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April 30, 2015

Diocese denies that archbishop covered up priest abuse

KANSAS CITY (MO)
WFSB

[with video]

By Chris Oberholtz, Multimedia Producer
chris.oberholtz@kctv5.com
By Elisabeth Rentschler, Multimedia Journalist

KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) -
Bishop Robert Finn, who was convicted three years ago of failing to report suspected child abuse, has resigned, but some in the Catholic community are still angry.

The Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests maintains that Kansas City, KS, Archbishop Joseph Naumann, who was appointed temporary leader of the Kansas City-St. Joseph Diocese after Finn resignation, isn't the right choice.

SNAP members say Naumann is part of a child sex abuse cover-up that happened at the Catholic Archdiocese in KCK. They are calling for systemwide change in the Catholic church.

They held a protest at the Kansas City-St Joseph Diocese after they found out that Finn will preside over the ordinations of seven deacons next month due to a scheduling conflict for his temporary replacement.

Naumann will be leading the ordination ceremony of deacons in the KCK diocese he leads at the same time the May 23 ordinations are scheduled for the Missouri diocese. ...

Jack Smith, a spokesman for the Kansas City-St. Joseph diocese, brushed off those accusations on Naumann's behalf.

Smith said Naumann reported the complaints as soon as he heard about them.

"There's no possible way you could claim the archbishop was covering this up when he sent it to the prosecutor, when he alerted parishioners," Smith said. "It's just completely spurious."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:42 PM

Odd News from the East and West

UNITED STATES
Canonical Consultation

04/30/2015

Jennifer Haselberger

Some interesting items making the news today, especially for those following the sexual abuse scandal in the Catholic Church and/or the downward spiral of the W.D.O.E.

First, Msgr William Lynn, the first Catholic diocesan official convicted of child endangerment, was remanded back into custody in Philadelphia today. Msgr. Lynn served eighteen months of his 3-6 year sentence before an appellate court reversed the verdict against him. However, on Monday the same appellate court reinstated his conviction, according to philly.com, paving the way for Msgr. Lynn to return to prison.

The Lynn case was watched carefully by those of us in St. Paul, and in Chanceries throughout the country. The original conviction came in 2012, just weeks prior to the revelation of accusations of abuse against Father Curtis Wehmeyer. I can recall the Chancellor for Civil Affairs, Andy Eisenzimmer, reviewing Minnesota's child endangerment statute carefully, and then offering his opinion that the statute was written in such a way that it could not be applied to any Archdiocesan personnel (the question was whether we could be charged with child endangerment, as by that point it was obvious to everyone that we had endangered children).

To date, only Father Wehmeyer has been prosecuted for his actions, but it is my understanding that the investigation by the Ramsey County Attorney's Office is ongoing. So, perhaps we will see additional charges sometime soon.

The second item of interest involves a former employee of the Catholic Finance Corporation, Michael Schaefer. You may have noted that early bankruptcy filings by the W.D.O.E. identified Mr. Schaefer as having a potential claim against the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis. Today's edition of the Courthouse News Service explains why. I was not aware that any allegations of sexual misconduct had been made against Mr. Schaefer, although I was aware that accusations were made against a director at another 'related entity', the Minnesota Catholic Conference. At the same time, it would not surprise me that, if indeed the Archdiocese was aware of accusations, they did not notify the Diocese of Orange of their concerns. Par for the course, as they say.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:38 PM

Pathetic Brooklyn Mass of Hope and Healing: 70 concelebrants, 100 attendants.

UNITED STATES
POPE FRANCIS the CON-Christ.

Paris Arrow

Someday soon, the Vatican shall have this scenario that happened last April 15 in Brooklyn, New York. Look at how pathetic was this actual Mass in a grandiose (but almost empty) St. James Cathedral-Basilica in downtown Brooklyn -- where there were only 100 people in the congregation -- but the altar was filled with 70 men (almost as much as the attendees) -- 3 bishops, 57 priests and 10 deacons. (Are these the only Roman Catholics left in Brooklyn? No wonder Cardinal Dolan is so busy shutting down and merging more than 150 Catholic churches in New York, read links below). The 3 bishops were Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio, his auxiliary Bishops Raymond Chappetto and Octavio Cisneros. And it was dubbed “Mass of Hope and Healing for survivors of sexual abuse by clergy”.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:36 PM

Has the long-overdue reform of Vatican media operations been sidetracked?

UNITED STATES
Catholic Culture

By Phil Lawler Apr 30, 2015

Pope Francis has formed a new commission to implement proposals for a reform of the Vatican’s media operations . That’s good news, I suppose. Or is it?

The April 30 announcement from the Vatican press office about this new commission did not provide details. What will this new commission do? How does it differ from another special commission, forned only last year, which just finished its work, providing recommendations for reforms? According to the press office, upon reviewing the report submitted by the first commission, the Council of Cardinals “proposed His Holiness the institution of a commission to study this final report and to suggest feasible approaches to its implementation.” Didn’t the first commission give any attention to feasible plans for implementation of its recommendations?

In short, the April 30 announcement raises more questions than it answers. If the ultimate goal of a reform in the Vatican media operation is to encourage candor and clarity, it’s obvious that the reforms haven’t taken effect yet.

Yet there’s a more important reason for concern about today’s news. The original commission was composed of recognized experts in the fields of media and communications, drawn from institutions around the world. The new commission is made up of clerics currently involved in the Vatican’s media operations—along with one executive of the newspaper owned by the Italian bishops’ conference. This is very much an in-house bunch.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:30 PM

SNAP to release evidence of sex abuse cover-up in Kansas City diocese

KANSAS CITY (MO)
KPAX

Chris Oberholtz and Elisabeth Rentschler

Kansas City, MO -- Bishop Robert Finn, who was convicted three years ago of failing to report suspected child abuse, has resigned, but some in the Catholic community are still angry.

The Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests say Kansas City, KS, Archbishop Joseph Naumann, who was appointed temporary leader of the Kansas City-St. Joseph Diocese after Finn resignation, isn't the right choice.

SNAP members say Naumann is part of a child sex abuse cover-up that happened at the Catholic Archdiocese in KCK. They are calling for system-wide change in the Catholic church.

They held a protest at the Kansas City-St Joseph Diocese after they found out that Finn will preside over the ordinations of seven deacons next month due to a scheduling conflict for his temporary replacement.

Naumann will be leading the ordination ceremony of deacons in the KCK diocese he leads at the same time the May 23 ordinations are scheduled for the Missouri diocese.

SNAP members feel that makes Finn's resignation useless.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:27 PM

AR--Arkansas clergy sexual exploitation suit filed; SNAP responds

ARKANSAS
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

For immediate release: Wednesday, April 29

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

A civil lawsuit has been filed against a Little Rock minister accusing him of sexually exploiting an adult congregant. We applaud this brave woman and are confident that her speaking out will prod others who were hurt by this minister to step forward and get help.

[Facebook]

Apostle Lawrence E. Braggs, pastor of the Awareness Center International Ministries, allegedly manipulated, abused and exploited a church member, Jennifer Richardson, from roughly 2007 until 2012.

This was NOT an “affair” or a “relationship.” This is exploitation.”

It’s not “consent.” It’s manipulation under the guise of spiritual help. It’s awful.

It is inherently problematic and unhealthy when clergy have any sexual contact with congregants. There can be no true "consent" given the power difference between the individuals.

Our society has long understood that it's virtually always hurtful when a doctor has any sex with a patient or a psychologist has any sex with a client. Gradually, more people are finally understanding this.

An allegedly holy religious authority figure who holds the exalted title of “reverend” cannot ever have truly consensual or healthy sexual contact with a congregant. It is always morally wrong and emotionally harmful. Often, it’s also illegal.

That harm is compounded when the minister or his backers mischaracterizes the exploitation.

Clergy always hold an exalted position, and when they have any sexual involvement with church-goers, it is always hurtful.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:16 PM

Who’s Afraid of Pope Francis?

UNITED STATES
New York Review of Books

Garry Wills

An authentic pope should be a scary one. Jesus scared the dickens out of people (it cost him his life). Is Pope Francis truly scary? One might think so from the reaction of some guardians of orthodoxy, men like New York Times columnist Ross Douthat, who thinks he must threaten the pope with schism to protect the sanctity of marriage, since “this pope may be preserved from error only if the church itself resists him.” But ecclesiastical nitpickers have no armies of similar thinkers to summon. This is not even medium scary.

Now, however, something is looming that has billionaires shaking in their boots, and when Catholic billionaires shake, Catholic bishops get sympathetic shudders. These are the men who build their churches, hospitals, schools, and libraries. Catholic lore has made winning over such Money Men the mark of the true church leader—the Bing Crosby priest crooning dollars out of a cranky donor in Going My Way, or the J. F. Powers priest putting up with a wealthy boor to get a golf course for his retreat house.

Cardinal Timothy Dolan was recently reminded of these facts of churchly life by Kenneth Langone, a co-founder of Home Depot. The cardinal is working to restore St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York, at a cost of $175 million. Langone asked why he and his fellow benefactors should raise such money when the pope is denouncing “the idolatry of money.” He said the pope’s criticism will make his fellow donors “incapable of feeling compassion for the poor.”

But this, too, was a minor threat. Langone was simply threatening to withhold money. Now, as the pope prepares a major encyclical on climate change, to be released this summer, the billionaires are spending a great deal of their money in a direct assault on him. They are calling in their chits, their kept scientists, their rigged conferences, their sycophantic beneficiaries, their bought publicists to discredit words of the pope that have not even been issued: “He would do his flock and the world a disservice by putting his moral authority behind the United Nations’ unscientific agenda on the climate,” they say. They do not know exactly what the pope is going to say in his forthcoming encyclical on preserving God’s creation, but they know what he will not say. He will not deny that the poor suffer from actions that despoil the earth. Everything he has said and done so far shows that Francis always stands for the poor.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:29 PM

Helena Diocese publishes names of accused as part of non-monetary settlement terms

MONTANA
KPAX

By Tim McGonigal - MTN News

HELENA -
The Diocese of Helena has agreed to post the names of members accused of child sexual abuse on its website.

This decision comes as one of the non-monetary terms for resolving the child sexual abuse cases brought against the Helena Roman Catholic Diocese (Whalen, et al. v. Roman Catholic Diocese of Helena, et al., and Does, et al. v. Roman Catholic Diocese of Helena, et al.).

The names will be available on the Diocese website for a minimum of 10 years.

The settlement comes after accusations of sexual abuse of children during the time period from the 1930's to the 1970's came to light.

The lawsuit claimed more than 360 people were victimized in this case.

The Diocese also is listing the names of priests against whom accusations of sexual abuse of minors have been made only to the Diocese.

In a press release, the Diocese said that they would continue to update the list, if and when new information comes to light.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:11 PM

Financier Says Dioceses Took Word of Psychic

MINNESOTA
Courthouse News Service

By ROSE BOUBOUSHIAN

(CN) - A man who says he used to give financial advice to Catholic organizations claims in court that the church defamed him by spreading a psychic's claims about him.

Michael Schaefer and his Dakota County, Minn.-based business, MPSCHAEFER, brought the complaint on April 21 against the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis; Catholic Finance Corp.; Mater Dei High School; the Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange; and that diocese's revocable trust.

Schaefer claims that the Minnesota archdiocese hired him in April 2000 while it was in the process of creating a financial-advisory firm for Catholic organizations.

The diocese ultimately tapped Schaeffer to serve as executive director of that entity, Catholic Finance Corp., according to the complaint in Dakota County District Court.

In that capacity Schaefer says he "completed approximately $600 million in financing for Catholic organizations," working directly or indirectly "in seven different dioceses with over 200 parishes and schools."

Schaefer allegedly opened his own firm in 2011, and that the Diocese of Orange contracted him to act as its finance director on an interim-to-permanent basis in late 2013.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:20 PM

Bail Revoked: William Lynn Going Back to Prison

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
NBC 10

By Maryclaire Dale

A Roman Catholic church official was sent back to prison Thursday after the Pennsylvania State Supreme Court reinstated his 2012 child endangerment conviction over his handling of priest sexual abuse complaints.

Monsignor William Lynn, the longtime secretary for clergy at the Philadelphia archdiocese, is the first U.S. church official ever prosecuted or convicted in the clergy abuse scandal.

A judge on Thursday agreed that Lynn's case presented a "novel" issue that she could have gotten wrong when she sent the case to trial: the question of whether Lynn actually "supervised" children under the law in 1998, when the boy at issue in Lynn's case was molested by a parish priest. But in a case full of twists and turns, the state Supreme Court this week said he did and called his conviction legal.

So after 18 months in prison and 16 months on house arrest at a city rectory, the 64-year-old Lynn — wearing jeans and a gray sweatshirt instead of his usual black shirt and collar — found himself back before Common Pleas Judge M. Teresa Sarmina.

The issues raised in Lynn's case have entangled prosecutors, defense lawyers and at least 10 Pennsylvania judges since 2005, when the city's top prosecutor blasted the archdiocese after a grand jury investigation into 63 accused priests but concluded the law applied only to parents and caregivers.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:36 PM

Judge sentences ex-Tampa Day School principal to 10 years for sex assault

FLORIDA
Tampa Bay Times

Anna M. Phillips, Times Staff Writer

TAMPA — James J. Larkin, a former Tampa Day School principal, was sentenced Thursday to a 10-year prison term as part of a plea deal in which he admitted to sexually abusing two adolescent boys.

For more than 30 years, Larkin's reputation was that of a beloved private school leader. From 1978 to 2009, he was headmaster at St. John Greek Orthodox Day School in South Tampa, a position he left to helm the Tampa Day School. The school fired him last year after a 14-year-old boy, a student at Tampa Day, accused Larkin, 64, of molesting him one night while the principal was acting as a stand-in babysitter.

The publicity surrounding that allegation prompted an adult man in his mid-40s to contact law enforcement about a similar incident he said occurred when he was 10 years old.

Although Larkin's attorney initially vowed to fight the charges against his client, the former principal pleaded guilty to one count of lewd molestation and one count of attempted sexual battery.

As part of the agreement reached with Hillsborough prosecutors, after he has completed his prison sentence — at which point, he will likely be in his mid-70s — Larkin will face 10 years of probation and will spend the rest of his life as a registered sex offender. Under Florida law, he will not be allowed live within 1,000 feet of a school, child care facility or other places where children congregate.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:33 PM

Activists renew demands for Child Victims Act

NEW YORK
Riverdale Press

By Shant Shahrigian
Posted 4/30/15

Dozens of activists from throughout the state descended on Albany on April 22 to demand passage of the Child Victims Act, a long-stalled bill that would eliminate the criminal and civil statute of limitations for child sexual abuse and create a one-year window for past victims to seek justice.

“The current SOL [statute of limitations] prevents the arm of the law from extending beyond the walls of institutions like Horace Mann that conceal and cover up sexual abuse and discourages victims from reporting lurid, harmful crimes,” said Peter Brooks, a leading organizer for the Horace Mann Action Coalition (HMAC). The group has sought justice over decades of sexual abuse perpetrated by faculty members against more than 30 students.

Mr. Brooks attended the activists’ day along with Kevin Mulhearn, a lawyer who previously represented six Horace Mann graduates in settlement negotiations with the school, and Dan Miller, an organizer for the Hilltop Cares Foundation, a charitable group for survivors of sexual abuse at the prestigious school.

Since revelations of the abuse emerged about three years ago, Mr. Brooks and other activists have strongly criticized administrators, saying they helped cover up the crimes over the years. Speaking through a communications firm, Horace Mann School declined to answer whether it supports the Child Victims Act and related questions.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:19 PM

Pass the Child Victims Act now

NEW YORK
Riverdale Press

Posted 4/30/15

The Horace Mann School’s approach to child abuse by its own faculty members has been more like that of a cutthroat Wall Street firm than a caring educational institution.

Many of the dozens of victims who suffered at the hands of educators from the 1960s to the 1990s were too traumatized to inform the administration at the time of the crimes.

Those who did were often strongarmed into staying quiet.

Once a 2012 article in The New York Times showed the shocking extent of the abuse, survivors who came back to their alma mater seeking closure were treated to disdain and paltry offers of compensation.

The state’s draconian statute of limitations on child sexual abuse cases has only worsened things for victims at Horace Mann and other schools.

Under the current law, children who suffer sexual abuse have just five years after they turn 18 to sue their tormenters in civil or criminal court. Yet one of the salient features of child sexual abuse is that it can take many years for victims to acknowledge what happened to them.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:17 PM

Six-year jail term for ex-Christian Brother ...

AUSTRALIA
The Age

May 1, 2015

Adam Cooper and Mark Russell

Victoria's top prosecutor has launched an appeal on the grounds of leniency against a jail term imposed on former Christian Brother Ted Bales, who sexually assaulted 20 boys in his care.

Edward "Ted" Dowlan​, who changed his surname by deed poll to Bales in 2011, was sentenced in March to six years in jail, to serve a minimum three years before parole, after pleading guilty to 33 counts of indecently assaulting boys under 16 and one count of gross indecency.

His offending related to abusing 20 boys, some as young as eight, who were under Bales' care at schools in Melbourne, Ballarat, Geelong and Warrnambool between 1971 and 1986. Victoria's Director of Public Prosecutions, John Champion, SC, confirmed on Thursday he had launched an appeal against the jail term on the grounds the sentence was manifestly inadequate. County Court judge Richard Smith in March found Bales had preyed on vulnerable boys when he was in a position of trust and believed he had "some right to entitlement" to abusing the boys.

His victims had suffered an ongoing psychological reaction to the abuse that was still affecting them 30 to 40 years later, the court was told. Judge Smith said Bales was renowned as a strict disciplinarian who committed many of his offences at the back of the classroom under the guise of disciplining a student, having told the other boys not to turn around.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:14 PM

El lugar de la Iglesia en la encrucijada del caso Ilarraz

ARGENTINA
La Voz

[The place of the church at the crossroads in the Ilarraz case.]

30/04/2015

- En 2010 firmó, junto a un grupo de curas, una carta a la Iglesia reclamando que Ilarraz fuera apartado como cura y que se lo denunciara en la Justicia; Hoy, es uno de los principales sostenes de las víctimas y un crítico de la curia; “Todavía se está a tiempo de dar un mensaje claro a la sociedad de lo que pasó y de los errores que se cometieron”, opina el padre Dumoulin

José Francisco Dumoulin es sacerdote desde 2000, cuando fue ordenado cura por el ahora cardenal Estanislao Esteban Karlic, actualmente es párroco en Santa Rosa de Lima de Villaguay, y en septiembre de 2010 puso su firma a una carta destinada a conmover el mundo eclesiástico paranaense.

El destinatario fue el entonces arzobispo Mario Maulión: un grupo de sacerdotes le pedía en esa carta que firmó Dumoulin que denuncie en la Justicia al cura Justo José Ilarraz por los casos de abusos sobre menores en el Seminario de Paraná, ocurridos entre 1985 y 1993, tema que por ese tiempo se conocía sotto voce en ámbitos de la curia.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:55 PM

"Can You Call For A Sheriff, Please"

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
Big Trial

By Ralph Cipriano
for Bigtrial.net

Defense attorney Thomas A. Bergstrom was trying to convince Common Pleas Court Judge M. Teresa Sarmina that she didn't have the authority to send his client, Msgr. William J. Lynn, back to jail.

The judge, however, wasn't buying it. "Bail revoked," she ruled. The prisoner is "ordered back into custody."

"Can you call for a sheriff please," the judge cooly instructed a court officer. Then she disappeared back into chambers.

Moments later, a sheriff showed up to take away the monsignor, who had sat quietly with his head down during the half-hour proceedings. After 18 months in jail and 16 months of house arrest, the official scapegoat for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia was headed back to prison to continue his atonement for the sins of the church.

Judge Sarmina convened a hearing at 9 a.m. this morning in Courtroom 601 of the Criminal Justice Center to address a motion filed by the district attorney's office to revoke bail and send Lynn back to jail.

Arguing on behalf of the Commonwealth was Assistant District Attorney Patrick Blessington, the prosecutor who put Lynn away. On June 22, 2012, a jury heeded Blessington's arguments and convicted the monsignor on one count of endangering the welfare of a child.

Judge Sarmina, who presided over Lynn's trial, then sentenced the monsignor to 3 to 6 years in jail.

Blessington, who with his long white hair and long droopy mustache looks like he stepped out of a Frederic Remington painting, told the judge that this was the fourth time he's had to make this argument, "the fourth time this guilty defendant should be denied bail."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:53 PM

Philadelphia Catholic monsignor ordered back to prison in child sex abuse case

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
Reuters

HARRISBURG, PA. | BY DAVID DEKOK

(Reuters) - A high-ranking Catholic church official in Philadelphia was ordered back to prison on Thursday following the reinstatement of his conviction for turning a blind eye to child sex abuse by pedophile priests.

Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas Judge Teresa Sarmina revoked bail for Monsignor William Lynn, 64, and ordered him back behind bars.

Sarmina, who presided over his criminal trial, had sentenced Lynn in 2012 to three to six years in prison for endangering the welfare of children.

One of the highest-ranking clergyman convicted in the U.S. Roman Catholic Church child sex abuse scandal, Lynn is the first church official sent to prison for mishandling sexual misconduct complaints against priests.

Lynn, former secretary of the clergy for the Philadelphia Archdiocese who oversaw the work of 800 priests, was convicted of failing to supervise a pedophile priest who eventually sexually assaulted a 10-year-old altar boy in 1999. He was found guilty of covering up sex abuse, often by transferring predatory priests to unsuspecting parishes.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:45 PM

Meldpunt seksueel misbruik kerk nu echt dicht

NEDERLAND
Telegraaf

[The Catholic Church hotline for sexual abuse victims will close down on Friday.]

UTRECHT -
Het Meldpunt Seksueel Misbruik in de Rooms-Katholieke Kerk is vanaf vrijdag gesloten. Slachtoffers die nog willen klagen over misbruik in de kerk moeten zich vanaf vrijdag bij hun eigen parochie of bij slachtoffergroepen als KLOKK melden. Klagen over overleden religieuzen of over zaken die ondertussen zijn verjaard, is formeel niet meer mogelijk.

Het meldpunt werd in 2011 in het leven geroepen, toen er steeds meer naar buiten kwam over seksuele wantoestanden op (kost-)scholen, in kerken en bij katholieke verenigingen. Sinds 2011 zijn ruim 3500 zaken behandeld, laat het meldpunt weten. Er is meer dan 18 miljoen euro aan schadevergoedingen uitgekeerd.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:43 PM

Lynn Re-Jailed! Will Pope Now Apologize? Will Chile-Like Protests Mar Pope’s Philly Visit?

UNITED STATES
Christian Catholicism

Jerry Slevin

Msgr. William Lynn, former top priest personnel aide for a dozen years to the Philadelphia Archdiocese’s Cardinals Justin Rigali and Anthony Bevilacqua and the first Catholic Church top official convicted in the clergy sex-abuse scandal, was ordered returned to prison by Teresa Sarmina, a judge educated at the Jesuit’s Georgetown Law and at Notre Dame’s St. Mary’s. “Well, I think things are back where they were when I sentenced Msgr. Lynn,” Sarmina said. “The same reasons I stated then exist.” “Somebody call for a sheriff,” the judge added, before leaving the bench.

Too bad no one earlier called the sheriff on Lynn’s cardinal bosses. Both cardinals managed to avoid prosecution for their aide’s misdeeds done apparently on their behalf. Bevilacqua died soon after giving a two day video deposition (that is still being kept secret, it appears) in the Lynn criminal case, and Rigali left town in a hurry, by “retiring” after Lynn’s indictment. He may now be seen in good form with Pope Francis attending Vatican ceremonies along with his former pal, the infamous Boston Cardinal Bernard Law. The pope likely knew Bevilacqua from their Vatican committee work and appears to be personally acquainted with Rigali. Apparently failing to supervise priest predators of children is not an impediment to being honored at the Vatican.

Lynn was convicted following a landmark 13-week trial in 2012 over his failed role in supervising priests accused of sexually abusing children. By my rough estimate, almost 25% of then active Philly priests had had sexual abuse complaints in their files reportedly secretly maintained by Lynn for his two cardinals — that is until some of Lynn’s reports were shredded, it appears. Portions of these files were also reportedly kept from the Archdiocese’s child protection committee.

Given the Archdiocese’s pervasive cover up mentality, who knows how many other Catholic parents’ complaints were not reported out of futility? In 2011, well regarded US Catholic Church historian, David J. O’Brien, reportedly told the NY Times that “The situation in Philadelphia is ‘Boston reborn.’ ” O’Brien was right then and appears still to be right. Cardinals Rigali and Law have a lot in common to discuss in Rome, no?

Why is Pope Francis honoring the disgraced Philly Archdiocese’s leaders? Have the US elections next year anything to do with the pope’s plans? Philly’s current Archbishop Chaput seems more focused on pre-US presidential election directed crusades against gay marriage and Obamacare contraception insurance than on the full implications for defenseless Philly children of Lynn’s conviction for child endangerment.

Indeed, why is Pope Francis honoring with his first US visit a local church hierarchy with such a sordid history? The pope should instead publicly apologize to Philly Catholics and also make Chaput apologize to Philly Catholics and tell him to release the Bevilacqua video deposition. And the pope should at a minimum publicly chastise Rigali instead of honoring him with Vatican invitations. Please see my relevant remarks, What Do We Now Know About The Real Goal Of Pope Francis?

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:37 PM

Latest in priest abuse case: Victims praise monsignor's imprisonment for child endangerment

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
The Republic

11:45 a.m.

Victim advocates are praising a judge's decision to send a Roman Catholic church official in Philadelphia back to prison.

A judge Thursday refused to grant a stay that would have allowed Monsignor William Lynn to remain free while he pursues other appeals.

The 64-year-old Lynn was convicted of child endangerment over his handling of priest abuse complaints. He had served half of a three-to-six-year sentence before a state court tossed his conviction in 2013. Pennsylvania's highest court this week reversed the decision.

The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, better known as SNAP, called the order sending Lynn back to prison a "victory for vulnerable youngers."

The group says it believes the action will do more to safeguard boys and girls than the church's own abuse policies and protocols.

10:40 a.m.

A Roman Catholic church official has been ordered back to prison after his Pennsylvania conviction over the handling of abuse complaints was reinstated.

A judge Thursday refused to grant a stay that would have allowed Monsignor William Lynn of Philadelphia to remain free while he pursues other appeals.

Lynn has served half of a three-to-six-year sentence for felony child endangerment. He's been on house arrest since the state Superior Court tossed his conviction in 2013.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:04 PM

Alleged Victim of Bryn Mawr Priest Sex Abuse Settles Suit

PENNSYLVANIA
Patch

By JAMES BOYLE (Patch Staff)

April 30, 2015

A settlement has been reached between the Archdiocese of Philadelphia and a man who claims a priest sexually abused him while he attended St. Aloysius Academy in Bryn Mawr in the 1990s, according to Philly.com.

The undisclosed amount is one of two agreements reached by the Archdiocese this week, the first to be settled since reports of sexual abuse by clergy and cover-ups by the diocese were released by a 2011 grand jury.

According to the report, the plaintiff, identified as John Doe 10, alleged that Rev. Martin Satchel would take him to secluded classrooms and sexually abuse him. Satchel was removed from ministry in 1993 and defrocked by the church in 2005, according to Philly.com.

In a statement to philly.com, an archdiocese spokesperson said:

“For some time now, the archdiocese has provided assistance to both men on their paths toward healing, including financial support in the form of payment for ongoing psychological treatment. In order to help all parties move forward, the archdiocese has agreed to these settlements.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:49 AM

PA--Two Philly clergy sex cases settle; SNAP responds

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

For immediate release: Wednesday, April 29

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

Child sex abuse and cover up lawsuits have settled involving two Philly priests. The question now is: What will Archbishop Charles Chaput and his top aides to do warn parishioners, parents and the public about them?

They might be prosecuted. Will Chaput help law enforcement do this? Or will he, as he’s done for years, do only what litigation forces him to do?

Chaput would not have settled these cases if he thinks these clerics are innocent. So since Chaput’s convinced they are guilty (as roughly 95% of accused priests are), why does he stop here? Why only write a check? Why won’t he aggressively prod others with information or suspicions about their crimes to call law enforcement? That’s what a responsible leader would do.

We beg anyone who may have seen, suspected or suffered child sex crimes by Fr. Martin J. Satchell or Fr. William G. Ayres to find the courage to call secular authorities so they might be prosecuted, convicted, imprisoned and no longer be able to hurt children.

And we beg every single Catholic employee in Philadelphia to spread the word about these two predators, asked loved ones if they were hurt, and urge victims, witnesses and whistleblowers to call police and prosecutors now.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:03 AM

Philadelphia Msgr. William Lynn Back in Prison After Child Endangerment Conviction Reinstated

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
CBS Philly

By Steve Tawa

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Monsignor William Lynn, a onetime senior official in the Philadelphia Catholic archdiocese, is going back to prison now that the Pennsylvania Supreme Court has reinstated his 2012 child endangerment conviction.

When Monsignor Lynn was convicted in 2012, he went to prison. But when Pennsylvania Superior Court reversed his conviction, Judge Teresa Sarmina, who heard the 13-week trial, released him on bail in early 2014.

Now that the state Supreme Court this week reversed that Superior Court ruling, assistant DA Patrick Blessington argued said Lynn should be returned to prison.

Defense attorney Thomas Bergstorm argued unsuccessfully that the high court only remanded the rest of the appelate issues to Superior Court, so Lynn should remain on house arrest, where he’s been for the last sixteen months, after about 1½ years in prison.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:48 AM

Judge orders Msgr. William J. Lynn back to prison

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
Philadelphia Inquirer

JOSEPH A. SLOBODZIAN, INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
POSTED: Thursday, April 30, 2015

Msgr. William J. Lynn, the first Catholic church official convicted in the clergy sex-abuse scandal, was order returned to prison Thursday by a Philadelphia judge.

Lynn, 64, seemed resigned to the decision of Common Pleas Court Judge M. Teresa Sarmina, who in 2012 sentenced him to three to six years in prison for his conviction on endangering the welfare of children.

He turned to defense attorney Thomas A. Bergstrom with a half-smile and a shrug of his shoulders before he was taken in custody by sheriff's deputies.

Bergstrom said he will file an emergency petition with the state Superior Court to allow Lynn to remain free on bail and on house arrest pending the outcome of further appeals of Monday's state Supreme Court decision that reinstated Lynn's guilty verdict.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:27 AM

Beverly Hills resident Mendel Tevel pleads guilty in Brooklyn to sex abuse charges

CALIFORNIA
Jewish Journal

by Jared Sichel

Mendel Tevel, who was arrested in Beverly Hills in Oct. 2013 and then extradited to Brooklyn on charges of sexual abuse stemming from an Apr. 2007 incident, pleaded guilty in a New York courtroom before Judge Elizabeth Foley on Apr. 24 to two counts of criminal sexual acts in the third degree, according to Lupe Todd, a spokeswoman for the Brooklyn District Attorney’s office.

In Aug. 2013, the Jewish Journal published an investigative report on Tevel—who is now 31 or 32—in which four of his alleged victims detailed apparent instances of sexual abuse that ranged from about 1995 to about 2004. The ages of the alleged victims ranged from 6 to 14. Allegations against Tevel first became public in October 2012, when Meyer Seewald, the 26-year-old founder of Jewish Community Watch, listed him on the group’s “Wall of Shame”—a website that spotlights people it considers sexual predators within Orthodox communities—after multiple victims had approached him.

Following a sealed grand jury indictment in New York, the Brooklyn D.A.’s office charged Tevel in Oct. 2013 with sexual abuse of one minor, at which point he was arrested in Beverly Hills and held in a Los Angeles County jail for more than a week, then was extradited on Nov. 7 to Brooklyn. He pleaded not guilty to 37 counts of sexual abuse—most were either first-degree or third-degree—and was released on $100,000 bail.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:23 AM

Ruling in Lynn Case Could be Bad for Penn State Defendants

PENNSYLVANIA
Philadelphia Magazine

By Joel Mathis | April 30, 2015

This week’s reinstatement of Monsignor William Lynn’s conviction on child endangerment charges will have repercussions in the cases of three former Penn State officials facing similar charges in the Jerry Sandusky case, PennLive reports.

Lynn had argued that he could not be charged under Pennsylvania statute since he never cared directly for children, but instead supervised those who did. Former Penn State President Graham Spanier, former Senior Vice President for Business and Finance Gary Schultz and former Athletic Director Tim Curley were expected to mount a similar defense.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:13 AM

Judge revokes bail for Monsignor Lynn, orders him taken back into custody immediately

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
Daily Times

BREAKING!

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Monsignor William Lynn, the only Roman Catholic church official charged and convicted in the church child sexual abuse scandal, has been ordered back to prison after his Pennsylvania conviction over the handling of abuse complaints was reinstated.

A judge Thursday refused to grant a stay that would have allowed Monsignor William Lynn of Philadelphia to remain free while he pursues other appeals.

Lynn has served half of a 3-to-6-year sentence for felony child endangerment. He’s been on house arrest since the state Superior Court tossed his conviction.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:02 AM

Philadelphia church supervisor ordered back to prison on reinstated endangerment conviction

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
The Republic

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
April 30, 2015

PHILADELPHIA — A Roman Catholic church official has been ordered back to prison after his Pennsylvania conviction over the handling of abuse complaints was reinstated.

A judge Thursday refused to grant a stay that would have allowed Monsignor William Lynn of Philadelphia to remain free while he pursues other appeals.

Lynn has served half of a 3-to-6-year sentence for felony child endangerment. He's been on house arrest since the state Superior Court tossed his conviction.

The state Supreme Court reversed that decision Monday.

Lynn is the first U.S. church official prosecuted over his handling of abuse complaints.

Philadelphia Common Pleas Judge M. Teresa Sarmina scolded Lynn at his 2012 sentencing for failing to stand up to his bishops amid the priest sex-abuse scandal.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:59 AM

Former pastor arrested for sexual abuse of two boys

INDIANA
Herald Journal

Tom Tiernan

A former Idaville pastor was arrested yesterday morning and charged with four counts ranging from child solicitation, child molesting and sexual misconduct.

James E. Crawn, 45, was arrested at 8:10 a.m. on warrants issued by White County Superior Court after a criminal investigation by White County Sheriff’s Detective David Roth, Monticello Police Detective Jason Lingenfelter and the White County Department of Child Services.

He is accused of sexual misconduct with two males, both under the age of 16 at the time the alleged offenses took place, according to the White County Prosecutor’s Office.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:54 AM

New commission for Vatican communications

VATICAN CITY
Vatican Information Service

Vatican City, 30 April 2015 (VIS) – During the last meeting of the Council of Cardinals to assist the Holy Father in the governance of the universal Church and to draw up a plan for the revision of the apostolic constitution “Pastor bonus” on the Roman Curia (13-15 April 2015), the final report of the committee charged with proposing reform of Vatican communications, the so-called Vatican Media Committee (VMC), was examined.

The Council of Cardinals subsequently proposed to His Holiness the institution of a commission to study this final report and to suggest feasible approaches to its implementation. The proposal was favourably accepted by the Holy Father, who on 23 April decided to institute the commission and to appoint its members.

The new commission will be chaired by Msgr. Dario Edoardo Vigano, director of the Vatican Television Centre, and its members will be: Paolo Nusiner, director general of the daily newspaper “Avvenire”, Nuova Editoriale Italiana, Milan; Msgr. Lucio Adrian Ruiz, head of the Vatican Internet Service, directorate of Telecommunications of the Governorate of Vatican City State; Fr. Antonio Spadaro, S.J., director of “La Civiltà Cattolica”; and Msgr. Paul Tighe, secretary of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:41 AM

Pope’s New Media Men Must Get Him To Do More ...

UNITED STATES
Christian Catholicism

Pope’s New Media Men Must Get Him To Do More Than Talk About His “Silenced Catholics”: Poor Children & Women

Jerry Slevin

The pope’s new media public relations commission (all male and mostly clerics) most get the pope to act, not just talk, about the plight of his silenced and oft forgotten Catholics — poor children and women. Any chance? Is Pope Francis unaware of the plight of many millions of women and children, often desperate as a consequence of his continuing self interested papal ideology of hierarchical male oppression? The pope often seems to be unaware in practice of their plight, despite his occasional crafted public relations pronouncements and staged photo ops. Pope Francis should either get some better script writers, preferably some mothers, or get used to being described as insincere, if not hypocritical.

In his recent Wednesday talk to tourists, Francis spoke about the “radical equality” that Christianity proposes. AP reported he asked “Why is it a given that women must earn less than men? No! They have the same rights. The disparity is pure scandal.” Really, same rights? Not at the Vatican or in any worldwide bishops’ offices from most indications. (emphasis mine)

Francis has paid lip service to women’s equality many times, calling for women to take on greater decision-making roles in the Catholic Church, though he has , in effect, in practice needlessly ruled out women’s ordination, women cardinals or having women head Vatican departments. Only about 18 percent of Vatican employees are women, up from 17 percent four years ago. Currently, only two women hold the rank of undersecretary in a Vatican department. Indeed, it took the pope over two years to get the successor “doctrinal German Shepherd” (that he appointed a cardinal) to release his arrogant fangs that had been clamped on American nuns.

Please see ”Vatican Hits Sour Note With Women, but Progress May Come” at ABC News and also my related remarks, “The Crisis Pope Francis Faces“, “Two Cardinals’ Aide’s Crime Upheld Yet Philly Visit Is Still On?” , “What Do We Now Know About The Real Goal Of Pope Francis?” , “Francis’ Breeding Policy Fails Kids, Women & Gay Folks“, “Pope’s “Messes”: Philly, Climate, Kids & Now Hillary“, “Pope’s Fix For Street Child Woes: More Babies ?“, “Childless Pope Faces Man-Made “Mess”: Children & Climate Change” , “Vatican Revolt Negates Synod & Sex Commission” , “Hillary Clinton vs. Pope Francis in 2015 USA Politics“, “A Pope, A New US War, Jeb Bush Neocons & Big Oil” , and “Finn’s Law: Police Must Now Handle Crimes Says Pope“.

While speaking out about the need for a greater role for women in the Catholic Church, the pope has made repeatedly seemingly tone-deaf comments. He referred to women as “Adam’s ribs”. He has said Europe in many places resembles an “infertile” grandmother. He has urged nuns not to be “old maids.” And he once welcomed some conservative new female members of the Catholic Church’s most prestigious theological commissions as “strawberries on the cake.”

According to the World Health Organization, an estimated 222 million women in developing countries do not want to have children now, but lack the means to ensure that they do not conceive. Providing them with access to contraception would help them plan their lives as they wish, weaken demand for abortion, reduce maternal deaths, give children a better start in life, and contribute to slowing population growth and greenhouse-gas emissions, thus benefiting us all.

The reason many of these poor women cannot get access to contraception is often the political lobbying of the Vatican against effective contraception access since at least as early as Hillary Clinton’s classic “duel” with the Vatican’s Mary Ann Glendon at the 1995 Beijing UN population conference. The pope continues to push for more Catholic babies, e.g., his regular remarks that big families (at least three children!) are better, that having no children is “selfish”, etc. Are these infallible pronouncements from a 78 year old celibate bachelor? What arrogant and uninformed nonsense, no?

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:39 AM

SNAP set to release new documents at news conference

KANSAS CITY (MO)
Fox 4

[with video]

APRIL 30, 2015, BY KATHY QUINN

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Survivor’s Network of Those Abused by Priests (SNAP) is set to hold a news conference on the sidewalk outside of the Chancery late Thursday morning.

SNAP said they will release documentation at the news conference to support their claim that Archbishop Joseph Naumann will not approach sexual abuse claims differently than Bishop Robert Finn.

Bishop Finn resigned last week after a controversy over his convictions for failing to report sexual abuse allegations.

Archbishop Naumann has temporarily been filling in for Bishop Finn of the Diocese of Kansas City St. Joseph since the resignation. Archbishop Naumann will lead the diocese until a replacement is announced.

The news conference is scheduled for 11:15 a.m. Thursday.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:37 AM

Pope institutes commission to reform Vatican’s media operations

VATICAN CITY
Catholic Culture

At the recommendation of the nine-member Council of Cardinals, which is advising Pope Francis in the reform of the Roman Curia, Pope Francis has instituted a new commission to reform the Vatican’s media operations.

The president of the commission is Msgr. Dario Edoardo Viganò, the director of Vatican Television Center.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:56 AM

Judge To Decide If Monsignor William Lynn Remains On House Arrest Or Returns To Prison

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
CBS Philly

By Steve Tawa

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – The Philadelphia District Attorney’s office will ask a judge today to send Monsignor William Lynn back to prison, now that the State Supreme Court has reinstated his 2012 child endangerment conviction.

The DA’s office wants Common Pleas Judge Teresa Sarmina, the presiding judge who sentenced Lynn to three-to-six years in prison, to revoke his bail.

He spent about 18 months in prison, but has been on house arrest since early 2014, living in a Northeast Philadelphia rectory after Superior Court reversed his conviction.

Lynn served in his capacity as secretary for clergy from 1992 to 2004, yet defense attorney Thomas Bergstrom says he was prosecuted on an amended child endangerment statute passed in 2007.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:53 AM

El Papa Francisco abrirá los archivos

ARGENTINA/CIUDAD DEL VATICANO
Tiempo en Linea

El papa Francisco está muy pendiente de Argentina, recibe a personas relevantes de este país cada semana y tiene un papel destacado, en la sombra, en la política nacional.

Ahora Francisco ha decidido tener un gran protagonismo en el asunto más delicado, el de los desaparecidos de la dictadura. El colaborador más estrecho del Papa, Guillermo Karcher, el hombre que suele utilizar para enviar sus mensajes a Argentina, ha confirmado en una entrevista a Radio América que Francisco está dispuesto a abrir los archivos de la Iglesia sobre la dictadura argentina y ya se está trabajando en una fórmula para hacerlo de manera generalizada.

La Iglesia fue clave porque era el lugar al que llegaban las denuncias de las madres y familiares de desaparecidos y es probable que también se conserven las gestiones que hicieron los religiosos ante el régimen militar.

Pope Francis to Open Vatican Files on Argentina's 'Dirty War'

VATICAN CITY/ARGENTINA
Telesur

Relatives of the thousands of victims killed by the military regime could finally discover the fate of their loved ones.

Pope Francis has ordered the Vatican to open its files relating to Argentina's military dictatorship, according to church officials Wednesday.

This move could lead to the clarification on the fate of tens of thousands disappeared under the military regime, who ushered in a period of state terrorism from 1974 to 1983.

The information was revealed by Father Guillermo Karcher, an Argentinian priest and pontifical usher that has known the Pope for over 20 years. Karcher said the pope wished “for something to be done,” adding that the secretariat of state – who is taking charge of the case – has already begun on declassifying the Vatican archives related to Argentina’s dictatorship.

Human rights groups say up to 30,000 people were kidnapped, murdered or disappeared during the dictatorship and the Catholic Church is acknowledged to have been a key player in the country during those years.

Church officials collected a large amount of information on the cases, and likely saved records of their dealings with the military regime.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:46 AM

Monsignor Lynn faces bail hearing, could be sent back to prison today

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
Daily Times

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — A Roman Catholic church official could be sent back to prison over his handling of abuse complaints after his Pennsylvania conviction was reinstated.

Monsignor William Lynn of Philadelphia will ask to remain free Thursday while he pursues other appeals.

Lynn has served half of a three- to six-year sentence for felony child endangerment. He has been on house arrest since the state Superior Court threw out his conviction.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:43 AM

First Two Phila. Clergy Abuse Lawsuits Settle

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
The Legal Intelligencer

P.J. D'Annunzio, The Legal Intelligencer
April 30, 2015

Two plaintiffs in civil cases alleging they had been abused by priests from the Archdiocese of Philadelphia have settled their lawsuits against the church for an undisclosed amount.

According to the accusers' attorney and the dockets in the cases, the settlements concluded the cases of John Doe 10 and John Doe 187, who claimed they were the victims of sexual abuse perpetrated by archdiocese clerics. Malvern-based attorney Daniel Monahan represents the plaintiffs and said the terms of the settlement remain confidential at the wishes of his clients.

Monahan said the cases settled on the eve of trial, but the archdiocese gave no indication as to its reason for settling.

According to the complaints, Doe 187, a former altar boy at the Incarnation of Our Lord parish, alleged that Father William Ayres abused him in different areas of the church, while Doe 10 claimed he was sexually abused in the bathroom of the St. Aloysius Academy in Bryn Mawr as a student by former priest Martin Satchell. Both incidents were alleged to have occurred in the 1990s, while the plaintiffs were minors.

Satchell's attorney, Stephen Patrizio, did not return a call seeking comment. Ayres was not represented, and according to Monahan, now lives in Guatemala.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:38 AM

SNAP oppose Bishop Finn overseeing ordination

KANSAS CITY (MO)
KMBZ

KANSAS CITY, Kan. - SNAP (Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests) are upset over Bishop Finn being allowed to oversee the ordination of his replacement.

This afternoon the group that is fighting the sex scandal in the Catholic church protested outside diocese headquarters.

The group says Finn should not preside over next month's ordination of priests and deacons.

SNAP outreach coordinator Barbara Dorris says the group has received numerous calls opposing Finn's appearance at the two public ceremonies.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:36 AM

SNAP protests Bishop Finn presiding over deacon ordinations after his resignation

KANSAS CITY (MO)
KSHB

KANSAS CITY - A group of Catholics is speaking out against the Kansas City-St. Joseph Diocese after it was announced Bishop Robert Finn will still preside over some deacon ordinations next month despite his resignation.

SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, gathered outside the diocese downtown Wednesday to protest.

Members of SNAP said allowing Bishop Finn to preside over the ordinations reopens victims’ wounds. The group is also worried the ceremonies will lead to Bishop Finn taking back his old responsibilities.

“If he resigns, is he allowed to do ordinations? Is he also going to be doing confirmations, is he going to run the diocese?” Barbara Dorris, the Victims Outreach Director with SNAP, said. “We have no idea. The resignation seems to be purely symbolic. A PR move.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:35 AM

Man files suit claiming nun sexually abused him in 1960s

MINNESOTA
Washington Times

By - Associated Press - Thursday, April 30, 2015

NEW ULM, Minn. (AP) - A man is suing the Archdiocese of New Ulm on accusations a nun who’s now dead sexually abused him in the 1960s.

It’s the first case involving a nun filed under a state law temporarily lifting the statute of limitations on child sex abuse lawsuits.

The Shakopee man’s lawsuit claims Sister Mary Regina Hebig inappropriately touched him repeatedly when he was a fifth grader at a Madison Catholic school.

The diocese said in a written statement that it’s committed to offering help to anyone who says they’re a victim of sexual misconduct. It says that it wasn’t involved in hiring employees at the school.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:31 AM

List of Accused Church Personnel

MONTANA
Roman Catholic Diocese of Helena

As one of the non-monetary terms for resolving the cases brought against the Diocese (Whalen, et al. v. Roman Catholic Diocese of Helena, et al., and Does, et al. v. Roman Catholic Diocese of Helena, et al.), the Diocese of Helena has agreed that: “For a period of not less than ten (10) years from the Effective Date, the Diocese will post on its website home page the names of all known past and present alleged perpetrators of the Diocese who are identified in the Sexual Abuse Claims or the complaints filed in the Whalen and Does cases as child sexual abusers between the 1930s and 1970s.”

The Diocese also is listing priests against whom accusations of sexual abuse of minors have been made only to the Diocese. Should additional information come to light, the list will be modified accordingly.

The Diocese hopes that this step helps to provide a pathway to healing for those who have been abused and brings light into a dark and difficult chapter in our diocesan Church.

List posted April 29, 2015.

Diocese of Helena Priests

note that of the 417 priests ordained for the Diocese of Helena, 20 (4.8%) have been accused of sexual abuse of a minor, one has been acquitted.

James Barry – Ordained: 1951
Assignments: St. Mary Parish, Butte: 1951-56; Cathedral Parish, Helena: 1956-57; Holy Rosary Parish, Bozeman: 1957-58; US Air Force Chaplain: 1958-62; St. John Parish, Fairfield: 1962-66; St. Philip Parish, Philipsburg: 1966-80.
Died September 8, 1980

John Bauer – Ordained: 1963
Assignments: St. Paul Parish, Anaconda: 1963-64; Sacred Heart Parish, Butte: 1964; Graduate Studies, St. Louis University: 1964-66; Director of Catholic Charities, Helena: 1966-1970; Sacred Heart Mission, Wolf Creek: 1968-1970
Leave of absence: September 1, 1970; Died: October 26, 1992

Harry Butori – Ordained: 1952
Assignments: Graduate studies, Rome: 1952-3; St. Michael Parish, Conrad: summer 1953; Carroll College: 1953-56; St. Peter Parish, Anaconda: 1956-57; St. Richard Parish, Columbia Falls: summer 1957; St. Matthew Parish, Kalispell: 1957-59; Cathedral Parish and Chancery, Helena: 1959-66; Girls Central High School, Butte: 1966-68; St. William Parish, Dutton: 1968-72; St Teresa of Avila Parish, Whitehall: 1972-80; St. Joseph Parish, Choteau: 1980-86; St. James Hospital, Butte: 1986-1990; Catholic Community North, Butte: 1990-1999; retired (residence at St. Patrick rectory, Butte): September 1, 1999
Died: March 14, 2005

John Delane – Ordained: 1919
Assignments: St. Lawrence Parish, Walkerville: summer 1919; Mt St. Charles (Carroll) College: 1919-20; Chaplain, Montana State Prison, and State Hospitals at Galen and Warm Springs: 1920-26; St. Paul Parish, Anaconda: 1926-27; Immaculate Conception Parish, Butte: 1927-28; St. Mary of the Assumption Parish, Laurin: 1928-39; St. Philip Parish, Philipsburg: 39-42; St. Mary Parish, Helena: 1942-56; Chaplain St. Joseph Hospital, Deer Lodge: 1956-63; residence at Carroll College: 1963-71
Died: January 30, 1971

Harry Delaney – Ordained: 1925
Assignments: St. Paul Parish, Anaconda: summer/fall 1925; St. Joseph Parish, Butte: 1925-34; St. Joseph Hospital, Deer Lodge: 1934-36; Our Lady of Mercy Parish, Eureka: 1936-54; General Hospital, Kalispell: 1954-57
Died: March 11, 1957

George Ferguson – Ordained: 1956
Assignments: Anaconda: summer 1956; Sacred Heart Parish, Butte: 1956-57; Immaculate Conception Parish, Butte: 1957-59; Newman Chaplain/Christ the King Parish, Missoula: 1959-71; St. Catherine Parish, Bigfork: 1971-75; Mission in Guatemala: 1975-77; St. Anthony Parish, Missoula: 1977-78; St. William Parish, Thompson Falls: 1978-80; Sick leave, residence in Mexico: 1980-86
Died: June 12, 1986

Joseph Finnegan – Ordained: May 22, 1965
Note that criminal accusations were taken to Court, resulting in acquittal.
Assignments: Immaculate Conception Parish, Butte: 1965-72; Catholic Charities, Helena: 1972-73; Butte Youth Service Center: 1973-82; Leave: 1982-89; Special Assignment: 1989-93 and 1994-2002; St. Teresa Parish, Whitehall: 1993-94;
Retired: July 1, 2002

A.M.D. Gillen – ordained May 29, 1926 (in Canada)
Assignments in Diocese of Helena: St. Richard, Columbia Falls: 1950-51; St. Teresa of the Little Flower, Browning: 1951-1965
Left Diocese: September 1, 1965; Died: July 30, 1987

Daniel Harrington – Ordained: 1932
Assignments: Graduate Studies, Rome: 1932-33; St. Mary Parish, Butte: 1933-36; St. Patrick Parish, Butte: 1936-37; Immaculate Conception Parish, Butte: 1937-39; St. Peter Parish, Anaconda: 1939-42; Sacred Heart Parish, Ronan: 1942-1949; North American College, Rome: 1949-1952; Director of Catholic Charities, Helena: 1953-59; St. Joseph Home and St. John Hospital, Helena: 1958-59; Chaplain, Warm Springs: 1959-65; St. Joseph Parish, Butte: 1965-71; Holy Savior Parish, Butte: 1971-72; Retired (residence in Butte): November 10, 1972.
Died: November 23, 1997

Robert Hartman – Ordained: 1947
Assignments: St. Patrick Parish, Butte: summer 1949; Cathedral Parish, Helena: 1949-56; Good Shepherd Home, Helena: 1956-65; St. Richard Parish, Columbia Falls: 1965-73; St. Mary Parish, Helena: 1973-77; St. Catherine Parish, Boulder: 1977-79; Holy Cross Parish, Townsend: 1979-85; St. Catherine Parish, Bigfork: 1985-94; Retired: March 1, 1994
Died: August 12, 1996

Daniel Hillen – Ordained: 1969
Assignments: St. Patrick Parish, Butte: 1970-71; St. Ann Parish, Butte: 1971-74; Graduate studies: 1974 and 1977-79; Carroll College: 1974-2002; leave to begin art studio: 2002.
Died: July 19, 2003

John Kerrigan – Ordained: 1954
Assignments: St. Patrick Parish, Butte: 1954-55; St. Francis Parish, Hamilton: 1955-56; St. Mary Parish, Butte: 1956-59; St. Lawrence Parish, Walkerville: 1959-62; St. Rose Parish, Dillon: 1962-64; St. Ann Parish, Butte: 1964-65; Little Flower Parish, Browning: summer 1965; Holy Rosary Parish, Bozeman: 1965-66; St. Michael Parish, Drummond: 1966-72; St. Bartholomew Parish, White Sulphur Springs: 1972-77; St. Joseph Parish, Choteau: 1977-1980; St. James Parish, Plains: 1980-84; Sacred Heart Parish, Ronan: 1984.
Died: July 21, 1984

Paul Kirchen – Ordained: 1929
Assignment: Carroll College 1929-1980; retired, residence at Carroll College: July 1, 1980
Died: April 19, 1989

Emmett Lowney – Ordained: 1949
Assignments: St. Paul Parish, Anaconda: 1949-51; St. Peter Parish, Anaconda: 1951-54; Chancery and Sacred Heart Mission, Wolf Creek: 1954-56; St. John Parish, Butte: 1956-57; St. Catherine Parish, Boulder: 1957-64; St. Michael Parish, Drummond: 1964-67; Retreat House, Deer Lodge: 1967-68; St. Mary Mission Parish, Stevensville: 1968-69; leave to Michigan: 1969
Died: July 31, 1975

Bernard McCarthy – Ordained: 1947
Assignments: Cathedral, Helena: 1947-49; St. Patrick, Butte: 1949-52 & 1971-78; Sacred Heart, Ronan: 1957-68; St. Lawrence, Walkerville: 1968-71; St. Michael, Conrad: 1979-86; Risen Christ, Kalispell: 1986-89; Catholic Community North, Butte: 1989-90; St. James Community Hospital, Butte: 1990-92; Retired: 1992
Died: September 16, 2003

James McCormick – Ordained: 1924
Assignments: Carroll College: 1924-26 and 1927-51; St. Lawrence Parish, Walkerville: 1926-27 and 1951-56; Immaculate Conception Parish, Butte: 1956-67
Died: June 14, 1967

Dusan Okorn – Ordained: 1947
Arrived in Diocese of Helena: December 1949.
Assignments: St. Joseph Home, Helena: 1950-52; St. Peter Parish, Anaconda: 1952-53; St. Joseph Parish, Butte: 1953-55; St. Michael Parish, Conrad: 1955-58; St. Richard Parish, Columbia Falls: 1958-63; St. Catherine Parish, Bigfork: 1963-71; St. Mary Mission Parish, Stevensville: 1971-78; Sycamore Center, Living Water Mission, Seeley Lake, Our Lady of the Swan Valley Mission, Condon: 1978-2006; Retired: 2006
Died: January 10, 2010

Robert O’Donnell – Ordained: 1966
Assignments: St. John Parish and Girls Central High School, Butte: 1966-68; Central High School, Helena: 1968-1969; Central High School, Butte: 1969-1972; Cathedral Parish, Helena: 1972-1979; Chancery: 1979-85; St. Mary Parish, Helena: 1983-85; Sabbatical: 1985-86; Diocese of Honolulu: 1987; Incardinated into Diocese of Honolulu: July 17, 1990.
Died: July 29, 1995

Wilson Smart – Ordained: 1957
Assignments: St. Peter Parish, Anaconda: 1957-59; St. Ann Parish, Butte: 1959-60 and 1966-69; St. Anthony Parish, Missoula: 1960-63; Cathedral Parish, Helena: 1963-65; St. Mary Parish, Butte: 1965-66; St. Richard Parish, Columbia Falls: 1969-74; Our Lady of Mercy Parish, Eureka: 1974-80; St. Bartholomew Parish, White Sulphur Springs: 1980-82; St. Joseph Parish, Harlowton: 1980-90; Leave of absence: 1990; Laicized: July 9, 2003
Died: November 10, 2006

Leonard Spraycar – Ordained: 1947
Assignments: St. Peter Parish, Anaconda: 1947-48 and 1954-55; St. Ann Parish, Butte: 1948-51; Chancery, Legendary Lodge & Sacred Heart Mission, Wolf Creek: 1951-54; St. Joseph Parish, Butte: 1955-59; St. Thomas Parish, Helmville: 1959-64; St. Philip Parish, Philipsburg: 1964-66; St. John Parish, Fairfield: 1966-68; St. Joseph Parish, Anaconda: 1968-73; St. Richard Parish, Columbia Falls: 1973-78; St. William Parish, Dutton: 1978-80; St. Patrick Hospital, Missoula: 1980-84
Died: March 31, 1984

Patrick Stimatz – Ordained: 1946
Assignments: Holy Rosary Parish, Bozeman: 1946-50; St. John Parish, Butte: 1950-59; St. Mary of the Assumption Parish, Laurin: 1959-65; Little Flower Parish, Browning: 1965-72; Chaplain, Montana State Prison: 1972-86
Died: May 4, 1986

Jesuit Priests or Brothers – principally from Oregon Province, Society of Jesus

names provided by the plaintiffs; assignment information from the National Catholic Directory; other information is from the Oregon Province, Society of Jesus

Joseph Balfe, SJ – Ordained: 1927
Assignments in Diocese of Helena: St. Ignatius Mission Parish: 1931-35; 1945-53; St. Francis Xavier Parish, Missoula: 1936 & 44;
Left Diocese: 1953; Died: September 29, 1969

Victor Charlo – Jesuit Seminarian; not assigned in Montana

Thomas Connolly, SJ – not assigned in Montana

M.A. Dimier, SJ – [Ordination Date unavailable]
Assignment in Diocese: St. Ignatius Mission Parish, St. Ignatius: 1930-50
Died: June 14, 1950

A.J. Ferretti, SJ (“Fr. Freddy”) – Ordained: 1941
Assignments in Diocese: St. Ignatius Mission Parish, St. Ignatius: 1953; 1964-69;
Left Diocese: 1969; Died: June 28, 1982

Rene Gallant (“Brother Charlie”), SJ – no record of assignments
Died: July 23, 1975 at St. Ignatius

Louis Geis, SJ – Ordained: 1939
Assignments in Diocese: St. Ignatius Mission Parish, St. Ignatius 1959-62; St. Francis Xavier Parish, Missoula: 1949-56 & 1963-92;
Left Diocese 1992; Died: July 8, 1994

Bernard Harris, SJ – Ordained: 1945
Assignment in Diocese: St. Francis Xavier Parish, Missoula: 1954-69 and 72
Died: September 7, 1972

Egon Mallman, SJ – Ordained: 1929
Assignments in Diocese: St. Anne Parish, Heart Butte: 1934-1976;
Left Diocese: 1976; Died: August 20, 1980

Gabriel Menager, SJ – [Ordination date unavailable]
Assignments in Diocese: St. Ignatius Mission Parish, St. Ignatius: 1940-45;
Left Diocese: 1945; Died: July 28 1966

Joseph Obersinner, SJ – Ordained: 1957
Assignments in Diocese: St. Ignatius Mission Parish, St. Ignatius: 1972-80; St. Francis Xavier Parish, Missoula: 1989-91;
Left Diocese: 1991

Edmund Robinson (“Father Eddy”), SJ – Ordained: 1955
Assignments in Diocese: St. Ignatius Mission Parish, St. Ignatius: 1963-64; 1969-81; Left Diocese in 1981;
Died: May 22, 2014

Br. John Sorisio, SJ
Worked at St. Ignatius from 1915 until his death on July 20, 1957

Louis Taelman, SJ – Ordained: 1898
Assignments in Diocese: St. Ignatius Mission Parish, St. Ignatius: 1930-40 and 1953-58;
Left Diocese: 1958; Died: December 24, 1961

Norbertine Priests
while serving in the Diocese of Helena

John Kohnke, O Praem – ordained: March 22, 1937
Assignments in Diocese of Helena: St. Thomas Parish, Sunburst: 1955; St. William Parish, Shelby: 1960-64
Left diocese: August 19, 1964; Died: September 2, 1987

Martin Philipsen, O Praem – ordained: June 18, 1942
Assignments in Diocese of Helena: St. William Parish, Shelby: 1971-78
Left diocese: 1978; Died: August 21, 1988

Peter Pritzl, O Praem – ordained: April 25, 1929
Assignments in Diocese of Helena: St. Margaret Parish, Cut Bank: 1962-63; St. William Parish, Shelby: 1963-71; St. Thomas Parish, Sunburst: 1971-74
Left diocese: 1974; Died: October 3, 1993

Diocese cannot verify the following individuals identified in claims as priests

Burke (first name unknown)
Byrnes or Burns (first name unknown), SJ
Callan (first name unknown)
Estes (first name unknown)
Gannon (first name unknown), SJ
Gilmore (first name unknown)
Harper (unknown)
John (last name unknown), SJ
Larson (first name unknown), SJ
James O’Brien, SJ
Sullinger (unknown)
Sullivan (first name unknown)

Lay Persons at St. Ignatius

Mr. Crawford
Dave (last name unknown)
Ms. Knauf

Ursuline Sisters serving at St. Ignatius between 1940 and 1975
names provided by plaintiffs

Mother Bernadette, OSU
Sister Camilla, OSU
Sister Catherine, OSU
Mother Cecelia, OSU (Frances Seymor)
Mother Clement Marie, OSU
Sister Daniels, OSU
Mother Finbarr, OSU
Sister Frances, OSU
Mother Grace, OSU
Sister Henrietta, OSU
Sister John, OSU
Mother Loyola, OSU (Rufina Karges)
Sister Mackey, OSU
Mother Marianne, OSU
Sister Mary Laurence, OSU
Sister Margaret, OSU
Sister Marion, OSU
Sister Martin, OSU
Sister Monica, OSU
Sister Rita, OSU
Sister Teresa, OSU

Sisters from other Communities
while serving in the Diocese of Helena

Mother Catherine, RGS – Good Shepherd Home, Helena
Sister Glenniatoss – (religious community uncertain)
Sister Mary Agnes Rose, BVM – Immaculate Conception School, Butte
Sister Mary Victor, SCL – St. Helena School, Helena
Sister Monica, OP – St. Margaret School, Cut Bank
Sister Richildus, OP – St. Margaret School, Cut Bank

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:15 AM

Diocese names priests, sisters, staff accused of sexual abuse

MONTANA
Independent Record

The Diocese of Helena posted an online list Wednesday of every employee accused of sexually abusing a minor while working there.

The list dates back to the 1930s and includes the names of 80 priests, Ursuline Sisters, lay workers and others. A settlement between the Diocese and hundreds of victims requires that the names be posted and remain pinned to the Diocese homepage for the next decade.

Dan Bartleson, spokesman for the Diocese, said this is the latest stride in the “victim oriented approach” the Diocese has taken throughout the litigation process.

“We feel like this step is one of the more difficult steps for the Diocese in that some of these names will leave questions for the faithful,” Bartleson said. “It’s difficult to think of someone you grew up with who was good to you and your family being accused of sexual abuse, but we need to make sure we err on the side of victims if in any way this could contribute to their healing or give them any kind of closure.”

Bryan G. Smith of Tamaki Law, the firm that represented 95 of the 362 victims who sued the Catholic institution, called this the most important non-economic piece of the settlement.

“It’s a recognition by the church that they have, or had, within their ranks credibly accused perpetrators of sexual abuse,” Smith said.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:11 AM

'Major progress made on addressing sexual abuse in orthodox community'

UNITED STATES
The Jerusalem Post

The haredi (ultra-Orthodox) community in the US has made major strides in coming to terms with the issue of child sexual abuse, a prominent community activist told The Jerusalem Post on Wednesday.

According to Rabbi Yakov Horowitz, the New Yorkbased founder of Project YES, a program for at-risk youth loosely affiliated with Agudath Israel of America, the progress made among both the hassidic and Lithuanian Orthodox communities has been “extraordinary.”

“It’s not even comparable” to the situation that obtained when he first began advocating for stronger measures to be taken in combating pedophiles, Horowitz told The Jerusalem Post.

“Twelve years ago, when I started writing about this, the vast majority of people thought that I had lost my mind, including some of my closest friends,” he said.

While he agreed that there was certainly “a long way to go” on the issue, he said internal opposition to change was “dissipating very quickly.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:08 AM

Rabbincal student faces child sex abuse charges

NEW YORK
Times Herald-Record

By HEATHER YAKIN
Times Herald-Record

Posted Apr. 29, 2015 a

MONTICELLO – A judge has lowered bail against a rabbinical student charged with sexually assaulting an 11-year-old boy in Sullivan County.

Haim Boukris, 29, of South Fallsburg, was arrested April 23 on a sealed indictment charging him with three counts of predatory sexual assault against a child and first-degree sexual abuse, felonies. He appeared in Sullivan County Court on Wednesday morning so his lawyer, Kenneth Gribetz of Gribetz & Loewenberg in New City, could argue for his $1 million bail to be lowered.

Boukris is studying at a South Fallsburg yeshiva to be ordained as a rabbi.

On Wednesday afternoon, Sullivan County District Attorney Jim Farrell said Boukris is charged with sexually assaulting the boy in the spring of 2011, in one incident. Farrell said he argued to keep the bail at $1 million. The predatory sexual assault against a child charge carries a minimum sentence of 10 years to life in prison and a maximum of 25 years to life.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:05 AM

Rancho Cucamonga man, a worship leader, suspected of sexually abusing child

CALIFORNIA
Daily Bulletin

By Beatriz Valenzuela, San Bernardino Sun
POSTED: 04/29/15

RANCHO CUCAMONGA >> A former social worker who reportedly is also a worship leader at a San Bernardino church has been arrested on suspicion of sexually abusing a child, and investigators fear he may have victimized other children, sheriff’s officials said.

Dexter Carl Pleasure, 51, of Rancho Cucamonga was arrested early Tuesday morning at the sheriff’s Rancho Cucamonga station, according to booking records.

Rancho Cucamonga authorities were first tipped off about the alleged abuse on Monday when they received a report from the Child Abuse Hotline, sheriff’s officials said.

The report came from what is termed a mandated reporter who described possible sexual abuse of a child under the age of 10.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:02 AM

Former Social Worker Arrested For Sexually Abusing Child

CALIFORNIA
NBC Los Angeles

By Michelle Valles and Kelly Goff

A former social worker and church worship leader is accused of sexually abusing a child over several years, and detectives believe there may be more victims.

Dexter Carl Pleasure, 51, of Rancho Cucamonga, was arrested Monday and charged with oral copulation of a child under the age of 10 and continual sexual abuse of a child under the age of 10.

Pleasure worked for more than 20 years as social worker with a private foster care agency, and had access to numerous children over the years, according to the Rancho Cucamonga Police Department.
Pleasure's relationship with the known victim has not been disclosed.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:00 AM

Wife of Happy Valley pastor says she doesn't believe her daughter's claims of sexual abuse

OREGON
Oregonian

By Rick Bella | The Oregonian/OregonLive
on April 29, 2015

The wife of embattled Pastor Mike Sperou testified Wednesday that she still doesn't believe her daughter's claim that her husband sexually abused her when she was growing up in his Happy Valley church.

Judy Sperou, mother of alleged victim Amy Robinson, told a Multnomah County jury that she has remained loyal to the man she married after her daughter told police in 1997 that she had been molested.

"I didn't believe her then," Judy Sperou told prosecutor Chris Mascal, who then asked if she believed her daughter now.

"No."

Judy Sperou, a teacher for North Clackamas Bible Community, is among five parents who discounted their daughters' claims of abuse and remained in leadership roles at the church. The disagreements have split families and triggered an exodus from the church, which Pastor Mike Sperou continues to lead.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:57 AM

Archdiocese settles in first civil suits filed by survivors of child sexual abuse by priests

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
Philadelphia Daily News

MORGAN ZALOT, DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITER ZALOTM@PHILLYNEWS.COM, 215-854-5928
POSTED: Thursday, April 30, 2015

IN WHAT THEIR attorney called a "significant step" in the healing process of two survivors of child sexual abuse at the hands of Catholic priests, the Archdiocese of Philadelphia has settled the first civil suits filed in 2011 after a damning grand-jury report on sex abuse by area priests.

The settlements with survivors - identified in court documents as John Doe 10 and John Doe 187 - were made earlier this year, the second coming in February the day before jury selection was to begin for the trials in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas, said attorney Dan Monahan, who represented both men. Monahan and attorney Jeff Anderson announced the settlements yesterday.

Monahan said the settlements mark a significant development for both men, now in their 30s, as both came forward after the statute of limitations in their cases had passed, meaning their abusers could not be criminally charged.

"For these individuals to come forward, it gave them a certain amount of power that had been taken away from them as children," said Monahan. "Both are at better places in their lives because of this process."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:56 AM

Shakopee Man Goes Public With Sexual Assault Allegations Against the New Ulm Diocese

MINNESOTA
KEYC

By Kassandra Sepeda, News Reporter

A 58-year-old Shakopee man goes public with allegations that he was sexually abused by a nun decades ago.

Now he's suing the Diocese of New Ulm and an order of nuns.

As part of highly religious family, the plaintiff, then 10-year-old, Douglas Devorak says to have shared his story sooner would have torn his family apart.

"They entrusted their son's religious and moral education to these people for me to tell them that one of the people they trusted abused me. They would've never forgave themselves," says Devorak.

Now after 48 years, Devorak has filed a civil law suit against the Diocese of New Ulm and The School sisters of Notre Dame.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:46 AM

EDITORIAL: Catholic Church leaders must be accountable for abuse

PENNSYLVANIA
The Mercury

In the last month, convictions of two priests who were found guilty of charges related to child sexual abuse in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia have been upheld by higher courts.

In 2013, the Rev. Charles Engelhardt, a member of the Oblates of St. Francis de Sales, was convicted of sexually assaulting a 10-year-old altar boy at St. Jerome Roman Catholic Church in northeast Philadelphia from 1998 to 1999 while the priest was in residence there.

Engelhardt denied the allegations and appealed the verdict, but died last November of an apparent heart condition while in the second year of a six-to-12-year sentence at the Coal Township Prison in Northumberland County.

State law required that the priest’s appeal be continued. On March 25, the Pennsylvania Superior Court affirmed Engelhardt’s convictions of endangering the welfare of a child, corruption of a minor and indecent assault.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:43 AM

April 29, 2015

MEDIA RELEASE – APRIL 29, 2015

MASSACHUSETTS
Road to Recovery

Deacon/Priest Assistant Ricardo Gonzalez is expected to plead guilty on Thursday, April 30, 2015 at 9:00 AM in Suffolk Superior Court, Criminal Division, Three Pemberton Square, Boston, MA for sexually abusing two minor children while assigned to Our Lady of Mount Carmel and Our Lady of the Assumption Parishes in East Boston, MA

Two childhood victims of clergy sexual abuse by Deacon/Priest Assistant Ricardo Gonzalez of Our Lady of Mount Carmel Parish and Our Lady of the Assumption Parish, East Boston, MA expect to finally obtain justice if Deacon/Priest Assistant Ricardo Gonzalez pleads guilty on April 30, 2015 to sexually abusing them

What
The expected guilty plea and sentencing of Archdiocese of Boston Deacon/Priest Assistant Ricardo Gonzalez, who sexually abused two minor children in two East Boston, MA Catholic parishes

When
Thursday, April 30, 2015 at 9:00 AM

Where
Suffolk Superior Court, Criminal Division, Three Pemberton Square, Boston, MA 02108

Who
Robert M. Hoatson, Ph.D., President of Road to Recovery, Inc., a non-profit charity that assists victims of sexual abuse and their families and supporters of the two innocent sexual abuse victims of Deacon/Priest Assistant Ricardo Gonzalez

Why
Deacon/Priest Assistant Ricardo Gonzalez repeatedly sexually abused at least two minor boys from approximately 1993-1995 while affiliated with Our Lady of Mount Carmel Parish, East Boston, and Our Lady of the Assumption Parish, East Boston and is expected to plead guilty to the sexual abuse in Suffolk Superior Court, Criminal Division, Boston, on April 30, 2015. The two victims are expected to finally obtain the justice they deserve. Dr. Hoatson will be available to speak to the media after the plea and sentencing.

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

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:53 PM

Lawsuit: Minn. Man Says He Was Abused By A Nun

MINNESOTA
CBS Minnesota

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A man who says he was sexually abused by a nun spoke out on Wednesday as part of the first civil lawsuit in Minnesota filed against an order of Catholic nuns.

Douglas Devorak, 58, of Shakopee, says the abuse happened when he was 10 years old at St. Michael’s Catholic School in Madison, Minnesota.

He was in fifth grade in 1967, and Devorak says sister Mary Regina repeatedly assaulted him in the boys’ bathroom and in the classroom.

Devorak’s lawsuit is also filed against the Diocese of New Ulm.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:07 PM

The Sacrament of Penance (Again)

MINNESOTA
Canonical Consultation

04/29/2015

Jennifer Haselberger

I recently had a conversation where the topic of Catholic confession was discussed at length. Since I was not able, given the context of the conversation, to provide citations or references, I thought that I would take the opportunity to post the same on this blog. This post might be of little interest to many of you, but priests might want to review some of the materials attached.

One of the questions that came up during this conversation was about the differences between sacramental confession and other forms of communication between individuals, including between individuals and priests, or even two priests speaking together. I was at pains to explain that reconciliation is a ritual, and therefore there is a prescribed formula that must be followed which establishes that the exchange is sacramental in nature rather than purely conversational or even an appeal for other forms of pastoral care. I am attaching a guide to confession produced by the Diocese of Pittsburgh, and which gives the penitent's formula. For the complete text of ritual form 'A', please click here.

Another question that was raised was the location in which confessions are to be heard. While there are always exceptions to the rule, the Code of Canon Law is clear that the proper place to hear confessions is a church or oratory, and that confessions should not be heard outside of these locations without a grave cause (c. 964, 1-3). While I was Chancellor in the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis, a new clergy bulletin (diocesan policy) was promulgated that reinforced this expectation, along with insisting that confessions of children are never heard outside of properly designated locations.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:05 PM

Man claims Minnesota nun sexually abused him in the '60s

MINNESOTA
Minnesota Public Radio

Curtis Gilbert Apr 29, 2015

The Archdiocese of New Ulm faces a lawsuit over alleged sexual abuse by a nun in the 1960s. It's the first case involving a nun filed under a Minnesota law temporarily lifting the statute of limitations on child sexual abuse lawsuits.

Doug Devorak claims Sister Mary Regina Hebig repeatedly fondled him when he was a fifth grader at St. Michael's Catholic School in Madison, Minn.

Devorak, 57, said he kept it a secret for decades out of respect for his parents.

"Our parents trusted these people with our moral and religious upbringing," he said. "And people say, 'Well Doug, why did you wait so long?' The answer's real simple. My parents couldn't have taken that."

Devorak's parents are both dead, as is Hebig. Officials with the Diocese of New Ulm say the diocese was not aware of any complaints involving her and was not involved in hiring employees at the school.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:59 PM

Holy Trinity Church in Boston Being Turned into Boutique Condos

BOSTON (MA)
Boston Catholic Insider

For those who have not yet heard, Holy Trinity Church, the former home of the German Catholic Community and the Traditional Latin Mass is being redeveloped into boutique condos. We posted last June that the property was up for sale, and in November we learned it had been sold, however the identity of the developer was not yet publicly available. Oddly, the archdiocese has not announced the sale price, or what will become of the millions of dollars of proceeds. Now the plans are up for approval by the Boston Redevelopment Authority. A picture of the proposed development can be found below.

Here is what has been written about the proposed plans. In “You Could Soon Live in This 19th Century South End Church” we learn:

Finegold Alexander + Associates, Inc. is hoping to transform the former Holy Trinity German Catholic Church and Rectory – located at 136 Shawmut Ave. in Boston’s South End – into an eight-story structure boasting 33 residential units. (The firm is acting on behalf of owner 136 Shawmut LLC, formed out of New Boston Ventures, according to the Boston Globe.)

According to a report filed by Finegold Alexander principal-in-charge James G. Alexander with the Boston Redevelopment Authority, this particular housing development will keep the church and rectory’s exterior facade while the interior of the building will be completely demolished and rebuilt – assuming, of course, the project is approved by the BRA.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:12 PM

Die Kirche und der "verdammte" Sex

DEUTSCHLAND
Wochen Spiegel

[Laymen and experts as theologians, educators or psychologists discuss topics including the sexual morality of the Catholic Church, existing tensions in practice and possible credible future prospects. "The church is no longer in demand in matters of sexuality as an institution," was the finding of Münster sex educator Ann-Kathrin Kahle.]

Offizielle Sexualmoral der katholischen Kirche kontra tatsächliches Liebesleben der Menschen: Um dieses Spannungsfeld ging es jetzt beim Forum "Sexualität. Leben" im Rahmen der Bistumssynode.

Laien und Experten wie Theologen, Pädagogen oder Psychologen diskutierten unter anderem über die Sexualmoral der katholischen Kirche, bestehende Spannungen in der Praxis und mögliche glaubwürdige Zukunftsperspektiven. "Die Kirche ist in Fragen der Sexualität als Institution nicht mehr gefragt", lautete der Befund der Münsteraner Sexualpädagogin Ann-Kathrin Kahle. Ihre Aufgabe sei es, Menschen zu begleiten, nicht sie zu verurteilen, sagte Ethik-Professorin Sigrid Müller aus Wien. Details sind unter www.bistum-trier.de zu finden.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:25 PM

Verdacht sexuellen Missbrauchs beschäftigt zwei Bistümer

DEUTSCHLAND
Westfalische Nachrichten

[Suspected sexual abuse in two dioceses.]

Münster/Freiburg -
Der Fall wirkt verfahren. Er zeigt, wie schwer es ist, der Wahrheit auf den Grund zu kommen und dem Leid eines Menschen gerecht zu werden. Es geht, wie die „Badische Zeitung“ in Freiburg berichtet, um den Fall einer 48-jährigen Frau, die sich nach langem inneren Kampf im Sommer 2014 an das Erzbistum Freiburg wendet. Sie wird gequält von Erinnerungen aus ihrer Kindheit im Bistum Münster. Ein Priester, Freund der Familie, habe sie als junges Mädchen in den 1970er Jahren über einen langen Zeitraum vielfach sexuell missbraucht.

Von Johannes Loy 

Die Frau vertraut sich der Missbrauchsbeauftragten des Erzbistums Freiburg an, die das Gesprächsprotokoll mit einer eidesstattlichen Erklärung an die zuständige Kommission für „Fälle des sexuellen Missbrauchs Minderjähriger durch Geistliche“ im Bistum Münster weiterleitet. Denn der Beschuldigte ist Priester des Bistums Münster, Mitte 70, und nach wie vor in Nordrhein-Westfalen im Dienst.

Was sich nun anschließt, könnte man mit der Redewendung „Von Pontius zu Pilatus rennen“ umschreiben. Dieser Umstand mag auch damit zusammenhängen, dass die münsterische Untersuchungskommission mit sechs Mitgliedern und fünf Beratern recht groß und die Kompetenzverteilung möglicherweise nicht klar geregelt ist. Die Klägerin wird von unterschiedlichen Kommissionsmitgliedern kontaktiert und befragt, dann wiederum lehnt sie zusätzliche Aussagen aus Angst vor einer Retraumatisierung ab. „Eigentlich sollte es zum Schutz des mutmaßlichen Opfers möglichst wenige Ansprechpartner geben“, räumt Bistumssprecher Dr. Stephan Kronenburg ein.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:21 PM

Katholischer Kinderschutzbeauftragter: Nachholbedarf bei Prävention

DEUTSCHLAND
EPD

[Catholic child protection officer: pent-up demand for prevention.]

Bei der Prävention von sexuellem Missbrauch an Kindern sieht der erste Kinderschutzbeauftragte des Vatikans, Hans Zollner, in vielen Ländern noch Nachholbedarf. "Vielerorts wird ernsthaft an der Aufarbeitung von Missbrauchsfällen gearbeitet und konsequente Präventionsarbeit geleistet", sagte der Psychologieprofessor und Jesuitenpater der "Hannoverschen Allgemeinen Zeitung" (Mittwochsausgabe). Das sei allerdings nicht überall der Fall.

In großen Teilen Afrikas, Asiens und teilweise in Lateinamerika sei sexueller Missbrauch an Minderjährigen bisher noch ein Thema, das nicht öffentlich diskutiert werde. Dort müssten Verantwortliche in Staat, Gesellschaft und Kirche erst ein Problembewusstsein entwickeln, um effektiv und entschlossen gegen Missbrauch vorzugehen.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:16 PM

PA- Victims say “Send Msgr. Lynn back to prison”

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

For immediate release: Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Statement by Barbara Dorris of St. Louis, Outreach Director of SNAP, Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests ( 314 503 0003 cell, bdorris@snapnetwork.org )

We believe Msgr. William Lynn should go back to prison because it’s just and the best way to deter others who may conceal.

[Philadelphia Inquirer]

One could argue that those who conceal child sex crimes are more culpable than those who commit them. Predators are often sick individuals with a virtually uncontrollable compulsion to assault kids. Enablers, however, are presumably otherwise healthy individuals who deliberately choose to hurt kids by ignoring, hiding and, in effect, facilitating predators.

We suspect no penalty will stop the Fr. Edward Averys from molesting. (That’s why prison is important: it’s the only sure-fire way to keep predators away from prey.) But we’re confident that harsh penalties will stop the Msgr. Lynns from enabling.

And in the Catholic Church, nearly every other prevention measure – except punishing the hierarchy - has failed. Despite decades of scandals, lawsuits, settlements, exposes, prosecutions, and defections, bishops keep protecting predators and endangering kids.

So something more and different must be done. Punishing wrongdoers must happen, instead of promoting wrongdoers.

Some will no doubt consider our view punitive. It’s not. It’s preventative. It’s what our society must do more often if children are to be safer from heinous crimes.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:14 PM

Peter Isely on the Resignation of Bishop Finn, Abuse Survivors, and Persephone's Pomegranate Seed

UNITED STATES
Bilgrimage

William D. Lindsey

A valuable piece of commentary from Peter Isely of SNAP Wisconsin, in his Facebook feed recently, about the resignation of Bishop Robert Finn and the pomegranate seed: Peter notes that the leaders of the Catholic church are divided into two teams, team Benedict and team Francis, one the "traditionalist tough guy" team, the other the "moderate" team. And because teams vie to be winners, making other teams losers, and because winners and losers continuously shift, there's a whole lot of politicking and image-making and face-saving going on.

And then there are the survivors of childhood clerical abuse. And there's justice, which these win-lose political games are almost never about:

Justice is something altogether different than this kind of two party politics. Justice doesn't have teams. It doesn't take the side of the exploited, the oppressed, and the dispossessed because justice is the exploited, the oppressed, and the disposed. They are not a team. They are those without a team. Any true social change originates in them. They are the part of the system that has no part in the system. They occupy the empty place of the system, the social and political space where the law has been annulled, vacated or subverted. That is why survivors, paradoxically, who represent no one, no faction, no particular interest are, unknown to them, the universal church, which has no place for them and does not know what to do with them.

Survivors are Persephone's pomegranate seed, the biblical pearl in the field, the grain of mustard, overlooked and ignored by those playing the big-boy games — who sometimes change things in unexpected ways simply by being there. And by refusing to get caught up in the push-shove games of the ever-shifting teams of victors and losers . . . .

And as many of you probably now know, the latest unbelievable breaking news in the Finn story: as Rick Montgomery reports for Kansas City Star on Monday, he'll be presiding at several ordinations next month in the diocese he (formerly?) headed — a decision that Yael T. Abouhalkah rightly calls "repulsive, reckless and yet a par-for-the-course decision by the local Catholic hierarchy."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:46 PM

Belgian bishop: Ruling against archbishop could spur claims for damages

BELGIUM
National Catholic Reporter

Jonathan Luxmoore Catholic News Service | Apr. 29, 2015

OXFORD, ENGLAND A Belgian bishop said the president of the bishops' conference urged Catholics to respect a court judgment against him for failing to act on allegations of abuse.

However, Auxiliary Bishop Jean Kockerols of Mechelen-Brussels also said the ruling provoked concern that it could spur more claims for damages, and he said it would take a while for the church to regain credibility.

"Our church set up a special commission to investigate such cases, which will soon complete its work," Kockerols told Catholic News Service, adding that he believed the Belgian church's procedures for combating abuse were now robust.

"After the damage we've suffered from these cases, it'll take us 10-20 years to regain our credibility as a church. What's important in the meantime is that we're not intimidated into silence. When you're walking a tightrope, your best chance of finding a balance is to keep moving forward," he said.

The Appeal Court in Liege ruled against Archbishop Andre Leonard of Mechelen-Brussels, conference president, in a case dating to when he was bishop of Namur, 1991-2010. The court said the archbishop was guilty of misconduct and ordered him to pay $11,000 to a former Catholic seminarian, Joel Devillet, who was sexually abused as a choirboy in Aubange by a Catholic abbot, Fr. Gilbert Hubermont.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:39 PM

Familiar themes of a wounded church take fictional form

UNITED STATES
National Catholic Reporter

Jamie Manson | Apr. 29, 2015 Grace on the Margins

For the past 15 years, Fr. Donald Cozzens has distinguished himself as a commentator on religious and cultural issues, especially those relating to the sexual and financial crises gripping the Catholic church. His best-selling book The Changing Face of the Priesthood exploded onto the religious publishing scene in 2000, receiving both broad acclaim and fierce critique -- and changing the direction of his ministry as a priest.

He went on to write four more books, including Sacred Silence: Denial and the Crisis in the Church (2002) and Notes From the Underground: The Spiritual Journal of a Secular Priest (2013). He now travels widely, lecturing on the upheavals engulfing the Catholic church and leading retreats for priests and religious. He is also a writer-in-residence and adjunct professor at John Carroll University in Ohio.

In Cozzens' latest work, Master of Ceremonies, published by In Extenso Press, he revisits themes that have dominated much of his writing: clergy sex abuse, clericalism, Vatican intrigue and corrupt bishops. But this time, he spins the narrative in the form of a mystery novel.

I recently spoke with Cozzens recently about his new tale of secrecy and silence, murder and suspense.

Manson: Why did you choose to write your first novel rather than another nonfiction book? Are you a fan of suspense novels?

Cozzens: We know that stories compel us in ways that only the best of nonfiction can. So I thought that telling a story about our wounded church might be something I should try. And once I started, I simply couldn't stop. I do like suspense novels, and I'm happy to have the book described as a thriller, because I wanted the story to move at a fairly fast pace. One of my colleagues in the English department here at John Carroll, a novelist himself, said that it galloped. ...

Why did you choose to make clergy sexual abuse and its subsequent cover-up a key part of the plot?

The church is trying to cope with a number of scandals and urgent pastoral issues today. I'm thinking of the fraud and bank scandals, bishops living like princes, the church's attitude toward the divorced and remarried, its failure to really listen to Catholic sisters who teach and minister with integrity and humility. The list goes on. But nothing has so rocked the church as the sexual violation of our teens and children and the repeated bungling of many of our bishops as they tried to contain and spin and manage the scandals.

Our laity is saying to the bishops, you might mess with my money, but don't you dare mess with my children. So sexual abuse and its cover-up remain the stick in the eye of the church. But the reader will also find among the plot lines of the novel faith-killing revenge, naked clerical ambition, and misplaced loyalty. Still, the net holding the narrative in place is the abuse of a young boy by a priest who later becomes an archbishop.

The story involves a secretive group called the Brotherhood of the Sacred Purple. Do you think groups like this really exist, or were you simply trying to infuse Da Vinci Code-like intrigue into the novel?

I've had some fun with the Brotherhood of the Sacred Purple. In the novel, it's a secretive band of bishops and priests who are hell-bent on saving the church from pastoral-minded bishops who, in their judgment, threaten what they call the church's supreme center -- that is, papal infallibility, hierarchal patriarchy, doctrine carved in stone, and the like. And they're willing to do whatever it takes to achieve their sacred duty as they see it. Groups like this exist today, but I certainly hope they're not as ruthless as the Brothers of the Sacred Purple. Da Vinci Code intrigue? No. Master of Ceremonies isn't as dark or complex as Dan Brown's novel. But intrigue there is.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:34 PM

Really?

KANSAS CITY (MO)
National Survivor Advocates Coalition

Editorial

We read with astonishment that Bishop Robert Finn will preside at the ordinations of seven seminaries in the Kansas City- St. Joseph Diocese in May because Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann who temporarily has charge of this diocese has a scheduling conflict.

Tone deaf is a profound understatement on this matter.

We understand that Bishop Finn has the power to ordain these seminarians regardless of his “voluntary” resignation that was accepted by Pope Francis.

But what in heaven’s name makes anyone in the power structure or the pews of the Roman Catholic Church think this is acceptable?

This is about as acceptable as Richard Nixon presiding over a Cabinet meeting for Gerald Ford or signing an executive order because Ford had some work on Capitol Hill that he had previously scheduled.

We get that Archbishop Naumann already has ordinations scheduled. ‘Tis the season for them.

But how about the hierarchy of the Roman Catholic Church – and those who are being ordained – act in the same way real people do. When a major event has a major problem, maturity goes into action and a solution is found that doesn’t insult anybody.

How about the time of the ordination be moved to later in the day?

How about moving the ordination to the next day or the next weekend or the next month? We understand that the seminarians and their families and friends have planned for this event and it will cause some difficulty if the event were moved even by a day, but plenty of people make sacrifices to be at events of this significance for the people they love. And, really, we think the family members of the seminarians would be all too willing to make whatever adjustments were necessary if an ordination date had to be moved. It’s not for them that this accommodation of Finn’s presiding is being made. And certainly the seminarians should not be adverse to a bit of sacrifice on their way to ordination.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:31 PM

Freedom or jail for Msgr. William J. Lynn? Arguments Thursday

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
Philadelphia Inquirer

JOSEPH A. SLOBODZIAN, INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
POSTED: Wednesday, April 29, 2015

A Philadelphia judge will hear arguments Thursday about whether Msgr. William J. Lynn should return to prison.

The hearing was set by Common Pleas Court Judge M. Teresa Sarmina, who presided over the landmark 13-week trial in 2012 in which Lynn, 64, was found guilty of child endangerment for his role supervising priests accused of sexually abusing children.

Sarmina sentenced Lynn to three to six years in prison and he served about 18 months before being released on house arrest on Jan. 2, 2014, after the Pennsylvania Superior Court reversed his conviction. Lynn has lived since in the rectory of St. William, a parish in Lawncrest in the Northeast.

On Monday, however, the state Supreme Court reinstated the conviction and the Philadelphia District Attorney's office immediately moved to revoke his bail and return him to prison.

Defense attorney Thomas A. Bergstrom on Wednesday filed a motion asking that Lynn remain free on $250,000 bail and live on house arrest pending further appeals.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:10 PM

Police Investigate Sexual Assault Allegation At Catholic High School

CHICAGO (IL)
CBS Chicago

CHICAGO (CBS) — Chicago police were investigating after a baseball player at a Catholic high school on the Far South Side allegedly was sexually assaulted by several teammates last month, and 12 students have been suspended in connection with the incident.

A source said the victim was sodomized in the locker room at St. Francis de Sales High School, at 10155 S. Ewing Av.

A dozen varsity baseball players at the school were suspended this week. A letter to parents said the players were accused of bullying, or failing to report bullying, but Chicago police said they were notified of a sexual assault at the school.

Chicago police said an 18-year-old allegedly was sexually assaulted by five other males on March 23, at approximately 3 p.m., but the parents of the victim and the school did not report the attack to police until Tuesday. Area South Detectives were investigating, but no one was in custody as of Wednesday afternoon.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:08 PM

Two priest sex-abuse lawsuits settled with Phila Archdiocese

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
Philadelphia Inquirer

MATT GELB, INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
LAST UPDATED: Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Two lawsuits alleging sexual abuse of minors by priests from the Archdiocese of Philadelphia were settled for an undisclosed amount, lawyers announced Wednesday.

The suits, the first settled since a 2011 grand jury investigation of sex abuse allegations in the archdiocese, were filed by the victims before they turned 30 - keeping them in line with Pennsylvania's statute of limitations.

The plaintiffs, identified as John Doe 10 and John Doe 187, requested the settlement amounts be confidential.

"Nobody ever recovers from this kind of sexual abuse," said Dan Monahan, one of their lawyers. "But fortunately, both of these young men have really gained a certain amount of power and are no longer living in silence.

"They have moved on with their lives. They are stronger as a result of stepping forward. They are stronger as a result of filing these suits. And I think they feel a somewhat small sense of justice in having these cases resolved."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:04 PM

Pope Faces “Messes”: Philly, Climate, Children, & Now Hillary

UNITED STATES
Christian Catholicism

Jerry Slevin

For a celibate bachelor, Pope Francis perhaps understandably cannot seem to shake his problems with women and children. Too many children are still being “bred” under the pope’s contraception ban for a warming climate and finite world to absorb. Moreover, some of the “excess” children become easy targets of clerical predators that the pope and his bishops seem unwilling and/or unable to control. This was evident from the recent Philadelphia news confirming the conviction for endangering children of the longtime top priest personnel aide to shamed Philly Cardinals Justin Rigali and Anthony Bevilacqua.

The aide took the fall for his two cardinal bosses, it appears. As the Georgetown Law graduate judge told the aide after his jury conviction, he should have stood up to his bishops, Rigali and Bevilacqua presumably. Instead, she said, Lynn had enabled “monsters in clerical garb to destroy the souls of children.” Of course, Rigali and Bevilacqua are still held in esteem by the Vatican. And few Catholics trust US bishops’ clearly inadequate and easily manipulated annual “child protection audits” that Rigali got “straight A’s” on while seemingly surrounded by alleged priest abusers!

Please see also my related remarks, “Two Cardinals’ Aide’s Crime Upheld Yet Philly Visit Is Still On?“, “What Do We Now Know About The Real Goal Of Pope Francis?” , “Childless Pope Faces Man-Made “Mess”: Children & Climate Change” , “Vatican Revolt Negates Synod & Sex Commission” , “Dumping Finn For US President: Who’s Next?”‏ , “Hillary Clinton vs. Pope Francis in 2015 USA Politics“, “Electing Bishops & Jeb Bush Too” , “A Pope, A New US War, Jeb Bush Neocons & Big Oil” , “Finn’s Law: Police Must Now Handle Crimes Says Pope“, and “Must Jesuits Overlook Jesuit Pope’s Mistakes?“.

And now here comes Hillary Clinton, a new grandmother and advocate for women and children, the Vatican’s forgotten Catholics! As noted here,

Hillary Clinton, during her 2008 US presidential campaign, talked a great deal about religion. By contrast, with Pope Francis now on the US political playing field, please note this from Hillary’s recent speech seemingly directed at Pope Francis at the Women in the World Summit in New York:

“Yes, we’ve cut the maternal mortality rate in half, but far too many women are still denied critical access to reproductive health care and safe childbirth. All the laws we’ve passed don’t count for much if they’re not enforced. Rights have to exist in practice, not just on paper. Laws have to be backed up with resources and political will. And deep-seated cultural codes, religious beliefs and structural biases have to be changed. “ (emphasis mine)

Whose “cultural codes, religious beliefs and structural biases”, Pope Francis, do you think Hillary was referring to? This last sentence was key, as one can see from this video (at 8:55). Hillary emphasized these words through a change in tone, cadence and gesture.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:54 PM

Bishop Robert Finn’s repulsive role in Catholic ordinations

KANSAS CITY (MO)
The Kansas City Star

BY YAEL T. ABOUHALKAH- ABOUHALKAH@KCSTAR.COM

04/28/2015

Bishop Robert Finn should not be allowed to participate in the priestly ordinations next month of deacons in the Catholic church.

Robert W. Finn is a disgraced Catholic bishop who has announced his resignation as leader of the Kansas City-St. Joseph Diocese. He should not be presiding at the priestly ordinations of new deacons next month.

Yet, he is scheduled to do just that.

It’s a repulsive, reckless and yet a par-for-the-course decision by the local Catholic hierarchy, especially the new temporary leader of the diocese, Archbishop Joseph F. Naumman.

The event scheduled for May 23 is a slap in the face to the victims of child abuse at the hands of local Catholic priests over the years and the families of those victims.

It also sends the wrong message to the community at large, the many non-Catholics who have watched for years as the local diocese has been involved in costly settlements with abuse victims.

The revelation that top Catholic officials outside this area are allowing Finn to preside at the ordinations also does not send the right message that lessons have been learned during Finn’s presence as bishop in Kansas City.

Indeed, it appears that the Catholic officials think they can act with impunity and continue to allow a resigned bishop to not just keep his title but keep on doing his duties in this region.

One of the more worrisome comments in The Star story came from Deacon Joshua Barlett, scheduled to be ordained by Finn: “I do echo most everyone when I say we are very excited for Bishop Finn to perform the ordination. I started into this eight years ago. He’s led us all the way through.”

In other words, the new generation of Catholic priests in this area will be blessed by the old generation that is leaving such an ugly legacy for the church.

That’s disappointing.

Naumann and other church leaders keep calling on members of the local church to allow time for “healing and grace.”

Yet it appears too often that the people who were abused by the priests are the ones who are supposed to have all the grace in this situation, and be pressured to do the healing.

If Naumman and other local Catholic leaders were truly interested in “healing and grace,” they would not allow Finn to lead the ordinations in May.

That might disappoint seven men scheduled to become priests.

But it would send the right message to so many other people.

To reach editorial page columnist Yael T. Abouhalkah, call 816-234-4887 or send email to abouhalkah@kcstar.com. Twitter @YaelTAbouhalkah.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:49 PM

Bishop Finn takes flight, but is the summer of Pope Francis upon us?

UNITED STATES
National Catholic Reporter

Peter Isely | Apr. 29, 2015 Examining the Crisis

Mindful of Aristotle's caution that one swallow does not a summer make, there is still good reason to celebrate that after years of intense activism, advocacy and grass-roots organizing from abuse survivors, advocates, Catholic clergy and parishioners, the Vatican has finally, formally and unceremoniously removed Bishop Robert Finn from the beleaguered diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph, Mo.

This is a kind of move the Vatican is always loath to make since it raises serious questions about the divine hand in episcopal promotions. Thus, there was only one paltry sentence in the statement about it from the Vatican. So much for a teaching moment.

That Finn was convicted of child endangerment and was publicly exposed for breaking signed promises to victims of clergy sex crimes negotiated in civil settlements certainly helped, proving once again that when criminal and civil courts intervene in church cover-ups, it becomes increasingly difficult for the Vatican to feign neutrality.

Backing the efforts of the law in Kansas City: parishioners who spoke up, organized and signed petitions (it's easy to be cynical, but thousands of signatures made a difference); dedicated journalists who investigated and reported stories of priest sex abuse and institutional complicity; and innovative insiders/outsiders to the church system itself, like Milwaukee canon lawyer Fr. Jim Connell, co-founder of The Survivors and Clergy Leadership Alliance, who found ways to use the church's legal system to represent survivors and press for the rights of aggrieved parishioners.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:47 PM

Lord Janner allegations to be investigated by child sex abuse inquiry

UNITED KINGDOM
The Independent

KASHMIRA GANDER Author Biography Wednesday 29 April 2015

The judge leading an independent inquiry into child sex abuse by members of the establishment, is to investigate claims made against Lord Greville Janner.

The probe could see Justice Lowell Goddard call the former MP, 86, to court to give evidence, following a controversial decision by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) not to try him because his dementia is too severe.

However, Justice Goddard indicated the inquiry will consider medical evidence before taking a decision on whether to call the peer to be interviewed, and said she will likely enlist medics to make the decision.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:45 PM

Annual report on Dallas Charter shows continued decline in number of abuse cases

UNITED STATES
National Catholic Reporter

Tom Roberts | Apr. 29, 2015

WASHINGTON The number of clergy sex abuse cases in the Catholic church in the United States continues to decline, and most of those newly reported stem from the 1960s through the 1980s, according to the latest report on how dioceses are complying with the ongoing requirements of the U.S. bishops' 2002 Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People.

The generally positive news in the report is tempered, however, by cautions against complacency from both Archbishop Joseph Kurtz, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, and Francesco C. Cesareo, chairman of the National Review Board for the Protection of Children and Young People.

And, as has been the case for the 12 years the audit has been performed, the review board is forced to report that the church in the United States is not in full compliance with the charter because the diocese of Lincoln, Neb., and five eparchies, dioceses of the Eastern church, refuse to cooperate with the survey.

In his letter presenting the report, Cesareo warned against "Charter drift" and a "false sense of security."

"While substantive progress has been made, it should not be concluded that the sexual abuse of minors is a problem of the past that has been adequately addressed," he wrote. "The fact that there were six substantiated cases of abuse of current minors in this year's audit is indicative of the fact that there are still instances where dioceses fall short."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:42 PM

KANSAS CITY STAR GETS INTRUSIVE

KANSAS CITY (MO)
Catholic League

Bill Donohue comments on a piece today by an editorial writer for the Kansas City Star:

Yael T. Abouhalkah’s mother should have told her son to mind his own business. He writes for the notoriously anti-Catholic newspaper, the Kansas City Star, and is now lecturing Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann of Kansas City, Kansas about his decision to have Bishop Robert Finn preside at two ordinations in May; Finn recently resigned as Bishop of Kansas City-St. Joseph, and Naumann is the apostolic administrator of the diocese.

Archbishop Naumann will be celebrating the ordination of priests in his own diocese on the same day that the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph is holding its ordinations. That is why he asked Bishop Finn to preside over his former diocese. As well he should: not only is Bishop Finn a bishop in good standing in the Catholic Church, he is a holy man who has done a magnificent job in securing bright and able men to the priesthood. Indeed, the number of men he has galvanized to become priests makes Finn the envy of bishops in much larger dioceses throughout the nation.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:40 PM

In Sister Mary Ann Walsh, both the Church and the media had a friend

UNITED STATES
Crux

By John L. Allen Jr.
Associate editor April 29, 2015

Back in 2002, at the peak of the sexual abuse crisis in the American church, then-Bishop Wilton Gregory of Belleville, Ill., at the time the president of the US bishops’ conference, was in Rome. Every journalist on the planet wanted an interview, and my friend Jim Bittermann from CNN was lucky enough to score one.

I asked Bittermann if I could tag along to his appointment at the North American College, the American seminary in Rome, figuring it was the only way I would get access to Gregory on that trip. (Even though I worked for a competing publication, I was a regular on CNN.) Bittermann agreed, and so we set off.

We got as far as the inner courtyard at the NAC, which is where we ran into the unmovable Sister Mary Ann Walsh, the US bishops’ media coordinator.

Walsh immediately sniffed out the ruse, and wasn’t happy about it. She looked at Bittermann scornfully and said, “What, aren’t you man enough to do this by yourself? You need somebody to hold your hand?”

I was sternly exiled outside to wait for Bittermann to finish, and never did get my face time with Gregory until much later in the game.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:36 PM

Finn should NOT ordain anyone

KANSAS CITY (MO)
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

by SNAP outreach director Barbara Dorris

We applaud the few Kansas City priests who are speaking up against the plan by three top Catholic officials – including Pope Francis’ US representative – to let Bishop Robert Finn preside over two ordinations next month.

We beg more Kansas City priests – and parishioners – to join this effort.

We beg the church hierarchy to listen to their cries.

We beg the soon-to-be-ordained deacons to speak up and oppose this too.

And we beg Pope Francis to name a permanent head of the diocese who is a parish priest, not a church bureaucrat.

The temporary head of the diocese, Archbishop Joseph Naumann, told the Kansas City Star “Bishop Finn resigned, and the Holy See has accepted it. But he doesn't disappear from the face of the Earth. ... He still is a bishop."

[National Catholic Reporter]

That’s a callous non-explanation for a controversial, hurtful plan. A surgeon who was ousted shouldn’t be doing surgery. A police officer who stepped shouldn’t be arresting people. And a bishop who resigned shouldn’t be acting like a bishop, especially when his actions will only prolong years of already intense and easily avoidable pain.

This plan was approved by Naumann, Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano (the “papal nuncio to the US in Washington DC, Pope Francis’ chief US aide) and Canadian Cardinal Marc Ouellet (the head of the Congregation for Bishops in Rome). Shame on them.

The lesson here is that the feelings of a handful of clerics trump the feelings of hundreds of victims and thousands of Catholics. The lesson is that despite decades of child sex crimes and cover ups, caused largely by clerics who put themselves above parishioners, clerics still put themselves above parishioners.

It’s said that the deacons want Finn to be at the ordinations. That may or may not be true. But many Catholics want their bishop to do things he should not or cannot do. A bishop, as a leader, must decline many opportunities.

It’s said that “Finn has been a mentor and a guide to these men.” That’s likely true. And, if they want a convicted criminal to keep being their mentor and guide, that’s their choice. But it shouldn’t be a highly public and visible role or position or relationship that

It’s said that these events were planned long ago. That’s certainly true. But there are more than 400 active or retired bishops in the US. All it takes is one of them to step in for Finn.

It’s said that top Catholic officials – in Rome and in DC – have blessed Finn’s plans. That’s likely true. But it’s also irrelevant and hurtful. It’s pretty clear by now that just because a high ranking Catholic bureaucrat approves something, it isn’t necessarily good for victims or parishioners.

It’s said that “Finn’s been punished enough.” But this isn’t about hurting Finn. It’s about helping KC victims and parishioners, most of whom desperately want and need this long nightmare to end.

(Besides, Finn’s been let off pretty easy. He’s still a priest. He’s actually still a bishop. He’s still living in his lush home, which was and is paid for by parishioners. He still gets his paycheck, health insurance, dental plan, car allowance and all the rest. And he enabled child sex crimes, got his expensive defense paid for by others, was convicted but avoided jail.)

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:31 PM

Minnesota Nun Molested Boy, Attorneys File Suit

MINNESOTA
Patrick Noaker

PRESS CONFERENCE: 2:00 p.m., Wednesday, April 29, 2015
Where: Minneapolis attorney Patrick Noaker’s office, 333 Washington
Ave. N., Suite 300
First case filed under new law against nuns.
Victim to speak with reporters
____________________________________________________________________________
(MINNEAPOLIS, April 29, 2015) – Attorneys filed a new civil lawsuit against an order of nuns, and the Diocese of New Ulm, alleging sexual abuse of a 10-year-old boy repeatedly molested by a nun at a Catholic school in Madison, Minnesota.

This is the first civil lawsuit filed against an order of nuns under Minnesota’s new law for sex-abuse victims.

The lawsuit, filed on behalf of a 58-year-old man from Shakopee, Minnesota, alleges that a nun repeatedly abused the boy in his fifth-grade year, from the fall of 1967 through spring 1968, at St. Michael’s Catholic School in Madison, Minnesota.

Court papers say Sister Mary Regina repeatedly fondled the boy’s genitals during school hours.

Court papers identify the boy as John Doe 117. Since filing the lawsuit, the victim has decided to reveal his identity, to encourage other victims of sexual abuse to come forward.

The man referenced in the lawsuit, Douglas Devorak of Shakopee, Minnesota, will speak with reporters at a press conference at 2:00 p.m., Wednesday, April 29th at Minneapolis attorney Patrick Noaker’s office: 333 Washington Avenue N., Suite 300.

"I do not need to be anonymous anymore," Devorak said. “I am a survivor. I did not do anything wrong.”

“I need to get the truth out and tell my story to heal.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:27 PM

Minnesota Nun Molested Boy, Attorneys File Suit

MINNESOTA
Patrick Noaker

Noaker Law Firm and James, Vernon & Weeks law firms filed a new civil lawsuit against an order of nuns, and the Diocese of New Ulm, alleging sexual abuse of a 10-year-old boy repeatedly molested by a nun at a Catholic school in Madison, Minnesota.

This is the first civil lawsuit filed against an order of nuns under Minnesota’s new law for sex-abuse victims.

The lawsuit, filed on behalf of a 58-year-old man from Shakopee, Minnesota, alleges that a nun repeatedly abused the boy in his fifth-grade year, from the fall of 1967 through spring 1968, at St. Michael’s Catholic School in Madison, Minnesota.

Complaint against Diocese of New Ulm and School Sisters of Notre Dame

Press Release

Photograph of St. Michael’s Catholic Church and School

Photograph of Doug Devorak family

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:24 PM

NEW SEXUAL ABUSE AND EXPLOITATION LAWSUIT FILED AGAINST LITTLE ROCK CHURCH

ARKANSAS
Jessica Arbour

SUIT ALLEGES THAT PASTOR SEXUALLY EXPLOITED A VULNERABLE FEMALE PARISHIONER BY PROMISING HER GOD’S BLESSING AND FAVOR

WHAT
Jessica Arbour, a nationally-recognized attorney for survivors of sexual abuse, announces the filing new lawsuit filed in Pulaski County Court alleges that APOSTLE LAWRENCE E. BRAGGS, the Senior Pastor at AWARENESS CENTER INTERNATIONAL MINISTRIES, sexually abused and exploited a female congregant from approximately 2007 until 2012.

The suit alleges that BRAGGS learned sensitive information about Jennifer Richardson, the plaintiff, during the course of spiritual counseling and instruction, which he then used to manipulate the congregant into a sexual relationship. After learning that she was raised by her own minister father to believe that obedience to God was the supreme virtue, Braggs told her that God had shown him that her place was to help him “go to God” through sexual activity. The suit claims that Braggs engaged the plaintiff in sexual contact at various locations around the Little Rock area, including the church, located at 900 S. Pine St., in Little Rock, and at his home, which was at one time owned by the church, and which was recently lost after a complicated foreclosure process, according to online reports.

The Complaint also states that when Plaintiff attempted to end the sexual relationship in mid-2012, Braggs, his family, and other congregates engaged in an ongoing campaign to threaten and harass Plaintiff and her family, if they reported the relationship to police. Sexual exploitation of a congregant by a member of the clergy is classified as third degree criminal sexual conduct under Arkansas law.
The plaintiff is a 33 year old resident of the Little Rock area. She is married with 2 young children.
Richardson v. Awareness Center International Ministry, Inc., et al. is now pending in Pulaski County Court.

CONTACT
Jessica Arbour, Esq., (312) 854-8091; jessica@arbourlaw.com.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:20 PM

FL--Victims prod bishop to act re soon-to-be-freed predator

FLORIDA
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

For immediate release: Wednesday, April 28

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

A convicted child predator, church volunteer and Eucharistic minister is due to be released from prison early next month. For the safety of children, Fort Myers area Catholic officials must take steps to warn parents and parishioners about him.

[NBC2]

Robert Little was a church volunteer at St. Francis Xavier Church when he abused a 13 year old boy he met through the church. And in 2013, he was convicted for it. On or around May 5, he will be set free.

Venice diocesan officials have acted irresponsibly with Little.

-- According to two lawsuits, Catholic officials were told about other allegations of abuse committed by Little, but covered it up. That irresponsible behavior reportedly led to other children being abused. (The first civil suit was filed in September 2014 and involves the victim whose sexual battery in 2013 led to the conviction. The second lawsuit was filed in December 2014 and involves an assault in 2011. After that 2011 assault, that boy’s parents reported his assault by Little to church officials. The church officials’ refusal to act resulted in the 2013 abuse.)

--In February 2014, a Ft. Myers television station disclosed that Little was living on church property, despite two child sex abuse cases against him. Venice diocese officials refused to order him to move. Later, church officials reversed their decision.

[Fox 4]

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:15 PM

How Prevalent is Sexual Abuse By Nuns [Part 1 of a 3-part series]

UNITED STATES
Patrick Noaker

Posted on April 29, 2015

By Attorney Patrick Noaker

Most of the attention regarding sexually abusive clergy members has focused on sexual abuse by priests. Most media reports and most research involve abusive priests. The 2004 John Jay College study was limited to diocesan and religious order priests. Consequently, information about sexual abuse by nuns is not widely discussed or understood. This article discusses what is known about the prevalence of nun sexual abuse of children.

Initially, it must be noted that 4.6% of all sex offenders are female.[1] However, some believe that this statistic is artificially low because women are more likely to be diverted from the justice system[2] and because societal and cultural stereotypes about female sexual behavior, including professional biases by police and prosecutors, discourage reporting of sex crimes by females.[3]

When it comes to female religious, there has been very little research conducted into the prevalence of sexual abuse. One of the only studies available is a 2002 study conducted by the former director of the Southdown Institute, a well-known treatment facility for thousands of religious men and women. According to this study, 0.7% of religious sisters who were admitted as patients confessed to sexual contact with minors.[4] But, there has been much criticism of this research and its accuracy on the basis that the information upon which the study is based is based upon the non-anonymous admissions by the perpetrator. Both research and common sense supports the conclusion that sex offenders are not always complete and honest about their criminal activities.[5]

Further, this Southdown Institute rate of 0.7% appears to be inconsistent with civil lawsuits that have been filed and expert opinions in the field. For example, in February, the Ursuline Sisters settled claims with 232 plaintiffs for physical and sexual abuse by nuns and priests at the Ursuline Academy in St. Ignatious, Montana. These cases, involved physical and sexual abuse by both priests and nuns and the sexual abuse by the priests was strikingly similar to the sexual abuse by the nuns. This antidotal evidence raises the question whether there really is any difference in the prevalence of priests sexually abusing children versus nuns.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:13 PM

MN--Parents, police, parishioners and the public deserve to know

MINNESOTA
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

Statement by Verne Wagner of Duluth, Northeast MN SNAP director ( 218- 340-1277, lwagsmn@yahoo.com )

As part of a settlement in a Twin Cities clergy sex abuse lawsuit, a Minnesota abbey will release the files of a “credibly accused” abusive Catholic cleric who worked in Duluth.

He is Fr. Angelo Zankl. He also spent time at St. John's Abbey in Collegeville MN.

[Minnesota Public Radio]

Why must Duluth area citizens and Catholics learn more about potentially dangerous Catholic clerics only because victims elsewhere prod church officials elsewhere to disclose information by threatening to go to trial and expose more clerics who commit and conceal heinous crimes?

And what other secrets about proven, admitted or credibly accused clerics are Duluth Catholic officials hiding?

In 2013, Duluth officials put Zankl on a list of “credibly accused” abusers. But that’s the bare minimum. Parents, police, parishioners and the public deserve to know what he did, which church staff hid what he did, and whether anyone might still be prosecuted.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:10 PM

Para el STJ no prescribió la causa contra el cura Ilarraz

ARGENTINA
APF Digital

[ The Criminal Chamber of the STJ rejected the challenge by Justo Ilarraz who is defending the case against him for the alleged crime of aggravated corruption. The reasons for the judgment will be announced on May 18 at 12 30. He is accused of sexually abusing minors.]

La Sala Nº 1, de Procedimientos Constitucionales y Penal, del Superior Tribunal de Justicia de Entre Ríos rechazó la impugnación extraordinaria interpuesta por la defensa del sacerdote católico y ex prefecto del Seminario Menor de Paraná, Justo José Ilarraz, en la causa que se le sigue por el supuesto delito de promoción a la corrupción agravada. Los fundamentos de la sentencia se darán a conocer el 18 de mayo a las 12:30.

El Tribunal de la Sala Nº 1 del STJ, integrada por los Dres. Carlos Chiara Díaz, Claudia Mizawak y Daniel Carubia, informó a las partes que resolvió “Rechazar la Impugnación Extraordinaria deducida por el Dr. Juan Angel Forneron, defensor técnico del imputado Justo José Ilarraz, contra la sentencia de fecha 18 de noviembre de 2014, dictada por la Sala Nº 1 de la Cámara de Casación Penal de esta Capital”, y fijó audiencia para el 18 de mayo próximo, a las 12:30, para “la lectura íntegra de los fundamentos de la sentencia”.

La defensa de Ilarraz acudió al STJ, para impugnar la decisión de la Cámara de Casación Penal, que confirmó la decisión de la Cámara Primera, Sala I de Paraná y del Juzgado de Instrucción, consistente en el rechazo de la excepción de falta de acción del Estado, por prescripción, para investigar al sacerdote, por el tiempo transcurrido desde los hechos denunciados hasta la fecha.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:10 AM

Minnesota Nun Molested Boy, Attorneys File Suit

MINNESOTA
Patrick Noaker

PRESS CONFERENCE: 2:00 p.m., Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Where: Minneapolis attorney Patrick Noaker's office, 333 Washington Ave. N., Suite 300, Minneapolis 55401

First case filed under new law against nuns. Victim to speak with reporters

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:06 AM

Ilarraz se defiende mostrando cartas enviadas por las víctimas

ARGENTINA
La Voz

- Tres víctimas deberán volver, por tercera vez, a la Justicia, ahora para certificar la veracidad de cartas supuestamente enviadas al cura Ilarraz, un elemento que presentó la defensa; La querella y el fiscal entienden que constituyen una prueba más de su culpabilidad en los abusos; Ayer pidieron el procesamiento

El cura Justo José Ilarraz decidió responder a su modo frente a las siete denuncias que pesan en su contra por abusos cometidos contra menores en el Seminario Arqudiocesano de Paraná: presentó en la Justicia cartas que supuestamente le habrían mandado tres de las siete víctimas que testimoniaron en Tribunales.

La presentación la hizo su defensor, Juan Ángel Fornerón, y encontró rápida respuesta en la jueza Susana María Paola Firpo, titular del Juzgado de Transición Nº 2 que tramita la causa “Ilarraz Justo José s/Promoción a la corrupción agravada”. La magistrada resolvió citar a las tres víctimas que habrían enviado esas cartas al cura para que certifiquen que son de su autoría.

La medida supone ni más ni menos que el aplazamiento de una definición de Firpo en torno a la situación procesal de Ilarraz. El cura se presentó a indagatoria el 21 del actual, y tras eso la magistrada contaba con un plazo de diez días para resolver si lo procesaba, lo sobreseía o le dictaba la falta de mérito. Pero ese plazo ahora se pospone por cuanto Ilarraz pidió ampliar su indagatoria.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:03 AM

Ramírez Montrull: “Las cartas que presentó Ilarraz son una prueba de la manipulación que ejercía sobre las víctimas”

ARGENTINA
Analisis Digital

Montrull Ramirez: The letters are evidence that Illarraz manipulated victims.]

El fiscal Juan Francisco Ramírez Montrull cuestionó la presentación de cartas que hizo Justo José Ilarraz ante la Justicia, las cuales intercambiaba con los jóvenes que lo denunciaron por abusos. “Esto es una prueba de la manipulación que el cura ejercía sobre las víctimas, ya que después de lo que les hizo seguía manteniendo contacto no sólo con ellos, sino también con los familiares de éstos”, explicó el letrado. En ese sentido, pidió celeridad y que “no se revictimice a los denunciantes al exponerlos a esta situación, ya que tuvieron que ir tres veces a Tribunales y el sacerdote solamente fue dos”, cuestionó y luego añadió: “No queremos que esta situación se transforme en una investigación a las víctimas”.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:01 AM

Seguirán investigando a un cura acusado de abusar de al menos siete chicos

ARGENTINA
Infojus Noticias

[They will continue investigating a Justo Jose Illarraz, priest accused of abusing at least seven boys.
The priest is investigated for sexual abuse at the seminary of Parana, where he was in charge of two hundred children between 10 and 14 years, in a period was 1985-1993]

El sacerdote católico Justo José Ilarraz no consiguió eludir la causa en la que es investigado por al menos siete acusaciones de abusos sexuales cometidos, entre 1985 y 1993, contra chicos de entre 10 y 14 años que estaban a su cuidado en el Seminario de Paraná. El Superior Tribunal de Justicia (STJ) entrerriano determinó que los abusos sexuales por los que está acusado no prescribieron. El 18 de mayo darán a conocer los fundamentos de la sentencia.

La defensa de Ilarraz viene sosteniendo desde el inicio de la causa que esa investigación no puede continuar por el tiempo transcurrido. Pero la sala Nº 1 del STJ, integrada por Carlos Chiara Díaz, Claudia Mizawak y Daniel Carubia, rechazó el planteo de la defensa, tal como ya lo habían resuelto la Cámara de Casación Penal, la sala I de la Cámara Primera de Paraná y el juzgado de Transición Nº 2 de Paraná, que lleva la investigación.

Los abogados de los denunciantes, Marcos Rodríguez Allende, Rosario Romero y Milton Urrutia, y el procurador general de Entre Ríos, Jorge García, rechazan la posibilidad de que la causa se dé por cerrada, por el tiempo transcurrido. Consideran que se trata de esclarecer “graves violaciones a los derechos humanos, y en especial, de la Convención de los Derechos del Niño”, cometidos por parte del acusado “en forma sistemática”, aprovechando su cargo dentro del seminario y ante la imposibilidad de acceder a la Justicia.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:57 AM

Parishioners of shuttered church appeal to Healey

MASSACHUSETTS
Boston Herald

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

By: Lindsay Kalter

Friends of Star of the Sea’s long-closed Quincy parish are calling on Attorney General Maura Healey to investigate its closing, according to a letter issued yesterday to the archbishop of Boston.

“We have argued that while the cardinal is within his right to suppress parishes, we believe we were a valuable and vibrant parish,” said Maureen Mazrimas, co-chairwoman of Friends of Star of the Sea. “It’s only because of our size that we were suppressed.”

The group asks the AG to look at whether the archdiocese has lived up to its fiduciary responsibility to safeguard property donated by the parishioners.

Mazrimas said at the time it was closed, the church had around 400 worshipers and one priest. She said real estate money from the closure “should have followed the parishioners, but instead it went to the general coffers.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:30 AM

Former priest charged ...

AUSTRALIA
New South Wales Police Force

Former priest charged with two sexual assaults, 17 indecent assaults - Granville

Wednesday, 29 April 2015 04:24:07 PM

A former Catholic priest from Sydney’s west has been charged with 19 offences relating to the sexual and indecent assault of children.

Last year (2014), police from the Blue Mountains LAC and the Sex Crimes Squad received information relating to the alleged assault of a young girl by a man at Springwood in 1986.

Detectives made inquiries into the matter and identified seven more children who had allegedly been sexually or indecently assaulted by the man at various locations through NSW between 1975 and 1992.

At the time of the offences, the man was practising as a Catholic priest.

Following their inquiries, detectives yesterday (Tuesday 28 April 2015) arrested a 70-year-old man at a property in Granville.

He was taken to Parramatta Police Station, where he was charged with:

- Two counts of sexual assault; and,

- 17 counts of indecent assault.

Granted conditional bail, the man is scheduled to appear before Parramatta Local Court on 14 May 2015.

Police are urging anyone with information in relation to sexual or indecent assaults to call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or use the Crime Stoppers online reporting page: https://nsw.crimestoppers.com.au/ Information you provide will be treated in the strictest of confidence. We remind people they should not report crime information via our Facebook and Twitter pages.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:27 AM

MO--New clerics are asked to disinvite Finn

KANSAS CITY (MO)
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

New clerics are asked to disinvite Finn
SNAP: “Or Finn should withdraw from ordinations”
Bishop’s role “hurts victims & Catholics,” group says
At least 2 KC priests are raising objections within hierarchy
Victims to Pope: “Pick a priest, not a bureaucrat” to head diocese permanently

WHAT
Holding signs and childhood photos at a sidewalk news conference, clergy sex abuse victims and their supporters will

-- blast Bishop Robert Finn’s plan to preside at two upcoming church ceremonies and
-- disclose that two or three KC priests are objecting to Finn’s role in those events.

For the sake of healing and prevention, the victims will also urge

-- eight men who will become deacons next month to disinvite Finn,
-- Finn himself to voluntarily step aside from the events, and
-- Pope Francis to name a parish priest, “not a headquarters bureaucrat” to permanently head the diocese.

WHEN
Wednesday, April 29 at 2:30 p.m.

WHERE
Outside the KC Catholic diocesan chancery office/headquarters, 20 W. 9th Street in downtown Kansas City

WHO
Two-three-four members of a self-help group called SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAPnetwork.org), including a St. Louis woman who is the organization’s long time outreach director

WHY
This week, it was disclosed that convicted Kansas City Bishop Robert Finn, despite his recent resignation, plans to preside over two ordination ceremonies for new deacons next month in Kansas City.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:23 AM

Child sex abuse royal commission to hold Ballarat public hearing

AUSTRALIA
ABC News

The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse will hold a public hearing in Ballarat from May 19.

The commission has held public hearings in every Australian capital city.

This year it will hold open hearings in regional Australia for the first time, starting in Ballarat.

It said the city had a deeply disturbing history of institutional sexual abuse.

It will hear the experiences of survivors and the impact of abuse on the town's families and social fabric.

Ballarat survivor Andrew Collins said it was great news.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:21 AM

All Are Welcome......Except Clergy Abuse Survivors and Their Advocates

UNITED STATES
The Garden of Roses: Stories of Abuse and Healing

Virginia Jones

These are reflections I wrote down after attending Mass about five ago. I need to add that I have not attended Mass on a regular basis for more than a year. I was thrown out of my parish in 2004, after handing out newspaper articles about clergy abuse in my parish. I tried to remain a faithful Catholic, but after 10 years of rejection by many parishioners and many in leadership, I decided to stop trying. Going to Church was like hitting my head against a wall or beating a dead horse. It doesn't hurt the horse much.

Well anyway, this last Sunday I was sitting in Mass. My wanders too much. I try to pay attention to the Bible readings. Sometimes I hold onto the word of God more easily through the music.

The Psalm that was sung, not spoken in church this week was, “If today you should hear God’s voice, harden not your heart.”

I’ve heard the voice of God saying, “I love you Mommy.”

God was speaking through my child. That’s an easy one.

But what about the guy in the car who cursed me for riding through a stop sign on my bicycle. I didn’t come to a full stop. I was sitting there wobbling on my bicycle at the stop sign as I looked around to make sure it was safe to go. I guess I was supposed to put my feet on the ground and come to an absolute stop.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:20 AM

Former NSW priest charged over sex abuse

AUSTRALIA
9 News

A former Catholic priest accused of abusing eight children between 1975 and 1992 has been charged with several counts of sexual and indecent assault.

The 70-year-old was on Tuesday arrested at a home in Granville, in Sydney's west, following a year-long investigation which began with allegations he abused a young girl in 1986. Seven more victims were subsequently identified during the investigation.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:16 AM

St Gilbert's school abuse inquiry suspect arrested

UNITED KINGDOM
BBC News

An ex-member of staff at a Worcestershire school has been arrested on suspicion of indecent assault and grievous bodily harm.

The man was detained in Cambridgeshire, in connection with offences dating back to the 1960s and 70s, West Mercia Police said.

He has been bailed until June while investigations continue.

Boy aged 11 to 15 were sent to the now-closed St Gilbert's in Hartlebury after being convicted of petty crimes.

Police launched an investigation last year into allegations of abuse at the approved Catholic school between the 1940s and 1970s after former pupils were interviewed by BBC Hereford and Worcester.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:15 AM

Reflecting on the human cost of abuse and its prevention

PENNSYLVANIA
Catholic Philly

BY ARCHBISHOP CHARLES J. CHAPUT, O.F.M. CAP.

Throughout the weeks of April, our Commonwealth, along with the rest of the country, has been focused on National Child Abuse Prevention and Awareness Month.

Here in Pennsylvania, our people have come through a very difficult decade on this issue. But the abuse problem is much wider than any one state, profession or demographic group. It cuts through every level of society. Child abuse is an ugly crime; abusing children sexually compounds the evil. Every year we see many thousands of cases of child sexual abuse across the country in a full range of institutions, public and private, religious and secular.

In response, Pennsylvania legislators have passed 20 new laws aimed at preventing child abuse and providing better support for survivors. In doing so, they’ve offered a model for the nation. We owe them our gratitude for their good work. And it’s important to stress that as a Catholic community, we too are committed — just as everyone should be — to ensuring safe environments for children and young people.

The Archdiocese of Philadelphia has a zero tolerance policy for clergy, lay employees and volunteers who engage in sexual misconduct with children. If an accusation of this nature is made, we take immediate action by reporting the matter to law enforcement and cooperating with authorities fully in the course of their work.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:12 AM

A child rape at St. Mary’s school in Tokyo, then a 50-year wait for closure

BY SIMON SCOTT
APR 29, 2015

My dear children, whom Jesus, our Saviour, has loved so much, whom he bends down to embrace and bless, come to us, stay with us. We will be the guardian angels of your innocence.

Father Jean-Marie De La Mennais, founder of The Brothers of Christian Instruction (Sermon VII)

---------------------------------------------

In late 1964, after his family moved to Japan from Australia, Jacob Bernstein was enrolled at St. Mary’s International School in Tokyo. His father, Robert, a diplomat, had been sent to the Australian Embassy in the city — his first overseas posting.

One lunchtime late in 1965, Jacob says he was searching for a good spot to eat lunch when he passed the school chapel.

Being Jewish, the 11-year-old Grade 6 student didn’t eat the school lunches served in the dining room as most of the boys did. St. Mary’s, a Catholic boys’ school run by the Brothers of Christian Instruction, aka the Mennaisians, was unable to prepare food that was kosher, so he had to eat a prepared lunch from home instead.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:09 AM

Sister Mary Ann Walsh, Catholic journalist and longtime bishops’ spokeswoman, dies at 67

UNITED STATES
Religion News Service

David Gibson | April 28, 2015

NEW YORK (RNS) Sister Mary Ann Walsh, a quiet nun with a keen wit who led a very public life as a journalist and a longtime spokeswoman for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, died on Tuesday (April 28) after a tough battle with cancer.

She was 67 and passed away in a hospice in Albany next to the regional convent of the religious order she entered as a 17-year-old novice in 1964.

Walsh had moved to her native Albany from Washington last September after it was discovered that the cancer that had been in remission since 2010 had returned.

She was able to receive better care there and live out her days with other members of the Sisters of Mercy. She was transferred to the hospice on April 23 as her condition deteriorated.

“Sister Mary Ann,” as she was known to the many journalists she sparred and joked with and, with regularity, befriended, worked at the communications office of the American hierarchy for 20 years, retiring in the summer of 2014 just before she fell ill again.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:05 AM

Steve Duin: Memory and moral suicide in Happy Valley

OREGON
Oregonian

By Steve Duin | The Oregonian/OregonLive
on April 28, 2015

On an otherwise beautiful afternoon in downtown Portland, the niece took the stand Monday in the felony sex-abuse trial of Mike Sperou, the Happy Valley pastor.

Michal Mitchell remembers growing up so "very happy" in Sperou's church. In her courtroom testimony, she also recalled depression, extreme anxiety, Prozac, nightmares, suicide attempts, the bipolar diagnosis and – starting when she was in the 6th grade – how often she spent the night in her uncle's bed.

She usually wore Calvin Klein boxers and a t-shirt, she said. Her pastor and spiritual mentor came to bed in boxer shorts, and frequently hugged the long pillow – that he dubbed "Sally" – that separated them. Asked how long this bizarre sleeping arrangement continued, the 30-year-old Mitchell said, "Until now."

Mike Sperou is on trial for three counts of unlawful sexual penetration of a child under the age of 12. Mitchell is, mind you, a witness for the defense.

For 18 years now, seven other women who grew up in the shadow of Sperou's bed have insisted he molested them. Their graphic accounts prompted a soul-searching schism at the North Clackamas Bible Community in 1996, but the allegations didn't spark criminal charges until the women once again brought the complaints to police in 2013.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:03 AM

Happy Valley Pastor Mike Sperou maintains innocence, denies sexually abusing children

OREGON
Oregonian

By Rick Bella | The Oregonian/OregonLive
on April 28, 2015

Pastor Mike Sperou testified in his own defense Tuesday, adamantly denying he sexually abused young girls growing up in his Happy Valley church during the 1980s and 1990s.

However, Sperou had a harder time during cross-examination, appearing to change his story from the one he told Portland police detectives in 1997.

On Tuesday, Sperou's trial entered its 11th day, including 10 consecutive days of testimony.

Under questioning by defense attorney Steven J. Sherlag, Sperou told a Multnomah County Circuit Court jury that the core families in the North Clackamas Bible Community are very affectionate with children and that he was sorry if he ever made any of them uncomfortable when they spent the night with him in his bed. He said he contacted the girls' parents immediately afterward to see if the children were all right.

Sperou said he also decided that he did not want to give anyone another chance to misinterpret his innocent affections.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:01 AM

St. John's Abbey to open sex-abuse files on 19 monks in legal settlement

MINNESOTA
Star Tribune

Article by: JEAN HOPFENSPERGER , Star Tribune Updated: April 28, 2015

A lawsuit filed by a man who was abused while he was a student at St. John’s Preparatory School yields a landmark settlement.

The monks at St. John’s Abbey worked as student counselors, teachers, parish priests and chaplains, even as they sexually abused minors. What the abbey knew of their sexual improprieties, and when, has never been made public — but that’s about to change.

Under a landmark clergy abuse settlement announced Tuesday, the personnel files of 19 monks known as sex offenders will be made public. The files will expose for the first time how the abbey addressed reports of sex abuse on its Collegeville campus, home to one of the largest Benedictine abbeys in North America.

The lawsuit was settled in much the same way as the first lawsuit against the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, requiring that personnel vaults be opened and that the monks’ work histories, accusations of abuse, psychological treatment, abbey correspondence and other details be made public.

Troy Bramlage, 52, is the Sauk Rapids man whose lawsuit led to the historic settlement. He said he was sexually abused as a 14-year-old freshman living at St. John’s Preparatory School by the Rev. Allen Tarlton, his English teacher.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:57 AM

Editorial: Catholic Church leaders must be accountable for abuse

PENNSYLVANIA
Daily Times

Editorial

POSTED: 04/28/15

In the last month, convictions of two priests who were found guilty of charges related to child sexual abuse in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia have been upheld by higher courts.

In 2013, the Rev. Charles Engelhardt, a member of the Oblates of St. Francis de Sales, was convicted of sexually assaulting a 10-year-old altar boy at St. Jerome Roman Catholic Church in northeast Philadelphia from 1998 to 1999 while the priest was in residence there.

Engelhardt denied the allegations and appealed the verdict, but died last November of an apparent heart condition while in the second year of a six-to-12-year sentence at the Coal Township Prison in Northumberland County.

State law required that the priest’s appeal be continued. On March 25, the Pennsylvania Superior Court affirmed Engelhardt’s convictions of endangering the welfare of a child, corruption of a minor and indecent assault.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:56 AM

Priest admits abuse in video, reveals alternate reason behind dismissal from Lou. post

KENTUCKY
WHAS

Derrick Rose, @WHAS11Derrick

LOUSIVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) -- In a videotaped deposition and several documents released Tuesday, which include a letter written by Louisville native Father Gilbert "Allen" Tarlton, the priest admits to several incidents where he engaged in sexual misconduct with students or children in his care.

The documents and video were made public as part of a settlement between Tarlton, St. John's Abbey and lawyers representing the victim known in court records as "John Doe 2." The case had been scheduled to go to trial May 4.

When asked if he touched the genitals of prep students at St. John's, Tarlton replied, "I did do that, yes," but could not recall how many times.

It was the first time Tarlton has been seen publicly admitting his role in the sex abuse scandal within the Catholic Church.

WEB EXTRA:

Watch Father Tarlton's full deposition video

Part of the records released highlight Tarlton's time at Holy Cross. In the earlier described letter, Tarlton does not name the pastor who invited hiim to Louisville. In the letter, Tarlton does, however, admit to numerous sexual encounters with students as well as alcohol abuse before he transferred to Louisville. There is no mention of whether Tarlton revealed his past to the pastor or if there was any investigation prior to his hiring in 1973.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:53 AM

April 28, 2015

LDS Church donates $100,000 to combat effects of child abuse

UTAH
Deseret News

By Tad Walch, Deseret News

Published: Tuesday, April 28 2015

SALT LAKE CITY — The LDS Church donated $100,000 to the Avenues Children's Justice Center after nearly a dozen church leaders toured the Salt Lake City home on Tuesday.

Sister Rosemary M. Wixom, the church's Primary general president, presented the check to the center, which provides a child-friendly atmosphere for children as investigators interview them regarding alleged abuse. The center also provides referrals for support services for both children and their parents or guardians.

"Yesterday I knew next to nothing about this facility," Sister Wixom said. "Today I have a passion for it."

"I was quite touched by the resource that is right here in the community for families that are suffering and dealing with the pain of abuse," Sister Wixom added. "We all love children, and we all have to do everything we can to help the child that may be suffering.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:42 PM

Knox principal gave sex-crime teacher glowing reference

AUSTRALIA
The Australian

APRIL 29, 2015

Dan Box
Crime Reporter
Sydney

A former teacher suspected of being the Knox Grammar School “Balaclava Man” was given a positive reference by the headmaster after being caught masturbating in public, and went on to work in other schools.

Christopher Fotis gave evidence yesterday at the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse after being arrested for failing to appear at a hearing in February.

Yesterday, he denied receiving a summons to appear at the time. Asked why he did not want to give evidence before the commission, Mr Fotis said: “I’m a private person. This is a very public hearing and I suppose if there is any ­reason, it comes down to that.”

He said he was employed at Knox in 1987 without being asked for references or whether he had a criminal record. Evidence before the commission suggests he did have a criminal record, for offensive behaviour, at the time.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:30 PM

In memoir, St. John's Abbey priest admits abusing high school student

MINNESOTA
Minnesota Public Radio

Madeleine Baran Apr 28, 2015

Documents released Tuesday show that the Rev. Allen Tarlton, a St. John's Abbey monk, has admitted in writing to sexually abusing at least one high school student at St. John's Preparatory School.

In a 14-page undated memoir released by the abbey as part of a lawsuit, Tarlton, 87, described how he invited a high school senior to his room and sexually touched him.

"I used some excuse that I was studying nude art and wanted to study his body," Tarlton wrote. "He came to my room on several occasions and lay nude on my bed, while I pretended to be studying some art books that were lying open on my desk."

Tarlton gave the boy wine during one of the visits and the boy threw up, he wrote. He touched the boy inappropriately during about three separate visits, according to the document.

"I was not involved with any other high school student until many years later," he wrote.

Tarlton also described sexual contact with at least 10 adult students at St. John's University. In one case, he admitted to giving a college student a sleeping pill and sexually touching him while he slept.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:25 PM

Opperrabbijn Amsterdam in zee met joodse knokploeg

NEDERLAND
Trouw

[The Orthodox Jewish community in Amsterdam is embarrassed by its chief rabbi, Aryeh Ralbag. He has ties to a Jewish gang in the United States. Ralbag, who lives in New York, earlier this week has discontinued his work as chief rabbi.The gang between 2009 and 2013 visited spouses who did not divorce and tried to bring them by force to change their minds.]

De orthodox-joodse gemeente Amsterdam is in verlegenheid gebracht door haar opperrabbijn, Aryeh Ralbag. Hij heeft banden met een joodse knokploeg in de Verenigde Staten. Ralbag, die in New York woont, heeft begin deze week zijn werk als opperrabbijn gestaakt.

De knokploeg ging tussen 2009 en 2013 op bezoek bij echtgenoten die niet wilden scheiden en probeerde hen met geweld op andere gedachten te brengen. Bij hun acties gebruikten de leden volgens de politie onder meer chirurgische messen, schroevendraaiers, touw en stroomstootwapens. Twee leden zijn dinsdag in New Jersey veroordeeld voor poging tot ontvoering. Hun leider werd schuldig bevonden aan samenzweren met ontvoering als doel.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:16 PM

Kieran Tapsell: The Problem with Bishop Finn

AUSTRALIA
John Menadue - Pearls and Irritations

Posted on 28/04/2015 by John Menadue

On 21 April 2015, the Vatican announced that Bishop Robert Finn of Kansas, Missouri, had resigned. The announcement referred to the Code of Canon Law that states that a bishop who “has become less able to fulfil his office because of ill health or some other grave cause is earnestly requested to present his resignation from office.” Bishop Finn seems to have been in good health, so the “grave cause” must have been that he had been convicted in September 2012 of failing to report to the police one of his priests, Fr Ratigan, who had been producing child pornography. Finn received a two year suspended sentence with probation, and despite calls for his resignation then, Finn refused to do so until now.

There is an extraordinary irony in this case, and it illustrates the mess that is created by canon law on the issue of child sex abuse, and which Pope Francis refuses to change, despite requests by United Nations Committees on two occasions to do so. Similar requests by Catholic Bishops Conferences from Ireland, Britain, the United States and Australia during the reigns of Popes John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI fell on deaf ears.

In 1996, the Irish Bishops informed the Vatican that they wanted to have mandatory reporting of all allegations of child sexual abuse to the police. The Vatican refused, saying it breached canon law, and it was “immoral” for a bishop to report even a paedophile priest to the police. In 1996, the Australian bishops (other than Archbishop Pell) adopted the Towards Healing protocol which required reporting where the civil law required it. In most cases that involved breaching the pontifical secret imposed by Pope Paul VI’s instruction Secreta Continere of 1974 that applied to all allegations of child sexual abuse by clergy. In 2001, the British Bishops adopted Lord Nolan’s report that recommended mandatory reporting. In 2002, the American’s sent to the Vatican the proposals for mandatory reporting. They were told that it conflicted with canon law. A delegation went to see Cardinal Ratzinger. A compromised was reached whereby bishops were required to obey domestic laws on reporting. There was a serious danger of bishops going to jail for breaching reporting laws in some American States. That requirement to obey domestic laws on reporting was eventually extended to the whole Church in April 2010. A month later, on 21 May 2010, Benedict XVI extended the pontifical secret to cover allegations against priests for possessing child pornography.

In December 2010, Bishop Finn became aware of the allegations against Ratigan. Because Missouri law required reporting, Finn had not only breached the civil law, he had also breached canon law. He could thus be held accountable under both sets of laws.

If Missouri law did not require reporting (about half the American States don’t have comprehensive reporting laws), Bishop Finn had committed no crime under State law, and in December 2010, he would have been obeying canon law by not reporting because six months before, Benedict had imposed the pontifical secret on allegations of possession of child pornography.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:47 PM

Correction: Church Abuse-Minnesota story

MINNESOTA
Star Tribune

Article by: Associated Press Updated: April 28, 2015

MINNEAPOLIS — In a story April 28 about the settlement of a clergy abuse lawsuit involving St. John's Abbey, The Associated Press reported erroneously that the abbey is part of the Diocese of St. Cloud. The abbey is a separate entity from the diocese, said Brother Aelred Senna, an abbey spokesman.

A corrected version of the story is below:

Attorneys say settlement in abuse case against St. John's

Attorneys say settlement reached in lawsuit over alleged abuse at St. John's Abbey

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — A Minnesota man has settled a lawsuit with St. John's Abbey that will force the release of personnel files for 19 monks accused of sexually abusing minors, attorneys said Monday.

The settlement announced by attorney Jeff Anderson's law firm was to be detailed at a news conference Tuesday.

Anderson sued St. John's in 2013 on behalf of Edward "Troy" Bramlage III, 52, who said he was abused by the Rev. Allen Tarlton when he was a 14-year-old freshman at its prep school in 1977. The lawsuit said St. John's leadership repeatedly sent Tarlton for treatment but allowed him to continue working at the prep school.

Anderson said Monday the settlement is "a big deal" and an "important step forward" because it requires not only the disclosure of Tarlton's files but also those of an additional 18 St. John's monks credibly accused of abuse. A timeline for releasing the other files has yet to be set, Anderson said.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:24 PM

Despite resignation, Bishop Finn will preside at Kansas City ordinations

KANSAS CITY (MO)
National Catholic Reporter

Brian Roewe | Apr. 28, 2015

KANSAS CITY, MO. Despite stepping down as head of the Kansas City-St. Joseph, Mo., diocese last week, Bishop Robert Finn is scheduled to preside at two ordinations here next month.

Archbishop Joseph Naumann of Kansas City, Kan., who was named apostolic administrator of the neighboring diocese, told a meeting of priests on Thursday that he had asked Finn to oversee the ordinations after realizing that the Kansas and Missouri dioceses had scheduled ordinations on the same days.

According to Jack Smith, spokesman for the Kansas City-St. Joseph diocese, Naumann consulted with the Vatican's apostolic nuncio to the U.S., Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, about the schedule conflict, and he suggested that Finn could celebrate the ordinations. Finn also raised the ordinations issue at the time he turned in his resignation to Canadian Cardinal Marc Ouellet, prefect of the Congregation for Bishops, who also suggested Finn preside over them, Smith said.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:20 PM

St. John's Abbey to release filed on 19 monks accused of abusing children

MINNESOTA
Fox 9

ST. PAUL, Minn. (KMSP) -
St. John's Abbey has reached a settlement in a lawsuit brought by a former student who was sexually assaulted by a priest at the Collegeville, Minn. prep school in 1977. The settlement is being called an important step forward in the ongoing battle against clergy sex abuse.

Troy Bramlage says he was abused by the Reverend Allen Tarlton during his freshman year at the school. The lawsuit says St. John's leadership repeatedly sent Tarlton for treatment, but allowed him to continue working at the prep school. Bramlage says there are still many victims out there.

“The guilt and the shame that we feel doesn't belong to us,” he said.

As part of the deal, St. John's must now release files for 19 monks accused of sexually abusing minors.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:18 PM

D.A. Files Motion To Send Msgr. Lynn Back To Jail

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
Big Trial

By Ralph Cipriano
for Bigtrial.net

A day after the state Supreme Court reinstated Msgr. William J. Lynn's conviction, the district attorney filed a motion in Common Pleas Court seeking to revoke Lynn's bail and send him back to jail.

"Consistent with its prior rulings, this Court should, once again, revoke Defendant's bail, thereby remanding him to the service of the remainder of his sentence," said the motion filed today by District Attorney R. Seth Williams and Assistant District Attorney Patrick Blessington, who originally prosecuted Lynn.

Not so fast, said Thomas A. Bergstrom, who is Lynn's lawyer. Bergstrom filed a response to the D.A.'s motion in Common Pleas Court today stating that the D.A. has applied to the wrong court. Any argument over Lynn's bail should be dealt with in state Superior Court, Bergstrom asserted.

The Common Pleas Court does not have jurisdiction over the case, Bergstrom argued. After the state Supreme Court reinstated Lynn's conviction, the Supreme Court specified that the case was to be remanded within 14 days back to the state Superior Court, where a number of appeal issues from Lynn's original trial are still pending. ...

In his response to the D.A.'s motion, Bergstrom wrote that he is going to file a motion in state Superior Court to have the case returned to the same panel of three Superior Court judges that reversed Lynn's conviction. Bergstrom also plans to file a motion with that same panel to keep Lynn out of jail on the original $25,000 bail deposit of 10 percent imposed by Judge Sarmina.

"Any application for bail revocation or otherwise should be presented to the Superior Court as the Court on remand," Bergstrom wrote. "The trial court is without jurisdiction to consider the current bail motion."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:13 PM

Lawsuit filed ...

MINNESOTA
Shakopee Valley News

Lawsuit filed on behalf of Shakopee man, allegedly abused by nun as a child

MINNEAPOLIS — Attorneys filed a civil lawsuit against an order of nuns and the Diocese of New Ulm, alleging sexual abuse of a 10-year-old boy repeatedly molested by a nun at a Catholic school in Madison, Minn.

The lawsuit, filed on behalf of a 58-year-old man from Shakopee, alleges that a nun repeatedly abused the boy in his fifth-grade year, from the fall of 1967 through spring 1968, at St. Michael's Catholic School in Madison. Court papers say Sister Mary Regina repeatedly fondled the boy's genitals during school hours, according a news release issued Wednesday by the Minneapolis law firm of Patrick Noaker.

Douglas Devorak of Shakopee, the alleged victim, will speak with reporters at a press conference on Wednesday afternoon, said Noaker's office.

Court papers identify the boy as “John Doe 117.” Since serving the lawsuit, the Devorak has decided to reveal his identity to encourage other victims of sexual abuse to come forward, said Noaker’s office.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:10 PM

No nonsense D.A. still believes in second chances

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
The Philadelphia Tribune

Larry Miller Tribune Staff Writer

Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams said the one thing he wants people in the city to understand is whether crime happens on the streets or in the suites, his office applies the same standard of justice.

Whether it’s a dope-slinging guy on a corner with an illegal gun in his pocket or a corrupt politician taking bribes and payoffs, the justice that applies to “Pookie” and “Ray-Ray” is the same that applies to a cop who stains his badge, or a wayward politician or priest, he said.

“I’m here to prove that the same justice applies to everyone,” Williams said. “From the corners at Broad and Erie to Germantown and Bethlehem in Chestnut Hill. It doesn’t matter. If you shoot someone while trying to rob them or if you’re involved in a conspiracy to move pedophile priests from one parish to another, we’re going to prosecute you for it. That’s what I want Philadelphians to know; if crime happens on the streets or in the suites the same justice applies.” ...

Since being sworn in as district attorney, Williams’ office has had to make some tough decisions, he said.

His office was among the first in the country to prosecute a member of the Catholic Church hierarchy — Monsignor William Lynn — for endangering the welfare of a child. Another high-profile decision was taking over an investigation that was dropped by state Attorney General Kathleen Kane, in which legislators who supported Williams for district attorney were named.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:07 PM

Held to Account

UNITED STATES
Commonweal

The Editors

April 28, 2015

n a March 2014 interview, Pope Francis was given an opportunity to comment on the sexual-abuse scandal, a subject he had said remarkably little about since his election. Acknowledging the “deep wounds” suffered by victims, Francis went on to defend the church as the only public institution to address such crimes “with transparency and responsibility.” No one else has done more, he continued, and yet “the church is the only one to be attacked.”

Those ill-advised remarks took many by surprise, coming as they did just a few months after Francis had announced a new Commission for the Protection of Minors and asked the world’s bishops to support its work. The commission, which includes two victims, wasted no time publicly stating its highest priority: accountability for negligent bishops. In November 2014, Cardinal Séan O’Malley—president of the commission—told 60 Minutes that the Holy See needed to “urgently address” one of the most painful cases to emerge in the U.S. church: Bishop Robert Finn of Kansas City-St. Joseph, who was convicted of failing to report child abuse in 2012. Last month, following a Vatican investigation, Pope Francis removed him.

In December 2010—nearly a decade after the U.S. bishops pledged “zero tolerance” for abusive priests—Finn learned that Fr. Shawn Ratigan’s personal computer contained possibly pornographic photos of children. Five months after the photos were discovered, and without Finn’s knowledge, the vicar general turned the cleric in to the police. Ratigan, now laicized, is serving a fifty-year sentence in federal prison after pleading guilty to possessing and creating child pornography. (Federal sentencing law is especially hard on child pornographers.)

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:04 PM

Bishop Finn to preside over ordinations in May

KANSAS CITY (MO)
KMBC

KANSAS CITY, Mo. —Bishop Robert Finn, who resigned last week as leader of the Kansas City-St. Joseph Diocese, will preside over the ordinations of seven deacons next month.

Diocese officials said Monday the ordinations on May 23 conflict with the schedule of Archbishop Joseph Naumann, who was appointed temporary leader of the diocese after Finn resigned.

The Kansas City Star reported that Naumann will preside over ordinations of deacons of the Kansas City, Kansas, diocese, which he leads, at the same time the ordinations are scheduled in the Missouri diocese.

Naumann also said he wanted to respect the wishes of the seven Missouri deacons, who received their training under Finn's guidance.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:47 PM

Labor leaders, union members join rally against Cordileone's new handbook language

SAN FRANCISCO
National Catholic Reporter

Mandy Erickson | Apr. 28, 2015

SAN FRANCISCO Labor leaders and union members joined teachers, parents and students from archdiocesan high schools here Monday to rally against Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone's proposal to change aspects of their employment.

Gathering in front of the archdiocesan offices at 1 Peter Yorke Way, a crowd of more than 200 protested the archbishop's plan to reclassify the teachers as "ministers," thereby providing them with fewer legal protections, and to insert a morality clause into their handbook.

The morality clause condemns same-sex marriage, contraception and use of reproductive technology, among other things, and expects employees to accept "these truths" outside the workplace.

"The church has told us that it honors all civil rights and labor rights," said Art Pulaski, chief officer of the California Labor Federation, speaking before the crowd gathered in the blocked-off street. "You cannot profess social justice if within your own walls you refuse to practice it. We call on the archbishop to adhere to the principles of social justice."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:35 PM

Pennsylvania court reinstates conviction of church official over handling of sex abuse complaints

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
The Republican

By Anne-Gerard Flynn | aflynn@repub.com
on April 28, 2015

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has reinstated the conviction on child endangerment charges of a priest in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.

Monsignor William Lynn, the first U.S. church official ever prosecuted over his handling of sex abuse complaints, had been freed of those charges by a 2013 appeals court ruling that overturned an earlier conviction. Lynn had served half of a three- to six- year sentence, and remained under house arrest in a Philadelphia rectory.

The Supreme Court, voting 4 to 1, on Monday upheld the 2012 felony conviction for endangerment of an altar boy. The child had been abused in 1998 by a priest transferred to a parish by Lynn despite earlier complaints against the priest who is now serving prison time. Lynn's lawyers argued that Lynn, who was secretary for the clergy in the diocese under two cardinals, including Anthony Bevilacqua from 1992 to 2004, was not responsible for the boy's welfare under existing state law that they said applied to parents and caregivers. ...

The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests posted a response, from David Clohessy of St. Louis, to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court decision in the Lynn case.

"We are grateful the Pennsylvania Supreme Court reversed the reversal of Monsignor Lynn's conviction," said Clohessy, director of SNAP.

"Punishing wrong doers deters wrong doing, especially in scandal ridden institutions. Like the catholic hierarchy. For decades complicit church officials have exploited legal technicalities to evade justice. It is a victory for parents, parishioners, church goers, wounded victims and innocent kids each time corrupt church staffers are disciplined."

Lynn's lawyers have 14 days to appeal.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:32 PM

Msgr. Lynn’s conviction reinstated by Pa. Supreme Court

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
Catholic Philly

[Supreme Court opinion - via BishopAccountability.org]
[Dissenting opinion - via BishopAccountability.org]

BY MATTHEW GAMBINO

Free from prison and living under house arrest since a court ruling last December, Msgr. William Lynn’s freedom may be in jeopardy again.

The case of the former secretary for clergy of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, the highest-ranking church official in the archdiocese convicted of a crime connected to the clergy sexual abuse crisis, took a dramatic new turn April 27 when the Pennsylvania Supreme Court overturned a lower court’s ruling that had released him on bail.

It remains unclear whether the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office will press to revoke Msgr. Lynn’s bail and return him to a Northeast Pennsylvania prison, pending appeals to yesterday’s ruling.

Msgr. Lynn, 64, had been convicted of endangering the welfare of a child in his landmark 2012 trial. In his position, he had supervised clergy on behalf of Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua including former priest Edward Avery, who pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting a 10-year-old boy in 1999 and is serving a five-year prison sentence.

After Msgr. Lynn served 18 months of his three- to six-year sentence at Waymart State Prison, his conviction was overturned by the state Superior Court in December 2013. He subsequently took up residence with electronic monitoring at St. William’s rectory in Northeast Philadelphia.

Msgr. Lynn’s defense contended he should not be convicted retroactively according to a 2007 amendment to a 1995 child endangerment law when he was a supervisor until 2004.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:26 PM

Priest case opens 'incident files'

CINCINNATI (OH)
Enquirer

Dan Horn, dhorn@enquirer.com

A former Cincinnati priest is part of a legal settlement in Minnesota that will open "incident files" about child abuse accusations involving Catholic clergy.

The Rev. Gilbert Allen Tarlton, who worked in Cincinnati in the late 1960s and early 1970s, was sued in 2013 by a man who said the priest abused him when he was a freshman at a Minnesota preparatory school in 1977. The accuser's attorney, Jeff Anderson, said Tuesday that terms of the settlement of a civil lawsuit require the release of Tarlton's files, as well as the files of 18 other priests.

Tarlton, a priest with the Order of St. Benedict, also must release sworn testimony he gave about the case in 2013.

Officials at the Archdiocese of Cincinnati said Tarlton's file shows no accusations of abuse during his time in Cincinnati. The archdiocese was ordered to turn over records as part of the accuser's lawsuit in Minnesota, but the archdiocese was not a named defendant and is not part of the settlement.

"We had no accusations here," said archdiocese spokesman Dan Andriacco.

Anderson said the priest files that will be released involve other members of the Order of St. Benedict and include personnel files and "incident files," which may detail allegations of abuse and how they were handled by superiors. The accuser in Minnesota has not been named and was identified only as "Doe 2" on his lawsuit.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:57 PM

Doe 2, Fr. Allen Tarlton Settlement Information

MINNESOTA
Jeff Anderson and Associates

4/28/2015

Timeline - Fr. Allen Tarlton
19 Monks of St. John's - Photos
Key Documents - Fr. Allen Tarlton
Deposition Transcript of Fr. Allen Tarlton 10-10-2013

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:45 PM

Former Greek Orthodox Priest Gets 12-Year Prison Sentence

MAINE
Greek Reporter

by Ioanna Zikakou - Apr 28, 2015

Former Greek Orthodox priest Adam Metropoulos was convicted of four counts of child sexual abuse in Bangor, Maine on Tuesday, March 17. On Monday, April 27, Metropoulos was sentenced to 12 years in prison with all but six and a half years suspended for his involvement in the sex crimes.

Superior Court Justice Ann Murray also sentenced him to 3 years of probation after he gets out of prison, adding that he would have to register with the Main Sex Offender Registry for the rest of his life. “The victim impact in this case was great,” said Murray.

At Metropoulos’ trial a 23-year-old former altar boy at St. George Greek Orthodox Church testified that he had been sexually abused by the former priest when he would sleep over at the man’s house. Furthermore, police found pornographic images in the offender’s computer, depicting a family member that he would secretly film in the nude, as well as other photographs of different people, some of them children.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:16 PM

St. John's Abbey must make public all files on sexually abusive priests

MINNESOTA
Star Tribune

Article by: JEAN HOPFENSPERGER , Star Tribune Updated: April 28, 2015

St. John’s Abbey in Collegeville will make public its files on 19 priests with credible charges of sex abuse, as part of a settlement reached with a man who sued the abbey for abuse he suffered as a teenager.

The documents are expected to reveal how the abbey addressed reports of sex abuse perpetrated by its monks over the past decades. The provision is similar to one in the first lawsuit settled against Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, requiring that priest personnel vaults be opened.

The lawsuit was filed by a man who was abused by the Rev. Allen Tarlton in 1977, when he was a student at St. John’s Preparatory School and Tarlton was his English teacher. It charged that the abbey was aware of previous sexual improprieties by Tarleton, yet allowed him to continue to teach at the school. The abbey did not notify parents or police.

Tarlton, who had a significant history of psychiatric treatment, went on to abuse again, the lawsuit charged. Yet he was not put on restrictions on campus until 2002.

The settlement comes a week before the case was scheduled for trial in Stearns County.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:13 PM

Man arrested over historic abuse claims at Hartlebury boy's school

UNITED KINGDOM
The Shuttle

by Gema Bate

A man from Cambridgeshire has been arrested on suspicion of indecent assault and grievous bodily harm on pupils at a boy's school in Hartlebury.

The offences were allegedly carried out when the man worked at St Gilbert's Catholic School, in Hartlebury, during the 1960s and 1970s.

The man, who can not be identified for legal reasons, has been bailed until June while investigations by West Mercia Police continue.

The police force launched Operation Quail in September last year investigating alleged abuse at St Gilbert's School dating back to the 1940s, 1950s, 1960s and 1970s.

St Gilbert's, which was a school for boys, no longer exists and is now residential housing.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:10 PM

The Grey Area of Rape Culture ...

UNITED STATES
Frum Follies

The Grey Area of Rape Culture in the Black and White World of Jewish Orthodoxy

by Esther Tova Stanley*

“Yeah, but he’s a man.”

That was the actual reason I was given as to why a rabbi’s sexual predatory behavior was OK. Well not , “OK,” but y’know, understandable.

In the wake of sexual assault allegations brought against Elimelech Meisels, a “rabbi” who controlled and operated numerous seminaries for post high school girls, a very unseemly side of our Jewish orthodox culture is raring its ugly head, yet again. The side that excuses men for being unable to control their sexual urges and, on occasion, even has the audacity to blame the victim for it.

“Well, what was she thinking getting into the car with him?”
“She’s troubled; she misunderstood what really happened.”
“She’s a crazy, manipulative liar.”

Yes, these are actual responses I got when I asked community members why they continued to support this sexual predator/rabbi. Was I surprised? Unfortunately, I was not.

You see, there’s an odd relationship between male authority figures (“rabbis”) and female students that is considered “normal” within post high-school year abroad programs. It not only accepts, but actively encourages a relationship in which an adult male takes young female students under his wing in the name of “kiruv” (loosely translated as bringing someone closer to G-d.)

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:54 AM

Judge orders Freeport man to pay $8,000 for defying court

MAINE
Bangor Daily News

By Judy Harrison, BDN Staff
Posted April 26, 2015

PORTLAND, Maine — A federal judge has ordered a Freeport man being sued for slander over allegations of sexual abuse of boys at a Haitian orphanage to pay $8,000 toward the plaintiffs’ legal fees as punishment for defying a court order.

U.S. District Court Judge John Woodcock did not say when Paul Kendrick, 65, would have to pay the Portland attorneys representing Hearts with Haiti, a North Carolina-based nonprofit that raised money for orphanages run by former Catholic brother Michael Geilenfeld.

The judge found on Feb. 20, following a hearing the previous month, that Kendrick had violated a court order not to make public documents that had been gathered during the discovery process.

Lawyers for Hearts with Haiti sought more $28,000 in reimbursement. Kendrick’s attorneys, based in Bangor, said work on the motions seeking the sanction should have cost about $3,800.

Woodcock on Wednesday issued the order specifying how much Kendrick would be fined. Kendrick, who has maintained that Geilenfeld has sexually abused boys for decades, has said he would go to jail rather than pay the charity’s legal fees.

“I cannot in good conscience write a check to people who kept secret information that adversely affects the safety, protection and well-being of children,” Kendrick said in an email dated March 1. “I will not pay these lawyers one cent. If so ordered by the judge, I will sit in a jail cell.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:48 AM

FRANCIS GIVES NEW HOPE TO ABUSE VICTIMS

UNITED STATES
First Things

by William Doino Jr.
4 . 28 . 15

The Vatican’s recent announcement that Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of Bishop Robert Finn, of the diocese of Kansas City–St. Joseph, has given relief and new hope to victims of sexual abuse in the Church.

Technically, the Pope didn’t directly “remove” Finn, as the media has widely reported; rather, the bishop formally offered his resignation in accordance with canon 401, paragraph 2, of the Code of Canon Law, which reads: “A diocesan bishop who has become less able to fulfill his office because of ill health or some other grave cause is earnestly requested to present his resignation from office.” But there is no mystery as to why Finn resigned, several years after resisting petitions for him to do so.

Finn is the only American bishop ever to be convicted of a criminal charge for failing to report suspected child abuse. His September 2012 conviction, on a misdemeanor charge, came about because Finn waited several months before telling police of his knowledge that one of his priests, Fr. Shawn Ratigan, had a computer with explicit images of young girls on it. Ratigan later pled guilty to five federal counts, and was sentenced to fifty years in prison. Bishop Finn was himself sentenced to two years probation, and the diocese was hit with an additional $1.1 million fine, when an arbitrator ruled Finn’s diocese had broken an earlier agreement.

Finn’s resignation comes after the completion of a Vatican investigation of him and his diocese, initiated by Pope Francis, last year. The Pope’s action has confounded both defenders of Bishop Finn, as well as skeptics of Francis’s promise to combat abuse in the Church.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:18 AM

Child Harm Crime By Top Aide To Two Cardinals Is Upheld: Is Pope Ready For “Chile In Philly” ?

UNITED STATES
Christian Catholicism

Jerry Slevin

A US state Supreme Court has reinstated the landmark child-endangerment conviction of the Philadelphia Catholic Archdiocese’s Monsignor William Lynn, who was the first high ranking US Church official ever prosecuted over his mishandling of priest child sex abuse complaints, see Supreme Court opinion . Lynn had been from 1992 to 2004 the top priest personnel aide to Philly Cardinals Justin Rigali and Anthony Bevilacqua. Both cardinals managed to avoid prosecution for their aide’s misdeeds done apparently on their behalf. Bevilacqua died soon after giving a two day video deposition (that is still being kept secret, it appears) in the Lynn criminal case, and Rigali left town in a hurry, by “retiring” after Lynn’s indictment. He may now be seen in good form with Pope Francis attending Vatican ceremonies along with his former pal, the infamous Boston Cardinal Bernard Law. The pope likely knew Bevilacqua from their Vatican committee work and appears to be personally acquainted with Rigali.

By my estimate, almost 25% of then active Philly priests had had sexual abuse complaints in their files reportedly secretly maintained by Lynn for his two cardinals. Portions of these files were reportedly kept from the Archdiocese’s child protection committee. Given the Archdiocese’s pervasive cover up mentality, who knows how many other complaints were not reported out of futility? In 2011, well regarded US Catholic Church historian, David J. O’Brien, reportedly told the NY Times that “The situation in Philadelphia is ‘Boston reborn.’ ” O’Brien was right then and appears still to be right. Why is Pope Francis honoring this disgraced Archdiocese? Have the US elections next year anything to do with the pope’s plans?

After Lynn was indicted, Archbishop Charles Chaput, Philly’s current hierarchical leader, reportedly “led the clerical cheerleaders” applauding Lynn at a large Philly private priests’ meeting. Rigali and/or Chaput then spent seemingly a small fortune on Lynn’s legal defense and also fully “lawyered up” their Archdiocese to fight abuse survivors’ claims, adding to their well connected Philly Republican focused law firm, Chaput’s former Colorado diocese’s law firm and the firm of the former Pennsylvania Democratic governor and Philly mayor and district attorney, who the NY Times had earlier reported as a suggested vice president for Hillary Clinton. Chaput has seemingly funded his “spare no bucks” lawyer onslaught by selling profitable Catholic senior citizens homes, closing Catholic churches and schools, selling Church property, etc., the usual US Catholic bishop’s drill for putting the protection of clerics as the highest priority.

See generally my remarks at (1) “A Cardinal, an Archbishop and a Funeral: A year in the Philadelphia Archdiocese’s Priest Child Abuse Scandal” here,

and (2) “… the Philadelphia Inquirer: A Time of Truth About Child Abuse”, here, Bilgrimage , and my other extensive reports easily available at the Bilgrimage website; as well the links at “Sexual abuse scandal in the Catholic Archdiocese of Philadelphia” here,

[Wikipedia]

Indeed, why is Pope Francis honoring with his first US visit a local church hierarchy with such a sordid history? The pope should instead apologize to Philly Catholics and also make Chaput apologize to Philly Catholics and tell him to release the Bevilacqua video deposition. And the pope should at a minimum publicly chastise Rigali instead of honoring him with Vatican invitations. Please see my relevant remarks, What Do We Now Know About The Real Goal Of Pope Francis?

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:53 AM

Kincora boys' home: Sex abuse victims demand children's home is demolished

NORTHERN IRELAND
BBC News

Survivors of sex abuse at Kincora children's home in east Belfast have called for the building to be demolished.

Gary Hoy, who lived in Kincora, said the memories would always be there but he would like to see the building gone.

Survivor Clint Massey said demolishing the building would bring a kind of closure for victims like him.

Margaret McGuckian, of pressure group SAVIA, said they hoped to speak to the home's owners about the next step.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:49 AM

ME--Orthodox priest is sentenced

MAINE
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

For immediate release: Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Statement by Melanie Jula Sakoda of Moraga, California, Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP), SNAP Orthodox Director (925-708-6175, melanie.sakoda@gmail.com)

An Orthodox priest from Maine, who was found guilty of child sexual abuse for the second time in March, was sentenced today to six and a half years in prison and 3 years probation. He will also be required to register as a sex offender for life.

[Bangor Daily News]


We are glad that Father Adam Metropoulos will spend time behind bars, although we are disappointed that it is not for a longer period of time. While incarcerated, he will be unable to hurt any more kids.

Now that the criminal process is complete, we urge the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America (GOA) to explain to the Faithful how a man previously convicted of child sexual abuse in Michigan was admitted to their seminary in Massachusetts and then ordained a priest. If not for this appalling lack of oversight, Metropoulos’ young victim would not have been hurt.

In addition, the Church should explain to their membership what procedures have been put in place to insure that this disgraceful situation never occurs again.

Finally, the GOA should use all of their resources to reach out to each and every parish and group where Metropoulos worked, begging anyone who experienced, witnessed or suspected the priest of child sexual abuse to contact the police.

We are in awe of the courage of the young man who testified against Metropoulos. We hope that now that he has found his voice and told his truth he can begin healing. We also hope that his bravery will encourage other Orthodox victims to speak up and report to law enforcement.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:47 AM

Ein „Opferanwalt“ in den Untiefen des Bistums

DEUTSCHLAND
Regensburg-Digital

[The Diocese of Regensburg has yielded to public pressure: An external lawyer will investigate violence and abuse at the cathedral choir. An actual change of course?]

Das Bistum Regensburg hat dem öffentlichen Druck nachgegeben: Ein externer Rechtsanwalt soll Gewalt und Missbrauch bei den Domspatzen aufarbeiten. Ein tatsächlicher Kurswechsel?

Seht her, hier hat sich was geändert. Das scheint man sowohl mit dem Ort, der für die Pressekonferenz gewählt wurde, als auch mit der Besetzung des Podiums zeigen zu wollen. Während den Verantwortlichen der Diözese Regensburg allein der Begriff „Domspatzen“ schwer über die Lippen kam, wenn sie in der Vergangenheit zu ihren vorgeblich aufklärerischen Presseterminen zum Thema sexueller Missbrauch einluden, so ist es dieses Mal der Wolfgang-Saal des Domspatzen-Gymnasiums, in dem man sich den Medien stellt.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:48 AM

Pfarrer K.: Weiterer Anwalt hilft bei der Revision

DEUTSCHLAND
RP

Stadt Willich. Der Anwalt des Anfang Februar wegen teilweise schweren sexuellen Missbrauchs von Kindern in 25 Fällen zu sechs Jahren Haft verurteilten Pfarrers Georg K. hält an der Revision gegen das Urteil fest. Das sagte Dr. Wilhelm Helms aus Hannover gestern auf Nachfrage dieser Zeitung. Die schriftliche Urteilsbegründung habe er am 7. April erhalten, von diesem Zeitpunkt an habe er einen Monat Zeit, die Revision zu konkretisieren. Nach wie vor gehe es nicht um die Schuldfrage, sondern um die Höhe des Strafmaßes. Er halte eine Haftstrafe von fünf Jahren für angemessen. Inzwischen habe er nach Rücksprache mit seinem Mandanten einen Strafverteidiger hinzugezogen, der sich auf Revisionen spezialisiert habe, so Helms.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:46 AM

Corte de Pennsylvania ratifica condena inicial de sacerdote

PENNSYLVANIA
El Nuevo Herald

POR MARYCLAIRE DALE ASSOCIATED PRESS
04/27/2015

FILADELFIA
La Corte Suprema estatal ratificó el lunes la condena en primera instancia contra un sacerdote católico de alto rango por el cargo de poner en riesgo la vida de menores. El caso fue el primero en la historia en contra de una autoridad eclesiástica en Estados Unidos que enfrentó cargos por su manejo a las quejas sobre abuso sexual.

La Corte Suprema de Pennsylvania confirmó la condena en 2012 por delitos graves contra monseñor William Lynn por poner en riesgo a un monaguillo víctima de abuso sexual a manos de un sacerdote que había sido trasladado a su parroquia pese a las acusaciones previas.

Los abogados defensores han argumentado desde hace tiempo que Lynn, secretario del clero, no era responsable por el bienestar del niño según la ley estatal vigente en ese momento. Sin embargo, en una votación de 4-1, la Corte Suprema estatal no estuvo de acuerdo, por lo que el sacerdote de 64 años potencialmente encara un regreso a prisión.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:38 AM

Archbishop focuses on healing, preparing for new KC bishop

KANSAS CITY (MO)
KCTV

[with video]

By DeAnn Smith, Digital Content Manager
deann.smith@kctv5.com

By Brad Stephens, Anchor

KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) -
He is a temporary caretaker, but he knows he has an important role to play in the coming weeks.

Joseph Naumann, who has been archbishop for Kansas City, KS for a decade, admits he was stunned when the phone call came from the Vatican on April 17. He was told that Pope Francis on April 21 would accept the resignation of Robert Finn as bishop for the Kansas City-St. Joseph diocese.

And Naumann was told that the church leadership wanted him to assume the role as interim bishop. He initially had his reservations, but has overcome them.

"There's been some polarization within the church," he said. "What I hope we can do is begin a process of healing and uniting us as a church," Naumann said. "I think Jesus, he prayed for that for the church."

Finn admitted in court that he failed to alert authorities about Father Shawn Ratigan, who was a pedophile taking pictures of young girls in his parishes. Finn tried to rehabilitate Ratigan after he attempted to take his own life and court documents say Finn's actions allowed Ratigan to continue to have access to little girls even after child pornography was found on his church computer.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:35 AM

Archbishop Joseph Naumann ready to assist Catholic communities in time of transition

KANSAS CITY (MO)
Fox 4

[with video]

APRIL 27, 2015, BY ABBY EDEN

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Less than a week after Pope Francis accepted Bishop Robert Finn’s resignation, Archbishop Joseph Naumann is learning all the ins and outs of being an Apostolic Administrator or interim Bishop. He says leading two regions’ Catholic communities at once isn’t easy, but he’s willing to do what needs to be done.

On the Friday before Bishop Finn’s resignation was made public, Archbishop Joseph Naumann heard from the Apostolic Nuncio, or the ambassador of the Vatican to the United States. He was told Bishop Finn was resigning, and he’d have to take over the administrative duties of the Kansas City-St. Joseph Diocese.

“It’s one community. We share the plight of the church on both sides of State Line Road, affects one another, so I felt if I can do anything to assist the church at this time of transition, I want to do that,” said Archbishop Naumann.

As the Apostolic Administrator of the Kansas City-St. Joseph Diocese, Archbishop Naumann will maintain his responsibilities in Kansas City, Kan., and take care of day-to-day administrative responsibilities to keep the diocese on the Missouri side operating smoothly.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:32 AM

Kansas City diocese donations low

KANSAS CITY (MO)
KMBZ

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - The Kansas City- St Joseph Diocese is still feeling aftershocks from the resignation of Bishop Robert Finn and the scandal involving Father Shawn Ratigan.

Archbishop Joseph Naumann says that, for now, he is focusing on the big picture. A new high school in Lee's Summit was scheduled to open next fall, but donations fell short. The opening is now set for 2016.

Many parishioners withheld contributions to the bishop's discretionary fund when the child sex abuse scandal broke.

Finn is still a bishop and is being paid by the church.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:30 AM

Former Knox teacher Christopher Fotis denies he is ‘balaclava man’

AUSTRALIA
The Australian

APRIL 28, 2015

Dan Box
Crime Reporter
Sydney

A former Knox Grammar teacher suspected of being the “balaclava man” who sexually assaulted a young boy at the exclusive Sydney school says he did not want to give evidence to a royal commission because he is a “private man”.

Christopher Fotis was arrested in Queensland earlier this month after failing to appear at a previous hearing of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.

Mr Fotis, a former resident master at the northern Sydney boarding school, told the commission he did not receive a summons to give evidence at the hearing in February and did not follow it at the time.

“I did what I was legally entitled to do. I was a free man under no legal obligation and I based my movements upon that,” he said.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:28 AM

Former Knox teacher Christopher Fotis denies knowing of assault on student

AUSTRALIA
The Guardian

Bridie Jabour
@bkjabour

Monday 27 April 2015

A former teacher at Sydney’s prestigious Knox Grammar school who was suspected of assaulting a student in his bed has told an abuse inquiry he did not attend when called to its hearings in February because he is a “private man”.

Christopher Fotis, 52, took the stand at a reconvened hearing of the royal commission into institutional responses to child sex abuse on Tuesday.

He denied ever hearing about the sexual assault of a student in 1988 which became known as the “balaclava man incident”. He told the commission the first he heard of it was from the hearings.

The commission had heard Fotis was a resident master at MacNeil house at the time and was widely suspected as the person seen running away from the house in an old Knox tracksuit and balaclava, after a student, known as ARN, had his genitals groped by the same man who was lying beneath his bed.

A warrant was issued for the arrest of Fotis in February when he failed to appear at the commission after being summoned but Fotis’s counsel, Margaret Bateman, said he was not served with a summons.

“I was a free man, legally entitled to move about anywhere I wanted. I’m a private person, this is a very public hearing and I suppose if any reason, it comes down to that,” he said when asked by counsel assisting the commission, David Lloyd, if there was any reason he did not appear.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:25 AM

Knox reference underwhelming: Fotis

AUSTRALIA
Daily Mail

By AUSTRALIAN ASSOCIATED PRESS

A teacher who was asked to resign from an elite private school when he was charged with performing a sex act in public, expected to get a "richer" reference from the headmaster of Knox Grammar.
Christopher Fotis was asked to resign from the Sydney school in 1989 by the headmaster Ian Paterson.

He was given a reference which noted his enthusiasm for his job and his enormous help with extra-curricular events but which made no mention of why he was asked to leave or other complaints against him.

On Tuesday Fotis told a royal commission that it was a "pretty underwhelming" reference.

Fotis was later found guilty of obscene exposure after he was caught masturbating in his car on a street in Ryde, Sydney.

He was also suspected by teachers and students at Knox of being the balaclava-wearing intruder who sexually molested a year 8 boarder about a year before he resigned.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:23 AM

Child sex abuse inquiry: Former Knox teacher denies he was 'balaclava man'

AUSTRALIA
ABC News

By Nicole Chettle

A former teacher at Sydney's Knox Grammar School has denied he was the so-called balaclava man, who indecently assaulted a sleeping student in 1988.

The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse previously heard that in 1988, a teenage boarder woke to find a masked man groping him from under his bed and many people believed the former boarding master Christopher Fotis was the perpetrator.

The police were not contacted about the incident, but former headmaster Dr Ian Paterson told the commission he suspected Mr Fotis committed the indecent assault, but he had no proof.

In his opening statement, counsel assisting the commission, David Lloyd said Mr Fotis continued teaching at Knox Grammar School until "the latter part of 1989" when he resigned "after being arrested for masturbating in his car while parked outside a school".

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:21 AM

Teacher questioned over balaclava assault

AUSTRALIA
news.com.au

FORMER Knox Grammar teacher Christopher Fotis has denied any knowledge of an incident in which a boy was sexually assaulted by a balaclava-wearing intruder who hid under his bed, despite sleeping metres away.

EVIDENCE has been given to the sex abuse royal commission that bedlam erupted after the boy screamed in the early hours "Some faggot's got my balls".

The Year 8 boys chased the intruder, who was wearing a balaclava and an old Knox tracksuit, from the boarding house dormitory and news of the assault spread like wildfire across the prestigious Sydney school.

But, even though he was a suspect, Fotis told the royal commission he never knew of the 1988 incident until it was mentioned at the hearings this year.

Fotis, 52, said he had no recollection of the then-house master Tim Hawkes banging on his door, but that did not surprise him because he had slept though earthquakes in Greece.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:18 AM

Former Bangor priest sentenced for child sex crimes

MAINE
WGME

BANGOR (WGME) -- A priest who sexually abused a boy multiple times will spend six-and-a-half years behind bars. A judge sentenced Adam Metropoulos, 53, Monday.

He was a priest at a Greek Orthodox church in Bangor and was well known for his community involvement. Metropoulos sexually assaulted a then 15-year-old altar boy at his church in 2006 and 2007.

Metropoulos also secretly recorded a female relative taking a shower. The woman found the camera and that's what lead to his arrest. Metropoulos also had hundreds of pornographic images on his computer, some which showed children.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:13 AM

Hundreds protest S.F. archbishop’s push on morality clauses

SAN FRANCISCO (CA)
San Francisco Chronicle

By Nanette Asimov
April 27, 2015

Hundreds of Catholic-school teachers and supporters gathered outside the San Francisco Archdiocese on Monday afternoon waving rainbow banners and preaching acceptance of gays and lesbians — all in protest of efforts by the archbishop to require employees to embrace church opposition to “homosexual relations,” “fornication” and other “gravely evil” sexual activities.

The protesters sang a hymn called “Love, Love,” to which they’d rewritten the lyrics with their message of acceptance: “Teach acceptance is our call / Love your neighbor as yourself / For God loves us all.”

Until February, teachers and other employees at the San Francisco Archdiocese’s four high schools who disagreed with Catholicism’s strict sexual teachings felt little need to defend their beliefs, existing in comfortable, live-and-let-live symbiosis with their employer and their religion.

But this winter, Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone unveiled a statement he wanted included in the employee handbook and the faculty contract for Riordan and Sacred Heart Cathedral schools in San Francisco, Marin Catholic in Kentfield and Junipero Serra in San Mateo clarifying that sex outside of marriage, homosexual relations, the viewing of pornography and masturbation are “gravely evil.” It said employees should “affirm and believe” the statements, which include that marriage is between “one man and one woman” and that sperm donation, the use of a surrogate and other forms of “artificial reproductive technology” are also gravely evil.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:11 AM

SanFran Archbishop weighs 'adjustments" to teacher contracts

SAN FRANCISCO (CA)
National Catholic Register

by Joan Desmond 04/27/2015

On April 27, the Archdiocese of San Francisco signaled that it was prepared to make "adjustments" to advance negotiaions with the local Catholic teachers' union.

The union represents faculty at the four Catholic high schools under the direct jurisdiction of Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone, and it has challenged proposed contract language that directs teachers to avoid public statements and actions that oppose Catholic teaching on sexual ethics, Mass attendence, abortion, and the Eucharist, among other issues.

"The Archdiocese reiterates its commitment to do what we can to listen to teachers’ ongoing concerns, to restore respectful discussion, and to heal any rifts that may remain," read today's statement, released at the end of the work day.

Archbishop Cordileone "understands that the teachers want to make sure that the final language in the contract both promotes Catholic identity and protects the rights of the teachers. He too wants language that protects the rights of the teachers, and he is willing to make adjustments to firmly secure those rights," the statement continued.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:09 AM

Knox Grammar royal commission: Former teacher Christopher Fotis takes the stand

AUSTRALIA
Sydney Morning Herald

April 28, 2015

Rachel Browne
Social Affairs Reporter

Disgraced former Knox Grammar School teacher Christopher Fotis​ continued to work in both the public and Catholic education system after being caught exposing his genitals in public, a royal commission has heard.

Fotis, 52, was asked to resign from the prestigious private school in 1989 after being arrested for exposing himself.

He told the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse that he worked as a casual teacher in NSW public schools and a Catholic school for six or seven months in 1990 following his arrest.

Fotis told commissioner Jennifer Coate he was never asked to provide proof of his experience when working as a casual teacher.

The commission heard when former Knox Grammar headmaster Ian Paterson became aware of the incident, he asked Fotis to resign.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:03 AM

Regensburg diocese looks into abuse claims

GERMANY
The Local

The diocese of Regensburg announced on Monday it is cooperating with the victims' organisation White Ring to investigate sexual and physical abuse at the Domspatzen Choir, Die Welt reported.

“We have asked White Ring to recommend us a lawyer who can take this investigate forward," said administrative head of the diocese Michael Fuchs.

Ulrich Weber, a lawyer specialising in cases of sexual abuse, will now lead the investigation into allegations of sexual and physical abuse at the Domspatzen primary school from the 1950s up to the present day.

The report will be published “as soon as we have the impression that the majority of reports [of abuse] have been considered,” said Fuchs.

Günther Perottoni from White Ring welcomed the diocese's decision.

“They have assured us that the procedures of the investigation will not be obstructed,” he said.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:55 AM

Attorneys say settlement in abuse case against St. John's

MINNESOTA
southernminn.com

Associated Press

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — A Minnesota man has settled a lawsuit with St. John's Abbey that will force the release of personnel files for 19 monks accused of sexually abusing minors, attorneys said Monday.

The settlement announced by attorney Jeff Anderson's law firm was to be detailed at a news conference Tuesday.

Anderson sued St. John's in 2013 on behalf of Edward "Troy" Bramlage III, 52, who said he was abused by the Rev. Allen Tarlton when he was a 14-year-old freshman at its prep school in 1977. The lawsuit said St. John's leadership repeatedly sent Tarlton for treatment but allowed him to continue working at the prep school.

Anderson said Monday the settlement is "a big deal" and an "important step forward" because it requires not only the disclosure of Tarlton's files but also those of an additional 18 St. John's monks credibly accused of abuse. A timeline for releasing the other files has yet to be set, Anderson said.
"Until we reveal the history (of abuse), it's going to repeat," Anderson said.

The abbey has said Tarlton lives in a restricted setting and has no contact with students. In a statement Monday, the abbey said it reached the settlement in order "to achieve some measure of reconciliation" but had no other comment. Tarlton's attorney, Robert Stich of Minneapolis, said Monday that Tarlton, now 87 and under 24-hour-a-day medical care at the abbey, has never admitted abusing Bramlage.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:49 AM

Sex abuse settlement to uncover priest's brief tenure in Louisville

KENTUCKY
WHAS

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) -- Details in the settlement of a sex abuse lawsuit against a Catholic priest will reveal specific information on the priest's brief stint as a principal in Louisville said the attorney on the case.

Attorneys representing St. John's Abbey and Father Gilbert Tarlton reached a settlement Monday with lawyers representing the victim known in court records as "Doe 2." The case was scheduled to go to court May 4.

The suit was filed in 2013 on behalf of a man who was a freshman at St. John's Preparatory School in Minnesota in 1977. The man, who wanted to be identified as a survivor, said there were at least 100 incidents of grooming and abuse at the hands of Tarlton.

Six years prior, Tarlton was a principal at Holy Cross Parish School in Louisville but was removed from the school before completing his first year said Mike Finnegan, the attorney representing the Minnesota survivor.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:47 AM

April 27, 2015

St. John's Abbey settles sex abuse suit

MINNESOTA
Minnesota Public Radio

Madeleine Baran Apr 27, 2015

Saint John's Abbey has reached a settlement with a man who said he was sexually abused as a teenager by a Benedictine monk.

The man, known in court filings as Doe 2, sued Saint John's Abbey in 2013 for allegedly failing to protect him from sexual abuse by the Rev. Allen Tarlton in the late 1970s.

Attorney Jeff Anderson, who represents Doe 2, said the settlement will require Saint John's Abbey to release the files of 19 monks accused of sexually abusing children and provide a financial settlement for an amount that will not be publicly disclosed.

Saint John's Abbey declined to describe the agreement. "Out of respect for the privacy of the parties involved and the agreement we have made, we have no further comment on this settlement," it said in a statement Monday.

The lawsuit, filed in Stearns County, accused Tarlton of abusing the boy in about 1977 when he lived on campus as a student at Saint John's Preparatory School in Collegeville. Tarlton was the boy's English teacher. It said the abbey knew of abuse allegations against Tarlton nearly two decades earlier and failed to call police or warn students and parents.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:21 PM

Archbishop answers questions on Bishop Finn, who reisnged after priest's child abuse controversy

KANSAS CITY (MO)
KSHB

[with video]

Amy Hawley

Pope Francis asked Archbishop Joseph Naumann to be in charge of the Kansas City-St. Joseph diocese until a new bishop is named.

FULL INTERVIEW | Watch the entire 18-minute, sit-down interview with Archbishop Naumann here

Many called last week's move by the Vatican a historic moment. For the first time, the Vatican held a bishop accountable for poorly handling a case of a priest's child abuse.

In 2012, a judge convicted Bishop Robert Finn of failing to report suspected child abuse .

The public pressured the church for Finn's resignation and last Tuesday, Pope Francis accepted it .

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:11 PM

Bishop Robert Finn to preside over ordinations despite resignation

KANSAS CITY (MO)
The Kansas City Star

BY RICK MONTGOMERYRMONTGOMERY@KCSTAR.COM
04/27/2015

Despite announcing his resignation a week ago, Bishop Robert W. Finn will preside over the priestly ordinations of seven deacons next month in the Kansas City-St. Joseph Diocese.

A diocese spokesman Monday cited a scheduling conflict that prevented the new temporary leader of the diocese, Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann, from ordaining the seven men on May 23 at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Kansas City.

Naumann, who continues to lead the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas, will preside over ordinations scheduled for the same time in Leawood.

Longtime critics of Finn expressed agitation over the bishop’s continuing role in a diocese from which he stepped down under a cloud of scandal.

“Good grief. It’s appalling,” said Michael Sandridge, who was among the plaintiffs in 32 sex-abuse lawsuits against the diocese that were settled in 2014. “Like the good ol’ boy network all over again.

“… What did his resignation mean? Nothing, really.” said Sandridge, a Kansas City resident who alleged he was raped by two priests about 30 years ago.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:06 PM

Pennsylvania court reinstates conviction of Catholic clergyman in abuse case

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
Reuters

PHILADELPHIA | BY NATALIE POMPILIO

(Reuters) - Pennsylvania's highest court on Monday reinstated the conviction of the first U.S. Catholic church official sent to prison for mishandling sexual misconduct complaints against priests.

In August 2012, a Philadelphia jury found Monsignor William Lynn, 64, guilty of one count of child endangerment for failing to supervise a pedophile priest who eventually sexually assaulted a 10-year-old altar boy in 1999.

That conviction was overturned by the state’s Superior Court in December 2013.

Monday’s ruling by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court upholds the original August 2012 judgment.

The high court said Lynn “as a high ranking official in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, was specifically responsible for protecting children from sexually abusive priests.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:12 PM

Pa. Supreme Court Upholds 2012 Conviction Of High Ranking Church Official

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
CBS Philly

[Supreme Court opinion]

[Dissenting opinion]

Steve Tawa

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — In a stunning reversal, the Pennsylvania State Supreme Court is upholding the 2012 conviction of Monsignor William Lynn, the first Roman Catholic official sent to prison over his handling of priest abuse complaints. The DA’s office hasn’t said whether it will try to revoke bail and send him back to prison, pending more legal arguments.

Monsignor Lynn was convicted of a single charge of endangering the welfare of a child, and sentenced to three to six years in prison in 2012. As the Archdiocese of Philadelphia’s former secretary for clergy, he was the official responsible for investigating and recommending punishment for priests accused of sexual and other misconduct.

After serving about half his sentence behind bars, by late 2013, Superior Court heard his appeal, and reversed his conviction. Since then, he has been on house arrest, living in the rectory of St. William, a parish in Lawncrest.

Now, the State Supreme Court is reversing Superior Court, ruling that Lynn could be held responsible for the welfare of children in the Archdiocese.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:09 PM

Church seeks prosecution of former treasurer in suspected theft of $400K

TENNESSEE
WBIR

(WBIR- KNOXVILLE) - A new tally shows a former church treasurer took $400,950 from Saint George Greek Orthodox Church over about four years, and church members want that man to be prosecuted, records show.

Church officials filed an incident report Wednesday with Knoxville Police Department and have contacted the Knox County District Attorney General's Office, members say.

Sean McDermott, spokesman for the District Attorney General's Office, said Monday the office could not comment on ongoing investigations that involve prosecutors or any area law enforcement agency.

Darrell DeBusk, KPD spokesman, said Monday he could not comment about an open investigation.

Church officials have briefed members on what a review of church finances showed over the last several years. A lawyer and former FBI agent conducted it.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:03 PM

Bishop Robert's Finn's Criminal Conviction, and What Crystallizes the Anger of Lay Catholics About the Abuse Crisis (Hint: It's All About Clericalism)

UNITED STATES
Bilgrimage

William D. Lindsey

Here's a letter from the heart I have written (by email) this morning to an e-friend, a very good person, who had emailed me to add to the chorus of those who pointed out that my reference to Bishop Robert Finn several days ago as a convicted felon is not technically correct: Bishop Finn was convicted for a misdemeanor, not a felony. The friend who emailed me about this is ordained, and I cannot help but be struck by the fact that those who have picked at this point are all ordained, all clergymen.

My friend tells me that those defending the use of the term "felony" to apply to Finn's crime in shielding a known pedophile and keeping children in harm's way by keeping that priest in ministry have an agenda. My friend also appears to think that convicting priests of crimes of child molestation and of endangering children's well-being is counter-productive, not a way of healing their pedophilia (I myself don't think pedophilia is curable), and is premised on vengefulness and not love.

Here's my response to these observations in an email this morning:

I suspect we all have agendas. And, though I don't have children of my own, I can understand and empathize with the agenda of seeing children protected from child molesters—and the outrage of so many Catholics that this concern seems to have been far down the list of concerns for the hierarchy and the clerical club, as the abuse crisis in the Catholic church came to light.

The frustration I think many lay Catholics feel is that we keep discovering that what seems to us the obvious top priority here—keeping children out of harm's way—is not really even on the radar screen of many in the clerical club, whose fundamental instinct is to make excuses for each other and protect each other from exposure and prosecution. The anger of lay Catholics builds, I think, and understandably so, as we see these concerns playing out within the clerical system, and find ourselves talked down to in a bizarre way about the distinction between a felony and a misdemeanor—a very strange, insubstantial, diversionary straw to clutch at in this disucssion, it seems to me.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:10 PM

The Finn Story and What Crystallizes Lay Catholic Anger About the Abuse Crisis: A Photo Essay

UNITED STATES
Bilgrimage

[with photos]

William D. Lindsey

And — it has to be said — (piggybacking on my first posting today) photos like the following absolutely do not help many of us lay Catholics overcome our anger about how the clerical club persistently finds every way in the world to make excuses for fellow priests abusing minors, and still, even now!, just does not seem to get it, about protecting children from danger as the obvious, indisputable top priority in the abuse crisis:

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:08 PM

Lay reform groups discuss equality of women, church governance at international meeting

IRELAND
National Catholic Reporter

Sarah Mac Donald | Apr. 27, 2015

LIMERICK, IRELAND The role and full equality of women in church life as well as the governance of the church were the two main issues discussed by delegates at the second international meeting of priest associations and lay reform groups here April 13-17.

In a statement at the conclusion of their four-day gathering, the 38 delegates from 10 countries, who seek to establish an international "network of networks" to develop strategies on church reform, said: "The election of Pope Francis has begun a new era in Catholicism."

Speaking on behalf of participants, censured Irish Redemptorist Fr. Tony Flannery of the Irish Association of Catholic Priests said, "With the resignation of Pope Benedict we are at the end of an era, and this is our best chance to renew the church for a long time."

According to Deborah Rose-Milavec, executive director of the U.S. reform group FutureChurch, it became clear during a very open and honest discussion among participants from the U.S., Ireland, the United Kingdom, Australia, India, Germany, Slovakia, Austria, Switzerland, and elsewhere that there is much pain over the exclusion of women from governance, leadership and ordained ministry.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:06 PM

Supreme Court Reinstates Monsignor Lynn Conviction

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
Philadelphia Magazine

[Supreme Court opinion]

[Dissenting opinion]

By Joel Mathis | April 27, 2015

Monsignor William Lynn may be headed back behind bars.

Lynn was freed last year after an appeals court overturned his conviction on child endangerment charges relating to Philadelphia Archdiocese’s sex-abuse scandal. On Monday, though, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court overturned that reversal and reinstated the original conviction — saying that the child endangerment statute applied to Lynn even though he did not directly supervise the welfare of the child victims in the scandal.

Justice Max Baer, writing for the court, said prosecutors established that Lynn — who had served as the Archdiocese of Philadelphia’s former secretary for clergy — had:

• “Mollified victims of sexual abuse by falsely telling them their allegations were being seriously investigated and that the particular priest would never again be assigned around children, despite knowing that the priests under his supervision would merely be reassigned to another parish with no ministry restrictions on contact with children.”

• “Informed parishioners that the priests he transferred were moved for health reasons, leaving the welfare of children in jeopardy.”

• “Routinely disregarded treatment recommendations for priests."

• “Failed to inform the relocated priest’s new supervisor about abuse allegations.”

• “Took no action to ensure that the abusive priest was kept away from children at his new assignment.”

• “Suppressed complaints and concerns by the colleagues of the priests; all with the knowledge that sexually abusive priests rarely had only one victim and that all of these actions would endanger the welfare of the diocese’s children.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:59 PM

Clergy sex abuse lawsuit settled

MINNESOTA
St. Cloud Times.

David Unze, dunze@stcloudtimes.com April 27, 2015

A Sauk Rapids man has settled a lawsuit that accused a St. John's Abbey monk of sexual abuse.

A news conference has been scheduled for Tuesday to announce the terms of the settlement.

The lawsuit against the Rev. Allen Tarlton also named as defendants the Order of St. Benedict, St. John's Abbey and St. John's Preparatory School. The lawsuit was scheduled to go to trial Monday.

Troy Bramlage sued in June 2013, less than one week after a law went into effect that lifted the six-year civil statute of limitations for childhood victims of sexual abuse.

His lawsuit, and comments made by his attorney at the time the suit was filed, claimed that St. John's Abbey knew of Tarlton's proclivities to offend against young boys as far back at the 1950s yet repeatedly allowed him to have access to children, including teaching at St. John's until 1990.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:56 PM

MO--Archbishop does interviews in KC; SNAP responds

KANSAS CITY (MO)
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

Statement by Barbara Dorris of St. Louis, Outreach Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests ( 314 503 0003 cell, bdorris@SNAPnetwork.org )

The new head of the Kansas City MO Catholic diocese, in his first interviews since taking the reins is talking about fundraising, low-balling expectations, and equating the suffering of abuse victims and church staff.

[KCUR]

He’s got it all backwards. Job one is protecting kids. Fundraising and healing can and should come later.

And when children are safer, fundraising and healing will happen on their own.

At this juncture, it’s unseemly for Naumann to try and woo betrayed donors.

Naumann says there are wounds “on both sides.” That of course minimizes the pain of boys and girls who were raped and sodomized by priests and betrayed by bishops. This isn’t a battle between combatants of equal power, skills and resources. This is a long horror of child sex crimes and cover ups. Whatever hurt adult Catholic employees may feel, it pales beside the trauma of deeply-wounded victims of heinous childhood sexual violence.

Here’s what Naumann should be doing now:

[SNAP]

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:28 PM

IN THE SUPREME COURT OF PENNSYLVANIA

PENNSYLVANIA
Supreme Court of Pennsylvania - via BishopAccountability.org

IN THE SUPREME COURT OF PENNSYLVANIA
EASTERN DISTRICT
COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA,
Appellant
v.
WILLIAM LYNN,
Appellee

No. 15 EAP 2014
Appeal from the Judgment of Superior
Court entered on 12/26/13 at No. 2171
EDA 2012 reversing the judgment of
sentence entered on 7/24/12 in the
Court of Common Pleas, Criminal
Division, Philadelphia County at No.
CP-51-CR-0003530-2011
ARGUED: November 18, 2014

DISSENTING OPINION

MR. CHIEF JUSTICE SAYLOR DECIDED: April 27, 2015

Because I differ with the majority’s interpretation of the endangerment statute reposed in Section 4304(a) of the Crimes Code, I respectfully dissent.

Preliminarily, the evidence viewed favorably to the Commonwealth suggests that Appellee is indeed guilty of gross derelictions which caused widespread harm. The only question before the Court, however, is whether the text of the endangerment statute, as it existed in the pre-amendment timeframe, allowed the imposition of criminal culpability upon Appellee. For the reasons which follow, I would find that it did not.

The statute makes it an offense for a “parent, guardian or other person supervising the welfare of a child” to knowingly endanger a child’s welfare by violating a duty of care, protection, or support. 18 Pa.C.S. §4304(a) (1995), quoted in Majority Opinion, slip op. at 19. The principal issue in this appeal pertains to the “supervision” element of the pre-amendment offense.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:25 PM

IN THE SUPREME COURT OF PENNSYLVANIA

PENNSYLVANIA
Supreme Court of Pennsylvania - via BishopAccountability.org

IN THE SUPREME COURT OF PENNSYLVANIA
EASTERN DISTRICT

CASTILLE, C.J., SAYLOR, EAKIN, BAER, TODD, STEVENS, JJ.
COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA,
Appellant
v.
WILLIAM LYNN,
Appellee:

No. 15 EAP 2014
Appeal from the Judgment of the Superior
Court entered on 12/26/2013 at No. 2171
EDA 2012 reversing the judgment of
sentence entered on 7/24/2012 in the
Court of Common Pleas, Criminal
Division, Philadelphia County at No. CP-
51-CR-0003530-2011
83 A.3d 434

ARGUED: November 18, 2014

OPINION

MR. JUSTICE BAER DECIDED: April 27, 2015

Following a jury trial on charges that he endangered the welfare of children,1 William Lynn (Appellee) was convicted and sentenced to a term of three to six years of incarceration. On appeal from his judgment of sentence, he challenged the sufficiency of the evidence to sustain his conviction, contending that he had no direct supervision of the children he was found to have endangered. The Superior Court agreed, and reversed his conviction. On the Commonwealth’s appeal, we reverse the Superior Court, concluding that there is no statutory requirement of direct supervision of children.
Rather, that which is supervised is the child’s welfare. Under the facts presented at trial, Appellee was a person supervising the welfare of many children because, as a high-ranking official in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, he was specifically responsible for protecting children from sexually abusive priests.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:21 PM

Supreme Court Reinstates Lynn's Conviction

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
The Legal Intelligencer

Gina Passarella and Lizzy McLellan, The Legal Intelligencer
April 27, 2015

The state Supreme Court has reinstated the conviction of the former secretary of clergy for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, finding a conviction for endangering the welfare of a child does not require actual supervision of the child.

The court’s split decision in Commonwealth v. Lynn reverses a Pennsylvania Superior Court decision that found Monsignor William Lynn could not have been convicted for endangering the welfare of children he never supervised.

“On the commonwealth’s appeal, we reverse the Superior Court, concluding that there is no statutory requirement of direct supervision of children,” Justice Max Baer said for the majority. “Under the facts presented at trial, [Lynn] was a person supervising the welfare of many children because, as a high-ranking official in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, he was specifically responsible for protecting children from sexually abusive priests.”

The court vacated the Superior Court’s ruling and sent the matter back to that court.
Baer was joined in the majority by Justices J. Michael Eakin, Debra Todd and Correale F. Stevens. Chief Justice Thomas G. Saylor issued a dissent.

Thomas Bergstrom, Lynn’s defense attorney, said he was disappointed with the court’s ruling, which he said is “troubling because it makes it pretty clear because one can be convicted of the statute without even knowing the child exists.”

Bergstrom said he hasn’t decided his next step, which could include seeking certiorari at the U.S. Supreme Court on the constitutional issue of the ex post facto application of the statute on endangering the welfare of children. Bergstrom said he could also go back to the Superior Court given that court didn’t review certain issues on appeal given its decision to reverse on the supervision grounds.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:06 PM

Pennsylvania top court reinstates monsignor's conviction

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
San Antonio Express-News

[Dissenting opinion]

[Supreme Court opinion]

BY MARYCLAIRE DALE, ASSOCIATED PRESS : APRIL 27, 2015

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Pennsylvania's highest court has reinstated the child-endangerment conviction of a Roman Catholic church official in Philadelphia.

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruling Monday upholds the 2012 conviction of Monsignor William Lynn over abuse committed by a diocesan priest years earlier.

Lynn was the first U.S. church official convicted and sent to prison over his handling of sex abuse complaints against priests.

His lawyers have argued that Lynn as secretary for clergy was not responsible for the child's welfare.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:03 PM

PA high court reinstates Msgr. Lynn's child-endangerment conviction

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
Philadelphia Inquirer

JOSEPH A. SLOBODZIAN, INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
POSTED: Monday, April 27, 2015

Pennsylvania's Supreme Court on Monday reinstated the child-endangerment conviction of Msgr. William J. Lynn, the first Catholic Church official found guilty for his role supervising priests in the clergy sex-abuse scandal.

Writing for the 6-1 majority of the state's high court, Justice Max Baer said the state Superior Court erred in reversing Lynn's conviction because he did not directly supervise children.

"That which is supervised is the child's welfare," wrote Baer. "Under the facts presented at trial, [Lynn] was a person supervising the welfare of many children because, as a high-ranking official in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, he was specifically responsible for protecting children from sexually abusive priests."

Chief Justice Thomas G. Saylor was the lone dissent, writing that he did not believe Lynn could be convicted for conduct under the amended child-endangerment law because the conduct occurred before the law changed.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:46 PM

PA--State Supreme Court reverses reversal of Msgr. Lynn's conviction

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

For immediate release: Monday, April 27

Statement by David Clohessy of St. Louis, Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, 314 566 9790, , davidgclohessy@gmail.com

We are grateful the Pennsylvania Supreme Court reversed the reversal of Monsignor Lynn’s conviction.

Punishing wrong doers deters wrong doing, especially in scandal ridden institutions. Like the catholic hierarchy. For decades complicit church officials have exploited legal technicalities to evade justice. It is a victory for parents, parishioners, church goers, wounded victims and innocent kids each time corrupt church staffers are disciplined.

Members of the catholic hierarchy everywhere should take note: for your own good, tell authorities now what you know or suspect about clergy sex crimes and cover-ups.

[Big Trial]

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:39 PM

Media Advisory: Abuse Survivor and Attorneys Announce Breakthrough ...

MINNESOTA
Jeff Anderson & Associates

Media Advisory: Abuse Survivor and Attorneys Announce Breakthrough Settlement Involving St. John's Abbey

Jeff Anderson and Doe 2 Will Stand Together Tuesday and Announce Settlement of Civil Lawsuit against St. John’s Abbey and Fr. Allen Tarlton

Breakthrough settlement, modeled after Doe 1 v. Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis settlement, requires St. John’s Abbey to publicly release the files of 19 St. John’s clerics likely to have offended against minors

WHAT: • Doe 2 will attend, disclose his name and speak about the case. The event will be live streamed.
• Father Tarlton’s personnel and “incident” file will be released.
• Portions of Father Tarlton’s October 2013 deposition testimony will be played and released.
• The plan for release of 18 additional priest files and the significance of this settlement – that children will be safer - will be discussed. As part of the settlement, the personnel and incident files of the additional 18 St. John’s monks who have been deemed likely to have offended against minors will be publicly released over the coming months.
• The photos and identities of the credibly accused clerics will be shown.

Doe 2 was sexually abused repeatedly by Fr. Tarlton when he was a freshman at St. John’s Preparatory School in 1977. Doe 2’s case was one of the first filed in Minnesota under the 2013 Child Victims Act. Trial was scheduled to begin in the case in Stearns County on May 4 before Judge Vicki Landwehr.

“The credit for achieving this groundbreaking settlement rests with Doe 2, for having the courage to find his voice, stand up for truth and demand transparency with accountability,” said Jeff Anderson, one of Doe 2’s attorneys.

The 18 additional monks whose files will be released are: Br. Andre Bennett, Fr. Michael Bik, Fr. Robert Blumeyer, Fr. Cosmas Dahlheimer, Fr. Richard Eckroth, Fr. Thomas Gillespie, Fr. Othmar Hohmann, Fr. Francis Hoefgen, Fr. Dominic Keller, Fr. John Kelly, Fr. Brennan Maiers, Fr. Finian McDonald, Fr. Dunstan Moorse, Br. Jim Phillips, Fr. Francisco Schulte, Fr. Pirmin Wendt, Fr. Bruce Wollmering, Fr. Angelo Zankl.

“We are grateful to stand with Doe 2 and the many survivors who are now standing up for themselves and the truth, and given a chance they now have under the Child Victims Act, which they didn’t have before,” Mr. Anderson said.

WHEN: Tuesday, April 28, 2015, at 1:00PM CT

WHERE: Offices of Jeff Anderson and Associates, P.A.
366 Jackson Street, Suite 100
St. Paul, MN 55101

NOTES: Documents will be available online and we will live stream the press event from our website www.andersonadvocates.com.

Contact: Jeff Anderson: Office/651.964.3458 Cell/612.817.8665
Mike Finnegan: Office/651.964.3458 Cell/612.205.5531
Mike Bryant: Office/320.259.5414 Cell/800.359.0061

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:07 PM

Settlement Reached in Lawsuit to Gain Access to Priest Files at St. John's

MINNESOTA
KSTP

By: Dave Aeikens

A settlement has been reached between St. John's University and a man who says he was abused by a monk, the man's lawyer said.

The settlement is expected to be announced Tuesday at the law offices of Jeff Anderson, and include the university releasing the files of 19 monks. Those will include the personnel and incident file of the Rev. Allen Tarlton, who repeatedly sexually abused the plaintiff when he was a freshman at St. John's Preparatory School in 1977.

The case is scheduled for trial May 4 in Stearns County.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:06 PM

State Supreme Court Reverses Reversal of Msgr. Lynn's Conviction

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
Big Trial

By Ralph Cipriano
for Bigtrial.net

The Pennsylvania state Supreme Court today reversed the decision by a lower court to overturn the conviction of Msgr. William J. Lynn of a single charge of endangering the welfare of a child.

On July 24, 2012, a Philadelphia Common Pleas jury convicted Lynn of endangering the welfare of a child, namely a former 10-year-old altar boy dubbed "Billy Doe" by a grand jury. Lynn, the former secretary for clergy for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, became the first Catholic administrator in the country to go to jail for failing to adequately supervise a sexually abusive priest. He was sentenced to a prison term of 3 to 6 years.

Lynn had served 18 months of his sentence on Dec. 26, 2013, when a panel of three state Superior Court judges unanimously reversed the monsignor's conviction and ordered that he be "released forthwith." The trial judge in the case, M. Teresa Sarmina, however, refused to allow Lynn's release. For the past 14 months, the monsignor has been held under house arrest in a Northeast Philadelphia rectory and must wear an electronic ankle monitoring bracelet at all times.

The 60-page opinion by the state Supreme Court doesn't automatically mean that the monsignor is headed back to jail to serve the remainder of his sentence. Lynn's lawyers will now proceed with an appeal to state Superior Court on several remaining trial issues such as whether Lynn got a fair trial in a case where Judge Sarmina let in 21 supplemental cases of child abuse dating back to before the monsignor was born.

The district attorney, however, could preclude that appeal process by filing a motion with Judge Sarmina to revoke Lynn's bail. If the D.A. does file that motion to revoke bail, based on Judge Sarmina's previously demonstrated antipathy to Lynn, the monsignor had better have his toothbrush packed.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:00 PM

Archbishop Naumann speaks on recent St. Joseph sex abuse scandal

KANSAS CITY (MO)
KMBZ

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Archbishop Joseph Naumann says it's time to get past the sex abuse scandal that rocked the Kansas City - St. Joseph Diocese.

Naumann adds that it's unlikely he'll reverse any of the policies put in place by Bishop Finn.

The archbishop still has his responsibilities running the diocese of Kansas and hopes the Vatican moves in a deliberate but timely fashion to name Finn's replacement.

He doesn't think the Shawn Ratigan case will cause any more ongoing problems.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:57 PM

Rep. Plasencia prepared to call out Senate over sex abuse statute of limitations stall

FLORIDA
Orlando Sentinel

By Gray Rohrer

TALLAHASSEE – Rep. Rene Plasencia, R-Orlando, said he will call out the Senate for stalling and sabotaging his bill to increase the time period to prosecute charges in sexual battery cases.

His bill, HB 133, passed by a 115-0 vote on April 9. It passed through the Senate on a 39-0 vote on Friday, but only after tacking on three amendments that were the subjects of other bills, sending it back to the House.

Plasencia says if the House passes the bill as is, it will violate the Legislature’s rule against multiple subject bills, making it unconstitutional and allowing sexual batterers outside of the current statute of limitations to go free.

“If a defense attorney challenges any of those laws they’re going to win because it’s a blatant violation of those rules,” Plasencia said.

He specifically laid the blame at Sen. David Simmons, R-Altamonte Springs, the chairman of the Senate Rules Committee.

The underlying bill would increase the amount of time prosecutors can bring charges in sexual battery cases from four years after the offense to eight years. Florida’s statute of limitations is currently the third-shortest among the 50 states for sexual battery. Plasencia’s original bill would have increased the time period to 10 years, but the companion bill in the Senate, from Sen. Darren Soto, D-Orlando, would have only increased it to six years.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:23 PM

Archbishop Joseph Naumann Looks To Heal, Raise Funds In Kansas City-St. Joseph Diocese

KANSAS CITY (MO)
KCUR

By LAURA ZIEGLER

With a towering physical stature and soft spoken, solicitous style, Archbishop Joseph Naumann knows he has a difficult task before him as he takes over the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph on an interim basis after the resignation of Bishop Robert Finn.

He's encouraging the grieving and still angry parishioners to reach toward their faith.

"I think we need to ask the Lord to help each of us to heal. There are people who have experienced wounds on both sides," Naumann said in an interview Monday at the Diocese headquarters in downtown Kansas City.

Naumann – who has been the Archbishop of the Diocese of Kansas City, Kansas for almost 11 years - says he was surprised when he was summoned last Tuesday to become interim administrator effective immediately.

Naumann says he does not feel it’s his job to bring changes to the diocese, not to “be an innovator … or obligate the new Bishop with something I thought was a good idea.”

Rather, Naumann sees his job as keeping what he called “the normal life” of the church moving forward.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:20 PM

The fear of real Roman Curia reform

VATICAN CITY
National Catholic Reporter

Robert Mickens | Apr. 27, 2015 A Roman Observer

A high-ranking Vatican official recently voiced serious doubts about the need to reform the Roman Curia. Believe it or not, he said talk of reform was exaggerated.

"I personally can see no significant reason that would necessitate a reform of the Curia at the moment," the official said.

"One or two changes have been or will be made concerning personnel or structures, but that is part of the normal run of things," he continued.

"To speak of 'Curia reform' is, with all due respect, somewhat of an exaggeration," he maintained.

This wasn't just any official. It was Archbishop Georg Ganswein, prefect of the papal household. He's the same one who is the private secretary and housemate of the former pope, Benedict XVI.

His remarks -- significant especially because he is Benedict's confidante -- came recently in an exclusive interview posted on Germany's leading Catholic website, Katholisch.de.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:49 PM

Former Greek Orthodox priest sentenced to 12 years in prison

MAINE
WCSH

(NEWS CENTER) -- A former Greek Orthodox priest in Bangor has been sentenced to 12 years in prison with all but 6-and-a-half suspended.

A judge convicted Adam Metropoulos last month on four counts of sexual abuse of a child. He was charged after a former altar boy at Saint George Greek Orthodox Church accused Metroopolis of sexually assaulting him when the victim was a teenager.

The boy was staying overnight in Metropoulos' home at the time.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:07 PM

Former Bangor priest found guilty for sexual assault

MAINE
Bangor Daily News

Nok-Noi Ricker, Bangor Daily News
Maine | Monday, April 27, 2015

BANGOR — A former priest at St. George Greek Orthodox Church in Bangor was sentenced Monday to 12 years in prison with all but 6½ years suspended for sex crimes involving children.

Adam Metropoulos, 53, of Bangor was sentenced by Superior Court Justice Ann Murray at the Penobscot Judicial Center. She also sentenced him to 3 years of probation when he gets out of prison. He must also register with the Maine Sex Offender Registry for life.

Michael Roberts, deputy district attorney for Penobscot County, asked for consecutive sentences, which led to the lengthy prison term. He said the crimes had a “significant impact on the community,” especially within the small Greek Orthodox church.

Murray, who mentioned at the sentencing that she did not believe Metropoulos’ testimony at his jury-waived trial denying that he sexually assaulted a 15-year-old altar server at the church in 2006 and 2007, found him guilty on March 17 on four felony counts of sexual exploitation of a minor.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:05 PM

What Do We Now Know About The Real Goal Of Pope Francis ?

UNITED STATES
Christian Catholicism

Jerry Slevin

Popes make purposeful decisions secretly and then often wrap their decisions in “other worldly” mythology to obscure their worldly purposes and to garner support from Catholics raised rigidly on these myths. By contrast, Jesus spoke simply and honestly about this world and how to meet its challenges transparently.

In the current world of democracies, papal influence over Catholic and other voters provides popes access to opportunistic political and financial elites, the so-called 0.01%, who seek to disguise their own self interested policies with spiritual smokescreens offered by popes seeking legal protection and financial subsidies. In this internet age of a 24/7 news cycle and relentless legal investigations, however, the real papal decisions and underlying goals are increasingly discernible from reported papal actions, despite the incessant efforts of popes and some of these leaders to hide true papal intentions behind a pervasive and professional public relations strategy.

After two years, the real goal of Pope Francis is clear — it is to salvage and enhance the power and wealth of the maximum number of “salvageable” cardinals and bishops while tightening papal control, as the pope is doing in the financial area. Under the misguided, deceitful and ruthless policies of the two previous popes with their related financial, child sexual abuse cover-up, “gay lobby” and other scandals, cardinals were rapidly sliding down a slippery slope.

We now know with reasonable certainty that cardinals likely elected Francis to “change the public subjects from papal sins to papal myths”, while the Vatican’s international political and financial alliances were strengthened and expanded in the international “balance of power” system. The big prize, the World Cup of papal power politics for almost four decades, is helping to elect a “friendly” US president next year, preferably another one named Bush — Francis’ main and final goal!

Please see my Childless Pope Faces Man-Made “Mess”: Children & Climate Change , Vatican Revolt Negates Synod & Sex Commission , Dumping Finn For US President: Who’s Next?‏ , Hillary Clinton vs. Pope Francis in 2015 USA Politics, Electing Bishops & Jeb Bush Too , A Pope, A New US War, Jeb Bush Neocons & Big Oil , Finn’s Law: Police Must Now Handle Crimes Says Pope and Must Jesuits Overlook Jesuit Pope’s Mistakes?

Pope Francis’ public “subject changing” strategy has included massive media management, including unnecessary papal trips, vague papal statements on capitalism and soon climate change, a farcical “family-less” Family Synod, mixed messaging, photo ops and “tweeted” sound bites. Increasingly, this public relations strategy is failing, as the Catholic revolt over Bishop Barros continues even after the desperate removal of Bishop Finn, too little too late! Reality is catching up to the pope’s vague promises. The dismal prospects for the over hyped climate change encyclical are discussed in detail below.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:51 PM

Regensburg: Externe Untersuchung von Missbrauch bei Domspatzen

DEUTSCHLAND
kathweb

[ The cases of abuse and sexual abuse at the Regensburg cathedral choir are to be examined by an independent expert.]

Domkapellmeister bittet alle Opfer nochmals um Entschuldigung - Auch früherer Kapellmeister Ratzinger hatte Ohrfeigen eingeräumt

München, 27.04.2015 (KAP/KNA) Die Fälle von Misshandlung und sexuellem Missbrauch bei den Regensburger Domspatzen werden von einem unabhängigen Fachmann untersucht. Beauftragt wurde der ortsansässige Rechtsanwalt Ulrich Weber vom Opferhilfeverein Weißer Ring, wie der Regensburger Generalvikar Michael Fuchs am Montag ankündigte. Ziel sei, mit Blick auf die zurückliegenden Fälle mehr Glaubwürdigkeit zu gewinnen, sagte Fuchs der deutschen katholischen Nachrichtenagentur KNA. "Aufarbeitung und Prävention sind Zwillinge." Webers Abschlussbericht soll in etwa einem Jahr vorliegen.

Die Diözese Regensburg war seit 2010 intensiv mit der Aufarbeitung von Vorwürfen sexuellen Missbrauchs sowie der Körperverletzung in kirchlichen Einrichtungen beschäftigt. Die Zahl der Missbrauchsgeschädigten liegt bei rund 80. In der Vorschule der Regensburger Domspatzen in Etterzhausen und Pielenhofen kam es von den 1950er- bis in die 1990er-Jahre wiederholt zu schweren körperlichen Züchtigungen. Mindestens 72 Schüler waren betroffen. Als "symbolische Anerkennung des Leids" erhielten sie inzwischen jeweils 2.500 Euro. Zudem werden die Kosten für notwendige Therapien übernommen.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:47 PM

Weißer Ring soll Missbrauch aufklären

DEUTSCHLAND
Mittelbayerische

[White Ring is to educate about abuse.]

Von Christine Schröpf, MZ

REGENSBURG.Kurz vor Beginn der Pressekonferenz faltet Domkapellmeister Roland Büchner kurz die Hände – fast wie zum Gebet. Seit 2010 erschüttern Vorwürfe von sexuellem Missbrauch und gewalttätigen Übergriffen bei den Regensburger Domspatzen den weltberühmten Knabenchor. Trotz aller Aufklärungsversuche vermissen viele Opfer bis heute eine würdige Anerkennung ihres Leids. Die Pressekonferenz am Montag ist ein neuer Versuch, Vertrauen zurückzugewinnen. Das Bistum Regensburg hat eine unabhängige Institution eingeschaltet, die das Ausmaß der Verfehlungen dokumentieren und Handlungsempfehlungen geben soll: die Opfer-Organisation Weißer Ring, die in der Öffentlichkeit unangefochtenes Vertrauen genießt.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:43 PM

Bistum und Domspatzen beauftragen Weißen Ring

DEUTSCHLAND
BR

[The Regenburg diocese and the cathedral choir, shaken by multiple allegations of child sexual abuse, have commission an advocacy group called the White Ring to assist victims.]

Das Bistum Regensburg und die Regensburger Domspatzen wollen den sexuellen Missbrauch von Kindern in ihren Reihen aufarbeiten. Dazu sei eine Zusammenarbeit mit der Opferhilfe Weißer Ring vereinbart worden, teilte Generalvikar Michael Fuchs am Montag (27.04.15) mit. Sämtliche Fälle würden von einem Rechtsanwalt unabhängig und ergebnisoffen aufgeklärt. Kircheninternen Nachforschung zufolge waren seit Ende des Zweiten Weltkrieges rund 80 Kinder von Priestern und Lehrern im Bistum Regensburg sexuell missbraucht worden, darunter auch bei dem weltberühmten Chor. Konkrete Zahlen von Übergriffen bei den Domspatzen wurden nicht genannt.

Domkapellmeister Roland Büchner entschuldigte sich bei den Opfern "in tiefer Erschütterung und Scham" und bat um Vergebung. Bei den Domspatzen gebe es seit Jahren einen Arbeitskreis Prävention, in dem Schüler, Eltern und Lehrer für das Thema sensibilisiert werden. Zudem sei ein erweitertes polizeiliches Führungszeugnis für alle Mitarbeiter sowie eine Fortbildung zur Prävention sexualisierter Gewalt verpflichtend.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:38 PM

Victims' advocate praises Australian Jewish school’s response to allegations

AUSTRALIA
Jerusalem Post

Manny Waks, founder and former head of Australian sexual abuse victims’ advocacy group Tzedek, praises the Melbourne’s King David School for its handling of allegations against its teacher.

Manny Waks, the founder and former head of Australian sexual abuse victims’ advocacy group Tzedek, praised the Melbourne’s King David School for its handling of allegations that one its teachers had acted in an inappropriate manner with students.

Australian Jewry was recently shaken by revelations that leaders of the ultra-orthodox community had covered up incidents of sexual abuse in their schools. The Australian rabbinate split into two bodies when the full extent of this concealment came to light during a Royal Commission into institutional responses to sexual abuse earlier this year.

According to the Herald Sun, a “top Jewish school,” subsequently identified as the progressive King David School, contacted the police regarding what it termed “possible inappropriate conduct’ between a teacher and students. The teacher, who was subsequently suspended while the school conducted an investigation into the matter, was also alleged to have sent “innuendo” filled Facebook messages to erstwhile students.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:36 PM

Bar date set for St. Paul/Minneapolis abuse victims

MINNESOTA
The Worthy Adversary

Posted by Joelle Casteix on April 27, 2015

A federal bankruptcy judge has set an August 3 deadline for victims of child sexual abuse in the Archdiocese of Minneapolis/St. Paul.

The deadline, called a BAR DATE, is the final day and men and women abused as children can file claims against the Archdiocese to expose their abuser and get justice and accountability.

The Archdiocese filed for bankruptcy protection earlier this year, after approximately 140 men and women came forward to file sex abuse and cover-up lawsuits under Minnesota’s civil window. The civil window, enacted in 2013, allows victims of child sexual abuse to use the civil courts for justice, no matter when the abuse occurred.

Since the civil window opened, the Archdiocese has been pounded in the media and by victims for covering up child sex abuse. The pounding was well-justified.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:33 PM

Answering the Unspeakable

UNITED STATES
America Magazine

May 4, 2015 Issue

Frank Brennan

The Clergy Sex Abuse Crisis and the Legal Responses
James T. O'Reilly
Oxford University Press. 472p $95

James T. O’Reilly is an attorney and a much published author of legal handbooks. He was president of the Cincinnati archdiocesan pastoral council when Joseph Bernardin was archbishop. Margaret S. P. Chalmers is a canon lawyer who is chancellor of the personal ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter, the special arrangement put in place by Pope Benedict XVI for Episcopalians wanting to come across to Rome. They describe themselves as two explorers who entered the same large old attic by opposite stairs, armed only with a flashlight each. The attic includes those dark corners of the Catholic Church in the United States where clergy sex abuse has been perpetrated, hidden, litigated, ultimately admitted and exposed to the light of day. The first 18 chapters of The Clergy Sex Abuse Crisis and the Legal Responses are the findings from the O’Reilly civil law torchlight. The last 11 chapters are from the Chalmers canon law light.

The increasing revelations of abuse in the church in other countries motivated them to assemble a readable yet authoritative text. Dealing with child sexual abuse in the church is tragically still a work in progress. “There is much to be learned from the many mistakes made by the US bishops.” Rightly espousing zero tolerance, they take no satisfaction in the John Jay College Report, which found “that only 4 percent of priests had been accused of sexual misconduct. But this is not a matter of pride, but instead like a fire department whose members include 4 percent arsonists.” They highlight the damage done by the 1997 letter from the Congregation for the Clergy to the Irish bishops urging that they not report abuse to police but rather channel complaints through church channels. When the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (C.D.F.) took over, this advice was reversed, but not before great damage was done to the church’s credibility.

The Clergy Sex Abuse Crisis is a comprehensive handbook for anyone contemplating action against the church or for those wanting to understand the complexities of the civil and canon law. The steps in criminal prosecution and civil litigation are carefully spelled out. The lay reader is given an accessible understanding of legal concepts like respondeat superior, vicarious liability, the statute of limitations and bankruptcy. Ten of the 195 dioceses in the United States have now filed for bankruptcy and are requiring an accounting of all assets and contingent liabilities, being “called upon to ‘give ‘til it hurts’” in the disposal of available land or other assets.” Since 1987, insurance companies have become increasingly restrictive, refusing to offer coverage for abuse and for failure to adequately screen, train or monitor clergy. This has resulted in “over 60 dioceses and church entities that have entered the Catholic Mutual risk pool program.”

There is still no legal certainty about the extent of any Vatican liability for failure by bishops to adequately supervise their priests nor about the extent, if any, to which parish assets can be accessed to satisfy diocesan debts. If the C.D.F. were to order the reinstatement of a priest who later abused a child, the plaintiff might succeed in reaching the deep pockets of the Vatican despite the provisions of the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:39 AM

IS ER NIETS VERANDERD IN HET BISDOM BRUGGE?

BELGIE
KerkNet

BRUSSEL (KerkNet) – “Na het ontbinden van de Commissie Adriaenssens in juni 2010 stonden de slachtoffers die zich hadden gemeld opnieuw in de kou. In die nadagen werd mgr. De Kesel benoemd tot bisschop van Brugge. Er was één groot vacuüm rond de vraag wat moet en kan er nu gebeuren met de klachten van slachtoffers. De bisschop deed meteen beroep op Patrick Degrieck, priester en jurist van het bisdom, die medewerker was in de Commissie Adriaenssens. Hij kreeg de uitdrukkelijke opdracht de slachtoffers van priesters uit het bisdom die ondertussen gekend waren uit te nodigen voor gesprek en al het mogelijke te doen voor erkenning en herstel”. Dat zegt Manu Keirse, emeritus hoogleraar verliesverwerking en voorzitter van de Interdiocesane Commissie voor de Bescherming van Kinderen en Jongeren.

“In die dagen werd ik gevraagd door de bisschoppenconferentie om op basis van mijn ervaring met verliesverwerking een nieuw beleid uit te tekenen voor opvang en herstel. Dat resulteerde in de oprichting van twaalf opvangpunten binnen de Kerk en de oprichting van de arbitragecommissie, een instantie buiten de Kerk opgericht, maar wel met haar volledige medewerking, op vraag van de parlementaire commissie.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:34 AM

Mensenrechten in de Kerk vraagt ontslag van Léonard

BELGIE
De Morgen

[A church human rights group is calling for the resignation of Archbishop Andre-Joseph Leonard. A court last week ordered the archbishop to pay money to a victim of clergy sexual abuse.]

Mensenrechten in de Kerk vraagt het ontslag van monseigneur Léonard. De werkgroep doet dit naar aanleiding van de uitspraak van het Luikse hof van beroep, dat Léonard gisteren veroordeelde omdat hij niet optrad tegen een pedofiele priester, en wegens uitspraken die Léonard eerder zelf deed.

Het hof van beroep in Luik veroordeelde Léonard donderdag in een burgerlijke procedure omdat die niet het nodige zou hebben gedaan met een klacht van slachtoffer Joël Devillet, die van zijn 14e tot zijn 18e werd verkracht door een priester in de provincie Luxemburg. De man kaartte het misbruik in 1991 aan bij Léonard, die toen nog bisschop in Namen was.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:31 AM

AARTSBISSCHOP LEONARD TREKT ZICH NA EMERITAAT TERUG IN ZIJN PRIESTERFRATERNITEIT

BELGIE
KerkNet

[Andre-Joseph Leonard, archbishop of Malines-Brussels, will settle after retirement with his Fratrnite des Saints Apotres.]

ANTWERPEN (KerkNet/Tertio) – Mgr. André-Joseph Léonard, de aartsbisschop van Mechelen-Brussel, zal zich na zijn emeritaat vestigen in zijn ‘Fraternité des Saints Apôtres’. Hij maakt dat bekend in een gesprek met het weekblad 'Tertio'. André-Joseph Léonard werd op 6 mei 1940 geboren in Jambes (Namen). Op woensdag 6 mei wordt hij 75 jaar en neemt dan ambtshalve ontslag als aartsbisschop.

Eerder kondigde mgr. Léonard aan dat hij bij die gelegenheid aan paus Franciscus zal vragen om een opvolger te benoemen en dat hij zich na zijn emeritaat graag wil vestigen in een bedevaartsoord in België of Frankrijk. “Ik kan er biecht horen, preken en conferenties geven, wat lezen en schrijven.” In 'Tertio' bekent hij tegelijk een andere idee te koesteren. “Met de toestemming van mijn opvolger zou ik eerst een tijdje in de oude abdij van Marche-les-Dames willen wonen in de door mij opgerichte ‘Fraternité des Saints Apôtres’. Ik wil er bekwame mensen vormen die na mij de verantwoordelijkheid over die priesteropleiding kunnen opnemen.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:28 AM

Standpunt: Balans

BELGIE
Tertio

Geert De Kerpel

Over exact twee weken wordt André-Joseph Léonard 75 jaar en dient hij, zoals het kerkelijke recht bepaalt, zijn ontslag in als aartsbisschop van Mechelen-Brussel. Uit het bilan dat Tertio samen met hem opmaakt, blijkt nog maar eens hoezeer de zorg voor de continuïteit met de traditie centraal staat in zijn denken en handelen, en een sterke profilering van de katholieke identiteit hem blijvend na aan het hart ligt. Geen twijfel dus bij hem over bijvoorbeeld de kerkelijke leer inzake huwelijk en seksualiteit, ook niet nadat met het bijeenroepen door de paus van twee bisschoppensynodes over het thema toch wel wat in beweging blijkt te komen, tot in de hoogste kerkelijke regionen aan toe.

Het heeft het voordeel van de duidelijkheid en wie houvast zoekt in deze soms verwarrende tijden, komt bij bisschop Léonard en de kerk die hij voorstaat, niet bedrogen uit. Maar de gapende kloof met brede lagen van de bevolking wordt er wel niet kleiner op, integendeel. Dat bovendien ook heel wat trouwe kerkgangers en zelfs vele pastorale verantwoordelijken aan de andere kant van het ravijn zijn beland, geeft pas echt te denken. Is het werkelijk keer op keer het Volk Gods dat is afgedwaald van de rechte weg of misten bij bepaalde cruciale gelegenheden ook hun herders de juiste afslag?

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:27 AM

‘Null, and void of all validity for ever’

MINNESOTA
Canonical Consultation

04/26/2015

Jennifer Haselberger

As a graduate student, my most valued and necessary possession (besides the rosary inscribed 'I am a Catholic. In case of emergency, call a priest' that was given to me by grandmother when I departed for what she considered to be the pagan land of Britain) was my British Library card. I also happened to live for a year near Runnymede, which is why I listened with interest to news reports of the opening of the new exhibit at the British Library Gallery 'Magna Carta: Law, Liberty, and Legacy'. The exhibit is unique in that not only is the Magna Carta on display in London, but also Thomas Jefferson's handwritten Declaration of Independence. What piqued my interest, however, was another document on display- Pope Innocent III's papal bull invalidating the Magna Carta, issued in August of 1215, a mere three months after the 'great charter' was agreed to by King John and his warring barons.

It should come as no surprise to us that the Holy See was opposed to the agreement that has become the foundation of many modern constitutions and a cornerstone of our understanding of individual rights. The ideas that were contained therein, including that no one, including the King, is above the law, that no one could be taxed without the agreement of established stakeholders, and that all free men have the right to justice and a fair trial, can scarcely be imagined to be palatable to an autocrat who himself held power even over the King. What did surprise me, however, is that 800 years after Pope Innocent III declared the Magna Carta to be ‘illegal, unjust, harmful to royal rights and shameful to the English people’, the Catholic Church is again asserting its rights above those granted by legislative assembly.

I am tempted to link to some of the amicus briefs the USCCB has filed with the Supreme Court during the past ten years, but instead I will keep things closer to home. For, the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis recently asked federal bankruptcy judge Robert Kressel to set a bar date, or a filing deadline, of August 3 for victims seeking compensation from the Archdiocese for sexual abuse perpetrated by its clergy. This is nearly 9-months earlier than the civil window opened by the Minnesota legislature in 2013, which gives victims until May of 2016 to file a civil suit, regardless of when their abuse occurred. According to news reports, the Archdiocese feels the bar date will assist it in filing a timely reorganization plan, with less cost. Attorneys for victims argue that survivors of abuse in the Archdiocese should be given the same amount of time to file claims as survivors in other parts of the state.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:36 AM

Bishop McGrath addresses Monsignor Hien Nguyen arrest

CALIFORNIA
The Valley Catholic

By Liz Sullivan

Diocese of San Jose Bishop Patrick J. McGrath recently sat down with The Valley Catholic to discuss the recent arrest of Monsignor Hien Minh Nguyen for 14 counts of Bank Fraud totaling $19,000 and Tax Evasion.

The Bishop was saddened by this development, noting that “Monsignor Hien has been a priest of the Diocese of San Jose for nearly 30 years. In his years as pastor of St. Patrick, he paid off previously accrued parish and school debts and created a strong foundation upon which to serve the community.”

Ordained in 1985, Nguyen served as Judicial Vicar for the Diocese of San Jose from 2001-2008 before being named Pastor of St. Patrick in 2008. He served in that capacity until 2011. Following a fire that destroyed the church in September of 2012, the parish was renamed and is now called Our Lady of La Vang. Monsignor Nguyen also served as Vicar for Vietnamese Ministry and Director of the Vietnamese Catholic Center from 2001 to 2011.

Monsignor Nguyen had requested and been granted a sabbatical, which began on July 1, 2011. Returning from his sabbatical, he was appointed as Parochial Vicar of St. Nicholas Parish on July 1, 2012. Then in October, 2012, the Diocese was contacted by the IRS. The IRS requested confidentiality on the part of the Diocese. Nguyen took a personal leave of absence from ministry on December 6, 2013.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:32 AM

Pope names new Archbishop for Santa Fe

VATICAN CITY
Vatican Radio

(Vatican Radio) The Holy Father has named Bishop John C. Wester as the new Archbishop of Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA. Bishop Wester has been serving as Bishop of Salt Lake City, Utah.

At the same time, the Holy Father has accepted the resignation of Archbishop Michael Sheehan from the pastoral governance of the Archdiocese of Santa Fe, in conformity with canon 401, paragraph 1 of the Code of Canon Law.

Biography of Archbishop-elect John Charles Wester

Bishop John Charles Wester was born 5 November 1950 in San Francisco, California. After attending Our Lady of Mercy elementary school in Daly City and Saint Joseph High School Seminary (1964-1968), and Saint Joseph College Seminary (1968-1972) in Mountain View, he undertook his theological studies at Saint Patrick Seminary in Menlo Park (1972-1976). Later, he obtained a Master’s degree in Spiritual Theology at the University of San Francisco (1984) and a Master’s in Pastoral Counseling at Holy Names College in Oakland (1993).

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:28 AM

New York Catholic bishops fight new Statute of Limitation bill for it would cause the church "catastrophic financial harm". WTF let Vatican Billions pay victims

UNITED STATES
PopeCrimes& Vatican Evils.

Paris Arrow

With news compilation

ATTENTION New York idiots Catholics, this is your first-and-last chance to protest big time against Pope Francis when he comes to New York in September – especially at his speech in the UN – because he is the biggest Pharisee hypocrite and greatest thief in the history of mankind – because he hoards all those despots and world leaders at the UN and multinational corporations imperialists’ private secret accounts in the Vatican Swiss Banks – run exclusively by his Swiss Guard Army alumni.

A bill is now pending in the NY state Assembly that would eliminate the statute of limitations on abuse cases going forward – and create a one-year window to allow anyone to file lawsuits no matter when the abuse occurred. The Roman Catholic Church is opposing the bill saying that it would cause the church "catastrophic financial harm" and that "It is wrong to hold innocent people accountable today for the evil actions of long-dead individuals from a different generation." Really, tell that to the Germans of today who are still paying hundreds of millions of dollars annually to Jewish victims – (and their descendants) -- of the Holocaust caused by dead Hitler (accomplice of Vatican) and carried out by his Nazis – for whom the Vatican issued passports to their safe refuge in Argentina.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:26 AM

Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis Survivors ...

MINNESOTA
Legal Examiner

Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis Survivors of Child Sex Abuse Need To Act Sooner

Posted by Mike Bryant
April 26, 2015

As a result of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis bankruptcy, survivors of sexual abuse have until August 3rd, 2015 to seek justice against their attackers. The Window that has been opened by the Minnesota legislature has a ending date of May of 2016. The federal bankruptcy court unfortunately preempts the state law, so as compared to the rest of the state, Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis survivors have lost time to act.

Those with claims must act within that time.

Abuse of children and the continued silence by the offenders needs to be prevented. If you suffered, saw, or suspected such events, it is important to know that there is help out there.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:23 AM

Parents at SF catholic school make renewed plea to oust pastor

SAN FRANCISCO
San Francisco Examiner

Some parents at Star of the Sea School say they’ve begun writing letters and placing calls to Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordelione to remove the school’s pastor, the Rev. Joseph Illo, after learning of a court case where the pastor was found guilty of causing emotional distress to a young girl.

Bob Regan, a parent of a student at the school, said many parents contacted San Francisco’s archbishop last week after learning about the case, which was settled in San Joaquin County Superior Court in 2005.

In that case, the girl in 2001 reported alleged sexual misconduct by another priest working under Illo, who at the time was at St. Joseph’s Parish in Modesto. The lawsuit states Illo in turn called the girl a liar and yelled at her, causing emotional distress. The girl was ultimately awarded $20,000 in damages.

Regan told The San Francisco Examiner on Sunday that parents at the school are planning on having a private meeting this week to discuss the court case. When asked how many parents have contacted the archbishop about their concerns, Regan speculated “more than 200.” “You really have to work hard to find parents who are not dismayed by what’s going on,” Regan said.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:21 AM

Church music composer John Barnard, who taught at Nigella Lawson school, guilty over child porn

UNITED KINGDOM
London Evening Standard

TONY PALMER
PAUL CHESTON

Published: 27 April 2015

A leading composer of church music who taught at private schools including one attended by Nigella Lawson and Kate Beckinsale has escaped prison after police found images of child abuse at his home.

John Barnard, 66, a former German and French teacher at the £18,000-a-year Godolphin and Latymer school in Hammersmith, was arrested after officers raided his house in Harrow.

He pleaded guilty at Harrow Crown Court to three counts of making indecent images of children and one charge of possessing indecent photographs, which relate to 29 pictures found in his bedroom. Most of the images depicted boys aged between 14 and 16. ...

Barnard is currently suspended as head of choir at John Keble Church, Edgware.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:17 AM

Francis Folly: Why The Pope's Man In Chile Should Resign

UNITED STATES
WLRN

By TIM PADGETT

Argentine-born Pope Francis knows it’s not enough to be the first Latin American pontiff. He also has to make that mean something.

So far he has. He’s condemned the region’s still epic inequality, he's tried to mediate the unholy mess in Venezuela – and most famously he's brokered a rapprochement between the U.S. and Cuba that could thaw a century of bitter mistrust between Washington and Latin America.

Francis announced last week that in September he’ll visit Cuba, where polls show he’s far more beloved than the Castros – and where, as my colleague Andres Oppenheimer points out, he has a unique opportunity to persuade them to improve human rights.

All good stuff, Your Holiness. So forgive us if we can’t figure out why you would risk all that New World goodwill by stubbornly endorsing a bishop in Chile who, according to victims, shielded a pedophile priest.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:14 AM

April 26, 2015

A.2872,Markey / S.63, Hoylman: In relation to opening a one-year window for time-barred civil claims of sexual abuse of a minor

NEW YORK
New York State Catholic Conference

Published on April 19th, 2015

Memorandum of Opposition

The above-referenced bill would create a one-year window for the filing of decades-old claims of sexual abuse by a minor against businesses, not-for-profits and religious organizations. Sexual abuse is a crime and a detestable assault on the dignity of the human person, made even worse when the victim is a child. Child sexual abuse is a pervasive social problem and the Catholic Conference supports legislative efforts to strengthen criminal penalties for sexual abuse of children to allow law enforcement to get sexual predators off the streets, and to prospectively extend criminal and civil statutes of limitations to give victims more time to seek justice.

The centerpiece of this legislation, however, is not designed to protect children from abuse today, rather it is aimed at enriching trial lawyers by opening a “window” for previously time-barred claims, specifically targeting private institutions such as the Catholic Church, the Boy Scouts and other not-for profit organizations with impossible-to-defend claims that go back 40, 50, or 60 years, or even longer. Incredibly, the bill “window” in the statute of limitations does not apply to public institutions, such as public schools, hospitals, health clinics, juvenile detention facilities, county youth programs and town pools. The reason is simple: State law which requires victims to file a notice of claim with the courts within three months of the incident when they intend to sue a public entity, or forever be time barred. As this bill does not amend that requirement, the window does not apply to victims injured in state facilities.

The Assembly sponsor acknowledged this injustice in 2009 when she amended her bill to remove notice of claims requirements, thereby including public institutions. She even told the New York Times that the amendment “has made this a better bill.” (NYT, 6/4/09) However, after strong opposition from the NYS Conference of Mayors, the Association of Counties, and the School Boards Association, she retreated and refashioned the bill to once again protect public entities.

Under the current bill language, victims of long-ago abuse in public schools or other municipal institutions would not have the same recourse to sue an employer or institution as someone abused by a priest, rabbi or a Boy Scout counselor. This creates two classes of victims, giving a person who claims to have been sexually abused in a private school another chance to sue 60 years later, while denying the right of a person abused in a public school even months after the fact. This is clearly discriminatory.

Statutes of limitations exist to protect the fair administration of justice. Their purpose is to ensure that plaintiffs bring their claims within a reasonable period of time so that defendants will have timely notice of such claims and a reasonable opportunity to prepare a defense. They reflect recognition of the need to give legal repose to human affairs. Over time, memories fade, witnesses die, evidence disappears and the likelihood of fraudulent claims increases. It is virtually impossible for any organization to defend itself against a claim arising from events 50, 60, 70 years ago – a claim which probably involves people who are dead and about which little, if any, reliable information is available.

This legislation is patterned on similar legislation that was passed in California in 2002 during the height of the sexual abuse crisis in the Church. It has resulted in more than 800 lawsuits – more than $1 billion in claims. The Catholic Church in California was been forced to settle these claims by selling church properties and curtailing essential programs and services. The Catholic Church in New York State would likely suffer the same catastrophic financial harm. Moreover, the legislation may make it impossible for the Catholic Church and other non-profits that serve children to buy insurance, putting in jeopardy their ability to continue to provide services.

Since 2002, the Catholic Church has taken more steps to prevent the sexual abuse of children than any other private organization. No one who has been credibly accused of harming a child is currently in active ministry and all Church employees and volunteers in every diocese must complete sexual abuse awareness training if they are going to be in contact with children in any way. Whenever a credible claim of sexual abuse is brought, it is both investigated by Church authorities and immediately reported to law enforcement. The Church recognizes that sexual abuse and sexual assault is a societal problem, and it must be addressed as such.

The Catholic Conference strongly supports legislative efforts to protect children from sexual abuse, including mandatory background checks for all public and private employees who work with children, expansion of the “mandatory reporter” law to include clergy and others, and an extension of the criminal statute of limitations for additional sex offenses. An extension or elimination of the criminal statutes would, in effect, extend the civil statutes as well, because state law allows a civil case to be brought upon the disposition of a criminal case, even if it would otherwise be time barred.

The Catholic Conference opposes legislation designed to target the Catholic Church and other private organizations by opening a retroactive window in the statute of limitations so that people can bring claims against institutions which decades ago may have employed someone now charged with abuse. This bill would result in present-day juries applying society’s current psychological understanding of sexual abuse to the decisions made by employers 40, 50 or 60 years ago. It is wrong to hold innocent people accountable today for the evil actions of long-dead individuals from a different generation.

This bill would be a boon to trial attorneys but a grave injustice to those who donate their hard-earned money to religious and charitable institutions which now might be subject to stale lawsuits regarding long-ago charges. No secret vault of gold exists to bail Catholics out of this attorney-driven legal siege. The people paying for these abuse settlements are innocent Catholic families who had no part in events of the past. It is these Catholic families who stand to lose their churches, their schools, and the charities they so generously support if this law is passed. It is the people of the state who stand to suffer from curtailed religious, educational and social services.

Victims of sexual abuse clearly have a right to sue, but it must be done within a reasonable amount of time or a fair trial becomes impossible, particularly with lesser evidentiary standards of civil versus criminal trials. A retroactive opening of civil statutes of limitations allowing for unlimited old claims does not serve justice. In fact, it is contrary to justice. It is unfair and bad public policy when governments exempt themselves from lawsuits of a kind that can bankrupt their private counterparts when engaged in exactly the same behavior.

This bill is discriminatory on its face. The Catholic Conference strongly urges its defeat.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:55 PM

Childless Pope Faces Man-Made “Mess”: Children & Climate Change

UNITED STATES
Christian Catholicism

Jerry Slevin

Ironically, among the childless pope’s top problems are two that involve children: those abused by predatory priests and those born to parents unable to nurture them adequately. Celibate Pope Francis may soon be creating a new self inflicted “mess” with his much hyped climate change encyclical, unless he decisively reverses his papal contraception ban in the process. A reversal would also free the Vatican of the harmful legacy of illusory “infallible” popes that has compelled modern popes to follow misguided decisions of their fallible predecessors.

The pope’s celibate “Family Synod” Bishops last October were almost 95% in favor of continuing the contraception ban. The final “Family Synod” next October is very unlikely to favor reversing the ban, thereby likely greatly weakening the papacy further in the process. Almost all of these bishops reportedly had, in effect, promised, as a pre-condition to being made a bishop, that they would uphold the contraception ban, a key element of the papal claim to infallibility. The world’s population was about 2 billion in 1930 when Pope Pius XI, the first pope of Francis’ lifetime, unnecessarily banned birth control mainly for geo-political reasons. The population is now 7.3 billion and projected to be 9 billion in 2050, only 35 years from now. It is time for the pope to act responsibly and reasonably to solve this self inflicted papal problem.

The pope is in trouble. He has yet to recover from the revolts of Catholics in Chile and among the members of his “go slow” sex abuse commission over his appointment of Bishop Barros or from his unnecessary “Mexicanization” slur. See my Vatican Revolt Negates Synod & Sex Commission . The pope’s belated and inadequate removal of Bishop Finn has satisfied few and raised the call for more bishops to go.

In January, in flight to the overpopulated and natural disaster ravaged Philippines, reporters asked Pope Francis if he believes that climate change is the result of human activity. The pope replied that he thinks it’s “mostly” man-made. “I don’t know if it (human activity) is the only cause, but mostly, in great part, it is man who has slapped nature in the face,” he reportedly said.

A key factor in climate change, of course, is entirely “man-made”, namely population growth. More children, which the pope consistently pushes for, means more climate change and more unsustainable and “expendable” children to be abandoned, exploited and abused, including by bishops and priests, as was evident in the Dominican Republic with Polish Archbishop Jozef Wesolowski and priest Fr. Alberto Gil.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:22 PM

Who Would Jesus Shoot?

MICHIGAN
Questions from a Ewe

I leave the country for a few weeks and I guess I cannot trust my diocese and bishop to keep themselves out of the funny papers while I’m gone. The hubbub? Fr. Ed Fride, pastor of Christ the King parish in Ann Arbor, sponsored and started holding concealed pistol license (CPL) classes at the parish presumably with emphasis on answering those vexing doctrinal questions, “Who would Jesus shoot?” and “What would Jesus carry?”

As a personal parish of Lansing Bishop Earl Boyea, Christ the King is not confined to territorial boundaries as are most diocesan parishes. It prides itself on being a “charismatic, contemplative, Eucharistic and Marian” oasis within the diocese. I think Fr. Ed was just trying to expand that "points of pride” list to include other terms typically associated with Jesus such as “kick-ass,” take no prisoners,” and “combative.” That’s quite a spiritual weapons journey for Ed, a former Vietnam War Conscientious Objector…from pacifist to pugilist.

To give you some idea about the parish in question, rumor has it that Domino’s Pizza Founder and uber-orthodox sugar daddy of Ave Maria University, Tom Monaghan, also bankrolls this uber-orthodox parish. This seems plausible since Christ the King, Ann Arbor sits across the road from Ave Maria Radio and adjacent to Domino’s Farms.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:19 PM

San Francisco idiots Catholics demand Pope Francis to oust Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone

UNITED STATES
POPE FRANCIS the CON-Christ.

Paris Arrow

In San Francisco, USA, more than 100 prominent Catholics – famous laymen and laywomen, hardworking men and women, moms and dads many of them have received awards from the archdiocese – signed a full-page advertisement in the San Francisco Chronicle urging Pope Francis to replace Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone for fostering “an atmosphere of division and intolerance” – and for demanding high school teachers and staffers at Catholic schools to sign a morality clause to “affirm and believe” that sex outside marriage and masturbation and homosexual relations are “gravely evil.” The ad strategically placed in the main section of the newspaper reportedly cost tens of thousands of dollars. OUR REBUTTAL is in the two large words it used – Holy Father – to address Pope Francis – which is a pathological lie because Pope Francis and priests do not deserve to be called “Father” because they steal from the dignity of laymen – including these same laymen signatories – who are true fathers to their children. Popes and priests do absolutely nothing for the daily welfare of children worldwide.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:16 PM

SAN FRANCISCO PARENTS RENEW CALLS TO OUST PARISH'S PASTOR

SAN FRANCISCO (CA)
ABC7

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- A lawsuit from back in 2005 is providing fuel for parents of students at a San Francisco Catholic school who want to remove the parish's controversial pastor.

The San Francisco Chronicle reports that according to the lawsuit, Father Joseph Illo, who is now the pastor at Star of the Sea School, shouted at an 11-year-old girl at his former parish and called her a liar.

This after she came to him to report alleged sexual abuse by another priest.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:19 PM

Prete pedofilo a Messina? L'arcivescovo: "Seguo la vicenda con dolore"

ITALIA
Nuovo Sud

[Pedophile priest in Messina? Archbishop: "I follow the story with pain".]

Il sacerdote sarebbe stato denunciato da un autotrasportatore di Rovigo.

"Con profondo dolore e sgomento apprendo quanto i mass media in questi ultimi giorni stanno diffondendo circa presunti comportamenti assunti da un frate domenicano, temporaneamente inserito in una comunità religiosa del suo ordine presente nella nostra Arcidiocesi, che certamente, se fossero confermati, sarebbero incompatibili con la vita cristiana e con la vita religiosa". Lo scrive in una nota l'arcivescovo di Messina Calogero La Piana, in merito a un presunto caso di pedofilia che vedrebbe coinvolto un prelato messinese che, secondo la denuncia di autotrasportatore ai carabinieri di Rovigo, avrebbe contattato su facebook dei minori per intrattenere con loro dei rapporti sessuali.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:42 AM

Prete accusato di pedofilia, sceglieva le sue vittime nei quartieri poveri

ITALIA
Repubblica

[Priest accused of pedophilia, chose his victims in poor neighborhoods.]

di FLORIANA RULLO

Adescava le sue giovani vittime nei quartieri poveri delle città. Ragazzi cresciuti in quartieri difficili, con pochi soldi in tasca che trovavano in quelle decine di euro che don Massimo Iuculano, il parroco di Vercelli arrestato ieri dalla polizia per violenza sessuale aggravata e prostituzione minorile, gli dava dopo per le prestazioni sessuali che riceveva. Ragazzi minorenni e maggiorenni senza soldi, spesso problematici e con un passato difficile alle spalle fatte di violenze, anche domestiche.

Emergono nuovi agghiaccianti particolari sulla doppia vita di Don Massimo. Da una parte da tutti era considerato la guida dell’oratorio più frequentato della città, sempre impegnato nelle attività del Belvedere di Vercelli e dall'altra invece emerge una storia di abusi fatta di incontri per prestazione sessuali sia in parrocchia che in auto. ,poliziaAddirittura qualcuno lo vedeva rincasare a ore improponibili per un prete. E mentre lunedì è previsto l'interrogatorio di garanzia per il sacerdote 46enne originario di Torino, la procura di Torino nei prossimi giorni, analizzerà le conversazioni che il sacerdote scambiava con le sue vittime, adescate tramite sms, Facebook e Whatsapp.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:40 AM

Pedofiele bisschop Vangheluwe heeft recht op pensioen van 2.800 euro

BELGIE
De Morgen

[Pedophile bishop Vangheluwe entitled to pension of 2,800 euros.]

Ex-bisschop van Brugge, Roger Vangheluwe, gaf vijf jaar geleden zijn ontslag nadat hij in opspraak was gekomen voor kindermisbruik. Waarschijnlijk heeft hij zich ergens teruggetrokken in een of andere religieuze gemeenschap. Vermits het nooit tot een veroordeling kwam, heeft de pedofiele Vangheluwe nog altijd recht op zijn pensioen. En dat is niet min: 2.800 euro. Netto.

Vangheluwe gaf in 2010 toe dat hij zijn neefje in de jaren tachtig seksueel had misbruikt. Op 23 april van dat jaar diende hij zijn ontslag als bisschop van Brugge in. Vijf jaar geleden dus. Nog dezelfde dag aanvaardde paus Benedictus XVI het ontslag van Vangheluwe. Een jaar later gaf hij ook toe nog een andere neef te hebben misbruikt. In een ophefmakend interview met VT4 minimaliseerde hij zijn kindermisbruik.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:38 AM

Angela Constance vows to put best person in charge of child abuse inquiry: 'We might be late but we will be right'

SCOTLAND
Daily Record

26 April 2015 By Marion Scott

EDUCATION Secretary Angela Constance yesterday vowed to put the best person in charge of a public inquiry into child abuse in Scotland.

She made the pledge 24 hours after she was criticised by victims for delaying the appointment.

Constance had been expected to announce which judge would be spearheading the investigation into historical institutional child abuse by the end of the month.

But she revealed last week there will be no announcement until after May’s general election, sparking anger among abuse survivors.

Yesterday she reassured victims that the Scottish Government was on their side and promised whoever is in charge will get it right.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:27 AM

Kamerleden: ‘Houd het Meldpunt Seksueel Misbruik RKK open’

NEDERLAND
De Groene Amsterdammer

[Labour MP Marith Rebel and her D66 colleague Magda Berndsen want clarification from the Minister of Security and Justice on the reporting of sexual abuse by the Catholic Church and the transfer of accused clergy by the Church to developing countries. An article in The Green Amsterdam this week shows that the Dutch province of the Congregation Priests of the Sacred Heart of Jesus for years did nothing with reports of abuse by the Belgian Father Jan in Brazil. "The Roman Catholic Church seems to have learned little from the past and the recommendations of the committee Deetman," says Labour MP Marith Rebel.]

door Jeroen Kostense & Katy Sherriff 15-04-2015

PvdA-Kamerlid Marith Rebel en haar D66-collega Magda Berndsen willen opheldering van de minister van Veiligheid en Justitie over het melden van seksueel misbruik door de katholieke kerk en de overplaatsing van verdachte geestelijken door de kerk naar ontwikkelingslanden. Uit een artikel in De Groene Amsterdammer van deze week blijkt dat de Nederlandse provincie van de congregatie Priesters van het Heilig Hart van Jezus jarenlang niks deed met meldingen van misbruik door de Belgische pater Jan in Brazilië. ‘De rooms-katholieke kerk lijkt weinig geleerd te hebben van het verleden en de aanbevelingen van de commissie-Deetman’, zegt PvdA-Kamerlid Marith Rebel.

De laatste jaren duiken steeds meer zaken op van paters die na beschuldigingen van misbruik werden ‘overgeplaatst’ naar de Derde Wereld. In het artikel wordt de zaak belicht van de Belgische pater Jan, die sinds midden jaren negentig een opvangtehuis voor jongens runt in het arme noordoosten van Brazilië. Koos de Rooij, provinciaal-overste van de congregatie van pater Jan, beweert dat de congregatie niet eerder over de beschuldigingen hoorde dan 2011. Toen stapten Belgische slachtoffers die in de jaren zeventig en tachtig door de pater zouden zijn misbruikt naar justitie.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:47 AM

Finally, a U.S. Bishop Is Punished in Sex-Abuse Scandal

UNITED STATES
The Daily Beast

Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry

It’s a huge deal and major accountability moment for a Church that frankly hasn’t had enough of them. The Vatican is getting it at last.

The resignation of bishop Robert W. Finn of Kansas City-St Joseph, Missouri last week is a watershed moment in the history of the Catholic Church: the first time that a bishop was directly forced to resign for poorly handling a case of priestly child abuse. Finn was sentenced for maintaining in ministry and failing to report a priest on whose computer a piece of child pornography was found.

Let's acknowledge this first: Since the Catholic sex abuse crisis first came to light 15 years ago, the Church has taken enormous steps to remedy the problem, especially under the too-little-noticed but vigorous guidance of Pope Benedict XVI—including extremely tough accountability rules for priests. And indeed sex abuse cases have dropped precipitously.

But the true underlying problem, and the reason why the sex abuse scandal was such a crisis for the Church, was never with the priests. It was always with the bishops. All religious denominations suffer from sex abuse problems simply because predators look for positions where they have access to children, and Catholics are no worse off than anybody else.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:40 AM

EDITORIAL: Bishop Finn pays the price for misusing power, placing secrecy ahead of child safety

KANSAS CITY (MO)
Missourian

Sunday, April 26, 2015

BY KANSAS CITY STAR

The departure of Robert W. Finn as bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph, although overdue, is a step forward for the diocese and thousands of area Catholics.

Finn’s conduct in office made him a symbol of the Catholic church’s failure to adequately address child sexual abuse by priests. He was the first Catholic bishop to be convicted of a crime related to that crisis.

Finn, 62, should have resigned after his 2012 conviction, if not sooner. He received two years of probation for failing to notify law enforcement authorities after pornographic images were found on the computer of a diocesan priest, Shawn Ratigan.

Finn’s decision to place secrecy above his moral and legal obligations enabled Ratigan to harm additional children. The former priest is serving a 50-year prison sentence for producing child pornography.

Finn remained in office despite the scandal, a circumstance that anguished and angered many Catholics. The news Tuesday that Pope Francis accepted Finn’s resignation is a triumph for the lay persons who wrote letters, collected more than 250,000 petition signatures and spoke up for Finn to leave.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:34 AM

Old lawsuit fuels push to oust S.F. priest

SAN FRANCISCO
SFGate

By Kristen V. Brown Saturday, April 25, 2015

In the latest scandal to hit San Francisco’s Catholic Church, elementary school parents at Star of the Sea School have renewed calls for the ouster of the parish’s controversial pastor after learning of a decade-old civil court case in which a jury found he inflicted emotional distress on an 11-year-old girl at his former parish in Modesto.

The lawsuit in San Joaquin County Superior Court in 2005 said that when the girl came to the Rev. Joseph Illo in September 2001 to report alleged sexual abuse by another priest, the Rev. Francis Arakal, Illo called her a liar, yelled at her and forced her to confront Arakal.

No criminal charges were filed against Arakal. The jury in the civil lawsuit did not find him liable for any wrongful touching, but awarded the family $20,000 for emotional distress based on how the incident was handled.

“Whether the story was real or not, he had no right to treat a child the way he did as a responsible adult in a position of authority,” said Christy Brooks, a parent of two students at Star of the Sea, a K-8 school. “We really need an explanation from the archdiocese of how this person was vetted and put into a parish that had an elementary school. He is ill-equipped to be sitting anywhere near children.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:23 AM

Catholics around the world can’t afford ‘luxury issues’

UNITED STATES
Crux

By John L. Allen Jr.
Associate editor April 25, 2015

Americans may have lost their dominance in many sectors of the global economy in the early 21st century, but there’s one industry where we still unquestionably lead the pack: the manufacture of controversy.

American Catholics are no exception, and this week a fresh row broke out over Catholic Relief Services (CRS), the official overseas development arm of the US bishops. It turns out that CRS has a non-Catholic employee working in a technical post, nothing to do with faith or morals, who’s in a same-sex marriage.

Predictably, some folks are upset and are letting everyone know about it.

Whatever the merits of the fuss, here’s an observation you won’t find in most American debates: For Catholics in many other parts of the world, the whole thing seems a great example of a “luxury issue,” meaning the kind of argument that only affluent cultures and churches can afford to have. ...

Why it took so long on Bishop Finn.

Now that the story of Bishop Robert Finn of Kansas City-St. Joseph has reached its inevitable denouement with his resignation, the main post-mortem curiosity is why it took so long to get here.

The Vatican announced Finn’s resignation on Tuesday, a full 2 1/2 years after he became the lone American bishop to be criminally convicted (albeit on a misdemeanor charge) of failure to report an allegation of child abuse. For most people, the inexplicable part is why it required 28 months for a bishop disgraced in such an utterly complete way to lose his job.

I was in Rome when the news broke, and a colleague in the Vatican press corps suggested the headline should be: “Finn … ally!”

Probably the best way to explain the delay is that it illustrates the dilemma that ensues when the broad significance of a case and its individual details aren’t in perfect alignment.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:19 AM

Former Episcopal Academy students come forth with allegations of sex abuse decades ago

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
Philadelphia Inquirer

MARI A. SCHAEFER, INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
POSTED: Sunday, April 26, 2015

The Episcopal Academy student was 13, he said, when teacher Richard Perkins Smith gave him and some classmates pornographic magazines.

Smith watched as the boys, wearing only briefs, became sexually excited and "horsed around" with one another, he said.

"He knew damn well what was going on - and he facilitated it," said the former student.

Now a middle-aged man, the former student is among nearly a dozen Episcopal alumni who say Smith sexually abused them decades ago.

In a letter sent this month to alumni and others, officials at the prestigious Delaware County school disclosed that at least 11 former students had come forward to say they were abused by Smith, an Episcopal teacher from 1970 to 1990 and administrator until 1998.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:14 AM

April 25, 2015

Must Jesuits Overlook The Mistakes of Jesuit Pope Francis ?

UNITED STATES
Christian Catholicism

Jerry Slevin

No, but too many Jesuits give Pope Francis a pass, in my view, despite clear Gospel mandates, such as to protect children from abuse. And where today are the Jesuits like Karl Rahner and John Courtney Murray who dared to question earlier unchristian and unhistorical Vatican positions? Why are more Jesuits not at least trying to re-assess the autocratic prior two popes’ ideological mandates such as the continuing ban on artificial contraception, the “non-biblical” exclusion of women from the priesthood, invented papal infallibility, the cruel assault on gay Catholics, the insensitive exclusion of remarried divorced Catholics from communion, the budding and dangerous crusade against Middle East Islam, etc.? Have many Jesuits lost their nerve?

For almost four decades, the intellectual “swat team” priests of the Catholic Church, the Jesuits, had often been suppressed and intimidated by ruthless popes, especially the ex-pope for over three decades. Even outstanding Jesuit educated “ordinary priest” theologians like Hans Kung and Richard McBrien were pressured to be silent on key issues, like challenging the pope’s claim since 1870 to personal infallibility and the purportedly “settled” exclusion of women priests and the “sin” of artificial contraception and other mythical papal claims to non-existent “traditions” that clerical opportunists “discover” and compromised clerics “accept”.

One would have expected under the first Jesuit Pope, Francis, that there would have been an outburst of Jesuit truth telling. Disappointingly, not so as best I can tell. Jesuits, and at times even ex-Jesuits like Gary Wills and Michael Walsh, seem often so thrilled with having a Jesuit pope, that they appear to see mostly good outputs under Pope Francis, no matter what the reality is.

Of course, Jesuits have had their own embarrassing and expensive scandals, including major ones involving child sex abuse, so may have good reasons to be wary of the spotlight. And the seemingly tough ex-bouncer pope has likely leaned on Jesuit superiors to enforce blind obedience. But to their great credit, Jesuits have always had prophetic voices despite scandals and overbearing popes, including the unmatched Karl Rahner among recent prophets.

Significantly, well informed UK journalist, Paul Vallely, in his superb recent biography, “Pope Francis-Untier of Knots”, reports that many Jesuits in Argentina, and even in the UK and Rome, had serious reservations earlier about their Jesuit confrere, Jorge Bergoglio. This likely helped steer the ambitious Bergoglio to become a bishop, unusual for a Jesuit, and to bring him to powerful Cardinal Angelo Sodano’s close attention almost four decades ago.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:26 PM

S.F. Archbishop Cordileone Priest Joseph Illo was Focus of Abuse Lawsuit: Star of Sea School Parents Demand Removal

SAN FRANCISCO (CA)
San Francisco Sentinel

Canonical and court documents have come to light from 2003 and 2005 that cast a negative light on the ministry of Priest Joseph Illo during his time in the Stockton, Calif., diocese — including a court ruling that he inflicted “intentional emotional distress” on an 11-year-old girl — have further enraged parents at San Francisco’s Star of the Sea School who have sought the priest’s removal as Star of Sea Parish administrator, according to news stories on KGO Radio and in the National Catholic Reporter and the San Francisco Examiner.

“We do not want Father Illo around children or in our community,” said Christy Brooks, a Star of the Sea parent. “The details of this past lawsuit are deplorable. There is no one, who after reading this lawsuit, would want to have their children near Father Illo. Archbishop Cordileone should remove him immediately from our school and parish. The safety and well-being of our children must be paramount.”

“We believe Archbishop Cordileone was aware of this verdict against Ft. Illo for intentional infliction of emotional distress on a child and still knowingly placed him in our community with foresight and knowledge of his history. That is shocking and unforgivable,” Brooks added. She and a group of parents from Star of the Sea have written and phoned the Archbishop demanding Illo’s removal.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:48 PM

Gezamenlijke oproep aan slachtoffers seksueel misbruik

NEDERLAND
KNR

[The presidents of the Bishops' Conference, KNR, Klokk, VPKK and MCU call people who were underage victims of sexual abuse within the Roman Catholic Church to report themselves by May 1, 2015.]

UTRECHT - De voorzitters van de Bisschoppenconferentie, Konferentie Nederlandse Religieuzen (KNR), en slachtofferkoepel KLOKK, VPKK en MCU waren op maandag 16 maart bijeen en geven gezamenlijk de volgende verklaring af.

De voorzitters van de Bisschoppenconferentie, KNR, KLOKK, VPKK en MCU roepen mensen die als minderjarige slachtoffer werden van seksueel misbruik binnen de Rooms Katholieke Kerk, op zich voor 1 mei 2015 te melden bij het Meldpunt Seksueel Misbruik RKK.

Men kan zich melden via de website www.meldpuntmisbruikrkk.nl

Of schriftelijk:
Meldpunt misbruik RK Kerk
Postbus 13277
3507 LG Utrecht

Of telefonisch: 030-2306900

Er kan worden volstaan met het indienen van een klacht in enkele korte zinnen.

Kardinaal Eijk, voorzitter Bisschoppenconferentie
Br. C. van Dam, voorzitter KNR
G. Klabbers, voorzitter KLOKK
Mw. A. Knibbe-van Dijck, voorzitter VPKK
B. Smeets, voorzitter MCU

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:45 PM

Pools slachtoffer seksueel misbruik schikt met kerk

POLEN
Liberties.eu

[A person in Poland, who was sexually abused by a priest, has agreed to a settlement with the Diocese of Koszalin-Kolobrzeg and a parish.]

De eerste persoon in Polen die vanwege seksueel misbruik een civiele procedure is begonnen tegen de katholieke kerk, heeft ingestemd met een schikking met het bisdom van Koszalin-Kołobrzeg en een parochie.

Op twaalfjarige leeftijd werd Marcin K. zeven maanden lang door de priester Zbigniew R. seksueel misbruikt. In december 2012 is de priester hiervoor strafrechtelijk veroordeeld tot twee jaar gevangenisstraf. Hoewel de straf werd bevestigd en definitief was, wist de priester om medische redenen de cel te ontlopen.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:40 PM

Immer weniger junge Männer wollen katholische Priester werden

VATIKANSTADT
kathweb

[Fewer and fewer young men want to become Catholic priests and the number is declining world-wide.]

Zum zweiten Mal ist die Zahl der Kandidaten für das Priesteramt weltweit rückläufig - Hintergrundbericht zum Weltgebetstag für Geistliche Berufungen von Thomas Jansen

25.04.2015

Vatikanstadt (KAP) Papst Franziskus weiht am Sonntag 19 Männer im Petersdom zu Priestern. So ist es Tradition zum Weltgebetstag für Geistliche Berufungen, den die katholische Kirche jährlich am vierten Sonntag nach Ostern begeht. Beinahe zu einer Tradition sind auch schon die Klagen über einen Priestermangel in weiten Teilen Europas sowie Nordamerikas geworden, die aus diesem Anlass zu hören sind.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:37 PM

Pastor soll Frauen zur Prostitution gezwungen haben

FRANKREICH
Sueddeutsche

[A Nigerian pastor and his 15 accomplices were arrested by the French police in Nice. The priest is said to be the head of a ring of human traffickers. The man earned several hundred thousand euros and sent money via Spain and Italy to Nigeria.]

Einem Pastor in Nizza wird vorgeworfen, der Kopf eines Prostituierten-Rings gewesen zu sein. Der Geistliche aus Nigeria und 15 weitere Verdächtigte wurden bei einer Razzia festgenommen.

Das Geld schaffte der Banden-Chef in seine Heimat

Der Pastor und seine Komplizen organisierten die Prostitution von etwa 20 Frauen - ebenfalls Nigerianerinnen - in verschiedenen Vierteln der Hafenstadt. Unter anderem soll er die sonntäglichen Gottesdienste genutzt haben, um die Frauen zu kontrollieren. Sie stammten zum größten Teil aus der nigerianischen Metropole Benin-Stadt. Die meisten von ihnen hatten sich vor ihrer Abreise nach Frankreich vor dem Mitglied einer Religionsgemeinschaft verpflichtet, die Schulden für die Überfahrt abzubezahlen.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:34 PM

Missbrauch in Freiburger Pensionat: Bistum sucht Zeugen

SCHWEIZ
kath.ch

[ The diocese of Lausanne-Geneva-Freiburg seeks information on abuse cases in the Institute Marini Montet in the canton of Fribourg. Bishop Charles Morerod and members of a working group are seeking information after reports were made of numerous instances of sexual abuse and other abuses between 1930 and 1950.]

Freiburg i.Ü, 24.4.15 (kath.ch) Das Bistum Lausanne-Genf-Freiburg sucht Informationen zu Missbrauchsfällen im Institut Marini in Montet in Kanton Freiburg. Im Auftrag von Diözesanbischof Charles Morerod geht eine Arbeitsgruppe Berichten nach, gemäss derer es in den Jahren 1930 bis 1950 zu zahlreichen sexuellen und anderen Misshandlungen in diesem katholischen Pensionat gekommen sei.

Der Bischof setzte die Arbeitsgruppe im Januar 2015 ein. Zeugenaussagen bildeten einen wesentlichen Bestandteil, um zu verstehen, was damals geschah, heisst es in einer Mitteilung des Bistums. Die Resultate der Untersuchungen sollten bis Ende Jahr veröffentlicht werden. Die Zeugen soll Anonymität gewährt werden, wenn sie es wünschen.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:30 PM

SEXUALLY ABUSIVE NEWARK, NJ, ARCHDIOCESAN PRIEST TO BE GIVEN A FAREWELL PARTY BY HIS WEST ORANGE, NJ, PARISH – WHERE IS HE GOING?

NEW JERSEY
Road to Recovery

MEDIA RELEASE – APRIL 25, 2015

Fr. Edson Fernando Costa, a priest of the Archdiocese of Newark, New Jersey, sexually assaulted a senior citizen woman in 2007 in St. Anne’s Church, Fair Lawn, New Jersey, admitted he did it, and the Archdiocese of Newark knowingly placed him in Our Lady of Lourdes Parish, West Orange, New Jersey without notifying parishioners of his past, thus placing other women at risk of sexual assault.

In April, 2015, one week after sexual abuse advocates demonstrated at Our Lady of Lourdes Parish in West Orange, New Jersey regarding previous alleged sexual abuse by the late Fr. Michael H. Hansen, the Archdiocese of Newark, in reaction to the demonstration, announced that Fr. Edson Fernando Costa would be removed from Our Lady of Lourdes Parish and possibly the priestly ministry, but not quietly - the Archdiocese of Newark is allowing the parish to throw him a good-bye party.

What
A demonstration and leafleting alerting parishioners and the general public of the inappropriateness of Our Lady of Lourdes Parish throwing a party for an admitted sexually abusive priest who finally may be removed from ministry only after sexual abuse advocates demonstrated about another alleged sexually abusive priest and exposed the knowingly unsafe and inappropriate actions of the Archdiocese of Newark regarding Fr. Edson Fernando Costa.

When
Sunday, April 26, 2015 from 10:30 am until 1:00 pm.

Where
On the public sidewalks outside Our Lady of Lourdes Parish, 1 Eagle Rock Avenue, West Orange, New Jersey, 07052 (on the Mississippi Avenue side of the church).

Who
Approximately 6-7 members of Road to Recovery, Inc., a non-profit charity based in New Jersey that assists victims of sexual abuse and their families.

Why
From April 11 to 12, 2015, members of Road to Recovery, Inc. demonstrated and leafleted outside Our Lady of Lourdes Parish in West Orange, New Jersey in order to alert parishioners and the general public about previous allegations of sexual abuse against a deceased priest, Fr. Michael H. Hansen, who served for several years at Our Lady of Lourdes Parish. Some parishioners spoke to the demonstrators about their concerns regarding another sexually abusive priest, Fr. Edson Fernando Costa, who is currently assigned to Our Lady of Lourdes Parish. According to media reports, Fr. Costa admitted that he sexually assaulted a 72 year-old woman in a church hallway at St. Anne’s Parish in Fair Lawn (Bergen County, New Jersey) on November 15, 2007. Fr. Costa was arrested on June 6, 2008, for criminal and sexual contact. Fr. Costa admitted the crime and entered the Pretrial Intervention Program in Bergen County, New Jersey. It is believed the Archdiocese of Newark knowingly moved Fr. Costa to Our Lady of Lourdes Parish in West Orange, New Jersey, and allowed him to continue to serve as a priest without telling or warning the parishioners of Our Lady of Lourdes Parish about Fr. Costa’s past. It is believed that the Archdiocese of Newark is now removing Fr. Edson Fernando Costa from Our Lady of Lourdes Parish NOT because it is the right thing to do but because they were “caught” once again covering up sexual abuse by priests and allowed a sexually abusive priest to continue to serve in ministry, and the Archdiocese of Newark seemingly has not announced where Fr. Edson Fernando Costa will be going.

Contacts
Robert M. Hoatson, Ph.D., Road to Recovery, Inc. – 862-368-2800
Attorney Mitchell Garabedian, Boston, MA – 617-523-6250

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:12 AM

Priest jailed for abusing girl (7)

IRELAND
Irish Independent

Ralph Riegel

PUBLISHED
25/04/2015

A PRIEST sexually assaulted a seven-year-old girl during her First Confession and then gave her absolution when he was finished.

Fr John Calnan (76) was jailed for two years for abusing the shocked girl in "a small sweaty kitchenette" of a west Cork school in the 1980s.

Cork Circuit Criminal Court heard Calnan, who stopped working as a priest in 1992 after other abuse allegations, pushed his hand under the girl's dress and inside her underwear.

Calnan of The Presbytery, Paul Street, Cork has multiple previous convictions for indecent assault against both young girls and boys.

He was also convicted of attempted rape of a young girl before the Central Criminal Court in 2012.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:59 AM

Kritische Kirche

ITALIEN
Tages Zeitung

[The Bolzano diocese has reported it found 50 cases of abuse and sexual assault.]

50 Missbrauchsfälle und sexuelle Übergriffe wurden der Diözese Bozen – Brixen gemeldet. Mit Prävention und verschiedenen Initiativen will man Kinder künftig schützen. Garantien, so Bischof Ivo Muser, gebe es keine.

Im vergangenen Herbst wurde in der Diözese Bozen – Brixen eine Umfrage durchgeführt, bei der alle kirchlichen Vereine, Organisationen und Einrichtungen, die sich vorwiegend mit und für Kinder und Jugendliche einsetzen, angeschrieben.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:55 AM

Priester erhebt schwere Vorwürfe gegen Bistum Brügge

BELGIEN
BRF

[Priest raises serious allegations against Roman Catholic Diocese of Bruges. A young priest has written a letter to the Bishop of Bruge, Jozef De Kesel, saying five years after the sexual abuse scandal and dismissal of Bishop Roger Vengheluwe the lessons of that scandal were not learned.]

Der Brief eines jungen Priesters an den Bischof von Brügge, Jozef De Kesel, sorgt in Flandern für Empörung. Der Priester wirft dem Bischof vor, dass sich auch nach dem Fall Vangheluwe in dem Bistum nichts geändert hat.

Jozef De Kesel, Bischof von BrüggeFünf Jahre nach der Entlassung des ehemaligen Bischofs Roger Vangheluwe, dem sexueller Missbrauch vorgeworfen wird, hat das Bistum Brügge kaum die Lehren aus dem Missbrauchsskandal gezogen. Das melden die Zeitung “Der Morgen” und die VRT unter Berufung auf einen westflämischen Priester.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:50 AM

Archdiocese Dispels RMS Rumors With Documents

GUAM
Pacific News Center

Written by Janela Carrera

However, the Archdiocese of Agana did not allow the documents to be photocopied or photographed and only made them available to view for a limited time in the presence of an employee.

Guam - The Archdiocese of Agana wants to dispel rumors that the controversial Redemptoris Mater Seminary does not belong to them. They refuted claims that the Archdiocese gave the property away and welcomed the public to view the documents on the matter, but they would not allow the documents to be photocopied or photographed.

They offered three reports. First is the ownership report in which the Archdiocese states that an encumbrance report was completed in 2014 by Pacific American Title confirming the owner of RMS to be Archbishop Anthony Apuron.

Second is the Civil Law report, a legal opinion by the Colorado Law firm of Lewis Roca Rothberger LLP, stating that the Archbishop retains control over RMS and has power over the governing boards.

Finally, the Canon Law report in which the Archdiocese states that the Pontifical Council for Interpretation of Legislative Texts determined that even if the Archbishop transferred title of the RMS property, the owner would remain the same.

This, according to the Archdiocese “demonstrates clearly that all rumors, opinions and writings contrary to the documents are showing only slanderous intentions aiming to disturb the communion of the People of God with grave moral responsibility of the authors.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:42 AM

Sex assault during girl’s First Confession

IRELAND
Irish Examiner

Liam Heylin

A priest in West Cork sexually assaulted a girl throughout her First Confession and, afterwards, fixed her clothing back in place and gave her penance.

John Calnan, aged 76, of The Presbytery, 35 Paul St, Cork, was yesterday sentenced to three years’ imprisonment, with the last year suspended, by Judge David Riordan at Cork Circuit Criminal Court. He had pleaded guilty.

Sgt Maurice Downey said the sexual assault on the girl occurred in the late 1980s. Due to terrible weather on the day, the principal of a primary school asked the priest to hear confessions for the Communion class in the school rather than bringing the children to the cathedral in Skibbereen. Sgt Downey said the confessions took place in a kitchenette at the end of a school hall.

“When the victim entered, he told her to come over to him and she was put standing between his legs turning to look at him. When she began to say her confession he lifted her pinafore and placed his hand inside her underwear and stroked and rubbed her vagina area and put his fingers inside her vagina,” Sgt Downey said.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:39 AM

EDITORIAL: Place no limits on child sex abuse suits

NEW YORK
Post-Star

For its victims, child sex abuse is a lifetime sentence, so we support a bill to eliminate New York’s statute of limitations on lawsuits in these situations.

Now, victims of child sex abuse can file a lawsuit up until they turn 23. But their anguish doesn’t vanish with their birthday. Their scars don’t go away.

The victims must struggle every day to carry the weight of what they endured; why should the perpetrators be allowed, after a few years have passed, to move past the possibility that they could one day be called to account?

The chance to get justice is worth preserving.

Truth and justice are ideals, you might think, leaders of the Catholic Church in New York would celebrate.

But despite all the revelations of the past 25 years, the hierarchy of the Catholic Church still is not willing to stand firmly on the side of child victims of adult abusers, especially when those abusers are Catholic priests.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:37 AM

April 24, 2015

Priest arrested for sex abuse of minors - update

ITALY
Gazzetta del Sud

Vercelli, April 24 - Vercelli parish priest Father Massimo Iuculano was arrested Friday on suspicion of sexual abuse of minors. Police said Father Iuculano lured young boys with text messages, Whatsapp and Facebook and subjected them to "special massages" by claiming to be an expert in sports and physical therapy. The priest has been suspended. Pope Francis has clamped down on predator priests within the Catholic Church, which now works fully with civil authorities on all cases.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:13 PM

Abusi sessuali su minorenni, parroco arrestato a Vercelli: li adescava anche su Whatsapp

ITALIA
Repubblica

di FLORIANA RULLO

Ha abusato di tre ragazzi che frequentavano la scuola che dirigeva solo perché forte del potere dell'abito da sacerdote che indossava. Per questo don Massimo Iuculano, noto in città perché parroco della chiesa Sacro Cuore e dell’annesso oratorio salesiano “Belvedere” di Vercelli, è stato arrestato questa mattina dalla polizia. A raccontare degli abusi sono stati gli stessi ragazzi, quattordicenni e diciassettenni che frequentavano l'istituto Don Bosco di Vercelli. Proprio in quell'istituto, dedicato al sacerdote che aveva a cuore i ragazzi, il prete abusava di loro e della loro adolescenza.

Le indagini ora si stanno allargando ad altri casi: l'uomo contattava le sue vittime attraverso gli abituali canali di comunicazione giovanile come sms, Whatsapp e Facebook. Ma il sacerdote risultava infatti essere piuttosto attivo anche al di fuori della scuola: in quelle occasioni il prete mentiva sulla sua professione raccontando di essere impiegato in una non meglio precisata società e di essere attualmente in cassa integrazione. Così dopo aver ottenuto un incontro con le sue vittime proponeva loro incontri sessuali in cambio di piccoli regali come ricariche telefoniche o scarpe da calcio.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:12 PM

Italian Catholic priest arrested over pedophilia charges

ITALY
Press TV (Iran)

A Catholic priest in northern Italy has been busted on charges of sexually abusing young boys in his parish, the local archbishop said.

Police arrested Father Massimo Luculano on Friday on charges of soliciting sex from minors and sexual assault.

His three confirmed victims are a 14-year old Italian boy and two 17-year old foreign boys.

However, Luculano, based in Vercelli, a town to the west of Milan, had developed a dense set of relationships with different people, and older minors for sexual purposes, police say.

Luculano, claiming to be a physical therapist alongside being a priest, lured the young victims using Facebook, WhatsApp or text messages and offering them gift phone cards, soccer shoes and even money in return, investigators say.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:10 PM

Kertzer awarded Pulitzer Prize for biography of Mussolini, Pope Pius XI

UNITED STATES
The Brown Daily Herald

By JOSEPH ZAPPA
UNIVERSITY NEWS EDITOR
Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Professor of Anthropology and Italian Studies David Kertzer ’69 P’95 P’98 secured a Pulitzer Prize Monday for his biography of Pope Pius XI and Italian dictator Benito Mussolini.

Kertzer, who served as provost from 2006 to 2011, said his book, “The Pope and Mussolini: The Secret History of Pius XI and the Rise of Fascism in Europe,” illuminated previously undisclosed details about the Catholic Church’s insidious influence on the fascist dictator Mussolini, including how the Pope may have pushed him toward persecuting Italian Jews.

Pope John Paul II’s decision to divulge the contents of papal documents from the time period between the World Wars proved an auspicious opportunity for Kertzer, who has spent much of his career exploring the history of the papacy and its influence on Italian politics. Kertzer said the archives’ availability spurred him to embark on writing a biography of Pius XI and Mussolini, calling it “too tantalizing a topic not to write about.”

Kertzer also capitalized on the accessibility of fascist documents, noting that the espionage Mussolini conducted on the Vatican exposed what was going on “behind the scenes” in the Catholic enclave of Rome.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:07 PM

Mary Sanchez: Can Pope reconcile Catholics to church hierarchy?

UNITED STATES
Ledger-Enquirer

Mary Sanchez

Millions of Catholics eagerly await Pope Francis' arrival in the United States this fall. Like no other Christian leader in recent years, this humble, empathetic man has moved the world with simple words and deeds of virtue.

Yet whatever pleasant surprises and breakthroughs may be in store during the trip -- which includes a stop in Cuba, speeches before Congress and the U.N., and an outdoor mass that will likely draw millions in Philadelphia -- joy will be tainted by an unmistakable pall. The Catholic Church in America is still weighted by the sex abuse scandal, in the image it projects to those outside the faith, by the financial costs of the settlements, and in how it has divided those who remain in the pews.

I would have liked Francis to witness the conversation I did between two women this week in Kansas City. They spoke in hushed tones, alternating between anguish and tenderness, before parting with an embrace. The women had never met before.

A news conference had brought them together, and they discovered that they had an unholy bond. They believe that, decades ago, they were abused by the same priest, who is now dead. It was long ago, before they married and had children, before their hair began to gray, but the wounds were raw.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:04 PM

Sheriff: Additional sex offense charges for former youth pastor

SOUTH CAROLINA
Salisbury Post

By Shavonne Walker
shavonne.walker@salisburypost.com

Rowan authorities have filed additional charges against former Kannapolis youth pastor Benjamin Ross Hollifield.

Hollifield, 25, of the 1000 block of Buck Board Lane, Salisbury, was jailed on a $1 million bond following his arrest a week ago.

Investigators and church officials say these incidents occurred between Feb. 15 and March 8 involving a young girl whose family attends the church.

On Thursday investigators charged Hollifield with felony first-degree sexual exploitation of a minor. He was charged last week with four counts of felony indecent liberties with a child and 10 counts of felony statutory rape or sex offense with a minor.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:12 PM

Former Kannapolis youth pastor faces another sex crime charge

SOUTH CAROLINA
Charlotte Observer

BY DAVID WHISENANT
WBTV
04/24/2015

A former youth pastor at a church in Kannapolis who was charged with sex crimes last week involving young girls is facing a new charge, according to Rowan County Sheriff Kevin Auten.

Benjamin Ross Hollifield, 25, has now been charged with one count of third-degree sexual exploitation of a minor. According to the arrest warrant, the charge said Hollifield encouraged and facilitated a 13-year-old to engage in sexual activity and to submit a photo.

The new charge added $10,000 to the $1 million bond that Hollifield is being held on in the Rowan County Detention Center.

Hollifield, 25, of Buck Board Lane in Salisbury, was arrested on April 17 on charges of taking indecent liberties with children and statutory rape/sex offense with a person age 13, 14 or 15 by a person at least six years older.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:07 PM

Anti-gay marriage archbishop divides San Francisco Catholics

CALIFORNIA
New Zealand Herald

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) " Many Roman Catholics in this city named for humble St. Francis are sparring with each other on social media and in letters to newspapers over one figure: Their leader in the faith, Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone.

Cordileone is a vocal opponent of same-sex marriage in one of the most gay-friendly U.S. cities. He has proposed that staff at archdiocese high schools "affirm and believe" that marriage is between a man and a woman and that sexual relations outside of marriage are "gravely evil." He was scheduled to attend a March for Marriage rally in Washington, D.C., this weekend, but canceled to address unrest over his proposed morality clauses.

"I was expecting some controversy," said Cordileone in an interview this week, "but not to this degree. And I thought we would be able to sit down and work things out."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:03 PM

Archdiocese won't say whether former Quincy church has buyer

MASSACHUSETTS
The Patriot Ledger

By Patrick Ronan
The Patriot Ledger

Posted Apr. 23, 2015

QUINCY
The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston has taken the closed Star of the Sea church in Squantum off its list of properties for sale, leading former parishioners to assume the building has a buyer.

However, the archdiocese won’t say whether the 58-year-old building, which hosted its final Mass in 2011, is on the verge of being sold.

“We generally do not comment on the sale of property until such time as we have closed,” Terrence Donilon, an archdiocese spokesman, said Thursday.

Meanwhile, in recent weeks the archdiocese has removed the former church’s stained glass windows and crews have been testing the soil at the Bellevue Road property, according to neighbors.

“The archdiocese isn’t telling anyone anything,” said Maureen Mazrimas, co-chair of Friends of Star of the Sea, a group of former parishioners who want to keep the property open as a place of worship.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:04 PM

How we'll know if the Vatican and the US hierarchy are serious about deposing negligent bishops

UNITED STATES
Catholic Culture

By Phil Lawler | Apr 24, 2015

Twelve years ago, in an email exchange with an old friend, I predicted that the American hierarchy would finally take responsibility for the sex-abuse scandal when a bishop went to jail for negligence in responding to abuse. Bishop Robert Finn has not actually spent time behind bars, but his conviction on criminal charges, followed by the Vatican’s request for his resignation, should have a half-dozen other bishops looking over their shoulders, wondering whether they will be next.

But will the Finn resignation have that effect? We don’t know yet. We don’t know whether this will prove to be an isolated case. Has the Vatican decided to set new standards, and oust those bishops who have been guilty of negligence? Or was this a unique case, since Bishop Finn was the only American prelate convicted by a civil court? Will the Vatican seek the resignations of popular bishops, or only of those who, like Bishop Finn, have been the targets of media attacks?

If Bishop Finn is just the first of many bishops to be deposed—if mitered heads begin to roll, in this and in other countries—then we’ll have our answer. If not, we may be left wondering for several more years.

How would we know that the hierarchy had made a firm decision to clean up the corruption exposed by this scandal? Here are several potential indicators:

* Bishops would begin making “admissions against interest”—disclosing damaging information before they were forced to do so by the media, police, or whistle-blowers.

* They would demand aggressive criminal prosecution of priests who were guilty of abuse—while at the same time energetically defending priests who were unjustly accused.

* They would instruct diocesan attorneys to stop filing dilatory motions to avoid disclosure of internal Church documents. They would stop settling lawsuits out of court just before the files were opened, or just before the bishop was forced to testify.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:00 PM

Missouri diocese’s apostolic administrator hopes for ‘grace, healing’

UNITED STATES
Catholic Philly

BY MARK PATTISON
Catholic News Service

WASHINGTON (CNS) — Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann of Kansas City, Kansas, as apostolic administrator of the neighboring Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph, Missouri, said he hopes the coming months will be “a Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph” for the Missouri diocese.

The archbishop was named administrator after the April 21 resignation of Bishop Robert W. Finn, and he will serve in that capacity until a successor to the bishop is named.

“I have an awareness of the vitality and beauty of the Catholic community in northwest Missouri,” Archbishop Naumann said in a statement. “Living in the same media market, I am also keenly conscious of some of the challenges and difficulties this diocese has suffered in recent years.”

Archbishop Naumann was referring to Bishop Finn’s conviction in 2012 on one misdemeanor count of failing to report suspected child abuse. The situation developed after a diocesan priest’s computer was found in 2010 to have contained child pornography, but the diocese did not report the situation to civil authorities for another six months. ...

Bill Donohue, head of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, said, “The Catholic League defended him (Bishop Finn) against his critics, some of whom were vicious.”

“Bishop Finn did not take a cavalier attitude toward his (Father Ratigan’s) misconduct. If he had, Ratigan’s problem would have been ignored altogether,” Donohue said in an April 21 statement. “Our prayers are with Bishop Finn, and we thank him for cleaning up the mess he inherited.”

Anne Barrett Doyle, co-director of BishopAccountability.org, called the resignation of Bishop Finn “a good step but just a beginning.”

“The pope must show that this decision represents a meaningful shift in papal practice — that it signals a new era in bishop accountability,” she said in an April 22 statement.

“What no pope has done to date is publicly confirm that he removed a culpable bishop because of his failure to make children’s safety his first priority,” Doyle added. “We urge Pope Francis to issue such a statement immediately. That would be unprecedented, and it would send a bracing message to bishops and religious superiors worldwide that a new era has begun.”

David Clohessy, director of the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests, called Bishop Finn’s resignation “a tiny but belated step forward.”

“One pope has finally seen fit to oust one bishop for complicity in clergy sex crimes. That’s encouraging,” Clohessy said in an April 21 statement. “But it’s only a very tiny drop of reform in an enormous bucket of horror. (Bishop) Finn’s departure will, in the short term, make some adults happier. By itself, it won’t, in the long term, make many kids safer.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:46 PM

Three More Statements on "Resignation" of Bishop Robert Finn of Kansas City: Francis Must Prove He Is Different

UNITED STATES
Bilgrimage

William D. Lindsey

Three more statements about the "resignation" of convicted felon Bishop Robert Finn of St. Joseph-Kansas City, from groups supporting survivors of childhood clerical sexual abuse:

Anne Barrett Doyle at BishopAccountability.org:

Pope Francis’s removal of Bishop Robert Finn of Kansas City-St. Joseph is a good step but just a beginning. The pope must show that this decision represents a meaningful shift in papal practice – that it signals a new era in bishop accountability. This action alone is not unprecedented: both of Francis’s predecessors fired bishops whose handling of abusive priests caused scandal. (See BishopAccountability.org’s list of complicit bishops who resigned or were removed.)

But what no pope has done to date is publicly confirm that he removed a culpable bishop because of his failure to make children’s safety his first priority. We urge Pope Francis to issue such a statement immediately. That would be unprecedented, and it would send a bracing message to bishops and religious superiors worldwide that a new era has begun.

It should be noted too that Pope Francis’s decision on Finn will add fuel to the fire in Chile; calls for the removal of Chilean bishop Juan de la Cruz Barros Madrid will intensify. We hope Francis will honor the pleas of Karadima’s victims, of his own Commission members, and of the priests and parishioners of the Osorno diocese, and rescind this disastrous appointment immediately. If Francis means business, he must be consistent.

BishopAccountability.org at Marci Hamilton and Leslie Griffin's blog on rights:

How can Pope Francis prove he is different? He can start by publicly confirming that Finn was removed because he harbored a sexual abuser. Such a modest admission by a pope would be unprecedented, and it would send a bracing message to bishops and religious superiors worldwide that a new era has begun.

More importantly, the Pope must keep cleaning house, and without the same agonizing delay. Sadly, it’s not hard to identify other unfit bishops. Archbishop Nienstedt of St. Paul and Minneapolis should be at the top of the list. There’s documentary evidence that children in recent years have been sexually assaulted because of his wanton irresponsibility.

And just as quickly, Francis must reverse his strange and disastrous appointment of Chilean bishop Juan de la Cruz Barros Madrid. Several victims have testified that Barros witnessed their sexual abuse by disgraced priest Fernando Karadima. Francis must ignore the pressure to retain Barros that he likely is receiving from his friend Cardinal Francisco Errázuriz, another enabler of Karadima. The pope instead should honor the pleas of the victims, his own Commission members, and of the priests and parishioners of the Osorno diocese.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:25 PM

Do words matter or not? (And KC bishop clarifications)

UNITED STATES
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

Catholic officials often apologize for abuse, saying “we’ll do better.”

And victims then often criticize them, saying “Words don’t protect kids. Action protects kids.”

Church defenders rebut this by saying “Words DO matter. Words are important.”

Except, apparently, right now. Some church defenders claim that what Pope Francis does or doesn’t say about Kansas City Bishop Robert Finn doesn’t really matter.

Victims want the Pope to “come clean” about Finn (who remains a bishop even though he resigned his office this week). Did voluntarily Finn resign? Or was he forced out?

Is Finn gone because he hid child sex crimes? Or because a quarter of his flock walked away in less than a decade?

In response, some church defenders say “Oh, the pope’s words don’t matter. What matters is that Finn no longer heads the diocese.”

So which is it? You can’t have your cake and eat it too.

Here, by the way, are a few short clarifications about Bishop Finn and Kansas City cover ups.

First, he did not plead guilty (as some news accounts have said). He was found guilty by a judge.

Second, Finn did not “delay” reporting Fr. Shawn Ratigan’s suspected clergy child sex crimes to authorities (as some news accounts have said). Finn never reported them. (Finn’s vicar general called the police, while Finn was out of town. When Finn returned and learned what had happened, he yelled at the vicar general.)

Third, he did not “fail” to call police (again, as some news accounts have said). Failure implies a good-faith attempt that somehow goes awry. Finn is a smart and well-educated man with smart and well-educated advisors, lawyers and public relations experts. He did not “fail” to report Fr. Ratigan’s crimes. He refused to report them and in fact hid them, month after month.

Fourth, Finn did not “endanger kids (as some news accounts have said). Kids were in fact harmed during the months Finn refused to supervise Fr. Ratigan and give the police evidence of his crimes.

Whether it’s with Fr. Ratigan, Fr. James Tierney, Fr. Thomas Cronin, Bishop Joseph Hart or other child molesting clerics in or from KC, minimizing, misunderstanding or misrepresenting what Finn and his top aides did serves no one but the guilty.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:22 PM

TWO-YEAR SENTENCE FOR FORMER CORK PRIEST WHO SEXUALLY ASSAULTED YOUNG GIRL DURING CONFESSION

IRELAND
Kildare Nationalist

A former priest has today been sentenced to two years in prison for sexually assaulting a seven-year-old girl during her First Confession in West Cork in the late 80s.

John Calnan - who has an address at The Presbytery, Paul Street, Cork City, pleaded guilty to one count of indecent assault.

Cork Circuit Criminal Court heard that the victim - who was seven years old at the time - was confessing her sins to Fr Calnan during the Sacrament of Penance when he sexually assaulted her.

In a victim impact statement, she said that her family contacted the school but they were met with denial and consternation, as the church was the most dominant force in the community at that time.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:50 PM

The paradoxes of Bishop Finn

UNITED STATES
U.S. Catholic

By Nicholas Cafardi

Guest blog

Rejoicing over the recent resignation of Bishop Robert Finn as the bishop of Kansas City-St. Joseph is unseemly. I take no joy in another person’s distress, and I wonder what the church will do with a bishop who is only 62 years old and has 13 years of active episcopal ministry left. What does the church do with a bishop without a diocese?

Bernard Law, when he first stepped down from the See of Boston, was supposed to live a quiet life of prayer as chaplain for the Alma Mercy Sisters, but we all know how that worked out. A similar call to Finn for a cushy Roman job is out of the question. There is a different pope now.

This is but one of the paradoxes in Finn’s case. Another is: Why did he choose to ignore the Dallas Charter, the compact that he had with his fellow bishops, not to allow sexually abusive priests to remain in ministry? That was a promise that the entire body of American bishops made to the faithful in the United States. How could Finn think that he knew better than his fellow bishops? Did he ever consider the effects of his breach on the rest of the American church, namely the persistence of the doubt that if one bishop was breaking the Charter, others probably were as well, but were just better at not getting caught?

And another paradox: Why did his fellow bishops not call him out publicly for his dishonor? After all, it was their joint promise that he broke. Where was the fraternal correction from the American bishops?In Germany, when the Bishop of Bling, Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst of the diocese of Limburg, spent $43 million dollars to renovate his palace, the outcry from the German bishops was public and immediate. Within four months, Tebartz-van Elst was gone.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:49 AM

Priest sexually abused girl while hearing her First Confession

IRELAND
Irish Times

Barry Roche

Fri, Apr 24, 2015

A 76-year-old retired priest who sexually abused a seven-year-old girl while hearing her first confession has been jailed for two years.

John Calnan, who is no longer in ministry, was sentenced to three years in jail, with the final year suspended, after pleading guilty to sexual assaulting the girl in West Cork in 1989.

Sgt Maurice Downey told Cork Circuit Criminal Court that the girl was preparing for her First Holy Communion and Calnan was invited to her school to hear first confessions.

The confessions were being held in an kitchenette area and as Calnan began hearing the girl’s First Confession, he put his hands inside her underwear and digitally penetrated her.

The complainant, now a 34-year-old woman, told gardaí in her statement of complaint made in 2013 that Calnan also appeared to be doing something to himself at the time.

When the little girl finished her confession, Calnan re-arranged her clothing and gave her absolution and penance and told her that she could leave the kitchenette, said Sgt Downey.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:44 AM

04.23.15: Diocese Names State Police Major Kevin M. O’Brien as the New Director of Compliance

RHODE ISLAND
Roman Catholic Diocese of Providence

(PROVIDENCE, R.I.)-The Most Rev. Thomas J. Tobin, Bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Providence, today announced the appointment Major Kevin M. O’Brien, a Rhode Island State Police Officer, as the new Director of Compliance. O’Brien comes to the diocese with more than 20 years of experience in law enforcement. He officially begins on June 1, 2015.

Major O’Brien recently served as detective commander overseeing several units including the Auto Theft and Insurance Fraud, Criminal Identification, Computer Crimes/Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force and others. He replaces Lt. Robert McCarthy who served in the same capacity since September of 1993.

“We are very blessed to have the services of Major O’Brien who brings a great blend of professional experience, personal integrity, and commitment to the faith, to carry on the outstanding services of Lieutenant McCarthy,” said Bishop Tobin.

“As a member of the Rhode Island State Police for the past twenty three years I have had the honor and privilege to serve and protect the citizens of Rhode Island,” said Major O’Brien. “As I begin this new chapter in my life, I look forward to utilizing the skills and experiences gained throughout my career to now serve in the Diocese of Providence. This is a great opportunity for me to give back to the church that has played such an important part in my life.”

He served previously in the Major Crimes Unit overseeing ten detectives responsible for investigations including burglary, homicide, robbery, financial crimes, sexual assault, and others.

He has received numerous awards and letters of commendations.

O’Brien will be responsible for promoting the principles of compliance in cooperation with various law enforcement agencies throughout the state and among the various Diocesan parishes and agencies. He will have direct oversight for all matters within the Compliance Office; including investigations, criminal background checks and staff supervision. He will also provide support, education, and training to staff to build risk awareness within the Diocese.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:40 AM

Vatikan zu Festnahmen: Anschlagspläne betrafen Jahr 2010

VATIKAN
kathweb

[Vatican City, 24.04.2015 (KAP) The Vatican has reacted to the arrest of several terror suspects who may be planning an attack on the Vatican. There was "no cause for special concern," spokesman Federico Lombardi said on Friday. He pointed out that the alleged plans relate to the year 2010 and have remained without consequence.]

Sprecher Federico Lombardi: "Kein Anlass zu besonderer Besorgnis"

24.04.2015

Vatikanstadt, 24.04.2015 (KAP) Der Vatikan hat gelassen auf die Festnahme mehrerer Terrorverdächtiger reagiert, die vor fünf Jahren möglicherweise einen Anschlag auf den Vatikan geplant hatten. Es bestehe "keinerlei Anlass zu besonderer Besorgnis", sagte Sprecher Federico Lombardi am Freitag. Er verwies darauf, dass die mutmaßlichen Pläne das Jahr 2010 beträfen und folgenlos geblieben seien.

Die Staatsanwaltschaft in Cagliari auf Sardinien hatte zuvor mitgeteilt, es gebe Hinweise darauf, dass die Verdächtigen damals möglicherweise auch einen Anschlag auf den Vatikan geplant haben könnten. Es gebe einige abgehörte Gespräche, "die klar darauf hindeuten, dass ein Angriff geplant wurde, vielleicht sogar auf den Vatikanstaat", sagte Staatsanwalt Mauro Mura. Die Polizei habe einen mutmaßlichen Selbstmordattentäter aufgehalten, der im März 2010 am Flughafen Fiumicino gelandet sei, so Mura.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:38 AM

USA: Bill Donohue verteidigt zurückgetretenen Bischof

USA
kath.net

Bischof Finn von Kansas City – St. Joseph habe die Missbrauchsvorwürfe gegen den Priester seiner Diözese nicht als Kavaliersdelikt behandelt, sagt der Vorsitzende der ‚Catholic League’.
Kansas City (kath.net/LSN/jg)

William Donohue, der Präsident der amerikanischen Initiative „Catholic League“, hat Robert Finn, den zurückgetretenen Bischof von Kansas City – St. Joseph, verteidigt. Der Vatikan hatte Finn den Verzicht auf Ausübung seines Amtes nahegelegt, nachdem er gerichtlich zu zwei Jahren auf Bewährung verurteilt worden war. Das Gericht warf ihm vor, Shawn Ratigan, einen Priester seiner Diözese, den Behörden nicht sofort gemeldet zu haben, nachdem auf seinem Computer kinderpornographisches Material gefunden worden war. Kath.net hat berichtet.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:36 AM

Catching American sex offenders overseas

UNITED STATES
Religion News Service - Rhymes with Religion

Boz Tchividjian | Apr 24, 2015

I settled into a window seat of the plane and suddenly found myself in tears.

Last weekend, I had the distinct privilege of meeting with some of the most amazing people on the face of the earth. They gathered together because each had been sexually abused while growing up overseas as children of missionaries. Adding to their pain is the horrific reality that other missionaries perpetrated most of these crimes. To make matters worse, many of these survivors have been re-traumatized by mission agencies that prefer that they remain silent and fade into the darkness. I look forward to devoting a future post to these heroes and what they are teaching me about pain, betrayal, isolation, disappointment, authenticity, joy, hope … the list can go on and on.

As I sat in the plane staring out the window, hoping that nobody would notice my tears, I found myself recalling my work on two independent investigations related to child sexual abuse on the mission field. Dozens of painful memories of interviews with abuse survivors flooded my mind. Their tears, their pain, their tears, their confusion, their tears, their betrayal, their tears, their isolation, their tears, their ongoing disappointments, their tears, their feelings of worthlessness, their tears, and … more tears. My colleagues and I often lament that each of us lost a part of our soul during those agonizing investigations as we confronted the dark underbelly of the professing Christian community.

One of the darkest spots of that underbelly is the silence of missionaries who suspect others of victimizing children, but choose to remain silent and fail to report the crime. Tragically, such silence is all too common. Once in awhile, suspecting missionaries might step forward to voice a concern, only to be intimidated into silence by the leadership. In the meantime, the lives and souls of little ones living in a faraway land are being decimated. The horror of this silence has stayed with me for many years. Can anything be done about overseas American cultures that ignore the suspected sexual abuse of children?

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:34 AM

MO--New head of KC diocese should act on 2 priests

KANSAS CITY (MO)
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

For immediate release: Friday, April 24

Statement by David Clohessy of St. Louis, Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, 314 566 9790, davidgclohessy@gmail.com

Two priests who molested in Kansas City MO are now still priests living or working elsewhere, unsupervised, among unsuspecting families. The new temporary head of the Kansas City diocese should act now to warn others about them.

The credibly accused child molesting clerics are

--Fr. Thomas Cronin of Nevada, who is involved with a homeless women's shelter despite a civil lawsuit in Kansas City (now settled) that charges him with sexually violating a young woman.

[BishopAccountability.org]

–-Bishop Joseph Hart of Wyoming who, as a priest in KC, molested at least six boys. (They have sued and those suits have settled.)

Archbishop Joseph Naumann has said he won’t make dramatic changes. But years of trauma in the Kansas City MO diocese have resulted from bishops doing little or nothing to protect the vulnerable from potentially dangerous priests.

Naumann should take immediate steps to alert police, prosecutors, parishioners, parents and the public about Cronin and Hart. These two predator priests could be assaulting kids and young people out west today. They could be visiting Kansas City, and hurting kids and young people, here this weekend. With real outreach by Naumann, Cronin and Hart might even be prosecuted, convicted and imprisoned, sparing others decades of devastating pain.

Presumably, Bishop Robert Finn’s resignation is intended to bring healing to Kansas City Catholics and victims. But wounded adults can heal themselves, with or without action by bishops. But innocent kids and vulnerable adults cannot protect themselves from predators without action by bishops.

Naumann should put announcements in every parish bulletin at the first opportunity, begging those who saw, suspected or suffered crimes by Cronin or Hart to step forward and call police.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:23 AM

Léonard veroordeeld ...

BELGIE
De Standaard

Léonard veroordeeld omdat hij niet optrad tegen pedofiele priester

Aartsbisschop Léonard is door het hof van beroep in Luik veroordeeld omdat hij niet optrad tegen een pedofiele priester. Dat heeft de advocaat van het slachtoffer bevestigd aan de redactie van Het Nieuwsblad. Léonard moet 10.000 euro schadevergoeding betalen aan het slachtoffer van de priester.
Joël Devillet werd als tiener jarenlang misbruikt door de dorpspastoor van Aubange, een dorpje helemaal in het zuiden van de provincie Luxemburg. Devillet stapte niet meteen naar het gerecht.

‘Omdat ik zelf priester wilde worden. Ik wou geen schandaal’, vertelde hij. Wel bracht hij de katholieke kerk op de hoogte. Met Léonard, die in 1991 de Naamse bisschop werd, had hij een lang gesprek. Het bracht weinig zoden aan de dijk: Hubermont werd overgeplaatst naar een andere parochie, maar bleef gewoon priester.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:01 AM

Italian police say terror suspects 'planned Vatican attack'

ITALY
Telegraph (UK)

By Reuters
24 Apr 2015

Italian police said on Friday they were staging a "vast anti-terrorism" operation against an armed organisation inspired by al-Qaeda whose members may have been planning an attack against the Vatican.

Cagliari chief prosecutor Mauro Mura told reporters that the suspects were also planning to carry out attacks in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

A series of raids across the country was targeting 18 people, they said. Some had been arrested in Italy, including the group's suspected spiritual leader, but others were believed to have left the country.

"We don't have proof, we have strong suspicion," said Mario Carta, head of the police unit leading the investigation said when asked for more details on a possible attack against the seat of the Catholic Church.

He said that, in intercepted telephone calls, investigators had heard the suspects say they would launch a "big jihad in Italy," conversations that also suggested a target might be the Vatican.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:56 AM

Italy terror: Suspects had contact with bin Laden, discussed Vatican attack

ROME
CNN

[with video]

By Greg Botelho, Don Melvin and Hada Messia, CNN

Rome (CNN) Italian authorities said they launched a "vast anti-terrorism operation" Friday, going after suspects associated with al Qaeda who had discussed a list of targets, including the Vatican.

Some members of the terror cell even had direct contact with Osama bin Laden before his 2011 death in Pakistan, Italy's state-run ANSA news agency reported. Police said they got this information from wiretaps.

Wiretaps and other intelligence revealed the group's plans to carry out terror attacks in Afghanistan and Pakistan as well as Italy, according to Caligari Chief Prosecutor Mauro Mura.

Some evidence indicated the Vatican was among the targets being considered. This talk happened in March 2010, around the time a possible suicide bomber from Afghanistan had entered Italy, Mura said.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:53 AM

Blitz contro al-Qaeda in Italia: eseguiti 9 arresti su 18. Indizi di un piano contro il Va

ITALIA
Repubblica

[Nine arrests have been made of suspected al-Queda operatives in Italy. There was suspicion they planned to attack the Vatican. Father Federico Lombardi, Vatican spokesman, said the theory of an attack has circulated since 2010 and has proved unfounded. He said there is no concern at the Vatican.]

di ALBERTO CUSTODERO

ROMA - E' ancora in corso una importante operazione degli uomini dell'antiterrorismo della polizia contro una cellula fondamentalista con base in Sardegna e legata ad al-Qaeda. Le richieste di arresto sono 18, di cui 9 eseguite nei confronti di otto pachistani e un afgano. Dei nove arrestati, tre sono stati bloccati a Olbia, due a Civitanova Marche e gli altri a Bergamo, Roma, Sora (Frosinone) e Foggia. L'organizzazione - secondo quanto emerso dalle indagini - operava prevalentemente a Olbia e nel Lazio. Il ruolo principale nell'organizzazione fondamentalista era ricoperto da un imam che viveva a Bergamo. Gli arrestati devono rispondere, a vario titolo, di atti terroristici all'estero e favoreggiamento dell'immigrazione clandestina, con la quale si autofinanziavano. Quanto ai ricercati, tre sono ritenuti certamente in Italia, mentre altri risultano emigrati dal territorio nazionale. Fra gli arrestati, due avrebbero un passato da fiancheggiatori di Bin Laden, altri sarebbero autori di numerosi e sanguinosi atti di terrorismo e sabotaggio in Pakistan, compresa la strage del mercato di Peshawar, il Meena Bazar, avvenuta nell'ottobre del 2009 (mappa) in cui vennero uccise più di cento persone.

Dalle conversazioni intercettate è emersa anche la presenza in Italia di due kamikaze: l'ipotesi degli inquirenti è che fosse ricollegabile a un piano di attentato in Vaticano. Il capo della procura della Repubblica di Cagliari, Mauro Mura, che ha coordinato le indagini ha precisato che la circostanza non è al momento "oggetto di contestazione" nei confronti degli arrestati. Dalla Santa Sede, il portavoce padre Federico Lombardi spiega: "Si tratta di un'ipotesi che risale al 2010 e che non ha avuto alcun seguito. Non si tratta quindi di un fatto oggi rilevante e non è motivo di particolari preoccupazioni". Successivamente dagli ambienti investigativi trapela che il possibile attentato terroristico in Vaticano risale effettivamente al 2010 e potrebbe essere sfumato dopo una perquisizione effettuata dalla polizia a casa di uno degli indagati nel marzo di quell'anno. Due kamikaze pachistani erano appena sbarcati a Roma. Quasi contemporaneamente la polizia fece scattare delle perquisizioni.

Guerrina Piscaglia, arrestato il frate: padre Gratien accusato di omicidio

ITALIA
Il Fatto Quotidiano

Padre Gratien Alabi, il frate congolese indagato per la scomparsa di Guerrina Piscaglia, della quale non si ha più traccia da un anno è stato arrestato a Roma per essere trasferito a Arezzo a disposizione del pm Marco Dioni che indaga sulla scomparsa della donna da Ca’ Raffaello, frazione di Badia Tedalda (in provincia di Arezzo). Guerrina Piscaglia è scomparsa dal primo maggio 2014. Il gip Piergiorgio Ponticelli ha firmato l’ordinanza e i carabinieri hanno fermato il religioso a Roma, in un monastero nel quale padre Gratien si trovava da alcune settimane.

Padre Alabi, che in paese veniva chiamato padre Graziano, è accusato di omicidio e occultamento di cadavere l’imputazione contestata al religioso: “Rilascerò dichiarazioni – commenta l’avvocato del frate Luca Fanfani – solo quando conoscerò le motivazioni che hanno portato il gip a firmare l’ordinanza”.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:45 AM

Padre Gratien Alabi arrestato per la scomparsa di Guerrina Piscaglia

ITALIA
Il Tirreno

AREZZO. A mezzanotte del 24 aprile sarebbe scaduto il divieto di espatrio e padre Gratien avrebbe potuto lasciare l'Italia. Ma giovedì 23 i carabinieri di Arezzo l'hanno arrestato. Per il religioso, già indagato per favoreggiamento in sequestro di persona nell'inchiesta sulla scomparsa di Guerrina Piscaglia , la 50enne scomparsa da Ca Raffaello, una frazione di Badia Tedalda (Arezzo) e di cui non si hanno più tracce da un anno, adesso l'accusa è di omicidio volontario e di occultamento o soppressione di cadavere.

Il gip del tribunale di Arezzo Piergiorgio Ponticelli ha firmato l'ordinanza di custodia cautelare in carcere per il religioso congolese di 45 anni. La svolta è maturata nel penultimo giorno utile per l'ordinanza dal momento che il 25 aprile scadeva il divieto di espatrio, imposto al frate sei mesi fa su richiesta della procura di Arezzo. I carabinieri si sono presentati al portone del convento dei Premostratensi in viale Giotto a Roma, all'Aventino, e hanno notificato al frate il provvedimento del giudice. Padre Gratien Alabi è poi salito sull'auto dei militari dell'Arma: destinazione la caserma di Cortona (Arezzo) dove si sono svolte le procedure di rito prima dell'arrivo ad Arezzo, previsto per la tarda serata.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:43 AM

Italy: Catholic priest Gratien Alabi charged with murder of missing mother Guerrina Piscaglia

ITALY
International Business Times

By Umberto Bacchi
April 24, 2015

Italian police have charged a catholic priest with the murder of a Tuscan housewife who went missing last year.

Father Gratien Alabi was held in Rome by detectives investigating the disappearance of Guerrina Piscaglia, 50, who vanished from the village of Cà Raffaello, near Arezzo on 1 May 2014.

The married mother-of-one left her house for a walk on International Labour Day, a public holiday in Italy, never to return.

The 45-year-old clergyman was already a suspect in the case although he was previously facing charges of aiding and abetting a kidnapping or murder and banned from leaving Italy, pending an investigation. He has now been charged with murdering the woman and disposing of the body.

Piscaglia was a parishioner at the local church run by Alabi but detectives have long suspected there was more to their relationship for the two had exchanged a high volume of text messages and phone calls, including on the day of her disappearance, Italian media reported.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:31 AM

The Marist Brothers ignored the activities of this Brother. Now they face public scrutiny

AUSTRALIA
Broken Rites

By a Broken Rites researcher (article updated 21 April 2015)

This Broken Rites article tells how the Marist Brothers harboured a child-sex offender (Brother John William "Kostka" Chute) for more than 40 years, giving him access to Australian Catholic schoolchildren. Broken Rites has ascertained that the Marist Brothers appointed "Brother Kostka" to at least 12 Catholic schools in Australia between 1952 and 1993, ranging from Lismore in northern New South Wales to Marcellin College in Randwick, Sydney, as well as at least one school in Queensland. His final school was Marist College in Canberra, and it was some Canberra pupils who finally got him convicted and jailed in 2008. However, this Canberra court case was confined to crimes committed within the Australian Capital Territory. Now, in 2015, John William Chute is scheduled to face an additional charge in New South Wales, regarding an alleged offence at Lismore.

The new charge in 2015

On Wednesday 18 March 2015, John William Chute was arrested by New South Wales detectives attached to Richmond Local Area Command, near Sydney. He was charged at Burwood Police Station with one count of indecent assault. The police allege that, at a school in Lismore between 1967 and 1969, this religious Brother indecently assaulted a boy who was in year six. Chute was granted conditional bail to appear at Lismore Local Court on a later date. This court hearing would be a brief administrative procedure, for the charge to be officially filed before a magistrate, with a further hearing to follow later.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:46 AM

Guam Catholics to Gather for Prayer Rally and Motorcade

GUAM
Concerned Catholics of Guam

For Immediate Release – April 24, 2015

Hagatna, Guam – The Concerned Catholics of Guam (CCOG) today announced that the organization will be hosting an island-wide prayer rally and motorcade on Sunday, May 3, 2015. The rally is being organized to appeal for justice, accountability, and action from the archdiocese’s leadership, which has remained silent on controversial issues facing the Catholic community on Guam.

Despite repeated letters and requests from members of the Concerned Catholics of Guam to meet with Archbishop Anthony Apuron to begin a dialogue on these issues, Archbishop Apuron continues to hide behind a veil of secrecy and is completely out of touch with the people of God in the Archdiocese of Agana.

“We are again appealing that Archbishop Apuron come to his senses and to reach out, in a genuine and tangible way, to a hurting and divided Church on Guam. We have waited too long and his style of leadership and silence cannot be tolerated any longer,” said Greg Perez, president of Concerned Catholics of Guam, Inc.

“I’m inviting everyone to please join us for this island-wide prayer rally and motorcade to send a clear message to Pope Francis and to Rome that nothing has been done to reconcile and reunite our Church. We want justice, accountability, and a real effort to move our church forward.”
Letter and Email Campaign

Guam Catholics are also being encouraged to begin a second campaign of letters, emails, and phone calls to Vatican officials in Rome concerning the inaction, lack of leadership, and lack of transparency from Archbishop Apuron and the Chancery Office.

Earlier this year, high-ranking Vatican officials visited Guam for what the archdiocese dubbed a “pastoral visit”. Instead the visit was in fact investigatory in nature with a quietly kept schedule of events and meetings with concerned individuals, public officials, and clergy members.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:41 AM

Pope Francis nominates Edward Milsec Bishop of Greensburg

VATICAN CITY
Vatican Radio

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis has nominated Father Edward C. Milsec as bishop of the Diocese of Greensburg in Pennsylvania, USA.

The Holy Father also accepted the resignation of Bishop Lawrence E. Brandt, the former bishop of Greensburg, according to Canon 401 §1 of the Code of Canon Law.

Biography

Fr. Edward C. Malesic was born on August 14, 1960 in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

He obtained a Bachelor of Arts in 1983 and a Master in Divinity in 1987 from the Pontifical College Josephinum in Columbus, Ohio. In 1998 he received his Licentiate in Canon Law from the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C.

He was ordained a priest for the Diocese of Harrisburg on May 30, 1987.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:38 AM

Fears over future of historic child abuse inquiry

SCOTLAND
Scotsman

CHRIS MARSHALL

SURVIVORS of historical child abuse have expressed concerns about the future of a long-awaited public inquiry after the Scottish Government postponed a key announcement on its chairperson.

Education secretary Angela Constance had been expected to name the chair and outline the remit of the inquiry in a statement to parliament next week.

But The Scotsman has learned the announcement has now been put off until after the general election, raising fears among campaigners that the scope of the inquiry is to be reduced.

The Scottish Government announced the inquiry in December, which will have the power to compel witnesses to give evidence.

Alan Draper, the parliamentary liaison officer of In Care Abuse Survivors (Incas), said some survivors were concerned the delay to Ms Constance’s statement was due to the unpopular decision to limit the remit of the inquiry.

He said: “There may be good reasons for [the delay]. It’s been presented to us that it’s to do with the election, but they’ve known about the date of the election for five years. I don’t see that as a good reason.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:35 AM

Victims’ fury as abuse inquiry delayed

SCOTLAND
The National

APRIL 24TH, 2015 KATHLEEN NUTT

A KEY announcement planned for next week regarding a historical child abuse inquiry across Scotland has been put off until after next month’s General Election, it was revealed yesterday.

The statement is now expected in mid-May and victims are furious – believing the delay may be down to ministers trying to avert any bad publicity the announcement generates until after polling day.

Scots survivors are concerned the move could be an indication they will not support what is being planned and follows a series of negative stories about a similar inquiry set up by the UK Government.

Alan Draper, parliamentary liaison officer for In Care Abuse Survivors (Incas), told The National: “There are fears the Scottish Government is trying to narrow the inquiry and doesn’t want anything coming out before the General Election.

“Survivors are yet again left feeling very disappointed.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:31 AM

Belgian archbishop ordered to pay church abuse victim

BELGIUM
Reuters

(Reuters) - Belgium's senior Roman Catholic cleric, Archbishop Andre-Joseph Leonard, has been ordered to pay 10,000 euros ($10,900) in damages for failing to act on allegations of sexual abuse in the 1990s.

The civil case was brought by Joel Devillet, who was abused by a priest while he was a choirboy in the south of Belgium in the late 1980s, when he was 14 years old.

Devillet later studied to become a priest himself and informed the Church of his earlier experience of abuse, but it did little to help him and did not alert justice authorities, an appeals court in Liege said on Thursday.

"At no moment at the church court was Joel Devillet recognised as a victim," the court said in its judgment, adding that Leonard, in his capacity as bishop of Namur in the 1990s, bore some blame.

"The way in which Bishop Leonard treated the case of Joel Devillet constituted misconduct," the court said.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:23 AM

Concerned Catholics hosting prayer rally

GUAM
KUAM

By Jolene Toves

The Concerned Catholics of Guam will be hosting an islandwide prayer rally and motorcade on Sunday, May 3. The motorcade will begin at the mayors offices in different villages and proceed to the Agana Cathedral Bascilica for the prayer rally at 4:30pm. According to CCOG president Greg Perez the rally has been organized to appeal for justice, accountability and action from the archdiocese.

The CCOG has written letters to Archbishop Anthony Apuron requesting financial transparency but they have not received any response. Perez says that the archbishop has remained silent on controversial issues facing the catholic community and is appealing to him reach out.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:21 AM

Catholic Church fights push to allow more abuse claims in NY

NEW YORK
San Antonio Express-News

DAVID KLEPPER, ASSOCIATED PRESS
April 23, 2015

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — The Roman Catholic Church is opposing efforts in New York to allow sex abuse accusers to file lawsuits after the statute of limitations has expired, warning of dire financial consequences if the state allows plaintiffs to sue decades after the purported abuse occurred.

Currently in New York, victims of child sex abuse have until five years after they turn 18 to file a lawsuit. The same statute of limitations applies to most child sex crimes.

A bill pending in the state Assembly would eliminate the statute of limitations on abuse cases going forward — and create a one-year window to allow anyone to file lawsuits no matter when the abuse occurred. Supporters gathered Wednesday in Albany to push for the bill.

A similar law in California passed in 2002 resulted in dioceses there paying $1.2 billion in legal settlements.

Such a law in New York would cause the church "catastrophic financial harm," according to a statement of opposition from The New York State Catholic Conference, which argues a one-year window would do nothing to stop new cases of abuse while "enriching trial lawyers" by allowing them to file suits relating to "stale lawsuits regarding long-ago charges."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:17 AM

Bill to allow more sexual abuse suits in NY cites Syracuse University scandal

NEW YORK
Syracuse.com

By Mike McAndrew | mmcandrew@syracuse.com
on April 23, 2015

The Catholic church is opposing efforts in New York to allow alleged sex abuse victims to sue after the statute of limitations has expired.

Currently, victims have only until they turn 23 to seek charges or file a civil suit.

A bill pending in the state Legislature would create a one-year window for anyone to file lawsuits no matter when the alleged abuse occurred.

Assemblywoman Margaret Markey, D-Maspeth, makes reference in the sponsor's memo of the bill to the allegations against former Syracuse University basketball assistant coach Bernie Fine, although the memo does not mention Fine by name.

"The Syracuse University, Penn State University, and the Horace Mann school scandals have shown us that now more than ever we need to change how we view the statute of limitations in cases of child sexual abuse," the memo says.

Two former Syracuse University ball boys, stepbrothers Bobby Davis and Mike Lang, publicly accused Fine in 2011 of molesting them decades before when they were children. Syracuse police and federal prosecutors investigated the allegations for a year before announcing that they would not charge Fine. The U.S. Attorney's office said that it had not developed sufficient credible evidence of a prosecutable offense. Through his attorney, Fine has denied any wrongdoing.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:15 AM

Defense witnesses say church didn't discuss sex-abuse allegations against Happy Valley pastor

OREGON
The Oregonian

By Rick Bella | The Oregonian/OregonLive
on April 23, 2015

The defense in the trial for Happy Valley Pastor Mike Sperou called several witnesses Thursday who said they didn't recall any detailed discussions by church members of the child sex-abuse allegations against him in 1997.

Sperou's sister, Jackie Mitchell, a teacher in the North Clackamas Bible Community, told a Multnomah County jury she never saw any children in his room. She also said she didn't know why Jennifer Olajuyin and Jessica Watson, who grew up in the church, were interviewed by police detectives.

"I didn't know very much about it," said Mitchell, who is married to Associate Pastor Kevin Mitchell. "I heard they were questioned."

Under cross-examination, Mitchell said she had not heard that her brother had inappropriately kissed her daughter – his niece. Other defense witnesses earlier said Sperou had taken responsibility for his actions and had apologized.

Mitchell also said under cross-examination that she had given birth to an illegitimate child fathered by Assistant Pastor Bill Hartman.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:13 AM

As deadline looms, ads seek abuse victims in Minneapolis St. Paul Archdiocese

MINNESOTA
Star Tribune

Article by: JEAN HOPFENSPERGER , Star Tribune Updated: April 23, 2015

An Aug. 3 deadline for filing claims against archdiocese prompts campaign

An unprecedented campaign to track down survivors of clergy abuse in the Twin Cities archdiocese is beginning in Minnesota.

Within days, the first legal notices will appear in newspapers across the state announcing, “You May Have a Claim Against the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis.”

Letters already are in the mail to Catholics who have reported sexual abuse to the archdiocese over the years, telling them of a critical deadline for making a claim. Hundreds of notices to treatment centers, psychological therapists, parishes and schools are in the works.

The urgent message: Anyone who has been sexually abused by a priest in the archdiocese now or in decades past needs to step forward by Aug. 3 if they intend to seek compensation. The news is being blasted out by the church, by victims’ attorneys and survivors themselves.

“This will be unprecedented,” said victims’ attorney Jeff Anderson, whose law firm is spreading the word through its own campaign in social and traditional media.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:09 AM

April 23, 2015

PA Catholic Conference Lobbies Against Child Sex Abuse Statutes Reform

PENNSYLVANIA
Catholics4Change

APRIL 24, 2015 BY SUSAN MATTHEWS

Catholics who donate directly or indirectly (through their parish giving) to the Pennsylvania Catholic Conference might be surprised by how their money is being invested. The PA Catholic Conference, the public affairs arm of the Catholic Church in our Commonwealth, actively lobbies against reforming the Statute of Limitations (SOL) for child sex abuse. To be more specific, they hire lobbyists to visit our Representatives and Senators in Harrisburg on their behalf. Money talks and politicians only hear one side. Children can’t afford lobbyists.

I wanted to read about the Conference’s stance on this issue, but I couldn’t find it anywhere on their web site. Why wouldn’t they want to inform the faithful about a key point on their agenda? Why are they hiding this? While I certainly support their pro-life lobbying, I also think children deserve to be protected after they are born.

The current Statute of Limitations (SOL) for child sex abuse puts kids at risk. While the SOL was improved 10 years ago, those reforms were not retroactive. They only applied to future crimes. That leaves child predators, who were never prosecuted, free to live in our communities. For example, think about the priests whose crimes were covered up by the Archdiocese until the SOL ran out. After the scandal was exposed, they were removed from ministry. Where are they living now? They are not registered and predators don’t retire from abusing. But this goes well beyond the clergy. What about the child predators from other walks of life – the family members, the coaches, etc. These lobbyists are helping to give them a free pass in order to protect their client’s assets.

Several states abolished the SOL for childhood sex abuse and created “window legislation.” This legislation opens a two year window during which past victims (whose abuse previously fell outside the SOL) can come forward to name their abuser and press charges.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:48 PM

California Senate dishonors Junipero Serra on verge of sainthood

CALIFORNIA
Sacramento Bee

BY DAN WALTERSDWALTERS@SACBEE.COM
04/23/2015

The Catholic Church’s first Latino pope is on the verge of canonizing Junipero Serra, the 18th century Spanish missionary who brought Christianity to California and built the first of the state’s famed missions.

Figuratively, however, the state Senate’s Latino leadership, including President Pro Tem Kevin de León, is thumbing its collective nose at Pope Francis and Serra by voting to remove the missionary priest’s statue from the U.S. Capitol.

The squabble over ethnicity, sexual orientation, revisionist history and political symbolism is making global headlines and is another emotion-tinged conflict for a Legislature already in turmoil over right-to-die and mandatory vaccination bills.

Each state can have statues of two historic figures in the U.S. Capitol, and California’s are Serra, since 1931, and former President Ronald Reagan, who in 2009 replaced 19th century anti-slavery minister Thomas Starr King.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:27 PM

Clergy Abuse Survivors’ Open Letters to the Pope

MASSACHUSETTS
Boston.com

Commentary

By Allison Pohle @AllisonPohle and Sara Morrison @SaraMorrison
Boston.com Staff | 04.23.15

This September, Pope Francis will make his first visit to the United States since he ascended to the papacy in 2013. His itinerary will include stops in Philadelphia, Washington D.C., and New York.

It will not, as of now, include Boston, the epicenter of one of the biggest scandals in the church’s history. In 2002, The Boston Globe reported on a widespread sexual abuse cover-up within the Boston Archdiocese, the effects of which are still felt today.

Although Massachusetts is the second-most Catholic state in the country, and Boston one of the most Catholic major cities, a Pope has only visited us once. That was in 1979 when Pope John Paul II said Mass on Boston Common to an estimated 400,000 people.

Pope Francis has met with some survivors of sexual abuse by priests. He called for a Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors, led by Boston’s own cardinal Seán O’Malley. Yet, many victim advocacy groups believe the Vatican does not have an adequate system of justice, and the church has not done enough to punish accused priests.

Some survivors ask: If he is truly interested in making reparations and healing, isn’t Boston the best place to start? Or is it for the best if he stays away?

Boston.com asked three sexual abuse survivors — Ann Hagan Webb, Robert Costello, and Bernie McDaid — to write an open letter to Pope Francis about his visit, and whether or not it should include Boston. The church’s response to the survivors’ letters can be read here.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:24 PM

Neerkol orphanage victim continues her fight for justice

AUSTRALIA
The Morning Bulletin

Austin King | 24th Apr 2015

NEERKOL Orphanage victim Margaret Campbell, and her lawyer, are making formal representations to the Queensland boss of public prosecutions to review the case against Rockhampton man Kevin Baker.

Yesterday Aaron Kernaghan, Ms Campbell's solicitor, told The Morning Bulletin he was making those formal representations early next week.

Mr Baker allegedly sexually abused Ms Campbell in 1961 at Neerkol Orphanage, the Royal Commission panel was told at its Rockhampton hearing.

In 2002, the Department of Public Prosecutions decided not to proceed any further with legal action against Mr Baker because of several technical legal issues.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:21 PM

The Next Big Scandal in the Church?

MINNESOTA
Canonical Consultation

04/23/2015

Jennifer Haselberger

Today's online edition of the National Catholic Reporter features a story by Monica Clark about the arrest of Msgr. Hien Minh Nguyen, a priest and former judicial vicar of the Diocese of San Jose, on charges of fraud and tax evasion. According to the article, Msgr. Minh Nguyen was indicted for depositing parish checks, totaling $19,000, into his personal bank account, and failing to report over $1 million in income on his federal tax returns.

Much like the sexual abuse scandal uncovered by the Boston Globe in 2002, this arrest and indictment will come as no surprise to those involved in church governance in the United States. Since as early as 2007 bishops and Chancery officials have been warned that the 'next big scandal' in the Catholic Church would be its financial management, and those same individuals have been called upon to increase internal controls and other protections against misappropriation of funds and other fiscal mismanagement.

Much like the instructions for the handling of sexual misconduct by clergy, these warnings and suggestions have largely been ignored by those in governance in the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis. And, much like the mishandling of accusations of sexual abuse, significant problems have arisen and then have been deliberately kept from the knowledge of the faithful. The most obvious example of this is the theft of more than $600,000 over a 17-year period by the former comptroller, Scott Domeier, through a scheme of graft and kickbacks. Although Domeier was finally removed from his position in 2012, the irregular accounting practices which he oversaw were hardly a secret. I originally raised concerns about them with the Archdiocesan CFO in 2009, only to be told to stay out of it. It was only when an outside vendor complained that the matter was dealt with.

Domeier was not the first lay employee of the Archdiocese (including the Catholic Spirit) to be charged for such crimes, nor is theft and other forms of fiscal misconduct limited to lay workers. Since the warning from the USCCB in 2007, the Archdiocese has repaid $30,000 taken from estate of a woman under the conservatorship of a parish priest, Father Corey Belden, to avoid prosecution of the priest, who apparently misappropriated the funds to fuel a gambling addiction. It froze parish accounts opened by a foreign priest who was using the parish's tax ID number to 'hold' money that had been collected for charities and dioceses in Africa. In 2012, the Archdiocese conducted a parallel investigation to the criminal investigation by the Maplewood Police Department after Father Rodger Bauman accepted a personal gift of $120,000 from a 99-year-old former parishioner. The Archdiocesan investigation determined that Father Bauman had written out the check himself, because of the diminished capability of the man making the gift. And, in 2013, an internal investigation into an extortion attempt made against an Archdiocese priest (who was also involved in prostitution) turned up evidence that the priest had acquired significant assets, including property, through a scheme of double-dipping and having his parish reimburse him for personal expenses. To my knowledge, all these men remain priests of the Archdiocese.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:09 PM

Belgian bishop told to pay damages to victim of paedophile priest

BELGIUM
7 News

Brussels (AFP) - A Belgian court on Thursday ordered the Archbishop of Brussels to pay 10,000 euros in damages to a former choir boy subjected to sexual abuse by a priest.

The plaintiff Joel Devillet, now 42, was raped by a priest in southern Belgium between 1987 and 1991. The earliest abuse happened when he was 14 years old and has left him with serious psychological problems.

In 1996 the victim denounced his violator in front of an internal tribunal of the Belgian Catholic Church, which advised him to seek therapy.

Devillet failed in a bid to get a criminal conviction and so launched, and won, a civil suit claiming damages from the priest involved.

He also filed a suit to demand compensation from Archbishop Andre-Joseph Leonard, the Primate of Belgium, who at the time of the abuse was in charge of the central Namur diocese.

The Liege court of appeal on Thursday said the bishop, who will hand his resignation to the pope when he reaches the maximum permitted age of 75 next month, did not take sufficient measures to deal with the abusive priest, and was told to pay the 10,000 euros ($10,800) to Devillet.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:05 PM

What happened at Neerkol orphanage

AUSTRALIA
SBS

Source: AAP
24 APR 2015

THE EXPERIENCES OF CHILDREN AT THE NEERKOL ORPHANAGE AS TOLD BY FORMER RESIDENTS AT THE CHILD ABUSE ROYAL COMMISSION:

* A 67-year-old woman said she was sexually abused and raped more than 100 times from age 11 by priest Reginald Durham, who forced her to confess her "sins" and gave her absolution.

* Children who ran away were publicly flogged with whips as an example to others.

* Girls were forced to eat "ant sandwiches" under supervision to ensure compliance.

* Altar boys were routinely raped by a priest during Latin lessons.

* Bed-wetters had to stand with the toilet sheet draped over their heads during breakfast.

* Alternatively they were locked in storerooms or cupboards without food or water for up to a day.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:02 PM

Full horror of Neerkol revealed at hearing

AUSTRALIA
SBS

AAP

A stock whip wielded by a young man paints bloody stripes across a small boy's bare back while several nuns and dozens of children watch on.

Another boy is locked in a cramped cupboard for an entire day without food or water.

His crime? Wetting the bed.

A nun drags another child to the priest's quarters and tells him to be a "good boy", before the man who has supposedly committed his life to god forces him into unspeakable acts.

These are not scenes from a film, but the reality for Queensland children who attended St Joseph's Neerkol orphanage, near Rockhampton.

Former Queensland governor Leneen Forde's 1998-1999 inquiry into institutional child abuse exposed the Neerkol nuns' decades-long reign of terror, which was only brought to an end by the orphanage's 1978 closure.

Now, the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse public hearing has revealed the full horror of what went on in the dormitories, the yards, the dining halls and the priests' quarters not so long ago.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:00 PM

Special Mass for abuse victims seen as one step on journey of healing

NEW YORK
National Catholic Reporter

Ed Wilkinson Catholic News Service | Apr. 23, 2015

BOOKLYN, N.Y. When Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio of Brooklyn celebrated a Mass of Hope and Healing for survivors of sexual abuse by the clergy, the mood was pensive.

After all, this had not been done before in this diocese. It was difficult to judge what the reactions would be.

The liturgy was celebrated the evening of April 15 at St. James Cathedral-Basilica in downtown Brooklyn with more than 100 people in the congregation.

The bishop was joined in the procession by Auxiliary Bishops Raymond Chappetto and Octavio Cisneros, 57 priests and 10 deacons.

"The traumatic experience of sexual abuse clearly destroys peace of mind and soul," DiMarzio said in his homily.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:58 PM

Catholic Church fights push to allow more abuse claims in NY

NEW YORK
New Jersey Herald

By DAVID KLEPPER
Associated Press

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) - The Roman Catholic Church is opposing efforts in New York to allow sex abuse accusers to file lawsuits after the statute of limitations has expired, warning of dire financial consequences if the state allows plaintiffs to sue decades after the purported abuse occurred.

Currently in New York, victims of child sex abuse have until five years after they turn 18 to file a lawsuit. The same statute of limitations applies to most child sex crimes.

A bill pending in the state Assembly would eliminate the statute of limitations on abuse cases going forward - and create a one-year window to allow anyone to file lawsuits no matter when the abuse occurred. Supporters gathered Wednesday in Albany to push for the bill.

A similar law in California passed in 2002 resulted in dioceses there paying $1.2 billion in legal settlements.

Such a law in New York would cause the church "catastrophic financial harm," according to a statement of opposition from The New York State Catholic Conference, which argues a one-year window would do nothing to stop new cases of abuse while "enriching trial lawyers" by allowing them to file suits relating to "stale lawsuits regarding long-ago charges."

"It is wrong to hold innocent people accountable today for the evil actions of long-dead individuals from a different generation," the statement reads.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:03 PM

Old court cases further raise San Francisco parents' dissatisfaction with pastor

SAN FRANCISCO (CA)
National Catholic Reporter

Dan Morris-Young | Apr. 23, 2015

Canonical and court documents from 2003 and 2005 that cast a negative light on the ministry of Fr. Joseph Illo during his time in the Stockton, Calif., diocese -- including a court ruling that he inflicted "intentional emotional distress" on an 11-year-old girl -- have further enraged parents at Star of the Sea School who have sought the priest's removal as Star of Sea Parish administrator.

A San Francisco Examiner story posted Thursday reports that a civil case settled in San Joaquin County Superior Court in 2005 ruled that Illo emotionally abused the child when he was pastor of St. Joseph Parish in Modesto and that "the girl was ultimately awarded $20,000 in damages."

According to court documents provided to NCR, the event took place Sept. 11, 2001. The girl reportedly went to Illo to tell him of alleged sexual misconduct against her and her sister in their home about two months earlier by associate pastor Fr. Francis Arakal.

According to a "settlement conference statement" filed in February 2005 by attorneys of the girls' guardian ad litem and mother, Kathleen Machado: "Rather than protect and minister to the 11-year-old ... Fr. Illo breached the child's confidences by forcing the child to confront the offending priest. The pastor and offending priest then called the child a 'liar,' yelled at her and defamed her mother by insinuating to the 11-year-old that her mother was 'fabricating' the allegations ... because 'all [Machado] wanted to do was have sex' " with Illo.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:45 PM

Local Priest Among Two Arrested for Child Porn

GEORGIA
WSAV

EFFINGHAM COUNTY, GA - Two men including a local priest are under arrest and facing child pornography charges.

Bruce Fehr, 54, and Zachary Giebner, 33, were arrested following a two month long investigation.

The Effingham County Sheriff's Office says that both men were downloading child pornography and search warrants were executed Thursday morning at each of their Wilmington Island homes.

Both men are being held at the Effingham County Jail on charges of Sexual Exploitation of Children.

Fehr is a rector of Saint Francis of the Islands Episcopal Church.

According to his biography on the church's website, Fehr was ordained to priesthood in October 2013.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:43 PM

Wilmington Island pastor and former Bryan County teacher arrested on child porn charges

GEORGIA
Savannah Morning News

By DeAnn Komanecky

A former teacher and a pastor have been arrested on unrelated child pornography charges.

Bruce Fehr, 54, of Savannah, and Zachary Giebner, 33, of Savannah were arrested following an investigation that began two months ago. During the investigation, investigators with the Southeast Georgia Child Exploitation Task Force discovered that both Fehr and Giebner were downloading child pornography. Giebner was a teacher in Bryan County, according to the Effingham Sheriff's Office.

Fehr is the reverend at St. Francis Episcopal Church on Wilmington Island, said Joe Heath, with the Effingham County Sheriff's Office and the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force.

Search warrants were executed this morning at each of their Wilmington Island homes where computers were seized and the men arrested. Both men are currently in the Effingham County jail where they face charges for Sexual Exploitation of Children.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:41 PM

Wilmington Island priest and a former teacher arrested for child pornography

GEORGIA
WJCL

By Felicia Abraham
Published: April 23, 2015

SAVANNAH Ga. (WJCL) — The FBI-led Southeast Georgia Child Exploitation Task Force has arrested two men on unrelated child pornography charges.

Bruce Fehr, 54, of Savannah, and Zachary Giebner, 33, of Savannah were arrested following an investigation that began two months ago. During the investigation, Investigators with the Southeast Georgia Child Exploitation Task Force discovered that both Fehr and Giebner were downloading child pornography.

Fehr is rector and is in charge of the St. Francis of the Islands Episcopal Church on Wilmington Island.

Giebner, was charged in November 2013 for inappropriate conduct with a student in Newman, Georgia.

Search warrants were executed this morning at each of their Wilmington Island homes where computers were seized and the men arrested. Both men are currently in the Effingham County Jail where they face charges for Sexual Exploitation of Children.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:38 PM

SLU UNIONIZING

ST. LOUIS (MO)
Berger's Beat

. . .According to trusted Catholic blogger Rocco Palmo, the just-resigned Bishop Robert Finn is “the third U.S. prelate to resign under a cloud of controversy over his handling of abuse claims,” and each of them spent time in Missouri. The first – Cardinal Bernard Law – headed the Springfield (buckle of the bible belt) diocese while second – Cardinal Justin Rigali - headed our own. Palmo also predicts that “Given the turbulence in Kansas City, it is practically certain that Finn won’t remain in the area, most likely returning across Missouri to his hometown.” (Another local connection: Finn’s temporary replacement is Kansas City Archbishop Joseph Naumann, also originally from St. Louis

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:33 PM

CA -- New evidence surfaces against controversial SF priest; SNAP responds

CALIFORNIA
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

For immediate release: Thursday, April 23

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

Once again Bay Area Catholics learn about serious charges against a priest only through the news media, not from their alleged “shepherds.”

Star of the Sea parishioners have apparently learned via news reports that their pastor, Fr. Joseph Illo, was essentially deemed guilty of intimidating a young alleged victim of a predator priest.

[San Francisco Examiner]

When will Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone learn that, in the words of Martin Luther King, “no lie lives forever.” When will he start being honest with Catholics about the misconduct of their priests?

Shame on him, Fr. Illo, and other San Francisco church officials who kept the jury verdict against Fr. Illo hidden.

This isn’t an “allegation” against Fr. Illo. It’s a jury verdict. An impartial, vetted group of citizens heard all the evidence and found that Fr. Illo had indeed mistreated this brave young girl.

(That same jury found the accused predator in this case, Fr. Francis Arakal, not guilty of sexual battery. But we strongly suspect the outcome would have been very different if Fr. Illo, his colleagues and his supervisors had acted responsibly in this case and aggressively reached out to victims instead of intimidating them.)

For the safety of kids and the healing of victims, we call on the archbishop to suspend Fr. Illo immediately. Otherwise, Bay Area priests will get the message that it’s OK to yell at a child

Finally, shame on parishioner Vivian Dudro who admitted Fr. Illo’s behavior would have made a child feel “at the very least uncomfortable and intimidated” but also somehow manages to believe there was no misbehavior on the priest’s part even though an impartial jury awarded the girl $20,000.

In a stunning display of callousness, Dudro also said “If there’s anybody who can pump new life into this church, it’s Father Illo.”

She obviously believes that a priest’s alleged skill at growing his flock trumps his proven intimidation of a young alleged child sex abuse victim. Imagine what Jesus might say to her.

And shame on Larry Kamer, one of Cordileone’s public relations team. He said “In this particular case, the police and the jury both found that there was never any abuse and the matter was resolved on other issues.” That’s disingenuous spin.

The jury did find insufficient evidence to deem Fr. Arakal guilty. But they found ample evidence to deem Fr. Illo guilty. Shame on Kamer for twisting the truth, insulting the jury and re-victimizing the brave girl and her family.

Kamer, also encouraged Catholics to express any concerns directly with the parish and archdiocese. He’s wrong. Those who want to protect their kids and learn the truth should contact police, prosecutors, journalists, lawyers and groups like ours. That’s the way to make a difference. Calling biased, self-serving church officials is at best a waste of time and at worst a way to enable cover ups to remain covered up.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:00 PM

What happened to the Vatican reform of the LCWR?

UNITED STATES
Catholic Culture

By Dr. Jeff Mirus | Apr 23, 2015

The recent positive conclusion to the Vatican’s investigation into the Leadership Conference of Women Religious raises more questions than it answers. The kind words that LCWR leaders are now heaping on the Pope and curial officials do nothing to reassure.

Questions arise because these latest developments are so clearly at odds with the internal LCWR resistance to the Vatican’s doctrinal assessment while it was in progress. This includes a repeated failure to meet the expectations of Archbishop James Sartain of Seattle, the Vatican delegate placed in charge of LCWR reform. Such resistance has been continuously manifested not only in the negative comments of LCWR leadership but in their insistence on continuing to sponsor dissident speakers and honor religious women who reject key portions of the Catholic Faith.

Phil Lawler has already expressed his own doubts about the outcome, which he categorized as “news” because what is now being said contradicts, well, life as we know it. We have, after all, been hearing horror stories about the LCWR for decades.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:43 PM

Accountability and Bishop Finn

KANSAS CITY (MO)
National Catholic Register

by JOAN FRAWLEY DESMOND 04/23/2015

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Bishop Joseph Finn of Kansas City-St. Joseph, Mo., resigned April 21 — one week after a meeting in Rome with Cardinal Marc Ouellet, prefect of the Congregation for Bishops, where he tendered his resignation.

Bishop Finn’s resignation — a direct consequence of his misdemeanor conviction in 2012 for failing to report sexual misconduct by a diocesan priest — was another clear signal of the determination of Pope Francis and other Church leaders to hold bishops directly accountable for the mishandling of sexual-abuse allegations.

The April 21 daily Vatican news bulletin briefly confirmed that Pope Francis had accepted Bishop Finn’s resignation. The Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph subsequently released a statement from the bishop, along with the news that Archbishop Joseph Naumann of Kansas City, Kan., will serve as the apostolic administrator of the diocese until a new bishop is appointed. ...

Push for Accountability

The apostolic visitation in Bishop Finn’s diocese highlighted the Vatican’s commitment to hold bishops accountable for failures to remove and report priests who posed a risk to minors, and it reflected ongoing concerns that Bishop Finn had lost credibility with his priests and local Catholics.

Last November, during an interview on CBS’ 60 Minutes, Cardinal Sean O’Malley of Boston, who leads the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors that Pope Francis created in March 2014, said Bishop Finn’s status was “a question the Holy See needs to address urgently.”

Lay members of the commission on clergy sexual abuse also called for his removal, but sources on that commission told the Register that they had no power to address individual cases.

However, Bishop Finn’s resignation took place immediately after commission members assembled April 12 in Rome for a meeting that discussed his case in the context of a broader consideration of bishops’ accountability.

A source with knowledge of events leading up to Bishop Finn’s resignation, speaking on background, told the Register that he had been summoned to Rome for the April 14 meeting with Cardinal Ouellet and had canceled his appointments last week in order to make the trip.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:36 PM

Columban priest targets traffickers of children in Philippine ministry

PHILIPPINES
Catholic Philly

BY DENNIS SADOWSKI
Catholic News Service

WASHINGTON (CNS) — Arriving in the Philippines from Ireland in 1969 as a young missionary priest, Columban Father Shay Cullen hardly expected he’d end up fighting a burgeoning sex industry.

More than 45 years later, despite death threats and confrontations with uncooperative authorities, Father Cullen, 72, continues to patrols bars and hotels to free kids from an unimaginably dark world where the value of human life is solely measured by how much many customers a child can see in one night.

Through a foundation which he established in 1974 in the western coastal city of Olongapo, Father Shay has helped thousands of young people escape slavelike conditions and rediscover their dignity.

“We are successful in rescuing and saving these children and giving them a new life, a therapeutic community and a sense of new life and dignity so life can return to these unfortunate exploited young people,” Father Cullen told Catholic News Service.

The People’s Recovery Empowerment and Development Assistance Foundation, known as PREDA, provides runaway, abandoned and trafficked children a safe space where they can confront their life of abuse or slavery. Father Cullen claims a success rate of more than 97 percent with few young people unable to settle into a stable life.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:34 PM

Pope Francis Has Forced President Obama’s Hand On Priest Child Abusers

UNITED STATES
Christian Catholicism

Jerry Slevin

US President Barack Obama follows polls, as all leaders must in a democratic world with a 24/7 media and internet, as well as billionaire media moguls who are not above “buying” political influence even from popes. As a parent, Obama also cherishes children and wants to see his expected successor, Hillary Clinton, continue his family supportive policies.

Obama has tried hard to avoid directly confronting media manufactured Pope Francis, but the pope has given Obama little choice but to begin to confront him directly to protect children, and women as well. Obama’s criminal law officials have confronted the pope indirectly, for example, on priest child pornographers like the one in Kansas City that Bishop Robert Finn harbored, and on priest sexual predators in Puerto Rico where Polish Archbishop Josef Wesolowski was papal ambassador and child abuser-in-chief. It appears Obama’s gloves may now be coming off over protecting children and women from a desperate Roman male theocracy on its last legs.

Indeed, Hillary Clinton and her Jesuit educated husband, Bill, can even be expected to press Obama to take on the pope so Hillary can avoid having to do so in her presidential election campaign. Hillary and Bill earned their positions by personal drive and effort, as compared to the Vatican’s clearly preferred Bush brothers, who are sons of a wealthy US President and grandsons of an investment banker US Senator. The Clintons will not be deterred by a “mere pope”.

The pope’s free US political ride on protecting sexual predators and their bishop accomplices is almost over. Please see my Hillary Clinton vs. Pope Francis in 2015 USA Politics, Electing Bishops & Jeb Bush Too , A Pope, A New US War, Jeb Bush Neocons & Big Oil and Finn’s Law: Police Must Now Handle Crimes Says Pope .

The Clinton’s longtime ally and Obama’s former Secretary of Defense and CIA Director, Leon Panetta, summarized as a charter member of the US bishops child protection board in 2004 the situation that still persists. Panetta reportedly said, “These dioceses are separate fiefdoms, … It’s an almost medieval organization we’re dealing with. Each bishop runs his own fiefdom. There is very little communication between those dioceses and bishops and indeed, very little communication between bishops and the Vatican. The basic culture that developed is, ‘We take care of our own, we really don’t want to open ourselves up to being questioned by others…’. The key here is going to be whether there is greater participation by the laity. I am just not sure that there’s enough pressure internally to really produce the changes that are necessary. I say that because in some of the interviews with the hierarchy there was clearly the sense that they were anxious to get this whole thing behind them – back to business as usual.”

Panetta was right. It was back to business as usual, regardless of who is pope. Even under Pope Francis, the laity, especially women, continue to be mostly irrelevant, other than for donations. Panetta helped Obama clean up child sexual abuse on US military bases. Hopefully, he will now for children’s sake step up and help Obama and Hillary clean up US religious institutions, including in the Catholic Church — a task he left basically undone over a decade ago.

The pope appears to be making his final desperate push of his brief papacy to install by the end of next year, before he likely retires, a right wing papal ally in the White House, seemingly Jeb Bush, even if lives of children and women worldwide may be needlessly hurt thereby. Obama will resist this. He knows that with no elective office in his future, he can now thwart the pope with less political risk than Hillary would face.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:24 PM

Canon lawyers: Origins of Bishop Finn's resignation unclear

UNITED STATES
National Catholic Reporteri

Brian Roewe | Apr. 23, 2015

KANSAS CITY, MO. When news broke Tuesday of Bishop Robert Finn's resignation as head of the Kansas City-St. Joseph, Mo., diocese, a primary question asked: Did he step down on his own, or was he forced out?

The announcement from the Vatican published in its daily bulletin said Pope Francis accepted Finn's resignation "in accordance with canon 401 para. 2 of the Code of Canon Law." Canon 401.2 reads: "A diocesan bishop who has become less able to fulfill his office because of ill health or some other grave cause is earnestly requested to present his resignation from office."

While it's possible the Vatican requested Finn resign, neither the announcement nor canon 401.2 offer clear evidence to that, according to four canon lawyers who spoke to NCR.

Fr. John Beal, professor of canon law at The Catholic University of America, said canon 401.2 places the onus on the bishop to determine if his ministry is compromised beyond repair.

"I'm sure there were lots of people pushing, but the canon itself doesn't say anything about a requested resignation. It leaves the initiative with the bishop," said Beal, who added that, like in the military, government and corporate world, there can be a thin margin between voluntary resigning and being pushed.

At a press conference here Tuesday, Teresa White, an abuse survivor who was part of a 2008 settlement with the diocese, said it was important to know if Finn was forced out.

"I want full accountability, I don't want partial accountability," she said. "I don't want any more smoke and mirrors with the church. I want them to own up to their responsibilities to protect children and young people." ...

Finn is far from the first bishop to have the canon accompany his resignation. In the same bulletin, the resignation of Auxiliary Bishop José Trinidad Gonzalez Rodriguez, 71, of Guadalajara, Mexico, also referenced canon 401.2.

As the canon states, it is triggered in cases of a bishop too ill to continue in the role: for example, Bishop Donald Pelotte of Gallup, N.M., who resigned in 2008 at the age of 63 after suffering a brain injury the previous year, or Bishop Joseph Martino of Scranton, Pa., who also resigned at 63 because of what he called "bouts of insomnia and, at times, crippling physical fatigue."

In terms of grave causes, the canon has been used in instances of illicit consecration (Bishop Isidore Fernandes of Allahabad, India, in 2013), sexual relations with adult males (Bishop Francisco Barbosa da Silveira of Minas, Uruguay, in 2009) and financial maleficence (Bishop Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst of Limburg, Germany, aka the "bishop of bling," in 2014).

It has also appeared in numerous cases of bishops handling clergy sexual abuse allegations. BishopAccountability.org lists 16 bishops with ties to sexual abuse scandals who either resigned or were removed from 1991 to 2014; of those, six resignations cited canon 401.2. Among them were three Irish bishops (Brendan Comiskey of Ferns, James Moriarty of Kildare and Leighlin, and Seamus Hegarty of Derry), Bishop Daniel Walsh of Santa Rosa, Calif., and Cardinal Bernard Law of Boston.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:02 PM

Edison Warehouse Sting Leads to Conspiracy Conviction for Three Rabbis

NEW JERSEY
Tap Into

By TAP INTO EDISON STAFF
April 22, 2015

TRENTON, NJ - Three Orthodox Jewish Rabbis were convicted at trial today for conspiring to kidnap Jewish men in an effort to force them to give their wives religious divorces, referred to as “gets,” U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.

Rabbis Mendel Epstein, 69, of Lakewood, New Jersey; Jay Goldstein a/k/a “Yaakov,” 60, of Brooklyn, New York; and Binyamin Stimler, 39, of Brooklyn, New York, were each convicted on Count One of the indictment, conspiracy to commit kidnapping. Goldstein and Stimler were additionally convicted on Count Five of the indictment, attempted kidnapping. Epstein’s son, David Epstein a/k/a “Ari,” 40, of Lakewood, New Jersey, was acquitted on three counts. The jury deliberated three days following an eight-week trial before U.S. District Judge Freda L. Wolfson in Trenton federal court.

According to documents filed in this case and the evidence at trial:

On Dec. 1, 2009, in Lakewood, an Orthodox Jewish man, Israel Markowitz, was assaulted, placed in a van, tied up, beaten and shocked with a stun-gun until he agreed to give his wife a get.

A get is a divorce under according to Jewish law. If a person was married under Jewish law, that person cannot technically remarry under Jewish law without a get.

On Oct. 16, 2010, in Lakewood, another Orthodox Jewish man, Ysrael Bryskman, was assaulted, tied up and beaten until he agreed to give his wife a get.

On Aug. 22, 2011, in Brooklyn, New York, another Orthodox Jewish man, Usher Chaimowitz, and his roommate, Menachem Teitlebaum, were assaulted, tied up, and beaten until Chaimowitz agreed to give his wife a get.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:59 AM

Police set to file case vs two Church leaders

PHILIPPINES
Business World

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY -- The Philippine National Police (PNP) in Northern Mindanao are poised to file child abuse charges against two clerics of Iglesia Filipina Independiente (IFI) who are keeping five minors suspected to be members of a communist group.

Supt. Gervacio Balmaceda, Jr., PNP Region 10 spokesperson, said in an e-mail that IFI’s Bishop Raul Amoricillo and parish priest Rolando Abejo could face cases against Republic Acts 7610 and 7658, both laws covering protection of children.

Mr. Amoricillo earlier claimed that IFI was accorded custody of the five minors who were among the 13 arrested earlier this month by police from Libona, Bukidnon on suspicion that they were members of the New People’s Army (NPA).

Upon confirming that the five are indeed minors after they were arrested, the police turned them over to the Libona municipal social welfare and development office.

Mr. Amoricillo, in a press conference last Tuesday, said the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) regional office gave custody of the children to one Melvy Anlagan, their relative, who, in turn, requested IFI to take custody of the minors.

In a separate e-mail, DSWD Region 10 Spokesperson Oliver Inodeo clarified that the minors were never under the custody of their agency.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:47 AM

Orrore a Pietramontecorvino: abusi sessuali su minore, arrestato ex sacerdote

ITALIA
Foggia Today

[Horror in Pietramontecorvino: sexual abuse of minor by a former priest who has been arrested.]

Le accuse sono tutte gravissime: dalla violenza sessuale aggravata e continuata alla produzione di materiale pornografico. Tutti reati commessi a Pietramontecorvino, dal 2013 e fino al novembre 2014, da un ex-sacerdote, poi ridotto allo stato laicale, con divieto assoluto da parte della Chiesa di avvicinarsi ai bambini frequentanti la parrocchia del paese.

E' quanto scoperto dal Compartimento della Polizia Postale di Bari che, insieme ai carabinieri della stazione di Casalnuovo Monterotaro e di Pietramontecorvino, hanno eseguito una ordinanza di applicazione della misura cautelare in carcere, emessa dal G.I.P. del Tribunale di Bari, nei confronti di T.G., ex sacerdote, indagato, appunto, per i reati di violenza sessuale aggravata e continuata commessa per induzione, abusando delle condizioni di inferiorità fisica e psichica della vittima, nonché produzione di materiale pornografico attraverso rappresentazioni di pornografia minorile e condivisione di materiale pedopornografico in danno di un minore di quattordici anni.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:52 AM

Galveston-Houston’s vicar for clergy tapped to lead Victoria diocese

VATICAN CITY
Headlines from the Catholic World

Vatican City, Apr 23, 2015 / 05:23 am (CNA/EWTN News).- The Vatican announced Thursday that Fr. Brendan Cahill, Vicar for Clergy in the archdiocese of Galveston-Houston, has been named bishop for the diocese of Victoria, Texas.

In an April 23 statement Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, archbishop of Galveston-Houston, said that Fr. Cahill has been “a faithful priest” in his diocese, and will bring “a wealth of gifts and experiences with him in this new ministry.”

“His appointment is a sign of the Holy Father's care for the needs of the people of Southeast Texas, whose deep Catholic roots continue to be a vital presence in the region,” the cardinal said.

The priest’s “warm and pastoral heart” will be greatly missed, he said, assuring the bishop-elect of his personal prayers and fraternal support in his new mission.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:13 AM

The Voluntary Resignation

UNITED STATES
National Survivors Advocates Coalition

EDITORIAL

Voluntary resignation instead of firing is not justice.

It is part of the dance of a gentlemen’s game.

Yes, Bishop Robert Finn would no longer be the head of the Diocese of Kansas City- St. Joseph under either circumstance but it is important to make the distinction.

The permitting of a voluntary resignation allows Finn to retain the financial support that any retired bishop receives from the Roman Catholic Church and gives him a glide path of exit.

With the resignation coming at age 62, — albeit two-plus years beyond when it should have come and been accepted, – that leaves a lot of years for financial support to continue. That support comes from collection baskets, make no mistake about it.

We’d like to hear in-the-pew Catholics raise a bit of noise about this. Many pew occupiers had and have no difficulty slinging arrows of castigation that frame victims of molestation by priests and nuns as money grubbers.

For justice, the survivors with great courage went/go to court against a Church that had and has no problem lawyering up. Victims have been put through a second torture in having to testify about the molestation they have suffered.

Reparations for survivors are not even discussed within the broad forums of the Church.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:09 AM

Rinuncia del Vescovo di Victoria in Texas (U.S.A.) e nomina del successore

CITTA DEL VATICANO
Bolletino

[Pope Francis has accepted the resignation from the pastoral care of the Diocese of Victoria in Texas (USA) presented by Bishop. David Eugene Fellhauer in accordance with canon 401 § 1 of the Code of Canon Law.

The Pope appointed the Rev. Brendan Cahill of the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston, vicar for clergy of the same metropolitan see, as new bishop of the Victoria diocese.]

Il Santo Padre Francesco ha accettato la rinuncia al governo pastorale della diocesi di Victoria in Texas (U.S.A.), presentata da S.E. Mons. David Eugene Fellhauer, in conformità al canone 401 §1 del Codice di Diritto Canonico.

Il Papa ha nominato Vescovo di Victoria in Texas (U.S.A.) il Rev.do Brendan Cahill, del clero dell’arcidiocesi di Galveston-Houston, finora Vicario per il Clero della medesima sede metropolitana.

Rev.do Brendan Cahill

Il Rev.do Brendan Cahill è nato il 28 novembre 1963 a Coral Gables, Florida, nell’arcidiocesi di Miami. Ha ottenuto il Baccalaureato in Psicologia (1985) e il “Master of Divinity” (1990) presso il “Saint Mary’s Seminary/University of Saint Thomas” a Houston. Più tardi, ha ottenuto il “Masters” in Studi Afro-Americani presso la “Xavier University” a New Orleans (1993) e, successivamente, la Licenza (1996) e il Dottorato (1999) in Teologia Dogmatica presso la Pontificia Università Gregoriana a Roma.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:33 AM

Priest resigns amid investigation

OHIO
Dayton Daily News

By Lynn Hulsey - Staff Writer

The Rev. Earl F. Simone, pastor of one of the area’s largest Catholic churches, resigned this month amid allegations of financial wrongdoing at his church and has been approved for a medical retirement.

Huber Heights police are investigating allegations of what “may be a substantial” amount of missing money at St. Peter Catholic Church in Huber Heights, said police spokesman Sgt. Charles Taylor on Tuesday.

In a letter dated April 7 and distributed to parishioners at Mass last weekend, Simone announced he was resigning as pastor of St. Peter and administrator of Our Lady of the Rosary, St. Adalbert, St. Stephen and Holy Cross churches, all in Old North Dayton.

“Age, health and personal concerns have made my decision the correct one,” Simone wrote in the letter. “To those who I have angered or disappointed, I asked your forgiveness and understanding.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:25 AM

Ohio priest resigns amid financial investigation at church

OHIO
Albany Times Union

HUBER HEIGHTS, Ohio (AP) — A Roman Catholic priest has resigned amid an investigation into financial wrongdoing at his suburban Dayton church.

The Rev. Earl Simone, who pastored St. Peter Catholic Church in Huber Heights, had a letter distributed to parishioners last weekend saying he was retiring because of medical problems. The 69-year-old Simone also was the administrator of four other Catholic churches in Dayton.

The Dayton Daily News (http://bit.ly/1bwsGei ) reports that Simone has been on medical leave since March.

Huber Heights police spokesman Sgt. Charles Taylor says the agency is investigating allegations of what "may be a substantial" amount of missing money at St. Peter.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:24 AM

Pastor resigns, leaves message to those he ‘angered or disappointed’

OHIO
WHIO

A Huber Heights pastor has announced his resignation.

Father Earl F. Simone is taking medical retirement from his post as pastor of Saint Peter, as well as administrator of Our Lady of the Rosary, Saint Adalbert, Saint Stephen, and Holy Cross, according to a letter provided by the Archdiocese of Cincinnati.

The church is under investigation by Huber Heights police, according to a spokesman for the Archdiocese. He declined to provide information on that investigation, and police could not be immediately reached.

Simone said in a letter to the church that he is taking medical retirement. He said, “Age, health and personal concerns have made my decision the correct one.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:22 AM

Parents sue all-boys’ school over sexual abuse

NEW YORK
Rockland County Times

In a legal first, the parents of a former student at Yeshiva University’s Marsha Stern Talmudical Academy in Brooklyn have filed a suit against the school for deceiving them into believing the school was a safe place for their son in spite of rampant sexual abuse.

Israel and Chaya Gutman argued in their suit that the Academy was liable for deceptive advertising practices which alleged the school was safe for their son, even though it hired and retained known sexual predators. The Gutmans argue that had they known the dangers, they would have never sent their son, who only revealed his abuse in 2012 after similar accusations were leveled against the Academy.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:17 AM

Catholic pushback: Archbishop Cordileone is the ‘shepherd we need’

SAN FRANCISCO (CA)
Washington Times

By Cheryl Wetzstein - The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Some 54,000 people have signed a petition in support of the San Francisco archbishop who wants Catholic moral teachings modeled or upheld in Catholic schools.

LifeSiteNews.com is also within $2,000 of a fund-raising drive to raise $30,000 to purchase a newspaper ad, which will feature an open letter to Pope Francis to defend San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone.

“I don’t know about you, but I was outraged when I saw the ad by the self-styled ‘prominent’ Catholics who had the gall to ask Pope Francis to replace Archbishop Cordileone simply because he is courageously defending Catholic teachings,” John-Henry Westen, editor-in-chief of LifeSiteNews, said in an email to supporters.

The news group and other allies want to use a newspaper ad to run an open letter to Francis thanking him for “the great gift” of Archbishop Cordileone to San Francisco.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:12 AM

Gavriel Bodenheimer Trial Starts On May 27th

NEW YORK
Frum Follies

Yerachmiel Lopin

Rabbi Gavriel (Gabriel) Bodenheimer’s trial on ten felony counts alleging criminal sexual acts with a child under eleven years of age is now scheduled to start on Wednesday May 27, 2014 (right after Shavuot) in front of Judge R. Thorsen in the Rockland County Courthouse.

Bodenheimer, Principal of Bais Mikroh elementary school in Monsey, was arrested in August 2014 on charges dating backing to 2009.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:09 AM

Royal Commission public hearing into Knox Grammar School to re-commence

AUSTRALIA
Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse

The Royal Commission public hearing into Knox Grammar School will re-commence on Tuesday 28 April 2015 at 9:00am.

The hearing will continue to inquire into the response of Knox Grammar School and the Uniting Church in Australia between 1970 and 2012 to concerns raised about inappropriate conduct by a number of teachers towards students at the school.

Mr Fotis has been summonsed and will be called to appear on 28 April 2015.

The public hearing will be streamed live to the public via webcast on the Royal Commission’s website at www.childabuseroyalcommission.gov.au.

Interested individuals and organisations are encouraged to view the proceedings via the webcast.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:07 AM

Oral Submissions to be held for Case Study 21 Satyananda Yoga Ashram

AUSTRALIA
Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse

23 April, 2015

The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse will hear oral submissions in relation to Case Study 21 into the Satyananda Yoga Ashram at Mangrove Mountain, NSW, on Wednesday 29 April 2015.

The public hearing commenced on 2 December 2014 and examined the response of the Satyananda Yoga Ashram to allegations of child sexual abuse by the Ashram’s former spiritual leader in the 1970s and 1980s.

The hearing will commence at 10am at Royal Commission Hearing Room 1, Level 17, Governor Macquarie Tower, 1 Farrer Place, Sydney.

The oral submissions will also be streamed live on the Royal Commission website.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:05 AM

Pope Francis must do more to protect children from Catholic church abuse

UNITED STATES
The Guardian (UK)

David Clohessy

Pope Francis has made international headlines by breaking with a number of church traditions, but there is one that he sadly upholds. For centuries, most high ranking church officials guilty of child abuse or other crimes have been kept on the job, shuffled elsewhere, allowed to quietly retire or even promoted. That hasn’t changed: Vatican officials’ obsession with “saving face” still trumps their concern with saving children.

Kansas City Bishop Robert Finn clung to post and power for almost three years after he was convicted of failing to report a priest who took pornographic images of girls. Instead of being denounced, defrocked, or at least demoted years ago, Pope Francis accepted Finn’s resignation on April 21. Finn will get to keep his paycheck, his priesthood and even his bishop’s title. This summer, when US bishops gather for their annual meeting, he’ll likely be among them (as he has been even post-conviction).

Disgraced clergy often live comfortably ensconced in respectable or even prestigious church posts, basking in the glory and grandeur that accompany their exalted positions in places like Rome. Such is what passes for “accountability” in the hidebound, medieval and largely self-serving Catholic hierarchy.

By graciously letting Finn step away from his duties as head of a diocese, Francis is following the lead of his predecessors. He missed a golden opportunity to signal to both his bishops and his flock that he is serious about tackling child abuse. The Pope should have said he was stripping Finn of every role and title in the church, because he knowingly refused to do his civic and moral duty: calling police when he learned that children might have been hurt. Instead, his passive, vague acceptance of Finn’s resignation fails to deter others in high church offices from ignoring, minimizing, or concealing known or suspected clergy sex crimes.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:58 AM

Schoolgirl alleges sex abuse by church leader

SCOTLAND
Herald Scotland

Thursday 23 April 2015

A SCHOOLGIRL has described how a church leader accused of sexually assaulting her, told her he was trying to rid her of demons.

The 16-year-old woman told Falkirk Sheriff Court yesterday (wed) that Walter Masocha put his hand down her trousers in a games room of his house near Stirling.

Mr Masocha, 51, was the Archbishop of the Stirling-based Agape for All Nations Church and a man she said she regarded as a "The Prophet" and "The High Commissioner" of the church. The teenager added she knew him as her "spiritual father", and called him "dad".

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:54 AM

UPDATE: Warren County Substitute Teacher Arrested for Sexual Abuse; Attorney Says Hart's Innocent

KENTUCKY
WBKO

WARREN COUNTY, Ky. (WBKO) - Kenneth Hart's attorney Alan Simpson says Hart is innocent.

"Mr. Hart's been a teacher for 22-23 years, and he's been a pastor of many churches in this area as well. This is literally a swearing match. Some children have made some stories up, who are angry at him and he absolutely denies any wrongdoing," said Simpson.

WBKO has received a statement on the allegations against Kenneth Hart from Rob Clayton, the Warren County Schools Superintendent.

"Upon receiving allegations of inappropriate contact between a substitute teacher and students, the individual in question was immediately removed from the school by the principal. WCPS will continue to fully cooperate with all parties involved and allow the criminal process to play out. The safety of our students remains paramount in all of our daily decisions. "

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:51 AM

Ex-Morris Catholic music teacher loses teaching license

NEW JERSEY
Daily Record

Peggy Wright, @PeggyWrightDR April 22, 2015

The state Board of Examiners for the Department of Education has revoked the teaching certification of a former Morris Catholic High School music teacher accused of masturbating in his car while watching children at a bus stop in Denville.

John W. Watson, 33, of North Brunswick, was charged in December with four counts of lewdness and was accepted in February into Morris County’s Pre-Trial Intervention program for first-time offenders.

To get into PTI, Watson did not admit to any crimes. If he successfully completes 36 months of supervision, performs 100 hours of community service and undergoes a psychological evaluation, the lewdness charges will be dismissed and he will not have a criminal record.

As a condition of PTI, Watson agreed to forfeit his teaching license. To guarantee the forfeiture was recorded, the Morris County Prosecutor’s Office alerted the state Board of Examiners for the state Department of Education. On April 17, the board revoked Watson’s teacher of music certificate he received in 2006, according to the board’s order.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:49 AM

Church must remain vigilant in addressing abuse, USCCB president says

UNITED STATES
Catholic Sentinel

Catholic News Service

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Catholic Church spent a total of $150.7 million on child protection efforts and to address allegations of clergy sexual abuse of minors in dioceses and religious orders between July 2013 and June 2014.

The total includes about $31.7 million for safe environment training programs, background checks and other protective efforts, and about $119 million for settlements paid to victims, therapy for victims, attorneys' fees and other costs related to allegations, including those reported in previous years.

The figures are among results of an annual survey conducted by Georgetown University's Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate that is part of an annual audit report on the response of the U.S. church to clergy sexual abuse.

The 12th annual report, released April 17 by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, "is part of a pledge we have made to remain accountable and vigilant," said Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz of Louisville, Kentucky, who is president of the USCCB.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:42 AM

Old court case fuels calls for SF pastor’s ouster

SAN FRANCISCO (CA)
San Francisco Examiner

By Laura Dudnick @LauraDudnick

Parents at a Catholic elementary school in San Francisco renewed calls this week for the ouster of the parish’s controversial pastor after details emerged of a decade-old case in which he emotionally distressed a young girl at his former parish in Modesto.

The civil case, settled in San Joaquin County Superior Court in 2005, found that the Rev. Joseph Illo inflicted emotional distress on the 11-year-old girl while at St. Joseph’s Parish in Modesto. The incident occurred on Sept. 11, 2001, when the girl reported alleged sexual misconduct by another priest working under Illo.

Illo is now the parish administrator of Star of the Sea parish in The City.

The girl had gone to the rectory at St. Joseph’s to report the alleged sexual abuse of herself and her sister to Illo, the pastor of Father Francis Arakal, who was accused of the abuse. The lawsuit states that Illo in turn called the girl a liar and yelled at her, causing emotional distress. The girl was ultimately awarded $20,000 in damages.

Upon reading the plaintiffs’ settlement conference statement and judgment this week, parents at the K-8 school Star of the Sea Elementary School expressed further outrage over the latest clash between Illo and members of the school community. Previously, parents were upset about a new policy to no longer train girls as altar servers and the distribution of sexually explicit pamphlets to children before confession.

“If true, in my opinion, the parents of the school are owed an explanation and assurances as to the safety of their children,” Bob Regan, whose daughter attends Star of the Sea, said in response to the court documents.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:36 AM

April 22, 2015

Parents of alleged sex-abuse victim doubt their daughter's claims against Happy Valley pastor

OREGON
The Oregonian

By Rick Bella | The Oregonian/OregonLive
on April 22, 2015

The mother of an alleged sex abuse victim told a Multnomah County jury Wednesday that her daughter never told her that Happy Valley Pastor Mike Sperou touched her inappropriately.

Her daughter, Jessica Watson, never complained – even when asked as a child – if she was uncomfortable around Sperou, said Karen Hartman, a teacher in Sperou's North Clackamas Bible Community.

So an allegation brought to light later by her daughter, doesn't ring true, she said. "The accusation doesn't make sense to me," Hartman said.

Hartman's husband, Bill Hartman, an assistant pastor, also testified that Watson never told him of any abuse and that he doesn't believe any occurred.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:06 PM

Droppings from the Catholic Birdcage...

UNITED STATES
Bilgrimage

William D. Lindsey

Droppings from the Catholic Birdcage: Jerry Slevin on How "Finn Sacking . . . Points to Serious Trouble after the Chile Revolt for the Pope’s Upcoming Visit to Philly"

Jerry Slevin at Christian Catholicism on how the Finn sacking shows the tenacity of abuse survivor Marie Collins in holding the pope's feet the fire regarding the abuse, the trouble he's in following the revolt in Chile over his appointment of Juan Barros as bishop, and how all of this plays into the staging and messsaging of Pope Francis's visit to the U.S. later in the year:

The Finn sacking shows that Marie Collins' tenacity points to serious trouble after the Chile revolt for the pope’s upcoming visit to Philly, a key part of his evident and unfolding strategy to elect next year a "Vatican/US bishop friendly" right wing US president, with Jeb Bush the pope's evident top choice.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:59 PM

Child Abuse Advocates Take to Church Steps to Send a Message

GEORGIA
WSAV

[with video]

SAVANNAH, GA - Abuse allegations have become all too common in connection with the Catholic Church.

One of those priests already convicted once served in our area.

Now one advocate group wants Savannah's Bishop to step up and help his victims.

Wayland Brown was assigned to St James School back in 1987.

That's when he's accused of repeatedly sexually assaulting a 13 year old boy.

Brown has already served time in a Maryland prison, and settled two lawsuits for millions of dollars. Now a third, from Savannah, is pending.

One group took the fight for transparency, and for the victims, to the steps of the biggest church in Savannah.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:38 PM

California priest charged with tax evasion, fraud

CALIFORNIA
National Catholic Reporter

Monica Clark | Apr. 22, 2015 NCR Today

Msgr. Hien Minh Nguyen of the diocese of San Jose, Calif., was arrested April 18 in Florida on charges of tax evasion and bank fraud. He was on a personal leave of absence from ministry at the time of his arrest.

The 55-year-old priest appeared in a Fort Lauderdale court on Monday to face 14 charges of bank fraud and four counts of tax evasion. The San Jose Mercury News reported that the priest is expected to eventually face the charges in San Francisco federal court, where a grand jury indicted him earlier this month. If convicted, he could face up to 35 years in prison.

The indictment alleges that between 2005 and 2008, Nguyen deposited at least 14 checks, made out to the Vietnamese Catholic Center and totaling $19,000, directly into his personal account. He is also accused of failing to report $1.1 million of income to the IRS between 2008 and 2011.

San Jose Bishop Patrick McGrath said on Monday that this was the first time, to his knowledge, that an allegation of this nature has been made against a priest in the diocese, which was founded in 1981.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:33 PM

Editorial: The pope finally gets around to Kansas City's bishop

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

Editorial

Until 2005, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph was regarded as far more ecclesiastically moderate than the Archdiocese of St. Louis. That changed abruptly in 2005 when Robert W. Finn of St. Louis took over as bishop in Kansas City.

Bishop Finn, who grew up in Overland and was educated in archdiocesan seminaries, was a protege of then-St. Louis Archbishop Raymond Burke and a member of the ultra-conservative Catholic organization Opus Dei. He immediately began to make church practices in Kansas City more closely resemble those in St. Louis.

This was immensely satisfying to conservative Catholics in Kansas City, who were uncomfortable with the role of laymen and — especially nuns and laywomen — in diocesan affairs. Bishop Finn was old school, which was entirely his right. Up to a point.

In 2010, he took it upon himself to impose his episcopal prerogatives in a civil matter. In May that year, a parish school administrator reported teachers had become uncomfortable with Father Shawn Ratigan, the pastor of their parish. In December of that year, a computer technician found lewd photos of young girls on Father Ratigan’s computer.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:28 PM

Priest’s attorney: New child sex abuse allegations were dismissed in 2009

PENNSYLVANIA
Tribune-Democrat

By David Hurst
dhurst@tribdem.com

Posted on Apr 22, 2015

A suspended Central City priest was arraigned Wednesday on his latest set of charges alleging he used mission trips to Honduras to have sex with street orphans there.

But the Rev Joseph Maurizio Jr’s defense attorney described the new indictment as old claims, ones the FBI investigated in 2009 and then dismissed.

“When (a prosecutor’s) original charge falls apart, their M-O is always to add more victims and more charges,” Attorney Stephen Passarello said of the new counts, which allege Maurizio abused two more Honduran boys and transferred mission trip money to the country to facilitate his crimes.

“I’m not seeing anything new here,” he said. “It’s still the same allegations the FBI (investigated) before their case was closed in 2010.”

A thinner, somewhat frail-looking Maurizio appeared for his brief arraignment at U.S. District Court in Johnstown to enter a “not guilty” plea.

Passarello said Maurizio will continue seeking a jury trial – and the attorney vowed he’ll do “everything I can” to keep the defendant’s scheduled September trial date from being delayed.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:51 PM

Guest Blog: BishopAccountability.org Update, Next steps for Pope Francis: Speak up and fire more bishops

UNITED STATES
Hamilton and Griffin on Rights

Bishop Robert Finn of the diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph MO finally has been fired by Pope Francis. The event culminates years of heroic effort by survivors, law enforcement, parishioners, and whistleblowers that saw:Screen Shot 2015-04-22 at 8.25.58 AM

• The conviction of Finn for waiting five months to report hundreds of child porn photos on his priest’s computer (Finn was sentenced to two years’ probation);
• A criminal conviction of the priest, Shawn Ratigan, for producing images of child sexual abuse;
• Successful lawsuits by dozens of Kansas City victims that forced the diocese to implement child safety measures and pay millions;
• A court ruling fining the diocese $1.1 million for multiple breaches of a 2008 child protection contract;
• A petition to the Vatican by 263,000 people;
• A petition to Pope Francis from a canon lawyer and a group of KC Catholics;
• Years of protests, editorials, social media campaigns, and billboards.

Given the enormous costs paid by survivors and others to achieve this week’s outcome, it’s small wonder that reaction seems muted. Relief is mingled with sadness and puzzlement that it took Pope Francis so long to do the obviously right thing. If the church had been following its own policies, Bishop Finn shouldn’t have been allowed to teach CCD, let alone run a diocese.

Adding to the subdued response is the Pope’s notable silence. His eloquence at pivotal moments on other issues of injustice has been transformative. But of this long delayed firing of a bishop who knowingly endangered children and deepened the trauma of survivors by hounding them ruthlessly in court, Francis has no comment. No denunciation of bishops who endanger children, no promise that other guilty bishops will be removed, no apology for the suffering he caused by stalling.

In fact, we can’t even be sure of why the Pope fired Bishop Finn. Because he failed to protect children? Or because he was causing scandal?

Is the Pope trying to squash a persistent PR problem? Or he is launching a new era of bishop accountability?

The only information this week came from the Vatican, in a one-sentence bulletin in Italian. It said that Finn’s resignation had been accepted in accordance with canon 401, paragraph 2. That church law states: “A diocesan bishop who has become less able to fulfill his office because of ill health or some other grave cause is earnestly requested to present his resignation from office.”

This is the same notice the Vatican has issued in the firing by previous popes of other complicit, scandal-causing bishops – such as Irish bishop Brendan Comiskey, removed by Pope John Paul II in 2002, and Irish bishop Seamus Hegarty, removed by Pope Benedict XVI in 2011.

[Click here to see BishopAccountability.org’s list of abuse-enabling bishops who have resigned.]

Indeed, the same cryptic announcement accompanied the December 2002 resignation of Cardinal Bernard Law. His departure ended a calamitous year in the Boston archdiocese. But that resignation quickly was revealed to be bogus accountability by the Vatican — it was a rescue, not a rebuke.

So while we can hope that Finn’s removal signals a shift in papal policy on complicit bishops, there’s reason to be skeptical – to suspect that this is the same damage control tactic used by Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI.

How can Pope Francis prove he is different? He can start by publicly confirming that Finn was removed because he harbored a sexual abuser. Such a modest admission by a pope would be unprecedented, and it would send a bracing message to bishops and religious superiors worldwide that a new era has begun.

More importantly, the Pope must keep cleaning house, and without the same agonizing delay. Sadly, it’s not hard to identify other unfit bishops. Archbishop Nienstedt of St. Paul and Minneapolis should be at the top of the list. There’s documentary evidence that children in recent years have been sexually assaulted because of his wanton irresponsibility.

And just as quickly, Francis must reverse his strange and disastrous appointment of Chilean bishop Juan de la Cruz Barros Madrid. Several victims have testified that Barros witnessed their sexual abuse by disgraced priest Fernando Karadima. Francis must ignore the pressure to retain Barros that he likely is receiving from his friend Cardinal Francisco Errázuriz, another enabler of Karadima. The pope instead should honor the pleas of the victims, his own Commission members, and of the priests and parishioners of the Osorno diocese.

In the meantime, we can celebrate the courage of the survivors in Kansas City, St. Paul, Chile and elsewhere who have exposed corruption in the Church. Thanks to them, accountability is happening, and it includes the Pope himself. Francis has pledged to discipline bishops who fail to protect children — and survivors and Catholics worldwide are determined to hold him to his promise.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:03 PM

Priest Pleads Not Guilty to New Charges in Child-Sex Case

PENNSYLVANIA
NBC 10

A suspended Roman Catholic priest has pleaded not guilty before a federal magistrate in western Pennsylvania to additional charges that he traveled to Honduras to have sex with poor street children during missionary trips.

The Rev. Joseph Maurizio Jr. has been jailed since last fall when federal prosecutors in Johnstown accused him of molesting one boy, and possessing child pornography.

Wednesday's court appearance in Johnstown stemmed from a new indictment adding two new alleged victims and charges the priest funneled $8,000 through a charity to facilitate the trips, which ended in 2009.

Maurizio's attorney, Stephen Passarello, has said his investigative team in Honduras has lined up witnesses to challenge the allegations, which the 69-year-old priest denies.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:50 PM

Book offers insight into canon law's role in sexual abuse crisis

UNITED STATES
National Catholic Reporter

Thomas P. Doyle | Apr. 22, 2015

POTIPHAR'S WIFE: THE VATICAN'S SECRET AND CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE
By Kieran Tapsell
Published by ATF Press, $40

The legal system of the Roman Catholic church is probably the longest-running in history. Canon law, the commonly used name for this system, has been accorded near magical status by some of its practitioners, who are firmly convinced it has an answer to every problem facing the institutional church.

The true believers have claimed that the clergy sex abuse debacle could have been avoided had the church only used its own canonical system. Foremost among them has been Cardinal Raymond Burke, formerly head of the Apostolic Signatura, the church's highest court. In 2012, he addressed a canon law convention in Kenya and said that the church has a "carefully articulated process by which to investigate accusations of sex abuse," and that the ongoing problem of clergy sex abuse was because the discipline of canon law was not followed.

Burke's assertion and those of others making similar claims are far removed from the reality of canon law's role in the church's abysmal failure to deal with the epidemic of sexual misbehavior.

On the other side of the reality divide, bishops who actually tried to deal with priest-perpetrators according to the church's rules found themselves more times than not stymied and stonewalled by a confusing and contradictory array of canonical regulations.

I have been a canonist long enough to know that canon law never had a chance. My belief is based on the fact that canon law is a legal system in service to a monarchy. By its very nature, the primary goal is to protect the monarchs. There is no separation of powers in the Catholic church, hence no checks and balances.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:47 PM

NY Catholics show up in force to lobby for Child Victims Act

NEW YORK
National Catholic Reporter

Jamie Manson | Apr. 22, 2015

While many folks around the world marked April 22 as Earth Day, in Albany, N.Y., State Assemblywoman Margaret M. Markey used the occasion to host a Lobby Day to promote awareness of child sexual abuse.

Across the country, April is known as National Child Abuse Prevention Month. Markey and sixty other assemblymembers have called on Gov. Andrew Cuomo to extend the proclamation to New York state, which ranks among the worst for the way in which it deals with victims of child sexual abuse crimes, according to a survey by Professor Marci Hamilton of Cardozo Law School.

Unlike some states that have either no statute of limitation or an extended statute of limitation, in New York, victims must bring criminal or civil charges against their abusers within five years of their 18th birthday.

For years, Markey has sponsored the Child Victims Act, a bill that would "reform New York's archaic criminal and civil statute of limitations for childhood sexual abuse crimes," according to a press release from Markey's office.

"The Child Victims Act calls for the total elimination of the criminal and civil statute of limitations for child sexual abuse crimes in the future, with a complete one year suspension of the civil SOL to benefit older victims," the release also states. More than one-third of the members of the State Assembly have joined Markey to co-sponsor the bill.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:35 PM

Bishop Finn Removed: Response by Anne Barrett Doyle, Co-Director, BishopAccountability.org (781-439-5208 cell)

UNITED STATES
BishopAccountability.org

Pope Francis’s removal of Bishop Robert Finn of Kansas City-St. Joseph is a good step but just a beginning. The pope must show that this decision represents a meaningful shift in papal practice – that it signals a new era in bishop accountability. This action alone is not unprecedented: both of Francis’s predecessors fired bishops whose handling of abusive priests caused scandal. (See BishopAccountability.org’s list of complicit bishops who resigned or were removed: http://www.bishop-accountability.org/bishops/removed/)

But what no pope has done to date is publicly confirm that he removed a culpable bishop because of his failure to make children’s safety his first priority. We urge Pope Francis to issue such a statement immediately. That would be unprecedented, and it would send a bracing message to bishops and religious superiors worldwide that a new era has begun.

It should be noted too that Pope Francis’s decision on Finn will add fuel to the fire in Chile; calls for the removal of Chilean bishop Juan de la Cruz Barros Madrid will intensify. We hope Francis will honor the pleas of Karadima’s victims, of his own Commission members, and of the priests and parishioners of the Osorno diocese, and rescind this disastrous appointment immediately. If Francis means business, he must be consistent.

Background on canon 401, paragraph 2, and removal of complicit bishops:

Today’s terse Vatican press bulletin states only that Finn was removed in accordance with canon 401, paragraph 2, which states: "A diocesan bishop who has become less able to fulfill his office because of ill health or some other grave cause is earnestly requested to present his resignation from office." This is the same notice the Vatican has issued in the firing of other complicit bishops who have caused scandal – such as Irish bishop Brendan Comiskey, removed by Pope John Paul II in 2002, and Irish bishop Seamus Hegarty, removed by Pope Benedict XVI in 2011.

About BishopAccountability.org

Founded in 2003 and based near Boston, Massachusetts, USA, BishopAccountability.org is a large online archive of documents, reports, and news articles documenting the global abuse crisis in the Roman Catholic Church. An independent non-profit, it is not a victims' advocacy group and is not affiliated with any church, reform, or victims' organization. In 2014, its website hosted 1.5 million unique visitors.

Contact for BishopAccountability.org

Anne Barrett Doyle, Co-Director, barrett.doyle@comcast.net, 781-439-5208 cell
Terence McKiernan, President and Co-Director, mckiernan1@comcast.net, 508-479-9304

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:56 PM

Victims Report Sexual Abuse by Former Episcopal Teacher

PENNSYLVANIA
Patch

By JAMES BOYLE (Patch Staff)
April 22, 2015

The fallout from the 2013 arrest of a former Episcopal Academy teacher and administrator continues with the report by 11 former students that he sexually assaulted them, according to philly.com. Montgomery County prosecutors told reporters that the statute of limitations has run out on the crimes and charges are unlikely.

Richard Perkins Smith, 67, was taken into custody by Massachusetts State Police in April 2013 and indicted by a Barnstable County, Mass. grand jury for rape of a child, indecent assault and battery and five counts of indecent assault and battery upon a child under the age of 14.

Smith, who is a 1966 graduate of Episcopal Academy and taught at the school’s Devon campus from 1970 to 1990 and then worked in the development office until 1998, allegedly told investigators he also molested a fourth-grade Episcopal student around 1977 while they were in his car and admitted the incident to the head of the school. The student later reported the abuse, but the statute of limitations prevented any criminal charges regarding those allegations.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:54 PM

Erin's Law won't be adopted by Edmonton Catholic schools

CANADA
CBC News

Marilyn Bergstra asked fellow trustees Tuesday to support new curriculum that would educate staff and students from kindergarten to Grade 12 about ways to prevent child sexual abuse.

"If child sexual abuse were a disease, it would be one of the largest epidemics in our country," Bergstra told fellow trustees on the Edmonton Catholic School Board. "And resources would be allocated to it."

In her presentation to the board, Bergstra offered statistics from Edmonton's Zebra Child Protection Centre, which works with children who have suffered abuse.

According to Zebra statistics, she said, "One in three girls in Edmonton will experience unwanted sexual acts performed on them. One in six boys in Edmonton."

In 2010, Bergstra said, the Zebra centre supported 554 such cases. In 2013, that caseload had risen to 1,337. ...

Trustee Larry Kowalczyk asked why Edmonton schools would consider adopting an American program when there are Alberta resources already in place.

"This program is not taught within the Catholic faith," he said. "I think if we recommended this to Alberta School Boards Association, and then our bishop said, "Guess what? You can't teach that program, because we just don't take sex by itself.'"

Kowalczyk then quoted Cardinal Thomas Collins, former Archbishop of Edmonton and now Archbishop of Toronto.

"Catholic schools," he said, quoting Collins, "will not implement any new teachings that aren't consistent with the Catholic faith. Anything that undermines the catechism of the Catholic church will not be taught."

After a lengthy debate, trustees voted down Bergstra's motion.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:52 PM

EXCLUSIVE: Maui minister arrested for child sex assault

HAWAII
Hawaii News Now

[with video]

By Chelsea Davis

WAILUKU, MAUI (HawaiiNewsNow) -
A Maui minister is behind bars and charged with sexually assaulting a young child.

Dennis DeRego fainted in court Tuesday afternoon during a bail hearing while his attorney asked the judge to let him out of jail on supervised release. DeRego was rolled out on a wheelchair and loaded onto an ambulance.

DeRego was arrested on Friday after a Maui grand jury indicted him earlier in the week on ten different charges. The charges against him include eight counts of sexual assault of a minor, ranging from first degree to fourth degree, and two counts of promoting child abuse in the second degree.

Other ministers on Maui who know him are stunned.

"It was obviously shocking to have a man of his stature, and obviously touching the lives of many people, to have him arrested," said Reverend Laki Kaahumanu.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:46 PM

Priest pleads not guilty to new charges in child-sex case

PENNSYLVANIA
WTRF

JOHNSTOWN, Pa. (AP) - A suspended Roman Catholic priest has pleaded not guilty before a federal magistrate in western Pennsylvania to additional charges that he traveled to Honduras to have sex with poor street children during missionary trips.

The Rev. Joseph Maurizio Jr. has been jailed since last fall when federal prosecutors in Johnstown accused him of molesting one boy, and possessing child pornography.

Wednesday's court appearance in Johnstown stemmed from a new indictment adding two new alleged victims and charges the priest funneled $8,000 through a charity to facilitate the trips, which ended in 2009.

Maurizio's attorney, Stephen Passarello, has said his investigative team in Honduras has lined up witnesses to challenge the allegations, which the 69-year-old priest denies.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:44 PM

Kansas City Bishop Robert Finn is … OUT!

UNITED STATES
The Worthy Adverary

Posted by Joelle Casteix on April 22, 2015

It’s the the papal version of the back-handed compliment:

In a one-sentence throw-away line in yesterday’s Vatican press bulletin, Pope Francis accepted the resignation of Kansas City-St. Joseph Bishop Robert Finn.

The Holy Father Francis has accepted the resignation from the pastoral government of the diocese of St. Joseph-Kansas City, Mo. (U.S.A.) presented by His Excellency Msgr. Robert W. Finn.

In case you didn’t know: in 2012, Finn was convicted on one count of failure to report child sexual abuse. He covered up for Shawn Ratigan, a Missouri priest who was sentenced to 50 years in prison for producing child pornography.

From National Catholic Reporter:

Because of that incident, Finn served a two-year suspended sentence in Jackson County, Mo., and struck a deal later that year with a Clay County, Mo., judge to avoid a similar charge by entering a diversion compliance agreement that included regular meetings with the county prosecutor for five years.

As I have noted on this blog before, if Finn were to apply for a job at his own diocese, he would not pass the background check.

Removing Finn was low-hanging fruit for Pope Francis, who has called on churches to enforce “zero tolerance” (even though Francis recently appointed a Chilean bishop who is accused of covering up for child sex abuse crimes). It would have been easy for Francis to deliver a strong message and fire Finn. It would have been very easy for the Vatican to make a powerful announcement stating that Finn’s behavior was unacceptable and will not be tolerated in a pastoral Christian environment.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:34 PM

Finn’s Law: Pope Rules Police Must Handle Child Crimes! ...

UNITED STATES
Christian Catholicism

Jerry Slevin

Finn’s Law: Pope Rules Police Must Handle Child Crimes! Must Pope, Ex-Pope, Et Al. Now Go For Breaking Finn’s Law, President Obama?

US President Barack Obama’s official international broadcast outlet has now weighed in on “Finn’s Law” as reported below. Pope Francis’ Vatican announced Bishop Robert Finn’s resignation April 21, indicating that the evidently forced resignation resulted from the Catholic Church’s papally dictated Code of Canon Law that applies to all Bishops, even to himself as the Bishop of Rome and to Cardinal Bishops. Canon Law says, “A diocesan bishop who has become less able to fulfill his office because of ill health or some other grave cause is earnestly requested to present his resignation from office.” (emphasis mine) The “grave cause” was Finn’s seemingly single failure to report a child pornographer priest to the police as promptly as required by local Missouri law. The long overdue legal precedent set by Pope Francis, “Finn’s Law”, is now finally fixed, Amen! Finn’s Law can now be stated simply:

Bishops who fail to report promptly to the police facts indicating possible priest sexual abuse of children are unfit as pastors and will be removed.

Of course, if applied with legal logic, few bishops, including the pope apparently, would remain in office. For example, the pope’s secretive mishandling of Archbishop Wesolowski’s alleged crimes seems clearly to violate Finn’s Law. The pope is obviously a “son of the Church {hierarchy}”, however, more than he is a logical and principled Jesuit. Please see below the links to the details of the earlier child protection failures of the pope and of his “sex abuse czar”, Cardinal Sean O’Malley. It seems clear, to me at least, that the pope in dumping Finn is merely responding to concerns of some of his key major US donors in a pre-US presidential election year. Will the pope at least now apply Finn’s Law to reported failures of Finn’s former St. Louis mentors, Cardinals Rigali, Dolan and Burke? Not likely, no? More likely, Finn will get a comfortable appointment after the media moves on, as happened with the extravagant Bishop of Bling recently. Meanwhile, US politicians will generally continue to look the other way as long as the pope’s poll numbers remain high, despite the continuing risk of sexual abuse to millions of US children.

The huge clout of wealthy US donors on the Catholic hierarchy is personified by Cardinal Dolan. See his recent conference with Goldman Sachs’ CEO and his earlier “the pope loves the rich” spiel on the CNBC international business network here,

[Goldman Sachs]

and here,

[CNBC]

Incidentally, Goldman Sachs is a major banker in oil and gas related investments. One of the pope’s top financial advisers is a top Goldman official and former longtime top official at BP. Time will tell how this papal relationship will impact the pope’s over-hyped and imminent encyclical on climate change, which could lead to increases in regulation of the oil and gas industry.

US President Barack Obama, and all other US national political leaders of both political parties, have generally and shamefully ducked the bishop unaccountability travesty despite the harm to hundreds of thousands of US citizens. Significantly, however, Obama’s official international broadcast outlet, Voice of America (VOA), reported on Finn’s ouster, while also gratuitously adding to its report references to the Chilean Bishop Barros’ scandal and to BishopAccountability’s criticism.

Obama’s VOA report significantly noted that the Vatican did not give a specific reason for Finn’s resignation. The brief report then reportedly added: “Anne Barrett Doyle, the co-director of BishopAccountability.org, an online abuse resource group, said in a statement that Finn’s resignation was ‘a good step but just a beginning,’ and called on the pontiff to publicly state that he removed Finn for failing to protect children. ‘The pope must show that this decision represents a meaningful shift in papal practice, that it shows a new era in bishop accountability,’ Barrett Doyle said. ‘That would be unprecedented, and it would send a bracing message to bishops and religious superiors worldwide that a new era has begun.’ “

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:27 PM

Adescavano i minori e pagavano per sesso prete tra i 3 arrestati

ITALIA
Gazzetta del Mezzogiorno

POTENZA – Con l’accusa di aver adescato, attraverso un social network, minorenni, pagati per consumare rapporti sessuali, tre persone sono state poste agli arresti domiciliari nell’ambito di un’operazione dei Carabinieri della Compagnia di Policoro (Matera) coordinata dalla Procura della Repubblica di Potenza.

Il gip del capoluogo lucano ha inoltre emesso un provvedimento di obbligo di presentazione alla polizia giudiziaria per altre cinque persone. Le otto persone indagate sono "residenti – è spiegato in un comunicato diffuso dalla Procura di Potenza – in varie località del territorio nazionale".

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:55 AM

Priest among three arrested for alleged child abuse

ITALY
Gazzetta del Sud

Potenza, April 21 - Three people including a parish priest were arrested Tuesday on charges of soliciting minors for paid sex through a social network. Don Antonio Calderaro from the church of San Giuseppe in Rivello near Potenza in the southern Basilicata region was among the three suspects placed under house arrest in connection with the alleged child abuse. A further five suspects were ordered to present themselves to the judicial police. The suspects live in various parts of the country, prosecutors in Potenza said. Investigations began in 2013 after the sister of one of the victims reported concerns over appointments made by her younger brother with people met on Internet. Monsignor Francesco Nolè, bishop of the diocese of Tursi-Lagonegro, immediately banned Don Antonio from celebrating Mass and relieved him of all his priestly duties.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:47 AM

WV -- Mormon hearing televised today

WEST VIRGINIA
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

For immediate release: Wednesday, April 22, 2014

For more information: David Clohessy of St. Louis, SNAP Director (314) 566-9790 cell, SNAPclohessy@aol.com

Court hearing today to be streamed live
It can be watched on-line, starting at 10 a.m.
Case is “virtually unprecedented,” group says
Mormons persuaded judge to give predator a lawyer
And half of his attorney fees are to be paid by abuse victims
National support group blasts that arrangement as “an outrage”

It’s begging those who “saw, suspected or suffered Mormon crimes” to “speak up”

An appeals court hearing today in Charleston involving a controversial child sex abuse and cover up case will be live-streamed on line at http://www.courtswv.gov/supreme-court/webcast.html.

It involves a twice-convicted, now-imprisoned Mormon child molester, Christopher Michael Jensen, who was convicted of assaulting youngsters in both Utah and West Virginia. A dozen children and their parents are suing Mormon officials for allegedly enabling and concealing Jensen’s abuses.

A support group for clergy sex abuse victims is criticizing Mormon church officials, accusing them of “callous, self-serving hardball legal tactics.”

“Mormon officials are trying to scare other victims into staying silent,” said David Clohessy of St. Louis, director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests. “And they’re rubbing even more salt into the already deep and still fresh wounds of these brave but suffering families who have been so severely hurt and betrayed.”

“It’s an outrage that the Mormon church hierarchy has persuaded a judge to make these courageous families pay half the fees for two private lawyers in this case, including one who is defending a proven criminal,” said Barbara Dorris of St. Louis, SNAP’s outreach director. “We in SNAP have never seen anything like this.”

The group hopes others who may have been assaulted by Jensen will speak up.

“We also beg anyone who may have seen, suspected or suffered crimes by Jensen or other Mormons to step forward and get help,” said Dorris. “That’s the best way to expose wrongdoers, protect kids and start healing.”

The case was brought in Berkeley County Circuit Court.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:42 AM

Are American Cardinals an endangered species?

UNITED STATES
Religion News Service

David Gibson | Apr 22, 2015

(RNS) This week’s funeral rites for Cardinal Francis George of Chicago marks the passing of a kind though straight-talking prelate who was recalled after his death from cancer as a great intellect and a “lion” of a churchman, especially by his many fans on the Catholic right.

But it also also feels like the end of an era, as a different style of bishop is slowly emerging in the Pope Francis era, one more in synch with the pontiff’s pastoral style — like Archbishop Blase Cupich, the man Francis chose last fall to succeed George, who was 78 when he died.

What may be just as significant, however, in terms of the influence of American Catholicism, is that Cupich does not yet have a “red hat,” so one of the major dioceses of the U.S. church would currently be without a vote if a conclave to elect a new pope were held.

Moreover, Cardinal Justin Rigali, another longtime U.S. churchman — and behind-the-scenes architect of the conservative Catholic renaissance in the U.S. — turned 80 this week, which means he loses his right to vote in a papal election.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:37 AM

Episcopal Accountability & the "Reverse Caiaphas" Policy

UNITED STATES
National Catholic Reporter

Michael Sean Winters | Apr. 22, 2015 Distinctly Catholic

Yesterday, I wrote about the news that Bishop Robert Finn had resigned as the Bishop of Kansas City-St. Joseph. I mentioned that the accountability of bishops is especially important when it comes to the issue of clergy sex abuse, but that issue does not exhaust the issue: Bishops can fail in many ways, as can we all, but they are in positions of leadership, with enormous power over the people they are supposed to serve. How can and should the Church deal with bishops who are simply not working out?

There is not doubt that changes must be made. Today we live under what one friend calls the “reverse Caiaphas” policy. Caiaphas, the high priest, said that it was better for one man to die that the whole people might be saved. Today, when it comes to the accountability of bishops, the default position is that it is better for the people to die so that one man might be saved.

First, I should note that most bishops do just fine. Some may be more pro-active than others. In some dioceses, there is a sense of vibrancy and activity and in others not much is going on, but instances of actual failed leadership are few. Not to put too fine a point on it, but whatever one thinks of the leadership of San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone or St. Paul Archbishop John Nienstedt, they are the only two bishops in the country who have people taking out full page ads asking for their removal, or otherwise writing letters to the pope, the nuncio, and the Congregation for Bishops. There are 270 active bishops in the United States, so having two that have not managed to be a good fit for their dioceses is not such a high rate.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:34 AM

Jim Gardner Questions Archbishop Chaput About Clergy Child Sex Abuse

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
Catholics4Change

APRIL 22, 2015 BY SUSAN MATTHEWS

Click here to see Jim Gardner’s full interview with Archbishop Chaput, which aired on 6ABC in segments. Gardner asks the Archbishop of Philadelphia about the clergy sex abuse coverup at the 22:35 mark.

Editor’s note:

Archbishop Chaput continues to emphasize that clergy sex abuse occurred in the past. He does not acknowledge that the Church covered up these crimes intentionally to wait out the statutes of limitations. Because they can’t be charged now, priest perpetrators are out on the streets TODAY. They were removed from ministry – but not society. Children are still at risk. Abusers don’t retire. It’s a compulsion they take to the grave. Because these crimes fell outside the current statute of limitations, no one can press charges. What does the Church do to make amends and to protect children? The Catholic Conference continues to this day to fight statute of limitations reform in Harrisburg. Why should we believe children are being put first?

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:24 AM

Paper claims pope rejected gay French diplomat as ambassador to Holy See

VATICAN CITY/FRANCE
The Guardian (UK)

Stephanie Kirchgaessner in Rome and Kim Willsher in Paris
Wednesday 22 April 2015

Pope Francis met France’s nominated ambassador to the Holy See, who is gay, and personally told him that the Vatican would not accept his appointment, a French newspaper has claimed.

In a meeting over the weekend, the pontiff allegedly cited his displeasure with a controversial 2013 gay marriage law in France as part of his reason for the decision, according to the report in Le Canard Enchâiné, a French satirical newspaper.

Pope Francis also allegedly said he did not appreciate the manner in which France had tried to put pressure on the Vatican by nominating a man – 55-year-old Laurent Stéfanini – who French officials knew would be controversial given the church’s views on homosexuality. The Vatican declined to comment to the Guardian about the veracity of the report or whether a meeting took place.

The church’s apparent objection to Stéfanini, a practising Catholic, has been known for weeks, ever since press reports first indicated that the Vatican was dragging its feet on the nomination because of his sexual orientation.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:54 AM

Reform of the Curia is unnecessary, says Archbishop Gänswein

VATICAN CITY
The Tablet

22 April 2015 by Christa Pongratz-Lippitt

Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI’s personal secretary said he believes reform of the Vatican bureaucracy, which has become a key theme of Pope Francis’ papacy, is not necessary.

Archbishop Georg Gänswein, who is also Prefect of the Papal Household, said: “I personally can see no significant reason which would necessitate a reform of the Curia at the moment. One or two changes have been made but that is part of the normal run of things. To speak of ‘Curial reform’ is, if I may so, somewhat of an exaggeration.”

Gänswein, whose view of the status quo in the Vatican are probably supported by a not inconsiderable number of the hierarchy, according to insiders, was giving an interview to the German website katholisch.de.

He was asked whether the Vatican and the Church in general are polarised at the moment. “There is no polarisation as far as I can see and I haven’t experienced any. Certain measures here and there have been criticised and if the criticism is justified, that can surely benefit the general climate,” he said.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:48 AM

Christian Life Academy teacher arrested for alleged sex with student; boy's mom found texts from teacher on phone then reported her

LOUISIANA
The Advocate

BEN WALLACE| BWALLACE@THEADVOCATE.COM
April 22, 2015

Following an investigation sparked by a recent complaint from a Baton Rouge high school student’s mother, sheriff’s deputies on Tuesday arrested a Christian Life Academy teacher accused of having a sexual relationship with the student about two years ago.

Amber Leigh Anderson, 27, a math teacher, engaged in the relationship with the student mostly during summer 2013 when the boy was a 15-year-old freshman at the school, according to an East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff’s Office report.

In April 2013, another student gave the victim Anderson’s cellphone number. As time progressed, Anderson and the victim “became extremely close to one another,” the Sheriff’s Office report says.

Text messages between the two soon became sexually charged, and in July, Anderson began having sex with the student, the report says.

The relationship lasted a few more months until the boy’s mother found some of the text messages on her son’s cellphone that had been sent by Anderson. At that point, the mother confronted the teacher, told her to quit texting her son and “reported the matter to the school’s administration,” the report says, effectively bringing an end to the relationship between Anderson and the student.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:26 AM

Kansas City bishop finally pays the price for misusing power

KANSAS CITY (MO)
The Island Packet

The Kansas City Star
April 22, 2015

The departure of Robert W. Finn as bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph, although overdue, is a step forward for the diocese and thousands of area Catholics.

Finn's conduct in office made him a symbol of the Catholic Church's failure to adequately address child sexual abuse by priests. He was the first Catholic bishop to be convicted of a crime related to that crisis.

Finn, 62, should have resigned after his 2012 conviction, if not sooner. He received two years of probation for failing to notify law enforcement authorities after pornographic images were found on the computer of a diocesan priest, Shawn Ratigan.

Finn's decision to place secrecy above his moral and legal obligations enabled Ratigan to harm additional children. The former priest is serving a 50-year prison sentence for producing child pornography.

Finn remained in office despite the scandal, a circumstance that anguished and angered many Catholics. The news Tuesday that Pope Francis accepted Finn's resignation is a triumph for the lay persons who wrote letters, collected more than 250,000 petition signatures and spoke up for Finn to leave.

Challenging the world's most powerful church hierarchy isn't easy or comfortable, and Finn has powerful allies, including Bill Donohue, the fiery head of the ultraconservative Catholic League. The persistence of lay Catholics is a testimony to how much they care about their church.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:23 AM

Nomina dell’Amministratore Apostolico “sede vacante” di Kansas City-Saint Joseph (U.S.A.)

CITTA' DEL VATICANO
Bolletino

[On 21 April 2015, the Pope appointed Joseph F. Naumann, archbishop of Kansas City in Kansas to be apostolic administrator of the Kansas City diocese.]

In data 21 aprile 2015, il Papa ha nominato Amministratore Apostolico “sede vacante” della diocesi di Kansas City-Saint Joseph (U.S.A.) S.E. Mons. Joseph F. Naumann, Arcivescovo Metropolita di Kansas City in Kansas.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:44 AM

More Episcopal students say they were sexually abused by former teacher

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
Philadelphia Inquirer

MARI A. SCHAEFER, INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
LAST UPDATED: Wednesday, April 22, 2015

At least 11 former Episcopal Academy students have come forward to say they were sexually abused decades ago by a teacher there, the school has disclosed, but the accusations are unlikely to be prosecuted.

The former fourth-grade teacher, Richard Perkins Smith, 67, of Media, taught at Episcopal's Devon campus from 1970 to 1990 and later served in the school's administration.

He is awaiting trial in Massachusetts on charges including child rape and indecent assault. Smith is accused of sexually assaulting four boys, ages 11 to 15, at a Cape Cod summer camp more than 30 years ago.

In a 2012 interview with Massachusetts investigators, Smith admitted he had once molested an Episcopal student and that he had confessed the incident at the time to the head of the school, according to court documents.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:34 AM

Pope Accepts US Catholic Bishop's Resignation

UNITED STATES
Voice of America

The Vatican said Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of a U.S. bishop convicted for failing to report a priest who collected lewd photographs of minor children.

Bishop Robert Finn stepped down Tuesday as head of the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph, Missouri in the Midwestern U.S.

Finn is the highest-ranking Catholic official in the United States to be convicted in connection with a suspected case of child abuse involving a member of the clergy.

The Vatican did not give a specific reason for Finn's resignation but said the pontiff accepted it under canon law. ...

Anne Barrett Doyle, the co-director of BishopAccountability.org, an online abuse resource group, said in a statement that Finn's resignation a "a good step but just a beginning," and called on the pontiff to publicly state that he removed Finn for failing to protect children.

"The pope must show that this decision represents a meaningful shift in papal practice, that it shows a new era in bishop accountability," Barrett Doyle said. "That would be unprecedented, and it would send a bracing message to bishops and religious superiors worldwide that a new era has begun."

Francis is also under pressure to remove Bishop Juan Barros of Chile, who is accused of shielding the Reverend Fernando Karadima, a notorious pedophile priest.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:31 AM

New Jersey Get-Ring Convicted

NEW JERSEY
Jewish Press

A New Jersey court convicted three Rabbis of conspiracy to commit kidnap, and two of the three were also convicted of attempted kidnapping.

Under Jewish law, for a divorce to be official, a husband must give his wife a divorce document called a “Get”. Without a Get, the woman is considered married under Jewish law and unable to remarry.

The three conspired to kidnap and beat Get-withholding husbands who refused to grant their spouses a Jewish divorce.

They Get-ring was uncovered by an undercover FBI agent posing as an Orthodox wife whose husband refused to grant her a Get.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:28 AM

Three rabbis convicted for kidnapping men and forcing them to grant Jewish divorce

NEW JERSEY
JTA

(JTA) — Three rabbis were convicted in federal court of planning to kidnap Jewish men in order to force them to grant their wives a religious writ of divorce.

The three Orthodox rabbis were convicted late Tuesday in federal court in Trenton, N.J. of conspiracy to commit kidnapping. Two of the rabbis also were convicted of attempted kidnapping.

The jury debated for three days after a two-month trial on the case of Rabbi Mendel Epstein, 69, of Lakewood, N.J.; Rabbi Jay Goldstein, 60, of Brooklyn; and Rabbi Binyamin Stimler, 39, of Brooklyn, CBS New York reported.

They are part of a group of men, including at least one other rabbi, who operated a ring that kidnapped men and used violence, including beatings and stun guns, until they agreed to the religious divorce.

Under Orthodox Jewish law, a wife cannot divorce without obtaining the writ, known as a get, from her husband. She also can not remarry in a Jewish ceremony without the get.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:25 AM

Rabbis convicted of Sopranos-style New Jersey divorce kidnap plot

NEW JERSEY
The JC

By Rosa Doherty, April 22, 2015

Three Orthodox rabbis have been convicted for a Sopranos-style plot in which they planned the torture of Jewish men who refused to divorce their wives.

Rabbis Mendel Epstein, Jay Goldstein and Binyamin Stimler were found guilty on one count of conspiracy to commit kidnapping in a New Jersey federal court on Tuesday.

Rabbi Goldstein, 60, and Rabbi Stimler, 39, were also convicted on an additional charge of attempted kidnapping.

The rabbis were part of a gang accused of taking tens of thousands of dollars to torture men with electric cattle prods and screwdrivers for refusing to grant gets to their wives.

They were arrested in October 2013 after an undercover FBI operation in which an agent posed as an Orthodox woman.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:23 AM

Bisschop die pedopriester beschermde opgestapt

USA
NOS

De paus heeft het ontslag geaccepteerd van een Amerikaanse bisschop die een pedofiele priester beschermde. Het is voor zover bekend de eerste keer dat een paus in zo'n geval maatregelen neemt.

De 62-jarige bisschop Robert Finn uit Kansas City hield priester Shawn Ratigan maandenlang de hand boven het hoofd nadat op de computer van de laatste kinderporno was gevonden. Finn stuurde Ratigan naar een therapeut, gaf hem een nieuwe baan en beval hem uit de buurt van kinderen te blijven - wat de priester niet deed.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:21 AM

Unter guten Menschen des Glaubens

USA
kath.net

Wegen Missbrauchs-Vertuschung verurteilter Bischof tritt zurück - Robert Finn wurde zu einem Symbol für das Versagen der US-Kirche im Umgang mit dem Missbrauch von Minderjährigen. Von Thomas Spang (KNA)

Kansas City (kath.net/KNA) Die Opfer sexueller Übergriffe von Priestern im Mittleren Westen der USA haben schon lange auf das Abdanken des umstrittenen Bischofs gewartet. Genauer gesagt vier Jahre, seit sie zusammen mit Katholiken des Bistums Kansas City-Saint Joseph in einer Petition öffentlich den Rücktritt von Robert Finn (Archivfoto) verlangten. Im Mai 2011 hatten die Behörden den Priester Shawn Ratigan festgenommen, auf dessen Computer sich Kinderpornografie fand, die dieser zum Teil selber produziert hatte.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:20 AM

Two Alleged Victims of Child Abuse Taking Their Fight to Albany

NEW YORK
TWC News

By Meg Rossman

AMHERST, N.Y. -- Vanessa DeRosa and Tino Flores want change, and it’s something the two alleged victims of child sexual abuse believe will only come with a new state law.

"It's very frustrating, and I'm sure not just for myself. I'm sure it's frustrating for a lot of people,” said DeRosa. “There's countless reasons why people don't come forward in the time frame allowed by the law."

"People are afraid, they don't want to say anything,” explained Flores. "Especially kids, they think 'who's going to believe me?'"

Earlier this year, DeRosa and Flores shared their stories in the hopes of helping other victims. DeRosa said she was abused by a Catholic School teacher when she was 13. Flores said a priest started abusing him at age 10.

Under current laws, the statute of limitations ran out when they turned 23. On Wednesday, Flores will head to Albany in hopes of convincing state lawmakers to pass the Child Victims Act which would extend that window.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:16 AM

Child sex abuse inquiry...

AUSTRALIA
Radio Australia

Child sex abuse inquiry: Senior Catholic nun apologises to victims from Neerkol orphanage in Queensland

By William Rollo

A senior Catholic nun has apologised to victims of sexual abuse at St Joseph's Orphanage at Neerkol, near Rockhampton, during her testimony at a Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse hearing.

Hundreds of children were beaten, molested and raped at St Joseph's over three decades up until the late 1970s.

Sisters of Mercy Australia leader Berneice Loch finished her testimony this morning at the inquiry, which is investigating systemic abuse at the orphanage.

Sister Loch was a senior member of the Sisters of Mercy when allegations of abuse at the orphanage first came to light in the 1990s.

She now leads the order's Australian branch.

Under cross-examination this morning, Sister Loch apologised to the victims of abuse.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:10 AM

Child Sexual Abuse Inquiry: Neerkol Orphanage nuns ‘nervous’ about meeting victims

AUSTRALIA
Herald Sun

MICHAEL MADIGAN AND AAP THE COURIER-MAIL APRIL 22, 2015

NUNS accused of abusing children at a notorious Queensland orphanage refused to meet the victims as adults because they feared not remembering what happened, a national inquiry has heard.

Up to five of the Sister of Mercy nuns alleged to have abused children at Neerkol Orphanage were still alive in the 1990s, but many were “anxious and nervous” about meeting victims.

As the Royal Commission into Child Sexual Abuse in Rockhampton nears the end of a two-week hearing, a former nun has recalled the reactions of the Sisters of Mercy alleged to have abused and humiliated children at St Joseph’s Orphanage at Neerkol, west of the city.

Di-Anne Rowan, a former teacher and religious education co-ordinator who left the order in 2003, told the hearing she believed between three and five of the nuns facing allegations of abuse were still alive when the accusations came into the public arena in the early 90s.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:09 AM

Church leaders renew apology as child abuse hearing winds up

AUSTRALIA
The Morning Bulletin

CATHOLIC Bishop of Rockhampton Michael McCarthy and Institute of Sisters of Mercy of Australia and Papua New Guinea leader Sister Berneice Loch have renewed their apology to child abuse victims at Neerkol.

The pair has issued a joint statement this afternoon following the completion of the Royal Commission into child abuse hearing in Rockhampton.

The hearing heard confronting evidence from former residents at the Neerkol orphanage who were victims of sexual and physical abuse.

Bishop McCarthy and Sister Loch's statement said:

"Over the past two weeks we have listened to the women and men who were physically, emotionally and sexually abused by priests of the Diocese of Rockhampton and sisters and staff at St Joseph's Orphanage, Neerkol.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:06 AM

Saltford church worker and child abuser Philip Barlow walks free from court

UNITED KINGDOM
Western Daily Press

A Saltford church worker and child abuser has walked from court a free man – despite having just been jailed for two and a half years for sexual offences.

A judge condemned Philip Barlow as a “hypocrite, liar and a paedophile” as he imposed the jail term.

But because the married 33-year-old has already served the equivalent time in prison, he is a free man today.

In December 2011, Barlow was jailed for four years after being found guilty of 14 offences of sexual abuse of two young girls. The convictions were later quashed on appeal and a retrial ordered.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:03 AM

Defense in child sex abuse case against Happy Valley pastor brings out the heavy artillery

OREGON
The Oregonian

By Rick Bella | The Oregonian/OregonLive
on April 21, 2015

The defense in the child sex abuse case against Happy Valley Pastor Mike Sperou opened Tuesday by calling on a former prosecutor who rejected the allegations in 1997.

Multnomah County Circuit Judge Cheryl A. Albrecht limited what the jury could hear, ruling that former Deputy District Attorney Rodney Hopkinson's testimony could be prejudicial if he went into detail about why he declined to prosecute Sperou back then.

Sperou, who leads the North Clackamas Bible Community, has been charged with three counts of first-degree sexual penetration. If convicted on all counts, he would face a mandatory minimum sentence of eight years, four months in prison.

Seven women allege that Sperou sexually abused them when they were young girls growing up in the church during the 1980s and 1990s. The Oregonian/OregonLive generally does not disclose the names of possible sexual abuse victims, but all seven women connected with the case have come forward, asking that their stories be told.

Prosecutor Chris Mascal called on all seven women to testify over five days before resting Monday. The women -- including Shannon Clark, the alleged victim in this case – all told the jury that Sperou took advantage of his position as church leader and abused them.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:01 AM

Bishop Robert Finn; Reparative therapy

UNITED STATES
Renew America

By Matt C. Abbott

First, please pray for the repose of the soul of Cardinal Francis George. I always appreciated his politeness – he would address me by name at various Catholic events over the years – and he obviously was a prayerful and intelligent man. Requiescat in pace.
--------------------------------------

Bishop Robert Finn of Kansas City-Saint Joseph, Missouri, is the latest casualty of the clergy sex abuse scandal, which has cost U.S. dioceses and religious orders close to $3 billion since 2004.

Esteemed Catholic journalist/commentator Phil Lawler once again hits the nail on the head. The following are excerpts from his latest commentary at Catholic World News (click here to read it in its entirety).

Bishop Finn had to go. When he was convicted on criminal charges, he became the poster boy for the American bishops' mishandling of the sex abuse crisis. He was an irresistible target for critics of Catholicism: a walking, talking symbol of episcopal negligence....

For the many Catholics who admire Bishop Finn's strong defense of Catholic teaching, including myself, his case is tragic. For others who opposed his pastoral initiatives – such as the National Catholic Reporter, which, Bishop Finn had confirmed, had lost the right to describe itself as a 'Catholic' publication – his departure has provided an occasion for unseemly delight. But the bishop's staunch orthodoxy is not the issue here.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:58 AM

Chile: priest to offer ‘Mass of hope’ in opposition to new bishop

CHILE
Catholic Culture

Father Pedro Kliegel, a parish priest in Osorno, Chile, is offering a “Mass of hope” on April 22 to express opposition to the recent appointment of Bishop Juan Barros, who has been accused of covering up sexual abuse.

According to Chilean media reports, a retired bishop, Bishop Juan Luis Ysern of San Carlos de Ancud, has suggested that the Vatican appoint an apostolic visitor to examine the situation.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:54 AM

April 21, 2015

NCR's 2012 editorial calling on Bishop Finn to resign

KANSAS CITY (MO)
National Catholic Reporter

Dennis Coday | Apr. 21, 2015 NCR Today

Why did Bishop Finn reason? is a question I have been numerous times in the last 12 hours fielding questions from other media outlets and a few local Catholics. I can't answer that question definitively, because of the secrecy that cloaks these proceedings. But I can say why NCR called for his resignation in 2012 immediately after his conviction for failing to report suspected child abuse.

The answer is two-fold: Finn violated civil law, as the Jackson County judge ruled, but also he violated the the Dallas Charter for the Protection of Children, the protocols the bishops wrote themselves to govern their actions in case of clergy sex abuse. Here's what NCR said in September 2104:

If Bishop Robert W. Finn wanted today to volunteer at a parish in the Kansas City-St. Joseph, Mo., diocese to teach a religious education class or chaperone a parish youth group to World Youth Day, he couldn't do it. Convicted of a misdemeanor charge of failure to report suspected child abuse, Finn wouldn't pass the background check necessary to work with young people in the Catholic church.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:00 PM

STORY REMOVED: BC-US--Vatican-US Bishop

KANSAS CITY (MO)
St. Louis Post-Dispatch

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — The Associated Press has withdrawn its story about Pope Francis accepting the resignation of a bishop who led the Diocese of Kansas City-St Joseph in Missouri for nearly 10 years. Bishop Robert Finn was convicted by a judge of failing to report suspected child abuse, but did not plead guilty as the story stated. A corrected version of the story will be sent.

The AP

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:55 PM

Reaction to Finn's resignation: sadness, relief settle on diocese

KANSAS CITY (MO)
National Catholic Reporter

Brian Roewe Soli Salgado | Apr. 21, 2015

KANSAS CITY, MO. Emotions ran high among Catholics in the Kansas City-St. Joseph, Mo., diocese as word spread that Bishop Robert Finn had resigned Tuesday morning. The reactions ranged from sadness and disappointment among Finn’s supporters to relief among his critics.

Nearly all who spoke to NCR talked of the pain of the last few years, and all expressed a need for the diocese to enter a time of healing.

Fr. Pat Rush, pastor at Visitation Parish, echoed the message of Kansas City, Kan., Archbishop Joseph Naumann, named administrator of the neighboring diocese, in hoping the new phase “will be a time of grace and healing for the diocese.”

“We all know the Vatican can work slowly, and I hope it does not work slowly because I think we have been adrift. And I think we’ll continue to be adrift until such a time as we have a bishop that we can kind of all feel that he has a goal of supporting and strengthening the communion of the church,” Rush told NCR.

Rush was one of about a dozen priests and parishioners -- supporters, critics and neutral people -- interviewed in September 2014 during an apostolic visitation into Finn’s leadership of the diocese. Those interviews led to a report to the Vatican’s Congregation for Bishops.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:51 PM

Pope accepts resignation of Robert Finn, years after U.S. bishop's conviction

UNITED STATES
CNN

By Greg Botelho, CNN

(CNN)Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of Bishop Robert Finn, who remained on the job for years after becoming the highest-ranking U.S. Catholic official convicted in connection with the church's long-running sex abuse scandal, the Vatican announced Tuesday.

Finn, who led the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph, Missouri, was found guilty in 2012 of failure to report suspected child abuse.

The case was tried by a judge instead of by jury because prosecutors wanted to protect the young victims' anonymity.

Finn was convicted of one count but not a misdemeanor charge he'd also faced. He was put on two years' probation but was not forced to spend time in jail or pay a fine, according to the Jackson County Prosecuting Attorney's Office. Two charges against his diocese were dropped. ...

Candida Moss -- a professor at Notre Dame, a Catholic university in Indiana -- said it "doesn't look very urgent" that a decision came down only now, nearly three years after the conviction and five months after O'Malley's comments. Several factors may have played a role in the delay, including views from lawyers or power players at the Vatican, who may be reluctant to cast blame at high-level officials who don't report allegations quickly enough to government authorities.

But the timing of the announcement may make sense given that it comes weeks after Francis came under fire for the installation of a new bishop in Chile, Juan Barros, despite protesters' claims he was complicit in sexual abuse cases there.

"It kind of shook Francis' reputation," said Moss. "Having this resignation and putting right one of the more visible injustices on this, especially in the U.S., I think this is a typical Francis way to reinstall confidence." ...

To that point, the co-director of BishopAccountability.org asked for more elaboration than the Vatican's one-line announcement that Francis accepted the resignation "in accordance with ... Canon Law."

Anne Doyle, from the watchdog group that documents the Catholic church's abuse crisis, called Finn's removal "a good step but just the beginning."

"The pope must show that this decision represents a meaningful shift in papal practice -- that it signals a new era in bishop accountability," Doyle said. "... What no pope has done to date is publicly confirm that he removed a culpable bishop because of his failure to make children's safety his first priority. We urge Pope Francis to issue such a statement immediately."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:48 PM

Adult Victims push for change in child abuse law

NEW YORK
WIVB

[with video]

By George Richert, News 4 Reporter

AMHERST, N.Y. (WIVB) — A local victim of child abuse is on a lobby mission to Albany this week.

Tino Flores will accompany his attorney William Lorenz to the State Capitol Wednesday to lobby for passage of the Child Abuse Act which would end the statute of limitations for adult victims of child abuse who want to press charges against their abusers.

Under current State law people have five years after they turn eighteen to press charges against someone who sexually abused them. Flores says that’s not enough. He says he was molested by a priest and it took him thirty years to come to terms with it.

“We need change. we need people to listen. We need the adults and the children that are abused to open up and spill their guts,” said Flores.

The Child Abuse Act would also create a one year window in which child abuse victims could press charges against someone who abused them decades ago.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:46 PM

Alleged “Prodfather” Rabbi Mendel Epstein’s Attorneys Ask For Mistrial, Judge Says No

NEW JERSAY
Failed Messiah

Shmarya Rosenberg • FailedMessiah.com

Defense attorneys for the alleged “Prodfather,” Rabbi Mendel Epstein, and three of his associates asked a federal judge to grant a mistrial today.

The judge, US District Court Judge Freda L. Wolfson, denied the motion.

Instead, she told the jury to disregard an incorrect sentence in the indictment the jury was given last week when it began its deliberations in Epstein’s get (Jewish divorce) extortion and kidnapping trial. The jury was given a corrected indictment, as well.

According to the Asbury Park Press, the mistaken sentence reads as follows. "Defendant Mendel Epstein further stated…that Mendel Epstein's son is one of the 'tough guys' who uses his karate skills on the husbands to facilitate the coerced divorces."

But the government previously admitted Mendel Epstein did not make that comment about his son at the meeting from which the quote was taken.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:11 PM

Lakewood rabbi and 2 others convicted in kidnapping conspiracy; son acquitted

NEW JERSEY
NJ.com

By MaryAnn Spoto | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com
on April 21, 2015

TRENTON — A jury on Tuesday convicted Lakewood Rabbi Mendel Epstein and two of his three defendants of kidnapping conspiracy and attempted kidnapping charges for the beating of husbands to force them to agree to religious divorces.

At the same time, the jurors acquitted Epstein's son, David "Ari" Epstein, of all charges.

Epstein, a prominent rabbi who specializes in divorce proceedings, was on trial along with his son and two other rabbis, Binyamin Stimler and Jay Goldstein, on conspiracy, kidnapping and attempted charges that grew out of a federal undercover sting.

After three full days of deliberations, jurors rejected all kidnapping charges against the men.

The father of nine, grandfather of 45 and great-grandfather of five, Epstein, 69, was found guilty of conspiracy to commit kidnapping but not guilty of an attempted kidnapping charge related to an undercover sting. In that sting, FBI agents secretly recorded conversations in which Epstein boastfully claimed that his "team" kidnaps and beats stubborn husbands until they agree to give their wives religious divorces, known as gets.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:08 PM

N.J. jury finds Orthodox rabbi guilty of kidnap-divorce plot

NEW JERSEY
New York Daily News

BY REUVEN BLAU NEW YORK DAILY NEWS

A New Jersey jury found an Orthodox rabbi and two other men guilty of conspiring to kidnap Jewish husbands and violently force them to grant their wives religious divorces.

Prosecutors charged Mendel Epstein, 69, and nine other men who beat and tortured recalcitrant husbands who refused to give their wives a religious divorce called a get. The men used handcuffs, electric cattle prods, surgical blades, screwdrivers and hid their faces.

The maximum sentence for a conspiracy kidnapping charge is life in prison and a $250,000 fine. Sentencing is set for July 15.

During the eight week trial in U.S. District Court in Trenton, prosecutors played secretly recorded conversations between an undercover posing as a wife desperately seeking help to convince her stubborn husband to give her a get.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:06 PM

3 Rabbis Convicted Of Kidnapping, Torturing Orthodox Jewish Men Into Granting Divorces

NEW JERSEY
CBS New York

TRENTON, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — Three rabbis were convicted in federal court Tuesday of conspiring to kidnap Jewish men in order to force them to grant their wives divorces.

Rabbi Mendel Epstein, 69, of Lakewood, New Jersey; Rabbi Jay Goldstein, 60, of Brooklyn; and Rabbi Binyamin Stimler, 39, also of Brooklyn, were all convicted of conspiracy to commit kidnapping,
according to New Jersey U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman. Goldstein and Stimler were also convicted of attempted kidnapping.

Epstein’s son, David, was acquitted at trial.

Jurors deliberated for three days after an eight-week trial before Trenton U.S. District Judge Freda L. Wolfson, prosecutors said.

Epstein and his colleagues were accused of employing a kidnap team to force unwilling Jewish husbands to grant a get, or a religious divorce, to their wives.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:04 PM

New Jersey rabbis convicted of conspiring to kidnap husbands, force them to divorce wives

NEW JERSEY
Haaretz

Reuters

Three Orthodox Jewish rabbis were convicted in New Jersey on Tuesday of conspiracy to commit kidnapping in a scheme to force men to grant divorces to their unhappy wives under Jewish law.

Two of the rabbis were convicted as well of attempted kidnapping in federal court in Trenton, New Jersey, according to the office of one of the defense attorneys.

The case before U.S. District Judge Freda Wolfson hinged in part on the testimony of an undercover FBI agent who posed as an Orthodox Jewish wife seeking a divorce.

Orthodox Jewish women cannot get a divorce unless their husbands consent through a document known as a "get."

Prosecutors said the rabbis operated a ring that kidnapped or tried to kidnap men and tortured them with beatings and stun guns until they agreed to divorce.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:03 PM

Rabbi accused of running divorce kidnap team convicted of conspiracy, acquitted on other count

NEW JERSEY
US News

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — An Orthodox rabbi accused of using brutal tactics to force unwilling Jewish men to divorce their wives was convicted on Tuesday of conspiracy to commit kidnapping.

But the federal jury in Rabbi Mendel Epstein's case rendered a mixed verdict, acquitting him of attempted kidnapping.

Epstein's son was acquitted of conspiracy and kidnapping counts. Two other rabbis were convicted of conspiracy to commit kidnapping and attempted kidnapping.

Prosecutors said the rabbi's team used brutal methods and tools, including handcuffs and electric cattle prods, to torture the men into granting divorces, known as gets.

The defense acknowledged some crimes may have been committed but said Epstein was not part of a kidnapping conspiracy. A defense lawyer argued that Epstein was "puffing and exaggerating" when he talked to undercover FBI agents in a meeting that was recorded on video and shown during the trial.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:01 PM

Victims of sexual abuse hopeful after learning about Bishop Finn's resignation

KANSAS CITY (MO)
KSHB

[with video]

Brendaliss Gonzalez

KANSAS CITY - A handful of victims of sexual abuse from several churches around Kansas City met on Tuesday to express relief and hope after hearing about Bishop Robert Finn’s resignation .

However, some want more clarity to how and why Finn left.

“I want him to be asked to resign; I want full accountability,” said Theresa White, who was sexually abused by a priest when she was 17. “I don’t want partial accountability. I don’t want any more smoking mirrors with the church and to own up to the responsibilities to protect children. I want them to be held fully accountable, not partly accountable, and if he’s asked to resign because of this, I think the Pope needs to make it clear that that’s why he was asked to resign."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:47 PM

Catholics express a variety of emotions over the resignation of Bishop Finn

MISSOURI
Fox 4

APRIL 21, 2015, BY JOHN PEPITONE AND SHANNON O'BRIEN

BELTON, Mo. — Many Catholics say they were shocked to wake up to the news Tuesday that Bishop Robert Finn had resigned.

Nearly three years after becoming the highest ranking U.S. Catholic leader convicted in the church’s sex abuse scandal, Pope Francis accepted Finn’s resignation.

The embattled bishop has been under fire ever since he pleaded guilty to failing to report a priest suspected of child abuse, and many ordinary Catholics could not get past that conviction.

“There’s a lot of division that has occurred in the diocese as a result of some of these policies,” said Biagio Mazza of St. Sabina Catholic Church. “A lot of healing, a lot of reconciliation, forgiveness has to be done by people across the board on all sides.”

Catholics increasingly have demanded a crackdown on church leaders who cover up for pedophiles. But some say that’s just one of many actions by Finn that made his removal long overdue.

“I perceive there’s a fear of punishment,” said Donna Ryan of the Sisters of Mercy. “Sometimes he’s a little punitive, rather than listening to people. For years this community has been known because we know how to dialogue, how to accept one another. I feel that he hasn’t quite grown into that yet.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:44 PM

After KC Abuse Storm, Bishop Finn Falls

UNITED STATES
Whispers in the Loggia

Almost three years since his conviction for failing to report a priest's trove of child pornography to civil authorities sparked wide calls for his removal from office, at Roman Noon the Pope accepted the resignation of Bishop Robert Finn from the helm of Northwest Missouri's diocese of Kansas City-St Joseph.

Weeks after the embattled prelate's 62nd birthday, the move comes eight months after an apostolic visitation was ordered by Rome to gauge the tensions in the diocese, which Finn had led since 2005. Intriguingly, the KC vacancy has occurred as Pope Francis faces fresh calls to act against another prelate mired in controversy over charges of negligence amid his ties to an abuse case: the Chilean Bishop Juan Barros, whose recent arrival in a new see has been dogged by astonishing levels of public protest, all while Barros has been made to travel with riot police and guard dogs.

Back to Finn, the outcry for the bishop's departure dates to the fallout of the 2012 bench trial that saw him found guilty of negligence in the case of Fr Shawn Ratigan, a local cleric whose explicit photos of young girls in various states of undress were reported to the diocese on their discovery by a technician, but not forwarded to police for several months. While the priest was subsequently charged with several federal counts of producing child pornography and sentenced to 50 years in jail, a local grand jury indicted Finn and the diocese on a single misdemeanor count of failing to report, becoming the first bishop in the English-speaking world to face criminal accountability for his handling of an abuse case.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:33 PM

Bishop Finn Resigns: What Might It Mean for the W.D.O.E

MINNESOTA
Canonical Consultation

04/21/2015

Jennifer Haselberger

Almost immediately following this morning's announcement that Pope Francis had accepted the resignation of Bishop Robert Finn, the first Catholic bishop to be criminally charged as a result of his mishandling of sexual misconduct by a priest, I started to receive emails from people inquiring as to what I thought this means for us here in the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis (a.k.a the Worst Diocese On Earth). Unfortunately, my thought was, and remains, that it means little if anything for the simple reason that the situation of Bishop Finn, until this morning the Bishop of Kansas City- St Joseph, differs from that of Archbishop John Nienstedt in several important ways.

First, if the Vatican announcement is to be believed, Bishop Finn tendered his resignation following a meeting with Cardinal Marc Ouellet, prefect of the Congregation for Bishops, on April 14 (a development originally reported by the National Catholic Reporter). Archbishop Nienstedt, on the other hand, has steadfastly insisted that he will not resign. Since at present there is no real way to remove a bishop from office if he is unwilling to fall on his sword, Nienstedt's obstinate refusal to step aside remains a significant impediment to any resolution of the question of governance of the See of Saint Paul and Minneapolis.

Second, Bishop Finn's removal followed his guilty plea to criminal charges stemming from his failure to report child abuse, in this case child pornography in the possession of Father Shawn Ratigan. To date, Archbishop Nienstedt has not been charged with any crime. The Ramsey County Attorney's Office is continuing its investigation of the Archdiocese's handling of sexual misconduct by clergy, and it is possible that charges against Nienstedt or other Archdiocesan employees/clergy might result. Until then, however, Nienstedt is technically free from the most emotionally-charged (and possibly inaccurate) argument made against Bishop Finn- that diocesan safe environment policies would prohibit him from teaching Sunday school in his own diocese because of his guilty plea.

Third, Bishop Finn's resignation followed an Apostolic Visitation (again, a story originally reported by the National Catholic Reporter). To my knowledge, the only Visitation-related interviews that have taken place in this Archdiocese were regarding the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Peter. Although Nienstedt has been subject to an internally ordered investigation, and then apparently an investigation into the investigation, none of that has occurred under Vatican auspices or even, if I am not mistaken, with its consent. Many commentators have noted that Pope Francis likes to follow a process, in which case one would expect that an Apostolic Visitation would precede the removal of Archbishop Nienstedt and/or any of his auxiliaries.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:28 PM

National Catholic Reporter, KCMO-based Catholic newspaper, reacts to Bishop Robert Finn resignation

KANSAS CITY (MO)
KSHB

Andres Gutierrez

KANSAS CITY, Mo - As the world learned of the news of Bishop Robert Finn’s resignation Tuesday, staff members at the National Catholic Reporter in Midtown were not surprised.

One of the paper's reporters actually saw Finn at the Vatican last week.

During that visit, Finn met with the head of the congregation for bishops. He was asked to resign. In return, he offered his resignation.

The paper adds he came back to Kansas City to prepare the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph for the announcement.

Catholics learned of the news at noon Rome time - 5 a.m. CST.

Finn's resignation sends a clear message to high-ranking members in the Catholic Church, National Catholic Reporter staff said

"The Vatican taking this action at this point is a signal to bishops that you have the rules, you have the regulations, you have the protocols – you must follow them,” Dennis Coday, editor of the National Catholic Reporter, said. “Here's a clear violation here, and the Vatican has acted slowly here, but they have acted."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:25 PM

Month after bishop ordained amid protests in southern Chile, parishioners vow to oust him

CHILE
The Reporter

By EVA VERGARA Associated Press
First Posted: April 21, 2015

SANTIAGO, Chile — Parishioners in a southern Chile diocese are gathering wherever their new bishop appears, but their presence is not the sort of assembly the Catholic Church would expect.

In the month since Bishop Juan Barros was installed in Osorno, the priest has had to sneak out of back exits, call on riot police to shepherd him from the city's cathedral and coordinate movements with bodyguards and police canine units.

Such is the public routine of the bishop who is denounced by his opponents as having shielded Chile's most notorious pedophile priest. For his part, Barros says relations are improving.

The appointment of Barros by Pope Francis has unleashed an unprecedented protest, with more than 1,300 church members, 30 diocesan priests and nearly half of Chile's Parliament sending letters urging the pope to reconsider.

They may be emboldened after Francis on Tuesday accepted the resignation of a U.S. bishop, Robert Finn, who pleaded guilty to failing to report a suspected abuser, answering calls by victims to hold priests accountable and ensure children are protected.

At least three men say Barros was present when they were sexually molested in the 1980s and 1990s by the Rev. Fernando Karadima. Karadima was sanctioned by the Vatican in 2011 for sexually abusing minors, ordered to live out his life cloistered in a nun's convent. Barros has said he knew nothing of Karadima's abuses.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:20 PM

Five victims speak out against Bishop Finn

KANSAS CITY (MO)
KMBZ

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Five plaintiffs in child sex abuse case against Bishop Finn in the Kansas City - St Joseph Diocese commented on the case this afternoon.

Phil Pisciotta was molested by a priest when he was about 12 years old, but Finn's departure gives him hope.

None of the five were involved in the Shawn Ratigan case. Attorney Rebecca Randles says she is doing a records search to determine if there are other victims.

Michael Sandridge was molested by a Kansas City priest when he was 13. He didn't report it for years, and says when he did, there was a price to pay.

Sandridge is the only one of the five victims who is still a devout Catholic.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:18 PM

Este miércoles realizarán en Osorno misa oficial en rechazo del Obispo Juan Barros

CHILE
Bio Bio

[A Mass will be held tomorrow (Wednesday) in opposition to Osorno Bishop Juan Barros. This is the first official Mass held to oppose the prelate and will be led by priest Pedro Kliegel on behalf of the lay movement in Osorno. The Mass will be held at Sacred Heart Church in that city. It is a church that has become a sort of bastion of opposition to Barros. Also expected to attend are priests who signed a letter sent to the Vatican in opposition to Barros. Retired Bishop Juan Luis Ysem of Ancrud said they are not opposed to possibility of an apostolic visitor to analyze the climate of conflict between the faithful and Barros.]

Este miércoles se desarrollará una misa oficial contra el obispo de Osorno Juan Barros. Se trata de la primera eucaristía oficial en rechazo al prelado, la cual será dirigida por el sacerdote Pedro Kliegel, el principal opositor desde la curia osornina, tras petición del movimiento Laico de Osorno.

La actividad se desarrollará en la Iglesia Sagrado Corazón de la ciudad, la cual se ha convertido en una especie de bastión de los opositores a Barros, actividad donde también se espera que asistan los sacerdotes que firmaron la carta que antes que asumiera el obispo de Osorno fue enviada a El Vaticano por el sacerdote Pedro Kliegel, según explicó Mario Vargas, uno de los líderes del movimiento de Laicos y Laicas opositores.

Respecto a la sugerencia hecha por el obispo emérito de Ancud, Juan Luis Ysern, de exigir un visitador apostólico desde el propio Vaticano para analizar el clima de conflicto existente entre una parte de los fieles y Barros, Mario Vargas aseguró que están abiertos a tal posibilidad, la cual sería incluso analizada por algunos sacerdotes locales.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:05 PM

The Finn resignation: 10 years too late, bishops face accountability

UNITED STATES
Catholic Culture

By Phil Lawler | Apr 21, 2015

Bishop Finn had to go. When he was convicted on criminal charges, he became the poster boy for the American bishops’ mishandling of the sex-abuse crisis. He was an irresistible target for critics of Catholicism: a walking, talking symbol of episcopal negligence.

The bishop’s defenders have said that he was not properly informed about the Ratigan case. That’s true, but it’s not an adequate defense. They say that his subordinates and counselors gave him bad advice. Also true, but irrelevant. We’ve heard those arguments too many times. The fact remains that when he was alerted to the fact that a troubled priest had engaged in inappropriate activities with young children, Bishop Finn did not take prompt and decisive action. He let the problem fester—as so many other bishops have let so many other problems fester—with disastrous results for everyone involved.

In Bishop Finn’s case this failure was particularly inexcusable because the results of negligence were so very well known. He could not get away with mumbling inanities about a “learning curve,” about not recognizing the severity of pedophilia, as other bishops had done a decade earlier. By 2011, every American bishop should have known that if there was one failure he absolutely must avoid, it was the failure to curb sexual abuse.

The announcement of Bishop Finn’s resignation comes, appropriately, on the same day as the news that the US bishops spent nearly $3 billion in the past decade to settle sex-abuse lawsuits. That reckoning understates the financial cost of the sex-abuse scandal, since it does not include the millions of dollars quietly paid out before 2004. And the financial cost, in turn, does not adequately summarize the staggering damage done to the Church. How many young lives were damaged? How many thousands were alienated from the faith? How many opportunities for evangelization were lost forever?

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:14 PM

Timeline of child-porn case that brought down US bishop

KANSAS CITY (MO)
Seattle PI

By BILL DRAPER, Associated Press

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Bishop Robert Finn, who led the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph in Missouri for nearly 10 years, resigned Tuesday, almost three years after he was convicted of shielding an abusive priest.

Back in 2012, Finn admitted that he knew about photos of children on a priest's laptop six months before the images were turned over to law enforcement. That made him the highest-ranking church official in the U.S. to be convicted of not taking action in response to abuse allegations. A look at key developments in the case against Finn:
___

Aug. 20, 2008 — Finn holds a news conference to apologize for abuse that occurred at the hands of current and former clergy members and vows to make sure such abuse never happens again. The diocese tentatively agrees to pay $10 million to settle 47 pending sexual abuse claims involving 12 priests. The abuse happened between 1951 and 1992.
___

May 19, 2010 — Julie Hess, a Catholic school principal, writes a memo reporting that several people had complained that priest Shawn Ratigan was taking compromising pictures of young children.
___

Dec. 16, 2010 — A computer technician working on Ratigan's laptop finds multiple images of girls under 12 years old.
___

December 2010 — Ratigan fails to show up for Mass. Deacon goes to Ratigan's house and finds priest unconscious in his closed garage with motorcycle running. Suicide note found in home says he is sorry for any harm he had caused to church.

Ratigan is hospitalized, then placed in psychiatric care. Finn sends him to Pennsylvania for a mental evaluation but does not inform state of possible child sexual abuse, as required by law.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:01 PM

Dumping Finn For “Friendly” US President (Not Hillary): Who Goes Next?‏

UNITED STATES
Christian Catholicism

Jerry Slevin

“We all know there are other U.S. bishops wondering ‘who is the next?’ ” tweeted Catholic Church historian, Massimo Faggioli, after Pope Francis, likely under pressure from “low tax” US billionaire donors, “dumped” U.S. Bishop Robert Finn. Bishop Finn had became a symbol of the Vatican’s decades’ old stonewalling approach to addressing the priest child sexual abuse crisis. Paradoxically perhaps, frequent bishop defender, Bill Donohue, fairly listed today Finn’s sins, which while detestable, seem almost minor when compared to those reported reliably with respect to many other bishops in the USA and elsewhere. If Finn is sacked, how can the pope justify keeping so many others with “even dirtier hands”? What say you Pope Francis?

Yes, who is next? If the pope fails on curtailing child abuse, he becomes a US political liability, in next year’s US presidential election, for his “low tax-less regulation-least safety net” US billionaire supporters that appear to be depending on him considerably.

Finn was an easy case. Finn is the only U.S. bishop ever convicted in court of failing to report a suspected abuser he supervised, Fr. Shawn Ratigan, who was later sentenced to 50 years on federal child pornography charges. Ratigan had hundreds of lewd pictures of children from local parishes on his computer, and he attempted suicide when the diocese learned of them in 2010. But Finn waited six months to report Ratigan to authorities in violation of a local law. Finn pleaded guilty in 2012 for failing to report Ratigan timely, after a legal battle that cost his diocese over a million dollars. In short, Finn was low-hanging fruit.

The day before Finn’s resignation was announced, the Irish “Joan of Arc” and priest sex abuse survivor, Marie Collins, who is a member of the panel Francis established to address the abuse crisis, reportedly wondered “how anybody like that (Finn) could be left in charge of a diocese.” “Things are moving slowly, as I have said many times, but they are moving in the right direction!” as Marie Collins boldly tweeted Tuesday (April 21) after hearing news of Finn’s resignation. Also, Collins reportedly said this week a plan for hierarchical accountability is on Francis’ desk now. What in God’s name is the pope waiting for?

Francis will be making his first visit to the USA in September, a highly anticipated trip to a crucially powerful and wealthy Church where media mesmerized Catholics have welcomed his new style as much as anywhere. But it’s also a Church whose members have been traumatized by the abuse scandal, which they see as a priority for the pope to curtail, at least as much as the Catholic protesters in Chile appear to see it. Will US Catholics protest similarly in Philadelphia, New York City and/or Washington DC this summer? Who ever expected Chilean Catholics to protest so strongly against their Argentine neighbor, Francesco?

On Finn’s sacking, see also the National Catholic Reporter’s Joshua J. McElwee, Brian Roewe and Dennis Coday report and the informative comments thereto. See also my Electing Bishops & Jeb Bush Too , A Pope, A New US War, Jeb Bush Neocons & Big Oil and Hillary Clinton vs. Pope Francis in 2015 USA Politics .

Will Pope Francis now sack also the bankrupt Minneapolis Archdiocese’s Archbishop John Nienstedt, who is enmeshed in several obscene scandals involving alleged priest child abuse cover-ups and gay relationships with some of his priest subordinates. The child abuse cover ups allegedly also extensively involve Fr. Kevin McDonough, brother of US President Barack Obama’s Chief of Staff, Denis McDonough.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:46 PM

US Bishop Finn, symbol of church's failure on sexual abuse, resigns

UNITED STATES
National Catholic Reporter

Joshua J. McElwee Brian Roewe Dennis Coday | Apr. 21, 2015

VATICAN CITY AND KANSAS CITY, MO. U.S. Bishop Robert Finn, the Catholic prelate in the U.S. heartland who became a symbol internationally of the church's failures in addressing the sexual abuse crisis, has resigned. He was the first bishop criminally convicted of mishandling an abusive priest yet remained in office for another two and a half years.

The Vatican announced Finn's resignation as head of the diocese of St. Joseph-Kansas City, Mo., in a note in its daily news bulletin Tuesday.

While the note did not provide any reason for the move, it is rare for bishops in the Catholic church to resign without cause before they reach the traditional retirement age of 75.

Finn, who is 62 and had led the diocese since 2005, was neither assigned a new diocese nor as yet given a new leadership role in the church.

Other than for reasons of health, only one other bishop among the some 200 U.S. Catholic dioceses and eparchies has resigned his role in such a manner in at least the past decade. ...

In February 2014, Kansas City Catholics engaged a canon lawyer and made a formal request that the Vatican initiate a penal process to determine whether Finn violated church law in the case of Shawn Ratigan, a then-priest of the diocese convicted of child pornography charges, whom Finn failed to report to civil authorities.

In September 2014, Archbishop Terrence Prendergast of Ottawa, Ontario, came to Kansas City for a Vatican investigation known as an apostolic visitation to interview more than a dozen people as part of an investigation into Finn's leadership.

Prendergast told those he interviewed from Sept. 22-26 that he was there on behalf of the Vatican's Congregation for Bishops.

Smith said in a brief interview Tuesday that Finn had met with Cardinal Marc Ouellet, the prefect of the Vatican's Congregation for Bishops, April 14 in Rome. The bishop, Smith said, then spoke with U.S. apostolic nuncio Archbishop Carlo Vigano on Monday, at which final details of the resignation were determined.

There "probably were conversations that went on all the way up to yesterday about when or how this transition would take place," Smith said.

The overlap of Finn's Rome visit with a meeting of the new Vatican commission on clergy sexual abuse on April 12 was a "kind of coincidence," Smith said. ...

Commission member Peter Saunders said in an interview Tuesday that the members discussed Finn's case at the meeting.

"I believe that there was already some movement on the Finn case, from what Cardinal O'Malley said, so I think this was going to happen," Saunders said. "But maybe we were in some small way instrumental in ensuring that it did."

While the Vatican bulletin does not say Finn was removed from office (instead, it says the pope accepted his resignation), such moves are still rare in the church.

The last Catholic prelate to be removed from diocesan office was Paraguayan Bishop Rogelio Ricardo Livieres Plano, whom Francis removed in September mainly over accusations that he had not adequately managed his diocese and had caused strife with other prelates.

The last U.S. bishop who resigned at such an early age was former Scranton, Pa., Bishop Joseph Martino, who resigned in 2009 at age 63 mainly over concerns that he was mismanaging and was divisive in his diocese.

Cardinal Keith O'Brien, the former archbishop of St. Andrews and Edinburgh, Scotland, who resigned in 2013 after admitting to sexual misconduct, on March 20 resigned "the rights and privileges of a cardinal." Those include advising the pope, holding membership in Vatican congregations and councils, and electing a new pope.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:39 PM

Some Kansas City Catholics appear split over bishop's resignation

KANSAS CITY (MO)
KMBC

By Micheal Mahoney

KANSAS CITY, Mo. —Some Kansas City area Catholics are split after learning of Kansas City Bishop Robert Finn's resignation.

After a midday Mass at Redemptorist Church in Kansas City, some said Finn was driven from office.

"They're not being fair. They're putting it all on his back and he has people working under him," said Virginia Vigliaturo.

"Well, it's unfortunate that it had to come to that, but it was probably the wisest thing the Pope could do," said Ed Stewart, who attended Mass.

Stewart said he liked Finn, but added he thought is resignation would solve a lot of political problems in the diocese.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:35 PM

Abuse watchdogs praise Bishop Robert Finn resignation, but want more

UNITED STATES
Crux

By Michael O'Loughlin
National reporter April 21, 2015

Bishop Robert Finn of the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph in Missouri, finds himself without a job Tuesday, as Pope Francis accepted the embattled prelate’s resignation three years after his conviction for failing to report suspected child abuse.

The Survivors Network for Those Abused by Priests, SNAP, called the move “encouraging,” but said there is still more work to do, describing the resignation as “a very tiny drop of reform in an enormous bucket of horror.”

“Finn’s departure will, in the short term, make some adults happier. By itself, it won’t, in the long term, make many kids safer,” the statement read.

A group that monitors bishops agreed that Finn’s removal was a “good step,” but called on Pope Francis to elaborate on the reasons for Finn’s dismissal.

“But what no pope has done to date is publicly confirm that he removed a culpable bishop because of his failure to make children’s safety his first priority. We urge Pope Francis to issue such a statement immediately,” Anne Doyle, a spokesman for BishopAccountability.org, said in a statement. “That would be unprecedented, and it would send a bracing message to bishops and religious superiors worldwide that a new era has begun.” ...

Pope Francis is currently considering a proposal from his commission on sex abuse dealing with bishop accountability. The commission has discussed Finn’s case, as well as that of the newly installed Bishop Juan de la Cruz Barros Madrid of Osorno, Chile, who is tied to one of that country’s most notorious abusers.

A member of that commission, Marie Collins, told Crux in an interview published on Monday that it was time for Finn to go.

“I cannot understand how Bishop Finn is still in position, when anyone else with a conviction that he has could not run a Sunday school in a parish. He wouldn’t pass a background check,” she said. “I don’t know how anybody like that could be left in charge of a diocese.”

But some are standing by Finn.

“Bishop Finn, we love you, your pastoral heart,” a statement from a group called Justice for Bishop Finn read.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:19 PM

What makes Kansas City Bishop Robert Finn's resignation so significant

UNITED STATES
Los Angeles Times

By CHRISTINE MAI-DUC contact the reporter

nsas City Bishop Robert W. Finn, the first U.S. Catholic bishop to be convicted for his role in the church’s sex abuse scandals, resigned on Tuesday. Here are the basics on why his departure is so significant:

Finn has faced pressure to step down for years

Finn was convicted in September 2012 of failing to report sexual abuse by one of his priests, Father Shawn Ratigan, whose laptop contained hundreds of images of child pornography. Finn later acknowledged that he and other diocesan officials had known about the photos for five months but did not report Ratigan to police.

A judge found Finn guilty of the misdemeanor charge and sentenced him to two years' probation, which included extensive training for staff and clergy and creation of a fund for counseling abuse victims.

Ratigan was sentenced to 50 years in prison.

Finn faced pressure to resign following the conviction, including from within his own ranks. An online petition demanding his resignation had been signed by more than 260,000 people. ...

A 2002 investigation by the Dallas Morning News identified 109 bishops accused of enabling sexual abuse within the U.S. church. According to 2010 data compiled by BishopAccountability.org, a site that has tracked the abuse scandal, 45 of those bishops named by the Dallas Morning News had retired, 15 were promoted, 12 resigned, and three died in office. One bishop’s role as administrator ended and a new bishop took over.

According to the site, 24 U.S. Catholic bishops have been publicly accused of sexually abusing minors. Of those, four are still working, 16 retired and four died in office. ...

“Finn’s resignation will bring short-term relief to thousands of Catholics, and hundreds of victims in Kansas City, but there’s a vast difference between short-term relief and long-term reform,” said David Clohessy, of the Chicago-based Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests. Earlier this year, the Vatican commission appointed to advise the pope on clergy sexual abuse discussed creating consequences for Catholic bishops who don’t follow guidelines for preventing and reporting abuse, Boston Cardinal Sean O’Malley told the National Catholic Reporter.

Asked in November why Finn had not resigned despite his conviction, O’Malley told "60 Minutes" it was a "question that the Holy See needs to address urgently."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:15 PM

Pope accepts Kansas City bishop's resignation for failure to report abuse

UNITED STATES
Christian Science Monitor

[KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — The Associated Press has withdrawn its story about Pope Francis accepting the resignation of a bishop who led the Diocese of Kansas City-St Joseph in Missouri for nearly 10 years. Bishop Robert Finn was convicted by a judge of failing to report suspected child abuse, but did not plead guilty as the story stated. A corrected version of the story will be sent.

The AP]

By Nicole Winfield and Margaret Stafford, Associated Press APRIL 21, 2015

KANSAS CITY, MO. — Pope Francis accepted the resignation Tuesday of a U.S. bishop who pleaded guilty to failing to report a suspected child abuser, answering calls by victims to take action against bishops who cover up for pedophile priests.

Bishop Robert Finn, who led the Diocese of Kansas City-St Joseph in Missouri for nearly 10 years, resigned under canon law that allows bishops to resign early for illness or some "grave" reason that makes them unfit for office. But his resignation did not provide a specific reason.

Finn, 62, is 13 years shy of the normal retirement age of 75.

In 2012, Finn pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of failure to report suspected abuse and was sentenced to two years of probation, making him the highest-ranking church official in the U.S. to be convicted of not taking action in response to abuse allegations. ...

The removal was praised by Marie Collins, a prominent member of Francis' own sex abuse advisory board who had called for Finn to go and demanded that the Vatican hold bishops accountable when they fail to protect children.

"Things are moving slowly, as I have said many times, but they are moving in the right direction!" she tweeted. ...

Rebecca Randles, the attorney who represented the plaintiffs in several abuse lawsuits that have cost the dioceses millions of dollars, said Finn's resignation was an important step for abuse victims and the diocese.

"For survivors, there is a sense that as long as Finn was in charge, there would be no way they would have had closure on their own experience. He was a symbol bearer," she said "And this kind of abuse ripples across all the Catholic faithful." ...

In a statement, Anne Barrett Doyle, co-director of the online abuse resource BishopAccountability.org, said Finn'sresignation was a welcome step but called on Francis to publicly state that he was removed for mismanaging the Ratigan case and failing to protect children.

She noted that bishops had been allowed to resign under the previous two popes, but that the Vatican has never publicly linked their resignations to mishandling abuse cases.

"We urge Pope Francis to issue such a statement immediately. That would be unprecedented," she said. "And it would send a bracing message to bishops and religious superiors worldwide that a new era has begun."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:11 PM

Sisters of Mercy leader admits she didn’t listen

AUSTRALIA
The Morning Bulletin

Austin King | 22nd Apr 2015

THE Sisters of Mercy leader admitted she was less than compassionate when sexual and physical abuse victims first started speaking out.

Not once when the allegations of abuse at Neerkol Orphanage first came to light, did Sister Berneice Loch attempt to contact victims, the Royal Commission panel heard yesterday.

That was the first port of call she should have made, she told the commission.

However, rather than contact the witnesses, who last week gave evidence of physical and sexual abuse at the orphanage which was run by the Sisters of Mercy, Sr Loch instead sought information from other Sisters, congregational personnel and sources.

Sr Loch decided to oversee the drafting of a media release to counteract those "sensationalistic" rumours.

That media release was never distributed; it was only drafted as a "measure" if the allegations got too "out of control".

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:06 PM

Bishop Convicted of Failing to Report Predatory Priest Is Finally Ousted

UNITED STATES
Bloomberg

Melinda Henneberger
@MelindaDC

That sigh of relief you hear is the exhalation of all the Kansas City Catholics whose titular leader for the last decade, Bishop Robert Finn, became the first U.S. bishop to be convicted of failing to report a predatory priest to the police 2 ½ years ago. Today, the Vatican announced that Pope Francis had accepted Finn’s resignation.

Since September of 2012, the Kansas City-St. Joseph, Missouri diocese had been supervised by someone who couldn’t have taught Sunday school, because he wouldn’t have passed the required background check. And as long as Finn held on to his job, the wider church had a tough time arguing that its tough new standards on protecting children meant bishops could no longer cover up for abusive priests.

Finn was convicted of a misdemeanor count of failing to report suspected child abuse in the case of the now-defrocked and incarcerated former Father Shawn Ratigan, who in August of 2012 pled guilty to producing child porn.

The National Catholic Reporter, the independent Kansas City-based paper that has been aggressively reporting on Finn, and calling his ouster, noted that the resignation resonates because “[t]he issue of holding bishops accountable has long been the largest and most provocative unresolved element in the church's handling of sexual abuse cases. In diocese after diocese and country after country, abuse victims, parents and advocacy groups have asked why bishops who inappropriately handle dangerous priests are rarely, if ever, held accountable.”

They have, however, been held accountable by the small paper, which had been publishing Jason Berry's groundbreaking stories about clerical sex abuse for a full 20 years before the Boston Globe won a Pulitzer in 2003 for the paper's coverage of known priest abusers who’d repeatedly reassigned instead of reported to the police.

In this Pulitzer week, when we celebrate the best journalism in the country, including reporting on tax inversions by Bloomberg News reporter Zachary Mider, which on Monday won the 2015 prize for best explanatory reporting, the news of Finn’s ouster is a different kind of validation for NCR, where columnist Michael Sean Winters writes, “This is no time for popping champagne. Everything about the situation—Bishop Finn's authoritarian manner, his conviction for failing to report child sex abuse, the years of inaction by the Holy See—is the stuff of tragedy.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:02 PM

After K.C. bishop's resignation, what of Nienstedt?

MINNESOTA
Minnesota Public Radio

Madeleine Baran Apr 21, 2015

Pope Francis on Tuesday accepted the resignation of Kansas City Bishop Robert Finn, who had failed to report a priest who had possessed child pornography. Finn pleaded guilty.

Is the clergy sex abuse scandal in Kansas City similar to the scandal here?

Yes, in general terms. Both Twin Cities Archbishop John Nienstedt and Bishop Robert Finn in Kansas City have been accused of covering up clergy sex abuse.

However, in Kansas City, the cover-up led to a criminal charge against Finn for failing to immediately tell police about a priest caught with child pornography. The case ended when Finn pleaded guilty to the misdemeanor charge. He was sentenced to two years' probation in 2012, according to the Associated Press.

Nienstedt has not been criminally charged for his handling of clergy sex abuse. Nienstedt's role in protecting accused priests was revealed in an investigative series by MPR News in 2013. The reports showed Nienstedt had authorized secret payments to priests accused of sexually abusing children and failed to warn parishioners of sexual misconduct by the Rev. Curtis Wehmeyer — a priest who went on to sexually abuse at least two children of a parish employee. Wehmeyer pleaded guilty and is now in prison. MPR News has also reported that Nienstedt gave several false statements in a sworn deposition taken in 2014 as part of a clergy sex abuse lawsuit.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:59 PM

FOES OF BISHOP FINN REJOICE

UNITED STATES
Catholic League

Bill Donohue comments on those who are rejoicing over the resignation of Bishop Robert Finn:
In 2002, Milwaukee Archbishop Rembert Weakland retired after it was disclosed that he paid $450,000—ripped off from the coffers that service the poor—to his boyfriend; Weakland was accused of raping him years earlier.

Weakland’s multiple offenses, all serious, have not deterred Catholic left-wing malcontents, particularly those at Commonweal, from showering him with praise. Even Weakland’s stunning revelation, made in 2009, that he did not know it was a crime to sexually molest a child, had no effect: his fans were nonplussed. That’s because he is a man of the Left. Bishop Finn, however, is entitled to no slack. That’s because he is an orthodox bishop.

Some of Bishop Finn’s critics have been fair, but many have not. Among the latter are the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP), attorneys Jeffrey Anderson and Rebecca Randles, and Judy Thomas of the Kansas City Star. They make a good tag-team. Randles, by the way, subsequently sued me and the Catholic League over a bogus libel accusation. But she lost: it was dismissed by the courts on all counts.

In 2011, we submitted a proposed full-page ad to the Kansas City Star that I had written; the cost was $25,000. But once the editors read it, they turned it down. That’s because I had gotten too close to home, exposing their allies for who they are.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:55 PM

Getting rid of Bishop Finn a big step for the Vatican

UNITED STATES
Religion News Service - Spiritual Politics

Mark Silk | Apr 21, 2015

“A tiny but belated step forward” is how David Clohessy, director of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, reacted to the Vatican’s announcement of the resignation of Kansas City Bishop Robert Finn. Yes, it was belated. But it’s a big step forward.

Three-and-a-half years ago Finn was found guilty of the misdemeanor crime of failing to report a priest suspected of child abuse to civil authorities. The way Catholic League President Bill Donohue tells it, Finn behaved correctly — but Donohue, as he has for years in this matter, is blowing smoke.

Finn did exactly what bishops used to do all the time: cover up a priest’s sexually abusive behavior and give the priest another job in the diocese. And he did it in contravention of the American bishops’ own rules. And none of them made a public peep about it.

Sure, it would have been good if the Vatican had gone ahead and given the reason for the resignation. Sure, there are others who deserve Finnistration, such Archbishop Nienstedt in the Twin Cities and the mistakenly ordained Bishop Juan Barros in Chile. And sure, it remains to be seen if, as promised, Rome promulgates tough disciplinary procedures for bishops charged with covering up abuse cases. But none of this should be allowed to minimize the significance of what happened today.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:22 PM

Pope accepts resignation of Bishop Finn

VATICAN CITY
Catholic News Service

By Cindy Wooden
Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of Bishop Robert W. Finn of Kansas City-St. Joseph, Missouri, who was convicted in 2012 on one misdemeanor count of failing to report suspected child abuse.

The Vatican announced the bishop's resignation April 21, specifying it was under the terms of the Code of Canon Law, which says, "A diocesan bishop who has become less able to fulfill his office because of ill health or some other grave cause is earnestly requested to present his resignation from office."

The Vatican offered no further comment.

The pope's acceptance of Bishop Finn's resignation comes after members of the Pontifical Commission for Child Protection announced that one of their priorities was to ensure measures were in place to promote the accountability of bishops in protecting children and upholding the Vatican-approved norms for dealing with accusations of child abuse made against church workers.

In an interview published April 20, Marie Collins, a member of the commission and a survivor of abuse, told the news site Crux, "I cannot understand how Bishop Finn is still in position, when anyone else with a conviction that he has could not run a Sunday school in a parish. He wouldn't pass a background check."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:15 PM

5 lessons from the resignation of Bishop Robert Finn (ANALYSIS)

UNITED STATES
Washington Post

By David Gibson | Religion News Service April 21

When Pope Francis accepted the resignation of Missouri Bishop Robert Finn, who was convicted three years ago for failing to report a priest suspected of child abuse, the pontiff sent a powerful message to the Catholic Church.

Here are five takeaways from the news, which the Vatican announced on Tuesday (April 21).

1. This is a big deal

During the past decade, the most intense years of the Catholic Church’s long-running clergy sex abuse scandal, thousands of priests have been punished or defrocked for abusing children, and a few bishops found guilty of molestation have also quit.

But until Finn, no American bishop had ever been forced from office (despite the terse Vatican announcement that he “resigned”) for covering up for a predator priest.

That sets a precedent in an institution where many have regarded the hierarchy as a privileged caste that should not be held to the same standards as others in the church. Some feared that if a bishop were pushed out for failing to do his job, it would create a domino effect that could topple the entire superstructure.

“We all know there are other U.S. bishops wondering ‘who is the next?’” tweeted church historian Massimo Faggioli.

But Francis seems to be betting this sort of accountability at the top will strengthen the church, and even help restore the credibility of the bishops.

2. Finn was an easy case

Finn is the only U.S. bishop ever convicted in court of failing to report a suspected abuser, the Rev. Shawn Ratigan, who was later sentenced to 50 years on federal child pornography charges.

Ratigan had hundreds of lewd pictures of children from local parishes on his computer, and he attempted suicide when the diocese learned of them in 2010. But Finn waited six months to report Ratigan to authorities.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:09 PM

Kansas City Bishop Resigns Over Not Reporting Child-Abusing Priest

VATICAN CITY
Wall Street Journal

By FRANCIS ROCCA
Updated April 21, 2015

ROME—A U.S. bishop convicted of failing to report a priest who had produced child pornography has resigned, amid calls that Pope Francis make church leaders more accountable for their handling of child abuse.

The pope accepted the resignation of Bishop Robert W. Finn of Kansas City, Mo., under a provision of church law calling for bishops to resign because of “ill health or some other grave cause,” the Vatican announced Tuesday.

Members of a Vatican panel on child abuse have been pressing Pope Francis to dismiss bishops who fail to protect children or punish those under their authority who abuse them. One member of the panel said he would resign if the pope fails to fire a Chilean bishop who has been accused of protecting an abusive priest.

The Vatican spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi, declined to comment further on the Finn case. A spokesman for the diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph also declined to comment, referring to a diocesan statement that quoted Bishop Finn but didn’t address the cause of his resignation. ...

Jack Smith, director of communications for the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph, said Bishop Finn would have no comment beyond his words the diocesan statement. Asked why the bishop had resigned, Mr. Smith said: “You have to assume that this probably stems from the four-year-long struggle over the circumstances of the Father Ratigan case.” ...

“He should have been sacked a long time ago, as soon as he was convicted,” said Peter Saunders, an advocate for sex abuse victims who sits on the Vatican advisory body. “He should have been dismissed.”

Mr. Saunders said Pope Francis should now act promptly in the case of Bishop Juan Barros, whom the pope appointed to lead the diocese of Osorno, Chile, in January. Critics have demanded Barros’s ouster over accusations that he had covered up for another priest, the Rev. Fernando Karadima, who was later punished by the church for sexual abuse. Bishop Barros has denied charges that he witnessed abuse by Father Karadima.

In March, the Vatican said in a statement that the Congregation for Bishops examined the Barros case before his transfer to Osorno and “did not find objective reasons to preclude the appointment.”

Earlier this month, Mr. Saunders and three other members of the child-protection commission traveled to Rome to meet with Cardinal O’Malley and express their concerns about Bishop Barros. The group said in a statement that Cardinal O’Malley had “agreed to present the concerns of the subcommittee to the Holy Father.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:06 PM

Bishop Finn

UNITED STATES
National Survivor Advocates Coalition

National Survivor Advocates Coalition (NSAC) Statement on the Acceptance of Bishop Robert Finn’s Resignation by Pope Francis

For Immediate Release – April 21. 2015

Contact: Kristine Ward, Chair, National Survivor Advocates Coalition (NSAC) Kristineward@hotmail. com, 937-272-0308

It’s about time.

The resignation of Bishop Finn as head of the Diocese of Kansas City- St. Joseph is not a moment for applause in the continuing crisis of sexual abuse in the Roman Catholic Church.

It is a moment to ask why it took so long.

It is a moment to ask when the others who protected and continue to protect abusers will be removed.

It is a moment to ask why there are continuing defenders of bishops and religious superiors for predator priests and religious men and women, and diocesan staffs.

May today’s announcement, terse as it was from the Vatican, give a measure of peace to the survivors.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:02 PM

Kansas Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann appointed Apostolic Administrator of Kansas City - St. Joseph

KANSAS CITY (MO)
Roman Catholic Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph

Statement on the Resignation of Bishop Robert W. Finn from the Pastoral Care of the Diocese of Kansas City – St. Joseph

April 21, 2015

Today, the Holy Father Pope Francis accepted the resignation of Bishop Robert W. Finn from the pastoral care of the Diocese of Kansas City – St. Joseph. At the same time, the Holy Father appointed Kansas City in Kansas Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann as Apostolic Administrator of the Diocese of Kansas City – St. Joseph.

As Apostolic Administrator, Archbishop Naumann serves as the episcopal leader of the Diocese of Kansas City – St. Joseph until such time as a permanent bishop is appointed. He retains his duties as Archbishop of Kansas City in Kansas.

“It has been an honor and joy for me to serve here among so many good people of faith,” Bishop Robert W. Finn said. “Please begin already to pray for whomever God may call to be the next Bishop of Kansas City - St. Joseph.”

In an open letter to the people of the Diocese of Kansas City – St. Joseph, Archbishop Naumann expressed his thanks to the Holy Father for his appointment.

“I have been part of the Kansas City Community for more than 11 years, so I have an awareness of the vitality and beauty of the Catholic community in Northwest Missouri,” Archbishop Naumann said. He prayed that the coming weeks and months will be “a time of grace and healing for the Diocese.”

Archbishop Naumann explained that his time as Administrator will “not be a time for innovation or change, but a time to sustain the ordinary and essential activities of the Church and where possible to advance the initiatives that already are under way.”

Archbishop Naumann prayed that when a new bishop is appointed for Kansas City – St. Joseph, he “will find a community united both in their love for Jesus and His Bride – the Church.”

Finally, he looked forward to the many ordinations to the priesthood to take place in the coming weeks on both sides of the state line, calling it “one of the great signs of the New Springtime in the Church.” Four men will be ordained for the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas and nine for the Diocese of Kansas City – St. Joseph.

Archbishop Naumann is scheduled to spend the day engaged with the Administrative Cabinet of the Diocese of Kansas City – St. Joseph and the staff at the Catholic Center.

The full text of Archbishop Naumann’s letter to the people of the Diocese of Kansas City – St. Joseph is below.

Letter to the People of the Diocese of Kansas City – St. Joseph on the Occasion of my Appointment as Apostolic Administrator

By Archbishop Joseph F Naumann
April 21, 2015

I am grateful to the Holy Father for his Appointment to serve as Apostolic Administrator for the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph, Missouri, while continuing to serve as the Archbishop of Kansas City in Kansas.

I have been part of the Kansas City Community for more than 11 years, so I have an awareness of the vitality and beauty of the Catholic community in Northwest Missouri. Living in the same media market, I am also keenly conscious of some of challenges and difficulties this Diocese has suffered in recent years.

I pray that the coming weeks and months will be a time of grace and healing for the Diocese. All of us, who are privileged to serve in leadership for the Church, do so for only a season. It is not our Church, but Christ’s Church. We are mere stewards of His Church for a time.

By definition, the role of an Administrator is for a very short season. This will not be a time for innovation or change, but a time to sustain the ordinary and essential activities of the Church and where possible to advance the initiatives that already are under way.

It is my desire to do all that I can to prepare this Diocese to welcome well its new bishop. I pray that your new bishop, when he arrives, will find a community united both in their love for Jesus and His Bride – the Church – as well as eager to proclaim the truth and beauty of His Gospel to the world.

For this to happen, I will need the prayers and support of the Priests, Deacons, Religious, Diocesan and Parish lay staffs, and most importantly the people of the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph, Missouri. I want to be as available as I can, while still fulfilling my responsibilities as the Archbishop of Kansas City in Kansas. I am confident that I can count on the prayerful support of the Priests, Deacons, Religious and Laity of Northeast Kansas to assist me in fulfilling these dual roles to the best of my ability.

One of the great signs of the New Springtime in the Church that we give thanks for on both sides of State Line Road is the increase in recent years of priestly vocations. Both dioceses look forward with eager anticipation in a few weeks to the ordination of many new priests – nine for the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph and four for the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas.

One of the great treasures that the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph and the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas share in common is Mary as our primary Patron under her title, the Immaculate Conception.

We seek our Blessed Mother’s intercession that Her Son might bless abundantly the Catholic Community of Northwest Missouri during this time of transition.

Mary, Mother of the Church, place the people of the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph under your protective mantle, drawing us closer to your Son, Jesus. Amen.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:18 PM

Before scandal, Finn was prominent conservative voice in Catholic church

KANSAS CITY (MO)
USA Today

Aamer Madhani, USA TODAY April 21, 2015

Before he became one of the highest profile members of the clergy found complicit in the U.S. Catholic church's child sex abuse scandal, Bishop Robert Finn had an impressive climb up the church's hierarchy and established a reputation as one of the church's most conservative voices.

On Tuesday, the Vatican announced that Pope Francis had accepted Finn's resignation, marking an end to one of the ugliest chapters in the church's child sexual abuse scandal.

The Vatican did not explain the reason for allowing Finn to resign. He is nearly 13 years short of the normal retirement age for bishops. ...

Ahead of his installation as Kansas City bishop, some priests, nuns and church members worried that he was too theologically conservative for the Kansas City-St. Joseph Diocese, according to news reports at the time.

Finn acknowledged that he was one of a handful of bishops in the country who belonged to the Priestly Society of the Holy Cross, the organization for diocesan priest "associates" of Opus Dei, a conservative group that encourages Catholics to practice their Christian principles in their workplaces, according to the Kansas City Star.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:15 PM

Kansas City Bishop Finn Who Covered up Sex Abuse Resigns

UNITED STATES
Legal Examiner

Posted by Joseph H. Saunders
April 21, 2015

The man who became a symbol of the Catholic Church’s failure to stem the sexual abuse crisis that has plagued it has resigned.

In a news bulletin the Vatican announced that Pope Francis had accepted the resignation of the bishop of Kansas City, Robert W. Finn. The Vatican provided no reason for the resignation, only that Finn was leaving under the code of canon law that allows bishops to resign early for illness or some “grave” reason that makes them unfit for office.

In 2012 Finn was found guilty of failing to report suspected child abuse, and became the first American bishop in the decades-long sexual abuse scandal to be convicted of shielding a pedophile priest. The counts each carried a maximum penalty of one year in jail and a $1,000 fine, but Bishop Finn was sentenced to two years of court-supervised probation. In 2014 Roman Catholics based in Kansas City took the rare step of petitioning Pope Francis to discipline Bishop Finn and asked for his removal. The Vatican received the petition, signed by more than 113,000 people, with no public comments or actions.

The resignation of Finn is a positive step, but a small one. Let us not forget that for centuries the Catholic Church has institutionally worked to cover up sex abuse committed by priests with an agenda of