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July 31, 2015

Prosecutors wants convicted ex-priest civilly committed

MASSACHUSETTS
Fox Boston

SALEM, Mass. (AP) - Massachusetts prosecutors want a former Roman Catholic priest convicted of sexually abusing children civilly committed indefinitely now that his prison term has ended.

Essex District Attorney Jonathan Blodgett's office goes before a judge in Salem Superior Court on Friday to start the process to have 72-year-old Ronald Paquin held in a state hospital as a sexually dangerous person.

Paquin pleaded guilty in 2003 to sexually assaulting a 12-year-old altar boy at a Haverhill church, and was sentenced to 12 years in prison. His sentence ended in May but he remains in custody until his status is resolved.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:26 PM

Expert: ex-priest, now 72, still a danger

MASSACHUSETTS
The Salem News

Friday, July 31, 2015
BY JULIE MANGANIS STAFF WRITER

SALEM — Normally, former priest Ronald Paquin's age, 72, would make him statistically far less likely to re-offend, a psychologist testified during a hearing Friday in Salem Superior Court.
But the defrocked Haverhill priest, who completed a 12- to 15-year prison term this spring for rape and abuse of a child, a boy he abused for three years, is no ordinary sex offender, Dr. Gregg Belle testified.

While taking part in group sex offender therapy at the Massachusetts Treatment Center in Bridgewater in 2012, Belle testified, the then-70-year-old Paquin began "grooming" another inmate, described as a "young-looking male," in apparent hopes of pursuing a sexual relationship with him.

"He's a statistical outlier," said Belle.

That's one of the reasons that Essex County prosecutors are hoping to keep Paquin, the former pastor of St. John the Baptist Church in Haverhill, civilly committed as a sexually dangerous person for as long as possible.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:23 PM

Parish Leadership Appointed at St. Mary University Parish

MICHIGAN
Roman Catholic Diocese of Saginaw

Monday, 27 July 2015

SAGINAW — The Most Rev. Joseph R. Cistone, Bishop of Saginaw, announced this weekend that, after prayerful consideration and upon consultation with parish and diocesan staff, including the Priest Personnel Board, he has asked the Rev. Thomas McNamara, a senior priest of the Diocese of Saginaw, who served as vicar general until 2013, to provide pastoral assistance to St. Mary University Parish in Mt. Pleasant. Father McNamara is a familiar face in the Mt. Pleasant area, having served as pastor of Most Sacred Heart of Jesus Parish (Mt. Pleasant) from 1991-99. Father McNamara will assume this new role immediately, while continuing his sacramental ministry at SS. Francis and Clare Parish in Birch Run.

“I am confident that Father McNamara’s priestly presence, his warm relationship with people in the area, as well as his kindness and wisdom will be of great benefit to the parishioners at St. Mary University Parish,” Bishop Cistone said.

In addition to the pastoral assistance of Father McNamara, Bishop Cistone has appointed the Rev. Thomas Held as the full-time sacramental minister for St. Mary University Parish and Casey Truelove as pastoral administrator pro tem. For the past three years, Father Held has served as the parochial vicar for Sacred Heart Parish (Mt. Pleasant). Truelove serves as Director of Student Outreach and he will take on greater administrative responsibilities for a period of time.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:21 PM

Catholic Diocese removes priest from CMU church for 'boundary violations'

MICHIGAN
MLive

By Jessica Shepherd | jessica_shepherd@mlive.com
on July 31, 2015

MOUNT PLEASANT, MI — The Catholic Diocese of Saginaw has removed a priest from the parish serving Central Michigan University after it says he committed "boundary violations."

The diocese announced it had placed the Rev. Denis Heames, who served as parochial administrator for St. Mary University Parish in Mount Pleasant, on administrative leave in early July. The parish serves the campus of Central Michigan University.

According to a statement released by the diocese Monday, July 27, Bishop Joseph Cistone officially removed Heames from his position during the week of July 20.

The diocese has stated the "boundary violations" were not of an illegal nature, though no additional details about the incident or incidents that led to the decision regarding Heames were released.

Cistone has announced the Rev. Thomas McNamara will provide pastoral assistance to the St. Mary University Parish for the time being. McNamara, a senior priest, will also continue his work as sacramental minister for the Ss. Francis and Clare Parish in Birch Run.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:18 PM

Expert testifies that local priest who raped child remains a danger

MASSACHUSETTS
Boston Globe

By Milton J. Valencia GLOBE STAFF JULY 31, 2015

SALEM — A forensic psychologist for the state Department of Correction testified Friday that a former Catholic priest who was at the center of the abuse scandal in the Boston Archdiocese more than a decade ago remains a dangerous sexual predator who should stay in prison even though he has completed his sentence.

“He targeted adolescent boys that he felt were disadvantaged, came from disadvantage homes,” said Gregg Belle, a private forensic examiner who specializes in reviewing sexual offenders, and does contractual work for the state prison system.

Belle told an Essex Superior Court judge that the former priest, Ronald H. Paquin, “readily acknowledges he has always been sexually attracted to teenage boys.”

Paquin, now 72, had pleaded guilty in 2002 and was sentenced to 12 to 15 years in state prison for repeatedly raping a Haverhill altar boy between 1989 and 2002. There were at least 50 incidents of assault. Paquin completed his sentence, for three counts of rape of a child, in May.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:15 PM

Prosecutors Want Convicted Ex-Priest Civilly Committed

MASSACHUSETTS
NECN

Massachusetts prosecutors want a former Roman Catholic priest convicted of sexually abusing children civilly committed indefinitely now that his prison term has ended.

Essex District Attorney Jonathan Blodgett's office goes before a judge in Salem Superior Court on Friday to start the process to have 72-year-old Ronald Paquin held in a state hospital as a sexually dangerous person.

Paquin pleaded guilty in 2003 to sexually assaulting a 12-year-old altar boy at a Haverhill church, and was sentenced to 12 years in prison. His sentence ended in May but he remains in custody until his status is resolved.

Prosecutors want Paquin held pending a mental health examination. If that examination determines he is likely to commit more sex offenses, a trial will be held.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:45 PM

Hundreds of UK sex abuse victims lose compensation after committing crimes

UNITED KINGDOM
The Guardian

Press Association
Friday 31 July 2015

Hundreds of sexual abuse victims have had their compensation payments reduced after committing crime themselves, according to figures.

A total of 12,665 people who suffered abuse as children or vulnerable adults had been awarded compensation by the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (Cica), an executive agency sponsored by the Ministry of Justice, since 2010.

But data obtained by the BBC under freedom of information laws showed 438 had their government-funded payouts docked over the same period.

The BBC said that in the year to June 2015, half of the 27 people who had payments reduced had convictions for drink, drug, theft or property offences, while eight were prosecuted for violence.

Cica can refuse or reduce compensation in light of a person’s criminal record or unspent convictions using a points-based system, under the Criminal Injuries Compensation scheme.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:30 PM

Bishops have striven to keep their promise to protect children

UNITED STATES
National Catholic Reporter

Edward J. Burns | Jul. 31, 2015

As a bishop and as the chairman of the Committee for the Protection of Children and Young People of the U.S. Catholic Conference of Bishops, the editorial "Time to end pattern of deceit, denial" was profoundly painful to read, addressing as it did the betrayal of our children and of our people by some of my brother bishops. One of the particular graces of living the Christian life within the context of community is when brothers and sisters help us to recognize our errors and our sinful behavior so that we can begin to repent and seek God's forgiveness and healing.

We all owe a deep debt of gratitude to the survivors of sexual abuse whose courageous witness has made the church safer by giving rise to an effective child and youth protection program. They remain a top priority, evidenced by the 294 people who came forward in 2014 to report abuse that happened in the past. The problems they faced 30 years ago are not the norm today. Last year, dioceses provided outreach and support to more than 1,700 victims/survivors.

It is also true that many bishops who returned from the bishops' conference meeting in 1992 implemented the five protection principles adopted that year, a decade before the Dallas Charter. They called for victims to come forward for healing, removed priest abusers, cooperated with authorities, implemented safe environment training and were transparent with the public and the media.

Ten years later, the U.S. bishops approved the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People, and commissioned the John Jay College of Criminal Justice to do two unprecedented academic studies of this misconduct as it existed within the priesthood. They also created a National Review Board, a lay board to advise them specifically on the protection of children and they submit to an annual audit for compliance.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:24 PM

Don Heinzman column: Archdiocese sets course for new shores

MINNESOTA
Hometown Source

By Don Heinzman on July 31, 2015

Don HeinzmanI am among the 825,000 Catholics in the St. Paul-Minneapolis Archdiocese with thoughts about the unprecedented news that has rocked the archdiocese these past few weeks.
Imagine, two bishops have resigned in the wake of six gross misdemeanor charges against the archdiocese for failure to protect children from an abusive priest, filed by the Ramsey County Attorney.

On top of this, the archdiocese is undergoing bankruptcy to the extent it may have to sell its property on a hill overlooking the city of St. Paul.

Like most lay people, I believe former Archbishop John Nienstedt and his auxiliary bishop, Lee Piche, had no choice but to resign. No one is surprised Pope Francis was quick to accept the resignations.

The diocesan priests assembled for a few days of rest and relaxation in Rochester, received the surprising news that week. It naturally changed the tone of the assembly and caused the clergy to return to heal the archdiocese.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:14 PM

PASTOR WALT ROBERSON SENTENCED FOR NOT REPORTING HIS CHILD-STALKING SON

COLORADO
Westword

Can a pastor also be a schmuck?

He can if he's Walt Roberson.

The senior pastor for Vinelife Church in Longmont, Roberson is one of four officials or elders at the house of worship to be sentenced for failure to report pervy sex allegations involving a church employee.

The guilty party: youth pastor Jason Roberson, Walt's son.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:05 PM

An abuse survivor speaks to the church

iUNITED STATES
Religion News Service - Rhymes with Religion

As I prepare to return to the blog next week, I wanted to end these series of guest posts with the powerful words of a dear friend I met this past year. David Linwah is a survivor of horrific child sexual abuse. David Linwah is also a survivor of being failed by the church over and over again. Through all the hurt and failings, David somehow still finds beauty and hope in Jesus. A Jesus who gave up everything in order to demonstrate His immeasurable love for David. A Jesus who values David more than life itself. A Jesus who is all too often not recognized by the very people and institutions that profess to know and follow Him. Amazingly, David still has hope that the church will one day actually reflect Jesus. The One who never fails pursuing the hurting and valuing the marginalized. The One who loves unconditionally. Perhaps, David’s words will shine Jesus into the very soul of the church and help it once again to be known for its immeasurable love. Let’s hope and pray that the church is listening. I am so grateful for David Linwah. – Boz
_____________________________________________________________________________

In our modern age the church has made a reputation for being an unsafe place. Not only do unbelievers feel unsafe when misjudged or scrutinized by the church, but many believers in Christ have left the church because of the issue of safety. As a survivor of sexual child abuse myself and a believer, I have found it very disheartening and alarming to witness the naivete of the church in response to a victim of abuse. I personally believe that the majority of the church in our nation does not understand how to respond to abuse because there is a lack of knowledge pertaining to the subject of abuse. Being made aware that there are still victims of abuse who may belong in your own ministry is crucial in the equipping of the church to become the safest place that God intended the church to be.

I am personally sharing with you from a place of having experienced the mistreatment of being a victim while growing up in a Christian family with parents who had served the Lord both as missionaries and as pastors. When I was only a child I was abducted on the missions field by my perpetrators. Tragically, my abduction was not a one time event but a recurring imprisonment of sexual manipulation and abuse. In the midst of my on-going abuse, my parents as well as the church community where oblivious to the reality of the systematic ritual abuse that I was trapped in. Nobody found me.

Speak up, make your voice heard – courtesy of Howard Lake via Flickr (Image source)
My perpetrators were not naive in the process of my abductions. They were very intentional about appearing harmless to the church community, gaining trust and making sure that there was a very good reason why they needed to spend some special time with me. In those “ special times” I would be introduced to evil that was beyond my comprehension and capability of understanding. The agonizing truth is the absent mindedness of my parents and the church community while I was being sexually taken advantage of. In God’s great mercy I was saved and preserved to share my story with others today but the lack of understanding and knowledge that the church has in regards to responding to a victim is still extremely evident to me.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:01 PM

Jehovah's Witnesses procedures ...

AUSTRALIA
Daily Mail

Jehovah's Witnesses procedures for dealing with sex abuse 'deficient' and can re-traumatise victims, a church expert admits at child abuse commission hearing

By AAP and RACHEL EDDIE FOR DAILY MAIL AUSTRALIA

An expert hired by Jehova's Witnesses has admitted the church is 'deficient' at responding to allegations of child abuse.

Monica Applewhite, a US-based consultant specialising in child abuse risk analysis and education programs for institutions, mostly churches, was employed by Watchtower Australia to evaluate the Witnesses' policies for the royal commission hearing into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse in Sydney.

Watchtower Australia is the legal entity of the Jehovah's Witness church.

Dr Applewhite, who has been an expert witness in abuse trials in Britain and the US, submitted a report in which she noted the Jehovah's Witnesses were a cut above other religious organisations in Australia.

The doctor, who has listed work with the Catholic archdioceses of Melbourne and Adelaide on her extensive CV, said she had not found examples in Australia of a religious organisation that provided better information than the Witnesses on how to support abuse victims.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:52 PM

Former Towson Professor Challenges Sentence for Voyeurism

TOWSON (MD)
Patch

By ELIZABETH JANNEY (Patch Staff)
July 31, 2015

The Georgetown rabbi sentenced to more than six years in jail for voyeurism is arguing the sentence is illegal.

Rabbi Barry Freundel admitted he planted recording devices in the changing room for a mikvah, or sacred bath, in Georgetown between 2012 and 2014, according to the U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia.

Freundel led Kesher Israel synagogue in Georgetown and taught at Georgetown and Towson universities. Those he recorded on field trips to the National Capital Mikvah allegedly included former students.

After Freundel pleaded guilty to 52 counts of voyeurism, he was sentenced in D.C. Superior Court to 45 days for each of the offenses, to be served consecutively. The total sentence is a little less than 6.5 years.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:50 PM

Judge Upholds Rabbi’s Sentence Of 6.5 Years For Secretly Taping Women

WASHINGTON (DC)
CBS Baltimore

TOWSON, Md. (WJZ) –A judge upholds Rabbi Barry Freundel’s sentence of six and a half years behind bars for videotaping dozens of women as they prepared for a ritual bath.

Rabbi Freundel appeared in a DC federal court Friday for a motion for an illegal sentencing.

Attorneys from Freundel argue that he was wrongly sentenced, which lead to extra prison time.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:47 PM

Sentence upheld for ex-Georgetown rabbi

WASHINGTON (DC)
WUSA

WASHINGTON (WUSA9) -- Friday, a judge upheld the sentence of a former Georgetown rabbi convicted of voyeurism.

Barry Freundel secretly videotaped dozens of women while they were disrobing in a ritual bath. He pleaded guilty to 52 counts, one count for each of the victims.

The rabbi appeared in court on Friday to argue that the terms of his six and a half year sentence were illegal. A judge, however, upheld his sentence.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:45 PM

Priest's son asked to leave his vicarage home after child pornography conviction

UNITED KINGDOM
The Bolton News

Jeremy Culley, crime reporter

THE disgraced son of a Bolton priest has been ordered to leave his vicarage home after he was convicted of possessing child pornography.

Paul Holt, son of Rev Wendy Oliver, confessed at Bolton Crown Court to an interest in 'the feet of young children' before being spared a prison sentence on July 20.

When the case finished, the Diocese of Manchester said it would be looking into the 'implications' for the parish at Christ Church, Harwood.

The Diocese has now said it is 'important' that Holt does not continue to live at Harwood Vicarage in Stich-mi-Lane with his mother.

In a statement to parishioners, the Diocese added that Mrs Oliver has 'felt it appropriate to take leave from her duties'.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:02 AM

New Square Rabbi Acquitted of Molesting Neighbor for Years

NEW YORK
Forward

Frimet GoldbergerJuly 30, 2015

Moshe Menachem Taubenfeld, a prominent figure in the upstate New York Hasidic community of New Square, was acquitted by a judge of molesting a boy for several years.

Taubenfeld, 55, was accused of abusing Laiby Stern, a neighbor, who claimed the older man began an abusive reign of terror when he went to him for solace after the September 11 terror attacks in 2001.

Rockland County Court Judge Rolff Thorsen announced the verdict, which he conceded might be greeted with dismay by the public, to a packed, pin-drop silent courtroom.

“I must not and will not be swayed by public opinion,” he declared.

Hasidic men from New Square who came to support Taubenfeld outnumbered the media and supporters of Laiby Stern. Shortly after the verdict, they erupted in spontaneous celebratory songs outside the courtroom, and said they plan to continue the celebrations in New Sqaure.

“Mazel tov, mazel tov,” one of the men greeted defense attorney Gerard Damiani, handing him the phone to speak with a prominent supporter.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:56 AM

Issues paper on the risk of child sexual abuse in schools

AUSTRALIA
Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse

31 July, 2015

The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse today released an issues paper on addressing the risk of child sexual abuse in primary and secondary schools.

Royal Commission CEO Philip Reed said that around 30 percent of people who have spoken to the Royal Commission were sexually abused as children in a school. “Non-government schools in particular account for a disproportionately high number of reports made to the Royal Commission. Of the Royal Commission’s 29 public hearings held to date, eight have focused on abuse in schools.

“The Royal Commission’s terms of reference require it to consider ways to ensure that institutions like schools, have effective mechanisms in place and are subject to suitable external scrutiny to respond to child sexual abuse.

“The Royal Commission is seeking submissions on a number of issues about child protection in Australian schools including governance and leadership, effectiveness of teacher training, efficacy of policies and how staff and parents are informed about policies and the need for regulatory frameworks to better protect children and young people.

“The Royal Commission is seeking submissions from interested individuals, schools, government and non government organisations on the matters raised in Issues Paper 9.

“We particularly welcome submissions from advocacy groups, teachers, parents and students with a direct experience of child sexual abuse in schools,” Mr Reed said.

Organisations and individuals wishing to respond to Issues Paper 9 have until Monday 31 August 2015 to lodge a submission by emailing schoolspolicy@childabuseroyalcommission.gov.au

For more information on Issues Paper 9 or to lodge a submission visit Issues Papers and Submissions.

Media enquiries: (02) 8282 3966 or media@childabuseroyalcommission.gov.au

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:53 AM

She spoke about Jehovah’s Witness abuse, and her home was vandalized

OKLAHOMA
Reveal - The Center for Investigative Reporting

By Trey Bundy / July 30, 2015

Early this morning, Debbie McDaniel stepped out into her backyard to find her patio, windows, doors and furniture tagged with ominous warnings written in black marker.

McDaniel was just hours away from being the face of a Reveal investigation showing how Jehovah’s Witnesses hide sexual abuse from law enforcement agencies and banish those who speak up about it.

On one stretch of concrete, a vandal wrote, “Watchtower Knows All,” a possible reference to the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of New York, the parent corporation of the Jehovah’s Witnesses, McDaniel said. Two of the messages included the initials JW’s, which she suspects were meant to stand for Jehovah’s Witnesses.

Also written on the patio: “We’ll be watching you in Mexico too.” McDaniel had planned a trip to Mexico this weekend but is now thinking of canceling it.

“They wrote on my bedroom door window, 6 feet from where I was sleeping, ‘JW’s for the final win,’ ” said McDaniel, who grew up in McAlester, Oklahoma, and says she was abused as a child by an elder in her congregation. Since she was expelled three years ago, she said, she has been shunned by her family and harassed by the Witnesses in the form of anonymous threats and hate letters.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:50 AM

St. Paul-Minneapolis Archdiocese keeps August 3rd's deadline for sex abuse claims

MINNESOTA
KTTC

By Frannie Smith, Producer

MINNEAPOLIS-ST.PAUL, Minn. (KTTC)-- Attorneys for clergy sex abuse victims have been asking for more time to file claims. However, a federal judge puts his foot down for this coming Monday's deadline.

Attorneys have argued that the August 3rd deadline was not publicized enough. However, Federal Bankruptcy Judge Robert Kressel dissagrees. He said "extraordinary efforts" have been made for the upcoming deadline.

The Archdiocese filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in January after several clergy abuse lawsuits.

Richard Anderson, attorney for the archdiocese, said this Monday's deadline is not meant to keep victims from coming forward, but to keep the bankruptcy process moving along.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:44 AM

Church employee accused of sexually abusing mentally challenged child

FLORIDA
WFTV

[with video]

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. — A former employee at an Apopka church is facing charges after a child came forward with allegations of abuse that date back a year.

Joseph Averitt, 33, is charged with sexual battery against a mentally challenged child.

The child told investigators the abuse started at church, where Averitt worked as a production manager.

According to a police affidavit, the first sexual encounter happened in a booth inside the sanctuary of the church last year.

That appears to be the same place where it ended, when a church minister called police to the church Wednesday to report the allegations.

In a matter of hours, deputies arrested Averitt.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:40 AM

Jehovah's Witness sex abuse response 'deficient': Royal Commission

AUSTRALIA
Sydney Morning Herald

July 31, 2015

Rachel Browne
Social Affairs Reporter

A sexual abuse expert hired by the Jehovah's Witness Church told a royal commission the organisation failed to meet acceptable standards in its approach to child abuse allegations.

Under cross-examination, Monica Applewhite told the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse the Jehovah's Witness Church did not meet "best practice" in handling abuse claims.

Counsel assisting the commission Angus Stewart SC asked the church's expert witness whether structures based on biblical scriptures were in line with benchmark standards.

The church's policies for responding to child sexual abuse allegations were "deficient when measured against current best practice," he said.

"Does it meet all current best practices? It probably doesn't," Dr Applewhite replied.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:37 AM

Expert admits Jehovah's Witnesses flawed

AUSTRALIA
9 News

AAP

The treatment of child abuse victims by the Jehovah's Witness church is seriously flawed, a national inquiry has heard from a consultant hired by the church.

Monica Applewhite, a US-based consultant specialising in child abuse risk analysis and education programs for institutions, mostly churches, was employed by Watchtower Australia to evaluate the Witnesses' policies for the royal commission hearing.

Watchtower Australia is the legal entity of the Jehovah's Witness church.

Dr Applewhite, who has been an expert witness in abuse trials in Britain and the US, submitted a report in which she noted the Jehovah's Witnesses were a cut above other religious organisations in Australia.

The doctor, who has listed work with the Catholic archdioceses of Melbourne and Adelaide on her extensive CV, said she had not found examples in Australia of a religious organisation that provided better information than the Witnesses on how to support abuse victims.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:35 AM

South African Christian preacher ...

AUSTRALIA
Daily Mail

South African Christian preacher living in Australia faces deportation after being one of eight men charged with abuse of a 13-year-old girl

By Leesa Smith for Daily Mail Australia and Sarah Michael and Australian Associated Press

The South African Christian minister allegedly embroiled in a paedophile ring could be sent back to his homeland under new Australian immigration laws.

Pastor David Volmer, a father-of-two from Banksia Grove in Perth, Western Australia, pleaded guilty to 12 child sex abuse charges. A 13-year-old girl was allegedly sexually exploited by a total of eight men over two years.

Now the 41-year-old South African, who moved to Perth's northern suburbs to set up an Acts Christian Church parish in 2013, faces being turfed out of the country after the law changed in December last year allowing Immigration Minister Peter Dutton to cancel a non-citizen’s visa if they are found guilty of a child sex crime within Australia,The Australian reported.

This comes as the South African-based church's only Australian parish will close its doors after the shocking revelation that Volmer is allegedly one of the eight men facing a total of 503 charges for offences that allegedly happened when the girl was aged between 11 and 13, the ABC reported.

Reverend Peter de Fin, whose grandfather founded the church, flew to Perth to speak to the 50-odd members of the parish.

He said he had not been able to meet with the young victim but did want to apologise on behalf of the church and offer her counselling.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:31 AM

Archdiocese releases statement about the arrest of Oscar Vasquez

INDIANA
Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Indianapolis

The archdiocese released the following statement on July 27 regarding the arrest of Mr. Oscar Vasquez, pastoral associate of St. Anthony Parish in Indianapolis:

“The Archdiocese of Indianapolis has been informed that Mr. Oscar Vasquez, an employee of St. Anthony Parish in Indianapolis, was arrested by the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department and was charged with child molestation on July 27, 2015. Mr. Vasquez worked at the parish as a pastoral associate. The pastor informed people at all the Masses last weekend at St. Anthony Church about Mr. Vasquez’ arrest, and letters are being mailed to parishioners’ homes in both English and Spanish.

“Mr. Vasquez has worked at St. Anthony Parish since October of 2012. As an employee of the Archdiocese of Indianapolis, Mr. Vasquez has completed the archdiocese’s child safety program and has undergone regular criminal background checks by the archdiocese. The archdiocese has never had any complaints or allegations made concerning Mr. Vasquez’s conduct at the parish. The archdiocese is cooperating with authorities.

“The Archdiocese of Indianapolis is committed to ensuring the safety of all children in its care and enforcing its policies and practices regarding the safety of children.

“If you or someone you know is a victim of sexual misconduct by a person ministering on behalf of the archdiocese, please contact law enforcement authorities and the archdiocesan victim assistance coordinator, Carla Hill, Archdiocese of Indianapolis, 1400 N. Meridian St., Indianapolis, IN 46202. You do not have to give your name. Mrs. Hill can also be reached at 317-236-1548 or 800-382-9836, ext. 1548 or by email at chill@archindy.org.

“The Archdiocese also maintains a misconduct reporting system that is available 24 hours per day, 7 days per week through EthicsPoint, and reports can be made at www.archdioceseofindianapolis.ethicspoint.com.

More information about the Archdiocese of Indianapolis’ sexual misconduct policy and information about how to report an abuse incident can be found on-line at www.archindy.org/abuse.” †

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:30 AM

Pastoral associate on unpaid leave following child molest charges

INDIANA
Indianapolis Star

Justin L. Mack, justin.mack@Indystar.com

As long as police are investigating accusations of child molestation against St. Anthony’s pastoral associate Oscar Vasquez-Guzman, he will not be paid by or permitted at the church.

If found guilty, he will be terminated immediately, church officials say.

Oscar Vasquez-Guzman, 38, Indianapolis, was charged Tuesday with two counts of child molesting, seven counts of sexual misconduct with a minor and one count of attempted sexual misconduct with a minor.

He is accused of having sexual contact with two boys from the church between Sept. 10, 2013, and July 20, 2015. The boys were ages 11 to 15 at the time.

Vasquez-Guzman, who church officials say began working at St. Anthony Catholic Church in October 2012 after a criminal background check, was placed on unpaid administrative leave July 24 when officials from The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Indianapolis were notified of his arrest. He was arrested the day before.

The archdiocese said in an email that the church spent weekend Masses on Saturday and Sunday informing parishioners. On Tuesday, the church sent letters explaining the situation to parishioners and to any place where Vasquez-Guzman may have served or volunteered.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:27 AM

'Spotlight' Trailer: Rachel McAdams and Mark Ruffalo Uncover the Catholic Church’s Sex Abuse Scandal

BOSTON (MA)
Yahoo! Movies

[with video]

Gwynne Watkins
Writer
July 30, 2015

In 2002, Boston Globe reporters broke a story that changed the city of Boston — and the entire Catholic church — forever. The Globe’s series of articles on child sexual abuse in the Boston diocese, and the extreme measures taken by the Catholic church to hide priests’ crimes, cracked open a massive scandal with global repercussions. Now, the story of those Pulitzer Prize-winning reporters (the newspaper’s “spotlight” team) is coming to the big screen in the movie Spotlight, starring Mark Ruffalo, Rachel McAdams, Liev Schreiber, and Michael Keaton. Watch the first trailer above.

“How do you say no to God?” an abuse victim asks the reporters, explaining how he and many other children saw the priests who took advantage of them. That quote sets up the daunting task that the film’s heroes face in bringing decades of hidden abuse to light. Ruffalo and McAdams play passionate reporters who pound the pavement, spend late nights in the library, and go head-to-head with church officials to get their story. Meanwhile, their editor (played by Keaton) takes on a high-powered lawyer who has settled abuse cases — but mysteriously, has no record of the settlements. “We’ve got two stories here: a story about degenerate clergy and a story about a bunch of lawyers turning child abuse into a cottage industry,” Keaton warns him. “Which story do you want us to write? Because we’re writing one of them.”

Even after getting their assignment, the spotlight team doesn’t realize the extent of the cover-up — until an anonymous tipster reveals that 6 percent of Boston clergy, or 90 priests, have a history of sexually abusing children. “They knew, and they let it happen!” seethes Ruffalo. “It could have been you, it could have been me, it could have been any of us!” Spotlight opens in theaters on Nov. 6.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:25 AM

Royal Commission hearings with George Pell, Ronald Mulkearns won’t be in Ballarat

AUSTRALIA
Perth Now

ANGRY victims of some of the country’s most notorious paedophiles have slammed a decision by the Royal Commission not to return to Ballarat.

The child abuse Royal Commission controversially announced yesterday that its planned second hearing into institutional abuse in the regional town would now be held in Melbourne.

Cardinal George Pell and former Ballarat Bishop Ronald Mulkearns are expected to attend the hearings in person.

It is understood some victims are considering lobbying the Royal Commission to forced it to return to Ballarat.

Stephen Woods, who was raped and abused by Br Robert Best, Gerald Ridsdale and Ted Dowlan, said he was stunned by the commission’s decision.

“These hearings should be held in Ballarat, its where all the offending happened,” he said.

“Ballarat needs the healing.”

Both Cardinal Pell and Fr Mulkearns have been accused of playing a part in covering-up sexual abuse in the diocese between the 1970s and 1990s.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:23 AM

Australia may deport South African preacher, David Volmer, accused of repeatedly raping 13-year-old girl

AUSTRALIA
International Business Times

By Sounak Mukhopadhyay @snksounak on July 31 2015

Australian Immigration Minister Peter Dutton has been given new powers to execute mandatory deportation for David Volmer, a Christian priest who is a part of an eight-man paedophile ring in the country. Volmer, a native of South Africa, pleaded guilty to 12 offences including indecently dealing with a child, stupefying in order to commit an indictable offence and sexual penetration of a child.

The 41-year-old father of two was in Australia on a work visa. According to police, the Christian priest was one of the eight men who allegedly molested and raped a 13-year-old girl several times over the past couple of years. Western Australia Police described the alleged crime as “bizarre and really disturbing.”

The WA Child Protection Department is taking care of the victim. WA Police Commissioner Karl O'Callaghan said that a number of public had raised concerns about the teenage girl’s well-being.

“It's important people understand what their children are doing online as well because there are cyber predators out there that will groom children online or even try to meet them,” ABC News quoted O'Callaghan, “This is a terrible case but it is a reminder there are people out there who will prey on our children.” He added that people should be vigilant about their online activities.

The victim’s father allegedly facilitated the abuse as he arranged for the other men to meet his daughter at a number of locations. One of the suspects had four million child pornography photographs and 200,000 videos. Some of the photographs belong to the victim.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:20 AM

July 30, 2015

Prosecutors move to have ex-priest declared ‘sexually dangerous’

MASSACHUSETTS
Boston Globe

By John R. Ellement GLOBE STAFF JULY 30, 2015

A former Catholic priest who was at the center of the sexual abuse crisis in the Boston Archdiocese could remain in custody even though he has completed his prison sentence, as Essex prosecutors push for him to be declared a dangerous sexual predator.

Ronald H. Paquin pleaded guilty in 2002 and received a 12-to-15-year sentence for repeatedly raping a Haverhill altar boy between 1989 and 1992. He completed the sentence for three counts of rape of a child in late May, officials said, but remains in confinement until his status is resolved.

Facing the possibility that Paquin would be released, Essex District Attorney Jonathan Blodgett’s office is moving to have the 72-year-old Paquin declared a “sexually dangerous person.” Blodgett filed a petition to keep Paquin locked up in the spring, before his sentence actually ended, the district attorney’s office said.

Such a designation allows for indefinite civil commitment at the Massachusetts Treatment Center at the Bridgewater Correctional Complex, where Paquin is currently being held.

The first step in the complex legal process to keep Paquin locked up begins Friday in Essex Superior Court, where prosecutors will ask a judge to hold him pending a mental health examination.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:59 PM

Shawnee police report reveals new details in pastor's arrest

OKLAHOMA
KOCO

[with video]

By Patty Santos

SHAWNEE, Okla. —A newly completed Shawnee police report is revealing more information about the accusations a former youth pastor faces.

Brian Burchfield was booked into the Pottowatomie County Jail Wednesday on one count of soliciting and engaging in sexual communications with a minor, and one count of a violation of the Oklahoma Computer Crimes Act.

Police said he was texting four teens, ages 14 to 17, things that were sexual in nature.

Shawnee police Detective Ethan Rieves said the case was turned quickly, because of the possible contact that Burchfield could have with his victims in the near future.

“He freely admitted that he knew he was crossing the lines, he tried several times to quit and it kept continuing,” Rieves said. “It was hard for him to get out of that mindset of talking in that nature.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:53 PM

New Details Surrounding Arrest Of Former OKC Pastor

OKLAHOMA
News 9

BY JOLEEN CHANEY, NEWS 9

OKLAHOMA CITY - New details are emerging surrounding the arrest of a metro pastor. Brian Burchfield is accused of soliciting sexual conduct with minors who were members at his former church, and detectives say he admitted to most of the allegations against him.
The now former pastor was arrested Wednesday, after a mother of one of the victims discovered inappropriate texts on her son's phone. There are a total of four victims who are all teen boys ranging from 14 to 17 years old.

For about eight years, Burchfield was the youth minister at the Immanuel Baptist Church in Shawnee. About a year ago, he left and took a new position in Oklahoma City at the Quail Springs Baptist Church. But court documents state he was still communicating with teen boys from the Shawnee youth group, and it was sexual in nature.

“There was some instants where they had some times together as a group with specific boys out of that group,” Shawnee Police Sgt. Ethan Rieves said. “There were some questionable things that went on.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:51 PM

Jehovah's Witnesses inquiry resumes

AUSTRALIA
SBS

Source: AAP
31 JUL 2015

A royal commission will continue to hear from senior officials of the Jehovah's Witness Church when it resumes its investigation into child sex abuse allegations.

In the witness stand on day four of the hearing will be church officials who interviewed a respected member of the Mareeba congregation in Queensland, who was accused by his daughter of abusing her and her three sisters.

The man, known by the pseudonym BCH, was stood down by the church but later reinstated. He was eventually jailed in 2004 after his second eldest daughter went to police.

Evidence to date at the commission has been that church elders did not think his crimes were proven under their laws when an internal judicial inquiry was held even though BCH admitted molesting his daughters. He was stood down for adultery.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:48 PM

New abuse claims hit Scotch College

AUSTRALIA
The Age

July 31, 2015

Steve Lillebuen

One of Australia's top private schools has been hit with further legal action over alleged sexual abuse.

Melbourne's Scotch College, which has already settled five historical abuse cases, is now facing two more claims of sexual abuse on school grounds and expects even more to be filed in the coming months.

The new abuse claims, which involve allegations dating back at least 20 years, come after the school reached out to survivors of childhood abuse in May and encouraged them to come

In a letter to the school community, principal Tom Batty said the school's handling of historical abuse remained an ongoing process that will continue to act in the best interests of abuse survivors.

"Scotch has received two further legal claims and expects further legal claims to be presented and dealt with," he wrote in the letter on Thursday night.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:10 PM

Judge Chides Lawyers on Twin Cities Archdiocese Bankruptcy Fees

MINNESOTA
Wall Street Journal

By TOM CORRIGAN

A Minneapolis bankruptcy judge criticized legal fees and other expenses that have accrued over the course of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis’s bankruptcy case.

Though he ultimately approved the bill, Judge Robert Kressel of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Minneapolis said Thursday he was “stunned” and “frankly a little angry” over the legal fees and other expenses, which court papers show were approaching $1.8 million as of May 31. That includes the archdiocese’s professionals and those hired by a victims group, whose fees the archdiocese is obligated to cover.

“Airlines were reorganized for a fraction of this,” he said.

The Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in January and has since been working to reach a settlement with alleged clergy sexual abuse victims, its parishes and its insurance carriers.

Lawyers working on the case have to share the same limited pool of funds that the archdiocese’s creditors—primarily, the abuse victims—are counting on for compensation.

Charlie Rogers, a lawyer with Briggs and Morgan who represents the archdiocese, said the firm’s average billing for the case was $300 an hour, which he said is standard for the area.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:02 PM

Jehovah’s Witnesses cover up child sex abuse and oust a victim

OKLAHOMA
Reveal News - The Center for Investigative Reporting

By Trey Bundy / July 30, 2015

McALESTER, Okla. – In the summer of 2012, the elders in Debbie McDaniel’s congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses expelled her for having a sexual relationship with a woman. They announced her punishment to the congregation and notified the organization’s headquarters in New York. The consequences were clear: She would be shunned by the Witnesses – including her mother, father, sister and brother – and lose her chance at eternal life.

Jehovah’s Witnesses call their version of excommunication disfellowshipping, a punishment by shunning to rid the faithful of bad associations with those who break the laws of God. Once they’re expelled, the disfellowshipped cannot have any contact with Witnesses, even polite acknowledgment on the street, until they have proved their repentance and willingness to return obediently to the organization. In some cases, they’re shunned for the rest of their lives.

The disfellowshipping in 2012 was the second time that McDaniel, now 46, had been shunned by the Witnesses in her small hometown of McAlester in southeastern Oklahoma. When she was 18, elders responded to rumors that she had become sexually active by summoning her to confess the details of her sexual history. The meeting was a spiritual tribunal presided over by three elders with the power to expel sinners they deem unrepentant.

“They ask very, very personal, embarrassing questions,” McDaniel said. “Not just did you have sex with this person, but did you have an orgasm? Did you enjoy it? Where did he touch you? Where did you touch him?”

In the months leading up to that 1987 hearing, McDaniel said, the congregation’s top elder, Ronald Lawrence, had staked out her apartment and questioned her about rumors that she was promiscuous.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:18 PM

Rabbi found not guilty of sexual abuse

NEW YORK
News 12

NEW CITY - A well-known rabbi from Rockland has been found not guilty of sexual abuse.

Rabbi Moshe Taubenfeld, 55, had been accused of molesting a young boy who needed counseling after the 9/11 attacks. Taubenfeld's accuser says he was abused from ages 8 through 13.

Rockland County Court Judge Rolff Thorsen announced the verdict after a non-jury trial.

Taubenfeld did not take the witness stand in his own defense.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:03 PM

Judge finds New Square rabbi not guilty in sex abuse case

NEW YORK
The Journal News

A Rockland judge on Thursday found New Square rabbi Moshe Taubenfeld not guilty of allegations he sexually abused a boy over a five-year period.

Taubenfeld, 55, also known as Mendel Zarkowsky, was charged with second-degree course of sexual conduct against a child, a felony.

As he left the courtroom, his supporters started singing and dancing until court officers told them to be more composed. They said they planned to host a big celebration in New Square.

His lawyer, Gerard Damiani, said "Mr. Taubenfeld is very happy it is over with. He always denied he ever abused (the boy) or anyone."

He said Taubenfeld had taught over 200 students over the course of his career and not one of them has ever suggested he did anything inappropriate.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:01 PM

Abuse whistleblowers seek Vatican inquiry of Newark Archbishop Myers

NEW JERSEY
National Catholic Reporter

Brian Roewe | Jul. 30, 2015

NEWARK, N.J.
In a test of Pope Francis’ pledge that bishops will be held accountable, an advocacy group for survivors of clergy sexual abuse has formally petitioned the Vatican to investigate Newark, N.J., Archbishop John Myers for possible abuse of his episcopal office.

If found complicit, the group is requesting that Myers be removed from his post and blocked from his controversial retirement home.

The Catholic Whistleblowers sent their case Tuesday to Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, apostolic nuncio to the U.S., with instructions to forward it to the Congregation of Bishops in Rome. The group alleges that since his appointment in 1987 as coadjutor to the Peoria, Ill., diocese, Myers has mishandled abuse allegations — including former Newark priest Michael Fugee — and has shown a pattern of harsh treatment toward victims and their advocates.

“Myers did everything to protect priests, and virtually nothing to protect the innocent, the kids, the victims,” said Robert Hoatson, a member of Catholic Whistleblowers and former priest of the Newark archdiocese whose 2003 co-founding of Road to Recovery put him at odds with Myers.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:30 PM

Group Says Newark Archbishop Mishandled Sex Abuse Cases

NEW JERSEY
Patch

By ERIC.KIEFER (Patch Staff)
July 30, 2015

A Livingston-based advocacy group is calling for a Vatican investigation into the oversight practices of Newark Archbishop John Myers.

Catholic Whistleblowers – a group of priests and nuns who advocate for victims of sexual abuse – is alleging that Myers has been “persistently hostile” toward people who come forward with abuse allegations, the Associated Press reported.

In addition, the group is alleging that Myers has left guilty priests in parishes in the Newark archdiocese and in Peoria, Illinois, where he previously served as bishop.

Myers has refuted the group’s accusations.

“Myers’ spokesman says the archbishop has aggressively confronted abusers and has removed 19 priests from church work in the Newark archdiocese alone,” the AP reported.

The group’s steering committee include West Orange resident Robert M. Hoatson, a former Catholic school teacher who led a whistleblowing campaign against the Archdiocese of Newark in 2013.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:17 PM

Focus on abuse prosecutions: victims group

AUSTRALIA
SBS

Broken Rites is not expecting much out of the highly-anticipated appearance of Cardinal George Pell and a former bishop at the child abuse inquiry.

Source: AAP

The greatest impact of the child abuse royal commission will be in prosecuting more offenders, an advocate for victims of pedophile priests says.

Cardinal George Pell and a bishop who knew about clergy sexually abusing children in Victoria's Ballarat diocese will front the commission's public hearing later this year.

It is what victims wanted but advocacy group Broken Rites founder Chris Wilding is sceptical Cardinal Pell will shed any further light on widespread abuse over decades in the Victorian diocese.

She also doubts former Ballarat bishop Ronald Mulkearns will reveal the full extent of what he knew, despite the commission hearing that he presided over pedophile priests being moved between parishes.

"I had great hopes for the royal commission that we would at last get some shred of truth," she told AAP.

"But I just don't see it happening."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:40 PM

Judge Denies Deadline Extension for Priest Abuse Victims

MINNESOTA
KSTP

By: Dave Aeikens and Tom Durian

A federal judge has denied a request to extend a deadline that allows people to file abuse claims against the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis until Aug. 3.

The victims' lawyers wanted the deadline moved to May 2016 to match state law, which says parishes can still be sued until May. Attorney Rob Kugler said the notices sent by parishes about the deadline were "lukewarm and clouded."

The judge ruled that notice was "extensive and sufficient."

Lawyers for the parish committees said the request for a delay is "an attempt to have more time to persuade people to file claims."

The case is tied to the archdiocese's bankruptcy claim. Therefore the proceedings will follow federal bankruptcy law. More than 230 cases of priest abuse have been filed against the archdiocese and its 187 parishes.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:24 PM

Judge Rules, For Now, Neither Katy Perry Nor Nuns Can Lay Claim To Los Feliz Convent

CALIFORNIA
CBS Los Angeles

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — A judge has announced that the Los Feliz convent that Katy Perry claims she bought from the Los Angeles Catholic Archdiocese may not belong to the pop superstar.

A ruling in court Thursday found that neither the singer nor restaurant magnate Dana Hollister can lay claim to the multimillion-dollar property until the matter is investigated further.

The judge said he’ll evaluate whether Perry’s deal with the archdiocese holds firm, saying that his initial findings deem it “clearly invalid.”

The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles has been in talks with pop superstar Katy Perry, who has agreed to pay the archdiocese $10 million in cash and alternative property for House of Prayer valued at $4.5 million.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:22 PM

Judge won't extend deadline for archdiocese bankruptcy claims

MINNESOTA
Minnesota Public Radio

Madeleine Baran, Martin Moylan Jul 30, 2015

A federal judge on Thursday rejected abuse victims' request to extend a deadline for bankruptcy court claims against the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis. The deadline remains Monday.

The creditors committee in the archdiocese bankruptcy case, composed entirely of clergy sex abuse victims, had wanted Judge Robert Kressel to push the deadline back to May 2016, contending that the archdiocese had provided inadequate notice of the Aug. 3 deadline and that victims might need more time to file.

The panel also argued that pushing back the deadline would expedite a settlement and provide more insurance money for abuse victims.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:20 PM

Former Shawnee youth pastor jailed on sex crimes complaint

OKLAHOMA
Shawnee News-Star

A former Shawnee youth pastor was booked into the Pottawatomie County jail Wednesday on complaints involving sex crimes.

Jail records at the Pottawatomie County Public Safety Center show Brian Burchfield, 42, is being held on complaints of soliciting sexual conduct with a minor by use of technology and violation of computer crimes act.

Formal charges have not been filed.

His online Linked in page shows he is a young adult pastor at Quail Springs Baptist Church and he was previously a pastor at Immanuel Baptist Church in Shawnee.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:18 PM

Update: Former Shawnee youth pastor jailed

OKLAHOMA
Shawnee News-Star

By Kim Morava

Posted Jul. 30, 2015

A former Shawnee youth pastor was arrested and booked into jail Wednesday on complaints involving sex crimes.

Jail records at the Pottawatomie County Public Safety Center show Brian K. Burchfield, 42, is being held on complaints of soliciting sexual conduct with a minor by use of technology and violation of computer crimes act.

Formal charges have not been filed.

Burchfield’s online LinkedIn page shows he is a young adult pastor at Quail Springs Baptist Church in Edmond and that he was previously a youth pastor at Immanuel Baptist Church in Shawnee.

He was reported to be with Immanuel Baptist Church from June 2006 to April 2014.

The Shawnee church posted a statement on its website late Wednesday night.

“We are very saddened to hear of the allegations regarding Brian Burchfield, a former minister at our church,” it reads.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:16 PM

Former Shawnee youth pastor accused of sex crimes arraigned Thursday

OKLAHOMA
KFOR

JULY 30, 2015, BY ABBY BROYLES

SHAWNEE, Okla. — A former youth pastor was arraigned in Pottawatomie County on Thursday morning after being accused of sex crimes.

Authorities say Brian Burchfield is accused of soliciting and engaging in sexual communications with four teenage boys, which is a violation of the Oklahoma Computer Crimes Act.

Police say Burchfield was the boys’ youth pastor at Immanuel Baptist Church in Shawnee.

Court documents show the senior pastor and associate pastor at Immanuel Baptist met with police and told them about the alleged inappropriate conversations between Burchfield and the teens.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:13 PM

Former OKC Youth Pastor Arrested On Suspicion Of Sex Crimes

OKLAHOMA
9 News

BY RACHEL CALDERON, NEWS 9

OKLAHOMA CITY - A man who spent his career ministering to young people now sits behind bars, accused of sex crimes.

At the time authorities arrested Brian Burchfield, 42, he was the Young Adult Pastor at Quail Springs Baptist Church. Samantha Decker, Director of Communications at Quail Springs Baptist Church told News 9, “Brian has been relieved of his duties at our church."

The married, father of four was brought into the Shawnee Police department on Wednesday and was questioned by officers. He was booked into the Pottawatomie County jail around 3 p.m.. He is accused of soliciting sexual conduct with a minor by use of technology and for violating the Computer Crimes Act.

According to Burchfield’s LinkedIn account he served as a pastor at Immanuel Baptist Church in Shawnee and ministered there for almost eight years, before becoming Young Adult Pastor for Quail Springs Baptist Church in 2014.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:10 PM

Twin Cities archdiocese wins bid to move up clergy abuse claims to Aug. 3

MINNESOTA
Star Tribune

By Jean Hopfensperger Star Tribune JULY 30, 2015

Victims of clergy sex abuse in the St. Paul and Minneapolis archdiocese must file their claims by Aug. 3, U.S. bankruptcy judge Robert Kressel reaffirmed Thursday.

The Aug. 3 deadline was challenged in federal bankruptcy court in Minneapolis Thursday by victims’ attorneys, who asked the court to honor a May 2016 deadline, the same filing cutoff for all other abuse victims in Minnesota.

But Judge Robert Kressel reaffirmed his April decision, designed to expedite the archdiocese’s reorganization plan.

The victims’ committee had argued that the rights of victims to be notified of the changed date, and their ability to seek compensation, were harmed by the Aug. 3 date. They said the archdiocese hadn’t fully complied with orders to publicize the filing date and that the early deadline would not speed up financial reorganization.

The archdiocese insisted it had meet the court’s publicity plan, and that a later deadline would increase “professional fees” and impair its ability to raise funds from the faithful.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:05 PM

Vercelli, agli arresti domiciliari il prete pedofilo che adescava ragazzini all'oratorio

ITALIA
Repubblica

[Don Massimo Iuculano has been suspended by the bishop after being accused of abusing three boys.

di FLORIANA RULLO

E' ai domiciliari in una comunità religiosa don Massimo Iuculano, il sacerdote vercellese accusato di aver abusato di tre ragazzi che frequentavano la scuola dell'oratorio in cui era parroco. ''Siamo soddisfatti - spiega il legale del parroco Carlo Blengino -. La decisione è stata presa oggi dopo l'istanza da noi presentata. Sono cadute tutte le ragioni per cui dovesse stare in carcere''.

A raccontare degli abusi sono stati gli stessi ragazzi, quattordicenni e diciassettenni che frequentavano l'istituto Don Bosco di Vercelli. Proprio in quell'istituto, dedicato al sacerdote che aveva a cuore i ragazzi, il prete abusava di loro e della loro adolescenza.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:44 PM

Gigantischer Cast macht Jagd auf die katholische Kirche - Erster Trailer zu "Spotlight"

MASSACHUSETTS
Moviebreak

Seit seinem großen Erfolg mit der Hauptrolle in "Birdman" ist Michael Keaton wieder gefragt in Hollywood. Mit "Spotlight" kommt nun, mal abgesehen von den "Minions", in denen er Walter Nelson seine Stimme verlieh, der erste Film seit "Birdman" mit Keaton in einer der Hauptrollen in die Kinos. Neben ihm werden eine Reihe bekannter Gesichter auf der Leinwand zu sehen sein, denn der Cast lässt nicht zu wünschen übrig: Rachel McAdams, Mark Ruffalo, Liev Schreiber, Stanley Tucci, John Slattery, Billy Crudup und Brian d´Arcy James. Regie führte Tom McCarthy ("Ein Sommer in New York - The Visitor", "Win Win"), der hauptsächlich als Schauspieler bekannt ist, aber in letzter Zeit auch auf dem Regiestuhl sein Talent beweisen konnte.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:43 PM

Zeugen Jehovas vertuschten über Jahrzehnte sexuellen Missbrauch

AUSTRALIEN
Sueddeutsche

Missbrauchsskandal bei den Zeugen Jehovas

Die Zeugen Jehovas in Australien haben offenbar Kindesmissbrauch von mehr als 1000 Tätern jahrzehntelang vertuscht.

Die Fälle liegen weit zurück, sie haben sich teilweise in den Fünfzigerjahren ereignet. Allerdings gab es darüber Aufzeichungen und protokollierte Zeugenaussagen. Zur Rechenschaft gezogen wurden die Täter dennoch nicht.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:41 PM

Sexueller Missbrauch: Papst entlässt Pfarrer

DEUTSCHLAND
Frankfurter Neue Presse

Von Johannes Laubach

Es sind abstoßende Taten, die einem Pfarrer zur Last gelegt werden, der auch im Bistum Limburg tätig war. Der Papst hat jetzt darauf reagiert. Das hat diese Zeitung erfahren.

Rom/Würzburg/Limburg.
Papst Franziskus hat nach Informationen dieser Zeitung den Priester Wolfdieter W. aus der Diözese Würzburg wegen sexuellen Missbrauchs Minderjähriger mit sofortiger Wirkung alle Rechte und Pflichten entzogen, die mit dem Klerikerstand verbunden sind. Damit ist der 75-Jährige, der zeitweise auch im Bistum Limburg und im Erzbistum Bamberg tätig war, aus dem Klerikerstand entlassen.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:39 PM

Aus Klerikerstand entlassen

DEUTSCHLAND
Bistum Wuerzburg

[Pope Francis has laicized 75-year-old Wolf Dieter W., a priest accused of sexual abuse of minors.]

Papst Franziskus entzieht 75-Jährigem alle Rechte und Pflichten eines Priesters

Rom/Würzburg/Limburg (POW) Papst Franziskus hat einem Ruhestandspriester der Diözese Würzburg wegen sexuellen Missbrauchs Minderjähriger mit sofortiger Wirkung alle Rechte und Pflichten entzogen, die mit dem Klerikerstand verbunden sind. Damit ist der 75-jährige Wolfdieter W., der zeitweise auch im Bistum Limburg und im Erzbistum Bamberg tätig war, aus dem Klerikerstand entlassen. Das Schreiben vom 26. Juni 2015 ist vom Präfekten der römischen Kongregation für die Glaubenslehre, Gerhard Kardinal Müller, unterzeichnet. Es wurde Bischof Dr. Friedhelm Hofmann über die Apostolische Nuntiatur in Berlin zugestellt. Bischof Hofmann, Generalvikar Thomas Keßler und Offizial Dr. Stefan Rambacher teilten dem Priester die Entscheidung am Donnerstag, 30. Juli 2015, im Bischöflichen Ordinariat Würzburg mit. Gegen den Ausschluss aus dem Klerikerstand kann der Betroffene keine Rechtsmittel einlegen.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:36 PM

The rise and fall of the Catholic blogosphere

UNITED KINGDOM
Catholic Herald

by Damian Thompson
posted Thursday, 30 Jul 2015

During the reign of Benedict XVI, blogging became a mighty instrument in the hands of conservative Catholics. But the medium soon revealed a darker side

A fortnight ago, Pope Francis appointed Fr Robert Barron, rector of Mundelein seminary in Chicago, to be a new auxiliary bishop for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. The news was greeted with little explosions of delight from conservative-leaning Catholics all over Twitter, including many from Britain. Why?

It wasn’t just because Fr Barron, 55, is himself rather conservative theologically, though he’d prefer to think of himself as simply orthodox. That wouldn’t be big news: plenty of conservative priests get made bishops, even under this supposedly “liberal” Pope (though not so often in England and Wales).

No: Twitter and the blogosphere were excited because Fr Barron is famous. He runs “Word on Fire Ministries”, which sounds to a Brit like an outfit run by an orange-haired US televangelist or one of those pop-up Nigerian “prosperity gospel” churches. He hosts Word on Fire with Father Barron, a half-hour show that airs nationally on WGN America, making him the first Catholic priest to have his own regular television programme on a national commercial channel since Fulton Sheen in the 1950s.

Word on Fire also makes programmes and DVDs for EWTN, the Catholic television network founded by Mother Angelica, and Fr Barron has a weekly radio programme called – you guessed it – Word on Fire. He pops up on NBC and Fox News as a Catholic commentator and writes lots of articles for Catholic publications, including this one. So he’s a media priest, and one who can call on expert advice: his brother John is a former editor-in-chief of the Chicago Sun-Times. (Incidentally, Fr Robert Sirico, distinguished founder of the Acton Institute for the Study of Religion and Liberty, also has a brother in the media: Tony Sirico, the mobster-turned-actor who played Paulie “Walnuts” Gualtieri in The Sopranos.)

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:33 AM

55 priests defrocked for sex abuse since 2001

UNITED KINGDOM
Belfast Telegraph

More than 50 priests in England and Wales have been defrocked for clerical sex abuse since 2001, new figures show.

There have been 55 laicisations since 2001 - meaning they have been evicted from the clergy - after new rules were put in place to protect children and vulnerable adults in the Catholic Church.

But the Church, which has been rocked by a series of historic abuse scandals, received many more complaints of sexual misconduct against the clergy.

And officials said there were a number of cases involving child abuse images where the victims could not be identified, meaning the number of overall victims may be much higher.

There was an increase in the number of perpetrators subject to "covenants of care", essentially withdrawing them from ministering and severely restricting what they could do in the Church, from 384 at the end of 2013 to 462 at the end of 2014.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:28 AM

Church safeguarding body announces partnership with abuse survivors

UNITED KINGDOM
The Tablet

30 July 2015 by Joanna Moorhead

A panel of survivors of clerical abuse is to be set up to help put the voice of the victims at the heart of the work of the National Catholic Safeguarding Commission (NCSC).

The creation of the new panel was described this week by the commission’s acting chairman Christopher Pearson as an important new development. “It will significantly inform and influence the work of the NCSC and help improve the Church’s pastoral support for those hurt by abuse,” he said.

The panel will have an independently-appointed chairperson and those hurt by abuse will make up the majority of the membership.

“It will be a real partnership between the commission and survivors,” he added.

In its annual report published this week, the NCSC said the membership of the panel would include individuals with direct personal experience of abuse by Catholic clergy or Religious, as well as a parent of an abused child.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:20 AM

Judge to decide whether to extend archdiocese claims deadline

MINNESOTA
Minnesota Public Radio

Martin Moylan Jul 30, 2015

Time is running out for sex abuse victims and others to file claims against the bankrupt Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis. But that could change.

The claims deadline is Monday. But a federal judge will hear arguments Thursday morning for and against pushing the claims deadline back to May of 2016.

The creditors committee in the case — composed entirely of sex abuse victims — contends that the archdiocese has provided inadequate notice of the Aug. 3 deadline. It wants to give victims more time to file.

The committee also contends that pushing back the deadline would actually expedite a settlement and provide more insurance money for abuse victims.

Robert Kugler, attorney for the creditors' committee, said insurers don't want to settle claims against the archdiocese only to get hit with another round of potentially costly claims against the parishes for abuse suffered perhaps decades ago.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:12 AM

Orthodox priest fined, placed on probation ...

OHIO
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Orthodox priest fined, placed on probation in Ohio after misdemeanor sex offense conviction

July 30, 2015

By Peter Smith / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

An Orthodox Christian priest living in Pittsburgh has been fined and placed on probation for his conviction on a misdemeanor sexual offense in Ohio, and he has been removed as pastor of a Youngstown parish.

James F. Callozzo, 73, of Brookline Boulevard was found guilty Tuesday of sexual imposition, a third-degree misdemeanor, in Mahoning County Area Court in Boardman, Ohio. He was charged after an 18-year-old man told police that Father Callozzo followed him into a restaurant bathroom in Boardman, made sexually explicit comments and grabbed his private parts.

The court fined Father Callozzo $150, charged additional administrative costs and placed him on 12 months’ probation, according to a court clerk.

Father Callozzo has been permanently removed as pastor of Nativity of Christ Orthodox Church in Youngstown, according to Archpriest Roman Star, dean of the Central States for the Patriarchal Parishes in the USA, part of the Russian Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchate), to which the parish belongs.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:04 AM

Where's 'Father Manuel'? Police hunting fugitive priest, teacher accused of raping N.J. teen

NEW JERSEY
NJ.com

By Mark Mueller | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com
on July 30, 2015

Twelve years ago, amid allegations he raped a 15-year-old boy in the rectory of a Plainfield church, the Rev. Manuel Gallo Espinoza vanished.

The Archdiocese of Newark, where Gallo Espinoza had served as a visiting priest, said he apparently fled to his native Ecuador after church officials informed him of the claim and suspended him from ministry.

Authorities never interviewed him. Within months, the investigation went dark.

Now, with the filing of a lawsuit by his alleged victim and an examination by NJ Advance Media, federal and county authorities have expressed renewed interest in finding and questioning the 51-year-old priest.

The NJ Advance Media investigation — drawing on law enforcement documents, public records and interviews — found that Gallo Espinoza obtained a visa to return to the United States in 2005. Three years later, unbeknownst to authorities in New Jersey, the man accused of raping a teenage boy took a job as a high school teacher in Prince George's County, Md., the inquiry found.

Gallo Espinoza abruptly left the post in February of last year, a spokesman for the district confirmed. The spokesman, Max Pugh, said he could not disclose the reason for the departure because it was a personnel matter. Pugh said he was unaware of any allegation of sexual misconduct involving the former teacher.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:01 AM

Coming To Terms With Child Sex Abuse: I Was "The Sinful Woman"

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

Virginia Jones

Many people assume that the sinful woman who washed Jesus’ feet with her tears while he was dining in the house of Simon, the Pharisee, was a prostitute. The story is told in the Gospel of Luke (7:38-50).

Simon observed Jesus’ interactions with the woman and said to himself, “If this man were a prophet, he would know who and what kind of woman this is.”

Jesus heard Simon and rebuked him.

If the sinful woman was a prostitute, then her sin of sex outside of marriage made her unclean and unfit to touch a man, especially a priestly man. But was the sinful woman just a prostitute?

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:57 AM

50 priests in England and Wales defrocked over sex abuse since 2001

UNITED KINGDOM
Irish Examiner

Thursday, July 30, 2015

More than 50 priests in England and Wales have been defrocked for clerical sex abuse since 2001, new figures show.

There have been 55 laicisations since 2001 – meaning they have been evicted from the clergy – after new rules were put in place to protect children and vulnerable adults in the Catholic Church.

But the Church, which has been rocked by a series of historic abuse scandals, received many more complaints of sexual misconduct against the clergy.

And officials said there were a number of cases involving child abuse images where the victims could not be identified, meaning the number of overall victims may be much higher.

There was an increase in the number of perpetrators subject to “covenants of care”, essentially withdrawing them from ministering and severely restricting what they could do in the Church, from 384 at the end of 2013 to 462 at the end of 2014.

There were 79 allegations of abuse against children during the last year. These allegations involved 97 different forms of abuse against 118 victims, abused by 83 suspects.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:51 AM

Will Vatican officials face term limits?

VATICAN CITY
Headlines from the Catholic World

Vatican City, Jul 30, 2015 / 01:02 am (CNA).- A fixed term mandate for Vatican officials serving in the Roman Curia was among recent proposals for the Vatican's ongoing reform process, and will likely be discussed at the Sept. 14-16 meeting of the Council of Cardinals.

It's still unclear whether the fixed term mandate refers to all Vatican officials – that is, those who hold an office of the Roman Curia – or if it would just apply to the clergy.

According to the prominent Italian journalist Marco Tosatti, “the idea is to give a term – a five year term, to be eventually renewed for another five year term – to the mandate of the Curia officials, which are the priests who make up the bulk of the jobs in the various Congregations and Pontifical Councils.”

So if a priest is called to serve in the Roman Curia, he would return to his home parish after five years. On the other hand, there are many lay Vatican officials: would the fixed term mandate apply to them as well?

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:49 AM

Second stage of public hearing into Catholic Church authorities in Ballarat

AUSTRALIA
Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse

30 July, 2015

The second stage of Case Study 28 will be held from 23 November 2015 in Melbourne.

The first stage of the public hearing was held in Ballarat in May 2015. Because of the logistical issues relating to the anticipated level of interest in the community, the next stage of the hearing will held in the ceremonial court in the County Court complex in Melbourne.

The Royal Commission will provide a webcast of proceedings in the Trench room at the Ballarat Town Hall, Sturt Street, Ballarat, and the proceedings will be live streamed on the Royal Commission website www.childabuseroyalcommission.gov.au.

The scope and purpose of Case Study 28 remains unchanged and can be viewed on the Royal Commission’s website. Parties who have not sought leave to appear but wish to apply for leave at the resumed hearing will be able to do so at a later date.

The Royal Commission anticipates that Cardinal Pell and Bishop Mulkearns will give evidence at this hearing. The witness list will be published on the website closer to the hearing.

People with questions are encouraged to contact the Royal Commission on
1800 099 340 or email contact@childabuseroyalcommission.gov.au.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:46 AM

Child abuse royal commission summons George Pell, Ronald Mulkearns

AUSTRALIA
The Australian

TESSA AKERMAN THE AUSTRALIAN JULY 30, 2015

Bishop Ronald Mulkearns will be summoned to give evidence to the child sex Royal Commission in November.

In a press release issued this afternoon the Royal Commission stated it anticipated Cardinal George Pell and Bishop Ronald Mulkearns would give evidence at the public hearing which will take place in Melbourne and not Ballarat due to logistic issues.

The Royal Commission previously heard evidence that the former Bishop of Ballarat knew of paedophile priest Gerald Ridsdale’s offending in the diocese and moved Ridsdale from parish to parish when complaints were made.

Bishop Mulkearns served as the bishop of Ballarat between 1971-97.

After having a stroke in 1998, Bishop Mulkearns avoided the Victorian parliamentary inquiry into child sex abuse in institutions, citing ill health.

Last week however Geelong Magistrate John Lesser ordered him to give evidence in the committal hearing of another Ballarat priest charged with historical sex offences, Robert Claffey.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:43 AM

Pell and bishop before abuse inquiry

AUSTRALIA
9 News

Victims' advocates are sceptical a former Victorian bishop will reveal the full extent of what the church knew about pedophile priests when he and Cardinal George Pell appear before the child abuse royal commission.

Cardinal Pell has already agreed to return from Rome to give evidence to the inquiry into widespread abuse in the Ballarat diocese.

The commission has now said then-Ballarat Bishop Ronald Mulkearns, who knew Australia's worst pedophile priest Gerald Francis Ridsdale and others were sexually abusing children, will also give evidence at a public hearing later this year.

Victims' advocacy group Broken Rites has previously said Bishop Mulkearns has a lot to answer for after he moved Ridsdale and other priests between parishes during his time as bishop of Ballarat from 1971 to 1997.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:42 AM

Former Ballarat Bishop Ronald Mulkearns to appear at royal commission in Melbourne

AUSTRALIA
The Age

July 30, 2015

Jane Lee
Legal affairs, industrial relations and science correspondent

A former bishop described as "pivotal" to the failure to prevent decades of widespread child sexual abuse at Catholic schools in Ballarat will appear before the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.

The commission confirmed in a statement on Thursday that former Bishop Ronald Mulkearns was expected to appear at the second hearing, which will be held in Melbourne starting on November 23. Cardinal George Pell will also give evidence at the hearing, which will focus on authorities' role in child sexual abuse.

Ronald Mulkearns, the Bishop of Ballarat between 1971 and 1997, presided over many decisions to move disgraced serial paedophile priest Gerald Ridsdale to numerous parishes despite knowing of allegations of child sexual abuse against him, the royal commission heard earlier this year.

Father Adrian McInerney, who was Bishop Mulkearns' secretary for five years during this period, described him as the "pivotal person" responsible for addressing child abuse. "In retrospect, he needed to remove people completely from ministry," he told the commission in May. Ten of Ridsdale's victims are suing Bishop Mulkearns in the Supreme Court, arguing that he failed to act on abuse claims.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:40 AM

Trailer debuts for 'Spotlight' film on Boston Globe sex abuse investigation

MASSACHUSETTS
National Catholic Reporter

[with video]

Brian Roewe | Jul. 29, 2015

The first trailer released Wednesday for the film "Spotlight," which follows the Boston Globe's investigation into clergy sexual abuse in the Boston archdiocese in the early 2000s.

The investigation began in 2001 and published its first stories in January 2002. The reports ultimately led to the resignation of Cardinal Bernard Law in December of that year.

In addition, it also spurred a national review of the church's policy regarding sexual abuse by clergy, and at their June 2002 meeting, the bishops approved the “Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People," or Dallas Charter, and formed the National Review Board to report on dioceses' implementation of the charter and to study the sex abuse issue in the Catholic church. The investigation won the newspaper the 2003 Pulitzer Prize for Public Service.

The drama from Open Roads Films is directed and co-written by Tom McCarthy and features several notable actors and actresses: Michael Keaton, Rachel McAdams, Liev Schreiber, Mark Ruffalo, Stanely Tucci and John Slattery.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:23 AM

Trailer debuts for 'Spotlight' film on Boston Globe sex abuse investigation

MASSACHUSETTS
National Catholic Reporter

Brian Roewe | Jul. 29, 2015

The first trailer released Wednesday for the film "Spotlight," which follows the Boston Globe's investigation into clergy sexual abuse in the Boston archdiocese in the early 2000s.

The investigation began in 2001 and published its first stories in January 2002. The reports ultimately led to the resignation of Cardinal Bernard Law in December of that year.

In addition, it also spurred a national review of the church's policy regarding sexual abuse by clergy, and at their June 2002 meeting, the bishops approved the “Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People," or Dallas Charter, and formed the National Review Board to report on dioceses' implementation of the charter and to study the sex abuse issue in the Catholic church. The investigation won the newspaper the 2003 Pulitzer Prize for Public Service.

The drama from Open Roads Films is directed and co-written by Tom McCarthy and features several notable actors and actresses: Michael Keaton, Rachel McAdams, Liev Schreiber, Mark Ruffalo, Stanely Tucci and John Slattery.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:23 AM

WA branch of Acts Christian Church to close after local leader David Volmer linked to paedophile ring

AUSTRALIA
ABC News

By Lucy Martin

The South African-based Acts Christian Church is closing its only Australian branch after revelations the leader was involved in a paedophile ring.

Pastor David Volmer is one of eight West Australian men accused of sexual crimes against a 13-year-old girl over a period of two years.

The 41-year-old has pleaded guilty to 12 offences including drugging and raping the girl.

Originally from South Africa, Volmer moved to Australia and set up a branch of the Acts Christian Church in Perth's northern suburbs in 2013.

Church leader Reverend Peter de Fin, whose grandfather founded the church, said he was shocked by the charges.

"This is the first time we've had to deal with such a case," he said.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:21 AM

Trailer released for ‘Spotlight,’ film chronicling Boston Globe’s sex abuse investigation

BOSTON (MA)
Crux

By Michael O'Loughlin
National reporter July 29, 2015

The first trailer for “Spotlight,” the film starring Michael Keaton, Mark Ruffalo, and Rachel McAdams chronicling The Boston Globe’s investigation of child sexual abuse at the hands of Catholic priests, was released Wednesday.

Reporting by the Globe’s Spotlight team eventually led to the resignation of the once-powerful Cardinal Bernard Law, former archbishop of Boston. The newspaper won a Pulitzer Prize in 2003 for its coverage.

A decade earlier, when the paper reported on abuse allegations against the Rev. James R. Porter — accused of molesting up to 100 children in the 1960s — Law famously condemned the paper.

“St. Paul spoke of the immeasurable power at work in those who believe. . . . We call down God’s power on our business leaders, and political leaders and community leaders. By all means we call down God’s power on the media, particularly the Globe,” Law said in 1992.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:15 AM

National Catholic Safeguarding Commission (NCSC) Press Release

UNITED KINGDOM
National Catholic Safeguarding Commission

30th July 2015

1 The National Catholic Safeguarding Commission has today published its annual report.

Highlights:

The working party on pastoral support for survivors is proposing a model of support for victims and survivors, based on the Hallam Project which could be implemented gradually across all Dioceses and Religious Communities. NCSC is in discussions The Commission has approved the setting up of a Survivors Advisory Panel which will help inform the work of the NCSC and the safeguarding policies and practices within the Catholic Church in England and Wales.

Over 95% of Catholic parishes in England and Wales have at least one safeguarding representative.

This is the 11th year we have collected and published safeguarding data.

The NCSC is overseeing the introduction of a national electronic recording system of data.

Acting Chair of the National Catholic Safeguarding Commission, Chris Pearson: “This report highlights in full the work of the Commission and this announcement is just a snapshot of some of that work and findings over the last year. We are moving towards a much more consistent and sensitive approach in response to the victims and survivors of abuse.”

A copy of the annual report can be downloaded from: www.catholicsafeguarding.org.uk

2 The Commission has today launched its E-learning programme.

We have worked with EduCare to develop a bespoke e-learning package available to all members of the Catholic Community in England and Wales.

The launch of the E-learning programme is part of the Church’s ongoing commitment to safeguarding. We want every member of the Catholic Community in England and Wales to have the opportunity to access safeguarding learning with a view to raising awareness, increasing understanding and promoting best practice. The Catholic Church in England and Wales is possibly the first Church in the UK, to offer safeguarding e-learning to every parishioner free of charge.

-EndsNational

Catholic Safeguarding Commission

The National Catholic Safeguarding Commission (NCSC) is an independent body working within the framework of the Catholic Church in England and Wales. It is mandated by the Conference of Bishops and Conference of Religious Congregations and has accountability across Dioceses and Religious Congregations to ensure that standards are met and policies are implemented.

Established in 2008 the NCSC sets the strategic direction of the Church’s safeguarding policy for children and vulnerable adults. It also monitors and audits the compliance of the Church with safeguarding procedures. The NCSC has sixteen members who bring together a wide range of knowledge, skill and expertise in safeguarding matters, and in state and canon law. For further details see www.catholicsafeguarding.org.uk

For further information or to arrange an interview contact:

Email rose.anderson@catholicsafeguarding.org.uk
Phone: 07530 972830

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:09 AM

More than 50 priests defrocked for abuse since 2001

UNITED KINGDOM
Premier

Thu 30 Jul 2015
By Antony Bushfield

The Catholic Church has said it defrocked 55 priests for clerical sex abuse since 2001.

In new figures released today the Church said they had been removed from the priesthood after new rules were put in place to protect children and vulnerable adults.

The Church said in addition it has received many more complaints about sexual misconduct by members of the clergy.

Officials said there had been a number of cases involving child abuse images where the victims could not be found, meaning the actual number of victims was hard to know.

The number of "covenants of care" orders, withdrawing people from ministering and severely restricting what they could do in the Church, increased from 384 at the end of 2013 to 462 at the end of 2014.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:04 AM

Ex-pastor sentenced

PENNSYLVANIA
Wayne Independent

By K.O. Kearney
kkearney@wayneindependent.com

Posted Jul. 29, 2015

HONESDALE – A former pastor was sentenced Monday to 27 months to 15 years in state prison on sex abuse charges.

Norman Theodore Faux, 55, of Lake Ariel, also was ordered to pay up to $5,000 in counseling fees for the victim.

The defendant, who had served as a United Methodist pastor, previously pleaded guilty to having sexual intercourse on several occasions with a male juvenile.

The assaults started when the boy was 9 years old and lasted until he was 19, according to court paperwork.

The lead prosecutor, Wayne County First Assistant District Attorney said in a statement Faux “perverted his role as a father and as a clergyman” and he belongs in state prison.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:00 AM

Seminary abuse lawsuits filed involve clergy who abused children in Onamia

MINNESOTA
Grand Forks Herald

ONAMIA, Minn. -- As deadlines near, civil lawsuits were filed Tuesday by two men who were sexually abused as minors by clergy at Crosier Seminary in Onamia near the southern shores of Mille Lacs Lake.

Doe 51 and Doe 56, the names given to the victims in a press release, were molested by multiple priests and brothers of the Canons Regular of the Order of the Holy Cross ("Crosier") religious order, according to the lawsuit.

Several of the clergy named in the complaints also interacted with and sexually abused children throughout Minnesota, including at parishes and schools in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, and the Diocese of St. Cloud, said the lawsuit.

Doe 51 was sexually abused from approximately 1979-81 by Father Gerald Funcheon, Brother Gabriel Guerrero and Brother Roman Fleischhacker, when Doe 51 was approximately 15-17 years old, said the lawsuit. Doe 56 was sexually abused in approximately 1979-80 by Funcheon, Brother Wendell Mohs and Father Roger Vaughn, when Doe 56 was approximately 14-15 years old, according to the lawsuit.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:52 AM

Former Catholic Bishop Ronald Mulkearns called to front abuse Royal Commission

AUSTRALIA
Herald Sun

SHANNON DEERY HERALD SUN JULY 30, 2015

THE ex-Catholic bishop of Ballarat who oversaw decades of child sexual abuse will be forced to testify at the child abuse Royal Commission despite his ill health.

In a much-anticipated announcement the Royal Commission announced today Fr Ronald Mulkearns would give evidence at hearings set to return to Ballarat from November 23.

His appearance could unlock decades of secrets from the former bishop who has remained tight-lipped about his handling of child sexual abuse complaints.

Critics say he turned a blind eye to sexual abuse complaints, shuffling priests around the large diocese, but not reporting any of them to police.

A string of priests under his charge have since been jailed for heinous crimes against children.

Among them, Gerald Ridsdale, one of Victoria’s most notorious paedophiles who has admitted molesting hundreds of children.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:50 AM

George Pell to appear at abuse commission

AUSTRALIA
Sky News

Cardinal George Pell, and a bishop who was aware Australia's worst pedophile priest had abused boys when he moved him between parishes, will tell a royal commission what they knew about widespread abuse in the Ballarat diocese.

Cardinal Pell has already agreed to return from the Vatican to give evidence during the second stage of a public hearing into clergy abuse in the Victorian regional centre, which will be held in Melbourne from November 23.

The royal commission has now said then-Ballarat Bishop Ronald Mulkearns, who knew Gerald Francis Ridsdale was sexually abusing children, will also give evidence.

'The royal commission anticipates that Cardinal Pell and Bishop Mulkearns will give evidence at this hearing,' it said in a statement on Thursday.

Child abuse advocates had hoped Bishop Mulkearns would appear before the royal commission, after he did not give evidence to a previous Victorian inquiry owing to ill health.

- See more at: http://www.skynews.com.au/news/national/2015/07/30/george-pell-to-appear-at-abuse-commission.html#sthash.VNvSymlV.dpuf

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:49 AM

July 29, 2015

Defense reviewing evidence in former Los Banos priest’s child porn case

CALIFORNIA
Los Banos Enterprise

BY COREY PRIDE
cpride@losbanosenterprise
July 29, 2015

A former Los Banos Catholic priest who has been charged with possession of child pornography appeared in court Wednesday.

The Rev. Robert Gamel entered the courtroom on crutches, nursing a left foot injury he suffered while hiking, according to his attorney Roger Litman. Gamel appeared in Merced Superior Court in Los Banos for a pre-preliminary hearing on a felony count of possession of matter depicting sexual conduct of a person under the age of 18.

If convicted, Gamel faces up to three years in jail or prison. He has pleaded not guilty.

Litman told Judge Harry Jacobs the prosecution is still in the process of providing discovery evidence and he needs more time before going forward with the case.

“We will need time to review those items, which to my understanding is at least four DVDs and some other evidence we’ve asked to view,” Litman said. “I have a plan as far as how to proceed, accomplish review of the items, and what needs to be done to prepare for the next appearance in this matter.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:46 PM

York man guilty of sexually touching child at church summer camp

MAINE
Seacoast Online

By Deborah McDermott
dmcdermott@seacoastonline.colm

Posted Jul. 28, 2015

YORK — A York Harbor man has been found guilty in York County Superior Court in connection with a sexual touching incident at a First Parish Church summer camp last year.

Jason Paciulli, 38, Route 103, York Harbor, was sentenced on July 17 to 364 days in jail on condition he have no contact with the victim, receive counseling and is never employed in a setting that caters to minors.

According to police, the minor victim told her mother that she had been touched inappropriately by a staff maintenance worker at the church while attending the summer camp in July 2014. She said she had been kissed and touched on her chest while in the basement area of the church, police said.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:42 PM

Advocates seek Vatican inquiry of Newark archbishop

NEW JERSEY
The Record

BY JEFF GREEN
STAFF WRITER | THE RECORD

In what might be the first formal complaint to a new Vatican tribunal, an advocacy group for clergy sexual abuse victims on Wednesday called for an investigation of Newark Archbishop John J. Myers and his handling of child molestation cases spanning three decades.

Eight members of Catholic Whistleblowers, a national group of church reformists, said they would be filing an 80-page document detailing Myers’ actions in various cases in Newark and at his former diocese in Peoria, Illinois. On Wednesday, they hand-delivered a copy of their grievances to Myers’ spokesman at the Newark chancery and said they would send another to the Vatican’s top U.S. diplomat in the coming days.

The group is aiming to get the attention of a tribunal set up by Pope Francis in June to hold bishops accountable for covering up or failing to take action against sexually abusive priests.

It was unknown on Wednesday whether the tribunal, housed in the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, had received any other cases for its review, but the activists said they believed their complaint was among the first, if not the first, to be presented publicly.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:11 PM

Catholic schools must refuse to fire LGBT employees

UNITED STATES
National Catholic Reporter

Jamie L. Manson | Jul. 29, 2015

It's beginning to feel like every week brings a new story about the firing of an LGBT employee from a Catholic institution.

The most recent well-publicized termination happened earlier this month at Waldron Mercy Academy in Philadelphia. The school declined to renew the contract of Margie Winters, the school's director of religious studies, when it came to light that she is in a same-sex marriage.

Winters, who has been with the school for eight years, says her administrators were well aware that she was married to a woman. It wasn't until two parents complained to the Philadelphia archdiocese that she was terminated.

In the wake of Winters' firing, many commentators have suggested that bishops and Catholic institutions need to show greater mercy and compassion in dealing with its lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender employees.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:26 PM

Advocates Seek Vatican Inquiry of Newark, NJ, Archbishop

NEW JERSEY
ABC News

NEW YORK — Jul 29, 2015
By RACHEL ZOLL AP Religion Writer
Associated Press

Priests, nuns and canon lawyers who advocate for molestation victims urged Pope Francis on Wednesday to use the new Vatican tribunal he formed on negligent bishops to investigate the archbishop of Newark, New Jersey, who has long been accused of sheltering abusive priests.

The plea comes as Francis prepares for his first visit to the U.S. in September, a trip which will take place against the backdrop of the broad unfinished business of the molestation scandal. The crisis erupted in 2002 with the case of one pedophile priest in the Archdiocese of Boston before spreading nationwide, then engulfing the Roman Catholic Church.

The advocates, who call themselves the Catholic Whistleblowers, said they will present evidence to the Vatican that Archbishop John Myers has been persistently hostile toward people who come forward with abuse allegations, and had left guilty clerics in parishes in the Newark archdiocese and in his previous post as bishop of Peoria, Illinois. Myers has repeatedly defended his record, noting that he has removed many guilty priests, but he has been dogged by revelations about cases bungled on his watch in both states.

"When Pope Francis last month announced the new tribunal, instantly — within 24 hours — we were saying, 'Myers has to be one,'" said the Rev. James Connell, a canon lawyer and retired priest from Milwaukee, who is part of the whistleblower group. "It's a place to start."

Three American dioceses — Gallup, New Mexico, Milwaukee and St. Paul and Minneapolis — are in bankruptcy court trying to limit settlements with victims and preserve church assets; the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis is being prosecuted on charges of failing to protect children from a now-convicted priest, and the Diocese of Honolulu is facing a raft of new claims after Hawaii lawmakers temporarily abolished time limits on lawsuits over child sex abuse.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:24 PM

IN--Victims push Indiana archbishop to act on abuse

INDIANA
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

For immediate release: Wednesday, July 29

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

A Catholic employee has been arrested for alleged child sex abuse and Indianapolis’ archbishop must do more to help law enforcement prosecute him.

[Fox 59]

Oscar Vasquez-Guzman, religious education director at St. Anthony Catholic Church, was charged Tuesday with molesting two boys as recently as two weeks ago.

Archbishop Joseph W. Tobin claims he’s “cooperating” with law enforcement and has notified St. Anthony parishioners of the charges. That’s not enough. He and his staff should use their vast resources – parish bulletins, church websites and pulpit announcements to seek out anyone else who saw, suspected, suffered or hid Vasquez-Guzman’s crimes.

Vasquez-Guzman may have assaulted kids at several parishes or non-Catholic kids. So Tobin should hold a news conference begging victims, witnesses and whistleblowers to call police and prosecutors.

Tobin also claims he’s “cooperating” with law enforcement. Again, that’s not enough. Catholic officials make this claim all the time. In reality, it usually means that they’re doing the absolute bare minimum. Answering questions from the police is common decency. Catholic officials must do more. Given the on-going culture of secrecy within the church, they must actively work to find others with information or suspicions

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:18 PM

Germany--Victims applaud move against Bishop of Bling

GERMANY
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

For immediate release: Wednesday, July 29

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

A German diocese will file a €3.9m claim for damages in a Vatican court against the so-called “Bishop of Bling.” We applaud this move. We hope a similar case can and will be filed in secular court too. It’s progress any time anyone takes steps that might help deter callous, selfish acts by Catholic bishops who act like kings.

[The Tablet]

Bishop Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst once headed the Diocese of Limburg. He resigned in 2013 after having spent more than €31m on redecorating his home. But he now works for the Vatican, which is an outrage. When will Catholic officials stop coddling and promoting their irresponsible colleagues?

We believe church “courts” are usually biased, secretive and ineffective. (They are usually more about damage control than real justice.) Still, we hope Limburg diocesan officials succeed in Rome and go further in their push to make Tebartz-van Elst responsible for his extravagant selfishness.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:15 PM

OR--Rare child sex case filed in Portland vs. Quakers

OREGON
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

For immediate release: Wednesday, July 29

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

A rare child sex abuse and cover up lawsuit has been filed against Oregon Quaker officials who apparently put an admitted child molester back on the job last year and hid his crimes. We hope law enforcement will investigate and charge church staff for their reckless, callous, secretive and selfish actions.

[The Newberg Graphic]

A former Northwest Yearly Meeting of Friends youth superintendent, Bruce Bishop, is being sued for allegedly repeatedly abusing a boy between 11 and 16 years old. According to one news source, last year, Quaker officials confronted Bishop with abuse accusations, he “confirmed” them, was quietly suspended, but was later forgiven by his church colleagues and returned to ministry. If true, this is horrifying.

“Forgiveness” doesn’t sanction recklessness. We can forgive a drunk driver but shouldn’t give him school bus keys. We can forgive someone who commits violence but shouldn’t give him a gun. We can forgive someone who abuses kids but shouldn’t give him any role, much less a paid position around youngsters, in a church.

We’ve seen few lawsuits like this against Quakers. Often, in smaller, less rigid and authoritarian churches like this, it’s even harder for victims to come forward, seek justice and expose church officials who commit or conceal child sex crimes. We applaud this brave man for speaking up and hope his courage will inspire others abused in Quaker congregations to take action to protect others.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:11 PM

Archbishop Confronted ...

MINNESOTA
Lavender Magazine

Archbishop Confronted: Gay Man in 35-Year Relationship Clarifies Archbishop Nienstedt’s Restaurant Comment to the Star Tribune

By John Townsend

October 18, 2012

Last year the Archdiocese distributed 400,000 antigay DVDs* made by the Knights of Columbus meant to stir antigay marriage sentiments.

In the Oct. 6, 2012, Star Tribune Q&A with John Clayton Nienstedt, Archbishop for the Minneapolis-St. Paul Archdiocese, one question asked for clarification about a recollection by Rev. Michael Becker of St. Paul’s St. John Vianney Seminary that occurred at St. Paul’s Lexington Restaurant. The questioner said, “a man came into the restaurant and threw one of the church’s DVDs at you” to set context for a response.

Gregg Larson has come forth to challenge Rev. Becker’s account. He was at the restaurant with his partner of 35 years on Friday evening Dec. 3, 2010. He was the man who confronted Archbishop Nienstedt. Larson: “First off, I didn’t come into the restaurant. My partner and I were there before they arrived. Also, I did not throw the DVD at him [contrary to Rev. Becker’s account to the Star Tribune]. I would never have done that. In fact, nobody in the restaurant even was aware of the conversation that we had with them. It’s less than accurate to characterize what happened that way. It also says that the Archbishop remained composed. He didn’t really remain composed. And in the Archbishop’s answer he didn’t refute any of that. He simply said, ‘I try to reply to emotional outbursts with reason, calm, and patience.’ Well, there was no emotional outburst. And nobody in the restaurant was aware of the conversation.”

Synchronistically, Larson had a copy of the DVD sent to his elderly mother at her nursing home in his car which he was intending to return to the Archdiocese. What follows is what Larson says actually happened starting when he saw Nienstedt waiting alone near the coat check to sit down. Larson: “First I went up to him and asked, ‘Are you John Nienstedt?’ And he said, ‘Yes.’ And I introduced myself. Then I said my mother got this piece of junk mail and I wanted to return it. And I said it was the [antigay marriage] DVD that you had sent out.” Larson then told Nienstedt that he had heard he is gay and that “if that was true then he was a hypocrite and I went back and sat down.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:05 PM

Former Saint Ignatius College priest...

AUSTRALIA
Perth Now

Former Saint Ignatius College priest Stanislaus John Hogan has sentence for child porn offences suspended on appeal

A PRIEST at a prestigious Adelaide private school who downloaded more than 1500 images of child pornography will walk from jail after his sentence was suspended on appeal.

Father Stanislaus John Hogan was sentenced in March this year to two years and six months’ jail, with a non-parole period of 10 months, after pleading guilty to one count of using a carriage service to access child pornography and one aggravated count of possessing child pornography.

The District Court had heard that police seized 1555 images and videos as part of an illicit children pornography collection, which also included magazines and books of children aged between three and 16 years.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:02 PM

Advocates seek Vatican investigation of Newark, NJ, archbishop, as pope readies 1st US visit

NEW JERSEY
Daily Journal

By The Associated Press
July 29, 2015

NEW YORK — Advocates for victims of clergy sex abuse want a Vatican investigation of the archbishop of Newark, New Jersey.

A group of Roman Catholic priests, nuns and canon lawyers who call themselves the Catholic Whistleblowers say an investigation is needed because Archbishop John Myers has been hostile to victims and has failed to stop predators from molesting children in Newark and in his previous diocese of Peoria, Illinois.

The group wants an inquiry through the new tribunal Pope Francis formed to discipline bishops who don't protect young people.

Myers' spokesman says the archbishop has aggressively confronted abusers and has removed 19 priests from church work in the Newark archdiocese alone.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:56 PM

Court to hear historic sex abuse allegations against Mirfield priests

UNITED KINGDOM
Huddersfield Examiner

BY NEIL ATKINSON

Abuse victim Peter Murray seeks damages after alleged campaign of abuse by seminary teacher

Evidence of historic sexual abuse at a Kirklees religious school will be considered in court for the first time later this year.

Numerous allegations of horrific abuse by priests and teachers working for the Verona Fathers at St Peter Claver College, Mirfield, have been made in recent years.

However, despite £120,000 in compensation payouts, the cases have not reached court and there has been no apology or finding of guilt.

But a case will finally be tried in November, after former pupil Peter Murray, 57, launched his bid for a substantial damages payout.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:25 PM

A case of secrecy and self-silencing

UNITED STATES
National Catholic Reporter - Global Sisters Report

by Jeannine Gramick Jul. 29, 2015

April 16 was a momentous day for U.S. women religious, and indeed for all Catholics. The Vatican and other Catholics on both sides of the Atlantic breathed a collective sigh of relief when the doctrinal assessment of the U.S. Leadership Conference of Women Religious by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and the congregation’s mandate for implementation came to a conclusion.

In a May 15 statement, the LCWR officers said that the process was conducted in a spirit of prayer and openness, but it was “time-consuming,” “difficult” and “had its costs.” The officers were “deeply saddened that the report caused scandal and pain,” and said they “felt publicly humiliated” by false accusations.

I surely sympathize with all the heartache, frustration and anger these leaders must have felt in the years of dealing with the assessment and the mandate because I was engaged in a Vatican investigation of my ministry to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people from the mid-1980s to 1999. It was a time of great anxiety and distress for me, but I remember the caution that former LCWR officers urged me to keep in mind: “Do not confuse the personal with the structural.”

So while I feel deep sympathy for the personal toll suffered by these leaders, I also feel deeply troubled by the structural implications of the settlement. I believe the two main pillars of the church’s bureaucracy have been maintained. There is still secrecy and there is still self-silencing.

The LCWR officers spoke honestly and directly with the Vatican representatives, but they did not share these conversations with the media. I believe the matters they discussed affected the whole church, so what was spoken should not have been treated as confidential matter between two parties. Through the media, we in the Catholic community can become informed and learn how to deal with conflict in an adult and Christian way.

LCWR missed a golden opportunity to help move the church hierarchy toward transparency, which is increasingly being called for in civil and ecclesial arenas. Transparency is a means of accountability to the faith community. Instead, LCWR and the doctrinal congregation followed the old model of a closed and secret system — a process that the Vatican has used for centuries to rule and intimidate.

What was said, and who said it, during the three years of discussing the mandate? What was said about the charge of radical feminism or the charge of questioning the hierarchy’s position on women’s ordination and homosexuality? What was said about the charge of silence on the issues of abortion and euthanasia or the charge that some of LCWR’s public statements challenge positions taken by the bishops? How did LCWR handle the congregation’s claim that dissent from the doctrine of the church is not justified as an exercise of the prophetic office because prophecy cannot be directed at the magisterium?

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:22 PM

Former Ballarat bishop Ronald Mulkearns breaks silence on sex abuse

AUSTRALIA
The Age

July 29, 2015

Alicia Thomas

Former Ballarat bishop Ronald Mulkearns has finally broken his silence about clergy sex abuse within the Catholic Church, telling a court he remembers a priest "misbehaving" in a sexual way.

Bishop Mulkearns was forced to give evidence against former priest Robert Claffey who has pleaded not guilty to a string of sexual assault charges.

Appearing in Geelong Magistrates Court on Wednesday, Bishop Mulkearns, now retired, underwent a compulsory examination revealing evidence about child sexual abuse for the first time in almost two decades.

"I remember he (Claffey) had been misbehaving ... in a sexual way", Bishop Mulkearns told the court.
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"But I only would have recalled Wendouree in connection with that. I don't remember details".

Claffey is charged with one count of buggery, 14 counts of indecent assault and one count of committing an indecent act on a child under the age of 16.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:19 PM

Gerald Funcheon … sued again

UNITED STATES
The Worthy Adversary

Posted by Joelle Casteix on July 29, 2015

A number of years ago, a family reached out to me asking for help. Their son had been abused by a priest named Gerald Funcheon, and the family wanted to know what happened to the Crosier cleric.

At the time, I looked at the resources available. I saw a priest with huge holes in his assignment record and a couple of lawsuits. Other than that, he had simply vanished.

How times have changed.

This week, Funcheon (who had hidden assignments in Hawaii and California and very public assignments all over the country—including Indiana, where he was banned because of his “plans” to molest) was sued for sexual abuse by two more victims in Minnesota. That brings the victim tally to somewhere around 20.

Funcheon was also the first predator exposed under Hawaii’s civil window. His video deposition—where he talks about abusing kids in Hawaii and elsewhere—was made public a few years ago.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:30 PM

NE--Victims push Lincoln bishop to act on 3 accused clerics

NEBRASKA
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

For immediate release: Wednesday, July 29

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

A Catholic cleric who spent time in Nebraska is being publicly accused for the first time of molesting a child. Two other Catholic clerics, who also worked in Nebraska, are being accused as well.

[Star Tribune]

We call on Lincoln Bishop James Conley to aggressively reach out to others who may have been hurt by the three predators. We strongly suspect that there are several Nebraska adults who were assaulted as kids by these clerics and who are still suffering in shame, silence and self-blame.

A Minnesota man filed a civil lawsuit yesterday charging that he was sexually assaulted by the three clerics - Brother Roman Lawrence Fleischhacker, Brother Gabriel Guerrero and Fr. Gerald Allen Funcheon from about 1979 to 1981 when he was 15 to 17 years old.

Fleischhacker is being named publicly as a predator for the first time. Funcheon and Guerrero have been publicly accused before. (Funcheon has admitted abusing “numerous children.”)

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:00 AM

Stephanie Krehbiel on Violence...

UNITED STATES
Bilgrimage

Stephanie Krehbiel on Violence, Community, and Struggle for LGBTQ Justice in the Mennonite Church: Parallels to Catholic Conversations — Or, Why LGBT Folks Remain the Problem Even As Straight Men Engage in Sexual Predation

I've mentioned the work of Mennonite American Studies scholar Stephanie Krehbiel here in the past — for instance, in this February 2014 posting highlighting an article she published at Religion Dispatches on the parallels between "the Woody Allen problem" and the story of Mennonite theologian John Howard Yoder. As she notes, in the stories of both of these men, we encounter troubling questions about the ability of not merely conservative social and ecclesial structures, but also liberal ones, to shelter and offer excuses for the predatory sexual behavior of powerful men.

One of the questions driving Krehbiel's work is the question of how and why various institutions — notably, her church of origin, the Mennonite Church USA — can for so long shield such men while resisting accountability and transparency, especially as the victims of their sexual abuse come forward with their stories. As I noted in the February 2014 posting linked above, part of the answer to this puzzle, Stephanie suggests, is that "theology is a male-dominated field with a long history of covering, enabling, and trivializing sexualized violence."

But in Yoder's case, there's the added fillip, the grand irony, of his world-renowned witness to the Mennonite value of non-violence — a witness he was offering at the same time that he was sexually coercing female students and women under his pastoral guidance. In her article about Allen and Yoder, Krehbiel writes,

As a powerful male leader operating in a patriarchal religious academia, Yoder was anything but atypical as a sexual predator. His pacifism makes for some interesting irony, but there's always been something oddly masculinist about the way Mennonites teach nonviolence. Mennonite pacifist discourse evolved as a response to the dominant ideal of warrior masculinity, a way for men to justify not going to war; it has never been as fully formed or as celebrated for its challenge to interpersonal violence.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:49 AM

Catholic Church prioritised protecting reputation over children in Ballarat abuse case, senior sergeant says

AUSTRALIA
ABC News

By Louise Milligan

A senior sergeant on the 1990s Victoria Police attempt to charge a bishop with covering up the crimes of paedophile priests has broken his silence, saying the Catholic Church he encountered was more concerned with "brand protection" than protecting vulnerable children.

Chris O'Connor, who led the force's Child Exploitation Squad in the 1990s, worked on Operation Arcadia, an ultimately unsuccessful attempt to prosecute Bishop Ronald Mulkearns for moving Gerald Francis Ridsdale from parish to parish in the Ballarat diocese, where the priest was able to abuse hundreds of children.

"In today's parlance, the Catholic Church was more concerned about its name, its organisation, its brand, than it was about the very reason for it being — and that was the protection of the most vulnerable that were under its guidance," Mr O'Connor told 7.30.

He was dismayed by the fact that, despite being told by a police officer that Ridsdale had abused children in 1975, the bishop continued to move the priest around parishes until the 1990s.

"Given that he was a man of the cloth, given his position that he was a leader within that organisation, he was morally bankrupt to behave in a manner where he knew or at least expected that by leaving this person or moving this person to another church, or district or region, would in itself expose other potential victims," Mr O'Connor said.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:47 AM

'Bishop of bling' sued by his former diocese for €3.9m after lavish refurbishment project

GERMANY
The Tablet (UK)

28 July 2015 by Christa Pongratz-Lippitt

The diocese of Limburg, whose former bishop resigned in 2013 after having spent more than €31m on redecorating the bishop’s residence, and who has often been dubbed the “Bishop of Bling”, plans to file a €3.9m claim for damages in a Vatican court against him.

The Limburg diocese is at the moment being administered by Manfred Grothe, formerly auxiliary Bishop of Paderborn, who was installed as Apostolic Administrator of Limburg by Pope Francis after the resignation of Bishop Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst.

The €3.9m represents the loss the diocese suffered after the €31.3m refurbishment works cost far more than its original €5.5m budget.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:52 AM

A bishop has a memory lapse about the alleged crimes of an ex-priest

AUSTRALIA
Broken Rites

By a Broken Rites researcher (article updated 29 July 2015)

A retired Australian Catholic bishop, Most Reverend Ronald Mulkearns, has been forced to appear in court to answer questions about a former priest, Robert Claffey (now aged 70), who is charged with multiple incidents of indecent assault against seven children. In court on 29 July 2015, Bishop Mulkearns was forced to admit that, yes, he had known about Father Claffey's "misbehaviour" but claimed that he could not remember the details.

Bishop Mulkearns (born in 1930) was the head of the Catholic Church throughout the western half of the state of Victoria (with his cathedral in the city of Ballarat), from 1971 to 1997. Father Robert Claffey worked in west Victorian parishes under Bishop Mulkearns in the 1970s and 1980s. Claffey is charged with having committed indecent assaults at various locations in western Victoria, including Ballarat, Warrnambool, Portland and Apollo Bay, between 1970 and 1992.

During a preliminary procedure in the Geelong Magistrates Court on 12 December 2014, the court was told that one of the alleged assaults involved Father Claffey going to a boy’s house and indecently assaulting him during the 1980s. Detective Sergeant Tim Kennedy, from the Sano Taskforce in the Victoria Police, told the court that the boy allegedly reported the assault to his father, who then allegedly reported it to Bishop Mulkearns. Claffey was then moved from his parish at Wendouree (in Ballarat) to another parish [in a different part of the diocese], Sergeant Kennedy said.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:43 AM

Just released from jail, a priest is in court again re more children from his early career

AUSTRALIA
Broken Rites

By a Broken Rites researcher (article updated 28 July 2015)

In March 2015, Victorian Catholic priest Father Leslie Sheahan, now 84, was jailed for three months for indecently assaulting a nine-year-old girl in one of his parishes forty years ago. In July 2015, immediately after leaving jail, he was charged in court again with indecently assaulting two more girls from another of his early parishes. He is now awaiting the outcome of this new court case.

In both court cases, the charges were laid in the Ballarat Magistrates Court by detectives from the Sano Taskforce in the Victoria Police sex crimes squad in Melbourne.

Father Leslie John Sheahan belongs to the Ballarat diocese, which covers the whole of western Victoria, extending to Mildura in the state's far-north, to Horsham in the far-west and to Portland on the south-western coast. The city of Ballarat is where the bishop is based.

The March 2015 case

In the March 2015 court case, Sheahan pleaded guilty to "unlawful/indecent assault" of one girl. The offence was committed in 1970-1971 and therefore the charge was laid according to the criminal statutes existing at that time. (For crimes committed since the 1980s, the statutes include revised laws relating to sexual penetration.)

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:41 AM

Archdiocese abuse victims to ask court to extend Aug. 3 claims deadline

MINNESOTA
Star Tribune

By Jean Hopfensperger Star Tribune JULY 28, 2015

The bankruptcy case of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis reaches a critical point this week, when a judge will be asked to reverse his decision to move up the deadline for filing clergy abuse claims.

The victims’ committee will argue Thursday that the archdiocese didn’t publicize the deadline as ordered and that the Aug. 3 date for the archdiocese will complicate a timely settlement, because the 187 parishes can still be sued until May 2016.

The archdiocese insists that it has complied with the publicity plan and that the Aug. 3 deadline will speed up its financial reorganization.

Both sides are in uncharted territory. The Twin Cities is the first place in the nation where a court has cut short a filing deadline despite a state law that allows all other abuse survivors to file claims considerably later.

Even so, 228 abuse claims have been filed against the church as of this week.

“There is not an ideal solution,” said University of Minnesota law Prof. Christopher Soper. “There’s a tension between getting this bankruptcy resolved as quickly as possible and realizing that this isn’t a typical bankruptcy case.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:36 AM

Lawsuit alleges child sexual abuse in Friends organization

OREGON
The Newberg Graphic

Written by Seth Gordon | Print

PORTLAND — A lawsuit filed July 17 in Multnomah County Circuit Court alleges that child sexual abuse occurred in the Friends (Quaker) church in Newberg from approximately 1987 to 1991.

The plaintiff, referred to by his initials “A.J.” in the suit, claims to have been sexually abused by former Northwest Yearly Meeting of Friends youth superintendent Bruce Bishop when the youth was between the ages of 11 and 16 years old.

The suit makes five legal claims, including sexual exploitation and abuse and/or battery of a child, breach of fiduciary duty, intentional infliction of distress and negligence.

The suit seeks $4 million in noneconomic damages, as well as economic damages, loss of earning capacity and legal costs. It also states the plaintiff’s intent to include a claim for punitive damages.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:32 AM

8 Australian men charged with 500 sex offences against girl

AUSTRALIA
Today

PERTH — An Australian man was accused today (July 29) of allowing seven men to sexually abuse his 13-year-old daughter over the past two years, with police charging all eight men with more than 500 child sex offences.

Western Australia police arrested the men after receiving a tip-off from the public. Police say the father knew all of the men, and arranged for them to meet his daughter and subsequently assault her when she was between the ages of 11 and 13. The father is also accused of assaulting the girl.

The father and the other men, who range in age from 35 to 47, are facing 503 charges, including sexual penetration of a child under 13, stupefying with intent to commit a criminal offence and sexual servitude of a child.

Police Detective Superintendent Glenn Feeney, who described the abuse the girl suffered as “horrific”, said one of the men had 200,000 videos and four million child pornography images. The victim was featured in 149 images, he said.

“It’s disgusting material — there are no words to describe it,” Mr Feeney said. “Any sex offence against a child is just beyond words.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:29 AM

WA father lets 7 men abuse daughter: claim

AUSTRALIA
9 News

A Christian preacher is among eight men charged over the abuse of a 13-year-old girl, who was allegedly sexually exploited by her father over two years.

Police claim seven men made contact over the internet with the father who then organised for them to meet his daughter at various locations in Western Australia where the offences were committed.

The men face a total of 503 charges for offences that allegedly happened when the girl was aged between 11 and 13.

She is now safe and in care, receiving treatment.

Child sex abuse detectives arrested the Perth father and the seven others after a tip-off from the public in April.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:25 AM

Elder stood down for adultery, not abuse

AUSTRALIA
9 News

Despite confessing to molesting his daughter, a Jehovah's Witness senior official was first stood down by the church for adultery, a royal commission has heard.

Church elder Dino Ali admitted that a judicial hearing in 1989 dealt with the man's adultery matter before allegations of sexual abuse, because they were dealing with "one issue at a time".

He also said they could not be sure the man's confession was true, based on his history of lying.

The victim, known as BCG, has previously said her father, a respected member of the church congregation in Mareeba, near Cairns, abused her and her three sisters.

Asked to read from his own notes from 1989, Mr Ali said: "(the father) has admitted to all things and also said that whatever (his daughter) said on molesting was true".

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:21 AM

Jehovah's Witness elders ignored child sex abuse rules of evidence, royal commission told

AUSTRALIA
Sydney Morning Herald

July 29, 2015

Rachel Browne
Social Affairs Reporter

A group of Jehovah's Witness Church elders ignored their own strict religious standards in failing to punish a self-confessed child abuser in their ranks, a royal commission has heard.

The sex predator admitted to molesting his daughter to a committee of church elders, who also heard corroborating statements from the victim, her sister and mother.

However, the evidence before the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse was that the confession and three witness statements did not amount to proof in the eyes of the elders investigating the claim, all of whom were friends of the perpetrator.

A Jehovah's Witness elder involved in the investigation, Dino Ali, wrote in his statement tendered to the commission: "The judicial committee did not feel it had clear proof of the allegations of child sexual abuse from either party as it was one person's word against another's."
Counsel assisting the commission Angus Stewart, SC, told Mr Ali he had "ample proof" of the child sexual assault, which Mr Ali denied.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:19 AM

Royal commission hears how Jehovah’s Witnesses ...

AUSTRALIA
news.com.au

Royal commission hears how Jehovah’s Witnesses covered up child sex abuse dating back to 1950s

CANDACE Conti was just 9-years-old when she was shunned by her family and everyone she knew after she was sexually assaulted.

A member of the Jehovah’s Witness church, Ms Conti was a victim not only of her abuser, but of a system that covered up abuse, by enforcing a “two witness” rule, meaning any child who couldn’t verify their story by another witness was punished for their claim.

Ms Conti, now an adult, has spoken out about her experience. She says the cruel rule enforced by the church has helped keep a history of child sexual abuse covered up.

“They have a ‘two witness’ rule,” the American told The Guardian earlier this year.

“Anyone who accuses an adult of abuse must have a second witness.

“If there is no second witness, the accuser is punished for a false accusation — usually by ordering that no witness may talk with or associate with the “false” accuser.

“This is called dis-fellowshipping. For a kid raised only with other Witnesses, it was horrifying.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:17 AM

Jesuit priest Stanislaus Hogan jailed over child pornography has sentence overturned

AUSTRALIA
ABC News

By Isabel Dayman

An Adelaide Jesuit priest and teacher found with more than 1,500 pornographic images of boys will be released from jail, after a court overturned his original sentence.

Stanislaus Hogan was sentenced to two-and-half years' jail with a non-parole period of 10 months in March this year, after books, magazines and videos of young and teenage boys were found in his private quarters at Saint Ignatius' College in 2013.

The Court of Criminal Appeal today re-sentenced Hogan to an 18-month good behaviour bond after suspending a jail term of one year, three months and three weeks.

The new sentence included a six-month non-parole period, but it was suspended.

The Court of Appeal found while the original sentence was not excessive, the sentencing judge should have applied a full 30 per cent guilty plea discount and should have suspended the sentence.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:13 AM

Child sex abuse royal commission hears Jehovah's Witness Church did not sanction self-confessed paedophile

AUSTRALIA
ABC News

A paedophile who admitted to molesting his daughters was not believed or sanctioned for it by the Jehovah's Witness Church, the royal commission into child sex abuse hears.

It is the second day that church elder Dino Ali has been questioned about the way he responded to one particularly shocking case of abuse.

Yesterday a woman known by the initials BCG, who was a member of the Mareeba congregation in Far North Queensland in the 1980s, 1990s, told the commission that when she spoke to the church hierarchy of the abuse against her and her three sisters she was treated with disdain.

This morning, in the face of new evidence, Mr Ali was questioned by counsel for BCG, Pauline David, about why no finding of abuse was made despite the perpetrator BCH making a confession.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:10 AM

Pastoral associate at Indianapolis Catholic church arrested on child molestation charges

INDIANA
Fox 59

JULY 28, 2015, BY AMANDA RAKES - DIGITAL MANAGER

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (July 28, 2015)—A man who served as a religious education director at an Indianapolis Catholic church was arrested on several child molestation charges.

Oscar Vasquez-Guzman, 38, was charged Tuesday with two counts of child molesting, seven counts of sexual misconduct with a minor and one count of attempted sexual misconduct with a minor.

According to court documents, Vasquez-Guzman is accused of molesting two boys. The incidents allegedly occurred between Sept. 10, 2013, and July 20, 2015.

“I always saw young boys in his yard. I’m not surprised,” said = Vasquez-Guzman’s neighbor.

“He was friendly and a nice guy. I didn’t think anything about him,” said another neighbor.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:08 AM

Former minister gets prison for decade-long sex abuse of boy

PENNSYLVANIA
New York Daily News

SASHA GOLDSTEIN

A former Pennsylvania minister who was HIV positive while he sexually abused a boy for approximately a decade will serve up to 15 years in prison.

Norman (Ted) Faux started abusing the child at age 9 and continued the abuse for years, eventually plying the boy with drugs in exchange for sex, according to WNEP-TV.

For much of the time, he served as a United Methodist Pastor in Lake Ariel, a small village 20 miles outside Scranton, Pa.

“He perverted his role as a clergyman. He is a despicable fella and one of the most manipulative defendants I’ve ever dealt with,” First Assistant Wayne County District Attorney Pat Robinson told the TV station.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:06 AM

Church school worker arrested for child molestation

INDIANA
WTHR

By David MacAnally, WTHR reporter

INDIANAPOLIS -
A religious education worker at a west side Catholic church is charged with molesting two boys.

Oscar Vasquez, 38, is the parish religious education director at St. Anthony. He faces sexual misconduct with a minor charges.

Both victims are now teenagers.

The alleged acts did not happen in the St. Anthony church or school, but in one case, it started in the park across the street, when Vasquez allegedly asked one of the victims back to his house, where he fondled him.

"If he did that, that is a horrible thing to do. And we've seen kids in and out. I didn't know that was going on. You just never know about your neighbors," said Taylor.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:04 AM

Teacher at Caldwell church sentenced for sexual abuse

IDAHO
Idaho Press-Tribune

CALDWELL — A teacher at Caldwell’s Centennial Baptist Church was sentenced Monday to 11 ½ years in prison for sexual abuse of three child victims from the church.

District Judge Bradly S. Ford sentenced Casey R. Dyck, 24, of McMinnville, Oregon, for sexual battery of a minor child 16 to 17 years of age. He could be eligible for parole after 1 ½ years are served.

Caldwell Police arrested Dyck in February after an investigation revealed he had an inappropriate sexual relationship with an underage female student on numerous occasions in April and May of 2014 while he was a teacher, according to a Canyon County news release.

The investigation also revealed that Dyck had exchanged inappropriate photos and texts with numerous underage victims that were sexual in nature. One victim said Dyck informed her that he would give her extra credit if she wore short skirts and low-cut tops to school.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:02 AM

Eight men arrested in WA over child abuse against teenage girl

AUSTRALIA
news.com.au

ONE of eight men charged with the horrific sexual abuse of a 13-year-old girl in WA over a two-year period is her father who allegedly “facilitated” the paedophile ring, WA Police have revealed.

Another man charged is Perth pastor and the former head of the WA Prison Fellowship Program, David Volmer.

Child sex abuse detectives arrested the eight men, who are aged between 35 and 47, after a tip-off from the public in April led to the rescue of the girl.

As an example of the shocking nature of the alleged offences, police said one man was in possession of 200,000 videos and four million images involving child exploitation.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:01 AM

Ronald Mulkearns did not recall a complaint about priest Robert Claffey

AUSTRALIA
The Australian

TESSA AKERMAN THE AUSTRALIAN JULY 29, 2015

Former Bishop of Ballarat Ronald Mulkearns has given evidence under oath that he did not recall a complaint being made about former priest Robert Claffey.

Mr Claffey is charged with historical sex offences dating back to 1970.

Bishop Mulkearns gave evidence this morning in Mr Claffey’s committal hearing at the Geelong Magistrates Court.

The court heard Mr Claffey offered his resignation to Bishop Mulkearns in 1989 after the bishop supposedly met with the father of an alleged victim.

Bishop Mulkearns said he remembered Mr Claffey “had been misbehaving ... In a sexual way”.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:59 AM

Former Lafayette priest named in abuse lawsuit

INDIANA
Lafayette Journal and Courier

Ron Wilkins, rwilkins@jconline.com July 28, 2015

Two victims of sexual abuse by priests filed civil lawsuits Tuesday in St. Paul, Minnesota, accusing a former Lafayette native and priest of violating them at a Crosier school in Onamia, Minnesota.

The lawsuit names the Crosier Fathers and Brothers as its defendants. But in each lawsuit, Father Gerald Funcheon, originally from Lafayette, is named as one of the priests who violated both men when they were teenagers.

Funcheon, 77, has confessed to sexually abusing boys in his charge for more than 30 years in the Crosier and Roman Catholic priesthood, said Jeff Anderson, the Minnesota attorney who represents the two latest victims.

In response to Tuesday’s filing, the Crosiers released a prepared statement from Prior Provincial Thomas Enneking.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:54 AM

Former Catholic Bishop remembers priest 'misbehaving' in a 'sexual way', court told

AUSTRALIA
ABC News

By Geelong reporter Margaret Paul

The former Catholic Bishop of Ballarat remembers a former priest who is facing indecent assault charges "misbehaving", the Geelong Magistrate's Court has heard.

Robert Claffey pleaded not guilty to more than 10 charges of indecent assault at various locations in western Victoria, including Ballarat, Warrnambool, Portland and Apollo Bay, between 1970 and 1992.

Ronald Mulkearns was the Bishop of Ballarat between 1971 and 1997.

It is believed this is the first time Bishop Mulkearns has given evidence under oath about sexual abuse in the diocese under his watch.

He has previously been excused from giving evidence at the Victorian parliamentary inquiry into child sexual abuse in religious settings for health reasons.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:52 AM

Former Ballarat bishop Ronald Mulkearns remembers ‘misbehaving’ priest

AUSTRALIA
The Courier

By ALICA THOMAS July 29, 2015

FORMER Ballarat bishop Ronald Mulkearns has finally broken his silence about clergy sex abuse within the Catholic Church, telling a court he remembers a priest "misbehaving" in a sexual way.

Bishop Mulkearns was forced to give evidence against former priest Robert Claffey who has pleaded not guilty to a string of sexual assault charges.

Appearing in Geelong Magistrates Court on Wednesday, Bishop Mulkearns, now retired, underwent a compulsory examination revealing evidence about child sexual abuse for the first time in almost two decades.

"I remember he (Claffey) had been misbehaving ... in a sexual way", Bishop Mulkearns told the court.

"But I only would have recalled Wendouree in connection with that. I don't remember details".

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:50 AM

3 Catholic clerics sued over sex abuse

INDIANA
The Journal Gazette

ROSA SALTER RODRIGUEZ | The Journal Gazette

Three Roman Catholic clergymen who served in the Fort Wayne-South Bend Diocese in the 1950s through the 1970s have been sued in Minnesota by two men who claim they were victims of sexual abuse as minors.

The clerics – a priest and two religious brothers – were affiliated with the Canons Regular of the Holy Cross, also known as the Crosiers. The order for many years operated a seminary in Syracuse known as Our Lady of the Lake.

The new abuse is alleged to have taken place at Crosier Seminary in Onamia, Minnesota, between 1979 and 1981 when the men, identified only as Doe 51 and Doe 56, were students there.

The civil suit was filed Tuesday by Jeff Anderson and Associates of St. Paul, Minnesota, in Ramsey County District Court in St. Paul. None of the men who were sued has been charged criminally.

One of the accused clerics is the Rev. Gerald Funcheon, who was sued in Allen County in 2007 in connection with alleged abuse at a Catholic Youth Organization camp at Lake Wawasee and since 2003 has faced lawsuits alleging abuse in California, Hawaii and Minnesota.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:48 AM

July 28, 2015

Jehovah's Witness elders kept police out of sex abuse cases

AUSTRALIA
The Bulletin

A WOMAN whose father sexually abused her and her three sisters was refused permission by a North Queensland Jehovah's Witness congregation to contact police, the Royal Commission into Child Abuse heard on Tuesday.

The woman, 41, told the commission her father beat, berated and sexually assaulted her during the 1980s.

He was a respected congregation member involved in organising Bible studies and door-to-door counselling.

When she told congregation elders - many of them her father's close friends - about his actions she was interviewed and asked if she "enjoyed it".

The woman said when she suggested going to the police, an elder told her outsiders were not to be trusted and would attempt to discredit the church.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:15 PM

Father Ronald Mulkearns, ex-Catholic bishop ...

AUSTRALIA
Herald Sun

Father Ronald Mulkearns, ex-Catholic bishop of Ballarat testifies in priest’s child sex case

SHANNON DEERY HERALD SUN JULY 29, 2015

KEEPER of secrets Father Ronald Mulkearns has broken his silence about how he handled complaints of child sexual abuse while the Catholic bishop of Ballarat for more than two decades.

Until now Fr Mulkearns has avoided giving evidence at inquiries into institutional sexual abuse, citing health issues, meaning three decades of secrets from his tenure in Ballarat have remained sealed.

But he has been forced to testify in a prosecution against former priest Robert Claffey who is charged with a string of sexual assault charges.

Mr Claffey is charged with 14 counts of indecent assault, one count of committing an indecent act on a child under the age of 16 and one count of buggery on a girl.

Fr Mulkearns appeared at the Geelong Magistrates Court today but gave little away in his first sitting, answering “I don’t recall” to more than a dozen questions.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:13 PM

Paedophile priest praised for ‘change of heart’

IRELAND
Irish Examiner

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Liam Heylin

A sentencing judge has welcomed a paedophile and former Christian Brother’s “substantial change of heart” after he pleaded guilty for the first time to sex assaults on two pupils at the North Monastery secondary school in Cork.

Judge Seán Ó Donnabháin referred to the 30 months already being served by Edward Bryan, 62, for the sexual abuse of three other students — charges on which he was convicted by a jury after his denials — and imposed a concurrent one-year sentence yesterday.

“Edward Bryan has pleaded guilty to counts of indecent assault on two young boys when he was a teacher in a school here in the city,” said the judge. “Aggravating factors are the age difference and he was in a position of authority. He abused that trust in authority.

“A significant difference is his present attitude and the fact that he has pleaded guilty. That to me is a huge change and a change for the better.

“It is a public vindication that the accused is wrong, that the victims are vindicated in what they said and that the complaints they made were right and he was wrong, for the first time ever. It is some level of insight and remorse that was never there before, indicative of a substantial change of heart to be welcomed.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:59 PM

Show Me the Money! After Philly Accuser Testified Under Oath Priest Abuse Claim Was Not About Money, He Later Files Lawsuit Against Catholic Church Seeking … Money

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
TheMediaReport

David Pierre

The old expression goes: "Whenever anybody says, 'It's not about the money,' it's about the money."

No other aphorism is more fitting to the case of the Philadelphia accuser who is now suing the Catholic Church even though he swore repeatedly at two criminal trials that he was not seeking money in claiming that a priest abused him many years ago.

Yet another crock revealed

A criminal jury twice rejected the accuser's claim that Philadelphia priest Rev. Andrew McCormick abused him back in the 1990s as a 10-year-old altar boy.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:53 PM

Rabbi pleads to endangering welfare of a child, ends sex abuse case

NEW YORK
The Journal News

Steve Lieberman, slieberm@lohud.com July 28, 2015

Plea agreement met family's wish that the boy not have to testify publicly against Rabbi Gabriel Bodenheimer.

A Monsey rabbi accused of sexually abusing a 7-year-old boy pleaded guilty Tuesday to a lesser charge of endangering the welfare of a child.

Prosecutors said the agreement met the family's request to spare their son from having to testify in public.

Rabbi Gabriel Bodenheimer, 72, principal of Yeshiva Bais Mikroh for decades, faces three years probation when sentenced Oct. 27 on the misdemeanor count. As part of the agreement, the rabbi is barred from teaching or entering any school. He will also be subject to typical restrictions imposed on sex offenders.

Rockland County Court Judge Rolf Thorsen accepted the rabbi's plea.

Prosecutor Richard Kennison Moran told Thorsen the case was being resolved at the request of the victim's family, who told Rockland District Attorney Thomas Zugibe they wanted the boy to move forward with his therapy and life.

"The victim is extremely strong mentally," Moran said. "I believe he would be able to testify before this court. The family wants to spare their son the ordeal of testifying. I respect his family's wishes."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:48 PM

More lawsuits filed against priest with Lafayette ties

MINNESOTA
WLFI

Dan Klein/Alexandra Kruczek
Published: July 28, 2015

ST. PAUL, Minn. (WLFI) — A priest with Lafayette ties is the target of two more civil lawsuits involving allegations of sexual abuse.

The suits allege the abuse between 1979 and 1981 at the Crosier Seminary in Minnesota involving Father Gerald Funcheon and several other clergy members.

According to the attorney for the plaintiffs, “Funcheon is accused of sexually abusing many children in several states.”

Funcheon was a graduate student at Purdue University and provided weekend pastoral assistance from 1969-70. He later was assigned to St. Ann’s and Central Catholic High School from 1986-87. He became a priest for the Lafayette diocese in 1987.

Lafayette Diocese Communications Director Kevin Cullen tells News 18 in 1992, the bishop became aware of earlier allegations. At that time, following Vatican protocols, Funcheon was removed from the public ministry and has not exercised it since 1992. When notices were published locally for victims to come forward, no allegations were received.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:44 PM

Crosier Abuse Lawsuits Filed Today...

MINNESOTA
Jeff Anderson and Associates

Crosier Abuse Lawsuits Filed Today Involve Clergy Who Worked and Abused Throughout Minnesota

7/28/2015
Accused Clergy Sexually Abused Children in Onamia, Archdiocese of St. Paul-Minneapolis, Diocese of St. Cloud

Doe 51 Complaint
Doe 56 Complaint

(St. Paul, MN) – Civil lawsuits were filed today by two men who were sexually abused as minors by clergy at Crosier Seminary in Onamia, Minn. Doe 51 and Doe 56 were molested by multiple priests and brothers of the Canons Regular of the Order of the Holy Cross (“Crosier”) religious order. Several of the clergy named in the complaints also interacted with and sexually abused children throughout Minnesota, including at parishes and schools in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, and the Diocese of St. Cloud.

Doe 51 was sexually abused from approximately 1979-81 by Father Gerald Funcheon, Brother Gabriel Guerrero and Brother Roman Fleischhacker, when Doe 51 was approximately 15-17 years old. Doe 56 was sexually abused in approximately 1979-80 by Funcheon, Brother Wendell Mohs and Father Roger Vaughn, when Doe 56 was approximately 14-15 years old. The perpetrators were assigned to Crosier Seminary at the time they abused Doe 51 and Doe 56, who attended the seminary.

“We applaud the courage of Doe 51 and Doe 56 in coming forward to seek accountability and take back power that was stolen from them as children by abusive clergy,” said Jeff Anderson, attorney for Doe 51 and Doe 56. “These abusers were allowed to travel all over Minnesota and elsewhere and be with children, many of whom they abused. Today, Doe 51 and Doe 56 are helping put an end to that tragic practice.”

Funcheon is accused of sexually abusing many children in several states, including Minnesota, where his assignments included St. Odilia’s in Shoreview (1970-74), Cathedral High School and John XXIII Middle School in St. Cloud (1980-82), and St. Stephen’s in Anoka (1985-86), in addition to Crosier Seminary (1979). Guerrero allegedly abused multiple minors at Crosier Seminary, where he worked from 1953-55, and 1958-79. Fleischhacker was assigned to the Crosier Community of Onamia (1949-85 and 2000-13), and was involved in the Teens Encounter Christ (TEC) retreat program in the Diocese of St. Cloud.

Mohs’ assignments included the Central Minnesota TEC program, Diocese of St. Cloud (1979-82), Epiphany school in Coon Rapids, Minn. (1980-82), in addition to Crosier Seminary (1974-80). Mohs resided at various locations during those assignments, including in St. Paul and at St. Stephen’s in Anoka. Vaughn’s assignments included the Central Minnesota TEC program, Diocese of St. Cloud (1979-84), and St. Peter’s Church, St. Cloud, Minn. (1980-84), in addition to Crosier Seminary (1977-80). Mohs and Vaughn each served as vocation director at Crosier Seminary, a job in which they traveled to Minnesota communities to recruit boys to attend Crosier Seminary. Funcheon, Mohs and Vaughn are included on lists of credibly accused clergy made public by the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis and the Crosiers. Vaughn is also on a list of credibly accused clergy made public by the Diocese of St. Cloud. Guerrero is included on the Crosiers’ list.

Doe 51 and Doe 56 brought their lawsuits under the Minnesota Child Victims Act, which gives child sexual abuse victims until May 25, 2016, to file civil lawsuits. But persons abused by clergy working in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, including Crosiers, have until August 3, 2015, to bring claims against the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis in bankruptcy court.

Contact Jeff Anderson: Office/651.538.5049 Cell/612.817.8665
Contact Mike Finnegan: Office/651.538.5049 Cell/612.205.5531

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:18 PM

Two claim sexual abuse at Crosier Seminary

MINNESOTA
Mankato Free Press

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Two former seminarians who say they were sexually abused as teenagers by clergy at Crosier Seminary in Onamia have filed civil lawsuits.

Attorney Jeff Anderson said Tuesday one man was molested at about age 15 to 17 by a priest and two brothers who were assigned to the seminary and the other man was sexually abused by the same priest, another father and a brother when he was about 14 to 15 years old. The abuse allegedly took place in the late 1970s and early 1980s. The plaintiffs are unidentified.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:09 PM

China: Shaolin Temple's chief priest accused of sexual misconduct

CHINA
Hindustan Times

The chief priest of China's iconic Shaolin Temple, known for its martial arts traditions, is has been accused of having sexual relations with women followers including Buddhist nuns, a charge refuted by the temple as "groundless".

Shi Zhengyi (pen-name) claimed to be a former disciple of the temple and posted an article on various online forums last week, alleging that the 50-year-old Shi Yongxin, the abbot of the temple, maintained sexual relations with his women followers, including two Buddhist nuns.

Denying allegations, the abbot has complained to police about the "slander campaign" against him, official media quoted a staff member of the temple at Henan province as saying.

A police officer from the public security bureau of Dengfeng, Henan, told the Global Times that they have received the Shaolin Temple's report and are investigating the case.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:23 PM

Pfarrer K.: Revision hat wohl keine große Chance

DEUTSCHLAND
Westdeutsche Zeitung

Willich/Karlsruhe. Im Revisonsverfahren zum Urteil gegen den aus Willich stammenden Pfarrer Georg K. hat Generalbundesanwalt Harald Range Stellung genommen. Er sehe zwar einige Schwächen im Urteil, diese seien jedoch nicht so entscheidend, dass die Entscheidung des Krefelder Landgerichts geändert werden müsse. Er empfiehlt dem Bundesgerichtshof, eine Revision nicht zuzulassen. Das berichtete Dr. Wilhelm Helms aus Hannover, Strafverteidiger von Georg K., am Montag auf Nachfrage.

Üblicherweise folgt der Senat diesen Empfehlungen des Generalbundesanwalts. Darauf setzt auch Opferschützer Johannes Heibel von der Initiative gegen sexuellen Missbrauch. „Das ist ein gutes Zwischenergebnis“, freut er sich. „Ich hoffe, dass der Senat die Revision nicht zulässt.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:57 PM

Australien: Missbrauchs-Vertuschung bei Zeugen Jehovas

AUSTRALIEN
Radio Vatikan

Die Zeugen Jehovas in Australien haben die systematische Vernichtung von Dokumenten über den sexuellen Missbrauch Minderjähriger eingeräumt. Man habe vermeiden wollen, dass die Aufzeichnungen „in falsche Hände fallen“, sagte ein Leitungsverantwortlicher der Religionsgemeinschaft, Max Horley, laut australischen Medien am Montag vor dem staatlichen Untersuchungsausschuss zur Aufklärung des Umgangs mit Missbrauchsfällen.

Seit 1950 seien den Zeugen Jehovas 1.006 Fälle von Kindesmissbrauch bekanntgeworden. Alle diese Fälle seien intern behandelt worden, statt sie bei der Polizei anzuzeigen, so Horley. Man sei sich damals nicht bewusst gewesen, dass es sich um ein „kriminelles Vergehen“ handle. Schon zuvor waren in der Kommission Vorwürfe laut geworden, die Zeugen Jehovas hätten wiederholt übergriffige Verantwortungsträger in andere Positionen verschoben, um Missbrauch zu vertuschen.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:54 PM

Drei Jahre und vier Monate Haft für Pfarrer wegen Missbrauch

OSTERREICH
Salzburger Nachrichten

[Three years and four months in prison for a Austrian priest accused of abuse.]

Drei Jahre und vier Monate Haft für einen Pfarrer wegen sexueller Vergehen an einem Schützling: Dieses Urteil hat am Dienstag ein Schöffensenat am Landesgericht Wiener Neustadt über einen 49-jährigen Ordensgeistlichen verhängt. Der Schuldspruch ist aber noch nicht rechtskräftig, sowohl der Pater als auch der Staatsanwalt haben keine Erklärung abgegeben.

Es war bereits der zweite Rechtsgang in der heiklen Causa. Der Geistliche, der in einer 20.000-Seelengemeinde im südlichen Niederösterreich als Pater eingesetzt und bei der Bevölkerung sehr beliebt war, war bereits im Dezember 2013 wegen der sexuellen Übergriffe in Wiener Neustadt verurteilt worden - damals zu vier Jahren Freiheitsstrafe. Demnach soll der Pfarrer einen heute 25-Jährigen in den vergangenen Jahren vergewaltigt und auch durch K.o.-Tropfen sexuell gefügig gemacht haben.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:52 PM

How Pope Francis became the new Al Gore

UNITED STATES
The Week

Jason Berry

A Vatican conference recently drew mayors from cities across the globe to discuss climate change and modern slavery. The event marked a new turn in Pope Francis' evolution as a global leader — and as the rare pope with an activist foreign policy.

Speaking in Spanish and without notes, Francis closed the conference by giving praise to the politicians and asking their help in the face of "growing bands of poverty" around urban areas, which he called "a worldwide phenomenon," according to a Vatican transcript.

"Why do people come to large cities, to the outskirts of large cities, to the slums, shanty towns and favelas?" the pope asked. "It is simply because the rural world does not offer them opportunities."

New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu, who attended the conference, affirmed Francis' message in an email to GroundTruth: "With more and more people moving to cities, mayors are uniquely positioned to innovate solutions to local and global challenges," he wrote. "The pope renewed a sense of hope and possibility for mayors to create equitable solutions."

Francis also called the Congo and Amazon rainforests "the world's great lungs." He coupled deforestation with "unemployment and human trafficking," drew a thread on "slavery in mining" and "the use of certain elements in the purifying of minerals, such as arsenic and cyanide, causing diseases in the population."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:48 PM

Disgraced Former GOP House Speaker Rod Jetton Disinvited from Prayer Breakfast

MISSOURI
Riverfront Times

By Danny Wicentowski Tue., Jul. 28 2015

The church flyer promoting former state representative Rod Jetton's speech was heavy on inspiration and light on details.

"Rod's candid way of explaining his mistakes and pointing out the dangers of putting
his career in front of his faith and family will be of great benefit to fathers focused on accomplishing their professional goals," the flyer read. Hosted by First Baptist Church in Arnold, Jetton's speech was to take place during a men's-only prayer breakfast on August 15.

The flyer continued: "His ability to identify the early warning signs of pride, bitterness and paranoia in his life are exactly the type of cautionary advice anyone who is experiencing success needs to hear."

But it wasn't pride and bitterness that tarnished Jetton's legacy as a lawmaker and Missouri House Speaker: In 2009, after leaving office due to term limits, Jetton was charged with felony assault when a woman alleged that a night of sadomasochistic sex had turned dangerous and violent. Jetton later pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor assault charge. (A year later, Jetton found himself the subject of a federal investigation into whether he'd been bribed to weaken a proposed regulatory bill.)

For David Clohessy, director of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP), the fact that Jetton was being trotted out as a moral lighthouse, at a church no less, was an outrage.

In an email sent last week to First Baptist Church, SNAP urged the church's leadership to withdraw Jetton's invitation:

"Please don't claim this invitation is about forgiveness," the email read. "We can forgive a drunk driver but shouldn't give him school bus keys. We can forgive someone who commits violence but shouldn't give him a gun. We can forgive someone who assaults someone but shouldn't give him a speaking role in a church."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:46 PM

Assignment Record– Rev. Joseph C. Kremer

MINNESOTA
BishopAccountability.org

Summary of Case: Joseph C. Kremer was ordained for the St. Cloud MN diocese in 1969. In addition working in parishes, Kremer was Vice-Rector and Procurator of St. John's Seminary in Collegeville, and he held the diocesan position of Censor Librorum. He died in 1992. Kremer's name was included on the diocese's list released January 3, 2014 of clergy involved in incidents of likely claims of sexual abuse of minors.

Ordained: 1969
Died: November 18, 1992

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:43 PM

ID--Victims applaud new legal avenue for abused kids

IDAHO
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

For immediate release: Tuesday, July 28

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

We admire Matt Morgan of Idaho Falls for having the strength to seek and win justice using a little-known legal approach. It takes real courage to confront child molesters in court and to open doors for other survivors of horrific childhood trauma.

[Idaho Statesman]

Morgan successfully sued his perpetrator for fraud. Like most adults who were assaulted as kids, an archaic, predator-friendly statute of limitations initially prevented him from exposing his predator. But he and his attorneys persisted and eventually won using the fraud charge.

We hope Morgan’s bravery will inspire others who were victimized as kids to come forward, seek justice, expose predators and protect kids.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:40 PM

DC--Victims urge action on predator priest who worked in DC

WASHINGTON (DC)
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priets

For immediate release: Tuesday, July 28

Statement by Becky Ianni of Burke VA, DC area director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (703 801 6044,SNAPvirginia@cox.net)

Newly-released information shows that a credibly accused serial predator priest headed a DC area HIV/AIDS non-profit before he quietly passed away a few years ago.

[BishopAccountability.org - Assignment Record]

The work history of Fr. James "Jim" R. Nickel has just been posted on line. From 2004-2008, Fr. Nickel ran Damien Ministries, an HIV/AIDS organization in Washington DC, despite facing at least three accusers. One of them received a six figure settlement. The other two filed civil abuse and cover up lawsuits with an experienced clergy sex abuse attorney.

But as best we can tell, Washington area Catholic officials did nothing to warn parents, parishioners, police, prosecutors or the public about Fr. Nickel. Nor have they, since Nickel’s passing, taken any steps to find and help others who may have been hurt by him.

Shame on Cardinal Donald Wuerl, his predecessor Cardinal Theodore McCarrick and their staffs.

Common sense tells us that there are almost certainly other victims of Fr. Nickel suffering in silence. The official national Catholic church abuse policy tells us bishops are to “reach out” to the wounded. The Bible tells us to “leave the 99” and go out into the cold searching for the one “lost sheep.”

But this isn’t happening with Fr. Nickel. And it’s not happening in DC or in virtually any diocese on the planet with virtually any predator priest.

Again, shame on every staff member of the Washington DC archdiocese who timidly tolerates such irresponsible and self-serving secrecy. If one DC area man or woman who was assaulted by Fr. Nickel commits suicide, the blame lies squarely with every current or former Catholic staffer here who knew about or suspected Fr. Nickel’s crimes and kept silent.

We beg every single person who may have seen, suspected or suffered crimes by Fr. Nickel or cover ups by archdiocesan staff to step forward, call police, expose wrongdoers, protect others, deter cover ups and start healing. We especially beg them to seek out independent sources of support and to call secular authorities not church bureaucrats.

Fr. Nickel was a priest of the Congregation of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary He was ordained in 1970, died in 2008, and worked in California (La Puente in the Los Angeles archdiocese), Minnesota (Winona in the Winona diocese and Minnieska in the St. Paul and Minneapolis archdiocese) and in Massachusetts (West Harwish, Fairhaven and Dennisport in the Fall River diocese) and in the Bahamas (in the Nassau diocese)

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:38 PM

The Francis Factor: How Will The Pope Influence The 2016 Election?

UNITED STATES
Talking Point Memo

ByJOHN GEHRING
PublishedJULY 27, 2015

When Pope Francis visits the United States in two months and becomes the first pontiff to address Congress, his speech will be a seminal moment in American history. A pope who pumps fresh energy into the world’s most influential religious institution and humanizes the papacy will likely find his toughest audience in this country. Several polls released last week show both the challenges and opportunities that await a pope who denounces an “economy of exclusion” and in bracing language prods political leaders to wake up to the reality of climate change.

After enjoying sky-high approval ratings for the past two years, a new Gallup poll shows a swift decline in support for Pope Francis in the United States, driven largely by conservative angst. The pope’s overall favorability rating is now 59 percent, a significant dip from 76 percent early last year. Forty-five percent of conservatives now view the pope favorably, a stark decline from 72 percent who did a year ago.

Don’t quote me on this, but I think Jesus also took a hit in his poll numbers when he kicked the money changers out of the Temple, broke bread with prostitutes and reminded the religious elite that their obsession with the letter of the law missed the big picture. I doubt a pope who is focused on bringing those on the peripheries to the center of global debates is losing sleep over the finer points of Washington punditry or polling. This is a pope who still remains enormously popular and is arguably the most compelling moral leader in the world today. Coveting thy fellow leaders’ polling numbers is likely a sin, but most politicians would do anything to have the pope’s widespread appeal.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:35 PM

The 'Ex-Gay' Candidate for Missouri Governor

MISSOURI
Advocate

BY BIL BROWNINGJULY 28 2015

Missouri State Senator Bob Dixon is running for governor and claims that childhood abuse and "teenage confusion" caused him to be gay for a few years.

Dixon's campaign issued a statement Monday touting his "faith in God" and support for "traditional marriage" while condemning any opponents who try to use his past against him.

"Through the years, I have publicly spoken about being abused as a child and the confusion this caused me as a teenager," said Dixon in the statement. "There are literally thousands of Missourians who will understand how heartbreaking childhood abuse can be -- though few might be willing to acknowledge it." ...

David Clohessy -- the St. Louis-based director of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests — spoke to reporters Monday about Dixon, noting his support for legislation to help “protect kids from predators,” but stopped short of endorsing him.

"As best we can tell, he’s the first statewide candidate in Missouri history to disclose that he was molested as a child," said Clohessy. "We are sad for his trauma but grateful for his candor. Adults who have the courage to talk publicly about having been sexually assaulted, at any age by any predator, should be applauded.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:33 PM

Waukesha pastor, school bus driver accused of sexual assault of child

WISCONSIN
WISN

By Christina Palladino

WAUKESHA, Wis. —A Waukesha man who worked as a pastor and a school bus driver has been arrested, accused of first-degree sexual assault of a child.

Peter J. Knebel, 72, was an associate pastor at Fox River Christian Church in Waukesha, mostly making hospital rounds and planning funerals.

According to the criminal complaint, Knebel called a child into his office at the church last week and told her she could sit on his lap and play on his computer

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:32 AM

Waukesha pastor arrested, charged with sexual assault of child

WISCONSIN
WKOW

By Dani Maxwell

WAUKESHA (WKOW) -- A pastor of a Waukesha church has been arrested for allegedly sexually assaulting a child.

Peter Knebel was arrested Sunday, according to the Waukesha County Sheriff's Office. Online court records show Knebel was charged Monday with First Degree Child Sexual Assault. The sheriff's office says Knebel was a pastor at Fox River Christian Church and was also a school bus driver.

A criminal complaint says a girl told someone that Knebel touched her inappropriately while she was seated on his lap and playing computer games in his church office. Executive pastor Mark Roberts says the church reported what happened to authorities and suspended Knebel. Roberts says Knebel wasn't assigned to work with children.

WISN 12 News reports Knebel apparently left his job as bus driver with First Student on his own accord last month. First Student is a bus company that operates within the Waukesha School District. The school superintendent told WISN 12 News, "We have no information that would tie this alleged incident to any of our students."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:29 AM

Waukesha pastor charged with sexually assaulting child

WISCONSIN
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

By Bruce Vielmetti of the Journal Sentinel July 27, 2015

A 72-year-old school bus driver and pastor in Waukesha has been charged with sexually assaulting a child in his church office.

Peter J. Knebel was arrested Sunday after sheriff's officials say he admitted to an offense while under investigation, as well as violations involving other children in the past.

According to the Waukesha County sheriff's office, Knebel was a pastor at the Fox River Christian Church, and drove a school bus for the Waukesha School District since 2009.

Knebel faces a single count of second-degree sexual assault of a child under age 13, which is punishable by up to 40 years in prison upon conviction.

According to the criminal complaint:

A girl told someone that while she was using a computer in the church gym earlier this month, Knebel told her she couldn't use it for games, but could play on the computer in his office. There, while the girl was seated in his lap, Knebel rubbed her breast area with his thumb.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:27 AM

Waukesha pastor, former school bus driver accused of sexually assaulting a child at his church

WISCONSIN
Fox 6

JULY 27, 2015, BY KATIE DELONG AND JENNA SACHS

WAUKESHA — Waukesha County Sheriff’s officials say a 72-year-old pastor at a church in Waukesha and a school bus driver who recently retired has been arrested for first degree sexual assault of a child.

Peter Knebel of Waukesha has been charged with first degree sexual assault of a child – sexual contact with a person under the age of 13.

Sheriff’s officials say they were made aware of the assault — and during the investigation, the Knebel admitted to his involvement.

He also admitted to committing other violations against children in the past, officials say.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:25 AM

Other Pontifical Acts

VATICAN CITY
Vatican Information Service

Vatican City, 28 July 2015 (VIS) – The Holy Father has:

- appointed Bishop Salvador Gimenez Valls of Menorca, Spain, as bishop of Lleida (area 2,977, population 233,531, Catholics 207,167, priests 131, permanent deacons 5, religious 195), Spain. He succeeds Bishop Joan Piris Frigola, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese upon reaching the age limit was accepted by the Holy Father.

- gave his assent to the canonical election by the Synod of Bishops of the Patriarchal Maronite Church, of Rev. Paul Abdel Sater as bishop of the patriarchal curia. The bishop-elect was born in 1962 in Ain El Remmaneh, Lebanon, and was ordained a priest in 1987. He studied moral theology and science of education in Boston, U.S.A., and since returning to Lebanon has served as deputy priest, parish priest, school director, and eparchial bursar. He is currently syncellus for economic affairs and parish priest of the “Saint Jean” parish in Beirut.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:14 AM

Idaho Falls man uses new legal tactic to get long-delayed justice for child abuse

IDAHO
Idaho Statesman

BY TOM HOLM
Idaho Falls Post Register
July 27, 2015

IDAHO FALLS — Matt Morgan’s effort to punish his uncle for sexual abuse three decades ago has traveled a unique legal course.

After exhausting traditional legal avenues, Matt Morgan’s legal team used claims of fraud to bring Terry Morgan to justice, winning a $395,000 judgment Dec. 2.

It is a legal tactic that could be used more extensively in the future, especially for those trying to press sexual abuse cases that can’t be prosecuted because the statute of limitations has expired, said Boise attorney Andrew Chasan.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:46 AM

Child abuse royal commission: Jehovah’s Witnesses reveals father’s abuse

AUSTRALIA
The Australian

JULY 28, 2015

Nicola Berkovic
Reporter
Sydney

A Jehovah’s Witness elder says he believed a young woman had been sexually abused by her father but could not take action because he did not have a second witness.

The elder, Dino Ali, told the Royal Commission into child sexual abuse said “divine law” required two witnesses to a crime or for the perpetrator to confess.

Asked why he could not take action, even though he believed the then-18-year-old woman that her father had tried to rape her, he said:

“We couldn’t ... Because there was only the person who was aware or knew that that had happened. We [did] not have another person to corroborate.”

Mr Ali said that members of the Jehovah’s Witness church believed that it was up to a victim of a crime to make a report to police.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:43 AM

Royal Commission: Jehovah's Witness sex predator reinstated

AUSTRALIA
Sydney Morning Herald

July 28, 2015

Rachel Browne
Social Affairs Reporter

A former senior member of the Jehovah's Witnesses who repeatedly molested a teenage girl was stood down as a church elder only to be later reinstated, a royal commission has heard.

The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse was told that former church elder Bill Neill admitted to voyeurism in a meeting in which his accuser was forced to face him.

Former circuit overseer Doug Jackson, who was in charge of the investigation, told the commission he did not regard Mr Neill's conduct as criminal at the time, nor did he inform the police.

The commission heard Mr Jackson wrote a letter to the branch officer of the Jehovah's Witness Church in Australia noting that Mr Neill, now deceased, had received "strong counselling" for his "uncleanness".

The letter recommended Mr Neill be reinstated as an elder once the incident had blown over.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:40 AM

Jehovah’s Witness ‘ministerial servant’...

AUSTRALIA
Daily Telegraph

Jehovah’s Witness ‘ministerial servant’ held in high regard by congregation while assaulting daughters

JANET FIFE-YEOMANS THE DAILY TELEGRAPH JULY 28, 2015

A TEENAGE girl prayed to Jehovah to put angels around her bed and stop her father from sexually assaulting her but no-one listened, she told the sex abuse royal commission today.

While the rest of the Jehovah’s Witness branch held her father in high regard as a “ministerial servant”, he was flogging her at home until she bled and had sex with her and three of her sisters, the commission was told.

His second eldest daughter, now aged 47, said that when she tried to kill herself over the abuse, she was chastised by the church because it was seen as being a sin against Jehovah - while her father was stood down for some time but then accepted back with open arms by the congregation.

The woman, who cannot be named, said that one of the elders of her church branch in rural Queensland told her she could not report her father to the police because “you will bring reproach upon Jehovah’s name and you will be disfellowshipped”.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:37 AM

Royal commission into child sexual abuse: Former Jehovah's Witness tells hearing of abuse by father who was church elder

AUSTRALIA
ABC News

By Danuta Kozaki

A child abuse victim and former Jehovah's Witness has detailed how she was abused by her father, who was an elder with the church in north Queensland.

During its hearings in Sydney, the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse has heard the Jehovah's Witness church did not report any complaints to police involving the assault of children.

The 43-year-old witness codenamed BCG told the commission she spoke to the church hierarchy of the abuse against her and her three sisters, and was treated with disdain.

"It felt so wrong that my father's abuse affected me so much and yet didn't even qualify as something wrong in the eyes of Jehovah's witnesses who professed to be acting with the authority of Jehovah and the Holy Spirit which is considered to be above Australian law," she said.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:36 AM

Jehovah's Witness abuser quoted scripture while assaulting daughter, royal commission told

AUSTRALIA
Sydney Morning Herald

July 28, 2015

Rachel Browne
Social Affairs Reporter

As a child growing up in a strict Jehovah's Witness household she was taught to obey her father as head of the family and warned that outsiders were "worldly people" who served Satan.

In a harrowing day of evidence before the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, the woman detailed how her father repeatedly sexually abused her and her three sisters.

I wanted to dig a hole and die.

The father, given the pseudonym BCH, was a respected figure in the church who would conduct door-to-door preaching and deliver talks from an elevated platform at his congregation's kingdom hall in Queensland.

At home the man became a tyrant, with the commission hearing that he would beat his daughter so hard with a leather belt she would bleed from the welts.

The woman, now 43 and using the pseudonym BCG, told the commission that her father repeatedly molested her.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:33 AM

July 27, 2015

Abuse hearing would `sully Jehovah's name'

AUSTRALIA
9 News

A Jehovah's Witness elder has denied he tried to discourage an abuse survivor from going to the royal commission into child sexual abuse.

Jim Bello an elder in a congregation in Western Australia visited the woman, referred to as BCB, in 2012 to discuss her allegations of abuse by an elder in the church in the 80s and 90s.

On Tuesday Mr Bello said he had been told by the branch that oversees the Jehovah's Witness Church in Australia to visit BCB and her husband at their WA farm to see if he could help and to gain information.

He recalled a conversation with BCB's husband who told him his wife was thinking of going to the royal commission.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:29 PM

Child abuser was guilty of 'uncleanness'

AUSTRALIA
SBS

Source: AAP
28 JUL 2015

The Jehovah's Witnesses used the biblical term "uncleanness" to describe an elders' persistent molestation of a young girl and just stood him down from preaching.

A royal commission sitting in Sydney heard on Tuesday how the church uses biblical terms to describe criminal behaviour.

"Uncleaness" is not as serious as "loose conduct", retired district overseer Doug Jackson said when he was questioned about the Witnesses investigation into abuse committed by Elder Bill Neill in the Narrogin congregation in Western Australia in the late 80s and 1990s.

"Loose conduct" would cover intercourse and is referred to in the bible as "immorality, porneia", Mr Jackson said.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:17 PM

Peeping Tom Rabbi Case Remanded to State Court

WASHINGTON (DC)
Courthouse News Service

By DAN MCCUE

WASHINGTON, D.C. (CN) - Hundreds of women who claim to have been victims of peeping tom Georgetown rabbi convinced a federal judge on Monday to move their respective class actions back to D.C. Superior Court.

Rabbi Bernard "Barry" Freundel was sentenced to 6 1/2 years in prison on May 12, 2015, after acknowledging as part of a plea agreement that he secretly recorded at least 150 women in a Jewish ritual bath over several years.

Freundel led the Kesher Israel synagogue in Georgetown for 25 years before he was arrested on Oct. 14, 2014, after one of his recording devices was discovered hidden inside a clock radio.

He told prosecutors that he started setting up hidden cameras in the changing and showering area of the National Capital Mikvah - a cleansing bath - in 2009.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:13 PM

Media Release - Catholic Whistleblowers Steering Committee– July 27-28, 2015

NEW JERSEY
Catholic Whistleblowers

On July 29, 2015, the Catholic Whistleblowers Steering Committee will submit to Pope Francis’ newly-established Vatican tribunal a case of abuse of office against Archbishop John J. Myers of the Archdiocese of Newark, New Jersey, regarding incidents of sexual abuse of minors and vulnerable adults by clergy, and request that Archbishop John J. Myers be removed as Archbishop of Newark, New Jersey, and the clerical state, that he be denied access to his lavish retirement home, and assigned to a life of prayer and penance

What
A press conference sponsored by the Catholic Whistleblowers Steering Committee which will announce the filing of a case against Archbishop John J. Myers of Newark, New Jersey to the newly-established Vatican tribunal that investigates and holds accountable bishops who abuse their office in matters of sexual abuse of minors and vulnerable adults

When
Wednesday, July 29, 2015 at 11:30 AM

Where
Fair Bridge Hotel and Conference Center, 130 New Jersey Route 10 West, East Hanover, NJ 07936

Who
Members of the Catholic Whistleblowers Steering Committee, victim/survivors of sexual abuse and their families, and victim/survivors of the actions and decisions of John J. Myers as Bishop of Peoria, IL and Archbishop of Newark, New Jersey, including: Peoria, IL Diocese parents (of sexual abuse victims) Helen Rainforth and Linda Bruns; Newark, NJ sexual abuse victim/survivor Samuel Rivera; Milwaukee retired priest and canon lawyer Rev. James Connell; former Newark Archdiocesan priest Dr. Robert M. Hoatson; New York Archdiocese sexual abuse victim/survivor Sr. Claire Smith; victims’ advocate and whistleblower Sr. Maureen Paul Turlish of New Castle, DE and Philadelphia, PA; and, New York Archdiocese whistleblower Fr. Ronald Lemmert, who will represent and speak on behalf of Fr. Patrick Collins, a retired priest of the Peoria, IL Diocese

Why
Pope Francis has expressed his desire to hold accountable bishops who have abused their office with regard to incidents of sexual abuse of minors and vulnerable adults, and established on June 6, 2015 a Vatican tribunal to hear cases of such abuse of office. The Catholic Whistleblowers Steering Committee, with the involvement of victim/survivors of sexual abuse, advocates, and supporters, have compiled a case of abuse of office against Archbishop John J. Myers of the Newark, NJ Archdiocese, and will submit documentation of such abuse to Vatican authorities with copies to the Papal Nuncio in Washington, DC, and Archbishop Myers. From the time he was named co-adjutor Bishop of Peoria, IL in 1990 to his tenure as Archbishop of Newark, NJ from 2002 to the present, John J. Myers has abused his episcopal office on many occasions, including a serious cover-up of the sexual abuse of priests in the Peoria, IL Diocese and the mistreatment of families of sexual abuse victim/survivors there. John J. Myers also retaliated against a Newark Archdiocesan priest for speaking out about clergy sexual abuse, forcing him to leave the priesthood, and he mishandled the cases of sexual abuse against the notorious Fr. Michael Fugee and other priests, including a Newark Archdiocesan priest who was allowed to retire one week after 6 victim/survivors received a settlement of hundreds of thousands of dollars. The press conference will call on Pope Francis to remove Archbishop Myers from the Newark Archdiocese and the clerical state, deny him access to a lavish retirement home, and assign him to a life of prayer and penance.

Contacts
Robert M. Hoatson, Ph.D., West Orange, NJ - 862-368-2800
Rev. James Connell, Milwaukee, WI – 414-940-8054

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:22 PM

Accountability for Bishops

UNITED STATES
Canonical Consultation

07/27/2015

Jennifer Haselberger

The National Catholic Reporter has an interesting article this week on the efforts of the Apostolic Administrator of the Diocese of Limburg, appointed after the resignation of Bishop Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst (a.k.a. the 'Bishop of Bling'), to hold the former bishop responsible for 3.9 million Euro in losses incurred by the diocese during his administration. According to the NCR, the Apostolic Administrator, Bishop Manfred Grothe, began, upon assuming temporary governance of the See, a 'thorough investigation' of the scandal that led to Tebartz-van Elst's resignation, and in the process discovered 'outright losses that had to be written off' and which were directly attributable to decisions taken by the former bishop. The NCR reports that Tebartz-van Elst incurred the approximately $4.9 million in losses 'by demanding late and costly changes, requiring earlier work to be scrapped, and ordering design studies that were not used'. As a result, the Diocese of Limburg acknowledged in a July 23rd statement to the NCR that the Apostolic Administrator has 'raised canon law questions and the issue of material compensation in talks at the Vatican several times, the last being in April 2015. There will be another meeting on this topic in the autumn...The decision about whether payment demands can be made of the bishop emeritus, including how much and how, can only be made in cooperation with the Vatican. In principle, the Holy See is responsible in cases of legal action against a bishop.' The article notes that the Diocese of Limburg is also seeking to lesson its pension obligations to its former bishop.

Hallelujah.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:40 PM

Assignment Record– Rev. Valentine "Val" J. Klimek

MINNESOTA
BishopAccountability.org

Summary of Case: Val Klimek was a priest of the St. Cloud MN diocese, ordained in 1944. He assisted in parishes in St. Cloud, was spiritual director at Cathedral High School and went on to pastor parishes in St. Wendel, Duelm, Royalton and Rockville. He also held several Chancery positions: Catholic Youth Organization director and member of the Marriage Relations Council. He died August 7, 1994. Klimek's name was among 33 on a list released by the St. Cloud diocese January 3, 2014 of clergy involved in incidents of likely claims of sexual abuse of minors.

Ordained: 1944
Died: August 7, 1994

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:28 PM

Jehovah's Witness inquiry continues in Sydney

AUSTRALIA
Sky News

Elders from Jehovah's Witness congregations in Queensland and Western Australia will be asked on Tuesday what they did when young women alleged they were sexually abused by respected church members.

The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse is entering the second day of a two-week hearing into the church which shuns secular society and encourages its members to live according to rules based on a first-century interpretation of the Bible.

On Monday the commission was told there were 1006 allegations of child sex abuse by Jehovah's Witnesses since 1950 and not one of them was reported to police by the church authorities.

Angus Stewart, SC counsel for the commission said the hearing would consider if the Jehovah's Witnesses Church practice of not reporting serious allegations to secular authorities left its members open to being charged for concealing crimes.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:36 PM

To combat police terrorism, study the response to the church's abuse crisis

UNITED STATES
National Catholic Reporter

Mariam Williams | Jul. 27, 2015

Shortly after we entered the 21st century, the 24-hour news cycle bombarded us with interviews and images regarding a sex abuse scandal within the Catholic church. For a while, it seemed as though every day there was a new allegation of abuse dating back decades. Victim after victim emerged, sharing one heartbreaking story after another. Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests became the common understanding of the word "SNAP."

Then came our collective outrage as a society when we learned that priests (and deacons) accused of abusing children were never arrested, never turned in to law enforcement for questioning, never properly directed into the criminal justice system. Instead, they were shifted from parish to parish, their deeds covered up by bishops in personnel moves, their behavior hidden in a thickening cloud of secrecy. And once we knew about the efforts to protect the priests and not their victims, we as a society wondered, "How could this happen?"

I see parallels between the sex abuse scandal in the Catholic church and the slow awakening we are witnessing throughout the country about the realities of police violence against people of color. Names like Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Tamir Rice, Tanisha Anderson, Freddie Gray and Sandra Bland have reached the national and, sometimes, international news, but names converted into hashtags pepper social media every day, and the numbers steadily rise in "The Counted," The Guardian's tally of people killed by police in the United States.

According to The Guardian's method of calculation, the number is expected to reach 1,100 before 2015 ends, with African-Americans twice as likely to die as whites and Hispanics or Latinos. Like a growing survivors' network, people of color share their experiences with police violence, threats, harassment and other traumatic encounters in the comments section of these national stories and on their personal pages. Even if the encounters are not physical, these civilians describe fear they will never forget.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:34 PM

Tzfat Rabbi Threatened 'Horrible Things' if Victims Complained

ISRAEL
Arutz Sheva

By Tova Dvorin
First Publish: 7/27/2015

Rabbi Ezra Sheinberg of Tzfat (Safed) heavily manipulated the public's trust in the rabbinic system to sexually assault women, an officer involved in the case stated Monday.

"All the complainants are religious women who came to the rabbi, who is considered as very charismatic, and they came to ask for advice," Police Superintendent Galit Winograd, the supervisory officer during the criminal proceedings, revealed Monday. "Sometimes their husbands are the ones who brought them to the rabbi, and he fooled them and told them they needed sexual therapy - and claimed that if they did not accept his treatment, the situation would deteriorate."

Winograd told Walla! News that the pattern of attack was the same: the women would be referred to Sheinberg, and then he would set up a series of meetings, either in person or on video chat.

An investigation was launched in July 2014 when two separate women filed complaints against Sheinberg to the Tzfat (Safed) District Police, she added. Then and there, a special task force was established to investigate the complaints, mostly of female officers.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:31 PM

Israeli Rabbi Charged With Abusing 13 Women

ISRAEL
Forward

JTA

Safed rabbi was indicted on 13 counts of grave sexual crimes against women who had turned to him with religious questions.

Rabbi Ezra Sheinberg, 46, was charged Monday in the Nazareth District Court, Israel Radio reported. The charges include rape, indecent assault, sexual harassment, fraud and obstructing an investigation, Ynet reported.

The prosecution asked that the rabbi remain in custody until the end of legal proceedings against him, and for a gag order to be placed on the indictment and any details that could identify the complainants.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:29 PM

Safed rabbi indicted on 12 charges of sexual offenses including rape

ISRAEL
Jerusalem Post

The rabbi is also charged with interfering with a criminal investigation against him, coercing testimony sexual harassment and fraud.

Rabbi Ezra Scheinberg, a renowned rosh yeshiva from Safed accused of sexual abusing women in his community, was indicted on Monday on 12 charges of sexual offenses including rape, sodomy, and indecent assault.

In addition, the rabbi was charged with interfering with a criminal investigation against him, coercing testimony sexual harassment and fraud.

The allegations of a separate complainant will not be considered since the statute of limitations has expired for those incidents.

Scheinberg, 48, is married and has eight children. He is the founder of the Orot HaAri yeshiva in Safed, which he established in 1999, and was a respected and prominent figure in the national-religious community, lauded as a particularly spiritual rabbi with preternatural abilities to see into the future and give advice on that basis.

According to the charges issued by the northern branch of the State Attorney’s Office, the alleged offenses were made against 12 separate women over a period of 10 years.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:23 PM

Fugitive priest turns himself in to British police

UNITED KINGDOM
Sun Herald

AP

LONDON — A priest who fled to mainland Europe after being convicted of stealing church funds has returned to England and turned himself in to authorities, British police said Monday.

Police had traced and made contact with 50-year-old priest Simon Reynolds over the weekend and that he had been arrested after giving himself up, Det. Chief Insp. Steve Whittaker said.

Reynolds became a fugitive Thursday when he failed to return to court after lunch while he was in the process of being convicted of four counts of theft.

Reynolds was found guilty of pocketing 24,000 pounds ($37,000), which was meant for wedding, funerals and graveyard monuments while he was the priest at All Saints Church in Darton, 175 miles (280 kilometers) north of London, between 2007 and 2013. He will be sentenced on Tuesday.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:04 PM

More needs to be done to reduce child abuse

MINNESOTA
Mille Lacs County Times

Minnesota has experienced a horrific parade of violence against children in recent years. Just last week, we learned of the death of Sophia O’Neill, age 2, of Minneapolis, stomped to death allegedly by her mother’s boyfriend, age 17.

Most people recall the 32-year-old father, Michael Gunderson of Princeton, arrested in March after his two children ages 2 and 3 were found to be severely malnourished and dehydrated, with sores on their bodies.

The murder of Pope County’s Eric Dean, age 4, after 15 reports to the county of possible abuse went unaddressed, caused the Legislature to act.

And coming out in a trickle have been years of pedophile attacks by Roman Catholic priests, of which 179 in Minnesota alone have been accused.

It is easy to become angry at the accused and the convicted, to send them to prison and pretend that we have accomplished something. However, we have a major public health issue confronting us, and are nowhere close to solving it. The reported crimes are just the tip of the iceberg.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:00 PM

Other Pontifical Acts

VATICAN CITY
Vatican Information Service

Vatican City, 25 July 2015 (VIS) – The Holy Father has:

- accepted the resignation from the pastoral care of the diocese of Tumaco, Colombia, presented by Bishop Gustavo Giron Higuita, O.C.D., upon reaching the age limit.

- appointed Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin as papal legate at the celebration of the fifth centenary of the evangelisation of East Timor, to be held in Dili, East Timor, on 15 August 2015.

- appointed Cardinal Angelo Scola, archbishop of Milan, Italy, as special envoy to the Mass to be held in Bobbio, Italy on 30 August, on the occasion of the Eighteenth Meeting of the Colombanian Community, on the 1400th anniversary of the death of St. Colombanus.

- appointed Cardinal Kurt Koch, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, as special envoy to the concluding celebrations of the 1500th anniversary of the founding of the Abbey of Saint-Maurice, Switzerland, to take place on 22 September 2015.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:33 AM

Archbishop Martin regrets saying church needs ‘reality check’

IRELAND
Irish Times

Patsy Mcgarry

Mon, Jul 27, 2015

The Catholic Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin has said he regrets saying the church needed a “reality check” following the marriage equality referendum, as the phrase has since been widely misunderstood.

He was speaking at the MacGill Summer School on Beyond 2016 – What are our Aspirations for the Republic.

“The first thing that the Church must do is to carry out continuous – what I have called – ‘reality checks’. In some ways I regret that I ever used that term in a recent RTÉ interview. What I said was taken up in the press – national and international, ecclesiastical and lay – all over the world and no two stories had the same interpretation of what I intended, indeed of what I actually said.

“Perhaps I gave mixed messages. The problem is that it is reality that is mixed and there are no black and white definitions of that reality and no black and white solutions, and media are not always good at accommodating subtleties.

“A reality check is nothing more than discerning the facts in all their complexity and then facing the facts and evaluating how to address the facts in a culture that is ever changing,” he said.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:11 AM

Sexual Abuse Rabbi from Tzfat Indicted

ISRAEL
Arutz Sheva

By Shlomo Pyotrkovsky
First Publish: 7/27/2015

An indictment was submitted by the state prosecutor on Monday morning to the Nazereth District Court against Rabbi Ezra Sheinberg, who faces complaints of severe sexual abuse from no less than 13 women.

Sheinberg, who was arrested earlier this month while trying to flee Israel at Ben-Gurion Airport, is accused in the indictment of a long list of heinous crimes, including rape, sodomy, sexual assault, disrupting legal proceedings and obtaining objects through fraud.

The former Rosh Yeshiva (dean) of the Orot HaAri Yeshiva in the northern city of Tzfat (Safed) has denied the charges.

However, a week after his arrest, Arutz Sheva exposed several damning details about the case, including the fact that Sheinberg allegedly admitted his offenses to Tzfat Chief Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu and other rabbis. He has since then claimed over and over again that the allegations are "nonsense."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:16 AM

Parishioners protest closure of Newburgh church

NEW YORK
Mid-Hudson News

BALMVILLE – Some 50 parishioners from St. Mary’s Church in the City of Newburgh protested outside an Archdiocese of New York-owned bishops’ residence in Balmville on Saturday.

Parishioners chose the home, which was recently purchased and renovated by the New York Archdiocese for an estimated $1.05 million, to demonstrate that the Archdiocese apparently has money to spare, yet, St. Mary’s, along with several other Catholic churches around the state, will be closed on August 1.

St. Mary’s has appealed to the Congregation for the Clergy, the first level of the Vatican’s court system, to keep the church open.

Marietta Allen, director for St. Mary’s outreach, parishioner and organizer for the protest, said members of the church feel the Archdiocese could make better decisions with how they spend their money, the bishops’ residence, being one example since there are only two bishops living in such a large place.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:04 AM

Assignment Record— Rev. James "Jim" R. Nickel, ss.cc.

UNITED STATES
BishopAccountability.org

Summary of Case: James Nickel was a priest of the Congregation of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary ordained in 1970. His career took him from the Los Angeles CA archdiocese to the Winona MN and Fall River MA dioceses, the Diocese of Nassau in the Bahamas, and back to Fall River MA. He went on to become involved with Damien Ministries, an HIV/AIDS organization in Washington DC, working as its Executive Director from 2004 until his death in January 2008. Nickel's name was included on a list released by Boston attorney Mitchell Garabedian on April 11, 2012 of clerics accused in cases that he had settled in the previous year; a plaintiff alleging abuse by Nickel in Fall River received "six figures." In December 2014 two more lawsuits were filed, with accusations that Nickel had sexually abused two boys - one in a West Harwich MA parish in the 1970s, and the other while Nickel was pastor of a Fairhaven MA parish in the 1980s.

Ordained: 1970
Died: January 20, 2008

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:00 AM

The Jehovah's Witness Church

AUSTRALIA
9 News

QUICK FACTS ON THE JEHOVAH'S WITNESS CHURCH

* The Jehovah's Witness Church was founded at the end of 19th century in Pennsylvania by a small group of bible students led by Charles Taze Russell.

* The church now has 8.2 million active members in 239 countries.

* The religion has been active in Australia since 1896 with a branch office set up in Sydney in 1904. There are currently 817 congregations in Australia with over 68,000 active members.

* In Jehovah's Witness families the father is head with authority over his wife and children.

* Jehovah's Witness parents are encouraged to teach their own children sex education because a secular education is more likely to result in immorality.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:55 AM

Jehovah's Witness church under fire at child abuse commission

AUSTRALIA
SBS

The Royal Commission into Child Sex Abuse has heard that the Jehovah's Witness Church in Australia has received more than 1000 child sex abuse allegations over 60 years - and not one was reported to police.

It was an emotional day for victims who shared their stories of abuse by elders at church, who destroyed notes about child sex abuse.

Julia Calixto reports.

The Jehovah's Witness Church preaches about repentance in preparation for Doomsday.

Instead of a pulpit, it's been the witness box for elders at the Royal Commission into Child Sex Abuse.

Max Horley was an elder for the Jehovah's Witness congregation in Narrogin, Western Australia, in the late 1980s when a woman, known as BCB, was abused by another church elder, Bill Neill.

Commission chair Peter McClellan asked Mr Horley if he had taken notes of his conversations with BCB.

"What don't you like to have notes of a serious allegations? There are brief notes kept in the file, but all other notes are destroyed. Why is that? I guess it's because we don't want them to fall into the wrong hands and other people to find them and they go through them."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:53 AM

Jehovah's Witnesses destroyed more than 1000 cases of child sexual abuse ...

AUSTRALIA
Daily Mail

Jehovah's Witnesses destroyed more than 1000 cases of child sexual abuse since 1950 to 'protect their wives' Royal Commission told

By LUCY MAE BEERS FOR DAILY MAIL AUSTRALIA and AAP
27 July 2015

Jehovah's Witnesses destroyed notes relating to 1006 cases of child sexual abuse dating back to 1950 to 'protect their wives.'

The opening day of the royal commission in Sydney on Monday heard that the cases were instead handled internally with the victims asked to attend 'meetings', often with their abuser.

'We do not want our wives knowing our stuff - what sort of things we are dealing with,' Max Horley, an elder for the Jehovah's Witness congregation in Western Australia said.

Max Horley was an elder for the Jehovah's Witness congregation in Narrogin, Western Australia, in the late 1980s when a woman, known as BCB, was interviewed about her relationship with another church elder, Bill Neill.

In evidence on Monday, BCB, who is now 47, told the commission how Neill, who is dead, groomed her from the age of 15. He would tongue kiss her and spy on her when she was in the shower at his home.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:43 AM

Jehovah's Witnesses destroyed notes about child sex abuse, inquiry told

AUSTRALIA
The Guardian

Australian Associated Press
Monday 27 July 2015

Jehovah’s Witnesses destroyed notes about child sexual abuse to stop them falling into the wrong hands and to “protect their wives”, a church elder has told a national hearing in Sydney.

The opening day of a royal commission hearing into abuse within the church has heard how 1,006 allegations of child abuse since 1950 were dealt with internally and never reported to police.

It has also heard that victims were made to confront their abusers and left feeling as if they had sinned.

Max Horley was an elder for the Jehovah’s Witness congregation in Narrogin, Western Australia, in the late 1980s when a woman, known as BCB, was interviewed about her relationship with another church elder, Bill Neill.

On Monday, BCB, 47, told how Neill, who is dead, groomed her from the age of 15. She said he would molest her and spy on her when she was in the shower.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:40 AM

Pastor Masocha Dipped His Hand Into My Underwear Saying He Wanted To Remove Demons, Girl Speaks Out

ZIMBABWE
ZimEye

Disgraced, convicted child abuser Bishop Walter Masocha has met further embarrassment after a teenage victim spoke out saying he once dipped his hands into her underwear.

Princess Chiferere according to the Scottish Recorder was just 13 when Masocha began grooming her at Agape for All Nations church in Stirling before molesting her.

The comments came after GirlChild Network founder Betty Makoni called for a review of Masocha’s sentence saying there are even more victims in Zimbabwe in addition to the British ones. Masocha was sentenced to a little over 200 community service hours and put onto the sex offenders register for a year meaning he can now freely preach at his church cult. Makoni told ZimEye.com,

“What Masocha did to church members is not new at all. In Zimbabwe he raped two girls closely related to his wife. Those have not healed up to now. Public humiĺiation he suffered cannot compare to what hos victims went through.His name is linked to serious historical child sexual abuse.

“There has not been consideration of what victims suffered.We call UK justice system to review this serious case of child abuse.Child abusers should be aware of serious consequences those they abuse suffer.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:38 AM

July 26, 2015

Rule-bound church kept child abuse secret

AUSTRALIA
SBS

Elders in the Jehovah's Witnesses forced a girl to confront her father who was abusing her, and who blamed her for seducing him.

The elders were friends of her father who was a highly regarded member of the church, which likes to keep its members isolated from the rest of society, a royal commission has been told.

Counsel for the commission Angus Stewart, SC, said a witness known as BCG would give evidence that her father's sexual abuse did not appear to qualify as "wrongdoing" in the eyes of the Church.

In his opening statement to a hearing into child sexual abuse within the Jehovah's Witnesses, Mr Stewart said of the 1006 alleged perpetrators of child abuse identified by the Jehovah's Witnesses since 1950, not one was reported to authorities.

The church is preoccupied with sin and sinning, and has a patriarchal structure where a man is head of the family and elders, all men, shepherd the congregation, Mr Stewart said.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:38 PM

Paedophiles repeatedly promoted ...

AUSTRALIA
Daily Telegraph

Paedophiles repeatedly promoted to positions of authority in Jehovah’s Witness church royal commission told

JANET FIFE-YEOMANS THE DAILY TELEGRAPH JULY 27, 2015

THE Jehovah’s Witness church repeatedly promoted paedophiles to positions of authority and never reported any case of child abuse to the police, the child sex abuse royal commission has been told today.

Church elders could now face criminal charges for concealment of serious indictable offences and failure to disclose sexual offences against minors, counsel assisting the commission Angus Stewart SC said.

The church holds no insurance for child sex abuse and its corporation, Watchtower Australia, in 2008 considered forming a separate legal entity to minimise liability, Mr Stewart said.

One church Elder, who had sexually abused all four of his daughters, was “disfellowshipped” not for his crimes but for “unrelated loose conduct and lying”, the commission sitting in Sydney was told.

One of his daughters will give evidence that she had to be interviewed by three church Elders together with her father and that instead of being supported, the Elders made her feel to blame.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:35 PM

Child abuse inquiry: Jehovah’s Witnesses never reported offenders

AUSTRALIA
The Australian

JULY 27, 2015

Rick Morton
Social Affairs Reporter
Sydney

At least 125 allegations of child sex abuse in the Jehovah’s Witnesses did not proceed to further investigation because the church’s internal practices required at least two observers of the abuse to come forward, the royal commission will hear.

And of the 1006 alleged offenders identified by the church since 1950 not a single one was reported to the police or other “secular authorities”.

The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sex Abuse began its new study of the Jehovah’s Witnesses in Sydney today and will hear evidence that the Church believes the best defence against child sex abuse are “loving and protective parents”.

The commission will hear that the most severe punishment inside the Jehovah’s Witnesses for abuse of this kind is to be “ disfellowshipped”, the equivalent of being excommunicated in which no member of the church is to contact the person kicked out.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:33 PM

Child sex abuse royal commission hears Jehovah's Witnesses failed to report 1,000 alleged perpetrators

AUSTRALIA
ABC News

By Brad Ryan and Angela Lavoipierre

More than 1,000 members of the Jehovah's Witnesses have been identified by the church as perpetrators of child sexual abuse since 1950, but not one was reported to police, an inquiry has heard.

The Jehovah's Witnesses church, which preaches that the end of the world is near, is at the centre of a child abuse royal commission hearing in Sydney today.

Counsel assisting the commission, Angus Stewart SC, said the church relied on Bible passages to set its policies on child sexual abuse, and avoided resorting to secular authorities and courts.

"Evidence will be put before the royal commission that of the 1,006 alleged perpetrators of child sexual abuse identified by the Jehovah's Witness church since 1950, not one was reported by the church to secular authorities," Mr Stewart said.

"This suggests that it is the practice of the Jehovah's Witness church to retain information regarding child sexual abuse offences, but not report allegations of child sexual abuse to the police or other relevant authorities."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:32 PM

Jehovah's Witnesses did not report 1006 alleged sex abusers to police, royal commission told

AUSTRALIA
Sydney Morning Herald

July 27, 2015 -

Rachel Browne
Social Affairs Reporter

The Jehovah's Witness Church in Australia received allegations of child sexual abuse involving more than 1000 of its members over a 60-year period but did not report a single claim to police, a royal commission has heard.

Instead, the church, which has almost 70,000 active members, followed its policy of handling allegations internally.

The opening day of the hearing into the Jehovah's Witnesses at the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse was told that church elders blamed at least two victims for their sexual abuse.

The commission heard that alleged abusers could be cast out of the church if claims were proven but a requirement that at least two witnesses give evidence to an internal judicial committee meant many alleged perpetrators were not questioned.
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Counsel assisting the royal commission, Angus Stewart, SC, said the church had recorded 1006 cases involving individual perpetrators within the organisation since 1950.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:29 PM

Child sex abuse royal commission: Jehovah's Witnesses to be focus of inquiry hearing

AUSTRALIA
ABC News

[live steam]

By Angela Lavoipierre

The Jehovah's Witnesses will be the focus of the child abuse royal commission's next set of hearings, which begin in Sydney today.

The case study, which is expected to run for two weeks, is the first to focus on an entire Christian denomination rather than just one part of it.

It is expected to hear evidence from two abuse survivors as well as senior members of the church.

At least seven current and former Jehovah's Witnesses Elders are expected to be called.

Senior staff for the Jehovah's Witnesses' company, the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of Australia, are also expected to appear.

The Jehovah's Witnesses, which is sometimes described as a Christian sect, had more than 80,000 followers in Australia at last count.

Lawyer Angela Sdrinis, who is representing a number of people alleging abuse, said complainants had been slow to come forward because of the organisation's size and culture.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:38 PM

Facts, not hysteria and hearsay

AUSTRALIA
The Austrlaian

JULY 27, 2015

Victims of child sexual abuse have fought a long, painful battle for justice. Their cause, sadly, has been set back by the incompetence of, and shameful distortions by, Victoria Police. As John Ferguson revealed on Saturday’s front page, the police force vastly overstated the number of suicides related to child sex abuse by Catholic clergy in the state. After claiming 43 church-related suicides had taken place, police now concede the real figure was one suicide in which church-related sex abuse was a contributing factor.

The disclosure, in a Crime Department intelligence brief, is a blow to the credibility of Victoria Police’s Chief Commissioner Graham Ashton. He gave evidence to the Victorian parliamentary inquiry into abuse, based on a senior detective’s “list’’ of suicide victims who had supposedly been abused by clerics. That assertion — disseminated in much of the media and elsewhere as gospel — was a key reason for holding the inquiry and, in turn, the national sex abuse royal commission.

The other main reason Julia Gillard called the royal commission in 2013 was the accusations made on ABC television and in the Newcastle Herald by detective chief inspector Peter Fox about abuse in the Maitland-Newcastle diocese. The NSW special commission into those allegations led by Margaret Cunneen SC, however, found Fox an “unsatisfactory witness” who had lied to fellow police and whose evidence “should be approached with caution’’.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:03 PM

Assignment Record– Rev. Reginald M. Krakovsky, T.O.R.

UNITED STATES
BishopAccountability.org

Summary of Case: A Third Order Regular Franciscan ordained in 1952, Reginald Krakovsky worked in parishes in Oregon, Pennsylvania, Minnesota and West Virginia. He was assigned to several high schools, including a preparatory seminary, and he was a seminary novice master and procurator for missions in Paraguay. Krakovsky also did a short stint as an English instructor in Slovakia. He died July 14, 1997. Krakovsky was accused in a 1995 lawsuit of sexually abusing a boy at a parish in the St. Cloud, Minnesota diocese in the early 1960s. His accuser said he knew of other former classmates who remembered being abused by the priest. Krakovsky's name was included on the St. Cloud diocese's list released in January 2014 of 33 credibly accused clerics.

Ordained: July 9, 1952
Died: July 14, 1997

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:48 PM

Deadline for Claims Against the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, is August 3rd

MINNESOTA
Legal Examiner

Posted by Mike Bryant
July 26, 2015

There is just over a week remaining for claims against the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis. You must act by August 3rd.

The deadline is shorter than the rest of the state because of the bankruptcy of the Archdiocese.

If you or a loved one has a potential claim, it is time to act.

Nationally renowned priest abuse attorney Jeff Anderson’s website details instructions. There are a number of key points:

• You must file a claim by August 3rd.
• Your privacy and confidentiality can be protected.
• Filing your claim can help you and help protect children.

Please act now, because any further delay will result in loss of your right to make a claim

Public hearing into the Jehovah’s Witnesses

AUSTRALIA
Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse

The Royal Commission will hold a public hearing in Sydney commencing on 27 July 2015 at 10:00am.

The scope and purpose of the public hearing is to inquire into:

1. The experience of survivors of child sexual abuse within the Jehovah’s Witnesses Church in Australia.

2. The responses of the Jehovah’s Witnesses Church and the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of Australia Ltd to allegations, reports or complaints of child sexual abuse within the Church.

3. The systems, policies and procedures in place within the Jehovah’s Witnesses Church and the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of Australia Ltd for raising and responding to allegations of or concerns about child sexual abuse within the Church.

4. The systems, policies and procedures in place within the Jehovah’s Witnesses Church and the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of Australia Ltd to prevent child sexual abuse within the Church.

5. Any related matters.

Any person or institution who believes that they have a direct and substantial interest in the scope and purpose of the public hearing is invited to lodge a written application for leave to appear at the public hearing by 10 July 2015.

Applications for leave to appear should be made using the form available on the Royal Commission website.

The form and the submission should be lodged with the Royal Commission via: Email: solicitor@childabuseroyalcommission.gov.au; or Mail: GPO Box 5283, Sydney NSW 2001.

The public hearing will be streamed live to the public via webcast on the Royal Commission’s website.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:57 PM

Jehovah's Witnesses face inquiry

AUSTRALIA
SBS

AAP

A public hearing into child sex abuse in the Jehovah's Witnesses, the sometimes controversial Christian church, starts in Sydney on Monday.

In the inquiry, which is expected to run for two weeks, the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse will hear from people who allege abuse within the Jehovah's Witnesses Church in Australia.

The commission will also examine the responses of the church and its company - the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of Australia Ltd - to complaints made against members.

The Witnesses are best known for their door-to-door proselytising as they spread the message of what they believe is the true meaning of the bible.

They are also known for their refusal to accept blood transfusions and have been accused of being a "cult".

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:55 PM

Revealed: £1.5 million paid to Scots child abuse victims in the last decade

SCOTLAND
Daily Record

26 JULY 2015
BY ANNIE BROWN

THE victims were physically and sexually absued in local authority schools and childrens’ homes.

Scottish councils have paid out more than £1.5 million in compensation to child abuse victims in the last decade.

The victims were physically and sexually absued in local authority schools and childrens’ homes.

Dumfries and Galloway alone paid out £1 million to 50 victims at the Merkland Childrens’ Homes in Moffat.

Glasgow City made nine payments, between April 2008 and October last year, worth a total of £85,350 to victims including those from Kerelaw School, in Stevenston, North Ayrshire.

A former art teacher Matthew George from the secure unit was jailed for 10 years for physical and sexual assault.

The figures obtained under a Freedom of Information request by the Scotland on Sunday, show that Fife Council paid out £369,000 between October 2005 and December 2008.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:51 PM

Cardinal Pell raps pope's climate stance

ROME
Gazzetta del Sud

Rome, July 20 - An Australian cardinal leading efforts to clean up Vatican finances has courted controversy again - after a much-criticised stance on sex abuse - by chiding Pope Francis for his landmark encyclical on climate change. George Pell, who last year likened a typical victim of sex abuse to hitchhikers, and the Church to the truck they happened to have taken, told the Financial Times that the Church had "no particular expertise in science". Pell told the Financial Times the church had "no particular expertise in science". "The Church has got no mandate from the Lord to pronounce on scientific matters," he said, adding "we believe in the autonomy of science." Pell's comments came a month after Francis released his historic encyclical, 'Laudato si', calling on humanity to fight global warming. ...

Pell is a well-known climate change skeptic. He was appointed to reform the Vatican's finances nearly 18 months ago. Last August Pell enraged survivors of clerical sex abuse by comparing the Vatican to a trucking company that could not be blamed if a driver molested a hitchhiker. Pell made the remark while testifying via videolink from Rome to an Australian probe into historic abuse and alleged cover-ups when he was Melbourne archbishop in the 1990s. Saying it would not be appropriate for legal culpability to be "foisted" on church leaders, he drew an analogy between the Catholic Church and a trucking company, citing a hypothetical example of a case involving a woman who was molested by a truck driver. "It would not be appropriate, because it's contrary to the policy, for the ownership, leadership of that company to be held responsible," Cardinal Pell said. "Similarly with the church and the head of any other organisation. "If every precaution has been taken, no warning has been given, it is, I think, not appropriate for legal culpability to be foisted on the authority figure. "If in fact the authority figure has been remiss through bad preparation [or] bad procedures or been warned and done nothing or [done something] insufficient, then certainly the church official would be responsible." Nicky Davis from the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests (SNAP) was in the audience of the royal commission during Cardinal Pell's comments. She said the truck analogy left the audience "open mouthed in shock".

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:08 PM

Bishop Kettler to hold listening sessions regarding recent sexual abuse lawsuits

MINNESOTA
Dairyland Peach

Published July 26, 2015

Bishop Donald Kettler of the Diocese of Saint Cloud will hold a series of listening sessions in August following allegations of sexual abuse committed by three priests of the diocese. The Diocese of St. Cloud was recently notified of four civil lawsuits alleging abuse by Father Robert Smith, Father William Wey and Father James Thoennes. The suits name the Diocese of St. Cloud as a defendant.

Smith and Wey have been deceased for more than 25 years. Thoennes does not have faculties to serve publicly as a priest and currently lives in St. Cloud under restrictions.

The listening sessions will be held at parishes in areas of the diocese where the three men served. The gatherings are an opportunity for the bishop to acknowledge the accusations, listen and answer questions, and encourage any other abuse victims/survivors to come forward.

“I’m very concerned about any clergy sexual abuse that has ever happened,” Bishop Kettler said. “I want to do everything I can to respond to the people who bring allegations forward and to prevent abuse from ever happening again.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:29 AM

A Jesuit priest is jailed after admitting offences against children

AUSTRALIA
Broken Rites

By a Broken Rites researcher (article updated 22 July 2015)

Broken Rites is doing further research about Father David Rankin, a Catholic priest in the Jesuit religious order, who was jailed in 2014 after pleading guilty to acts of indecency committed against three young boys in Sydney. These particular offences occurred in the 1960s when Rankin was a school teacher (by 1970, he was ordained as a Jesuit priest). These three boys are not necessarily Rankin's only victims during his 50-year career; they are merely three who took the opportunity to speak with a New South Wales Police detective. This shows that, even after 50 years, it is never too late to report a child-abuse crime to the child-protection police. After becoming a priest, Father Rankin ministered in Melbourne and Tasmania — and in Canada.

During 2014, Father Rankin (full name Gregory David Rankin), aged 79, appeared in Sydney District Court for pre-sentence proceedings. He confirmed his guilty plea.

Later the court handed down its sentence. Rankin was given an 18 months jail sentence, with 12 months to be served behind bars before he becomes eligible to apply for parole for the final six months.

According to court documents, David Rankin was a lay teacher at Northbridge Primary School in northern Sydney when he committed 11 acts of indecency on three boys in the 1960s.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:15 AM

A Catholic religious Brother is jailed at the end of his long career

AUSTRALIA
Broken Rites

By a Broken Rites researcher (article updated 24 July 2015)

The Catholic Church harboured a sexually abusive religious Brother, Bernard Hartman, throughout his long career in Australia and the United States. In Australia, the Melbourne Catholic diocese learned that Brother Hartman had committed crimes against Melbourne school-children but it did not report these crimes to the police. Finally, on 24 July 2015, some of his Melbourne victims got Brother Hartman (aged 75) jailed for his crimes.

Brother Hartman, born in the United States, is a member of an international Catholic religious order known as the Marianist brothers and priests. He worked in Australian schools in the 1970s and early 1980s.

In court in Australia in 2015 he was charged with sexual assaults on two boys and two girls committed while he was working at St Paul's College in Altona, a suburb in Melbourne's west. (At the time of the assaults, this was a boys' school, operated by the Marianist religious order, but now it has become one of the campuses of the Catholic Church's co-educational Emmanuel College.)

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:14 AM

A prominent Marist Brother is jailed — 40 years after the crime

AUSTRALIA
Broken Rites

By a Broken Rites researcher (article updated 23 July 2015)

One of the Marist Brothers' most senior educators in Australia, Brother Peter Pemble, was jailed on 23 July 2015 (aged 67) for a child-sex crime which he committed 40 years earlier when he was in his twenties. In court, Pemble pleaded guilty to the offence, which was committed against a junior boy in a Marist school at Maitland (in the Hunter region, north of Sydney) in the early 1970s. Eventually, Brother Peter Pemble became the principal of several Catholic schools in Sydney. The victim finally spoke to police, 40 years after the crime, because he still feels hurt by the sexual abuse and the cover-up.

In Newcastle District Court in New South Wales, Judge Peter Bernman sentenced Peter William Pemble to 18 months jail with a minimum of nine months behind bars, after which Pemble will become eligible to apply for release on parole.

Pemble's guilty plea relates to one count of indecent assault. Two other incidents were taken into account at the sentencing.

According to court documents, Brother Peter William Pemble was born on 6 April 1948.

Court documents stated that, at Marist Brothers High School at Maitland in 1971, Brother Pemble cultivated a relationship with this junior student. Pemble committed the indecent assault in an empty room at the school.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:12 AM

Sunday Herald linked Leon Brittan to child sex abuse in 2013

UNITED KINGDOM
Herald Scotland

FORMER Conservative Home Secretary Leon Brittan is the latest and one of the most high profile figures to be linked to historic child abuse allegations.

The Sunday Herald was the first to report on the former Thatcher minister's connection. We reported in December 2013 that Brittan was being investigated by detectives leading Operation Fernbridge, but his name could not be revealed at the time for legal reasons.

Now, however, he has been identified in previously secret government sex abuse files along with Sir Peter Morrison, one of Margaret Thatcher’s closest aides, former diplomat Sir Peter Hayman and former minister Sir William van Straubenzee. All have since died and the contents of the documents have not been revealed.

Operation Fernbridge, run by the Metropolitan Police, examined claims of abuse in the early 1980s at Grafton Close Children’s Home and at Elm Street Guest House in London. Earlier this year Catholic priest Father Anthony McSweeney, was found guilty of sexually abusing a teenage boy at the children's home and jailed for three years.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:06 AM

Scots councils paid £1.5m to child abuse victims

SCOTLAND
Scotsman

CHRIS MARSHALL
Sunday 26 July 2015

SCOTTISH councils have paid out around £1.5 million in compensation to the victims of child abuse during the past decade.

Payments were made in relation to physical and sexual abuse which took place in schools and children’s homes.

Dumfries and Galloway made the biggest award, paying out a total of £1m to 50 individuals abused at the Merkland children’s home in Moffat. Smaller amounts were paid by Glasgow City Council and Fife Council.

The figures are published today as work gets under way on Scotland’s inquiry into the historical abuse of children in care, which is due to begin taking evidence in October.

The inquiry’s chair, Susan O’Brien QC, took up her position earlier this month after surviving a last-minute legal challenge by two Catholic congregations to unseat her.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:03 AM

Westminster paedophile scandal casts shadows over British establishment

UNITED KINGDOM
Sydney Morning Herald

July 26, 2015

Nick Miller
Europe Correspondent

London: In October 2012, Labour MP Tom Watson stood up in the British House of Commons and lobbed a grenade – metaphorically speaking.

Tapping a sheaf of paper in his hands, he told the Prime Minister that police had – or used to have – a file of evidence containing "clear intelligence suggesting a powerful paedophile network linked to Parliament and No. 10".

David Cameron leant forward, his brow furrowed.

Mr Watson continued: "One of its members boasts of his links to a senior aide of a former prime minister, who says he could smuggle indecent images of children from abroad."

The leads were never followed up.

Mr Watson said police ought to secure the evidence and re-examine it.

Mr Cameron played a straight bat in reply.

"I'm not entirely sure which prime minister he's referring to," he said, promising to "see what the government can do" about it.

Since then the "Westminster Paedophile Scandal", as it has come to be known, has bubbled away in the background of British crime and politics, never quite going away, but never coming to a head.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:00 AM

Victim of abuse by jailed former chaplain to the Queen tells of her relief

UNITED KINGDOM
Portsmouth News

Ben Fishwick
ben.fishwick@thenews.co.uk
Sunday 26 July 2015

A WOMAN who was subjected to repeated indecent assaults by a former chaplain to the Queen when she was a teenager has told of her relief at seeing him jailed.

Canon Stephen Palmer abused the girl at his home provided by the Church of England when he was assistant curate at Holy Rood in Stubbington in the mid-1970s.

Portsmouth Crown Court heard on each time the 68-year-old abused her – once pushing her against the stairs making her fear she would be raped – he told her no-one would believe her.

But a jury did, finding him guilty of six counts of indecent assault and Palmer is now in prison at the start of a 39-month stretch.

Speaking exclusively to The News, his victim, aged 17 at the time of the assaults, said: ‘I think it was very unlikely I was the only victim.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:50 AM

A careful grace: Accountability for sex offenders in the church

UNTIED STATES
Religion News Service - Rhymes with Religion

Boz Tchividjian | Jul 25, 2015

Many churches are faced with a terribly difficult dilemma of what to do when a sex offender wants to become part of the church community. In my experience, most churches have little to no understanding of the many complex issues related to such a decision. As a result, churches often make decisions that result in great harm to the children and abuse survivors in the congregation.

Simon Bass is a dear friend and colleague who spends his life protecting children on the other side of the pond. He is the Chief Officer of the Churches’ Child Protection Advisory Service (CCPAS), which is an amazing organization that is transforming churches in the United Kingdom into much safer places for children and survivors. I am thankful to God for introducing me to Simon and believe that his thought provoking guest post will help spark a much needed dialogue in this country on a topic many would prefer to ignore. – Boz

_____________________________________________________________________________

For many years, I have worked with churches, advising them on how to receive sexual offenders into their congregations. I have also met and worked with many sexual offenders. In 1999, a church contacted me to help them with an offender who had downloaded child pornography (i.e. child abuse images). The offender had been convicted as part of Operation Ore, the UK response to Operation Avalanche in the United States. At the time, we were only beginning to understand the Internet’s harmful impact and could never have anticipated the proliferation of such images. Since then, barely a week goes by without a church contacting me about a sex offender in its congregation. Whenever I help a church, I urge them to extend a careful grace to sex offenders, including those convicted of online offences.

Child pornography is nothing less than the recording of the sexual abuse of children – each picture is a crime scene, a depiction of real children’s molestation. Sadly, such images show extreme, sadistic, and violent abuse against children. Viewing child abuse images is not a victimless crime; thousands of victims of sexual abuse continue to be re-victimized when perpetrators share those images. People who view such images demonstrate that they have a sexual interest in children, and they often have convictions for similar sexual offences. Unfortunately, a significant number of offenders will also have held positions of trust in churches, giving them access to children.

Recently, I learned about a pastor of a large church in the United States who publicly praised a church volunteer who is also a convicted sex offender for possessing child pornography. This church’s myopic understanding of care for the sex offender struck me. The church seems to have focused upon caring for the sex offender without considering how doing so impacts survivors or poses risks to children in the church. This church honored a sex offender in such a way that lessened the impact of his crime. This behaviour insults all survivors of sexual abuse who demonstrate real heroism in overcoming their abuse.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:45 AM

Briones: Ferreting out the truth

PHILIPPINES
Sun-Star

By
PUBLIO BRIONES III

I KNEW it. I knew that girl was up to no good. When I saw her on TV being interviewed a few weeks ago, there was something off. I just couldn’t quite put my finger on it.

When a minor goes on camera to tell the public that she has been sexually molested--by a priest, no less--I’d expect, I don’t know, a quiver in her voice. At the very least. But no, not even a stammer.

And she didn’t display any of the tell-tale signs of sexual abuse. According to the US Department of Justice, teens that have been are usually aggressive, depressed, anxious, suicidal or afraid of intimacy or closeness, among others. The website, though, had a disclaimer: “The occurrence of one indicator does not necessarily mean a person has experienced sexual abuse. Additionally, indicators of sexual abuse can vary widely from person to person.”

So let’s go through the check list. Did the 16-year-old trainee for the parish choir seem anxious? Not a bit. Did she display any sign of fear or aggressive behavior? Hmmm. Nope and nope.

What she was that day, though, was excited. And amused. Even a tad incredulous. She reminded me of someone who was afraid that their 15 minutes of fame were almost up. Ah, then that would explain the verbal diarrhea.

But hey, who am I to psychoanalyze her? I’m not qualified, but it doesn’t mean I can’t discern between “normal” and “abnormal” behavior. So I guess, I’ll continue to dish out my 10 cents worth of psychobabble.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:39 AM

July 25, 2015

No further action against Stockport Church of England vicar over rape allegation

UNITED KINGDOM
Manchester Evening News

25 JULY 2015
BY PAUL BRITTON

CPS rules 'insufficient evidence' and the Rev Simon Marsh's suspension by the Church of England has now been lifted

A church vicar arrested over an allegation of rape has been cleared.

No further action is to be taken against Anglican priest Simon Marsh after a 15-month police investigation.

The Rev Marsh, the vicar of Bramhall in Stockport who is based at St Michael and All Angels CofE Church, was arrested by police on suspicion of rape in April last year after an allegation was made against him.

The 56-year-old has remained on police bail pending further enquiries ever since but police and the Crown Prosecution Service have now confirmed that no further action will be taken against him.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:52 PM

Judge OK's defamation suit by N.J. priest accused of stabbing colleague, report says

NEW JERSEY
NJ.com

By Paul Milo | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com
on July 24, 2015

MORRISTOWN — A judge ruled Friday that a defamation suit filed by a Roman Catholic priest against a fellow cleric can proceed, the Daily Record reported.

Superior Court Judge Robert J. Brennan denied a request to dismiss the suit filed by the Rev. Frank Hreno, 52, who was charged April 14, 2014, with threatening to kill Rev. Emeka Okwuosa at the Vocationist Retreat and Conference Center in Florham Park.

Okwuoso also claimed Hreno stabbed him with a four-foot crucifix, but Hreno was never charged with that offense and was later admitted into Morris County's pre-trial intervention program, which allows some first-time offenders to avoid a criminal record.

In his suit, Hreno states the claim about the attack was defamatory and manufactured. The suit also alleges Okwuosa spit in Hreno's face, wrote checks to himself using Hreno's checkbook, used Hreno's credit cards and also damaged cars Hreno was authorized to use.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:46 AM

Essex D.A wants former priest held as 'sexually dangerous'

MASSACHUSETTS
MassLive

By Dave Canton | dcanton@repub.com
on July 25, 2015

SALEM— The first Catholic priest convicted and jailed for sex abuse is about to be released from state prison.

Now 72-years-old, Ronald Paquin has served 12 of his 12 to 15 year sentence for raping and molesting an alter boy more than 50 times over a three-year period.

But, the Eagle Tribune reports that Essex County District Attorney Jonathan Blodgett says Paquin is still too dangerous to walk the streets. He wants the former priest held in Bridgewater State Hospital.

A spokeswoman for Blodgett said state law allows for petitions to hold released prisoners indefinitely as "sexually dangerous persons."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:44 AM

Former Isle of Wight vicar jailed for sex offences

UNITED KINGDOM
Isle of Wight County Press

THE former vicar of Newport, Canon Stephen Palmer, has been jailed for three years and three months for sexual assaults on a 17-year-old girl in the 1970s.

During one assault, Palmer told his victim that no-one would believe her if she told them what he had done.

At a sentencing hearing at Portsmouth Crown Court today (Friday), Palmer stared impassively as he was jailed for six offences of sexual assault against the teenager.

He had denied all the charges, but was convicted by a jury on May 15 following a trial, also at Portsmouth.

At the time of the offences, Palmer was a curate at a church in Stubbington, Hampshire, having previously served in the Royal Navy Reserve as a chaplain.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:41 AM

From trusted pastor to child predator

VIRGINIA
WRIC

[with video]

By Kerri O'Brien
Published: July 24, 2015

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — It was the story that made headlines for more than two years. Last month, former Richmond Mega Church Pastor Geronimo Aguilar was guilty of sexually assaulting two young girls when he was their youth pastor in Fort Worth, Texas back in the 1990s.

Nancy Mohr one of the victims spoke exclusively with 8News immediately after the verdict was read.

“I am so thankful to the jury I am so thankful to everybody who sat and listened, believed us for the first time,” she said.

For Mohr and her sister Lani Vallejo, both victims, said the guilty verdict brought a sense of closure and vindication.

Vallejo told 8News, “I just didn’t think this day would ever come.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:38 AM

Catholic Church abuse complaints on the rise

NEW ZEALAND
Radio New Zealand

In the four years to the end of last year, 58 complaints were laid, with 25 lodged in 2014 alone.

The church only began keeping a centralised record of complaints in 2010.

Of those made since then, 26 have been proven and 24 are still under investigation.

The man in charge of handling the complaints for the church, Bill Kilgallon, said the alleged perpetrators included 21 priests, monks, nuns or teachers.

The abuse covers the period 1946 to 1990.

Of the eight alleged abusers that are still alive, four have not been charged.

Mr Kilgallon said victims were often reluctant to go to the police.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:33 AM

Nine-month sentence for former Trinity principal slammed

AUSTRALIA
Northern Star

Hamish Broome and Stephen Ryan of the Newcastle Herald | 25th Jul 2015

CHILD abuse victim advocacy group Bravehearts has called for a review of paedophile sentencing practices following the "far too lenient" nine-month jail sentence of former Trinity Catholic College Lismore principal Peter Pemble.

The former Marist Brothers senior educator, now 67, was sentenced on Thursday in the Newcastle District Court.

Brother Peter Pemble was not long out of teachers' college when he was sent to Marist Brothers High School at Maitland in 1971, Judge Peter Berman said.

The following year, Pemble selected a boy to help him organise sporting activities before isolating him on at least two occasions and indecently assaulting him.

The victim, who attended Thursday's sentencing hearing in Newcastle District Court, told of how he withdrew from sport completely after the attacks and went on to fail his school certificate before changing schools and completing his education.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:31 AM

Arguments for Thibodeax Appeal ...

TEXAS
Freestone County Times

Arguments for Thibodeax Appeal: Former Pastor’s Fate Hanging in the Balance

WRITTEN BY MARY MCDONALD & SCOTT W. MARSTERS, SR.

Did a Freestone County trial court abuse its discretion by denying former pastor Anthony Lynn Thibodeaux’s motion for a new trial in March 2014, based on a possible Brady violation that may have resulted in egregious harm to the outcome of the case?

That is one of four issues raised, in which, the Texas 10th Court of Appeals shall deliberate then hand down its ruling to grant or deny Mr. Thibodeaux a new trial.

Thibodeaux was previously convicted for sexual assault and two counts of indecency with a child in Freestone County, Texas. (The minor child will be referred to as J.S. in this article.)
Oral arguments were not requested by the three Judge panel.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:29 AM

Leaders Of Longmont Church Sentenced For Role In Sex Assault Case

COLORADO
CBS Denver

BOULDER, Colo. (CBS4)– A judge sentenced four leaders of a Longmont church on Friday for failing to report sexual assault allegations.

Former Vinelife youth pastor Jason Roberson had an inappropriate relationship with a church member starting when she was just 15 years old.

He was sentenced to two years in jail and 10 years of sex offender probation in July 2014. He was also ordered to undergo sex offender treatment.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:26 AM

Victoria Police in false claim on child-abuse suicides

AUSTRALIA
The Australian

JULY 25, 2015

John Ferguson
Victoria Editor
Melbourne

Victoria Police has been exposed vastly overstating the number of suicides related to child-sex abuse by Catholic clergy, embroiling the force’s new Chief Commissioner in a scandal and further straining relations with the church.

The Weekend Australian can reveal a secret police operation uncovered the force’s error when it claimed there had been up to 43 church-related suicides in ­Victoria.

Police now concede the real figure is one confirmed suicide with church-related sex abuse as a contributing factor and say that more than 40 per cent of victims on the suicide list could not be identified.

The assertion that 43 suicide deaths were related to Catholic abuse was a central reason for the formation of the Victorian inquiry, which in turn was a key reason the national sex abuse royal commission was formed. Both inquiries subsequently confirmed catastrophic levels of child-sex abuse by members of the church.

The revelations, in a Crime Department intelligence brief, represent a serious embarrassment for new Chief Commissioner Graham Ashton, whose evidence to the Victorian parliamentary inquiry into abuse was savaged by a QC representing the church.

Mr Ashton told the Victorian inquiry in late 2012 that the force was examining for the coroner 43 suicide deaths allegedly related to church abuse, which was a claim widely reported at the time after an earlier investigation by a ­senior detective.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:25 AM

Marianist brother who taught at North Catholic ...

UNITED STATES
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Marianist brother who taught at North Catholic gets 2-year term for sex abuse in Australia

July 25, 2015

By Peter Smith / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

A two-year prison sentence cannot repair the lifelong trauma of being sexually abused from age 8, but an Australian survivor of abuse by an American Roman Catholic religious brother says his incarceration is a sign of progress.

“Although two years is a very short amount of time in light of the gravity of the crimes, it is a much better result than for many survivors of historical crimes,” Mairead Ashcroft said via email. “My hope is that survivors of crimes of this nature might be given the positive message that childhood abuse, sexual, physical and psychological, is taken much more seriously than in the past.”

Bernard Hartman — a Marianist brother who also allegedly sexually abused a student at North Catholic High School during his tenure here from 1986 to 1997 — received a three-year sentence, with one year suspended, in Victoria County Court in Melbourne on Friday following his convictions earlier this year of sexually abusing three children.

He pleaded guilty to four counts of indecent assault on two girls who were sisters of students at the all-boys Catholic school where he was teaching. Ms. Ashcroft, of suburban Melbourne, told the court she was abused from ages 8 to 11. He had befriended the families and gained their confidence.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:21 AM

Media Release – July 24-25, 2015

NEW YORK
Road to Recovery

The two sexual abuse victims and their advocates/supporters will appeal to parishioners of a Flatbush, Brooklyn parish, St. Catherine of Genoa, where Fr. Kenneth Wicks served as pastor from 1983-1991 for information about sexual abuse of children in St. Catherine of Genoa Parish, Flatbush, Brooklyn

Juan Rodriguez and Luis Ramos reported the sexual abuse by Fr. Kenneth Wicks to the Diocese of Brooklyn, New York, in approximately 1993-1995 but the Diocese of Brooklyn did nothing to help the childhood victims of clergy sexual abuse and kept the sexual abuse quiet

What
A demonstration, leafleting and press conference alerting the media and general public of horrific and extensive sexual abuse of minor children by Fr. Kenneth Wicks who served as a Catholic priest and pastor at a number of parishes in the Diocese of Brooklyn, including St. Gabriel Parish in East New York, Brooklyn, and St. Catherine of Genoa Parish in Flatbush, Brooklyn

When
Saturday, July 25, 2015 from 4:00 pm until 6:00 pm (before and after the 5:00 PM parish Mass)
Sunday, July 26, 2015 from 8:45 AM until 1:00 PM (before and after the parish Masses)

Where
On the public sidewalk outside St. Catherine of Genoa Parish, 520 Linden Boulevard, Brooklyn, New York, 718-282-7162

Who
Juan Rodriguez, a community activist and leader of the 75th NYPD Precinct Community Board, and childhood sexual abuse victim of Fr. Kenneth Wicks; Luis Ramos, a social worker in New York City, former priest seminarian and Franciscan friar, indigenous activist, and childhood sexual abuse victim of Fr. Kenneth Wicks; Robert M. Hoatson, Ph.D., co-founder and President of Road to Recovery, Inc., a non-profit charity that assists victims of sexual abuse and their families, and members of Road to Recovery, Inc.

Why
In the 1980s, Juan Rodriguez and Luis Ramos as minor children were sexually abused by Fr. Kenneth Wicks at St. Gabriel Parish in East New York, Brooklyn, New York, and other places. Shortly after Fr. Kenneth Wicks sexually abused children at St. Gabriel Parish in East New York, Brooklyn, the Diocese of Brooklyn appointed him pastor (1983) of St. Catherine of Genoa Parish in Flatbush, Brooklyn, and it is believed that Fr. Kenneth Wicks continued to sexually abuse children at St. Catherine of Genoa Parish in Flatbush, Brooklyn, where he served as pastor until 1991. When Juan Rodriguez and Luis Ramos reported the sexual abuse by Fr. Kenneth Wicks in approximately 1993-1995, at least one of the men was told that Fr. Wicks had died of a heart attack or stroke, when, in fact, he killed himself. Demonstrators will urge other victims of Fr. Kenneth Wicks to come forward to begin their healing and demand of the Diocese of Brooklyn that it compensate sexual abuse victims.

Contacts
Robert M. Hoatson, Ph.D., Road to Recovery, Inc., Livingston, NJ – 862-368-2800
Attorney Mitchell Garabedian, Boston, MA – 617-523-6250

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:18 AM

July 24, 2015

Ex-priest charged with sex abuse has bail revoked

AUSTRALIA
Gippsland Times

By Breanna Chillingworth July 24, 2015

A defrocked priest charged with historic child sex abuse offences has had his bail revoked, after the DPP took a challenge to the Supreme Court.

The man, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, appeared in the Downing Centre District Court yesterday morning for a preliminary hearing into dozens of allegations of historic child sex offences – the first court appearance since he was ordered into custody on July 16.

The Leader can reveal the man had his bail revoked by Justice Lucy McCallum during a hearing spanning two days in the state’s Supreme Court last week.

Earlier this month, the Director of Public Prosecutions submitted an application to the court, challenging the man’s bail on several grounds before the bail determination was made, forcing him into custody.

The accused had been on bail for the charges since his arrest in 2012 by detectives attached to Strike Force Glenroe.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:49 PM

Freeport Man Who Defamed Orphanage Founder Says He Doesn't Regret Actions

MAINE
MPBN

By PATTY WIGHT

FREEPORT, Maine — The local man who has been ordered to pay more than $14 million in damages in a federal defamation case Thursday says he doesn't regret his actions.

Paul Kendrick accused Haitian orphanage founder Michael Geilenfeld of sexually abusing boys in his care and sent hundreds of emails to third parties about the alleged abuse.

Some observers say they hope the outcome of the case will make people think twice before publicly speaking out against another person.

Kendrick began his email campaign against Geilenfeld back in 2011 after a Haitian journalist alerted him to the fact that Geilenfeld had been accused of sexual abuse multiple times over the course of 30 years.

Kendrick has been a vocal advocate for sexual abuse victims ever since the Catholic priest scandal in the late '90s. And this new case caught his attention.

"I am a barking dog about child sexual abuse," he says. "And every email I did — we did as advocates — was always with the hope of someone getting the message, some supporter would wake up for a moment and say, 'What is it I may not know?'"

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:26 PM

Vale woman fights for abuse victims' justice

UNTED KINGDOM
Reporter

A Vale woman who claims she suffered sickening abuse at the hands of nuns who were trusted to care for her leading a campaign fighting for justice and compensation for abuse victims.

Helen Holland, 56, has made allegations that she endured ‘years of sadistic abuse’ at a care home run by the Sisters of Nazareth.

Ms Holland, of Alexandria, is the chairwoman of organisation Incas – In Care Abuse Survivors – and is now fighting to get compensation for hundreds of people who also claim they were abused while in the care of the state.

She said more than a decade of campaigning has eventually led to the Scottish Government agreeing to hold an inquiry into allegations of historical abuse of children in care across Scotland – due to start in October – but as the process could take years she wants interim compensation payments for victims.

Ms Holland told the Reporter: “Unfortunately the inquiry has come too late for some of those who have died in the process without receiving any justice whatsoever and I feel upset for them.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:38 PM

Next Week in Bankruptcy

UNITED STATES
Wall Street Journal

By KATY STECH
...

Advocates for alleged clergy sexual-abuse victims connected to the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis want a judge to extend the deadline that alleged victims have to speak up.

On Thursday, Judge Robert Kressel will hear a request from the bankrupt archdiocese’s creditor committee to push back the current Aug. 3 deadline to May 25. Committee officials are asking alleged abuse victims to come forward and file so-called proof of claims against the archdiocese before that deadline, potentially enabling that victim to split a pot of settlement money of an undetermined amount.

Committee officials say archdiocese officials haven’t done a thorough job of informing the public of the Aug. 3 deadline by publishing notices in national, Catholic and local newspapers. While archdiocese officials say many parishes have mentioned the deadline in their weekly bulletins, creditors committee who analyzed bulletins published online found that 25 of 89 parishes failed to publish any notice in their online bulletins through the middle of June 2015.

The archdiocese filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in January to halt several abuse-related lawsuits from going to trial. Since then, several hundred alleged abuse victims have come forward with claims against the archdiocese, according to victims’ lawyers.

The archdiocese is also facing criminal charges—an unprecedented maneuver—for its alleged role in endangering children.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:35 PM

Diocese wants to hold ‘bling’ bishop accountable for excesses

GERMANY
Religion News Service

Tom Heneghan | July 24, 2015

PARIS (RNS) A German Catholic diocese wants to take episcopal responsibility to a new level by making its disgraced former “bishop of bling” responsible for the 3.9 million euros ($4.9 million) in losses incurred during the luxury makeover of his residence and office.

Bishop Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst earned the “bling” label in 2013 when aides revealed he had spent 31 million euros ($34 million) — over six times the original estimate — on the stately complex opposite the Romanesque cathedral in Limburg, north of Frankfurt.

The Vatican banished him from the diocese several months later and, subsequently, quietly reassigned him to a low-profile post in the Roman Curia. He seemed to be going the way of other failed bishops, such as the few punished in the clerical sexual abuse scandals by being removed from their dioceses.

Any costs incurred in those abuse cases, such as compensation for victims, were left to the diocese to pay. Twelve U.S. dioceses overwhelmed by such claims have filed for bankruptcy protection.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:26 PM

Forum to discuss Pope Francis’ “blind spot” on women

UNITED STATES
National Catholic Reporter

Jamie Manson | Jul. 24, 2015 NCR Today

On Saturday, July 25, a group of scholars and activists will convene at Chicago Theological Seminary to discuss, “Women in the Catholic Church: What Francis Needs to Know.”

According to the forum’s website, “it is an optimistic time for the Catholic Church, especially in anticipation of Pope Francis’ upcoming visit to the United States in September. There is concern, however, that Pope Francis and other church leaders have a blind spot when it comes to women.”

The forum is being convened by Call to Action, Catholics for Choice and CORPUS, with co-sponsorship from nine other organizations in the progressive Catholic movement.

The forum’s organizers believe that the role of women in the church is “a largely ignored concern.” To address this situation, the event will offer discussions of “gender equality, reproductive healthcare, ordination, LGBT rights and other issues important to modern Catholic women.”

The program promises to consider ideas and experiences that ought to be included in the World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia this September, but probably will not be, given the meeting's line-up of conservative speakers and themes.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:31 PM

PA--Ex-Pittsburgh cleric sentenced for abuse

PENNSYLVANIA
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

For immediate release: Friday, July 24

Statement by Judy Jones of St. Louis, Midwest Associate Midwest Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (314 974 5003, snapjudy@gmail.com)

A Catholic cleric who abused in Pittsburgh has been sentenced for other child sex crimes in Australia. Now, Pittsburgh church officials should insist that his religious order publicly disclose other child molesting clerics. And they should do more to find and help others he’s hurt.


[Herald Sun]

[The Public Opinion]

Brother Bernard Hartman, a member of the St. Louis-based Marianists, will serve three years in jail for assaulting girls in Australia. He also faces a credible accusation of molesting a Pittsburgh child.

Hartman is one of nine clerics accused of molesting kids at a Pittsburgh school and one of at least 31 US Marianists who are accused of molesting 157 victims.

Catholic officials are still hiding the names of most of those nine who hurt kids at North Catholic High School (which recently became Cardinal Wuerl High School).

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:28 PM

Catholic priests who abused New Zealand children will not be investigated

NEW ZEALAND
Stuff

BEN HEATHER

Four Catholic priests or brothers have never faced justice for sexually abusing children, despite the church accepting their guilt.

The Roman Catholic Church in New Zealand has, for the first time, revealed the number of sexual abuse claims it has received, many of which are still being investigated.

They show the number of people coming forward is growing every year, decades after they were abused. But few, if any, are resulting in fresh complaints to police.

Victims have said that, even now, the church remains unwilling to dig into the darker parts of its past.

"If a victim came to me now, I'd say, 'Stay away from the church'," one victim said.

Bill Kilgallon, the church official handling sex abuse complaints, has confirmed that details of known abusers were not passed on to police unless victims lodged a complaint. ...

In four years to December 2014, the church has received 58 fresh child-sex abuse complaints, and accepted 26 as "proven". A further 24 are still under investigation.

The number has risen every year – 25 complaints lodged in 2014 – and Kilgallon expects the stream to continue.

The proven complaints implicated 21 priests, monks, nuns and teachers. Most are dead but of eight who are alive, four have never been charged. Police did not provide figures for how many child abuse complaints involving the Catholic Church it had received.

Kilgallon said all four had retired from the church and were not a risk. Their victims had chosen not to go to police because they could not endure a court case and no longer trusted police after a previous bad experience.

"Some are very fragile in their mental health and couldn't cope."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:42 PM

How Much Money Does the Vatican Have?

UNITED STATES
Money Morning

By ABBY HIGGS, Staff Writer, Money Morning • July 24, 2015

Just how much money does the Vatican have? The Church's mysterious gold holdings have long been a source of debate.

And the truth of the matter is that nobody knows for sure.

There are a couple of reasons for this uncertainty…

First, the Vatican Bank has been the center of embezzlement and fraud scandals for years, making it difficult to get an accurate count of what, precisely, the bank is holding in terms of cash flow.

And second, in some countries (America among them), religious groups aren't required to release financial statements. This is why much of the Vatican's gold is allegedly kept here in the United States, at Fort Knox.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:38 PM

Senior Madrid priest in money laundering probe

SPAIN
The Olive Press

By Iona Napier (Reporter) - PUBLISHED - 24 Jul, 2015

A LEADING Spanish priest has been accused of money laundering.

Jose Luis Montes (right) is being probed over millions of euros hidden away overseas.

It comes after Switzerland launched an investigation into investments made by the senior Madrid clergyman.

Dubbed the ‘priest to the nobility’ Montes is accused of misappropriating funds destined for aristocratic Madrid sisters Carmen and Blanca Roca de Togores.

It is alleged that he and his lawyer brother had been fiddling funds since 2004 to the tune of tens of millions of euros.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:01 AM

Police Ask to Extend Sexual Abuse Rabbi's Detention Until Trial

ISRAEL
Artuz Sheva

By Tova Dvorin
First Publish: 7/24/2015

The Israel Police have filed a prosecutor's declaration to the Nazareth Magistrate's Court against Rabbi Ezra Sheinberg from Tzfat (Safed), former Rosh Yeshiva (dean) of the Orot HaAri Yeshiva (Torah academy) on Friday, after no fewer than 13 women have now filed complaints of sexual abuse.

Police have asked the court to extend Sheinberg's detention until the end of the trial. An indictment against Sheinberg is expected to be filed in the Nazareth District Court next week.

Sheinberg was arrested while trying to flee Israel at Ben-Gurion Airport earlier this month. One week later, Arutz Sheva exposed several damning details about the case, including the fact that Sheinberg allegedly admitted his offenses to Tzfat Chief Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu - but he has since then claimed over and over again that the allegations are "nonsense."

Since then, however, more women have publicly spoken about the abuse they suffered, with one providing testimony to the Israeli media under an assumed name, and another publishing her side via an open letter.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:24 AM

Other Pontifical Acts

VATICAN CITY
Vatican Information Service

Vatican City, 24 July 2015 (VIS) – The Holy Father has appointed Bishop Victor Manuel Ochoa Cadavid as bishop of Cucuta (area 2,200, population 891,383, Catholics 804,236, priests 166, permanent deacons 8, religious 212), Colombia. He succeeds Bishop Julio Cesar Vidal Ortiz, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese in accordance with canon 401 para. 2 of the Code of Canon Law, was accepted by the Holy Father.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:20 AM

Seymour Pastor Accused of Stealing From Parish

CONNECTICUT
NBC Connecticut

[with video]

By Jeff Valin

Father Honore Kombo has been removed as pastor at St. Augustin Church in Seymour over allegations that he stole money from the parish.

"We are all upset. The whole parish is upset," longtime parishioner Jackie Sarkes said Thursday. "We loved Father Kombo."

Suspicion that Kombo broke the Eighth Commandment began, apparently, when the Archdiocese of Hartford discovered what it describes to NBC Connecticut as "financial irregularities."

The archdiocese declined to comment further, but the public is speaking.

"I think that's very sad because people do come to church believing in their preacher," said Amber Tillman, who lives near St. Augustin.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:30 AM

Synagogue Hires Replacement for Disgraced Rabbi Barry Freundel

WASHINGTON (DC)
Forward

The Washington, D.C., synagogue whose longtime rabbi was sentenced to 6 1/2 years in prison for voyeurism has hired a part-time replacement on an interim basis.

Rabbi Avidan Milevsky will begin work on July 27, Kesher Israel’s president announced in an email to congregants Thursday. The Orthodox congregation has been without a paid spiritual leader since Rabbi Barry Freundel was arrested last October and charged with using hidden video cameras to spy on women using the synagogue’s mikvah, or ritual bath.

Milevsky, an associate professor of psychology and psychotherapist, is the former interim rabbi of Ner Tamid Greenspring Valley Congregation in Baltimore and has served as a visiting professor at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

“His research on families, well-being, and spirituality in psychotherapy has produced an impressive body of work including 5 books,” the email from Elanit Jakabovics said. “He studied at yeshivot in Israel, at Telz Yeshiva in Chicago, and at Yeshiva Ve’kollel Ramach in Miami where he received rabbinic ordination from the Rosh Yeshiva HaRav Yochanan Zweig. This unique combination of rabbinical and psychological work will serve our community well as we move forward.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:24 AM

UK child abuse inquiry must look at Kincora

NORTHERN IRELAND
Belfast Telegraph

Editorial

The Kincora sex scandal has been in the public domain for almost 40 years and still the young boys who were abused there have been denied full justice. No one still believes that the three staff members at the east Belfast home who were jailed in 1981 for crimes against 11 youngsters were the only abusers.

In fact, they might now be viewed as the scapegoats for a much wider paedophile ring that reaches into the higher echelons of the British Establishment.

Recently released papers from the Home Office show that allegations by a former intelligence officer who served in Northern Ireland that the Kincora scandal had been hushed up by the intelligence services of the time had been known and noted at the very heart of the Westminster Government.

The papers also mention by name Sir Maurice Oldfield, head of both MI5 and MI6 security agencies, who a boy abused at the home now says he remembers meetingthere. Others mentioned in the papers include two former Government ministers, a former civil servant and a former diplomat.

Other allegations which have surfaced recently include claims that boys were taken from the home to residences in England where they were abused before being flown back to Northern Ireland.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:19 AM

Vatican Finance. The Leadfoot and the Slowpokes

VATICAN CITY
Chiesa

Australian cardinal George Pell is the key man of the new course. But the artillery of the old curia isn’t letting up. The indecision of Pope Francis

by Sandro Magister

ROME, July 24, 2015 - “It is like comparing the pontifical Swiss guard with the armed forces of a great power,” secretary of state Pietro Parolin said a few weeks ago with regard to the IOR, the Institute for Works of Religion, the mythical Vatican quasi-bank.

The 4.2 billion euro on its books - he patiently explained - is barely a thousandth of the assets of all the Italian banks, and also well below the cutoff of 9 billion beneath which the Banca d'Italia classifies a bank as “small”…

But as tiny as it may be, the IOR is a big deal for Pope Francis. He wants it to be an example of virtue for all the agencies of the Church. Clean, thrifty, almost penitential.

Last May the current board of the IOR, headed by the Frenchman Jean-Baptiste de Franssu, wanted to engage a Luxembourg-based SICAV, or open-ended investment fund, to make use of the money at its disposal. Among the cardinals on the supervisory board, which also includes Parolin, someone raised objections and the decision ended up going to the desk of the pope. Who rejected it. Because Francis doesn’t like the idea of an “investment bank” with the Church in the middle.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:16 AM

'This cannot happen': Boulder judge sentences VineLife Church leaders for not reporting sex assault

COLORADO
Daily Camera

By Alex Burness
Staff Writer

Seeking to send a message, a Boulder County judge exceeded prosecutors' requests Thursday in ordering two VineLife Church officials to serve 10 days in jail or on a work crew for failing to report sexual-assault allegations levied against the church's youth pastor in 2013.

Two elders with the church, located at 7845 Lookout Road in unincorporated Boulder County, received lesser sentences for their role in what prosecutors have described as a cover-up.

"There was enough information that the parties should have made that report to law enforcement," Judge David Archuleta said during Thursday's sentencing hearing. "A message has to be sent that this cannot happen."

VineLife pastors Walter Roberson and Robert Young will serve 10 days in jail or on work crew, elder Edward Bennell will serve two days in jail or on work crew, and elder Warren Williams will perform 40 hours of community service.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:12 AM

Longmont church elders sentenced for failure to report abuse

COLORADO
KOAA

BOULDER, Colo. (AP) - Four leaders of a Longmont church have been sentenced for failing to report sexual-assault allegations against the church's youth pastor in 2013.

The Boulder Daily Camera reports (http://bit.ly/1CYod0h ) that VineLife Church pastors Walter Roberson and Robert Young will serve 10 days in jail or on work crew, elder Edward Bennell will serve two days in jail or on work crew, and elder Warren Williams will perform 40 hours of community service.

All four men pleaded no contest to failure to report child abuse.

Prosecutors say the men failed to report allegations that then-VineLife youth pastor Jason Roberson had an inappropriate relationship with a church member starting when she was 15 and continuing for seven years. Roberson pleaded guilty and was sentenced last year to two years in prison for sexual exploitation and stalking.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:10 AM

Catholic Brother Bernard Hartman jailed for three years ...

AUSTRALIA
Herald Sun

Catholic Brother Bernard Hartman jailed for three years over sex attacks on children in 1970s and 1980s

PADRAIC MURPHY HERALD SUN JULY 24, 2015

THE Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne knew a Marianist brother was a sexual predator of children decades ago but it was not until today his victims finally saw him jailed.

In another scandalous blow to the church, Brother Bernard Hartman was jailed for three years, with one year suspended, for sustained sexual attacks on two young girls aged under 11 in the 1970s and a male student in the early 1980s.

County Court Judge James Parrish described the offending as “blatant” and a grave breach of Hartman's position as a teacher at St Paul's College in Altona North.

The decades-long delay in bringing Hartman to justice was used by him to argue for a reduced sentence because he had lived under the burden of his crimes for more than 40 years.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:07 AM

Jail for Catholic brother over Vic abuse

AUSTRALIA
Sky News

An American Catholic brother who abused two little girls in Melbourne after gaining their parents' trust will spend the next two years behind bars.

Marianist Brother Bernard Joseph Hartman, now 75, was invited into family homes for dinner while he was a teacher and counsellor at the then-St Paul's College in the 1970s.

He sexually abused two little girls, younger siblings of students, at their homes in the mid to late 1970s.

One girl, aged under 10, was assaulted after Hartman drew pictures with her.

Hartman once used a turkey baster filled with liquid to violate the other girl.

"You have breached the trust of those young girls with blatant offending in their homes which ... allowed little avenue for retreat," Victorian County Court Judge James Parrish said as he sentenced Hartman on Friday.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:06 AM

I met Britain's spymaster at Kincora, says abuse survivor

NORTHERN IRELAND
Belfast Telegraph

By Liam Clarke
PUBLISHED
24/07/2015

Kincora whistleblower Richard Kerr has claimed that he met one of Britain's most senior spymasters in the notorious home where children were abused.

Sir Maurice Oldfield, the former Director and Controller of Intelligence in Northern Ireland, had been at the home in 1978, Mr Kerr claims.

He left Northern Ireland under a cloud of sexual innuendo two years later.

A closet homosexual, he was accused of making a pass at a man in the bar of the Old Crow Inn in Comber, but no charges were ever brought and his friends said it was black propaganda by intelligence rivals while the police denied dealing with any complaint.

Mr Kerr says he was never abused by Sir Maurice, but linking him to Kincora will add fuel to the rumours that intelligence knew of the scandal and hushed it up because the abusers were giving information to the intelligence services.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:02 AM

Lawton man charged with grand larceny

OKLAHOMA
KSWO

By Sylvia Corkill, Anchor

LAWTON, Okla._A former Lawton church pastor is back in jail for allegedly selling stolen electronics from the room of a local motel.

A grand larceny warrant for Bobby Burrell was issued last month after he and several accomplices were seen on security footage taking televisions, computers, and other property from local businesses. Investigators were able to track him down last week after they responded to a possible kidnapping call from a motel on Northwest 31st Street and Cache Road. When police arrived, witnesses told them Burrell had just driven away with the alleged kidnapping victim after loading down the car with televisions. They said he often "set up shop" in the motel where he would sell the stolen items.

Burrell and the alleged kidnapping victim, who turned out to be his mother, were later found in another local motel and were both arrested. A search of their car and their motel room on Cache Road uncovered several stolen items and broken security tags.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:58 AM

Former youth pastor gets 21 years for sex abuse

ILLINOIS
Journal Star

Andy Kravetz
Journal Star courts reporter

Posted Jul. 23, 2015

PEORIA — A former youth pastor was sentenced Thursday to 21 years in prison for sexually abusing a 12-year-old girl last year.

Nicholas Lawrence, 27, apologized for his behavior over the nearly seven-month period that he engaged in the illicit conduct, saying it was selfish of him and inexcusable.

“The words ‘I am sorry’ just don’t seem strong enough,” he said, adding that he has worked to modify his behavior so he could deal with things in a more appropriate manner.

Prosecutor Donna Cruz pushed Peoria County Judge David Brown for a lengthy sentence and, during the 90-minute hearing, offered evidence that Lawrence had engaged in inappropriate conversations with two other young girls, had thousands of images of child porn and child erotica on his laptops and had manipulated the girl he abused for years.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:56 AM

Diocese of Manchester 'looking into implications' of vicar's son's indecent images conviction

UNITED KINGDOM
The Bolton News

Jeremy Culley, crime reporter

THE Diocese of Manchester is looking into the implications of the conviction of a vicar's son's conviction for downloading thousands of indecent images of children.

Paul Holt was spared jail at Bolton Crown Court on Monday, after pleading guilty to 16 counts of possessing indecent images of children and distributing them, after 2,565 images were found on his computer.

Holt, the son of the Rev Wendy Oliver, from Christ Church, Harwood, confessed to an interest in “the feet of young children”.

The diocese has now released a statement in relation to concerns raised as a result of the case.

A spokesman said: "We are aware of this situation and treat safeguarding concerns as a top priority.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:54 AM

Cleric suspected of child abuse in US jailed in Australia

AUSTRALIA
The Public Opinion

MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — An American clergyman suspected of child sexual abuse at a Pennsylvania school was sentenced on Friday to three years in an Australian prison for molesting three children in Melbourne more than 30 years ago.

Brother Bernard Hartman, 75, a member of the Roman Catholic Marianist religious order, had pleaded guilty in the Victoria state County Court in Melbourne in April to four counts of indecent assault involving two pre-teen sisters of male students at St. Paul's College in the late 1970s. A jury found him guilty in May of one count of indecent assault and two of common law assault for abusing a male student at the school in 1981-82.

Hartman had gained the trust of the girls' parents and abused them while he was invited to their family homes for dinner.

Judge James Parrish ordered one year of the sentence to be suspended, but Hartman will be supervised for three additional years after his release.

"You have breached the trust of those young girls with blatant offending in their homes ... which allowed little avenue for retreat," Parrish told Hartman while sentencing .

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:50 AM

July 23, 2015

The Church and 'Big Data'

MINNESOTA
Canonical Consultation

07/23/2015

Jennifer Haselberger

Parish business administrators throughout the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis have been receiving emails from the CSA Foundation (Catholic Services Appeal), requesting updated information on parishioners for the purpose of targeting donors. The emails, which are personalized only in the salutation, are as follows:

The Catholic Services Appeal Foundation is grateful for your assistance in updating our database in order that we use the most accurate information while addressing supporters. It is also important that we manage this information securely for the protection of parishes and donors. In order to provide a secure method for your parish to provide us with your data file, we are using a secure system called Sharefile. This will allow you to upload your file providing it to CSAF securely and without anyone else having the ability to access the data.

Uploading Your Parish File

In order to upload your parish data file, please follow these instructions:

1. Please name your parish data file with the following naming convention: Parish Name – City

(Example: Christ the King – Minneapolis)

2. Click the link below:

CLICK HERE TO UPLOAD YOUR PARISH FILE

3. When the Citrix ShareFile web page opens, drag and drop the parish data file into the box labeled "DRAG FILES HERE"

4. Click the green "Upload Files" button ...

I am sure that many of you, like me, do not want your personal information (linked, as you can see, to your parish envelope contributions) shared with the CSA Foundation, which- as we have been told ad nauseam- is a completely separate organization from the Archdiocese and its parishes.

Wishing to forestall the sharing of my information, I checked to see what sort of limitations are placed on non-profits in regard to sharing personal data. In most cases, donors are advised to review the privacy policy of any organization prior to contributing (I couldn't find a privacy policy on the CSA website) and, in the absence of such a policy, to notify the organization that your gift is made with the expectation that your personal information will not be sold or shared nor will the organization send solicitations on behalf of other charities. Those concerned about their parish sharing their personal data may want to consider sending a similar notification to their church's business administrator.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:05 PM

Former pastor arrested again for inappropriate contact with 16-year-old boy

LOUISIANA
KATC

A former pastor in St. Mary Parish has been arrested again for alleged inappropriate activity with another 16-year-old boy.

Jules Anderson, 56, of Franklin, was arrested by Franklin Police Wednesday on warrants for computer-aided solicitation of a minor for sexual purposes, sexual battery and molestation of a juvenile.

The arrest stems from a complaint regarding inappropriate activity with a 16-year-old boy.

Deputies with the St. Mary Parish Sheriff's Office arrested Anderson in May for attempted indecent behavior with a juvenile after reportedly finding Anderson and a 16-year-old boy in Anderson's vehicle in a sugarcane field on La. 87 near Franklin.

Anderson allegedly convinced the teen to go with him to the field "with the intention of engaging in sexual acts," the police report says.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:53 PM

Jury: Freeport activist owes $14.5M in sex abuse defamation case

MAINE
Bangor Daily News

By Darren Fishell, BDN Staff
Posted July 23, 2015

PORTLAND, Maine — A jury decided Thursday that a Freeport advocate for children sexually abused by clergy was reckless and negligent in publicly accusing former Catholic brother Michael Geilenfeld of molesting children in his care.

The jury awarded Geilenfeld and an affiliated nonprofit, Hearts with Haiti, $14.5 million in damages for harm to his and the organization’s reputation and for direct fundraising losses the jury found were attributable to scandal prompted by Paul Kendrick’s allegations from 2011 through this year.

The jury’s decision included $2.5 million in damages on claims that Kendrick was negligent and reckless in his statements about Hearts with Haiti. The jury awarded Geilenfeld $7 million on similar claims.

Another $5 million was awarded to Hearts with Haiti based on interference with its business, or fundraising losses.

The case was yet another forum where allegations against Geilenfeld — who was imprisoned for 237 days in Haiti during an investigation of those claims — were put on trial. Alleged victims have appealed Geilenfeld’s acquittal on sex abuse claims in Haiti. ...

Peter DeTroy, attorney for Geilenfeld and Hearts with Haiti, said he expects some portion of the damages awarded to be covered by Kendrick’s homeowners insurance policy, though neither he nor Walker could speculate how much that policy may cover.

To reach a verdict, the 10-person jury was required to reach a unanimous vote, which they did after more than five hours of deliberation on the claims brought against Kendrick by Geilenfeld and Hearts of Haiti.

To win, both plaintiffs had to prove it was more likely than not that Kendrick made one or more false claims, that the statements were published to a third party, that the statements were made negligently or with reckless disregard for whether the statements were false and that did monetary or reputational damage to either Hearts with Haiti or Geilenfeld.

At issue was a public awareness campaign launched by Kendrick, 65, against 63-year-old Geilenfeld and the North Carolina-based nonprofit for which he worked in 2011.

Kendrick alleged in multiple emails and online publications that Geilenfeld sexually abused boys he had taken in at an orphanage in Port Au Prince, Haiti, and that the nonprofit had turned a blind eye.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:39 PM

Jury: Maine Man Defamed Orphanage Founder With Abuse Claims

MAINE
ABC News

PORTLAND, Maine — Jul 23, 2015, 7:15 PM ET
By DAVID SHARP Associated Press

A Maine activist who led an email blitz accusing a Haiti orphanage founder of sexually abusing boys was ordered Thursday to pay more than $14 million in damages to the man and to a charity that raised money for the orphanage.

The jury awarded $7 million in damages to Michael Geilenfeld, founder of St. Joseph's Home for Boys, and $7.5 million to North Carolina-based Hearts with Haiti, even though seven Haitian men testified that they were molested by Geilenfeld.

Geilenfeld, who testified that the accusations of abuse were "vicious, vile lies," blamed Paul Kendrick's campaign for him being imprisoned for 237 days in a jail in Haiti and for costing Hearts with Haiti several million dollars in donations.

Peter DeTroy, lawyer for Geilenfeld and the charity, said the jury's verdict sends a message that people need to think twice before making online attacks.

"The computer keyboard is a lot mightier than the pen and the sword," he told jurors. But, he said, half-truths, exaggerations, distortions and outright falsehoods spread via electronic communication "can eviscerate one's reputation and one's life work."

David Walker, Kendrick's lawyer, said he was disappointed by the verdict and that he'd be looking at the option of an appeal. He declined further comment. ...

Kendrick, an activist for sexual abuse victims, launched his campaign in late 2011 in which he sent out email blasts to hundreds of people accusing Geilenfeld of being a serial pedophile and Hearts with Haiti of refusing to do anything about him.

"He had one goal: 'I'm going to destroy you. I'm going to bring you down. I'm going to put you in prison.' And he did," DeTroy told jurors.

After the jury's verdict, the plaintiffs told the judge that they were satisfied with the verdict and would not seek punitive damages. At least a portion of the damages would be paid by Kendrick's homeowner's insurance policy, attorneys said.

Geilenfeld, an Iowa native, left the courtroom without commenting to reporters.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:32 PM

Jury Awards Orphanage Founder and Charity $14.5 Million in Damages in Defamation Case

MAINE
MPBN

[with audio]

By PATTY WIGHT

PORTLAND, Maine - A Portland jury has ruled in favor of Haiti orphanage founder Michael Geilenfeld in his defamation lawsuit against Freeport activist Paul Kendrick.

The jury recommended that Geilenfeld be awarded $7 million in damages and that a related North Carolina-based charity known as Hearts of Haiti be awarded $7.5 million dollars in damages.

Paul Kendrick had accused Michael Gielenfeld, the founder of St. Joseph's Home for Boys in Port au Prince, of being a serial pedophile, an accusation Gielenfeld vehemently denied. Gielenfeld said Kendrick was a cyber-bully and vigilante whose accusations caused him to be falsely imprisoned for 237 days and cost Hearts of Haiti $2 million in donations.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:28 PM

A Religion Case Too Far for the Supreme Court?

UNITED STATES
The New York Times

Linda Greenhouse

JULY 23, 2015

The court of Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. has been one of the most religion-friendly Supreme Courts in modern history. Nearly every religious claim presented to the court has emerged a winner, from explicitly sectarian prayer at town board meetings, in last year’s closely divided Town of Greece decision, to beards for Muslim inmates in a prison system that banned facial hair — a unanimous decision that defied the court’s tradition of deference to prison officials and their rules.

Most famous, of course, was last year’s Hobby Lobby decision, exempting a for-profit company from having to cover contraception in its employee health plan, as otherwise required under the Affordable Care Act, because of the owners’ religious scruples about birth control.

At issue are the options the Obama administration has made available to a category of employers deemed “religious nonprofit organizations” that object to including birth control in their employee health plans. These groups differ from “religious employers,” a category essentially limited to churches, which are deemed exempt under the Affordable Care Act regulations. Rather, these are religiously affiliated nonprofits such as colleges, seminaries and religious orders like the Little Sisters of the Poor, which runs nursing homes and describes itself as an equal-opportunity employer in its hiring practices for lay staff members. These nonprofits do have to provide contraception coverage unless they accept the administration’s offer to opt out of the requirement by passing the legal obligation on to their insurance carriers.Now the post-Hobby Lobby cases have, inevitably, arrived at the Supreme Court’s door. Three appeals have been filed so far, and the justices will decide shortly after the new term begins in October whether to accept any of them. At that point, the spotlight will return to the court, along with the heated rhetoric about the Obama administration’s supposed “war on religion.” Not only is there no such “war,” but the administration has bent over backward to accommodate religious claims that are by any measure extreme. The problem is that the religious groups pressing these claims refuse to take yes for an answer. The question is whether their arguments go too far, even for the Roberts court.

Under pre-existing regulations that the Obama administration fine-tuned in the aftermath of the Hobby Lobby decision, all these organizations have to do to qualify for the exemption is to ask for it, by filling out a two-page form, or even more simply by sending a letter to the Department of Health and Human Services declaring that they have a religious objection to paying for birth control. At that point, their obligation ceases and the coverage has to be provided by the organizations’ insurance carrier or, in the case of a self-insured plan, by the third-party administrator, without any financial involvement by the organization.

Dozens of these organizations promptly filed suit claiming that they couldn’t possibly fill out the form or sign the letter because to do so would make them complicit in the ultimate choice their employees might make to use birth control.

It’s important to understand the difference between these cases and the lawsuit by Hobby Lobby’s owners. As a for-profit company, Hobby Lobby had no accommodation available. It had either to provide the coverage or pay a huge fine. In fact, the court’s majority opinion, written by Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr., strongly suggested that the problem, as the majority saw, it could be solved if only the administration would offer Hobby Lobby the same choice it was giving the religious nonprofits. Justice Alito wrote that the Department of Health and Human Services “itself has demonstrated that it has at its disposal an approach that is less restrictive than requiring employers to fund contraceptive methods that violate their religious beliefs.” In a footnote, he added: “The less restrictive approach we describe accommodates the religious beliefs asserted in these cases.” Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, who provided the fifth vote to the majority, wrote in a concurring opinion that the accommodation as described “does not impinge on the plaintiffs’ religious beliefs.”

The Hobby Lobby case had not been argued on this basis, and Justice Alito noted that the court was not deciding whether such an accommodation would suffice “for purposes of all religious claims.” To that extent, the statements were nonbinding “dicta,” not part of the holding. But they have had a powerful influence in the lower courts. Cases challenging the adequacy of the accommodation as applied to religious nonprofits have now made their way through six of the 12 federal appellate circuits. Remarkably, every court has rejected the religious claims.

Not all the decisions have been unanimous; there have been dissenting opinions by individual judges, a fact that may lead the Supreme Court to accept one or more of the pending appeals despite the absence of the “conflict in the circuits” that the court usually waits for. But, notably, judges across the ideological spectrum have ruled for the government. One of the country’s most conservative federal judges, Jerry E. Smith, wrote the opinion last month for a unanimous panel of one of the country’s most conservative courts, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.

The Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby decision “is of no help to the plaintiffs’ position,” Judge Smith wrote in East Texas Baptist University v. Burwell.The reason, he explained, was “not just that there are more links in the causal chain here than in Hobby Lobby.” Rather, it was that “what the regulations require of the plaintiffs here has nothing to do with providing contraceptives.”
It’s worth quoting Judge Smith at some length, including his reference to the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, the federal law under which the Hobby Lobby case and the current cases were brought:

“The plaintiffs urge that the accommodation uses their plans as vehicles for payments for contraceptives. But that is just what the regulations prohibit. Once the plaintiffs apply for the accommodation, the insurers may not include contraceptive coverage in the plans. The insurers and third-party administrators may not impose any direct or indirect costs for contraceptives on the plaintiffs; they may not send materials about contraceptives together with plan materials; in fact, they must send plan participants a notice explaining that the plaintiffs do not administer or fund contraceptives. The payments for contraceptives are completely independent of the plans. . . The acts that violate their faith are the acts of the government, insurers, and third-party administrators, but R.F.R.A. does not entitle them to block third parties from engaging in conduct with which they disagree.”

And of course, the choices and the rights of third parties, in this instance, the female employees, are the whole point. It is not only that female employees, and not their bosses, make the choice to use birth control. It is that the employers’ religious objections, if honored, would cause these third parties actual harm — harm that would be avoided if the employers simply signed the form or sent the letter. The extreme to which the plaintiffs’ refusal takes their “complicity” argument is what the appeals courts have found so alarming. The organizations don’t want to pay for birth control and they don’t want anyone else to pay for it either.

The United States Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit had this to say in a decision last week, Little Sisters of the Poor v. Burwell: “Plaintiffs sincerely oppose contraception, but their religious objection cannot hamstring government efforts to ensure that plan participants and beneficiaries receive the coverage to which they are entitled.”

Writing in The National Catholic Reporter last week, Michael Sean Winters, author of a blog on the publication’s website called Distinctly Catholic, praised the 10th Circuit decision, saying: “If you think the form used to object to participation is itself a form of participation, I am not sure how we, as a nation, can ever carve out religious exemptions.”

Evidently, the religious groups pressing this litigation would rather keep fighting than declare victory. Mark Rienzi, senior counsel of the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, which represents the Little Sisters of the Poor and is involved in many of the other cases, responded to the 10th Circuit’s decision by accusing the Obama administration of an “unrelenting pursuit of the Little Sisters of the Poor” and of seeking to “crush the Little Sisters’ faith.”

Hyperbole in defense of a legal position is no crime, certainly. But the vigor with which the complicity claim is being pressed does raise the question: What’s going on? In an illuminating article last month in The American Prospect titled “Conscience and the Culture Wars,” two constitutional scholars, Reva B. Siegel of Yale and Douglas NeJaime of U.C.L.A., observe that “the new conservative campaign for religious exemptions follows a well-established pattern” in which advocates whose core positions have lost legitimacy in the public mind “look for new ways to frame their views, often borrowing from their opponents.”

The Religious Freedom Restoration Act was passed in 1993 by overwhelming bipartisan majorities in Congress and signed into law by President Bill Clinton; it was not proposed or seen as an agent of the culture wars. But it has become one, Professors Siegel and NeJaime argue: “After failing to prohibit abortion and same-sex marriage, conservatives have sought to create religious exemptions from laws that protect the right to abortion or same-sex marriage.” They explain: “If unable to protect traditional sexual morality through laws of general application, conservatives can protect traditional values through liberal frames — by asserting claims to religious exemption and by appealing to secular commitments to pluralism and nondiscrimination.” Reva Siegel has elsewhere described this strategy as “preservation through transformation.”

Will the Roberts court buy it? Or, I suppose, the question might be framed more precisely: Will Justice Kennedy? I don’t see it. The implications are too enormous. As the 10th Circuit observed, “Courts have recognized that, to opt out of military service for religious reasons, a conscientious objector must notify the government of his objection knowing that someone else will take his place.” Complicity? People have to pay their taxes, whether they have objections, religious or otherwise, to the wars they thereby help to finance. Complicity?

Of course, the court might avoid ensnaring itself in this web by allowing the circuit court decisions to continue to unfold in uniform fashion, as the justices briefly did with same-sex marriage last fall, before a nonconforming decision from the Sixth Circuit forced their hand. I hope the court doesn’t wait. This year marks the 50th anniversary of Griswold v. Connecticut, the case that identified a constitutional right to birth control. At issue now is not only the right of women who happen to work for a religious employer to receive, on par with other women, a benefit the government deems an essential part of health care. At stake is the health of civil society in an increasingly diverse country. Religious conflict is a worldwide problem that of course lies far outside the Supreme Court’s purview. But the court can do its part, as I believe it will, by labeling this anachronistic and politically driven dispute over birth control for what it is, a case too far.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:21 PM

Dominican Fr. Thomas Doyle meets with members of pontifical commission on sex abuse

UNITED STATES
National Catholic Reporter

Tom Roberts | Jul. 23, 2015

One of the most severe critics of the church's handling of the sex abuse scandal spent several days last month briefing members of the Vatican commission appointed to advise Pope Francis on the issue.

In a phone interview Monday, Dominican Fr. Thomas Doyle confirmed that he met with four members of the commission in London after he was approached to consult with the group by commission member Marie Collins of Ireland, who was raped by a priest as a youngster.

Doyle said he personally knew Collins and has "the highest regard and respect for her. I was really encouraged when she was appointed a member of the commission." He said they met following a conference in the United States in April and Collins asked him then if he would be interested in serving as a consultant to the commission.

"Of course I said yes," said Doyle, who said was skeptical at the time because of his past activity advocating for victims and serving as expert consultant or testifying on behalf of plaintiffs in thousands of cases in which church authorities were defendants. He said he told Collins, "I doubt very much that anyone in the Vatican is going to want to have anything to do with me or listen to anything I have to say." Attempts to reach Collins were unsuccessful.

Doyle said he spent eight to 10 hours over three days at the beginning of June explaining the situation in the United States from the perspective of his 30 years of advocacy for victims. His involvement in the crisis began in 1984 while he was working in the offices of the Vatican embassy (now a nunciature) in Washington, D.C., and received notice that a family in Lafayette, La., planned to sue the diocese over a case of abuse.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:12 PM

Jury to decide whether sex abuse claims defamed Haitian orphanage

MAINE
Bangor Daily News

By Darren Fishell, BDN Staff
Posted July 23, 2015

PORTLAND, Maine — Jurors entered deliberations Thursday over whether a Freeport advocate for children sexually abused by clergy members defamed the operator of an orphanage in Haiti.

At issue is a public awareness campaign launched by Paul Kendrick, 65, against 63-year-old Catholic brother Michael Geilenfeld and the North Carolina-based nonprofit for which he worked in 2011. Kendrick argues that Geilenfeld sexually abused boys he had taken in at an orphanage in Port Au Prince, Haiti, and that the nonprofit had turned a blind eye.

Geilenfeld and the nonprofit orphanage sued Kendrick for defamation and are seeking compensation for damage to their reputation and an estimated loss of more than $2 million in donations.

Attorneys for both sides delivered closing arguments Thursday to a 10-person jury that will need to return a unanimous verdict to rule against Kendrick in the defamation charges pursued by Geilenfeld and the nonprofit Hearts with Haiti.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:10 PM

Mo--Cleric spent time in MO sentenced for child sex crimes

MISSOURI
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

For more information: David Clohessy (314-566-9790 cell, SNAPclohessy@aol.com), Barbara Blaine (312-399-4747, bblaine@snapnetwork.org)

Convicted cleric is sentenced tomorrow
He was in St. Louis a few years ago, SNAP says
He’s the first US abusive cleric sent back to Australia
In April, he pled guilty to repeatedly abusing two girls
A month later, he was found guilty of also molesting a boy
He’s part of controversial St. Louis-based Catholic religious order
It runs two high profile schools in the county and one in the city

A child molesting cleric who spent time here and works for a St. Louis-based Catholic group will be sentenced this week for child sex crimes. He’s believed to be the first abusive US cleric to ever be extradited to Australia.

[Pittsburgh Post-Gazette]

Brother Bernard Joseph Hartman belongs to the Central West End-based Marianists, a religious order that runs three local high schools: Chaminade, Vianney and St. Mary’s.

In May, a jury in Melbourne found him guilty of molesting a boy. The month before, in Melbourne, he pled guilty of molesting two girls. (One said he violated her with a turkey baster.)

As recently as 20 12, Hartman was on the job in Dayton Ohio working near a parochial school though he apologized in writing more than a decade earlier to a girl he molested.

[Dayton Daily News]

Later that year, Australian journalist Brendan Roberts of Australia’s Nine Network and a cameraman spent several days in St. Louis trying to track down Hartman. Dayton parishioners told Roberts that Hartman was living at a church property in St. Louis.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:50 PM

Vicar goes on the run as he is convicted of stealing church funds

UNITED KINGDOM
The Guardian

Press Association
Thursday 23 July 2015

A Church of England vicar has gone on the run as he was convicted of pocketing thousands of pounds handed over as fees for weddings, funerals and graveyard memorials.

Simon Reynolds, 50, went out for lunch and did not come back, an official at Sheffield crown court said. The jury later came back and convicted him on all charges, she said.

Reynolds, of Farnham, Surrey, was accused of keeping fees handed over to him by bereaved families and engaged couples when he was priest-in-charge of All Saints Church in Darton, near Barnsley, South Yorkshire. He should have handed over the money – estimated at £24,000 – to the diocese and the parochial church council, the court heard.

South Yorkshire police said a warrant had been issued for Reynolds’ arrest and officers were actively searching for him. It said in a statement that he had been convicted of four counts of theft, despite his absence at court.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:28 PM

Trusting the Church After Abuse

UNITED STATES
Christianity Today

Heather Caliri, guest writer

Earlier this summer, the Mennonite Church USA held its annual conference. The unofficial theme was something no organization wants to print on promotional materials. Over and over, Anabaptist leaders at the gathering repented of the denomination’s complicity in their most famous theologian’s sexual abuse.

John Howard Yoder is thought to have victimized nearly 100 women during his tenure at a Mennonite seminary in the ‘70s and ‘80s. He was forced out and later disciplined by the church, but without anyone revealing why he’d faced censure. He died in 1997. What makes Yoder’s abuse all the more grotesque is the theology that made him—and his church—famous: Pacifism.

Yoder’s legacy serves as a powerful reminder for all kinds of Christian organizations. Abusers don’t always appear to us as heartless monsters. They can be smart, thoughtful, well-loved Christians. They can hide inside our own churches. God recognizes our naiveté about human nature. As Diane Langberg put it, “We think we know people. God says we do not. He says we do not know ourselves.”

Last weekend, I sent my daughters to Sunday school at church. It’s the same church I attended growing up. It’s where I was married and my kids were baptized. It’s also the same church where my best friend was raped repeatedly by a youth pastor in high school.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:24 PM

Assignment Record– Rev. Stanislaus P. Goryczka

MINNESOTA
BishopAccountability.org

Summary of Case: A priest of the St. Cloud diocese ordained in 1923, Stanislaus Goryczka spent his career pastoring parishes in Harding (Pulaski), Elmdale and Little Falls MN. He died in 1941. Goryczka's name was included on a list released in January 2014 of 33 of its clerics with credible accusations of child sexual abuse. Further details have not been released.

Born: Nov. 20, 1894
Ordained: June 3, 1923
Died: April 18, 1941

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:21 PM

Defamation case against Paul Kendrick of Freeport goes to the jury

MAINE
Portland Press Herald

BY SCOTT DOLAN STAFF WRITER
sdolan@pressherald.com | @scottddolan | 207-791-6304

The jury in the federal defamation trial of Paul Kendrick of Freeport began deliberations Thursday afternoon after listening to nearly three hours of closing arguments in the case brought against him by the American founder of an orphanage for boys in Haiti.

Michael Geilenfeld and Hearts with Haiti, the North Carolina charity that raises donations to fund his orphanage, have accused Kendrick of widely broadcasting false claims in an email campaign starting in January 2011 that Geilenfeld sexually abused some orphans in his care.

Judge John A. Woodcock Jr. told the 10 jurors in U.S. District Court in Portland that they must base their verdict on whether the plaintiffs had proven that Kendrick’s statements about Geilenfeld were false or made the statements with “reckless disregard” as to whether they were true.

Before jurors began deliberating, they had listened to nearly three weeks of testimony in the trial that started on July 7 from witnesses including Kendrick, Geilenfeld and a half-dozen former residents of St. Joseph’s Home for Boys in Port-au-Prince who said Geilenfeld sexually abused them.

“The question is, were all of these young men lying when they came forward time and time again to say they were abused by Mr. Geilenfeld,” Kendrick’s attorney, David Walker, said in his closing arguments to the jury. “They look different from us. They have different backgrounds, but it doesn’t mean they don’t know what it’s like to be touched and molested while they were teenagers by a grown man.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:11 PM

David Barton: Churches Are Required to Hire Pedophiles to Run Church Nurseries

UNITED STATES
Warren Throckmorton

July 23, 2015 by Warren Throckmorton

On Tuesday, David Barton appeared on Missions Radio (click link for entire program), a podcast hosted by Kenneth Mitchell. The topics were mostly current events and Barton’s analysis of them. As with his history, his analysis of current events is also off the mark. In this clip, Barton claims churches have to hire pedophiles to run their nurseries.

Transcript:

Then, Congress has passed what’s called ENDA, Employment Non-Discrimination Act, passed this in ’06 under Pelosi and Reid and at that point in time, it says you cannot discriminate on the basis of hiring.

As a result, the president has now announced that faith based groups have to hire homosexuals; not an option, you have to because federal law says you cannot discriminate on the basis of identity. So if a pedophile comes to the church and says I want to run your nursery, you can’t say no because that’s discriminating on the basis of identity. If a homosexual comes and says I want to be your youth director and you say no, you can’t do that, you can’t distinguish on the basis of gender.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:07 PM

Kincora Boys' Home: MI5 and the Westminster paedophile ring

UNITED KINGDOM
International Business Times

By Shane Croucher
July 23, 2015

It has been closed for over 30 years after a child sex abuse scandal broke in the early 1980s, but the grubby tale of Kincora Boys Home in Belfast, Northern Ireland, is once again dirtying the news agenda – with more details emerging about who was involved and what they did.

Kincora was supposed to be a haven for boys aged 15 to 18 from troubled backgrounds, including those most at risk of abuse. But for some of the 168 who passed over its threshold, the experience was one of being tossed from the furnace into the fires of a man-made hell.

Now new British government files on Kincora have surfaced suggesting it may have been connected to the trafficking of boys for abuse to England, in particular the notorious Elm Guest House and Dolphin Square properties in London.

The files have been handed to Northern Irish authorities investigating historical abuse amid explosive allegations of a Westminster child sex ring with links right to the top of the establishment.

Those named in Cabinet Office papers in connection with the claims are former members of the Thatcher and Heath administrations, including Thatcher's former permanent secretary Sir Peter Morrison, home secretary Leon Brittan, ex-Northern Ireland secretary Sir William van Straubenzee and the diplomat and MI6 spook Sir Peter Hayman. All are now dead, thus unable to defend themselves against any allegations of wrongdoing.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:05 PM

Kincora boys' home abuse: Files handed to HIA inquiry

UNITED KINGDOM
BBC News

The discovery of new state papers about the Kincora abuse scandal does not mean the inquiry into what happened should be extended, the NI secretary has said.

There is pressure to include the east Belfast boys' home in the Goddard abuse inquiry in England and Wales.

However, Theresa Villiers said the right place for the new files to go was the Northern Ireland Historical Institutional Abuse Inquiry (HIA).

It cannot compel witnesses or documents from agencies like MI5.

'Best forum'

New government files containing allegations about Kincora have been handed over to the HIA.
Three senior care staff at Kincora were jailed in 1981 for abusing 11 boys. At least 29 boys were abused at the home between the late 1950s and the early 1980s.

Ms Villiers said the inquiry, chaired by Sir Anthony Hart, was "doing an exceptionally good job".

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:03 PM

Belfast children's home excluded from child abuse inquiry

UNITED KINGDOM
Channel 4

The government has ruled out the possibility of a nationwide child abuse inquiry investigating abuse at the Kincora children's home in Belfast.

Campaigners had asked for Kincora to be included in the UK-wide inquiry into child abuse being conducted by Judge Lowell Goddard. New state files on abuse allegations have recently come to light.

Northern Ireland Secretary Theresa Villiers said on Thursday the best forum to examine claims of political involvement in a paedophile ring that operated from Kincora was an on-going Northern Ireland inquiry, chaired by retired judge Sir Anthony Hart - not the nationwide probe.

Victims of child abuse who are campaigning for Kincora to be included in the national inquiry argued that the Northern Ireland-specific inquiry does not have the power to compel security services witnesses to give evidence or produce documents.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:01 PM

Convicted child sex offender listed as violent on VA state registry is "Care Director" pastor at Fairfax Community Church

VIRGINIA
Watch Keep

It's come to this: as I told my husband a few days ago when I was alerted to this story, we now must caution parents and church members/attendees to search for church pastors and staff on sex offender registries.

Child sex offenders "hiding" in plain sight, elevated to positions of spiritual authority and trust? Alarmingly, yes.

How would the public react to news that a violent registered sex offender worked at a school with kids? Daycare? Coach? Counselor?

Church? Yes, a church: Fairfax Community Church in Fairfax, Virginia.

Eric Nickle is the Care Director at Fairfax Community Church. The senior pastor of FCC is Rod Stafford.

Eric Nickle is on the Virginia sex offender registry. He is listed as violent.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:59 PM

MI--Victims blast Adrian College over new case

MICHIGAN
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

For immediate release: Thursday, July 23

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

We’re glad that a sexual harassment case against an Adrian College professor is moving ahead but deeply disturbed that school administrators are again embroiled in a scandal involving a staff member. For years, we have prodded Adrian officials about an admitted predator who is still teaching at the college.

Vic Libiri is accused of sexually harassing a student. Adrian music professor Thomas Hodgman, however, is accused of assaulting a girls and admitted molesting two girls. He is accused of molesting at least one more.

Yet he’s still on the college payroll and his college supervisors and colleagues are doing nothing to safeguard the vulnerable on campus – students, staff, volunteers, alums, and prospective students.

Hodgman’s former employer had to pay $1.6 million to a California woman who was repeatedly sexually violated by Hodgman when she was a youngster.

From 1986-1990, Hodgman taught at Mater Dei High School in Orange County California, where he met the three girls. The names of two of them are confidential.

[Orange County Weekly]

But the third, Joelle Casteix, is now an award-winning advocate for abuse victims and our group's long time volunteer Western Regional Director.

[The Wichita Eagle]

In 2005, Casteix traveled from her California home to Adrian and met with then-President Stanley Caine. She expressed her fear that Hodgman might still be molesting children. But Caine took no action, telling Casteix that her motivation was "sour grapes."

[Toledo Blade]

In court documents, Casteix also says that Hodgman impregnated her and gave her a sexually transmitted disease.

Through her civil lawsuit against Hodgman and his former school, Casteix has obtained roughly 200 pages of personnel documents, which she has posted on her website:

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:54 PM

Assignment Record– Rev. Edward A. Igle

NEW JERSEY
BishopAccountability.org

Summary of Case: A priest of the Camden diocese ordained in 1974, Igle assisted at parishes and through the 1990s was Clinical Director of Catholic Social Services. He was accused in a 1994 lawsuit of having sexually assaulted and raped a boy in the 1970s, when the boy was 14-17 years-old. The abuse is said to have taken place at St. Cecilia's in Pennsauken and at a Blackwood parish. Igle was allowed to stay in ministry. His accuser received a settlement in 2000 of $7,000. Igle denied the abuse and said in May 2000 that he was going on a voluntary leave of absence; the diocese said he was removed because of the allegations. Another man received a settlement in the early 2000s after alleging sexual abuse by Igle in the 1970s at a Deptford parish. In July 2015 Igle is a licensed practicing marriage and family counselor in New Jersey.

Ordained: 1974

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:09 PM

GSOC find no evidence of garda offences in Cloyne child sex abuse investigation

IRELAND
Irish Examiner

A GSOC report into the garda handling of allegations of child sex abuse in the Diocese of Cloyne has found no evidence of offences by members of the force.

The investigation revealed some possible explanations as to why formal investigations were not conducted by the Gardaí into serious allegations of sexual abuse.

The report suggests some failures on the part of the Gardaí, but says no offences appear to have been committed and no disciplinary proceedings are being recommended.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:54 AM

Garda ‘failed in duty’ to properly handle Cloyne abuse claims

IRELAND
Irish Times

Patsy McGarry

Thu, Jul 23, 2015

An Garda Síochána failed in its duty to investigate allegations of child sexual abuse made by two women against a priest in the Cloyne diocese, the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission (Gsoc) has found.

The allegations were made in the mid 1990s and related to incidents that occurred in the late 1960s.
Gsoc said it decided taking action against the relevant gardaí was “moot” as they are now retired and no longer amenable to the Garda Síochána (Discipline) Regulations for Neglect of Duty.

The finding relates to the Cloyne report, published in July 2011, which investigated the handling of clerical child sexual abuse allegations there by church and State authorities. Chapter 10 indicated that gardaí had not acted on information they had in relation to allegations of sexual abuse by a Cloyne priest.

The Gsoc investigation into this, beginning in March 2012, set out to establish whether it might involve an offence by gardaí or if it would justify disciplinary proceedings.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:22 AM

Vatican adviser: Married priests, women deacons would add 'dynamism'

AUSTRIA
National Catholic Reporter

Christa Pongratz-Lippitt | Jul. 23, 2015 NCR Today

"Married priests and women deacons should be reintroduced as soon as possible. That would bring new dynamism to the church," Dietmar Winkler, the future dean of Salzburg University's Catholic theological faculty, told the Austrian daily Salzburger Nachrichten in an interview during the Salzburg Festival.

He said he could not see why men who feel called to the priesthood should be forced to remain celibate. Asceticism, which religious feel called to, is a charism that could not be forced on people, Winkler said.

He said compulsory celibacy was not introduced for several hundred years and for diverse reasons, one of which was to prevent imperial dynasties from inheriting church possessions.

Asked what would happen if priests who got married were to get divorced, Winkler said that there were many priests who failed to remain celibate. Failure was always possible. "Jesus came to the broken and not to the perfect," he said.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:17 AM

Canada--Convicted Orthodox archbishop released from prison

CANADA
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

For immediate release: Thursday, July 23, 2015

For more information: Melanie Jula Sakoda of Moraga, California, Orthodox Christian Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (melanie.sakoda@gmail.com, 925-708-6175), Cappy Larson of San Francisco, California, Orthodox Christian Director of SNAP (cappy@rlarson.com, 415-637-2006); David Clohessy of St. Louis, Missouri, Executive Director of SNAP (davidgclohessy@gmail.com, 314-566-9790)

Victims want abusive bishop defrocked
He’s been released early from Canadian prison
SNAP to hierarchs: “Tell public where the molester is now”
Group begs officials to limit his access to kids and parishes
“You have a moral duty to disclose and warn families at risk,” victims say

A Canadian archbishop convicted of child sexual abuse has been released from prison early. A support group for victims wants church officials to defrock him, warn families about him and keep him away from parishes.

[Winnipeg Free Press]

[Orthodox Church in America]

Leaders of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, are writing to the bishops of the Orthodox Church in America (OCA) about Archbishop Seraphim Storheim, who was once the church’s highest ranking official in Canada. Storheim was suspended by his synod following his arrest in November of 2010. In January 2014, he was forced into retirement after his conviction for child sexual abuse.

SNAP wants church officials to take the next step and defrock the archbishop. The victims’ group has been urging the OCA to do this since the archbishop’s 2014 conviction.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:37 AM

The Church needs better ministry to priests in prison

UNITED STATES
Intermountain Catholic

By Msgr. M. Francis Mannion
Pastor emeritus of St. Vincent de Paul Parish

A recent article in the “National Catholic Reporter” by Thomas C. Fox, titled “Vincentian visits imprisoned priests,” drew my attention to the plight of priests in prison, especially those convicted of the sexual abuse of minors.

The article took the form of an interview with Fr. Paul Sauerbier, a Vincentian priest who has established the Prodigal Father Foundation – so-called because of the lavish generosity of the father toward the repentant son in the Gospel story of the Prodigal Son.

Fr. Sauerbier’s ministry is to reach out to priests imprisoned for the sexual abuse of minors – whom Sauerbier calls “the modern-day lepers in our society.”

When priests are convicted for the abuse of minors, he says, “Most people in the church and society back away in horror. When he ends up in prison, he is usually abandoned by his church, his family and his friends.”

“No one,” Fr. Sauerbier says, “is more outcast than an outcast priest.”

Sauerbier states: “Most of the guys I visited haven’t been visited in years. Sometimes I am the first visitor they have ever had. I find many of the men suffering from extreme isolation. ... I spend a lot of time with [priests] who have had almost no human contact. I’ve found these priests depleted, often with having had no one to share their pain or shame.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:35 AM

Gardaí may have interviewed victim of paedophile priest as ‘family favour’

IRELAND
The Journal

A REPORT BY the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission (GSOC) into the handling of allegations of child sexual abuse in Cloyne has found evidence of failures on the part of gardaí.

However, GSOC is not recommending any disciplinary action as no offences appear to have been committed.

In 2011, the Cloyne Report outlined evidence that indicated gardaí did not act upon information they had in relation to complaints of sexual abuse in the Cork diocese.

A public interest investigation was opened by GSOC in March 2012 as a result.

In its report, GSOC focused on allegations of sexual abuse made by two victims against one priest.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:29 AM

AR--Abuse victims blast AR state board of ed

ARKANSAS
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

Group blasts state board of education
It gives convicted teacher a chance to teach again
She knew about but delayed reporting a colleague’s crimes
Organization urges officials to reconsider their recent decision
Group also urges “victims, witnesses and whistleblowers” to “speak up”

WHAT
Holding signs and childhood photos at a sidewalk news conference, members of a support group for clergy abuse victims will

--blast the Arkansas Board of Education for giving a convicted teacher a chance to teach again,
--urge the board to reconsider its decision, and
--beg anyone who may have seen, suspected or suffered child sex crimes or cover ups in schools to “come forward, get help, call police, expose wrongdoers and protect kids.”

WHEN
Thursday, July 23 at 11:00 A.M.

WHERE
On the sidewalk outside the Arkansas State Board of Education, Four Capitol Mall in downtown Little Rock

WHO
Two-three members of an independent, non-denominational and confidential self-help and advocacy group for those abused in churches called SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

WHY
A victims group is blasting the Arkansas Department of Education over its recent ruling in the case of a teacher who delayed for weeks telling law enforcement about a colleague’s child sex crimes.

SNAP is calling on the state board to reverse its decision to give Kathy Gene Griffin a chance to teach again in one year.

[Arkansas Online]

Two weeks ago, the board suspended Griffin’s teaching license because she was convicted in September 2013 of delaying for weeks to report abuse by Kelly O’Rourke, another teacher. (O’Rourke pleaded guilty to abuse in January 2013.)

[YouTube]

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:22 AM

MO--Church blasted for hosting ex-House speaker

MISSOURI
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

For immediate release: Thrsday, July 23, 2015

For more information:

David Clohessy of St. Louis, SNAP Director (314) 566-9790 cell, davidgclohessy@gmail.com

Victims blast Arnold church
Ex-House speaker will talk there
Controversial politician pled guilty to assault
A controversial former lawmaker who pled guilty to assault will speak at an Arnold church and an abuse victims’ group is protesting the event.

Leaders of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, are writing officials at First Baptist Church about an upcoming appearance by former Houses Speaker Rod Jetton.

“It hurts victims of sexual violence to see predators given positions of prestige,” said David Clohessy of St. Louis, SNAP’s director.

“This kind of callousness is one reason many who are sexually victimized stay silent,” said Barbara Dorris of St. Louis, SNAP’s outreach director. “Many crime victims feel speaking up is futile because so many violent men are charismatic and won’t ever really be appropriately disciplined.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:20 AM

Testimony of rabbi's daughter bolsters prosecution

NEW YORK
News 12

NEW CITY - Rockland Rabbi Moshe Menachem Taubenfeld's daughter took the stand for the defense Wednesday in his sex-abuse trial.

Taubenfeld's daughter broke down in tears as she described how her mother and brother were killed by a Hamas suicide bomber on a bus in Jerusalem in 2003. She was also on board, but survived the attacked.

After the tragedy in which Taubenfeld lost his wife and child, children were reportedly no longer allowed at the rabbi's home.

During Wednesday's testimony, the rabbi's daughter confirmed that her father knew Laiby Stern, who has testified that the rabbi molested him after Stern sought counsel from the rabbi in the wake of the Sept. 11 terror attacks. Stern, now 22, claims that the abuse occurred for five years.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:27 AM

Appeals court hears arguments in 11-year church occupation

MASSACHUSETTS
Concord Monitor

By PHILIP MARCELO
Associated Press
Thursday, July 23, 2015

Parishioners occupying a long-closed Catholic church south of Boston had their day before the state appeals court Wednesday as they sought to overturn a judge’s ruling that ordered them to end their nearly 11-year, round-the-clock protest vigil.

A three-judge appeals panel heard brief arguments from both sides, as dozens of parishioners and their supporters packed the courtroom. The panel is expected to issue a written decision at a later date.

In their court brief, the Friends of St. Frances X. Cabrini Church in Scituate, Mass., argued that a state superior court judge wrongly prevented them from presenting arguments referencing church or canon law, denied them the right to a jury trial and abused his judicial discretion, among other things.

The group wants the lower court decision reversed and the case ordered for a new trial.

“This is an ecclesiastical dispute,” lawyer Mary Elizabeth Carmody said Wednesday. “We believe this case was wrongfully decided.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:22 AM

Lawsuit filed against the Rev. McCormick

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
Philadelphia Daily News

JULIE SHAW, DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITER SHAWJ@PHILLYNEWS.COM, 215-854-2592
POSTED: Thursday, July 23, 2015

A MAN WHO has claimed he was sexually abused as a child by a Catholic priest in the rectory of St. John Cantius Parish in Bridesburg has filed a lawsuit against the priest and the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.

The man, now 27, has accused the Rev. Andrew McCormick, now 59, of sexually assaulting him in 1997, when the man was a 10-year-old altar boy.

Two criminal juries - one on March 11 of this year, another on March 12, 2014 - deadlocked on charges of involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, sexual assault, indecent assault of a person less than 13 years old, child endangerment and corruption of a minor against McCormick.

In April, the District Attorney's Office said it would not prosecute McCormick a third time and dropped all charges against him.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:19 AM

Former NSW school principal sentenced to jail for indecent assault

AUSTRALIA
ABC News

By Giselle Wakatama

A former Catholic school principal has been sentenced to 18 months' jail for indecently assaulting a Hunter Valley school boy.

Peter Pemble, 67, sexually abused the boy at Maitland's Marist Brothers' High School in the early 1970s.

He went on to become principal at St Gregory's college in Campbelltown in western Sydney.

Pemble's victim told the court the abuse left his life in tatters, causing anxiety and fear.

Newcastle District Court Judge Peter Berman noted that he must impose a sentence in line with the time the offence was committed.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:15 AM

Australien: Ruhestandsbischof muss in Missbrauchssache aussagen

AUSTRALIEN
kath.net

Früherer Bischofs von Ballarat/Victoria kann sich nicht länger vor gerichtlicher Untersuchung drücken. Ihm wird vorgeworfen, mindestens einen pädophilen Priester geschützt zu haben.

Sydney (kath.net) Ronald Mulkearns (Foto), emeritierter Bischof von Ballarat im australischen Bundesstaat Victoria, wurde zur gerichtlichen Befragung vorgeladen. Der 84-Jährige steht im Verdacht, während seiner Zeit als Ortsbischof (1971-1997) einen pädophilen Priester geschützt zu haben. Das berichtete die australische überregionale Tageszeitung „The Australian“. Mulkearns, der im Jahr 1998 einen Schlaganfall erlitten, konnte sich bisher der gerichtlichen Untersuchung mit Hinweis auf seine schlechte gesundheitliche Verfassung und Gedächtnisprobleme entziehen. Kritiker monieren, dass seine Gesundheit ihm aber weiterhin beispielsweise das selbständige Autofahren erlaube.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:13 AM

Bistum fordert Schadensersatz von Tebartz-van Elst

DEUTSCHLAND
Zeit

Das Bistum Limburg fordert Schadensersatz in Millionenhöhe von seinem ehemaligen Bischof Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst. "Der vom Papst eingesetzte Administrator Manfred Grothe hat im Vatikan mehrfach die Forderung nach materieller Wiedergutmachung vorgebracht", sagte Bistumssprecher Stephan Schnelle der Bild-Zeitung. "Jetzt muss der Papst entscheiden."

Insgesamt geht es dem Bericht zufolge um rund 3,9 Millionen Euro. Diese Summe habe das Bistum im Zusammenhang mit dem Bau des Bischofshauses abschreiben müssen. Darin enthalten seien unter anderem Kosten für nicht realisierte Entwürfe in Höhe von 950.000 Euro sowie Um-, Rück- und Wiederaufbauten für 780.000 Euro. Die Nebenkosten der Planung seien um 2,2 Millionen Euro überzogen gewesen.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:11 AM

Limburg diocese wants compensation from 'Bling Bishop'

GERMANY
Deutsche Welle

The diocese in the German city of Limburg wants compensation from its ex-bishop, Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst, according to a German media report. He was suspended after wasting church money on his lavish residence.

Citing diocese spokesman Stephan Schnelle, German daily "Bild" says that the administrator of the residence, who was sent from Rome, had repeatedly asked for "material indemnity" from Tebartz-van Elst.

"Now, the pope has to decide," Schnelle told the paper.

The former bishop's extravagant mansion, which featured details such as bronze window frames and a 15,000-euro freestanding bath, set the Catholic Church back a princely 31.3 million euros ($34.2 million).

In April, the Episcopal See said the construction of the bishop's residence had incurred a loss of 3.9 million euros for repair works and architects' design plans that were not used in the end. "Bild" says that is the sum the diocese wants to be compensated for.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:08 AM

Limburger Ex-Bischof Tebartz-van Elst droht Millionenforderung

DEUTSCHLAND
Deutsche Welle

Das Bistum Limburg verlangt Schadenersatz in Millionenhöhe von seinem ehemaligen Bischof Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst. Einen entsprechenden Bericht der "Bild"-Zeitung bestätigte Bistumssprecher Stephan Schnelle auf Anfrage der Katholischen Nachrichten-Agentur (KNA). Der vom Papst eingesetzte Administrator Manfred Grothe habe im Vatikan seit April mehrfach kirchenrechtliche Fragen nach einer materiellen Wiedergutmachung vorgebracht. Jetzt müsse der Papst entscheiden.

Schnelle betonte zugleich, dass Grothe Tebartz in Rom nicht "angezeigt" habe. Ob Forderungen gegen den Bischof erhoben würden, in welcher Höhe und auf welchem Weg, könne nur im Einverständnis mit dem Vatikan entschieden werden. Bei Rechtsakten gegen einen Bischof sei grundsätzlich der Heilige Stuhl zuständig. Im Herbst werde es weitere Gespräche geben.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:03 AM

Archbishop Denis Hart should hang his head in shame

AUSTRALIA
The Age

July 23, 2015

Michael Kelly

As the Royal Commission into sex abuse struggles to cope with endless tales of tragedy, it is important to remember there are many ways in which a child can be put at risk. This week Melbourne's Catholic Archbishop offered another graphic example of how those who have authority over the most vulnerable can choose to leave them in harm's way.

In 2007 Denis Hart had the chance to do what bishops all over the country were doing. He could have welcomed the Not So Straight report by Jesuit Social Services, which was aimed at helping teachers respond to the needs of gay teens in Catholic schools.

Hart had to make sure that Melbourne schools were more Catholic than Catholic.

Like many reports before and since, this study highlighted widespread bullying and homophobic abuse in schools and detailed high levels of self harm, and even suicide, among LGBT​ students. It also offered practical strategies and training programs for principals and teachers, all aimed at helping students – and all within the framework of Catholic social justice principles.

The archbishop buried the report. For him, it was not doctrinally pristine. Its denunciations and condemnations were not sufficiently clear. He could not countenance the possibility that same-sex attracted students might think their sexual orientation was "tolerated", or that, God forbid, it might even be part of the natural diversity of human experience. Never mind that dioceses all over Australia welcomed and implemented the Jesuits' report. The archbishop had to make sure that Melbourne schools were more Catholic than Catholic.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:58 AM

Is religion doing enough to root out abuse?

UNITED KINGDOM
BBC News

Caroline Wyatt
Religious affairs correspondent

From when Karen Morgan was 12, until she was well into her teens, she was sexually abused by her uncle - a ministerial servant with the Jehovah's Witnesses.

He would go upstairs, on the premise that he was saying a prayer with his niece, then sexually abuse her.

Now in her 30s, Karen wasn't understood when she first told her parents what her uncle, Mark Sewell, was doing.

Sewell was also the son of a trusted older member of the local Jehovah's Witnesses congregation, known as an elder.

Christian churches, as well as other religions, have faced claims of child abuse.

But what is striking about the Jehovah's Witnesses is their explicit policy of dealing with abuse in-house.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:56 AM

THE GERMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH IN FREEFALL

GERMANY
Breitbart

by THOMAS D. WILLIAMS, PH.D.20 Jul 201530

In 2014, the Catholic Church in Germany lost a greater number of faithful than in any previous year in its history for which there are records: 218,000 people–39,000 more than the previous year.

The figure is exceptionally high, exceeding even that of 2010, the year in which the German Church was shaken by the scandal of sexual abuse of minors.

In a recent article titled “The Bleeding German Church,” veteran Vatican journalist Marco Tosatti examined the German Catholic exodus, tying it to two principle causes, one financial and the other doctrinal.

From the fiscal side, church and state are much more closely allied in Germany than they are in the United States. Citizens declare their religious affiliation on their income tax returns, and depending on which box one checks, a special tax or “Kirchensteuer” goes to the appropriate religious body. The tax is calculated as an additional 8-9% of one’s total income tax payment, rather than as a percentage of income itself.

The Catholic Church in Germany is quite wealthy, in no small part due to the notorious “church tax.” In 2011, Tosatti notes, the German Church received somewhere in the neighborhood of $6.3 billion. Moreover, the Church in Germany is the second largest employer in the country, with only the state employing more people. Many of those employed are non-believers, and the Church’s considerable institutional presence influences people’s rapport with it, tending to create a more formal, and sometimes utilitarian, relationship.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:53 AM

GSOC finds garda failings in Cloyne investigation

IRELAND
RTE News

A report by the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission into the handling by gardaí of allegations of child sexual abuse, which were raised in the Cloyne Report in 2011, has found evidence of failures on the part of the gardaí.

However, the GSOC report says no offences appear to have been committed, and it is not recommending any disciplinary action.

The Commission of Investigation Report into the Catholic Diocese of Cloyne in 2011 outlined evidence given to the inquiry which indicated that gardaí did not act on information received in relation to complaints of sexual abuse in the diocese.

GSOC launched a public interest investigation in March 2012 to establish whether these matters may have constituted an offence by members of the gardaí or whether they justified disciplinary proceedings.

The GSOC investigation focused on the handling of allegations made by two victims in relation to one priest.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:45 AM

LA nuns sue Opus Dei Bishop Gomez for convent sale to Katy Perry.

UNITED STATES
PopeCrimes& Vatican Evils.

Paris Arrow

Whatever happened to the papal infallible edict that “Outside the Roman Catholic Church, there is no salvation”? The opposite is true for countless victims of the Vatican crimes against humanity’s children where their only salvation is found “outside the church”.

It is now the Catholic Church’s in-thing and one of the biggest sign that the Vatican Titanic is sunken deep in the ocean of moral bankruptcy when the only way that the church all-male hierarchy can deal or settle with its victims–– is via expensive secular lawyers–––and completely “outside the church”. That has been the modus operandi of the Catholic Church throughout the USA and Europe for over a decade when cardinals and bishops and religious congregations haggled –– via lawyers –– with their thousands of victims who were ruined when they were children by the JP2 Army’s crimes against humanity.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:43 AM

July 22, 2015

Closing arguments set for Thursday in Freeport man’s defamation trial

MAINE
Portland Press Herald

BY SCOTT DOLAN STAFF WRITER
sdolan@pressherald.com | @scottddolan | 207-791-6304

Lawyers will make closing arguments on Thursday in the federal defamation trial of Paul Kendrick of Freeport who is accused of widely broadcasting a false claim that the American founder of an orphanage in Haiti sexually abused the boys in his care for years.

Kendrick, 65, has passionately defended his claim that Michael Geilenfeld is a “serial child molester” and testified at the trial in U.S. District Court in Portland that what he wrote in an ongoing mass blast email campaign starting in January of 2011 is true.

Geilenfeld, 63, has repeatedly denied abusing children in his care at St. Joseph’s Home for Boys in Port-au-Prince in Haiti and filed suit against Kendrick in 2013, claiming Kendrick’s email campaign had so damaged his reputation that an American fundraising group for the orphanage had lost about $2 million in donations.

Geilenfeld has also accused Kendrick of using his campaign to have Geilenfeld arrested by Haitian authorities on child sex abuse charges last September. Geilenfeld remained locked up in prison in Port-au-Prince for 237 days before a Haitian judge dismissed the case. Geilenfeld was arrested in Haiti just one month before his case against Kendrick in Portland had been scheduled for trial. The trial here was delayed until his release in April, after which he was able to return to the United States, though Haitian officials had seized his passport. Geilenfeld’s accusers in Haiti have since filed an appeal reviving the case against him there, regardless of the outcome of the trial against Kendrick here.

Geilenfeld told the jurors as he testified last week that he is gay and that Haiti is a “very homophobic” country. His sexual orientation has led to his being accused of child sex abuse several times in the past, though those allegations were quickly dispelled, he testified.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:07 PM

This Time It's About The Money

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
Big Trial

By Ralph Cipriano
for BigTrial.net

At both of Father Andrew McCormick's criminal trials, the alleged victim in the case, as well as the prosecutor, made a point of saying that the victim who claimed he was sexually abused as a 10-year-old altar boy wasn't in it for the money.

That's why he hadn't filed a civil suit, the victim said on the witness stand at both trials.

On March 6, 2014, at Father Andy's first trial, the priest's defense lawyer, William J. Brennan, cautioned the jury that although the alleged victim had not yet filed a civil suit against the archdiocese, "I don't know what he's gonna do tomorrow."

If people keep telling you, "It's not about the money, it's about the money," Brennan told the jury.

On June 10, the alleged victim in the case fulfilled Brennan's prophecy by filing a civil suit in Philadelphia Common Pleas Court, John Doe v. Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Philadelphia, Msgr. William Lynn, and Father Andrew McCormick.

Both of Father Andy's trials ended in deadlocked juries. On April 10th, after the second mistrial in 14 months, Assistant District Attorney Kristen Kemp told Judge Gwendolyn N. Bright that the D.A.'s office would not retry the case a third time. But now the alleged victim is after Father Andy in the civil courts. And in the civil complaint, "John Doe" is seeking damages of more than $50,000, plus punitive damages.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:56 PM

Alleged victim of sexual abuse sues Phila. priest whose two trials ended in hung juries

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
Philadelphia Inquirer

JOSEPH A. SLOBODZIAN, INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
LAST UPDATED: Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Twice, the Rev. Andrew McCormick went to trial in Philadelphia for allegedly sexually assaulting an altar boy almost 18 years ago in a Bridesburg parish.

Twice, Common Pleas Court juries failed to reach a verdict.

Now, three months after the District Attorney's Office announced it would not retry McCormick and withdrew the charges, the now-27-year-old former altar boy has sued McCormick and the Catholic Archdiocese of Philadelphia.

The lawsuit under the pseudonym "John Doe" was filed July 10 in Philadelphia Common Pleas Court and seeks unspecified compensatory and punitive damages for emotional and other injuries sustained by the alleged victim.

Trevan Borum, the Center City lawyer who defended McCormick in his last criminal trial, which ended with a hung jury on April 10, on Wednesday denounced the lawsuit.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:54 PM

Pope Francis’ approval rating drops ahead of first U.S. trip

UNTIED STATES
The Tribune

BY WILLIAM DOUGLAS
wdouglas@mcclatchydc.com
July 22, 2015

Pope Francis’ popularity has taken a hit in the United States, especially among political conservatives, a new Gallup survey revealed Wednesday.

The pontiff’s favorability rating among Americans has dropped from 76 percent in February 2014 to 59 percent this month, according to Gallup. The decline returned Francis close to the 58 percent favorability rating registered in April 2013, soon after he was elected pope.

Simultaneously, his unfavorable numbers have increased from 9 percent in 2014 to 16 percent this month. The number of Americans who have never heard of or have no opinion of Pope Francis jumped from 16 percent in February 2014 to 25 percent this month.

The slide in Francis’ popularity comes ahead of his first visit to the United States in September. He’s scheduled to visit Philadelphia, New York, and Washington, D.C. where he’ll become the first pope to address a joint session of Congress.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:52 PM

Mother and Baby Homes inquiry 'does not want extra burden'

IRELAND
Belfast Telegraph

The judge-led inquiry into Mother and Baby Homes does not want to be burdened by including two more institutions in its investigations, a campaigner has claimed.

Dr Niall Meehan, whose research helped uncover the scale of infant deaths at Dublin's Bethany Home, launched a withering attack on Judge Yvonne Murphy for failing to recommend the inclusion of the Westbank Orphanage in Wicklow and the Braemar Rescue Home for Protestant Girls in Cork.

He claimed he was told by a member of staff that the inquiry would be overburdened if it increased its workload at this stage.

"The dead children are witness to our determination. While the forgotten survivors assembled here and throughout the world hold these graves they will never be at peace," he said.

The Mother and Baby inquiry was set up after revelations last year about a mass grave at a Catholic run home for unmarried mothers in Tuam, Co Galway, where 796 infants died between 1925 and 1961.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:44 PM

Renewed criticism over investigation into mother-and-baby homes

IRELAND
RTE News

There has been renewed criticism of the Government's ongoing failure to include two Protestant institutions in the Commission of Investigation into Mother and Baby Homes.

Dr Niall Meehan of the Bethany Survivors Group has also criticised the Government's continuing failure to offer redress to former residents despite including the Dublin home in the commission's terms of reference.

Dr Meehan made his remarks in the course of an address to a memorial meeting for survivors of the Bethany Home at Mount Jerome Cemetery where 227 children were discovered five years ago buried in unmarked graves.

Welcoming the Government's inclusion of that Protestant-run home in the Murphy Commission's terms of reference, Dr Meehan criticised the failure to commit to paying redress.

He said this failure had occurred despite proof of government complicity in death and neglect from the 1920s until the 1950s.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:43 PM

Leon Brittan among senior Westminster figures named in new child abuse files

UNITED KINGDOM
The Guardian

Ben Quinn and Josh Halliday
Wednesday 22 July 2015

Government papers about the former home secretary Leon Brittan are among a fresh batch of documents which have come to light months after the conclusion of an official review into whether allegations of child abuse were covered up by the Home Office in the 1980s.

The documents also reveal that the then director general of MI5 corresponded with the Cabinet Secretary in 1986 about an unnamed MP who was alleged to have “a penchant for small boys” but accepted the politican’s word that he did not.

The letter from Sir Anthony Duff to Sir Robert Armstrong added: “At the present stage ... the risks of political embarrassment to the government is rather greater than the security danger.”

Making it clear that they are “concerned and disappointed” about not being told earlier about the documents, the authors of a report earlier this year into allegations historical child abuse by powerful figures cited the letter as a “striking example” of how crimes against children were not considered as seriously as they would today.

“The risk to children is not considered at all,” Peter Wanless, chief executive of the NSPCC, and barrister Richard Whittam, said in a supplement to their review, published online on Wednesday.

The Home Office said a fresh search of the archives had been carried out after a file emerged earlier this year that should have been submitted to Wanless and Whittam.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:29 PM

Discovery of files on named politicians raises the stakes on the Kincora abuse scandal

UNITED KINGDOM
Slugger O'Toole

Brian Walker on 22 July 2015

At last . Papers naming prominent politicians of the 1970s and 80s as suspects which couldn’t be found at first have at last turned up in boxes marked “Miscellaneous” in the Cabinet Office in Whitehall. The local interest couldn’t be higher, after being stimulated by media persistence.

The papers also reveal that the Kincora children’s home in Northern Ireland was at the heart of further correspondence involving the security services.

Allegations of abuse and trafficking of children to England have centred on the home in Belfast.

The papers reveal former intelligence officer Colin Wallace raised concerns about abuse at Kincora – the papers had been stored by the Cabinet Office.

The contents of the papers have still not been revealed but have been shared with the police and will be passed to the Child Abuse Inquiry led by Justice Lowell Goddard.

The question now becomes even more insistent: will the single trial of evidence leading from Kincora to MI5 and to Conservative politicians be more difficult to follow if it continues to be split between the Northern Ireland Historical Institutional Abuse Inquiry under the retired High Court judge Tony Hart and the delayed Child Abuse Inquiry led by the New Zealand judge Lowell Goddard?

Despite protests from Peter Robinson and others, Theresa May the Home Secretary turned down requests to include the Kincora scandal in the UK inquiry despite the obvious strong links with UK officialdom, while promising full cooperation with the NI inquiry which also has statutory powers.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:27 PM

Kincora abuse: House of horrors was at the heart of correspondence involving British security services, documents reveal

NORTHERN IRELAND
Belfast Live

22 JULY 2015
BY CHRIS KILPATRICK

Allegations of abuse and trafficking of children to England have centred on the East Belfast home

The notorious Kincora house of horrors was at the heart of correspondence involving British security services, historical Government documents on child abuse have revealed.

Allegations of abuse and trafficking of children to England have centred on the East Belfast home.

The newly released batch of file names reportedly reveal former intelligence officer Colin Wallace raised concerns about abuse at Kincora.

Mr Wallace previously told how he spoke out about the abuse four decades ago – but no action was taken.

Amnesty International said the latest revelations “will only fuel public disquiet that Kincora has been excluded from the one inquiry which has a chance of getting at the truth”.

It has long been suspected well-known figures within the British establishment, including high-ranking civil servants and senior military officers, were involved in the abuse.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:25 PM

Rabbi Sentenced to Nine Years for Sexual Abuse of Teens

ISRAEL
Arutz Sheva

By Haim Lev
First Publish: 7/22/2015

A Nazareth Court sentenced Rabbi Yaakov Deutsch from Afula to nine years in prison on Wednesday, after he was convicted on charges of sexual abuse against four teenagers - two boys and two girls - whom he taught.

Deutsch was also sentenced with paying a 290,000 shekel ($75,895) fine.

The full seriousness of Deutsch's actions were examined in the court hearing for the sentencing, and the verdict condemned Deutsch's acts and motives.

Regarding the testimony of one victim, "it was wrong to think that the accused has the power to 'cure' her, and he even made her believe that the relationship between him and her is an 'instruction from above,'" the verdict stated, noting that the rabbi was using religion as a front for the abuse.

"These acts began when she was about 15-years-old - young and vulnerable - and caused her great confusion as to the morality of the conjugal visits with the accused in light of her haredi education," it continued. "Between the two there was an ongoing relationship [...] in flagrant violation of the trust of the complainant and the accused, and despite her young age."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:16 PM

Assignment Record– Rev. Stanislaus A. Bur

MICHIGAN
BishopAccountability.org

Summary of Case: Stanislaus Bur was ordained for the Grand Rapids MI diocese in 1950. He assisted at several Grand Rapids diocesan parishes, transferring to the Saginaw diocese in 1971 when his then-parish became part of that diocese. He retired in 1985, per the Official Catholic Directory. Media reports indicate Bur was forced from active ministry in the early 1990s after a man reported to the Grand Rapids diocese that Bur sexual abused him in 1958 when he was a little boy and an Iona parishioner. The diocese deemed the accusation credible and paid for the man's therapy from 1992-2001. Bur stated in 2002 that he "may have touched boys' genitals" to teach them about their bodies, but said he did not abuse them. In March 2008 there were new allegations against Bur of past sexual abuse. Bur died in February 2009.

Ordained: 1950
Died: Feb. 1, 2009

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:59 PM

Government files prompt fresh Kincora inquiry calls

NORTHERN IRELAND
UTV

There is further pressure on the Government to include abuse claims at the Kincora Boys’ Home in a Westminster inquiry after official files have been found that contain allegations about the east Belfast institution.

The revelation comes as key Westminster figures from the 1970s and 1980s have also been named in a series of files released by the Home Office.

A fresh search of Home Office archives resulted in a number of files that mention Sir Peter Morrison, who was an aide to Margaret Thatcher, former Cabinet minister Leon Brittan, ex-diplomat Sir Peter Hayman and former minister Sir William van Straubenzee as well as references to Kincora.

One of the files relating to Hayman was held by the Cabinet Office but "overlooked" during a previous trawl for information.

Documents that refer to Straubenzee had been earmarked for destruction but National Archives officials flagged them up to the Government.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:57 PM

East Naples priest Leo Riley reinstated after abuse investigation

FLORIDA
Naples Daily News

Ryan Mills
Jul 22, 2015

NAPLES, Fla. - An East Naples priest who placed on leave earlier this year while the church conducted an investigation into sexual abuse allegations against him has been reinstated after the church cleared him recently of wrongdoing.

Diocese of Venice Bishop Frank Dewane reinstated Rev. Leo Riley on the advice of a review board, said Bob Reddy, a diocese spokesman. Before the investigation, Riley, 60, had served at St. Peter the Apostle Catholic Church on Rattlesnake Hammock Road since 2013.

“Father Riley asked for a leave of absence. He’s going to take some time off to reflect on what he wants to do next, what he wants to do as a priest,” Reddy said. “He may come back at St. Peters. He may come back somewhere else. He just wanted some time off to get over the trauma of the situation.”

The church launched its investigation after a man came forward in December claiming to have been sexually abused by Riley 30 years ago in an Iowa parish. Jeff Buchheit, 39, told Iowa media earlier this year that he was abused by Riley in 1985, when he was an altar boy at Resurrection School in Dubuque.

The church launched its investigation, hiring a private investigators — a former FBI agent — to interview Riley, Buchheit and others. Riley, who denied the allegations from the start, submitted to a polygraph examination last month, his attorney said.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:25 PM

Sex abuse victims expect to be let down by commission evidence

AUSTRALIA
The Australian

John Ferguson
Victoria Editor
Melbourne

Victims of pedophile priests ­believe former bishop of ­Ballarat Ronald Mulkearns will not be held to account for his years of allegedly covering up child sex abuse, saying they are used to being disappointed by investigating authorities and the Catholic Church.

The royal commission into child sex abuse is yet to finalise the witness list for when it returns to Ballarat at the end of this year but Bishop Mulkearns is considered highly likely to be asked to give evidence.

A Geelong magistrate’s decision this week to call Bishop Mulkearns as a witness for the committal hearing of an alleged pedophile priest has raised the possibility in survivors’ minds of gaining some answers for why the abuse lasted as long as it did.

Bishop Mulkearns served as the bishop of Ballarat between 1971-97 and oversaw the movement of Australia’s worst pedophile priest, Gerald Ridsdale, from parish to parish when complaints about his offending were made.

Abuse survivor Andrew ­Collins told The Australian yesterday he wanted to know when Bishop Mulkearns first became aware of Ridsdale’s offending and which other offenders he knew about.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:46 PM

Christian Brother faces sex abuse at CBS claim

IRELAND
Wexford People

A FORMER Wexford Christan Brother is to be questioned by gardai over allegations of sexual abuse when he was based in the town more than 30 years ago.

The alleged offences against young teenagers took place at the CBS in Wexford during the 1980s, the victims were all aged around 12 or 13 years old.

According to a well-placed source, five or six people have made allegations against the retired brother, who is living elsewhere in the country.

'Detectives from Wexford will be interviewing him in the near-future,' said the source.

'We are carrying out an investigation and there have been number of statements made by the victims,' said a garda spokesman. 'some of the allegations have been with us for some time and we are continuing to receive others.'

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:43 PM

Prison for rabbi who sexually assaulted youths

ISRAEL
Jerusalem Online

Jul 22, 2015 Gal Cohen

Rabbi Yaakov Deutsch, who was convicted of sexually assaulting young boys and girls, was sent to prison for nine years. Judge Teofik Katili from the Nazareth District Court also sentenced Deutsch to three years probation. Deutsch, who served as a congregational rabbi in Afula and was charged three years ago for serious offenses, will also be required to compensate the victims.

In 2012, an indictment was filed against Deutsch for sexual offenses against boys and girls aged 13-15. Although Deutsch pleaded not guilty, the Nazareth District Court convicted him last year and said that he took advantage of his religious status.

Among other things, the indictment detailed a case in which he ordered a 15 year old girl to touch him, claiming that in this way “energy would be transferred from his body to hers”, which he claimed would heal an illness that she was dealing with. After she recovered, the two resumed their relationship and had sex. According to the indictment, one of their meetings was held in the synagogue.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:40 PM

Francis' image in the US: Popular but not as before

UNITED STATES
Vatican Insider

Gallup has conducted a poll on the Pope's popularity, two months before he is due to visit New York, Washington and Philadelphia. Francis’ favourability rating in the US has dropped since February 2014

ANDREA TORNIELLI
VATICAN CITY

He is still popular, but not super-popular as he was a year ago. This is the picture that emerges from a poll conducted in the US between 8 and 12 July by consulting company Gallup.

The results were published on Wednesday 22 July, just two months before Francis is due to arrive in the US, where he will be visiting New York, Washington and Philadelphia after his stop-over in Cuba. 59% of Americans have a favourable opinion of Pope Francis while 16% have an unfavourable opinion of him and 25% has no opinion of him or has never heard of him. It is interesting to compare these results to those of previous polls about Francis conducted by Gallup.

A month after his election in April 2013, Pope Francis had a 58% favourability rating in the US against 10% who had an unfavourable opinion of him. 31% did not have an opinion about him or had never heard of him.

Francis’ popularity shot up in February 2014, when, according to Gallup, 76% of Americans had a favourable opinion of the Pope, 9% did not and 16% had no opinion of him or had never heard of him.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:31 PM

French Man Convicted of Sexually Assaulting Girl ...

FRANCE
Christian Post

French Man Convicted of Sexually Assaulting Girl Claims Abuse by Catholic Priest Turned Him Into Pedophile; Sues Vatican for $54K

BY STOYAN ZAIMOV , CHRISTIAN POST REPORTER
July 22, 2015

An elderly French man who has been convinced of sexually assaulting a 15-year-old girl has said that sex abuse he suffered as a child at the hands of a Roman Catholic priest turned him into a pedophile. The man added that he is suing the Vatican for $54,000.

Emmanuel Ludot, the lawyer for the 64-year-old French man who was not named, told France's RTL channel that his client is demanding punishment for the 82-year-old priest who abused him.

The French man is claiming that the priest, who cannot be jailed due to the statute of limitations, began abusing him when he was 12 at a boarding school. The incidents of sexual assault allegedly continued for several years.

"My client is pursuing this priest to allow him a speedier recovery. He has been in therapy for many years and it's imperative that his attacker is condemned by justice," Ludot said, adding that his client "lives with these paedophilic impulses like a disease."

The 64-year-old man is reportedly suing the Vatican for moving the priest to Switzerland in an effort to conceal his crimes, when allegations of abuse first started surfacing several decades ago.

"In the coming days, I will pursue the Holy See, who installed the priest, who gave him a shelter in the '80s when he was shamed by his victims," the French man said.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:02 PM

Church probe of priest in sex assault ongoing

PHILIPPINES
Inquirer

CEBU CITY—An investigation that Church officials here described as “internal” is ongoing over reports that a priest had sexually molested a teenage female choir member right inside the parish convent in a town in southwestern Cebu.

The victim is a 17-year-old member of the parish choir.

According to reports, the priest sexually molested them on Christmas Eve last year.

“The archdiocese will look into this serious allegation,” said Msgr. Joseph Tan, spokesperson of the archdiocese.

“Allegations of this kind cannot be ignored,” Tan said.

Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma has instructed Msgr. Rey Penagunda, one of the two vicar generals of the archdiocese, to investigate.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:59 PM

Assignment Record– Rev. Andrew S. Campbell, O.S.B.

PENNSYLVANIA
BishopAccountability.org

Summary of Case: Andrew S. Campbell was ordained for the Order of St. Benedict (Benedictines) in 1981. He has been assigned to Pennsylvania State Catholic Center in State College PA, Chicago's Northwestern University and, since 1987, to St. Vincent College in Latrobe PA. He is a professor of English. Campbell was accused in a 2003 lawsuit, along with two other Benedictine monks, of sexually abusing a 16-year-old altar boy after plying him with alcohol and drugs. A judged ruled that Campbell and one of the other monks "could not have intentionally inflicted emotional distress upon [the boy] even if the allegations were true. "

Ordained: 1981

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:57 PM

Prior East Haven Pastor Accused of Sexually Abusing St. Francis Home Student

CONNECTICUT
Patch

[Father Jeremiah N. Murasso, Ph.D. - Graduation Theological Foundation]

By RACHEL ETTLINGER (Patch Staff)
July 10, 2015

Rev. Jeremiah N. Murasso, current pastor of two Waterbury parishes since 2012, has been suspended after he was accused of sexually abusing a minor at the St. Francis Home for Children, a school which he was the director from 1992 to 1995, according to the New Haven Register.

Murasso has served at St. Joseph Church in New Haven from 1982 to 1985 and at St. Vincent de Paul Church in East Haven from 1985 to 1989, the Register reported.

Murasso has been placed on administrative leave “until this allegation is resolved,” the Register reported. Criminal charges have yet to be filed.

Anyone with information about Murasso, or other suspected abusers, is asked to contact secular officials, not church officials, because bishops have had a history of allowing priests to remain in positions of power after they’re accused of being abusers, the Register reported.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:20 AM

The Italian footballer who owes the German Catholic Church €1.7m in unpaid tax

GERMANY
Newsweek

By Conor Gaffey 7/16/15

The curious case of an Italian footballer who owes the German Catholic Church €1.7m in unpaid church taxes has hit a snag as a second appeal hearing produced no conclusive result.

Luca Toni, who played for German giants Bayern Munich between 2007 and 2009, is facing the bill for failing to pay the kirchensteuer, a tax of between 8-9% of their income tax levied on all Catholics, Protestants and Jews living in Germany.

The striker, who is a Catholic, is now suing the city of Munich and his former tax advisors for compensation after claiming that he was misled following his transfer to Munich from Italian side Fiorentina in 2007, according to German publication DW.

The case highlights the religious levies operating in Germany, which generate billions for religious institutions and have led to waves of Christians renouncing their church membership in protest.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:47 AM

Catholic Church in Germany hit by mass withdrawals

GERMANY
Christian Today

Mark Woods CHRISTIAN TODAY CONTRIBUTING EDITOR 20 July 2015

More than 200,000 German Roman Catholics formally left the Church last year in a blow not just to its membership figures but to its income.

Germans who belong to a designated Church pay an additional proportion of their income tax – between eight and nine per cent – towards its support. However, they can opt out of this by notifying the tax authorities that they no longer wish to do so. Increasing numbers of Roman Catholics have been taking this step in recent years, with the 2014 figure representing a 22 per cent jump from the previous year, from 178,805 to 217,716.

According to the 2014 statistics, only 2,809 people entered the Church while 6,314 were "readmitted".

The formal withdrawals, however, do not tell the full story. Many are likely to be nominal believers looking to save money, while others are likely to have withdrawn as a protest over scandals – some of them while continuing to attend church. Only a third of German Catholics actually pay the church tax, but the Church is still very wealthy – the tax brought in a staggering £4.6 billion in 2013.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:44 AM

217,716 Leave German Catholic Church

GERMANY
Newsweek

By Conor Gaffey 7/21/15

New data released last week by the German Catholic Bishops' Conference shows that 217,716 people left the Catholic Church in Germany last year, a 22 percent increase from the previous year.

In the past five years, more than 820,000 German Catholics have renounced their membership, according to official church data. Compared to the withdrawal rate in 1990, last year's exodus represented a 52 percent increase.

Commenting on the figures, Cardinal Reinhard Marx, the chairman of the German Bishops' Conference, said the bishops were "painfully aware" of the high number of withdrawals but declined to give specific reasons for people leaving the church.

"Behind the numbers of church withdrawals are personal life decisions that we in each case profoundly regret but also respect the freedom of choice," said Marx.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:42 AM

Former Nuncio Receiving Medical Attention at Vatican

VATICAN CITY
Zenit

After being discharged last Friday from the hospital where he was recovering, Josef Wesolowski, the former Apostolic Nuncio to the Dominican Republic, is back at the Vatican. According to the Holy See Press Office, the former nuncio is in the residence of the College of Penitentiaries, “under medical care”. The Holy See specified that Wesolowski, who stands accused of pedophilia and possession of child pornography, was hospitalized because of “a serious drop in blood pressure, due to the heat and tension, as well as his age.”

Wesolowski’s trial was set to begin on July 11th but it was suspended after only six minutes, due to the sudden indisposition of the accused, who had also promised to be present.

Three criminal charges weigh upon the Archbishop, who now faces six to seven years of detention:

1. Acquisition via the Internet of child pornography, representing minors under 18, in more or less explicit obscene poses.

2. Sexual abuse of boys between the ages of 13 and 16, in one case perpetrated in complicity with one of his collaborators, the former deacon Francisco Javier Occi Reyes.

3. Receiving stolen goods, for having acquired, received and hidden the pornographic material in question.

4. Grave psychological damages of the adolescent victims of the abuses.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:40 AM

OH--Abuse victims blast Canton-based church group

OHIO
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

For immediate release: Wednesday, July 23

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

Officials at a Canton-based church group apparently erased the name of one of their treasurers after he was arrested in Indianapolis for paying for sex with a prostitute and intimidating her.

According to the Indianapolis Star, “In a biography that has since been deleted from the group’s website, “John Robert Fiers, 53, Indianapolis, was “credited as a founding member and the treasurer-general” of the Worldwide Fellowship of Independent Christian Churches (330 354 5963).

[Indianapolis Star]

Shame on the Worldwide Fellowship of Independent Christian Churches and its top officials (including Rev. Everett Lee Caldwell, Rev. Victor Allen Brown, Rev. Irvine Alafia Bryer, Rev. Kristten Nicole Caldwell).

Instead of acting like caring shepherds, they acted like shrewd corporate CEO's. Instead of being honest, they are being deceptive. Instead of helping police with prosecution, they’re hindering prosecution. Instead of aggressively seeking out others who may have seen, suspected or suffered Fliers’ crimes, they’re aggressively erasing facts and seeking only to protect their comfort and reputations.

We hope that anyone with information or suspicions about Fliers, or any other known or suspected wrongdoer in the Worldwide Fellowship of Independent Christian Churches will find the courage to report abuses and cover ups to law enforcement.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:35 AM

Other Pontifical Acts

VATICAN CITY
Vatican Information Service

Vatican City, 22 July 2015 (VIS) – The Holy Father has appointed Fr. Joseph Kodakallil as eparchial bishop of Satna of the Syro-Malabars (area 45,188, population 10,459,000, Catholics 220,000, priests 142, religious 276), India. The bishop-elect was born in Upputhode, India in 19656 and ordained a priest in 1991. He holds a doctorate in liturgy form the Pontifical Oriental Institute, and has served as parish priest, rector of the St Thomas Minor Seminary, Satna, professor and vice-rector at St. Ephrem's Theological College, Satna, and protosyncellus of the eparchy. He is currently parish priest of St. Vincent's Cathedral.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:04 AM

Pope Francis' Favorable Rating Drops in U.S.

UNITED STATES
Gallup

by Art Swift

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Pope Francis' favorability rating in the U.S. has returned to where it was when he was elected pope. It is now at 59%, down from 76% in early 2014. The pontiff's rating is similar to the 58% he received from Americans in April 2013, soon after he was elected pope.

After Pope Francis was elected the leader of the 1.2 billion-member Roman Catholic Church in March 2013, he attempted to focus the church on a renewed sense of protecting the poor, on interfaith relations and on respecting gay and lesbian members of the church. He was lauded in the American news media, with accolades including Time magazine naming him the Person of the Year in 2013. The next time Gallup asked about Pope Francis, in February 2014, his favorability had swelled to 76%.

In the current poll, conducted July 8-12, Francis' favorable rating declined, while his unfavorable rating increased to 16% from 9% in 2014. One-quarter of Americans say they have never heard of him or have no opinion, up from 16% in 2014. Now removed from the plaudits of 2013 and the high ratings of 2014, it appears that fewer Americans know enough about the pope to be able to rate him.

Pope's Image Among Catholics and Conservatives Worsens

The drop in the pope's favorable rating is driven by a decline among Catholics and political conservatives, two groups that have been ardent supporters of the modern papacy. Seventy-one percent of Catholics say they have a favorable image of Francis, down from 89% last year.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:46 AM

EZZATI DEFIENDE A OBISPO JUAN BARROS: EL NO ES CULPABLE

CHILE
La Nacion

[The Archbishop of Santiago, Cardinal Ricardo Ezzati, made ​​a strong defense of Juan Barros and his appointment by Pope Francis as bishop of Osorno, which has been questioned by national public opinion and especially by the Catholic community Osorno.The Holy See and pope were not able to discern any proof that Barros covered-up for Fernando Karadima, Ezzati said.]

El arzobispo de Santiago, cardenal Ricardo Ezzati, hizo una férrea defensa de Juan Barros y su designación, por parte del Papa Francisco, como obispo de Osorno, lo que ha sido cuestionado por la opinión pública nacional y en especial por parte de la comunidad católica osornina.

“La Santa Sede y el Papa Francisco han podido discernir que no hay ninguna prueba, ninguna”, dijo Ezzati, en referencia a las denuncias que lo señalan como encubridor de los abusos sexuales del sacerdote Fernando Karadima.

El arzobispo dijo que si bien “tenemos que tener la capacidad de denunciar y castigar lo que es verdad, también tenemos que tener la capacidad de decir con voz alta que quien no es culpable no puede ser simplemente juzgado por las voces que giran alrededor”.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:37 AM

Former bible-camp counsellor pleads guilty to 10 sex abuse charges against underage victims

CANADA
The News Watch

THUNDER BAY – A former bible-camp counsellor has pleaded guilty to 10 charges of sexually abusing underage victims.

Jeff Paxton, 48, on Tuesday pleaded guilty to six counts of sexual assault, three counts of gross indecency and one count of invitation to sexual touching that were filed against him in 2013.

At the time of his arrest city police said the charges relate to incidents from 1983 and 2004 with boys ranging in age from seven to 14 years old.

Police said Paxton had served as a counsellor at the Round Lake Bible Camp near Nolalu and had worked with other church groups. He had also been a babysitter.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:18 AM

Character evidence will be produced in case against Philip Wilson

AUSTRALIA
ABC News

Newcastle Court has been told evidence relating to the character of Adelaide Catholic Archbishop Philip Wilson will be produced in his trial for concealing child sexual abuse.

Wilson was not in court today, as his barrister Simon Buchen and the Crown gave an update of proceedings.

Wilson has already pleaded not guilty to concealing the serious indictable offence of another person.

That person is the dead paedophile Hunter Valley priest Jim Fletcher.

The court has been told there are 52 potential witnesses, but not all will be called.

The case has been adjourned to September 23.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:15 AM

July 21, 2015

The more things change

LOS ANGELES (CA)
The Worthy Adversary

Posted by Joelle Casteix on July 21, 2015

… the more they stay the same.

This morning the Vatican announced the appointments of three new auxiliary bishops for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles.

And one of them is a problem: vicar general and moderator of the Curia of the archdiocese Joseph Brennan.

LA’s vicars general have been a sorry lot.

Former vicar general Msgr. Michael Myers resigned in 2009 after a New York Times article showed that he allowed a self-admitted sex addict and molester to be a priest in the archdiocese.

Another former vicar general, Msgr. Richard Loomis testified in 2009 that “Mahony ordered him not to inform parishes of allegations against the now defrocked Rev. Michael Baker.”

So he didn’t. What did Brennan do as vicar general? Well, we know that he used LA’s Catholics to lobby lawmakers on behalf of Archbishop Gomez.

In a 2013 email, he asked Catholics to write and call their state representatives and tell them to vote no on SB131, the California Child Victims Act. If passed, it would have opened the doors of the civil courts to victims of child sexual abuse.

The bill ended up passing through both houses. It was vetoed by Governor Jerry Brown, at the behest of the bishops. It’s no secret why Gomez and Brennan lobbied so hard against the bill. A similar bill in Minnesota unearthed decades of child sex abuse and cover-up. The cover-up was so bad, in fact, that one archdiocese is subject to a criminal probe and St. Paul and Minneapolis Archbishop John Nienstadt just resigned in disgrace.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:06 PM

SNAP, SLAPP, and the ugly business of exposing abuse

UNITED STATES
The Worthy Adversary

Posted by Joelle Casteix on July 21, 2015

I was in an interview the other day when I was asked whether SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (the group for whom I have volunteered for the past 12 years) paid me.

When I said, no—that I am, in fact, a volunteer with the organization—the writer said, “That’s good. You wouldn’t want to be seen as a professional victim.”

I swallowed hard, and let it drop.

Here’s the rub: SNAP is constantly being bashed by its opponents for being “professional victims.”

But since when is taking a stand, demanding change and accountability, and running an organization been “being a professional victim?”

No one looks at other great victim-based organizations like the National Center for Victims of Crime or RAINN: The Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network and says, “If you really care about the cause, you would work for free.” You certainly don’t look at your child’s teacher and say, “If you truly believed in education, you’d refuse a paycheck.”

So why do people look at SNAP’s full time, professional (and sorely underpaid) staff differently? It’s time for that view to end.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:04 PM

Gallup Diocese headed back into mediation

NEW MEXICO
Gallup Independent

Published in the Gallup Independent, Gallup, N.M., July 20, 2015

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

ALBUQUERQUE — Attorneys for the Diocese of Gallup, along with attorneys for its insurance companies and attorneys for sex abuse claimants, are headed back into mediation with a new mediator.

At a status hearing in U.S. Bankruptcy Court Friday, Judge David T. Thuma, who noted he was “not a big fan of making people mediate if they don’t want to mediate,” told the attorneys he would be ordering them back into mediation, and he accepted their consensual recommendation for a new mediator, attorney Frank “Dirk” Murchison, of Taos.

“Let me leave you all with the notion that I’m going to enter an order to make you mediate with Mr. Murchison,” Thuma said at the conclusion of the hearing.

The new mediation session will be held in Albuquerque on dates that have yet to be determined. The Catholic Mutual insurance company, which insures the Gallup Diocese, has agreed to pay Murchison’s fees.

Last month’s unsuccessful mediation, conducted by retired U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Randall J. Newsome, was held in Phoenix June 10-11.

Conflicting views

Murchison’s selection as mediator was about the only subject all the attorneys could agree upon.

Much of the 68-minute hearing was devoted to discussions about the recently filed motions for relief from the automatic stay — although a hearing on that matter isn’t slated to be held until next month — and conflicting views about the Diocese of Gallup’s insurance coverage.

While attorneys for the diocese and the insurance companies had urged Thuma to order the parties back into mediation, attorneys representing sex abuse claimants expressed skepticism that mediation with the diocese and the insurance companies will be successful.

“This issue here, and I’m going to focus on the big issue that we have in reaching a settlement here, is the value of the damages here,” attorney Ilan D. Scharf said. “The dollar figure you’re going to put on the damages.”

Scharf, an attorney with the Unsecured Creditors Committee, stood in for the committee’s lead attorney James Stang. The committee represents the interests of sex abuse claimants in the case.

“The concern we have is that people on that side of the table, entities on that side of the table, do not view the value of the claims in the same universe that we’re looking at them,” Scharf said.

Understanding value

The Unsecured Creditors Committee recently filed a memorandum supporting motions by attorneys Robert E. Pastor and John Manly requesting Thuma lift the automatic stay in the bankruptcy case and allow three of their civil clergy sex abuse lawsuits to precede to trial in Arizona’s Coconino County Superior Court.

Taking the cases to trial, Scharf argued, would help all the parties involved in the bankruptcy to “get an understanding of what the value that a jury would grant” the sex abuse survivors.

Susan G. Boswell, the lead bankruptcy attorney for the diocese, disputed Scharf’s argument, and stated that one of the cases Pastor and Manly want to take to trial involves an uninsured claim.

“The claimant in that case can get, you know, I mean, name a number. Twenty million? Five million? Two million? It’s meaningless in the context of the assets of this case,” Boswell said, citing insurance coverage issues.

“We understand, your honor, the abuse is horrific,” Boswell added. “We understand that people deserve to be compensated, but we have to do it in the context of what there is here.”

“The value that a court or jury would give that claim will absolutely drive what the potential risk that every other entity involved, including the insurance companies and the debtors, sees with respect to what claims are really worth here,” Scharf responded.

Insurance issues

Although all the attorneys were careful not to disclose the confidential reasons why last month’s mediation was unsuccessful, Friday’s hearing made it apparent that insurance coverage — or lack of coverage in some cases — was an ongoing thorny issue.

“One of the difficulties that we have, your honor, is that we have coverage issues,” attorney Ed Mazel of the New Mexico Property Casualty Insurance Guaranty Association told Thuma. “And we have policy limit issues. And we have discrete issues that depend on interpretations of a contract. Not factual issues. Not valuing claims. We have discrete legal issues.”

Mazel, along with other insurance company attorneys Everett Cygal and Mark Ish, talked about various policies and coverage, statutory limits and aggregate limits, and the definition of insurance terms. Mazel expressed hope that Murchison, who has experience in insurance law, would be able to help the parties resolve the insurance issues.

According to Scharf, the Unsecured Creditors Committee had determined there was “substantial insurance” available for about one-third of the 57 sex abuse claims. A couple of claims involve some liability for the Franciscans, he said, a small subset involve potential contribution claims from other third parties, and another “15 or so” claims are covered by Catholic Mutual.

“We have done a top down analysis, claim by claim, and we think there is significant coverage here, you know, tens of millions of dollars of coverage available,” Scharf said of the Catholic Mutual claims.

No answers

Pastor, who filed 13 clergy sex abuse lawsuits against the Diocese of Gallup before Bishop James S. Wall halted the lawsuits by filing the Chapter 11 petition, said he and the other attorneys representing the sex abuse claimants weren’t buying the insurance companies’ arguments about coverage issues. Pastor asked Thuma to consider lifting the automatic stay if the mediation didn’t result in a settlement by a specific date.

“The coverage issues aren’t real,” Pastor said. “Intentional act exclusion, occurrence, stacking, not stacking — we’ve all dealt with them in every sex abuse case we have. And it’s my experience insurance companies, they need to feel that they’re going to be exposed to a significant risk before they move. And we need to have that backstop and that backstop is a jury trial.”

As the hearing concluded, Thuma wondered out loud to the attorneys what would happen if the second mediation fails.

“I don’t know what to do after that,” Thuma said. “Maybe we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:01 PM

Paul Kendrick of Freeport testifies in his own defense at defamation trial

MAINE
Portland Press Herald

BY SCOTT DOLAN STAFF WRITER

Freeport resident Paul Kendrick blames himself that an investigation by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security found no evidence to support his widely broadcast claim that the American founder of an orphanage in Haiti had sexually abused many of the boys in his care.

Kendrick, 65, testified Tuesday in his own defense during the third week of his trial in U.S. District Court in Portland on civil charges of defamation and false imprisonment brought against him by the 63-year-old orphanage director, Michael Geilenfeld.

Kendrick said that a group of former residents of St. Joseph’s Home for Boys had admitted to him and to his associates in Haiti that Geilenfeld had sexually abused them, but he had not anticipated that the men wouldn’t repeat those accusations when they were interviewed by a federal Homeland Security investigator who flew to Haiti to talk to them.

Kendrick’s testimony grew testy at times, especially as Geilenfeld’s attorney, Peter DeTroy, cross-examined him pointedly about the Homeland Security investigation. That investigation was closed in January 2013 without charges against Geilenfeld. DeTroy also questioned Kendrick about a failed lawsuit brought by Kendrick’s associates in the Haitian judicial system that put Geilenfeld in jail there for 237 days, before a Haitian judge dismissed the case.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:48 PM

Headhunters for the Future Bishops

ROME
Chiesa

With twelve criteria for their selection. Proposed from Australia by Paul A. McGavin, theologian and economist

by Sandro Magister

ROME, July 21, 2015 - Rather than a streamlining of the curia, what is happening inside the Vatican walls is the opposite. It is a continual addition of new organisms to the existing ones.

The latest to be born, on June 27, was a secretariat for communication set up to oversee the pontifical council for social communications, the press office of the Holy See, the Vatican internet service, Vatican Radio, the Vatican Television Center, L’Osservatore Romano, the Vatican print shop, the photographic service, the Libreria Editrice Vaticana.

As prefect of the newly created secretariat, Pope Francis appointed one of his closest collaborators and confidants, Monsignor Dario Edoardo Viganò, who also remains director of the Vatican television channel.

Viganò’s first sortie in his new garb, in “L'Osservatore Romano” of July 15, was a panegyric on the communicative “orality” of Jorge Mario Bergoglio, taking as an example one of his speeches in Paraguay:

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:46 PM

IMPD chaplain charged with patronizing prostitute, intimidation

INDIANA
Indianapolis Star

Justin L. Mack, justin.mack@Indystar.com July 21, 2015

A longtime police chaplain is facing criminal charges after being accused of paying for sex with a prostitute.

John Robert Fiers, 53, Indianapolis, has been charged in Marion County with two counts of patronizing a prostitute and one count of intimidation, all misdemeanors.

The investigation began on April 22 when an IMPD vice officer conducted a human trafficking and prostitution investigation at a Motel 6 in the 8300 block of Bash Street.

A woman at the motel told police that she knew police were conducting the investigation even before she was arrested on a prostitution charge, court documents said.

She said that the day before a man she knew only as “Bob from Noblesville” showed her his IMPD badge and told her that he was a chaplain.

The woman told police that “Bob” made three appointments with her between April 16 and April 21 and that he paid $120 each time, court documents said. He told her he was a chaplain after having sex during the second appointment.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:13 PM

Notices on the Sede Vacante...

MINNESOTA
Canonical Consultation

07/21/2015

Jennifer Haselberger

The Chancery of the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis recently issued two notices related to the status of the vacant see. Both are interesting in their own right, but the second notice (about the portraits of the resigned bishops) has a humorous element as well. It seems to suggest that parishes have been mailing the portraits back to the Chancery in a manner similar to what many faithful did when they received Archbishop Nienstedt's DVD on the proposed marriage amendment. Kudos to the pastors of the parishes that thought of it.

MEMORANDUM

Date: July 20, 2015 To: All Clergy From: Susan Mulheron, JCL, Chancellor for Canonical Affairs Re: Status of Vacant See

Vicars and Consultative Bodies

Many questions have been asked about how our status of a vacant see will affect various positions and consultative bodies. After conferring with Archbishop Hebda on each of these matters, I offer the following update and clarifications for your reference:

Canonical Authority of the Apostolic Administrator:

In the mandate given to Archbishop Hebda by the Holy See, he has been granted the “rights, duties, and faculties” of a diocesan bishop. This means that for as long as he remains in office as Apostolic Administrator, he would theoretically be able to take some actions that a typical diocesan administrator sede vacante would not be able to take. There is nonetheless a general principle of canon law that while the see is vacant no innovations should be made, and Archbishop Hebda has indicated that it his desire to abide by that as much as possible. It may be the case, however, that for the good of this local Church he will need to make some major decisions (e.g., when required by the Reorganization process or criminal proceedings that are currently underway). In general, if Archbishop Hebda is able to prudently defer a decision to the next Archbishop, he has stated that he intends to do so. During the vacant see, you may experience some delay in decisions that require the approval of the Archbishop, or the decision may be deferred entirely.

Presbyteral Council:

As you probably know, during a vacant see, the Presbyteral Council ceases. The College of Consultors, however, remains in place, and is to fulfill the role of the Presbyteral Council. Archbishop Hebda has indicated he plans to convene the College in early August to seek their counsel on a number of matters.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:02 PM

Pope Francis has chosen social media star Robert Barron for Los Angeles auxiliary bishop

UNITED STATES
Washington Post

By Sarah Pulliam Bailey July 21

Pope Francis has named Chicago priest Robert Barron one of three new assistant bishops of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, a move some insiders are calling noteworthy because of his wide social media presence.

Barron is well known among church-going Catholics, since his video series on Catholicism is regularly shown in churches across the U.S. His appointment is both surprising and not surprising, said James Martin, editor at large of America magazine.

“It’s surprising because bishops aren’t normally people who are so media savvy,” Martin said. “But given his talent and profile, I thought this was just a matter of time.”

Barron’s films, books and YouTube clips have made him a “household name” in some Catholic Church circles, Catholic blogger Rocco Palmo writes. Barron said in a news release that his own appointment came as “an enormous surprise.”

“I think in the past, church leaders have not fully appreciated the potential of all forms of media, including social media,” Martin said. “Bob has a big presence on YouTube that very few bishops can match.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:58 PM

Priest cleared of sex abuse charges sues accusers

ST. LOUIS (MO)
Fox 2

JULY 21, 2015, BY KEVIN S. HELD

ST. LOUIS (KTVI) – In an unprecedented move, a priest who was accused of child sex abuse charges that were later dropped is now filing suit against his accusers.

Father Joseph Jiang is suing the alleged victim’s parents, SNAP, two police officers, and the City of St. Louis.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:52 PM

Un pédophile demande 50.000 euros au Vatican pour lui avoir «inoculé» un «virus»

FRANCE
20 Minutes

Vincent Vantighe
Publié le 20.07.

Il a dû remonter à la source du mal pour avoir une chance de guérir. Un homme a obtenu, le 7 juillet, la condamnation d’un prêtre de 82 ans qui l’avait agressé sexuellement dans un collège de Bourg-en-Bresse (Ain) en 1963. Si la peine civile, prononcée par le tribunal d’instance de Nantua (Ain), est d’un euro de dommages et intérêts, elle est loin d’être «symbolique» pour lui.

« Mon client a lui-même été condamné à deux ans de prison ferme pour des attouchements sexuels sur mineurs, confie Emmanuel Ludot, son avocat. Et selon lui, il a agi de la sorte car il avait lui-même été victime de ce genre de faits durant son enfance. Cette reconnaissance par la justice va enfin lui permettre de se reconstruire… »

Le prêtre a reconnu « des caresses et des attouchements »

C’est du reste parce que « son travail de psychothérapie se poursuit » plus de cinquante ans après et que sa guérison n’est pas «consolidée» que Jean-Claude* a pu éviter que les faits ne soient considérés comme prescrits par la justice.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:30 PM

Il fait condamner le prêtre qu'il juge responsable de sa pédophilie

FRANCE
L'Obs

L'homme ne compte pas en rester là et veut maintenant réclamer 50.000 euros d’indemnités au Vatican pour avoir "inoculé le virus de la pédophilie" au prêtre en question.

C'est une première en France. Un homme condamné pour actes pédophiles a obtenu le 7 juillet dernier la condamnation d’un prêtre de 82 ans qui l’avait lui-même agressé sexuellement dans un collège de Bourg-en-Bresse (Ain) en 1963 et qu'il juge responsable de sa déviance sexuelle, relève RTL.

Condamné il y a une dizaine d'années à deux ans de prison ferme pour des attouchements sexuels sur mineurs, l'homme en question avait justifié son geste en expliquant avoir été agressé par ce prêtre aumônier lorsqu'il avait une douzaine d'années. Une psychologue a confirmé que le religieux était responsable de la déviance de sa victime. Auditionné, l'ecclésiastique a fini par reconnaître des caresses et des attouchements, mais n'avait jamais été inquiété par la justice, les faits étant prescrits sur le plan pénal.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:28 PM

France: Man sues Vatican claiming priest abuse 'made him into paedophile'

FRANCE
International Business Times

By Tom Porter
July 21, 2015

A 64-year-old man in eastern France is suing the Vatican, claiming that abuse by a Catholic priest when he was a child turned him into a paedophile.

The man alleges that his boarding school chaplain began abusing him when he was 12, with the sexual assaults continuing for several years.

Recently, the victim was himself convicted of sexually assaulting a 15-year-old girl. He claims that the abuse he suffered caused him to become a paedophile.

He is demanding that the 82-year-old priest who abused him, who cannot be jailed due to the statute of limitations despite confessing to the crime, be punished for his deeds.

The priest, a former chaplain in Bourg-en-Bresse, Ain, was ordered to pay €1 in damages to his victim.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:25 PM

The current method of selecting bishops runs contrary to church tradition

UNITED STATES
National Catholic Reporter

Joseph O'Callaghan | Jul. 21, 2015 NCR Today

Robert Mickens' column calling for a new way of choosing bishops is most timely. Although the Code of Canon Law of 1983 (c. 377) says that the pope freely appoints bishops, papal appointment is contrary to the church's centurieslong tradition of the election of bishops by the clergy and people of the diocese.

Pope Leo I the Great emphatically affirmed that right when he declared: "The one who is to preside over all should be elected by all." He added: "When the election of the chief priest is being considered, the one whom the unanimous consent of the clergy and people demands should be preferred. ... No one who is unwanted and unasked for should be ordained, lest the city despise or hate a bishop whom they did not choose."

The right of the clergy and people of the diocese to choose their bishops is hallowed by usage from the earliest times by canons enacted by church councils and by repeated papal affirmation.

Today, however, scarcely any vestige remains of that venerable custom. Rather, the pope, without the active participation of the clergy and people, appoints the bishops, choosing men known for their fidelity to the papacy and their doctrinal orthodoxy. The pope also exercises the right to transfer bishops, thereby encouraging the popular conception that they are merely branch managers of a centralized corporation whose primary allegiance will always be to the pope and not to the people they serve.

The transfer of bishops is so common that it seems like an embarrassing game of musical chairs. Bishops are seldom chosen to govern a diocese where they served as priests and thus are strangers to the priests and people committed to their care. Smaller dioceses are often viewed as stepping stones to more important prizes. In ancient times, the bishop was described as wedded to his diocese and his ring was the visible sign of that nuptial bond. Pope Callistus I described a bishop who transferred to another diocese as a "spiritual adulterer."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:24 PM

PA--Predator bishop is back on the job; Victims object

PENNSYLVANIA
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

For immediate release: Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Statement from Cappy Larson, Orthodox Christian Director of SNAP, Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

For more information: Cappy Larson (cappy@rlarson.com, 415-637-2006); David Clohessy, SNAP Director (davidgclohessy@gmail.com, 314-566-9790)

“Predator” bishop still on the job
Deemed guilty by colleagues, he’s now in a parish
His superiors claims “we haven’t put him to work there”
But controversial cleric is listed on PA church’s website
SNAP sends harsh message to hierarchs now meeting in Atlanta
“Block this dangerous, deceptive and callous move,” group pleads

A Chicago bishop found guilty of sexual misconduct and forced him to retire by his colleagues is now in charge of a western Pennsylvania parish and a support group for victims wants him ousted

[Chicago Tribune]

[Orthodox Church in America]

[Orthodox Church in America]

Leaders of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, are writing to bishops of the Orthodox Church in America (OCA) about Bishop Matthias Moriak who once headed the Chicago diocese. Moriak was retired by the synod of bishops in April 2013, after he was found to have engaged in sexual misconduct.

SNAP wants church officials to oust the bishop from active ministry.

Moriak recently began working in a parish in Hermitage, Pennsylvania. The OCA’s chancellor says that another bishop asked Moriak to take the position, but that this assignment had not been approved. He went on to say that the OCA synod would be meeting to consider the terms of Moriak’s retirement.

[Chicago Tribune]

Members of SNAP have written to the synod pleading with them to put the kibosh on this assignment. All of the bishops are in Atlanta from July 20-24, at the Hilton Atlanta Hotel, for their national council. The complete text of the letter, sent earlier today by email, can be found below.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:56 PM

Rabbi Accused of Sexual Abuse Blames 'False Confessions'

ISRAEL
Arutz Sheva

By Tova Dvorin
First Publish: 7/21/2015

Ezra Sheinberg, the prominent rabbi in Tzfat (Safed) accused by no fewer than ten women of sexual abuse over an extended period of time, has blamed 'coerced confessions' for his arrest Tuesday.

"A guiding hand has caused the complainants to complain against me; today is a holiday and the truth will come out," Sheinberg claimed, during a court hearing in Tzfat. Sheinberg's detention was extended by three days on Tuesday afternoon.

"One thing leads to another and one complainant comes forward, then another admits she was forced into saying what she said," he insisted. "Things will become clearer soon."

Sheinberg also denied reports that he threatened his prison guards, and said that he thanks them for the good treatment he has received.

Sheinberg was arrested while trying to flee Israel at Ben-Gurion Airport earlier this month.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:13 PM

Vatican finances still lack transparency

VATICAN CITY
National Catholic Reporter

Robert Mickens | Jul. 21, 2015 A Roman Observer

The Vatican published its annual financial statement last week and Cardinal George Pell, prefect of the Secretariat for the Economy, says it's the most accurate accounting of the money situation at Roman Catholic HQ ever.

Some of his admirers and scribes in the press called it the "most comprehensive and transparent balance sheet" the Vatican has ever published.

It is not at all clear where they got that notion, but Pell and his right-hand finance man, Danny Casey, are probably laughing. Yes, all the way to the bank.

The reality is that this newly published financial report is not at all transparent or detailed and probably not completely accurate -- at least not in the information that has been made public.

The document released July 16 is the briefest of summaries (a bit more than a page and a half in English and about the same length in Italian) of two different financial statements.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:59 AM

MO--New court filing in priest’s “bizarre” conspiracy lawsuit

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

New court filing in priest’s “bizarre” lawsuit
In a “first,” he sues young alleged victim’s parents
He also alleges “conspiracy: folks, SNAP, cops & city
It’s because he’s from China, controversial cleric claims
SNAP says archbishop is backing this “vicious intimidation”
Group uses little-known state “anti-SLAPP” law to defend itself
And group asks judge to punish predator by making him pay fees

WHAT
Holding signs and childhood photos at a sidewalk news conference, an attorney and clergy abuse victims will discuss a new legal filing responding to an unprecedented recent federal lawsuit in which a twice-accused predator priest claims a young alleged victim’s parents, SNAP leaders, police officers and St. Louis city officials are conspiring against him.

In the new filing, attorneys for SNAP contend

--St. Louis’ archbishop is behind the priest’s unusual and “mean-spirited” lawsuit,
--criminal charges against the cleric were dropped because the young victim is struggling emotionally, &
The filing also says that the “conspiracy” accusations are impossible because SNAP leaders

--had no contact with law enforcement about the case and
--spoke with the young boy’s parents after the priest’s arrest.

They also

--ask the judge to essentially punish the priest by forcing him to pay for SNAP’s attorney fees.
--blast the archbishop for letting the priest sue his victim’s parents.

When:
TODAY, Tuesday, July 21 at 1:30 p.m.

Where:
Outside the St. Louis Cathedral, 4431 Lindell at Newstead in the city’s Central West End

Who:
An attorney and three-four members of a support group called SNAP (the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests)

Why:
Last month, prosecutors dropped child sex abuse charges against a twice-accused archdiocesan priest with close ties to St. Louis’ top Catholic official. They said, however, that they hope to re-file the case.

In an unprecedented move, the priest, Fr. Xiu Hui “Joseph” Jiang, is suing the alleged victim’s parents, SNAP, two police officers and the city of St. Louis claiming he’s the victim of a conspiracy to slander him and violate his religious freedom because he’s Chinese and Catholic.

[St. Louis Post-Dispatch]

Today, attorneys for SNAP are disclosing the first formal response to what they call Fr. Jiang’s “bizarre” suit. In it, they charge that Archbishop Robert Carlson is behind Fr. Jiang’s lawsuit, which is the first time in Missouri history (as best SNAP can tell) that a Catholic official sued a victim’s parents. (A similar suit filed by a California priest against SNAP resulted in an award of $120,000 for SNAP and against the cleric.)

SNAP also charges that Fr. Jiang’s legal move is a “SLAPP,” a Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation, designed to scare and discourage victims, witnesses and whistleblowers into staying silent.

[Wikipedia]

Even though a civil child sex abuse case against the priest is pending, church staff have hinted that the suspended cleric may be put back to work in a parish. SNAP opposes that potential move and wants church staff to take the priest’s passport to prevent him from fleeing the US.

Despite an official national church policy mandating “openness” in pedophile priest cases, Archbishop Carlson refuses to reveal where Fr. Jiang is living, why he had a bedroom in Carlson’s home and why Fr. Jiang followed Carlson from city to city (a highly unusual arrangement in the Catholic church). Carlson also refuses to address an allegation that Fr. Jiang admitted to a Lincoln County girl’s parents that he’d molested their daughter and that Carlson tried to get the parents to return a $20,000 check that the priest reportedly left on their car windshield. SNAP wants Carlson to honor his pledges to be “transparent” and publicly disclose this information.

In June 2012, Fr. Jiang was arrested in for repeatedly molesting the Lincoln County girl numerous times (mostly in her home). He was charged with alleged child sex crimes and “victim tampering.” In November 2013, those charges were dismissed. In April 2014, he was arrested on charges of repeatedly molesting a St. Louis city boy between 2011-2012 (at a Catholic school). According to the suit, Carlson was “supervising Fr. Jiang very closely,” “knew that (he) was a danger to children” and abused the girl while “living in the archbishop’s home.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:51 AM

SNAP IN DEFENSE

ST. LOUIS (MO)
Berger's Beat

July 21, 2015 7:50 am | Author: berger

Two attorneys are defending SNAP in a complicated defamation and “conspiracy” suit filed by accused predator priest Fr. Joseph Jiang. Previously big firm litigators, Daniel Carpenter and Amy Lorenz-Moser started their own firm earlier this year. She has 15 years of experience in civil litigation and longstanding pro bono practice advocating on behalf of victims of rape and abuse. That work has garnered her numerous awards and recognitions including Missouri Lawyer’s Weekly’s highest honor and the American Bar Association’s Pro Bono Publico Award. Carpenter has over 20 years experience in civil litigation and has been named a Super Lawyer every year since 2001. He is also a Super Lawyers Top 50 Lawyer for St. Louis.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:47 AM

Ballarat hires QC for Ronald Mulkearns in pedophile priest case

AUSTRALIA
The Australian

TESSA AKERMAN THE AUSTRALIAN JULY 22, 2015

The scandal-plagued Catholic Dio­cese of Ballarat has paid for a respected Victorian QC to intervene on behalf of its former ­bishop, Ronald Mulkearns, in a case against an alleged pedophile priest.

David Grace QC warned Geelong Magistrates Court against ­accepting the evidence of Bishop Mulkearns in its criminal proceedings against ­Robert Claffey, who is charged with historical sex offences. Magistrate John Lesser ordered that Bishop Mulkearns appear and give sworn evidence next week about the alleged pedophile activities of Mr Claffey, des­pite the objections of Mr Grace.

Bishop Mulkearns avoided ­giving evidence to the Victorian child-abuse inquiry following a ­report by a clinical neuropsychologist he had diminished capacity following a stroke in 1998.

Mr Grace said Bishop Mul­kearns could produce false memories when asked to recall events relating to the former priest.

The Geelong court heard an ­alleged teenage victim of Mr ­Claffey told his father of the abuse and that the father then went to Bishop Mulkearns.

This follows evidence heard by the royal commission in May that Bishop Mulkearns knew of Australia’s worst pedophile priest Gerald Ridsdale’s offending and moved him from parish to parish in the western Victorian diocese of Ballarat without informing the police.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:45 AM

Meet an Italian nun who's been helping sex trafficking victims for 20 years

ITALY
Global Post

Valeria Fraschetti on Jul 21, 2015

CASERTA, Italy — Another woman had just knocked at the front door of Casa Ruth carrying a terrible, familiar burden. Fleeing the poverty of her country for the promise of a decent job, she ended up in Libya and was forced into sex work.

For two years the woman had been locked up in an apartment-turned-brothel with other Nigerian trafficking victims. One day Libyan militiamen entered and ransacked the house and 17 of them gang raped her, she said.

A few days later she was put on a boat to Italy with other African migrants hoping for a better life in Europe.

Italian authorities sent her to Casa Ruth, a shelter for migrant victims of sex trafficking in Caserta, just north of Naples. There she met Sister Rita Giaretta, a 58-year-old Ursuline nun who has been like a mother to many in this safe house that she started 20 years ago to provide the trafficking survivors with spiritual and legal help.

The young migrant woman is safe now, but devastated, and pregnant with a baby whose father is unknown.

“She keeps crying and saying that she does not want the baby,” said Sister Giaretta. “But two days ago she hugged me and told me, 'Thank you, mum.'”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:42 AM

Other Pontifical Acts

VATICAN CITY
Vatican Information Service

Vatican City, 21 July 2015 (VIS) – The Holy Father has:

- accepted the resignation from the office of auxiliary of the archdiocese of Los Angeles, U.S.A., presented by Bishop Gerald E. Wilkerson upon reaching the age limit.

- appointed Msgr. Joseph V. Brennan, Msgr. David G. O'Connell, and Fr. Robert E. Barron as auxiliaries of the archdiocese of Los Angeles (area 14,019, population 11,852,427, Catholics 4,276,930, priests 1,111, permanent deacons 383, religious 2,229), U.S.A.

Bishop-elect Brennan was born in Van Nuys, U.S.A. in 1954 and was ordained a priest in 1980. He has served in a number of pastoral and administrative roles in the archdiocese of Los Angeles, including parish vicar, parish priest, chaplain, member of the presbyteral council, vicar general and moderator of the curia. In 2005 he was named Chaplain of His Holiness.

Bishop-elect O'Connell was born in Cork, Ireland in 1953 and was ordained a priest in 1979. He has served in a number of pastoral and administrative roles in the archdiocese of Los Angeles, including parish vicar, parish priest, dean and member of the presbyteral council and parish administrator. In 1999 he was named Prelate of Honour.

Bishop-elect Barron was born in Chicago, U.S.A. in 1959 and was ordained a priest in 1986. He holds a masters in philosophy from the Catholic University of America in Washington, a licentiate in theology from the University of St. Mary of the Lake, Chicago, and a doctorate in theology from the Institut Catholique, Paris, France. He has served in a number of pastoral and academic roles, including parish vicar, professor of systematic theology at the University of St. Mary of the Lake, founder and executive director of the Word on Fire Catholic Ministries, visiting professor at the University of Notre Dame, Indiana, and at the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas (Angelicum) in Rome, scholar in residence at the Pontifical North American College in Rome and Francis Cardinal George Professor of Faith and Culture at the University of St. Mary of the Lake/Mundelein Seminary. He is currently rector and president of the University of St. Mary of the Lake/Mundelein Seminary.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:23 AM

SNAP Update, Australian Royal Commission ...

UNITED STATES
Hamilton and Griffin on Rights

SNAP Update, Australian Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse is Off to an Impressive Start

A half a billion dollars. That’s how much Australian government officials will spend.

Five years (through 2017). That’s how long they’ll work.

Toward what end? Investigating, exposing – and hopefully preventing – future child sex crimes and cover ups in institutions.

A number of governmental bodies across the globe have done probes somewhat like this one. (Most notable, perhaps, is the work of the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child, which found that the Vatican “still places children in many countries at high risk of sexual abuse, as dozens of child sexual offenders are reported to be still in contact with children” and has “policies and practices which have led to the continuation of the abuse by and the impunity of the perpetrators.”)

So what makes this Australian initiative, Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, significant and different?

Well, look at the results so far:

–In part, because of pressure generated by the Commission, one Catholic bishop (Bishop Max Davis) has been arrested on charges that he molested a child 45 years ago, before he was even ordained.

–Another Catholic bishop (Bishop Philip Wilson) has been arrested on charges of failing to report child sex crimes by a colleague in the 1970s.

–The Commission has overruled or overridden a number of objections and “privileges” claimed by church officials in the hopes of continuing to keep their secrets secret.

–It is publishing some of the documentation it gets or finds online (though much more remains to be revealed).

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:20 AM

Breslov rabbi: A rabbi must never receive women

ISRAEL
YNet

Kobi Nachshoni
Published: 07.21.15

Rabbi Shalom Arush, one of the leaders of the Breslov Hasidic movement, has called on fellow rabbis not to meet with women seeking an advice or blessing from them, but to settle for a short correspondence with them.

According to Arush, it is also women's responsibility not to meet with rabbis.

Kabbalist Rabbi Ezra Scheinberg, who founded a yeshiva and a devoted community in Safed and became famous across Israel for his alleged supernatural powers, tries to flee the country following suspicions that he raped and molested 10 women who sought his advice.

Last Thursday, it was cleared for publication that Ezra Sheinberg of Safed is the kabbalist rabbi suspected of raping some of his female followers.

In a lesson he delivered last week in his yeshiva, Chut Shel Chessed ("a touch of grace"), Rabbi Arush said: "You can't twist the Torah. Our Sages of Blessed Memory said: 'There is no guardian for promiscuity' (i.e., person cannot trust himself not to engage in forbidden sex, and should therefore impose commands on himself to prevent it)."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:51 AM

Chicago seminary rector appointed bishop

LOS ANGELES
Catholic Culture

Pope Francis has appointed Father Robert Barron, rector/president of Mundelein Seminary and the University of Saint Mary of the Lake in Chicago, as an auxiliary bishop of Los Angeles.

Father Barron, who is known for his commitment to evangelization, is the founder of Word on Fire Catholic Ministries and producer of the documentary series "Catholicism."

Pope Francis also named Msgr. Joseph Brennan and Msgr. David O'Connell as auxiliary bishops of Los Angeles. The former is the archdiocese's vicar general and moderator of the curia; the latter, pastor of a Los Angeles parish.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:12 AM

Defense begins in Rockland rabbi's sex abuse trial

NEW YORK
News 12

[with video]

NEW CITY - The defense began their case Monday in the high-profile sexual abuse trial of Rockland Rabbi Moshe Menachem Taubenfeld.

As News 12 has reported, Laiby Stern told the judge that Taubenfeld sexually molested him when he went for counseling after the Sept. 11. attacks. Stern, now 22, claims the abuse carried on for five years.

Defense attorney Gerard Damiani began Monday's proceedings with a request to have the case tossed, claiming the victim lied about the timeline of reported abuse. The judge refused, much to the relief of child advocates who packed the courthouse.

As the court broke for lunch, other supporters of the alleged victim claimed they were harassed by religious men close to the rabbi.

Damiani told News 12 that he plans to call at least six more witnesses to the stand before he rests his case. It is not clear if Taubenfeld will take the stand.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:08 AM

Bill Cosby and the Catholic Church

UNITED STATES
StAR

Kevin O'Brien

Bill Cosby is not a Catholic, so what does he have to do with the Catholic Church?

To answer that question, I am going to bring in Plato, Socrates, St. Bernadette and the now obscure comedian Professor Irwin Corey (pictured below).

It all began early this morning, when I woke up angry.

I was at the Super Eight in Higginsville, Missouri, which is bad enough, but the only reason I had spent the night there was that my wife had insisted that I not try to make it all the way home after last night’s show. I’m on the road every weekend, performing shows for one of my two theatrical companies, Upstage Productions or Theater of the Word Incorporated, and this weekend was no exception, featuring three performances in two days, with 14 hours of driving and 1,000 miles round trip in the car, along with my acting partner Maria Romine. My wife Karen remained at home, but insisted that I not try to push myself and make it all the way back to St. Louis after our Saturday night show in Kansas City. So, like a good husband, I did what my wife back home told me to do, and Maria and I got two rooms at the Super Eight in Higginsville, where I promptly fell asleep on Saturday night. But a crack of thunder woke me up Sunday morning at 5:45 am.

We’ve been having torrential downpours all spring and summer in Missouri (last month was the wettest June on record in St. Louis), and the storms are often so violent and the rainfall so heavy that it’s hazardous to drive – especially on the interstate. “If we had simply gone home last night we would have avoided this!” I said to myself as the rain began to pour. The radar on my phone showed lots of oranges and reds between Higginsville and home, and you don’t want to drive through the oranges or reds. But God has a plan for everything, so I decided that we’d roll with it (as the thunder rolls). “If we leave Higginsville by 7:00 am, we’ll make the Latin Mass in O’Fallon by 10:00, and even Confession, which begins at 9:30,” I said to myself, and texted this plan to my actress Maria, who was undoubtedly just getting up in her room down the hall.

Now, I’m not a big Latin Mass fan per se. What I seek are reverent Masses, in whatever language or form. I choose Latin when I can because Latin Masses are almost always reverent. But I’m on the road about fifty weekends out of the year, and fulfilling my Sunday obligation (with Maria, who is, like me, a Catholic convert) can be a real challenge. It’s always easy to find the nearest Catholic Church (with the help of masstimes.org), but finding a Mass that doesn’t ruin my day is not easy. I freely admit that attending an irreverent Mass should not necessarily be a near occasion of sin, making me curse under my breath and despise my neighbor in the next pew over, and that if I were a better Christian I could be more tolerant of what we experience on the road, but we experience some real horrors. And sometimes the Masses we attend are not merely irreverent but downright sacrilegious.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:05 AM

If the Vatican's main spokesman doesn't know what the Pope's doing, who does?

UNITED STATES
Catholic Culture

By Phil Lawler Jul 20, 2015

Don’t let the understated headline fool you. There’s dynamite in this CWN headline story.

It’s not big news that the director of the Vatican press office admits he is “confused” by Pope Francis. We’re all confused. Join the club, Father Lombardi.

But when the Vatican’s chief spokesman reveals that he doesn’t know what’s on the Pope’s schedule—and no one else knows, either, except the Pope himself—that’s astonishing. Indeed all of the remarks by Father Federico Lombardi, as quoted in an otherwise unremarkable article in National Geographic are eye-opening. The papal spokesman limns a picture of a leader who doesn’t give clear directions, doesn’t communicate with his staff, and (at least in diplomatic affairs) doesn’t have a strategic vision.

“No one knows all of what he’s doing,” Lombardi says. “His personal secretary doesn’t even know. I have to call around: One person knows one part of his schedule, someone else knows another part.”
The job of a spokesman is to make his boss look good. These comments by Father Lombardi definitely do not make Pope Francis look good. What’s happening here?

* Has the frustration at the Vatican reached such a level that Father Lombardi feels that he can make critical comments about the Pontiff, knowing that other Vatican officials will back him? Or…

* Is Father Lombardi himself frustrated enough so that he’s willing to risk his job? Or…

* Does the papal spokesman—who knows the Pope much better than you and I do—feel confident that Pope Francis won’t be unhappy with the comments in National Geographic?

But what those remarkable quotes say about Father Lombardi is a secondary issue. What’s really important is what they say about Pope Francis.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:00 AM

Plan to send priest home criticized

OHIO
Toledo Blade

BY RYAN DUNN
BLADE STAFF WRITER

A national advocacy group for victims of clergy abuse is criticizing the actions of the Rev. Samuel Punnoor and officials of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Toledo.

The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests said Monday that returning Father Punnoor to his home diocese in India is irresponsible behavior.

“This solves nothing. In fact, this increases the chances of kids getting hurt,” said Barbara Blaine, president of the Chicago-based group, in a written statement.

An ecclesiastical investigation of Father Punnoor determined he violated the diocese’s rules of harassment and physical contact with youth.

Citing the potential for other cases, Ms. Blaine asked Bishop Daniel Thomas to visit parishes where Father Punnoor worked and encourage whistle-blowers.

Father Punnoor served as vicar at Most Blessed Sacrament in Toledo and St. Joseph in Maumee. He was suspended May 22.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:57 AM

East Shore church sued over sex abuse by former youth leader

PENNSYLVANIA
PennLive

By Matt Miller | mmiller@pennlive.com
on July 20, 2015

Claiming the abuse should have been prevented, a Dauphin County woman filed a lawsuit Monday against a former church youth leader and the East Shore church where he spent years molesting her.

The lead defendant in the county court case, Joshua Markelwitz, is serving a 12- to 24-year state prison term after pleading guilty last year to charges that he sexually abused the girl he met through a youth group at Charlton United Methodist Church in Lower Paxton Township.

The woman, who claims the molestation started in 2009 when she was 12, also is suing the Susquehanna Conference of the United Methodist Church.

She contends that church officials didn't properly screen Markelwitz before allowing him to work with youth and violated their own policies that would have barred him from being alone with the girl on church property.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:54 AM

Former Utah choir director misses court date in child sex-abuse case

UTAH
The Salt Lake Tribune

Jul 20 2015

An arrest warrant was issued Monday for the former choir director of an Ogden church — charged with having sexual contact with a 12-year-old female parishioner — after he missed a court appearance.

Jose Manuel Zamarripa, 27, was charged last month in 2nd District Court with one count each of first-degree felony aggravated sexual abuse of a child, second-degree felony sexual exploitation of a minor and third-degree felony dealing in material harmful to a minor.

Charging documents say Zamarripa and the girl exchanged nude photos via text messaging during a five-month relationship, and that he admitted to police having sexual contact with the girl.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:52 AM

Church sued for ’empowering’ child abuser

PENNSYLVANIA
ABC 27

By Dennis Owens
Published: July 20, 2015

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – Joshua Mitchell Markelwitz is serving 12-24 years in state prison for sexually abusing an underage girl while serving as a youth leader at Charlton United Methodist Church in Lower Paxton Township.

The abuse started when the girl was 12 years old and continued for several years.

According to a civil lawsuit filed Monday in Dauphin County court, Markelwitz is not the only guilty party.

“We think there’s been a lack of institutional control,” Harrisburg attorney Benjamin Andreozzi said. “The church had several opportunities to prevent this abuse from happening.”

Andreozzi represents the victim. The lawsuit contends that Markelwitz has a prior felony conviction and served time while in the military and therefore should not have been hired by Charlton in the first place.

The lawsuit also names the Susquehanna Conference of the United Methodist Church, the church’s governing body.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:51 AM

Boulder DA cites VineLife Church's 'disturbing culture of secrecy' in sex-abuse cover-up

COLORADO
Daily Camera

By Mitchell Byars
Staff Writer

POSTED: 07/20/2015

Boulder prosecutors allege the four VineLife Church officials accused of covering up reports that a youth pastor at the church sexually assaulted a teenaged congregant have refused to accept responsibility for their actions and created a "disturbing culture of secrecy and non-disclosure" at the church.

"At the heart of this case is a local church's coordinated effort to conceal a victim's report of repeated acts of sexual abuse — perpetrated by a youth pastor, the son of one of the church's elders — from the church's own congregation, the local community and law enforcement in Boulder County," prosecutors wrote in a sentencing memorandum filed in the case.

VineLife pastors Walter Roberson and Robert Young, as well as church elders Warren Williams and Edward Bennell, are due in Boulder County Court for sentencing Wednesday after pleading no contest to failure to report child abuse, a Class 3 misdemeanor.

According to the memorandum prepared by the Boulder County District Attorney's Office, prosecutors are asking a judge to sentence the four men to either eight days on a jail work crew or 100 hours of community service.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:48 AM

Paedophilia and the Vatican

AUSTRALIA
Red Flag

18 July 2015 | Robert Austin

Mick Armstrong’s article on Catholic and other church child abuse (Red Flag #49) is a worthy addition to his contributions to working class history over many years. However, Armstrong’s article can be pressed further.

The precursor to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse was a NSW special commission of inquiry into high-level police and Catholic Church collaboration to protect paedophile priests in the Hunter region of NSW.

Commissioner Margaret Cuneen found no evidence to support the claim, but tried to discredit detective chief inspector Peter Fox, whose earlier investigations had revealed decades of church torture of children. His seniors stopped the investigations prematurely. Cuneen parroted the police view that Fox had “lost his objectivity” by empathising with victims.

Under the guise of bourgeois legality, Cuneen also provided a podium for senior police to attack Fairfax journalist Joanne McCarthy, whose investigative reports drew heavily on Fox’s, blew the lid off the cover-up and, combined with popular protest, forced the state to appear to be addressing the issue.

But a key volume of the commission’s four-volume report related to potential criminal charges has been embargoed.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:45 AM

Victim sues priest 'for making him a paedophile'

FRANCE
The Local

A 64-year-old man in eastern France wants to see his former school chaplain convicted for "turning him into a paedophile", over 50 years after the cleric abused him.

The abuse began when the 64-year-old man was just a 12-year-old pupil.

His boarding school chaplain, who is now an 82-year-old retiree, would regularly subject him to sexual assault and the abuse carried for several years.

Decades later, the victim became a paedophile himself, and was convicted after fondling a 15-year-old girl in the street.

The man has since grown distant from his wife and two children, and moved back in with his mother in Ain, eastern France, as he tries to rebuild his life.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:41 AM

July 20, 2015

Ask Nienstedt About New Ulm

MINNESOTA
The Legal Examiner

Posted by Mike Bryant
July 20, 2015

Yesturday , I wrote about the latest story in the Nienstedt case. I asked : What is unique?

Today let’s look at what he said in the article:

The former archbishop said he’d like his legacy to be the archdiocese’s strengthened child protection protocols developed with clergy abuse victims, the hiring of excellent leadership to oversee ministerial standards, and initiatives to strengthen parishes and schools.

Today I ask: Where was this protection and work in the New Ulm Dioceses. Because before he was the archbishop in Minneapolis and St Paul, he was the Bishop in New Ulm.

Look at the history. There was no stronger programs, release of names, or real (to say nothing of excellent) leadership. Now there was no Child Victims Act that was making the Church answer to survivors. So he wasn’t forced to released lists, or to even address the questions.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:58 PM

Lament for the institutionalized church: Trauma, rage, and hope from Kansas City

UNITED STATES
Our Stories Untold

by RACHEL HALDER on Jul 18, 2015

Rae wrote a version of this piece, originally posted on Facebook, late on Friday, July 3, after attending the Mennonite Church USA’s “Service of Lament and Hope” for survivors of sexual abuse. The service came a day after MCUSA delegates passed two seemingly contradictory resolutions related to LGBTQ bodies. One, the “Resolution on Forbearance in the Midst of Difference,” submitted by a politically diverse coalition of pastors, asked Mennonite congregations to “forbear” with one another amidst their conflicts over “same-sex covenanted unions.”

The other, the “Resolution on the Status of the Membership Guidelines,” was submitted by the MCUSA Executive Board, and put forth its own interpretation of “forbearance,” stating, “In order to exercise forbearance on matters that divide us and to focus attention on the missional vision that unites us, the delegate assembly will not entertain changes to the Membership Guidelines for the next four years.” The Membership Guidelines of MCUSA condemn “homosexuality” and require MCUSA area conferences to “review” the ministerial credentials of any pastor performs a covenant or marriage ceremony for two people of the same gender.

On Thursday afternoon, after the Membership Guidelines resolution was passed, dozens of Pink Menno supporters stood silently in the hallway of the convention hall for nearly an hour, facing the outgoing foot traffic from the delegate hall. In order to pass through the hallway, delegates had to navigate a maze of pink-clad bodies. Many stood in tears; some, including Rae, wore pink duct tape over their mouths to symbolize the ongoing silencing of queer voices.

On Friday morning, the delegate body passed another resolution, a “Churchwide Statement on Sexual Abuse.”

— Stephanie Krehbiel

_______________________________

The evening of July 3rd I walked into MCUSA’s “Service of Lament and Hope” hoping to find a space for healing that I could come to with my wounds. I left that space with deep pain and extreme rage—a rage I rarely, if ever, feel. I was pissed off. No, that’s an understatement: I was furious.

On July 2nd our church passed “A Churchwide Statement on Sexual Abuse.” Elizabeth Soto Albrect, moderator of Mennonite Church USA, asked the delegates to be mindful when speaking about the subject matter with fellow delegates, as many among them could be sexual abuse survivors. “Certain things may trigger painful memories,” she stated.

Well, that service more than triggered painful memories—it triggered my rage. I was triggered by having that above statement spat right back out at my face. I was triggered by Mennonite Church USA’s lack of mindfulness when speaking to their constituents. My pain from Thursday, of being told through the passage of the Forbearance and Membership Guidelines Resolutions that I am not a legitimate member of the church, and that this fact won’t be debated again for four years, was triggered. The memory that not a single LGBTQ person was invited to speak in the delegate hall, and that when they “forcefully” exerted themselves through guerrilla theater because they are done with not being invited they were met with extreme anger and a demand to have the doors locked to keep the queer folk out, was triggered. The memory of being declared not worthy of respect was triggered. The violence of not having my body and personhood recognized was triggered. The painful memories of standing in silent protest while delegates walked by making condescending statements such as “Don’t worry, things will get better!” or not even looking me in the eye was triggered. Being reminded of the sin I continue to see and experience against me was triggering.

Mennonite Church USA, your words spoken the night of the 3rd are empty. They mean nothing to me, a survivor of sexualized violence, and a survivor of continued sexualized violence systematically orchestrated by you. The longer I sat in that service and listened to those words, while stealing glances at my fellow Pink Menno friends sitting in the pews with pain clearly written on their faces, the more my blood began to boil. Every word you uttered in that service could be, should be, directed towards them—yet we weren’t even acknowledged as a possible component of the equation. Every word you uttered in that service was directed towards me, yet it was completely inauthentic as you only acknowledged a tiny slice of the sexualized violence I have and continue to experience by the hands of the church. How can you not acknowledge the continued sexualized violence you perpetrate against me with absolutely zero acknowledgment of the pain and trauma you are not only causing me, but hundreds of other Mennonites, thousands if we count the countless persons who have been hurt over the years and have left the church because of this continuing spiritual, emotional, and abusive violence.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:57 PM

Man charged with rape of disabled women after Bible study

INDIANA
Chicago Tribune

By James D. Wolf Jr.
Post-Tribune

A Valparaiso man has been charged with two counts of rape and three counts of sexual battery for acts that allegedly happened between him and three developmentally disabled women at a Chesterton church after Bible study meetings.

Thomas Cooperider, 23, of the 800 block of Mirmar Drive in Valparaiso, is accused of committing the acts between November 2014 and April 2015 inside Liberty Bible Church, 824 N. Calumet Ave. in Chesterton, the probable cause affidavit states.

Cooperider said in a May 8 statement to police that contact was consensual, court documents state.

Porter County Sheriff's Police Cmdr. Eric Jones became aware of the situation May 1 through an email sent by James Reeder, an Ogden Dunes police officer and Liberty Bible Church's Safety Team coordinator, according to the probable cause affidavit filed by Porter County Sheriff's Detective Brian Dziedzinski.

Reeder met with one of three of the Bible study leaders who had heard April 14 from one of the women that she had inappropriate contact with Cooperider, the affidavit states.

Although Reeder identified Cooperider as a former member and junior leader of the Bible study, John Duey, Director of Operations for Liberty Bible Church, stated in an email that Cooperider was someone who attended the study group and had no leadership position.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:57 PM

Indiana Bible study leader accused of raping mentally disabled women in his care

INDIANA
The Raw Story

DAVID FERGUSON
20 JUL 2015

A Valparaiso, Indiana man has been charged with two counts of rape and three counts of sexual battery after he allegedly sexually assaulted multiple mentally disabled women after leading them in Bible study.

According to the Chicago Tribune, 23-year-old Thomas Cooperider of Liberty Bible Church in Chesterton reportedly committed the acts between November 2014 and March of 2015 on church grounds.

In a May 8 interview with the Porter County Sheriff’s Department, Cooperider — who told police that he has been accepted to the law program at Jerry Falwell’s Liberty University — began his statement by stating, “Everything that did happen was consensual between adults.”

However, the Times of Northwest Indiana reported that all of the women have varying degrees of mental disability, one of whom has a functioning IQ of 57.

The three women’s guardians contacted church officials, who in turn went to the police. All three of the victims say that Cooperider led them to secluded areas of the church and touched them without their permission.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:54 PM

Yours Faithfully: We may gain justice at last for sex abuse victims

UNITED KINGDOM
Oxford Mail

Monday 20 July 2015

Stephen Barber
Diocese of Oxford safeguarding advisor

The public inquiry into child sexual abuse has finally got off the ground.

At the third attempt, a chair was found: Justice Lowell Goddard, who is from New Zealand.

This means she is independent of the establishment in the UK, which could not be said of the previous candidates.

She is a judge, so used to hearing and assessing evidence.

She is a woman, which is important since some people suspect that some men do not take the sexual abuse of children as seriously as do most women.

The inquiry is into whether “public bodies and other non-state institutions have taken seriously their duty of care to protect children from sexual abuse in England and Wales”.

The Archbishop of Canterbury has asked for the Church of England to be examined first.

This is because we who work for the church know perfectly well that we have not always got it right, either in listening to survivors of abuse or in dealing effectively with perpetrators.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:47 PM

Priest who ‘molested’ girl closely monitored

PHILIPPINES
Sun.Star

Monday, July 20, 2015

By
JUSTIN K. VESTIL

THE priest who allegedly molested a 16-year-old girl has been closely monitored by the Archdiocese of Cebu since June this year.

Msgr. Joseph Tan, Cebu Archdiocesan spokesperson, told Sun.Star Cebu that since June this year, they have been observing the priest after they received complaints from his parishioners in Aloguinsan, Cebu, including the present incident.

Sun.Star Cebu withholds the name of the priest pending his comment.

Tan said that Msgr. Rey Penagunda, the vicar general assigned to investigate the case, is closely monitoring the priest.

The priest has denied the allegations, based on Penagunda’s initial investigation, Tan said.
Tan said they are also seeking the cooperation of the 16-year-old girl’s parents to urge the victim to provide a testimony on what happened.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:03 PM

Prison guards: Rabbi accused of rape placing curses on staff

ISRAEL
Times of Israel

Safed Rabbi Ezra Sheinberg, who is in detention after being accused of rape and sexual misconduct by numerous women, has been harassing prison guards ahead of his trial later this week.
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A number of guards and police officers lodged formal complaints with the Israel Prisons Service claiming Sheinberg attempted to intimidate them by placing a curse on them, Israel’s Army Radio reported Monday.

Staff at Tzalmon Prison, in the Galilee, said that Sheinberg singles out certain employees, copies down their names from their uniform name tags, and then declares, “I place on you a kepeida.” A kepeida is a spiritual curse falling on someone who has provoked anger or offense.

Religiously observant prison staff have become frightened of Sheinberg and are avoiding interacting with him.

Sheinberg also threatens staff by telling them he is a personal friend of the chief rabbi of the Israel Prison Service, Ofer Elimelech, and warning that Elimelech will see to it that they contract illnesses and suffer other misfortunes.

The IPS has opened an investigation.

Safed Chief Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu, who also serves as Tzalmon’s chaplain, said he attempted in vain to intervene and stop Sheinberg’s intimidation and verbal harassment. “I asked him to stop threatening people, but it didn’t work,” he said. “I don’t believe that the Almighty pays attention to his curses, I’ve encouraged the staff not to be afraid of him,” Eliyahu said.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:16 PM

Another Woman Comes Forward Against Sexual Abuse Rabbi

ISRAEL
Arutz Sheva

Another woman has filed a complaint Monday against Rabbi Ezra Sheinberg of Tzfat, who is accused of raping and sexually abusing women who came to him for halachic guidance.

A total of 13 complainants has so far filed charges against Sheinberg for rape, sexual assault and threats. He will be brought Wednesday to the Nazareth Magistrate's Court for a remand hearing.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:05 PM

More Revealtions Regarding Israeli Rabbis Accused of Sexual Abuse

ISRAEL
Forward

July 20, 2015
By Elana Stzokman
Israel

Over the past week, two men heading religious institutions in Israel have been added to the notorious roster of suspected sex predators in the religious Jewish world.

Rabbi Ezra Scheinberg was caught by police two weeks ago at Ben Gurion airport trying to avoid arrest on charges of rape, sexual harassment and indecent assault. Ten women have come forward so far and the police expect more complaints now that the court lifted the ban on releasing his name. According to the complaints, Scheinberg would rape women who came to him for spiritual counseling, and told the women it was part of their healing treatment. The police conducted a search of his house and removed computers, cell phones and other equipment.

Scheinberg, the 47-year-old founding head of Orot Ha’ari yeshiva in Safed, is considered a leading religious Zionist kabbalist and was known for his mystical “blessings” and abilities to “see” into people’s souls. He was considered a protégé of the late chief rabbi Rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu, father of Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu, the current chief rabbi of Safed. Eliyahu has since disassociated himself from Scheinberg, and ordered him to leave Safed and resign from his yeshivah post. Judge Uri Shoham allowed the publication of the rabbi’s name in order to “encourage other complainants, who have requested not to expose themselves until now, to testify about what the suspect did to theme. There is also room to warn the public against him.”

According to police reports, Scheinberg, who is married and has eight children, had a confrontation with one of his accusers earlier this week, in which he said the sex was consensual. The woman in turn called him “impure.” The woman wrote in a letter to Scheinberg , “Thank God I am free of you…Thanks to your arrest, we can lift our heads again…We know you’re the evil one and we are fine, that you are twisted and we are straight, you are impure and abominable and we are the victims…After all these years of your intimidations, we are no longer scared. Your scare-tactics no longer work on us….If you had one drop of integrity of justice, of truth you would ask for our forgiveness. But your heart was always made of stone”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:02 PM

OH--Victims blast sending accused priest home

OHIO
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

For immediate release: Monday, July 20

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

Toledo Catholic Bishop Daniel Thomas is sending a priest who has been accused of inappropriate acts with a child home to India. This is irresponsible. This solves nothing. In fact, this increases the chances of kids getting hurt.

[Toledo Blade]

[Toledo News Now]

Fr. Samuel Punnoor was caught having some kind of questionable, inappropriate physical contact with a child that didn't rise to the level of a crime. But it's unlikely this was a "one time" occurrence. In fact, we suspect that Fr. Punnoor HAS molested a child but hasn't been caught yet.

Regardless, Toledo's bishop should personally visit every parish where he worked, begging victims, witnesses & whistleblowers to call police. He should aggressively seek out – through pulpit announcements, church bulletins and parish websites across the whole diocese – anyone who may have

He should send letters to former parishioners and former parochial school students and staff (who may have quit in light of Fr. Punnoor’s misdeeds), prodding them to call law enforcement if they have any information that could help law enforcement.

Furthermore, he should put Fr. Punnoor in a remote, secure, independently-run treatment facility, at least for a few months, instead of throwing him on a plane home.

For more than two weeks, Toledo Catholic officials kept silent about the allegations against Fr. Punnoor.

Even now, they apparently refuse to give any details that might be helpful to parents, parishioners, police, prosecutors or the public. Shame on them.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:45 PM

Westminster paedophile scandal: Tory minister Leon Brittan 'liked boys to dress in women's underwear'

UNITED KINGDOM
International Business Times

By Ewan Palmer
July 20, 2015

Former home secretary Leon Brittan and ex-MI6 agent Peter Hayman are among the suspects who were involved in paedophile rings operating in the 1980s, according to reports.

The late Conservative MP and British diplomat were both named by alleged victims during an investigation by Australian current affairs programme 60 Minutes entitled Spies, Lords and Predators.

The show's reporter, Ross Coulthart, said the allegations of a paedophile ring involving politicians, lords, the police and other high-profile names as "Britain's biggest ever scandal", which has the potential to "rock the establishment".

One of those who spoke on the programme accused Brittan of regularly abusing children at the Dolphin Square estate in Pimlico in London – the guest house where former Liberal MP Cyril Smith is believed to have taken part in paedophile orgies.

The alleged victim, named only as Darren, told 60 Minutes: "[Lord Brittan] liked boys to dress in women's underwear and he liked to be alone in the room to punish you for wearing underwear."

Brittan, who died in January aged 75, was accused by Geoffrey Dickens of "mishandling" a dossier detailing allegations of a paedophile ring operating in the 1980s. Before his death, Brittan denied failing to sufficiency deal with the documents – which have since been lost – as well as being involved in a cover up of the abuse.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:47 AM

Child sex abuse: Former bishop Ronald Mulkearns ordered to court

AUSTRALIA
The Australian

TESSA AKERMAN, RACHEL BAXENDALE THE AUSTRALIAN JULY 21, 2015

The bishop who failed to take ­action against Australia’s worst pedophile priest has been ordered to give court evidence next week, paving the way for him to face the child sex abuse royal commission.

Former bishop Ronald Mulkearns has for years avoided scrutiny over his alleged failure to curb systemic sex offending among his clergy in the west Victorian diocese of Ballarat, where the Catholic Church’s worst crimes were committed.

After having a stroke in 1998, Father Mulkearns avoided the Victorian parliamentary inquiry into child sex abuse in institutions, citing ill health, and had appeared unlikely to attend the royal ­commission into institutional res­ponses.

The Geelong Magistrates Court yesterday ordered Father Mulkearns to give evidence next week in the case of former priest Robert Claffey, who is charged with historical sex offences.

Father Mulkearns was the bishop overseeing Gerald Ridsdale when he allegedly abused possibly hundreds of children in the Ballarat diocese and shuffled him from parish to parish, as well as to Sydney, where he offended further.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:43 AM

Appeals court to consider evicting protesters from church

MASSACHUSETTS
WHDH

Updated: Jul 20, 2015

Scituate, Mass. (AP) -
Parishioners holding a round-the-clock protest in a closed Catholic church for nearly 11 years will have their day in court this week.

The Massachusetts Appeals Court hears arguments Wednesday in the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston's bid to evict the Friends of St. Frances X. Cabrini from the deconsecrated Scituate church.

A three-judge panel will only hear arguments; they are expected to issue a written decision at a later date.

The hearing comes after an appeals court judge in June ruled the protesters could continue their vigil while they appeal a lower court decision that declared them trespassers and ordered them to vacate.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:37 AM

Ex-Believers Accuse Jehovah’s Witness Leadership Of Covering Up Sexual Abuse

UNITED STATES
Inquisitr

A group of ex-Jehovah’s Witness members have assembled on Reddit to place a billboard calling out leadership in the church for failing to adequately address sexual abuse — and even for actively covering it up. The billboard points viewers to a website that offers evidence for the claims. The group hopes for the message to make an impact during upcoming conventions, which thousands will attend.

The goal isn’t to make more Jehovah’s Witnesses leave the religion, but to hold Elders accountable for failing to report sexual abuse. The website makes a case for failure to report incidents of sexual abuse, listing a number of cases in which victims were awarded large sums of money when courts determined that Jehovah’s Witness leaders failed to make a necessary report.

It goes on to explain that Elders are instructed to only turn over to authorities cases in which there are two witnesses — which means that in addition to the victim, either the perpetrator must confess, or the abuse must have been performed where another church member could witness it — something most sexual predators know to avoid.

In general, members of clergy are considered mandated reporters — that means that in most cases, if church Elders are aware of abuse, or have reason to believe a child is being abused, they’re expected to report it to authorities. This isn’t universal — state laws vary, and may include exemptions for “privileged” conversation, such as a confession of sin by the perpetrator. However, in many cases, simple failure to report may be a violation of law.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:35 AM

Abuse crime laws must target institutions

AUSTRALIA
9 News

Australia is ready for new laws to hold institutions criminally responsible for child sexual abuse, a report says.

In a comprehensive examination of the country's criminal justice system, the sex abuse royal commission says Australian law punishes individual offenders but not organisations.

The report outlines possible new offences to cover organisational criminal liability for institutional abuse, which would make it less likely an organisation could plead that it, too, was a victim of rogue behaviour.

That has been an argument put by some of the churches and charities examined during the commission's 28 public hearings.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:34 AM

Other Pontifical Acts

VATICAN CITY
Vatican Information Service

Vatican City, 20 July 2015 (VIS) – The Holy Father has appointed Dr. Salvatore Vecchio, formerly director of Human Resources at the Bambino Gesu Paedatric Hospital, Rome, as director of the Labour Office of the Apostolic See.

On Saturday 18 July, the Holy Father:

- appointed Msgr. Claudio Cipolla as bishop of Padua (area 3,297, population 1,068,498, Catholics 1,004,088, priests 990, permanent deacons 49, religious 1976), Italy. The bishop-elect was born in Goito, Italy in 1955 and was ordained a priest in 1980. He has served in a number of roles in the diocese of Mantua, including parish vicar and director of diocesan Caritas. He is currently parish priest, episcopal vicar for the pastoral sector, and member of the college of consultors, the diocesan pastoral council and the commission for the continuing formation of the clergy. He is a “ratione officii” member of the episcopal council and the presbyteral council, and was named Chaplain of His Holiness in 2011. He succeeds bishop Antonio Mattiazzo, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese upon reaching the age limit was accepted by the Holy Father.

- appointed Fr. Basil Bhuriya, S.V.D., as bishop of Jhabua (area 21,366, population 5,812,071, Catholics 38,726, priests 68, religious 236), India. The bishop-elect was born in Panchjui, India in 1956, gave his solemn vows in 1985, and was ordained a priest in 1986. He holds a bachelor's degree from the University of Indore, India, and has served in an number of roles, including parish vicar in a number of parishes in the dioceses of Baroda, Indore and Jhabua and rector of the St. Thomas Seminary in Indore. He is currently parish priest and member of the Provincial Council of the Verbite Fathers in the Central Indian Province.

- appointed Fr. Corrado Melis as bishop of Ozieri (area 2,288, population 54,600, Catholics 54,200, priests 48, religious 54), Italy. The bishop elect was born in Sardara, Italy in 1963 and was ordained a priest in 1988. He holds a licentiate in theology from the Pontifical Theological Faculty of Sardinia in Cagliari, and has served in a number of pastoral roles in the diocese of Ales-Terralba, including parish vicar, vice rector of the diocesan seminary in Villacidro, director of the diocesan catechistic office, chaplain, parish administrator, and parish priest. He is currently parish priest of Santa Barbara in Villacidro, episcopal vicar for evangelisation and education, director of the diocesan office for family pastoral ministry, and director of the pastoral ministry of ecumenism. He is also a member of the college of consultors and the diocesan council for economic affairs.

- elevated Fr. Natale Paganelli, S.X., apostolic administrator of Makeni, Sierra Leone, to the dignity of bishop. The bishop-elect was born in Grignano di Brembate, Italy in 1956, gave his religious vows in 1979, and was ordained a priest in 1980.

- appointed Bishop Henry Akuna of Makeni, Sierra Leone, as auxiliary of the diocese of Kenema, (area 15,710, population 1,481,000, Catholics 87,000, priests 19, religious 32), Sierra Leone.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:30 AM

Uckfield school pays tribute to bravery of victims of "abhorrent" paedo teacher Christopher Howarth

UNITED KINGDOM
Kent and Sussex Courier

Paedophile teacher Christopher Howarth's former school has paid tribute to the bravery of his victims who came forward to bring him to justice.

The ex-Uckfield Community Technology College deputy head teacher was convicted on Friday of 26 counts of abuse against two young boys.

It followed a two-week trial during which one of his victims said he was initially reluctant to come forward to police because of the 68-year-old's status in the community.

The college today released a statement branding the actions of the former lay priest as "shocking and abhorrent".

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:29 AM

PRIEST ACCUSED OF CHILD PORN REASSIGNED TO NEW CHURCH

NETHERLANDS
NL Times

Pastor Dominique Donders from Veldhoven has been reassigned as a chaplain in the Sint Anthonis municipality in Brabant. The priest was convicted and later acquitted of the possession of child pornography.

According to NOS, the diocese and parish believe that Donders deserves a second chance and he will soon preside over funerals and celebrations. The Sint Anthonis church appointed Donders at the request of the diocese. “Comments can certainly be made on his behavior in a moral sense”, the parish writes on its website. “But his pastoral integrity is not fundamentally at stake.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:27 AM

Abuse inquiry: breaking with tradition

UNITED KINGDOM
Law Society Gazette

20 July 2015

By Joshua Rozenberg

Much is expected from the largest and most ambitious public inquiry ever established.

The independent inquiry into child sexual abuse seems to have got off to a good start. Lowell Goddard, who served as a high court judge in New Zealand for 20 years before being appointed to chair the inquiry in April, has not been wasting her time.

The government’s most important decision was to start the new statutory inquiry afresh – avoiding some of the pitfalls that beset the non-statutory panel headed first by Baroness Butler-Sloss and then Dame Fiona Woolf. Goddard (pictured below) is sitting with just four experts, three of them lawyers.

The panel no longer includes victims, although one member spent his childhood in care: Ivor Frank is a barrister who now has four decades of experience in child protection, human rights and family law.

The other three members are Professor Malcolm Evans, an international lawyer specialising in freedom of religion and prevention of torture; Drusilla Sharpling, a former chief Crown prosecutor who subsequently inspected policing responses to child abuse; and Professor Alexis Jay, a former director of social services who led the inquiry into child sexual exploitation in Rotherham. Ben Emmerson QC remains counsel to the inquiry and the highly experienced Martin Smith, a partner at Fieldfisher, is the inquiry’s solicitor.

Goddard was right to say that victims should be at the centre of the inquiry. But the officials who decided that victims should be members of the earlier inquiry team were misguided in thinking that people with a direct interest in child abuse could be judges in their own cause. Instead, victims and survivors have been appointed to a new consultative panel, which will offer Goddard and her colleagues advice and guidance. There is a separate victims’ and survivors’ liaison group.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:24 AM

Archbishop Retains Law Firm for 'Cease and Desist' Letter to Accuser

GUAM
Pacific News Center

Written by Janela Carrera

John Toves has previously accused Archbishop Anthony Apuron of molesting his cousin back in the 1980s.

Guam - Just when everything started to quiet down regarding allegations made against Archbishop Anthony Apuron of sexual abuse, the topic was once again brought up in the form of a letter.

John Toves, the man who brazenly accused the Archbishop of molesting his cousin back in the 1980s, sent PNC a copy of a letter he received from a law firm. It was signed by Attorney Michelle Neal, retained by Archbishop Apuron, ordering Toves to immediately “cease and desist from making any further defamatory comments or publications against Archbishop Apuron’s reputation and character.”

The letter further states “Your comments and published statements that Archbishop Apuron has engaged in unlawful conduct are patently false, and you have made these comments and published these statements with full knowledge of their falsity.”

However, Toves tells PNC that he’s not backing down and that he maintains his assertions.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:21 AM

Sexual Abuse Rabbi is 'Cursing' Prison Guards

ISRAEL
Arutz Sheva

Rabbi Ezra Sheinberg, the rabbi from Tzfat (Safed) accused by no fewer than 11 women of sexual abuse, has been threatening prison guards at the Tzalmon Jail where he is currently being detailed, reports Army Radio.

According to the report Sheinberg has been taking the names of the guards from the name tags on their shirts and writing them on a note. He then goes on to recite: "I place on you a kapida," a type of curse.

Several of the guards have been frightened by the curses, and are trying to avoid Sheinberg. The Israel Prison Service intends to investigate the complaints of the guards.

The Nazareth District Court last Friday shortened Sheinberg's detention, moving up his release from this Thursday to Tuesday.

Several of his victims have come forward with complaints of severe sexual abuse they suffered after coming to him for advice.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:19 AM

Media Release – July 19, 2015

NEW YORK
Road to Recovery

Two Brooklyn Diocesan priests will be ordained bishops for the Brooklyn Diocese while two childhood sexual abuse victims of a deceased and dangerous pedophile priest are denied justice from the Brooklyn Diocese in their attempts to heal. The Brooklyn Diocese is hiding behind the antiquated and unfair New York State statute of limitations

Juan Rodriguez, who was sexually abused by Fr. Kenneth Wicks at St. Gabriel Parish in East New York, Brooklyn, and reported the abuse to Brooklyn Diocesan officials in the 1990s, will speak to the media about his twenty-year effort to hold his abuser and the Diocese of Brooklyn accountable

What
A demonstration and leafleting alerting Brooklyn Diocesan Catholics, the media, and the general public about the twenty-year attempt by childhood sexual abuse victims of Fr. Kenneth Wicks to receive justice from the Brooklyn Diocese

When
Monday, July 20, 2015 from 12:30 PM until 2:00 PM

Where
On the public sidewalk outside the Co-Cathedral of St. Joseph, 856 Pacific Street, Prospect Heights, Brooklyn, New York 11238 before the ordination of two new bishops for the Diocese of Brooklyn

Who
Juan Rodriguez, a community activist and leader of the 75th NYPD Precinct Community Board and childhood sexual abuse victim of Fr. Kenneth Wicks at St. Gabriel Parish in East New York, Brooklyn, NY; Members of Road to Recovery, Inc., including its co-founder and President, Robert M. Hoatson, Ph.D.

Why
Two priests will be ordained bishops for the Diocese of Brooklyn while at least two childhood sexual abuse victims of Fr. Kenneth Wicks, who allegedly committed suicide in 1993, are denied justice by the Diocese of Brooklyn in their approximately twenty-year claims against Fr. Wicks and the Diocese of Brooklyn. Juan Rodriguez and Luis Ramos reported their sexual abuse by Fr. Kenneth Wicks to officials of the Diocese of Brooklyn approximately twenty years ago, and nothing has been done by officials of the Diocese of Brooklyn to help them heal and recover. The Diocese of Brooklyn has covered up the horrific sexually abusive activity of Fr. Kenneth Wicks, who abused children in St. Gabriel Parish in East New York and at his vacation home in upstate New York where he tied up children, plied them with alcohol, and sexually abused them. Demonstrators will call on the Brooklyn Diocese to do the right thing by compensating Juan Rodriguez, Luis Ramos and all clergy sexual abuse victims for the sexual abuse they endured. Such compensation helps victims try to heal and gain a degree of closure.

Contacts
Robert M. Hoatson, Ph.D. – Road to Recovery, Inc. – 862-368-2800
Attorney Mitchell Garabedian, Boston, MA – 617-523-6250

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:17 AM

July 19, 2015

Ex-Twin Cities archbishop denies allegations in affidavits

MINNESOTA
Marshall Independent

July 19, 2015

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Former Twin Cities Archbishop John Nienstedt says he remains "dumbfounded" by allegations of personal misconduct that emerged last year during an internal church investigation.

In written responses, Nienstedt tells the Star Tribune (http://strib.mn/1MiDTyn ) it "pains" him that his reputation has been "put into question by allegations that are entirely false and based wholly on rumor, hearsay, or innuendo."

The Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis commissioned the investigation. The Star Tribune reports the probe looked into claims that Nienstedt had engaged in behavior that was inappropriate for a priest.

Nienstedt resigned last month after prosecutors filed charges against the archdiocese for failing to protect children from a priest later convicted of molesting two boys.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:03 PM

Child molester + Mormons = easy prey

UNITED STATES
News Review

The Sins of Brother Curtis: A Story of Betrayal, Conviction, and the Mormon Church hits the bookstores today—and author Lisa Davis will be discussing the book and signing copies at the Borders on Fair Oaks tomorrow evening.

In The Sins of Brother Curtis, Davis details the career of one of the most prolific serial child molesters in the U.S., Frank Curtis. As a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, he was “called” to serve as a Sunday School teacher and Boy Scout leader, which gave him ample access to children.

He molested boys in several Portland, Oregon wards from 1976 to 1991. It was the last victim who filed a lawsuit against the LDS Church—because a bishop had told his mother than they “knew” Curtis was a pedophile and hadn’t warned the family—that it was discovered that the church had, in fact, known for years that Curtis was a danger to children. He’d even been excommunicated, then re-baptized and returned to the positions from which he preyed upon children.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:00 PM

#16-17 Two Poems by Norbert Krapf and Gordon Bonham

UNITED STATES
The Museum of Americana

[with audio]

Norbert Krapf, former Indiana Poet Laureate and winner of the Glick Indiana Author Award, and veteran Indiana bluesman Gordon Bonham have been performing together since they were part of the Hoosier Dylan Show 2008-10. Norbert’s eleventh poetry collection is Catholic Boy Blues.

To read Krapf’s “B.B. King on His Bicycle,” click here.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:56 PM

Of Miracles and Messes...

UNITED STATES
Questions from a Ewe

Dear Pope Francis,

I have written you a few letters but never received the favor of a reply. Nonetheless, I continue writing in hopes that someday we discuss pressing issues in the church.

I am inspired to write again now after listening to this weekend’s reading from Jeremiah, “Woe to the shepherds who destroy and scatter the flock of my pasture, says the LORD (Jer 23:1).” With U.S. Catholics’ mere 25% Mass participation rate that’s dropping as I type, I am starting to wonder if it’s possible for the shepherds to destroy and scatter the flock much more than they’ve already done. Have we not suffered enough from their poor shepherding skills? Is it not time to stop doubling-down on the sheep-scattering tactics and exchange them for exemplary shepherding skills? ...

Frank, simply put, what are you waiting for? Be the miracle you hope to see! Make the mess you hope gets made!

I offer ten suggestions of miracles and messes you could do today, by mere virtue of the white pointy hats you own and the fabulous chair you sit upon in St. John Lateran’s Basilica.

1. Re-institute married clergy. Nothing needed to do this but the stroke of a pen…specifically your pen. Please take it out, remove the cap, dip it in the papal ink well and scribble away…
2. Re-institute ordaining women as deacons. Again, there’s no obstruction to doing this. Benedict paved the way by declaring that deacons no longer act in persona Christi. While your pen is out please handle this one too.
3. Change Canon Law to remove ordaining women as a grave delict and instead add bishops who mishandle sexual abuse cases. Then please address the numerous bishops guilty of this grave delict.
4. Tell the truth. Dispense with clinging to false biological, medical and psychological teachings as foundations to establishing “truths” about human sexuality. You can’t say you’re the penultimate guardian of truth if you don’t tell it.
5. Change canon law to prevent Catholic employers from denying their employees access to medical care just because they fear it. The medications used to treat many female health issues can also be used for birth control. However, the medication itself is merely a tool. Indeed it is a tool often used to help conceive life. It is one particular usage of that tool to which you object, yet the tool is outright banned. Consistent application of this rule would see the rope cincture around your waist barred since many people have been hanged using ropes. Furthermore having episcopal review boards rather than medical ones determining whether or not women can have certain life-saving procedures performed at Catholic hospitals is just derelict. Stop this practice at once. Scribble that into canon law and make the U.S. bishops fix their medical ethics document to reflect the change.
6. Lift the excommunications hanging over all people. Grant general amnesty since, “Who are you to judge?”
7. Cancel any meetings in Philadelphia that lack women – laywomen – not cheerleaders for church status quo and not only religious women, but regular women who are mothers. They can teach you much about what it means to be a holy mother as you try to lead “Holy Mother Church.”
8. Cancel any meetings in Philly that are exclusively with clergy and all meetings with Archbishop Chaput unless he accompanies you to meet with groups such as Fortunate Families being barred from attending his World Meeting of Families.
9. Take time when you are in Philadelphia to meet with women with such a strong sense of calling that they are willing to endure scorn, rejection and excommunication… Yes, that’s right; meet with Catholic women priests. Understand why they do what they do after you listen to understand what they do. Then make them dinner and serve it to them. This can be done in person and thus save on those expensive charges for overseas cellphone calls you must be racking up with your spontaneous, surprise pope-calls.
10. Update the papal wardrobe to align with the poor – perhaps a nice pair of second hand jeans and a t-shirt from the St. Vincent de Paul store would be in order. These are practical work clothes and require far less bleach and fuss to clean than the flowing white gowns you currently wear… Maybe you can have a big garage sale at the Vatican and sell your white vestments to a traveling band of dentists in dire need of white fabric. It’s just a suggestion.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:31 PM

Of Miracles and Messes...

UNITED STATES
Questions from a Ewe

Dear Pope Francis,

I have written you a few letters but never received the favor of a reply. Nonetheless, I continue writing in hopes that someday we discuss pressing issues in the church.

I am inspired to write again now after listening to this weekend’s reading from Jeremiah, “Woe to the shepherds who destroy and scatter the flock of my pasture, says the LORD (Jer 23:1).” With U.S. Catholics’ mere 25% Mass participation rate that’s dropping as I type, I am starting to wonder if it’s possible for the shepherds to destroy and scatter the flock much more than they’ve already done. Have we not suffered enough from their poor shepherding skills? Is it not time to stop doubling-down on the sheep-scattering tactics and exchange them for exemplary shepherding skills? ...

Frank, simply put, what are you waiting for? Be the miracle you hope to see! Make the mess you hope gets made!

I offer ten suggestions of miracles and messes you could do today, by mere virtue of the white pointy hats you own and the fabulous chair you sit upon in St. John Lateran’s Basilica.

1. Re-institute married clergy. Nothing needed to do this but the stroke of a pen…specifically your pen. Please take it out, remove the cap, dip it in the papal ink well and scribble away…
2. Re-institute ordaining women as deacons. Again, there’s no obstruction to doing this. Benedict paved the way by declaring that deacons no longer act in persona Christi. While your pen is out please handle this one too.
3. Change Canon Law to remove ordaining women as a grave delict and instead add bishops who mishandle sexual abuse cases. Then please address the numerous bishops guilty of this grave delict.
4. Tell the truth. Dispense with clinging to false biological, medical and psychological teachings as foundations to establishing “truths” about human sexuality. You can’t say you’re the penultimate guardian of truth if you don’t tell it.
5. Change canon law to prevent Catholic employers from denying their employees access to medical care just because they fear it. The medications used to treat many female health issues can also be used for birth control. However, the medication itself is merely a tool. Indeed it is a tool often used to help conceive life. It is one particular usage of that tool to which you object, yet the tool is outright banned. Consistent application of this rule would see the rope cincture around your waist barred since many people have been hanged using ropes. Furthermore having episcopal review boards rather than medical ones determining whether or not women can have certain life-saving procedures performed at Catholic hospitals is just derelict. Stop this practice at once. Scribble that into canon law and make the U.S. bishops fix their medical ethics document to reflect the change.
6. Lift the excommunications hanging over all people. Grant general amnesty since, “Who are you to judge?”
7. Cancel any meetings in Philadelphia that lack women – laywomen – not cheerleaders for church status quo and not only religious women, but regular women who are mothers. They can teach you much about what it means to be a holy mother as you try to lead “Holy Mother Church.”
8. Cancel any meetings in Philly that are exclusively with clergy and all meetings with Archbishop Chaput unless he accompanies you to meet with groups such as Fortunate Families being barred from attending his World Meeting of Families.
9. Take time when you are in Philadelphia to meet with women with such a strong sense of calling that they are willing to endure scorn, rejection and excommunication… Yes, that’s right; meet with Catholic women priests. Understand why they do what they do after you listen to understand what they do. Then make them dinner and serve it to them. This can be done in person and thus save on those expensive charges for overseas cellphone calls you must be racking up with your spontaneous, surprise pope-calls.
10. Update the papal wardrobe to align with the poor – perhaps a nice pair of second hand jeans and a t-shirt from the St. Vincent de Paul store would be in order. These are practical work clothes and require far less bleach and fuss to clean than the flowing white gowns you currently wear… Maybe you can have a big garage sale at the Vatican and sell your white vestments to a traveling band of dentists in dire need of white fabric. It’s just a suggestion.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:31 PM

What is the “Unique Situation” about the Nienstedt Case?

MINNESOTA
Legal Examiner

Posted by Mike Bryant
July 19, 2015

There is a longer story today in the Minneapolis Tribune about what is the latest in the Nienstedt Case. Looking at it, there clearly is a lot of issues up in the air. What struck me was the end of the article:

What the archdiocese decides to do with the investigation is being monitored by Twin Cities Catholics as well as national Catholic authorities, who say the St. Paul situation is extremely rare.

Facing scores of priest abuse claims, bankruptcy, civil and criminal charges — and the Nienstedt investigation controversy — the archdiocese is in uncharted terrain.

“I rarely say anything is unique in the Catholic Church, but this is a pretty unique situation,” said the Rev. Thomas Reese, senior analyst for National Catholic Reporter.

I got to ask: What is unique?

There are scores of abuse cases across the world. Thanks to the Child Victims Act survivors in Minnesota can do something about them.

The Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis is one of a number of diocese that have or are using the bankruptcy courts to limit their liability.

Civil claims have for the most part been the only way that survivors have been able to force the Church to do anything.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:11 PM

Dickert von der fehlenden Reaktion des Kardinals aus Mainz enttäuscht

DEUTSCHLAND
missbrauch-gelingt-grabosch.

[Dickert disappointed by the lack of reaction of the cardinal of Mainz]
ar apology to the Church and an honest handling of abuse cases (the LA) reported.

Briefwechsel zu Missbrauchsfällen und Rolle der Kirche – Gespräch in Mainz ohne Pfarrer lehnt Rathauschef ab

GREBENHAIN - (cke). Die Einstellung der Missbrauchsstudie durch die Katholische Kirche und die noch immer ausstehende Entschuldigung von Kirchenverantwortlichen aus dem Bistum Mainz gegenüber den Opfern, die vom ehemaligen Grebenhainer Pfarrer Wolfgang Grabosch sexuell missbraucht worden waren, hatten Grebenhains Bürgermeister Manfred Dickert im Februar veranlasst, einen Brief an den Mainzer Bischof, Kardinal Karl Lehmann, zu schreiben. Der Rathauschef, in dessen Gemeinde sich ein Teil der widerwärtigen Taten ereignet hatten, hatte in seinem Schreiben eine klare Entschuldigung der Kirche und einen ehrlichen Umgang mit den Missbrauchsfällen gefordert (der LA berichtete).

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:06 PM

Breslov Rabbi Refuses to See Women After Tzfat, Berland Scandals

ISRAEL
Arutz Sheva

By Haim Lev
First Publish: 7/19/2015

Haredi leaders appear to be taking stock of several recent sexual harassment scandals, Kikar Hashabbat reports Sunday.

On Sunday, Rabbi Shalom Arush, Breslov leader and head of the Chut Shel Chessed yeshiva (Torah academy), announced that he will stop meeting with women during public reception hours in light of the scandals.

Rabbi Arush explained that the move is to set a precedent for caution.

"The evil inclination of rabbis is even greater than that of other people," he said, reflecting a Judaic concept that people with great potential also have greater challenges.

Therefore, he said, he will not see women in person anymore, even if they are accompanied by their husbands.

The decision was made against the backdrop of at least ten women accusing Rabbi Ezra Sheinberg of Tzfat (Safed) of sexual abuse in a religious context, which made headlines after Sheinberg attempted to flee Israel and was arrested before his departure.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:04 PM

Pope Francis and the Latino Vote

UNITED STATES
The Open Tabernacle: Here Comes Everybody

Posted on July 19, 2015 by Betty Clermont

“A measure calling for the statue of Father Junipero Serra in the U.S. Capitol to be replaced with one of NASA astronaut Sally Ride, the first American woman in space, was shelved in the Legislature on July 2. [Ride] would be the first woman to represent California in the collection and the first known gay person.” State legislatures have the authority to decide which two statues will represent their state at the U.S. Capitol.

The measure to replace Serra’s statue had already passed the California Senate in April. The Assembly vote was postponed because of the pope’s visit to the U.S. “Our concerns are mostly due to the timing of this legislative debate,” Sandra Palacios, associate director of governmental affairs at the California Catholic Conference, said at an Assembly committee hearing this week.” The U.S. bishops’ paid lobbyists in every state are called “Catholic Conferences.”

Pope Francis called Serra “one of the founding fathers of the United States, a saintly example of the Church’s universality, and special patron of the Hispanic people of the country.” The pope will canonize Serra in September in Washington D.C. The 18th century Spanish Franciscan friar founded the first nine of 21 Spanish missions in California. In a rare display of criticism for this pope, Native Americans and others protested honoring a man who participated in the brutalization of indigenous people. “By 1818 the percentage of Indians who died in the missions reached 86 percent. Over 81,000 Indian ‘converts’ eventually managed to successfully flee the missions.”

The postponement followed “a heavy campaign to save the statue. A Spanish-language website, ‘Salvemos a Serra’, or ‘Let’s Save Serra’, called on Californians to write their legislators in opposition to the resolution. … ‘Salvemos a Serra’ had also asked supporters of Blessed Serra to sign English- and Spanish-language petitions on the website CitizenGo.org. The petitions were posted by Alejandro Bermudez, executive director of Catholic News Agency. More than 47,000 did so.”

Within five days, the Catholic Church “notched [another] prominent win at the California statehouse.” The July 7 decision by a legislative committee to shelve a bill allowing terminally ill patients to legally end their lives “followed weeks of lobbying by competing interest groups over whether to make California the next state to allow physicians to legally prescribe fatal medication, following Oregon, Washington, Montana and Vermont.” “A new poll released by Compassion and Choices, the chief right-to-die advocacy group, suggests that 69 percent of Californians would vote for the bill if put in front of them.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:33 PM

Ex-priest John Farrell (from Armidale/Moree, NSW) fails to get his name suppressed in a Sydney court

AUSTRALIA
Broken Rites

By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 1 July 2015

Former Catholic priest John Joseph Farrell appeared in Sydney's Central Local Court on 30 June 2015, charged with 26 sexual offences which were allegedly committed against five boys between 1981 and 1984 in northern New South Wales. According to court documents, some of these 26 offences allegedly occurred while Father Farrell was based at the Moree parish (within the Armidale Catholic diocese); and some allegedly occurred when Father Farrell visited a parish at Tweed Heads (in the Lismore diocese) on the NSW north coast. The Sydney magistrate refused to suppress Farrell's name. This court case is confined to these five children (and these 26 charges) and it does not include any charges which Farrell might face regarding any other children. Farrell was refused bail, and he will remain in custody pending his court proceedings.

Father John Joseph Farrell worked as a Catholic priest in the 1980s and the early 1990s. He later lived at a private address in the town of Armidale until late 2012. More recently, he has been living in the Harden area (between Young and Yass) in southern NSW.

In late June 2015 John Joseph Farrell was arrested at Harden by a Sydney-based specialist team of detectives from the Sex Crime Squad of the NSW Police. Police charged him with the 26 alleged offences, with no police bail. On June 25, he was taken in custody to a local court (at Wagga in southern NSW) to enable these 26 charges to be officially filed. Farrell entered the courtroom with two Corrective Services officers. Two specialist detectives were present in court.

In the June 25 hearing, Farrell's lawyer applied for a media-suppression order which would prevent Farrell's name from being published. He said that Farrell could be placed in danger if his identity were made public. He said the type of charges laid against Farrell generated vilification and outrage in the community.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:06 AM

This priest assaulted two boys after their sister died in a road accident

AUSTRALIA
Broken Rites

By a Broken Rites researcher (article updated 11 July 2015 )

A Catholic priest, Father Robert Claffey, indecently assaulted two boys after their sister died in a road accident, a court was told. The priest started visiting the boys' house after the accident to "comfort" them at bed-time.

Father Robert Patrick Claffey was a priest of the Ballarat Diocese in western Victoria. He pleaded guilty in Ballarat Magistrates Court on 18 February 1998 to having indecently assaulted the two boys, brothers aged 12 and 13, by touching their bodies on several occasions in 1978 while the boys were in bed.

Neither brother knew that the other had been molested by Fr Bob Claffey until they discussed the matter in their twenties.

The boys were part of a devout Catholic family, which was friendly with Father (later Archbishop) George Pell and Father (later Bishop) Peter Connors.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:05 AM

A priest abused two boys aged 9 and 11, police allege

AUSTRALIA
Broken Rites

A Catholic priest in northern New South Wales, John Patrick Casey, 67, appeared in court on 10 July 2015, charged with sexual offences, allegedly committed against two young boys in the 1980s. Casey has been denied bail. A magistrate said the charges are serious and could bring a custodial sentence if there is a conviction.

John Patrick Casey is a priest of the Lismore diocese, which takes in the NSW north coast from the Queensland border to Camden Haven, south of Port Macquarie. The city of Lismore is where the diocese has its headquarters.

John Patrick Casey is currently a priest for the "Mary Help of Christians" parish at Sawtell, near Coffs Harbour. (After he was charged, the diocese announced that Father Casey is standing down from this position.)

The police investigation was conducted by detectives from the NSW Police's Richmond Local Area Command, which has headquarters in Lismore. The detectives were investigating information which had been received by Australia's national child-abuse Royal Commission.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:03 AM

Inquiry judge will hear 30,000 VICTIMS of predators ...

UNITED KINGDOM
Daily Mail

Inquiry judge will hear 30,000 VICTIMS of predators – but Goddard probe says that’s less than 1% of adults who were abused as children

By David Rose for The Mail on Sunday

The landmark inquiry into historic child sexual abuse is braced to hear testimony from at least 30,000 victims, The Mail on Sunday can reveal.

But that extraordinary number represents less than one per cent of the more than three million adults in Britain who were abused as children, according to the Goddard Inquiry.

The figures were disclosed to this newspaper by Ben Emmerson, the QC who is the chief lawyer for the vast investigation set up in the wake of the Jimmy Savile scandal and widespread allegations of abuse by politicians at Westminster.

In his first interview since he took up his post with the inquiry, Mr Emmerson has for the first time given details of the mammoth task it faces as it takes up evidence going back decades.

He admitted that the inquiry’s scope was ‘vast’, covering the handling of abuse by institutions including children’s homes, the military, youth groups, orchestras, doctors, Westminster, the police, prosecutors, internet service providers and the BBC. It has no past cut-off date.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:58 AM

Rabbi Ezra Scheinberg named as 'northern rabbi' suspected of sexual offenses

ISRAEL
Jerusalem Post

Rabbi Ezra Scheinberg is the rabbi from northern Israel accused of rape and other sexual offenses.

The name of Rabbi Scheinberg, a much respected yeshiva dean who was considered by some to be a mystic, has been released for publication as the rabbi from northern Israel accused of rape and other sexual offenses.

So far 10 separate complaints have been filed against the rabbi who was arrested July 2 at Ben-Gurion Airport and has been held in detention since. He is scheduled to be released to house arrest on Tuesday.

Scheinberg, 46, is married and has eight children. He is the founder of the Orot HaAri yeshiva in Safed, which he established in 1999, and was a respected and prominent figure in the national-religious community, lauded as a particularly spiritual rabbi with even preternatural abilities to see into the future and give advice on that basis.

According to a report on the Kipa national-religious news website, his students threw books he has authored into the garbage when the allegations against him were made public.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:49 AM

Trouble brewing in big house as scandalous secrets exposed

IRELAND
Irish Independent

Fiction: The Ballroom Cafe: Secrets Can't Last Forever, Ann O'Loughlin, Black and White Publishing, pbk, 322 pages, €11.28

Maggie Armstrong
PUBLISHED
19/07/2015

Irish people are only now learning about the forced adoption of babies born to unmarried mothers in mother-and-baby homes, a money-making scheme which may have gone on until the 1970s. Ann O'Loughlin quite fearlessly enters this little-explored ground in her first novel.

A long-time Irish Independent journalist and now reporter with the Irish Examiner, this time she bends the facts into a tale of scandal heaped upon scandal.

Setting her story in remote Co Wicklow in 2008, the author creates a home for our imagination in Roscarbury Hall, the tumbledown mansion shared by ageing sisters Ella and Roberta O'Callaghan.
Slow-marching, romantic prose draws us into an old world that is rustic, genteel, quaint - almost de Valera's Ireland preserved in aspic.

Scandals lie in wait. It emerges the sisters don't speak, they communicate through notes. (The many epistolary exchanges in the novel inspired the designers to add as many naff forms of handwriting. Though a book shouldn't be judged on its fonts.) There is a "hard frost, thick and deep, between them".

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:44 AM

Accused Maumee priest will be sent back to home diocese in India

OHIO
Toledo News Now

By Mark Bickle

MAUMEE, OH (Toledo News Now) -
The Diocese of Toledo has announced that a priest accused of violating Diocesan policy, in behavior involving children, will remain on leave from Saint Joseph's Catholic Church in Maumee and be sent back to his home diocese in India.

In May, Reverend Samuel Punnoor was accused by a child of violations of the diocesan code of pastoral conduct; specifically, “Appendix A: Diocese of Toledo Code of Pastoral Conduct” of the diocesan “To Protect and to Heal: Policy on Sexual Abuse of Minors.”

The diocese says that an investigation by Lucas County Children Services found that Father Punnoor's actions were not deemed to be sexual abuse but his behavior with the child did raise concerns.

A press release from the diocese states, "the agency's assessment determined that Reverend Samuel Punnoor's actions did not meet the definition of sexual abuse as defined by state law. The agency also indicated that it has concerns about Father Punnoor's interactions with the victim and that he appears to have boundary issues in not recognizing appropriate interaction with this child."

An investigation by the diocese concluded that a violation of the diocesan code of pastoral conduct had occurred.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:40 AM

Cebu church probing priest accused of child abuse

PHILIPPINES
Rappler

Dale G. Israel
Published July 19, 2015

CEBU CITY, Philippines – The Archdiocese of Cebu is investigating the parish priest of Aloguinsan town accused of molesting a girl who was part of the church choir.

A police report dated June 4, 2015 narrated an incident involving a 16-year-old female who was allegedly molested by Fr. Prudencio Operiano of the St. Raphael Archangel Parish Church on Christmas eve, December 24, 2014.

Together with a witness – the alleged victim’s 15-year-old female friend – the victim filed a complaint at the police station in Aloguinsan on June 4, 2015.

If found guilty, Operiano could be charged with violating Republic Act 7610 or the "Special Protection of Children Against Abuse, Exploitation and Discrimination Act."

Monsignor Joseph Tan, spokesperson of the Archdiocese, said that even before local newspaper reports of the incident came out on Saturday, July 18, the church started a probe on the incident as early as the first week of June through vicar general Msgr. Rey Penagunda.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:37 AM

July 18, 2015

In his first remarks since resigning, Nienstedt denies allegations in affidavits

MINNESOTA
Star Tribune

By Jean Hopfensperger and Tony Kennedy and Paul McEnroe Star Tribune staff

JULY 18, 2015

Former Archbishop John Nienstedt said he remains “dumbfounded” by the allegations of personal misconduct that emerged last year during an internal church investigation of his behavior — a report that the archdiocese now is considering making public.

“It pains me deeply that my good name and reputation have been put into question by allegations that are entirely false and based wholly on rumor, hearsay, or innuendo,” said Nienstedt last week, in written responses to questions from the Star Tribune.

Commissioned by the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, the probe looked into claims that Nienstedt had engaged in behavior that was inappropriate for a priest. The Star Tribune has learned that investigators collected affidavits from priests, former seminarians and a former priest alleging actions, some dating to the Detroit area in the early 1980s, that range from inappropriate touching to visiting a gay nightclub.

Nienstedt resigned June 15, after Ramsey County prosecutors filed criminal and civil charges against the archdiocese, alleging “failure to protect children.” Nienstedt said he hoped his resignation would “give the archdiocese a new beginning.”

But the existence of the investigation has become yet another dilemma for a church sharply criticized for its handling of dozens of cases of alleged sexual abuse by priests. Earlier this year it filed bankruptcy to help deal with the mounting financial toll of those cases.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:37 PM

Diocese of Toledo Announces Decision Regarding Reverend Samuel Punnoor

OHIO
Roman Catholic Diocese of Toledo

The Diocese of Toledo is announcing today a decision regarding Reverend Samuel Punnoor, who was placed on administrative leave as a result of a May 2015 allegation from a minor that he violated the diocesan code of pastoral conduct.

Following its investigation of the allegation, Lucas County Children Services informed the Diocese that Father Punnoor’s actions were not deemed to be sexual abuse but his behavior with this child raised concerns.

After the necessary ecclesiastical investigation, the Diocesan Review Board unanimously concluded that a violation of the diocesan code of pastoral conduct had occurred. Bishop Daniel Thomas has accepted the Board’s recommendations that Father Punnoor should remain on administrative leave, have no priestly ministry in the Diocese of Toledo, have no access to children and return to his home diocese in India.

Background

On May 22, 2015, the Diocese of Toledo announced that Reverend Samuel Punnoor, a priest of the Diocese of Pathanamthitta (India) who up until that time was serving in the Diocese of Toledo, was that day placed on administrative leave following an allegation that he violated “Appendix A: Diocese of Toledo Code of Pastoral Conduct” of the diocesan To Protect and to Heal: Policy on Sexual Abuse of Minors.

The announcement stated that the Diocese reported the allegation the day it was received to the appropriate civil authorities and placed Father Punnoor on administrative leave pending the results of the civil investigation to be followed by the ecclesiastical investigation.

Findings

Upon the conclusion of the civil investigation, the Diocese of Toledo received correspondence from Lucas County Children Services that the agency’s assessment determined that Reverend Samuel Punnoor’s actions did not meet the definition of sexual abuse as defined by state law. The agency also indicated that it has concerns about Father Punnoor’s interactions with the victim and that he appears to have boundary issues in not recognizing appropriate interaction with this child.

The Diocese of Toledo undertook its own investigation, presenting all findings as required to the Diocesan Review Board. After serious deliberation and consideration of the results of this phase of the ecclesiastical investigation, the Diocesan Review Board concluded its process and presented its report to Bishop Daniel Thomas. The Board unanimously concluded that Father Punnoor violated the following standards in “Appendix A: Diocese of Toledo Code of Pastoral Conduct:”

3.2 – Physical contact with youth can be misconstrued and should occur (a) only when completely non-sexual and otherwise appropriate and (b) never in private.

5.2 – Harassment encompasses a broad range of physical, written or verbal behavior, including without limitation the following: unwelcome sexual advances or touching.

Based on its review of the findings from the ecclesiastical investigation, the Diocesan Review Board unanimously recommended to Bishop Thomas that Father Punnoor’s behavior warrants that he not continue in ministry in the Diocese of Toledo. In addition, the Board recommended that Father Punnoor remain on administrative leave, have no faculties for ministry in the Diocese of Toledo, be monitored and restricted from any access to children and return to his home diocese in India.

Bishop Thomas accepted the recommendations from the Diocesan Review Board and has fully informed the Bishop of Pathanamthitta, Father Punnoor’s Bishop, of the outcome of the investigations. And, as required, Bishop Thomas will forward all findings of the investigations to the Holy See for a final determination.

The Diocese of Toledo has communicated all findings and decisions regarding this case to Lucas County Children Services and the Lucas County Prosecutor’s Office.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:34 PM

Diocese says priest should return to home diocese in India

OHIO
Toledo Blade

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Toledo has determined that a priest placed on administrative leave two months ago, after a child complained of improper conduct, should return to his home diocese in India and have no priestly ministry or access to children in Toledo in the meantime.

The Toledo diocese had suspended the Rev. Samuel Punnoor on May 22 following the allegation that he had violated the diocesan code of pastoral conduct as it pertained to sexual abuse of minors. Since then, according to a diocesan statement, a Lucas County Children Services investigation found no actions meeting the statutory definition of sexual abuse.

But an ecclesiastical investigation submitted to the Diocesan Review Board resulted in findings that Father Punnoor violated two standards relating to physical contact with youth and sexual harassment, with the latter including unwanted sexual advances or touching, according to the statement. Bishop Daniel Thomas has accepted the review board’s recommendation that Father Punnoor remain on administrative leave and return to his home country, the diocese said.

Announcements regarding the decision will be made Sunday at two churches where Father Punnoor served as vicar: Most Blessed Sacrament in Toledo and St. Joseph in Maumee. Notices also will be sent to parents or guardians of students at Blessed Sacrament and St. Joseph schools and Central Catholic High School, where the priest formerly served as a faculty member, the diocese said.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:31 PM

Nuns assail Archbishop Gomez in sale of convent to Katy Perry

CALIFORNIA
Los Angeles Times

By STEPHEN CEASAR

Nuns locked in a dispute with the Los Angeles Archdiocese over the proposed sale of their convent to singer Katy Perry filed legal papers Friday accusing the archbishop of acting "as if he were above the rules and immune from the obligations of civil law."

The dispute centers on who has legal authority to sell the villa-style hilltop property in Los Feliz, which spans several acres with expansive views of downtown Los Angeles and the San Gabriel Mountains.

The Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary contend that they have the legal authority to sell the property and that their sale agreement with restaurateur Dana Hollister for $15.5 million is legal.

The Los Angeles Archdiocese, however, sued to stop the sale, arguing that the church has legal authority over the property and that the nuns' sale was unauthorized. The archdiocese’s agreement to sell the convent to Perry – for $14.5 million in cash – is legally sound, the archdiocese argued.

In documents filed in court Friday, attorneys representing the sisters contended that the archdiocese never sought to established legal control over the order's nonprofit institute until June, when it installed officers to oversee the institute. That move, however, was illegal and a “hostile takeover” by the bishop of the order of nuns, the attorneys wrote.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:08 PM

Aloguinsan priest in hot water

PHILIPPINES
Sun.Star

Friday, July 17, 2015

By KEVIN A. LAGUNDA
JUSTIN K. VESTIL

A PRIEST from a parish in the southwestern town of Aloguinsan, Cebu is accused of sexually molesting a 16-year-old girl.

Shirley (real name withheld) said the incident happened last Christmas Eve, when she was a trainee at the church choir.

Before the incident happened, the priest told her to get fruits inside his car. She obliged.
After she entered the car, the priest followed suit, she said.

Massage

“Iyaha kong gigunitan ug iyaha kong gipalingkod sa iyang paa. Mao tong nihangyo siya mo-kiss nako (He held on to me and asked me to sit on his lap. Then he asked me if he could kiss me),” Shirley said in radio dyHP report.

The girl said she refused his advances.

Her two cousins and an altar boy allegedly saw the priest hugging her.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:37 PM

St. Augustine Church removes priest while financial investigation opened

CONNECTICUT
The Valley Gazette

Fr. Honore Kombo of St. Augustine Seymour has been removed from his post while an investigation into financial irregularities continues. The parish sent the following letter to parishioners yesterday:

Saint Augustine Church
Seymour, Connecticut
July , 2015

Dear Parishioners,

Because of the news about Father Kombo last weekend many of you were surprised, upset, or had many questions. We are now hearing more questions and unreliable stories that are “floating” around our community of faith.

Although, at this point in time, we can not relate the entire story to you as it would jeopardize the on-going investigation, we were given permission by Reverend Shawn Daly, the Vicar for Priests, to give you a synopsis of what has been happening.

At the beginning of the 2015 year, your Finance Council, the Church Trustees, and the Parish Office began to notice discrepancies in the church’s 2014 financial reports.

After a number of meetings we determined that this was a situation that we did not clearly understand nor were we able to grasp the depth of what was happening. It was decided that we needed to alert several key offices at the Chancery as to what we were finding. Representatives from the Financial Office in Hartford immediately came down to St. Augustine’s and conducted a comprehensive forensic audit of all our accounts, reports and financial paperwork.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:30 PM

The Duggars’ Road to Ruin: From Molestation to Cancellation

UNITED STATES
The Daily Beast

Isabel Schwab

A few days before Oprah was scheduled to host the Duggar family on her show in December 2006, her production company, Harpo Studios, received a very strange, anonymous email.

At the time, the Arkansas family was best known for starring in the 2004 documentary 14 Kids and Pregnant Again! and for espousing ultra-conservative Christian values, particularly during patriarch Jim Bob’s run for U.S. Senate in 2002. And yet, despite the family’s super clean public image, the email accused the Duggar’s eldest son, Josh, of molesting girls, and his parents, Michelle and Jim Bob, of covering up his actions.

“I think that you should know the truth before they make a complete fool of you and your show,” read the email. “They have been on TV before and come across as a perfect family, which couldn’t be further from the truth. They jump from show to show to receive gifts for their family and to make them look really good. Please consider this and confront them about their secret.”

Oprah did not end up confronting the Duggars about the allegations on her show (she canceled their appearance), but her studio did pass along the email to the Department of Human Services, who opened up a police investigation. Though the police filed a report, by that point, three years had passed since the crimes were committed, which meant that the statute of limitations had expired on prosecuting Josh. So nothing happened.

Well, not nothing: the Duggars went on to act exactly as the email predicted, starring in the incredibly popular TLC reality show, 19 Kids and Counting (formerly 17 and then 18 kids) starting in 2008. Oprah may have been spared from being made a “complete fool,” but TLC either didn’t receive a similar email, or they chose to ignore it.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:28 PM

Catholic priest found guilty of common assault after giving child a 'smack' in church

AUSTRALIA
Sydney Morning Herald

July 19, 2015

Eamonn Duff
Sun-Herald senior investigative writer

A Catholic priest has been found guilty of common assault and dismissed from his Sydney parish after he smacked a child in church.

Three days before Holy Communion, eight-year-old Peter* was "grabbed" in the St John Vianney Catholic Church at Greenacre by Father Terrence Millard, "positioned" in front of a symbolic image of Jesus Christ being nailed to the cross and then punished with a "smack" to the upper buttocks for perceived bad behaviour.

When an alarmed teacher reported the incident to the school principal, it triggered a domino effect involving the Catholic Education Office, the NSW Police Force, criminal charges and a court case in which a finding of guilt was delivered – with no conviction recorded against the priest.

After a turbulent 10 months, Peter's distraught parents were happy with the judgement and thought they had found closure.

They were wrong.

A fortnight ago, and just days after the magistrate's ruling, the boy's family became aware of a buzz of chatter among the church community that the priest had "won the case."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:29 AM

Lawmakers seek to abolish statute of limitations in rape cases

MASSACHUSETTS
Telegram & Gazette

By Samantha Allen
Telegram & Gazette

Posted Jul. 17, 2015

WORCESTER – The dismissal of charges alleging a man raped a woman in a Worcester alley in 1999 has prompted a state senator to propose the elimination of the time limit to prosecute rape cases altogether.

Sen. Jennifer L. Flanagan, D-Leominster, filed legislation this week to end the 15-year statute of limitations after learning Rudolph A. Williams, 43, with an address listed in Leominster, won’t be prosecuted in Worcester Superior Court for rape and two counts of assault and battery.

Two months ago Mr. Williams was arraigned for a case 16 years old, revived by discovery of a DNA match. The Worcester Police Department received a grant to review old evidence, according to the Worcester District Attorney’s office. When officers got a hit, they tracked Mr. Williams to Palm Beach, Florida, and extradited him back to Worcester County.

District Attorney Joseph D. Early Jr. said even though he knew the January 1999 case fell outside the 15-year limit, if prosecutors could prove the man had been living out of state for any length of time in the last decade-and-a-half, the case could be “tolled,” meaning the statute clock wouldn’t run during those times.

But Mr. Williams kept his Massachusetts address all these years, Mr. Early said, still registering as a Level 1 sex offender in a separate case and paying Massachusetts taxes. When officers found Mr. Williams in Florida, Mr. Early said the suspect claimed to have been on vacation. A judge ruled prosecutors failed to prove beyond a reasonable doubt Mr. Williams had lived outside the state.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:33 AM

Victim in New Square sex abuse case testifies

NEW YORK
The Journal News

Jane Lerner, jlerner@lohud.com July 17, 2015

The case is being closely watched in the Orthodox and Hasidic Jewish communities, which have long struggled with allegations that victims of sexual abuse are discouraged from reporting the crimes.

A New Square man recalled in excruciating detail Friday how a New Square educator instructed him to take off his pants and began molesting him on Sept. 11, 2001, when he was 8 years old.

The alleged abuse didn’t stop until he moved out of the village more than five years later, the victim, now in his 20s, said as he took the stand for a second day in the trial of Moshe Menachem Taubenfeld, 55, a family friend.

Taubenfeld, also known as Mendel Zarkowsky, is charged with second-degree course of sexual conduct against a child, a felony. He has denied the charges.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:30 AM

Did Hasidic Neighbor Start Sex Abuse Reign of Terror on September 11?

NEW YORK
Forward

Frimet Goldberger
July 17, 2015

A man testified that he suffered years of child sexual abuse after visiting a respected member of his upstate New York Hasidic community for comfort on the day of the September 11 terror attacks.

Laiby Stern told a court that he was sexually molested for five years from 2001 until his bar mitzvah by Moshe Menachem Taubenfeld, whom he described as one of “the most powerful men” in his Skverer Hasidic-dominated Rockland County community of New Square.

Stern told a packed courtroom that Taubenfeld first molested him when the boy sought reassurance after after hearing about the attacks on the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001.

“He called me into his office, closed the door and told me to pull my pants and underpants down,” Stern, now 22, recounted multiple times during his testimony, pausing regularly to regain his composure.

Taubenfeld then allegedly proceeded to rub the boy’s penis. “He then told me to lay flat on the desk and inserted a finger in my anus,” he told the rapt courtroom.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:28 AM

Vaticano, veleni e sospetti dietro la frenata del processo...

ITALIA
Il Fatto Quotidiano

[On the eve of the first hearing, the former nuncio was hospitalized. The Holy See spoke of intensive care, but in reality the former archbishop Jozef Wesolowski had arrived in a daze (apparently from a mix of alcohol and drugs) and discharged after three days. As is evident in ilfattoquotidiano.it, Papa Francesco is very upset about the stop in the proceedings. And rumors abound.]

Vaticano, veleni e sospetti dietro la frenata del processo per pedofilia e pedopornografia a Wesolowski

On the eve of the first hearing, the former nuncio was hospitalized. From the Holy See spoke intensive care, but in reality the former archbishop had arrived in a daze (apparently for a mix of alcohol and drugs) and discharged after three days. As is evident in ilfattoquotidiano.it, Papa Francesco is very upset about the stop. And there are those in the corridors of St. Peter speaks of the Polish lobby as principal of referrals

Alla vigilia della prima udienza, l'ex nunzio è stato ricoverato in ospedale. Dalla Santa Sede parlavano di terapia intensiva, ma in realtà l'ex arcivescovo era arrivato in stato confusionale (pare per un mix di alcol e farmaci) e dimesso dopo tre giorni. Secondo quanto risulta a ilfattoquotidiano.it, Papa Francesco è molto irritato per lo stop. E c'è chi tra i corridoi di San Pietro parla della lobby polacca come mandante dei rinvii

di Francesco Antonio Grana | 17 luglio 2015

Il “mistero Wesolowski” si infittisce. Chi c’è dietro la brusca frenata del processo penale vaticano che vede per la prima volta un ex nunzio ed ex arcivescovo alla sbarra per pedofilia e pedopornografia? Ilfattoquotidiano.it ha raccolto tutte le indiscrezioni sulla situazione attuale di Jozef Wesolowski. L’ex nunzio è stato ricoverato al Policlinico Gemelli di Roma, il “Vaticano III” secondo la celebre espressione di Karol Wojtyla, nel pomeriggio del 10 luglio 2015, vigilia dell’apertura del processo penale in cui era imputato con ben cinque capi di accusa: detenzione di materiale pedopornografico; pedofilia, in un caso in concorso con il suo assistente ed amante, l’ex diacono Francisco Occi Reyes; ricettazione di materiale pedopornografico; lesioni gravi alle sue vittime adolescenti; condotta che offende la religione e la morale cristiana per aver visitato siti pornografici.

Al Gemelli, raccontano a ilfattoquotidiano.it, Wesolowski è arrivato in stato confusionale a seguito dell’assunzione di farmaci e alcol ed è stato tenuto in osservazione per un banale calo pressorio. Non è mai stato in terapia intensiva, come invece dichiarato dal Vaticano, né in rianimazione, né in codice rosso. Dopo appena tre giorni di ricovero, il 13 luglio 2015 l’ex nunzio avrebbe lasciato l’ospedale e sarebbe tornato in Vaticano nella stanza numero 5 del Collegio dei Penitenzieri, di fronte Casa Santa Marta, la residenza di Papa Francesco. La Santa Sede continua a smentire e a sostenere che Wesolowski sarebbe ancora ricoverato in terapia intensiva.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:12 AM

Caring for the Elderly

MINNESOTA
Canonical Consultation

07/17/2015

Jennifer Haselberger

This week has seen another wave of disheartening reports about the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis. From updated information about the number of claims filed to the addition of more than a hundred parishes as claimants to the ongoing controversy about the filing deadline, there has been much to trouble us. However, the story that I found most disturbing was the confirmed abuse of elderly and vulnerable residents at Saint Therese nursing home in New Hope.

Earlier this week the Star Tribune reported that two nursing assistants employed at Saint Therese were arrested after family members of residents used hidden cameras to uncover and report the assistants' physical abuse of the residents. In addition to the abuse caught on camera, family members of at least two residents reported having seen numerous bruises and cuts that were 'too numerous to ignore'. St Therese responded by firing the two nursing assistants as well nine others who the facility believes failed to report the abuse or otherwise violated the terms of the care they were to be providing.

The Star Tribune report also noted that this is the second time in less than a year that a Saint Therese facility has been investigated for alleged abuse of a resident. According to the report, in early 2014 a staff member at Saint Therese at Oxbow Lake slapped a resident who was suffering from severe dementia. And, many of you will recall that in 2009 Archdiocesan priest and military chaplain Father Tim Vakoc died following a fall he sustained while a resident of the St Therese, New Hope facility. Vakoc, who was critically injured while serving with the Army in Iraq, died when two nursing assistants caused him to fall head-first to the floor as they were transferring him from his wheelchair to his bed. A subsequent investigation by the Office of Health Facility Complaints determined that the nursing assistants were negligent in their care of Vakoc and responsible for his fall.

This type of failure to care for and protect the elderly and vulnerable is abhorrent anywhere, but it is especially disturbing when it occurs at a Catholic institution. Saint Therese has been a ministry of the Catholic Church since its establishment, with the permission of the Archdiocese, in 1964. Moreover, with the rapid expansion of Catholic facilities for the elderly, and especially the increase in the development of senior housing and nursing facilities on parish campuses, the Church must ensure that the services it is providing truly reflect its core belief in the dignity of all people.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:09 AM

Prosecution rests in rabbi's sexual assault trial

NEW YORK
News 12

NEW CITY - The prosecution finished presenting its case Friday in the sexual molestation trial of a prominent Rockland County rabbi.

Laiby Stern, who wants to be identified, told the judge that Rabbi Moshe Taubenfeld sexually molested him when he went for counseling after the Sept. 11. attacks. Stern, now 22, claims the abuse carried on for five years.

He told the court that the rabbi gave him $20 as hush money after each alleged assault.

Taubenfeld has been described as one of the "most powerful men" in one of the most religious communities in America.

During cross-examination, Taubenfeld's lawyer, Gerard Damiani, tried to show that Stern was not telling the truth. He also tried to get Stern to say he was coached in his testimony by victims' advocates. Stern denied the allegation.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:02 AM

Ousted Orthodox bishop serving in Pennsylvania parish

CHICAGO (IL)
Chicago Tribune

By Manya Brachear Pashman
Chicago Tribune

The former Chicago bishop of the Orthodox Church in America who was asked to retire amid allegations of sexual misconduct two years ago has been serving as a parish priest in eastern Pennsylvania without permission from the national church.

Bishop Matthias, born David Lawrence Moriak, has been serving at the parish in Hermitage, Pa., at the request of another bishop, said a church official. He stepped down from his post as head of the Midwest diocese in April 2013 after the church deemed sexual misconduct what he described as "unwelcome written and spoken comments to a woman that she regarded as an inappropriate crossing of personal boundaries."

"I do repent of using poor judgment, of using inappropriate words that I thought were being received as humorous," Matthias said at the time of his ouster. "It was never my intention to cause a complaint of any harm or discomfort. In fact, I was quite concerned for her health and well-being. I am sorry that my kindness and generosity to this person was viewed with suspicion and ulterior motives."

At the time, Metropolitan Tikhon, leader of the denomination in North America, said Matthias would not return to his leadership post in Chicago. Whether he would be allowed to serve in a ministry role during his retirement was unclear.

"The healing of the diocese and of the complainant as well as Bishop Matthias' own healing would not be possible should he be returned to the diocese as a ruling hierarch," the Metropolitan said in a statement at the time. "The Holy Synod offered him some time to reflect upon this action and to plan for his transition."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:57 AM

Former Alabama youth pastor charged with sexual abuse

ALABAMA
The Alabama Baptist

After a warrant for his arrest was issued, former Alabama Baptist youth pastor Ryan Scott Rodgers turned himself in to the New Orleans police June 26.

Rodgers was arrested for one count of sexual battery and seven counts of indecent behavior with juveniles, reportedly having molested two teenage boys in New Orleans over the course of one year while working as a youth minister for churches in Orleans, Jefferson and Plaquemines parishes in Louisiana.

He had served as youth pastor at Liberty Park Baptist Church, Vestavia Hills, from 2003 to 2009.

Pastor Scott Guffin told The Alabama Baptist, “No allegations of criminal wrongdoing were made against Ryan Rodgers during his time at Liberty Park Baptist (LPBC).

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:54 AM

Moody's reaffirms Chicago archdiocese's A1 rating, outlook remains negative

CHICAGO (IL)
National Catholic Reporter

Tom Gallagher | Jul. 17, 2015 NCR Today

Moody's Investors Service affirms the Chicago archdiocese's A1 rating on its privately placed Series 2012 and Series 2013 Unsecured Notes.

Moody's defines an A1 rating as "obligations rated A are judged to be upper-medium grade and are subject to low credit risk." A triple-A rating is the highest followed by Aa1, Aa2, Aa3, and then A1. The A1 rating is considered an investment grade rating.

The total amount of the notes still outstanding is approximately $154 million. (See the archdiocese's most recent independent accountants' review report by Deloitte & Touche, LLP.)

The notes are a general obligation of the archdiocese and will be paid from funds of the chancery and Catholic cemeteries, but the archdiocese can access other funds as available to meet debt service payments on the notes.

The outlook is negative is due in part to weak operations, along with uncertainty around the potential impact of priest sex abuse settlements. In many respects, this is unsurprising.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:52 AM

Will the Pope Change the Vatican? Or Will the Vatican Change the Pope?

VATICAN CITY
National Geographic

By Robert Draper
Photographs by Dave Yoder

When about 7,000 awed strangers first encounter him on the public stage, he is not yet the pope—but like a chrysalis stirring, something astounding is already present in the man. Inside Stadium Luna Park, in downtown Buenos Aires, Argentina, Roman Catholics and evangelical Christians have gathered for an ecumenical event. From the stage, a pastor calls out for the city’s archbishop to come up and say a few words. The audience reacts with surprise, because the man striding to the front had been sitting in the back all this time, for hours, like no one of any importance. Though a cardinal, he is not wearing the traditional pectoral cross around his neck, just a black clerical shirt and a blazer, looking like the simple priest he was decades ago. He is gaunt and elderly with a somber countenance, and at this moment nine years ago it is hard to imagine such an unassuming, funereal Argentine being known one day, in every corner of the world, as a figure of radiance and charisma.

He speaks—quietly at first, though with steady nerves—in his native tongue, Spanish. He has no notes. The archbishop makes no mention of the days when he regarded the evangelical movement in the dismissive way many Latin American Catholic priests do, as an escuela de samba—an unserious happening akin to rehearsals at a samba school. Instead the most powerful Argentine in the Catholic Church, which asserts that it is the only true Christian church, says that no such distinctions matter to God. “How nice,” he says, “that brothers are united, that brothers pray together. How nice to see that nobody negotiates their history on the path of faith—that we are diverse but that we want to be, and are already beginning to be, a reconciled diversity.”

Hands outstretched, his face suddenly alive, and his voice quavering with passion, he calls out to God: “Father, we are divided. Unite us!”

Those who know the archbishop are astonished, since his implacable expression has earned him nicknames like “Mona Lisa” and “Carucha” (for his bulldog-like jowls). But what will also be remembered about that day occurs immediately after he stops talking. He drops slowly to his knees, onstage—a plea for the attendees to pray for him. After a startled pause, they do so, led by an evangelical minister. The image of the archbishop kneeling among men of lesser status, a posture of supplication at once meek and awesome, will make the front pages in Argentina.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:48 AM

Uckfield 'legend' Christopher Howarth convicted of string of sex offences against young boys

UNITED KINGDOM
Kent and Sussex Courier

A former Uckfield teacher and lay priest who claimed he was too fat to abuse young boys has been convicted of 26 offences.

Ex-Uckfield Community College deputy headteacher Christopher Howarth stood trial on a string of sexual offences against two young boys.

One of his victims told the court how Howarth was considered a "legend" in the community and that he was initially apprehensive about going to the police, fearing no one would believe the accusations.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:45 AM

Alleged priest abuse victim says archdiocese halted probe early

IOWA
WCF Courier

By Pat Kinney

WATERLOO | A former Dubuque man who alleges he was sexually abused by a priest as fourth-grader in 1985 says the Archdiocese of Dubuque prematurely concluded its investigation of the incident in clearing the priest.

"It is clear that the archdiocese chose to make this decision before receiving all the facts," Jeff Buchheit said in a statement released through the Waterloo law firm of Dutton, Braun, Staack & Hellman, which is representing him in his claims against the archdiocese. "Clearly, the investigator was told by the archdiocese to stop working on the matter before all of his work on the case was complete."

Earlier this week, Dubuque Archbishop Michael Jackels said the Archdiocesan Review Board considered evidence against the Rev. Leo Riley and that church officials hired a licensed private investigator to interview Riley and Bucheit, who is now 39 and made the accusations in March.

Jackels said in a Sunday letter to parishioners that “the best information available does not support a reasonable belief that the allegation is true.”

“Unless additional evidence is presented, there is no need to pursue it any further,” Jackels said.

Riley had served as a Church of Resurrection associate pastor in 1985 and 1986. He was placed on leave as a pastor in the Diocese of Venice, Fla., after the allegations surfaced.

"Jackels’ letter to the parishioners came out only five days after my lengthy interview" by the investigator, Buchheit said.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:42 AM

July 17, 2015

Ousted priest now Vineland therapist, report says

NEW JERSEY
Press of Atlantic City

Press staff reports

A priest ousted from the church due to sex abuse allegations years ago has found a new career as a family counselor in Vineland.

Edward Igle has been a licensed therapist since the 1980s, and now runs a practice on Landis Avenue, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported.

Claims by two men who said Igle had abused them in the 1970s were deemed credible; one victim told the newspaper that Igle paid a $7,000 settlement. The church permanently removed him in 2000.

Igle, now 68, told the Inquirer that he never abused anyone. He also said that he never meets alone with children he counsels, and he sometimes mentions the accusations when he teaches professionals about sex abuse.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:04 PM

California bars consent defense in child sexual abuse cases

CALIFORNIA
News 10

SACRAMENTO (AP) - California defendants accused of sexually abusing children will no longer be able to use a consent defense in civil cases.

Gov. Jerry Brown announced Thursday he signed legislation introduced after Los Angeles Unified School District avoided liability for a teacher having sex with a 14-year-old girl.

The teacher was sentenced to three years in prison in 2011 for lewd acts against a child. The district avoided having to pay the victim money in the subsequent civil case after its attorney argued the girl shared responsibility by consenting.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:21 PM

Evangelical pastor arrested for sex abuse after being found with 13-year-old girl in backseat of a car

CALIFORNIA
The Raw Story

BETHANIA PALMA MARKUS
16 JUL 2015

A California youth pastor has been accused of sexually abusing a 13-year-old girl after police found him in the backseat of a car with her on a highway turn out.

Yanhao “Eric” Ren, 24, of the Los Angeles County community known as Rowland Heights, was arrested Monday on suspicion of a number of sex crimes with a child, local station KTLA reports.

Ren has been a pastor for Evangelical Formosan Church of Rowland Heights for two years and has allegedly carried out a sexual relationship with the child since May, the station reports.

On Sunday just before midnight, the California Highway Patrol found him parked with the girl off of Highway 330, a low-traffic road that runs through the Angeles National Forrest, the Highland Community News reports.

According to the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department, which lead the investigation, the Highway Patrol conducted a welfare check on the car. Both Ren and the girl told investigators they had a sexual relationship. The victim met Ren while attending youth programs at the church.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:13 PM

Archbishop's lawyer sends warning to accuser

GUAM
Pacific Daily News

Archbishop Anthony Apuron has retained an attorney to warn an accuser to stop ruining the name of the island’s Catholic church and its leader.

“This letter serves as a demand to you to immediately cease and desist from making any further defamatory comments or publications against Archbishop Apuron’s reputation and character,” wrote Michelle R. Neal, a Sacramento, Calif., attorney whose expertise includes sexual harassment claim prevention and investigations.

“Your conduct has caused and continues to cause grave harm not only to Archbishop Apuron and the church in Guam, but also to the universal church,” Neal wrote to Toves on July 5.

The accuser, John C. Toves, a native of Guam who lives in California, said Friday he won’t stop publicly questioning Apuron because he believes he’s saving the church by calling for a change in leadership.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:11 PM

St. Cloud bishop plans sessions on abuse claims

MINNEOSOTA
St. Cloud Times

Bishop Donald Kettler of the Diocese of St. Cloud will have a series of listening sessions in August following allegations of sexual abuse committed by three priests of the diocese.

Four civil lawsuits allege abuse by the Revs. Robert Smith, William Wey and James Thoennes. The suits name the Diocese of St. Cloud as a defendant.

Smith and Wey have been dead for more than 25 years. Thoennes lives in St. Cloud under restrictions.

The listening sessions will be at parishes in areas of the diocese where the three men served. According to a news release from the diocese, the gatherings are “an opportunity for the bishop to acknowledge the accusations, listen and answer questions, and encourage any other abuse victims to come forward.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:09 PM

Diocese of Saint Cloud to Host Listening Sessions on Sexual Abuse Allegations

MINNESOTA
KSTP

By: Jennie Lissarrague

The Diocese of Saint Cloud will host a series of listening sessions this summer after allegations of sexual abuse against three priests of the diocese.

Four civil lawsuits claim abuse by the Revs. Robert Smith, William Wey and James Thoennes; the Diocese of St. Cloud is named as a defendant.

The sessions will be hosted in August by Bishop Donald Kettler.

The bishop says the listening sessions will be a chance for him to acknowledge the accusations, answer questions and encourage other victims to come forward. Similar sessions were held in the past after other allegations of abuse in St. Cloud. Between 2002 and 2013, about 60 listening sessions were conducted under the leadership of Bishop John Kinney, the diocese says.

According to the diocese, Smith and Wey have been dead for more than 25 years, and Thoennes is living in St. Cloud under restrictions.

Smith, who died in July 1987, served at Holy Angels Church, St. Cloud; Holy Family Church, Belle Prairie; Our Lady of Victory Church, Fergus Falls; St. Leonard Church, Pelican Rapids; St. Paul Church, Sauk Centre; chaplain, Poor Clare Sisters, Sauk Rapids; Holy Cross Church, North Prairie; and St. Stanislaus Church, Sobieski.

Wey, who died in July 1988, served at St. Mary’s Cathedral, St. Cloud; St. Donatus Church, Brooten; Immaculate Conception Church, Sedan; St. Gall Church, Tintah; Sacred Heart Church, Dent; St. Peter Church, Dumont; and St. Patrick Church, Collis.

Thoennes served at St. Anthony Church, St. Cloud; St. Mary Church, Melrose; St. Joseph Church, Waite Park; St. John Church, Foley; St. Anne Church, Kimball; Sacred Heart Church, Dent; St. Leonard Church, Pelican Rapids; St. Joseph Church, Bertha; St. Edward Church, Henning; Chaplain, St. Mary’s Villa, Pierz.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:07 PM

DC--Catholic teacher arrested; Victims respond

MARYLAND
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

For immediate release: Friday, July 17

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

A Catholic school teacher faces child sex abuse charges. Cardinal Donald Wuerl must step up now and aggressively seek out anyone else who may have seen, suspected or suffered his crimes.

[Washington Post]

That’s the only way to really break the long-standing, deeply-rooted and, sadly, on-going secrecy and timidity within the church about child sex abuse and cover ups. A terse, vague news release won’t do it. A tiny notice on the archdiocesan website won’t do it. Passing the buck to underlings won’t do it. Only action by the highest-ranking and highest profile Catholic official in Washington DC will do it.

That’s Cardinal Donald Wuerl. Imagine the powerful signal it would send if Wuerl would go to Connelly School of the Holy Child and beg anyone with information or suspicions about Justin Andrew Gordon to call law enforcement right away. But virtually no bishop takes this kind of effective prevention step. They prefer distancing themselves from these heinous crimes and hiding behind their public relations staff and defense lawyers while comfortably ensconced in their cozy offices.

According to the Washington Post, “Montgomery County police said they think other students might have also been abused.” We agree. That’s almost always the case with child predators.

That’s why it’s crucial that Wuerl help these two victims, their families, other victims, and the police and prosecutors by making an immediate, clear, personal appeal for other victims witnesses and whistleblowers to step forward.

Almost never does a Catholic bishop actively help police investigate and prosecutors pursue criminal cases against child molesting clerics, teachers or other church staff. Almost always, bishops make brief and self-serving public statements claiming remorse and reform about abuse. But that’s public relations. And decisive action, not public relations, protects kids.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:03 PM

Archdiocese bankruptcy creditors want deadline pushed back

MINNESOTA
KARE

AP

ST. PAUL, Minn. - The creditors committee in the bankruptcy of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis has asked a judge to give clergy sex abuse victims more time to file claims.

Aug. 3 is the current deadline. The committee wants that pushed back to May 25, 2016, which would align with the deadline the Legislature has set for victims to file abuse lawsuits. In a court filing, the committee notes that the bankruptcy judge has expressed concerns about the church's efforts to publicize the deadline.

Minnesota Public Radio reports a hearing on the request is scheduled for July 30.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:01 PM

Ex-Abilene church worker indicted for molesting boy

TEXAS
KTXS

Author: Joe Fry, Assignment Editor/Photographer, jfry@ktxs.com
Published On: Jul 16 2015

ABILENE, Texas -
A former Abilene daycare teacher arrested for having sex with children has been indicted.

Jeffrey Winston Forrest, 43, is accused of molesting a boy while working with children in the 1990s. The specific case occurred in 1993.

Police say at least one other victim has come forward. They are asking other victims to come forward as well.

At the time of his arrest, Forrest listed an address in Aubrey, which is in Denton County.

A spokesman for Pioneer Drive Baptist Church has said Forrest worked at that church from 1990 to 1998. Forrest was an intern in the church’s Child Development Center, Pre-Teen and Recreational Ministries.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:55 PM

Christopher Howarth: Priest guilty of abusing boys

UNITED KINGDOM
BBC News

A priest has been found guilty of sexually abusing two boys after telling one of them he was "preparing" him for a girlfriend.

The Reverend Christopher Howarth, of Rocks Park Road, Uckfield, was found guilty of 26 offences against the boys, now aged 19 and 20.

Hove Crown Court was told the former teacher paid money to the boys in return for sexual gratification.
He admitted one count of inciting a child to engage in sexual activity.

The offences, including seven counts of sexual activity with a child, took place between 2004 and 2012 in the Uckfield area of East Sussex.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:27 PM

Potomac Private School Teacher Charged With Sex Abuse of Two Students

MARYLAND
Bethesda Magazine

BY AARON KRAUT

Updated at 11:50 a.m. - Montgomery County police say a science teacher at a Potomac private school had inappropriate sexual contact with two students after cultivating close personal friendships with them.

Justin Andrew Gordon, 40, of Poolesville was charged Thursday with two counts of sexual abuse of a minor and two counts of fourth-degree sexual offense. He is being held on $35,000 bond.

The Connelly School of the Holy Child, an all-girls school for grades six through 12, put Gordon on administrative leave when the school learned of the allegations Friday, July 10, said Head of School Shannon Gomez.

Gomez said school officials immediately contacted the police. The school also sent an email to parents that day. Gomez said the school fired Gordon this week after conducting its own investigation in which school officials spoke with the two victims.

"The minute we found out, we contacted the proper authorities," Gomez said. "We'll continue to inform our community of the information that we've become aware of. We're just really grateful for everybody who has had the courage to come forward to alert us. The girls' safety is of foremost importance to us."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:25 PM

Teacher at Maryland Catholic school charged with sex abuse

MARYLAND
ABC 2

POTOMAC, Md. (AP) - Police say a teacher at a girls' Catholic school in Potomac has been charged with sexually abusing two teenage students.

Montgomery County police say 40-year-old Justin Gordon was arrested Thursday.

Gordon was a robotics teacher at Connelly School of the Holy Child. He also provided technical support at the school. Police say he was fired after administrators became aware of the allegations.

Police say a teenage girl came forward this week and reported that Gordon had developed a personal relationship with her over many months and then began molesting her. Police say they found that Gordon did the same thing to another girl, befriending her in 2008 before abusing her in 2012.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:23 PM

Police Charge Potomac Private School Teacher With Sex Abuse of Two Students (PHOTO)

MARYLAND
Montgomery Community Media

by Aline Barros

A private school teacher was charged with two counts of sexual abuse of a minor and two counts of fourth-degree sexual offense, according to Montgomery County Police.

Justin Andrew Gordon, 40, of Poolesville, was arrested on July 16. Detectives were investigating reports from two students of inappropriate sexual contact between Gordon and them that occurred in 2012 and 2015.

Gordon was a robotics teacher at Connelly School of the Holy Child in Potomac, and police said he initiated a relationship with one of the victims in October 2014. According to police, the relationship started with “with informal association at social and sporting events, then increased to daily personal communications, and by May of 2015, had escalated to inappropriate sexual touching.”

Along the investigation, police received reports from a second victim. Police said the girl was a teenager student in Connelly School of the Holy Child in 2008 when Gordon “cultivated” a friendship and by 2012 turned into a relationship with inappropriate sexual contact.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:21 PM

Catholic school teacher charged with touching two teenage students