sexual abuse to continue to have contact with children.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:28 AM

**HUGE BREAKING** Appellate Court OVERTURNS Historic Philly Conviction of Msgr. Lynn [UPDATE: Court Docs Added]

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
TheMediaReport

[court ruling]

***MAJOR BREAKING STORY*** In a landmark July 2012 event which made headlines around the world, Philadelphia's Msgr. William J. Lynn became the first Catholic official convicted on the claim of failing to supervise abusive priests. An appellate court has now overturned this wrong conviction. [See full background]

• [THU. 12/26/13, 1:06PM] … Associated Press:
"A Pennsylvania appeals court has ruled that a Roman Catholic church official was wrongly convicted for his handling of priest sex-abuse complaints.

"The unanimous decision released Thursday by the state Superior Court also dismisses the criminal case against Monsignor William Lynn."

• [THU. 12/26/13, 1:46PM] … Ralph Cipriano / BigTrial.net coverage! … "This whole prosecution was totally dishonest from day one," Lynn's attorney Thomas Bergstrom tells Cipriano. "He's been sitting in jail 18 months for a crime he couldn't possibly commit as a matter of law."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:23 AM

December 26, 2013

Conviction of Monsignor in Abuse Case Overturned

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
The New York Times

By ERIK ECKHOLM and STEVEN YACCINO
Published: December 26, 2013

A Pennsylvania appeals court on Thursday overturned the criminal conviction of a Roman Catholic official who was accused of covering up sexual abuses by priests he supervised. The court rejected the legal basis for a prosecution that was viewed as a milestone in holding senior church officials accountable for keeping abuse reports secret in past decades and transferring predatory priests to unwary new parishes.

The official, Msgr. William J. Lynn of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, has spent 18 months in prison, but was not released and now must apply for bail.

He was the first senior church official in the United States to be criminally indicted not for abusing children himself, but for lax oversight of priests with histories of committing sexual abuse.

His conviction in June 2012 on one count of child endangerment, and sentence of three to six years in prison, was lauded by victim advocates as an overdue assignment of responsibility to senior church officials. But it was portrayed by Monsignor Lynn’s supporters as overly harsh for a man who made misjudgments but was following the orders of an archbishop, who has since died.

Thomas A. Bergstrom, a lawyer for Monsignor Lynn, called the ruling “a strong opinion by a unanimous court.” He said of the monsignor: “He shouldn’t have been convicted, He shouldn’t have been sentenced.” ...

“The process of taking this case through the criminal system likely stirred as much change as any conviction,” said Timothy D. Lytton, a professor of law at the Albany Law School and the author of “Holding Bishops Accountable.”

Two grand jury reports and the Lynn trial showed “in excruciating detail,” Mr. Lytton said, that Philadelphia church officials “placed concern about scandal to the church above child welfare.” ...

Whether or not the conviction stands up, Monsignor Lynn’s trial remains a warning to church officials everywhere, said the Rev. Thomas J. Reese, a senior analyst with The National Catholic Reporter and expert on church leadership.

“Everyone in the chancery now knows they could be arrested and prosecuted if they do not follow the law carefully,” he said.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:09 PM

Lynn ruling elates supporters, deflates victim advocates

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
Philadelphia Inquirer

AUBREY WHELAN, INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
POSTED: Thursday, December 26, 2013

Advocates for victims of clergy sex abuse said Thursday that the dismissal of Msgr. William Lynn's conviction on child-endangerment charges is nothing short of a travesty of justice.

"What a disgrace!" Marita Green, president of the Philadelphia chapter of Catholic activist group Voice of the Faithful said in a statement. "I don't care whose 'orders' Lynn followed whether [Cardinals] Bevilaqua's, Krol's or even O'Hara's! It is appalling that the laws in the state of Pennsylvania have been so ineffective that none of these enablers, facilitators and cover-up-ers have gone to jail."

But supporters of the monsignor said they were elated at the news.

"I think that this case will give other prosecutors around the country pause to reflect on who is really accountable for the damage that may have been done to victims of sexual abuse," said Joe Maher, the founder of Opus Bono Sacerdotii, a Detroit organization that provides assistance to accused priests.

Lynn, 62, was the first Catholic Church administrator in the country to be charged with covering up child sex abuse.

Nearly 18 months after he went to prison, his lawyers persuaded a Superior Court panel that prosecutors and the Philadelphia trial judge misapplied the state's child endangerment laws. They contended the laws in place when he was secretary for clergy in the 1990s and early 2000s only applied to those who directly supervised children, and the higher court agreed. ...

Some advocates called for stronger child endangerment laws.

"The issue - and this is an issue that's much broader than this case - is whether the laws are adequate to deal with what we're seeing in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia and elsewhere," said Terry McKiernan, who runs Bishop Accountability, a website documenting abuse by priests.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:04 PM

Msgr. Lynn's Conviction Reversed On Child Endangerment Statute

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
Big Trial

By Ralph Cipriano
for Bigtrial.net

The Superior Court of Pennsylvania today reversed the "historic" conviction of Msgr. William J. Lynn on one count of endangering the welfare of a child.

The court said the "plain language" of the state's 1972 child endangerment law required that Lynn had to be "a supervisor of an endangered child victim" in order to be convicted of the third-degree felony of endangering the welfare of a child. Lynn, however, never even met Billy Doe, the former 10-year-old altar boy who was the alleged victim in the case.

In a 43-page opinion, the Superior Court said Judge M. Teresa Sarmina's decision to allow the conviction of Lynn under the state's original child endangerment law was "fundamentally flawed."

"It's just absolutely wonderful," said Thomas A. Bergstrom, Lynn's defense lawyer. The Superior Court opinion showed "this whole prosecution was totally dishonest from day one," Bergstrom said of District Attorney Seth Williams and his staff. "They had to know that that statute didn't apply to Lynn. And their attempt to justify it just doesn't wash."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:11 PM

Conviction reversed in clergy sex-abuse case

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
Detroit Free Press

PHILADELPHIA — A Catholic Church official will have to fight for bail in Philadelphia after his novel conviction in the priest-abuse scandal was thrown out.

Msgr. William Lynn has served 18 months in prison after a jury found he endangered a boy by helping protect a predator priest. But an appeals court overturned the child endangerment conviction Thursday, saying Lynn was not legally responsible for the boy’s welfare.

Lynn’s lawyers hoped the 62-year-old would go free, but the Superior Court instead sent the bail issue back to the trial court.

Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams pledged to oppose bail and appeal the ruling.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:08 PM

Court reverses decision, orders Philly priest released from prison

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
Catholic Sentinel

PHILADELPHIA — A panel of judges for a Pennsylvania Superior Court reversed the decision on a priest's conviction in handling a clerical abuse case and ordered his release from prison.

The decision, announced Dec. 26, involves Msgr. William Lynn, former secretary for clergy in the Philadelphia Archdiocese. Msgr. Lynn has served 18 months of a 2012 prison sentence of three to six years after being found guilty of endangering the welfare of a child, a felony.

Prosecutors had argued that the priest had reassigned abusive priests to new parishes in the Philadelphia Archdiocese in his diocesan role as clergy secretary. However, Msgr. Lynn's attorneys argued that Pennsylvania's child-endangerment law at the time applied only to parents and caregivers, not to supervisors, which was Msgr. Lynn's role.

Prosecutors could appeal the Superior Court panel's decision or ask the full Superior Court to rehear the case.

The priest's lawyers told The Associated Press they will try to get the priest released from the state prison in Waymart by Jan. 2.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:08 PM

Superior Court Reverses ...

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
Lawyer Herald

Superior Court Reverses Roman Catholic Church Monsignor William Lynn's Conviction For His Handling of Sex-Abuse Complaints (Video)

Roman Catholic Church's William Lynn, who was the first US Church official to be convicted in a criminal court for covering up sex abuse claims, has had his child endangerment conviction reversed its decision by the Philadelphia Court of Appeals, BBC News reported.

Monsignor Lynn had be serving three to six years in prison.

The "unanimous decision released Thursday by the state Superior Court also dismisses the criminal

Prosecutors argued Lynn reassigned predators to new parishes in Philadelphia when he was secretary for clergy from 1992 to 2004. He was in charge of supervising about 800 priests, accordiing to news reports.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:05 PM

Conviction Overturned For Priest Jailed In Abuse Scandal

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
NPR

by SCOTT NEUMAN
December 26, 2013

After spending a year and a half in jail, a Philadelphia Roman Catholic priest convicted of child endangerment will go free after a court overturned the 2012 verdict.

NPR's Jeff Brady says although Monsignor William Lynn, 62, was never accused of abuse himself, he was convicted in 2012 of putting children in danger by moving abusing priests to unwitting parishes. Lynn was an official of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia at the time.

On Thursday, however, a three-judge panel unanimously rejected prosecutors' arguments that Lynn was legally responsible for the welfare the children allegedly abused by priests under his supervision.

"He's been in prison 18 months for a crime he didn't commit and couldn't commit under the law," Lynn's attorney, Thomas Bergstrom, said. "It's incredible what happened to this man."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:00 PM

Pennsylvania court reverses Roman Catholic priest's conviction

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
Los Angeles Times

By Michael Muskal
December 26, 2013

A Pennsylvania appeals court on Thursday overturned the conviction of the first U.S. church official ever charged or convicted in connection with how he handled complaints that priests had sexually abused children.

Msgr. William Lynn, who has never been accused of personally molesting any child, was convicted in 2012 of endangering the welfare of a child for how he handled the case of a priest who had been accused of sexually abusing children. Lynn, who has already served about 18 months in prison, could be released as soon as Friday, a Superior Court of Pennsylvania appeals panel ruled.

In overturning the conviction, the three-judge panel unanimously rejected prosecution arguments that Lynn, 62, was legally responsible for the abused child’s welfare.

Philadelphia Dist. Atty. Seth Williams said he probably will fight any attempt to release the church official.

“I am disappointed and strongly disagree with the court's decision,” Williams said in a statement. “While we are deciding what our next course of action will be, we most likely will be appealing this decision.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:58 PM

Catholic cleric’s child endangerment conviction ...

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
Washington Post

Catholic cleric’s child endangerment conviction overturned on appeal

A Pennsylvania appeals court has overturned the conviction of Monsignor William J. Lynn, the first U.S. Catholic cleric convicted on charges of covering up the sexual abuse of children.

The court ruled unanimously that Lynn was wrongly convicted of child endangerment for his handling of priest sex abuse complaints, The Associated Press reported.

The 2012 case drew national attention as Lynn was tried for what many see as unaddressed crimes of child sex abuse by priests in the Roman Catholic Church. At Lynn’s conviction, no U.S. Catholic cleric had been held accountable in criminal court.

Since then, Bishop Robert W. Finn of Kansas City-St. Joseph, Mo., was found guilty of a misdemeanor charge for failing to tell police about a priest suspected of sexually exploiting children. Finn is the first U.S. bishop to be charged with failing to report suspected child abuse.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:59 PM

US court quashes priest's conviction for abuse cover-up

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
BBC News

Roman Catholic Church official William Lynn has had his conviction for child endangerment reversed by a court in the US city of Philadelphia.

Monsignor Lynn was the first US Church official to be convicted in a criminal court for covering up sex abuse claims.

He was sentenced in 2012 to three to six years in prison but could now be released as early as Thursday.

The court said it had not been proven Mr Lynn had acted with the "intent of promoting or facilitating the crime".

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:57 PM

**HUGE BREAKING** Appellate Court OVERTURNS Historic Philly Conviction of Msgr. Lynn

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
TheMediaReport

**MAJOR BREAKING STORY***

• [THU. 12/26/13, 1:06PM] … Associated Press: "A Pennsylvania appeals court has ruled that a Roman Catholic church official was wrongly convicted for his handling of priest sex-abuse complaints.

"The unanimous decision released Thursday by the state Superior Court also dismisses the criminal case against Monsignor William Lynn."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:55 PM

Attorneys Will Try to Have Church Official Quickly Freed

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
KOLO

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Lawyers for a Roman Catholic church official are going to try to get him released as early as this week from a state prison in Pennsylvania -- now that an appeals court has reversed his conviction for child endangerment.

The appeals panel is ordering the release of Monsignor William Lynn. But prosecutors are planning to fight the ruling, and resist any move to release him.

Lynn is serving a three-to-six-year prison sentence. He was charged over his handling of priest sex-abuse complaints. He was the first U.S. church official ever charged or convicted for the handling of those complaints.

But the appeals panel is rejecting the argument from prosecutors that Lynn was legally responsible for the welfare of an abused child. Prosecutors said he had re-assigned known predators to new parishes in Philadelphia. His conviction stemmed from the case of one priest who was found to have abused a child after one of those transfers.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:33 PM

Roman Catholic priest wins endangerment appeal

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
Irish Independent

26 DECEMBER 2013

A Pennsylvania appeals court has ruled that a Roman Catholic church official was wrongly convicted for his handling of priest sex-abuse complaints.

The unanimous decision released today by the state Superior Court also dismisses the criminal case against Monsignor William Lynn.

Mgr Lynn has been serving three to six years in prison after his child-endangerment conviction last year.

Prosecutors had argued that Mgr Lynn reassigned predators to new parishes in Philadelphia when he was secretary for clergy from 1992 to 2004.

Mgr Lynn's conviction relates to the case of one priest, Edward Avery, who was found to have abused a child after such a transfer.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:27 PM

Catholic church official William Lynn, convicted in US sex abuse scandal, has ruling overturned

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
ABC News (Australia)

A high-ranking US Catholic church official convicted last year of covering up a child sex abuse scandal has had his conviction overturned.

Monsignor William Lynn was convicted in June 2012 of endangering the welfare of a child by reassigning a priest with a history of sexual abuse to a Philadelphia parish that was unaware of his past.

That priest, Edward Avery, later pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting a 10-year-old altar boy in the Philadelphia parish.

Lynn, who was not accused of personally molesting children, was sentenced to a three-to-six-year prison term.

A Superior Court of Pennsylvania appeals panel reversed his conviction on Thursday, and ordered Lynn to be discharged from prison.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:23 PM

Monsignor William Lynn conviction overturned by Pa. court; D.A. 'most likely' to appeal

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
Philly.com

ALEX WIGGLESWORTH, FOR PHILLY.COM
LAST UPDATED: Thursday, December 26, 2013

Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams said he will most likely appeal the Superior Court's reversal Thursday of the conviction of Monsignor William Lynn.

"I am disappointed and strongly disagree with the court's decision," Williams said in a statement. "While we are deciding what our next course of action will be, we most likely will be appealing this decision."

Lynn from 1992 to 2004 served as the secretary for clergy for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia and was tasked with handling child sex abuse complaints. He was in June 2012 found guilty of felony child endangerment for covering up sex abuse claims brought against Catholic priests by reshuffling the accused to other parishes.

The Associated Press first report the court's reversal.

Lynn's attorney Thomas Bergstrom on Thursday called Williams' likely appeal "a fool's errand."

"The court was very clear and very adamant that the statute didn't apply to [Lynn] and he was wrongfully, wrongfully convicted," Bergstrom said. "Williams has the prerogative to appeal and if he does, we'll be right behind him."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:19 PM

Court reverses monsignor's conviction

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
Philadelphia Inquirer

BEN FINLEY AND ALLISON STEELE, INQUIRER STAFF WRITERS
LAST UPDATED: Thursday, December 26, 2013

A state appeals court on Thursday reversed the conviction of Msgr. William J. Lynn, the former Archdiocese of Philadelphia administrator who became the first church official nationwide to be tried for covering up child sex abuse by priests.

In a 43-page opinion, a three-judge Superior Court panel wrote that prosecutors had misapplied the state's child endangerment law by claiming Lynn, as the archdiocese secretary for clery, was responsible for abuse because he supervised a priest who abused a child.

The court wrote that the law, as it was written during Lynn's tenure in the 1990s and early 2000s, only held accountable people who directly supervised children.

The court also found that Lynn, now 63, could not be an accomplice to such abuse because there was no proof he had specific knowledge that a priest was planning or preparing to assault children.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:44 PM

State appeals court orders convicted church official freed

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
Tribune-Review

By The Associated Press

Published: Thursday, Dec. 26, 2013

PHILADELPHIA — A Roman Catholic church official who has been jailed for more than a year for his handling of priest sex-abuse complaints had his conviction reversed and was ordered released Thursday.

In dismissing the landmark criminal case, a three-judge appeals court panel unanimously rejected prosecutors' arguments that Monsignor William Lynn, the first U.S. church official ever charged or convicted for the handling of clergy-abuse complaints, was legally responsible for the abused child's welfare.

“He's been in prison 18 months for a crime he didn't commit and couldn't commit under the law,” said his attorney, Thomas Bergstrom. “It's incredible what happened to this man.”

Lynn, 62, is serving a three- to six-year prison sentence after his child-endangerment conviction last year. His lawyers will try to get him released as early as this week from the state prison in Waymart. Prosecutors promised to fight the ruling and any move to release him.

Prosecutors had argued at trial that Lynn reassigned known predators to new parishes in Philadelphia while he was the archdiocese's secretary for clergy from 1992 to 2004. ...

Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams said he strongly disagrees with state Superior Court panel's 43-page opinion reversing Sarmina's decision.

“Because we will be appealing, the conviction still stands for now, and the defendant cannot be lawfully released until the end of the process,” Williams said in a statement.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:40 PM

Court reverses church official's ruling in sex crimes case

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
PBS

A Pennsylvania appeals court has reversed a 2012 ruling against a senior Catholic Church official convicted of covering up sexual abuses by priests. In June 2012, Monsignor William Lynn was found guilty of child endangerment for his alleged role in reassigning predators to new parishes in Philadelphia when he was secretary for the clergy from 1992 to 2004. Lynn's conviction for covering up sexual abuse had been the first of its kind against a senior official of the Roman Catholic Church in the U.S.

A unanimous decision released Thursday by the Pennsylvania Superior Court ruled that Lynn was wrongly convicted and dismissed the criminal case against him. Lynn's attorneys argued that the state's child endangerment law at the time only applied to parents and caregivers, not supervisors like him. Lynn had already begun serving his three to six year prison sentence.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:35 PM

Breaking: The first church official held accountable for abuse cover up isn't accountable after all

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
U.S. Catholic

By Scott Alessi

When Msgr. William Lynn was convicted of child endangerment last year for his role in the cover-up of sexual abuse by priests in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, it was seen as a major turning point in the effort to hold church leaders accountable for their past sins. Lynn, who served as the secretary for clergy in Philadelphia, was the first Catholic priest sent to jail not for abusing children, but for failing to investigate claims of abuse and for not removing accused priests from positions where they had access to children. He was sentenced to 3-6 years in prison, the first sign that those who did not act to protect children from known or suspected abusers could be held legally accountable for their actions.

Or so we thought. Today, the Associated Press reports that a three judge Superior Court panel overturned the decision and ordered the release of Lynn from prison. Did new evidence reveal that Lynn really wasn't involved in covering up abuse or failing to remove abusive priests from ministry? No, his lawyers just used a legal loophole to get the conviction thrown out.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:33 PM

Priest's sex abuse cover-up conviction overturned

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
Stuff (New Zealand)

A US appeals court has overturned the conviction of a high-ranking Catholic church official foudn guilty last year of covering up a child sex abuse scandal.

Monsignor William Lynn was convicted in June, 2012, of endangering the welfare of a child by re-assigning a priest with a history of sexual abuse to a Philadelphia parish that was unaware of his past.

Lynn was sentenced to a three-to-six-year prison term.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:32 PM

‘We’re heartsick’: Only church official jailed in sex abuse scandal freed on appeal

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
The Raw Story

By George Chidi
Thursday, December 26, 2013

The only Roman Catholic church official jailed in the U.S. in the sex abuse scandals of recent years has been freed by an appeals court, which reversed his child endangerment conviction Thursday.

A three-judge Superior Court panel unanimously set aside the conviction of Monsignor William Lynn on the three- to six-year prison sentence he had been serving on a child-endangerment conviction last year. Lynn had been charged for failing to protect children in his Philadelphia-area diocese from predatory priests, reassigning them to other parishes rather than reporting them and removing them from contact with children.

The appeals court panels opinion said that the child endangerment law only applied to parents and direct caregivers, and not people in administrative or supervisory roles. Prosecutors may ask a full Superior Court panel to rehear the case.

The decision left church reform advocates reeling. “We’re heartsick,” Barbara Dorris, outreach director for the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, told Raw Story. “We felt that this conviction sent a very strong message that if you protect predators, you would be punished. We hoped it would cause other prosecutors to go after other people protecting pedophiles. We thought it was a trend, a start.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:30 PM

Pennsylvania court overturns priest's conviction in sex abuse cover-up

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
WHTC

Thursday, December 26, 2013

By Dave Warner

PHILADELPHIA (Reuters) - A Pennsylvania appeals court on Thursday overturned the conviction of a high-ranking U.S. Catholic church official convicted last year of covering up a child sex abuse scandal.

Monsignor William Lynn was convicted in June 2012, of endangering the welfare of a child by reassigning a priest with a history of sexual abuse to a Philadelphia parish that was unaware of his past.

That priest, Edward Avery, later pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting a 10-year-old altar boy in the Philadelphia parish.

Lynn, who was not accused of personally molesting children, was sentenced to a three-to-six-year prison term.

A Superior Court of Pennsylvania appeals panel reversed his conviction on Thursday and ordered Lynn discharged from prison.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:28 PM

Jailed Roman Catholic Priest Catches a Break from Pa. Court

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
Truthdig

On Thursday, a trio of Superior Court judges in Pennsylvania ordered the release of Monsignor William Lynn from the state prison where he has been serving time for his role in dealing with sex abuse claims against fellow Catholic clergy members.

Lynn, 62, was 18 months into a jail sentence originally set to span three to six years when the ruling reversed his conviction, which was connected not to his own sexual misconduct but that of accused clergymen over whom he had jurisdiction, as the AP reported that day:

Prosecutors had argued at trial that Lynn reassigned predators to new parishes in Philadelphia while he was the archdiocese’s secretary for clergy from 1992 to 2004.

Lynn’s conviction stems from the case of one priest, Edward Avery, found to have abused a child in 1998 after such a transfer.

Lynn’s attorneys have long contended the state’s child-endangerment law at the time applied only to parents and caregivers, not supervisors like Lynn. Common Pleas Judge M. Teresa Sarmina rejected their argument and allowed the case to move forward, but the Superior Court panel reversed her decision.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:27 PM

Catholic official's conviction overturned

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

POSTED BY BARBARA DORRIS ON DECEMBER 26, 2013

Once again, another high-ranking Catholic official who repeatedly endangered kids and enabled predators is escaping punishment.

Once again, another high-ranking Catholic official who repeatedly endangered kids and enabled predators is escaping punishment.

We are heart-sick over this decision and we applaud prosecutors for appealing it. We know thousands of betrayed Catholics and wounded victims will be disheartened by this news.

[Associated Press]

This ruling gives corrupt Catholic officials encouragement to continue deceiving police, stonewalling prosecutors, ignoring victims, destroying evidence, fabricating alibis, hiding crimes, and protecting pedophiles.

If kids are to be safer, we need to hold employers more responsible, not less responsible, for putting innocent children in harm’s way.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:24 PM

Monsignor William Lynn conviction overturned by Pa. court; D.A. 'most likely' to appeal

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
Philly.com

ALEX WIGGLESWORTH, FOR PHILLY.COM
LAST UPDATED: Thursday, December 26, 2013

Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams said he will most likely appeal the Superior Court's reversal Thursday of the conviction of Monsignor William Lynn.

"I am disappointed and strongly disagree with the court's decision," Williams said in a statement. "While we are deciding what our next course of action will be, we most likely will be appealing this decision."

Lynn from 1992 to 2004 served as the secretary for clergy for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia and was tasked with handling child sex abuse complaints. He was in June 2012 found guilty of felony child endangerment for covering up sex abuse claims brought against Catholic priests by reshuffling the accused to other parishes.

The Associated Press first report the court's reversal. The AP reported his lawyers are trying to get Lynn released from prison as early as Thursday afternoon.

Lynn was at the time the first U.S. church official criminally convicted for charges stemming covering up sex abuse claims. The case was hailed as a landmark when it came to holding large institutions accountable for such oversight. Lynn is now 18 months into a 3 to 6 year prison sentence.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:21 PM

Overturned Conviction Doesn’t Make Msgr. Lynn Innocent

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
Catholics4Change

DECEMBER 26, 2013 BY SUSAN MATTHEWS

A timing technicality or interpretation of the law may set Msgr. Lynn free, but it does not relieve him of moral or ethical guilt. While once again victims are robbed of justice, the evidence was crystal clear during his trial. The memos and letters proved the archdiocese covered up clergy child sex abuse with the knowledge of many Church administrators, including Lynn. No court decision lessens the horrific nature of his actions. The fact that others were more or just as guilty doesn’t lessen his own responsibility as a human being. Whether or not Lynn sits in jail, the world knows what happened in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.

In the face of this injustice, let’s seek a meaningful and longer lasting justice for the future. It’s time for window legislation in Pennsylvania. It’s time for the statute of limitations to be removed. Let’s make it happen in 2014.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:19 PM

More On Salvation Army Funding Sources (Or: Purifying Tainted Money)

AUSTRALIA
lewisblayse.net

[Note: This is not an article about the pros and cons of the alcohol and gaming industries. It is only about the Salvation Army’s position on them.]

The Salvation Army in Australia appears to be resolutely hypocritical about what it regards as sins. Older Australians will remember when the Salvos would congregate outside hotels, making a lot of noise, and preaching against the evils of the “demon drink”. They also opposed legalizing gambling establishments.

Later, the Salvos stopped doing this, and were permitted to enter the hotels and bars to collect donations from the “sinful” drinkers. Similarly, the Salvos entered legalized gambling establishments to solicit donations from the “sinful” gamblers. In both cases, while it was prepared to take money from the drinkers and gamblers, it did not take money or other help from those who profited from these sinful activities, the alcohol and gambling establishments.

In Australia, the Salvation Army now does do this.

The founder of the Salvation Army, “General Booth”, in the 1860s, replying to criticisms that he was prepared to accept what he admitted was “tainted” money from the exploitative capitalists of the early days of the Industrial Revolution, responded by saying that the money was “purified” by passing through the hands of the Salvation Army, because of the good works it funded.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:10 PM

Pa. Court Overturns Catholic Official’s Conviction

PENNSYLVANIA
Time

By Courtney Subramanian @cmsub
Dec. 26, 2013

A Pennsylvania court ordered the release of a jailed church official Thursday, after reversing his conviction for allegedly mishandling a clergy sex-abuse scandal.

Monsignor William Lynn, 62, was the first U.S. Catholic official to face legal action in the cases of Catholic priests accused of sexual abuse and is serving a three to six-year sentence. A Superior Court panel of three judges unanimously struck down prosecutors’ contention that Lynn was guilty of child endangerment, the Associated Press reports.

Prosecutors accused Lynn of concealing abuse by reassigning priests to new parishes while he served as the archdiocese’s secretary for clergy from 1992 to 2004. The jailed church official’s conviction centers on the case of Edward Avery, a priest accused of abusing a child in 1998 after Lynn had relocated him. Lynn’s lawyers argued that the state law at the time was applicable only to parents and caregivers. Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams said he would likely appeal the ruling, the Philadelphia Inquirer reports.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:55 PM

Pa. court reverses church official's conviction

PENNSYLVANIA
Centre Daily

BY MARYCLAIRE DALE
Associated Press
December 26, 2013

PHILADELPHIA — A Pennsylvania appeals court has ruled that a Roman Catholic church official was wrongly convicted for his handling of priest sex-abuse complaints.

The unanimous decision released Thursday by the state Superior Court also dismisses the criminal case against Monsignor William Lynn.

Lynn has been serving three to six years in prison after his child-endangerment conviction last year. Prosecutors had argued that Lynn reassigned predators to new parishes in Philadelphia when he was secretary for clergy from 1992 to 2004.

Lynn's conviction stems from the case of one priest, Edward Avery, found to have abused a child after such a transfer.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:58 PM

Catholicism and Child Sexual Abuse in Latin America

Latin Post

By Nicole Akoukou Thompson

Archbishop and Papal Nuncio Józef Wesołowski is the latest member of the Catholic faith to face allegations of child sexual abuse. Dominican Republic prosecutors investigating the former man of the cloth have concluded that he sexually abused at least five boys under the age of 15. Santo Domingo, the country's capital city, is where allegations first aired on a local program, stating that Wesołowski paid to have sex with minor boys.

Investigative reports revealed that the Polish priest was a regular visitor to Zona Colonial area of Santo Domingo, where he was seen drinking libations and paying for sex in open areas. The 65-year-old represented the Vatican's interests in the Catholic-majority country for six years before the allegations surfaced. Dominican authorities investigated after the abuse allegation surfaced, and his duties were officially revoked by the Vatican in August after findings and testimonies from the five young men was sent to the Vatican, claiming molestation. Another damning testimony suggests that Wesołowski abused cocaine and had sexual relations with a deacon.

The Vatican and the church have been fully cooperative with the investigation, according to Dominican authorities. Authorities are now determining if they will charge the priest with child sexual abuse. He's since been recalled to Rome.

Catholicism and child sexual abuse are becoming increasingly correlated as allegations, trials, investigations and convictions have linked priests, nuns and members of Catholic order to the malicious behavior. As young as three years old, though a majority of the children's ages are between 11 and 14, clergymen have been/are being prosecuted for forcing/coercing children to participate in acts of anal, oral or penetrative sex.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:59 AM

Clergy Sex Abuse Scandal Doesn't Impact Archdiocese Fundraising

MINNESOTA
KSTP

[with video]

By: Beth McDonough

Christmas time is an important fundraising season for many charities, especially for the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis.

It's wrapping up its annual fundraising drive. The church is also entertaining a huge capital spending campaign.

Some parishioners told KSTP, the clergy sex abuse scandal made them think twice about how much to give ... or not give.

At the Basilica of St. Mary's, Christmas decorations are going up for popular holiday services.

Some, like Laurel Keitel came to church before the crowds. She admits her resolve has been tested, and her contribution to the Archdiocese was reconsidered.

Keitel made a small donation to the parish. She believes the amount of money sent a message. Others wavered too because of sex abuse cover-ups and large legal settlements. "I can see why people might have reservations to give," said Sam Bostrom.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:30 AM

North Jersey Catholics find hope in pope's 'new vibe'

NEW JERSEY
The Record

WEDNESDAY DECEMBER 25, 2013
BY JEFF GREEN
STAFF WRITER
THE RECORD

Pope Francis’ humility, inclusive tone and emphasis on helping the poor instilled a sense of new hope for Catholics attending Christmas Mass on Wednesday in Bergen and Passaic counties, especially after a difficult year of revelations about clergy sex abuse in North Jersey.

Monsignor Ed Ciuba greeting parishioners at Christmas Mass at the Church of the Presentation in Upper Saddle River. Many North Jersey Catholics are encouraged by Pope Francis’ non-judgmental tone.

Mary Beth Just and her son, Justin Machia, wishing each other peace during a Christmas morning Mass at the Church of the Presentation in Upper Saddle River.

“We always have a pope who’s appropriate for the time he’s been in office,” said Monsignor Robert Harahan, pastor of St. Elizabeth of Hungary Church in Wyckoff. “Now, we need a resurrection of basics of Christian life, commitment to the faith and service to people in need.”

Pope Francis, 77, has used his office to draw attention to poverty and youth unemployment and has surprised many Catholics with his non-judgmental tone on social issues, including homosexuality and divorce. In his first Christmas address at the Vatican, he extended a hand to atheists to join the cause of ending violence in Syria and Africa. ...

The pope’s uplifting message is especially welcome after several controversies emerged this year over sexually abusive priests in the Archdiocese of Newark, which covers Bergen, Essex, Hudson and Union counties. Archbishop John J. Myers was accused of not supervising a priest who was banned from working with children and failing to investigate a molestation complaint received by his former diocese in Illinois.

Mary Anne Nugent, a parishioner at the Church of the Presentation in Upper Saddle River, said the pope’s appointment of assistant Archbishop Bernard A. Hebda is a “move toward healing” from a “great deal of pain, suffering and disappointment.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:26 AM

Justicia llama a conciliación entre Iglesia y víctimas de Karadima

CHILE
Bio Bio

El ministro de la Corte de Apelaciones de Santiago, Juan Muñoz Pardo, decretó la audiencia de conciliación en el caso de la demanda contra el Arzobispado de Santiago, presentada por las víctimas de abusos sexuales del ex párroco Fernando Karadima.

La diligencia judicial, obligatoria en todo proceso civil, ya fue notificada a los demandantes, el médico James Hamilton, el periodista Juan Carlos Cruz y el presidente de la Fundación para la Confianza, José Andrés Murillo.

El 3 de septiembre de este año, los ex fieles de la Iglesia El Bosque interpusieron una demanda contra el Arzobispado de Santiago, exigiendo el pago de 450 millones de pesos, por la presunta responsabilidad de la Iglesia por los abusos sexuales que sufrieron a manos de Karadima.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:01 AM

Vic church leaders pray for abuse victims

AUSTRALIA
Courier Mail

AAP

VICTORIAN church leaders have acknowledged victims of abuse and urged the community to open their hearts to others while celebrating Christmas.

Melbourne Catholic Archbishop Denis Hart says people must remember victims of violence, those abused by clergy and the thousands left devastated by natural disasters, such as in the Philippines.

In his Christmas message he says the community's response to such tragedies must always be of compassion, action and solidarity.

"We are also a church touched by grief, especially when we see innocent people suffer," he said.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:57 AM

December 25, 2013

Zimbabwe: Controls Needed in Evangelical Churches

ZIMBABWE
allAfrica

The Herald

EDITORIAL

Church leaders and ministers have a special relationship with their parishioners and followers, a blend of authority, care, loyalty and love. And some abuse this relationship.

We have all heard of the worldwide scandals in the Roman Catholic Church, where a tiny minority of priests and brothers went way off the rails and where a substantial number of bishops then tried to hush-up the problem. We know the solution that has been put in place. In future there is no hushing up and those who commit offences that both church and state see as criminal will be turned over to the cops.

There could be no other decision.

But we also need to note that the Catholic church, or rather the authorities in each diocese where there was a problem priest, knew about the abuses and crimes. Under an old policy they tried to fix the matters internally and failed. What is now different is that they will co-operate with the civil authorities.

In other hierarchical churches with a formal structure - the Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox and most churches deriving from the Reformation - there is again little difficulty in someone facing abuse or worse from a minister of the church from getting this information to the church authorities. And presumably, as the Catholic church has now done, these churches will also take swift and effective action.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:48 AM

OPINION: Sex abuse probe will reveal further failings

AUSTRALIA
Newcastle Herald

By ANNETTE BLACKWELL Dec. 25, 2013

THE Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse ended four months of public hearings with a sting.

On the receiving end was YMCA NSW, which had spent weeks arguing it was also the victim of a paedophile who had infiltrated the childcare provider.

The paedophile was Jonathan Lord, now 27, and in jail for six years. His victims were children aged six to 11 who attended the YMCA childcare centre at Caringbah in south Sydney in 2010 and 2011.

Parents who were told YMCA NSW was a leader in child safety, even after Lord was arrested, were also victims, the commission heard.

Up to December 20, the last sitting day for 2013, the YMCA argued that master manipulator Lord had fooled junior staff who had been trained but ignored child-safety protocols. ...

Part of the commission’s work is to evaluate recommendations from at least 80 of some 300 related inquiries in Australia in the past three decades. It is also examining what has happened overseas.

The Ryan Commission in Ireland took nine years, mostly because the Catholic Church took legal action. The Australian commission has learnt a lot from Ireland.

When former prime minister Julia Gillard announced this royal commission on November 12, 2012, she said such crimes against children were ‘‘insidious, evil acts to which no child should be subject’’.

The extent of the evil and the spread of institutions in which it occurs are still being revealed.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:44 AM

The Australian Salvation Army’s Finances (Or: Melding Church And State)

AUSTRALIA
lewisblayse.net

The Salvation Army in Australia receives nearly half of its income from the taxpayer. In some countries this would raise concerns about state-supported religion. It would be of further concern to such people that the Salvation Army has not only a special status of being tax-free and not required to give any information on its finances or spending, it is also exempted from other laws, such as discrimination in employment and adherence to the minimum wage laws applicable to general businesses, in certain cases.

The organisation has always courted Australian politicians; especially Prime Ministers (see photos below). This is because the most money can be obtained from the Federal, rather than the State, governments.

A past “General” (i.e., sort of Pope) of the Salvation Army was an Australian, Eva Burrows. When she retired, the Prime Minister at the time, Bob Hawke, attended her “welcome home” to Australia party. She noted that, after a federal government “tax summit” she addressed, the Hawke government “announced that charities [like hers] would be free from the consumer tax and so forth.”

“We were quite friendly…. I may not have liked other aspects of his life [such as being a drunk and womanizer] but, nevertheless, there was a style in his leadership that I’d say was similar to mine.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:41 AM

Priest Accused of Molestation Suspended As Sex Ed Teacher

MINNESOTA
CBS Minnesota

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – A former priest, accused of molesting two children decades ago, has been suspended from teaching sex education for Wright County.

The county board recently canceled their contract with 79-year-old Harry Walsh.

Walsh was one of five priests named in an internal archdiocese memo about parishes with “some connection to a history of clergy sexual abuse.”

Walsh has denied the accusations, which date back to the 1960s and 1980s.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:40 AM

American Catholics give a thumbs-up to Pope Francis and his gay-friendly, ‘Marxist’ agenda

UNITED STATES
The Raw Story

By Travis Gettys
Tuesday, December 24, 2013

It seems that American Catholics love the seemingly liberal Pope Francis and the direction he’s taking their church.

A pair of recent polls found the new pontiff’s approval rating among his U.S. followers to be about as close to full approval as candy, ice cream and puppies.

A CNN/ORC International poll released Tuesday found that 88 percent of American Catholics approve of the pope nine months into his term.

That’s not far off the survey’s 3 percent margin of error from a Washington Post-ABC poll released earlier this month, which found a 92 percent approval rating among American Catholics.

Pope Francis, who has urged Catholics to shift their focus from culture war issues such as same-sex marriage and abortion to care for the poor and vulnerable, was the most talked about person on the Internet this year, and he was named person of the year by both Time magazine and The Advocate.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:16 AM

Solicitan ampliar plazo de investigación en contra de sacerdote John O’Reilly

CHILE
Bio Bio

El Ministerio Público solicitó ampliar el plazo de investigación que termina este 25 de diciembre en contra del sacerdote John O’Reilly. La defensa del religioso pedirá el cierre de las indagatorias con el fin de apurar el juicio oral y probar la inocencia del acusado.

El próximo 3 de febrero, el Cuarto Juzgado de Garantía de Santiago determinará si acepta o rechaza la ampliación de plazo de investigación que solicitó la Fiscalía, en el caso de los presuntos abusos sexuales que habría cometido el sacerdote John O’Relly en contra de dos hermanas de 8 y 11 años, en el colegio Cumbres de la comuna de Las Condes.

El plazo para investigar termina este 25 de diciembre, por lo que la fiscal Lorena Parra solicitó ampliar el plazo de indagaciones alegando que aún quedan diligencias pendientes.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:14 AM

Defensa de O'Reilly: "Las niñas son víctimas de la fiscalía y no del padre John"

CHILE
La Tercera

por Karen Soto Galindo - 24/12/2013

El 27 de agosto fue formalizado el sacerdote de la Congregación Legionarios de Cristo, John O'Reilly, por presuntos abusos sexuales en contra de dos hermanas de 8 y 11 años del Colegio Cumbres en la comuna de Las Condes.

Entonces quedó libre y sin cautelares, porque el Tribunal determinó que no se justifica existencia de los delitos investigados, pero la Corte de Apelaciones de Santiago estimó lo contrario, y resolvió dejarlo con arresto domiciliario total.

El plazo para investigar de la Fiscalía Oriente, concluyó esta semana, sin embargo, la fiscal Lorena Parra pidió al Cuarto Juzgado de Garantía que se otorgue más tiempo "en atención a que existen diligencias pendientes".

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:12 AM

Religious leaders invoke 'selfies' and new Pope in Christmas messages

AUSTRALIA
Sydney Morning Herald

Leesha McKenny
Urban Affairs Reporter

Sydney's Christian leaders have turned to Oxford Dictionaries' word of the year and Time magazine's person of the year in their annual Christmas messages.

''What is it about our society that 'selfie' is the landmark word for 2013?'' said Dr Glenn Davies in his first year as Sydney's Anglican Archbishop.

''At Christmas time we should remember that there is an ultimate self-image, the image of God, which far outweighs the supercilious picture of a face filling our screen. We are all stamped with the image of God and it is this image that makes us precious in his sight.''

Dr Davies said the Christmas image of Jesus as a ''cute and inoffensive'' baby in a stall was only part of the picture.

''Christmas without Easter is not the full story,'' he said. ''We fail to appreciate Christmas if we fail to appreciate the reason why he came - to suffer death upon a cross on Good Friday, rise again on Easter Day so that the bonds of death may be broken and new life become a reality for all who put their trust in him.''

In a year marked by inquiries delving into the Australian church's handling of child sexual abuse, Sydney's Catholic Archbishop, Cardinal George Pell, urged Christians to keep the faith. ''We acknowledge the wide scepticism and occasional hostility of those around us, but because we know Christ, we should have the courage of our convictions, we should not lapse into timid silence and we should not be frightened to appear as different,'' Cardinal Pell said.

He called on Catholics to recall the messages of the man Time dubbed ''The People's Pope''.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:08 AM

New archbishop shares pope's spirit

CONNECTICUT
Waterbury Republican-American

By Peter Wolfgang

Ten years ago this month, I attended the installation of Henry J. Mansell as archbishop of Hartford and wrote an op-ed about it for the Republican-American. Last week, I was back at St. Joseph's Cathedral for the installation of his successor, Leonard Blair, and I was struck by the differences between 2003 and 2013.

Archbishop Mansell became the spiritual leader of the Catholics of our Archdiocese the year after the clergy sex-abuse crisis became known to the nation. He addressed it from his very first homily with skill and sensitivity, and leaves behind a legacy of outstanding social action on behalf of Connecticut's most vulnerable citizens.

But he was archbishop during a time of growing public hostility — hatred, even — toward Catholicism (in large part because of the abuse scandals), and this limited what the Church could reasonably hope to accomplish over the last decade.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:07 AM

Gene Lyons: Pope's attempt to atone

UNITED STATES
Battle Creek Enquirer

Written by
Gene Lyons

Somewhere in the midst of an avalanche of sickening revelations about child sex abuse by Catholic clergy, it occurred to me that if the Vatican sought an appropriate penance for its sins, it would go mute on issues of sexual morality for about 100 years.

Needless to say, that’s not about to happen.

Instead, habemus papam. (We have a Pope.) Catholics have witnessed the unprecedented resignation of Pope Benedict, widely seen to have failed utterly to cope with the church’s grave crisis — perhaps even in his own estimation — and the remarkable accession of Pope Francis.

During the months since his selection, the 76-year-old Argentine has stirred an outsize response throughout the world — galvanizing not only the world’s 1.2 billion Roman Catholics, but members of other faiths and even the irreligious with a shrewd blend of public theater and spiritual humility.

Writing in the New Yorker, James Carroll reports that “even ‘kick the Pope’ Orangemen in Northern Ireland love Pope Francis. The press is obsessed with him. Time recently named him Person of the Year.”

Who else, indeed?

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:04 AM

Former altar boy sues Catholic Church over pedophile priest

COLORADO
Daily Caller

Greg Campbell

A man who says he was molested by three Catholic priests is suing the Archdiocese of Denver in federal court.

The suit alleges that church officials knew that one of the priests was a prolific pedophile, but covered up his activities by moving him to different posts where he continued to prey on children.

“This is the worst of the worst,” said Merit Bennett, the lawyer for former altar boy Eran McManemy of New Mexico, in an article in the Denver Post. “They allowed him to roam free — church to church, diocese to diocese, children to children. Not one of them picked up the phone and dialed 911, including Denver.”

McManemy alleges he was raped as a child by Father David Holley in Alamogordo, N.M., the diocese to which Holley had been transferred after working in a hospital ministry in Denver. Holly was sentenced in 1993 to 275 years for molesting eight boys in New Mexico. He died in prison in 2008, the Post reported.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:01 AM

Report: Wright Co. Cancels Contract With Ex-Priest Who Denies Sex Abuse Accusations

MINNESOTA
KAAL

By: Cassie Hart
A former priest who denies accusations of sexual abuse from the 1960s and 1980s has been suspended from teaching sex education for Wright County.

The Star Tribune reports Harry Walsh has taught birth control, sexual disease prevention and human sexuality for the Wright County Human Services Agency in Buffalo for 16 years.

County Commissioner Charles Borrell said the county board voted Monday to cancel Walsh's contract effective Jan. 31, 2014. He said the board decided "without casting any guilt."

He says officials at the Monticello school district didn't want the 79-year-old working with them.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:59 AM

Pope Call For Commission on Sexual Abuse: Advancement or Another Barrier?

UNITED STATES
Legal Examiner

Posted by Mike Bryant
December 24, 2013

The Pope has called for the creation of a commission investigating the sexual abuse of minors. It is good that the Pope is talking about the issue because silence has been what has been driving most of what the Church has done with this tragedy. However, what will a commission do? Will it be filled with either yes men or individuals with no authority? Will it be prevented from getting all available documents? Will there be cannon law vs. common law distinctions made that are used to prevent disclosure?

The New York Times reported on two very important reactions:

Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests, known as SNAP, the leading United States-based support group for clergy abuse victims, called the news a disappointment that reflected badly on the new pope. David Clohessy, executive director of the group, said the announcement suggested that the Vatican remained strongly resistant to making sexually abusive members of the clergy and their church protectors accountable to external criminal prosecution.

“A new church panel is the last thing that kids need,” Mr. Clohessy said in a telephone interview. “Church officials have mountains of information about those who have committed and those who are concealing horrible child sex crimes and cover-ups. They just have to give that information to the police.”

BishopAccountability.org, an organization that has amassed an enormous collection of documents on the abuse problem in the church, gave a cautious welcome to the announcement, but also expressed skepticism.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:57 AM

December 24, 2013

A New Year’s Wish For Catholic Church Democracy

UNITED STATES
Christian Catholicism

Jerry Slevin

As a billion Catholics during this holiday season focus on baby Jesus, the most famous child in history, many of them will ponder a top priority: How can their Church, that worships Jesus as God, curtail its continuing child abuse scandals? Jesus knew many children and advocated strongly for them. The shameful and seemingly endless sexual abuses perpetrated, often with impunity, by childless men are unacceptable, especially to Catholic parents. See, for example, the troubling recent remarks of an abuse survivor and former priest at:

[Herald News]

Will Pope Francis make the difference? As Pope Francis’ poll numbers skyrocket, the obvious question arises–so what? If Francis fails to make bishops accountable and the priest child abuse continues, for how long will polls matter?

Pope John Paul II enjoyed high poll numbers until the media began reporting on the Boston priest child abuse and similar scandals. Pope John Paul II and his successor, ex-Pope Benedict XVI, dismally failed to address effectively the abuse scandal. Ex-Pope Benedict has, in effect, been exiled to a convent for life for his failures. John Paul’s shameful legacy, including his protection of the perverted priest, Fr. Maciel and his cult-like Legion of Christ, is still reverberating, see:

[National Catholic Reporter]

Will Pope Francis curtail the priest abuse scandal by making bishops accountable, a clear necessity to curtail the scandal ? Francis’ actions to date, perhaps influenced unduly by the cardinals who elected him, suggest he may try to protect bishops mainly and hope to ride out the priest abuse scandal.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:01 PM

Former pastor, Casper College adjunct arrested Sunday

WYOMING
Billings Gazette

By PATRICK SIMONAITIS Casper Star-Tribune

A retired 25-year pastor of First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Casper was arrested near Crossroads Park on Sunday evening and charged with public indecency, distributing obscene literature and incitement to a crime after an undercover sting operation by the Casper Police Department.

The Rev. Bryant Badger, 75, also previously served as an adjunct professor for Casper College.

Authorities say Badger left multiple obscene notes in a portable restroom at Morad Park.

Graphic propositions

The notes included graphic propositions to the reader and what police say is Badger’s phone number. According to a police affidavit, the notes were discovered and reported Sunday morning by a Natrona County High School cross country coach concerned for the safety of student-athletes training at the park.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:58 PM

Retired pastor blames ‘high sex drive’ after bust in Wyoming gay sex sting

WYOMING
The Raw Story

By David Edwards
Tuesday, December 24, 2013

A retired pastor told police in Wyoming that his high sex drive was to blame after he was arrested when he asked an undercover officer to perform oral sex on him.

The Casper Police Department on Sunday charged 75-year-old Rev. Bryant Badger with public indecency, obscene literature and incitement to a crime.

According to an affidavit obtained by the Casper Star-Tribune, Badger had left his phone number and graphic propositions scrawled in a portable restroom at Morad Park, which was discovered by a Natrona County High School coach.

Officer Mitch Baker, using the pseudonym “Paul,” contacted Badger and told him that he was willing to do “anything.” Badger recommended that they meet at the Emporium Adult Video store, where the reverend said he had “been there several times to perform sexual acts,” the affidavit said.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:56 PM

Damian Galligan

ST. LOUIS (MO)
Berger's Beat

. . .A Delaware jury has awarded $2.4 million to a man who was sexually assaulted as a child by Marist Brother Damian Galligan, who now lives in a retirement facility in our town and reportedly is quite wealthy, according to news reports. . .

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:05 AM

Bishop-to-be responds to records allegations

WISCONSIN/MICHIGAN
The Mining Journal

December 24, 2013

CHRISTIE BLECK - Journal Staff Writer (cbleck@miningjournal.net) , The Mining Journal

MARQUETTE - The Rev. John Doerfler, who last week was announced as the new bishop of the Diocese of Marquette, says the destruction of records he oversaw while he was chancellor in the Diocese of Green Bay was in keeping with the recordkeeping policy of the diocese.

Doerfler, now serving as vicar general of the Diocese of Green Bay, responded to reports in the media he destroyed documents relating to priests accused of sexual abuse.

"I certainly believe in transparency and wanted to bring this up right away," Doerfler said.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:37 AM

Nienstedt's apologia tour.

MINNESOTA
dotCommonweal

December 23, 2013

Grant Gallicho

Two days before the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis announced that it had received an allegation of sexual misconduct against Archbishop John Nienstedt, he visited a parish to apologize for the way he responded to accusations of sexual abuse by priests.

When I arrived here seven years ago, one of the first things I was told was that this whole issue of clerical sex abuse had been taken care of and I didn’t have to worry about it. Unfortunately I believed that. And so my biggest apology today...is to say I overlooked this. I should have investigated it a lot more than I did. [When the story broke] at the end of September, I was as surprised as anyone else.

Really? Because in 2009 Nienstedt's former top canon lawer, Jennifer Haselberger, warned him not to promote a priest with a history of sexual misconduct. Nienstedt made him a pastor (the priest was already administrator of the parish, thanks to the previous archbishop's bad judgment). The priest went on to abuse two children in the parish. Haselberger provided Nienstedt with a golden opportunity to "investigate it more." Why wasn't he more alarmed? Where was his sense of urgency? Calmed by the assurance that in the Twin Cities "this whole issue of clerical sex abuse had been taken care of"?

And just last year Haselberger informed Nienstedt about another time bomb--this one was sitting in the chancery basement: a report indicating that "borderline illegal" pornographic images had been found on a priest's computer. Nienstedt did not report it to the police (in Minnesota, priests are mandated reporters). Haselberger did, just before she resigned.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:25 AM

Wright Co. cancels contract with ex-priest

MINNESOTA
NECN

December 24, 2013

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — A former priest who denies accusations of sexual abuse from the 1960s and 1980s has been suspended from teaching sex education for Wright County.

The Star Tribune reports ( ) Harry Walsh has taught birth control, sexual disease prevention and human sexuality for the Wright County Human Services Agency in Buffalo for 16 years.

County Commissioner Charles Borrell said the county board voted Monday to cancel Walsh's contract effective Jan. 31, 2014. He said the board decided "without casting any guilt."

He says officials at the Monticello school district didn't want the 79-year-old working with them.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:04 AM

The Great Toy Heist (Or: How Can You Lose 100,000 Toys?)

AUSTRALIA
lewisblayse.net

The Salvation Army in the Canadian city of Toronto ran a toy collection for underprivileged children. It had such support that even the Ontario Province Premier, Dalton McGuinty, personally donated two bicycles. Eventually, $2 million worth of toys were donated and stored in the Salvation Army central warehouse, on Railside Rd. in Toronto’s north end. There were about 100,000 toys.

The Executive Director of Toronto Salvation Army, David Rennie, was taken into police custody, and fired by the Salvation Army. The reason? He had stolen the toys. The Salvos only found out about it through a whistleblower, after two years.

Local media reported that police raided warehouses and retail stores across the Greater Toronto Area, recovering more than 150 skids of the missing toys – enough to fill three tractor-trailers (B doubles in Australia). Among the items recovered at one warehouse were the two bikes donated to the Salvation Army by Premier Dalton McGuinty.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:49 AM

'Lessons learned here will help others'

IRELAND
Irish Independent

SARAH MACDONALD – 24 DECEMBER 2013

Archbishop Diarmuid Martin has said he hopes the Vatican's newly announced commission on child sexual abuse can learn the lessons of the Irish church's "appalling situation" and help other countries deal with the issue.

The committee was set up earlier this month to improve measures to protect children against sexual abuse within the Catholic Church.

"I fully welcome this," Dr Martin told the Irish Independent.

"I hope it will ensure that what has been achieved in countries like Ireland can be spread around the world and lessons can be learned both about the effects of abuse on survivors and their families and the roots and causes of abuse."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:43 AM

CNN Poll: Pope's approval rating sky-high

UNITED STATES
CNN

By Daniel Burke, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

(CNN) – As Pope Francis prepares to celebrate his first Christmas at the Vatican, Americans' opinions of the pontiff appear to be as high as the dome on St. Peter's Basilica, according to a new survey.

A CNN/ORC International poll released Tuesday found that 88% of American Catholics approve of how Francis is handling his role as head of the 1.2 billion-member church.

The popular pontiff has also made a positive impression among Americans in general: Nearly three in four view Francis favorably. The new survey suggests that the Pope is arguably the most well-regarded religious figure among the American public today, said CNN Polling Director Keating Holland.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:41 AM

Lawsuit accuses Denver Archdiocese of allowing sexual abuse

COLORADO
The Denver Post

By Alison Noon
The Denver Post
POSTED: 12/23/2013

An Albuquerque man has filed a lawsuit against the Archdiocese of Denver, claiming the arm of the Catholic Church turned a blind eye in the 1980s on a priest who molested children across the country.

The federal lawsuit, filed Wednesday, is the latest that Eran McManemy, 35, has brought against the dioceses that oversaw the three priests he has accused of molesting him as a child in New Mexico.

One of the three priests, a notorious pedophile who died in prison in 2008, had practiced Catholic ministry at St. Anthony Hospital in Denver under the local diocese two years before he allegedly raped McManemy in Alamogordo, N.M. Denver was the sixth American diocese to which Father David Holley had transferred.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:36 AM

Ex-priest suspended from sex education work for Wright County

MINNESOTA
Star Tribune

Article by: MARY LYNN SMITH , Star Tribune Updated: December 23, 2013

Wright County takes action after sexual abuse allegations disclosed.

A former priest, who was named in an internal archdiocese memo about parishes with “some connection to a history of clergy sexual abuse,” has been suspended from his work teaching sex education for Wright County.

Wright County Commissioner Charles Borrell said the county board, acting as the Human Services Board, unanimously voted Monday to suspend and cancel Harry Walsh’s contract with the county effective Jan. 31, 2014. He said the board made its decision “without casting any guilt.”

“We made it clear we’re not saying he did this or did that in the past,” Borrell said. “But there was some concern that one of our large school districts — Monticello — said they didn’t want him working with their district, so that makes it pretty hard to do the job.”

Walsh, 79, had been teaching birth control, sexual disease prevention and human sexuality for the Wright County Human Services Agency in Buffalo for the past 16 years.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:34 AM

'Mea Maxima Culpa' Exposes the Catholic Church's Most Grievous Sin

UNITED STATES
Pop Matters

By Sarah Boslaugh 23 December 2013

On 4 February 2013, Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence in the House of God, a documentary by Alex Gibney about the clerical sex abuse scandal in the Catholic Church, aired worldwide on HBO. On 11 February 2013, Pope Benedict XVI (formerly Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger) resigned from the papacy, the first pope to do so in 600 years. The timing of these two events could have been a coincidence, but there’s good reason to believe otherwise.

Although the abuse had been regularly covered in the news media since the ‘90s, Gibney’s film delivers convincing proof to a wide audience that the Vatican had known about it for decades, and had refused to take effective action against the offending priests. Even more damning, Mea Maxima Culpa convincingly establishes that, as head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith from 1981 to 2005, Ratzinger repeatedly chose not to investigate cases of reported abuse, instead advising that compassion be shown the accused priests.

The heroes of Mea Maxima Culpa are four students who attended St. John’s School for the Deaf in Milwaukee and were among the numerous sexual abuse victims of Father Lawrence Murphy, a priest at the school: Terry Kohut, Gary Smith, Pat Kuehn, and Arthur Budzinski. They speak (in sign language, with voiceovers by Jamey Sheridan, Chris Cooper, Ethan Hawke, and John Slattery) about how much they loved the school and how beautiful it was (“like a castle,” says one)—and also how pervasive and systematic was the sexual abuse perpetrated by Father Murphy.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:30 AM

December 23, 2013

Canberra's Anglican, Catholic leaders share Christmas messages

AUSTRALIA
ABC News

The Anglican Church in Canberra and Goulburn has used its annual Christmas message to reach out to those who have been hurt by the church.

This year the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse heard there were potentially dozens of paedophiles in the Anglican clergy across Australia who had not been formerly identified due to poor safeguards.

Bishop Stuart Robinson says faithfulness and broken promises are heavy on the hearts of leaders in the church.

"If you have been mistreated, or injured, or self-excluded for any reason, we want you to know that you are welcome in our churches," he said.

"Christmas is a time of great celebration, the churches are open, the welcome is warm and we'd love you to continue with us into 2014."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:43 PM

Bill Donohue Deputizes The Catholic League To Act As A Vigilante Posse On Behalf On AB Neinstedt

MINNESOTA
Enlightened Catholicism

I made a promise to myself that I would refrain from making any more comments on Bill Donohue, president/well paid CEO/self styled mouth piece for Cardinal Dolan/ head of the right wing Catholic League. However, after his latest press release I gave myself permission to break that promise. Here is the pertinent part of the press release having to do with the abuse allegation against Minneapolis' embattled Archbishop Neinstedt:

"Archbishop Nienstedt has been the subject of a non-stop crusade orchestrated by ex-Catholics, and Catholics in rebellion against the Church, simply because he stands for everything they are not: he is a loyal son of the Catholic Church.

Now—out of the blue—comes an unidentified male who claims he was touched on his buttocks in 2009 by the archbishop while posing for a group photo. Nienstedt denies the charge, adding that he has never inappropriately touched anyone. Moreover, he has not been told the identity of his accuser.

The Catholic League is asking those who were there to share with us any information they have. Specifically, we are interested in obtaining a tape recording, or set of photos, of any Confirmation ceremony in 2009 where Archbishop Nienstedt was present; presumably, the alleged victim was standing next to the archbishop. Also, we are asking anyone who knows anything about the accuser (someone knows who he is) to come forward."

I wonder if the members of the Catholic League really want to go after an anonymous kid who did not make this allegation on his own initiative. It was given to the police by a mandated reporter after the mandated reporter was told by the Archdiocese to do so. I hope this is Bill using 'we' language without consulting the 'we' he represents. It beggars the imagination that conservative Catholics actually think they have some mandated mission to interfere with an official police investigation in order to 'save' a culture warrior bishop from a 'crusade orchestrated by ex-Catholics, and Catholics in rebellion against the Church....' In reality it's called bullying a potential abuse victim just because Donohue has the access and the influence and the money to do so. This is no longer about ranting the party line, this has crossed the ranting line and moved to personal intimidation and abuse. Bill might be a parody for some of us, but this kind of thing is all too real for the poor kid who may not even have wanted the issue reported.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:41 PM

Is plea deal in works for Father Joe Leclair?

CANADA
Ottawa Citizen

BY MEGHAN HURLEY, OTTAWA CITIZEN DECEMBER 20, 2013

OTTAWA — All of the witnesses subpoenaed to testify at the preliminary hearing for Rev. Joseph Leclair have been cancelled, suggesting a plea deal may be in the works.

The witnesses were contacted by Ottawa police Friday — a month before the Jan. 20 preliminary hearing was set to begin — to inform them they were no longer needed.

The Citizen has also learned that several days set aside for the former Blessed Sacrament Church pastor’s preliminary hearing have been cancelled.

Leclair’s lawyer, Matthew Webber, would not comment Friday.

Leclair was charged with fraud, theft, money laundering and breach of trust in July 2012 after an 11-month police investigation.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:43 PM

The Yarmulke Conspiracy

AUSTRALIA
Human Headline

by Derryn Hinch - Monday, 23 December 2013

IT NOW SEEMS OBVIOUS, and this should surprise and repulse some members of the Jewish community, but Melbourne’s conservative Yeshivah College has been as bad as the Catholic Church in protecting paedophiles and covering up their sex crimes against children.

What really pisses me off here is that Catholic Church leaders, and powerful men in the Jewish hierarchy, thought (and I fear, still think) that protecting the barn is more important than safeguarding your flock. It’s a shocking, continuing theme.

That whistleblower, Manny Waks, was right when he claimed that rabbis at Yeshivah College were Yiddish George Pells when it came to sexual assaults and cover-ups.

Was right to bravely start an advocacy group called Tzedek for Jewish child sex abuse victims in their own Orthodox college in St. Kilda.

The Age also ran damning stories about the culture of it being against Jewish law to go outside the religion to complain to Police.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:30 PM

THE PR GURU BEHIND THE POPE WHO IS CHARMING THE WORLD

VATICAN CITY
Vice (UK)

By Katie Engelhart

On Wednesday, Pope Francis interrupted his general audience in St Peter’s Square to kiss and bless a severely disfigured man. The subsequent photos – his eyes clenched tightly in prayer, his hands around the ailing man’s face – have gone viral. “Many saw echoes of Jesus’s healing of the leper,” reported the Washington Post that day.

Just another fine move from the Pope who keeps on giving. Over the last few months, Pope Francis has nabbed headlines for cold-calling worshippers; launching Vatican sports teams; joking around in a red clown’s nose (and also a firefighter’s helmet); allowing a small child to hug him for the duration of a pilgrims address; and promising to personally baptise the baby of a woman who refused pressure from her partner to have an abortion. Breaking rank with his stiffer-lipped co-workers, Francis has recently suggested that “even the atheists” can be saved – and affirmed that he is totally not about to judge gay and lesbian Catholics. Last month, Pope Francis hit 10 million Twitter followers, which placed him just behind Kanye West.

Far and wide, observers speak of a “Francis Effect”.

But every modern-day media darling needs a PR machine, and Pope Francis is no exception. Enter Greg Burke: the 53-year-old Fox News correspondent turned Holy See handler (officially, Senior Communications Advisor to the Vatican’s Secretariat of State) who is quietly changing the way things are done in Vatican City.

To some, Burke may have seemed an unlikely candidate for papal spin-doctor. He’s a layman without PR experience: a cheery American with a penchant for sports analogies. He’s also a member of the controversial Catholic order Opus Dei: a traditionalist and a celibate whose spiritual practice reportedly involves self-flagellation. But after a year and a half on the job, Burke is credited with helping to open up and rejuvenate the Holy See. Of course, Burke would say it’s all Francis’s doing. “I’m going to kick the ball to the Pope,” Burke explained at a recent lecture in London. “I mean, the Pope scores goals, you know? The Pope scores goals for us... The people are just eating this stuff up.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:31 AM

Faith, forgiveness and Philomena

CANADA
The Globe and Mail

KONRAD YAKABUSKI
THE GLOBE AND MAIL
Published Monday, Dec. 23 2013

My sister and I have a running argument. Whenever we get together, the conversation inevitably turns to the Roman Catholic Church and whether it’s done more harm than good in the world. The journalist in me takes over to enumerate the atrocities: the Crusades, the Inquisition, the sexual abuse scandals and the anti-contraception doctrine that has destroyed countless lives.

If that’s not enough, anyone who grew up Catholic can testify to the church’s use of shaming and shunning to keep the flock in line. Think of all the brilliant minds left fallow because of priests who frowned on inquisitiveness and challenges to doctrine. Or the rampant hypocrisy and lavish lifestyles of church authorities that belied any claim to holiness.

My sister, who’s 18 years older than me, is no church apologist. As someone who mostly grew up before Vatican II’s modernization of the mass, she has more bones to pick with a church that put a bigger cramp on her intellectual freedom than mine.

Yet, she also has what I don’t: faith. It’ s why I know I’ll never win this argument. But can she?

Now, along comes a movie made for our sibling symposiums. Director Stephen Frears’s Philomena tells the true story of Philomena Lee, a Irish woman who spent more than 50 years searching for the child she was forced to give up for adoption, by the nuns who took her in as an unwed teenaged mother in 1952. The film is a crowd-pleaser that takes plenty of artistic liberties. But there is no mistaking the villain of the piece.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:15 AM

Diocese settles suit alleging abuse by priest

MISSOURI
Kansas City Business Journal

Dec 23, 2013

Staff
Kansas City Business Journal

The Catholic Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph and the Missionaries of the Precious Blood agreed to settle a suit alleging sexual assault by a priest, The Kansas City Star reports.

The diocese and religious order each will pay $65,000 as part of the settlement with the unnamed plaintiff. The plaintiff alleged that the Rev. James Urbanic sexually assaulted him in the mid-1970s, when the plaintiff was a student at Bishop LeBlond High School in St. Joseph.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:03 AM

After a tumultuous year, a season of light and shade

AUSTRALIA
The Australian

FROM the time its founder walked the dusty lanes of the Middle East more than 2000 years ago, Christianity has been a religion of light and darkness.

Each Christmas and at Easter, it renews its promises of love, generosity, hope and, for those who accept its teachings, redemption. Forgiveness and atonement are also an intrinsic part of the Christian message, an acknowledgment that weakness of character, sinfulness and sometimes evil are part of the human condition. This Christmas, after years of appalling publicity over their mishandling of child sexual abuse, it is the mainstream Christian churches themselves, and other institutions, that have been forced to confront their failures and seek forgiveness from the wider society.

In the midst of one of its darkest hours, however, Christianity has again shown its resilience and capacity for renewal, with the emergence of Pope Francis as a popular figure on the world stage. For some within the Catholic fold, some of his more unpredictable statements and decisions have created unease, but in reaching out to atheists, non-Christians, homosexuals, prisoners, the disabled, the disfigured and those disenfranchised from his own faith with spontaneous gestures of compassion, he has won the respect and affection of many who previously had little, if any, time for the church. Prudently, the Pope has also accepted the advice of his group of eight cardinal advisers, including Australia's George Pell, in establishing a Vatican commission to oversee and strengthen efforts to combat the sexual abuse of children by church personnel.

In Australia, the harrowing stories of many who have so far related their experiences to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse won't be forgotten. With revelations to come, it is impossible to gloss over the issue during one of the two main Christian festivals of the year. While such crimes are more prevalent among families than in any other sphere, the betrayal of trust by those in positions of spiritual leadership has left many people deeply disillusioned.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:59 AM

Cardinal George Pell urges Christians to be bold

AUSTRALIA
The Australian

ROSIE LEWIS THE AUSTRALIAN DECEMBER 24, 2013

AUSTRALIA'S highest ranking Catholic has urged fellow Christians not to "lapse into timid silence" in the face of adversity, as church leaders across the country delivered their annual Christmas messages. In the wake of the royal commission into institutional child sex abuse, Cardinal George Pell painted a picture of a church and religion under siege after one of the most tumultuous years for the Catholic Church.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:57 AM

KC Diocese settles lawsuit over claims of sexual abuse by priest

MISSOURI
St. Louis Post-Dispatch

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS


KANSAS CITY, Mo. • A religious order and the Catholic Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph have settled a 2012 lawsuit accusing a priest of sexual abuse.

The lawsuit was filed by a former Missouri man identified as John Doe M.R. against the Rev. James Urbanic, the diocese and the Missionaries of the Precious Blood, Urbanic's religious order. The case was scheduled for trial in January.

The Kansas City Star (http://bit.ly/1c26WPt ) reports the $130,000 settlement was finalized earlier this month.

Jack Smith, spokesman for the Diocese, says the diocese's share of the settlement was $65,000 and the diocese had no further comment on the case.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:47 AM

SA Full Court rules Anglican Church ...

AUSTRALIA
The Australian

CHIEF COURT REPORTER SEAN FEWSTER THE ADVERTISER DECEMBER 23, 2013

THE Anglican Church has the legal right to investigate and internally discipline priests accused of bad behaviour, the state's highest court has ruled.

In a unanimous decision this morning, the Full Court of the Supreme Court granted orders sought by the Anglican Church in Australia and the Diocese of the Murray.

Chief Justice Chris Kourakis and Justices Tom Gray and David Peek declared the Church's Professional Standards Board had the right to investigate and discipline controversial priest Peter Coote.

They further ruled an independent review of that board's decision to be invalid.

The judgment means there is no avenue for disgruntled former priests to file civil claims over their sackings or disciplinings.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:43 AM

Priest accused of rape placed under suspension

INDIA
The Hindu

Preliminary report on the incident has been sent to Vatican

The Palayamkottai RC Diocese has relieved a priest of his pastoral duties following rape charges levelled against him.

As Fr. Gnanapragasam Antony Selvan, parish priest of Pettai, has been accused of raping a 16-year-old girl and surgically removing her five-month-old-foetus with the help of a doctor. The Tirunelveli All Women Police filed a case against him.

Subsequently, he surrendered before a court at Uththamapalayam and was remanded to judicial custody.

He has been lodged in Madurai Central Prison.

Bishop of Palayamkottai RC Diocese, Rev. A. Jude Paulraj has confirmed that the priest has been relieved of religious duties.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:42 AM

Foster-home leader accused of molestation

ARIZONA
The Republic

By Dennis Wagner
The Republic | azcentral.com
Fri Nov 1, 2013

A Pinedale minister who operates a Christian foster home for low-income Native American girls has been indicted on charges that he molested two Apache children during stays at his residence.

Bradley S. Bieganski, 57, advertises on the Internet that his non-profit organization, known as Kingdom Flight, is “designed to meet both the physical and spiritual needs of indigenous children in remote areas. ... We believe in demonstrating Christ’s love through our actions by meeting physical needs and by building long-term relationships.”

According to Navajo County sheriff’s records and a grand-jury indictment, Bieganski was arrested in September after a school official in the White Mountain Apache community of Cibecue filed a complaint.

A sheriff’s report says two girls of elementary-school age reported that Bieganski had touched their private areas while they were bathing and alleged that he had done the same to other children. The report says the girls were “allegedly once foster children” of Bieganski and his wife, Lesli. It says the couple frequently visits the Fort Apache Reservation, taking toys and books for children and obtaining permission to take them back to Kingdom Flight Ranch.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:38 AM

Religious Camp Counselor Allegedly Abused Teen Girl For Years

ILLINOIS
Huffington Post

[with video]

By Emily Thomas

An eyewitness is speaking out to support a woman's allegations of sexual abuse against her former counselor at a Christian summer camp in the mid-1990s.

The woman, identified only as Jane Doe, was 16 years old when she attended the religious Camp Awana, run by Chicago's North Side Gospel Center, where she says counselor Cherie Carlson repeatedly molested her during the summers 1996 and 1997.

"She said she was showing me God's love," Doe recalled to NBC 5 in Chicago last month. "Eventually the physical demands became constant. Sometimes maybe four times a week."

Doe has filed a lawsuit against Carlson alleging sexual abuse in the form of oral sex and penetration. She is also suing the church for not taking action against Carlson. Her lawsuit seeks $300,000 in damages.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:32 AM

Kansas City-St. Joseph Diocese, religious order settle sex abuse lawsuit

MISSOURI
The Kansas City Star

December 22
BY JUDY L. THOMAS
The Kansas City Star

The Kansas City-St. Joseph Diocese and a Catholic religious order have settled a lawsuit alleging sexual abuse by a priest.

The lawsuit, settled for $130,000, was filed in 2012 by a former Missouri man against the Rev. James Urbanic, the diocese and the Missionaries of the Precious Blood, Urbanic’s religious order. The settlement was finalized earlier this month, an attorney for the plaintiff said. The case was scheduled for trial in January.

“He’s very pleased to have this behind him and to be able to move on with his life,” said Sarah Brown, the Kansas City attorney representing John Doe M.R., who now lives in another state.

Diocesan spokesman Jack Smith said the diocese’s share of the settlement was $65,000. The diocese had no further comment on the case.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:29 AM

New bishop of Diocese of Portland played role in purging of abusive priests

MAINE
The Forecaster

Seth Koenig, Bangor Daily News
Monday, December 23, 2013

PORTLAND — The newly appointed bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland is credited with playing a key role in the Vatican's purge of priests accused of sexual abuse, and later as the Archdiocese of Boston took the step of identifying abusive priests openly on its website.

Both were considered significant moves in the effort to overcome sex abuse scandals that came to light over the last decade and a half and tarnished the Catholic Church’s reputation.

Now, as Catholics and others in the state react to last week’s appointment of Bishop Robert Deeley, some of the strongest statements are from Maine clergy abuse victims and their supporters, who hope Deeley will continue his reconciliation work in Maine.

In 2011, after seven years away, Deeley rejoined the Archdiocese of Boston and served as one of the top aides to Cardinal Sean O’Malley, who that year opened the vault on the archdiocese’s sex abuse cases by posting a database of priests who had been accused, as well as what became of them.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:26 AM

New priests reply: 'Why would anyone join the Legionaries?'

ROME
National Catholic Reporter

John L. Allen Jr. | Dec. 23, 2013 NCR Today

Rome
If most Catholics were to compile a list of counter-intuitive things to do with one’s life these days, deciding to become a priest with the scandal-plagued Legionaries of Christ religious order probably would finish fairly close to the top.

The once-powerful group became a poster child for the church’s sexual abuse crisis after revelations of misconduct by its founder, the late Fr. Marcial Maciel Degollado, which were denied by the Legionaries until Pope Benedict XVI sentenced the Mexican priest to a life of “prayer and penance” in 2006.

Even then the Legion maintained public silence, and didn’t really start acknowledging Maciel’s double life, which included relationships with two women and fathering up to six children as well as charges of abuse of boys, until 2009.

Today, the order is still struggling to clean house. Just two weeks ago, it announced that an investigation had found “significant evidence of sexual abuse” by a priest who served as novice master at a Cheshire, Conn., seminary.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:24 AM

December 22, 2013

Pope Francis, Kids, Obama, Abbott & Murdoch

UNITED STATES
Christian Catholicism

Jerry Slevin

Interestingly, the English common law and free press legacy in two former British imperial colonies, Australia and the United States of America, is energizing politically sensitive and fundamentally interrelated investigations of Catholic priest child abuse cover-ups by local bishops. Both former colonies are now federal democratic republics that apply common law concepts that favor individual rights, public proceedings and a free press. Ironically, these concepts originated in part as a reaction to biased and secretive monarchical procedures that are still fully operative almost uniquely under Pope Francis’ continuing canon law process.

It appears that local national political developments may soon lead to confrontations between Pope Francis and the political leaders, President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Tony Abbott. Both lawyers, as young men Obama worked as an advocate for needy Chicago Catholic parishes and Abbott had been a Jesuit seminarian. Obama is frequently opposed by US Catholic bishops and Abbott is close to Australia’s sole Cardinal Pell. A close advisor to Francis, Pell reportedly has advised him especially on handling priest child abuse cases.

Coincidentally, Rupert Murdoch’s major media outlets generally play a key role in both countries, including the USA’s FOX News, which seemingly often features and favors the Catholic Church hierarchy’s views. Murdoch has been a papal knight for some years.

Francis’ top media advisor and reported Opus Dei affiliate, Greg Burke, had worked for FOX News following a stint at TIME Magazine, which just made Francis its “Man of the Year”. A coincidence? Perhaps. TIME has had declines in readership and Francis stories help magazines sell more. Burke at times seems pleased to discuss his efforts to “sell” Francis almost as some kind of hot new consumer product, which can be counter productive to Francis’ more powerful Gospel message to the poor. Perhaps, that may have been a factor in the Vatican’s recent retention of a high priced consulting firm to study the Vatican’s presently inadequate communications efforts.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:16 PM

Fmr. Twin Cities Priest Shares Insight On Catholic Church Scandal

MINNESOTA
CBS Minnesota

[with audio]

Susie Jones

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Former priest Tom Esch believes it was a courageous move for Archbishop John Nienstedt to apologize to parishioners at Our Lady of Grace church last weekend.

“I think, for many people, it helped.” Esch said.

Nienstedt was then accused of touching a young man several years ago during a confirmation ceremony photo session. On Monday, he decided to temporarily step aside pending the outcome of the investigation.

Esch said there is pain on every side of this scandal.

“There is pain from the victims. There is pain on the side of the leadership of the church. There is pain on the side of the priests who have abused,” Esch said.

He said there are also false accusations and a lot of what he called “reactivity.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:29 PM

More than 100 sex attackers removed from register

UNITED KINGDOM
The Times

Sonia Elks

Last updated at 5:14AM, December 22 2013

More than 100 convicted sex attackers ordered to sign the sex offenders register for life have been removed from the list this year after a human rights court ruling.

Paedophiles and rapists were among those who successfully applied to have their names removed, according to a Sun on Sunday investigation.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:02 PM

The church's 50-year cover-up of Father Finian Egan: The inside story

AUSTRALIA
Broken Rites

By a Broken Rites researcher (article updated 22 December 2013)

For 50 years, Sydney child-abuser Father Finian Egan was supported by the Catholic Church and influential friends but he was finally brought to justice by three of his victims, with help from Broken Rites.

Egan was sentenced on 20 December 2014 to at least four years' jail after a jury found him guilty of seven counts of indecent assault and one count of rape, committed against three girls who were aged from 10 to 17 in the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s.

These victims have slammed the Catholic Church for harbouring Egan in the priesthood for five decades, putting numerous children in danger.

Broken Rites research

Broken Rites can reveal that these three women were not the only complainants against Egan. This trial was confined to female complainants, and it covered only these three women who agreed to take part in the prosecution. A fourth woman exercised her right to opt out of the proceedings.

Broken Rites first heard of Father Finian Egan in January 2003, when we were contacted by one of his female victims. Five years later, in 2008, Broken Rites was contacted by a second Egan victim and later by a third, fourth, fifth and sixth victim. These six female victims were from several parishes. They were of various ages. They did not know each other. And they contacted Broken Rites separately, not realising that Broken Rites already knew about Egan.

And Broken Rites knows about a male complainant.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:07 PM

Why Wally Should Be Heard (Or: Selective Hearing?)

AUSTRALIA
lewisblayse.net

Four Salvation Army Boys’ Homes will be the focus of the next hearings of the Australian Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse beginning on 28th January. Two of the Homes were in Queensland. Riverview (http://lewisblayse.net/2013/06/14/riverview-salvation-army-boys-home-or-unfinished-business/), near Ipswich, and Alkira, in Brisbane.

The word “Alkira” is aboriginal for “bright and sunny” which, needless to say was exactly what it was not.

While this author was in Alkira, another man, Wally McLeod, was in both of them, Riverview and Alkira, at about the same time as this author. Wally is one of the people hoping to give evidence at the hearings. He must be allowed to do so, and on his terms.

There is no point in the Commission arbitrarily choosing those who will have a say, or how.

Wally McLeod was 12 years old when, as an orphan, he was sent to the Alkira Salvation Army Home for Boys at Indooroopilly in western Brisbane in 1960. He says he was regularly caned and flogged. “Just talking at the meal table was enough to get you caned and sometimes flogged. Even talking after lights out that could earn you a flogging. I can’t say I had ever drawn blood but it has happened to other boys.” He describes it as a hell-hole run by so-called Christians.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:06 PM

Get rid of priest from hell in Manilva

SPAIN
Euro Weekly News

RESIDENTS in San Luis de Sabinillas, Manilva, have collected 1,500 signatures to ask Malaga Bishopric to get rid of a priest who has reportedly reprimanded people for crying at funerals.

He is also accused of playing Christmas carols at funerals. One woman, whose son, 25, died in a traffic accident in September, reports that at his funeral, the priest shouted at the relatives to stop crying or he would end the mass, because the young man had died “because he was a sinner.”

When he was questioned by one of the man's cousins, she was told to “shut up” because the “same thing could happen” to her.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:03 PM

10 church leaders in sex scandals

ZIMBABWE
Zimbabwe Mail

The ongoing trial of RGM Independent End Time Message church leader Martin Gumbura appears to have opened a can of worms as an increasing number of women are coming forward to report cases of sexual abuse they suffered at the hands of men of the cloth.

The Apostolic Christian Council of Zimbabwe (ACCZ), a grouping of churches, last week disclosed that they have since handed over cases of suspected sexual abuse, spanning more than 10 churches, to the police for further investigations.

ACCZ president Archbishop Johannes Ndanga a loyalists of President Mugabe's Zanu PF said the sudden increase in abuse cases that are being reported to his organisation shows that a number of women have for long been suffering in silence.

“Pastors from more than 10 churches stand accused of rape and sexual abuse. In some cases, the pastors are accused of acts such as drug abuse.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:00 PM

Vatican Bank closes thousand accounts/criminal transactions...

UNITED STATES
Pope Crimes & Vatican Evils...

Paris Arrow

Vatican Bank closes thousand accounts/criminal transactions BURNT to leave no trail of crimes further/future investigations...drowned by loud Francis-maniacs at St. Peter’s Square

Updated December 22, 2013

Pope Francis and his Vatican Titanic Deceits Empire of PR media stunts army are doing a “feel-good” Hollywood strategy by making non-stop political photo-ops of Pope Francis with children and the sick so that robotic Catholic Francis-maniacs will continue to flock to St. Peter’s Square and chant, “Francesco, humble Francesco”…….and therefore, those over a thousand lay accounts holders won’t be noticed as they slip in and out circumspectly of the Vatican to close their personal accounts at the Vatican IOR Bank! He was even named Person of the Year by Time Magazine to segue Americans’ attentions away from Vatican crimes of money-launderings with drug lords and terrorism, read our analysis in FRANCIS UPDATES

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:58 PM

Priest accused of raping teen surrenders

INDIA
Gulf Times

A Roman Catholic priest accused of raping a teenage girl surrendered in Tirunelveli last week.

Police had been searching for Gnanapragasam Selvan, of St Antony’s church in Pettai. The victim’s parents had alleged Selvan raped their daughter who was a member of the church choir. When she became pregnant he arranged for her abortion through a local doctor and buried the foetus in the church cemetery.

The police are now on the lookout for the female doctor.

Meanwhile the church diocese has distanced itself from the controversy saying the police have not informed them.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:29 PM

Assignment Record – Rev. Andrew (Andras) M. Eordogh, s.j.

ALASKA
BishopAccountability.org

Summary of Case: Andrew Eordogh was a Jesuit priest of the Hungarian Province, ordained in 1958. He worked in Alaska in the late 1960s-early 1970s. In a 2006 lawsuit Eordogh was accused, along with another Jesuit, of sexually abusing a young Alaskan boy, when the boy was 4 to 7 years-old. At the time of the lawsuit Eordogh was living in a retirement home for priests in Hungary. His last known U.S. address was in Chicago.

Ordained: 1958

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:22 PM

SNAP will have a confidential support meeting in Youngstown

OHIO
Vindicator

YOUNGSTOWN

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, a self help group for men and women who were abused by clergy, will have a confidential support meeting in Youngstown, at a site to be announced, from 1 to 3 p.m. Dec. 28.

“Victims, family members, and supporters are welcome and encouraged to attend,” said Judy Jones of St. Louis, SNAP’s Midwest associate director. “Getting together in a private setting, with others who know your pain, is helpful to start the healing of anyone who has been abused as a child or exploited as an adult.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:20 PM

Pope’s PR, An Open Letter to The Boston Globe’s Lisa Wangsness

MASSACHUSETTS
skipshea

Skip Shea

Lisa,

I’m a survivor of clergy sexual abuse from the Diocese of Worcester. At one point in my life the objective reporting on the church and clergy sexual abuse scandal by the Boston Globe is what prompted me to turn my life around. A life filled with drug and alcohol abuse, suicidal ideation and worse.

This morning’s piece, Catholics in the Age of Francis Speak Out, brought me back to the days prior to 2002, when nothing could be said objectively about the church.

I am no longer Catholic so perhaps my view doesn’t fit the story you were trying to tell. It wouldn’t have been positive. Just the opposite. And clearly the point of the story was to find people who would discuss how positive Francis makes them feel. A nice PR piece.

And so far that’s all this is. In an opinion column for Al Jazeera America, Michael Tracey writes that the Vatican PR campaign is “…headed by former Fox News reporter Greg Burke. A member of the ascetic Opus Dei order, Burke is wedded to lifelong celibacy and professional communications services.”

Part of that campaign is the appearance that Francis lives a more humble life. Tracey writes. “Burke correctly surmised that in an era of austerity and continued economic misery, a leader who takes on austere appearances would win favor with the public — no major doctrinal alterations necessary. This is one of the oldest tricks in the book: former Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, for instance, stripped his office of fine Persian carpets to secure a few favorable headlines. Most important, it works.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:13 PM

Catholics in the age of Francis speak out

MASSACHUSETTS
Boston Globe

By Lisa Wangsness | GLOBE STAFF DECEMBER 22, 2013

A year ago, it would have been impossible to imagine: A pope who dresses simply, who lives in a Vatican guesthouse, who calls for a “poor church for the poor.”

Who speaks warmly about gay people. Who poses for selfies with young fans.

Who says church leaders have become too preoccupied with contraception, homosexuality, and abortion.

After one of the worst decades in Roman Catholic church history, marked by a devastating sexual abuse scandal, internecine turf battles at the Vatican, and a widening chasm between the hierarchy and the people, Pope Francis is changing the conversation about Catholicism around the world — and here at home.

Interviews with a dozen local Catholics offer a sense of how New Englanders have been absorbing the pope’s words and gestures, considering their meaning for the church and for their own spiritual lives.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:11 PM

Seattle Catholic school students protest gay vice principal's dismissal

SEATTLE (WA)
Aljazeera America

by Amel Ahmed @amelscript December 20, 2013

Students from Eastside Catholic School in the Seattle suburb of Sammamish protested outside the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Seattle Friday following news that their vice principal was forced to resign for marrying his same-sex partner.

The demonstration followed a Thursday sit-in and subsequent walk-out at the school, which has middle school and high school students, after students learned that Mark Zmuda, 38, would have to leave his position.

Caelan Colburn, a student organizer at the Friday protest, told Al Jazeera that about 150 students from various Catholic schools in the area convened in front of the archdiocese in support.

The Eastside Catholic School announced Thursday that classes would be canceled Friday due to forecast snow "and in light of the difficult day" the school had experienced when hundreds of students staged the sit-in.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:48 AM

'Who am I to judge?': The pope's most powerful phrase in 2013

VATICAN CITY
NBC News

Could five little words uttered in 2013 change the course of the Catholic Church?

Pope Francis — also known as Time's Person of the Year and Twitter's #bestpopeever — has done a lot of talking since he was installed on the throne of St. Peter in March, tackling everything from luxury cars to income inequality in a series of interviews, sermons and written exhortations.

But for veteran Vatican watcher John Thavis, the pontiff's most significant pontificating came July 29 when he gave a press conference on a flight back from Brazil.

"Who am I to judge?" he asked.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:43 AM

Social media spread furor over Eastside Catholic firing

SEATTLE (WA)
Seattle Times

By John Higgins
Seattle Times education reporter

Condemnation of Eastside Catholic School’s dismissal of its gay vice principal for marrying his partner — ignited by student protests Thursday — grew louder Friday with demonstrations in Sammamish and downtown Seattle.

Disapproval has spread far wider over social media, especially among Eastside’s far-flung alumni. Many are returning to the Seattle area for the holidays and reunions with classmates.

So far, at least, the voices of anger over the school’s dismissal of vice principal Mark Zmuda have been louder than the voices of those who may support the school’s decision.

Either way, there were no signs Friday that the issue would die down during the Christmas break.

“I’m getting texts from all over the country and all over the globe. I’ve got somebody in Thailand who is upset about it,” said Mary Kopczynski, a 1996 Eastside Catholic graduate and CEO of a financial-consulting firm in New York City, who is coming home for Christmas week. “This is not small, and this is just the beginning.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:42 AM

Joe Soucheray: Nienstedt allegation is difficult to believe

MINNESOTA
Pioneer Press

By Joe Soucheray
jsoucheray@pioneerpress.com
POSTED: 12/21/2013

It was an additional and surprising revelation that the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis was not cooperating with St. Paul police concerning investigations into alleged sexual improprieties by clergy, but now they are. Rather than send only lawyers into the front parlor to meet with investigators, the archdiocese this past week sent its vicar general, the Rev. Charles Lachowitzer, to meet with police. Yes. Lachowitzer was accompanied by one of the lawyers, but at least there was a high-ranking collar in the room.

That is progress. Progress seems to have been jump-started by the allegation made last week by an unnamed male that Archbishop John Nienstedt inappropriately touched the fellow on the butt during a photo session following a confirmation ceremony in 2009. Confirmations are, in their aftermaths, clamorous affairs because everybody has a camera these days and everybody wants a chance to get a photo or a bit of video stream with an archbishop posed with a new young soldier of the faith.

It might be foolhardy to say that I am not buying it -- the alleged touching -- because we have been surprised at nearly every turn, including Nienstedt's apology last week when he delivered sermons at Our Lady of Grace in Edina. Here, again, we simply had a failure of modern public relations.

Nienstedt said he failed to pay close enough attention because he said he was told upon his arrival as archbishop in 2008 that sexual abuse by clergy had been contained and taken care of. That was a ridiculous position for him to take. It wasn't exactly a non-apology apology, so common today in America's cultural swoon, but it did not meet the standards expected of a boss.

No less ridiculous is the suggestion that Nienstedt did what he is alleged to have done. Come forward, young man, and tell us exactly what you mean when you charge that the archbishop inappropriately touched you. What exactly is an inappropriate touching of the butt -- a pat, a slap, a brushing against? A brushing against is entirely plausible giving the clamorous nature of the post-confirmation excitement.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:56 AM

Sex-abuse victim advocates say pope must better address issue

MASSACHUSETTS
Herald News

By Brian Fraga
Herald News Staff Reporter
Posted Dec 21, 2013

Pope Francis has invited homeless men for dinner and embraced physically handicapped people in St. Peter’s Square.

But Robert M. Hoatson said the pope has yet to connect with victims of clergy sex abuse.

“What greater population of need is there than people who have been abused by their own clergy?” said Hoatson, a survivor of clergy sex abuse and co-founder and president of Road to Recovery Inc., a New Jersey-based nonprofit that advocates for sex abuse victims.

Hoatson, along with nine other high-profile Catholic whistleblowers on clergy sex abuse, signed an open letter on Dec. 9 to Cardinal Sean O’Malley, the archbishop of Boston and a member of Pope Francis’ panel of cardinals that advises him on church governance and reform.

The letter called upon Cardinal O’Malley, the former bishop of Fall River, to appoint Hoatson and two other victim advocates to the new commission that Pope Francis is creating to advise him on protecting children and counseling victims of sex abuse.

Hoatson, whose organization has advocated for sex abuse victims in the Diocese of Fall River, said the new Vatican commission needs to focus on providing victims with legal, juridical and psychological services, not just pastoral initiatives.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:23 AM

Former church youth volunteer facing 38 counts of child sexual abuse waives time limit for hearing

WEST VIRGINIA
Bluefield Daily Telegraph

PRINCETON — A former church youth volunteer and child mentor charged with 38 counts of child sexual abuse related charges has waived the time limit for his preliminary hearing.

Timothy Probert, 55, was taken into custody by Sgt. M.D. Clemons, with the Crimes Against Children Unit of the West Virginia State Police, earlier this month. He was scheduled to appear this morning before Mercer County Magistrate Jim Dent for a preliminary hearing, but waived the time limit. A new preliminary hearing date for Probert will be set sometime in January, according to court officials.

The alleged crimes stem from incidents that occurred when Probert was a youth volunteer at Westminster Presbyterian Church in Bluefield and a volunteer with the Working to Eliminate Child Abuse and Neglect (WE CAN) program.

Probert is charged with 22 counts of sexual abuse by a custodian; six counts of first-degree sexual abuse; seven counts of third-degree sexual assault; one count of distribution and display of obscene matter to a minor; one count of use of obscene matter with intent to seduce a minor; and one count of use of a minor to produce obscene matter or to assist in doing sexually explicit conduct.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:18 AM

December 21, 2013

Jeff Anderson statement ...

MINNESOTA
Jeff Anderson and Associates

Jeff Anderson statement of erroneous depiction of priest on “Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis’ List of 34”

Firm issues public apology to Father Patrick J. Ryan

(St. Paul, MN) - Jeff Anderson and Associates sincerely apologizes for the incorrect depiction of Father Patrick J. Ryan at its Press Conference on December 5, 2013. At the conference and included in the media kit, our firm depicted Father Patrick J. Ryan on “The Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis’ List of 34.” The image of Father Patrick J. Ryan was mistakenly confirmed as the Father Patrick Joseph Ryan contained on the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis’ List. There are no known allegations of sexual abuse against the Father Patrick J. Ryan pictured on December 5, 2013.

When told of the potential mistake, we immediately alerted all media personnel present at the press conference.

We are not aware of any media running that picture individually. There were two stations that we are aware of that posted a picture of the survivors at the press conference with the background of the Archdiocese List of 34 which included several pictures, including the mistaken picture of Fr. Ryan. We immediately called the two stations that posted those pictures the same night to let them know so that the photo would be removed.

Jeff Anderson personally telephoned Father Patrick J. Ryan that evening to apologize profusely for the inaccuracy and issued an apology letter the following day.

Jeff Anderson and Associates expresses our heartfelt regret for the inadvertent depiction of Father Patrick J. Ryan as a priest on the Archdiocese’s list of 34.

The apology letter to Father Ryan can be found on our website at www.andersonadvocates.com.

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 8:56 PM

West Side Cleveland parish has new pastor after resignation of priest indicted for soliciting

OHIO
The Plain Dealer

By Tom Feran, The Plain Dealer
on December 21, 2013

CLEVELAND, Ohio -- The Rev. James McGonegal, the 68-year-old priest indicted on a felony charge in October for soliciting sex from an undercover ranger at Edgewater Park, has been replaced as pastor of St. Ignatius of Antioch Church in Cleveland.

Bishop Richard Lennon of the Cleveland Catholic Diocese accepted McGonegal's resignation as pastor on submission. Lennon then appointed the Rev. Michael Troha as the church's new leader. Troha was pastor of Immaculate Conception Parish in Willoughby since 2004.

The change was effective Dec. 10.

The announcement was made in Friday's edition of the biweekly Catholic Universe Bulletin, the diocesan newspaper.

Troha's official installation as pastor will be at a 5 p.m. Mass on Saturday, Jan. 25, at St. Ignatius of Antioch, with Lennon presiding.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:57 PM

Statement Regarding St. Paul Police Press Conference

MINNESOTA
Roman Catholic Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis

Date:Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Source:Jim Accurso

The Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis greatly appreciates the comments by St. Paul Police Chief Smith today. We affirm that we received his letter and answered within the two-day span requested. In our response, we asked for an opportunity to meet with members of the St. Paul Police.

Our hope was that, through this meeting, which the police set for tomorrow, we could better understand the requests for information in greater detail.

We look forward to the meeting, which will include not only an attorney but also our new Vicar General and Moderator of the Curia, Fr. Charles Lachowitzer, as was requested by Chief Smith. Although we cannot speak for Fr. McDonough and his choice not to speak with the police, as we have stated repeatedly, the archdiocese seeks to cooperate with the police and all civil authorities.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:22 PM

Statement Regarding Harry Walsh

MINNESOTA
Roman Catholic Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis

Date:Thursday, December 19, 2013

Source:Jim Accurso

A media report was published today regarding Harry Walsh, a former member of the Redemptorists religious order in Ireland, and a former priest who ministered in the Archdiocese of Detroit and who later moved to the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis. Walsh agreed to resign from priestly ministry in 2005 and was subsequently permanently removed from the priesthood (laicized) in 2012.

The Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis is committed to disclosure because it can be an important means of assisting victims of abuse in their healing process. Our sorrow for all acts of abuse by clergy can never be communicated enough. Our new disclosure practices began on December 5 and are ongoing. This is a process that has just begun and will take some time in order to proceed thoroughly and factually.

As we continue that work with a genuine sense of urgency, we want to provide the following facts regarding a number of assertions made in today’s media report regarding Walsh.

The Archbishop did not know of the allegations relating to Walsh’s alleged sexual abuse of a minor until 2010. The Archbishop informed Walsh (who was then no longer in active ministry) that he could either choose to request a dispensation from the obligations of Holy Orders, or the archdiocese would seek his dismissal through the appropriate canonical process. Walsh chose to request a dispensation and he was subsequently laicized.

Minnesota law and the archdiocese’s policies at the time did not obligate the archdiocese to report these dated allegations to police. In accordance with our present policy, we will report all past and present credible claims of sexual abuse of minors to the police as our file review continues.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:20 PM

What The Next Hearing Is About (Or: Nothing Is Forever)

AUSTRALIA
lewisblayse.net

Whatever the Australian Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse uncovers in its up-coming hearings on Salvation Army Children’s Homes, history will always remember the abuses committed by Salvation Army officers and staff in their Children’s Homes, due to one person who no longer lives.

The Salvation Army ran an orphanage in the suburb of Woolton in the U.K. city of Liverpool, from 1936 to 2005. It has been listed by www.abuselaw.co.uk as having complaints of child sexual abuse.

One victim’s statement alleges that he was in this Children’s Home “from 1987 – 1992. I witnessed abuse, and was victim to it also. It was physical, sexual, mental and psychological abuse. My sister was abused, and she took the abuser to court, yet he got away with it, it was brushed under the carpet. She was moved to another Home, and the abuser stayed, allowing him to carry on abusing more victims, including myself. That is my story.”

There was a boy who lived around the corner from the Home. As a child in the 1950s, he squeezed through the Home’s tall, wrought iron gates and played on the grounds with some of the orphans who lived there. He felt a kinship with them after he was abandoned by his father and sent by his mother to live with his Aunt. He played with childhood friends in the trees behind the orphanage when he was a boy, and always attended an annual fete there, with his Aunt.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:17 PM

Pope to Curia: An end to the role of 'inspector and inquisitor'

VATICAN CITY
John Thavis

Pope Francis’ meeting today with officials of the Roman Curia was important for what was said and what wasn’t said.

The annual Christmas encounter between the pope and his bureaucratic support system is often a time for “big” speeches that outline papal agendas, and what better occasion for Pope Francis to explain his big project of Curia reform?

That didn’t happen. Instead, in a short speech, the pope made three points that, while offering some praise for the performance of the Roman Curia, also seemed to challenge the reigning attitudes there.

First, the pope spoke of the need for professional skill and competence. “When professionalism is lacking, there is a slow slide toward the area of mediocrity,” he said. Tasks become routine and communication closed, while awareness of the bigger picture is lost.

Incompetence and lack of communication, of course, have been two of the biggest criticisms of the Roman Curia in recent years – criticisms that were aired in the cardinals’ meetings that took place ahead of last spring’s conclave.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:15 PM

White Bear Lake priest abused two women as teens, they say

MINNESOTA
Pioneer Press

By Emily Gurnon
egurnon@pioneerpress.com
POSTED: 12/20/2013

After the St. Paul police said in October that they wanted to hear from victims of clergy sexual abuse, a former White Bear Lake woman picked up the phone.

She called an investigator in that north suburban city, saying she had been abused by the Rev. Ambrose Filbin at St. Pius X in the 1960s, while she was in grade school there.

"He caught me in a (school supply) room and just started kissing me, French kissing," said the woman, who will be referred to as "Donna" for this report. It is not her real name. "And as I struggled to get away, he said, 'Coward.' "

She was 14.

Donna said Filbin followed up the kissing with fondling. She said the abuse lasted six years.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:11 PM

Memo names 3 missing from 'credibly accused' priests list

MINNESOTA
Minnesota Public Radio

Madeleine Baran · St. Paul, Minn. · Dec 20, 2013

An internal church memo from 2002 names three priests with "known abuse histories" who weren't on the list of "credibly accused" priests released by the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis earlier this month.

The three priests are: the Rev. Tom Gillespie, the Rev. Harold Whittet, and the Rev. Ambrose Filbin. Gillespie, a Benedictine monk, was identified by St. John's Abbey on Dec. 9 as a cleric "likely to have offended against minors." Whittet and Filbin are dead.

The Aug. 12, 2002, memo obtained by MPR News provides further evidence that the archdiocese has not released the names of all priests it believes sexually abused children.

Archbishop John Nienstedt has said the archdiocese will update its public list if it "learns of additional credible claims of abuse by a minor by a member of the clergy." However, Nienstedt won't say why he hasn't disclosed the names of several priests identified in the 2002 memo as known abusers.

A spokesman for the archdiocese did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:07 PM

Best of 2013: GoodTherapy.org’s Top 10 Websites for Abuse Survivors

UNITED STATES
GoodTherapy.org

For those who experience abuse—physical, sexual, or emotional—the consequences can be devastating, and the road to recovery may be a long and challenging one. Some survivors of childhood abuse may repress memories until later in life; others may carry the memories with them their entire lives.

Abuse affects several facets of a person’s well-being, from the ability to cope with stress to the ability to hold down a job, maintain intimacy in relationships, and handle the many emotional ups and downs of life. Depression, anxiety, posttraumatic stress, sleep disturbances, panic, sexual dysfunction, and issues with self-esteem are just a few of the challenges someone who has survived abuse may experience on a regular basis. Support and guidance during the healing and recovery process is essential to move forward and find peace amid the inner chaos.

We’ve compiled a list of the 10 best websites for survivors of abuse in 2013—GoodTherapy.org excluded. As with our previous top 10 lists, our selections are based on quality and depth of content, presentation, and functionality.

Joyful Heart Foundation: The mission of the Joyful Heart Foundation is “to heal, educate, and empower survivors of sexual assault, domestic violence, and child abuse, and to shed light into the darkness that surrounds these issues.” The site focuses its resources and information on healing and wellness, education and awareness, and policy and advocacy. Its approach centers on mind-body-spirit healing, and it offers an assortment of day and multiday retreat programs for survivors as well as a “Heal the Healers” program and training workshops for health professionals who work closely with survivors.

ASCA: Adult Survivors of Child Abuse: Created by the Norma J. Morris Center for healing from child abuse, the ASCA program was designed to offer self-help support and resources for adult survivors of physical, sexual, or emotional abuse or neglect as a child. The site encourages victims to make the shift “from survivor to thriver” with the help of workbooks and support groups.

MaleSurvivor: This not-for-profit organization caters to boys and men who have been sexually abused or victimized. It emphasizes that although the male experience of abuse does not receive a great deal of attention, statistics indicate that one in six men endures sexual abuse before the age of 16. To facilitate hope and healing for male survivors of various ages, the organization provides resources and information, support group links, weekend recovery programs, discussion forums, personal stories of recovery, and a national program called Dare to Dream. Educational materials also are available for parents and professionals working with survivors.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:13 PM

Amid clergy abuse revelations, Catholics weigh giving

MINNESOTA
Grand Forks Herald

By: Tom Scheck, Minnesota Public Radio News

Joe Schmidt's church can count on him this year for a Christmas donation. His generosity, however, won't reach the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis.

He plans to send only $1 to Archbishop John Nienstedt's annual Catholic Services Appeal, which helps run the archdiocese. The dollar will come with a message of frustration over allegations that archdiocese leaders for decades covered up sexual abuse by priests.

"I give them a nominal amount just to say I considered it, but I'm going in a different direction," said Schmidt, a parishioner at Joan of Arc Catholic Church in Minneapolis. The dollar "sends the message that I'm no longer going to support the administration."

Church leaders across the metro are bracing for similar reactions from Catholics across the Twin Cities.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:46 PM

Respect for clergy drops, but among Republicans, not so much

UNITED STATES
National Catholic Reporter

Lauren Markoe Religion News Service | Dec. 18, 2013

Clergy used to rank near the top in polls asking Americans to rate the honesty and ethics of people in various professions. This year, for the first time since Gallup began asking the question in 1977, fewer than half of those polled said clergy have "high" or "very high" moral standards.

But opinions on clergy differed markedly by party, with Republicans viewing them far more favorably than Democrats.

Overall, 47 percent of respondents to the survey gave clergy "high" or "very high" ratings, a sharp drop in confidence from the 67 percent of Americans who viewed them this way in 1985.

Among Republicans, 63 percent gave clergy one of the two top ratings for ethics, compared with 40 percent of Democrats.

In a piece accompanying the poll, Gallup Senior Editor Jeffrey M. Jones wrote that Republicans might think more highly of clergy, police and military officers "because those people work in traditional institutions in American society, which Republicans may hold in greater esteem because of their generally conservative ideology."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:28 PM

Pope Francis may be awesome, but there's the iffy bit

AUSTRALIA
Sydney Morning Herald

December 22, 2013

Paul McGeough
Chief foreign correspondent

And so another rock star is born. Welcome Francis - that's Pope Francis.

Just as the Norwegian Nobel Committee rushed to sanctify Barack Obama by awarding him the 2009 peace prize, even before he'd done unpacking at the White House, there's a rush by the world's news media to canonise Pope Francis, even before he's warmed the papal throne at the Vatican.

As a new world figure Francis is a sensation, to be sure. One of the more endearing welcomes came from MSNBC's cool and bespectacled young commentator Chris Hayes: ''Given the constraints of what being Pope is, you can operate in one of two ways: you can be a jerk about it, or you can be awesome - and this guy is choosing to be awesome.''

The Huffington Post is in raptures: ''We love him.'' At Gawker, Francis is ''our cool new Pope'' and Time magazine has named him its 2013 Person of the Year. Out with Benedict, the theology professor; in with Francis, the former janitor, nightclub bouncer, chemical technician and literature teacher.

These days we just can't help ourselves. The insatiable appetite of a 24/7 news machine means we must constantly feed the beast, so we race ahead of the news and, in this case, serve notice that the hapless Francis must live up to our expectations as reformer extraordinaire.

As an institution, the church is in a bad way. Think child sex abuse on an industrial scale and money laundering, graft and homosexual blackmail at the Vatican. And will we ever forget the Bishop of Bling and the bathtub that cost $20,000 in the $42 million renovation of his palace at Lindberg, Germany?

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:21 PM

Friar who headed Archbishop Ryan to be paroled

PENNSYLVANIA
Philadelphia Daily News

JULIE SHAW, DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITER SHAWJ@PHILLYNEWS.COM, 215-854-2592
POSTED: Sunday, December 22, 2013

ARTHUR BASELICE Jr. is a lost soul, a man destroyed by the Catholic Church.

His son, Arthur Baselice III, died at age 28 of a drug overdose, and the father has blamed Charles Newman, the Franciscan friar and former president of Archbishop Ryan High School, for his death.

Newman was convicted of stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars from the school and his religious order. He was sentenced in May 2009 to three to six years in state prison, followed by 10 years' probation.

On Monday, he is scheduled to be released on parole and sent to the Self-Help Movement community correction center - a halfway house - on Southampton Road in the Far Northeast, according to a letter by the Office of the Victim Advocate, provided to the Daily News by Baselice Jr.

The fact that Newman could soon be free to walk the streets outrages Baselice Jr.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:24 AM

Temple priest arrested for sodomising minor

INDIA
Hindustan Times

A temple priest was arrested late in the evening on Saturday for sodomising a minor in Lehnu village in Trikri area of Udhampur. According to reports, a well known 'mahant' of a temple situated at village Lehnu on the Jammu-Srinagar highway was arrested by the police on allegations of sexual assault of a minor boy who is under treatment at Government Medical College, Jammu.

As per the police, a few members of a Jammu-based NGO filed an FIR at Tikri police station demanding the arrest of mahant Kamal Giri alleging that he had sexually assaulted a minor boy in his ashram for several days.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:17 AM

At Christmas "Greeting," Pope Talks When the Curia "Hinders the Spirit"... And the Church

UNITED STATES
Whispers in the Loggia

SATURDAY, DECEMBER 21, 2013

Over the pontificate of Benedict XVI, the traditional "Christmas greeting" to the Roman Curia became one of the year's most anticipated speeches as the now Pope-emeritus both recapped the closing cycle and mused on topics of his interest. Among the group, perhaps the emblematic talks are 2005's watershed address on the interpretation of Vatican II, which aimed to lay the groundwork for one of his most controversial projects – the reintegration of the SSPX – and 2010's reflection on clergy sex-abuse in the wake of that year's European outbreak of the scandals, which a media frenzy attempted to drive right up to Joseph Ratzinger's doorstep.

Like so much else this time around, it was unclear what Pope Francis would do with his first turn at the speech today... but given the Argentine pontiff's habit for dropping rhetorical bombs at any time – especially when top officials are present – most observers went into this morning's appointment expecting more, not less. While the result was much briefer than Benedict's elegant, detail-rich meditations in years past, the new Pope's usual "three words" on this occasion still packed a considerable punch. (Above, Francis is shown high-fiving young members of Italy's influential Catholic Action, who he received in an audience last night.)

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:52 AM

Ex-Derby priest accused of altar boy sex attacks may face more charges

UNITED KINGDOM
Derby Telegraph

A PRIEST accused of sexually abusing three altar boys is now “likely” to be facing charges against four more alleged victims.

Francis Paul Cullen, who spent 18 years working at Christ the King Catholic Church, on the Mackworth Estate, was extradited this summer from Tenerife, where he had been living.

The 85-year-old had been detained on a European arrest warrant issued by Britain.

He appeared at Derby Crown Court yesterday, wearing a khaki-coloured T-shirt over a short-sleeved shirt and beige trousers, for a plea and case management hearing.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:48 AM

Iglesia católica expulsa a sacerdote René Benavides por abuso sexual en Chile

CHILE
El Universal

La Iglesia católica chilena anunció este viernes la expulsión de estado clerical del sacerdote, René Benavides, tras ser hallado culpable del delito de abuso sexual a tres menores, por un tribunal canónico.

"En fallo definitivo e inapelable de un tribunal canónico de segunda instancia, la Iglesia ha confirmado la sentencia que condena al presbítero René Benavides Rives como culpable del delito de abuso sexual contra tres menores de edad", dijo un comunicado de la Iglesia chilena.

"El tribunal ha impuesto al sacerdote la pena expiatoria perpetua de expulsión del estado clerical, que es la máxima sanción dispuesta por el ordenamiento jurídico de la Iglesia", agregó.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:45 AM

Expulsan a sacerdote chileno por abusar de tres menores

CHILE
El Diario

By: Andrés Alburquerque Fuschini

POSTED: DEC 20, 2013

Santiago de Chile - En fallo definitivo e inapelable, el Tribunal Canónico de Segunda Instancia de la Iglesia católica chilena condenó al presbítero René Benavides Rives a la perpetua expulsión del estado clerical, tras ser hallado culpable de abuso sexual contra tres menores de edad.

Así lo confirmó esta mañana el Obispado de San Felipe, que detalla que el tribunal impuso al sacerdote la máxima sanción dispuesta por el ordenamiento jurídico de la Iglesia.

“Esto significa que el señor Benavides no conserva el ejercicio del ministerio sacerdotal: no puede administrar sacramentos ni ejercer los derechos propios de dicho estado, como tampoco puede desarrollar otros encargos o actividades en parroquias, colegios u otras instituciones católicas”, explicó la institución en un comunicado.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:43 AM

Gallup Diocese has loans totaling $229,000

NEW MEXICO
ABQ Journal

By Olivier Uyttebrouck / Journal Staff Writer

The Diocese of Gallup obtained two loans totaling $229,000 from neighboring dioceses to help pay for professional services related to its Chapter 11 bankruptcy, a church official said this week.

The loans included $29,000 from the Archdiocese of Santa Fe and $200,000 from the Diocese of Phoenix, according to court records the Gallup diocese filed in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Albuquerque.

The loans were obtained shortly before the Diocese of Gallup filed for bankruptcy on Nov. 12, to help pay for legal and financial services, Gallup Bishop James Wall said Thursday at a creditors’ meeting in Albuquerque.

Wall did not specify the date or terms of the loans, which are listed as unsecured nonpriority claims in the diocese’s court filings.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:40 AM

Our View: Reconciliation begins with disclosure of accused priests

MINNESOTA
Post-Bulletin

Bishop John Quinn spoke of "a very long and painful road" to forgiveness when discussing the 14 priests from the Winona Diocese who have been credibly accused of sexually abusing children.

We've long believed that public disclosure is a necessary step for the Catholic Church to restore its credibility after decades of stonewalling on child-abuse allegations. However, it took a court order to force the church to release the names after a lawsuit was filed against the Winona Diocese in 2008.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:39 AM

Baker probe fallout?

PENNSYLVANIA
Tribune-Democrat

Kathy Mellott
kmellott@tribdem.com

EBENSBURG — With a potential criminal investigation waiting in the wings, Bishop McCort High School appears to be cleaning house of those who may have or should have known that Brother Stephen Baker was sexually abusing students for years.

The Tribune-Democrat has learned from multiple unnamed sources that longtime math teacher Carol Grove was dismissed from her post at the school earlier this month, and word is that others may be dismissed.

“It sounds like guilt by association,” said one former Bishop McCort student. “I think the McCort graduates and others need to know what is going on.”

Grove, who is listed on the school’s website as a math teacher, was also Key Club moderator and overseer of Mu Alpha Theta, a school-based math club.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:37 AM

Pope Francis gives Christmas message of service to Vatican staff, priests

VATICAN CITY
CNN

By Laura Smith-Spark, CNN

(CNN) -- Pope Francis put the ideals of professionalism, service and holiness to the fore Saturday in his first Christmas message to the Curia, the Roman Catholic Church's governing body.

The Roman Curia, which includes Vatican staff, priests and cardinals, gathered in the ornate Clementine Hall. The pope praised those who have worked in the Vatican for "many years with immense dedication, hidden from the eyes of the world."

The church needs "people who work with competence, precision and self sacrifice in the fulfillment of their daily duties," he said.

Without professionalism, Francis warned, "there is a slow drift downwards towards mediocrity" and "dossiers become full of trite and lifeless information" that fail to inspire.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:31 AM

Pope warns against mediocrity, gossip in Vatican

VATICAN CITY
Washington Post

By Associated Press, Updated: Saturday, December 21

VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis warned Vatican administrators Saturday that their work can take a downward spiral into mediocrity, gossip and bureaucratic squabbling if they forget that theirs is a professional vocation of service to the church.

Francis made the comments in his Christmas address to the Vatican Curia, the bureaucracy that forms the central government of the 1.2-billion strong Catholic Church. The speech was eagerly anticipated given that Francis was elected in March on a mandate to overhaul the antiquated and oftentimes dysfunctional Vatican administration.

Already, heads have started to roll: Just last week, Francis reshuffled the advisory body of the powerful Congregation for Bishops, the office that vets all the world’s bishop nominations. He removed the arch-conservative American Cardinal Raymond Burke, a key figure in the U.S. culture wars over abortion and gay marriage, and also nixed the head of Italy’s bishops’ conference and another hardline Italian, Cardinal Mauro Piacenza, earlier axed as head of the Vatican office responsible for priests.

Other changes are on the horizon: In the coming weeks Francis will name his first batch of cardinals and in February will preside over the third summit of his “Group of Eight” cardinal advisers, who are expected to put forward a first round of proposals for revamping the Holy See bureaucracy.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:30 AM

Former church camp leader accused of sexually assaulting young girls

CHICAGO (IL)
New York Daily News

BY CAROL KURUVILLA / NEW YORK DAILY NEWS

FRIDAY, DECEMBER 20, 2013

A middle school teacher in Chicago has reportedly been hiding a sickening secret for nearly twenty years.

Two women are accusing teacher Cherie Carlson of using her status as a spiritual mentor in the 1990s to sexually abuse young girls at a church camp owned by Chicago's North Side Gospel Center.

"She said she was showing me God's love,” said one survivor, who spoke to NBC Chicago under the pseudonym “Jane Doe.”

Jane Doe has filed a lawsuit against Carlson, accusing her of forced oral sex and penetration between 1996 and 1997. The lawsuit also accuses the church of not doing enough to stop the abuse.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:25 AM

December 20, 2013

SNAP to hold support session Dec. 28

OHIO
Canton Repository

YOUNGSTOWN
SNAP, the Survivors' Network of those Abused by Priests, will host a confidential support meeting in Youngstown from 1 to 3 p.m. on Dec. 28.

"Victims, family members and supporters are welcome and encouraged to attend," said Judy Jones, SNAP's Midwest Associate Director. "Getting together in a private setting, with others who know your pain, is helpful to start the healing of anyone who has been abused as a child or exploited as an adult."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:37 PM

TX - Victims urge bishop to act

TEXAS
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

Predator priest now lives in Dallas
Catholic officials say he's "credibly accused"
He was "outed" for first time last week in Minnesota
And he supposedly faces a church defrocking trial this month

For immediate release: Friday, Dec. 20, 2013

For more information: David Clohessy of St. Louis, SNAP Director (314) 566-9790 cell, SNAPclohessy@aol.com

A support group for clergy sex abuse victims is urging a Texas bishop to warn his flock about an abusive priest who has reportedly moved to the Dallas area.

Last week, a Minnesota judge ordered the Winona diocese to release a list of credibly accused predator priests. One of them is Fr. Joseph C. Cashman.

It was the first time Fr. Cashman was publicly accused of molesting kids. Church officials are trying to defrock him.

“We believe that Fr. Cashman is still dangerous and belongs behind bars,” said Barbara Dorris of St. Louis, outreach director of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests. “But this predator will probably continue to escape consequences for his crimes unless bishops in Dallas and Minnesota start acting with real compassion and decisiveness.”

“Bishops recruit, educate, ordain, hire, train, transfer and shield predator priests,” said David Clohessy of St. Louis, SNAP’s director. “So when credible abuse reports surface, they must warn the public and take active steps to help police investigate the allegations and help parents safeguard their kids.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:36 PM

Priest defrocked in Chile pedophile case

CHILE
GlobalPost

Chile's Roman Catholic Church said Friday it has defrocked a priest after finding him guilty of sexually abusing three minors.

A church tribunal found that Rene Benavides committed the abuse while serving as a priest in the city of Los Andes in the 1990s.

"The tribunal has imposed on the priest the perpetual punishment of expulsion from the clerical state, which is the maximum sanction available under church law," the Chilean church said in a statement.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:31 PM

Australian sex abuse commission gets documents from nuncio

AUSTRALIA
National Catholic Reporter

Stephen Crittenden | Dec. 20, 2013

SYDNEY The papal nuncio to Australia, Archbishop Paul Gallagher, claimed diplomatic immunity in response to repeated requests for archival documentation that might assist a prosecutor with her inquiry into sex abuse, copies of correspondence released this week show.

In the end, though, Gallagher decided to turn over documents sought as part of the New South Wales Special Commission of Inquiry. In an interview with the Australian Broadcasting Corporation on Friday, Francis Sullivan, CEO of the Truth Justice and Healing Council, said Gallagher told him the Apostolic Nunciature had handed over the documents Dec. 6.

The Truth Justice and Healing Council was established early this year to coordinate the church's response to the royal commission. Sullivan said when he took on the role he had made it clear that the church would cooperate fully with the commission. "That was the instruction from the church leadership and the same applies to other inquiries."

"Although we're very clear that the relationship between Australia and the Vatican is conducted through the appropriate diplomatic channels, we'll produce the documents the inquiry needs," Sullivan said.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:29 PM

Priest surrenders, foetus of rape victim exhumed

INDIA
The Hindu

The priest who is accused of sexually assaulting a 16-year-old girl surrendered before Judicial Magistrate (Uthamapalayam) Geetha, who remanded him in judicial custody for 15 days.

He has been lodged in Madurai Central Prisons, according to a report from Theni.

Parish priest of St. Antony’s Church, Pettai, Fr. Gnanapragasam Selvan allegedly raped the girl, who became pregnant.

Hunt on for doctor

When the priest’s efforts to pacify the girl’s poor parents failed, he approached doctor S. Meenakshi from Tirunelveli Town, who surgically removed the foetus, according to police.

It was buried in the graveyard under the control of St. Antony’s Church administration.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:28 PM

Sexual assault trial verdict on former Windsor priest slated for February

CANADA
Windsor Star

Dave Battagello
Dec 20, 2013

A decision will be handed down in Sarnia’s Superior Court in February following the conclusion of a trial this week of a former Windsor priest who was said in court to have sexually abused at least a dozen early-adolescent girls in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

Gabriele Del Bianco is facing 18 counts of sexual assault-related offences for his alleged involvement with young girls.

Final submissions by both Crown and defence lawyers were made on Wednesday and concluded Thursday to Justice Joseph Donohue. He indicated his judgement will be handed down on Feb. 24 at 10 a.m. in Sarnia’s Superior Court, said assistant Crown attorney Aniko Coughlan, who is handling the case.

The trial began in October with four of Del Bianco’s alleged victims testifying in court.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:37 PM

Minnesota Catholic Defense League Calls on MPR to Release All Information it has About Abuse Scandal

MINNESOTA
Minnesota Catholic Defense League

(St. Paul, MN) The Minnesota Catholic Defense League called on Minnesota Public Radio to immediately release all pertinent and credible information they have regarding any sexual abuse scandals.

“It has become clear that Minnesota Public Radio is in possession of information that might be relevant in preventing potential child abuse,” said David Strom, spokesman for the League.

“Over the last four months, Minnesota Public Radio has released a steady stream of stories about allegations of priest abuse,” said Strom.

“We find it disturbing and completely hypocritical for MPR to criticize the church for withholding information when, in fact, they appear to be holding back information to benefit their editorial schedule.”

The CDL pointed to a December 19th story involving a former Catholic priest accused of abuse. His name and possible misconduct was previously unknown to the public. CDL officials questioned why MPR waited until yesterday to release this story.

The accused former priest, Harry Walsh, is currently employed by Wright County as a sex education teacher, and has regular contact with vulnerable youth.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:34 PM

Catholic Defense League: MPR is ‘Hypocritical,’ Withholding Sex Abuse Details

MINNESOTA
Patch

Posted by James Warden (Editor) , December 20, 2013

After weeks of cover-up accusations against the Catholic Church, church supporters are now making cover-up allegations of their own ... against the news organization that’s largely responsible for breaking the story on clergy sex abuse.

A Friday statement from the Catholic Defense League of Minnesota said Minnesota Public Radio appeared to be withholding information on clergy sex abuse in order to benefit their editorial schedule.

MPR has played a significant part in driving coverage of the clergy sex abuse scandal. Its coverage included information from a church official who left in frustration after she thought the church didn’t respond adequately to abuse allegations.

The Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis had originally won court approval to seal a 2004 list of priests who had been “credibly accused of sexual abuse of minors in the archdiocese.” But the growing uproar convinced the church to reverse course. It released a list of accused priests Dec. 5.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:32 PM

TOUGH FOR PRIESTS

ST. LOUIS (MO)
Berger's Beat.

December 20, 2013 1:42 pm | Author: Jerry Berger

Last week was tough for St. Louis priests who became bishops with a notable exception. As reported here first (and became a tipsheet for the Post-Dispatch and television stations) Pope Francis dissed Cardinal Raymond Burke and Cardinal Justin Rigali , knocking them off a key church panel that taps new bishops. And Memphis Bishop Terry Steib was criticized for keeping silent about a Tennessee priest, Fr. James Murphy, who allegedly molested kids in clergy sex orgies.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:29 PM

Help purify Legion of Christ, cardinal tells new priests

ROME
Catholic News Agency

Rome, Italy, Dec 20, 2013 / 12:02 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Cardinal Velasio de Paolis told 31 new priests of Legionaries of Christ that their perseverance shows “the love of Christ” that can overcome the past scandals of their congregation and purify and renew it.

“You have suffered, and you have realized the suffering that other Legionaries – beginning with the founder – have caused in the lives of others. And the suffering of others has helped you to understand and carry your own suffering,” the cardinal said in his homily before the priestly ordinations Dec. 14 at the Basilica of St. John Lateran in Rome.

“By your decision and by your faithfulness, by your suffering and by bearing the shame of other Legionaries’ sins, you have enabled the purification and renewal of the congregation itself, and you have made it more beautiful in its service to Regnum Christi and to the Church,” he said, referring to the congregation’s lay association.

In 2006 Pope Benedict XVI removed the Legion of Christ’s founder Father Marcial Maciel from ministry and ordered him to spend the rest of his life in prayer and penance. The priest has been the subject of accusations that he sexually abused seminarians. He was also revealed to have led a double life in which he fathered children and allegedly abused some of them as well. Fr. Maciel died in 2008.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:50 PM

Hans Küng, influential Catholic dissident, confronts his own mortality

GlobalPost

Jason Berry

In November 2012, on assignment for GlobalPost and National Catholic Reporter, I traveled to the University of Tübingen in Germany to interview Professor Hans Küng about the Vatican investigation of the main leadership group of American nuns.

Küng, along with Benedict XVI (Joseph Ratzinger), are the most renowned Catholic theologians of the last half-century. Their conflicts, which date back several decades, mirror a divided church.

In the early 1960s, when the shy, bookish Ratzinger taught at Tübingen, he had no driver’s license, and bicycled up steep hills of the medieval town. Küng drove a convertible and sometimes gave him rides. Both priests were liberal advisors at the reform-driven Second Vatican Council (1962-65). In 1968, when student protestors disrupted Ratzinger’s class, he began a steady move to the right. In 1979, as a Vatican cardinal, he revoked Küng’s license to teach theology for challenging papal infallibility.

Küng, with tenure, shifted his teaching focus but escalated his criticism of a monarchical papacy; he accused John Paul of reducing bishops to yes-men, undercutting Vatican II reforms. Later, he called Ratzinger “the Grand Inquisitor” after the cardinal who scorns Jesus, while persecuting heretics in The Brothers Karamazov.

With a ceaseless tide of books, speeches and interviews, Küng became an international figure, and as founder of Global Ethic Foundation, has drawn international leaders into dialogue on ethical norms for peaceful world development.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:21 PM

MN - More MN predator priests named; SNAP responds

MINNESOTA
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

For immediate release: Friday, Dec. 20, 2013

Statement by Frank Meuers, Minnesota SNAP leader, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (Phone: 952-334-5180 Email: frankameuers@gmail.com)

Today, like yesterday, Minnesota citizens and Catholics learned the names of accused predator priests. And today, like yesterday, the information was made public by responsible news outlets, not by church officials.

Minnesota parents and parishioners should thank the Star-Tribune for revealing Fr. Ambrose Filbin and Fr. Harold Whittet are accused of sexual misconduct and Minnesota Public Radio for revealing that Fr. Harry Walsh is a credibly accused child molester.

[Star Tribune]

And that’s just in the last two days. Such revelations have been steadily trickling out in the Twin Cities for months.

And virtually every new name of a proven, admitted or credibly accused child molesting cleric has been made public despite, not because of, Catholic officials.

Minnesota parents and parishioners should also be outraged that Twin Cities Catholic officials kept the credible allegations against Fr. Whittet and Fr. Filbin secret for more than 11 years.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:13 PM

Do as They Say – Not as They Do

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
Catholics4Change

First In a Series

By Kathy Kane

We tell them “to tell.” This generation of children and young people are taught to tell a trusted adult if someone speaks to them inappropriately, touches them inappropriately. There are books from when they are young that describe the areas of their body which are private. We have background checks for all who interact with them at school and on sports teams. They have been more informed and educated than the generations before them and they trust that as adults we would never put them in harm’s way. As adults we would do as we instruct them, we would ‘tell.” We would never withhold information from them even if there was just the possibility of a person being a threat to them.

When the news broke that Fr Paul had been allowed to stay at Our lady of Calvary for many months while being investigated, my immediate thoughts went to the children of the school and parish. Not just their physical safety but their psychological well being. Keeping information from children concerning their safety flies in the face of all that they have been taught and that we hope to instill in them should they face an abusive situation in their young life. Tell someone…don’t keep a secret…don’t hide it.

This could have happened at any parish as we are all part of one large system. A system that has spent countless time and money over the past few years with high priced consultants and pages of new documents. The best scenario this all produced was to keep a priest at a parish while he was being investigated and withhold this information from the parents. Oh how far we have not come.

I have seen the reactions of children when a predator was exposed…I can’t imagine the reaction when it is revealed that trusted adults had information and kept it from them and their parents. Even the most remote possibility that a person in their life could have harmed children…the remote possibility and this information was kept from them.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:11 PM

The slaves of Magdalene

IRELAND
Sydney Morning Herald

For decades, "bad" Irish girls were sent away to convent-run laundries, where they worked for no pay in awful conditions for years on end. Now, writes Jane Wheatley, survivors are finally getting compensation.

Martina Keogh was 16, selling newspapers outside a Dublin cinema, when a fight broke out on the street beside her. She was arrested along with the girls involved, sent to court and convicted of disorderly conduct. Her punishment would be two years' incarceration and unpaid labour in a convent laundry run by nuns.

It was 1964, the year the Beatles released A Hard Day's Night, Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton married for the first time and 5000 more American troops were sent to fight in Vietnam, but Martina would know nothing of all this. Instead, she would spend her days washing and ironing and her nights in a locked dormitory with bars on the windows.

On a hot, sunny day earlier this northern summer, Keogh takes me back to the convent in Dublin's Sean McDermott Street, an imposing four-storey brick building now silent and empty of life. Set into a panel of the big, wooden, double-entrance doors is a small, eye-level grille. Keogh recalls being escorted there by a garda (policeman): "The shutter across the grille slid back and I could just see eyes looking out," she says. "The garda said, 'Got another one for you here, Sister.' "

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:06 PM

A pope with no down time and an interview with the Vatican's financial reformer

VATICAN CITY
National Catholic Reporter

John L. Allen Jr. | Dec. 20, 2013 All Things Catholic

Not so long ago, the yuletide season at the Vatican meant calm. The pope and the Curia went into semi-hibernation while hearing Advent sermons from the Preacher of the Papal Household while the system was on a basic hiatus, with no real drama rolling out of Rome until well into January.
In the Francis era, however, there's no "off" switch, which makes me very glad I've been in Rome this week.

The pope marked the period around his 77th birthday on Tuesday with a series of decisions and gestures that collectively amounted to another important chapter in the "Francis revolution." A tick-tock of notable developments includes the following.

* On Sunday, the Italian daily newspaper La Stampa published another blockbuster interview with Francis, this one featuring comments from the pope on conservative American criticism that his economic ideas are Marxist and a rare definitive papal response to speculation about what he might do, in this case a firm "no" to the idea of women cardinals.

* On Monday, Francis announced an earthquake at the Vatican's all-important Congregation for Bishops, in effect steering the body away from a hard-line position on the culture wars and toward a more centrist stance. For Americans, the most notable change was bringing in Cardinal Donald Wuerl of Washington, D.C., and taking away Cardinal Raymond Burke.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:03 AM

MI - Victims harshly blast Detroit Catholic officials on abuse

DETROIT (MI)
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

For immediate release Thursday, December 19, 2013

Statement by Barbara Dorris, Outreach Director, 314-862-7688 SNAPdorris@gmail.com

Yesterday, Archbishop Allen Vigneron’s public relations mouthpiece admitted that three times, a brave victim urged Detroit Catholic officials to take action against the priest who molested her but was still on the job.

The third time, Detroit Catholic officials took action: they offered her therapy.

That is incredibly irresponsible.

Three times, Detroit Catholic officials acted selfishly, callously, recklessly and deceitfully. Three times, they opted to protect a predator priest, and their own reputations and wealth, instead of protecting vulnerable kids.

Shame on every single Detroit archbishop, bishop, priest, defense lawyer and public relations staffer who helped Fr. Harry Walsh stay in ministry around unsuspecting families.

A special shame on archdiocesan public relations man Ned McGrath who told the Detroit Free Press yesterday that he and his church colleagues and supervisors “could have done better to follow up if anything was done” by St. Paul-Minneapolis Catholic officials to address the accusations against Walsh.

That’s baloney. McGrath knows better. But he – like thousands of other corrupt Catholic officials across the world – pretend that their reckless secrecy is somehow a “goof” or a “slip up.” It’s not. It’s part of an ancient, deliberate pattern of protecting the church hierarchy from embarrassment and lawsuits and prosecution, and letting parents and families and kids essentially fend for themselves.

Adding insult to injury, McGrath also said that “Detroit Catholic officials are reviewing their procedures now,” implying that something may be wrong with the formal abuse policies of the archdiocese.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:57 AM

How Father Finian Egan was caught. The inside story

AUSTRALIA
Broken Rites

By a Broken Rites researcher (article updated 20 December 2013)

Child-abuser Father Finian Egan was supported by the Catholic Church and powerful friends but he was finally brought to justice by three of his victims, with help from Broken Rites.

Egan, who sexually assaulted children from his parishes on multiple occasions during his long career in Sydney, has been sentenced to at least four years' jail.

Three women who were sexually abused as children by Egan have slammed the Catholic Church for harbouring him in the priesthood for five decades.

Egan had been found guilty of seven counts of indecent assault and one count of rape in relation to attacks on these three girls, who were aged 10 to 17, in the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s in Sydney and on the New South Wales central coast.

Egan was sentenced on 20 December 2013.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:22 AM

Detroit Arcdiocese Says It Could Have Done More to Address Sexual Allegations

DETROIT (MI)
Deadline Detroit

The sex scandals in the Catholic church are not over.

Patricia Montemurri of the Detroit Free Press reports that the Detroit Arcdiocese conceded on Thursday it could have done more to track former priest Harry Walsh after a woman repeatedly complained to them in 1993, 2002 and 2011 about being molested at age 15 by the priest while he was at the Holy Redeemer parish in southwest Detroit Detroit in 1965-67.

“We could have done better to follow up if anything was done” by St. Paul-Minneapolis Catholic officials to address the accusations against Walsh, Detroit Archdiocese spokesman Ned McGrath told the Freep. He said Detroit Catholic officials are reviewing their procedures .

Minnesota Public Radio first reported on this matter this week after obtaining church documents.

Montemurri writes:

Walsh has worked mostly at Minnesota parishes since 1969. He is no longer a priest, and was dismissed from the priesthood by the Vatican in 2012. He works as a sex education counselor for young people in the Minneapolis area. He denied he abused the Detroit woman, according to the radio report.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:14 AM

Predator priest is teaching sex ed

IOWA
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

For immediate release: Thursday, Dec. 19, 2013
For more information: David Clohessy of St. Louis, SNAP Director (314) 566-9790 cell, SNAPclohessy@aol.com

He worked in Davenport parish
But bishops told no one about him
SNAP: Catholic officials still “endanger kids”
Their “continued secrecy” violates church policies
Those who “saw, suspected or suffered abuse must speak up,” group says

A twice accused predator priest, who worked at a Davenport parish, now teaches sex education to youngsters in Minnesota. Until today, Catholic officials in several dioceses succeeded in keeping the allegations against him secret.

According to a lengthy Minnesota Public Radio investigation, Fr. Harry Walsh worked at St. Alphonsus Catholic Church in Davenport from 1963 to 1965.

He also worked in the 1960s in Detroit, “where he would later be accused of sexually abusing a 15-year-old girl. She reported the abuse to the Diocese of Detroit in 1994.”

[Minnesota Public Radio]

Later, in Minnesota, Fr. Walsh was accused of molesting a boy.

He now “teaches sex education to troubled teenagers and vulnerable adults in Wright County, an hour west of the Twin Cities.”

A support group for clergy sex abuse victims is urging Davenport’s Catholic bishop to “aggressively reach out” to any others Fr. Walsh may have hurt in Iowa.

Leaders of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, say that Fr. Walsh “likely can be put behind bars” for his crimes, but little will happen “unless Catholic officials in Davenport, Detroit and St. Paul act responsibly and shout from the rooftops about this dangerous man and beg victims, witnesses and whistleblowers to call police right away.”

“Davenport Catholic officials let Fr. Walsh work there and have access to kids there and hid his crimes there,” said David Clohessy of St. Louis, SNAP’s director. “Now, they have a civic duty to help police see if he can be prosecuted and kept away from kids. And they have a moral duty to seek out others Fr. Walsh may have assaulted and offer them help.”

“The odds are that there’s at least one person in Iowa who was wounded by Fr. Walsh,” said Barbara Dorris of St. Louis, SNAP’s outreach director. “That person may well be struggling today with suicidal thoughts, addictions, shame, isolation, depression or self-blame. He or she needs to be found and helped and reassured that the abuse wasn’t their fault and that healing is possible.”

St. Paul/Minneapolis Archbishop John Nienstedt told the Vatican in March 2012 that the alleged abuse of the Detroit girl included "kissing, sexual touching, and simulated sexual intercourse.”

MPR reports that “Fr. Walsh was ordained a priest in Ireland in 1960 by a Catholic religious order called the Redemptorists.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:02 AM

The Vatican’s Secret Life

ROME
Vanity Fair

By Michael Joseph Gross

Despite headlines about a powerful “gay lobby” within the Vatican, and a new Pope promising reform, the Catholic Church’s gay cardinals, monks, and other clergy inhabit a hidden netherworld. In Rome, the author learns how they navigate the dangerous paradox of their lives.

Naked but for the towel around his waist, a man of a certain age sat by himself, bent slightly forward as if praying, in a corner of the sauna at a gym in central Rome. I had not met this man before, but as I entered the sauna, I thought I recognized him from photographs. He looked like a priest with whom I’d corresponded after mutual friends put us in touch, a man I had wanted to consult about gay clerics in the Vatican Curia. My friends told me that this priest was gay, politically savvy, and well connected to the gay Church hierarchy in Rome.

But this couldn’t be that priest. He had told me that he’d be away and couldn’t meet. Yet as I looked at the man more closely, I saw that it was definitely him. When we were alone, I spoke his name, telling him mine. “I thought you were out of the country,” I said. “How lucky for me: you’re here!” Startled, the priest talked fast. Yes, his plans had changed, he said, but he was leaving again the next day and would return only after I was gone.

During the previous few days, I had heard a lot about this man. I had heard that he is a gossip, a social operator whose calendar is a blur of drinks and dinners with cardinals and archbishops, principessas and personal trainers. Supposedly, he loves to dish male colleagues with campy female nicknames. But I would never have the experience firsthand. The priest was embarrassed: to have been chanced upon at this place; to have had his small evasions revealed. The encounter was awkward. No, he did not wish to discuss the subject I was interested in. No, he did not think the subject worthwhile. These things he made clear. We left the sauna and, after further conversation, civil but stilted, went our separate ways.

I could understand his discomfort. But in Rome these days the topic of gay priests in the upper reaches of the Holy See is hard to avoid. In February of this year, not long before the College of Cardinals gathered in the Sistine Chapel for the conclave to choose the 266th Pope, the largest Italian daily newspaper, La Repubblica, reported that a “gay lobby”—a more or less unified cabal of homosexual power brokers—might be operating inside the Vatican. According to the newspaper, the possible existence of this gay lobby was among the many secrets described in a two-volume, 300-page report bound in red and presented to Pope Benedict XVI by three cardinals he had appointed to investigate the affair known as “VatiLeaks.” That scandal, which raised fresh suspicions of endemic corruption within the Curia, had broken the previous year after Paolo Gabriele, the papal butler, made off with some of Benedict’s private papers and leaked them to the press.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:38 AM

Ruben Rosario: Yes, nuns are human, and other lessons learned

MINNESOTA
Pioneer Press

By Ruben Rosario
rrosario@pioneerpress.com
POSTED: 12/19/2013

Little Charles Vincent Lachowitzer believed nuns had no legs and were celestial beings who could fly like angels.

He was sure Sister Mary Timothy would just grab him and float up in the air as the then-second-grader mightily bolted one day toward her for safety to escape a boy chasing him in the playground of St. Pascal Baylon Catholic School on St. Paul's East Side.

So he was shocked when he ran to her at full tilt and knocked her on her butt, revealing stocking-covered gams under the ground-hugging habit skirt.

"You have legs!" he cried out.

Sister Mary Timothy patiently explained after she got up that priests and nuns are human, like him, except that they dedicated their lives in obedience and servitude to the Lord.

That's the day he decided that he wanted to become a priest.

That resolute pledge, though, would take a decidedly varied and unconventional detour that would first lead to jobs as an educator and superintendent, logger and fisher of fish before he became a fisher of men.

Now, five decades later and long removed from that playground discovery, Lachowitzer finds himself chief deputy of the embattled Archbishop of St. Paul and Minneapolis. He is squarely thrust, whether he likes it or not, in the middle of a simmering, publicly embarrassing clergy sex abuse scandal that shows no signs of letup.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:29 AM

Priest Francis Cullen now facing charges against four more alleged victims

UNITED KINGDOM
Derby Telegraph

A PRIEST accused of sexually abusing three altar boys now faces charges against four more alleged victims.

Francis Paul Cullen, who was extradited from Spain on a European arrest warrant, appeared at Derby Crown Court today.

None of the charges have yet been put to him in court.

Prosecutor Sarah Knight said: "We are aware of four further complainants and there are likely to be further charges."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:25 AM

Priest accused of sexual assault goes underground

INDIA
The Hindu

P. SUDAKAR

Police are on the lookout for a Roman Catholic priest in connection with the alleged sexual assault of a teenage girl student here. They are also searching for a doctor, S. Meenakshi of Tirunelveli Town, who reportedly conducted the termination of pregnancy.

Police said the parish priest of St. Antony’s Church in Pettai, Fr. Gnanapragasam Selvan, hailing from Kailasapuram near Puliyampatti in Tuticorin, allegedly committed the crime. When the girl’s parents came to know of her pregnancy, they took up the issue with the priest, who reportedly promised to give “adequate compensation,” besides taking care of the medical expenses of her mother, a cancer patient.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:23 AM

Priests voice criticism of Archbishop Neinstedt

MINNESOTA
KARE

[with video]

MINNEAPOLIS - As news develops about the handling of clergy sex abuse in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, the men who take to the pulpit on a regular basis are caught in the middle.

"Some have lost a lot of confidence in our church leadership," said Father Mike Tegeder, pastor of St. Frances Cabrini Church in Minneapolis. "You feel kind of betrayed."

Tegeder is no stranger to voicing his critique about the church leadership over the years. Recently he has said Archbishop John Neinstedt should resign.

"There comes a point where you really have to express your deep concerns," he said.

But he's not alone in his critique of the current leadership. A number of other priests have made headlines over the last several weeks publicly voicing their critiques of the archbishop.

"It is highly unusual to have a level of priestly resistance we're seeing here," said Charles Reid, University of St. Thomas professor and expert in Canon law.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:22 AM

Sylvania priest to lead diocese temporarily

TOLEDO (OH)
Blade

BY TK BARGER
BLADE RELIGION EDITOR

An associate pastor of St. Joseph Parish in Sylvania has been named the diocesan administrator of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Toledo and was introduced Thursday morning at a news conference at the Catholic Center.

The Rev. Charles F. Ritter’s duty as administrator will be to lead the diocese during an interim when there is no bishop. The former diocesan bishop, Leonard Blair, was installed as archbishop of the Hartford, Conn., archdiocese on Monday.

Father Ritter takes up the bishop’s appointment schedule, to a degree, to represent the diocese within its territory and in the larger church, but he does not have the same responsibilities as a bishop.

Father Ritter described his new responsibility by using a nautical analogy.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:19 AM

Vatican Diary / How the bishop factory is changing

VATICAN CITY
Chiesa

VATICAN CITY, December 20, 2013 – The motu proprio canonizations of John XXIII and the Jesuit Peter Faber on the one hand, and the incisive and determined interventions in the organizational structure of the Roman curia on the other are the most demanding juridical actions taken by Pope Francis during the first nine months of his pontificate.

Among these latter a prominent place belongs to the shakeup in the leadership of the congregation for bishops, the crucial dicastery that works most closely with the pope in the appointment of Latin bishops in much of the world: Europeans, Americans, Australians, and Filipinos (the appointment of prelates for missionary territories in Asia and Africa are overseen by Propaganda Fide).

After personally selecting the new secretary of the congregation in the person of the Brazilian Ilson de Jesus Montanari, his old acquaintance as a neighbor at the Roman residence on Via della Scrofa, and after ordering his personal secretary Fr. Fabián Pedacchio Leániz to continue spending his mornings working in that dicastery, where he has been an official for a few years, the pope confirmed last Monday as prefect the Canadian cardinal Marc Ouellet.

Not only that. But as he has already done at the congregation for Catholic education, here as well he has reshuffled the members of the dicastery. With confirmations, new appointments, and removals.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:15 AM

Paedophile priest jailed for crimes committed decades ago

AUSTRALIA
Daily Examiner

Adam Davies 20th Dec 2013

CONVICTED paedophile priest Finian Egan has been sentenced to at least four years jail for child sex crimes committed in New South Wales more than three decades ago.

A jury found Egan, 78, guilty last month in the Sydney District Court of seven counts of indecent assault and one count of rape between 1961 and 1987.

He committed the crimes while he worked as a Catholic priest at Leichhardt and Carlingford in Sydney and The Entrance on the Central Coast.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:07 AM

Catholic priest Finian Egan jailed for sexually assaulting girls

AUSTRALIA
Sydney Morning Herald

December 20, 2013

Paul Bibby
Court Reporter

A prominent Sydney Catholic priest who sexually assaulted young girls from his parishes on multiple ocassions during a 40-year career, has been sentenced to at least four years' jail, with a judge describing his acts as a "flagrant and gross breach of trust" against those he had power over.

One of Father Finian Egan's victims wept quietly as the 78-year-old was sentenced to a maximum of eight years jail with a non-patole period of four years in the Downing Centre District Court on Friday, while another expressed elation at the result.

Earlier this year the 40-year church veteran was found guilty of seven counts of indecent assault and one count of rape in relation to attacks on girls aged 10 to 17 in the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s.

Many of the attacks occurred on church grounds against girls whose families the priest had befriended.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:05 AM

Priest jailed 50 years after abuse started

AUSTRALIA
9 News

Father Finian Egan had escaped punishment for sexually abusing young girls for more than 50 years.

But now the frail and elderly Catholic priest has been jailed for at least four years for abusing three young NSW girls over the course of three decades.

Egan's victims, whose lives were irrevocably damaged by the abuse inflicted on them, stood in the District Court in Sydney on Friday and watched as he was falteringly led away to spend his first night in jail.

He will be 83 years of age by the time he is eligible for release.

Egan enjoyed a position of power and privilege as a Catholic priest at a time when, among religious communities, priests were considered among the elite of society.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:03 AM

Three reported over Fort Augustus Abbey abuse allegations

SCOTLAND
Inverness Courier

Three men have been reported to the Crown office and the procurator fiscal in relation to the investigation into historical physical and sexual abuse at Fort Augustus Abbey.

Police Scotland say it is still an ongoing investigation, initiated by Highland and Islands Division in March, and has extended to liaison with a number of law enforcement agencies both across and out with the UK.

"We understand that it is very difficult for victims of abuse to speak about their experiences and a helpline run by Children 1st is available to provide support and advice to those who may be affected by the investigation," said a spokeswoman.

"These call takers, who are trained to provide advice and guidance, can refer callers or forward any relevant information to the police, or to the appropriate agency to provide further support locally."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:00 AM

Three men reported over Fort Augustus abuse claims

SCOTLAND
BBC News

Three men have been reported to prosecutors in connection with alleged abuse at a former Catholic boarding school in the Highlands.

Police Scotland said they had spoken to a number of victims and witnesses in relation to reports of historic abuse at Fort Augustus Abbey school.

They said officers had also worked with law enforcement agencies abroad.

In September, a man was charged in relation to claims of physical and sexual abuse at the former school.

Fort Augustus Abbey school on the banks of Loch Ness was run by Benedictine monks but closed down in the 1990s.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:57 AM

Three reported over abuse at Catholic school

SCOTLAND
Herald Scotland

Three men have been reported to prosecutors in connection with allegations of historic sexual and physical abuse at a former Catholic boarding school.

The police investigation concerns monks who taught at the Fort Augustus Abbey school in the Highlands in the 1960s and 70s. It has since closed.

Police said they had been investigating since March following a report from a former pupil and further allegations from a BBC documentary.

Charity Children 1st has set up a dedicated support line for anyone affected.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:55 AM

Victims of alleged abuse criticise church over support

SCOTLAND
BBC News

By Mark Daly
BBC Scotland Investigations Correspondent

The Catholic Church in Scotland has been criticised for its handling of reports of historic abuse at two prestigious catholic boarding schools.

Former pupils of Fort Augustus Abbey school and its preparatory school Carlekemp claimed no senior clergy had sought out victims to offer support.

A BBC Scotland investigation into claims of abuse at the schools was broadcast in July.

After the story escalated, bishop Hugh Gilbert promised victims help.

The Catholic church's initial reaction to the Fort Augustus scandal was to direct attention to the Benedictines - the religious order which ran the schools in the Highlands and East Lothian.

Dom Richard Yeo, the Abbot President of English Benedictine Congregation, which unites autonomous Roman Catholic Benedictine communities of monks and nuns, apologised and admitted his organisation made mistakes in dealing with allegations of child abuse.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:54 AM

The Legion of Christ Contemplates Its Future

UNITED STATES
National Catholic Register

COMMENTARY

by TOM HOOPES 12/19/2013

Is the Legion of Christ reformed? What would reform even look like? A historic meeting in Rome that begins Jan. 8 hopes to provide some of those answers.

They are a long time coming. It has been five years since members of the Legion of Christ, founded in 1941, began privately admitting that their late founder, Father Marcial Maciel, had not been the saintly man they made him out to be: He had fathered children and was “probably” guilty of abusing seminarians.

I was executive editor of the Register (as well as a member of the Legion's closely associated lay movement Regnum Christi) when the news broke. I stopped attending Regnum Christi meetings immediately and told any Legionary who would listen that I was done with the movement.
Not many would listen.

The culture in the Legion of Christ made it very hard for Legionaries to simply admit that the founder was as bad as the facts showed him to be. Publicly, the Legion was only saying, “We can confirm that there are aspects of his life that weren’t appropriate for a Catholic priest,” and there was an effort to sum up what he had done as “misdeeds.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:50 AM

Catholic Church bars 'victims' from seeing records

AUSTRALIA
The Australian

DAN BOX THE AUSTRALIAN DECEMBER 20, 2013

THE Catholic Church has won a NSW Supreme Court bid to deny two alleged victims of child sex abuse access to records about their alleged abuser, a member of the Marist Brothers order at the centre of the current royal commission hearing.

The decision comes just days after the church's barrister, Peter Gray SC, told the commission it was committed "to ensure that nothing is concealed or covered up in respect of what church personnel did or failed to do".

Court documents seen by The Australian reveal the church's national committee responsible for caring for those who suffer child abuse itself challenged the victims' request to seek documents about the late Edward Hosey.

Both alleged victims, who cannot be named, claim they were sexually abused by Hosey at two Marist Brothers' schools in Sydney during the 1960s and 1970s.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:48 AM

Additional charges for Hoover man charged for sexual abuse of child

ALABAMA
Alabama 13

HOOVER, AL - Six more charges have been filed against a Hoover man who was arrested last week in connection with the sexual abuse of a child.

The Hoover Police Department reports that in addition to charges in Shelby County, Jason Hankins has been charged with first-degree rape, first-degree sodomy, production of child pornography, first-degree sexual abuse, sexual abuse of a child less than 12 years of age and electronic solicitation of a child.

The Hoover Police Department says the additional charges involve the same victim, and a higher bond was secured due to the "horrific nature of the offenses, the age of the victim and the need to protect the community and other potential victims."

They report he recently resigned from his job at the Family Life Center at Shades Crest Baptist Church.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:45 AM

Archdiocese outlines process investigating misconduct allegation

ILLINOIS
The Regional News

Written by Tim Hadac

Archdiocesan officials confirmed this week that they are investigating an allegation of sexual misconduct made against the Rev. Michael W. O’Connell, 56, who served as pastor of Our Lady of the Woods Parish in Orland Park from 1997-2012.

  At issue is behavior that allegedly occurred nearly two decades ago at Our Lady of the Woods, officials said.

  O’Connell previously served at St. Michael Parish in Orland Park from 1983-89, where he was part of a team that helped establish Our Lady of the Woods.

  He currently is on leave as pastor of St. Alphonsus Parish on Chicago’s North Side. According to the Rev. Shawn Gould, administrator of that parish, O’Connell “denies this allegation.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:42 AM

Pastor 'Always Seen Holding a Bible'...

TENNESSEE
Christian Post

BY NICOLA MENZIE , CHRISTIAN POST REPORTER
December 19, 2013

A Memphis, Tenn., pastor is being held on a $1 million bond for allegedly sexually molesting a young family member for years. When the 16-year-old reported the alleged abuse to her mother early on, the woman chose to pray for God to end the abuse instead of reporting the alleged crime to earthly authorities.

Michael Bryant, 48, pastor of Hour of Restoration Church of God in Christ for the past three years and previously an elder at Greater Community Temple COGIC, is accused of taking advantage of the woman's work schedule to abuse her teenage daughter.

For the last two years, Bryant would enter the girl's bedroom whenever her mother was at work or asleep and expose his genitals and fondle her, WREG-TV reports investigators as saying.

When the girl turned to her mother for help, Bryant admitted to fondling her. However, the teen's mother prayed that God would remove "these thoughts" from Bryant's mind, instead of taking her daughter's story to the authorities. It was not immediately known how Bryant and the girl were related.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:39 AM

Investigation Continues Into Accused Pastor Abuse

TENNESSEE
WREG

[with video]

(Memphis) Shelby County District Attorney General Amy Weirich wouldn’t confirm if others could be charged in a sexual assault case against a Memphis COGIC Pastor.

Michael Bryant was charged Wednesday for Sexual Battery by an Authority Figure after police said he fondled and exposed himself to an underage family member.

In the affidavit, investigators reported that the victim told her mother about the abuse a year ago.

However, the affidavit said the mother never turned the information “ over to authorities because both Pastor Bryant and the mother decided they would pray that the Lord remove these thoughts from his head.”

“In the state of Tennessee, every adult has the duty under the law if they suspect that a child is being abused,” said General Weirich.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:37 AM

Mother prays 'to remove bad thoughts' with pastor accused of sexually abusing teen

TENNESSEE
14 News

[with video]

MEMPHIS, TN -
(WMC-TV) - A pastor is under arrest, accused of sexually abusing a 16-year-old on and off for the past two years.

Michael Bryant, 48, was taken into custody at a gas station on Hickory Hill Road and Knight Arnold Road after a warrant for his arrest was issued.

Bryant is the pastor at Hour of Restoration COGIC.

According to the police affidavit, the teen said Bryant has been touching her inappropriately at least two to three times a week for the last two years. The affidavit says that the last time she says Bryant touched her was Monday, which is the same day the abuse was reported to police.

Police say in the affidavit that the alleged victim told an adult about the abuse a year ago, but it went unreported until Monday. They didn't go to authorities with the case because both the pastor and the teen's mother decided they would pray that the lord would remove these thoughts from Bryant's head.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:36 AM

Elderly child-predator priest jailed

AUSTRALIA
Sky News

An elderly NSW priest who sexually preyed on young girls for three decades has been jailed for at least four years.

Father Finian Egan, who 'escaped punishment for 50 years', will be 83 when he is eligible for parole, Judge Robyn Tupman ruled in the District Court in Sydney on Friday.

Egan, who sat with one hand on his face during the sentencing, made no reaction as it was handed down.

His victims stood and watched in silence as he was taken away to jail for the first time.

The Catholic priest sexually abused three girls between the ages of 10 and 17 while he worked in various dioceses in Sydney and the Central Coast in the 1960s, '70s and '80s.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:33 AM

5 priests suspected in ’02 were left off archdiocese's list

MINNESOTA
Star Tribune

Article by: TONY KENNEDY , Star Tribune Updated: December 19, 2013

But they were named in internal archdiocesan memo on parishes with history of clergy sex abuse.

Five priests named in a 2002 archdiocesan internal memo about parishes with “some connection to a history of clergy sexual abuse” were not on the list published earlier this month by Archbishop John Nienstedt.

One of the men in the 2002 memo but excluded from Nienstedt’s list is former cleric Harry Walsh, a native of Ireland who has left the priesthood and now teaches sex education for Wright County.

Nienstedt said Thursday evening in a statement that the list he issued Dec. 5 “was not intended to be complete or final.” He didn’t explain why Walsh’s name was not on the list or been added since its initial release. Nienstedt said reviews of three other priests have not yet been done. A review of the fifth priest, who is still active in ministry at an east metro church, concluded there was “no credible or substantiated claim of sexual abuse of a minor.”

The August 2002 memo names 17 men as “priests with known abuse histories.” Two of those 17 are missing from Nienstedt’s list: the late Revs. Ambrose Filbin and Harold Whittet.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:31 AM

Horrors of Aussie inquiry

AUSTRALIA
Winnipeg Free Press

By: Michael Madigan
Posted: 12/20/2013

BRISBANE -- That the whimsical, sweet-natured, self-defeating comic creation Charlie Brown could be used by a pedophile to lure his victims is not the worst piece of evidence to come out of Australia's Royal Commission into Child Sex Abuse.

A predator priest's creation of his own little "Brown family'' has provided one of the more poignant parables for a crime that so ruthlessly sabotages childhoods.

But the six-person royal commission, appointed by Australia's Gov. Gen. Quentin Bryce in January, will hear much worse before the task is completed in 2015.

A priest calling himself Fred Brown allegedly developed a cult-like following among a group of teenage girls way back in the 1960s.

The testimony of one of those long-ago girls, Joan Isaacs, now 60, drew audible gasps from the public gallery last week as she told the commission how one member of the group had "Fred Brown's" child.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:29 AM

December 19, 2013

Former Catholic priest Gabriele DelBianco facing sexual assault-related charges

CANADA
Sarnia Observer

By Neil Bowen, Sarnia Observer
Thursday, December 19, 2013

The verdict in the sexual abuse trial of former priest Gabriele DelBianco is set for Feb. 24.

Crown and defence lawyer submissions to Justice Joseph Donahue wrapped up Thursday

The key issues are 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 in October. DelBianco chose not to testify.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:42 PM

Ex-Detroit priest and old abuse charge surface in Twin Cities

DETROIT (MI)
Detroit Free Press

By Patricia Montemurri
Detroit Free Press Staff Writer

A onetime priest at Detroit’s Holy Redeemer parish is at the center of a another priest sex abuse controversy involving the embattled Catholic Archdiocese of St. Paul-Minneapolis.

Documents obtained by Minnesota Public Radio reveal that a woman contacted the Archdiocese of Detroit in the early 1990s to complain that the Rev. Harry Walsh molested her when she was 15. Walsh was posted at Holy Redeemer parish in southwest Detroit in 1965-’67.

An Archdiocese of Detroit spokesman said today that Detroit Catholic officials should have done more to track the former Holy Redeemer parish priest after they received the same complaint in 1993, 2002 and 2011.

“We could have done better to follow up if anything was done” by St. Paul-Minneapolis Catholic officials to address the accusations against Walsh, Ned McGrath said, adding that Detroit Catholic officials are reviewing their procedures now.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:39 PM

Data brokers sell rape victim names for 7.9 cents each, congressional hearing reveals

UNITED STATES
The Raw Story

By David Edwards
Thursday, December 19, 2013

A privacy advocate on Wednesday told Congress that she had discovered that it was common practice for data brokers to sell the names of rape victims and HIV patients for about 7.9 cents each.

Speaking to members of the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, World Privacy Forum Executive Director Pam Dixon described herself as a “moderate” when it came to data brokers, but shocking research convinced her that the industry was in need of regulation.

“The data broker industry as it is today, does not have constraints and it does not have shame,” she explained. “It will sell any information about any person regardless of sensitivity for 7.9 cents a name, which is the price of a list of rape sufferers which was recently sold.”

“Lists of rape sufferers, victims of domestic violence, police officers’ home addresses, people who suffer from genetic illnesses,” Dixon continued. “Complete with names, home addresses, ethnicity, gender and many other factors. This is what’s being sold and circulated today.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:49 PM

Statement from Eddie Mallonee, Pastor Accused of Plotting to Poison Wife

TENNESSEE
WBBJ

Statement from Eddie Mallonee, Pastor Accused of Plotting to Poison Wife

UNION CITY, Tenn. -- A former Union City pastor accused of plotting to kill his wife along with his mistress released a statement, Friday morning.

Former Second Baptist Church Pastor Eddie Mallonee and church member Shelly Moran were placed on supervised probation after a plea bargain.

The pair are accused of planning for two years to poison his wife Cathy while on a mission trip to Honduras.

Despite the alleged attempt on her life, Cathy, Mallonee's wife of more than 34 years, has been by her husband's side during court proceedings.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:43 PM

More On The Towards Hurting Process (Or: When’s The Office Christmas Party?)

AUSTRALIA
lewisblayse.net

Posted on December 19, 2013 by lewisblayse

The Australian Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse had a wasted day today. Commissioner McClellan spent most of the time questioning Lismore bishop, Geoffrey Jarrett (see previous posting) about the Pope Benedict ruling in 2001 that bishops should report paedophile priests to the Vatican.

Jarrett had been recalled for this purpose. Jarrett Lismore had not observed this directive from the Pope because he was not aware of it until 2006, following a conference on canon law. “Directives can come to the bishop who – they go to the chancery and they will remain there on the file and perhaps not be remembered or acted upon,” Jarrett said.

McClellan put the obvious proposition to Jarrett that “So if the protocol is observed, relatively fewer cases would end up being reported to Rome, wouldn’t they,” with Jarrett giving the obviously expected reply that “I suppose so. But the evidence is that, nonetheless, there have still been many cases reported.”

One of the three cases Jarrett had reported to the Vatican took two years for a reply to be sent that the offender offer a Mass for his victims on Fridays. That priest is now retired and living in the presbytery with other priests in Lismore. Jarrett has not opted to remove his priestly faculties. However, he said he would have written to the priest in 2004 to tell him he was not allowed to have contact with children, but couldn’t recall whether he had written to remind him of it since then.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:36 PM

Victims say Archdiocese priest list is incomplete

MINNESOTA
KARE

Harry Walsh wasn't on the list of 30 priests but church documents obtained by MPR show he'd been accused of molesting a 15-year-old girl and 12-year-old altar boy decades earlier.

ST. PAUL, Minn. - When the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis released of a list of priests accused of sexually abusing minors, it prompted complaints from victims' groups that it was incomplete.

Harry Walsh wasn't on the list of 30 priests. But church documents obtained by Minnesota Public Radio show he'd been accused of molesting a 15-year-old girl and 12-year-old altar boy decades earlier. The archdiocese contributed to a financial settlement for the girl. Nonetheless, two archbishops allowed him to continue working in parishes until the fall of 2011.

Walsh tells MPR he never abused children.

Archbishop John Nienstedt asked Pope Benedict last year to defrock Walsh when he learned of the abuse allegations, and Walsh agreed to leave.

Archdiocese spokesman Jim Accurso wouldn't say why Walsh wasn't on the public list.

KARE 11 editorial partner Minnesota Public Radio (MPR) reports that Walsh now teaches sex education to troubled teenagers and vulnerable adults in Wright County. He signed a new two-year, $1,508 a month contract earlier this year, according to public records, to provide "medically accurate sexuality education, pregnancy prevention and STI prevention to high risk youth or adults."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:09 PM

The Politician and the Priest: Two brothers and a fall from grace

UNITED STATES
The Worthy Adversary

Posted by Joelle Casteix on December 19, 2013

One brother is Obama’s chief of staff. The other is an embattled former top deputy to St. Paul’s Archbishop, charged with covering up sex abuse and refusing to cooperate with the police. Put together, the McDonough brothers show how bad timing and bad moral decisions may push two former “superstars” into very public and very embarrassing falls from grace.

Denis the Politician
Appointed White House Chief of Staff in January 2013 after a career as a foreign policy advisor, “hard-charging” Denis has been called one of the most efficient chiefs of staff in recent memory. Insiders on both sides of the political spectrum say that the White House “has never worked better.”
Unfortunately, that may be not enough to save him. According to the New York Times:

Mr. McDonough’s failure to head off the health care problems surprised those who see him as a man of discipline and attention to detail. But current and former administration officials say that after 10 months on the job, one problem may have been that he stretched himself too thin and tried to do too much himself. ...

Kevin the Priest Older brother Kevin is facing a fall from grace of his own. But unlike Denis, this fall is of his own making—what many are calling his “insidious and criminal” cover-up of child sex abuse in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis. Now, he’s refusing to cooperate with the police. For 17 years, Kevin was top-deputy to the archbishop, one of the most powerful jobs in the archdiocese.

As Vicar General, McDonough was. according to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, “revered for his work with the poor” and “charmed legislators as chaplain of the Minnesota Senate.”

But while he was charming cops and politicians alike, recently exposed documents show that he was actively covering up for child sex offenders in the priesthood. Although McDonough was the chief child protection officer in the Archdiocese, he, according to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, “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 3:46 PM

MEDIA RELEASE

NEW YORK
Road to Recovery

Road to Recovery, Inc.
P.O. Box 279
Livingston, NJ 07039
862-368-2800
roberthoatson@gmail.com

December 19-20, 2013

Catholic League President Bill Donohue is using Catholic League resources and lobbying in order to publicly identify a minor child who has alleged sexual touching by a Catholic clergy member

The minor child’s allegation has led to the “stepping down” of Archbishop of Minneapolis/St. Paul, John Nienstedt, while the allegation is investigated

It is time for Cardinal Timothy Dolan to intervene and stop the Catholic League’s violation of the letter and spirit of the United States Bishops’ Conference Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People

What: A leafleting and press conference calling on Cardinal Timothy Dolan, Archbishop
of New York, to prevent the Catholic League, headquartered in the Archdiocese of New York, from pursuing and releasing publicly the identity of the minor child who has alleged an act of sexual touching by the Archbishop John Nienstedt of the Archdiocese of Minneapolis/St. Paul.

When: Saturday, December 21, 2013 from 4:30 PM until the conclusion of the 5:30 PM Mass.

Where: In front of St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Fifth Avenue between 50th and 51st Streets,
Manhattan.

Who: The co-founder of Road to Recovery, Inc., a non-profit charity based in New
Jersey that assists victims of sexual abuse and their families; survivors of clergy sexual abuse; advocates, and supporters.

Why: Since a child came forward recently in the Archdiocese of Minneapolis/St. Paul,
MN, to allege that Archbishop John Nienstedt touched him in a sexual manner during a group photo shoot, Catholic League President, Bill Donohue, has called for anyone with video or audio recordings of the event to contact him. Donohue wants to publicly identify, demean, and embarrass the victim, pressuring him to retract or withdraw his allegation. Donohue’s bullying tactics are injurious to the child victim. Cardinal Timothy Dolan, the leader of the Archdiocese, needs to intervene and instruct Donohue to:

1) Cease and desist regarding his intention to publicly identify the victim;
2) Stop attacking victims and their families, advocates, and supporters;
3) Abide by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
“Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People” in both letter and spirit.

Contact: Robert M. Hoatson, Ph.D., Road to Recovery, Inc. – 862-368-2800

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:02 PM

Priest accused of abuse wasn't on archdiocese list

MINNESOTA
Marshall Independent

December 19, 2013

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — When the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis released of a list of priests accused of sexually abusing minors, it prompted complaints from victims' groups that it was incomplete.

Harry Walsh wasn't on the list of 30 priests. But church documents obtained by Minnesota Public Radio (http://bit.ly/1fImo8k ) show he'd been accused of molesting a 15-year-old girl and 12-year-old altar boy decades earlier. The archdiocese contributed to a financial settlement for the girl. Nonetheless, two archbishops allowed him to continue working in parishes until the fall of 2011.

Walsh tells MPR he never abused children.

Archbishop John Nienstedt asked Pope Benedict last year to defrock Walsh when he learned of the abuse allegations, and Walsh agreed to leave.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:55 PM

Alleged seminary embezzlers get April trial

CALIFORNIA
Daily Journal

December 17, 2013, 05:00 AM Daily Journal Staff Report

The former finance director of a Menlo Park seminary and university and her secretary will stand trial in April for allegedly taking more than $200,000 and stealing a donated Mercedes Benz.

Jennifer Margaret Morris, 58, is charged with four counts of felony embezzlement. Her former secretary, Evelyn D. Vallacqua, 45, is charged with three embezzlement counts for allegedly helping issue several improper reimbursement checks to her boss and accepted unauthorized severance payments from St. Patrick’s Seminary and University.

Both women pleaded not guilty to all charges and were scheduled for trial April 7.

The seminary launched an audit after learning Morris used her personal credit card for reimbursed work purchases to accumulate airline miles. The audit reportedly uncovered that, between October 2006 and 2012, Morris made $166,000 worth of unauthorized personal purchases for which she also reimbursed herself from seminary funds and overpaid herself at least $36,000 from 2011 to 2012.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:50 PM

Should Rav Motti Elon Teach my Kids?

ISRAEL
The Jewish Press

Following Rav Elon's conviction, Rabbi Chaim Druckman invited him to teach at Yeshivat Or Etzion.

By: David Morris Published: December 19th, 2013

Rav Motty Elon was sentenced today to six months community service and a 15 month prison sentence on probation for three years.

He was also fined 10,000 NIS as compensation for the victim. Rav Elon was convicted in August on two counts of sexual assault on a minor.

Rav Elon’s response, outside the court, was to call the allegations/charges/conviction “lies” – and he said he welcomes the community service order - ”I’ve been doing community service for 40 years, and I would love to do so until I’m 120.”

This was the culmination of a public process which started on 15th February 2010, with an announcement censuring Rav Elon on the Takana website; the ‘private’ process, within Forum Takana, began several years previously.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:47 PM

Australian abuse inquiry faces diplomatic standoff with Vatican

AUSTRALIA
National Catholic Reporter

Stephen Crittenden | Dec. 19, 2013

SYDNEY A diplomatic standoff appears to have developed in recent months between the Vatican and the New South Wales Special Commission of Inquiry into sex abuse, chaired by Deputy Senior Crown Prosecutor Margaret Cunneen.

Copies of correspondence released by the Special Commission this week show the papal nuncio to Australia, Archbishop Paul Gallagher, claimed diplomatic immunity in response to repeated requests for archival documentation that might assist Cunneen with her inquiry.

The inquiry was established in November 2012 to investigate sexual abuse by two priests of the Maitland-Newcastle diocese, Fr. Denis McAlinden and Fr. James Fletcher (both deceased), following allegations made by a senior New South Wales police whistleblower, Chief Inspector Peter Fox. The commission continues to inquire into and report on matters relating to the police investigation of the diocese.

The New South Wales Crown Solicitor's Office made the request on Cunneen's behalf Aug. 30 and again Oct. 22, asking for copies of any relevant documents held in the archives of the Apostolic Nunciature in Canberra or the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in Rome.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:45 PM

Reformer or Hypocrite? Understanding Pope Francis

UNITED STATES
Truthdig

By Sonali Kolhatkar

At first glance, Time magazine’s “Person of the Year,” Pope Francis, is a mess of contradictions. On the one hand, he has vehemently denounced the evils of global capitalism, calling it “a new tyranny.” However, as pontiff, he heads the Catholic Church, which has been characterized as “probably the wealthiest institution in the entire world.” And, although the pope has championed the importance of women in the Catholic Church, saying in an interview, “The woman is essential for the church. ... The feminine genius is needed whenever we make important decisions,” he continues to oppose as strongly as any pope before him the ordination of women, and considers abortion to be evil. How do we make sense of Pope Francis’ views?

It turns out that his critique of capitalism is actually nothing new. According to human rights activist Blase Bonpane, a former Maryknoll priest and adherent of “liberation theology,” “It’s been going on for a long time. If we take the 19th century, we had Pope Leo XIII who gave us the encyclical ‘Rerum Novarum,’ which followed directly from ‘The Communist Manifesto.’ The pope agreed with practically everything in the ‘Manifesto’ by talking about how people go into the factories and are ruined, whereas materials come out of the factory ennobled. And that was followed by another encyclical by Pius XI called ‘Quadragesimo Anno’ in the 1930s, 40 years after Leo XIII’s encyclical. These were anti-capitalist documents.” In fact, according to Bonpane, “Pius XI called for a living wage and defined it very well as ‘one worker in the family, time for vacation, an ability to save money, to have a decent life, to pay for all of your needs.’ So we have not always complied with what the popes are talking about but they have had many anti-capitalist statements going back to John the Baptist who said, ‘If someone has two pairs of shoes, give one to someone who doesn’t have any.’ So [this sentiment] has been in the history of the church despite its opulence.”

In that sense, Pope Francis represents a break not from the long-term tradition of the church, but from his immediate predecessors. Bonpane said, “I think it’s a dramatic change for him to focus on the liberation theology elements [of Catholicism], which is to downplay dogma.” In addition to his recent statements denouncing the ills of modern global capitalism, there are reports of the pope quietly stepping out of the halls of the Vatican at night to help poor and homeless people. If that’s not enough to cement his progressive economic policy credentials, Pope Francis has also provoked the ire of right-wing shock jock Rush Limbaugh, who accused him of “ripping capitalism” and being a Marxist.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:44 PM

Christian camp counselor allegedly said she molested girls to show them ‘God’s love’

ILLINOIS
The Raw Story

By David Ferguson
Thursday, December 19, 2013

A middle school teacher in Buffalo Grove, Illinois is accused by two women of sexual impropriety years ago when she mentored them at a Christian camp in Wisconsin. According to NBC News, the second woman came forward this week to corroborate accusations that Cherie Carlson engaged in sexually predatory behavior when she was a teenage camp counselor.

On Wednesday, Rob Stafford of Chicago’s NBC Channel 5 spoke with Monika Ebly, who was 16 in 1996, when she says she witnessed Carlson molesting a camper.

Ebly says she observed Carslon and a girl who NBC is calling Jane Doe lying under a blanket while Carlson visibly fondled the girl’s genitals.

“Cherie had her hand under the blanket and was fondling Jane’s genitalia,” said Ebly.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:17 PM

Padre suspeito de abusos sexuais obrigado a pagar caução e entregar passaporte

PORTUGAL
Sol

O pároco da Golegã suspeito de abuso sexual de duas crianças ficou hoje obrigado a pagar uma caução de 3.500 euros e a entregar o passaporte, estando proibido de sair da área de residência e de se aproximar de menores.

As medidas de coação foram lidas aos jornalistas depois de quase quatro horas de interrogatório no Tribunal da Golegã, onde o padre chegou cerca das 14:30 acompanhado por dois agentes da Polícia Judiciária.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:24 AM

«Padre detido por abusar de duas meninas» - Jornal de Notícias

PORTUGAL
A Bola

«A PJ identificou mais uma alegada vítima, a segunda, e deteve o padre António Júlio Santos, por abuso sexual de criança. E poderão surgir mais raparigas queixosas.»

«Fonte da Polícia Judiciária de Leiria, que investiga o caso, confirmou a notícia avançada pelo JN na edição de dia 7, onde se adiantava que a PJ acreditava que existiam "mais vítimas". A primeira queixa chegou de uma escuteira da Golegã, de 12 anos, e a outra terá a ver com uma menor associada a uma instituição ligada também à igreja da Golegã, crimes concretizados no espaço de um mês.»

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:23 AM

Padre suspeito de abusos sexuais fica em liberdade

PORTUGAL
TVI24

[Summary: A priest from Golega, suspect of sexually abusing two children, was required to pay a deposit of 3,500 euros and surrender his passport. He cannot leave the residence area or approach minors.]

O pároco da Golegã suspeito de abuso sexual de duas crianças ficou esta quarta-feira obrigado a pagar uma caução de 3.500 euros e a entregar o passaporte, está proibido de sair da área de residência e de se aproximar de menores.

As medidas de coação foram lidas aos jornalistas depois de quase quatro horas de interrogatório no Tribunal da Golegã, onde o padre chegou cerca das 14:30 acompanhado por dois agentes da Polícia Judiciária.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:11 AM

MN - Predator priest now teaches sex ed; SNAP responds

MINNESOTA
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

For immediate release: Thursday, Dec. 19, 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 credibly accused predator priest now teaches sex education for Wright County (according to Minnesota Public Radio). We call on county officials to immediately fire him. And we call on St. Paul/Minneapolis Catholic officials to explain why they continue to keep silent about the allegations against him.

[Minnesota Public Radio]

Fr. Harry Walsh reportedly molested at least two kids. A settlement was paid to one of them. He studied to become a “sexologist” and had a lengthy “affair” with a married parishioner (such conduct is now illegal in Minnesota).

Yet until a brave church whistleblower pushed him, St. Paul Archbishop John Nienstedt did nothing. And until MPR’s report this morning, no one knew that Fr. Walsh shouldn’t be around kids.

For nine years after Nienstedt, Archbishop Harry Flynn and nearly 200 US Catholic bishops pledged “zero tolerance,” Minnesota Catholic officials endangered kids, broke their promises and hid the accusations against Fr. Walsh, letting him work in a parish and giving sex education.

Shame on these two men, on Fr. Kevin McDonough, and on every single Catholic employee who aided and abetted this predator and knowingly put children in harm’s way.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:08 AM

Try a new approach on sex crimes and justice

AUSTRALIA
Sydney Morning Herald

December 20, 2013

Gay Alcorn
Columnist

So fraught has any discussion of rape and sexual assault become, so enmeshed in gender politics, so prevalent - from the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, to the Stephen Milne rape saga, even Julian Assange's refusal to travel to Sweden to face rape allegations - that it seems any crime involving a sexual element is highly charged.

The reason why sex offences are so emotional is understandable given how we have grappled with them historically. The notion that rape was a property crime against a father or husband was not fully abandoned until marital rape was outlawed in Australia in the 1980s.

And whatever the law says, conversations in offices and pubs will still mention a woman's sobriety or short skirt if she later claims she was raped, particularly by someone she knows.

The law has been reformed in the past 30 years, and the attitudes of the police and courts to victims transformed. Maximum jail sentences have increased, and the definitions of what constitutes rape changed, all to emphasise the seriousness of sex crimes and to make it easier for victims to seek justice. And none of it has budged conviction rates; the Office of Public Prosecutions says that just 45.1 per cent of all sex cases last year that went to trial led to a conviction, down from 54.8 per cent in 2004.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:59 AM

Former Richmond care home boss and priest deny child sex offences

UNITED KINGDOM
This is Local London

By Clare Buchanan

A former boss of a Richmond care home and a priest have denied 14 charges of child sex offences dating back to the 1970s.

John Stingemore, 71, of Stonehouse Drive, St Leonard’s on Sea, East Sussex, appeared at Southwark Crown Court today, along with 66-year-old Father Anthony McSweeney.

Mr Stingemore, who managed Grafton Close care home, pleaded not guilty to five counts of indecent assault, one of taking indecent images of a child and one of indecency with a child.

Mr McSweeney, of Old Brighton Road North, Pease Pottage, pleaded not guilty to two counts of indecent assault, one of taking indecent images of a child, three of making indecent images of a child and one of possessing indecent images of a child.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:17 AM

Former Norwich Catholic priest denies sexually abusing boys

UNITED KINGDOM
EDP24

Staff Reporter
Thursday, December 19, 2013

A former Norwich Catholic priest and a former children’s home manager denied sexually abusing a string of boys more than 30 years ago.

Father Tony McSweeney, 66, and wheelchair-bound John Stingemore, 71, are accused of molesting lads at the now closed Grafton Close Children’s Home in Hounslow, west London.

McSweeney - who officiated at the 1990 wedding of boxing legend Frank Bruno and his ex-wife, Laura - was a trainee priest at the time of the alleged attacks.

The once part-time chaplain at Norwich City FC, was leading the congregation at St George’s Church in north Norwich when the claims against him emerged.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:15 AM

New bishop for Maine who 'understands poor, disenfranchised'

MAINE
Portland Press Herald

By Kelley Bouchard kbouchard@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

The Rev. Robert P. Deeley, newly appointed bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland, promised Wednesday to protect children, serve the poor and the sick, and continue efforts to strengthen Maine’s parishes and grow the priesthood.

Maine Catholics and people who know Deeley have great expectations for Maine’s new bishop, seeing shades of Pope Francis in the Boston-area native who has served in the Vatican.

Others are concerned that Deeley, who is now auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Boston, is a “company man” who won’t bring the change that critics want in the way the church handles issues such as gay rights, abortion and sexual abuse by clergy members.

The Vatican announced Deeley’s appointment by Pope Francis at 6 a.m. Wednesday, ending a 17-month wait for news of a new leader for Maine’s 193,392 Catholics. Deeley will be formally installed as bishop during a special Mass on Feb. 14 at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Portland. ...

PLAYED ROLE IN CLERGY ABUSE RESPONSE

The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith is a cadre of bishops in Rome that since the abuse scandal has largely been responsible for responding to hundreds of complaints against clergy members. Deeley was assigned to help reduce the backlog, Garabedian said.

Cafardi, the expert on church law, dismissed the idea that, because Deeley was in the Boston archdiocese during the abuse scandal, he was in some way directly involved. Cafardi, a co-author of the National Review Board’s report on the abuse scandal, said that in the extensive research and interviews done to assemble the 2005 report, Deeley’s name never came up.

“That’s the kind of guilt by association that I hope most Christians would avoid,” Cafardi said.

Local and national anti-abuse groups have called for Deeley to open the diocese’s records on abusive clergy members, and do what more than two dozen archdioceses around the nation, including the Archdiocese of Boston, have done already: publish the names and judicial outcomes of priests who are accused of abuse.

In a statement issued shortly after Deeley’s appointment Wednesday, the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests, a national victim advocacy group, said the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith was integral in an orchestrated cover-up of abuse, and called for transparency about priests’ past crimes.

“This is a bare-minimum public safety step that every prelate should take,” the group said.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:10 AM

Former Christian Brother will appeal jail term for indecent assault

AUSTRALIA
Courier

By Pat Byrne Dec. 19, 2013

A FORMER Christian Brother, convicted in 1997 over the indecent assault of two Ballarat school boys, was today jailed for three months over a fresh charge of indecent assault dating back to 1974.

Yet Stephen Francis Farrell, 62, who pleaded guilty to molesting his now third school boy victim, walked from Ballarat Magistrates Court after lawyers immediately appealed the jail term.

Magistrate Michelle Hodgson said Farrell had exploited his position of power to sexually abuse a 10-year-old boy in his care, adding the community must know that the courts denounce such behaviour.

"Slowly but surely we have come to realise many of these sexual predators are people who have taken advantage of positions of power," Ms Hodgson said.

"We forget in a more secular 2013 the power the church wielded over families."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:31 AM

Ex-priest from Moree/Armidale NSW faces court again

AUSTRALIA
Broken Rites

By a Broken Rites researcher (article updated on 18 December 2013)

A former Catholic priest (aged 60 in 2013), who is charged with sexual offences against children in towns (including Moree and Armidale) in northern New South Wales, appeared in Armidale Local Court again on 18 December 2013 for an administrative procedure. The court extended his bail. The prosecutors and the defence have reached "substantial agreement" in relation to many of the facts regarding the case and the defence team is expected to submit a written plea-offer, the court has been told.

The ex-priest is charged with a total of 138 sexual offences against boys and girls.

These charges relate only to those alleged victims who have spoken to a special team of detectives (named Strike Force Glenroe) in the NSW Police. The investigation is continuing and detectives are prepared to hear from any more persons who have information about this matter.

The court decided to continue (until further notice) a non-publication order regarding the ex-priest's name and residential details. This non-publication order can be reviewed at an approprite stage in the prosecution process.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:28 AM

DK And The Marist Brothers (Or: Towards Hurting)

AUSTRALIA
lewisblayse.net

Abuses by the Marist Brothers order of the Catholic Church have continued to be the focus of the current hearings of the Australian Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse. It has heard further evidence from the Marists’ former Sydney head, Alexis Turton (see yesterday’s posting), and a victim known only as DK.

DK was abused by three brothers at the Marist Brothers’ school, St. Augustines (see previous posting) in the city of Cairns, in QueenslandState. One of the abusers was Brother Ross Murrin (see previous posting), who is still in prison for abuse offences at a Marist primary school at Daceyville, and at St. Gregory’s College in Campbelltown. He pleaded guilty to those offences in 2009.

DK told the enquiry that, after the abuse by Murrin, “I received a number of floggings, and was treated differently by the Brothers. I remember being excluded from school event, and feeling like they were trying to get me to leave the school.”

Marist Alexis Turton further enhanced the bad reputation of the Catholic Church with regards to cover-ups. One Brother had been the subject of several complaints, including that he abused a student who then suicided. In 2009, another Brother provided a list of 18 children who might bring claims against him. This list was placed on the Marist secret files, and a copy was sent to the Catholic Church Insurance company.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:25 AM

DelBianco Decision Delayed

CANADA
Blackburn News

By Chelsea Vella on December 18, 2013

Final Crown and defence counsel submissions were made in the trial of a former priest at Sarnia’s courthouse Wednesday.

Gabriele DelBianco is being tried on 18 counts including sexual assault and gross indecency allegedly involving four teenage girls during the 1980′s.

In Crown submissions, Aniko Coughlan alleges that DelBianco abused his position of trust and authority within the church and used his role to create opportunities to be alone with the complainants. She says parents trusted him with their children, even allowing them to go on overnight trips.

DelBianco’s lawyer Andrew Bradie argues none of the complainants claimed they engaged in the sexual acts because DelBianco was an authority figure, but rather because he was charismatic. More than one woman describes him as being like “rock star”, testifying that it made them feel special to be chosen by him.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:11 AM

Former Vic Christian brother granted bail

AUSTRALIA
9 News

A former Victorian Christian brother and teacher must be jailed for exploiting his position of power to sexually abuse a 10-year-old, a magistrate says.

But Stephen Francis Farrell walked from the Ballarat courtroom after appealing against his three-month jail term for molesting the boy, his third schoolboy victim.

Magistrate Michelle Hodgson jailed Farrell, 62, for indecently assaulting the boy while teaching at St Alipius School in Ballarat in the mid 1970s.

She said a message needed to be sent to the wider community that those who abused their roles of trust would be punished.

"Slowly but surely we have come to realise many of these sexual predators are people who have taken advantage of positions of power," she said on Thursday.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:10 AM

Former Catholic Brother charged ...

AUSTRALIA
New South Wales Police Force

Former Catholic Brother charged with historical assaults upon two school boys - Strike Force Avia

Thursday, 19 December 2013 12:43:53 AM

Sex Crimes Squad detectives have arrested a former Catholic Brother for alleged historical sexual offences against two children at a western Sydney school.

Strike Force Avia was established in October 2011 to investigate alleged assaults upon a number of children on school grounds at a Catholic college at Blacktown and a Catholic primary school at Lalor Park in the 1980s.

Three men – two teachers and a former Catholic Brother – have previously been arrested and charged by Strike Force Avia detectives.

About 11.30am yesterday (Wednesday 18 December 2013) a fourth man, a former Catholic Brother, was arrested at Penrith Railway Station and taken to Penrith Police Station.

The 58-year-old Lithgow man was charged with 20 offences in total, comprising two counts of buggery, 13 counts of indecent assault on male, and five counts of indecent act with male, relating to offences against two boys aged between nine and 11.

The incidents are alleged to have occurred between January 1980 and May 1981 when the former Brother worked at the Catholic college in Blacktown.

He was refused bail to appear at Penrith Local Court today (Thursday 19 December 2013).

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:08 AM

Tasmanian needed in Sydney child abuse case

AUSTRALIA
The Advocate

An unnamed Tasmanian could help NSW police investigate allegations in a case of child sex offences.

Yesterday, a former Catholic Brother was arrested in relation to alleged assaults upon a number of children on school grounds at a Catholic college at Blacktown and a Catholic primary school at Lalor Park in the 1980s.

NSW police say the Tasmanian person could be integral to the case.

The 58-year-old Lithgow man was arrested in Penrith and charged with 20 offences: two counts of buggery, 13 counts of indecent assault on male, and five counts of indecent act with male, relating to offences against two boys aged between nine and 11.

Anyone with information about sexual abuse should call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or use the Crime Stoppers website. Information is handled in confidence.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:07 AM

Fourth man arrested in child-sex case

AUSTRALIA
Sky News

A former Catholic Brother has become the fourth person charged in relation to historical sexual offences against two children at a western Sydney school.

Strike Force Avia was established in October 2011 to investigate alleged assaults upon a number of children on school grounds at a Catholic college at Blacktown and a Catholic primary school at Lalor Park in the 1980s.

Three men - two teachers and a former Catholic Brother - have previously been arrested and charged by Strike Force Avia detectives.

Sex Crimes Squad detectives arrested a fourth man, a former Catholic Brother, at Penrith Railway Station about 11.30am (AEDT) on Wednesday and took him to Penrith Police Station.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:05 AM

A former Catholic brother will face court today charged over historic sex abuses at a Sydney college back in the 1980's.

AUSTRALIA
ABC News

A former Catholic brother will face court today accused of sexually abusing two boys at a western Sydney school in the 1980's.

Police arrested the 58-year-old Lithgow man at Penrith railway station around midday yesterday and charged him with a total of 20 sex offences against two boys who were aged between nine and 11.

The charges include two counts of buggery, 13 counts of indecent assault and five counts of indecent acts.

The incidents are alleged to have occurred between January 1980 and May 1981 when the former brother worked at a Catholic College at Blacktown.

He is the fourth man to be charged by detectives investigating alleged assaults on a number a children at the college, as well as a Catholic primary school at Lalor Park in the 1980's.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:03 AM

Founder of SNAP still seeks justice

TOLEDO (OH)
Blade

BY KEITH C. BURRIS
COLUMNIST FOR THE BLADE

This week, I met a courageous woman. She lives in Chicago now, but she comes from Toledo: Barbara Blaine. She is founder and president of SNAP — Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests.

Back in 1985, as a victim of abuse, she chose to speak up. Her road was a lonely one. She was told two big lies: Your case is unique. And, we will do something about it. Ms. Blaine says those lies hurt as much as the sexual abuse.

She started SNAP as a support group. It grew to become a watchdog with chapters in every state and many other nations.
SNAP and the people involved with it love their church. They are not destroyers. They are injured believers. They believe the church cannot heal until it really changes how it deals with clergy child abuse.

Ms. Blaine maintains that this has not happened, that abuse still goes on, and that the institutional response is to cover up.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:01 AM

St. Paul police, archdiocese officials meet after chief turns up heat

MINNESOTA
Star Tribune

Article by: CHAO XIONG , Star Tribune Updated: December 18, 2013

No details of the discussion were disclosed, but more talks are set.

St. Paul police investigators and archdiocese representatives met Wednesday to discuss clergy sex abuse allegations after Chief Thomas Smith had criticized church leaders for not cooperating.

Investigators met with the Rev. Charles Lachowitzer, the vicar general of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, as well as an attorney. Smith’s department said before noon that it would release “basic details” of the meeting later.

But by 4 p.m., the only update provided by the police, via Twitter, was that “officials answered some questions and set plans for discussions in near future to answer others,” adding that further details “will not be public at this time.”

The archdiocese issued a brief statement: “We had a productive and amicable meeting today and concur with the St. Paul Police’s account of our meeting.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:57 AM

INTERVIEW: U of St. Thomas Prof., Expert on Catholicism Discusses Church Abuse Allegations

MINNESOTA
KSTP

[with video]

By: Cassie Hart

St. Paul police met with the lawyers for the archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, as well as two top clergy members to talk about the laundry list of misconduct allegations against priests.

Archbishop John Nienstedt was not there. He volunteered to temporarily step down, while police investigate the case against him.

A young man claims Nienstedt inappropriately touched him in a public setting, during a confirmation ceremony in 2009.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:55 AM

Rabbi launches legal action against sex abuse victims' advocate

AUSTRALIA
Herald Sun

SHANNON DEERY HERALD SUN DECEMBER 19, 2013

ONE of Victoria's most senior Jewish figures questioned over allegations of child sexual abuse has launched legal action against the head of a victims' advocacy group.

In a writ lodged in the Victorian Supreme Court this week, Rabbi Abraham Glick accuses victims’ advocate Manny Waks of defaming him in a series of online articles and Facebook posts.

Rabbi Glick has alleged Mr Waks published articles that falsely implied he had perjured himself in court, was guilty of child sexual abuse and had admitted to abusing children.

Rabbi Glick, the former principal of prestigious Jewish school Yeshivah College, was stood down last week after allegations he raped a student in the school’s synagogue were levelled at him.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:53 AM

Vatican outsources more financial reform

VATICAN CITY
Kansas City Star

December 19
The Associated Press

VATICAN CITY — The Vatican is outsourcing more of its financial reform to big-name consulting firms, tapping McKinsey & Co. and KMPG to advise it on modernizing its communications operations and bring its accounting up to international standards.

The decision was made Thursday by the commission of inquiry into the Vatican's overall financial health created by Pope Francis as part of his reforms.

Already, regulatory compliance firm Promontory Financial Group has installed two dozen people at the troubled Vatican bank to review its accounts and make sure they conform to international norms to fight money-laundering and terror financing. Promontory is also advising the Vatican's other main financial institution, APSA, which administers Vatican real estate.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:51 AM

Press for Vatican reform extends to PR, accounting

VATICAN CITY
National Catholic Reporter

John L. Allen Jr. | Dec. 19, 2013 NCR Today

Rome

The press for Vatican reform in the Francis era continued to gather force today, as the Vatican announced it has awarded contracts to two major international consulting firms to ponder a reorganization of its communications operations, as well as to bring its accounting procedures in line with international standards.

Among other things, the moves confirm that the Vatican’s traditional reluctance to compromise its independence by allowing outsiders to examine its internal workings has given way under Francis to a new desire to tap secular expertise.

In both cases, the consultants have been selected by a papal commission to study the Vatican’s economic and administrative structures set up by Francis in July. That body is composed of eight members, all but one of whom are laity, and is led by Maltese economist and businessman Joseph F.X. Zahra.

The Vatican said the contracts were awarded after what it described as a “competitive bidding process,” but it did not specify how much is being paid for the firms' services.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:49 AM

In Francis' First Year, A 'Radical Pope' Seeks To Save His Church

UNITED STATES
NPR

[with audio]

"Who am I to judge?" With those five words, Pope Francis "stepped away from the disapproving tone, the explicit moralizing typical of popes and bishops," writes columnist James Carroll. Francis made that statement in July, in response to a reporter's question about the status of gay priests in the Church. In a new article about Francis in The New Yorker, Carroll describes the pope as having "unilaterally declared a kind of truce in the culture wars that have divided the Vatican and much of the world."

Carroll was a seminarian and a priest during another great period of change — Vatican II, which, under the leadership of Pope John XXIII, led to reforms that modernized the church. As a priest from 1969 to 1974, he served as Boston University's Catholic chaplain. He left the priesthood in part over his disagreements with the leadership after the death of Pope John and the beginning of what Carroll describes as a counterrevolution. He's now an author and a columnist for The Boston Globe. His New Yorker article is called "Who Am I to Judge? A Radical Pope's First Year."

"It's not new for popes to be critical of the free market economy, and it's not new for popes to be concerned about the plight of the poor," Carroll tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross. "But with Pope Francis there's a centrality, a passion and an urgent insistence that's unique that we haven't seen before."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:46 AM

The activist pope

UNITED STATES
Arkansas Times

by Gene Lyons

Somewhere in the midst of an avalanche of sickening revelations about child sex abuse by Catholic clergy it occurred to me that if the Vatican sought an appropriate penance for its sins, it would go mute on issues of sexual morality for about 100 years.

Needless to say, that's not about to happen.

Instead, habemus papam. (We have a pope.) Catholics have witnessed the unprecedented resignation of Pope Benedict, widely seen to have failed utterly to cope with the church's grave crisis — perhaps even in his own estimation — and the remarkable accession of Pope Francis.

During the months since his selection, the 76-year-old Argentine has stirred an outsize response throughout the world — galvanizing not only the world's 1.2 billion Roman Catholics, but members of other faiths and even the irreligious with a shrewd blend of public theater and spiritual humility.

Writing in the New Yorker, James Carroll reports that "even 'kick the Pope' Orangemen in Northern Ireland love Pope Francis. The press is obsessed with him. Time recently named him Person of the Year."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:44 AM

Vatican's punishment for Lismore paedophile priest ...

AUSTRALIA
Herald Sun

JANET FIFE-YEOMANS THE DAILY TELEGRAPH DECEMBER 20, 2013

THE punishment for a Lismore paedophile priest as ordered by the Vatican was to live a life of prayer and penance and offer mass every Friday for his victims.

This was despite him admitting to his numerous "crimes", the royal commission into institutionalised responses to child sex abuse has been told.

He remains a priest living in retirement in the Lismore presbytery and has not been stripped of his rank or had his "faculties removed", as the Catholic Church describes being returned to the lay world.

The revelations came during damning evidence by the Bishop of Lismore, Geoffrey Jarrett, who said that he had not known for five years that the Vatican had required bishops to report all child sex abuse complaints to Rome. However, the commission heard that the first letter to the world's bishops from the Vatican's Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith about the new edict in 2002 was written in Latin.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:39 AM

Royal commission: bishop ‘unaware’ he should have reported abuse to Rome

AUSTRALIA
The Guardian

Australian Associated Press
theguardian.com, Wednesday 18 December 2013

A New South Wales bishop was unaware for five years of a directive from the pope to refer complaints of child sexual abuse containing "a semblance of truth" to Vatican investigators.

The royal commission into institutional responses to child sexual abuse on Thursday heard investigators acting on orders from the pope decreed in 2002 that some complaints of sexual abuse had to be referred to Rome.

Bishop Geoffrey Jarrett of Lismore told the commission he was not aware of the decree, first issued in 2001, until 2006.

"Any awareness of that requirement, even though it existed in 2001 ... really didn't come to my attention until much later," Jarrett said.

Since becoming aware of the directive, Jarrett has referred three priests to the Vatican. He said he has been waiting more than two years for a response from Rome on one complaint.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:36 AM

Witness Comes Forward About Teacher's Alleged Abuse

ILLINOIS
Comcast Sportsnet

A follow-up to an NBC5 Investigates report about a teacher accused of sexual abuse. Last month we told you about a suburban mom who accused a woman named Cherie Carlson of sexual abuse years ago. Carlson is now a middle school teacher in Buffalo Grove but used to work at a Chicago church and religious camp in Wisconsin. Now another woman tells NBC5 that she witnessed the alleged abuse.

“Were you surprised by the allegations against Cherie Carlson?” Rob Stafford asked.

“Not at all,” Monika Ebly said.

In the summer of 1996, Monika Ebly was 16 years old. She was a member of the North Side Gospel Center in Chicago who worked at the church camp in Wisconsin. She says one night inside this cabin she saw girls camp director Cherie Carlson fondling a girl we are calling Jane Doe.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:30 AM

Child sexual abuse victims angry over perpetrator's jail term

AUSTRALIA
Sydney Morning Herald

December 19, 2013

Adam Cooper

Victims of a man who sexually assaulted 11 boys more than three decades ago when he was a community leader are angry at what they consider a light jail term.

Barry Francis Watson, 73, will serve a minimum of 2 1/2 years in prison for abusing boys in his care as young as seven when he was a leader in the Anglican Church's youth group, CEBS, between 1969 and 1979.

Watson was found guilty in October of 12 charges of indecent assault on a boy aged under 16. He then pleaded guilty to another six charges.

On Thursday County Court Judge Rachelle Lewitan imposed a maximum jail term of four years but the sentence has upset some of Watson's victims.

One called out to Watson as he was led from the dock, and outside court, he and others spoke of their disappointment to prosecutors.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:25 AM

COGIC Pastor Accused of Molesting 16-year-old Family Member

TENNESSEE
WREG

[with video]

December 18, 2013, by George Brown

(Memphis) A COGIC pastor was arrested for sexual battery by an authority figure.

Michael Bryant, 48, is accused of molesting a 16-year-old family member for years.

Investigators said for the last two years, Bryant would sneak into her bedroom when her mother was asleep or at work, expose himself and fondle her.

He’s been the pastor at Hour of Restoration COGIC in Hickory Hill for the past three years. He was also an elder at Greater Community Temple COGIC.

“Knowing him, I wouldn’t believe it,” said Leonard Gray.

Gray says he never saw any signs. He looked up to Bryant at his church.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:23 AM

Catholic Bishop of Lismore ...

AUSTRALIA
The West Australian

Catholic Bishop of Lismore admits during Royal Commission into child sex abuse he failed to report cases to the Vatican

BY THOMAS ORITI
December 19, 2013

A Catholic Bishop in northern New South Wales has admitted to a child abuse inquiry he did not abide by an instruction from the Pope for five years.

The Bishop of the Diocese of Lismore, Geoffrey Jarrett, has been recalled to give evidence at the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse in Sydney.

In 2001, the Pope ordered Bishops around the world to report any allegations of child sexual abuse to the Vatican if there was a "semblance of truth" in the case.

Reverend Jarrett became a Bishop in the same year.

A complaint was made against Lismore priest Father Paul Rex Brown in 2002, but it was not referred to the Vatican at the time.

Reverend Jarrett has conceded he was not aware of the Pope's requirement until 2006, saying some directives "may not be remembered or acted upon".

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:20 AM

Royal Commission hears Vatican told priest to offer a Mass every Friday for his victims

AUSTRALIA
Sydney Morning Herald

December 19, 2013

Catherine Armitage
Senior Writer

A Lismore Catholic priest who sexually abused children was ordered by the Vatican to “live a life of prayer and penance” and offer a Mass every Friday for his victims, the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse has been told.

But the “overwhelming majority” of clerical sex abuse cases are not reported to Rome because the Vatican wants to know only about incidents which occurred within the past 10 years, the Commission heard. The Bishop of Lismore, Geoffrey Jarrett, did not pass on any complaints for five years, probably because a directive from the Pope to do so was filed in a drawer and forgotten, he told the Commission.

In a day of astonishing revelations about the Australian Catholic church’s lackadaisical attitude to child sex abuse allegations, Bishop Jarrett admitted he did not pass on a 2002 complaint in which a woman alleged she “walked in on Father [Paul Rex] Brown in the act of sexually abusing a child in the sacristy of the cathedral” in 1959. That alleged incident preceded Father Brown’s abuse of Mrs Jennifer Ingham in the late 1970s by two decades.

When Bishop Jarrett eventually reported the separate case of a Lismore priest accused of “numerous” incidents of child sex abuse, with reparations of $50,000 already paid, the Vatican took two years to issue the punishment of offering Mass on Fridays. That priest is retired and lives in the presbytery with other priests in Lismore, Bishop Jarrett said. The Bishop has opted not to let him keep his priestly faculties, but said he would have written to the priest in 2004 to tell him he was not allowed to have contact with children. “I can’t recall whether I have written to remind him of it ever since,’’ Bishop Jarrett said.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:17 AM

Vatican’s representative seeks immunity over sex abuse inquiry

AUSTRALIA
The Guardian (UK)

Stephen Crittenden
theguardian.com, Thursday 19 December 2013

The Vatican's representative in Australia is claiming diplomatic immunity in response to repeated requests for documents that might assist the NSW inquiry into child sex abuse.

Copies of correspondence released by the commission this week reveal the diplomatic stand-off between the papal nuncio, Archbishop Paul Gallagher, and the chair of the special commission of inquiry, Margaret Cunneen SC.

The Cunneen inquiry was established last November to investigate sexual abuse by two priests of the Maitland-Newcastle diocese, Father Denis McAlinden and Father James Fletcher (both deceased), following allegations made by a NSW police whistleblower, chief inspector Peter Fox.

The NSW crown solicitor's office made the request on Cunneen's behalf on 30 August and again on 22 October, asking for copies of any relevant documents held in the archives of the Apostolic Nunciature in Canberra or the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) in Rome.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:13 AM

Abuse claims kept secret allowed priest to minister and teach sex ed

MINNESOTA
Minnesota Public Radio

By Madeleine Baran, Minnesota Public Radio
Dec. 19, 2013

When beloved priest Harry Walsh retired two years ago, parishioners of St. Henry’s Catholic Church in Monticello, Minn., decorated a VFW hall with paper shamrocks and musical notes to say goodbye.

They sang, gave speeches and cried. Walsh, then 77, had served as the parish’s music minister for nearly a decade.

Harry Walsh, former pastor of St. Henry Catholic Church, during festivities in his honor Nov. 12, 2011 at the Monticello VFW Post.

"You developed close personal relationships with everybody and that gave us all the ability to trust you with all of our personal lives," one person wrote on a tribute website for the Irish-born priest. "You have blessed this community immeasurably."

But Walsh had a secret. He’d been accused of sexually abusing a 15-year-old girl and 12-year-old altar boy decades earlier, according to church documents obtained by MPR News, and the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis contributed to a financial settlement for the girl.

Nonetheless, archbishops Harry Flynn and John Nienstedt allowed him to continue working in parishes until the fall of 2011. And neither bishop called police or warned the public.

More recently Walsh wasn't included on a list of 30 "credibly accused" priests released Dec. 5 by the archdiocese. Nienstedt said the disclosure of those names was important to restoring trust and could help protect children from harm.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:11 AM

December 18, 2013

St. Paul police meet with archdiocese vicar general

MINNESOTA
Pioneer Press

By Mara H. Gottfried
mgottfried@pioneerpress.com
POSTED: 12/18/2013

St. Paul police met with the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis vicar general Wednesday, the day after the police chief said the archdiocese has not cooperated with investigations into alleged clerical sex abuse.

"At today's meeting, officials answered some questions and set plans for discussions in near future to answer others," St. Paul police said in a statement Wednesday afternoon.

The meeting was with Vicar General the Rev. Charles Lachowitzer and an archdiocese attorney, according to police, who also said additional details wouldn't be public at this time. Archdiocese spokesman James Accurso said church officials had no immediate comment about the meeting.

Police Chief Thomas Smith expressed frustration Tuesday that investigators' request to speak with clergy staff had been refused, and that the archdiocese planned to make only an attorney available to police. After Smith's public comments, the archdiocese issued a statement saying that Lachowitzer would accompany an attorney to the meeting.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:35 PM

Vatican's punishment for Lismore paedophile ...

AUSTRALIA
Telegraph

JANET FIFE-YEOMANS THE DAILY TELEGRAPH DECEMBER 19, 2013

THE punishment for a Lismore paedophile priest as ordered by the Vatican was to live a life of prayer and penance and offer mass every Friday for the intention of his victims.

This was despite him admitting to his numerous "crimes", the royal commission into institutionalised responses to child sex abuse has been told.

The priest involved remains a priest although he is in retirement and $50,000 was paid to a victim by the church.

His identity remains a secret although he was reported to Grafton Police, to the NSW Ombudsman and to the Commissioner for Children and Young People and has been banned from unsupervised contact with children.

The Bishop of Lismore, Geoffrey Jarrett, has been recalled to the commission to be quizzed about how many priests he has referred to the Vatican under its 2001 edict that cases of clerical child sex abuse must be referred to the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:32 PM

Meeting Between Police, Archdiocese Ends With Agreement

MINNESOTA
CBS Minnesota

Esme Murphy

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – St. Paul police met with a top official from the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis Wednesday as part of an ongoing criminal investigation into allegations of sexual abuse by Catholic clergy.

The meeting comes a day after an explosive allegation against Archbishop John Nienstedt, who’s since agreed to step aside until the investigation is complete.

The meeting was also a response to a public claim by St. Paul police that the archdiocese is not cooperating with abuse investigations.

In a brief statement on Twitter, St. Paul police said Wednesday afternoon that officials of the archdiocese answered some police questions and agreed to meet again to answer other questions.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:29 PM

Sex Abuse and the Church

UNITED STATES
The New York Times

A Pope’s New Path on Child Abuse” (editorial, Dec. 7) rightly commends Pope Francis for establishing a commission to deal with the sexual abuse of minors. Such abuse is a sin and a crime, one especially heinous when perpetrated by a representative of the Catholic Church.

But contrary to a suggestion in the editorial, the church has been responding vigorously to this crisis for years. In 2002, the American bishops established the “Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People.” It draws respect worldwide, as the church in other countries and organizations here address a problem that crosses every level of society and that occurs in families, schools and youth programs.

Both Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI instituted concrete steps, including declaring the possession of child pornography as possible grounds for exclusion from the clerical state.

Over the last decade, instances of sexual abuse have plummeted, as we instituted a zero-tolerance policy on sexual abuse of minors, background checks, education in how to maintain a safe environment, and removal of credibly accused clerics. ...

(Bishop) R. DANIEL CONLON
Joliet, Ill., Dec. 11, 2013

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:25 PM

Another Swiss guard: Finance officer works to protect the Vatican

VATICAN CITY
Catholic News Service

By Cindy Wooden
Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- News headlines in 2013 about turmoil at the Vatican bank and an arrested monsignor who served as a Vatican accountant seem to be modern-day illustrations of a famous line from the First Letter of Timothy in the New Testament: "For the love of money is the root of all evils, and some people in their desire for it have strayed from the faith and have pierced themselves with many pains."

But from his office near the Vatican gas station, a young Swiss lawyer is working to prevent the greedy or corrupt from misusing the Vatican's financial structures, which serve its own operations and those of dioceses, schools, hospitals and charitable activities around the world.

Rene Brulhart, 41, is director of the Vatican's Financial Intelligence Authority, charged with establishing procedures and checks to ensure Vatican institutions cannot be used for money laundering or the financing of terrorism. He also investigates suspicious transactions and works internationally with other government financial-intelligence units to fight financial crime.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:23 PM

IOR continues the process of closing down lay clients' bank accounts

VATICAN CITY
Vatican Insider

The IOR is closing down all accounts belonging to account holders who do not fit one of five categories of people and institutions which the Vatican bank is allowed to have as clients

VATICAN INSIDER STAFF
ROME

The Institute for the Works of Religion (IOR) is continuing the process of closing down the accounts of lay account holders, who do not fit into any of the five categories of clients the Vatican bank is legally allowed to have. The process, which began last July, is proceeding as scheduled and has not yet concluded. This is partly because not all of the letters sent to clients who are no longer allowed to have any relationship with the IOR (over a thousand of them) specify the same deadline for the closure of each respective bank account, ANSA reports.

“In July 2013, the IOR updated its policy in relation to the categories of clients which the Vatican bank can offer its services to. These categories are: Catholic institutions, clergy, employees or former employees of the Vatican with salary and pension accounts, embassies and diplomats accredited to the Holy See,” an IOR spokesman told ANSA. This was a joint decision of the IOR’s supervisory board and the Commission of Cardinals and was published on the IOR website on 31 July. “Relations with clients that do not fit one of these categories, will cease,” the IOR informed.

The account closing down process “must not be confused with the interruption or suspension of relations with clients suspected of violating the anti-money laundering laws in place. This responsibility lies with the Vatican authorities that have been tasked with enforcing the law and supervision.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:21 PM

FRANCIS UPDATES:John Allen and Vatican Pied Pipers toot Francis-mania…while Hans Kung points out “the Pope and his ‘double’” shadow pope Ratzinger!

UNITED STATES
Pope Crimes & Vatican Evils...

Paris Arrow

Time’s Person of the Year Pope Francis. John C. Nienstedt suggests St. Josephine and Eucharist to solve clergy abuse. Baloney, David Quinn! (Again)

Pope Francis the miser of dark secrets vs. Edward Snowden the herald of truths

Francis lives in the Vatican Palace surrounded by PR media stunts army vs. Snowden living in asylum at the kindness of an atheist country Russia

The sharp contrast between Time’s Person of the Year, Pope Francis, and its runner-up, Edward Snowden, are morally apart: Pope Francis perpetuates Vatican secrecy and its cover-up of thousands of bestial pedophile priests in all Catholic churches worldwide…while Edward Snowden reveals the NSA’s Top Secret files about all Americans and all peoples and all nations worldwide.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:19 PM

Donohue goes too far … and he’s DEAD WRONG

UNITED STATES
The Worthy Adversary

Posted by Joelle Casteix on December 18, 2013

I try to steer clear of commenting on the actions of William Donohue, the president of the Catholic League. I would tell you why, but that’s another post in itself.

Bill, you screwed up.

But I can’t stay silent on this: Today, Donohue issued a press release called St. Paul & Minneapolis Archbishop Nienstedt Deserves Justice. I have no disagreement with the title: everyone deserves justice. But the press release goes on to call for vigilante justice against a boy who disclosed alleged abuse to an employee of the largest Minnesota Archdiocese. And that’s a HUGE problem.

He says in the release:

The Catholic League is asking those who were there to share with us any information they have. Specifically, we are interested in obtaining a tape recording, or set of photos, of any Confirmation ceremony in 2009 where Archbishop Nienstedt was present; presumably, the alleged victim was standing next to the archbishop. Also, we are asking anyone who knows anything about the accuser (someone knows who he is) to come forward.

Let’s talk about the problems with his argument.

There is the obvious: he is trying to bully an alleged sex abuse survivor. Not only that, but he is drawing a line in the sand, saying that he is going to go after anyone PERSONALLY who comes forward to disclose abuse. I don’t have words to describe my rage and disgust at his actions.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:53 PM

Pope Francis and Archbishop Nienstedt

UNITED STATES
Christian Catholicism

Jerry Slevin

If the child abuse scandal is Pope Francis’ Achilles Heel, then Archbishop Niensted’s Minneapolis/St. Paul Archdiocese is the pressure point. Nine months have passed since Francis became Pope. He has not yet directly and convincingly either condemned this abuse and the clerics who enable it or offered a proposed solution to curtailing it.

Moreover, has Pope Francis ever really publicly criticized any bishop over child abuse, in Rome or when he was in Argentina? Indeed, as recently reported, the first compensation payments to Argentine priest abuse survivors were just made recently to victims of a priest convicted almost a decade ago, while Francis was the senior local Church leader, see:

[GobalPost]

Even Francis’ recent appointment as a US bishop of a cleric, who reportedly admitted under oath to destroying approximately 50 suspected abuser priests’ files, suggests that Francis may underestimate the seriousness of the abuse crisis.

[SNAP]

The rapidity with which Archbishop Nienstedt stepped aside after a single allegation of improper touching is surprising.

See:

[Minnesota Public Radio]

This is especially surprising, since Kansas City’s Bishop Finn has continued to serve as bishop even after a criminal conviction relating to his failure to report timely a priest child pornographer.

Of course, Archbishop Nienstedt has also been a key leader of the anti-gay marriage crusade. As the US bishops gear up again to make this a key political “wedge issue” in their new efforts to help conservatives try to gain control of the US Senate in 10 months (and thereby help maintain a conservative US Supreme Court majority), Archbishop Nienstedt’s absence may be desirable for the hierarchy’s political purposes as well.

Archbishop Nienstedt’s sudden withdrawal surely suggests that more troubling revelations about other Minneapolis scandals could soon be coming. Depending on the police investigation results, this could possibly even include the establishment of a grand jury and even potential indictments.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:48 PM

St. Paul Police, Archdiocese of St. Paul and Mpls. Meet; Details Not Public Yet

MINNESOTA
KSTP

St. Paul police say some questions have been answered and they set plans for more discussions during a meeting with the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis Wednesday.

The meeting comes after St. Paul Police Chief Tom Smith said Tuesday archdiocesan officials have not been very cooperative on priest sex abuse cases. He urged the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis to be more forthcoming with information on previous allegations of sex abuse.

Two clergy and attorneys were in attendance for the archdiocese at Wednesday's meeting. No details will be made public, according to a Tweet from St. Paul police.

In a news conference Tuesday Smith, “I want to let the public know one thing: let me be very clear on this. We have through written and verbal requests made clear our desire to speak to individuals connected to the archdiocese and we have been told no."

Smith says police have not had the access to interview clergy members in recent investigations into the previous allegations. As late as last week, Smith said they were told no.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:52 PM

Newly appointed bishop destroyed sex abuse records

WISCONSIN
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

By Annysa Johnson of the Journal Sentinel

The Green Bay-area priest tapped Tuesday by Pope Francis to lead the Diocese of Marquette, Mich., testified in a 2011 deposition that he destroyed documents relating to priests accused of sexual abuse.

Father John Doefler, 49, an Appleton native and vicar general of the Diocese of Green Bay, will be installed as the bishop of Marquette early next year. In announcing his appointment Tuesday, Green Bay Bishop David Ricken said, "I could not be more delighted." Ricken said Doerfler "has excelled in his service to this dioceses...and has been a trusted adviser on moral and canonical issues."

But the advocacy group, the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests, blasted Doerfler's selection, saying he destroyed what may have been criminal evidence, including psychological reports of priests accused of sexually assaulting minors.

"We find this decision really perplexing," said SNAP Midwest Director Peter Isely of Milwaukee. "Doerfler destroyed virtually all of the abuse records in Green Bay."

Doerfler, who is a part-time lecturer in moral theology at Sacred Heart School of Theology in Franklin, testified in a lawsuit involving convicted pedophile John Patrick Feeney that he destroyed the records as part of a record retention policy put in place by then-Bishop David Zubik. He said psychological reports, except those involving current claims, were destroyed to comply with federal privacy laws.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:48 PM

Mainers react to new bishop, who played key role in Vatican efforts to clean up sex abuse problems<

MAINE
Bangor Daily News

By Seth Koenig, BDN Staff
Posted Dec. 18, 2013

PORTLAND, Maine — The newly appointed bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland is credited with playing a key role as the Vatican purged priests accused of sexual abuse, and then as the Archdiocese of Boston took the step of identifying abusive priests openly on its website.

Both were considered significant moves in the effort to overcome sex abuse scandals that came to light over the last decade and a half and tarnished the Catholic Church’s reputation.

Now, as Catholics and others in the state react to Wednesday’s announcement of new Diocese of Portland Bishop Robert Deeley’s appointment, some of the strongest statements come from Maine clergy abuse victims and their supporters, who hope Deeley will continue his reconciliation work locally.

In 2011, after seven years away, Deeley rejoined the Archdiocese of Boston and served as one of the top aides to Cardinal Sean O’Malley, who that year opened the vault on the archdiocese’s sex abuse cases by posting a database of priests who had been accused, as well as what became of them.

Diocese bankruptcy: More abuse victims, church property listed

NEW MEXICO
Gallup Independent

Published in the Gallup Independent, Gallup, NM, Dec. 18, 2013

By Elizabeth Hardin-Burrola
Independent correspondent
religion@gallupindependent.com

ALBUQUERQUE — The Diocese of Gallup filed for Chapter 11 reorganization just over a month ago, but already a number of significant events have taken place.

The following is a summary of some of the case’s more important developments and issues:

Higher abuse numbers

During the first court hearing Nov. 15, the diocese’s lead bankruptcy attorney Susan Boswell said the Gallup Diocese was aware of 105 men and women who were alleged victims of clergy sex abuse in the diocese. In less than two weeks, Bishop James S. Wall submitted a document to the court revising that number upward to 121. In an upcoming court hearing Thursday, that figure may once again rise.

Creditors committee formed

Seven individuals were selected to serve as members of the unsecured creditors committee Tuesday. Because they are all believed to be victims of clergy sex abuse, their names are not being published without their consent. One member, Criss Candelaria, was contacted Tuesday and consented to being publicly identified. An attorney in private practice in Pinetop, Ariz., Candelaria is a former Apache County Attorney and a longtime Arizona prosecutor. He has previously spoken out about being targeted for sexual abuse as a child by the Rev. James M. Burns. Along with Candelaria, the committee is made up of five men, four of whom are Hispanic, and two women. It is believed at least one committee member is Navajo.

Steep fees

In an attempt to keep administrative expenses and professional fees “as low as reasonably possible,” the Office of the U.S. Trustee, a Department of Justice program that monitors bankruptcy cases, has submitted “limited objections” to the applications authorizing the employment of three law firms and one accounting firm to represent the Gallup Diocese. Those firms, however, are already collecting steep fees. The diocese paid Quarles & Brady LLP $200,000 on Nov. 8, it paid Walker & Associates, P.C. more than $22,000 on Oct. 29, and it paid Keegan, Linscott & Kenon, P.C. $75,000 on Nov. 8. Lead attorney Boswell is billing the diocese $375 per hour for the first 125 hours of representation. After 125 hours, her fee will increase to $495 per hour.

Separate or subsidized

The Chapter 11 reorganization only involves the Diocese of Gallup’s chancery office, which includes Gallup’s Sacred Heart Retreat Center, and Gallup Catholic School, aka Sacred Heart Catholic School. In early bankruptcy documents, the Gallup bishop presented a picture of parish priests not being employees of the diocese and parish churches along with their assets as being separate from the diocese. Catholic schools in the diocese were also presented as being separate from the diocese. However, Wall’s more recent financial statement lists 11 parishes receiving salary subsidies from the diocese, two parishes receiving financial assistance from the diocese, and five parishes that are owed priest subsidy payments. In addition, Chancery officials advertise and approve the hiring of school principals and those principals answer to a diocesan education superintendent.

Trust property

According to the Gallup Diocese, much of its real estate is “trust property” in which the diocese “holds mere legal title” but which is actually owned and controlled by parishes. Some parishes only have one piece of property the land the church occupies, while others have as many as ten pieces of property. St. John the Baptist Parish, located in St. Johns, Ariz., owns the G-Bar Ranch, which was the subject of a civil lawsuit in recent years, and Gallup’s Sacred Heart Parish which is the bishop’s cathedral is listed as owning commercial property where one of Gallup’s Lowes grocery stores is located.

Real property

The Gallup Diocese lists 85 pieces of property across Arizona and New Mexico as “real property,” which is defined as “any property in which the debtor holds rights and powers exercisable for the debtor’s own benefit.” The list includes vacant land, houses and mobile homes, office and school buildings, cemeteries, and subdivision property. Some is located outside the diocese, as in the city of Rio Rancho. All the property is listed as having an “unknown” value. Based on documents provided by the diocese, it is unclear of the listing for the bishop’s home, his nearby “Cure of Ars House of Discernment,” and his private chapel, which he renovated and decorated with artist Arlene Sena’s Spanish colonial-styled paintings.

Third party liability

In its financial documents, the diocese states it “may have claims against certain third parties who are or have been co-defendants in certain litigation alleging abuse claims against the Diocese of Gallup or who have not been named in such suits but may still be liable to the Diocese of Gallup …” Regarding allegations against diocesan priests who came from other dioceses or members of religious orders who are credibly accused of sexual abuse in the Gallup Diocese, their home diocese or religious order may be financially drawn into the bankruptcy case.

Multiple creditors

A list of creditors holding secured claims shows diocesan officials owe nearly $113,000 to Pinnacle Bank for a $200,000 promissory note signed in June 2011, and another list of creditors holding unsecured nonpriority claims shows diocesan officials owe the Archdiocese of Santa Fe for a $29,000 loan and the Diocese of Phoenix for a $200,000 loan. The Gallup Diocese also owes more than $15,000 to Saint Luke Institute in Maryland and $35,000 to the Guest House in Michigan both mental health treatment facilities for Catholic clergy. Among its many debts, the diocese continues to owe unpaid legal fees to law firms in Los Angeles, Phoenix and Gallup, and even owes $6,600 to its own fundraising organization, the Catholic Peoples Foundation.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:39 PM

Catholic League Seeks To ID The Archbishop’s Alleged Victim

MINNESOTA
CBS Minnesota

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – With St. Paul police investigating Archbishop John Nienstedt, who’s accused of inappropriately touching a boy’s behind, the Catholic League wants to independently identify his accuser.

It’s the first time the religious and civil rights organization has sought to identify an alleged victim, asking Twin Cities-area Catholics for any videotapes or photos from the 2009 event, where it’s alleged Nienstedt touched the boy’s buttocks after a confirmation ceremony.

“Somebody knows who this character is who is making these accusations — I can’t wait to get to the bottom of this,” said Catholic League President Bill Donahue. “Nienstedt has been the subject of a non-stop crusade orchestrated by enemies of the Catholic Church. The time has come when people need to fight back.”

Donahue also took aim at St. Paul police investigators, accusing them of pursuing an agenda while investigating clergy members and archdiocesan leadership.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:43 PM

Maplewood priest accused of sex misconduct appears in court

MINNESOTA
Pioneer Press

By Emily Gurnon
egurnon@pioneerpress.com
POSTED: 12/18/2013

A Maplewood priest appeared in court for the first time Wednesday on a charge of criminal sexual conduct involving a woman in his parish.

Wearing a black suit and a clerical collar, the Rev. Mark Huberty waived his right to have an omnibus hearing within 30 days. That hearing, in which the judge will determine if there's probable cause to try him, was scheduled for Jan. 28.

Huberty, 43, has not been held in custody. He is released on his own recognizance.

Therese Galatowitsch, a special assistant Ramsey County attorney prosecuting Huberty, said the state will have "voluminous discovery" in the case. It will share that with the defense, as required, she said.

Huberty is on leave from his position as pastor of Church of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary at 1695 Kennard St.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:41 PM

Bishop-to-be of Marquette, Mich., destroyed sex abuse records in 2011

MICHIGAN
UPI

MARQUETTE, Mich., Dec. 18 (UPI) -- The newly appointed bishop of Marquette, Mich., destroyed documents relating to priests accused of sexual abuse in 2011, a victims' advocacy group said.
The Rev. John Doefler, 49, vicar general of the Green Bay, Wis., diocese, is set to be installed as Marquette bishop early next year, after he was named to the position Tuesday by Pope Francis.

The advocacy group Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests was critical of the appointment, saying he destroyed what may have been criminal evidence, including psychological reports of priests accused of sexually assaulting minors.

"We find this decision really perplexing," said the organization's Midwest Director, Peter Isely. "Doefler destroyed virtually all of the abuse records in Green Bay."

Doefler testified, in a 2011 deposition in a lawsuit involving convicted pedophile John Patrick Feeney, that he destroyed the material as part of a record retention policy already in place, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:38 PM

Archdiocese, St. Paul police in closed-door meeting

MINNESOTA
Fox 9

ST. PAUL, Minn. (KMSP) -
St. Paul police were meeting with lawyers for the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis on Wednesday, but the meeting was not open the public or members of the media.

Archbishop John Nienstedt has voluntarily stepped aside from all public ministry during the investigation of an allegation that he inappropriately touched a boy on the buttocks during a 2009 confirmation ceremony.

Nienstedt called the allegation "absolutely and entirely false,"and the archdiocese said they "stand ready to cooperate fully with the St. Paul police."

But during a Tuesday press conference, St. Paul Police Chief Tom Smith aired his frustrations with claims made by the archdiocese that church officials have been fully cooperative.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:09 PM

Choi: No grand jury in archdiocese probe

MINNESOTA
Minnesota Public Radio

[with audio]

Ramsey County Attorney John Choi reaffirmed his determination Wednesday not to convene a grand jury while police are still investigating allegations of child abuse in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis.

"I have to make some tough calls, and I believe in a certain way to get to a conclusion," he said on The Daily Circuit. "An investigative grand jury at this moment, when there's an active police investigation going on, would be really inappropriate and an abuse of my power.

"Let's let the police investigation come to some completion, and then they can present information to us, and we can make appropriate decisions based upon that."

Choi praised St. Paul Police Chief Tom Smith for going public Tuesday with his complaints about the archdiocese's lack of cooperation in the police probe. Smith said his investigators had been denied access to people they want to interview, except through their lawyers.

Choi said he hoped Smith's press conference would produce results.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:07 PM

No grand jury for archdiocese ... yet

MINNESOTA
MinnPost

By Brian Lambert

Not yet, anyway. MPR says: “Ramsey County Attorney John Choi reaffirmed his determination Wednesday not to convene a grand jury while police are still investigating allegations of child abuse in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis. ‘I have to make some tough calls, and I believe in a certain way to get to a conclusion,’ he said on The Daily Circuit. ‘An investigative grand jury at this moment, when there's an active police investigation going on, would be really inappropriate and an abuse of my power. Let's let the police investigation come to some completion, and then they can present information to us, and we can make appropriate decisions based upon that.' "

An editorial in the Marshall Independent goes fairly easy on the archbishop: “We credit Archbishop John Nienstedt for his frankness when commenting publically Sunday on the allegations of sexual abuse by priests in Minnesota, but we're not surprised if what he said fell on a lot of deaf ears across the state. … Nienstedt didn't make excuses, apologized for overlooking the issue and admitted he should have investigated it ‘a lot more than I did.’ We respect his candor and willingness to take responsibility, but that won't wipe his slate clean. And saying he was ‘surprised as anyone else,’ surely didn't help his cause, or the church's. In a position of such great leadership, Nienstedt should've done his due diligence, regardless of what he was told. Had he, perhaps those blinders wouldn't have been put on and he wouldn't have been so ‘surprised.’ This issue is just too damaging, too sensitive and personal, for him to have assumed anything.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:05 PM

With Nienstedt inquiry, archdiocese now likely 'has the Vatican's attention'

MINNESOTA
MinnPost

With the announcement Tuesday that Archbishop John Nienstedt is stepping down while police investigate allegations that he touched a young man inappropriately, the sex-abuse scandal sweeping through the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis ratcheted to a new level, according to abuse survivors’ advocates and prosecutors.

Even as observers speculated whether Nienstedt would retain enough credibility to return to ministry if cleared of allegations he touched a boy during a public photo shoot, St. Paul Police Chief Tom Smith blasted the archdiocese for failing to cooperate with its efforts to investigate other abuse allegations.

Smith shared a Dec. 4 letter to Nienstedt in which the chief complained that church leaders had repeatedly tried to speak to the church official responsible for investigating sex-abuse allegations. Without more information, police would have a hard time obtaining search warrants, the chief said.

Police refused to address the allegations against Nienstedt himself, though, saying only that adequate resources had been assigned to investigating the pending cases. Even the Archbishop’s most vocal critics cautioned that there’s nowhere near enough evidence to speculate about the claim. ,,,

'They're usually treated as different or special'

“Sometimes they hunker down, sometimes they resign,” said Terry McKiernan, president of Bishop-accountability.org, a watchdog group that has tracked the allegations for years. “But to treat them as a priest — that usually doesn’t happen. They’re usually treated as different or special.”

Complaints lodged against the vast majority of the bishops whose cases are cataloged by the group have not been conclusively resolved. In many, an internal church investigation failed to substantiate the claims, which are virtually always denied.

Two other things stand out as unusual for McKiernan. For starters, if the Vatican was not tracking the Twin Cities scandal before now — entirely possible given that there are some 4,000 bishops around the world — the new allegation is almost certainly under discussion in Rome, he said.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:54 PM

Rabbi Motti Elon Gets Slap on Wrist for Sex Abuse

ISRAEL
Jewish Daily Forward

JERUSALEM — Rabbi Mordechai “Motti” Elon, an Israeli Modern Orthodox leader, was sentenced to six months of community service for his conviction on two charges of sexually assaulting a minor.

Elon was sentenced Wednesday in Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court for incidents that took place in 2003 and 2005. The student had come to Elon, the former rosh yeshiva of Yeshivat HaKotel in Jerusalem, for advice.

He was also sentenced to 15 months probation and must pay nearly $3,000 in compensation to the victim.

“I welcome my sentencing of community service – I’ve been doing such work for 40 years, and will be happy to continue till I’m 120 years old,” Elon said following the sentence.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:51 PM

ARCHBISHOP NIENSTEDT DESERVES JUSTICE

MINNESOTA
Catholic League

Bill Donohue comments on the decision by Saint Paul and Minneapolis Archbishop John C. Nienstedt to temporarily step down:

Archbishop Nienstedt has been the subject of a non-stop crusade orchestrated by ex-Catholics, and Catholics in rebellion against the Church, simply because he stands for everything they are not: he is a loyal son of the Catholic Church.

Now—out of the blue—comes an unidentified male who claims he was touched on his buttocks in 2009 by the archbishop while posing for a group photo. Nienstedt denies the charge, adding that he has never inappropriately touched anyone. Moreover, he has not been told the identity of his accuser.

The Catholic League is asking those who were there to share with us any information they have. Specifically, we are interested in obtaining a tape recording, or set of photos, of any Confirmation ceremony in 2009 where Archbishop Nienstedt was present; presumably, the alleged victim was standing next to the archbishop. Also, we are asking anyone who knows anything about the accuser (someone knows who he is) to come forward. Please email us at pr@catholicleague.org.

I know of no other leader, religious or secular, who would step down pending an investigation because some guy says he was touched on his behind four years ago in a group photo. It’s time the bishops revised their “zero tolerance” policy. Too often, it means zero justice for the accused, thus undermining the legal principle of innocent until proven guilty.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:45 PM

Archbishop Steps Down

MINNESOTA
National Survivor Advocates Coalition

Kristine Ward

The early reports out of Minneapolis-St. Paul regarding the accusation against Archbishop John Nienstedt and his stepping aside carry two items we call to our readers’ attention.

From the official statement of the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis:

The Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis today announced that an allegation has been brought by a mandated reporter within the Church to the St. Paul Police of inappropriate touching of a minor male on the buttocks by Archbishop John Nienstedt. The single incident is alleged to have occurred in 2009 during a group photography session with the archbishop following a confirmation ceremony. Archbishop Nienstedt emphatically denies the allegation. Upon learning of the allegation last week, the archdiocese instructed the mandated reporter to make the matter known to the police. The archbishop and the archdiocese stand ready to cooperate fully with the St. Paul Police.

You read correctly --- the “Archdiocese instructed the mandated reporter to make the matter known to police.”

This will be praised in many circles.

But it is clearly an indication that the understanding of what a mandatory reporter is is not understood. The mandatory reporter reported to the archdiocese and then to the police.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:36 AM

ME - New Maine Catholic bishop is named; SNAP responds

MAINE
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

For immediate release: Wednesday, Dec. 18, 2013

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

The elevation of Boston’s Bishop Robert Deeley to head Maine’s Catholic archdiocese is yet another in a string of disappointing promotions made in recent months. (Others include new Hartford Bishop Leonard Blair, El Paso Bishop Mark Seitz, Bridgeport Bishop Frank Caggiano and Dubuque Archbishop Michael Jackels.)

Deeley admits working closely with then-Cardinal Josef Ratzinger at the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which oversees – and hides – clergy sex crimes from across the globe. We suspect Deeley knows of hundreds of credibly accused child molesting Catholic clerics and we doubt if he’s reported even one to law enforcement.

He was also a high ranking official in the Boston archdiocese which enjoys – unjustly, we feel - a reputation of being somewhat better than other dioceses regarding children’s safety. During Deeley’s time there, the archdiocese was found twice to be violating the US church abuse policy by refusing to provide sufficient abuse prevention training. This is a particularly egregious violation because the mandated abuse provision is one of the few worthwhile parts of the national policy.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:32 AM

MN - SNAP to Catholics: “Don’t Donate until Fr. McDonough is defrocked”

MINNESOTA
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

For immediate release: Wednesday December 18, 2013

Statement by Bob Schwiderski, SNAP Minnesota director ( 952 471 3422, skibrs@q.com )

Enough is enough. Catholic officials should start defrocking Fr. Kevin McDonough. And Catholic parishioners should donate elsewhere until this happens.

Fr. McDonough knows more about clergy sex crimes and cover ups than anyone else in the archdiocese. His name and fingerprints are on many church records about concealing known and suspected crimes.

But the final straw came late yesterday when St. Paul’s police chief named Fr. McDonough as one of the archdiocesan clerics who refuse to be questioned by police.

[KAAL]

[Pioneer Press]

By this decision, Fr. McDonough has lost any shred of or claim to any moral authority he may have once had.

And by tolerating this, Archbishop Nienstedt and Bishop Piche - and every other chancery office staffer - are also besmirching themselves and the church they purport to love.

It’s absurd for them to claim that they “cannot speak for Fr. McDonough and his choice not to speak with the police.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:29 AM

A tiny ray of hope, finally, from Pope Francis

UNITED STATES
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

POSTED BY DAVID CLOHESSY ON DECEMBER 18, 2013

Finally, finally, there’s a tiny, tiny ray of hope with this pope and the abuse/cover up crisis.

It’s not his signs of humility.

It’s not his compassionate words.

It’s not his touching gestures.

It’s his ever-so-slight snub of two dreadfully corrupt prelates – Cardinal Raymond Burke and Cardinal Justin Rigali.

Pope Francis hasn’t denounced, disciplined, demoted or defrocked either of them, though their incredibly irresponsible actions in dozens and dozens of predator priest cases certainly warrant such moves.

But the pontiff has declined to re-appoint them to the Congregation for Bishops, which helps select bishops throughout the world

That’s a tiny, tiny step in the right direction.

But the pope needs to punish – not just snub – those who are reckless in clergy sex cases, not just pompous in their own demeanor.

He needs to penalize those who are “outliers” in child protection, not “outliers” in clergy attire.

And he needs to do it publicly– so it may have a deterrent effect. That’s what’s long been missing – harsh, clear church-imposed consequences for those who put kids in harm’s way.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:27 AM

Tom Corbett signs child-abuse laws inspired by Jerry Sandusky, priest cases

PENNSYLVANIA
PennLive

By The Associated Press
on December 18, 2013

Pennsylvania has its first new laws in the state Legislature's wide-ranging response to the Jerry Sandusky and Roman Catholic clergy scandals.

Gov. Tom Corbett made the bills official during a Wednesday signing ceremony at the Pennsylvania Child Resource Center outside Harrisburg.

Lawmakers have approved a half-dozen bills that update nearly 20-year-old state laws on how cases of suspected child abuse are defined, investigated and punished.

About 20 bills are part of the legislative package.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:20 AM

St. Paul cops: Archdiocese not cooperating in investigations

MINNESOTA
MinnPost

By Brian Lambert

You know the old adage about how if you find yourself in a hole, you should stop digging …? Following Tuesday’s news out of the archdiocese, Tom Scheck and Madeleine Baran at MPR write: “St. Paul Police Chief Tom Smith said the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis is not cooperating with an ongoing criminal investigation into clergy sexual abuse. … In a statement released after the news conference, archdiocese officials said they hope to better understand police requests for information at Wednesday's meeting.”

The PiPress story, by Nick Woltman and Emily Gurnon, says: “A clearly frustrated St. Paul Police Chief Thomas Smith said Tuesday that investigators have not gotten cooperation from the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis on sexual abuse cases. ‘We have through written and verbal requests made clear our desire to speak to individuals connected with the archdiocese, and we've been told no,’ Smith told reporters at a news conference. At the same time, the archdiocese has made repeated statements that it is working to assist police on the abuse cases, Smith said. If that's the case, ‘you need to have access to individuals that work within that institution,’ the chief said. … During Tuesday's press briefing at police headquarters, Chief Smith named one archdiocesan official who had declined — through his attorney — to talk with police. That official is the Rev. Kevin McDonough, who served for years as vicar general, the archbishop's top deputy, and was deeply involved in many of the archdiocese's decisions about accused priests.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:45 AM

Cops Trying To Investigate Sex Abuse At St. Paul Archdiocese: ‘We Have Been Told No’

MINNESOTA
New Civil Rights Movement

by DAVID BADASH on DECEMBER 18, 2013

An accusation of inappropriate touching of a minor against one of America’s top Catholic Archbishops has opened the Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota Archdiocese to national attention, and it’s not looking good.

Yesterday, Archbishop John Nienstedt voluntarily stepped aside as he was accused of inappropriately touching the buttocks of a young boy in 2009. He denies the charges.

Now, the nation is learning that there are other sex abuse investigations taking place by police of Nienstedt’s archdiocese — and they are being stalled by an uncooperative church.

“I want to let the public know one thing: let me be very clear on this,” St. Paul Police Chief Tom Smith told reporters yesterday. “We have through written and verbal requests made clear our desire to speak to individuals connected to the archdiocese and we have been told no.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:43 AM

The Tragedy in St. Paul

UNITED STATES
National Catholic Reporter

Michael Sean Winters | Dec. 18, 2013 Distinctly Catholic

The meltdown in the Archdiocese of St. Paul is tragic in the strict, Shakespearean sense of the word. In a Shakespeare tragedy, either circumstances conspire to ruin the protagonists (think “Romeo and Juliet”), or the character flaws of the protagonist bring about his ruin (think “Julius Caesar”). In this case, both the circumstances and the character flaws are operative and profoundly tragic.

Let me start by saying that nothing I write today should be understood as lending credence to the charge that Archbishop Nienstedt touched a young man inappropriately on the buttocks. The charge smells fishy to me and, besides, all are presumed innocent until proven otherwise. Nonetheless, false or not, the charge exposes the deeper and more consequential reasons why Archbishop Nienstedt must resign.

The bishops of the United States, as a body, now lack the credibility on the issue of clergy sex abuse that they have tried for eleven years to fashion for themselves. The lack of accountability for bishops who violate their own rules, set forth in the Dallas Charter for the Protection of Children, has been so pronounced that the people in the pews are, sadly, prepared to believe the worst about a prelate who is accused of either engaging in inappropriate conduct or of covering up such conduct on the part of others. If Bishop Robert Finn has been sacked the day he pled guilty to the charge of criminal negligence, things might be different. If Bishops Bruskewitz and Vasa had been told that they must either comply with the annual audits of their child protection procedures or resign, things might be different. If Archbishop Myers had been told to resign, rather than to accept a coadjutor, things might be different. But, none of those if’s came to pass and we are where we are.

Earlier this month, the Vatican announced a commission to help address the issue of clergy sex abuse. At the press conference announcing the new commission, Cardinal Sean O’Malley was asked whether or not the new commission, or some other body, would be tasked with holding bishops accountable. He said that this needed to be done but that it was unclear, as yet, how and who would undertake that work. It is imperative that at the February meeting of the Council of Cardinals, followed by the meeting of the full consistory, a process and a procedure – preferably with due process and transparent procedures – be rolled out for assessing charges that a bishop has failed to follow the norms for handling sex abuse case and disciplining those bishops who are determined to have so failed.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:41 AM

Abuse of Dominican boys ‘like a dagger through the Pope’s heart’

DOMINICAN REPUBLIC
Dominican Today

Santo Domingo.- San Francisco (northeast) Diocese bishop Fausto Ramon Mejia revealed Tuesday that Pope Francis has said his heart feels "like it’s been crossed by a dagger" from the abuse to several Dominican minors by his ousted envoy Józef Wesolowski.

“I was in Rome around one month ago at a gathering of bishops and had a meeting with Pope Francis on the last day. He arrived very simply and spoke with all of us was one by one and after that when I talked with him, he had a clear smile, but when I told him that I was from the Dominican Republic, that smile turned to very serious and told me this phrase: I feel my heart as if it was crossed by a dagger from t he pain for what happened in the Dominican Republic," the prelate said, quoted by elcaribe.com.do.

Mejia said the Pontiff discussed the issue with him at length and told him that the church’s work cannot be halted because of what the former Vatican’s envoy committed. " I couldn’t remain standing after that and had to sit and the other bishops even asked me why Pope Francis spent more time with me than with all the others... "The Pope was moved and very strongly."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:35 AM

St. Paul Police Chief Says Minn. Archdiocese is Uncooperative

MINNESOTA
KAAL

[with video]

By: Megan Stewart

St. Paul Police Chief Tom Smith said Tuesday archdiocesan officials have not been very cooperative on priest sex abuse cases. He urged the Archdiocese of Minneapolis and St. Paul to be more forthcoming with information on previous allegations of sex abuse.

In a news conference he said, “I want to let the public know one thing: let me be very clear on this," Smith said. "We have through written and verbal requests made clear our desire to speak to individuals connected to the archdiocese and we have been told no."

Smith says police have not had the access to interview clergy members in recent investigations into the previous allegations. As late as last week, Smith said they were told no.

"In order for us to bring these cases to the next step in the process of concluding investigations and to bring them to closure, we again, now publicly, call upon those individuals to speak with us," Smith said.

"That’s why we are here today.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:15 AM

Nienstedt speaks out

MINNESOTA
Marshall Independent

December 17, 2013

We credit Archbishop John Nienstedt for his frankness when commenting publically Sunday on the allegations of sexual abuse by priests in Minnesota, but we're not surprised if what he said fell on a lot of deaf ears across the state.

During his public statement (he didn't take questions), Nienstedt told media that upon his arrival he was told "this whole issue of clerical sex abuse had been taken care of" and that he didn't have to worry about it. He believed it and moved on. Now he is paying the price before the judges in the court of public opinion.

Nienstedt didn't make excuses, apologized for overlooking the issue and admitted he should have investigated it "a