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March 31, 2014

East Windsor priest facing sexual assault charges

CONNECTICUT
WFSB

[with video]

By Joseph Wenzel IV, News Editor
By Kate Rayner

EAST WINDSOR, CT (WFSB) -
A priest, who is currently on leave from his church, was arraigned Monday afternoon on multiple charges of sexual assault.

Father Paul Gotta, 55, was arrested and charged with two counts of fourth-degree sexual assault and five counts of fourth-degree sexual assault.

According to court documents, the alleged assaults involved a minor and took place in South Windsor over the course of about a year. The assaults started in January 2012.

Gotta is the same priest connected to an investigation into an alleged threat against a school by a local teenager.

Gotta was connected to 18-year-old Kyle Bass, who allegedly made threats against the Metropolitan Learning Center in Bloomfield.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:30 PM

Judge: Lawsuit alleging abuse at St. Ignatius Catholic school can proceed

MONTANA
Ravalli Republic

By MATT VOLZ Associated Press

HELENA – A federal judge ruled that 95 people can pursue sex abuse claims in state court against an order of nuns during bankruptcy proceedings involving the Roman Catholic Diocese of Helena.

The Ursuline Sisters of the Western Province aren’t covered by an automatic stay in civil proceedings that was granted to the diocese when it filed for Chapter 11 protection, U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Terry Myers said in a Friday order.

A combined 362 plaintiffs filed two lawsuits claiming abuse by the diocese and the Ursulines between the 1940s and 1970s, when the plaintiffs were children.

The lawsuit against the order alleges that nuns and priests at the Ursuline Academy in St. Ignatius abused dozens of Native American children. The diocese is accused of covering up widespread abuse across its territory.

The diocese filed for bankruptcy protection as part of a settlement with most of the plaintiffs, which prompted the automatic stay in state court.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:28 PM

Bill Gothard and Bob Jones University Abuse Scandal Connections: protecting leadership, silencing victims

UNITED STATES
Watch Keep

The Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests held a media event last week at Bob Jones University in Greenville, South Carolina urging BJU officials to release the identities of all sex offenders (proven, admitted and credibly accused) who have worked at or attended the university and post them permanently on the school's web page. This would help prevent future crimes.

Statement by Cathy Winterfield of SNAP:

We are urging Bob Jones University officials to
–launch an independent investigation into alleged cover-ups of child sex crimes and/or sexual harassment accusations that have surfaced recently against a nationally-known minister, and
–permanently post the names of proven, admitted and credibly accused sex offenders who are or have been at the university on the school's website.

Earlier this month, a prominent Illinois-based Protestant minister, Rev. Bill Gothard, was put on administrative leave after as many as 34 women said that he sexually harassed them. At least four women said that he molested them as youngsters. And Gothard also allegedly hid sexual harassment by his brother, along with Bob Jones officials, according to a recent Washington Post article.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:24 PM

The Religion of the Humble? Cardinal Pell and the Peril of Institutional Atheism

AUSTRALIA
ABC - Religion and Ethics

Scott Stephens

Prior to entering the conclave that would elect him as Bishop of Rome, Jorge Mario Bergoglio took the opportunity to warn his brother Cardinals against succumbing to an "evil which is so grave" - that of spiritual worldliness. This admittedly strange term was not Bergoglio's at all, but rather comes from the remarkable final meditation of Henri de Lubac's book, The Splendour of the Church.

In his chapter on "The Church and Our Lady," de Lubac points to Mary as "the perfect worshipper," as the "consummation of the religion of the humble" and, as such, she is "the ideal figure of the Church" and "the mirror in which the whole Church is reflected." What makes her such is that, in her humility, she directs all people toward the glory of God: "Soli Deo gloria - everything in Mary proclaims that." For de Lubac, the opposite of this Marian disposition - a disposition which, he insists, belongs to the Church's "very principle" - is the tendency of the Church to conduct its affairs in a manner that effectively renders it opaque, that arrogates glory to itself by becoming the focus and end of its own activities.

This, according to de Lubac, is a form of "spiritual worldliness" which feigns the appearance of a kind of "other-worldly" orientation but behaves as though God did not exist. De Lubac is here deeply indebted to the English Benedictine Anscar Vonier, Abbot of Buckfast Abbey, who writes in his book, The Spirit and the Bride:

"To become worldly is a peril that is never absent; when we say that worldliness is [the Church's] snare we mean by worldliness a more subtle thing than is usually meant by this expression. We generally understand by worldliness the love of wealth and luxury amongst the Church's dignitaries; this is, of course, an evil, but it is not the principal evil. Worldliness of the mind, if it were ever to overtake her, would be much more disastrous for the Church than worldliness of apparel. By worldliness of mind we understand the practical relinquishing of other-worldliness, so that moral and even spiritual standards should be based, not on what is the glory of the Lord, but on what is the profit of man ..."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:21 PM

Former diocese of Winona priest to be deported after admitting to fondling girl

MINNESOTA
Winona Daily News

A former Diocese of Winona priest will be deported after admitting he fondled a girl while attending dinner at her grandmother's home.

The Rev. Leo Koppala was taken into custody by the Department of Homeland Security after his sentencing Monday and will be held until his deportation proceedings, according to the diocese.

Online court records show Koppala was sentenced to 25 years of supervised probation and ordered to register as a sex offender. He pleaded guilty March 17 to second-degree criminal sexual conduct involving a victim younger than 13. He fondled a girl while he was attending dinner at her grandmother's home, according to court records.

The 47-year-old Koppala was assigned in 2009 to the Catholic Church of Saints Peter and Paul in Blue Earth and to St. Mary's in Winnebago. He did not serve in the Winona area.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:22 PM

Catholic Church pays abuse compensation from grant interest

AUSTRALIA
The Australian

DAN BOX AND JUSTINE FERRARI THE AUSTRALIAN APRIL 01, 2014

CHILD sex abuse victims are being compensated out of interest the Catholic Church earns from investing the billions of dollars it receives in government grants for schools.

The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse has received evidence from a church whistleblower suggesting at least one Catholic diocese ultimately profits from interest received on state and commonwealth government education grants.

The Australian has also confirmed that the practice, under which the grants are compulsorily invested in accounts held within each diocese’s “internal treasury” or development fund, also takes place elsewhere across NSW, Victoria and Queensland.

Each diocese’s development fund acts like a bank, repaying an agreed rate of interest on the education funds they hold to the schools. They also pool this money with other assets invested with commercial banks at a higher rate of interest, often generating multi-million-dollar, tax-free surpluses each year.

Part of this money is, in turn, transferred to special funds under the direct control of each bishop and at least one regional diocese is understood to have transferred more than $1 million in this way last year. In some dioceses, these discretionary funds are then used to pay for the lawyers and compensation payments involved in abuse cases brought against the church. Details of the church’s ­finances are rarely made public and the existence of this money trail has been criticised, including by those who have received compensation payments for such

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:19 PM

UPDATE: Blue Earth Priest Sentenced In Sexual Conduct Case

MINNESOTA
KEYC

By Ashley Hanley, Reporter

A Blue Earth priest has been sentenced after pleading guilty to criminal sexual conduct with an 11 year old girl.

In a packed courtroom in the Faribault County Courthouse, Father Leo Charles Koppala, formerly of Saints Peter and Paul Catholic Church in Blue Earth, was sentenced to a 36–month probationary period with credit for time served after entering a guilty plea for second–degree criminal sexual conduct with an 11–year–old female.

Faribault County Attorney Troy Timmerman says, "Basically that means that given his criminal history and the severity of the offense, he will be placed on probation with a prison sentence hanging over his head so if he violates his probationary terms then the prison sentence could be imposed."

Some of those conditions include registering as a predatory offender and not having contact with females under the age of 18, among others.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:17 PM

Reply from Peter Farthing to Yesterday’s Email & My Reply

AUSTRALIA
lewisblayse.net

Posted on March 31, 2014 by lewisblayse

Hi.

Peter Farthing from the Salvation Army has replied to my request for a meeting, but is attempting to have me agree to have this meeting after the current Case Study 10 hearings are over and at my home.

This is not acceptable.

I hope my email reply just sent to Mr Farthing demonstrates why. If it doesn’t, I’m happy to elaborate upon my reasons and to explain further why I insist on meeting when and how I have specified – this week, in Sydney, with my representatives (who are in Sydney) present.

“Nice try, Peter.

I’m not as bright as my father was, but I’m not that stupid.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:14 PM

… Fr William Marks: PEDOPHILE…

MINNESOTA
Minnesota SNAP

This page is dedicated to those that have died from the injuries and soul murder inflicted by Marks. Shame on the people, organizations, and institutions that repeatedly put him in locations without warnings to families and children.

The courthouse doors are now open to those injured with lifelong damages and burdens from childhood sexual abuse. The Minnesota Child Victims Act was established for those previously denied civil justice.

This open, honest, and transparent presentation displays how I can easily walk through courthouse doors not as a victim but as a ‘Victor’ with head raised and not burdened with shame, guilt or other confusions.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:12 PM

Diocese: Former Blue Earth priest to be deported over fondling of girl

MINNESOTA
Pioneer Press

Associated Press
POSTED: 03/31/2014

WINONA, Minn. -- A Minnesota priest was taken into custody at his Monday sentencing and will be deported after admitting he fondled a girl while attending dinner at her grandmother's home.

The Rev. Leo Koppala will be held by the Department of Homeland Security until his deportation proceedings and likely sent back to his native India, according to a statement from the Diocese of Winona said.

Koppala pleaded guilty March 17 to second-degree criminal sexual conduct involving a victim younger than 13. He was sentenced to 25 years of supervised probation and ordered to register as a sex offender.

The Diocese of Winona said the 47-year-old Koppala was assigned in 2009 to the Catholic Church of Saints Peter and Paul in Blue Earth and to St. Mary's in Winnebago.

He was placed on leave in June 2013. The diocese said it had permanently removed Koppala from ministry and dismissed him from employment as of Monday.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:09 PM

East Windsor Priest Accused Of Sexual Abuse

CONNECTICUT
The Hartford Courant

BY HILDA MUÑOZ, hmunoz@courant.com
The Hartford Courant
4:22 p.m. EDT, March 31, 2014

ENFIELD — An East Windsor priest who was indicted on federal firearms charges in February is now facing sexual assault charges.

Rev. Paul Gotta, 55, was arraigned Monday at Superior Court in Enfield on two counts of second-degree sexual assault and five counts of fourth-degree sexual assault.

His bail was set at $100,000. His next court date is scheduled on April 14.

Gotta's arrest warrant is sealed and details of the sexual assault case are not being released at this time, police said.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:02 PM

Sodomy trial of priest moves to jury selection phase

KENTUCKY
WAVE

By Charles Gazaway

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Jury selection has begun in the trial of a Louisville priest charged with sexually abusing two teens more than 30 years ago.

Rev. James Schook, 65, is charged with sodomy after being indicted in 2011.

Schook, who has terminal skin cancer, was deemed fit to stand trial after he was examined by a state doctor.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:59 PM

Local Group Questions The Need For Delegation’s Trip To Rome

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
CBS Philly

By Mark Abrams

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A local church reform group is criticizing last week’s trip to Rome by a Philadelphia delegation hoping to get Pope Francis to come to the city for a world families event in 2015.

Catholics 4 Change claim the expense was extravagant and unnecessary.

Susan Matthews of Philadelphia-based Catholics 4 Change says there’s been a lot of activity among local Catholics on social media about last week’s trip.

“There’s a lot of questions about the cost. There’s a lot of questions about was it necessary for this? Is this a publicity stunt to distract us away from the clergy sex abuse scandal? Is this a publicity stunt to distract us away from the financial difficulties?” Matthews says even though the trip was paid by funds raised by a separate non-profit organization set up for the World Families meeting, it doesn’t fit the example Pope Francis is trying to set for the church.

“This isn’t a pope of politicians and wealthy delegates. This a pope of the people and he’s made that clear,” Matthews says she and others would love to see the pope come here. But a more austere approach for a local church still in crisis would have been better.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:55 PM

Tebartz' Umbauten

DEUTSCHLAND
Zeit

VON WOLFGANG THIELMANN

Bischof Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst ist vergangene Woche zurückgetreten und kehrt nicht zurück nach Limburg. Er hatte die Baukosten für den neuen Bischofssitz durch teils seltsame Umbauten massiv überzogen. Wie seltsam, sehen Sie hier in einer langen Liste:

Nachdem der Mariengarten fertiggestellt war, wurde er wieder abgebrochen und zum sogenannten Garten der Stille wieder aufgebaut. Mehrkosten brutto: ca. 667.000 Euro.

Anfang 2013 war bereits die Mehrzahl aller elektrischen Schalter im Projekt eingebaut. Diese wurden durch ein anderes Modell (Sensortaster) ausgetauscht. Hierbei entstanden Elektroarbeiten, die brutto etwa 20.000 Euro gekostet haben.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:21 PM

Former Priest Charged With Sexual Assault

CONNECTICUT
NBC Connecticut

A Connecticut priest who was suspended last year has been arrested on several sexual assault charges.

Rev. Paul Gotta, 55, of Bridgeport, was charged with five counts of fourth-degree sexual assault and two counts of second-degree sexual assault.

Police said Gotta has been accused of sexual misconduct and the arrest comes after a joint investigation by the East Windsor Police Department and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms.

Gotta had been the administrator of St. Philip Church in East Windsor and St. Catherine Church in Broad Brook but was placed on administrative leave after being accused of sexual abuse, according to the Archdiocese of Hartford.

In July, officials from the Archdiocese of Hartford said the Department of Children and Families was investigating a complaint of sexual abuse of a minor against Rev. Paul Gotta.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:08 PM

Review payments to abuse victims: commissioner

AUSTRALIA
The Australian

PIA AKERMAN THE AUSTRALIAN APRIL 01, 2014

INSTITUTIONS should review all payments made to children in their care that had been sexually abused, according to the head of the royal commission examining the organisations’ responses.

Judge Peter McClellan, who is chairing the royal commission, yesterday told a child protection workers’ conference that the question of whether a national redress scheme should be set up for abuse survivors was challenging but some institutions had already taken “significant” steps.

He pointed to a Salvation Army commitment to review all payments made to abuse victims to ensure they were fair, and a similar “opinion” from Cardinal George Pell regarding people abused within the Sydney Archdiocese.

“I suspect, and the Commissioners are hopeful, that as a result of the Royal Commission’s focus on this issue other institutions will respond in a similar manner,” Justice McClellan said.

“It is apparent from the work we have already undertaken that designing a fair redress scheme, assuming that one should be created, raises significant and difficult questions.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:05 PM

Child sex abuse inquiry barely scratches the surface of complaints

AUSTRALIA
NEWS.com.au

ALMOST 150 paedophiles have been reported to police by the royal commission into child sex abuse as it investigates 13 ­institutions and more than 30 victims have come forward.

The commission has been so overwhelmed with reports of sexual abuse that it will be impossible to look into all of them, commission chair Justice Peter McClellan said yesterday.

There are 168 institutions, including orphanages and residential schools, where five or more victims have spoken to the commission. It said 62 per cent of complaints involved abuse in a religious ­institution, most of them Catholic.

“Although the royal commission has been given significant resources they could never be sufficient to allow the examination of more than a relatively small selection of the institutions in which we are aware there have been problems,” Justice McClellan said. “I am sorry many people will be disappointed their particular institution and their own story will not be publicly examined.”

The commission has referred 141 matters to police throughout Australia, including the former superintendent of Parramatta Girls Training School, Frank Valentine, who was accused of raping a girl, 13, in the school’s “dungeon” in the early 1970s. He vehemently denies the claims.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:01 PM

Why pop culture won’t lay a finger on paedophile priests, despite years of abuse scandals

UNITED STATES
New Statesman

BY MARK LAWSON PUBLISHED 31 MARCH, 2014

Heroic bankers and altruistic politicians are – for obvious recent reasons – rarely to be found as characters in modern culture. And, given the scale of the revelations of the occurrence and covering-up of sexual abuse by priests, you might assume that the same would be true of sincere and celibate Roman Catholic clergy.

Yet, in these bad times for the Vatican, good priests are surprisingly in evidence on-screen. Father James Lavelle, played by Brendan Gleeson in Calvary (released on 11 April), is as unimpeachably true to his vocation as that other high-profile representative of the Catholic priesthood in BBC1’s recent Father Brown, adapted from G K Chesterton’s ecclesiastical detective stories.

As Father Brown is a period piece, set before the paedophile scandals, the ordained investigator is free from suspicion. But, in Calvary, the writer-director John Michael McDonagh employs a deliberate strategy of tempting the audience to think the worst of Gleeson’s character. When Father Lavelle is alone with an altar boy or chats to a young girl in a country lane, we are ready to damn him but his intentions are always innocent.

Admittedly, the character is a compromised compliment to Catholicism. McDonagh’s motivation is more artistic than propagandistic. Such is the reputation of Roman Catholic clergy that a good priest – like a good Nazi in war films – wrong-foots the audience. There is also the advantage of putting clear holy water between his work and that of his brother, Martin McDonagh, whose In Bruges (2008) begins with the botched murder, in a confession box, of a paedophile priest.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:54 AM

„Das Volk spricht hier eine klare Sprache“

DEUTSCHLAND
Diesseits

Die Politik tut nicht genug, um sexualisierte Gewalt an Minderjährigen zu verhindern, sagt Norbert Denef. Der Gründer von netzwerkB bezeichnet es als „unerträglich“, dass der Unabhängige Beauftragte der Bundesregierung zum Thema im Amt bestätigt wurde. Aus seiner Sicht steht für den Gesetzgeber weiterhin der Täterschutz im Vordergrund.

ARIK PLATZEK
Montag, 31. März 2014

Herr Denef, am vergangenen Montag hat die Katholische Kirche ein zweites Forschungsprojekt zum Thema „Sexueller Missbrauch an Minderjährigen durch katholische Priester, Diakone und männliche Ordensangehörige im Bereich der Deutschen Bischofskonferenz“ vorgestellt. Was halten Sie davon?

Ein Narr ist, wer daran glaubt, dass nach vier Jahren Akten-Aufräumzeit wissenschaftliche Forschungsarbeit noch möglich sei.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:46 AM

Zum Abschied eine Entschuldigung

AUSTRALIEN
Neue Zurcher Zeitung

Heidi Gmür, Sydney Heute, 31. März 2014

Der australische Kardinal George Pell tritt im Vatikan seine neue Stelle als Präfekt des neuen Wirtschaftsministerium an. Vor der Abreise nach Rom hatte er noch eine letzte, bittere Pflicht in Sydney zu erfüllen.

Mit drei Verhören und zwei öffentlichen Entschuldigungen hat Kardinal George Pells 13-jährige Amtszeit als Erzbischof von Sydney geendet, bevor er am Montag im Vatikan seine neue Stelle als Präfekt des neu geschaffenen Wirtschaftsministeriums angetreten hat. An drei Tagen musste er als Zeuge vor der Royal Commission erscheinen. Die Kommission war Ende 2012 einberufen worden und ist mit Sonderbefugnissen ähnlich einem Gericht ausgestattet, um landesweit den Kindsmissbrauch in kirchlichen, staatlichen und privaten Institutionen zu untersuchen.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:42 AM

Protection of minors a priority for Pope, commission member says

VATICAN CITY
Catholic News Agency

by Elise Harris

Vatican City, Mar 31, 2014 / 06:28 am (CNA/Europa Press).- A German psychologist recently appointed to the new Vatican commission for the protection of minors has stated that the initiative demonstrates Pope Francis’ concern regarding the immediacy of the issue.

“I believe that people realize that this is an issue that Pope Francis has put on his agenda and with a priority” Fr. Hans Zollner J.S. told CNA in a March 25 interview.

Fr. Zollner is psychologist and professor at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome, and was recently named one of the initial eight members of the new Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors.

According to Fr. Zollner, “the Commission is…an initial group of eight people who are named to find out who else could be members of a larger commission, including other members from other continents and countries.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:54 AM

Child sexual abuse Royal Commission focuses on WA's Kimberley region

AUSTRALIA
WA Today

March 31, 2014

Aleisha Orr
Reporter

Survivors of institutional child sexual abuse in the Kimberley region who wish to share their story with the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse will be encouraged to come forward this week.

Staff from the Royal Commission are in the region this week.

In its second visit to the Kimberley, Royal Commission staff are meeting with Aboriginal and other community organisations and service providers in Broome and Kununurra from March 31 to April 11.

Royal Commission chief executive Janette Dines said the visit would provide an opportunity to share information about the work of the Royal Commission.

"We strongly encourage all survivors who wish to share their story, particularly in a private session with a Commissioner, to register their interest with the Royal Commission," Ms Dines said.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:53 AM

Poll: Should the Newark Archdiocese be allowed to sell headstones and mausoleums?

By The Jersey Journal
on March 31, 2014

John Burns Jr., the owner of Burns Brothers Memorials on Tonnelle Avenue in Jersey City, has filed a lawsuit against the Archdiocese of Newark, in his capacity as president of the monument builders trade association.

At issue is the archdiocese's decision to get into the lucrative headstone and mausoleum business, according a story in yesterday's Star-Ledger.

A New Jersey law prohibits cemeteries from selling the objects. The Garden State is one of few states in the nation with such a ban.

The archdiocese claims however that it is not selling the objects, but rather leasing to families the right to use the space and the objects, and selling "inscription rights" to allow buyers to personalize them.

"Here's what's going to happen," Burns told The Ledger. "As time goes on, they're going to perfect this. Their sales force is going to be better educated. They will monopolize the industry. And we will cease to exist."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:43 AM

Savage, Minn., children's pastor arrested on suspicion of soliciting minor

MINNESOTA
Fox 9

[with video]

video report by Jonathan Choe

SAVAGE, Minn. (KMSP) -
A children's pastor serving at a church in Savage, Minn., has been arrested on suspicion of soliciting a minor through electronic communication to engage in sexual conduct.

According to the Pope County Sheriff's Department, 24-year-old Matthew Boos was arrested on Friday afternoon. Boos remains in custody at the Douglas County Jail awaiting formal charges.

More information on the arrest is expected to be released on Monday, but the pastor of River Valley Church insisted that the case does not involve a child from the congregation there.

Executive Pastor Darin Poli only agreed to speak with Fox 9 News by phone until he has all the facts, but he said the church is cooperating with authorities and has placed Boos on indefinite administrative leave pending the investigation.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:33 AM

Shock as cleared priest Eugene Boland quits just days after return

NORTHERN IRELAND
Belfast Telegraph

BY AMANDA FERGUSON – 31 MARCH 2014

A priest acquitted of child sex abuse has shocked parishioners after stepping down from his post days after returning to ministry.

Fr Eugene Boland resumed his role as parish priest of Cappagh in the Diocese of Derry on March 15 after being found not guilty of indecent assault in 2012.

There were jubilant scenes in St Mary's Chapel as more than 900 parishioners applauded Fr Boland as he made an emotional return to public life just days after being granted permission from the Vatican.

The smiling priest appeared delighted to be back with his flock.

"What I have missed most was not being able to celebrate Holy Mass or administer the sacraments," he said.

"My priestly ministry has been on hold since 2010.

"Tonight is like a new dawn, a new beginning; it's like a day of resurrection."

As he spoke applause rang out and there were cheers in the balconies.

But there was surprise at Saturday night mass when it emerged that the Donegal-born priest had now resigned.

It is thought the stress of the last few years has taken its toll.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:31 AM

Where does the buck stop in the Church?

THAILAND
UCA News

Michael Kelly SJ, Bangkok

March 31, 2014

You could be forgiven for not knowing where the buck stops in the Catholic Church these days. In any society, organization or Church community, it is important to know who is ultimately responsible in decision making; otherwise, chaos or worse would prevail.

In an unprecedented (for a cardinal) cross examination in court last week, Cardinal George Pell of Sydney seemed confused about responsibility in the Sydney Church. He was speaking for the Archdiocese of Sydney which he led from 2001 until his transfer to a job at the Vatican, appearing before the Royal Commission into child sex abuse in institutions, including the Church’s, across Australia.

The Cardinal blamed various mistakes on his hand-picked lieutenants, “couldn’t recall” the details of instructions being given on his behalf to his lawyers and claimed his legal representatives had gone beyond what was acceptable to any Christian in defending a case brought against the archdiocese by a child abuse victim, John Ellis.

The same was true at a global level in February when the Vatican’s chief spokesman, Father Federico Lombardi, ducked criticism from the United Nations committee investigating the Church’s compliance with a UN protocol it signed on the rights of children.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:29 AM

Preventing child abuse must outweigh fears about Catholic Church

IRELAND
Irish Times

Marie Collins

Mon, Mar 31, 2014

I have been disappointed and let down often in my hopes for change in the way the Catholic Church handles the child abuse issue. At times I have despaired to the point where I wanted nothing more to do with the church. This was particularly true after my participation in the church’s failed Lynnott Committee, tasked with writing child protection guidelines in Ireland in 2003. Why then accept the appointment to the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors?

I have asked myself the same question. Am I an incurable optimist or a fool? I hope I am neither. I have accepted for the same reason I decided to take up the invitation to speak at the Vatican’s Towards Healing and Renewal seminar on child abuse in Rome in 2012 – saving children from abuse is more important than any personal fear of hurt or humiliation. If there is the slightest chance that this commission can bring in change within the church that will lead to children being better protected and survivors being better treated then I cannot turn my back on it.

I have no doubt there will be many who will criticise my participation. Those who feel the commission is just a smoke screen or that the church is incapable of sincerity on this issue. They may feel I am, by participating, letting survivors down, colluding and betraying their fight for justice. I understand the feelings and respect those people’s right to their views. Since the day I reported my priest abuser I have followed my heart and instincts on how to fight the fight for justice. I have adhered to my principles and have always spoken the truth. I have accepted this appointment not to hurt anyone but to take the opportunity to carry forward the fight to the heart of the church itself. If I am wrong and in the future it is shown to have been a mistake I will not try to hide the fact: I will come forward and admit it.

Destructive treatment

At the Vatican symposium two years ago I spoke to bishops and congregational leaders from around the world. I spoke in clear terms of my personal experience of clerical sexual abuse. I talked also of the devastating effect it had on my life and family and of the destructive treatment later by the servants of the church, when trying to bring my abuser to justice. I spoke of what I felt was needed in the church in change of attitude and in practical terms to ensure others did not have the same experiences. My hope was that if even a small percentage learned something from my words and it influenced their child protection policies or how they interacted with survivors it was worth doing.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:26 AM

Abuse scandal’s total cost: $2.74 billion since 2004

UNITED STATES
Catholic Culture

The clerical abuse scandal cost American dioceses $108,954,109 in 2013, according to a report released on March 28 by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB).

Only 62% of those funds were allotted to settlements ($61.1 million) and therapy for abuse victims ($6.1 million). The remaining funds were spent on attorneys’ fees ($28.9 million), support for offenders ($10.4 million), and other costs ($2.4 million), according to the 2013 “Report on the Implementation of the Charter for Protection of Children and Young People.”

The clerical abuse scandal cost religious institutes an additional $14,411,168 in 2013. These expenses brought the total cost of the clerical abuse scandal to American dioceses and religious institutes between 2004 and 2012 to $2,744,881,843: $2,351,903,157 for dioceses and eparchies, and $392,978,686 for religious institutes.

The report added that dioceses, eparchies, and religious orders spent $41,721,675 for child protection efforts in 2013.

During the 2013 audit period, “370 new credible allegations of sexual abuse of a minor” were lodged by 365 persons-- nine of them minors, the rest of them adults who said they were abused when they were minors. “These allegations were made by 365 individuals against 290 priests or deacons,” the report stated. 56% of them “had already been identified in prior allegations,” and 73% “are deceased, already removed from ministry, already laicized, or missing.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:25 AM

Vatican: Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco says Keeping Quiet on Sex Abuse Can Protect Victims

ITALY
International Business Times

By Ludovica Iaccino March 31, 2014

A leading Italian cleric says the Vatican's decision to exempt bishops from being required to report cases of suspected child sex abuse is partly to protect victims.

Angelo Bagnasco, head of the Italian Bishops' Conference and once considered as a future pope, told reporters that although the Vatican requires national laws to be respected, the decision to adopt the policy has been taken in part to protect victims who may not want to press charges.

"What is important is to respect the will of the victims and their relatives, who may not want to report the abuse, for personal reasons," he said. "We need to be careful that we, in the clergy, do not undermine the right to privacy, discretion and confidentiality, and the right of the victims to not be 'exposed' in the public square."

According to the new guidelines, clergy are under no obligation to inform the authorities about suspected abuse but have a "moral duty" to act to protect the vulnerable and "contribute to the common good".

The new policy has sparked fury among victim support groups, which condemned the "stunning, depressing and irresponsible contradiction between what Vatican officials say about abuse, and do about abuse," AFP reported.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:23 AM

Priest cleared of sex assault allegations quits two weeks after return

NORTHERN IRELAND
The Journal

A PARISH PRIEST who was cleared in 2012 of allegations of child sex abuse has resigned just two weeks after he returned to public ministry in his Omagh parish.

Father Eugene Boland returned to his parish in Cappagh, Omagh on 15 March after a three and a half year leave of absence following the allegations. He had been accused of assaulting a 14-year-old girl but was cleared of all charges by a jury in 2012.

A statement about the priest’s resignation today said he engaged in therapy to “help him cope with what he was experiencing and to prepare him properly for a return to public ministry and interaction with the people again”.

His return to ministry followed professional advice that he was ready for this. All too quickly, however, it has become clear to Father Boland and diocesan authorities that he is not ready. For that reason, Father Boland now needs more time for help and guidance in this regard and has been granted leave of absence from ministry.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:17 AM

Derry priest resigns from ministry

NORTHERN IRELAND
Derry Journal

A local priest acquitted of sexual assault charges two years ago has resigned from ministry in the Diocese of Derry.

Moville-born Fr Eugene Boland, a parish priest in Cappagh, County Tyrone, stepped aside four years ago while allegations were investigated.

He had resumed his duties just two weeks ago after it was confirmed legal proceedings and church processes had been completed.

The priest’s resignation was announced in a statement issued by the Diocese at the weekend.

The statement said Fr Boland had offered his resignation and that a new parish priest would be appointed in “due course”.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:15 AM

March 30, 2014

Cardinal George Pell and Catholic bishops...

AUSTRALIA
Canberra Times

Cardinal George Pell and Catholic bishops have seriously overdrawn their moral credit

March 29, 2014

Jack Waterford
Editor-at-large, The Canberra Times

Cardinal George Pell, former archbishop of Sydney, has departed for Rome to take charge of Vatican finances. His last acts in Sydney involved rationalising the contradictions in his leadership style caused by the chasm between moral and spiritual leadership of his community, and legal and fiduciary management of its assets and finances. For 30 years his has been the authoritarian, cold, unfeeling, and arrogant face of the church corporate in Australia.

His brother bishops, and the heads of most Australian religious orders, will be glad to see him go. He has never been very popular with his brothers - something exemplified by the fact few have ever voted for him to be chairman of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference. Colleagues think the negative publicity he engenders has been disastrous for the reputation of the church.

But a good many of those bishops rose from the ranks by exactly the same processes as Pell, and are themselves distant from their flocks for having chosen, primarily out of ambition, to be the local representatives of Rome, rather than to Rome.

Pell is on a tough management job in Rome. In business terms he may do it well, but, if he does, it will be by behaving in much the same manner that has made him so ineffective as a pastor, but so powerful as a cleric, in Australia. He will not be preaching, or exemplifying a gospel of love, but being autocratic, driven and unaccountable to those below him.

This week he copied that strange, modern ministerial style of accepting responsibility - as the person at the top - while blaming everyone else and refusing to be actually accountable.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:33 PM

Italian bishops defends sex abuse guidelines on privacy grounds

ITALY
Irish Times

Paddy Agnew

Mon, Mar 31, 2014

Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco, president of the Italian Bishops’ Conference, this weekend defended conference guidelines on child protection which state an Italian bishop has “no juridical obligation” to report “illegal doings” to the state judiciary.

The guidelines, called for by the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith in May 2011, were issued last week in a revised version which stated: “Given that in the Italian penal code, a bishop is neither a public official nor is he in charge of a public entity, then he has no juridical obligation to report to state judicial authorities any information he may have with regard to illegal doings”.

Victims’ rights

Speaking in Genoa on Saturday, Cardinal Bagnasco argued the guidelines did not represent a “no” to mandatory reporting; rather they were the expression of concern for the victims’ right to privacy, adding:

“We priests have to be very careful to respect the privacy, discretion and sense of reserve [of victims], we’ve got to be sensitive to the trauma of victims who do not want to be thrust into the public eye . . .”

Cardinal Bagnasco said the church’s moral obligation towards victims counts for much more than its juridical obligations. The guidelines were criticised by clerical sex abuse victims’ lobbies, such as US group Snap, which have always called for “mandatory reporting” of clerical sex offenders.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:16 PM

Trial of Reverend Schook expected to begin Monday

KENTUCKY
WDRB

Updated: Mar 30, 2014
By Dalton Main

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- The trial of a local priest, charged in connection with the sexual abuse of two teens in the 1970's, is expected to begin Monday.

Reverend James Schook is charged with sodomy. The 65-year-old has terminal skin cancer, but was deemed fit to stand trial by a state doctor.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:13 PM

Abuse victims ‘only get help in emergencies’

UNITED KINGDOM
Yorkshire Post

Cash-strapped child protection agencies are now acting as little more than an emergency service following a surge of reports of abuse in the wake of the Jimmy Savile scandal, the NSPCC has warned.

The charity said in its annual report on child safety that record numbers of people coming forward coupled with tough economic times meant struggling children’s social services are only able to focus on the worst cases.

To tackle the problem, it called for all professionals who come into contact with children to take responsibility for detecting and preventing abuse and neglect.

The number of sexual abuse victims calling charity helplines has increased dramatically since the abuse carried out by Leeds-born DJ Savile over 40 years emerged in 2012.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:09 PM

The Fight to Reveal Abuses by Catholic Priests

UNITED STATES
The New York Times

Retro Report
By CLYDE HABERMAN

Cardinal Edward M. Egan, the former Roman Catholic archbishop of New York, is in no way the principal face of the sexual abuse scandals that have buffeted the church and its priesthood almost without pause for three decades. But he embodies a certain mind-set among some in the highest clerical ranks. It is an attitude that has led critics, who of late include the authors of a scathing United Nations committee report, to wonder about the depth of the church’s commitment to atone for past predations and to ensure that those sins of the fathers are visited on no one else.

In 2002, with the scandal in crescendo and the American Catholic Church knocked back on its heels, Cardinal Egan reacted with obvious ambivalence to accounts of priestly abuses that occurred in the Diocese of Bridgeport, Conn., which he had led before moving to New York. “If in hindsight we also discover that mistakes may have been made as regards prompt removal of priests and assistance to victims, I am deeply sorry,” he said in a letter to parishioners.

The conditional nature of the apology, a style favored by innumerable politicians caught with hands in the till, was not lost on many listeners. Nor was the cardinal’s use of “mistakes” to describe a pattern routinely described by district attorneys as a cover-up. As if that were not enough, the reluctant penitent turned thoroughly unrepentant a decade later. By then retired, he withdrew his apology. “I never should have said that,” the cardinal told Connecticut magazine in 2012. “I did say if we did anything wrong, I’m sorry, but I don’t think we did anything wrong.”

That sort of unyielding stance amid institutional promises of change continues to bedevil the American church, the Holy See in Rome and, no doubt, many among the faithful. This issue shapes the latest installment of Retro Report, a weekly series of documentary videos, with this one reaching back to the mid-1980s to explore clergymen who prey.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:49 PM

Shock as Fr Eugene Boland resigns as Parish Priest of Cappagh

NORTHERN IRELAND
Ulster Herald

PARISHIONERS in Cappagh have been left shocked following news that Fr Eugene Boland has resigned as Parish Priest and is to take leave of absence from ministry.

It is just two weeks since Fr Boland returned to work in the parish after an absence of four years. He was acquitted of charges of indecent assault in 2012. The announcement was made at Masses in the parish yesterday by Fr Kevin McElhennon.

In a statement, Fr Francis Bradley, the Diocesan Administrator for the Derry Diocese said that Fr Boland ‘needed more time’ for help and guidance in returning to ministry and that his resignation had been accepted.

“Over a protacted period of time, Fr Boland engaged in therapy to help him cope with what he was experiencing and to prepare him properly for a return to public ministry and interaction with the people again,” Fr Bradley said.

“However, it has all too quickly become clear to Fr Boland and diocesan authorities that he is not ready.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:57 PM

Commission hearings into residential schools wrap up

CANADA
CBC News

The commission delving into the sordid legacy of Canada's residential schools was wrapping up nearly four years of public hearings Sunday, where thousands of victims recounted stories of cruelty and abuse at the hands of those entrusted with their care.

The heart-breaking accounts — almost all videotaped — will now form part of a lasting record of one of the darkest chapters in the country's history.

For many, being able to tell their stories was at once cathartic and a validation.

"Many times, I was hearing my own story being told in front of me and that became very emotionally challenging because I need to deal with that personally," Chief Willie Littlechild, a commissioner and himself a residential school survivor, told The Canadian Press.

"At the same time, I think it helped on my own healing journey."

Vicki Crowchild, 80, of the Tsuu T'ina Nation outside Calgary who attended a school as a child, agreed that the opportunity to talk of her past after her abuser told her no one would ever believe her was hugely beneficial.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:53 PM

Minnesota Diocese to sue diocese of Clogher as they claim they knew priest was a child abuser

IRELAND
Highland Radio

It’s emerged a diocese in Minnesota is suing the diocese of Clogher, alleging it sent a priest to Minnesota knowing he was a child abuser.

Irish Central reports the New Ulm diocese has filed a lawsuit against the diocese, which encompasses parts of Monaghan, Fermanagh, Tyrone and Donegal.

The lawsuit alleges that Clogher sent a pedophile priest, Father Francis Markey, to Minnesota in 1981 without revealing his past. The lawsuit also names the the Servants of the Paraclete religious order.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:41 PM

Priest acquitted of sexual assault resigns

NORTHERN IRELAND
Donegal Democrat

Fr Eugene Boland, the Donegal priest who was cleared of sexual assault charges in 2012, has resigned.

The Diocese of Derry confirmed that he has stepped down from his work in the parish of Cappagh, Co. Tyrone and a new parish priest will be appointed in “due course”.

Fr Boland, a native of Moville, was charged with five counts of indecent assault on a 14-year-old girl in St Joseph’s parochial house, Galliagh, Derry on dates between June 1990 and June 1992.

When he was charged in 2010, he relinquished his duties until the case was finalised.

He was acquitted of all charges last June and had only returned to parish work a fortnight ago.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:23 PM

Email to Peter Farthing and James Condon, Salvation Army Australia

AUSTRALIA
lewisblayse.net

Posted on March 29, 2014 by lewisblayse

A while ago, when I sent out an email about the availability of my father’s memorial film, including to representatives from the Salvation Army, I received a reply from Peter Farthing, of the Salvation Army, in which he said,

“Thank you Aletha, it is clear that your father’s memorial was a fittingly weighty event which will contribute to the ongoing quest for justice in this crucial area.”

I have just written back to Mr Farthing and James Condon, of the Salvation Army Australia, with an invitation for them to speak with me about why I have taken the stance I have taken, and why I am angry about how my father, Lewis Blayse, and his family were treated, on the very slim chance that they may actually want to know. On the slim chance that they may actually want to understand why I am doing what I am doing.

I wrote:

“Dear Mr Farthing and Mr Condon,

Yes, this is a “crucial” area. Really, I have no idea why you have written to me referring, in an apparently approving tone, to my quest for justice when it is your organisation that is blocking my and others’ quests for justice.

I am trying to secure the safety of my family and to help others avoid going through what I’ve gone through and what my father has gone through and make sure that they don’t live in the pain they do anymore, because no-one should have to endure what my father and his family have had to endure. No-one should have to live as I now have to live, never having gotten to see the person they loved more than anyone else in the world in a good and safe place and with peace of mind after decades of suffering.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:15 PM

Priest who was found innocent of sexual assault charges resigns ministry

NORTHERN IRELAND
Beaking News

A priest who was acquitted in 2012 of sexual assault charges has resigned from ministry in the Diocese of Derry.

Fr Eugene Boland, a parish priest in Cappagh, County Tyrone, stepped aside four years ago while allegations were being investigated.

He had resumed his duties just two weeks ago, after it was confirmed legal proceedings and Church processes had been completed.

The Donegal-born priest's resignation was announced in a statement issued by the Diocese.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:37 AM

With such a faulty memory, how can George Pell rise so high?

AUSTRALIA
The Age

March 28, 2014

Peter FitzSimons
Columnist

The Cardinal George Pell's testimony at the royal commission? I just don’t get it. Not simply the staggering lack of genuine contrition from one who has presided over an era that has seen the widespread sexual abuse of children at the hands and worse of priests whose care they were entrusted to. And not only because so much of his testimony seemed to contradict the sworn testimony of so many of his underlings. No, most amazing was his use of the ‘‘I can’t recall,’’ answer when it came time to discuss financial transactions to compensate victims as recently as 2007. What I don’t get is – all put together – how someone so totally exposed as being at best incompetent and always so very vague, can rise to the third most powerful position in the worldwide Catholic Church?

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:15 AM

Prof. Dr. Lüdecke über entscheidende Fragen und das Kernproblem der neuen Missbrauchsstudie

DEUTSCHLAND
MissBiT

[Summary: Prof. Dr. Liidicke, a canonist, said one of the problems the researchers face is that crucial material is in the secret archives but much of this material is destroyed or in Rome.]

„Sexueller Missbrauch an Minderjährigen durch katholische Priester, Diakone und männliche Ordensangehörige im Bereich der Deutschen Bischofskonferenz“ - Das ist der Titel des neuen Forschungsprojekts, das am Montag vorgestellt wurde. Ein Forschungskonsortium von sieben Professoren soll dazu in den nächsten drei Jahren entscheidendes herausfinden. Ein erstes Projekt dieser Art sollte der Hannoveraner Kriminologe Dr. Christian Pfeiffer vor drei Jahren starten: Er hatte sich aber letztes Jahr im Streit mit der Bischofskonferenz getrennt. Verbunden bin ich jetzt mit dem katholischen Kirchenrechtler Norbert Lüdecke von der Universität Bonn. Herr Lüdecke, dass Pfeiffer die Forschung in den Kirchenarchiven aufgegeben hat, das hing mit bestimmten kirchenrechtlichen Regelungen zusammen. Worum ging es da?"

Prof. Dr. Lüdecke: "Also, es kam mehreres zusammen, dass das Projekt gescheitert ist. Ein Hauptgrund war dafür, dass Pfeiffer zugesichert worden war, dass er alle erreichbaren Quellen bekommt. Er hat das verstanden, in dem Sinne, dass er das, was es tatsächlich gibt, einsehen und bearbeiten kann. Die Bischöfe hatten aber von vornherein gemeint, was „rechtlich“ erreichbar ist. Und da gehört - nun ganz entscheidend – ihr Geheimarchiv nicht dazu!

Das Problem: die entscheidenden Materialien müssen aber im Geheimarchiv sein – nämlich alle Verfahren über Sittlichkeitsdelikte. Alles, was es da vor 2000 gibt, muss dort sein, soweit es nicht zehn Jahre nach einem Urteil oder nach dem Tod des Täters vernichtet worden ist, auftragsgemäß. Nach 2000 ist es auch da nicht mehr, sondern in Rom."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:53 AM

Law triggered after Muswellbrook priest abuse claims

AUSTRALIA
Newcastle Herald

By JOANNE McCARTHY and GABRIEL WINGATE-PEARSE March 30, 2014

THE Office of the Children’s Guardian is conducting a risk assessment of a Muswellbrook Catholic priest over historic child abuse allegations.

Father John Alexander stood aside from parish ministry in November last year after the allegations triggered the need for a risk assessment under new child protection legislation.

He will remain on leave until the office provides a risk assessment for his ‘‘working with children’’ check, Maitland-Newcastle Diocese vicar-general Brian Mascord said.

Muswellbrook parishioners were advised of the priest’s status in a statement by Bishop Bill Wright.

The priest was the subject of ‘‘third-party accusations relating to incidents that were alleged to have occurred almost 30 years ago, prior to his becoming a priest’’, Father Mascord said.

The allegations had been investigated before and finalised.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:49 AM

Fr Eugene Boland steps down from County Tyrone ministry

NORTHERN IRELAND
BBC News

A priest who was acquitted in 2012 of sexual assault charges has resigned from ministry in the Diocese of Derry.

Fr Eugene Boland, a parish priest in Cappagh, County Tyrone, stepped aside four years ago while allegations were investigated.

He had resumed his duties just two weeks ago, after it was confirmed legal proceedings and church processes had been completed.

The priest's resignation was announced in a statement issued by the Diocese.

Therapy

The statement said Fr Boland had offered his resignation and that a new parish priest would be appointed in "due course".

Fr Boland, of Killyclogher Road in Omagh, was acquitted of indecently assaulting a teenage girl in June 2012 following an eight-day trial at Londonderry Crown Court.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:46 AM

Archdiocese could close 3 more Lower Bucks parishes

PENNSYLVANIA
Bucks County Courier Times

By Elizabeth Fisher Correspondent

Three more Lower Bucks County parishes have been targeted for closing by the Philadelphia Archdiocesan Strategic Planning Commission. This is the second round of announcements released by the commission this week.

St. Ann Parish in Bristol, Our Lady of Fatima and St. Elizabeth Ann Seton parishes — both in Bensalem — will close if Archbishop Charles Chaput approves the panel’s recommendations. A final decision will be announced May 30.

The news came a week after officials announced that other churches in Lower Bucks could close. Immaculate Conception in Bristol Township could merge with Queen of the Universe in Middletown and St. Joseph the Worker in Falls could merge with St. Frances Cabrini in Falls.

“The SS St. Ann is in turbulent waters, but remember that Jesus is with us on the ship,” the Rev. Gerard Lynch, parochial vicar of the parish, told his congregation at the 5:30 p.m. Mass on Saturday Night. He also urged the worshipers to pray for all the affected parishes.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:29 AM

Newark Archdiocese fails to pay state taxes in for-profit headstone, mausoleum business

NEW JERSEY
The Star-Ledger

RELATED DOCUMENTS

Read the Monument Builders lawsuit against the Archdiocese of Newark
Read the Newark Archdiocese's response
Read the email from Andrew Schafer to Msgr. Michael Andreano
Read an excerpt of Andrew Schafer's deposition

By Mark Mueller/The Star-Ledger
on March 30, 2014

Looking to wring more revenue out of its Catholic cemeteries, the Archdiocese of Newark in recent years quietly entered the headstone and mausoleum business, a lucrative venture for which the archdiocese acknowledges it must pay a particular state tax.

Yet over the past eight years, it hasn’t paid a penny, The Star-Ledger found.

According to court records and the plaintiffs in a legal fight that could reshape New Jersey’s funeral industry, the archdiocese owes the state tens of thousands of dollars — if not more than $100,000 — in so-called use taxes, which are based on the wholesale prices of monuments and private mausoleums.

The disclosure could create new public relations difficulties for Archbishop John J. Myers, who has faced a torrent of criticism from inside and outside the archdiocese since The Star-Ledger revealed last month he is building a lavish extension on his future retirement home in Hunterdon County.

Legal papers connected to the case also show how the archdiocese has transformed its burial grounds into a source of enormous income, with millions of dollars flowing into the Newark chancery each year, possibly in violation of a state law that restricts the use of cemetery revenue.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:24 AM

Cardinal defends sex abuse policy

ITALY
The Local

A leading Italian cleric has defended the decision to adopt a Vatican-approved policy which exempts bishops from having to report cases of suspected child sex abuse to the police.

"The Vatican requires national laws to be respected, and we know that there is no such duty (to report abuse) under Italian law," Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco, head of the Italian Bishops' Conference, told reporters on the sidelines of a meeting in Genoa.

The conference published guidelines on Friday which stipulated that clergy are under no obligation to inform the authorities about suspected abuse but have a "moral duty" to act to protect the vulnerable and "contribute to the common good".

The guidelines sparked fury among victim support groups, with the US-based Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests (SNAP) deploring the "stunning, depressing and irresponsible contradiction between what Vatican officials say about abuse, and do about abuse."

The Church has repeatedly been accused by victims of covering up abuse by priests and simply moving predator clerics from one diocese to another rather than reporting them, thereby putting other children at risk.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:20 AM

Youth pastor arrested on suspicion of soliciting a minor

MINNESOTA
Shakopee Valley News

A man with ties to a church in Savage was arrested by Pope County police Friday on suspicion of soliciting a minor with an electronic device.

Matthew Thomas Boos, 24, is a youth pastor at River Valley Church in Savage, and is currently in custody at Douglas County Jail. Pope County does not have its own jail.

Additional details will be reported as they become available.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:16 AM

Men 'deposit bonds' in Vatican bank

VATICAN CITY
Sky News (Australia)

Vatican police have apprehended a US man and a Dutch man trying to deposit billions of euros and US dollars in fake bonds in the Vatican bank.

The men were stopped by the police when they approached one of the guarded gates at the Vatican and asked to be let through to the Institute for Religious Works (IOR) as the bank is formally known, Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi said.

The bonds were discovered in a briefcase they were carrying and the men were handed over to Italy's financial police, who found false passports and other fake documents in their hotel rooms.

The haul came a day after Italian prosecutors said two former top executives at the Vatican bank will go on trial for money laundering in a case that led to the seizure of 23 million euros ($A34.37 million).

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:12 AM

Police stop men with bilions of fake bonds

VATICAN CITY
The Local

Vatican police on Saturday apprehended an American and a Dutch man who were trying to deposit billions of euros and US dollars in fake bonds in the Vatican bank.

The men were stopped by the police when they approached one of the guarded gates at the Vatican and asked to be let through to the Institute for Religious Works (IOR) as the bank is formally known, Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi told AFP.

The bonds were discovered in a briefcase they were carrying and the men were handed over to Italy's financial police, who found false passports and other fake documents in their hotel rooms.

The haul came a day after Italian prosecutors said two former top executives at the Vatican bank will go on trial for money laundering in a case that led to the seizure of €23 million ($32 million).

IOR press officer Max Hohenberg said the American and Dutch man "are neither clients of the bank, nor were they expected".

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:10 AM

Suspected Fraud Plot At Vatican Bank Foiled

VATICAN CITY
Huffington Post

Posted: 03/29/2014

ROME (AP) — Italian finance police say a suspected plot to swindle the Vatican bank was foiled after Vatican guards became suspicious of two foreigners who tried to enter the bank with a briefcase filled with false financial certificates.

The Finance Guard official leading the Italian probe was not available early Sunday for details. But the police operations center confirmed a report Saturday night by the Italian news agency ANSA that a Dutchman and a U.S. man were stopped after they tried to convince Vatican security officers they had business at the bank, which is not open to the general public. Police wouldn't say when the incident occurred. ANSA said the pair aimed to fraudulently obtain lines of credit.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:08 AM

Leslie Hittner: Church should be ashamed of cover-up

MINNESOTA
Winona Daily News

Leslie Hittner

Since the First Sunday of Advent, 2013, there have been at least 10 stories in the Winona Daily News about the Diocese of Winona’s involvement in the Catholic Church cover-up of priestly sexual abuse.

Indeed, the Church’s “shepherds” seemed to have been shepherding teams of lawyers who graze in courtrooms instead of “the flock.”

Ten stories about the Diocese of Winona and the cover-up.

Zero stories about the Diocese of Winona and the season of Advent.

When I was working for my brother, who owned and operated our family’s trucking business, he used to say, “Watch what a business advertises. That will be an area where it is weak. That will be what it does not do right. That will be an area where that business struggles.” That’s why nearly every forced release of information about the priestly sexual abuse cover-up is accompanied by official statements that review the policies and procedures that the church has set in place “to protect the children.”

It’s not because the church does these things that such statements are released. It’s because the church didn’t do these things.

Remember also, that throughout all of this, few if any bishops have been held accountable by the church. The church continues to deflect the public’s attention about its sexual abuse issues by pointing to sexual abuse and sexual abuse cover-ups elsewhere — as if that makes some sort of a difference.

Well, gentlemen, it doesn’t.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:03 AM

March 29, 2014

Church fought abuse claimants tooth and nail

AUSTRALIA
Sydney Morning Herald

March 29, 2014

Catherine Armitage
Senior Writer

The now infamous case of the brilliant lawyer and sex abuse survivor John Ellis before the child sex abuse royal commission has laid bare for the first time not just the Sydney Catholic archdiocese's wealth but the cold, dark heart of its handling of child sex abuse complaints.

The three-week hearing before Justice Peter McClellan has demonstrated in excruciating detail the exercise of power, against a vulnerable man, at the highest levels of the church and of the law in Sydney.

Cardinal George Pell, who on evidence before the commission called all the shots in the Ellis case, takes up a new job running the Vatican's finances on Monday.

McClellan has instructed his people to secure the cardinal's return to the witness box in Melbourne later in the year, when the commission will inquire into the ''Melbourne Response'' set up by Pell in 1996 to deal with sex abuse complaints.

Until then we have learnt:

Accounts tendered in evidence sensationally revealed for the first time the financial position of what is likely Australia's richest archdiocese. It is open for McClellan to conclude that it made low payouts to sex abuse victims because it chose to prioritise other uses, such as saving.

The archdiocese's assets have nearly doubled since 2004, to over $1 billion at the end of 2013. While liabilities and expenses grew similarly, the net position is a healthy one: net assets grew from $103 million in 2000 to $192 million in 2013.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:53 PM

Ottawa to cut healing program for residential school survivors: Sinclair

CANADA
CTV

John Cotter, The Canadian Press
Published Friday, March 28, 2014

EDMONTON -- The man heading the commission into the trauma caused by Indian residential schools says Ottawa plans to cut a program that helps survivors of the system to heal.

Justice Murray Sinclair said the program is for people who have told their stories of abuse at Truth and Reconciliation Commission hearings across the country.

Sinclair said the federal government is also balking at recommendations to improve mental health services that would help the extended families of these victims, especially in remote rural and Northern communities.

"Health Canada has decided on its own, without consultation with us or any other entity engaged in the Indian residential school settlement agreement, that effective this year, they are going to be terminating the Resolution Health Support Program, and leaving survivors who continue to experience personal difficulties after this event to essentially leave them on their own to find their own form of treatment," Sinclair told The Canadian Press.

"Our point is you can't expect people to heal immediately or to be able to overcome the personal difficulties they feel as a result of feeling those experiences again. And that healing is going to take some time."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:43 PM

President Obama - as puppet of Pope Francis - says script by Opus Dei PR Deceits Team and stoops to Vatican Mammon Beast

UNITED STATES
POPE FRANCIS the CON-Christ.

Updated March 29, 2014

Paris Arrow

President Obama should return his Nobel Peace Prize which he never worked for and does not deserve. Obama mocked the Nobel Peace Prize when he went to the Vatican and praised Pope Francis the Pretender and Impostor of Jesus with pre-scripted statements prepared by the Opus Dei PR Deceits Squad: “The Holy Father has inspired the peoples of the entire world – and me too – with his commitment to social justice… especially for people who are the poorest and most vulnerable among us." WTF**k? “His commitment to social justice” - really, in what planet? From his hundred billion Euros Vatican Palace throne out-of-touch with reality –preaching what his Opus Dei PR Deceits Team concoct pathological lies day after day - while he and they do the opposite? Where are the "poorest and most vulnerable" in the planet betwen the Vatican Bank and Secret Vatican Swiss Banks?

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:40 PM

Cardinal defends Vatican abuse policy

ITALY
SBS (Australia)

AAP

Italy's Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco has defended a Vatican policy exempting bishops from having to report suspected child sex abuse to the police.

A leading Italian cleric has defended a decision to adopt a Vatican-approved policy exempting bishops from having to report suspected child sex abuse to the police.

"The Vatican requires national laws to be respected, and we know that there is no such duty (to report abuse) under Italian law," Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco, head of the Italian Bishops' Conference, told reporters on the sidelines of a meeting in Genoa on Saturday.

A day earlier, the conference published guidelines stipulating that clergy are under no obligation to inform authorities about suspected abuse but have a "moral duty" to act to protect the vulnerable and "contribute to the common good".

The guidelines sparked fury among victim support groups, with the US-based Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests (SNAP) deploring the "stunning, depressing and irresponsible contradiction between what Vatican officials say about abuse, and do about abuse".

The Church has repeatedly been accused by victims of covering up abuse by priests and moving predator clerics from one diocese to another rather than reporting them, thereby putting other children at risk.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:21 PM

Our reporter on how paedo priest gained her family's trust

IRELAND
Sunday World

By Niamh O' Connor

I went to court this week to tell a priest I had known and trusted that he was the last person I expected to see there on paedophile charges.

I just wanted to look Fr Denis Nolan in the eye. I also asked him if it was true, though he had already pleaded guilty to all charges.

“I’ll tell you sometime over a cup of tea,” he said, lying through his teeth. Again.

Brave teenager John Paul Hunter was the sex victim of predator Nolan from the ago of 12.

Now 19, John Paul waived his right to anonymity to name and shame the parish priest, from the small town of Rathnew in Co. Wicklow, who was jailed for seven years for repeatedly sexually abusing him.

Wiping away tears, John Paul told me after the hearing: “I’m just so happy it’s over. He ruined my life.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:48 AM

Italy cardinal defends controversial sex abuse policy

ROME
Deccan Herald

AFP | March 29, 2014

Rome: A leading Italian cleric on Saturday defended the decision to adopt a Vatican-approved policy which exempts bishops from having to report cases of suspected child sex abuse to the police.

"The Vatican requires national laws to be respected, and we know that there is no such duty (to report abuse) under Italian law," Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco, head of the Italian Bishops' Conference, told reporters on the sidelines of a meeting in Genoa.

The conference published guidelines on Friday which stipulated that clergy are under no obligation to inform the authorities about suspected abuse but have a "moral duty" to act to protect the vulnerable and "contribute to the common good".

The guidelines sparked fury among victim support groups, with the US-based Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests (SNAP) deploring the "stunning, depressing and irresponsible contradiction between what Vatican officials say about abuse, and do about abuse."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:45 AM

‘We are still dealing with it’: Dr Kenny laments church abuse of children

BERMUDA
Royal Gazette

By Jessie Moniz Hardy

After being involved in a groundbreaking Canadian commission to look at child sex abuse within the Catholic Church, Dr Nuala Kenny, paediatrician and Catholic Sister of Charity, was confident the problem was on its way to being solved. That was back in the 1990s.

Since then she has often been left wondering ‘have we learned nothing’ as church sex scandal after scandal has erupted worldwide.

Dr Kenny was on the island this week to speak about child sex abuse within the church, and other issues related to bioethics.

She is the author of ‘Healing the Church: Diagnosing and Treating the Clergy Sexual Abuse Scandal’.

She served on the Newfoundland Archdiocese of St John’s Commission of Inquiry following the Mount Cashel revelations of the 1980s. This scandal involved the widespread abuse of children in the Mount Cashel orphanage in St John’s, Newfoundland. In 1988 she became a professor and head of the paediatrics department at Dalhousie University and chief of paediatrics at the Izaak Walton Killam Children’s Hospital (now the IWK Health Centre) and later, deputy health minister for Nova Scotia.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:55 AM

Twin Cities archdiocese will begin rolling out files on abusive priests

MINNESOTA
Star Tribune

Article by: JEAN HOPFENSPERGER , Star Tribune Updated: March 27, 2014

Officials also sought an extension for turning over some documents.

The Twin Cities archdiocese will begin releasing its files on clergy child sex offenders to the court next week, but it is unlikely to include the entire 60,000 documents.

Facing a deadline next Tuesday for releasing the mountain of paperwork, the archdiocese on Thursday asked Ramsey County District Judge John Van de North for an extension.

Van de North said that if the church cannot produce all of the documents by Monday, the church should — for starters — provide those most relevant to the deposition of Archbishop John Nienstedt, which is scheduled for April 2.

But the delayed rollout could prompt another legal problem for the church. If documents released later require further questioning of Nienstedt, there will be a request for another deposition of the archbishop, said Jeff Anderson, attorney for the alleged victim whose case has prompted the document release.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:53 AM

Provinces hand over aboriginal death records from residential school period

CANADA
Edmonton Journal

BY DENE MOORE, THE CANADIAN PRESS MARCH 28, 2014

VANCOUVER - The death records of tens of thousands of First Nations children who died during the time residential schools were operating in Canada have been handed over to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

Several provincial governments gave up the records to the commission, which will now cross-reference the information with student lists to determine who among the children died while in the care of the church-run schools and where they might be buried.

"We hear from the survivors about having lost loved ones in the schools and not knowing what their fate was, what happened to them, whether they died and, if they died, where they're buried," said Kimberley Murray, executive director of the commission. "It's an important truth they need to have before they can move forward to reconciliation."

British Columbia opened the floodgates with the release of 4,900 death records for children aged 4 to 19 — the first batch a few months ago and the latest on Friday.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:46 AM

Sacked Vatican Bank Head's Lawyers Threaten Lawsuit Over 'Unfair' Dismissal

ROME
International Business Times

By Jerin Mathew March 29, 2014

The lawyers for Ettore Gotti Tedeschi, the former head of the Vatican bank who has been sacked after receiving a unanimous vote of no-confidence from his board, has threatened to sue the bank over his "unfair" dismissal.

Gotti Tedeschi was ousted by its lay board in the wake of the "Vatileaks" scandal, in which former Pope Benedict's butler leaked the Vatican's secret papers to the media.

While voting to fire him, the board claimed Gotti Tedeschi was an ineffective and divisive manager.

Gotti Tedeschi said he was ousted because he wanted to bring more transparency to the bank's dealings – an issue that embarrassed the bank for decades.

Gotti Tedeschi had been under investigation over alleged money laundering, but the case against him was shelved after a court ruling, which said he had nothing to do with the day to day operations of the bank and was working to bring it in line with international anti-money-laundering standards.

Gotti Tedeschi's lawyers said in a five-page statement entitled "The Rehabilitation of Ettore Gotti Tedeschi" the judgment proved he was a capable manager who acted in the best interests of the bank and encouraged him to take legal action to clear his name.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:35 AM

‘It’s important to have a survivor at the heart of the Vatican’ says Marie Collins

IRELAND
The Journal

ABUSE SURVIVOR MARIE Collins received a call last week offering her a seat on the the Vatican’s new Pontifical Council for the Protection of Minors.

Speaking to TheJournal.ie, she said that she was hopeful that the new council will bring about much needed and long over due change within the Vatican.

“I had no idea I was even being considered for the role until I received a call on Friday offering me the position. It was a complete surprise to me,” she said.

Voice on the council

When asked was it something she jumped at or had to think about she said that when she heard about the establishment of the council in December she thought it was very important to have a survivors voice on the council.

“I knew that it was vital that a voice of a survivor be in that discussion,” she said, adding she could not turn down an opportunity where she would be a voice to those that were abused.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:33 AM

Ex-Vatican bank chiefs in money laundering trial

ROME
The Local

Paolo Cipriani, the former director general of the bank formally known as the Institute for Religious Works, and his deputy Massimo Tulli are accused in a case that led to the seizure of €23 million ($32 million).

Italian media reported prosecutors as saying that Cipriani and Tulli had signed off on the suspicious payment and former president Ettore Gotti Tedeschi had instead tried to enforce money laundering laws.

The two were forced to resign last year, three days after a senior Vatican accountant -- Monsignor Nunzio Scarano -- who held accounts at the bank was arrested in Italy for suspicious cash transfers.

Tedeschi, who was himself ousted in 2012 in an unusually public showdown with the bank's board, was instead entirely cleared by the investigation and
threatened legal action for damage to his reputation.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:31 AM

Pope Francis summons 'Bishop Bling' to the Vatican for private talks

VATICAN CITY
National Catholic Reporter

Eric J. Lyman Religion News Service | Mar. 28, 2014

VATICAN CITY Pope Francis met Friday in a closed-door meeting with the German churchman known as "Bishop Bling," Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst, whose extravagant and expensive lifestyle cost him his job.

Tebartz-van Elst, 54, spent more than $40 million of church money renovating his home in Limburg, Germany. He became a worldwide phenomenon, in part because his lifestyle clashed so sharply with that of Francis, known for living in spartan and humble surroundings and for preaching restraint and austerity.

Vatican sources confirmed Tebartz-van Elst met with the pontiff at the Apostolic Palace in the Vatican. But there was no information about what the two men discussed or what conclusions were drawn.

Among the expenses from the refurbishment of the residence: $300,000 for an ornamental fish tank, $2.4 million on bronze window frames, and $240,000 on a spiral staircase. Tebartz-van Elst blamed the expense on a deputy who failed to keep track of cost overruns.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:29 AM

Cardinal George Pell — the man of God we know

AUSTRALIA
Sunday Herald

RUTH LAMPERD SUNDAY HERALD SUN MARCH 30, 2014

TALL George Pell might have been anything other than a priest. That’s what most of his classmates expected. A teacher. A footballer for Richmond. A lawyer, maybe.

So when he lined up for the priesthood at the Werribee Corpus Christi seminary in the summer of 1960, it surprised many of his school friends.

Young George hit 6 ft 3 (1.9m) by the time he was 15. He was commanding and jovial, the centre of boarding house social life. The boys at St Patricks College, Ballarat, thought they had him worked out. But with a devout Irish Catholic mother and a priest uncle, the jump to the seminary may not have been so hard to fathom.

It emerged during his training years that he was a stickler for church-ordained truth and tradition. He loved a debate, particularly so because, as a former colleague says, he was “always right”. He was “dismissive” of those who didn’t agree with him.

His liturgical accent would have been at home in the wooden panels of a courtroom. At least two of his former classmates could more easily see a black lawyer’s gown billowing about his broad shoulders, a white wig on his head, not a cross hanging by a chain around his neck.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:17 AM

Cops: Lake church deacon sexually abused girl

FLORIDA
Orlando Sentinel

By Erica Rodriguez, Orlando Sentinel
6:36 p.m. EDT, March 28, 2014

A Lake County church deacon turned himself into authorities Friday after a girl younger than 10 years old told investigators that he sexually battered her in a tree house behind his home.

Lake County sheriff's investigators believe 65-year-old Thomas Warren Halsey sexually battered the girl at his Leesburg home.

Halsey had been a deacon with First Baptist Church of Leesburg for the last two years, said Art Ayris, the church's executive pastor, but is now being removed from that position.

In an interview with investigators, the girl said Halsey told her to inappropriately touch him in the tree house and under the sheets while she was on his bed. The girl also told investigators Halsey exposed himself to her in the tree house. She detailed much of the abuse then stopped short by telling investigators the incident was "creepy" and she did not want to further discuss it, according to an arrest report.

Halsey told investigators in an interview that the girl more than once touched him inappropriately without his consent, once under the covers in his bed and another time while he was holding her baby sister. Halsey also told investigators the girl once asked him to take off his clothes and she would runaway if he did not agree. Halsey said after every incident he made the girl's mother aware of the behavior, which she denied.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:14 AM

Leesburg deacon accused of sexual battery of child in treehouse

FLORIDA
Daily Commercial

Millard K. Ives | Staff Writer millardives@dailycommercial.com

A deacon at a Leesburg church was arrested Friday on charges that he forced a child to perform sex acts in a treehouse at his home.

Thomas Halsey, 65, with First Baptist Church in Leesburg, turned himself in at the Lake County jail, according to Lake County Sheriff’s Office. He was charged with two counts of sexual battery on a child under 12 and was held without bail.

The brown-colored brick, two-garage home is nestled in a residential neighborhood in the 6000 block of Sunnyside Drive in Leesburg. In the back yard is a three-story green tree house with a deck swing and chairs visible on the second floor.

Sgt. James Vachon called it an elaborate treehouse which could fit beds inside.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:12 AM

First Baptist Church deacon accused of sex battery of child

FLORIDA
WESH

[with video]

LEESBURG, Fla. —A deacon at the First Baptist Church in Leesburg was arrested Friday in a child sex case.

Lake County Sheriff's Office deputies said Thomas Halsey sexually abused a young girl for two years.

Halsey is accused of sexual battery on a child under 10 years old. Investigators said the young girl said Halsey forced the child to perform sexual acts on him inside his home and his tree house, located in his backyard.

Deputies said Halsey denied the accusations and claimed the child initiated the sexual acts. According to the arrest report, Halsey told investigators the child "asked him to take off his clothes and lay on top her while she was naked."

As a deacon, Halsey worked with widows, but never with children, investigators said.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:10 AM

Bischof Tebartz-van Elst: „Ich bitte um Vergebung“

DEUTSCHLAND
Radio Vatikan

[Summary: Bishop Emeritus Franz-Peter Tebartz van Elst said he now realizes he made mistakes and he has asked for forgiveness. He issued a statement after his audience Friday with Pope Francis.]

„Mit dem Wissen von heute erkenne ich, dass ich Fehler gemacht habe. Auch wenn sie niemals aus Absicht entstanden, haben sie Vertrauen zerstört.“ Das schreibt der emeritierte Bischof von Limburg, Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst, in einer Erklärung, die er nach seiner Audienz bei Papst Franziskus an diesem Freitag veröffentlicht hat. Er bitte alle um Vergebung, die unter seinen Versäumnissen gelitten hätten oder immer noch litten, so der Bischof.

In der Entscheidung des Papstes, seinen im Oktober angebotenen Rücktritt anzunehmen, sehe er die Chance für einen Neubeginn, „nicht nur für das Bistum Limburg, sondern auch für mich.“ Er bitte darum, seine Stellungnahme zum Prüfbericht als Episode zu betrachten und nicht als Beginn einer neuen Auseinandersetzung. In den Medien war diese Stellungnahme als nachträgliche Rechtfertigung des Bischofs gelesen und als Zeichen seiner Uneinsichtigkeit gedeutet worden.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:05 AM

Bishop asks any victims of cleric to report abuse

PENNSYLVANIA
Times-Leader

March 29. 2014

SCRANTON — In recent weeks, officials of the Diocese of Scranton were notified that the Rev. Carlos Urrutigoity is exercising priestly ministry and was recently named the Vicar General of the Diocese of Ciudad del Este, Paraguay.

Urrutigoity served within the territory of the Diocese of Scranton as a member of the Society of St. John from 1998 until 2002, when he was suspended from ministry following accusations of misconduct. The society was suppressed in 2004 by then Bishop Joseph Martino.

Despite Martino’s consistent expression of grave reservations about the cleric’s suitability for priestly ministry, Urrutigoity was incardinated into the Diocese of Ciudad del Este in 2008.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:00 AM

No place to call home: Abuse in a Christian community

UNITED STATES
Religion News Service

Boz Tchividjian | Mar 28, 2014

A few months ago I was told about a new film that documents the sexual abuse perpetrated upon children at a place called Jesus People USA. At the time, I had never heard of Jesus People USA. So I made contact with Jamie Prater, a former resident of Jesus People USA, who has spent the past years pouring his life into making this eye-opening documentary. After watching No Place to Call Home, I learned that Jesus People USA is a Christian community on the north side of Chicago. It is a place that holds wonderful childhood memories for many of its former members. It is also a place where the bodies and souls of dozens and dozens of precious children were eviscerated through systemic sexual abuse. A place where sexual offenders roamed freely and had easy access to vulnerable little ones, who were often outside the care and supervision of their parents. This was no place to call home.

As I watched this film and listened to the many heartbreaking interviews, I found myself overwhelmed. If we are honest, I wonder how many other Christian environments may be No Place to Call Home for His little ones?

Below is my exclusive interview with Jamie Prater:

Boz: Thanks so much for taking the time to speak with me. What is No Place To Call Home about?

Jamie: No Place To Call Home chronicles the lives of several people born and raised in Jesus People USA Evangelical Covenant Church. The film begins in 2008 when I’m living in Asheville, North Carolina and follows my journey back to Chicago and through my discovery of what would be dozens upon dozens of cases of child sexual abuse.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:56 AM

Lake County deacon arrested on charges he molested young girl

FLORIDA
WFTV

[with video]

LEESBURG, Fla. — A deacon at First Baptist Church in Leesburg is accused of sexual battery on a girl under 10-years-old.

Thomas Halsey, 65, turned himself in to authorities Friday afternoon after investigators obtained his arrest warrant.

The victim’s mother reported that Halsey had been sexually abusing her daughter over a course of two years, but the victim told her mother about the alleged abuse this month.

In the arrest affidavit, the victim said she performed a sex act on Halsey on March 21 inside a large treehouse in Halsey’s backyard.

The treehouse is multi-level and contains bunk beds on the top level.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:54 AM

Police: Teen Says She Suffered Abuse As Many As 50 Times At Hands Of Pastor

COLORADO
KKTV

A teen says her suburban Denver pastor sexually assaulted her as many as 50 times over three years.

KUSA-TV reports that an arrest affidavit for 51-year-old Gerald Clark says the alleged abuse began in 2009. It said the teen recently confronted Clark because she was worried about others in the church youth group.

Clark was arrested Wednesday on one count of sexual assault on a child by someone in a position of trust. He's been released on bond. It's not clear if he has a lawyer and telephone numbers for his home and Jericho Ministries International have been disconnected.

The affidavit says the alleged victim is 17 and lived with Clark and his wife during summers.

Clark is due to appear in court next week.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:51 AM

Two St. Thomas More Elementary School teachers fired

MISSOURI
Fox 4

[with video]

March 28, 2014, by Melissa Stern

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Two south Kansas City Catholic Elementary school band teachers have been fired. The two teachers were placed on leave earlier in March. The school principal sent a letter home to parents Thursday with the news that they have been let go.

“It’s very important that the protection of children is a top priority in all instances, and I think this decision best protects children,” said Jenifer Valenti, the ombudsman for the Catholic Diocese for Kansas City and St. Joseph. She says the firing of St. Thomas More Elementary school band teachers Gregg Briggs and Tod Barnard was for the best.

“The investigation in Independence stemmed from Mr. Briggs offering a ride to a student in Independence,” said Valenti.

No charges have been filed against Briggs, but the letter to parents states he was terminated after a review by the school’s independent review board.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:49 AM

Sexual abuse victim launches $3.1-million lawsuit

CANADA
Our Windsor

Brant News
By Natalie Paddon

Chris Morrison is seeking accountability and compensation for the suffering he endured.

The victim of sexual assault at the hands of Rev. George Ferris announced during a Friday media conference that he has filed a $3.1-million lawsuit against both the retired Anglican church minister and the Anglican Diocese of Huron.

The 43-year-old Paris resident filed a statement of claim on Jan. 24.

In November, the 66-year-old Ferris was convicted of two counts of sexual assault and one count of sexual exploitation against Morrison.

In January, Ferris was sentenced to four years in prison.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:47 AM

Bishop Bambera taking worries to pope

PENNSYLVANIA
Times-Tribune

BY DAVID FALCHEK (STAFF WRITER)
Published: March 29, 2014

The bishop of the Diocese of Scranton agreed to pen a letter to Pope Francis warning about a priest accused of child molestation who has risen to second-in-command in a Paraguayan diocese.

At the request of the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests, the Most Rev. Joseph C. Bambera said he shared their "outrage" at the ascension of Monsignor Carlos Urrutigoity, defended the actions of his predecessor, Bishop James Martino, but ignored the group's other far-reaching requests.

SNAP reproduced the bishop's letter on its website. Diocese of Scranton spokesman William Genello confirmed the reproduction of the letter is accurate and declined to comment further.

Bishop Bambera said he has no jurisdiction in another diocese, but he would express his personal concerns about Monsignor Urrutigoity to Vatican administrators.

"I have begun the process of bringing this dire situation to the attention of the Holy See in the hopes that the matter will immediately be examined further by those with competency over it," he wrote. "My intention is to do all I can to make sure this matter is addressed appropriately and expeditiously."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:43 AM

March 28, 2014

Judge Dismisses Probe of Former Vatican Bank Chairman

ROME
NASDAQ

By Dow Jones Business News, March 28, 2014

ROME--An Italian judge dismissed prosecutors' investigation into the former chairman of the Vatican's bank over possible noncompliance of money laundering rules, his lawyers said on Friday, accusing the bank's board of damaging the Holy See after it fired him two years ago.

The ruling stated that Ettore Gotti Tedeschi wasn't involved in the 2010 financial transaction that is being probed by local prosecutors for alleged violations as he wasn't involved in the day-to-day running of the bank, said his lawyers in a statement, which includes a copy of Rome Criminal Court Judge Flavia Costantini's order dated Feb. 19.

Rome prosecutors had agreed with the dismissal request of Mr. Gotti Tedeschi being removed from formal investigation, according to the judge's order.

Pope Francis, who was elected just over one year ago, has set as a priority an overhaul of the Vatican's finances and its scandal-probe bank. In January, Pope Francis replaced all but one of the five cardinals in the commission that oversees the bank as he placed a firmer hold on the financial institution.

In September 2010, Rome's prosecutors had placed Mr. Gotti Tedeschi and the then-director general Paolo Cipriani of the Institute for the Works of Religion, or IOR, as the Vatican bank is officially called, under investigation for alleged irregularities in a request of transfer of money from an IOR account at an Italian bank.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:04 PM

Former Vatican bank head's lawyers threaten to sue to clear name

VATICAN CITY
Reuters

BY PHILIP PULLELLA
VATICAN CITY Fri Mar 28, 2014

(Reuters) - In a new blow for the troubled Vatican bank, lawyers for its former head who was abruptly fired in 2012 threatened legal action on Friday to clear his name and show that he was unfairly dismissed.

The surprise move by lawyers for Ettore Gotti Tedeschi came after months of relative calm for the Vatican bank under its new president, German Ernst Von Freyberg.

Gotti Tedeschi was ousted after a no confidence vote by its lay board on May 24 at the height of the "Vatileaks" scandal, in which former Pope Benedict's butler leaked the pontiff's personal papers to the media.

The board said Gotti Tedeschi was fired because he was an ineffective and divisive manager. He said he was ousted because he wanted to introduce more transparency to the bank, which has been an embarrassment for the Vatican for decades.

Gotti Tedeschi had been under investigation by Rome magistrates on suspicion of money laundering, but last month a judge ruled that the case against him be shelved.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:01 PM

Melbourne Archbishop to discuss removing abuse victim payment cap

AUSTRALIA
ABC - AM

ELIZABETH JACKSON: The parents of two abuse victims say they want the Catholic Church to act urgently to remove a cap on payment to abuse victims.

Anthony and Chrissie Foster say Australia's most senior Catholic, Cardinal George Pell, this week personally promised them that the $75,000 cap would be abolished.

But the couple say they have heard nothing from the Archbishop of Melbourne, the man responsible for actually making the change.

Cardinal Pell this week publicly apologised to a victim of child sexual abuse, saying the Catholic Church failed in its moral and pastoral responsibilities.

Alison Caldwell reports.

ALISON CALDWELL: It was the news Anthony and Chrissie Foster had been waiting for for 18 years; that the Catholic Church would remove the cap on payments to victims of child sexual abuse.

It now stands at $75,000.

Anthony Foster says he got a commitment from Cardinal George Pell during a meeting on Thursday night.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:50 PM

Church faces two dangers on safeguarding children

IRELAND
Irish Times

Breda O'Brien

Sat, Mar 29, 2014

The appointment of Marie Collins to the new Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors is highly significant. It is a tribute to Marie Collins herself, who has been an articulate and dedicated campaigner on issues of child sexual abuse.

She made an impressive presentation at a major international summit on child abuse in 2012 at Rome’s Jesuit-run Gregorian University, which was co-sponsored by several Vatican departments.

Some 100 representatives of bishops’ conferences and 30 religious superiors attended the conference, and some were visibly shaken and moved by hearing what a victim had to say.

Other members of the new commission include Rev Hans Zollner, the vice-rector of the Gregorian University, a psychologist who organised the 2012 seminar, and Baroness Sheila Hollins, a British psychiatrist and former president of the Royal College of Psychiatrists.

Half the current commission’s members are women, and they are all heavy-hitters, including a former prime minister of Poland, Hannah Suchocka, who was appointed as prime minister under Lech Walesa, because she was highly regarded by politicians from many different parts of the political spectrum.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:48 PM

What to Do About Sex Abuse in the Church?

UNITED STATES
Catholic World Report

March 28, 2014

By Dr. Adam A. J. DeVille

I confess that I really don’t want to talk about sex abuse in the Church again. But Pope Francis does, so perhaps we might help him and his newly appointed commission by taking a trip through some unexpected and ancient terrain.

I was at work on an article several summers ago about the vexed question of “canonical territory,” especially regarding Catholic-Orthodox relations in Ukraine and Russia. I never finished that article, in part because I am constitutionally prone to the sins of sloth and gluttony and decided that martinis and cigars in my backyard while reading books on totally unrelated topics were much more interesting activities, and so I fled from my computer to my chaise longue. But all was not lost: in my research for that article, and as penance for my sins of the flesh, I had forced myself to slog through every canon I could lay my hands on from local, provincial, regional, national, and ecumenical councils in both East and West. I was looking to see what, if anything, they said about questions of territory and jurisdiction.

I was not, in other words, looking for canons dealing with clerical discipline, but in my reading it quickly emerged that I could not avoid them, since it seems that almost every council ever held had to deal with clerical malfeasance in one form or other. Naughty priests are not new! Council after council seemed to have something to say about priests or bishops who commit offenses, especially those of the flesh—adultery, sodomy, and the abuse of minors. Again and again one thing was clear: clerics of any rank (including those in minor orders) who were guilty of any sexual sin at all were to be removed from office and never again allowed to hold any clerical office anywhere in the Church. This was a life sentence.

Another discovery staggered me: this penalty of permanent deposition was to be applied even to consensual sins involving adults. Thus if a priest was having a consensual affair with a woman in his parish, which both freely entered and willingly consummated, he was to be removed forever. Even if the woman did not want him punished—even if she had confessedly seduced him—he was still to be removed.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:46 PM

A cup of tea with the cardinal: what George Pell did in the Ellis case

AUSTRALIA
The Guardian (UK)

David Marr
theguardian.com, Friday 28 March 2014

St Mary’s was not overflowing at Cardinal George Pell’s farewell. The music was magnificent and 20 bishops followed the candles and banners in procession. But the governor general, prime minister and premier were somewhere else for the night. Rows of stack-away chairs stood empty.

Pell looked weary but cheerful. Less than four hours before appearing in cope and mitre under the arc lights of the cathedral, he had been in the witness box of the royal commission into institutional responses to child abuse delivering one last apology to John Ellis. Some of the time since had been spent praying at the shrine of St Mary MacKillop.

Officials last seen in the witness box gave readings and led prayers. Not among the familiar faces at the celebrations was Ellis, once a devout Catholic who came three times a week to mass is in this building. That life is behind him now.

Though they have faced each other at the commission over the past week, they’ve met only once. In a sense, the meeting was routine. It’s what victims of priests are offered when their battles with the church are done, every last detail settled, money paid and apologies made. As Pell’s chancellor Brian Rayner explained to the commission: “I would offer the person a discussion with the cardinal, a cup of tea, where he would then personally continue that apology.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:31 PM

Italy's bishops pass Vatican-backed rule...

ITALY
The Independent (UK)

Italy's bishops pass Vatican-backed rule that child molestation does not have to be reported

The rule was passed at a conference on Friday

KASHMIRA GANDER Author Biography Friday 28 March 2014

The Italian Bishops' Conference said the guidelines published on Friday reflected suggestions from the Vatican's office that handles sex abuse investigations.

Victims have denounced how bishops systematically covered up abuse by moving priests while keeping prosecutors in the dark.

Only in 2010 did the Vatican instruct bishops to report abuse to police — but only where required by law.

Italian guidelines cite a 1985 treaty between the Vatican and Italy stipulating that clergy aren't obliged to tell magistrates about information obtained through their religious ministry. The guidelines remind bishops, however, they have a ''moral duty“ to contribute to the common good.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:27 PM

Novel offers raw depiction of priest’s dark history

CANADA
The Chronicle-Herald

Published March 28, 2014

Writing and researching Petitot must have been a journey of constant discovery for author Susan Haley.

The weighty tome is the product of almost a decade of work, and tells the story of Emile Petitot, a man historically known in Canada for his work as a priest, a missionary, a writer and an ethnographer.

But it just takes a quick flutter of fingers on a keyboard to learn that he has a remarkably dark history. According to a variety of interviews with Haley, including one with the Northern Journal, she was surprised to discover that the Canadian explorer was also a pedophile and subject to symptoms of a bipolar disorder.

This could be why she chose to tell the story the way she did. Her storytelling is fluid, bouncing back and forth from the 1800s to modern day, and it’s told through the eyes of a few different characters, each one affected in their own way by the mad priest. Luckily, the plot has the main character, Marcus, to keep it on track.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:25 PM

Former Chabad youth leader accused of sex crimes found dead

AUSTRALIA
Haaretz (Israel)

SYDNEY – A former Chabad-Lubavitch youth leader in Melbourne accused of child sex crimes has been found dead in a suspected suicide on Thursday, triggering acrimonious accusations that “community vigilantes,” “thugs” and those who conducted “trial by media” have “blood on their hands.”

The body of Aron “Ezzy” Kestecher, 28, was found in his apartment on Thursday.

Kestecher was accused of multiple allegations of child sex abuse against minors and was due to face court in June, police confirmed on Friday.

Rabbi Meir Shlomo Kluwgant visited family and friends on Thursday. “I provided a measure of support and comfort to his family members and his close friends, as well as the first responders to this most tragic of events.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:22 PM

Australia Chabad Sex Abuse Suspect Aron Kestecher Kills Self

AUSTRALIA
Jewish Daily Forward

JTA

Aron “Ezzy” Kestecher, a former Chabad-Lubavitch youth leader in Melbourne who was accused of child sex crimes, died in a suspected suicide.

Kestecher, 28, was found dead in his apartment Thursday. He was accused of multiple allegations of child sex abuse against minors and was due to face court in June, police confirmed Friday.

Rabbi Meir Shlomo Kluwgant, president of the Rabbinical Council of Victoria, said he visited the family on Thursday.

“I provided a measure of support and comfort to his family members and his close friends, as well as the first responders to this most tragic of events,” he said. “The deceased was a very special young man, but he was also deeply troubled.”

The Lubavitch websites Crownheights.info and shmais.com both posted death notices expressing their “profound sadness, deep pain and shock.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:20 PM

'I can't think of a better choice' says local abuse survivor

MASSACHUSETTS
The Pilot

ON: 3/28/2014, BY CHRISTOPHER S. PINEO

BRAINTREE -- A local clergy abuse survivor and playwright welcomed the news that Pope Francis had tapped Cardinal Seán P. O'Malley to serve as one of the first members of the new Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors.

Michael Mack, creator and performer of the one-man play "Conversations with My Molester: A Journey of Faith," said a Vatican announcement, March 22, that the pope had established the new Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors came as welcome news to the survivor of clerical sex abuse.

"I think it was an important step," said Michael Mack, creator and performer of the one-man play "Conversations with My Molester: A Journey of Faith."

"I am especially excited by the makeup of the commission, because there are actually more laypeople than clergy on it -- five laypeople, three clergy," he said. "I was really pleased to see that one of those laypeople is a sexual abuse survivor herself."

Mack said that aspect of the commission gave him hope because the commission will include the voice of a survivor -- Marie Collins, a native of Ireland who survived abuse as a 13-year-old girl.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:18 PM

National- Bishops praise themselves on child sex abuse again, SNAP responds

UNITED STATES
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

For immediate release: Friday, March 28, 2014

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

We have three objections to these new claims by US bishops.

[U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops]

First, if over a decade, my car tires become bald and I buy new ones, they'll likely cost more than the old ones did. It's silly – or even deceitful - for me to brag that my spending on “safety” has gone up. But that's what bishops are doing today.

It's painful to watch them stretch and distort the truth for another public relations 'win.'

Second, Bishops desperately keep trying to pretend this on-going crisis is somehow “in the past.” They do this in a range of ways, but among their most popular is to claim or suggest that most cases happened decades ago.

The truth is we simply cannot know. That's because it nearly always takes victims decades to come forward and report the crimes they've suffered. So at best, it's disingenuous and at worst it's deceptive for Catholic officials to claim the rate of clergy sex crimes is declining.

Bishops and their public relations professionals aren't dumb. They know delayed reporting is almost always the norm but they misrepresent what this means time and time again. By doing so, they are recklessly endangering kids by encouraging complacency when vigilance is required.

Finally, since it was adopted a decade ago, the bishops’ extremely vague, weak and rarely-enforced abuse policy has been consistently weakened and sporadically followed. So these alleged “audits” are nearly meaningless.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:15 PM

Privacy watchdog examines possible breach in residential school survivors' claims

CANADA
CBC News

Canada's privacy watchdog is looking into a possible breach of personal information belonging to residential school survivors, after an adjudicator working for the agency handling their compensation claims filed a police report citing blackmail.

The Indian Residential Schools Adjudication Secretariat is the administrative body that manages the claims made by residential school survivors. It is an independent, quasi-judicial tribunal established in 2007 under the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement.

Indian residential school survivors can seek compensation for suffering "sexual or serious physical abuse or another wrongful act" through an independent assessment process managed by the agency.

A spokesperson for the agency told CBC News on Wednesday that "an individual contacted the Secretariat earlier this month" claiming to have information relating to claims made by residential school survivors.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:36 PM

Truth and Reconciliation Commission to compile estimate ...

CANADA
Edmonton Journal

Truth and Reconciliation Commission to compile estimate of how many students died at residential schools

BY BRENT WITTMEIER, EDMONTON JOURNAL MARCH 28, 2014

EDMONTON - Some are a mix of good and bad times. Others have been dulled into resignation and resentment. Some are just a few words.

Survivor stories were front and centre Friday on the second day of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission national event, running four days at the Shaw Conference Centre.

The words spoken are as different as the settings. For those preferring to make private statements, there’s a room behind a curtain. On the same floor, others tell their stories before hundreds of listeners.

More than 21,000 people are expected at the four-day event, the seventh and final event of the $60-million Truth and Reconciliation Commission, formed in the aftermath of a $5-billion settlement between the federal government, Canadian churches and aboriginals in 2007.

Between the 1870s and 1996, more than 150,000 aboriginal children were placed in 139 federally funded, church-run schools, mostly in the northern and western portions of the country. The schools were plagued by abuses and poor conditions. Alberta had 25 schools recognized under the settlement, more than any other province or territory.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:24 PM

NE- Diocese refuses to participate in church abuse program

NEBRASKA
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

For immediate release: Friday, March 28, 2014

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

A Catholic panel has released a report on whether and how bishops are abiding by the vague, weak and virtually never enforced "Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People."

The Diocese of Lincoln is once again in violation of the Charter. The diocese did not allow church 'auditors' to come in and do their jobs.

[U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops]

Bishop James Conley had only been the bishop of Lincoln for a month in 2012, but that was plenty of time to make a positive change. We are disappointed that he is following in his predecessor's footsteps and not honoring their commitment to protect children.

We hoped Bishop Conley would have made a difference. We hope he honors his pledge and his duty and complies with the Charter for the 2014 review though we doubt he will.

We also hope that every single person who sees, suspects or suffers clergy sex crimes in Nebraska to call police officials, not Catholic officials.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:20 PM

Sexual abuse survivor suing retired minister, diocese

CANADA
Sun News

VINCENT BALL | QMI AGENCY

BRANTFORD, Ont. -- A Paris, Ont., man and survivor of sexual abuse has launched a $3.1-million lawsuit against his abuser and the Anglican Diocese of Huron.

Chris Morrison, 42, who didn't reveal for decades that he had been abused by a minister of his church in the 1980s, announced his lawsuit at a press conference Friday. He is being represented by Rob Talach, of Beckett Personal Injury Lawyers, of London, Ont.

The lawsuit names George Ferris and Incorporated Synod of the Diocese of Huron as the defendants.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:17 PM

Report on the Implementation of the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People

UNITED STATES
United States Conference of Catholic Bishops

This links to the full Report on the Implementation of the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:39 PM

Church Increased Spending For Child Protection By More Than 50 Percent, Annual Audit Finds

UNITED STATES
United States Conference of Catholic Bishops

March 28, 2014

Most cases reported last year occurred 30-40 years ago, some go back half a century

More than 4.6 million children, 99 percent of priests have had safe environment training

Archbishop Kurtz pledges to heal, educate, prevent abuse, hold abusers accountable

WASHINGTON—U.S. dioceses and religious orders in 2013 increased what they spent on child protection by more than 50 percent over what they spent the year before, according to the 2013 report from the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA). In 2013, dioceses and religious orders spent $41,721,675 for child protection efforts, an increase of more than $15 million over the previous year, when they spent $26,583,087.

The numbers were reported in the “2013 Survey of Allegations and Costs: A Summary Report for the Secretariat of Child and Youth Protection, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.” The Georgetown University-based research organization has gathered information since 2004, as part of an annual report required by the U.S. bishops’ “Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People.” The full report can be found at

www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/child-and-youth-protection/upload/2013-Annual-Report.pdf

The survey also found that in 2013 the total number of new allegations and victims decreased to its lowest level since CARA began collecting the data. The number of offenders decreased by six percent, and the number of allegations and victims decreased by one percent.

Deacon Bernard Nojadera, director of the Secretariat for Child and Youth Protection, said one reason for increased costs on child protection was “the rechecks of background for a majority of diocesan personnel. This year, for instance, in many dioceses it was time for the every-five-year background check renewal. There was also an increase in the number of roles that required background checks.” He noted that “some dioceses realized that the system that was used 10 years ago is no longer adequate to the task at hand and bought more sophisticated programs to help keep track of training, background checks, risk management, payroll, etc.” He added that “it is encouraging to see dioceses putting the necessary resources into ensuring the safety of children in its parishes and schools.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:37 PM

'Bishop of bling' spent €213,000 on fish tank

GERMANY
Irish Independent

PUBLISHED 28 MARCH 2014

26.03.2014: Einführende Erläuterungen zum Abschlussbericht über die Prüfung der Baumaßnahmen auf dem Domberg in Limburg PDF (32,40 KB)

26.03.2014: Abschlussbericht der Prüfkommission über die Baumaßnahme auf dem Domberg in Limburg

A disgraced German bishop, who resigned over his misuse of Church funds, spent €213,000 on an ornamental fish tank.

The extravagant purchase was just one item listed in a report into Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst’s spending.

Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst stepped down on the same day that a report was published detailing his extravagances

The extravagant purchase was just one item listed in a report into Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst’s spending.

The leadership of Germany’s Catholic Church on Wednesday published the 108-page document detailing the Bishop of Limburg’s renovation of his headquarters.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:27 PM

Pope meets with controversial bishop

VATICAN CITY
ANSA

(ANSA) - Vatican City, March 28 - Pope Francis met briefly Friday with German Bishop Franz Peter Tebartz-van Elst from the Limburg diocese, whose resignation was accepted earlier in the week as a result of a spending scandal. The pope met for about 10 minutes with Tebartz-van Elst, who is to be assigned to a new post as a result of an investigation into his spending. Dubbed the 'gold-plated bishop' for allegedly spending 31 million euros to remodel his residence next to the cathedral, Tebartz-van Elst was suspended by the Vatican last October, when he tendered his resignation. According to some reports, the so-called 'bishop of bling' outfitted his residence with a $20,000 bathtub, $500,000 built-in closets and a $35,000 conference table. Tebartz-van Elst is also in hot water concerning a lawsuit against German newsmagazine Der Spiegel over an earlier article about his spending and has also been accused of lying in a separate matter.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:25 PM

Former Vatican bank managers to go to trial in Italy

ROME
Anchorage Daily News

ROME — Two former top managers of the Institute for Religious Works, or IOR, the Vatican's scandal-tainted bank, will go to trial over money laundering charges, Italian prosecutors said Friday.

Former IOR Director General Paolo Cipriani and deputy Massimo Tulli quit their positions in July, days after the arrest of a high-ranking Vatican prelate who allegedly used the bank to launder money on behalf of wealthy family friends.

Tulli and Cipriani are accused of having broken anti-money laundering law in connection to the transfer of $31.5 million from an account IOR held at a Rome branch of Credito Artigiano, part of Milan-based Credito Valtellinese.

The date for the start of their trial has yet to be set.

Italian authorities seized the funds in 2010, holding on to them for about one year.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:23 PM

Pedofilia, Cei...

ITALIA
RAI

Pedofilia, Cei: il vescovo ha il dovere morale di denunciare abusi ma nessun obbligo giuridico

Secondo il documento il vescovo, non rivestendo la qualifica di pubblico ufficiale, non ha l'obbligo giuridico - salvo il dovere morale di contribuire al bene comune - di denunciare all'autorità giudiziaria notizie riguardanti casi di abuso sessuale nei confronti di minore da parte dei sacerdoti. Ai vescovi si chiede però "una speciale cura" nel valutare le vocazione al sacerdozio

"Il vescovo, non rivestendo la qualifica di pubblico ufficiale, non ha l'obbligo giuridico,
salvo il dovere morale di contribuire al bene comune, di denunciare all'autorità giudiziaria" notizie riguardanti casi di abuso sessuale nei confronti di minore da parte dei sacerdoti. E' quanto contenuto nelle "linee guida" rese note dalla Cei, la Conferenza episcopale italiana.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:21 PM

Cei, linee guida per i casi di abuso sessuale

ITALIA
Avvenire

È stato pubblicato oggi il testo definitivo delle “Linee guida per i casi di abuso sessuale nei confronti di minori da parte di chierici” (LEGGI), predisposte e approvate dalla Conferenza episcopale italiana sulla base delle indicazioni della Congregazione per la dottrina della fede. Il testo, disponibile sul sito della Cei, è composto da una premessa, tre capitoli : “Profili canonistici”, “Profili penalistici e rapporti con l’autorità civile”, “Il servizio della Segreteria Generale della Conferenza Episcopale Italiana”, e alcuni allegati.

“Il triste e grave fenomeno degli abusi sessuali nei confronti di minori da parte di chierici - si legge nella premessa - sollecita un rinnovato impegno da parte della comunità ecclesiale, chiamata ad affrontare la questione con spirito di giustizia, in conformità alle presenti Linee guida. In quest’ottica, assume importanza fondamentale anzitutto la protezione dei minori, la premura verso le vittime degli abusi e la formazione dei futuri sacerdoti e religiosi. Il vescovo che riceve la denuncia di un abuso deve essere sempre disponibile ad ascoltare la vittima e i suoi familiari, assicurando ogni cura nel trattare il caso secondo giustizia e impegnandosi a offrire sostegno spirituale e psicologico, nel rispetto della libertà della vittima di intraprendere le iniziative giudiziarie che riterrà più opportune”.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:18 PM

Italian bishops 'not legally obliged' to report pedophilia

ROME
Gazzetta del Sud

Rome, March 28 - Italian bishops do not have the "legal obligation" to report cases of child-sex abuse by priests to the judicial authorities, according to guidelines released by the Italian Bishops Conference (CEI) Friday. The guidelines said, however, that bishops had a "moral duty to contribute to common good". "Not having the role of a public official, the bishop does not have the legal obligation to report (cases) to the judicial authorities, aside from the moral duty to contribute to the common good," the guidelines read on child-sex abuse cases.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:16 PM

Italy's bishops, using Vatican advice, say no obligation to tell authorities about sex abuse

ROME
Star Tribune

Article by: Associated Press
Updated: March 28, 2014

ROME — Italy's bishops have adopted a Vatican-backed sex abuse policy that says they have no obligation to inform police if they suspect a child has been molested.

The Italian Bishops' Conference said the guidelines published Friday reflected suggestions from the Vatican's office that handles sex abuse investigations.

Victims have long denounced how bishops systematically covered up abuse by shuffling pedophile priests around while keeping prosecutors in the dark. Only in 2010 did the Vatican instruct bishops to report abuse to police — but only where required by law.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:14 PM

Italian Judge Dismisses Probe of Former Vatican Bank Chairman

ROME
Wall Street Journal

By Liam Moloney

ROME--An Italian judge dismissed prosecutors' investigation into the former chairman of the Vatican's bank over possible noncompliance of money laundering rules, his lawyers said on Friday, accusing the bank's board of damaging the Holy See after it fired him two years ago.

The ruling stated that Ettore Gotti Tedeschi wasn't involved in the 2010 financial transaction that is being probed by local prosecutors for alleged violations as he wasn't involved in the day-to-day running of the bank, said his lawyers in a statement, which includes a copy of Rome Criminal Court Judge Flavia Costantini's order dated Feb. 19.

Rome prosecutors had agreed with the dismissal request of Mr. Gotti Tedeschi being removed from formal investigation, according to the judge's order.

Pope Francis, who was elected just over one year ago, has set as a priority an overhaul of the Vatican's finances and its scandal-probe bank. In January, Pope Francis replaced all but one of the five cardinals in the commission that oversees the bank as he placed a firmer hold on the financial institution.

In September 2010, Rome's prosecutors had placed Mr. Gotti Tedeschi and the then-director general Paolo Cipriani of the Institute for the Works of Religion, or IOR, as the Vatican bank is officially called, under investigation for alleged irregularities in a request of transfer of money from an IOR account at an Italian bank.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:10 PM

Dr Samantha Pegg: Priest sentencing sends out a clear message

UNITED KINGDOM
Nottingham Post

In the week that 85-year-old former priest Francis Cullen was jailed for 15 years for historic sex crimes, Dr Samantha Pegg, senior lecturer in law at Nottingham Law School, looks at the issues raised by the case

FRANCIS Cullen was sentenced to 15 years imprisonment after admitting sexual offences against seven children.

Cullen, who served as a priest in Nottingham and Derbyshire, admitted 21 counts of sexual abuse over a 34-year period.

He was charged by Nottinghamshire Police with sexual offences in 1991 and swiftly absconded from bail, before being extradited last year on a European arrest warrant after he was discovered in Tenerife.

Interestingly, Cullen was not – in a strict legal sense – "wanted".

Although an arrest warrant had been issued when he fled, such warrants are not issued in perpetuity, and his was withdrawn in 2000. Warrants are subject to review and can be withdrawn if the evidence no longer supports a prosecution, there is no public interest in pursuing the case or it is unlikely an arrest will be made.

Undoubtedly many will question the wisdom of withdrawing the warrant when Cullen was suspected of such grave offences, particularly in the current climate of concern regarding historic sexual offences.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:08 PM

Ireland- Church watchdog group omitted information, victims respond

IRELAND
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

For immediate release: Friday, March 28, 2014

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

A group hired to investigate the Irish Catholic church's child safety policy has been accused of omitting key information. If it is true and they omitted information and are denying it, we are deeply disappointed and concerned.

[Irish Independent]

The protection of children should be a number one priority. When valuable and relevant information is omitted from reports it does a disservice to those children who were egregiously hurt, future victims, and church parishioners.

The church has long maintained that they would be open and transparent, but they denied the former chief executive access stating “there was no basis for review”. That doesn’t sound very open and transparent to us. Why deny access to an investigation aimed at improving church policy unless there is something to hide?

We hope that watchdog group will investigate this omission further and that the church will not impede anymore reviews.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:02 PM

Vatican bank’s ousted president says court ruling vindicated him

VATICAN CITY
New Haven Register

By The Associated Press
POSTED: 03/28/14

VATICAN CITY >> The ousted president of the Vatican bank came out swinging Friday after he was cleared in a money-laundering investigation, accusing the bank’s board of causing “grave damage” to the Holy See by firing him in 2012.

Ettore Gotti Tedeschi ended a nearly two-year silence with a statement issued after a Rome judge threw out a Vatican bank-related investigation against him. The court ruled Gotti Tedeschi had nothing to do with daily operations at the Institute for Religious Works and was in fact working to bring the Vatican’s financial institution into line with international anti-money-laundering standards when he was fired.

In a five-page statement entitled “The Rehabilitation of Ettore Gotti Tedeschi,” the banker’s attorneys said the ruling vindicated their client and “shows the unfounded ... accusations” made by the bank’s board when it fired him.

The lawyers threatened legal action and said the ruling showed the board had committed “grave errors and thus grave damage to the Holy See” by firing their client when he was working to improve transparency and accountability.

Gotti Tedeschi’s May 2012 ouster was an unusually brutal public dressing-down of a Vatican official said to have had the ear of Pope Benedict XVI. In explaining its no-confidence vote at the time, the bank’s board issued a stinging, nine-point statement accusing him of a host of personal and professional shortcomings.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:10 PM

One Concerned Catholic’s Take on the Healing Mass

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
Catholics4Change

MARCH 28, 2014

GUEST BLOG BY BETH

I am at a loss for words after I meet one of our survivors and/or attend a vigil. The most recent vigil/protest outside the cathedral was no different. I always leave these events, if you can even call them that, changed – as if in peaceful mourning or as if I had just visited a very sacred place.

I had planned on attending the special mass for our clergy abuse survivors just to hear first hand what Archbishop Chaput had to say but when I heard many of our survivors were invited but not included in the planning process I changed my mind. I thought it was best to attend but be present outside in support of all those survivors that were unable or in good conscience could not go inside.

As a practicing catholic I was a little torn about not going in to receive Jesus in the Eucharist. Many times I have gone to adoration and wept before Jesus praying for our survivors by name and I believe he heard my prayers. But I knew Jesus wanted me outside on the sidewalk when Vicky, one of our survivors who has become a good friend, emailed and asked if I would come stand with her and support her as she stood outside the cathedral.

The events that unfolded on the sidewalk were very touching. I met family members of the man who was supposed to testify against Fr. Brennan. He is no longer with us but his family will forever keep his memory alive. I also met the mother of one of Fr. McCormick’s victims. One thing I have noticed is that a few of the victims families I have meet recently have members that have jobs in law enforcement. It brought home to me the fact that clergy sexual abuse can happen to anyone’s child.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:13 PM

Kloster Ettal: Verfahren gegen Pater G. eröffnet

DEUTSCHLAND
Merkur

[Summary: Father G. has been indicted for sexually abuse more than 20 youngsters under age 14 at the Ettal monastery. The allegations are massive, according to Margaret Notzel, spokesman at the Munich higher regional court.]

Die Anklage allein schnürt einem die Kehle zu: In über 20 Fällen soll Pater G. Schutzbefohlene unter 14 Jahren am Kloster Ettal sexuell missbraucht haben. „Die Missbrauchsvorwürfe sind relativ massiv“, fasst Margarete Nötzel, Sprecherin am Oberlandesgericht München, die Anklage der Staatsanwaltschaft zusammen. Damit wird sich bald die Erste Jugendstrafkammer des Landgerichts München II intensiv befassen. Der Vorsitzende Richter Thomas Bott hat die Anklageschrift unverändert zur Hauptverhandlung zugelassen. Damit wird ein dunkles Kapitel in der Geschichte des Kloster Ettals noch einmal aufgerollt - um es dann endgültig zu schließen. Denn juristisch geht es nur noch um Pater G. und die Frage, was er getan oder nicht getan hat.

15 Patres und weitere weltliche Erzieher sollen Schutzbefohlenen am Kloster körperliche Gewalt zugefügt oder sie sexuell missbraucht haben. Dies besagt der Abschlussbericht von Thomas Pfister, den er im April 2010 vorlegte. Ein Unrecht, das vor allem zwischen 1960 und 1990 geschehen sein soll. Das bedeutet auch: Einige Beschuldigte sind tot, viele Taten sind verjährt. Für Pater G. gilt das nicht. Die Vorwürfe gegen ihn beziehen sich auf die Jahre 2001 bis 2005. Als Präfekt und Religionslehrer war er damals am Kloster Ettal tätig. Er habe sich Buben „mit sexueller Disposition genähert“, gibt Nötzel sinngemäß aus der Anklageschrift wider. 2005 waren die Vorwürfe bekannt geworden. Doch ein externer Gutachter, den das Kloster beauftragt hatte, entlastete Pater G.: Er sah keine Hinweise auf einen sexuellen Missbrauch. Anders die Staatsanwaltschaft. Und anders offenbar auch die Jugendstrafkammer.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:38 AM

Anglikanischer Bischof wegen sexueller Übergriffe vor Gericht

GROSSBRITANNIEN
Aktuell

Das teilte die britische Staatsanwaltschaft am Donnerstag mit. Dem 82-Jährigen werden unsittliche Übergriffe auf einen damals 12- oder 13-jährigen Jungen sowie auf einen 19 oder 20 Jahre alten Mann vorgeworfen. Zudem muss er sich vor dem Gericht in Brighton wegen Fehlverhaltens in seinem Amt verantworten. "Es wird angenommen, dass er zwischen 1977 und 1992 mehrere junge Männer sexuell missbraucht hat", hieß es von der Staatsanwaltschaft.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:36 AM

Sex gegen Geld: Priester muss 6000 Euro Strafe zahlen

DEUTSCHLAND
Volksfreund

[Summary: A priest who offered money to a 15-year-old for sexual act, the former priest must now pay a 6,000-euro fine. The Trier diocese placed him on leave in 2012 after hearing of the allegations. In the meantime, the 67-year-old priest has retired.]

Weil er einem 15-Jährigen Geld für sexuelle Handlungen angeboten hatte, muss ein ehemaliger Priester 6000 Euro zahlen. Das Bistum Trier hatte ihn 2012 nach Bekanntwerden der Vorwürfe beurlaubt. Mittlerweile ist der 67-Jährige im Ruhestand. Das kirchenrechtliche Verfahren läuft noch.

Die Staatsanwaltschaft Saarbrücken hat das Verfahren gegen einen ehemaligen katholischen Priester wegen sexuellen Missbrauchs unter Auflagen eingestellt. Der Geistliche war angezeigt worden, weil er einem 15-Jährigen Geld für sexuelle Handlungen angeboten hatte.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:31 AM

MO- 2 KC Catholic teachers fired in “odd” case

MISSOURI
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

For immediate release: Friday, March 28, 2014

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

No one should be satisfied with the firing of two credibly accused child molesting KC Catholic school teachers. This is a disturbing case of continued irresponsible behavior by church officials with many unanswered questions.

[KCTV]

Kids are of course a bit safer now that Gregg Briggs and Tod Barnard will no longer be at St. Thomas More Elementary School. (Barnard faces criminal charges, Briggs does not.)

But as we pointed out weeks ago, one of the teachers (Briggs) was apparently quietly removed and the teacher who replaced him (Barnard) is now charged with child sex crimes.

[SNAP]

Catholic school officials admit they were told on March 3 that the police were investigating an allegation about a school employee. But twice, Catholic officials apparently choose secrecy over openness. First, they kept the allegation hidden from parents and the public for almost two weeks. Second, they apparently quietly suspended the accused and kept the suspension hidden from parents and the public for almost two weeks too.

Shame on them.

Those ten days of secrecy gave a potential criminal plenty of time to destroy evidence, intimidate victims, threaten whistle blowers, discredit witnesses, fabricate alibis, “lawyer up,” and molest more children.

Finn and his top aides are being careful to try and distance themselves from this latest in a long string of child sex crime and cover up cases in the KC diocese. But in a rigid hierarchy like the Catholic Church, it's virtually certain that St. Thomas More principal Brian Borgmeyer did not unilaterally decide to suspend a teacher for alleged child sex crimes, bring in a replacement, and hide the allegations for days, weeks or months. It's virtually certain that he consulted with diocesan headquarters staff before he opted to quietly sit on the first set of allegations and the suspension.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:28 AM

Alleged victim targets accused pedophile priest 30 years later

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
Yahoo News

By Jason Sickles, Yahoo
Yahoo News

The Rev. James Brzyski allegedly began molesting John Delaney when the altar boy was 11, persuading the child to keep quiet by saying his parents condoned their sexual relationship.

“This guy had me all screwed up in my head,” Delaney said.

More than 30 years later, the now defrocked Philadelphia Catholic priest is still trying to manipulate the narrative.

When asked about Delaney by Yahoo News, Brzyski, 63, was silent for several seconds. Then he blurted out, “Quite a liar, John is,” and hung up the phone.

Delaney, now 42, brushed off Brzyski’s denial.

“You tell him John Delaney’s coming for him,” he said in a thick Philly accent. “I'm not a little kid anymore. You can't do this to me. I'm going to fight back now.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:24 AM

AUDIENCES

VATICAN CITY
Vatican Information Service

Vatican City, 28 March 2014 (VIS) – Today, the Holy Father received in audience:

- Bishop emeritus Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst of Limburg, Federal Republic of Germany.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:28 AM

PA- Catholic bishop dodges victims group's requests

PENNSYLVANIA
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

For immediate release: Friday, March 28, 2014

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

Scranton's Catholic bishop has responded to our recent letter by ignoring three of our four concerns, but pledging to write the Pope about a predator priest. (A copy of the letter is below.)

Scranton Bishop Joseph Bambera dodges our plea that he

–publicly reveal the records that allegedly show that Scranton diocesan officials warned “the appropriate” church staff about Fr. Carlos Urrutigoity,

– launch an independent investigation into who, if anyone, in the Scranton diocese may have ignored or concealed Fr. Urrutigoity's crimes, and

–aggressively reach out – using church bulletins, parish websites and pulpit announcements - to anyone else who may have seen, suspected or suffered Fr. Urrutigoity’s crimes and urge them to call law enforcement.

In addition, Bambera has made one promise: to contact Pope Francis about Fr. Urrutigoity. That's something, but not much. If he follows through, that will be a step forward, but a small one. As we've said before, private letters between church officials about predator priests usually seem to protect no one except the reputations of those involved. And we're not optimistic about this because even if Bambera writes the strongest possible letter to the Pope, we doubt Francis will act. His track record on abuse cases – both as pope and as archbishop – has been and remains dismal.

Finally, we question Bambera's claim that he “will continue to encourage anyone who may have suspected, witnessed or suffered abuse at the hands of Father Urrutigoity or any other cleric to immediately report this crime to law enforcement.” He has two options. He can passively sit back, do little or nothing to find these people and say the right things if or when one of them step forward. Or he can actively reach out – as we've urged him to do - using church bulletins, parish websites and pulpit announcements - to find these people.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:25 AM

Bistum Limburg: Prüfbericht zu den Bauprojekten auf dem Limburger Domberg veröffentlicht

DEUTSCHLAND
Deutsche Bischofskongerenz

[Summary: The audit report regarding construction projects in the Limburg diocese.]

26.03.2014: Einführende Erläuterungen zum Abschlussbericht über die Prüfung der Baumaßnahmen auf dem Domberg in Limburg PDF (32,40 KB)

26.03.2014: Abschlussbericht der Prüfkommission über die Baumaßnahme auf dem Domberg in Limburg

Nach der heute bekannt gewordenen Entscheidung des Heiligen Stuhls zur Situation im Bistum Limburg und der Erklärung des Vorsitzenden der Deutschen Bischofskonferenz, Kardinal Reinhard Marx, wird jetzt der „Abschlussbericht über die externe kirchliche Prüfung der Baumaßnahme auf dem Domberg in Limburg“ veröffentlicht.

Die vom Bischof von Limburg beim Vorsitzenden der Deutschen Bischofskonferenz erbetene Prüfungskommission hatte ihre Arbeit im Oktober 2013 aufgenommen. Auftrag der Kommission war es, die Kosten, die Finanzierung und die Entscheidungswege aufzuzeigen, die den Bauprojekten zu Grunde liegen. Der Bericht der Prüfungskommission unter Vorsitz von Weihbischof Manfred Grothe (Paderborn) wurde Ende Februar 2014 zunächst dem damaligen Vorsitzenden der Deutschen Bischofskonferenz, Erzbischof Dr. Robert Zollitsch, übergeben. Ebenso erhielt der Bischof von Limburg, Bischof Dr. Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst, ein Exemplar. Am 3. März 2014 überreichten Erzbischof Zollitsch und Weihbischof Grothe den Prüfungsbericht der Bischofskongregation im Vatikan. Dabei bekräftigte Erzbischof Zollitsch die von Kardinal Giovanni Lajolo, Bischof Dr. Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst und Domdekan Dr. Günther Geis im September 2013 getroffene Vereinbarung, dass die Ergebnisse offengelegt würden, sobald die maßgeblichen Beratungen in Rom abgeschlossen seien.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:18 AM

How the ‘Bishop of Bling’ spent $43 million renovating this house

GERMANY
Washington Post

BY TERRENCE MCCOY
March 28

On Wednesday, Pope Francis accepted the resignation of a longtime German cleric who today is known as the “Bishop of Bling.” Francis’s rationale: Bishop Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst, who looks like the pastoral theorist he is, had spent a mind-boggling $43 million on home renovations at his palatial pad in Limburg, Germany.

The revelation, delivered in a 108-page report, created a big time optics problem for Pope Francis who has tried to infuse the Catholic Church with humility. Francis — who met with President Barack Obama on Thursday to discuss “the poor, the marginalized…and growing inequality” — drives a Ford Focus. He also resides in a Vatican guesthouse, and likes to be called the Bishop of Rome, the most modest of his many titles.

Thursday, the Vatican still hummed with gossip. Tebartz-van Elst issued a statement in which he tried to shift blame to his top deputy, Vicar General Franz Kaspar, who he claims failed to oversee his spending habits.

Tebartz-van Elst said he’s not qualified to understand that building things can at times cost money. “As I am not an authority in the area of church management, as my qualification is in pastoral theory, I have to relinquish responsibility to Kaspar, who was the only person with an overarching view of the seat’s assets.”

He claimed, the Local reports, that the lavish expenses were because he had witnessed other construction go wrong. So, he felt he needed to “observe the quality and durability of [this] entire project.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:14 AM

Ior, Gotti Tedeschi al contrattacco

CITTA DEL VATICANO
La Stampa/Vatican Insider

L'ex presidente, prosciolto a febbraio dalla magistratura italiana, annuncia azioni legali contro chi ha «denigrato» la sua «figura umana e professionale»

ANDREA TORNIELLI
CITTÀ DEL VATICANO

La notizia sta nelle ultime righe di un lungo comunicato stampa a firma dei due avvocati Fabio Palazzo e Stefano Commodo: «il dott. Ettore Gotti Tedeschi ha incaricato i propri avvocati, ora che la vicenda è stata chiarita da una ineccepibile indagine della magistratura italiana, di prendere una serie di iniziative in sede giudiziaria per reagire ai numerosi attacchi mediatici tesi a denigrare la propria figura umana e professionale, essendo deciso a dimostrare anche per le vie giudiziali l’infondatezza delle accuse che gli sono state mosse dai Consiglieri al momento della sua estromissione».

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:12 AM

Ior, gip archivia Ettore Gotti Tedeschi. Verso il processo ex manager banca

ROMA
Il Fatto Quotidiano

di Marco Lillo e Valeria Pacelli | 28 marzo 2014

Si chiude la vicenda giudiziaria di Ettore Gotti Tedeschi, l’ex presidente dello Ior, finito sotto inchiesta della procura di Roma per omissioni legate alla violazione della normativa antiriciclaggio, quando guidava la banca vaticana. Il gip lo ha archiviato, accogliendo le richieste dei pm Nello Rossi e Stefano Rocco Fava. E il banchiere potrà prendersi qualche rivincita: ha già incaricato i suoi legali, gli avvocati Fabio Palazzo e Stefano Maria Commodo, di prendere iniziative contro i consiglieri dello Ior che lo sfiduciarono il 25 maggio 2012 accusandolo di “comportamenti erratici e sbagliati” e di “incapacità”.

Gotti Tedeschi ritiene che “il decreto di archiviazione crea le premesse per l’accertamento delle reali motivazioni della sfiducia, in particolare (…) i membri del Consiglio dello Ior che, sfiduciandolo, hanno di fatto creato la situazione per il verificarsi di gravi errori e quindi gravi danni alla Santa Sede. Il Cda – secondo Gotti – ha consentito che si mantenessero i cambiamenti, criticati da Moneyval, della legge antiriciclaggio, anche consentendo indirettamente il ridimensionamento dell’Aif, da indipendente a dipendente da Organi della Santa Sede”.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:10 AM

Probe into former Vatican Bank chief shelved

ROME
Gazzetta del Sud

Rome, March 28 - A Rome judge on Friday upheld a request from prosecutors to shelve an investigation into the former head of the Vatican Bank, Ettore Gotti Tedeschi, over alleged money laundering. In 2010 the probe led in to the freezing of 23 million euros over two cash transfers involving the bank that were deemed suspicious. Gotti Tedeschi resigned from the bank, whose official name is the Institute for Works of Religion (IOR), in May 2012 following a no-confidence vote by the supervisory board, amid reported disagreements on efforts to get the Vatican on the white list of financially transparent countries. The image of the bank has been hit by a series of scandals over the years. Italian banks effectively stopped dealing with the IOR in 2010 after the Bank of Italy ordered them to enforce strict anti-money laundering criteria to continue working with it. From January 1 to February 12 last year the Bank of Italy froze all credit-card and ATM transactions inside the Vatican City over its failure to fully implement international anti-money-laundering standards.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:07 AM

Vatican bank's ousted president accuses board of causing 'grave damage' to the Holy See

VATICAN CITY
Daily Reporter

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
First Posted: March 28, 2014

VATICAN CITY — The ousted president of the Vatican bank has come out swinging, accusing the bank's board of causing "grave damage" to the Holy See by firing him.

Ettore Gotti Tedeschi ended a nearly two-year silence with a statement Friday by his lawyers. It came after a Rome judge threw out a money-laundering case against him by ruling that he had nothing to do with daily operations of the Institute for Religious Works and was in fact working to bring the financial institution into line with international anti-money laundering standards.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:05 AM

Child rights advocates reject Australian cardinal’s apology over Catholic sex abuse

AUSTRALIA
The Raw Story

By Agence France-Presse
Friday, March 28, 2014

Child rights advocates on Friday rejected an apology from Australia’s top Catholic cleric George Pell over sex abuse in the Church, saying it was “hypocritical” and lacked credibility.

Cardinal Pell, who takes up a high-powered job as head of a new Vatican finance ministry next week after being hand picked by Pope Francis, said child sexual abuse was a “terrible blight” on the Church.

In his last sermon before leaving Australia for the Holy See, he acknowledged priests, religious leaders and others linked to the Church had abused those they were supposed to protect.

“I apologise once again to the victims and their families for the terrible suffering that has been brought to bear by these crimes,” he said from the pulpit of Sydney’s St Mary’s Cathedral at a thanksgiving mass on Thursday night.

It followed Pell’s appearance earlier that day at a royal commission into child sex abuse, when he personally apologised to a former alter boy, John Ellis, who fell prey to a paedophile priest.

A spokeswoman for advocacy group Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP), Nicky Davis, said the apologies were “completely hypocritical” and Pell showed no emotion when addressing Ellis.

“His tone was completely flat, there was no emotion, no humanity there … that’s not how you apologise to someone,” she said.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:01 AM

Temple priest arrested for sexually harassing minor

INDIA
The Times of India

SALEM (TN): A septuagenarian temple priest was arrested on Fridday for allegedly sexually harassing a minor girl at the temple premises at a nearby area, police said.

The 73-year-old-man, a widower, sexually harassed the eight-year old girl after yoga class on Thursday evening by inappropriately touching her, they said. The priest was allegedly often in the habit of doing this to other minor girl students.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:59 AM

Rape victims' parents say George Pell vowed to review Church compensation payments

AUSTRALIA
ABC News

LATELINE BY HAMISH FITZSIMMONS

Cardinal George Pell has told the parents of two child sex abuse victims the Church will review its compensation payments, even if it costs hundreds of millions of dollars.

Anthony and Chrissie Foster's two daughters were repeatedly raped in primary school by their parish priest, Father Kevin O'Donnell.

Emma Foster later committed suicide and her sister, Katie, took to binge drinking and was left disabled after being hit by a car.

The Fosters met Cardinal Pell after his appearance at the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse in Sydney yesterday.

Last night's meeting was very different to when the Fosters first met with then Archbishop Pell over a decade ago, when they emerged feeling bullied and scorned.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:56 AM

Salvation Army officer abused girl then married mother, royal commision told

AUSTRALIA
Sydney Morning Herald

March 28, 2014

Paul Bibby
Court Reporter

A woman who was repeatedly sexually abused by a Salvation Army officer from the age of four later watched in horror as her mother married the man, the Royal Commission has heard.

The abuse survivor's mother then kicked her out of the family home, claiming the allegations against her new husband were lies.

The woman, known as JD, said she was first molested by the officer at the age of four, not long after she was formally brought into the Salvation Army through a "dedication ceremony".

About 14 years later, after suffering more abuse at the officer's hands, JD learned the man was about to become her stepfather.

"I remember around Christmas my mother told me that she was going to marry him," the woman, now 40, told the Commission.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:37 AM

Child sex abuse royal commission: Victims tell of anger at Salvation Army over sexual and physical abuse at children's homes

AUSTRALIA
ABC News

By Thomas Oriti

A woman has told an inquiry she was whipped, humiliated and denied basic needs at a Salvation Army children's home in Queensland.

The examination of the Salvation Army by the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse has so far concentrated on abuse at the charity's boys' homes.

Cherryl Eldridge today became the first woman to tell the commission of abuse at the hands of Salvation Army officers, and also criticised the charity's treatment of abuse victims.

She was taken to a children's home at Toowoomba as a six-year-old girl, after being told her parents could not care for her.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:36 AM

Salvation Army boy’s home abuse victim refuses apology, inquiry hears

AUSTRALIA
The Guardian

Australian Associated Press
theguardian.com, Friday 28 March 2014

A man kept in solitary confinement in a boy's home run by the Salvation Army, in which he was made to sleep where he defecated, has vehemently refused to accept an apology for the abuse he suffered, the Royal Commission into Institutional Abuse was told on Friday.

“If I see one of those uniforms come within a metre of me, you'd better be there ... okay, just keep them away from me,” the man said when asked if he would accept an apology from the Salvation Army for the abuse he suffered at the Riverview Training Farm in Queensland in 1971.

“If I see that Gestapo come near me ...,” he added.

The man, identified as JE, spent 12 days at Riverview when he was 15 after he and his brother were transferred from the Westbrook Farm Home for Boys, where they were sent after being arrested for joyriding.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:35 AM

Sacking a bishop isn’t as easy as people think

UNITED KINGDOM
Catholic Herald

By FR ALEXANDER LUCIE-SMITH on Friday, 28 March 2014

That the Vatican has “accepted the resignation of” the Bishop of Limburg – or to put it into real English, given him the sack – is highly unusual.

The Vatican always speaks in an elaborate kind of code which invites interpretation. Bishop Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst will shortly be given a new assignment, we are told, and this new position will undoubtedly be something that sweetens the bitter pill of his removal from Limburg. Moreover, the new job will take care of the question of what to do with one who remains a bishop, even after he has lost his diocese. He will probably be given some quite prestigious but largely ceremonial appointment, in which the city of Rome abounds. (Something similar was done for Bernard, Cardinal Law, though not for Keith O’Brien.)

The sacking of a bishop is quite difficult to achieve if the bishop puts up a fight, as the incumbent has rights in Canon Law, and cannot simply be removed from his diocese without due process. Therefore, one assumes that what has happened here is a series of delicate negotiations which have resulted in the bishop “going quietly”.

Some people would maintain, and they may well be right, that more bishops and other clergy should be sacked by the Pope. But there are many reasons why this hardly ever happens. Think back for a moment to the case of Bishop Gaillot of Evreux, who was removed from post because he was regarded as heterodox. This hardly solved the problem: indeed, it made a martyr out of the bishop and turned the affaire Gaillot into a cause celebre, which was highly damaging to the unity of the Church.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:28 AM

Statement from the NBSCCCI

IRELAND
National Board for the Safeguarding of Children

The National Board for Safeguarding Children in the Catholic Church in Ireland (NBSCCCI) categorically refutes any suggestion that its final report into the diocese of Down & Connor published in December 2013 omitted relevant matters from the audit process as per statements attributed to Mr. Ian Elliott and recently reported in various media. Before his retirement on 30 June 2013, Mr. Elliott participated in field work as part of the audit process and prepared a first draft report which reflected very positively on the diocese of Down and Connor. While preserving its tone, there was a need to augment it with work which had to be undertaken after Mr. Elliott’s retirement and to stress test the contents in order to complete the review in line with the methodology established by the Board.

There were two comments in Mr Elliott’s report which were not detailed in the final report. The first of these related to relationship issues between the Diocese and the Board – which in the assessment of the review team could not be reflected in the final report as such did not fall within the terms of reference. The second comment related to the management of a particular case which the reviewers could not include; in Mr Elliott’s report he referenced abuse of three men by an unspecified priest, he did not make any reference to child abuse in the context of the particular priest involved. Given that adult abuse does not fall within the terms of reference of the work of the Board or the review process and there were no supporting data whatsoever provided by Mr. Elliott in relation to this comment, the particular reference to the priest was removed. The point arising from this case which was made by Mr Elliott, namely, a lack of evidence on all files of recognition and monitoring of risk, risk assessment and risk management/safety plans did remain in the final report and is referenced on pages 12 and 27. That point was based on supporting data examined by the National Board.

For the avoidance of any doubt, Mr Elliott’s initial draft report was positive and the final review report built on that initial draft. The two comments which were removed were removed by the reviewers for wholly legitimate reasons and in accordance with the methodology employed by the National Board in relation to the conduct of such work particularly to ensure that it acts within its terms of reference and its comments and findings are backed up by empirical evidence. The important issue highlighted by Mr. Elliott, which related to the assessment and management of risk, remained in the report while the reference to an unspecified priest was removed.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:25 AM

Church watchdog denies omissions in abuse report

IRELAND
Irish Independent

SHANE PHELAN PUBLIC AFFAIRS EDITOR – PUBLISHED 28 MARCH 2014

THE Catholic Church's child safety watchdog has rejected claims by its former boss that a report into the handling of abuse omitted relevant information.

In a statement, the National Board for the Safeguarding of Children said it categorically denied any suggestion that its report last year on the Diocese of Down and Connor "omitted relevant matters from the audit process".

Earlier this month the board's former chief executive, Ian Elliott, told the Irish Independent that serious concerns he had about the handling of an abuse case were omitted from the report.

He alleged that the diocese blocked the release of information it held about its handling of the case of ex-priest Jim Donaghy, who was jailed for 10 years in 2012 for abusing two altar boys and a trainee priest.

Mr Elliott conducted audit "field work" in the diocese, which covers Antrim, Down and parts of Derry, in May of last year. He retired the following month.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:23 AM

Catholic Church child protection board rejects criticisms of audit by Ian Elliott

IRELAND
Irish Times

Patsy McGarry

Fri, Mar 28, 2014

The Catholic Church’s child protection watchdog, its National Board for Safeguarding Children (NBSC), has said it “categorically refutes” challenges by former chief executive Ian Elliott to its audit of Down and Connor diocese.

The audit was led by Mr Elliott over four days in Down and Connor last May. Earlier this month Mr Elliott said that, as published last December, the audit findings “do not reflect the findings from the fieldwork”.

Concerns

He said that, such were his concerns at what he found last May that, after the first two days there, he met Bishop of Down and Connor Noel Treanor and NBSC chairman John Morgan. “I made them directly aware of the findings,” he said. “I am deeply concerned at attempts by the diocese to attribute that review [audit] to me.” Published on December 10th last, the audit found that the diocese had produced an “excellent result”.

In a statement on its website the NBSC says it “categorically refutes any suggestion that its final report into the diocese of Down & Connor published in December 2013 omitted relevant matters from the audit process as per statements attributed to Mr Ian Elliot. ”

It says that before his retirement last June, Mr Elliott “prepared a first draft report which reflected very positively on the diocese of Down and Connor. While preserving its tone, there was a need to augment it with work which had to be undertaken after Mr Elliott’s retirement and to stress test the contents in order to complete the review in line with the methodology established by the board.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:21 AM

Thus Spake Mungo #120 Pell and Hell

AUSTRALIA
YouTube

Published on Mar 27, 2014

Cardinal Pell's recent appearance in the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse leads Mungo to want to draw his attention to the correlations between criminal law and the Gospel According to St Matthew.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:18 AM

Legal twist pits one diocese against another

MINNESOTA
KARE

[with video]

MINNEAPOLIS - In a case of Catholic Church versus Catholic Church, a clergy sex abuse lawsuit pits one diocese against another.

In a rare legal move, the Diocese of New Ulm is suing another diocese and a religious order, accusing both of sending a priest to New Ulm in the early 1980s without telling the diocese that the priest had long history of being accused of child sexual abuse.

The New Ulm Diocese lawsuit stems from another lawsuit filed in 2013 by a man named in court documents as John Doe 103, who says Markey groped him and his two brothers when Markey was invited to his family's home for dinner in 1982. The man asked that MPR News and KARE-11 hide his face to protect his family. He says at the time of the alleged assaults, Markey was filling in at rural churches in Henderson and Jessenland. John Doe 103's family attended both churches.

"He was at our parish for like seven to ten days and he was in our house for two hours and he abused three people," said John Doe 103 in an interview.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:15 AM

Pastor arrested on child sexual assault charge

COLORADO
Fairfield Citizen

DENVER (AP) — Authorities say a suburban Denver pastor has been arrested on suspicion of sexual assault on a child.

KUSA-TV reports (http://tinyurl.com/nch69px ) 51-year-old Gerald Clark was arrested Wednesday on one count of sexual assault on a child by someone in a position of trust.

No phone number could be found for Clark, and he didn't appear in online jail records. It wasn't known if he had an attorney.

An arrest warrant affidavit says Clark is pastor of Jericho Ministries in Broomfield and previously served at a Westminster church. Jericho Ministries didn't have a working phone number.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:05 AM

Ethics of Cardinal Pell's lawyers under microscope

AUSTRALIA
Illawarra Mercury

By RICHARD ACKLAND March 28, 2014

COMMENT

The joy of commissions, royal or otherwise. In a place where the rules of evidence don't get in the way of finding the truth, a good commissioner or counsel assisting can really fire up the proceedings.

And commissioner Peter McClellan with counsel assisting Gail Furness, at the royal commission into child sex abuse, are on fire.

Over this week there has been a spellbinding display of the moral vacuum at the heart of two mighty institutions - the Catholic Church and the law.

Cardinal George Pell slithered all over the place as he was questioned about the church's conduct in the infamous Ellis case. Everyone else was to blame, his lawyers, his private secretary, the unreasonableness of his litigation opponents.

Because the damage done to victims of child sexual abuse is not necessarily manifest immediately, John Ellis had to apply for an extension to the limitation period so as to bring his civil claim against the church.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:03 AM

Pell to review compensation payments

AUSTRALIA
Sky News

Cardinal George Pell has promised to review compensation payments for Melbourne church abuse victims and has conceded it may cost hundreds of millions of dollars.

Cardinal Pell met with Anthony and Chrissie Foster, whose two daughters were abused by a priest in Melbourne and told them a cap on payments would be eliminated.

He also told them during the meeting, which took place on Thursday after Cardinal Pell completed his evidence to the royal commission into child sexual abuse, the church would review all existing payments.

'I stated that we needed to see the Melbourne cap eliminated, revisiting all the existing claims and in line with civil limits,' Mr Foster told ABC TV.

'I also said to him that this will cost the Catholic Church in Melbourne several hundred million dollars.

'His response was he nodded and said 'yes'.'

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:00 AM

Salvation Army commander accused girl of lying in sex case

AUSTRALIA
Daily Telegraph

SARAH CRAWFORD THE DAILY TELEGRAPH MARCH 29, 2014

A SALVATION army commander asked a woman if she was lying when she revealed years of sexual abuse at the hands of her Sunday school teacher, including being raped at age 10.

Envoy John Lane was sentenced to jail in 1997 for indecently dealing with the woman, known as JG, and abusing another girl, JD, from the age of four at the Fortitude Valley Salvation Army Corps in Brisbane in the 1970s.

The two women went to police after receiving no satisfaction from the head of the Salvation Army in southeast Queensland, Colonel Stan Everitt who asked them: “Are you sure you are not lying?”

The women told the child sex abuse royal commission that Colonel Everitt warned them not to call police or go to the media about Lane.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:59 AM

Visiting nun in Bermuda to discuss sexual abuse

BERMUDA
Royal Gazette

By Jessie Moniz Hardy

Child sex abuse isn’t about sex, it’s about an abuse of power, said a visiting nun who is an expert on bioethics.

Dr Nuala Kenny, a member of the order of Sisters of Charity, is the author of Healing the Church: Diagnosing and Treating the Clergy Sexual Abuse Scandal. She will speak today and tomorrow on several topics include sex abuse within the church.

She was born in New York, but now describes herself as an “adopted Halifaxer”. She joined the Sisters of Charity in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada in 1962 before graduating from Dalhousie medical school in 1972. She became a paediatrician four years later. Having worked in Ontario in the early 1980s, Dr Kenny returned to Halifax in 1988 as a professor and head of the paediatrics department at Dalhousie University and chief of paediatrics at the Izaak Walton Killam Children’s Hospital (now the IWK Health Centre) and later as deputy health minister for Nova Scotia.

“I am a paediatrician by training,” she said. “I am a Roman Catholic Sister who is a doctor. I did paediatrics with special attention to end of life care with children. I also did an extra year of training in paediatric cancer care.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:57 AM

Prayer List: Victims of Church Sex Abuse

UNITED STATES
Christian Post

On Monday Matthew McKelvey plead guilty to abusing two girls sexually and received a 15-year prison sentence.

According to The Des Moines Register, "McKelvey was a youth pastor at the Heritage Assembly Church ... until he lost his job last summer. Church leaders had become aware that McKelvey had violated church policy by being alone with female juveniles, according to a statement from the church on Monday."

Last month protestors in Nigeria opposed a church-run orphanage from relocating because the pastor was accused of abusing two orphans. Vanguard reported, "The protesters demanded that the orphanage be closed until the suspect is acquitted by the court of law."

How often is church sex abuse reported in the United States? More often than most people realize.

Just one insurance company reports more than 200 such claims a year. In 2010 the Denver Post reported, "Wisconsin-based Church Mutual Insurance Co. has 100,000 client churches and has seen a steady filing of about five sexual molestation cases a week for more than a decade, even though its client base has grown."

Prayer List

Pray for the victims of sexual abuse to heal emotionally and physically.
Pray for the victims to receive the emotional support needed while recovering from trauma.
Pray for the perpetrators to stop their abuses.
Pray for justice on behalf of the victims.
Pray for congregations and youth groups that have been damaged by sexual abuse to grow in their faith and relationship with God as it is being tested.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:55 AM

Westminster pastor accused of sexually assaulting child

COLORADO
KWGN

[with video]

March 27, 2014, by Matt Farley

WESTMINSTER, Colo. — A Westminster pastor was arrested this week, accused of sexually assaulting a child who belonged to his church.

Gerald Clark, leader of Jericho Ministries International, was being held on suspicion of sexual assault on a child by one in a position of trust, the Jefferson County District Attorney’s Office said.

Clark allegedly engaged in a pattern of unwanted sexual touching with a member of the church between 2009 and 2012, according to the arrest affidavit. The alleged victim was 13 years old in 2009.

At the time, the teen’s family was very close with Clark and his wife, according to the affidavit. After her family moved out of state in 2009, the girl spent summers and some holidays with the Clarks.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:53 AM

Westminster pastor arrested on child sex charges

COLORADO
9 News

[with video]

WESTMINSTER - A Westminster pastor was arrested Wednesday for alleged sexual abuse of a teenage girl who was a member of his church.

Gerald Clark, 51, was booked on a $20,000 bond. He bonded out Thursday.

According to an arrest affidavit, Clark is the pastor of Jericho Ministries International, which meets at Greenway Club House at 110 Greenway Drive in Broomfield. Clark previously served as a leader of a Westminster church.

The affidavit says the abuse occurred over a period of several years, beginning in 2009. The victim lived with Clark and his wife during the summer months, according to the affidavit.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:51 AM

Westminster pastor, Gerald Clark, arrested on allegations he sexually assaulted girl over 3 years

COLORADO
TheDenverChannel

[with video]

Alan Gathright
11:26 PM, Mar 27, 2014

WESTMINSTER, Colo. - A Westminster pastor has been arrested on allegations he sexually assaulted a girl over a three-year period, starting when she was 13 years old, according to court records obtained by 7NEWS.

Gerald Leroy Clark, 51, was arrested by Westminster police Wednesday on investigation of sexual assault on a child by one in a position of trust, involving a pattern of abuse. He appeared in Jefferson County court Thursday where he was advised of his rights and why he was being held, said District Attorney spokeswoman Pam Russell.

Clark was released from jailed in the afternoon after posting a $20,000 bond.

Clark is pastor of Jericho Ministries International, which initially met at the West View Recreation Center in Westminster, but now holds services at the Greenway Club House in Broomfield, court records state.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:49 AM

Band instructors fired after reports of alleged abuse

MISSOURI
KCTV

By Laura McCallister, Multimedia Producer

KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) -
A Catholic school band teacher and assistant band instructor have been fired after reports of alleged abuse.

A 53-year-old Catholic school teacher is in police custody after he allegedly groped a student's breast on multiple occasions.

In a letter to families, St. Thomas More Elementary Principal Brian Borgmeyer said that a second person at the school is on leave after a separate incident. No charges have been filed.

St. Thomas More School Principal Brian Borgmeyer sent a letter to parents and guardians Thursday saying that Gregg Briggs and Tod Barnard have been fired after both men were placed on leave earlier in the month.

On March 14, the Jackson County Prosecutor's Office filed charges against 53-year-old Barnard after an 11-year-old student said he had groped her chest.

Barnard was charged with two counts of second-degree child molestation and two counts of third-degree assault, all misdemeanors.

Court documents said the student's parents noticed she began exhibiting signs of anxiety about attending band class and they contacted the school when she unexpectedly told them she no longer wanted to participate in band activities. The girl told a counselor that she had been touched inappropriately by the band teacher's assistant on several different occasions as far back as December, a police report stated.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:47 AM

Savile sex fears for Yorkshire schools and children’s home

UNITED KINGDOM
Yorkshire Post

by Rob Parsons and Sam Casey

Published on the 28 March 2014

TWO Yorkshire schools and a children’s home in the region are at the centre of new inquiries into alleged child sex abuse by disgraced presenter Jimmy Savile.

Education Secretary Michael Gove yesterday ordered probes to be carried out at Northways Residential School, Beechcroft Children’s Home and Notre Dame Grammar School.

He said allegations about the shamed Leeds DJ’s connections to 21 schools and children’s homes across the country dating back to the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s were handed to the Department for Education after a review by the Metropolitan Police.

Leeds City Council promised to investigate the allegations at the two city-run institutions named in Mr Gove’s list, but said it was unaware of any sites called ‘Beechcroft Children’s Home’ in the Leeds area.

Northways Residential School, which was based in Clifford, near Wetherby, closed in 1997. Of the three named institutions, only Notre Dame Grammar School, now known as Notre Dame Catholic Sixth Form College in Woodhouse, Leeds, is still running.

John Grady, spokesman for the Diocese of Leeds, which runs the school, said it carried out its own investigation after the revelations first emerged about Savile in 2012. He said it “could find no evidence that Jimmy Savile had any contact with Notre Dame school or any of our [diocesan] children’s homes”.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:45 AM

Claudia Vercellotti commentary: Statute of limitations on sexual abuse needs a fix

OHIO
Columbus Dispatch

Supposedly to give child sex-abuse victims a chance to expose their perpetrators, Ohio legislators passed a unique law in 2007. It's called a “civil registry” for those found in a civil proceeding to have molested kids. There is just one problem: It doesn’t work.

We know this because recently The Dispatch was the first news outlet in seven years to follow up on the measure. It reported that the registry has never once been utilized.

I predicted it never would be because the registry was unfunded, complicated and likely unconstitutional. I also know how child sex-abuse victims think. That’s because I am one. The “ grooming” started when I was 12; the sexual abuse ended when I left for college. For years, I had silently suffered from shame, guilt and self-destructive behavior. And I had shouldered a quiet burden. I believed — and still believe — that if I didn’t speak up and another kid got hurt by the church leader who molested me, I was somehow responsible.

In 1996, I learned the man who assaulted me was still on the diocesan payroll and was taking young girls to the same places where he abused me. Consumed with fear, I went to my bishop in Toledo and painfully spared him no graphic detail. He didn’t tell me that 12 months prior, four other victims had already reported being abused by the same church official. I went to the police but was told that the statute of limitations had expired, and my perpetrator couldn't be criminally charged. Like many, I had no recourse.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:43 AM

American diocese sues Irish diocese for sending them pedophile priest

UNITED STATES/IRELAND
Irish Central

James O'Shea @irishcentral March 28,2014

In an unprecedented legal move a diocese in Minnesota is suing a diocese in Ireland, alleging it sent a priest to Minnesota knowing he was a child abuser.

The New Ulm diocese has filed a lawsuit against the diocese of Clogher, which encompasses four northern Irish counties: Monaghan, Fermanagh, Tyrone and Donegal.

The lawsuit alleges that Clogher sent a pedophile priest, Father Francis Markey, to Minnesota in 1981 without revealing his past. The lawsuit also names the the Servants of the Paraclete religious order.

The New Ulm Diocese says it never would have accepted the Rev. Francis Xavier Markey in 1981 if it had been told about the allegations.

Markey was ordained in Ireland in 1952, but documents in several court cases show he was accused of sexually abusing numerous boys as early as the 1960s, long before he was transferred to Minnesota.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:41 AM

Abuse victims ridicule George Pell's apology

AUSTRALIA
Newcastle Herald

CARDINAL George Pell’s apologies to victims of sexual abuse by priests and others within the Catholic Church have been labelled hypocritical by an advocacy group.

Dr Pell will leave Australia for the Vatican on Monday to take up a new post as chief of the Holy See’s finances after 13 years as the eighth Archbishop of Sydney.

He used his farewell sermon at St Mary’s Cathedral in Sydney on Thursday night to ‘‘apologise once again to the victims and their families for the terrible suffering that has been brought to bear by these crimes’’.

The apology came just hours after Dr Pell appeared at the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse and read out a statement to ‘‘publicly say sorry’’ to former alter boy John Ellis, who was abused by a priest.

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests leader Nicky Davis said both apologies were ‘‘completely hypocritical’’.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:39 AM

Anti-abuse groups dismiss Australia cleric apology

AUSTRALIA
Press TV (Iran)

[with video]

Child rights advocates have dismissed as “hypocritical” an apology from Australia's senior Catholic cleric George Pell over sex abuse in the Church.

Cardinal Pell, who is set to get a job as head of a new Vatican Finance Ministry next week, said on Thursday in his last sermon before leaving Australia for the Holy See that child sexual abuse was a “terrible blight” on the Church.

He also admitted that priests, religious leaders and others linked to the Church had sexually abused those they were expected to protect.

“I apologize once again to the victims and their families for the terrible suffering that has been brought to bear by these crimes,” he added.

Earlier in the day he personally apologized to a former altar boy, John Ellis, who was abused by a pedophile priest.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:36 AM

JOANNE McCARTHY: Moral leadership lacking

AUSTRALIA
Newcastle Herald

By JOANNE McCARTHY March 28, 2014

CARDINAL George Pell has failed as a moral leader. Abysmally and absolutely.

He failed in 2004 and 2005, when he accepted John Ellis’s allegations he was sexually abused by a priest were true, but instructed lawyers to ‘‘vigorously’’ and ‘‘strenuously’’ defend the matter in court.

In Pell’s own words this week to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, from a ‘‘Christian point of view’’ the Church did not deal fairly with Ellis.

He failed again as a moral leader, repeatedly, when the Archdiocese of Sydney issued statements over the years defending the ‘‘key facts’’ of the Ellis case, while failing to mention its ‘‘mean’’ and ‘‘grotesque’’ initial offers of compensation to him under Towards Healing, its rejections of his offers to mediate and settle the action, and pursuit of Ellis over a $500,000 legal costs bill for several years, despite knowing of his fragile emotional state.

Pell failed as a moral leader again this week, when he blamed and minimised, justified and waffled his way through answers to the most basic of questions about what he did and did not do when Ellis turned to the Church with its ‘‘commitment to justice and compassion’’.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:35 AM

Judge warns against delays in Gallup, N.M., bankruptcy case

NEW MEXICO
National Catholic Reporter

Elizabeth Hardin-Burrola | Mar. 28, 2014

GALLUP, N.M. The Gallup diocese is the ninth Catholic diocese in the country to file for bankruptcy protection since 2004, but Judge David Thuma says he doesn't want to see Gallup follow in the contentious path of number eight, the Milwaukee archdiocese.

Thuma, presiding over Gallup's case in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in the District of New Mexico, recently cautioned attorneys in the case to get "to the end zone" and work toward settlement.

"We need to figure out a way to get the minimum facts before the committee and the debtor that they would need to settle this case, and we need to start thinking about how we get a whole lot closer to the end zone, to use a sports metaphor," Thuma said in a Feb. 14 hearing. "Because I don't want this case to be like the Milwaukee case where the debtor says all the money that could have been paid to creditors has been spent on litigation. I would be pretty unhappy if that happens in this case."

It's been more than six months since Bishop James Wall announced the Gallup diocese would file a Chapter 11 petition. He broke the news by instructing priests across this sprawling rural diocese to read his announcement to parishioners during Labor Day weekend Masses.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:32 AM

March 27, 2014

Child sex abuse royal commission...

AUSTRALIA
7 News

Child sex abuse royal commission: Salvation Army victim says he was beaten and held in solitary confinement at Riverview Farm

ABC

BY THOMAS ORITI
March 28, 2014

A victim of child sexual abuse says he was beaten and held in solitary confinement during his time at a Queensland boys' home run by the Salvation Army.

A man known only as JE has told the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse that when he was a young boy he was forced to protect his sisters and mother who were being abused by his father.

His father sent him away, telling a judge JE was out of control.

JE ended up at the Salvation Army's Riverview Farm, south-west of Brisbane, when he was 15 years old in the late 1960s.

The man has told the hearing staff at the home in Ipswich "would have been more suitably engaged in a Middle Ages slavery camp".

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:53 PM

Salvation Army locked boy in room for days without toilet, royal commission told


March 28, 2014
AUSTRALIA
Sydney Morning Herald

Paul Bibby
Court Reporter

A man who was locked in solitary confinement for days without a toilet at a Salvation Army boys home says the organisation's "redress scheme" effectively continued the abuse, likening the organisation's uniformed officers to "the Gestapo".

The man, referred to as JE, told the Royal Commission into child sex abuse on Friday that he was sent to the Riverview boys' home in Queensland in the late 1960s when he was about 15.

"I remember being locked in a small room in solitary confinement with some boys who were wog bashing me," JE said, fighting back tears.

"There was no toilet, not even a bucket ... If you had to go to the toilet, you had to just go and they threw some newspaper to clean it up."

"I had to sleep on the same floor."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:50 PM

Jewish care home named in Jimmy Savile child abuse investigation

UNITED KINGDOM
The JC

By Marcus Dysch, March 27, 2014

Paedophile Jimmy Savile is believed to have abused children at a Jewish care home, it has been revealed.

The Sarah Laski Home, in Crumpsall, Manchester, opened under the auspices of the city's Jewish Board of Guardians in 1953.

It was today named by the government alongside 20 other homes now being investigated for links to Savile.

The home - which later became known as the Manchester Jewish School for Disabled Children - closed in 1974 due to lack of funding and a feeling that it was unable to provide "a family atmosphere".

Education Secretary Michael Gove told Parliament that information about Savile dating back to the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s had been uncovered by police.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:47 PM

Former Kingsport priest seeks appeal of sex abuse conviction

TENNESSEE
Times-News

March 27th, 2014 8:30 pm by MATTHEW LANE

KINGSPORT -- A former Kingsport priest, convicted of sexually abusing an alter boy in the 1970s, is attempting to appeal his conviction to the Tennessee Supreme Court.

William Casey, previously of Greeneville, was convicted in Sullivan County Criminal Court in 2011 of first-degree sexual misconduct and two counts of aggravated rape. Prosecutors charged Casey sexually abused an altar boy shortly after becoming a priest at St. Dominic's Catholic Church in the 1970s.

Casey received a 35-year prison sentence.

During trial, the victim, now in his mid-40s, testified Casey raped him twice — once when he was 13 and once when he was 14 — and performed oral sex on him in his mother's trailer shortly before his 15th birthday. The victim testified he "felt obligated" to reciprocate the act and described feeling powerless to resist a man he believed to be "representative of God on earth."

The victim further testified Casey committed in excess of 50 sexual acts against him when he was between 10 and 16 years of age, with most of the offenses occurring in Sullivan County, but others also taking place in Greene County, McDowell County, N.C., and Scott County, Va.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:45 PM

Abuse victims criticise Pell apology

AUSTRALIA
SBS

AAP

A group representing victims of sex abuse by clergy are unhappy with Cardinal George Pell's apology.

Cardinal George Pell's apology to victims of sexual abuse by priests and others within the Catholic church have been labelled hypocritical by an advocacy group.

Dr Pell will leave Australia for the Vatican on Monday to take up a new post as chief of the Holy See's finances after 13-years as the eighth Archbishop of Sydney.

He used his farewell sermon at St Mary's Cathedral in Sydney on Thursday night to "apologise once again to the victims and their families for the terrible suffering that has been brought to bear by these crimes".

The apology came just hours after Dr Pell appeared at the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse and read out a statement to "publicly to say sorry" to former alter boy John Ellis who was abused by a priest.

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) leader, Nicky Davis, said both apologies were "completely hypocritical".

Ms Davis, who was in the commission's public gallery when he read out his statement, described the cardinal as showing "no emotion".

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:42 PM

UA Fairbanks priest charged with DUI

ALASKA
KTVA

FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) – A 52-year-old Roman Catholic priest who serves in the University of Alaska Fairbanks parish has been placed on administrative leave following his arrest on a driving under the influence charge.

Father Sean P. Thomson also is charged with misdemeanor drug and weapons counts.

The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner (http://bit.ly/1gukD0P) reports Thomson was stopped Monday on the Parks Highway near McKinley Village.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:48 PM

Fairbanks campus priest charged with DUI, drugs and weapons

ALASKA
News-Miner

By Sam Friedman / sfriedman@newsminer.com

Update: This article has been updated to reflect the date of Thomson's next court date.

FAIRBANKS—A University of Alaska Fairbanks parish priest has been arrested on charges of driving under the influence and misdemeanor drugs and weapons offenses.

Father Sean P. Thomson, 52, was stopped Monday at 228 Mile Parks Highway near McKinley Village, according to a criminal complaint filed against him Tuesday. He pleaded not guilty at an initial court hearing and has been released on $5,000 bail. Thomson remains a priest for the Catholic Diocese of Fairbanks but has been placed on administrative leave, said Ronnie Rosenberg, legal coordinator and the director of human resources for the diocese.

Thomson was driving a blue 2002 GMC Sierra pickup truck that was weaving, crossing the center line and speeding 79 mph in a 65 zone, trooper Christopher Bitz wrote in the criminal complaint. Bitz said Thomson seemed disoriented and produced a receipt when asked for his vehicle registration. Asked if he had any weapons, Thomson mentioned a .357 in the back seat but neglected to mention a 9mm pistol in his back pocket, Bitz said. Thomson had a bag with a small quantity of marijuana in the pocket of his hoodie sweatshirt, Bitz said.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:45 PM

Akron-area priest defrocked

OHIO
WKSU

by WKSU's M.L. SCHULTZE

The former priest at more than a half-dozen Roman Catholic parishes in Northeast Ohio has been defrocked.

George Bailey was accused of molesting at least 10 girls in his parishes dating back to the 1960s.

The Beacon Journal is reporting that Bishop Richard Lennon sent a memo to priests through the Cleveland Diocese today that Bailey was stripped of his clerical status after “credible accusations of sexual misconduct.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:41 PM

St. Paul archdiocese gets more time to file documents on abusive priests

MINNESOTA
Pioneer Press

By Emily Gurnon
egurnon@pioneerpress.com
POSTED: 03/27/2014

The Twin Cities archdiocese has gained more time to turn over documents related to priests "credibly accused" of sexually abusing minors, but the depositions of top officials will take place as scheduled.

During a lengthy hearing Thursday in Ramsey County District Court, attorneys in the case of Doe 1 disagreed about whether the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis should be held to a judicially mandated deadline of Monday to turn over certain files that will not be under seal.

Judge John Van de North had ordered church officials to disclose all files by the end of the day Monday relating to 33 priests "credibly accused" before 2004.

But attorneys for the archdiocese said that a wholesale disclosure was impossible -- they said the files contain victim names and information subject to attorney-client privilege. Some of that will need to be designated non-public, they said.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:38 PM

Cardinal George Pell uses sermon to apologise to victims of sexual abuse

AUSTRALIA
The Guardian (UK)

Australian Associated Press
theguardian.com, Thursday 27 March 2014

Cardinal George Pell has used his farewell sermon to offer a frank apology to victims of sexual abuse by "priests, religious leaders and others" within the Catholic church.

The apology, delivered from the pulpit of St Mary's cathedral in Sydney, was dismissed by a small group of protesters, including an alleged victim of church sexual abuse, who were barred from the service and stood outside.

"I apologise once again to the victims and their families for the terrible suffering that has been brought to bear by these crimes," Pell told a mass of thanksgiving on Thursday night.

Speaking to a congregation of several hundred people, Pell acknowledged that child sexual abuse within the Catholic church had caused a "terrible blight".

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:37 PM

St. Paul police to reopen two cases related to Archdiocese investigation

MINNESOTA
KARE

ST. PAUL - The Ramsey County Attorney's Office has asked the St. Paul Police Department to reopen two cases related to its investigation into the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis.

A St. Paul police spokesman confirmed the cases pertain to Archbishop John Nienstedt, and Curtis Wehmeyer, a St. Paul priest serving time in prison for child sexual abuse.

Ramsey County Attorney John Choi announced earlier this month there was insufficient evidence to charge the archbishop, who in December was accused of groping a boy several years ago at a public event.

Nienstedt has denied any wrongdoing.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:35 PM

Former Rochester youth pastor arrested for child porn

MISSOURI
Post-Bulletin

Kay Fate, kfate@postbulletin.com

ST. CHARLES, Mo. — The arrest of a man in Missouri has church officials in Rochester answering questions about their former youth pastor.

Matthew D. Luetke, 35, was associate pastor at Ascension Evangelical Lutheran Church from 2006-2013. He was the youth and evangelism minister and, as such, was also the principal of Precious is the Child Preschool associated with the church.

"It's been a rotten week," said Brian Kom, lead pastor of Ascension Lutheran. He learned of Luetke's arrest in St. Charles County on March 19.

"I received word the day Matt was arrested," Kom said. He called an emergency meeting with the council members and elders of the church to discuss the allegations.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:32 PM

Nieuwe beschuldiging foutief beheer erfenis bisdom

NEDERLAND
Katholiek

door Eric van den Berg - 26 maart 2014

Een tweede grote erfenis zou het aartsbisdom Utrecht niet goed hebben besteed. Dat meldde NRC Handelsblad gisteren. “Tonnen zijn verdwenen uit de nalatenschap”, aldus René Schaepman. “Een nicht berekende dat het miljoenen moeten zijn. Hoe dan ook, dat er geld verdwenen is, en dat het aartsbisdom ten onrechte geld in eigen zak gestoken heeft, staat wel vast.”

Het bisdom kreeg in 1920 het beheer over de nalatenschap van de weduwe Adelaida Schaepman-Ehrhardt. Haar nalatenschap bestond voor 150.000 gulden aan contanten, effecten en sieraden, vier Utrechtse herenhuizen en een boerderij met landerijen in Nieuwegein. Omgerekend naar euro’s van nu een bezit van enkele miljoenen.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:09 PM

Uitkomst intern onderzoek naar Stichting Caritas Moeder Theresa

NEDERLAND
Aartzbisdom Utrecht

[Summary: An investigation was made of the Mother Teresa Charity Foundation and how its funds were used. Since 1995 money from the foundation was intended in particular for victims of sexual abuse.]

Naar aanleiding van de berichtgeving in NRC Handelsblad van 8 maart 2014 over de besteding van gelden uit de Stichting Caritas Moeder Theresa, heeft het Aartsbisdom Utrecht direct een intern onderzoek ingesteld. NRC Handelsblad kwam namelijk met de ernstige aantijging dat het aartsbisdom “een erfenis misbruikt” door een deel daarvan te besteden aan “de kantoorkosten voor de afhandeling van klachten van misbruikslachtoffers.”

Het gaat hier om de in 1995 opgerichte Stichting Caritas Moeder Theresa. Deze stichting is opgericht op verzoek van een erflaatster, met als doel ervoor te zorgen dat, zo mogelijk, de zusters van de congregatie van de Missionaries of Charity, opgericht door Moeder Theresa in Calcutta, in staat worden gesteld in Utrecht te komen werken “voor de meest verlatenen en uitgestotenen van de maatschappij.” De twee bestuursleden van de stichting waren destijds kardinaal Simonis en econoom J.M.Chr. Klok van het Aartsbisdom Utrecht.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:02 PM

Pell's mixed legacy to Australia

AUSTRALIA
SBS

AAP

Cardinal George Pell leaves Australia for Rome having protected the Catholic church's financial assets, but at what cost to the human assets?

Cardinal George Pell leaves behind a legacy his church would be proud of - the net assets of the Sydney archdiocese have increased 86 per cent to $190 million since he took over. Gross assets of the archdiocese are now estimated at $1.2 billion.

As the cardinal explained to the royal commission into child sexual abuse every bishop has an obligation to maintain the patrimony his diocese possesses and not to expend it unless forced to do so.

That means make sure what you inherit stays intact and don't spend it unless you are absolutely forced to by circumstances.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:01 PM

Thank You BUFF!

UNITED STATES
skipshea

Posted on March 27, 2014 by skipshea

Today’s papers report on President Obama visiting Pope Francis saying he is a great admirer of the man. Making it the first time Obama fell for a FOX News PR campaign.
He is even quoted in the Boston Globe as saying; ‘‘Given his great moral authority, when the pope speaks it carries enormous weight’’

The Boston Globe. You remember them, winning that Pulitzer for reporting on clergy sexual abuse.

If you do remember, you may want to remind them. I think they forgot.

The Pope’s latest pat on the back was for forming his Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors. It even included Boston’s Cardinal O’Malley. Another very wealthy man who points to his sandals to prove how humble he is. The focus on the panel will be about healing. Because the best place for a person to heal from abuse is at the hands of the abuser.

Of course at the same time he names Cardinal Pell to head a powerful new department that will oversee the entire management of the Holy See.

Cardinal Pell was notorious for his viscous attacks on abuse victim John Ellis as a way to dissuade other victims from coming forward. Because, well, healing or justice weren’t his top priority. He behavior was so horrible that he was called in front of a commission investigating his actions.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:26 PM

Former Knoxville priest convicted of child rape to appeal to Tenn. Supreme Court

TENNESSEE
WATE

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - Attorneys for a former Knoxville priest convicted of child rape have filed with the Tennessee Supreme Court in an effort to appeal his conviction.

William Casey was convicted in 2011 in Sullivan County of criminal sexual conduct and aggravated rape in a case that dated back to the 1970s.

He was sentenced to a 35-year prison term. The Tennessee Court of Appeals ruled the conviction was not a violation of Casey's right to due process to try his case more than 30 years after the crimes were committed.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:04 PM

New Ulm Diocese Files Suit Against Irish Diocese

MINNESOTA
KEYC

In a rare legal move, the Diocese of New Ulm is suing another diocese.

The lawsuit against the Diocese of Clogher in Ireland and the Servants of the Paraclete religious order claims they sent a priest to Minnesota without warning about past accusations of sexual abuse.

The New Ulm Diocese claims it never would have accepted the Rev. Francis Xavier Markey in 1981 if it had been told about his past allegations.

Markey is accused of abuse in the New Ulm Diocese.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:37 PM

Minnesota diocese sues Ireland diocese over priest accused of sex abuse

MINNESOTA/IRELAND
The Salt Lake Tribune

Associated Press

New Ulm, Minn. • In a rare legal move, a Roman Catholic diocese in Minnesota is suing a diocese in Ireland, alleging it transferred a priest to Minnesota without warning that the man had been accused of sexual abuse.

A report by Minnesota Public Radio News and KARE-TV said the Diocese of New Ulm filed the lawsuit in February against the Diocese of Clogher in Ireland and the Servants of the Paraclete religious order.

In it, the New Ulm Diocese claims it never would have accepted the Rev. Francis Xavier Markey in 1981 if it had been told about the allegations against him.

Markey was ordained in Ireland in 1952, and documents in several court cases show he was accused of sexually abusing boys as early as the 1960s. The documents also show he had gone to treatment before coming to the U.S., and also received treatment at a Paraclete facility in New Mexico.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:32 PM

Rare legal twist pits one diocese against another

MINNESOTA/IRELAND
Minnesota Public Radio

Trisha Volpe St. Paul, Minn. Mar 27, 2014

The Diocese of New Ulm is suing another diocese and a religious order, accusing both of sending a priest to New Ulm in the early 1980s without telling the diocese that the priest had a long history of being accused of child sexual abuse.

In a rare legal move, the diocese filed suit in February against the Diocese of Clogher in Ireland and a religious order known as the Servants of the Paraclete for sending the Rev. Francis Xavier Markey to Minnesota.

Markey became a priest in Ireland in 1952. Documents filed in several court cases show that he was accused of sexually abusing young boys as far back as the 1960s, and received treatment several times in Ireland and England before coming to the United States.

The New Ulm Diocese lawsuit stems from another lawsuit filed in 2013 by a man who accuses Markey of groping him and his two brothers at the family's home in 1982.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:30 PM

Ramsey County asks St. Paul to re-open Nienstedt and Wehrmeyer cases

MINNESOTA
MinnPost

By Brian Lambert

I hope someone is keeping a running diagram of which of these cases has been (a) Opened, (B) Closed, (C) Re-opened, or (D) Returned to limbo. Sasha Aslanian of MPR reports: “The Ramsey County Attorney's Office has asked the St. Paul Police Department to reopen two cases related to its investigation into the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis. A St. Paul police spokesman confirmed the cases pertain to Archbishop John Nienstedt, and Curtis Wehmeyer, a St. Paul priest serving time in prison for child sexual abuse.”

And now the New Ulm Diocese is suing … a diocese in Ireland. Says Trisha Volpe of MPR: “The Diocese of New Ulm is suing another diocese and a religious order, accusing both of sending a priest to New Ulm in the early 1980s without telling the diocese that the priest had a long history of being accused of child sexual abuse. In a rare legal move, the diocese filed suit in February against the Diocese of Clogher in Ireland and a religious order known as the Servants of the Paraclete for sending the Rev. Francis Xavier Markey to Minnesota.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:28 PM

SC- BJU should investigate charges re Rev. Gothard

SOUTH CAROLINA
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

For immediate release: Thursday, March 27, 2014

Statement by Cathy Winterfield of SNAP ( 704-207-1300 cathywinterfield@gmail.com )

We are child sex abuse victims who belong to an independent support group called SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests. We are here to help protect the vulnerable and heal the wounded and expose the truth.

We are urging Bob Jones University officials to

–launch an independent investigation into alleged cover-ups of child sex crimes and/or sexual harassment accusations that have surfaced recently against a nationally-known minister, and

–permanently post the names of proven, admitted and credibly accused sex offenders who are or have been at the university on the school's website.

Earlier this month, a prominent Illinois-based Protestant minister, Rev. Bill Gothard, was put on administrative leave after as many as 34 women said that he sexually harassed them. At least four women said that he molested them as youngsters. And Gothard also allegedly hid sexual harassment by his brother, along with Bob Jones officials, according to a recent Washington Post article.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:58 PM

Many Voices Try to Shape Pope Francis-Obama Meeting

UNITED STATES
The Wall Street Journal

By
TAMARA AUDI
March 26, 2014

In anticipation of Pope Francis' Thursday meeting with President Barack Obama, activist Judie Brown sent the pontiff an unsolicited 12-page memo that detailed what she said is the administration's hostility toward the church on issues such as abortion and contraception.

The meeting also spurred 10-year-old Jersey Vargas to travel to Rome from Los Angeles to ask the pope to help her and other American children of undocumented immigrants by supporting changes to U.S. immigration law.

And a group critical of the church's handling of priest sex-abuse cases wants the president to push Pope Francis to get tougher on the issue.

As this president and this pope meet for the first time, in Vatican City, America's Roman Catholics are clamoring to influence the agenda, lobbying both men on issues from immigration to health care. While meetings between popes and presidents are largely symbolic, some activists see this one as a chance to gain traction on several issues that are coming to the fore, at a time when the American church grapples with demographic and social changes.

Groups pushing to overhaul immigration laws in the U.S. see Pope Francis—the first pontiff from Latin America and one who has largely emphasized poverty and social justice since he was chosen as pope last year—as a receptive audience. Church membership in the U.S., home to an estimated 7% of the world's Catholics, has been boosted largely by immigration from Latin America in recent years. Next week, Cardinal Sean O'Malley of Boston will lead a group of American bishops to the Arizona border with Mexico to pray for migrants who have lost their lives crossing the desert.

"We feel that we finally have a true friend that understands what we're all going through in America with this immigration crisis, and who seriously believes that we urgently need to do something about it," said Juan José Gutiérrez, an immigration-rights activist who traveled to Rome with a group including 10-year-old Jersey.

On Wednesday at the Vatican, Jersey, whose father was in the U.S. illegally and was detained by immigration authorities, worked her way to the front of the crowd after the pope's general audience and asked him to help her family and others like hers, according to a spokeswoman for the Los Angeles Archdiocese, which helped arrange access.

The meeting also comes as the U.S. church clashes with the Obama administration over a provision in the health-care law requiring businesses to provide access to contraceptives to employees, notwithstanding any religious objections that employers might have. The U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments over the issue this week and is expected to rule in late June.

Ms. Brown, the president of the American Life League, a Catholic group that advocates for church positions on contraceptives and abortion, said the contraceptive mandate in the health-care law "is imposed on Christian faith by a government that holds faith in disdain." Ms. Brown, a former member of a pontifical academy on bioethics, said she wasn't asking the pope to raise a specific issue with the president but wanted the pope to have her memo on the administration's stance on birth control and abortion in light of the current debate in the U.S. Supreme Court.

Before the meeting, the pope was to be briefed on the health-care law, both on "positive aspects from the point of view of Catholic social teaching, and the religious freedom" aspect, a person familiar with the plans said. The pope, while focusing on issues other than certain cultural ones, hasn't changed traditional church teachings on those issues and is expected to defend them.

The Vatican said in a statement Wednesday that the meeting would "take place in the context of a complex phase of the administration's relations" with the U.S. church on issues such as the health law and gay marriage. The White House said the president would look "forward to discussing with Pope Francis their shared commitment to fighting poverty and growing inequality."

A liberal Catholic group, Catholics for Choice, took out a full-page ad in the International New York Times to remind the president that the pope "is not our political leader," said Jon O'Brien, the group's president. "The majority of Catholics believe Pope Francis is leading our church in a positive direction, but the Vatican's draconian rules on sex and sexuality…still do not reflect the real lives of lay Catholics."

Advocates for victims of priest sex abuse are urging Mr. Obama to press the pope for greater church accountability. Last week, the Vatican announced appointments to a new commission to help the church confront the problem.

BishopAccountability.org, which documents sex-abuse cases in the church, sent a letter to Mr. Obama asking him to push the pope to help federal officials track abusive priests who have fled the U.S. "Use your historic meeting…to achieve something of substance," the group wrote in a letter to Mr. Obama.

—Liam Moloney contributed to this article.
Write to Tamara Audi at tammy.audi@wsj.com

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:54 PM

Cultures of cover-up

The Economist

Erasmus

IN MANY international organisations (including the European Union), there are internal tensions caused by different attitudes towards truth-telling. At the risk of dealing in huge stereotypes, it's a commonplace of social anthropology that there are some cultures and sub-cultures that attach high importance to truth-telling and regard telling direct lies as shameful; and others which foster a keen sense of the importance of "saving face" (one's own, or the family's, or the organisation's) and feel it's okay to tell fibs to keep up appearances. Within both Europe and the United States (again, sorry for the stereotype), the latter mindset seems more prevalent in southern regions than northern ones.

A similar cultural fault-line apparently runs through the global Catholic church, and it has affected the response to child abuse allegations. That at least is the implication of some public testimony that Australia's top Catholic cleric has just given, before heading off to Rome to take on a job that will include responsibility for the Vatican's murky finances.

Cardinal George Pell (pictured) told a Royal Commission on child abuse that despite its failings, the English-speaking Catholic world had been ahead of the Vatican in facing up to the fact that terrible abuses had taken place. When such allegations surfaced in the mid-1990s...

...The attitude of some people at the Vatican was that if accusations were being made against priests, they were being made exclusively or at least predominantly by enemies of the church to make trouble and therefore they should be dealt with sceptically. I think there was more of an inclination to give the benefit of the doubt to the defendant rather than listen seriously to the complaints...I think in many ways, the English-speaking world made a significant contribution to the universal church in this area.

It wasn't this part of Cardinal Pell's testimony that grabbed headlines. People were more interested in what he had to say about a specific matter: a former altar boy and sex abuse victim who lost a battle in Australia's court of appeal after it was decreed that the Catholic church was not an entity that could be sued. In his testimony, Cardinal Pell acknowledged that although the church had fought a hard and technically correct legal battle in the case, Mr Ellis had been treated unfairly from a Christian perspective. "From my point of view, from a Christian point of view, leaving aside the legal dimension, I don't think we did deal fairly."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:50 PM

Priest accused of sexual abuse in Akron and Bedford loses clerical status

OHIO
Beacon Journal

By Colette M. Jenkins
Beacon Journal religion writer

George F. Bailey, a Roman Catholic priest who resigned in 1989 as pastor of Medina’s St. Francis Xavier Parish, has essentially been defrocked by the Vatican over sexual abuse allegations dating back to the 1960s in Akron.

On Thursday, priests and deacons throughout the Catholic Diocese of Cleveland received a memo from Bishop Richard G. Lennon, informing them that Bailey “was granted a dispensation from the clerical state” by the Holy See.

“In response to credible accusations of sexual misconduct involving a minor, George Bailey requested a dispensation from the clerical state for the good of the church. Dispensation from the clerical state means that in accordance with Canon Law, George Bailey is unable to function in any capacity as a priest anywhere, with the exception of offering absolution to those in danger of death,” the memo read.
Bailey, 76, severed ties with the local diocese when he resigned in 1989 and diocesan officials have no record of his whereabouts.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:47 PM

Pell ‘shows sociopathic lack of empathy’

AUSTRALIA
Echo Netdaily

Sydney [AAP]

Cardinal George Pell insists he acted truthfully when he instructed lawyers to vigorously dispute the claims of a sexually abused former altar boy in court, even though he knew the claims were true.

Dr Pell, appearing before the royal commission into child sexual abuse, admitted the Catholic church did not deal fairly with victim John Ellis ‘from a Christian point of view’, but in a legal sense it did nothing improper.

He said he defended the Ellis case vigorously to discourage other complainants from going to court, revealing he was worried that payments for abuse cases in the US sent some churches bankrupt and he wanted to ensure similar situations could not occur in Australia.

At the end of his second day of evidence to the commission, Dr Pell’s admissions were condemned by victims’ families.

‘We’ve seen a sociopathic lack of empathy this morning from this man,’ said Anthony Foster whose two daughters were raped by a priest in Melbourne.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:45 PM

St. Paul archdiocese gets more time to file documents on abusive priests

MINNESOTA
Star Tribune

Article by: JEAN HOPFENSPERGER , Star Tribune Updated: March 27, 2014

Files on abusive priests are given later deadline, in court action.

The Twin Cities archdiocese was granted more time to produce roughly 60,000 pages of documents related to its priests accused of child sexual abuse, under a ruling in Ramsey District Court Thursday.

The archdiocese, facing a March 31 deadline for producing the files, argued that the scope of the work for the court required considerably more time.

But with sworn testimony by Archbishop John Nienstedt slated for April 2, Judge John Van de North ordered the church to provide all documents related to sex abuse that occurred under Nienstedt’s tenure to be filed with the court by March 31.

The remainder of the documents have a May 30 deadline, he said.

Van de North also set a Sept. 22 court date for the trial to begin.

“We’re pleased,” said attorney Jeff Anderson, who represents an alleged clergy abuse victim identified as John Doe 1. “The judge is requiring them (the archdiocese) to adhere to some deadlines. We’re moving forward on the depositions. We’re going to get some of the files.’’

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:43 PM

CA- Gov. Brown may appoint Catholic defense attorney to bench; SNAP objects

CALIFORNIA
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

For immediate release: Thursday, March 27, 2014

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

General counsel Maria Rullo Schinderle is being considered for a possible judgeship in Orange County. We are disheartened by this potential appointment.

[Orange County Weekly]

[The Worthy Adversary]

Schinderle has worked as the General Counsel/Human Resources Director of the Diocese of Orange since 1998 and played a crucial role in assisting the Diocese of Orange in fighting sexual abuse allegations. In addition, she aided in the cover-up of crimes, did not aid law enforcement, manipulated victims, and consistently displayed moral ambiguity when dealing with child sex crimes.

We hope Governor Brown will reconsider this appointment and nominate someone with a strong moral background. Lawyers who aid in the cover-up of sex abuse crimes do not fit the bill.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:38 PM

Taking a new approach to the Bible this Lent

UNITED STATES
National Catholic Reporter

Renée Schafer Horton | Mar. 27, 2014 NCR Today

Lent is not my favorite time of the liturgical year. I've always been more of an Advent person and never understood some of my fellow Catholics' actual joy during the 40 days preceding Easter. Call me a Lent weakling.

This year, however, I took up a challenge offered by Christian author and speaker Margaret Feinberg to read the New Testament straight through during Lent. I've read the Bible before but never this way. It has given me a purpose during these 40 days that keeps me from focusing on the sugar withdrawals I'm having. So far, doing this Bible journey seems to be working on lots of levels.

One of the great things about reading the New Testament straight though instead of the sliced-and-diced version offered throughout the three-year cycle of Mass readings is seeing, once again, how Jesus is portrayed in each of the Gospels. The scholar notes are particularly illuminating, especially in the Gospel of John, which we've been reading this week.

Two notes regarding the story of Jesus interacting with the Samaritan woman at the well really struck me. The first comes at John 4:27, where the disciples were "amazed" that Jesus was speaking to a woman. The note on that line reads, "Talking with a woman: a religious and social restriction that Jesus is pictured treating as unimportant."

The second comes at John 4:39, which reports that many people from the woman's hometown came to believe in Jesus because of what she told them after her encounter with him. The scholar note on that line reads, "The woman is presented as a missionary."

This story was Saturday's Gospel reading and came on the heels of the news that Pope Francis has appointed the first eight members to the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors, it seemed oddly appropriate. Of the commission's initial members, four are women. More importantly, one of the women is a victim of priestly abuse.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:35 PM

CPS statement on prosecution of former bishop

UNITED KINGDOM
ITV

Statement from Jaswant Narwal of the Crown Prosecution Service, on the decision to charge Peter Ball, former Bishop of Gloucester, with sex offences:

"After a thorough and careful review, I have decided that Peter Ball should be prosecuted for misconduct in public office and two indecent assaults. It is alleged that he sexually abused a number of young males between 1977 and 1992.

"The misconduct alleged is that he misused his position and authority to manipulate and prevail upon others for his own sexual gratification. [...]

"In accordance with the Code for Crown Prosecutors, there is sufficient evidence for a realistic prospect of conviction and it is in the public interest to prosecute."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:33 PM

Former Bishop To Be Prosecuted Over Alleged Sex Offences

UNITED KINGDOM
4 NI

A former bishop is to be prosecuted for alleged sex offences.

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said it was in the public interest to prosecute Rt Reverend Peter Ball, a former bishop of Gloucester and former bishop of Lewes.

Jaswant Narwal, Chief Crown Prosecutor for CPS South East, said: "After a thorough and careful review, I have decided that Peter Ball should be prosecuted for misconduct in public office and two indecent assaults. It is alleged that he sexually abused a number of young males between 1977 and 1992. The misconduct alleged is that he misused his position and authority to manipulate and prevail upon others for his own sexual gratification. During this time Mr Ball was serving as a Bishop in the Church of England.

"In accordance with the Code for Crown Prosecutors, there is sufficient evidence for a realistic prospect of conviction and it is in the public interest to prosecute. Criminal proceedings are now underway and the defendant has a right to a fair trial. It is extremely important that there should be no reporting, commentary or sharing of information online which could in any way prejudice these proceedings."

The charges are:
• Misconduct in public office between 1977 and 1992
• Indecent assault on a boy, aged 12 or 13, in 1978
• Indecent assault on a man, aged 19 or 20, between 1980 and 1982

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:31 PM

Retired bishop faces sex charges

UNITED KINGDOM
Littlehampton Gazette

A retired Church of England bishop who was formerly the Bishop of Lewes is due in court over sex offences and misconduct charges, the Crown Prosecution Service said.

Peter Ball, who had been Bishop of Gloucester and Bishop of Lewes, will be prosecuted for historic offences dating back to 1977.

They include indecent assault on a boy, aged 12 or 13, indecent assault on a man aged 19 or 20, and misconduct in a public office.

Ball, 82, is due to appear at Brighton Magistrates' Court next month.

Jaswant Narwal, chief crown prosecutor for the CPS in the south east, said: " After a thorough and careful review, I have decided that Peter Ball should be prosecuted for misconduct in public office and two indecent assaults.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:30 PM

Peter Ball: Former Bishop of Gloucester to Face Trial for Sex Offences Against Young Boys

UNITED KINGDOM
International Business Times

By Samantha Payne March 27, 2014

A retired Church of England bishop will face trial for allegedly carrying out a string of sex offences against men and boys over 30 years ago, the Crown Prosecution Service announced today.

Peter Ball, 82, formerly the Bishop of Gloucester and Lewes, is charged with indecent assault on a boy, aged 12 or 13, in 1978 and on a man aged 19 or 20 between 1980 and 1982.

Ball also faces charges of misconduct in public office between 1977 and 1992. He will appear at Brighton Magistrates' Court on 10 April.

Jaswant Narwal, Chief Crown Prosecutor for Cps South East, said: "The misconduct alleged is that he misused his position and authority to manipulate and prevail upon others for his own sexual gratification.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:28 PM

Bishop is charged over sex-assault offences

UNITED KINGDOM
Church Times

by Madeleine Davies

Posted: 27 Mar 2014

A FORMER Bishop of Gloucester, the Rt Revd Peter Ball, will be prosecuted for indecent assaults on young men, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) announced on Thursday.

Jaswant Narwal, Chief Crown Prosecutor for CPS South East, said: "It is alleged that he sexually abused a number of young males between 1977 and 1992. The misconduct alleged is that he misused his position and authority to manipulate and prevail upon others for his own sexual gratification. During this time Mr Ball was serving as a Bishop in the Church of England."

Bishop Ball, who is 82 years old, and lives in Langport, Somerset, is charged with misconduct in public office between 1977 and 1992, indecent assault on a boy, aged 12 or 13, in 1978, and indecent assault on a man, aged 19 or 20, between 1980 and 1982 .

Between 1977 and 1992 Bishop Ball was Bishop of Lewes. He became Bishop of Gloucester in 1992 but resigned in 1993, after being formally cautioned by Gloucester Police for "one offence of gross indecency, contrary to the Sexual Offences Act of 1956" (News, 12 March 1993). The offence involved a 17-year-old novice from what was described as "an embryo order". No charges were brought, but a formal caution implies an admission of guilt.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:26 PM

Former Church of England Bishop who describes Prince Charles as a 'loyal friend' charged with sex offences dating back to 1977

UNITED KINGDOM
Daily Mail

By JILL REILLY

A retired Church of England Bishop is due in court over sex offences and misconduct charges, the Crown Prosecution Service said.

Peter Ball, formerly the Bishop of Gloucester and Bishop of Lewes, will be prosecuted for historic offences dating back to 1977.

They include an alleged indecent assault on a boy, aged 12 or 13, indecent assault on a man aged 19 or 20, and misconduct in a public office.

Ball, 82, is due to appear at Brighton Magistrates Court next month.

Ball, former bishop of Lewes and later Gloucester, has connections with Prince Charles whom he has described in the past as a 'loyal friend'.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:24 PM

Former Bishop Peter Ball faces sex offence charges

UNITED KINGDOM
BBC News

A retired Anglican bishop is to be prosecuted for alleged sex offences dating back to the 1970s.

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said it was in the public interest to prosecute the Rt Rev Peter Ball, a former bishop of Gloucester and former bishop of Lewes in East Sussex.

It is alleged Bishop Ball, 82, indecently assaulted a boy aged 12 or 13 and a man aged 19 or 20.

He is due to appear before Brighton magistrates on 10 April.

Bishop Ball is also to be charged with misconduct in public office between 1977 and 1992.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:22 PM

Church of England bishop charged with indecently assaulting two young males

UNITED KINGDOM
The Guardian

Sandra Laville
theguardian.com, Thursday 27 March 2014

A former bishop in the Church of England has been charged with indecently assaulting two young males and abusing his position for his own sexual gratification over a 15-year period.

An investigation by Sussex police into allegations of assault by Peter Ball, the former bishop of Gloucester and Lewes, resulted on Thursday in the Crown Prosecution Service announcing he was being charged.

Ball, 82, is accused of the sexual abuse of a number of young males between 1977 and 1992. Jaswant Narwal, chief crown prosecutor for CPS south-east, said: "After a thorough and careful review I have decided that Peter Ball should be prosecuted for misconduct in public office and two indecent assaults.

"It is alleged that he sexually abused a number of young males between 1977 and 1992. The misconduct alleged is that he misused his position and authority to manipulate and prevail upon others for his own sexual gratification. During this time Mr Ball was a bishop in the Church of England."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:20 PM

Trip To Vatican Opens Doors For Clergy Abuse Documentary

MASSACHUSETTS
PR Web

Boston, Massachusetts (PRWEB) March 27, 2014

Attempting to battle the cover-up, shame and silence of clergy sexual abuse, three survivors from Boston Massachusetts, travel to Rome reaching behind the secret walls of The Vatican. Their week long effort evolves into a decade long mission that exposes mind blowing statistics and unexpected global response.

The unlikely film producer of BASTA is Gary Bergeron, 51, a carpenter by trade, who lives in the greater Boston area. Gary and his brother came forward to their parents in 2002 about their abuse at the hands of a Boston priest. Gary consequently discovered his 77 year old father had also been abused by his priest. “Finding out that two generations of my family had lived with this painful secret was a pivotal moment. Now not only was I a victim of clergy sexual abuse, I was the brother and the son of clergy abuse victims. I decided to do whatever was necessary to insure I would never be the father of a clergy abuse victim. Regardless of the consequences, the Vatican was the next step.” said Bergeron

The documentary is punctuated by a graphic timeline of staggering statistics. The facts are delivered in a way that allows viewers to draw their own conclusions. The audience joins Bergeron, his father and fellow survivor Bernie McDaid, on their initial journey to Rome in a quest for answers and actions, from the Pope, to halt the continuing cover-ups and bring healing to survivors. BASTA documents these simple men’s emotional journey of commitment and determination, men seeking help, hope & aid in healing a nation impacted by the effects of the abuse crisis. A decade into his personal journey for justice, Bergeron learns that success isn’t always defined by achieving a goal, sometimes, it’s defined by the attempt itself, and in that attempt… you may also find out who you are.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:45 AM

NC- Pastor charged with sexual battery, SNAP responds

NORTH CAROLINA
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

For immediate release: Thursday, March 27, 2014

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

A North Carolina pastor has been charged with sexual battery after harassing a woman at a hotel yesterday.

[Fox 8]

It is extremely troublesome when a trusted member of the community is charged with any kind of sexual offense. We hope, although are doubtful, that this was an isolated incidence.

We urge anyone else, who may have been hurt by Pastor Robert Harris to speak up, report to police and start healing. We especially urge any current or former staff or members at his church to call police if they have any information or suspicions that might help them learn more of the truth about this case.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:42 AM

Star Advertiser: Toughen laws against child-sex predators

HAWAII
The Worthy Adversary

Posted by Joelle Casteix on March 27, 2014

From the editorial in today’s Honolulu Star-Advertiser:

Children who are raped, sodomized and otherwise sexually abused must cope with the emotional and physical pain of these heinous acts for the rest of their lives. Just as there is no statute of limitations on the trauma they suffer, there should be no statute of limitations on bringing to justice the criminals who inflict this terror on Hawaii’s most vulnerable victims.

So we applaud the Hawaii Legislative Women’s Caucus’ continuing efforts to make it more difficult for pedophilic predators to get away with sex crimes against minors, and to hold accountable private employers and institutions that are proven culpable in the abuse. However, extending the window to file civil lawsuits in limited instances of past abuse, as bills pending in the Legislature seek to do, strikes us as a relatively minor response.

This important issue deserves a broader approach, especially in the Internet age, when the money to be made producing online child pornography for a sick global market heightens an insidious profit motive for criminals already inclined to exploit minors in this way.

It’s fair to say that American society has had its consciousness raised about childhood sexual abuse over the past several decades, as an abuse scandal engulfed the Roman Catholic Church. Other religious, educational and recreational organizations entrusted with children’s welfare also were found to have harbored predators in their ranks. Unthinkable crimes were uncovered and victims were finally heard, many after decades of silence. Yet, quite often, perpetrators escaped punishment, because the statute of limitations on the crimes had expired.

One legitimate response, including in Hawaii, has been to temporarily lift that time limit, although here that provision is limited to the filing of civil lawsuits, and only against the individuals directly involved and associated private entities proven negligent and therefore partly responsible. The state and its agencies are exempt, a glaring hypocrisy given that compulsory public schools, for just one example, also risk employing sexual predators.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:40 AM

Valencia teacher suspected of ‘inappropriate contact’ with student, more victims sought

CALIFORNIA
LA Daily News

By City News Service
POSTED: 03/26/14

VALENCIA — A 35-year-old teacher at Legacy Academy School in Valencia was arrested today for allegedly having inappropriate contact with a student.

Carl Astrera, of Panorama City, was booked at the sheriff’s Santa Clarita Valley station and is being held in lieu of $20,000 bail, according to the Sheriff’s Department.

Sheriff’s officials said the alleged inappropriate conduct appeared to have occurred over the past 18 months.

Since Astrera has worked at the school for a number of years, investigators said they believe there may be additional victims. Anyone with information was asked to call the sheriff’s Special Victims Bureau at (877) 710- 5273.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:22 AM

UPDATE: Legacy teacher arrested for inappropriate conduct

CALIFORNA
Signal

By Jim Holt
Signal Senior Staff Writer

A teacher at a private Santa Clarita elementary and middle school was arrested Wednesday on suspicion of inappropriate contact with an 11-year-old student, investigators with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department said Wednesday.

Carl Astrera, 35, who lives in Panorama City and has worked at Legacy Christian Academy for years, was arrested by detectives with the department’s Special Victims Bureau, according to a news release issued by the department Wednesday afternoon.

Astrera was arrested after the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office filed one misdemeanor count against him for allegedly annoying/molesting a child.

Astrera teaches computers and information technology as part of the private school’s Enrichment/Exploratory Program, according to the school’s website.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:20 AM

Teacher, 35, Accused Of Inappropriate Contact With Student At Private School

CALIFORNIA
CBS Los Angeles

[with video]

VALENCIA (CBSLA.com) — A 35-year-old Panorama City man is under arrest for alleged inappropriate conduct with a student.

Authorities said they first began investigating Carl Astrera last month.

Astrera is a teacher at the Legacy Christian Academy School located in the 27600 block of Dickason Drive in Valencia.

Officials said Astrera was arrested following a nearly month-long investigation.They said the alleged inappropriate conduct lasted a year-and-a-half.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:18 AM

Valencia teacher accused of inappropriate contact with student

CALIFORNIA
Los Angeles Times

By Robert J. Lopez
March 26, 2014

A 35-year-old teacher at a Valencia Christian school was charged Wednesday on suspicion of inappropriate contact with a student, authorities said.

Carl Astrera is accused of engaging in the inappropriate behavior during the last 18 months at Legacy Christian Academy, the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department said. The school has students from kindergarten throughout 8th grade, according to its website.

Detectives launched an investigation on Feb. 28. Prosecutors charged Astrera Wednesday with one count of annoying/molesting a child, according to the department.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:16 AM

Pell closes with a profuse apology to abuse victim Ellis

AUSTRALIA
The Australian

CARDINAL George Pell has marked the end of his appearance before the royal commission into child sexual abuse with a public apology for the suffering endured by abused former altar boy John Ellis.

Reading from a statement, Cardinal Pell said the church had failed Mr Ellis and, as archbishop, he took ultimate responsibility for the suffering and the terrible impact on his life.

"At the end of this gruelling appearance for both of us at this royal commission, I want to publicly say sorry to him for the hurt caused him by the mistakes made," Cardinal Pell said.

Observers in the room became agitated during Cardinal Pell's statement, with some calling out, "Look at him".

Cardinal Pell kept his eyes down while reading the statement but, after being excused, acknowledged Mr Ellis, who had sat in the front row throughout the hearing.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:11 AM

On sex abuse, asking the right questions

UNITED STATES
dotCommonweal

Mollie Wilson O'Reilly March 25, 2014

The announcement over the weekend of the new Vatican Commission for the Protection of Minors made me think that at least I was asking the right questions at the panel discussion with Cardinal O'Malley last Wednesday. Leadership roles for women? They make up half the membership of this commission (so far), a good start. Will O'Malley be advising Francis on appointments to the commission, or sex-abuse-related policies and priorities? Obviously (as he must have already known).

As for accountability: it's something the commission may (and should) decide to take up. I think Mark Silk has it right. After quoting the Vatican's official description of the commission's duties, he writes:

I would suggest to Boston Cardinal Sean O’Malley, the big dog on the commission, that the key item on this list is “civil and canonical duties and responsibilities.” In the U.S.and many other places around the world, there’s been plenty of attention to education and the discipline of abusers, to say nothing of symbolic acts of ecclesiastical apology. What’s needed are binding and enforceable legal procedures.

All the best practices in the world aren't going to be much help if there's no visible, consistent, appropriate policy for dealing with bishops and others who ignore them. Silk is encouraged by the presence on the commission of Baroness Sheila Hollins, who, he says, "is notable for calling on the Vatican to punish church officials (read: bishops) who fail to implement or enforce church rules on pedophile priests.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:08 AM

Jeff Kennett warned Pell to deal with abuse

AUSTRALIA
WA Today

March 28, 2014

Josh Gordon, Catherine Armitage

Jeff Kennett has confirmed he bluntly warned Cardinal George Pell in the 1990s to resolve allegations of child sexual abuse or possibly face a royal commission.

The former premier said he recalled telling the cardinal to deal with abuse complaints or face significant consequences for the church. But Mr Kennett said he had made no judgment on the adequacy of the response at the time.

''I was reassured that George said 'yes', he'd get stuck into it,'' Mr Kennett said. ''A couple of months later I was told that he had put together a response … and I just assumed that, right, he is on top of it and it's not for me to sit in judgment … of whether the response was adequate or not.''

Cardinal Pell this week admitted he wanted to avoid big damages claims. As a result, he set up the ''Melbourne Response'' to deal with complaints, which included a $50,000 cap on payouts.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:47 AM

Archdiocese agrees to pay more than $1 million to settle sex abuse suit

CHICAGO (IL)
WLS

The Archdiocese of Chicago agreed to pay $1.68 million to $2.1 million to settle a lawsuit that alleged former priest and convicted sex offender Daniel McCormack sexually abused a former fifth grade student at Our Lady of the Westside School, the plaintiff’s attorney announced Wednesday.

The agreement settles a suit brought against the archdiocese and Cardinal Francis George in December, 2011, the Chicago Sun-Times is reporting.

The suit was filed by a male Chicago plaintiff, now 23, who chose to remain anonymous and is identified as John Doe.

It alleged that at various times in the 2000 to 2001 school year, McCormack “inappropriately sexually touched, hugged, rubbed and/or abused” the plaintiff and “maintained a sexually abusive relationship with Doe, under the guise of counseling” him.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:45 AM

Pastor in Gaston Co. charged with sexual battery

NORTH CAROLINA
Fox 8

GASTON COUNTY, N.C. – A pastor in Gaston Co. has been charged with a sexual offense after police say he harassed a woman at a hotel Wednesday.

The woman told police that she was staying in a hotel when a man identified as Robert Harris knocked on her door and asked for sex.

According to WSOC, Harris is listed as pastor of Harriett’s Memorial Freewill Baptist Church in Forest City.

The woman refused his advances and the man left.

He then returned while she was on the phone with police, and they heard Harris make a vulgar request.
The woman then said he tossed a $20 bill at her.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:43 AM

Pastor charged with sexual battery: 'I allowed the devil to motivate my mind'

NORTH CAROLINA
WSOC

[with video]

By Ken Lemon
GASTON COUNTY, N.C. — A Gastonia pastor said the devil led him to a Super 8, where police said he asked a woman for sex.

Officers told Channel 9 that the pastor said he thought the woman was a prostitute and threw a $20 bill at her.

Robert Harris said Wednesday he will tell his congregation that he asked for sex from a woman in a Gastonia motel.

He said he will ask for their forgiveness and it will be up to them to decide if they keep him as their leader

Harris has been the pastor at Harriett Memorial Freewill Baptist Church in Forest City for the past 13 years.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:42 AM

Salvation Army developed 'matrix' to calculate payouts to abuse victims, commission hears

AUSTRALIA
Sydney Morning Herald

March 27, 2014

Louise Hall

The Salvation Army took a "largely litigious approach" towards victims of horrific physical and sexual abuse, especially those who sought compensation payments, a royal commission has heard.

A "matrix" was developed in 2005 to calculate the amounts to be offered to victims based on the age of the child at the time of the abuse, the length of time they spent in Salvation Army run homes, the kind of abuse suffered and impact it had on their lives.

Counsel Assisting the Commission, Simeon Beckett, said ex gratia payments made over the past two decades ranged from $5000 to $150,000, with an average of $50,758.

One claimant, known as EF, who had suffered multiple acts of anal rape by Major Victor Bennett, was offered $11,000.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:53 AM

Salvation Army leader sorry for abuse

AUSTRALIA
Brisbane Times

March 27, 2014

Tony Moore
brisbanetimes.com.au senior reporter

A leader of the Salvation Army has apologised for breaching the ‘‘trust’’ of the community as he launched the Salvation Army’s Red Shield Appeal for 2014 in Brisbane.

Commissioner James Condon told more than 1000 people that he felt "shocked, ashamed and aggrieved" by what he heard at the February hearings of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses into Child Sexual Abuse.

The commission has been told boys were abused - both sexually and physically - while in the Salvation Army’s care.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:51 AM

Abuse accused allowed to rejoin Salvos

AUSTRALIA
The West Australian

BY ANNETTE BLACKWELL
March 27, 2014

A Salvation Army officer who was dismissed for abusing an eight-year-old girl in 1990 was allowed to rejoin, an inquiry has heard.

Three years after he admitted assaulting the girl, Colin Haggar rejoined the army which is only now conducting an internal investigation into his conduct following his forced retirement last year.

The second royal commission hearing into the Salvation Army, which opened in Sydney on Thursday, has also been told that abuse victims who went to the charitable group for help were not always believed.

Simeon Beckett, counsel advising the commission, said victims were offered payments varying between $5,000 and $100,000.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:48 AM

John Ellis surprised by apology from Pell

AUSTRALIA
ABC News

[with audio]

The man at the centre of the landmark legal case involving the Catholic Church says he's surprised by the open and personal apology from Cardinal George Pell. John Ellis has told PM that the last fortnight has been exhausting but the royal commission's scrutiny of the Church's actions has been meaningful.

Transcript

MARK COLVIN: It's been an extraordinary week for the man at the centre of the legal case. Now it's over John Ellis says he was taken aback by the Cardinal's apology.

He spoke to Emily Bourke.

JOHN ELLIS: Well the last fortnight's just been totally draining and now that it's finished, I just feel exhausted is my primary feeling about it.

I think probably what I need to do is just sit back and reflect on some of that. It's very meaningful to have all of the actions that were taken over those years put under scrutiny and to get some answers for the reasons why things went the way that they did.

And I was a bit surprised at the Cardinal's apology at the end, and I'm just not sure how I feel about it. It's better that he's said he's sorry than that he didn't say that, but I just think I need to sit with that.

EMILY BOURKE: What do you think the future is for people like yourself who might be planning on bringing cases to court?

JOHN ELLIS: Well I hope that part of the future is that people don't need to bring their cases to court, that they would be able to have a gentle and more compassionate process that still delivers justice to all parties, but it's a very important part of that and this has been our experience over many years, that people need to have the right to bring actions in court if they can't be sorted out otherwise, and that the Church needs to be told very publicly that it's not above the law and that it's subject to the same principles that apply to any other corporation.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:47 AM

Salvation Army promoted despite a known history of child sex abuse commission told

AUSTRALIA
Daily Telegraph

JANET FIFE-YEOMANS THE DAILY TELEGRAPH MARCH 27, 2014

HE had a history of sexually assaulting little girls but Colin Haggar was promoted to the rank of lieutenant colonel in the Salvation Army, the child sex abuse royal commission has been told today.

The Salvos knew as long ago as 1989 what Mr Haggar had done and dismissed him from their ranks but readmitted him in 1993.

He got to know the first girl he sexually assaulted because her mum worked at the local Salvation Army’s op-shop in a central western NSW town. The girl told her parents what he had done and Mr Haggar met with them.

They were shocked when he told them: “It wasn’t that serious. I only fingered her.”

He has admitted his abuse to the Salvation Army and at one stage even went to the police, accompanied by another Salvation Army officer, Commander James Condon, the current Territorial head.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:45 AM

Pell apologises to John Ellis, denies Church interests are above those of abuse victims

AUSTRALIA
ABC News

[with audio]

During a third day of questioning of Cardinal George Pell at the royal commission, the departing Sydney Archbishop defended the Church's decision to take 'every proper legal defence,' but he conceded the courtroom tactics were hurtful to abuse victim John Ellis. He denied that the Church put its own financial interests ahead of Mr Ellis's needs. But he issued a personal and public apology to the man who first suffered at the hands of an abusive priest and then spent years of his life fighting the Church in court.
pics: child-abuse, catholic, royal-commissions, melbourne-3000, australia

Transcript

MARK COLVIN: The Archbishop of Sydney Cardinal George Pell finished giving evidence at the child abuse royal commission today. But despite his new job in the Vatican, it was au revoir rather than adieu.

And before he went, the Cardinal issued a personal and public apology to the abuse victim John Ellis whose case has dominated events at the commission this week.

It was the Archbishop's third day trying to explain how and why the Church took such a hard line over so many years against Mr Ellis.

Despite the apology, Cardinal Pell defended the Church's decision to take "every proper legal defence". And he denied that the Sydney Archdiocese had put its own financial interests ahead of Mr Ellis's needs.

The commission has also been told that without significant changes to the Church's legal structure and insurance policies, abuse victims will continue to face a labyrinthine process of trying to seek justice through the courts and compensation from the Church.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:42 AM

Ellis surprised by Pell's apology

AUSTRALIA
Daily Telegraph

AAP

A FORMER altar boy preyed upon by a pedophile priest has been surprised by an apology from Cardinal George Pell.

Dr Pell concluded two-and-a-half days of evidence to the royal commission into child sex abuse on Thursday by apologising for what he had described as regrettable mistakes and misunderstandings over years of dealing with John Ellis.

Reading from a statement, Dr Pell said that, as the former archbishop of Sydney and speaking personally, the church had failed Mr Ellis in many ways.

Mr Ellis later said he had been "a bit surprised" by the cardinal's apology.

"I am just not sure how I feel about it," he told ABC.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:40 AM

Cardinal George Pell gives final mass before leaving for Vatican

AUSTRALIA
Sydney Morning Herald

March 27, 2014

Saffron Howden
Reporter

Hours after apologising to the victim of a paedophile priest at the royal commission into child sex abuse, Cardinal George Pell made his final address to the faithful at a mass in St Mary's Cathedral.
Cardinal Pell takes over as head of the Vatican's finances in Rome on Monday after 13 years as the archbishop of Sydney.

Before hundreds of worshippers, including federal and NSW politicians, at a packed mass, he again apologised to the victims of child sex abuse.

"I apologise once again to the victims and to their families for the terrible suffering that has been caused to them by these crimes," he said.

Cardinal Pell said he was "shedding one set of burdens for another" and called on the congregation to stay true to Catholic teachings - and to spread the word by going into politics and reaching out through schools and hospitals.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:37 AM

Chicago Archdiocese Settles Suit Claiming Abuse

CHICAGO (IL)
NBC Chicago

The Archdiocese of Chicago has agreed to settle for $1.68 to $2.1 million a lawsuit alleging former priest Daniel McCormack sexually abused a Catholic school student.

The lawsuit filed against the archdiocese in 2011 alleged that during the 2000-2001 school year, McCormack maintained a sexually abusive relationship with a fifth-grader. The lawsuit also alleged the archdiocese was aware of McCormack's history of sexual misconduct, but chose to place him in a ministry that gave him access to youth.

The plaintiff, who is choosing to remain anonymous, told the Chicago Sun-Times he's pleased with the settlement.

McCormack pleaded guilty in 2007 to abusing five children. He was sentenced to five years in prison and removed from the priesthood. He's currently confined to a state mental health facility.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:35 AM

Cardinal Pell unable to look John Ellis in the eye

AUSTRALIA
Illawarra Mercury

By CATHERINE ARMITAGE March 27, 2014

In his last words at the child sex abuse Royal Commission, Cardinal George Pell apologised to the lawyer John Ellis for "the hurt caused him by the mistakes made, admitted by me and my Archdiocesan personnel".

But he could not bring himself to look at the frail, exhausted Ellis, who sat three metres away.

On Monday the Cardinal takes up a new position in charge of Vatican finances in Rome. He went from the commission to speak to the faithful at Mass at St Mary's Cathedral. So this was, in its way, a farewell to the Australian public.

But Cardinal Pell's request to make a statement from the witness box in the final moments of the twelfth day of the hearing on Mr Ellis' tragic case - "Might I say a few words in conclusion, have permission to, please?" - was refused by the Royal Commission chair, Justice Peter McClellan.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:33 AM

Court won't seal deposition of St. Paul archbishop in priest sex abuse case

MINNESOTA
St. Cloud Times

A Ramsey County judge reasserted Wednesday that Archbishop John Nienstedt's deposition in a case involving former priest Thomas Adamson not be sealed.

"I had no intention of providing a protection order to the depositions coming up. ... I thought that was pretty clear," District Judge John Van de North told attorneys in court for another priest sexual abuse lawsuit.

The Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis had asked Van de North to prevent a plaintiff's attorneys from questioning Nienstedt and his former deputy, the Rev. Kevin McDonough. Van de North denied that request.

In a memorandum filed Monday, the archdiocese asked that those depositions be sealed once completed unless the plaintiff "bring(s) a motion to show good cause as to why such information should be publicly disclosed."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:32 AM

Excarcelan a cura condenado por abuso sexual a menores

ARGENTINA
La Manana de Cordoba

[Summary: Priest Jose Antonio Mercau was sentenced to 14 years is prison for abusing children in Tigre who were between ages 7 and 10.]

El sacerdote José Antonio Mercau fue condenado a 14 años de cárcel en 2011 por abusar sexulamente de menores de entre 7 y 10 años en Tigre. El 11 de marzo pasado fue liberado por la Justicia.

El cura José Antonio Mercau, condenado a 14 años de prisión por abusar de al menos cinco niños que estaban a su cargo en el Hogar San Juan Diego, en Tigre, fue excarcelado "irrazonablemente" por el Tribunal Oral Criminal 7 de San Isidro, denunciaron hoy las Madres del Dolor.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:24 AM

Cardinal O'Malley spills no secrets

NEW JERSEY
The Jersey Journal

By Rev. Alexander Santora/For the Jersey Journal
on March 27, 2014

The panelists were pumping the Prince of the Church about the Pope.

How will the Pope incorporate more women in the Vatican? What is one disagreement you have had with Pope Francis? What is one thing the Pope will do that will outlast him?

Sean Cardinal O’Malley of Boston wasn’t taking the bait. Even when asked whom will the Pope appoint to the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors, O’Malley was tight-lipped. Then three days later, Pope Francis appointed O’Malley as the only cardinal and U.S. resident on the eight-member board. It’s almost certain that O’Malley knew that bit of information last Wednesday, March 19, when he addressed an overflow crowd of 200 at the American Bible Society in Manhattan talking about the first anniversary of Francis’ pontificate. ...

O’Malley took a swipe at the media for elevating dissent in the church that he said was not there. But I think this is precisely why Francis is so popular: he has heard the people clamoring for a more humane church. And it’s taking a very human pope to win over people’s hearts and minds to at least listen, once again.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:21 AM

Child sex abuse royal commission: George Pell publicly apologises to victim John Ellis

AUSTRALIA
7 News

ABC

BY THOMAS ORITI
March 27, 2014

Cardinal George Pell has publicly apologised to a victim of child sexual abuse, saying the Catholic Church failed in its moral and pastoral responsibilities.

The former Archbishop of Sydney was called back to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse in Sydney, to answer more questions about his role in the case of former altar boy John Ellis.

Mr Ellis sued the Church after he was abused by a priest in the 1970s, but lost the case on a technicality in 2007.

Cardinal Pell has previously apologised to the victim in a statement tendered to the royal commission, and today he conveyed that in the hearing room.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:18 AM

Reform needed to stop Church from claiming legal immunity: Lawyer

AUSTRALIA
SBS

By Greg Dyett
Source World News Radio

A lawyer who represented a clergy sex abuse victim who lost his case against the Catholic Church, says changes are needed to ensure the church cannot keep claiming immunity from legal action.

It's known in legal circles as the Ellis defence and it's been used by the Catholic Church in Australia when victims of clergy sex abuse have tried to sue.

This week Australia's most senior Catholic cleric, Cardinal George Pell faced intense cross examination about the Ellis defence at the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse in Sydney.

Former altar boy and sex abuse victim John Ellis tried to sue the Catholic Church trustees and Cardinal Pell.

But in 2007, the New South Wales Court of Appeal ruled the Church's assets are held in property trusts and are protected from lawsuits against clergy sex abusers.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:15 AM

Retired former western Sydney parish priest ...

AUSTRALIA
NEWS.com.au

Retired former western Sydney parish priest Richard St John Cattell appears in court on child sex charges

A RETIRED western Sydney parish priest appeared at Tweed Heads local court this week charged with allegedly molesting and having sex with an altar boy.

Richard St John Cattell — who know lives at Robina on the Gold Coast — was charged with three counts of aggravated indecent acts, including alleged fondling and sex with a minor.

The 73-year-old, flanked by Nyst Lawyers senior associate Ron Behlau and a supporter, did not enter a plea during his brief appearance on Monday.

Mr Cattell’s alleged offences occurred over three years between 1984 and 1987. Court documents show that police allege Mr Cattell touched and fondled the young boy’s genitalia during that period.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:12 AM

Ramsey Co. Reopens Cases Against Archbishop Nienstedt And Fmr. Priest

MINNESOTA
CBS Minnesota

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Prosecutors say they want St. Paul Police to reopen a sexual abuse case against Archbishop John Nienstedt, but not because of any new evidence.

The Ramsey County Attorney’s office said that it doesn’t want reports from the Nienstedt case being made public yet because of other elements that need to be investigated. They say those other elements don’t have anything to do with the archbishop.

A case involving former priest Curtis Wehmeyer was also reopened for similar reasons. Wehmeyer is in prison for child sexual abuse.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:10 AM

Chicago archdiocese settles suit claiming sexual abuse by former priest Daniel McCormack

CHICAGO (IL)
Daily Journal

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

CHICAGO — The Archdiocese of Chicago has agreed to settle for $1.68 to $2.1 million a lawsuit alleging former priest Daniel McCormack sexually abused a Catholic school student.

The lawsuit filed against the archdiocese in 2011 alleged that during the 2000-2001 school year, McCormack maintained a sexually abusive relationship with a fifth-grader. The lawsuit also alleged the archdiocese was aware of McCormack's history of sexual misconduct, but chose to place him in a ministry that gave him access to youth.

The plaintiff, who is choosing to remain anonymous, told the Chicago Sun-Times (http://bit.ly/P2u6BE) he's pleased with the settlement.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:08 AM

Child sex abuse royal commission: Salvation Army abuse victim recalls rape and bashing

AUSTRALIA
7 News

ABC

BY THOMAS ORITI AND SARAH DINGLE
March 27, 2014

A victim of child sexual abuse burst into tears at a public hearing as he recalled being raped by a Salvation Army officer at a boys' home.

The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse heard the man's account at its 10th public inquiry in Sydney.

The new inquiry is set to examine how the charity handled complaints against its staff in the Salvation Army's Eastern Territory from 1993 until now.

The man, known as JF, was nine when heand some of his siblings weresent to the Alkira boys' home in the Brisbane suburb of Indooroopilly.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:06 AM

Forgive you, Father

MONTANA
Missoula Independent

Decades of abuse by the Catholic Church resulted in multimillion-dollar settlements and the bankruptcy of the Diocese of Helena, but it will take more than money to make things right for survivors.

by Jimmy Tobias

On a wall in the St. Ignatius Mission, amid periwinkle panels and gold-colored trim, a large mural depicts a pit of fire packed to the brim with agonized faces paying for their sins. Many of those faces are Native American, their brown complexion framed by black braids, surrounded by fire and brimstone.

"When we were bad, the nuns would bring us to that picture and say, 'This is where you are going to go.' And for me, I would just have nightmares. I believed it," says SuSan Lefthand Dowdall, a member of the Kootenai tribe who attended boarding school at the St. Ignatius Mission for a year and a half as a small child. "So when the incident happened at the powwow grounds, I knew that—I hurt so bad that—you know, my starting to be in hell was starting that day."

Dowdall's hell began one early summer morning in 1963 when school was out and Arlee's annual Fourth of July powwow was about to begin. She was a petite 5-year-old with chubby cheeks and a wide smile. Her parents left her and a little sister at their grandparent's home while they partied at the powwow's beer garden. The next morning, realizing that her mom and dad had not returned, Dowdall and her sister headed to the gathering.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:04 AM

Cardinal Pell formally apologises to victim of paedophile priest

AUSTRALIA
The Guardian (UK)

Australian Associated Press
theguardian.com, Thursday 27 March 2014

Cardinal George Pell read out a formal apology to the victim of a paedophile priest at the royal commission into child sexual abuse on Thursday.

Pell marked the end of his appearance before the commission with a public apology for the suffering endured by former altar boy John Ellis as a result of his treatment by the church.

Reading from a statement, Pell said that, as the former archbishop of Sydney and speaking personally, the church had failed Ellis and that as archbishop he took ultimate responsibility for the suffering and the terrible impact on his life.

“At the end of this gruelling appearance for both of us at this royal commission, I want to publicly say sorry to him for the hurt caused him by the mistakes made,” Pell said.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:03 AM

Child sex abuse royal commission: George Pell publicly apologises to victim John Ellis

AUSTRALIA
ABC News

By Thomas Oriti

Cardinal George Pell has publicly apologised to a victim of child sexual abuse, saying the Catholic Church failed in its moral and pastoral responsibilities.

The former Archbishop of Sydney was called back to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse in Sydney, to answer more questions about his role in the case of former altar boy John Ellis.

Mr Ellis sued the Church after he was abused by a priest in the 1970s, but lost the case on a technicality in 2007.

Cardinal Pell has previously apologised to the victim in a statement tendered to the royal commission, and today he conveyed that in the hearing room.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:01 AM

State forces Church back to its mission basics

AUSTRALIA
Eureka Street

Frank Brennan | 27 March 2014

Prior to Cardinal Pell's appearance before Justice McClellan at the Child Abuse Royal Commission, I wrote in the Fairfax press: ‘The spotlight on the Ellis case should lead to better church administration for the good of everyone, especially those abused or wronged by those in authority. Together, Pell and McClellan can provide us with a better-lit path through the thickets of past abuse and maladministration.’

It has been an excruciating week or two. But there can be no doubt that the Australian Catholic Church with the forced scrutinies of the State has been assisted in getting back to its mission and basic values, espousing truth, justice, compassion and transparency.

As an institution, we have been dragged kicking and screaming. Cardinal Pell has been put through the wringer, though admittedly nowhere near to the same extent as was John Ellis when the Church decided to unleash the legal attack dogs on him in litigation which was euphemistically described as vigorous and strenuous.

In his written statement to the Commission, Cardinal Pell was upfront in apologising again for the sexual abuse which Ellis had undoubtedly suffered at the hands of a priest. Pell wrote, ‘I acknowledge and apologise to Mr Ellis for the gross violation and abuse committed by Aidan Duggan, a now deceased priest of the Sydney Archdiocese. I deeply regret the pain, trauma and emotional damage that this abuse caused to Mr Ellis.’

Under cross examination on Wednesday, Cardinal Pell had to admit that he, his advisers and his staff had fallen well short of the standards expected of a model litigant, let alone a Christian organisation. He finally admitted to the vast chasm between Christian decency and the tactics employed in pursuing Ellis in the courts.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:59 AM

Apology to victim from Cardinal George Pell

AUSTRALIA
Newcastle Herald

CARDINAL George Pell has ended his time before the royal commission into child sexual abuse with a public acknowledgement of the wrongs done to John Ellis, a former altar boy preyed upon by a paedophile priest.

But acknowledging Mr Ellis himself, when he was sitting just metres away, seemed to prove too hard for the cardinal.

Dr Pell concluded two-and-a-half days of evidence to the commission by apologising for what he had described as regrettable mistakes and misunderstandings over years of dealing with Mr Ellis.

Reading from a statement, Dr Pell said that as the former archbishop of Sydney and speaking personally, the Church had failed Mr Ellis in many ways.

"I want to acknowledge his suffering and the impact of this terrible affair on his life," Dr Pell told the commission.

"As the then archbishop, I have to take ultimate responsibility, and this I do.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:56 AM

March 26, 2014

St. Paul police to reopen two cases related to Archdiocese investigation

MINNESOTA
Minnesota Public Radio

Sasha Aslanian St. Paul, Minn. Mar 26, 2014

The Ramsey County Attorney's Office has asked the St. Paul Police Department to reopen two cases related to its investigation into the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis.

A St. Paul police spokesman confirmed the cases pertain to Archbishop John Nienstedt, and Curtis Wehmeyer, a St. Paul priest serving time in prison for child sexual abuse.

Ramsey County Attorney John Choi announced earlier this month there was insufficient evidence to charge the archbishop, who in December was accused of groping a boy several years ago at a public event.

Nienstedt has denied any wrongdoing.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:04 PM

Court won't seal deposition of St. Paul archbishop in priest sex abuse case

MINNESOTA
Pioneer Press

By Emily Gurnon
egurnon@pioneerpress.com
POSTED: 03/26/2014

A Ramsey County judge reasserted Wednesday that the Archbishop John Nienstedt's deposition in a case involving former priest Thomas Adamson not be sealed.

"I had no intention of providing a protection order to the depositions coming up ... I thought that was pretty clear," he told attorneys in court for another priest sexual abuse lawsuit.

The Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis had asked District Judge John Van de North to prevent a plaintiff's attorneys from questioning Nienstedt and his former deputy, Rev. Kevin McDonough. Van de North denied that request.

In a memorandum filed Monday, the archdiocese asked that those depositions be sealed once completed unless the plaintiff "bring(s) a motion to show good cause as to why such information should be publicly disclosed."

Van de North made it clear that he hoped the issue would not be rehashed Thursday morning, when attorneys in the Adamson case return to court.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:58 PM

'It's a mystery to me': George Pell pleads ignorance over abuse case

AUSTRALIA
The Guardian (UK)

David Marr
theguardian.com, Wednesday 26 March 2014

Amazing claims are fine in the pulpit. You expect to hear them any time in a cathedral. But not at a royal commission.

George Pell was being asked to explain how his absolute conviction that John Ellis was abused as a boy by Father Aidan Duggan – a belief based on a five-month investigation by a church assessor – squared with the instructions he gave to contest the abuse in the New South Wales supreme court.

His claim: to dispute is not to deny. “I made it quite clear to the lawyers that we could not deny that an offence had taken place,” he explained. All they did in court was dispute Ellis’s claims, “put the plaintiff to proof”.

So Ellis was cross-examined for four days about the most private details of his life: the abuse, his marriage breakdown and his humiliating sacking by the law firm Baker & McKenzie.

Would it feel any different to Ellis whether his abuse was denied or disputed, wondered the commissioner, Justice Peter McClellan. “We were dealing with Mr Ellis as a senior and brilliant lawyer,” replied the cardinal. “I think he, as a lawyer, would have understood the distinction.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:42 PM

Royal commission: It seems lawyers do the devil's work

AUSTRALIA
Sydney Morning Herald

March 27, 2014

Damien Murphy

''Do you understand now from your learning in the area of the effect and impact of child sexual abuse that the impact it had on John Ellis to have the very church he had gone back to dispute that he had ever been abused?''

The rain outside had streaked the windows with tears when Gail Furness, senior counsel assisting the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse suddenly turned the Catholic Church into a perpetrator.

In the public gallery, Mr Ellis, a man who long ago had been abused by his parish priest, raised a hand to his face like a shield and watched Cardinal George Pell start his penance without reconciliation.

Cardinal Pell, as the former Catholic archbishop of Sydney, had sanctioned a legal strategy that refused to recognise Mr Ellis had been abused, offered him derisory financial compensation, refused his offers of a settlement in the belief it would cause a rush of litigants demanding massive compensation payouts, and subjected him to a long demeaning legal case that eventually left him bankrupt.

Cardinal Pell: ''I regret that.''

Ms Furness: ''Only regret, Cardinal?''

Cardinal Pell: ''What else could I say. It was wrong that it [the court cross-examination of Mr Ellis] went to such an extent. I was told it was a legally proper tactic, strategy.''

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:40 PM

Archdiocese agrees to pay $1.68 to $2.1 mil to settle sex abuse suit

CHICAGO (IL)
Chicago Sun-Times

BY FRANCINE KNOWLES Religion Reporter March 26, 2014

The Archdiocese of Chicago agreed to pay $1.68 to $2.1 million to settle a lawsuit that alleged former priest and convicted sex offender Daniel McCormack sexually abused a former fifth grade student at Our Lady of the Westside School, the plaintiff’s attorney announced Wednesday.

The agreement settles a suit brought against the archdiocese and Cardinal Francis George in December, 2011.

The suit was filed by a male Chicago plaintiff, now 23, who chose to remain anonymous and is identified as John Doe.

It alleged that at various times in the 2000 to 2001 school year, McCormack “inappropriately sexually touched, hugged, rubbed and/or abused” the plaintiff and “maintained a sexually abusive relationship with Doe, under the guise of counseling” him.

It also alleged that the archdiocese was aware of McCormack’s past history of sexual misconduct stemming back to his time in a seminary but chose to place him in ministry service among youth.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:38 PM

ANALYSIS: Pope Francis fired ‘Bishop Bling.’ Will more follow?

UNITED STATES
Washington Post

By David Gibson | Religion News Service, Updated: Wednesday, March 26

The news that Pope Francis fired — or “accepted the resignation of” — the German churchman known as “Bishop Bling” because of his big-spending ways has touched off speculation among Catholics that other dismissals could be in the offing.

Here’s the answer in four words: Perhaps, but probably not.

Recent history shows why: Bishop Robert Finn of Kansas City, Mo., remains in office 18 months after his conviction — and $1.4 million spent on his defense — for failing to report a priest suspected of abuse. Los Angeles Cardinal Roger Mahony enjoys a high-profile retirement in spite of the disapproval of his own successor over Mahony’s abuse record. Similarly, Cardinal Bernard Law, formerly of Boston, is still living a gilded existence in Rome years after he was plucked from the U.S. amid the clergy abuse scandal.

Not to mention Newark, N.J., Archbishop John Myers, who heads his diocese amid questions about his handling of abuse cases as well as pricey additions to his upscale retirement home.

Financially speaking, “Bishop Bling,” Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst of Limburg, Germany, was in a league of his own: He spent some $43 million on a luxurious new residence and office complex while cutting staff.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:33 PM

'Bishop of bling' is out (for now); Pope Francis accepts resignation

GERMANY
Los Angeles Times

By Amy Hubbard
March 26, 2014

The cleric who became known as the "bishop of bling" has been removed from his ministry in Limburg, Germany, thanks to the conspicuously frugal Pope Francis.

The Vatican has accepted Monsignor Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst's resignation, according to news reports. The announcement caps off the controversy swirling around the bishop over the $43 million spent on his residence complex in Limburg.

As the Los Angeles Times' Carol Williams reported in November, Tebartz-van Elst broke the budget for renovations, overspending by 800% on items including a $20,000 bathtub, $620,000 in artwork and $1.1 million for landscaping.

He was placed on indefinite leave in October as a church inquiry was launched. Tebartz-van Elst said the hefty expenditures were actually for 10 projects and there were additional costs because the buildings were under historical protection.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:54 PM

Rücktritte von Bischöfen

DEUTSCHLAND
Europe Online

Rom/Limburg (dpa) - Ob sexueller Missbrauch oder Geheimdienstkontakte - mehrere katholische Kirchenführer mussten nach heftiger Kritik auf ihr Amt verzichten. Beispiele:

Keith O‘Brien, Edinburgh (Schottland): Er legte das Amt des Erzbischofs von St. Andrews und Edinburgh im Februar 2013 nieder. Vorausgegangen waren Vorwürfe, O‘Brien habe sich jungen Priestern in «unangemessener» Weise genähert.

Walter Mixa, Augsburg: Nach wochenlanger Kritik bot er Papst Benedikt XVI. seinen Rücktritt im April 2010 an. Frühere Heimkinder hatten ihm körperliche Misshandlung vorgeworfen, zudem soll er Stiftungsgelder zweckentfremdet haben. Der Vatikan akzeptierte das Gesuch im Mai.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:49 PM

Bischof Tebartz-van Elst muss gehen

DEUTSCHLAND
Sol

Rom/Limburg. Nach monatelangen scharfen Debatten um Amtsführung und Verschwendung des Limburger Bischofs Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst hat der Papst entschieden: Der beurlaubte Bischof darf nicht in sein Amt zurückkehren.

Franziskus stützte sich auf den Prüfbericht einer Expertenkommission, der am Mittwoch veröffentlicht wurde. Demnach trägt der 54-jährige Oberhirte maßgeblich Verantwortung für die Versechsfachung der Kosten für den millionenschweren Um- und Ausbau der Bischofsresidenz in Limburg, weil er kirchliche Vorschriften und Kontrollgremien umging und immer wieder Sonderwünsche hatte.

In der katholischen Kirche wurde die seit langem mit Spannung erwartete Entscheidung des Papstes mit Erleichterung aufgenommen und als Signal für einen Neuanfang gewertet. Der Skandal um Tebartz-van Elst hatte das Bistum zerrüttet und die katholische Kirche in ganz Deutschland in eine tiefe Vertrauenskrise gestürzt, in einigen Regionen traten mehr Gläubige als üblich aus der Kirche aus.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:47 PM

LANDESKIRCHE: NULL-TOLERANZ-LINIE BEI SEXUELLEM MISSBRAUCH

DEUTSCHLAND
Evangelisch-lutherische Landeskirche Hannoversc

[Summary: The Evangelical Lutheran Church of Hannovesr has adopted a policy of zero tolerance of sexual abuse.]

Hannover (epd). Die Evangelisch-lutherische Landeskirche Hannovers verfolgt nach eigenen Angaben im Blick auf sexuellen Missbrauch von Kindern und Jugendlichen weiterhin eine "Null-Toleranz-Strategie". Die Kirche habe das Ausmaß der Prävention in jüngster Zeit erweitert, um einen größtmöglichen Schutz zu erzielen, sagte Oberlandeskirchenrätin Kerstin Gäfgen-Track dem epd. Am Montag hatte die katholische Deutsche Bischofskonferenz bekanntgegeben, Fälle von sexuellem Missbrauch in der katholischen Kirche durch ein interdisziplinäres Forschungsteam aufarbeiten zu lassen.

In der evangelischen Landeskirche sei es in den vergangenen Jahren in der Arbeit mit Kindern und Jugendlichen nur in wenigen Fällen zu sexuellem Missbrauch gekommen, sagte Gäfgen-Track. Inzwischen müssten Mitarbeiter über 18 Jahre, die eine Jugendfreizeit mit Übernachtung leiten, nach Art, Umfang und Dauer der Freizeit ein erweitertes Führungszeugnis vorlegen. "Wir verfolgen die Devise: Lieber ein Führungszeugnis zu viel als ein halbes zu wenig."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:44 PM

Sieben Professoren ...

DEUTSCHLAND
Volksfreund

Sieben Professoren sollen Missbrauch in katholischer Kirche aufarbeiten

[Summary: Although the German bishops are going ahead with a second study of causes of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church, members of We Are Church, a reform movement, said although they welcome the research project they are not sure a study funded by the episcopal conference can filter out the basic causes of abuse that arise of the hierarchical structure and celibate clergy of the church.]

Die katholische Kirche nimmt einen zweiten Anlauf, um den sexuellen Missbrauch in den eigenen Reihen wissenschaftlich aufzuarbeiten. Das hat der Missbrauchsbeauftragte der Deutschen Bischofskonferenz, Triers Bischof Stephan Ackermann, verkündet.

Bonn. Der erste Versuch, den 2010 hochgekochten Missbrauchsskandal in der katholischen Kirche wissenschaftlich aufzuarbeiten, war Anfang 2013 unter gegenseitigen Vorwürfen des damaligen Projektleiters Christian Pfeiffer und der Bischöfe gescheitert. Im zweiten Anlauf haben die Bischöfe nun ein Team aus sieben Professoren mit einem neuen Forschungsprojekt zum sexuellen Missbrauch durch Priester und andere Kirchenverantwortliche beauftragt. Triers Bischof Stephan Ackermann stellte gestern in Bonn das Forscherteam um den Neurowissenschaftler Harald Dreßing vom Zentralinstitut für Seelische Gesundheit in Mannheim vor.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:39 PM

When pope meets president, a ‘reset’ may not be in the cards

VATICAN CITY
Boston Globe

By John L. Allen Jr. | GLOBE STAFF MARCH 26, 2014

Though at first glance the two things may seem utterly unrelated, there’s something oddly fitting about the fact that Pope Francis accepted the resignation of the controversial bishop of Limburg, Germany, just 24 hours before his much-anticipated first meeting with President Barack Obama of the United States.

Bishop Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst became infamous last fall as the “bling bishop” who spent more than $40 million remodeling his own residence. When Francis ousted him in October it was a shot heard round the Catholic world, signifying that the new pope’s call for a “poor church for the poor” was more than mere rhetoric. Today’s formal denouement to the Limburg saga cements that impression.

The impression of a grand alliance on behalf of the world’s poor is, of course, very much at the heart of what Obama would like to get out of tomorrow’s session – both as part of his eventual legacy, and with an eye towards the mid-term elections looming this fall.

It’s tempting to augur that Obama and Francis ought to be able to do business, since both are identified with what Christians call the “social gospel,” meaning concern for the poor and for peace. Obama, who began his career as a community organizer with a group founded with the support of some Chicago Catholic parishes, is a great admirer of the late Cardinal Joseph Bernardin of Chicago, who had a passion for the kind of Catholic social teaching enjoying a renaissance on Francis’ watch.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:56 PM

IL- More clergy sex cases settled vs. archdiocese; SNAP responds

CHICAGO (IL)
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

For immediate release: Wednesday, March 26, 2014

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

Another settlement has been reached in a clergy sex abuse and cover up lawsuit involving the now-defrocked Fr. Daniel McCormack and the Chicago Catholic archdiocese.

[Digital Journal]

It's time for Cardinal Francis George to show real leadership and disclose all his files about the McCormack case. It's time for George to settle these cases quickly so that all of those who were hurt by McCormack can begin moving forward. And it's time for every single person who saw, suspected or suffered crimes by McCormack or cover ups by church officials to step forward, expose wrongdoers, and deter more cover ups.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:51 PM

Salvos back at child abuse inquiry

AUSTRALIA
SBS

AAP

The Salvation Army is set to come under public scrutiny for a second time at the royal commission into child sexual abuse.

The second public hearing by a royal commission into how the Salvation Army handled allegations of child sexual abuse opens in Sydney on Thursday.

The inquiry follows one in January, which revealed extensive abuse at four homes run by the Christian organisation in NSW and Queensland.

Thursday's public hearing will inquire into the policies, practices and procedures of the Salvos eastern territory division between 1993 and 2014, for responding to claims of child sexual abuse at children's homes it operated.

The experience of people who made complaints to The Salvation Army between 1993 and 2014 will be examined in the hearing, which may run for two weeks.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:50 PM

€3m price tag on Magdalene Laundry site

IRELAND
Herald

BY SAM GRIFFIN – 26 MARCH 2014 03:30 PM

THE former Magdalene Laundry in Donnybrook has been placed on sale with a starting price tag of €3m slapped onto the D4 property.

Also on sale is part of an original wing of the Sister's of Charity Convent, who ran the laundry from 1883 until 1992, as well as another adjoining building meaning the total area for sale extends to 0.615 of an acre.

It is expected the laundry and other buildings will be entirely demolished and replaced with high-spec apartments with a huge demand for residences in the Dublin 4 area.

The property was sold to a businessman in 1992 but was operated for over a century by the Sisters of Charity who were gifted the site in 1883 by two lay people. Up to 120 women were accommodated at any one in point in the facility.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:48 PM

Secrets of Bones; Secrets of the Vatican – TV review

UNITED KINGDOM
The Guardian

Sam Wollaston
The Guardian, Tuesday 25 March 2014
...

Secrets of the Vatican (Channel 4) are more sinister ones. When a puff of white smoke signalled that the reforming Pope Francis had been chosen last year it was barely discernable through the black cloud that hung heavily over the Vatican. A cloud of paedophilia and child abuse, corruption, lying and cheating, financial scandal, cover-ups and hypocrisy: the cloud that saw the eventual resignation of Pope Francis's predecessor, Benedict XVI, the first pope to do so for 600 years.

This documentary isn't really breaking anything new. But still, presented and packaged like this, with firsthand testimony – from insiders, victims, investigative journalists and police – it paints an extraordinary and damning picture of a rotten institution. Basically it's The Borgias, Neil Jordan's drama series with Jeremy Irons as Pope Alexander, only in the 21st century and all real. The Church of the Poisoned Mind by Culture Club, if we're still playing suitable soundtracks … We're not? OK, and I'm giving away my enormous age.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:23 AM

Pontifical Sex-Abuse Commission Member Was Also a Victim

VATICAN CITY
National Catholic Register

by EDWARD PENTIN 03/26/2014

VATICAN CITY — A woman who was sexually abused by a clergyman when she was a child is now in a position to prevent similar crimes against the young.

Marie Collins, who was sexually abused by a hospital chaplain in her native Ireland when she was 13, is one of eight experts from eight countries that Pope Francis has chosen to make up the new Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors.

“My appointment to the commission came as a complete surprise,” said Collins. “I felt strongly that survivors should have a voice on this commission, but had no idea I would be asked.”

The newly appointed members, who include Cardinal Sean O’Malley of Boston, four women and two Jesuit priests, will now be tasked with drawing up the commission’s final structure. In a March 22 statement announcing the establishment of the commission, the Vatican said other members will be added from “various geographical areas of the world.”

Giving more details, Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi said the new anti-abuse body would take “a multipronged approach” to promoting the protection of minors, including “education regarding the exploitation of children; discipline of offenders; civil and canonical duties and responsibilities; and the development of best practices as they have emerged in society at large.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:21 AM

Channel Four’s latest documentary on the Vatican ...

UNITED KINGDOM
Catholic Herald

Channel Four’s latest documentary on the Vatican presents the Church as the scarlet woman of ancient propaganda

By FRANCIS PHILLIPS on Wednesday, 26 March 2014

If you put together the words “Secrets”, “Vatican” and “Channel 4”, what do you get? A late night programme heavy on “crime, corruption and cover-ups” as the narrator put it, in which any attempt at objectivity has largely gone out the window. For an hour last night viewers were treated to shots of the majestic interior of St Peter’s and flash pictures of Pope Emeritus Benedict, wearing red vestments, processing wearily down a long corridor, flanked by a posse of senior churchmen. Naturally enough, the subliminal message of this “docudrama” was the Church as the scarlet woman of ancient propaganda, flaunting her pomp and power like a Renaissance court.

Channel 4 built its investigation around three main indictments: the paedophile sex abuse scandal in the Church, in which it focused on the record of the founder of the Legionaries of Christ, Fr Marcial Maciel; homosexual behaviour among Vatican clergy; and the activities of the Vatican Bank. Of the first, it is worth pointing out that the scandal was real enough – the secret double life of a man publicly revered, who was also unfortunately trusted by the late Pope John Paul II – but it is not a new story. As soon as he was elected pope in 2005, Benedict XVI investigated the rumours of scandal surrounding Maciel and as a result ordered him to “embrace a life of prayer and penance”. Channel 4 thought this was letting Maciel off the hook. Actually his fall from grace and public punishment was absolute and the Order he began has been struggling to cope with its founder’s heavy shadow ever since.

Although the programme showed that in this case the Pope acted swiftly to sort out an appalling scandal when he had the power to do so, it did not commend the Church for putting its house in order. It was keen to move on to its second charge: that the Vatican’s personnel is rife with homosexuality. This was the weakest link in Channel 4’s case. It seemed to be based on a single, undercover, rather blurred and grainy film taken at a gay night club in Rome in which we were informed that “half the people at the party were priests.” Unlike the Maciel case no hard evidence was produced; just unsubstantiated insinuations, allegations and sweeping statements such as “many bishops and archbishops are gay” of the kind that would appeal to an evening audience of hostile Rome-bashers.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:18 AM

Pope Francis sacks 'Bishop of Bling.'

UNITED STATES
dotCommonweal

Grant Gallicho March 26, 2014

Today the Vatican announced that Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of Bishop Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst of Limburg, Germany. The bishop was suspended in October, after it came to light that the new residential complex he was building for himself would cost a cool $43 million, including a $20,000 bathtub (cheaper than the $27,000 fine he had to pay for lying under oath), a $35,000 table, and $500,000 wardrobes. Nothing but the best for the man who flew first class to visit the poor of India.

To be sure, $43 million is a lot more than the $500,000 the outgoing Archbishop of Newark is spending to renovate his retirement home. (Take comfort, Newark Catholics, your new bishop is on this. Try to focus on the fact that for a long time Myers was willing to live in the actual city of Newark, which, is, you know, Newark.) And it's still a lot more than the $2.2 million Archbiship of Atlanta is reportedly shelling out for his own residence, on top of another $2.2 million to renovate a rectory (all paid for with a $15 million bequest from the nephew of the author of Gone with the Wind). Newark and Atlanta Catholics may not be quite as offended by their archbishops' reno bills as are their co-religionists in Limburg, but it looks like the pope is really not kidding about wanting a church that is poor and for the poor.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:57 AM

Cardinal George Pell regrets legal strategy used against victim John Ellis

AUSTRALIA
Sydney Morning Herald

March 27, 2014

Damien Murphy

''Do you understand now from your learning in the area of the effect and impact of child sexual abuse that the impact it had on John Ellis to have the very church he had gone back to dispute that he had ever been abused?''

The rain outside had streaked the windows with tears when Gail Furness, senior counsel assisting the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse suddenly turned the Catholic Church into a perpetrator.

In the front row of the public gallery, John Ellis, a man long ago abused by his parish priest, raised his left hand to his face like a shield as Cardinal George Pell began.

Cardinal Pell, as Catholic Archbishop of Sydney, had sanctioned a legal strategy that refused to recognise Mr Ellis had been abused, offered him derisory financial compensation and refused his offers of a settlement in the belief it would cause a rush of litigants demanding compensation payouts and subjected him to a long, demeaning legal case that left him bankrupt.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:28 AM

Francis removes German 'bling bishop'

VATICAN CITY
National Catholic Reporter

Joshua J. McElwee | Mar. 26, 2014 NCR Today

Pope Francis on Tuesday effectively fired a German bishop who had attracted controversy for extraordinary expenses on a new diocesan center, sending a signal that he is willing to oust bishops who do not align with his vision of a "poor church for the poor."

The Vatican announced Wednesday the pontiff had accepted the resignation of Bishop Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst, who had reportedly spent some 31 million euro ($43 million) on a new residence and complex in his Limburg diocese in western Germany while at the same time reducing salaries for staff in the name of financial austerity.

Francis had suspended Tebartz-van Elst from his role in October while the Vatican's Congregation for Bishops studied the matter. Wednesday's statement says the pope on Tuesday decided that the German diocese had "come to a situation that prevents a fruitful exercise of the ministry" of the bishop.

The statement said Tebartz-van Elst will receive another assignment in a "timely manner" and asks the German diocese to "accept the decisions of the Holy See with docility and wanting to commit to finding a climate of love and reconciliation."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:26 AM

Cardinal George Pell’s sex abuse peace offer...

AUSTRALIA
NEWS.com.au

Cardinal George Pell’s sex abuse peace offer: the Catholic Church should pay for bad priests

VICTIMS of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church should be able to sue priests, or their estates if they have died, and the church should pick up the bill, Cardinal George Pell said yesterday in a major shift of attitude.

He told the royal commission he would like some legal clarification on whether that could operate retrospectively, in a move that would finally open up the church’s billions for court-ordered verdicts.

He also pledged to put up as much of the church’s wealth as was needed to fund any government-sponsored compensation scheme that may be set up in the wake of the commission, even if individual sums of $2 million were handed out.

It has been revealed in the commission this week that the Sydney Archdiocese alone controls funds of more than $1.238 billion.

The country’s highest-ranking Catholic, Cardinal Pell has consistently said he believed the church could be held legally liable by the courts for sex abuse claims — despite winning a landmark 2004 case in Sydney that ruled the church was not a legal entity and therefore could not sued.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:24 AM

What we did to victim was unchristian: Pell

AUSTRALIA
The Australian

DAN BOX THE AUSTRALIAN MARCH 27, 2014

CARDINAL George Pell fought a child sex-abuse victim through the courts in order to encourage other victims to "think clearly" about suing the Catholic Church, a royal commission has heard.

The former archbishop of Sydney said yesterday he regrets the way the litigation was handled and had been motivated by a desire to protect the church's trustees, who control its wealth.

During his second full day in the witness box, the cardinal said he had long been concerned that the Australian church might face similar abuse claims to those that had bankrupted several dioceses in North America.

In 2004, he endorsed his lawyers' decision to dispute whether the victim, John Ellis, had ever been abused by a Sydney priest, the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse heard. This was done despite the cardinal having accepted the fact of the abuse, and the resulting court case was "harmful and painful" to Mr Ellis, he said.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:21 AM

Is Jerry Brown Nominating the Orange Diocese's Keeper of Pedo-Priest Secrets as a OC Judge?

CALIFORNIA
Orange County Weekly

By Gustavo Arellano
Wed., Mar. 26 2014

The buzz going around the Diocese of Orange is that California governor Jerry Brown is considering general counsel Maria Rullo Schinderle as a judge. And if ever you needed a laugh, it's in that possibility.

Schinderle has worked for the Orange diocese since 1998, basically at the beginning of the regime of former Bishop Tod D. Brown. She was his point person on how to confront legally pedophilia among his priests, and what to do with all those pesky survivors who wanted justice--and we all saw how good THAT went for county Catholics.

Schinderle is about as qualified to be a judge as I'd be qualified to be John Holmes' stunt double, and Schinderle's foes are righteously up in arms about it. Famed sex-abuse survivor's advocate Joelle Casteix has a lengthy post on the subject enumerating the many reasons why Brown should throw Schinderle's resume in his compost bin, which y'all should read over here. Meanwhile, here's what famed attorney John Manly posted on his Facebook page:

Governor Jerry Brown is trying to appoint Maria Rullo Schinderle, the General Counsel/Human Resorces Director of the Diocese of Orange (1998-2014) as a Superior Court Judge in Orange County. Her name has been submitted to JNE Commission as a nominee by him for consideration. Ms. Schinderle was one of only 2 or 3 individuals in the Diocese of Orange who had access to what the Church called its "secret archives". These files documented the victimization of countless children by priests and worse that many of these pedophile priests were allowed to remain in ministry through 2002 until our clients forced them out through lawsuits. She was actively involved in efforts to dismiss or minimize our clients claims and I have numerous troubling stories about her views on child protection. This is a stunning development and I urge all my friends to call the Governors office and protest this appointment. The number is 916 445 2841. Tell the Governor and his staff that an attorney involved in this type of activity has no business being a judge.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:18 AM

Salvation Army Case Study 10 Hearings: Aletha Blayse Application for Leave to Appear

AUSTRALIA
lewisblayse.net

Posted on March 25, 2014 by lewisblayse

Hi,

I was informed by the Royal Commission today that I will not be required to appear as a witness in the up-coming Salvation Army Case Study 10 hearings.

I’m quite okay with that for a number of reasons.

The first reason is that the Commission’s decision that they don’t need me to appear as a witness indicates to me that the story I have to tell of how my father and my family were treated by the Salvation Army is perhaps nothing particularly new to the Commission. It may even indicate that as badly as we were treated, others were treated even worse and rightfully have priority; if this is the case, it’s more important that these people’s stories be told to the public.

The second is that I have been granted “leave to appear”, even though I don’t actually appear. What this means is that the statement that I wrote for the Commission will be on the public record, so our family’s story (or part of it, anyway) still gets to be told. It’s my understanding that this statement will be available publicly at some point in the future, although perhaps not for a long time – I’m not sure. I’m a little disappointed about the quality of what I wrote, as I was very emotional when I wrote it and it’s a bit incoherent in places. It’s also not as comprehensive an account as I would like to have made, but I was focussing on matters the Commission seemed to be most interested in hearing about when I wrote it. But that doesn’t really matter, as I can write further about such matters whenever I like.

This leads into the third reason that I’m okay with not appearing as a witness. And that is that by being granted “leave to appear”, I get the right to make a formal, written submission to the Commission at the end of the Case Study 10 hearings. This I can write better, and I’m pleased to have the opportunity to make a written submission. I’ve decided to leave off on finishing the “deconstruction” of the Salvation Army response to the first lot of Salvation Army hearings I keep talking about until the conclusion of the Case Study 10 hearings. It will be better informed by what I learn from these hearings.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:15 AM

NJ- Catholic bishop loses abuse ruling; SNAP responds

NEW JERSEY
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Preists

For immediate release: Wednesday, March 26, 2014

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

A judge has ruled that a lawsuit against a predator priest and his church supervisors may move ahead.

[Courier-Post]

We applaud Lisa Syvertson Shanahan, a courageous child sex abuse victims, for continuing to seek justice and winning this important ruling that will help child sex abuse victims across all of New Jersey.

Shame on Camden Bishop Dennis Sullivan for trying to hide behind a legal technicality and deny dozens or even hundreds of child sex abuse victims a chance to expose their predators by attacking the constitutionality of New Jersey's statute of limitations law.

If the bishop thinks that he and his predecessors are innocent – and did not hide or enable the child sex crimes of Fr. Thomas M. Harkins, then let the bishop fight on the merits, not on the technicalities.

Just once it would be so refreshing to see a Catholic official directly address allegations of hiding child sex crimes, and not duck and dodge, using every self-serving legal maneuver imaginable.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:13 AM

Rome- Francis' top financial aide admits intimidating victims; SNAP responds

UNITED STATES
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

For immediate release: Wednesday, March 26, 2014

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

Francis' new pick to head his financial team admits he tried to discourage victims from suing church officials.

[The Guardian]

Here's how a Guardian article begins today:

The “vigorous” defense against abuse victim John Ellis was seen as an opportunity to show future claimants they should think twice before litigating against the Catholic Church, Cardinal George Pell has admitted.

The full article is worth reading.

To many clergy sex abuse victims, Pell's promotion feels like a kick in the gut and another case in which an obvious and egregious church wrongdoer gets rewarded instead of getting punished.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:10 AM

OTHER PONTIFICAL ACTS

VATICAN CITY
Vatican Information Service

Vatican City, 26 March 2014 (VIS) – The Holy Father has:

- appointed Bishop Manoel Joao Francisco of Chapeco, Brazil, as bishop of Cornelio Procopio (area 6,715, population 216,000, Catholics 183,000, priests 38, religious 40), Brazil. He succeeds Bishop Getulio Teixeira Guimaraes, S.V.D., whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese, upon reaching the age limit, was accepted by the Holy Father.

- accepted the resignation from the pastoral care of the diocese of Limburg, Germany, presented by Bishop Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst, in accordance with canon 401 para. 2 of the Code of Canon Law.

Yesterday, Tuesday 25 March, the Holy Father appointed Bishop Nunzio Galantino of Cassano all'Jonio as secretary general of the Italian Episcopal Conference.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:09 AM

COMMUNIQUE ON THE DIOCESE OF LIMBURG, GERMANY

VATICAN CITY
Vatican Information Service

Vatican City, 26 March 2014 (VIS) – The Holy See Press Office today issued the following communique:

“With reference to the administration of the diocese of Limburg in Germany, the Congregation for Bishops has carefully studied the report of the Commission instituted by the bishop and by the Cathedral Chapter to undertake further investigations in relation to the responsibility for the construction of the 'St. Nikolaus' diocesan centre.

Awaiting the diocese of Limburg to ascertain a situation that impedes the fruitful exercise of his ministry on the part of Msgr. Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst, the Holy See has accepted the resignation presented by the prelate on 20 October 2013 and has appointed Msgr. Manfred Grothe as apostolic administrator “sede vacante”.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:07 AM

Rome- Pope ousts extravagant bishop; SNAP responds

UNITED STATES
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

For immediate release: Wednesday, March 26, 2014

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

The pope has ousted an extravagant German bishop. He continues to act to protect church funds but refuses to act to protect vulnerable kids. That may sound harsh but it's true.

[CTV]

One must assume Francis is ousting the “Bishop of Bling” to deter future financial waste. But he does nothing to deter future abuse cover ups.

He's sending a signal to prelates, basically saying “Don't selfishly misuse your power by using church resources to enhance your comfort by building fancy homes.” But he sends no signal to prelates basically saying “Don't selfishly misuse your power by using church resources to enhance your reputation – by hiding clergy sex crimes.”

When it comes to finances and governance, Francis moves quickly and boldly. When it comes to children and crimes, Francis most slowly and timidly.

Every single step Francis takes towards improving the health of church's finances is a painful reminder that he's taking no steps to improve the safety of the church's children.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:04 AM

GA- Church youth director sentenced for child porn; SNAP responds

GEORGIA
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

For immediate release: Wednesday, March 26, 2014

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

Now that a Life Teen International youth director has been sentenced for child porn, the attention shifts from the offender to his employer. What, if anything, is Life Teen International doing to seek out others who may have seen, suspected or suffered child sex crimes by Kevin Hickey?

[Atlanta Journal-Constitution]

It's not enough for church officials to let law enforcement do its job and then pretend it's all over. Life Teen International hired Hickey. By doing so, they gave him access to children. And they gave him respect and credibility. Some of the participants, volunteers and staff in Life Teen International may have been hurt or their loved ones may have been hurt.

And some of the participants, volunteers and staff in Life Teen International may have ignored or concealed some of Hickey's crimes.

Life Teen officials must take aggressive action now to reach out to others who may be in pain and to help police and prosecutors by determining whether any current or former staff might be prosecuted for failure to report suspected abuse, destruction of evidence, intimidation of witnesses, or similar offenses.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:01 AM

Pope Francis is going backward on sexual abuse of children by priests

UNITED STATES
The Kansas City Star

March 25
BY MIKE HUNTER AND DAVID CLOHESSY
Special to The Star

The recent first anniversary of the election of Pope Francis provides an occasion for us to reflect on what he has accomplished in the past year.

Francis has captivated the imagination and inspired the hopes of millions. He has done so by making moves that are more than symbolic — carrying his luggage, washing others’ feet, making “cold calls.” He’s also taken real steps to improve Vatican governance and finances.

And so it’s difficult for us as members of the community of survivors to write: On the church’s central crisis — the cover-up of clergy sex crimes, Pope Francis is moving backward.

It stirs great sadness in us to come to this conclusion, but the facts speak for themselves.

Last August, the pope named a prominent member of the bizarre, scandal-ridden, and cultlike Legion of Christ to the number two position in the Vatican City State.

Pope Francis reappointed Cardinal Gerhard Müller, a known enabler of a convicted pedophile priest, to head the powerful Vatican watchdog office, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF), which oversees the handling of abuse cases for the entire church.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:18 AM

The story of the 'Bling Bishop'

GERMANY
Deutsche Welle

Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of Germany's Bishop of Limburg, Tebartz von Elst, the notorious 'bling bishop' who squandered millions in church funds on an extravagant residence. DW looks back at the case.

What are the allegations?

As early as the beginning of 2012, Limburg Bishop Tebartz van Elst made headlines with a flight to India. He had said that he had flown there to support charity projects to help children in Bangalore, working in quarries. A noble cause, but "Spiegel" magazine soon found some interesting details about the trip: The bishop flew first class. "First class to the slums" was the headline the magazine ran. A trip to the tune of 7,000 euros ($9580), partly paid through bonus miles and the bishops private coffers.

In summer 2013, however, it was the details about the bishop's new residence in Limburg that got him into hot water. Instead of the initial 5.5 million euros, the price tag was rumored to be around 10 million. Several German media began to investigate and came to the conclusion that, in fact, the cost must be even higher than that.

Mass-circulation tabloid Bild revealed the pricelist of a number of special requests by the bishop: 15,000 euros for a freestanding bathtub, 100,000 for a chandelier advent wreath, 450,000 for art objects, 800,000 for a garden and 2.3 million for an atrium. A number of those things, Elst had only asked for late in the construction process so that floors and ceilings that had already been finished had to be torn up again. By now, the cost was estimated to be around 31 million euros, though even this doesn't seem to be the final bill quite yet.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:07 AM

German 'bishop of bling' resigns over spending scandal

VATICAN CITY
BBC News

Pope Francis has formally accepted the resignation of a senior German Church leader suspended over his alleged lavish spending.

The Vatican made the announcement in a statement on Wednesday.

Bishop of Limburg Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst has been accused of spending more than 31m euros (£26m) on renovating his official residence.

The cleric, dubbed the "bishop of bling" by the media, offered to resign when the scandal broke last October.

In response, Pope Francis temporarily suspended Bishop Tebartz-van Elst and instructed a Church commission to investigate the matter.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:59 AM

Manfred Grothe ist Apostolischer Administrator

DEUTSCHLAND
Bistum Limburg

Papst nimmt Amtsverzicht von Bischof Dr. Tebartz-van Elst an

LIMBURG - Weihbischof Manfred Grothe ist Apostolischer Administrator im Bistum Limburg. Diese Entscheidung hat der Heilige Stuhl am Mittwoch, 26. März 2014, bekannt gegeben. Der 74-jährige Weihbischof in Paderborn tritt mit sofortiger Wirkung die Leitung der Diözese Limburg an. Gleichzeitig wurde bekannt, dass Papst Franziskus den Amtsverzicht von Bischof Dr. Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst angenommen hat. Damit beginnt im Bistum Limburg die Sedisvakanz, die Zeit, in der der Bischofsstuhl in einer Diözese nicht besetzt ist. Damit endet auch die Amtszeit von Wolfgang Rösch als Generalvikar und der beiden Bischofsvikare Prälat Dr. Dr. Franz Kaspar und Prälat Dr. Günther Geis. Weihbischof Grothe wird Wolfgang Rösch zu seinem Ständigen Vertreter ernennen. Laut der Mitteilung des Heiligen Stuhls wird Tebartz-van Elst zu gegebener Zeit mit einer anderen Aufgabe betraut.

Gemeinsamen Weg für einen Neuanfang gehen

"Ich danke dem Heiligen Vater für das Vertrauen, das er in mich setzt. Mit der Entscheidung ist eine Phase der Unsicherheit für das Bistum Limburg beendet. Jetzt gilt es im Geist der Offenheit, in Aufrichtigkeit und Barmherzigkeit einen gemeinsamen Weg für einen Neubeginn zu gehen", so Manfred Grothe in einer ersten Reaktion. Die Geschehnisse der vergangenen Monate hätten viele Menschen verletzt. "Als Diözese sind wir nun gefordert, auf das Wort Gottes zu hören und daraus Kraft zu gewinnen, um Verletzungen zu heilen und die Herausforderungen, vor denen wir stehen, anzupacken. Wir werden das Geschehene sorgfältig und umsichtig aufarbeiten und uns dabei natürlich auch auf den Prüfbericht zum Bauvorhaben auf dem Domberg stützen, den eine Kommission unter meinem Vorsitz in den vergangenen Monaten erarbeitet hat", so Grothe.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:58 AM

Pope replaces German 'bling bishop'

VATICAN CITY
Evening Telegraph (UK)

By PRESS ASSOCIATION, 26 March 2014

Pope Francis has permanently removed a German bishop from his Limburg diocese after his 31 million euro (£26 million) new residence complex caused an uproar among the faithful.

Francis had temporarily expelled Monsignor Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst from Limburg in October pending a church inquiry into the affair.

The Vatican has said that the inquiry found that he could no longer exercise his ministry and that Francis had accepted his resignation, which was originally offered on October 20.

A replacement, Monsignor Manfred Grothe, will take over for now, the Vatican said citing a statement from the diocese.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:55 AM

Pope Francis sacks Limburg's 'bishop of bling' after inquiry into €31m refurbishment of residence

VATICAN CITY
The Tablet (UK)

26 March 2014 12:27 by Abigail Frymann

Pope Francis has permanently removed the high-spending Bishop of Limburg following an investigation by the German bishops’ conference.

Rome said on Wednesday that the inquiry found that Bishop Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst could no longer exercise his ministry and Francis had accepted his resignation, which he had offered in October.

Bishop Tebartz-van Elst was dubbed the “bishop of bling” in the media after details of the €31m refurbishment of his residence were reported, sparking outrage from the faithful.

Francis ordered him to take time out from his diocese in October pending the inquiry. In November he admitted to two counts of perjury. He had hoped to return to Limburg.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:52 AM

Germany's "bishop of bling" resigns, Vatican says

VATICAN CITY
Reuters

VATICAN CITY Wed Mar 26, 2014

(Reuters) - The Vatican on Wednesday said it had accepted the resignation of a German Roman Catholic prelate known as the "bishop of bling" because he spent 31 million euros ($43 million) of Church funds on his residence.

Bishop Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst of Limburg was ordered to leave his diocese last October while an investigation and audit into cost over-runs was made. He offered his resignation at the time.

The Vatican said the investigation was completed and that an apostolic administrator, Mons. Manfred Grothe, had been appointed to run the diocese for the time being. Another position would be found for Tebartz-van Elst eventually.

A statement said Pope Francis was asking the faithful of the diocese of Limburg to accept the decision "with docility" and to work to restore what it called a "climate of charity and reconciliation".

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:50 AM

'Bling bishop' Tebartz-van Elst resigns

GERMANY
The Local

Germany’s most controversial clergyman, who earned the nickname the “bling bishop” for spending €31 million on a new headquarters, has resigned from his post.

A statement posted on the Vatican website at midday on Wednesday confirmed the Pope had accepted a letter of resignation from the Bishop of Limburg, Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst.

Tebartz-van Elst was summoned to see Pope Francis in Rome in October last year and was then sent on leave.

But at the time it was unclear how long the 54-year-old would be relieved of his duties for and if he would return.

The bishop caused controversy for spending millions of euros on his new headquarters in Limburg, central Germany, which included a bath that cost €15,000 euros, a conference table for €25,000 and a private chapel that cost €2.9m.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:40 AM

Pope Francis Accepts Resignation of German 'Bishop of Bling' Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst

VATICAN CITY
International Business Times

By Gianluca Mezzofiore March 26, 2014

Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of German Bishop Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst, dubbed the "Bishop of Bling", over a scandal regarding his €31m (£26m, $40m) project to renew a sumptuous diocesan residence in the western small city of Limburg.

Tebartz-van Elst, whose resignation the Pope has accepted, will be given another assignment in due course according to Vatican sources.

The Vatican said an inquiry found that he could no longer exercise his ministry. The pope reportedly said that he hoped that the faithful of Limburg would accept the decision with "docility and willingness to rediscover a climate of charity and reconciliation".

The 53-year-old bishop, who will be replaced by Monsignor Manfred Grothe, indulged on £30,000 for built-in cupboards and carpentry, £83,000 for the windows of the chapel and more than £371,000 on works of art, using revenue from a religious tax in Germany. He even splurged £12,000 for a bathtub, causing indignation in Germany.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:38 AM

Vatican Press Office issues note on resignation of German bishop Tebartz van Elst

VATICAN CITY
Vatican Radio

(Vatican Radio) The Holy See has accepted the resignation of Bishop Franz-Peter Tebarts van Elst of the diocese of Limburg, Germany. A statement issued Wednesday by the Vatican Press office to the administration of the diocese of Limburg , Germany said the Congregation for Bishops has “carefully studied the report of the Commission requested by the Bishop and by the Cathedral Chapter, to undertake thorough investigations about the responsibilities involved in the construction of the Diocesan Centre ‘St. Nikolaus.’”

The statement further acknowledges that the diocese of Limburg has come to “a situation that prevents a fruitful exercise of the ministry of Bishop Franz -Peter Tebartz -van Elst.” The statement says the Holy See has accepted the resignation presented by the Bishop on October 20, 2013, and has appointed a sede vacante Apostolic Administrator in the person of Bishop Manfred Grothe .

The Vatican Press Office states that Bishop Tebartz -van Elst , “in due course will receive another
assignment.”

The statement also says the Holy Father asks the clergy and faithful of the diocese of Limburg to accept the decisions of the Holy See and to commit themselves to rediscovering a spirit of charity and reconciliation.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:34 AM

Holy See accepts resignation of 'gold-plated' Limburg bishop

VATICAN CITY
Gazetta del Sud

Vatican City, March 26 - The Holy See on Wednesday announced it had accepted the resignation of German Bishop Franz Peter Tebartz-van Elst from the Limburg diocese. Dubbed the 'gold-plated bishop' for allegedly spending 31 million euros to remodel his residence next to the cathedral, Tebartz-van Elst was suspended by the Vatican in October, when he tendered his resignation. The Vatican said he is to be assigned a new post. According to some reports, the so-called 'bishop of bling' outfitted his residence with a $20,000 bathtub, $500,000 built-in closets and a $35,000 conference table.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:33 AM

Pope Accepts Resignation of High-Spending German Bishop

GERMANY
New York Times

By MELISSA EDDY
MARCH 26, 2014

BERLIN — Pope Francis on Wednesday accepted the resignation of Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst, the bishop of Limburg, whose extravagant spending on renovations for his personal residence angered his congregation and ran afoul of the pontiff’s message of humility and modesty for the Roman Catholic Church.

The Holy See accepted the bishop’s offer to resign “given that it has come to a situation in the Limburg diocese that prevents Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst from fruitfully carrying out his duties,” the Vatican said in a statement on Wednesday.

German news reports said that Tebartz-van Elst, 54, poured more than 31 million euros, or about $43 million, into the renovation of his residence and other church buildings, including spending €15,000, or about $20,000, on a bathtub, and ordering an expensive reopening of the roof of his personal chapel to allow for the suspension of a cross.

As the allegations and the discontent mounted last fall, the bishop travelled to the Vatican in October and offered the pope his resignation. Francis only suspended him at the time, pending the outcome of an investigation by Germany’s conference of bishops.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:31 AM

Pope Francis Fires German ‘Bling Bishop’

VATICAN CITY
TIME

Sam Frizell @Sam_Frizell

An inquiry into Monsignor Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst's $43 million residence has ended with the Vatican demanding his resignation

Pope Francis has replaced a German bishop whose $43 million new residence complex sparked outrage among Catholics.

The so-called ‘Bishop of Bling,’ Monsignor Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst from Limburg was temporarily expelled during a church inquiry in October, the Associated Press reports. Tebartz-van Elst spent lavishly renovating his residence, including a reported $20,000 on a bathtub and $620,000 on artwork.

That inquiry has now found him incapable of holding his diocese and demanded his resignation, the Vatican said Wednesday.

Tebartz-van Elst will be replaced by Monsignor Manfred Grothe. Tebartz-van Elst will get a new job, said the Vatican, adding that the pope hoped that residents of Limburg would accept the decision with “docility and willingness to rediscover a climate of charity and reconciliation.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:29 AM

Pope accepts resignation of German's 'bling bishop'

GERMANY
Expatica

Pope Francis has formally accepted the resignation of Germany's controversial bishop of Limburg, the Vatican said in a statement Wednesday.

Franz-Peter Terbartz-van Elst, nicknamed the "bling bishop" by the international media, had been under fire for his luxury lifestyle and was indefinitely relieved of his clerical duties by Francis last year.

The Roman Catholic bishop had faced outrage over an ostentatious building project at his official residence, which included a museum, conference halls, a chapel and private apartments, in the ancient town of Limburg in central Hesse state.

The project was initially valued at 5.5 million euros ($7.5 million) but the cost ballooned to 31 million euros, including a 783,000 euro garden and a 15,000 euro bathtub -- using the revenue from a religious tax in Germany.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:27 AM

Pope accepts resignation of Germany's 'bling bishop'

VATICAN CITY
Rappler

BY ELLA IDE, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE
POSTED ON 03/26/2014

VATICAN CITY – Pope Francis has formally accepted the resignation of Germany's controversial bishop of Limburg, who had come under fire for his luxury lifestyle.

Franz-Peter Terbartz-van Elst, nicknamed the "bling bishop" by the international media, had been indefinitely relieved of his clerical duties by Francis last year after details emerged of his high-roller lifestyle.

The Roman Catholic bishop had faced outrage over an ostentatious building project at his official residence, which included a museum, conference halls, a chapel and private apartments, in the ancient town of Limburg in central Hesse state.

The project was initially valued at 5.5 million euros ($7.5 million) but the cost ballooned to 31 million euros, including a 783,000 euro garden and a 15,000 euro bathtub – using the revenue from a religious tax in Germany.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:24 AM

Pope removes German 'bling bishop' after inquiry into $43M residence

VATICAN CITY
CTV

Nicole Winfield, The Associated Press
Published Wednesday, March 26, 2014

VATICAN CITY -- Pope Francis on Wednesday permanently removed a German bishop from his Limburg diocese after his $43-million new residence complex caused an uproar among the faithful.

Francis had temporarily expelled Monsignor Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst from Limburg in October pending a church inquiry.

At the centre of the controversy was the price tag for the construction of a new bishop's residence complex and related renovations. Tebartz-van Elst defended the expenditures, saying the bill was actually for 10 projects and there were additional costs because the buildings were under historical protection.

But in a country where Martin Luther launched the Reformation five centuries ago in response to what he said were excesses and abuses within the church, the outcry was enormous. The perceived lack of financial transparency also struck a chord since a church tax in Germany brings in billions a year to the German church.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:19 AM

Franziskus: „Ein Bischof, der seiner Gemeinde nicht dient, handelt falsch“

VATIKAN
Radio Vatikan

[Francis: "A bishop who does not serve his community, is wrong"]

Ein Bischof, Priester oder Diakon, der seine Herde nicht mit Liebe führt, ist nicht hilfreich. Das hat Papst Franziskus an diesem Mittwoch bei der Generalaudienz gesagt. In seiner Katechesenreihe zu den sieben Sakramenten ging es diesmal um die Weihe. Diese sei in ihren drei Graden Bischof, Priester und Diakon das Sakrament, das zur Ausübung des Amtes befähige, welches Jesus den Aposteln anvertraut habe. „In diesem Sinn tragen die ausgewählten und geweihten Männer die Gegenwart und das Wirken Christi in der Welt fort“, sagte Franziskus. Was das für das Leben des Geweihten bedeutet, fasste der Papst in drei Punkten zusammen: Dienst, Liebe zur Kirche und Gebet.

„Jene, die geweiht werden, sind an die Spitze der Gemeinde gestellt. Ah, ich bin ein Chef! Ja, aber an der Spitze stehen bedeutet für Jesus, die eigene Autorität in den Dienst zu stellen, so wie er selbst es seine Schüler gelehrt hat: Der Menschensohn ist nicht gekommen, um sich dienen zu lassen, sondern um zu dienen und sein Leben hinzugeben als Lösegeld für viele. Ein Bischof, der seiner Gemeinde nicht dient, handelt falsch. Ein Priester, der seiner Gemeinde nicht dient, handelt falsch.“

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:17 AM

Franziskus nimmt Rücktritt von Bischof Tebartz-van Elst an

VATIKAN
Radio Vatikan

Papst Franziskus hat seine Entscheidung zur Causa Limburg getroffen: Bischof Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst kehrt nicht in seine Diözese zurück. Das gab der vatikanische Pressesaal an diesem Mittwoch bekannt. Franziskus nahm ein Rücktrittsgesuch des Bischofs an, das dieser den Vatikanangaben zufolge bereits vor fünf Monaten eingereicht hatte. Zugleich entsandte der Papst den Paderborner Weihbischof Manfred Grothe als Apostolischen Administrator nach Limburg. Zur Begründung hieß es, in der Diözese sei es zu einer Situation gekommen, die „eine fruchtbare Ausübung des bischöflichen Amtes“ durch Bischof Tebartz-van Elst verhindere.

Franziskus traf seinen Entschluss nach eingehenden Beratungen mit der Bischofskongregation und der Lektüre eines - noch nicht veröffentlichten - Prüfberichtes einer Kommission der Deutschen Bischofskonferenz. Die Erstellung dieses Berichtes hatte Weihbischof Grothe geleitet. Erzbischof Robert Zollitsch, der damalige Vorsitzende der Bischofskonferenz, hatte das Papier Anfang März im Vatikan überreicht. Der neue Vorsitzende der Bischofskonferenz, Kardinal Reinhard Marx von München, wird sich am frühen Nachmittag von Berlin aus zur römischen Entscheidung äußern. In Limburg selbst treten im Lauf des Nachmittags der Administrator Weihbischof Grothe und Generalvikar Wolfgang Rösch vor die Presse.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:15 AM

Papst nimmt Tebartz' Rücktrittsgesuch an

DEUTSCHLAND
Zeit

[Summary: Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst as so-called "bling bishop" of Limburg. In due time he will get a new task.]

Der umstrittene Bischof Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst wird nicht wieder in Limburg als Bischof tätig sein. In der Diözese Limburg sei es zu einer Situation gekommen, die eine fruchtbare Ausübung des bischöflichen Amtes durch Tebartz-van Elst verhindere, teilte der Vatikan mit. Deshalb habe der Heilige Stuhl den im Oktober 2013 angebotenen Amtsverzicht angenommen, hieß es. Damit bestätigten sich Informationen der ZEIT.

Im Vatikan stand nach Informationen der ZEIT bereits seit Wochen fest, dass Franziskus eine Rückkehr des umstrittenen Bischofs ablehnt. Franziskus ist verärgert über die Uneinsichtigkeit von Tebartz angesichts des luxuriös sanierten Bischofssitzes. Er hoffte, keine harte Absetzung des Bischofs durchsetzen zu müssen.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:12 AM

Cardinal Pell testifies before Royal Commission

AUSTRALIA
Vatican Radio

(Vatican Radio) Cardinal George Pell on Wednesday testified before an Australian commission on child sexual abuse, and said Church institutions did not deal fairly, from “a Christian point of view,” in dealing with a sexual abuse victim.

The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse has been working in Australia since last year to examine the history of abuse in educational institutions, religious groups, sporting organizations, state institutions and youth organizations. The Commission has been for the past two weeks looking at Case Study #8, which deals with the case of John Ellis, who was abused in the 1970’s by Father Aidan Duggan.

Cardinal George Pell testified before the Commission for a second day on Wednesday. He said, under the advice of his lawyers, he endorsed a decision not to enter mediation when the legal action in 2004, but now says that was a mistake.

“From a Christian point of view, leaving aside the legal dimension, I don’t think that we did deal fairly [with Mr. Ellis],” he said.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:10 AM

Cardinal Pell defends lawyers as honest, but unfair to victim

AUSTRALIA
ABC News

[with audio]

The child abuse Royal Commission has exposed the moral failings of the Sydney Archdiocese in fighting the case brought by former altar boy and abuse victim John Ellis. The outgoing Archbishop of Sydney, George Pell, has conceded that he endorsed the overall strategy of the church's legal team, but he admitted that Mr Ellis was not treated fairly from a Christian point of view and the compensation offers to Mr Ellis were mean and grotesque.

Transcript

MARK COLVIN: The Catholic Church has admitted that a conflict between its own moral values and its legal and financial interests was at the heart of its battle with abuse victim John Ellis, and in the fight between secular and Christian values, it was the law and the money that won.

The Archbishop of Sydney, George Pell, told the Royal Commission today that he overcame his own moral doubts to endorse the strategy of the church's legal team.

That included the tactic of disputing Mr Ellis's story of abuse in court.

While preparing his departure for the Vatican, Cardinal Pell has spent a second day in the witness box defending the church's legal position when Mr Ellis tried to sue.

Cardinal Pell admitted that Mr Ellis was not treated fairly from a "Christian point of view" and the compensation offers to him were mean and grotesque.

Emily Bourke reports.

EMILY BOURKE: The moral and the legal positions taken by the Catholic Archdiocese of Sydney came into sharp focus and then collided at the Royal Commission today.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:08 AM

Commission for Protection of Minors founded on pathological liars John Paul II, Benedict XVI, Pope Francis.

UNITED STATES
POPE FRANCIS the CON Christ

[7 MUST DO’s for President Obama and Michelle Obama for their visit to Pope Francis in the Vatican.]

Paris Arrow

John Paul II, Benedict XVI, Francis are the worst pathological liars on the planet that they surpass the Devil! The new Commission for Protection of Minors is founded on specific citations from these three popes whose words are total contradictions of their actions.

Today is the feast of the Annunciation of Mary. In the Angelus, it is robotically recited: “The Angel of the Lord declared unto Mary. And she conceived of the Holy Spirit”. Jesuit priest Mr. Lombardi is making these three popes resemble angels by using the same word “declared” as in the Angelus - especially for John Paul II’s few 41 words about pedophile priests in 2002 which is an irony coming from the pope who has written the most number of books, encyclicals and speeches more than all popes combined. The main reason for JP2’s hasty canonization is because all priests are now required to preach on their Sunday homilies only what John Paul II wrote and said. When the UN condemned the Vatican for its crimes against children, they indirectly condemned John Paul II who was the pope most responsible for its cover-up for more than a quarter of a century.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:04 AM

Ex-Chesterfield minister convicted of abusing teens

VIRGINIA
Richmond Times-Dispatch

BY MARK BOWES
Richmond Times-Dispatch

A once-popular youth minister for the now-defunct Trinity Assembly of God in Chesterfield County pleaded no contest Monday to taking indecent liberties with two teenage female parishioners in the 1990s after gaining their trust and affection as a father figure and spiritual counselor.

The years-long sexual abuse began when both girls were just 14, and Troy A. Mitten, now 53, was an engaging youth minister who a former pastor told authorities “seemed to reach out to the young ladies who had no father figure” in their lives, according to a prosecutor’s summary of evidence in Chesterfield Circuit Court.

The victims, now 32 and 35, only recently came forward to police, and one of them was so attached to Mitten and his family that she initially destroyed evidence and helped him develop a defense involving the other victim.

But on the eve of Mitten’s scheduled trial last year, the woman emailed Chesterfield prosecutor B.J. McGee to talk and later told a detective that Mitten had, in fact, also molested her.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:01 AM

Ricardo Ezzati afirmó que Karadima "ha sido culpable de abusos"

CHILE
Cooperativa

[Summary: Cardinal Ricardo Ezzati said priest Fernando Karadima is guilty of abuse and that all bishops have acknowledged theoffenses for which the Vatican has condomned as being a reality.]

El arzobispo Ricardo Ezzati, investido cardenal por el papa Francisco, aseguró que el cura Fernando Karadima es "culpable de abusos" y que todos los obispos han reconocido que los delitos por los que el Vaticano lo condenó son "una realidad".

Consultado durante una entrevista en "El informante" de TVN si es que pertenece a los sacerdotes que están convencidos de la culpabilidad de Karadima, Ezzati respondió: "Totalmente, porque estoy convencido de lo que se hizo en la investigación, lo que determinó la Santa Sede".

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:57 AM

Travellers honour residential school survivors

CANADA
Vermilion Standard

Bryan Myers
Tuesday, March 25, 2014

For days, four people made their way on foot across the prairies from Stony Knoll, Saskatchewan to Edmonton, Alberta, a 500-kilometer journey to honour the memories of indigenous children who fled from residential schools but never returned home.

Last Thursday, the group stopped at the United Church in Vermilion for the night.

The group originally met in Winnipeg has decided to traverse the prairies by foot for the National Truth and Reconciliation Event on Residential Schools in Edmonton. Along they way, they’ve been taken in by various groups both First Nation and Christian.

“We’ve been hosted by a number of First Nations communities,” said Laurens Van Esch, originally from the Netherlands, has taken on the journey after having lived in Canada for only three months. “Their survivors share their stories with us, it’s incredibly powerful. It’s unimaginable to be taken away from your parents, and everything you know and have your identity taken away by priests in these very loveless environments.”

The group walks five to 10 hours each day and roughly 30 kilometers on average.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:54 AM

Workshops help healing process

CANADA
BC Local News

by Karl Yu - Nanaimo News Bulletin
posted Mar 25, 2014

The Tillicum Lelum Aboriginal Friendship Centre is hosting a pair of reconciliation sessions Thursday and Friday (March 27-28).

The reconciliation process in Canada stems from physical, mental and sexual abuse committed against aboriginal students in residential schools, and workshops will include videos, testimony from survivors and discussion.

“It’s to bring and share awareness and acknowledgement to the many aspects of residential schools experienced and how it’s currently impacting people within our community,” said Claudio Aguilera, part of the Tillicum Lelum centre management team.

According to organizer Randy Fred, himself a survivor of Alberni Indian Residential School, the sessions will pose some basic questions to participants: What are our expectations of reconciliation? What does reconciliation mean to us? What can I do to help work towards true reconciliation in central Vancouver Island?

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:52 AM

Abuse victims group demands diocesan records of priest

PENNSYLVANIA
Times-Tribune

BY DAVID FALCHEK (STAFF WRITER)
Published: March 26, 2014

A group representing abuse victims demands Bishop Joseph Bambera release documents about an accused former Diocese of Scranton priest who is now second-in-command at a South American diocese.

The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, SNAP, asked Bishop Bambera to release diocesan documentation concerning Monsignor Carlos Urrutigoity, accused more than a decade ago of abusing children when he worked at the St. Gregory's Academy in Elmhurst, a residential school sponsored by the Society of St. John, a religious order.

"Scranton's bishop must take action now to protect kids in Paraguay," said David Clohessy, director of the Chicago-based SNAP. "I can't think of a case where a priest, after these sorts of accusations, went on to rise through the church hierarchy as this one has."

Monsignor Urrutigoity in February was named the vicar general of the Diocesis de Ciudad del Este in Paraguay. That diocese's bishop, the Rev. Rogelio Livieres, said Monsignor Urrutigoity was never found guilty of a crime and was a victim of a "campaign of defamation … orchestrated by one source."

By releasing documents, Bishop Bambera could provide clear and convincing evidence that Monsignor Urrutigoity is unfit for priesthood or service in the church, Mr. Clohessy said.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:50 AM

Former church youth director sentenced to 10 years for child porn

GEORGIA
Atlanta Journal-Constitution

By Alexis Stevens

A former director of a youth outreach program was sentenced to 10 years in federal prison for distributing child pornography, the U.S. Attorney's Office said Tuesday.

Kevin Hickey, 39, of Atlanta, was also sentenced to lifetime supervised release and was ordered to pay $1,000 in restitution, U.S. Attorney Sally Quillian Yates said. Hickey is a former church youth director and director of parish outreach for Life Teen International, a group focused on "leading teens closer to Christ," according to its website.

"This defendant was entrusted with counseling and protecting children, but instead collected and distributed highly graphic images portraying their sexual exploitation and abuse," Yates said in an emailed statement. "We will to continue to aggressively prosecute those who pose such a great threat to our children."

In June 2013, using his online screen name "funguyatl77," Hickey engaged in an online communication in which he stated that he was watching "perving vids" and offered to share child pornography, Yates' office said. Federal agents monitored the communication of Hickey, she said.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:47 AM

Trial begins in FLDS custody case

UTAH
The Spectrum

Written by
Kevin Jenkins

ST. GEORGE — A child custody battle between an exiled member of a Southern Utah polygamous church and his church-faithful wives took a turn during the first day of a trial Tuesday when the father was allowed to introduce testimony about alleged sexual abuse by the church’s prophet.

Colorado City resident Lorin Holm filed the civil action in September 2011, eight months after he was informed he had been judged unfaithful by the leadership of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and would have to leave his home and family, which included three wives and more than a dozen children.

Holm is seeking sole custody of his underage children out of concern that his estranged “spiritual wives” could be influenced by religious leaders to allow the children to experience sexual abuse, forced labor or forced exile.

His ex-wives have stated they would not allow harm to come to their children. Court proceedings during the past two years have focused on whether Holm and the women could cooperate in raising Holm’s minor children despite the perception by the FLDS ex-wives that Holm had become a bad influence as an apostate.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:44 AM

Former Youth Director Gets 10 Years in Child Porn Case

GEORGIA
Patch

By Kristal Dixon

A former youth church director and has been sentenced to 10 years in federal prison for distributing child pornography.

Kevin Hickey, former church youth director and director of parish outreach for Sandy Springs-based Life Teen International, on Tuesday, March 25 was sentenced to 10 years followed by a lifetime of supervised by U.S. District Court Judge Timothy C. Batten Sr., according to a press release from the United States Attorney's Office.

Hickey, 39 of Atlanta, was also ordered to pay $1,000 in restitution and a $100 special assessment. Once he's released from prison, Hickey will be required to register as a sex offender.

"This defendant was entrusted with counseling and protecting children, but instead collected and distributed highly graphic images portraying their sexual exploitation and abuse," said United States Attorney Yates. "We will to continue to aggressively prosecute those who pose such a great threat to our children."

According to Yates, information presented in court identified Hickey as a man "with a sexual interest in children and who collected and distributed child pornography."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:42 AM

ESCALON SEX OFFENDER CHARGED IN CHILD EXPLOITATION CASE

CALIFORNIA
Escalon Times

A grand jury in Fresno returned three separate indictments on Thursday, March 20 alleging offenses involving the sexual exploitation of minors, United States Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner announced.

One of those indictments was handed up against an Escalon man. ...

In another indictment, Tyler Bliss, 26, of Oakdale, was charged with one count of receiving and distributing child pornography from October 2013 through February 2014. According to a previously filed criminal complaint, Google reported to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC) that on December 3, 2013, an image of suspected child pornography had been uploaded to a Google account. NCMEC referred the matter to law enforcement, and a detective with the Ceres Police Department discovered that the same Google account had been connected with the transmission of hundreds of other images of suspected child pornography. Additional investigation revealed that the account had been accessed from a residence in Oakdale as well as from a church (Bethel Assembly of God) in Oakdale. Computers and a cellphone were obtained through search warrants for both locations, and investigators found images related to the sexual exploitation of minors on these items. Bliss had been serving as Supervisor of Student Ministries at the church.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:40 AM

Cardinal Pell makes it hard to forgive

AUSTRALIA
Herald Sun

WENDY TUOHY HERALD SUN MARCH 26, 2014

HEARING and reading Cardinal George Pell’s words in the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, you may wonder where his lofty role as His Eminence Catholic Archbishop of Sydney and his day-to-day vocation as a caring leader of children, adults and families intersected — if at all.

He held responsibility for the spiritual wellbeing of millions of Australians, yet his demeanour when discussing the devastation of the victims of paedophile priests — and also by church legal action — has been nothing more than clinical.

In all of his defence of the “strenuous” and “vigorous” action by his hierarchy aimed at dissuading childhood sex abuse victims from going to court, Pell has appeared via his own testimony and that of other church officials as a hard-headed strategist, an unyielding tactician and an aggressive protector of the church’s wealth. He seems to have excelled at all of those; on Tuesday the inquiry revealed that Sydney’s Catholic archdiocese is sitting on assets worth $1 billion.

But victims and their families have every right to ask, as they are doing, where is George Pell’s compassion? Where is his human empathy and, even more importantly, when will they hear his sincere and believable expression of remorse.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:37 AM

Survivors, supporters voice concerns over Milwaukee's bankruptcy reorganization plan

MILWAUKEE (WI)
National Catholic Reporter

Marie Rohde | Mar. 26, 2014

MILWAUKEE For 30 years, the Milwaukee archdiocese has provided therapy for the victims of clergy sex abuse. The plan it released as part of its bankruptcy reorganization plan is a continuation of that program.

"The protocols have their roots back to Project Benjamin days and have proven to be an effective and responsible way to administer the therapy program which abuse survivors have benefited for decades and which remains a priority for the archdiocese," Jerry Topczewski, chief of staff for the archbishop, said in an email.

The archdiocese established Project Benjamin in 1989 to deal with the growing sex abuse scandal. While the Milwaukee archdiocese said it served as a template of providing therapy for victims, it fell under heavy criticism by survivors who maintain that any program should not be run by the church.

Survivors of clergy sex abuse and their supporters point out parts of the bankruptcy plan that give the Milwaukee archdiocese unilateral control over how much therapy is provided, who will get it, and which therapists to use, as well as requiring victims to turn over treatment records to the archdiocese. It also provides that the archdiocese can change the plan without court permission or oversight.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:35 AM

St. Paul Archdiocese seeks more time before release of documents

MINNESOTA
Bring Me The News

March 26, 2014 By Ben Grove

With a court deadline looming Thursday, the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis has asked for an extra 90 days its effort to gather and disclose new documents related to priests suspected of sexual abuse.

The archdiocese is also seeking new protections that would limit public access to the documents, the Star Tribune reports.

At issue are documents on about 40 priests who had been credibly accused of sexually abusing children from 1970 to the present.

“This is an exhaustive, time consuming and extremely expensive and burdensome process,” lawyers for the archdiocese said a court document filed this week.

A Ramsey County District Court judge on Thursday is expected to hear arguments from archdiocese lawyers about why they need more time, and why they seek to keep under wraps the sworn testimonies of Archbishop John Nienstedt and former vicar general Kevin McDonough, the archdiocese’s point person on priest abuse, the Star Tribune reports.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:33 AM

Retired judge will be special master in lawsuit against Archdiocese

MINNESOTA
Minnesota Public Radio

Madeleine Baran St. Paul, Minn. Mar 25, 2014

Ramsey County Judge John Van de North has selected a retired jurist to serve as special master in a contentious legal battle over the release of internal church documents on Catholic priests accused of child sexual abuse.

Retired Minnesota Court of Appeals Judge Robert Schumacher has accepted the appointment, Van de North said in a letter to attorneys.

Schumacher will preside over discovery disputes in a lawsuit filed against the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis and the Diocese of Winona by a man who claims that the Rev. Thomas Adamson sexually abused him when he was a boy. The lawsuit has already led to the release of names of priests deemed credibly accused of child sexual abuse by church officials.

Van de North recommended the appointment because of lengthy and complicated disputes between lawyers about the church's internal files.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:31 AM

Hearing Continued For Pastor Accused Of Sexually Assaulting Girl

PENNSYLVANIA
CBS Pittsburgh

Ross Guidotti

UNIONTOWN (KDKA) – A preliminary hearing for a local church pastor, charged with molesting a girl in his congregation, was continued Tuesday because new alleged victims came forward.

Ray Teets, 66, is the pastor of Fallen Timbers Community Chapel in Fayette County.

Teets was originally charged with molesting an 11-year-old girl that was a member of his congregation.
Today, two more female victims came forward and are relatives of Teets.

He allegedly started molesting them sometime in 1999, when they were around 7 or 8-years-old. They also claimed the alleged abuse continued for several years.

Police said the original victim’s family left the church last November after her mother said Teets became fixated on her daughter.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:28 AM

Pastor accused of inappropriate sexual contact passes on preliminary hearing

PENNSYLVANIA
WPXI

[with video]

POINT MARION, Pa. — Ray Teets, a pastor at Fallen Timbers Church outside of Point Marion, was about to face two girls police said he had inappropriate sexual contact with when he decided to pass on having a preliminary hearing Tuesday.

Police said the latest two accusers claim the inappropriate contact with Teets happened over the course of several years. Some of the alleged abuse is said to have happened more than 15 years ago.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:26 AM

Family releases statement supporting pastor accused of sex crimes

CALIFORNIA
San Bernardino Sun

By Lori Fowler, The Sun
POSTED: 03/25/14

SAN BERNARDINO >> The Muscoy pastor accused of child molestation is scheduled to return to court in May.

Stephen James Howard, 54, of Fontana was present and in custody Tuesday at the San Bernardino Superior Courthouse for a pre-preliminary hearing, which was continued until May 16, according to court records.

Howard, the pastor at Muscoy United Methodist Church, was arrested March 13 on suspicion of molesting two boys who at one time attended the church, San Bernardino County sheriff’s detectives said.

He was originally booked into the Central Detention Center in San Bernardino for suspicion of lewd acts with a child under 14, oral copulation with a person under 18, and sodomy with a person under 18.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:24 AM

St. Paul archdiocese asks for more time, more protection in priest files

MINNESOTA
Star Tribune

Article by: JEAN HOPFENSPERGER , Star Tribune Updated: March 25, 2014

Facing a key court hearing Thursday, the Twin Cities archdiocese has asked the court to give it more time to turn over its church files on sexually abusive priests and to limit the files’ public disclosure.

“This is an exhaustive, time consuming and extremely expensive and burdensome process,” said a memorandum filed Monday by archdiocese attorneys in Ramsey County District Court.

The archdiocese was ordered in February to give the court its records on about 40 priests who had been credibly accused of sexually abusing children from 1970 to the present. It was given a March 31 deadline.

The church has asked Judge John Van de North to extend the deadline by 90 days. On Thursday, Van de North will hear their arguments in court, along with renewed requests to seal the sworn testimonies of Archbishop John Nienstedt and former vicar general Kevin McDonough, the archdiocese’s point person on abuse for decades.

Meanwhile, Van de North on Tuesday appointed retired Judge Robert H. Schumacher as a special master for the case, to address disputes over the likely hundreds of documents and depositions, as well as to make recommendations about unsealing information. Schumacher served 12 years in Hennepin County District Court and 18 years on the Minnesota Court of Appeals.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:22 AM

Ruling against Camden diocese in child sex abuse suit will stand

NEW JERSEY
Courier-Post

Written by
Jim Walsh
Courier-Post

A federal judge won’t change his ruling in favor of a woman alleging childhood sex abuse by a South Jersey priest.

U.S. District Judge Noel Hillman Friday denied a request for reconsideration by the Diocese of Camden, which is being sued over alleged abuse by a former priest, Thomas Harkins.

The suit was filed by Lisa Syvertson Shanahan, a North Carolina woman who says she was molested in the early 1980s by Harkins, then her parish priest at St. Anthony of Padua in Hammonton.

Hillman initially ruled in June 2013 the lawsuit could continue under the state’s Child Sex Abuse Act, which can delay for decades the normal two-year statute of limitations.

He accepted Shanahan’s argument the clock began ticking on her claim in October 2009, when she says she realized she had a legal basis for a lawsuit.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:19 AM

Abuse case challenge 'was not denial':Pell

AUSTRALIA
The West Australian

BY PETER TRUTE
March 26, 2014

Cardinal George Pell insists he acted truthfully when he instructed lawyers to vigorously dispute the claims of a sexually abused former altar boy in court, even though he knew the claims were true.

Dr Pell, appearing before the royal commission into child sexual abuse, admitted the Catholic church did not deal fairly with victim John Ellis "from a Christian point of view", but in a legal sense it did nothing improper.

He said he defended the Ellis case vigorously to discourage other complainants from going to court, revealing he was worried that payments for abuse cases in the US sent some churches bankrupt and he wanted to ensure similar situations could not occur in Australia.

At the end of his second day of evidence to the commission, Dr Pell's admissions were condemned by victims' families.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:18 AM

Life ban for sex abuse priest

UNITED KINGDOM
Belfast Telegraph

26 MARCH 2014

A former Church of England priest jailed for child sex abuse dating back more than 25 years has been banned from ministerial practice for life.

The Diocese of Chichester in West Sussex confirmed it had imposed the most severe sanction on 78-year-old Keith Wilkie Denford.

He was jailed for 18 months after prosecutors said he used the respectability of the cassock to groom and abuse two boys over an 18-month period from when they were around 13.

On one occasion he got into a bath with one of the boys while aroused. On another he pressed himself up against a boy intimately with the words: "How nice it is to have a cuddle."

Denford, of Broad Reach Mews, Shoreham-by-Sea, was found guilty of three counts of indecent assault against two boys between January 1987 and January 1990.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:16 AM

German bishops launch second attempt at abuse inquiry

GERMANY
Irish Times

Derek Scally

German bishops have launched a second attempt to investigate clerical sex abuse allegations after the original effort collapsed last year.

Researchers walked away from the project in January 2013, alleging the Catholic Church was trying to influence their research and censor their findings – claims the church denied.

Four new research institutes have come on board the project to investigate what Bishop Stephan Ackermann of Trier, appointed by his peers as official abuse commissioner, called “this dark side of our church”.

Bishop Ackermann said the research effort, set to take more than three years with a budget of €1 million, would explore the prevalence of sexual and physical abuse committed by clergy towards young people.

“This is for the sake of the victims but also in order to see the mistakes for ourselves,” said Bishop Ackermann. “We must do everything we can to ensure this is not repeated.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:11 AM

Sex Abuse Survivor Named into Vatican Commission Wants Bishops who Cover Abusive Priests Punished

IRELAND
International Business Times

By Esther Tanquintic-Misa | March 26, 2014

It's a systematic cover-up, Irish activist and sex abuse survivor Marie Collins said of the rampant sex abuse cases proliferating within the confines of the walls of the Catholic church. But she highly believed child sex abuse cases would not have multiplied and priests would not have summoned the courage to continue doing it had their bishops immediately sanctioned them against it.

For the evil custom to end, Ms Collins said bishops should also be made accountable when they decide to sanction their priest or not.

"There's no point in my mind of having gold-plated child-protection programs in place if there's no sanction for a bishop who decides to ignore them," Ms Collins told AP. The Irish activist was just recently named to be included in an eight-people commission who will advise Pope Francis on church policy regarding sex abuse.

Ms Collins, sick at 13 years old, was abused by a chaplain at Crumlin hospital in Dublin in the 1960s.

"The reason everyone is so angry is not because they have abusers in their ranks. Abusers are in every rank of society. It's because of the systemic cover-up."

The commission, according to Hans Zollner, vice-rector of the Pontifical Gregorian University and Chair of the Centre for Child Protection at the University's Institute of Psychology and one of the members of the panel, will aim to put the victims first.

"The commission will look into the legislation of the Church, the Canon Law and will try to find out whether this is effective or not and then recommend to the Holy See if there is something to change and what to change," Fr Zollner told Vatican Radio.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:09 AM

Gallery stunned by Pell evidence

AUSTRALIA
Sky News

An inquiry has heard Cardinal George Pell was worried by sexual abuse case payouts that had bankrupted some US churches and wanted to prevent similar payouts in Australia.

The former archbishop of Sydney has told the royal commission into child sexual abuse he'd been concerned by US court decisions that had sent some dioceses broke.

But he denied he wanted sexual abuse victims to go through the Catholic church's internal system, Towards Healing, rather than the courts, so the church could control the size of payouts.

The commission was shown a 2007 letter to the archdiocese from its lawyers that described a court ruling that the church's trustees could not be sued as a significant and favourable outcome.

The lawyers said the court's ruling "places a significant number of obstacles" that would have to be overcome by claimants pursuing abuse cases through the courts rather than through Towards Healing.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:07 AM

Lane & Lane Attorneys Reach Settlement in Chicago Archdiocese Sex Abuse Case

CHICAGO (IL)
Digital Journal

Chicago, IL (PRWEB) March 26, 2014

Mark A. Brown, an attorney at Lane & Lane, LLC, has reached a settlement with the Chicago Archdiocese in a sexual abuse case involving a now 24-year-old male and a former priest and school teacher (1). As stated in the case, the victim was a student at Our Lady of the Westside School where the former priest, Father Daniel McCormack, was a teacher during the 2000–2001 school year (1). Now 24 years old, the "John Doe" client received between $1.68 and $2.1 million in a settlement that was reached before the case could go to trial in September 2014 (1).

Father McCormack served as pastor of Saint Agatha's Catholic Church and Our Lady of the Westside School from 2000-2006 (2). However, the lawsuit alleged that the Archdiocese was aware of McCormack's past history of sexual misconduct stemming back to his time in seminary years before--yet still chose to place him in ministry service among youth (1).

In 2007, McCormack pleaded guilty to sexually molesting five other boys, and served time in prison for those crimes (3). He continues to be confined while a petition to keep him committed to state custody under the Sexually Violent Persons Commitment Act is considered by a Cook County judge (4).

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:05 AM

Defrocking The Frockless

CANADA
The American Conservative

By ROD DREHER • March 26, 2014, 6:29 AM

A Canadian court has convicted a Canadian Orthodox archbishop in a 30-year-old child molestation case. I was a little skeptical of a case brought so many years after the fact, but this testimony is not quite what you would call exculpatory:

Storheim admits he talked to the 11-year-old twin boys about puberty and body development, which included specific comments about ejaculation and pubic hair. He said the topic only came up during Bible study when the boys began asking questions. He said he regrets not quickly changing the subject.

But he repeatedly denied he ever touched the boys or repeatedly exposed himself to them, as they claimed on the witness stand. He said any touching that occurred was “certainly by accident.”

Storheim conceded it’s possible the boys might have seen him walking around in the nude during sleepovers at his home, but added, “there was never an intentional display.”

“I overstepped a sense of compassion,” said Storheim, now an archbishop with the Orthodox Church in America, which has historical ties to the Russian Orthodox Church.

He admits writing a letter of apology to the family years later in which he said, “I probably stepped over a pastoral line.” But he claims those remarks were for the talk about puberty and nothing more sinister.

He accidentally walked around naked during slumber parties with the boys? What kind of sane, reasonable, innocent priest sleeps naked when little boys are spending the night at their house? “I overstepped a sense of compassion,” he says. Hoo boy.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:02 AM

Abuse case handling unfair, says Pell

AUSTRALIA
Sky News

Cardinal George Pell says the Catholic church didn't deal fairly with the victim of a pedophile priest 'from a Christian point of view', but in a legal sense it did nothing improper.

The church's most senior cleric in Australia has told the royal commission into child sexual abuse that while mistakes were made in defending a court case brought by former altar boy John Ellis, he was consoled by a legal ruling protecting the church's property trustees from being sued.

'From a Christian point of view, leaving aside the legal dominion, I don't think we did deal fairly,' the former Archbishop of Sydney told the commission in Sydney on Wednesday.

'One of the few consolations, if that's what I've got from this sorry mess, is that the court of appeal unanimously endorsed the view that the trustees were not responsible in this case.'

The commission has heard the archdiocese of Sydney has property and cash worth $1.2 billion.

Mr Ellis was abused by a priest from the age of 13-to-17.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:36 AM

Cardinal George Pell tells Royal Commission ...

AUSTRALIA
Daily Telegraph

Cardinal George Pell tells Royal Commission he never told church lawyers to deny sex abuse of altar boy John Ellis

JANET FIFE-YEOMANS THE DAILY TELEGRAPH MARCH 26, 2014

WHAT is the difference between disputing and denying? Quite a lot, according to Cardinal George Pell today.

He said that he had never told the church’s lawyers to deny that former altar boy John Ellis has been sexually abused by a priest when he sued the Sydney Archdiocese. He only accepted legal advice that they make Mr Elllis “prove” it.

Cardinal Pell said he had already accepted a Catholic Church report that Mr Ellis was telling the truth about his abuse as a teenager but Mr Ellis was questioned for four days about it during the case in 2004.

The cardinal said it had been a legal strategy suggested to him by the church’s lawyers, Corrs Chambers Westgarth, to “put Mr Ellis to the proof” of his claims of sexual abuse.

Counsel assisting the royal commission, Gail Furness SC, said: “The effect of disputing the abuse occurred was precisely the same on Mr Ellis, was it not, as denying the abuse occurred?”

Cardinal Pell: “I would not draw that conclusion.”

Ms Furness; “You are making a distinction, are you, between disputing that something occurred and denying it?”

Cardinal Pell: “Yes, very definitely.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:24 AM

George Pell admits deliberately discouraging victims from suing

AUSTRALIA
Sydney Morning Herald

March 26, 2014
Catherine Armitage

Cardinal George Pell’s morality has come under sustained challenge at the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sex Abuse.

Pell said his instructions to "vigorously" and "strenuously" defend claims by John Ellis that he was abused were intended to discourage claimants, so they would "think clearly" before litigating against the church.

The Cardinal has defended disputing in court whether Mr Ellis was really abused. Pell said his lawyers assured him it was a “proper” legal tactic and Mr Ellis was a senior lawyer who would have understood he was not disbelieved.

Pell admitted he accepted Mr Ellis’ allegations, just as the church’s own review had done, but even so he gave the instructions which resulted in Mr Ellis being subject to four days of gruelling cross-examination in court on whether and how he had been abused.

Gail Furness, SC, counsel for the Royal Commission, asked: “Do you understand now the impact it had on John Ellis, to have the very church that he had gone back to … to dispute that he had been abused?”

“I do”, Cardinal Pell responded.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:22 AM

George Pell approved use of a court ‘tactic’ against abuse claims

AUSTRALIA
The Australian

CARDINAL George Pell personally endorsed his lawyers’ decision to dispute in court that a child victim had been sexually abused by a priest, despite himself believing the abuse had taken place, a royal commission has heard.

Giving evidence to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, the former Archbishop of Sydney said the decision was a legal “tactic” that he had been told was appropriate at the time.

The commission is currently investigating the case of a former altar boy, John Ellis, who unsuccessfully attempted to sue the church over his sexual abuse at the hands of a Sydney priest.

By defending the case, Cardinal Pell said he had wanted to discourage other abuse victims from taking legal action against the church’s trustees, which control much of the church’s wealth.

“So by having a vigorous defence, that would slow potential plaintiffs that they should think twice before litigating against the church?” senior counsel assisting the commission, Gail Furness, asked.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:20 AM

Cardinal Pell regrets cross-examination of abuse victim John Ellis

AUSTRALIA
ABC - The World Today

ELEANOR HALL: Australia's most senior Catholic cleric has told the child abuse Royal Commission that, from what he called a "Christian point of view", the Church did not deal fairly with former altar boy and abuse victim, John Ellis.

Cardinal George Pell conceded that it was a mistake to not enter into mediation at the start of the legal process which was so damaging for Mr Ellis, but he maintained he was not responsible for making that decision.

The World Today's Emily Bourke has been monitoring the hearing and joins us now.

Emily, it's the second day in the witness box for Cardinal Pell. What was the focus of the counsel assisting's questioning today?

EMILY BOURKE: Well the inquiry is really drilling down into just how closely involved Cardinal Pell was in directing the course of the litigation when Mr Ellis tried to sue the Church.

While Cardinal Pell endorsed the overall strategy, he says he wasn't involved in each and every legal manoeuvre.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:18 AM

George Pell was set on limiting compensation, royal commission hears

AUSTRALIA
Sydney Morning Herald

March 26, 2014

Catherine Armitage
Senior Writer

Cardinal George Pell has admitted he wanted to avoid big damages verdicts such as those made against the Catholic Church in America when he set up the Melbourne Response to deal with child sex abuse complaints with a $50,000 cap on payouts in the 1990s.

The Melbourne Response gave the church control over how much compensation a victim could receive when its liability could not be established, the Cardinal agreed.

In response to a succession of questions from the chair of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sex Abuse, Justice Peter McClellan, Pell said he had not wanted the church in Australia to be subject to damages higher than other Australian institutions. He said he had set up the Melbourne Response in 1996 after the Victorian Premier, Jeff Kennett, told him “Now you clean this thing up and there won’t be a Royal Commission”.

The Cardinal’s moral choices in dealing with sex abuse cases have come under sustained challenge at the Royal Commission.

Pell said his instructions to "vigorously" and "strenuously" defend claims by John Ellis that he was abused were intended to discourage claimants, so they would "think clearly" before litigating against the church.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:16 AM

George Pell tells sex abuse royal commission case against John Ellis was unfair 'from a Christian point of view'

AUSTRALIA
ABC News

By Thomas Oriti

Cardinal George Pell says that from a "Christian point of view", the Church did not deal fairly with former altar boy and sex abuse victim John Ellis.

Mr Ellis was abused by a priest in the 1970s, but lost a legal battle in 2007 when the Court of Appeal ruled the Catholic Church was not an entity that could be sued.

Cardinal Pell, Australia's most senior Catholic cleric, is giving evidence at the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse in Sydney.

He said although lawyers never acted improperly, he had "moral doubts" and believed the case was mishandled from a spiritual perspective.

"Any reservations I might have about particular stands of our lawyers, I would not want to suggest that they did anything improper," he told the hearing.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:15 AM

Pell: Vigorous defence against Ellis was to deter other claimants

AUSTRALIA
The Guardian

Helen Davidson
theguardian.com, Tuesday 25 March 2014

The “vigorous” defence against abuse victim John Ellis was seen as an opportunity to show future claimants they should think twice before litigating against the Catholic Church, Cardinal George Pell has admitted.

Ellis’s claim was an “attack” on the trustees of the Catholic Church by people who were not “entirely reasonable”, Pell told the royal commission into child sexual abuse.

Ellis was treated differently to other claimants because he was a “brilliant” lawyer.

Pell is appearing before the commission’s eighth public hearing for a second day of questioning on the handling of the Ellis case. Ellis was sexually abused by a priest, Father Aiden Duggan, beginning when Ellis was a 13-year-old altar boy. The church won the civil case brought against it in 2007, establishing the so called “Ellis Defence” that the church as an entity cannot be sued.

Law firm Corrs Chambers Westgarth ran a “vigorous” defence against Ellis’s claims, which Pell said was simply putting Ellis’s claims “to the proof” rather than denying the truthfulness of them. Ellis, as a lawyer, should have been able to make the distinction, said Pell.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:13 AM

Bankruptcies in abuse cases worry Pell

AUSTRALIA
Sky News

Cardinal George Pell was worried by sexual abuse case payouts that had bankrupted some US churches and wanted to prevent similar payouts in Australia, an inquiry has heard.

Dr Pell, the former archbishop of Sydney, told the royal commission into child sexual abuse that he had been concerned by verdicts in US courts where large payouts to victims had bankrupted some dioceses.

He denied, however, that he wanted sexual abuse victims to go through the Catholic church's internal system, Towards Healing, rather than the courts, so that the church could control the size of payouts.

Under questioning from Commission chair Justice Peter McClellan, Dr Pell agreed that, since his time as archbishop of Melbourne, he had been concerned about the US payouts to victims.

He did not want a similar situation in Australia because 'Australia is not America' where there are 'an enormous number of lawyers'.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:11 AM

Australian Cardinal Pell Admits Limiting Compensation to Sex Abuse Victims, Afraid Church Will Go Bankrupt

AUSTRALIA
International Business Times

By Esther Tanquintic-Misa | March 26, 2014

Australian Cardinal George Pell, who is set to become Vatican's keeper of finances, on Wednesday admitted limiting compensation to victims of sex abuse because of fears the Archdiocese of Sydney will go bankrupt.

Since creating the Melbourne Response in the 1990s, a victim may only receive a compensation of a maximum $50,000. That was the Australian church's cap on payouts.

He said he does not want the Australian Catholic church suffering the fate of dioceses in America because "Australia is not America" where there are "an enormous number of lawyers."

Cardinal Pell also said he could not accept that the church will issue payouts to its victims more than any other institution in Australia.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:08 AM

March 25, 2014

WATCH LIVE: Cardinal George Pell at Royal Commission

AUSTRALIA
Newcastle Herald

By CATHERINE ARMITAGE March 26, 2014

Sydney's Catholic archdiocese has been forced to open its books for the first time, revealing assets worth more than $1 billion and raising questions about why it has failed to spend more on compensating victims of church sex abuse.

WATCH CARDINAL PELL AT THE COMMISSION

Accounts tendered to the child sex abuse royal commission on Tuesday show the archdiocese's total assets have nearly doubled since 2004 to more than $1 billion at the end of last year. Over the same period, its net assets grew from $137 million to $192 million.

The healthy annual net surpluses caught the attention of commission chairman Justice Peter McClellan as he quizzed archdiocesan business manager Danny Casey on payouts to victims since 2001 of just less than $8 million.

Justice McClellan described the accounts as ''commendable from your point of view'' because of the surpluses that ran as high as $44 million in 2007. Last year, the net surplus was $9 million.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:08 PM

Why Maria Rullo Schinderle should never be a judge

CALIFORNIA
The Worthy Adversary

Posted by Joelle Casteix on March 25, 2014

Just when I thought things couldn’t get stranger, this happened:

The leading hench(wo)man in the cover-up of sexual abuse in the Diocese of Orange may be a judicial nominee.

When I first got word that California Governor Jerry Brown had thrown Maria Rullo Schinderle’s name in the hat of potential nominees for superior court judge, I was floored. Directly on the heels of his church-influenced veto of SB 131, Brown is nominating one of the most questionable Catholic church attorneys in California for a judgeship.

Victims and those who support victims should be outraged.

This woman must never become a judge

Let’s go through some of the reason why Brown should immediately remove Schinderle’s name from consideration:

1) She’s actively escaping her own bad press
In nominating forms, Schinderle is listed by her bar name “Maria M. Rullo.” In her workings with the Diocese of Orange, including all of her work fighting victims and acting as a spokesperson, she goes by her married name, “Maria R. Schinderle.” That is reason enough to question her veracity.
Her bar information also lists her as a member of the Busch Law Firm, but there is no listing of her on their website. The Diocese of Orange lists her as General Counsel under the name Maria Rullo Schinderle. So I have to ask: What is her name and where exactly does she work?

Perhaps her name interchangeability is due to the fact that a Google search of Maria Rullo is far more sanitized than the scandalous information that a search for “Maria Schinderle” unearths.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:52 PM

Pope's new abuse commission is another promise waiting to be broken

UNITED STATES
National Catholic Reporter

Thomas P. Doyle | Mar. 25, 2014 Examining the Crisis

The countless victims of clergy sex abuse have been waiting for 30 years for the Vatican to show it really understands the depth of the problem and is willing to do something real about it. Judging by the latest move, naming members of a pontifical commission, victims will have to keep on waiting. Those who have been deeply involved in this issue for the long haul had little hope the promised commission would make a difference, and we probably won't be disappointed.

Putting Marie Collins on the commission was a brilliant decision. She is probably the only one with true credibility among the victims, who are clearly the most important people in this equation, not the bishops. She is also probably the only member who is independent and courageous enough to call out the real issues. Child protection in the future and seminary training are peripheral. Compassionate care for the countless victims should be the foremost concern, followed by drawing up an expeditious plan to fire the more egregious offenders from among the cardinals, archbishops and bishops who have enabled and continue to enable perpetrators.

While it is not totally clear what the commission's mission is, a recent interview with Jesuit Fr. Hans Zollner, one of the members, gives some clues. He said some nice things about putting victims first, but the victims have been hearing that from the last pope and from cardinals and bishops for years. They still aren't first. In fact, they aren't even in the lineup.

However, later in the interview, Zollner said the commission will look into church law to see what has worked then make recommendations. That says it all. The pope and the commission could save a lot of time and effort because this has already been figured out, and the answer is short: Not much has worked. Elsewhere, media stories said the commission will advise the church on best policies to protect children and keep abusers out of the clergy. So it seems that to avoid having to confront and do something about the real issues facing the church, the commission will be asked to reinvent the wheel.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:38 PM

Assignment Record – Rev. John P. "Jack" Leary, s.j.

UNITED STATES
BishopAccountability.org

Summary of Case: A priest of the Oregon Province of the Society of Jesus ordained in 1951, Leary spent his career in higher education, founding several schools and establishing a reputation as a brilliant and charismatic innovator. Allegations that he was sexually abusing boys and young men began to surface in 1965 or 1966. Leary was president of Gonzaga University at the time; he was allowed to keep his post. In 1969 Spokane police were receiving reports of Leary's sexual abuse. They went to the Jesuits with the offer that Leary would be spared arrest if he left town within 24 hours; Leary was quietly sent away to a Jesuit boys' school in Lenox, MA to "recuperate." He went on to live and work in Logan, UT, Santa Clara, CA, San Francisco, CA, New York, NY, Reno, NV and Portland, OR. The Oregon Province Jesuits in 2006 claimed they didn't learn the details of allegations against Leary until 2006; they said documents show he may have abused "as many as" 12 youths.

Ordained: 1951
Died: Dec. 21, 1993

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:35 PM

Sussex sex abuse priest Keith Wilkie Denford banned for life

UNITED KINGDOM
BBC News

A retired Church of England priest who was jailed for 18 months for abusing teenage boys has been banned from ministerial practice for life.

Keith Wilkie Denford, of Shoreham-by-Sea, West Sussex, was found guilty of indecently assaulting two teenage boys in April 2013 after a trial.

Police were alerted in 2012 when one of Denford's victims discovered he was still in contact with children.

The Diocese of Chichester said the most severe sanction possible was imposed.

Denford had denied abusing the boys between 1987 and 1990, while he was vicar at St John the Evangelist Church in Burgess Hill.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:31 PM

Royal commission into child sex abuse ...

AUSTRALIA
NEWS.com.au

[with video]

Royal commission into child sex abuse told of incredible wealth of Sydney’s Catholic Church, but no cash for alleged victims of sex abuse

THE Catholic Church’s Sydney Archdiocese controls an incredible $1.238 billion in funds — most of it tax free.

It was the first time the wealth of the church has been revealed as the royal commission into institutional responses to child sex abuse delved into its finances and examined the church’s response to victims.

The archdiocese’s cash reserves are $321 million and the church has been making a profit of up to $43 million a year through investments since 2001.

But the commission has been told that, instead of settling former altar boy John Ellis’s sexual abuse claim for the $100,000 he asked for, it offered him just $30,000 and then spent $1.5 million fighting him in court. Most claims are settled for between $50,000 and $70,000.

The money maze was unveiled as the archdiocese’s business manager, Danny Casey, gave evidence to the commission yesterday.

The funds are ultimately controlled by the archbishop, who since 2001 has been Cardinal George Pell.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:41 PM

Dickens tale of the 21st century tells of the bleakest house

AUSTRALIA
Sydney Morning Herald

March 26, 2014

Kieran Tapsell

Remember Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol? Ebenezer Scrooge is a cantankerous miser who thinks Christmas is all humbug. He is visited by the ghost of his deceased business partner, and, as a result of a series of apparitions, he has a change of heart. He decides to spend the rest of his life being generous.

Cardinal George Pell never thought that the claims of clergy sexual abuse victims were humbug, although a number of his colleagues in the Vatican certainly did. In October 1996, as archbishop of Melbourne, Pell set up the Melbourne Response for dealing with the victims of sexual abuse by clergy and others. It provided for an independent tribunal to determine the amount payable to victims, but it had a cap of $50,000. The other scheme, Towards Healing, set up by his fellow bishops, had a provision for negotiating and mediating compensation, but with no cap. In 2001, Pell became the archbishop of Sydney, where he decided to continue the Towards Healing system.

John Ellis was an altar boy at the Bass Hill parish where he was sexually abused from the age of 13 by Father Aidan Duggan. Ellis became a gifted lawyer and a partner in a prestigious Sydney law firm. As a result of psychological problems, he lost his job, and in 2002 he approached the Sydney Archdiocese through its Towards Healing program about his difficulties. An assessor, Michael Eccleston, was appointed to look into the claim, and in a report that Justice Peter McLellan, heading the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sex Abuse, described as ''legally perfect'', Eccleston found that on the balance of probabilities, Ellis had been abused by Duggan, and his psychological difficulties could be traced to the abuse.

Ellis offered to settle the claim for $100,000 in the Towards Healing process, but that was rejected.

He started proceedings to extend the limitation period, naming Pell, the trustees of the archdiocese and Duggan as defendants. He made a formal offer to settle for $750,000, which was also rejected. Duggan in the meantime died, and the case against the other two went all the way to the High Court. Pell and the trustees of the archdiocese won the case - after spending $756,000 on lawyers' fees - with findings that the ''Catholic Church'' did not exist in law, that Pell was not liable for any negligence of his predecessors, and as the trustees had no role in the appointment of priests, they were not liable either. Ellis was ordered to pay costs, estimated on a party/party basis at $500,000.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:39 PM

Sydney Archdiocese worth over a billion dollars

AUSTRALIA
ABC News

[with video]

The Chancellor of the Sydney Archdiocese of the Catholic Church has told the Royal Commission into the institutional response to child abuse that the Archdiocese controls 1.2 billion dollars and turns a multi-million dollar profit every year.

Transcript

EMMA ALBERICI, PRESENTER: The Royal Commission into child sexual abuse has heard that the Catholic Church in Sydney is worth more than $1.2 billion. The Commission also learned that the Church spent more than $1 million fighting a man molested as a child by his local priest. It was a decision that was today described by a senior Church official as a case of defending the institution before the victim.

Lucy Carter reports.

LUCY CARTER, REPORTER: Reverend Monsignor John Joseph Usher has been trying to mend the Church's ways since he took over as chancellor of the Sydney archdiocese.

JOHN JOSEPH USHER: We're very clear about the fact that the victim is the one we should be most concerned about.

LUCY CARTER: He streamlined the way victims' access pastoral and financial help and won back the trust of abuse survivor John Ellis.

JOHN JOSEPH USHER: The victim is the prime responsibility of the Church, not the good name of the Church and certainly not the perpetrator.

LUCY CARTER: Monsignor Usher's new approach is a stark contrast to what the Church has done in the past. A former altar boy, Mr Ellis was abused by his local priest, then he endured years of aggressive litigation when he tried to sue the Church. A legal technicality saw his claim thrown out and for three years he was threatened with paying the Church's legal costs.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:37 PM

Bankruptcy judge to consider diocese claims deadline

NEW MEXICO
Gallup Independent

Published in the Gallup Independent, Gallup, NM, March 19, 2014

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

ALBUQUERQUE — It’s been more than four months since the Diocese of Gallup filed its petition for Chapter 11 reorganization, and the case is beginning to move toward establishing a deadline for claims filed by victims of clergy sex abuse.

U.S. Bankruptcy Court Judge David T. Thuma ruled last week, allowing the Gallup Diocese to extend its exclusive period to file a plan of reorganization an additional 180 days. The new deadline is Sept. 8. Thuma is expected to rule in April on a motion to set a bar date for claims against the Gallup Diocese.
“The purpose of a bar date is to provide a definitive cut-off date, so that the total number and amount of claims against a debtor’s estate can be calculated, the estate divided, and the debts discharged,” the diocese’s lead bankruptcy attorney Susan G. Boswell said in her motion requesting the court set the claims deadline.

In Boswell’s motion, which also includes proposed claims forms for abuse victims and other claimants, public notice plans, and press releases, the Diocese of Gallup is requesting Thuma set a 120-period for claimants to file. In addition to clergy sex abuse survivors, possible claimants include trade creditors, vendors and other persons or businesses that provided the diocese with goods or services.

The Gallup Diocese proposes to publicize the bar date and give notice across New Mexico and Arizona by submitting public service announcements, press releases and paid advertisements to newspapers and radio stations in both states. It also proposes to publicize the bar date through notices at Catholic parishes, post offices, federal public health centers, other federal agencies, Navajo chapter houses and Native American cultural centers.

An important provision of the proposed claim form also includes a penalty for filing a fraudulent claim against the diocese: a fine of up to $500,000 or imprisonment for five years, or both.

According to Boswell, the diocese is “attempting to reach as many potential claimants as possible, taking into account the unique issues and challenges with the geographic area” of the Diocese of Gallup. The diocese includes parishes in six counties in western New Mexico, three counties in Arizona and seven Native American reservations. The majority of Catholics in the diocese are Hispanic or Anglo, and the majority of abuse survivors known to the media are Hispanic.

The diocese is also proposing to work with the Unsecured Creditors Committee, which represents the interests of clergy abuse survivors, to set up a toll free number for abuse claimants to call and access a translator who speaks Spanish or Navajo. Although the diocese has parishes that serve Native Catholics who are members of the White Mountain Apache, Jicarilla Apache, Acoma, Hopi, Laguna and Zuni tribes, Boswell said the diocese has not been successful finding translators in those languages.

The deadline to file objections to the diocese’s motion is March 31, and a hearing on the matter is scheduled for April 9.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:32 PM

PA- Victims challenge Scranton bishop

PENNSYLVANIA
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

For immediate release: Tuesday, March 25

For more information: David Clohessy 314 566 9790, SNAPclohessy@aol.com

Victims challenge Scranton bishop
They want him to disclose records
His predecessor says he warned others about predator
But support group is skeptical and wants “proof” of this
Accused priest is still on the job & has been promoted

Clergy sex abuse victims are challenging Scranton's Catholic bishop to release documents about a priest who allegedly molested Pennsylvania youngsters but has since been promoted and is now second in command at a South American diocese.

Leaders of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, are writing to Bishop Joseph Bambera about Fr. Carlos Urrutigoity who was accused of sexually abusing at least four youngsters in the Scranton diocese. At least two civil suits were filed and one of them was settled for $454,550.

But last week, a Boston-based research group called BishopAccountability.org disclosed that Fr. Urrutigoity is now in the Diocese of Ciudad del Este, Paraguay and is its Vicar General.

“What could be more reckless and callous than quietly sending another credibly accused child molesting Catholic cleric overseas to live and work among unsuspecting families?” said David Clohessy of St. Louis, SNAP's director. “We strongly suspect that Fr. Urrutigoity would be behind bars now had the Scranton colleagues acted appropriately. Scranton's bishop must take action now to protect kids in Paraguay.”

“Ignoring warnings about predator priests is dreadfully irresponsible but sadly, nothing new,” said, Barbara Dorris, SNAP's outreach director. “It is a dangerous and self-serving practice that puts unsuspecting families and children at great risk.”

SNAP wants Bambera to publicly release any correspondence between current or former Scranton Catholic officials and church officials elsewhere about Fr. Urrutigoity. The group also wants him to use parish websites, church bulletins and pulpit announcements to seek out others who “saw, suspected or suffered Fr. Urrutigoity's crimes” and urge them to call police.

And they want Bambera to write Pope Francis insisting that the priest be defrocked or at least suspended.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:29 PM

MN- Predator priest faces more charges, victims respond

MINNESOTA
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

For immediate release: Tuesday, March 25, 2014

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

A Maplewood priest, who was charged in November with sexual misconduct, faces more charges. We are glad Father Mark Huberty is being charged with additional crimes. It’s virtually always hurtful – and often illegal – for clerics to have any sexual contact with a congregant.

[Pioneer Press]

This is an encouraging move. It is additional evidence that when a priest engages in sexual contact with a parishioner, a very serious moral and legal line has been crossed. Consent can never truly be given when the difference in power is so great. In Minnesota, it is also a felony.

We hope every single person who saw, suspected or suffered clergy sex crimes – by Fr. Huberty or others, as adults or as children – will speak up. Keeping quiet only helps predators and endangers others.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:26 PM

VOTF National Statement: Pope's New Commission a Positive Step on Clergy Sexual Abuse

UNITED STATES
Voice of the Faithful

March 25, 2014

When Vatican initiatives involve clergy sexual abuse, Catholic Church reform-minded, survivor-supporting movements like Voice of the Faithful® react with guarded optimism. This is the case once again regarding the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors, which was instituted this past Saturday, Mar. 22, having been originally announced Dec. 5, 2013.

A major reason for optimism this time is the commission’s initial composition. Five of the eight members are lay people, and four of those are women. One, notably, is an outspoken, internationally known clergy sexual abuse survivor, Ireland’s Marie Collins. In addition, the sole American on the commission, Cardinal Sean O’Malley of Boston has one of the better records on clergy sexual abuse among the Church’s hierarchy. He also has considerable experience supervising settlements and trying to clean up dioceses damaged when the extent of clergy sex abuse was revealed.

According to the Vatican, the eight newly named members of the Pontifical Commission are to prepare its statutes and define its tasks and “competencies.” From VOTF’s point of view, the principal tasks of the commission must include full transparency, a reckoning of all those involved in the scandal. Also, the commission’s statutes must guard against future secrecy and provide discipline for offending hierarchy.

VOTF has been working to accomplish these goals for 12 years; SNAP, the international abuse survivor group, has called for justice for the past 25 years; and canon lawyer and survivor supporter Fr. Thomas Doyle presented his first report on clergy sexual abuse from his position in the Vatican embassy as long ago as 1984. Announcement of this new Vatican commission is long past due.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:46 PM

Confession must be subject to mandatory reporting

AUSTRALIA
The Age

March 26, 2014

Bryan Keon-Cohen, Joseph Poznanski

The absolute confidentiality of the Catholic Church's confessional puts vulnerable children at risk.

Comment

While the Catholic Church appears willing to accept the Victorian parliamentary committee's recommendations in its report Betrayal of Trust, the church hierarchy rejects the application of a mandatory reporting regime to the sacrament of Penance, that is, the Confessional.

The report also declined to extend mandatory reporting to compel priests, in appropriate circumstances, to break the Seal of the Confessional. COIN (Commission of Inquiry Now) disagrees.

One of the seven sacraments, this rite dates to the early Middle Ages and remains an integral part of Catholic faith. All Catholics who have attained the age of discretion are required to confess their sins through the Confessional. Basically, it is an article of faith: no more, no less.

The Victorian inquiry had broad terms of reference and dealt with religious and non-religious institutions throughout Victoria. Yet according to the report, the overwhelming majority of criminal acts perpetrated against vulnerable children were committed by Catholic priests. Despite this appalling record, the church hierarchy insists that, on the grounds of religious right, the Confessional should remain exempt from mandatory reporting. If a penitent reveals during the Confession that he or she has been sexually abused by anybody, the priest must not disclose that information.

For Catholic priests, the confidentiality of such statements is absolute - even under threat of their own death or that of others. Canon Law states that a priest who breaches the Seal of the Confessional, incurs latae sententiae - i.e. automatic - excommunication. Paradoxically, a priest who commits an indictable criminal offence, such as sexual abuse of a minor, does not incur the same penalty. Instead, the evidence shows, usually his bishop quietly transfers the offender to another parish and rejects any complaints from aggrieved parents.

Further, no formally established code of practice, code of ethics, or specific practice guidelines at all exist for a priest when administering the Confessional.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:34 PM

Bishop sidesteps abuse claims

AUSTRALIA
The Australian

MARK SCHLIEBS THE AUSTRALIAN MARCH 26, 2014

CATHOLIC Archbishop of Adelaide Philip Wilson did not refer to his dealings with abuse allegations at the diocese of Maitland-Newcastle at a royal commission because he only wanted to detail his work as a bishop, the church says.

During the final day of a public hearing in Adelaide on Monday, Archbishop Wilson had a long witness statement tendered to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse that outlined his involvement in dealing with such allegations.

He said in the statement that he began implementing the church’s Towards Healing processes soon after being appointed Bishop of Wollongong in 1996, and was a member of a bishops’ professional standards committee. He also said he was prepared to resign as bishop in 2001 if the Pope allowed a priest acquitted of child sexual abuse charges to continue his service with the church.

But only four paragraphs in the 22-page statement mention his time at the diocese of Maitland-Newcastle in NSW, with no mention of any abuse allegations from that region. The NSW special commission of inquiry into child abuse received evidence that identified him as one of several subjects of a police investigation into the alleged cover-up of crimes committed by serial pedophile priest Denis McAlinden.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:32 PM

High-level Philadelphia delegation to invite pope to visit

PHILADELPHIA (PA)/ROME
Religion News Service

Mary Beth McCauley | Mar 25, 2014

PHILADELPHIA (RNS) If the pope were pitched visits the way cities pitch the Olympics, Philadelphia would not be in the running.

Charles J. Chaput, archbishop of Philadelphia, with Pope Francis in Rome in September 2013. Photo courtesy of Vatican Information Services/Philadelphia Archbishop Charles Chaput’s Facebook page
This image is available for Web publication. For questions, contact Sally Morrow.

The Roman Catholic archdiocese is financially teetering and wholly demoralized. Parishes and schools have closed, real estate has been sold, the lavish archbishop’s residence unloaded.

It’s been the subject of two separate grand juries investigating priest sexual abuse, and home to the first senior church official to be indicted on charges of failing to protect children.

Yet despite these troubles, an elite delegation consisting of the archbishop, the city’s mayor, the governor and several top CEOs arrived in Rome on Monday (March 24) to invite the pope to visit Philadelphia.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:09 PM

Canada- Bishops refuse to defrock convicted molester colleague

CANADA
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

For immediate release: Tuesday, March 25, 2014

For more information: Melanie Jula Sakoda ( 925-708-6175 cell, melanie.sakoda@gmail.com ), Cappy Larson (cappy@rlarson.com), David Clohessy ( 314-566-9790 cell, SNAPclohessy@aol.com )

Victims’ group blasts Orthodox Church officials
Synod of bishops "retires" convicted archbishop
He was accused of molesting two 11 year old boys
“Retiring is what happens to an older person,” victims say
SNAP: “Censuring, punishing, denouncing is what should happen to a criminal"

Members of an abuse survivors' group are angry that Orthodox Church officials are refusing to defrock Canada's highest ranking archbishop who was found guilty of molesting a child in January.

[Winnipeg Free Press]

Last week, leaders of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, wrote to the Synod of Bishops begging them to defrock the convicted cleric. Instead, at a meeting late last week, Orthodox Church in America (OCA) officials opted to 'retire' the child molesting archbishop.

[SNAP]

[Orthodox Church in America]

SNAP leaders believe the OCA’s sexual misconduct policy calls for the church hierarchy to permanently oust Archbishop Seraphim Storheim from ministry. The guidelines, approved by the OCA’s synod at their Fall 2013 meeting, state that “Any clergy ... found to have committed child sexual abuse … shall be deposed by the Holy Synod of Bishops, and shall be permanently prohibited from exercising any functions or responsibilities of parish ministry. ..."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:07 PM

Padre de Araguari suspeito de abuso sexual e aliciamento é afastado da Igreja

BRASIL
Correio de Uberlandia

[Summary: In a press release, the Diocese of Uberlandia has suspended from priestly dutires the 48-year-old priest who has been charged by prosecutors with suspicion of sexual abuse and solicitation of a minor that is said to have happened last week in Araguari. The priest headed St. Jude Thaddeus parish in that city. According to the diocese, the church is not responsible for private acts of its members but priests must fully accepted the consequences.]

Em nota à imprensa, a Diocese de Uberlândia, a qual pertence o padre, de 48 anos, preso, suspeito de abuso sexual e aliciamento de menor, informou o afastamento do pároco das “funções sacerdotais”. Ele teria oferecido R$ 20 a um garoto, de 12 anos, para fazer sexo oral na criança. O menino contou à mãe e ela chamou a polícia. A ocorrência aconteceu na rua Sebastião Vogado, bairro Goiás, em Araguari, no Triângulo Mineiro. O sacerdote estava à frente da Paróquia São Judas Tadeu naquela cidade.

Segundo a Diocese, a Igreja não é responsável por atos particulares de seus membros e que aquele que infringir a Lei Moral e Cível deve assumir integralmente as consequências previstas em lei. Na nota, o Bispo Diocesano, Dom Paulo Francisco Machado, disse ter tomado as devidas providências determinadas pelas leis da Igreja Católica, afastando o padre de imediato. “A Igreja, Mãe e Mestra, não pode aceitar qualquer tipo de comportamento contrário aos princípios da moral e ética cristãs, destinados ao correto modo de viver de todos os seus filhos e filhas, chamados a um contínuo processo de conversão de todo tipo de pecado.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:50 PM

Kindsmissbrauch: Ein Opfer berät den Papst

DEUTSCHLAND
SRF

Papst Franziskus hat die ersten Mitglieder der Kommission gegen Kindsmissbrauch in der römisch-katholischen Kirche ernannt. Die Hälfte davon sind Frauen – eine von ihnen war selbst Opfer priesterlicher Übergriffe.

Er werde eine Kommission zum Schutz von Kindern vor pädophilen Priestern ins Leben rufen. Das hatte Papst Franziskus im Dezember angekündigt. Ganze drei Monate später nun gibt er die ersten Mitglieder bekannt und sorgt damit für eine Überraschung: Die Hälfte der acht Experten und Würdenträger sind Frauen.

Eine von ihnen ist die Irin Marie Collins – selbst ein Opfer. Ein Geistlicher hatte sie als 13-Jährige in den 1960er-Jahren missbraucht. Später setzte sie sich für den Schutz von Kindern ein und versuchte, Missbrauchsopfern pädophiler Kleriker rechtliches Gehör zu verschaffen.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:47 PM

BISCHOF ACKERMANN: „WIR WOLLEN KLARHEIT UND TRANSPARENZ“

DEUTSCHLAND
Deutsche Bischofskonferenz

Die Deutsche Bischofskonferenz hat heute in Bonn das interdisziplinäre Forschungsverbundprojekt „Sexueller Missbrauch an Minderjährigen durch katholische Priester, Diakone und männliche Ordensangehörige im Bereich der Deutschen Bischofskonferenz“ vorgestellt. Dabei konnte Bischof Dr. Stephan Ackermann (Trier), der Beauftragte der Bischofskonferenz für Fragen sexuellen Missbrauchs, das Forschungskonsortium präsentieren.

Das Forschungskonsortium wird von Prof. Dr. Harald Dreßing vom Zentralinstitut für Seelische Gesundheit in Mannheim als Verbundkoordinator geleitet. Neben dem Zentralinstitut für Seelische Gesundheit Mannheim (Prof. Dr. Harald Dreßing, Prof. Dr. Hans-Joachim Salize) sind das Kriminologische Institut der Universität Heidelberg (Prof. Dr. Dieter Dölling, Prof. Dr. Dieter Hermann), das Institut für Gerontologie der Universität Heidelberg (Prof. Dr. Dr. Andreas Kruse, Prof. Dr. Eric Schmitt) und der Lehrstuhl für Kriminologie der Universität Gießen (Prof. Dr. Britta Bannenberg) Mitglieder des Forschungskonsortiums.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:46 PM

Schwäbische Zeitung: Leitartikel - Dialog fällt der Kirche schwer

DEUTSCHLAND
Bank Kaufmann

Ravensburg (ots) - Für keinen anderen Skandal in ihrer Kirche schämen sich die deutschen Katholiken so sehr fremd wie für den Missbrauchsskandal. Dass katholische Priester sich an Kindern und Jugendlichen vergangen haben, überstieg die Vorstellungskraft. Der massenhafte Missbrauch durch Männer, die besonderes Vertrauen genossen, dieses Vertrauen dann aber ausnutzten und damit
unermesslichen Schaden an Kinderseelen anrichteten, zerstörte auch das Vertrauen derer, die bis dahin treu zu ihrer Kirche standen. Erstneulich zweifelten die Vereinten Nationen den Willen zurAufklärung an.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:42 PM

Kirchliche Aufarbeitung: “Nichts weiter als nur Theater”

DEUTSCHLAND
netzwerkB

[Summary: The new church study on sexual abuse is nothing more than a show, according to victim advocate Norbert Denef. The first project, announced in 2011, failed in 2013. Denef said he does not see how the new study will show any meaninful results and is nothing more than theater.]

Die Deutsche Bischofskonferenz startete am 24. März 2014 das II. Forschungsprojekt zum Thema “Sexueller Missbrauch an Minderjährigen”.

Das I. Forschungsprojekt, welches im Juni 2011 bundesweit angekündigt worden war, ist im Januar 2013 gescheitert.

Norbert Denef
Opferverband “netzwerkB”:

“Wir haben Recht behalten, dass die Studie 2013 gescheitert ist und wir sagen jetzt wieder: Ein neue Studie ist nicht möglich – die Aktenarchiv Lager sind doch gesäubert. Daran zu glauben, das jetzt irgendwo, noch irgendwas zu finden wäre, das ist nichts weiter als nur Theater.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:39 PM

24.03.2014 Forschungsdesign der Missbrauchsstudie der Deutschen Bischofskonferenz ...

DEUTSCHLAND
Missbrauchsopfer-Jesephinum-Redemptoristen

24.03.2014 Forschungsdesign der Missbrauchsstudie der Deutschen Bischofskonferenz enttäuscht auf der ganzen Linie. Opfer von Ordenspriestern, Internatsschüler und Heimkinder fast vollständig ausge

[Summary: The research design of the study of sexual abuse in the Germany Catholic Church is a disappointment. It's to go on for four years and the researchers do not have free access to the documents. The earliest time for publication is 2018 and there will be no information until then.]

Vier Jahre hat es gedauert- und herausgekommen ist wenig, allenfalls etwas, was man Feigenblatt nennt.

· Da erhalten renommierte Experten einen Forschungsauftrag und akzeptieren, dass sie keinen freien Zugang zu den Unterlagen haben.

· Da wird ein frühester Zeitpunkt der Veröffentlichung mit 2018 genannt. Und bis dahin gibt es keine Information mehr mit dem Hinweis auf eine laufende Untersuchung. Wie geschickt, wenn ich nicht an Aufarbeitung interessiert bin.

· Da verkündet die Bischofskonferenz groß eine einmalige Studie und beschränkt sie gleichzeitig auf wenige Jahre: zu untersuchender Zeitraum 27 Bistümer mal 68 (1946-2014) Jahre = 2322 Jahre. Tatsächlich untersuchter Zeitraum: 9 Bistümer á 68 Jahre (612) + 18 Bistümer á 14 Jahre (252) = 864 Jahre tatsächlich untersuchter Zeitraum = 37 %.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:32 PM

Sex abuse survivor to papal adviser: Marie Collins

VATICAN CITY
Ledger-Enquirer

BY NICOLE WINFIELD
Associated Press
March 25, 2014

VATICAN CITY — Marie Collins is not your ordinary papal adviser.

Sexually assaulted as a child by a hospital chaplain, Collins went onto become a leading Irish activist demanding justice for the victims of priestly abuse and a fierce critic of the Catholic Church's handling of the scandal.

Now she has been named to Pope Francis' commission on setting sex abuse policy, one of eight people — half of them women — who will help craft the panel's scope and advise the church on best practices to protect children.

In an interview with The Associated Press, Collins said her top priority was for the Vatican to punish those bishops who have covered up for priests who raped children.

"There's no point in my mind of having gold-plated child-protection programs in place if there's no sanction for a bishop who decides to ignore them," Collins said by telephone from her home in Dublin.

"The reason everyone is so angry is not because they have abusers in their ranks. Abusers are in every rank of society. It's because of the systemic cover-up."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:26 PM

Derby Telegraph comment: Statements by Cullen victims reveal full scale of suffering

UNITED KINGDOM
Derby Telegraph

'Yours was a calling from the Devil... I hope you get to meet your maker'.

And so say all of us to the sentiment expressed by a victim of former Derby Roman Catholic priest Francis Cullen.

A 15-year prison sentence, imposed at Derby Crown Court yesterday, ought to ensure that Cullen never emerges into society again – though you can never be absolutely sure with our legal procedures and pressure on prison places.

Even after the passage of all these years, it still took courage for those who suffered unimaginably at the hands of this disgrace to the cloth to come forward with statements.

Their descriptions of their ongoing feelings of humiliation and low self-worth, and the damage this did to their own prospects of a happy family life, should dismiss once and for all any suggestion that these are experiences which are easily shrugged off by youngsters.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:07 PM

Archbishop Chaput Addresses Sex Abuse Crisis

VATICAN CITY
NBC 10

By Karen Araiza | Tuesday, Mar 25, 2014

Philadelphia Archbishop Charles Chaput briefly addressed the priest sex abuse scandal in the Archdiocese today in his remarks at the Vatican.

"The Church in Philadelphia is also very much a community in need of renewal in the wake of the sexual abuse crisis of the past decade. In that sense, Philadelphia is a snapshot of the Church globally. We have a duty to help abuse victims and their families to heal, and to protect children and young people from harm in the years ahead," Chaput said as he read from a statement of prepared remarks.

Archbishop Chaput made his remarks in a press conference following a meeting with the Vatican's Pontifical Council of Families about the 2015 World Meeting of Familes which will be held in Philadelphia.

The Archishop has led a delegation of high-powered political and civic leaders here to help plan for the event, which runs next year from September 22 - 27. Pope Francis is expected to say mass at the event and a visit by the popular pontiff could draw a global crowd that planners say could swell to two million.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:03 PM

Revealed for the first time...

AUSTRALIA
NEWS.com.au

Revealed for the first time: Royal Commission into child sex abuse told of incredible wealth of Sydney’s Catholic Church

* Sydney Archdiocese controls $1.236b funds
* Church makes $43 million profit a year
* Spent $1.5m fighting $100,000 abuse claim

THE Catholic Church’s Sydney Archdiocese controls funds of an incredible $1.236 billion and that doesn’t include its schools and aged care homes.

It is the first time that the massive wealth of the church has been revealed as the royal commission into institutional responses to child sex abuse delves into its finances as it looks at the church’s response to victims.

The archdiocese’s cash reserves are $320 million alone and the church has been making a profit of up to $43 million a year since 2001.

But the commission has been told that instead of settling former altar boy John Ellis’s sexual abuse claim for the $100,000 he requested, it spent $1.5 million fighting him in court. Most claims are settled for between $50,000 and $70,000.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:58 AM

Langtry: Residential school story must be told

CANADA
Leader-Post

BY DAVID LANGTRY, THE LEADER-POST MARCH 24, 2014

Later this week I will be an honourary witness in Edmonton at the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's (TRC) final national gathering of survivors of Indian Residential Schools. It promises to be an emotionally painful, but also healing, experience.

The TRC was set up as part of a class-action settlement, the largest in Canadian history, of a lawsuit brought on behalf of tens of thousands of survivors of the schools. They are called "survivors" because the horrific physical and sexual abuse so many endured didn't kill them. The TRC's mandate is to uncover these uncomfortable truths and help us move toward reconciliation with aboriginal peoples in Canada.

Over the past five years, the TRC has heard from thousands of survivors. They have spoken tearfully, angrily, wrenchingly, about being forcibly taken from their families to be crowded into spartan boarding schools plagued by hunger, abuse, disease, and death.

There are more residential school survivors living here in Saskatchewan than anywhere else. Of the estimated 80,000 survivors alive today, roughly 19,000 live in this province.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:49 AM

A focus on residential school survivors

CANADA
Kenora Online

It was a day to remember and commemorate those who lived through the residential schools across the Treaty 3 area. Members of First Nations communities and survivors gathered at the Best Western Lakeside Inn Monday, where a commemoration was held, which focused on all of the residential schools in the area.

Organizer Richard Green noted the major focus of the event was to educate the public on the issues, as well as providing a chance for those who attended the schools to share their stories.

"One reason is internal to the students themselves that survived this ordeal, this era of residential schools. The other part is it get the public to come to terms with all of the things that happened. Children were removed from their homes. They were made to speak a different language and take on a different culture. I think Canada and its citizens need to realize that every language, every culture and every nation is sacred," he said.

He also notes that while the residential schools have closed down, there's still a lasting effect.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:47 AM

Catholic Archdiocese of Sydney controls $1.2bn, royal commission hears

AUSTRALIA
The Australian

DAN BOX THE AUSTRALIAN MARCH 25, 2014

THE Catholic Archdiocese of Sydney controls funds with combined assets of over $1.2 billion dollars that provide the church with multi-million dollar profits every year, the royal commission has heard.

The evidence, tendered to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse this morning, represents the first time the books of Australia’s wealthiest church organisation have been made public.

Daniel Casey, the archdiocese’s business manager, said the funds were “ultimately owned and controlled by, if you like, the archbishop of the day ... the archbishop controls these funds.”

Most of the money is controlled by two funds, the commission heard, the Catholic Development Fund and the Procuration Fund, which last year held gross assets of $810 million and $426 million respectively.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:45 AM

Sydney's Catholic Archdiocese has assets over $1 billion, royal commission told

AUSTRALIA
Sydney Morning Herald

March 25, 2014

Catherine Armitage
Senior Writer

Sydney's Catholic Archdiocese, thought to be the richest in the country, controls funds with assets of $1.24 billion and generates annual multimillion-dollar surpluses, according to evidence at the child sex abuse royal commission.

As the commission explores the church's handling of sex abuse claims, an unprecedented glimpse of the books was provided by the archdiocese's business manager, Danny Casey, who said the funds are “ultimately controlled by – owned by, if you like – the archbishop of the day”.

The funds are 'ultimately controlled by - owned by, if you like - the archbishop of the day'.

Since George Pell's appointment as archbishop in 2001, the archdiocese has received 204 claims and paid out just under $8 million to victims of child sexual assault, the commission has been told. Payments to “non-school victims” were $5.4 million. This included $740,000 for “boundary issues with adults”.

The commission heard the archdiocesan funds have generated annual surpluses including $43.95 million (2007), $19.6 million (2006) and $9.1 million last year.

The royal commission was shown accounts revealing that the Catholic Development Fund held $810 million, including $321 million in cash at the end of 2013. The procuration fund from which sexual abuse claims are made held $426 million, including real estate assets of $207 million. This included buildings and land used “substantially” for church purposes.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:40 AM

Catholic Faith and Sex Abuse: Royal Commission Confirms...

AUSTRALIA
International Business Times

Catholic Faith and Sex Abuse: Royal Commission Confirms Sydney Catholic Archdiocese is Rich, Has $1.24B Worth of Assets Plus More

By Esther Tanquintic-Misa | March 25, 2014

The books of Australia's wealthiest church organisation, the Catholic Archdiocese of Sydney, have been made public for the first time. And according to what the child sex abuse royal commission heard on Tuesday, the Archdiocese has $1.24 billion worth of assets, plus annual multimillion-dollar surpluses.

All these, according to Danny Casey, the archdiocese's business manager, are "ultimately controlled by - owned by, if you like - the archbishop of the day."

Between 2004 and 2007, Mr Casey told the commission the Sydney archdiocese earned surpluses of between $7.7 million and $44 million. It has cash reserves amounting to $320 million alone. Annually, the church has been earning up to $43 million a year since 2001, the year George Pell was appointed as archbishop.

Victims of sexual abuse by priests of the Sydney archdiocese receive payments from a $426 million "procuration fund," one of two funds that control the money. The other is the Catholic Development Fund which has gross assets of $810 million, including $321 million in cash at the end of 2013.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:37 AM

Sydney church's $1.2b wealth revealed

AUSTRALIA
The Australian

BY PETER TRUTE AAP MARCH 25, 2014

THE Sydney Catholic archdiocese controls funds worth more than $1.2 billion and has regularly made multi-million dollar tax-free profits.

The royal commission into child sex abuse heard the archdiocese banked surpluses of between $7.7 million and $44 million between 2004 and 2007, a period during which the Catholic church was aggressively defending a claim for $100,000 brought against it by former altar boy John Ellis.

Mr Ellis was abused by a pedophile priest from the age of 13 to 17 during the 1970s.

The church ultimately spent $1.5 million defending the case, winning in 2007 then pursuing Mr Ellis for costs before abandoning the claim and paying him $570,000 for counselling, a holiday and renovations.

Sydney Archdiocese business manager Danny Casey told the commission on Tuesday that the church's funds, worth $1.24 billion, included extensive property holdings and cash and were ultimately controlled by the archbishop.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:21 AM

Details in sex abuse case out

NEW HAMPSHIRE
Monadnock Ledger-Transcript

By Lindsey Arceci
Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Monday, March 24, 2014
(Published in print: Tuesday, March 25, 2014)

ANTRIM — The family that housed registered sex offender Max Wilson in Antrim may have withheld information about Wilson’s past convictions from the alleged victim’s family, according to Merrimack County Attorney Catherine Ruffle.

Wilson, 69, of Antrim awaits trial for misdemeanor sexual assault charges out of Antrim, and has had two prior convictions for sexual assault-related cases in other states, Ruffle said.

Antrim police arrested Wilson on Jan. 30 at his residence on Concord Street and charged him with three misdemeanor counts of sexual assault, each of which represents separate incidents that took place in Antrim and Concord in early January involving a 14-year-old boy from Hopkinton. Wilson is also awaiting trial in Concord Superior Court for alleged sexual assaults that took place in Concord and Hopkinton, according to Concord police reports, involving the same juvenile. Det. Jason Lepine of the Antrim police said Monday that the boy from Hopkinton told his parents that Wilson had been “hugging him, kissing him and holding his hand.” ...

Although a trial has yet to be scheduled, details about Wilson’s past show a trend in sexual assault crimes involving juvenile boys. Based on court documents, Ruffle confirmed that Wilson’s first conviction was in Washington, Penn., in 1981, when Wilson was working as the pastor of a church. Wilson met his first victim in his congregation, another juvenile boy, Ruffle said.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:18 AM

Church and community leaders to face jail if they fail to report sexual abuse

AUSTRALIA
Sydney Morning Herald

March 25, 2014

Josh Gordon
State political editor for The Age.

People in positions of responsibility in churches, schools, sporting clubs, youth clubs or the government who fail to report potential paedophiles to the police will face up to five years in prison.
New laws being introduced to Parliament on Tuesday will also make it an offence, carrying a maximum three-year jail term, for a person who fails to provide relevant information to police if they know or believe a child has been sexually abused.

But under the tough new laws, which stem from the Victorian Parliament’s Betrayal of Trust report on child sexual abuse, priests will be shielded if information comes to light during confession.

Premier Denis Napthine said the new laws would make it clear that people who know or believe that a child has been sexually abused cannot stay silent.

"This sends a clear, unambiguous message to the Victorian community: if you are aware of child sexual abuse you must speak up, you must report it to the police," Dr Napthine said. "The era of cover up and silence is over."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:13 AM

Francis Cullen: Victim tells pervert priest 'your calling was from the Devil'

UNITED KINGDOM
Derby Telegraph

By Martin Naylor

THE harrowing words of the victims of paedophile priest Francis Paul Cullen were heard for the first time as he was jailed for 15 years for the sexual abuse of seven children.

“You used to say when you joined the priesthood you had a calling from God.

“You were correct, you had a calling, but it was a calling from the Devil.

“I hope you get to meet your maker.”

The words, from a hand-written note by a Derby man, described in court as Victim M of “predatory paedophile” Cullen were read to a silent courtroom at Derby Crown Court.

Penned by a man now aged 58, but who was abused in Mackworth for six years between the ages of eight and 14, the full impact of the statement did not stop there.

“I have never married or had children,” it continued.

“Because of what you did to me I felt I was damaged goods, worthless as a potential father and husband. I was eight years old and you took my innocence away from me. One of the proudest things I have done in my life is to help bring you to justice.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:11 AM

Francis Cullen: Judge Jonathan Gosling's full searing address

UNITED KINGDOM
Derby Telegraph

Sentencing Francis Paul Cullen to 15 years at Derby Crown Court, Judge Jonathan Gosling told him:

"Francis Cullen, you are now 85 years old. You were ordained a Catholic priest in 1953.

You were assigned to the parish of Mackworth very shortly afterwards. You soon began sexually abusing boys as young as seven years old.

The abuse continued throughout your ministry, spanning a period of no less than 34 years, in your successive parishes of Mackworth, then Buxton, and finally in Nottingham.
f anyone were ignorant of the irrevocable damage which sexual crimes by an adult – more particularly by a man in your position – how fully they would be informed by hearing the victim impact statements in this case.

You carried on the abuse, undeterred by the gossip and rumour you were beginning to generate.

As early as 1964, you were challenged by the parents of one of your victims, S. That complaint was reported to the diocesan hierarchy. A senior member of the clergy had a meeting with the boy’s parents. Nothing was done to remove you from the parish.

You went on to commit, in the same parish, the most serious forms of abuse against your principal victim, M.

You were able to continue getting away with your crimes for two reasons. First, because of the position you held. In the years that you practised in the Catholic ministry, devout parishioners revered the priest, and trusted him without question.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:08 AM

Failure to report child sex abuse in Victoria punishable by three years' jail

AUSTRALIA
The Guardian

Australian Associated Press
theguardian.com, Tuesday 25 March 2014

Victorians who fail to report suspected child sexual abuse and workers who cover it up will face jail.

The premier, Denis Napthine, declared the era of cover-up and silence over. "Every adult in Victoria who is aware of child sexual abuse must report it to police," he said.

"No more cover-ups, no more hiding, no more sweeping these things under the carpet, no more shifting alleged perpetrators from one part of an organisation to another."

Under the new laws, adults who fail to report suspected child sexual abuse will face up to three years' jail.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:59 AM

Father Horne looked like Johnny Carson, first clue for dad the molestation did affect me after all

UNITED STATES
City of Angels

Kay Ebeling

(Putting together Chapter 2, this sidebar produced itself)

For a time in 1961 every day after school I ran in the house panting straight to the TV, not wanting to miss a second of Johnny Carson. I had such a crush at age twelve on the comedian, it was more than a crush, it was an obsession. One afternoon my dad was home from work for some reason when I ran in the door, and he stared in awe as I gazed in adoration at the TV set. "Every day after school she does this?" he asked, and my mom nodded. She was as shocked seeing it then again as my dad was seeing it for the first time. They stared at me, and I was aroused.

The other day I still wondered why I had such an extreme crush on Johnny Carson when I was so young, so I took a moment to track down pictures from the time he was doing Who Do You Trust 1956-63, and I GOt ChILLs when I saw him and compared pictures of the two men.

My perp priest Father Thomas Barry Horne and Johnny Carson looked almost exactly alike. Now decades later I realized, that resemblance must have been one of my dad's first clues that the priest molesting his two little girls in the early 1950s might have an effect on us as we got older after all. See for yourself how much Carson looked like Horne-y in the pics below.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:54 AM

Opinion: Pell's legacy will be his skill at avoiding blame

AUSTRALIA
Whitsunday Times

Owen Jacques 25th Mar 2014

UNDER questioning by the Royal Commission into child sexual abuse, Cardinal George Pell could not avoid being defensive.

He was quizzed on the rules of the church's own "Towards Healing" program, a project designed to right the wrongs perpetrated by predators within the clergy.

Towards Healing was nothing but a pleasant-sounding title for John Ellis.

His years of abuse as a teenager left scars open for decades.

After a lifetime of denial, his brave confrontation with the church was rewarded with a tersely-worded letter saying it would not believe his story.

There would be no help, no support and no apology.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:59 AM

Let’s give the pope’s abuse commission a chance

UNITED STATES
Spiritual Politics

Mark Silk | Mar 24, 2014

It’s not surprising that long-time victims’ advocates have been less than blown away by the naming of eight members to the new papal commission on sexual abuse in the church. Whatever progress has been made in resolving the biggest crisis in Catholicism since the Reformation, there remains much work to do.

Here’s how Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi described the commission’s assignment:

Certain that the Church has a critical role to play in this field, and looking to the future without forgetting the past, the Commission will take a multi-pronged approach to promoting youth protection, including: education regarding the exploitation of children; discipline of offenders; civil and canonical duties and responsibilities; and the development of best practices as they have emerged in society at large.

I would suggest to Boston Cardinal Sean O’Malley, the big dog on the commission, that the key item on this list is “civil and canonical duties and responsibilities.” In the U.S.and many other places around the world, there’s been plenty of attention to education and the discipline of abusers, to say nothing of symbolic acts of ecclesiastical apology. What’s needed are binding and enforceable legal procedures.

In the Middle Ages, church leaders emphasized the need to teach verbo et exemplo – not only by word but also by example. Just last week, a judge had to order the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis to turn over documents related to its priests credibly accused of child abuse. The archdiocese had argued that it didn’t have to do so because they involved constitutionally protected ”internal policies of the Roman Catholic Church,” but the judge said it didn’t have a legal leg to stand on.

Bogus and hardball legal tactics do not constitute “best practices.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:56 AM

Cardinal George Pell ‘more likely to admit mistakes’ ...

AUSTRALIA
The Australian

Cardinal George Pell ‘more likely to admit mistakes’ in wake of royal commission, child sex abuse hearing told

JANET FIFE-YEOMANS THE DAILY TELEGRAPH MARCH 25, 2014

CARDINAL George Pell was more likely to admit he had made mistakes as a result of the work of the royal commission into child sex abuse and the publicity surrounding it, his right-hand man said today.

Monsignor John Usher, who has been chancellor of the Sydney Archdiocese since 2005, said he had noticed that the Cardinal’s attitude had changed “considerably”.

“What changes have you seen in Cardinal Pell’s attitude?” commission chair Justice Peter McClellan asked.

Monsignor Usher: “To admit he made mistakes.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:54 AM

Maplewood priest in sex misconduct case faces new charge

MINNESOTA
Pioneer Press

By Emily Gurnon
egurnon@pioneerpress.com
POSTED: 03/24/2014

Prosecutors have charged the former pastor of Church of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Maplewood with an additional count of criminal sexual conduct.

Mark Andrew Huberty, 43, was charged Friday with fifth-degree criminal sexual conduct, a gross misdemeanor. A Nov. 19 charge of felony fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct stands.

The updated criminal complaint contains the same description of alleged events, and concerns the same alleged adult victim, with two changes:

During a visit to the woman's home Jan. 7, 2013, Huberty fondled her buttocks "without the victim's consent," the complaint said. On other occasions, the woman "agreed" to touch the priest sexually, the complaint said.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:50 AM

Fiscalía cierra investigación contra sacerdote John O’Reilly ...

CHILE
Bio Bio

Fiscalía cierra investigación contra sacerdote John O’Reilly y anuncia acusación por abusos sexuales

[Summary: The investigation of priest John O'Reilly has been completed the prosecutor has prepared an indictment alleging that the priest abused two school children at Cumbres de Las Condes. The defense said the prosecution has not evidence to charge O'Reilly.]

La Fiscalía Oriente comunicó el cierre de la investigación en contra del sacerdote John O’Reilly, y anunció que prepara la acusación por los abusos sexuales que el cura habría cometido en contra de dos menores del colegio Cumbres de Las Condes.

La defensa aseguró el Ministerio Público no posee pruebas para inculpar al religioso y pese a ello, intentarán derribar la presunción de inocencia.

Y fue la defensa del cura John O’Reilly -encabezada por el abogado Luis Hermosilla-, que solicitó al Ministerio Público que cerrara la investigación en torno a los supuesto abusos que el acusado habría cometido en contra de dos menores del colegio Cumbres de Las Condes.

Solicitud que hoy la Fiscalía de Las Condes realizó comunicando el cierre de las diligencias ante el Cuarto Juzgado de Garantía de Santiago, luego que culminara el último plazo otorgado correspondiente a 50 días.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:43 AM

Member of Vatican abuse commission says ‘put victims first’

ROME
Boston Globe

By John L. Allen Jr. | GLOBE STAFF MARCH 24, 2014

Pope Francis on Saturday named eight people with reputations as reformers in the fight against child sexual abuse as members of a new “Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors,” a line-up that includes German Jesuit Fr. Hans Zollner, who’s long been on the front lines of the church’s recovery efforts.

Born in the Bavarian city of Regensburg, more or less the hometown of Pope Benedict XVI, Zollner serves as the academic vice-rector of the Jesuit-run Gregorian University in Rome and head of its Institute of Psychology. He holds degrees in philosophy and theology, and was licensed as a psychologist and psychotherapist in 2004.

In 2010 and 2011 he served as a member of the scientific working group of the “Round Table on Child Abuse” created by Germany’s federal government. Zollner has studied the church’s rocky history on the abuse issue at length, publishing the 2010 book, “The Church and Pedophilia – An Open Wound: A Psychological and Pastoral Approach along with fellow Jesuit Fr. Giovanni Cucci.”

In 2012, Zollner was chair of the organizing committee for a major international summit on the sex abuse crisis held at the Gregorian, and co-sponsored by several Vatican departments. Among other things, that summit marked the debut of a “Center for Child Protection” and an e-learning curriculum for church practitioners, intended to distill “best practices” in preventing abuse, detecting it when it occurs, responding to it in terms of civil and canon law, and reaching out to victims.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:40 AM

March 24, 2014

Providence Diocese says clergy-victim group's allegations ...

RHODE ISLAND
Providence Journal

Providence Diocese says clergy-victim group's allegations against Smithfield priest unfounded

MARK REYNOLDS
Journal staff writer

PROVIDENCE -- A news conference given Monday by members of a victims group prompted the Diocese of Providence to publicly declare that a diocesan investigation had cleared a Smithfield pastor and that the allegation against him "was deemed to lack any credibility."

The priest, whom the diocese named, "is an exemplary pastor and continues to enjoy the total confidence and support of the Diocese of Providence," says the statement issued late Monday afternoon.

The statement says allegations against the priest were reported to state police and "carefully investigated" by the Diocesan Review Board.

Hours before, members of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) had called on Bishop Thomas J. Tobin to give a full explanation of allegations that the diocese had related to the Rhode Island State Police in an April 2012 letter.

SNAP's founder and president, Barbara Blaine, who has traveled from Chicago to visit New England, handed out copies of that letter, which the organization had printed from the website of Channel 10.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:34 PM

OH- Dayton pastor urges for suspended sentence for child molester, victims respond

OHIO
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

For immediate release: Monday, March 24, 2014

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 Dayton pastor has failed in his bid to persuade an Iowa judge to avoid jailing a child molester. We're glad the pastor lost and think he should be ashamed for his effort.

The pastor wrote to a Des Moines judge who was handing Ryan McKelvey’s child molestation case. He asked that McKelvey's sentence be suspended so he could move back to Ohio. The pastor is apparently close to McKelvey's father.

[Des Moines Register]

Kids are safest when predators are imprisoned. During and after a molester's incarceration, pastors can and should provide support. But they should not intervene in judicial proceedings and seek special favors for their congregants or colleagues, especially special favors that leave children at risk for being sexually assaulted.

No matter what the relationship, it is wrong to ask that an admitted sexual predator be given special treatment. He belongs in prison where he has no chance to hurt another child. It is especially wrong for the pastor of a church to make a request like this. His concern should be the safety of children, not the comfort of a predator.

The pastor should apologize for his irresponsible behavior.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:44 PM

German bishops launch new sex abuse probe

GERMANY
IOL (South Africa)

March 24 2014
By SAPA

Berlin - Germany's Roman Catholic Church on Monday launched a new study into sexual abuse by clergy after a first attempt involving criminologists ended in acrimony last year.

The probe will be carried out by four research institutes, the German Bishops' Conference said, with the aim of shedding light on a scandal that has shaken the Church to its foundations.

The Conference's commissioner for investigating abuse cases, the bishop of the western city of Trier, Stephan Ackermann, said the study sought “clarity and transparency about this dark side of our Church”.

He told reporters that the attempt to understand the prevalence of sexual abuse of youths by clergy was “for the sake of the victims but also in order to see the mistakes for ourselves and do everything we can to ensure they are not repeated.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:34 PM

NC- Church group responsible for “suspicious activity”, SNAP responds

NORTH CAROLINA
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

For immediate release: Monday, March 24, 2014

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

An Asheville Baptist church is behind reports of “suspicious activity” directed at teenage girls. SNAP calls on church officials to use common sense and better train their volunteers on how to interact with kids.

[Citizen Times]

As part of an effort to boost church attendance, several “well dressed men” tried to lure young girls to their cars. Most parents in America teach their children to never get into a car with a stranger, so to have a church group attempt to get congregants by baiting minors to approach strange cars is appalling.

The pastor, Rev. Keith Shelton of Gospel Baptist Church, said they would "review their policies" on interacting with children, but that's too little too late. Church officials should apologize to the community, post clear guidelines on such "outreach" on their website and harshly discipline any church employees or members who do this in the future.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:29 PM

Rome- Victims blast Australian Cardinal for “blame shifting”

AUSTRALIA
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

For immediate release: Monday, March 24, 2014

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

When confronted with tough questions about why they endanger kids and protect predators, many Catholic officials often sadly follow a predictable pattern. First, they blame their underlings. And if that doesn't work, they blame their superiors.

Cardinal George Pell did both today.

First, he blamed John Davoren, his own Professional Standards Director, as “a muddler” who “wasn’t logical.”

[The Guardian]

Then he “accused the Vatican of downplaying” the abuse crisis. (according to the AP)

[Huffington Post]

This is pure posturing. It's a self-serving way for Pell to try and shift the focus off of his irresponsible, mean-spirited mishandling of clergy sex abuse and cover up cases.

This finger pointing at others goes right to the top. Just days ago, the Pope himself tried – in a clumsy and unconvincing way – to blame the media for the church's on-going abuse and cover up scandal.

Maybe someday, we'll hear a Catholic official say “We are still ignoring and mistreating victims, shielding and moving predators, and it's not the fault of police, prosecutors, journalists, whistleblowers or anti-Catholic bigots.” But over the past quarter century, we've heard almost nothing like this. And we believe that if officials can't honestly name a crisis and who's causing it, they sure can't honestly fix it.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:25 PM

German bishops commission new sex abuse probe

GERMANY
GMA News (Philippines)

March 25, 2014

BERLIN - Germany's Roman Catholic Church on Monday launched a new study into sexual abuse by clergy after a first attempt involving criminologists ended in acrimony last year.

The probe will be carried out by four research institutes, the German Bishops' Conference said, with the aim of shedding light on a scandal that has shaken the Church to its foundations.

The Conference's commissioner for investigating abuse cases, the bishop of the western city of Trier, Stephan Ackermann, said the study sought "clarity and transparency about this dark side of our Church".

He told reporters that the attempt to understand the prevalence of sexual abuse of youths by clergy was "for the sake of the victims but also in order to see the mistakes for ourselves and do everything we can to ensure they are not repeated."

The head of the research consortium, Harald Dressing, said the report would take three and a half years to complete and was budgeted at about one million euros ($1.4 million).

He said the group aimed to learn whether "specific structures and dynamics" within the Church had fostered sexual abuse.

Dressing added that abuse victims would serve as advisors to the probe, from the development of the inquiry methods to the interpretation of the findings.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:23 PM

The Bishop of Bridgeport: Voice of the Faithful’s Latest Target

UNITED STATES
Crisis Magazine

MARCH 24, 2014

by Anne Hendershott

If it is true, as novelist Don DeLillo once wrote, “The future belongs to crowds,” then the future of the Catholic Church might once have belonged to activist groups critical of the Church, like Boston-bred Voice of the Faithful (VOTF), and the Chicago-based Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP). With savvy leaders who have been able to manipulate a media that is desperate for sensational stories of priestly misconduct, these organizations continue to stage well-publicized demonstrations and protests throughout the country in order to demand changes in the Church. But, the question remains, does anyone—beyond the media—take them seriously any more?

In their most recent attempt to humiliate Church leaders, Barbara Blaine, president of SNAP teamed with a few local members of the Bridgeport, CT chapter of VOTF to organize a protest—replete with the same professionally printed signs they have used for more than a decade—outside the offices of Bishop Frank Caggiano, the new Bishop of the Bridgeport Diocese. Receiving front page coverage—replete with photos of a handful of protestors holding the now-faded protest signs—in the Connecticut Post on Thursday, March 20, 2014, the headline blared, “Victims Groups Demand Investigation Into Priests.” It is difficult to take them seriously.

But, we must take them seriously because these groups continue to enlist the media as partners in persuading others that the Church is a site of secrecy and deviance. Working cooperatively with an eager media ever hungry for scandal—even if the cases occurred several decades ago—these groups are determined to continue to denigrate Church leaders who have done everything they possibly can to ensure that the clergy abuse of the past can never happen again.

The most recent target of the dissident groups is Bridgeport’s Bishop Caggiano, who in a spirit of reconciliation and good will just a month before, offered to begin a conversation with the local chapter of VOTF. At the time he announced his intention to meet with the group last month, the Bishop was heralded as a courageous visionary of the Church. The Connecticut Post published a laudatory article on February 12, 2014, praising what the reporter called his “unprecedented” decision to meet with members of VOTF. Decrying Bishop William Lori’s decision to bar VOTF from meeting in diocesan churches, the Connecticut Post quoted Jamie Dance, a member of VOTF, complaining that Bishop Lori “was secretive … [he] never answered a letter or a phone call … so it was a rather dramatic turn when we found a welcoming bishop in Frank Caggiano…. It’s practically historic.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:20 PM

SEXUAL ABUSE: Ex-Youth Pastor Sentenced

IOWA
WHO

A former metro youth pastor was sentenced Monday morning for sexual abuse.

Twenty-seven-year old Ryan McKelvey asked the judge for a suspended sentence and apologized to his victims.

“I hate what I did, I hate the situations that I was in, I hate how I used pain and hard times to rationalize and justify my actions,” McKelvey told the judge.

Mckelvey was found guilty of sexual abuse and sexual exploitation by a counselor.

Police say McKelvey had inappropriate sexual relations with two teenage girls during his time as a youth pastor at Heritage Assembly of God Church in Des Moines.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:19 PM

Former youth pastor sentenced to 15 years in prison despite emotional plea

IOWA
Des Moines Register

A former Des Moines youth pastor who pleaded guilty to sex abuse was sentenced to 15 years in prison this morning, despite his emotional pleas for the judge to suspend his sentence.

Polk County District Court Judge Karen Romano gave Ryan Matthew McKelvey, 27, the sentence this morning after telling him that she believed he was a “predator” who used his status in a Des Moines church to abuse two teenage females.

McKelvey was a youth pastor at the Heritage Assembly Church, 5051 N.E. Fifth St., until he lost his job sometime last summer. Church leaders had become aware that McKelvey had violated church policy by being alone with female juveniles, according to a statement from the church last year.

In August, a 16-year-old girl reported to police that she’d kissed McKelvey and that he made her touch his genitals, according to court papers. Through their investigation, police found another teenage female who also reported abuse.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:17 PM

IA- Des Moines church must do more about molester

IOWA
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

For immediate release: Monday, March 24, 2014

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

We're glad McKelvey is going to prison. Now the focus shifts to his church colleagues. They must take aggressive steps to find and help others who may have been hurt by this predator. And they must turn over to law enforcement the names of any current or former church staff or members who may have seen or suspected or concealed McKelvey's crimes.

[Des Moines Register]

It's irresponsible for church officials to give a minister access to kids and then do little or nothing when he's caught violating youngsters. They must taken proven and public steps to seek out others who may be struggling in shame, silence and self blame.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:15 PM

WA- Victims group discloses predator priests

WASHINGTON
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

For immediate release: Monday, March 24, 2014

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

Today, we are disclosing – for the first time in the Seattle area, we believe - the names of three credibly accused predator priests who worked in this archdiocese.

One was deemed “unsuitable for the priesthood” by a church abuse panel. A second admits fathering four kids, visiting prostitutes and exploiting 7 Alaskan village women. A third was “outed” by church officials and was transferred often throughout five states.

Two of them still live in Washington (Seattle & Spokane) and none have been defrocked.

We're most worried about Fr. Harold Francis Quigg. A decade ago, a church panel deemed him “unsuitable for the priesthood” because of credible allegations of his “egregious” sexual abuse of a then-17 year old in Washington. But for a decade, Seattle archdiocesan officials kept the accusations against Fr. Quigg hidden from the public and let him stay among unsuspecting parishioners.

It's very possible that Fr. Quigg molested another child last night, last month, or last year, enabled by the callous secrecy of Archbishop Peter Sartain and his top aides. (We all know most victims speak up decades after they're assaulted.) How will the archbishop and his top aides explain their irresponsible actions to their flock if this has happened?

A decade is a long time to give a predator to destroy evidence, intimidate victims, threaten witnesses, discredit whistleblowers, fabricate alibis and keep molesting.

Seattle church officials rationalize this reckless and callous and deceitful behavior in a curiously legalistic, hair-splitting way. They claim that the time of Fr. Quigg's offenses, church rules said that 16 year olds were considered adults. (The 'age of consent' has since been raised to age 18.)

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:11 PM

Vatican finance minister heard in Australia child abuse case

AUSTRALIA
Gazzetta del Sud

Sydney, March 24 - A Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse on Monday questioned the archbishop of Sydney and newly appointed Vatican finance minister, Cardinal George Pell, about his handling of the case of a former choirboy who tried to sue the Catholic Church after reporting he was sexually abused by a priest when he was a child. Pell, who on February 25 was appointed prefect of Pope Francis' newly created Economy Secretariat, told the commission that until the 1990s, the Church was skeptical of complaints of abuse and gave accused molesters "the benefit of the doubt". According to legal experts, Pell saved the Catholic Church millions of dollars in potential damages with his handling of Ellis, who charged he was sexually abused by the late Father Aidan Duggan from 1974 to 1979. Ellis lost his case in 2007, when an Australian court accepted the Vatican's argument that the Catholic Church is not liable for damages because it does not exist as a legal entity.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:30 PM

Paedophile priest Francis Paul Cullen's 'calling from devil'

UNITED KINGDOM
BBC News

A paedophile priest who abused children for more than 30 years had a calling that came "from the devil", one of his victim's said.

Francis Paul Cullen was jailed for 15 years for abusing five boys and two girls during his Catholic priesthood in Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire.

Derby Crown Court heard his victims struggled to deal with what happened and one tried to take their own life.

The court heard Cullen abused the youngsters at home and in his caravan.

Cullen, 85, then went on the run in 1991 and evaded justice for 20 years, before he was caught living on the Spanish island of Tenerife.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:28 PM

Neue Missbrauchsstudie: „Wir wollen Klarheit und Transparenz“

DEUTSCHLAND
Radio Vatikan

Die Deutsche Bischofskonferenz gibt erneut eine Erforschung von sexuellem Missbrauch durch Kleriker in Auftrag. Bei einer Pressekonferenz in Bonn stellte der Missbrauchsbeauftragte, der Trierer Bischof Stephan Ackermann, das Projekt vor. Der Auftrag geht wie angekündigt an einen interdisziplinären Forschungsverbund, dem unter anderem Mediziner, Psychiater, Sozialwissenschaftkler und Kriminologen angehören, man wolle Sachverstand aus den verschiedensten Bereichen, so Bischof Ackermann. Geleitet wird das Projekt von Harald Dreßling vom Zentralinstitut für Seelische Gesundheit in Mannheim als Koordinator. Drei wesenliche Punkte wolle man erreichen, so Bischof Ackermann:

„Erstens geht es uns um eine Erhebung quantitativer Daten zur Auftretenshäufigkeit und zum Umgang mit sexuellen Missbrauchshandlungen an Minderjährigen im Bereich der Deutschen Bischofskonferenz. Es soll zweitens neben der quantitativen auch eine qualitative Analyse institutioneller Einflüsse im Sinne einer Täter-Opfer-Institutionen-Dynamik geben, das heißt wir wollen eine vertiefte Einsicht in das Vorgehen der Täter und über das Verhalten von Kirchenverantwortlichen in den zurückliegenden Jahrzehnten erhalten. Und schließlich soll es drittens eine Zusammenführung bereits vorliegender nationaler und internationaler empirischer Befunde und Studienergebnisse mit den in unserem Projekt gewonnenen Erkenntnissen geben. Es gibt ja eine Reihe von Ergebnissen, die schon da sind, und ich glaube, dass es interessant ist, wenn man das miteinander vergleichen kann.“

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:26 PM

German church sets up study group on abuse scandal

GERMANY
Independent Record

BERLIN (AP) — Germany's Roman Catholic Church says it has set up a new research project to investigate sexual abuse of minors by clergy.

Bishop Stephan Ackermann said Monday an interdisciplinary group from different German universities would try to bring more transparency into the issue for both the victims and the public.

The group will collect and analyze data from past decades about the frequency of sexual abuse. The study, being conducted over the next 3 ½ years, will also focus on how church officials dealt with abuse accusations. It is part of an effort to address the international scandal triggered by revelations of abuse in Germany in 2010.

An earlier investigation into the abuse was called off by the church in 2013 over disagreements with the institute that led the study.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:50 AM

Catholic church challenges priest sex abuse laws

CONNECTICUT
WTNH

HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH)– The Catholic Church in Connecticut is headed for a show-down in the State Supreme Court over when victims of priest sex abuse in the past can report their crimes.

At the center of this case is the church’s legal challenge to a state law, which allows victims to report the crimes up to 30 years after their 18th birthday.

Two women, who say they were child victims of sex abuse by priests, say Church resources should not be spent trying to overturn this law.

News 8 has learned that within the next six weeks, the State’s highest court will hear the appeal of the first civil case ever tried against the Archdiocese of Hartford for damages due to sexual abuse by a priest.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:48 AM

Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors: an inside view

VATICAN CITY
Vatican Radio

[with audio]

(Vatican Radio) Media headlines across the globe carry the news that Pope Francis has instituted the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors whose task will be to advise the Holy Father on ways to prevent abuse and provide pastoral care for victims and their families.

One of the members of the commission is Hans Zollner, vice-rector of the Pontifical Gregorian University and Chair of the Centre for Child Protection at the University's Institute of Psychology.

He spoke with Vatican Radio’s Mario Galgano about the objectives of this commission.

The Pope has made it clear that this is an absolute priority for him, that we continue the line that was established by Benedict XVI, that this is something very important for the life of the church and that we must in an unwavering effort put victims first and we as a Church have to really tackle the issue on an international level. So it has been made clear by the establishment of such a Commission in the Vatican, that the Church leadership here is really willing to work on this in a mid and long term effort because such a commission certainly will have the goal to promote the safeguarding of children, but this is not something that can be done in some months or a few years, this is certainly something that will have to be seen in a long-term perspective.

So, the Pope is willing to do this. He has listened to cardinals, bishops and experts in the field, and has decided to go forward. He has decided to appoint a number of people who have a certain expertise in the field that is quite different among them; there are people from the political field like the former ambassador and former prime minister of Poland Shuckocha, there is a canon lawyer, there are psychiatrists and psychotherapists, and most importantly there is Marie Collins, herself a victim of child sexual abuse by a priest when she was 14 years old. In 2012, when held the symposium on child sexual abuse in the Church here at the Gregorian she told her story of abuse and victimization to 110 bishops and 35 general superiors. So this is a clear sign that the victim’s voices will be heard and they will have their say in this Commission.

Q: What are the goals of this Commission exactly? Only to erect new Church laws or will also be investigating pedophile priests?

A: I don’t think either of those things will be within the scope of the commission. I personally do not think the commission will have any legislative power, I think there are Church offices here in Rome that are competent for this. What the c probably will do is to look into the legislation of the Church, the Canon Law and will try to find out whether this is effective or not and then recommend to the Holy See if there is something to change and what to change. But certainly the Commission itself will not have that power. Secondly I believe the Commission won’t be able to look much into the past, I believe it is meant to be pro-active in work of prevention. The scope of the Commission as I read it, and if you read the statement published, it is very clear that in the first place it is mentioned that education and formation, so I believe that in the Commission’s area there will be the effort to promote sensitivity, to promote awareness around the3 globe for issues that are connected with abuse and information programmes for seminarians, for theologians, for parish workers, for priests, for teachers in catholic schools. I have just talked to Poland and probably the only institution in Poland that does anything in regard to systematic formation programmes for teachers, is not the State, but it’s the Catholic Church, and the same would be true for many other areas in the world. So what the Commission certainly will do is to connect different areas and different sectors in the Church where you have a lot of best practices already put in place but for strange reasons we don’t communicate much between one place to the other, one institution and the other, so I hope that this Commission can also facilitate that exchange of information and that exchange of policy and therefore I believe we can do a great job with this Commission in terms of opening those communication channels.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:32 AM

Cardinal George Pell Says Sex Abuse Was Downplayed By Vatican In 1990s

AUSTRALIA
Huffington Post

VATICAN CITY (AP) — The Vatican's new No. 3 has accused Holy See officials of downplaying the clerical sex abuse scandal in the 1990s, saying they were generally skeptical of victims and often considered them "enemies of the church."

Cardinal George Pell made the comments Monday testifying before Australia's federal inquiry into allegations of child sex abuse in state and religious institutions. Next week he takes up his new job as prefect of the Vatican's Secretariat of the Economy, Pope Francis' new finance ministry.

Pell said the Australian church by 1995 was far ahead of the Vatican in dealing with abuse: "The attitude of some people in the Vatican was that if accusations were being made against priests, they were made exclusively or at least predominantly by enemies of the church to make trouble."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:29 AM

Rörig: Kirche hat bei Prävention von Missbrauch viel getan

DEUTSCHLAND
domradio

[Summary: Federal government Commissioner Johannes Wilhelm Rorig said the Catholic Church has confirmed a strong commitment to prevention of child sexual about with the pope's new child protection commission and the German bishops new study of sexual abuse in the church.]

Papst Franziskus hat eine Kinderschutzkommission eingesetzt, die Deutsche Bischofskonferenz will den sexuellen Missbrauch in der Kirche wissenschaftlich erforschen. Der Missbrauchsbeauftragte der Bundesregierung lobt dieses Engagement.

Der Missbrauchsbeauftragte der Bundesregierung, Johannes-Wilhelm Rörig, hat der katholischen Kirche ein großes Engagement bei der Präventionsarbeit im Bereich Missbrauch bescheinigt. So sei die Einsetzung einer Kinderschutzkommission durch Papst Franziskus ein wichtiges Signal, sagte Rörig am Montag dem ARD-Morgenmagazin. Er hoffe, dass es vor allem bei denjenigen positiv aufgenommen werde, die sich bislang beim Schutz von Minderjährigen in ihren Einrichtungen eher zurückhaltend gezeigt hätten.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:24 AM

Studie: Sexueller Missbrauch an Minderjährigen

DEUTSCHLAND
EANN

[Summary: The German Bishops' Conference has begun a new study on sexual abuse of minors by priests, deacons and male member of religious orders within the sphere of the bishops conference. Bishop Stephan Ackermann said he hopes to see some good data collection of instances of sexual abuse]

Interdisziplinäres Forschungskonsortium führt Studie zum Thema „Sexueller Missbrauch an Minderjährigen“ durch

[Bonn] Die Deutsche Bischofskonferenz hat heute in Bonn das interdisziplinäre Forschungsverbundprojekt „Sexueller Missbrauch an Minderjährigen durch katholische Priester, Diakone und männliche Ordensangehörige im Bereich der Deutschen Bischofskonferenz“ vorgestellt. Dabei konnte Bischof Dr. Stephan Ackermann (Trier), der Beauftragte der Bischofskonferenz für Fragen sexuellen Missbrauchs, das Forschungskonsortium präsentieren.

Das Forschungskonsortium wird von Prof. Dr. Harald Dreßing vom Zentralinstitut für Seelische Gesundheit in Mannheim als Verbundkoordinator geleitet. Neben dem Zentralinstitut für Seelische Gesundheit Mannheim (Prof. Dr. Harald Dreßing, Prof. Dr. Hans-Joachim Salize) sind das Kriminologische Institut der Universität Heidelberg (Prof. Dr. Dieter Dölling, Prof. Dr. Dieter Hermann), das Institut für Gerontologie der Universität Heidelberg (Prof. Dr. Dr. Andreas Kruse, Prof. Dr. Eric Schmitt) und der Lehrstuhl für Kriminologie der Universität Gießen (Prof. Dr. Britta Bannenberg) Mitglieder des Forschungskonsortiums.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:19 AM

Padre é suspeito de abuso sexual contra menor em Araguari

BRASIL
Correio de Uberlandia

[Summary: A priest was taken to the Araguari precint by military police for suspected abuse and grooming a minor. According to reports, the suspected last Friday offtered R$ 20,00 to a 12-year-old boy in exchange for sex. The act was no consummated and the boy told his mother who triggered the investigation The incident allegedly happened in the Independence neighborhood.]

Um padre foi conduzido à delegacia de Araguari pela Polícia Militar (PM) suspeito de abuso e aliciamento de menor no bairro Independência. Segundo informações, na última sexta-feira (21), o suspeito ofereceu R$ 20,00 a um menino, de 12 anos, em troca de sexo. O ato não foi consumado e o menor contou para a mãe que acionou a polícia.

O padre é pároco na Paróquia São Judas Tadeu e já responde inquérito sobre a mesma acusação.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:13 AM

WA- Victims challenge archbishop on three priests

WASHINGTON
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

Victims challenge archbishop on three priests
All are “credibly accused” child molesters, they say
None of them have been exposed before in Seattle
Two of them still live in the state; one is deceased
One fathered four kids with Alaskan native women
Another was deemed “unsuitable for the priesthood”
But church officials tell no one about him, group charges
SNAP: “Archbishop should come clean and post all predators' names”

WHAT
Holding signs and childhood photos at a sidewalk news conference, clergy sex abuse victims and their supporters will disclose – for the first time in the Seattle area - the names of three credibly accused predator priests who worked in the Seattle Catholic archdiocese, including

--one who was deemed “unsuitable for the priesthood” by a church abuse panel,
--one who admits fathering four kids, visiting prostitutes and exploiting 7 Alaskan village women, and
--a third who was “outed” by church officials & was transferred often throughout five states.

Two of them still live in Washington (Seattle & Spokane) and none have been defrocked.

The group will also prod Seattle's archbishop to

--explain why he's kept silent about the three alleged predators, and
--permanently post on his church websites the names, photos, whereabouts and work histories of ALL the child molesting clerics who have worked in the Seattle archdiocese.

WHEN
Monday, March 24 at 1:00 p.m.

WHERE
On the sidewalk outside the Seattle Catholic archdiocesan headquarters (“chancery”) 710 9th Ave (corner of Cherry St.) in downtown Seattle

WHO
Three-four members of a support group called SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, including a Missouri woman who is the organization's long time outreach director

WHY
SNAP is worried about three credibly accused predator priests who worked in the Seattle archdiocese but have not been locally identified as alleged molesters. Two of them are alive.

1) In 2004, a Seattle archdiocesan abuse panel found Fr. Harold Francis Quigg “unsuitable for the priesthood” because of credible allegations of his “egregious” sexual abuse of a then-17 year old in Washington. But for a decade, Seattle archdiocesan officials kept the accusations against Fr. Quigg hidden from the public and let him stay among unsuspecting parishioners.

Their rationalization at the time of his offense was, church rules said that 16 year olds were considered adults. (The 'age of consent' has since been raised to age 18.) But the abuse panel said it “would have found that there was sufficient evidence to support the allegation that this priest was involved in the sexual abuse of a minor if the current age of consent law (18 years old) was in place at that time of this event.”

(Copies of the church report will be provided.” Archdiocesan chancellor Dennis O’Leary is familiar with the case. Members of the abuse panel include Lucy Berliner (of the Harborview Center), Joan Cole Duffell (of the Seattle-based Committee for Children), Deacon Michael Riggio (of the Catholic Seafarer's Center), Mary Ellen Stone, and Fr. Michael Tyrrell.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:10 AM

GA- Victims blast Atlanta Catholic officials for spending

GEORGIA
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

For immediate release: Monday, March 24, 2014

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

The Archdiocese of Atlanta is spending millions on renovating clergy housing. We believe this excessive spending could have been used for better purposes.

[Atlanta Journal-Constitution]

It is not uncommon for Catholic bishops to lavishly spend money on extravagant housing. Newark Archbishop John Myers is building himself an opulent home. This week, bishops in Germany will reportedly disclose the fate of the "Bishop of Bling" who is spending a fortune on his home too.

We believe this money can be better spent on helping to better protect kids from predator priests.

While we believe Pope Francis has a lot of ground to cover when it comes to the clergy sex abuse scandal, he is right when he criticizes his fellow Catholic officials for living extravagantly.

Remember these outrageous purchases the next time you hear bishops' claiming that they don't have the funds to compensate deeply sounded and still suffering clergy sex abuse victims.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:58 AM

Archdiocese spending touches off debate

GEORGIA
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

By Mark Davis
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

The Cathedral of Christ the King in Buckhead hopes to begin renovations next month on a newly acquired rectory for its parish priests at a cost, including purchase of the property, of $2.2 million.

The residence once housed Archbishop Wilton Gregory, who heads the Archdiocese of Atlanta, but he recently moved into a new, 6,196-square-foot home on Habersham Road in Buckhead. The archdiocese built that home at an additional cost of $2.2 million.

The money for these expenditures came from a $15 million bequest from Joseph Mitchell, nephew “Gone With the Wind” author Margaret Mitchell. How that cash was used has touched off debate within the parish and archdiocese.

Some parishioners think Joseph Mitchell’s wealth should have been used for schools and the poor – that clergy leadership needed to follow the example of Pope Francis, who’s made international headlines with his admonitions to Catholics to live simpler, more frugal lives.

Gregory and the rector, Rev. Monsignor Frank McNamee, said the expenditures were necessary for their living arrangements. The new home, said Gregory, also allows him to “smell like the flock” – to have a place where he can more easily mingle with church members.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:48 AM

Archdiocese Criticized For Buying Million Dollar Mansions Instead Of Spending Money On Poor

GEORGIA
Talking Points Memo

IGOR BOBIC – MARCH 24, 2014

An archdiocese in the suburbs of Atlanta has sparked debate amongst its parishioners over the purchases of two residences valued at $2.2 million each, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

The Cathedral of Christ the King in Buckhead recently acquired a rectory for its parish priests which it hopes to renovate next month. That residence once housed Archbishop Wilton Gregory, who has moved into a new, 6,196-square-foot mansion nearby. A $15 million bequest from Joseph Mitchell, the nephew of “Gone With the Wind” author and Pulitzer Prize winner Margaret Mitchell, was used to finance both homes.

According to the Journal-Constitution, some parishioners think the archdiocese should have followed the example of Pope Francis, who has urged priests to avoid an extravagant lifestyle. They say Mitchell's wealth would have been better spent on schools and the poor.

But Archbishop Gregory and Rev. Monsignor Frank McNamee, the rector, explained that the expenditures were necessary for their living arrangements. Gregory believes the new $2.2 million mansion will allow him to “smell like the flock,” as he put it, and provide a space where he can host church goers.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:46 AM

Royal Commission: George Pell admits failure, wants major change

AUSTRALIA
Sydney Morning Herald

March 25, 2014

Catherine Armitage
Senior Writer

The federal government should set up an independent body to assess what damages should be paid to child sex abuse victims and priests should be insured against being sued for sexual abuse, Cardinal George Pell has told the royal commission on child sexual abuse.

The Church's Towards Healing protocol for dealing with sex abuse victims failed to meet the church's moral responsibility towards victims, and so did the Melbourne Response he set up, Cardinal Pell admitted under questioning from the royal commission chairman Justice Peter McClellan.

The Cardinal expressed concern the church was held to a higher standard of accountability for sex abuse than other institutions or individuals, such as sporting groups and Scouts. He said there were ‘‘exact parallels’’ with sporting groups, rugby league clubs, the Scouts and other institutions.

''We have Cardinal Pell, whose evidence will continue on Wednesday, admitted to multiple failings in handling the case of John Ellis who was a 13-year-old altar boy when Father Aidan Duggan of Bass Hill parish began sexually abusing him. But he said those closest to him - the archdiocesan chancellor, his private secretary and the director of the Office of Professional Standards which handled Towards Healing complaints - erred in saying he was consulted on reparations payments to be made to victims under Towards Healing.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:41 AM

Boston cardinal, abuse survivor among members of Vatican commission

VATICAN CITY
Catholic News Service

By Cindy Wooden
Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Cardinal Sean P. O'Malley of Boston, four women -- including a survivor of clerical sex abuse -- two Jesuit priests and an Italian lawyer are the first eight members of the new Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors.

Pope Francis established the commission in December; announcing the first members March 22, the Vatican said they would help define the tasks and competencies of the commission and help identify other potential members.

Cardinal O'Malley is also one of eight members of the Council of Cardinals advising Pope Francis on the reform of the Roman Curia and governance of the church. When the child protection commission was announced, Cardinal O'Malley told reporters it would take a pastoral approach to helping victims and preventing abuse, given that much of the Vatican's attention thus far had been on implementing policies and legal procedures for investigating allegations of abuse and punishing guilty priests.

The cardinal said the commission would look at programs to educate pastoral workers in signs of abuse, identify means of psychological testing and other ways of screening candidates for the priesthood, and make recommendations regarding church officials' "cooperation with the civil authorities, the reporting of crimes."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:38 AM

O'Malley, abuse survivor named members of new Vatican clergy abuse commission

UNITED STATES
National Catholic Reporter

Joshua J. McElwee | Mar. 22, 2014

Pope Francis on Saturday announced eight members of a new commission in the Catholic church's central bureaucracy tasked with advising the pontiff on safeguarding children from sex abuse and working pastorally with abuse victims.

Among the members are Boston Cardinal Sean O'Malley, four laywomen, one Italian professor, and two priests.

One of the laywomen, Marie Collins, is herself a survivor of clergy sexual abuse. An Irishwoman who has campaigned for more thorough investigation of clergy accused of abuse, Collins struggled for years to bring her own abuser to justice. ...

During that summit, Collins detailed her own abuse by a priest at the age of 13 and said there must be "acknowledgement and accountability for the harm and destruction that has been done to the life of victims and their families."

Collins said then she had decided to report the abuse at the age of 47 to a parish priest, who refused to take her name or even make a report of the accusation. She said she then turned to the archbishop of the Dublin, at the time Cardinal Desmond Connell, with no better results.

"The priest who had sexually assaulted me was protected by his superiors from prosecution," she said in 2012. "He was left for months in his parish ministry which included mentoring children preparing for confirmation -- the safety of those children ignored by his superiors."

The priest was later convicted, Collins said in 2012, for assaulting another young girl.

Collins' experience with Connell may raise the question inside the commission of whether it will respond to bishops who do not act when informed of inappropriate conduct by one of their priests.

That question has been raised many times in the U.S., where several bishops are accused of mishandling priests accused of abuse. Kansas City-St. Joseph, Mo., Bishop Robert Finn, for example, was convicted in 2012 of a misdemeanor count of failing to report suspected child abuse in the case of a local priest who had been known to be in possession of lewd images of children.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:07 AM

Survivor of clerical abuse vows to use place on Vatican commission to 'speak out as always'

IRELAND
Irish Independent

NICOLA ANDERSON – UPDATED 24 MARCH 2014

CLERICAL abuse survivor Marie Collins has vowed to use her position on the Vatican commission on child protection to press for bishops to be sanctioned if they fail to implement church rules.

The Dublin mother of one said that she would speak out as she had always done and would not be "overawed" by high-ranking titles when she attends the first meeting of the commission in the Vatican next month.

Ms Collins – who was abused by a chaplain while ill in hospital at the age of 13 back in the 1960s – became aware that she had been appointed to the commission last Friday when she received a call from a high-ranking official in the Vatican.

"It was someone who kicked off the call with: 'I'm calling on behalf of His holiness' – I picked myself up off the floor. It was a huge surprise," Marie, inset, told the Irish Independent.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:03 AM

Appointment to Vatican council a huge responsibility, says Marie Collins

IRELAND
Irish Times

Patsy McGarry

Mon, Mar 24, 2014

Abuse survivor Marie Collins, who has been appointed to the Vatican’s new Pontifical Council for the Protection of Minors, is daunted at the opportunity offered by Pope Francis but also recognises the opportunity offered to her.

Ms Collins was invited to become a member in a phone call from Rome last Friday afternoon. She was “gobsmacked”, she said.

Ms Collins feels it is “a huge responsibility where all abuse survivors are concerned and I don’t want to let them down. But then I just want to get in there and speak up for what I believe to be right. It’s an opportunity not to be missed,” she said last night. She met the new council’s chairman, Cardinal Sean O’Malley, twice when he led an apostolic visitation to Dublin three years ago, following publication of the Murphy report. “I told him exactly what was wrong and what I felt should be done” on the abuse issue, she said.

She attended a Vatican symposium on the matter in Rome two years ago with two other members of the new council, Jesuit Fr Hans Zollner, head of psychology at Rome’s Gregorian University, and psychiatrist Baroness Sheila Hollins from the Archdiocese of Westminster. Ms Collins accompanied then Archbishop of Westminster Cardinal Cormac Murphy O’Connor when he led the apostolic visitation to Armagh archdiocese in 2011.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:58 AM

POTUS & the Pope

UNITED STATES
National Catholic Reporter

Michael Sean Winters | Mar. 24, 2014 Distinctly Catholic

This Thursday, President Obama will visit Pope Francis. The pictures alone will set certain conservative hearts on edge and make liberal Catholics swoon. But, will the visit yield more than a photo-op for a president struggling with low poll numbers? Can we expect anything of substance to emerge from the meeting, or at least for some seeds to be planted that might yield a harvest later on?

The visit can be looked at from a variety of angles. The first thing to note is that both men will be fully briefed and, therefore, fully aware that the American bishops who are most aggressively hostile to Obama are also the American bishops who have been most resistant to Pope Francis. Archbishop Chaput famously accused the University of Notre Dame of prostituting its Catholic identity by inviting Obama to give a graduation speech in 2009 and it was also Archbishop Chaput who felt the urge to republish emails complaining about Pope Francis last summer, accompanied by a tepid defense of the new pope. Bishop Morlino of Madison did everything but wear a “Romney/Ryan” button on his miter in 2012, and he recently gave an interview about Pope Francis that was equal parts grudging and condescending towards the pope.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:54 AM

Cardinal Pell says staff to blame for offers

AUSTRALIA
Newcastle Herald

CARDINAL George Pell says he knew nothing about ‘‘grotesque’’ compensation offers made by the Catholic Church to the victim of a paedophile priest and he blames staff for the aggressive handling of the case.

On his first day before the royal commission into child sexual abuse, Dr Pell said that if former altar boy John Ellis had been paid $100,000 to settle his abuse case it would have been ‘‘an excellent outcome’’.

The church eventually spent $1.5million aggressively defending the 2004 case brought by Mr Ellis, who was sexually abused by Bass Hill priest Father Aidan Duggan in the 1970s, from the ages of 13 to 17.

Dr Pell, the former Archbishop of Sydney, repeatedly denied knowing Mr Ellis had sought $100,000 in compensation, contradicting the evidence previously given to the commission by former key advisers.

He said Professional Standards Office director John Davoren was ‘‘muddled’’ and the former vicar-general and chancellor of the Sydney Archdiocese, Monsignor Brian Rayner, had ‘‘continually got hold of the wrong end of the stick’’.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:43 AM

Dear Pope Francis...

UNITED STATES
The American Conservative

Dear Pope Francis, To Know Is Not The Same As To Do

By ROD DREHER • March 24, 2014

Pope Francis has named his top-level panel to deal with the sexual abuse crisis among the Catholic clergy. Excerpt:

Pope Francis on Saturday made his first appointments to a special commission intended to signal the Vatican’s new resolve in tackling the clerical sexual abuse problem, a group that includes an equal number of women and men, more laypeople than clergy and an outspoken Irish activist who was abused by a priest as a child.

In recent months, Francis has been criticized by advocacy groups for abuse victims, especially after an interview in which he strongly defended the Roman Catholic Church’s handling of the sexual abuse crisis. Last month, a United Nations commission issued a stinging report on the church’s handling of abuse cases, and some advocacy groups have considered the pope’s appointments to the commission a telling signal of his commitment to combating the problem.

This is tentatively good news; John Allen is certainly excited by it. But this is a key point:

Abuse victims and their advocates ranged in their reactions from hope to skepticism. They noted that previous panels appointed by bishops to showcase the participation of lay experts on sexual abuse ultimately had no ability to carry out the recommendations they made. …

The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, a group founded in the United States that has now become international, said the panel “perpetuates the self-serving myth that Catholic officials need more information about abuse and cover-ups.” It added: “They don’t. They need courage. They know what’s right” already.

Exactly. That cannot be said often enough.

Still, maybe this time something will change. Here’s something for Pope Francis and his panel to look at: Fr. Carlos Urritigoity, a priest who left the US in disgrace after the then-Bishop of Scranton, Pennsylvania, suppressed the corrupt religious order he led, is now rising in power and influence in a Latin American diocese. Here’s the latest from a local Pennsylvania newspaper:

A Roman Catholic priest who was accused of molesting boys in Shohola and Moscow, Pa., has been promoted to the No. 2 position in his diocese in Paraguay.

That is according to a database released this week, listing Catholic clergy from Argentina involved in sex abuse cases. The database was compiled by BishopAccountability.org, an organization that aims to keep a record of sex abuse in the Catholic Church.

Former Bishop Joseph Martino of the Diocese of Scranton allowed the Rev. Carlos Urrutigoity to transfer to a parish in the South American country of Paraguay after multiple witness statements in several court cases claimed that Urrutigoity routinely slept in bed with and had sex with boys in his care, calling it spiritual guidance.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:41 AM

Cardinal George Pell disputes evidence ...

AUSTRALIA
NEWS.com.au

[with video]

Cardinal George Pell disputes evidence of his closest advisers at the inquiry at the royal commission into child sex abuse

CARDINAL George Pell said he was not the kind of person who blamed others — but he was right and his closest advisers were wrong.

The former Sydney Archbishop said three senior members of the church and his private secretary were incorrect on eight occasions when they gave evidence to the child sex abuse royal commission on his involvement and knowledge of the controversial case of former altar boy John Ellis.

His personal secretary Dr Michael Casey, who worked with the Cardinal in Melbourne before moving with him to Sydney in 2001 when Cardinal Pell was appointed archbishop, was in that job until last week.

Counsel assisting the royal commission Gail Furness SC asked Cardinal Pell: “He would know your arrangements very well, would he not cardinal?”

The Cardinal replied: “Not. He is completely honest and completely reliable but he’s not the archbishop and he knows what he knows and there are some things he didn’t know.”

At times angry, Cardinal Pell accused one of his former right-hand men, Monsignor Brian Rayner, of giving “grotesque” evidence about him.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:26 AM

Francis Paul Cullen: Former Derby priest jailed for 15 years for child sex abuse

UNITED KINGDOM
Derby Telegraph

By Martin Naylor

A FORMER Roman Catholic priest who sexually abused altar boys in Derby has been sentenced to a total of 15 years.

Francis Paul Cullen’s seven victims included four boys when he was the parish priest at Christ the King, in Mackworth, between 1957 and 1974.

Cullen, aged 85, had previously admitted 21 counts of child sex abuse.

Of these, 13 took place when he was in Mackworth. They involved four former altar boys.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:23 AM

Francis Paul Cullen: Victims speak of how they suffered at hands of former Derby priest

UNITED KINGDOM
Derby Telegraph

By Martin Naylor

VICTIMS of former Derby priest Francis Paul Cullen - due to be sentenced today for child sex offences - have been making their voices heard in court.

The 85-year-old, who was parish priest at Christ the King, in Mackworth, from 1960 to 1978, has pleaded guilty to 21 sexual abuse offences in February.

Four of his victims were altar boys during his time in Derby and he will be sentenced at Derby Crown Court today.

Sarah Knight, prosecuting, has this morning spent more than an hour outlining the case.

After the full details of what Cullen did to his seven victims was given out out in court, Miss Knight read "victim impact statements" from each of them.

One of his Mackworth victims, a man who is now 61, said in his statement: "I can forgive but I can never forget."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:20 AM

Cardinal George Pell blames church muddler

AUSTRALIA
The Australian

DAN BOX THE AUSTRALIAN MARCH 25, 2014

CARDINAL George Pell has criticised senior Catholic Church clerics, staff and lawyers over their roles in a child sex abuse case during one of his last public appearances before he leaves to take up a senior Vatican appointment.

The former archbishop of Sydney, who was heckled yesterday while giving evidence to the royal commission, now faces the possibility of being recalled during its investigation of his work in a previous role leading the archdiocese of Melbourne.

As he prepares to take up his new role overseeing the Vatican’s finances next Monday, Cardinal Pell described one church employee as “a muddler” whose handling of the original complaint against a Sydney priest was “mistaken” and “deficient”.

His former chancellor Brian Rayner was “a good person” who found his job “completely beyond him and he completely disintegrated”, the cardinal said.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:18 AM

Former Catholic priest jailed for 15 years for abusing children

UNITED KINGDOM
ITV

by Phil Brewster - last updated Mon 24 Mar 2014

A former Catholic priest who pleaded guilty to 21 charges of sexually abusing boys & girls, has been jailed for a total of 15 years.

Eighty-five year old Francis Paul Cullen abused seven children aged between 6 & 16 years old over a period of 34 years from 1957 to 1991.

In 1991 Cullen was arrested in connection with child abuse allegations but skipped bail & fled to Tenerife in Spain.

In August 2013 Francis Cullen was traced & extradited back to the UK. Last month Cullen who worked in Derby, Nottingham & Leicester, pleaded guilty to abuse charges against five boys & two girls.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:15 AM

23.03.2014 Pressemitteilung des Vereins zum Forschungsprojekt der Deutschen Bischofskonferenz, sog. Missbrauchsstudie

DEUTSCHLAND
Missbrauchsopfer Collegium Josephinum

[Summary: Abuse victims of the Collegium Josephinium of Bonn and victims of Redemptorist today issued a press statement on the so-called abuse study by the German Bishops' Conference. It is pleasing that a study finally take shape but what is unclear this time is the research design and the victims offered advice.]

Der Verein "Missbrauchsopfer Collegium Josephinum Bonn und Redemptoristen" hat heute eine Presseerklärung zur sog. Missbrauchstudie der Deutschen Bischofskonferenz herausgegben, die freundlicherweise auch von anderen Betroffenengruppen unterzeichnet worden ist:

Pressemitteilung institutioneller Missbrauchsopfer zum Forschungsprojekt der kath. Kirche:“ Sexueller Missbrauch an Minderjährigen durch katholische Priester, Diakone und männliche Ordensangehörige im Bereich der Deutschen Bischofskonferenz"

So erfreulich es ist, dass das lange angekündigte Forschungsprojekt der katholischen Kirche zum Thema "Sexueller Missbrauch an Minderjährigen durch katholische Priester, Diakone und männliche Ordensangehörige im Bereich der Deutschen Bischofskonferenz" endlich Gestalt annimmt, so unklar scheint auch dieses Mal nach bisherigen Informationen das vorgelegte Forschungsdesign zu sein. Offensichtlich sind alle institutionellen Missbrauchsopfer in Internaten und Heimen - sie unterstanden in der Regel allein der Aufsicht der Orden - aus der Forschung ausgespart.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:09 AM

Mehr Licht ins Dunkel?

DEUTSCHLAND
Deutschland Radio

[Summary: The German Bishops' Conference is making a new start on research into sexual abuse of minors. An independent scientified review of the abuse scandal has been missing, according to Stephan Ackermann, Trier bishop. He has so far established a hotline for victims and offered counseling and compensation.]

Von Ludger Fittkau

Anfang 2013 scheiterte die Deutsche Bischofskonferenz mit dem Versuch, sexuellen Missbrauch Minderjähriger in der katholischen Kirche wissenschaftlich aufarbeiten zu lassen. Nun nehmen die Bischöfe einen erneuten Anlauf.

Der Trierer Bischof Stephan Ackermann ist seit vier Jahren der Missbrauchsbeauftragte der Katholischen Kirche in Deutschland. Auf den Weg gebracht hat er bisher einiges: eine Missbrauchshotline für Betroffene, psychologische Beratung und auch Entschädigungen für Opfer. Was bisher fehlt: eine unabhängige wissenschaftliche Aufarbeitung des Missbrauchsskandals in der Kirche. Stephan Ackermann:

"Wir sind es auch – ich würde sagen, vor allem auch – den Betroffenen schuldig, die darauf hoffen, dass die katholische Kirche sich auch in wissenschaftlich-systematischer Hinsicht der Aufarbeitung stellt."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:02 AM

Kirchliche Aufarbeitung: Ein Narr ist, wer daran glaubt

DEUTSCHLAND
netzwerkB

[Summary: The German Bishops' Conference of March 24 will begin a second research project on sexual abuse of minors. Norbert Denef explained the first project was supposed to be done by independent experts when announced in 2011 but it failed in 2012. The second project is nothing more than great action for the press as long as the victims are fobbed off with 5,000 euros.]

Die Deutsche Bischofskonferenz startet am 24. März 2014 das II. Forschungsprojekt zum Thema “Sexueller Missbrauch an Minderjährigen”

Hierzu erklärt Norbert Denef im Namen des Netzwerks Betroffener von sexualisierter Gewalt, kurz netzwerkB, (www.netzwerkb.org), der Öffentlichkeit wie folgt:

“Das I. Forschungsprojekt, mit angeblich unabhängigen Experten, welches im Juni 2011 bundesweit angekündigt worden war, ist im Januar 2013 gescheitert (s. netzwerkB Pressemitteilung “Kirchliche Aufarbeitung gescheitert“).

So lange die Opfer von der katholischen Kirche mit 5.000 Euro abgespeist werden und nicht angemessen entschädigt, ist das neue Forschungsprojekt auch nichts weiter als nur “eine große Aktion für die Presse”.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:57 AM

Cocaine ‘package’ to Vatican caught by Germany

GERMANY
The Nation

BERLIN - German customs officials have intercepted a package addressed to the Vatican containing 14 condoms filled with cocaine, a newspaper reported Sunday.

The Bild am Sonntag said that a box packed with 340 grammes of cocaine valued at 40,000 euros ($55,200) were seized at the international airport in the eastern city of Leipzig in January. The narcotics, posted from an unnamed South American country, were in liquid form and had been poured into the condoms and placed in the package addressed to the main postal centre at the Vatican. The newspaper, citing a German customs report, said authorities handed the package with the drugs to a police officer at the Vatican with the aim of laying a trap for a culprit who might try to claim it. But Bild said the parcel had remained there since January.

German investigators believe the intended recipient, who remains unknown, was likely tipped off that the package had been intercepted, the newspaper said. The Vatican office of Interpol is now working on the investigation with German police, according to the report. German customs authorities could not immediately be reached for comment.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:50 AM

Pell admits mistakes, misunderstandings, muddling in Ellis case

AUSTRALIA
ABC News

[with audio]

Australia's Cardinal George Pell has expressed regret over the mistakes in the way the church handled the complaint of John Ellis. He says he endorsed the legal strategy to vigorously defend and defeat the case in court, but he didn't have carriage of the day-to-day running of the matter. He's told the Royal Commission that his deputies in the Sydney archdiocese did not keep him in the loop on the financial negotiations, and it was a mistake to reject the offer to mediate with Mr Ellis.

Transcript

MARK COLVIN: Australia's most senior Catholic leader, George Pell, came to the child abuse Royal Commission today to answer serious questions about his conduct in the case of abuse victim John Ellis.

Cardinal Pell has apologised for the gross violations and abuse by Father Aidan Duggan, and admitted to a string of mistakes made by him and officials from the Sydney Archdiocese in how they responded to Mr Ellis over many years.

But the Cardinal moved to distance himself from crucial decisions of the Archdiocese.

Emily Bourke reports.

EMILY BOURKE: Mistakes, misunderstandings, illogical muddlings; these were the admissions of Cardinal George Pell over the church's handling of the Ellis case, and they were followed by expressions of regret and apologies.

GEORGE PELL: My own position is that you never disbelieve a complaint.

EMILY BOURKE: But that's not always been the case. Cardinal Pell, who is heading to the Rome next week, gave the Royal Commission a candid description of the Vatican's attitude to abuse allegations in the years before Mr Ellis came forward.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:15 AM

Pell disputes priest abuse complaint data

AUSTRALIA
9 News

Cardinal George Pell has disputed records that show the Sydney Archdiocese has had complaints against 55 priests of child sex abuse since 2001.

At a royal commission into child sexual abuse in Sydney, the cardinal was asked about the number of abuse cases that had come to him since he took over as archbishop of the diocese.

Data provided to the commission showed complaints had been made about 55 ordained clerics since March 2001, said Gail Furness SC, counsel advising the commission.

The earliest of the alleged offences happened in 1952.

"I'm aware (of that data) but according to our statistics it's inaccurate," Dr Pell said.

He said he had documents that showed there had been 91 complaints but quite a number were multiple complaints about individuals.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:08 AM

Dublin-born priest to be sentenced for child sexual assaults in UK

UNITED KINGDOM
Irish Examiner

A former priest who spent more than two decades on the run in Spain will today be sentenced for sexually assaulting seven children.

Francis Paul Cullen, 85, was extradited to the UK last year to face charge of indecent assault and other sexual offences after being traced to Tenerife.

Dublin-born Cullen, who was located with the help of the Catholic Church’s safeguarding board, pleaded guilty last month to 21 charges relating to offences committed between 1957 and 1991.

The crimes against children aged between six and 16 took place while Cullen was a priest in Mackworth and Buxton, both Derbyshire, and Hyson Green, Nottingham.

Cullen, who has been warned that he faces a “very substantial” term in custody, will be sentenced at Derby Crown Court.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:05 AM

Study groups organized to help church people to heal

CANADA
Cape Breton Post

GLACE BAY — Parishioners throughout the Diocese of Antigonish have been invited to participate in a process of reconciliation in their journey from 'brokenness to healing.'

Some members of the Catholic church study sessions, being held at Holy Cross Church in Glace Bay to help rebuild trust and hope within the church, gather together after a recent session. Those attending included David Nearing, facilitator, particpants Marilyn Morrison Foley, Linda MacNeil and Sr .Rita McNeil, Bryan MacDonald, facilitator, and Rev. Norman Mac Phee. Submitted Photo

Sister Agnes Burrows said study groups have been formed in different deaneries, as a result of a recommendation of the pastoral plan of the Diocese of Antigonish.

Burrows said in Glace Bay, about 23 people are meeting at Holy Cross Church Mondays at 7 p.m.

Other groups are being held in Antigonish, Sydney and North Sydney.

“We’re going to have six sessions. We finished three and will have three more to go.”

She said the sessions include a facilitated study of the book: Healing the Church: Diagnosing and Treating the Clergy Sexual Abuse Crisis.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:02 AM

Pell 'sorry' over church's handling of sex abuse case

AUSTRALIA
9 News

[with video]

Cardinal George Pell has apologised and admitted he made mistakes in dealing with the case of a former altar boy who had been abused by a Catholic priest.

Cardinal Pell, however, denied he had ever told Mr Ellis he had been the victim of "legal abuse" after his case made it to the Supreme Court.

Mr Ellis, 52, now a lawyer, told the commission that Cardinal Pell used the term in 2009, five years after losing his court case.

"I am unsure what precisely Mr Ellis meant by 'legal abuse'," he told the commission.

"I did not use the term 'legal abuse'. I did not regard the mere defending the litigation as legal abuse."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:00 AM

Explainer: What is being examined at the Royal Commission this week?

AUSTRALIA
SBS

As the Royal Commission enters its third week into a hearing about the case of former altar boy John Ellis, SBS takes a look at what's being examined and what's to come.

The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sex Abuse was launched in 2013 to examine how certain institutions responded to allegations and instances of child sexual abuse.

The six-member commission is chaired by Justice Peter McClellan.

The other five commissioners are former Queensland Police Commissioner, Bob Atkinson, Family Court Judge and former Victorian Coroner, Jennifer Coate, Productivity Commissioner, Robert Fitzgerald, Consultant Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist, Helen Milroy and former Senator for Western Australia, Andrew Murray.

The date for the final report from the commission is yet to be announced but is expected to be around the end of 2015.

The schedule of the commission includes private sessions in capital cities and regional areas as well as public hearings on specific case studies.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:58 AM

George Pell cuts an ordinary figure as he seeks to blame others

AUSTRALIA
The Guardian (UK)

David Marr
theguardian.com, Monday 24 March 2014

After a time, the novelty of seeing a cardinal in the witness box wears off. He is just a man under questioning. And it is an ordinary sight, at times so ordinary.

George Pell’s memory fails him like any other witness in trouble. He struggles to recollect his part in key events. The men he depended on to handle the complaint of John Ellis against ancient Father Aidan Duggan more than a decade ago were mistaken, muddled, insufficiently informed or plain wrong.

Yes, he made mistakes himself which he admitted in a muscular way and he agreed this case should never have turned into the hugely expensive court battle it became. But let this be clear to the royal commission into institutional responses to child sexual abuse: it wasn’t His Eminence’s fault.

There are so many ways of saying yes and as Gail Furness SC, counsel assisting the commission, took him through his evidence, the cardinal used most of them: confident, breezy, grumpy, snarling and a perfunctory “Ahhah” through shut lips.

“Does ‘ahhah’ mean yes?” asked the commissioner, Justice Peter McClellan. It did.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:56 AM

Archbishop Wilson admits St Ann's case could have been handled better

AUSTRALIA
ABC - PM

MARK COLVIN: At the child abuse Royal Commission hearings in Adelaide, the Archbishop of that Archdiocese, Philip Wilson, has admitted that the cases of intellectually disabled children abused at the St Ann's special school could have been handled better.

Archbishop Wilson gave evidence that on taking office, he took steps to have the paedophile Brian Perkins extradited from Queensland after the police investigation had stalled.

But he conceded that the way he dealt with the families of the abused boys could have been better.

Samantha Donovan reports.

SAMANTHA DONOVAN: Philip Wilson became the Archbishop of Adelaide in late 2001.

By then, 10 years had gone by since police had become aware that as many as 30 intellectually disabled boys had been abused by convicted paedophile Brian Perkins, who'd been employed by the St Ann's special school as a bus driver.

Perkins was in Queensland after skipping bail.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:54 AM

Vatican committee: Abuse survivor Marie Collins 'will do her utmost' to represent victims

IRELAND
BBC News

Abuse survivor Marie Collins has said she will do her "absolute utmost" to represent victims of abuse on a Vatican committee on protecting children.

She is one of eight members - four women and four men.

In December, the Vatican said it would set up the committee to improve measures to protect children against sexual abuse within the Catholic Church.

The scope of the commission remains unknown.

Pope Francis made the announcement on Saturday.

Ms Collins described the make up of the commission as "encouraging" because 50% of the group's members were female.

She said her appointment had taken her by surprise.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:52 AM

Adelaide archbishop says response too slow

AUSTRALIA
The West Australian

BY MARGARET SCHEIKOWSKI
March 24, 2014

The Archbishop of Adelaide has agreed the Catholic church's response to sexual abuse claims at a special school should have begun about a decade earlier than it did.

Archbishop Philip Wilson told the royal commission he would have expected his predecessor to have put in place processes in 1993 which he himself instigated after learning of the abuse in late 2001.

"If the matter was known it should have been dealt with in all the formal ways that are required," he told the commission on Monday.

It is investigating Adelaide's St Ann's Special School and its bus driver Brian Perkins, who sexually abused intellectually disabled children between 1986 and 1991.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:50 AM

Cardinal George Pell faces angry protesters at abuse commission

AUSTRALIA
Sydney Morning Herald

March 25, 2014

Damien Murphy

Church and state have been circling each other for centuries. Those rare times they become one, it is usually courtesy of a turbulent priest.

Australia's own turbulent cardinal, George Pell, had his own difficulties separating church and state before the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse on Monday.
The cardinal turned himself from a man of god into a man of law.

After 4½ hours, the questioning was beginning to touch on the difference between moral and legal responsibility and the 73-year-old recently decamped Archbishop of Sydney had begun to be probed about why he had not settled with John Ellis, abused by his Bass Hill parish priest for nearly 10 years.

Mr Ellis had grown up into a well-rewarded lawyer and had rejected a $25,000 church offer of compensation and was demanding $750,000. ''Because it was not a good legal position,'' Cardinal Pell said, to explain why he had accepted advice not to settle.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:48 AM

Francis shows political savvy in commission appointees

VATICAN CITY
Irish Times

Paddy Agnew

Sun, Mar 23, 2014

In appointing four women, five lay people and three anglophones to the Vatican’s new Pontifical Council For The Protection Of Minors yesterday (Sat), Pope Francis has perhaps shown himself to be not just a universal pastor but also a savvy politician.

Even if this hugely charismatic Pope has already done much to improve the image of the Catholic Church, the first year of his pontificate has, in the eyes of some, been sullied by his relative silence on the issue of clerical sex abuse.

Furthermore, Francis has promised much with regard to the role of both women and the laity in the Church without, however, managing to deliver anything concrete on either front.

Pope Francis appears on the central balcony of St Peter’s Basilica on day he was elected, one year ago. Photograph: GettyThe people’s pontiff brings change to the Vatican

Marie Collins, a survivor of abuse, who was today appointed to a Vatican commission on protecting children from clerical abuse. Photograph: Matt Kavanagh/The Irish Times Pope appoints Marie Collins to church group on sex abuse

With one move yesterday (Sat), the Pope has addressed all three issues. The Holy See will, obviously, claim that Public Relations considerations have nothing to with either the timing of this announcement or with the composition of the new Pontifical Council.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:46 AM

25 years into fight against clergy sex abuse, SNAP soldiers on

BOSTON (MA)
Boston Globe

By Dan Adams | GLOBE CORRESPONDENT MARCH 24, 2014

When Barbara Blaine founded the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests in a Chicago homeless shelter she ran in 1988, it was a small group looking for support and healing.

It was more than a decade before public outrage at sex abuse in the Catholic church peaked in the early 2000s, and SNAP’s members had few people they could turn to except each other.

Twenty-five years later, the organization is considered by many Catholic observers to be the main American advocacy group for victims of clergy abuse. But support groups remain at the core of SNAP’s work.

“I don’t think any of us thought when we started that we would still be doing it now,” said Blaine, who visited Boston on Sunday as part of a tour marking the group’s quarter-century of work. “I never imagined that there were so many kids sexually violated by priests.”

Blaine was invited to Boston by child advocacy group Massachusetts Citizens for Children, or MassKids, which hosted an afternoon of lectures at the New England School of Law to mark SNAP’s anniversary.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:44 AM

Doblin: Archbishop Hebda may be as tone deaf as Archbishop Myers

NEW JERSEY
The Record

MARCH 24, 2014

BY ALFRED P. DOBLIN
THE RECORD

NEWARK Coadjutor Archbishop Bernard Hebda is loyal. Unfortunately, his loyalty is misplaced.

In an opinion piece published in The Record last Tuesday, Hebda takes Record Staff Writer Jeff Green to task for reporting on the different lifestyle choices made by Hebda and Newark Archbishop John Myers. Hebda is living in three rooms at Seton Hall University, while Myers is adding 3,000 square feet to a 4,500-square-foot home he intends to use as his residence in retirement.

Hebda wrote that Myers has saved the archdiocese much money by choosing to live for 13 years in the cathedral rectory with other priests. According to Hebda, Myers has only two rooms he can call his own and, he said, "they are in a ZIP code that few would consider enviable."

There was great hope that Hebda, who has been mainly silent during his first six months in the Newark archdiocese, would be a breath of spring after more than a decade of winters of discontent under Myers. The frosty chill induced by Hebda's opinion piece is palpable.

Myers is the archbishop of Newark. If living within Newark's city limits is such a sacrifice to either Myers or Hebda, they should leave for more desirable locales. Bishops should be men of God, not men of gold.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:42 AM

George Pell removed expression of regret ...

AUSTRALIA
The Australian

George Pell removed expression of regret from letter to abuse victim John Ellis

DAN BOX MARCH 24, 2014

CARDINAL George Pell removed an expression of regret from a letter to the victim of a pedophile priest because it was “illogical” when the Catholic Church was disputing whether any abuse occurred, an inquiry has heard.

The royal commission into child sexual abuse saw the tracked changes of edits made by Dr Pell to a draft letter to John Ellis, a former altar boy who suffered years of abuse at the hands of a Sydney priest, Father Aidan Duggan.

Mr Ellis said the letter, which he received on Christmas Eve, 2002, felt like the church was slamming the door in his face by rejecting his complaint.

The original draft, prepared by the church’s former director of professional standards John Davoren, suggested an expression that the church “very much regret any hurt that you have experienced”. Dr Pell told the commission he removed the reference to regret because it was “illogical”.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:40 AM

Cardinal George Pell Tells Royal Commission ...

AUSTRALIA
Business Insider

Cardinal George Pell Tells Royal Commission The Vatican Regarded Child Abuse Victims As 'Enemies Of The Church' - Like Nazis

SIMON THOMSEN

Cardinal George Pell has told the Royal Commission into Child Sexual Abuse that the Vatican regarded anyone claiming they were abused by clergy as “enemies of the church”, whose actions were “as the Nazis had done, and the Communists”.

The former Archbishop of Sydney said Australia and the US were ahead of the Vatican in the 1990s when it came to facing the “challenge” of abuse.

“The attitude of some people in the Vatican is that if some people made accusations they were made by enemies of the church to make trouble and should therefore be dealt with sceptically,” he said during testimony this morning.

Cardinal Pell said that as a result, the Vatican’s “inclination” was “to give the benefit of the doubt to the defendant rather than listen seriously to the complaints”.

He said attitudes began to change after “good people who loved the Church” came forward “saying it was not done well enough”.

Cardinal Pell, 72, who leaves shortly for Rome and a new position as the Head of Vatican Finances, is appearing before the Royal Commission as it investigates the Catholic Church’s Towards Healing program to deal with the victims of sexual abuse by clergy.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:36 AM

George Pell: Vatican said enemies of the church made abuse allegations

AUSTRALIA
Sydney Morning Herald

[with video]

March 24, 2014

Catherine Armitage
Senior Writer

Cardinal George Pell has told the child sex abuse Royal Commission that the attitude of some people in the Vatican was that accusations against priests “were being made exclusively or at least predominantly by enemies of the church to make trouble and therefore should be dealt with sceptically".

Pell has begun his evidence to the commission this morning in its investigation into the handling of the case of John Ellis, a former altar boy who was abused by Father Aidan Duggan from the age of 13.

Pell admitted in his statement to the commission that he “explicitly endorsed the major strategies of the defence” in the litigation which left Mr Ellis a broken man.

Pell had not been aware that his lawyers told the court Mr Ellis had no one to sue other than the Archdiocesan trustees or himself, Pell’s statement says.

The Ellis case established that the trustees could not be sued because they only held the Archdiocese’s assets but were not responsible for the behaviour of priests, and the Archbishop could not be sued because he had not been in charge at the time of the abuse.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:34 AM

Abuse victims should be able to sue Church, says George Pell

AUSTRALIA
ABC - The World Today

ELEANOR HALL: Just days before he leaves the country to take up a post at the Vatican, Australia's most senior Catholic cleric today gave evidence before the Royal Commission into child sexual abuse.

The outgoing archbishop of Sydney, Cardinal George Pell, appeared before the inquiry in Sydney to answer questions about how the archdiocese is handling the case of John Ellis.

Mr Ellis was abused by a priest in Western Sydney in the 1970s and took his complaint to the Church in 2002.

The case ended up before the courts when Mr Ellis rejected an offer of $30,000 and attempted to sue the Church.

The Church vigorously defended and defeated the claim and set a legal precedent that the Church could not be sued.

Our correspondent at the Royal Commission, Emily Bourke, is at the inquiry and joins us now.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:32 AM

Pell in the box stays firm

AUSTRALIA
Sky News

Outside and inside the hearing room at the royal commission where Cardinal George Pell is in the witness stand, survivors of clerical child sex abuse are listening intently.

The hearing room is packed to its capacity of 100-plus and the cardinal's evidence is being broadcast on screens around the foyer of the 17th floor in the Governor Macquarie Tower in Sydney.

Sometimes, such as when the cardinal makes a statement like 'my own position is that you never disbelieve a complaint...', there are sighs.

Sitting directly behind the long tables where lawyers for the commission, the church and abuse victims sit, is John Ellis - the man whose saga of sexual and then 'legal abuse' by the church is the reason for the hearing.

Ellis, a gaunt, nerve-wracked man, has told his complex story of how as a 13-year-old he was sexually abused by a priest.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:31 AM

O’Malley seen as No. 1 voice of U.S. Catholics

BOSTON (MA)
Boston Herald

Monday, March 24, 2014
By: Priyanka Dayal McCluskey

The national spotlight has focused on Boston’s humble, soft-spoken Cardinal Sean O’Malley, now emerging as the pope’s closest ally in North America, poised to influence the future of the church well beyond Boston and to be the voice of American Catholics in Rome.

Highlighted in recent reports such as a front page USA Today article yesterday that suggested he is “the most powerful Catholic in America,” the cardinal went about his business yesterday, devoting his attention to the plight of immigrants, without addressing the talk swirling around him about his close relationship with the new pope.

Already part of Pope Francis’ inner circle, O’Malley was named to a new Vatican commission on sex abuse over the weekend, making him the only American in the eight-member group.

“We’re happy the commission is developing,” O’Malley told reporters in brief remarks yesterday. “It’s a great need for the church, and I’m honored to be asked to be a part of it.” ...

Abuse victims say neither O’Malley nor the church has done enough. Barbara Blaine, president and founder of Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, said the pope’s new anti-abuse commission looks like a public relations stunt — but said she welcomes O’Malley’s addition to the group if he can prompt the pope to punish abusive priests and the bishops who conceal them.

“We would encourage Cardinal O’Malley to insist that other bishops at least do what he has done,” including publicly posting the names of known sexual predators, Blaine said.

O’Malley’s growing status among Vatican advisers means he may be spending less time in Boston and more in Rome — and that he’ll effectively be the voice of Catholic America.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:28 AM

Child sex abuse royal commission: Cardinal George Pell says he was not involved in discussions on compensation payments

AUSTRALIA
ABC News

Australia's most senior Catholic cleric, Cardinal George Pell, says he was not involved in discussions about compensation for a man who was sexually abused by a priest.

The former archbishop of Sydney has given evidence in front of a packed public gallery at the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse in Sydney.

He faced serious questions about his part in the Church's legal battle with John Ellis, who was abused by Father Aidan Duggan in the 1970s.

Mr Ellis lost his case in 2007, when the New South Wales Court of Appeal ruled the Church was not a legal entity that could be sued - the so-called Ellis defence.

Today Cardinal Pell apologised for the abuse, and admitted to a string of mistakes in how the Church responded to Mr Ellis over many years.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:26 AM

Pell edited expression of regret

AUSTRALIA
Sky News

Cardinal George Pell removed an expression of regret from a letter to the victim of a pedophile priest because it was 'illogical' when the Catholic Church was disputing whether any abuse occurred, an inquiry has heard.

The royal commission into child sexual abuse saw the tracked changes of edits made by Dr Pell to a draft letter to John Ellis, a former altar boy who suffered years of abuse at the hands of a Sydney priest, Father Aidan Duggan.

Mr Ellis said the letter, which he received on Christmas Eve, 2002, felt like the church was slamming the door in his face by rejecting his complaint.

The original draft, prepared by the church's former director of professional standards John Davoren, suggested an expression that the church "very much regret any hurt that you have experienced".

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:25 AM

Australian cardinal appears at commission

AUSTRALIA
Radio New Zealand News

Australia's most senior Catholic cleric, Cardinal George Pell, has told an inquiry into child sexual abuse he should have exercised greater oversight in the case of a victim who sued the church.

John Ellis was abused by a priest in the 1970s and in 2007 lost his case against the Catholic Church, with a judge ruling it was not a legal entity which could be sued.

Conflicting accounts exist of what Cardinal Pell, the former Archibishop of Sydney, knew about the case when Mr Ellis sued the Church.

The hearing room at the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse in Sydney was packed to capacity the cardinal gave his highly anticipated testimony, the ABC reports.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:23 AM

Former Polish PM appointed to Vatican group to battle pedophilia

POLAND
The News

Former Polish prime minister Hanna Suchocka has been nominated by Pope Francis as a member of an eight-strong group to fight sexual abuse of minors within the Roman Catholic Church.

There are four women and four men in the group, including Marie Collins, who was abused by priests in her native Ireland in the 1960s and has campaigned for the protection of children and for justice for victims of clerical pedophilia.

Boston Cardinal Sean O'Malley, Baroness Sheila Hollins, a British psychiatrist, French child psychiatrist Catherine Bonnet, Italian canon law professor Claudio Papale and two Jesuit priests, Argentine moral theologian Humberto Miguel Yanez and German psychologist Hans Zollner also make up the group.

Vatican spokesman Rev. Federico Lombardi has said that the group would examine options such as criminal action against offenders, education on child exploitation, most effective practices to screen priests and a clear definition of civil and clerical duties within the Church.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:21 AM

Ex-priest to be sentenced for abuse

UNITED KINGDOM
Belfast Telegraph

24 MARCH 2014

A Dublin-born former priest who spent more than two decades on the run in Spain is to be sentenced in the UK for sexually assaulting seven children.

Francis Paul Cullen, 85, was extradited to the UK last year to face charges of indecent assault and other sexual offences after being traced to Tenerife.

Cullen, who was located with the help of the Catholic Church's safeguarding board, pleaded guilty last month to 21 charges relating to offences committed between 1957 and 1991.

The crimes against children aged between six and 16 took place in the UK while Cullen was a priest in Mackworth and Buxton, both Derbyshire, and Hyson Green, Nottingham.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:19 AM

Francis Paul Cullen: Former Derby priest to be sentenced today for child sex offences

UNITED KINGDOM
Derby Telegraph

FORMER Derby priest Francis Paul Cullen is to be sentenced today for child sex offences.

The 85-year-old, who was parish priest at Christ the King, in Mackworth, from 1960 to 1978, pleaded guilty to 21 sexual abuse offences in February.

Four of his victims were altar boys during his time in Derby.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:18 AM

Priest insurance 'useful', says Pell

AUSTRALIA
Sky News

Cardinal George Pell has told an inquiry that insurance for priests might be 'a useful development'.

Dr Pell has also told the royal commission into child sexual abuse that the Catholic church could set up a corporate structure that would allow church officials to be sued for offences.

He proposed the establishment of a 'corporation sole' to appoint and supervise church employees and agreed with a suggestion from Commission chair, Justice Peter McClellan, that priests should take out insurance, in the same way that other professions are required to do.

'I think that might be a very useful development,' Dr Pell said.

Dr Pell said the church had the same rights as an Australian citizen and should be treated like a citizen or community in any legal proceedings.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:16 AM

The church comes firs