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December 31, 2015

Letters of support for sex offender ex-bishop Peter Ball released

UNITED KINGDOM
BBC News

By Tom Symonds
Home Affairs correspondent

A former Archbishop of Canterbury wrote to police in 1993 with letters of support for the then Bishop of Gloucester who was being investigated for sex offences, it can be revealed.

Ex-archbishop George Carey said Peter Ball was in "torment" as a result of a police investigation, letters released by the Crown Prosecution Service show.

It was "improbable" he was guilty, the letters show he told police.

Ball, 83, was jailed for a string of offences against young men in October.

He was sentenced to 32 months for misconduct in a public office and 15 months for indecent assaults, to run concurrently.

'Church cover-up'

Lord Carey also wrote in a letter to Barbara Mills - then the director of public prosecutions - that Ball's health was fragile and the decision to prosecute should be made "as speedily as possible".

The letters have been released by the CPS in response to a Freedom of Information (FoI) request by the BBC and others, after it emerged that members of the establishment had written personal letters on Ball's behalf.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:07 PM

Ex-COSEA member says she will go to jail

ROME
ANSA

(ANSA) - Rome, December 31 - A former member of a commission on the Holy See's economic-administrative structure has said she has given up and expects to go to jail for leaking Vatican documents. "I will be sentenced," public relations specialist Francesca Immacolata Chaouqui wrote on Facebook. "I am innocent but I will be found guilty." The Commission for Reference on the Organization of the Economic-Administrative Structure of the Holy See (COSEA) was set up by Pope Francis in July 2013 to help put the Holy See's finances in order. Chaouqui as well as Spanish Monsignor Lucio Vallejo Balda and his administrative cleric have been charged with leaking documents to journalists that showed corruption and questionable financial practices in the Vatican. "There is no chance that the Vatican court, after arresting me and setting in motion a trial that was to have been over in a few days and is instead lasting for months, and after this matter has made headlines across the world, will simply say 'we were wrong' and 'we put an innocent person behind bars'," she added. "Thus, I will be sentenced. Without any proof or reason. I will pay for having obeyed the pope and not listening to those who said that 'the pope leaves while the Curia stays'.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:04 PM

The predator who worries me the most

UNITED STATES
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

By David Clohessy

“Of all these predator priests, which one worries you the most?” That was the question a fellow survivor put to me recently.

My immediate thought was “How on earth could I pick one?” My next thought was “Geez, this is gonna keep me up tonight.” And it certainly did.

The first name that popped to mind was Fr. Ronald H. Paquin, who’s recently been released from prison. He is known to have sexually abused more than 40 boys. Once, with four boys in his car, he crashed while driving drunk. One boy died and another was badly injured.

Then I realized that Fr. Paquin probably sprang to mind probably because he’s portrayed briefly in the film Spotlight.

I realized that kids may be a little safer from Fr. Paquin than other predators because he must register as a sex offender and because the abuse and cover up crisis has gotten so much coverage in Massachusetts.

Then I thought of about four guys in quick succession.

Fr. Henry Willenborg (who spent time in Illinois, Missouri and, most recently, Wisconsin) who reportedly molested a teen, impregnated an adult parishioner twice, suggested an abortion, fathered and ignored a child. Since 2009, Catholic officials say they’re investigating all of this alleged wrongdoing by the slick-talking and charismatic Fr. Willenborg.

--Fr. Willenborg’s time in Missouri reminded me of another ex-Missouri cleric, Br. William C. Mueller, who lives in San Antonio and molested more than 50 kids in Missouri, Colorado and Texas while teaching in Marianist schools.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:00 PM

Establishment figures who helped disgraced bishop avoid prosecution for sex abuse revealed

UNITED KINGDOM
Telegraph

Former Lord Justice Anthony Lloyd and David Cameron's late godfather Tory MP Tim Rathbone among figures who wrote in support of former Bishop of Gloucester, Peter Ball, one said he was a "saint"

By Nicola Harley 31 Dec 2015

The Establishment figures whose intervention helped a disgraced Bishop evade prosecution for decades have finally been revealed following an investigation by the Telegraph.

The former Bishop of Gloucester, now aged 83, groomed and abused 18 aspiring young priests over a period spanning 15 years and was finally jailed in October.

Peter Ball had escaped justice over the same charges years earlier after he was given support by a member of the Royal family and establishment figures.

A Freedom of Information request by the Telegraph has led to the release of the letters written by some high profile figures in his support, they include former Lord Justice Anthony Lloyd, former Archbishop of Canterbury Donald Coggan and David Cameron's late godfather Tory MP Tim Rathbone, who gave Mr Cameron his first work experience in the House of Commons.

Mr Rathbone, who died from cancer in 2002, aged 69, wrote that he found it "literally inconceivable" that Ball would ever become involved with anyone in the way described.

Anthony Lloyd, who was a Lord Justice at the time, described Ball as a "saint" in one of more than 2,000 letters sent to the Crown Prosecution Service and Gloucestershire Police in his support from acquaintances.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:57 PM

MO--Second-ever clergy "contract breach" suit is precedent-setting and encouraging, SNAP says

MISSOURI
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

For immediate release: Thursday, Dec. 31, 2015

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

A woman who was sexually abused by a Jesuit who became the president of St. Louis University has become the second victim to settle a “breach of contract” case against Catholic officials. We applaud her for her courage, her persistence and her concern for others who may be hurt or betrayed by Jesuits.

These highly unusual abuse and breach of contract lawsuits are very encouraging. We hope and believe other victims will start using this tactic.

--In this just-settled case, a New York woman was sexually violated by Fr. Daniel O’Connell (then a professor, later the president of SLU), who is believed to still be living in St. Louis. According to the New York Times, Fr. O’Connell “was accused of sexually assaulting a 20-year-old college student in 1983.” In 2003, his Jesuit supervisors “found the accusation credible,” paid her $181,000 settlement and agreed to remove O'Connell “from a teaching post at another Jesuit institution” and bar him “from public ministry” or any activity in which he could develop a relationship with a woman.

[New York Times]

In 2010, this woman filed a suit accusing O’Connell’s Jesuit supervisors of breaking that promise by letting him teach in Oklahoma, engage in public ministry in Germany, and speak at symposia and seminars at several universities.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:54 PM

A LETTER FROM ARCHBISHOP PHILIP WILSON

AUSTRALIA
Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Adelaide

December 30, 2015
15/1816

To my dear priests, deacons, religious and to all people of the Archdiocese of Adelaide.

By now most of you would be aware that in March 2015 I was charged with an offence in New South Wales under section 316 of the Crimes Act 1900.

When I learned about this charge, I decided that it was appropriate that I take time on leave to enable me to reflect and consult widely about the charge. I have done so over the last 9 months and after deep thought, prayer and reflection, I have decided that it is now appropriate for me to end my leave and resume my duties as Archbishop of Adelaide.

I have taken this decision now for many reasons, including the fact that I do not know how long it will take for the charge against me to be resolved. I cannot responsibly remain on leave indefinitely given my serious responsibilities as Archbishop of Adelaide. I have made a commitment in faith to the People of God in the Archdiocese of Adelaide and it is a commitment that I feel I can longer defer.

I will therefore end my period of leave and resume my duties in January 2016.

Some people may disagree with my decision and I respect that. In no way should this decision be interpreted as my not taking this matter very seriously. On the contrary, I take the charge extremely seriously. In recognition of that, and also in recognition of the importance of public accountability and transparency, when I resume my duties I will take no role in professional standards matters in the Archdiocese of Adelaide, and nor will I be involved in the professional standards work of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference or my former work with the Truth Justice and Healing Council until this matter is resolved.

Finally, I would like to thank all of those people who have expressed support and good wishes during what has been a very trying and difficult time. I have been greatly heartened by this and I thank you so very much.

I am limited in the further comments I am able to make at this time because the matter is still before the Court but insofar as I am able to do so I will keep you all informed of any updates.

Philip Wilson
Archbishop of Adelaide

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:38 AM

Adelaide Archbishop to resume duties

AUSTRALIA
9 News

Adelaide's Catholic Archbishop will resume his duties despite still facing a charge of concealing child sexual abuse.

Archbishop Philip Wilson took leave in March after he was charged with one count of concealing information about a serious indictable offence.

Wilson, 64, pleaded not guilty in May to concealing information about the 1971 sex assault of a 10-year-old boy by pedophile priest James Fletcher in Maitland.

In a letter published on the Catholic Archdiocese of Adelaide website on Thursday, Wilson said he had decided "after deep thought, prayer and reflection" to return from leave in January.

"I have taken this decision now for many reasons, including the fact that I do not know how long it will take for the charge against me to be resolved," he wrote.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:36 AM

No. 7: Public discord in Catholic church continues

GUAM
Pacific Daily News

Gaynor Dumat-ol Daleno, December 31, 2015

The public discord between two sides in Guam’s Catholic community spilled over into 2015 from the previous year.

In January last year, while a Vatican delegation visited Guam, dozens of island Catholics held prayer protests. In one of their prayer protests, they held statues and rosaries as they walked along the stretch of busy Farenholt Avenue to a monastery compound, where the Vatican delegation had been holding private meetings.

The delegation met separately with people who follow the Neocatechumenal Way and separate meetings for those who hold on to the old traditions of the island’s Catholic church.

Months earlier, Concerned Catholics of Guam demanded, in part, for Archbishop Anthony Apuron to be fiscally transparent, and questioned Apuron’s association with the Neocatechumenal Way.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:14 AM

Retiring Aust bishop seeks forgiveness

AUSTRALIA
Herald Sun

A retiring Australian bishop accused of trying to protect himself and the Catholic Church over pedophile priests is seeking forgiveness from anyone he may have disappointed.

The Pope has accepted Brisbane auxiliary bishop Brian Finnigan's resignation after he reached retirement age, the Vatican's press office has announced.

Bishop Finnigan, 77, submitted his resignation to Pope Francis in 2013, a requirement for bishops when they turn 75.

"In a pastoral career spanning more than 40 years, there have been disappointments and challenges," Bishop Finnigan said in a letter to fellow clergy in the Brisbane archdiocese on Thursday.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:11 AM

Pope accepts resignation of Australian bishop accused of being evasive at abuse inquiry

AUSTRALIA
The Guardian

Guardian staff and agencies
Wednesday 30 December 2015

An Australian bishop accused of protecting himself and the Catholic church at the child abuse royal commission has resigned.

The pope has accepted Brisbane auxiliary bishop Brian Finnegan’s resignation upon his reaching the retirement age, the Vatican’s press office has announced.

Finnegan, 77, was accused of not being candid about his knowledge of paedophile priests in a bid to protect himself and the church during his December evidence to the child abuse royal commission’s inquiry into the Ballarat diocese.

Finnegan was secretary to the bishop of the Ballarat diocese, Ronald Mulkearns, between 1979 and 1985 when the priest Gerald Ridsdale was abusing children in parishes within the diocese.

Finnegan repeatedly told the commission he was unaware of Ridsdale’s abuse at the time and had no concerns about the priest.

But the commission heard evidence Finnegan had been phoned by a mother who was concerned about Ridsdale’s interactions with her eldest son.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:09 AM

Pope Francis accepts bishop's resignation following abuse inquiry accusations

AUSTRALIA
Premier

Thu 31 Dec 2015
By Hannah Tooley

Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of an Australian bishop who has been accused of being evasive over an abuse inquiry.

Brian Finnegan was accused of not sharing his knowledge of alleged paedophile priests in an attempt to protect himself as well as the church.

The Vatican's press office has announced that the pope has accepted the resignation of the Brisbane auxiliary bishop, upon his reaching the age of retirement.

Mr Finnegan, 77, has been accused of not being open with his knowledge of alleged paedophile priests during his December evidence to the child abuse royal commission's inquiry into the Ballarat diocese.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:07 AM

Tacoma church volunteer charged with raping girl he met at youth camp

WASHINGTON
The News Tribune

BY STACIA GLENN
sglenn@thenewstribune.com

A 20-year-old man who works at a Tacoma middle school and volunteers as a Youth for Christ pastor pleaded not guilty Wednesday to molesting a 14-year-old girl he met at youth camp.

Adam Parks is charged with four counts of third-degree child rape. He pleaded not guilty and bail was set at $100,000.

The abuse is alleged to have taken place from March to December in a church office, art camp and Parks’ car.

Parks was a lunchtime supervisor at Gray Middle School, head of security at Zion River Church and a volunteer for Youth for Christ, records show.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:04 AM

Church music director accused of sex assault kills himself

WISCONSIN
Beloit Daily News

REEDSBURG, Wis. (AP) — Police say a Reedsburg church music director has killed himself after he was charged with sexually assaulting a teenage girl who was a choir member.

Officers went to check on the welfare of 48-year-old David Knoble Wednesday morning. As officers approached the front door, they heard a gunshot from inside. Police forced their way in and found Knoble dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Knoble was accused of having sexual contact with the girl for more than a year, beginning when she was 16. Knoble denied the charges to investigators.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:02 AM

Kansas Church Hired Known Sex offender Who Then Molested Disabled Churchgoer: Police

KANSAS
AlterNet

By David Edwards / Raw Story December 30, 2015

A church treasurer in Overland Park, Kansas has been accused of sexual abuse — and it’s not the first time.

KCTV reported that Rodney Sexton was accused of molesting a 31-year-old disabled churchgoer “who is deaf and functions like an 8 year old.” Sexton is also deaf.

It was not immediately clear if officials at Deaf Liberty Baptist Church in Overland Park knew that Sexton faced six sex-related charges in the 1980s while working at a school for the deaf.

He was convicted on two counts of sodomy and aggravated indecent liberties with a child in that case. Although he served time in Kansas prison, he was not placed on the sex offender registry because the crime occurred before 1994.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:59 AM

Auxiliary Brisbane Bishop Brian Finnigan quits after accusations of dishonesty before sex abuse royal commission

AUSTRALIA
The Courier-Mail

December 31, 2015

Daryl Passmore
The Courier-Mail

A BRISBANE bishop has quit after being accused of not being honest in giving evidence at the sexual abuse royal commission.

Auxiliary Bishop Brian Finnigan — one of the city’s three most powerful Catholic Church figures — had his resignation accepted by Pope Francis yesterday.

In a letter to fellow clergymen, he made no direct reference to his appearance before the commission earlier this month. But he wrote: “In a pastoral career spanning more than 40 years, there have been disappointments and challenges.

“From those whom I may have disappointed, I seek forgiveness.’’

Bishop Finnigan was slammed by counsel assisting the Royal Commission, Angus Stewart SC, two weeks ago for lacking compassion and not being candid in his evidence about his knowledge of paedophile priests in the 1980s.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:49 AM

December 30, 2015

Bishop Brian Finnigan reaches retirement

AUSTRALIA
Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Brisbane

BISHOP Brian Finnigan will begin the new year in retirement from his episcopal ministry after Pope Francis officially accepted his resignation yesterday.

The Holy Father accepted the resignation of Brisbane Auxiliary Bishop Brian Vincent Finnigan, aged 77, on December 30, 2015, two years after he had presented it to Pope Francis.

Diocesan bishops are canonically requested to present their resignation to the Holy Father at 75 years of age.

Bishop Finnigan served as auxiliary bishop of Brisbane for 13 years and wholeheartedly welcomed his retirement in an official letter sent to clergy in the archdiocese.

“I am grateful that it has now come to pass,” Bishop Finnigan said.

“At 77 years of age, energy levels and mental agility have diminished.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:29 PM

Bishop Brian Finnigan resigns

AUSTRALIA
The Courier

By Melissa Cunningham
Dec. 31, 2015

A bishop who was accused of putting himself and the reputation of the Catholic Church ahead of “truth and compassion” for victims has resigned.

Outgoing Brisbane Auxiliary Bishop and former secretary to Ballarat Bishop Ronald Mulkearns, Brian Finnigan, officially resigned from his senior leadership position in the Catholic Church late Wednesday evening.

The Courier understands the Vatican formally accepted the resignation from the office of Auxiliary of the Archdiocese of Brisbane at 10pm Australian time on Wednesday.

The Archdiocese of Brisbane, confirmed his resignation to The Courier on Thursday morning.

Bishop Finnigan had reached the age limit for being a Catholic bishop.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:27 PM

Adelaide Archbishop Philip Wilson announces return despite still facing charges of concealing child sex abuse in NSW in the 1970s

AUSTRALIA
Adelaide Now

Andrew Dowdell
The Advertiser

THE Archbishop of Adelaide, Philip Wilson, will return to his post next month despite still facing criminal charges of concealing child sexual abuse.

Archbishop Wilson has been on leave since March after he was charged by NSW Police with allegedly concealing sexual abuse perpetrated in the 1970s by his then-housemate, paedophile priest James Patrick Fletcher.

The Archbishop, who has maintained his public silence since being charged, on Wednesday announced he would return to his duties in January through a letter addressed to “priests, deacons, religious and to all people of the Archdiocese of Adelaide”.

“Some people may disagree with my decision and I respect that,” Archbishop Wilson wrote.

“In no way should this decision be interpreted as my not taking this matter very seriously. On the contrary, I take the charge extremely seriously.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:23 PM

Doctor booked for failing to report sexual abuse

INDIA
The Hindu

The police team investigating the sexual abuse of a 14-year-old girl by a Catholic priest at Puthenvelikkara have booked a government doctor for failing to report a child sexual abuse case.

The police said the doctor, identified as Ajitha, was booked under Section 19 of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (Pocso) Act, 2012.

As per the case, the doctor did not alert the police in spite of knowing that the girl had been sexually abused.

A complaint filed by the girl’s mother stated that the doctor had prescribed contraceptive tablets to the class X girl on March 29 this year.

Anticipatory bail

Meanwhile, officials said the doctor was booked after she had moved the court for anticipatory bail in October.

Figarez, former parish priest of Lourdes Matha Church, Puthenvelikkara, surrendered before the Ernakulam Rural police superintendent on December 8 after absconding for about eight months.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:20 PM

“Swift Current” - a real good documentary movie on child sexual abuse played by victims themselves (not Hollywood A-listers). (REBUTTAL- Column: ‘Spotlight’ moving as it takes on important social issue)

UNITED STATES
PopeCrimes& Vatican Evils.

Paris Arrow

vimeo.com › Marcel Herman Films › Videos
13 août 2015
From 3-time Academy Award winner Mark Jonathan Harris, Executive Producer James Gray, and Lost for Life director Joshua Rofé comes a documentary film about Sheldon Kennedy, former NHL hockey player & survivor of sexual abuse - providing a startling & never before seen look at recovery from childhood sexual abuse trauma.
For Press Inquires contact Ingrid Hamilton ingrid@gat.ca & joshuarofe@gmail.com
Official Site: swiftcurrentdoc.com
Facebook: facebook.com/swiftcurrentdoc
Twitter: @SC_DocFilm

A very good movie about pedophilia on little boys who were abused by their hockey coach is “Swift Current” – starring the real victims themselves, Sheldon Kennedy et al -- with actual documentary footage – directed by 3-time Academy Award winner Mark Jonathan Harris. The victims tell their own story and they are more powerful and more authentic than Spotlight and its Hollywood A-listers actors (who were paid millions of dollars to shift focus more on the journalists and the victims are secondary). “Swift Current” contains real videos, real photos of the victims who tried to commit suicide, real court room scenes and real photos of the serial abuser who was caught and jailed. Sheldon Kennedy now has a charitable foundation that helps victims of pedophilia and pederasty and rape. Here are several comments on the movie “Swift Current” (which Spotlight can never claim for itself in its pathetic desperation for an Oscar buzz. Read our Spotlight articles in the list below).

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:18 PM

SHINING A FRESH SPOTLIGHT ON NEW YORK’S CHURCH CHILD ABUSE

UNITED STATES
Newsweek

BY PAUL J. HANLY JR. ON 12/30/15

As we head into 2016 and the official start of the awards season, “Spotlight,” which tells the true tale of a Pulitzer Prize–winning team of Boston Globe reporters that unravels the Catholic Church’s decades-long attempt to cover up the sexual misdeeds of its clergy, emerges as a clear favorite.

The film reveals the shame, embarrassment and fear of sex abuse victims as they weigh whether to risk it all by outing one of the world’s most powerful institutions.

Frustratingly, few moviegoers will realize that the story is actually much bigger than what the film depicts in two key ways. The most mind-blowing revelations, in fact, may still be enshrouded in darkness.

Sexual abuse of children by those associated with the Church is by no means confined to the abbeys of Boston. In 2014, the Vatican released a report revealing that 848 priests, globally, had been defrocked for raping or molesting children over the past decade, and 2,572 other offending priests had been given lesser sanctions.

According to news reports, between 2004 and 2013, the U.S. Catholic Church has spent almost $3 billion in costs related to widespread abuse allegations, including settlements and attorneys’ fees, therapy for victims and support for offenders.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:14 PM

Aust bishop accused of 'lying' retires

AUSTRALIA
7 News

AAP

An Australian bishop accused of protecting himself and the Catholic Church at the child abuse royal commission has retired.

The Pope has accepted Brisbane auxiliary bishop Brian Finnigan's resignation upon his reaching the retirement age, the Vatican's press office has announced.

Bishop Finnigan on Thursday said he submitted his resignation to Pope Francis in 2013 and was grateful it had now come to pass.

"At 77 years of age, energy levels and mental agility have diminished," he said in a letter to fellow clergy in the Brisbane archdiocese.

"In a pastoral career spanning more than 40 years, there have been disappointments and challenges.

"From those whom I may have disappointed, I seek forgiveness."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:13 PM

Tacoma Youth for Christ volunteer arrested for child rape

WASHINGTON
KOMO

WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 30TH 2015

TACOMA, Wash. - A 20-year-old middle school employee and Youth for Christ volunteer has been arrested for investigation of third-degree child rape after admitting to a sexual relationship with a 14-year-old girl, according to court documents.

The suspect, identified as Adam Z. Parks, pleaded not guilty to all four counts of third degree child rape during his arraignment Wednesday in Pierce County Superior Court. He was ordered held on $100,000 bail.

According to the case file, Parks met the girl years earlier and got to know her through his role as a volunteer with the Youth for Christ program at Gray Middle School in Tacoma, where he also worked as a lunchroom supervisor.

Parks began counseling and texting the girl after a close relative of hers died, and the relationship became sexual shortly afterward, court documents show.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:10 PM

Former Anson youth pastor arrested for indecency with a child

TEXAS
KTXS

By Jamie Burch, News Director, jburch@ktxs.com
POSTED: Dec 30 2015

ANSON, Texas -
A former youth pastor in Anson is out of jail and out of a job after police say he had an inappropriate relationship with an underage girl in his youth group.

26 year old Callan Rice is charged with indecency with a child, a second degree felony.

Police say Rice was recently fired by Bethel Assembly in Anson after he was caught meeting privately with the girl who is under the age of 17.

According to incident report, Rice had sexual contact with the girl and has confessed to the crime.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:24 PM

Other Pontifical Acts

VATICAN CITY
Vatican Information Service

Vatican City, 30 December 2015 (VIS) – The Holy Father has:

- appointed Fr. Jose Fortunato Alvarez Valdez as bishop of Gomez Palacio (area 27,405, population 585,000, Catholics 468,000, priests 51, religious 76) Mexico. The bishop-elect was born in Mexicali, Mexico in 1967 and was ordained a priest in 1998. He holds a degree in theology and patristic sciences from the Agostinian Patristic Institute, Rome, and has served in a number of pastoral roles in the diocese of Mexicali, including diocesan coordinator of vocational pastoral ministry, vicar of the cathedral, chancellor, parish priest and dean. He is currently pastor of the Nuestra Senora del Perpetuo Socorro, defender of the bond of the diocesan tribunal, and member of the presbyteral college, the college of consultors and the economic board.

- accepted the resignation from the office of auxiliary of the archdiocese of Brisbane, Australia presented by Bishop Brian Finnegan upon reaching the age limit.

- appointed Fr. Aparecido Donizete de Souza as auxiliary of Porto Alegre (area 13,530, population 3,395,000, Catholics 2,527,000, priests 362, permanent deacons 58, religious 1,487), Brazil. The bishop-elect was born in Primeiro de Maio, Brazil in 1964 and was ordained a priest in 1992. He holds a licentiate in spirituality from the “Teresianum” Pontifical Institute of Spirituality and has served as parish in a number of pastoral roles in the diocese of Cornelio Procopio, Brazil, including parish vicar of the cathedral, parish priest, rector of the “Menino Deus” seminary and of the “Sao Jose” major seminary. He is currently pastor of the “Sao Francisco de Assis” parish, spiritual director of the seminary and diocesan assessor for liturgical pastoral ministry.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:48 AM

Understanding the Marc Gafni Story, Part II

UNITED STATES
Tablet

By Mark Oppenheimer

On Friday, my article about the controversial ex-rabbi Marc Gafni was posted online at The New York Times website; it ran in the print edition on Saturday, December 26. Since then, it has received a tremendous amount of attention, and generated some very significant questions, many of them having to do with who supported Gafni, and when, and why.

As readers of that first piece know, Gafni, 55, who worked as a rabbi in both the Orthodox and Renewal wings of Judaism, long ago admitted that when he was 19 and 20 he had repeated sexual encounters, over a nine-month period, with a girl who was 13 and then 14 years old. In 1986, Gafni was accused of twice groping 16-year-old Judy Mitzner, a student involved with his Jewish outreach program, once getting into bed with her completely naked. (She was staying with him and his wife during a rough period at home.) He once told a reporter that the first girl was “14 going on 35” and that they were “in love”; the second girl was, he told me, “highly initiatory.”

Gafni’s also been accused of plagiarism, of emotionally abusive relationships with women at his Jewish Renewal community in Israel (which imploded after his multiple liaisons), and, in 2011, of sleeping with a woman he was counseling, which led her employer, a book publisher, to cancel Gafni’s book contract. (At the time, the employer, publisher Tami Simon, gave a statement to a blogger about why she was dropping Gafni, and the woman who alleged the affair recently confirmed the story to me. Speaking with me, Gafni denied that the relationship was a breach of ethics because, he said, he was not counseling the woman.)

Yet Gafni has continually found students and financial backers. The question is, who are they? And what is their reasoning?

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:35 AM

Molestation charges dropped against church leader with history of child sex abuse

KANSAS
KVTV
Posted: Dec 29, 2015

By Dave Eckert, Assignment Editor
By DeAnn Smith, Digital Content Manager
By Angie Ricono, Investigative Reporter

OVERLAND PARK, KS (KCTV) -
Charges have been dropped against a deaf church leader who is accused of molesting a church goer with disabilities.

Prosecutors are refusing to discuss the decision involving a convicted sex offender.

Rodney Sexton had been charged in Johnson County with aggravated sexual battery. Sexton was initially accused of molesting a 31-year-old man who is deaf and functions at the level of an 8-year-old child.

On Tuesday, Johnson County District Attorney Steve Howe dropped the charges against Sexton. This was just a day after Sexton made his first court appearance.

The mother of the 31-year old is furious at Howe and his office.

"Disappointed is way past the word," the woman said. "We want action. We want somebody to take action."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:31 AM

Reinstatement of Rev. Jeremiah N. Murasso

CONNECTICUT
Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Hartford

The Archdiocese of Hartford, having conducted an extensive and thorough investigation of the child sexual abuse allegation involving Father Murasso, has determined that the allegation was not substantiated. That being the case, Father Murasso is being returned to ministry here with all his priestly faculties having been restored. That means Father once again has the ability to celebrate the Eucharist and other Sacraments, as well as attend to the temporal and pastoral needs of the Catholic Church and its parishioners.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:34 AM

Priest who led New Haven orphanage cleared of sex abuse charge

CONNECTICUT
New Haven Register

By Ed Stannard, New Haven Register
POSTED: 12/29/15

A Roman Catholic priest who was accused of child sexual abuse as director of the St. Francis Home for Children in New Haven in the 1990s has been cleared of the charge by the Archdiocese of Hartford.

The Rev. Jeremiah N. Murasso has returned to his parishes of Blessed Sacrament Church and the Shrine of St. Anne in Waterbury. He was director of the St. Francis orphanage, also known as Highland Heights, from 1992 to 1995. The home closed in 2012 after 160 years.

Murasso also 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. While director of the St. Francis Home, Murasso was pastor of St. Vincent Ferrer Church in Naugatuck.

A statement by the archdiocese posted this month said it had “conducted an extensive and thorough investigation of the child sexual abuse allegation involving Father Murasso” and “determined that the allegation was not substantiated.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:32 AM

Priest Cleared Of Abuse Allegations By Hartford Archdiocese

CONNECTICUT
Hartford Courant

Associated Press

NEW HAVEN — A Catholic priest accused of sexually abusing children while serving as director of a New Haven orphanage in the 1990s has been cleared of all charges by the Archdiocese of Hartford.

The New Haven Register reports (http://bit.ly/1Sm1PD2 ) the Rev. Jeremiah Murasso has returned to his parishes in Waterbury after the archdiocese "conducted an extensive and thorough investigation" into the allegations of abuse at the St. Francis Home for Children.

A statement released by the archdiocese says the investigation found that the allegations against Murasso were not substantiated.

Murasso ran the orphanage, also known as Highland Heights, from 1992 to 1995 while he was pastor of St. Vincent Ferrer Church in Naugatuck. The home closed in 2012 after 160 years of service.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:30 AM

Column: ‘Spotlight’ moving as it takes on important social issue

INDIANA
The Republic

Dennis McCarty editorial@therepublic.com
Published: 12/29/15

A few Fridays ago, my better half, Kate, and I decided to take in a movie. Our choice was “Spotlight,” the docudrama about newspaper coverage of the Boston Archdiocese sex abuse scandal.

This topic hits close to home with me. I’ve been on the receiving end. It’s not something I talk about a lot, but from about ages 8 to 11 I was a sexually abused child. More than 50 years have passed, but it still bites me from time to time.

I’m a movie buff, though. “Spotlight” got phenomenal reviews, and everyone said the abuse part was tastefully and delicately handled. So off we went, figuring everything would be just fine.

Which it was, mostly. I’m definitely glad I saw the movie. But about halfway through, I started to tear up. Then the part that really got to me was when the reporters began to realize just how many Boston children had been sexually abused: hundreds.

That’s when I burst out crying.

Yep. Crying.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:21 AM

Homosexuality scandal at Kalibu Academy

MALAWI
Malawi 24

Fresh investigations into Malawi’s Kalibu Academy in Chileka, Blantyre that Malawi24 has seen have revealed that current Headmaster, Paisley Mavutula is a leading mastermind behind different abuses faced by employees and students at “Christian” run Kalibu Academy.

Kalibu, which currently has 800 students in secondary school – almost 600 of them boarders – professes on its website to have “the spirit of excellence that reaches the heavens,” but what our investigation at Malawi24 has uncovered is quite the opposite.

A recently released year-long inquiry into verbal, physical and homosexual misconduct done to employees and alumni of the boarding school identified Headmaster Paisley Mavutula and school founder Michael Thomas Howard as the main perpetrators.

Abuse at Kalibu dates back to days before ground was even broken on the first building at the school and continues into the current year, 2015.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:18 AM

Child abuse ribbons stripped from Castlemaine church

AUSTRALIA
Bendigo Advertiser

By Erin Handley
Dec. 30, 2015

A Castlemaine woman was left deflated after a local Catholic church removed ribbons she had strung to symbolise support for victims of child sexual abuse.

Melinda Webster said she tied ribbons in pink, green, red and purple, with tags explaining their meaning, to the front entrance at St Mary’s Catholic Parish in Castlemaine last week, only to return two hours later and find them gone.

Ms Webster said she was “not surprised, but disappointed” by the ribbons being removed from the church so swiftly.

Two years ago, at the age of 50, her own husband disclosed his own history of abuse in an interstate boarding school.

Father Wahid Riad of St Mary’s in Castlemaine said he had not removed the ribbons, although some of his parishioners had mentioned them to him and they may have taken them down.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:15 AM

December 29, 2015

Controversial Joliet bishop laid to rest

CHICAGO (IL)
Chicago Tribune

Nick Swedberg and Erin Gallagher
Daily Southtown

Bishop Joseph Imesch spent nearly three decades as a dedicated shepherd to the members of the Joliet Diocese.

In that time, he forged deep bonds of friendship, and fought hard for major changes to the church he believed were due.

But his 27-year tenure was not without its black marks. Many in and outside the church criticized his involvement in the Catholic Church sex abuse scandal, saying he sheltered accused priests by shuffling them among parishes.

As mourners recalled both the good and the bad, Imesch's body was laid to rest Tuesday in Resurrection Cemetery in Romeoville. The 84-year-old had retired as third bishop of the Joliet Diocese in 2006, but remained an emeritus bishop until his death last week.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:38 PM

WATCH: Priest Suspended for Using Hoverboard During Mass

PHILIPPINES
Sojourners

By David Gibson, Religion News Service 12-29-2015

Hoverboards earned a reputation as maybe the most dangerous gift for kids this holiday season, given their penchant for catching fire and inducing nasty spills.

But they’re apparently also perilous for Catholic priests who get it into their heads it might be a good idea to use one during Christmas Eve Mass — while the congregants are shooting video on their smartphones.

The priest in this case is in the Philippines and has not been named, even though the video has gone viral.

But the Diocese of San Pablo knows who he is and on Tuesday (Dec. 29) announced that the pastor “was wrong” and has been suspended because the Mass “is the church’s highest form of worship. Consequently, it is not a personal celebration where one can capriciously introduce something to get the attention of the people.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:35 PM

Sexual abuse case against Powell County pastor sent to grand jury

KENTUCKY
WKYT

CAMPTON, Ky. (WKYT) - A preliminary hearing was held on Tuesday for a Powell County pastor facing two counts of sexual abuse. The hearing was held in Wolfe County since there is not any court in Powell County this week.

After listening to testimony from Powell County Sheriff's Deputy Robert Matthews the judge did decide there is enough evidence to send the case to the grand jury.

During his testimony, Deputy Matthews explained what led to his arrest of, Steve Williams, the pastor of Bowen First Church of God.

Matthews explained how the 11-year-old alleged victim told investigators her pastor was driving her and her sisters to West Virginia for a white water rafting trip back in August.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:34 PM

UNPRECEDENTED FURY AT BALLARAT HEARINGS

AUSTRALIA
The Tablet (UK)

29 December 2015 | by Mark Brolly

Every case heard by Australia’s Royal Commission into child sexual abuse is uncovering ineptitude, maladministration, cover-ups and corrupt practices, according to the Church’s Truth, Justice and Healing Council head. Francis Sullivan described unprecedented and “almost palpable anger” at the recent hearing into abuse at Catholic parishes and institutions in the Victorian Goldfields city of Ballarat.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:08 PM

Bishop Undeserving of Celebratory Burial: SNAP

ILLINOIS
Patch

By SCOTT VIAU (Patch Staff)
December 29, 2015

OLIET, IL — With the burial of deceased Bishop Joseph Imesch Tuesday, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests is deploring the full honors that are being bestowed on him.

Geneva SNAP leader Kate Bochte said in a statement that the honors are an injustice to the sexual abuse victims.

“When we ignore wrongdoing, we encourage wrongdoing. And when Catholic officials, in 2015, keep treating their most disgraced complicit colleagues as heroes or saints, they encourage other church employees to ignore, conceal and enable child sex crimes and cover ups,” Bochte said in a statement.

According to the Joliet Diocese, Imesch’s “tenacity” gained him the respect of fellow bishops.

“He diligently attempted to have a pastoral letter on women approved by the Conference,” the Diocese said in a release on its website. “Though he was unsuccessful, he exemplified perseverance and great courage.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:43 PM

What should a bishop’s secretary do who knows the prelate is moving around abusive priests?

UNITED STATES
Crux

December 29, 2015

Q | Dear OMG,

If one were a secretary to a bishop, did all his typing and filing and office work, and knew about sexually abusive priests, moving them around, filed the complaints, etc., would one have the moral obligation to do something or to keep silent to protect the bishop and one’s job?

Wondering in Wichita

A | Dear Wondering,

The answer here is very clear. Any person who has knowledge of a priest (or a teacher or a coach or any other adult) sexually abusing children (or physically abusing them) is bound by morality – and, it turns out, by civil law – to report that person to the authorities. There is no moral argument for protecting the bishop, and only a selfish one for protecting one’s own job.

During his visit to Philadelphia earlier this year, Pope Francis vociferously condemned the perpetrators of the rampant sex abuse crisis and those who abetted the cover-ups, declaring that “I commit myself to the zealous watchfulness of the Church to protect minors, and I promise that all those responsible will be held accountable."

There are those who claim that sex abuse allegations ought still to be secret, or private, in keeping with canon law – but in 2002, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops enacted the Charter for Protection of Children and Young People, which requires any diocese faced with allegations of sex abuse to report those allegations to the police.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:40 PM

Settlement pending in Gallup, N.M., bankruptcy

NEW MEXICO
National Catholic Reporter

Elizabeth Hardin-Burrola | Dec. 29, 2015

GALLUP, N.M.

After recently beginning its third year in bankruptcy court, racking up more than $3.2 million in bankruptcy costs and participating in three court-ordered mediations, the Gallup diocese is on the verge of brokering a settlement with clergy sex abuse claimants.

News of that impending settlement was confirmed by James Stang, legal counsel for the Official Committee of Unsecured Creditors, which represents abuse claimants, in brief statements made to U.S. Bankruptcy Judge David Thuma in Albuquerque Dec. 16.

No details of the financial settlement were provided during the hearing, which lasted less than 15 minutes. The nonmonetary terms of the settlement are currently being negotiated, Stang explained. No timetable was given as to when details are expected to be finalized.

Reaching an agreement with the abuse claimants is a major step toward achieving a consensual plan of reorganization for the diocese, which filed its Chapter 11 petition on Nov. 12, 2013. At the time of the filing, the diocese was facing 13 clergy sex abuse lawsuits in Arizona and an additional number of out-of-court abuse claims.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:59 PM

Jehovah's Witnesses accused of covering up historic sex abuse

UNITED KINGDOM
Telegraph

A Jehovah's Witness strangled girls for sexual gratification - but his crimes were "swept under the carpet" for more than two decades

By Agency Reporter 29 Dec 2015

A Jehovah's Witness who strangled young girls for sexual gratification has finally been jailed after his crimes were covered up by the congregation at his church for more than two decades.

Ian Pheasey, 54, went unpunished for more than 25 years after his activities were "swept under the rug" by the church he attended.

A court heard that Pheasey first attacked a seven-year-old girl while he was working as a volunteer librarian at the Kingdom Hall of Jehovah's Witnesses, in Warwick, in the 1990s.

Pheasey was eventually caught after another of his victims went to the police after learning Pheasey was working at a hospice. Pheasey was arrested in October 2014 and charged with offences between 1989 and 1994.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:21 PM

IL--Victims deplore “full honors” funeral for complicit bishop

ILLINOIS
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

For immediate release: Tuesday, Dec. 29, 2015

Statement by Kate Bochte, SNAP leader, Geneva IL 630-768-1860, keight@sbcglobal.net

Today, a deceased Joliet Catholic bishop will apparently be buried with “full honors” while dozens of church officials and hundreds of church members look on and quietly tolerate this hurtful injustice.

[Chicago Tribune]

When we ignore wrongdoing, we encourage wrongdoing. And when Catholic officials, in 2015, keep treating their most disgraced complicit colleagues as heroes or saints, they encourage other church employees to ignore, conceal and enable child sex crimes and cover ups.

Several Penn State officials – including the school’s president and popular football coach - were fired or ousted for letting one perpetrator have continued to access children. Imesch did that for about two dozen perpetrators. Yet he remained in office, suffering no penalties whatsoever, and is being honored today with elaborate funeral proceedings.

It’s not just Penn State. All kinds of institutions hold the “top dog” responsible for wrongdoing he or she engaged in or even failed to stop. One institution is the exception: the Catholic church. And this is not changing.

Over decades, Imesch knowingly put hundreds of children at risk of sexual violence by quietly assigning perpetrator priests to parishes, repeatedly showing no concern for the safety of those children or compassion for those who were sexually violated. At best, he treated victims with disdain. At worst, he treated them as enemies.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:18 PM

Other Pontifical Acts

VATICAN CITY
Vatican Information Service

Vatican City, 29 December 2015 (VIS) – The Holy Father has appointed:

- erected the new diocese of Barisal (area 20,708, population 15,183,927, Catholics 29,685, priests 19, religious 33), Bangladesh, with territory from the diocese of Chittagong, making it a suffragan of the metropolitan see of Dhaka, Bangladesh.

- appointed Bishop Subroto Lawrence Howlader, C.S.C., auxiliary of Chittagong, as first bishop of the diocese of Barisal, Bangladesh.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:07 AM

Cardinal George Pell accusations do not signify guilt

AUSTRALIA
The Age

December 29, 2015

Graham Downie

Unless and until there is proof of collusion or involvement by Cardinal George Pell, or he admits any guilt, he must be presumed innocent.

With a couple of friends on December 19, I declared I wanted to write in defence of Cardinal George Pell, only to be trumped two days later by Amanda Vanstone writing in Fairfax Media under the same heading.

I do not hold her allegiance to the Catholic Church nor do I find Pell a particularly likeable person. He represents an almost extreme version of his church's teaching, particularly with the subjugation of women, the treatment of people who have been divorced, and to homosexuals.

Nevertheless, Pell has been effectively accused of colluding with known paedophiles though he has for at least 13 years denied so doing. Allegations made this year to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse were given wide media coverage in 1993 when former priest Gerald Ridsdale was first charged with the sexual abuse of numerous children.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:04 AM

Will Investigation of Rev. Thomas Andert Show More Deception?

MINNESOTA
The Legal Examiner

Posted by Mike Bryant
August 27, 2015

I have written a couple of times about statements that have been made by St. John’s Abbot John Klassen. Through out most of the responses has been the ongoing mantra that:

* All the names have been disclosed
* No one accused is still active
* All of the accusations are old

This past week, Rev. Thomas Andert was removed as Prior at St. John’s Abbey. As second in charge behind the Abbot his job was described on the Abbey website as:

Father Prior Tom Andert OSB is entrusted with the general monastic oversight of Saint Raphael Hall. The director is assisted by an advisory committee of the abbey, and several monks, including Abbot John, take turns celebrating Mass in the chapel.

Will the investigation into this removal stand up to the mantra? Only if the Abbey can show there were no prior credible allegations. Keep in mind what was found in the Archdioceses files:

“Normally, common sense would dictate that we withhold information from the public………”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:34 AM

Philadelphia DA Challenges New Trial for Lynn

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
The Legal Intelligencer

Max Mitchell, The Legal Intelligencer
December 29, 2015

The Philadelphia district attorney has asked for reconsideration of an appellate court's recent decision to vacate the conviction of Monsignor William J. Lynn, the first Catholic Church administrative official convicted of endangering the welfare of children abused by other priests.

District Attorney R. Seth Williams announced Monday that he filed an application to have a nine-member en banc panel of the Superior Court hear reargument of numerous issues on appeal in the case.

Although Lynn, who had served as secretary for clergy for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, had been convicted under an earlier version of Pennsylvania's law criminalizing endangerment of the welfare of children, a split three-judge panel of the Superior Court overturned that conviction Dec. 22. Along with reversing Lynn's sentence of three to six years' incarceration, the ruling in Commonwealth v. Lynn remanded Lynn's case for a new trial.

The majority opinion, written by Judge John T. Bender, had said the trial court had admitted a "high volume of unfairly prejudicial other-acts evidence."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:30 AM

DA SEEKS REHEARING OF MONSIGNOR WILLIAM LYNN'S CASE

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
WPVI

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Philadelphia's district attorney wants an appeals court to take another look at the case of a Roman Catholic Church official whose conviction over his handling of sex-abuse cases was overturned last week.

Monsignor William Lynn has been imprisoned intermittently since his 2012 trial. By a vote of 2 to 1, a three-member Superior Court panel overturned his conviction ordering a new trial.

It decided Lynn's trial judge allowed too much evidence concerning prior bad acts or cover ups protecting abusive priests from a time before Lynn had any actual authority to supervise priests in the 1990s.

The appellant found the sheer volume of those prior bad acts could have unfairly prejudiced jurors against Lynn.

But the DA's office is now asking the entire Superior Court to hear its arguments, saying the prior bad acts were brought in so jurors could understand the ongoing pattern of how the church dealt with some abusive priests.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:29 AM

Philly DA seeks rehearing in overturn of Lynn conviction in church sex abuse scandal

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
Newsworks

BY KATIE COLANERI

The attorney for Monsignor William Lynn -- the first Roman Catholic Church official in the country to be convicted for mishandling allegations of clergy sex abuse -- is hitting "pause" on his plans to seek Lynn's early release.

The Philadelphia district attorney's office is asking the state appellate court that last week overturned Lynn's conviction to reconsider that decision.

At a news conference Monday, District Attorney Seth Williams said his priority is making sure the landmark conviction remains in place.

"If necessary we will ... have another trial," Williams said. "But we hope it doesn't get to that.

"We'd like to spare the victim from having to come back to court and all of the witnesses from having to testify and be revictimized by having to share such personal stories," he said.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:27 AM

Prosecutor moves to keep Monsignor William Lynn jailed

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
CNN

By Tal Trachtman Alroy, CNN
Mon December 28, 2015

(CNN)The Philadelphia District Attorney said Monday his office will use every resource to ensure that Monsignor William Lynn remains in prison for his involvement in a sexual abuse scandal that rocked the Catholic Church in Philadelphia.

Seth Williams, the city's district attorney, said his office filed a petition asking a state appellate court to reconsider its December 22 decision to overturn Lynn's conviction. Lynn, once a high-ranking Roman Catholic Church official, was convicted on child endangerment charges in 2012. Lynn is in Waymart prison in northeast Pennsylvania, where he has served 25 months on and off.

A three-judge panel of the Superior Court reversed the verdict, which had marked the first time U.S. prosecutors charged a senior church official for failing to stop priests who committed abuses against children. It was the second time the conviction was overturned by the Superior Court.

Williams is seeking a decision on the appeal by the full Superior Court.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:25 AM

Grandstanding D.A. Pledges To Keep Monsignor In Jail

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
Big Trial

By Ralph Cipriano
for BigTrial.net

Last week, a panel of three state Superior Court judges overturned the conviction of Msgr. William J. Lynn and ordered a new trial for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia's former secretary for clergy.

But Lynn isn't getting out of jail anytime soon. For at least the next month, he'll continue to work as the prison librarian at SCI-Waymart for 19 cents an hour while lawyers back in Philadelphia continue to do battle over his case.

Standing in the way of Lynn's release is Philadelphia District Attorney R. Seth Williams. At a press conference today, the D.A. announced he was appealing the decision by the panel of judges to the entire state Superior Court. Williams requested an "en banc" re-argument of the case before all nine judges on the appeals court, rather than just a three-judge panel. If he gets turned down, the district attorney pledged, he'll appeal to the state Supreme Court, where the D.A. has a winning track record.

The Superior Court reversed Lynn's conviction in 2013 and Lynn got out of jail. The D.A. appealed. The state Supreme Court promptly reversed the reversal and Lynn was sent back to jail at the D.A.'s request.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:23 AM

Philadelphia DA trying to keep convicted priest in prison

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

December 29, 2015
By Jeremy Roebuck / The Philadelphia Inquirer

PHILADELPHIA — Prosecutors urged a state appellate court on Monday to reconsider its decision to overturn what had been the first conviction nationwide of a Roman Catholic Church official for covering up child sex abuse by priests.

Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams asked the Pennsylvania Superior Court for a chance to reargue the case against Monsignor William J. Lynn in front of a full court panel of the nine judges.

His request came a week after a three-judge panel ordered a new trial for Lynn, perpetuating what has been an up-and-down legal fight for the 64-year-old monsignor three years after his conviction on child endangerment charges.

“We will continue to fight to keep Monsignor Lynn in state custody, where he belongs,” Mr. Williams told reporters. “We have to do all that we can — especially when an institution uses institutional power to protect pedophiles.”

Lynn’s lawyer, Thomas A. Bergstrom, said the move by Mr. Williams’ office was not entirely unexpected.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:21 AM

Philly DA wants review of Monsignor William Lynn priest abuse case

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
The Morning Call

Errin Haines Whack
Associated Press

PHILADELPHIA — Despite losing on appeal twice, Philadelphia's district attorney said Monday he will continue to fight to keep a Roman Catholic church official who will soon be eligible for parole in prison over his handling of sex-abuse cases.

District Attorney Seth Williams filed an application for the full nine-member state Superior Court to rehear the case against Monsignor William Lynn. Last week, a three-judge panel of the court overturned Lynn's conviction in a 2-1 decision and awarded him a new trial.

Lynn, 64, was convicted in 2012 of endangering a policeman's son who said he was sexually assaulted as a boy by two priests and a teacher — including a previously accused priest who had been transferred to the boy's parish. Lynn has been imprisoned off and on amid a wild legal journey.

He was the first church official ever charged over his handling of abuse complaints.

"My office will continue to use all its resources to ensure that Monsignor Lynn remains in state custody," Williams said during a news conference at his office, adding that the Superior Court has not yet addressed all 10 issues raised by Lynn in his appeal.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:15 AM

Ray Duckler: In God we trust? Priests in New Hampshire made that hard to do

NEW HAMPSHIRE
Concord Monitor

By RAY DUCKLER
Monitor staff
Tuesday, December 29, 2015

David Ouellette, 53, had one correction to make.

Yes, Catholic priests were more than merely respected figures in his community when he was growing up in Rochester. They were placed on a pedestal, revered, almost God-like, right?

“You got most of that right,” Ouellette told me. “The only thing you have wrong is that they weren’t looked at as God-like. In my family, they were God.”

That’s why Ouellette’s parents believed their son was safe during those overnights at the church rectory, alone with a priest named Father Joseph Maguire.

Maguire died in prison 10 years ago, convicted of raping three altar boys in Dover through the 1970s. A few years later, he began molesting Ouellette, 15 at the time.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:11 AM

William F. McMurry on Spotlight and ties to Louisville

UNITED STATES
The Courier-Journal

William F. McMurry December 29, 2015

Aptly named Spotlight, the recently released film focuses on the Boston Globe’s investigation of the decade’s old conspiracy to protect pedophile priests perpetrated by the leaders of the Catholic Church. Those of us who watched a similar story unfold here in Louisville will find the events depicted in this riveting film, all too familiar.

Spotlight takes its name from the newspaper’s elite group of investigative reporters whose apparent autonomy allowed them to pick and choose where the Globe would focus its investigative resources. Enter the Globe’s newly hired editor in chief, Martin Baron. In the film, Baron takes his lead from a Globe op-ed piece written by Eileen McNamara that questioned the large number of sexual abuse lawsuits, all against a single priest.

As the film progresses it becomes increasingly clear that it is Baron’s leadership that motivates what would become a historical investigation, an investigation that would lead to the revelation that the Boston Archdiocese knowingly and willfully shuffled abusive priests from parish to parish within the Boston Archdiocese without warning the parishioners of the imminent threat to their children.

The film also “spotlights” Mitchell Garabedian, an eccentric attorney, who in July 2001 represented 80 adults against the Boston Archdiocese, each claiming he or she was sexually abused as a child. There are problems with Garabedian’s lawsuits, as the legal time for filing them may have expired, resulting in little to be gained for the victims.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:08 AM

December 28, 2015

Prosecutors want to use former pastor's letter admitting to sex abuse in court

KENTUCKY
WLKY

[with video]

LOUISVILLE, Ky. —Prosecutors said a Louisville pastor once wrote a letter admitting to sexually abusing children, and now they want to use that letter in court.

Allen Lehmann faces charges of sodomy and sexual abuse. The alleged incidents took place between 1993 and 2000.

The 76-year-old Lehmann was a substitute teacher in Valparaiso, Indiana, when the charges were filed last year. He was also a minister at an Assembly of God Church in Louisville.

Lehman's defense attorney said the letter doesn’t involve the cases in which he is charged, and that it can't be used as evidence against him.

Prosecutors said it shows how Lehman preyed on children.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:25 PM

Former Joliet Diocese bishop remembered

ILLINOIS
Daily Southtown

Nick Swedberg
Daily Southtown

Family members of Joseph Imesch, the longtime bishop of the Joliet Diocese who died last week, remembered him Monday for his warm personality and tireless efforts to help those in need.

Visitation was held from 1 to 8 p.m. Monday at the Cathedral of St. Raymond Nonnatus in Joliet. Imesch died Dec. 22 at the age of 84.

A funeral Mass will be held at 11 a.m. Tuesday at the cathedral, 604 N. Raynor Ave.

Imesch, known for his support of women and gay rights in the church, spent 27 years as the third bishop with the Joliet Diocese before retiring in 2006.

But his tenure was embroiled in controversy toward its end because of his actions to downplay the Catholic Church's scandal involving sexually abusive priests. Imesch faced allegations that he failed to report to police the sexual abuse of children by priests and transferred abusive priests to new parishes rather than removing them from ministry after they received mental health care.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:06 PM

More moves to reform CA sex crime laws

CALIFORNIA
The Worthy Adversary

Posted by Joelle Casteix on December 28, 2015

On the heels of proposed federal legislation and a CA ballot initiative to eliminate statutes of limitations for sex crimes, California State Sen. Connie M. Leyva (D-Chino) is “seeking to introduce a bill in January that would eliminate the statute of limitations for rape and other related crimes.”

According to the Vallejo Times-Herald:

In an interview, Leyva cited U.S. Department of Justice numbers on rape convictions, calling the statistics “shocking.” “Only two in 100 rapists would actually be convicted and do any kind of time in prison,” Leyva said, when reached by phone.

“That was shocking to me. I also don’t feel like the numbers are getting any better.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:16 PM

Prosecutor Seeks Rehearing in Catholic Church Abuse Case

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
ABC News

By ERRIN HAINES WHACK, ASSOCIATED PRESS WRITER
PHILADELPHIA — Dec 28, 2015

Despite losing on appeal twice, Philadelphia's district attorney said Monday he will continue to fight to keep a Roman Catholic church official who will soon be eligible for parole in prison over his handling of sex-abuse cases.

District Attorney Seth Williams filed an application for the full nine-member state Superior Court to rehear the case against Monsignor William Lynn. Last week, a three-judge panel of the court overturned Lynn's conviction in a 2-1 decision and awarded him a new trial.

Lynn, 64, was convicted in 2012 of endangering a policeman's son who said he was sexually assaulted as a boy by two priests and a teacher — including a previously accused priest who had been transferred to the boy's parish. Lynn has been imprisoned off and on amid a wild legal journey.

He was the first church official ever charged over his handling of abuse complaints.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:37 PM

Spotlight: Showcasing the power of journalism

UNITED STATES
The Nation

December 29, 2015

In 2003, the Globe Spotlight team, an investigative unit of Boston Globe won the journalism’s most distinguished prize – the Pulitzer Prize for its fearless and wide-ranging coverage of child abuse and molestation by Catholic priests and the systemic cover-up by Church. The series of investigative reporting of horrific crime penetrated clandestineness and silence behind the criminality, stimulated regional and global reaction and created an atmosphere for massive changes within the Church by telling the truth.

The seasoned director, writer and actor Tom McCarthy’s new directorial work Spotlight follows the true story of Boston Globe’s investigative journalistic team’s audacious reportage of gigantic sexual scandal, shielded by Catholic Church during a three–decade spree. The powerful journalistic docudrama concentrates on the approach of who done it, exposing the huge scale machination, probing the elements of power and sovereignty, exploitation and secrecy. Not only that, it also explores psychology of victimhood – the emotional trauma and desolation victims had to endure throughout their life.

It all begins in 2001 when new editor-in-chief Marty Baron, played by Liev Schreiber, recruits the Spotlight crew to look into allegations of child abuse by one local pedophile priest. The Spotlight squad – Michael Rezendes (Mark Ruffalo), Sacha Pfeiffer (Rachel McAdams) and Matt Carroll (Brian d’Arcy James) led by editor Walter Robinson (Michael Keaton) - started probing the issue deeply, soon it becomes evident that disturbing scandal and settlements are actually happening within Catholic Church.

As their investigation progresses from one to few and finally to dozens of egregious cases of molestation and immorality, the courageous reporters struggled to follow the root-cause of out of court settlements, involvement of lawyers and massive corruption plague in the system, as editor Robinson declares:

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:05 PM

PA--Victims applaud DA’s decision to appeal priest abuse case

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

For immediate release: Monday, Dec. 28, 2015

Statement by Karen Polesir of Amber, SNAP Philly director (267-992-9463, karenpolesir@yahoo.com)

We’re grateful that Philly prosecutors continue defending the conviction of a high ranking Catholic official who helped conceal clergy sex crimes. We hope Seth Williams prevails in his latest move to hold Msgr. William Lynn responsible for his devious and hurtful cover ups.

[Philly.com]

The potential deterrence effect of this case – encouraging whistleblowing and discouraging cover ups in child sex cases – cannot be overstated. Nor can the case’s healing impact - on the thousands of victims of the 136 publicly accused Philly predator priests and the dozens of other predators whose identities remain hidden – be overstated.

It’s tragic that of the hundreds of current and former Philly Catholic officials who ignored or hid known and suspected child sex crimes, only one can apparently be prosecuted for this heinous wrongdoing. But we are grateful that Philly’s DA persists in his effort to hold that one cleric accountable. We wish prosecutors in other jurisdictions would show similar diligence.

A judge claims that evidence of widespread corruption by archdiocesan staff in child sex cases is prejudicial to Msgr. Lynn. Our view is that when an institution is riddled with deception, callousness and recklessness, such evidence is crucial and is the only way to expose and prevent more corruption.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:02 PM

D.A. Williams wants Monsignor Lynn decision reargued

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
PhillyVoice

BY JOHN KOPP
PhillyVoice Staff

District Attorney Seth Williams is filing paperwork to reargue the case against Monsignor William Lynn, a convicted Catholic priest who was awarded a new trial last week by a Pennsylvania appeals court.

Williams is expected to formally announce Monday his response to the Pennsylvania Superior Court's decision, which has ruled Lynn did not receive a fair trial when he was convicted of mishandling reports of child sex crimes. The court ruled the trial judge allowed jurors to hear too much evidence about the wrongdoing of priests who had abused children.

Lynn once oversaw the work of 800 priests in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia as secretary of the clergy. He was sentenced in 2012 to three to six years in prison for failing to supervise a priest accused of sexual misconduct who later sexually assaulted a 10-year-old boy.

At the time of his conviction, Lynn was the highest-ranking Catholic priest to face charges for covering up abuse by priests. His trial refocused attention on a sex abuse scandal that roiled the faithful across the United States and undermined the church's moral authority around the world.

Victims groups decried the court's decision, saying Lynn was a key part of a Catholic hierarchy that put the careers of priests above the safety of children.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:38 PM

Finding grace in living and dying

UNITED STATES
The Worthy Adversary

Posted by Joelle Casteix on December 28, 2015

Felicia Friesema is teaching me to live.

Felicia is the wife of my friend Steve Julian.

Steve and I met a number of years ago—when his former high school principal was exposed as a predator priest. Although Steve was not a victim, the priest and Steve had tangled over an editorial then-student Steve had written for the Damien High School (LaVerne, CA) student paper.

Finding out the priest was a predator only confirmed Steve’s less-than-amicable feelings for the guy. The story of the priest was the inspiration for Steve’s play ALTARCATIONS/What Kind of God?

I loved having lunch with Steve. We’d talk about the play (a little) and then we’d talk about life. Stuff. Each other.

Because we weren’t in each other’s social circles, we had a bit of freedom to bounce problems off each other. We could talk about our fears (his was health, ironically) with candor—without causing the other to worry.

He taught me to be patient. To embrace silence in a conversation. I love his friendship and I love him. And when Steve talked about Felicia, he glowed.

This year was going to be their second Christmas as a married couple. Steve told me how he envisioned a long and happy life together (and his continual Facebook updates were testament to that).

But things have changed.

Very recently, Steve was diagnosed with a stage four Glioblastoma Multiforme. It’s a tumor in his brain that is robbing him of his memory, his motor skills, and his words. (For those of you who know Steve as the morning host of KPCC’s Morning Edition, you know how tragic this is).

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:34 PM

Barry Freundel’s former DC synagogue trying to move past mikvah trauma

WASHINGTON (DC)
JTA

By Uriel Heilman
December 28, 2015

WASHINGTON (JTA) – Though it’s been more than a year since Rabbi Barry Freundel was hauled away in handcuffs for installing secret cameras at his synagogue’s mikvah, his crime still casts a shadow over his longtime Orthodox congregation, Kesher Israel.

Three civil lawsuits are pending against Kesher by women who presumably used the ritual bath adjacent to his Washington synagogue and were filmed by the rabbi while undressing (the women are identified as Jane Does in the lawsuits). The congregation, which is struggling financially, has yet to begin a search for Freundel’s permanent replacement. And many congregants are still grappling with a range of complicated feelings related to the betrayal by their rabbinic leader.

“It’s like the person you put on a pedestal urinated on you,” said one longtime congregant who asked not to be named. “I don’t think the effects are done. These effects go through the generations.”

Despite Kesher’s challenges, many community members and leaders say the congregation turned a corner with Freundel’s sentencing in May to 6 1/2 years in prison – 45 days for each of the 52 voyeurism counts.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:31 PM

DA asks appeals court to reconsider Lynn case in priesthood scandal

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
Philly.com

by Jeremy Roebuck, STAFF WRITER.

Philadelphia prosecutors urged a state appellate court on Monday to reconsider its decision to overturn the first conviction nationwide of a Roman Catholic Church official for covering up child sex abuse by priests.

District Attorney Seth Williams asked the Pennsylvania Superior Court for a chance to reargue the case against Msgr. William J. Lynn in front of a full panel of the 14-member court. His request came a week after a three-judge Superior Court panel ordered a new trial for Lynn, 64, three years after his conviction in a landmark 13-week trial.

Williams, who has scheduled a news conference to discuss his filing Monday afternoon, could not immediately be reached for comment.

Lynn's lawyer, Thomas A. Bergstrom, said the move by Williams' office was not entirely unexpected.

"This is like a never-ending saga, which will probably never end," he said. "Hopefully the Superior Court's opinion will stand."

In tossing Lynn's conviction last week, the Superior Court took issue with evidence prosecutors introduced at the monsignor's 2012 trial in an attempt to prove that the Philadelphia Archdiocese had historically mishandled child abuse complaints involving area priests.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:44 PM

Officials: Albany priest’s court appearance waived up to County Court

NEW YORK
News 10

By Ali Stewart
Published: December 28, 2015

Officials say 35-year-old Adam Egan’s court appearance was waived up to Albany County Court and there has been no future court date set. He posted bail on Christmas eve for $10,000.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:59 PM

Other Pontifical Acts

VATICAN CITY
Vatican Information Service

Vatican City, 28 December 2015 (VIS) – Today, the Holy Father appointed Msgr. Brian McGee as Bishop of Argyll and the Isles (area 31,080, population 77,400, Catholics 10,179, priests 25, permanent deacons 1, religious 32), Scotland. Bishop-elect McGee was born in Greenock, in the Diocese of Paisley, in 1965 and was ordained a priest of the clergy of Paisely in 1989. He has served as a pastor as well as the Scots College’s spiritual director. He was diocesan director of the RCIA program as well as Episcopal Vicar for marriage and the family. Since 2014 he has served as Paisley’s vicar general.

On Thursday, 24 December, the Holy Father appointed Msgr. Wojciech Tomasz Osial as auxiliary bishop of Lowicz (area 5,806, population 609,479, Catholics 607,825, priests 166, religious 390), Poland. Bishop-elect Osial was born in Lowicz in 1970 and was ordained a priest in 1995. He holds a doctorate in catechetics from Rome’s Pontifical Salesian University and has been serving as Lowicz’s diocesan director for catechism and curial notary. He is also a professor in the seminaries of Lowicz and Oltarzew as well as the Cardinal Stefan Wyszynski University in Warsaw. He has been a canon of the cathedral chapter since 2014.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:17 AM

Why we don’t trust church investigations

MINNESOTA
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

He’s accused of molesting a teen, impregnating an adult parishioner twice, suggested an abortion, fathering a child and ignoring that child.

Catholic officials say they’re investigating all of this alleged wrongdoing by Fr. Henry Willenborg.

Here’s the rub: they’ve been doing so since 2009.

As best we can tell, there’s been no conclusion or announcement or even an update.

Nothing.

It’s been almost seven years.

No one knows where Fr. Willenborg is now (except, of course, his church supervisors and colleagues). No one knows whether church officials have deemed him innocent or guilty of these serious charges. No one knows if church officials have

Recently, Fr. William C. Graham of the Duluth diocese questioned why our SNAP leader there, Verne Wagner, is so skeptical about so-called church abuse “investigations.”

[Duluth News Tribune]

The Willenborg case is Exhibit A for our skepticism.

It bears noting that even if the St. Louis-based Franciscan province, which pays and supervises Fr. Willenborg directly, refuses to act responsibly, there’s nothing to prevent bishops who have let Fr. Willenborg work in their dioceses launch investigations. He’s spent time in Superior Wisconsin and Springfield Illinois. Wouldn’t it be encouraging to hear that Superior Bishop-elect James Powers or Springfield Bishop Thomas Paprocki say “The Franciscans are acting recklessly. Since they’re evidently not investigating, or doing so secretively, I’m starting my own investigation.”

And let us take this opportunity to again praise Pat Bond. She’s one of the adults who was sexually exploited by Fr. Willenborg. He was the biological father to Nathan, Pat’s dear son who tragically passed away in 2009, at the age of 22, from a brain tumor, after a life of being ignored and rebuffed by his callous and irresponsible dad and his dad’s callous and irresponsible Catholic colleagues and supervisors. Thankfully, Nate got tons of love from his brave, kind and steadfast mom and sisters.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:05 AM

Officials: Albany priest in court for secretly videotaping woman in dressing room

NEW YORK
News 10

[with video]

By Ali Stewart
Published: December 28, 2015

LATHAM, N.Y. (NEWS10) – A local priest accused of recording a woman inside a fitting room at the Latham Salvation Army will be in court Monday.

35-year-old Adam Egan was charged last week with unlawful surveillance and tampering with evidence. Police tell us he deleted the video after the woman caught him in the act.

Egan is the priest at Saint Stephens Episcopal Church in Delmar.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:54 AM

Pope appoints priest from socially deprived parish as Scotland's newest bishop

SCOTLAND
Evening Times

Gerry Braiden, Local Government Correspondent

POPE Francis has appointed a 50-year-old parish priest from one of Scotland's most socially deprived areas as the latest Catholic bishop in Scotland.

Monsignor Brian McGee becomes the new Bishop of the Diocese of Argyll and the Isles which has been vacant for over 18 months.

He is the latest appointment to the Catholic hierarchy born in the 1960s and marks a generational change within the Bishops' Conference of Scotland, its main decision-making body in the country.

One senior church figure said the Bishops' Confeence would "benefit from his fresh perspective and thoughtful discernment".

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:32 AM

PORT Glasgow Priest Appointed Bishop

SCOTLAND
InverClyde Now

Monday, 28 December 2015

THE Parish Priest of Holy Family Parish, Port Glasgow has been appointed as the new Bishop of the Diocese of Argyll and the Isles.

The diocese has been vacant since April 2014 when Bishop Joseph Toal became the Bishop of Motherwell.

Bishop-Elect McGee, who grew up in Greenock, said: “It was very humbling, and indeed frightening, to be informed by the Papal Nuncio that Pope Francis had nominated me to be the new bishop of the Diocese of Argyll and the Isles. However, after reflection and prayer I now face this mission with quiet but definite confidence. Yes, I remain aware of my limitations but I am even more aware of the power of God’s grace which, with our co-operation, overcomes our shortcomings. Experience has taught me that positively answering God’s invitations is always to our own advantage.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:30 AM

Feminist campaigner claims child abuse is rampant in strictly Orthodox community

UNITED KINGDOM
The JC

By Rosa Doherty, December 27, 2015

The Jewish community is experiencing a “rampant epidemic” of rabbis who sexually abuse, according to an American educator and activist.

Elana Sztokman said public cases such as the conviction of Todros Grynhaus, who was jailed for 13 years for abusing two teenage girls, were the tip of the iceberg.

“We have a epidemic of abuse and it is rampant in the Jewish community," she said.

“A disproportionate number of abusers seem to be rabbis or quasi rabbis."

Speaking at a session at the Limmud conference in Birmingham, Ms Sztokman, who writes on the subject of Orthodox Jewish feminism, highlighted reasons why abusers were often able to escape punishment.

Ms Sztokman, a former executive director of the Jewish Orthodox Feminist Alliance, said victims who reported abuse were made to feel like outcasts.

She said: “We have seen it time and time again a victim comes forward and the community shuns them.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:00 AM

Cleared of abuse allegations, Waterbury priest focuses on healing process

CONNECTICUT
Republican-American

BY PAUL SINGLEY REPUBLICAN-AMERICAN

WATERBURY The Rev. Jeremiah Murasso of Blessed Sacrament Church and the Shrine of St. Anne has recently endured the most trying time of his life.

This spring, Murasso's sterling reputation within the Roman Catholic church, where he has served as an ordained priest for more than 37 years, was nearly sullied by what church investigators now say are baseless accusations that he sexually abused a minor more than 20 years ago.

For the past six months, Murasso has spent his days in relative exile, at a secluded house far away from hundreds of his parishioners and friends who prayed for him, wrote letters to the archdiocese and refused to believe he was capable of committing such a horrendous crime.

Last week, their prayers were answered, and Murasso's good name was officially restored — after an extensive investigation, the Archdiocese of Hartford concluded the allegations could not be substantiated. Murasso, 63, who had been on administrative leave since June, was told he could once again lead the two parishes on the city's west side.

"This is a victory," he said. "Not so much for me, but for the parishes and for all of the parishes I have served at."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:21 AM

Alaska can learn from new movie 'Spotlight' how to bring abuse out of the shadows

ALASKA
Alaska Dispatch News

Commentary

Trevor Storrs
December 27, 2015

The new Star Wars movie has grabbed everyone’s attention. However, there is another must-see movie – "Spotlight." This new movie, directed by Thomas McCarthy, stars Michael Keaton, Mark Ruffalo and Rachel McAdams as the real-life Spotlight investigative journalist team for The Boston Globe. In 2001, they uncovered a pattern of sex abuse by Catholic priests in Boston and how the Catholic Church covered it up. While the church lays at the center of the scandal, the movie lays clear that the blame falls on all the members of the community who saw the signs and refused to acknowledge them.

We won’t learn any specific strategies or solutions to prevent child abuse from this film, but it does teach one very important lesson about stopping it from happening: refusing to let it exist in the dark.

“If it takes a village to raise a child,” says a lawyer played by Stanley Tucci, “it takes a village to abuse one.”

Preventing child abuse is not the responsibility of children but the adults around them. When "we” as members of the community, as leaders, as parents, are willing and persistent about having real conversations about child abuse and neglect in our community, we can prevent those systems of silence from ever existing.

In "Spotlight," those who could have stopped this abuse but never spoke up were journalists, school administrators, lawyers, upstanding members of the community. There were complex reasons why these people refused to speak up about child abuse; It could endanger people’s jobs, some people did not believe the church could be guilty of that, some people were frightened, and some people just had trouble talking about such a difficult topic.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:18 AM

St George’s, One of the Richest Prep Schools, Faces Tens of Millions in Lawsuits for Sexual Abuse

RHODE ISLAND
GoLocalProv

Monday, December 28, 2015
GoLocalProv News Team

St. George’s, the exclusive prep school in Middletown, Rhode Island which reports assets of over $200 million, has admitted that after decades of denial that at least 23 students were molested by multiple faculty and staff.

St. George’s, which sits high above Second Beach and claims one of the most picturesque campuses in the world, has a long list of high profile alumni including John Nicholas Brown, actress Julie Bowen, Bill Bush, Tucker Carlson, many of the Astors, Senator Claiborne Pell and poet Ogden Nash.

On December 23, in the midst of the holiday week, the school released a letter to alumni including a report that admitted widespread sexual abuse. The report prepared by the law firm Schwartz Hannum admits that at least six staffers were involved in sexual abuse, but only named one of the former employees — Al Gibbs.

Report Released

The lead attorney on the review William E. Hannum III, Managing Partner of the firm, is a graduate of the prep school Deerfield Academy which also had a high profile sexual abuse case. Many alumni question Hannum’s independence and therefore the value of the report.

Gibbs was an athletic trainer at St. George’s from 1973 to February 1980, when he was dismissed after a male student discovered Gibbs photographing a nude female student in the athletic training room. Gibbs passed away in 1996.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:12 AM

Ray Duckler: After months of digging, investigators uncover church abuse, then turn up the heat

NEW HAMPSHIRE
Concord Monitor

By RAY DUCKLER
Monitor staff
Monday, December 28, 2015

When Will Delker and Jim Rosenberg of the attorney general’s office began sifting through pages from what they called the Secret Archives – two filing cabinet drawers filled with evidence of sexual abuse and cover-ups within the state’s Catholic church – they knew what they had to.

They had to find victims named in the documents and persuade them to come forward. Many had not uttered a word about their ordeal for decades, not to a sibling, a spouse, anyone.

The pattern mirrored the stories that emerged from Boston after the Boston Globe’s Spotlight team uncovered a scandal that later would sweep the nation. Priests had been molesting children and then receiving transfers rather than punishment, allowing the behavior to continue for years. Even after the abuse stopped, the trauma for the victims continued into adulthood.

“I grew up in this community, and I knew the meaningful and significant role the church played here, through school and elsewhere,” Rosenberg said in an interview. “But we were beginning to deal with victims who’d been terribly harmed and whose lives had been shaped or reshaped by sexual abuse at the hands of priests and compounded by the fact that the diocese didn’t react in real time at all. It was a very difficult and emotional balancing act for us.”

The lengthy, arduous investigation began in the summer of 2002, after Delker and Rosenberg had gone through the Secret Archives outside the office of Bishop John McCormack.

McCormack had transferred from the Boston Archdiocese to the Diocese of Manchester four years earlier, in 1998. His power as Boston’s auxiliary bishop made New Hampshire officials suspicious that he might have known about sexual abuse here and not said anything, as he had done earlier in his career.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:08 AM

Movies of the Year: A Bracing Dose of Reality

UNITED STATES
The American Prospect

ROBERT KUTTNER DECEMBER 28, 2015

This year's most powerful movies all draw on actual events and tackle big public issues and ethical dilemmas.

The most powerful movies of the year were based on actual events. All combined big public issues with private ethical dilemmas, and provided vehicles for terrific thrillers as well. The fact that we knew the outcome in advance did nothing to detract—the suspense was in how the protagonists found their way to the conclusion. Even better, these movies offered career-topping performances for several of the leads.

Start with the amazing “Spotlight.” In January 2002, Boston Globe readers picked up their newspapers to learn that a Catholic priest had engaged in serial episodes of sexual child abuse. But this was just the beginning. The four-person team reporting the story had discovered that close to 200 Boston area priests had been serial abusers, that the Church hierarchy—right to up the unctuous Cardinal Bernard Law—knew all about the pattern and had orchestrated a cover-up. Catholic leaders had even arranged to have the church’s lawyers pay small settlements to victims in exchange for legally enforceable vows of silence.

Offending priests were shuttled from parish to parish, to assault new victims, occasionally making pit stops to be stashed in special halfway houses. By the time it was over, Law had resigned and had been packed off to Rome, more than 1,200 victims had come forward, and the predatory priest cover-up had unraveled in scores of cities in the US and worldwide—all because newspaper reporters spent months doing serious digging, tracking down humiliated victims, scouring court documents, and unearthing church records.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:05 AM

December 27, 2015

IT TAKES A VILLAGE

UNITED STATES
Eve Marko

DECEMBER 27, 2015 ~ EVE MARKO

Bernie and I went to the movies and saw “Spotlight” yesterday. It’s a terrific film about the group of Boston Globe journalists who reported on the extensive abuse of minors by many Catholic priests in Boston. I can’t recommend this movie highly enough.

I particularly appreciated that it didn’t portray the journalists as pure, white-horse knights going out to seek the truth and slay deniers and perpetrators. It showed, in fact, that they had received several tips in prior years about what was going on, and they’d shut their eyes to it, like many others, or didn’t bother to put the dots together and present the fill story till much later, after many more children had been abused.

I thought of the abuse I’ve seen in dharma centers. It’s easy to say that it was nothing like the horrific scale of what went on in various Catholic dioceses across the world. It’s easy to point out that, at least in the West, children are almost never involved if only because most of our dharma centers don’t have family programs. But we’ve certainly had our share of abuse by teachers of students.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:32 PM

Living a myth...

UNITED STATES
Questions from a Ewe

I vividly remember “the talk” with my mom. You know, “the talk…” My older sister, tired of defending my unwavering belief in Santa, bullied me into asking the big question, “Is Santa real?” My mom’s gentle explanation combined with my fervent desire to believe initially produced the opposite effect my sister intended. Words are weak instruments to describe her reaction when I returned from that little chat triumphantly proclaiming, “I knew it! Santa is real!” However, I do remember her reaction did include grabbing my hand and dragging me back to our mom protesting, “Mom! What did you tell her?! She still believes!”

My mom had taken me to a mirror and said, “Yes, Santa is real but he is not a fat, jolly guy in a red suit. He can look just like the girl in the mirror when she gives a gift at the giving tree.” I so much wanted to believe in the entirety of the Santa myth that I filtered out all words except “Santa is real.” I’m happy to report that we did achieve mutual clarity within the span of about 15 minutes. I was 8 years old and it was time to live with a different understanding of the myth. My sister felt for her and my own physical and mental well-being, it was well past time but that’s a debate for another day.

I find myself reflecting upon that fervent desire to believe in a myth after watching the movie “Spotlight.” This movie chronicles the Boston Globe’s investigative journalism that led to its January 6, 2002 bombshell story about the Catholic Church knowingly leaving numerous pedophile priests in active ministry for decades. Though individual sex abuse stories had been published throughout previous decades, this story altered the conversation because it demonstrated that a sick, systemic culture involving hierarchy and laypeople enabled and helped perpetuate widespread abuse. It revealed a culture pretending each abuse case was simply an individual, isolated, “whoopsie there” incident so as to perpetuate the myth of a perfect church. People turned their heads for a myriad of reasons all stemming from scandal avoidance desires: “priests are good guys”, “just doing my job”, “the church does such good work in other places”, “my fellow parishioners bully whistle-blowers”, “Cardinal/bishop so-and-so says it is the best thing for the church”, etc…

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:27 PM

James Hamilton: "Resistir y llegar al final del camino es gratificante"

CHILE
La Tercera

The civil lawsuit against the Archdiocese marked the latest milestone for James Hamilton. He has sued the Catholic Church for $ 450 million. He alleges the church covered-up the crimes of his alleged abuser, priest Fernando Karadima.]

Francisca Miranda
27 de diciembre del 2015

Este es un proceso que tiene que ver con el perdón. Ha habido dos eventos marcadores en ese sentido para mí. El primero es haber tenido el coraje de ir a decirle a Karadima, en su parroquia, antes de que todo esto se hubiera destapado, que lo perdonaba. Con eso me liberé de él.

El otro hito ocurrió este año.

Fuimos a la casa del cardenal Errázuriz a verlo declarar ante la justicia. Y al verle la cara, verlo cuestionado por el poder del juez y del proceso, verlo cómo se achicaba como persona, verlo tener que recurrir a la mentira, al olvido como defensa y que no pudiera recurrir a la verdad, de alguna manera me reparó. Uno tiene una tendencia a darle más fuerza o fortaleza a tu oponente en estas circunstancias: por la investidura, por todo el apoyo que tiene de la Iglesia, todo. Entonces, uno obviamente se sobrecoge, se asusta un poco. Yo creo que los valientes no son los que no tienen miedo. Los que no tienen miedo y se tiran de cabeza a alguna locura es porque están psicóticos. Yo creo que la gente que logra cierta valentía o fortaleza es porque en verdad están aterrados y logran superar ese miedo.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:40 PM

The Top 10 stories of a busy pope from 2015

ROME
Crux

By John L. Allen Jr.
Associate editor December 26, 2015

ROME — Pope Francis is the dictionary definition of an activist pontiff, constantly saying and doing things that stir hearts, raise eyebrows, and generally capture public interest.

He’s so dynamic, in fact, that often there’s no time to absorb one bombshell before another goes off. Here’s a rundown of the 10 biggest papal headlines of 2015, all of which seemed hard to top at the time, and all of which now risk being overwhelmed by whatever happens in 2016.

10. Latin America
A July 5-13 outing to Ecuador, Bolivia, and Paraguay amounted to a triumphant homecoming for history’s first Latin American pope. One high point came with a fiery July 10 speech to popular movements in Bolivia, in which Francis denounced a “new colonialism” and called for the poor to have the “sacred rights” of labor, housing, and land.

9. Romero
Although Francis wasn’t on hand for the May 23 beatification of El Salvador’s slain Archbishop Oscar Romero, it wouldn’t have happened without him. It not only marked a sort of reconciliation with liberation theology, but also gave contemporary Christian martyrs a new patron.

8. Vatileaks 2.0
In November, two books on Vatican financial scandals appeared based on leaked documents from a papal commission. The Vatican indicted three former insiders for those leaks, as well as the two journalists who published the books, under its criminal law. With no end in sight, the Vatileaks trial has raised questions about freedom of expression, the future of confidentiality in the Vatican, and the direction of the pope’s financial reform.

7. Mixed verdict on sex abuse
Francis appeared to take an important step toward accountability in April when he accepted the resignation of Bishop Robert Finn of Kansas City-St. Joseph, the lone American prelate convicted of failure to report. Yet he also appointed a bishop in Chile seen as having protected that country’s most notorious abuser priest, and later lashed out at critics of the choice as “leftists” propagating “foolishness.” To date, most reformers give the pontiff a mixed verdict.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:37 PM

Christine Flowers: Unjustly convicted, priest has a new shot at justice

PENNSYLVANIA
Daily Times

By Christine Flowers, Delaware County Daily Times
POSTED: 12/26/15

If “A” hurts me, I am his victim and have the right to sue him in a court of law for damages. If what “A” did also amounts to a criminal act, he can be prosecuted and, if found guilty, sentenced to a long prison term.

But this only works if there is a legitimate nexus between what “A” did and the harm I presumably suffered. Even if “A” violated some other legal obligation for which he could be held responsible, I can’t attempt to make him pay for a crime he didn’t commit, the one that caused me pain.

That’s the case even if my injuries are real and easily proven. Because the American criminal justice system doesn’t believe in making one person pay for the crimes of another, no matter how satisfying that would be for the people who were unjustly wronged. We don’t “prosecute by proxy.”

Well, we usually don’t. But when it comes to the Catholic Church, the rules are completely suspended. In the wake of the verifiably horrific allegations of sexual abuse by priests and the equally horrific cover ups by the hierarchy, prosecutors have decided that the public is willing to overlook legal niceties like due process and transparency and want anyone even tangentially connected to the abuse to be punished.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:35 PM

Marc Gafni Abuses Again -- and We Share Responsibility

UNITED STATES
ZEEK

By Dina Levada
September 21, 2011

It has happened again.

Marc Gafni, nee Marc Winiarz, nee Mordechai Gafni, the thrice-divorced rabbi who has been, at times, a hero of Modern Orthodoxy, Jewish Renewal, and the Israeli spiritual renaissance, has again been caught having sexual relations with members of his latest spiritual community. Here are some links to what has happened: Integral Options Café, The Jewish Week.

I was not one of the women Gafni had clandestine affairs with during his time he was a Renewal rabbi, though I was certainly aware (and sometimes the object) of his sexual assertiveness and charisma during the time I knew him, from 2004 through 2006. I am remaining anonymous now because I am afraid of Gafni’s reprisals and am terrified of even receiving an email from him wanting to “talk” or “clear the air,” like the ones he has been known to send his victims. But I am raising my voice to my fellow Jews that we have been silent about this man for too long, and now our silence has led to yet more abuse. In this season of repentance, we should be ashamed of ourselves, and resolve to do better.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:15 AM

Rabbi Marc Gafni Exposed

UNITED STATES
Failed Messiah

The New York Times has a exposé of Rabbi Marc Gafni, who has been accused of child sex abuse and of having affairs with multiple women at the same time, all often his students.

Here's a brief excerpt from the New York Times Marc Gafni exposé (that should make you want to stop shopping at Whole foods or reading the Huffington Post):

…A co-founder of Whole Foods, John Mackey, a proponent of conscious capitalism, calls Mr. Gafni “a bold visionary.” He is a chairman of the executive board of Mr. Gafni’s center, and he hosts board meetings at his Texas ranch. The Whole Foods website shows a seven-part video series of conversations between the two men.

The new media pioneer Arianna Huffington spoke, via teleconference, at Mr. Gafni’s invitation-only conference last year. The author John Gray has asked Mr. Gafni to help write a sequel to “Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus.”…

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:13 AM

NOT JUST A MAN WITH A “TROUBLED PAST”… A SEXUAL PREDATOR

UNITED STATES
The Ass of Death

It is truly hard to believe that every few years or so I am contacted by someone to retell my story of sexual abuse at the hands of a Rabbi, yes a Rabbi. This time, just days ago, it came from an author for the New York Times. It’s as if the powers that be feel the need to remind me in some way that this is part of who I am and is neither over, nor a closed chapter in my life. I have never correlated my eating with this event in my life, but I can honestly say that since this has reared its ugly head again sugar has been really really hard to avoid. So in addition to being off my feet for quite a while and unable to wear normal shoes for 4-6 weeks (BTW surgery on feet went well), I have to fight my sugar addiction and cravings while sitting around with little better to do than eat. Check out the lovely new fashion statement –

I just need to stop bringing the stuff into the house and not let anyone else bring me my trigger foods. I know this is going to be a struggle, but I know somehow I will PERSEVERE.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:11 AM

THE TIME FOR CHANGE IS NOW

UNITED STATES
The Ass of Death

I mentioned that I would not be writing anything regarding my abuse on this blog until the article was published in the New York Times. For three reasons I have changed this decision: 1) It has come to my attention that the article when handed to the editor was so long it would take another week or so before it goes to press. I know that should not make a difference in my world, but somehow it does. I have been trying to prepare myself for life, as I know it to possibly change after this weekend. I have been anxious to say the least. 2) I decided to write this now, because many readers have brought to my attention that not only does this blog help other survivors gain the courage to speak, but also it can, and should be a catalyst for change across all aspects of this sickening problem of sexual abuse. 3) Finally with the premier of the movie SPOTLIGHT I felt the timing important, as the awareness and cry for victims rights is rising across the nation.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:10 AM

MARC GAFNI, A CHILD RAPIST, AND HIS EVER GROWING LIST OF FAMOUS ACCOMPLICES: THE NEW YORK TIMES, HUFFINGTON POST & WHOLE FOODS

UNITED STATES
Huffington Post

By Melayna Lokosky

December 25, 2015 (interesting choice of date) The New York Times piece by Mark Oppenheimer A Spiritual Leader Gains Stature, Trailed by a Troubled Past was published. Note the name of the Spiritual Leader and what specifically the Troubled Past entailed is missing from the headline, and that’s by design. The Sociopathic Business Model™ maintains that manipulating facts without shame, remorse, guilt or accountability while not recognizing the rights of the victims is a goal when trying to prevent corporate, negative truth from being exposed, which can hurt corporate image which is tied to profit. This tactic is two-fold: it revictimizes the victims while helping the corporate abuser’s SEO positively. Both are unethical. These frequent tactics, readers of this site, have come to expect from former, rabbi and child rapist Marc Gafni*; but, are rather unexpected from Oppenheimer and The New York Times. There’s still hope for Oppenheimer, if what happened this past week to local TEGNA, NBC 12 News reporter Wendy Halloran, also happened to him at The New York Times.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:05 AM

A Spiritual Leader Gains Stature, Trailed by a Troubled Past

CALIFORNIA
The New York Times

By MARK OPPENHEIMER DEC. 25, 2015

PACIFIC GROVE, Calif. — In his home office overlooking Monterey Bay, Marc Gafni is trying to remake American spirituality. He reads, he writes, and he works to bring a little-known philosophy called integral theory into the mainstream of New Age.

Integral theory “is based on the understanding that evolution itself is an expression of a spiritual universal force of creation embodied in each one of us as us, as unique selves,” said the futurist Barbara Marx Hubbard, who described Mr. Gafni as a leader of the movement.

The members of Mr. Gafni’s think tank, the Center for Integral Wisdom, and their projects are drawn from the worlds of medicine, yoga, meditation and the business-ethics movement known as “conscious capitalism.”

“We take the best of all the major disciplines of wisdom from the premodern period, the modern period and postmodern period,” Mr. Gafni said. “And we integrate them in a kind of renaissance project.”

A co-founder of Whole Foods, John Mackey, a proponent of conscious capitalism, calls Mr. Gafni “a bold visionary.” He is a chairman of the executive board of Mr. Gafni’s center, and he hosts board meetings at his Texas ranch. The Whole Foods website shows a seven-part video series of conversations between the two men. ...

But the growing prominence of Mr. Gafni, 55, and his think tank has alarmed many Jewish leaders who know him as a former rabbi who was accused of sexually exploiting a high school freshman and who then moved to Israel to start a mystical community, only to lose it after having affairs with multiple followers.

Mr. Gafni, who talked about his past during several interviews, and his supporters say he has put all of that behind him. He said that old claims against him were all exaggerated, the result of professional resentment, and that he had been the victim of pseudofeminist witch hunts. (He handed this columnist a copy of “Sexual McCarthyism,” by Alan M. Dershowitz.)

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:02 AM

Abuse hearing dates revealed

AUSTRALIA
The Courier

By Melissa Cunningham
Dec. 27, 2015

Dates for the next public hearing of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse in Ballarat have been announced. The third part of public hearings into child sexual abuse by the Catholic clergy within Ballarat institutions will be held at the Ballarat Magistrates Court from February 22 to 26. The hearing will examine the knowledge of the Christian Brothers in Ballarat and their response to the allegations of the sexual abuse of children at schools across Ballarat.

It will also continue to discern how much church figures and authorities, including police, knew about the serial sexual abuse of children that occurred across the Ballarat diocese for decades. Details: childabuseroyalcommission.gov.au

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:19 AM

The house of tears: Secret tapes of woman who spent years at controversial Irish home for unmarried mothers reveals there WAS an unmarked mass grave for up to 800 children

IRELAND
The Irish Mail on Sunday

By Alison O'reilly For The Irish Mail On Sunday

A shocking recording from a woman who worked in an Irish home for unmarried mothers where almost 800 children died confirms there is an unmarked grave on the grounds of the infamous institution.

Julia Devaney entered St Mary’s Mother and Baby Home in Tuam, County Galway when she was nine years old and spent 36 years there until it closed in 1961. She worked as a domestic servant for the Bon Secours nuns.

Mrs Devaney gave a stark account of the home in a recorded interview with a former employer who ran a shop in Tuam some time in the 1980s. However, the tapes only resurfaced earlier this year.

From the 1920s, unmarried pregnant women in Ireland were routinely sent to institutions to have their babies, many of whom were sent to America for adoption.

Local historian Catherine Corless, who researched the names of the 796 children who died in the home from 1925 to 1961, has spent a number of months transcribing Ms Devaney’s interview.

Today, the Irish Mail on Sunday can reveal how Mrs Devaney said that children would ‘die like flies’ in the home. Mrs Devaney said: ‘Scores of children died under a year and whooping cough was epidemic. Sure they had a little graveyard of their own up there. It’s still there, it’s walled in now.

‘I don’t remember seeing any stillbirths. If the child died under a year, there were always inquiries. There wasn’t as much about it if the child was over a year.

‘Under a year old, the inspectors would put it down to neglect. They would look upon it as natural if the child was over a year because the child would be more open to diseases.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:54 AM

Pope v. Traditionalists – A Catholic Civil War

UNITED STATES
The Open Tabernacle: Here Comes Everybody

Posted on December 26, 2015 by Betty Clermont

The above is paraphrasing the title of a recent article by Damian Thompson, associate editor of Britain’s oldest magazine, The Spectator. Thompson was referring to a speech delivered Oct. 24 by Pope Francis at the conclusion of the Synod on the Family in which 270 bishops from around the world met in Rome.

The pope said prelates should confront difficult issues “fearlessly, without burying our heads in the sand.” He accused traditionalist bishops of having “closed hearts,” “blinkered viewpoints,” judging “sometimes with superiority and superficiality.” Actually, the pope is in accord with all his prelates in condemning birth control, condoms, abortion and homosexuality.

Pope Francis recently traveled to Uganda and Kenya. “The Catholic Church in Uganda has been in alliance with all the other Churches in condemning and discriminating against LGBTI persons” where “homosexuality is illegal and attacks against gays have forced many to seek refuge abroad or lead secret lives at home.” The pontiff made no correction to his Ugandan bishops.

The leading cause of maternal death in Kenya is unsafe abortion. “More than 70 percent of women seeking post-abortion care in Kenya were not using contraception.” That country also has the fourth-largest HIV epidemic in the world. The pontiff offered no compassion to Kenyan women.

During the Q&A with journalists on the trip from Africa back to Rome, a reporter pointed out to Pope Francis that “In Uganda alone there were 135,000 new infections of HIV, in Kenya it’s worse. It’s the greatest cause of death in Africa.” He asked the pope, “Is it not time for the Church … to allow the use of condoms to prevent more infections?” Francis responded by changing the subject.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:48 AM

Pope v. Curia – A Catholic Civil War

UNITED STATES
The Open Tabernacle: Here Comes Everybody

Posted on December 26, 2015 by Betty Clermont

The above is paraphrasing the title of a recent article by Damian Thompson, associate editor of Britain’s oldest magazine, The Spectator. Thompson was referring to a speech delivered Oct. 24 by Pope Francis at the conclusion of the Synod on the Family. The pope provoked hostilities with Catholic traditionalists to strengthen the perception that he is wants to liberalize the Church but is prevented by prelates with “closed-hearts.”

Pope Francis has also cast his employees as the villains blocking his “reform” of the Vatican bureaucracy known as the Curia.

In his 2014 Christmas “greeting” to his Curia, Pope Francis “launched a stinging attack” denouncing their “hypocrisy” as “typical of mediocre and progressive spiritual emptiness,” “existential schizophrenia,” having a “lust for power” and being guilty of “careerism and opportunism.”

After sharing an assessment of Vatican finance in a meeting with curial cardinals, the pope gave them a 16-minute “scathing, even humiliating dressing-down” described as “harsher than any that had been expressed by a pontiff to an assembled group of cardinals.” The pope told his Princes of the Church, “If something is done without authorization, it doesn’t get paid,” according to a transcript of a secret recording of the meeting.

Referencing the pope’s Oct. 24 speech insulting his traditionalist bishops, “One priest close to the Vatican was appalled but not surprised. ‘You’re seeing the real Francis,’ he said. ‘He’s a scold. He can’t hide his contempt for his own Curia. Also, unlike Benedict, this guy rewards his mates and punishes his enemies.’”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:44 AM

Spotlight on the church

INDIA
The Hindu

NAMAN RAMACHANDRAN

After half a year of frenzied film festival-hopping, I got back to home base only to find a teetering pile of DVD and Blu-ray screeners and an inbox bursting with screening invites and iTunes downloads. We are in the middle of the run up to the awards season, and my task, over the next few weeks, is to watch all these movies and vote for them across categories.

An arresting film

One of the more arresting films I watched was Tom McCarthy’s Spotlight (2015). McCarthy debuted as a director in 2003 with The Station Agent , an indie drama about a diminutive person in search of solitude, which won big at Sundance and won him a screenwriting BAFTA. The Visitor (2007) continued McCarthy’s chronicling of solitary men, this time following a Connecticut-based professor, who returns to his apartment in New York, only to find an illegal immigrant couple squatting there. Richard Jenkins got an Oscar best-actor-nomination for his portrayal of the professor. In McCarthy’s Win Win (2011), Paul Giamatti is not solitary at all as a lawyer who is also a wrestling coach, forced to wrestle with the consequences of a debatable moral decision. I did not watch McCarthy’s The Cobbler (2014) simply because it stars Adam Sandler, who I do not have much time for these days, though I will yield to no one in admiring his bravura turn in Paul Thomas Anderson’s Punch-Drunk Love (2002), and I have no shame in admitting that I watched Pixels (2015) because of nostalgia for 1980s video games.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:39 AM

Settlement Brings Court Oversight

MINNESOTA
America

January 4-11, 2016 Issue

From CNS, Staff and other sources

The Ramsey County Attorney’s Office in Minnesota announced a landmark civil settlement with the Archdiocese of Saint Paul-Minneapolis related to a civil case that alleged grave breakdowns in the archdiocese’s child protection policies. According to County Attorney John Choi, the primary objective of the settlement is to transform the organizational culture of the archdiocese “into one that is vigilant about ensuring that no child will ever again become the victim of clergy sex abuse.”

“Today’s historic agreement increases oversight and transparency to systemically change how the archdiocese protects children and responds to suspected incidents of child sexual abuse,” said Choi. “It is my expectation that the facts of this case will never be repeated and the protection of children will forever be of paramount importance within this archdiocese.” The “case” referred to by Choi involved Curtis Wehmeyer, a former priest who is now serving a prison term for molesting two boys in 2010.

Civil charges will be stayed for three years while the church puts in place enhanced policies and practices to protect children. The archdiocese would have to submit progress reports to the court every six months, and the civil case would be dropped after three years if the court is satisfied with its progress. An accompanying criminal investigation will continue, the county attorney’s office reported.

Archbishop Bernard Hebda, the archdiocese’s apostolic administrator, described the agreement in a letter to parishioners as “an opportunity for us to do all we can to make sure children are as safe as possible now and into the future.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:36 AM

Ray Duckler: A Boston scandal, uncovered by the Globe, spreads north

NEW HAMPSHIRE
Concord Monitor

By RAY DUCKLER
Monitor staff
Saturday, December 26, 2015

Phil McLaughlin, then New Hampshire’s attorney general, played a hunch after reading a Boston Globe story nearly 14 years ago.

Worried the sex abuse scandal enveloping the Boston Archdiocese wasn’t confined to our neighbor to the south, and armed with information from a top church official, McLaughlin called two of his young staffers, Jim Rosenberg and Will Delker, into his office.

With a copy of the Globe on his desk, its banner headline of “Church allowed abuse by priest for years” revealing a dark secret, McLaughlin said what was on his mind.

“I do not believe that news of this event stops at the magic border, the fictitious line in the sand that divides New Hampshire and Massachusetts,” Rosenberg, now a lawyer at Shaheen and Gordon, remembered his boss saying. “I believe we’ve shared diocesan priests. We need to look into this.”

And so they did. Fourteen months later, after assembling a task force of investigators and state and local police, the attorney general’s office released its report, which detailed hundreds of accusations of sexual abuse against dozens of priests.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:33 AM

December 26, 2015

Former Jehovah Witness from Hartlepool agrees to be interviewed as part of nationwide investigation into the church

UNITED KINGDOM
Northern Echo

Chris Webber, Reporter (Stockton/Hartlepool)
Saturday 26 December 2015

A FORMER Jehovah's Witness from Hartlepool calling for changes in the way the church deals with victims of sex abuse has been interviewed as part of a major national investigation.

The church is reeling after a Royal Commission in Australia made 77 adverse findings about the way the church dealt with sex abuse accusations in Australia and in the UK in October campaigners wrote to the Government arguing it should be mandatory for the church to go to police whenever an allegation is made.

That follows two high profile North-East cases where Jehovah Witnesses were criticised in court in the last two years for not going to the police when allegations were raised within tight-nit church communities in Washington and in South Shields.

Now Hartlepool man and campaigner, Steve Rose, has been interviewed by the Charity Commission which is conducting a long-term investigation into the religious group's safeguarding procedures.

Mr Rose has previously been featured in The Northern Echo after raising concerns about practices in the church. On that occasion he claimed he had been 'shunned' and 'disfellowshipped' from the church after falling out with other members. He said that for younger and more vulnerable members with fewer friends outside the group the effect can be devastating.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:24 PM

Calls for Bishop Brian Finnigan’s sacking after royal commission into child sexual abuse

AUSTRALIA
The Sunday Mail

DARYL PASSMORE
The Sunday Mail (Qld)

A BRISBANE bishop is facing calls to be sacked after being slammed at the child sex abuse royal commission.

Bishop Brian Finnigan was accused by counsel assisting the commission, Angus Stewart, SC, of lacking compassion and not being candid, in an attempt to protect himself and the church, when he gave evidence this month.

He admitted the evidence he gave at the public hearing differed from, and was “far more restrictive’’ than, his earlier account to a private hearing of the commission.

Bishop Finnigan held key roles as secretary to then bishop of Ballarat Ronald Mulkearns, and as a member of the College of Consultors, during the time when the Catholic Church’s worst pedophile priest, Father Gerald Ridsdale, was abusing children. Ridsdale was later convicted of 138 offences involving 53 youngsters.

One of the victims, Paul Levey, has now launched an online petition demanding Bishop Finnigan be sacked, claiming he did not do enough to protect children.

The petition, calling for Archbishop of Brisbane Mark Coleridge to remove the bishop, has so far attracted more than 4500 supporters.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:56 AM

Santeria group disowns suspect in skeleton thefts from Hope Cemetery

WORCESTER (MA)/HARTFORD (CT)
Telegram & Gazette

By Samantha Allen
Telegram & Gazette Staff

WORCESTER – A man facing charges in connection with the theft of skeletal remains from Hope Cemetery has been stripped of his title of Santeria priest.

The Cultural Association of African Religions Babalú Aye, a nonprofit organization in New York, said in a statement that Amador Medina’s membership has been revoked. Mr. Medina, 32, of Hartford, was charged this month with stealing remains from Hope Cemetery. He faces a hearing in Central District Court on Jan. 5 and has been ordered held on $100,000.

“By his own (alleged) actions, his membership has been cancelled for violating several points of the terms and conditions agreement that he signed to conserve his affiliation,” reads the statement from the association’s board of directors. “Practitioners and followers of the Yoruba Diaspora (of Santeria) fail to recognize the use of human bones in our religious practices for any reason.”

Mr. Medina told Hartford police, upon their discovery of five sets of human remains in his home, that he was a Babáloshá priest, of the Santeria faith; investigators found an identification card from the association, referred to as the ACRABA, according to Deputy Police Chief Brian J. Foley.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:54 AM

Reformed Rhetoric: Priming the Catholic Church for Long-Term Change

UNITED STATES
Harvard Political Review

By Minnie Jang

Over seven million followers on Twitter. Time’s 2013 “Person of the Year.” Hundreds of thousands of people lined up in the streets to see him during his recent visit to the United States.

Since his election in April 2013, Pope Francis has garnered unparalleled media attention. With nearly 50,000 media mentions in his first year as pontiff alone and tourism in Vatican City tripling since the beginning of his tenure, he has brought increased attention to the papacy and gained a celebrity-like status.

Media outlets are fond of calling him “the people’s pope.” This label draws attention to Pope Francis’s message of compassion for marginalized populations. Through rhetoric of openness and compassion, he has shifted the conversation away from traditionally controversial social issues, such as homosexuality and divorce, to that of building “a church that is poor and is for the poor.”

In evaluating the pope and his refocused rhetoric, the natural inclination is to look for tangible results. How many people has he lifted out of poverty? How much have Church expenditures changed? Yet these quantitative measures are the wrong frame of analysis. Harvard Divinity School assistant dean for ministry studies and field education Emily Click explained to the HPR that Pope Francis is not trying to control outcomes, and that “we often discount a shift in conversation as a powerful move.” While attempting to measure “the Francis effect” has value in ensuring that rhetoric does not wholly replace action, it should not substitute or devalue the importance of conversational change.

During the first two and a half years of his papacy, Pope Francis has initiated this complex process of change, looking outward toward the global Church’s varying priorities and looking inward toward reforming the discourse of the Church itself. These rhetoric-based reforms have sown the seeds of long-term change, which is just beginning to be defined in concrete terms.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:50 AM

Schedule of activity

AUSTRALIA
Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse

January - February 2016

Please note that the schedule below may change at short notice. Details of the subject matter to be covered at public hearings, including the scope and purpose of each case study, will be published on the Royal Commission’s website closer to the date of each hearing.

January

27 Jan-
5 Feb Public hearing: Case Study 36 into Church of England Boys' Society, Hobart

February

Tues 2- Fri 5 Private Sessions- Melbourne, Victoria

Fri 5 Directions Hearing- Sydney, New South Wales

Tues 9- Fri 12 Private Sessions- Perth, Western Australia and Regional Queensland

Mon 22- Fri 26 Public Hearing: Case Study 28 into Catholic Church authorities, Ballarat

Tues 23- Fri 26 Private Sessions- Brisbane, Queensland

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:47 AM

Catholic priest sues Baton Rouge TV station for defamation on report of child abuse litigation

LOUISIANA
The Advocate

JOE GYAN JR.| JGYAN@THEADVOCATE.COM

A Catholic priest at the center of a contentious court case pitting the secrecy of the confessional against state laws designed to protect children is suing a Baton Rouge television station over the station’s reporting of the case.

The Rev. Jeff Bayhi claims he has been defamed and is seeking damages from WBRZ-TV in 19th Judicial District Court.

In the underlying court case on which WBRZ has reported, Rebecca Mayeux claims when she was 14 she told Bayhi — her pastor at Our Lady of the Assumption in Clinton — that she was sexually abused by a now-deceased church parishioner. She alleges Bayhi neglected his duty under Louisiana law to report the alleged abuse to authorities.

“During this reporting, WBRZ-TV and its employees presented Mayeux’s claims against Father Bayhi in such a manner as to create the impression that those claims were facts instead of mere allegations,” lawyer Henry Olinde Jr. writes in Bayhi’s suit against the station.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:42 AM

Laicos de Osorno radicalizarán acciones en rechazo a obispo Barros durante 2016

CHILE
Bio Bio

[The movement of lay Catholics in Osorno is firm is rejecting Bishop Juan Barros as their bishops and they are preparing new and more radical mobilizations during 2016.]

El movimiento de Laicos en Osorno se mantiene firme en rechazar al obispo Juan Barros, por lo que preparan nuevas movilizaciones que serán más radicales, según expresaron los dirigentes.

Mario Vargas, vocero del movimiento, afirmó que el 4 de enero próximo se cumplen 34 años del fallecimiento del primer obispo de la diócesis de la ciudad, Francisco Valdés Subercaseaux, fecha propicia para fortalecer la acción del grupo que ese día realizara una manifestación en la catedral San Mateo.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:39 AM

Religion’s “creative destruction”: Millennials, the new religious “nones,” are experimenting with new forms and rituals

UNITED STATES
Salon

DONALD E. MILLER

From the recent attack on Planned Parenthood to the shooting in San Bernardino, extremists of all stripes are revealing the ugly side of religion. The confluence of these events and election season demagoguery is generating fear and outrage.

In the midst of these national struggles, many families are preparing for a more personal religious fight: going to church on Christmas. Americans increasingly don’t identify with a religion, with significant generational differences.

The Pew Research Center reported this year that 35% of millennials – those born between 1981 and 1996 – are religious “nones.” Many young people may darken a church door only to placate their parents on Christmas and Easter.

These disparate trends are related to the same phenomenon: cultural change. ...

At the same time, both religious “nones” and members of existing religious institutions are experimenting with new forms of spiritual practice and intentional communities. They’re feeding the homeless, gathering in laundromats to offer free laundry service to the working poor and pushing the boundaries that traditionally define religious denominations. Through movements like #blacklivesmatter, they’re creating rituals that critique injustices and heal society and themselves.

This willingness to experiment with religious beliefs and forms previously birthed the Catholic Worker movement, contemporary monastic orders modeled after those in early modern Europe and renewal movements in all faith traditions. Religious institutions can seem unchanging during the span of a human life, but over centuries or millennia, they are evolving.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:33 AM

Best movies of 2015: Don’t miss ‘Spotlight’ and ‘Brooklyn’

UNITED STATES
Belleville News-Democrat

BY LYNN VENHAUS
For the News-Democrat

No matter how dazzling visual effects can be on screen, we still crave a good story. And, in 2015, state-of-the-art technology connected with rich storytelling.

We welcomed back some of the sturdiest icons of the ’70s and ’80s – Rocky Balboa, Han Solo, Leia and Luke Skywalker, and Max Rockatansky. We witnessed 70-year-old director George Miller do his best work and a couple of new guys rejuvenate two of our most beloved franchises — Ryan Coogler “Creed” and J.J. Abrams “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.”

Here are my purely subjective lists on the best of the year. Happy Awards Season!

“Spotlight”

This movie gets it right on so many levels, from the way a newsroom works to how sexual abuse occurred in the Boston Archdiocese. It is a powerful, riveting and haunting masterpiece.

In 2002, the Boston Globe special investigative unit Spotlight disclosed an extensive number of pedophile priests and the church hierarchy’s cover-up in 2002. This led to more victims coming forward and widespread reform in the Catholic Church.

A superb ensemble cast shows the methodical, painstaking efforts of a newspaper operation — Michael Keaton, Mark Ruffalo, Live Schrieber, Rachel McAdams, Brian D’Arcy James, John Slattery and Stanley Tucci fiercely inhabit the real players. Director and co-writer Tom McCarthy carefully depicts the human toll.

It is not only the year’s best, but the most important film of the year, too.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:27 AM

December 25, 2015

Abuse survivors group asks Superior bishop to revisit investigation of priest

WISCONSIN
Superior Telegram

Danielle Kaeding
Wisconsin Public Radio

An advocacy group for those abused by priests is calling on the new leader of Superior’s Catholic Diocese to look into the case of an Ashland priest suspended by the district six years ago.

The previous leader of the diocese, Bishop Peter Christensen, suspended Rev. Henry Willenborg from parish duties at Our Lady of the Lake in Ashland over accusations that he had sex with a minor. David Clohessy, the director of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, said the newly appointed Bishop James Powers should release information on the Franciscans’ investigation into Willenborg.

“Even though six years have passed, there’s never been an announcement about that investigation, whether it’s concluded or ongoing — never even an update,” said Clohessy.

Clohessy said the bishop should also contact parishes within the diocese for anyone who may have been hurt by Willenborg.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:36 AM

Police examining electronic devices owned by priest charged with unlawful surveillance

NEW YORK
CBS 6

Updated: Friday, December 25 2015

COLONIE -- Police say a Delmar priest was arrested after he allegedly took video of a woman while she was changing.

The alleged incident happened at the Salvation Army on Troy Schenectady Road on Wednesday around 6 p.m. According to authorities, Adam Egan, 35, took the video without the woman's knowledge while she was in the dressing room.

Investigators say Egan deleted the video and left the property. He was located a short ways away and arrested. he has been charged with unlawful surveillance and concealing, altering, or destroying physical evidence.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:33 AM

Pope’s choice George Pell ‘untouchable’ despite spending spree

AUSTRALIA
The Australian

PAOLA TOTARO
THE AUSTRALIAN
DECEMBER 26, 2015

In his new book Avarizia (Feltrinelli, 2015), Italian investigative journalist Emiliano Fittipaldi tells the stories behind the massive cache of documents leaked from Pope Francis’s inner sanctum. Known as Vatileaks II, the paper trail also contained details of Cardinal George Pell’s first year heading the Vatican’s financial reforms. The leaked accounts and documents reveal that:

• The Pope introduced Pell to the Vatican media and has nicknamed him the “Ranger”.

• Pell’s first act as newly appointed financial tsar was to appoint Danny Casey, a close friend and colleague from his days in Melbourne, as his assistant on a €15,000 ($22,750) a month salary.

• Casey has been given an apartment in Rome’s elegant Via dei Coronari, which costs €2900 a month, and furniture and renovations costing more than €80,000 were also paid for.

• Between July last year and January this year, Pell’s office spent €500,000 on setting up apartments and offices, including computers, furniture and clothing from one of Rome’s oldest specialist religious tailors.

• Pell likes to travel business class even on short-haul flights, paying more than €1000 to fly from Rome to various European capitals, including London and Monte Carlo. Economy tickets cost two-thirds less.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:57 AM

Priest will urge Pope to reverse dismissal decision

IRELAND
Irish Independent

Ralph Riegel

PUBLISHED
25/12/2015

An elderly cleric is to use an ancient rule of Church law to lodge a personal submission to Pope Francis I in a last-ditch bid to stop his dismissal as a priest.

The revelation came after the Bishop of Cloyne Dr William Crean insisted that Daniel Duane (77) had exhausted all avenues of appeal against being dismissed from the clergy for abusing minors after his final appeal was rejected by the Church's powerful Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

The Church insisted there were no further avenues of appeal open to Mr Duane.

However, the Irish Independent has learned that the elderly cleric is to use an ancient article of Canon Law to lodge a final 'application for recourse' to Pope Francis.

In a statement to the Irish Independent, a relative and spokesman for Mr Duane rejected the allegations against him as totally unfounded.

"He will continue to fight to see that justice is done and that his good name is defended," he said.

The priest, who vehemently protests his innocence, has never been convicted of an offence.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:33 AM

Delmar pastor arrested on felony charges

NEW YORK
Bethlehem Spotlight

By Michael Hallisey First Posted: Thursday, December 24, 2015

LATHAM — A local pastor was arrested the day before Christmas Eve after a Latham thrift store called Colonie Police to report someone was peeping and recording a woman as she changed clothes in the store’s dressing room.

Rev. Adam Egan was arrested by Colonie Police at approximately 3:40 p.m., Wednesday, Dec. 23, on two felony charges of unlawful surveillance and tampering with evidence after he allegedly recorded the victim changing her clothes at the Salvation Army thrift store at 350 Troy-Schenectady Road in Latham.

Colonie Police Det. Sgt. Michael Franze said the 35-year-old was caught as he “held his cell phone over the divider” of the store’s dressing room, allegedly taking a video of a woman changing from her clothes. “She saw him. The police were called, and he fled.” Police located Egan on Aragon Avenue about 10 minutes later, where he was arrested and his electronic devices confiscated.

On his Twitter account, Egan identifies himself as a “husband, father, Episcopal Priest, Rector of St. Stephen's Episcopal Church in Delmar NY and the Diocese of Albany. Avid Pittsburgh sports and NASCAR fan.”

In addition to the unlawful surveillance change, Colonie Police charged Egan with tampering with evidence after he allegedly deleted the video. Det. Sgt. Franze could not say whether Egan was witnessed deleting the video from his phone, or if he confessed to the crime.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:29 AM

Module 9 - Manor House Home, Lisburn

NORTHERN IRELAND
Historical Institutional Abuse Inquiry

Commencing on Tuesday 5th January 2016, the Inquiry will devote one sitting week to the investigation of the former Manor House Home in Lisburn, run by the Irish Church Missions organisation. A provisional timetable for this module is provided below. This timetable is subject to change so you are advised to check the Inquiry’s website on a regular basis.

Created 11-12-15

A link for the detailed timetable, witness statements, documents and transcripts will appear below

Module 9 detailed timetable, witness statements, evidence called and transcripts

A provisional outline schedule from 5th January 2016, which is subject to change, is provided below.

Please note that there will be no admission for either the public or the media if and when the Inquiry is sitting in Closed Session.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:28 AM

Vatican makes new appointments in CTV and Holy See Press Office

VATICAN CITY
Vatican Insider

ANDREA TORNIELLI
VATICAN CITY

The first significant appointments in the communications field have been made following the establishment of the Secretariat for Communications headed by Mgr. Dario Edoardo Viganò. Pope Francis has appointed Stefano D’Agostini as the new director of the Vatican Television Center (CTV). He is currently the Center’s technical director and succeeds Mgr. Viganò.

American journalist Greg Burke’s appointment as vice director of the Holy See Press Office is also significant. Burke, a former Fox News correspondent, has served as senior communications adviser to the Vatican Secretariat of State since 2012 – right when the first Vatileaks scandal broke out. He is Fr. Federico Lombardi’s third deputy, the other two being Fr. Ciro Benedettini and Angelo Scelzo.

Burke replaces Ciro Benedettini who is due to retire after 21 years of service. In his Christmas speech to journalists from the Vatican Press office, the Holy See’s spokesman, Fr. Federico Lombardi, issued the following comment: “This morning we learnt that a new vice director has been appointed. We welcome Greg (Burke) who will be working with us as of February. But I would like to express my wishes and huge gratitude to Fr. Ciro (Benedettini). If there is one person who has been a glue for Church life and the Church community over the past 20 years, that is Ciro. We are immensely grateful to him.”

In his speech, Fr. Lombardi referred back to a point Francis made in his address to the Curia this morning: “whoever renounces their humanity renounces everything,” he said. “Humanity makes us different from robots, which feel nothing. Humanity means being affectionate, friendly and kind to everyone.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:25 AM

A "celibate" priest gives evidence to help Cardinal George Pell's lawyers

AUSTRALIA
Broken Rites

By a Broken Rites researcher (article updated 24 December 2015)

Australia's national child-abuse Royal Commission has learned how George Pell recruited supporters from among suburban priests when he began his rise to power in Melbourne in the 1980s and 1990s. Broken Rites understands that Pell was welcomed particularly by conservative (as distinct from moderate-minded) priests. One of these traditionalist supporters, Father John Thomas Walshe, has given evidence to the Royal Commission on behalf of Cardinal Pell's lawyers. This Broken Rites article is an analysis of Walshe's evidence. Father Walshe said he supports the policy of compulsory "celibacy" for Catholic priests. A week after his evidence, it was revealed that the Melbourne Catholic archdiocese has apologised to a former student who says he was sexually abused (at the age of 18) by Father Walshe.

The matter of the 18-year-old student is reported towards the end of this article but, first, here is an analysis (by Broken Rites) of Father Walshe's evidence (on 15-16 December 2015) from the official transcript.

Cardinal George Pell received several mentions in Father Walshe's evidence. Originally a priest in the Ballarat diocese (which covered the western half of Victoria), George Pell moved to Melbourne in 1985 to become the head of the Melbourne seminary (Corpus Christi College, then based at Melbourne's Clayton), which trained priests for Victoria and Tasmania. In 1987 he was appointed as one of Melbourne's four regional auxiliary bishops under the authority of Archbishop Frank Little (Bishop Pell's region was Melbourne's south-eastern suburbs). This is when he became acquainted with allies such as Father John Walshe.

At this stage, Pell was no more famous nationally than any of Australia's forty or so other Catholic bishops. But he was working on it.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:24 AM

Sexual Abuse in Protestant Churches

UNITED STATES
Leon J. Podles: Dialogue

In my book Sacrilege I said that I thought child abuse by clergy was not just a Catholic problem; the Catholic Church is big and keeps records. Most Protestant churches have far greater congregational autonomy and weak central record keeping, so it is easier for child abuse to disappear. The problem is not new.

Protestant churches in the nineteenth century were beset by scandals.

The Chicago Times in 1872 criticized “the extreme laxity which has commenced to govern certain denominations in accepting candidates for holy orders, and the mildness with which lesser offenses that infallibly lead to greater ones are excused.” The Chicago Times also editorialized: “The clergyman, like the physician, has extraordinary facilities for the commission of a certain class of crimes, and those facilities are such as to heap double damnation upon him if he is sufficiently diabolical to make use of them.”

“Boz” Tchividjian is a grandchild of Billy Graham and a professor at Liberty University. He saw Spotlight and sees the same dynamics at work in Protestantism as were at work in Boston:

My friend Christa Brown, who was sexually abused by her Baptist youth pastor, writes, “Eddie [pastor] always said that God had chosen me for something special. I guess I really wanted to believe that. Doesn’t every kid want to think they’re special? Besides, who was I to question a man of God? It wasn’t my place.” The sinister reality is that sex offenders who hold positions of authority while carrying Bibles and quoting scripture are treacherous, regardless of whether they are called priest, pastor, or reverend. It’s not just a Catholic problem.

And

I couldn’t help but recall the countless cases I have encountered in Protestant circles where offending pastors, missionaries, and other leaders have been reassigned or allowed to quietly resign all in an effort to insulate the institution. The youth pastor who rapes a child and is transferred to a new church and given a going away party; the pedophile missionary physician who is quietly sent home from the mission field; the church volunteer who admits to sexually abusing a child and is simply directed by the church leadership to move quietly to another state. The list could go on and on. It’s not just a Catholic problem.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:21 AM

Priest Arrested On Felony Charges

NEW YORK
Northeast Public Radio

[with audio]

By DAVE LUCAS

A priest who leads an Episcopal parish in suburban Albany has been charged with secretly videotaping a woman in a store dressing room.

Colonie police say 35-year-old Adam Egan was charged with two felonies after a customer at a Salvation Army store noticed a camera peeking over a dressing room curtain and called police.

Colonie police confirmed Egan is rector at St. Stephen's Episcopal Church in Delmar.

After his arrest Wednesday evening, Egan was arraigned and taken to Albany County Correctional Facility without bail to await a Dec. 28 court appearance.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:19 AM

VICTIMS GROUP WANTS COLLEGE TO RENAME IMESCH AWARD

ILLINOIS
WLS

JOLIET, Ill. (WLS) -- A victims group is calling for a Joliet college to rename an award named for the late Bishop Joseph Imesch.

Bishop Imesch, who died this week, led the Joliet diocese for 27 years and was accused of covering up alleged abuse by priests.

The group Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests wants the University of Saint Francis change the name of the award.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:16 AM

Prestigious Rhode Island prep school reports that 26 former students were sexually abused by staff 30 years ago

RHODE ISLAND
Daily Mail (UK)

By Regina F. Graham and Kelly Mclaughlin For Dailymail.com and Associated Press

An internal investigation by a prestigious Rhode Island boarding school has found that 26 students were sexually abused by six school employees in the 1970s and 1980s.

St. George's School sent a letter to alumni Wednesday detailing the credible allegations and apologizing for not doing more at the time to keep students safe and report abusers to authorities.

The letter from the Middletown school names only one of the six former employees, Al Gibbs, an athletic trainer who was fired in 1980 and has since died.
The others have now been reported to Rhode Island State Police, as have three former students accused of misconduct.

'To all victims, we are truly, deeply sorry for the harm done to you by former employees or former students of the School,' the letter states according to The Boston Globe.

'We are heartbroken for you and for the pain and suffering that you have endured.
'We pledge to do all we can to support you in your efforts to heal, if you want or need our support.'

The school says it is forming a support group, therapy fund for victims and creating an independent advisory support group.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:12 AM

Rhode Island Prep School Expresses ‘Sorrow and Shame’ Over Sexual Abuse

RHODE ISLAND
The New York Times

By KATHARINE Q. SEELYE
DEC. 24, 2015

BOSTON — An investigation by St. George’s School, a prestigious prep school in Rhode Island, has found that 26 students were sexually abused by school employees in the 1970s and ’80s, and that while the administration at the time fired the employees, it failed to report the abuses to the authorities.

In an 11-page report on its investigation, which it released to alumni on Wednesday night, the school said it “failed on several occasions to fulfill its legal reporting requirements,” adding, “we believe the school could have done more to keep its students safe.”

It also expressed its “regret, sorrow and shame that students in our care were hurt” and said it was taking responsibility for trying to heal their wounds. Victims have reported an array of problems brought on by the abuse, including depression, difficulty with intimacy and relationships and attempted suicide.

The episodes at St. George’s, in Middletown, are part of a pattern of sexual abuse at elite schools, many of them in New York and New England, that took place decades ago but have come to light or been acknowledged only in recent years. They include the Horace Mann School in the Bronx, Yeshiva University High School for Boys in Manhattan, Poly Prep Country Day School in Brooklyn, the Hackley School in Tarrytown, N.Y., and Deerfield Academy in western Massachusetts.

Most of the schools have issued apologies and some have negotiated settlements with the accusers.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:10 AM

Prestigious Rhode Island boarding school says staff abused 26 ex-students

RHODE ISLAND
New York Daily News

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS Friday, December 25, 2015

An internal investigation by a prestigious Rhode Island boarding school has found that 26 students were sexually abused by six school employees in the 1970s and 1980s.

St. George's School sent a letter to alumni Wednesday detailing the credible allegations and apologizing for not doing more at the time to keep students safe and report abusers to authorities.

The letter from the Middletown school names only one of the six former employees, an athletic trainer who was fired in 1980 and has since died. The others have now been reported to Rhode Island State Police, as have three former students accused of misconduct.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:07 AM

Priest convicted of traveling to molest seeks PR firm

PENNSYLVANIA
Philly.com

by The Associated Press.

JOHNSTOWN, Pa. (AP) - A Roman Catholic priest convicted of traveling to Honduras to molest orphaned boys during missionary trips is seeking a public relations firm to tell his side of the story.

The Rev. Joseph Maurizio Jr. was found guilty in September of engaging or attempting to engage in illicit sexual conduct in foreign places, as well as possessing child pornography and money laundering. He is being held in the Cambria County prison, where he has been held since his September 2014 arrest, and is scheduled to be sentenced on Feb. 2.

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown suspended Maurizio after federal prosecutors filed charges.

The 70-year-old Maurizio was accused of using a self-run Johnstown-based charity called Humanitarian Interfaith Ministries to travel to an orphanage for several years ending in 2009. Prosecutors said he promised candy and cash to the boys to watch them shower, have sex or fondle them.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:02 AM

December 24, 2015

JESUITS OF THE NORTHEAST PROVINCE ARE RE-VICTIMIZING A CLERGY SEXUAL ABUSE VICTIM

NEW YORK
Road to Recovery

Media Release – December 24, 2015

Jesuits of the Northeast Province are insensitive and re-victimizing Neal E. Gumpel, a childhood clergy sexual abuse victim of Fr. Roy Alan Drake, SJ, a deceased, serial, pedophile Jesuit priest

Jesuits admit to having credible information from approximately five (5) persons (besides the victim) about Neal E. Gumpel’s childhood sexual abuse by Fr. Roy Alan Drake, SJ and still refuse to settle Neal E. Gumpel’s claim reasonably

Jesuits have refused to reasonably settle the childhood sexual abuse claim of Neal E. Gumpel

What
A demonstration and leafleting alerting the media, parishioners of a Jesuit-sponsored parish, and the general public that the Northeast Province of the Society of Jesus (Jesuits), has insulted and re-victimized a childhood sexual abuse victim of a Jesuit priest by refusing to settle his claim reasonably. The Jesuits have already settled at least one public claim against Fr. Roy Alan Drake, SJ.

When
Thursday, December 24, 2015 from 10:15 pm until Midnight
Friday, Christmas Day, December 25, 2015 from 10:15 am until 11:30 am

Where
On the public sidewalk outside the Church of St. Ignatius Loyola, 980 Park Avenue (between East 83rd and East 84th Streets), New York, NY 10028 – 212-288-3588

Who

Neal E. Gumpel, a childhood sexual abuse victim of Fr. Roy Alan Drake, SJ, a serial pedophile Jesuit priest; Members of Road to Recovery, Inc., a non-profit charity based in New Jersey that assists victims of sexual abuse and their families, including its Co-founder and President, Robert M. Hoatson, Ph.D.

Why
The Northeast Province of the Society of Jesus (Jesuits) knows that Fr. Roy Alan Drake, SJ, was a serial molester of minor boys. The Province settled at least one public claim against Fr. Roy Alan Drake, SJ, in the past. Neal E. Gumpel’s credible story of having been sexually abused as a minor child by Fr. Roy Alan Drake, SJ, at Maine Maritime Academy in Castine, Maine, when Fr. Roy Alan Drake was a professor and Jesuit priest at Maine Maritime Academy, was credibly supported by approximately five (5) individuals, in addition to Neal E. Gumpel. Now, the Northeast Province of the Jesuits, which has found that Neal E. Gumpel’s claim is credible, has insulted and re-victimized Neal E. Gumpel by refusing to reasonably settle his claim. Demonstrators will ask Midnight Mass attendees and Christmas Day Mass attendees to voice their outrage to the Jesuits of their parish and the Northeast Province (whose headquarters are around the corner on East 83rd Street) and demand of the Northeast Jesuit leadership that they treat Neal E. Gumpel with compassion, fairness, and justice.

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 1:04 PM

IL--Victims ask college to rescind bishop's honor

ILLINOIS
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

For immediate release Thursday, December 24, 2015

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 Joliet college should end its practice of honoring a disgraced, just-deceased Catholic bishop.

[Patch]

Each year, University of St. Francis officials give a "Bishop Joseph Imesch award" to a teacher. But Imesch clearly, repeatedly and deliberately concealed and enabled horrific clergy sex crimes. Honoring him rubs salt into the already-deep and still-fresh wounds of both clergy sex abuse victims and Catholics.

College officials should re-name this award and apologize to all who have been hurt by this callous decision. Honoring those who conceal child sex crimes only encourages others to conceal child sex crimes. It's both hurtful and unwise, insulting the wounded and endangering the vulnerable.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:01 PM

Vatican--Victims dismiss papal meeting with Mexican survivors

UNITED STATES/MEXICO
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

For immediate release, December 24, 2015

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

Pope Francis will supposedly meet with clergy sex abuse victims in Mexico in February. We are not impressed. Instead of creating public relations opportunities by meeting with victims, Francis should be taking decisive action to reduce the number of victims.

[ANSA]

Several popes have met several times with dozens of victims. Each of these events leads to greater complacency. None of these events has led to a single helpful step toward prevention.

We long for the day a pope actually does something that exposes predators, punishes enablers and advocates for better secular child safety laws, rather than engage in more symbolic, meaningless gestures about this on-going crisis.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:57 PM

Delmar priest accused of recording woman in changing room

NEW YORK
WNYT

[with video]

Jessica Riley

An Episcopal priest is accused of peeping in a changing room in Colonie.

Police arrested Reverend Adam Egan after they say he was recording a female in the changing room of a Salvation Army on Wednesday.

They say when officers arrived at the store, Egan ran and tried to delete the videos. Police confiscated his electronic devices during his arrest.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:55 PM

Former Our Lady of the Elms employee accused of sexual battery of student

OHIO
Cleveland.com

By Adam Ferrise, cleveland.com
on December 23, 2015

AKRON, Ohio — An employee of Our Lady of the Elms school is accused of having a sexual relationship with a student.

Jeffrey Peterson, 28, of Akron is charged with sexual battery. Peterson was arrested on Wednesday and is being held in the Summit County Jail until a court appearance on Monday.

Our Lady of the Elms Chief Administrative Officer Dr. Ruth Friedman said Peterson has been fired. He worked as an IT coordinator at the school on July 1, the date when court records says that the incident took place.

"Nothing is more important to Our Lady of the Elms than the safety of our students, teachers and staff," Friedman said in an emailed statement. "So, nothing can be of greater concern to us than an accusation like this. We are taking all necessary steps to ensure the safety and security of the entire Our Lady of the Elms family."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:00 PM

'Vatileaks' priest freed from jail, put under house arrest

VATICAN CITY
GlobalPost

A Spanish priest accused of leaking secret documents to journalists in the so-called Vatileaks scandal was released from prison and placed under house arrest, a spokesman for the Holy See said Wednesday.

Spanish Monsignor Lucio Vallejo Balda was arrested in November over accusations he leaked confidential documents to the Italian press, along with his assistant Nicola Maio and Francesca Chaouqui, a former PR consultant to the Vatican.

Vallejo Balda was released from jail Tuesday and is being housed in a small flat in a convent located above the Vatican police station, spokesman Ciro Benedettini told AFP, adding that he was barred from leaving the city-state.

The priest had made a statement saying he leaked the documents under Chaouqui's influence and that he had been sorely tempted to break his vow of celibacy as a result of her sexual advances.
She has rubbished his claims.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:20 AM

Bethlehem priest accused of filming woman in dressing room

NEW YORK
Albany Times-Union

By Dennis Yusko Published Thursday, December 24, 2015

COLONIE — An Episcopal priest from Bethlehem was arrested and jailed without bail for allegedly videotaping a woman who was getting dressed in the Salvation Army on Troy-Schenectady Road, according to police.

Adam Egan, 35, was charged with unlawful surveillance and tampering with evidence, both felonies, following the incident at 3:30 p.m. Wednesday, according to Colonie Detective Sgt. Michael Franze. He confirmed Egan is pastor at St. Stephen's Episcopal Church in Bethlehem.

Egan attempted to flee the Salvation Army building after the victim noticed a camera peeking over the top of a curtain and contacted police, Franze said. Police apprehended him nearby and an electronic device.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:18 AM

Catholic priest removed from priesthood over child porn

PENNSYLVANIA
WPXI

The Associated Press

PITTSBURGH — The Vatican has defrocked a Pittsburgh-area priest who was already removed from public ministry since 2009 after an allegation of past child sex abuse and later pleaded guilty to possessing child pornography.

Sixty-seven-year-old David Dzermejko (jer-MAY'-koh) is serving a three-year sentence at a federal prison hospital in Massachusetts. He was sentenced last year and indicted on the child pornography charges in 2013.

Dzermejko was the longtime pastor of Mary, Mother of the Church parish in Charleroi when he was removed from active ministry.

He never was criminally charged in the alleged abuse, which dated to the 1980s and involved another parish. The allegations surfaced in 2009 when a couple accused Dzermejko of molesting their son, who had since died.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:17 AM

Pope to meet sex abuse victims in Mexico

VATICAN CITY
ANSA

(ANSA) - Vatican City, December 24 - Pope Francis is to meet with victims of child sexual abuse by priests and their relatives during a visit to Mexico in February, Vatican website Il Sismografo said Thursday.

The meeting was confirmed by the archbishop of San Luis Potosí, Monsignor Jesus Carlos Cabrero Romero.

However, exact details have not been released and every effort will be made to keep the meeting as private as possible.

The pope will be in Mexico February 12-18. Francis met with victims of pedophile priests in Philadelphia in September during a visit to Cuba and then the United States. He has made ridding the Church of the scourge of child sex abuse and asking for forgiveness for past crimes a central part of his papacy.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:10 AM

The Art of the Possible

MINNESOTA
Canonical Consultation

12/23/2015

Jennifer Haselberger

Since last Friday's announcement of a settlement between the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis and the Ramsey County Attorney's Office regarding the civil petition filed in June of 2015, many of you have contacted me to express your disappointment with the terms of the settlement. I understand your frustration. The terms of the settlement read, at least at first glance, like a restatement of all the promises that the Archdiocese has made, and broken, over the past twenty-five years, and suggests little reason for hope. At the same time, I agree with news reports that have suggested that the agreement is without precedent, and I tend to lay the blame for the weaknesses of the agreement with the Archdiocese rather than with the court. Here is why.

When the Ramsey County Attorney's Office filed its civil petition on June 3, 2015, it sought to prevent the Archdiocese from engaging in further acts that would cause harm to or contribute to the delinquency of minors. The means to accomplish this, according to the petition, was for the court to evaluate the Archdiocese's child protection program and identify and develop a plan to address any weaknesses, and for the Archdiocese over a period of years to have to prove to the court's satisfaction that such weaknesses have been addressed and that the program is functioning as intended. The settlement agreement includes provision for the latter, while the stipulations suggest exactly where such weaknesses have been found and how the Archdiocese has proposed to remedy them. On these points, the victory clearly lays with the Ramsey County Attorney's Office.

Yet, the scope of both the court's oversight and the practices and procedures it covers are extremely limited. This is because, as the agreement notes, it pertains only to the Archdiocese's Central Corporation, and does not include the parishes, seminaries, or Catholic schools where, historically, the vast majority of sexual abuse of minors by clergy has taken place. In other words, the provisions of the agreement must be followed by the Central Corporation (the administrative offices of the Archdiocese) but a parish or school can disregard the provisions without fear of consequences beyond a possible letter from the Chancery. While this is extremely problematic, it is not the fault of the Ramsey County Attorney's Office. The civil petition and criminal charges were filed against the Archdiocesan corporation and, as we all know, the Archdiocese has long maintained that its parishes and schools are separately incorporated and not under the control of the Archbishop. The agreement, therefore, represents what could be reasonably achieved within the limits of the law.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:13 AM

Local priest charged with Unlawful Surveillance, Tampering with Evidence

NEW YORK
News 10

LATHAM, N.Y. (NEWS10) – An Episcopal priest is facing two felony charges after he allegedly used his cell phone to record a woman in a Salvation Army changing room.

Colonie police said they arrested 35-year-old Adam Egan, of Delmar, around 4 p.m. Wednesday. They said the woman and her mother were in the store shopping.

The daughter was trying on clothes when she said she noticed a man peering over the divider between the changing rooms. She said she alerted her mother who then chased the man out of the store.

Police said they caught up to Egan about a mile away, and he deleted the alleged video from his cell phone, according to police.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:01 AM

Diocese removes incarcerated priest

PENNSYLVANIA
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

December 24, 2015

By Peter Smith / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

A Roman Catholic priest serving a federal prison term for possession of child pornography has been removed from the priesthood, according to the Diocese of Pittsburgh.

David F. Dzermejko has been incarcerated at the Federal Medical Center in Devens, Mass., since his sentencing in April 2014 in U.S. District Court for possession of what prosecutors said were more than 100 images of child pornography.

The Diocese of Pittsburgh had removed Dzermejko from ministry in 2009 following allegations he had sexually abused children. But he had remained technically a priest until Oct. 31, when the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which handles abuse cases, issued a decree dismissing him from the clerical state.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:59 AM

Convicted Somerset County priest seeks public relations help

PENNSYLVANIA
Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

By Liz Zemba
Wednesday, Dec. 23, 2015

A Somerset County priest awaiting sentencing on charges he traveled overseas to molest orphaned boys maintains his innocence and is soliciting public relations firms to tell his story, drawing the ire of a national support group for clergy-abuse survivors.

The Rev. Joseph D. Maurizio Jr., 70, is to be sentenced in February on federal charges he used a self-run charity based in Johnstown — Humanitarian Interfaith Ministries — to visit a Honduran orphanage numerous times between 1999 and 2009, promising candy and cash to boys to watch them shower, have sex or fondle them.

His attorney, Steven Passarello of Altoona, on Wednesday confirmed Maurizio is seeking help from public relations firms.

In September, Maurizio was convicted of engaging or attempting to engage in illicit sexual conduct in foreign places, possessing child pornography and money laundering.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:47 AM

St. George's School Accused Of Ignoring Years Of Sexual Abuse

RHODE ISLAND
Rhode Island Public Radio

By KATHERINE DOHERTY • DEC 15, 2015

An elite, private school in Middletown is at the center of an unfolding scandal over sexual abuse. After years of silence in some cases, several former students say they were abused by the school's longtime athletic trainer, Al Gibbs. The Boston Globe first broke the story.

According to The Globe, one former student, Anne Scott, has sued St. George's, which she attended in the late 1970s. Scott describes being molested and raped by Gibbs on school grounds, and she has renewed her quest for action some 40 years after the alleged abuse took place.

According to the article, Scott now seeks "accountability" but no monetary compensation. Scott dropped an earlier lawsuit seeking millions of dollars in the face of a vigorous defense strategy from the school's lawyers.

St. George’s declined RIPR's request for an interview, but said in a written statement that an investigation into the abuse claims has been underway for nearly a year and is nearing completion. The school has sent several letters to alumni and current families describing multiple, credible reports of sexual misconduct. In the most recent letter, sent in November, St. George’s offers to set up therapy funds for victims as part of the investigation.

Reporters for The Boston Globe interviewed several women in addition to Scott who said they were also abused by Gibbs, who was reportedly fired in 1980. The paper provides detailed accounts of the alleged abuse and cites court records that show several students reported the sexual abuse to the school at the time, but it does not appear those claims were investigated or passed on to authorities.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:43 AM

State Police investigate prep school sex abuse claims

RHODE ISLAND
Southern Rhode Island Newspapers

MIDDLETOWN, R.I. (AP) — Police are investigating decades-old sexual abuse allegations at a prestigious Rhode Island boarding school.

The Newport Daily News reports that St. George's School notified state police of allegations against former employees that date to the 1970s and 1980s. Police declined to comment on the scope or subjects of the investigation.

The Boston Globe first reported this week on a former student's effort to make the school accountable for what she said was abuse by an athletic trainer who left the school in 1980 and has since died.

School administrators sent letters in April, August and November informing alumni they were investigating old allegations against the trainer and two others.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:41 AM

R.I. prep school report cites more sex abuse victims

RHODE ISLAND
Boston Globe

By Bella English GLOBE STAFF DECEMBER 23, 2015

An investigation by St. George’s School has found that a total of 23 students were sexually abused by three school employees in the 1970s and ’80s, according to a draft of a report provided to the Globe Wednesday evening. The perpetrators were fired, but the prep school did not report them at the time to child protection services, as mandated by law.

In addition, three other employees during the same period engaged in sexual misconduct with a single student apiece, bringing the total to 26 victims of staff abuse, according to the draft report to alumni, signed by headmaster Eric Peterson and board chair Leslie Heaney.

“To all victims, we are truly, deeply sorry for the harm done to you by former employees or former students of the School,” the draft states. “We are heartbroken for you and for the pain and suffering that you have endured. We pledge to do all we can to support you in your efforts to heal, if you want or need our support.”

The document outlines plans to set up a therapy fund for victims, create an independent advisory support group, and consider removing former headmaster Tony Zane’s name from a dormitory. Zane, now 85, led the school in Middletown, R.I., during the years the abuse occurred.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:37 AM

VatiLeaks priest released from prison

VATICAN CITY
news.com.au

AAP

Monsignor Lucio Vallejo Balda, a Spanish priest arrested almost two months ago over the VatiLeaks 2 affair, has been released from prison and placed under house arrest, the Vatican says.

Vallejo Balda is on trial, along with two other alleged leakers - his aide Nicola Maio and PR consultant Francesca Chaouqui - for revealing Vatican financial scandals to two journalists, Emiliano Fittipaldi and Gianluigi Nuzzi.

The 54-year-old prelate left his cell on Tuesday and was granted accommodation within Vatican walls, Holy See spokesman Father Federico Lombardi said on Wednesday.

Vallejo Balda was the only VatiLeaks 2 suspect behind bars.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:35 AM

Duggar Church Sex Abuse Lawsuit Dismissed— But Alleged Victims Vow To Refile

UNITED STATES
Radar

More than two months after five women filed a damning lawsuit against the Duggar family’s beloved church organization, a judge has dismissed the case— but the alleged victims have vowed to refile the documents, RadarOnline.com can exclusively reveal.

As Radar reported in October, five former employees of Institute in Basic Life Principles, Gretchen Wilkinson, Charis Barker, Rachel Lees, Rachel Frost and a Jane Doe, sued the ministry and six of its directors—including Bringing Up Bates patriarch Gil Bates— for “failing to report known allegations of sexual abuse and sexual harassment…to the appropriate law enforcement agencies.”

While employed by the church, the women claimed they were victims of “sexual abuse, sexual harassment and inappropriate/unauthorized touching” by church staff members and managers.

Now, Radar can report, the defendants have filed a motion to dismiss the suit, claiming the plaintiffs failed to cite specific examples of abuse in their initial filing.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:33 AM

Lynn's lawyers ask for bail and a new judge

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
Philly.com

by Jeremy Roebuck, Staff Writer.

Msgr. William J. Lynn, the first Roman Catholic Church official convicted in the United States for covering up child sex abuse by priests, wants out of prison and to have his case assigned to a new judge.

A day after a Pennsylvania Superior Court panel overturned - for a second time - the 64-year-old's 2012 conviction, his lawyer, Thomas A. Bergstrom, sought an emergency bail hearing for his client and the removal of Common Pleas Court Judge M. Teresa Sarmina from the case.

In court filings Wednesday, Bergstrom cited Sarmina's "previous harsh sentence and other rulings," as well as her decision to admit evidence at trial of decades worth of child-abuse complaints involving Philadelphia area priests, some of which predated Lynn's tenure as secretary for clergy for the Philadelphia Archdiocese.

Superior Court called that evidence "unfairly prejudicial" in its ruling Tuesday and sided with Lynn's argument that it effectively turned him into a scapegoat for the wider sins of the church. Prosecutors had argued it offered insight into Lynn's decision-making, and shed light on the archdiocese's historic practice of covering up abuse to protect the interests of the church.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:29 AM

Child care provider accused of molestation, sodomy

MISSOURI
Fox 2

DECEMBER 23, 2015, BY KEVIN S. HELD

NORMANDY, MO (KTVI) – A 68-year-old man is in jail amid accusations of having inappropriate sexual contact with children at a north county church.

According to Officer Tameika Sanders, a spokeswoman for the Normandy Police Department, police were contacted December 18 regarding a sexual assault of a child at Bethesda Temple Church.

The suspect, Mickey Flanigan, has worked at Bethesda Temple Church since October 2014 as a summer school caregiver and as a bus driver during the school year.

The St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office charged Flanigan with first-degree child molestation and first-degree statutory sodomy. He’s being held in St. Louis County Jail on $150,000 cash-only bond.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:27 AM

Caregiver at Normandy church accused of sexual abuse

MISSOURI
KMOV

[with video]

NORMANDY, Mo. (KMOV.com) -- A caregiver at a Normandy church is facing charges for allegedly molesting a child.

Mickey Flanigan, 68, is charged with statutory sodomy and child molestation. Police told News 4 one victim has been identified.

Flanigan works at Bethesda Temple Church as a summer school caregiver and a bus driver during the school year.

Authorities believe there may be more victims.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:24 AM

Faithful fear Christmas may be last for church

MASSACHUSETTS
Boston Herald

Brian Dowling Thursday, December 24, 2015

It’s an unwelcome thought for members of St. Frances X. Cabrini Church that tonight’s Christmas Eve service could be their last at the Scituate parish.

“The reality of the day is it’s possible,” said Maryellen Rogers, a spokeswoman for the parishioners, who are counting on an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court to keep them in their beloved house of worship.

Tomorrow will be the parishioners’ 12th defiant Christmas in the church. The archdiocese and civil courts see them as trespassers, while those who have held vigil in the church since October 2004 say they are standing up for the church that their families built and cared for.

Rogers said her hope has helped her stay strong over the years.

“It would be so much easier to walk away,” she said. “We have given up a big part of our lives, but sometimes you have to do the right thing. … There’s only so much you can take until you stand up and say enough.”

Rogers and others spent hours yesterday replacing Advent’s purple decorations with reds and whites of Christmas. The parish’s Christmas Eve celebration is at 5 p.m.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:23 AM

Gallup Diocese case attorney says deal ‘nonbinding’

NEW MEXICO
Albuquerque Journal

By Olivier Uyttebrouck / Journal Staff Writer
Published: Thursday, December 24th, 2015

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — An attorney for alleged victims of sexual abuse by priests has declined to sign a letter listing financial terms of a settlement in the Diocese of Gallup bankruptcy case because the agreement is “nonbinding” and could allow insurers to walk away from the deal, Los Angeles attorney James Stang told a judge on Wednesday.

“We want to know that the letter means something,” and that insurers and others are required to provide the amounts indicated in the letter, said Stang, who represents 57 alleged victims of clerical abuse who have filed claims in the case. “We have got a long road to go here.”

U.S. Bankruptcy Judge David T. Thuma said he was not surprised that attorneys are having difficulty finalizing a settlement in the 2-year-old bankruptcy case and asked them to continue working toward resolution. He set a hearing for Jan. 6 to review any progress toward a deal.

The Diocese of Gallup in November 2013 became the ninth U.S. diocese to file for bankruptcy in response to a growing number of lawsuits alleging sexual abuse of children by clergy in the diocese.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:15 AM

‘The sexual abuse was the underlying, emotional trigger’: John Leonard on surviving

IRELAND
The 42

EDITOR’S NOTE: We caught up with former Dublin goalkeeper John Leonard in October to talk about his extraordinary story of abuse, addiction and Gaelic football. Since then his book Dub Sub Confidential has won the inaugural Setanta Sports Book of the Year and we feel his tale bears repeating.

WE’RE SITTING ON some steps, gazing out across Dublin Bay. It’s late morning and the sun glistens on the water, casting shadows.

John Leonard knows this place well. But it’s complicated. His family home is a five-minute walk away. But high up into the clouds, in the opposite direction, is the imposing spire of St Fintan’s Church. And it was there where Leonard’s childhood was destroyed, his adulthood subsequently descending into a cocktail of wild drug abuse and alcoholism.

He was nine when the prolific paedophile priest Fr. Ivan Payne first sexually abused him. It was years later when Leonard told his parents and his life became engulfed by chaos and self-sabotage.

“I was on a mission of wanting destruction”, he says.

But there was a slight issue.

Leonard became a relatively high-profile athlete – a reserve goalkeeper for the Dublin senior footballers. Balancing the drugs, the drink and the sex with relentless training, recovery sessions and games was a struggle. But somehow, he managed it. Somehow, through bleary eyes and a heavy head, through the paranoia and the hallucinations, Leonard was part of a Dublin squad that reached an All-Ireland semi-final in 2007.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:14 AM

University of St. Francis Dishonors Priest-Abuse Survivors by Honoring Bishop Joseph Imesch

ILLINOIS
Patch

By Ted Slowik | Commentary

I went to see the movie “Spotlight” about the Boston Globe’s groundbreaking coverage of priests who sexually abused children and the bishops and cardinals who covered it up. Had Catholic Church leaders acted differently, predator clergy wouldn’t have had access to children. Many people who were harmed would have been spared.

As a reporter for the Joliet Herald News in 2002, I spoke with more than 50 people who were sexually abused as children by Joliet priests. The Joliet Diocese lists on its website 35 priests linked to sexual abuse of children. Hundreds of children were horrifically abused in DuPage, Will and five other counties.

The guy in charge of the Joliet Diocese from 1979 to 2006, when a great number of cases were reported, was Bishop Joseph Imesch. Based on my first-hand interviews with abuse survivors, their parents and diocesan insiders, I firmly believe Joe Imesch cared more about protecting his priests and the reputation of the Church than protecting children from harm.

He’d say, in interviews and in depositions, that he relied on the advice of therapists who assured him the sexual deviants could be treated and returned to service. At other times Joe would say there was a lack of evidence that a crime occurred, or some other lame excuse. I call bullshit on all that.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:12 AM

Father John Walshe apologises for acting contrary to his vows but denies abuse allegations

AUSTRALIA
ABC News

A Melbourne priest accused of sexual abuse has apologised to his parish for "any hurt or disappointment" his behaviour caused following revelations a church investigation found his conduct inconsistent with his duties.

The ABC has revealed that in 2012 the Catholic Church paid $75,000 compensation to John Roach, who claimed he was sexually abused by Father John Walshe in 1982.

Father Walshe, who now works at St Patrick's at Mentone-Parkdale, denied he abused Mr Roach, but had engaged in "consensual conduct" with another adult.

"My conduct was contrary to my religious beliefs. However it by no means constituted any form of abuse," he said in a statement.

Mr Roach, who said the abuse took place while he was an 18-year-old seminarian, made a formal complaint to the Melbourne Response in 2002, which was later upheld following an investigation by Peter O'Callaghan QC.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:10 AM

December 23, 2015

Melbourne man asks for public's support to start foundation for Jesuit abuse victims

AUSTRALIA
ABC News

By Loretta Florance

A man who is still fighting for compensation over alleged abuse he suffered at Xavier College in the 1970s has turned to crowdfunding in an effort to establish a foundation to support other abuse victims.

Janusz Skarbek, 54, attended the prestigious Melbourne school for three years in the 1970s, but said it was not until decades later that he remembered his ordeal.

He said he told his story at a private hearing at the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, and now he is telling it again as part of a public plea to raise $15,000 to start the Fellows Foundation.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:25 PM

'Vatileaks' priest freed from jail, put under house arrest

VATICAN CITY
GMA News (Philippines)

A Spanish priest accused of leaking secret documents to journalists in the so-called Vatileaks scandal was released from prison and placed under house arrest, a spokesman for the Holy See said Wednesday.

Spanish Monsignor Lucio Vallejo Balda was arrested in November over accusations he leaked confidential documents to the Italian press, along with his assistant Nicola Maio and Francesca Chaouqui, a former PR consultant to the Vatican.

Vallejo Balda was released from jail Tuesday and is being housed in a small flat in a convent located above the Vatican police station, spokesman Ciro Benedettini told AFP, adding that he was barred from leaving the city-state.

The priest had made a statement saying he leaked the documents under Chaouqui's influence and that he had been sorely tempted to break his vow of celibacy as a result of her sexual advances.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:30 PM

PA police drop priest investigation, citing 'insufficient evidence'

TEXAS
Beaumont Enterprise

Father David Placette, pastor of St. Catherine Catholic Church in Port Arthur, was cleared by Port Arthur police in connection with an indecency complaint involving four juvenile males, according to a statement released today by Port Arthur police.

"Due to insufficient evidence, no charges will be pursued against Father David Placette," said Deputy Chief Raymond E. Clark. "After interviewing the juveniles, investigators were unable to establish probable cause."

Clark said the parents of one of the boys complained to police on Dec. 2, launching the investigation on Dec. 4 that resulted in detective interviews of each of the boys. He said the investigation was conducted with the guidelines of the Jefferson County District Attorney's office.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:28 PM

Priest on trial for VatiLeaks 2 leaves prison, granted house arrest

VATICAN CITY
The Eagle (Nigeria)

BY SEGUN ADEBOWALE

The Vatican said on Wednesday Monsignor Lucio Balda, a Spanish priest arrested in November over the VatiLeaks 2 affair, has been released from prison and placed under house arrest.

Balda is on trial along with two other alleged leakers – his aide, Nicola Maio, and PR consultant, Francesca Chaouqui – for revealing Vatican financial scandals to two journalists, Emiliano Fittipaldi and Gianluigi Nuzzi.

The 54-year-old prelate, who sat on a now-disbanded church reform committee with Chaouqui, left his cell on Tuesday and was granted accommodation within Vatican walls, Holy See spokesman, Father Federico Lombardi said.

The trial was suspended in December after the court agreed to a request from Chaouqui’s lawyer to have an independent expert review the data prized from defendants’ mobile phones and computers during the investigations.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:24 PM

PA priest cleared of wrongdoing

TEXAS
Port Arthur News

By Mary Meaux

Port Arthur Police have concluded their investigation thus clearing a local priest of wrongdoing.

Allegations were brought against The Rev. David Placette, pastor of St. Catherine Catholic Church, for an incident reported at the St. Catherine School earlier this month. On Wednesday Placette was cleared and no criminal conduct was found, according to an official with the Port Arthur Police Department.

Bishop Curtis Guillory of the Diocese of Beaumont issued a statement regarding the allegations last week saying the diocese was very concerned to learn about the allegations against Placette. The priest was placed on administrative leave from all priestly ministry, pending both civil and ecclesiastical investigations into the matter.

PAPD Sgt. Scott Gaspard said, in a Dec. 18 interview, that police take the allegations seriously and would investigate thoroughly to determine if a crime had occurred and take appropriate steps toward justice.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:22 PM

Local Journalist Reflects on Milwaukee's Catholic Sex Abuse Scandal

WISCONSIN
WUWM

By AUDREY NOWAKOWSKI

The nationwide sexual abuse scandal involving Catholic priests has gotten increased scrutiny in recent days with the release of a new movie about the investigation. “Spotlight” dramatizes the effort by the Boston Globe newspaper to bring abuses by priests in the Boston archdiocese to light.

It’s a scandal that also involved priests in Milwaukee. Reporter Marie Rohde’s work stretches back to 1980s, when she covered religion for the Milwaukee Journal. More than a quarter-century later, Rohde still writes about the issue as a freelancer, often for the independent National Catholic Reporter.

Rohde says the first time she heard about sexual abuse committed by a priest was in the mid 1980's when a Louisiana priest was accused of abusing many boys for decades.

"My response was, 'thank goodness it's not here,'" she says.

However, within a few years, a priest in a Milwaukee northeast parish was accused by a victim of sexual abuse. At the time the allegations were not widely accepted by the community and the matter proceeded into a civil lawsuit and later, an out-of-court settlement.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:20 PM

Priest cleared to return to ministry - seven months after police dismiss unfounded sex abuse allegations

SCOTLAND
Herald Scotland

Martin Williams Wednesday 23 December

A PRIEST who was suspended over unfounded allegations of historic sexual abuse is set to make a return to full ministry in Scotland - over seven months after police said there was no case to answer.

Father Paul Morton is expected to return to St Bride's RC church in Cambuslang, South Lanarkshire, following the conclusion of a Catholic church canonical inquiry.

Campaigners calling for the re-instatement delivered a 2,037-signature petition to the Chancellor of the Diocese of Motherwell in September, almost a year after the priest was removed from his home and parish following the anonymous claims.

Father Morton, 55, was cleared of any wrongdoing in May after being falsely accused in 2014.

Many worshippers at St Bride’s wanted him reinstated and criticised the Catholic Church for dragging its heels on the issue.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:17 PM

12/15/2015 interview with Judy Block Jones

OHIO
WLJA

Judy Block Jones, who advocates for sexual abuse victims and survivors, is heard in this 30-minute interview.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:15 PM

Advent-ually

UNITED STATES
Religion News Service - Rhymes with Religion

Boz Tchividjian | Dec 23, 2015

As we find ourselves in the middle of this Advent season, Pastor Chris Armfield shares some hopeful reminders to Christians who are weary and find themselves struggling will loneliness, anxiety, and fear. Besides being a pastor of a fantastic church, Chris is my brother-in-law and a dear friend. I am grateful for his words. Merry Christmas and happy holidays! – Boz
_____________________________________________________________________________

It’s officially winter and the Christmas-holiday-season is in full effect. I can nearly feel the cut of the cold breeze outside as I sit inside, fingers cloaked around a hot and freshly brewed chai tea. Looking through an expansive window from a local coffee shop in Greenville, SC, I examine withered trees bearing the battle scars of surrendered leaves due to wrestling with an early Fall. The common busyness of people walking and people watching on sidewalks, benches, waterways and patches of manicured grass has lulled to a few brave souls executing their mandatory A to B commute. The city looks lonely.

It’s no secret that the presence of the holidays ushers in wanted and at times unwanted anticipation and change. For many, holiday anticipation can bring about loneliness and depression. According to Adam K. Anderson, Ph.D., an associate professor of psychology at the University of Toronto, “the bombardment of media during the holidays showing images of smiling families and friends often causes people to start questioning the quality of their own relationships.” Studies reveal many people are experiencing what is called SAD, Seasonal Affective Disorder, also known as seasonal depression. This makes sense to me on several levels.

Sadly, I know many people who experienced the bulk of their abuse while family spent the holidays together. The festive decorations and songs combined with the gathering of uncles, aunts, grandparents and cousins serves a consistent reminder of the worst days of their lives.

If your mind and heart were visible during this season, what would an onlooker, like me, uncover?

For some, maybe even you, a richly Christian word like Advent may conjure up fear or disappointment. Orthodox Christianity teaches that Advent is a season set apart for anticipating the coming of Christ. Yet for many, Advent means “I’ll be depressed ‘advent-ually.’” If this is you, you’re not alone in this struggle of the mind and spirit.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:12 PM

Police clear Port Arthur priest of accusations

TEXAS
12 News

The Port Arthur police department Wednesday cleared a Port Arthur priest of allegations made against him earlier this month.

Father David Placette, 61, who is the pastor of St. Catherine Church, was placed on administrative leave following the allegation.

Police say after interviewing the juveniles involved, investigators were unable to find probable cause for the offense.

The Port Arthur police worked with the Texas Department of Family Services as well as the Diocesan Review Board of the Diocese of Beaumont.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:58 PM

Pearl River Pastor Abuse Allegation Credible, Not Yet Substantiated

NEW YORK
Catholic New York

An allegation of abuse of a minor on two occasions more than 30 years ago by Msgr. John J. O’Keefe, pastor of St. Margaret of Antioch Parish in Pearl River, has been deemed credible but not yet substantiated, according to the archdiocese.

The pastor is not permitted to publicly function as a priest until the matter is resolved, Cardinal Dolan said in a Dec. 16 letter to parishioners of St. Margaret’s.

The cardinal’s letter also stated that Msgr. O’Keefe is in a supervised setting as he undergoes a thorough evaluation and risk assessment. He had been on leave from the parish since Sept. 1, receiving treatment for unrelated personal health issues. (Father Eric Raaser has been serving as the parish’s temporary administrator.)

Auxiliary Bishop Dominick Lagonegro, episcopal vicar of Orange, Sullivan, Ulster and Rockland Counties, spoke at weekend Masses at St. Margaret of Antioch on Dec. 19-20. Also representing the archdiocese at the church were Msgr. Edward Weber, director of the Priest Personnel Office, and Joseph Zwilling, communications director for the archdiocese.

When the archdiocese received the allegation, it was immediately turned over to the Bronx and Rockland district attorneys’ offices and then forwarded to the district attorney in Virginia, where one of the acts of abuse allegedly occurred.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:55 PM

CT--Accused predator priest put back to work; Victims respond

CONNECTICUT
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

For immediate release: Wednesday, Dec. 23, 2015

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

An accused predator priest has supposedly been “cleared” by his clerical colleagues and will be put back to work, a move that we believe may endanger more innocent kids.

[Republican-American]

Hundreds of times, Catholic officials have repeated this dangerous pattern: deeming child sex abuse reports against clerics “not substantiated,” putting those clerics back into parishes, then removing them again later for the same allegations or added allegations, and having put vulnerable kids in harm’s way for years and years. It’s utterly tragic and irresponsible. It’s proof that bishops keep putting their employees above their flocks.

Fr. Jeremiah Murasso of Blessed Sacrament Church and the Shrine of St. Anne is accused of molesting a child years ago at St. Francis Home for Children (also known as Highland Heights) in New Haven. Archbishop Leonard Blair claims his staff did an “extensive” investigation. Really? The let him hold a news conference and explain this process, instead of hiding behind a vague news release.

Shame on Fr. Kevin J. Forsyth of St. Augustine parish in Seymour, who publicly said the accusations were "baseless and just about money." We strongly doubt Fr. Forsyth has ever met the accuser. His callous, hurtful comment will deter others who have been sexually violated – by clergy, parents, teachers and other trusted adults – from finding the courage to report these horrific crimes.

We beg anyone who may have seen, suspected or suffered clergy sex crimes or cover ups in Hartford to summon the strength to speak up. Kids are safer only when adults are courageous enough to call police, prosecutors, therapists, or support groups like ours with information or suspicions about child sex crimes.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:06 PM

MSGR. LYNN’S CONVICTION OVERTURNED

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
Catholic League

Bill Donohue comments on Monsignor William Lynn:

There are many innocent priests who have been railroaded by lying accusers, malicious so-called victims’ advocates, rapacious lawyers and biased newspapers, but few have been more badly treated than Philly’s Msgr. William Lynn. Yesterday, a Pennsylvania appellate court overturned his conviction—for a second time—and ordered a new trial. The badly tainted Philadelphia D.A., Seth Williams, has not said whether he will appeal.

Finally, Philadelphia Common Pleas Court Judge M. Teresa Sarmina was taken down for her disgraceful decision to present evidence against Lynn that antedated his birth. The Superior Court judges ripped her for presenting evidence that was “trivial or minimal.” It was obvious from her deceitful ploy that she was putting the entire Catholic Church on trial. But she is far from the only unethical official in this scam.

* On March 31, 2011, I sent Philly D.A. Lynne Abraham (Williams’ predecessor) a letter in the overnight mail asking her to identify which “religious organizations and denominations” she pursued other than the Roman Catholic Church (that was her specific charge). She never answered.

* On February 1, 2012, I publicly called on Judge Sarmina to step down as the presiding judge, citing an anti-Catholic remark she made from the bench. She said she “misspoke.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:03 PM

Assignment Record– Rev. Henry G. Carriere

MINNESOTA
BishopAccountability.org

Summary of Case: Henry G. Carriere was ordained for the Crookston MN diocese in 1946. He served parishes in Crookston, Fertile, Bemidji, Argyle, Radium, Guthrie, Laporte, Blackduck, Brooks, Plummer, Terrebonne, Roseau and Badger. He was also chaplain at a Park Rapids hospital in the 1950s. He retired in 1990. In December 1991 Carriere pleaded guilty to three counts of child sexual abuse. He died in 2003.

Born: May 9, 1920
Ordained: June 16, 1946
Died: November 3, 2003

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:06 PM

Vatican ousts priest imprisoned for child pornography

PENNSYLVANIA
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

December 23, 2015
By Peter Smith / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

A Roman Catholic priest serving a federal prison term for possession of child pornography has been removed from the priesthood, according to the Diocese of Pittsburgh.

David F. Dzermejko, of Braddock, has been incarcerated at the Federal Medical Center in Devens, Mass., since his sentencing in April 2014 in U.S. District Court for possession of what prosecutors said were more than 100 images of child pornography.

The Diocese of Pittsburgh had removed Dzermejko from ministry in 2009 following allegations he had sexually abused children. But he had remained technically a priest until Oct. 31, when the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which handles abuse cases, issued a decree dismissing him from the clerical state.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:51 AM

Watching and responding to 'Spotlight'

UNITED STATES
National Catholic Reporter

Fr. Peter Daly | Dec. 23, 2015

"Spotlight" is a very good movie. It might win an Oscar for best screenplay.

"Spotlight" is a very sad story. It might mark a watershed in the way priests are seen in movies.

"Spotlight" was a tragedy brought on by sins of priests and bishops. The damage is not yet finished and the perpetrators of these crimes have never been held fully accountable.

I went to see "Spotlight" by myself. I knew it would be painful to watch.

The movie is the story of The Boston Globe investigation of the priest pedophilia scandal in the Archdiocese of Boston. The scandal exploded into public awareness in 2002. The investigative team of the Globe, known as "Spotlight" had generally investigated corruption in government or the police. But they turned their attention to the Archdiocese of Boston with devastating effect. While the scandal broke in 2002, it had been simmering below the surface for years.

Michael Keaton leads an ensemble cast that is entirely believable. They capture the atmosphere of the newsroom and the atmosphere of the Catholic church in Boston. The real Spotlight team spent more than a year uncovering the child abuse scandal. They won a Pulitzer Prize for their series and they touched off similar investigations worldwide. It has been a scandal that continues to convulse the church.

As a parish priest I found it painful to watch. I was ashamed.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:48 AM

A touching poem from a son about his mom

UNITED STATES
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

I’m grateful that so many of us whose souls were violated and whose voices were silenced by clergy sex crimes and cover ups have been able to use the arts to help ourselves heal. I’m also grateful that some who have done this share their creative, cathartic work with us at SNAP.

James R. Antonik is one such kind person. He recently sent us a poem he wrote after his mother's death. He calls it “a work of fiction based on at least one truth,” events relating to St. Stephan’s parish in South Buffalo, NY around 1945.

“I would hope that your sharing of this poem enables survivors to understand the long term damage of abuse and empowers them to come forward,” James says. “Writing this poem was cathartic to a man who lost his religion when his mother related her long suppressed abuse. I could no longer support an organization that was a magnet for pedophiles.”

He reports that “done fine since leaving the Catholic Church” and that his “life and faith have gotten exponentially better” as he now reads the Bible “almost daily.”

Thank you James for your creativity, generosity and concern. Here’s his poem:

Just One Lie
My Mom as a child, told just one lie.
A fib that would haunt her, till the day she die.
2nd Grade Pauline and her friends were just having fun.
When she so innocently told a lie to the Nun.
Monsignor wouldn't have it, said "Your Daughter's a liar."
In retribution, Grandpa's belt set her britches on fire.
The lesson was learned. All the days of her youth,
Young Pauline Benes.....ALWAYS ....., told the truth.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:43 AM

Pope Francis faces a real dilemma in ‘Vatileaks 2.0’

ROME
Crux

By John L. Allen Jr.
Associate editor December 23, 2015

ROME — In a Christmas audience with Vatican employees and their families on Monday, Pope Francis issued an unusually blunt mea culpa: “I want to apologize for the scandals that there were in the Vatican,” he said, referring to 2015.

He didn’t say which scandals he meant, and people from the United States or other parts of the world might wonder, since there have been more than a few: A former Vatican official who came out as openly gay, a former papal envoy accused of sex abuse who died under what some see as mysterious circumstances before he could be put on trial, and so on.

In Italy, however, no one is asking that question, because virtually everyone here assumes they know exactly what Francis had in mind: “Vatileaks 2.0.”

The term refers to the sensation that broke out in early November when two Italian journalists, Gianluigi Nuzzi and Emiliano Fittipaldi, simultaneously published books exposing various financial meltdowns, based in part on leaked documents from a study commission set up by Pope Francis shortly after his election to prepare the basis for reform.

In short order, three former Vatican insiders were charged with crimes under Vatican law for leaking those documents, and the two journalists were charged for pressuring them to do so.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:59 AM

A friend of George Pell gives evidence to help Pell's lawyers

AUSTRALIA
Broken Rites

By a Broken Rites researcher (article posted 22 December 2015)

Australia's national child-abuse Royal Commission has learned how George Pell recruited supporters from among suburban priests when he began his rise to power in Melbourne in the 1980s and 1990s. Broken Rites understands that Pell was welcomed particularly by conservative (as distinct from moderate-minded) priests. One of these traditionalist supporters, Father John Walshe, has given evidence to the Royal Commission on behalf of Cardinal Pell's lawyers. This Broken Rites article is an analysis of Walshe's evidence.

Originally a priest in the Ballarat diocese (which covered the western half of Victoria), George Pell moved to Melbourne in 1985 to become the head of the Melbourne seminary (Corpus Christi College, then based at Melbourne's Clayton), which trained priests for Victoria and Tasmania. In 1987 he was appointed as one of Melbourne's four regional auxiliary bishops under the authority of Archbishop Frank Little (Bishop Pell's region was Melbourne's south-eastern suburbs). This is when he became acquainted with allies such as Father John Walshe.

At this stage, Pell was no more famous nationally than any of Australia's forty or so other Catholic bishops. But he was working on it.

Father John Walshe and Bishop George Pell

Broken Rites has analysed the Royal Commission transcripts for 15-16 December 2015.

Fr John Thomas Walsh gave the Royal Commission a copy of his curriculum vitae. Born in Melbourne in 1958, Walshe attended school at St James Catholic Primary School Gardenvale (1963-1967) and Christian Brothers College St Kilda (1968-1975). He began studying for the priesthood at the Melbourne seminary in 1976, aged 18, and was ordained as a priest in 1982 [Father George Pell then was still based in Ballarat]

Father Walshe's early appointments as an assistant priest in the Melbourne archdiocese included:

* Parish of St Mary of the Angels, Geelong (1982-1983);
* Parish of St Thomas the Apostle, Blackbum (1983-1986);
* St Jude's, Scoresby (1986-1988); and
* St Gerard's, North Dandenong (1988-1992).

By 1988 or so, Walshe became acquainted with George Pell who was now in leading roles in Melbourne. Walshe told the Commission:

"When I was in the Parish of St Gerard in North Dandenong, Bishop Pell was our Regional Bishop. . . He had the practice of inviting priests of his zone, his area, to dinners, so to get to know them because he wasn't a priest of Melbourne and he sort of took every opportunity to get to know the clergy, so I came to know him better through then."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:48 AM

Archdiocese facing more lawsuits

LAS VEGAS (NV)
Las Vegas Optic

OLOS named as defendant

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Four more lawsuits have been filed against the Archdiocese of Santa Fe alleging that pedophile priests molested and raped boys decades ago while church officials looked the other way. Two of those lawsuits allege abuse at Our Lady of Sorrows Church in Las Vegas.

The lawsuits were filed last week in state District Court in Albuquerque by the Law Offices of Brad D. Hall. Two of those lawsuits also list Our Lady of Sorrows Parish as a defendant. The new suits join more than a dozen other lawsuits filed against the archdiocese by Hall’s firm.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:46 AM

Vatican court names expert witness

VATICAN CITY
ANSA

(ANSA) - Rome, December 23 - A Vatican court has appointed a technical consultant who will examine digital communications between three defendants in the so-called Vatileaks 2 trial over a document-leaking scandal, ANSA learned on Wednesday.

The expert witness, Paolo Atzeri of Rome, will examine emails, text messages and Whatsapp communications between Monsignor Lucio Vallejo Balda, his former assistant Nicola Maio, and PR expert Francesca Immacolata Chaouqui.

Chaouqui's attorney requested the examination, sustaining that the version of communications provided in the lawsuit was incomplete, with deletions and omissions.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:59 AM

Former Fox News Correspondent Gets a Vatican Promotion

VATICAN CITY
TV Newser

By Chris Ariens on Dec. 23, 2015

A former Fox News correspondent has been elevated at the Vatican.

Pope Francis has appointed Greg Burke the new vice director of the Holy See Press Office. Burke was Fox News’s correspondent in Rome until 2012, when he left for a position in the Vatican communications office.

John Allen, associate editor of the Crux and a CNN Vatican analyst, reports the promotion “sets Burke up as heir apparent to the Rev. Federico Lombardi, the 73-year-old Jesuit who’s headed the press office and acted as spokesman for both Popes Benedict XVI and Francis since 2006.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:57 AM

Church official's conviction over complaints reversed again

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
Salina Journal

By MARYCLAIRE DALE Associated Press

PHILADELPHIA — The landmark conviction of a Roman Catholic church official imprisoned over his handling of abuse complaints in Philadelphia was overturned Tuesday for the second time.

The state Superior Court ruling awarded a new trial to Monsignor William Lynn, who has been on a legal roller coaster since his 2012 trial on child endangerment charges.

The appeals court said the trial judge erred in allowing about 20 other victims of sex abuse by clergy to testify about how their complaints were handled by the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. The judges said the trial court "abused its discretion by admitting a high volume of other-acts evidence."

Lynn was convicted of endangering a boy who said he was assaulted by two priests and a teacher, including a previously accused priest who was transferred to his parish.

The 64-year-old has been back in prison since April, after the conviction overturned in 2013 on different grounds was reinstated by the state Supreme Court.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:55 AM

Court Overturns Catholic Church Supervisor's Sex Scandal Conviction, Again

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
Press Telegraph

Arnold White | 23 December, 2015

Tuesday's Superior Court ruling ordering a new trial also could be appealed to the state's highest court.

Lynn was the first USA church official ever convicted in the handling of abuse complaints.

The landmark conviction of a Roman Catholic church official imprisoned over his handling of priest sexual abuse complaints was overturned Tuesday for the second time.

The appeals court said the trial judge erred in allowing weeks of testimony from 21...

The Pennsylvania Superior Court found that Monsignor William Lynn of Philadelphia did not receive a fair trial because a trial judge allowed jurors to hear too much evidence about the wrongdoing of priests who had abused children. William Lynn, the central defendant in the landmark 2012 trial involving clergy sex-abuse in Philadelphia.

"It's certainly taken a toll, but he's holding up", said defense attorney Thomas Bergstrom, who visited Lynn last week and hopes to get him released quickly.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:51 AM

STORY REMOVED: BC-US--Priest Abuse-Appeal

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
Monterey Herald

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — The Associated Press has withdrawn its story about the conviction of a church official overturned for a second time because it incorrectly names The Rev. Andrew McCormick, a priest in another case, as being convicted and since dying in prison. McCormick's two trials ended in a deadlocked jury; he was never convicted and is free. A substitute story will move shortly.

The AP

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:47 AM

Bishop Joseph L. Imesch who passed from this life into Eternal Life, today, December 22, 2015.

ILLINOIS
Roman Catholic Diocese of Joliet

12/22/2015

Joseph Imesch was born on June 21, 1931 in Grosse Pointe Farms, Michigan, the second son of immigrant Swiss parents, Dionys and Margaret (Margelisch) Imesch. He was baptized at St. Ambrose Church in Grosse Pointe, and later attended the parish elementary school as well as St. Paul Elementary School in Grosse Pointe Farms. He completed his high school and college education at Sacred Heart Seminary in Detroit.

He earned a Licentiate of Sacred Theology (STL) while studying in Rome at the North American College (1953 -1957). On December 16, 1956, he was ordained to the priesthood in Rome and completed further studies at the Gregorian University (1969 – 1970).

After ordination, Father Imesch was assigned to St. Charles Parish in Detroit (1957) where he served as associate pastor until becoming Secretary to John Cardinal Dearden from 1959 to 1971. He was named pastor of Our Lady of Sorrows Parish in Farmington, Michigan in 1971 and served in that capacity until 1977.

On April 3, 1973, while yet ministering as a pastor, Father Imesch was ordained as an Auxiliary Bishop of Detroit. Bishop Imesch served as Regional Bishop of the Northwest Region of Detroit from 1977 to 1979 until being named as Bishop of Joliet. On August 28, 1979, he was installed as Third Bishop of the Diocese of Joliet. ...

The body of Bishop Imesch will lie in state at the Cathedral of St. Raymond Nonnatus in Joliet on December 28, 2015 from 1:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m., and on December 29, 2015 from 9:00 a.m. to 10:45 a.m. Solemn Vespers will be celebrated at 7:00 p.m. on December 28, 2015.

Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 11:00 a.m. on December 29, 2015 at the Cathedral.

Following the Mass, the body of Bishop Imesch will be laid to rest in Resurrection Cemetery in Romeoville.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:43 AM

Directions hearing called

AUSTRALIA
Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse

23 December, 2015

The Royal Commission has called a directions hearing to be held in Sydney on Friday 5 February 2016 at 10am immediately following the directions hearing in relation to Cardinal Pell.

The purpose of the directions hearing is to consider Bishop Ronald Mulkearns’ capacity to attend the third part of the public hearing into Catholic Church authorities in Ballarat.

The directions hearing will be presided over by Justice Peter McClellan AM, Chair of the Royal Commission and will be live-streamed.

Venue: Hearing Room 1, Level 17, Governor Macquarie Tower, 1 Farrer Place, Sydney.
Time: 10:00AM AEDT

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:41 AM

PROGRESS ON WORK OF HISTORICAL CHILD ABUSE INQUIRY

SCOTLAND
Historical Child Abuse Inquiry

The Chair of the Historical Child Abuse Inquiry Scotland has announced two key dates in the work of the Inquiry.

The Inquiry’s Terms of Reference covers that period which is within living memory of any person who suffered such abuse up until such date as the Chair may determine but not beyond 17 December 2014.

Ms Susan O’Brien QC has now confirmed that for a person who suffered abuse to give their account to the Inquiry of their experience of abuse, its impact and the effect on their family, the abuse must have taken place no later than 17 December 2014.

Since it was formally established in October, the Inquiry has engaged with a range of organisations with an interest in the work of the Inquiry to listen to their suggestions as to how the Inquiry should approach its work.

The Chair has indicated that the Inquiry wishes to engage with as many groups as possible to understand their views on how the Inquiry should proceed, with interested parties having until 31 January 2016 to make their views known.

Marking these dates, Ms O’Brien QC said: “We are developing procedures to take the evidence of survivors, as it is likely that many individuals will apply to give us their testimony.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:34 AM

Final date - Terms of Reference

SCOTLAND
Historical Child Abuse Inquiry

The Inquiry’s Terms of Reference cover that period which is within living memory of any person who suffered abuse, up until such date as the Chair may determine but not beyond 17 December 2014.

The Chair has now confirmed that for a person who suffered abuse to give their account to the Inquiry about the experience of abuse, its impact and the effect on his or her family, the abuse must have taken place before the final date. The date is 17 December 2014. To see the Inquiry’s latest Press Release, please click here.

A Note setting out the reasons for that decision will appear on the website in due course.

Engagement with key groups

Since the Inquiry formally began work in October, several meetings have taken place with survivor groups, and representations have been made to the Inquiry about its Terms of Reference.

Among the concerns raised is that the only abuse we will consider is abuse which affected children in residential and care establishments, or children in foster care. We cannot look at abuse which took place in clubs or in the community generally. The Chair was asked to take that concern to the Cabinet Secretary, and she did so in a letter (which is published here). Decisions about the scope of the Inquiry’s remit are Scottish Government decisions, and not matters on which the Chair can or should comment.

Meetings have taken place, or have been arranged, with several organisations with an interest in the Inquiry. The door remains open for any interested groups to make representations to the Inquiry about how it should go about its task up until 31 January 2016.

Those who wish to make contact with the Inquiry can do so either by email, information@childabuseinquiry.scot or post, Historical Child Abuse Inquiry, PO Box 24085, Edinburgh, EH7 9EA

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:32 AM

Historical child abuse inquiry announces key dates

SCOTLAND
BBC News

The chairwoman of the inquiry into historical child abuse has announced two key dates for the investigation.

Susan O'Brien QC has said those giving evidence must have experienced abuse no later than 17 December 2014.

Furthermore, the QC wants any group which wants to express how the inquiry should proceed to make their views known by 31 January next year.

Survivors' groups have previously criticised a lack of progress in the work of the Scottish inquiry.

The probe - established in October after its initial announcement in December, 2014 - will cover abuse within living memory up to 17 December, 2014.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:30 AM

Catholic Church calls Melb victims forward

AUSTRALIA
Sky News

The Catholic Church is urging anyone who was sexually assaulted at Melbourne's St Patrick's Cathedral during the 1990s to come forward.

Victoria Police's Sano Taskforce is investigating allegations male teenagers were assaulted at the East Melbourne church between 1996 and 2001.

The alleged victims were aged 14 at the time.

'Victoria Police is committed to investigating and bringing to justice those people who prey on children no matter how many years have passed,' Sergeant Sharon Darcy said in a statement on Wednesday.

Catholic Church spokesman Shane Healy told AAP he couldn't comment on the investigation but he urged other victims and witnesses to come forward.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:26 AM

Victoria police seek victims of sexual assault at St Patrick's cathedral

AUSTRALIA
The Guardian

Calla Wahlquist
Tuesday 22 December 2015

Victoria police are investigating allegations of sexual assault at Melbourne’s St Patrick’s cathedral during Cardinal George Pell’s tenure as archbishop of Melbourne.

The victims were reportedly 14-year-old boys.

In a statement on Wednesday, Sgt Sharon Darcy said detectives from the Sano taskforce wanted to speak to anyone who was a victim of sexual assault at the cathedral, or who knew of sexual assaults at the cathedral, between 1996 and 2001.

“Victoria police is committed to investigating and bringing to justice those people who prey on children, no matter how many years have passed,” Darcey said.

Pell was appointed archbishop of Melbourne in 1996 and remained in the role until being appointed archbishop of Sydney in 2001.

He was scheduled to appear at a hearing of the royal commission into institutional responses to child sex abuse last week, but his lawyers said he was too ill to make the flight from Rome where he is the head of the Vatican’s economic secretariat.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:23 AM

St Patrick's Cathedral abuse claims investigated

AUSTRALIA
Brisbane Times

[video]

Detectives are investigating allegations that teenage boys were abused at St Patrick's Cathedral in East Melbourne during the late 1990s.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:21 AM

Trial canceled for priest facing child porn charges; change of plea expected

KENTUCKY
WHAS

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) -- The trial for a former priest of St. Margaret Mary that was originally scheduled for next month, has been cancelled.

A change of plea hearing is now set for January 4th for Stephen Pohl.

Pohl is facing child porn charges. He is accused of viewing the explicit images in his office and living space at the Parish.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:17 AM

Hearing to decide George Pell fate

AUSTRALIA
The Courier

By Melissa Cunningham
Dec. 23, 2015

Two directions hearings will be held in Sydney in February to find out if Cardinal George Pell and Bishop Ronald Mulkearns are too ill to give evidence to a child sex abuse inquiry in Ballarat.

The Royal Commission into child sex abuse has called the directions hearing on Bishop Mulkearns to be held on February 5 at 10am immediately following a directions hearing on Cardinal Pell. The purpose is to consider Cardinal Pell and Bishop Mulkearns’ capacity to attend the third part of the public hearing into Catholic Church authorities in Ballarat on February 22.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:01 AM

Italian prosecutors seek 4.5-year prison term for Vatican monsignor charged in illegal transfer of €20 million

ITALY
Catholic Culture

December 22, 2015

Italian prosecutors are seeking a prison sentence of 54 months for Msgr. Nunzio Scarano, the former Vatican official who is charged with attempting to bring €20 million into the country illegally.

Msgr. Scarano, the former chief of accounting for the Administration of the Patrimony of the Holy See (APSA), was arrested in June 2013 along with two others charged with involvement in the same scheme. He had earlier been removed from his post at APSA because he was the focus of a separate money-laundering investigation.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:57 AM

SEXUAL ASSAULT INVESTIGATION - ST. PATRICKS CATHEDRAL, EAST MELBOURNE

AUSTRALIA
Victoria Police

WEDNESDAY, 23 DECEMBER 2015

Sano Taskforce detectives are appealing for information in relation to allegations of sexual assault at the St. Patricks Cathedral, East Melbourne in the 1990s.

The male victims were aged 14 at the time of the alleged incidents.

Detectives would like to speak to anyone who was a victim of a sexual assault, or anybody with any information relating to any alleged sexual assaults, committed at the St. Patricks Cathedral between 1996 and 2001.

Anyone with information is urged to call the Sano Taskforce toll free on 1800 110 007.

The Sano Taskforce detectives specialise in investigating historical sexual assault and child abuse matters.

Victoria Police encourages all victims of sexual assault and child abuse, and anyone who has knowledge of such a crime, to make a report.

Victoria Police is committed to investigating and bringing to justice those people who prey on children no matter how many years have passed.

Information relating to any alleged sexual assaults, committed at St. Patricks Cathedral, East Melbourne during this time period, can also be provided anonymously to Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or submitted confidentially on-line at www.crimestoppersvic.com.au

Sergeant Sharon Darcy
Media Officer

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:51 AM

Detectives investigating allegations of abuse at St Patrick's Cathedral in East Melbourne in 1990s

AUSTRALIA
ABC News

Allegations of sexual assault at St Patrick's Catholic Cathedral in East Melbourne between 1996 and 2001 are being investigated by Victorian detectives.

Police have released a statement saying male victims were aged 14 at the time of the alleged incidents.

Detectives from the Sano Taskforce, which specialises in investigating historical sexual assault and child abuse matters, have appealed to anyone with information to come forward.

"Detectives would like to speak to anyone who was a victim of a sexual assault, or anybody with any information relating to any alleged sexual assaults, committed at the St Patrick's Cathedral between 1996 and 2001," Victoria Police spokeswoman Sharon Darcy said in a statement.

"Victoria Police is committed to investigating and bringing to justice those people who prey on children no matter how many years have passed."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:48 AM

Sex abuse claims at St Patrick’s Cathedral in East Melbourne under police investigation

AUSTRALIA
Herald Sun

December 22, 2015

REBEKAH CAVANAGH
Herald Sun

BOYS as young as 14 were allegedly sexually abused at St Patrick’s Cathedral in East Melbourne while Cardinal George Pell was in charge.

Sano Taskforce detectives are investigating claims of assault at the Catholic church between 1996 and 2001 — the same period when Cardinal Pell was archbishop of Melbourne.

Investigators are appealing to anyone who was a victim or with any information relating to any alleged sexual assaults committed at the church during this period to contact them.

The Sano Taskforce detectives specialise in investigating historical sexual assault and child abuse matters.

“Victoria Police encourages all victims of sexual assault and child abuse, and anyone who has knowledge of such a crime, to make a report,” Sergeant Sharon Darcy said.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:45 AM

Sisters of Nazareth accused of impeding historic sex abuse investigation

AUSTRALIA
ABC News

By Charlotte King

A religious order in Melbourne has been accused of impeding an investigation into historic sex abuse at a former children's home.

Barry Potocic, 54, has spent thirty years trying to identify the nun who he says used him as a sex toy at the age of eight, at Nazareth House in Camberwell.

He suffers post-traumatic stress disorder, depression and anxiety, as well as serious dental problems — the result of grinding his teeth during regular nightmares.

Mr Potocic is seeking compensation from the Sisters of Nazareth to get counselling and for dental work, but says the order is stalling his efforts.

The Sisters of Nazareth told the ABC they would be happy to provide historic photographs to an assessor as part of a Towards Healing investigation, which is the in-house method the Catholic Church uses to settle historic sex abuse claims.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:44 AM

St Patrick's Cathedral investigated for child sex abuse

AUSTRALIA
The Age

December 23, 2015

Rania Spooner, Steve Lillebuen

The Catholic Church in Melbourne has been hit with child sexual abuse claims just two days before Christmas as police target allegations that fall directly under the leadership of George Pell.

In a rare public statement, Sano taskforce detectives investigating historic allegations of abuse have made an appeal for information about sexual assaults at St Patrick's Cathedral between 1996 and 2001.

Its investigation centres on claims that 14-year-old boys were sexually assaulted at the East Melbourne landmark, described by the church as the "mother church of the Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne".

The taskforce is understood to have executed search warrants on buildings linked to the church in East Melbourne, Melbourne, Maidstone and Toorak, on December 2.

The timeframe of the allegations covers the years when Cardinal Pell was archbishop of Melbourne and current archbishop Denis Hart was vicar-general.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:39 AM

St Patrick's abuse allegations: Claims strike at heart of church

AUSTRALIA
Sydney Morning Herald

December 23, 2015

Dr Judy Courtin

Sano taskforce detectives are appealing for information in relation to allegations of child sexual assault of an unknown number of male victims who were 14 years of age at the time.

The alleged crimes were said to have occurred between 1996 and 2001. The location is peculiarly specific – St Patrick's Cathedral in East Melbourne – the cathedral of the archdiocese of Melbourne.

The police are asking for victims, or anyone with information, to come forward.

The dates here are noteworthy. In 1996 George Pell, then an auxiliary bishop, became the archbishop of Melbourne. Father Denis Hart, as he was then, became Monsignor Hart, the vicar-general (the forerunner to becoming a bishop).

There has been much evidence before the child abuse royal commission that 1996 marked the beginning of an era when the church took its obligations and responsibilities for clergy sex crimes and their cover-up much more seriously.

Church spokesmen have said this new era meant transparency, accountability, justice for victims and a new leadership showing integrity, courage and a commitment to authentic change, including ending the clerical culture that put the good name of the church before the needs and rights of victims.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:36 AM

Royal Commission to consider George Pell, Ronald Mulkearns appearances

AUSTRALIA
Sydney Morning Herald

December 23, 2015

Jane Lee

A royal commission will test whether Cardinal George Pell and former Bishop of Ballarat Ronald Mulkearns are still too ill to front hearings on their past handling of child sexual abuse claims next year.

Both men were scheduled to give evidence to a Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse hearing in Melbourne earlier this month. Chairman of the commission, Justice Peter McClellan, accepted medical evidence that Bishop Mulkearns was receiving palliative care, and that Cardinal Pell was too ill to travel from Rome to testify in person.

Cardinal Pell's evidence has been deferred to next February's third hearing on Ballarat, where children were sexually and physically abused at a number of schools run by Catholic clergy over decades. Justice McClellan rejected his application to appear via video link from Rome, saying he preferred Cardinal Pell to appear in person.

The commission announced on Wednesday it would hold two directions hearings on February 5, to consider both Cardinal Pell and Bishop Mulkearns' "capacity to attend the third part of the public hearing into Catholic Church authorities in Ballarat."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:34 AM

The scandal of defending George Pell: Amanda Vanstone's moral support

AUSTRALIA
Online Opinion

By Rob Cover - posted Wednesday, 23 December 2015

Former Howard government minister and ambassador to Italy, Amanda Vanstone, is broadly incorrect to characterise Australians as a pack mob, ignorantly going after Cardinal George Pell in the Into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse and in media commentary.

In recent weeks, questions have been asked in public sphere debate about whether or not Cardinal Pell's inability to complete his long-promised travel to Australia for the royal commission, and to give evidence instead by video link, is an insult to victims and to an inquiry that seeks to uncover the framework and reasoning as to why sexual abuse occurred for so long in religious institutions.

In her Age column Vanstone presents a picture of contemporary humanity as having momentarily fallen away from civilisation, fallen under the "primal" animal instincts and seeking to bring about the fall of "a decent, honest, intelligent man" because the public are not satisfied that perpetrators of child sex crimes conducted by Catholic priests and religious have been adequately punished. In other words, baying for the blood of, in her view, the wrong man, a "blood sacrifice".

Vanstone gives an example to foster the idea of an unthinking mob seeking vigilante-like retribution for child sex crimes, referring to a past case in which an Anglican bishop in a South Australian diocese was forced to retire early after helping a priest who had molested a boy leave the country. For Vanstone, the problem was that there may have been others who knew about but failed to report the priest's crime, while the early retirement of the bishop meant one man took the fall for the failings of many, as a result of the aggressive demands of the people out for blood-any blood.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:31 AM

Accused priest cleared

CONNECTICUT
Republican-American

BY DESTINY LOPEZ REPUBLICAN-AMERICAN

WATERBURY — The Rev. Jeremiah Murasso of Blessed Sacrament Church and the Shrine of St. Anne will return to ministry after accusations of sexually abusing a minor were found insubstantial by the church.

The Archdiocese of Hartford said in a release Monday it "conducted an extensive and thorough investigation" of the sexual abuse allegations made this past summer and found the accusations without basis.

Attempts to reach Murasso were unsuccessful Tuesday afternoon.

In a statement last June, the archdiocese said the alleged abuse took place 20 years ago while Murasso was serving as director of St. Francis Home for Children in New Haven. The orphanage, also known as Highland Heights, closed in September 2012 after more than 160 years of service.

Established procedures prompted the archdiocese to place Murasso on administrative leave for six months while the allegations were being investigated.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:27 AM

Priest John Walshe who defended George Pell accused of sexually abusing John Roach

AUSTRALIA
ABC News

By North America correspondent Stephanie March

A Catholic priest who gave evidence to the child abuse royal commission in defence of Cardinal George Pell was himself the subject of a historical sexual abuse claim, the ABC can reveal.

In 2012, the victim, John Roach, received an apology and $75,000 compensation after the Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne accepted he had been sexually abused by Father John Walshe, a parish priest based at Mentone in Melbourne's south east.

Father Walshe denies he abused Mr Roach.

Mr Roach was an 18-year-old seminarian in 1982 when the incident took place.

Father Walshe had recently been ordained and was in his early 20s.

Mr Roach, who now lives in the United States, said he felt compelled to speak publicly after seeing Father Walshe giving evidence at the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sex Abuse last week.

"Walshe cannot hold himself up as this paragon of virtue," Mr Roach said.

"I think he is certainly a compromised witness."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:25 AM

Priest John Walshe who defended George Pell accused of sexually abusing teen

AUSTRALIA
Sydney Morning Herald

December 23, 2015

A Catholic priest who defended Cardinal George Pell at the child abuse royal commission last week was the subject of a historical sexual abuse claim.

ABC TV reported on Wednesday that an apology and $75,000 compensation was given to survivor John Roach in 2012 after the Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne accepted Father John Walshe had sexually abused him in 1982.

Mr Roach told the ABC he was an 18-year-old first-year seminarian when he met the recently ordained Father Walshe, then in his early 20s, at the Corpus Christi College in Clayton.

"One night he invited me up to his room, which was not uncommon," Mr Roach said.

"We had a fair bit of port to drink — I was very unfamiliar with drinking — and I woke up in his bed and he was abusing me.

"I left as quickly as I could, I was very confused, I didn't know what to do, what to think."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:22 AM

December 22, 2015

Child sex crime detectives investigate abuse claims at Melbourne's St Patrick's Cathedral

AUSTRALIA
The Age

December 23, 2015

Rania Spooner
Crime reporter

Historic child sex crime detectives are investigating allegations that teenage boys were abused at St Patrick's Cathedral in East Melbourne.

The allegations relate to 14-year-old boys who may have been abused at the cathedral in the late 1990s.

Detectives from the Sano Taskforce, which investigates historical sexual assault and child abuse, is urging anybody with information to contact them.

Detectives would like to speak to anyone who was a victim of a sexual assault, or anybody with any information relating to any alleged sexual assaults, committed at the St Patrick's Cathedral between 1996 and 2001.

"Victoria Police is committed to investigating and bringing to justice those people who prey on children no matter how many years have passed," Sergeant Sharon Darcy said.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:56 PM

Sheriff: Wayne County pastor admits to sexually abusing children

MISSISSIPPI
Tucson News Now

Buckatunna, MS -
A Wayne County pastor is facing multiple charges of sexual abuse of a minor.

Pastor Tommy Joe Newberry was arrested last week in Washington County, Alabama.

He is charged with enticing a minor child, and two counts of sexual abuse and sodomy, according to Washington County Sheriff Richard Stringer.

Newberry is listed as the pastor at Red Creek Church of God in Buckatunna, according to the church's website.

Stringer said the crimes happened at Newberry's home in Alabama, one of which spanned over several years.

According to Stringer, authorities arrested Newberry after a victim came forward.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:53 PM

Powell County pastor charged with sexual abuse pleads not guilty

KENTUCKY
WKYT

POWELL COUNTY, Ky. (WKYT) - A Powell County pastor and school bus driver who was in a position of authority and trust is accused of using his power to abuse two girls who went to his church.

Steve William’s attorney and longtime friend says the allegations don't line up with the 52 year old's character.

Williams didn't say much during his video arraignment Tuesday morning. His attorney spoke for him, entering a not guilty plea for his charges of first-degree sexual abuse.

Deputies say Williams touched a girl inappropriately during a church field trip and he also is accused of abusing another girl inside Bowen First Church of God, the church where he was pastor. He resigned from Bowen First Church of God on Friday.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:51 PM

Under-the-radar signs of progress in Vatican reforms

UNITED STATES
Catholic Culture

Phil Lawler

Have you noticed that as Christmas approaches, you spend less time reading news headlines? There are two reasons for that phenomenon. First, you have other things on your mind; you’re busy with your last-minute preparations for the great feast. Second, the people who usually make the news—the politicians and entertainers and corporate executives and religious leaders—all know that you’re busy. So they save their big splashy announcements for a time when they can command more attention.

By the same logic, these last few days before Christmas are an ideal time for under-the-radar announcements. If you need to make a statement, but you really don’t want people to pay attention, this is a good week for it.

Since Vatican officials have the same PR concerns as any other executives, and since the process of reform in the Roman Curia will inevitably involve some in-house conflicts, let’s take a closer look at the news from Rome this week, and see if there are any developments that warrant extra scrutiny.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:47 PM

Cleric jailed for 'mishandling' abuse complaints has conviction overturned

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
Belfast Telegraph

The landmark conviction of a Roman Catholic church official imprisoned over his handling of abuse complaints in Philadelphia has been overturned for the second time.

Monsignor William Lynn has been on a legal roller coaster since his 2012 trial on child endangerment charges.

A Superior Court ruling Tuesday awarded Lynn a new trial.

His lawyers say the trial judge allowed too many victims not closely related to his case to testify. They also say the law did not apply to church supervisors when he was secretary for clergy.

Lynn has been back in prison since the conviction overturned in 2013 was reinstated.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:46 PM

Pennsylvania court orders new trial for priest convicted of sex crimes

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
Reuters

PHILADELPHIA | BY DANIEL KELLEY

A Pennsylvania appeals court on Tuesday ordered a new trial for a Roman Catholic priest who was convicted in a landmark case of mishandling reports of child sex crimes.

The Pennsylvania Superior Court found that Monsignor William Lynn of Philadelphia did not receive a fair trial because a trial judge allowed jurors to hear too much evidence about the wrongdoing of priests who had abused children.

Lynn, who once oversaw the work of 800 priests in the Philadelphia Archdiocese as secretary of the clergy, was sentenced in 2012 to three to six years in prison for failing to supervise a priest accused of sexual misconduct who later sexually assaulted a 10-year-old boy.

At the time of his conviction, he was the highest-ranking Catholic priest to face charges for covering up abuse by priests in the Catholic church, and his trial re-focused attention on a sex abuse scandal that has roiled the faithful across the United States and undermined the church's moral authority around the world.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:44 PM

Younger child abuse victims to give evidence to inquiry

SCOTLAND
The National

DECEMBER 23RD, 2015

KATHLEEN NUTT

YOUNGER victims of child abuse will entitled to give their accounts to the public inquiry into historical abuse of children in care, its chairwoman revealed yesterday.

Susan O’Brien QC said under-18s who had experienced maltreatment up to and including on 17 December last year are eligible to take part.

She also announced yesterday that anyone who would like to have a say on how the inquiry should proceed should come forward by the end of January next year.

Marking these dates, O’Brien said: “We are developing procedures to take the evidence of survivors, as it is likely that many individuals will apply to give us their testimony.

“We are considering how best to assess the evidence from victims/survivors and all the other evidence the inquiry receives. We also require to determine which of the witnesses will remain anonymous.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:40 PM

Italy: Bishop 'protected' Grindr priest dismissing allegation he paid boys for sex as 'nuns' chatter'

ITALY
International Business Times

By Umberto Bacchi
December 21, 2015

Italian police have arrested an alleged paedophile priest amid media accusation he was protected by the local bishop. Detectives allege father Antonello Tropea, 44, used gay dating app Grindr to groom teenage boys who he then paid for clandestine encounters in the southern Calabria region.

Tropea was held on 18 December at the end of a lengthy investigation that was launched after he was surprised by police while in the company of a minor inside a car parked in a secluded area near the deprived port city of Gioia Tauro. The boy later told investigators the priest had paid him €20 (£15, $21) for an oral sex act, a fee they had agreed on WhatsApp after having first met on Grindr.

Tropea allegedly posed as a scientific researcher in his thirties named Nicola, an alias he apparently drew from the patron saint of his own parish, the San Nicola di Mira church in the rural town of Messignadi. A police search of the clergy house reportedly revealed a trove of evidence, including child porn images and message exchanges with other teenagers. Investigators are also said to have also found 16g of marijuana, sex toys and a penis enlargement tool.

In a warring twist, Tropea's boss, bishop of the Oppido-Palmi diocese Francesco Milito, had allegedly been aware of accusations against the priest for some time but did not take any action. According to court papers seen by local media confirming the arrest, two parishioners had warned the bishop of his subordinate's deviant tendencies as early as this summer.

But Milito dismissed the accusations as "nuns' chatter" in a phone conversation with Tropea that was taped by police, Il Fatto Quotidiano newspaper reported. Moreover, as the clergyman was placed under investigation, the bishop was alleged to have openly advised him "not to talk with Carabinieri police" on the issue.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:10 PM

PA--Top Philly Catholic official to get new trial; Victims respond

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

For immediate release: Tuesday, Dec. 22, 2015

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

The nation’s only Catholic supervisor in jail for endangering kids and protecting predators will get a new trial. This ruling rubs salt into already deep and still fresh wounds of Philadelphia Catholic and victims. It also emboldens those who are hiding or are tempted child sex crimes.

[The Morning Call]

Msgr. William Lynn was, for years, a key part of a Catholic hierarchy that repeatedly and recklessly put kids in harm’s way, deliberately choosing to safeguard clerical careers while jeopardizing children’s safety. But instead of just serving out his extremely light sentence, Msgr. Lynn is doing what virtually every child molester does: exploiting every legal maneuver and loophole, trying to evade justice.

We hope he’s found guilty again. We hope he serves every day of his sentence. And we hope this outcome will deter other church staff – in Catholic circles and other circles – from ignoring or enabling horrific crimes against kids.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:06 PM

Divided Pa. court grants Monsignor William Lynn new trial in priest child-sex case

PENNSYLVANIA
PennLive

By Matt Miller | mmiller@pennlive.com
on December 22, 2015

Saying his trial was unfairly tainted by evidence outlining the bad acts of others, a divided state Superior Court panel Tuesday ordered a new trial for a Roman Catholic Church official convicted of helping hide the child-sex crimes of priests.

The ruling marks the second time in two years that the Superior Court has overturned the child endangerment convictions and 3- to 6-year prison term for Monsignor William J. Lynn, former secretary for clergy of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.

In December 2013, the court voided Lynn's convictions and sentence on grounds that he couldn't be convicted of child endangerment because he didn't directly supervise any of the children who were abused.

The state Supreme Court rejected that decision on appeal this past April, reinstated Lynn's convictions, and then sent the case back to the Superior Court for further consideration. Tuesday's Superior Court ruling ordering a new trial also could be appealed to the state's highest court.

Lynn, now 64, was the secretary of the diocese from 1992 to 2004. Prosecutors said he arranged the transfer of priests who were accused of abusing children under their charge to hide the crimes and shield the church's reputation. A Philadelphia jury convicted him of child endangerment in 2012.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:04 PM

Appeals court vacates Philadelphia monsignor's conviction, orders new trial

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
National Catholic Reporter

Ralph Cipriano | Dec. 22, 2015

PHILADELPHIA
A Pennsylvania appeals court has vacated the conviction of Msgr. William J. Lynn, and ordered a new trial for the Philadelphia archdiocese’s former secretary for clergy.

Lynn, convicted in 2012 on a single count of endangering the welfare of a child, had been serving a three-to-six year prison sentence. He was the first Catholic administrator in the country to be sent to jail for failing to adequately supervise a sexually abusive priest.

In a 43-page decision, a panel of three state Superior Court judges ruled that the trial court -- Philadelphia Common Pleas Court Judge M. Teresa Sarmina -- "abused its discretion" by allowing 21 supplemental cases of sex abuse to be admitted as evidence against Lynn.

The 21 cases dated back to 1948, three years before Lynn was born, and took up at least 25 days of the 32-day trial. In his appeal, Lynn's lawyer, Thomas Bergstrom, argued that the prosecution "introduced these files to put on trial the entire Archdiocese of Philadelphia, hoping to convict [Lynn] by proxy for the sins of the entire church."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:01 PM

Msgr. Lynn Gets A New Trial

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
Big Trial

TUESDAY, DECEMBER 22, 2015

By Ralph Cipriano
for BigTrial.net

A panel of state Superior Court judges today vacated Msgr. William J. Lynn's prior conviction on a single charge of endangering the welfare of a child. The Superior Court then ordered a new trial for Lynn, the Archdiocese of Philadelphia's former secretary for clergy who has been in and out of prison since his original conviction three years ago.

In a 43-page decision, the Superior Court judges ruled that the trial court -- Common Pleas Court Judge M. Teresa Sarmina -- "abused its discretion" by allowing 21 supplemental cases of sex abuse to be admitted as evidence against Lynn.

The 21 cases dated back to 1948, three years before Lynn was born, and took up at least 25 days of the 32-day trial. In his appeal brief, Lynn's lawyer, Thomas A. Bergstrom, argued that the prosecution "introduced these files to put on trial the entire Archdiocese of Philadelphia, hoping to convict [Lynn] by proxy for the sins of the entire church."

The Superior Court judges agreed, ruling that the "probative value" of the supplemental cases "did not outweigh its potential for unfair prejudice, and that this potential prejudice was not overcome by the trial court's cautionary instructions."

In their decision, the Superior Court judges included some stinging criticism of Judge Sarmina.

"None of the evidence concerned the actual victim in this case, and none of it directly concerned [Lynn's] prior dealings with either [former priest Edward V.] Avery or [Father James J.] Brennan," the two co-defendants on trial with Lynn, the Superior Court judges wrote. "In this regard, the trial court has apparently mistaken quantity for quality in construing the probative value of this evidence en masse." The Superior Court judges found that the "probative value of significant quantities of this evidence was trivial or minimal."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:35 PM

New trial ordered for Msgr. Lynn, chief deft. in Phila clergy abuse case

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
Philly.com

by Jeremy Roebuck, STAFF WRITER.

A Pennsylvania court on Tuesday ordered a new trial for Msgr. William Lynn, the central defendant in the landmark 2012 trial involving clergy sex-abuse in Philadelphia.

In a 43-page opinion, the Superior Court panel found that the Philadelphia judge who presided over the case abused her discretion "by admitting a high volume of unfairly prejudicial other-acts evidence."

"In our view, it had nothing whatsoever to do with Msgr. Lynn and the allegations against him," said Thomas A. Bergstrom, lawyer for the 64-year-old Lynn. "I'm pleased with the court's recognition of that."

District Attorney Seth Williams could decide to appeal Tuesday's decision to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court or accept the lower court's ruling and prepare for a new trial.

A spokesman for Williams' office said the District Attorney had not yet reviewed the opinion. In a statement, he said:

"The Philadelphia District Attorney's Office is committed to protecting all the citizens of Philadelphia against crimes of violence such as those committed by Msgr. Lynn."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:33 PM

NON-PRECEDENTIAL DECISION – SEE SUPERIOR COURT I.O.P 65.37

PENNSYLVANIA
Pennsylvania Superior Court

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, IN THE SUPERIOR COURT OF PENNSYLVANIA

Appellee
v.
WILLIAM J. LYNN,
Appellant No. 2171 EDA 2012

Appeal from the Judgment of Entered Sentence July 24, 2012

In the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County
Criminal Division at No(s): CP-51-CR-0003530-2011

... In sum, we conclude that the probative value of the individual portions that made up the large quantity of other-acts evidence in this case differed greatly. A limited portion of that evidence was substantially relevant to, or probative of, permitted uses under Rule 404(b)(2), but far more was only marginally relevant for such purposes. The potential for this evidence to unfairly prejudice Appellant was high, both because it involved the sexually abusive acts of numerous priests committed against children over several decades, and because of the high volume of the evidence admitted.

Therefore, we conclude that the probative value of that evidence, in toto, did not outweigh its potential for unfair prejudice, and that this potential prejudice was not overcome by the trial court’s cautionary instructions.

Consequently, we hold that the trial court abused its discretion in its application of Rule 404(b)(2). As our judgement requires that Appellant receive a new trial, we decline to address Appellant’s remaining claims of error.

Judgment of sentence vacated. Case remanded for a new trial. Jurisdiction relinquished.

Judge Musmanno joins this memorandum.
Judge Donohue files a concurring and dissenting memorandum.

Judgment Entered.
Joseph D. Seletyn, Esq.
Prothonotary
Date: 12/22/2015

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:20 PM

Philly priest's conviction overturned again; new trial ordered for Monsignor William Lynn

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
The Morning Call

[PHILADELPHIA (AP) — The Associated Press has withdrawn its story about the conviction of a church official overturned for a second time because it incorrectly names The Rev. Andrew McCormick, a priest in another case, as being convicted and since dying in prison. McCormick's two trials ended in a deadlocked jury; he was never convicted and is free. A substitute story will move shortly.

The AP]

Maryclaire Dale
Of The Associated Press

PHILADELPHIA — The landmark conviction of a Roman Catholic church official imprisoned over his handling of abuse complaints in Philadelphia has been overturned for the second time.

Monsignor William Lynn has been on a legal roller coaster since his 2012 trial on child endangerment charges.

A Superior Court ruling Tuesday awarded Lynn a new trial.

His lawyers say the trial judge allowed too many victims not closely related to his case to testify. They also say the law did not apply to church supervisors when he was secretary for clergy.

Lynn has been back in prison since the conviction overturned in 2013 was reinstated.

He has served about two years of his three-to-six year term.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:12 PM

Retired Joliet Bishop Imesch dies at 84

ILLINOIS
Chicago Sun-Times

Bishop Emeritus Joseph Imesch, who led the Joliet diocese for nearly three decades, died Tuesday at 84.

Imesch, only the third bishop to lead the Joliet diocese, retired in 2006 after he was heavily criticized for how he handled priest sex-abuse cases.

“Bishop Joseph L. Imesch served as chief shepherd of the Diocese of Joliet for 40 percent of its history to date,” Bishop R. Daniel Conlon said Tuesday in a statement. “His years of service were marked by great change and population growth, which he managed well.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:11 PM

IL--Joliet bishop passes away; Clergy abuse victims react

ILLINOIS
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

For immediate release: Tuesday, Dec. 22, 2015

Statement by David G. Clohessy, Director, SNAP (Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests), 314-566-9790 (cell) davidgclohessy@gmail.com

At least 39 Joliet priests are accused of molesting kids and many of them worked under and were protected by the now-deceased Bishop Joseph Imesch. We hope Imesch’s passing will bring some comfort to the hundreds of girls and boys who were sexually violated during his tenure.

[WLS]

One of those 39 is Fr. Fred Lenczycki, the first US priest to be deemed a "sexually violent predator" after being convicted in 2004 of molesting three boys. Another is Fr. Lawrence M. Gibbs, who has been called “Joliet’s most notorious” and “savage” predator priest.

[Patch]

Clerics like these wreaked havoc on trusting youngster and their families. And time and time again, Imesch and his colleagues ignored, concealed and enabled these horrific crimes.

We hope Imesch’s passing will also encourage current and former diocesan staff to speak up about clergy sex crimes and cover ups in Joliet. It’s important that all of us share whatever we know or suspect about abuse with law enforcement officials, no matter how old or small or seemingly insignificant our information or suspicions might seem.

As recently as last year, long-secret church records about predator priests had to be pried loose from Joliet’s current bishop Daniel Conlon. So sadly, the disgraceful patterns of neglecting children’s safety typified by Imesch remain largely in place today under his successor.

As we said in 2006, when Imesch retired: “The clerical culture of cover-up went deep in the diocese of Joliet. Bishop Imesch's retirement alone will not guarantee reform.

It is tempting for some to naively believe that things will magically and suddenly improve in the Joliet Diocese with this change, but that is reckless and wishful thinking.

Imesch's tenure has a sordid history. Instead of protecting children Imesch shielded priest predators. Instead of helping victims heal, Imesch directed his attorneys to use legal hard-ball tactics and treated victims as enemies. Most are left with no help for healing from the Diocese of Joliet. In the next few weeks, until his successor takes over, we hope Bishop Imesch will find the courage to finally come clean and reach out to victims still suffering.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:03 PM

Former Joliet Bishop Joseph Imesch Dies at Age 84

ILLINOIS
Patch

By SCOTT VIAU (Patch Staff)
December 22, 2015

JOLIET, IL — Retired Diocese of Joliet Bishop Joseph Imesch has passed away at the age of 84, according to the Diocese.

Imesch served with the Diocese from 1979 until his retirement in 2006.

Despite years of service to the church, Imesch’s legacy is now intertwined with Joliet Diocese priests who were accused of sexually abusing young boys. The Joliet Diocese settled the cases out of court for a total of $4.137 million.

While Imesch was never accused of sexual abuse, depositions showed that he knew about it. The Daily Southtown published a series of articles more than 10 years ago claiming then-Bishop Imesch transferred molester priests and ignored or intimidated parents who came forward with complaints.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:41 PM

Diocese may soon settle with abuse survivors

NEW MEXICO
Gallup Independent

Published in the Gallup Independent, Gallup, NM, Dec. 17, 2015

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

ALBUQUERQUE — An agreement hasn’t been signed yet, but attorneys for the Diocese of Gallup are finalizing a settlement with attorneys representing clergy sex abuse claimants in the diocese’s bankruptcy case.

Although no specific details were provided during a court hearing Wednesday, attorneys for the diocese and the Official Committee of Unsecured Creditors, which represents the interests of sex abuse claimants, confirmed a settlement was in the works in brief statements made to U.S. Bankruptcy Judge David T. Thuma.

A third mediation session with all the parties in the case was held in Phoenix Dec. 3-4.

Inking a settlement deal will be a step forward toward the diocese’s goal of confirming a consensual plan of reorganization. The Gallup Diocese filed its Chapter 11 petition Nov. 12, 2013, after it was named as a defendant in 13 clergy sex abuse lawsuits in Arizona’s Coconino County Superior Court.

Susan Boswell, the diocese’s lead bankruptcy attorney, and James Stang, the legal counsel for the Unsecured Creditors Committee, who both appeared telephonically, confirmed that parties in the case had come to an agreement on a settlement with abuse claimants. Stang said the parties were now working out the non-monetary terms of the settlement as well as some unresolved issues involving the future claims representative.

Neither Boswell nor Stang indicated when the settlement agreement is expected to be finalized.

Attorneys representing the New Mexico Property and Casualty Insurance Guaranty Association and Catholic Mutual, as well as attorneys for the Franciscan Province St. John the Baptist have been involved in the mediation sessions. For much of the year, disputes about the possible financial liability of the diocese’s insurers have dominated court hearings and motions.

Wednesday’s hearing had been scheduled as a preliminary hearing on a motion for relief from automatic stay, filed by Houston attorney Donald H. Kidd, and a status conference on pending stay relief motions filed earlier in the year by Phoenix attorney Robert E. Pastor. Those attorneys, who represent sex abuse claimants, have sought to have the bankruptcy court’s automatic stay against litigation lifted so they can take some of their clergy sex abuse claims to trial in state court.

Kidd, along with fellow attorney Richard Fass, traveled from Houston to attend Wednesday’s hearing. Without the impending settlement agreement, responses to Kidd’s motion had been due before the court. In comments after the hearing, Kidd and Fass confirmed as long as the settlement agreement is not finalized, hearings on the stay relief motions will continue to be scheduled. With the impending settlement, Wednesday’s hearings were continued.

“We have an agreement in principle in respect to the plan of reorganization,” Fass said.

But until that agreement becomes documented, Kidd added, he will also continue to hold reservations about the settlement.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:43 PM

Lexington priest on administrative leave amid sex abuse allegations

NORTH CAROLINA
Winston-Salem Journal

LEXINGTON — Father Albert Gondek, a priest at Our Lady of the Rosary Catholic Church, is now on administrative leave after allegations of sexually abusing minors on church property, according to the Roman Catholic Diocese of Charlotte.

The church says Gondek is being investigated after a 23-year-old man recently claimed that the priest touched him in a sexually inappropriate way when he was 18.

David Hains, director of communications for the Charlotte diocese, says the man also claimed that this happened with minors who haven’t come forward.

Hains says the church is removing Gondek as pastor until the investigation is over.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:27 PM

JOLIET FORMER BISHOP JOSEPH IMESCH DIES AT 84

ILLINOIS
WLS

By Sarah Schulte

JOLIET, Ill. (WLS) -- The Joliet Diocese has confirmed that former Bishop Joseph Imesch has died at the age of 84.

Imesch served as the diocese's bishop for nearly 27 years. He died Tuesday morning.

Last year, depositions showed he knew about priest sex abuse in his diocese but moved priests around to different parishes instead of removing them from service.

The Michigan native was ordained after seminary school in Rome in 1956.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:25 PM

Child Molesting Priest Seeks To Hire A PR Agency

UNITED STATES
Everything-PR

2015-12-22 by Jason Tannahill

Everything-PR has exclusively learned that Father Joseph D. Maurizio, a priest in Federal Prison for child sexual abuse charges has contacted a number of public relations firms seeking an agency willing to work the media to assist him in getting out of jail, or receiving a lenient sentence.

The Pennsylvania-based 70 year old was found guilty of “having sex with three boys at a Honduran orphanage that he supported through his nonprofit foundation, transferring money outside the United States to fund his illicit activities and having pornographic photos of children.”

Earlier this month, The Associated Press reported that a Federal judge tossed out one of the five convictions against the Priest – yet denied his request for a new trial. The timing of contacting Public Relations firms indicates that he seeks a PR agency previously to being sentenced on February 2, 2016.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:22 PM

Financial misconduct in parishes is all too common

UNITED STATES
Crux

By Michael O'Loughlin
National reporter December 22, 2015

Behind the sensational headlines about a New York priest accused of pilfering church coffers to pay for an extravagant lifestyle – “Priest paid his male ‘sex master’ from collection plate: lawsuit,” as the New York Post put it — is the surprisingly common accusation of a trusted employee or volunteer stealing cash from a parish.

The Rev. Peter Miqueli stepped down as pastor of St. Frances de Chantal in the Bronx Dec. 13 after a group of parishioners filed a lawsuit against him and the Archdiocese of New York. They say the priest embezzled close to a million dollars over the last decade from two parishes, and that the archdiocese refused to take their accusations seriously.

Miqueli says he is not guilty.

“I look forward to my ultimate vindication, and being able to resume my priestly ministry,” he wrote in a letter read at Masses earlier this month.

Miqueli’s case is tailor made for tabloid coverage, but it’s hardly unique. This year alone, a number of high-profile embezzlement cases involving Catholic institutions have been made public. While the reporting to civil authorities has increased, resulting in more publicity about such cases, one thing hasn’t changed: Pastors are too trusting and unwilling to implement strict financial controls.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:37 AM

Prison Librarian Hopes To Get Out Soon

PENNSYLVANIA
Big Trial

FRIDAY, DECEMBER 18, 2015

By Ralph Cipriano
for BigTrial.net

The State Correctional Institute at Waymart has a new librarian.

Six days a week, Msgr. William J. Lynn, the former secretary for clergy for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, checks books in and out of the prison library for fellow inmates; he also keeps track of periodicals.

"It keeps him busy," said Lynn's lawyer, Thomas A. Bergstrom. "They have a huge library and it's really up to date."

As he works his job for 19 cents an hour, the monsignor can't help but watch the calendar and wonder whether he'll be getting out of jail again soon. Lynn has an appeal for a new trial pending with the state Superior Court. It's before a sympathetic panel of judges that has already overturned Lynn's prior conviction once before.

The reason why the wait time on the current appeal is so short is that one of the three Superior Court judges that heard Lynn's appeal, Christine L. Donohue, was elected last November to the state Supreme Court. So the panel of judges has only two weeks left to issue its decision on the Lynn case before Judge Donohue leaves the Superior Court to become Supreme Court Justice Donohue.

"I saw him on Monday, and he's doing well," Bergstrom said about his client currently housed at the state prison some 140 miles north of Philadelphia.. When he's not working at the library, the monsignor is working out and trying to lose weight.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:47 AM

Other Pontifical Acts

VATICAN CITY
Vatican Information Service

Vatican City, 22 December 2015 (VIS) – The Holy Father has appointed:

- Bishop Ruben Antonio Gonzalez Medina, C.M.F., of Caguas, Puerto Rico, as bishop of Ponce (area 2,045, population 628,300, Catholics 489,500, priests 112, permanent deacons 102, religious 257), Puerto Rico. He succeeds Bishop Felix Lazaro Martinez, Sch. P., whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese upon reaching the age limit was accepted by the Holy Father.

- Fr. Gerard County, C.S.Sp., as bishop of Kingstown (area 388, population 118,060, Catholics 102,000, priests 6, permanent deacons 7, religious 10), Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. The bishop-elect was born in Trinidad and Tobago in 1960, gave his religious vows in 1994 and was ordained a priest in 1996. He has served in a number of offices within his Congregation in Mexico, including bursar and director of youth pastoral care, parish priest of St. David Roldan Lara in the diocese of Tampico, superior provincial of Mexico. He is currently a member of the community of Spiritan Fathers in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago.

- Fr. Claude Hamelin as auxiliary of the diocese of Saint-Jean-Longueuil (area 2,075, population 735,941, Catholics 625,500, priests 103, permanent deacons 4, religious 387), Canada. The bishop-elect was born in Sherington, Canada in 1952 and was ordained a priest in 1977. He holds a bachelor's degree in theology and a master's degree in pastoral theology from the University of Montreal, Canada, and a licentiate in moral theology from the Pontifical Alphonsianum Academy, Rome. He has served as chaplain in a private school, parish priest of St. Mark in Candiac, episcopal vicar for the central, northern and western region of the diocese of Saint-Jean-Longueuil, and head of the diocesan office for the clergy. He is currently vicar general of the same diocese.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:41 AM

Abuse Survivors Group Asks Superior Bishop To Revisit Investigation Of Priest

WISCONSIN
Wisconsin Public Radio

Monday, December 21, 2015
By Danielle Kaeding

An advocacy group for those abused by priests is calling on the new leader of Superior's Catholic Diocese to look into the case of an Ashland priest suspended by the district six years ago.

The previous leader of the diocese, Bishop Peter Christensen, suspended Father Henry Willenborg from parish duties at Our Lady of the Lake in Ashland over accusations that he had sex with a minor. David Clohessy, the director of the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests, said the newly appointed Bishop James Powers should release information on the Franciscans' investigation into Father Willenborg.

"Even though six years have passed, there’s never been an announcement about that investigation, whether it’s concluded or ongoing," said Clohessy. "Never even an update."

Clohessy said the bishop should also contact parishes within the diocese for anyone who may have been hurt by Father Willenborg.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:33 AM

Nothing to worry about: Vatican downplays concerns for Pope's health

VATICAN CITY
Premier (UK)

Tue 22 Dec 2015
By Antony Bushfield

Pope Francis is suffering from flu but there is "nothing to worry about", the Vatican has said.

The pontiff confirmed he was feeling unwell as he was forced to sit down during his Christmas speech.

Francis, 79, told the gathered he was "not feeling strong" as he took his seat.

It reignited concerns for the pope who fell twice in November.

In October, the Vatican was forced to deny reports Francis had been treated for a brain tumour.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:12 AM

Jehovah’s Witnesses leaders say they don’t protect sexual abusers

AUSTRALIA
Reveal - The Center for Investigative Reporting

By Trey Bundy / December 21, 2015

In the face of evidence that the Jehovah’s Witnesses organization in Australia failed to report more than 1,000 allegations of child sexual abuse, the religion’s leaders say they’re doing a great job of protecting children.

The response comes from a 141-page document filed by the Witnesses to an Australian government commission investigating rampant child sexual abuse within the religion. It provides an uncommon look into the reasoning of an organization that has come under fire on at least three continents for shielding child abusers from prosecution.

“It is quite apparent that Jehovah’s Witnesses have for at least the last 65 years taken a proactive role in investigating and documenting such abuse and taken action against proved abusers,” the filing reads.

In recent years, Jehovah’s Witnesses leaders have worked to avoid answering for their policies by shutting out the media, withholding documents under subpoena and, in some cases, refusing to testify in court.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:10 AM

FERGUS FINLAY: We should all take a moment this Christmas to mourn children who died alone in mother and baby homes

IRELAND
Irish Examiner

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Fergus Finlay

Children in mother and baby homes were "buried in the dead of night with no priest, no cleric, no ritual, no mother beside them”, writes Fergus Finlay

There’s no ad on radio quite like the Barry’s Tea Christmas ad. I’m not a tea drinker, but I always insist on having a packet of Barry’s in the house, especially at this time of year.

You must know the ad. It’s been running for more than 20 years. I wait for it every year, because the instant I hear it, I’m six again.

The ad is about a father thrown back to his own childhood by the sound of a train set in a busy toy store. It reminds him of the moment he woke up on Christmas morning, and heard a sound he hadn’t dared hope for — his first train set, delivered by Santa Claus in the middle of a cold Christmas Eve night.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:07 AM

Assignment Record – Rev. Francis J. Zilkoski

MINNESOTA
BishopAccountability.org

Summary of Case: Francis J. Zilkoski was a priest of the St. Cloud MN diocese, ordained in 1924. He pastored parishes in Foreston, Flensburg, Little Falls and Opole. He was also Chancellor and a member of the Diocesan Board of Directors. He died in 1978. Zilkoski's name was included on the diocese's list released in January 2014 of clergy with likely claims against them of sexual abuse of minors.

Born: August 5, 1897
Ordained: May 18, 1924
Died: May 19, 1978

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:04 AM

Ex-teacher showed no remorse, says Limerick judge

IRELAND
Irish Examiner

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Jimmy Woulfe, Mid-West Correspondent

A man yesterday recalled how he rejected the pleas of his mother on her deathbed to hold her hand due to the anger he felt at being sexually assaulted by a former member of a religious order.

Due to the abuse, he started to regard his mother as his enemy because she was a strict Catholic and clerics were almost living deities to her, Limerick Circuit Court heard.

Chilling details of the devastation wreaked on the lives of six men due to continued sexual abuse waged on them by the cleric primary school teacher were recounted at the sentencing hearing yesterday.

The former teacher, who is now 73, and who cannot be named for legal reasons, was last month found guilty at Limerick Circuit Court of 30 charges of indecently assaulting six boys. The jury failed to agree on 42 charges in relation to seven other boys. The charges related to dates between September 1978 and June 1981.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:59 AM

'Spotlight' Named Best Picture by Vancouver Critics

CANADA
Hollywood Reporter

by Etan Vlessing 12/21/2015

The Vancouver Film Critics Circle has named Tom McCarthy's fact-based journalism drama Spotlight as the best film of the year.

The fact-based journalism drama inspired by Boston Globe reporters exposing sexual abuse in the Catholic Church beat out Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu's survival thriller The Revenant and George Miller's action pic Mad Max: Fury Road in the best film category.

Spotlight was earlier named best picture by film critics in Los Angeles and San Francisco. The Canadian critics also hailed Steve Jobs' Michael Fassbender as best actor and Room star Brie Larson as best actress. And Bridge of Spies' Mark Rylance and Ex Machina's Alicia Vikander won in the supporting acting categories.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:57 AM

Father Raymond J. de Souza: Should the Pope apologize … again?

CANADA
National Post

Father Raymond J. de Souza | December 21, 2015

The release of the final report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) on the residential schools system spoke of the need to move from “apology to action.” Yet there was apparently some unfinished business on the apology front, as the TRC called upon the “the Pope to issue an apology to Survivors, their families, and communities for the Roman Catholic Church’s role in the spiritual, cultural, emotional, physical, and sexual abuse of First Nations, Inuit, and Métis children … to occur within one year of the issuing of this Report and to be delivered by the Pope in Canada.”

It is puzzling why the commissioners think an apology would be a good idea. Or, more precisely, why they think it would be a good idea again.

On April 29, 2009 — before the TRC got going, it should be noted — Pope Benedict XVI met with a delegation of aboriginal Canadians he had invited to the Vatican at the request of the bishops of Canada. On the topic of residential schools, Benedict expressed “his sorrow at the anguish caused by the deplorable conduct of some members of the Church and he offered his sympathy and prayerful solidarity,” according to the Vatican press summary of the meeting.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:55 AM

All I want is a Christmas Pell

AUSTRALIA
Independent Australia

Tess Lawrence 22 December 2015

All contributing editor-at-large Tess Lawrence wants is cowardly Cardinal Pell to come back home to Australia and face the Commission.

DEAR SANTA, all I want for Christmas is for Cardinal George Pell to come home and face his accusers.

All I want is justice for both the victims and George Pell.

For justice to be done and to be seen to be done, on Australian soil, in Ballarat, the accused and accusers all first among equals.

I am sick of George Pell's constant missing in action time wasting antics, calling in sick and whatever to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, doing everything possible to avoid a personal appearance.

I am sick of George's mate, Bishop Ronald Mulkeans calling in sick to the Royal Commission.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:53 AM

Powell County pastor charged with sexual abuse to be arraigned Tuesday

KENTUCKY
WKYT

POWELL COUNTY, Ky. (WKYT) - A 52-year-old minister and school bus driver accused of sexually abusing two girls in his church will go before a judge on Tuesday.

Powell County Sheriff’s Deputies arrested 52-year-old Steve Williams Friday afternoon. Williams is charged with one count of sexual abuse of s minor under the age of 12, and a count of sexual abuse of a minor under the age of 18.

Chief Deputy Mathews said the charges stem from allegations that Williams, the minister at Bowen First Church of God in the community of Bowen, inappropriately touched two girls, one during a church field trip and the other at the church.

The chief deputy says Williams turned in his resignation letter to Bowen First Church of God leaders Friday afternoon. He also says Williams was a school bus driver for Powell County Schools, and a firefighter with the Middlefork Volunteer Fire Department.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:50 AM

Lexington priest under investigation for sexual abuse

NORTH CAROLINA
Fox 8

[with video]

DECEMBER 21, 2015, BY KIM WYNNE

LEXINGTON, N.C. -- Father Albert Gondek, a priest at Our Lady of the Rosary Catholic Church, is now on administrative leave after allegations of sexually abusing minors on church property, according to the Roman Catholic Diocese of Charlotte.

The church says Gondek is being investigated after a 23-year-old man recently claimed that the priest touched him in a sexually inappropriate way when he was 18.

David Hains, director of communications for the Charlotte diocese, says the man also claimed that this happened with minors who haven’t come forward.

Hains says the church is removing Gondek as pastor until the investigation is over.

“We’re hoping this can be thoroughly and fairly invested and we can get some clarity in the next couple of weeks,” Hains said.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:48 AM

December 21, 2015

Contacting the Royal Commission this holiday season

AUSTRALIA
Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse

22 December, 2015

The Royal Commission thanks the community for its support and contribution to our work this year.

In 2015, we have conducted 14 public hearings, held more than 1,800 private sessions, released our final reports into redress and civil litigation and Working with Children Checks and published 13 case study reports. More than 9,300 people have called our call centre, more than 6,600 have sent emails and letters, and we have served 1,139 notices to produce.

During the holiday season this year, the Royal Commission’s call centre will remain open, with the exception of public holidays. The call centre can be contacted on 1800 099 340 Monday-Friday between 8am- 8pm AEDT.

Public holiday dates
Friday 25 December 2015
Monday 28 December 2015
Friday 1 January 2016

The holiday season can be a difficult time. There are a number of organisations available to provide support during this time.

1800 Respect
Website: www.1800respect.org.au
24/7 x 365 national telephone and online crisis counselling, information and referral for anyone in Australia who has experienced or been impacted by sexual assault, domestic or family violence. Staffed by trauma specialist counsellors.
Phone: 1800 737 732
Online Counselling: www.1800respect.org.au

This call center also services NSW Rape Crisis calls 24/7 1800 424 017 &
Royal Commission SACA 1800 211 028

Rape and Domestic Violence Services Australia
Website: www.rape-dvservices.org.au
National phone counselling. Face-to-face counselling provided within NSW and VIC.
Phone: 1800 211 028

MensLine Australia
Website: www.mensline.org.au
24/7 x 365 national telephone and online support, information and referral service for men with family and relationship concerns.
Phone: 1300 78 99 78
Online Counselling: www.mensline.org.au

Suicide Call Back Service
Website: www.suicidecallbackservice.org.au
24/7 x 365 counselling for people 18 years and over who are suicidal, caring for someone who is suicidal or people bereaved by suicide.
Phone: 1300 659 467

Lifeline
Website: www.lifeline.org.au
24/7 x 365 national crisis support and suicide prevention.
Phone: 131 114

The full list of the support services available in your state or territory can be found here.

Contact us
P: 1800 099 340 Monday – Friday 8am – 8PM AEDT
E: contact@childabuseroyalcommission.gov.au
F: www.facebook.com/CARoyalComm
T: www.twitter.com/CARoyalComm

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:36 PM

Pope Francis opts for honey over vinegar in Curia address. But will it work?

VATICAN CITY
Washington Post

By David Gibson | Religion News Service December 21

A year after he delivered a blistering diagnosis of 15 “diseases” plaguing the Roman Curia, including “spiritual Alzheimer’s,” Pope Francis on Monday (Dec. 21) listed a 12-point “catalog of needed virtues” that the bishops and cardinals who run the Holy See should seek to follow.

But if the pope seemed to strike a lighter tone during his benchmark Christmas address — he quipped that after last year’s grim diagnosis he wanted to provide some “Curial antibiotics” — Francis made it clear he won’t let up on his drive to overhaul a church court that has been a source of both scandal and opposition to his reformist agenda.

“It seems necessary to state what has been — and ever shall be — the object of sincere reflection and decisive provisions,” the pope told the prelates gathered in an ornately decorated Vatican audience hall. “The reform will move forward with determination, clarity and firm resolve.”

Without mentioning specific headlines that cropped up in recent months, Francis pointedly referred to the “diseases” that have manifested since his last speech to the Curia, “causing no small pain to the entire body and harming many souls, even by scandal.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:33 PM

Judge grants parishioners 90 days for hail Mary effort to save Scituate church

MASSACHUSETTS
Boston.com

By Charlotte Wilder @thewilderthings
Boston.com Staff

Judge Raymond Brassard of Norfolk Superior Court granted parishioners of St. Frances X Cabrini Church in Scituate a chance to file their case with the U.S. Supreme Court on Monday. The filing with the highest court in America will be the last battle in an 11-year fight to stop the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston from closing their church.

The church hasn’t been empty in over a decade. For 11 years, members of the approximately 100 people who make up the group known as the “Friends of St. Frances X. Cabrini” have kept a constant vigil inside their beloved building to keep it from closing.

The hearing Monday was to consider the parishioners’ emergency motion to suspend any of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston’s future orders to close the church while they work on an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court to save St. Frances.

At the hearing, the church’s lawyer, William Dailey, and the parishioners’ lawyer, Mary Beth Carmody, came to an agreement that will allow the parishioners the 90 days they need to file with the Supreme Court rather than having to leave the premises by January 8. However, if the Supreme Court decides not to hear the parishioners’ case or doesn’t find in their favor, they must give up the fight and vacate the premises within 14 days of the decision.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:05 PM

Church protesters given time to file US Supreme Court appeal

MASSACHUSETTS
Boston Herald

Associated Press Monday, December 21, 2015

DEDHAM, Mass. — Parishioners occupying a Massachusetts church for over a decade have been granted time to appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.

A Norfolk Superior Court judge on Monday gave parishioners at St. Frances X. Cabrini until March 3 to file a petition to the nation's highest court, according to Mary Elizabeth Carmody, the group's lawyer.

The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston has agreed to let the parishioners remain in the Scituate church until the Supreme Court decides one way or the other. Protesters have agreed to vacate the church within 14 days if the court declines to take the case, Carmody says.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:01 PM

Greg Burke's Appointment Signals Beginning of Communications Reform

VATICAN CITY
National Catholic Register

by Edward Pentin 12/21/2015

After an eighteen-month study and seeking the advice of media experts on reforming the Vatican’s media operation, three Vatican appointments over the past couple of days have signaled the beginning of those reforms.

The Holy See announced today that St. Louis native and former Register and Fox News correspondent Greg Burke is to become the new vice director of the Holy See Press Office, replacing San Marino Passionist Father Ciro Benedettini who has served in the role for 20 years.
The position has until now involved assisting the press office director in staging press conferences, overseeing administration, and disseminating information, as well as sometimes representing the Holy See in Father Lombardi’s absence.

Since June 2012, Burke has served as senior communications adviser at the Secretariat of State, a largely behind-the-scenes role in which he was responsible for the Holy See’s media strategy and helping to improve the Pope’s public image.

Initially hired during the pontificate of Benedict XVI after a series of media “gaffes,” Burke has tried to make the Vatican more media sensitive and aware. He has helped to launch a papal twitter account in December 2012 but his main role has been “putting out fires” and preventing potentially damaging public relations mistakes from reaching the media.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:59 PM

Pope Francis taps an American as spokesman in communications shakeup

VATICAN CITY
Crux

By John L. Allen Jr.
Associate editor December 21, 2015

ROME — In moves that clearly seem to afford English-speaking communications officials in the Vatican greater influence and visibility, Pope Francis has named two key aides to new roles, including putting the first American in line eventually to serve as his personal spokesman.

On Monday, the Vatican announced that Greg Burke, a former Time magazine and Fox News correspondent in Rome who has served as senior communications adviser to the Secretariat of State since 2012, has been named the new vice director of the Holy See Press Office.

Although the announcement did not say so explicitly, it’s believed that the appointment sets Burke up as heir apparent to the Rev. Federico Lombardi, the 73-year-old Jesuit who’s headed the press office and acted as spokesman for both Popes Benedict XVI and Francis since 2006.

Burke replaces the Rev. Ciro Benedettini, an Italian Passionist priest who has served as the vice-director of the Press Office since 1995. The appointment takes effect Feb. 1.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:27 PM

Fears for health of Pope Francis as he is unable to stand at Vatican speech

VATICAN CITY
Mirror

BY HANNAH ROBERTS

Fears for the health of Pope Francis have resurfaced after he was unable to stand at an official event, explaining that he was 'not feeling strong.'

Addressing Vatican officials in a Christmas speech on Monday, Francis said he had the flu. He said: 'Dear brothers and sisters, Forgive me for not standing up as I speak to you, but for some days I've been suffering from flu and I am not feeling very strong. With your permission, I'll speak to you sitting down.'

The pope has been unsteady of his feet at times in recent months, stumbling several times in public. Last week he celebrated his 79th birthday.

In November as walked up the steps in the Basilica of St John Lateran in Rome he seemingly tripped on his robes, forcing nearby priests to grasp his arms and help him up the steps.

The same week he tripped as he walked up some steps in St Peter's Square, this time being brought to his hands and knees.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:09 PM

Pope Francis gives another lump of coal to Vatican prelates, calling them out for 'scandals'

VATICAN CITY
Los Angeles Times

Tom Kington

Pope Francis on Monday handed the cardinals and bishops working at the Vatican a 12-point to-do list for Christmas, warning them that nothing would stop his crusade to expunge bad behavior from the Holy See.

For the second year running, Pope Francis used his Christmas speech to Vatican prelates to criticize them for the scandals and corruption — "diseases," he called them — that have bedeviled the Vatican in recent years.

“Some of these diseases became evident in the course of the past year, causing no small pain to the entire body and harming many souls, even by scandal,” he said.

Two Vatican consultants, an assistant and two authors are currently on trial at the Vatican, accused of leaking sensitive documents about mismanagement and sleaze in the Holy See. The authors’ bestselling books revealed mysterious break-ins at the Vatican and turf battles between bureaucrats.

Over the weekend, the Vatican’s former No. 2, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, gave a children’s hospital a donation of 150,000 euros ($164,000) after one of the books claimed hospital funds were used to redecorate his luxury penthouse.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:07 PM

Cardinal Timothy Dolan holds mass at Westchester County Jail

NEW YORK
The Journal News

Adrienne Sanders, asanders@lohud.com December 21, 2015

Cardinal Timothy Dolan's message for Westchester County jail inmates and parishioners of Pearl River's St. Margaret of Antioch was much the same on Monday.

"I love 'em. I'm with 'em all the way. I'm sorry for what they're going through, especially this time of year," he said.

The Archbishop of New York shared his message for the Rockland County parishioners shortly after presiding over a mass for roughly 150 inmates, clergy and visitors at the Westchester County Jail in Valhalla.

Dolan removed St. Margaret's priest, Monsignor John O'Keefe, from his post last week pending an investigation of what he said was a "credible" 30-year-old child sex abuse charge. O'Keefe once led Archibishop Stepinac High School in White Plains and had served at St. Margaret's since 2003.

Dolan, a charismatic and conversational speaker, brought words of hope and compassion to attendees, which included inmates, youthful offenders, visiting priests, jail chaplains and at least one busload of staffers from Westchester County Executive Robert Astorino's office.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:07 PM

Phila. archdiocese removes priest - again

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
Philly.com

Updated: DECEMBER 21, 2015

by Laura McCrystal, STAFF WRITER.

An Archdiocese of Philadelphia priest who had been temporarily removed in the wake of the sweeping 2011 investigation into clergy sex abuse then reinstated has again been removed from active ministry.

The Rev. Steven Harris, most recently the pastor of St. Bridget Church in East Falls, has been put on administrative leave by Archbishop Charles J. Chaput.

The Rev. Steven Harris, most recently the pastor of St. Bridget Church in East Falls.

"The Archdiocese was made aware of possible concerns regarding his suitability for ministry at this time," said an announcement posted on the parish's Facebook page.

The reason for Harris' current leave of absence was not immediately clear Monday. The issues are a personnel matter, said Kenneth A. Gavin, a spokesman for the archdiocese, and "do not relate to any accusations of criminal activity."

Harris was among more than two dozen parish priests removed from ministry in 2011 while the church re-examined past claims of clergy sex abuse or misconduct involving children.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:56 PM

Vatican Requires Painful And Prolonged Reforms – Pope

VATICAN CITY
Leadership (Nigeria)

Agency Report
— Dec 21, 2015

Catholic Pontiff, Pope Francis, said on Monday that the Catholic Church’s bureaucratic machine needed “painful and prolonged clean-up’’.

In a pre-Christmas address to the top echelon of the Vatican administration, Francis said that the clean-up became imperative at the wake of a fresh wave of scandals.

Since November, the so-called VatiLeaks 2 affair has exposed financial mismanagement, greed and resistance to reform in the Vatican’s administration.

“Administrative diseases requiring prevention, vigilance, care, and sadly, in some cases, painful and prolonged interventions have become evident in the course of the past year.

“These have caused no small pain to the entire body of the church and the scandals have harmed many souls,’’ the pope added.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:54 PM

Ballarat hearing finishes

AUSTRALIA
Truth Justice Healing Council

Francis Sullivan - 17 December 2015

Sometimes words just are not enough!

At the end of another confronting and shameful public hearing for the Catholic Church the heavy sense of failure pervades our community. It is becoming an all-too-predictable scenario, in that in every case study ineptitude, maladministration, cover ups and corrupt practices have been revealed.

This miserable history cannot be denied, nor can it be rationalised away. The very fact that a faith-based institution would perpetuate such evil is incomprehensible. But it has – and now the time for reckoning has well and truly arrived.

As witness after witness fronts the Royal Commission the pretence falls away. At times the Commission's patience is clearly tested but at least the stark realities are made plain for all to see.

Of course the Ballarat component of these past three and a bit weeks of hearings is only partially completed. It will reconvene again in the New Year in Ballarat. Cardinal Pell will also be required to give his evidence, health permitting. This will be a crucial component and has already been eagerly awaited.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:32 PM

Call to widen investigation into mother and baby homes

IRELAND
RTE News

Survivors of mother and baby homes and other residential institutions have gathered in Dublin to call for a widening of the terms of reference of the Commission of Investigation into the homes.

They want the Commission to urgently recommend to the Government that it be empowered to examine the plight of all survivors of the forced separation of single mothers and their children since 1922.

They are also seeking an immediate State apology and redress for survivors.

The protest began at 12pm in central Dublin with a small gathering to remember and honour those buried in our mass infant graves and angel's plots.

A handful of participants said prayers at Mannix Flynn's new installation, "Somebody's Child", in Temple Bar.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:29 PM

The Pope greets the Roman Curia: return to the essentials

VATICAN CITY
Vatican Information Service

Vatican City, 21 December 2015 (VIS) – Missionary and pastoral spirit, idoneity and sagacity, spirituality and humanity, example and fidelity, reasonableness and gentleness, innocuousness and determination, diligence and attentiveness, charity and truth, openness and maturity, respectfulness and humility, intrepidness and alertness, and finally, accountability and sobriety. These are the qualities Pope Francis highlighted this morning in his greetings to the Roman Curia, as a practical aid to embracing the time of grace of Christmas and the Year of Mercy and ensuring the fruitfulness of service to the Church. “I would ask the Heads of Dicasteries and other superiors to ponder this, to add to it and to complete it”, he said. “It is a list based on an acrostic analysis of the word 'Misericordia' … with the aim of having it serve as our guide and beacon”.

During his traditional exchange of Christmas greetings with the members of the Roman Curia, the Holy Father addressed the prelates recalling their previous meetings: in 2013, when he stressed “two important and inseparable aspects of the work of the Curia: professionalism and service”, offering St. Joseph as a model to be imitated. Then, last year, as a preparation for the sacrament of Reconciliation, he considered “certain temptations or maladies – the catalogue of curial diseases … which could affect any Christian, curia, community, congregation, parish or ecclesial movement. Diseases which call for prevention, vigilance, care and, sadly, in some cases, painful and prolonged interventions”.

“Some of these diseases became evident in the course of the past year”, he continued, “causing no small pain to the entire body and harming many souls, also by scandal. It seems necessary to state what has been – and ever shall be – the object of sincere reflection and decisive provisions. Reform will move forward with determination, clarity and firm resolve, since Ecclesia semper reformanda. Nonetheless, diseases and even scandals cannot obscure the efficiency of the services rendered to the Pope and to the entire Church by the Roman Curia, with great effort, responsibility, commitment and dedication, and this is a real source of consolation. St. Ignatius taught that 'it is typical of the evil spirit to instil remorse, sadness and difficulties, and to cause needless worry so as to prevent us from going forward; instead, it is typical of the good spirit to instil courage and energy, consolations and tears, inspirations and serenity, and to lessen and remove every difficulty so as to make us advance on the path of goodness'”.

Therefore, “it would be a grave injustice not to express heartfelt gratitude and needed encouragement to all those good and honest men and women in the Curia who work with dedication, devotion, fidelity and professionalism, offering to the Church and the Successor of Peter the assurance of their solidarity and obedience, as well as their constant prayers. Moreover, cases of resistance, difficulties and failures on the part of individuals and ministers are so many lessons and opportunities for growth, and never for discouragement. They are opportunities for returning to the essentials, which means being ever more conscious of ourselves, of God and our neighbours, of the sensus Ecclesiae and the sensus fidei”.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:28 PM

Sick of scandals, pope prescribes cure for Vatican ills

VATICAN CITY
Yahoo! News

By Ella Ide

Vatican City (AFP) - Pope Francis vowed Monday to power ahead with the reform of the Curia, the Church's "diseased" governing body, throwing down the gauntlet to those fostering a climate of intrigue, greed and double-crossing in the Vatican.

His annual address to cardinals, bishops and priests running the Holy See echoed his speech at this time last year, when he suggested the Vatican's administrative hierarchy was beset by a "spiritual Alzheimer's" and a lust for power.

Though the December 2014 speech embarrassed and infuriated many of the Vatican's top figures, it appeared to have failed to convince the unruly Curia to change its ways -- with fresh scandals blotting the government's copybook in 2015.

The pope reminded the Curia he had chastised them last year for "certain temptations or maladies... diseases which call for prevention, vigilance, care and, sadly, in some cases, painful and prolonged interventions."

"Some of these diseases became evident in the course of the past year, causing no small pain to the entire body and harming many souls," he said, in a reference to a second embarrassing leaks scandal at the heart of the Holy See.

Three people accused of stealing and leaking secret papers are currently on trial at the Vatican, along with two journalists accused of publishing the documents, which depict irregularities and extravagance in the Holy See's spending.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:25 PM

MEDIA RELEASE – DECEMBER 21, 2015

NEW YORK
Road to Recovery

JESUIT PRIESTS AND BROTHERS CONTINUE TO RE-VICTIMIZE CHILDHOOD SEXUAL ABUSE VICTIM OF A JESUIT PRIEST – ENOUGH WITH THE DELAY!

Neal E. Gumpel is a clergy sexual abuse victim of a previously named predator, Fr. Roy Alan Drake, SJ, now deceased and former teacher and professor at Fordham Prep, Fordham University, and Main Maritime Academy in Castine, Maine, where Fr. Roy Alan Drake, SJ, sexually abused Neal E. Gumpel

The Northeast Province of the Jesuits interviewed approximately six (6) individuals, including the victim, Neal E. Gumpel, who provided credible evidence confirming that Fr. Roy Alan Drake, SJ, held himself out at all times as a Jesuit priest at Maine Maritime Academy and sexually abused Neal E. Gumpel there

WHAT
A press conference and leafleting alerting the media, general public, and Fordham University and Fordham Prep students, parents, alumni, and staff that the Northeast Province of the Society of Jesus (Jesuits) and Fordham Prep and University keep dragging their feet in assisting a childhood clergy sexual abuse victim of one of its priest, Fr. Roy Alan Drake, SJ

WHEN
Tuesday, December 22, 2015 from 11:00 am until 1:00 pm

WHERE
On the public sidewalk outside the gates of Fordham Prep and University on Southern Boulevard (near the entrance to the Bronx Botanical Gardens) Bronx, NY

WHO

The victim/survivor of Fr. Roy Alan Drake, SJ, Neal E. Gumpel; his wife, Helen Gumpel; and members of Road to Recovery, Inc., a non-profit charity based in New Jersey that assists victims of sexual abuse and their families, including its Co-founder and President, Robert M. Hoatson, Ph.D.

WHY
The Northeast Province of the Society of Jesus (Jesuits) knows that Fr. Roy Alan Drake, SJ, was a serial molester of minor boys. They settled at least one claim against Fr. Drake in the past. Neal E. Gumpel’s credible story of having been sexually abused as a minor child by Fr. Roy Alan Drake, SJ, at Maine Maritime Academy was credibly supported by approximately five (5) other individuals. Now, the Northeast Province of the Society of Jesus (Jesuits) is dragging its feet in settling Neal E. Gumpel’s claim, and the Jesuits are re-victimizing Neal E. Gumpel. Demonstrators will demand that the Jesuit Priests and Brothers of the Northeast Province, Fordham University, and Fordham Prep cease their foot-dragging, acknowledge and verify Neal E. Gumpel’s story, allow him to heal, and try to 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 12:45 PM

Roy Catchpole: Priest will no longer face re-trial

UNITED KINGDOM
Western Gazette

A PRIEST from Milborne Port who was charged with sexual assault will no longer face a re-trial, according to a letter from the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) sent to his solicitors.

Roy Catchpole, 69, was charged with three counts of sexual assault and one of exposure but his trial was dismissed on Wednesday, October 14 when the jury at Bournemouth Crown Court could not reach a verdict.

It appeared the CPS would pursue a re-trial but the Western Gazette has seen a letter informing Mr Catchpole's solicitors that "the prosecution will not proceed to a retrial" and that "no evidence" will be offered.

The CPS confirmed it would not seek a retrial on Monday and that all parties had been informed. It said that its decision was based on "further evidence" coming to light.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:37 AM

Antoello Tropea: Paedophile priest 'who used Grindr to meet teenage boys' arrested in Italy

ITALY
The Independent (UK)

Shehab Khan @shehabkhan

An Italian priest has been arrested after allegedly meeting teenage boys through gay dating app Grindr, according to Italian media reports.

Priest Antoello Tropea was arrested after suspicions were raised when police reportedly discovered him in a car with a teenager in a secluded area.

The 44-year-old, who is the priest of a parish in Messignadi in southern Italy, is said to have claimed he was a physical education teacher when approached by police. He was apparently found with "suspicious items" in his bag.

Italian media also claims an Italian bishop allegedly told Tropea to avoid talking to the police.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:12 AM

Other Pontifical Acts

VATICAN CITY
Vatican Information Service

Vatican City, 21 December 2015 (VIS) – The Holy Father has appointed:

- Stefano D'Agostini, Italy, technical head of the Vatican Television (CTV), as director of the CTV.

- Gregory Burke, communications adviser at the Secretariat of State, as deputy director of the Holy See Press Office.

On Sunday 20 December, the Holy Father accepted the resignation from the office of auxiliary of the diocese of Orange, United States of America, presented by Bishop Dominic Mai Luong upon reaching the age limit.

On Saturday 19 December the Holy Father appointed:

- Fr. Joseph Raja Rao Thelegathoti, S.M.M., as bishop of Vijayawada (area 8,374, population 5,898,011, Catholics 283,062, priests 229, 1,132 religious), India. The bishop-elect was born in Peddautapally, India in 1952, gave his religious vows in 1980 and was ordained a priest in the same year. He holds a licentiate in biblical theology from the Dharmaram Vidya Kshetram in Bangalore, India and a doctorate in spiritual theology from the Pontifical Gregorian University, Rome. He has served in a number of roles, including rector of the minor seminary and of the Montfort Theologate in Bangalore, provincial counsellor, provincial superior, deputy president of the Conference of Religious of India, director of the Anugraha Institute for Poor Girls, director of the Montfort Marian Centre, Bangalore, and procurator general and postulator of the Congregation of Montfort Fathers in Rome. He is currently provincial of his congregation in Rome.

- Msgr. Leszek Leszkiewicz as auxiliary of Tarnow (area 7,566, population 1,097,479, Catholics 1.091,829, priests 1,455, religious 1.145), Poland. The bishop-elect was born in Gorlice, Poland in 1970 and was ordained a priest in 1996. He holds a licentiate in missiology from the Pontifical Urbanian University in Rome, and has served in a number of roles including parish vicar, missionary in Ecuador, deputy director of the department for missions of the diocese of Tarnow, and prefect of discipline in the major seminary of Tarnow. He is currently vicar forane and pastor of the parish of St. Nicholas, and custodian of the shrine to the Blessed Virgin in Bochnia.

- Cardinal Vinko Puljic, archbishop of Vrhbosna, Bosnia and Herzegovina, as his special envoy to the celebrations to be held on 3 February 2016 to commemorate the 17th centenary of the martyrdom of St. Blaise, patron of the diocese of Dubrovnik, Croatia, and the 600th anniversary of the abolition of slavery by the Republic of Ragusa.

- Archbishop Zygmunt Zimowski, president of the Pontifical Council for Health Care Workers (for Health Pastoral Care) as his special envoy to the celebration of the 24th World Day of the Sick, to be held in Nazareth on 11 February 2016.

- Msgr. Paul Tighe, secretary of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, as adjunct secretary of the Pontifical Council for Culture, elevating him to the dignity of bishop.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:05 AM

Evangelical couple begs God to strike critics dead over child abuse claims

UNITED STATES
Raw Story

VYCKIE GARRISON, ALTERNET
21 DEC 2015

[We] knelt on bended knee and cried out to God, “This one has brought a great delusion that we can’t defeat. Remove him from our lives.” Within hours that one was destroyed. …We were stunned into holy silence. So we silently, behind closed doors, met eyes and fearfully marveled at God’s decisiveness. His answer was more than we asked for, and so completely terminal.

The abrupt answer built faith and brought extreme temporary relief in the battle that was waging against us. Now we must face a new enemy and are publicly asking God to make a new statement.

This chilling declaration is part of a public prayer request posted by Debi Pearl, wife of Christian evangelist, Michael Pearl, whose controversial parenting manual, To Train Up a Child, advocates child abuse and has been linked with at least three deaths of young children at the hands of their own Christian parents who implemented Pearl’s harsh, “spare the rod, spoil the child” discipline advice.

Debi Pearl is a regressive fundamentalist leader in her own right. Her book, Created To Be His Help Meet, teaches Christian wives to anticipate and meet their husbands’ every need, want, and desire, regardless of the cost to themselves and their children:

“God made you to be a help meet to your husband so you can bolster him, making him more productive and efficient at whatever he chooses to do. You are not on the board of directors with an equal vote. You have no authority to set the agenda. But if he can trust you, he will make you his closest adviser, his confidante, his press secretary, his head of state, his vice-president, his ambassador, his public relations expert, maybe even his speech writer — all at his discretion.”

According to Suzanne Titkemeyer, blogger and administrator of the spiritual abuse recovery site, No Longer Quivering, it appears that Michael and Debi Pearl are facing legal challenges related to their advocacy of male dominance and parental tyranny.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:54 AM

Vatican communications reform continues with new appointments, official’s transfer

VATICAN CITY
Catholic Culture

December 21, 2015

Pope Francis has named an American layman, Greg Burke, as the vice director of the Holy See Press Office, effective February 1.

Burke, 55, worked for TIME Magazine and Fox News before becoming senior communications adviser to the Vatican Secretariat of State in 2012. He is a numerary, or lay celibate member, of the Opus Dei prelature, according to reports published on the Vatican website.

On December 21, Pope Francis also named Stefano D’Agostini as the new director of CTV, the Vatican Television Center. D’Agostini is currently the Center’s technical director, and he succeeds Msgr. Dario Edoardo Viganò, who was appointed prefect of the new Secretariat for Communications in June.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:08 AM

Hunting in packs: in defence of George Pell

AUSTRALIA
The Courier

By Amanda Vanstone
Dec. 21, 2015

We like to think of ourselves as being civilised. We ban discrimination of all sorts. We believe you are innocent until proven guilty and that everyone is entitled to proper process. But there's an ugly side to humankind that occasionally reverts to animal instincts.

Hunting in a pack is very primal. Rules go out the window. We go looking, desperately, for blood. We become hunters and if you're the hunted, watch out. What's ugly about this is not just the hunt but how few people care.

I have always found George Pell to be a decent, honest, intelligent man.

The slip into animal instincts often happens when we sense a wrong has been perpetrated and that our civilised system just hasn't dealt with the perpetrators.

George Pell is the latest to fall prey to this ugly side of humanity. We know that children in institutional care and in the churches have been abused and we know it's been covered up. It's been hidden in the Catholic Church, the Church of England, the Salvation Army and seemingly endless state institutions. The crimes have been horrific. Now we want blood.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:04 AM

Martin denies vilifying senior clergy criticised in Murphy report

IRELAND
Irish Times

Patsy McGarry

Bishops and senior clergy criticised over the handling of abuse allegations need to take personal responsibility for their roles, Archbishop Diarmuid Martin has said.

Speaking in Dublin yesterday, the archbishop rejected claims by Association of Catholic Priests (ACP) co-founder Fr Tony Flannery that he had vilified Dublin bishops and senior clergy who were criticised in the Murphy report.

Archbishop Martin said after the report came out: “I made it very clear publicly that I felt there was an unwillingness to address the report and I said that I felt that every person that was named in the report should give an account. By that I was not saying they were guilty.”

Responsibility

He said what worried him was that people acknowledged certain actions but no one took overall responsibility.

One person would say “I put in the sugar, that’s all I did”, said the archbishop, while another would say “I put in the milk . . . I put in the flour”. But “nobody was responsible for the cake”.

In his comments, Fr Flannery referred to the ACP-commissioned critique of the Murphy report by barrister and retired Hong Kong district justice Fergal Sweeney.

The critique had convinced him “that there were serious faults with the work of Yvonne Murphy on this occasion, and also with the legislation underpinning the Commission of Investigation”.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:01 AM

Italian priest used Grindr to find teen boys for sex

ITALY
The Local

An Italian bishop aided and abetted a paedophile priest, telling him to avoid the police and shrugging off warnings the prelate was meeting teenage boys on Grindr, Italian media reported on Sunday.

Priest Antonello Tropea, 44, was arrested after a police investigation allegedly uncovered he was using the US-based gay dating app to pick up the teenagers, with whom he sexual relations in his car or his rectory in Calabria.

Bishop Francesco Milito was accused by a prosecutor of failing to investigate widely-spread reports of the priest's activities and encouraging him to "continue as before", according to the reports.

Police suspicions were raised after officers found Tropea in a car in a secluded spot with a teenager, and the priest not only said he was a physical education teacher but had suspicious objects in his rucksack.

An investigation was launched and wiretaps revealed not only Milito's anger over an anonymous letter about Tropea, believed to have been written by a nun, but also how the bishop warned his charge to "avoid speaking to the police".

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:59 AM

Some of Curia's illnesses cured - pope

VATICAN CITY
ANSA

(ANSA) - Vatican City, December 21 - Pope Francis said Monday some of the ailments of the Roman Curia have been tackled in the year that is about to end as he gave this Christmas greetings to the central body though which he manages the Catholic Church. Last year, as he gave his Christmas greetings to the body, the pope gave a list of the Curia's illnesses. "Some of the illnesses manifest this year have led to sincere reflexion and decisive measures," the pope said.

"The reform will continue with determination, lucidity and resolution". The Vatican was recently hit by the so-called Vatileaks 2 scandal over the leaking of confidential Holy See documents and the relation publication of two books documenting alleged Vatican waste and mismanagement and lavish spending by clergymen. The Vatican said the revelations are unsensational because the pope's reforms of the Church have rendered them out of date.

Francis on Monday also gave the Roman Curia a catalogue of necessary virtues, including a letter-by-letter analysis of 'misericordia,' the Italian word mercy, including M for "missionaryness", R for "respectness" and A for "affidabilità" (reliability).

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:57 AM

Pope tells Roman Curia to "return to the essentials"

VATICAN CITY
Vatican Radio

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis has urged the Roman Curia to “return to the essentials” and follow a path of gratitude, conversion, renewal, penance and reconciliation as indicated by the Year of Mercy.

The Pope was addressing members of the Curia gathered in the Vatican Clementine Hall for the annual Christmas Greetings.

Please find below the full text of the Pope’s address to the Curia:

Dear brothers and sisters,

I am pleased to offer heartfelt good wishes for a blessed Christmas and a happy New Year to you and your co-workers, to the Papal Representatives, and in particular to those who in the past year have completed their service and retired. Let us also remember all those who have gone home to God. My thoughts and my gratitude go to you and to the members of your families.

In our meeting in 2013, I wanted to stress two important and inseparable aspects of the work of the Curia: professionalism and service, and I offered Saint Joseph as a model to be imitated. Then, last year, as a preparation for the sacrament of Reconciliation, we spoke of certain temptations or "maladies" – the "catalogue of curial diseases" – which could affect any Christian, curia, community, congregation, parish or ecclesial movement. Diseases which call for prevention, vigilance, care and, sadly, in some cases, painful and prolonged interventions.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:55 AM

Pope asks forgiveness for scandals

VATICAN CITY
ANSA

(ANSA) - Vatican City, December 21 - Pope Francis on Monday apologised for the scandals that have hit the Holy See as he gave his Christmas greetings to the workers.

"While I thank you, I also want to ask your forgiveness for the scandals that have taken place in the Vatican," he said. "I'd like my and your attitude to be the same in this period, above all, by praying for the people involved, so that those who have done wrong can repent and refind the right path".

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:53 AM

Pope tells Vatican bureaucracy reform will go ahead with "firm resolve"

VATICAN CITY
Reuters

Pope Francis told members of the Vatican bureaucracy on Monday that reforms to make it more efficient and honest will move ahead "with firm resolve", despite scandals that have rocked the Church.

At the start of traditional Christmas greetings to the Curia, as the central Vatican administration is known, the pope said he was suffering from a flu and excused himself for reading the speech sitting down.

However, he did not show any outward signs of illness and read his speech in a strong voice, noting cases "of resistance difficulties and failures" by some individuals in the central administration who were opposed to his reform drive.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:52 AM

Flu-stricken pope issues ‘catalog of virtues’ to Curia

VATICAN CITY
Inquirer

Associated Press
December 21st, 2015

VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis has urged Vatican bureaucrats to show more honesty, humility and sobriety as he issued a Christmas-time “catalog of virtues” for his collaborators to follow after having excoriated them last year for a host of sins.

Francis joked Monday during his annual Christmas greeting that after last year’s public diagnosis of the “15 ailments of the Curia” that he should have come up this year with the “Curial antibiotics” to treat them.

In a way he did, issuing a list of virtues that should guide their work, including honesty, sobriety, respect and humility.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:50 AM

Protesters rally in wake of priest’s abuse allegation

NEW YORK
News 12

Protesters gathered outside Saint Patrick's Cathedral Sunday morning in the wake of child sex abuse allegation against a Pearl River priest.

Monsignor John O'Keefe, a former priest at St. Margaret of Antioch, is being investigated by the church following multiple abuse allegations.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:48 AM

Former Cardinal Hayes High School student claims Priest O’Keefe covered up his abuse

NEW YORK
Fios 1

[video]

Protestors rally outside Manhattan church to call on Cardinal Dolan to ban Monsignor John O’ Keefe from ministry.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:46 AM

Lord Janner was facing new sex abuse charges

UNITED KINGDOM
Telegraph

Exclusive: Police and prosecutors were poised to bring a new set of charges against Lord Janner before his death

By David Barrett, Home Affairs Correspondent 20 Dec 2015

Lord Janner was due to face a host of new sex abuse charges before his death, The Telegraph can disclose.

Legal and police sources said the Labour peer, who died on Saturday, was to have been accused of a “significant number” of additional charges before a court hearing which had been due to take place in the new year.

The planned new charges related to a number of complaints by four new alleged victims.

The four are understood to have come forward after publicity surrounding an investigation by Leicestershire Police into Lord Janner’s conduct, centring on a children’s home in the county - where the 87-year-old had been a Labour MP for 30 years.

The peer, who had been ruled unfit to plead due to severe dementia, was already facing 22 allegations of sexual offences which dated back 50 years and involved nine alleged victims, the majority of whom were 16 or younger at the time.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:44 AM

Mother Teresa: Sainthood and the Almighty Dollar

UNITED STATES
The Worthy Adversary

Posted by Joelle Casteix on December 20, 2015

Last week, the Vatican announced that Mother Teresa will be made a saint sometime in May 2016.

The Macedonian nun founded the Order of the Missionaries of Charity, a religious order whose mission is to help the poor. When the sainthood announcement was made, critics denounced the decision, citing the fact that she sought health care in the US (while saying the poor “accept their suffering“), her alleged misappropriation of money, and the nun’s close relationships with violent dictators.

And then there’s the whole miracle thing, which I always find a bit dubious, especially in the Internet age. But this is all irrelevant when it comes to making her a saint.

Why? Because the sainthood of Mother Teresa has nothing to do with holiness, her work in India, miracles (dubious or not), or the betterment of mankind and the Catholic faithful. It boils down to MONEY.

Let’s face it: Mother Teresa is a cash cow. Making Mother Teresa a saint will do the exact same thing that making JPII a saint accomplished: Billions of dollars in donations. Billions.

And these donations will not only be coming from developed nations—they will be coming from the poorest areas of Catholicism, because the poor were the focus of her work. The money won’t stop there.

Soon, we will be seeing her face on merchandise (Vatican sanctioned or not), Catholic appeal brochures, church bulletins, and cathedral banners. Her name and legacy will be invoked in homilies, used to encourage “sacrifice,” and publicized to widen the appeal of her and Catholicism as a whole.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:37 AM

Pinole Man Arrested On Child Molestation Charges After 2-Month Investigation

CALIFORNIA
CBS SF Bay Area

PINOLE (CBS SF) — After a two-month investigation, sheriff’s officials have arrested a Pinole resident on suspicion of child molestation, sheriff’s officials announced Friday.

On Dec. 10 Gabriel Lopez, 34, was arrested and the Contra Costa District Attorney’s office has filed six felony counts of child molestation against him, according to sheriff’s officials.

The investigation began in September when two juvenile females reported that Lopez has molested them. Both girls participated in the Student Ministry at Valley Bible Church, located at 1477 Willow Ave. in Hercules, and were also students at a John Swett Unified School District school, according to sheriff’s officials.

Lopez had worked as an “at will” employee at the Valley Bible Church as a youth pastor from July 2011 to March 2015. Lopez also worked as a “walk on” volunteer football coach at John Swett High School, located at 1098 Pomona Street in Crockett, sheriff’s officials said.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:31 AM

Catholic Group Holds Another Protest During Archbishop Sermon

GUAM
Pacific News Center

Written by Janela Carrera

Protesters held signs outside the Dolce Numbre de Cathedral-Basilica that called on Archbishop Apuron to step down.

Guam - Another protest was held in front of the Agana Cathedral-Basilica over the weekend by the Laity Forward Movement.

The protesters gathered for their seventh protest in the last several months, expressing their frustration with Archbishop Anthony Apuron.

One of the organizers of yesterday’s protest, Lou Klitzkie, says they will continue to hold these prayer protest rallies until they get their voices heard.

"Our purpose today is to restore the two priests that have been fired by the archbishop. We want Father Paul Back as pastor of Santa Barbara Church. We want Msgr. James [Benavente] back as rector of the Archdiocese of Agana and the Catholic Cemeteries. We also don’t like the way the archbishop is having a lot of the neo-catechumenal presbyters in parishes. We don’t want anymore presbyters in our parishes," Klitzkie said.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:28 AM

Ex-prison chaplain faces 50 counts of sexual assault involving 3 inmates

ARKANSAS
Arkansas Online

By Brandon Riddle

A former chaplain of the Arkansas Department of Correction has been charged with 50 counts of third-degree sexual assault stemming from reported encounters with three inmates in Newport.

Kenneth L. Dewitt, 67, faces the charges after reports of sexual assault at the McPherson women's unit between January 2013 and September 2014, Third Judicial District Prosecuting Attorney Henry Boyce said in a statement Thursday.

Dewitt resigned from his position as chaplain at the women's unit in a handwritten note Sept. 10, 2014, one day before former inmate Stacey Smith wrote a letter to the Department of Correction saying that she and Dewitt had a "moral failure" years after her release, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported.

In a Sept. 16, 2014, memo to the McPherson Unit's human resources department, John Mark Wheeler, assistant director of the Department of Correction, said Dewitt "called and confessed to having an inappropriate physical relationship with a subordinate in violation of AD 12-33."

At that point, Wheeler said Dewitt accepted an offer to resign effective immediately from his chaplain position.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:25 AM

Former ADC Chaplain charged with sexual assault

ARKANSAS
THV 11

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) – The former chaplain for the Arkansas Department of Correction has been charged with sexual assault.

On Thursday, the Third Judicial District Prosecuting Attorney announced that 67-year-old Kenneth L. Dewitt was charged with 50 counts of third degree sexual assault.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:24 AM

Prosecutor: Former AR Prison Chaplain Sexually Assaulted Inmates

ARKANSAS
Arkansas Matters

NEWPORT, Ark. - A former chaplain for the Arkansas Department of Correction has been charged with 50 counts of Sexual Assault in the Third Degree.

Kenneth L. Dewitt, 67, of Woodruff and Saline counties is alleged to have committed these crimes from January 2013 through September 2014.

The charges were announced in a news release issued Thursday by Henry Boyce, Third Judicial District Prosecuting Attorney.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:22 AM

Prison Chaplain Charged With Rape Studied Minister Accused of Sex Abuse

ARKANSAS
The Daily Beast

Suzi Parker

Bill Gothard’s evangelical teachings found fans in Mike Huckabee and the Duggars, but he and another pastor allegedly used by them to take advantage of women.

LITTLE ROCK — Arkansas prison chaplain Kenneth L. Dewitt was charged last week with 50 counts of third-degree sexual assault for allegedly pressuring three inmates at a women’s state prison into providing him sexual favors.

Dewitt based his prison classes on the teachings of Bill Gothard, an influential evangelical minister who is also accused of sexually harassing as many as 30 women under his influence. Gothard has deep ties to former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee, who opened prisons to his teachings, and the Duggar family, who sent their son Josh to be counseled under a Gothard program after he molested two of his sisters.

Gothard, who received a degree in biblical studies from Wheaton College, became popular in the 1970s with a program called Basic Youth Conflicts, which focused on seven life principles based on the Bible. In 1989, he changed the name of the program, which by now had become a profitable business, to Institute in Basic Life Principles (IBLP), based in Oak-Brook, Illinois. Over the years, Gothard also created many spin-off ministries and businesses including the Advanced Training Institute (ATI), a popular Christian-based homeschooling program that the Duggars use and promote. In fact, Josh met his wife, Anna, during the Duggars’ annual trip to the ATI conference, and family members appeared at the IBLP conference this year.

The ultra-conservative ministries also include programs on anger control, financial management, prison rehabilitation, and marriage counseling. (Gothard has never married.)

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:20 AM

Group mobilises U.S. churches to save thousands of children from sexual abuse, slavery

UNITED STATES
Christian Today

Shianee Mamanglu-Regala 21 December 2015

A group fighting human trafficking is experimenting with ways to help save the hundreds of thousands of children who have been trafficked out of, or into the United States.

The Alliance for Freedom, Restoration and Justice said it has been working with Gateway Church in Dallas and many other churches and organisations to mobilise churches in America and worldwide to do their part to fight the problem and protect children from possible exploitation and slavery.

"It's a massive problem," says Ashleigh Chapman, president and chief executive officer of the alliance in Dallas, Texas. "The FBI and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children pegs the number [of victims] at 300,000 children [in America alone]."

"We are deeply concerned that many are being trafficked in this nation. Many are being raped for profit every night. It's pornography, selling children online through the dark web. It is prostitution of children on the streets. It's a horrible thing," she was quoted by Newsmax as saying.

Chapman said the alliance has created the Engage Together Church Teaching Series, an eight-session series to equip churches with the knowledge, resources and strategies they will need to combat sex trafficking and protect the vulnerable in their communities.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:18 AM

Archbishop of Dublin defends Murphy Commission report

IRELAND
Irish Times

Patsy McGarry

The Catholic archbishop of Dublin, Diarmuid Martin, has strongly defended the 2009 Murphy report on the handling of clerical child sexual abuse in the archdiocese, while praising the work of the late bishop Dermot O’Mahony, who was criticised in that report.

“I stand over the conclusions of the Murphy report,” he said, pointing to the fact that nobody had challenged it in the courts.

The report found that Bishop O’Mahony’s handling of complaints and suspicions of child sexual abuse was “particularly bad”, adding that he had been aware of such complaints involving 13 priests.

At the bishop’s funeral in Dublin last Tuesday, auxiliary bishop of Dublin Eamonn Walsh said the deceased had been “scapegoated in a society that at the time ignored the principle of equity, audi alteram partem, to hear the other side”.

Bishop Walsh said his late colleague “stood silently before his hearers knowing that to speak would cause greater pain to those who suffered”.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:16 AM

Archbishop Martin hits back at claims of abuse 'scapegoating'

IRELAND
Irish Independent

Sarah MacDonald
PUBLISHED
21/12/2015

Archbishop Diarmuid Martin has strongly defended the findings of the 2009 Murphy Report into the handling of clerical sexual abuse in the Dublin diocese following criticism of the treatment of Bishop Dermot O'Mahony.

Bishop O'Mahony died on December 10, aged 80.

At the conclusion of his funeral Mass, Bishop Eamonn Walsh said the society in which Bishop O'Mahony lived "ignored the principle of equity - audi alteram partem - hear the other side".

However, speaking to journalists yesterday after a Mass and rite to open a Door of Mercy at the Pro Cathedral in Dublin, Archbishop Martin said that Bishop O'Mahony had had "ample opportunity during the working of the commission and afterwards" to put his case across.

He said Dr O'Mahony had had "a robust engagement" with Judge Yvonne Murphy's commission.

He was assisted by "very competent" lawyers, paid for by the archdiocese of Dublin following his refusal to use the diocese's lawyers.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:13 AM

Most Influential 2015: Joelle Casteix

CALIFORNIA
The Orange County Register

By THERESA WALKER / STAFF WRITER

Age: 45

Role: Author, speaker and advocate for victims of sexual abuse; western regional director for Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP).

Bio: Victimized by her high school choir director in the late 1980s, when she was a teenager, Casteix emerged in 2003 as an outspoken critic of the Catholic Church and its handling of child sex abuse cases. In 2005, she won a $1.6-million settlement from the Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange. Since then, she’s continued to advocate on behalf of abuse victims around the world. She lives in Newport Beach.

Why she’s an influencer: In August, Casteix published her book, “The Well-Armored Child: A Parent’s Guide to Preventing Sexual Abuse.” Earlier, she gave a TEDx talk on responsibility and empowerment and, in June, she was named an Ambassador of Peace by the Violence Prevention Coalition of Orange County. In September, during Pope Francis’ visit to the United States, Casteix made several media appearances, calling for transparency from the Vatican in dealing with abuse.

Biggest challenge: Lingering reluctance to the idea that people who have been sexually abused should speak out and be acknowledged as victims. “There’s a certain closed-mindedness, the idea that these bad things can’t happen here and everything is fine in my home.”

Work philosophy: “It is a series of very, very small vicious battles that are slowly pushing the needle in the direction it needs to go.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:09 AM

Lexington pastor removed from ministry following abuse allegation

NORTH CAROLINA
Catholic News Herald

CHARLOTTE — Effective immediately, Oblate Father Albert J. Gondek has been temporarily removed from ministry following an accusation of child sexual abuse alleged to have occurred about five years ago.

Father Gondek, a priest with the Wilmington-Philadelphia Province of the Oblates of St. Francis de Sales for nearly 50 years, served as pastor of Our Lady of the Rosary of Church in Lexington for the past 17 years. “In consultation with Bishop Peter J. Jugis,” head of the Diocese of Charlotte, his order placed him on administrative leave from his pastorate “in an abundance of caution” while an investigation of the allegation is conducted, a Dec. 19 statement from the province’s spokesman Father Kevin Nadolski said.

“The allegation was reported to the Oblates from an incarcerated man who claims Fr. Gondek touched him in a sexually inappropriate way about five years ago when he was 18. The man also claimed that this occurred with minors, who have not come forth,” the statement said.

“The Oblates and the (Charlotte) diocese will work with local law authorities to address this matter,” the Oblates’ statement continued.

Holy Rosary parishioners were informed of the allegation Dec. 19 by members of Father Gondek’s order who are staffing the parish this weekend.

During the investigation Father Gondek will not publicly celebrate Mass or the sacraments or exercise ministry. “He will live in an Oblate community, outside of North Carolina, that is not connected to a church property,” the Oblates’ statement said.

The move to place Father Gondek on administrative leave follows the U.S. bishops’ Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People, and does not imply guilt or innocence. The charter, adopted in 2002, codifies the Church's commitment to respond effectively, appropriately and compassionately to cases of abuse of young people by priests, deacons or other Church personnel.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:07 AM

Lexington priest placed on administrative leave during sex abuse probe

NORTH CAROLINA
The Dispatch

By Steve Harrison
The Charlotte Observer (TNS)
Published: Sunday, December 20, 2015

A pastor of the Our Lady of the Rosary Church in Lexington has been placed on administrative leave after an allegation that he sexually abused minors about five years ago.

The Rev. Albert J. Gondek will not publicly celebrate Mass or exercise ministry during the investigation, according to a news release from the Diocese of Charlotte.

The diocese said a man who is incarcerated said that Gondek "touched him in a sexually inappropriate way" about five years ago, when the man was 18. The man said that the same contact had also occurred with minors.

The news release said the diocese would work with local law enforcement during the investigation.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:05 AM

Lexington priest placed on administrative leave during sex abuse probe

NORTH CAROLINA
Fox 8

LEXINGTON, N.C. — A Lexington priest was placed on administrative leave after being accused of sexually abusing minors about five years ago.

The-Dispatch reported that Rev. Albert J. Gondek of Our Lady of the Rosary Church will not be able to publicly celebrate Mass or exercise ministry during the investigation.

The diocese told The-Dispatch that a man came forward and said Gondek “touched him in a sexually inappropriate way” when he was 18. He also said Gondek had done the same with other minors.

Now, the diocese is working with law enforcement to complete the investigation.

Gondek was the subject of a similar investigation in 2007. The diocese told The-Dispatch that Gondek was reinstated after two investigations found no evidence to back the allegations of sexual misconduct.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:01 AM

December 20, 2015

Progressive Bishop Who Welcomed Migrants To Italy ‘Embezzled €180,000′

ITALY
Breitbart

An enthusiastically pro-mass migration progressive bishop has been questioned by police over his use of church funds after €430,000 were found to have been misappropriated.

Bishop Domenico Mogavero was questioned by Italian financial police on Thursday this week after he was found to have some €180,000 resting in his personal account. The former diocesan economist Father Franco Caruso is also under investigation, having allegedly spent a further €250,000 of church money.

Some of the money is alleged to have been given to another priest who was suspended and jailed in 2011 for sexually assaulting another man, begging the question whether the corruption in the case may go deeper than merely fiscal.

The Sicilian bishop involved is responsible for the diocese of Mazara Del Vallo and has been active in welcoming migrants to the area. He is also a long standing critic of right-wing politics in the country, and was outspoken against the former right-wing government of Silvio Berlusconi, reports TheLocal.it.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:34 PM

Italian bishop protected Grindr-loving paedophile priest

ITALY
GlobalPost

Agence France-Presse on Dec 20, 2015

An Italian bishop aided and abetted a paedophile priest, telling him to avoid the police and shrugging off warnings the prelate was meeting teenage boys on Grindr, Italian media reported Sunday.

Priest Antonello Tropea, 44, was arrested after a police investigation allegedly uncovered he was using the US-based gay dating app to pick up the teenagers, with whom he sexual relations in his car or his rectory in Calabria.

Bishop Francesco Milito was accused by a prosecutor of failing to investigate widely-spread reports of the priest's activities and encouraging him to "continue as before", according to the reports.

Police suspicions were raised after officers found Tropea in a car in a secluded spot with a teenager, and the priest not only said he was a physical education teacher but had suspicious objects in his rucksack.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:30 PM

N.W.T. lawyers seek ways to aid reconciliation

CANADA
CBC News

The Law Society of the Northwest Territories is launching an action group to study ways that northern lawyers can respond to recommendations from the final report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, which was released last week.

Shannon Cumming, president of the law society said the project will confront the legacy of residential schools in the N.W.T. and find ways for lawyers to contribute to reconciliation.

"As lawyers that have an obligation to act in the public interest we think we need to inform ourselves about things that have happened in our history," Cumming said.

"This is the start of a conversation among lawyers about how we can work together to help see if we can find some ways to respond to the calls to action from the TRC."

The report urged the Federation of Canadian Law Societies to ensure that lawyers receive training in cultural competency, "which includes the history and legacy of residential schools."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:06 PM

Prete arrestato per pedofilia a Gioia Tauro, gip: “Vescovo sapeva”. “Non parlare con i carabinieri”

ITALIA
Il Fatto Quotidiano

[A priest has been arrested for pedophilia in Goia Tauro. It appears that Bishop Francesco Milito knew of the priest's behavior.]

E' quanto emerge dall'ordinanza di custodia cautelare nei confronti di un sacerdote a cui è stato sequestrato materiale pedopornografico, droga, vibratori e lubrificanti. Il giudice scrive che l'alto prelato della diocesi di Oppido Mamertina-Palmi "pur al corrente delle voci che circolavano non ha adottato nessun provvedimento". Su Facebook pagina a sostegno del parroco

di Lucio Musolino | 19 dicembre 2015

“Gli chiesi circa 40 euro per un rapporto orale e lui me ne offrì 20. Io accettai”. È agghiacciante il racconto del ragazzo minorenne abusato dal sacerdote della Piana di Gioia Tauro arrestato venerdì 18 dicembre dalla squadra mobile di Reggio Calabria che, durante la perquisizione nella canonica del religioso, ha sequestrato numerosi file con immagini e video pedopornografici, 16 grammi di marijuana, lubrificanti, un vibratore, manette, cerotti afrodisiaci. Ma anche uno strumento per l’aumento delle dimensioni del pene.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:28 PM

East Bay pastor, volunteer football coach arrested on child molestation charges

CALIFORNIA
KRON

By Mario Sevilla, KRON
Published: December 20, 2015

PINOLE (KRON) — An East Bay youth pastor has been arrested on suspicion of molesting two girls, and authorities believe there may be more victims, Contra Costa County Sheriff’s officials announced Friday.

Gabriel Lopez, 34, of Pinole, was booked into County Jail in Martinez on Dec. 10 on six felony counts of child molestation following a two month investigation.

According to authorities, Lopez was an “at will” employee at the Valley Bible Church where he worked as a youth pastor from July 2011 to March 2015. The victims, both female juveniles, participated in the church’s student ministry, officials said.

The girls also attended school in the John Swett Unified School District, the Sheriff’s Office said. Lopez worked as a “walk on” volunteer coach for John Swett High’s football team.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:17 PM

Former student forces R.I. prep school to confront its past

RHODE ISLAND
Boston Globe

By Bella English GLOBE STAFF DECEMBER 14, 2015

Anne Scott entered St. George’s School as a 10th-grader in 1977, just a few years after the prestigious prep school first admitted girls at its campus in Middletown, R.I. She was a good student, and a three-sport athlete, from the suburbs of Wilmington, Del.

But a month after she arrived, a field hockey injury brought her into the orbit of the school’s longtime athletic trainer. He molested and raped her, and threatened to come after her if she told anyone.

For years, terrified and ashamed, she did not. Finally, in her mid-20s, her life a shambles of diagnoses and hospitalizations, she told her parents, who took her to see Eric MacLeish, an attorney who would later gain renown representing abuse victims of Catholic priests. It was his first sexual abuse case.

MacLeish filed a lawsuit seeking $10 million, but when the school pushed back aggressively, Scott backed off — and moved abroad to rebuild her life.

This year, almost 40 years after she first arrived at St. George’s, Anne Scott felt strong enough to pursue her unfinished business with St. George’s.

Reunited with MacLeish, she has sought not money but accountability from the school — an end to what she and her attorney call a pattern of coverup and denial concerning the alleged sexual assaults of multiple students at the school in the 1970s and 1980s. They have urged the school to launch an investigation, to inform alumni of its findings, and to set up a therapy fund for victims.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:08 PM

Our Immediate Requests of St George’s School

RHODE ISLAND
Change.org

[petition]

We, the undersigned, insist that St. George’s School take clear and powerful restorative action to assist the many alumni from the school who were sexually assaulted as students at St. George’s.

Dozens of alumni have come forward since The Boston Globe ran its story, Former student forces R.I. prep school to confront its past, on December 15th, and yet many do not feel safe in recounting their experiences as part of the School’s “independent investigation” or appealing to the victims’ assistance fund set up by the school. This is because the investigation is being undertaken by a law firm that represents the School. The fund is administered by that same firm. And, as a condition for reimbursement from the fund, alumni are required to agree not to tell anyone that St. George’s is paying for their therapy. At the same time, the School gives no assurance that it will uphold the confidentiality of alumni seeking reimbursement.

Many alumni who were abused at SGS by Gibbs and other former employees have contacted us since the Boston Globe story appeared on the front page of Boston Globe on December 15. They have also contacted our lawyers. Almost all of these alumni need clinical help and there are several alumni that are suffering from PTSD, depression or other mental illness and who have expressed thoughts of suicide. SGS has refused to engage in discussions with us on the need to appoint an independent clinician who can provide crisis management counseling, case management and referrals for alumni who require immediate care.

St. George’s “independent” investigation and victims’ assistance fund are inconsistent with the approach taken by virtually all other independent schools in similar situations. When faced with credible allegations of sexual abuse, the majority of those schools have retained independent clinicians to coordinate mental health assistance for alumni and have hired investigators with no prior relationship with the school.

Many alumni who did tell their story to St. George’s prior to December 15th feel devastated and betrayed now that they realize the investigator they had been assured was “independent” is actually the law partner of St. George’s own legal counsel.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:04 PM

Parishioners defend priest accused of abuse

NEW YORK
12 News

Several parishioners in Pearl River are defending a local priest accused of abuse.

Monsignor John O'Keefe, a former priest at St. Margaret of Antioch, is being investigated by the church following multiple abuse allegations.

Two incidents reported by one man, allegedly took place in the Bronx, and in Virginia back in the 1980s.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:29 AM

Catholic trust got concessions from State before divesting school

IRELAND
Irish Times

Thu, Dec 17, 2015

Joe Humphreys

A trust controlling the only Catholic school to be divested to a non-denominational patron insisted on getting “fair” economic value for the arrangement, correspondence released under the Freedom of Information Act shows.

The Edmund Rice Schools Trust (ERST), an entity chaired by Mr Justice Peter Kelly that controls the property interests of the Christian Brothers, refused to surrender a vacant school premises to the Department of Education to promote diversity of patronage until it had secured financial concessions, the documents reveal.

They also show that Mr Justice Kelly clashed with the department over his non-attendance at a meeting between it and the ERST board in February 2013 to discuss the planned divestment.

The department had then sought to obtain the building at Basin Lane, Dublin, for a nominal rent under a 24-year lease to “provide for a level of security of tenure” for the new patrons Educate Together.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:39 AM

Priest cleared over abuse claims returns to ministry

NORTHERN IRELAND
UTV

Fr John McManus, a senior priest who stepped aside from his role after claims of abuse were made against him has returned to the ministry more than three years after being cleared of any wrongdoing.

The allegations against the Portaferry priest were first reported to the Diocese of Down and Connor child safeguarding office in early 2011 but the Public Prosecution Service later decided Fr McManus had no case to answer.

He always denied the allegations but temporarily left the Diocese when police investigations began.

Bishop Noel Treanor welcomed Fr McManus’ return with a statement on Sunday.

He said: “I am pleased to announce the return of Fr John McManus to priestly ministry within the Diocese.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:34 AM

Pell accuser indecently assaulted boy at YMCA

AUSTRALIA
The Australian

DECEMBER 21, 2015

John Ferguson
Victorian Political Editor
Melbourne

Cardinal George Pell’s chief critic and accuser has failed to declare in his public statement to the child sex abuse royal commission that he indecently assaulted a 12-year-old boy he groomed while performing youth work.

David Ridsdale has emerged as a de facto spokesman for Ballarat victims of Catholic abuse and has accused Cardinal Pell of impropriety during a 1993 telephone conversation discussing Mr Ridsdale’s abuse at the hands of his uncle Gerald.

David Ridsdale, now 49, is the most well-known victim of Gerald Ridsdale, who as a priest in the Ballarat diocese abused hundreds of children, including relentlessly attacking his nephew.

However, David Ridsdale failed to detail in his statement to the commission, the centrepiece of his evidence, how he had groomed the 12-year-old boy in 1984 while working for the YMCA. The Australian has established he used his position as a YMCA activities leader to indecently ­assault the child on two occasions in bushland outside Ballarat, about 100km west of Melbourne.

The evidence against David Ridsdale, then 18, was that he tricked the boy into joining him on a visit to a local video store but drove him to bushland and then exposed himself. David Ridsdale refused to comment to The Australian, which offered through his lawyers to articulate his full story on the assaults.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:27 AM

Priest back saying Mass three and a half years after prosecutors threw out abuse allegations

NORTHERN IRELAND
Belfast Live

BY MAURICE FITZMAURICE

A priest who had been facing abuse allegations is back saying Mass nearly three and half years after prosecutors said he had no case to answer.

Fr John McManus celebrated Mass along with Bishop Noel Treanor in Portaferry, Co Down last night and this morning (Sunday Dec 20) in Ballygalget.

The move came after he stepped aside in 2011 after allegations were made against him. However in June 2012, the Public Prosecution Service said there was no case to answer.

Fr McManus, from Portaferry, had always denied any wrong-doing but stepped aside during the investigation.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:25 AM

Fr John McManus: Priest cleared of abuse claims resumes duties

NORTHERN IRELAND
BBC News

A senior priest who was cleared of abuse allegations more than three years ago has returned to his duties.

Fr John McManus, from Portaferry, County Down, stepped aside in March 2011 during an investigation.

In June 2012, the Public Prosecution Service decided he had no case to answer.

Fr McManus told parishioners he was "delighted and privileged" to be joining them in celebrating Mass.

"The last time I celebrated Mass in this Church of Saint Patrick was on 9 March 2011, Ash Wednesday, when I informed you that I had requested administrative leave from ministry for the duration of the necessary inquiries.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:21 AM

Hercules: Former Valley Bible Church youth pastor arrested on suspicion of molesting girls

CALIFORNIA
Contra Costa Times

By David DeBolt ddebolt@bayareanewsgroup.com

POSTED: 12/19/2015

HERCULES -- A former Valley Bible Church youth pastor and John Swett High School volunteer football coach has been arrested on suspicion of molesting two girls, the Contra Costa Sheriff's Office said.

After a two-month investigation, Pinole resident Gabriel Lopez was booked into County Jail in Martinez on Dec. 10 on six felony counts of child molestation, according to the Sheriff's Office.

Authorities said the 34-year-old worked from July 2011 to March 2015 as an "at will" youth pastor at the Hercules-based church, which was founded in 1971. The victims, both female juveniles, participated in the Valley Bible Church Student Ministry, officials said.

They also previously attended school in the John Swett Unified School District, the Sheriff's Office said. Lopez worked as a volunteer coach for John Swett High's football team. He is in custody on $520,000 bail.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:17 AM

Women come forward about inappropriate encounters with former youth pastor Pesnell

ALABAMA
Daily Home

By GARY HANNER, Home staff writer

Two women who were in Brian Pesnell’s youth group at a church in Fultondale 15 years ago are speaking out on how he was inappropriate with them both when they were teenagers.

Pesnell, 40, of Amelia Circle in Moody, was arrested Dec. 16 on charges of child sex abuse. Pesnell turned himself in at the St. Clair County Jail in Pell City. He was later released on a $25,000 bond.

Both women asked to remain anonymous because Pesnell is out of jail and they fear he would harass them. To protect their identity, The Daily Home will refer to one as Riley and the other as Sarah.

Riley’s story

Now 31, Riley said back in 2000 at the age of 16, she attended Gateway Baptist Church in Fultondale and was in Pesnell’s youth group.

“He was inappropriate with me on several occasions. I informed my parents, and they allowed me to stop attending his youth program,” Riley said. “The first time it happened was when we were on a youth trip to Nashville.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:13 AM

“It would be a crime not to give us justice while we are still living”

IRELAND
The Journal

FOR THE BETHANY Home survivors, 2015 was a year of continuing to campaign for justice.

They had some good news in that they were included in the commission of investigation into mother and baby homes, but now they fear that all the survivors won’t live to see their experiences recognised.

In 2016, they want to finally see some movement on the investigation, one Bethany Home survivor, Derek Leinster, indicated. The commission has three years to do its work.

Leinster lives in the UK and was brought up in Northern Ireland, but spent some of his childhood at the Bethany home. His mother gave birth to him there and he said he was subject to neglect but there and after being sent to live with another family.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:01 AM

Kentucky minister accused of sexual abusing two girls

KENTUCKY
WLKY

By Kimberly Crowe

POWELL COUNTY, Ky. —A Kentucky minister was arrested after being accused of sexually abusing two girls in his church.

According to the Powell County Sheriff’s Office, deputies arrested Steve Williams, 52, Friday afternoon. He is charged with two counts of sexual abuse of a minor.

Officials said the charges stem from allegations that Williams inappropriately touched two girls, one during a field trip and the other at church.

“You have a defendant who has access to all kinds of different children through the church that he pastored,” Chief Deputy Robert Matthews said. “You have to act fact to make sure you don’t have any more victims.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:57 AM

Powell County Youth Pastor Accused Of Sexual Abuse

KENTUCKY
Lex 18

A school bus driver and youth pastor in Powell County is currently facing shocking allegations. 52-year-old Steve Williams is accused of sexually abusing at least 2 minors.

"That's just appalling. I hope it's not true. Everybody is wondering, did he really do this? I hope to God he didn't," said Powell County resident Carla Reeves.

Williams was a school bus driver for Powell County Schools and pastor of the Bowen First Church of God for about two and a half years. Powell County deputies say the church has one of the largest youth groups in the area, and Williams was very involved with many children in the congregation.

"It's somebody we trust with our children. It's not just some guy at the grocery store that rolls your buggy out and helps you with groceries. He's driving a bus, he's taking care of our children," said Powell County resident Don Reeves.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:54 AM

Eve Samples: Editor that sparked ‘Spotlight’ investigation got his start in Florida

FLORIDA
Naples Daily News

By Eve Samples, Treasure Coast Newspapers

There's a scene in the movie "Spotlight" that Marty Baron gets asked about all the time.

It's his first day on the job as editor of The Boston Globe. The year is 2001. Baron (played by actor Liev Schreiber) is in a news meeting, and other editors are describing the stories their reporters are chasing.

Baron asks, rather directly, how the newsroom plans to follow up on a column about secrecy surrounding the case against a priest, Rev. John Geoghan, accused of serial sexual abuse of children.

Baron suggests challenging the Catholic Church in court to unseal legal documents that could reveal the role of church leaders.

Silence follows.

"The general response when there's silence is, 'Why don't we talk about it after the meeting?' " Baron said, recalling the real-life scene.

During a telephone interview last week, I pressed Baron on this.

How did he have the guts, on Day 1, to challenge the most powerful institution in his new city?

He didn't see the move as gutsy. It's the essence of a journalist's job.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:51 AM

Steve Henshaw: Film unveils hidden secrets

UNITED STATES
Reading Eagle

By Steven Henshaw

There's a scene in the critically acclaimed film "Spotlight" in which a Boston Globe reporter is told by a civil servant that he can't see the file in a court case.

The reporter argues that those documents, which contain Boston archdiocesan records pertaining to the sexual abuse scandal involving a Catholic priest who was the subject of numerous victim lawsuits, were not sealed by a judge.

But the clerk isn't risking his neck, so the reporter tracks down a judge to intervene.

The judge points out that a lot of sensitive stuff is contained in the file.

"With all due respect," the reporter replies, "that's not the point."

Many of my colleagues can relate to this scene. Custodians of public records sometimes feel it's their job to block access to reporters on grounds that someone could be hurt or embarrassed if certain information got out.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:48 AM

December 19, 2015

Rockland ready to investigate priest complaints

NEW YORK
The Journal News

Jane Lerner and Michael D'Onofrio, mcdonofrio@lohud.com December 19, 2015

Rockland authorities are prepared to launch an investigation into a longtime Pearl River priest who has been accused of sexually abusing a child more than 30 years ago.

But no allegations of wrongdoing in Rockland by Monsignor John O’Keefe, a pastor at St. Margaret of Antioch, have been received by authorities, Rockland District Attorney Thomas Zugibe said Saturday.

"At this time there are no allegations of misconduct in Rockland County," Zugibe said.

His office has been in touch with the Archdiocese of New York, which earlier this week told St. Margaret parishioners that O'Keefe was suspended from the parish where he has served since 2003.

Zugibe urged anyone with information to contact the Orangetown police, whose jurisdiction includes Pearl River.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:42 PM

Spotlight may just be the finest film about journalism yet made

UNITED STATES
The Independent (UK)

Rupert Cornwell Washington @IndyVoices

It’s called Spotlight, after the name of The Boston Globe’s in-house investigative reporting unit. It opens in Britain next month. And it may just be the finest film about journalism that’s yet been made.

Let’s start with the place: America’s most Catholic city: Boston, with its dark-panelled clubs, its Brahmin caste with family ties to the very founding of America, its liberal and decent flagship newspaper, its Irish and Italian tribes, and its fanatical embrace of the local sports teams, none more so than the Red Sox. Into this ordered, generations-old universe steps a complete outsider, the Globe’s new editor, Marty Baron. He is a Floridian by birth, Jewish by faith and he hates baseball.

In his very first days on the job in 2001, a Globe column catches Baron’s eye; it’s about paedophile priests, a topic that has frequently cropped up, but which has never been properly investigated. Maybe the paper had never really tried, aware that some 55 per cent of its readers were Roman Catholics, and daunted by a sense that the church measured its existence not by human lifespans but by eternity.

Midway through the film comes a wonderful scene where the outsider meets the ultimate insider. Baron is paying a courtesy visit to Cardinal Bernard Law, Archbishop of Boston, close to the Pope and the Curia in Rome and probably America’s mightiest Catholic churchman of his day. Ah, says Law, the city works best when our two great institutions work in tandem. Baron gently demurs. As he leaves, the cardinal summons an underling to give the editor a present. Baron unwraps it in his car as he leaves. It is the Catholic catechism.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:52 PM

Priest vetting restricted to those working with children

IRELAND
The Sunday Times

Colin Coyle Published: 20 December 2015

PRIESTS will no longer have to undergo garda vetting unless they work with children or vulnerable people, following lobbying by the National Board for Safeguarding Children in the Catholic Church in Ireland.

Under legislation introduced in 2012, anyone engaged in “work or activity as a minister or priest, or any other person engaged in the advancement of religious beliefs” had to be vetted by gardai.

In October, Teresa Devlin, chief executive of the board, met officials from the Department of Justice and requested a change to the provisions so that clergy would require garda checking only when “engaged in activities which consist mainly of working with children”.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:50 PM

Cardinal at centre of VatiLeaks 2 scandal to return 150,000 euros

VATICAN CITY
Europe Online

Vatican City (dpa) - A top cardinal has pledged to return 150,000 euros (163,000 dollars) after he was exposed in the so-called VatiLeaks 2 affair for having his retirement flat redone at the expense of a Vatican hospital for children.

Tarcisio Bertone, former no. 2 under Pope Benedict XVI, was said to have received 200,000 euros from the Foundation of the Ospedale Bambino Gesu to renovate a 300-square-meter penthouse inside Vatican walls.

"Cardinal Bertone, recognizing that what happened damaged the Bambino Gesu, has decided to help us, devolving the sum of 150,000 euros," said hospital president Mariella Enoc, as quoted by the ANSA news agency on Saturday.

Her announcement came on the day Bertone‘s successor paid a pre-Christmas visit to the clinic‘s patients and staff. "What I can say is that the issue is being solved, or rather, has been positively solved," Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin said.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:47 PM

Italian cardinal makes fat donation after luxury apartment scandal

ROME
Channel News Asia

Rome - An Italian cardinal accused of using charity money to refurbish his luxury apartment has donated 150,000 euros ($163,000) to the Catholic foundation which allegedly footed the bill, media reports said Saturday.

Tarcisio Bertone, the Vatican's former Secretary of State, a role equivalent to prime minister, has insisted he paid for the 300,000 euros renovation of the flat overlooking Saint Peter's Square himself.

But a document published in a book this month by Italian investigative journalist Emiliano Fittipaldi purportedly shows he used 200,000 euros from the Bambin Gesu Foundation which collects donations for a children's hospital in Rome.

"Acknowledging that what has happened has been detrimental to the Bambin Gesu, Cardinal Bertone wanted to meet us half way, donating a sum of 150,000 euros," the hospital's president Mariella Enoc said Saturday, according to the reports.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:45 PM

Italian cardinal makes donation after flat row

ROME
BBC News

An Italian cardinal has donated €150,000 (£109,000) to a Catholic charity which allegedly footed the bill for renovations to his luxury flat.

Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone was donating the money for medical research "to make amends", said Mariella Enoc, head of the Bambino Gesu Hospital.

Cardinal Bertone said he had paid for the work on his residence himself.

However, documents leaked to reporters earlier this year allege the €200,000 came from the Bambino Gesu Foundation.

The foundation collects donations for a children's hospital in Rome.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:43 PM

Vatican's ex-No. 2 seeks to make amends for hospital scandal

ROME
St. Louis Post-Dispatch

By FRANCES D'EMILIO Associated Press

ROME • An Italian cardinal whose penthouse apartment was reportedly renovated using funds from a Vatican-owned children's hospital is making a large donation for medical research in a bid to make amends, the hospital's president said Saturday.

Bambino Gesu Hospital President Mariella Enoc told reporters that Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone is donating 150,000 euros ($165, 000) for research on orphan diseases.

Bertone has insisted that he paid for the renovations himself. The scandal put him on the defensive, since lavish lifestyles clash with Pope Francis' insistence that prelates live modestly.

Bertone was formerly the secretary of state, the Vatican's No. 2 official, under Pope Benedict XVI and for the first months of Francis' papacy. Now 81, he no longer holds any top Vatican post.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:39 PM

Pope Francis to canonize (half-truth saint) Mother Teresa of Kolkata who hoarded 100 million dollars in Vatican bank… (Vatileaks: price for canonization, €750,000 Euros)

UNITED STATES
PopeCrimes& Vatican Evils.

Paris Arrow

According to Nuzzi, one of the Vatileaks 2 Italian journalists, (read more here http://popecrimes.blogspot.ca/2015/11/2-italian-journalists-defy-vatican.html), the average price tag for sainthood comes to about €500,000. “We then have to consider the costs of all the thank you gifts required for the prelates who are invited to festivities and celebrations held at crucial moments in the process, to say a few words about the acts and miracles of the future saint or blessed,” he writes. “Record spending on these causes has reached as high as €750,000.”

Mother Teresa has surpassed that amount more than ten times because she already sent to John Paul II and hoarded in the Vatican Bank more than $100 million dollars that were meant to build a hospital and a university in India, (read more http://popecrimes.blogspot.ca/2011/07/mother-teresa-was-not-living-saint.html).

But what is more troubling about the half-truth saint Mother Teresa – is what she did may not been so Christian or Christ-like after all. Eyewitness and volunteers said --- that while it’s true she helped a lot of people who were dying in the streets of Kolkata, she also did NOT help them become better or to live longer – but rather she helped them to die faster by saying to them: “You are suffering like Christ on the cross. So Jesus must be kissing you.” See specific page here. And she denied any medical help to those who could have been treated and cured even by simple antibiotics. Christopher Hitchens wrote in detail about her practise in his book, The Missionary Position: Mother Theresa in Theory and Practice

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:35 PM

INTERVIEW Vatican journalist feels vindicated by cardinal's refunding hospital By Alvise Armellini, dpa

ITALY
Europe Online

Italian journalist Emiliano Fittipaldi speaks to dpa after his Vatican scandal revelations prompt a top cardinal to return 150,000 euros for misusing funds intended for a children‘s hospital.

Vatican City (dpa) - Emiliano Fittipaldi revealed last month how former top cardinal Tarcisio Bertone used a 200,000-euro (217,000-dollar) grant from a Vatican children‘s hospital to renovate his retirement penthouse.

The Italian journalist, who is facing a Vatican criminal trial for publishing a book on the Bertone affair and other financial shenanigans, spoke to dpa after it was announced that the cardinal would return 150,000 euros.

dpa: What do you think about this development?

Fittipaldi: It proves that even in Italy investigative journalism, reporting on real and verified information, can make a difference. Now I hope that was what wrongly taken away from the hospital will be invested in the right way, namely on medical research.

I also hope this will only be the starting point. My book also talks about the hospital‘s secret bank accounts worth 500,000 euros at the IOR [Vatican bank] and at [the Vatican central bank] APSA, invested on multinationals like PepsiCo. This has nothing to do with its mission.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:20 PM

Erzbischof Wesolowski starb natürlichen Todes

VATIKAN
Radio Vatikan

[Archbishop Jozef Wesolowski died of a heart attack, the Vatican said.]

Der des Kindesmissbrauchs angeklagte Vatikandiplomat Erzbischof Jozef Wesolowski ist eines natürlichen Todes gestorben. Das hat nun auch ein weiterer medizinischer Befund ergeben, wie der Vatikan am Freitag mitteilte. Die chemisch-toxologische Untersuchung von bei der Autopsie entnommenen Proben wurde von Gerichtsmedizinern durchgeführt, die dazu von der vatikanischen Staatsanwaltes am Tag nach dem Tod des Erzbischofs beauftragt worden waren, hieß es.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:32 PM

Missbrauch: Opferverband fordert weitere Schritte

DEUTSCHLAND
NDR

[Abuse: Victims' association calls for further steps]

Nachdem der Hildesheimer Bischof Norbert Trelle am Freitag zum ersten Mal Versäumnisse bei der Aufarbeitung eines Missbrauchsfalls eingeräumt hat, der im Jahr 2010 gemeldet wurde, fordert der Opferverband Eckiger Tisch weitere Konsequenzen. Die Stellungnahme des Bischofs gehe nicht weit genug, heißt es. Immerhin werde eingeräumt, dass sich das Bistum nicht richtig verhalten hat, sagte Matthias Katsch, der Vorsitzende des Verbands. Er sei allerdings der Meinung, dass jemand Verantwortung für dieses Fehlverhalten übernehmen müsse - etwa durch einen Rücktritt. Außerdem hätte er sich gewünscht, dass sich Bischof Trelle für das Fehlverhalten entschuldigt, so Katsch. Das sei aber nicht der Fall.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:12 AM

Pastor Accused of Sexually Abusing Teens in Washington County

ALABAMA
WKRG

[with video]

A local pastor is accused of sexually abusing teenagers and committing sodomy for at least the past seven years in Washington County.

48-year-old Tommy Joe Newberry has been arrested by the Washington County Sheriff’s Office on counts of sodomy 2nd degree, sexual abuse 1st and 2nd degree, and enticing a child to enter for immoral purposes.

Newberry is a pastor at Red Creek Church of God in Buckatunna, Mississippi.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:30 AM

Millry pastor charged with sex abuse of young boys

ALABAMA
WTVM

[with video]

By Kellie Jones, FOX10 Investigative Producer

WASHINGTON COUNTY, AL (WALA) -
A Washington County pastor has been arrested on child sex abuse charges.

Washington County Sheriff Richard Stringer told FOX10 News Tommy Joe Newberry was taken into custody Wednesday afternoon.

Sheriff Stringer said Newberry was placed under a $36,000 bond Friday.

Investigators say Newberry, who is the pastor of the Red Creek Church of God in Buckatunna, Mississippi, is facing several charges of sexual abuse, sodomy and sexual enticement of a child.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:28 AM

Alabama pastor accused of sexually abusing 6 boys over several years

ALABAMA
AL.com

By Erin Edgemon | eedgemon@al.com
on December 18, 2015

A south Alabama pastor sexually abused at least six underage boys over the course of several years, Washington County Sheriff Richard Stringer said.

Tommy Joe Newberry, 48, of Millry, was arrested on Wednesday and charged with second-degree sodomy, first-degree sexual abuse and second-degree sexual abuse, court records show. Additional charges could be forthcoming.

Newberry is the pastor of Red Creek Church of God, which is near the Alabama/Mississippi state line.

He was released from the Washington County Jail after posting $36,000 bond on Friday.

Stringer said the sexual abuse occurred over the course of several years beginning as early as 2003.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:26 AM

Fort Augustus Abbey monk extradited to Australia on sex charges

SCOTLAND
The Press and Journal

18 December 2015 by David Kerr

A former Catholic monk at Fort Augustus Abbey school is to be extradited from Australia to face child sex abuse charges.

The Crown Office has confirmed they haven begun proceedings against Father Denis Chrysostom Alexander.

The final decision on whether he will return to Scotland to face charges will be taken by the Australian authorities.

Last night a spokeswoman for the Crown said: “Crown Counsel have instructed proceedings against Denis Alexander.

“Charges are being finalised with a view to seeking his extradition.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:24 AM

Monk to be extradited over Fort Augustus abuse claims

SCOTLAND
Scotsman

A FORMER Catholic monk who taught at the Fort Augustus Abbey school is set to be extradited from Australia to face charges of child sex abuse.

Victims have long called for Fr Denis Chrysostom Alexander to face trial in Scotland.

He denies the allegations.

Run by Catholic Benedictine monks, Fort Augustus Abbey school in the Highlands closed in 1993.

Allegations of decades of child sexual and physical abuse at the exclusive boarding school were made public in June 2013.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:22 AM

Australian Catholic Weekly report deflates allegations against Cardinal Pell

UNITED STATES
Catholic Culture

December 18, 2015

In an exhaustive report for Australia’s Catholic Weekly, Monica Doumit clears up several popular misconceptions about the role of Cardinal George Pell in the sex-abuse crisis, and the cardinal’s responses to a royal investigation commission.

Cardinal Pell did not seek to postpone his appearance before the royal commission, Doumit emphasizes. When he disclosed that a medical condition would prevent him from flying to Australia to testify in person, the cardinal offered to provide his testimony on schedule by a video link. The commission’s chairman declined that offer.

Moreover, it is unlikely that Cardinal Pell’s testimony will offer any dramatic new insights, Doumit writes: “There is sufficient evidence already publicly available which provides us with a very clear and comprehensive picture of the response to the allegations made against the cardinal.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:20 AM

Sex abuse probe targets Hudson Valley monsignor

NEW YORK
News 12

Local parishioners received letters Friday detailing a sexual abuse investigation into their monsignor.

Monsignor John O'Keefe has led the parish at the Church of St. Margaret of Antioch, but has been on medical leave for a couple of months. He is under investigation by district attorneys in two different states over allegations of abusing a minor.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:17 AM

Former Head of Stepinac High School Faces Sex Abuse Charge: Cardinal Dolan

NEW YORK
Patch

By ALFRED BRANCH (Patch Staff)
December 18, 2015

Monsignor John O’Keefe, former head of Stepinac High School and the priest at St. Margaret of Antioch Church in Pearl River, has been accused of sex abuse of a minor -- 30 years ago.

Timothy Cardinal Dolan wrote the parishioners a letter Wednesday describing the charges and explaining the process.

He said the archdiocese received an allegation that on two occasions more than 30 years ago, O’Keefe had abused a minor. That allegation was shared with the Rockland and Bronx county district attorneys and forwarded to the district attorney in Virginia, where one of the incidents is alleged to have taken place. Their determination was that the allegations were credible, and so the archdiocese has put its policy into effect.

O’Keefe, 70, may not function as a priest until the matter is resolved; the whole matter is being reviewed by professionals and the lay advisory board; and he is in a supervised setting undergoing evaluation and risk assessment, the cardinal said.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:16 AM

Former Westchester Monsignor Target Of Sex Abuse Probe

NEW YORK
Daily Voice

PEARL RIVER, N.Y. -- Allegations of sex abuse against the well-known monsignor of Church of St. Margaret of Antioch in Pearl River have prompted an investigation by the Rockland district attorney's office, according to multiple reports.

The New York Archdiocese has removed Monsignor John O'Keefe from practicing, parishioner were told in a letter from Cardinal Timothy Dolan that went out on Friday afternoon. O'Keefe had been out on medical leave.

The case involves alleged incidents with a boy that allegedly occurred in the 1980s at Cardinal Hayes in the Bronx and, that same person claims, on a trip to Virginia, according to News 12.

The allegations have not been substantiated and O'Keefe denies them, Dolan said in the letter.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:14 AM

15-year sex abuse compo battle settled with Catholic Church

AUSTRALIA
The Australian

Michael Owen
SA Bureau Chief
Adelaide

A family that has been battling for 15 years for compensation after their disabled son was ­abused by a South Australian Catholic school volunteer in the 1980s has settled its claim with the church.

Peter Mitchell, the father of the victim, now aged in his 40s, yesterday said the confidential settlement “means a great deal in going towards my son’s care and we can finally start moving on after so many years”.

“The Catholic Church has settled our case after 15 years of battling for compensation for my disabled son’s sexual abuse by a pedophile at their school,” Mr Mitchell said yesterday.

“This showed just how horrific the abuse and failures of the church were at St Ann’s Special School, with 30 other disabled children being abused.

“As a parent, I’ll never be able to fully recover from how this has hurt my son.”

Mr Mitchell said he had launched an online petition two years ago because the church was “refusing to come to the table to negotiate”; it had attracted more than 110,000 signatures.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:12 AM

Pell behaviour riles

AUSTRALIA
Gympie Times

Colin Claridge | 19th Dec 2015

IT'S Christmas time. A time one prays for peace, happiness, joy and all good wishes to our fellow God's creatures. However, there is sadly one creature who purports to be one of God's most superior creatures who isn't giving any presents to Australians this year. In fact, many of us were highly anticipating his arrival last week, only to be severely disappointed by his no-show.

We were expecting the appearance at the Royal Commission investigating Institutionalised Child Abuse of Cardinal George Pell. However, survivors have again been dealt a cruel blow and denied the opportunity of seeing this bloke grilled in a forum where he would be regarded as being no better than anybody else.

After the previous week, where we saw counsel for one institution accuse one survivor of "making it up", we were hoping that the appearance of Pell would be a better week. Because let's face it, accusing a survivor of abuse of "making it up" is an attitude that clearly points to why we are having this inquiry in the first place. Isn't it? I'm actually dismayed that the Commissioner didn't pull counsel up on that statement.

So, after we were hoping that it would be Pell to be the one being the subject of a grilling. Now, I must confess that I have never liked the bloke and it had nothing to do with his close personal friendship with a recently deposed PM. Deep in my heart, I have always had this gnawing feeling that there was something not quite right about that chap.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:09 AM

Arrested priest moves High Court for bail

INDIA
The Hindu

The priest arrested in connection with a case relating to the rape of a minor girl at North Paravur on Friday filed a bail petition in the Kerala High Court.

Fr. Edwin Figarez, the accused, who went into hiding after the registration of the case, was arrested recently by the police. He had fled to the UAE and thereafter to other states. In his bail petition, the accused who is a priest with the Lourdes Matha Church, Puthenvelikkara, said he was innocent and the case had been foisted on him.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:06 AM

How the settlement was reached

MINNESOTA
Star Tribune

DECEMBER 18, 2015

How we got here

• In 2013, the Legislature passed the Minnesota Child Victims Act. It gives people until May 2016 to file sex abuse lawsuits about incidents that happened years, even decades ago.

• The law prompted a wave of lawsuits against the six Catholic dioceses in Minnesota, as well as other churches, the Boy Scouts of America, and recently the Children's Theatre Company.

• In January 2015, the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization, saying it would not be able to pay all the claims. That is still in mediation.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:02 AM

Former youth minister indicted on more sexual abuse charges

ALABAMA
WVTM

[with video]

By Fred Davenport

TALLADEGA COUNTY, Ala. —A former associate pastor at Munford Baptist Church is being accused of more sex crimes, according to Moody police.

In 2011, a grand jury indicted Brian Pesnell of Moody on rape and sex abuse charges. Now, he’s facing additional charges.

"He was indicted by a grand jury last week for sexual abuse for a child under 12 and enticing a child,” said Lt. Eric Hansen with the Moody Police Department.

"It's very troubling because you want to think that that's the place to go for peace to build your faith and it didn't work that way,” said a church member who did not wish to be identified.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:56 AM

Hurt by the Church?

UNITED STATES
National Catholic Register

BY MARK SHEA 12/17/2015

“The good news about the Catholic Church,” said a friend of mine “is that it’s like a big family.”

“The bad news about the Catholic Church,” he continued, “is that it’s like a big family.”

A basic fact of life is that the same Body of Christ that is the sacrament of salvation, the fountain of so many graces, the home of so many amazing and wonderful people, so much healing, so much beauty, and the glorious treasury of saints to whom we owe so much…that same Church is the scene of incredibly devastating hurts dealt out by traitors, perverts, scoundrels, monsters, selfish jerks, liars, grasping careerists, Pharisees, libertines, and fools.

Just about everyone has a story to tell: the scheming chancery functionary bent on inflicting economic harm on some struggling Catholic self-employed businessman; the priest who was an insulting, despair-inducing buffoon in the confessional; the sexually abusive cleric and the bishop who protected him; the Church Lady with her petty hurtful gossip; the jackass who poses as the uber-pious Catholic while he cheats on his wife; the nun who shamed and scarred the little girl in third grade; the crazy mom who destroyed her kids lives while yakking about God, dragging them from one quack visionary to the next and then running off with the priest; the liturgist who decided the mandate was not “Feed my sheep” but “Try experiments on my rats”; the Catholic schoolteacher who destroyed your shot at college because she was a vindictive psycho who hated males.

It is, in fact, a story as old as the New Testament. Jesus’ story is, after all, a story of betrayal. It’s easy to forget that Judas was, at one time, a friend of Jesus’. And so one of the great psalms of the Passion records the messianic sufferer lamenting, “Even my bosom friend in whom I trusted, who ate of my bread, has lifted his heel against me” (Psalm 41:9).

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:54 AM

Truth must rise above all

AUSTRALIA
The Courier

By Melissa Cunningham
Dec. 18, 2015

A survivor likened the Royal Commission into Child Sex Abuse to peeling back the layers on an onion.

Each time you peel back a layer, there is another underneath but slowly and steadily you move closer to the core of it. To the truth. With each layer another survivors emerges from out of the darkness with their own story to tell. Often, their stories are so gut-wrenchingly similar, it's as if each of the survivors are holding a mirror to one another. And, there are those who don't have a voice because they've died prematurely and the ones who turned to suicide because the pain of the sex crimes was too great to bear. The commission gives the ones they left behind somewhere to finally place their precious story in the hope their death will be a part of a profound change to protect children of the future.

A friend told me recently how her dad had been sexually abused by priest in Ballarat diocese. He never told her about the abuse until she nursed him on his death bed. For as far back as she could remember, her dad had been a broken man. He loved his kids immensely but his path was one of self destruction, alcoholism, violence and relentless sadness.The hardest part for her, was the glimpses she would catch of the man her dad could have been had his childhood not been so abruptly interrupted. She described it as being like dropping a rock into a pond. Its effects are felt for a long time before the final ripples reach the shore and come to rest.

After he died she wrote everything down in the hope that one day she would have somewhere to put his story. She made a submission to the Royal Commission this year. There are so many stories like hers. The Catholic Church believes that the abuse is in the past but the fact remains people live with this every day. Until the church acknowledges the extent to which it covered-up sex crimes against children, the hurt will continue. The church hierarchy of today must answer for the past. All is needed is one courageous priest for truth to prevail. For eight days, I caught a glimpse into the lives of survivors who carry this burden everyday. I saw a man, barefoot, unkempt, with wild long hair, sitting on the floor outside court-room because it was all too much. I saw men wipe tears from their eyes. I saw mothers cry for the sons they had lost. It was incredible strength and sadness. But I also saw so much hope in their hearts and eyes of the Ballarat survivors. One of the survivors Peter Blenkiron said to me hope for the future must overcome everything else. He said admission from the church would pave the way for healing and change across the world. The survivors are the light in the darkness. It’s time the church showed their courage.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:51 AM

Church in controversial legal tactic to block lawsuits

AUSTRALIA
Sydney Morning Herald

December 19, 2015

Chris Vedelago, Cameron Houston

The Catholic Church attempted for nearly a decade to conceal incriminating documents about child sex abuse using a controversial legal tactic that it has since renounced as "inappropriate".

The bid to manipulate "legal privilege" to keep its records from public disclosure was one in a series of controversial measures taken to protect the reputation and assets of the church after complaints about paedophile priests began "coming out of the woodwork" in the 1980s.

Internal documents show the Australian Catholics Bishops Conference – a panel comprising the church's senior leaders in Australia – was warned in April 1988 that church records were vulnerable to discovery and public disclosure in the event of civil lawsuits by alleged victims.

The problem would be summarised by Bishop Peter Connors as "too many people are keeping too many records" in 1992, according to a document obtained by the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.

The records at risk of exposure included the findings of internal investigations, interviews with alleged offenders, and correspondence among church officials and insurance underwriters about the cases.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:48 AM

Archdiocese, county attorney settle civil abuse case with child-protection action plan

MINNESOTA
Catholic Spirit

Maria Wiering | December 18, 2015

The Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis and the Ramsey County Attorney’s Office entered into a settlement agreement Dec. 18 on a civil petition the county filed against the archdiocese in June. Archbishop Bernard Hebda, the archdiocese’s apostolic administrator, called the settlement “the latest and most public indicator that this archdiocese has earnestly embarked on a journey of self-reflection, evaluation and action.”

“If there were any doubts about the archdiocese’s pledge to keeping kids safe, the provisions announced today, going beyond what the law would require, should help put those doubts to rest,” he said at a news conference.

The 24-page agreement outlines child protection measures the archdiocese has already implemented or has promised to implement, and Ramsey County’s oversight of those measures for three years.

Among them are continuing the role of the archdiocese’s newly established Ministerial Review Board in examining claims of clergy sexual abuse, creating a comprehensive set of policy documents readily available online, and an increased level of involvement from lay people at the parish, seminary and school levels.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:45 AM

LA Archdiocese settles with 2 brothers over priest’s alleged sexual abuse

CALIFORNIA
Los Angeles Daily News

By City News Service
POSTED: 12/18/15

A settlement was reached between the Archdiocese of Los Angeles and two brothers who sued alleging they were sexually molested nearly three decades ago by a visiting cleric from Mexico, an attorney for the archdiocese said Friday.

The plaintiffs, now young men, were between 9 and 11 years old when they were allegedly abused by Father Nicolas Aguilar-Rivera on the grounds of St. Agatha Church in Los Angeles in 1987. They sued the archdiocese in June 2014.

“Plaintiffs were both terrified of Father Aguilar-Rivera’s conduct and frozen because of their obedience to and reverence of Father Aguilar-Rivera,” their lawsuit stated.

Los Angeles police believe the boys were among some 26 boys molested during a nine-month period in 1987-88.

Attorney J. Michael Hennigan, on behalf of the archdiocese, said the settlement was reached Wednesday, the same day Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Barbara Scheper heard a defense motion to dismiss the case, then took the issues under submission.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:42 AM

December 18, 2015

Inquiry to invite applications for core participants in January 2016

UNITED KINGDOM
Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse

18 December

On 5 January 2016, the Inquiry will invite applications from individuals or institutions that wish to be designated as a core participant in relation to a number of its investigations. The inquiry is not able to accept applications before 5 January, so please do not submit your application before the Inquiry provides further details on this date.

In advance of those announcements the Inquiry has published the following documents on the Library page of its website:

Protocol for potential core participants; and

FAQs for potential core participants

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:40 PM

Landmark Settlement Puts Minneapolis-St. Paul Archdiocese Under County Review

MINNESOTA
America

Dec 18 2015 - 5:47pm | Kevin Clarke

The Ramsey County Attorney’s Office announced a landmark civil settlement with the Archdiocese of Saint Paul-Minneapolis related to a civil case that alleged grave breakdowns in the archdiocese's child protection policies and execution of same. According to Ramsey County Attorney, John Choit, the primary objective of the settlement is to transform the organizational culture of the archdiocese “into one that is vigilant about ensuring that no child will ever again become the victim of clergy sex abuse.”

“Today’s historic agreement increases oversight and transparency to systemically change how the Archdiocese protects children and responds to suspected incidents of child sexual abuse,” said Choi. “As a result, it is my expectation that the facts of this case will never be repeated and the protection of children will forever be of paramount importance within this Archdiocese.”

The agreement runs for three years and will include oversight and enforcement mechanisms by Ramsey County authorities. An accompanying criminal action remains active case and will proceed toward resolution, the county attorney’s office reports.

Archbishop Bernard Hebda, Apostolic Administrator, in a letter to parishioners, described the agreement as “an opportunity for us to do all we can to make sure children are as safe as possible now and into the future.”

For the archdiocese’s priests and parishes, he said the settlement will “require all of us to renew our commitment to continue building a culture that makes the protection of children a priority.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:36 PM

Twin Cities Archdiocese Reaches Settlement In Civil Sexual Abuse Case

MINNESOTA
CBS Minnesota

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A 12-person panel comprised of doctors, lawyers and church laypersons will oversee any suspicions of clergy sex abuse in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis.

It’s part of a breakthrough settlement reached on Thursday with the Ramsey County Attorney to resolve a civil suit that was filed last June.

Under the terms of the settlement, efforts to assure the safety of all children will be scrutinized by annual audits and reports to the county and district court.

Allegations and settlements involving clergy sex abuse have plagued victims and the Archdiocese for years. It has also resulted in forcing the church into bankruptcy protection and the departures of top Archdiocese leaders.

In June, Ramsey County Attorney John Choi took legal steps with hopes of preventing future abuses. Under the agreement, that framework is now in place.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:34 PM

Twin Cities Archdiocese Settles Civil Charges

MINNESOTA
Wall Street Journal

By TOM CORRIGAN
Dec. 18, 2015

The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis settled civil charges that it failed to protect children from abusive priests in a deal that allows Minnesota prosecutors to continue pursuing criminal charges against the archdiocese.

The settlement, unveiled Friday during a hearing in Ramsey County Court in Minnesota, requires the archdiocese to improve how it handles clergy sex abuse allegations and to establish more rigorous oversight practices. The archbishop must also apologize to, and offer to meet with, victims of an abusive priest and their families.

The archdiocese, home to 187 parishes and 825,000 parishioners, didn’t admit any wrongdoing under the settlement and denied the specific civil charge of contributing to the need for protective services for children.

In a letter posted Friday to the archdiocese’s website, Archbishop Bernard Hebda, who is serving as the administrator of the Twin Cities archdiocese until a new archbishop is appointed, said the archdiocese agreed to more than it would have been compelled to do by a court but that it and prosecutors share the goal of ensuring children’s safety.

“It should be no surprise that we have diligently been working together since [June] to find the best ways to make the achievement of that shared goal a reality,” he said. “Today’s agreement will require all of us to renew our commitment to continue building a culture that makes the protection of children a priority.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:32 PM

Archdiocese of St. Paul Settles Civil Complaint on Child Sexual Abuse

MINNESOTA
New York Times

By TODD NELSON and MONICA DAVEY
DEC. 18, 2015

ST. PAUL — The Roman Catholic archdiocese here has reached an agreement with prosecutors in a civil case accusing church officials of failing to protect children from sexual abuse.

The unusual settlement, announced Friday in a Ramsey County courtroom, calls for more transparency when claims of child sexual abuse are raised and would allow prosecutors and courts to monitor the church’s progress on such matters for three years.

John J. Choi, the Ramsey County prosecutor, said the most important provision of the settlement was that all allegations of clergy misconduct, including sexual abuse of a child, would be examined by a board made up mostly of lay people. Such boards exist in most dioceses, and most include lay people. But here, one or two clergy members typically determined how to proceed.

The settlement must also be approved by the federal bankruptcy judge overseeing the archdiocese’s reorganization.

In June, Mr. Choi filed six criminal charges, misdemeanors with maximum fines of $3,000 each, accusing the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis of failing to protect children from sexual abuse. Both sides said they were continuing to discuss the charges, which are pending, even as the deal was struck on the civil petition that accompanied them.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:29 PM

Man files sex abuse lawsuit against former Roeland Park priest

KANSAS
Kansas City Star

BY IAN CUMMINGS
icummings@kcstar.com

A Missouri man has filed a sexual abuse lawsuit against a priest who formerly worked at a Roeland Park church.

The suit, filed earlier this week, alleges that in the mid-1980s a St. Agnes Catholic Parish priest abused the victim, who was then between 15 and 17 years old.

The suit says the cleric held parties at a Table Rock lake house where he provided liquor to minors and sexually abused them, at times taking the victim on trips to California, Hawaii and the Cayman Islands.

The victim, now in his 40s, lives in Missouri, according to Rebecca Randles, the Kansas City attorney who filed the case. The priest was identified in the lawsuit only by the initials J.H.W., Jr.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:06 PM

Rockland priest suspended after sex abuse allegations: NY Archdiocese

NEW YORK
The Journal News

[with copy of a letter from Cardinal Timothy Dolan]

Michael D'Onofrio, mcdonofrio@lohud.com December 18, 2015

A Rockland priest who once led Archbishop Stepinac High School in White Plains has been suspended after a "credible" allegation that he sexually abused a minor more than three decades ago, the archdiocese told parishioners.

Monsignor John O’Keefe, a pastor at St. Margaret of Antioch Parish in Pearl River, was accused of abusing the minor on two occasions, according to a letter issued on Wednesday to members of the parish from Cardinal Timothy Dolan, Archbishop of New York.

See the entirety of Cardinal Timothy Dolan's letter below.

O’Keefe has denied the allegations, which have not been substantiated, Dolan wrote.

“But in keeping with the policy and practice of the archdiocese, … Monsignor O’Keefe is not permitted to publicly function as a priest until the matter is resolved,” Dolan said in the letter.

O'Keefe, in 1992, was named the first president of Archbishop Stepinac High School. He is also listed on the school's Alumni Hall of Fame on the school website.

In 2003, he was reassigned to St. Margaret's. While pastor of St. Margaret parish in 2012, O'Keefe celebrated his 40th anniversary of his ordination.

Joseph Zwilling, a spokesman for the archdiocese of New York, said the archdiocese was contacted by a lawyer from the person making the allegation. The person alleged two acts of abuse — one in New York and another in Virginia — happened in the early 1980s.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:00 PM

Settlement reached in St. Paul-Minneapolis archdiocese civil case

MINNESOTA
National Catholic Reporter

Brian Roewe | Dec. 18, 2015

The St. Paul-Minneapolis archdiocese will be subject to judicial oversight by local authorities for the next three years to certify compliance with a series of provisions aimed at protecting children from sexual abuse, under the terms of a new civil settlement announced Friday.

The agreement, presented in district court by the Ramsey County Attorney's Office and the archdiocese, concludes the civil aspect of charges Attorney John Choi brought this summer against the local church; the criminal case, which includes six misdemeanor charges each carrying $3,000 fines, is ongoing, Choi said during a press conference.

But he emphasized several times the importance of the "unprecedented and landmark civil settlement," which he said goes beyond the impositions that a court could have enacted under child protection laws. The agreement establishes two independent audits in 2017 and 2018 to ensure compliance; if the archdiocese is found noncompliant, it will an opportunity to correct deficiencies before the matter proceeds to the courts. At the end of the agreement, the attorney’s office agrees to dismiss the civil action.

With the archdiocese having filed for bankruptcy earlier this year, the agreement must be approved by the U.S. Bankruptcy Court, which the archdiocese said could come at a hearing early next year.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:56 PM

Man who Extorted Sharon Rabbi Gets Prison Time

MASSACHUSETTS
Patch

By DANIEL LIBON (Patch Staff)
December 18, 2015

A former Milton man who pleaded guilty to extorting the former rabbi for Temple Israel will serve time in prison.

Nicholas Zemeitus, 31, was sentenced Friday afternoon to four to five years in a state prison with three years of probation to follow, according to the Norfolk County District Attorney’s office. The state requested a prison term of six to eight years.

In November, Zemeitus admitted to extortion and larceny charges in a scheme to blackmail former Temple Israel Rabbi Barry Starr. In 2011, Zemeitus encountered Starr after responding to an online listing for sex with an older woman. When Zemeitus arrived at Starr’s home, he was greeted by the former rabbi who was wearing women’s clothing.

Starr gave Zemeitus $100 to remain quiet, but the he threatened to go public with underage sex allegations, which Starr denied happened and authorities found no evidence of.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:54 PM

ALLEGATIONS OF ROCKLAND COUNTY PRIEST ABUSE 30 YEARS AGO DEEMED 'CREDIBLE,' ARCHDIOCESE SAYS

NEW YORK
WABC

PEARL RIVER, New York (WABC) -- The Archdiocese of New York said an allegation of abuse against a Rockland County priest has been deemed credible by law enforcement officials.

The allegations involve Monsignor John O'Keefe of the St. Margaret of Antioch Parish in Pearl River.

The archdiocese said it was barred from speaking about it until the investigation was complete.

The victim accused the Monsignor of abuse on two separate occasions, once in New York and once in Virginia.

The allegations have only been deemed credible, not substantiated.

Monsignor O'Keefe has denied the charges, but is barred from publicly performing his duties as a priest until the Archdiocesan investigation is complete.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:20 PM

Civil lawsuit accuses Kansas priest of abuse

KANSAS
KAKE

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — A Missouri man has filed a civil lawsuit accusing a Kansas City, Kansas, area Catholic priest of abusing him three decades ago.

The lawsuit, which was filed Wednesday in Wyandotte County court, also claims authorities at the Archdiocese of Kansas City, Kansas, knew of the abuse and failed to do anything to stop it. The lawsuit does not name the victim and identifies the accused priest with initials.

The lawsuit claims the sexual abuse occurred at a lake house in the 1980s when the alleged victim, who is now in his 40s, was between 15 and 17 years old.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:17 PM

Ramsey County Attorney announces landmark civil settlement to protect children

MINNESOTA
Ramsey County Attorney's Office

[with video]

Friday, December 18, 2015 - 12:30pm

The Ramsey County Attorney’s Office (RCAO) today announced a settlement agreement of the Civil Petition filed in Ramsey County District Court on June 5, 2015 against the Archdiocese of Saint Paul & Minneapolis (Archdiocese). The criminal action remains an active case and will proceed toward resolution in Ramsey County District Court.

The historic civil settlement agreement creates systemic change in how the Archdiocese protects children and responds to suspected incidents of child sexual abuse. The Agreement, which runs for three years, includes oversight and enforcement mechanisms by the RCAO and the Ramsey County District Court.

Press release: County Attorney announces landmark civil settlement to protect children (PDF)

Archdiocese settlement agreement (PDF)

Archdiocese petition from June 2015 (PDF)

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:13 PM

Minnesota archdiocese settles civil case with county prosecutor

MINNESOTA
Reuters

MINNEAPOLIS | BY DAVID BAILEY

A Minnesota Catholic archdiocese has settled a civil lawsuit brought against it by a county prosecutor over the alleged failure to protect minors from sex abuse by clergy, the archdiocese and county attorney said on Friday.

A criminal case brought by the Ramsey County Attorney's Office against the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis in June along with the civil complaint remains pending in county court, prosecutors said.

The archdiocese covering a large part of the Minneapolis and St. Paul metropolitan area filed for bankruptcy in January and the settlement requires U.S. Bankruptcy Court approval.

The civil complaint and criminal charges were the latest development in the child sex abuse scandal involving the Catholic Church in many U.S. cities.

Ramsey County Attorney John Choi said the settlement's objective was to make the archdiocese vigilant about ensuring that children will no longer be victims of sex abuse by clergy.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:10 PM

Autopsy finds former nuncio charged with abuse died of heart attack

VATICAN CITY
National Catholic Reporter

Carol Glatz Catholic News Service | Dec. 18, 2015

VATICAN CITY
An autopsy revealed the ex-papal nuncio, who was awaiting a Vatican trial on charges including the sexual abuse of minors, died of a heart attack, the Vatican said.

The laicized former archbishop, Jozef Wesolowski, died of natural causes, specifically, "acute myocardial infarction," and "other external factors" were ruled out, the Vatican said in a communique Dec. 18.

Vatican magistrates had postponed a criminal trial against the former nuncio in July due to the defendant's ill health. The proceedings had been adjourned until an unspecified future date because the defendant had been sent to an intensive care unit in a public hospital in Rome after experiencing a "sudden illness" the afternoon of July 10 -- the day before he was scheduled to appear at the trial's opening session.

The 67-year-old Polish national, who also had Vatican City State citizenship, died in a Vatican residence Aug. 27.

While initial autopsy results released in August said he died of a "cardiac incident," the Vatican City's promoter of justice appointed a forensics team to conduct an investigation that followed internationally recognized protocols, the Vatican communique said.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:17 PM

Child sex abuse survivor: 'My belief in truth and justice has taken a beating'

AUSTRALIA
The Guardian

Melissa Davey
@MelissaLDavey
Friday 18 December 2015

Stephen Woods, a survivor of horrendous sexual abuse at the hands of three religious figures within the Diocese of Ballarat when he was a schoolboy, says his belief in truth and justice has “taken an utter beating” over the past fortnight.

Woods has sat and watched as most of the former priests working within the diocese between the 1970s and early 1990s told the royal commission into institutional responses into child sexual abuse that they could not recall information about being informed of the abuse by victims, their concerned parents, or church staff.

They also gave evidence that they did not know the circumstances around known abusers being removed from parishes, often to other parishes where they continued to abuse.

Woods was sexually abused by the notorious pedophile priest Gerald Ridsdale, who has been convicted of 138 offences against children, as well as by the then principal of St Alipius Primary School, Robert Charles Best, and the religious teacher Brother Ted Dowlan. Two of his brothers were also abused. He says he carries the memories and consequences of what happened to him with him every day.

So it was painful for him to watch as the commission, armed with the testimony of dozens of survivors, and documentary evidence, questioned former diocese staff – only to have them so often respond with “I don’t recall”.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:13 PM

CA--Archdiocese settles 2 lawsuits

CALIFORNIA
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

For immediate release: Friday, December 18

Statement by Joelle Casteix of California, SNAP Southern California director (949-322-7434, jcasteix@gmail.com)

We are very proud of these brave men who used the civil justice system to get accountability for the crimes of Nicolas Aguilar Rivera. They came forward and demanded justice, even though they faced huge odds.

[Patch]

Those odds were made even worse by the actions of Cardinal Mahony and other church officials, who covered up Rivera's crimes.

This is not a time to be complacent when it comes to clergy sex abuse and cover-up. We fear there may be a whole new generation of victims suffering in shame and silence. We urge anyone who has seen or suspected abuse to report to law enforcement.

We also want to reach out to other victims and assure them that they are not alone and help and support are available.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:09 PM

L.A. Archdiocese Settles Molestation Suit from 2 Brothers

CALIFORNIA
Patch

By ALEXANDER NGUYEN (Patch Staff)
December 18, 2015

A settlement was reached between the Archdiocese of Los Angeles and two brothers who sued alleging they were sexually molested nearly three decades ago by a visiting cleric from Mexico, an attorney for the archdiocese said Friday.

The plaintiffs, now young men, were between 9 and 11 years old when they were allegedly abused by Father Nicolas Aguilar-Rivera on the grounds of St. Agatha Church in Los Angeles in 1987. They sued the archdiocese in June 2014.

“Plaintiffs were both terrified of Father Aguilar-Rivera’s conduct and frozen because of their obedience to and reverence of Father Aguilar-Rivera,” their lawsuit stated.

Los Angeles police believe the boys were among some 26 boys molested during a nine-month period in 1987.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:07 PM

Lawyers for Gallup Diocese say deal in bankruptcy case near

NEW MEXICO
News Channel 10

Posted: Dec 18, 2015

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) - Attorneys for a New Mexico diocese say they are finalizing a settlement in the case that has kept it in bankruptcy court for two years.

The Gallup Independent reports (http://bit.ly/1jl8YBA ) lawyers for the Diocese of Gallup and the Official Committee of Unsecured Creditors, which represents clergy sex abuse claimants, confirmed in court Wednesday that a settlement is in the works.

They did not provide details and said an agreement has not been signed yet.

Unsecured Creditors Committee attorney James Stang said they are still working out the non-monetary terms of the settlement.

Neither Stang nor Susan Boswell, lead bankruptcy attorney for the diocese, indicated when the agreement is expected to be finalized.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:36 PM

Man sues Archdiocese of Kansas City over alleged sexual abuse in 1980s

KANSAS
Topeka Capital-Journal

Posted: December 18, 2015

By The Associated Press

KANSAS CITY, Kan. - A Missouri man has filed a civil lawsuit accusing a Kansas City, Kansas, area Catholic priest of abusing him three decades ago.

The lawsuit, which was filed Wednesday in Wyandotte County court, also claims authorities at the Archdiocese of Kansas City, Kansas, knew of the abuse and failed to do anything to stop it. The lawsuit does not name the victim and identifies the accused priest with initials.

The lawsuit claims the sexual abuse occurred at a lake house in the 1980s when the alleged victim, who is now in his 40s, was between 15 and 17 years old.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:33 PM

Vatican--Victims question Mother Teresa’s sainthood speed

UNITED STATES
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

For immediate release, December 18, 2015

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

Vatican officials are fast-tracking sainthood for Mother Teresa. It should be noted that her long time Spiritual Adviser was a serial predator, Jesuit, Fr. Donald McGuire ( http://www.bishop-accountability.org/news2012/01_02/2012_01_11_Jamison_TaintedSaint.htm) who was criminally convicted.

When it is advantageous for Catholic officials to move quickly, like sainthood for popular figures “Mother Teresa and Pope John Paul II, they move quickly. But when it is advantageous for church officials to move slowly, like the clergy sex cases, they move slowly.

SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is the world’s oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims. SNAP was founded in 1988 and has more than 20,000 members. Despite the word “priest” in our title, we have members who were molested by religious figures of all denominations, including nuns, rabbis, bishops, and Protestant ministers. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org)

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:31 PM

Mother Teresa set for sainthood after pope attributes second miracle

VATICAN CITY
The News & Observer

BY ALVISE ARMELLINI
dpa

VATICAN CITY - Mother Teresa's path to sainthood was cleared Friday, after the Vatican confirmed that Pope Francis had approved a decision to attribute a second miracle to the Catholic nun who dedicated her life to India's poor.

Italian bishops' newspaper Avvenire first reported Thursday, on Francis' 79th birthday, that the pontiff ratified the findings of the Vatican's saint-making committee on the miraculous healing of a man suffering from serious brain disease. ...

Teresa is a revered figure throughout the world, but her speedy path to sainthood - in modern times, second only to John Paul II's, who made the grade in 2014 nine years after his death - has not been without its critics.

"It should be noted that her long time spiritual adviser was a serial predator, Jesuit Father Donald McGuire, who was criminally convicted," Barbara Blaine, President of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, said Friday.

"When it is advantageous for Catholic officials to move quickly, like sainthood for popular figures Mother Teresa and Pope John Paul II, they move quickly. But when it is advantageous for church officials to move slowly, like the clergy sex cases, they move slowly," she added.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:29 PM

Catholic Church Isn't Doing Enough to Stop Child Abuse

UNITED STATES
Huffington Post

Roy Speckhardt
Executive Director, American Humanist Association

The Catholic Church continues to struggle with the crisis originating from its widespread and at least decades long practice of allowing child molesters within its midst to escape justice for their crimes. In a number of cases the failure to take responsibility for the actions of their clergy went as far as allowing abusive priests to continue to work with young children vulnerable to attack. The severity of the public backlash with both Catholics and non-Catholics may have even contributed to the abrupt departure of Pope Benedict XVI, who left office with just 43% of Americans viewing him favorably.

The Church's new, more popular Pope Francis, viewed favorably by 70% of Americans, publicly committed to righting the church's wrongs when it comes to child sex abuse. The Pope met with sex abuse victims in Philadelphia to apologize for the church's complicity in their abuse, saying that "God weeps" for the sexual abuse of children.

But the Pope and Church hasn't done much more than speak about child abuse, and have instead chosen to continue many of the irresponsible practices which led to the current situation. As Laurie Goodstein noted in an article for the New York Times, "Francis appears to have accepted the resignations of three American bishops who were in the midst of escalating scandals over their mishandling of abuse allegations: two bishops in Minnesota in June and one in April in Kansas City-St. Joseph in Missouri, where the bishop was the first to ever be criminally convicted of shielding a pedophile priest. But the bishops were allowed to leave office without the Vatican's ever making clear why, and all three remain bishops." This latest action is part of a long appalling tradition within the Catholic Church which allows either the perpetrators or enablers of child sex abuse to escape persecution and often keep their rank within the church.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:36 PM

Indagato Mogavero, il vescovo dei migranti

ITALIA
Diretta News

[After the scandal involving Francesco Micciche, the former bishop of Trapani, who was accused to of embezzlement, misappropriation, libel and slander, another high priest has come under investigation in Sicily. The prosecutor of Marsala questioned Domenico Mogavero, Bishop of Mazara del Vallo, who is former undersecretary of the Italian Bishops Conference (CEI) and Commissioner for Migration, one of the most active religious initiatives of solidarity with the refugees who landed on the island. According to prosecutors, the bishop could have embezzeled 180,000 euro from the curia.]

Dopo lo scandalo che ha coinvolto l’ex vescovo di Trapani Francesco Micciché, accusato di appropriazione indebita, malversazione, diffamazione e calunnia, un altro alto prelato è finito sotto inchiesta in Sicilia. La Procura di Marsala ha interrogato Domenico Mogavero, vescovo della diocesi di Mazara del Vallo, ex sottosegretario della Conferenza episcopale italiana e commissario Cei per le migrazioni, uno dei religiosi più attivi nelle iniziative di solidarietà verso i profughi che sbarcano sull’isola. Secondo i magistrati, il vescovo potrebbe essersi appropriato di 180mila euro della Curia, mentre l’ex economo, don Franco Caruso avrebbe ‘messo in tasca’ 120 mila euro della diocesi. Secondo Stefano Pellegrino, avvocato del vescovo, i fatti oggetto dell’indagine risalirebbero al biennio 2010-11 ma riguarderebbero ‘anomalie’ già denunciate dal prelato alla Procura.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:30 PM

A year after son's suicide, parents seek change at St. John's

MINNESOTA
Minnesota Public Radio

Madeleine Baran Dec 18, 2015

It's been a year since Ben Spanier took his life.

His parents say his problems began 20 years earlier, when he was a student at St. John's Prep in Collegeville. They say their son wasn't the same after he began spending time with the Rev. Tom Andert, a prominent priest who was placed on leave earlier this year for a separate allegation of sexual misconduct.

The Spaniers say they're coming forward now because they want the culture at St. John's to change. Ben Spanier had attempted suicide before. His father, Eric, will never forget picking up the phone that night in 1994. On the other end of the line was the Rev. Tom Andert, the head of the boarding school at St. John's, where Ben was a junior.

"I answered the phone," Eric Spanier said. "He was calling from the emergency room in the hospital, so it was a shock."

He said he was relieved the priest was there to care for his son.

"I was extremely grateful," he said. "I mean, he was there and he was taking my place, and I was in Colorado. He was in Minnesota, at his bedside. So I was very appreciative for him being there, I expressed that. We really didn't have any reason to suspect there was a problem with Ben's relationship with the headmaster."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:20 PM

Trelle räumt Versäumnisse bei Missbrauchsfall ein

DEUTSCHLAND
NDR

[Trelleborg admits failures in abuse case.]

Der Hildesheimer Bischof Norbert Trelle hat sich am Freitag in einem Brief an die Priester, Diakone und Mitarbeiter des Bistums gewandt und sich zu den Missbrauchsvorwürfen eines Mädchens gegen einen Priester aus dem Jahr 2010 geäußert - und durchaus eigene Versäumnisse eingeräumt. Dabei setzt sich Trelle detailliert mit den gegen ihn Vorwürfen auseinander, die Ermittlungen gegen einen Pfarrer im Ruhestand wegen sexuellen Missbrauchs zu spät angezeigt zu haben. Die damals 14-Jährige hatte von "deutlichen Annäherungsversuchen" des Geistlichen berichtet, das geht aus einer Mitschrift des Bistums hervor, die die Staatsanwaltschaft inzwischen angefordert hat. Dagegen schildert Trelle in dem Bischofsbrief, das Mädchen habe sich in einem ersten Gespräch 2010 "sehr zurückhaltend geäußert". Ein Gesprächsangebot mit den erziehungsberechtigten Großeltern habe es auf Bitte des Mädchens nicht gegeben. Stattdessen sei ihm geraten worden mit seiner Religionslehrerin oder der Therapeutin darüber zu reden.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:47 PM

Hildesheimer Bischof räumt Fehler im Umgang mit Missbrauchsfall ein

DEUTSCHLAND
Die Welt

[The Hildesheim bishop has admitted mistakes in handling the abuse case of Father Peter R.]

Hildesheim (dpa/lni) - Der Hildesheimer Bischof Norbert Trelle hat Fehler im Umgang mit dem Missbrauchsfall einer 14-Jährigen eingeräumt, den Vorwurf der Vertuschung aber zurückgewiesen. Der Hinweis auf einen Missbrauchsvorwurf gegen einen Geistlichen sei 2010 aus heutiger Sicht zu spät an die Staatsanwaltschaft weitergegeben worden, teilte Trelle am Freitag mit.

«Dass wir damals so entschieden haben, bedauern wir heute sehr», erklärte der Bischof. «Aus heutiger Sicht und mit der Erfahrung von fünf Jahren Aufarbeitung von sexuellem Missbrauch würden wir heute anders entscheiden und vorgehen», betonte Trelle in einem Schreiben an die Bistumsmitarbeiter.

Im März 2010 habe die 14-Jährige bei einem ersten Gespräch keinen sexuellen Übergriff erwähnt, so Trelle, sondern eindeutig nur Belästigungen durch Pater Peter R.. Dieser stand damals allerdings im Zentrum des Missbrauchsskandals am Berliner Gymnasium Canisius-Kolleg mit mehr als 100 Opfern.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:45 PM

Archdiocese reaches settlement in civil case

MINNESOTA
Pioneer Press

Elizabeth Mohr
emohr@pioneerpress.com
POSTED: 12/18/2015

The Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis has agreed to implement new child-protection procedures as part of a settlement agreement with the Ramsey County attorney's office, which filed a civil suit against the church in June.

The archdiocese will immediately begin implementing "practices, procedures -- action ... to do everything we can to protect children," attorney Joe Dixon, who represents the archdiocese, told the court Friday.

The civil case was filed at the same time the county attorney's office filed criminal charges against the archdiocese, accusing top-ranking officials of failing to protect children and parishioners from sexually abusive clergy.

At the time, the county attorney's office said the civil petition against the archdiocese was "intended to seek legal remedies to prevent the archdiocese from allowing this behavior (from) ever happening again," according to a statement.

As part of the agreement, the civil case will be put on hold for three years as the archdiocese implements its plan, coming back to the court with progress reports every six months. At the end of the three-year period, if the archdiocese has held up its end of the deal, the county attorney's office will dismiss its case.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:28 PM

Letter from Archbishop Hebda Regarding Settlement Agreement with Ramsey County

MINNESOTA
Roman Catholic Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis

Date: Friday, December 18, 2015
Source: Archbishop Bernard Hebda, Apostolic Administrator

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

I wanted to reach out directly to you regarding the Settlement Agreement the Archdiocese and the Ramsey County Attorney’s Office announced Friday morning.

From the time I first arrived here in June – two weeks after the charges were filed -- I have worked to learn as much as I can about the events surrounding Curtis Wehmeyer and his abuse of children under his care at Blessed Sacrament Church in St. Paul.

From that same time, the Archdiocese was engaged in dialogue with Ramsey County Attorney, John Choi, and his staff. We immediately realized we all had the same goal; to make sure children are safe in our churches, schools and communities. So, from the first time our team and the County Attorney’s team met, we worked together to find the best ways to make that a reality.

We also involved and consulted with the Board of Directors, Archdiocesan Finance Council, the Ministerial Review Board, the College of Consultors (an advisory group of priests), and priests who have been or are currently in leadership positions. They all agreed that this Agreement is the right thing to do to provide safe environments.

All of that dialogue, collaboration and hard work came together on Friday morning when a judge accepted the Settlement Agreement with the Ramsey County Attorney’s Office. Let me assure you, much of what is in the new document are things we are already doing, while others are practices and procedures that are already working in some dioceses around the country. We are agreeing to implement the plan under a set deadline and to be held accountable for that commitment.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:27 PM

Ramsey County Civil Agreement: Q & A

MINNESOTA
Roman Catholic Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis

Date: Friday, December 18, 2015
Source: Tom Halden, Director of Communications

Q: What does this Settlement Agreement really mean?

A: It means that the Archdiocese has voluntarily agreed to implement the enhanced safe environment Settlement Agreement and submit to external auditing in 2017 and 2018. At the end of the 36 month review period, Ramsey County District Court has agreed they will drop the civil charges.

Q: Was the Archdiocese forced into this Agreement?

A: No. We made the decision not to fight the charges in court because we share the common goal of protecting children with the Ramsey County Attorney and his staff.

Q: How will the Ramsey County Attorney’s Office be able to verify that the Archdiocese is following the new Settlement Agreement?

A: There will be both internal and external audits of the Agreement and reporting mechanisms that must be followed.

Q: Aren’t there Constitutional concerns with the state (Ramsey County) involved in overseeing a religious institution?

A: The Archdiocese is still free to run its ministries, operations and other programs as it sees fit. We chose to enter into this agreement because the Settlement Agreement serves to enhance our mission of faith. It is at the heart of the church to protect children and vulnerable adults. Jesus said, ““Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me, and whoever receives me, receives not me but him who sent me (Matthew 9:37).”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:25 PM

Archdiocese, county attorney reach settlement in child sex abuse case

MINNESOTA
Bring Me The News

Civil charges against the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis will be stayed under a settlement agreement, which requires the church to implement new policies that protect children.
The settlement, filed in court Friday morning, was reached between the archdiocese and the Ramsey County Attorney’s Office, which brought criminal and civil charges against the church in June related to a sex abuse case. (Read the full agreement here.)

At a press conference Friday morning, Ramsey County Attorney John Choi called the settlement “groundbreaking,” saying it “ensures systemic change, and creates a framework of accountability” that increases oversight and transparency of the archdiocese.

It means a “cultural shift” in how the church will protect children and respond to sex abuse allegations going forward, Choi said.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:22 PM

'Unprecedented' Settlement Reached in Civil Case Against Archdiocese

MINNESOTA
KSTP

[with video]

[the agreement]

Jennie Lissarrague

An "unprecedented" settlement agreement has been reached with the Ramsey County prosecutor in the civil case against the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis.

Archdiocese officials appeared in Ramsey County District Court at 9 a.m. Friday for a hearing.
Prosecutors say the agreement in the civil case provides a framework for better oversight of the archdiocese over the next three years. Assistant Ramsey County Attorney Tom Ring says the goal is to create an environment where no child will again be abused.

Archdiocese attorney Joe Dixon says the settlement made public in court Friday must still be approved by a bankruptcy court, but both sides pledge to begin work immediately.

“This historic agreement ensures systemic change and creates a framework of accountability that increases oversight and transparency and ultimately supports a cultural shift in how the archdiocese protects children and responds to alleged abuse,” Ramsey County Attorney John Choi said.

Choi outlined several highlights of the settlement agreement during a news conference Friday:

* The archdiocese agreed to be subject to the oversight of the Ramsey County Attorney’s Office and courts for three years as they continue to transform their organization’s culture.

* The archdiocese agreed to implement important compliance standards that incorporate best practices from across the country along with new standards that don’t exist anywhere else.

* They will set forward a clear standard of response so that it will no longer be possible for leaders to say that they didn’t know about suspected child abuse.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:17 PM

Vatican autopsy confirms Wesolowski died from heart attack

VATICAN CITY
Vatican Radio

(Vatican Radio) The Vatican said on Friday that an autopsy has confirmed that its former Apostolic Nuncio to the Dominican Republic died from a heart attack.

A statement released by the Holy See’s Press Office said the autopsy on Jozef Wesolowski was conducted by a team of coroners named by the Vatican prosecutor, in accordance with international guidelines and protocols.

The statement said the toxicology tests confirmed that the former envoy died a natural death ``excluding any other external causes.''

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:20 PM

Parishioners ask Supreme Court to hear case of closed Scituate church

MASSACHUSETTS
Metro West Daily News

By The Associated Press

Posted Dec. 18, 2015

BOSTON — Parishioners who have occupied a Roman Catholic church since it was closed 11 years ago will ask the U.S. Supreme Court to settle their dispute with the Boston archdiocese.

St. Frances X. Cabrini parishioners plan to ask the high court to review a ruling by a Massachusetts court that found they are trespassing at the Scituate church. The state's highest court declined to hear the case but parishioners are hoping the U.S. Supreme Court will agree to review it.

The parishioners will ask a state judge on Monday to put the case on hold while they petition the high court.

The church was closed in 2004 as part of a reorganization following the clergy sex-abuse scandal.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:18 PM

St. Frances X. Cabrini parishioners file emergency motion, plan to appeal to U.S. Supreme Court

MASSACHUSETTS
Boston.com

By Allison Pohle @AllisonPohle
Boston.com Staff | 12.18.15

The parishioners who have spent 11 years keeping a vigil in the closed St. Frances X. Cabrini church in Scituate were dealt another blow two weeks ago when the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court denied their request for further review by the courts.

At the time, Jon Rogers, a spokesperson for the Friends of St. Frances, a group of about 100 parishioners have kept a 24-7 vigil in the church, said they would “throw every option onto the table.”

An 11-year vigil is in jeopardy after the high court rules against South Shore parishioners
That means appealing to the United States Supreme Court.

But first, the group will appear in Norfolk Superior Court Monday afternoon. After the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court denied their request for further review, The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston filed a motion to have the parishioners removed from the church by January 8. In response, the Friends of St. Frances filed an emergency motion in Norfolk Superior Court to try to have any future orders from the Archdiocese suspended as they work on their appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:15 PM

Priest arrested for paying for sex (2)

ITALY
ANSA

(ANSA) - Reggio Calabria, December 18 - Reggio Calabria police on Friday arrested a 44-year-old priest on charges of paying for sex with a minor, misrepresenting his identity, luring a minor, and possession of child pornography. He was arrested in the rectory of a parish church in the Piana di Gioia Tauro valley and taken to jail.

Police began an investigation last March after finding the priest in his car with a minor in a secluded and rarely frequented area.

Police said the minor told them the priest paid him 20 euros for sex that took place in the priest's car shortly before police arrived on the scene.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:13 PM

Archdiocese reaches 'landmark' settlement in Ramsey County priest abuse case

MINNESOTA
Fox 9

ST. PAUL, Minn. (KMSP) - The Ramsey County Attorney’s office and the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis announced Friday morning they’ve reached a settlement agreement after attorney John Choi filed criminal and civil charges against the archdiocese last summer for failing to protect children from a priest.

Choi called the settlement a "systemic change" and "cultural shift," which bars church leadership from concealing clergy abuse.

Choi filed criminal charges against the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis in June "to hold it criminally accountable for its failure to protect children" which are connected to 3 separate victims of sexual abuse by former Catholic priest Curtis Wehmeyer, who is currently serving a 5-year prison sentence for molesting two boys in his parish in a camper parked outside the Church of the Blessed Sacrament.

The 24-page settlement says all future abuse allegations will go before a ministerial review board instead of one or two clergy members. The Ramsey County Attorney’s office will oversee the review board and other processes for the next 3 years.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:10 PM

Settlement reached in civil suit against Archdiocese

MINNESOTA
KARE

Dana Thiede, KARE December 18, 2015

ST. PAUL, Minn. - The Ramsey County Attorney's Office and the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis have hammered out a settlement involving a civil case accusing the Archdiocese of failing to protect children from predatory priests.

Ramsey County Attorney John Choi will share details of the settlement in a press conference shortly.

A criminal case filed in conjunction with the civil proceedings is moving forward. That matter was continued during a hearing Friday morning. The next court date will be set four to six weeks down the road.

Choi and his office levied civil and criminal charges against the Archdiocese for failing to monitor the activities of former priest Curtis Wehmeyer. Wehmeyer was convicted in 2012 of sexually abusing two brothers and possessing child pornography while serving as pastor at the Parish of the Blessed Sacrament on St. Paul's east side. He is currently serving a 5-year sentence.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:07 PM

Conservatives’ criticism heightens as Pope marks 80th birthday

VATICAN CITY
Chronicle Herald (Canada)

NICOLE WINFIELD THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
Published December 17, 2015

VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis entered his 80th year on Thursday amid hopes among his critics that it will be his last — at least as pope.

While Francis remains enormously popular among most rank-and-file Catholics, a small but vocal group of conservatives who have never much cared for his radical agenda have grown increasingly strident in criticizing the pope now that there is little doubt left about his priorities.

They have taken aim at the just-concluded synod on family issues, where the divisive issue of communion for the civilly remarried took centre stage. They have raised alarm at Francis’ call for a more decentralized church and his loosening of the Vatican’s marriage annulment process. They have winced at his environmental alarmism, wondered what’s in store for Catholic orthodoxy in this Holy Year of Mercy and blasted as sacrilege the recent screening of nature shots on St. Peter’s Basilica.

The Remnant, a small, traditionalist U.S. newspaper, last week penned an open letter begging Francis to change course or resign, arguing that his papacy was “causing grave harm to the church.” Organizers say a few thousand people have signed onto the petition.

“You have given many indications of an alarming hostility to the church’s traditional teaching, discipline and customs, and the faithful who try to defend them, while being preoccupied with social and political questions beyond the competence of the Roman pontiff,” the newspaper said. “This appalling situation has no parallel in church history.”

To put it more simply: “Many people in the Vatican want Francis dead,” said Francesca Chaouqui, the woman at the heart of a leaks scandal currently convulsing Francis’ Vatican.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:58 AM

Archbishop Hebda's Letter to Priests About Settlement

MINNESOTA
Canonical Consultation

[The letter from Archbishop Bernard Hebda]

Dear Brothers,

I wanted to reach out directly to you regarding the Settlement Agreement the Archdiocese and the Ramsey County Attorney’s Office announced this morning.

When I first arrived here in June two weeks after the charges were filed the Archdiocese was already engaged in dialogue with Ramsey County Attorney, John Choi, and his staff. It was quickly recognized that we shared one major goal: making sure children are safe in our churches, schools and communities. It should be no surprise that we have diligently been working together since then to find the best ways to make the achievement of that shared goal a reality.

In the course of our conversations with the Ramsey County Attorney’s office last October and November, it began to become apparent that there existed a potential for a negotiated Settlement in the civil action that had been brought against us. Those representing the Archdiocese in the sensitive discussions that ensued recognized that it would be important to get broader input, not only from our Corporate Board and Archdiocesan Finance Council but also from our clergy. I am very grateful to Fr. Mike Tix (formerly the head of the Presbyteral Council) and Fr. Don DeGrood (presently the Vicar for Clergy), who invested countless hours in recent weeks pouring over the various proposals for moving forward.

With today’s court appearance looming large, the terms of an Agreement solidified last weekend and it became possible and desirable to engage in a more formal and even broader consultation. This past Wednesday, I sought the advice of the College of Consultors and the Archdiocesan Finance Council and I asked for a resolution of the Corporate Board of Directors that would authorize me to execute the Agreement, given that the suit had been brought against the Corporation. The recently-formed Ministerial Review Board was also consulted. I am grateful to all who participated in those efforts.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:49 AM

Archdiocese settles civil abuse case with Ramsey County

MINNESOTA
Star Tribune

By Chao Xiong Star Tribune DECEMBER 18, 2015

The Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis and the Ramsey County Attorney's office reached a settlement agreement Friday morning in a precedent-setting civil case accusing it of failing to protect children from a predatory priest.

A criminal case against the church is ongoing and will be scheduled for another pretrial date in the future.

Ramsey County Attorney John Choi's office said he will have a news conference soon. The archdiocese will convene its own news conference after Choi's office speaks.

"You're making a significant effort to protect not only the children … but citizens," Ramsey County Chief Judge Teresa Warner told attorneys for the state and church Friday.

The settlement would require the church to create an action plan to protect children, but its exact terms were not immediately revealed Friday. The church would have to periodically report its progress to the court.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:44 AM

Archdiocese, Ramsey Co., agree to settle civil charges in priest child abuse case

MINNESOTA
Minnesota Public Radio

Riham Feshir Dec 18, 2015

Ramsey County prosecutors and the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis have reached a settlement that would pave the way for dismissal of civil charges related to clergy sex abuse.

The settlement was announced in a pretrial court hearing Friday morning on the civil case and a related criminal case the county brought against the archdiocese.

Under the agreement, civil charges would be stayed for three years while the church puts in place its policies and practices to protect children. The church would have to submit progress reports to the court every six months.

The civil case would be dropped after three years if the court is satisfied with the church's actions.

The hearing did not address what would happen with the criminal charges. The criminal pretrial hearing that was set for Friday was continued for a few weeks.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:40 AM

Vatican: Heart attack killed ex-ambassador accused of abuse

VATICAN CITY
Daily Star (Lebanon)

Associated Press

VATICAN CITY: The Vatican says an autopsy has confirmed that its former ambassador to the Dominican Republic, who died on the eve of his sex abuse trial, suffered a heart attack.

The autopsy on Archbishop Jozef Wesolowski was conducted by a team of coroners named by the Vatican prosecutor, and the results were deposited with the Vatican tribunal earlier this week. The Vatican made the results public Friday.

In a statement, the Vatican said the toxicology tests confirmed a natural death "excluding any other external causes."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:37 AM

Holy See Press Office Communique on the autopsy of Msgr. Jozef Wesolowski

VATICAN CITY
Vatican Information Service

Vatican City, 18 December 2015 (VIS) – The Holy See Press Office today announced that on 14 December, the report on the chemical toxicological examinations carried out on samples taken during the autopsy of Msgr. Jozef Wesolowski was submitted to the Chancellor’s Office of the Vatican City State Court of First Instance.

The conclusions of the Report definitively confirmed what had already emerged from the post-mortem examination; that is, that death was ascribable to natural causes (acute myocardial infarction), excluding other exogenous causes.

The various investigations were conducted in strict accordance with the guidelines and protocols recognised at international level, by a Board of medical examiners appointed by the Promoter of Justice the day after the Prelate’s unexpected death.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:19 AM

Woman Claims Priest Abused Her 50 Years Ago

TEXAS
KTSA

A San Antonio woman claims she was abused by Fr. Joseph Angeli back in the early 1960’s wants a response from the Archdiocese.

Robert Hoatson works with victims of sexual abuse by Clergy members. He tells us the woman was abused by the Priest while he was serving in Hondo and it turns out, the late Fr. Angeli had been accused of sexually abusing young girls while serving in Boston too.

He says the woman wants the Archdiocese to verify her allegations and settle her claim so she may heal and move on with her life.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:45 AM

Kurienkardinal Müller bezeichnet Schwarzgeld-Story als «Nonsens»

DEUTSCHLAND
kath.net

[Munich (kath.net/KNA) Cardinal Gerhard Ludwig Müller has again countered reports about an alleged slush fund headed by him in the Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. In an interview with the magazine "Focus", he said the story was nonsense and it was stupid to be disseminating rumors.]

Präfekt der Glaubenskongregation: «Jeder, der nur ein wenig Verstand im Kopf hat, erkennt die böse Absicht.» Dabei deutete Müller an, dass der Urheber nach seiner Einschätzung «eher nicht» im Vatikan, sondern in Deutschland zu suchen sei.

München (kath.net/KNA) Kurienkardinal Gerhard Ludwig Müller ist erneut Berichten über eine angebliche schwarze Kasse in der von ihm geleiteten vatikanischen Glaubenskongregation entgegengetreten. In einem Interview mit dem Magazin «Focus» wies er die am 9. Dezember von der «Bild»-Zeitung verbreitete Story als «Nonsens» und «Verbreitung von dümmlichen Gerüchten» zurück.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:27 AM

Suits allege priest abuse, seek punitive damages

NEW MEXICO
The New Mexican

An attorney filed four lawsuits in state District Court on Thursday against the Archdiocese of Santa Fe and three New Mexico priests, alleging they sexually abused young children in different parishes across the state.

The lawsuits accuse Bernard Bissonnette, Sabine Griego and Edward Rutowski of sexually abusing boys in the 1960s, ’70s and ’80s. The suits, among dozens of similar complaints filed by attorney Brad Hall in recent years, claims the Archdiocese of Santa Fe is responsible for the priests’ alleged actions. They seek punitive damages.

Hall filed the lawsuits in the 2nd Judicial District Court in Albuquerque.

One suit alleges Bissonnette raped a man identified as “John Doe 56” hundreds of times between 1968 and 1973 when he was between the ages of 7 and 12. During that time, the suit says, John Doe 56 was an altar boy at St. Alice Parish in Mountainair.

One of two suits against Griego, filed on behalf of a man identified as “John Doe 51,” says the priest sexually abused a boy more than 20 times between 1975 and 1977, when the boy was between the ages of 10 and 12. The boy was an altar server at Our Lady of Sorrows Parish in Las Vegas, N.M.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:11 AM

Darlington police charge youth minister with criminal sexual conduct

SOUTH CAROLINA
SC Now

BY JESSICA IMBIMBO Morning News jimbimbo@florencenews.com

A Darlington youth minister has been arrested on two counts of third-degree criminal sexual conduct involving a minor, according to the Darlington city police.

The Rev. Kamron Eugene Reames of Georgiana Lane was arrested Thursday after allegedly touching a male juvenile inappropriately on at least two occasions, Police Chief Daniel Watson said.

The alleged victim reported the conduct to adults and the Darlington Police Department initiated an investigation.

Watson said Reames was arrested shortly after the investigation, when “compelling evidence supporting the complaint was substantiated.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:08 AM

Covenant Presbyterian members address child abuse arrest

ALABAMA
WTVM

[with video]

By Lauren Bale

HUNTSVILLE, AL (WAFF) -
Members of Covenant Presbyterian Church say religious leaders did everything right after learning one of their own was accused of sex abuse.

Police say Youth Minister Christopher Alfaro sent obscene material to children. Pastor Hal Oakley said as soon as he learned about the situation he went straight to police.

Member Sarah Savage said she has been going to Covenant Presbyterian for the last 12 years and both her daughters went to preschool there. While she and her whole family are obviously in shock she said she is pleased with how the church handled this difficult situation.

She said the church has been up front from the beginning, letting parents and children know what was happening every step of the way.

“It's best to just be as truthful as possible and face it,” Savage said. “And if you have that love and that fellowship you can make it through these tough things.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:04 AM

Moody man facing child sex charges is former Munford youth minister

ALABAMA
The Daily Home

Gary Hanner, St. Clair Times associate editor, ghanner@thestclairtimes.com

A Moody man arrested Wednesday on charges of child sex abuse was formerly the associate pastor and youth minister at Munford Baptist Church.

Brian Pesnell, 40, of Amelia Circle in Moody, turned himself in at the St. Clair County Jail in Pell City on Wednesday morning.

According to a story published in The Daily Home in February 2010, Pesnell was named associate pastor at the church in 2006. When he came on board, there were only around a dozen youth in the ministry classes. The youth grew to about 300 in number while Pesnell was there.

Back in March 2011, Pesnell was indicted for rape in the second degree and sexual abuse in the second degree by a St. Clair County grand jury. It was unclear Thursday what the status of the 2011 case was.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:58 AM

'Spotlight' is riveting, realistic

MASSACHUSETTS
Wicked Local Marblehead

By Marc J. Wortman

Posted Dec. 17, 2015

MARBLEHEAD
I was a bit reluctant to see "Spotlight," the true story of the Catholic Church’s priest child-sexual-abuse scandal and cover-up, even though this film is quickly gathering the momentum to be an Oscar front-runner, (recently nominated by the Golden Globes and the SAG Awards, which are reliable predictors for the Academy Awards). Sometimes it’s a tough choice on a Saturday night whether to see an action-packed “popcorn” movie and escape into the fun and fantasy or actually choose to see a serious movie about child abuse.

"Spotlight," delivers a truthful and non-sensationalized portrayal of one of the biggest scandals in modern history, told from the vantage point of a handful of Boston Globe investigative reporters in 2001. The movie is based on the reporting done by the Spotlight section of the Globe, known for its independent, hard-hitting and in-depth stories. From a pure moviemaking point of view, "Spotlight" is very close to a perfect film, and reminds me of how I felt after watching 2013’s Best Picture Winner, "Argo" – silent and breathless.

The veteran actor and writer Tom McCarthy (who wrote the screenplays for "Up" and "Million Dollar Arm") is the director of "Spotlight." He is also the co-writer, along with Josh Singer, of this daring and disturbing script. I predict an Oscar nomination for McCarthy not only for directing but also for Best Screenplay. "Spotlight" is reminiscent of the iconic newspaper movie, 1976’s "All The President’s Men," which told the story of Nixon and Watergate from the perspective of the two newspaper reporters that untangled the web of lies that ultimately led all the way up to the presidency. In an NPR interview, Tom McCarthy actually referenced several films as direct influences on "Spotlight," including "All the President’s Men," as well as Sydney Lumet’s 1982 Oscar-nominated film, "The Verdict."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:54 AM

December 17, 2015

Settlement Announcement Tomorrow?

MINNESOTA
Canonical Consultation

12/17/2015

Jennifer Haselberger

The Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis is scheduled to appear in Ramsey County Court tomorrow, and the buzz is that a settlement is going to be announced.

If what I am hearing is correct, the settlement will not resolve the criminal case. Instead, it will respond to the issues outlined in the civil petition, and grant the court jurisdiction over some aspects of Archdiocese's safe environment/child protection efforts.

Interestingly, the Archdiocese has not, to my knowledge, informed any of its clergy about the proposed settlement or its terms, despite the fact that they will likely be the ones most impacted (as was the case with the settlement in the Doe 1 case, with its child protection protocols). Since the rumors suggest that the criminal charges are still pending, victims and others seeking financial compensation from the Archdiocese are unlikely to experience negative consequences regardless of what the agreement contains.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:18 PM

Archbishop criticised for ‘vilifying’ clergy in abuse inquiry

IRELAND
Irish Times

Patsy McGarry

The Archbishop of Dublin, Diarmuid Martin, “vilified” members of the clergy who were criticised by the Commission of Investigation into the handling of child abuse allegations by the Dublin archdiocese, a leading priest has said.

The criticism by Fr Tony Flannery comes just days after a bishop and a priest defended the reputation of Auxiliary Bishop Dermot O’Mahony – a figure who was severely criticised by the inquiry – at his funeral.

Saying that the commission had “serious faults”, Fr Flannery, the co-founder of the Association of Catholic Priests, wrote on his website: “I never met, nor had I any dealing with, Bishop Dermot O’Mahony.

“Until the Murphy Report, anything I ever heard about him was positive – a warm, gentle, caring man who was a shining light in a Church that could often be harsh and judgmental,” he wrote.

The commission, led by Ms Justice Yvonne Murphy, inquired into the handling of clerical child sex abuse allegations in Dublin’s Catholic Archdiocese between 1975 and 2004. Its report was published in November 2009.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:15 PM

Judge Rules Against Catholic Prep School in Gay Hire Case

MASSACHUSETTS
NECN

[with video]

By Alysha Palumbo

It's a victory for a Massachusetts man denied employment based on his sexual orientation.

A Massachusetts Superior Court judge ruled Thursday that the all-girls Catholic high school Fontbonne Academy in Milton had violated anti-discrimination laws when it rescinded a 2013 Food Services Director job offer to Matthew Barrett after he listed his husband as his emergency contact.

"What the court focused on was that this person's job has nothing to do with religion. Fontbonne can't simply deem all of their employees to be ministers when their job has nothing to do with religion," GLAD attorney Ben Klein said.

Barrett, a Dorchester resident, told necn earlier this month that the case has been "very emotional."

Through his GLAD attorneys, Barrett said he's "ecstatic" with the ruling.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:08 PM

4 new sexual abuse lawsuits filed against Archdiocese of Santa Fe

NEW MEXICO
KOB

Created: 12/17/2015
Blair Miller, KOB.com

Four more men have filed lawsuits against the Archdiocese of Santa Fe alleging priests sexually abused them when they were boys in New Mexico.

The new lawsuits come in addition to more than 10 others that claim the boys were abused by priests with the Archdiocese of Santa Fe.

One of the lawsuits implicates Father Bissonnette, who worked at the Servants of the Paraclete in Jemez Springs before he moved to the Santa Fe Archdiocese. Many of the previously-filed cases involve priests from Servants of the Paraclete.

Two of the other new lawsuits implicate Father Sabine Griego, who worked at Our Lady of Sorrows in Las Vegas and Queen of Heaven in Albuquerque.

The other implicates Father Edward Rutowski, who worked at St. Jude Thaddeus in Paradise Hills.

Attorney Brad Hall is handling the majority of the lawsuits. He says that many of the priests implicated in the sexual abuse were from New Mexico – contradicting a common belief much of the abuse stemmed from out-of-state priests who were sent to our state for "rehabilitation."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:00 PM

Aboriginal leaders leave meeting with Trudeau encouraged reconciliation achievable

CANADA
APTN

APTN National News

Following the first meeting on the road to reconciliation Aboriginal leaders said they are encouraged by what Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told them behind closed doors.

” We wanted to say how proud we were to be part of the conversations today, to see people starting to do things in a different way,” said Dawn Harvard, president of the Native Women’s Association of Canada. “I think we’ve seen that here today, is what can be accomplished if you go in with that desire to dialogue.”

Natan Obed, national leader for Canadian Inuit said he is encouraged by the meeting with Trudeau and members of his Cabinet.

“What we were looking for is a renewed Inuit to Crown relationship,” said Obed. “That relationship can only happen with the type of meetings we had this morning, and the respect for the, for all Inuit organizations in a way that we haven’t seen in a number of years.”

He said he looks forward to “renewing” the relationship in a tangible way.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:57 PM

Get Pell: the facts behind the Royal Commission headlines

AUSTRALIA
Catholic Weekly

By Monica Doumit December 15, 2015

In this past week, we heard news that Cardinal George Pell’s testimony before the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse would be delayed after his treating cardiologist deemed it unsafe for him to take the long-haul flight back to Australia.

The news prompted the expected reaction from mainstream and social media, with scepticism, scorn and derision being the most popular responses.

There has also been a lot of misinformation being spread, the most serious being that the cardinal sought to delay the giving of his evidence.

This is, of course, untrue.

Allan Myers QC, the lawyer appearing for Cardinal Pell, asked that the cardinal be permitted to provide his evidence via video link. Mr Myers noted that video evidence is used all the time in hearings, particularly for witnesses who would otherwise have to travel a long distance. Indeed, two witnesses appeared via video link before this same hearing in the same week in which the application was made on behalf of Cardinal Pell.

And Gerald Ridsdale, the perpetrator of many of the crimes being looked at in the Ballarat hearings, gave evidence over a number of days via video link in May.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:13 PM

The Carrot, the Stick, and what two SOL reform initiatives are missing …

UNITED STATES
The Worthy Adversary

Posted by Joelle Casteix on December 17, 2015

The Carrot: Money

Last week, the US Senate proposed a bill that would give states money if they enacted legislation that extended or eliminated unexpired statutes of limitation for child sexual abuse. (In other words, if your time is up, it’s up. But if not, you could have your statute extended or eliminated.)

The bill’s language does not differentiate between civil and criminal laws. According to the bill: There is authorized to be appropriated to carry out this title $40,000,000 for each of fiscal years 2016 through 2025. Is that enough to get states on board? We will have to see.

Read the full text here.

The Stick:

Going to the Voters After CA Governor Jerry Brown vetoed TWO bills that would have extended crime victims’ rights and exposed child predators, one man is taking the issue straight to the voters.

In California, a sex abuse victim (who rose to fame after being acquitted of beating up his priest perpetrator) has received the CA Secretary of State’s approval to gather signatures for a ballot initiative that would eliminate California’s civil and criminal statutes of limitations (going forward) for child sexual abuse:

From the Mercury News:

The initiative written by the 48-year-old San Francisco man would wipe out the legal deadline barring prosecutors from filing criminal charges against child molesters and victims from suing them after a certain period of time. It would apply only to children molested after its adoption, not to Lynch and others like him.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:43 PM

Port Arthur priest on leave following allegations

TEXAS
Port Arthur News

By Mary Meaux

A Port Arthur priest is under investigation by the Port Arthur Police Department and Child Protective Services following an allegation at St. Catherine Catholic School.

Bishop Curtis Guillory of the Diocese of Beaumont issued a statement regarding the allegations.

“The Diocese of Beaumont is committed to fostering a safe, comfortable and positive environment for all whom we serve. We are deeply concerned to learn that a little more than a week ago Child Protective Services and the Port Arthur Police initiated an investigation into an allegation at St. Catherine School in Port Arthur, TX,” according to the statement. “The allegation is against Fr. David Placette, pastor of St. Catherine Church. Keeping in mind the interests of all involved, and in accord with the norms of the U.S. Bishops’ “Charter for the Protection of Young People,” I have placed Fr. Placette on administrative leave from all priestly ministry, pending both civil and ecclesiastical investigations into the matter. Because the matter is now under investigation, I am unable to provide additional information at this time.”

Shari Pulliam, media specialist with the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services, said school investigations are confidential. In cases like this at the conclusion of the investigation Child Protective services will send their findings to the school and Texas Education Agency.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:22 PM

Accused Port Arthur priest faces investigation on multiple fronts surrounding allegation

TEXAS
12 News Now

New information today behind the investigation into an allegation made against a Port Arthur priest with the Port Arthur Police Department and the Texas Department of Family Protective services.

Father David Placette, who is the pastor of St. Catherine Church, is being investigated following an allegation made against him. There is no word on the nature or severity of the allegation.

The Diocese of Beaumont will be conducting its own investigation into allegations made against Father David Placette, pastor of St. Catherine Church in Port Arthur, and 12News has learned the names of the members of Diocesan Review Board that will be conducting that end of the investigation. The Board will work in conjunction with the Port Arthur police and the state.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:19 PM

Former Catholic monk faces extradition to Scotland amid claims of child abuse

SCOTLAND
Herald Scotland

A former Catholic monk faces extradition from Australia amid claims of abuse at a Highland school.

Former students of the Fort Augustus Abbey boarding school in Inverness-shire, which closed in 1993, allege they were molested and beaten by staff over a number of decades.

A BBC investigation in 2013 identified Denis Alexander, now resident in Australia, as one of the accused.

A police investigation was launched and prosecutors said today that charges will be brought against him.

A Crown Office spokesman said: "Crown Counsel have instructed proceedings against Denis Alexander.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:12 PM

Bronx parish pastor resigns amid widely publicized scandal

NEW YORK
National Catholic Reporter

Peter Feuerherd | Dec. 17, 2015

Accusations of theft. A lifestyle of the rich and famous on a salary of about $30,000 per year. A man-man-woman triangle.

If there is a formula for a New York tabloid story, the case of Fr. Peter Miqueli, accused of embezzling more than a million dollars from two parishes, is exhibit A.

A lawsuit brought by some of Miqueli’s parishioners -- he subsequently resigned his Bronx pastorate last week -- charges him with theft from weekly collections and a church thrift shop, all to allegedly finance a prescription drug habit and to support Keith Crist, a bodybuilder friend, with a cash purchase of a $264,000 house in New Jersey and the rent on a Manhattan apartment, among other items.

Tatyana Gudin, a woman identified as Crist’s former girlfriend, has offered explicit details into the priest’s relationships which have become fodder for the city’s tabloids, including this story in the New York Post.

Both Miqueli and Crist have been unavailable for comment while Gudin has provided media outlets with a steady flow of information about the alleged sexual and financial improprieties. Miqueli, in his resignation letter to the parish, denied the charges and said he was cooperating in an archdiocesan investigation into the alleged embezzlement.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:59 PM

New York Archdiocese responds to priest embezzlement claims

NEW YORK
Catholic News Agency

By Adelaide Mena

New York City, N.Y., Dec 17, 2015 / 06:56 am (CNA).- The Archdiocese of New York says that it takes seriously accusations in a recent lawsuit claiming that a New York priest embezzled money and maintained scandalous personal habits, while also saying that a diocesan investigation has found nothing to substantiate the allegations.

“The Archdiocese has been investigating these allegations for many months, and has repeatedly requested any information or documentation that might substantiate the allegations that have been made,” Joseph Zwilling, communications director for the Archdiocese of New York, told CNA in a statement.

“Thus far, no evidence has been offered, and our forensic audit has thus far failed to uncover evidence of embezzlement,” he said. “We have been in touch with the District Attorney since the summer, and have promised to turn over anything that might be criminal in nature. We urge anyone with such evidence to do the same.”

The suit alleges that the Fr. Peter Miqueli, former pastor of St. Frances Xavier Cabrini Church on Roosevelt Island and St. Frances De Chantal Church in the Bronx, was engaged in a “million dollar embezzlement scheme,” taking funds from his former parishes’ collections over the course of a decade.

In addition, the suit alleges, Fr. Miqueli “used the donations to grow his personal wealth, purchase a house in New Jersey, take dozens of international vacations, purchase and use illegal drugs,” and pay for the sexual services of a male escort.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:39 PM

New York archdiocese says no evidence demonstrates claims against accused priest

NEW YORK
Catholic Culture

December 17, 2015

The Archdiocese of New York has denied receiving evidence to support charges that a pastor has stolen parish funds to pay for a drug-fueled homosexual relationship.

“The archdiocese has been investigating these allegations for many months, and has repeatedly requested any information or documentation that might substantiate the allegations that have been made,” said archdiocesan spokesman Joseph Zwilling. "Thus far, no evidence has been offered." He added that an audit by the archdiocese did not find evidence of embezzlement.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:37 PM

Trial scheduled for Catholic priest accused of sexually abusing children

KENTUCKY
WHAS

MEADE CO., Ky. (WHAS11) -- An area Catholic priest accused of sexually abusing children goes before a judge.

Father Joseph Hemmerle appeared before a Meade County judge Thursday morning, Dec. 17, during a pretrial conference.

Hemmerle's defense asked the judge to consider splitting the case in two so the priest could be tried separately over the allegations that date back to the ‘70s.

The prosecution argued that a single indictment was brought against Hemmerle because the victims' complaints were similar in nature; all of them alleged the priest preyed on young boys.

The judge scheduled a final pretrial conference for 9 a.m. Jan. 7.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:35 PM

Anfragen zum Verhalten der Hildesheimer Bistumsleitung im Fall des Pfarrers Peter R.

DEUTSCHLAND
Wir Sind Kirche

[Reaktionen zur ARD/WDR-Dokumentation "Richter Gottes" bezüglich des Hildesheimer Priesters Peter R.]

[The Catholic lay organization We Are Church is questioning Bishop Trelle of the Hildesheim diocese on the way he handled the issue regarding abuse allegations against priest Peter R.]

Sehr geehrter Herr Bischof Trelle, sehr geehrter Herr Weihbischof Bongartz, es ist anzuerkennen, dass das Bistum Hildesheim ein Präventionssystem installiert hat und am Aschermittwoch dieses Jahres (18. Februar 2015) auch ein öffentliches Schuldbekenntnis, insbesondere zu den Verfehlungen der Verantwortlichen abgelegt hat 1. Auch anlässlich der Vorwürfe gegenüber dem verstorbenen Bischof Heinrich Maria Janssen Anfang November 2015 zeigte sich die Bistumsleitung zuhörbereit.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:29 PM

Former monk facing extradition over child abuse

SCOTLAND
BBC Scotland

By Mark Daly
BBC Scotland Investigations Correspondent

A former Catholic monk who taught at the Fort Augustus Abbey school is set to be extradited from Australia to face charges of child sex abuse.

The move to bring Fr Denis Chrysostom Alexander back to face trial in Scotland follows criticism by his alleged victims that the Crown was dragging its heels over the case.

It comes after a two-and-a-half-year inquiry, sparked by a BBC Scotland investigation.

Fr Chrysostom denies the allegations.

Run by Catholic Benedictine monks, Fort Augustus Abbey school in the Highlands closed its doors to the public in 1993.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:26 PM

Special Mass offers spiritual healing for survivors of abuse

ARIZONA
Catholic Sun

Christ brings beauty out of brokenness. Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted emphasized this during a Mass he celebrated for survivors of abuse and their families Dec. 1.

“As followers of Christ, we know that only in Him is it possible to find true peace,” Bishop Olmsted said. “Only Christ can mend broken hearts. Only Christ can renew hope. In this Mass we ask the Lord to heal all those who are suffering from abuse in the Church.”

The Mass of Healing and Reconciliation was held at Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish in Phoenix. Throughout the liturgy, Bishop Olmsted pointed out that those who have suffered occupy a special place in the Heart of Christ.

“Jesus found that those who listened and received the Good News were the poor, the persons without guile, those who knew that they needed healing and mercy, and often those who had been mistreated and overlooked in society.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:48 PM

Former priest and serial child abuser Tony Walsh to serve maximum of two years for sexual assault of child

IRELAND
Irish Independent

Declan Brennan
PUBLISHED
17/12/2015

Former priest and serial child abuser Tony Walsh will serve a maximum of two years for the sexual assault of a child in the early 1970s, a court has heard.

Walsh was a seminarian at the time of the offence, which is the earliest recorded case of child abuse by him. He went on to become known as the “Singing Priest” for his role in a traveling all-priest group before he was defrocked.

Walsh (61), formerly of North Circular Road, Dublin was convicted after a trial at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court of the indecent assault of a female at St Lukes, Kilbarron Park, Kilmore, Dublin on a unknown date between April 17, 1973 and September 9, 1976.

He had pleaded not guilty to the offence. The victim was aged between seven and ten at the time when Walsh locked her into a room and forced himself on her.

Walsh is currently serving a 16-year sentence imposed on him in 2010 for the rape and abuse of three schoolboys. His release date is in October 2020.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:45 PM

Um Versöhnung bitten

DEUTSCHLAND
netzwerkB

netzwerkB Pressemitteilung vom 17.12.2015

Bischof Trelle vom Bistum Hildesheim soll „Missbrauchs-Vorwurf“ vertuscht haben, laut SPIEGEL ONLINE 15.12.2015.

Von komplettem „Versagen“ und „Rücktritt“ ist die Rede.

In Deutschland gibt es bei Straftaten gegen die sexuelle Selbstbestimmung keine Melde- und Anzeigepflicht. Insofern hätte Bischof Trelle, wenn er angeblich einen „Missbrauchs-Vorwurf“ vertuscht haben soll, nicht gegen die gesetzliche Norm unseres Staates verstoßen. „Vertuschen“ ist in Deutschland durch die aktuelle Gesetzeslage legal.

netzwerkB fordert schon seit 2010 eine Anzeige- und Meldepflicht bei Straftaten gegen die sexuelle Selbstbestimmung – Bischof Trelle könnte so gesetzlich zur Verantwortung gezogen werden, wenn der Vorwurf der Vertuschung ihm nachgewiesen würde.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:18 PM

Diocese removes parish pastor pending investigation

TEXAS
Beaumont Enterprise

By Dan Wallach Published Thursday, December 17, 2015

The Diocese of Beaumont has placed a Port Arthur parish pastor on leave pending a civil and church investigation into possible physical abuse, the diocese has confirmed.

A website, www.bishop-accountability.org/abusetracker, posted information about the suspension of Father David Placette, pastor of St. Catherine's Parish in Port Arthur.

In a statement attributed to KBMT, Bishop Curtis Guillory is quoted as saying, "I have placed Father Placette on administrative leave from all priestly ministry, pending both civil and ecclesiastical investigations into this matter. Because the matter is now under investigation, I am unable to provide additional information. at this time."

Barbara Dorris, outreach director of Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, based in St. Louis, said even though Catholic bishops had promised transparency in connection with priest abuse, the manner in which Placette's case is handled is opaque.

"We don't know why he was removed. This is not open and transparent. When did the diocese learn? When did the the police learn?" Dorris said.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:39 AM

Diocese: Port Arthur priest under investigation following allegations

TEXAS
Fox 4

Updated: Thursday, December 17 2015

PORT ARTHUR -- The Diocese of Beaumont has issued a statement saying investigations have been opened after an allegation was lodged against Fr. David Placette, Pastor of St. Catherine Church in Port Arthur.

Bishop Curtis J. Guillory issued the following statement to KFDM 6 News relating to an allegation made against at Fr. Placette:

The Diocese of Beaumont is committed to fostering safe comfortable, and positive environment for all whom we serve. We are deeply concerned to learn that a little more than a week ago Child Protective Services and the Port Arthur Police initiated an investigation into an allegation at St. Catherine School in Port Arthur, TX.

The allegation is against Fr. David Placette, Pastor of St. Catherine Church. Keeping in mind the interests of all involved, and in accord with the norms of the U.S. Bishops' "CHARTER for the Protection of Children and Young People," I have placed Fr. Placette on administrative leave from all priestly ministry, pending both civil and ecclesiastical investigations into this matter.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:36 AM

TX--Port Arthur cleric removed

TEXAS
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

For immediate release Thursday December 17

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

We are grateful that civil authorities are handling the investigation of Port Arthur cleric Fr. David Placette. But now is not the time for complacency. It’s time for every single person who may have seen, suspected or suffered crimes or misdeeds by Placette – or cover ups by church officials – to come forward, get help, call police, expose wrongdoers and protect kids.

[12 News Now]

We are glad he has been removed, but urge Catholic officials to be open and transparent about what they know and when they knew it.

We hope anyone who saw, suspects or suffered child sex crimes will find the courage to speak up, report to law enforcement, and start healing.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:30 AM

‘Significant step’ towards healing

AUSTRALIA
Australian Jewish News

FORMER Yeshivah principal Rabbi Avrohom Glick described a function at the school last week where he shared the stage with child sexual abuse victims as a “significant step”.

Rabbi Glick, who was principal when more than a dozen students were abused by paedophiles, acknowledged and apologised for the mistakes and the failings of the past.

“I realise and I regret that in the past the true impact of child abuse, and the pain and suffering that abuse caused to victims and their families were not fully understood,” Rabbi Glick said.

“I am sincerely sorry and I apologise for that pain and suffering.”

He commended advocates for victims who have shed light on the issues of child sexual abuse and the victims for their courage to speak openly.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:53 AM

Port Arthur priest placed on leave pending investigation by police and Child Protective Services

TEXAS
12 News Now

PORT ARTHUR -
Father David Placette, who's the pastor of St. Catherine Church, is being investigated by Port Arthur police and Child Protective Services, following an allegation made against him.

The Diocese of Beaumont confirmed this in a statement.

In the statement, Bishop Curtis Guillory says, "I have placed Father Placette on administrative leave from all priestly ministry, pending both civil and ecclesiastical investigations into this matter. Because the matter is now under investigation, I am unable to provide additional information. at this time."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:45 AM

CARDINAL DOLAN HAS TO GO!

NEW YORK
Church Militant

Cardinal Dolan is coming under increasing scrutiny for his failing to act over the course of nearly two years in the case of the homosexual priest embezzling up to a million dollars to fund his sadomasochistic sex fantasy with a live-in boyfriend. ChurchMilitant.com has obtained various letters and documents sent more than a year ago by parishioners here at St. Frances de Chantel parish in the Bronx to the cardinal and his staff alerting them to huge financial problems at the parish.

Included with the letters are financial statements from Fr. Peter Miqueli's personal investment accounts showing account totals of almost $700,000. They were ignored. And that's curious.

Amid a flurry of charges over a long period of time that Fr. Miqueli was stealing enormous amounts from the parish, why wouldn't Cdl. Dolan simply call Fr. Miqueli into his office and ask for an explanation? It was certainly within his authority to ask for an accounting from Fr. Miqueli. But it never happened.

Around this same time, according to the lawsuit, Fr. Miqueli also purchased a house in cash for more than a quarter million dollars. Yet amidst all these allegations and, at the very least, unusual financial dealings for a priest, the cardinal never once approached Fr. Miqueli and asked him about any of this.

Another red flag ignored included in the package sent to the cardinal and his staff was a photocopy of a check that Fr. Miqueli wrote to himself against the parish Mass Stipend account for $14,000 — something he's not allowed to do, in addition to the gigantic sum of money involved. Yet no one ever questioned Fr. Miqueli — most of all, Cdl. Dolan.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:39 AM

HPD: Youth minister accused of sending obscene material to child

ALABAMA
WDAM

[with video]

By Kaitlin Chappell

HUNTSVILLE, AL (WAFF) -
Huntsville police have charged a youth minister with 30-year-old Cristopher Alfaro with transmitting obscene material to a child.

They said 30-year-old Cristopher Alfaro allegedly used his position to help commit these crimes.

Representatives with Covenant Presbyterian Church said Alfaro was formerly the Director of Youth Ministry and was removed from the position some time ago.

Investigators said someone from the church reported Alfaro to police, prompting an investigation on Nov. 10.

Alfaro turned himself in to police Tuesday morning.

If your child or a child you know has been a victim of exploitation, you are encouraged to contact Huntsville police at 256-722-7100.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:33 AM

Huntsville youth minister accused of sending obscene material to child

ALABAMA
News Courier

Huntsville police on Wednesday arrested a 30-year-old youth minister on two counts of transmitting obscene material to a child, said Lt. Stacey Bates, public information officer for Huntsville Police Department.

Cristopher Bernal Alfaro of Huntsville is accused of using his position as a local youth minister to commit the crimes, Bates said in a press release.

Anyone who believes his or her child, or any other child, has been a victim of exploitation is asked to call the Police Department at 256-722-7100.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:32 AM

North Alabama youth pastor accused of sending obscene material to minor

ALABAMA
AL.com

By Crystal Bonvillian | cbonvillian@al.com
on December 16, 2015

Cristopher Bernal Alfaro, 30, is charged with two counts of transmitting obscene material to a child. Lt. Stacy Bates, a Huntsville police spokesman, said Alfaro used his position to commit the alleged crimes.

The name of the church Alfaro is affiliated with was not immediately available, and no additional information was released Wednesday. The investigation into Alfaro's actions is ongoing.

He was released from jail Tuesday on $25,000 bond for each charge.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:30 AM

Abuse victims treated 'defensively'

AUSTRALIA
Daily Liberal

By ANNETTE BLACKWELL
Dec. 17, 2015

TWO NSW government departments put 15 Aboriginal women through legal hell rather than acknowledge what was already known - they had been grossly abused at a remote state-funded children's home at Brewarrina.

A report published on Tuesday by the child abuse royal commission says the Crown Solicitors Office and the Family and Community Services department breached state model litigant policy "in multiple ways" when dealing with civil claims by former residents of the Bethcar Children's Home.

The home for disadvantaged Aboriginal children was founded in north western NSW in 1969.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:26 AM

Missbrauch in kirchlichen Heimen: Kanada fordert Entschuldigung vom Papst

KANADA
Spiegel

Der kanadische Premierminister Justin Trudeau verlangt von Papst Franziskus eine Entschuldigung für die jahrzehntelange Misshandlung minderjähriger Ureinwohner in kirchlichen Heimen. Er werde den Papst direkt auffordern, sich in dieser Frage zu positionieren, sagte der Politiker laut Medienberichten am Mittwoch auf einer Pressekonferenz.

In Kanada waren seit 1874 rund 150.000 Kinder von Indianern, Mestizen und Inuit von ihren Familien und ihrer Kultur getrennt und unter Zwang in kirchliche Heime gesteckt worden, um sie so zur Anpassung an die weiße Mehrheitsgesellschaft zu zwingen. Viele von ihnen wurden in den Heimen misshandelt oder sexuell missbraucht. Mindestens 3200 starben, die meisten an Tuberkulose.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:24 AM

Missbrauch in Heimen: Papst soll sich bei Kanadas Ureinwohnern entschuldigen

KANADA
Watson

[Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he will ask Pope Francis to apologize for abuse in the residential schools.]

Der kanadische Premierminister Justin Trudeau will Papst Franziskus auffordern, sich im Namen der katholischen Kirche bei den Ureinwohnern für die jahrzehntelange Misshandlung von Kindern in kirchlichen Heimen zu entschuldigen.

Er werde den Papst «direkt» auffordern, sich in dieser Frage zu positionieren, sagte Trudeau am Mittwoch auf einer Pressekonferenz. Die kanadische Wahrheits- und Versöhnungskommission hatte am Dienstag ihren Abschlussbericht zur Praxis vorgestellt und empfohlen, dass der Papst sich bei den Ureinwohnern entschuldigen solle.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:21 AM

Bispo flagrado ao dirigir embriagado tem a renúncia permitida pelo papa

BRASIL
Globo

O bispo diocesano de São Carlos (SP) Paulo Sérgio Machado, que em setembro foi flagrado dirigindo com sinais de embriaguez, renunciou ao cargo nesta quarta-feira (16) após o papa Francisco confirmar o pedido. A decisão foi publicada no Boletim Diário da Sala de Imprensa do Vaticano. Até a nomeação de um novo bispo, Dom Airton José dos Santos, arcebispo metropolitano de Campinas, assume a diocese como administrador apostólico.

Dom Paulo completou 70 anos no último dia 22 de novembro e depois de 26 anos como bispo, dentre os quais nove em São Carlos, pediu ao papa, como presente de aniversário, ser bispo emérito. Os motivos da sua renúncia são expressos em uma carta que ele mesmo escreveu ao santo Padre. “Já me sinto cansado. Tem muita gente boa por aí para me substituir. Não quero servir de peso a ninguém”, expressou.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:14 AM

Pope accepts Brazil bishop resignation

VATICAN CITY
ANSA

(ANSA) - Vatican City, December 16 - Pope Francis on Wednesday accepted the resignation of Brazilian bishop Paulo Sergio Machado as head of the diocese of the city of Sao Carlos.

The 70-year-old monsignor was stopped in September, when Brazilian police observed him zig-zagging through a Sao Carlos intersection, almost colliding with another vehicle and almost running over a pedestrian.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:12 AM

Other Pontifical Acts

VATICAN CITY
Vatican Information Service

Vatican City, 16 December 2015 (VIS) – The Holy Father has:

- accepted the resignation from the pastoral care of the diocese of Sao Carlos, Brazil, presented by Bishop Paulo Sergio Machado, in accordance with canon 401 para. 2 of the Code of Canon Law.

- appointed Msgr. J. Gregory Kelly as auxiliary of Dallas (area 19,457, population 3,847,430, Catholics 1,165,582, priests 213, permanent deacons 144, religious 205), United States of America. The bishop-elect was born in LeMars, United States of America, in 1956 and was ordained a priest in 1982. He holds a Master of Divinity from the University of Dallas in Irving, Texas, and has served in a number of pastoral roles in the diocese of Dallas, including parish vicar, chaplain at the University of Texas, parish priest, director of priestly vocations, vicar forane, rector ad interim of the Holy Trinity seminary, and member of the college of consultors, the presbyteral council and the board of directors of the University of Texas. He is currently vicar for the clergy. In 2013 he was named Chaplain of His Holiness.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:10 AM

Brasilianischer Bischof dankt nach Alkoholfahrt ab

BRASILIEN
Katholisch

[Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of Brazilian Bishop Paulo Sergio Machado who was arrested by police for drunk driving. This was announced by the Vatican on Wednesday.]

Papst Franziskus hat die Abdankung des brasilianischen Bischofs Paulo Sergio Machado akzeptiert, der von der Polizei betrunken am Steuer erwischt worden war. Dies teilte der Vatikan am Mittwoch in Rom mit. Machado machte von der Möglichkeit des Kirchenrechts Gebrauch, dass Bischöfe bei "schlechter Gesundheit oder anderen schwerwiegenden Gründen" um eine Aufgabe ihres Amtes bitten können.

Der Bischof der Diözese São Carlos im Bundesstaat São Paulo soll Mitte September nach einem Fest im Zick-Zack-Kurs unterwegs gewesen sein und fast einen Fußgänger und ein anderes Auto gerammt haben. Die brasilianische Polizei stellte dem Portal "Globo" zufolge starken Alkoholgeruch beim Bischof fest und fand in seinem Wagen eine leere Weinkaraffe und ein Glas. Der 70-Jährige wurde kurzzeitig festgenommen.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:05 AM

Waltham woman at front of sex abuse battle

MASSACHUSETTS
Wicked Local Waltham

By Bill Whelan
wwhelan@wickedlocal.com

Posted Dec. 16, 2015

WALTHAM
A Waltham native scored a major victory in her fight against child sex abuse laws last week when the Massachusetts Supreme Court reaffirmed a 2014 law extending the statute of limitations for lawsuits filed by victims of child sex abuse.

The ruling is just the latest development in years of legal battles fought by Rosanne Sliney, a Waltham native who lives in Burlington, and her supporters.

“This is a victory for literally thousands of people in Massachusetts,” said Sliney’s lawyer Carmen Durso, who has been fighting to change the statute of limitation laws since 2003.

With the help of her lawyers and the non-profit organization Massachusetts Citizens for Children, Sliney helped convince the state legislature to amend the child sex abuse statute of limitations in 2014. Previously, a civil lawsuit had to be filed within three years of the victim’s 18th birthday, or three years since the abuse could have reasonably been discovered. The amendment changed the law to 35 years after the victim’s 18th birthday or seven years after the abuse was discovered, instead of three.

Sliney filed a lawsuit in 2012 that alleges she was sexually abused hundreds of times by her uncle, Domenic Previte Jr., as a child, starting when she was 5 years old in 1968 and until she was 14 years old. The abuse allegedly went on at Previte’s home in Waltham and at businesses he owned in surrounding towns.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:01 AM

Lowell pastors found guilty in child rape case

MASSACHUSETTS
Boston Globe

By Rachel Riley GLOBE CORRESPONDENT DECEMBER 17, 2015

A married pair of pastors at a Lowell church have been convicted in connection with the rape and assault of a child, the office of Middlesex District Attorney Marian T. Ryan said Wednesday.

Oscar Sanchez, 35, was found guilty Tuesday in Lowell Superior Court of charges including child rape, indecent assault and battery, and reckless endangerment of a child, prosecutors said. His wife, 42-year-old Luisa Osorio-Sanchez, was also found guilty of assault and battery and reckless endangerment of a child.

The victim lived with Sanchez and Osorio-Sanchez at their house in Lowell, Ryan’s office said.

Sanchez sexually assaulted the victim for over ten years, beginning in 2003, under the pretense that he was praying with her in her room, Ryan’s office said. His wife, who knew of the sexual abuse, physically attacked the victim, according to prosecutors.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:59 AM

Lowell husband and wife pastors guilty in rape, assault

MASSACHUSETTS
Lowell Sun

By Lisa Redmond, lredmond@lowellsun.com
UPDATED: 12/17/2015

LOWELL -- Oscar Sanchez, the pastor of a small local church, was convicted of repeatedly molesting and raping a girl for years while his wife and co-pastor, Luisa Osario-Sanchez, was found guilty of abusing the child and allowing the sexual assaults to continue.

After a four-day trial in Lowell Superior Court, a jury found Sanchez, 35, of Lowell, guilty of: aggravated child rape (four counts), rape of a child by force (four counts), rape (two counts), and one count each of indecent assault and battery on a person under 14, indecent assault and battery on a person over 14, and reckless endangerment of a child, according to the Middlesex District Attorney's Office.

The jury found him not guilty of one count of rape.

Osario-Sanchez, 43, of Lowell, was convicted of assault and battery and reckless endangerment of a child. She was cleared of assault with intent to murder.

Sentencing of the couple is scheduled for Jan. 15.

During the trial, the victim, now 19, testified that the sexual abuse began when she was 6. She testified that Oscar Sanchez would come to her bed at night and molest her under the guise of praying with her. The victim lived with the couple.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:57 AM

Catholic care home child sex abuse: Two found guilty

UNITED KINGDOM
BBC News

A former chaplain and an ex-principal of a Roman Catholic care home have been found guilty of abusing boys.

Anthony McCallen, 65, was chaplain at the now defunct St William's Children's Home in East Yorkshire, where James Carragher, 75, was head.

The pair denied a total of 87 sex offences against children at the home between the 1970s and the 1990s.

Leeds Crown Court heard Carragher, a convicted sex offender from Merseyside, took boys naked swimming late at night.

The jury heard they both preyed on boys aged between 10 and 16 years old.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:54 AM

Two found guilty of care home sex abuse

UNITED KINGDOM
ITV

Two former members of staff at an East Yorkshire approved school have been found guilty of 35 counts of sexual abuse of boys over two decades.

James Carragher, 75, the former principal of the now defunct St William's Children's Home in Market Weighton, was found guilty of 24 charges of sexual abuse by a jury at Leeds Crown Court. It is the third time he has been convicted of abusing boys in his care.

Carragher is a former member of the De La Salle Brotherhood. The group released the following statement.

"We totally condemn, without reservation, any action or behaviour which harms young people. The behaviour of James Carragher was a deep betrayal of the Order’s mission to the young and of the trust that was placed in him as a De La Salle Brother. He was dismissed from the Order following previous conviction.

Likewise, we condemn the behaviour of Anthony McCallen when he was Chaplain at St William’s. He used his status as a priest to commit serious offences which was a total betrayal of his priesthood and of the trust placed in him as Chaplain.

We deeply regret what happened at St William’s and the harm that was done there through the behaviour of both Carragher and McCallen. Our hearts go out to all victims of abuse and their families.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:52 AM

Royal Commission | full wrap

AUSTRALIA
The Courier

By All stories by Melissa Cunningham
Dec. 17, 2015, 1:30 p.m.

DAY ONE

Mulkearns in palliative care, will not give evidence

In her opening address on Monday, counsel assisting the royal commission Gail Furness said Bishop Ronald Mulkearns remained subject to a summons to appear before the commission, but is receiving palliative care and is unfit to give evidence. Read more.

Victim and nephew to convicted paedophile takes to the stand

Lawyers for Cardinal George Pell have suggested clergy sex abuse victim David Ridsdale misunderstood a conversation between him and the senior Vatican official in which he claims Cardinal Pell attempted to bribe him. Read more.

Fresh allegations about Pell emerge

Allegations against Australia's most senior clergy at the Vatican continue to mount, with new claims emerging he told another parish priest disgraced paedophile Gerald Ridsdale was having sex with boys again. Read more.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:47 AM

Cardinal Pell’s no show isn’t a surprise

AUSTRALIA
The Courier

By Matthew Dixon
Dec. 17, 2015

Clergy sex abuse survivors have every right to be concerned and angry about Cardinal George Pell’s lack of an appearance at the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.

Very few people were actually surprised.

This community, like so many others, has grown very used to the church failing to address what occurred so many years ago.

While the instances may have occurred some time ago, the pain and agony it has inflicted on so many is still being felt and it, now if not more than ever, must be addressed. This community as a whole has faced up to the terrible history inflicted on the region by the way the Catholic church has handled the matter.

It is something this community should be very proud of. It has stood by the survivors, and shown support for action. Even more so when you consider how the Catholic church have approached the matter.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:45 AM

Ex-boss at Yorkshire Catholic children’s home faces jail for third time

UNITED KINGDOM
Yorkshire Post

A FORMER head of a children’s home in East Yorkshire is facing jail for a third time after he was found guilty of a string of historical child abuse offences.

James Carragher, 75, was found guilty of 21 counts of indecent assault and three serious sexual assaults at Leeds Crown Court on Tuesday, Humberside Police said.

A jury at Leeds Crown Court was told that Carragher was jailed for seven years in 1993 and a further 14 years in 2004 for offences he committed at St William’s - an approved school for boys with behavioural problems in Market Weighton, East Yorkshire.

Carragher was on trial with a former chaplain at St William’s, Anthony McCallen, 69.

McCallen was found guilty of 10 counts of indecent assault and another serious sexual assault, by a jury which had been deliberating for more than a week.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:43 AM

December 16, 2015

Pope's rebuff to conservative cardinal stirs Vatican intrigue

ITALY
The Guardian (UK)

Stephanie Kirchgaessner in Rome
Tuesday 15 December 2015

Pope Francis has always said Christians should seek out “encounters”, meetings that expand one’s understanding of the other and increase the capacity for love.

But there is one encounter the pope has steadfastly avoided since his election in 2013. Angelo Scola of Milan, the powerful and conservative Italian cardinal many thought would be pope before the surprise choice of the Argentinian Jesuit known as Father Bergoglio, received word of the latest apparent snub last week.

A bulletin released by the Vatican press office announced that the archbishop of Milan had regrettably been informed by Francis’s number two, the secretary of state Pietro Parolin, that Francis’s planned trip to Milan in May was off because the pope had too many commitments in Rome. Last year, Francis fell ill shortly before two planned meetings with Scola.

The highly anticipated visit to the fashion and finance capital of Italy, which happens to be the most important archdiocese in Italy, if not Europe, would happen in 2017 instead, the Vatican said. ...

“The pope does not like the idea of the church being in bed with politicians or politics. The Italian hierarchy is very … political and tied in to business and politics. Scola represents that kind of church,” said Robert Mickens, a longtime Vatican journalist and editor-in-chief of Global Pulse magazine.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:26 PM

Kurienkardinal Pell sagt Aussage vor Missbrauchskommission ab

AUSTRALIEN
Kathpress

[Cardinal George Pell has cancelled his appointment to appear before the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.]

Canberra, 11.12.2015 (KAP/KNA) Der australische Kardinal George Pell hat einen Termin bei der staatlichen Missbrauchskommission abgesagt. Ursprünglich sollte sich Pell am Mittwoch als Zeuge vor dem Ausschuss in Melbourne äußern. Die Anwälte des Kurienkardinals machten gesundheitliche Gründe für die Absage geltend, wie es in einer am Freitag veröffentlichten Mitteilung der Untersuchungskommission hieß.

Ein Angebot von Pells Anwälten, ihn per Video aus Rom zu der Verhandlung zuzuschalten, lehnte der Ausschussvorsitzende Peter McClellan demnach ab. Pell habe sich ausdrücklich bereiterklärt, persönlich vor der Kommission auszusagen, erklärte Richter McClellan. Die zu klärenden Sachverhalte seien zudem zu "komplex".

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:12 PM

Justin Trudeau Says the Pope Should Say Sorry for Abuse of Aboriginal People in Canada

CANADA
VICE News

By Justin Ling

December 16, 2015

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is expecting to have a tete-a-tete with the head of the Catholic Church in order to ask for his Holiness to apologize for the century of abuse inflicted on Canada's indigenous people in the church-run residential schools.

Trudeau made the promise to ask for Pope Francis' mea culpa on Wednesday, after a meeting designed to start the process towards reconciliation between Ottawa and the generations of Aboriginal people who were taken from their homes and forced into a residential school system rife with abuse.

The start of the "new era" of Canada's relationship with the territory's Aboriginal peoples comes after the Truth and Reconciliation Commission released its final report on Tuesday. Amongst its 4,000 pages of testimony and historical accounts were 94 calls to action, drawing a roadmap for how Canada could repair its fractured relationship with its indigenous peoples.

Those recommendations were sketched out in an interim report, published last June. The report called on the government to do everything from re-invest in Aboriginal media to bridge the health gap between aboriginal and non-aboriginal Canadians.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:08 PM

Priest named auxiliary bishop of Dallas Diocese

TEXAS
WFAA

Monica Hernandez, WFAA December 16, 2015

DALLAS – Pope Francis made an exciting announcement for Dallas Catholics Wednesday morning.

The Vatican announced that long-time Dallas Priest Monsignor John Gregory Kelly has been named a bishop, and will serve as one of two auxiliary, or assistant, bishops in the Dallas Diocese.

Bishop Kevin Farrell held a news conference Wednesday morning at the Dallas Diocese to celebrate the announcement, calling it "an early Christmas gift."

It's clear that Kelly is already well-loved in Dallas. The news conference was packed with people who have worked with him in his 34 years serving as a priest for the Dallas Diocese.

Kelly, 59, began his remarks Wednesday morning with a sense of humor, joking that he got a call from Washington last week, and should have known not to answer.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:01 PM

Vic bishop 'lacked empathy for victims'

AUSTRALIA
7 News

AAP

A Catholic bishop showed no compassion for victims of a pedophile priest, an inquiry has heard.

Retired school teacher Ann Ryan said she tried to get former Ballarat bishop Ronald Mulkearns to help families still hurting from the abuse inflicted by Gerald Francis Ridsdale in the Victorian town of Mortlake in 1981 and 1982.

Ms Ryan told the child abuse royal commission a local woman told her in 1989 her son had been badly sexually abused by Ridsdale.

Ms Ryan, who taught at Mortlake's St Colman's Parish School, said she contacted Bishop Mulkearns a number of times and was angered by his responses.

"I thought he showed no compassion, empathy or intent to do something to help the victims and their families," she told the commission.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:49 PM

Does U.S. Senator Have A Prayer of Getting Pope to Stop Cardinal's Gay-Bashing?

UNITED STATES
Advocate

BY DAWN ENNIS
DECEMBER 16 2015

U.S. Senator Dick Durbin of Illinois is asking Pope Francis to rein-in an antigay Cardinal who has targeted the out U.S. ambassador to the Dominican Republic.

Cardinal Nicolas de Jesus Lopez Rodriguez went so far recently as to denounce Ambassador Wally Brewster to reporters, using a slur and saying he should “focus on housework, since he’s the wife to a man,” rather than get involved in his country’s politics.

According to Durbin’s letter to Pope Francis, the Cardinal has even organized church-sponsored public protests against Brewster, who hails from Illinois and whom Durbin calls a personal friend.

The Illinois Democrat makes it clear in his letter that Brewster is legally married according to the laws of the United States.

Durbin, who is Roman Catholic, also wrote that he accepts the challenge the Pope made in his historic address to a joint session of Congress, to “defend and preserve the dignity” of all people, and appealed to Francis to step in, despite church policy against marriage equality.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:46 PM

Justin Trudeau to engage Pope about apology for church's role in residential schools

CANADA
CBC News

By Susana Mas, CBC News

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he will seek a formal apology from Pope Francis for the Roman Catholic Church's role in residential schools, a day after the Truth and Reconciliation Commission made public its final report into the legacy of the schools.

The commission has called upon the Pope to apologize to residential school survivors and their families for the Catholic Church's role "in the spiritual, cultural, emotional, physical, and sexual abuse of First Nations, Inuit, and Métis children in Catholic-run residential schools."

Trudeau met with the leaders of five national aboriginal organizations in Ottawa on Wednesday to discuss the findings of the commission.

Asked if he would urge the Pope to apologize, Trudeau said "different churches, including the Catholic Church, are very much engaged with the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, and I am certainly intending to work with the Catholic Church, including with the Holy See, to move forward with implementing that recommendation — to ask him directly to engage with this issue, yes."

Trudeau said while he could not guarantee the Pope would issue an apology, he was prepared to have that conversation with him, given the opportunity.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:43 PM

Trudeau says he can't compel Pope to apologize for residential schools

CANADA
CTV

The Canadian Press
Published Wednesday, December 16, 2015

OTTAWA - Prime Minister Justin Trudeau confesses he can't compel an apology from the Pope for the role of the Catholic Church in Canada's residential school system.

But Trudeau says he looks forward to raising the matter with the pontiff.

Trudeau met for more than two hours this morning with leaders from five indigenous organizations, capping a week that saw the Truth and Reconciliation Commission deliver its final report on the legacy of residential schools.

The commission made 94 "calls to action" towards reconciliation in a preliminary report last June -- including an apology from the Pope -- and the Liberals pledged to implement the entire report.
About 60 per cent of Canada's residential schools were run by the Catholic Church between the 1840s and 1996, when the last school closed.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:35 PM

Missbrauch in Bistum: Wird wieder ermittelt?

DEUTSCHLAND
NDR

[Problems are mounting for the Hildesheim diocese. The Berlin public prosecutor's office has requested a transcript made of a conversation with an alleged abuse victim. The conversation was of a 14-year-old talking about clear overtures of abuse from a clergyman. The prosecutor is now resuming its investigation against the priest. This priest was considered one of the major abusers at Carisius College in Berlin. The allegations at Canisius was time-barred but the Hildesheim case in much newer and apparently is not time-barred.]

Das Bistum Hildesheim gerät nach Bekanntwerden eines Missbrauchsfalls aus dem Jahr 2010 immer stärker unter Druck. Die Staatsanwaltschaft Berlin hat nun eine Mitschrift des Bistums Hildesheim angefordert, die Kirchenvertreter über ein Gespräch mit einem mutmaßlichen Missbrauchs-Opfer angefertigt hatten. Darin spricht eine damals 14-Jährige über deutliche Annäherungsversuche eines Geistlichen. Die Staatsanwaltschaft prüft nun, ob sie ihre Ermittlungen gegen den Priester wieder aufnimmt, der auch als einer der Haupttäter im Missbrauchs-Skandal am Berliner Canisius-Kolleg gilt - seine dortigen Taten sind allerdings inzwischen verjährt. Im Fall der heute 20-jährigen Frau hatte die Staatsanwaltschaft ihre ersten Ermittlungen 2011 gegen Zahlung einer Geldauflage eingestellt.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:25 PM

CA--Statewide drive to reform CA child sex laws to start

CALIFORNIA
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

For immediate release: Wednesday, Dec. 16, 2015

Statement by Joelle Casteix of California, SNAP Southern California director (949-322-7434, jcasteix@gmail.com)

A statewide petition drive to make California kids safer by repealing archaic, predatory-friendly laws will soon start. We applaud this move and the brave survivor who’s responsible for it.

[Mercury News]

Will Lynch, who was sexually violated as a child by a Jesuit priest, has begun a ballot initiative to repeal the arbitrary criminal and civil statutes of limitations on child sex crimes, the time limits that prevent most child victims from exposing their perpetrators in court and prevent most prosecutors from pursuing those molesters.

We in SNAP believe there should be no statute of limitations on these heinous, life-altering crimes. These statutes give those who commit or conceal child sexual abuse the incentive to intimidate victims, discredit witnesses, threaten whistleblowers, destroy evidence, stonewall police, and deceive prosecutors, so that the deadline to charge or sue the wrongdoers passes. It’s astonishingly irresponsible and callous to let this reckless injustice continue.

Many states have relaxed, reformed or revoked these dreadful statutes. A handful have gone further and adopted temporary repeals or “windows” that enable any child sex abuse victim to use the civil courts to take action against and warn the public about child molesters. http://sol-reform.com/

We hope millions of California citizens sign these petitions and vote for this sorely-needed measure. We also challenge California Catholic officials to put their muscle behind this effort. Bishops talk the abuse prevention talk. They rarely walk the abuse prevention walk, however. In fact, they often oppose secular legal reforms that would protect kids. So we urge them to honor their repeated pledges to put the safety of children first by throwing their political weight and vast resources behind this struggle.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:23 PM

Media Release – Wednesday, December 16, 2015

TEXAS
Road to Recovery

Pedophile priest sexually abuses in approximately 1960 while assigned to the Archdiocese of Boston, MA, and then after being transferred to the Archdiocese of San Antonio, TX, sexually abuses again

The late Fr. Joseph Angeli was a San Antonio Archdiocesan priest who sexually abused at least one minor female in approximately 1962 when Fr. Joseph Angeli was assigned to St. John the Evangelist Parish in Hondo, TX, and this was after he sexually abused two minor females while assigned to St. Philip’s Parish in Boston, MA, in approximately 1960

Fr. Joseph Angeli allegedly sexually abused minor females in Massachusetts and Texas. He was also assigned to Catholic parishes in New Mexico and was transferred between and among at least four Catholic Dioceses in the United States from approximately 1960 until 1980 – Boston, MA; San Antonio, TX; El Paso, TX; and Las Cruces, NM

The Archdiocese of San Antonio should reach out to the female sexual abuse victim of Fr. Joseph Angeli, verify her allegations, and settle her claim so she may heal and receive a degree of closure

What
A press conference and demonstration alerting the media, Catholics of the San Antonio Archdiocese, and the general public that a serial pedophile priest, Fr. Joseph Angeli, sexually abused at least one minor female in approximately 1962 when Fr. Joseph Angeli was assigned to St. John the Evangelist Parish in Hondo, TX. Fr. Joseph Angeli previously sexually abused two minor females in approximately 1960 while assigned to St. Philip’s Parish, Boston, MA

When
Thursday, December 17, 2015 at 11:00 am

Where
On the public sidewalk in front of the headquarters of the Archdiocese of San Antonio, TX,
2718 W. Woodlawn, San Antonio, TX 78228 – 210-734-2620

Who
Robert M. Hoatson, Ph.D., Co-founder and President of Road to Recovery, Inc., a non-profit charity based in Livingston, New Jersey that assists victims of sexual abuse and their families

Why
Fr. Joseph Angeli was an Italian-born priest who was ordained in 1942 and assigned to several Archdioceses and Dioceses in the United States. Allegations of sexual abuse of minor females against Fr. Joseph Angeli have been made as a result of his being assigned to parishes in Boston, MA, and Hondo, TX. Fr. Angeli also served in many parishes in the Diocese of El Paso, TX, and Las Cruces, NM. Two female victims have claimed to have been sexually abused as minors by Fr. Angeli in Boston, MA, in approximately 1960, and another female victim claims to have been sexually abused as a minor in Hondo, TX, in the Archdiocese of San Antonio, TX in approximately 1962 when Fr. Joseph Angeli was assigned to St. John the Evangelist Parish in Hondo, TX. The claims of the two minor female victims of Fr. Joseph Angeli from Boston, MA have been settled financially. The Archdiocese of San Antonio will be called upon to acknowledge the claim made by the female victim from Hondo, TX, verify and settle her claim, and allow her to gain a degree of closure.

Contact
Robert M. Hoatson, Ph.D., Road to Recovery, Inc., 862-368-2800, roberthoatson@gmail.com
Attorney Mitchell Garabedian, Boston, MA – 617-523-6250

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:10 PM

Prince of darkness: P2 freemason and loyal fascist Licio Gelli dies at 96

ITALY
Malta Today

The venerable master of the clandestine freemasons lodge Propaganda P2, one of Italy’s most sinister organisations believed to be at the heart of a fascist conspiracy, has died

Licio Gelli (born 1919) died on Tuesday, 15 December, at the age of 96 at his house, Villa Wanda, in Arezzo.

La Repubblica dubbed the financier, as the man behind “all of Italy’s darkest mysteries”: in 1981, his P2 lodge was raided by the police, and since then he has been nicknamed ‘the puppetteer’, ‘Belfagor’, and ‘the venerable master’, having played a part in 40 years of scandals against the Italian republic: the Borghese coup, the strategy of tension that rocked Italy in the 1970s, the Sindona bank scandal, the Calvi murder, the Moro assassination, mafia and tangentopoli.

In 2008 he famously declared that Silvio Berlusconi, himself a former member of the P2, was “the only one who could go ahead in politics in Italy” citing him as the man who was putting in action P2’s ‘plan for Italy’s democratic rebirth’ – a clandestine plan to take over the country’s institutions and thwart critical and left-wing opposition.

During the 1930s, Gelli volunteered for the Blackshirts’ expeditionary forces sent by Benito Mussolini in support of Francisco Franco's rebellion in the Spanish Civil War and subsequently became a liaison officer between the Italian government and Nazi Germany, with contacts including Hermann Göring.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:21 AM

Shadowy masonic leader dies in Tuscany

ITALY
The Local

Licio Gelli, a masonic leader implicated in some of the darkest scandals of Italy's recent political history, has died in Tuscany aged 96.

Gelli was the head of the secretive 'P2' lodge – a masonic structure that exerted considerable political power until it was discovered by Italian investigators in 1981.

P2, or Propaganda Due, was an influential secret network that counted politicians, judges, bankers and senior military figures amongst its members.

Its tentacles stretched throughout the upper echelons of the Italian establishment, although an attempt to have its members jailed for political conspiracy and attempting to destabilise the state finally failed in 1994.

It is best known internationally for having been at the heart of a murder mystery involving both the mafia and the Vatican which centered the body of "God's banker" Roberto Calvi being found hanging beneath London's Blackfriars bridge in 1982.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:19 AM

Shadowy masonic figure implicated in Italy's darkest days dead at 96

ITALY
GlobalPost

Agence France-Presse on Dec 16, 2015

Shadowy masonic figure implicated in Italy's darkest days dead at 96

Licio Gelli, a masonic grand master implicated in some of the darkest chapters of Italy's post-war history and one of the worst scandals to rock the Vatican, has died at the age of 96.

Gelli, a fascist sympathiser who was the founder and leader of of the notorious P2 masonic lodge, passed away on Tuesday evening at his villa in Arezzo, Tuscany, his family said, according to local media.

P2, or Propaganda Due, was an influential secret network that counted politicians, judges, bankers and senior military figures amongst its members.

Its tentacles stretched throughout the upper echelons of the Italian establishment, although an attempt to have its members jailed for political conspiracy and attempting to destabilise the state finally failed in 1994.

It is best known internationally for having been at the heart of a murder mystery involving both the mafia and the Vatican which centered the body of "God's banker" Roberto Calvi being found hanging beneath London's Blackfriars bridge in 1982.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:16 AM

Listening Sessions: Diversity tops strengths, trust a big challenge

MINNESOTA
Roman Catholic Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis - Catholic Spirit

Maria Wiering | December 15, 2015

More than 2,000 Catholics participated in one of 10 listening sessions held throughout the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis in October and November. Attendees included lay leaders, men and women in consecrated life, priests and deacons, as well as students, seminarians and people who have left formal parish affiliation. They represented at least 80 percent of the archdiocese’s parishes.

The observations and opinions expressed ranged broadly, but over the course of the sessions, several common themes emerged. Attendees were asked to identify the archdiocese’s greatest strengths and challenges, and to share the qualities they would like the next archbishop to possess. ...

Greatest challenges

By far, the top challenge identified was restoration of trust between Church leaders and the faithful. Other challenges repeated at each session were the bankruptcy and concern for the archdiocese’s financial stability, the need for healing from clergy sex abuse scandals, and the difficulty of bringing Catholics who have left the Church — especially the young and disenfranchised — back to the community.

Trust. Many perceived a lack of transparency and cited the local Church’s loss of credibility. Some participants said that lack of trust extended to the listening sessions, and they questioned whether their input would be shared or be shared with the aposotolic nuncio ahead of Pope Francis’ appointment of a new archbishop. The presence of a staff member from the nunciature at the last three listening sessions seems to have addressed this doubt for many.

Finances. In January, the archdiocese entered Chapter 11 Reorganization to allow it to address all sexual abuse claims equitably. It continues to work in mediation with victims’ counsel and insurance carriers. To date, legal fees have topped $5 million. Few participants, however, mentioned finances in their written comments.

Healing. Most participants expressed the need for healing from clergy sexual abuse scandals, both for victims and the Church. Several times, healing was tied to transparency and trust. One listening session participant wrote, “Openness and forgiveness need to take place before healing can take place.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:50 AM

Clergy 'tried to cover up Bishop Peter Ball sex abuse'

UNITED KINGDOM
BBC News

Evidence suggesting senior clergy tried to cover up sex abuse by a disgraced bishop has been uncovered by the BBC.

Two priests raised concerns about Peter Ball but were urged to keep quiet or saw no action taken, it has emerged.

And a couple who worked for now-jailed Ball, former bishop of Lewes and Bishop of Gloucester, said they also tried to raise concerns but were ignored.

Ball's offending is the subject of an independent review and a national inquiry is looking at Church abuse.

The retired bishop was jailed in October for a string of offences against teenagers and young men.

'Church did nothing'

Cliff James said he told a priest in 1992 that Ball had abused him.

But he said the priest later received phone calls from three bishops who urged her to make sure he and another alleged victim did not talk to police or the media.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:48 AM

Abuse royal commission: priest ‘lied to protect friend George Pell’

AUSTRALIA
The Australian

DECEMBER 17, 2015

Tessa Akerman
Reporter
Melbourne

A Melbourne priest has been ­accused of fabricating parts of his statement to the child sex abuse royal commission to save his “good friend” Cardinal George Pell.

Father John Walshe told the commission he was living with Cardinal Pell in Mentone in Melbourne’s southeast when abuse victim David Ridsdale called the then bishop one morning in February 1993.

He recalled an ashen faced Cardinal Pell had said: “David is a mess.’’

Mr Ridsdale previously told the commission that he called Cardinal Pell in the morning and spoke about his uncle, former priest Gerald Ridsdale, abusing him. He claimed Cardinal Pell had said he wanted to know what it would take to keep Mr Ridsdale quiet.

Documents tendered to the commission show that Father Walshe’s draft statement put the phone call between Cardinal Pell and Mr Ridsdale in the late afternoon or evening.

Father Walshe told the commission he had conflated watching Cardinal Pell accompany Gerald Ridsdale to court on the television in the evening and ­Cardinal Pell receiving the call.