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May 31, 2015

Pell seeks legal advice after Vatican official slams 'mockery' of abuse victims

AUSTRALIA
The Guardian

Melissa Davey
@MelissaLDavey
Sunday 31 May 2015

George Pell has threatened legal action after a member of the Vatican’s commission for the protection of children accused him of “making a mockery” of child sexual abuse victims.

Peter Saunders, himself a victim of child sexual abuse, said Pell, Australia’s most senior Catholic cardinal, had an “almost sociopathic” disregard for victims of child sexual abuse through his repeated denial of any knowledge of abuse within the church.

But a statement issued on Pell’s behalf on Monday said: “The false and misleading claims made against His Eminence are outrageous. The cardinal is left no alternative but to consult with his legal advisers.”

Saunders had earlier told Channel Nine, “I personally think his position is untenable, because he has now a catalogue of denials, he has a catalogue of denigrating people, of acting with callousness, coldheartedness, [he is] almost sociopathic I would go so far as to say.

“He is making a mockery of the papal commission, of the pope himself, but most of all, of victims and survivors.”

As the head of the Vatican’s finances, Pell is one of the Pope’s most trusted advisors and is Australia’s most senior Catholic.

During hearings of Australia’s royal commission into institutional responses to child sexual abuse, held in the Victorian town of Ballarat last week, a victim of notorious paedophile priest Gerald Ridsdale accused Pell of bribing him to keep quiet about the abuse. The commission also heard Pell was involved in the decision to move Ridsdale between parishes when his abuses came to light.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:28 PM

Cardinal George Pell to seek legal advice after Pope-appointed commissioner Peter Saunders labels him 'almost sociopathic'

AUSTRALIA
ABC News

Cardinal George Pell says he will seek legal advice after a specially appointed member of the Vatican's commission on child protection accused him of being "almost sociopathic" and called his position "untenable".

A spokesperson for Cardinal Pell called the statements by abuse survivor Peter Saunders "false and misleading", after Mr Saunders called for Cardinal Pell to be sent back to Australia.

"From his earliest actions as an archbishop, Cardinal Pell has taken a strong stand against child sexual abuse and put in place processes to enable complaints to be brought forward and independently investigated," the spokesperson said in a statement.

"Cardinal Pell has never met Mr Saunders, who seems to have formed his strong opinions without ever having spoken to His Eminence.

"In light of all of the available material, including evidence from the Cardinal under oath, there is no excuse for broadcasting incorrect and prejudicial material.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:27 PM

Catholic priest suspended over missing church funds

SCOTLAND
Herald Scotland

Monday 1 June 2015

A CATHOLIC priest is under police investigation over thousands of pounds of missing church funds stretching back years.

Shocked parishioners were told in a statement from their bishop that Father Graeme Bell, parish priest at Our Lady Star of the Sea in Saltcoats, North Ayrshire, was facing the probe after concerns came to light in recent days.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:36 PM

I could’ve been a Duggar wife: I grew up in the same church, and the abuse scandal doesn’t shock me

UNITED STATES
Salon

BROOKE ARNOLD

Unlike most of the writers covering the Duggar sex scandal, I was raised in Advanced Training Institute (ATI), the fundamentalist Christian organization with which the family is affiliated. Joshua Duggar’s confession of sexually molesting young girls in his family’s home when he was a teenager didn’t surprise me, nor should it surprise anyone with any intimate knowledge about this organization, because ATI’s theological beliefs and practices cultivate an environment where women and children are more vulnerable to rape and sexual abuse. Ironically, the same theological beliefs and practices at the heart of this scandal are the same beliefs that created the Duggars as a media phenomenon, and drew viewers and fans to their TLC show “19 Kids and Counting.”

Non-mainstream religious sects have certainly been enjoying a cultural moment on television: “The Following,” “Sister Wives,” “Breaking Amish.” Netflix’s dark comedy “The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt” explores the media hype around religious cult survivors in satirical detail. For me, though, that show should have come with a trigger warning, because in many ways, I am a real Kimmy Schmidt — a woman who spent her adolescence trapped inside a metaphorical bunker, and then was thrust into a world that she had never been prepared to be a part of.

The Duggars didn’t emerge from a subterranean bunker, though. They’ve been on TV promoting the fundamentalist Christian theology of ATI since their first special in 2004 (“14 Children and Pregnant Again!”). ATI is a Christian homeschool organization that hosts seminars worldwide, provides homeschooling curriculum, and even runs its own paramilitary training center. At one point, it was strongly affiliated with a Christian correspondence course law school. Its members are not concentrated in one area, and yet they maintain insular groups and often form churches in which all members are affiliated with ATI and/or follow its basic principles. Referred to as “Gothardism” within fundamentalist Christian circles, the teachings of ATI form an ideological system of practices based on the extremely strict, fundamentalist, and idiosyncratic Biblical interpretations of the organization’s founder, Bill Gothard – a man who, in 2014, stepped down as head of ATI following allegations of sexual misconduct with young girls.

The allegations against “Mr. Gothard” (as he is respectfully and worshipfully referred to by his acolytes) were an open secret among group members for many years. As a friend who worked at ATI headquarters once said to me with a wink: “The prettiest girls are always chosen to work the closest with Mr Gothard.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:33 PM

Pell under increasing pressure to return

AUSTRALIA
SBS

Cardinal George Pell is facing fresh demands to return to Australia to front the child abuse royal commission.

Peter Saunders, who was hand-picked by the Pope six months ago to be the Catholic Church's commissioner for the protection of children, says Cardinal Pell has a moral obligation to face the commission.

Child protection advocate Hetty Johnston has echoed the call, saying the church must order the cardinal home to give evidence, even if it is only to clear his name.

Cardinal Pell, incensed over Mr Saunders' allegations about his conduct in an interview with the Nine Network's 60 Minutes, has issued a statement saying he is seeking legal advice over what he calls false and misleading claims.

"The Cardinal is left no alternative but to consult with his legal advisers," a statement issued on behalf of Cardinal Pell said.

Cardinal Pell has repeatedly denied claims he tried to bribe an abuse victim to keep quiet and he was dismissive of and dealt heartlessly with victims and their families.

But Mr Saunders told 60 Minutes the cardinal's position in the church had become untenable "because he now has a catalogue of denials".

"Given the position of George Pell as a cardinal of the church and a position of huge authority within the Vatican, I think he is a massive, massive thorn in the side of Pope Francis's papacy if he's allowed to remain," he said.

The statement issued on behalf of Cardinal Pell said he had always taken a strong stand against child sex abuse and had put in place processes to ensure complaints could be brought forward and independently investigated.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:31 PM

Cardinal Pell calls in the lawyers

AUSTRALIA
The New Daily

Jun 1, 2015
KAITLIN THALS

Cardinal George Pell will consult his legal team over “false and misleading claims” about his handling of child abuse cases within the Catholic Church.

This move came after a specially appointed member of the Vatican’s commission on child protection accused Cardinal Pell of being “almost sociopathic” in his treatment of abuse victims.

Peter Saunders, who was hand-picked by the Pope six months ago to be the Catholic Church’s commissioner for the protection of children, said Cardinal Pell’s position in the church had become “untenable”.

“He has a catalogue of denigrating people, of acting with callousness, cold-heartedness, almost sociopathic I would go as far as to say, this lack of care,” Mr Saunders told the Nine Network Sunday night.

Cardinal Pell has consistently denied allegations made against him in regard to his handling of child abuse by clergymen.

By Monday morning, a spokesperson for the cardinal had condemned Mr Saunders’ comments.

“From his earliest actions as an archbishop Cardinal Pell has taken a strong stand against child sexual abuse and put in place processes, to enable complaints to be brought forward and independently investigated,” the spokesperson said statement.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:29 PM

George Pell 'callous, almost sociopathic' towards abuse victims

AUSTRALIA
Brisbane Times

[video]

Cardinal George Pell's record with abuse survivors makes his position 'untenable' according to one of the Pope's child protection officials, Peter Saunders, himself a victim of sexual abuse.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:27 PM

Pell under increasing pressure to return

AUSTRALIA
Sky News

Cardinal George Pell is facing fresh demands to return to Australia to front the child abuse royal commission.

Peter Saunders, who was hand-picked by the Pope six months ago to be the Catholic Church's commissioner for the protection of children, says Cardinal Pell has a moral obligation to face the commission.

Child protection advocate Hetty Johnston has echoed the call, saying the church must order the cardinal home to give evidence, even if it is only to clear his name.

Cardinal Pell, incensed over Mr Saunders' allegations about his conduct in an interview with the Nine Network's 60 Minutes, has issued a statement saying he is seeking legal advice over what he calls false and misleading claims.

'The Cardinal is left no alternative but to consult with his legal advisers,' a statement issued on behalf of Cardinal Pell said.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:26 PM

‘UK shy of enough land to lock up all child sex abusers’

UNITED KINGDOM
Press TV (Iran)

Britain’s child protection chief says the UK does not have enough land to build prisons and put all of its child sex abusers behind bars.

The Deputy Children’s Commissioner for England, Sue Berelowitz, who is currently chairing a government inquiry into the problem, pointed out that the public would be shocked by the sheer scale of the problem when she reports in November, the Telegraph said.

She blamed the spread of pornography through the Internet and social media for the growing problem of an increasingly sexualized society.

Speaking at the Hay Festival, Mrs Berelowitz said: “We live in a highly sexualized world in which for the most part it is considered quite acceptable to do as they want with females, and too many females think that is something they must comply with because they think it is a part of growing up.”

“Child porn and the proliferation of indecent images of children, and all the stuff we are seeing on social media which is undoubtedly having an impact on young people growing up and their impressions of sex and sexuality.

“I want us to keep in mind that people who sexually abuse children are somehow another breed. They are here and in our midst.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:24 PM

After indictment, Wheaton College removes Dennis Hastert ...

ILLINOIS
Washington Post

After indictment, Wheaton College removes Dennis Hastert from center named after him

By Sarah Pulliam Bailey May 31

The scandal brewing around Dennis Hastert this week spread into his evangelical faith community with news that he stepped down from a board position at Wheaton College – the prominent evangelical school from which he graduated and where he established a major research and study program.

The former Speaker of the House has resigned from the school’s board of advisers of its J. Dennis Hastert Center for Economics, Government, and Public Policy, a $10 million project housed in the college’s politics, international relations, business and economics departments. On Sunday, the school announced that it changed the name of the center to the Wheaton College Center for Economics, Government, and Public Policy.

Allegations surfaced this week that Hastert sexually molested a male victim to whom he recently paid hush money in violation of federal banking laws, according to a federal law enforcement official briefed on the case.

Hastert, 73, was indicted Thursday by a federal grand jury on charges that he violated banking laws in a bid to pay $3.5 million to someone to cover up “past misconduct.” Hastert, who has been a lobbyist in Washington since his 2007 retirement from Congress, attempted to hide more than $950,000 in withdrawals, according to the indictment. The indictment did not spell out the exact nature of the “prior misconduct” by Hastert.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:28 PM

Cardinal Pell described as 'almost sociopathic'...

AUSTRALIA
Daily Life

June 1, 2015

Kerrie Armstrong

Cardinal George Pell is "a dangerous individual" and "almost sociopathic" in his response to child sexual abuse victims, Pope Francis' specially-appointed commissioner for the protection of children, Peter Saunders, says.

In an interview with Channel 9's 60 Minutes, Mr Saunders said Cardinal Pell had a "moral responsibility" to front the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse and address allegations that he knew of priests abusing children in Ballarat and elsewhere but did nothing to stop it. Cardinal Pell has denied these accusations.

"I personally think that his position is untenable, because he has now a catalogue of denials," Mr Saunders said in the interview which aired on Sunday night. "He has a catalogue of denigrating people, of acting with callousness, cold-heartedness – almost sociopathic, I would go as far as to say – this lack of care."

Pope Francis last December appointed Mr Saunders, himself a survivor of child sexual abuse in the Catholic Church, to the new Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors to ensure the Catholic Church acted with greater accountability and transparency in relation to child sexual abuse.

Mr Saunders said by refusing to front the royal commission until he was specifically invited, Cardinal Pell was "making a mockery of the Papal Commission, of the Pope himself, but most of all, of the victims and the survivors".

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:19 PM

Walk for reconciliation draws thousands to downtown Ottawa

CANADA
CBC News

An estimated 7,000 to 10,000 people walked through downtown Ottawa-Gatineau in an effort to "transform and renew" the relationship between aboriginal people and other Canadians as the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada prepares to release its final report on Tuesday.

"It's a dark chapter in Canada's history, no question. It was cultural genocide," said National Chief Perry Bellegarde, head of the Assembly of First Nations, who took part in the walk on Sunday.

"There's a lot of young ones that didn't come home to their families, communities. There's a lot of death there. We've got to remember and honour those [deaths], that we learn from that and honour their spirits."

The commission, struck in 2009, has been writing an exhaustive history of the residential school system. The commissioners interviewed more than 7,000 people across the country and the final report, which is expected to be released on June 2, will span six volumes and more than two million words.

At least 6,000 aboriginal children died while in the residential school system, according to commission chair Justice Murray Sinclair, though poor record-keeping has made an exact figure difficult to pinpoint.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:17 PM

Pell seeks legal advice over claims

AUSTRALIA
Daily Mail

By AUSTRALIAN ASSOCIATED PRESS
31 May 2015

Cardinal George Pell is seeking legal advice over what he's called false and misleading claims about his handling of child abuse cases within the Catholic Church.

Peter Saunders, who was hand-picked by the Pope six months ago to be the Catholic Church's commissioner for the protection of children, says Cardinal Pell's position in the church has become "untenable".

"The false and misleading claims made against His Eminence are outrageous. The Cardinal is left no alternative but to consult with his legal advisers," a statement issued on behalf of Cardinal Pell said.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:11 PM

‘A Top Cardinal, Pell, ‘Reverses’ Himself On Critical Fact When Placed Under Oath, It Appears

UNITED STATES
Christian Catholicism

Jerry Slevin

One of the single most important lessons I have learned in following closely the Vatican’s scandals for over five years is that you cannot really trust Vatican officials’ statements as the “full truth so help me God!”

This was just evident in a recent investigative TV report about Cardinal George Pell. Peter Saunders, a member of the pope’s abuse commission, as well as a parent and a survivor of childhood sexual abuse by two priests, spoke about the pope’s shameful top financial aide, Cardinal Pell, in a remarkable interview here on Australia’s 60 Minutes.

In the 60 Minutes segment, two video excerpts of Pell’s testimony on a key fact are shown. Pell makes a denial in an informal 2002 60 Minutes interview of a significant fact relating to a young abuse victim who committed suicide. In the second video in 2013, apparently under oath before a parliamentary investigation commission, with serious legal consequences for false statements, Pell “suddenly” remembered the significant fact and appears to have reversed himself completely.

Pell’s seemingly long history of denials include his acknowledgement in 2013 that he had “probably” been shown a photograph of the slashed wrists of the child abuse victim, after he previously indicated inn 2002 that he had never seen it. The victim’s parents had earlier shown Pell the photo of their daughter Emma, who was abused by Fr. Kevin O’Donnell. These parents’ other daughter, Katie, was also a victim of this priest. Emma went on to take her own life in 2008.

In a 2002 interview with 60 Minutes reporter, Richard Carleton, Pell denied he had ever seen the picture of the slashed wrists, before changing his position two years ago. In his recent slippery response, Pell stated, “Probably, but let’s put this in context. Now we know that was an attempted suicide, you’ve got to understand, this was a…. the production of this photo was something sudden, I didn’t have a chance for a considered response.”

Right! Why would anyone expect Pell to remember a picture of the slashed writs of a priest child abuse victim shown to him by upset parents? If the pope wants to maintain even a prayer of credibility on curtailing priest child abuse and on holding Church leaders accountable, Pell must go pronto!

Pope Francis appealingly called on Catholics to “create a mess” but, instead, by his slick approach, he has paradoxically created his own expanding mess, which may be his last as pope! Many lifetime indoctrinated Catholics may behave as “dumb sheep” at times; I did, but few of them in the Internet Age remain as “blind sheep”.

Until now, the Vatican has mostly avoided various national prosecutors. The pope and his high priced consultants and lawyers have also so far buried the financial scandals in over hyped committees that he still controls unaccountably, most significantly with no public audits of the Vatican’s own wealth even on the horizon.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:08 PM

FORMER LIBDEM MP INSISTS CHILD ABUSE ALLEGATIONS ARE ‘CONSPIRACY’ AGAINST HIM

UNITED KINGDOM
Breitbart

by SARKIS ZERONIAN
31 May 2015

Allegations that a politician was among those accused of repeatedly raping a girl over a four year period have prompted a former Liberal Democrat MP to identify himself to investigators in order to deny it.

The MP in question spoke to the investigative website Exaro on condition of anonymity in order to rebut his alleged victim’s account of long-term sexual abuse. He cannot be named for legal reasons but Exaro states that “he has no publicly-known connection with Staffordshire.”

Earlier this week Esther Baker, 32, waived anonymity to speak to Sky News about being sexually abused in woodland on Cannock Chase, Staffordshire. She described being raped over a four year period from the age of six by the former MP, as well as other men including a dead Labour Cabinet Minister, a Lord and a judge. The abuse is said to have occurred while uniformed police officers stood guard, some of whom are said to have joined in.

Exaro reports that a further two women have come forward with similar allegations against the same politician. One of the women contacted Staffordshire Police after seeing Baker on Sky News, but the other pre-dated the news footage having come forward through the Chuch of England last month. The Church of England has no connection to the abuse allegations.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:05 PM

Amnesty International calls for Kincora to be included in UK child abuse inquiry

NORTHERN IRELAND
Belfast Live

31 MAY 2015
BY CHRIS MCCULLOUGH

One of the Kincora Boys’ Home victims is taking legal action to force a full independent inquiry into the child abuse with the power to compel witnesses and the security services to hand over documents.

Gary Hoy, who was abused by two of the men who were subsequently convicted, is due to challenge Kincora’s exclusion from the inquiry in Belfast High Court tomorrow.

The move comes as Amnesty International has also called for the investigation into child abuse at the home in east Belfast to be included in the wider Westminster child abuse inquiry.

The government has so far refused calls for the paedophile abuse scandal at the Belfast home to be included within the scope of the inquiry established by Home Secretary Theresa May and headed by New Zealand judge Lowell Goddard.

The judicial review case, to commence a three-day hearing in Belfast High Court tomorrow morning, will hear allegations that MI5 was involved in covering up the sexual abuse of children in order to protect an intelligence-gathering operation it ran in the 1970s.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:26 PM

MO-- KC Catholic official lies about lawsuit, SNAP says

MISSOURI
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

For immediate release: Sunday, May 31

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

The Kansas City Archdiocese’s school superintendent claims she hasn’t read a copy of a lawsuit against her that was filed at least two weeks ago. We think she’s lying.

[Kansas City Star]

The suit was filed in mid-May. In it, a Kansas City Kansas mom charges that Catholic officials falsely accused her of child abuse, ignored bullying against her daughter and then, in retaliation against her, called a state child abuse hotline accusing her of mistreating her own daughter.

[KSHB]

According to today’ KC Star, “a spokeswoman provided a response from archdiocesan superintendent of schools Kathy O’Hara, who said no one would be able to comment on the lawsuit because the archdiocese had not yet seen it.”

The suit was disclosed publicly on May 18 by KSHB Channel 4 in Kansas City by reporter Brendaliss Gonzalez.

[The Raw Story]

Among those accused of wrongdoing in the case are O’Hara, a priest, and Maureen Engen, the principal of Sacred Heart Catholic school in Shawnee where the alleged bullying took place.

This mother, Melissa Schroeder, did everything right in this case. She consulted with doctors, got help for her daughter, tried to stop bullying, persisted when school staff took little or no action, went up the “chain of command” in the archdiocese, called police and publicly spoken out against this mistreatment.. We commend her for her courage and compassion and hope she and her family feel some comfort knowing that her lawsuit may shine a bright light on this awful behavior by Catholic church and school officials.

We agree with her attorney, Sarah Brown, who said she should be “praised, not persecuted.”

We hope that anyone who might have seen, suspected or suffered wrongdoing of any kind in the Kansas City archdiocese will speak up. Only by coming forward, calling police, filing lawsuits, exposing misdeeds, and deterring cover ups will kids be safer from bullying and abuse.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:22 PM

Cardinal George Pell described as 'sociopathic', 'callous' by Pope-appointed abuse commissioner

AUSTRALIA
ABC News

A specially appointed member of the Vatican's commission on child protection has accused Cardinal George Pell of being "almost sociopathic" in his treatment of victims.

Peter Saunders, himself a survivor of abuse, called for Cardinal Pell to be sent back to Australia and said he had a moral responsibility to appear before the royal commission into child sexual abuse.

Mr Saunders was appointed by Pope Francis last year to the new commission to protect children.

His comments follow the royal commission's latest hearings in Ballarat which last week focused on the crimes of priest Gerald Ridsdale.

Cardinal Pell has denied he tried to bribe a victim to keep quiet and that he was dismissive of victims and their families.

"Personally I think that his position is untenable because he has now a catalogue of denials," Mr Saunders told Channel Nine.

"He has a catalogue of denigrating people, of acting with callousness, cold-heartedness, almost sociopathic I would go as far as to say, this lack of care.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:20 PM

‘He is making a mockery of it’

AUSTRALIA
Vocal Republic

CARDINAL George Pell has been condemned over his remedy of abuse victims by the person hand-picked by the Pope to guard youngsters within the Catholic Church.

In a unprecedented assault aired on Channel 9’s 60 Minutes, Peter Saunders stated the cardinal had acted with “callousness” and “cold-heartedness”.

Pope Francis’s specifically appointed commissioner for the safety of youngsters added:“I feel it’s essential that he’s moved apart — that he’s despatched again to Australia and that the Pope takes the strongest motion towards him.”

Up to now fortnight, the Royal Fee into institutional responses to youngster sexual abuse heard damning proof in Ballarat towards Father Gerald Ridsdale, Australia’s worst paedophile priest. Witnesses accused Pell of ignoring warnings about Ridsdale, and one claims Pell tried to silence him with a bribe, an allegation he has beforehand denied.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:29 PM

Pope’s top advisor says "callous" Cardinal Pell should step down

AUSTRALIA
9 News

A top advisor to the Pope has slammed Cardinal George Pell, saying Australia’s most senior Catholic should step down from his position at the Vatican.

Peter Saunders, who was hand-picked by Pope Francis six months ago to work as the Catholic Church’s commissioner for the protection of children, said Cardinal Pell’s position was “untenable”.

Speaking to 60 Minutes reporter Tara Brown, Mr Saunders said the cardinal’s repeated denials concerning his alleged knowledge of the occurrence of child abuse perpetrated by Catholic priests in Victoria were “cold” and “callous”.

"I personally think that his position is untenable. Because he has now a catalogue of denials – he has a catalogue of denigrating people, of acting with callousness, cold-heartedness."

Cardinal Pell, who is the Head of Finances at the Vatican, has been under fire since fresh allegations emerged last week at the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Abuse in Ballarat, that he deliberately turned a blind eye to child molestation.

Mr Pell’s history of denials include his acknowledgement in 2013 that he had “probably” been shown a photograph of the slashed wrists of a child abuse victim, after he previously said he had never seen it.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:24 PM

Stift Lambach: Pater nach Sex mit Bursch suspendiert

OSTERREICH
Kurier

[A priest in Upper Austria has been suspended and faced allegations that he abused minors.]

Die zweiwöchige Abwesenheit eines Paters im Stift Lambach, OÖ, ließ die Gerüchteküche brodeln. Nun teilte die Stiftsleitung über ihre Homepage mit: Pater Pius H. war bis 27. Mai in Untersuchungshaft.

Der Pater soll am 11. Mai in Linz einen minderjährigen Buben für sexuelle Dienste bezahlt haben. H. soll dabei "sehr stark alkoholisiert gewesen sein" und bedauere den Vorfall sehr, sagt Abt Maximilian und kündigt "drastische Konsequenzen" an: "Wir arbeiten offen und eng mit den ermittelnden Behörden zusammen. Nach Abschluss des gerichtlichen Verfahrens werden kirchenrechtliche Schritte gesetzt." Denkbar seien der Ausschluss aus dem Stift bzw. ein Berufsverbot. "Darüber wird in Rom entschieden."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:43 PM

Christian Reputation Repair Expert Says He Turned Duggar Family Down As Clients

UNITED STATES
Inquiistr

As you likely know, the Duggar family has agreed to talk to Megyn Kelly of Fox News for an hour-long special, to talk about the family’s decisions in dealing with Josh Duggar’s alleged molestation of five younger girls (at least one as young as five) when he was 14-15 years old.

What may not be clear is that the family is scrambling to restore their reputation as moral leaders — and it isn’t working. They may hope for a spinoff series, or even the restoration of 19 Kids And Counting to be the result of this interview, but behind the scenes, it appears that they’re seeking help to fix the damage done — not to the victims, but to their political and television careers.

The Duggar family is reported to have contacted at least one expert on PR and reputation repair, a Christian reputation manager and publicist, who says he’s turned them down. His name is Hunter Frederick, and judging from his statement, it appears he’s managing his own reputation — by making sure he isn’t associated with the Duggar family.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:41 PM

Updated suit alleges drunken teacher, unreported gun and cover-up by St. Pius X School

ALABAMA
AL.com

By Brendan Kirby | bkirby@al.com
on May 22, 2015

New allegations against teachers and administrators at St. Pius X School in Mobile paint a picture of a school out of control – a drunken teacher, attempts to cover up a gun brought to school by a student and unpunished assaults.

Those details are in an updated, 41-page lawsuit filed this week by lawyers for a group of former students at the Catholic school. The updated suit also accuses school officials of destroying disciplinary records in an effort to evade lawyers for the plaintiffs.

Originally filed as separate complaints by four different plaintiffs, the new suit combines those cases and adds 11 more students as plaintiffs. Most of them no longer are enrolled there.

Attorneys allege that reckless and negligent conduct by school officials began in 2007 and continues to the present day.

"They've had a lot of problems," said David Kennedy, one of the plaintiffs' attorneys. "The entire environment was just out of control and mismanaged ... with no oversight from the Archdiocese (of Mobile)."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:39 PM

'We're a family. We're unified': St. Pius X supporters rally around parish, school

ALABAMA
AL.com

By Carol McPhail | cmcphail@al.com
on May 31, 2015

Hundreds of parishioners processed around the property of St. Pius X Catholic Church on Sunday and prayed for their parish and school in the midst of accusations over bullying, school mismanagement and allegations involving the priest.

"We're Catholic. We're a family. We're unified," said John Bruemmer following mass. "We're going through some dark times, and we'll come out of it."

An estimated 500 people, more than twice the usual number at St. Pius X, attended the 10:30 a.m. mass at the Midtown parish. Parishioners said they organized the event to fight back against what they said are unfounded accusations playing out in court and in the media.

"We want everyone to know we're not going to stand for this anymore," said Summer Jacobs, a St. Pius parishioner with two children enrolled in the PK4-8th-grade school.

Earlier in May, lawyers for a group of former St. Pius students combined four separate complaints into a 41-page lawsuit that alleges, among other things, that a student brought a gun to school, a teacher was intoxicated on the job, and that school officials failed to stop bullying and covered it up. The lawsuit also contends that St. Pius Pastor Johnny Savoie refused to disclose information related to an accusation that he had a sexual relationship with a minor while serving in Baldwin County almost a decade ago.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:36 PM

This bishop helped the careers of Cardinal George Pell and Father Gerald Ridsdale

AUSTRALIA
Broken Rites

By a Broken Rites researcher

Australia’s famous Cardinal George Pell has acknowledged that his early career was helped by a generous mentor — the late Bishop James Patrick O'Collins. Research by Broken Rites has shown that Bishop O’Collins also helped certain other priests — for example, the child-abuse criminal Father Gerald Ridsdale. Pell and Ridsdale eventually became two of the most widely publicised Catholics in Australia. Appropriately, a photograph of Ridsdale and Pell appears in the right-hand column on every page of the Broken Rites website.

When young George Pell and Gerald Ridsdale were growing up in the city of Ballarat, Bishop James O'Collins was in charge of the Catholic Church's Ballarat diocese which extends throughout the western half of the state of Victoria. Pell and Ridsdale were recruited (separately) into the priesthood during Bishop O'Collins's reign.

The rise of George Pell
George Pell was born in the city of Ballarat in the state of Victoria in 1941 (seven years younger than Gerald Ridsdale). In that same year, James O’Collins became the new bishop of the Ballarat Catholic diocese.

Although he never became an archbishop, O'Collins was certainly one of Australia’s most influential Catholic leaders.

O'Collins was a strong supporter of the conservative Catholic layman B.A. Santamaria, who operated a political organisation in Australia called "The Movement". O'Collins was a member of a committee of three bishops who were appointed by the national organisation of bishops to liaise with "Bob" Santamaria on behalf of the church hierarchy.

George Pell did his secondary education at St Patrick's Christian Brothers College in Ballarat, finishing in the late 1950s. He was then sponsored by Bishop O'Collins's diocese to enter the Corpus Christi seminary in Melbourne to train as a priest to serve in the Ballarat diocese.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:27 PM

Convicted Child Sex Abuser Allegedly Hosted And Honored By IDF’s Chief Rabbi

UNITED STATES
Failed Messiah

Shmarya Rosenberg • FailedMessiah.com

The Chief Rabbi of the IDF, Rabbi Rafi Peretz, allegedly had a prominent guest over the Shavuot holiday – convicted child molester Rabbi Mordechai “Motti” Elon.

Elon, the former rosh yeshiva (dean) of the flagship Zionist Orthodox yeshiva, Yeshivat HaKotel in the Old City of Jerusalem, was treated as a guest of honor by Peretz, who is a state employee, even though Elon was convicted in August 2013 of molesting a minor teen boy, and even though Elon has been completely unrepentant.

Before that trial and Elon’s conviction, the Takana Forum, Zionist Orthodoxy’s and Modern Orthodoxy’s internal body that deals with clergy abuser and related problems, heard enough credible damning evidence to force Elon to resign from his Yeshivat HaKotel post, leave Jerusalem and promise to stop teaching public classes.

But within weeks of leaving Yeshivat HaKotel and the city in 2006, Elon – the scion of one of the most prominent Zionist Orthodox family in the country (his brother was a leading politician, his father was a Supreme Court judge and a published scholar of Jewish law, another brother is a district court judge and yet another is a biblical scholar) – resumed teaching. Not long after that, he began planning to return to Jerusalem in another public teaching role.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:20 PM

Open letter to Ballarat from St Patrick's College student leaders

AUSTRALIA
The Courier

By ST PATRICK'S COLLEGE STUDENT LEADERS May 29, 2015

To all members of the broader St Patrick’s College and Ballarat communities, and especially to the many victims and survivors of child sexual abuse.

As a student body we are well aware of the events currently unfolding in the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse being heard in Ballarat.

The details revealed in the hearing are simply unfathomable to the students of today. We are hearing of heinous and disgusting crimes to which nobody should ever have been subjected.

We offer our deepest sympathies for the truly reprehensible actions that have faced past students at the hands of those who had been trusted. It is truly impossible for us to fully comprehend the pain and grief that has fallen upon these individuals, and their siblings, peers, families and the broader community.

These crimes are something that should never be denied or excused.

Many boys have tied a ribbon onto the gates of this College to offer support, prayers and thoughts for the victims. It is a small gesture which says much. It says the current student community at St Patrick’s College is offering our deepest sympathies and assuring the broader community that the College, as it stands now, is an institution that is acknowledging and apologising for its past, but also hoping to assist in the healing process and then building from that.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:55 PM

Irish Show Voting Is Only Way To Make Pope Accountable: USA, Germany, Italy & Others Will Soon Follow

UNITED STATES
Christian Catholicism

Jerry Slevin

Pope Francis, clearly a well disguised absolute autocrat and temporary monarch, has predictably avoided commenting on his unprecedented defeat, over his self serving marriage policy, that Irish Catholic voters overwhelming handed him recently. Nor has the pope commented on the pointed remarks of his own papal commissioner for child protection, Peter Saunders, who says Cardinal George Pell is a “dangerous individual” and “almost sociopathic“. Learn here more about the investigation that Pell fears, and why he fears it, at the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses into Child Sexual Abuse.

.It is also clear by now, to me at least, that the masterful media manipulating pope will reform the Vatican’s top down autocratic structure and harmful sexual policies ONLY IF COMPELLED by outside governments to do so. The Irish voters by a substantial majority have shown all democratically elected leaders in Ireland for sure, but also in the USA, Germany, Italy, the UK, Australia, the Philippines, Austria, Switzerland, the Dominican Republic, Poland, and many other nations, that these leaders must rein in the unaccountable Vatican and curb its harmful and self interested policies that it seeks to impose on all citizens, not just Catholics. The Vatican must be shown that the Middle Ages are over!

The honest Irish have shown that the media friendly pope may be a popular image and refreshing change for many, but his views on sexual morality carry little weight in the voting booth, even in the modern papacy’s most Catholic country, Ireland. Voters worldwide now can be expected to follow the bold lead of a large majority of Irish voters, whose monumental action and effective example would have made my Donegal born and bred Irish Catholic parents cheer!

Peter Saunders, a parent and a survivor of childhood sexual abuse by two priests, spoke about the pope’s shameful top financial aide, Cardinal Pell, in a remarkable interview here on Australia’s 60 Minutes. Again predictably, Pell declined to be interviewed. Instead, he issued a typical threatening “legalese” statement, noting “… While [Commission] members [like Saunders] are of course entitled to their views and opinions, the recently approved Statutes of the [ pope’s priest child abuse] Commission make it clear that the Commission’s role does not include commenting on individual cases, nor does the Commission have the capacity to investigate individual cases.”

Nice try, George Pell, but the UK’s Saunders retained his non-clerical free speech rights and Irish voters retained their free voting rights. Saunders is not subject to the Vatican’s shameful code of “Omerta”, the protective secrecy that puts the protection of clerics ahead of protecting defenseless children. Bishop Scicluna found Omerta to be the pervasive and dominant Vatican code of silence.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:39 PM

Pope’s top advisor says "callous" Cardinal George Pell should step down from the Vatican

AUSTRALIA
9 News

A top advisor to the Pope on child protection has slammed Cardinal George Pell, saying Australia’s most senior Catholic should step down from his position at the Vatican.

Peter Saunders, who was hand-picked by Pope Francis six months ago to work as the Catholic Church’s commissioner for the protection of children, said Cardinal Pell’s position was “untenable”.

Speaking to 60 Minutes reporter Tara Brown, Mr Saunders said the cardinal’s repeated denials concerning his knowledge over the occurrence of child abuse perpetrated by Catholic priests in Victoria were “cold” and “callous”.

“I personally think that his position is untenable. Because he has now a catalogue of denials – he has a catalogue of denigrating people, of acting with callousness, cold-heartedness.

“[It’s] almost sociopathic, I would go as far to say, this lack of care,” Mr Saunders said.

Cardinal Pell, who is the Head of Finances at the Vatican, has been under fire since fresh allegations emerged last week at the royal commission into child abuse in Ballarat, that he deliberately turned a blind eye to child molestation.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:37 PM

Truth and Reconciliation Commission set to release report Tuesday

CANADA
Our Windosr

OurWindsor.Ca
By Joanna Smith

OTTAWA — The red-brick façade and towering spire of the building remain, but the feelings they evoke in Shirley Horn has changed over the nearly seven decades she has been connected to the place.

Horn, a great-grandmother from Missanabie Cree First Nation, was 7 years old when she first entered the building as a student at the Shingwauk Residential School in Sault Ste. Marie, Ont.

Now, Shingwauk Hall is one of the oldest buildings on the campus of Algoma University and Horn, who had already gone back to earn a fine arts degree there in 2005, has been named its first chancellor.

“I’m 74 years old now and I’m looking at it through a different lens than when I first walked up those steps at the age of 7, that same building, and what I’m asking myself at this time of my life is: what is my responsibility in this? How am I going to make the change?” says Horn, who will be sworn in as the titular head of the post-secondary institution at a convocation ceremony June 13.

Prior to that, Horn will attend the closing events as the Truth and Reconciliation Commission prepares to release its findings Tuesday in Ottawa.

Horn was sent to St. Johns Indian Residential School, near her home in Chapleau, Ont., when she was 5 years old and then, two years later, she was transferred to Shingwauk, where she stayed for six years.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:21 AM

Justice Murray Sinclair shares vision for Truth and Reconciliation

CANADA
Our Windsor

OurWindsor.Ca
By Joanna Smith

As Justice Murray Sinclair prepares to wrap up his work as chair of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, he spoke to the Star about his what it was like to bear witness to the legacy of the residential school system in such painful detail and his vision for relations between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people in Canada.

What we said to people was, “We don’t need you to feel that you are connected to this history. We need you to feel that you are part of the future and that you’re part of the solution, and therefore we have to talk about what your role is going to be going forward . . .” We ran into a lot of the people at the beginning, aboriginal and non-aboriginal, who said reconciliation is never going to happen. My (response was) you don’t have to believe that it is going to happen. You have to believe that it should happen.

What does reconciliation look like to you?

Reconciliation is always about relationships. It’s about bringing balance to the relations between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people. At an individual level, people often ask, “What can I do?” My answer to that is always, “Look at how you believe and how you behave and how you think and change that.”

What can efforts to promote awareness of Canada’s history with residential schools learn from Holocaust education?

You have to look at the history of how the Holocaust was treated publicly after the Second World War. It could have disappeared from the memory of everybody if world leaders hadn’t done certain things as a result of that phenomenon . . . There are laws in place that say you actually can’t deny the Holocaust. If there were laws in place that said you cannot deny the fact of residential schools and the abuse that occurred, that would certainly move this conversation into a better framework.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:20 AM

Deaths at Canada's Indian residential schools need more study: commission

CANADA
Lillooet News

CHINTA PUXLEY / THE CANADIAN PRESS
MAY 31, 2015

The commission that has spent five years examining one of the darkest chapters in Canada's history is winding up its work with a key question left unanswered — exactly how many aboriginal children died in residential schools?

Justice Murray Sinclair, who heads the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, says the federal government stopped recording the deaths around 1920 after the chief medical officer at Indian Affairs suggested children were dying at an alarming rate.

"He was fired," Sinclair says. "The government stopped recording deaths of children in residential schools, we think, probably because the rates were so high."

Sinclair has guessed up to 6,000 children may have died at the schools but it's impossible to say with certainty.

"We think this is a situation that needs further study," he said.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:18 AM

A look at residential schools commissioner

CANADA
Metro

The Canadian Press

A look a the life and career of Justice Murray Sinclair, head of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission:

Born — 1951, near Selkirk, Man. Both his parents and grandparents were sent to residential schools.

Education — Attended the University of Winnipeg and University of Manitoba, graduating from the faculty of law at the University of Manitoba in 1979. Honorary degrees from the University of Manitoba and the University of Ottawa.

Career — Called to the Manitoba bar in 1980 and specialized in aboriginal legal issues. Appointed associate chief judge of the provincial court of Manitoba in 1988. Co-commissioner of Manitoba’s Aboriginal Justice Inquiry the same year. Presided over a 2000 inquest into the deaths of 12 children in the pediatric cardiac surgery program at Winnipeg’s Health Sciences Centre. Adjunct professor at the University of Manitoba.

Family — He and wife, Katherine Morrisseau-Sinclair, have four children: Manon Beaudrie, James, Déne and Gazheek. One granddaughter, Sarah Fontaine-Sinclair.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:16 AM

Residential schools impacted nearly all aboriginal social indicators: TRC chair

CANADA
CTV

Michelle Zilio, CTVNews.ca
@michellezilio

Published Sunday, May 31, 2015

The chair of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) says next week's report will show that the residential school system had an impact on nearly all of the social markers used to measure the state of affairs for aboriginal people in Canada.

Speaking with CTV's Question Period, Justice Murray Sinclair, who lead the TRC, offered some details about Tuesday's highly-anticipated report into residential schools.

"In our report, which we are releasing, we talk about each of the social indicators that society uses to mark the state of affairs of the indigenous peoples of this country," said Sinclair.

"And we point out that it's very rare to find to any social marker in this country that doesn’t have some connection, directly or indirectly, to the residential school experience."

The residential school system was established in the 19th century as a way to assimilate Canada's aboriginal children; the last one closed in 1996.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:13 AM

Cardinal Pell

AUSTRALIA
60 Minutes

[video]

60 Minutes broadcasts an extraordinary development surrounding Australia’s most senior Catholic, Cardinal George Pell.

“I think it’s critical that George Pell is moved aside, that he is sent back to Australia, and that the Pope takes the strongest action against him.” These are the damning words of Peter Saunders, the man handpicked by Pope Francis to sit on the new Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors.

In an interview with Tara Brown in Rome, Peter gives a wide-ranging and damning assessment of Cardinal Pell’s actions to date, and calls for Pope Francis to move against him.

“He is making a mockeryof the papal commission, of the Pope himself, but most of all of the victims and the survivors. More importantly, anybody who is a serious obstacle to the work of the commission and to the work of the Pope in trying to clean up the church’s act over this matter needs to be taken aside very quickly and removed from any kind of position of influence.”

STATEMENT BY SPOKESPERSON FOR CARDINAL GEORGE PELL

31 May 2015

Cardinal Pell has not seen the material that 60 Minutes is planning to broadcast this evening.

The Cardinal has not met and has not been approached by Mr Saunders.

Cardinal Pell knows of the important work Mr Saunders has done as a survivor of abuse to assist victims, including the establishment of a victims survivors group in the United Kingdom and more recently serving as member of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors established by the Holy Father to develop policy to achieve this.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:51 AM

'No logical reason' not to have women priests - senior priest in wealthy Irish parish

IRELAND
Irish Independent

John Mulligan

31/05/2015

A senior priest at one of Dublin's wealthiest suburbs has told parishioners that he sees "no logical reason" why there can't be women priests.

He also said the Church will have to reassess its approach to a wide range of issues following the groundswell of support last Friday week for same-sex marriage.

Father Gary Darby, a co-parish priest in Portmarnock, Co Dublin, told his congregation at mass today that the vote has been a wake-up call for the church.

He recieved rapturous applause for his sermon, in which he voiced opinions that would have caused significant controversy only a few years, or even months ago.

He said that most young people he knows don't attend mass because they say the church is now irrelevant to them. But Fr Darby said that he believed young people didn't attend mass because they also felt judged and shamed by the institution. He also told parishioners that he also felt the same when he was growing up.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:45 AM

World Meeting of Families ‘not affected’ by allegations against Vatican archbishop

UNITED STATES
Catholic Herald (UK)

Investigation into Archbishop Paglia's financial affairs 'do not impact' plans for September gathering

An Italian investigation into a Vatican archbishop’s financial affairs will not affect this year’s World Meeting of Families, the Archbishop of Philadelphia has said.

Archbishop Charles Chaput said he was saddened to learn that Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, head of the Pontifical Council for the Family and lead Vatican organiser of September’s World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia, is under investigation by Italian prosecutors for alleged embezzlement, “and will pray for him”.

“At the same time,” Archbishop Chaput said, “I assure everyone that matters facing him do not impact our plans for September. We continue to work without interruption and joyfully anticipate welcoming our Holy Father and the world to Philadelphia later this year.”

Reports in European media outlets say the investigation stems from 2011 when the archbishop led the Diocese of Terni in Italy, and diocesan funds may have been used improperly in a scheme to purchase then resell a 14th-century Italian castle at a profit.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:19 AM

Yes vote forces Vatican rethink of gay 'message'

IRELAND
Irish Independent

Claire Mc Cormack and Nick Bramhill

The outcome of Ireland's same-sex marriage referendum will be "a point of tension" at this year's Synod of Bishops in Rome, leading Vatican experts told the Sunday Independent.

Although Pope Francis and the hierarchy of the Catholic Church had anticipated a Yes vote, experts believe the volume of people in favour was "surprising" to the Holy See.

Others admit that while the Church's teaching on marriage is "not up for debate right now", serious discussion on how the Church interacts with members of the gay and lesbian community is looming.
The "working document" for this year's Synod of Bishops on the Family, which will take place in October, will be published over the coming weeks.

Following the global interest in our referendum, experts are now confident the Church's response to so called "irregular" relationships - including civil marriages, co-habitation and same- sex couples - will be on the agenda.

"There will be bishops who will say that we need to do something to affirm what is good in these relationships even if they are not ideal and many bishops will be ready to say we need to affirm very clearly the Church's teaching about these things and I think that will be a point of tension," said Francis X Rocca, Vatican correspondent for The Wall Street Journal said.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:16 AM

Lawsuit says Kansas archdiocese retaliated against mother who tried to stop bullying

MISSOURI
The Kansas City Star

BY JUDY L. THOMAS
jthomas@kcstar.com

A Shawnee woman is suing the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas, alleging that officials lodged a false child abuse complaint with the state against her after she raised concerns about her daughter being bullied at school.

Also named as defendants are Sacred Heart Catholic Church and its school principal.

The lawsuit, filed by Melissa Schroeder this month in Johnson County District Court, alleges that the bullying took place at the Shawnee school in 2014 and caused serious health issues for her 10-year-old daughter. After Schroeder tried to get the school to resolve the problem, the lawsuit says, officials retaliated by making a false report with the state child welfare agency, saying among other things that Schroeder had requested an exorcism for her daughter.

“What happened to her was appalling,” said Schroeder’s attorney, Sarah Brown. “This is about a mom trying to get the bullying to stop and then having the church retaliate against her.

“Catholic officials should praise — not persecute — brave parents who report hurtful actions against kids.”

A spokeswoman for the defendants provided a response from archdiocesan superintendent of schools Kathy O’Hara, who said no one would be able to comment on the lawsuit because the archdiocese had not yet seen it.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:13 AM

The Paedophile Hunter

AUSTRALIA
60 Minutes

[video]

How would you know if your children are being groomed online? Preying on kids has exploded in the digital age as social media makes targeting victims chillingly easy for paedophiles. Their false identities and shifting online profiles mean police face an almost impossible task to catch them. The statistics are frightening. But now vigilantes are using the paedophiles’ own techniques against them. Leading the chase are people like Stinson Hunter, the Paedophile Hunter. This Sunday, Allison Langdon joins Stinson on the hunt for paedophiles and while the ethics are questionable, the results are undeniable.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:05 AM

STATEMENT BY SPOKESPERSON FOR CARDINAL GEORGE PELL

AUSTRALIA
60 Minutes

31 May 2015

Cardinal Pell has not seen the material that 60 Minutes is planning to broadcast this evening.

The Cardinal has not met and has not been approached by Mr Saunders.

Cardinal Pell knows of the important work Mr Saunders has done as a survivor of abuse to assist victims, including the establishment of a victims survivors group in the United Kingdom and more recently serving as member of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors established by the Holy Father to develop policy to achieve this.

While members are of course entitled to their views and opinions, the recently approved Statutes of the Commission make it clear that the Commission's role does not include commenting on individual cases, nor does the Commission have the capacity to investigate individual cases.

From the promotional material issued by 60 Minutes it seems clear Mr Saunders is not well informed about the claims made against Cardinal Pell in the Ballarat hearings of the Royal Commission and the fact that no new material emerged during recent hearings. Many of the issues were addressed in the final report of the 2013 Victorian Parliamentary Inquiry where there are no adverse findings against Cardinal Pell. These old and repeated allegations have been addressed many times by the Cardinal since 2002.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:02 AM

‘Callous, cold-hearted’: Pope’s commissioner says George Pell has to go

AUSTRALIA
Perth Now

CARDINAL George Pell has been condemned over his treatment of abuse victims by the man hand-picked by the Pope to protect children in the Catholic Church.

In an extraordinary attack aired on Channel Nine’s 60 Minutes, Peter Saunders said the cardinal had acted with “callousness” and “cold-heartedness”.

Pope Francis’s specially appointed commissioner for the protection of children added:“I think it’s critical that he is moved aside — that he is sent back to Australia and that the Pope takes the strongest action against him.”

In the past fortnight, the Royal Commission into institutional responses to child sexual abuse heard damning evidence in Ballarat against Father Gerald Ridsdale, Australia’s worst paedophile priest. Witnesses accused Pell of ignoring warnings about Ridsdale, and one claims Pell tried to silence him with a bribe, an allegation he has previously denied.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:00 AM

Elderly abuse victims ‘need payments now’

SCOTLAND
Scotsman

PRESSURE is growing on the Scottish Government to make interim compensation payments to elderly victims of historical child abuse amid fears many of them will not live to see the conclusion of a public inquiry.

It is thought that as many as 10,000 victims may eventually come forward once the inquiry – to be led by Susan O’Brien QC – begins later this year.

However, there are immediate concerns for around 100 elderly survivors who are nearing the end of their lives.

At least three survivors are known to have died in recent weeks, including one man who took his own life after learning he could not take legal action against his alleged abusers.

Labour MSP Jackie Baillie is among those calling on the Scottish Government to follow the example of Ireland, where a number of survivors were awarded interim payments of 10,000 euros.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:51 AM

Pope's commissioner for child protection says ...

AUSTRALIA
Sydney Morning Herald

Pope's commissioner for child protection says Cardinal Pell is a 'dangerous individual' and 'almost sociopathic'

May 31, 2015

Kerrie Armstrong

Cardinal George Pell is "a dangerous individual" and "almost sociopathic" in his response to child sexual abuse victims, Pope Francis' specially-appointed commissioner for the protection of children, Peter Saunders, says.

In an interview with Channel 9's 60 Minutes, Mr Saunders said Cardinal Pell had a "moral responsibility" to front the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse and address allegations that he knew of priests abusing children in Ballarat and elsewhere but did nothing to stop it. Cardinal Pell has denied these accusations.

"I personally think that his position is untenable, because he has now a catalogue of denials," Mr Saunders said in the interview which aired on Sunday night. "He has a catalogue of denigrating people, of acting with callousness, cold-heartedness – almost sociopathic, I would go as far as to say – this lack of care."

Pope Francis last December appointed Mr Saunders, himself a survivor of child sexual abuse in the Catholic Church, to the new Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors to ensure the Catholic Church acted with greater accountability and transparency in relation to child sexual abuse.

Mr Saunders said by refusing to front the royal commission until he was specifically invited, Cardinal Pell was "making a mockery of the Papal Commission, of the Pope himself, but most of all, of the victims and the survivors".

"I think anybody who is a serious obstacle to the work of the commission and to the work of the Pope in trying to clean up the church's act over this matter, I think they need to be taken aside very, very quickly and removed from any kind of position of influence."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:47 AM

Pell's position untenable: Pope adviser

AUSTRALIA
9 News

AAP

One of Pope Francis's closest advisers says Cardinal George Pell's position is "untenable".

Peter Saunders was hand-picked by the Pope six months ago to be the Catholic Church's commissioner for the protection of children.

Cardinal Pell has been under fire since allegations that he turned a blind eye to abuse resurfaced last week at the royal commission into child abuse in Ballarat.

"He is making a mockery of the Pope himself, but most of all of the victims and the survivors," Mr Saunders told the Nine Network's 60 Minutes program.

"More importantly, anybody who is a serious obstacle to the work of the commission and to the work of the Pope in trying to clean up the church's act over this matter needs to be taken aside very quickly and removed from any kind of position of influence."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:45 AM

OPINION: Duggar scandal can bring focus to sex abuse

UNITED STATES
Daily Record

Teresa C. Younger May 31, 2015

In the aftermath of revelations about child sexual abuse reportedly committed by Josh Duggar, many questions remain unanswered. Why was Josh Duggar able to abuse five girls, some even after members of his family and church community were aware of allegations against him? Why did police officials fail to charge Josh when Jim Bob Duggar finally turned in his son? What happened to the children who were sexually abused?

Child sexual abuse happens far beyond the confines of made-for-TV families. All too often, victims are left unprotected and without qualified counseling to help them recover. Too often their abusers remain free to continue the abuse.

Many are especially angered by this case because the Duggars have been outspoken critics of same-sex marriage and women’s reproductive rights. The Duggars want the government more involved in women’s and LGBT people’s lives while they worked to thwart legitimate government involvement in their own lives.

The hypocrisy is palpable.

We know that survivors of sexual abuse can suffer into adulthood, especially if they do not receive adequate support. Girls who are sexually abused are more likely to be diagnosed with eating disorders and more than twice as likely to have a teen pregnancy. We are concerned about what sort of treatment and support Duggar’s victims are receiving, given the inappropriate response to the allegations.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:43 AM

Duggar witness contradicts corporal's claim

ARKANSAS
Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

By Doug Thompson
Posted: May 31, 2015

SPRINGDALE -- Joshua James Duggar, now 27, gave a full and frank account of fondling his victims in his 2003 confession to an Arkansas State Police corporal, according to a witness who contradicts a recent account by the former corporal.

"I'm not saying he is a liar, but my recollection is that Joshua came clean and told everything," the witness said. "I definitely remember telling him before we went that he needed to come clean, and I definitely remember being satisfied that he did that when it was over."

All law enforcement officers are required by state law to report sexual abuse involving minors to the state's child abuse hotline. Joseph Truman Hutchens, the former corporal, expressed regret for not doing so in an interview published Wednesday in In Touch magazine of Englewood Cliffs, N.J.

By the time other authorities were tipped off in 2006 about Duggar's earlier acts, the statute of limitations had expired on any possible criminal charges. Duggar was 15 years old when the last of the acts was committed.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:40 AM

Physically abused...

UNITED STATES
Daily Mail

Physically abused, told they would die at 12 and banned from school: 'Real-life Kimmy Schmidt' twins reveal what life was like inside controversial Children of God sect

As children growing up in a controversial religious sect, they spent every day 'paralyzed by fear'.
They were physically abused, banned from school and told they would die as martyrs aged 12.

But now, twin sisters Flor and Tamar Edwards, 34, have escaped from The Children of God cult and are both living and working in California - one as a freelance writer, the other as a yoga teacher.

They have opened up to ABC's Nightline about their lives inside the sect - which blended free love attitudes with preparing for the second coming of Jesus - and their transition to the outside world.

'I didn’t know what a movie theater was,' said Flor, who along with her sister has compared their situation to that of the lead female character in the Netflix show, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:36 AM

Ireland gay marriage vote is a victory for humanity, liberty and secularism...

UNITED STATES
PopeCrimes& Vatican Evils

Paris Arrow

Ireland’s yes vote to its same-sex marriage referendum is a major victory for humanity, a triumph for secularism and secular human rights, a ground swelling success for –– liberty from religion and freedom from Roman Catholicism aka Vatican Autocracy –– especially from its centuries-old religious oppression, coercion, tyranny of people via subjugation of their sex lives (e.g. forbiddance of condoms and contraception, condemnation of gays’ “evil acts”). The Irish have proven that they can reject obsolete religion edicts and oppressive religious traditions –– even if they are based on the ancient Bible –– and they have prevailed and caused –– a shameful defeat for religion –– that of Roman Catholicism. Other religions must follow suit. The Liberal Democrats are seeking to disestablish the Anglican Church of England. It’s time for all countries to abolish the Vatican Concordats and annul the Vatican as a country since it is composed only of 800 celibate only-male religious "foreigners", i.e. Pope Francis, cardinals, bishops, priests, Swiss Guard Army.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:33 AM

Megachurch: Stay With Your Kiddie Porn-Watching Husband—or Face ‘Discipline’

TEXAS
The Daily Beast

Matthew Paul Turner

When missionary Karen Hinkey found out her husband was attracted to children, she tried to separate from him. Her church elders told her to knock it off and “submit” to their will.

After attending seminary, Karen Hinkley, along with her onetime husband, Jordan Root, dreamed of becoming missionaries. The couple married in the spring of 2012 and eagerly began seeking out opportunities serve God overseas.

At the time, she had no way of knowing that alleged abuse of the most awful kind would sink their marriage. Or that church would discipline her for wanting to end her marriage to a confessed child porn addict. Or that her pastor would try to block her from leaving the congregation.

Shortly after marrying, Karen and Jordan began attending The Village Church (TVC), a mega-sized Dallas-area Southern Baptist congregation with 5 campuses and 11,000 weekly attendees.

In time, TVC not only became the newlywed’s home church but also the community that would support—financially and spiritually— their desire to become missionaries. That’s not surprising; according to its website, TVC supports a number of missionaries in a dozen or more countries.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:30 AM

Twin sisters grew up isolated in ‘Children of God’ sect reminiscent of apocalyptic ‘Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt’ cult: report

UNITED STATES
New York Daily News

BY NICOLE HENSLEY

As young girls, Flor and Tamar Edwards emerged from an apocalyptic cult to find a world they didn’t understand.

Learning how to ride a bike, to use water fountains, eat pizza and go to movie theaters seems more like a episode from Netflix series “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt,” but it was a hard reality for the twin sisters when the religious sect formerly known as the “Children of God” disbanded in 1994.

“When we saw a drinking fountain for the first time, we all just saw and huddled around it like it was some novelty,” Flor Edwards explained to ABC Nightline.

The twin sisters can relate to Kimmy Schmidt, portrayed by Ellie Kemper for the Netflix series ‘Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt’ about a group of women forced to live in an apocalyptic cult.

The twins revealed what it was like growing up in the religious movement founded around the free love spirit of the 1960s. Some ex-members have gone as far to call the sect a cult and accused its founder David Berg of sexually abusing women and children.

The group’s beliefs encouraged sexual encounters as a form of expressing their faith.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:28 AM

Bankruptcy case could leave hundreds without water

NEW MEXICO
ABQ Journal

By Olivier Uyttebrouck / Journal Staff Writer
PUBLISHED: Sunday, May 31, 2015 l

THOREAU – Darlene Arviso is a grandmother, school bus driver and silversmith, but to hundreds of people in this southeastern corner of the Navajo Nation, she is “the water lady.”

At 8 a.m. each weekday, after she drops off a busload of children at the St. Bonaventure School, Arviso cranks up a heavy-duty Chevrolet truck and fills its 4,000-gallon water tank at a well owned by the St. Bonaventure Indian Mission.

For the next seven hours, she bounces over rutted, dirt roads, covering some 300 miles a week, delivering water to people who lack services most Americans take for granted, including electricity and running water.

As she pulls up outside a house, residents quickly emerge with barrels, jugs, even a large cooking pot – anything that will hold the precious liquid.

“These people really depend on the water truck,” especially the elderly and those who lack transportation, she said, tearing up as she described the living conditions of some families and children she serves. “That’s why I love my job.”

As harsh as life is for Navajo families here, Arviso and others fear the worst because the St. Bonaventure Indian Mission and School has become entangled in a bankruptcy case filed by the Diocese of Gallup.

A judge this year approved a plan to appraise several properties, including St. Bonaventure’s land in Thoreau, as a possible source of funding to pay for a bankruptcy reorganization plan.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:11 AM

Why the Dennis Hastert scandal has a familiar ring

UNITED STATES
Religion News Service

Cathy Lynn Grossman | May 30, 2015

Raise your hand if you hear a familiar bell ring as a scandal now envelops former Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert, a scandal ripe with still-unconfirmed links to teen sexual abuse during his long-ago years as a high school wrestling coach.

It’s that ring of familiar quotes: “Are they talking about our Denny?” says someone who coached for a rival team. “He was a man of character, a pillar in the community.”

Where have I heard talk like that before?

Ding! Ding! Ding! Catholic scandal, circa 2002, anyone?

The Catholic scandal ruptured like an abscess in the Archdiocese of Boston in 2002. And soon people in every state discovered the pestilence could be found there, too, maybe their own parish.

Across the country that year, as priest after priest was revealed to have molested or raped children and teens, we heard a refrain from shocked parishes:

Oh no, Father So-and-so was such a great priest! He loved kids. He helped kids. This can’t be so….

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:09 AM

May 30, 2015

Cardinal George Pell faces more criticism ...

AUSTRALIA
Perth Now

Cardinal George Pell faces more criticism from the man hand-picked by the Pope to protect children

CARDINAL George Pell continues to draw fire with the man hand-picked by Pope Francis to protect children and help others abused by members of Catholic Church saying he needs to go.

“I think it’s critical that George Pell is moved aside, that he is sent back to Australia, and that the Pope takes the strongest action against him,” Peter Saunders said speaking to 60 Minute’s Tara Brown in Rome.

Pell has been under fire of late for allegedly ignoring warnings about Father Gerald Ridsdale, Australia’s worst paedophile priest.

The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse which has been sitting in Ballarat has heard witnesses claim Pell turned a blind eye to abuse.

One witness claims Pell tried to silence him with a bribe while another said Pell was present at a meeting where it was announced that Ridsdale needed to be moved to another parish.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:50 PM

A Pope & + Burke On Damning A Million Irish...

UNITED STATES
Christian Catholicism

Jerry Slevin

A Pope & + Burke On Damning A Million Irish, World Leaders & US Judges as “worse than the pagans for legalising gay marriage”!

The over-hyped “who am I to judge” Pope Francis likes to pick subordinates who seem to love to rush to judge others, such as for causing a purported “defeat for humanity” and for acting even “worse than the pagans for legalising gay marriage.” A classic “good cop/bad cop” ploy — let the subordinates be the bad guys! Pope Francis should skip these contrived distractions and face directly the crisis before him.

Pope Francis now faces new “messes” even before his too touted US trip begins, as Cardinal Raymond Burke, in effect, damns over legalizing civilly same sex marriages many of the USA’s and world’s political and judicial leaders that favor civil same sex marriage, including by implication apparently some US Supreme Court justices, as well as President Barack Obama and many members of the US Congress. The pope should have an interesting visit to Washington DC with Burke in tow, perhaps wearing his $30,000+ special cardinal’s costume.

Meanwhile, Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, the top Vatican official working on Philadelphia’s September World Meeting of Families and the pope, and who also serves as head of the pope’s Family Council, is reportedly under serious criminal investigation as a key figure for fraud and other crimes. Italian prosecutors after a two year investigation allege that Paglia, as an instigator, and others, including clerics, in 2012 used funds illegally obtained from Paglia’s heavily indebted diocese to buy a former religious property/castle for one-third of its value with the intention of selling it for an almost $5 million quick profit.

Vatican hierarchs seeking to profit, directly or indirectly, from unused Church property transactions, including of nuns’ properties, is not new. For example, intrepid investigative reporter, Jason Berry, in a critical look at how the Catholic Church handles property, has reportedly written that Cardinal Angelo Sodano watched on as an American real estate company, that prominently employed his nephew, trumpeted its ties to the Vatican, implying that it had inside knowledge on closed church properties coming on the market. Its president, Raffaello Follieri, pleaded guilty to US federal charges of cheating investors in 2008. Berry says the FBI found that before his fall, Follieri paid two Vatican employees $800,000 for their assistance. No Vatican employee was charged by civil authorities, nor were any disciplined by the church.

And of course, the recently ended Vatican witchhunt of American sisters triggered many complaints from US sisters of the Vatican’s near obsession with the sisters’ assets, mostly real estate.

One wonders how the pope picks his men for key assignments. Paglia, Cardinal George Pell, Monsignor Battista Ricca, et al., all had poor records when Pope Francis gave them important tasks. Ricca has been Francis’ ‘eyes and ears’ at the Vatican Bank despite reports he had a string of notorious homosexual affairs. Paglia’s alleged fraud involvement was known for at least two years and Pell’s alleged over-ups of priest child abusers and cruel treatment of an abuse survivor were publicly reported for many years.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:42 PM

Massachusetts Judge Orders Parishioners Holding Decade-Long Vigil To Vacate Catholic Church By June 5

MASSACHUSETTS
International Business Times

By Aditya Tejas

A Massachusetts judge on Friday ruled that a group of parishioners who had occupied a closed Roman Catholic church for over a decade must end their vigil by next week. St. Frances Xavier Cabrini church in Scituate, Massachusetts, has been the site of a 24-hour vigil ever since the Archdiocese of Boston ordered its closure in 2004.

Massachusetts Superior Court Justice Edward Leibensperger said the church’s parishioners needed to vacate the building by June 5 and abandon their “stubborn refusal to accept the reality of final decisions of the courts," according to Reuters.

“Defendants may, of course, continue their protest of the decision to close the parish, but they may not do so by an around-the-clock vigil in violation of the property rights established by neutral principles of property law,” Leibensperger said in his ruling, according to the Associated Press.

The parishioners, who demand that the church be either reopened or sold to the group, had filed an appeal in the Massachusetts Appeals Court after their request was denied by the Apostolic Signatura, the Roman Catholic church’s highest authority. The parishioners have said that they are willing to face arrest for trespassing, if necessary.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:26 PM

Catholic priest convicted of abusive sexual contact ...

UNITED STATES
Daily Mail (UK)

Catholic priest convicted of abusive sexual contact for groping woman who was sleeping on cross-country flight

By EVAN BLEIER FOR DAILYMAIL.COM

A Catholic priest aboard a US Airways cross-country flight was found guilty of abusive sexual contact for putting his hands on the 'breast, groin and buttocks' of a sleeping woman last August.

The female passenger awoke to find Father Marcelo De Jesumaria groping her and reported what had happened to the crew of the flight from Philadelphia to Los Angeles.

De Jesumaria was taken into custody when the flight landed and then indicted in October once enough evidence had been collected by authorities.

The shamed priest was found guilty on Friday after a three-day trial and will face up to two years in prison when his August 24 sentencing comes around, according to NBC Los Angeles.

His old employer, the Diocese of San Bernardino, removed him from his role in November.

'The Diocese of San Bernardino considers the actions alleged of Father De Jesumaria in the federal indictment to be sinful and unlawful,' according to a statement.

'We removed him from ministry in the diocese immediately after we became aware of this allegation in November and we are deeply regretful of any harm that may have occurred as a result of his actions.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:22 PM

Credibly Accused Monk Father Richard Eckroth Dead

MINNESOTA
Legal Examiner

Posted by Mike Bryant
May 30, 2015

This past week, retired St. John’s priest Richard Eckroth died. He had been living at St. John’s Abbey for years. He was the subject of a lawsuit that we started last year and has a long history of predatory conduct. The number of kids Eckroth abused continue to be unknown, but initial lists indicate there may be into the hundreds.

From a press release from Anderson and Associates concerning the claims they have made:

What we have learned about this predator is that as a priest, monk, professor and pastor of St. John’s, he easily built the trust of parents who readily gave him permission to bring their children to a remote cabin owned and maintained by St. John’s Abbey where he then abused many of them. Eckroth plied children, some as young as eight years old, with alcohol and often employed means of coercion and threats of violence to accomplish his abuse. Over the years we have worked with several of those kids, now adults, who struggle with an aftermath of depression, anxiety, shame and guilt as a result of what Eckroth did to them.

The Child Victims Act continues to permit survivors of abuse by Eckroth and others to bring civil actions until May 25, 2016. The lawsuite against Eckroth arise from his sexually abusing kids a cabin in Northern Minnesota in the early 1970s. There are many kids believed to be raped and abused by Eckroth while a monk. The death of Eckroth or any offender does not prevent survivors from asserting claims against those who made the conscious choices to protect the Eckroths and other abusers like him in the past. Every time one of Eckroth’s survivors and the survivors of others like him, comes forward and shares the secret, they can begin the process of recovery. And survivors can come forward confidentially.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:12 PM

Cardinal Burke says ‘Ireland worse than pagans for legalising gay marriage’ akin to Jesuit Cardinal Bellarmine who forced Galileo to say ‘sun re

UNITED STATES
POPE FRANCIS the CON-Christ.

Paris Arrow

Cardinal Raymond Burke is living in the Medieval Ages when in1302, Pope Boniface VIII decreed his monarchial ex-cathedra Papal Bull Unam Sanctam (Latin for "I believe one "). Here are excerpts:

"Urged on by our faith, we are obliged to believe and hold that there is one holy, catholic, and apostolic Church. And we firmly believe and profess that outside of her there is no salvation nor remission of sins, as the bridegroom declares in the Canticles...

So, when the Greeks or others say that they were not committed to the care of Peter and his successors, they must confess that they are not of Christ's sheep, even as the Lord says in John, "There is one fold and one shepherd."

"We declare, say, define, and pronounce that it is absolutely necessary for the salvation of every human creature to be subject to the Roman Pontiff.”

The 21st century Irish people just defied this Papal Bull and demonstrated very clearly ––– that they do not believe that it is absolutely necessary for their salvation to be “subject to the Roman Pontiff” ––– especially regarding their sex life, and now, their gay marriage.

So as usual, it is Vatican diplomacy for Cardinal Burke to thrash and condemn the Irish as “worse than pagans” ––– meaning that they are not-Catholics because they are “not committed to the care of Peter and his successors and they must confess that they are not of Christ's sheep”. Cardinal says it for the Irish that they are as excommunicated for they are worse than pagans aka non-Christians aka no religious affiliation.

Dallas megachurch put woman ‘under discipline’ for wanting to leave her pedophile husband

TEXAS
The Raw Story

TOM BOGGIONI
30 MAY 2015

A Dallas megachurch has backed off and issued an apology to a former member of the church who was placed “under discipline” by church elders who believed she was acting hastily when she sought an annulment from her pedophile husband.

According to Crosswalk, Karen Hinkley (formerly Root) and her husband Jordan were recalled from their missionary service in South Asia by the Dallas-based Village Church after Jordan confessed that he had viewed online pornography involving children.

Upon returning to the U.S., the church turned the information they had on Jordan Root over to the police who, in turn, turned it over to the FBI which later declined to prosecute him. In addition to withdrawing financial support for Root, the church restricted him to certain portions of their Dallas campus — keeping him away from all youth activities — while he undergoes “a season of intentional pastoral care” in an attempt to get right with God again.

While the church said they would continue to financially support Karen Hinkley through August of this year, church elders were disappointed that she wanted to have her marriage to Jordan annulled and felt she was acting hastily.

In an email sent to “Covenant Members” of the church, Pastor Matt Chandler lamented the fact that she filed for annulment

“We have reached out to love and support her during this time, but unfortunately she has chosen not to accept our attempts to care for her and provide counsel. Instead, Karen limited her communication with The Village and has now stopped responding entirely,” he wrote. “This began less than four weeks after Karen’s return to the US when she filed for an immediate annulment of her marriage to Jordan apart from the counsel of the church and requested to be placed back in the mission field. We encouraged Karen to slow down and allow us to walk with her in a season of healing before making these life-altering decisions, but she declined to take this step.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:21 PM

Theology professor priest faces sexual abuse allegations

INDIANA
The Observer

Observer Staff Report | Saturday, May 30, 2015

Theology professor Fr. Virgilio Elizondo, who is widely considered the founder of U.S. Latino theology and won the 1997 Laetare Medal, was named in a San Antonio civil suit alleging Elizondo sexually abused the unnamed plaintiff when he was a minor, according to a report originally run by WSBT.

The lawsuit was filed against the Archdiocese of San Antonio, Fr. Jesus Armando Dominguez and Elizondo last Tuesday in Bexar County district court. It alleges Dominguez repeatedly sexually abused the plaintiff, listed as “John Doe” in the 1980s. When the plaintiff asked Elizondo for help dealing with Dominguez’s abuse in 1983, the lawsuit alleges “Elizondo began to fondle the Plaintiff’s genitals, taking advantage of the same sexual liberties Plaintiff complained of with Father Dominguez,” according to excerpted court documents published by WNDU.

“As Father Elizondo reached over, kissed him, and began to fondle him, the Plaintiff immediately became angry, frustrated, scared, and confused because Plaintiff thought that he would help,” the suit states. “Instead, he gave the Plaintiff more reasons to feel unsafe within the care and guard of the Roman Catholic Church. Once again, the sexual abuse of the Plaintiff continued.”

The suit seeks unspecified damages and claims the plaintiff has suffered from anger, depression, emotional distress, addiction and suicidal attempts as a result of the abuse.

According to his personal website, Elizondo joined the Notre Dame faculty in 1999, but still maintains his primary residence in San Antonio, where he works with Catholic Television of San Antonio and St. Rose of Lima parish, and commutes to the University.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:41 PM

Father Eckroth Is Laid To Rest, While New Documents Shed Disturbing Light

MINNESOTA
CBS Minnesota

Bill Hudson

ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO) — Suspicions over a Minnesota monk’s alleged molestation of children are following him to his grave.

Funeral services were held for Richard Eckroth on Friday at St. John’s Abbey in Collegeville amid new revelations about his past.

A number of private documents related to the case were released Friday, which show that St. John’s Abbey officials knew of serious problems with Eckroth as early as 1993.

Father Eckroth was placed on a list of credibly-accused priests in 2002.

One document is the psychological and physical examination report that was done on Eckroth by St. Luke Institute in Maryland in 1993. It recommends that Eckroth have no unsupervised contact with minors.

St. John’s Abbey has been criticized for keeping the sexual allegations quiet from everyone, including authorities.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:37 PM

The hounding of Cardinal Pell: things Australia’s liberal media don’t want you to know

UNITED KINGDOM
Spectator

Damian Thompson

The attempt to implicate Cardinal George Pell in the Ballarat child abuse scandal is a virtuoso display of score-settling by Australia’s left-leaning journalists, who have hated Pell for many years. This morning, however, The Australian broke ranks by publishing a column by Gerard Henderson that helps set the record straight. I’m simply going to quote extracts from it because you can be damn sure that they aren’t going to penetrate the liberal Aussie media’s firewall.

On Pell’s record in tackling child abuse:

On all the available evidence, Pell was among the first Catholic bishops in the world to address the issue of child sexual abuse by clergy. He was appointed archbishop of Melbourne in July 1996 and announced the creation of the Melbourne Response (to deal with child sexual abuse) the following October …

The fact is that Pell was a leader on this issue not only within the Catholic Church but also within the Christian community. And he was well ahead of many secular and government institutions.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:31 PM

RABBI JEFFREY STIFFMAN/CARDINAL RAYMOND BURKE

ST. LOUIS (MO)
Berger's Beat

.. On the other hand, just when you think he can’t get more incendiary, Cardinal Raymond Burke says something even more outlandish than before. This time, at Oxford University, the former head of our town’s archdiocese says Ireland has gone further than paganism and “defied God” by legalizing gay marriage. So reports Katherine Backler and Liz Dodd in the British Catholic publication The Tablet. “I mean, this a defiance of God. It’s just incredible. Pagans may have tolerated homosexual behaviours, they never dared to say this was marriage.”

Oxford University student Katherine Backler watched Burke – who’s known for his fondness for silk finery – lead a mass at the school. She wrote “the altar party that processed into the church was so thoroughly medieval that the term truly seemed appropriate. The cardinal was flanked by 11 altar servers (all male, obviously), at least 10 priests, some Knights of Malta in their regalia, and a banner that would have looked quite at home, in fact, at a pageant. I would not have been surprised if a fanfare had sounded.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:39 AM

Catholic priest convicted of sexually assaulting sleeping woman on flight

CALIFORNIA
New York Daily News

BY RACHELLE BLIDNER NEW YORK DAILY NEWS Saturday, May 30, 2015

A Catholic priest from California was found guilty Friday of sexually assaulting a sleeping woman aboard a U.S. Airways flight.

Father Marcelo De Jesumaria was convicted of abusive sexual contact by a federal jury in a three-day trial after a female passenger woke up to find his "hands on her breast, groin and buttocks" in August, NBC Los Angeles reported.

The woman reported the assault to the crew of the Philadelphia-to-Los Angeles flight, allowing federal authorities to meet De Jesumaria at the gate.

De Jesumaria was indicted in October.

The Diocese of San Bernardino, where De Jesumaria used to work, said it removed him from the ministry "immediately" after learning of the allegations in November.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:35 AM

Abuse Happens in Progressive Churches, Too...

UNITED STATES
David R. Henson

May 28, 2015 by David R. Henson

Now is the time to talk about abuse in the church.

Now, when you are tired of talking about it. Now, when you’ve moved on to the next social media buzz. Now, when you think you’ve exhausted every possible angle of it.

That’s because now is the time where we get to decide whether we will change or whether this was just another distraction, another voyeuristic foray of using tragedy to score political or cultural points.
Now is the time to stop pointing fingers at the far away.

One of the most frustrating elements of the progressive response to the horrendous Duggar scandal is the unspoken insinuation that this kind of abuse only occurs or is much more likely to occur in fundamentalist, conservative, or patriarchal churches.

It been a way for liberals and progressives to tut-tut in the wake of tragedy rather than engage in critical self-reflection of our own institutions. While some social and theological elements certainly can exacerbate in terrible ways abuse, the sobering truth is that any institution — religious or secular, conservative or liberal — that includes or ministers to children can find itself in the midst of an abuse scandal. Institutions and their leaders must remain vigilant at all times and must not succumb to the self-satisfied notion that this kind of scandal is something more likely to happen in those churches over there, among those conservatives, or with those homeschoolers. With a one in four women and one in six men were sexually abused, it’s clear that abuse isn’t just happening in conservative spaces.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:28 AM

Man confesses to child porn; church disciplines his wife

TEXAS
Baptist News

By Bob Allen

A Dallas megachurch has apologized to a wife subjected to church discipline for leaving her husband without permission after learning he is a pedophile.

Elders of The Village Church, a multisite Southern Baptist congregation led by Acts 29 president Matt Chandler, sent a letter to members posted online by blogger Matthew Paul Turner admitting to mishandling of a disciplinary process instituted against former member Karen Hinkley.

Earlier, church leaders said Hinkley violated her membership covenant with Village Church by having her legal marriage to Jordan Root annulled without seeking reconciliation after he confessed to her that he is sexually stimulated by little children and had viewed child pornography throughout their courtship and marriage. Root was not disciplined because he repented and entered counseling, but his access to children was restricted.

Previously Village Church financially supported the couple, who served as missionaries in East Asia with Serving in Mission (SIM) USA until Jordan Root was dismissed for violating the mission organization’s child safety policy. In February Karen Root (who later returned to using her maiden name) notified church leaders she was withdrawing her membership. The elders refused to accept her resignation and put her under church discipline for spurning their attempt at pastoral care.

Hinkley went public May 20 on Watchkeep, a blog written by abuse-survivor advocate Amy Smith, in a statement criticizing the Village Church pastors for “minimization and secrecy” about Root’s offenses and urging them not to assume he has told them the whole truth. Early on church leaders were inclined not to reveal Root’s confession to a number of former employers, churches and families where over the years he had access to children, but informed the church membership after the story was reported on blogs and news sites and was under consideration by the Dallas Morning News.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:22 AM

Aboriginal residential schools report just the beginning: survivors

CANADA
Global News

By Chinta Puxley The Canadian Press

Mike Cachagee was just four-and-a-half when he was taken from his home and sent to a residential school in northern Ontario.

For the next 12 years, he never celebrated a birthday.

He was never hugged. He never heard “I love you.” He was never encouraged or praised.

He was beaten and sexually abused.

When he and his younger brother finally returned home, his mother had remarried and started a new family. She barely recognized her sons.

It took Cachagee two failed marriages, years of alcohol and drug abuse and therapy before he started to come to grips with what happened to him.

His brother never did. He descended into a life of addiction on Winnipeg’s streets.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:18 AM

By the numbers: A look at residential schools

CANADA
Global News

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission examining Canada’s Indian residential schools is to release a summary of its final report Tuesday after hearing testimony from 7,000 survivors over five years. Here is a by-the-numbers look at residential schools:

The 1840s — Church-run schools are established for aboriginal children.

1883 — The year the federal government establishes three large residential schools in Western Canada to “kill the Indian in the child.”

1920 — The year the Indian Act is amended to make it compulsory for status Indian children between seven and 15 to attend residential school.

70 — The number of residential schools operating by the 1930s.

130 — The total number of residential schools that received support from the federal government at the program’s peak.

60 per cent — The proportion of residential schools run by the Catholic church.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:17 AM

Truth and reconciliation on Indian residential schools: The road ahead

CANADA
Rabble

BY DENNIS GRUENDING | MAY 29, 2015

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (TRC) will release its final report into the history and legacy of Indian residential schools on June 2. There is very little suspense about what the three commissioners think about the schools: they were an aggressively assimilationist policy at best and genocidal at worst.

That much was signalled in the TRC’s interim report in 2012 and in recent comments made by commission chair Justice Murray Sinclair. More telling in the report will be what the commission has to say about the way forward. If ever there is to be true reconciliation, Canadians will have to acknowledge and repent for an ugly and enduring episode in our history.

Interim report

Here is a much abbreviated summary of that interim report: The schools were an assault on Aboriginal children, their families and communities. The impact of forcibly removing children from their families and communities and placing them not schools where they were humiliated and not allowed to speak in their mother tongues were, in the commissioners’ words, “immediate” and “on-going.”

The schools were also an assault on self-governing and self-sustaining Aboriginal nations. “The residential school system,” the commissioners wrote, “was intended to assimilate Aboriginal children into the broader Canadian society. With assimilation would come the breaking up of the reserves and the end of treaty obligations. In this way the schools were part of a broader Canadian policy to undermine Aboriginal leaders and Aboriginal self-government.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:15 AM

Closing ceremonies begin for Truth and Reconciliation Commission

CANADA
CBC News

Survivors of residential schools gathered in Sudbury on Friday to mark the beginning of the closing ceremonies for Canada's Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

It was tasked with informing Canadians about the abuses that happened in the residential school system.

Ella Visitor-Young was sent to a residential school when she was five-years-old. (Elyse Allard)

Ella Visitor-Young attended Friday's event at Laurentian University. She was sent to a residential school when she was five-years-old.

"I found it very difficult," said Visitor-Young. "I had a hard time coping with things."

Visitor-Young said she had a difficult time with language and staff who she said tried to control her.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:13 AM

Emotions run high as residential school survivors await report

CANADA
Vancouver Sun

BY PETER O'NEIL, VANCOUVER SUN MAY 29, 2015

OTTAWA — Many of B.C.’s top aboriginal leaders have a personal and deeply emotional stake in the release Tuesday of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s initial report into the federal government-funded, church-run attempt to “kill the Indian in the child.”

They are among the estimated 150,000 Indian, Inuit and Métis, 80,000 of whom are still alive, who attended 132 residential schools across Canada that were run by the Anglican, Catholic, Presbyterian and United Churches from the 1870s until the 1970s — though one remained open until 1996.

The official attempt by the Canadian government to assimilate aboriginal children was a form of “cultural genocide,” Supreme Court of Canada Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin said in a speech this week.

Grand Chief Ed John, a member of the B.C. First Nations Summit, recalls getting on the school bus in his remote village one September in the late 1950s to begin a year of schooling at the Le Jac Indian Residential School near Prince George.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:12 AM

6,000 aboriginal children died in residential school system, report finds

CANADA
CBC News

At least 6,000 aboriginal children died while in the residential school system, says Justice Murray Sinclair, the chair of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

Sinclair, who has been tasked with studying the legacy of the residential schools, says that the figure is just an estimate and is likely much higher. Residential schools were established in the 19th century and the last ones closed in 1996.

"We think that we have not uncovered anywhere near what the total would be because the record keeping around that question was very poor," Sinclair told Rosemary Barton of CBC's Power & Politics. "You would have thought they would have concentrated more on keeping track."

Sinclair offered the figure of 6,000 in a later interview with Evan Solomon to air Saturday on CBC Radio's The House — much higher than earlier estimates that put the number of school children who died in the system at less than 4,000.

Sinclair, who was Manitoba's first aboriginal judge, estimates 24 to 42 per cent of aboriginal children who attended the residential schools died at school or shortly after leaving school.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:10 AM

Jurors Hear Phone Call Between Stephen Budd And Student

FLORIDA
CBS 12

Story by Melissa Howell/CBS12

WEST PALM BEACH (CBS12) -- Stephen Budd was back in court Friday for the second day of trial, following allegations of sexual abuse.

The accusers say the crimes took place during his time as a teacher at Rosarian Academy.

Friday, prosecutors played the phone call between Budd and his accuser that was set up by police in an attempt to get Budd to confess.

On Thursday, the woman, now 18, recounted the moments her 4th grade teacher, Mr. Budd, allegedly molested her and a friend.

She says at the time of the alleged abuse, she told classmates about how she and a friend would go under Mr. Budd's desk because they were his favorite students. The students claim he molested them and showed them his genitals.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:08 AM

Breaking Open the Structure of Sexual Violence: An Interview with Ruth Krall

UNITED STATES
Mennonite Life

Stephanie Krehbiel
ISSUE 2015, VOL. 69
YODER IN CONTEXT

I first encountered Ruth Krall’s work at the same time that many Mennonites did, in 2013, with the release of the third volume of her online series of books on religious sexual violence, The Elephants in God’s Living Room. That volume, more than any work that came before it, brought attention to the John Howard Yoder’s sexual violence as a symptom of a systemic problem, enabled by negligent institutions and a religious culture that elevated male leaders and devalued the lives of sexual abuse victims.

While theological scholars of Yoder were mostly unreceptive to Krall’s book, it hit the crumbling institutional wall of silence around Yoder’s abuse with an enormous shove. Within less than a year of its release, Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary and the Mennonite Church USA Archives in Goshen granted historian Rachel Waltner Goossen access to numerous sealed files on Yoder. Goossen’s work made clear what many Mennonite women and abuse survivors had known for years: Krall was a central figure challenging the Mennonite institutional players who enabled and covered up Yoder’s violations of women.

Krall started out as a nurse, and her clinical background has never ceased to be the ethical ground on which she stands. As a young woman, Krall was on a fast-track career in psychiatric/community-health nursing and administration. In 1974, she was a member of the first class to be certified by the American Nurses’ Association as a psychiatric/mental health clinical nurse specialist – the forerunner of today’s certified nurse practitioners. But her formative experiences as a counselor for rape victims left her with a desire for a better understanding of the roots of violence, which led her to a doctorate in theology and ultimately to 20 years of teaching in Goshen (Indiana) College’s peace, justice and conflict studies program, which she helped to design.

Krall’s work experiences inside and outside the religious academy put her in contact with both abusers and victims. Seeking to understand this phenomenon, she turned to emerging Roman Catholic literature about priest sexual abuse of the laity and institutional clericalism. Through the work of Catholic anti-abuse activists such as Father Tom Doyle and Richard Sipe, Krall added an ecumenically minded analysis of clericalism to the knowledge she had already accrued from second-wave feminism and the women’s health movement.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:04 AM

Critically Important to Analyzing Duggar Story...

UNITED STATES
Bilgrimage

Critically Important to Analyzing Duggar Story: Stephanie Krehbiel and Ruth Krall Discussing Issues of Sexual Violence (and Cover-Up) in Churches

William D. Lindsey

In the latest issue of Mennonite Life (issue 2015, vol. 69) (online here), Stephanie Krehbiel interviews Ruth Krall on the topic "Breaking Open the Structure of Sexual Violence." As she notes, Ruth's magisterial book The Elephants in God's Living Room, which Ruth published at her Enduring Space blog, has done a tremendous amount to publicize the sexual violence practiced by the noted Mennonite 20th-century theologian John Howard Yoder. Perhaps more than any other Mennonite scholar, Ruth has been responsible for organizing Mennonite women to force the male-dominated leadership structure of their church to face the Yoder story and do something about it.

Here's Stephanie's testimony about the importance of Ruth's book in her own journey as a Mennonite woman and scholar:

That volume [i.e., Elephants in God's Living Room], more than any work that came before it, brought attention to the John Howard Yoder’s sexual violence as a symptom of a systemic problem, enabled by negligent institutions and a religious culture that elevated male leaders and devalued the lives of sexual abuse victims.

A symptom of a systemic problem, enabled by negligent institutions and a religious culture that elevated male leaders and devalued the lives of sexual abuse victims: as you can see, Ruth's analysis ties right into the conversation about the Duggar story, and, in particular, the analysis of Diary of an Autodidact about which I just posted, which argues that "few churches are really safe places for victims."

Ruth's response to Stephanie on this point:

I’m convinced that there is a structure to this stuff, and if we really could understand it, we might be able to break it open. I don’t think we’ve broken it open yet. Somewhere in Mennoland today, a minister or youth minister or a Sunday School teacher is abusing somebody.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:02 AM

Top Vatican Official, Archbishop Paglia, Reportedly Under Investigation

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
CBS Philly

[with video]

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The top Vatican official leading the World Meeting of Families coming to Philadelphia in September is denying charges that he allegedly participated in a property scam that could have netted millions in profit.

Italy’s leading newspaper names Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia as one of ten people under investigation.
Italian prosecutors allege that Paglia and others used funds illegally from the diocese to buy an expansive property for one-third of its value in 2012 with the intention of selling it for millions.
Paglia denies any wrong-doing, saying he has full confidence in the system of justice.

Archbishop Charles J. Chaput released the following statement: ‘I was saddened to learn of the recent news regarding Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia and will pray for him. At the same time, I assure everyone that matters facing him do not impact our plans for September. We continue to work without interruption and joyfully anticipate welcoming our Holy Father and the world to Philadelphia later this year.’

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:56 AM

Vatican official linked to Philadelphia faces Italy inquiry

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
St. Louis Post-Dispatch

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — A Vatican official with a role in organizing Pope Francis' September visit to Philadelphia is under investigation in Italy.

The Italian News Agency ANSA reports that Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia (vih-CHEN-zo PAH'-lee-ah) is among 10 people under investigation over the sale of a castle in his former Diocese of Terni in central Italy. No charges have been filed.

Paglia leads the Pontifical Council for the Family. The office organizes the Vatican's World Meeting of Families, which this year will be in Philadelphia with Pope Francis.

Paglia says in a statement that he learned of the accusations from news reports. He says he is making himself available to prosecutors and trusts in "earthly justice."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:54 AM

Cleric helping with pope's Philly visit in hot water

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
Philadelphia Daily News

A VATICAN OFFICIAL with a role in organizing Pope Francis' September visit to Philadelphia is under investigation in Italy.

The Italian News Agency ANSA reported that Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia is among 10 people under investigation over the sale of a castle in his former Diocese of Terni in central Italy. No charges have been filed.

"The alleged scam would have netted a profit" of about $4.4 million, according to the British newspaper the Independent.

Paglia leads the Pontifical Council for the Family. The office organizes the Vatican's World Meeting of Families, which this year will be in Philadelphia with Pope Francis.

Paglia said in a statement that he learned of the accusations from news reports. He says he is making himself available to prosecutors and trusts in "earthly justice."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:50 AM

At Least 6,000 Aboriginal Children Died In Canada's Residential Schools: Report

CANADA
International Business Times

By Aditya Tejas

At least 6,000 aboriginal children died while they were in the care of Canada’s residential school system, according to the country’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

Canada’s residential school system was established in the 19th century, and its last institution closed in 1996. They were government-funded and church-affiliated schools that housed aboriginal First Nations children, designed as civilizing institutions that would “kill the Indian in the child.”

They have been condemned for their practices, which included isolating students from their families, sterilization, and exposure to physical and sexual abuse.

In 2008, Prime Minister Stephen Harper offered an apology on behalf of Canada for the conditions suffered by the children in the schooling system. However, Justice Murray Sinclair, the commission’s chair, said the figure was just an estimate based off the best available data. The commission heard testimony from 7,000 survivors of the system over five years.

"We think that we have not uncovered anywhere near what the total would be because the record keeping around that question was very poor," Sinclair said in a CBC interview. "You would have thought they would have concentrated more on keeping track."

Sinclair’s estimates, which were given in an interview aired Saturday, are significantly higher than previous estimates, which put the number of aboriginal children who died in the residential school system at less than 4,000.

Sinclair estimates that 25 to 42 percent of the aboriginal children who attended residential schools died during or shortly after their time in the school. About 30 percent of the country’s native children were placed in residential schools across Canada.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:45 AM

Jailed paedophile Ridsdale is ‘arrogant’ ...

AUSTRALIA
Herald Sun

Jailed paedophile Ridsdale is ‘arrogant’, hides in cell, had sexual relationship behind bars, is visited by Catholic priests

CARLY CRAWFORD SUNDAY HERALD SUN MAY 30, 2015

EVIL priest Gerald Ridsdale is “arrogant”, spends his jail time hiding inside his small unit and has multiple Catholic Church priests on his list of contacts.

The serial paedophile, who the Catholic Church allegedly protected during his horrific 30-year sex offending spree, hardly ever leaves his residence inside the Ararat jail.

“He rarely ventures out into the main area,” said a prison source.

“He keeps to himself, presumably because he’s worried about getting bashed.”

Ridsdale, who abused more than 50 children while he was a Catholic priest, has become the face of the Catholic Church abuse scandal.

The 81-year-old was evasive under questioning this week at the Royal Commission into institutional child sex abuse.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:38 AM

An Open Letter To Emotionally Abusive Haredi Rabbis And Community Leaders Fro

UNITED STATES
Failed Messiah

Yehudis Goldsobel, a British victim of child sex abuse who was shunned by her Chabad community when she pressed charges – successfully – against her abuser, founded Migdal Emunah, which bills itself as providing “independent sexual abuse advice and education.”

A new open letter to rabbis and haredi community leaders from a victim of Toros Grynhaus, the haredi teacher convicted earlier this month of abusing two teenage girls, was posted today on Migdal Emunah's Facebook page. Here it is:

An open letter to Rabonim and Askonim

In the aftermath of what has been a very difficult time for chareidi leadership in the UK, I ask you to allow me to reflect on my experience as a victim of Mr Grynhaus, and to hear what I have to say.

There are indecent people in every society. Our community, which prides itself on kedusha and tahara, is not immune. Some people are just sick. They need to be kept away from children as a basic safety measure for the klall.

I don't want to talk about those types of people.I want to talk about other people, who are not sick. Who don't have twisted desires and who have self-control and self-respect. I'm referring to rabonim, teachers, layleaders, frum GPs and therapists.

The behaviour of some of these people is what pushed me to the edge of my sanity, and to the edge of my faith. I was lied to, lied about, ignored, pacified, and profoundly betrayed. Not by sick, indecent men, but by people who thought they were doing the right thing.

Billy Graham grandson: Churches must practice what they preach on sexual abuse

UNITED STATES
LaCrosse Tribune

MIKE TIGHE mtighe@lacrossetribune.com

Churches must practice what they preach regarding the scandal of child sexual abuse, according to a grandson of the famed evangelist known as America’s Pastor.

“This is really fundamental,” says Basyle “Boz” Tchividjian, a grandson of the Rev. Billy Graham. “The gospel we preach is about a God who sacrificed himself for the individual.”

But religious leaders frequently renounce abuse victims to protect clerical and institutional reputations, Tchividjian said in a phone interview Friday.

The interview was in advance of his address at a Chaplains for Children conference that the Gundersen National Child Protection Training Center is sponsoring June 8-10 at Viterbo University in La Crosse.

“If we are preaching that gospel, churches need to sacrifice the church and stop sacrificing the individuals,” said Tchividjian, the 46-year-old founder and executive director of GRACE, Godly Response to Abuse in the Christian Environment.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:32 AM

Minnesota priest abuse verdict points to challenges of prosecuting older cases

MINNESOTA
Star Tribune

By Jean Hopfensperger Star Tribune MAY 30, 2015

Soon after a Dakota County jury acquitted Francis Hoefgen of criminal sexual misconduct with a former altar boy, St. Paul attorney Jeff Anderson released evidence that the jury did not hear — documents in which the former Catholic priest admitted to police that he had sexually assaulted a different teenage boy in 1984.

The latest documents add to more than 50 pages already available about Hoefgen, 64, a priest identified as credibly accused by St. John’s Abbey in Collegeville, Minn., and whose trial was monitored by victims’ advocates across the country.

Advocates, including Anderson, claim the acquittal amounts to a “travesty of justice.” Legal experts say it underscores the difficulties of prosecuting older child abuse cases as Minnesota enters a new era of exposing clergy sexual offenders.

“These are extremely challenging prosecutions,” said Marci Hamilton, a law professor at Yeshiva University in New York and a national expert on clergy abuse litigation. “Evidence can be strong about a pattern of abuse, but not about the incident in a particular case. There must be evidence about this crime, by this perpetrator and this victim, to put someone away.”

Prior sexual misconduct can be admitted as evidence in the growing number of civil court cases filed in Minnesota courts, which now number 44. However, for the handful of criminal cases in play, it will be up to a judge to determine.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:29 AM

S.A. priest denies sex-abuse allegations

TEXAS
San Antonio Express-News

By Guillermo Contreras
May 29, 2015

A noted Hispanic Catholic theologian and well-respected San Antonio priest denied Friday that he sexually abused a boy in the 1980s, calling the allegations baseless.

“I look forward to the legal process so that I may have the opportunity to refute these assertions,” Father Virgilio Elizondo said of claims that he took advantage of an orphan who came to him for help after another priest allegedly molested the boy for several years.

Elizondo denied the allegations made by an individual identified only as John Doe, who in the 1980s lived in a San Antonio orphanage. The man allegedly was molested by Jesus Armando Dominguez, who was studying for the priesthood. Dominguez was later ordained in California and defrocked amid more sexual abuse allegations, the San Antonio Express-News confirmed.

“I would like to thank the San Antonio community, my family and friends for the support I have received,” Elizondo said in a statement Friday. “The allegations made against me are not true and have absolutely no basis in fact. I deny all the claims which have been asserted against me.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:27 AM

Priest Convicted of Sexually Assaulting Woman During Flight

CALIFORNIA
NBC 4

[with video]

By Joel Grover

A Catholic priest was found guilty Friday in federal court of sexually assaulting a woman aboard a flight from Philadelphia to LAX.

A federal jury found Father Marcelo De Jesumaria, who is based out of Arrowhead, California, guilty of abusive sexual contact on the US Airways flight to Los Angeles last August.

The FBI told the NBC4 I-Team that a female passenger, identified in legal documents only as "BD," woke up during the flight to find the priest’s "hands on her breast, groin, and buttocks."

De Jesumaria had previously served in the Roman Catholic Diocese of San Bernardino, but was removed from the ministry in November when the allegations against him surfaced, the diocese said in an emailed statement. He is a member of the Chicago-based Congregation of the Resurrection, which will determine his future in the priesthood, the statement said.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:24 AM

Catholic Church works to combat abuse

SOUTH CAROLINA
SC Now

BY MELISSA ROLLINS Morning News mrollins@florencenews.com

FLORENCE, S.C. — In the early 2000s, the Catholic Church faced many allegations against its priests. After that time, a required program was instituted to try prevent abuse from happening again.
Bonnie Sigers, safe environment manager for the Diocese of Charleston, which includes St. Anne and St. Anthony locally, said the program has been in place for a decade now.

“In response to the allegations in 2005, the bishops in the United States created the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People,” Sigers said. “It outlined what dioceses needed to do to create and maintain safe environments. So we derive our policies from that charter.”

Sigers said all Catholic churches use the charter as a base point for their training. The curriculum used by the Diocese of Charleston is VIRTUS, a program created by The National Catholic Risk Retention Group, Inc.

“All employees and any volunteers that work with children have to go through a background screening, because we have to know all that we can about them,” Sigers said. “They have to attend an education session on how to prevent child sex abuse, have to read and sign a code of conduct for their interactions with children and have to sign-off that they’ve read our policy. All of those things are kept at every parish and school.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:21 AM

May 29, 2015

Parishioners given seven days to leave closed Scituate church

MASSACHUSETTS
Patriot Ledger

By Patrick Ronan

Posted May. 29, 2015

DEDHAM

A judge has ordered the parishioners who have been holding vigil at the closed St. Frances X. Cabrini church in Scituate for the past 10 years to vacate the church by next Friday, June 5.

On Friday, Norfolk County Superior Court Judge Edward Leibensperger denied the emergency motion filed by the Friends of St. Frances X. Cabrini to suspend the injunction barring the parishioners from entering the church by May 29 pending an appeal.

In his denial of the Friends’ motion, Leibensperger pushed back the order to vacate the Hood Street church by a week to June 5 at 5 p.m.

“I can’t even comment on that,” Maryellen Rogers, one of the leaders of the Friends of St. Frances, said Friday when asked if the group will adhere to the judge’s order and leave the church by June 5.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:43 PM

Judge Rules 11-Year Vigil at Closed Church Must Stop

MASSACHUSETTS
Wall Street Journal

By JENNIFER LEVITZ
May 29, 2015

A Massachusetts judge refused to halt the eviction of parishioners who have held a nearly 11-year vigil at a closed Roman Catholic church south of Boston.

A Superior Court judge ruled Friday that the unbroken vigil at St. Frances Xavier Cabrini Church must cease by June 5.

Parishioners, working in shifts, have occupied the Scituate, Mass., church round-the-clock since it was closed by the Archdiocese of Boston in 2004 as part of a downsizing plan.

A judge said this month that vigil participants were trespassing and ordered them to leave, at a date the court would determine later.

The parishioners filed an emergency motion to suspend the eviction. The judge denied that request Friday and ordered the occupation to end by 5 p.m. on June 5.

Parishioners said they plan to appeal the ruling to a state appeals court early next week.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:36 PM

Canadians must heed advice of residential schools commission: Perry Bellegarde

CANADA
Ottawa Citizen

MARK KENNEDY, OTTAWA CITIZEN

Canada’s indigenous people and non-aboriginals have a “shared responsibility” to fix their broken relationship for the sake of future generations, says the head of the country’s largest aboriginal organization.

In an interview Friday with the Citizen, Assembly of First Nations (AFN) national chief Perry Bellegarde called on people from all walks of life to heed the recommendations next week of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC).

That commission spent six years examining the residential school system, in which the federal government sent aboriginal children to church-run schools, where many faced physical, emotional and sexual abused.

The commission is expected to propose far-reaching changes to restore trust between the country and its First Nations, and to help improve the lives of aboriginals in areas such as health, education and justice.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:33 PM

So, can we discuss that ‘apology’ from The Village Church? Because it really missed the point.

TEXAS
Matthew Paul Turner

MAY 29, 2015 BY MATTHEW PAUL TURNER

Yesterday’s statement from TVC was a mouthful, a carefully written, meticulously worded, and likely meticulously reworded mouthful. (Read it here.)

It was kind. Or maybe it was just nice. Either way, its tone wasn’t terrible. That much I’ll give them. But honestly, most of their communication toward Karen was presented with what can be perceived as kindness.

And I’ll give them this, too: it seemed to be humbly expressed.

But humbly expressed what is still what; it just requires one to actually ask what, process the what, and then ask again what.

So, now that I’ve lived with the response for several hours, I must ask: WHAT?!

I mean, first of all: WHAT were the reasons for offering an apology?

Sure, they offered a humbly presented apology to Karen, but they actually don’t apologize for anything that has, for the last 5 months, been a thorn in Karen’s side.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:29 PM

Court Tosses Judgment in Priest Groping Case

NEVADA
Courthouse News Service

By MIKE HEUER

CARSON CITY, NEV. (CN) - The Catholic Diocese of Green Bay, Wis., need not pay a $500,000 judgment to the man who claims that a priest molested him when he was 13 in 1984, the Nevada Supreme Court ruled.

Because Nevada's Clark County District Court does not have jurisdiction over the diocese, the justices unanimously reversed its $500,000 award to an unidentified man.

"The diocese did not have sufficient contacts with Nevada," Justice Michael Cherry wrote for the court Thursday.

John P. Feeney, the former priest at the center of the litigation, had originally been assigned to the diocese in Wisconsin, and then moved on to Los Angeles before winding up in Las Vegas.

In his complaint, John Doe said the diocese was aware Feeney molested children in Wisconsin but "negligently retained and supervised Feeney and failed to warn others that Feeney was a danger to children," Cherry wrote.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:27 PM

The People of God in Ireland Have Spoken: Will the Pope Listen?

UNITED STATES
Christian Catholicism

Jerry Slevin

A respected and leading expert on Catholic Church reform for almost a half century, Tom Fox of the National Catholic Reporter, asks perceptively and directly : Can the Catholic hierarchy finally admit it has Catholic sexual teachings wrong? Admittedly, he notes, it’s a tall order, pointing out that if Pope Francis and his hierarchy just withhold judgment without addressing and amending past teaching errors, it will not be enough. Nowhere near enough.

Fox also points out the gift Pope Francis and the Catholic hierarchy have been handed by the Irish with their overwhelming vote to legalize same sex marriages. Coming just months before the Synod on the Family set for next October in Rome, the vote by this Catholic nation is nothing less than a church plebiscite – a vote of the Catholic sensus fidelium for all to see that official Catholic teaching on human sexuality is wrong, hurtful, and even, at times, immoral.

He correctly cites a recent NCR editorial that states the situation succinctly. It reads in part (in italics):

It is time for church teaching to reflect what social science tells us and what Catholic families have long understood: Catholicism must cast off a theology of sexuality based on a mechanical understanding of natural law that focuses on individual acts, and embrace a theology of sexuality that has grown out of lived experience and is based on relationships and intentionality.

Fox fairly observes that the Irish vote is a wake up call. If the Synod on the Family ends with only a “pastoral” conclusion, a call that we all need “to open our selves and parishes to essentially wayward, sinners, that we need to love these “sinners” even as they continue to engage in “intrinsically disordered acts,” it will have failed all of us. The Synod then, despite the best intentions, will almost certainly end up further eroding the Catholic Church – if this is possible – as moral force on matters of family, human relationships and sexual theology.

Pope Francis says Catholics should “create a mess” to help him promote changes in the Catholic Church. The Irish responded and have created a “mess”. The Catholic majority are pleased for now; although many are skeptical. Some see a bright ray of hope shining through the crisis of trust triggered by Church scandals. Others think the window of opportunity for hopeful light from Pope Francis will close soon if he is not prophetic and transparent in his limited time still available. Indeed, some even think the Vatican’s current “holy mess” will be its final mess.

Yet, Francis has so far offered few indications about concrete changes he really wants. Many Church leaders seem fearful of any changes. Yet, many Catholics and others are finally pressing for permanent changes. They have by now seen Vatican misconduct up close and too often. They now also understand better that many of the Vatican’s frequently ambiguous, if not vague, basic biblical and historical sources supporting papal power and “unchangeable dogmas”, have too often been overplayed, if not misused, in encyclicals and a Catechism, to justify supreme papal power, a clearly unchristian concept.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:23 PM

Rabbi Karp pretrial motions set for July 13

OHIO/MARYLAND
Cleveland Jewish News

ED WITTENBERG | STAFF REPORTER
ewittenberg@cjn.org

A criminal trial has been set for 9:15 a.m. Aug. 3 in Baltimore County Circuit Court for Rabbi Ephraim (Frederick) Karp, director of spiritual living at Menorah Park Center for Senior Living in Beachwood.

The Circuit Court of Maryland’s website also indicates that criminal motions – pretrial motions involving the prosecutor and defense team – are scheduled in the same court at 1:30 p.m. July 13.

Marc Zayon, a Baltimore-based lawyer, is listed as Karp’s attorney on the website. Karp remains in the Baltimore County Detention Center in Towson, Md., said Lisa Dever, spokesperson for the state’s attorney’s office for Baltimore County.

Karp, of Beachwood, was indicted Feb. 23 by the state’s attorney’s office for Baltimore County on charges of sexual abuse of a minor, continuing course of conduct; perverted practice and second- and third-degree sex offenses.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:52 PM

Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to child sexual abuse

AUSTRALIA
The Courier

By FIONA HENDERSON May 30, 2015

A FEBRUARY 2013 meeting has ignited a war of words between Ballarat Bishop Paul Bird and clergy sexual abuse survivor Andrew Collins.

The meeting was held between Bishop Bird, Mr Collins and fellow survivor Peter Blenkiron to discuss the diocese footing the bill for the difference between the disability support pension, which many survivors live on, and the returned servicemen’s pension, which is an extra $256 a week.

Giving evidence to the royal commission earlier this week, Mr Collins said Bishop Bird said at the meeting the church would endure long after the victims were dead, and that they were trying to bankrupt the diocese.

But in a statement to the royal commission on Friday, Bishop Bird claimed he had said: “Such a proposal would be beyond the resources of the diocese.”

He also said he never said they were “intent on destroying his church”.

“I did not attribute any such motive to Mr Collins or Mr Blenkiron. I saw them as men who were seeking assistance for themselves and others in a similar situation.”

Bishop Bird also said he did not say the church would endure after the victims were all dead. “Making such a comment to anyone, let alone a victim of sexual abuse, would be extremely hurtful and I would not do so.”

But Mr Collins, speaking outside the royal commission, said he was “very disappointed” by Bishop Bird’s statement.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:41 PM

Ireland is worse than the pagans for legalising gay marriage, says senior cardinal

UNITED KINGDOM
The Tablet

28 May 2015 by Katherine Backler, Liz Dodd

Ireland has gone further than paganism and “defied God” by legalising gay marriage, one of the Church’s most senior cardinals has said.

Cardinal Raymond Burke, who was recently moved from a senior role in the Vatican to be patron of the Order of Malta, told the Newman Society, Oxford University’s Catholic Society, last night that he struggled to understand “any nation redefining marriage”.

Visibly moved, he went on: “I mean, this is a defiance of God. It’s just incredible. Pagans may have tolerated homosexual behaviours, they never dared to say this was marriage.”

A total of 1.2 million people voted in favour of amending the constitution to allow same-sex couples to marry, with 734,300 against the proposal, making Ireland the first country to introduce gay marriage by popular vote.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:20 PM

The hypocrisy of the archbishop | Editorial

NEW JERSEY
Star-Ledger

By Star-Ledger Editorial Board
on May 28, 2015

When Newark Archbishop John Myers removed a popular priest at Seton Hall, he insisted through a spokesman that it had nothing to do with his Facebook posts supporting a group promoting gay marriage.

"That could not be farther from the truth," said Jim Goodness, whose unenviable job it is to come up with excuses for Myers.

The reassignment, he said, was part of the "normal transfer cycle that involves scores of priests each June." Only when pressed did he concede the posting "was a factor."

Now, Fr. Warren Hall has decided to come out as gay, and open up about his removal to a gay magazine. He said he received a note to call the archbishop five months after the Facebook issue was already resolved.

It's unclear whether Myers knew he was gay at the time. But Hall says the archbishop told him: "None of us want bullying, but you have a further agenda here, and I can't have you at Seton Hall because of that."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:18 PM

Bishops, your church has spoken

UNITED STATES
National Catholic Reporter

Thomas C. Fox | May. 29, 2015 NCR Today

What a gift the Catholic hierarchy has been handed by the Irish with their overwhelming vote to legalize same sex marriages. Coming just months before the Synod on the Family set for next October in Rome, the vote by this Catholic nation is nothing less than a church plebiscite – a vote of the Catholic sensus filelium for all to see that official Catholic teaching on human sexuality is wrong, hurtful, and even, at times, immoral.

A recent NCR editorial states the situation succinctly. It reads in part

It is time for church teaching to reflect what social science tells us and what Catholic families have long understood: Catholicism must cast off a theology of sexuality based on a mechanical understanding of natural law that focuses on individual acts, and embrace a theology of sexuality that has grown out of lived experience and is based on relationships and intentionality.

The Irish vote is a wake up call. If the Synod on the Family ends with only a “pastoral” conclusion, a call that we all need “to open our selves and parishes to essentially wayward, sinners, that we need to love these “sinners” even as they continue to engage in “intrinsically disordered acts,” it will have failed all of us and the synod, despite the best intentions, will almost certainly end up further eroding the Catholic church – if this is possible - as moral force on matters of family, human relationship and sexual theology.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:16 PM

Is It Enough?

MISSOURI
Sexual Abuse Within the Church: A Case Study at First Christian Church of Florissant

Doug Lay with Titus Benton

6th Edition March 28, 2015

The Churches 1

First Christian Church of Florissant

The beginning of the story goes back to a time when Brandon first arrived in St. Louis. He enrolled at Saint Louis Christian College1 in August of 2005 and began attending and volunteering with the children’s ministry at FCCF. The church hired Brandon part-time as a children’s intern with two other interns the next year (2006), working with 5th graders. He would continue as a paid intern through December of 2007.

During the 2006-2007 school year, a former staff member reported that “I had conversations with Brandon about being alone with both (Family Name) boys and the youngest (Family Name) as all 3 boys stated how uncomfortable they had gotten. Not to my surprise, he pushed what I was saying away. I told the (Family Name) about my conversation and how uncomfortable their son was and they asked Brandon to move back to SLCC. From there, I honestly avoided him...because he honestly, avoided me.”2

In June of 2007, Brandon committed the six accounts of sodomy against two young boys under the age of 12. It would be four months later, in October of 2007, that Brandon committed the seventh count of sodomy.

No one knew except the two innocent victims—and Brandon.

We now know—so as the steps of Brandon’s story are retraced, we hope it may help to interpret the “circumstantial” evidence to better understand and learn from this tragic event.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:11 PM

The Josh Duggar Scandal Is Part of a Much Larger Christian Abuse Problem

UNITED STATES
Vice

by Drew Millard
Associate Editor

The story of the Josh Duggar scandal—that as a teen, the 19 Kids and Counting Star molested multiple young women, only to have his father, Jim Bob Duggar, underplay and cover up his actions—is simple. The narratives surrounding it, however, are not, exposing underlying questions about faith, morality, and abuse in the Christian patriarchy movement, a fundamentalist set of beliefs popular among Evangelical homeschooling families like the Duggars.

The scandal is the latest in a series of sexual abuse allegations that have rocked the Patriarchy movement, which holds that women in general should be subject and subordinate to men. According to Evangelical leaders, including Home School Legal Defense Association founder Michael Farris, who has distanced himself from the movement, biblical patriarchy goes beyond even typical Christian fundamentalism in treating women as subjects, discouraging females from voting or attending college and promoting the idea that "unmarried adult women are subject to their fathers' authority."

The Duggars, who homeschool their children, belong to an even more specific sect known as "Quiverfulls," which advocates for large, patriarchal families. Each family member is an "arrow" in a "quiver." Vyckie Garrison, a former Quiverfull adherent who runs the Patheos blog No Longer Quivering, which acts as a watchdog against the movement, describes the "quiver" metaphor this way:

The whole point of having a quiver full of babies is to... out-populate the "enemy"... and to shoot those many arrows "straight into the heart of the enemy." And by that, we meant that our children would grow up to be leaders in all the major institutions of our society.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, a central tenet of Quiverfull beliefs is a rejection of any and all forms of contraception. The Quiverfull website contains links to articles with titles like "The Case Against Birth Control," sells a booklet titled "Does the Birth Control Pill Cause Abortions?," and includes a link to a now-disabled site that encourages vasectomy reversals. The message is clear: Women ought to have as many children as possible, regardless of their personal preferences.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:04 PM

Abp. Vincenzo Paglia: Men Like This Make Saints in FrancisChurch

UNITED STATES
Pewsitter

By Frank Walker
Pewsitter.com

Archbishop Paglia, the postulator for the cause of once-blocked Liberation Theology icon, Oscar Romero, and perhaps the only person who seems to have first-hand knowledge that Pope Benedict supposedly lifted it after blocking it for a generation, is being accused of fraud.

Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, a Vatican official, is under investigation by Italian prosecutors on suspicion of embezzlement and price fixing during the sale of an historic castle, according to media reports Wednesday.

The sale of the San Girolamo castle in central Italy has already led to the arrest of two employees of the diocese of Terni where Paglia, who is president of the Holy See’s council for family matters, was bishop.

Now prosecutors are probing Paglia on allegations of criminal conspiracy and fraud in relation to the sale of the castle four years ago to real estate company IMI immobiliare, which was headed by one of the arrested diocese employees.

Diocese funds were allegedly used illegally and money was found to be missing from diocese funds.

According to Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera, which cited the prosecutor for the city of Terni in central Italy, Paglia is alleged to be one of the instigators of the fraud.

The mountain of things we are supposed to believe in the new FrancisChurch just gets higher and higher! Pope Francis doesn't endorse the condemned Communist-produced heresy of Liberation Theology and neither did murdered, I mean 'martyred,' Archbishop Romero, but both of them repeatedly spoke and acted just like Liberation Theologists. Both associated with the leaders of the movement and receive their praises, and the FrancisChurch has placed its guiding 'lights' at the seats of highest honor in the Church.

The denials are perfunctory. The beatification itself is telling. Martyred for loving the poor? How do you love the poor by defending Marxist guerillas?

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:01 PM

Vatican official probed over Italian castle sale

ITALY
The Local

Published: 28 May 2015

Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, a Vatican official, is under investigation by Italian prosecutors on suspicion of embezzlement and price fixing during the sale of an historic castle, according to media reports on Wednesday.

The sale of the San Girolamo castle in central Italy has already led to the arrest of two employees of the diocese of Terni where Paglia, who is president of the Holy See's council for family matters, was bishop.

Now prosecutors are probing Paglia on allegations of criminal conspiracy and fraud in relation to the sale of the castle four years ago to real estate company IMI immobiliare, which was headed by one of the arrested diocese employees.

Diocese funds were allegedly used illegally and money was found to be missing from diocese funds.

According to Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera, which cited the prosecutor for the city of Terni in central Italy, Paglia is alleged to be one of the instigators of the fraud.

Those under investigation have 20 days to hand over files explaining their defence.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:12 PM

Vatican’s Archbishop Paglia accused of fraud in sale of Italian castle

ITALY
The Tablet (UK)

29 May 2015 by Grace Isaac
A senior Vatican official has denied accusations of fraud relating to the purchase of an historic castle in Umbria.

Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, President of the Pontifical Council for the Family, is one of ten people under investigation by Italian prosecutors for alleged fraud and embezzlement over the purchase of San Girolamo castle in 2011.

The castle, on the hills outside the town of Narni, is situated in the diocese of Terni, where Paglia was bishop from 2000 to 2012.

The local council sold San Girolamo castle to the real estate company IMI Immobiliare, which is headed by the bursar of Terni diocese, Paolo Zappelli.

The then Bishop Paglia is accused of having illegally used diocesan funds to purchase the castle.
Council officials are alleged to have colluded with Paglia, selling the castle in 2011 for far less than its true value.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:10 PM

Archbishop Paglia, key planner of families meeting, faces criminal charge

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
Catholic Philly

BY MATTHEW GAMBINO

Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, the head of the Pontifical Council for the Family and lead Vatican organizer of September’s World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia, is under investigation by Italian prosecutors into charges of embezzlement.

Published reports in European media outlets say the investigation stems from 2011 when the archbishop led the Diocese of Terni in Italy, and diocesan funds may have been used improperly in a scheme to purchase then resell at a profit a 14th century Italian castle.

A diocesan financial officer at the time was also the head of an Italian firm that purchased the property, which today remains undeveloped.

In Philadelphia, Archbishop Charles Chaput said in a statement May 29 that he was saddened to learn the news of Archbishop Paglia, “and will pray for him.”

“At the same time,” Archbishop Chaput said, “I assure everyone that matters facing him do not impact our plans for September. We continue to work without interruption and joyfully anticipate welcoming our Holy Father and the world to Philadelphia later this year.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:09 PM

Vatican official denies fraud charges in Italian castle sale

ITALY
Telegraph (UK)

By Nick Squires, Rome 28 May 2015

A senior Vatican official is under investigation for alleged fraud and embezzlement in relation to the sale of a 14th century castle in Umbria, in the latest scandal to hit the Roman Catholic Church.

Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, who is the head of a Vatican department, is accused of buying the castle in central Italy at an artificially low price with the intention of later selling it at its market value, in an alleged scam that would have netted a profit of nearly €4 million (£2.9 million).

San Girolamo castle, in the town of Narni, was owned by the local council before being sold to the Church.

Council officials are alleged to have colluded with the archbishop, selling the castle four years ago for a knock-down price of €1.76 million – about a third of its true value.

Prosecutors in the nearby city of Terni suspect that the alleged conspirators planned to manage it for a few years, either as an upmarket guesthouse or for religious purposes, and then sell it for €5.6 million.

Archbishop Paglia, 70, who is head of the Vatican's Pontifical Council for the Family, is alleged to have illegally used diocese funds to purchase the property.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:05 PM

Monsignor Paglia indagato ...

ITALIA
Corriere della Sera

Monsignor Paglia indagato per l’acquisto del castello di Narni L’accusa: associazione a delinquere Don Vincenzo incredulo

di Amalia De Simone - Fiorenza Sarzaninidi

La procura di Terni chiude le indagini sulla compravendita del castello di San Girolamo e contesta l’associazione per delinquere oltre a numerosi reati per l’irregolarità della gara pubblica. Tra gli indagati, monsignor Vincenzo Paglia – attuale presidente del Pontificio consiglio per la famiglia – il vicario episcopale della diocesi Francesco De Santis, oltre al presidente dell’Istituto diocesano per il sostentamento del clero, Giampaolo Cianchetta. Le indagini sono state svolte dal nucleo valutario della Guardia di Finanza guidato dal generale Giuseppe Bottillo e dalla Questura di Terni guidata da Carmine Belfiore.

Lo scenario

Operazioni finanziarie e immobiliari realizzate con i conti correnti della diocesi umbra di Terni, Narni e Amelia, gravata da un pesante buco economico, sono lo scenario dell’ inchiesta che coinvolge uno dei più importanti esponenti della chiesa cattolica. Monsignor Vincenzo Paglia, esponente di spicco della comunità di Sant’Egidio e vescovo della diocesi di Terni dal 2000 al 2012, è stato raggiunto da un avviso di conclusione indagini firmato dal pm della procura di Terni Elisabetta Massini. Le accuse vanno dall’associazione per delinquere alla turbata libertà degli incanti, truffa ai danni del Comune di Narni, abusivo esercizio del credito, appropriazione indebita.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:02 PM

Don Vincenzo incredulo: era una buona azione, confido nella giustizia terrena

CITTA DEL VATICANO
Corriere della Sera

di Gian Guido Vecchi

CITTÀ DEL VATICANO «Ovviamente, resto a disposizione dell’autorità inquirente e confido totalmente nella giustizia terrena». A metà pomeriggio di una giornata scandita dalle telefonate con l’avvocato, monsignor Vincenzo Paglia mette nero su bianco e lima e fa trasmettere alle agenzie di stampa poche righe sorvegliate che fanno trapelare solo una parte del suo sconcerto.

Chi gli è vicino fa notare che un vescovo in una diocesi ha dei collaboratori e non controlla di persona i movimenti dei conti, che vede e parla con un sacco di persone e non ha idea se una chiacchierata al telefono col sindaco costituisca una «fattispecie delittuosa» che ti può mettere nei guai, che quel progetto gli era stato presentato come una «buona azione, addirittura meritoria»: il «castello-convento» che va in rovina e nessuno vuole, una possibilità di «crescita del patrimonio immobiliare» della diocesi per farne un «uso ecclesiastico» o magari «un centro di ospitalità e di cultura», il tutto «portando beneficio al territorio».

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:00 PM

Don Vincenzo: era una buona azione, confido nella giustizia terrena

ITALIA
Corriere della Sera

di Gian Guido Vecchi

«Ovviamente, resto a disposizione dell’autorità inquirente e confido totalmente nella giustizia terrena». A metà pomeriggio di una giornata scandita dalle telefonate con l’avvocato, monsignor Vincenzo Paglia mette nero su bianco e lima e fa trasmettere alle agenzie di stampa poche righe sorvegliate che fanno trapelare solo una parte del suo sconcerto.

Chi gli è vicino fa notare che un vescovo in una diocesi ha dei collaboratori e non controlla di persona i movimenti dei conti, che vede e parla con un sacco di persone e non ha idea se una chiacchierata al telefono col sindaco costituisca una «fattispecie delittuosa» che ti può mettere nei guai, che quel progetto gli era stato presentato come una «buona azione, addirittura meritoria»: il «castello-convento» che va in rovina e nessuno vuole, una possibilità di «crescita del patrimonio immobiliare» della diocesi per farne un «uso ecclesiastico» o magari «un centro di ospitalità e di cultura», il tutto «portando beneficio al territorio».

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:58 PM

Vatican official investigated for embezzlement: reports

ITALY
Yahoo! News

Rome (AFP) - Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, a Vatican official, is under investigation by Italian prosecutors on suspicion of embezzlement and price fixing during the sale of an historic castle, according to media reports Wednesday.

The sale of the San Girolamo castle in central Italy has already led to the arrest of two employees of the diocese of Terni where Paglia, who is president of the Holy See's council for family matters, was bishop.

Now prosecutors are probing Paglia on allegations of criminal conspiracy and fraud in relation to the sale of the castle four years ago to real estate company IMI immobiliare, which was headed by one of the arrested diocese employees.

Diocese funds were allegedly used illegally and money was found to be missing from diocese funds.

According to Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera, which cited the prosecutor for the city of Terni in central Italy, Paglia is alleged to be one of the instigators of the fraud.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:54 PM

Vatican: Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia 'in embezzlement investigation over €5m historic castle sale'

ITALY
International Business Times

By Umberto Bacchi
May 28, 2015

A top Vatican official has been placed under investigation for embezzlement in relation to the purchase of an historic Italian castle in what might become the last of a series of scandal to hit the Holy See, it has been reported.

Prosecutors in Terni, central Italy, have included the name of Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia among a list of individuals suspected of having fraudulently manoeuvred the sale of the 19th-century San Girolamo castle, located on the lush Umbrian hills near the town of Narni, local press said.

The building, which houses an old Franciscan convent, was sold by the Narni City Council to a real estate company named IMI Immobiliare four years ago for about €1m (£700,000, $1.1m).

At the time, Monisgnor Paglia, currently the president of the Holy See's council for family matters, was serving as the bishop of Terni, a diocese which includes Narni.

Prosecutors allege that the castle was sold way below its real value – which they estimate at more than €5.5m – and purchased with church money as part of a criminal conspiracy orchestrated by the archbishop, Il Corriere della Sera reported.

The director of IMI Immobiliare (the buyer) was in fact Paolo Zappelli who was also the bursar of the diocese of Terni.

Detectives claim the company completed the purchase with funds from the diocese, which was at the time facing a separate deficit crisis, and later gained it the dubious title of Europe's second most indebted diocese.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:51 PM

Vatican official in charge of World Meeting here investigated for possible embezzlement

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
Philadelphia Inquirer

DAVID O'REILLY, INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
LAST UPDATED: Friday, May 29, 2015

The Vatican archbishop in charge of overseeing the World Meeting of Families is under investigation for possible embezzlement, according to several European news organizations.

Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, president of the Pontifical Council for the Family, reportedly bought the 14th-century San Girolamo castle in Umbria at an artificially low price with the intention of reselling it at full market value.

"The alleged scam" would have netted a profit of about $4.4 million, the British newspaper The Independent reported Friday.

The Archdiocese of Philadelphia, which is hosting the ninth triennial World Meeting of Families here in September, issued a statement Friday saying the investigation of Paglia did not appear to affect the meeting.

"I assure everyone that matters facing him do not impact our plans for September," Philadelphia's Archbishop Charles J. Chaput said in the statement.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:49 PM

Green Bay diocese not liable in Nevada sex case

WISCONSIN
Green Bay Press-Gazette

Paul Srubas, Press-Gazette Media May 29, 2015

A Nevada man who claimed he was molested by a former Freedom priest is not entitled to compensation from the Catholic Diocese of Green Bay, the Nevada Supreme Court ruled Thursday.

The case involved a lawsuit filed by "John Doe 119," who claimed the former Rev. John P. Feeney molested him in 1984 in Las Vegas. The lawsuit states the man was 13 when he was assaulted by Feeney, but it was not until around 2008 that Doe recognized that he had psychological trauma as a result of Feeney's acts. Doe sued the diocese for negligence in hiring and retaining Feeney.

In the lawsuit, Doe claimed Feeney, a pastor in Las Vegas at the time of the assault, was still an agent of the diocese, that the diocese was aware Feeney had molested children in Wisconsin and that it negligently failed to warn others that he was a danger.

Doe won his case in a lower court in Clark County, Nev., where a jury in 2012 awarded him $500,000 in compensation from the diocese, according to a report by the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

The state Supreme Court decision reverses that.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:41 PM

Pastor Commits Suicide in Church-Owned Home After Admitting Adultery

UNITED STATES
Charisma News

JENNIFER LECLAIRE

I never enjoy writing about pastors falling into sexual immorality—and when pastors take their own lives it reminds me of the suicide in my own family just a few years ago. But this column is among the most tragic I've ever penned.

Please understand, I am writing this with sorrow upon sorrow for the sole purpose of laying an axe to the root of the devil's plans to steal, kill and destroy more lives.

Yesterday I learned that Seth Oiler died in the prime of his life. The 42-year-old pastor of First United Methodist Church (UMC) in Newark, New Jersey committed suicide in his church-owned home a week ago. His untimely death followed an adulterous affair with a church staff member to which he admitted. I can only imagine the guilt, shame and condemnation that was flooding his soul.

We reported on a similar story in December 2013, when Isaac Hunter, former pastor of Summit Church in Orlando, took his own life. His death came about a year after he admitted to an affair with a former staffer. Unlike Oiler's story, with Hunter there were apparent warning signs, including reports of a downward spiral of violence, drug and alcohol abuse, and suicidal thoughts. A suicide note was even discovered far in advance of his death.

Stopping This Deadly Cycle

Sexual immorality is tragic, but there is a way back from this sinful path. Indeed, we know that many pastors have been fully restored to ministry even after falling into immorality and idolatry. What's especially tragic is that the devil that tempts people into sex immorality—or any manner of sin—is the same devil that later brings accusations, guilt, shame, condemnation and the like. It's a set up. The question is, how do we stop the deadly cycle?

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:38 PM

The Village Church on Karen Hinkley: 'We believe we owe her an apology'

TEXAS
Christian Today

Mark Woods CHRISTIAN TODAY CONTRIBUTING EDITOR 29 May 2015

The Village Church has issued an extensive apology for its treatment of Karen Hinkley over the annulment of her marriage to Jordan Root, who confessed to watching images of child abuse over many years.

Root entered what the church called a "process of walking in repentance" which saw him removed from ministry and reported to the authorities. However, Hinkley found herself the subject of church discipline because she had her marriage annulled contrary to the church's covenant membership provisions. The church refused to accept her resignation from membership while she was under discipline because that too was contrary to the covenant.

The Dallas megachurch, whose leader is Matt Chandler, was widely criticised for its conduct. According to a Christianity Today report, Chandler plans to apologise in services this weekend for failing to show compassion to struggling church members. He said that elders had been "domineering" in their approach to church discipline in a few cases and that this was wrong and unChristian.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:36 PM

Professor's Accusations Led to South County Pastor Yanking Bible College Funding

MISSOURI
Riverfront Times

By Danny Wicentowski Fri., May 29 2015

Doug Lay was beloved among his students at St. Louis Christian College. The student body voted him 2015's Teacher of the Year.
But the bookish English professor was nowhere to be found among the well-wishers who gathered at First Christian Church of Florissant earlier this month for the college's graduation ceremony.

Lay's conspicuous absence was no accident: He'd been banned from the church's premises in April, one month after he'd started raising questions about the way the church's senior pastor, Steve Wingfield, handled allegations of sexual abuse.

In a meticulously researched report titled "Is It Enough: Sexual Abuse Within the Church: A Case Study at First Christian Church of Florissant," Lay accused Wingfield of ignoring warnings about a youth minister named Brandon Milburn. A former student of Lay's, Milburn had once been a rising star in the north county megachurch. Last year, Milburn was unmasked as a serial child molester.

In 2014, Doug Lay sent his accusation-filled report, "Is it Enough," to FCCF leadership.
As documented in a Riverfront Times investigation, Milburn started hanging around First Christian Church of Florissant, or FCCF, in 2005. That's also where he found his victims, two eleven-year-old boys, whom he abused repeatedly between 2007 and 2009.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:34 PM

700 Sundays

MASSACHUSETTS
National Catholic Reporter

Steve Sheenan | May. 20, 2015 Examining the Crisis

BOSTON

In 2002, I stood on the sidewalk in front of the Cathedral of the Holy Cross in Boston with several hundred members of the Voice of the Faithful and a handful of people who had been sexually abused by members of the clergy of the Roman Catholic church. One by one, the survivors told us their stories of the abuse they suffered and how it had taken them many years before they found the strength to come forward and bare their pain and torment in the public arena.

A few of those present then formed an organization called Speak Truth to Power (STTOP) and began meeting in front of the cathedral on Sunday mornings in a protest demanding that the Boston archdiocese provide justice to the survivors and take all the precautions necessary to ensure the safety of children and vulnerable adults and to bring this shameful history of the archdiocese to an end. A call was also made for the resignation of the cardinal archbishop of Boston, Bernard Law, for his role in covering-up the abuse by reassigning offending priests and protecting them from being indicted and tried for their crimes.

Last Sunday, May 17, a group of 25 survivors and supporters gathered in front of that cathedral to celebrate the 700th consecutive Sunday of this protest.

Not all of these 25 were present every Sunday, but every Sunday there were members of the group out there on the sidewalk in spite of the snow, rain, or scorching heat. These demonstrations were held calmly and politely, not wishing to cause a public disturbance or interrupt a religious service. The intent has always been the same, to remind the cardinal archbishop of Boston and all bishop/cardinals that we will not go away until justice has been served for the survivors and that children everywhere are provided a safe environment in which to live and grow.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:32 PM

TX--Dallas church apologizes to wife of sex offender; SNAP responds

TEXAS
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

For immediate release: Friday, May 29

Statement by Amy Smith, Dallas co-leader of SNAP ( 281-748-4050, watchkeepamy@gmail.com )

An officials at a large Dallas church says he’ll apologize on Sunday to a woman whose mistreatment by church officials has generated a firestorm of protest. We’re not impressed by the pastor’s promises.

[Christian Today]

If an apology happens, it will likely be a belated, grudging and vague one from Matt Chandler of The Village Church to Karen Hinkley. Still, we hope it brings some comfort to Karen who has suffered so much and so needlessly because TVC officials have acted so selfishly, secretively recklessly and hurtfully.

(Hinkley’s husband, Jordan Root, admitted viewing images of child abuse. TVC officials disciplined her when she sought to annul their marriage.)

[Christian Today]

We suspect Chandler is doing this only because he and his colleagues have been severely and widely criticized for their cruelty to this brave, wounded woman.

But an apology does nothing to protect the vulnerable or heal those already hurt because of the crimes of Jordan Root and the actions of TVC staff.

We firmly believe that kids are at risk now because Root walks free, living and working among unsuspecting families. And we firmly believe there are kids he has hurt who are suffering in silence, shame and self-blame.

TVC staff should use their vast resources to alert parents, police, prosecutors and the public about Root’s crimes and to aggressively seek out youngsters he has assaulted. The church has a moral and civic duty to help law enforcement investigation and prosecute Root, so that other kids may be spared devastating harm.

Adults can heal themselves, with or without apologies from complicit church officials. Kids, however, ca

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:29 PM

TX--Accused Notre Dame predator priest still on the job; SNAP responds

TEXAS/INDIANA
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

For immediate release: Friday, May 29

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

Catholic officials are putting innocent children at risk by keeping an accused predator priest on the job even though he was sued for child sex abuse more last week ago.

We demand that staff at Notre Dame, the Ft. Wayne diocese and the San Antonio diocese suspend him immediately. They are acting recklessly and callously and are breaking the US bishops’ child sex abuse policy.

[WSBT]

Since 2002, the US Catholic church hierarchy has formally and repeatedly pledged it would suspend credibly accused child molesting clerics. Yet a high-profile priest and professor, Fr. Virgilio Elizondo, was accused last week in a civil lawsuit of sexually assaulting a child in Texas in the 1980s.

Fort Wayne-South Bend Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades, San Antonio Archbishop Gustavo Garcia-Siller and Notre Dame president Fr. John Jenkins are needlessly taking risks with the safety of boys and girls. They should

-- immediately suspend Fr. Elizondo from any and all positions,
-- send him to a remote, secure, independently-run treatment center, and
-- use their vast resources to aggressively seek out others who may have seen, suspected or suffered crimes by this cleric or cover ups by his church or university supervisors.

Some at the university say Fr. Elizondo spends little time on campus. That doesn’t matter. It takes only seconds for a child molester to shove his tongue in a boy’s mouth or his hands down a girl’s pants.

Anyone with information or suspicions about clergy sex crimes or cover ups should call secular authorities, not church officials.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:26 PM

Financial regulator says Vatican bank needs more reform

VATICAN CITY
Reuters

VATICAN CITY | BY PHILIP PULLELLA

May 29 The Vatican bank has made good progress in transparency but needs more changes to consolidate anti-money laundering reforms, the Holy See's financial regulator said on Friday.

The Financial Intelligence Authority's (AIF) also said in its annual report for 2014 that it had forwarded seven cases of suspected fraud or tax avoidance to the Vatican prosecutor's office for further investigation.

It said the number of reports it had received of potentially suspicious financial activity fell to 147 last year, down from a peak of 202 in 2013, which officials said showed that reforms and reporting procedures were working.

The Vatican bank, seeking to repair its image after a series of financial scandals, has been undergoing massive reforms over the past three years.

The bank, formally known as the Institute for Religious Works (IOR), has toughened regulatory standards and closed thousands of accounts.

Reforming the IOR has been one of the most sensitive issues tackled by Pope Francis as he has sought to overhaul the complex Vatican administration.

The report said it had carried out the first on-site inspection of the IOR to see if it was fully complying with new international transparency and accounting requirements as well as anti-money laundering legislation.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:24 PM

USA, Germany, Italy, UK, Philippines, et al., Must Press Pope...

UNITED STATES
Christian Catholicism

Jerry Slevin

USA, Germany, Italy, UK, Philippines, et al., Must Press Pope, Like Ireland & Australia Have, To Restore Church Democracy To Protect Catholics

The Vatican’s sexual morality policy errors on same sex marriage, contraception and other matters are only sick symptoms of a fundamentally deformed Church management structure. These errors stem mostly from the Vatican’s self-interested goal of preserving the myth of a top down, unaccountable, infallible and absolute papal ruler with his unaccountable Vatican bureaucracy and subordinate worldwide bishops. True monarchies like the papacy are doomed in this world of democracies.

The editors at the National Catholic Reporter recently referred to the pope’s many seemingly intentional and contradictory statements and actions as the “Francis two-step”, or the “Pope Francis shuffle”. On the issue of church teaching on sexuality, the editors believe the time for dialogue is likely passed. Action is needed. The strongest message out of the Irish referendum is that on its teaching about sexuality, the Church today faces a watershed moment, just as it did in 1968 with Humanae Vitae banning the birth control pill.

The editors note that Pope Paul VI, whom incidentally Pope Francis unnecessarily, hastily and unwisely beatified, addressed contraception with a disastrous formula. By rejecting the evolving learning about artificial birth control and married love — documented by social science and the testimony of committed, faithful married Catholics on the papal commission he appointed — Paul contributed mightily to the erosion of episcopal credibility. Pope Francis is doing likewise with his “son of the Church” ideological nonsense.

The editors at the National Catholic Reporter view the recent Irish vote for same-sex marriage as a watershed moment for Catholic Church teaching. As an experienced international lawyer, I am more sceptical.

Pope Francis has failed in two years even to initiate any significant permanent reforms in the Catholic Church’s top down governance structure — the source of most papal scandals and sexual morality errors. After much spin, the unnecessary Vatican Bank has reported still almost 150 suspicious transactions in 2014 involving many hundreds of millions of dollars.

Moreover, the pope’s failure to address seriously his biggest challenge, the priest child abuse scandal, is telling. This is clear, for example, from the pope’s acquiescence in the continuing merciless abuse of survivors in Milwaukee, as described below by Fr. Thomas Doyle, and the pope’s outrageous promotion and protection of Cardinal George Pell, also described more below.

It is clear the Vatican is mainly trying to ride out the scandals — keeping the hierarchy out of jail and flush with cash as top priorities. German and US bishops are do battle with each other over giving remarried divorced Catholics access to communion — a big money issue for bishops in both countries. The German bishops want to loosen up the marriage rules to appeal to divorced couples to protect the multi-billion dollar annual German governmental subsidies. US bishops want to preserve the rigid marriage rules to appeal to “low tax” US billionaires who need the anti-gay marriage voters to elect a US Republican president next year.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:20 PM

Crucial that Pell gives evidence to commission

AUSTRALIA
The Age

Cardinal George Pell said this week he is prepared to return to Australia from the Vatican to give evidence in person to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, if he is officially requested to attend. This newspaper would be astounded were the royal commission not to make such a request, for Cardinal Pell's testimony may be a pivotal part of this important inquiry into one of this nation's darkest and most tragic chapters.

Cardinal Pell has had a distinguished career with the Catholic Church, including key leadership positions such as Archbishop of Sydney and Archbishop of Melbourne. He will have a crucial insight into its operations. Nor can he ignore the fact that his own time in Ballarat coincided with some of the worst abuses of children by other priests.

The royal commission this week held hearings in that city, and heard that Cardinal Pell once shared a home with other priests including one of the worst child sexual abusers in our history, Gerald Ridsdale. Indeed, Cardinal Pell gave public support to Ridsdale during a 1993 court appearance. Ridsdale, appearing via video link from jail, where he is serving a lengthy sentence for his appalling crimes, said that when he approached now-Cardinal Pell for that support, the church leader would have known the nature of the charges.

Counsel assisting the royal commission, Gail Furness, SC, described how the College of Consultors – a group of priests who advised Ballarat's then bishop, Ronald Mulkearns – decided to move Ridsdale between parishes. Cardinal Pell was for a time a member of that group. He has repeatedly denied knowing children were abused in Ballarat when he was there, yet his recollections of the time, and knowledge of the processes of the church, will be important information for the commission.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:18 PM

News Release: Father Richard Eckroth, O.S.B. Leaves Trail of Shattered Lives

MINNESOTA
Jeff Anderson & Associates

5/29/2015

It was reported that St. John’s priest Richard Eckroth, who was retired and living at St. John’s Abbey for years, died this week. It must also be noted that Eckroth had a long history of predatory conduct that shattered the lives and souls of innocent children whose numbers are yet to be known. The number of kids Eckroth abused could exceed 100. What is known is that Eckroth was a serial offender that had been described by at least one Abbot as dangerous. What is also known is that Eckroth was given cover for many of those years by top St. John’s officials.

Our firm currently represents three survivors of abuse by Eckroth and has worked with many others over the past twenty-plus years. What we have learned about this predator is that as a priest, monk, professor and pastor of St. John’s he easily built the trust of parents who readily gave him permission to bring their children to a remote cabin owned and maintained by St. John’s Abbey where he then abused many of them. Eckroth plied children, some as young as eight years old, with alcohol and often employed means of coercion and threats of violence to accomplish his abuse. Over the years we have worked with several of those kids, now adults, who struggle with an aftermath of depression, anxiety, shame and guilt as a result of what Eckroth did to them.

The Child Victims Act now permits those survivors of abuse by Eckroth and others to bring civil actions until May of 2016. The death of Eckroth or any offender does not prevent survivors from asserting claims against those who made the conscious choices to protect the Eckroths and other abusers like him in the past. We applaud the courage of the survivors who have come forward and encourage others to do so knowing that by coming forward they can regain some measure of the power that was taken from them as a child. When a survivor comes forward it can bring hope and help to themselves and to others. Richard Eckroth no doubt left a trail of devastation and broken and shattered lives wherever he went. However, every time one of Eckroth’s survivors and the survivors of others like him, comes forward and shares the secret, they can begin the process of recovery. And survivors can come forward confidentially.

Today we release some of the documents that have been disgorged in other litigation concerning Richard Eckroth’s history. These documents include a 1993 report from St. Luke’s Institute where Eckroth was sent for sexual deviancy and abuse. Other records reflect the knowledge of top officials at St. John’s that regarded Eckroth as a “danger” for years.

Eckroth St. Luke Report 1993
Return to St. Luke
Eckroth travel to St. Luke
Evaluation Arrangements
Email regarding allegation
Email regarding Eckroth
E-mail regarding Eckroth allegations
Email regarding Eckroth settlement
Letter to detective regarding Eckroths wherabouts
1971 Eckroth Cabin
Eckroth Photo

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:09 PM

St. John’s Abbey Priest, Accused Of Child Sex Abuse, Dies

MINNESOTA
CBS Minnesota

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A retired St. John’s Abbey priest accused of sexually abusing children is dead.

The law office of Jeff Anderson and Associates announced Friday that Father Richard Eckroth passed away this week at the age of 88.

Allegations of abuse against Eckroth date back to the late 60s and early 70s, when he was accused of sexually abusing children that he took to a St. John’s Abbey-owned cabin in Bemidji.

Three adult survivors of his alleged abuse are being represented by Attorney Jeff Anderson.

“Eckroth plied children, some as young as eight years old, with alcohol and often employed means of coercion and threats of violence to accomplish his abuse,” Anderson said.

Anderson and Associates released a document Friday from St. Luke’s Institute concerning Eckroth. The report, written in 1993, reveals Eckroth was sent to the institute by St. John’s Abbey for evaluation of sexual deviancy and abuse.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:07 PM

Money drying up for Ballarat child sex abuse victims

AUSTRALIA
The Australian

TESSA AKERMAN THE AUSTRALIAN MAY 30, 2015

The Ballarat diocese of the Catholic Church may not be able to continue funding settlements for ­child sex survivors, so great is the scale of the abuse.

At least 10 and possibly more than 14 diocesan priests from late last century have had complaints against them substantiated, the royal commission into child sex abuse heard yesterday.

Bishop of Ballarat Paul Bird said settlements to abuse survivors which are not covered by Catholic Church Insurance were paid from a bequest set up in the 1930s.

He said the fund had about $1 million left and once that was ­extinguished, claims would be paid from general ­accumulated funds of the diocese. “I do have doubts that we could meet those claims,” he said yesterday.

There was a development fund with more than $100m from various contributors which the diocese could draw upon, but the financial position of the diocese was “not strong” and many parishes required subsidies.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:04 PM

Bishop hopes inquiry helps victims heal

AUSTRALIA
Daily Mail

AAP

Ballarat Bishop Paul Bird says he hopes the child abuse royal commission provides some healing for victims.

The royal commission has heard the community in the Victorian regional city is divided, with groups "at war" over the response to the history of child sexual abuse in the Ballarat diocese.

Bishop Bird agreed the leaders of the church, not just in Ballarat, needed to tell the community that it was a good thing for abuse victims to come forward.

"I've said it several times but I would need to continue to say it because some people don't see that that's a good thing," he told the commission.

He said some people did not appreciate the full impact of the abuse.

Reading a statement to reporters, Bishop Bird apologised to victims.

"I have been very moved and I am very sorry that as young children they endured such horrendous abuse at the hands of the very people who should have cared for them.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:00 PM

Vatican Archbishop Paglia: ‘I Trust Completely in the Justice on Earth’

ITALY
America Magazine

Gerard O'Connell | May 27 2015

The Italian media are reporting that Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, the President of the Pontifical Council for the Family, has been listed among those placed “under investigation” by an Italian prosecutor in connection with the sale of a castle at Narni, in the region of Umbria, central Italy, that took place four years ago in the diocese of Terni, where he was bishop from 2002-2012.

The press alleges that he is being investigated for association with others to swindle the municipality of Narni, and for false declaration, abusive exercise of credit and undue appropriation. They say that the notification that he is under investigation has been sent to him as well as to the vicar-general of the diocese and to the president of the diocesan institute for the support of the clergy. They report that the notification was issued after the deputy-prosecutor of Terni, Elisabetta Massini, had completed a two-year preliminary investigation.

It's important to note that under Italian law that fact that one is being placed "under investigation" does not mean that one is being charged with a crime, much less that one is guilty of the said crime. It simply means that there is a need for further investigation and the prosecutor has the legal responsibility to notify the person of this. This further investigation could lead to one's acquittal, or to being brought to court for trial.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:46 AM

Archbishop Paglia investigation does not impact Pope's visit

ITALY
Al Dia

By Ana Gamboa
May 29, 2015

Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, the President of the Pontifical Council for the Family, this week was listed among those placed “under investigation” by an Italian prosecutor in connection with the sale of a castle at Narni, in central Italy, America Magazine reported.

According to the investigation, the archbishop is part of a list of individuals suspected of having fraudulently maneuvered the sale of the 19th-century San Girolamo castle, located on the lush Umbrian hills near the town of Narni.

Last time we reported on Archbishop Paglia was on a much lighter note, when he visited Philadelphia back in March. As the Catholic archbishop in charge of organizing Pope Francis' September visit to the city, he helped unveil a special milkshake at the Center City location of Potbelly Sandwich Shop chain.

On Wednesday, America Magazine reported that the Vatican archbishop told the Italian news agency ANSA he had not received any notification from the state prosecutor about being under investigation. “Obviously, I remain at the disposition of the investigating authorities and trust totally in the earthly justice,” he stated.

The Archbishop of Philadelphia, Charles J. Chaput, told AL DÍA he was saddened to learn of the recent news regarding Archbishop Paglia. “I will pray for him. At the same time, I assure everyone that matters facing him do not impact our plans for September. We continue to work without interruption and joyfully anticipate welcoming our Holy Father and the world to Philadelphia later this year.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:42 AM

Nevada Jury Verdict Unhinged By Holding That Incardination Isn’t Necessarily Employment

NEVADA
National Law Review

Friday, May 29, 2015

The ecclesiastical doctrine of incardination defines the relationship between clerics and the church. According to the United States Conference of Bishops (no relation), “incardination is traditionally used to refer to the attachment of the priest or deacon to a diocesan Church headed by the diocesan bishop.” In an opinion issued yesterday, the Nevada Supreme Court tackled the question of whether a relationship established by canon law also establishes a relationship defined by civil law. Catholic Diocese of Green Bay v. John Doe 119, 131 Nev. Adv. Op. 29 (2015).

The question arose from a lawsuit filed by a sexual assault victim against the Catholic Diocese of Green Bay in Nevada. The priest involved had originally been incardinated in the Diocese of Green Bay. The victim obtained a jury verdict and the diocese, a religious organization incorporated and headquartered in Wisconsin, appealed on the basis that the Nevada state courts lacked personal jurisdiction. The District Court found support for the existence of an employment or agency relationship between the priest and the Diocese of Green Bay based on the incardination. The Supreme Court disagreed finding “that the ecclesiastical system of incardination does not conclusively establish employment or agency.” Writing for court, Justice Michael A. Cherry noted that while the court cannot opine on ecclesiastical matters, it could determine whether a religious organization’s structure creates an employment relationship.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:37 AM

Quiverfull author delivers melodramatic defense of Duggars against ‘pagans and gullible Christians’

UNITED STATES
The Raw Story

TRAVIS GETTYS
29 MAY 2015

A Quiverfull author and homeschooling advocate defended the Duggars against “pagans and gullible Christians” who are “howling for scalps.”

Rick Boyer, who wrote the book “Take Back The Land” endorsed by Jim Bob Duggar, said the reality TV stars had responded appropriately to revelations that their eldest son had molested his sisters and other girls as they slept at the family home, reported Right Wing Watch.

“‘Abuse’ is the new ‘racism,’” wrote Boyer as part of a series of Facebook posts. “As soon as you’re accused of it, you’re considered guilty. Just what would you like the Duggars to have done? Turn all their kids over to a godless psychologist? Maybe one supplied by the local public school system where ‘abuse’ is so unheard of? Should they have skinned Josh alive, rolled him in salt and hung him on a meathook?”

The posts by the Home Educators Association of Virginia board member, who also wrote the book “The Hands-On Dad,” were flagged by the watchdog group Homeschoolers Anonymous.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:34 AM

Irish gay vote shows church is losing tight grip over its flock

AUSTRALIA
The Age

Jack Waterford
Editor-at-large, The Canberra Times

It's been an uncomfortable week – indeed it's been an uncomfortable few years --- for the declining numbers of Australian Catholics adhering firmly to the values of the church, and believing as firmly in the edicts of its leadership as in its teaching and traditions.

A high proportion of Australian Catholics have origins in Irish Catholicism where, a week ago, a country overwhelmingly, if increasingly nominally Catholic, voted in a referendum for gay marriage.

An institution that could bring down governments can now scarcely govern itself.

The church campaigned hard for a no vote. A generation ago, as when the Irish had a referendum about divorce, that would have settled the matter. This time church opposition settled it the other way.

The conscious rejection of the church's argument was the more explicit because of its appalling record with the physical and sexual abuse of children. And of equally contemptible policies, going all the way back to the Vatican, of cover-up, and putting the commercial interests of the church and the reputation of its officers ahead of the interests of children.

The collapse of the Irish church's moral authority is witnessed by a catastrophic decline, in only 30 years, of church attendance, and political influence.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:31 AM

POLAND/DOMINICAN REPUBLIC- Polish official visits Dominican Republic ...

UNITED STATES
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

POLAND/DOMINICAN REPUBLIC- Polish official visits Dominican Republic to discuss alleged sex crimes by Archbishop Józef Wesołowski

For immediate release: Friday, May 29, 2015

Statement by Barbara Blaine of Chicago, president of SNAP, Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests ( 312-399-4747, bblaine@snapnetwork.org )

We are grateful that a Polish official has gone to the Dominican Republic to discuss alleged child sex crimes by Polish Catholic clerics. We hope the trip results in secular criminal charges against one cleric and more charges against the other.

[The News]

We especially hope defrocked Archbishop Józef Wesołowski is sent to Poland from Rome and is put on trial. Catholic officials in Rome claim they’ll hold some sort of proceeding there about Wesolowski. But we’re very skeptical. It’s unjust and unwise to let any institution deal internally with serious child sex crimes, especially an institution like the Catholic hierarchy with a long, dreadful, well-documented and on-going track record of ignoring and concealing heinous sexual violence against children.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:28 AM

More victims of paedophile Leeds vicar come forward after man wins six-figure payou

UNITED KINGDOM
Yorkshire Evening Post

A lawyer says the number of people who have reported being abused by church officials is “the tip of the iceberg” after more victims of a paedophile Leeds priest came forward.

The Yorkshire Evening Post reported this month how the Church of England awarded a six-figure payout to a man who was abused by Terence King from the age of 11.

King, a former vicar at St Mary’s Church in Woodkirk near Morley, killed himself while being investigated by police in 2002. It is thought detectives were looking into complaints by several victims at the time.

Now the lawyer representing the man who made the successful claim says the story has prompted others to begin the fight for justice.

Dino Nocivelli, of Bolt Burdon Kemp, said: “My firm has been contacted by several people who have also suffered child abuse within the Church of England, including two people who suffered abuse at the hands of King.

“This confirms my view that when we talk about child abuse within the Church of England, we have only seen the tip of the iceberg in terms of the number of people who have come forward.”

Notre Dame U. professor sued for child sexual abuse

INDIANA
Catholic Philly

BY CATHOLIC NEWS SERVICE

SOUTH BEND, Ind. (CNS) — Father Virgilio Elizondo, founder of the Mexican American Cultural Center in San Antonio and a theology professor at the University of Notre Dame, has been accused of sexually abusing an unidentified boy more than 30 years ago in a lawsuit filed against him, the San Antonio Archdiocese and a former priest.

The lawsuit, filed May 22 in Bexar County District Court in San Antonio, alleges that a boy listed as John Doe was sexually abused by a former priest, Jesus Armando Dominguez, while he was living in an orphanage and was a student at Assumption Seminary. According to The Associated Press, the boy was allegedly sexually abused again when he reported the incidents to Father Elizondo. The lawsuit seeks unspecified damages.

A spokesman for the San Antonio Archdiocese told Catholic News Service May 28 that the archdiocese declined to comment on the case because it had not been served the lawsuit.

The former priest accused of abuse was ordained for the Diocese of San Bernardino, California, the spokesman said.

An email from a Notre Dame spokesman said the university was “reserving comment until further inquiries are completed,” adding that school had only became aware of the allegation after it was reported by a local television station.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:53 AM

Two more claim they were abused by ex-clergyman

UNITED KINGDOM
York Press

TWO more people have come forward to say they were abused at the hands of a retired York vicar.

The Press reported earlier this month how the Church of England had made a six-figure payout to a man who said he suffered years of physical and psychological abuse by the Rev Terence King while he was serving as a vicar in Morley, West Yorkshire.

Mr King retired to York in 1999 and committed suicide in 2002 while under investigation by West Yorkshire Police over child sex abuse allegations.

Now Dino Nocivelli, a senior solicitor from Bolt Burdon Kemp, who represented the victim, has revealed that two more people had since contacted the firm to allege they too were abused by Mr King.

Meanwhile, an independent investigation for the Methodist Church has uncovered that allegations of abuse were made against a total of 91 individuals within its York and Hull district between 1950 and the end of 2014.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:13 AM

Financial regulator says Vatican bank needs more reform

VATICAN CITY
Economic Times

Reuters

VATICAN CITY: The Vatican bank has made good progress in transparency but needs more changes to consolidate anti-money laundering reforms, the Holy See's financial regulator said on Friday.

The Financial Intelligence Authority's (AIF) also said in its annual report for 2014 that it had forwarded seven cases of suspected fraud or tax avoidance to the Vatican prosecutor's office for further investigation.

It said the number of reports it had received of potentially suspicious financial activity fell to 147 last year, down from a peak of 202 in 2013, which officials said showed that reforms and reporting procedures were working.

The Vatican bank, seeking to repair its image after a series of financial scandals, has been undergoing massive reforms over the past three years.

The bank, formally known as the Institute for Religious Works (IOR), has toughened regulatory standards and closed thousands of accounts.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:10 AM

Vatican Financial Watchdog Registers 147 Suspicious Transactions in 2014

VATICAN CITY
Wall Street Journal

By FRANCIS X. ROCCA
May 29, 2015

VATICAN CITY—The Vatican’s financial watchdog registered 147 suspicious transactions in 2014, down by more than a quarter from the previous year, reflecting progress by the Holy See in detecting and preventing financial crime, officials said Friday.

The Financial Information Authority, or AIF, said it turned over seven of those cases, mostly involving potential fraud or tax evasion, to Vatican prosecutors. In three of the seven cases, the AIF froze suspicious transactions with a total value of €562 million.

Friday’s annual report was the third published by the regulator, which Pope Benedict XVI established in 2010 to work toward compliance with international standards on financial crimes. That move was the start of a series of financial reforms at the Vatican, which have been continued by Pope Francis.

In 2013, the European money-laundering watchdog Moneyval praised the Vatican for its efforts on financial transparency but said regulatory oversight needed tightening at the scandal-plagued Vatican bank, officially known as the Institute for the Works of Religion, or IOR. That same year, Pope Francis named a special panel to reform the bank.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:07 AM

MO--Protestant whistleblower quits at college; SNAP responds

MISSOURI
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

For immediate release: Thursday, May 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 )

A Bible college professor has quit his job over a clergy sex abuse and cover up case. It’s heart-breaking.

[St. Louis Post-Dispatch]

Doug Lay is a hero. He should be recognized and treated as a hero by both St. Louis Christian College and First Christian Church of Florissant. He has been brave and caring throughout the entire Brandon Milburn ordeal, seeking the truth and comforting Milburn’s victims. I am honored to know Doug and am deeply proud of him for his integrity and courage. A small group of others at FCCF – including Dawn Varvil and Titus and Kari Benton – have also acted heroically during this tragic situation.

Lay says that SLCC officials Dr. Guthrie Veece and Mike Chambers did not pressure him to resign. But we believe that Veece and Chambers could and should have done more to expose the selfish pressure put on college staff by FCCF staff. We believe that Rev. Steve Wingfield has used his muscle to try to intimidate whistleblowers at least three times now (first, through an unsuccessful restraining order bid, then through an unsuccessful lawsuit and now through informal pressure on the college).

Reasonable people may disagree about what Wingfield knew when and how he responded (though we wholeheartedly agree with Lay, Dawn Varvil, Titus Benton and others who firmly believe that FCCF staff should have been more honest and responsible by calling police and warning congregants sooner).

But no one can deny that children were sexually assaulted because of the witting or unwitting actions and inactions of Rev. Wingfield and his employees. Having put kids in harm’s way (likely unintentionally) and having kept kids in harm’s way (perhaps unintentionally), FCCF staff have a duty to aggressively reach out to others who were hurt at FCCF.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:05 AM

“Need to hear encouraging news? Here’s some.”

UNITED STATES
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

On the surface, the words “rape” and “hope” are similar. They rarely belong in the same sentence. But here’s an exception: Recent changes in rape laws give us hope.

Thanks to the courage of victims of sexual violence, who are gaining more strength and getting more political, 28 states now have no statute of limitations on rape.

[East Oregonian]

Is that enough? Of course not. Is that dramatic progress over the past few years? You bet it is.

And the long-term trends look good for us. More and more lawmakers (and judges and cops and prosecutors and jurors) are seeing just how irresponsible and hurtful these predator-friendly deadlines are.

And this is true in cases of sexual violence against kids too, not just adults.

(See recent headway on this front in Georgia: [Verdict])

“The moral arc of the universe is long,” Martin Luther King told us, “but it bends towards justice.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:01 AM

Protestants can no longer dismiss abuse as a ‘Catholic problem’

UNITED KINGDOM
The Guardian

Symon Hill

Last month, I moved out of a residential Christian community attached to a Methodist church in London. I moved for several reasons. One was the way that the church had handled an allegation of sexual abuse. The victim in that case was interviewed as part of the Methodist church’s Past Cases Review into abuse allegations. She had no advance notice of Thursday’s announcement by the Methodist church, which has formally apologised for 1,885 cases of abuse over the past 60 years. Despite media references to “historical abuse”, some of the cases are very recent.

This should be a wake-up call for all Christians in Britain. It is time for Protestants who have complacently dismissed church abuse as a “Catholic problem” to face the reality that abuse is endemic across denominations. As a Christian, and as someone who writes and teaches about religion and sexuality, I have heard far more stories of sexual abuse than I can count – along with stories of cover-ups, sexist responses, victim-blaming and repeated failures to take allegations seriously.

In terms of abuse in British churches, the 1,885 cases announced by the Methodists are undoubtedly the tip of the iceberg.

Only a few years after the Catholic child abuse scandals, we are on the brink of a new scandal. This time it will be about abuse across churches, probably mostly of adults. It can no longer be blamed simply on Catholic doctrine or clerical celibacy.

Sexual abuse is about power. If the victim has the courage to complain, the abuser often uses their higher status to discredit the victim – perhaps because they are a respected individual who will be believed, or perhaps because the victim is vulnerable and will not be. Abusers can, implicitly or explicitly, appeal to the self-interest of church leaders not to cause trouble or bad PR by taking action to deal with allegations.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:59 AM

Editorial: Ireland vote for same-sex marriage a watershed moment for church teaching

UNITED STATES
National Catholic Reporter

NCR Editorial Staff | May. 29, 2015

EDITORIAL

To help them prepare for this fall's Synod of Bishops on the family, the presidents of the bishops' conferences of Germany, Switzerland and France gathered with biblical scholars and theologians to discuss and clarify "the issues at the heart of the current debates on marriage and family," including "theology of love" and of sexuality as a "language of God and a gift precious to God." Let's hope that among the scholars they called upon were theologians like Creighton University's Michael G. Lawler and Todd A. Salzman. And let's hope they took a hard look at the results of the Irish referendum on marriage.

Dublin Archbishop Diarmuid Martin was correct when he called the overwhelming support for marriage equality in Ireland a "reality check" for the church -- it most certainly is, which is why the world's bishops should be discussing it.

But Martin got it wrong when he said the outcome was part of a social revolution. The overwhelming public support for a broader, more inclusive acceptance of marriage equality has certainly come swiftly, but is more evolution than revolution, which is Lawler and Salzman's point.

If Cardinal Walter Kasper is correct when he says that Pope Francis "wants a listening magisterium," let's hope that Francis, too, is listening to what the Catholics of Ireland are telling the church. They have made manifest in casting ballots what sociologists have documented in research and what Catholic families have experienced in the lives of their children, aunts and uncles, parents and even grandparents: "That God can be," to quote Jamie Manson, "as fully present in the relationships of same-sex couples as God can be in opposite-sex couples."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:57 AM

Does Ottawa truly want truth and reconciliation?

CANADA
Toronto Star

By: Mayana C. Slobodian Published on Wed May 27 2015

On Sunday, the final event of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada will kick-off in Ottawa. The truth is, after seven years, many Canadians still don't really know what this commission is.

The most common misconception is that it was initiated by the government of Canada. There is a sad irony in this, given that Ottawa has ignored and resisted the work of the TRC from the start.

Meanwhile, it has spent the last seven years enacting legislation and policies that, far from rectifying the relationship between Indigenous people and the Canadian government, serve to perpetuate the systemic inequalities that the residential schools worked so hard to entrench.

The TRC wasn't set up, as many assume, as a PR move or out of the kindness of our prime minister's heart. Rather, Ottawa was sued into it. In 2007, on behalf of the 80,000 living former students, the Indian Residential School Survivors Society successfully sued the government of Canada and the churches that operated its schools. It took six years, and remains the largest class-action lawsuit in Canadian history. It was the former students themselves who insisted on a truth commission, and it runs on money taken out of that overall settlement.

The relationship between the federal government and the TRC has always been tense. By 2009, all three original commissioners had stepped down citing, among other concerns, objections to meddling from Ottawa. One of the first acts of the next commissioners was to move the headquarters from Ottawa to Winnipeg. The TRC has also taken the federal government to court twice over access to archival documents, and its 2010 interim report criticized the government’s “unacceptable reluctance to co-operate.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:04 AM

Vatican's anti-money laundering norms taking hold

VATICAN CITY
Ledger-Enquirer

BY NICOLE WINFIELD
Associated Press
May 29, 2015

VATICAN CITY — The Vatican's financial watchdog agency said Friday it received 147 reports of suspicious financial transactions last year, a sign that tough new anti-money laundering norms are taking hold at its scandal-marred bank.

The Financial Information Authority's annual report showed a slight decline in the number of suspicious reports received in 2014 compared to the 202 received in 2013. In 2012, when the Vatican's efforts at greater financial controls were in their infancy, only six suspicious transactions were reported.

Of the 147 transactions that were flagged as potentially problematic in 2014, the agency forwarded seven to Vatican prosecutors for investigation. The report said most concerned suspected fraud, tax fraud or tax evasion.

Emeritus Pope Benedict XVI created the agency in 2010 as a key part of an overall bid to clean up the Vatican's financial house to comply with international anti-money laundering and anti-terror financing norms.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:59 AM

Attorney General in Dominican Republic over child abuse cases

POLAND
The News

Attorney General Andrzej Seremet has visited the Dominican Republic in connection with two child abuse cases involving Polish clergymen.

Seremet spoke with victims of Father Wojciech G. (full name witheld under Polish privacy laws), who was sentenced by a Polish court to seven years in prison in March 2015 for abusing children in both the Dominican Republic and Poland.

Besides the prison sentence, the clergyman has been ordered to pay a combined sum of PLN 155,000 damages to the victims, divided between six minors in the Dominican Republic and two in Poland. Seremet's counterpart Attorney General Francisco Dominquez Brito had visited Poland in December 2014 prior to the trial.

He commented then “that we expect a just, high sentence which will satisfy public opinion in the Dominican Republic.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:54 AM

Vatican FIA says IOR on track

VATICAN CITY
Vatican Radio

[with audio]

(Vatican Radio) The Financial Intelligence Authority of the Holy See and the Vatican City State – Autorità di Informazione Finanziaria or AIF for short – gave a briefing to journalists on Friday at the Press Office of the Holy See to present the annual report for 2014.

The report reviews the activities and statistics of the AIF for the year 2014, which the AIF says present a continuous strengthening of the legal and institutional framework of the Holy See and the Vatican City State to regulate supervised entities, fostering international cooperation of the Vatican competent authority with its foreign counterparts and to consolidate the prevention and countering of potential illicit financial activities.

The President of the AIF, René Brülhart, explained that expansion of the Authority’s cooperation with other national and international financial oversight organs has improved the AIF’s ability to carry out its mandate. “By signing Memoranda of Understandings (MOUs) with other Financial Intelligence Units of 13 countries, including Australia, France and the UK as well as with the Regulators of Germany, Luxembourg and the United States of America, we have also massively strengthened international cooperation,” Brülhart said.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:52 AM

Briefing per la presentazione del Rapporto Annuale dell’Autorità di Informazione Finanziaria (AIF) - Anno III, 2014., 29.05.2015

CITTA' DEL VATICANO
Bolletino

Alle ore 11.00 di questa mattina, nell’Aula Giovanni Paolo II della Sala Stampa della Santa Sede, si tiene un briefing per la presentazione del Rapporto Annuale dell’Autorità di Informazione Finanziaria (AIF) sull’attività di informazione finanziaria e di vigilanza per la prevenzione e il contrasto del riciclaggio e del finanziamento del terrorismo. Anno III, 2014.

Intervengono al briefing il Dott. René Brülhart, Presidente dell’AIF e il Dott. Tommaso Di Ruzza, Direttore dell’AIF.

Riportiamo di seguito il Comunicato Stampa riguardante il Rapporto annuale 2014 dell’AIF:

Supervisory framework and international cooperation System further strengthened

The Autorità di Informazione Finanziaria (AIF) of the Holy See and the Vatican City State has presented its Annual Report for 2014. The report reviews the activities and statistics of the AIF for the year 2014.

2014 has seen a continuous strengthening of the legal and institutional framework of the Holy See and the Vatican City State to regulate supervised entities, fostering international cooperation of the Vatican competent authority with its foreign counterparts and to consolidate the prevention and countering of potential illicit financial activities.

“With the introduction of Regulation No. 1, we have completed the prudential supervisory framework of the Holy See and Vatican City State,” said René Brülhart, President of AIF. “By signing Memoranda of Understandings (MOUs) with other Financial Intelligence Units of 13 countries, including Australia, France and the UK as well as with the Regulators of Germany, Luxembourg and the United States of America, we have also massively strengthened international cooperation.”

The reporting system has been consolidated after having received 6 suspicious transaction reports (STR) in 2012, 202 in 2013 and 147 in 2014. Such development is a consequence both of the full implementation of the legal framework and of the substantial improvement in the operational performance of the supervised entities with regard to the prevention of financial crime. 7 reports have been passed on to the Vatican Promoter of Justice for further investigation by judicial authorities. The number of cases of bilateral cooperation between AIF and foreign competent authorities has increased from 4 in 2012 to 81 in 2013 and 113 in 2014. “This continuous increase is a result of the systematic efforts undertaken by AIF as well as the strong commitment of the Holy See and the Vatican City State to cooperate actively with other jurisdictions to prevent and combat potential illicit financial activities globally,” said Tommaso di Ruzza, Director of AIF.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:50 AM

Is This the Death of the Catholic Church in Ireland?

UNITED STATES
National Catholic Register

COMMENTARY: There have been three key moments in the recent history of the Irish Church when leading bishops and priests could have chosen to strengthen the faith of the people. Instead, poor choices and inaction have weakened what remains.

by DEACON NICK DONNELLY 05/28/2015

The vote in Ireland has been to legalize same-sex “marriage,” an outcome that suggests a loss of moral clarity among the majority of Catholics in the Irish Church. I am left asking the question: Is the Irish Church dead?

I know this may sound shocking, and some may accuse me of alarmism and defeatism. However, sacred Scripture is clear that, though Our Lord has promised to be with the universal Church until the end of time (Matthew 28:20), it is possible for a local Church to die.

The Book of Revelation contains the locutions and visions Our Lord granted to his beloved disciple, St. John the Evangelist. Our Lord sent seven messages to the local Churches, one of which was addressed to the Church of Sardis, which reveals the awful possibility of the death of a church:

And to the angel of the church in Sardis write: “The words of him who has the seven spirits of God and the seven stars, I know your works; you have the name of being alive, and you are dead. Awake, and strengthen what remains and is on the point of death, for I have not found your works perfect in the sight of my God” (3:1-2).

In 2003, Pope St. John Paul II urgently addressed the exhortation contained in Our Lord’s Letter to the Church of Sardis to the whole of Europe, including the Church in Ireland, “Awake, and strengthen what remains and is on the point of death” (Revelation 3:2). Twelve years later, it is clear that Ireland and many other European countries have not heeded Pope St. John Paul II’s final warning, and, in fact, many of the bishops and people have done the exact opposite: They have weakened what remains to the point of death. ...

he Apostolic Visitation of the Irish Church

The first key moment was Pope Benedict XVI’s apostolic visitation of the Irish Church in response to the crisis caused by pedophile priests and the bishops’ widespread cover-up of crimes of child sexual abuse. Pope Benedict’s “Letter to the Catholics of Ireland,” announcing the need for an apostolic visitation, clearly stated his judgment as the Successor of St. Peter that his brother bishops had failed. He said this was a failure where “grave errors of judgment were made and failures of leadership.”

The apostolic visitation report was mainly a snapshot of the Irish Church that summarized safeguarding measures that the Irish episcopacy and religious orders were already putting in place. It also made a number of reasonable recommendations, including: the updating of safeguarding guidelines in accordance with the norms established by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith; the reorganization of ecclesiastical tribunals; the formation of seminarians; and various formation, spiritual and administrative changes for religious orders.

One paragraph of the report stands out in light of the open dissent among Irish priests supporting, or remaining neutral towards, the legalization of same-sex “marriage” in 2015:

“Since the visitators also encountered a certain tendency, not dominant but nevertheless fairly widespread among priests, religious and laity, to hold theological opinions at variance with the teachings of the magisterium, this serious situation requires particular attention, directed principally towards improved theological formation. It must be stressed that dissent from the fundamental teachings of the Church is not the authentic path towards renewal.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:43 AM

Lawyer to ‘shine light’ on historical sex abuse

SCOTLAND
Scotsman

A SENIOR lawyer has been appointed to lead the public inquiry into the historical sexual abuse of children in residential care.

Susan O’Brien QC will be charged with looking into the treatment of children by institutions – including churches and independent boarding schools – going back decades.

Education secretary Angela Constance said the public inquiry – thought to be the biggest ever in Scotland – would be a “massive undertaking” which aimed to “shine a light into the dark corners of the past”.

She also announced plans to lift a three-year time bar which prevents civil actions being brought against abusers, allowing claims for damages in cases which took place after 1964.

And there will be £14.5 million of new funding to help provide support services for those who have been abused.

Ms O’Brien, who led the 2003 inquiry into failings that led to the death of baby Caleb Ness, will begin work on 1 July. Her inquiry is expected to last four years.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:41 AM

Chief Justice says Canada attempted ‘cultural genocide’ on aboriginals

CANADA
The Globe and Mail

SEAN FINE - JUSTICE WRITER
The Globe and Mail
Published Thursday, May. 28 2015

Supreme Court Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin says Canada attempted to commit “cultural genocide” against aboriginal peoples, in what she calls the worst stain on Canada’s human-rights record.

Genocide – an attempt to destroy a people, in whole or part – is a crime under international law. The United Nations’ Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, adopted in 1948, does not use the phrase “cultural genocide,” but says genocide may include causing serious mental harm to a group.

Chief Justice McLachlin appears to be the highest-ranking Canadian official to use the phrase. Former Liberal prime minister Paul Martin used it two years ago in describing residential schools for aboriginal children when he testified before the Truth and Reconciliation Commission set up by the Conservative government. That commission is to make its report public next week.

“The most glaring blemish on the Canadian historic record relates to our treatment of the First Nations that lived here at the time of colonization,” Chief Justice McLachlin said. She was delivering the fourth annual Pluralism Lecture of the Global Centre for Pluralism, founded in 2006 by the Aga Khan, spiritual leader of Ismaili Muslims, and the federal government.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:38 AM

Reconciliation Starts With a Ringing Bell

CANADA
Huffington Post

Marika Morris
Adjunct Research Professor, Canadian Studies, Carleton University. Research Consultant with a focus on building healthy communities.

For 120 years, indigenous children in Canada were separated by federal law from their families and communities and sent to church-run Indian residential schools. The documented purpose of these schools was to wipe out indigenous cultures, languages, spirituality and traditions. It failed, but it caused much continuing harm in the process. Many of these students were physically and sexually abused, did not learn how to have good relationships and were taught to be ashamed of themselves and their parents. Thousands died at these schools and never came home at all.

This Sunday, participating churches across Canada will be ringing bells at noon, ringing for reconciliation, acknowledging their part in this process and their commitment to working with indigenous peoples to build a new and brighter future. Those churches that don't have belfries, like First United Church and All Saints Westboro in Ottawa, will be outside ringing handbells, tambourines and anything that makes a ringing noise. Canada's Truth and Reconciliation Commission, which has spent six long years listening to the testimony of residential school survivors, is marking the end of its journey from May 31-June 3 with ceremonies, educational events, and a call to action. Across Canada, all kinds of people are participating in the walks for reconciliation, planting heart gardens, and other events.

In other parts of the world, grave injustices deliberately committed against a people can lead to decades or centuries of further hatred and violence. Indigenous peoples in Canada want to move forward with the rest of Canada, in a relationship of justice and harmony. This involves acknowledging not only the injustices of the past, but the continuing injustice and trauma of murdered and missing indigenous women, destruction of indigenous lands and waters, and the fact that First Nations and Inuit children receive a much lower standard of education in their communities than other Canadian kids. Reconciliation is a recognition of these realities and a commitment to action. We can't just be sorry about what happened in the past, we must rectify the injustices of today and build a better future together based on justice and equality.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:36 AM

Perverted vicar ‘may have other victims’

UNITED KINGDOM
Portsmouth News

POLICE fear there may be other victims of a retired vicar jailed for sexual assault on a child.

Graham Gregory, 79, from York, was sentenced to three years’ imprisonment at Kingston Crown Court on Tuesday, having been found guilty in 2014 of two counts of indecent assault on a girl under 13 years.

He held positions across the country, including Chichester.

Detectives were contacted by a woman in 2012 who claimed that she had been abused as a child between 1969 and 1971 when she lived in Wandsworth.

Detective Constable Aaron Vardy, of the Metropolitan Police’s Sexual Offences Exploitation and Child Abuse Command, said: ‘Gregory abused his position as a figure of trust and authority.

‘It takes a lot of courage to report this type of crime and in some cases victims feel that they are only able to come forward years after the offence. This conviction highlights that regardless of how much time has passed, we remain committed to bringing offenders before the courts.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:33 AM

Alleged Sexual Abuse Victim Testifies Against Teacher Stephen Budd

FLORIDA
CBS 12

WEST PALM BEACH (CBS12) - A former private school teacher, accused of molesting two students, faced one of his accusers in court on Thursday.

Stephen Budd is on trial, charged with sexually molesting two of his fourth grade students at the Rosarian Academy, a West Palm Beach Catholic school.

The alleged victim told jurors she is 18 years old now, and just graduated from high school. She said the sexual abuse she endured in fourth grade became like a normal part of school for her.

The first incident, said the young woman, happened while Budd played a movie and the classroom was dark.

She said Budd offered her and her friend extra classroom incentive play money, "Budd Bucks." The “Budd Bucks” were a status symbol in the classroom, she said.

“He moved my underwear to the side,” she said, and touched her private area. She ran to the bathroom crying.

The sexual incidents soon resumed, said the young woman.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:27 AM

Former youth pastor charged in church sex act enters guilty plea

INDIANA
WTHI

By Eric Stidman
Published: May 28, 2015

MADISON COUNTY, Ind. (WTHI) – A former Vincennes, Indiana youth pastor charged with sexual misconduct with a minor entered a guilty plea Wednesday in a Madison County, Indiana courtroom.

Derrick “Duke” Hampsch was arrested by Vincennes Police Detectives in 2014 after a victim’s family member came forward with allegations Hampsch took part in sex acts with a female victim. Hampsch, at that time, served as a Youth Pastor at First Baptist Church in Vincennes.

A court document provided to News 10 explained in April of 2010, Hampsch fondled the victim and had the victim fondle him. This incident, the document stated, happened at a First Baptist Church event in Anderson, Indiana. The victim told police, the church group traveled from Vincennes and stayed overnight at the Madison Park Church of God.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:24 AM

Widespread child abuse in Ballarat diocese

AUSTRALIA
news.com.au

CLAIMS AND REVELATIONS FROM THE CHILD SEX ABUSE ROYAL COMMISSION'S HEARINGS IN BALLARAT

EARLY OFFENDING BY GERALD RIDSDALE
Started offending while in seminary in 1950s.

KNOWLEDGE BY THE CHURCH IN BALLARAT
* The first complaint about Ridsdale was made to Bishop James O'Collins in 1961. He was told if it happens again he's "off the mission" (priesthood taken away).
* Bishop Ronald Mulkearns knew about Ridsdale's offending in 1975, but didn't suspend him until 1988.
* Convicted priest Paul Ryan says Bishop Mulkearns knew about him in 1977 and "buried his head in the sand" about sexual abuse in diocese. Ryan was removed as priest 1993.
* Bishop Mulkearns, Monsignor Leo Fiscalini and vicar general Father Henry Nolan all received complaints about Ridsdale's conduct in Mortlake (1981-1982).

KNOWLEDGE BY THE CHURCH IN SYDNEY
Documents show Bishop Mulkearns in 1983 told Sydney Archbishop Cardinal Edward Clancy that Ridsdale was receiving counselling for "certain sexual problems" and was not to have contact with children following his transfer to Sydney.

CLAIMS ABOUT CARDINAL GEORGE PELL
* BRIBERY
Ridsdale's nephew David Ridsdale accused Cardinal Pell of trying to bribe him in 1993 after being abused by his uncle. Pell allegedly asked him: "I want to know what it will take to keep you quiet."
Pell denied the allegation. "At no time did I attempt to bribe David Ridsdale or his family or offer any financial inducements for him to be silent."

* DISMISSED COMPLAINT
Timothy Green says when he was 12 or 13 he told Pell, in 1974, that Brother Edward Dowlan was abusing boys at St Patrick's College. "Father Pell said `don't be ridiculous' and walked out."
Pell says he has no recollection of a conversation with Green. "To the best of my belief, this conversation did not happen."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:22 AM

5 Browns sisters to promote bill on statute of limitations of sex crimes

UTAH
Deseret News

By Ben Lockhart, Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY — Two members of the famed piano group The 5 Browns are working with Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., to promote a bill that would incentivize states to reconsider their statute of limitations laws with regard to sexual crimes.

Deondra Brown said she and sister Desirae have been in meetings with Reid as he prepares a draft of the bill and looks for a co-sponsor.

“(The bill) would help the states, (encourage) them to change their statute of limitations laws,”Deondra Brown said.

The sisters founded the Foundation for Survivors of Abuse after their father, Keith Brown, was sentenced to prison in 2011 for sexually abusing his daughters over a period of several years in the 1990s.

"We started receiving emails from victims all over the country saying that they were not allowed by their statute of limitations to prosecute when they were finally ready," Deondra Brown said. "We realized what a big problem it is for victims (not) to be able to have that closure and that opportunity to prosecute and put these criminals away.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:18 AM

I’m a Catholic, and I’m embarrassed by the Vatican… again

CANADA
Metro

By Rosemary Westwood
Metro

I don’t lack reasons to be embarrassed: shiny forehead, very loud voice, a sometimes uptight nature.

Some days, I even have the bonus of being Catholic. It’s a bit like being an American — you’re an easy butt of jokes.

The Vatican can’t go long without sparking controversy, and the pope (any pope) can’t go long without inflaming the global public.

Such was the case this week. After Ireland legalized same-sex marriage in a historic referendum, a senior Vatican official said: “I think that you cannot just talk of a defeat for Christian principles but of a defeat for humanity.”

How ridiculous, and (perhaps inevitably) aggrandizing. A defeat for humanity is worsening climate change. A defeat for humanity is nuclear war. Even if you don’t support same-sex marriage (I do), allowing it doesn’t come with such dire consequences.

That’s far from my first, or likely last, embarrassment.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:16 AM

Vicar formerly of Southfields convicted of two indecent assaults on girls under 13

UNITED KINGDOM
Wandsworth Guardian

by Laura Proto

A retired vicar who indecently assaulted a child while he was a curate at a church in Southfields has been jailed for three years.

Graham Gregory, 79, was found guilty of two counts of indecent assault on a girl under the age of 13 last year, and was sentenced at Kingston Crown Court on Tuesday, May 26.

A woman contacted police in 2012, saying she had been abused between 1969 and 1971 when she lived in Wandsworth and attended the church where Gregory was a curate.

She said Gregory, now of Brockfield Park Drive, Huntington, York, kissed her on several occasions before he assaulted her.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:12 AM

Abuse victims at Comboni Fathers' Yorkshire seminary demand apology

UNITED KINGDOM
The Tablet

29 May 2015 by Joanna Moorhead, Liz Dodd

A group of men has called on the Comboni Fathers to acknowledge and apologise for decades of abuse they allege took place at the order’s junior seminary in Yorkshire.

Brian Hennessy, one of 12 ex-students who have come forward to say they were abused by priests at Mirfield Junior Seminary in Yorkshire between the late 1950s and the early 1980s, this week sent a 157-page report detailing more than 1,000 instances of abuse to the archbishops of England, Wales, Ireland and Scotland.

The report was also sent to the abbots and religious superiors of all the religious communities in Britain and the heads of the religious conferences.

In an accompanying letter Mr Hennessy said that priests and Religious had failed in their task, abandoned their mission and the spirituality of the Gospels by refusing properly to acknowledge and validate their pain and suffering.

Last year a group of victims were given payments by the order of between £7,000 and £30,000 each which Kathy Perrin, a lawyer with the Catholic Church Insurance Association, which represented the order, said was not an admission of guilt.

She explained: "Everything happened an incredibly long time ago and two of the priests who were accused are now deceased. My clients simply don't know what happened at Mirfield and don't feel that it can be established now."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:10 AM

Ballarat bishop tells royal commission diocese may struggle to pay all child abuse claims

AUSTRALIA
ABC - PM

MARK COLVIN: The bishop of Ballarat has told the royal commission the diocese may struggle to make compensation payments to all its victims of child sexual abuse.

But Paul Bird acknowledged that it could borrow money from a diocese fund which is worth $100 million.

The commission heard there had been at least 130 claims made against 14 local priests between 1980 and now.

Samantha Donovan reports.

SAMANTHA DONOVAN: The Catholic Bishop of Ballarat Paul Bird acknowledges that when it comes to clerical sexual abuse his community is divided.

PAUL BIRD: Yes, there are quite a few divisions I would say and people have sometimes quite different reactions. Those of course who would be directly hurt, those who, certainly those who've been offended against and their families would really feel the crimes that have been done. Others who may be more distant from that might not see the real, the full impact, or not appreciate it.

SAMANTHA DONOVAN: Paul Bird has been the bishop of Ballarat since 2012.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:08 AM

Up to 14 priests sexually abused children in Ballarat, commission hears

AUSTRALIA
The Guardian

Australian Associated Press
Thursday 28 May 2015

As many as 14 priests have been found to have sexually abused children in Victoria’s Ballarat diocese, the child sexual abuse royal commission has heard.

Data before the royal commission into institutional responses to child sexual abuse shows there have been at least 130 claims and substantiated complaints of child sexual abuse against the Ballarat diocese since 1980.

Senior counsel assisting the commission Gail Furness said that number included seven claims jointly held against the Christian Brothers.

She said at least 14 priests of the Ballarat diocese have been the subject of one or more claim or substantiated complaint of child sex abuse. Ballarat bishop Paul Bird said he was not certain that all 14 had been substantiated and he thought it was a lower number, maybe 10 or 12.

Furness said data from the diocese’s records show Gerald Francis Ridsdale had been the subject of at least 76 claims and substantiated complaints from the late 1950s to the late 1980s.

Earlier, Bird told the commission that he thought the Vatican should remove a priest from his position if he has been convicted of abusing children, but that it has not always done so.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:06 AM

Catholic Church should consider ordaining women, priest says

AUSTRALIA
Perth Now

Shannon Deery
Herald Sun

ONE of Victoria’s most senior priests says the Catholic Church should consider ordaining women.

Ballarat bishop Paul Bird said today a lack of women in the church may have contributed to the widespread abuse of children.

He told the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse that the issue should be revisited.

“If we looked at the possible negative effects of not including women, then that would add to the reason for the discussion,” he said.

“If we see that as a difficulty in having the church really balanced as a community, and with a recognition that perhaps in some cases that very imbalance...was a contributing factor to some crimes...then that would be all the more reason.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:04 AM

What is the connection between these senior Catholics?

AUSTRALIA
The Age

May 29, 2015

Chris Johnston

What are the connections between three senior Catholic Church leaders and notorious paedophile priest Gerald Ridsdale? Both inside and outside of the child sexual abuse royal commission these connections are being tested and incrementally revealed, despite Ridsdale's evidence this week full of noticeable omissions and memory lapses.

Take Thursday, for example, down at Fairhaven outside a nice house on the Great Ocean Road, occupied by former bishop Ronald Mulkearns, 83. He was named this week as the "pivotal person" responsible for failing to prevent rampant child sexual abuse at Catholic institutions in Ballarat in the 1970s, moving Ridsdale around the state and overseas as the allegations against him piled up.

Fairfax Media reported last year the Ballarat Catholic diocese paid for a $60,000 renovation on the coastal house. Another media outlet reported in 2013, after a stroke, that he leads an "active lifestyle" down the coast. The former bishop is not before the commission, citing ill health. Despite that he took an interesting visitor yesterday, who has admitted the royal commission was discussed.

The visitor was retired Catholic priest John McKinnon, who spent his working years at parishes in western Victoria, including Ballarat. He now lives in Hamilton.

The ABC went to Fairhaven to knock on former bishop Mulkearns' door and while he declined to comment, they found Father McKinnon outside. He was most talkative. Asked what the pair discussed inside, he said: "Obviously the royal commission was part of it, but we don't want to talk about that all the time."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:02 AM

Ballarat victim hopes inquiry brings peace

AUSTRALIA
Gazette Herald

BY ANDREW HIGGINS / MAY 28, 2015
Gordon Hill hopes the many individuals like him who have been abused as youngsters by clergy in Ballarat will ultimately find yourself discovering a bit of little bit of peace and recognition.

The 72-year-old is glad he made the 3000km journey from Western Australia to the Victorian regional metropolis to inform the royal fee of the bodily and sexual abuse he suffered as a toddler at St Joseph’s Home.

But many survivors of the widespread abuse by clergy over many years within the Ballarat diocese really feel that even after an intense two-week public listening to, there’s nonetheless an extended solution to go.

In specific they level to the Catholic Church’s response and dealing with of abuse complaints.

“There does not appear to be something put into place and no eagerness to do something,” survivor Andrew Collins stated.

“You would assume that in any case these years that they might have had this down pat now, that procedures would have been put into place they usually’d be doing issues that have been victim-centred not church-centred.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:59 AM

Child abuse sex inquiry...

AUSTRALIA
Radio Australia

Child abuse sex inquiry: Bishop Paul Bird denies as many as 14 Ballarat priests involved in abuse as hearings wrap up

By court reporter Peta Carlyon

A bishop disputes figures at a royal commission hearing in Victoria that the diocese of Ballarat had at least 14 priests involved in child sexual abuse.

At least 14 priests in the diocese of Ballarat are the subject of complaints of child sexual abuse, a royal commission hearing in Victoria has been told.

However, that figure was disputed by Bishop Paul Bird who testified on the final day of hearings in Ballarat of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses into Child Sexual Abuse.

Bishop Bird said while he does not know the actual figure, he does not think all of the complaints were substantiated.

"It's less than 14 ... maybe 12, maybe 10," he said.

Bishop Bird agreed there were clear divisions in the Ballarat community in relation to survivors of child abuse being encouraged to come forward.

"Some people don't think it's a good thing," he said.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:57 AM

Church does not have enough money for Ballarat survivor claims, Bishop Paul Bird says

AUSTRALIA
The Age

May 29, 2015

Jane Lee

Ballarat Bishop Paul Bird doubts the diocese will be able to afford all the compensation claims it expects to receive from survivors of clergy abuse.

The diocese had worked with Catholic Church Insurance to try to estimate how much they may have to pay in compensation claims for historic and current child abuse, Bishop Bird told the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse on Friday.

The Bishop – the final witness for the commission's Ballarat hearing –was "not confident" about the sum, but said he had "doubts that we could meet those claims" as the diocese's finances were "not very strong."

Claims not covered by Catholic Church Insurance were paid out of a fund set up by a bequest in the 1930s. There was $1 million still in the fund, the commission heard.

The diocese also owned "very few" small parcels of land held by a trust and had a more than $100 million development fund, contributed to by the diocese and other investors.

Since January 1980, at least 130 claims and substantiated complaints had been made against the Diocese of Ballarat for child sexual abuse, including seven jointly held with the Christian Brothers.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:55 AM

Ballarat priest used confession to admit abuse, royal commission told

AUSTRALIA
The Guardian

Australian Associated Press
Friday 29 May 2015

Potential misuse of the Catholic confessional has been exposed after at least one priest has admitted using the private disclosure to seek absolution for abusing children.

The revelation meant the system lacked honesty and substance if a priest could be absolved in such a way, the royal commission into institutional responses to child sexual abuse was told on Friday.

“It’s not yet public, but we have heard from at least one priest who confessed to his confessor, and in that way reconciled his offending behaviour, which continued with his belief in God,” justice Peter McClellan told the commission in Ballarat on Friday.

“That throws up a rather startling illustration of how the confessional might be misused, doesn’t it?”

Ballarat bishop Paul Bird agreed that would be a terrible misuse of confession.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:51 AM

May 28, 2015

Priest confessed his offending: inquiry

AUSTRALIA
7 News

By Megan Neil
May 29, 2015

At least one priest admitted he was abusing children during confession, the royal commission has heard.

Commission Chair Justice Peter McClellan has revealed that at least one priest confessed his offending behaviour in confession.

"It's not yet public, but we have heard from at least one priest who confessed to his confessor, and in that way reconciled his offending behaviour, which continued with his belief in God," Justice McClellan said on Friday.

"That throws up a rather startling illustration of how the confessional might be misused, doesn't it?"

Ballarat Bishop Paul Bird said that would be a terrible misuse of confession, which was supposed to mean conversion from doing wrong.

"If it's such a serious matter as a crime, to treat it as though it was something that one could confess, I think to me that is simply a shelf of a ritual, it has no substance."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:00 PM

OH--Priest helps sex offender; SNAP responds

OHIO
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

For immediate release: Wednesday, May 27

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

We are grateful that Nordonia Hills school board president James Virost resigned today and we hope that Fr. Ralph Wiatrowsky of St. Barnabas will soon be disciplined. Both men wrote a judge essentially urging a lighter sentence for a convicted child sex offender (former Nordonia Hills school board President Steve Bittel). They should be ashamed of themselves.

[WKYC]

School and church officials should always put the safety of their kids above the wishes of their friends. Helping sex offenders get shorter sentences is reckless and hurtful. When officials write letters urging lighter punishments for sex offenders, they are being selfish and short-sighted and they rub even more salt into the already deep and usually still fresh wounds of victims and their loved ones.

We hope that anyone who may have seen, suspected or suffered Bittel's crimes will call law enforcement. And we hope that those who care about kids will keep pressuring Cleveland Bishop Richard Lennon to publicly and harshly discipline Fr. Wiatrowsky for his irresponsible actions in this case.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:07 PM

Ridsdale shouldn't have had priestly power

AUSTRALIA
Daily Mail

At a time when Catholic families placed priests on a pedestal, Gerald Francis Ridsdale held an "almost supernatural" level of power even in his own family.

He was charismatic and many were in awe of him, his nephew David Ridsdale recalls.

Ridsdale's mother would be frantic when he came home to visit, ordering his six siblings to get their cars off the driveway hours before his arrival.

He appeared to be a hardworking priest who helped his parishioners, particularly the needy and youth.

But it was all a ruse that was allowed to continue for decades and, as one judge put it, plummeted to the depths of evil hypocrisy.

Ridsdale used his exalted position in the eyes of Catholic families and communities to find his prey.

Father Adrian McInerney admired Ridsdale's ability, and even what he did for youth, saying Ridsdale sought out families in need when he went to a parish.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:02 PM

Convicted priests should be removed:bishop

AUSTRALIA
The West Australian

Megan Neil
May 29, 2015

The Vatican should remove a priest from his position if he's been convicted of abusing children, but has not always done so, a Victorian priest says.

Ballarat Bishop Paul Bird has also told the child sex abuse royal commission that the position of a priest provided cover for clergy who abused children.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:59 PM

Case Study 28, May 2015, Ballarat - Live hearing

AUSTRALIA
Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse

live stream

Bishop Paul Bird is giving testimony to the commission.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:57 PM

Monster with a conveniently poor memory

AUSTRALIA
The Standard

By JARROD WOOLLEY May 29, 2015

WITH his wispy white hair, large glasses, and liver spots on his balding head, he could be any ordinary man on the street.

But there is nothing ordinary about Gerald Ridsdale.

It is hard to reconcile the image on the screen — that of a feeble old man who needed the assistance of a walking frame — with the one that has been painted in the media of an evil, perverted sex fiend who preyed on young children with zero thought for the hurt and harm he was causing.

But make no mistake — the man who appeared at the royal commission into child sex abuse via video link from his Ararat prison is a monster.

He’s serving time for abusing 54 individual victims. It’s thought there are countless others who fell victim to Ridsdale, including many who have taken their own lives, unable to live with the irreversible psychological damage done to them by the defrocked priest they initially trusted.

The commission, in part, is trying to find out how Ridsdale and other priests and Christian Brothers could continue interfering with children for so long and what the church did to stop it.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:52 PM

Paedophile Gerald Ridsdale abused boy at Bulli Parish in the 1980s

AUSTRALIA
Illawarra Mercury

By KATE McILWAIN May 29, 2015

Notorious paedophile Gerald Ridsdale wormed his way into a Sydney family’s life and ‘‘latched on’’ to a young boy before abusing him at Bulli Parish, where he worked for three weekends as a relieving priest in the 1980s.

The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse in Ballarat has heard the 81-year-old former priest went on to abuse children in Maroubra and the Diocese of Wollongong after he had been sent away from Ballarat because of multiple complaints that he was sexually abusing children.

Despite conditions imposed by Ballarat’s Bishop Ronald Mulkearns that Ridsdale be tranfered to work in a desk job at Sydney’s Catholic Inquiry Centre and have no contact with children, the paedophile tracked down a prayer group which included families with children.

"In this particular prayer group, you latched on to a 10 or 11 year-old boy straight away, didn’t you?," counsel assisting the commissioner, Gail Furness, said during Thursday’s hearing.

"And you became friendly with the family, you had a computer and a keyboard that you used because the boy was interested in keyboards, and you lent him the keyboard, didn’t you?

"In your words, you wormed your way into his family?"

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:48 PM

Rabbi Accused Of Molesting 11-Year Old

FLORIDA
CBS Miami

MIAMI BEACH (CBSMiami) — A rabbi is in trouble with the law, accused of molesting a child and now police are searching for more possible victims.

Miami Beach Police arrested Steve Karro, 55, on Thursday.

Karro was a substitute Rabbi at Shaare Ezra Sephardic Synagogue Congregation.

According to his arrest report, on April 16th, Karro “intentionally touched/grabbed the buttocks” of an 11-year old girl. The report also states he kissed her along her neck after having her sit on his lap.

Police said the alleged victim has known Karro for five years.

Karro allegedly gave the girl candy and “told her not to tell her mother about what had happened.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:53 PM

MIAMI BEACH RABBI ARRESTED FOR MOLESTING GIRL TO "CLEANSE" HER "NEGATIVE ENERGY"

FLORIDA
New Times

BY KYLE MUNZENRIEDER

THURSDAY, MAY 28, 2015

Steve Karro, a 55-year-old rabbi on Miami Beach, is behind bars today on charges of molesting an 11-year-old girl. The alleged incident happened last month, but Karro told police that he was merely trying to cleanse the girl of her "negative energy."

Karro is a substitute rabbi at Shaare Ezra Sephardic Congregation. He also pursues a career as a fine artist, and indeed has his own art gallery on Arthur Godfrey Road. That's where the incident happened back on April 16.

Karro allegedly grabbed the girl's buttocks over her clothes at the gallery. He then sat the girl down on his lap and kissed her along the neck. The victim then ran out of the gallery, but not before Karro alleged gave her a bag of candy and told her not to tell her mother.

According to police, Karro has known the victim for five years.

When questioned by police, Karro denied most of the charges but did admit to touching the girl's buttocks. However, he said the girl was "exhibiting negative energy" and touched her to "cleanse" her.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:51 PM

Miami Beach rabbi arrested on molestation charges

FLORIDA
Local 10

[with video]

Author: Amanda Batchelor, Senior Digital Editor, abatchelor@wplg.com

MIAMI BEACH, Fla. -
A substitute rabbi at a Miami Beach synagogue is facing charges after allegedly inappropriately touching an 11-year-old girl last month.

Steve Karro, 55, was arrested Thursday on charges of lewd and lascivious molestation of a child and lewd and lascivious conduct on a child.

According to an arrest report, Karro, who is a substitute rabbi at Shaare Ezra Sephardic Congregation, intentionally grabbed the buttocks of the victim on April 16 while they were at the Karro Art Gallery.

Police said Karro also kissed the girl's neck after sitting her on his lap. Police said the rabbi and victim have known one other for five years.

According to detectives, Karro denied some of the allegations, but said he touched the victim's buttocks for a "cleansing as she was exhibiting negative energy."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:49 PM

Rabbi arrested for allegedly molesting girl

FLORIDA
WSVN

MIAMI BEACH, Fla. (WSVN) -- According to Miami Beach Police, a rabbi has been arrested for allegedly inappropriately touching an 11-year-old girl, though he claims he did so to "cleanse" her of negative energy.

Fifty-five-year-old Rabbi Steve Karro is accused of touching and kissing the girl, who he has known for five years, at Karro Art Studio, located at 738 West 41st St., on Miami Beach. "A few officers just came here and started taking pictures and were asking questions, and they took pictures all over the place, and they left," said Ezekiel Eneus.

According to the arrest report, Karro intentionally touched and grabbed the buttocks of the victim over her clothing. He also kissed her neck and sat her on his lap. As nerves began to build, she got up and began to leave the studio, he then handed her a small bag of candy and asked that she not tell her mother of what took place.

"I feel very sorry for her, also for the family. I pray for everybody. This is a very bad situation for the family and also for him," said Michelle, who works nearby the art studio.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:47 PM

Miami Beach Rabbi Arrested, Accused of Molestation

FLORIDA
NBC Miami

[with video]

A substitute Rabbi at Shaare Ezra Sephardic Synagogue Congregation on Miami Beach was arrested Thursday morning on molestation charges.

Steve Karro, 55, who is also an artist, is charged with molestation of a child under the age of 12 and lewd and lascivious conduct on a child under 16.

According to the police report, Karro touched and grabbed the buttocks of an 11-year-old girl over her clothing, while she was visiting his art gallery at 738 41st Street.

The police report said Karro also kissed the girl along her neck after sitting her on her lap. The girl got visibly nervous and rushed out of the gallery.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:46 PM

Cops: Part-time rabbi fondled child at his Miami Beach art gallery

FLORIDA
Miami Herald

BY CHARLES RABIN
crabin@MiamiHerald.com

A substitute rabbi arrested for domestic violence almost two decades ago was charged Thursday with fondling an 11-year-old girl through her clothes and caressing her buttocks at his Miami Beach art gallery.

Police said Steve Karro, 55, placed the child on his lap last month and kissed her on the neck, then touched her bottom. During questioning by police, Karro said he touched the child’s buttocks for “cleansing” reasons because she was exhibiting “negative energy.”

Police said Karro gave her a bag of candy and asked her not to tell her parents about what had happened as she left the studio, 738 Arthur Godfrey Rd., on April 16. Police said the child and Karro knew each other for five years, but officers couldn’t explain why she was at the studio alone.

Karro, a substitute rabbi at the nearby Shaare Ezra Sephardic Synagogue Congregation, was arrested and charged with lewd and lascivious conduct of a child, and molesting a child. Calls to the synagogue and to Karro were not immediately returned Thursday.

Police said there was no indication that Karro did anything wrong while serving there.

Karro’s only previous brush with the law, according to Florida Department of Law Enforcement records, was for beating up his wife in 1999. His wife was also arrested during that encounter, in what was described then as a “knock-down, drag-out fight.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:41 PM

Abuse inquiry told Pell was aware of Ridsdale Mortlake crimes

AUSTRALIA
The Standard

By JARROD WOOLLEY May 29, 2015

PAEDOPHILE priest Gerald Ridsdale said if former Bishop of Ballarat Ronald Mulkearns had gone to the police rather than try and rehabilitate him with counselling, his offending would have stopped because he would have been in prison.

Giving evidence for a second day at the child sex abuse royal commission in Ballarat, Australia’s worst paedophile priest said he was now sorry he wasn’t reported to police and believes he should never have been ordained.

Ridsdale also appeared to back track on evidence given on Wednesday, conceding he may have approached Cardinal George Pell to give character evidence at his 1993 court appearance.

Comment: Ridsdale the old, cold face of evil

He had previously said he believed that was arranged through his legal team.

It was also revealed yesterday Cardinal Pell was on a committee of parish consulters that met in 1982 where Bishop Mulkearns said it had become “necessary to remove” Ridsdale from his post as parish priest at Mortlake’s St Colman’s Church.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:27 PM

Ex-Priest’s trial date set

AUSTRALIA
Armidale Express

By DANNIELLE MAGUIRE May 29, 2015

A DEFROCKED priest charged with numerous historic child sex offences will finally stand trial in Sydney early next year.

The former Armidale priest, whose identity has been gagged, was sent to trial at Sydney’s Downing Centre District Court on Friday.

He will stand trial in Sydney on January 18.

The trial is expected to take four weeks.

The ex-priest first appeared before the Armidale Local Court on October 18, 2012.

He had been charged with more than 120 offences, including 25 charges relating to the abuse of three girls across regional NSW between 1979 and 1988; 36 charges relating to the abuse of six boys between 1981 and 1984 in Moree and 64 charges relating to the abuse of two girls and one altar boy between 1982 and 1985.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:18 PM

Former Priest, Teacher Charged In Sex Abuse Of Boys More Than 30 Years Ago

MICHIGAN
CBS Detroit

JACKSON, Mich. (WWJ/AP) – Bond was set at $1 million for a former Michigan Catholic school priest, teacher and wrestling coach charged in connection in the alleged sexual assaults of several boys more than three decades ago.

State Attorney General Bill Schuette said75-year-old James Rapp was arraigned Thursday in Jackson District Court on 13 counts of criminal sexual conduct.

A not guilty plea was entered on Rapp’s behalf. He’ll remain jailed pending a June 26 preliminary examination conference.

Schuette said the investigation into Rapp’s conduct began in 2013 when two victims — now grown men — came forward to report the abuse that allegedly occurred when Rapp was assigned to Jackson Lumen Christi High School in the 1980s.

Jackson County Sheriff Steve Rand said his department launched an extensive investigation revealing several more victims.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:16 PM

Court throws out $500,000 judgment over alleged touching by priest

NEVADA
Las Vegas Sun

By Cy Ryan

Thursday, May 28, 2015

CARSON CITY — The Nevada Supreme Court today overturned a $500,000 judgment against the Catholic Diocese of Green Bay in Wisconsin in a case in which a priest in Las Vegas was accused of inappropriately touching a teen.

The court ruled that the District Court in Nevada does not have jurisdiction over the diocese.

The priest involved was originally from the diocese in Wisconsin and moved to Los Angeles and then to Las Vegas.

The incident allegedly occurred in 1985 when the priest was accused of running his hand up the teen’s leg and touching his genitals, according to court documents. The teen was a student at a Catholic school in Las Vegas.

The boy, who was in his early teens, said the incident led to psychological injuries in his later life.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:14 PM

Fr. Tom Doyle Confronts Continuing Cruelty To Deaf Abuse Survivors By Bishops Under Pope Francis

UNITED STATES
Christian Catholicism

Jerry Slevin

“The Milwaukee situation is the most insidious and openly destructive one I have seen in 31 years…”, said Dominican Fr. Thomas P. Doyle recently. Tom Doyle gives the reasons for his concern and outrage in his recent full remarks below. There he addresses the horrendous and ongoing mistreatment, indeed “re-abuse”, by the Archdiocese of Milwaukee of local survivors of priest sexual abuse, including some of the more than 200 deaf boys who were abused a single priest. See the related HBO Emmy and Peabody Awards’ winning documentary, Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence in the House of God , and here .

This abusive Milwaukee priest was protected for decades by unaccountable cardinals and bishops, including ex-Pope Benedict and his Secretary of State, Tarcisio Bertone. For years, these defenseless deaf boys tried to tell of their priest abuse in Milwaukee, to little avail.

This Catholic hierarchical cover up of a “one-priest” sexual abuse tsunami and of the related “re-abuse” of survivors are outrageously not unique, as is evident from the recent grilling by the Australian Royal Commission of Fr. Gerald Ridsdale, who was protected by his close ties to Cardinal George Pell, whom Pope Francis nevertheless promoted to a top Vatican position.

Most of the Risdale allegations had been well established and publicized before Pell’s promotion. Almost 75,000 people in just a few days have signed a Change.org petition calling for Pell — the Vatican’s financial chief and former Archbishop of Sydney — to answer questions under oath in Australia, despite Pell’s initial efforts to duck giving testimony there on new matters. Pell, in effect, under oath earlier also admitted to “re-abusing” abuse survivors with cruel and punitive legal tactics, for example, in the so-called Ellis case, like the Milwaukee Archbishop and Cardinal Timothy Dolan also apparently have similarly done.

A Vatican confidante reportedly spoken to by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp Australia confirmed Pope Francis was personally aware of the allegations against Cardinal Pell, but was treating them as just that — unconfirmed allegations. Unconfirmed beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law, perhaps. But in my experience over three decades as an adviser to top leaders of multinational organizations and corporations, not one of them would ever have promoted Pell like the pope did in light of the well known, widespread, multiple and plausible allegations against Pell. Indeed, Pell admitted before moving to the Vatican under oath to, in effect, using ruthless legal tactics to punitively “re-abuse” abuse survivor, John Ellis.

Of course, Rupert Murdoch appears to be very close to the Vatican and Pell, and also apparently to a top Pell supporter, Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott, and to the indicted Adelaide Archbishop, the first Catholic archbishop ever criminally charged in a priest child sexual abuse cover up case . And the pope and Murdoch also appear to be partnering to elect a “low tax” Republican as US president next year, possibly Jeb Bush with Big Oil backing.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:01 PM

Over 180 new clerical abuse allegations reported in past year

IRELAND
The Journal

SOME 184 ALLEGATIONS of historical clerical abuse have been brought to the attention of a national watchdog organisation in the last year.

The allegations relate to physical, emotional and sexual abuse committed by members of the clergy between 1950 and 2006, according to an annual report published today by the National Board for the Safeguarding of Children in the Catholic Church in Ireland.

In the year under review, 58 new abuse allegations were made against Diocesan clergy while 126 concerned religious priests, brothers and sisters.

The allegations, which were all raised during the 2014-15 year ending 31 March, have now been passed on to the Gardaí or PSNI and, if necessary, to Tusla or the Northern Irish Health and Social Care Trusts, the Board said.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:56 PM

U.K.’s Methodist Church Apologizes for Sexual, Emotional Abuse Over Decades

UNITED KINGDOM
Wall Street Journal

By JENNY GROSS
Updated May 28, 2015

LONDON—Britain’s Methodist Church has made a public apology after a report detailed nearly 2,000 cases of alleged sexual and emotional abuse within the institution over more than 60 years.

The church, which apologized for failing to protect the victims, is the latest religious establishment in
The independent report, commissioned by the church and based on written records and interviews with ministers and members of the church over three years, identified 1,885 cases of sexual, physical, emotional and domestic abuse, as well as cases of neglect between 1950 and 2014.

Martin Atkins, general secretary of the Methodist Church, said on Thursday that the abuse inflicted by some Methodists on children and adults is “a deep source of grief and shame to the church.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:18 PM

U.K. Methodists apologize after finding 1,885 abuse cases since 1950

UNITED KINGDOM
Toronto Star

By: Associated Press, Published on Thu May 28 2015

LONDON — Britain’s Methodist Church said Thursday it had found almost 2,000 reports of physical and sexual abuse within the institution over more than half a century, and has apologized for failing to protect the victims.

Martyn Atkins, general secretary of the Methodist Conference, made an “unreserved apology” for the past abuse.

He said the abuse “inflicted by some Methodists on children, young people and adults is and will remain a deep source of grief and shame to the church.”

Atkins said the church would “do all in its power to improve its systems to protect children, young people and adults from abuse within the life of the church and on church premises.”

The report, published after three years of research, found 1,885 cases of sexual, physical, emotional and domestic abuse or neglect going back to 1950. In 26 per cent of the cases, church ministers or lay employees were identified as the alleged perpetrators.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:16 PM

Obituary for Fr. Richard William Eckroth OSB

MINNESOTA
St. John's Abbey

William Anthony Eckroth was born in Mandan, North Dakota, on June 21, 1926. William was the tenth child of fourteen born to Louis and Hattie (Gruenenfelder) Eckroth. His father was a German-Russian immigrant and worked for the Northern Pacific Railroad. William entered St. Joseph’s School in Mandan in 1932, and by the time he received the sacrament of confirmation from Bishop Vincent Wehrle, OSB, he felt the call to become a priest. William frequently served Mass with his younger brother Eddie in their nearby parish church.

On a train trip to see his Benedictine sister Caroline, he visited Fr. Angelo Zankl, OSB (1901-2007) in St. Paul, who was once an assistant at Mandan. This visit increased William’s desire to become a Benedictine monk.

When William finished grade school, Father Hildebrand Eickhoff, OSB (1885-1971) made arrangements for William to come to Saint John’s Preparatory School. William graduated in 1944 as valedictorian and immediately enrolled in Saint John’s University.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:13 PM

MN--Predator priest passes away

MINNESOTA
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

For immediate release: Thursday, May 28

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

We are glad that a predator priest has passed away and can no longer hurt kids. We’re glad too that his victims can hopefully sleep better at night knowing that he can’t assault any more children.

[St. Cloud Times]

[St. John's Abbey]

He is Fr. William Eckroth of the Benedictine Catholic order. He mostly lived in Minnesota (St. Cloud, Albany, and St. Joseph) though he was sent to work in the Bahamas and to Maryland for treatment.

Fr. Eckroth was in his 80s and reportedly experienced dementia. But there’s no magic age at which a pedophile is cured so it’s possible that he molested other kids even in his later years.

We hope that all of Fr. Eckroth’s victims – whether hurt long ago or more recently - find the strength and courage to step forward, get help, expose wrongdoing and start healing. And we hope they find consolation.

Now that he’s passed on, we hope St. John’s officials will be more forthcoming about Fr. Eckroth’s crimes and about those who ignored, concealed and enabled them.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:11 PM

Child sexual abuse inquiry: Catholic Church did not understand paedophilia at the time of Gerald Ridsdale's offending

AUSTRALIA
ABC News

A priest who visited convicted paedophile Gerald Ridsdale in prison says no-one within the Catholic Church at the time fully understood the effect Ridsdale's abuse had on his victims, and many believed he could change.

Ridsdale, an 81-year-old former priest, this week gave evidence at the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse in Ballarat.

He is currently at Ararat Prison, where he is serving an eight-year sentence for the rape and abuse of children.

The commission heard his offending first came to the attention of a bishop in 1961, but he was left to assault possibly hundreds of victims over the next three decades.

Ridsdale admitted the church should have notified authorities about his offending, saying "What I've done and the damage that I've done ... I'd say, definitely".

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:09 PM

Josh Duggar wasn’t the first...

UNITED STATES
Washington Post

By Emily Yahr May 28

There’s only one thing more troubling than TLC pulling “19 Kids and Counting” off the air after allegations of child molestation against star Josh Duggar. And that’s the fact that it’s not the first time something like this has happened.

Last year, the network canceled “Here Comes Honey Boo Boo” after it was reported that Mama June — mother to 9-year-old Alana Thompson, star of the show — was dating a convicted child molester. Two months earlier, Discovery Channel (owned by TLC’s parent company, Discovery Communications) scrapped “Sons of Guns” when star Will Hayden was charged with the rape of a child.

Given that network talent typically goes through rigorous background checks, how could this occur more than once? Reality TV has grappled with this since its inception: When you showcase real people, you get very real problems – especially on channels that feature unusual families or personalities. It’s not just Discovery shows: There’s a wide range of disturbing issues in reality TV history. VH1’s dating show “Megan Wants a Millionaire” was yanked off the air when a contestant was suspected in the murder of his ex-wife. CBS’s “Big Brother” kicked off a contestant for holding a knife to another person’s throat on camera.

Certain industry insiders caution against blaming the network or production companies for allowing these cast members on air in the first place, pointing out there’s only so much they can prevent. Others say that some vetting processes are too lenient, and that potential reality stars will hide damaging pasts in order to get their shot on TV. Then there’s the fact when it comes to background checks, laws can limit what investigators are even allowed to uncover and report to the networks in the first place.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:03 PM

Woman Sues Christian Right Leader Douglas Phillips for Alleged Sexual, Mental Abuse

UNITED STATES
Slate

Late last year, Douglas Phillips, then president of the extreme Christian-right group Vision Forum Ministries, admitted to, in his words, having "a lengthy, inappropriate relationship with a woman." This was a bombshell in Christian-right circles, where Phillips is a major figure, maintaining a close friendship with the Duggar family of TLC fame (Vision Forum gave Michelle Duggar the "mother of the year" award in 2010 at an event called Baby Conference that had 1,500 attendees), former child actor Kirk Cameron, and creationist Ken Ham. Phillips preaches a strong patriarchal view of Christianity, one that teaches that women should give birth until they can't anymore and that both wives and daughters are to live in perfect submission at home, going so far as to deny daughters the right to choose who to marry.

Phillips resigned in October, but now it seems that his public pronouncement regarding that "inappropriate relationship" may have seriously downplayed what actually happened. Lourdes Torres-Manteufel, who says she was the woman Phillips confessed about, is now suing Phillips and Vision Forum for what she alleges was an abusive and manipulative relationship that caused her serious mental harm and distress.

Her complaint, filed Tuesday morning in Texas' Bexar County district court, paints a picture of a man whose religious faith in "patriarchy" has not led him to put women on a pedestal but rather to treat them like objects to be used up and discarded when you're done with them.

The complaint alleges that Phillips met Torres-Manteufel, then just Torres, in 1999 when she was merely 15 years old and then "methodically groomed" her, by acting as her spiritual mentor, to accept his abusive treatment, eventually moving her into his home to live with his family in 2007. There, she alleges, he quickly asserted himself as an authority figure over her in every way, "the pastor of her church, her boss, her landlord, and the controller of all aspects of her life." Then, according to the lawsuit, he started pushing her into sexual encounters, even though his church teaches that any sexual contact—not just intercourse, but even kissing—outside of marriage is wrong. This left Torres believing, according to the complaint, that she was in a "no-win" situation, where she had "to submit to Douglas Phillips" because of his authority over her, but that doing so left her as "damaged goods."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:00 PM

Monk repeatedly accused of sex abuse dies at abbey

MINNESOTA
St. Cloud Times

David Unze, dunze@stcloudtimes.com May 28, 2015

St. John's Abbey monk the Rev. Richard Eckroth, who was repeatedly accused of sexually abusing children, died Sunday at the abbey. He was 88.

Eckroth was named by St. John's Abbey and by the Diocese of St. Cloud on a list of clergy credibly accused of sexual abuse of minors. He was the target of at least four lawsuits alleging sexual abuse, although the abbey said he denied abusing children.

He sustained serious injuries in 2001, when a dead tree fell on him while he was cutting firewood, and the abbey said that he lived with progressing dementia for years after that. That made difficult it to determine Eckroth's side of the story when allegations of abuse surfaced.

Eckroth died in the abbey's retirement center. He graduated in 1944 from St. John's Preparatory School and entered the abbey in 1945.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:56 PM

These are the brands that are backing away from ’19 Kids and Counting’

UNITED STATES
Washington Post

By J. Freedom du Lac and Abby Ohlheiser May 28

More than a dozen advertisers have backed away from TLC’s “19 Kids and Counting” after Josh Duggar apologized amid child molestation allegations.

The popular program was yanked from TLC’s schedule Friday, a day after Josh Duggar — the oldest of the 19 Duggar kids — said he had “acted inexcusably” and was “deeply sorry” for what he called “my wrongdoing” when he was “a young teenager.” Duggar, 27, also resigned from his high-profile position with the Family Research Council, a conservative lobbying organization.

The latest season of “19 Kids and Counting” concluded May 19. But TLC had reruns on its schedule until Friday’s announcement.

[TLC pulls ’19 Kids and Counting’ citing ‘heartbreaking situation’]

General Mills started the advertiser exodus last week, when the company said it was taking “19 Kids and Counting” off of its advertising schedule. Others soon followed suit.

Right now, the list of companies that have released statements saying they’re not interested in advertising with “19 Kids and Counting” in the future include:

* Payless ShoeSource
* Choice Hotels
* Walgreens

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:52 PM

Hulu Pulls '19 Kids' After Allegations Against Josh Duggar

UNITED STATES
ABC News

Hulu has pulled the reality series "19 Kids and Counting" from its lineup, following reports of sexual misconduct allegations against one of the stars, Josh Duggar, stemming from when he was a juvenile.

Although the streaming-video service didn't confirm removal of the TLC series, episodes weren't found Thursday on the Hulu site, where they had been available as recently as Wednesday.

The show's banishment follows TLC yanking the series from its program schedule last week.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:50 PM

Top lawyer appointed to head up inquiry into historic child sex abuse

SCOTLAND
STV

A top lawyer who has represented abuse victims has been appointed to chair a public inquiry into historic cases of child abuse in care.

Susan O'Brien QC will lead the probe first announced by education secretary Angela Constance in December.

In a statement to Parliament, Ms Constance set out the remit of the inquiry, which will cover children in formal institutional care including faith-based organisations, children's homes and secure care.

It will also extend to those in foster care, long-term hospital care and boarding schools.

Ms Constance said the Scottish Government plans to lift the current three-year time bar for civil action in cases of historical child abuse since September 1964.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:50 PM

Scottish Government pledges to 'shine a light' in to historic cases of child abuse with public inquiry led by top QC

SCOTLAND
Daily Record

BY KATRINE BUSSEY , CATRIONA WEBSTER

The Scottish Government has pledged to "shine a light in the dark corners of the past" as it announced a top QC will lead a public inquiry into historic cases of child abuse.

Susan O'Brien QC, who has experience of representing abuse victims, will head the inquiry first announced by Education Secretary Angela Constance in December.

It will cover allegations of abuse of children in formal institutional care including faith-based organisations, children's homes and secure care as well as those in foster care, long-term hospital care and boarding schools.

The Scottish Government said it also plans to lift the current three-year time bar for civil action in cases of historical child abuse since September 1964.

Ms Constance also announced £13.5 million over the next five years for a support fund for survivors of abuse in care, with a further £1 million for all victims of abuse.

The inquiry will have the power to compel witnesses to attend and give evidence, and the Education Secretary previously pledged that where crimes are uncovered the "full force of the law" would be used to bring those responsible to justice.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:48 PM

Susan O'Brien QC to lead public inquiry into historical child abuse

SCOTLAND
BBC News

One of Scotland's leading QCs will chair a statutory public inquiry into historical abuse of children in care.

Susan O'Brien's remit will include allegations of abuse in institutions, foster care, long-term hospital care and boarding schools.

Education Secretary Angel Constance said the inquiry would have powers to force witnesses to give evidence.

She had previously said abusers would "face the full force of the law".

The minister also confirmed the Scottish government intends to lift the three-year time bar on civil actions.

This will include compensation claims for damages in cases of historical abuse that took place after 1964.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:44 PM

Former Catholic high school priest arraigned on 13 charges of criminal sexual conduct

MICHIGAN
MLive

By Theresa Ghiloni | tghiloni@mlive.com
on May 28, 2015

JACKSON, MI – A former Jackson Lumen Christi High School priest in Jackson was arraigned on 13 charges of criminal sexual conduct in district court Thursday morning.

James Rapp, 75, is charged with three counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct and 10 counts of second-degree criminal sexual conduct for alleged sexual assaults against several boys in the 1980s, according to a statement from Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette's office.

Rapp served as a priest, teacher, maintenance supervisor and wrestling coach during his time at Lumen Christi High School from 1980-86, when the alleged crimes occurred, according to the statement.

Jackson County District Judge Joseph Filip set a $1 million bond for Rapp during his arraignment on May 28.

Rapp has been serving a 40-year prison sentence in Oklahoma, after he was convicted in 1999 of sexually abusing two teen-age boys in Duncan, Oklahoma, where he was a church pastor, according to Jackson Citizen Patriot archives.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:43 PM

Former priest charged in sexual abuse of boys 3 decades ago

MICHIGAN
Seattle PI

JACKSON, Mich. (AP) — A former priest, teacher and wrestling coach at a Michigan Catholic school has been charged in connection with reported sexual assaults of several boys more than three decades ago.

State Attorney General Bill Schuette says 75-year-old James Rapp was arraigned Thursday in Jackson District Court on 13 counts of criminal sexual conduct.

Schuette says the investigation started in 2013 when two men came forward to report alleged past abuse.

Rapp was assigned to Jackson Lumen Christi High School at the time. He was told to leave in 1987 following allegations a student was molested.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:41 PM

DONNA GLENN, LEE ENTERPRISES SUES EMPLOYEES, “19 KIDS AND COUNTING”, SUDDENLINK HOOKS UP WITH HULU

ST. LOUIS (MO)
Berger's Beat

. .Father John Jay Hughes has been granted “retirement status,” according to archdiocesan officials. Hughes’ 15 minutes of fame came in the early 1990s when he appeared on the Phil Donahue Show. Producers couldn’t find a single U.S. Catholic bishop or official to be on a segment discussing pedophile priests. SNAP’s David Clohessy, slated to be on the program, recommended the priest to Donahue’s staffers because Hughes had stridently defended the church hierarchy in several op-eds. More recently, Hughes – then at Christ the King parish in U. City – told reporters he was “unaware of the circumstances” of Fr. Joseph D. Ross’ departure from that parish – and St. Cronin’s – due to abuse charges.”. .

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:38 PM

Ridsdale might be back at abuse inquiry

AUSTRALIA
9 News

Australia's worst pedophile priest Gerald Ridsdale will likely have to again appear before the child sex abuse royal commission.

Ridsdale has finished two days testifying as part of its investigation into widespread abuse by clergy in the Ballarat diocese and the response of the Catholic Church.

Church lawyers have asked for time to consider Ridsdale's evidence before questioning him.

Ridsdale is now likely to be recalled either at or before the commission's second Ballarat hearing, expected to be held in November or December.

The commission may sit in Sydney if Ridsdale is questioned before the second hearing.

Ridsdale, giving evidence via videolink from jail, could remember very few details about who in the church knew of his offending and moved him from parish to parish.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:17 PM

MI--Predator priest is indicted; SNAP responds

MICHIGAN
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

For immediate release: Thursday, May 28

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

An already convicted and imprisoned serial predator priest is being indicted today in Michigan on more child sex charges. (He pled not guilty.) This should happen more often.

Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette is filing more child sex charges against James Francis Rapp who allegedly molested kids at Jackson Lumen Christi Catholic High School in Jackson in the 1980s.

Once a child molester is convicted, many people who could be helpful get complacent. They assume his sentence will stand, his appeals will fail, and he’ll be kept away from kids for many years. But often, child molesters – especially clerics – get top notch defense lawyers, exploit legal technicalities, and escape with little or no jail time. Then, when other victims, witnesses and whistleblowers find this out, it’s too late for them to really make a difference.

So we’re glad Michigan’s attorney general is being prudent and pro-active here.

There are two important lessons. First, these days, police and prosecutors are often more aggressive and creative about pursing child predators, even in older cases. (The old adage “where there’s a will, there’s a way,” fits here.) More law enforcement officials should follow Schuette’s example and consider going after even elderly child molesting clerics.

Second, no victim, witness or whistleblower should ever assume ‘it’s too late’ to seek justice. It’s our job to share what we know and suspect about possible child sex crimes. It’s the job of law enforcement to determine whether anything can be done. If we stay silent, we’re helping those who commit and conceal child sex crimes.

So if you saw, suspected or suffered any crimes or cover ups related to Fr. Rapp, it’s time to find the courage to speak up, so that the vulnerable can be protected, the wounded can be healed and the truth can be exposed and so that cover ups are deterred.

We beg Jackson Michigan Bishop Joseph R. Kopacz, Oklahoma City Archbishop Paul S. Coakley and Salt Lake Archbishop John Wester to use their vast resources to seek out and help others who were sexually assaulted by Fr. Rapp.

NOTE – Rapp belonged to the Toledo-based Oblates of St. Francis de Sales, Inc.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:14 PM

Main Accuser of Pope Francis Worked for Argentina’s Military Dictatorship

ARGENTINA
Vatican Insider

The explosive claim regarding Horacio Verbitsky , was published today, May 18, in Argentina, in the blog www.plazademayo

GERARD O'CONNELL

Horacio Verbitsky, the man who publicly and repeatedly accused Jorge Mario Bergoglio of complicity with Argentina’s military rulers when he was Provincial of the Jesuits in the second half of the 1970s, actually worked for the country’s military dictators from 1978 to 1981 and was on their payroll.

This is the explosive claim published today, May 18, in Argentina, in the blog www.plazademayo, under the headline “Verbitsky: Con Dios y Con el Diabolo” (“Verbitsky: With God and With the Devil”).

The article is written by two investigative reporters - Gabriel Levinas and Sergio Serrichio, who have spent more than fourteen months researching the whole affair. It gives a preview of the book that will soon be published. In it, they draw on important documentary evidence which they discovered and on testimonies given by people who knew what actually happened.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:50 PM

Jeff Anderson Statement on Recent Acquittal of Former Hastings Priest Francis Hoefgen

MINNESOTA
Jeff Anderson & Associates

5/27/2015

(St. Paul, MN) - The acquittal of Fran Hoefgen in the criminal case is sad, scary and a travesty of justice. The jury returned a verdict of not guilty because they were not able to know and hear the full picture of predatory conduct well-established by Fran Hoefgen.

Today we release more information that the jury did not hear that could have and should have changed the outcome. Because they did not learn Fran Hoefgen abused at least two boys, had been sent to treatment for it, had admitted having abused at least one boy in prior parishes and given a free pass by a former prosecutor in Stearns County, the jury saw this as one boy against a priest who testified that he did not even know who the boy was. The acquittal of Fran Hoefgen permits this offender to continue in the community unabated. He poses a risk of peril and harm to many, both in his denial and the freedom that he should not be able to enjoy.

The documents we are releasing with this statement, and available on our website, demonstrate a long pattern of predatory conduct by this former priest. He is a peril. We are scared for the children and we praise and applaud the courageous survivor who did come forward, stand up, speak the truth and while he told his story, the whole story, the full truth was not revealed to this jury and they were left a half truth and a lie by Fran Hoefgen. He is a known serial offender. He is a risk of harm to the community and kids and he belongs behind bars.

The statements made by Hoefgen’s lawyer, Michael Colich, about the deficiencies of the police is also misleading and deceptive. The fact is the police fully interviewed the other victims of abuse by Hoefgen, who were prepared to testify to the offenses committed against them years ago, in the same pattern as Hoefgen employed at the parish of Saint Elizabeth Ann Seaton in Hastings. They did thorough police work and Hoefgen’s criticism of the police is unwarranted, misleading, and deceptive as it is disturbing. This was a systemic failure and children remain at serious risk in the community while Hoefgen remains at large.

Hoefgen Documents
Hoefgen apology letter
Abbot apology letter
Hoefgen Statement 3-19-84
Konz Statement 2-9-93
Francis Hoefgen Timeline
St. Luke Letter to Konz regarding Hoefgen treatment

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:29 PM

Catholic Church failed to curb pedophile Ridsdale’s offending

AUSTRALIA
The Australian

TESSA AKERMAN THE AUSTRALIAN MAY 29, 2015

The Catholic church in NSW failed to stop notorious pedophile Gerald Ridsdale offending in the 1980s despite the then Archbishop of Sydney believing he had “done enough” to prevent further abuse.

Ridsdale was removed from Mortlake, in southwestern Victoria, to the Catholic Enquiry Centre in Sydney in 1982.

The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse yesterday heard Ridsdale give evidence via video link from prison of his offending while he was based in Sydney.

Ridsdale said he could not recall the Bishop of Ballarat, Ronald Mulkearns, who was aware of his offending and arranged the transfer, or anyone else involved with the church imposing “restrictions or limitations or conditions” on what he could do while working in Sydney.

In evidence from 1993 tendered to the commission, the late cardinal Edward Clancy advised that Ridsdale’s initial transfer to Sydney was arranged between Clancy’s predecessor, cardinal James Freeman, and Bishop Mulkearns. Clancy said Bishop Mulkearns spoke to him at a conference in 1983 and explained ­“Father Ridsdale had certain sexual problems, was under professional treatment”.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:28 PM

Former Michigan Priest arraigned in sexual abuse cases

MICHIGAN
UP Matters

LANSING – Attorney General Bill Schuette today announced the arraignment of former Jackson Lumen Christi High School priest, teacher, maintenance supervisor, and wrestling coach James Rapp, 75, on charges of multiple felonies for his alleged sexual assault of several Michigan boys in the 1980s.

Rapp was arraigned on Thursday, May 28 at 8 a.m. before Judge Joseph S. Filip of the 12th District Court in Jackson, where a plea of not guilty was entered on the defendant's behalf to three counts of first degree criminal sexual conduct and 10 counts of second degree criminal sexual conduct. Rapp was also assigned a $1 million cash bond. He is next due in court for a pre-exam conference on June 26, 2015 at 8 a.m. before Judge Joseph S. Filip of the 12th District Court in Jackson. Jackson-area attorney Alfred Brandt has been appointed to represent Rapp.

Case Background

In spring of 2013, more than 30 years after the alleged crimes occurred, two of Rapp's victims reported the alleged sexual abuse to the Jackson County Sheriff's Department, who then launched an extensive investigation revealing several more victims.

JLC was not Rapp's first church or school assignment. Rapp was ordained in 1959 and held teaching assignments in Philadelphia (1959 – 1961), Salt Lake City (1968 – 1973), and in Lockport, New York (1979 – 1980). Following Rapp's resignation at JLC, Rapp served as a priest and teacher in Naperville, Illinois (1987 – 1990) and Duncan, Oklahoma (1990 – 1998).

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:25 PM

Former LC Priest Arraigned (audio)

MICHIGAN
WKHM

A former Lumen Christi HIgh School priest was arraigned on 13 counts of criminal sexual conduct in the first and second degree Thursday morning in the court of Judge Joseph Filip. James Francis Rapp, 74, appeared in a jumpsuit and shackles under the watchful eyes of two officers from the Michigan Department of Corrections.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:21 PM

Shocking ads in Chile stoke debate about easing one of the world's toughest abortion bans

CHILE
Daily Journal

By LUIS ANDRES HENAO Associated Press
First Posted: May 28, 2015

SANTIAGO, Chile — The video shows a woman climbing a stairwell, her belly visibly pregnant, as she offers suggestions: Make sure there are no security cameras. Be careful not to look down or you might regret it.

She tumbles backward as the screen goes black. "When you reach the bottom everything will be OK," she says.

The video is one of a series of mock abortion tutorials, part of a public campaign urging Chile to allow women to end pregnancies in cases of rape or medical complications. It would be a radical change for Chile, one of only six countries that prohibit all abortion, according to the New York-based Center for Reproductive Rights.

The debate comes as Chile, one of Latin America's most socially conservative countries, grapples with shifting views on once-taboo issues. The mostly Roman Catholic country began to allow divorce in 2004. Earlier this year, Congress recognized civil unions for gay couples and, recently, a pilot program in Santiago harvested the country's first legal medical marijuana.

The changing attitudes mark a generational shift, as young people born after the 1973-1990 military dictatorship come of age. The trend has accelerated since a wave of student protests demanding educational reform began in 2011 and in the wake of Catholic priest sex-abuse scandals that have provoked questioning of church doctrine.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:19 PM

Le Moyne Univ. vs. La Sapienza Univ. Le Moyne graduates prove Jesuits Masters of Deceits, idiots Americans Catholics, New Yorkers’ apathy to JP2 Army victims

UNITED STATES
PopeCrimes& Vatican Evils.

Paris Arrow

Le Moyne a Jesuit University vs. La Sapienza a secular University

The Le Moyne vs. La Sapienza saga has the same moral story as the NCAA/Penn State University vs. the Vatican State.

The main difference between the Le Moyne graduates who failed to oust Cardinal Dolan as their speaker for their graduation – versus the La Sapienza University students who successfully ousted Pope Benedict XVI-RATzinger as speaker for their convocation in 2008 –– is that Le Moyne is a Jesuit University while La Sapienza is a secular university (albeit originally a pontifical university). The morals of secular universities and secular institutions are more good and more radically evident and are in sharp contrast to –– Catholic institutions that have allegiance to the Vatican and therefore will cover-up by all means Pope Crimes & Vatican Evils and seek only to protect its Catholic reputation and the Vatican Billions assets especially in the USA.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:16 PM

Incoming bishop of Arundel and Brighton pays tribute to Kieran Conry

UNITED KINGDOM
The Tablet

28 May 2015 by Joanna Moorhead

Bishop Richard Moth thanked his predecessor Kieran Conry and called his contribution to the diocese “very significant” during his installation as bishop of Arundel and Brighton on Thursday.

Bishop Emeritus Conry resigned last year after admitting he had broken his vow of celibacy and had a sexual relationship with a woman.

In his homily at the ceremony at Arundel Cathedral Bishop Moth paid tribute to Conry for his “contribution in the field of evangelisation within the diocese and beyond”.

Bishop Moth also alluded to the crisis surrounding Bishop Conry, saying there were times in all our lives when we experience difficulties as individuals and as families, and there were also times of “weakness and pain as a diocese too”. But, he said, his installation Mass was a moment to recommit to Christ and the Church.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:14 PM

Cardinal Pell ‘keen to confront Royal Commision allegations’: Friends

AUSTRALIA
news.com.au

CARDINAL George Pell is anxious to return to Australia to answer allegations he covered up sex abuse by paedophile priests and attempted to bribe a victim, according to those close to him.

A Rome-based confidante of the cardinal said he believed he had already fully dealt with the allegations when they were raised in 2013 at a parliamentary inquiry.

“The Cardinal was anxious to support the Inquiry and provided detailed submissions as well as many hours of sworn evidence and questioning,” the close friend said.

“No adverse findings on these issues emerged.”

Another Vatican confidante spoken to by News Corp Australia confirmed Pope Francis was personally aware of the allegations against Cardinal Pell but was treating them as just that — unconfirmed allegations.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:11 PM

Wer ist und was macht der Betroffenenrat?

DEUTSCHLAND
BR

Von: Katja Strippel

Rund 200 Frauen und Männer hatten sich für den Job beworben - ausgewählt wurden 15. Sie kümmern sich von Berlin aus um die Belange von Menschen, die Opfer von sexuellem Missbrauch geworden sind. Vor zwei Monaten gab es die konstituierende Sitzung beim Missbrauchs-Beauftragten Johannes-Wilhelm Rörig. Aber damals wollten viele Mitglieder des neuen Betroffenenrates noch anonym bleiben. Jetzt haben die meisten von ihnen ihr Schweigen gebrochen. Tamara Luding aus Hof ist eine von ihnen. Sie ist als Kind selbst missbraucht worden.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:59 AM

Missbrauchsopfer erfährt Anerkennung im Erzbistum Freiburg

DEUTSCHLAND
Badische Zeitung

[Abuse victim gains recognition in the archdiocese of Freiburg.]

Das Erzbistum Freiburg hat in einem viel diskutierten Missbrauchsfall das Leid des mutmaßlichen Opfers anerkannt. Der beschuldigte Priester arbeitet im Bistum Münster.

Eigentlich ist das Bistum Münster für den Fall zuständig, weil der beschuldigte katholische Pfarrer dort lebt und arbeitet (siehe BZ vom 10. April). Seit fast einem Jahr aber schiebt die dortige Missbrauchskommission eine Entscheidung vor sich her. Ständig setzte sie dem mutmaßlichen Opfer – einer 48-jährigen Frau aus der Nähe von Freiburg – in den vergangenen Monaten neue Ansprechpartner für Anhörungen vor. Das Bistum Freiburg hatte indes an der Glaubwürdigkeit des Opfers längst keine Zweifel mehr und entschied den Fall ohne weitere Absprache mit Münster.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:56 AM

Kirche soll sich entschuldigen

DEUTSCHLAND
Westdeutsche Zeitung

[Church to apologize. The case Georg K. is not yet over. Johannes Heibel fights for compensation of affected children in South Africa.]

Von Werner Dohmen

Der Fall Georg K. ist noch nicht zu Ende. Johannes Heibel kämpft für eine Entschädigung der betroffenen Kinder aus Südafrika.

Willich. Im Februar hat das Krefelder Landgericht den ehemaligen Pfarrer Georg K. zu sechs Jahren Haft verurteilt. Über Jahre hatte er seinen Patensohn und dessen jüngerer Bruder sexuell missbraucht. Für Johannes Heibel von der Initiative gegen Gewalt und sexuellen Missbrauch von Kindern und Jugendlichen ist die „Akte K.“ damit aber längst nicht geschlossen: Er kämpft für die Rechte von Opfern, die völlig aus dem Blickfeld geraten sind. Es geht um die Jungen, denen sich K. in Südafrika in einem Kommunion-Camp genähert haben soll.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:54 AM

Trooper Who Did Not Report Duggar Abuse Listed 'Preschools,' 'Puberty' As Online Interests

ARKANSAS
Huffington Post

By Hilary Hanson

The Arkansas state trooper who reportedly gave the young Josh Duggar a “very stern talk” once had a Yahoo profile in which he detailed his own sexual interest in children, according to a 2009 court document.

The Pulaski County, Arkansas, “risk assessment” document, which is publicly available online and was posted by Jezebel on Wednesday, detailed the criminal history of the former officer, Joe Hutchens, who is now serving a 56-year sentence on child porn charges.

When Hutchens was still working as a trooper in 2006, Jim Bob Duggar approached him with the information that the teenaged Josh had sexually molested someone, according to a police report obtained by InTouch. Josh had, in fact, "forcibly fondled" five underage girls, some of whom were his sisters. Hutchens did not officially report the teen’s actions but instead gave him a “very stern talk,” the report said.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:51 AM

York retired vicar jailed for historic sex offences

UNITED KINGDOM
York Press

A RETIRED vicar from York has been jailed for indecently assaulting a young girl more than forty years ago.

Graham Gregory, 79 of Brockfield Park Drive, Huntington, York was sentenced to three years imprisonment at Kingston Crown Court, having been found guilty in 2014 of two counts of indecent assault on a girl under 13 years.

Gregory was acquitted of two further counts of indecent assault following a retrial at the same court.

Detective Constable Aaron Vardy, of the Met’s Sexual Offences Exploitation and Child Abuse Command, said: “Gregory abused his position as a figure of trust and authority. It takes a lot of courage to report this type of crime and in some cases victims feel that they are only able to come forward years after the offence. This conviction highlights that regardless of how much time has passed, we remain committed to bringing offenders before the courts."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:48 AM

Former Hastings curate jailed for indecently assaulting girl more than 40 years ago

UNITED KINGDOM
Sussex Express

A retired vicar who indecently assaulted a young girl more than 40 years ago has been jailed following a trial at Kingston Crown Court.

Graham Gregory, 79, of Brockfield Park Drive, Huntington, York was sentenced to three years imprisonment at Kingston Crown Court on Tuesday (May 26), having been found guilty in 2014 of two counts of indecent assault on a girl under 13 years.

Gregory was acquitted of two further counts of indecent assault following a retrial at the same court.

Detectives were contacted by a woman in 2012 who claimed that she had been abused as a child between 1969 and 1971 when she lived in Wandsworth and attended the church where Gregory was curate.

She told officers that he kissed her on several occasions before assaulting her.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:45 AM

Retired vicar from York jailed for child sex abuse

UNITED KINGDOM
BBC News

A retired vicar who abused a child more than 40 years ago has been jailed for three years.

Graham Gregory, 79, of Brockfield Park Drive, Huntington, York, was a curate in Wandsworth when he indecently assaulted the girl, then aged under 13.

Police were contacted by the victim in 2012 who said she had been abused by him between 1969 and 1971.

Gregory was found guilty of two counts of indecent assault by a jury at Kingston Crown Court.

As well as working as a curate in Southfields, Wandsworth, Gregory also held positions in Hastings, Chichester, York and the Isle of Man as a vicar.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:43 AM

News Advisory - Truth and Reconciliation - Declaration ...

CANADA
CNW

News Advisory - Truth and Reconciliation - Declaration and Call to Action by Canada's Philanthropic Organizations

June 1, 2015 - 11:00 am to 12:00 pm ET
Delta Ottawa - 101 Lyon Street Ottawa, ON - Plenary

OTTAWA, May 28, 2015 /CNW/ - The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (TRC) is holding its closing events from May 31 to June 3 in Ottawa. The TRC has spent six years hearing the truth about Canada's Indian Residential Schools and establishing a reconciliation process that will lead to better relations between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal peoples of Canada.

Coinciding with these closing events, Canada's philanthropic organizations will be signing a Declaration of Reconciliation and Call to Action on June 1, to ensure that the TRC's work leads to positive steps forward. The Declaration and signing has been organized by the Inspirit Foundation.

Spokespersons will be available for interview, including:

Andrea Nemtin, President & CEO, Inspirit Foundation
Wanda Brascoupé Peters, Executive Director
The Circle on Philanthropy and Aboriginal Peoples in Canada

What
Signing of Declaration and Call to Action

Who
Canada's Philanthropic Organizations
Photo Op
Ceremony with TRC representatives

Declaration cultural object to be placed in ceremonial bentwood box

Spokespersons including

Wanda Brascoupé Peters, Andrea Nemtin

Where
Delta Hotel, 101 Lyon Street, Ottawa, ON K1R 5T9

When
June 1, 2015 - 11:00 am to 12:00 pm (Philanthropic organizations presentation 11:45 am to 12:00 pm)

About the Inspirit Foundation

The Inspirit Foundation is a national, grant-making organization that supports young people (aged 18 to 30) in building a more inclusive and pluralist Canada. One way we do this is by funding projects that foster engagement and exchange between young people of different spiritual, religious and secular backgrounds.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:26 AM

NBSCCCI 2014 Annual Report

IRELAND
National Board for Safeguarding Children in the Catholic Church

(28th May 2015)

The National Board for the Safeguarding of Children in the Catholic Church in Ireland (NBSCCCI) published its annual report today. It details the work done by the Board and its National Office during the year ending 31st March 2015.

The Board has set itself the task of completing the reviews of the religious in Ireland by the end of this year and has indicated that an updated version of the Safeguarding Standards and Guidance will also be completed, though its implementation date is yet to be decided.

During the 2014/15 period, 184 new allegations, suspicions or concerns have been shared with the National Office. The allegations relate to physical, emotional and sexual abuse.

In addition, 81 allegations of physical and emotional abuse, previously reported to the civil authorities by one religious congregation were reported to the Board.

Abuse allegations against Diocesan clergy relate to 1950 up to 1997, with one case noted outside this timeframe where the abuse is alleged to have taken place in 2006. In the case of Religious Orders and Congregational priests and religious, abuse allegations relate to 1950 up to 1990, with one case where the abuse is alleged to have taken place in 1999.

The Board has received no allegations of abuse taking place after 2006 in the year under review.

All allegations notified to the Board have been passed to the Gardaí/PSNI and where appropriate to the HSCT/TUSLA.

Ms Teresa Devlin, CEO welcomed the continued improvements in prompt reporting of all allegations to the civil authorities and commended the Church Authorities for maintaining their focus on safeguarding children.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:53 AM

The National Board for Safeguarding Children in the Catholic Church in Ireland

IRELAND
National Board for Safeguarding Children in the Catholic Church

Annual Report 2014

Allegations Notified to the National Office – 1 April 2014 to 31 March 2015

The National Board has a responsibility to monitor safeguarding practice across all dioceses and religious orders/congregations. In addition to reviews of safeguarding practice, the Board monitors compliance with the seven standards in other ways. Most notable is the role of monitoring whether new allegations brought to the attention of a diocese or religious congregation/order have been shared with the civil authority agencies. There is an expectation that the National Office is informed at the same time as the civil authority agencies of allegations. In addition, we ask for information about the date of the abuse (if known), the status of the respondent’s ministry and what safeguarding action has been taken.

During the 2014–15 period, 184 new allegations, suspicions or concerns have been shared with the National Office. In addition, 81 allegations were submitted in one batch against 18 members of a specific congregation. The events surrounding this batch of allegations all relate to physical and/or emotional abuse. Advice received by the Church authority from TUSLA (Child and Family Agency) is that they do not require information relating to allegations against deceased priests and religious; however all allegations irrespective of the status of the accused are mandatorily reported to An Garda Síochána or the PSNI.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:49 AM

184 new allegations of historic abuse by Catholic clergy raised in the last year

IRELAND
Irish Examiner

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Dozens of new allegations or suspicions of historic abuse by Catholic clergy have been raised with a national watchdog in the past year.

The National Board for Safeguarding of Children in the Catholic Church in Ireland (NBSCCCI) says the allegations concern physical, sexual and emotional abuse.

It says all 184 claims have been passed on to the Gardaí and PSNI - as well as Tusla.

The Board said that it also received 81 allegations of physical and emotional abuse which had previously been reported to civil authorities by a religious congregation.

Abuse allegations against Diocesan clergy relate to 1950 up to 1997, with one case noted outside this timeframe where the abuse is alleged to have taken place in 2006.

In the case of Religious Orders and Congregational priests and religious, abuse allegations relate to 1950 up to 1990, with one case where the abuse is alleged to have taken place in 1999.

The Board has received no allegations of abuse taking place after 2006 in the year under review.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:46 AM

Priest hits out at response to referendum vote by cardinal

IRELAND
Irish Examiner

Thursday, May 28, 2015

by Joe Leogue

An Irish priest has said he disagrees with the comments of a high-ranking Vatican official who described last week’s marriage equality referendum result as a “defeat for humanity”.

Fr Seán McDonagh of the Association of Catholic Priests said that he does not know why Cardinal Pietro Parolin expressed his disappointment at the result in such terms, and said that the result should not have come as a shock to the Vatican’s secretary of state.

“Looking at the polls in the four to five weeks running up to the election they were 70-30 in favour, so the result came as no surprise,” Fr McDonagh said.

He said the church needs to address its approach to homosexuality, and change its attitude of criticising and dismissing gay people and their experiences.

He was critical of the church’s decision to drop a paragraph on the “gifts and qualities” gay people can offer from a report on its extraordinary synod on the family which was held last year. “It raises serious questions for the synod on the family which will be held in October of this year.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:10 AM

Diputado Espinoza cuestiona guía para abusos de la Iglesia

CHILE
Terra

[Deputy Espinoza has questioned the new guide for handling church exual abuse. Fidel Espinoza, socialist MP, called on the Catholic church to remove Bishop Juan Barros of Osorno, who has been critiicized for its role in covering up abuse by priest Fernando Karadima. The socialist parliamentarian responded to the guidance announced on Wednesday the Episcopal Conference to address child sexual abuse. The text is called "Care and Strength" and updates the rules enacted in 2003 and 2011 to proceed against complaints and seeks to prevent such situations. According to the Social Democrat, "the updating of the rules against sexual abuse minors, which was presented by the Episcopal Conference, should be taken as a new opportunity to change course with the bishop Barros. " ]

I diputado socialista Fidel Espinoza emplazó a la iglesia a remover al obispo Juan Barros de Osorno, quien ha sido cuestionado por su eventual papel como encubridor de los abusos cometidos por el ex párroco de la Iglesia de El Bosque, Fernando Karadima.

El parlamentario socialista reaccionó ante la guía que dio a conocer este miércoles la Conferencia Episcopal para tratar los abusos sexuales a menores. El texto se denomina "Cuidado y Fuerza” y actualiza las normas decretadas los años 2003 y 2011 para proceder frente a denuncias y busca prevenir este tipo de situaciones.

A juicio del parlamentario socialista, “la actualización de las normas frente a los abusos sexuales a menores, que ha sido presentado por la Conferencia Episcopal, debiera ser tomada como una nueva oportunidad para enmendar el rumbo con el obispo Barros”.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:01 AM

Chairman of inquiry into historic child sex abuse to be named

SCOTLAND
The National

KATHLEEN NUTT

ANGELA Constance is today expected to name the chairman of the long-awaited statutory public inquiry into historic child sex abuse, and to reveal its remit.

The Education Secretary, who announced there would be an inquiry in December, will outline the inquiry’s details in the Holyrood chamber to MSPs and dozens of members of survivors’ groups this afternoon.

Retired judge Lord McEwan, who made a landmark ruling to lift a legal time-bar to enable an abuse victim to take civil action, is favoured by some victims to chair the inquiry.

Survivors’ groups have also told The National that they would consider Lord Malcolm as a suitable appointment.

The former Edinburgh University academic served as Vice Dean of the Faculty of Advocates from 1997-2001 and Dean from 2001-2004. He was a founder member of the Judicial Appointments Board and has also served as a part-time member of the Mental Welfare Commission for Scotland.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:07 AM

Diocese’s legal costs now exceed $2.25M

NEW MEXICO
Gallup Independent

Published in the Gallup Independent, Gallup, N.M., May 26, 2015

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

ALBUQUERQUE – The Diocese of Gallup’s legal fees and expenses for its bankruptcy case now exceed $2.25 million.

Attorneys, accountants, insurance researchers and real estate appraisers submitted quarterly billing statements to U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the period of Jan. 1 through March 31, 2015. The total figure of $2,258,084.14 includes approximately $57,000 already paid by the diocese. The remaining professional fees and expenses billed by attorneys and accountants will not be paid until the Gallup Diocese has an approved plan of reorganization.

The listed professionals have submitted the following quarterly and total billing figures, which do not include any payments made to them by the diocese prior to its bankruptcy filing on Nov. 12, 2013.

Quarles & Brady LLP: The Diocese of Gallup’s lead bankruptcy law firm from Tucson submitted a quarterly statement for $215,067.99 for legal fees and expenses. The firm’s total post-petition bill is now at $1,344,666.05.

Keegan, Linscott & Kenon, P.C: This Tucson accounting firm took over the Gallup Diocese’s finance office in the summer of 2013 after Deacon James Hoy, the diocese’s chief financial officer, resigned. The firm corrected a billing error of $556.25 from its 2014 final quarterly statement, and it submitted a 2015 first quarterly statement for $38.279.28 in fees and expenses. The firm’s total post-petition bill is now at $314,816.44.

Stelzner, Winter, Warburton, Flores, Sanchez & Dawes, P.A: The diocese’s special counsel law firm from Albuquerque billed $996.71 in fees this quarter. The firm’s total post-petition bill is now at $10,750.76.

Insurance Archaeology Group: This insurance research company submitted a quarterly statement for $1,495.80 in fees and expenses. To date the company has billed the Gallup Diocese $47,929 and has been paid that amount.

Estate Valuation Consultants, Inc: This real estate appraisal company submitted its first quarterly statement for $12,200 in fees and expenses and has been paid $9,200 thus far.
Michael P. Murphy: Murphy was recently appointed as the “Unknown Claims Representative” to represent any new clergy sex abuse victims who might come forward in the future. Murphy has not submitted any fees or expenses yet, but his flat fee of $50,000 will be due and payable upon the effective date of any plan of reorganization.

Walker & Associates, P.C: The diocese’s Albuquerque bankruptcy law firm did not submit a statement for the first quarter of 2015. To date, the firm has billed $18,062.40 in post-petition fees and expenses.

Pachulski Stang Ziehl & Jones LLP: This law firm represents the legal interests of clergy sex abuse survivors who have filed claims against the diocese in bankruptcy court. The firm submitted a quarterly statement for $86,284.57 in fees and expenses. The firm’s total post-petition bill is now at $459,659.49.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:04 AM

Man accusing archbishop of harassment looking for lawyer

GUAM
KUAM

By Jolene Toves

Former Guam resident John Toves is attempting to raise $2,000 in funds to retain a canon lawyer. Toves made allegations of sexual harassment against Archbishop Anthony Apuron late last year, however because no victim ever came forward the complaint was not investigated by the Archdiocese of Agana.

At the time Archbishop Apuron issued an exclusive television statement to KUAM News on the matter denying the allegations and announced plans to file a lawsuit. According to Toves he also plans to file a suit with the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith and directly to the Promoter of Justice.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:02 AM

The Josh Duggar sexual abuse scandal, explained

UNITED STATES
Vox

Updated by Tanya Pai on May 27, 2015

Stories about reality TV star Josh Duggar and the revelations that he molested several minors while he himself was a teenager have saturated the news over the past week.

The details of the allegations are bizarre, involving an alleged cover-up by Duggar's parents and church, a disturbing police report, and a very badly timed marathon of the reality series Duggar stars in on a network that has experienced more than one reality show scandal in recent years. There's also an element of religious hypocrisy and a muted attempt to turn this into another front in the culture wars.

For people who don't watch lots of reality TV — to say nothing of those who don't watch lots of TLC reality, which is almost a genre unto itself, focused on families from outside the American mainstream — the whole thing can sound like a particularly strange satire of how far the television industry will go to garner big ratings.

But it's not.

Who are the Duggars?

The Duggars are an Arkansas family and stars of the TLC reality series 19 Kids and Counting. The show, TLC's most popular, regularly scored in the Nielsen cable top 25 before it was pulled from the air.

The show began on September 29, 2008, as 17 Kids and Counting, and starred Jim Bob Duggar, a former Arkansas state representative turned real estate agent; his wife, Michelle Duggar; and their 17 biological children. Since that time, Jim Bob and Michelle have had two more children.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:00 AM

Jury seated in teacher sex molestation trial

FLORIDA
WPBT

[with video]

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. —A jury has been seated in the sexual molestation trial against former Rosarian Academy teacher Stephen Budd.

Both sides are questioning a pool of potential jurors in the Stephen Budd sexual molestation trial which began Tuesday. Budd, 53, was a fourth grade teacher at Rosarian Academy in 2006-2007 when two former students now say he coerced them into performing sex acts on him and each other, in exchange for “Budd Bucks.”WPBF 25 News at Noon

He's accused of serially molesting two 9 year olds in his classroom in 2006-07.

His attorney, Jason Weiss, asked potential jurors if they were so appalled by the charges that they could not be fair.

"Is there something so awful or distasteful in your mind, that the mere accusation against Mr. Budd makes you think that he's probably guilty?" asked Weiss.

Some in the pool answered that they did have problems with the charges and could not be impartial.

Budd is accused of having the girls perform sex acts on him under his desk while he taught, taking naked pictures of the girls and having them perform sexual acts on each other.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:58 AM

Bill extending rape statute of limitation moves to Senate

OREGON
East Oregonian

By PETER WONG
Capital Bureau

SALEM — The Senate Judiciary Committee Wednesday approved a bill doubling Oregon’s statute of limitation on rape to 12 years.

House Bill 2317, which has already cleared the House, moves to the full Senate without change, despite pleas that Oregon’s statute of limitations should be set even longer.

Advocates had urged the committee to extend the deadline for prosecutions to 20 years.

“It took me years not only to disclose everything Pastor Mike did to me, but to even realize just how badly the abuse affected my life,” said Jessica Watson, one of seven victims of Mike Sperou, who was convicted April 30 in Multnomah County Circuit Court.

Sperou, 64, was pastor at a Happy Valley church. He was convicted in connection with only the youngest of the seven victims, who all chose to go on the record. The statute of limitations barred his prosecution on crimes involving the others, including Watson.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:53 AM

Religious Culture of Abuse ...

UNITED STATES
Bilgrimage

Religious Culture of Abuse of Females in Right-Wing Christianity: A Current Case Study

William D. Lindsey

In my posting on the Duggar family earlier today, I cited Jenny Kutner to note that what shouldn't be overlooked in the Duggar story is how Josh Duggar's abuse, his parents' cover-up, and the excuses being made by the religious and political right are rooted in a religious culture of abuse of females. As I indicated, the religious ideology defended by the Duggars and their friends calls on women and girls to submit to men and boys. It routinely excuses even outright abuse, sexual or otherwise, perpetrated on females by males as just how boys behave.

And it does all this by invoking God, as if God is one of the old boys chuckling at the way real men knock women around — or take advantage of them sexually.

Lest you think I'm making all this stuff up or exaggerating, a case in point from yesterday's news: as Mark Woods reports for Christian Today, the Village Church in Dallas, Texas, has forgiven Jordan Root, a former missionary of the church in East Asia, after he was discovered to have been viewing child pornography online. Root has also admitted having abused children for whom he was a babysitter.

After all of this information came out, Root's wife Karen, who was on the East Asian mission along with him, asked for their marriage to be annulled. The church has disciplined Karen Root.

He with the history of child molestation and use of child pornography: forgiven.
She who asks to be unyoked from him, the child abuser, in marriage: not forgiven.

Can the picture be any clearer than this?

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:42 AM

Ridsdale admits Catholic Church should have reported him to police

AUSTRALIA
ABC - PM

MARK COLVIN: A warning this report contains information you may find disturbing.

The convicted paedophile Gerald Ridsdale has told the royal commission he's sorry Catholic Church officials didn't report his behaviour to the police because it would have saved "so many" children.

The royal commission has heard that Ridsdale's offending first came to the attention of a bishop in 1961 but he was left to assault possibly hundreds of victims over the next three decades.

The inquiry was told today one of Ridsdale's victims believed that another priest saw him attacking her in the early 1970s but didn't intervene.

Samantha Donovan reports.

SAMANTHA DONOVAN: Gerald Ridsdale's victims live with the knowledge that if someone in the Catholic Church had reported him to police when his offending first became known, they would have been safe, something the convicted paedophile acknowledged at the royal commission today.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:39 AM

Royal Commission's grilling of Gerald Ridsdale

AUSTRALIA
Brisbane Times

[video]

On the second day of Gerald Ridsdale's appearance at the Royal Commission, senior counsel Gail Furness pushes the paedophile priest to admit his abuse of children in rural areas.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:37 AM

Ridsdale can't say which priest saw abuse

AUSTRALIA
Daily Mail

AAP

Pedophile priest Gerald Ridsdale can't remember which priest may have walked in on him while he was sexually assaulting a girl, the royal commission has heard.

A judge last year said a girl believed another priest was present for a short time while Ridsdale was sexually assaulting her and must have been aware of the assault but did not intervene.

On Thursday, senior counsel assisting the child sex abuse royal commission, Gail Furness, asked Ridsdale who that priest was.

"I don't know because I've said I don't know who the other priests were there at the same time except George Pell," Ridsdale said.

"I have no idea of the priests who were there with me at Ballarat East."

Asked if he had a recollection of sexually assaulting the girl, Ridsdale said: "No, a lot of them I don't have, no."

The incident took place in Ridsdale's bedroom at the Ballarat East presbytery, where he lived in 1972-1973, after the girl went to look at his rock collection.

Ms Furness asked Ridsdale if he accepted that when he assaulted the girl there could well have been another priest in the presbytery.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:36 AM

Ridsdale 'must have' spoken to Pell about abuse charges

AUSTRALIA
Brisbane Times

[video]

Following another priest's sworn evidence that contradicted his own, Gerald Ridsdale changes his story about approaching now-Cardinal George Pell.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:35 AM

Sins of omission: the testimony of Gerald Ridsdale

AUSTRALIA
The Age

May 28, 2015

Jane Lee
Legal Affairs Reporter for The Age

COMMENT

In his blind loyalty to those who have washed their hands of him, Gerald Ridsdale has betrayed those he has already failed.

Who was the priest in the room when he raped a child in his office?

He would not, or could not, say. For almost two days, he said he could not remember George Pell living with him. Now he said he could only remember McMahon.

Expectations were probably too high. He is an elderly man in jail. He has admitted to more than 100 crimes against children, which have been aired at three court cases, one state inquiry and half a royal commission. What more, one might think, does he have to lose?

Two things: a few years of freedom if he is released on parole in 2019, and any remaining ties he has left with senior church authorities.

The commission already knows that the church authorities decided Ridsdale should move on to other parishes, where he then abused others. All that was left was to find out who he told, what he said, and how they reached these decisions.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:32 AM

The Front Against Child Sex Abuse Expands ...

UNITED STATES
Verdict

The Front Against Child Sex Abuse Expands to the Family: Josh Duggar, the Duggars, and What Every Family Should Know About Incest

Marci A. Hamilton

The war against child sex abuse received an infusion of weapons and power when the Boston Globe revealed the pattern of the cover-up by the Catholic hierarchy in 2001. With horror, the world witnessed secondhand the bishops shuffling pedophiles among parishes and fresh child victims. That same pattern has emerged in state after state, like Pennsylvania, where Philadelphia District Attorneys Lynne Abraham and Seth Williams put together thorough documentation in 2005 and 2011 Grand Jury Reports, and Minnesota, where statute of limitations reform has opened the door to the justice system that in turn has revealed the specifics of the cover-up. The unfolding story has also been told in Australia and Ireland.

These revelations painted a paradigm of adults letting children be abused by other adults. I call it “adult preferentialism.” As adults, we are persuaded that our interests (e.g., reputations and jobs and relationships) are much more important than the needs of children. We worry about the long-lasting effects on our reputations, but expect the kids to “get over it.” It is shocking when revealed, but that paradigm has played itself out in one venue after another since 2001, including (1) multiples of religious organizations from the Jehovah’s Witnesses to the ultra-Orthodox Jews, and (2) sports programs from Penn State football to Olympic swimming and speedskating.

Then elite private schools like Poly Prep and Horace Mann came into the spotlight, as well as public schools. Horace Mann is in the news this week because a coalition of alumnae and experts like Judge Leslie Crocker Snyder, Charol Shakeshaft, and I banded together to find a way to make sure the serial abuse at Horace Mann and the institution’s hardhearted response did not happen at any other private schools. The Horace Mann Action Coalition issued a scathing report this week, replete with important guidelines for private schools.

The Irony Underlying All of these Revelations About Child Sex Abuse: Most Abuse Happens in the Home

While we learned about, discussed, and reacted to the abuse in all of these “safe” venues, the abuse that occurs the most remained unspoken: Incest. There was a time when all sex abuse discussions were taboo; that taboo has persisted with respect to family-on-family abuse. Incest is the last frontier for child sex abuse.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:27 AM

Devastating consequences of secrecy and silence

AUSTRALIA
The Conversation

Jayne Lucke
Professor & Director of the Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health & Society at La Trobe University

Thanks to many generous contributors I now have an arsenal of potential responses to the question “what do you do?”. My options span a wide range of possible replies, including the flippant, cheeky, risqué, straight, cryptic, serious, intense, and downright arrogant. I am now equipped for any situation with an answer I can choose to suit the context, the characteristics of the questioner, and my own willingness to engage.

If only we all had such luxury when it comes to matters relating to sex. Misunderstandings and awkwardness about sex can be more than just an inconvenience or embarrassment. Sometimes there are potentially devastating consequences. The way we engage with ideas relating to sex can have far-reaching effects on our lives as individuals, within our families and on a broader societal level.

The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse provides us with a painful example of how badly things can go wrong. The public hearings in Ballarat have reminded us of the awful pain of people abused by a person in authority and the long-term impact of this betrayal. The royal commission also raises questions for us all about what went wrong, how to bring those responsible to justice, deal compassionately with the many people affected and most importantly, how to make sure this does not happen again.

This week in an op-ed piece for The Age, Dr Timothy Jones proposes that the view of the Catholic Church towards paedophilia as a sin, rather than a criminal act, was one of the factors that led to the church’s approach towards offenders – a policy that protected the offender and exposed new groups of vulnerable children to horrific abuse. A realisation of the impact on abused children came later as broader understandings of child sexual abuse changed.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:25 AM

E.J. Dionne Jr.: Ireland's 'social revolution'

UNITED STATES
The Cap Times

E.J. DIONNE JR. | national columnist

BOSTON — Consider the stunned disbelief, perhaps of a somewhat aggressive sort, that would have greeted anyone who might have told a tavern crowd in Dorchester or Southie three decades ago that Ireland would be the first nation in the world to approve gay marriage by popular vote.

It is a mark of how much has changed in such a short time that Ireland's vote for gay marriage last week was, in the end, the expected outcome — even if the breadth of marriage equality's victory was breathtaking.

The referendum carried 62 percent of the vote. Only one of the nation's 43 parliamentary constituencies, Roscommon-South Leitrim, voted "no," and even there, supporters won nearly 49 percent of the vote. The rural-urban split many anticipated did not materialize. Socially conservative areas that had opposed liberalizing Ireland's abortion and divorce laws in the past voted to allow gays and lesbians to marry.

The different outcome this time says something about why social liberalism finds its strongest expression these days around gay rights questions. If politics is often polarized because social changes can leave behind both winners and losers, it is far harder to make a case that there are any losers in the effort to provide for equality around sexual orientation. Ireland, a heartland of Catholicism that did so much to shape the Catholic Church in the United States, seemed to see things exactly this way.

But it's also true that Ireland has undergone a sweeping cultural transformation in a very short time. Irish faith in the church was badly shaken by the hierarchy's cover-up of the sex-abuse crisis even as the island was overtaken by a raucous materialism during the economic boom between 1995 and 2008. It was the era of the "Celtic tiger," a prime example of how good things could be under capitalism.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:22 AM

Abuse reports in Methodist Church highest in Nottingham and Derby, says new research

UNITED KINGDOM
Nottingham Post

By Tom Norton | Posted: May 28, 2015

More reports of abuse within the Methodist church were recorded in our region than anywhere else in the country, a publication has revealed.

The Methodist Church in Britain has published findings showing that more than 220 reports of historic abuse were made locally, out of 1,885 cases across the country.

The organisation's general secretary, Reverend Dr Martyn Akins, has issued a full apology to survivors of abuse, calling the findings "a deep source of grief and shame to the Church."

The most common report of abuse related to sexual abuse, of which there were 914 cases in the UK.

Five hundred and sixty-five cases were classified as "other", followed by 245 cases of physical, 207 of emotional, 135 of neglect, 87 of financial, 85 of domestic violence, 76 of institutional, 69 of racial and four of spiritual/ritual.

There were also 126 reports made where the category is "not-stated".

In Nottingham and Derby 225 safeguarding concerns were reported. In some cases, multiple concerns could have been submitted about one individual.

The church has said that a high number does not necessarily indicate more abuse, with at least one other district reporting high numbers because of good record keeping.

Seventy active ministers from Nottingham and Derby were contacted, of which 68 replied.

The independent inquiry was led by Jane Stacey, former deputy chief executive of Barnado's.

She said: "There are many lessons to be learnt, but the most challenging are those that require a significant culture change throughout the church, and particularly for ministers and church leaders. The Church will need further courage to implement the review's recommendations, which are far-reaching and call for major changes in both practice and culture.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:19 AM

Methodist Church: what's in the historical abuse report?

UNITED KINGDOM
ITV

A report into allegations of historical abuse within the Methodist Church has been published.

It covers physical and sexual abuses cases, dating back to the 1950s.

In the UK and Channel Islands, there was a total of nearly 2,000 reports of abuse. Seven of those cases were reported by people in the Channel Islands.

The report shows a large number of the cases concerned the abuse of children, and many were of a sexual nature:

34% Of victims were under age 18
46% Of victims were female
200 Cases of alleged abuse by Church Ministers
276 Cases of alleged abuse by Church lay employees
914 Cases of reported sexual abuse

The Church has said it wants to be open about the past, and to improve safeguarding procedures in the future.

It has also apologised for failing to protect children and adults.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:17 AM

Charities round on Church over 'horrifying catalogue' of 2,000 child sex abuse cases

UNITED KINGDOM
Express

By TOM BATCHELOR

The Methodist Church in Britain has offered an “unreserved apology” for its systemic failure to protect youngsters dating back to the 1950s.

Leading child safety charity NSPCC described the findings as a "horrifying catalogue of abuse", adding: "A vast number of victims must have endured appalling experiences while the Church refused to listen to their pleas for help.”

Responding to the shocking 100-page report, the Church said it was now committed to introducing safeguards for children.

The investigation, which has taken three years, has led to six police investigations into abuse, with the NSPCC warning that “abuse was still being inflicted in recent years”.

The Church said it was "deeply regrettable" that ministers had "not always listened properly” to those who had suffered abuse.

Rev Dr Martyn Atkins, general secretary of the Methodist Conference, said: "On behalf of the Methodist Church in Britain I want to express an unreserved apology for the failure of its current and earlier processes fully to protect children, young people and adults from physical and sexual abuse inflicted by some ministers in Full Connexion and members of the Methodist Church.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:15 AM

Methodist Church in Britain apologises for historical abuse

UNITED KINGDOM
The Guardian

Press Association
Thursday 28 May 2015

The Methodist Church in Britain has apologised for failing to protect children and adults after an investigation uncovered nearly 2,000 reports of physical and sexual abuse within the institution dating to 1950.

The MCB, which published the findings of the independent inquiry on Thursday, said it wanted to be open about the past and to have stronger safeguarding procedures in the future.

Rev Dr Martyn Atkins, its general secretary and secretary of the Methodist Conference, said: “On behalf of the Methodist Church in Britain, I want to express an unreserved apology for the failure of its current and earlier processes fully to protect children, young people and adults from physical and sexual abuse inflicted by some ministers in Full Connexion and members of the Methodist Church. That abuse has been inflicted by some Methodists on children, young people and adults is and will remain a deep source of grief and shame to the church.”

He described it as “deeply regrettable” that the church had “not always listened properly to those abused” nor had it always cared for them. “In respect of these things we have, as a Christian church, clearly failed to live in ways that glorify God and honour Christ,” he said. “I am certain that the Methodist Conference will want to resolve to do all in its power to improve its systems to protect children, young people and adults from abuse within the life of the church and on church premises, and to review them diligently on a regular basis.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:12 AM

Sex abuse trial of pastor continued again

COLORADO
Montrose Press

By Katharhynn Heidelberg Daily Press Senior Writer

The trial for Jeremias Quintero, who is accused of sexually abusing a teenage boy, has been reset from its June date to October.

Quintero is charged with sexual assault on a child by one in a position of trust and with sexual exploitation of a child.

He denies allegations that he molested the teen and showed him pornography in 2013, at which time Quintero was the pastor of an apostolic church in Delta and Glenwood Springs.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:10 AM

Methodist Church apologises for decades of child sex abuse with almost 2,000 victims

UNITED KINGDOM
Mirror

28 MAY 2015
BY RYAN HOOPER

The British arm of the Methodist Church has sensationally apologised for failing to protect children and adults, after garnering almost 2,000 complaints of physical and sexual abuse since the 1950s.

In a 100-page report, published today, the church said it wanted to be honest and open about the past.

The church was also keen to ensure that mistakes from the past can be learned from in the future.

Rev Dr Martyn Atkins, general secretary of the Methodist Conference said: "On behalf of the Methodist Church in Britain I want to express an unreserved apology for the failure of its current and earlier processes fully to protect children, young people and adults from physical and sexual abuse inflicted by some ministers in Full Connexion and members of the Methodist Church.

"That abuse has been inflicted by some Methodists on children, young people and adults is and will remain a deep source of grief and shame to the church."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:08 AM

Past Cases Review

UNITED KINGDOM
The Methodist Church in Britain

28 May 2015

Courage, Cost & Hope: The Report on the Past Cases Review, 2013-2015

News: Church issues 'full and unreserved apology' to abuse survivors
____

Background to the review

THE PAST CASES REVIEW SUBMISSIONS OFFICIALLY ENDED ON THE 24TH DECEMBER 2014. ANY PAST CONCERNS (AS WITH CURRENT CONCERNS) SHOULD BE REPORTED DIRECTLY TO YOUR DISTRICT SAFEGUARDING OFFICER.

SEE THE MAIN SAFEGUARDING PAGE FOR YOUR DISTRICT SAFEGUARDING OFFICER CONTACT DETAILS

"The Church needs to be sure that it has revisited cases using the benefit of hindsight, to be sure that no one has mistakenly left situations where vulnerable people may remain at risk. This is a great opportunity to see what went well, as well as to learn from mistakes we may have made, alongside reviewing the safety of past cases."

Elizabeth Hall, Safeguarding Adviser (Child & Adult Protection) for the Church of England & the Methodist Church in Britain.

The Church aims to review all 'safeguarding cases' since 1950. For the purposes of the review, a 'safeguarding concern' is defined as any concern that a child or adult may be at risk, be suffering or have suffered abuse, or that someone represents a risk of abuse to others.

The review invites anyone from the districts with any knowledge of a previous or current concern, to respond.

The Church has commissioned an independent expert who will review all the responses and advise the Church on any action that needs to be taken.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:03 AM

Courage, Cost & Hope: The Report on the Past Cases Review, 2013-2015

UNITED KINGDOM
The Methodist Church in Britain

A. BACKGROUND

The Methodist Conference in 2010 adopted replies to Memorials 35 and 36 that accepted the need for a review of past child protection cases, something to which the Methodist Council was already committed, and asked for a strategy for such a review process to be presented to the Methodist Council and for progress to be reported to the Conference in 2011.

The 2011 Conference approved the outline plan for the Past Safeguarding Cases Review (2011 Conference Agenda, pp. 119-129), which included proposals for a pilot to be based in the Wales Synod and Leeds District.

The following remit was agreed:

Remit – what is a case?

It is suggested that ‘case’ is defined as a ‘safeguarding concern’.

The Church of England focused its work, which started in 2007, on child protection cases. Since that date, the work with adults who may be vulnerable has developed in importance. The Methodist Church has just published a new policy ‘Safeguarding Adults’. It is therefore proposed that this review incorporate harm to adults.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:59 AM

Church issues ‘full and unreserved apology’ to abuse survivors

UNITED KINGDOM
The Methodist Church in Britain

Full report available here

The Methodist Church in Britain has today published the report of an independent review of past safeguarding cases related to the Church from 1950 to 2014.

Speaking on behalf of the Church, the Secretary of the Methodist Conference and General Secretary the Revd Dr Martyn Atkins has issued a full and unreserved apology to survivors and victims of abuse in response to the report:

"On behalf of the Methodist Church in Britain I want to express an unreserved apology for the failure of its current and earlier processes fully to protect children, young people and adults from physical and sexual abuse inflicted by some ministers in Full Connexion and members of the Methodist Church. That abuse has been inflicted by some Methodists on children, young people and adults is and will remain a deep source of grief and shame to the Church.

"We have not always listened properly to those abused or cared for them, and this is deeply regrettable. In respect of these things we have, as a Christian Church, clearly failed to live in ways that glorify God and honour Christ.

"I am certain that the Methodist Conference will want to resolve to do all in its power to improve its systems to protect children, young people and adults from abuse within the life of the Church and on Church premises, and to review them diligently on a regular basis."

The independent Past Cases Review considered all safeguarding cases for which there were written records and those recalled from memory by ministers and members of the Church going back to 1950. These included cases that occurred within a church context as well as those which were reported to the church as a matter of pastoral concern but which occurred away from the church.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:57 AM

We didn’t always listen to abuse victims, says Methodist Church

UNITED KINGDOM
Yorkshire Post

The Methodist Church in Britain has apologised for failing to protect children and adults following nearly 2,000 reports of physical and sexual abuse within the institution dating back to the 1950s.

Publishing a 100-page report today, the Methodist Church in Britain said it wanted to be open about the past and to have stronger safeguarding procedures in the future.

Rev Dr Martyn Atkins, general secretary of the Methodist Conference said: “On behalf of the Methodist Church in Britain I want to express an unreserved apology for the failure of its current and earlier processes fully to protect children, young people and adults from physical and sexual abuse inflicted by some ministers in Full Connexion and members of the Methodist Church.

“That abuse has been inflicted by some Methodists on children, young people and adults is and will remain a deep source of grief and shame to the church.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:54 AM

Suit Claims Sexual Abuse, Cover-up by San Antonio Catholic Church

TEXAS
WOAI

A salacious civil lawsuit, accusing the San Antonio catholic archdiocese and two high profile priests of sexual abuse and the following cover-up, has been filed in Bexar County.

The unnamed male claims that, between 1980 and 1983, he was living in an orphanage steps away from Assumption Seminary. He was befriended by a student, named Brother Jesus Dominguez, who would help him with homework and take him out to restaurants.

"For about two years, Brother Dominguez would end our outing by taking me back to his dormitory quarters, where he would often fondle and masturbate my penis," the lawsuit, obtained by Newsradio 1200 WOAI, reads.

It goes on to say that Brother Dominguez took the victim and a friend to Disneyland, where they faced about one month of abuse. When he questioned the abuse, the lawsuits claims Brother Dominguez would fake a heart attack or, on another occasion, threaten to kill them both.

The lawsuit reads that the victim confided in father Virgilio Elizondo, but was once again sexually assaulted.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:51 AM

Ridsdale 'must have' spoken to Pell about abuse charges

AUSTRALIA
WA Today

[video]

Following another priest's sworn evidence that contradicted his own, Gerald Ridsdale changes his story about approaching now-Cardinal George Pell.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:49 AM

Child sexual abuse inquiry: Notorious paedophile Gerald Ridsdale raped girl at home ...

AUSTRALIA
ABC News

Child sexual abuse inquiry: Notorious paedophile Gerald Ridsdale raped girl at home he shared with George Pell, 'and another priest heard'

By court reporter Peta Carlyon

Notorious paedophile Gerald Ridsdale molested an 11-year-old girl in the home he once shared with other priests, including now Cardinal George Pell, an inquiry into child sexual abuse has been told.

Ridsdale, an 81-year-old former priest, was back in the witness box for a second day at the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse in Ballarat.

The inquiry heard the defrocked priest abused the girl at the Ballarat East presbytery in the 1970s, where he was living with a number of other priests, including Australia's now most senior Catholic leader.

The inquiry heard the girl went to look at the rock collection in Ridsdale's bedroom, but saw a pornographic magazine and ran away.

When Ridsdale caught up to her, he raped her.

Court documents read out at the inquiry revealed the girl believed another priest was there and heard her being assaulted, but did not intervene.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:47 AM

Paedophile Gerald Ridsdale admits another priest 'may have seen abuse'

AUSTRALIA
The Guardian

Oliver Milman
@olliemilman

Thursday 28 May 2015

Convicted paedophile Gerald Ridsdale has been questioned over the sexual abuse of a young girl in a house he shared with George Pell, Australia’s most senior Catholic cleric.

At a royal commission hearing in the Victorian city of Ballarat on Thursday, Ridsdale, who has been in jail for child sex offences since 1994, was asked about a further conviction last year for an assault on a 10 or 11-year-old girl in 1972 or 1973.

The judge in the case remarked in sentencing that “this complainant believes another priest was present for a short time while you were sexually assaulting her and must have been aware of the assault but did not intervene”.

Under questioning from Gail Furness, counsel assisting the royal commission, Ridsdale said he did not remember the incident but accepted he committed the offence and that another priest may have been present.

Asked with whom he was living at the time, Ridsdale said: “Well, I said I didn’t remember any of the priests who were there with me but you tell me that George Pell was there at the same time so I have to accept that, that George Pell was there, but I don’t remember any of the others.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:44 AM

'Another priest' present when Gerald Ridsdale abused ...

AUSTRALIA
The Age

'Another priest' present when Gerald Ridsdale abused a child in his bedroom, royal commission hears

May 28, 2015

Jane Lee, Rania Spooner

Another priest was present when Gerald Ridsdale raped a child in his bedroom in a house he shared with other priests, including George Pell, a royal commission has heard.

Ridsdale told the royal commission he could not remember who the priest was.
Counsel assisting the commission, Gail Furness, SC, asked Ridsdale about his abuse of a child in his bedroom at St Alipius' presbytery, where he lived with George Pell in the early 1970s. Ridsdale has accepted that he lived with Pell at the time, but has told the commission he cannot remember having any dealings with him.

Between 1972 and 1973, he abused a girl after she followed him into his bedroom to see his rock collection.

The girl believed that there was another priest there for a short time while Ridsdale sexually abused her, but did not intervene.

"I accept that's what she believed," Ridsdale said.

Counsel assisting the commission said "can you help us with who was the priest?"

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:41 AM

Sydney cardinals knew of priest's issues

AUSTRALIA
Daily Mail

By AUSTRALIAN ASSOCIATED PRESS

Two Sydney archbishops knew of pedophile priest Gerald Ridsdale's "sexual problems" and that he should be kept away from children, an inquiry has heard.

The child sex abuse royal commission has also heard allegations raised during Ridsdale's last court case that a victim believed another priest walked in while Ridsdale was sexually assaulting her.
Ballarat Bishop Ronald Mulkearns also knew Ridsdale was committing crimes and abusing children, the commission heard.

Ridsdale was sent out of Victoria, effectively to a desk job in Sydney, to get him away from parishes and access to children, senior counsel assisting the commission Gail Furness SC said on Thursday.

Documents before the commission show Bishop Mulkearns discussed with the new Archbishop of Sydney Cardinal Edward Clancy the conditions of Ridsdale's transfer to Sydney, as agreed under his predecessor Cardinal Sir James Freeman.

The conditions were that Ridsdale worked at the Catholic Enquiry Centre, had no contact with children and continued with counselling.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:39 AM

Ridsdale says shouldn't have been a priest

AUSTRALIA
Perth Now

By Megan Neil
AAP

EVEN Gerald Ridsdale says he should never have been a priest.

THE 81-year-old says he's sorry "so many others" could have been saved had Catholic Church figures who knew he was abusing children gone to police.

Two Ballarat bishops knew of Ridsdale's crimes, one as early as 1961, and two Sydney archbishops knew he had "sexual problems" and should be kept away from children, an inquiry has heard.

Ridsdale was moved between numerous Victorian parishes before being sent to a desk job in Sydney, a move senior counsel assisting the royal commission Gail Furness SC said was designed to get him away from parishes and access to children.

Documents before the child sex abuse royal commission show Ballarat Bishop Ronald Mulkearns first agreed on conditions for Ridsdale's transfer with the Archbishop of Sydney Cardinal Sir James Freeman.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:38 AM

May 27, 2015

Family of victim visit priest in jail

AUSTRALIA
SBS

Source: AAP
28 MAY 2015

The family of a boy abused by pedophile priest Gerald Ridsdale in NSW visit him in jail in Victoria, not knowing their son was molested, the royal commission has heard.

Ridsdale said he could not remember offending against a child when he went to live at White Cliffs in NSW, after stepping down from parish work in 1988.

"I can't think of anyone that I did," he told the child sex abuse royal commission's Ballarat inquiry on Thursday.

Senior counsel assisting the commission Gail Furness SC said there was a family Ridsdale met and became friendly with.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:27 PM

Former Smithville pastor sentenced to 10 years’ probation for child sex abuse

NEW YORK
Watertown Daily Times

PUBLISHED: WEDNESDAY, MAY 27, 2015

WATERTOWN — The former pastor of Smithville Baptist Church was sentenced Wednesday in Jefferson County Court to 10 years’ probation supervision for having sexual contact with a 9-year-old girl in 2008.

Thomas W. Wilson, 63, of 20560 Weaver Road, was also ordered to register with the state as a Level 1 sex offender after pleading guilty March 24 to first-degree sexual abuse.

He had been charged in January with having sexual contact with the youth July 6, 2008, in Sackets Harbor. State police said at the time of Mr. Wilson’s arrest that the incident occurred behind the Lake Ontario Playhouse in Sackets Harbor.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:21 PM

Gerald Ridsdale tells sex abuse Royal Commission that he did share meals with George Pell

AUSTRALIA
The Age

May 28, 2015

Rania Spooner

Paedophile priest Gerald Ridsdale has conceded he shared meals with George Pell and chatted with him when the pair lived together in the '70s, but denied telling the prominent Catholic leader that he was abusing children.

The admission comes after he told the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse on Wednesday, which was holding hearings in Ballarat, that he could not remember living with Cardinal Pell at all.

Records show they lived together for about a year.

The commission has also heard that Cardinal Pell was present at a September 1982 meeting involving three other senior clerics – including then-Bishop Ronald Mulkearns - who had all received complaints about Ridsdale's behaviour towards children.

At the meeting there was a discussion about removing Ridsdale from the Victorian town of Mortlake – where he has since admitted abusing more than 50 children – and moving him to Sydney.

Ridsdale accepted the reason that he was moved was to get him away from Victorian parishes and limit his access to children.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:06 PM

Abuser priest says he never told Pell

AUSTRALIA
7 News

Megan Neil
May 28, 2015

Pedophile priest Gerald Francis Ridsdale says he did not tell then-Father George Pell that he was abusing children.

Ridsdale and Pell lived in the Ballarat East presbytery together for about a year in the early 1970s.

Ridsdale told the child abuse royal commission he would have chatted with Father Pell but he did not tell him about his issues with children since his time in the seminary.

"No I don't think so," Ridsdale told the commission's Ballarat inquiry on Thursday.

The commission has heard Ballarat Bishop Ronald Mulkearns told a meeting of his advisers, the College of Consultors, that it had become necessary to move Ridsdale from the parish of Mortlake in 1982.

Commission chair Justice Peter McClellan said it was incredible Ridsdale could not remember his discussions with Bishop Mulkearns about being removed.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:41 PM

Case Study 28, May 2015, Ballarat - Live hearing

AUSTRALIA
Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse

live stream

Former priest Gerald Ridsdale continues his testimony for a second day.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:34 PM

Full text: Lord Patten’s speech on the Vatican’s media operation

UNITED KINGDOM
Catholic Herald

Lord Patten of Barnes' lecture for the English and Welsh bishops' World Communications Day

The Invitation

Shortly after the 2010 election, I was asked by the Prime Minister, David Cameron, if I would help to organise the visit of Emeritus Pope Benedict to the United Kingdom. This naturally brought me into regular contact with Vatican officials. I had visited the Vatican before as a Minister and European Commissioner and met both Pope St John Paul and some of his officials. But the events of 2010 ensured more regular contact and some complicated discussions. I have to say, for example, that acting as a go-between with the First Minister of Scotland, Alex Salmond, and the Vatican was far from straightforward not least at the Edinburgh side of the partnership! But in the event, the visit of His Holiness went very well, above all for two reasons. First, the Pope himself – who impressed all who met him as a holy, scholarly, gentle intellectual with a remarkable facility for expressing complex issues in simple and beautiful language. Second, there were the congregations who came to the masses and vigils during the visit, representing as they did the depth and breadth of Catholicism in England and Scotland – every age, every social class and every ethnicity.

It was perhaps my encounters with Rome then, and my subsequent three year experience as the principal regulator of the BBC, that led to an unexpected phone call in July last year. I was telephoned out of the blue by Cardinal George Pell whom I had only seen once before preaching in his cathedral in Sydney at a Christmas morning mass a few years ago. I of course know as well that he was an Oxford alumnus, with a doctorate from the university and a formidable knowledge of English history especially of the 16th century. Cardinal Pell invited me to take the chair of a committee charged with reviewing the Holy See’s media operations and proposing new structures. This was related to the overall work he was doing to reform the Vatican’s financial and administrative structures which had become subjects of growing public and private concern.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:31 PM

Notre Dame priest accused of sexual abuse in 1983

INDIANA
ABC 57

By Melissa Hudson

SOUTH BEND, Ind. - A Notre Dame professor and priest is a defendant in a lawsuit filed in San Antonio, Texas alleging he and another priest sexually abused a minor in the 1980s.

The priests named in the suit are Father Jesus Armando Dominguez and Father Virgilio Elizondo.

Notre Dame confirmed Elizondo is on the faculty, according to a statement by University Spokesman Dennis K. Brown..

We can confirm that Father Elizondo is on the faculty, but we have just learned of the allegation. We are reserving further comment until we examine the plaintiff's San Antonio filing and make further inquiries.

The lawsuit says while living in an orphanage near the Assumption Seminary of the Archdiocese of San Antonio, Father Dominguez, then still a student at seminary, began acting as a father figure to the victim and took him out to eat and to movies.

The victim alleges after these outings, Father Dominguez would take him back to the dormitory quarters and fondle him.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:53 PM

Students share insight on Notre Dame prof. accused of sexually abusing boy

TEXAS/INDIANA
WSBT

[with video[

Annie Chang

NOTRE DAME, Ind. -
Former students of Fr. Virgilio Elizondo, the Notre Dame professor and Texas priest accused of sexually abusing a boy in the 1980s, spoke to WSBT 22 about their teacher Wednesday.

Elizondo is named in a lawsuit filed last week in San Antonio. Court documents filed on behalf of the plaintiff, an unnamed man, accuse two priests of sexually molesting the man when he was a child.

The plaintiff, an orphan, claims he was regularly abused by a local priest named Fr. Jesse Dominguez, over a period of two years, until Dominguez moved away.

The plaintiff also claims he tried to confide in Elizondo about those experiences in 1983. The two were in the car together. That's when, according to court documents, Elizondo allegedly reached over, kissed the minor, and began to "fondle the Plaintiff's genitals."

The suit names the ArchDiocese of San Antonio, accusing officials of trying to cover up the plaintiff's story, as well as the two priests.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:51 PM

Lord Patten urges Vatican to accept sweeping changes to its media operation

UNITED KINGDOM
Catholic Herald

British peer offers scathing critique of the Holy See's current communications structures

The British peer charged with the reform of the Vatican’s media operation has urged the Holy See to radically overhaul its communications.

Lord Patten of Barnes offered a scathing critique of the Vatican’s current media structures, saying they were unfit for the digital age.

Giving the English and Welsh bishops’ World Communications Day Lecture in London, he said that, while “the Church has cleaned up and cleared up the way it manages its finances, putting an appropriate emphasis on modern accountancy and auditing, including transparency”, communications had not received adequate attention.

He said: “It would be bizarre if the Vatican was to run its media with its eyes closed to the way every other media organisation is managed in the second decade of the 21st century.

“It would be beyond bizarre to deny the Vatican the sort of modern media operation that others – including existing national church organisations – take for granted.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:47 PM

Trooper Who Did Not Report Duggar Abuse Listed 'Kinki Kids' As Online Interest

ARKANSAS
Huffington Post

By Hilary Hanson

The Arkansas state trooper who reportedly gave the young Josh Duggar a “very stern talk” once had a Yahoo profile in which he detailed his own sexual interest in children, according to a 2009 court document.

The Pulaski County, Arkansas, “risk assessment” document, which is publicly available online and was posted by Jezebel on Wednesday, detailed the criminal history of the former officer, Joe Hutchens, who is now serving a 56-year sentence on child porn charges.

When Hutchens was still working as a trooper in 2006, Jim Bob Duggar approached him with the information that the teenaged Josh had sexually molested someone, according to a police report obtained by InTouch. Josh had, in fact, "forcibly fondled" five underage girls, some of whom were his sisters. Hutchens did not officially report the teen’s actions but instead gave him a “very stern talk,” the report said.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:45 PM

Stephen Harper urged to show leadership on residential schools

CANADA
Ottawa Citizen

MARK KENNEDY, OTTAWA CITIZEN

Opposition party leaders are calling on Prime Minister Stephen Harper to show personal “leadership” in his government’s public response to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) next week.

But it’s unclear if Harper will even participate in the closing events for the six-year probe of the aboriginal residential school system.

Harper’s involvement is considered important because he was the political leader who delivered a historic apology in the House of Commons in 2008 for the federal government’s role in the residential school saga.

Now, he will be faced with responding to recommendations from the commission that will tell the brutal truth of how 150,000 aboriginal children were stripped from their families for many decades by the federal government and sent to church-run schools where many suffered physical, emotional and sexual abuse.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:43 PM

Matt Chandler...

UNITED STATES
Barrier Breaker

Matt Chandler: Let Us Reconcile You To Your Child Porn Viewing Ex, Or You’re Excommunicated

May 27, 2015 by Peter Mosley

So, this one pisses me off. It pisses me off because it shows, clearly, the oppressiveness of the concept of Christian grace.

People think that “grace” is the most wonderful concept in Christendom. But it’s the most offensive, in my opinion, because it is a tool the church can use to give you no recourse against people who have profoundly hurt you. It is a way the church can say you HAVE to be OK with something someone did that was profoundly offensive. Most common — among far right movements like Quiverfull and within the Catholic Church — it seems, is the forced forgiveness of child sexual abuse.

You think child sexual abuse is bad? Get over it. God forgave that person (especially if it is a man). Move along; nothing to see here. Oh, you’re not a Christian? You’re LGBT? Sorry, but the church is going to bear down on you, hard, and say that you’re an ugly-hearted degenerate who is unable to control his or her sexual desires around children, whether there is proof that you actually or more at risk for molesting children or not. Sorry, our magic wand of God’s grace isn’t bestowed to you, sinner. But repent and say that our imaginary friend who loves you so much he wants to control every aspect of your life is the ruler of the universe, and we can use him to force people to be OK with whatever child you decide to sexually abuse.

And people deny this is true when it is right in front of our faces and has happened for years. Louis CK has a skit in which the Catholic Church is portrayed as an excuse for priests to “fuck little boys in the ass,” which has a strong ring of truth to it.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:39 PM

NY--Report on abuse/cover up at Horace Mann in NY; SNAP responds

NEW YORK
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

For immediate release: Wednesday, May 27

Statement by Mary Caplan of New York City, SNAP Leader, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests ( 917 439 4187, mcaplan682@aol.com )

We’re very grateful to the Horace Mann alums and victims who have painstakingly and courageously put this report together. Kids are safer because of their courage and hard work.

But of course Horace Mann officials, not Horace Mann victims, should have shown this courage and done this hard work. Tragically, they refused. They also refused to cooperate with this investigation in any way.

We support these victims in their recommendations for reform and prevention, especially regarding the statute of limitations.

One in four girls and one in eight boys is molested. So clearly, what our society is doing now to stop predators and protect kids, especially in churches and schools, is failing.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:36 PM

Horace Mann sex abuse scandal involved 64 students and 22 faculty, staff: report

NEW YORK
New York Daily News

BY GINGER ADAMS OTIS

As many as 64 students at an upscale Bronx prep school Horace Mann were abused by as many as 22 faculty and staff in a decades-long sex abuse scandal, according to an independent report released Wednesday.

The comprehensive report was the result of an investigation funded by Horace Mann alumni and conducted by Judge Leslie Crocker Snyder — who noted throughout her findings the school refused to

Snyder had to rely primarily on the testimony of alleged sex abuse victims, she said. ...

l Included among the abusers — both men and women — were a headmaster, coaches, teachers, a school chaplain, a dean of guidance and department heads.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:34 PM

Presentadas Líneas guía para casos de abusos a menores de edad

CHILE
Iglesia - Conferencia Episcopal de Chile

Al presentar el texto, el secretario general de la Conferencia Episcopal, mons. Cristián Contreras Villarroel, obispo de Melipilla, explicó que desde el año 2002, la CECh se ha planteado como un desafío prioritario abordar la problemática del abuso sexual de menores de edad, tanto en la Iglesia como en la sociedad chilena.

Tras el primer Protocolo del año 2003 para enfrentar estas situaciones, actualizado y complementado el año 2011, los Obispos redactaron, a petición de la Santa Sede, el documento de Líneas guía, es decir, procedimientos claros y coordinados en el manejo de los casos de abuso, tanto para asistir a las víctimas como para formar a la comunidad eclesial en la protección de los menores de edad.

El texto fue revisado por la Santa Sede y su versión final fue aprobada en la 109ª Asamblea Plenaria, celebrada en abril pasada. Lleva por título “Cuidado y Esperanza. Líneas Guía de la Conferencia Episcopal de Chile para tratar los casos de abusos sexuales a menores de edad”.

Mons. Contreras Villarroel informó que el pasado domingo 24 de mayo, en la solemnidad de Pentecostés, la fiesta del Espíritu Santo, todos los obispos diocesanos de Chile firmaron el decreto que promulga estas Líneas Guía como norma oficial en cada una de las circunscripciones. Explicó que las nuevas Normas comenzarán a regir el 16 de julio, solemnidad de Nuestra Señora del Carmen.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:40 PM

Obispos católicos chilenos entregan guía para tratar casos de abuso sexual

CHILE
Ultima Hora

[Presentadas Líneas guía para casos de abusos a menores de edad - Iglesia]

[Chilean Catholic bishops deliver guidance for dealing with cases of sexual abuse.The Conference of Catholic Bishops of Chile on Wednesday presented the document "Care and Hope," a guide to procedures for handling cases of sexual abuse within the Catholic Church.The text drafted by the Chilean bishops was developed at the request of the Vatican which in May 2011 sent a letter to the Episcopal Conferences worldwide requesting general guidelines for assisting victims of abuse and to prevent such cases. "This I is the result of a process undertaken by the church in Chile one of the most painful moments in its history. The abuse of minors perpetrated by clerics certainly mark a before and after in the Chilean church life," said Bishop Alejandro Goic, vice president of the Episcopal Conference.]

La Conferencia de Obispos Católicos de Chile entregó este miércoles el documento "Cuidado y Esperanza", una guía con procedimientos para el manejo de los casos de abusos sexuales dentro de la iglesia católica.

EFE

El texto redactado por los obispos chilenos se elaboró a petición del Vaticano, que en mayo de 2011 remitió una carta a las Conferencias Episcopales de todo el mundo solicitando líneas generales para asistir a las víctimas de abusos y para prevenir este tipo de casos.

"Este es el fruto de un proceso emprendido por la iglesia en Chile en uno de los momentos más dolorosos de su historia. Los abusos contra menores perpetrados por clérigos marcan, ciertamente, un antes y un después en la vida eclesial chilena", sostuvo el vicepresidente de la Conferencia Episcopal, monseñor Alejandro Goic.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:17 PM

TX--Notre Dame priest accused of abuse; SNAP responds

TEXAS
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

For immediate release: Wednesday, May 27

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

Notre Dame officials should immediately suspend a priest on their faculty who is accused of child sex crimes. They, along with San Antonio Catholic officials, should aggressively seek out others who may have seen, suspected or suffered crimes by the cleric or cover ups by his church supervisors.

[WSBT]

A high-profile priest and professor, Fr. Virgilio Elizondo, is accused in a new civil lawsuit of sexually assaulting a child in Texas in the 1980s. We commend this brave individual who is taking action to protect others and expose those who commit and conceal heinous crimes against children.

More than a dozen years ago, US Catholic officials pledged to promptly suspend credibly accused child molesting clerics. This new suit, we believe, constitutes a credible allegation.

Fr. Elizondo should be removed from his post and sent to a remote, secure, independently-run treatment facility so that kids can be safer. And anyone with information or suspicions about clergy sex crimes or cover ups should call secular authorities, not church officials.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:14 PM

AR-- Duggar sued state abuse agency; SNAP responds

ARKANSAS
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

For immediate release: Wednesday, May 27

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

It’s time for the Duggar family to break their silence about admitted child sex crimes by one of their own, especially in light of new revelations that they sued an Arkansas child safety agency. And it’s time for an independent law enforcement investigation into this serious matter.

[In Touche Weekly]

[People]

They should also stop minimizing Josh Duggar’s crimes by calling them “teenaged mistakes.” And every single person who saw, suspected or suffered crimes or cover ups by the Duggars or their church colleagues should find the courage to call police and prosecutors now.

Josh, Michelle and Jim Bob Duggar obviously did not promptly report suspicions or admissions of child sex crimes to law enforcement. Josh has made a vague, brief apology. His parents, however, have not – and one could argue, because they were adults at the time, they are even more culpable than their son was.

They have thus forfeited any moral authority they may have had.

But there are many ways to skin a cat. And just because law enforcement authorities were thwarted years ago doesn’t necessarily mean they are thwarted still. It’s possible that the Duggars might be prosecuted for crimes like the intimidation of witnesses, the destruction of evidence, or the obstruction of justice. So we call on Arkansas secular officials to investigate this troubling situation so that the truth might be exposed, future cover ups might be deterred and faith in the justice system might be restored.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:11 PM

Notre Dame professor, ex-priest accused in suit of sexual assault of Texas orphan 30 years ago

INDIANA
The Republic

By TOM COYNE Associated Press
May 27, 2015

SOUTH BEND, Indiana — A Texas lawsuit accuses a Roman Catholic priest who's a theology professor at the University of Notre Dame and a former priest of sexually abusing an underage boy more than 30 years ago.

The lawsuit filed Friday in San Antonio, Texas, alleges the unidentified boy was sexually abused by ex-priest Jesus Armando Dominguez while he was a student at Assumption Seminary of the Archdiocese of San Antonio. The lawsuit alleges he was sexually abused again when he reported the abuse to the Rev. Virgilio Elizondo, now a Notre Dame professor. The lawsuit seeks unspecified damages.

Notre Dame spokesman Paul Browne said Wednesday the university was "reserving comment until further inquiries are completed."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:09 PM

Abuser priest to testify a second day

AUSTRALIA
Gazette Herald

Pedophile priest Gerald Francis Ridsdale will resume giving proof for a second day earlier than the kid intercourse abuse royal fee’s Ballarat inquiry.

On Wednesday, he revealed how he had a longtime sample of discovering victims, befriending their households and establishing drop-in centres to lure weak younger boys.

However, victims have been disillusioned that his testimony revealed only a few particulars about who within the church knew of his offending and moved him from parish to parish.

Instead Ridsdale testified that he couldn’t even recall sharing a presbytery with Cardinal George Pell in 1970s.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:10 PM

Gallup diocese billed $2.25M so far in bankruptcy case

NEW MEXICO
KRQE

GALLUP, N.M. (AP) – The Roman Catholic Diocese of Gallup has incurred over $2.25 million of legal fees and expenses in its ongoing bankruptcy reorganization case.

The Gallup Independent reports that the cost figures are from billing statements submitted to the federal Bankruptcy Court by attorneys, accountants, insurance researchers and real estate appraisers.

Facing mountain lawsuits alleging clergy sex abuse, the diocese filed in November 2013 for protection under Chapter 11 of the Bankruptcy Code.

The total cost figure of $2.25 million includes $57,000 already paid by the district. The remaining fees and expenses won’t be paid until the diocese has an approved plan for reorganization.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:05 PM

Nordonia Hills child porn sentencing opens old wounds in Catholic St. Barnabas community

OHIO
Ohio.com

By John Harper, Northeast Ohio Media Group
on May 22, 2015

NORTHFIELD CENTER TOWNSHIP, Ohio -- The sentencing of a former teacher and school board president on 15 child porn charges has opened old wounds for parents and former students at St. Barnabas School and church in Northfield Center.

Decades of child abuse at St. Barnabas and other catholic schools came to light 13 years ago when the Rev. Daniel McBride, the only priest indicted in a sweeping grand-jury investigation of sex-abuse complaints in the Cleveland Catholic Diocese. McBride was sentenced to three years' probation for having sex with a teen prostitute last year

The diocese issued a statement saying McBride's case was "a personal matter and was never connected with the exercise of his priestly ministry."

Now the Rev. Ralph Wiatrowsky of St. Barnabas has asked a judge to reconsider sentencing former Nordonia Hills school board President Steve Bittel to prison after 67 child porn files were found on his computer. And the letter has some parents outraged.

Angela Mitchell was a student at St. Barnabas in the 1980s, and while she was never a victim of sexual abuse, she says she knows others who were. She is one of 1,600 local parents who have joined a private Facebook group to coordinate efforts asking the Diocese of Cleveland to reconsider Wiatrowsky's job.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:02 PM

DUGGAR BREAKING NEWS ...

ARKANSAS
In Touch Weekly

DUGGAR BREAKING NEWS: DISGRACED COP WHO DIDN’T REPORT MOLESTATION SHOOTS DOWN JIM BOB’S STORY

The disgraced Arkansas state trooper who was first alerted to the Josh Duggar molestation allegations is contradicting the story Jim Bob Duggar later told Springdale, Ark., police, In Touch Weekly is reporting exclusively in the new issue that goes on sale today.

In 2006, Jim Bob told Springdale police that he took Josh to see State Trooper Joseph Hutchens and that Josh “admitted to Hutchens what [Josh, redacted] had done,” according to the police report, obtained exclusively by In Touch through the Freedom of Information Act. At this point, there were five victims and multiple molestations by Josh.

But Hutchens, in his only interview since the Duggar scandal has been uncovered, says that Jim Bob told him about only one incident of molestation and that, in part, is why he decided not to report Josh to the abuse hotline.

Hutchens is serving 56 years in prison for child pornography and admits his “reputation is shot.” He was interviewed by a representative of a local law firm at In Touch's request and promised nothing in return for his recollections.

Hutchens' failure to report the abuse caused the police to halt their 2006 investigation because the statute of limitations ran out.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:57 PM

Jury selection continues for former Catholic school teacher charged with sex abuse

FLORIDA
WPBF

[with video]

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. —Both sides are questioning a pool of potential jurors in the Stephen Budd sexual molestation trial which began Tuesday.

Budd, 53, was a fourth grade teacher at Rosarian Academy in 2006-2007 when two former students now say he coerced them into performing sex acts on him and each other, in exchange for “Budd Bucks.”

The fake money with Budd’s picture on it could be traded for candy and prizes.

The girls told police the abuse went on for months in the classroom, where Budd would have them perform sex acts on him while they crouched under his desk during class. They said he also had them perform sex on each other and take nude pictures with the class Polaroid.

One girl said she would throw her clothing away after it was soiled for fear her parents would discover it.

The girls said they took a vow of silence, but one came forward recently after she said Budd contacted her on Facebook.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:49 PM

Ex-state trooper: Jim Bob Duggar lied and told me his son had molested only one girl

ARKANSAS
The Raw Story

TRAVIS GETTYS
27 MAY 2015

The former state trooper said Jim Bob Duggar – a one-time friend of his – lied when he brought his teenage son to him to discuss molestation claims, according to reports.

The reality show star said he took his eldest son, Josh Duggar, to meet with Joseph Hutchens, then an Arkansas state trooper and now serving a 56-year prison term for child pornography, a year after learning the teen had molested his sisters and at least one other girl.

But Hutchens said the patriarch of the “19 Kids and Counting” family lied to him and said the teen had molested only one girl, reported the InTouch Weekly.

“Jim Bob explained to me that Josh inappropriately touched [a victim] while she was asleep,” Hutchens told the magazine. “He said it only happened one time.”

Hutchens gave Josh Duggar “a very stern talk,” according to his father, but took no official action – but he told the magazine that he might have done more if he realized the extent of the abuse going on in the family’s home.

“I am a Christian myself, and I worry that if something else had happened, I would have been responsible,” said Hutchens, who was convicted four years later on child porn charges.

He served three years in prison but was arrested shortly after his 2010 release on four additional counts for distributing child pornography and remains in prison – where he spoke to an Arkansas lawyer on behalf of InTouch as part of an investigative report.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:44 PM

La svolta dell'Irlanda spiazza il Vaticano Summit sulle coppie gay

CITTA DEL VATICANO
La Repubblica

CITTÀ DEL VATICANO .
Un summit con inviti mirati, nel cuore di Roma, per discutere sui temi più sensibili del prossimo Sinodo sulla famiglia, compresa quale pastorale adottare verso le coppie omosessuali e i divorziati risposati. Un incontro programmato da tempo e a cui sono stati invitati esponenti di primo piano della Chiesa tedesca, francese e svizzera, e che cade significativamente oggi, quarant'otto ore dopo quel sì alle nozze gay dell'Irlanda che ha aperto in tutto il mondo cattolico una riflessione che non può essere scontata: «Ci dobbiamo fermare, guardare ai fatti e metterci in ascolto dei giovani. Non si può negare l'evidenza », ha dichiarato l'arcivescovo di Dublino, Diarmuid Martin, alla televisione nazionale irlandese. Del resto, anche Francesco l'ha detto a chiare lettere: il Sinodo non è un Parlamento nel quale fazioni diverse si contrappongono.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:47 PM

Il dopo Irlanda dei vescovi: "Il vincolo tra gay valore per la Chiesa"

ROMA
La Repubblica

ROMA .
«Cosa possiamo dire a una gioventù che non si ritrova negli orientamenti della Chiesa? Come dobbiamo impostare una pratica dell'eros? Qui ci troviamo di fronte a problemi con cui fare i conti, altrimenti la gente finirà per allontanarsi».

L'allarme pacato lanciato a metà lavori da un sacerdote e docente scuote i tavoli messi a rettangolo fra i 50 convenuti all'Università Gregoriana di Roma, nella giornata di studio organizzata per il Sinodo dei vescovi previsto in autunno. "Matrimonio e divorzio", "Sessualità come espressione dell'amore" sono i titoli su cui si discute. Temi di un'attualità bruciante, dopo il sì del referendum in Irlanda sulle nozze gay. Ci sono molti big della Chiesa, come il cardinale Reinhard Marx, arcivescovo di Monaco di Baviera e capo dei vescovi tedeschi, l'arcivescovo di Marsiglia Georges Pontier che è presidente della Conferenza episcopale francese, quello di Havre, Brunin, il vescovo di Dresda, Koch, quello della Bassa Sassonia, Bode, lo svizzero Gmur, il segretario generale dei vescovi tedeschi Langendorfer, teologi emeriti e professori universitari come il presidente della Comunità di Sant'Egidio, Marco Impagliazzo. Tutti ospitati dal vice rettore della Gregoriana, padre Hans Zollner, e vincolati a non attribuire la paternità delle dichiarazioni agli intervenuti. Lavori a porte chiuse, a cui è stata invitata a partecipare, quale unico media italiano, La Repubblica.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:45 PM

Confidential Meeting Seeks to Sway Synod to Accept Same-Sex Unions

ROME
National Catholic Register

BY EDWARD PENTIN 05/26/2015

ROME — A one-day study meeting — open only to a select group of individuals — took place at the Pontifical Gregorian University on Monday with the aim of urging “pastoral innovations” at the upcoming Synod of Bishops on the Family in October.

Around 50 participants, including bishops, theologians and media representatives, took part in the gathering, at the invitation of the presidents of the bishops’ conferences of Germany, Switzerland and France — Cardinal Reinhard Marx, Bishop Markus Büchel and Archbishop Georges Pontier.

One of the key topics discussed at the closed-door meeting was how the Church could better welcome those in stable same-sex unions, and reportedly “no one” opposed such unions being recognized as valid by the Church.

Participants also spoke of the need to “develop” the Church’s teaching on human sexuality and called not for a theology of the body, as famously taught by St. John Paul II, but the development of a “theology of love.”

One Swiss priest discussed the “importance of the human sex drive,” while another participant, talking about holy Communion for remarried divorcees, asked: “How can we deny it, as though it were a punishment for the people who have failed and found a new partner with whom to start a new life?”

Marco Ansaldo, a reporter for the Italian daily newspaper La Repubblica, who was present at the meeting, said the words seemed “revolutionary, uttered by clergymen.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:39 PM

Two San Antonio priests accused of sexual assault of child in lawsuit

TEXAS
San Antonio Express-News

BY MICHELLE CASADY : MAY 27, 2015

SAN ANTONIO — A civil lawsuit that alleges sexual abuse on the part of two priests in the Archdiocese of San Antonio was filed this month in Bexar County Court.

Father Jesus Armando Dominguez and Father Virgilio Elizondo are named as defendants in the suit, alongside the Archdiocese of San Antonio and three archbishops, who, according to the allegations laid out in the 19-page suit, conspired to cover-up the abuses rather than report them to authorities.

The plaintiff, identified as John Doe, alleges he was sexually abused by Dominguez from 1980 until 1983 when he was living in an orphanage and Dominguez was attending seminary school at Assumption Seminary.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:30 PM

Decorated Notre Dame priest accused of child sexual abuse

INDIANA/TEXAS
WNDU

By: Brandon Kusz

A decorated priest and member of the University of Notre Dame faculty has been accused of sexually molesting a minor.

The allegations were made in a civil lawsuit filed May 22 in Bexar County, Texas.

The unnamed plaintiff alleges that Father Jesus Armando Dominguez and Father Virgilio Elizondo sexually molested him while he lived in a San Antonio orphanage in the early 1980s.

Elizondo, who became known as the "father of U.S. Latino religious thought," has been a member of the Notre Dame faculty since 2002.

He was also presented with Notre Dame’s highest honor, the Laetare Medal, in 1997.

"I came from a neighborhood where no one thought I would make it out or amount to anything,” he said, in a quote posted on his Notre Dame faculty webpage. “Even as a boy, I knew I wanted to do something good for the world.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:28 PM

SNAP speaks out about allegations against Toledo-area priest

OHIO
Toledo News Now

[with video]

By Cristina Mutchler

(Toledo News Now) - Friday, the Diocese of Toledo issued a statement regarding a Maumee priest being accused of violating the diocesan code on sexual abuse of minors.

Reverend Samuel Punnoor of St. Joseph's Catholic Church is now on administrative leave. And while he has not been formally charged with any crime, Lucas County Children Services is investigating.

The diocese says the allegations were brought forth on May 6 and immediately brought to the attention of Lucas County Children Services. Punnoor was addressed by Bishop Thomas and diocesan officials about the allegation last week after he returned from his home parish in India.

The diocese says this is the first allegation regarding Father Punnoor, who has served in the Diocese of Toledo since April 2011. They say he passed necessary background checks and completed 'safe environment training.' ...

Representatives of the group SNAP, or 'Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests,' say that's not enough.

"We think that at a bare minimum, the Bishop should be reaching out and encouraging parishioners and employees and former employees and former parishioners to speak up. That it's both their Christian and civic duty to report any information they have to the police. We think they should be reporting all of this information to police and law enforcement officials rather than to church officials," said Barbara Blaine, President of SNAP.

The Toledo Diocese says it's fully cooperating with the Children Services investigation. After it is complete and a report is giving on the findings, an ecclesiastical investigation will be open through the diocese.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:02 PM

Allegation: Richfield priest sexually abused minor in 1970s

MINNESOTA
Sun Current

By Andrew Wig
May 27, 2015

A Richfield priest is on leave after an allegation of sexual abuse surfaced.

Rev. Gerald Dvorak, 61, a pastor at St. Peter’s Church in Richfield, is the subject of a “credible allegation” regarding the sexual abuse of a minor in the 1970s, according to a written statement from Archbishop John Nienstedt issued May 19.

Dvorak has been pastor at St. Peter’s since 2011 and was canonical administrator at Blessed Trinity Catholic School from 2011 to 2014, according to a list of Dvorak’s ministerial history provided by the Archdiocese of Minneapolis and Saint Paul.

That list dates Dvorak’s history with the ministry back to 1978, when he was a teaching parish seminarian at Saint Matthew’s Catholic Church in Saint Paul. The allegations pertain to Dvorak’s role as a seminarian, according to a letter to St. Peter’s parishioners signed by Deacon Mark Johanns. However, Nienstedt’s statement does not indicate the location to which the allegation refers.

But Nienstedt’s statement did explain what the allegation against Dvorak means.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:00 PM

Firebrand pastor blames Catholic church abuse for same sex referendum result

NORTHERN IRELAND
Fermanagh Herald

LOCAL firebrand preacher Ivan Foster has launched a scathing attack on Irish Catholicism after the South’s landslide yes vote to legalising gay marriage saying the historic vote was a direct result of the Catholic Church sexual abuse scandals.

Speaking after 62 per cent of people in the South voted in favour of changing the constitution to allow gay and lesbian couple to marry, the former minister of Kilskeery Free Presbyterian Church went on to brand it as a “false religion” which has “cursed” Ireland.

In a statement sent to the Fermanagh Herald, the fundamentalist accused the South of defying God and “embracing sodomy”. “This has been done in defiance of God’s Word. That, of course, is hardly surprising since the people of the land have been under the heel of Romanism for centuries and have thereby been taught to pay scant heed to what the Bible says, irrespective of the allegiance to the Word of God that the Church of Rome professes.

“Romanism is a false religion which masquerades as the religion of the Lord Jesus Christ. It has indoctrinated the Irish people in its falsehoods for centuries. What a curse its dark shadow has been to Ireland.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:58 AM

9 things Josh Duggar's supporters (and critics) are getting wrong

UNITED STATES
Christian Today

Mark Woods CHRISTIAN TODAY CONTRIBUTING EDITOR 27 May 2015

he hit US reality TV series 19 Kids and Counting, now in its 10th season, is built around the Duggar family, whose parents Jim Bob and Michelle have brought their many children up according to a strictly conservative religious ethic.

They don't allow their children to wear revealing clothing and practise 'chaperoned courtship' in which no physical contact is allowed. They are strict disciplinarians who have also become spokespeople for conservative causes such as the campaign against same-sex marriage, opposition to abortion and home-schooling children.

Now, however, one of the children – Josh Duggar, now married with three children – has been found to have molested five girls, reportedly some of his own sisters among them, when he was a teenager more than 10 years ago, in 2002-3. The case had expired under the statute of limitations by the time it was reported to the police in 2006 and the police report itself was ordered destroyed by a judge last week, though it has been widely leaked on the internet. ...

So is there any way back for the Duggars? Perhaps: but this is what their defenders are getting wrong.

1. They're minimising Josh Duggar's offences. They seem to be saying that because he 'repented', everything's OK. But you don't avoid paying the price for wrongdoing just by saying the right things.

2. They aren't talking about the victims. The focus is all on Josh and the Duggar family. Actually, five girls were involved too, and the impact on them is simply not known. They might have been deeply marked, or not at all, but it surely wasn't the senior Duggars' call to make.

3. They're angry and defensive. The Duggar family has been inspirational for a lot of conservative evangelicals and the temptation is to defend them to the hilt. That makes them blind to the real issues. Yes, some of their critics might be godless liberals who just want to give them a good kicking, but that doesn't mean they're wrong to criticise.

4. They aren't admitting that the senior Duggars got it wrong. They seem to have thought the problem wasn't a problem because they'd 'dealt with it'. But they sidestepped the law. If they'd done the right thing, they might not have had a TV show but they wouldn't be facing this firestorm. ...

And this is what the Duggars' attackers are getting wrong.

1. Some of them are driven by an irrelevant agenda. The Duggars are poster-children for everything liberal America hates: they're outspoken evangelical Christians and conservative right-wingers who don't believe in sexual permissiveness and are against homosexuality, abortion and gun control and are in favour of the death penalty. A lot of the critics are only too glad to see them take a tumble.

2. Some of them are angry because they think they've been betrayed. A lot of people looked up to the Duggars in a way that probably wasn't very healthy. This was an American family that really seemed to work and that had traditional values. Finding out that they weren't perfect hurt people, and that fuels the bitterness. Some people need to step back and dial it down.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:54 AM

Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar use 'rod to spank all their kids according to unsealed police report'

UNITED STATES
Daily Mail

[with copy of the police report]

By CHRIS SPARGO FOR DAILYMAIL.COM

A new report claims that last week's unsealed police report that revealed the molestation of minors by Josh Duggar also exposed the fact that Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar use a 'rod' to 'spank' their children.

Radar Online is reporting that one of the unnamed minors police spoke to in their investigation made this accusation when they said 'mother and dad spank' followed by 'they have a rod.'
According to the site, this individual is telling 'investigators about alleged abuse by Jim Bob and Michelle.'

The actual police report does not at any point identify the minor being questioned or the who the 'mother and father' they are referring to in their statement might be.

The report reads; 'Inv. Taylor asked [name redacted] about getting spanked. [Name redacted] said that when [redacted] is bad that [redacted] mother and dad spank [redacted].

'Inv. Taylor asked what they use to spank. [Redacted] said that they have a rod.

'Inv. Taylor asked if they do this to all the kids [redacted] said yes.

'Inv. Taylor asked if they leave any bruising [redacted] said no.'

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:50 AM

DUGGAR MOLESTATION CASE — ANOTHER BOMBSHELL REVEALED...

ARKANSAS
In Touch Weekly

DUGGAR MOLESTATION CASE — ANOTHER BOMBSHELL REVEALED: JOSH SUED THE ARKANSAS DEPARTMENT OF HUMAN SERVICES

The Josh Duggar molestation case did not end when Springdale, Ark. police closed their investigation in 2006 because the statute of limitations had run out, In Touch Weekly is reporting exclusively.

Police referred the matter to the Families in Need of Services agency, which has jurisdiction over minors. The Department of Human Services (DHS) was then brought into the case, In Touch has learned. Nine months after those agencies entered the Duggar molestation case, Josh Duggar sued the Arkansas Department of Human Services. A trial was held on August 6, 2007.

The results of the investigation into the Duggars and Josh’s trial are sealed. But a source familiar with the Duggar investigation told In Touch it was likely that Josh “appealed the DHS decision or finding from their investigation.” The source notes that DHS had the authority to apply “restrictions or stipulations about him being at home with the victims.

“Josh would be considered an in-home offender, giving DHS the authority to do an investigation. As part of your appeal rights you can request a DHS hearing to challenge what they found and their ruling.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:47 AM

Josh Duggar sued Arkansas Department of Human Services in 2007 over investigation into molestation allegations: report

ARKANSAS
New York Daily News

BY KIRTHANA RAMISETTI

A new revelation has been made in the the Duggar family’s molestation scandal.

Josh Duggar sued the Arkansas Department of Human Services several months after the police closed their 2006 investigation because the statute of limitations had run out, In Touch Weekly reports.

The publication reports that after the Springdale, Ark., police department ended its probe into allegations that 14-year-old Duggar had molested five girls (including possibly his sisters) in 2002, police referred the issue to the Families in Need of Services agency, which looks into cases involving minors.

The Department of Human Services was also brought into case, the publication reports. Nine months after the two agencies looked into the matter, Duggar sued the Department of Human Services, with the trial taking place August 6, 2007.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:45 AM

Chief Rabbi to hold compulsory seminar to tackle sex abuse

UNITED KINGDOM
Jewish News

The Chief Rabbi will hold a compulsory seminar for United Synagogue rabbis to help them respond to incidents of child abuse, following the conviction of a Charedi teacher.

Writing on his website this week in the wake of the trial of Todros Grynhaus, a 50-year-old father of 10 from Manchester who was found guilty on five counts of sexual abuse of girls as young as 14, Ephraim Mirvis stated: “The conviction of a prominent member of the Manchester Jewish community for sexual abuse is of immense significance.

“I would like to commend the victims and others who withstood tremendous pressure and gave evidence. I hope that their courage will inspire others to come forward in the future.

This kind of abuse is a stain on all of society and we are no less vulnerable to the scourge of sexual crimes than any other community.

“Further to previously held training seminars for rabbis, I will be writing this week to rabbis across the country, advising them of a mandatory, dedicated seminar that the United Synagogue is organising on behalf of its communities, in order to better prepare rabbis to identify and respond to incidents of child abuse in their communities and to reinforce the importance of being vigilant at all times. In addition, I am meeting with victims of abuse and campaigners in this area to seek views from them as to what more can be done to better protect vulnerable people in our communities.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:42 AM

U.K. chief rabbi: Report incidents of sexual assault ‘without delay’

UNITED KINGDOM
JTA

May 27, 2015

(JTA) — British Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis called on the Jewish community to report allegations of sexual abuse “without delay.”

The statement was issued on Wednesday by the Office of the Chief Rabbi in the wake of the conviction last week of a well-known teacher at several Jewish schools for sexually assaulting in the 1990s two girls who came forward in 2013.

“Perpetrators of these crimes destroy lives, and every one of us shares in the responsibility to protect victims and potential victims. As such, we must not only ensure that all incidents are reported to the police without delay, but that we must do everything in our power to promote a culture whereby reporting such crimes to the relevant statutory authorities is supported and encouraged,” the rabbi said in his statement.

“I would like to commend the victims and others who withstood tremendous pressure and gave evidence. I hope that their courage will inspire others to come forward in the future,” Mirvis also said

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:20 AM

MILWAUKEE ARCHDIOCESE – HYPOCRISY AT ITS WORST

UNITED STATES
Thomas P. Doyle, J.C.D., C.A.D.C.

[note: This story does not link to a web site.]

May 26, 2015

Recently a prominent psychologist with over two decades of intense experience helping clergy abuse victims said that the most morally compromised group of people he knew of were the attorneys who represent the Catholic Church in the abuse cases. The recent pronouncement of Francis LoCoco, lead lawyer for the Milwaukee Archdiocese, confirms this opinion. “Let’s spend the money” he is quoted as saying, in reference to the 56 million dollars that Cardinal Dolan illegally and immorally tried to divert in the notorious Milwaukee bankruptcy proceedings. Lest the lawyers bear the brunt of the blame, the main culprits are the present archbishop, Listecki, and his predecessor, Dolan. The squadron of attorneys work for them and not the other way around.

When abuse survivors call attention to the stonewalling tactics and often-vicious attitudes of the Church’s lawyers, its not uncommon for the bishops to plead innocence, claiming that it’s the lawyers doing their job. But the lawyers are hired by and work for the bishop and not vice versa. The disgusting charade going on in Milwaukee was cooked up by and has been sustained by Dolan and Listecki. Thus far the Milwaukee lawyers have spent over $20 million dollars to stonewall the victims. Some bishops and church cheerleaders in this case and others have regularly tried to blame the victims and their lawyers, claiming they are only in it for the money. This is nonsense. The Church lawyers get paid by the hour, win or lose. Victims’ lawyers are paid on the contingency that the case will end in favor of the victim. I have known lawyers who represented victims who took major cuts so that their clients would end up with some respectable compensation. How many of the Church lawyers work sex abuse cases pro bono? The money the archbishop is encouraging his lawyers to squander comes from the People of God of the archdiocese.

The bankruptcy process was initiated over four years ago, on January 4, 2011 to be exact, two days before the archbishop was scheduled to be deposed. The church’s lawyers are challenging each and every claim of the 570 victims who have come forward. Many of the claimants were among the 200 deaf boys sexually violated by Fr. Lawrence Murphy at St. John’s School for the Deaf. These victims have been fighting for decades for some form of justice and what they have received instead has been vicious, dishonest and certainly unchristian revictimization.

The archbishops of Milwaukee going back to Cardinal Albert Meyer have all played a key role in making the Milwaukee Church unique in its hypocritical and narcissistic response to the havoc caused by its priests. Meyer was told about Lawrence Murphy way back in the mid fifties and sent him on retreat for a month. The Redemptorist priest who reported Murphy to Cardinal Meyer also reported his behavior to the Apostolic delegate in Washington so the Holy See effectively knew about Murphy way back then.

Archbishop Cousins, whose tenure lasted from 1958 to 1977, knew about Murphy and not only did nothing, but he threatened one of the deaf boys who reported Murphy and forced him to sign a letter of retraction.

Rembert Weakland was archbishop from 1977 to 2002. He was faced with reports not only about Murphy but several other Milwaukee priests. Weakland’s track record in responding to victims is far from stellar but at least he tried to get Murphy laicized with no success, thanks to former Pope Benedict and his cohort, Cardinal Bertone who refused Weakland’s request and allowed Murphy to live out his days in the dignity of his priesthood while his victims lived out their days in the agony of his abuse. Then came Dolan in 2002.

Dolan tried to deal with the sex abuse nightmare primarily with his “hail fellow well met” personality but his rhetoric and back-slapping fell flat in the face of what he was really up to. Bankruptcy was being used by some bishops as a way to avoid trials and the revelation of the truth that comes with them, as well as a way to limit the compensation given to victims. Although he would be gone when the bankruptcy process started Dolan obviously knew where it was all going. He diverted approximately $56 million dollars into a cemetery trust in 2007. When accused of trying to hide the money in 2011, he lashed out at victims’ attorney Jeff Anderson and accused him of spreading “groundless gossip.” Dolan’s lie was discovered when a letter he wrote to the Vatican in 2007 came to light….a letter in which he sought permission to transfer the $56 million to a restricted trust. Why? To quote his own words “I foresee an improved protection of these funds from and legal claim and liability.” A local judge, Rudolph Randa, ruled that the transfer was protected by the first amendment and that “removing some or all of these funds from the trust and placing them in the bankruptcy estate would undoubtedly put substantial pressure on Archbishop Listecki to modify his behavior and violate his beliefs.” Over two years later a federal appeals court ruled that Randa was not only wrong but should have removed himself from the case. The $56 million was back on the table. Now LoCoco and his fellow lawyers have declared that they plan on spending it all in litigation. Is this protracted and obscenely expensive process about achieving justice and assuring fair compensation for victims, as Archbishop Listecki has claimed in attempting to justify it? Not by a long shot!

In his narcissistic arrogance Listecki openly invited all who were sexually abused to step forward: “nothing will prevent me from making every possible effort at moving forward toward healing and resolution with those who have been harmed.” His real plan was to get them all to step up so that he could have his lawyers do everything possible to have their cases thrown out of court. The best comment on this comes from one of the victims: “These victims have already been betrayed by the Church in the most damaging ways imaginable. How could the archbishop, a man of God, then proceed to try to throw each and every one of their cases out of court? This action in effect re-abused and betrayed these fragile victims yet again.”

Judge Randa said that putting the cemetery trust millions back on the table would put pressure on Listecki to violate his beliefs. What beliefs? There is nothing even remotely Christian or even Catholic about the travesty he is presiding over. He’s a civil lawyer himself so he knows well that the millions spent thus far represent countless billable hours for the lawyers defending his strategy. This is tons of money they will take home whether they win or lose. The only belief that seems to be in danger of violation is the belief that the victims whose lives have already been severely damaged by the negligence of his predecessor, must now be pounded into the ground and defeated once and for all.

The Milwaukee bankruptcy has been a mockery of the American judicial process. It is an unconscionable abuse and subversion of the legal process, using it as a weapon to punish and further traumatize the victims. It has surely justified the pessimistic and negative image of civil attorneys and it has also made a mockery of the office of bishop. It is an example of the virus of clericalism at its virulent worst. What Dolan, Listecki and the phalanx of attorneys have completely lost sight of, in addition to the objective meaning if justice, is what this is really all about: several hundred young boys and girls who were believing and trusting Catholics and who were betrayed and violated in the worst imaginable ways by the very men they trusted. As their lives unfolded they had the courage to take the risk of confronting the Archdiocese. Rather than act like the Body of Christ, the leaders of this Church have come at the victims with every resource available to punish them for having had the audacity to demand that which their Church incessantly preaches about, justice and charity.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:15 AM

Ireland is for gay marriage because it is Catholic (COMMENTARY)

IRELAND
Religion News Service

Paul F. Morrissey / USA Today | May 27, 2015

How is it possible that Ireland, one of the most Catholic countries in the world, voted overwhelmingly to legalize gay marriage in an historic vote on May 22?

Throughout the world, the Roman Catholic Church has made opposition to gay marriage its hallmark for the past few years, even as the momentum for “marriage equality” has grown in leaps and bounds. One reason that this stunning two-to-one approval has taken place in Ireland, the first country on the world to do so, is precisely because Ireland is so overwhelmingly Catholic.

Ireland, the source of Catholic missionaries throughout the word for hundreds of years, has suffered a drastic exodus of people from its church-going ranks since the sexual abuse scandal broke into public view during the past decade. The majority of Irish men and women may still call themselves Catholic, but they no longer accept the hierarchy as believable, particularly in matters of sexual morality. Thus, the stunning rejection of the church’s view of gay marriage as an invalid relationship in the eyes of God and the church. What the church teaches about sexuality is rejected almost as a duty. The church has no credibility in matters of sexuality in Ireland.

The Irish have been brought up by the Catholic Church to view marriage as a sacrament and that’s the reason they can shift sideways to see a same-sex relationship in the same God-blessed way. Because marriage is a beautiful commitment of love, taught to them by the church, the Irish can make the connection to two people of the same sex loving each other with a similar commitment. It is the love commitment they value, and have come to see in their friends and family members who are gay and lesbian as well. Love conquers. The Irish are lovers. It doesn’t matter who the partners are — “I promise to love you all the days of my life, so help me God.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:40 AM

Former Hastings priest found not guilty of criminal sexual abuse

MINNESOTA
Hastings Star Gazette

By Jane Lightbourn

A Dakota County jury decided that there was not enough evidence to convict a former Hastings priests of criminal sexual abuse.

On Tuesday evening, after four hours of deliberations, the jury acquitted former priest Francis Hoefgen of two counts of criminal sexual conduct in the first degree. The trial had begun last Wednesday, May 20, and concluded earlier Tuesday.

Hoefgen, 64, now living in Columbia Heights, had been accused of repeatedly sexually assaulting a former altar boy at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic Church in Hastings from the spring of 1989 to the fall of 1991. Hoefgen had pleaded not guilty to the charges filed almost a year ago in Dakota Country District Court.

Dakota County Attorney James Backstrom said it was difficult to prosecute the case.

“We respect the jury's decision in this matter and will always be grateful for the courage shown by the individual who came forward to share his story of sexual assault he said was inflicted upon him many years by the defendant,” he said. “Proving beyond a reasonable doubt that a crime occurred 24, 26 years years ago without significant collaborating physical evidence of the crime itself is always a difficult task. Without such corroborating evidence the jury must render the decision based primarily upon the person’s word against that of another.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:38 AM

Why Thousands Of Catholics Voted For Marriage Equality In Ireland

UNITED STATES
Think Progress

BY JACK JENKINS POSTED ON MAY 27, 2015

Last week, famously Catholic Ireland voted overwhelmingly to legalize same-sex marriage in a national referendum, making it the first nation in the world to enact marriage equality through a popular vote. Within hours of the results, several journalists and pundits painted the results as a victory for secularism and a telltale sign of Ireland’s willingness to abandon the Catholic Church, which staunchly condemns same-sex marriage and whose leaders urged their congregants to vote against LGBT equality. The Church’s longstanding influence on Irish life, they concluded, was ending.

But while the narrative of a dying church is tidy, it fails to account for a religious and distinctly Catholic movement for LGBT equality quietly triumphing in Ireland and elsewhere. To be sure, recent census results show a marked growth in Irish who don’t affiliate with any religious tradition, and a notable drop in the number who attend mass each week. This is largely due to the dark specter of the child sex abuse scandal, which was particularly horrific in Ireland, as well a younger generation fed up with conservative views of homosexuality. But for all this talk of a vanishing Catholic Church, Ireland remains a deeply Catholic nation: although more than 62 percent of Irish who voted in the referendum supported same-sex marriage, a full 83.2 percent of the population still claims to be Catholic.

While the narrative of a dying church is tidy, it fails to account for a religious and distinctly Catholic movement for LGBT equality quietly triumphing in Ireland and elsewhere.

So how did so many self-identified Catholics vote for something their Church blatantly forbids? There were no national exit polls for the referendum, but Ursula Halligan, a prominent Irish TV news presenter in Ireland, offered a clue earlier this month in an op-ed for the Irish Times. In it, she detailed her own struggle with sexual identity — explaining how she fell in love with a girl at 17 — before boldly claiming that her support for same-sex marriage was not a rejection of her faith, but a passionate embrace of the person God compels her to be.

“As a person of faith and a Catholic, I believe a Yes vote is the most Christian thing to do,” Halligan wrote. “I believe the glory of God is the human being fully alive and that this includes people who are gay.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:31 AM

Anniversaries for Finn & Law

UNITED STATES
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

Anniversaries for Finn & Law

What a weekend it was! No one apparently noticed that over Memorial Day, it was Robert Finn ten year anniversary of taking over the Kansas City diocese AND the 30 year anniversary of Bernard Law being named a cardinal.

With the possible exception of Cardinal Edward Egan, Cardinal Roger Mahony, Archbishop John Nienstedt, Archbishop John Myers, could there be two more disgraced US Catholic prelates than Finn and Law, the first US bishop who was convicted in the abuse crisis and the first US bishop who resigned in the abuse crisis?

As we said recently in a post on Marci Hamilton's blog: Some call Finn’s belated resignation “punishment.” But we don’t.

Finn did no jail time, of course.

He still wears a Roman collar. In fact, he still wears the pointy bishop’s hat too. And the fancy ring and robes.

That’s right – he’s still a bishop. He’s just been freed from the mundane chores of running a diocese.
But he still gets the glory roles: twice this month, to the chagrin of many, he ordained the newest clerics into the diocese.

That leads many to wonder if Finn will be showing up for graduations, ground-breakings, confirmations, funerals and other functions in Kansas City for years to come. (He’s an apparently healthy 62 years old.)

And when hundreds of US prelates gather next month in St. Louis for their annual meeting, Finn will likely be there. Ditto for bishops’ installations and the papal trip to the east coast this fall."

[Hamilton and Griffin on Rights]

Like Finn, Law was let down easy too.

After a brief, low key stint staying with some nuns, Law rose to even greater power in Rome than ever before, exercising even more influence on the world-wide church as he sat, for years, on several key Vatican committees, including the one that helped pick and promote prelates all across the planet.

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.

But don’t hold your breath waiting for justice in the church. Just be grateful for – and keep pushing for – justice in the courts.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:26 AM

Church aware of Ridsdale’s sexual behaviour in 1982, whistleblower priest says

AUSTRALIA
Herald Sun

SHANNON DEERY HERALD SUN MAY 27, 2015

A WHISTLEBLOWER priest has revealed serial paedophile Gerald Ridsdale’s sexual behaviour was raised at a high-level church meeting in 1982.

Father Eric Bryant told the Herald Sun that concerns over Ridsdale’s “committing homosexual acts” were explicitly discussed in the meeting — which was attended by now Cardinal George Pell — at which it was decided to shift Ridsdale from the parish of Mortlake.

The stunning revelation came as Ridsdale on Wednesday broke his silence over his crimes to the royal commission.

He said church authorities knew he was molesting children in the 1960s, but gave him access to more vulnerable youngsters for almost 30 years.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:23 AM

Leitartikel: Irland-Votum hat Folgen

DEUTSCHLAND
Die Tagespost

[Editorial: Ireland-vote has consequences]

Von Guido Horst

Es wird nicht lange dauern, dann wird das starke Votum der wahlberechtigten Iren für die Einführung der Homo-„Ehe“ auch rechtliche Konsequenzen in anderen europäischen Staaten haben. Italien ist so ein Fall. Hier gibt es noch nicht einmal behördlich eingetragene Partnerschaften von gleichgeschlechtlichen Paaren. Von solchen „weichen Themen“ haben die Regierungen der letzten zwanzig Jahre die Finger weggelassen – der Vatikan und die Italienische Bischofskonferenz saßen ihnen wohl zu nah im Nacken. Doch nach dem, was am Samstag in Irland passiert ist, gibt es für die Regenbogen-Lobby im Stiefelstaat kein Halten mehr. Und Matteo Renzi wird nachgeben müssen. Auch in Deutschland regen sich nun die üblichen Stimmen, die nach den zivilen Lebenspartnerschaften jetzt auch die Homo-„Ehe“ nach irischem Vorbild fordern. Keiner will mehr das Schlusslicht in West- und Südeuropa sein, wenn es um die Gleichstellung von Heteros und Homos geht.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:20 AM

Childhood Sexual Abuse and the Faith of Survivors

ROME
Pontifica Universita Gregoriana

Sexual abuse may damage the fundamental worldview and the existential components of spirituality, leading to struggles in living the trauma also from a spiritual point of view.

The impact of child sexual abuse (CSA) on the spirituality of survivors can include challenges in anger, despair, confusion, guilt, and sometime a complete withdrawal from any spiritual activity. If victims are unable to maintain their faith, they may be further burdened by feelings of guilt and shame.

Survivors struggle with a loss of belief in God, justice, fairness, humanity, and the world as a good place; existential crisis such as loss of meaning and connection with others or with the world and God; and a sense of foreshortened future. The belief about fairness and justice in the world influence how they perceive the world as predictable, understandable and controllable. The underlying sense of trust and belief in a fair world influence the sense of self, relation with others and God as well as the concept of spirituality in general.

Survivors may experience the crisis of faith that most believers experience when something terrible happens in their life. Survivors may have difficulty in believing a God who protects and is just: They may have a feeling of spiritual emptiness and a search for answers for the experience of CSA. They tend to question where God was when the abuse was happening. Often they struggle with the question why a loving God should allow something so terrible happen to them. Some may conclude that God does not exist because God will not allow sexual abuse to happen to them. They may tend to believe God is distant and uncaring. CSA may diminish their trust in God’s love for them and they may disconnect from anything religious since they feel God has abandoned and betrayed them.
- See more at: http://ccpblog.unigre.it/?p=752#sthash.3fiJWZ7w.dpuf

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:18 AM

Kurienkardinal Pell will vor Missbrauchskommission aussagen

AUSTRALIEN
kathweb

Canberra, 27.05.2015 (KAP/KNA) Kurienkardinal George Pell will sich vor einer australischen Missbrauchskommission gegen den Vorwurf einer Schweigegeld-Zahlung verteidigen. Er sei bereit "per Erklärung, in einer Videoschaltung oder persönlich" als Zeuge vor dem staatlichen Untersuchungsausschuss in seiner Heimatstadt Ballarat auszusagen, teilte Pell, Chef des Sekretariats für Wirtschaftsangelegenheiten im Vatikan, laut australischen Medien am Mittwoch mit.

Hintergrund ist die Anschuldigung, Pell habe dem sexuell missbrauchten Neffen eines pädophilen Priesters Geld für dessen Schweigen angeboten. Dies hatte Pell bereits zuvor zurückgewiesen.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:17 AM

Kirche zwischen Schuld und Sühne

DEUTSCHLAND
BR

[It happened over decades and many have looked the other way: sexual abuse and physical abuse in Catholic institutions. Five years after the scandal became public, asks controversial: Has the Church learned the right lessons?]

Als 2010 bekannt wurde, dass am Berliner Canisius-Kolleg des Jesuitenordens Kinder missbraucht worden sind, wurde damit eine Welle von Enthüllungen ausgelöst. Auch viele katholische Einrichtungen in Bayern waren betroffen. Mehr als fünf Jahre sind seitdem vergangen. Kontrovers-Reporter Anna Kemmer und Christian Wölfel blicken in verschiedene bayerische Bistümer und fragen nach: Ist seitdem wirklich umfassend aufgeklärt und entschädigt worden?

Ihre Recherchen ergeben: nicht überall. Zwar zahlten die bayerischen Bistümer an mindestens 119 Betroffene rund 680.000 Euro. Manche Bistümer setzten bereits 2010 unabhängige Anwaltskanzleien und Missbrauchsbeauftragte ein.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:14 AM

Polonia estudia indemnizar víctimas de cura pederasta

REPUBLICA DOMINICANA
Terra

[The Polish government discussed possible financial compensation to the six Dominican victims of sexual abuse by the Polish priest Wojciech Gil, a Polish official said Tuesday. He did not specify details of any compensation.]

E i obierno de Polonia analiza una posible indemnización económica a las seis víctimas dominicanas de abuso sexual por parte del sacerdote polaco Wojciech Gil, informó el martes el procurador de ese país, Andrzej Seremet.

El funcionario no precisó los detalles de las eventuales indemnizaciones.

Seremet comenzó el martes una visita a República Dominicana para suscribir un acuerdo de cooperación judicial con su similar dominicano Francisco Domínguez Brito y tenía previsto reunirse con los familiares de los seis jóvenes que fueron víctimas de abusos sexuales por parte de Gil cuando eran menores de edad.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:11 AM

Extradition of ex-Vatican envoy abused Dominican boys ‘difficult’

DOMICAN REPUBLIC
Dominican Today

Santo Domingo.- Poland’s chief prosecutor Andrzejeg Seremet on Tuesday acknowledged as "difficult" that former Vatican envoy Jozef Wesolowski, a Polish citizen and charged with sexual abuse of minors in the Dominican Republic, could be extradited to the Caribbean country as many people demand.

Pope Francis ordered Wesolowski’s house arrest in Rome in September last year, citing the alleged "serious acts of child abuse in the Dominican Republic.

The Polish national, who faces as long as 10 years in prison, is accused of abusing minors during his mission in the Dominican Republic, where he was Vatican envoy from January 2008 to August 2013, shortly before the scandal broke.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:09 AM

Cardinal Kasper: Francis wants a hierarchy that listens to 'sensus fidei'

UNITED STATES
National Catholic Reporter

Joshua J. McElwee | May. 26, 2015

WASHINGTON
Pope Francis wants to retool the Catholic hierarchy so that it not only defines and enforces church teachings, but also listens and responds to how laypeople understand God's will, German Cardinal Walter Kasper said.

Kasper, a noted theologian whose writings are known to have influenced Francis, said the pope wants to create a "listening magisterium."

Kasper said one concept important to the pope is that of the sensus fidei, or the capacity of individual believers and the church as a whole to discern the truths of faith.

That concept, Kasper said, "was emphasized by the council ... [but] Francis now wishes to give it complete meaning.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:10 AM

Paedophile priest Gerald Ridsdale tells Royal Commission about the trap he set

AUSTRALIA
ABC - 7.30

Australian Broadcasting Corporation
Broadcast: 27/05/2015
Reporter: Louise Milligan

One of the worst paedophiles in Australian history, Gerald Ridsdale, has talked about the abuse he perpetrated, who knew about it and, the traps he set for it, at the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse in Ballarat.

Transcript

LEIGH SALES, PRESENTER: Gerald Ridsdale is one of the worst paedophiles in Australian history. His victims are thought to number into the hundreds.

He was a Catholic priest, moved around parishes in the Ballarat Diocese for years, long after the Church knew about some of his crimes.

He's been convicted of multiple child sex crimes on four occasions and remains in prison.

But today, for the first time, Ridsdale has had to give evidence in public. He appeared by video link at the Royal Commission into Institutional Child Sexual Abuse and he revealed that the Catholic Church was aware of his abuse from the early-'60s, more than a decade earlier than previously thought.

Louise Milligan reports from Ballarat.

LOUISE MILLIGAN, REPORTER: For two weeks, Ballarat has been forced to face its bleak history.

In this courtroom, the shameful truth of a Catholic community, riddled with child sexual abusers for decades, has been revealed.

DAVID RIDSDALE, NEPHEW: The Church dictated the boundaries of right and wrong and the congregation's relationship to the clergy was one of submission rather than supplication.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:04 AM

Italian 'paedophile' priest posed as US manager

ITALY
The Local

An Italian priest who allegedly posed as an American manager online has been arrested as part of an investigation into a global paedophile ring.

The 49-year-old priest was arrested in Alassio in Liguria where he had recently moved from the town of Oulx in Turin, Corriere della Sera reported.

He was arrested along with three others, including two unemployed men aged 58 and 51 and a worker aged 51 in Torrecuso, Livorno and Rome.

The priest, who has not been named, allegedly purchased pornographic photos and videos of pre-adolescents through the paedophile network on the internet.

In some cases the material included children aged just a few years old, mostly from Asia.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:32 AM

Pastor caught having gay sex in van spent stolen church money on farmer dating website: police

TENNESSEE
The Raw Story

TOM BOGGIONI
25 MAY 2015

A Tennessee pastor who was recently admonished by police for having sex with another man in a church van parked in a parking lot, was arrested this week for embezzling an estimated $60,000 from his church’s coffers.

Boyd Watson Holder Jr. 44, was taken into custody after church officials reported that between $70,000 and $100,000 had been discovered missing from the Victory Apostolic Church bank account in Kingsport, reports the TimesNews.

It has been a rough six months for Holder, who was discovered by police last December having sex with another man in a church van in an empty parking lot. Holder reportedly apologized to the officers and was told to not “have relations in public” again before being ordered off the property.

In February church officials alerted police that money was missing from a church bank account that only Holder had access to.

When asked about the missing money, Holder told church members, “It’s none of your business.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:29 AM

Boyd Holder: Pastor Stole $60,000 From Church, Police Say — May Have Spent Some On Gay Sex Sites

TENNESSEE
Inquisitr

Boyd Holder, the 44-year-old pastor of Victory Apostolic Church in Kingsport, Tennessee, found himself in big trouble this week. On Wednesday, the man of the cloth was indicted by a grand jury and charged with stealing more than $60,000 from his church. As if that wasn’t bad enough, Holder was also slapped with a money laundering indictment.

But even though this marked the first time he was arrested and charged, Holder is not stranger to trouble with his congregation, and even with the police. While prosecutors have not said exactly what they believe Holder used the 60 grand on — some reports have the figure between $70,000 and $100,000 — reports from a local newspaper, the Kingsport Times News, as well as a local TV station, give what may be a pretty good idea.

Through his attorney, Holder has denied any wrongdoing — even in connection with an incident last December when, according to police, Holder was caught having sex with a man in a van owned by the church, parked in a lot behind a vacant building.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:27 AM

Oakdale youth pastor gets 5-year sentence for downloading child pornography

CALIFORNIA
Modesto Bee

BY ROSALIO AHUMADA
rahumada@modbee.com

A judge on Tuesday sentenced a man to five years in federal prison for downloading child pornography at an Oakdale church where he served as youth pastor.

Tyler David Bliss, 28, of Oakdale on March 2 pleaded guilty to one count of receiving child pornography, according to a plea agreement memo filed in federal court. He agreed to a plea deal with federal prosecutors to avoid a trial.

Along with the prison sentence, U.S. District Judge Lawrence O’Neill ordered Bliss to serve 15 years of supervised release once he is out of prison, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Sacramento.

Federal prosecutors said Bliss downloaded the child porn with computers at his home and his church. Bliss was a supervisor of student ministries at Bethel Church when he was arrested Feb. 17, 2014.

The Oakdale church on G Street is affiliated with the Assemblies of God.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:23 AM

German politicians demand moves to follow Irish referendum

IRELAND
Irish Times

Derek Scally

A ghost is haunting Germany: the ghost of Catholic Ireland. Four days after Irish voters backed marriage equality, politicians of all persuasions here are demanding that Germany follow Ireland’s example and open civil marriage to all, regardless of sexual orientation.

Behind these demands lies shock. Shock that ausgerechnet Irland – Ireland of all countries – could leapfrog Germany on this key social issue.

In many German minds, Ireland is perceived as the arch-Catholic conservative backwater that progress forgot. But the Yes vote has forced a rapid rethink of how Germany views Ireland – and how liberal Germany considers itself.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:21 AM

The Catholic Church is now paying the price for its past in Ireland

IRELAND
National Secular Society

Posted: Tue, 26 May 2015 by Keith Porteous Wood

The Catholic Church is now paying the price for its past in Ireland

NSS executive director Keith Porteous Wood welcomes the Irish referendum result on marriage equality and argues that the Catholic Church's appalling recent history in Ireland shows it deserves to be discredited- as it now has been, by the overwhelming referendum "Yes" result.

Last week, Ireland's citizens voted in a landslide to legalise same-sex marriage. Unsurprisingly, the constituencies most in favour of "Yes" were within 50 miles of Dublin followed by the larger cities. Those least in favour tended to be nearest to the meandering border with Northern Ireland, probably with a higher proportion of protestant voters. Variations in the percentage of turnout did not impact on the overall result. More rural areas tend to be less in favour, but not always. While the very rural Mayo and Galway East were only just in favour, the even more remote Galway west was over 60% in favour.
The major lessons of the Irish referendum endorsement of same sex marriage by nearly 2:1 are religion-connected.

Primarily, it showed just how out of step the Catholic Church is with the Irish population. Even more striking is the speed with which this country, so recently completely in hock to that same Church, has changed diametrically. Diarmuid Martin, Archbishop of Dublin, notably more realistic than many of his episcopal brethren, recognised that the Referendum signified a "social revolution" that did not happen in one day. Indeed.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:19 AM

Good Question: Why Do We Have Statutes Of Limitations?

MINNESOTA
CBS Minnesota

[with video]

Heather Brown

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Reality TV star Josh Duggar has apologized for what he called “wrongdoing” in response to reports he molested five girls starting in 2002. Authorities have reportedly said he can’t be prosecuted because the statute of limitations has run out.

So, why do we have time limits on prosecuting crimes? Good Question.

“The problem is that stories change and evidence disappears and at some point we’re not confident that we’re going to get an accurate portrayal of what happened 20 years ago,” said David Larson, a professor of law at Hamline University.

Outside of federal crimes, each state legislature determines its own numbers for limits. Depending on the criminal or civil case, when the clock starts ticking is different for each case. It could be when the crime or negligence first happened, when it was first reported or when its effects were discovered.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:15 AM

Village meeting called in Sinajana by Concerned Catholics

GUAM
KUAM

By Jolene Toves

The Concerned Catholics of Guam will be hosting a village meeting at the Sinajana Community Center on Thursday from 6-8pm. According to president Greg Perez, the village meetings are an effort to unite the local Catholic community, bring awareness to the issues within the Catholic Church and allow parishioners to voice their concerns.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:11 AM

Several Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis Properties Up for Sale

MINNESOTA
KSTP

[with video]

By: Beth McDonough

"For sale" signs have gone up in front of several properties owned by the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis.

The properties include the 244 Dayton Avenue location, home to the office of The Catholic Spirit; the Archbishops' residence and chancery offices at 226 Summit Avenue; the Hayden Center at 328 West Kellogg Boulevard and a vacant lot at 250 Dayton Avenue. There's another property in Northfield for sale as well.

The sales are part of an effort to provide a chunk of cash at a time when the Archdiocese desperately needs it.

5 EYEWITNESS NEWS asked Tom Mertens, the chief financial officer for the Archdiocese, if this was a hard move to make.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:09 AM

For-sale signs go up at archdiocese buildings in St. Paul

MINNESOTA
Winona Daily News

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — For-sale signs have been posted outside several properties owned by the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis as it seeks to pay creditors.

KSTP-TV (http://bit.ly/1Q9xSSd ) reports the properties with the for-sale signs include the chancery and the archbishop's residence in St. Paul near the cathedral, as well as three other properties in St. Paul and another in Northfield.

Archdiocese chief financial officer Tom Mertens tells the TV station that it was a difficult decision to try selling the properties because of their "significance and history." He says it will be cheaper to rent spaces.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:07 AM

Ridsdale doesn't remember George Pell

AUSTRALIA
The Australian

BY MEGAN NEIL AAP MAY 27, 2015

THEY shared a presbytery and had enough of a relationship for George Pell to accompany his fellow priest to court, yet Gerald Ridsdale has little recollection of the cardinal.

THAT Australia's worst pedophile priest has no memory of living with the nation's most senior Catholic figure has angered victims, even though Cardinal Pell now says he's prepared to appear in person before the child sex abuse royal commission's Ballarat inquiry.

In his own much-anticipated appearance, Ridsdale maintained he remembered little of his former house mate.

Ridsdale told the commission he can't remember any of the priests who lived at the Ballarat East presbytery with him in the early 1970s, even then Father Pell.

"I've been told that but I can't remember actually being there with George," Ridsdale said via videolink from prison.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:04 AM

Ridsdale victim says he's 'not so powerful'

AUSTRALIA
Sky News

Stephen Woods stood up to get a closer look at the 81-year-old in the dark green prison jumper on the screen.

The priest who had raped the 14-year-old after he had gone to him for advice about his sexuality was no longer two to three times his size.

'When I stood up and looked at him, he was my size,' Mr Woods said of seeing Gerald Francis Ridsdale.

'This time I wasn't a kid, I was a man.

'I saw him and I thought, You know, you're not so powerful any more'.'

Mr Woods hasn't seen Ridsdale since the second of his four court cases, when he was jailed in 1994 for 18 years for abusing Mr Woods and 20 other victims.

Though hurt that Ridsdale doesn't remember the names of any of his victims, Mr Woods is focused on the child sex abuse royal commission uncovering the full story behind the widespread abuse by clergy in the Ballarat diocese.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:03 AM

Woman who exposed sex abuse preacher drives charity event

UNITED KINGDOM
Nehanda Radio

UNITED KINGDOM – The woman who played a key role in bringing down sex-abuse preacher Walter Masocha, will this Saturday be launching her “Victim No More” event in Milton Keynes.

Jean Gasho’s blog “He was my Daddy” was instrumental in exposing how Masocha sexually abused members of his church.

Masocha a former university lecturer, who led the Stirling-based Agape for All Nations Church, was convicted last month for groping a young deaconess while he was supposed to be praying for her stomach complaint and for putting his hand down a schoolgirl’s trousers saying he was trying to remove demons.

The deaconess was told Masocha had been “trying to remove ‘something’ from her genitals”. The schoolgirl, then aged 15, was left in tears after Masocha groped her bottom claiming she had ants or demons in her pants.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:59 AM

Rape survivors call for increasing statute of limitations to 20 years, not 12

OREGON
Oregonian

By Maxine Bernstein | The Oregonian/OregonLive
on May 26, 2015

Sexual assault survivors, backed by state prosecutors and victim support groups, stood together Tuesday to say they won't be satisfied if Oregon lawmakers extend the statute of limitations for rape to 12 years.

House Bill 2317, set to be heard Wednesday before the Senate Judiciary Committee, would double the state's current six-year time limit to file charges in rape cases.

But 12 years is not long enough, said several rape survivors and their advocates. They want a 20-year window and blamed state Sen. Floyd Prozanski, D-Eugene, for blocking the move.

"Six years is appallingly short. Twelve years is similarly appallingly short,'' said Meg Garvin, executive director of the Portland-based National Crime Victims Law Institute and a law professor at Lewis & Clark Law School.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:57 AM

Rape Survivors Push Oregon Legislature For More Time To File Charges

OREGON
OPB

by Amelia Templeton OPB | May 26, 2015

Oregon lawmakers will consider a bill Wednesday that would double the state’s general statute of limitations on rape from 6 years to 12 years.

But some rape survivors and their advocates say that’s not enough time to bring many sexual attackers to justice. They are pushing for the revival of an earlier version of the bill that would extend the statute of limitations to 20 years.

“Let’s not be a state where women, who after finally finding the will and strength to ask for their justice and demand it, let’s not be a state where they are told they are too late for that,” said Bryn Garrett, a Portland woman whose testimony contributed to a criminal conviction for sex abuse against a pastor earlier this year. Garrett was unable to pursue charges in her own case because prosecutors did not file charges before the statute of limitations had expired.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:56 AM

Notre Dame priest, professor named in Texas sexual assault lawsuit

TEXAS
WSBT

[with video]

Suzanne Spencer

SAN ANTONIO, Tx. -
A priest and professor teaching at Notre Dame is named in a civil lawsuit in Texas. In the lawsuit, Rev. Virgilio Elizondo is one of two priests accused of sexually assaulting a minor in the 1980s.

The plaintiff, who is not named, accused Fr. Elizondo of touching the minor inappropriately. The lawsuit says Fr. Elizondo, "reached over, kissed him, and began to fondle him..."

According to the court documents, the plaintiff "fought off Father Elizondo and then ran from his vehicle" during an incident in 1983.

The same plaintiff claims another priest, Fr. Jesus Armando Dominguez, touched him inappropriately on several occasions. According to the lawsuit, the plaintiff went to Elizondo "to seek clarity from Father Elizondo regarding his past interactions with the now, Father Dominquez."

As a result, the lawsuit says the plaintiff suffered emotional trauma, loss of respect for authority, attempted suicide, and suffers from substance abuse and addictions.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:52 AM

GROUP PETITIONS CLEVELAND CATHOLIC DIOCESE FOR ST. BARNABAS PRIEST'S 'EVALUATION'

OHIO
Nordonia Hills News-Leader

by Eric Marotta and Briana Barker Editor and Reporter Published: May 27, 2015

Nordonia Hills -- In addition to sponsoring a www.change.org petition calling for Board of Education President Jim Virost's resignation, the Facebook group U-KNIGHTED for our Children has also sponsored a petition on the same website calling for the Cleveland Caltholic Diocese's "evaluation" of the Rev. Ralph Wiatrowski, pastor of St. Barnabas Parish.

"We are asking for the immediate evaluation of Father Ralph Wiatrowski as the right choice for pastor and leader of St. Barnabas Parish and School," the petition states.

Around 190 individuals had signed the online petition by press time May 22.

Both the Rev. Wiatrowski and Virost wrote pre-sentencing letters to the Summit County Court of Common Pleas on behalf of former School Board President Steve Bittel, who was sentenced to 14 years in prison on felony charges related to child pornography and a police standoff he initiated last September.

The Rev. Wiatrowski said he welcomes a review.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:50 AM

Jury acquits former Minnesota priest accused of sexually abusing altar boy

MINNESOTA
Grand Forks Herald

By St. Paul Pioneer Press on May 26, 2015

HASTINGS, Minn. -- A Dakota County jury has found a former priest not guilty of molesting an altar boy 25 years ago at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic Church in Hastings.

The former Rev. Francis Hoefgen, who had undergone treatment after a sexual abuse allegation in 1984 and was later reassigned to Hastings, was charged with criminal sexual conduct in May 2014 after a man stepped forward and claimed he had been abused between 1989 and 1991.

Hoefgen, 64, pleaded not guilty and a jury trial began last week. The jury acquitted him Tuesday evening.

Hoefgen broke down and sobbed with friends and family after the not guilty verdicts were read. He left the Hastings courtroom without commenting.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:43 AM

Child abuse inquiry: paedophile Gerald Ridsdale never told anyone he was a serial child abuser

AUSTRALIA
ABC - The World Today

ELEANOR HALL: To the royal commission into child sexual abuse in Ballarat.

One of Australia's worst paedophiles, Gerald Ridsdale, is giving evidence there today.

Ridsdale has several convictions for sexually assaulting more than 50 children and won't be released from jail for another seven years when he's 88.

He's giving evidence via video link from prison.

The now defrocked priest has told the hearing that he never told anyone about his offending for fear of being defrocked.

He's also explained that he was molested by three people when he was a boy and struggled with sexual issues while training to be a priest.

Samantha Donovan is following the commission hearings and joins us now.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:41 AM

Ex-church aide faces 75 charges of sex abuse

IRELAND
Irish Independent

Tom Tuite
PUBLISHED
27/05/2015

A former lay worker with the Church of Ireland will stand trial accused of sexual abuse of 10 boys between 1977 and 1990.

Patrick O'Brien (76) is facing 75 counts of indecent assault at numerous locations throughout the State, including St Patrick's Cathedral in Dublin.

Mr O'Brien, with an address at Knocklyon Road, Templeogue, in Dublin, was arrested yesterday.
He was taken to Terenure Garda Station by detectives attached to the Child Protection and Human Exploitation Bureau.

He was charged and then brought to appear before Judge Cormac Dunne at Dublin District Court.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:39 AM

Child sex abuse survivors say paedophile priest is protecting church

AUSTRALIA
The Guardian

Oliver Milman
@olliemilman

Wednesday 27 May 2015

Survivors of child sexual abuse and their supporters have poured scorn on the evidence given by Gerald Ridsdale, accusing the convicted paedophile of protecting the hierarchy of the Catholic church.

Ridsdale, 81, gave evidence to the royal commission into institutional responses to child sex abuse via video link from prison, where he is serving time after being convicted of more than 140 offences against children as young as four over three decades until the 1980s.

Ridsdale repeatedly said he did not recall key details of his interaction with Catholic clergy as he was being moved around parishes in Victoria where he committed the sexual offences.

The former Catholic priest said he did not recall living with George Pell, Australia’s most senior cleric, nor why Pell agreed to appear in court as a character reference for him in 1994.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:37 AM

Former Hastings priest acquitted of abusing altar boy

MINNESOTA
Faribault County Register

May 27, 2015
Associated Press

HASTINGS, Minn. (AP) — A former priest has been acquitted on charges that he sexually abused an altar boy at a Hastings church almost 30 years ago.

The St. Cloud Times reports (http://on.sctimes.com/1FNPSQR ) that Hoefgen broke down and sobbed with friends and family after the not guilty verdicts were read Tuesday. He left without commenting.

The 36-year-old Red Wing man who accused Hoefgen of abuse from 1989 to 1992 hung his head in his hands after the verdicts came down. He left before the session ended.

Hoefgen was charged with two counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct. The jury deliberated about three hours.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:35 AM

Child sexual abuse inquiry ...

AUSTRALIA
Radio Australia

Child sexual abuse inquiry: Paedophile Gerald Ridsdale continued on as priest despite bishop's warning, royal commission hears

By court reporter Peta Carlyon

One of Australia's most notorious paedophiles, Gerald Ridsdale, was allowed to continue on as a priest despite a bishop receiving a complaint about him in his first year, the child sexual abuse royal commission is told.

The elderly Ridsdale is giving evidence to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Abuse in Ballarat via video link from Ararat prison, where he is serving an eight-year sentence for the rape and abuse of children.

He was quizzed at length about whether or not people were warned about his offending tendencies as he was moved between schools around western Victoria, in the 1960s and 70s.

Ridsdale told the inquiry he remembered receiving a warning from a bishop over an incident involving a boy in Ballarat.

"The first complaint that ever came in was in my first year as priest," he said.

"I remember going in a room and fondling him, and putting my hand down his trousers, it would have been a fairly brief kind of thing."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:32 AM

Gerald Ridsdale: portrait of a monster as a forgetful old man

AUSTRALIA
The Age

May 27, 2015

Tony Wright
National affairs editor of The Age

He doesn't look like a monster, this old man peering through spectacles, bald but for a few wisps of greyed hair above his ears.

Looks deceive. It's all in the perspective.

He was a monster, sure enough, to little boys awed by this man in the robes of a priest who offered himself as a friend and molested them, again and again. Boys who, according to senior counsel, afterwards couldn't bear anyone touching them or their fathers coming near.

The child in a Ballarat primary school showing the priest his toys, only to find a hand shoved down his pants. The bedwetter in an English boarding school, the Australian priest as housemaster bathing him and putting him into fresh pyjamas and taking him into his bed. The boys welcomed to the country house of the parish priest to play pool, and who accepted holiday invitations to his underground dug-out in the NSW opal-mining town of White Cliffs, only to discover themselves trapped.

No one knows how many children Gerald Ridsdale molested from the 1950s when he was a seminarian in Werribee and on through the decades of his priesthood as he was moved from parish to parish around Victoria's western district for several decades.

He did not even inform his god, apparently, at least through the normal priestly channels – he left his child-abusing out of his religious confessions, he says, and never told his monstrous secret to anyone until the game was up. When the game finally was up, he was convicted of abusing scores of children.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:31 AM

I was abused as a child...

AUSTRALIA
The Age

I was abused as a child: disgraced priest Gerald Ridsdale gives evidence at sex abuse royal commission in Ballarat

May 27, 2015

Jane Lee and Rania Spooner

A paedophile priest who was convicted of more than 100 charges of sexual abuse against children over about 30 years began offending before he was ordained and says he worked with no restrictions at any of the parishes he was moved to amid numerous abuse allegations.

Gerald Ridsdale, 81, told a royal commission on Wednesday he had spent his life feeling "uncomfortable" around adults, keeping secrets and in fear of being discovered as a paedophile. He also said he had been sexually abused as a child himself, and had had a three-year relationship while in prison.

The first time he abused a child was at a camp for disadvantaged children while he was still in training to become a priest at a seminary in Werribee.

Within a year of his ordination in 1961, the Catholic Church received its first complaint about Ridsdale abusing children. Then-Bishop James O'Collins threatened to send Ridsdale "off the mission" if he offended again, which meant he would no longer work as a priest.

Ms Furness asked if this threat played on his mind as he moved to different parishes and abused children. Ridsdale, who was also abused by a cousin and an uncle when he was younger than 12, said: "It could have."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:28 AM

Vatican cardinal offers Australia abuse case testimony

VATICAN CITY/AUSTRALIA
BBC News

The Vatican's finance chief George Pell has offered to testify in a high-profile Australian inquiry into institutional child sex abuse.

The cardinal was formerly the Archbishop of Sydney, Australia's most senior Catholic official.
He is accused of silencing a victim of a paedophile priest and aiding the priest's move to another parish.

Australia is investigating how schools, churches and the government responded to child abuse cases.

'Horrified'

This week a royal commission began hearing testimony from victims in Ballarat in the state of Victoria, where Gerald Ridsdale had sexually abused dozens of boys in various parishes between the 1950s and 1970s.

Mr Pell has been accused of being complicit in moving Ridsdale around the state, and of attempting to bribe Ridsdale's nephew into keeping quiet about his abuse.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:26 AM

Abuser priest Ridsdale knew it was wrong

AUSTRALIA
TVNZ

Gerald Ridsdale knew he was committing "serious sins" and hurting the children he sexually abused, yet he never stopped nor thought for a moment about the lives he was destroying.

Australia's worst pedophile priest can't even remember the names of all the children he abused over four decades.

Hearing that one boy would not let anyone touch him after the abuse, the 81-year-old said he never thought about the impact of what he had done.

"I didn't know that then, but I do now," Ridsdale told the child sex abuse royal commission's Ballarat inquiry.

He was only concerned for his own sexual gratification? "That's right."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:25 AM

This letter sent to Catholic school students is astonishing.

AUSTRALIA
Debrief Daily

[with copy of the letter from Archbishop Fisher]

SARAH MACDONALD
@sarahvmac

Catholic schoolkids in Sydney have brought home a note to parents headed ‘Speaking the Truth in Love’.

But many Catholic parents will not be feeling the love.

Penned by the Archbishop of Sydney Anthony Fisher and published on his website, it references the horrific stories emerging from the Royal Commission hearings in Ballarat, which the Most Rev. Fisher admits are ‘harrowing and for many people demoralising’.

Witnesses have talked of the brutal bashings and sex crimes they experienced as young boys at the hands of trusted and respected Catholic clergymen. They have told stories of children shared around by pedophiles, and revealed that when they tried to speak out they were actually punished for speaking ill of God’s holy representatives.

The abuse is believed to have contributed to 45 suicides or early deaths in the region.

So what does Anthony Fisher say to his flock? He says he is appalled by the conduct of some priests and shares feelings of contamination and shame.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:23 AM

Parents' anger at Sydney Archbishop's note...

AUSTRALIA
Daily Mail

Parents' anger at Sydney Archbishop's note sent home with Catholic schoolchildren about horrific abuse being uncovered at royal commission that says some criticism is 'unfair'

By JOHN CARNEY FOR DAILY MAIL AUSTRALIA

A letter that's been taken home by Catholic school kids in Sydney in an attempt to put parents' minds at ease as the on-going Royal Commission into sex child abuse inquiry continues this week has not got the positive response the church hoped for.

Called ‘Speaking the Truth in Love’ it is written by the Archbishop of Sydney Anthony Fisher and is also published on the Archdiocese of Sydney website. The letter refers to the disturbing evidence emerging from the inquiry in Ballarat in recent weeks.

While making it clear that like everyone else he feels 'disillusioned, contaminated and shamed' by what has come out of the commission, his claims that the church has been treated unfairly has left parents angry and feeling as if the Archbishop is backing the church’s former responses to allegations of sexual abuse.

'Many things are being said about the church at the moment some of them fair, some of them not so fair. It is alleged, for instance, that we engaged in self-protective legal evasions,' the Archbishop wrote.

Debrief Daily website reports the letter has stirred up anger among some Catholics in Sydney with one parent calling it ‘Satanic Verses’, others have described it as 'a real kick in the teeth to victims', while others saw it as a sign that the Catholic Church is still in denial.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:20 AM

Monsignor William Lynn Meeting With Defense Lawyer Over Bail Question

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
CBS Philly

By Steve Tawa

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Monsignor William Lynn, the high-ranking Roman Catholic official convicted in the priest sex abuse scandal, will be meeting with his defense lawyer today, to figure out whether to seek bail, again. It follows last month’s court proceeding that sent him back to prison.

The former senior official in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia was convicted of a single count of child endangerment in 2012 over his handling of priest sexual abuse complaints.

Monsignor Lynn served about half of a 3-6 year prison sentence, but was released on bail in 2014, after Superior Court reversed his conviction. In late April, the State Supreme Court reversed a key element of that decision, and back behind bars he went.

Defense lawyer Thomas Bergstrom says while the case has been remanded to Superior Court, the three-judge panel may not hear arguments until September.

That’s why he’ll ask his client about filing a bail petition to return to house arrest pending appeals, or staying put.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:18 AM

Confessional should not be above the law, says paedophile priest Gerald Ridsdale

AUSTRALIA
Gippsland Times

By Fiona Henderson May 27, 2015

UPDATE: GERALD Ridsdale told the Royal Commission on Wednesday crimes reported in confession should be reported to police.

"Well from my experience and what I've done, and the damage that I've done, I'd say yes definitely," he said.

"I don't know what the church ruling or legislation or thought is about that, but that's my personal opinion."

EARLIER: Ridsdale said he was molested twice as a child and "sexually tested" by an uncle while giving evidence to the Royal Commission into Institutionalised Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.

Ridsdale said he was assaulted by an older cousin when they shared a bed when he was eight or nine, and a Christian Brother a few years later.

He also gave evidence that priests had a great deal of community status, and he read a lot of spiritual books when he was growing up.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:16 AM

West Oak Lane Shooting, Monsignor Lynn Bail Seeking, Penn State Frat Suspended

PENNSYLVANIA
iradiophilly

by: Rebel - Havertown, PA
started: 05/27/15 5:44 am | updated: 05/27/15 ...

Monsignor William Lynn, the high-ranking Roman Catholic official convicted in the priest sex abuse scandal, will be meeting with his defense lawyer today, to figure out whether to seek bail, again. It follows last month’s court proceeding that sent him back to prison. The former senior official in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia was convicted of a single count of child endangerment in 2012 over his handling of priest sexual abuse complaints. Monsignor Lynn served about half of a 3-6 year prison sentence, but was released on bail in 2014, after Superior Court reversed his conviction. In late April, the State Supreme Court reversed a key element of that decision, and back behind bars he went.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:14 AM

Ridsdale says he did not know Pell well

AUSTRALIA
Sky News

Convicted paedophile priest Gerald Francis Ridsdale has told the child abuse royal commission he did not have a particularly close relationship with Cardinal George Pell and did not discuss his offending with him.

'I never had much to do with him', he said.

Ridsdale says he can't remember having any dealings with now-Cardinal George Pell, despite living in the Ballarat East presbytery with him.

Ridsdale also said he can't remember asking then-Father Pell what he would say on his behalf at Ridsdale's first court appearance in 1993, when the two were photographed together.

In May 1993, Cardinal Pell accompanied Ridsdale to court in Melbourne where he pleaded guilty to 30 charges of indecent assault.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:49 AM

Paedophile Gerald Ridsdale tells abuse inquiry church repeatedly moved him

AUSTRALIA
The Guardian

Oliver Milman
@olliemilman
Wednesday 27 May 2015

Convicted paedophile Gerald Ridsdale has described how he committed a string of sexual offences, including on a boy in the UK, after being repeatedly moved to different locations by the Catholic hierarchy.

Ridsdale, 81, was speaking via a video link from prison to the royal commission into institutional responses to child sex abuse, held in the Victorian city of Ballarat.

The former priest said that shortly after he was ordained in 1961, he fondled a young boy, which resulted in a complaint. He was told by local bishop James O’Collins that “if this thing happens again you’ll be off to the missions”. He said he was then sent to Mildura.

After offending further, he was sent to Swan Hill and then Warrnambool. He said he did not request these moves. “In those days there wasn’t a choice,” he said. “There was no consultation, it was ‘you go’ and you went.”

He said he did not discuss his widespread sexual offences with anyone and was not told the reasons for his new placements. Under questioning from Gail Furness, he frequently said he did not recall details of his time as a priest, nor could he recollect conversations with high-ranking Catholic officials.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:47 AM

Victims disappointed in Ridsdale testimony

AUSTRALIA
Gazette Herald

Pedophile priest Gerald Francis Ridsdale’s lack of reminiscence of key particulars of who within the Catholic Church knew about his abusing is one other kick within the guts for victims, advocates say.

Clergy abuse sufferer Andrew Collins says victims are bitterly disenchanted that Ridsdale has not revealed who within the church hierarchy knew about his offending and moved him round.

“A few them have walked out and stated there’s simply nothing occurring. They’re disillusioned,” Mr Collins stated.

Lawyer and Monash University doctoral researcher Judy Courtin stated Ridsdale’s selective reminiscence was simply not credible.

“Whenever it involves speaking about anybody within the hierarchy he has no reminiscence of it in any respect,” Ms Courtin advised reporters in Ballarat.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:46 AM

Clergy abuse victims walk out of hearing in frustration over pedophile priest's lack of memory

AUSTRALIA
9 News

Victims of clergy abuse have said they are "disappointed" over pedophile priest Gerald Francis Ridsdale's lack of memory of key details on who in the Catholic Church knew about his abusing.

Today, Ridsdale told the Royal Commission he was "out of control" abusing children, and admitted he did not tell anyone for fears of being defrocked.

Appearing today before the commission's Ballarat hearing into institutional responses to child sex abuse via videolink from jail, Ridsdale has repeatedly referred to the prosecutor's notes and has struggled to remember much of his previous testimony and the circumstances of his offending, including the names of some of his many victims.

Clergy abuse victim Andrew Collins spoke outside court and said victims are bitterly disappointed Ridsdale did not reveal who in the church hierarchy knew about his offending and moved him to other parishes.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:44 AM

May 26, 2015

Notorious paedophile Gerald Ridsdale was abused as a child, Royal Commission hears

AUSTRALIA
The Courier

By FIONA HENDERSON May 27, 2015

GERALD Ridsdale said he was molested twice as a child and "sexually tested" by an uncle while giving evidence to the Royal Commission into Institutionalised Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.

Ridsdale said he was assaulted by an older cousin when they shared a bed when he was eight or nine, and a Christian Brother a few years later.

He also gave evidence that priests had a great deal of community status, and he read a lot of spiritual books when he was growing up.

However he was told by an older priest friend: "Always remember when you're reading books like that, that it's not necessarily how people like that lived but that's how they would have liked to live."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:35 PM

‘I am deeply committed to helping the survivors’ ...

AUSTRALIA
Daily Mail

‘I am deeply committed to helping the survivors’: Cardinal George Pell FINALLY agrees to give evidence at Royal Commission into child sexual abuse

By LUCY THACKRAY and JOHN CARNEY FOR DAILY MAIL AUSTRALIA AND AUSTRALIAN ASSOCIATED PRESS

Cardinal George Pell has told the chair of the royal commission he's prepared to give evidence in person 'if needed'.

'I want to make it absolutely clear that I am willing to give evidence should the commission request this, be it by statement, appearance by video link, or by attending personally,' he said in the letter to Justice Peter McClellan on Tuesday night.

He also said he'd been horrified by the allegations of abuse in Ballarat and was 'deeply saddened' by the way church authorities dealt with reports of abuse.

Abuse victims have given evidence Pell bribed them to keep quiet, ignored complaints and was complicit in moving Australia's worst pedophile priest Gerald Ridsdale to a different parish.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:33 PM

Gerald Ridsdale gives evidence at sex abuse royal commission in Ballarat

AUSTRALIA
The Age

May 27, 2015

Rania Spooner
Crime reporter

Convicted paedophile priest Gerald Ridsdale says he was sexually abused by two family members before he was 12 as he began giving evidence at the Royal Commission into institutional child sexual abuse in Ballarat.

Ridsdale, 81, whose offending against children spans more than three decades from the 1950s to the late 1980s, was appearing by videolink from Ararat Prison on Monday morning.

Being questioned by counsel assisting the commission, Gail Furness, SC, Ridsdale accepted evidence he gave investigators in 1994 of being sexually abused himself, including by an older cousin.

After dropping out of St Patrick's College in Ballarat at 14, Ridsdale joined an accounting firm, where he worked for more than two years before deciding to become a priest, the commissioner heard.

At the Corpus Christi seminary in Werribee, Ridsdale said his only problem was masturbation, about which he had confessed and had been told was a "serious sin", he said.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:31 PM

Child sexual abuse inquiry: Notorious paedophile Gerald Ridsdale unable to control his sexual urges, royal commission hears

AUSTRALIA
ABC News

By court reporter Peta Carlyon

One of Australia's most notorious child sex offenders, Gerald Ridsdale, was unable to control his sexual desires while in the seminary, the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Abuse in Ballarat has heard.

The elderly Ridsdale is giving evidence to the inquiry via video link from prison, where he is serving his latest sentence for abusing young boys.

Ridsdale was read out a long list of his offences over the years, involving many victims.

He told the royal commission he could not remember some of the offences.

He also told senior counsel assisting the commission, Gail Furness SC, he could no longer recall being abused himself as a child, despite making statements to that effect in the 1990s.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:29 PM

Abuser priest didn't confess offending

AUSTRALIA
9 News

AAP

Gerald Francis Ridsdale says he did not tell anyone he had abused children when he was first ordained because he was afraid of being kicked out of the priesthood.

Ridsdale has told the child abuse royal commission that he did not confess all his sins during confession once he left the seminary, and told no one he was abusing children when he was ordained in 1961.

"I didn't confess the sexual offending against children," Ridsdale told the commission's Ballarat hearing, via videolink from jail.

He did not tell the Ballarat bishop who ordained him that he had offended while in the seminary studying to be a priest and while overseas.

"I don't think I told, would have told anyone at all," Ridsdale said.

"I never told anyone. It's the sort of thing I wouldn't tell anyone.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:07 PM

Priest Ridsdale's life and offending

AUSTRALIA
Daily Mail

AAP

GERALD FRANCIS RIDSDALE'S LIFE AND OFFENDING

1934 - Born May 20, St Arnaud, Victoria
Primary school St Aloysius, Redan
Secondary school St Patrick's College, Ballarat
1954-1958 - Studied for priesthood Corpus Christi College, Werribee. Began offending.
1958-1960 - Seminary, Collegio Brignole Sale, Genoa
1960-1961 - Seminary, All Hallows College, Dublin
1961 - July 25, ordained as priest at St Patrick's Cathedral, Ballarat
- Fills in at five parishes including Horsham, Inglewood, Camperdown and Ballarat North
1962-1964 - Assistant priest at Ballarat North
- First complaint in Ridsdale's first year as priest - boy from Villa Maria boarding school in Ballarat East
1964-1966 - Assistant priest Mildura
1966-1969 - Assistant priest Swan Hill
1970-1972 - Assistant priest Warrnambool
1972-1974 - Assistant priest Ballarat East
1974-1975 - Parish priest Apollo Bay. Puts in for transfer February 1975 after man tells him in a pub there's talk about him and kids.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:06 PM

Statement from Cardinal George Pell

VATICAN CITY
The Australian

Vatican City 26 May 2015

Cardinal Pell has once again restated his willingness to give evidence to the Royal Commission in a letter written to the Chair of the Commission, Hon. Peter McClellem AM, last night.

“Without wanting to pre-empt the Royal Commission in any way — you can’t just invite yourself to give evidence — I want to make it absolutely clear that I am willing to give evidence should the Commission request this, be it by statement, appearance by video link, or by attending personally.”

Cardinal Pell also said it was important to restate his strong personal commitment to full co-operation with the Royal Commission, in light of the Ballarat hearings and speculation about his own willingness to give evidence.

“Like everyone else, I am horrified by the accounts that survivors have given in their evidence during the Ballarat hearings, and at the enormous impact the abuse has had on them, their families and the community.

“I am also deeply saddened by the way Church authorities have failed in responding to these crimes.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:04 PM

George Pell prepared to give evidence in person at abuse inquiry

AUSTRALIA
The Australian

Cardinal George Pell says he is prepared to give evidence in person to the royal commission into child abuse.

The Cardinal has been criticised for his failure to appear at the inquiry sitting in Ballarat.

However this morning he released a statement saying he would appear before the commission “in person, if asked to do so.”

Cardinal Pell said he had made the offer in a letter written to the chair of the commission, Justice Peter McClellem, last night, although he stressed that he had not been asked to give evidence in any form.

STATEMENT: Pell offers to appear at inquiry

“I just want to make it absolutely clear that I am willing to give evidence should the Commission request this, be it by statement, appearance by video link, or by attending personally,” he said in the statement.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:02 PM

Cardinal George Pell says he will give evidence ...

AUSTRALIA
The Age

Cardinal George Pell says he will give evidence to the Royal Commission into child sexual abuse if requested

May 27, 2015

Rania Spooner

Cardinal George Pell has promised to appear in person at the royal commission into institutional child abuse if asked, in a letter sent to the commission hours before a former housemate, notorious paedophile priest Gerald Ridsdale, began to give evidence.

In a letter sent last night to the commission's chair Peter McClellan, Cardinal Pell wrote of his full willingness to cooperate with its investigation.

"Without wanting to pre-empt the Royal Commission in any way - you can't just invite yourself to give evidence - I want to make it absolutely clear that I am willing to give evidence should the Commission request this, be it by statement, appearance by video link, or by attending personally," Cardinal Pell wrote.

"Like everyone else I am horrified by the accounts that survivors have given in their evidence during the Ballarat hearings, and at the enormous impact the abuse has had on them, their families and the community.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:59 PM

Cardinal George Pell will appear before Royal Commission in person

AUSTRALIA
news.com.au

CARDINAL George Pell has told the chair of the royal commission he’s prepared to give evidence in person.

“I want to make it absolutely clear that I am willing to give evidence should the commission request this, be it by statement, appearance by video link, or by attending personally,” he said in the letter to Justice Peter McClellan on Tuesday night.

He also said he’d been horrified by the allegations of abuse in Ballarat and was saddened by the way church authorities dealt with reports of abuse.

Abuse victims have given evidence Pell bribed them to keep quiet, ignored complaints and was complicit in moving Australia’s worst pedophile priest Gerald Ridsdale to a different parish.
They have called on him to return to Australia to face the royal commission.

In the letter, Pell says he has not yet been asked to give evidence in any form.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:56 PM

George Pell says he is prepared to appear before royal commission

AUSTRALIA
The Guardian

Australian Associated Press
Tuesday 26 May 2015

Cardinal George Pell, Australia’s most senior cleric, has told the chair of the royal commission into institutional responses to child sex abuse that he is prepared to give evidence in person.

“I want to make it absolutely clear that I am willing to give evidence should the commission request this, be it by statement, appearance by video link, or by attending personally,” he said in the letter to Justice Peter McClellan on Tuesday night.

He said he had been horrified by the allegations of abuse in Ballarat and was saddened by the way church authorities had dealt with reports of them.

Abuse victims have given evidence that Pell bribed them to keep quiet, ignored complaints and was complicit in moving paedophile priest Gerald Ridsdale to a different parish. They have called on him to return to Australia to face the royal commission.

In the letter, Pell says he has not yet been asked to give evidence in any form. “But as I have said repeatedly, I am deeply committed to assisting the royal commission and to doing anything I can to help survivors,” he said.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:55 PM

George Pell to give evidence ...

AUSTRALIA
Herald Sun

George Pell to give evidence in person at Royal Commission, as paedophile Gerald Ridsdale appears via videolink

UPDATE: VILE paedophile Gerald Ridsdale is giving evidence to the Royal Commission via videolink, as Cardinal George Pell says he’s prepared to give evidence in person if needed.

Ridsdale was giving evidence for only minutes, but said numerous times “I have no recollection”.

WATCH RIDSDALE GIVE EVIDENCE HERE

Ridsdale is giving evidence at the Royal Commission in a move victims hope will unlock decades of secrets about how the Catholic Church covered up child sex crimes.

The frail Ridsdale, who turned 81 last week, is giving evidence via videolink from the Ararat jail he has called home for decades.

He has admitted molesting hundreds of kids over an evil career that spanned three decades and has been convicted of abusing just 54.

He first pleaded guilty to widespread abuse in 1993 when he was controversially supported in court by church figures including the now Cardinal Pell.

Meanwhile, in a letter to the Royal Commission overnight Cardinal Pell said he would be happy to appear in Ballarat in person.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:50 PM

George Pell: ‘I’m willing to give evidence’

AUSTRALIA
The New Daily

KAITLIN THALS

Cardinal George Pell said he is prepared to travel to Ballarat to give evidence in person at the child sex abuse royal commission after explosive allegations were made against him.

The Royal Commission into Institutionalised Sexual Abuse, which began hearing evidence in Ballarat last week, was told that Cardinal Pell tried to bribe the nephew of paedophile priest Gerald Ridsdale to stay quiet about the abuse he suffered at the hands of his uncle.

Cardinal Pell has denied the claims but issued another statement today saying he would front the hearings in Ballarat if he was asked to do so.

“Without wanting to pre-empt the royal commission in any way – you can’t just invite yourself to give evidence,” he said in a statement.

“I want to make it absolutely clear that I am willing to give evidence should the commission request this, be it by statement, appearance by video link, or by attending personally.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:48 PM

Case Study 28, May 2015, Ballarat - Live hearing

AUSTRALIA
Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse

Live stream.

Gerald Ridsdale is giving evidence to the Royal Commission via videolink.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:45 PM

As synod council meets, ‘shadow council’ pushes acceptance of gay unions

ROME
Headlines from the Catholic World

Rome, Italy, May 26, 2015 / 03:01 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- While the Synod of Bishops' ordinary council gathered to discuss the upcoming Synod on the Family this week, a private group of bishops and experts convened behind closed doors in Rome to consider the most controversial issues at the synod, particularly support of gay unions and Communion for the divorced and remarried.

Pope Francis chaired the May 25-26 meeting of the Ordinary Council of the Synod of Bishops, which is preparing for this October's synod on “the vocation and mission of the family in the Church and in contemporary world.”

The council, meeting at the Vatican, examined the synod's instrumentum laboris, or working document, which was produced by last year's Synod of Bishops, and integrated it with the responses to questions which were sent to dioceses worldwide.

“An extensive and detailed study of the text has generated proposals and contributions for its integration and improvement,” the Vatican Information Service noted, adding that the working document's final text will be prepared and translated by the Secretariat General within the next few weeks.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:42 PM

Jury finds former Hastings priest not guilty of sex abuse

MINNESOTA
Minnesota Public Radio

A Dakota County jury acquitted former priest Francis Hoefgen Tuesday. A man had accused Hoefgen of abusing him more than 20 years ago.

Hoefgen, 64, of Columbia Heights had been charged with two counts of criminal sexual conduct.

A man reported the abuse to police in November 2013. He said he was molested from age 9 to 12 years old when he served as altar boy at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic Church in Hastings.

The jury arrived at the verdict in less than four hours.

In a statement released after the jury's decision was read in court, Dakota County Attorney James Backstrom said he was grateful to the victim for coming forward.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:09 PM

Jury finds Hoefgen not guilty in sex abuse case

MINNESOTA
St. Cloud Times

David Unze, dunze@stcloudtimes.com May 26, 2015

HASTINGS – A Dakota County jury on Tuesday evening found Fran Hoefgen not guilty of accusations that he raped an altar boy more than 20 years ago at a Hastings church where he was a priest.

Hoefgen broke down and sobbed with friends and family after the verdicts were read. He left the courthouse without commenting.

The 36-year-old Red Wing man who accused Hoefgen of abuse from 1989 to 1992 hung his head in his hands after the verdicts were read. He left the courtroom before the hearing concluded.

Hoefgen was charged with two counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct. The jury deliberated for about three hours before returning the verdicts.

After the verdicts were read, Hoefgen's attorney, Michael Colich, said the charges and trial have weighed heavily on Hoefgen.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:07 PM

Republican Finally Demands Charges in Duggar Scandal... Against Police Chief Who Followed the Law

UNITED STATES
Huffington Post

David Pakman

I've been covering the Josh Duggar child molestation case on The David Pakman Show, not because we care about reality TV shows like 19 Kids and Counting, but because the case is representative of so much of what is wrong with extremist right-wing Christianity and so-called morals in the United States today. Josh Duggar's parents, Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar, knew about the molestation for years. During that time, Michelle campaigned against LGBT rights, while Jim Bob sent Josh to work away from home.

Jim Bob did have Josh meet with Arkansas State Trooper Jim Hutchens, but Hutchens never took official action, and ended up being convicted on child pornography charges himself, effectively killing any chance of action against Josh Duggar or the family for coverup.

Mike Huckabee issued a statement of support for the Duggars. Judge Stacey Zimmerman, who has connections to Mike Huckabee, ordered the police records referencing some instances of Josh's child sex abuse to be destroyed.

Naturally, I was heartened and optimistic this morning when I read that a Republican finally stepped up and was calling for charges in the case. Unfortunately, Arkansas State Senator has called for charges against Kathy O'Kelley, Chief of the Springdale, Arkansas police. Senator Hester argues that by releasing the police report about Duggar, she has put the victims in danger.

This doesn't hold water. The police report was released redacted, and Chief Kelley was merely following the law with regard to Freedom of Information Act requests. Senator Hester hasn't called for charges against Duggar himself -- in any case, the statute of limitations may have elapsed on his wrongdoing. Senator Hester hasn't called for charges against Michelle and Jim Bob Duggar for coverup and failure to take victims and would-be victims out of harm's way. Senator Hester hasn't called for charges against Judge Zimmerman, who still hasn't explained why she destroyed the police records when news of Duggar's child sex abuse went public.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:04 PM

Vatican says Ireland gay marriage vote is 'defeat for humanity'

VATICAN CITY
The Guardian

Stephanie Kirchgaessner in Rome
Tuesday 26 May 2015

A senior Vatican official has attacked the legalisation of gay marriage in Ireland. The referendum that overwhelmingly backed marriage equality last weekend was a “defeat for humanity”, he claimed.

“I was deeply saddened by the result,” Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Vatican’s secretary of state, said at a conference in Rome on Tuesday night. “The church must take account of this reality, but in the sense that it must strengthen its commitment to evangelisation. I think that you cannot just talk of a defeat for Christian principles, but of a defeat for humanity.”

The remarks by the Vatican’s top diplomat, who is seen as second only to the pope in the church’s hierarchy, represent the most damning assessment of the Irish vote by a senior church official to date.

It was a far more critical response than the circumspect reaction offered by archbishop Diarmuid Martin of Dublin, who said: “It is very clear that if this referendum is an affirmation of the views of young people … [then the church needs} a reality check.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:43 PM

Liberal European bishops, in closed-door session, plan Synod strategy

ROME
Catholic Culture

Bishops from Germany, France, and Switzerland met on May 25 in at the Gregorian University in Rome, to discuss their plans for the October meeting of the Synod of Bishops.

The closed-door meeting—which brought together some of Europe’s leading “progressive” bishops, under the leadership of Cardinal Reinhard Marx, with few Vatican officials invited—appeared to be an effort to plot strategy for the handling of controversial issues, such as the treatment of homosexuality and the proposal to allow Communion for Catholics who are divorced and remarried.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:41 PM

Synod council discusses working document for October 2015 meeting

UNITED STATES
Catholic Culture

At a two-day meeting this week, the “ordinary council” of the Synod of Bishops discussed and revised a draft of the instrumentum laboris, the working document for the Synod’s October 2015 session.

Pope Francis chaired the meeting of the ordinary council, along with Cardinal Lorenzo Baldisseri, the secretary-general of the Synod of Bishops. Along with its work on the instrumentum laboris, the council also discussed the procedures that will be used for the October session.

The instrumentum laboris is the product of a process that began with the final statement from last year’s session of the Synod. The Office of the Synod then prepared a lineamenta, a preliminary document that included a series of questions, to stimulate responses from episcopal conferences, religious orders, and other ecclesiastical bodies. After receiving those responses, the Synod office then drafted the instrumentum laboris. Following this week’s discussion of that document, the instumentum laboris will now be finalized, translated, and published by the Synod office in preparation for the October meeting.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:09 PM

Josh Duggar Scandal: What Are the Legal Implications?

UNITED STATES
Extra

Controversy continues to explode around the headline-making scandal surrounding “19 Kids and Counting” reality TV star Josh Duggar, the oldest son in the wildly popular TLC reality show.

Josh was accused of molesting five underage girls in 2002 when he was 14 years old, but was never charged with any crimes. The statute of limitations keeps authorities from prosecuting him now, but attorney Rosemarie Arnold told “Extra” his alleged victims still have recourse.

“Civil cases could be viable depending how old the girls are,” Arnold clarified.

She went on to say that the “statute of limitations for a civil sexual abuse case in Arkansas [where the Duggar family resides] is three years from your majority,” meaning the day you turn age 18 or three years from the day you realize you were injured because of the abuse. “So if the girls are young enough or have suppressed memories, then the statute of limitations for the civil suit could be still be viable.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:07 PM

Jury acquits ex-Hastings priest accused of sexual abuse

MINNESOTA
Star Tribune

By Stephen Montemayor Star Tribune MAY 26, 2015 — 6:02PM

A Dakota County jury on Tuesday acquitted Francis Hoefgen, a former Hastings priest, of two counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct following a trial on accusations of decades-old abuse.

Hoefgen, who is no longer a priest and lives in Columbia Heights, was accused of repeatedly abusing a boy who was a student at the parochial school at St. Boniface Church between 1989 and 1992. Hoefgen, 64, is one of few priests to face criminal charges for alleged sex offenses that are decades old.

Jurors deliberated about four hours before returning the not guilty verdict.

Throughout the trial, Hoefgen’s attorney, Michael Colich, questioned the reliability of the accuser’s memory and the lack of physical evidence presented.

“Simply say to yourself, where’s the evidence?” Colich said to closing arguments Tuesday.

Hoefgen’s accuser, now 36, testified last week that Hoefgen’s abuse progressed from fondling to oral and anal penetration when the man was in fourth, fifth and sixth grades at St. Boniface’s parochial school. He said “Father Fran,” as Hoefgen was called, abused him during the school year, usually after the two cleaned up after a funeral or midweek mass. The Star Tribune has not named the man during the trial because he was the victim of an alleged sexual assault.

“He liked the defendant, Father Fran. He trusted Father Fran. He came to be able to talk to Father Fran and tell him what was going on. [Hoefgen] took advantage of that,” Assistant Dakota County Attorney G. Paul Beaumaster said Tuesday.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:03 PM

Chief Rabbi urges community to report sex abuse allegations to police

UNITED KINGDOM
The JC

By Simon Rocker, May 26, 2015

Chief Ephraim Mirvis has stated that any allegation of child sexual abuse must be reported to the police “without delay”, following last week’s conviction of a Charedi teacher for sexual assault.

All rabbis under the authority of the chief rabbi are to be asked to attend a mandatory seminar being organised by the United Synagogue to alert them to the dangers of abuse.

Todros Grynhaus, the son of a dayan of the Union of Orthodox Hebrew Congregations, awaits sentence after being found guilty in Manchester of seven counts of sexual abuse against two girls aged 14 and 15 at the time.

In a statement issued this afternoon, Rabbi Mirvis said the conviction was of “immense significance” and praised the courage of victims and others who “withstood tremendous pressure” to bring it about.

“Though certainly not the first such case, it sends an unequivocal message that nobody, in any part of our community, can expect to commit these horrific crimes and escape prosecution,” he said.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:00 PM

Former Rosarian Elementary School teacher's trial begins

FLORIDA
WPTV

[with video]

Brian Entin

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - Former Rosarian Elementary School teacher Stephen Budd's trial started Tuesday with pretrial motions.

A 21-year old woman testified about her abuse allegations involving Budd from nearly 15 years ago at a different school.

She said Budd touched her private areas in exchange for candy, but did not immediately report the incidents to police.

The judge will decide whether her testimony will be allowed during the trial.

Budd is accused of molesting two elementary school-age children at Rosarian Academy.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:26 PM

Diocese of Allentown: We aren't liable for exchange student's abuse

PENNSYLVANIA
The Morning Call

By Riley Yates
Of The Morning Call

The Diocese of Allentown is fighting a lawsuit that claims it failed to protect a South Korean teenager who was sexually abused at a dormitory for Pius X exchange students, saying the high school shouldn't be held responsible for what happened inside the privately operated dorm.

The girl was 14 and attending Pius X when she was repeatedly sexually assaulted more than four years ago by a tutor at ACE Academy in Pen Argyl, a family-run facility that housed and mentored Korean students attending the Catholic school in Bangor. Her suit charges that the diocese and the school were negligent in allowing the abuse to occur, and that she disclosed it to a priest during confession, but he failed to report it.

At a hearing Tuesday, the diocese asked Northampton County Judge Michael Koury Jr. to toss the suit, saying that the girl's lawyer hasn't established enough of a connection between the school and ACE Academy. The man who abused the girl, Richard Kim, worked for ACE and was not an "agent or employee" of Pius, said David Dye, an attorney for the church.

"There is no allegation that Mr. Kim is associated or connected with the diocese at all," Dye said. In fact, he said, it is unclear whether the school even knew who Kim was.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:23 PM

Child sexual assault lawsuit filed against S.A. Archdiocese

TEXAS
KENS

A civil lawsuit filed Tuesday against the Archdioceses of San Antonio accuses two priests of sexually assaulting an orphan during the 1980s.

The lawsuit claims leaders of the church covered up the complaints for decades.

The lawsuit alleges that former San Antonio priest Jesus "Jesse" Dominguez, a seminary student at the time, began to serve as a father figure to the orphan. According to the lawsuit, the boy was living at a nearby orphanage, and Dominguez would regularly help with homework, clothing and food, eventually taking the minor out for movies and meals. The outings, the lawsuit states, would end in Dominguez taking the boy back to his living quarters and molesting him. This happened for two years, about two or three times per week, the lawsuit states.

The lawsuit also states that when the boy would question Dominguez's actions, he would claim a heart condition and often fake a heart attack. On one account, the boy claimed Dominguez threatened to kill the minor and himself when the minor's questions proved too much.

Dominguez was sued three separate times in California and is a convicted sex offender, according to media reports.

The lawsuit states the boy attempted to get help from another church leader, but his concerns were dismissed. KENS 5 is not disclosing the name of this leader because the person has no criminal record and has not been charged with a crime.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:19 PM

AR--Victims back Arkansas police in Duggar case

ARKANSAS
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

For immediate release: Tuesday, May 26

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

A male Arkansas politician claims a female police chief should be fired for releasing a police report about alleged child sex crimes by prominent conservative activist Josh Duggar.

[Washington Times]

But the politician says nothing about two male officials who also played a role in document’s release.

We’re very skeptical of State Senator Bart Hester claim that he’s worried about the privacy of Duggar’s alleged victims. We’re not convinced he’s sincere.

Time and time again, we’ve seen officials profess concern over victims’ privacy when their real goal is to preserve predators’ secrecy.

The victims’ names were redacted from the police report. And it’s been days since the report was released but we’ve heard no one else say they’re worried about the victims’ privacy. That’s not to say that Hester is entirely off base. It is indeed crucial that the safety of victims – and their confidentiality – is safeguarded.

But it’s even more crucial that kids are safeguarded. That’s what exposing proven, admitted or credibly accused child molesters does.

When a predator is “outed” and families are warned about him, usually his victims feel better. And almost always, kids are safer. So if we must err, let’s err on the side of protecting the actual safety of vulnerable kids, rather than on the side of protecting the perceived feelings of adults.

We’re glad the police report was disclosed. We’re glad that Springdale Police Chief Kathy O’Kelley, Mayor Doug Sprouse and City Attorney Ernest Cate agreed to put kids’ safety first.

We’re glad Duggar’s alleged victims’ names are still private and hope they will remain so. And we hope that others who may have seen, suspected or suffered crimes by Duggar or cover ups by church officials will find the strength to protect others, expose wrongdoers, get help and start healing.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:15 PM

Pastoral letter by Archbishop Prendergast of Ottawa ...

CANADA
Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops

Pastoral letter by Archbishop Prendergast of Ottawa on the closing ceremonies of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission

Monday, May 25 2015

The closing ceremonies of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission will be held in Ottawa this coming May 31 to June 3. The Most Reverend Terrence Prendergast, S.J., Archbishop of Ottawa, has issued a pastoral letter, asking Catholics in the Archdiocese to be in solidarity with Aboriginal Peoples over offences committed in the former Indian Residential Schools, inviting them to join him in prayer, and encouraging participation in the public events as an expression of reconciliation, including joining Archbishop Prendergast in the Solidarity Walk on May 31. The Most Reverend Gerard Pettipas, C.Ss.R., Archbishop of Grouard-McLennan and President of the Corporation of Catholic Entities Party to the Indian Residential Schools Settlement (CEPIRSS), and the Most Reverend Sylvain Lavoie, O.M.I., Archbishop Emeritus of Keewatin – Le Pas, will also be present for the TRC closing ceremonies, as well as Aboriginal members from the Canadian Catholic Aboriginal Council.

Link to the Pastoral Letter

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:11 PM

Catholic archbishop urges penance for mistreatment of aboriginal children at residential schools

CANADA
Ottawa Citizen

MARK KENNEDY, OTTAWA CITIZEN

The Catholic Archbishop of Ottawa is calling on followers of the faith to “repent” and seek forgiveness for how the church mistreated thousands of aboriginal children in residential schools for many decades.

The message is contained in a pastoral letter written by Archbishop Terrence Prendergast and comes just days before the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) releases the findings of its six-year probe into this controversial chapter of Canadian history.

The Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops has publicly released Prendergast’s letter as part of its efforts to support and pray for residential school survivors, and reconcile with them.

Meanwhile, the Anglican, United and Presbyterian churches – which were also involved in the school system – are gearing up for next week’s TRC release with plans to forge “reconciliation” activities.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:08 PM

Jurors deliberate Hoefgen case

MINNESOTA
St. Cloud Times

David Unze, dunze@stcloudtimes.com May 26, 2015

HASTINGS – Calling the prosecution's case against Fran Hoefgen "a disgrace," his attorney urged jurors Tuesday in Dakota County to find Hoefgen not guilty of charges that he sexually abused a former altar boy more than 20 years ago.

Michael Colich told jurors that police and prosecutors assumed the altar boy's story was true and did no investigation to find evidence to support the story. In fact, the only evidence presented to the jury, Colich said, was by Hoefgen's defense and it showed that key points of the victim's testimony are wrong.

"How can you convict someone when there's no evidence besides (the victim) telling us it happened," Colich told jurors during closing arguments.

Jurors were beginning to deliberate the case in the early afternoon and will decide whether Hoefgen is guilty of two counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct.

Hoefgen, 64, is accused of abusing the former altar boy between 1989 and 1992, when Hoefgen was associate pastor at St. Boniface Church in Hastings. Hoefgen is a former St. John's Abbey monk and priest who also served at St. Boniface in Cold Spring.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:06 PM

Switzerland--More than 150 Swiss priests accused of abuse; SNAP responds

UNITED STATES
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

For immediate release: Tuesday, May 26

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

Over the past five years, only about 20 criminal cases have been opened against Swiss Catholic priests and monks for sexual abuse in Switzerland since, despite church officials admitting 172 alleged offenders.

[swissinfo]

Both figures, we suspect, are and should be much higher. We believe Catholic figures are hiding the identities, crimes and whereabouts about hundreds of proven, admitted and credibly accused child molesting priests, nuns, bishops, seminarians, brothers and other church employees.

And frankly, we do not believe Bishop Charles Morerod of Lausanne, Geneva and Fribourg who claims that “every accusation made against a living priest or a lay person who works for the church will be handed over to the justice authorities immediately.” Time and time again, we’ve heard these pledges by Catholic officials and time and time again we’ve seen them broken.

We urge anyone who saw, suspected or suffered clergy sex crimes or cover ups by Swiss Catholic officials to contact secular authorities – not church staff – and expose wrongdoers, protect kids, and start healing.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:04 PM

'It will be with me until the day I die' ...

IRELAND
Daily Mail

'It will be with me until the day I die': Woman, 79, who survived Irish Magdalene Laundry reveals how she's still haunted by the fear, back-breaking labour and loneliness she suffered in brutal workhouse 60 years ago

By NAOMI GREENAWAY FOR MAILONLINE and LUISA METCALFE FOR MAILONLINE

Worked to the bone, beaten and abused, the experiences of women held in the 'care' of the nuns in Ireland's notorious Magdalene Laundries, is the stuff of nightmares.

But for one woman, Kathleen Legg, who is about to turn 80, those nightmares remain very real, 60 years after she left the horrific institution.

She said: 'The memories are still there. There are some things you can't block out. Until the day I die, it will be with me.'

Speaking about her time in the institution to Fiona Phillips on ITV's Lorraine this morning, Kathleen, who was born in Lisvernane, Co Tipperary, said: 'I used to wake up screaming.

'I never told my husband where I'd been but he used to wonder why I had these nightmares.

'It was the shame,' she said, explaining why she never told her husband, who has since passed away. 'It was kept a secret for 60 years.'

The laundries were set up in 1922 when the newly independent Irish state delegated welfare duties to the religious orders.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:01 PM

Vatican Paper Talks “Defeat” As Pope Ducks Irish Rejection

UNITED STATES
Christian Catholicism

Jerry Slevin

The Vatican’s official newspaper has said that Ireland’s passing of the same-sex marriage referendum constitutes a “defeat” that highlights a gap between the Catholic Church and modern society. While both Pope Francis and the Vatican have officially so far avoided addressing this disastrous Irish referendum result, the newspaper reported of “a challenge for the whole Church,” and of “the distance, in some areas, between society and the Church.” It said: “The margin between the ‘yes’ and the ‘no’ votes was too large not to be accepted as a defeat. It was the result of high voter turnout, notably among young people, … “.

On Saturday (5/23/15), Dublin’s Archbishop Diarmuid Martin said the marriage referendum results show that the Church has a huge task in front of it to get its message to young people.

A basic premise of the Vatican newspaper and Martin is flawed. They both, in effect, claim that the Yes vote won because of the young.

Polls, however, show the Yes vote won by landslide margins among all groups except the over-65 age group. The Church hierarchy’s current message is clearly falling on deaf ears among a lot more than just the young. The hierarchy, including Pope Francis evidently, yet again fail to appreciate that the priest child sex abuse scandals have reduced their moral authority severely. The pope apparently is still even standing up for disgraced Cardinal George Pell, who must be directed by the pope to return to Australia promptly to testify. Pell is becoming another repeat of the Cardinal Bernard Law/ Vatican cover-up script. The Royal Commission into child abuse has shown that victims from Ballarat Australia, which Pell once oversaw, still lack justice.

Cardinal Georges Cottier, a theologian, was cited by the newspaper as saying it was impossible to understand the Irish referendum result “without taking into account the paedophilia scandal which has rocked the Irish Church.” But that scandal is an obscenity to old, as well as young, Catholics in Ireland and everywhere else.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:58 PM

NM--Gallup diocese sells land for victims’ settlements; SNAP responds

NEW MEXICO
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

For immediate release: Tuesday, May 26

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

We are glad that Gallup Catholic officials are moving toward resolving dozens of clergy sex abuse and cover up cases by selling mostly vacant property. This proves what we’ve long said: that Catholic officials have far more wealth than they admit and can do right by suffering victims if only they’ll put forth some effort.

[Wall Street Journal]

We urge anyone who saw, suspected or suffered clergy sex crimes or cover ups by New Mexico Catholic officials to contact secular authorities – not church staff – and expose wrongdoers, protect kids, and start healing. We urge Catholics to keep prodding the church hierarchy to be more honest about church finances and to do more about children’s safety.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:55 PM

Three advertisers pull ads from TLC's '19 Kids and Counting'

UNITED STATES
Reuters

Three companies have decided to remove ads from U.S. cable network TLC's reality show "19 Kids and Counting," in a sign of waning support for the top-rated programme about a large Christian family following reports that the eldest son had molested underage girls.

General Mills Inc (GIS.N) said it made its decision before TLC pulled episodes of the show on Friday.

Payless Shoesource Inc and Choice Hotels International Inc (CHH.N) told Twitter followers on Tuesday that they would no longer back the show.

"We share your concerns and we have decided to remove our advertising from the show," Choice Hotels said in a response to a consumer who questioned the sponsorship on Twitter.

Walgreen Co WALG34.SA, another of the show's advertisers, said on Facebook "we will continue to monitor the situation."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:50 PM

Josh Duggar allegations: we're so used to giving famous men the benefit of the doubt

UNITED STATES
The Guardian

Lindy West

Between Bill Cosby, Jian Ghomeshi, Rolf Harris, Jimmy Savile, Terry Richardson, Woody Allen, like half the British government or something, and, most recently, American schlock TV star Josh Duggar, one might say that it has been a rough couple of years for famous men accused of sexual impropriety. The hammer’s really coming down. Tough break, gentlemen.

Or not. Actually, I believe the word you’re looking for is “fantastic”. Fantastic break, gentlemen.

Because the reality is that some of these men got away with their alleged crimes for years (decades, even) without ever being publicly exposed. Others saw their victims come forward only to be laughed off and dismissed by the culture at large – victims forced to watch the world fawn over their abusers while the statute of limitations achingly slipped away. None except for Ghomeshi, Harris and perhaps Cosby have experienced significant damage to their careers, and even those who are facing criminal charges got to spend the previous years doing exactly as they pleased, (allegedly) flush with the illusion of untouchability, leveraging their fame and power while freely victimising others for sport and pleasure.

That’s not a loss; it’s a win. That’s not being embattled; it’s being pampered. The pain of being criticised, however loudly, on the internet is in no way proportionate to the pain inflicted by sexual assault. Receiving a five-, 20-, or 50-year buffer before any charges stick to you is pretty much as cushy as crime gets.

The Duggar case, in this regard, is particularly repulsive. For those unversed in the “look at this weird family” school of American reality television (subsets include “let’s all laugh at the impoverished” and “fats – they think they’re people!”), the Duggar family populates a programme called 19 Kids and Counting, formerly 18 Kids and Counting, formerly 17 Kids and Counting. The premise is that patriarch Jim Bob Duggar incessantly impregnates his wife Michelle in order to expand the ranks of their sanctimonious Christian homeschooling cult – which, as far as I can tell, holds as its sacraments: boringness, purity, female subservience, shamelessly rubbing heterosex in strangers’ faces, the letter “J”, hairdos of a peltlike nature and keeping LGBT people from doing stuff.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:47 PM

The Village Church: Why we put wife of man with paedophile leanings under church discipline

TEXAS
Christian Today

Mark Woods CHRISTIAN TODAY CONTRIBUTING EDITOR 26 May 2015

The Village Church has responded to criticism of its treatment of the wife of a member who had her marriage annulled after her ex-husband was found to be viewing images of child abuse.

The 10,000-member church, whose lead pastor is Matt Chandler, supported Jordan and Karen Root in their work with the SIM USA mission organisation in East Asia. Jordan Root was found to have been viewing child pornography and his appointment with SIM was terminated following an investigation and his admission of guilt.

Jordan entered a "process of walking in repentance" but Karen Root – now Hinkley – was told that her move to have the marriage annulled placed her in breach of the church's membership covenant. She was also told that her resignation of membership could not be accepted while she was in breach of the covenant.

After a storm of negative publicity, the church issued a statement to its members saying that "this case of sin has brought immense damage to a marriage and a ministry" but adding that "in the midst of this heartbreaking situation, we have maintained a tremendous love and burden for both Jordan and Karen, for both the offender and offended".

The statement outlines the steps taken regarding Jordan Root, including reporting him to the authorities. It said that following an FBI investigation of his computer he was not facing criminal charges. It says: "Jordan's sin is serious and difficult, and he has confessed, repented and appears to be submitted to the direction of his elders and pastors. This means Jordan is not in formal church discipline (Matt. 18:15). Instead, moving forward, Jordan will remain in a season of intentional pastoral care, where his role will be to remain faithful to actions in keeping with repentance (Acts 26:20), pursue holiness and purity, and continue to flee from sin."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:44 PM

Vatican attacks Ireland after being 'defeated' by gay marriage

IRELAND
Gay Star News

26 MAY 2015 | BY JOE MORGAN

The Catholic Church's attempt to keep gay couples away from marriage in Ireland has failed, a Vatican newspaper has lamented.

The Osservatore Romano has said they have been 'defeated', highlighting a gap between their dated views and the ones held by 62% of Irish voters.

With young people proving the Church's power over the country has waned, the newspaper said the result spoke of a 'challenge for the whole [of the Catholic community].'

'The margin between the "yes" and the "no" votes was too large not to be accepted as a defeat. It was the result of high voter turnout, notably among young people,' the Vatican paper said, according to the AFP.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:42 PM

FORDHAM PREP GRADUATION PROTEST

NEW YORK
Road to Recovery

Hollywood screenwriter Neal E. Gumpel, who was sexually abused as a minor child by known pedophile Fr. Roy Alan Drake, SJ, will be joined by his wife, Helen Gumpel, retired successful fashion model and actress, who thwarted a sexual attack in Bill Cosby’s dressing room on the set of “The Cosby Show,” at the graduation exercises of Fordham Prep School, Bronx, New York, to draw attention to the sexual abuse of Neal E. Gumpel and the lack of appropriate response by Fordham Prep School and the Jesuit Fathers and Brothers.

Fr. Roy Alan Drake, SJ, was a Jesuit priest and teacher at Fordham Prep School, and he sexually abused more than one minor child while a teacher at Fordham Prep School and a visiting professor at Maine Maritime Academy in Castine, Maine, including Neal E. Gumpel.

Fordham Prep School and the Northeast Province of the Society of Jesus (Jesuit Priests and Brothers) who staff and administer Fordham Prep School and were responsible for Fr. Roy Alan Drake, SJ for decades until his death, refuse to acknowledge and bear responsibility for the allegations of sexual abuse against Fr. Roy Alan Drake, SJ in Maine and give any assistance to Neal E. Gumpel, validate his claim and help him heal.

What
A press conference and leafleting alerting the media, Fordham Prep School parents and alumni, and the general public that the Northeast Province of the Society of Jesus (Jesuits) and Fordham Prep School refuse to help a clergy sexual abuse victim of one of its priests and teachers, Fr. Roy Alan Drake, SJ heal by validating his claim of sexual abuse as a minor child.

When
Wednesday, May 27, 2015 from 3:00 PM until 5:00 PM – Graduation at 4:30 PM

Where
On the public sidewalk outside the motor vehicle entrance to Fordham University, Bronx, New York, across from the New York Botanical Gardens on Southern Boulevard

Who
Hollywood screenwriter Neal E. Gumpel, a resident of Connecticut who has alleged that he was sexually abused as a minor teenager by Fr. Roy Alan Drake, SJ; Helen Gumpel, wife of Neal E. Gumpel, former successful fashion model and actress who appeared in an episode of “The Cosby Show;” and members of Road to Recovery, Inc., a non-profit charity that assists victims of sexual abuse and their families

Why
Neal E. Gumpel, whose parents graduated from Fordham University, was an unsuspecting high school minor teenager when his brother invited him to spend a weekend at Maine Maritime Academy in Castine, Maine. Rev. Roy Alan Drake, SJ was a Jesuit priest from Fordham Prep School who was working at the time at Maine Maritime Academy and invited Neal E. Gumpel to his residence on or near the campus, served him alcohol and sexually abused him. Demonstrators will call on Fordham Prep School and the Northeast Province of the Society of Jesus to do the right thing by validating the claim of Neal E. Gumpel and helping Neal E. Gumpel heal.

Robert M. Hoatson, Ph.D., Fordham University Ph.D. ’88 – 862-368-2800
Attorney Mitchell Garabedian, Boston, MA – 617-523-6250

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:49 PM

La abogada Rosario Romero estimó que esta semana se podría fijar la nueva indagatoria de Ilarraz

ARGENTINA
Analisis Digital

[Lawyer Rosario Romero said that Judge Susana Maria Paoloa Firpo, who heads Transitional Court No. 2, this week could set a new hearing for priest Justo Jose Illaraz who is accused to abusing minors at the Prana seminary. The hearing was set ofr May 17 but the judge was on sick leave and the hearing was postponsed.]

La abogada querellante Rosario Romero estimó que la jueza Susana María Paola Firpo, titular del Juzgado de Transición Número 2, podría fijar esta semana una nueva audiencia para la indagatoria del cura Justo José Ilarraz, quien está acusado de abusos de menores en el Seminario de Paraná. La letrada recordó que “la audiencia estaba fijada para el 17 de mayo, pero como la jueza estaba con licencia por enfermedad, la pospuso”. Por otra parte, Romero indicó que la magistrada también “deberá resolver en los próximos días un pedido del defensor del sacerdote”, quien se opuso a una ampliación de pericias que hizo la querella.

La letrada recordó los fundamentos de la resolución de los vocales del Superior Tribunal de Justicia (STJ) y dijo que los de Carlos Chiara Díaz y Claudia Mizawak “fueron muy importantes”. “El de la doctora habla de la premisa de los pactos internacionales de derechos humanos y el del doctor analiza de forma muy profunda los antecedentes de jurisprudencia internacional y las características de la causa. Fueron dos votos muy importantes y muy fundados”, recalcó Romero.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:42 PM

I Would Rather Be an Atheist Than Attend the Village Church

TEXAS
Ed Cyzewski: Freelance Writer

MAY 26, 2015 / ED CYZEWSKI

When I compared the people who rejected Jesus with the people who accepted Jesus for a recent book project, there is one stark difference between the two.

Those who rejected Jesus had systems of religious practices and theological constructs to rely on and defend. When Jesus came to fulfill the law, impart the Spirit, and offer access to God outside of religious authorities, they saw him as a threat.

Those who accepted Jesus were generally the sinful outsiders who had little to no previous connection with God. They had been rejected by the religious institutions and the leaders who controlled the insiders and outsiders. They didn’t rely on laws or rules to get in with God. They were no doubt living in sin, but they also didn’t have a false sense of connection with God. They were ready to receive God’s genuine freedom, not a man-made counterfeit based on proof-texting and laws.

I’ve been following a recent series of events involving a missionary named Karen Hinkley affiliated with The Village Church in Dallas, a congregation that is led by Matt Chandler. Chandler, it should be noted, leads the Acts 29 Network, a church planting network that had long been affiliated with well-documented spiritual abuser Mark Driscoll until Driscoll’s misdeeds became too much of a liability.

I’ll offer a brief summary of the situation involving the Village Church. Karen (now Hinkley) and Jordan Root were serving as missionaries, Jordan confessed to viewing child pornography (and later admitted to abusing young girls when he was underage), Jordan also has a long history of being in situations with young, vulnerable children, Karen opted to annul the marriage and leave Jordan, the Village Church disagreed with Karen and placed her under church discipline, Jordan is allegedly a member in good standing because he “repented” despite his history of lying, Karen is under church discipline, and The Village Church has denied her request to terminate membership.

Karen has pleaded with The Village Church to be more forthcoming about the details surrounding her husband and has asked them to work diligently to uncover any inappropriate contact he may have had with children as proof of his repentance.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:40 PM

Statement on Sexual Abuse

UNITED KINGDOM
Office of the Chief Rabbi

26 MAY 2015

The conviction of a prominent member of the Manchester Jewish community for sexual abuse is of immense significance. Though certainly not the first such case, it sends an unequivocal message that nobody, in any part of our community, can expect to commit these horrific crimes and escape prosecution. The longstanding view of the Chief Rabbi and Beth Din has been restated a number of times in recent years, but this is an opportune moment to reinforce that position once again.

I would like to commend the victims and others who withstood tremendous pressure and gave evidence. I hope that their courage will inspire others to come forward in the future.

This kind of abuse is a stain on all of society and we are no less vulnerable to the scourge of sexual crimes than any other community. Perpetrators of these crimes destroy lives and every one of us shares in the responsibility to protect victims and potential victims. As such, we must not only ensure that all incidents are reported to the police without delay, but that we must do everything in our power to promote a culture whereby reporting such crimes to the relevant statutory authorities is supported and encouraged.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:37 PM

How the Duggar family’s over-the-top beliefs created an environment that fostered child sex abuse

UNITED STATES
Salon

JENNY KUTNER

Several outlets have noted in the past week that the Duggar family has been outspoken in its support of Bill Gothard’s home-schooling program, which includes lessons on sexual assault that blame and shame victims for their “immodesty” and for contributing to their own abuse. (Gothard happens to be no stranger to problematic sexual behaviors; he was accused of sexually harassing his female employees last year.)

Mother Jones posted a sample of the sorts of lessons the Duggar family advocates, originally cited by blogger Samantha Field, and the takeaways for children are horrifying:

[photo of a graphic called Counseling Sexual Abuse]

These lessons do not just teach girls and women to blame themselves. They teach boys and men to blame them as well. They reinforce the notion that men should be allowed to act violently with impunity. They erase the detriment of sexual violence and portray it as something else entirely — an accident, not a crime.

But there’s so much else going on here; the homeschooling lessons reveal only a small segment of an even more intricate, scarier belief system. The Quiverfull movement — to which the Duggars not only subscribe, but also support mightily on their now-shelved reality TV series — promotes exactly the sort of retrograde, misogynist ideas that allow sexual violence to flourish. Gawker has a handy guide to some of the movement’s basic principles, which taken together create a perfect storm for rape and sexual assault to occur, and then for the burden to fall squarely on female victims’ (modestly covered) shoulders. Via Gawker:

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:34 PM

Inquiry to hear from pedophile priest

AUSTRALIA
Sky News

Victims are praying Australia's worst pedophile priest reveals the full story of what the Catholic Church knew about his offending.

Defrocked priest Gerald Francis Ridsdale will testify before the child sex abuse royal commission's Ballarat inquiry on Wednesday and Thursday, from his jail cell.

He will not be asked about his offending, after being convicted in four separate court cases of abusing more than 50 children.

But the royal commission and victims want to know who was responsible for moving Ridsdale from parish to parish, allowing him to continue to offend.

Andrew Collins, who was abused by other clergy in the Ballarat diocese, said victims wanted the truth made public about who essentially facilitated the abusers.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:31 PM

Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse

AUSTRALIA
The Courier

By Fiona Henderson May 26, 2015

BALLARAT priest Father Adrian McInerney said he would break the confessional seal to report a crime.

Father McInerney told the royal commission he had changed his mind over the past few years because of the magnitude of Ballarat’s clergy sex abuse tragedy.

When asked if he had ever heard confessions of sexual aggression, he said he had heard about adultery but never confessions of abuse.

Senior counsel assisting the royal commission Gail Furness asked Father McInerney if he did hear such a confession, would he feel obliged to keep it to himself?

“If it’s a crime, it’s a crime and has to be reported,” Father McInerney said.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:20 PM

Manny Waks Travels Around World To Confront His Alleged Abuser

NEW YORK
Jewish Daily Forward

Paul Berger
May 26, 2015

Manny Waks stands on a street corner in Park Slope, Brooklyn. He drank so much the night before that he doesn’t remember what time he got back to his hotel room. His voice is hoarse and his eyes are hidden behind a pair of black sunglasses. Waks is not sure why he got so wasted, but it could have something to do with his mission today — confronting the man who, according to Waks, sexually abused him as a child more than 25 years ago.

It’s just after midday on May 10, a spring Sunday morning. The sun has finally burnt through the early morning mist and blossoms litter the sidewalk on the cross streets. Waks leans against the brick wall of a diner beneath the shadow of a red awning. Directly across the street, a few doors down, he can see the apartment of Velvel Serebryanski.

Men and women walk along the avenue, sipping coffee or carrying groceries. Children glide by on scooters. They would probably be oblivious to this 39-year-old man if it were not for his entourage — a video cameraman, a sound technician holding a boom microphone, a photographer shooting stills, a director shouting orders and a beefy off-duty security guard standing, arms folded, off to the side.

The crew are here to shoot “Breaking the Silence,” the follow-up to an award-winning documentary film about Waks called “Code of Silence,” which aired in Australia in 2014.

Waks is the center of attention because he was the catalyst for an Orthodox sex abuse scandal that erupted in Australia in 2012, leading to the arrest and jailing of several men for sexually assaulting boys during the 1980s and 1990s. The abuse scandal led to a government commission investigation and the resignation of several senior Chabad rabbis.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:18 PM

Dear God, what is Matt Chandler thinking?

TEXAS
Matthew Paul Turner

As you likely know, Matt Chandler is the pastor of The Village Church, a Southern Baptist and neo-reformed mega church in the Dallas area boasting a weekly attendance of 11,000. Chandler is also the president of the Acts29 network, and one of the many pastors who signed that letter to Mark Driscoll.

On May 23, Chandler’s church sent its membership one doozy of a letter, a letter laced with a plethora of reformed catchphrases and dogma, a letter detailing the reasons why the church has put Karen Hinkley (formerly Karen Root) under “church discipline.”

Karen, along with her now ex-husband, Jordan Root, were sent out (by the church and Serving in Mission) as missionaries last August to South Asia. Then, in December, Jordan confessed to viewing child pornography.

According to Karen: “The discovery of Jordan’s pedophilia and use of child pornography was an indescribable shock and triggered a thorough upheaval of every aspect of my life.” SOURCE

And she couldn’t be more correct…

After Jordan’s confession, the church brought them home from the mission field. They put Jordan through some “path toward repentance.” And they chided Karen for wanting her marriage to be over.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:13 PM

The Scandal of Evangelical Celebrity...

UNITED STATES
Revangelical

The Scandal of Evangelical Celebrity: How the Celebrity-Culture of Evangelicalism Fosters Neglect & Abuse

May 26, 2015 by Brandan Robertson

The media is reeling after the news broke last week that Joshua Duggar, the eldest son of the famed Duggar Family Joshfrom TLC’s hit show “19 Kids And Counting” was guilty of molesting family members and other children when he was 14 years old. Duggar, who was the spokesperson for FRC Action, the non-profit legislation arm of the conservative evangelical public policy organization Family Research Council was forced to resign from his prominent public position in light of this scandal being uncovered. TLC also canceled his families hit television show after it was revealed that Joshua’s father, a pastor, business owner, and family man, Jim-Bob, had known about the molestation for over a year before he took any significant action to address the situation.

The Duggar controversy is just one of dozens of painful scandals that have emerged from within conservative Christianity in recent years. From the Sovereign Grace Ministries child abuse scandal to the spiritual and psychological abuse from within Mars Hill Church in Seattle, it seems that abuse and cover-ups have become as common to Evangelical Christianity as the sex-abuse scandals once dominated popular perception of the Roman Catholic Church.

In the midst of the tidal wave of scandal, we must ask whether these abusive situations are a matter of coincidence or symptomatic of a much larger issue with the religious system in which they are occurring? What is it about conservative Christianity that seems to continue to breed environments of such toxicity? I want to suggest that the fundamental problem at the heart of all of these scandals is that many evangelical churches and leaders have exchanged the call to servanthood and sacrifice for celebrity and self-interest. Let me explain.

For nearly four decades, evangelicalism has been the predominate religious voice in the United States. Out of this fledging faith movement has come a conglomerate of businesses, publishing houses, media companies, political organizations, and churches that have turned evangelicalism from being a mere religious movement to a cultural force itself. Instead of warring against culture like the fundamentalists that evangelicalism sought to differentiate itself from, evangelicals sought to imitate the “ways of the world” in an attempt to create our own “redeemed” culture. This looked like adopting the methods and practices of many spheres of American culture- from the entertainment industry to Fortune 500 Companies- and using it as a means to grow in influence while spreading the Gospel.

Adopting this mindset has fundamentally shifted the way that many religious leaders view and practice their ministry. Instead of being a shepherd, dedicated to serving and caring for their flock, many evangelical pastors view themselves as celebrity teachers and CEO’s, whose primary concern is to grow their brand and expanding the size of their fan base (or “church”). If you were to examine the life of the average evangelical megachurch pastor, you’d find that there is little that differentiates their lives from the lives of a famous television personality or the visionary CEO of Apple. While there are some “celebrity” pastors that seem to have found a balance between being celebrity CEO and being connected intimately to their congregations, many others have created organizations that do little more than promote and protect their sense of self-importance. And when you lead an organization of thousands of people and millions of dollars dedicated solely to you and a message, it’s easy to become blinded by ego and forget what it means to be called to public ministry.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:47 PM

Bart Hester, Arkansas lawmaker, wants police chief fired over release of Josh Duggar report

ARKANSAS
Washington Times

By Jessica Chasmar - The Washington Times - Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Arkansas state Sen. Bart Hester wants Springdale Police Chief Kathy O'Kelley fired over the recent release of a 2006 police report that contained allegations that Josh Duggar as a teen molested five underage girls, including his sisters.

Mr. Hester, a Republican, said Ms. O'Kelley acted recklessly in releasing the report and accused her of re-victimizing the girls by making the allegations public, a local CBS affiliate reported.

“The law to protect minors’ identities is not a suggestion,” Mr. Hester said Saturday. “So sad to see the person charged with protecting the community being so reckless and irresponsible. I believe it is unavoidable that the Springdale police chief should be terminated. She has re-victimized these young ladies.”

The Springdale police report was obtained by In Touch Weekly magazine and posted online this week with the names redacted, CBS reported. On Thursday, Washington County Juvenile Judge Stacey Zimmerman issued a court order that the police report be destroyed and expunged from the public record, CBS reported.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:41 PM

Bible-College Professor Leaves Job After Criticizing Church Over Sex Scandal

MISSOURI
Chronicle of Higher Education

A professor at a small Bible college in Florissant, Mo., who has been a vocal critic of a local church’s handling of a sex-abuse scandal said the matter had prompted him to resign from his job at St. Louis Christian College, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.

The professor, Douglas Lay, had been a member of the First Christian Church of Florissant, which has close ties to the college, according to the newspaper. He and others in the church’s congregation argued that church leaders had mishandled allegations against a former youth minister who pleaded guilty to charges of statutory sodomy.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:53 PM

Gallup Diocese Seeking to Sell Land to Pay Victims

NEW MEXICO
Wall Street Journal

By TOM CORRIGAN

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Gallup, N.M., which stretches across 55,000 square miles of northern Arizona and New Mexico, is seeking to sell 55 parcels of mostly vacant desert land to help fund a settlement with about 60 alleged victims of clergy sexual abuse.

In court papers filed last week, the diocese asked U.S. Bankruptcy Court Judge David Thuma for permission to hire two real-estate brokers and to move forward with an auction process for the properties.

The auction will be held 50 to 60 days after the judge signs off on the request, according to court papers.

Lawyers representing the diocese, its insurers and alleged victims have spent nearly a year and a half assessing the value of the diocese’s assets and collecting evidence on the allegations of abuse and cover-up by diocesan officials.

The Diocese of Gallup, home to 58,000 parishioners, filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in November 2013 as several lawsuits related to sexual-abuse claims were preparing to go to trial.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:49 PM

Priest among four arrested in Italy paedophile bust

ITALY
Daiji World

Milan, May 26 (IANS/AKI): Police on Tuesday arrested a priest and three other suspected paedophiles in an operation that broke up an alleged international child pornography ring.

Police said they identified 223 people who accessed "obscene and extremely violent material", including 29 Italians.

The material shows young children being forced to have sex with each other and with animals, according to the investigation spearheaded by police in the northern Italian city of Milan.

Suspected paedophiles are being probed in 35 different countries over the alleged network whose members produced and shared “multimedia” material over the internet, police said.

Two unemployed men and a labourer were arrested in Tuesday's bust as well as the priest and all are middle-aged, police said.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:26 PM

Priest arrested, 30 suspects in pedophile probe - update

ITALY
Gazzetta del Sud

Milan, May 26 - A priest was among four people arrested by police Tuesday in a major pedophile investigation that allegedly involved as many as 30 suspects. Charges include acquisition or trafficking of pedophile material including videos on the Internet. Also arrested were two unemployed people aged 58 and 51, and a worker aged 51, police said. The priest, 49, was arrested in Alassio and was taken to jail, while the others were arrested in Rome area and Imperia, said police. More than three children under 16 were victims, said police.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:24 PM

Australians Push for Vatican Cardinal to Testify on Abuse

UNITED STATES
God's Politics

by Rosie Scammell 05-26-2015

More than 55,000 people have signed a petition calling for Cardinal George Pell to return to his native Australia and face a government commission on child sex abuse, after allegations that he tried to bribe the victim of a pedophile priest.

Addressed to Pope Francis, the Change.org petition calls for Pell — the Vatican’s financial chief and former archbishop of Sydney — to answer questions from Australia’s Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.

Appearing in person at the government inquiry is necessary in order to “see and listen to the pain of the victims first hand and explain his actions and decisions,” the petition says.

Calls for the cardinal to testify in Australia follow allegations made earlier this week by the nephew of Gerald Ridsdale, an imprisoned abusive priest, who said Pell tried to silence him after he disclosed suffering sexual abuse.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:22 PM

Erst wenige Priester angezeigt

SCHWEIZ
Luzerner Zeitung

MISSBRAUCH ⋅ In der Schweiz werden 172 Priester und Mönche des sexuellen Missbrauchs verdächtigt. Doch nur gegen 20 läuft ein Strafver- fahren. Opfer erheben nun Vorwürfe gegen die Kirche.
PHilippe Boeglin, SDA

Nur rund 20 Strafverfahren sind in der Schweiz seit 2010 gegen Priester und katholische Mönche wegen sexuellen Missbrauchs eröffnet worden obwohl die Kirche 172 mutmassliche Täter erfasst hat. Manche der erfassten Straftaten datieren aus den 1950er-Jahren; etliche Verdächtige sind inzwischen verstorben. Doch das ist nicht die einzige Ursache für die Differenz zwischen Verfahren und Anzahl mutmasslicher Täter: Andere Verdächtige hätten sich schlichtweg als «unauffindbar» erwiesen, teilte die Schweizer Bischofskonferenz der Nachrichtenagentur SDA mit. Man weiss also nicht, wo sie sich aufhalten und ob sie wieder Kontakt mit potenziellen Opfern haben.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:19 PM

Pedopornografia, arrestato sacerdote ad Alassio

ITALIA
IVG

[A priest, 49, in Alassio was among those arrested today for possessing videos allegedly showing children under age 10 who were forced to have sex with each other and with animals.]

Alassio. C’è anche un sacerdote tra le quattro persone arrestate, questa mattina, dalla Polizia di Stato nell’ambito di una vasta operazione sulla pedofilia online. Il religioso, 49 anni, è stato arrestato ad Alassio con l’accusa di “cessione aggravata” di materiale pedopornografico: si tratterebbe di un salesiano piemontese, ospite in questi giorni dell’istituto Don Bosco. Al religioso vengono contestati gli articoli 600 e 602 del codice penale, ovvero aver trattato materiale “con minori di 16 anni” e in numero “maggiore di tre”.

Dalle prime ore di stamane gli agenti stanno eseguendo un’ordinanza di custodia cautelare emessa dal gip di Milano nei confronti di 29 persone dedite, secondo l’accusa, al traffico o all’acquisizione di video “hot” con minori su web. La Polizia Postale di Milano avrebbe infatti scoperto un diffuso smercio di materiale pedopornografico che coinvolgerebbe in totale 233 persone in 35 nazioni. La rete criminale era dedita, spiegano le forze dell’ordine, “alla diffusione e alla cessione aggravata di materiali pedopornografici che hanno ad oggetto anche pesanti violenze ed atti sessuali in danno di minori degli anni dieci e di altri minori costretti tra di loro o con animali“.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:15 PM

Sometimes I Just Get So Tired…

UNITED STATES
Together We Heal

May 26, 2015 by Together We Heal

Sometimes, not always, I get so tired of fighting a battle with those who are supposed to be the one doing the protecting…

Sometimes, not always, I get so tired of losing said battles to churches, fundamentalist “Christians” and other so-called “people of faith” who seem only to care about the money in their church coffers and potential lawsuits against their precious denominations. Tragically and simultaneously these same folks don’t appear to give a rat’s ass about the innocence, lives and souls of children…

It feels like everyday we turn on the news and hear of another case. This week was no different with Josh Duggar from the TLC show, “19 Kids and Counting” and the news he admitted to sexually abusing at least 5 girls in his family.

It’s 6:24 am and I’m tired. No that doesn’t accurately describe how I’m feeling. In truth, I’m exhausted. Exhausted because I’ve been awake since around 4 a.m., due to screaming myself awake from ANOTHER nightmare of seeing Frankie Wiley’s face over mine and feeling him holding my childhood frame down while he sexually abused me over and over, just as he did for almost 3 years.</