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February 29, 2016

Oscar Victory For 'Spotlight' Gives Hope For Change Among Abuse Survivors

WASHINGTON
KUOW

[audio]

By BILL RADKE & MATT MARTIN

Bill Radke talks with Mary Dispenza, director of SNAP (Survivors Network for those Abused by Priests) in Seattle, about her reaction to "Spotlight" winning Best Picture at the Oscars Sunday night. The movie tells the story of how Boston Globe reporters uncovered a massive child abuse cover-up by the Catholic Church.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:38 PM

Australian cardinal says he has deceived by bishop in 1970s

ROME
Newsday

By ROD McGUIRK (Associated Press)

CANBERRA, Australia - (AP) -- One of Pope Francis' top advisers told an Australian inquiry into child sex abuse on Tuesday that an Australian bishop had deceived him about the reason a pedophile priest was repeatedly transferred from parish to parish.

Australian Cardinal George Pell was a priest in the town of Ballarat in 1970s who advised Bishop Ronald Mulkearns about the placement of priests within the diocese.

Pell, now the pope's top financial adviser, told the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse that while Mulkearns and another priest at the regular committee meetings, Monsignor Leo Fiscalini, both knew about serious sexual assault allegations against notorious pedophile Gerald Ridsdale, neither mentioned them.

"It probably would be possible to imagine a greater deception, but it's a gross deception," Pell told the Sydney inquiry via videolink from a Rome hotel.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:32 PM

Pell 'not responsible' for diocese failure

ROME
news.com.au

Cardinal George Pell says the Catholic Church leadership failed to protect children in a Victorian diocese but he accepts no responsibility for moving a pedophile priest.

Cardinal Pell said it was improper to assign responsibility to those like himself who were ignorant of the offending by priest Gerald Francis Ridsdale in the Diocese of Ballarat in the 1970s and 1980s.

"In the diocese of Ballarat certainly there was a gigantic failure of leadership," Cardinal Pell told the child abuse royal commission from Rome.

Cardinal Pell, who was an adviser to the Ballarat bishop Ronald Mulkearns between 1977 and 1984, did not agree the church collectively failed to protect children in the diocese during the 1970s and 1980s.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:30 PM

Pell account unbelievable: Abuse survivors

ROME
SBS

AAP

Child sex abuse survivors say it's unbelievable a man of Cardinal George Pell's intelligence was unaware of a pedophile priest's offending when two Victorian communities and local clergy knew about it.

The cardinal told the child abuse royal commission on Monday night that while he was on a Ballarat diocese committee that advised on the transfers of priests he was never told of the offending of pedophile priest Gerald Ridsdale in the 1970s.

By videolink from Hotel Quirinale in Rome he told the commission sitting in Sydney that then Ballarat bishop Ronald Mulkearns and his advisor Monsignor Fiscalini had deceived him by not telling him Ridsdale was moved between parishes because of his offending.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:28 PM

Abuse responsibility not equal: Pell

ROME
SBS

AAP

Cardinal George Pell has told the child sex abuse inquiry that the responsibility for the protection of children is not equal for all ordained clergy.

The cardinal was explaining why the shocking story of pedophile priest Gerald Ridsdale abusing children in the Victorian parish of Ballarat was not of much interest to him at the time.

In the second day of a hearing in which Cardinal Pell is giving evidence by video link from Rome, the counsel for the child sex abuse Royal commission Gail Furness SC pressed him of how it was that Ridsdale's offences were common knowledge in at least two parishes but escaped his notice.

Ms Furness: "What was not of much interest to you?"

Cardinal Pell: "The suffering of course was real and I very much regret that, but I have no reason to turn my mind to the extent of the evils that Ridsdale had perpetrated."

He was asked if it was not necessary to avoid repeat offences to fully understand the circumstances of cases like Ridsdale.

The cardinal said that everyone in the church approached the task differently according to their level of responsibility.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:28 PM

Pedofilia, Pell: “La Chiesa ha commesso errori tremendi”

ROMA
Vatican Insider

ANDREA TORNIELLI
ROMA

È stata la prima di tre o quattro audizioni, che si svolgeranno stanotte e nei giorni successivi: il cardinale George Pell, Prefetto della Segreteria per l’Economia e membro del consiglio di cardinali che collabora con il Papa per la riforma della Curia è comparso di fronte alla Commissione governativa australiana che indaga sugli abusi sui minori commessi da sacerdoti, religiosi o persone collegate alla Chiesa. Com’è noto, a causa delle sue condizioni di salute che non gli permettono di affrontare il lungo viaggio transoceanico, il porporato ha chiesto e ottenuto di fornire la sua testimonianza in videoconferenza, dall’hotel Quirinale di Roma. La prima audizione è iniziata poco dopo le 22 e si è conclusa alle 2.30 di questa mattina. Erano presenti dei seminaristi australiani e una rappresentanza delle vittime degli abusi, che hanno organizzato una raccolta di fondi per essere presenti dal vivo di fronte a Pell.

Finora dalla vicenda australiana è emerso un quadro non dissimile da quelli riferibili ad altri Paesi e ad altre situazioni: preti pedofili che invece di essere fermati e processati, sono stati dai loro vescovi semplicemente spostati di parrocchia, potendo così continuare a compiere le loro immonde azioni da un’altra parte. Le vittime e i loro familiari che, invece di essere accolte, sostenute, protette, accompagnate e risarcite, sono state tenute lontane, non credute e trattate come una minaccia al buon nome della Chiesa.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:26 PM

I 281 preti pedofili coperti Pell interrogato nella notte: «La Chiesa ha commesso molti errori»

CITTA' DEL VATICANO
Corriere della Sera

Gian Guido Vecchi

CITTÀ DEL VATICANO - La Chiesa cattolica «ha commesso enormi errori, ma sta lavorando per rimediare. Ha causato gravi danni in molti luoghi, ha deluso i fedeli». Lo ha ammesso il cardinale George Pell, già arcivescovo di Melbourne e poi di Sydney e ora prefetto degli Affari economici del Vaticano, testimoniando in videoconferenza dall’Hotel Quirinale a Roma davanti alla Commissione d’inchiesta sulle risposte delle istituzioni agli abusi sessuali a minori negli anni 1970 e 1980. «Non sono qui a difendere l’indifendibile», ha aggiunto. In quei giorni la Chiesa era «fortemente propensa» ad accettare smentite degli abusi da parte di chi ne era accusato. L’istinto allora era più di «proteggere dalla vergogna l’istituzione, la comunità della Chiesa», ha detto fra l’altro il prelato, che ha tuttavia negato di aver avuto alcuna conoscenza delle malefatte dei preti pedofili che operavano nella diocesi di Ballarat in cui era viceparroco e assistente al vescovo Ronald Mulkearns.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:23 PM

Cardenal Vaticano: "Iglesia cometió enormes errores sobre abusos sexuales"

ROMA
CDN

ROMA, Sidney.- El cardenal australiano George Pell, el funcionario del Vaticano de más alto rango que ha testificado sobre casos de abusos sexuales cometidos por sacerdotes católicos, dijo el domingo que la Iglesia cometió “enormes errores” y “ha decepcionado a las personas” en el manejo del escándalo.

Ofreciendo su testimonio a víctimas de abusos desde una habitación de un hotel en Roma, Pell dijo a la Comisión Real de Australia sobre Respuestas Institucionales al Abuso Sexual Infantil que a los niños a menudo no se les creía y a los sacerdotes se los traspasaba de parroquia en parroquia.

“La Iglesia cometió enormes errores y está trabajando para remediarlos, pero la Iglesia en muchos lugares, sobre todo en Australia, estropeó las cosas, ha decepcionado a las personas”, dijo Pell través de una videoconferencia con la comisión en Sídney. “No estoy aquí para defender lo indefendible”, agregó.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:21 PM

El cardenal Pell admite enormes errores de la Iglesia ante las denuncias de abusos sexuales

ROMA
Info Catolica

Ante la Comisión Real australiana para una Respuesta Institucional al Abuso Sexual de Menores, a través de una videoconferencia, Pell ha prometido que no iba a «defender lo indefendible» y ha declarado que la iglesia incurrió históricamente en errores graves al no abordar adecuadamente el problema y que ahora está trabajando para remediarlo.

«La Iglesia en muchos lugares, y ciertamente en Australia, ha estropeado las cosas y ha decepcionado a la gente», ha reconocido.

(EP) Sin embargo, el cardenal australiano ha negado que la propia institución sea la culpable de la gestión de los casos de sacerdotes que abusaron de niños aunque ha admitido que en el pasado la actitud general de la Iglesia hacia el abuso fue que «el niño lo tenía mucho, mucho más difícil para que se le creyera».

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:19 PM

Neil Mitchell slams George Pell's claim he wasn't interested in rumours of abuse

ROME
3AW

Neil Mitchell has taken issue with part of Cardinal George Pell's testimony at the child abuse Royal Commission.

Cardinal Pell was asked if he knew it was common knowledge in Inglewood that Ridsdale was interfering with children.

"It's a sad story and it wasn't of much interest to me," he responded.

And with that there were gasps of incredulity from those watching on in Australia.

"That's the whole essence of the problem," Neil said.

"You're a man of God, pledging to care for people, and you hear stories that the local priest is molesting children, and it's not of much bloody interest to you?

"I'm not surprised that they're angry.

"We've got to be fair to George Pell, but he hasn't impressed me so far.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:17 PM

Pell warned on culpability

ROME
news.com.au

Cardinal George Pell has faced an ominous warning from the head of the child abuse royal commission, being told he would be culpable if it was found he knew about the acts of a pedophile priest in Ballarat in the 1970s.

Cardinal Pell has told the royal commission he knew nothing of offences committed by pedophile Father Gerald Ridsdale, who was repeatedly moved to new parishes by Ballarat Bishop Ronald Mulkearns, where he continued abusing children.

Cardinal Pell was a consultor to the bishop but said he was deceived and lied to by the bishop and other priests who knew of complaints against Ridsdale.

Commissioner Peter McClellan said the inquiry had to determine a very serious issue.

"You see, you speak of the bishop's culpability," Commissioner McClellan said.

"If we were to come to the view that you did know, you would be culpable too, wouldn't you?"

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:15 PM

Cardinal George Pell uninterested in Ridsdale sex claims, Royal Commission hears

ROME
Sydney Morning Herald

[with video]

Rachel Browne
Social Affairs Reporter

Complaints about a paedophile priest were "common knowledge" in the Catholic community and among two senior clergy members but Cardinal George Pell did not have "much interest" in them, he told a royal commission.

In his second day of questioning about what he knew of sexual offending by priests when he was in Victoria, Cardinal Pell's admission drew an audible gasp from those listening to his testimony.

Giving his evidence via video-link from Rome, Australia's most senior Catholic agreed that some people knew there had been complaints about Gerald Ridsdale in the 1970s, a former priest now serving a prison sentence for multiple child sex offences.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:13 PM

Cardinal Pell's response to question about paedophile priest draws audible gasp – video

ROME
The Guardian

Cardinal George Pell, giving evidence in Rome to Australia’s royal commission on institutional responses to child sexual abuse, says he did not know whether paedophile priest Gerald Ridsdale’s offending was common knowledge in the parish of Inglewood. Pell’s comment that, “It’s a sad story and it wasn’t of much interest to me”, drew an audible gasp from those listening to the videolink in Sydney. Pell added: “The suffering, of course, was real and I very much regret that, but I had no reason to turn my mind to the extent of the evils that Ridsdale had perpetrated.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:11 PM

Hunterdon priest convicted of molestation dies in prison

NEW JERSEY
MyCentralJersey

WOODBRIDGE - The Hunterdon County priest who was serving a 33-year sentence for sexually assaulting an altar boy died Monday at the state's Adult Diagnostic and Treatment Center.

John Banko, 69, was pronounced dead at 9:29 a.m. Monday, said Matt Schuman, a spokesman for the state Department of Corrections.

No foul play is suspected in Banko's death, Schuman said, adding he can not give any circumstances because of federal HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) regulations.

Banko, a former pastor at St. Edward the Confessor in Milford , was convicted twice of sexual abuse during his tenure at the church. Known to parishioners as "Father Jack," Banko was convicted in December 2002 of molesting a former altar boy on two consecutive Sundays after Mass at the Milford church from September 1993 to September 1994.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:08 PM

Life Way Christian School teacher arrested, accused of sexually assaulting student

ARKANSAS
Democrat-Gazette

Story by Tracy Neal
Monday, February 29, 2016

BENTONVILLE — A teacher at Life Way Christian School was arrested Saturday in connection with sexually assaulting a student, according to court documents.

Richard Thomas Riley, 34, of Centerton was arrested on charges of sexual assault in the first degree, a Class A felony, and distributing, possessing or viewing matter depicting sexually explicit conduct involving a child, a Class C felony.

Riley's bond was set at $50,000.

Life Way Christian School fired Riley on Saturday, according to administrator Luke Bowers.
Riley had worked for the school since 2013 teaching physical science and world history, primarily to ninth- and 10th-graders. He had served in the U.S. military before joining Life Way and has a master's degree in education, Bowers said.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:04 PM

Australian Inquiry Puts a Top Aide to Pope on the Defensive

ROME
New York Times

By ELISABETTA POVOLEDO
FEB. 29, 2016

ROME — When Pope Francis was chosen to lead the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics three years ago, he pledged to reform antiquated and troubled Vatican institutions.

He formed an inner circle of nine cardinals as his closest advisers, appointed a commission to deal with sexual abuse of children by the clergy, and another to reform the Vatican’s tangled finances. To pilot the financial reform and serve in his inner circle, Francis chose Cardinal George Pell.

So it was a matter of no small discomfort to the Vatican, and fascination to the world’s media, to see Cardinal Pell testify late Sunday — via video link from a hotel in Rome — before an Australian Royal Commission looking into institutional responses to child sexual abuse.

The questioning centered on how much the cardinal knew about a number of priests and brothers accused of pedophilia during the 40 years in which he rose through the ranks of Australia’s clerical hierarchy, and whether he failed to act on the abuses. Many of the accused offenders have been convicted.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:02 PM

'It's a sad story and it wasn't of much interest to me': Cardinal George Pell's comments about a pedophile priest draws gasps from crowd in Rome at royal commission

ROME
Daily Mail

AAP

Cardinal George Pell says Gerald Francis Ridsdale's sexual abuse of children at a Victorian parish in the 1970's was a 'sad story' that 'wasn't of much interest to me' and that he was not told the priest was being moved because he was a pedophile.

Cardinal Pell, who was then a Ballarat priest, says he did not know that Ridsdale's offending was common knowledge in the Victorian parish of Inglewood in 1975 and did not know about the allegations.

'It's a sad story and it wasn't of much interest to me,' he told the child abuse royal commission from Rome on Tuesday.

His comment drew gasps from some observers in the room, many of whom were victims of child abuse who had travelled to Rome to hear his testimony.

'The suffering, of course, was real and I very much regret that, but I had no reason to turn my mind to the extent of the evils that Ridsdale had perpetrated,' he later continued.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:08 PM

Abuse Victims Speak Out Following Spotlight Win

MASSACHUSETTS
NECN

By Justin Michaels

It was a huge and surprising win for a movie that has its foundation at the Boston Globe.
Spotlight won Best Picture at the Academy Awards, and for the real people behind the movie characters, the win means much more than a gold statue.

Winning best picture at the Academy Awards, the film Spotlight shined a bright light on an issue sex abuse victim Alexa MacPherson knows intimately. She faced abuse from her priest, but as exciting as this moment was, it didn't offer her something she longs for more than anything.

"Not a sense of closure, at least not for me," said MacPherson, "It's a sense of being understood. And not being called a liar."

The movie is about the Boston Globe's Spotlight investigation into the child sex abuse scandal in the Boston Catholic Church.

NECN spoke with Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Walter Robinson, who was part of the spotlight team that exposed the sex abuse scandal involving clergy. In spotlight, Robinson is played by actor Michael Keaton.

Robinson hopes with Spotlight's now global fame, swift action will be taken in the Catholic Church.

"Perhaps it will move the church to move more quickly to Institute the reforms to make sure that this kind of Wholesale abuse of children doesn't happen again," said Robinson.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:05 PM

As Spotlight Wins Oscar, Silence Surrounds Ex-Rabbi Marc Gafni’s Alleged Misdeeds

UNITED STATES
Wear Your Voice

by Nancy Levine

The movie Spotlight won Oscar awards for best picture and best original screenplay at Sunday evening’s 82nd annual Academy Award presentation.

On the red carpet before the Oscar telecast, actor Mark Ruffalo, who played Boston Globe reporter Mike Rezendes in the movie, told ABC’s Robin Roberts:

“It’s still happening today. I was at a protest today in Los Angeles at the Cathedral with the SNAP group, with the survivors of priest sexual abuse. They were telling me that every day they have more and more people coming out of the darkness to tell their stories of sexual abuse by priests. And the more that happens, the closer we get to actually healing this wound, I think.”

Indeed, those stories continue to come forward. On December 25, 2015, The New York Times reported former rabbi Marc Gafni’s admission of sexual engagement with a minor, and Whole Foods CEO John Mackey’s position on Gafni’s nonprofit board of directors:

“He [Gafni] added, ‘She was 14 going on 35 … ‘”

“A co-founder of Whole Foods, John Mackey … is a chairman of the executive board of Mr. Gafni’s center …

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:02 PM

Top Vatican cardinal says pope backs him on stance over abuse issue

ROME/AUSTRALIA
Reuters

ROME/SYDNEY | BY PHILIP PULLELLA AND JANE WARDELL

Australian Cardinal George Pell, the highest-ranking Vatican official to testify on systemic sexual abuse of children by clergy in the Roman Catholic Church, said on Monday that he has the full backing of Pope Francis.

Pell on Sunday told Australia's Royal Commission into Institutional Response to Child Sexual Abuse that the church made "enormous mistakes" and "catastrophic" choices by attempting to cover up abuses in the 1970s.

Pell's testimony has received global coverage. Because of his high position in the Vatican, the Australian inquiry into sexual abuse cases that occurred decades ago has taken on wider implications about the accountability of church leaders.

Pell, 74, has become the focal point for victims' frustration over what they say has been an inadequate response from church leaders. Pell himself is not accused of sexual abuse and has twice apologized for the Church's slow response.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:00 PM

Bishop, priest 'lied', Pell tells hearing

ROME
7 News

AAP

Cardinal George Pell says he was lied to and deceived by a bishop and priests who knew about the child sexual abuse crimes of a fellow clergyman, who was repeatedly moved to new parishes where he continued to offend.

Cardinal Pell told the child abuse royal commission that while he didn't know why Father Gerald Ridsdale was moved on to new parishes in the Victorian diocese of Ballarat in the 1970s, Bishop Ronald Mulkearns and other priests knew of repeated paedophilia allegations.

Commissioner Justice Peter McClellan asked: "You say the bishop deceived you, is that right?"

Cardinal Pell replied: "Unfortunately, correct."

An advisor to the bishop, Monsignor Fiscalini, deceived him as well, Cardinal Pell said.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:59 PM

Local clergy abuse victims say “Spotlight’s” Oscar helps the fight

CALIFORNIA
Ventura County Star

By Tom Kisken of the Ventura County Star

Lee Bashforth wishes Oscar-winning "Spotlight" was made before he was molested at age 6 by a Catholic priest in the Conejo Valley.

"If this movie had been made 40 years ago, what happened to me would never have happened," he said. "It's that big of deal."

The movie about The Boston Globe's investigation of pedophile priests won best picture at the Academy Awards Sunday. Survivors said Monday the surprise victory helps their fight against clergy abuse.

"No pun intended but it puts our story back in the spotlight," said Bashforth. He said he and his brother were molested by the Rev. Michael Wempe when the priest served at St. Jude Catholic Church in Westlake Village.

Wempe also served at other local parishes including St. Rose of Lima Church in Simi Valley, Sacred Heart Church in Ventura and St. Sebastian Church in Santa Paula. According to personnel records from the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, he admitted molesting 13 boys in the 1970s and 1980s.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:56 PM

Archdiocese to move into historic 3M headquarters

MINNESOTA
The Catholic Spirit

Maria Wiering | February 29, 2016

The Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis plans to move is central corporation offices to the 3M Company’s former headquarters in St. Paul. The archdiocese signed a lease Feb. 29 for the 75,000 square foot building in the Dayton’s Bluff neighborhood, northeast of downtown.

Built in 1939, the building at 777 Forest St. N. served as 3M’s headquarters from 1940-1962. It is part of the Beacon Bluff Business Park, which is under development by the St. Paul Port Authority. The St. Paul-based developer Exeter Group owns the building. The lease is subject to bankruptcy court approval, and its terms with renovation costs are also subject to archdiocesan and landlord approval. The archdiocese, which has 140 employees, does not expect to finalize anticipated renovation costs until mid-May.

In an email to archdiocesan employees, Father Charles Lachowitzer, the archdiocese’s moderator of the curia, said he expects the central corporation will move to its new offices in late fall. Archdiocesan leaders have been searching for new offices for more than a year.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:53 PM

Ridsdale's crimes were 'a sad story that wasn't of much interest to me': Cardinal George Pell

ROME
9 News

By Nick Alexander

Cardinal George Pell has drawn gasps from the survivors watching his testimony in a Rome hotel room, saying that the crimes of convicted pedophile Gerard Ridsdale were "a sad story and it wasn't of much interest to me".

Early on in the second day of his video testimony before a Royal Commission, Cardinal Pell was questioned about whether he knew of the dozens of sexual crimes committed by Ridsdale against children in Inglewood during the 1970s.

Gail Furness SC had put it to Cardinal Pell that his superior, Bishop Mulkearns, had been informed by a police officer, a Detective Sergeant Mooney, that Ridsdale was under investigation for interfering with children.

The abuse, DS Mooney was quoted as saying, was "pretty common knowledge all through the congregation. Pretty much everyone you would speak to knew about it."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:20 PM

Dallas shined spotlight on pedophile priests before events in Oscar-winning film

TEXAS
The Dallas Morning News

Julieta Chiquillo

Before a 2002 Boston Globe investigation rocked the Catholic Church and inspired an Oscar-winning movie, Dallas reporter Brooks Egerton was unveiling the church’s systemic cover-up of pedophile priests.

Egerton was an editor at The Dallas Morning News in the early 1990s when Rudolph “Rudy” Kos was accused of molesting boys at several Dallas-area churches. The newspaper was covering the priest’s civil trial, but Egerton pushed for reporting that went beyond the courtroom.

He was aware of sexual abuse scandals involving priests across the country — most notably in Louisiana, where priest Gilbert Gauthe admitted he abused dozens of children — and saw a story much larger than one bad priest.

“The details of the South Louisiana stuff were just shocking, and to think that it could have happened anywhere, much less in multiple places, was kind of shocking,” Egerton said Monday.

Four years after the first suit was filed against Kos, Egerton — who by then was working as a reporter again — flew to San Diego to track down the suspended priest. The church was not defending Kos, who was attempting to keep a low profile as a paralegal in his new home.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:07 PM

Priest move put children at risk: Pell

ROME
9 News

AAP

Children were put at risk when a Victorian bishop moved a priest after a child abuse complaint, Cardinal George Pell says.

Cardinal Pell said it was unacceptable that Ballarat Bishop Ronald Mulkearns moved pedophile Gerald Francis Ridsdale between parishes, including to Inglewood in 1975, after receiving a victim's complaint.

"It's unacceptable because of the risk it presented to children in Inglewood and that was exacerbated by the fact it doesn't seem as though any effort was made to withdraw Ridsdale, at least for a period, for counselling or advice or help," he said.

The commission has heard another complaint about Ridsdale was made in Inglewood and his offending was common knowledge in the parish, but Cardinal Pell said he did not know himself.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:04 PM

Pell has 'full support' of the Pope at abuse inquiry

ROME
BBC News

Cardinal George Pell has said he has the Pope's "full backing", as he testifies for a second day at a hearing into child sex abuse.

The Australian's remarks came before he entered a Rome hotel where he is answering questions by video link.

Survivors have flown to Rome to see the cardinal testify after he was excused from returning home due to ill health.

The Vatican treasurer is being asked whether he knew if paedophiles were active in churches under his watch.

On the first day of the Royal Commission hearing, the cardinal said that the Catholic Church had made "enormous mistakes" in dealing with claims of sexual abuse.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:57 PM

Cardinal George Pell says 'I have the full backing of the Pope' as testimony spotlight continues

ROME
ABC News

By Europe correspondent Lisa Millar in Rome, staff

Cardinal George Pell has declared he has the Pope's "full backing", as he prepares for a second day of testimony in front of the child abuse royal commission.

Australia's highest-ranking Catholic arrived at Rome's Hotel Quirinale this morning ahead of another session giving video evidence to the commission on what he knew about abuse committed by Catholic priests.

The cardinal met Pope Francis yesterday, after his first four-hour session of giving evidence.

"I have the full backing of the Pope," he told reporters outside the hotel.

Cardinal Pell's office said the regularly scheduled meeting was in regard to his work as head of the Vatican Treasury.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:54 PM

Irish priest leaves Catholic Church after Nazi-themed coke binge

NORTHERN IRELAND
9 News (Australia)

An Irish clergyman is on indefinite leave from the Catholic Church after being caught snorting cocaine in a room full of Nazi memorabilia in his parish house.

Caught dead-to-rights on camera, Father Stephen Crossan, of County Downs in Northern Ireland, admitted imbibing the class-A drug after a party last year, but denied that he is a supporter of National Socialism.

"It was just the one night and that was it. I do not have an issue with drugs," Fr Crossan told The Sun, adding that he collects relics from "all over the world", and not just Nazi Germany.

"I know what they stand for, but I’m no Nazi. I collect historical stuff," Father Crossan, who was on sick leave at the time.

One of his guests told the British tabloid, however, that the 37-year-old priest had given a Sieg Heil Nazi salute at the party.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:51 PM

Michael Keaton called ‘Spotlight’ win early

CALIFORNIA
Boston Globe

By Meredith Goldstein GLOBE STAFF FEBRUARY 29, 2016

Nicole Rocklin’s mom tried to be patient as she waited for her daughter to arrive at trendy Palihouse in West Hollywood on Sunday night.

“I just want to give her a hug,” she said, of her producer daughter, who with producer Blye Faust, started the film project that would eventually become “Spotlight.”

In 2009, Rocklin and Faust began optioning the life rights of the Boston Globe journalists who uncovered sexual abuse in the Catholic Church. Seven years later, the film won the best picture prize at the Oscars Sunday night.

Rocklin was one of the VIPs who got hugs – and big cheers – when she entered the “Spotlight” after-party, which was packed by 11 p.m. Party guests were the loudest when director and co-writer Tom McCarthy arrived at the bar. McCarthy immediately thanked production company Anonymous Content, which joined with Rocklin and Faust to get the movie made, and Open Road Films, which handled distribution.

Party guests included “Spotlight” stars such as Michael Keaton and Brian d’Arcy James, who play Boston Globe reporters Walter Robinson and Matt Carroll. Also making rounds was Michael Cyril Creighton, who plays sexual assault survivor Joe Crowley in the film. Creighton was spotted chatting with real-life Globe reporter Sacha Pfeiffer, who’s played in the movie by Rachel McAdams.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:49 PM

After Sunday’s Oscar win, ‘Spotlight’ journalists are ready to get back to work

UNITED STATES
Poynter

By Ben Mullin and Jim Warren • February 29, 2016

Walter Robinson is still a little hoarse.

It's been less than 24 hours since "Spotlight," the dramatization of The Boston Globe's investigation into the Catholic Church's sex abuse scandal, pulled off a stunning upset at the 88th annual Academy Awards.

Robinson, who led the depicted investigation as the editor of The Boston Globe's Spotlight team, was in attendance Sunday night. When the movie won Best Picture, he did plenty of shouting.

"We’re just delighted," said Robinson, who's portrayed in the movie by Academy Award nominee Michael Keaton. "I think going into last night, we felt a little uncertain about Hollywood. We felt that 'Spotlight' was the most important movie of the year, but we didn’t know if Hollywood would equate that with Best Picture."

Robinson and his Globe colleagues, who've been in Los Angeles since the end of last week, stayed out until after midnight celebrating the win with actors who portrayed them in the film. The festivities were a nice reminder that Hollywood, which often caters to America's "baser desires," has an appreciation for serious stories, Robinson said.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:47 PM

Clergy victims doubt Spotlight Oscar win will bring change

MASSACHUSETTS
KIRO

by: DENISE LAVOIE, AP Legal Affairs Writer Updated: Feb 29, 2016

BOSTON (AP) — Victims of clergy sexual abuse are reveling in the Oscar won by "Spotlight" — the story of The Boston Globe's investigation into the scandal — but say they don't hold out much hope that the elevated status from the film's Best Picture award will prompt changes at the highest levels of the Roman Catholic church.

"Spotlight," starring Michael Keaton, Rachel McAdams and Mark Ruffalo, covers the Globe's work to uncover how dozens of priests in the Archdiocese of Boston had molested and raped children for decades while church higher-ups covered it up and shuffled abusive priests from parish to parish.

The film was released in November to accolades from victims who said it gave them a sense of validation after years of struggling in silence. Even Boston Cardinal Sean O'Malley — appointed to replace Cardinal Bernard Law after he resigned in disgrace — called "Spotlight" a "very powerful and important film."

But victims say they have little hope that the film's new status as an Oscar winner will lead to some of the things they've called for over the years, including complete transparency by the church and the criminal prosecution of church leaders who knew about the abuse but didn't report the perpetrators to police.

"I don't think the Vatican or the archdiocese will necessarily do more," said Robert Costello, 54, who was sexually abused by a Boston priest from the late 1960s through 1976.

"I think what (the film) is going to do is educate the general public as to what their response or lack of response has been," said Costello, who agreed to a civil settlement with the archdiocese.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:44 PM

Cardinal George Pell testifies to child sexual abuse royal commission from Rome, day two – live

ROME
The Guardian

Melissa Davey
@MelissaLDavey
Monday 29 February 2016 1

4m ago Audible shock heard in the room as Pell says rumours of abuse "wasn't of much interest to me"

Another telling exchange

Furness is trying to get Pell to be clear on who was and was not responsible for protecting children in the care of the church at schools and other institutions. Furness says that surely all adults have a responsibility:

“So who isn’t responsible in the Church to ensure the safety of children who are taken in by the Church either as parishioners or as alter boys or in any other way operate within the Church? Who isn’t responsible?”

Pell: “Well it’s very difficult to answer these questions where we swing from one extreme to the other. Everybody has some sort of general responsibility. Individuals and especially office holders have particular responsibility for their areas of concern.

Furness: So if it was the case that a parish priest heard of events dangerous to children happening in a neighbouring parish or a parish distant from them, based on what you’ve said they’ve got no responsibility in relation to the children who are in danger ?Is that right?

Pell: Well very obviously I said nothing of the sort. I said that a person from a neighbouring parish or a distant parish has less responsibility for the care of children in those distant parishes than he does in his own. I’m not suggesting for a minute, especially in a neighbouring parish, that a neighbouring parish priest would have no responsibility at all. I never suggested that.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:40 PM

Pell resumes royal commission testimony

ROME
SBS

AAP

Cardinal George Pell has resumed giving his evidence to the child abuse royal commission from Rome.

Cardinal Pell is giving evidence via video link from Rome because he's too ill to fly to Australia. He has appeared before the commission on two previous occasions in Australia.

The cardinal told waiting media earlier in the day that he had "the full backing of the Pope" after a weekly meeting with him earlier in the day.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:36 PM

5-20-93: Inquiry on priest under way

TEXAS
The Dallas Morning News

[Note: This is a 1993 story just reposted by The Dallas Morning News about the Rudy Kos investigation.]

By DANIEL CATTAU and JUDITH LYNN HOWARD
Staff Writers

The Catholic Diocese of Dallas had begun investigating a priest accused of sexually abusing minors before a lawsuit was filed Tuesday, an attorney for the diocese said Wednesday.

"It was not the lawsuit that prompted the investigation," said Randal Mathis, a Dallas lawyer who is also serving as the diocesan spokesman. He said the investigation started several months ago and has no target date for completion.

Mr. Mathis added that the lawsuit was the first he knew of in the diocese that involves allegations of sexual abuse by the clergy.

Both the diocese and the Rev. Rudolph Kos, who is at a treatment center in Jemez Springs, N.M., were named in the suit, filed by Dallas lawyer Windle Turley. Mr. Turley is seeking unspecified damages for two unidentified men who say they were abused as boys.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:33 PM

The Boston Globe ran a full-page ad thanking everybody involved in ‘Spotlight’

MASSACHUSETTS
Poynter

[with copy of the ad]

By Kristen Hare • February 29, 2016

Monday's edition of The Boston Globe features a front-page image celebrating the actors who won the Best Picture Academy Award for "Spotlight." On A3, the newspaper recognized everyone involved with the film — and the journalists who worked on the Pulitzer-winning investigation — with a full-page thank-you.

The possibility of running a house ad was brought up last week, but the paper didn't finalize the decision until Sunday morning, said Boston Globe CEO Mike Sheehan. Because of print deadlines, the ad was running whether "Spotlight" won Best Picture or not. But it's written in a manner that works either way.

"Generally, there's a feeling throughout the organization that the movie really is a faithful telling of the story," Sheehan said. "Everyone here is grateful for that."

The ad also highlights the the team behind the journalism, not just the investigation seen in the movie.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:23 PM

Oscar-winning child-sex film Spotlight 'not anti-Catholic', says Vatican

VATICAN CITY
Straits Times

VATICAN CITY (AFP) - Spotlight, the Oscar-winning film about sex abuse in the Catholic Church, faithfully portrays how the Church tried to defend itself despite a "horrible reality", but is not anti-Catholic as such, the Vatican paper said Monday.

"Predators do not necessarily wear ecclesiastical vestments, and paedophilia does not necessarily stem from the vow of chastity. But it is now clear that, in the Church, too many people concerned themselves more with the image of the institution than the gravity of the act," wrote an editorial in the Osservatore Romano.

"All of this cannot justify the very serious fault of whoever, as a representative of God, uses this authority to abuse innocents: it is well told in this film," opined editorial-writer Lucetta Scaraffia, in the first official Vatican comment on the film's Best Picture Oscar win Sunday night.

"The film is convincing by its narrative. And it's not an anti-Catholic film," she wrote.

But she did regret that the "long and tenacious fight" against paedophilia launched within the Church by Joseph Ratzinger, first as Dean of the College of Cardinals and then as Pope Benedict XVI, was not mentioned.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:20 PM

Vatican gives two thumbs up to Oscar winner ‘Spotlight’

VATICAN CITY
Religion News Service

Rosie Scammell | February 29, 2016

VATICAN CITY (RNS) Just hours after the movie “Spotlight” picked up the best picture prize at the Academy Awards, the Vatican newspaper praised the film for its portrayal of The Boston Globe’s investigation into clerical sex abuse in the U.S.

The Oscar win on Sunday (Feb. 28) was hailed by producer Michael Sugar as amplifying the voice of survivors. “Pope Francis, it’s time to protect the children and restore the faith,” he said in his acceptance speech in Los Angeles that was broadcast around the world.

Sugar’s voice apparently reached Rome as well, with a columnist for the Vatican’s semiofficial newspaper, L’Osservatore Romano, asserting that the film had a compelling plot and should not be considered “anti-Catholic.”

“It manages to voice the shock and profound pain of the faithful confronting the discovery of these horrendous realities,” wrote journalist Lucetta Scaraffia.

Scaraffia said the movie did not go into detail on what she called the “long and tenacious battle” against clergy abuse by Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI — formerly Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger — but she noted “one film cannot tell all.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:18 PM

Cardinal Pell meets with Pope Francis ahead of second day of testimony at Royal Commission

ROME
news.com.au

[with video]

CARDINAL George Pell has met with Pope Francis at the Vatican ahead of his second day of testimony to the Australia Royal Commission into institutional responses to child sex abuse.

The 74-year-old’s discussion with the Catholic Church’s leader was prearranged, according to Italian media which is covering the hearing as it’s the first time a senior church figure has faced questions on sexual abuse since Józef Wesołowski.

The Polish former Vatican ambassador died of natural causes in August last year while awaiting trial over alleged sexual abuse of children committed in the Dominican Republic. He was also accused of possessing child pornography and seen as a key test of the Holy See’s commitment to investigating abuse within its ranks.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:15 PM

Cardinal meets with pope after dramatic abuse testimony

ROME
USA Today

Rosie Scammell, Religion News Service February 29, 2016

ROME – Australian Cardinal George Pell met with Pope Francis on Monday, one day after he testified in a landmark clergy sex abuse inquiry that the Catholic Church made “enormous mistakes” in trying to deal with the scandal.

Speaking to an Australian commission investigating the church’s response to abuse, Pell, now a top adviser to the pope, testified Sunday that during the 1970s he was “very strongly inclined to accept the denial” of a priest accused of abuse. He has previously been archbishop in Sydney.

The 74-year-old Pell, who serves as the Vatican’s finance chief, appeared before the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse via video link from a Rome hotel because he said a heart condition prevented him from traveling.

The decision to allow Pell to testify via video has been strongly criticized by abuse victims, and a crowdfunding effort in Australia enabled 15 of them to travel to Italy to be present in the hotel conference room with Pell.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:13 PM

Abuse Royal Commission: Pope Francis could ask Cardinal George Pell to retire

ROME
Sydney Morning Herald

Nick Miller
Europe Correspondent

Rome: The Pope may accept Cardinal George Pell's enforced resignation in June, if evidence to Australia's Royal Commission links him to the relocation of priests suspected of paedophilia, 'Vaticanista' journalists believe.

Pope Francis and Cardinal Pell met face to face at the Vatican on Monday, just hours after the Australian cleric's first session giving evidence by video link to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.

The Vatican gave no details of the meeting, but Corriere della Serra reported it was one of a regular series of 'di cartelli' briefings the Pope gets from department heads.

Cardinal Pell is the Vatican's prefect of the Secretariat for the Economy – he described himself to the Commission as the 'treasurer' of the Vatican, and is widely called the third most powerful man in the Holy See.

Corriere said it was "difficult to imagine" that the interview would not have touched on the cardinal's video evidence to the Commission which took place late Sunday night, Rome time.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:08 PM

Cardinal Pell: I was not a part of Church's 'indefensible' cover up

By Elise Harris
Angelus

February 29, 2016 - Catholic News Agency

On the first day of his video testimony to Australia's Royal Commission investigating institutional responses to child sex abuse cases, Cardinal George Pell said that while the Church has made “enormous mistakes” in the handling of abuse cases, he had no role in covering them up.

“Let me just say this as an initial clarification: I'm not here to defend the indefensible,” Cardinal Pell said during the hearing.

The Church “has made enormous mistakes and is working to remedy those,” he admitted, adding that in many places, and certainly in Australia, the Church “has mucked things up, has let people down.”

However, he also recognized that “there are very few countries in the world who have advanced as far as the Catholic Church has in Australia in putting procedures into place nearly 20 years ago.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:06 PM

Fort Wayne should be in awe of D’Arcy

INDIANA
News-Sentinel

Monday, February 29, 2016

Fort Wayne should be in awe of D’Arcy

Local audiences may recognize the name “John D’Arcy” in one of the most pivotal scenes of “Spotlight,” nominated for six Academy Awards. A Fort Wayne native who lives in New York City, I felt soaring pride that former Bishop D’Arcy fought against sexual abuse in his beloved Catholic Church.

When visiting, I often attended D’Arcy’s Christmas Eve mass at the Cathedral of Immaculate Conception. Raised Methodist, I respected him, even though I disagreed with his conservative politics. During the Oscars, I will celebrate D’Arcy and his brief mention in “Spotlight,” the story of a Boston Globe reporting team. Gently paced, the film exploded when Mike Rezendes (Mark Ruffalo) opened sealed documents containing damning evidence against the church.

Breathless, Rezendes read to fellow reporters a 1984 letter recommending the removal of a predatory priest with a “history of homosexual involvement with young boys.”

D’Arcy, then Auxiliary Bishop of Boston, was the concerned author. In this spectacular scene, Ruffalo finally lost impartiality and shouted to his editor: “We gotta nail these scum bags! We gotta to show people that nobody can get away with this. Not a priest or a cardinal or a freaking pope!”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:03 PM

MI--Predator priest admits guilt; Victims respond

MICHIGAN
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

For immediate release: Monday, Feb. 29, 2016

Statement by David Clohessy of St. Louis, Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (314 566 9790, 314 645 5915 home,davidgclohessy@gmail.com)

We're grateful that an ex-priest has pled guilty to more child sex crimes. We hope this news will prod others that he has hurt to come forward. (See attorney general’s news release below.)

Fr. James Francis Rapp has already been convicted on other child sex charges and is imprisoned. So it would have been easy for law enforcement to look the other way when more victims surfaced.

But Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette filed more child sex charges against him for molesting kids at Jackson Lumen Christi Catholic High School in Jackson in the 1980s.

Once a child molester is convicted, many people who could be helpful get complacent. They assume his sentence will stand, his appeals will fail, and he’ll be kept away from kids for many years. But often, child molesters – especially clerics – get top notch defense lawyers, exploit legal technicalities, and escape with little or no jail time. Then, when other victims, witnesses and whistleblowers find this out, it’s too late for them to really make a difference.

So we’re glad Schuette was prudent, pro-active and successful here. Now, the odds that Rapp will ever walk free are even slimmer. And more of his victims feel vindicated.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:02 PM

Editorial: Best Picture win for 'Spotlight' is fitting humiliation for church

UNITED STATES
National Catholic Reporter

NCR Editorial Staff | Feb. 29, 2016

With "Spotlight" awarded the Oscar for best motion picture, the public humiliation for the Catholic church is now as thorough as one might expect in a culture where what is on screen is often the most persuasive element in fashioning public opinion.

In the case of priests sexually abusing children and bishops and others hiding their crimes, the biblical resonance might now finally be felt: the first have been ushered, publicly, to their place in the last seats. The last have been made first -- and given a special place (even on stage with Lady Gaga). No longer need victims hide or fear to explain themselves. The mighty, indeed, have fallen from their thrones; the humble have been exalted.

As Barbara Blaine, founder of Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, said on Oscar night: "Exposing hundreds of thousands of people across the planet to a compelling, reality-based film about this crisis -- people who might otherwise not pick up a book, go hear a speech or search the Internet for information about abuse -- is, in itself, an incredible achievement and a real, life-changing 'win' for countless children."

The movie powerfully illustrates what the church utterly failed to realize about itself: that the act of abuse, horrible as it is in any circumstance, was magnified in its unspeakable specifics because an all-male, celibate culture was so protective of its own status and privilege, so closed in on itself, that it was deaf to the searing pleas of children, parents, congregations and the few souls within its ranks who dared to speak the truth.

In the end it was, indeed, about a "system," one presumed to be about the pursuit of holiness, that turned out to be despicably corrupt. It took outsiders -- journalists, particularly -- to question the institution’s rationale and turn it on its head. It took as well those who removed themselves from the worst of the clerical culture, notably Dominican Fr. Thomas Doyle, who understood he was dooming his clerical career when he decided not to turn away from victims, and former Benedictine priest Richard Sipe, a psychotherapist who deeply studied the priesthood and understood the dynamics of the scandal.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:57 PM

Church gave paedophile free rein to abuse

ROME
The West Australian

Amanda Banks
March 1, 2016

The man who some label Australia’s worst paedophile priest was given “chance after chance after chance”, Cardinal George Pell admitted yesterday.

Former Ballarat priest Gerald Francis Ridsdale was the subject of repeated allegations and complaints of child sex abuse but was ultimately given freedom to seek out new victims as he was shifted around from one parish to another.

Ridsdale, who went on to be convicted of committing 138 offences against 53 victims, was even shipped off to the US for “treatment” and “therapy”.

Questioned about the handling of Ridsdale’s case by his then superiors, in particular former Ballarat Bishop Ronald Mulkearns, Cardinal Pell said he had recently read the file on the child sex offender.

“The way he was dealt with was a catastrophe,” Cardinal Pell told the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse. “If action had been taken earlier, an enormous amount of suffering would have been avoided.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:55 PM

NY--Victims respond to Spotlight Oscar victory

UNITED STATES
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

For immediate release: Monday, Feb. 29, 2016

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

Our hearts are filled with gratitude for the two outstanding Spotlight teams: the one that did the work and the one that did the film. At the same time, however, our hearts ache for every single victim of sexual violence, especially those whose perpetrators and enablers continue to live, work and cause more pain while under the radar.

The overwhelming majority of abuse victims never speak up. The overwhelming majority of predators and their allies are never “outed.” This must change if kids are to be safer.

We hope more journalists and editors and police and prosecutors will dig deeper and work harder. We hope every single person who has suspected or seen child sex crimes or cover ups – no matter how old, small or seemingly insignificant – will call independent, experienced sources of help, not church officials. And we hope every single survivor of these crimes and cover ups will overcome their fears, break their silence, expose the wrongdoers and help protect the children.

What else?

Let’s redouble our efforts to oust Fr. Joseph Jeyapaul, the convicted predator whose suspension from ministry was just overturned by Vatican officials and who is due back on the job soon.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:52 PM

Former Jackson priest pleads no contest to 6 counts of criminal sexual conduct

MICHIGAN
MLive

By Ryan Shek | rshek@mlive.com
on February 29, 2016

JACKSON, MI – On Monday, a former Jackson Lumen Christi High School priest pleaded no contest to six counts of criminal sexual conduct, which spanned a half decade of abuse at the school.

James Rapp, now 75, pleaded no contest to three counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct as well as three counts of second-degree criminal sexual conduct Monday, Feb. 29, before Jackson County Circuit Court Judge Susan Beebe.

As part of the plea, 13 counts of criminal sexual conduct were dismissed, while Rapp will face anywhere from 20 to 40 years in prison as part of a sentencing agreement, Assistant Attorney General Angela Povilaitis said.

Dressed in blue Michigan Department of Corrections attire, Rapp appeared before Beebe and pleaded to the charges, often lowering his head or inspecting his shackled wrists.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:51 PM

Ex-Priest Pleads No Contest To Abusing Jackson Students

MICHIGAN
CBS Detroit

February 29, 2016

JACKSON, Mich. (WWJ/AP) – A former Roman Catholic priest has pleaded no contest to sexual abuse charges connected to his years at a Michigan high school in the 1980s.

James Rapp likely faces at least 20 years in prison, although the 75-year-old already is in prison for similar crimes in Oklahoma.

Defense attorney Alfred Brandt told a Jackson County judge that Rapp coerced students into having sexual contact while working as a teacher and wrestling coach at Lumen Christi High School. He appeared in court Monday.

An investigation began three years ago when victims approached the sheriff’s department. Attorney General Bill Schuette says teens were “robbed of a normal childhood” by Rapp.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:43 PM

Former priest pleads no contest to sexual abuse charges

MICHIGAN
Fox 47

Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette said Francis Rapp 75 has pleaded no contest to 19 child sexual abuse charges.

He was a priest and teacher at Jackson Lumen Christi High School in the 1980s.

The AG office says Rapp was charged in January 2015 with 13 felonies in Jackson's 12th District Court.

He was charged with three counts of First Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct and 10 counts of Second Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct.

Rapp was also charged with another six felonies in June 2015.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:41 PM

Cardinal Pell testimony brings sex abuse to Vatican's doorstep

ROME
The Guardian

Stephanie Kirchgaessner in Rome
Monday 29 February 2016

The Vatican used to be impermeable to horrific stories of child sexual abuse by priests – and complicit in attempts to whitewash the perpetrators’ reputations. It was a place where men such as Cardinal Bernard Law, who became a pariah within the US Catholic church after it became clear that decades of sexual abuse had been covered up within his archdiocese, could go for a comfortable retirement and to escape glaring media attention or, even worse, possible investigation.

But an unexpected confluence of extraordinary events has changed all that this week. The film Spotlight, the tale of the Boston Globe’s dogged investigation into clerical sexual abuse, won Hollywood’s most coveted prize of the Oscar for best picture.

More importantly, hours before the Oscar win was announced, one of the most senior officials within the Vatican hierarchy, Cardinal George Pell of Australia, admitted under oath for the first time that he had heard that an Australian Catholic schoolteacher may have engaged in “paedophilia activity”, but never followed up on the “one or two fleeting references” he heard about the “misbehaviour”. The teacher in question, Edward Dowlan, a Christian Brother, was later convicted of abusing 20 boys and is serving a six-year prison sentence.

Pell, in an appearance by videolink before the Australian royal commission into institutional responses to sexual child abuse that began at 10pm in Rome and ended at 2am, sounded contrite and sullen as he testified, often using short sentences. He called the church’s response to clerical sexual abuse of children by one serial offender, Gerald Ridsdale, “a catastrophe” for his victims but also for the church.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:39 PM

'Spotlight' Oscar Win Cheered by Chicago-Based Sex Abuse Survivor Group

CHICAGO (IL)
DNAinfo

By Kelly Bauer | February 29, 2016

CHICAGO — A Chicago-based group that has fought to expose pedophile priests for years is heralding "Spotlight," the film that won best picture at the Academy Awards this year.

In a statement released Sunday even before "Spotlight," which focuses on a team of Boston Globe reporters working to expose the abuse scandal, won the Oscar, Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests founder Barbara Blaine said: "kids are the real winners."

"They are safer because the movie Spotlight has prompted hundreds of thousands to think, talk and take action about child sex crimes and cover ups, even or especially in trusted institutions," she said.

"These adults are more careful now with babysitters. They are more attentive to changes in kids’ behavior. They more skeptical about claims by officials about alleged 'openness,' 'care' and 'prudence' about kids’ safety.

"We are deeply, deeply grateful for this fact. As a result, more children will be protected. As a result, more victims will be believed and more crimes will be prevented," said Blaine in the statement.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:37 PM

Catholic priest Fr Stephen Crossan 'caught snorting cocaine in Nazi room'

NORTHERN IRELAND
BBC News

A Catholic priest caught on video snorting what appeared to be cocaine has taken leave from the priesthood.

Fr Stephen Crossan is reported to have sniffed coke through a £10 note on a night of drinking in July 2015 in Banbridge, County Down.

He was in a room with Nazi memorabilia and seemed to say "I shouldn't" as he snorted, the Sun on Sunday reported.

The bishop of Dromore said in a statement that he had no knowledge of the incident.
It allegedly occurred in the parochial house last July after a party.

The Sun on Sunday said it happened at what was then Fr Crossan's parish home in the grounds of St Patrick's Church, Banbridge, in July 2015.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:34 PM

'Spotlight' takes home best picture honors at Oscars

UNITED STATES
National Catholic Reporter

Brian Roewe | Feb. 29, 2016

“Spotlight,” the film that follows The Boston Globe’s investigation into the clergy sexual abuse scandal in the Catholic church, won best picture at the 88th Academy Awards held on Sunday night.

"This film gave a voice to survivors, and this Oscar amplifies that voice, which we hope will become a choir that will resonate all the way to the Vatican," producer Michael Sugar said in accepting the Oscar.

"Pope Francis, it’s time to protect the children and restore the faith," he added.

"We would not be here today without the heroic efforts of our reporters," said Blye Pagon Faust, another "Spotlight" producer. "Not only do they affect global change, but they absolutely show us the necessity for investigative journalism."

In January 2002, the Globe published its first report from its Spotlight investigative team uncovering the sexual abuse scandal in the Boston archdiocese. The stories that followed helped place the issue of clerical sexual abuse of children on the nation's conscience and ultimately beyond U.S. borders. The Globe's reporting added a major metropolitan voice to the work of other smaller publications in uncovering the abuse scandal, including a Boston-area alternative weekly, the Phoenix, and National Catholic Reporter, which published its first story on the abuse crisis in 1985.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:06 AM

Pell admits 'enormous mistakes' in church's abuse handling, calls it 'absolutely scandalous'

ROME
National Catholic Reporter

Joshua J. McElwee | Feb. 29, 2016

ROME
One of the Catholic church's highest ranking cardinals, Vatican official George Pell, faced four hours of questioning about his role in the clergy sexual abuse crisis in his native Australia in an extraordinary overnight hearing Sunday, in which he admitted the church "has made enormous mistakes" in its handling of dangerous priests.

The cardinal, who has been among Pope Francis' closest advisors in reforming the Vatican and now leads the city-state's new centralized treasury department, also said that evidence of abuse brought forward by victims in past decades "were dismissed in absolutely scandalous circumstances."

Pell, who formerly served as an auxiliary bishop and then archbishop of Melbourne and then archbishop of Sydney, was testifying via video-link from Rome in the hours between Sunday and Monday in a hearing taking place in his home country on the church's historic response to clergy sexual abuse.

For the 270 minutes between 10:00 p.m. and 2:30 a.m. in Rome, Gail Furness, the lead counsel assisting Australia's Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, led Pell through years of the church's response to sexual abuse, fact by fact.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:47 AM

‘Spotlight’ triumphs with best picture Oscar

MASSACHUSETTS
Boston Globe

by Ty Burr GLOBE STAFF
FEBRUARY 29, 2016

[with video]

The Oscars came home to Boston at the 88th Academy Awards Sunday night as “Spotlight,” a drama about the Boston Globe’s investigation of clergy sexual abuse and the cover-up by the Roman Catholic Church, was named best picture of 2015. In addition, the writing team of Josh Singer and director Tom McCarthy won the Oscar for best original screenplay.

“This film gave a voice to survivors and this Oscar amplifies that voice, which we hope will become a choir that will resonate all the way to the Vatican,” said “Spotlight” producer Michael Sugar as he accepted the award while the film’s cast — and some of the people they portray — stood behind him on stage.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:50 AM

Oscars 2016: Read about the Pulitzer prize-winning journalism that got 'Spotlight' the

UNITED STATES
First Post

by Swetha Ramakrishnan Feb 29, 2016

Only an investigative journalism team could carry out a report like the one documented in the Oscar winning film Spotlight. It requires patience, authenticity and people skills that may be lost to the generation of breaking news.

Spotlight is a story about a team of investigative journalists from The Boston Globe — over months, they dug around for information about a child sex abuse racket involving pedophile priests who were backed by the Church and lawyers (through a systemic encouragement of the abuse, by settling cases out of court, sealing the records and maintaining absolute silence on the issue).

Perhaps, the most poignant scenes in Spotlight are a succession of shots showing the reporters compulsively fact checking their research for the Pulitzer prize winning campaign in 2001. A quick web search on the real Spotlight team will show you that the actors who play their parts (which includes Mark Ruffalo, Michael Keaton, Rachel McAdams and Brian d'Arcy James) are cast so aptly that they have the mannerisms of the original reporters down to the most minute detail.

Dem Missbrauch auf der Spur

USA
Katholisch

Kein Genre ist bei Kinogängern derzeit so beliebt wie Filme, die auf wahren Begebenheiten beruhen. Die Spanne reicht dabei von streng an der Realität orientierten Dokumentationen bis zu Dramatisierungen hochaktueller Ereignisse. Die Beschäftigung mit den Missbrauchsfällen katholischer Priester und deren weitreichende Publizität bot sich unter solchen Voraussetzungen geradezu an.

Regisseur Tom McCarthy widmet sich dem "heißen Thema" aber nicht zur Ausbeutung seines Sensationscharakters, sondern wie ein Forscher, der sich mit den allgemein zugänglichen Ermittlungen nicht zufriedengibt, weil er sich von den Vorgängen so aufgewühlt fühlt, dass er das ganze Ausmaß und die ganze Wahrheit offenlegen will.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:33 AM

Australischer Kardinal gibt Vertuschung zu

ROM
Kurier

Der ranghöchste Kardinal Australiens hat vor einer Regierungskommission eingeräumt, dass die Kirche Kindesmissbrauch durch Kirchenvertreter jahrelang heruntergespielt hat. "Ich bin nicht hier, um das Unhaltbare zu verteidigen", sagte Kardinal George Pell, als Budgetverantwortlicher heute die Nummer drei in der Vatikan-Hierarchie.

Pell wird vorgeworfen, als Priester und Bischof selbst sexuelle Übergriffe von anderen vertuscht zu haben. Er hat dies stets zurückgewiesen. "Es waren meist persönliche Schwächen, kein Versagen der Struktur", sagte Pell. "Der Instinkt war, die Institution, die Gemeinschaft der Kirche, vor Schande zu schützen."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:31 AM

Den Schmerz der Opfer ertragen

ROM
Katholisch

Es sind denkwürdige Nachtgespräche in Rom. Der australische Kurienkardinal George Pell sagt diese Woche mehrere Tage hintereinander zu Missbrauchsfällen durch Kirchenleute in seiner Heimat aus. Da er wegen Herzproblemen den 21-Stunden-Flug nach Sydney nicht wagen kann, genehmigte ihm die australische Missbrauchskommission eine Aussage per Video-Schaltung. Kardinal Pell steht jeweils von 22 Uhr abends bis 2 Uhr morgens im römischen Hotel Quirinale unweit der Oper Rede und Antwort. Die erste Anhörung lief vergangene Nacht, die letzte ist für Mittwoch geplant. Wer will, kann im Konferenzraum des Hotels dabei sein. 14 Missbrauchsopfer aus Australien wollten das: via Internet sammelten sie umgerechnet 130.000 Euro Spenden und flogen damit nach Rom. Sie sagten, sie wollten dem Kardinal in die Augen sehen, während er spricht.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:30 AM

Pell räumt "enorme Fehler" ein

ROM
Katholisch

Sydney/Rom - 29.02.2016

Der australische Kurienkardinal George Pell hat im Umgang mit Missbrauchsfällen "enorme Fehler" eingeräumt. Vor der australischen Missbrauchskommission erklärte er in der Nacht auf Montag, er werde "nicht das Unhaltbare verteidigen". Die Kirche in Australien habe "die Dinge versaut und Menschen im Stich gelassen", so Pell laut australischen Medienberichten.

Der Kardinal äußerte sich per Videoschalte aus Rom gegenüber der staatlichen Kommission zur Untersuchung des Umgangs von Institutionen mit Missbrauchsfällen in Sydney. Wegen eines akuten Herzleidens konnte er auf Anraten seiner Ärzte nicht zu der Anhörung nach Sydney fliegen.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:20 AM

'Spotlight,' Surprise Best Picture, Is a Sex Abuse Message for Pope

UNITED STATES
Newsmax

By Clyde Hughes | Monday, 29 Feb 2016

"Spotlight," the surprise Best Picture winner at Sunday night's Oscars, sent a message to Pope Francis: "it's time to protect the children."

The movie details the Boston Globe's investigation into a sex abuse scandal at a local archdiocese, noted E! News, and producer Michael Sugar took advantage of his time on stage at the Academy Awards to blister the church on its sex abuse scandals.

"This film gave a voice to survivors, and this Oscar amplifies that voice, which we hope will become a choir that will resonate all the way to the Vatican," Sugar said in his acceptance speech, "Pope Francis, it's time to protect the children and restore the faith."
Sugar continued on backstage, according to Entertainment Weekly, saying he hopes the movie will lead to reforms in the Catholic Church.

"I hope that you journalists in here and throughout the world will help resonate our message all the way to the Vatican, and maybe we can have some real change," said Sugar. "That’s what we hope to accomplish. That's what this is really about — for all of us is to talk about this film and what happened and because these things are still happening. The story of 'Spotlight' has really just begun."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:17 AM

Three reasons why 'Spotlight' walked away with the Oscar for best picture

CALIFORNIA
Los Angeles Times

Kenneth Turan

It was a year of two films. Until it wasn't.

It was a year of small but well-placed surprises, right up to the end.

It was the year "Spotlight," the third film on everyone's list of top three finishers, came from behind and walked off with the best picture trophy.

An impeccable ensemble picture that polished classic Hollywood virtues to a splendid shine, “Spotlight” won the first Oscar of the night, for original screenplay, and then had to wait three-plus hours for another trip to the stage.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:40 AM

'Spotlight's Oscars victory could be a game-changer for Open Road Films

CALIFORNIA
Los Angeles Times

Ryan Faughnder and Daniel Miller

20th Century Fox and Warner Bros. led their studio rivals at the Oscars on Sunday, thanks to robust showings from "The Revenant" and "Mad Max: Fury Road."

Fox's "The Revenant" took home three of the top prizes at the 88th Academy Awards: lead actor (Leonardo DiCaprio), director (Alejandro G. Iñárritu) and cinematography (Emmanuel Lubezki). Warner Bros.' "Mad Max: Fury Road" scored six technical awards.

However, in a mild surprise, Open Road Films grabbed the biggest award of the evening — best picture — for the journalism drama "Spotlight." The Tom McCarthy-directed picture also took home the Oscar for original screenplay. Open Road, a distributor based in Los Angeles, is co-owned by cinema chains AMC Entertainment and Regal Entertainment Group.

"Spotlight," produced by Anonymous Content and Rocklin/Faust, and financed by Participant Media, represented the first best picture victory for Open Road, which was founded in 2011. "Spotlight" has grossed $62 million worldwide, according to Box Office Mojo.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:33 AM

Oscar Hangover Special: Why “Spotlight” Is a Terrible Film

UNITED STATES
Counterpunch

by JOANN WYPIJEWSKI

I don’t “believe the victims”.

I was in Boston in the Spring of 2002 reporting on the priest scandal, and because I know some of what is untrue, I don’t believe the personal injury lawyers or the Boston Globe’s “Spotlight” team or the Catholic “faithful” who became harpies outside Boston churches, carrying signs with images of Satan, hurling invective at congregants who’d just attended Mass, and at least once – this in my presence – spitting in the face of a person who dared dispute them.

I don’t believe the prosecutors who pursued tainted cases or the therapists who revived junk science or the juries that sided with them or the judges who failed to act justly or the people who made money off any of this.

And I am astonished (though I suppose I shouldn’t be) that, across the past few months, ever since Spotlight hit theaters, otherwise serious left-of-center people have peppered their party conversation with effusions that the film reflects a heroic journalism, the kind we all need more of.

I don’t believe the claims of all who say they are victims – or who prefer the more tough-minded label ‘survivor’ – because ready belief is not part of a journalist’s mental kit, but also because what happened in 2002 makes it difficult to distinguish real claims from fraudulent or opportunistic ones without independent research. What editor Marty Baron and the Globe sparked with their 600 stories and their confidential tip line for grievances was not laudatory journalism but a moral panic, and unfortunately for those who are telling the truth, truth was its casualty.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:29 AM

Oscar-winner calls on Pope to ‘protect children and restore the faith’

CALIFORNIA
Catholic Herald

The producer of Spotlight, which chronicles The Boston Globe’s investigation into the cover-up of clerical abuse, spoke out after the film won best picture at Sunday's ceremony

One of the producers of Spotlight, which won the Oscar for best picture at Sunday night’s ceremony, used his acceptance speech to call on Pope Francis and the Vatican to protect children from abuse and “restore the faith”.

The film, which tells the story of The Boston Globe’s investigation into the cover-up of clerical abuse in the Archdiocese of Boston, also won the award for best original screenplay at the ceremony at the Dolby Theatre, in Hollywood.

In his acceptance speech, producer Michael Sugar said that Spotlight “gave a voice to survivors (of abuse)”.

“This Oscar amplifies that voice,” he said. “We hope will become a choir that will resonate all the way to the Vatican. Pope Francis, it’s time to protect the children and restore the faith.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:26 AM

OPINION: Coverage of priest situation should matter to community

MICHIGAN
Central Michigan Life

By Sydney Smith

When I first met Fr. Denis Heames in 2015, I was on assignment.

I was tasked with writing a "personality profile." These are usually done on someone who's unique in a community — someone with an interesting attribute, hobby or lifestyle.

He was an actor turned priest.

I went to St. Mary's University Parish to interview him. We walked through the church and into his home, just a couple feet away. He was wearing plainclothes that day in February: jeans and a dark-colored long sleeve shirt. You couldn't tell he was a priest except by looking at his left-hand ring finger, where he wore a silver crucifix-style ring.

His home was modest from what I remember, though I took note of the large windows; I could see students walking to class. Heames made me a cappuccino, and I settled on a black leather armchair for our interview.

The story wasn't the highlight of my journalism career, but Heames stuck with me because of his charisma. I didn't expect that in the future I'd be writing more stories about him.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:19 AM

Editorial: Defrock former St. Mary's Priest

MICHIGAN
Central Michigan Life

Editorial Board

Eight months ago, the Catholic Diocese of Saginaw removed Father Denis Heames from St. Mary’s University Parish for “boundary violations.”

The diocese refused to say much more about Heames' suspension. Bishop Joseph Cistone made sure to mention in a press release the issue “did not involve minors.”

What has become clear is the Catholic Church tried to cover up yet another scandal.

Cistone has a history of covering up scandal within his jurisdiction. In 2012, a judge found Cistone was a witness of shredding of documents in 1994 when he was a church official in Philadelphia. The documents identified 35 priests suspected of sexual abuse.

This scandal involves the sexual harassment of a Central Michigan University student, according to a university investigation.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:17 AM

Former residential school student says info withheld on priest who abused him

CANADA
The Globe and Mail

GLORIA GALLOWAY
OTTAWA — The Globe and Mail
Published Sunday, Feb. 28, 2016

Justice department lawyers have been accused of withholding documents that show a priest who worked at an infamous Indian residential school for nearly four decades was a serial sexual predator even as they persuaded an adjudicator to deny compensation to a former student who said the priest abused him.

The man, who was a student of St. Anne’s Indian Residential School in Fort Albany, Ont., is asking Justice Paul Perell of the Ontario Superior Court to rehear his claim in light of the evidence, which was not presented at his closed-door hearing in July, 2014, before an adjudicator of the Independent Assessment Process (IAP). That process was created under the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement to provide compensation quickly to former students who were physically or sexually abused at the institutions.

In a document requesting directions that was filed in court late last week, Fay Brunning, the lawyer for the man, who is identified as H-15019, is asking that the lawyers for the Department of Justice be removed from any new hearing granted to her client. She also asks that those lawyers be prevented from arguing in any other closed-door IAP hearing for former St. Anne’s students that the police and court records documenting abuse at the school are inadmissible.

In her request for directions – which includes allegations that have not been proved in court – Ms. Brunning asks Judge Perell to, among other things, look at her client’s situation as a test case to determine whether other former students may have been denied compensation, or given less compensation than they were due, because of the lack of disclosure.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:14 AM

George Pell's royal commission quotes

ROME
9 News

AAP

KEY MOMENTS AND QUOTES OF GEORGE PELL'S TESTIMONY

* "The way he was dealt with, that was a catastrophe. A catastrophe for the victims and a catastrophe for the church," Cardinal Pell said on the handling of pedophile priest Gerald Ridsdale by Bishop Ronald Mulkearns.

* "I am not here to defend the indefensible. The church has made enormous mistakes, and is working to remedy those," Dr Pell when asked if there was a structural problem in the church.

There were one or two fleeting references to misbehaviour by Dowlan "which I concluded might have been pedophilic activity", Cardinal Pell in reply to a question about what he knew about Christian Brother Ted Dowlan.

* "I never knew the nature of these, whether they were indiscretions or crimes," on why Dowlan left the Ballarat parish.

* "Too many of them (complaints by children) certainly were dismissed and sometimes they were dismissed in scandalous circumstances," when asked if the attitude in the 70s was not to believe children.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:13 AM

'Can't see many heart strings': Cardinal George Pell's evidence met coolly in Ballarat

AUSTRALIA
ABC News

By Danny Tran

In Cardinal George Pell's home town of Ballarat in Western Victoria, the senior Catholic cleric's evidence was coolly received.

More than 50 people gathered in the town hall to watch Cardinal Pell concede the Catholic Church had made mistakes.

"The Church has, in many places, certainly in Australia, has mucked things up, has let people down," Cardinal Pell said.

"I'm not here to defend the indefensible."

Regarding convicted paedophile priest Gerald Ridsdale, who preyed on dozens of children in Ballarat and across Western Victoria, Cardinal Pell told the royal commission the situation was handled disastrously.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:11 AM

Relative of three child sex abuse survivors hits back at columnist Miranda Devine who called victims who've travelled to Rome an 'unofficial lynch mob' against Cardinal Pell

AUSTRALIA
Daily Mail

By RACHEL EDDIE FOR DAILY MAIL AUSTRALIA

A woman whose husband, brother and cousin were all sexually abused as children in Ballarat has hit back at controversial News Corp columnist Miranda Devine who said there had been a ‘lynch mob’ attacking Cardinal George Pell.

Ms Devine on Sunday wrote the opinion piece for the Daily Telegraph in response to growing dissatisfaction with Cardinal Pell who on Monday gave evidence into the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sex Abuse from Rome after his doctor provided a certificate that he was unfit to fly to Australia to give evidence in person.

Survivors of abuse suffered over past decades in Ballarat and their supporters instead journeyed to Rome to hear him give evidence in person, believing it would help overcome trauma.

Clare Linane later hit back on Facebook in a post that’s since been shared more than 2,000 times.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:08 AM

Placatory Pell leaves key questions hanging

ROME
Sydney Morning Herald

Cardinal George Pell has ceded just enough ground at the child abuse royal commission to give victims a glimmer of hope. There is a vague hint that senior Catholic Church leaders are seeing that the culture of turning a blind eye must change.

But the commission has yet to hone in on the key questions raised by victims' testimony relating to the extent of Cardinal Pell's specific knowledge of abuse from the 1970s and whether he was open to accepting or acting on it.

In his third appearance at the commission, the Cardinal admitted that "in those days if a priest denied (sexual abuse) activity I was strongly inclined to accept that denial".

Granted, some adults then might have trusted a priest's word above a child's. But Cardinal Pell's testimony revealed a deeper malaise. Despite knowing of abuse cases, and hearing the "gossip" among colleagues, he still believed adults with vested interests over the children or their carers. He even reminded the commission that the alleged offender John Day in Mildura had a strong body of supporters, including "a wonderful woman" whom the Cardinal knew.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:06 AM

Cardinal Pell's late night of tough questions

ROME
BBC News

By James Reynolds
BBC News, Rome

When Vatican treasurer Cardinal George Pell delivered his long-awaited testimony to an Australian government inquiry into child sex abuse, the BBC's Rome correspondent James Reynolds was in the room.

Cardinal George Pell entered the hotel ballroom one minute before the scheduled starting time of 22:00 (21:00 GTM). He walked with a slight stoop to a table set up next to a video screen.

One-hundred-and-fifty people gathered to watch him give evidence. Two Vatican security guards sat discreetly on the aisles near the front.

More than a dozen victims of abuse from Australia were also in the audience. They'd raised the money to fly here to Rome. Some wore red T-shirts printed with the words "No More Silence".

Technicians dimmed one of the room's chandeliers and opened the video link with the Royal Commission in Australia. The opening questions were easy.

"Are you the number three in the Vatican?" the counsel asked.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:03 AM

Church abuse drama 'Spotlight' wins best picture Oscar

CALIFORNIA
7 News

Hollywood (United States) (AFP) - "Spotlight," which chronicles The Boston Globe's investigation into sexual abuse in the Catholic Church and institutional efforts to cover up the crimes, landed the Oscar for best picture -- a surprise win.

The journalism drama, which boasts a star-studded ensemble cast including Michael Keaton, Mark Ruffalo and Rachel McAdams, is based on a series of stories by the real "Spotlight" team that earned the paper a Pulitzer Prize in 2003.

"This film gave a voice to survivors. And this Oscar amplifies that voice, which we hope will become a choir that will resonate all the way to the Vatican," co-producer Michael Sugar told the audience at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood.

"Pope Francis, it's time to protect the children and restore the faith," he said.

"Spotlight" was instantly tipped as a contender for glory at the 88th Oscars from its world premiere in September. The film also took home honors for best original screenplay, after earning a total of six nominations.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:00 AM

Spotlight, the movie about Boston Globe’s investigation of clergy sexual abuse and the cover-up by the Roman Catholic Church, won the Oscar 2016 award

New Europe

Spotlight, the movie about Boston Globe’s investigation of clergy sexual abuse and the cover-up by the Roman Catholic Church, won the Oscar 2015 award and reminded to the public the numerous worldwide child sex abuse scandals which hit the Catholic Church in the past years.

The Associated Press reported today that one of Pope Francis’ top advisers acknowledged that the Catholic Church “has made enormous mistakes” in allowing thousands of children to be raped and molested by priests over centuries as he testified at an extraordinary public hearing of an Australian investigative commission just a few blocks from the Vatican.

According to AP, the head of the Vatican Bank George Pell testified via videolink for four hours from Sunday night to early Monday morning from a Rome hotel to the Royal Commission sitting in Sydney. On 3 April 2013, the Australian authorities opened a national inquiry to investigate thousands of child sex abuse cases concerning Catholic priests in Australia.

Pell told to the lead counsel assisting the commission, Gail Furness: “I’m not here to defend the indefensible. The church has made enormous mistakes and is working to remedy those.” He added that the church had “mucked things up and let people down” and for too long had dismissed credible abuse allegations “in absolutely scandalous circumstances.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:57 AM

Accountability still missing from Catholic church

UNITED STATES
News-Press

USA Today

You can’t expect a movie, even one as riveting as Spotlight, to change the culture of a centuries-old institution like the Catholic Church. But perhaps the film can remind the church of its unfinished business in confronting a decades-long cover-up of rampant child molestation.

The movie depicts an investigation by the Spotlight reporting team at The Boston Globe, which broke the news in January 2002 and brought international attention to a sickening scandal in Boston that has since engulfed the church around the world. In the United States alone, more than 17,000 victims have reported sexual abuse, going back as far as 1950, involving about 6,400 priests in 100 cities.

Yet, not once in the past 14 years has a single U.S. bishop, let alone a cardinal, been removed from ministry for a role in the scandal. Perhaps the church could not have prevented child molesters from entering the priesthood, but bishops and cardinals could have stopped the crimes of serial predators. Many children would have been spared had religious leaders done what you’d expect any decent person to do: Report alleged crimes to authorities and, at the very least, keep molesters away from children. Often, they did neither.

Reports of abuse were ignored. Predator priests were sent for “treatment,” then shuffled off to other parishes, often to molest again. When lawsuits threatened to blow the church’s cover, the cases were settled secretly.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:54 AM

Sex pest

BOTSWANA
The Voice BW

Daniel Chida

A self styled pastor and former teacher suspected to have sexually abused several children before he was caught has finally been hit with a defilement charge.

Pastor Mandla Keipheditse who hastily quit teaching under dubious circumstances last year to start a church is facing a single charge of sexually abusing a child under the age of 16.

The current case this week however prompted parents of 13 other children who claim to have been molested by the 30- year -old pastor when he was a teacher at Marakanelo Junior School to come forward.

Spokesperson for the aggrieved family that has already laid a charge against the pastor, Isaiah Mabote lambasted the notorious pastor for ruining, not one, but two of their children’s lives.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:53 AM

Ballarat victims welcome much of Cardinal George Pell's royal commission testimony but say 'there's still a long way to go'

ROME
Sydney Morning Herald

February 29, 2016

Melissa Cunningham

Ballarat clerical abuse survivors say Australia's most senior Catholic is holding back on his knowledge of paedophile priests who sexually abused scores of children over decades.

During his evidence to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, Cardinal George Pell said he was not there to "defend the indefensible" and denied knowing about paedophile priests operating in the Ballarat diocese in the 1970s.

He said the Catholic Church had made "enormous" mistakes in its handling of child sex crimes and had let victims down but was working to repair it.

Standing outside of the Hotel Quirinale in Rome where Cardinal Pell gave evidence via video link back to Australia, clerical abuse victim David Ridsdale said thousands of people were still suffering as a result of the church's failure to protect children.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:49 AM

Incurious George: Pell heard talk of sex abuse by priests, but 'rarely indulged' rumours

ROME
The Guardian

David Marr
Monday 29 February 2016

George Pell has shifted ground. The news from his latest stint in the box at the royal commission into institutional responses to child sexual abuse is that he wasn’t deaf and he wasn’t blind back in the old days in Ballarat.

The cardinal took no body blows. He endured interrogation by Gail Furness SC, counsel assisting the commission, with almost perfect calm. His energy didn’t fail him. In his leathery voice he answered over and again, “That is correct.”

So much of his testimony was familiar. He expressed his regrets. He condemned the failings of the church which he put down to original sin rather than “the divine structure of the church that goes back to the New Testament”.

But he brought something new to the Albergo Quirinale: admissions that he had heard rumours about priests abusing children in the diocese of Ballarat. He had heard complaints. He even admitted knowing about priests kissing and swimming naked with children.

He was not entirely out of the loop.

Since his last appearance in the box, Pell has engaged a team of first-rate lawyers. Perhaps they’ve encouraged him to reflect more deeply on his years in Ballarat when he returned from Oxford with a great career before him in the church.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:46 AM

Cardinal Pell ties "Loud Fence" ribbon in Lourdes Grotto

VATICAN CITY
Vatican Radio

(Vatican Radio) The Prefect of the Secretariat for the Economy, Cardinal George Pell, this weekend visited the Our Lady of Lourdes Grotto in the Vatican Gardens to pray for all survivors of abuse.

The Cardinal testified overnight on Sunday to the Royal Commission investigating institutional sexual abuse in Australia, and will do so again over the next few days.

Cardinal Pell also offered his support for the Loud Fence movement by tying a yellow ribbon on the fence at the grotto.

Beginning in Ballarat, in the Australian state of Victoria, the Loud Fence movement encourages people to tie brightly-coloured ribbons on the fences of Catholic institutions, as a symbol of solidarity with survivors of sexual abuse, their families and communities.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:44 AM

Cardinal George Pell admits ‘indefensible’ errors in abuse crisis

ROME
Religion News Service

Rosie Scammell | February 29, 2016

ROME (RNS) Australian Cardinal George Pell, now a top adviser to Pope Francis, testified in a landmark clergy sex abuse inquiry that the Catholic Church made “enormous mistakes” in trying to deal with the scandal.

Speaking to an Australian commission investigating the church’s response to abuse, Pell — who had previously been archbishop in Sydney — also said that during the 1970s he was “very strongly inclined to accept the denial” of a priest accused of abuse.

The 74-year-old Pell, who serves as the Vatican’s finance chief, appeared before the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse late Sunday (Feb. 28) via video link from a Rome hotel because he said a heart condition prevented him from traveling.

As he rose through the ranks of the Australian church, Pell recalled that numerous allegations “certainly were dismissed and sometimes they were dismissed in absolutely scandalous circumstances.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:43 AM

Pell: The Vatican ‘mucked things up’ on sexual abuse

ROME
Crux

By Inés San Martín
Vatican correspondent February 29, 2016

ROME — One of the Vatican’s most senior officials admitted that the Catholic Church “has made enormous mistakes” in allowing children to be sexually abused by priests, as he testified via video link to a Royal Commission in Australia investigating institutional responses to child sexual abuse.

Australian Cardinal George Pell also admitted that he often believed priests over alleged victims who came forward: “I must say in those days, if a priest denied such activity, I was very strongly inclined to accept the denial.”

“I’m not here to defend the indefensible,” Pell said at the beginning of a grueling four-hour hearing late Sunday night via video from a Rome hotel. In order to be take place in the morning in Australia, Pell has agreed to appear beginning at 10 p.m. Rome time and continue until roughly 2 a.m. each day. The hearing is expected to last three or four days.

“The Church has made enormous mistakes, but is working to remedy them,” he said. “In many places, the Church certainly has mucked things up, has let people down.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:41 AM

Vatican’s No. 3 Faces Sex Abuse Inquisition

ROME
The Daily Beast

Barbie Latza Nadeau

ROME — Dingy sage-green curtains and three enormous shiny golden chandeliers in the Verdi Room of Rome’s Quirinale Hotel, a stone’s throw away from the main train station, provided an odd setting for one of the most important clerical sex-abuse hearings a senior Vatican official has ever faced.

The squeaky parquet-floored room, which is normally used for wedding receptions and first communion parties, was transformed into a makeshift courtroom for Cardinal George Pell, head of the Vatican’s Secretariat for the Economy, who was called to answer questions by the Australian Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.

Pell was supposed to travel to Australia for the hearings last year, but ill health (backed up by ample doctor certification) apparently prohibited the 74-year-old from making the long journey. So the commission decided to come to Rome and conduct the questioning by video link, Australian time, which means the four-hour hearings started at 10 p.m. in Rome—and could last three or four days.

On Sunday, the first night of the inquiry, Pell was whisked into the room through a side door and sat at a table covered with a green cloth at the front of a room filled with about 50 journalists, several dozen priests and Australians supporting Pell, and some 20 survivors of sexual abuse, who used crowd-funding to pay for their trip to Rome

The Cardinal never looked out at the crowd. Instead, his eyes were fixed solidly on the little silver camera in front of him as Gail Furness, a lawyer assisting the Royal Commission in what amounts to a prosecutorial role, asked questions from a courtroom in Sydney. At times the scene resembled one of those awkward Skype calls with either Furness or Pell talking over each and apologizing for the interruption.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:38 AM

George Pell: church had 'predisposition not to believe' children who complained about priests

ROME/AUSRALIA
The Guardian

Ben Doherty in Sydney and Stephanie Kirchgaessner in Rome

The Catholic Church was more concerned with protecting its own reputation than helping victims of clergy abuse, and had a “predisposition not to believe” children who made complaints, Cardinal George Pell has told the royal commission into institutional responses to sexual child abuse in Australia.

“At that stage, the instinct was more to protect the institution, the community of the church, from shame,” he told the commission in Sydney via videolink from Rome.

On the first day of four scheduled days of evidence before Australia’s royal commission on Monday, Pell, Australia’s most senior Catholic, conceded the church’s handling of child sexual abuse in the case of paedophile priest Gerald Ridsdale was a “catastrophe”.

“I’m not here to defend the indefensible, the church has made enormous mistakes and is working to remedy those, but the church has in many places, certainly in Australia, has mucked things up, has let people down. I’m not here to defend the indefensible.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:35 AM

'Spotlight' Wins Oscar For Best Picture; Pope Challenged By Producer From Stage

CALIFORNIA
Deadline

By Dominic Patten

Spotlight tonight took the big prize at the 88th Academy Awards with a Best Picture victory. Nominated for a total of six Oscars tonight it also was the big winner Saturday at the Independent Spirit Awards. The Open Road-distributed and Tom McCarthy-directed drama about the Boston Globe’s Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative team’s exposes of rampant sexual abuse of children by Catholic priests and the subsequent cover-ups was chosen as one of the top 10 films of 2015 by AFI. McCarthy lost on Best Director on Sunday to The Revenant’s Alejandro G. Inarritu.

“This film gave a voice to survivors, and this Oscar amplifies that voice which we hope will become a choir that will resonate all the way to the Vatican,” said producer Michael Sugar onstage, surrounded by Spotlight‘s cast and creatives. “Pope Francis, it is time to protect the children and restore the faith.”

Before tonight’s ceremony, McCarthy, actor Mark Ruffalo and co-writer Josh Singer were among protesters outside L.A.’s Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels. “Standing with the survivors of priest sexual abuse,” Ruffalo tweeted on Sunday in solidarity with the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests demanding the public release of the names of pedophile members of the clergy.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:34 AM

Cardinal George Pell tells child abuse royal commission Catholic Church made 'enormous mistakes'

ROME
ABC News

By Dan Smith, staff

The Catholic Church made "enormous mistakes" and "let people down" in its handling of child sexual abuse by priests, Cardinal George Pell told the child abuse royal commission this morning.

Australia's most senior Catholic testified via video link from a hotel in Rome, giving evidence about Catholic abuse in Ballarat and Melbourne.

He said he was "not here to defend the indefensible", and admitted children at the time were unlikely to be believed if they had come forward with allegations of abuse.

When asked if the general attitude of the church was to not believe a child, he said it "certainly was much, much more difficult for the child to be believed then ... the predisposition was not to believe".

"...Too many of them certainly were dismissed and sometimes they were dismissed in absolutely scandalous circumstances," he said.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:32 AM

Oscar goes to Boston Globe film that exposed paedophile priest scandal

CALIFORNIA
The Drum

The film Spotlight based on the Boston Globe's expose of sexual misbehaviour by scores of local priests won the Oscar for Best Picture in Los Angeles last night.

The film has been widely credited with setting off investigations into priestly wrongdoing worldwide.

The film detailing The Boston Globe’s coverage of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church actually won two awards: it was named Best Original Screenplay opening the telecast and and at the end it it collected the the Best Picture Oscar .

“This film gave a voice to survivors and this Oscar amplifies that voice, which we hope will become a choir that resonate all the way to the Vatican,” said Spotlight producer Michael Sugar while accepting the award.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:30 AM

Pell denies knowing about Ballarat abuses

ROME
Sky News

Cardinal George Pell heard rumours about pedophile priests and suspected a Christian Brother might have been involved in 'pedophilic activity' but insists he was unaware of sexual abuse and cover-ups across the Ballarat diocese in the 1970s.

Child abuse survivors from Australia had a front-row seat in Rome as they watched Cardinal Pell sit late into the night to give evidence to the child abuse royal commission via a video link back to Sydney.

Their reaction was mixed: welcoming of a more conciliatory tone but cautious about what they saw as the cardinal's careful choice of words.

The Australian cleric now in charge of the Vatican's finances told the commission he had heard rumours of abuse and inappropriate behaviour by priests and brothers in the Victorian diocese of Ballarat in the early 1970s.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:28 AM

Church made 'enormous mistakes' over abuse - Pell

ROME
RTE News (Ireland)

Australian Cardinal George Pell, the highest-ranking Vatican official to testify on clerical sexual abuse, said the Catholic Church made "enormous mistakes" and "let people down".

Giving evidence in front of abuse victims in a Rome hotel room, Cardinal Pell told Australia's Royal Commission into Institutional Response to Child Sexual Abuse that children were often not believed and abusive priests shuffled from parish to parish.

"The Church has made enormous mistakes and is working to remedy those, but the Church in many places, certainly in Australia, has mucked things up, has let people down," he said via video link to the commission in Sydney.

"I'm not here to defend the indefensible."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:25 AM

Vatican Cardinal Pell: Catholic Church 'Mucked Things Up' on Sex Abuse

ROME
NBC News

by CLAUDIO LAVANGA and ALASTAIR JAMIESON

ROME — Vatican treasurer George Pell admitted Sunday that the Roman Catholic Church had "mucked things up" as he became the highest-ranking church official to testify on sexual abuse.

Giving evidence in front of abuse victims, the Australian cardinal said the organization reflected society as a whole and there was a "tendency to evil in the Catholic Church, too."

He held up a bible as he took the oath in a Rome hotel room where he began to give evidence by video link to Australia's Royal Commission into Institutional Response to Child Sexual Abuse.

Pell was expected to clarify whether he knew that a number of priests were abusing children in the diocese near Melbourne where he served as a senior priest and vicar between 1973 and 1983. Among them was Australia's most notorious pedophile priest, Gerald Ridsdale, with whom Pell shared a house and who has been convicted for abusing more than 50 children over three decades.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:23 AM

‘Spotlight’ actor Mark Ruffalo urges abuse victims to speak out

CALIFORNIA
GMA News (Philippines)

'Spotlight' actor Mark Ruffalo didn't just make the Academy Awards his focus on Sunday (February 28), where he was nominated in the best supporting actor category.

Earlier in the day, he attended a protest outside the Cathedral of Our Lady of Angels in downtown Los Angeles alongside the Oscar Best Picture winning film's director Tom McCarthy and writer Josh Singer.

"So we were with SNAP today," he told Reuters on the Oscars red carpet, "which is a survivors' organisation of priest sexual abuse and they were down at the cathedral downtown where the archdiocese basically protesting to continue the lack of transparency of the Roman Catholic Church and Rome and the Vatican and most of the archdiocese here in the United States on sexual abuse. There are 2,800 priests who they know are absolute sexual predators whose names have still not been released and not been released here in the United States. Thousands more throughout the United States and the Vatican today is still dragging its feet on making any real reforms. So we were there today to try to bring justice closer to the hands of these poor people, this horrible thing that's happened to these people."

Ruffalo failed to win the best supporting actor Oscar but believed that 'Spotlight' had had an effect on the issue at the heart of the film. He plays real life journalist Mike Rezendes who along with the team of Spotlight investigative journalists uncovered widespread child abuse by Catholic priests in Boston.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:21 AM

A Top Pope Aide Calls Church Conduct in Australia Sex Abuse a ‘Catastrophe’

AUSTRALIA/ROME
Wall Street Journal

By ROB TAYLOR in Canberra and
FRANCIS X. ROCCA in Rome

A top adviser to Pope Francis on Monday told an Australian inquiry that the failure to halt child abuse by clergy decades ago in the country was “a catastrophe” for both victims and the church. But he denied knowledge of any crimes while he was a priest there at that time.

Cardinal George Pell, who is the Vatican’s financial chief, made the church’s most conciliatory and detailed comments yet regarding accusations of sexual abuse of hundreds of Australian children in the 1970s and 1980s in testimony to a government-appointed Royal Commission.

“It certainly was much, much more difficult for the child to be believed then. The predisposition was not to believe,” Cardinal Pell, 74 years old, told the Australia-based inquiry by video-link from Rome. “The instinct was more to protect the institution, the community of the church, from shame.”

The Australian panel was formed in 2012 to investigate accusations of serious child abuse over decades within institutions including churches, schools, orphanages and sporting clubs. It will eventually report back to government.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:17 AM

Oscars 2016: Mark Ruffalo and Spotlight team join sexual abuse protest hours before winning best picture

CALIFORNIA
The Independent (UK)

Maya Oppenheim

Just hours before the Oscars were due to start, Spotlight actor Mark Ruffalo took part in a protest against sexual abuse in the Catholic church in downtown Los Angeles.

Joined by Spotlight director Tom McCarthy and co-writer Josh Singer, the three spent their day at the Cathedral of Our Lady of Angels marching alongside the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests.

Brandishing banners which displayed childhood pictures of the victims of the sexual abuse, the protest called for the names of the priests who have been convicted of abusing minors to be made public.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:15 AM

Catholic Church ‘mucked up’ with paedophile priests: Vatican finance chief

ROME
The National

SYDNEY // Vatican finance chief Cardinal George Pell admitted on Monday the Catholic Church “mucked up” in dealing with paedophile priests and vowed he would not “defend the indefensible” before an Australian inquiry.

Cardinal Pell gave evidence from a hotel in Rome via video-link to the Royal Commission into institutional responses to child sexual abuse in Sydney. He did not appear in person as he has a heart condition.

The inquiry is currently focused on the Victorian state town of Ballarat, where Cardinal Pell grew up and worked, and how the church dealt with complaints – many dating back to the 1970s – against the Catholic clergy.

Cardinal Pell, who rose to be the top Catholic official in Australia, said the church historically made grave errors in not properly addressing the issue and was now working to remedy them.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:14 AM

Top Vatican cardinal grilled about ‘absolutely scandalous’ sex abuse by priests that rocked Australia

ROME
Washington Post

Sarah Kaplan
February 29

“I’m not here to defend the indefensible,” Cardinal George Pell told an Australian courtroom Monday.

What he did was attempt to explain: how one of the most notorious pedophilia rings in the country could have taken place on his watch, how he could have heard about priests who engaged in “misbehavior” — kissing boys, swimming naked with students — and not reported it, how thousands of children were raped and molested by priests in Australia and elsewhere while the Catholic Church did nothing.

“The church has made enormous mistakes and is working to remedy those,” he said via video conference from Rome. “But the church in many places, certainly Australia, has mucked things up … has let people down.”

The investigation into the widespread sexual abuse of children in the city of Ballarat, where Pell was a priest, has brought allegations of exploitation and cover-up extraordinarily far up the Catholic Church’s chain of command; Pell is the church’s Secretariat for the Economy, a position described as the second most powerful in Rome, and he spoke from a hotel that was just blocks from Vatican.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:11 AM

Oscars crown 'Spotlight' but diversity had the limelight

CALIFORNIA
Star Tribune

By JAKE COYLE Associated Press FEBRUARY 29, 2016

LOS ANGELES — In an underdog win for a movie about an underdog profession, the newspaper drama "Spotlight" took best picture Sunday at an Academy Awards riven by protest and outrage, and electrified by an unflinching Chris Rock.

Tom McCarthy's film about the Boston Globe's investigative reporting on sexual abuse by Roman Catholic priests won over the favored frontier epic "The Revenant." McCarthy's well-crafted procedural, led by a strong ensemble cast, had lagged in the lead-up to the Oscars, losing ground to the flashier filmmaking of Alejandro Inarritu's film.

But "Spotlight" — an ode to the hard-nose, methodical work of a journalism increasingly seldom practiced — took the night's top honor despite winning only one other Oscar for McCarthy and Josh Singer's screenplay. Such a sparsely-awarded best picture winner hasn't happened since 1952's "The Greatest Show On Earth."

"We would not be here today without the heroic efforts of our reporters," said producer Blye Pagon Faust. "Not only do they effect global change, but they absolutely show us the necessity for investigative journalism."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:28 AM

'Spotlight' takes top Academy Award, #OscarsSoWhite other big winner

CALIFORNIA
Reuters

LOS ANGELES | BY JILL SERJEANT

Catholic Church abuse movie "Spotlight" was named best picture, the top award at Sunday's Oscars ceremony, after a night peppered with pointed punchlines from host Chris Rock about the #OscarsSoWhite controversy that has dominated the industry.

In a ceremony where no single movie commanded attention, Mexico's Alejandro Inarritu nabbed the best directing Oscar for "The Revenant", becoming the first filmmaker in more than 60 years to win back-to-back Academy Awards. Inarritu won in 2015 for "Birdman."

"The Revenant" went into Sunday's ceremony with a leading 12 nominations, and was among four movies believed to have the best chances for best picture after it won Golden Globe and BAFTA trophies.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:24 AM

Oscars 2016: Spotlight basks in praise after winning Best Picture

CALIFORNIA
Entertainment Weekly

BY WILL ROBINSON

Spotlight won Best Picture at the Academy Awards on Sunday night, upsetting the heavily favored The Revenant.

The ensemble drama about The Boston Globe’s 2002 reporting of the Catholic Church child sex abuse scandal had only one other win on the night, for Best Original Screenplay. The cast basked in their victory after picking up their golden statuettes.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:20 AM

'Spotlight' Producers Address Pope Francis in Oscars Acceptance Speech: "It's Time to Protect the Children"

CALIFORNIA
Hollywood Reporter

[with video]

"This film gave a voice to survivors, and this Oscar amplifies that voice, which we hope will become a choir that will resonate all the way to the Vatican," said producer Michael Sugar.
Spotlight was named best picture at the 88th annual Academy Awards on Sunday night.

The drama showcasing the Boston Globe's reporting on the Catholic Church sex abuse scandal beat out The Big Short, Bridge of Spies, Brooklyn, Mad Max: Fury Road, The Martian, The Revenant and Room.

"This film gave a voice to survivors, and this Oscar amplifies that voice, which we hope will become a choir that will resonate all the way to the Vatican," said producer Michael Sugar. "Pope Francis, it's time to protect the children and restore the faith."

Producer Blye Pagon Faust thanked the real-life reporters from The Boston Globe's Spotlight team, and journalists at large: "Not only do they affect global change, but they absolutely show us the necessity for investigative journalism." Faust's producing partner Nicole Rocklin added of the cast, "If there ever was a perfectly calibrated ensemble, you are it."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:18 AM

Big Oscars upset as Spotlight takes Best Picture

UNITED STATES
Breaking News (Ireland)

Newspaper drama Spotlight has upset all the glitzy Hollywood predictions with an underdog best picture Oscar.

The film was the surprise winner at the 88th Academy Awards, where remarks on lack of diversity dominated the proceedings.

Tom McCarthy's film about the Boston Globe's investigative reporting on sexual abuse by Catholic priests won over the favoured frontier epic The Revenant.

Spotlight, led by a strong ensemble cast, had lagged in the lead-up to the Oscars, losing ground to the flashier film-making of Alejandro Inarritu's film starring Leonardo DiCaprio, who won the best actor statuette.

But Spotlight, an ode to the hard-nosed methodical work of a form of journalism now practised seldomly, took the night's top honour, despite winning only one other Oscar for McCarthy and Josh Singer's screenplay.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:17 AM

‘Spotlight’s Surprise Best Picture Win At The Oscars: What Does This Mean For Its Box Office?

CALIFORNIA
Deadline

by Anthony D'Alessandro
February 28, 2016

Open Road’s Spotlight is already out on DVD/VOD and it’s in its 17th weekend at the box office with $39.1 million. So how much juice can possibly be left in this film at the domestic box office? While exhibitors typically have a policy against booking titles that are already out on VOD/DVD, there’s always a want to get a best picture winner back into theaters. An Open Road insider confirmed earlier tonight that there’s a plan to take Spotlight back up to 1,000 engagements. It’s currently in play at 685 locations. Should that plan hold, industry estimates see Spotlight‘s total cume rising by another 4% to 12% for a final take between $40.7M-$43.8M.

Interestingly enough, Spotlight finds itself in similar scenario to last year’s best picture winner Birdman. By Oscar night a year ago, that Fox Searchlight release was also a played-out fall release that was already out on DVD with $37.8M in its 19th frame. Searchlight jumped its theater count from 407 venues during Oscarcast weekend to 1,207 the following week. Following its best picture win, Birdman‘s total cume jumped by 12% to $42.3M, ending its run during mid April. The average B.O boost for a best picture winner between the night of the ceremony and the end of its run has hovered around 20%.

Heading into the tonight, many though 20th Century Fox/New Regency’s The Revenant was going to take best picture, and if that was the case, that title stood to make another $10M-$15M at the box office. Fox will expand by a few hundred theaters and the thinking is that its best actor win for Leonardo DiCaprio will continue to send folks to the multiplex. However, a best picture win would have fueled the ultimate gain. While a number of contenders got lost in autumn’s bloodbath at the B.O., The Revenant, was the only best picture contender to play the 2016 side of the awards season, and reaped the benefits of doing so in a market that had already O.D.ed on Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Since noms were announced on January 14, The Revenant actually saw the biggest boost out of all the best pic noms –+215%– jumping from $54.1M to $170.5M through this weekend.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:14 AM

Oscars 2016: Chris Rock Scores and ‘Spotlight’ Takes Center Stage

CALIFORNIA
New York Times

by MICHAEL CIEPLY and BROOKS BARNES
FEB. 28, 2016

LOS ANGELES — In a ceremony that became a raucous diversity lesson under the guidance of its host, Chris Rock, Tom McCarthy’s “Spotlight,” a newspaper drama about the Roman Catholic Church cover-up of sexual abuse by priests, snatched top honors at the 88th Academy Awards on Sunday. It beat out “The Revenant,” which had been widely viewed as the favorite, but which nevertheless earned a best actor prize for Leonardo DiCaprio, his first Oscar, and a best director award for Alejandro G. Iñárritu.

Michael Sugar, a “Spotlight” producer, said he hoped the win would “resonate all the way to the Vatican.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:12 AM

February 28, 2016

Here's the list of things Cardinal George Pell can't remember

ROME
Business Insider

HARRY TUCKER

Cardinal George Pell gave his long awaited four-hour testimony at the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sex Abuse earlier this morning.

The testimony covered many things around Pell’s time at various positions throughout various dioceses in Victoria and his knowledge of the behaviour of alleged paedophile priests.

The Rome-based Cardinal, who is the Secretariat for the Economy, responsible for the Holy See and Vatican’s finances, was forced to give evidence from the Italian capital because he is ill and unable to fly back to Australia to appear before the Royal Commission. His memory also appeared to be causing him trouble during testimony today.

Several times during his four hour appearance he said “I can’t remember any such examples but my memory might be playing me false”, or similar statements.

Here’s a list of the things the man in charge of the Catholic Church’s finances couldn’t recall or didn’t know anything about during his testimony today.

1. Whether he was ever approached about priests being “overly affectionate” with kids.

2. Whether he was approached for advice before a special tribunal was established to judge bishops accused of covering up priests who sexually abused children.

3. Whether paedophile priest Paul David Ryan was sent to the US for special treatment for his sexual offences.

4. Whether he knew anything about Paul David Ryan’s US trip at all.

5. Whether Bishop Ronald Mulkearns from Ballarat was aware of child abuse within his diocese.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:15 PM

Cardinal George Pell: Out of his comfort zone, and facing sex abuse survivors in Rome

ROME
Sydney Morning Herald

February 29, 2016

Nick Miller

You would not find a more remarkable bunch of blokes than this group from Ballarat.

They are survivors of horrible sexual abuse, scarred for life, in varying states of health, but drawing on such deep wells of strength that up they came, in the teeth of a storm, to the Hotel Quirinale to face the third most powerful man in the church that betrayed and abandoned them.

Thunder and lightning cracked overhead, fat drops of Mediterranean winter rain bounced off the cobbles around them, serried media spotlights swung their way.

And they calmly said their pieces, posed for the flashes, and trooped into the opulent depths of the Quirinale.

The contrast couldn't be stronger to Cardinal George Pell's arrival, several hours earlier. As his car swung up to the hotel's side entrance, a TV camera and reporter were waiting – the networks had pooled their resources to make sure he couldn't go in unseen.

But a group of burly Italian security guards roughly pushed the journalists back – it was unclear on whose orders: Cardinal Pell later denied they were his team, blaming Italian police.

He then disappeared up to his room on the fifth floor, where rumour has it he will dwell until the hearing is over – except when he takes the stand.

It may not be quite the Vatican style that Cardinal Pell is used to but he's not roughing it.
Rome specialises in luxurious locations. It's kind of its thing.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:06 PM

Chris Rock gives Globe Spotlight reporter a shoutout during the Oscars

CALIFORNIA
Boston.com

By Bryanna Cappadona @brycappa
Boston.com Staff | 02.28.16

Oh, would ya look at that? In a glitzy room full of ravishing movie stars, Academy Awards host Chris Rock turned everyone’s attention to some of the real people who inspired some of this year’s Oscars-nominated movies. One of those people was The Boston Globe reporter Michael Rezendes, who is portrayed by Mark Ruffalo in Spotlight.

“It’s always fascinating to meet the real people that the movies are based on,” Rock said. “And some of them are here tonight. From Joy, the real Joy Mangano is here. Give it up for Joy. From Spotlight, The Boston Globe reporter the real Mike Rezendes is here. Give it up for Mike.”

Hi, Mike!

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:03 PM

Oscars: ‘Spotlight’ Wins Best Original Screenplay, Tom McCarthy Praises Journalists

CALIFORNIA
Variety

Dave McNary
Film Reporter
@Variety_DMcNary

“Spotlight’s” Academy Award win for best original screenplay for Tom McCarthy and Josh Singer shone a light on the important work of investigative journalists.

“We made this film for all the journalists who have and continue to hold the powerful accountable, and for the survivors whose courage and will to overcome is really an inspiration. We have to make sure this never happens again.” McCarthy said in his acceptance speech for the first award of the evening.

The script, exploring the Boston Globe’s investigation into pedophile priests, topped screenplays for “Bridge of Spies,” “Ex Machina,” “Inside Out” and “Straight Outta Compton.”

“Spotlight” has been the screenplay frontrunner through the awards season as it won at the Writers Guild and at the Spirit Awards, where it received standing ovations Saturday. McCarthy, who also directed, and Singer have made the rounds describing the courage of the Globe journalists portrayed in the film — both for their Pulitzer Prize-winning work in exposing the systematic clergy abuse and for giving wide access to the production team and actors.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:01 PM

‘Spotlight’ wins for best original screenplay

CALIFORNIA
Boston Globe

Just minutes into the Oscar telecast on Sunday night, Josh Singer already knew he’d be going home with at least one little gold man.

The evening’s first award, best original screenplay, went to Singer and Tom McCarthy for “Spotlight,” their telling of the Boston Globe’s Pulitzer Prize-winning investigation of clergy sexual abuse in the Roman Catholic Church. Accepting the award, Singer, a Harvard Law grad whose previous writing credits include “The West Wing” and “The Fifth Estate,” thanked the “Spotlight” cast and crew, and his father, “who taught me how to dream.”

McCarthy, who also directed, dedicated the screenwriting award to survivors “whose courage and will to overcome is really an inspiration.” He added, “We made this film for all the journalists who have and continue to hold the powerful accountable.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:00 PM

Pell never heard 'bum buddies' term

ROME
NT News

AAP

The term "bum buddies" never came to the attention of Cardinal George Pell in reference to a Christian Brother who was later jailed for abusing 31 boys.

The Cardinal was answering questions about his time as a priest in the Ballarat East parish in Victoria from 1973 to 1994 when he was also the episcopal vicar for education in the diocese.

In a video link from Rome the Cardinal has repeatedly told the Royal commission into child sexual abuse that he could not recall detail of exactly who told him what about problems at the local Christian Brothers school, St Patrick's College.

He said he remembered being told of one brother who was kissing boys but said he never heard the 'bum buddies' term, which one witness, a former student at the school, has told the commission was used openly about boys who were abused by Brother Ted Dowlan.

Dr Pell agreed the term would certainly suggest sexual abuse.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:57 PM

Abuse unseen but 'on the radar', Cardinal George Pell tells commission

ROME
Sydney Morning Herald

Rachel Browne
Social Affairs Reporter

Cardinal George Pell was aware of the existence of clerical sexual abuse in the early 1970s but failed to recognise widespread offending when he was a junior priest in Ballarat, despite gossip that Christian Brothers there were assaulting children.

Cardinal Pell gave his long-awaited evidence into his knowledge of alleged sexual offences in Ballarat to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse by video link from Rome on Monday.

In a hearing expected to last four days, Cardinal Pell told the commission that abuse by Catholic clergy was "on the radar" in the 1970s due to offending by Monsignor John Day, who died in 1978.

The commission heard a 1971 police investigation found that Monsignor Day had molested children in Victoria over 13 years.

Cardinal Pell told the commission Monsignor Day's case made him aware of sexual abuse among clergy but he did not recognise signs of abuse among Christian Brothers in Ballarat, where he was assistant parish priest from 1973-83.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:54 PM

No knowledge of 'catastrophic' abuse: Pell

ROME
9 News

AAP

Cardinal George Pell says he didn't know of sexual abuse perpetrated by pedophile priests in Victoria in the 1970s and has labelled a bishop's handling of one notorious case as "catastrophic".

On the first of four days of evidence to the child abuse royal commission via video link from Rome, Cardinal Pell was adamant he was unaware of predatory behaviour by priests and brothers when he was a junior priest in the diocese of Ballarat.

Cardinal Pell said the former Ballarat bishop Ronald Mulkearns knew in 1975 that notorious pedophile Father Gerald Ridsdale had abused boys but continued to move him to new parishes.

"The way he was dealt with, that was a catastrophe, a catastrophe for the victims and a catastrophe for the church," Cardinal Pell told the hearing from a conference room inside Rome's Hotel Quirinale.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:52 PM

At the scene: George Pell leaves abuse survivors unconvinced after first royal commission hearing

ROME
ABC News

By London bureau chief Lisa Millar

Cardinal George Pell's testimony to the royal commission in Rome left abuse survivors slightly mollified, but ultimately unconvinced. Lisa Millar reports from the Hotel Quirinale.

After so much anticipation, it was hardly surprising that the hearing began in such a dramatic fashion.

Three hours before his evidence was due to start, Cardinal George Pell was driven to the side entrance of the Hotel Quirinale, where a cameraman and reporter trying to film his arrival were treated roughly by security.

The scuffle threatened to overshadow the start of this unusual session.

The Royal Commission has heard from witnesses before via videolink, but never under these kind of circumstances — in a hotel on the other side of the world, with 120 people in the audience who were not seen or heard from because of a ban on filming or photographs.

They remarked that Cardinal Pell had not acknowledged them as he entered the room. His mind was probably focused on the table on the side where he sat facing a video screen.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:50 PM

Cardinal George Pell: Ballarat reacts to testimony characterised by memory loss

AUSTRALIA/ROME
The Age

February 29, 2016

Konrad Marshall
Senior writer

It was 8:46am when the crowd of more than 60, gathered in the Trench Room at Ballarat Town Hall, murmured with disapproval. They hung their heads, shook their heads, and looked up in disbelief.

Cardinal George Pell's testimony had only been going 45 minutes when he acknowledged that his recollections would be imperfect – that his memory might fail him in this hearing.
"I can't remember," Cardinal Pell said.

"I'm struggling to remember," he said later.

"I can't clearly recall," he noted.

The people there listening – a mix of clergy abuse survivors and counsellors and family members – had previously been silent. Now they offered a muffled collective scoff, and pained laughter.

Tim Lane, 44, had been waiting for this. Lane was abused in his home as a child – one of six Ballarat siblings to fall prey to Brother Grant Ross. Lane has followed the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sex Abuse, and been pleased with the result in his home town.

He has seen people throughout the city wearing "Some Don't Remember – Some Won't Forget" T-shirts. He has watched ribbons of support blow in the wind, tied to every school and church and tree. He has attended various civic receptions for survivors, and been listened to by his community. And it has been cathartic.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:47 PM

'Spotlight' Wins for Best Original Screenplay at the 88th Academy Awards

CALIFORNIA
Bostoinno

Alex E. Weaver Lifestyle Editor

Chances are, you're at or near a TV, paying varying degrees of attention to the 2016 Oscar winners, hosted by the often funny and always controversial Chris Rock. (Who, yeah, spent some time chatting about #OscarsSoWhite.)

This year's Oscar Awards holds a special level of interest if you're a Massachusetts resident or native: Spotlight, the portrayal of the 2001 Boston Globe shakedown of the rampant child molestation occurring within the Roman Catholic Church (and even more so, the subsequent systemic cover-up), is up for a host of awards, including Best Picture, Actor in a Supporting Role, Actress in a Supporting Role, Directing, Film Editing and Writing (Original Screenplay).

And while the Best Picture is still a ways off, Spotlight has won an Oscar for Writing (Original Screenplay).

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:44 PM

Spotlight writers thank journalists, survivors after Best Original Screenplay win

CALIFORNIA
Entertainment Weekly

Tom McCarthy and Josh Singer took home Oscar gold for telling the real-life story behind the Boston Globe’s Spotlight team.

McCarthy and Singer won the Best Original Screenplay Oscar for Spotlight, after winning in the same category at the Writers Guild Awards earlier this month. In their screenplay, McCarthy — who also directed the film — and Singer follow the investigative team at the Boston Globe as they fight uncover the truth about systemic child abuse inside the Catholic Church.

The film is nominated for several other awards, including Best Director for McCarthy and Best Picture.

“We made this film for all the journalists who have and continue to hold the powerful accountable,” McCarthy said. He also dedicated the award to survivors, “whose courage and will to overcome is really an inspiration.”

Backstage, McCarthy continued, “I think if Josh and I came away with anything from this, it’s just what hardworking dedicated curious and committed professional these reporters are. And for any profession you take your hat off to people like that. For us it felt more like a social calling than it did a job, with these people, it was incredibly inspirational.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:41 PM

Survivors welcome more conciliatory Pell

ROME
The Australian

BY LLOYD JONES, AAP EUROPE CORRESPONDENT

Child abuse survivors in Rome to hear Cardinal George Pell's testimony to a royal commission say he struck a more conciliatory and constructive tone, but there's a long way to go.

Cardinal Pell is making his third appearance before the inquiry into how institutions like churches handled child sexual abuse complaints and is giving evidence by videolink after he was deemed too ill to return to Australia for questioning.

He's being questioned about what he knew about pedophile priest activity in Ballarat and Melbourne when he served there.

A survivors' group who travelled to Rome to hear his evidence listened quietly through just over three and a half hours of testimony in the Quirinale Hotel late on Sunday night and early into Monday morning.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:36 PM

'SPOTLIGHT' WINS FIRST OSCAR OF THE NIGHT

CALIFORNIA
ABC 7

LOS ANGELES -- "Spotlight" took home the first award of the night at the 2016 Oscars on Sunday.

The journalism drama won the Oscar for the best original screenplay. The script by Josh Singer and Tom McCarthy tells the story of the Boston Globe's Pulitzer Prize-winning investigation of sex abuse by Catholic priests.

McCarthy said they made the film for all the journalists who hold those in power accountable.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:34 PM

'Spotlight' wins Oscar for original screenplay at the Academy Awards

CALIFORNIA
Los Angeles Times

Susan King

Tom McCarthy and Josh Singer won the Academy Award on Sunday for original screenplay for "Spotlight," the drama revolving around the Boston Globe's investigative reporters uncovering a massive cover-up by the Catholic Church of priests molesting young boys.

The film won praise from journalists for its realistic depiction of the newspaper world; many considered it the best film about newspapers since "All the President's Men." And in fact Washington Post Watergate journalist Carl Bernstein endorsed the film in Oscar season advertising. The screenplay was heralded for its attention to detail and its thriller-like pacing.

In accepting the Oscar, McCarthy referred to the survivors of the abuse scandals, noting: "We have to make sure this never happens again."

Going into the 88th Academy Awards, "Spotlight" was considered the odds on favorite to receive the screenplay Oscar. Singer and McCarthy had won the vast majority of the major awards this season, including the BAFTA, Spirit Award, Gotham Independent Film Award, the Los Angeles Film Critics Assn. and National Society of Film Critics honors and the Writers Guild award.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:32 PM

Oscars: 'Spotlight' Screenwriters Talk Sex Abuse Cover-Up Prevention in Acceptance Speech

CALIFORNIA
Hollywood Reporter

[with video]

"We made this film for all the journalists who have and continue to hold the powerful accountable, and for the survivors whose courage and will to overcome is really an inspiration to all," said Tom McCarthy.

Spotlight was named best original screenplay at the 88th Annual Academy Awards on Sunday night.

The film's screenplay beat out those of Bridge of Spies, Ex Machina, Inside Out, and Straight Outta Compton.

"We made this film for all the journalists who have and continue to hold the powerful accountable, and for the survivors whose courage and will to overcome is really an inspiration to all," said Tom McCarthy, alongside co-writer Josh Singer. "We have to make sure this never happens again."

Emily Blunt and Charlize Theron presented the first award of the night. The order of awards was changed to illustrate the filmmaking process itself.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:30 PM

Italian police jostle Aussie news crew covering George Pell's Royal Commission testimony

ROME
9 News

The Catholic Church has denied Cardinal Pell’s security clashed with Australian news crews outside the hotel where he is giving evidence in the sex abuse inquiry, saying the men were Italian police officers.

Video from the encounter shows the police, originally thought to be the Cardinal’s bodyguards, obstructing and jostling a news cameraman and crew outside the Hotel Quirinale in Rome.

The Archdiocese of Sydney rejected claims the cardinal's security were involved in the altercation.

"Cardinal Pell is sorry to hear of an incident involving two members of the media and Italian police just prior to giving evidence to the Royal Commission via video link in Rome," a spokeswoman said.

"The Italian Police are in charge of security outside and inside the hotel where the hearing is taking place and have been liaising with Commission staff.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:40 PM

Pell denies allegations security team 'manhandled' SBS reporter

ROME
SBS

AAP

Italian police and not Cardinal George Pell's security staff were involved in a scuffle with media outside a Rome hotel, the cardinal's office says..

SBS Europe Correspondent Brett Mason said Cardinal Pell's security team had been heavy handed, "manhandling" him and a cameraman as they attempted to film the arrival.

Cardinal Pell is sorry to hear of the incident with an SBS reporter and cameraman but it did not involve his security staff as has been reported, his office said in a statement.

"The Italian police are in charge of security outside and inside the hotel where the hearing is taking place and have been liaising with commission staff," the statement said.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:57 PM

Cardinal George Pell gives evidence in Rome to the royal commission into child sexual abuse

ROME
Courier Mail

[with live stream]

CARDINAL George Pell is giving evidence to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse via video link from Rome.

Cardinal Pell’s office issued a statement as he was giving evidence saying he will meet with abuse survivors who have flown to Rome from Victoria.

Key Events


10.32AM: Cardinal Pell believes reading a newspaper article in 1972 was the first time he became aware of allegations of abuse by clergy.
More

9.21AM: Cardinal Pell said in the 1970s if a priest denied allegations of paedophilia he was inclined to accept their denial
More

9.04AM: Cardinal Pell says the handling of Gerald Ridsdale was "catastrophe" for the victims and the church
More

8.57AM: Cardinal Pell says the instinct was to protect the institution of the church from shame
More

8.55AM: Cardinal Pell has denied he was aware of priests including Gerald Ridsdale being sent off for treatment

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:35 PM

Pell: Dealing with paedophile priest 'a catastrophe'

ROME
Daily Examiner

THE way the Australian Roman Catholic Church dealt with a paedophile priest in Ballarat was a "catastrophe", according to Cardinal George Pell.

Giving evidence from Rome, Cardinal Pell was asked his view on former Bishop Ronald Mulkearns, who has long been accused of ignoring sex abuse within the church.

When Cardinal Pell was asked if he was critical of Bishop Mulkearns' conduct, the Cardinal said the bishop's handling of paedophile Gerald Risdale was "a catastrophe".

"I have just re-read the file of Ridsdale. The priest. Ex-priest," Cardinal Pell said.

"And the way he was dealt with was a catastrophe.

"A catastrophe for the victims and a catastrophe for the church.

"If effective action had been taken earlier, an enormous amount of suffering would've been avoided."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:31 PM

Case for Mulkearns inquiry, says Pell

AUSTRALIA
Herald Sun

AAP

There is a case for a judicial tribunal to consider how Bishop Ronald Mulkearns handled clergy accused of child sexual abuse, Cardinal George Pell says.

In evidence via videolink from Rome, Dr Pell said he could not give "book, chapter and verse" about what Bishop Mulkearns knew and did not act upon at particular times.

Bishop Mulkearns, who is now in his 80s and dying of cancer, was bishop in Ballarat, Victoria, from 1971 to 1997.

Dr Pell told the sex abuse royal commission there was a purpose to the way Bishop Mulkearns dealt with Gerald Ridsdale and other alleged pedophile priests.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:30 PM

Mark Ruffalo, 'Spotlight' creators join Catholic sex abuse victims' rally in downtown L.A.

LOS ANGELES (CA)
Los Angeles Times

Frank Shyong

About 20 protesters who rallied against sexual abuse in the Catholic church in downtown Los Angeles were joined by "Spotlight" actor Mark Ruffalo, the film's director Tom McCarthy and its writer Josh Singer on Sunday.

Protesters, many of whom identify as victims of abuse by Catholic priests, marched and brandished banners outside the Cathedral of Our Lady of Angels Sunday morning.

Ruffalo, Singer and McCarthy, who were invited by the group to appear, joined them in calling on the church to take greater action against sexual abuse and release the names of known abusers.

The "Spotlight" creators each held a section of a banner printed with the victims' childhood photos and addressed the protesters before heading to pre-Oscar parties and the red carpet.

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"I'm here to stand with the survivors and the victims and the people we've lost from Catholic priest childhood sex abuse," Ruffalo told protesters.

The protest, organized by the group Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, was one of 20 rallies Sunday urging greater transparency at Catholic cathedrals across the nation, said Barbara Blaine, the president and founder of the group. Organizers wanted to use the Academy Awards, which takes place Sunday night, was a way to draw attention to their cause, Blaine said.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:27 PM

‘Spotlight’ actor Mark Ruffalo joins survivors protest

LOS ANGELES (CA)
Boston Globe

By Mark Shanahan GLOBE STAFF FEBRUARY 28, 2016

Before the Academy Awards started Sunday, “Spotlight” actor Mark Ruffalo, director Tom McCarthy, and co-writer Josh Singer joined with members of SNAP, the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests, for a protest outside the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels in downtown Los Angeles. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the “Spotlight” gang was there to support the survivors’ demand that the names of pedophile priests be released. Ruffalo, nominated for his role in the film, tweeted: “Standing with the survivors of Priest sexual abuse!” The Oscar-nominated “Spotlight” tells the story of the Boston Globe series exposing the many pedophile priests in the Catholic church.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:24 PM

Mark Ruffalo Joins Sexual Abuse Survivors at a Protest Outside a Catholic Church Just Hours Before the Oscars

LOS ANGELES (CA)
People

BY KATHY EHRICH DOWD @kathyehrichdowd 02/28/2016

Mark Ruffalo took part in a protest outside a Los Angeles Catholic Church on Oscars Sunday, joining others who continue to criticize the religious institution for its handling of the worldwide sexual abuse scandal.

Ruffalo, 48, joined Spotlight director and co-writer Tom McCarthy, co-writer Josh Singer and members SNAP, the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests, at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels in downtown Los Angeles Sunday to call for the names of priests accused of pedophilia to be released, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Ruffalo is nominated for Best Supporting Actor for his portrayal of Mike Rezendes, a member of The Boston Globe's Spotlight team, whose meticulous reporting to uncover the scandal is dramatized in the film up for Best Picture.

The actor and activist confirmed his participation in the protest Sunday on Twitter.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:23 PM

Pell unaware of priests sent for treatment

ROME
SBS

AAP

Cardinal George Pell has denied any knowledge of pedophile priests being sent for psychiatric treatment by the bishop of Ballarat when he was based in the Victorian diocese.

Cardinal Pell, giving evidence to the child abuse royal commission via video link from Rome, said he was "certainly not" aware the former Bishop of Ballarat Ronald Mulkearns was sending priests off to be treated for sexual offending.

"I wasn't aware of Mulkearns sending anyone off for sexual offending," he said.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:18 PM

Pell says he would have believed denials

ROME
The Australian

AAP

Cardinal George Pell says he would have believed a priest who denied sexually abusing children in the early 1970s.

Cardinal Pell said it was a great scandal when Monsignor John Day was accused in 1971 and 1972 of indecently assaulting children while the parish priest in Mildura.

Cardinal Pell, who as an assistant priest in the Swan Hill parish at the time, said he heard some gossip about Monsignor Day being accused of some sort of pedophilia activity.

"I must say in those days if a priest denied such activity I was very strongly inclined to accept the denial," Cardinal Pell told the child abuse royal commission from Rome.

Cardinal Pell, who was overseas from 1963 until 1971, said the gossip he heard likely came from fellow priests.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:16 PM

Not Pell security in Rome scuffle: church

ROME
9 News

AAP

Italian police and not Cardinal George Pell's security staff were involved in a scuffle with media outside a Rome hotel, the cardinal's office says.

Reporters outside the hotel say Cardinal Pell's security team was heavy-handed, pushing camera crews aside as he entered to give his videolink evidence to the child abuse royal commission.

Cardinal Pell is sorry to hear of the incident with an SBS reporter and cameraman but it did not involve his security staff as has been reported, his office said in a statement.

"The Italian police are in charge of security outside and inside the hotel where the hearing is taking place and have been liaising with commission staff," the statement said.

Cardinal Pell asked a member of his team to speak to the reporter to check on his wellbeing, it said.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:15 PM

Mark Ruffalo joins sexual abuse protest hours ahead of the Oscars

LOS ANGELES (CA)
The Guardian (UK)

Henry Barnes and agencies
@HenryHBarnes
Sunday 28 February 2016

Mark Ruffalo has joined survivors of paedophile priests in a protest outside downtown LA’s Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels, hours before he is due to attend the Academy Awards.

Ruffalo, who is nominated in the best supporting actor category for his performance in Spotlight, joined members of the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests (SNAP) to call for the names of priests who had been convicted of abusing minors to be made public.

Spotlight follows a 2002 investigation by reporters from the Boston that uncovered the widespread sexual abuse of children by scores of the district’s clergy. Ruffalo plays Mike Rezendes, a veteran on the Globe’s investigative journalism team, which the film is named after.

The film details the cover-up of sexual abuse cases by Boston’s then archbishop Cardinal Bernard Francis Law. In 2013 SNAP accused the Catholic Church in LA of a similar cover-up and demanded that Cardinal Roger Mahony, archbishop of the LA archdiocese in the 1980s, reveal the names of all priests who had been relocated after an incident of abuse. It’s one of a series of protests taking place across the US. “In LA and nine other US cities, SNAP urged bishops to disclose and post on church websites the names, photos, whereabouts and work histories of all predator priests,” said SNAP’s national director David Clohessy.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:02 PM

Cardinal admits 'scandalous ' response to abuse allegations

ROME
Reading Eagle

By NICOLE WINFIELD, Associated Press

ROME (AP) — One of Pope Francis' top advisers acknowledges that the Catholic Church "has made enormous mistakes" in allowing thousands of children to be raped and molested by priests over centuries in testimony at an extraordinary public hearing of an Australian investigative commission just a few blocks from the Vatican.

Cardinal George Pell testified late Sunday via videolink from a Rome hotel to the Royal Commission sitting in Sydney. In the front row of the conference room were two dozen Australian abuse survivors and their companions who had travelled across the globe to be on hand for Pell's testimony.

The lead counsel assisting the commission, Gail Furness, is questioning Pell about current Vatican efforts to address the scandal as well as Pell's past in Australia, including how he dealt with abuse allegations.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:52 PM

Cardinal George Pell's heavy-handed security guards 'push and punch' Australian media in Rome

ROME
Daily Mail

By FREYA NOBLE FOR DAILY MAIL AUSTRALIA

Cardinal George Pell's security have been accused of 'pushing and punching' Australian media in Rome as he arrived to give evidence to the Royal Commission into Child Abuse.

Cardinal Pell is speaking to the commission in Ballarat, Victoria, via video link from a hotel near his home at the Vatican in Rome despite public pressure to bring him home for the event.

As he arrived at the high-end hotel, heavy-handed security are said to have forcefully pushed waiting media away from Pell as he arrived through a side door.

Channel Nine reporter Amelia Ballinger told the Sydney Morning Herald one reporter was punched, while cameramen were pushed and shoved out of the way.

'Before he even got out of the car a number of big, burly security guards got out before him and they basically assaulted, I guess, for want of a better word, the [television] crew that was waiting there for him,' Ballinger said.

She added that a journalist waiting to question Pell was 'punched in the stomach', and Pell entered the building without having to face any questions.

Italian Police have been informed of the alleged incidents and the Royal Commission have been notified

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:48 PM

Pell: Church not calling police was "general practice"

ROME
Daily Examiner

CARDINAL George Pell has admitted the church had a "general practice" of not calling the police when it learned of sexual assaults, instinctually acting to protect the institution ahead of victims.

Cardinal Pell was being asked about his views -- given in the 1980s -- that the church generally did not believe children when they made these allegations.

The Cardinal said he believes those were now an "over-statement" but conceded that children were often not listened to.

He said there was no formal policy to dismiss such allegations but unofficially, "sometimes they were dismissed in absolutely scandalous circumstances".

These were when victims made "very, very,very plausible allegations made by responsible people that were not followed up sufficiently".

Cardinal Pell said the instinct of many was to protect the church and its community "from shame".

When asked if there was a tendency not to refer such incidents to police, Cardinal Pell said it was "general practice" but that people were not prevented or impeded "but they were certainly rarely encouraged".

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:22 PM

Pell regrets some complaints ignored

ROME
9 News

AAP

Cardinal George Pell says a number of complaints of clergy abuse of children were wrongly dismissed.

"I don't have the statistics on that but too many of them certainly were dismissed and sometimes they were dismissed in absolutely scandalous circumstances," Cardinal Pell told the child abuse royal commission via videolink from Rome.

He said the tendency to dismiss complaints was more about protecting the church.

"At that stage, the instinct was more to protect the institution, the community of the church, from shame," he said.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:20 PM

Cardinal George Pell's memory 'fallible' as Royal Commission testimony begins

ROME
9 News

By Nick Alexander

Cardinal George Pell has begun testifying before a Royal Commission via video-link from Rome under the watchful gaze of 15 Australian abuse survivors, who are present in his room at the Hotel Quirinale.

Having sworn on a Holy Bible to tell the truth Cardinal Pell began his third appearance before the Royal Commission by saying that he does not intend to "defend the indefensible".

"The church has made enormous mistakes and is here to remedy those," Cardinal Pell said, but conceded that the church has "mucked things up and let people down."

"Unfortunately original sin is alive and well, the tendency to evil in the Catholic Church too,"Cardinal Pell said.

"For good or for ill the church follows the patterns of the society in which it lives."

Cardinal George Pell has begun testifying before a Royal Commission via video-link from Rome under the watchful gaze of 15 Australian abuse survivors, who are present in his room at the Hotel Quirinale.

Having sworn on a Holy Bible to tell the truth Cardinal Pell began his third appearance before the Royal Commission by saying that he does not intend to "defend the indefensible".

"The church has made enormous mistakes and is here to remedy those," Cardinal Pell said, but conceded that the church has "mucked things up and let people down."

"Unfortunately original sin is alive and well, the tendency to evil in the Catholic Church too,"Cardinal Pell said.

"For good or for ill the church follows the patterns of the society in which it lives."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:17 PM

Oscars: Mark Ruffalo Joins Sexual Abuse Protest Outside Los Angeles Cathedral

LOS ANGELES (CA)
Hollywood Reporter

'Spotlight' director Tom McCarthy and screenwriter Josh Singer also took part.

Hours before the 88th Oscars were set to start, the Spotlight team of actor Mark Ruffalo, director-cowriter Tom McCarthy and co-writer Josh Singer joined a protest outside the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels in downtown Los Angeles. They stood with members of SNAP, the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests, outside the cathedral calling for the names of pedophile priests to be released.

Ruffalo confirmed on Twitter on that he participated in the protest, tweeting, "Standing with the survivors of Priest sexual abuse!"

Spotlight follows the Boston Globe investigative journalists who uncovered the Catholic church scandal of priests involved with child molestation. The film has earned Ruffalo an Oscar nomination for best supporting actor as well as five other nominations, including best picture, best director and best original screenplay. On Saturday, it took home five trophies at Film Independent's Spirit Awards, including best feature.

SNAP is also hosting a viewing party for the Oscars at the Next Door Lounge, at 1154 North Highland Avenue, in Hollywood.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:14 PM

THE 'SPOTLIGHT' PROBLEM: MOVIES ABOUT JOURNALISM GET NOMINATED FOR BEST PICTURE. WHY DON'T THEY WIN?

UNITED STATES
Newsweek

BY ZACH SCHONFELD ON 2/28/16

At the 49th Academy Awards, two instantly iconic depictions of journalism on film—one fictional, the other stranger than fiction—competed for top prizes.

It was 1977. Network, the ever-quotable portrait of a "mad prophet" TV anchor whose on-air breakdown leads to soaring ratings, nearly swept the acting categories: Peter Finch (in a posthumous victory) won Best Actor for his performance as Howard Beale; Faye Dunaway took home Best Actress; and Beatrice Straight won Best Supporting despite spending a record-short five minutes on screen. All the President's Men, the sprawling, step-by-step unraveling of the Watergate investigation that inspired a generation of reporters, garnered eight nominations and four wins, including Best Supporting Actor (Jason Robards).

And in the Best Picture category, for which both movies were nominated, the award went to—well, it went to Rocky.

Movies about the news media get Best Picture nominations. They just don't seem to win. The pattern is an old one. Citizen Kane, the story of a newspaper mogul loosely based on William Randolph Hearst, got a nomination in 1942 but lost to John Ford's How Green Was My Valley. The prior year, Alfred Hitchcock's Foreign Correspondent—starring Joel McCrea as an American reporter tracking enemy spies—lost to a very different Hitchcock film, Rebecca. Broadcast News lost to The Last Emperor at the 1988 awards, several years after The Killing Fields lost to Amadeus. More insultingly, Good Night, and Good Luck, George Clooney's thoughtful depiction of a McCarthy-era Edward R. Murrow, lost to a movie sometimes considered the worst Best Picture winner in Oscars history: 2005's Crash.

It has been nearly 70 years since a journalism movie won Best Picture. The deserving Gentleman's Agreement (1947) has Gregory Peck as a reporter assigned to write an article about anti-Semitism, so he poses as a Jew to experience prejudice firsthand.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:11 PM

Mark Ruffalo, Liev Schreiber, Michael Keaton celebrate at 'Spotlight' producers' pre-Oscar bash

CALIFORNIA
Los Angeles Times

Christie D'Zurilla

Call it what you want — this was a "Spotlight" celebration.

Liev Schreiber, Michael Keaton and Mark Ruffalo, with wife Sunrise Coigney, all made it to "Spotlight" producer Michael Sugar's pre-Oscar party just hours after the film took four Independent Spirit Awards, including best feature.

The film is up for six Oscars, with nominations including supporting actor for Ruffalo, supporting actress for Rachel McAdams and best picture.

The event, co-hosted by Sugar's Anonymous Content colleagues Steve Golin (also a "Spotlight" producer) and Doug Wald, started late Saturday and ran over into Sunday morning high atop Sunset Tower in West Hollywood.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:09 PM

Black ribbon tied outside commission

AUSTRALIA
The Australian

AAP

A black ribbon has been tied around a tree outside the abuse royal commission hearing room in Sydney where Cardinal George Pell's evidence by video link will be transmitted from Rome.

The ribbon was put there to mark the death on Sunday of 71-year-old Gary O'Neill, who was raised in a Catholic Church boys' orphanage in Westmead Sydney, said Leonie Sheedy who heads up a survivor support organisation.

Members of Care Leavers' Australasia Network, linked hands and held a silent vigil for Mr O'Neill and hundreds like him, who suffered at the hands of Catholic clergy.

Ms Sheedy said Mr O'Neill had suffered awful abuse as a child at the St Vincent's Boys' Orphanage.

People have been gathering outside Governor Macquarie Tower in Sydney's CBD where the commission is sitting on Monday.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:03 PM

Pell says 'not defending the indefensible'

ROME
Gold Coast Bulletin

AAP

Cardinal George Pell says he is "not defending the indefensible" in the Catholic Church's handling of child sexual abuse by clergy.

Cardinal Pell says the church has made enormous mistakes and is working to remedy them.

"The church in many places, certainly in Australia, has mucked things up, has let people down. I'm not here to defend the indefensible," Cardinal Pell told the child abuse royal commission from Rome.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:02 PM

Pell testifies in Rome

ROME
7 News

The cardinal, who was too ill to return to Australia for questioning, is testifying via videolink from the Hotel Quirinale in Rome in front of a group of survivors from Ballarat.

Before giving evidence, he swore on the Bible that he would tell the truth.

He will be questioned over three to four days about what he knew of historic pedophile activity by priests when he served in Ballarat and Melbourne.

First up, he detailed his role at the Vatican, describing it as "something equivalent to a treasurer" but would not concur that he held the third most senior position in the church.

"I wouldn't say it was. People like to make these hypothetical lists. Some people would see the financial affairs of the Vatican as very low on the list," he said.

"I'm a senior official in the Roman curia."

He was then asked about financing of compensation for victims of clergy abuse.

He said he had given advice, as one of the nine cardinals on an informal council advising the pope, prior to the establishment of the pontifical commission for the protection of minors in March 2014.

Cardinal Pell, under questioning, said child sex abuse had been an issue for centuries.

"The church has made enormous mistakes and is working to remedy those but the church in many places, certainly in Australia, has mucked things up, has let people down," he said.

"I'm not here to defend the indefensible."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:59 PM

With victims in audience, Australian cardinal testifies on abuse

ROME
Reuters

ROME/SYDNEY | BY PHILIP PULLELLA AND JANE WARDELL

Australian Cardinal George Pell said on Sunday the Catholic Church had made "enormous mistakes" as he became the highest-ranking Vatican official to testify on sexual abuse of children in the Church.

Pell, 74, held up a Bible as he was sworn in to answer questions by Australia's Royal Commission into Institutional Response to Child Sexual Abuse in front of victims in a Rome hotel room.

Around 15 abuse victims and support staff traveled to Rome on the back of a crowd-funding campaign to see the Vatican's treasurer give evidence after he said he was unable to travel to his native Australia because of heart problems.

While strictly speaking an Australian affair concerning events decades ago, the hearing has taken on wider implications about accountability of Church leaders because of Pell's high position in the Vatican, where he serves as finance minister.

"The Church has made enormous mistakes and is working to remedy those but the Church in many places, certainly in Australia, has mucked things up, has let people down," Pell said as he began answering questions via video link to the commission in Sydney. "I'm not here to defend the indefensible."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:57 PM

Live: Cardinal George Pell prepares to give evidence to child abuse royal commission

ROME
ABC News

Cardinal George Pell is giving evidence about sexual abuse in Ballarat and Melbourne, with his testimony live-streamed to Australia via video link from a Rome hotel.

The hearing will run for three days and hear four hours of evidence each day.

Follow our live blog for updates.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:25 PM

Pell testifies in Rome

ROME
The West Australian

Cardinal George Pell has started giving testimony from a Rome hotel to the royal commission into child abuse.

A group of survivors of child sex abuse at the hands of priests has arrived at the hotel where Cardinal Pell is giving evidence.

Cardinal Pell arrived earlier, three hours ahead of the scheduled 10pm (0800 AEST) start of the special hearing at the elegant Hotel Quirinale.

He was too ill to return to Australia for questioning and will give his videolink testimony to the commission in Sydney.

Reporters outside the hotel say Cardinal Pell's security team was heavy handed, pushing camera crews aside as he entered the hotel.

He will be questioned over three to four days about what he knew of historic pedophile activity by priests when he served in Ballarat and Melbourne.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:21 PM

Journalists 'punched and shoved' by guards as Cardinal George Pell arrived to face Royal Commission

ROME
7 News

Natasha Christian
February 29, 2016

Australian journalists were allegedly shoved and punched by ‘extremely aggressive’ security guards surrounding Cardinal George Pell in Rome.

Cardinal Pell arrived at the hotel via side gate on Monday, where he will make his third appearance before the Royal Commission into Child Sexual Abuse

Cameramen were reportedly pushed and shoved and another reporter was punched.

Channel Seven reported Chris Reason said the visiting abuse survivors were not surprised by the heavy-handed tactics.

“We’re used to it,” Victim Anthony Foster said.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:19 PM

Security At Pell Hearing Assault Australian Journalists

ROME
Huffington Post

By Cayla Dengate

A cameraman and journalist were allegedly punched and shoved by private security guards surrounding Cardinal George Pell ahead of his video link appearance in the Royal Commission into Child Sexual Abuse.

SBS News Europe Correspondent Brett Mason said security guards 'obscured' his camera crew while they were waiting for Pell's arrival at a Rome hotel and Italian Police were reviewing the footage.

Journalists who observed the scene outside Hotel Quirinale said an Australian crew were punched and shoved.

In footage shared by Channel 9 News, an Australian can be heard saying: "...excuse me, we have a right to be here, this is a public street" as several men approached.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:13 PM

George Pell testifies from Rome for abuse royal commission

ROME
The Australian

[with live stream from Rome]

FEBRUARY 29, 2016

Jacquelin Magnay
European correspondent

John Lyons
Associate Editor
Sydney

7.55am: I am inside the Verdi Room at the Hotel Quirinale and it is already full, reports Jacquelin Magnay. Several priests are standing alongside the walls, looking very prominent. Everyone just chatting at the moment.

Cardinal Pell will give his evidence in an area at the front of the room. He will have his own large TV screen to be able to watch the royal commission in Sydney. Adjacent to him in Rome will be one of his lawyers, although his barrister is back in Sydney.

All of the questioning of Cardinal Pell will occur from Sydney - there will be no cross examination from anyone in Rome.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:11 PM

Spotlight and the Oscars

UNITED STATES
Peter Borre

Spotlight and the Oscars: Hooray for Hollywood – A look behind the camera (February 27, 2016)

Summary

American viewers (almost 37 million last year) will tune in for the Oscars’ pageant on Sunday evening, February 28. One of the contenders will be Spotlight, the true story of how the Boston Globe’s specialized team of investigative reporters, known as The Spotlight Team, broke wide open in early 2002 the story of clergy abuse of minors in the Archdiocese of Boston. The movie’s six Oscar nominations are for:

Best picture; Best director; Best supporting actor and actress; Best editing; Best original screenplay.

From anecdotal information, many moviegoers have stayed away from Spotlight fearing that it is a graphic portrayal of child abuse. Not so. The center of gravity of the movie is the real-life tension in the Globe’s newsroom, and the relentless efforts of the Spotlight team that would not be pushed off the story. The movie has just about broken even, with box office receipts through mid-February of $38 million which is almost double the production budget of $20 million. That is close to break-even under the Hollywood 2:1 rule of thumb for box office coverage of post-production marketing and distribution costs. But one of the executive producers, Pierre Omidyar, has truly deep pockets, a net worth of almost $9 billion thanks to his eBay and Paypal investments. Interesting that a French-born member of the Iranian diaspora chose to bankroll this movie.

IMO, Spotlight is the best media movie since All the President’s Men and the Watergate scandal; and there is a family link between these two pictures:

Ben Bradlee père, was the Washington Post’s managing editor who stood up to major heat from the Nixon White House; and Ben Bradlee Jr fils, was #2 in the Globe’s newsroom hierarchy, but in the movie he seemed to curb his enthusiasm when it came to support for the Spotlight team.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:03 PM

Live stream: Cardinal George Pell to give evidence to Royal Commission into Child Sex Abuse via video-link from Rome

ROME
9 News

Cardinal George Pell will give evidence to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, via video link from a hotel room in Rome this morning.

He will answer questions over Case Study 28 in the commission, concerning how Cardinal Pell handled allegations of child sex abuse in the Catholic church in Ballarat and Melbourne.

We will bring you the live stream of Cardinal Pell’s testimony here on 9news.com.au. The hearing is expected to begin at 8am (AEDT).

Cardinal Pell will be asked to address allegations as outlined below.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:00 PM

Journos 'roughed up' in Rome: Drama as George Pell enters Royal Commission

ROME
3AW

Italian Police are investigating after private security guards surrounding Cardinal George Pell allegedly assaulted journalists this morning.

The incident happened while Cardinal Pell was arriving at the Rome in which he is due to give evidence via videolink to the Royal Commission into Child Sexual Abuse.

It's believed a cameraman was shoved and a journalist was punched.

The Royal Commission has been notified.

Channel 10 reporter Joe Hill in Rome told Ross and John the atmosphere was "tense", fuelled by the presence several security companies and a worldwide media contingent.

"This is a story that will be heard around the world," he said.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:48 PM

Abuse royal commission: Cardinal George Pell's security guards 'push, punch' Australian media in Rome

ROME
Sydney Morning Herald

February 29, 2016

Marissa Calligeros

Members of the Australian media have allegedly been shoved and punched by security guards surrounding Cardinal George Pell in Rome.

The Cardinal arrived at an elegant Rome hotel, where he will make his third appearance before the Royal Commission into Child Sexual Abuse, via a side gate three hours early on Monday.

As the Cardinal was arriving at the hotel however, his security guards allegedly took forceful action to protect him from the waiting media.

Channel Nine reporter Amelia Ballinger said cameramen were pushed and shoved, while one reporter was punched.

"Before he even got out of the car a number of big, burly security guards got out before him and they basically assaulted, I guess, for want of a better word, the [television] crew that was waiting there for him," Ballinger said.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:40 PM

Case Study 28, February 2016, Ballarat - Live hearing

ROME/AUSTRALIA
Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse

[live stream from Rome]

Case Study 28, February 2016, Ballarat

Cardinal George Pell will give evidence from 29 February 2016 by video link from Rome concerning Case Study 28: Catholic Church authorities in Ballarat and Case Study 35: Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne. The Royal Commission will sit in Sydney and, in accordance with a request from Cardinal Pell, the hearing will commence at 08:00am AEDT.

Please be aware that the content of the public hearings can be distressing for viewers. Visit support services to find services near you, or for immediate support call the Royal Commission on 1800 099 340 or Lifeline on 13 11 14.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:37 PM

Pedofilia in Australia, Pell è arrivato in hotel a Roma

ROME
Corriere Quotidiano

E' arrivato all'Hotel quirinale di Roma il cardinale australiano George Pell, Prefetto della Segreteria per l'Economia vaticana. Il chierico è giunto, poco dopo le 19 in albergo, da dove, a partire dalle 22 e fino alle 2 di domani, farà la sua deposizione via video con la Royal Commission australiana che indaga sugli abusi del clero sui minori. Pell è chiamato a rispondere sugli abusi commessi da sacerdoti quando era responsabile delle diocesi di Sidney e Melbourne. Pell è stato fatto entrare nell'albergo da una porta secondaria protetto dalla sicurezza.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:07 PM

Cardinal George Pell to face Royal Commission from Rome’s Hotel Quirinale

ROME
news.com.au

FOR three months, child sex abuse survivor Paul Levey has been carrying a dog-eared envelope with him.

Addressed simply, to “Cardinal George Pell, The Vatican” the one page inside puts into words what he has not been able to say to his face — his thoughts on the abuse he suffered as a child and what needs to be done to fix it.

“It’s very to the point,” he said, standing jet-lagged outside his Rome hotel. “I want to hand him that letter…It’s about I am a survivor and I want to be heard.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:05 PM

Vatican security obstructs Aussie news crew covering George Pell's Royal Commission testimony

ROME
9 News

[with video]

Bodyguards believed to be protecting George Pell appear to have manhandled an Australian news crew as the cardinal arrived at the Italian hotel where he will testify before a Royal Commission later today.

The footage, shot on the rain-slicked street outside the Hotel Quirinale in Rome, show men purported to be in the cardinal's service apparently attempting to obstruct Australian media workers.

"Let go of me, you have no role at all," one of the crew can be heard saying, as another man strides over and appears to grab at the camera.

"Excuse me, we have a right to be here, this is a public street," the Aussie journalist says, telling his cohort to "go around" the street so they can keep filming.

Cardinal Pell's appearance today, expected to be the first of three or four gruelling sessions before the Royal Commission, is hotly anticipated.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:01 PM

Cardinal Pell arrives at Rome hotel early

ROME
The Australian

Cardinal George Pell has arrived at the Rome hotel where he will make his third appearance before the child sexual abuse royal commission.

A group of survivors will watch the cardinal, who was too ill to return to Australia for questioning, give his videolink testimony to the commission in Sydney from a conference room at the Hotel Quirinale from 8am Monday (Australian time).

The cardinal arrived at the hotel via a side gate three hours early.

Reporters outside the hotel say Cardinal Pell's security team was heavy handed, pushing camera crews aside as he entered the hotel.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:04 PM

Suspenden a tercer sacerdote acusado de abuso sexual

EL SALVADOR
La Pagina

POR JOSÉ NAPOLEÓN MORALES

El arzobispo de San Salvador, José Luis Escobar Alas, confirmó este domingo la suspensión del sacerdote José Antonio Molina por estar implicado en dos casos de abuso sexual.

Molina Nieto estaba destacado en la iglesia Santa Cruz de Roma, del municipio de Panchimalco, en San Salvador.

Escobar Alas reveló que se trata de dos casos ocurridos hace más de 20 años y que éstos fueron denunciados en las oficinas episcopales. Asimismo informó que el acusado -quien no ha aceptado las acusaciones- se encuentra recluido en su casa al lado de su familia.

Sin entrar en mayores detalles sobre el delito cometido por el religioso, Escobar Alas afirmó que investigan al respecto y reiteró que no están dispuestos a tolerar esa situación ya que la Iglesia está de lado de las víctimas.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:02 PM

Denuncian caso de abuso sexual de sacerdote católico en El Salvador

EL SALVADOR
barrigaverde

[SAN SALVADOR, February 28, 2016 (PL) .- The archbishop of San Salvador, Jose Luis Escobar, revealed today the suspension of priest Jose Antonio Molina for being involved in sexual abuse. Molina served as parish priest in Santa Cruz de Rome in the town of Panchimalco.]

SAN SALVADOR, 28 febrero, 2016 (PL).- El arzobispo de San Salvador, José Luis Escobar, reveló hoy la suspensión del sacerdote José Antonio Molina por estar implicado en otro hecho de abuso sexual.

El párroco Molina se desempeñaba en Santa Cruz de Roma, de la localidad de Panchimalco, en el departamento de San Salvador, y quedó suspendido desde el pasado 15 de este mes de febrero.

Escobar, quien dijo que la Iglesia católica salvadoreña no está dispuesta a tolerar ese tipo de hechos, aseguró que el caso está en investigación.

El prelado religioso recalcó en conferencia de prensa este día, que están del lado de las víctimas.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:59 PM

'Spotlight' journalists take a turn on the Oscars red carpet

UNITED STATES
KCCI

By Brian Stelter

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) —The six journalists featured in "Spotlight" have spent the past three months answering questions instead of asking them. They're ready to get back to their day jobs -- but not before getting a taste of Hollywood life via the Academy Awards.

"Spotlight," a contender for Best Picture, has already been praised as the most influential and critically acclaimed movie about journalism since "All The President's Men" in 1976. It is a contender for the Best Picture award on Sunday night.

The movie dramatizes the 2001-2002 investigation by the Boston Globe's Spotlight unit into sex abuse by Catholic priests. CNNMoney spoke with the journalists at the heart of the story: Marty Baron, editor: Liev Schreider Ben Bradlee Jr., projects editor: John Slattery Walter "Robby" Robinson, Spotlight team leader: Michael Keaton Sacha Pfeiffer, reporter: Rachel McAdams Mike Rezendes, reporter: Mark Ruffalo Matt Carroll, reporter: Brian d'Arcy James

Hollywood stories

What have the journalists learned from the awards season experience?

SACHA PFEIFFER: People keep asking us, 'Is this fun?' I say it's more fascinating than fun.

MATT CARROLL: It's been totally surreal. Surreal.

BEN BRADLEE JR.: It's been heady and quite fun in all honesty.

MIKE REZENDES: We've been given this opportunity to spread the word. I always pivot the conversation to, A, the survivors, and B, the importance of investigative reporting.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:46 PM

Cardinal George Pell to give evidence to child abuse royal commission via video link from Rome

ROME
ABC News

By Michelle Brown

Cardinal George Pell will today give evidence to the child abuse royal commission via video link from Rome about the Catholic Church's response to allegations of child sexual abuse.

Cardinal Pell has been called to give evidence about two case studies — number 28 about the Diocese of Ballarat and number 35 about the Archdiocese of Melbourne.

The time frame for the case studies stretches from the 1960s through to the 1990s.

Case Study 28 deals with the response of the Christian Brothers in Victoria to allegations of child sexual abuse involving six brothers — all of whom spent time working at schools in the Diocese of Ballarat.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:45 PM

With victims in audience, Australian cardinal to testify on abuse

ROME
euronews

By Philip Pullella

ROME (Reuters) – Australian Cardinal George Pell on Sunday becomes the highest-ranking Vatican official to testify on sexual abuse of children in the Catholic Church at a hearing that victims have flown half way around the world to attend.

Pell, 74, who said he was unable to travel to his native Australia because of heart problems, will answer questions from a Rome hotel put via video link by Australia’s Royal Commission into Institutional Response to Child Sexual Abuse.

While strictly speaking an Australian affair concerning events decades ago, the hearing has taken on wider implications about accountability of Church leaders because of Pell’s high position in the Vatican, where he serves as finance minister.

After the Commission allowed Pell to testify from Rome, it bowed to demands by victims’ groups to observe. A national crowd funding campaign raised the money to fly about 15 victims and supporters so they could be in the same room with Australia’s most senior Catholic clergyman.

“This is the most Catholic city in the world, in every sense,” Andrew Collins, who was a abused by priests as a boy and is one of the victims who travelled to Rome, told the Australian newspaper The Courier.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:38 PM

We hope Pell comes clean: Syd abuse victim

ROME
news.com.au

Stefanie Menezes
AAP

A Sydney man who confronted Cardinal George Pell when he first gave evidence to the child abuse royal commission two years ago says he hopes Australia's most senior Catholic finally "tells us the truth".

John Hennessy, 80, will join dozens of other abuse victims at a public hearing in Sydney on Monday morning to watch Cardinal Pell give evidence via video link from a hotel in Rome.

"We hope he does the right thing. We hope everything finally comes clean," Mr Hennessy, a former deputy mayor of Campbelltown Council, told AAP.

Cardinal Pell is expected to be questioned about several different matters on Monday including claims that he knew offending priests were moved from parish to parish.

"I cannot believe he didn't know what was going on," Mr Hennessy said on Sunday.

"It's up to Cardinal Pell. He must tell us what really happened," he said.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:36 PM

Peter Fox turns up at Pell testimony

ROME
Herald Sun

Former police inspector Peter Fox, who alleged church and police cover-ups of pedophile priest offending in NSW's Hunter Valley, has turned up to support abuse victims attending the testimony of Cardinal George Pell in Rome.

Mr Fox, who calls himself a "self-funded retiree", is in Rome on holiday with his wife, Penny, but on Monday will be at the elegant Quirinale Hotel to hear Australia's senior Catholic cleric give evidence by video link to the child abuse royal commission sitting in Sydney.

Cardinal Pell will be questioned over three to four days about what he knew of historic pedophile activity by priests when he served in Ballarat and Melbourne.

He is chief of the Vatican's finances and has asked to give evidence by video link because of a heart condition that prevents him travelling to Australia.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:34 PM

Australian sex abuse victims await cardinal's testimony

ROME
St. Louis Post-Dispatch

By NICOLE WINFIELD

ROME (AP) — A group of Australians who were raped and molested by Catholic priests when they were children are hoping to learn the truth about what a top Vatican cardinal knew about their attackers when he testifies Sunday before an investigative commission at a Rome hotel.

Thanks in part to a crowd-funding campaign, about two dozen Australian sex abuse survivors and their companions travelled across the planet to be on hand when Cardinal George Pell testifies via video link before Australia's Royal Commission. It's the third time that Pell, Pope Francis' top financial adviser, has testified about the sex abuse scandal, but the current round has generated intense international attention because it is taking place a short walk from the Vatican.

The commission, which is half-way through a 435 million Australian dollar ($300 million) government-authorized probe into how all Australian institutions dealt with abuse, agreed to let Pell testify from Rome because he was too ill to travel home. Two weeks ago, it also agreed to let victims be on hand to re-create the type of public hearing that Pell would be subject to in Australia.

David Ridsdale, who was abused for four years by his uncle, the notorious pedophile Gerald Ridsdale, said he had done 17 press interviews before Pell's testimony even began — and was grateful that the horror of what transpired in Ballarat was finally getting known outside of Australia.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:32 PM

Australia's Cardinal Pell to testify from Rome in abuse inquiry

AUSTRALIA
BBC News

Vatican treasurer Cardinal George Pell is to testify from Rome via video link to an Australian inquiry into child sex abuse.

Cardinal Pell, Australia's most senior Catholic, will be asked whether he knew if paedophiles were active in churches under his watch.

Abuse survivors have flown to Rome to face the cardinal, who was excused from returning to Sydney due to ill health.

The hearing is expected to run at least three days.

The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sex Abuse is holding its second round of inquiries into child sex abuse that occurred in the city of Ballarat in Victoria state.

Cardinal Pell was a priest in Ballarat and lived in a seminary with a notorious paedophile priest, Gerald Ridsdale, in the early 1970s.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:30 PM

Boston: Truth and Complicity

UNITED STATES
The New York Review of Books

Garry Wills

Investigative reporting got a boost in 1976, after the movie All the President’s Men showed what a small team (two men) could do if an editor and owner like Ben Bradlee and Kay Graham at The Washington Post let them keep digging for a long time. Another such coup was brought off by The Boston Globe in 2002, when its own investigative team of four people, called “Spotlight,” broke the story of Cardinal Law’s protection of priests who sexually preyed on children. In this case, Spotlight, which normally chose its own subjects, had not followed up on leads fed to the paper. It took an outsider, Martin Baron (played by Liev Schreiber), who had become editor of the paper in 2001, to jog the team into action. Baron was sent by the Globe’s new owner, The New York Times, to trim costs, yet he spent heavily on the priestly abuses scandal. An instinctive deference to the Church had inhibited the press in this Roman Catholic city from recognizing a scandal in its own backyard. Baron was not subject to that thrall. He was initially thought of as outside the Boston culture—an unmarried man, a Jew, not interested in the sacred Boston Red Sox.

In Tom McCarthy’s Spotlight—which has received six Oscar nominations, including for Best Film and Best Director—The Boston Globe story has been given a movie treatment like that of The Washington Post story. Both films retain some of the clichés of such tales—the resistance of society to what the enterprising reporters are trying to do, the difficulty of prying evidence from fearful witnesses, the final victory of the good guys over powerful resistance. But there are many differences. Woodward and Bernstein were outside the normal political reporting of Washington. The “Spotlight Four,” though not churchgoers, were all Catholic-raised or influenced. The crimes being investigated were more personal and religious, combining sexual and theological inhibitions.

As the team begins, lethargically, to go into the one case that had been superficially handled in the Globe, the serial abuses and regular moves of Father John J. Geoghan, they saw that other priests had been treated the same way—four, they turned up; then eleven. In diocesan records they began tracing the patterns of such frequent shiftings-about for priests. They were stunned as they found that large numbers of priests fit the pattern. They called on Richard Sipe, a former Benedictine monk and psychotherapist who has studied priestly sexual activity for decades. (He is a respected scholar whom I have consulted for my writing and speaking on priests.) He tells the Spotlight team over the phone (his voice supplied by the actor Richard Jenkins) that he had found a high quotient of predatory priests in America, almost uniformly protected by bishops, and by that quotient the number of offending priests in Cardinal Law’s domain would be ninety—which was eerily close to the number they had turned up in diocesan records—seventy-six.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:10 AM

'Spotlight' wins big at the Film Independent Spirit Awards

CALIFORNIA
Los Angeles Times

Steven Zeitchik and Mark Olsen

"Spotlight" was the big winner at the Film Independent Spirit Awards on Saturday, as Hollywood's debate over diversity also took center stage.

Tom McCarthy'sa tale of the Catholic Church sex-abuse scandal and the newspaper investigation that uncovered it scored best feature, director, screenplay and editing ‎prizes at the annual indie-movie ceremony in Santa Monica, as well as the previously announced ensemble-oriented Robert Altman Award‎.

"It is very rare to make a film that has impacted the world as significantly as this one has," said "Spotlight" producer Michael Sugar upon accepting the feature prize. "By honoring it," he added, "more lives can be spared from abuse‎."

Co-screenwriter Josh Singer, accepting the writing prize with McCarthy, paid tribute to abuse survivor Phil Saviano, who was given a huge standing ovation. Many of the real-life‎ Boston Globe journalists portrayed in the film also were at the show and took the stage for the final prize.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:06 AM

Abuse survivors expect Pell to disappoint

ROME
The Australian

LLOYD JONES, AAP EUROPE CORRESPONDENT
FEBRUARY 29, 2016

Cardinal George Pell has tied a ribbon at the Vatican in support of sex abuse victims, but Ballarat abuse survivors expect he'll still put the church before victims when he testifies to a royal commission.

A group of survivors and supporters have travelled to Rome to hear the senior Australian cleric's testimony at the elegant Quirinale Hotel from Monday (Australian time).

Cardinal Pell will be questioned over three to four days about what he knew of historic pedophile activity by priests when he served in Ballarat and Melbourne.

The Ballarat-born churchman, now in charge of the Vatican's finances, has asked to give evidence by video link from Rome because of a heart condition that prevents him travelling to Australia.

On the eve of his testimony it emerged he had tied a yellow ribbon at the Lourdes Grotto in the Vatican Gardens in support of Loud Fence, a movement supporting abuse victims that started in Ballarat and spread worldwide.

"This is my gesture of support, especially for the people of Ballarat," Cardinal Pell said in a statement.

"I hope the coming days will eventually lead to healing for everyone."

In Rome on Sunday, Ballarat survivors welcomed the gesture, but said they wanted to see Cardinal Pell follow it up with strong words in support of victims during his testimony.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:35 AM

Spotlight wins Best Feature at 2016 Film Independent Spirit Awards

CALIFORNIA
YouTube

Published on Feb 27, 2016

Spotlight wins Best Feature at 2016 Film Independent Spirit Awards.

The 2016 Film Independent Spirit Awards, broadcast live on IFC Saturday, February 27 at 2:00pm PT / 5:00pm ET with hosts Kumail Nanjiani and Kate McKinnon.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:36 AM

National--SNAP Fact Sheet: Bishops posting predator priests’ names

UNITED STATES
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

Why is it important that predator priests’ names are exposed?

First, because it’s the quickest, easiest, cheapest and most effective way to protect kids now. If a chemical company CEO knows of 20 or 30 places in a city where toxic chemicals have been dumped, her first duty is to warn the public. (Then, she must of course fence in the properties, put up ‘DANGER’ signs and take other remedial steps.)

Since bishops recruited, educated, ordained, hired, trained, transferred and shielded these predators – often until criminal statutes of limitations expired so prosecution wasn’t possible – the LEAST bishops can do is make it easier for police, prosecutors, parents, parishioners and the public to learn who these predators are so they can keep their loved ones away from them.

Second, because it helps heal the wounded. Somewhere, there’s an elderly Catholic mom on her knees praying “God forgive me for being a bad parent. Sally has an eating disorder and Bill is an alcoholic. I’ve obviously done something wrong.” When she sees Fr. John Smith exposed as a predator, she calls her kids and they acknowledge “Yes, he molested me,” and the whole family begins to stop blaming themselves and start their recovery. (“The truth,” the Bible says, “shall set us free.”)

Third, because it helps reassure Catholics. Until bishops “come clean” about all predator priests, parishioners must look up from the pews at their pastor and wonder “Has he committed or concealed child sex crimes?” They must wonder “Is the priest who baptized our kids or performed our wedding a predator?” and “Did Fr. Jack really retire or did they take him out of the parish because he’s an abuser?”

Fourth, because it’s what bishops have repeatedly pledged, for decade, to do: be “open and transparent about clergy sex crimes and abuse.” In fact, the US Conference of Catholic Bishops’ national abuse policy, adopted in 2002, mandates “openness.”

Has this been done before?

Yes. About 30 US bishops have posted predators’ names.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:30 AM

Why a Miscreant like Cardinal Pell is Head of Vatican Finance

UNITED STATES
The Open Tabernacle: Here Comes Everybody

Posted on February 28, 2016 by Betty Clermont

Australian Cardinal George Pell will testify before the Royal Commission on child sex abuse today. Because his doctors claimed he was too ill to travel, Pell is allowed to give his testimony via video link from a hotel room in Rome between 10 p.m. and 2 a.m. for three or four nights to coincide with 8 a.m. to noon, Sydney time.

Coincidentally, the Academy Awards show – in which Spotlight, about the Boston Globe‘s exposure of clerical sex abuse in Boston and an Oscar nominee for Best Picture, will be featured – will begin as Pell’s testimony concludes.

Pell will have to answer charges that he attempted to bribe a victim, he dismissed a victim’s complaint, knew about Australia’s worst predator priest, Gerald Ridsdale, and did nothing, and was complicit in moving Ridsdale from parish to parish.

In February 2015, the Royal Commission – the highest form of investigation in Australia – found that Pell “placed the Church’s financial interests above his obligation to victims of clerical sex abuse as part of an aggressive legal strategy to protect the assets of the Sydney archdiocese.”

Prior to being elevated to Prefect of the Secretariat of the Economy by Pope Francis, Pell’s previous financial expertise was cheating the victims out of an adequate compensation known as his “Melbourne response“ and “Ellis defense” where Pell “instructed his lawyers to crush this victim.”€

To understand how Pope Francis was elected to a position to appoint Pell, we need to look at the state of the Vatican’s financial affairs preceding the 2013 conclave in which Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio was chosen.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:20 AM

Flock keeps faith as Archbishop Philip Wilson returns

AUSTRALIA
The Austrlian

Rebecca Puddy
Reporter
Adelaide

Worshippers have described the return of Catholic Archbishop Philip Wilson to his role as head of the Adelaide archdiocese as “wonderful”, despite criminal charges which allege he failed to report child sexual abuse committed by a priest.

Archbishop Wilson said mass yesterday at St John Vianney’s Church in Adelaide’s eastern suburbs, nearly a year after being charged by NSW police with concealing a serious offence involving clerical child-sex abuse in the Hunter Valley in 1976.

In a decision criticised by some senior church officials, he ­resumed saying mass in January after taking leave in March last year when the charges were laid.

Archbishop Wilson yesterday declined to respond to questions about his return to work.

Parishioner David Carey said he supported the archbishop’s ­return, saying it was good for him and for the church community.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:15 AM

San Jose: Protestors demand that Catholic dioceses release names of predator priests

CALIFORNIA
Daily Democrat

By Tracy Seipel tseipel@mercurynews.com
POSTED: 02/27/16

SAN JOSE -- As passersby drove by honking their horns or cheering in support, four demonstrators waved signs in front of the Diocese of San Jose headquarters on Saturday as part of a nationwide protest to pressure U.S. Catholic bishops to disclose the names of 2,800 predator priests.

"Today, 30 dioceses in the U.S. have listed those priests in their dioceses that have been credibly accused or convicted or admitted guilt," said Tim Lennon, 68, who said he was molested at age 12 by a Catholic priest in Iowa, then often driven by that priest to another parish to say confession.

"What we are saying is that the 165 other dioceses in the U.S. should make public their internal lists and open the books -- and that includes San Jose," said the San Francisco resident.

The demonstrations in 10 U.S. cities -- including one at 11 a.m. Sunday at the Oakland Cathedral -- are taking place on the same weekend as Sunday's Academy Awards ceremony, which will feature best picture nominee "Spotlight."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:12 AM

Kurienkardinal sagt vor Missbrauchskommission aus

ROM
Radio Vatikan

Von Sonntagabend an wird der australische Kurienkardinal George Pell in Rom per Videoschaltung vor der australischen Missbrauchskommission aussagen. Zehn Missbrauchsopfer flogen dafür nach Italien ein. In Australien wurde die Aussage mit Spannung erwartet.

Im Mittelpunkt der mehrtägigen Befragung stehen Missbrauchsfälle im australischen Bistum Ballarat aus den 1970er Jahren. Damals war Pell dort als Priester tätig und stand in freundschaftlichem Kontakt zu einem Priester, der inzwischen wegen Missbrauchs verurteilt wurde. Pell gehörte zum Beratergremium des Bischofs, bevor er selbst erst Weihbischof und später Erzbischof von Melbourne wurde.

Grund für die Aussage per Videoschaltung ist der Gesundheitszustand Pells, der deshalb nicht zur Aussage nach Australien reisen wollte. Die Kommission stimmte Anfang Februar einem entsprechenden Antrag des Kardinals zu, der seit Februar Leiter der zentralen Finanz- und Wirtschaftsbehörde im Vatikan und einer der einflussreichsten Mitarbeiter des Papstes ist.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:04 AM

Cardinal Pell joins loud fence movement

ROME
Cowra Guardian

ON the eve of his much anticipated evidence to the Royal Commission, Cardinal George Pell has made a gesture of support for victims by taking the Loud Fence movement into the heart of Vatican

The Ballarat generated movement that expresses support for victims of sexual abuse by tying colourful ribbons to fences has spread to cities across the world but this is its first step into the Catholic Church’s Rome headquarters.

While schools and clergy across the Ballarat Diocese including Bishop Paul Bird have joined the movement, Ballart born Cardinal George Pell is the highest ranked clergyman to make the gesture so far.

In a quiet area of the Vatican Gardens at the Lourdes Grotto, Cardinal Pell tied a yellow ribbon supporting the Loud Fence campaign in support of victims of sexual abuse.

In a statement from his office it said Cardinal Pell went to the grotto with the statue of Our Lady of Lourdes the day before the hearing began to pray for all survivors of sexual abuse.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:00 AM

Cardinal Pell’s Take on Child Sex Abuse to Stream Live

AUSTRALIA/ROME
Australian Network News

Australian Cardinal George Pell will go through international media scrutiny when he sits for the Royal Commission hearing. The hearing will be conducted to receive institutional responses into child sex abuse.

In Sydney, the public hearing will be held at the Royal Commission’s hearing room. Cardinal Pell would lay down the evidence from Hotel Quirinale via videolink.

The Cardinal will be appearing before the Commission for the third time.

The Commission is meant to investigate what knowledge Cardinal Pell had about the activities of paedophile priests, belonging to the Catholic Church in Melbourne.

According to Ballart Deputy Mayor Belinda Coates, Cardinal Pell’s testimony before the Royal Commission could act as a “catalyst” for more victims of paedophile priests to approach.

“There are so many survivors that we have who have been affected by clergy abuse within Ballart,” she said. “We know that with a crime like child abuse the majority of people don’t come forward and haven’t told anyone.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:56 AM

An Australian lesson in telling the whole Catholic story

AUSTRALIA
Boston Globe

By John L. Allen Jr. GLOBE STAFF FEBRUARY 27, 2016

MELBOURNE, Australia — A human rights lawyer and anti-death penalty activist named Julian McMahon, who was recently proclaimed “Australian of the Year” in his home state of Victoria, is every bit as much a part of the Catholic story in Australia today as the embattled Cardinal George Pell.

You really wouldn’t know that, however, from coverage of the church in this country’s media.

Pell, 74, is at the center of a national storm related to his record on handling child sexual abuse cases, both as a priest in the city of Ballart and later as archbishop of both Melbourne and Sydney. He’s scheduled to begin testifying, for the third time, before a royal commission investigating institutional responses to the abuse scandals on Monday via video link from Rome, and talk about Pell is pervasive in the national press.

I spent 72 hours in the country last week, and spoke to scores of national and local news outlets on the Pell story. What I picked up is that many Australians believe Pell is getting a long-overdue comeuppance, while others think he’s being railroaded.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:53 AM

Victims remember Pell's trucking analogy

ROME
9 News

AAP

Clergy abuse victims have a message for Cardinal George Pell: no more trucking analogies.

Cardinal Pell has said the Catholic Church is no more legally responsible for priests who abuse children than a trucking company which employs a driver who molests women.

That 2014 comment to the child abuse royal commission attracted outrage, and abuse survivors say they do not want a repeat in Cardinal Pell's evidence this week.

Ballarat victim Peter Blenkiron said he ground his teeth so hard the night after Cardinal Pell's trucking analogy that he cracked a tooth, which had to be removed.

"It's time for no more of that," said Mr Blenkiron, who will be in the Rome hotel conference room for Cardinal Pell's testimony.

"We're hoping for the best but preparing for the worst - hoping that George will get up and say 'yes we got this wrong, this is what we need to do', and no more spin doctoring and trucking analogies.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:51 AM

Abuse royal commission: Survivors prepare to face George Pell in Rome

ROME
Sydney Morning Herald

February 28, 2016

Melissa Cunningham, Rome

The 14 sex abuse survivors who have travelled to Rome to face Cardinal George Pell as he gives evidence to the royal commission have described their visit as like being dragged into "the belly of the beast".

Survivor Andrew Collins, who was sexually abused by numerous priests as a boy, said the group was made up of broken men, but together they were a formidable force. More will join them at the hearing.

"You put a group of broken men together and if one falls down, they pick the other one up," Mr Collins said.

"Together we have strength. We could never have come here and done this alone. It's not the abuses of our past that unite us, it's our quest for justice which has brought us all to this place.

"This is the most Catholic city in the world, in every sense. It is enemy territory and we are being dragged into the belly of the beast. But we're not here for a bloody battle. We're here for the truth."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:46 AM

Pell focus 'taking attention from others'

AUSTRALIA
SBS

AAP

The hype surrounding Cardinal George Pell may be allowing others in the Catholic Church to fly under the radar over the handling of child sex abuse, observers say.

Australia's most senior Catholic, described as a "lightning rod" for anger at the church, will this week be questioned about pedophile clergy in Victoria's Ballarat diocese and the Melbourne archdiocese.

Lawyer Dr Judy Courtin said Cardinal Pell's appearance at the child sex abuse royal commission was significant given his seniority but others must also be held accountable.

"They don't want to get lost under the radar," said Dr Courtin, who specialises in institutional sexual abuse.

"Although Pell has to be accountable so do all the others."

Dr Wayne Chamley of clergy victims' advocacy group Broken Rites also believes others in the Catholic Church hierarchy are hiding behind all the attention on the third most powerful person in the Vatican.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:44 AM

'We spoke in front of the world' – abuse victims in Rome to see George Pell testify

AUSTRALIA
The Guardian

Stephanie Kirchgaessner in Rome
Saturday 27 February 2016

It was not easy for Paul Levey to make it to Rome today to watch one of the most senior officials in the Catholic church, Cardinal George Pell, face questions about what he knew about rampant

The 47-year-old, who was sexually abused more than three decades ago by one of the most notorious pedophile priests in the church’s recorded history, needed doctors’ notes, an ultrasound for his leg, and even began taking blood thinners to prepare himself for the nearly 16,000km (10,000-mile) journey from Melbourne to Italy, with a 48-hour stopover in Abu Dhabi that was required on doctors orders because of a severe leg injury that requires him to walk with a cane. But he did it.

“It is important for us to sit in a room and see him testify. We all testified in a public arena and we didn’t think it was fair that he would be sitting in the Vatican and testify by video link, practically in his lounge room,” Levey said.

“We spoke in front of the world [when we testified], really, so we believe he should feel a little bit of that pressure,” he said.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:41 AM

State can't make priests tell of confessed abuse, judge says

LOUISIANA
Democrat-Gazette

By The Associated Press
Posted: February 28, 2016

BATON ROUGE -- A Louisiana judge struck down a state requirement that clergy members report suspected child abuse even if they learn about it during a private confessional.

State District Judge Mike Caldwell ruled Friday that the requirement -- a Louisiana Children's Code provision -- violates the constitutionally protected religious freedom rights of a Roman Catholic priest accused of neglecting his duty to report a teenager's abuse allegations to authorities.

The Advocate reports that Caldwell ruled in favor of the Rev. Jeff Bayhi in a lawsuit that Rebecca Mayeaux, 22, filed against the priest and the Roman Catholic Diocese of Baton Rouge in 2009.

Mayeaux says she was 14 in 2008 when she told Bayhi during confession that a 64-year-old parishioner was sexually abusing her. Mayeaux claims Bayhi, pastor of Our Lady of the Assumption church in Clinton, told her to "sweep it under the floor and get rid of it."

The Associated Press does not usually identify victims of sexual abuse, but Mayeaux went public with her case in a 2014 interview with WBRZ-TV.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:38 AM

Cardinal Pell's third time at commission

AUSTRALIA/ROME
SBS

AAP

Australian Cardinal George Pell will come under international scrutiny when he testifies, from Rome, before the Royal Commission into child sex abuse.

Catholic sex abuse victims and their supporters are now also in Rome for his appearance.

Victims remember Pell's trucking analogy

Clergy abuse victims have not forgotten that Cardinal George Pell compared the Catholic Church to a trucking company in terms of legal responsibility.

This is Cardinal Pell's third time at the child abuse royal commission.

The focus this time is on the Catholic Church's handling of child sex abuse allegations in Victoria's Diocese of Ballarat and the Archdiocese of Melbourne.

Cardinal Pell was a Ballarat priest (1973-1984) and as the diocese's episcopal vicar for education oversaw schools including St Alipius where four Christian Brothers were pedophiles.

He was one of Ballarat Bishop Ronald Mulkearns' advisers, at a time when there were pedophile priests in the diocese and was at meetings where the appointment of priests was discussed.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:36 AM

Abuse royal commission: Cardinal George Pell set to testify from Rome

AUSTRALIA/ROME
Sydney Morning Herald

Cardinal George Pell is likely to be grilled on when he first learned of child sexual abuse allegations against Catholic clergy when he fronts the sex abuse royal commission this week.

Cardinal Pell, one of the church's strongest defenders against public criticism over its handling of the abuse scandal, will be cross-examined by commissioners for the first time on Monday about his early career as a priest in Ballarat and later as auxiliary bishop in Melbourne.

He has previously been questioned on this period by MPs at a Victorian parliamentary inquiry. Cardinal Pell has always denied having known children were abused in Ballarat when he was there.

Yet since he last testified to the royal commission in 2014 about establishing the church's internal compensation scheme, the Melbourne Response, it has uncovered mounting evidence the opposite was true.

This will be the first time the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse has questioned Cardinal Pell on evidence from survivors and the Ballarat diocese that he may have been aware of abuse and its cover-up at a number of Ballarat schools in the 1970s.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:34 AM

The Vatican maintains silence on Cardinal George Pell’s appearance at Royal Commission into child abuse

ROME
news.com.au

CARDINAL George Pell missed delivering his usual Sunday mass at the magnificent Domus Australia in Rome, but he was very much in the thoughts of the small congregation and clearly front of mind among senior clergy of the Catholic Church.

The Very Reverend Terence Bell twice mentioned Pell by name during his delivery of Sunday mass at the Domus which is situated in the middle of Rome, the heartland of the Catholic Church. Pell often gives mass at the Domus, which is the Australian Catholic church’s presence in Rome but he missed this week in preparation for his four day appearance before the Royal Commission via video link this morning.

Reverend Bell said in his opening address that he prayed for Cardinal Pell. Then during the prayers he alluded to the battering the church has received in light of the clergy sexual abuse. He said: “we pray especially for Cardinal Pell, and in particular the future of the Church. The truth will set us free, we must look forward not back.”

But only five people were at the Domus mass to hear and give the prayers for Cardinal Pell.

Outside the church, several coloured ribbons had been tied to the window grates, but it was unknown if this was in support of Loud Fence, the support group that has encouraged ribbons on church property to acknowledge the victims of child sexual abuse.

Earlier, the Vatican appeared to want to distance itself from the Australian Royal Commission into church child abuse and Cardinal George Pell’s much anticipated appearance at its public hearings in the Italian capital.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:31 AM

Victims’ powerful message before Cardinal George Pell addresses child abuse royal commission in Rome

ROME
Herald Sun

Charles Miranda in Rome

CLERGY abuse survivor Peter Blenkiron wore a T-shirt as he arrived in Rome, emblazoned with the face of a smiling toothy 11-year-old boy full of life, dreams and promise.

“That was me as a child, when he got me, I looked like that,” the now 53-year-old said haltingly as if still sensing a monster lurking close.

He was abused at St Patrick’s Secondary School in Ballarat each time he could not finish homework and was made to complete it in the room of Christian Brother and now convicted paedophile Edward Dowlan.

He said he came to Rome today to bear witness and keep other children safe.

He said he now had two children of his own, aged 8 and 10, and hoped they and other children would be kept safe with changes to laws, notably within the Church.

He says he bore no malice against the church and was thankful the royal commission was seeking out the truth of those in charge.

“I was born a Catholic and I know some good Catholic people and I’m friends with good Catholic people, I just struggle with the whole institution,” he said.

“I believe there is a God by many different names and I find solace in meditation which is a form or prayer. But I’m hoping George Pell finally … says he does remember and not like all the bishops and other clergy in Australia that have said ‘I can’t recall, I can’t remember I don’t know the details’.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:27 AM

Victims’ plead with Pell to ‘tell the truth’ as he fronts royal commission

ROME
Herald Sun

Shannon Deery and Charles Miranda
Herald Sun

CARDINAL George Pell will today come under the toughest scrutiny of his career when he is asked to explain how he ­remained unaware of the child sexual abuse crisis that plagued the Catholic Church.

But he will not be quizzed over a present Victoria Police investigation into allegations he abused up to 10 boys — ­allegations he emphatically denies.

Cardinal Pell, the Vatican’s third most powerful figure, has long maintained he knew nothing of the crimes being committed by his fellow clergy on hundreds of innocent children across Victoria.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:25 AM

Cardinal George Pell to face Royal Commission from Rome Hotel

ROME
news.com.au

[Note: The hearing can be seen in the United States at 4 p.m. EST today (Sunday, Feb. 28) on the Royal Commission site.]

THE connections have been tested and the flights are behind them. On Sunday evening, in an opulent hotel near the heart of the Catholic Church, an extraordinary event will take place.

At 10pm, Australian cardinal George Pell will testify from Rome in a live stream beamed to the Victorian town of Ballarat and Sydney headquarters of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses into Child Sex Abuse.

It’s the third time the Vatican’s finance boss, who ranks number three to beloved Pope Francis, will face the public hearings into what went on in the Catholic Church in Victoria.

This time, Pell will have an audience of 15 survivors and supporters who have travelled from Australia to look him in the eyes, after a popular crowd-funding campaign raised more than $200,000 for their journey.

Here’s everything you need to know about the unprecedented events at Hotel Quirinale.

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT?

Cardinal Pell is being called on to give evidence about his time in the Ballarat and Melbourne diocese where he served as a priest before becoming archbishop of Sydney and Melbourne and eventually moving to the Vatican.

During his time there, several paedophile priests were operating, including at St Alipius school in Ballarat where children were subject to abuse from Gerald Ridsdale, Australia’s most prolific paedophile who described himself as “out of control” at a hearing last year.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:21 AM

Victims put Cardinal George Pell on notice before royal commission into child abuse in Rome

ROME
news.com.au

STANDING outside the Vatican as storms clouds overhead were moments from erupting, Chrissie Foster has just six words for Cardinal George Pell as he today faces his accusers — “be a man, tell the truth”.

After a year of debate, weeks of planning and a lifetime of heartache for some, Cardinal Pell will take the stand at the royal commission into institutionalised sexual child abuse in a specially convened sitting in a hotel room in Rome.

Here he will be grilled, at the ungodly hours set at his request of 10pm to 2am local time, each night for an expected four nights on what he knew of the abuse by several priests under his watch as head of the church firstly in Melbourne then Australia.

His much-anticipated appearance before the commission today has become an international sensation with more than 60 media from across the globe registering to attend, notably from media outlets that have exposed their own sordid abuse scandals in their Catholic churches notably in Boston, Dublin, London and New York.

It could have been a nonplussed affair held in Ballarat but instead the cardinal’s inability to travel abroad due to poor health forced today’s inquiry to the Italian capital and a scene tantamount to a Roman Circus with police deployed to throw the venue into lockdown and protect attending senior church figures, security guards tasked with body and bag searches and room sweeps, and doors sealed.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:17 AM

February 27, 2016

International media to descend on Rome for Cardinal Pell hearing at Royal Commission

ROME
news.com.au

Victoria Craw
news.com.au

AUSTRALIAN Cardinal George Pell will come under international scrutiny when he faces the Royal Commission into institutional responses into child sex abuse, which will be covered by a range of European and North American media.

The Boston Globe, New York Times, BBC as well as European and Australian outlets are expected to show at Rome’s opulent Hotel Quirinale for the Cardinal’s third appearance at the Commission to investigate exactly what he knew about the actions of paedophile priests operating within the Catholic Church in Melbourne.

It comes as US film Spotlight, covering a group of reporters who exposed abuses in the church, vies for up to six Oscars on Sunday evening in Los Angeles.

But despite Pell’s long-awaited testimony, many locals in the Italian capital remain oblivious to the emotionally charged events. On Saturday the hotel was full of Scottish rugby fans in town for the six-nations game with many unaware of what was happening or who Cardinal Pell was.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:06 PM

The Vatican maintains silence on Cardinal George Pell’s appearance at Royal Commission into child abuse

ROME
Cairns Post

Charles Miranda, European Correspondent, in Rome

THE Vatican appears to want to distance itself from the Australian Royal Commission into church child abuse and Cardinal George Pell’s much anticipated appearance at its public hearings starting tomorrow in the Italian capital.

At the time of publication, the Vatican had not decided who or indeed if they would send anyone officially to support Cardinal Pell as he fronts the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, despite the fact he is the Roman Curia’s chief of the secretariat of the economy and effectively the pope’s number 3.

The Vatican’s official mouthpiece and head of the Holy See press office Father Federico Lombardi, who is fluent in multiple languages notably English, would not comment Saturday about Cardinal Pell’s appearance to give evidence nor whether he still enjoyed the support of the Vatican.

Then speaking in Italian he described the questions as “rompipalle”, derogatory slang literally meaning “ball breaker” and said he did not understand what was happening tomorrow before the telephone call was abruptly discontinued.

A Vatican press office colleague of his later suggested there may have been an issue with Fr Lombardi’s mobile telephone and hearing of the questions but she also declined to discuss Cardinal Pell and the royal commission.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:02 PM

Vatican--US group praises Ballarat abuse victims in Rome for Pell testimony

UNITED STATES
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

For immediate release, February 27, 2016

Statement by David Clohessy of St. Louis, Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (314 566 9790, 314 645 5915 home, davidgclohessy@gmail.com )

The leaders and members of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) are grateful to and empowered by our fellow Australian survivors now in Rome for the testimony of ex-Melbourne Archbishop George Pell. We admire them for their courage and resourcefulness and hope their trip brings them healing and inspires hope and bravery in other survivors across the globe.

The importance of the presence of this group of survivors at the Vatican's door-step cannot be over-stated. Pell, the Pope, and all within the Vatican have a responsibility to their followers and the world to show - by actions, not words - that they are in support of victims and survivors. To do this, they must expose and punish ALL those within their institution who have or are committing or concealing sexual violence. And that will only happen when victims, witnesses, whistleblowers, police, prosecutors, parishioners and secular authorities follow the lead of these brave Australian survivors and publicly pressure the church hierarchy to reform.

Soon Pell will answer questions via video link to the Australian Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse. We hope he’ll be honest but suspect he won’t be. But no matter what Pell does or doesn’t do, these brave Ballarat victims have already won, by making this trip, regaining their power, and showing the world what a fraud the third highest ranking Catholic official on earth is.

As the oldest and largest organization of clergy abuse survivors, we in SNAP have promoted healing and justice for survivors world-wide and protection of children and vulnerable adults from future clerical abuses. When we get discouraged, we are buoyed by the strength, courage and persistence shown by these dedicated Ballarat survivors.

We thank them from the bottom of our hearts.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:00 PM

How 'Spotlight' is a 'shot in the arm'

UNITED STATES
CNNMoney

[video]

by Molly Shiels @CNNMoney

CNNMoney's Brian Stelter talks to "Spotlight" director Tom McCarthy and writer Josh Singer about how the movie is influencing a profession that has seen massive cutbacks in recent years.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:06 PM

Perspective 'Spotlight' makes journalism great again with a savvy Oscars campaign

CALIFORNIA
Los Angeles Times

Steven Zeitchik

Like moms and your friend with the garage band, there's no surer way to speak to the souls of journalists than to tell them no one appreciates them the way you do. Who doesn't want to be told they're better than people give them credit for?

Such was the strategy this season in the race for Oscar best picture, of all places, where "Spotlight" has made a strong case ahead of Sunday's show.

Tom McCarthy's deftly executed film — a story about reporters — used reporters to tell its story to reporters. The message they delivered was simple: Journalism has become an undervalued profession, and this movie was here to correct that.

Since it rolled out nearly six months ago, the campaign for the Open Road release has needed to follow a unique path. The low-key procedural abut how Boston Globe reporters slowly unearthed the story of Catholic Church sex abuse and the conspiracy to cover it up was initially in a tough spot. The film was about a subject uncomfortable at worst and process-based at best, and about a profession that can be, well, let's just say not super-cinematic to watch on the big screen.

So the campaign made the groundbreaking journalism the thing. Any fact-based movie is keen to trot out the real-life personalities, especially if they're heroic. But "Spotlight" — one of three front-runners to win best picture prize on Sunday, along with "The Revenant" and "The Big Short" — had the added benefit of having many of its personalities available and appealing. (It also made the heroic survivors of the sex abuse a focal point of coverage.)

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:21 PM

Spotlight in Boston: Where the Oscar Favorite Was Filmed

MASSACHUSETTS
Curbed

BY TOM ACITELLI @TOMACITELLI FEB 27, 2016

Spotlight is poised to collect several Academy Awards on Sunday night. The movie depicts the Boston Globe's 2001-2002 investigation into the Catholic child-abuse scandal in an admirably forthright and unsentimental way (we think). Most of the movie was shot in Toronto, with only about four days of filming in Boston. Therefore, the local flavor in the movie is of the exterior kind: outsides of buildings, skyline panoramas, street sweeps of the South End and Charlestown, one character waiting for the Red Line. Still, such shots layer the movie with an authenticity that makes it that much more engrossing. Here are 10 Boston sites that made the cut.

1 Fenway Park
The ballpark provided the backdrop for an early scene wherein Globe editors and reporters realize the possible extent of what they're about to uncover. Real-life Spotlight reporter Mike Renzendes can be seen a few rows behind the actors, including Mark Ruffalo, who plays Rezendes.

2 South End Buttery
The cafe is used as a backdrop for a scene of a meeting between Rachel McAdams, who plays reporter Sacha Pfeiffer, and a victim-survivor. The actual South End Buttery did not open until 2005, while the depicted meeting took place in 2001.

3 Union Park
The South End park served as a backdrop for another scene between Pfeiffer/McAdams and the victim-survivor.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:43 PM

What can we expect from Cardinal George Pell's testimony to the child abuse royal commission?

ROME
ABC News

By London bureau chief Lisa Millar

The royal commission has received evidence by video link before but it is normally from the controlled environment of a court room.

Because of the speed with which this session has been organised, the four-star Hotel Quirinale was chosen.

It had a room large enough to fit the expected number of media and supporters and the facilities to assist with this logistically complicated exercise.

Seats for 168 people have been provided in the Verdi Room. There are strict rules regarding media coverage.

No photography, filming or photography is allowed of the room or those in it.

Cardinal Pell will sit at a table by himself at the front and his evidence will be streamed live back to the royal commission in Sydney.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:36 PM

Ballarat shows support for abuse survivors

ROME
9 News

Cardinal George Pell's royal commission testimony in Rome could prompt more victims of pedophile priests to come forward, says Ballarat Deputy Mayor Belinda Coates.

She's in Rome to support 15 victims who have flown there to hear Cardinal Pell's response to questioning over what he knew of sex abuse by clergy when he served in Ballarat and Melbourne.

The Ballarat-born cleric, who is now in charge of the Vatican's finances, has asked to give evidence by video link because of a heart condition he says prevents him from travelling to Australia.

His testimony to the child sex abuse royal commission will be given from a conference room in the elegant Hotel Quirinale over three to four days from Monday (Australia time).

Ms Coates told AAP in Rome on Saturday night it was important the city and people of Ballarat showed they supported sex abuse survivors.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:34 PM

Bishop of Truro apologises to survivor of abuse

UNITED KINGDOM
West Briton

THE Bishop of Truro has apologised to a survivor of abuse by clergy who claimed he failed to act after he revealed his suffering to him more than a decade ago.

The victim of the abuse, who cannot be named for legal reasons, said he named Garth Moore as his abuser to the Right Reverend Tim Thornton in 2003 when he was Bishop of Sherborne in Dorset.

Moore, who was an authority on ecclesiastical law and chancellor of the dioceses of Southwark, Gloucester and Durham, died in 1990.

The alleged victim said the abuse by Mr Moore took place when he was a teenager.

But after he made the disclosure to The Bishop no record was made and nothing happened, he said, adding that The Bishop suggested he could come in and inform the diocese but there was no further help offered.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:31 PM

Survivors arrive in Rome

ROME
Sky News

[with video]

The stage is set in Rome for George Pell's appearance before the Royal Commission, with survivors of sexual abuse arriving in the Italian capital to hear Pell give evidence tomorrow.

More than $200,000 in crowd funding donations has helped the victims, family members and advocates make it to Rome for the Commission focusing on the abuse of vulnerable children in the town of Ballarat during the 1970's and 1980's.

Pell had earlier argued he was too unwell to return home to Australia to give evidence and will instead appear via a video link from Rome, with the travelling survivors in the same room.

The Cardinal has been keeping a low profile ahead his appearance, but was spotted emerging from his home near the Vatican.

He confirmed he's planning on meeting the victims that have travelled to be at his appearance in person.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:30 PM

Spotlight: Top Vatican Cardinal to Testify About Sex Abuse

ROME
ABC News (US)

By NICOLE WINFIELD, ASSOCIATED PRESS VATICAN CITY — Feb 27, 2016

One of the highest-ranking Vatican officials is being compelled to testify in public starting Sunday about clerical sex abuse, an unusual demonstration of holding even the most senior Catholic bishops accountable.

Cardinal George Pell, Pope Francis' top financial adviser, will testify in a Rome hotel conference room for three nights running, answering questions via video link from Australia's Royal Commission with his accusers on hand to confront him.

The arrangements, including the 10 p.m.-2 a.m. testimony window to suit Australian time zones, were made after the 74-year-old Pell asked to be excused from traveling home to testify because of previously undisclosed heart conditions that made flying too risky.

The arrangement has had the unintended consequence of magnifying the event, which might otherwise have remained confined to a few news cycles in Australia. Now European and American media will be covering a story about pedophile priests, the rape of children and the church's botched cover-up — a story the Vatican wants absolutely nothing to do with.

Pell's testimony will begin just hours before "Spotlight," the drama of the Boston Globe's investigation into how the church systematically shielded pedophiles for years, vies for as many as six Academy Awards.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:04 PM

FR. RICHARD POWERS, DECEASED PRIEST OF THE ARCHDIOCESE OF BOSTON, TO BE NAMED PUBLICLY FOR THE FIRST TIME AS A REPEAT SEXUAL ABUSER OF A MINOR CHILD

MASSACHUSETTS
Road to Recovery

Fr. Richard Powers, deceased Pastor of St. Luke’s Parish in Belmont, MA, who has never been publicly named, has been accused of repeatedly sexually abusing a minor child

Fr. Richard Powers, who died in 2007, has been accused of repeatedly sexually abusing “John Doe” from approximately 1974-1975 when Fr. Powers was assigned as Pastor of St. Luke’ Parish, Belmont, MA. Fr. Powers was the Pastor of St. Luke’s Parish, Belmont, MA, from approximately 1974-1996

What
A demonstration and leafleting alerting the media, parishioners, and the general public that Fr. Richard Powers will be named publicly for the first time as a repeat sexual abuser of a minor child from approximately 1974-1975 when Fr. Powers was assigned as Pastor of St. Luke’s Parish, Belmont, MA

When
Saturday, February 27, 2016 from 3:15 pm until 5:30 pm (before and after the 4:00 pm Mass)
Sunday, February 28, 2016 from 9:00 am until 12:30 pm (before or after parish Masses)

PRESS CONFERENCE AT 12:30 PM

Where
On the public sidewalk outside St. Luke’s Roman Catholic Church, 132 Lexington Avenue, Belmont, MA 02478 – 617-484-1996. St. Luke’s Parish is now part of a combined parish (with St. Joseph’s Parish, Belmont, MA) known as New Roads Catholic Community

Who
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, Dr. Robert M. Hoatson

Why
The clergy sexual abuse scandal is far from over, particularly in the Archdiocese of Boston, where cases of clergy sexual abuse continue to emerge. A deceased priest, who is accused of repeatedly sexually abusing a minor child but has never been publicly named before, Fr. Richard Powers, will be named publicly for the first time. Fr. Richard Powers is accused of repeatedly sexually abusing “John Doe” from approximately 1974-1975 when “John Doe” was a minor child. “John Doe” has suffered terribly since he was repeatedly sexually abused when he and his family were parishioners of St. Luke’s Parish in Belmont, MA. Fr. Richard Powers served as Pastor of St. Luke’s Parish in Belmont, MA from approximately 1974-1996, and demonstrators will alert parishioners to the repeated sexual abuse that allegedly occurred in their parish and ask them to support the victim/survivor who has come forward.

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 10:03 AM

Law firm takes on clergy, campus abuse

CALIFORNIA
San Diego Union-Tribune

By Gary Warth Feb. 23, 2016

SAN DIEGO — When a Harvard graduate recently decided to sue the prestigious school for not taking her claims of sexual assault seriously, she turned to a law firm about 3,000 miles away to file a suit with two North County attorneys.

“We’ve gotten out there,” said Irwin Zalkin about the growing reputation of the Zalkin Law Firm in Carmel Valley. “We’ve gotten to be known.”

After becoming known for taking on the San Diego Catholic Diocese and representing victims of clergy abuse among Jehovah’s Witnesses across the nation, the firm is earning a new reputation for representing college students who have sued their schools for mishandling their reports of sexual assault or harassment.

While Zalkin has represented victims of clergy abuse for more than a decade, Alex Zalkin, his 31-year-old son who joined the firm about five years ago, has focused on university cases.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:58 AM

Francesco Zanardi, Vittima Di Pedofilia Clericale, L’Uomo Che Fa Tremare Il Vaticano Lotta Senza Quartiere Ai Prelati Conniventi.

ITALIA
Rete L'Abuso

[Despite his small body, Francesco Zanardi is a very stubborn man and an inexhaustible source of strength and courage. Of his personal drama he has managed to make a close battle against the widespread phenomenon of clerical pedophilia becoming, in fact, the worst nightmare of bishops and cardinals who still are scrambling to cover the misdeeds of the abusers in clerical garb.]

di Francesca Lagatta

A dispetto del corpo minuto, Francesco Zanardi è un uomo estremamente testardo e caparbio, una fonte inesauribile di forza e coraggio. Del suo dramma personale è riuscito a fare una serrata battaglia contro il diffuso fenomeno della pedofilia clericale, diventando, di fatto, l’incubo peggiore di Vescovi e Cardinali che ancora si affannano a coprire le malefatte degli orchi in abito talare.

Da vittima di abusi sessuali, diventa, con le sue sole forze, il Presidente di una colossale organizzazione no profit che ad oggi è il più grande osservatorio permanente sui crimini sessuali commessi in Italia dalle confessioni religiose. Rete l’Abuso onlus (visita il sito) attualmente segue i casi di quasi 500 vittime di preti pedofili, tutte legalmente e psicologicamente supportate da un piccolo esercito di volontari.

Per non subire influenze o pressioni di alcun tipo, infatti, l’impavido savonese ha rifiutato qualsiasi contributo pubblico e le tante “caritatevoli” offerte giunte negli anni al suo indirizzo. Con cui forse qualcuno avrebbe voluto comprargli anima e silenzio. Ottenendo l’esatto contrario.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:53 AM

Uncertainty for priest who stole funds; critics call for leadership change

CHICAGO (IL)
Chicago Tribune

Robert McCoppin
Chicago Tribune

Greek Orthodox church leaders from Chicago to Istanbul have remained publicly silent about the fate of a priest who pleaded guilty to stealing more than $100,000 from his former parish, while some church members continue to push for action against not just him but also his superiors in Chicago.

Some critics have called for the Rev. James Dokos to be removed from the priesthood following his plea Monday in Milwaukee to a felony theft charge. Others say the larger scandal is how leaders in the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Chicago have dealt with the controversy, and they want to see changes among its top spiritual leaders.

Leaders in the Metropolis, which oversees dozens of churches throughout the Midwest, initially determined that Dokos did nothing wrong and declined to put him on leave from Sts. Peter and Paul Church in Glenview after a criminal investigation commenced over how he spent money from a trust fund for his previous church, Annunciation, in Milwaukee. Dokos was placed on leave after he was charged, but the resolution of the case has brought no clarity on whether the priest will return to his spiritual duties.

Church officials in Chicago and in the office of the Patriarch of Constantinople, Orthodox Christianity's spiritual leader in Turkey, have not responded to requests for comment. Just this month, the Metropolis of Chicago announced the formation of a new office of media relations, but no one from that office has offered any comment or returned phone calls or emails since Dokos' plea deal was completed. A spokesman for the archdiocese of America in New York, which claims 1.5 million members nationwide, said it was too early to say whether there would be disciplinary action in the case.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:53 AM

Blow to the Catholic Church as spotlight falls on Cardinal Pell

AUSTRALIA
The Australian

John Ferguson
Victorian Political Editor
Melbourne

It was approaching first light in Rome on February 19 when Cardinal George Pell was informed a Victoria Police investigation into sexual abuse allegations against him was about to be made public.

As his team carefully considered the predicament, crowds were starting to gather in the 5C cold for their Vatican pilgrimage. Back in Australia, the attention was turning to the weekend.

For Pell and his closest minders — religious and legal — the response to the claims that he had abused between five and 10 boys was as sharp as an Italian suit.

“The allegations are without foundation and are utterly false,” read the statement published by The Australian that night. “The timing of these leaks is clearly designed to do maximum damage to the cardinal and the Catholic Church and undermines the work of the royal commission.”

The statement was a pre-emptive strike to position Pell ahead of an inevitable media fracas, with the church savaging police for (allegedly) leaking the information.

During that weekend, several of Australia’s most senior Catholics united in support of the Vatican’s Prefect of the Secretariat for the Economy, the world’s third most powerful leader of the faith.

While being extensive and targeted, the Pell statement told only part of the story.

For many weeks the church had been aware that the police’s Sano Taskforce was circling Pell, executing warrants to search records and locations connected to his past.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:09 AM

Cardinal George Pell Set To Face Royal Commission In Rome

ROME
Huffington Post

Australian clerical abuse victims have arrived in Rome as Cardinal George Pell gets set to take the stand at the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.

The Ballarat clerical abuse victims have made the 16,000 kilometre trip to the Italian capital as Pell readies to front the commission on Monday, Australian time, to give evidence about his time as an adviser to former Ballarat bishop Ronald Mulkearns.

Some of the survivors are said to have touched down in Rome on Saturday morning.

The commission usually hears evidence in Australia, but Pell has been excused from fronting it in person for medical reasons.

Abuse survivor David Ridsdale said the group didn't know what to expect.

"What I do know is that everything we've achieved is because of the group of survivors who have come forward and stuck together," he told Macquarie Radio Network.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:06 AM

Cardinal George Pell's church career

AUSTRALIA
news.com.au

AAP

FEBRUARY 27, 20167

CARDINAL GEORGE PELL'S CAREER IN THE CHURCH

June 8, 1941 - Born in Ballarat, Victoria
December 16, 1966 - Ordained
1971-1972 - Assistant priest Swan Hill parish
1973-1983 - Assistant priest Ballarat East parish
1973 - Shared St Alipius presbytery with Gerald Ridsdale and Monsignor William McMahon
1973-1984 - Episcopal Vicar for Education in Diocese of Ballarat
1981-1984 - Principal of Institute of Catholic Education (now merged with Australian Catholic University)
1984 - Administrator of Bungaree parish
July 16, 1987 - Ordained as Auxiliary Bishop of Archdiocese of Melbourne
1987-1996 - Parish priest Mentone, Bishop for the southern region of Melbourne
1988-1997 - Chair of Caritas Australia
May 27, 1993 - Accompanies Ridsdale to his first court appearance; later says it was a mistake to show priestly solidarity and he did not know full extent of Ridsdale's crimes
June 16, 1996 - Appointed Archbishop of Melbourne by Pope John Paul II

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:04 AM

Former pastor at Pomona church pleads no contest to molesting a child

CALIFORNIA
Daily Bulletin

By Beatriz Valenzuela, San Bernardino Sun
POSTED: 02/26/16

RANCHO CUCAMONGA >> A Pomona church youth pastor arrested last month for allegedly sexually abusing at least one boy pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor charge and will be sentenced Monday, court records show.

Marquis Kidd, 32, had originally pleaded not guilty to all charges Jan. 20, according to court documents. But only a few days later, he pleaded no contest to a single misdemeanor charge of annoying or molesting a child under the age of 18.

Kidd, an elder and youth minister at the Mt. Sinai Church of God at 936 West Ninth St. in Pomona, was arrested Jan. 14 at the Upland Police Station following an investigation into allegations that Kidd had been having inappropriate relations with at least one underage boy, officials said.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:37 AM

Foreign priests missing out on child safety checks

IRELAND
The Times (UK)

Sam Griffin
February 27 2016

Concerns have been raised that visiting priests from overseas are being granted access to children without providing the proper documentation to prove they are of good standing.

It is understood the issue was raised by the Archbishop Diarmuid Martin at a recent meeting of the National Board for Safeguarding Children in the Catholic Church in Ireland which advises and monitors best practice in relation to keeping children safe.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:35 AM

County cases against Diocese of Duluth on hold due to bankruptcy case

MINNESOTA
Northlands News Center

By Ramona Marozas

Duluth, MN (NNCNOW.com) -- The St. Louis County court cases against the Diocese of Duluth are being put on hold while the Diocese goes through the bankruptcy process in Minneapolis federal court.

As the bankruptcy trial is underway, nothing can happen in the case of Doe Five versus the Diocese of Duluth.

Under Minnesota state law, people still have until May 25 to bring a lawsuit against the Diocese.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:32 AM

Film Shines A 'Spotlight' On Boston's Clergy Sex Abuse Scandal

UNITED STATES
Rhode Island Public Radio

Transcript

DAVE DAVIES, HOST:

This is FRESH AIR. I’m Dave Davies sitting in this week for Terry Gross. In the Neil Simon film “California Suite,” Maggie Smith plays a film star up for an Academy Award. But when she doesn’t win, she doesn’t take it well and leaves before the evening’s over. So later that night…

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, “CALIFORNIA SUITE”)

MAGGIE SMITH: (As Diana Barrie) What was the best picture?

MICHAEL CAINE: (As Sidney Cochran) The best picture? You were there when they announced it. It came after the best actress.

SMITH: (As Diana Barrie) I was in a deep depression at the time. What was the best bloody picture?

CAINE: (As Sidney Cochran) You mean what was the best picture of the year or what did those idiots pick as the best picture of the year?

SMITH: (As Diana Barrie) What won the award you [expletive]?

CAINE: (As Sidney Cochran) I am not an [expletive]. Don’t you call me that.

SMITH: (As Diana Barrie) Sidney, I have just thrown up on some of the best people in Hollywood. Now is no time to be sensitive. What was the best picture?

DAVIES: What was the best picture from the past year is a question we’ll have the answer to late Sunday night at the conclusion of this year’s Academy Awards. We’ll be talking about two contenders on today’s FRESH AIR. In the second half of the show, we’ll hear an interview with the director of “The Big Short” about the global economic crisis of 2008. We’ll start with “Spotlight,” the story of a group of journalists at The Boston Globe who in 2002, published a groundbreaking investigation of child sexual abuse by Catholic priests. The film has earned six Oscar nominations. Our guest, Tom McCarthy, is nominated for best director and for best original screenplay, which he co-wrote with John Singer. Joining us in this interview is Walter Robinson, a veteran reporter and editor who headed the investigative unit at The Globe known as the Spotlight Team. The Globe’s work on the clergy sex abuse scandal won the Pulitzer Prize for Public Service. I spoke to Tom McCarthy and Walter Robinson last fall. We began with a scene from “Spotlight.” The Globe’s new editor, Marty Baron, played with Liev Schreiber, is having a strategy meeting with the investigative team. The clip starts with Walter Robby Robinson, played by Michael Keaton, talking about how Boston’s cardinal, Bernard Law, must have been aware all along of the church scandal they’re uncovering. The other two reporters are played by Rachel McAdams and Mark Ruffalo.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:26 AM

Church wrong on abuse: Rome-bound victims

AUSTRALIA
7 News

Megan Neil
February 26, 2016

Cardinal George Pell needs to acknowledge the Catholic Church got it wrong in handling child sex abuse by clergy, survivors say.

Ballarat-born Cardinal Pell should be leading church efforts to help victims, particularly in the Victorian regional city, Ballarat clergy abuse survivor Philip Nagle said.

"George is the one that should be standing up and saying 'hey we got this wrong and this is what we're going to do to fix it'," Mr Nagle told AAP.

"Being the third most powerful person in the church, he has the power to do that."

Mr Nagle is among a group of 15 survivors headed to Rome to be there when Cardinal Pell gives evidence about widespread abuse by clergy in the Diocese of Ballarat and the Melbourne archdiocese.

They will be in the Rome hotel conference room as Cardinal Pell testifies via videolink to the child sex abuse royal commission in Sydney from Monday (Australian time).

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:24 AM

Issues for Pell at abuse royal commision

AUSTRALIA
Herald Sun

February 26, 2016
AAP

WHAT CARDINAL GEORGE PELL HAS TO ANSWER BEFORE CHILD ABUSE ROYAL COMMISSION

WHY HE'S APPEARING AGAIN

Now the Vatican's finance chief, the former Melbourne and Sydney archbishop and Ballarat priest will give evidence about abuse in the Ballarat diocese and Melbourne archdiocese.

Between 1973 and 1984 Pell was a Ballarat East priest, Episcopal Vicar for Education in the Ballarat diocese and an adviser to the Ballarat bishop.

Pell presided over St Alipius primary school where four Christian Brothers were pedophiles. He and another priest lived in a presbytery with Australia's worst pedophile priest Gerald Ridsdale in 1973.

Pell was Melbourne auxiliary bishop (1987-1996), responsible for a region including Doveton which had a succession of pedophile priests, and then Melbourne archbishop (1996-2001).

CLAIM HE ATTEMPTED TO SILENCE A VICTIM

David Ridsdale claims when he told Pell in 1993 he had been abused by his uncle Gerald Ridsdale, Pell said: "I want to know what it will take to keep you quiet."

Pell denies the allegation.

CLAIM HE DISMISSED A VICTIM'S COMPLAINT

Timothy Green, 53, said when he was 12 or 13 he told Pell that Brother Edward Dowlan was abusing boys at Ballarat's St Patrick's College in 1974. "Fr Pell said `don't be ridiculous' and walked out." Pell says he has no recollection of a conversation with Green and it did not happen.

CLAIM HE REMARKED RIDSDALE OFFENDING AGAIN

Former altar boy BWE said he overheard Pell tell Fr Frank Madden before a funeral in Ballarat in 1983: "Ha, ha, I think Gerry's been rooting boys again." Pell's barrister Sam Duggan said the allegation was utterly false.

Madden said Pell never said that and had never used that kind of language.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:21 AM

Pell a significant presence for victims

AUSTRALIA
The Australian

MEGAN NEIL
AAP
FEBRUARY 27, 2016

Cardinal George Pell was a strong presence in Phil Nagle's life as a Catholic schoolboy in Ballarat.

Mr Nagle grew up in a strong Catholic family and was eight when he transferred to the Christian Brothers-run St Alipius Boys' School in Ballarat East in 1973.

But as Mr Nagle told a Victorian inquiry in 2013: "Ballarat's St Alipius Primary School in Victoria Street was certainly not the place to be if you were a Catholic boy going to school in the 1970s."

Its 1973 staff included three pedophile Christian Brothers, with another also teaching there in the early 1970s.

The school chaplain was pedophile Gerald Francis Ridsdale, the Ballarat East assistant priest.

Cardinal Pell was the Ballarat East priest form 1973 until 1984 and, as episcopal vicar for education, oversaw Catholic schools in the Ballarat diocese during that time.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:19 AM

George Pell faces ‘moment of truth’ about paedophile priests, victims say

AUSTRALIA
The Guardian

Cardinal George Pell faces “the moment of truth” about his knowledge of paedophile priests, a victims’ advocacy group says.

If any “silver bullet” exists it will come out during cross-examination of Pell in the child abuse royal commission next week, Broken Rites spokesman Wayne Chamley said.

Pell has already given evidence to the commission twice but Chamley noted that was largely about process – the Melbourne Response complaints handling scheme he set up as Melbourne archbishop in 1996 and the “Ellis defence” case as Sydney archbishop.

Pell’s evidence about any knowledge of paedophile priests during his time in Victoria’s Ballarat diocese and as a Melbourne bishop has a much sharper edge on it, Chamley said.

“This is the moment of truth,” he said. “It’s beyond belief that he didn’t [know]. It’s just beyond belief.”

Chamley said the hearing will be the time for any new documents involving Pell to come out.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:17 AM

How could Pell not have known of child abuse?

AUSTRALIA
Sydney Morning Herald

February 27, 2016

Peter FitzSimons
Columnist

Stand by, Australia.

This will be the week that Cardinal George Pell, a pillar of the Catholic Church in Australia for much of the last four decades, and now the third most powerful figure at the Vatican, faces the Royal Commission into Child Sex Abuse.

Sadly he will not be be giving his evidence in Australia, as – despite being capable of continuing his normal work running the Vatican finances – 24 hours in a Qantas First Class is quite beyond him.

And yes, even that light observation will no doubt get the hackles up of the Cardinal's few remaining defenders. But I'd invite them to read my erstwhile colleague David Marr's devastating piece in The Guardian this week.

With forensic fervour, Marr dissects Cardinal Pell's position noting that, even though the abuse of children was happening all around him for 30 years, even though many witnesses have come forward and explicitly testified that they TOLD Pell it was going on, still the Cardinal maintains "he knew nothing – nothing while he was a priest in Ballarat about the paedophiles around him, and little about these men and their victims in his years as an auxiliary bishop in Melbourne. He was never in the loop. No one warned him. No one complained to him. He didn't read that letter or this report. It never came up at meetings. There's nothing in the minutes. There's nothing in the files."

It will, of course, be for the Royal Commission to wade through all that, and Marr makes the point that this will likely be the last chance to actually get to the bottom of it.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:14 AM

As congregation-based child-protection program goes national, director sees new challenges ahead

PENNSYLVANIA
Lancaster Online

ELIZABETH EISENSTADT-EVANS | COLUMNIST

A few nights ago, scrolling down my Facebook feed, I came across a chilling post shared by a friend — that of a dad putting out an all-points bulletin for his absent daughter. Although he described her in detail, down to the tattoo on her ankle, it is her face that haunts me — bright, hopeful, poised. He fears, said the father, that she's been abducted and trafficked in another state.

It was her face that I had in mind when I called Linda Crockett, director of education and consultation for the SafeChurchSafePlaces project at Lancaster's Samaritan Counseling Center. Crockett and I last spoke in 2012. At that time the program designed to raise awareness of child sex abuse and better protect children in congregations had been launched in nine local congregations, with the hope that the model would work in other churches across the nation.

Coming to fruition

Four years later, that hope has become a reality.

"The first few years we stayed local. Then we caught on like wildfire," says Crockett. "I think God has kind of been nudging people (saying): ‘it's time that those of us who are people of faith do something to stop sexual abuse of children.’ "

In 2014, the center received funding for a pilot program that enabled them to train approximately 20 leaders in other communities around the country. The program has trained facilitators in areas as diverse as Atlanta, Sewickley (a Pittsburgh suburb) and Harlem.

The mission of the SafeChurch program, says Crockett, “is to shift the culture of congregations so that adults know how to protect children from harm in the church and the community."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:04 AM

The History of the Archbishop Who’s Concerned About Girl Scouts

ST. LOUIS (MO)
New York Times

By FRANCIS X. CLINES FEBRUARY 26, 2016

Archbishop Robert Carlson’s recent caution to his parishes in St. Louis about the “troubling pattern of behavior” of the Girl Scouts is stirring stark recollections of the prelate’s past role in managing accusations against priests for sexually abusing children. In a deposition two years ago, he insisted that he was not certain sexual abuse of a child by a priest constituted a criminal act in 1984, when he was auxiliary bishop for St. Paul and Minneapolis handling sex scandal cases.

“I’m not sure whether I knew it was a crime or not,” Archbishop Carlson testified when asked in the deposition about the 30-year-old case. “I understand today it’s a crime.”

To the contrary, a document released by the alleged victim’s lawyers after the deposition showed the cleric’s clear concern for criminal law. He told his diocesan superiors in 1984 that the parents in another case were considering complaining to the police, noting the law’s statute of limitations was applicable for two more years.

There was little uncertainty in the archbishop’s letter this month about the threat he found presented by Girl Scouts’ affiliation with Catholic parishes. He contended the organization’s global associations were “incompatible” with church teachings on such issues as contraception and abortion. He urged pastors to search for alternatives, but Catholic parents quickly defended the wholesomeness of Girl Scouts.

After the pedophilia deposition was made public, the archdiocese released a statement that, whatever Archbishop Carlson’s earlier legal uncertainties, they were distinct from his “moral stance on the sin of pedophilia, which has been that it is a most egregious offense.” Vatican reforms in the wake of the widespread coverup of sexual abusers now order dioceses not to keep allegations under wraps, but to report them to state authorities for criminal investigation.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:02 AM

Judge: Lousiana priest does not have to disclose alleged abuse discovered during confession

LOUISIANA
KLFY

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) – A judge ruled Friday afternoon that a priest does not have to disclose possible allegations of sexual abuse against a teenage girl that heard during confession.

There is a Louisiana law that says clergy, who are considered mandatory reporters of suspected child abuse, must report privileged information to the proper authorities if a child’s physical or mental well-being is in danger. District Judge Mike Caldwell ruled the law unconstitutional as it applies to a case against Father Jeff Bayhi.

Father Bayhi testified Friday during the a hearing in the case saying he would be automatically excommunicated from the church if he ever disclosed what anyone said in the confessional, according to The Advocate.

Bishop Robert Muench released the following statement Friday on district court decision:

“As Bishop of the Diocese of Baton Rouge I extend my compassion and offer prayer not only for the plaintiff who may have been harmed by the actions of a man who was not an employee of the church, but also for all who have been abused by anyone.

The court’s decision to uphold the First Amendment right to the free exercise of religion is essential and we appreciate the ruling.

The Diocese of Baton Rouge will continue to do all that is legal and possible to prevent and stop the abuse of children and young people by faithfully following the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:59 AM

All men need intimacy. Even priests

AUSTRALIA
Daily Telegraph

Angela Mollard

I was 16 when I watched The Thorn Birds. Riveted hardly describes it. Rachel Ward’s softly beckoning breasts, Richard Chamberlain’s torturous conundrum between God and girl. To my teenage hormones, the romance was captivating and the sexual tension thrilling.

But after four episodes and a speed read through Colleen McCulloch’s 692 breathless pages, I came to a single blinding conclusion: How dumb is it that priests can’t have sex?

I raised it with my maths teacher. How can you concentrate on trigonometry when there’s a nonsensical rule called celibacy preventing the lovely Rachel from getting it on with gorgeous Richard? (Somewhat concerning was the priest being called Ralph, but I digress).

Mr Thomas, as well as teaching Grade 11 maths, also headed up the school’s Christian Fellowship club. Poor man. Imagine having your benign little lesson in tangents hijacked by 20 teens pouring scorn on a central tenet of your faith. From memory, Mr T had a crack at convincing us of the merit of abstention but, as I say, we were 16 and throbbing to the beat of Culture Club. Not having sex for your whole life seemed utterly illogical.

What a validation it is to fledgling adolescent instinct to therefore learn that the Pope at the time was enjoying, if not a sexual relationship, then certainly an intimate one.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:57 AM

Miranda Devine: Pell punished for trying to aid victims

AUSTRALIA
Daily Telegraph

MIRANDA DEVINEThe Sunday Telegraph

TOMORROW at 8am our time, Cardinal George Pell will give evidence via videolink from the Hotel Quirinale in Rome to the child sexual abuse royal commission.

It will be the third time he has testified to the commission. He has hardly been hiding. And yet the point of much of the unrestrained vitriol spewed at him is that he is a coward who has refused to “come home” to testify.

But Pell, 74, has a heart complaint and has been told by doctors not to fly, a fact accepted by royal commissioner Peter McClellan after some delay, which served to add to pressure on the star witness of the $500 million exercise.

Watching Pell tomorrow will be a self-invited group of about 120, including 50 journalists and assorted victims, supporters and Pell-haters who have travelled to Rome, on the proceeds of an abusive ditty by anti-Catholic crooner Tim Minchin, calling Pell “scum” and “coward”.

The royal commission has sent “support staff” and media people, at unknown cost, to assist this unofficial lynch mob.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:54 AM

Gratitude for Spotlight

UNITED STATES
National Review

by KATHRYN JEAN LOPEZ

A movie that should be a catalyst for prayer, healing, and forgiveness Thank God for the Boston Globe.

Thank God for Spotlight. I watched Spotlight, the movie about the Boston Globe’s investigative reporting that uncovered a clerical-abuse scandal in the Catholic Church, on the Upper West Side of Manhattan one Sunday morning after Mass this fall. I went right after a morning Mass at St. Patrick’s Cathedral.

I cried watching that movie. I looked around and saw sorrow. I couldn’t help wondering if someone around me had been hurt by someone who professed to be a man of God. As a member of the body of Christ, which is what the Church is, I wanted to embrace her or him, a son of God, a daughter of God, a brother or sister in Christ. I wanted everyone there to hear the words of Pope Francis during a Mass with people who had been abused by priests in Ireland, Britain, and Germany: “Before God and his people I express my sorrow for the sins and grave crimes of clerical sexual abuse committed against you.

And I humbly ask forgiveness.” It’s been more than a decade since the Boston Globe shined light in the darkest of places. The Church is a different place now. As my friend Ed Mechmann, who runs the Safe Environment program in the Archdiocese of New York, put it in the New York Times, “The Catholic Church in America has done something no other organization in the world has done — we’ve made a huge, across-the-board change in our corporate culture so that now every leader and every worker has child protection as a high item on his agenda. And we’ve been a great success.”

The story Spotlight doesn’t tell is the one that comes after — “a story about learning from tragic mistakes and then committing to a course of transformation,” in Mechmann’s words.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:51 AM

February 26, 2016

“Noi Sopravvissuti Ai Preti Pedofili Di Ballarat, A Roma Per Chiedere Al Cardinale George Pell La Verità”

ROMA
Rete L'Abuso

“Dall’Australia arriverò a Roma con il mio psicologo per assistere all’audizione del cardinale George Pell sui preti pedofili nella sua diocesi. Sarò nella stessa stanza. Voglio guardarlo negli occhi”.

Le parole di Andrew Collins giungono dall’altro capo del mondo. Partono dalla città di Ballarat dove l’uomo, ora quarantaseienne, è nato e cresciuto. E dove è rimasto vittima di quattro sacerdoti che lo hanno violentato ripetutamente dall’infanzia all’adolescenza.

“Pregavo Dio perchè fermasse gli stupri, ma non è successo. Le violenze includevano stupro anale, penetrazioni, carezze e molestie. Avevo fede ma me l’hanno strappata dal cuore”, racconta all’Huffington Post. Un orrore che lo ha segnato per sempre: “Un giorno decisi di impiccarmi, è stata mia moglie a tagliare il cappio per salvarmi”.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:54 PM

Aussage Pells mit Spannung erwartet

ROM
Katholisch

Von Sonntag an wird Kurienkardinal George Pell per Videoschaltung vor der australischen Missbrauchskommission aussagen. Im Mittelpunkt der mehrtägigen Befragung sollen Missbrauchsfälle im australischen Bistum Ballarat aus den 1970er Jahren stehen. Damals war Pell dort als Priester tätig und stand in freundschaftlichem Kontakt zu einem Priester, der inzwischen wegen Missbrauchs verurteilt wurde. Pell gehörte zum Beratergremium des Bischofs, bevor er selbst erst Weihbischof und später Erzbischof von Melbourne wurde.

Grund für die Aussage per Videoschaltung ist der Gesundheitszustand Pells, der deshalb nicht zur Aussage nach Australien reisen wollte. Die Kommission stimmte Anfang Februar einem entsprechenden Antrag des Kardinals zu, der seit Februar Leiter der zentralen Finanz- und Wirtschaftsbehörde im Vatikan und einer der einflussreichsten Mitarbeiter des Papstes ist.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:52 PM

Sesso Con Minori, Parroco Condannato A 5 Anni: “Invitava Studenti Per Massaggiarli”

ITALIA
Rete L'Abuso

[A priest was sentenced to five years in prisons for abusing minors.]

Sette i ragazzi vittime di Don Massimo Iuculano, 47 anni, direttore dell’Istituto salesiano “Sacro cuore di Gesù” di Vercelli. Li invitava in una sala all’interno della struttura, li depilava e li massaggiava con dell’olio. Seguivano palpeggiamenti e rapporti orali.

Ha risarcito le vittime e ha ringraziato la procura per essere intervenuta a fermarlo, ma non è bastato. Il gup Luca Del Colledel Tribunale di Torino ha condannato a cinque anni di carcere don Massimo Iuculano, 47 anni, parroco e direttore dell’Istituto salesiano “Sacro cuore di Gesù” di Vercelli, accusato di diversi episodi di violenza sessuale su minori. All’uscita dal palazzo di giustizia il religioso ha preferito non rilasciare dichiarazioni. “Prendiamo atto – ha detto il suo avvocato, Carlo Blengino – e valuteremo se presentare appello”.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:50 PM

George Pell: Parents of abused girls in Rome ahead of royal commission hearing

ROME
ABC News

By London bureau chief Lisa Millar

The parents of two girls who were abused by a paedophile priest have arrived in Rome ahead of Cardinal George Pell's highly-anticipated royal commission appearance.

Anthony and Chrissie Foster were among the first of an estimated 20 people — including survivors, their families and counsellors — to travel from Australia to watch Cardinal Pell's testimony from a hotel.

"We're here with some trepidation, of course. It's been a very big decision to come over here and we wouldn't have if we didn't think it was very important," Mr Foster said, as they left Rome's Fiumicino airport.

"We really thought there should be victim representatives to hear what Cardinal Pell has to say."

Other Australians will arrive on Saturday (local time).

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:43 PM

House Passes Bill to Give Sex-abuse Victims More Time to Seek Justice

UTAH
KUER

[with audio]

By WHITTNEY EVANS

The Utah House passed a bill today that would allow victims of sexual abuse to bring civil action against alleged perpetrators even after the statute of limitations has expired.

Last year state lawmakers, passed House Bill 277, which abolished the statute of limitations for sex-abuse victims who were 22 or younger as of March 23rd 2015.

“We thought if we protected children going forward that would be a good step for the future,” says Republican State Representative Ken Ivory. The bill barred anyone who was older than 22 by even a day from bringing their claims. That’s why, when the bill passed, Ivory says, he started getting phone calls from victims.

“People that have lived in Utah as children and they would tell me their horrifying story of their experiences as a child and then they would ask does 277 help me?” Ivory says. “And I would ask them, how old were you on March 23, 2015? And invariably they were older than 22 and I would have to say no, I am sorry.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:41 PM

Archdiocese: former Baltimore area priest admits to sexually abusing minor

MARYLAND
ABC 2

Dakarai Turner

BALTIMORE - The Archdiocese of Baltimore has banned a priest from serving or returning to work within the diocese after they say he admitted to sexual abuse of a minor.

The Archdiocese said Fr. Jorge Antonio Velez-Lopez had sexual contact with a teenage girl multiple times beginning in 2007 and possibly continuing into 2010, the last year Velez-Lopez served within the diocese.

The information came to light in January when the victim told the Archdiocese about it, a spokesperson for the Archdiocese said Friday. The Archdiocese says they began looking into it immediately and filed charges with the Howard County Police Department, where Valez-Lopez served at St. John the Evangelist in Columbia from 2003 to 2010.

The victim was a parishioner at Resurrection of Our Lord Parish in Laurel, the spokesman said.

Valez-Lopez also ministered to members of Spanish-speaking communities at Resurrection of Our Lord, Holy Trinity in Glen Burnie, St. John the Evangelist in Frederick, Sacred Heart in Glyndon and St. Joseph in Cockeysville.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:39 PM

State sues over nonreport of child abuse

DELAWARE
The News Journal

Harry Themal February 26, 2016

Elders of Jehovah’s Witnesses do not have the same privileged communications exemption as religious advisers in a sacramental confession if the confession does not involve a penitent.

The potential landmark “first impression” ruling, reported by Delaware Law Weekly, was made recently by Superior Court Judge Mary Miller Johnston in refusing to throw out a case filed by the state against the Laurel Congregation of the Witnesses.

The state said the elders should have reported a case child abuse between a juvenile and an adult member of the congregation.

The elders met with the juvenile, her mother and an adult member who confirmed the relationship after the boy reported the matter to his mother. They then excommunicated the juvenile and the adult involved. The state sought civil penalties but the Jehovah’s Witnesses said they were exempt from reporting under the Delaware law of “clergy/penitent privilege.”

That law is similar to the attorney/client privilege but the judge ruled that the conversations were not a “sacramental confession.” The defendants said the congregation members were “seeking spiritual advice and counsel from us as elders in a private setting.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:59 PM

60 Days for 4 Youth Victims, 24 Sex Felonies & 52 Misdemeanors

NEW YORK
Frum Follies

The New York Daily News, reported: “EXCLUSIVE: Brooklyn rabbi charged with teen sex assault gets 60 days in jail; DA ripped for offering light plea deal.”

While Rabbi Yoel Malik pled guilty to a single misdemeanor count of Sexual Misconduct, Oral/Anal Conduct (NYS PL 130.20.02) his charge sheet included another 52 misdemeanor counts and 24 felony counts of sex crimes with minors which the record shows the DA and the defendant agreed to have covered by the single misdemeanor plea.There were additional felony and misdemeanor charges that were dropped.

I get plea deal bargaining. They spare the victims the ordeal of a trial, save prosecution resources, and eliminate the risk of an acquittal. But an average of 2 days per felony sex crime? That was no deal; it was a giveaway, a travesty. The victims and justice were bamboozled and the public was endangered.

The DA defends this disgraceful trade of less than one day in jail per charge because the victims were “extremely reluctant to testify publicly.” Mind you, the DA doesn’t even say they refused. The DA may be exaggerating, though it is doubtlessly true they were reluctant and the DA knows why. The ultra orthodox community harasses and intimidates victims of sex crimes committed by orthodox Jews. The intimidation is extreme. They are just like the Mafia, street gangs, and drug cartels.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:57 PM

Trial pits Dominican Republic’s robust media, powerful Catholic Church

DOMINICAN REPUBLIC
Dominican Today

Santo Domingo.- A hearing in a slander case set for Thursday next week could set a precedent in the Dominican Republic, pitting an ever stronger and outspoken media against the powerful Catholic Church.

Catholic priest Manuel Ruiz charged five prominent journalists with slander stemming from the sexual abuse scandals caused by the late bishop Jozef Wesolowski and priest Wojciech Waldemar Gil (Padre Alberto).

For more than five hours National District 8th Penal Chamber judge Teofilo Andujar heard the indictment from prosecutors and the defense claim of persecution, which cited three previous acquittals by other courts.

The journalists Marino Zapete, Altagracia Salazar, Diana Lora, Franklin Guerrero and Juan Tomas Dottin are charged with defamation and slander, but claim a violation of their right to free expression.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:49 PM

Where were Boston TV stations during church sex abuse scandal?

MASSACHUSETTS
Boston Globe

By Mark Shanahan GLOBE STAFF FEBRUARY 26, 2016

One of the reasons critics like “Spotlight” so well is that director Tom McCarthy’s Oscar-nominated movie doesn’t let The Boston Globe off the hook. The film, about the newspaper’s Pulitzer Prize-winning series exposing the priest sex abuse scandal in the Roman Catholic Church, makes it clear that the Globe could have told the story sooner. But a piece published Friday in the Columbia Journalism Review raises similar questions about Boston TV stations.

Written by Terry Ann Knopf, a longtime lecturer in the BU Journalism Department and the author of the forthcoming book, “Boston: The Golden Age of Local Television,” the piece makes the case that local TV stations looked the other way because of close ties to the church. Dan Rea, who worked for more than 30 years at WBZ-TV, much of that time covering the church, had this to say to Knopf: “In retrospect, we did not take action. We circled the wagons.”

The piece also points out that Paul LaCamera, a former Channel 5 exec, served on the board of Catholic Charities, and the late Jim Thistle, a TV news director who toiled at four Boston TV stations, was on the board of the Boston Catholic Television Center and chaired the Boston Catholic Archdiocese Synod Subcommittee on Communications. “I’ve always been very proud of my association with Catholic Charities,” LaCamera told us Friday, saying his involvement with the organization had no bearing on Channel 5’s coverage. “The issue never came up.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:46 PM

Judge rules priests not required to report alleged wrongdoing if learned during confession

LOUISIANA
The Advocate

In a long-running case involving the Roman Catholic Diocese of Baton Rouge, a state judge declared unconstitutional Friday a provision of the Louisiana Chidren’s Code that requires priests — as mandatory reporters of suspected abuse — to report allegations of wrongdoing even if the information is learned confidentially in the confessional.

District Judge Mike Caldwell ruled in the case that the provision violates Father Jeff Bayhi’s constitutionally protected religious freedom rights because Bayhi would be kicked out of the Catholic Church if he ever disclosed what was said in a confession.

Bayhi and the diocese were sued in 2009 by Rebecca Mayeaux, who claims she told Bayhi in a 2008 confession — when she was 14 — that a 64-year-old parishioner of Our Lady of the Assumption Catholic Church in Clinton, where Bayhi was and remains pastor, was sexually abusing her. She alleges Bayhi told her to “sweep it under the floor and get rid of it.” The parishioner died in 2009.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:44 PM

Cops probed disgraced Tasmanian ex-priest

AUSTRALIA
Mercury

PATRICK BILLINGS
Police Reporter
Mercury

A FORMER Tasmanian priest has been linked to one of Australia’s most notorious and heart-wrenching missing persons cases — the disappearance of toddler William Tyrrell.

Convicted paedophile Derek Edward Nichols, 82, has emerged as another person NSW police have interviewed in the case that continues to baffle investigators and shock the nation.

William, often pictured in his beloved Spider-Man suit, vanished from his grandmother’s home in Kendall, NSW, in September 2014 when he was three.

Nichols, a former Anglican priest, who previously lived near William’s grandmother, was convicted of indecently assaulting a boy in Tasmania in 1987.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:42 PM

Judge rules in favor of priest who didn't report allegations of sexual abuse

LOUISIANA
WBRZ

By: Brock Sues and Chris Nakamoto

BATON ROUGE - Judge Mike Caldwell ruled a part of the state's children's code requiring priests to be mandatory reporters of abuse that they learn during "priviledged conversations," is unconstitutional today. The ruling means Priests don't have to speak up if they learn children are the victims of abuse during confessions.

This is a topic that centers around a case nearly ten years old. Rebecca Mayeux claims she told Father Jeffrey Bayhi about abuse she endured at the hands of church parishioner, George Charlet Junior. She claims that happened when she was 14-years-old during a confession.

After today's ruling, Father Bayhi exited the courthouse and called the Judge's ruling a win.

"We're just very happy when the court upholds religious liberties, they did that today so we're very pleased," Father Bayhi said.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:39 PM

Lawsuit on Labrador residential schools postponed, talks on settlement continue

CANADA
Metro

ST. JOHN'S, N.L. — The lawsuit alleging abuse of residential school survivors in Labrador has been postponed as the parties continue to discuss an out-of-court settlement.

A news release from lawyer Ches Crosbie on Friday afternoon says progress has been made, but moving discussions through the federal process is complex.

The lawsuit alleges abuse and cultural losses at residential schools in Labrador.

The roughly 1,200 aboriginal plaintiffs were excluded from then-prime minister Stephen Harper's apology in 2008.

They also didn't receive part of a related compensation package that paid more than $4 billion to former students of aboriginal residential schools across the rest of Canada.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:36 PM

National--Details on leafleting events re Spotlight & perp lists tomorrow & Sunday

UNITED STATES
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

Saturday, February 27 Events

San Jose

San Jose Diocesan headquarters, 1150 North First Street, San Jose, CA 95112

Saturday, February 27 at 11:00 am

Contact: Melanie Jula Sakoda 925-708-6175 melanie.sakoda@gmail.com, Tim Lennon 415-312-5820 tlennon@snapnetwork.org

Houston

Cathedral of the Sacred Heart, 1111 St. Joseph Parkway

Saturday, February 28 at 5:45 pm

Contact: John Sloan jsloan77@me.com 903-738-7444

Washington DC

Basilica of the Immaculate Conception, 400 Michigan Avenue NW

Saturday, February 27 at 5:45 pm

Contact: Barbra Graber barbragraber@gmail.com 540-214-8874, Bill Casey, b13909@comcast.net 703-568-3438

Saint Louis

St. Louis Cathedral, 4431 Lindell (near Taylor)

Saturday, February 27 at 5:30 pm

Contact: David Clohessy, davidgclohessy@gmail.com 314-566-9790

Sunday, February 28 Events

Oakland

Oakland Cathedral of Christ the Light, 2121 Harrison Street

Sunday, February 28 at 11:00 am

Contact: Melanie Jula Sakoda 925-708-6175 cell, melanie.sakoda@gmail.com, Tim Lennon 415-312-5820, tlennon@SNAPnetwork.org

Los Angeles

Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels, 555 W Temple Street

Sunday, February 28 at 10:45 am

Contact Barbara Blaine, 312-399-4747 bblaine@SNAPnetwork.org

Dallas

Cathedral of the Shrine of the Virgin of Guadalupe, 2215 Ross Avenue

Sunday, February 28 at 12:45 pm

Contact Carolyn Sellers

Washington DC

Cathedral of St. Matthew, 1725 Rhode Island Avenue NW

Sunday, February 28 at 12:15

Contact: Barbra Graber, barbragraber@gmail.com 540-214-8874, Bill Casey, b13909@comcast.net 703-568-3438

Miami

Cathedral of St. Mary, 7525 NW 2nd Avenue

Sunday, February 28 at 12:30 pm

Contact: Barbara Dorris bdorris@SNAPnetwork.org 314-503-0003, Charles Bailey clb747@yahoo.com 315-657-5073

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:43 PM

Former D.C. police officer, pastor sentenced for sex crimes

WASHINGTON (DC)
WTOP

By Neal Augenstein | @AugensteinWTOP
February 26, 2016

WASHINGTON — A federal judge sentencing a former D.C. police officer and pastor was barely controlling his anger at Darrell Best, who pleaded guilty to producing child pornography and sexually abusing two teenage girls.

“I have a hard time understanding how a man of God, when two girls come for help, your response is to have sex with them,” said U.S. District Court Judge Reggie Walton, his tone rising in disbelief.

Walton sentenced Best to 18 years at Butner federal prison, where he will get treatment designed for sexual offenders. When Best gets out of prison, he will be on supervised release for the rest of his life, and be required to register as a sex offender.

Best apologized to his victims, who were not present in the courtroom.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:41 PM

Ex-D.C. police officer and pastor sentenced in sexual abuse of two teens

WASHINGTON (DC)
Washington Post

By Spencer S. Hsu February 26

A federal judge on Friday sentenced a former D.C. police officer and pastor to 18 years in prison for sexually abusing two teenage girls who attended his Southeast Washington church.

Darrell Best, 46, a 25-year D.C. police department veteran, pleaded guilty in October to one count of first-degree sexual abuse of a minor, one count of second-degree sexual abuse of a minor and one count of production of child pornography after he photographed one of the girls.

U.S. District Judge Reggie B. Walton handed down the sentence. Best admitted to separately abusing the girls, ages 16 and 17: one at his office at D.C. police headquarters and the other at his God-A Second Chance Ministry Church. One teen’s parents alerted police after the girl was confronted by Best’s fiancee, who found pictures of one of the victims on the officer’s phone, according to charging documents.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:38 PM

More priests being investigated

MINNESOTA
Advocate Tribune

By Scott Tedrick
News Editor

Posted Feb. 26, 2016

It was back in 2010 that a CNN Special Report used Granite Falls as the setting for a story involving an 82 year old priest, Francis Markey, who died in jail in 2012 while facing charges of raping a 15-year-old boy in Ireland 40 years ago.

According to a statement issued then by the New Ulm Diocese, Markey filled in at St. Andrews Catholic Church in Granite Falls during an approximately three month period during the spring of 1982. Over those three months, a community’s worst fears would be realized as CNN would bring to light the voice of an anonymous local resident living across the street from the church alleged that he was abused by Markey as a child.

This past week the story grew significantly more alarming as parishioners of St. Andrews Church received two additional letters signed by New Ulm Diocese Bishop John Levoir, dated February 5 and February 11, informing them of two other priests with a history of sexual abuse were assigned to the parish back-to-back during the 60s and early 70s.

The letters name Fr. Gordon Buckley, who served at the Church of St. Andrews in Granite Falls and the Church of St. James in Dawson, from 1963-69, as well as Fr. Charles Stark who was at St. Andrews from 1969-1971.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:17 PM

Where were Boston’s TV stations during the Church sex abuse scandal?

MASSACHUSETTS
Columbia Journalism Review

By Terry Ann Knopf

FEBRUARY 26, 2016

ONE OF THE BEST THINGS ABOUT SPOTLIGHT, Tom McCarthy’s acclaimed film about The Boston Globe’s investigation of the city’s clerical sex abuse scandal, is its integrity. Vying for six Academy Awards in Sunday’s Academy Awards ceremony, the film chronicles The Globe’s crucial role in bringing the issue of abuse to light and exposing Cardinal Bernard Law’s part in the cover-up. The film also points the finger at The Globe itself for having been so late in coming to the scandal. More than once in the film, a question is posed to the reporters: “What took you so long?”

But what about the other media outlets at the time? Where were Boston’s crackerjack TV stations—especially the two dominant ones, Channel 4 (WBZ-TV) and Channel 5 (WCVB-TV), which, for many years, were regarded as the two finest in the country? Where were all the TV reporters?

Dan Rea, a former TV reporter who covered the Church, was among the town’s most versatile and tenacious reporters during his 31-year career with WBZ-TV. Referring to the sex abuse scandal, he said: “In retrospect, we did not take action. We (reporters) circled the wagons.”

At its core, Boston was a little too small, too inbred and incestuous. Though hundreds of heinous crimes were committed by pedophile priests against innocent children over the years, there was a collective silence in Boston and throughout the state. People wouldn’t talk; the Church wouldn’t act; and the media, including local TV stations, were nowhere to be found.

Part of the problem was cultural. Sexual abuse was among the taboos people rarely talked about, in Boston or anywhere. The idea that a man of God would violate an innocent child was beyond belief. For the victims and their families, denial was often the only way of coping.

Simple numbers were another factor. Catholics have long since made up the state’s largest religious group—53 percent in 1980. And, while falling to 44.9 percent as of 2010 (the last time a religious census was taken), Catholics are still the majority religion in the state.

Then there was the Bernard Law factor. Arriving in Boston in 1984 to replace the late Cardinal Humberto Medeiros, Law proved a more dynamic and ambitious figure than his predecessor—not only as a religious leader, but as an influential member of the establishment, dining regularly with Billy Bulger, the powerful Massachusetts Senate president. But his ties went far beyond state politics. As WBUR-FM reporter David Boeri, who covered the Catholic Church for years, said: “Here was a Cardinal in Boston who had Karl Rove on his speed dial. He was really wired to Washington.” ...

With the lack of urgency operating at so many levels, it wasn’t until May 7, 1992, that Joe Bergantino, head of the WBZ-TV’s investigative unit, became the first reporter to expose an ex-priest named James Porter. Bergantino’s exposé and follow-up reporting became Boston’s first pedophile priest legal case, the first of many, with Porter sentenced to 18 to 20 years in a maximum prison.

Bergantino, now retired from the nonprofit New England Center for Investigative Reporting at Boston University, recently reflected on the media’s attitude of “see no evil, hear no evil” and, above all, “report no evil” at the time: “The Church was covered, in both print and television, the way we covered a sports team. When Rose Kennedy died, we brought in a priest to do the play-by-play at her Mass. The Church wasn’t covered the way we would cover the government … . And, because the Church was not transparent at the time, it was like covering the Kremlin.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:59 PM

Former seminarian indicted, pleads not guilty to child sex crime charges

OHIO
NBC4i

[with video]

COLUMBUS (WCMH)–Joel Wright, a former student at a Columbus seminary, was formally charged Wednesday in Southern California on charges he attempted to travel out of the country to rape underage children.

A grand jury indicted Wright on one count of attempting to cross state lines “with intent to engage in a sexual act with a person who had not attained the age of 12 years,” and a count of traveling, and attempting to travel, from Ohio to California and Mexico “for the purpose of engaging in any illicit sexual conduct with another person.”

Wright was arraigned on the charges Thursday and pleaded not guilty.

He could face up to 30 years and a fine for each individual charge. His mother, Teresa Poquette, did not want to comment but said her son was innocent.

In a criminal complaint filed last month, a special agent with the Department of Homeland Security said Wright engaged in frequent email communications, indicating his interest in sexually assaulting children between the ages of one and four.

Wright was also ordered by the grand jury to forfeit property, including two cell phones.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:06 PM

Archdiocese receives allegation of abuse against religious order priest

MARYLAND
The Catholic Review

February 12, 2016

The Archdiocese of Baltimore released the following statement Feb. 12.

The Archdiocese of Baltimore has learned of an allegation of sexual abuse of a minor against Father Jorge Antonio Velez-Lopez, T.C., 60, a member of the religious order known as the Tertiary Capuchins, who last served in the archdiocese in 2010. The alleged abuse began approximately in 2007 while Father Velez was assigned to St. John the Evangelist Parish in Columbia. The alleged victim was a parishioner at Resurrection of Lord in Laurel.

The allegation was immediately reported to civil authorities in Howard County, to the superior of Father Velez’s religious order, and to the Diocese of Alexandria, La., where Father Velez has most recently been serving.

After receiving permission from civil authorities, a representative of the archdiocese traveled to the Diocese of Alexandria to meet with Father Velez to discuss the allegations. At the meeting Feb. 11, Father Velez admitted to the allegations. The Archdiocese of Baltimore reminded Father Velez that he is not permitted to function as a priest or to minister in any capacity in the archdiocese. His authority to act as a priest in the archdiocese ended when he left service here in 2010. In accordance with archdiocesan policy, counseling assistance has been offered to all those affected.

Father Velez began working in the Archdiocese of Baltimore in July 2002 and served at St. John from 2003 to 2010. During this time he also ministered to members of the Spanish-speaking community in several other parishes, including Church of the Resurrection in Laurel, Holy Trinity in Glen Burnie, St. John the Evangelist Church in Frederick, Sacred Heart Church in Glyndon, and St. Joseph Church in Cockeysville

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:03 PM

Archdiocese Investigates Allegations Against Former Priest

MARYLAND
CBS Baltimore

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — The Archdiocese of Baltimore reports that a priest has admitted to allegations of abuse more than six years after it began.

According to The Catholic Review, an Archdiocese of Baltimore publication, the sexual abuse against a minor began in 2007 while now 60-year-old Jorge Antonio Velez-Lopez was assigned to St. John the Evangelist Parish in Columbia.

The alleged victim was a parishioner at Resurrection of Lord in Laurel.

The allegation was reported to local authorities in Howard County as well as to the superior father of Velez’s religious order and to the Diocese of Alexandria, La. where he was recently serving.

He last served in the archdiocese in 2010.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:01 PM

Christian Brother Edward Courtney

UNITED STATES
Christian Brothers Sex Abuse - Pfau Cochran Vertetis Amala PLLC

Over the past eight years we have helped more than 20 men who survived abuse by Edward Courtney. This page describes a small amount of the evidence we have uncovered during those eight years.

Brother Manning: “I Recommend Him Highly”

Ed Courtney was removed from St. Laurence High School in 1974 because he was molesting students. Brother John Manning was the principal of St. Laurence at the time, and when we deposed Brother Courtney, he described how Brother Manning “called me in to talk, and he said there had been complaints and basically told me I was going to have to leave at that time.”

A year later, after the Christian Brothers transferred Courtney to O’Dea High School in Seattle (see below), the same Brother Manning wrote a formal letter of recommendation for Courtney so he could get his teaching certificate in Washington: “I recommend him highly.”

Edward Courtney: Assignments and Transfers

The Christian Brothers transferred Edward Courtney between at least six separate schools in New York, Illinois, Michigan, and Washington because he was abusing children and they knew he wouldn’t stop. Between the early 1960s and 1978, they transferred him between Sacred Heart in New York, then Brother Rice High School in Chicago, then Brother Rice High School in Michigan, then Leo High School in Chicago, then St. Laurence High School in Chicago, and then O’Dea High School in Seattle.

They then helped make him the principal of St. Alphonsus school in Seattle, where he was removed after one year because he kept abusing children. After they finally removed him from their private school system, the Christian Brothers wrote him letters of recommendation so he could continue teaching in public schools, where he kept abusing children for nearly another decade.

While we have many documents that reflect this egregious disregard for children, you can read one of the key documents that summarizes Edward Courtney’s transfers.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:55 PM

National-- Victims demand perp priest lists

UNITED STATES
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

For immediate release: Friday, Feb. 26

For more info: David Clohessy 314 645 5915 home, 314 566 9790 cell, davidgclohessy@gmail.com, Barbara Dorris 314 503 0003, bdorris@SNAPnetwork.org, Barbara Blaine 312 399 4747, bblaine@SNAPnetwork.org

Victims demand perp priest lists
Last year, 6 Catholic institutions in Minnesota did this
Last month, Seattle archbishop released 77 predators’ names
Another may do so next month; 30 bishops have taken this step
SNAP: “But at least 2,800 accused priests’ names remain hidden”
Group says some still are still near kids now as teachers, therapists, etc.
“Spotlight is still needed until church officials ‘come clean,’” victims feel

In fliers handed out this weekend to parishioners and in letters to the heads of the 20 largest US Catholic dioceses, clergy sex abuse victims will urge bishops to disclose the names of 2,800 accused predator priests whose identities they say are still hidden. They will also commend 30 prelates who have posted pedophile priests on their websites, urge employers and neighbors to “google search” ex-priests they know, and push for statute of limitations reform so more predators are exposed.

“We’re grateful for the attention being paid to the film ‘Spotlight,’ said SNAP outreach director Barbara Dorris. “But even now, US bishops are hiding the names of 43% of the accused predator priests. So clearly more ‘spotlights’ need to be shown on those who commit and conceal these heinous crimes so that kids can be protected.”

The events will take place this Saturday and Sunday on sidewalks outside churches in at least these cities: New York City, Dallas, Houston, Miami, San Jose, Oakland, LA/Orange County, Washington DC and St. Louis.

Last month, the Seattle Catholic archdiocese released a list of 77 child molesting clerics who worked there.

[OregonLive]

Over the last year or two, seven Minnesota-based church institutions did likewise (St. John’s Abbey, the Crosier Fathers, the St. Paul/Minneapolis Archdiocese and the dioceses of Crookston, Duluth, St. Cloud and Winona).

Next month, Yakima’ bishop may do the same.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:49 AM

Church officials should fight perv priests and oppression, not fight the Girl Scouts

ST. LOUIS (MO)
New York Daily News

BY GERSH KUNTZMAN NEW YORK DAILY NEWS Friday, February 26, 2016

News item: The Archdiocese of St. Louis has come out swinging against (wait for it!) the Girl Scouts.

The Girl Scouts, huh? The same badge-earning, cookie-selling, wholesome Americans who have been “helping girls discover their strengths, passions, and talents” for 104 years?

In a Feb. 18 letter to parishioners, Archbishop Robert Carlson accused the Scouts of “a troubling pattern of behavior” that includes “promotion of abortion rights” and “role models in conflict with Catholic values, such as Gloria Steinem and Betty Friedan,” support for “Amnesty International (and) OxFam,” “sex education,” and “inclusion of transgender and homosexual issues.”

The Girl Scouts, he concluded are “becoming increasingly incompatible with our Catholic values (and) the total well-being of our young women.”

Carlson has a point, I guess. His diocese has long had a different approach to the well-being of kids. In 2004, the Archdiocese settled 18 of 48 lawsuits against perv priests.

Two years ago, it settled another case against a priest who allegedly raped a girl for four years, starting when she was 5 years old.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:26 AM

What did George Pell know about these paedophiles when he was leading the Melbourne archdiocese?

AUSTRALIA
Broken Rites

By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 26 February 2016

Since 1993, Broken Rites has been doing research about how Melbourne's Catholic bishops harboured a number of sexually-abusive priests. In the mid-1990s, Broken Rites began exposing these priests. Now some of these priests, from the Broken Rites list, are being investigated by Australia's national child-abuse Royal Commission. This article will point you to the original Broken Rites research about each of these priests.

Here are some of the names from the Broken Rites list (to read a Broken Rites article on each priest, you can click on any of the following names).

* Fr Peter Searson. For many years, the Melbourne church hierarchy knew that Searson was committing sexual offences against children in parish schools but it managed to protect him from police prosecution. Obstinately the church kept him in the ministry but eventually the hierarchy was forced to put Searson on "administrative leave" to protect the public image of the church.

* Fr Wilfred (Bill) Baker. Baker worked in parishes around Melbourne — and he committed sexual crimes against children while his superiors and colleagues looked the other way.

* Fr Nazareno Fasciale (pronounced Fah-SHAH-lay). Church leaders, including George Pell, participated in a glowing tribute to this priest, who was one of the worst paedophiles in the Melbourne diocese. In 1996, when Broken Rites exposed this (and other) church cover-ups, George Pell's diocese went into damage control, hiring a public relations firm to announce the "Melbourne Response" (a forerunner of the church's "Towards Healing" strategy).

* Fr Kevin O'Donnell. During O'Donnell's life of crime, his superiors and colleagues looked the other way. In his final years, he even received public praise from one of his superiors, Bishop George Pell.

* Fr Ronald Pickering. The Melbourne church authorities protected Pickering for many years while he committed crimes against children in his parishes. Eventually he fled from Australia, evading justice. The Melbourne archdiocese then began sending retirement payments to Pickering at his new address in England but they didn't give this address to the police.

* Fr David Daniel. The church authorities kept ignoring complaints about the crimes of this priest, but eventually some of these victims spoke to Victoria Police detectives — and the police then charged Father Daniel, thus ending the church's cover-up.

* Fr Desmond Gannon. This is another example of how the church authorities protected a criminal priest for many years until some of his victims eventually spoke to Victoria Police detectives.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:23 AM

The point in the film Spotlight that had me in tears

AUSTRALIA
Sydney Morning Herald

February 26, 2016

Joanne McCarthy

Gold Walkley-winning Fairfax journalist Joanne McCarthy, whose reporting of church abuse cover-ups sparked the royal commission, reveals the moment in the movie Spotlight that left her in tears.

About the time Cardinal George Pell sits in a chair in the Hotel Quirinale in Rome on Monday to give evidence about his knowledge of child sexual abuse in the Catholic Church, celebrities will be climbing into limousines in Hollywood to attend the 88th Academy Awards.

Leonardo DiCaprio will be there, for his role in the violent historic action film The Revenant. George Clooney will be there too, because the Academy Awards wouldn't be the Academy Awards without him.

Someone will wear Prada. Someone else will wear Tom Ford or Armani, Versace, Donna Karan, Calvin Klein or Dolce & Gabbana, and a few will be pilloried for looking a fright.

Tom McCarthy (no relation) will be there, nominated for best director and best original screenplay for his film Spotlight, about the Boston Globe's exposure of systemic child sexual abuse and cover-ups within the Catholic diocese of Boston from a first article on January 6, 2002.

Pell will probably have finished giving evidence, in Rome, to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse sitting in Sydney, when the best picture nominees are read out in Hollywood on Monday afternoon, Sydney time – a list that includes Spotlight. ...

Watching Spotlight was like watching my life for the past 10 years.

The similarities were striking.

The Boston Globe editor Marty Baron, who initiated the investigation into the church's handling of one paedophile priest, John Geoghan, was an outsider – a Miami Jew in a Catholic baseball-mad city.

I was, and remain, an outsider – a woman writing from home on the NSW Central Coast, 90 kilometres from Newcastle about the blokey Hunter Region. The outsider view was essential in both cases; to see with fresh eyes a culture linked with the church by tradition, where so many people in prominent positions grew up within the church.

I've met so many people like the victim and victim's advocate Phil Saviano who spoke to the Boston Globe journalists. Saviano had documents to prove what he was saying, but he was labelled crazy because of his desperate passion for someone to see the church through the eyes of a survivor – not what the church said, but what it actually did behind closed doors.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:16 AM

Tim Minchin thanks supporters and lashes out at Cardinal Pell following

AUSTRALIA
news.com.au

AUSTRALIAN composer Tim Minchin has said Cardinal George Pell should “get on his knees and wash [the] feet” of the sexual abuse survivors travelling to Rome to meet him.

In a post on his Facebook page following the release of his song Come Home Cardinal Pell, the brains behind musical Matilda thanked the generosity of those who had bought the song and donated funds to survivors of abuse carried out by those within the church.

“I personally believe it would be appropriate for him to get on his knees and wash their feet,” he wrote.

“I have great admiration for the survivors and their loved ones who have campaigned for years to have their voices heard. They have fought against a hugely wealthy institution that has a vested interest in quieting and discrediting them.”

“To the many survivors of abuse from all over the country who have written to me since the song came out, thank you so much for taking the time. Your messages have made me smile and cry ... and feel just so angry for you. Please know that you are heard.”

Church files searched after George Pell abuse claim

AUSTRALIA
The Australian

Chip Le Grand
Victorian Chief Reporter
Melbourne

Victoria Police have searched church records kept by a parish in Melbourne’s west as part of an investigati­on into sex-abuse claims against cardinal George Pell dating back 55 years.

Father Rene Ramirez, whose Maidstone patch includes the old Braybrook parish, confirmed to The Weekend Australian that a police detective visited his pres­by­tery late last year to inspect surviving documents from the 1960s.

The search relates to an allegation first made against Cardinal Pell 16 years ago, when a former Braybrook altar boy accused Australia’s most senior Catholic of ­repeatedly molesting him at a church-run holiday camp at Phillip Island in either 1961 or 1962.

Cardinal Pell, nicknamed “Big George’’ by boys at the camp, was at the time a teenage seminarian at Corpus Christi College in Werri­bee, southwest of Melbourne. The allegation was examined and not upheld after a church disciplinary hearing before retired Supreme Court judge Alec Southwell.

The confidential hearing was conducted over five days in ­November 2002, with witnesses providing evidence under oath. An unpublished transcript of the proceeding has been made available to Victoria Police’s Sano taskforce, responsible for investigating historic­ and new claims of instit­utional child abuse.

In a finely balanced judgment, Mr Southwell found the complainant “gave the impression that he was speaking honestly from an actual recollection’’ but he weighed against this the historic nature of the allegations, “valid criticisms’’ of the complainant’s credibility, a lack of corroborative evidence and Cardinal Pell’s sworn denials.

“I find I am not satisfied that the complaint has been established,’’ the retired judge concluded.

The former altar boy who made the allegation, now a 67-year-old ­retired unionist and waterside worker who battled alcohol addiction and spent time in prison for drug offences, does not resile from his story about what happened at the summer camp.

However, when contacted by The Weekend Australian this week, he said he had not spoken to police and had no interest in reviving his claims against Cardinal Pell, who will provide further testimony to the child abuse royal commission from Rome next week.

It is understood that a focus of the police investigation is tracking down other former altar boys who attended the camp. About 42 boys attended from the Braybrook parish in 1961 and more the following year. Father Ramirez, who recently joined the Maidstone parish from The Philippines, said many Braybrook records from that ­period had been destroyed in a fire.

The potentially most important witness, a former altar boy and friend of the complainant named Michael Foley, died in a bar fight 17 years before the Southwell hearing. The complainant told the hearing that Foley was also molested by Cardinal Pell at the camp.

Another former altar boy, referred to as Mr Fitzgerald, told the hearing Foley warned him at the camp to “watch out for big George­”. Mr Southwell called Mr Fitzgerald a “patently honest witness’’ and accepted his evidence, against the objections of Car­dinal Pell’s barrister Jeff Sher QC.

Cardinal Pell, in a pre-emptive statement issued last Friday as the Herald Sun newspaper was preparing to publish details of a Sano taskforce investigation into multiple­ abuse claims against him, repeatedly described the Phillip Islan­d allegations as false.

“The Southwell report which exonerated Cardinal Pell has been in the public domain since 2002,’’ a statement released by Cardinal Pell’s office reads.

“The Victorian police have taken no steps in all of that time to pursue the false allegations made, however, the cardinal certainly has no objection to them reviewing the materials that led Justice Southwell to exonerate him. The cardinal is certain that the police will quickly reach the conclusio­n that the allegations are false.’’

Mr Southwell’s 15-page judgment makes no finding that the allegat­ions were false.

A lawyer involved in the 2002 hearing yesterday said the complainant presented as sincere.

“The complainant might have been mistaken, and he was testing his memory from a long way back, but he wasn’t making it up,’’ he said.

The character of the complainant came under sustained attack before and during the in-camera hearing, with supporters of the then Sydney archbishop leaking details of his criminal history to journalists.

Despite the complainant’s history as an illegal bookmaker, Painters and Dockers organiser and convicted criminal who served two years in jail for trafficking amphetamines, Mr Southwell did not believe he was a liar.

He at no point sought any form of payment from the church and ­despite “extensive inquiries’’ made on behalf of Cardinal Pell, no evidence of an ulterior motive was uncovered.

He confided in his wife in the mid-1970s about the alleged Phillip Island abuse, telling her he had been interfered with by “a big bastard called George’’.

The church ­became aware of the allegation 25 years later, after the complainant told his story to victims support group Broken Rites. The church referred the complaint to its national committee for professional standards. Due to the seriousness of the allegations, Mr Southwell applied a standard of proof comparable to that used in criminal trials.

Mr Sher told the hearing that an adverse finding “would be nothing short of disastrous’’ for Cardinal Pell and the church.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:16 AM

The Real 'Spotlight': Meet Team That Inspired the Oscar-Nominated Film

UNITED STATES
ABC News

By MICHAEL ROTHMAN DAVID MILLER Feb 26, 2016

Note: This interview was conducted with past and present members of the Boston Globe Spotlight team, who were featured in the Oscar-nominated film "Spotlight." Mike Rezendes, Walter Robinson and Sacha Pfeiffer are all still at The Globe and allowed ABC News access into the old Spotlight offices. Other members of the team and past members of Globe management not interviewed for this piece included Marty Baron, Ben Bradlee, Jr. and Matt Carroll, who made invaluable contributions to the story depicted in the 2015 film and over the years at The Globe.

It’s a little after 3 p.m. on a Wednesday as a clock ticks on the far wall of a dimly lit office off Morrissey Boulevard in Boston.

The room is a mess, it smells like mildew and there are old, yellowed newspapers everywhere sprawled out on rickety desks and the dirty floor. But there’s something else in this unassuming room that can’t be more than 400 to 500 square feet in size -- there’s history, and lots of it.

As Sacha Pfeiffer sits upright in an old chair yanked from the manager’s unmanned office, where all the odds and ends have been tossed into, she flashes a knowing smile.

There’s something unique about her, and about Michael Rezendes and Walter Robinson -- something you can’t quite put your finger on immediately.

Standing there in this tiny, cluttered room, having spoken with these journalists from the Boston Globe for more than five hours already, you’d never know this is where the iconic Spotlight team sat for years, where they most likely saved countless lives and helped even more people in their community with their research and reporting.

It’s a humble bunch, more so than you’d expect from Pulitzer Prize-winning journalists, who were just featured in an Oscar-nominated movie, boasting the likes of Mark Ruffalo, Rachel McAdams and Michael Keaton.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:54 AM

Brooklyn rabbi charged with sexually abusing teenage boys gets just 60 DAYS in prison and six years probation

NEW YORK
Daily Mail (UK)

By ANTON NILSSON FOR DAILYMAIL.COM

A Brooklyn rabbi accused of sexually assaulting several teenage boys was sentenced on Tuesday to 60 days in jail and six years on probation.

In 2013, Yoel Malik was charged with the sexual assault of four boys aged between 13 and 16.
He pleaded guilty of luring a child and sexual misconduct the following year, the New York Daily News reported Thursday.

As part of the plea deal, Malik, 36, underwent a sex offender class and other probation requirements, and the felony count of luring a child was subsequently dismissed, according to the Daily News.

Malik's victims were students at the now-closed Satmar yeshiva in Borough Park, Brooklyn.
The rabbi was accused of fondling the boys and allegedly forced two of them to perform oral sex on him.

A Brooklyn hotel manager said he admitted Malik and a 'tall boy' into a room in January 2013, where the pair allegedly stayed for eight hours, according to Pix 11.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:07 AM

EXCLUSIVE: Brooklyn rabbi charged with teen sex assault gets 60 days in jail; DA ripped for offering light plea deal

NEW YORK
New York Daily News

BY REUVEN BLAU NEW YORK DAILY NEWS Updated: Friday, February 26, 2016

A Brooklyn rabbi charged with sexually abusing four teenage boys in a hotel was sentenced to just 60 days in jail and six years of probation.

Yoel Malik, 33, a member of the Satmar Hasidic sect, was given the generous plea deal after the victims were extremely reluctant to testify publicly, according to a law enforcement source familiar with the case.

In 2013, Malik was charged with 28 criminal counts and shamelessly blamed his underage victims for trying to seduce him, police sources said.

The boys were all students at Ohr Hameir, a now-shuttered Satmar yeshiva in Borough Park. The alleged victims were between 13 and 16 when the incidents occurred.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:05 AM

Kriste Mambo priest commits suicide

ZIMBABWE
Manica Post

Lovemore Kadzura

THE Roman Catholic Church trainee priest who allegedly indecently assaulted a 17-year-old Kriste Mambo High School student during a church service committed suicide last week. Tatenda Brandon Masenga (23) who was a Carmalite brother at the institution took his life last Thursday in Marondera where he was staying at Plot Number 15, Esseydale Farm as part of his bail condition which barred him from residing at the school until the case was finalised.

Masenga who was in his sixth year was left with only a year to complete his priesthood studies, but his world crumbled after he was arrested in connection with the embarrassing charge of indecently assaulting an Upper Six student during a church service. Masenga is said to have gulped an unknown poison and died upon admission at Marondera Provincial Hospital.

His lawyer, Mr Leonard Chigadza told The Manica Post that Masenga looked very calm and composed when he engaged him. Mr Chigadza further added that from what Masenga had told him as his defence, the State’s case was weak and there were high prospects of an acquittal.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:01 AM

Former Catholic priest Robert Flaherty granted bail while he appeals 1970s and 1980s child sex convictions

AUSTRALIA
ABC News

By Stephanie Dalzell

A former New South Wales Catholic priest has been granted bail while he appeals against his convictions for child sex offences.

Robert Flaherty, 72, assaulted three boys aged between 11 and 15, in Sydney, and on the New South Wales south coast during the 1970s and 1980s.

However, he was only arrested in 2013 after the third victim complained to police.

Flaherty pleaded guilty to three counts of indecent assault but was also found guilty by a jury of two similar offences last September.

Flaherty was yesterday sentenced to two years and three weeks in prison, with a six-month non-parole period.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:59 AM

Church wrong on abuse: Rome-bound victims

AUSTRALIA
Herald Sun

Cardinal George Pell needs to acknowledge the Catholic Church got it wrong in handling child sex abuse by clergy, survivors say.

Ballarat-born Cardinal Pell should be leading church efforts to help victims, particularly in the Victorian regional city, Ballarat clergy abuse survivor Philip Nagle said.

"George is the one that should be standing up and saying 'hey we got this wrong and this is what we're going to do to fix it'," Mr Nagle told AAP.

"Being the third most powerful person in the church, he has the power to do that."

Mr Nagle is among a group of 15 survivors headed to Rome to be there when Cardinal Pell gives evidence about widespread abuse by clergy in the Diocese of Ballarat and the Melbourne archdiocese.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:55 AM

Tim Minchin tells Cardinal George Pell to 'get on his knees' and wash child sex abuse survivors' feet as they fly to Rome to hear his testimony to the Royal Commission

AUSTRALIA
Daily Mail

By MATT OGILVIE FOR DAILY MAIL AUSTRALIA

British-Australian comedian Tim Minchin has penned another scathing piece directed at Cardinal George Pell.

In a letter published by The West Australian, Minchin praised the generosity of the Australian public who helped fund fifteen Australian child sex abuse survivors to fly to Rome to listen to Cardinal Pell give evidence at the Royal Commission into Institutional Child Sexual Abuse.

'These incredibly brave men and women will sit in a room with George Pell while he gives evidence via video-link to the Royal Commission. We hope that he will look them in the eye and tell them everything he knew.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:51 AM

‘Sauna Rabbi’ Jonathan Rosenblatt Quits Post At Bronx Synagogue

NEW YORK
The Jewish Week

JTA

Rabbi Jonathan Rosenblatt, the New York spiritual leader who has been under fire for having sauna chats with boys in his congregation, reportedly has resigned from his Bronx synagogue.

Rosenblatt told the Riverdale Jewish Center on Wednesday that he will step down as senior rabbi, the Times of Israel reported Thursday. He has served in the post since 1985.

The decision was announced in an email letter sent to the synagogue membership on Wednesday evening signed by the synagogue’s president, Samson Fine, the Israel-based news website reported.

“Rabbi Rosenblatt has today informed RJC’s leadership that he intends to step aside from the Senior Rabbinate of the RJC,” the email read, according to the Times of Israel. “The Shul’s Board of Trustees was informed at this evening Board meeting and we anticipate discussing transition details the Board in the next two weeks.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:48 AM

IN SAUNA-GATE REVERSAL, RIVERDALE RABBI STEPS DOWN

NEW YORK
Tablet Magazine

By Sara Ivry
February 25, 2016

Jonathan Rosenblatt, the 59-year-old Orthodox rabbi who showered and took saunas with male congregants as young as 12 in the 1980s and 90s—a revelation that came to the fore last spring in a New York Times article—has announced that he’s leaving his pulpit at the well-to-do Riverdale Jewish Center.

This is a reversal of his decision of last summer to stay put in the face of calls to step down. At that time, Rosenblatt, the husband of a descendant of the Twersky and Soloveitchik dynasties and a great-grandson of the celebrated cantor Yossele Rosenblatt, apologized for his behavior.

“This is a crisis created by my own lapses of judgment,” the Times reported he said. “I have brought pain to people, shame to my family and I have caused a desecration of the divine name.” Contrition notwithstanding, he was said to think the demand for his resignation was disproportionate to what he’d done.

Many community members agreed and came to Rosenblatt’s defense, claiming that he served as a mentor to the boys in question and had engaged in meaningful conversations with them. Some 200 congregants signed a petition that he stay in place. Unsurprisingly, others found his behavior reprehensible, and left the synagogue in protest. According to the Times, at least half of the shul’s 700 members have defected; some have formed a break-away congregation, the Riverdale Minyan.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:47 AM

Bronx Rabbi Who Had Sauna Chats Is Quitting

NEW YORK
New York Times

By ANDY NEWMAN
FEB. 25, 2016

The prominent senior rabbi of a Bronx synagogue who drew scrutiny for having naked sauna chats with boys as young as 12 is stepping down.

The rabbi, Jonathan Rosenblatt, had fought hard to keep his job at the Riverdale Jewish Center after the publication of an article in The New York Times in May describing the sauna sessions, and many congregants rallied to his defense.

But hundreds of other members quit in anger over Rabbi Rosenblatt’s conduct and the synagogue leadership’s tolerance of it, forming a breakaway congregation.

The Riverdale Jewish Center, a Modern Orthodox congregation in the affluent neighborhood of Riverdale, has lost more than half its members since last year.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:45 AM

Tim Minchin says George Pell should wash feet of child sex abuse survivors

AUSTRALIA
The Guardian

Musician and comedian Tim Minchin says Cardinal George Pell should show contrition to survivors of child sexual abuse and “get on his knees and wash their feet” when he attends a public hearing of the royal commission in Rome on Monday.

Michin made the call in a statement posted on his website and comes after the viral success of his song, Come Home (Cardinal Pell), which has been viewed more than a million times since it was first performed on Channel Ten’s The Project.

A group of roughly 15 survivors and their supporters, including counsellors, will make their way to Rome on Saturday to attend the public hearing at the Hotel Quirinale, where Australia’s most senior Catholic is due to give evidence to the royal commission.

In the statement, Minchin says: “Even if his only crime was willful blindness, a personal act of acknowledgement and contrition from this man is profoundly important for survivors.”

Pell has consistently denied any wrongdoing. He told the royal commission in December that the Catholic church’s failure to deal with paedophile priests was shameful, but defended his own handling of abuse complaints.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:41 AM

Coulsdon church minister 'ran cult to brainwash women into bare bottom spankings as the will of God'

UNITED KINGDOM
Croydon Advertiser

By Tom Matthews | Posted: February 24, 2016

THE minister of a Coulsdon church ran a cult to brainwash women in his congregation into accepting bare bottom spankings as 'God's will' to satisfy his sexual desires, a court has heard.

Howard Curtis, a married 73-year-old father of three, is said to have treated Coulsdon Christian Fellowship (CCF), of which he was the leader for decades, "more like his personal cult than a church".

He denies at least seven sex attacks on three different women said to have taken place between 1991 and 2013.

Curtis, who became a minister of the Elim Pentecostal movement in the 1980s, but broke from the church when he was pastor of the CCF in Chipstead Valley Road, further denies child cruelty charges relating to three different youngsters, and a charge of causing actual bodily harm by spanking a babysitter.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:38 AM

LAWSUIT CLAIMS SCHOOL MISHANDLED COMPLAINT OF SEXUAL CONTACT BY ACCUSED BULLY

CALIFORNIA
ABC 30

By Corin Hoggard
Thursday, February 25, 2016

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Disturbing accusations from parents at a Fresno school. They claim an eight-year-old bully had sexual contact with their kids and the school didn't do anything about it. A lawsuit filed this week accuses the school of basically sweeping the problem under the rug. But administrators said they did everything right.

The St. Anthony's Campus didn't feel like a safe place anymore to a couple boys as of a few months ago. The seven and eight-year-olds told their parents another boy bullied them, and the trouble included comments and acts of a sexual nature. The parents took it up with school administrators, and from there, ABC30 legal analyst Tony Capozzi said two things needed to happen. "Once the school is put on notice, one, they have to notify the police, and two, they should do something to make sure this doesn't happen again."

The parents feel neither of those things happened, so they filed a lawsuit accusing the school of negligence. Their attorney, Warren Paboojian, told Action News "The school failed to properly report it and conducted their own investigation, Which was inadequate."

A Fresno police investigation is underway now, but how it started may be part of the lawsuit. "A parent called and it was a general complaint, possible child molest, inappropriate touching type complaint," said Lt. Joe Gomez, Fresno Police Department.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:36 AM

A MESSAGE FROM TIM MINCHIN AS ABUSE VICTIMS FLY TO SEE GEORGE PELL GIVE EVIDENCE

AUSTRALIA
Daily Review

BY DAILY REVIEW

Last week Tim Minchin caused more than a storm when he released his song Come Home (Cardinal Pell) viewed by more than one million people; he helped kickstart donations of more than $200,000 from 4,500 people for 15 victims of sexual abuse fly to Rome.

They fly out today to watch Cardinal George Pell give video-link evidence before the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse. He is giving evidence about about sexual abuse in the 1980s by priests in the Ballarat diocese.

Read Minchin’s unedited statement below:

***

“Many very serious questions remain about George Pell’s conduct as a leader of an institution that failed to curb decades of rampant child sexual abuse within its hallowed walls. This failure has resulted in hundreds of innocent people suffering lifelong emotional and physical damage. A shocking number have committed suicide.

Whilst his actions and appearance suggest a man in good health, Pell asserts that he is too ill to travel to Australia to answer these questions at the Royal Commission into Institutional Child Sexual Abuse.

And so today, thanks to the generosity of the Australian public, fifteen Ballarat Survivors will fly to Rome. They would not have been able to afford to do so without you.

These incredibly brave men and women will sit in a room with George Pell while he gives evidence via video-link to the Royal Commission. We hope that he will look them in the eye and tell them everything he knew.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:32 AM

The girls, the paedophile and Cardinal Pell

AUSTRALIA
SBS

Australia’s worst paedophile priest, Father Gerald Ridsdale, once lived with a young clergyman who is now Cardinal George Pell. As the Cardinal prepares to give evidence to the child abuse royal commission, two women break decades of silence to tell Debi Marshall about their ordeal in Ridsdale’s care – and their disappointment with Pell.

In 1973, a young Father George Pell, flushed with success from his recent studies in Rome and Oxford, returned to his home town of Ballarat and took up residence in the St Alipius presbytery; a place, it would be publicly revealed more than 20 years later, that was a paedophile’s paradise and a child’s nightmare.

His housemate that year was the tall, rowdy and popular parish priest, Father Gerald Ridsdale.

What the parents and parishioners who worshipped God and obeyed the sanctity of the church and its messengers did not know was that from early in his priesthood, Ridsdale was subject to a psychiatric report. He was already a serial child abuser who sodomised children at will, picking them off when and where his desires dictated: in front of a church altar, at the presbytery, or on camping or fishing trips.

When he hurt them, he ignored their cries for him to stop. If they persisted in making a racket, he beat them. Badly.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:30 AM

Ex-Seminarian Pleads Not Guilty to Child-Sex Charges

CALIFORNIA
Courthouse News Service

By BIANCA BRUNO

SAN DIEGO (CN) - A former Ohio seminary student charged with planning to travel to Mexico to purchase children to sexually abuse pleaded not guilty to a raft of charges in Federal Court Thursday.

Joel Alexander Wright appeared before U.S. District Magistrate Judge Bernard Skomal. He pleaded not guilty to all felony charges including aggravated sexual abuse, travel with intent to engage in illicit sexual conduct and criminal forfeiture.

Wright faces 60 years to life in prison if found guilty on all charges, according to Assistant U.S. Attorney Alessandra Serano.

Federal authorities arrested the seminarian on Jan. 29 at the San Diego International Airport following a months-long sting operation by Homeland Security Investigations agents in San Diego.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:27 AM

Path of hope to Rome

AUSTRALIA
The Courier

Feb. 26, 2016

When Cardinal George Pell likened the Catholic Church’s responsibility for child abuse to that of a trucking company in his last evidence to a child sex abuse inquiry, clergy abuse survivor Peter Blenkiron clenched his teeth so tightly he cracked his tooth.

For years Mr Blenkiron, who was abused by disgraced Christian Brother Edward Dowlan when he was 11, battled suicidal thoughts playing like a stereo in his head.

He says he is one of the lucky ones. He’s still here.

But he describes himself as a broken man looking for healing.

A dark history of abuse and rape has shattered lives across the Ballarat region and Mr Blenkiron has spent years searching for the light in the midst of darkness.

“There has to be an end to this all, there has to be hope for those still struggling and future children have to be protected, always,” Mr Blenkiron said.

Mr Blenkiron said the survivors’ trip to Rome was a small step for the damaged men of Ballarat making the journey and a huge step for Australia.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:25 AM

Alleged sexual abuse victims want dismissals reversed

RHODE ISLAND
Providence Journal

By Karen Lee Ziner
Journal Staff Writer

Posted Feb. 25, 2016

PROVIDENCE, R.I. — The Rhode Island Supreme Court heard arguments Tuesday in an appeal involving repressed memory claims of child sexual-abuse against the Roman Catholic Diocese of Providence. The claims brought by Helen L. (McGonigle) Hyde and Jeffrey Thomas in 2008 date to the 1960s, when they were both between 6 and 9 years old.

Hyde, of Connecticut, and Thomas, of Massachusetts, are jointly asking the court to reverse dismissal of their lawsuits against the diocese. A Superior Court judge found that the statute of limitations had elapsed.

Hyde and Thomas alleged that they were molested by the late Rev. Brendan Smyth, an Irish priest who served as pastor of Our Lady of Mercy in East Greenwich for three years. Smyth died in 1967, while serving a 12-year prison sentence in Ireland for admitted child sexual abuse.

The case in part hinges on whether repressed memory alone constitutes a form of "unsound mind"; or whether unsound mind also requires that a person be incapable of handling day-to-day affairs. The trial court determined the latter is necessary in order to stop the clock from ticking on the statute, as it relates to "non-perpetrator defendants."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:22 AM

Lawsuit claims priest sexually abused Portland boy

OREGON
KATU

BY KELLEE AZAR, KATU NEWS FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 26TH 2016

An Oregon man using a pseudo name of "David Smith" is suing the Dominican Order and Holy Rosary Church in Northeast Portland.

Smith was an altar boy at the time. He alleges he was sexually abused by Father Emmerich Vogt.

"He was subjected to kissing, extended hugging, touching, something no kid should have to go through, especially with a priest," Smith's lawyer Kristian Roggendorf of Roggendorf Law said.

Also in the complaint are allegations of graphic sexual conversations.

"That can really mess with a child's mind having to endure that day after day, year after year. For years and it's really something that shouldn't have happened," Roggendorf said.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:19 AM

'We really want to hear the truth' - Australian abuse survivors fly to Rome

AUSTRALIA
TVNZ

A group of Australian survivors of child sex abuse by Catholic clergy are flying to Rome tonight to watch Cardinal George Pell give evidence to Australia's abuse royal commission.

Cardinal Pell, a former Ballarat priest and Melbourne archbishop who is now in charge of the Vatican's finances, will give evidence about the church's handling of abuse in the Ballarat diocese and Melbourne archdiocese on Monday.

Some other survivors and the parents of victims have already arranged private flights.

"He's worked his way right through the hierarchy right up to the top of the Catholic Church so we really want to hear the truth about what happened," Chrissie Foster, whose daughters were abused, told the ABC at Melbourne Airport this morning.

"It's about time we saw some action out of the Catholic Church so maybe hearing the whole truth from him we might actually start to see some action."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:15 AM

Ballarat abuse survivors head to Rome to see Cardinal George Pell give evidence

AUSTRALIA
The Age

February 26, 2016

Melissa Cunningham

When Cardinal George Pell likened the Catholic Church's responsibility for child abuse to that of a trucking company in his last evidence to a child sex abuse inquiry, clerical abuse survivor Peter Blenkiron clenched his teeth so tightly he cracked his tooth.

For years Mr Blenkiron, who was abused by disgraced Christian Brother Edward Dowlan when he was 11, battled suicidal thoughts, but he says he is one of the lucky ones. He's still here.

Mr Blenkiron is among 14 Ballarat clerical abuse victims who will travel 16,000 kilometres to Rome this weekend to see Cardinal Pell give evidence once more to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.

The survivors will be in the room at the Rome's Hotel Qurinale where on Monday Australian time, Cardinal Pell will take the stand to give evidence about his time as an adviser to former Ballarat bishop Ronald Mulkearns.

The trip follows a national crowd-funding campaign to help the survivors bear witness to Cardinal Pell's evidence in Rome after the inquiry accepted a medical report which said the he was at risk of heart failure if he made the journey back to Australia.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:13 AM

Retired Hunter solicitor Lou Pirona speaks about the death of his son, and the road to the royal commission

AUSTRALIA
Newcastle Herald

By JOANNE MCCARTHY
Feb. 26, 2016

IT is two days before an Australian royal commission questions a cardinal in Rome about child sexual abuse, and a Hunter man is thinking about how it all started, with the death of his son.

John Pirona’s suicide in July, 2012, after he was sexually abused by Catholic priest John Denham as a child and left a final note that ended with the words “Too much pain”, was the catalyst for the Newcastle Herald’s Shine the Light campaign for a royal commission.

His father Lou Pirona accepts John’s death provided the focus for a community that said enough was enough. The loss of one life came to represent the loss of many.

The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse is the legacy of John Pirona and the thousands of others whose childhoods were devastated, Mr Pirona said.

He will watch a royal commission live stream of Cardinal George Pell giving evidence from Rome on Monday about what he knew about child sexual abuse in the Ballarat area of Victoria.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:11 AM

February 25, 2016

BGCT sexual misconduct policy replaces file with prevention

TEXAS
The Baptist Standard

February 23, 2016
By KEN CAMP / MANAGING EDITOR

DALLAS—The Baptist General Convention of Texas Executive Board voted Feb. 23 to change the convention’s focus on clergy sexual misconduct. It will implement a sexual abuse prevention program and will eliminate its confidential file of clergy charged with misdeeds.

The board will provide training opportunities and web-based resources to strengthen Texas Baptist churches’ ability to avoid clergy sexual misconduct and to extend compassion when misconduct is alleged or proven true.

Resources and training initially will focus on protection for children. Later, the scope will expand to include adult-to-adult abuse.

Grew from internal review of policy

The recommendation from the board’s administration support committee to discontinue the clergy sexual misconduct file and to expand educational resources grew from an internal review of the BGCT policy and its effectiveness, said Rollie Richmond, BGCT director of human resources.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:12 PM

'They'll put a sick baby on a plane, but not a sick Cardinal': Scathing church sign takes aim at the Australian government's treatment of refugees and George Pell

AUSTRALIA
Daily Mail

By BELINDA CLEARY FOR DAILY MAIL AUSTRALIA

A church minister has taken on Cardinal George Pell and the Australian government's treatment of refugees in one carefully worded sign.

The Melbourne Welsh Church's Minister Sion Gough Hughes has publically questioned the government's decision to fly refugee babies back to detention while failing to fly Cardinal Pell back to Australia to give evidence at the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.

It reads; 'Australia – where the government will try to put a sick baby on a plane, but not a sick Cardinal.'

The sign has gone viral online after being posted to Facebook on Monday.

Minister Gough Hughes told Daily Mail Australia the sign is less about Pell then it is refugees.
'People have taken it to be about Pell, but he is innocent until proven guilty but I do believe he needs to turn up,' he said.

'He needs to come and tell the Royal Commission what he knows, we don't know what he knows so that is the issue.'

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:09 PM

Hof van beroep verwerpt klacht van slachtoffers seksueel misbruik tegen Heilige Stoel

BELGIE
Het Nieuwsblad

[Appeal Court rejects complaint by victims of sexual abuse against the Holy See.]

GENT - De dagvaarding van de Heilige Stoel en de Belgische bisschoppen door slachtoffers van seksueel misbruik, is nietig. Dat heeft het Gentse hof van beroep donderdag beslist in een bevestiging van het vonnis van de rechtbank van eerste aanleg in Gent. Een veertigtal slachtoffers probeerde een groepsvordering in te dienen, maar krijgt opnieuw ongelijk.

De groepsvordering werd ingeleid door de advocatenassociatie Van Steenbrugge, Van Acker & Mussche en gebeurde in naam van slachtoffers van seksueel misbruik in de kerk. Het advocatenkantoor probeerde een collectieve vordering of "class action"-zaak in te stellen. De bedoeling van de klacht was om de aansprakelijkheid in hoofde van de Heilige Stoel, de Belgische bisschoppen en de hogere oversten te laten vaststellen.

Immuniteit

De eisers stelden dat ze allen slachtoffer waren van seksueel misbruik en dat ze schade leden door de nalatigheid van de kerkelijke overheid. De rechtbank van eerste aanleg in Gent besliste in 2013 dat de dagvaarding nietig was. Volgens de rechtbank kon één slachtoffer niet dagvaarden in naam van een hele groep slachtoffers en gold de immuniteit van de Heilige Stoel. Het hof van beroep in Gent oordeelde donderdag eveneens dat de Heilige Stoel staatsimmuniteit geniet en dat de vordering op "geen enkel concreet feit" gebaseerd is.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:06 PM

MEDIA RELEASE – FEBRUARY 25, 2016

NEW JERSEY
Road to Recovery

Leaders of the Salesian Priests and Brothers have refused to settle a childhood sexual abuse claim against one of their priests, Fr. Joseph Maffei, SDB, causing the victim, who was abused in Indiana, to be re-victimized. The victim is being denied justice.

One of the leaders of the Salesian Priests and Brothers, who is in charge of allegations of sexual abuse against Salesian Priests and Brothers, told advocate Dr. Robert M. Hoatson several weeks ago during a demonstration at a New Jersey church that the Salesians were settling the claim of the Indiana man. There has been no settlement and no talks of settlement

What
A demonstration and leafleting alerting the media, general public, parishioners, and school parents about the refusal of the Salesian Priests and Brothers, based in New Rochelle, New York, to settle a claim of sexual abuse of a child by a member of the Salesians of Don Bosco religious order, Fr. Joseph Maffei, SDB, when he was assigned to St. Dominic Savio Juniorate in Cedar Lake, Indiana

When
Friday, February 26, 2016 from 7:00 am until 8:00 am
Friday, February 26, 2016 from 1:00 pm until 2:30 pm

Where
FROM 7:00 – 8:00 AM
On the public sidewalk outside the headquarters of the Salesians of Don Bosco religious order and Salesian High School, 148 East Main Street, New Rochelle, New York 10801

FROM 1:00 PM until 2:30 PM
On the public sidewalk outside Don Bosco Preparatory School, 492 North Franklin Turnpike, Ramsey, New Jersey 07446

Who
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 Salesians of Don Bosco religious order refuses to settle a sexual abuse claim against one of its priests, Fr. Joseph Maffei, SDB. Fr. Maffei’s victim is a former student of a Salesian Juniorate school in Indiana. One of the leaders of the Salesians told advocate Dr. Robert M. Hoatson during a demonstration at Our Lady of the Valley Church in Orange, New Jersey several weeks ago that the sexual abuse claim was being settled, yet no settlement talks have taken place since that time. Demonstrators will call on the Salesian Priests and Brothers to do the right thing, settle the sexual abuse claim of the Indiana man, and treat him fairly and justly.

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

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:02 PM

Report: Protestant Church Insurers Handle 260 Sex Abuse Cases a Year

UNITED STATES
Insurance Journal

By Rose French | June 18, 2007

The three companies that insure the majority of Protestant churches in America say they typically receive upward of 260 reports each year of young people under 18 being sexually abused by clergy, church staff, volunteers or congregation members.

The figures released to The Associated Press offer a glimpse into what has long been an extremely difficult phenomenon to pin down — the frequency of sex abuse in Protestant congregations.

Religious groups and victims’ supporters have been keenly interested in the figure ever since the Roman Catholic sex abuse crisis hit five years ago. The church has revealed that there have been 13,000 credible accusations against Catholic clerics since 1950.

Protestant numbers have been harder to come by and are sketchier because the denominations are less centralized than the Catholic church; indeed, many congregations are independent, which makes reporting even more difficult.

Some of the only numbers come from three insurance companies — Church Mutual Insurance Co., GuideOne Insurance Co. and Brotherhood Mutual Insurance Co.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:43 PM

Vanity Fair Celebrates Spotlight and The Boston Globe’s Real-Life Reporters

UNITED STATES
Vanrity Fair

BY JULIE MILLER

With all of the champagne and red-carpet ephemera spilling and swirling through Oscar season, it's easy to forget the importance of film. But on Wednesday night, Vanity Fair reminded Hollywood of the medium’s potential with an intimate dinner honoring Spotlight, the powerful drama from Tom McCarthy that chronicles the Boston Globe’s Pulitzer Prize–winning investigation of the Catholic Church’s sex-abuse cover-up. The real-life reporters who attended the event, co-hosted by Barneys New York at the Chateau Marmont, cut through the Hollywood pomp to speak about meaningful matters highlighted in the best-picture candidate.

“It says such wonderful things about the importance of investigative journalism, which we very much believe in and which is in serious decline,” said Michael Rezendes, the reporter who is portrayed in the drama by Mark Ruffalo. “And also what it says about clergy sex abuse, an issue that we feel very strongly about, is so important.”

Rezendes joined cast members including Ruffalo, Rachel McAdams, Liev Schreiber, and Brian d’Arcy James at the event, and will be attending the Oscars come Sunday. But even at splashy, celebrity-attended affairs, Rezendes said that he always has the investigation and “the survivors in mind. But the attention the film is getting is all very validating. It’s wonderful.”

Because of Spotlight’s significant subject matter, Rezendes believes that the drama deserves the big best-picture prize come Sunday. “This is a movie about something that really, really matters. But it’s not a pill either. I think it’s incredibly entertaining and suspenseful and authentic.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:39 PM

MI--Predator priest dies; Victims blast archbishop

MICHIGAN
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

For immediate release: Thursday, Feb. 25, 2016

Statement by David Clohessy of St. Louis, Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (314 566 9790, 314 645 5915 home, davidgclohessy@gmail.com)

A predator priest, Fr. Louis Grandpre, has passed away. As best we can tell, Detroit Archbishop Allen Vignernon kept this quiet, denying abuse victims months of comfort. Vignernon seems incapable of handling any part of the church’s on-going abuse and cover up crisis with honesty and compassion. Shame on him for not letting parents, parishioners and the public know about this predator’s passing.

[Death Notifices]

In 2013, when Fr. Grandpre was finally exposed as a child molester, Vignernon was deceptive. He implied that this was the first allegation of wrongdoing against the priest. It wasn’t.

A private archdiocesan memo showed that Fr. Grandpre was also credibly accused of sexual harassment 15 years ago. How do we know the allegation was “credible?” Because a mediator suggested the victim be paid $160,000. And remember, that was almost 20 years ago.

[BishopAccountability.org]

It would have taken Vigneron minutes to approve and have his public relations team send out a news release about Fr. Grandpre’s death. That would have brought relief to those who worried, until now, that Fr. Grandpre might still be hurting children. That also would have shown that Vigneron takes seriously his repeated pledges to be “open” about predator priests.

Fr. Grandpre retired as pastor of St. Paul of Tarsus Parish in Clinton Township in 2003 but stayed in the parish. A decade later, in 2013, archdiocesan officials disclosed that he’d been credibly accused of molesting a child. We suspect he molested several kids.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:36 PM

U.S. bishops: Healing wounds is our mission

UNITED STATES
USA Today

Edward J. Burns February 25, 2016

It is important to state that the work of fostering a safe environment for children is a top priority and sacred responsibility of the Catholic Church.

In 2002, Pope John Paul II addressed sexual abuse in the Church and called it “a crime.” In light of this abuse, he said that “the Church herself is viewed with distrust.”

In a 2010 pastoral letter, Pope Benedict XVI said to bishops, “It cannot be denied that some of you and your predecessors failed, at times grievously, to apply the long-established norms of canon law to the crime of child abuse.”

This past September, Pope Francis, immediately after meeting with victims of sexual abuse, spoke to the bishops taking part in the World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia. He said, “I commit myself to ensuring that the Church makes every effort to protect minors, and I promise that those responsible will be held to account. Survivors of abuse have become true heralds of hope and ministers of mercy; humbly we owe our gratitude to each of them and to their families for their great courage in shedding the light of Christ on the evil sexual abuse of minors.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:34 PM

Editorial: Why we’re cheering for Spotlight to take home an Oscar

UNITED STATES
The Dallas Morning News

Pardon us for rooting for Spotlight, a movie about watchdog journalism, to take home the golden statuette for best movie at Sunday’s Oscars.

The critical acclaim for Spotlight has elevated great public service journalism from the anonymous drudgery of tedious record searches, endless interviews and sleepless nights to global prominence. And, we hope, it offers the public a small window into what inspires so many journalists to come to work each day.

The movie depicts how the Boston Globe took on the insular and powerful Roman Catholic Church in Boston to investigate allegations against defrocked priest John Geoghan, accused of molesting more than 80 boys. The Globe showed intense reporting courage and newsroom leadership to prove that the church was covering up sexual abuse.

The real investigation created angst in the Boston Globe newsroom as editors, executives and reporters worked to uncover a horrific story about Boston’s most powerful institution. Most people never bear witness to this internal challenge of journalism; Spotlight portrayed it so accurately.

Most of all, the film revealed the importance of vigorous reporting and how great watchdog work protects our democracy and those who live in it. And it shows that society-changing stories don’t just fall into a reporter’s lap.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:32 PM

Spotlight's unfinished business: Our view

UNITED STATES
USA Today

The Editorial Board

February 25, 2016

Catholic Church drags its feet on accountability for sexual abuse scandal.

You can’t expect a movie, even one as riveting as Spotlight, to change the culture of a centuries-old institution like the Catholic Church. But perhaps the film, up for six Academy Awards on Sunday, can remind the church of its unfinished business in confronting a decades-long coverup of rampant child molestation.

The movie depicts an investigation by the Spotlight reporting team at The Boston Globe, which broke the news in January 2002 and brought international attention to a sickening scandal in Boston that has since engulfed the church around the world. In the United States alone, more than 17,000 victims have reported sexual abuse, going back as far as 1950, involving about 6,400 priests in 100 cities.

Yet, not once in the past 14 years has a single U.S. bishop, let alone a cardinal, been removed from ministry for a role in the scandal. Perhaps the church could not have prevented child molesters from entering the priesthood, but bishops and cardinals could have stopped the crimes of serial predators. Many children would have been spared had religious leaders done what you’d expect any decent person to do: Report alleged crimes to authorities and, at the very least, keep molesters away from children. Often, they did neither.

Reports of abuse were ignored. Predator priests were sent for “treatment,” then shuffled off to other parishes, often to molest again. When lawsuits threatened to blow the church’s cover, the cases were settled secretly.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:30 PM

Belgische misbruikslachtoffers verliezen zaak van kerk

BELGIE
KRO-NCRV

[A court in Ghent today said Belgian bishops and other church officials can not be held jointly and liable for the damage to victims of sexual abuse. Forty victims had gone to court to recover damages jointly by church officials for negligence.]

Gent (BELGA/ANP) 25 februari 2016 - Belgische bisschoppen en andere kerkelijke hoogwaardigheidsbekleders kunnen niet hoofdelijk aansprakelijk worden gesteld voor de schade van slachtoffers van seksueel misbruik. Een veertigtal slachtoffers was naar de rechter gestapt om gezamenlijk schade te verhalen bij kerkelijke bestuurders wegens nalatigheid.

Het hof van beroep in Gent verklaarde de dagvaarding vandaag in navolging van het vonnis van de rechtbank in 2013 nietig. “Nergens wordt vermeld wie, waar of wanneer misbruikt werd”, aldus het hof. De beschuldiging is niet concreet en specifiek genoeg en de geestelijken weten dan niet waartegen ze zich moeten verweren, aldus het hof.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:26 PM

Oculta Iglesia cifra de pederastas

MEXICO
El Popular

[The former priest Alberto Athie Gallo said the number of pedophile priests are still hidden.]

El activista y defensor de las víctimas de abuso sexual cometidos por sacerdotes católicos, Alberto Athié Gallo, aseguró que no se sabe el paradero del sacerdote Nicolás Aguilar, quien se ordenó en la década de 1970 en la diócesis de Tehuacán, región donde trabajó y tras ser señalado por abusos fue cambiado pero después regresó.

También dijo que el número de abusos sexuales cometidos por sacerdotes en territorio poblano es todavía un secreto que se resguarda en el poder que mantiene la Iglesia católica en Puebla, aunado a la colusión que existe con las autoridades civiles.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:21 PM

Los forenses acreditan los abusos de un preceptor en un colegio del Opus Dei de Vizcaya

ESPANA
El Mundo

[Psychologists say a boy who said he was abused by a teacher at an Opus Dei school was telling the truth.]

25/02/2016

Cuando el chico contó que a los 12 años su profesor le llevaba al despacho y bajaba las persianas, cuando explicó que le tocaba los muslos y le pedía que se masturbara, cuando relató que le hacía desnudarse y le manoseaba por todo el cuerpo, cuando recordó que le forzaba a sentarse en sus rodillas y todo lo demás, decimos, el chico no estaba con una fabulación de adolescente.

El chico estaba contando la verdad de un hombre.Eso es lo que sostienen las dos psicólogas y las dos médicos forenses que han explorado al alumno de 19 años.El informe definitivo encargado por el Juzgado de Primera Instancia e Instrucción número 5 de Getxo (Vizcaya) sostiene ahora que el chaval no miente.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:17 PM

Retired vicar denies raping schoolgirl

UNITED KINGDOM
Salisbury Journal

A RETIRED vicar has denied raping a schoolgirl more than 40 years ago.

Fredrick Williams, 74, of Central Street, Ludgershall, pleaded not guilty to nine sexual abuse charges at Salisbury Crown Court on Friday, all relating to the same girl.

He stands accused of raping the girl, who cannot be named for legal reasons, twice between September 1971 and June 1974.

The remaining seven charges relate to other sexual acts allegedly carried out between January 1971 and June 1974.

In the dock at Salisbury Crown Court, Mr Williams requested a hearing-loop to help him follow proceedings.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:13 PM

Jehovah’s Witnesses’ sex abuse scandal is a lot like Catholic Church’s

UNITED STATES
Reveal: The Center for Investigative Reporting

By Heidi Hirvonen / February 25, 2016

The release of “Spotlight” – the Oscar-nominated film chronicling The Boston Globe’s groundbreaking investigation into child sexual abuse among Catholic priests – has refocused attention on problems in the church and trumpeted the importance of investigative reporting.

This week’s episode of Reveal goes behind the scenes with the real Globe reporters to learn more about how the story broke in 2002 – and what happened after the credits rolled.

CULTURE OF SECRECY LEAVES DOOR OPEN FOR SEX ABUSE

Right now, we’re learning a lot about another religion with a history of hiding child sexual abuse. The themes in our new episode parallel Reveal reporter Trey Bundy’s ongoing investigation into abuse among Jehovah’s Witnesses. Taken together, the two religions share a series of troubling themes and tactics.

Abuse allegations stifled from the top

The Globe’s reporting didn’t just reveal crimes; it shed light on a series of cover-ups by high-ranking Catholic Church officials. In one dramatic example, a priest who had been accused of molestation and rape more than 130 times was not disciplined. Rather, he was reassigned by then-Cardinal Bernard Law to a new parish, with disastrous consequences.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:11 PM

George Pell: Church abuse victims travel to Rome to witness Cardinal's royal commission appearance

AUSTRALIA
ABC News

By Rachael Brown

A group of church abuse survivors will take off from Melbourne today for Rome, to be in the same room as Cardinal George Pell as he fronts the child abuse royal commission.

They had hoped the Cardinal would visit the Victorian city of Ballarat, a site of clerical abuse in the 1960s and '70s, but a heart condition has prevented him leaving the Vatican.

For some, travelling 16,000 kilometres to watch what will be broadcast to Australia via video-link is about taking some power back.

Others feel it will be harder for the Cardinal to fudge facts if victims are staring him in the eye when he faces the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:24 PM

Score For Chasidic Sex Abuse Whistleblower In Forward Suit

UNITED STATES
The Jewish Week

02/25/16

Amy Sara Clark
Deputy Managing Editor

Sam Kellner's defamation suit against The Jewish Daily Forward lives to fight another day.

Manhattan Supreme Court Judge Debra A. James denied the newspaper's motion to dismiss in a decision issued today, ruling that Kellner is a private person, not a public figure as The Forward had argued. The distinction is key because that means Kellner only needs to show that The Forward acted negligently rather than with actual malice.

The subject of the suit, brought by Kellner in November 2014, is an article written by Paul Berger, “Sam Kellner’s Tangled Hasidic Tale of Child Sex Abuse, Extortion and Faith,” and a tweet, mistakenly referring to Kellner as a convicted extortionist. According to Kellner’s complaint, the tweet went uncorrected by the paper for six days after they were alerted to the error.

The Forward sought to have the case dismissed on the grounds that the article was opinion, and thus protected speech. It also argued that the mistaken language of the tweet was inadvertent and not intended to defame Kellner.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:21 PM

Community pressure may have stymied NYPD investigation into haredi assailant

NEW YORK
Jerusalem Post

The suspect, an unnamed twenty-year-old haredi man who is said to come from a prominent family, turned himself in earlier this week after the NYPD released security camera footage of him.

A police investigation into an ultra-orthodox man believed to have attempted to abduct a Brooklyn teenager was closed this week after the victim stopped cooperating with police due to communal pressure, the Daily News reported on Wednesday.

The suspect, an unnamed twenty-year-old haredi man who is said to come from a prominent family, turned himself in earlier this week after the NYPD released security camera footage of him. The suspect accosted the fourteen year old girl in the Midwood neighborhood of Brooklyn last Tuesday, attempting to physically restrain her and demanding that she come with him until confronted by a third party.

Despite the suspect turning himself in, however, police sources who spoke with the New York newspaper asserted that no further probe into the matter is in the works as the family of the victim “stopped cooperating with the cops.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:18 PM

Abuse victims’ final words as they head to Rome to face Cardinal Pell

AUSTRALIA
Starts at Sixty

As they readied to board a plane to Rome to face Cardinal George Pell, church abuse survivors shared their thoughts, fears and hopes about the long trip to Italy.

A group of ten victims will leave today, accompanied by a small support team of counsellors and doctors who will help them through to difficult proceedings.

The group hope that by forcing Pell to face them in person as he gives his testimony, he will be compelled to give honest and factual responses to the Inquiry’s questions.

One of the survivors making the trip is David Ridsdale, who told the royal commission he phoned Pell in 1993 to tell him that his uncle Gerald Ridsdale was abusing him.

Instead of helping him and reporting Gerald to the police, Pell tried to silence David.

“What we’re hoping for is the same we’ve given, which is just truth,” David told the ABC.

“I guess it will with a part of the story, because it was the phone call I made to Cardinal Pell which set my trajectory on this very public path I’ve found myself, which was never my intention and something that was very difficult for me to have come to grips with.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:16 PM

Pell draws world spotlight to Vatican

AUSTRALIA
SBS

AAP

There is huge international interest in what Cardinal George Pell has to say about the sexual abuse of children by clergy in the Ballarat region of Victoria when he gives evidence from a conference room at the elegant Hotel Quirinale in Rome.

By virtue of his position - head of the Secretariat of the Economy - Dr Pell is the third most powerful member of the Catholic Church bureaucracy.

This, combined with his request to give evidence by video-link, by itself would have been enough to swing the spotlight towards the Vatican.

However, international media interest has been further boosted by news an Australian crowd funding effort raised the money for abuse survivors to go to Rome to be in the room when the cardinal appears on Monday.

Hope are high the painstaking approach to questioning taken by the child sexual abuse royal commission will get beyond rhetoric and shed light on how the Vatican hierarchy handles abuse by Catholic clergy.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:13 PM

The cardinal and the royal commission: the questions George Pell must answer

AUSTRALIA
The Guardian

David Marr
Thursday 25 February 2016

Cardinal George Pell is bold. Priests have told the royal commission into institutional responses to child sexual abuse over and over again that they knew something was going on back then and now regret doing little more than passing the awful news up the line.

They left it to others.

That’s not Pell’s position. He says he knew nothing – nothing while he was a priest in Ballarat about the paedophiles around him, and little about these men and their victims in his years as an auxiliary bishop in Melbourne.

He was never in the loop. No one warned him. No one complained to him. He didn’t read that letter or this report. It never came up at meetings. There’s nothing in the minutes. There’s nothing in the files.

According to the cardinal, he rose through the ranks in a state of nearly perfect ignorance while – as he now acknowledges with remorse – systematic cover-ups allowed paedophile priests to prey on innocent children.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:24 PM

Christian Brothers hired private investigator to 'dig dirt' on abuse victims

AUSTRALIA
The Age

February 25, 2016

Chris Johnston

The Christian Brothers hired a private investigator in 1995 to "dig up dirt" on victims of a notorious paedophile priest in Ballarat.

The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse was told today the private investigator, Glynis McNeight, of Ballarat, visited two victims of Brother Ted Dowlan at home just before Dowlan was charged by police for historical sex crimes against boys.
Ted Dowlan.

The object of the exercise, the commission heard, was for the Christian Brothers' legal team – from a small firm in Ocean Grove – to find out what kind of witnesses the victims would be in court and whether, according to counsel assisting the commission Stephen Free, they would be "easily torn apart in the witness box".

One victim Ms McNeight visited ended up crying and agitated and she reported to the law firm – which was being paid by the Christian Brothers – that the victim was "nervous" and "excitable" and was prone to tears and bad language. He would have "no credibility" as a witness, she wrote.

The investigator, who called herself an "inquiry agent", asked Victoria Police for details of the victims but police refused. A policeman involved in the investigation warned her that she could pervert the course of justice.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:03 PM

Oscar Math: 'The Revenant' Should Beat Out 'Spotlight' For Best Picture

CALIFORNIA
Hollywood Reporter

2/24/2016 by Ben Zauzmer

The winners that a mathematical model predicts in the top eight categories favor Leonardo DiCaprio and Brie Larson, but Sylvester Stallone may have to sweat it out.

The Revenant is twice as likely as Spotlight to take the big prize of best picture at Sunday night’s 88th annual Oscars. Leonardo DiCaprio and Brie Larson are, statistically speaking, assured the top acting awards. But while many are predicting a Sylvester Stallone victory in the best supporting actor category, that race is still looking like a close call.

That, at least, is how my mathematical predictions are looking for the big night.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:00 PM

With 'Spotlight' movie an award contender, Catholic reform movement assesses scandal

UNITED STATES
National Catholic Reporter

Donna B. Doucette | Feb. 25, 2016

The critically acclaimed movie “Spotlight” could receive a Best Picture Oscar this Sunday. The film about how The Boston Globe investigated and brought to light clergy sexual abuse of children and its cover up in the Boston archdiocese has brought renewed awareness to the scandal worldwide.

But many Catholics have had a heightened sense of the crisis all along. Some of those Catholics — determined to remain faithful while addressing the scandal — formed Voice of the Faithful only a couple of months after the Globe’s sensational January 2002 story appeared.

VOTF continues its work nearly a decade and half later because the scandal remains — “a mass psychological dysfunction hidden in plain sight, which has stretched back decades or even centuries and will, unchecked, do precisely the same in the future,” according to Peter Bradshaw’s “Spotlight” review in The Guardian.

Amid the passionate indignation the scandal created, VOTF grew rapidly to comprise an international membership. Key to members is to remain faithful Catholics and to help redress and prevent scandal by changing the way the Church operates.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:55 PM

‘Spotlight’ Gets Investigative Journalism Right

UNITED STATES
ProPublica

by Stephen Engelberg
ProPublica, Feb. 25, 2016

There’s a moment in almost every movie when people in the audience who really know the line of work depicted on screen cry out in frustration and say: “Oh, come on!” “Absurd.” “Never happens.”

Over the decades, Hollywood screenwriters have taken liberties with every imaginable profession and craft, from doctors to lawyers to spies to police detectives. Rocky Balboa survives punches that would decapitate an ordinary boxer. The car chases in The Bourne Identity defy physics. John McClane, the hard-boiled cop in the Die Hard series, displays a supernatural ability to evade bullets.

Journalism movies have had their share of utterly improbable moments. In the 1994 film “The Paper,” the city editor of a New York City tabloid gets into a fist fight with his female boss as he tries to stop the presses. (Not a great career move.) More recently, the first season of HBO’s television series The Newsroom showed a producer landing a series of astounding scoops in the first hours after the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon. The reporter’s information came from miraculously well-placed sources – a sister who worked at Halliburton and a close friend who happened to be a junior BP executive attending all the key crisis meetings.

All of this makes “Spotlight,” the film based on the Boston Globe’s investigation of the Catholic Church, a remarkable achievement. The movie, which has been nominated for six Academy Awards including best picture, vividly captures the mix of frustration, drudgery and excitement that goes into every great investigative story. Where liberties were taken, and there were a few, they are in line with the realities of the news business.

One of the most credible aspects of the movie is the cluelessness with which the reporters begin their quest. As is often the case, the Globe’s group of reporters, known as the “Spotlight” Team, have no idea of the size and scope of what they’re trying to examine. At first, they stumble around, lacking the most basic information about how the church bureaucracy worked.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:52 PM

Boston Globe Reporter Sacha Pfeiffer: How Hollywood Got ‘Spotlight’ Right

UNITED STATES
Variety

Sacha Pfeiffer
@SachaPfeiffer

No good can come from getting involved with Hollywood.

That was my firm conviction when a pair of producers approached me and my Boston Globe Spotlight team colleagues seven years ago with what seemed a fanciful proposal: that one of our past projects, on the Catholic Church’s cover-up of clergy sex abuse, could become an intriguing film.

I was highly wary. Never mind that the grim topic would likely have little appeal to mainstream audiences. Never mind that our jobs are hardly cinematic — we make phone calls, review documents, collect data — and were unlikely to be compelling on screen.

Beyond that, I feared for our personal lives, the loss of privacy, the inevitable sensationalism as reality morphed into screenplay. I envisioned fictionalized interoffice affairs — the Hollywoodization of our lives.

But my colleagues had fewer reservations, and were persuaded by Blye Faust and Nicole Rocklin’s pitch: They told us they wanted to make a movie that would celebrate journalism at a time when the newspaper industry is in great financial peril.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:49 PM

And the Oscar goes to ... ‘Spotlight’?

UNITED STATES
TCPalm

By Paul Janensch

My choice for best picture of 2015 is "Spotlight."

This extraordinary movie shows us how reporters and editors at The Boston Globe exposed the sexual abuse of children by Catholic priests in the Boston area.

We'll find out if it wins the Oscar for best picture when ABC brings us the Academy Awards at 8:30 p.m. Sunday.

I was the editor of another newspaper that informed the public of sexual abuse by priests. More on that angle later.

"Spotlight" already has won a number of awards after receiving rave reviews. Even the Catholic News Service called it "illuminating."

The movie takes its name from the Globe's Spotlight investigative team, which began looking into sex-abuse cases in 2001 under then new editor Martin Baron and despite the opposition of Cardinal Bernard Law, who covered up the scandal.

Not only a gripping drama, "Spotlight" is the most accurate movie portrayal of how good journalists do their work since "All the President's Men." ...

Ten years before the Globe's disclosures, I was the new editor of the Telegram & Gazette in Worcester, Massachusetts, west of Boston.

Soon after I started, I learned that priests in the Worcester diocese had sexually abused minors but the offenses were kept secret. We started investigating.

Men who said they had been victims as boys consented to be interviewed. They asked not to be named. I already had established a policy that anyone quoted in a staff-written story must be named and persuaded the men to let us identify them.

We published several stories about such cases on Page 1 under restrained headlines.

A monsignor who was executive assistant to the bishop called me to say that I, a Mass-going Catholic, was a disgrace to the church.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:45 PM

Businessman arrested in Ponzi scheme that police say priest abetted

ROME
Religion News Service

Rosie Scammell | February 25, 2016

ROME (RNS) Police in Spain have arrested a fugitive businessman accused of swindling pensioners from the U.S. and elsewhere out of millions of euros with the backing of a Catholic priest who worked at the Vatican before retiring to the Canary Islands.

Christian Ventisette was stopped at Madrid airport after an international arrest warrant was issued for the French-Italian businessman, Italy’s financial police said Wednesday (Feb. 24).

Ventisette is accused of scamming more than 250 investors out of around 30 million euros ($33 million) in an international operation involving an Argentine priest.

The retired cleric, the Rev. Patrizio Benvenuti, was put under house arrest in Italy earlier this month. He previously worked at a Vatican tribunal and currently has residency in the Canary Islands, a Spanish archipelago off the west coast of Africa.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:43 PM

'Serious failings' at BBC let Jimmy Savile and Stuart Hall go unchecked

UNITED KINGDOM
The Guardian

Jane Martinson and Jamie Grierson
Thursday 25 February 2016

Serious failings at the BBC allowed Jimmy Savile and Stuart Hall to sexually abuse nearly 100 people without detection for decades, according to two damning reports published on Thursday, which insisted that the corporation still had lessons to learn from the affair.

Dame Janet Smith, who started the independent inquiry in October 2012, found that despite what had happened with Savile and Hall in previous years, those worked at the BBC were still worried about reporting potential abuse and taking on the broadcaster’s stars.

She concluded that “an atmosphere of fear still exists today in the BBC possibly because obtaining work in the BBC is highly competitive and many people no longer have the security on an employment contract”.

It was incumbent on the BBC to examine its culture today, Smith added, particularly when it came to the continued fear of speaking out and its attitudes towards “the talent”, or on-air stars.

In total, Savile sexually assaulted 57 females and 15 boys from the late 1950s to the middle of the last decade. Three incidents of rape and attempted rape took place on BBC premises, Smith said, and the youngest victim to whom Smith spoke was eight yearsold at the time of the offence.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:56 AM

Shocked by the BBC Savile report? Prepare for more of the same

UNITED KINGDOM
The Guardian

Sandra Laville
Thursday 25 February 2016

A hierarchical organisation, overseeing a climate of fear, where the overriding concern is to protect reputation rather than investigate the sexual abuse of children and young people.

Remind you of anyone? Today it is the BBC taking the onslaught as Dame Janet Smith’s report highlights decades of sexual abuse carried out by Jimmy Savile under the noses of senior managers – whom Smith kindly clears because they “generally did not hear rumours”.

But the BBC can take depressing comfort from overwhelming evidence that it was not and is not alone in its failures. The Church of England, the Catholic church, leading private schools, local authorities in Oxford, Rotherham, Rochdale, Derby, the police service and numerous other institutions in British public life have all exhibited these same traits.

When a senior police officer first revealed the scale of Savile’s offending three years ago he noted the entertainer had been “hiding in plain sight” for decades. But the likes of Jimmy Savile, albeit of varying degrees of recidivism, have been hiding in plain sight across many British institutions and within society for years.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:54 AM

Rosenblatt relinquishes senior role at RJC

NEW YORK
The Riverdale Press

By Shant Shahrigian
Posted 2/25/16

Rabbi Jonathan Rosenblatt is "stepping aside from the Senior Rabbinate" of Riverdale Jewish Center (RJC), according to a Wednesday email from the president of the synagogue to congregants obtained by The Press.

The move follows a 2015 report in The New York Times that described the rabbi's years-long habit of taking boys to a sauna naked, prompting some members of RJC to leave the institution.

It was not immediately clear what role, if any, Rabbi Rosenblatt would maintain at RJC. The email from RJC President Samson Fine reads in full:

"Update Regarding Rabbi Rosenblatt's Plans

"Dear Congregants,

"Rabbi Rosenblatt has today informed RJC's leadership that he intends to step aside from the Senior Rabbinate of the RJC. The Shul's Board of Trustees was informed at this evening's Board meeting and we anticipate discussing transition details with the Board in the next two weeks.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:52 AM

Paedophile Catholic priest aged 72 sentenced to two years in prison

AUSTRALIA
Border Mail

By Tim Barlass
Feb. 26, 2016

A 72-year-old former Sydney Catholic priest given six months to a year to live has been sentenced to two years and three weeks in jail for sexual assault against teenage boys.

Father Robert Flaherty, who committed the offences in the 1970s and 1980s was allowed to remain seated in the dock at the Downing Centre court with his walking stick in front of him as the sentence was announced.

He had previously pleaded guilty to three charges against two boys but was found guilty in a jury trial last September for two offences committed against an altar boy at the priest's Mollymook holiday home.

Sentencing Judge Richard Cogswell, SC, said that Flaherty's age and health together with the impact of a prison sentence must be reflected in the non-parole period.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:48 AM

Condamnés pour avoir escroqué 158 prêtres

FRANCE
Metro

PROCES – Quatre hommes âgés de 46 à 61 ans étaient jugés ce mercredi par le tribunal correctionnel de Paris pour avoir escroqué, tenté d'escroquer ou recelé des biens provenant d'une escroquerie commise à l'encontre de prêtres. 158 hommes d'églises se sont faits avoir entre 2009 et 2012 pour un préjudice environnant les 300 000 euros.

Seule une victime était présente dans la salle ce mercredi. Au total, ils sont pourtant 158 prêtres à avoir fait les frais, entre 2009 et 2012, d'une vaste escroquerie commise par quatre hommes âgés de 46 à 61 ans.

Le tribunal correctionnel les a condamnés ce mercredi à des peines allant de six mois de prison avec sursis à quatre ans de prison ferme pour les faits qui leur étaient reprochés. Jugés pour escroquerie et tentative d'escroquerie, Michel, 59 ans – absent à l'audience pour raisons de santé - et Jacky, 61 ans, ont été condamnés respectivement à quatre ans et deux ans de prison ferme (peine aménageable pour le dernier). Karim, 52 ans, et Denis, 46 ans - lui aussi absent pour raisons de santé - ont eux été condamnés à six mois de prison avec sursis pour recel de bien provenant de l'escroquerie.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:46 AM

Alleged Sex Abuse Victim Swindled 158 Catholic Priests Out Of $330,000 In Vengeance Scam

FRANCE
International Business Times

BY JESS MCHUGH @MCHUGHJESS ON 02/25/16

A Paris court on Wednesday sentenced a French man to four years in prison for swindling 158 priests out of 300,000 euros, or approximately $330,286, local media outlets reported. The man, identified only as "Michael," said the multiple-year scam was vengeance for having been sexually abused by a priest as a child.

Michael, 59, claimed he was abused as a child by a priest or possibly multiple priests who worked for Les Orphelins D'Auteil, a nonprofit foundation for orphans. He later took his allegations to the diocese of Troyes, in the region where the alleged sexual abuse occurred, and then all the way to the Vatican. An official inquest from the Vatican found that the priests in question were deceased.

Available reports do not clarify whether Michael discovered his abusers were dead before or after he began his lucrative scam. The scam included targeting elderly priests by soliciting donations for a Christian charity. He would gain their trust by saying that they had baptized his child or by using their first names before he asked for their donations. Other versions of his story included saying he was a recently released convict and needed money to get back on his feet.

Michael was sentenced to four years in jail for his scheme and three other accomplices, including a friend identified as "Jacky", were sentenced for their participation and handed sentences ranging from six months to two years. Jacky was an avid gambler and took over the scam when Michael went to jail in 2010. As an active gambler, Jacky told the court he stole money from the priests for gambling, not out of revenge.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:41 AM

BENEDICT XVI ‘WAS PREVENTED FROM DEALING WITH MACIEL’

ROME
The Tablet (UK)

25 February 2016 | by Christopher Lamb

Benedict XVI made strenuous efforts to clean up one of the Church’s worst abuse scandals, Pope Francis has said, while hinting that his predecessor was prevented from taking tougher action.

During an in-flight press conference returning home from Mexico, Francis was asked about the case of Fr Marcial Maciel, the Mexican founder of the Legionaries of Christ, who sexually abused numerous seminarians.

He was also a drug addict, maintained relationships with two women and fathered up to six children, two of whom he was accused of abusing.

Despite this, he founded a successful and extremely wealthy religious order, which included a lay branch, Regnum Christi, and was close to Pope John Paul II and senior figures in the Vatican.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:35 AM

Former Australian Bishop Says Not Sure Pedophilia was a Crime

AUSTRALIA
Latin American Herald Tribune

BANGKOK - Former Catholic bishop Ronald Mulkearns said Thursday when he had to tackle child abuse cases involving priests in his diocese in Australia, he knew it was wrong but was not sure if it was a crime, local press reported.

Mulkearns, 85, made an appearance through video-conference at the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, which is investigating responses from religious, public and educative institutions to pederasty in recent decades in Australia.

The former bishop of Ballarat diocese (1971-1996), in the southeastern state of Victoria, said he never directly asked priests if they had abused minors, but knew about it through reports from psychologists, according to ABC news.

At least 14 priests were denounced in 130 cases of child abuse from the 1960s to the 1980s, and many of the victims committed suicide due to the trauma.

Gerald Francis Ridsdale, one of the abusers, was sentenced to eight years in 2014 for several cases of pedophilia, including one involving his own nephew, between 1961 and 1981.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:32 AM

After lengthy battle, ‘sauna rabbi’ Jonathan Rosenblatt steps down

NEW YORK
Times of Israel

BY RAOUL WOOTLIFF AND JTA February 25, 2016

Following a tumultuous year of sexual misconduct allegations and a community effort to bring about his ouster, Rabbi Jonathan Rosenblatt told his New York synagogue Wednesday that he would step down as community rabbi.

The decision was announced in a letter sent to the members of the Riverdale Jewish Center by its president, Samson Fine.

“Rabbi Rosenblatt has today informed RJC’s leadership that he intends to step aside from the Senior Rabbinate of the RJC,” the email read. “The Shul’s Board of Trustees was informed at this evening Board meeting and we anticipate discussing transition details the Board in the next two weeks.”

The Riverdale Jewish Center had decided to keep Rosenblatt in place despite protests over reports of sauna chats with naked boys revealed in an exposé in The New York Times in May 2014.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:01 AM

Preliminary Hearing dates announced for three further investigations

UNITED KINGDOM
Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse

22 February

The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse has today announced March preliminary hearing dates for three further investigations, in addition the hearing on 9 March in Lord Greville Janner:

The Anglican Church
Lambeth Council
Cambridge House, Knowl View and Rochdale

The Preliminary Hearing on allegations of child sexual abuse involving the Anglican Church will take place on the morning of Wednesday 16 March, in Court 73 of the Royal Courts of Justice.

The Preliminary Hearing on allegations of child sexual abuse involving Cambridge House, Knowl View and Rochdale will take place in the afternoon of Wednesday 16 March, in court 73 of the Royal Courts of Justice.

The Preliminary Hearing on allegations of child sexual abuse involving children in the care of Lambeth Council will take place on the morning of Thursday 24 March, in Court 73 of the Royal Courts of Justice.

As previously announced, the Preliminary Hearing into allegations of child sexual abuse involving Lord Greville Janner and the institutional responses to those allegations will take place on Wednesday 9 March, in Court 73 of the Royal Courts of Justice.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:47 AM

Inquiry Chair meets Welsh Victim and Survivor Groups

WALES
Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse

24 February

The Chair of the Inquiry Hon. Dame Lowell Goddard DNZM today met with eight Welsh victim and survivor groups at the Sexual Assault Referral Centre in Cardiff Royal Infirmary. Also at the meeting was Inquiry Panel member, Professor Sir Malcolm Evans, and Michael May and Lucy Duckworth from the Inquiry’s Victims and Survivors’ Consultative Panel (VSCP).

At the meeting were representatives from Rape and Sexual Assault Support Centre Wales, New Pathways, Seren, Survivors Trust Cymru, Stepping Stones, North Wales Sexual Assault Referral Centre, Cyfannol Women’s Aid, and Ynys Saff Cardiff and Vale Sexual Assault Referral Centre.

The visit marks the next step in the Inquiry’s work in Wales. During the course of the meeting, the Chair discussed the Truth Project and set out plans for the opening of the Inquiry’s Welsh office, which will be located in Cardiff. She also launched the Welsh version of the Inquiry’s website

Hon. Dame Lowell Goddard said,

“I would like to thank the representatives of the Rape and Sexual Assault Support Centre Wales, New Pathways, Seren, Survivors Trust Cymru, Stepping Stones, North Wales Sexual Assault Referral Centre, Cyfannol Women’s Aid, and Ynys Saff Cardiff and Vale Sexual Assault Referral Centre for taking the time to talk to me about their work and to Ynys Saff SARC for hosting our meeting today. Every single day these organisations work incredibly hard, supporting victims and survivors of child sexual abuse right across Wales.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:45 AM

Judge leading inquiry into Britain's sexual abuse scandal visits Welsh victims

WALES
Wales Online

The judge investigating the child sexual abuse scandal in Britain has met Welsh victims’ groups ahead of the establishment of the inquiry’s dedicated office in Wales.

Dame Lowell Goddard is leading the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse, which was set up by the Home Secretary after wide-ranging abuse was revealed following the Jimmy Savile scandal .

The New Zealand judge will look into whether institutions in Wales and England failed to protect youngsters from sexual abuse.

And she has urged victims from any “city, town or village” to get in touch with the inquiry.

Her remit also includes demanding accountability for any past failings and will give recommendations to ensure similar failings are avoided in future.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:42 AM

New to DVD this week

UNITED STATES
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

‘Spotlight’ 4 stars

Pittsburgh native Michael Keaton stars in the story of how the Boston Globe discovered a conspiracy to cover up clergy sexual abuse of children.

On his first day in 2001, editor Marty Baron (Liev Schreiber) orders the staff to look at defrocked priest and accused sexual predator John J. Geoghan and what the archdiocese did or did not know and do about him.

The task falls to the four-person Spotlight team — editor Walter “Robby” Robinson (Mr. Keaton) and reporters Mike Rezendes (Mark Ruffalo), Sacha Pfeiffer (Rachel McAdams) and Matt Carroll (Brian d’Arcy James) — which normally picks its own projects.

Mr. Keaton plays a member of the Globe investigative team as though he had been working in newsrooms all his life and reminds us he can shine in an ensemble as well as a leading role.

“Spotlight,” which nails the details about how reporters dress, eat and work, treats this investigation as a suspenseful detective story. But it never loses sight of the young people harmed by pedophile priests, the church that figuratively and literally looms large throughout, and the mandate to keep pursuing the story when other editors might have been satisfied with far less much earlier.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:41 AM

Spotlight victim says Vatican still failing

UNITED STATES
Sky News (Australia)

A victim of abuse by a Catholic priest, whose story is the focus of the Oscar contender Spotlight, says the Vatican is still failing to tackle the scandal.

Phil Saviano was repeatedly assaulted, along with several school friends, by a priest in their small home town near Boston in the 1960s.

He revealed his abuse in the 1990s and a decade later handed the dossiers of information to the Boston Globe's 'Spotlight' investigations team.

Their work uncovered evidence that the church in Boston was aware of abuse by dozens of priests and had sought to keep it quiet.

The movie Spotlight, starring Michael Keaton, Mark Ruffalo and Rachel McAdams, is regarded as a favourite to land the Academy Award for Best Picture at Sunday's ceremony.

Mr Saviano, who still lives in Boston, told Sky News he has been disappointed by the Vatican's response to the now-global scandal.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:55 AM

Former Peterborough youth pastor to face another trial

CANADA
The Peterborough Examiner

By Jason Bain, The Peterborough Examiner
Wednesday, February 24, 2016

A former city youth pastor given a 90-day intermittent sentence last year for historical sexual assault will face trial again late this year for outstanding charges of administering a stupefying substance and administering a noxious thing.

Clifton Pelley, 50, appeared in Peterborough Superior Court of Justice on Wednesday where the non-jury trial expected to last between seven and 10 days was scheduled to begin Dec. 5 in Lindsay, with pre-trial motions set for Sept. 26 and assignment court Oct. 17.

The outstanding charges relate to another alleged victim in the case who was not part of Pelley’s non-jury trial, which took place from Oct. 20 to 28, 2014.

A judicial pre-trial, where lawyers from both sides meet before a judge to narrow the scope of a case, usually behind closed doors, was also completed Wednesday – even though Pelley did not have a lawyer formally on the record.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:52 AM

The ludicrous Leifer affair

ISRAEL
Australian Jewish News

Criminals across the world will be watching the case of Malka Leifer very closely. Not because they are necessarily interested in her alleged crimes or have any direct connection to the former Adass head teacher, but because if she can avoid extradition she might set a precedent others will try and follow.

Leifer, who is living in Israel, is fighting an extradition order to return to Australia and face charges relating to child sexual abuse allegations.

So far, she isn’t resisting the order on its merits or by claiming that she has asylum in Israel or by asking for more time to prepare her defence. Her team is simply stating that she has crippling panic attacks before her court appearances that prevent her from showing up.

As a result, the process is facing delay after delay after delay.

And pleading for his client’s health to be taken into account, her lawyer requested last Friday that the case be dismissed, asking the court, “Why are we doing this to her?”

The answer is very simple. Leifer is wanted by Victorian police to face 74 counts of sexual assault.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:50 AM

Two assault bills to hit Senate Floor

COLORADO
Western Slope Now

[with video]

The Senate is seeing two bills involving domestic violence and sexual assault after the House passes both with enormous support.

House Bill 16-1260 wants to double the statute of limitations to report sexual assault from 10 years to 20.

House Bill 16-1066 takes aim at habitual domestic violence offenders, creating their fourth offense open to a class five felony charge, should the prosecute choose.

""I had two Colorado Women who shared with me their story of being drugged and assaulted by Bill Cosby." Rep. Rhonda Fields said, a Democrat representing Aurora.

She wrote a previous bill that was killed aiming to eliminate the statute completely. Fields said that bill would have been a stretch.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:47 AM

Bipartisan support to remove abuse claim time limit in NSW

AUSTRALIA
Coffs Coast Advocate

Chris Calcino | 25th Feb 2016

BOTH sides of New South Wales politics have backed legislation removing the statute of limitations on civil child abuse claims.

The bill is moving through the lower house and attracting support from all corners.

However, Labor Member for Prospect Hugh McDermott claimed the government was playing politics with the issue.

Mr McDermott used his maiden speech to parliament last year to pay tribute to his mother, who was abused after being taken from her parents and sent to Bidura Children's Home as a small child.

"I do express my disappointment that a similar bill was put forward by the Opposition last year, and the government decided to oppose that bill," Mr McDermott said.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:45 AM

8 things we learned from 'Spotlight's real-life editor Marty Baron

UNITED STATES
USA Today

Maeve McDermott, USATODAY February 25, 2016

Before Liev Schreiber donned wire-framed glasses to play Marty Baron in Spotlight, the newspaper editor was already a legend in his own right, from spearheading the Boston Globe's investigation of the Catholic Church to winning Pulitzer Prizes at nearly every other paper he's edited, most recently as the executive editor of the Washington Post.

On Thursday night, Baron discussed the Oscar-nominated film — that he's seen "eight times," if anyone's counting — in a wide-ranging conversation at American University, discussing everything from the film's impact on abuse survivors and the shocking details uncovered by screenwriters to his opinion of the Revenant.

He loves Schreiber's portrayal

Baron had nothing but praise for Schreiber, who he'll presumably meet again when they both travel to the Oscars on Sunday. "He's a fantastic actor," he said, joking, "Since the movie came out people say he looks like me."

He's been approached by abuse survivors sharing their stories for the first time

"It's resonated with abuse survivors in an incredible way," Baron said, sharing an anecdote about an 82-year-old man who, after watching Spotlight at a screening, shared his own account of abuse for the first time.

"He said he'd tried twice to see this movie and couldn't make it past the parking lot of the theater. He saw it at this screening ... he'd never told anyone, never spoken to anyone about it before. He talked about how it'd stayed with him his entire life. He said, 'All I want to say is thank you,' and that was incredibly moving, and then he walked back to his family.

That sort of thing has happened at a lot of events I've been at ... abuse survivors encouraged to come forward and talk about the abuse they suffered."

And newspapers who've changed their minds about investigative reporting

It's hard to come away from Spotlight and not feel reinvigorated about the role of journalism. Apparently, this extends to journalism execs.

"I've heard from publishers saying they are rededicating themselves to investigative reporting," Baron said.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:40 AM

Former Catholic priest Robert Flaherty jailed over 1970s child abuse

AUSTRALIA
ABC News

By Stephanie Dalzell

A former Catholic priest has been sentenced to more than two years in prison for child assault offences in New South Wales dating back to the 1970s.

Robert Flaherty, 72, assaulted three boys in their early teens in Sydney and at Mollymook, on the state's south coast, during the 1970s and 1980s, but was only arrested in 2013.

A complaint was first made in 1972, however instead of being referred to police, Flaherty was transferred to a parish in Ryde.

The former priest pleaded guilty to three offences of indecent assault, but was also found guilty by a jury last September of two further offences.

He appeared at Sydney's Downing Centre court and sat impassively as his sentence was handed down.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:37 AM

Child abuse royal commission: George Pell's secretary asks colleagues in Rome to attend hearing for support

ROME
ABC News

By Europe bureau chief Lisa Millar

Cardinal George Pell's private secretary has sent an email to colleagues in Rome asking for them to attend a royal commission hearing beginning at 10pm (local time) on Sunday in Europe.

A copy of the email, seen by the ABC, was sent out to Fathers and Seminarians saying Cardinal Pell would be pleased if they could provide support with their presence at the hotel.

It tells them to register with the Royal Commission.

The note appears to come from Cardinal Pell's private secretary, Father Mark Withoos.

Father Withoos confirmed he sent a private email to priest friends of the Cardinal who had made inquires about how they might help when he gave his video evidence.

The email has now been seen by several seminarians, clergymen and media representations, and the ABC is aware that there have been conversations with Father Withoos about gathering support.

The email says there will be at least 15 victims and advocates from Australia, and possibly others who might arrive from elsewhere in Europe, as well as a large media "cohort".

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:35 AM

Bishop moved priests who abused children between parishes, royal commission hears

AUSTRALIA
The Guardian

Australian Associated Press
Wednesday 24 February 2016

A Victorian bishop says he tried to protect the church’s reputation and ensure pedophile priests did not offend again but regrets he did not handle it differently.

Ronald Mulkearns, the bishop of Ballarat from 1971 to 1997, said he retired early because he was not handling the problem of a number of cases of pedophilia in the diocese as well as he should have.

“I certainly regret that I didn’t deal differently with pedophilia,” he told the child abuse royal commission on Thursday. “We had no idea, or I had no idea, of the effects of the incidents that took place.”

The commission has heard Mulkearns knew about priests who abused children and moved them between parishes, also sending some for treatment.

The counsel assisting the commission Gail Furness SC put to the bishop that he chose to protect the church’s reputation over protecting children in the way he dealt with the abuse complaints.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:32 AM

Prayers don't help abuser priests: inquiry

AUSTRALIA
news.com.au

Megan Neil
AAP

Prayers couldn't help Gerald Ridsdale, he needed jail or castration, a psychiatrist says.

Hard-core sexual deviants like pedophile priest Ridsdale had significant personality disorders, had no concept of empathy and were masters of deception, former Franciscan priest and psychiatrist Dr Peter Evans said.

"They are far more difficult to treat. They need to be in jail," Dr Evans told the child abuse royal commission.

If the hard-core deviants were not in jail they would need medical castration, the use of medication to suppress their sexual drive for as long as it took for them to learn to control their behaviour, he said.

"It's very difficult to treat them out of jail. It's almost impossible to stop them acting out."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:30 AM

Child abuse victim joins vigil in Ballarat

AUSTRALIA
The Age

February 25, 2016

Chris Johnston

John Skewes was sitting at home in Ballarat on Thursday, reading about all the allegations against and proven crimes by Catholic clergy in the regional city he has lived in all his life.

As a victim of abuse himself - not once but twice, although not by Catholics or Christian Brothers - Mr Skewes, 66, decided to drive to the Nazareth House nursing home, a grand Victorian building beside Lake Wendouree. This is where former Ballarat bishop Ronald Mulkearns lies in palliative care, looked after by nuns. He is 85. Today he was giving evidence by video link to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.

There John met two women, Gabby Short and Wendy Dyckhoff, holding a quiet vigil outside the nursing home. Both spent time there as children when it was an orphanage and was ruled by notorious paedophile priest Gerald Ridsdale, the chaplain. The women say orphanage girls were sexually, physically and emotionally abused by him. Bishop Mulkearns shuffled priests, including Ridsdale, between parishes, where they continued to offend.

But it was too much for Mr Skewes, who says the "high level of anxiety" in Ballarat while the royal commission rolls through town triggers his own anxiety, and when he got to Nazareth House, he broke down and cried in the women's arms. He had trouble speaking and forming words. His acute anxiety - caused by the abuse he suffered as a child - literally renders him speechless.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:27 AM

'I'm terribly sorry that I didn't do things differently': Bishop apologises for moving pedophile priests among parishes to avoid scandalising the Catholic church

AUSTRALIA
Daily Mail

By TANG LI FOR DAILY MAIL AUSTRALIA and AAP

A long-time Victorian Catholic bishop has apologised for moving pedophile priests among parishes to avoid scandalising the church.

In his apology, he said he's sorry and regrets not doing his job very well in handling pedophilia in the Ballarat diocese.

But retired bishop Ronald Mulkearns, 85, denies trying to cover up widespread child sex abuse.

Bishop Mulkearns knew about pedophile priests whom he sent for treatment and moved among parishes, the child abuse royal commission has heard.

The 1971-97 Ballarat bishop admitted he wanted to protect the reputation of the church but told the inquiry he was trying to stop further offending.

Counsel assisting the commission Gail Furness SC said Bishop Mulkearns covered up the conduct of pedophile priests.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:24 AM

Child abuse victim urges nation to follow 'life-saving' ACT disclosure scheme

AUSTRALIA
Canberra Times

February 25 2016

Christopher Knaus

A child abuse campaigner has urged Australian governments to follow the ACT's proposed mandatory disclosure scheme, saying it would have saved children like him from being molested at the hands of a Marist brother decades ago.

Damian De Marco, named ACT Local Hero of the Year for his campaigning, is set to speak at a NSW Ombudsman's conference in Sydney on Friday, where he will praise the ACT's "courageous" plans to prevent institutional child sexual abuse and urge other states and territories to follow suit.

That scheme would see organisations with responsibility for children legally required to report any allegations of abuse or neglect to a new independent statutory authority, which would then handle complaints, denying institutions the chance to deal with them internally.

Chief Minister Andrew Barr confirmed on Thursday that he would seek to raise the issue of a consistent, strong national approach to reportable conduct at the next Council of Australian Governments meeting.

"Our children deserve to be protected wherever they live. Some jurisdictions, such as NSW, already have similar measures in place," Mr Barr said.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:19 AM

Former Ballarat Bishop Mulkearns fronts Royal Commission

AUSTRALIA
The Standard

By MELISSA CUNNINGHAM
Feb. 25, 2016

A FORMER Ballarat Bishop who presided over decades of paedophile priests says he is "terribly sorry" for not taking the mounting allegations of sexual abuse of children seriously, admitting the situation was out of control and he did not know how to handle it.

"I wish I had of done things differently in that time," he told the Royal Commission into Child Sexual Abuse on Thursday.

"I really didn't know what to do or how to do it."

Appearing via video link from a Nazareth House nursing home,terminally ill Bishop Mulkearns, 85, said he could not have comprehended the gravity of damage the sexual abuse of children by clergy would caused.

"In those days, it's a long time ago but we really didn't know how quite to deal with these things," he said.

"Well I didn't anyway."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:17 AM

EXCLUSIVE: Teacher accused of abusing 52 boys now lives in Salt Lake

HAWAII
Hawaii News Now

By Keoki Kerr

SALT LAKE, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) -
A longtime Catholic school teacher accused of molesting dozens of boys in three states for decades is living on Oahu, but his name and those of priests accused of sexual misconduct are not listed in the state’s sex offender registry.

Catholic schoolteacher brother Edward Courtney is accused of sexually abusing more than 50 boys from New York to Chicago to Seattle over three decades.

"Sadly, while bad, it's not alone. There are other priests who have molested hundreds of kids," said Michael Pfau, a Seattle-based attorney who has represented hundreds of alleged victims of Catholic clergy and teachers, including 52 men in the Courtney case.

In 2013, Courtney, 81, moved to Oahu and now lives in an apartment on Likini Street in Salt Lake.

But you won't find Courtney's name or that of any priests accused of sexual molestation in Hawaii's Sexual Offender Registry, because they were never convicted of a crime.

“Because the criminal statute of limitations expired for most of these sex crimes, very very few Catholic priests, brothers and other clerics went to jail," said Pfau, who represented 52 men who sued Courtney, claiming he abused them when they were children.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:14 AM

Catholic priest who repeatedly raped New York woman when she was 14 is REINSTATED by the Church

NEW YORK
Daily Mail (UK)

A Catholic priest who was convicted last year by a U.S. court of sexually abusing a minor was reinstated by the church last month.

Indian priest Joseph Palanivel Jeyapaul, 61, was suspended for less than a full year by his local diocese in India five years ago after being accused of sexually abusing two girls during a posting to Minnesota.

He later pleaded guilty to molesting one of the teenagers, who has not been identified publicly, and served time in jail. Both of the girls were 14 at the time of the alleged abuse.

In January, the Vatican lifted Jeyapaul's suspension following a recommendation by an Indian bishop.

Megan Peterson, now 26 and living in New York, accused Jeyapaul of raping and sexually assaulting her over the course of a year when she was 14, according to the New York Daily News.

She was shocked after learning the priest had been reinstated by Catholic Church officials.

'It's very clear what side the Church is on and it's not about child protection or about morality,' Peterson, an artist who resides in Queens, told the New York Daily News.

'The bottom line is that the Church is not protecting children.'

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:11 AM

National expert: 'The sin is his' in Heames case

MICHIGAN
Central Michigan Life

By Sydney Smith

A therapist who has sex with a client could lose their license. The same goes for a doctor who has sex with a patient.

In some states, it's illegal for a priest to have sex with a parishioner. Michigan is not one of these states.

In June 2015, former St. Mary's University Parish priest Denis Heames was placed on leave for "boundary violations" related to his priestly conduct, said Bishop Joseph Cistone of the Saginaw Diocese.

A complaint about Heames by a Central Michigan University faculty member launched an internal investigation, which found Heames sexually harassed DeWitt senior Megan Winans before and during her time as a parishioner and media intern for the church.

Winans filed a civil lawsuit in Isabella County Court in January against Heames, his spiritual director Trudy McCaffrey, St. Mary's and the diocese.

Heames' status as a priest is unclear, as is his affiliation with the Diocese of Saginaw. Central Michigan Life asked for this information multiple times, but the diocese declined to comment. Heames has not responded.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:08 AM

Spotlight on Soho’s Neal Huff, who stars in ‘Spotlight’

UNITED STATES
The Villager

BY LINCOLN ANDERSON | Soho actor Neal Huff is known to fans of “The Wire” as Michael Steintorf, chief of staff to Mayor Tommy Carcetti.

Now, in the Academy Award-nominated film “Spotlight,” Huff plays a pivotal supporting role as Phil Saviano, a child sex abuse survivor who helps the Boston Globe’s Spotlight investigative team blow open the hidden plague of pedophile priests in the Boston Archdiocese. The Globe won the 2003 Pulitzer Prize for Public Service based on the Spotlight team’s reporting.

The film also stars Michael Keaton as Spotlight Editor Walter “Robby” Robinson, Mark Ruffalo and Rachel McAdams as reporters Michael Rezendes and Sacha Pfeiffer and Liev Schreiber as Marty Baron, the tough-minded new editor who pushes the team to tackle the story.

Huff plays Saviano as frazzled and frustrated: He had pitched a story to the Globe years earlier about priest abuse in Worcester, but it only resulted in one article that was hardly far-reaching enough, and there was no follow-up.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:06 AM

Father John Fleming suspended after Supreme Court judge finds he engaged in sexual behaviour with a minor

AUSTRALIA
The Advertiser

Nigel Hunt
The Advertiser

THE Anglican Church has reactivated its investigation into disgraced priest Father John Fleming in the wake of the damning Supreme Court judgment against him.

Sources have revealed an extraordinary meeting of the Anglican Professional Standards Committee has been called for next Tuesday night to consider the judgment.

The Anglican Church’s Professional Standards Committee had been examining the same allegations against Fr Fleming, but its inquiry was put on hold while the lengthy Supreme Court case was under way.

The move came on Thursday as the Catholic Church moved swiftly to suspend Fr Fleming from ministry as it launched its own investigation.

The Vicar General of the Catholic Archdiocese of Adelaide, Fr Phillip Marshall, advised Fr Fleming of the move.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:04 AM

Leading clergyman's link to abuse cover-ups

UNITED KINGDOM
The Argus

Joel Adams, Reporter

SEX abuse campaigners have called for investigations to look at the former head of the Anglican church in Sussex Eric Kemp after it was revealed he knew of abuse by bishop Peter Ball.

Peter Ball was jailed last year for sexual offences in the 1970s and 1980s against 18 young men who were under his guidance.

Revelations have come out in a report which shows that a Church of England priest held secret talks with police in an attempt to cover up the scale of Ball’s abuse.

The 1993 report, written by a private investigator “in utter confidence” for Eric Kemp and then - Archbishop of Canterbury George Carey, concluded that Ball had abused “very many young men through his care.”

The investigator, a Church of England priest, then held talks with police “to prevent a scandal in the press, especially as Peter was a frequent visitor to Sandringham and is friendly with Prince Charles.”

The pressure bore fruit and Ball was cautioned rather than tried, which the CPS have since acknowledged was the wrong decision in light of the available evidence.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:01 AM

OPINION: Catholic church an easy target, but compassion shows true priest

NEW ZEALAND
Manawatu Standard

RICHARD SWAINSON
February 25 2016

The Catholic church is an easy target.

A socially conservative agenda stands in broad opposition to mainstream thought in liberal western democracies.

The church's stance on homosexuality, contraception, abortion, transgender issues, the ordination of women and euthanasia is no longer that of the majority.

Its history is full of examples of failing to live up to the high standards of Christian behavior. You cannot easily sweep the Crusades, the Borgias or the Spanish Inquisition under the carpet.

In the 20th century questions about how the church rose to the challenge of fascism can be posed.

It was on the side of Franco in Spain and there are at the very least conflicting views about its relationship with a Nazi regime where a good portion of senior leadership claimed nominal Catholicism.

Then there is the issue of historic sexual abuse by its clergy and the systematic practice of covering these obscene crimes up and even perpetuating them by shifting offenders from one parish to another.

That the institution put the needs of its reputation above that of innocent children is now an acknowledged fact. If the church refuses to engage in a conversation about the effects of enforced celibacy on priests or the predilection of those who put themselves forward for the priesthood to offend it can no longer deny that grave and indefensible errors were made.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:58 AM

February 24, 2016

Bishop Ronald Mulkearns admits not dealing with pedophile priests properly and wanting to protect church’s reputation

AUSTRALIA
Geelong Advertiser

A VICTORIAN bishop says he regrets that he did not deal with pedophile priests properly and admits he tried to protect the church’s reputation.

Bishop Ronald Mulkearns, who knew about pedophile priests and moved them between parishes, said to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse he did not know how to deal with abuse complaints while head of the Ballarat diocese from 1971 to 1997.

“I certainly wanted to protect the reputation of the church. I wanted to make sure these incidents didn’t happen in the future and tried my best to work in such a way that it didn’t happen again,” he told the child abuse royal commission on Thursday.

Mulkearns had been living independently in Aireys Inlet, but has recently moved into an assisted living facility in Ballarat.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:42 PM

Vic police deny Pell leak came from them

AUSTRALIA
SBS

AAP

Sexual abuse allegations against Cardinal George Pell were not leaked by Victoria Police, the chief commissioner says.

Victoria's anti-corruption watchdog is investigating how allegations Cardinal Pell sexually abused five to 10 victims while he was a priest in Victoria became public over the weekend.

"I know we're often easy targets when it comes to alleging leaks, but I've seen no evidence we've leaked anything," Chief Commissioner Graham Ashton told 3AW radio on Thursday.

Mr Ashton said he was taking accusations Victoria Police leaked the sexual abuse allegations seriously.

"It concerned me that there was this immediate rush to allege the police have leaked something," he said.

If Victoria Police are found by the Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission to have done something wrong, then "we'll absolutely wear that", Mr Ashton said.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:39 PM

Bishop Ronald Mulkearns "sorry" for sex abuse in Ballarat

AUSTRALIA
Sydney Morning Herald

February 25, 2016

Beau Donelly
Reporter

A former bishop of Ballarat has apologised for failing to halt what he called a widespread and long-lasting "problem with priests" in Catholic schools and churches in the city.

Abuse survivors and their families have waited decades to hear from retired priest Ronald Mulkearns, who served as Bishop of Ballarat until the late 1990s, and has been accused of failing to prevent rampant child sex abuse during his 26-years as bishop.

On Thursday morning, the 85-year-old appeared via video link from his nursing home, Nazareth House, less than 3 kilometres from where the commission is sitting.

Bishop Mulkearns said he retired in 1997 because he wasn't "doing the job as well as I felt I should be doing".

Questioned by Counsel assisting the commission, Gail Furness, SC, about what he was not handling well at the time, he said the "problem with priests".

"And I'd like to say, if I may, that I'm terribly sorry that I didn't do things differently in that time, but I didn't really know what to do or how to do it.

"I certainly regret that I didn't do it differently with ... paedophilia. We had no idea, or I had no idea of the effects of the indecent [assaults] that took place."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:35 PM

Child abuse royal commission: Former Ballarat Bishop Ronald Mulkearns apologises for his handling of abuse allegations

AUSTRALIA
ABC News

[live stream]

February 25, 2016

Former Catholic bishop Ronald Mulkearns has told a royal commission he is not sure if he knew child abuse was a crime during his time in charge of the Ballarat diocese, but he knew it was wrong.

The former bishop made his much-anticipated appearance at the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse via videolink from the nursing home in which he now lives.

Until now Bishop Mulkearns had been excused from giving evidence because he was too sick.

Asked if he referred paedophile Gerald Ridsdale for help because he knew he was abusing children, he said yes.

Bishop Mulkearns told the hearing he never asked priests directly if they were abusers but instead got reports from psychologists.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:32 PM

Pell’s Rome identity missing in the Australian abuse debate

AUSTRALIA
Crux

By John L. Allen Jr.
Associate editor February 24, 2016

SYDNEY/MELBOURNE — It’s undoubtedly an exaggeration to suggest that the entire nation of Australia will come grinding to a halt next Monday at 8 a.m. local time, when Cardinal George Pell is set to begin giving live video testimony before a Royal Commission examining child sexual abuse scandals.

Still, it sort of feels like that here right now.

I’m in Australia this week, not to cover the Pell story, but to speak at several venues. It’s impossible to move around, however, especially in Catholic circles, without the conversation turning sooner or later to Pell and his discontents.

In Australia, Pell has become the public face of what’s perceived as a callous Church response to the abuse scandals. He’s been parodied in a derisive song calling him “scum” and a “coward,” he’s become a staple of news chat, and right now a bright red wagon is being pulled through the streets of the city of Ballarat, where the Royal Commission is meeting, with the slogan, “Pope must act: Sack Pell now!”

In part, the attacks on Pell are about substance: whether at various points in his career he knew about abuse that was going on and either failed to act, or acted primarily to protect the Church’s interests. In part, too, it’s about his pugnacious, strongly conservative public persona and his seeming inability to project the contrition that many Aussies appear to want.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:14 PM

Former priest to be transported to Texas in 55-year-old murder case

TEXAS/ARIZONA
The Monitor

PHOENIX — John Feit, the former priest accused of killing a McAllen teacher 55 years ago, has waived his right to an extradition hearing. That means Texas has 30 days to pick him up from Arizona to face a murder charge.

"We're one step closer to dispensing justice," District Attorney Ricardo Rodriguez said after the hearing.

Rodriguez added Feit will be picked up "sooner than later."

Feit, 83, the man long suspected by many of killing Irene Garza more than five decades ago, remains in custody of the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office, where he has sat for more than two weeks as he awaits for the extradition process to run its course.

Feit was arrested Feb. 9 at his apartment in Scottsdale, Arizona, where he had lived in the Phoenix area since the early ‘80s, when he had started a new life after leaving the priesthood.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:10 PM

Man Waives Extradition in 1960 Death of Texas Beauty Queen

TEXAS/ARIZONA
NBC DFW

An 83-year-old Arizona man accused of murdering a Texas beauty queen when he was a young priest in 1960 has waived his right to extradition.

Maricopa County Superior Court officials say John Feit will be transported to Texas in the next 30 days.

Feit was arrested in Scottsdale, Arizona, on Feb. 9 after he was indicted in south Texas' Hidalgo County for the killing of Irene Garza, a 25-year-old school teacher.

Authorities allege the then-27-year-old Feit killed Garza on April 16, 1960, after hearing her confession at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in McAllen, where he was a priest.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:55 PM

Scottsdale ex-priest won't fight extradition in Texas murder case

ARIZONA/TEXAS
Arizona Republic

Megan Cassidy, The Republic | azcentral.com February 24, 2016

A Scottsdale man accused of slaying a Texas beauty queen in 1960 will not fight extradition back to Hidalgo County, Texas, where he will face a long-awaited charge of murder.

John Feit, an 83-year-old former priest, was arrested Feb. 9 in Scottsdale. After a brief hearing Wednesday afternoon, a Maricopa County Superior Court judge ordered Feit to be returned to Texas within 30 days.

The proceedings come more than a half century after Feit’s name first found its way to the top of the case’s list of suspects in the murder of schoolteacher Irene Garza.

Over the decades, Feit’s freedom has withstood the glare of suspicion by investigators, media and Garza’s family, all convinced he was the sole suspect responsible in the 25-year-old’s death.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:52 PM

Former McAllen priest John Feit waives extradition to Texas

TEXAS/ARIZONA
Valley Central

John Feit, the former McAllen priest accused of killing Irene Garza in 1960, has waived extradition to Texas.

Feit was arrested at his home in Scottsdale, Arizona on Feb. 9 and later booked into the Maricopa County jail.

The 83-year-old man waived his right to extradition during a hearing Wednesday.

Feit has long been suspected of killing Garza, whose body was pulled from an irrigation canal in McAllen in 1960.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:51 PM

Josh Singer ’01 nominated for Academy Award for film on investigation into priest sex abuse

MASSACHUSETTS
Harvard Law Today

By LEWIS RICE, February 24, 2016

Josh Singer ’01 gives a lot of credit to Harvard Law School for helping him in his career. But in one way, it has made things difficult for him.

In his latest project, he was supposed to write a scene in a movie having to do with a legal topic. You may think that would be a cinch for him. But there was one problem.

“I’d write the first draft of the scene, and it would be something no one could understand unless they had gone to Harvard Law,” he said.

Since the filmmakers wanted a slightly wider audience, he went back and rewrote—and then rewrote again. It worked out pretty well, and so did the movie as a whole, since the result, the script for the movie “Spotlight,” turned into one of the most acclaimed movies of the past year, with six Academy Award nominations, including best original screenplay for Singer and his co-writer, Tom McCarthy, who also received a nomination as director.

Singer is thrilled with the acclaim, not so much for himself, he says, but for the exposure that has brought increased attention to the story about the Boston Globe investigation into the Achdiocese of Boston’s coverup of priest sexual abuse and the societal issues it raises. The complexity of the story—and the filmmakers’ commitment to presenting an authentic portrayal of the events—necessitated copious research, many trips to Boston, and lengthy interviews with those involved.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:48 PM

Prosecutors drop charges against defrocked priest Daniel McCormack

CHICAGO (IL)
Chicago Tribune

Steve Schmadeke
Chicago Tribune

The final pending criminal case against defrocked Roman Catholic priest and convicted sex offender Daniel McCormack ended Wednesday, when prosecutors said they were forced to drop all charges.

McCormack, 47, who was not in court Wednesday, pleaded guilty in 2007 to molesting five boys and was sentenced to five years in prison. In 2009, prosecutors sought to have him declared a sexually violent offender and committed indefinitely to the Illinois Department of Human Services, which holds such offenders.

That case is pending.

The former St. Agatha's priest was charged in 2014 with aggravated sexual abuse involving a 10-year-old boy in 2005. The case had been set for trial, but on Wednesday prosecutors said they were dropping the charges because the alleged victim was no longer cooperating.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:45 PM

Victims of child sexual abuse come first, say Orthodox speakers

PENNSYLVANIA
The Jewish Chronicle

by Toby Tabachnick, Senior Staff Writer

David Menachem Gordon was a lone soldier in the Israel Defense Forces during 2014’s Operation Protective Edge when he went missing one day in mid-August. Two days later, he was found dead, with his rifle beside him.

Gordon, who served in the Givati Brigade, lived for a time in White Oak with his family before making aliyah. He was a student at Hillel Academy of Pittsburgh from 2008 to 2010, and his parents, Ruth and Jacob Gordon, were members of the Orthodox Gemilas Chesed Synagogue.

But it was Gordon’s childhood in Detroit — where he was sexually abused from within the Orthodox community when he was 9 to 11 years old — that arguably had the greatest impact on the trajectory of his life.

David’s mother recounted his story to a packed auditorium at the Jewish Community Center of Greater Pittsburgh Sunday night as part of a program sponsored by Jewish Community Watch, a nonprofit founded in 2011 to combat child sexual abuse (CSA) in the Jewish community, and to help victims. JCW is based in New York.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:27 PM

Attempted abduction case in Brooklyn falls apart after suspect, a man from a prominent Orthodox family, comes forward

NEW YORK
New York Daily News

BY REUVEN BLAU, THOMAS TRACY NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
Wednesday, February 24, 2016

An investigation into an attempted abduction of a 14-year-old girl in Brooklyn fell apart after it was learned that the suspect comes from a prominent Orthodox family, law enforcement sources said Wednesday.

The suspect, a 20-year-old Orthodox man, showed up at the 61st Precinct with his attorney Tuesday — a day after the NYPD released an enhanced photo of him as a suspect in the crime.

But when investigators contacted the victim after the suspect came forward the family "stopped cooperating with the cops," a police source said.

A source with knowledge of the investigation said the girl changed her mind about talking to authorities after receiving pressure from the community.

The suspect's father is the principal of a yeshiva and his grandfather is an "influential rabbi," the source said.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:24 PM

Extradition hearing today for Feit

TEXAS/ARIZONA
The Monitor

LORENZO ZAZUETA-CASTRO | STAFF WRITER

PHOENIX — The former priest accused of murdering a McAllen beauty queen is set to appear for his first extradition hearing since his arrest.

John Feit, 83, the man long suspected by many of killing Irene Garza more than five decades ago remains in custody of the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office, where he has sat for more than two weeks as he awaits for the extradition process to run its course.

Feit is scheduled to appear Wednesday in Maricopa Superior Court.

Feit, who was arrested Feb. 9 at his apartment in Scottsdale, Arizona, had lived in the Phoenix area since the early ‘80s, where he had started a new life after leaving the priesthood. At his initial hearing the following day, Feit chose to fight his extradition back to Texas. A commissioner set his bond at $750,000 cash only.

Russell Richelsoph, a Tempe-based criminal defense attorney who has more than 16 years of experience, said the hearing Wednesday, the first of four scheduled for Feit, will be a routine check-in for both the defendant and the state.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:22 PM

Prosecutors 'forced' to drop charges against predator priest

CHICAGO (IL)
Chicago Sun-Times

WRITTEN BY RUMMANA HUSSAIN POSTED: 02/24/2016

Cook County prosecutors Wednesday said they were forced to drop an aggravated criminal sexual abuse charge against a convicted child molester and defrocked Catholic priest because the alleged victim was reluctant to cooperate.

Daniel McCormack, who is at a state-run mental health facility pending a hearing on whether he is a sexual deviant person, wasn’t in court before Judge Dennis Porter.

Neither was the alleged victim of the 2005 incidents.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:19 PM

Charge dismissed against McCormack over reluctant victim

CHICAGO (IL)
WREX

CHICAGO (AP) - Cook County prosecutors have dropped an aggravated criminal sexual abuse charge against a former Chicago priest because the alleged victim stopped cooperating.

They dismissed the charge Wednesday against Daniel McCormack, who pleaded guilty to multiple child sex abuse charges in 2007 and was sentenced to five years in prison. He was removed from the priesthood.

McCormack also was arrested in 2014 in a 2005 case involving a 10-year-old alleged victim at a West Side parish, but prosecutors say as the case progressed in the courts, the victim stopped cooperating with them.

The Chicago Sun-Times reports (http://bit.ly/1VEPfyf ) prosecutors called out in court Wednesday to see if anyone representing the victim was there and when no one responded, they told a judge they were moving to dismiss the charge. McCormack wasn't present.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:18 PM

'Spotlight' reminds us that bad deeds demand accountability

UNITED STATES
Chicago Tribune

Ted Slowik

Most oddsmakers and film critics say "Spotlight" is a long shot to take home the Best Picture Oscar at Sunday's Academy Awards. "The Revenant" is favored over the film about The Boston Globe's investigation into the Catholic Church's coverup of priests who sexually abused children.

Still, "Spotlight" is an Oscar-worthy film that recounts in dramatic fashion how Globe reporters exposed the systemic transferring of repeat offenders to other parishes, the Church's relentless efforts to discredit accusers and the willingness of good Catholic laymen to go along with the program.

Reporters who uncovered abuse in other dioceses appreciate "Spotlight's" accuracy and authenticity. I covered how the issue affected the Roman Catholic Diocese of Joliet, which includes all of Will County.

Others on the beat at the time included Allison Hantschel of the Daily Southtown and David Heinzmann of the Chicago Tribune. Southtown columnist Tim Placher recounted his experience being abused by a priest. Those of us who investigated this issue locally encountered the same personal and professional challenges faced by the Globe team as depicted in "Spotlight."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:16 PM

Psychiatric assessment for Leifer

ISRAEL
Australian Jewish News

JERUSALEM – Former Adass Israel head teacher Malka Leifer’s attempt to avoid extradition to Australia took a blow last week when a judge ordered that she undergo a fresh psychiatric assessment.

It is now almost two years since attempts began to extradite the alleged sex abuser from Israel to face 74 charges in Melbourne.

Leifer fled in to Israel in 2008 shortly after allegations of her abusing students at the school became public.

However, she is claiming to be suffering panic attacks whenever court proceedings loom, and therefore unable to participate, causing misery for her accusers who want her to face her charges.

In court on Sunday, the Israeli state prosecutor said that psychiatrists haven’t adequately checked whether there are “elements of fabrication” in her claim and the judge ordered that she be subjected to examination by a state psychiatrist.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:10 PM

‘Everybody knew’: Neighbors not shocked after Ohio pastor charged with raping parishioners

OHIO
Raw Story

TRAVIS GETTYS
24 FEB 2016

A southern Ohio pastor was indicted on more than a dozen felony sex assault charges against two girls and a woman.

Dennis Wright was arrested on seven counts of rape, two counts of sexual battery, two counts of unlawful sexual conduct with a minor, three counts of gross sexual imposition, and one count of illegal use of a minor in nudity-oriented material or performance, reported the Gallipolis Daily Tribune.

Investigators said two of the victims, a girl and the woman, were parishioners at the Old Emory Church in Jackson County, where Wright served as pastor.

Neighbors and even Wright’s son said the pastor was an ill-tempered man who behaved inappropriately around children.

“Everybody in the neighborhood knew what was going on,” said Elliott Perry, who lives next door to the small church outside Oak Hill.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:50 PM

EXCLUSIVE: Queens woman, repeatedly raped by priest at 14, stunned to learn tormenter reinstated by Catholic Church — 'He'd tell me I would have to go to confession and confess to making him impure'

NEW YORK
New York Daily News

BY MICHAEL O’KEEFFE NEW YORK DAILY NEWS Wednesday, February 24, 2016

When Megan Peterson was 14, she was raped and sexually assaulted — sometimes inside the church confessional booth — over the course of a year by her parish priest.

So the abuse survivor was astounded to learn her tormentor, the Rev. Joseph Jeyapaul, was reinstated earlier this month by Catholic Church officials after a suspension of roughly the same duration of her time as a victim.

“It’s very clear what side the Church is on and it’s not about child protection or about morality,” said Peterson, a 26-year-old artist who now lives in Queens. “The bottom line is that the Church is not protecting children.”

Peterson, the New York City coordinator for the advocacy group SNAP (Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests), charges the church gave a virtual green light for Jeyapaul to target children in his native India.

The reverend returned to his homeland late last year, when he also appealed for a return to his priestly duties. He was suspended for less than a full year.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:44 PM

Child abuse royal commission: Victims from former girls home confront nuns caring for dying bishop

AUSTRALIA
ABC News

By Charlotte King
Updated February 25, 2016

They call themselves "Nazzie girls" — children who ended up in the care of the Sisters of Nazareth girls home in Ballarat in the 1950s and 1960s.

Gabrielle Short does not hesitate when she is asked to summarise her childhood here.

"Ninety-five per cent hell, torture, abuse, fear, terror," she says.

Sisters say they accept residents of the now-nursing home "based on their current needs".
In the early 1960s, paedophile priest Gerald Ridsdale was their chaplain.

"Up there, in the middle floor there, one of the girls actually tried to jump out the window because she reported the abuse to the nuns, and one of the nuns belted the life out of her until she was lifeless," Ms Short says.

A group of the girls, now women, are back to confront the order of nuns who run the facility as a nursing home to, Ms Short said, "ask why they're giving sanctuary to an enabler of this man who ran amok".

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:42 PM

‘Spotlight’ Journalists Grapple With Big-Screen Portrayals

UNITED STATES
New York Times

By MIKE McPHATE
FEB. 24, 2016

“Journalistic objectivity be damned. I’m hoping it wins the entire lot.”

That’s Martin Baron, the executive editor of The Washington Post and former editor of The Boston Globe.

It has been a disorienting time for the journalists like Mr. Baron depicted in “Spotlight,” the film about The Globe’s investigation in 2002 of sexual abuse of children by members of the Roman Catholic clergy.

Mr. Baron, portrayed in the movie by Liev Schreiber, said the embrace from Hollywood had melted away any pretense of impartiality about the outcome of the Oscars race. The movie is up for six Academy Awards, including Best Picture.

With the ceremony approaching, Mr. Baron weighed in Wednesday with an essay for The Post.

Mr. Baron said he was overcome during the film’s showing at the Toronto International Film Festival last year. After the credits rolled, the actors were called on to the stage, then the journalists, for a sustained standing ovation.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:40 PM

NJ--Predator priest dies; Victims blast archbishop

NEW JERSEY
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

for immediate release: Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2014

Statement by David Clohessy of St. Louis, Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (314 566 9790, 314 645 5915 home, davidgclohessy@gmail.com)

A predator priest, Fr. Gerald P. Ruane, has passed away. As best we can tell, Newark Archbishop John Myers kept this quiet, denying abuse victims months of comfort. Myers seems incapable of handling any part of the church’s on-going abuse and cover up crisis with honesty and compassion.

[Obits for Life]

Fr. Ruane was accused in 2002 of abusing a boy in 1970s-1980s. A second accuser also stepped forward. Archdiocesan staff “investigated” and found deemed Fr. Ruane “credibly accused.”

Myers claims to have suspended Fr. Ruane but apparently told no one (or at least few people). So in 2005, Fr. Ruane was still celebrating mass in public, until exposed by the Newark Star-Ledger, in violation of the US bishops’ conference abuse policy. That’s when his name was finally publicly released as a credibly accused child molester. (See BishopAccountability.org for more information.)

[SNAP]

We have heard from one of Fr. Ruane’s victims, Michael Iatesta, who stumbled across news of the priest’s passing by chance this week. A statement from Michael is below.

It would have taken Myers minutes to approve and have his public relations team send out a news release about Fr. Ruane’s death. That would have brought relief to those who worried, until now, that Fr. Ruane might still be hurting children.

We hope this predator’s passing will bring some comfort to those whose lives he devastated. We also hope that someday, Myers might opt for sensitivity over self-serving secrecy. And we hope that anyone who was hurt by any Newark priest, nun, seminarian or other archdiocesan staff will find the courage to speak up, get help, expose predators, protect kids, deter cover ups and start healing.

Statement by Michael Iatesta, abused as a youngster by Fr. Ruane:

"As I was looking for my mom's obituary to send to family and friends I accidentally came across this notification. How ironic it was, in so many ways, that the priest who sexually and emotionally abused me as a young boy was laid out (August, 2015) at the same funeral home just a few months before my mom. In his obituary he was described as one who lived a life devoted to God and served God's people with great dignity. I know for certain my mom lived a more saintly life and was always selfless in her actions and in her heart-felt service to others. She is resting in peace now knowing that the man she bestowed her trust upon when I was grieving my father’s death could no longer hurt/abuse or take advantage of any other vulnerable young children. She spoke and wrote to me on countless occasions about the guilt she had not knowing therefore not reporting his inappropriate actions. But as a woman of great faith she was able to forgive him for his sins as she taught us through her own actions, faith and devotion that love and forgiveness is what would ultimately bring us all closer to God and eternal happiness. She was a dedicated Catholic who saw everyone as God sees them and touched the lives of countless people in countless ways. She was in a true sense "priestly" and" charismatic'" unlike Ruane who selfishly used and exerted his priestly duties for his own alternative motives."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:37 PM

WI--National paper compares 2 Catholic bankruptcies; Milwaukee looks bad

WISCONSIN
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

For immediate release: Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2016

Statement by David Clohessy of St. Louis, Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (314 566 9790, 314 645 5915 home, davidgclohessy@gmail.com)

An independent Catholic newspaper has compared church bankruptcies in Milwaukee WI and Helena MT. Predictably and rightfully, Milwaukee Archbishop Jerome Listecki is exposed as particularly callous and foolishly litigious.

[National Catholic Reporter]

Both dioceses “faced two dozen lawsuits” and “established $21 million funds to compensate victims” though Milwaukee is much larger,” the National Catholic Reporter found, but

--Helena settled in 13 months” while “Milwaukee took nearly five years,”

--“Helena spent about $2.5 million on lawyers” while “Milwaukee's legal fees” were “$20 million”

--“Helena did not challenge the validity of any of the 362 claims” while “Milwaukee challenged each of the more than 575 claims,”

--Helena’s bishop said "a small number of claims appeared bogus” while Milwaukee’s archbishop challenged, to the end, the legal standing of each of the 575 claims” (while stubbornly claiming “bankruptcy was the only way to treat all equitably.”

A lawyer who has represented (victims) in 11 church bankruptcies, “including those of Milwaukee and Helena,” said “the lack of consultation on the part of the Milwaukee Archdiocese was almost unheard of in bankruptcy cases.”

Not surprisingly, Helena’s bishop “received praise from lawyers on the other side and from the judge who handled the case” and says “the relatively swift resolution has resulted in high priest morale and increased support by people in the community,” according to the NCR.

No one in the Milwaukee Catholic hierarchy can make that claim here.

We hope Wisconsin citizens and Catholics will read this report and learn more about how church officials elsewhere treat clergy sex abuse survivors more compassionately and less combatively than they do here in Milwaukee.

To Wisconsin victims, there’s little news here. To Wisconsin citizens and Catholics, however, there’s eye-opening information, if they’ll take the time to read this troubling comparison.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:34 PM

„Spotlight“ wühlt auf - starker Cast im Fadenkreuz des Glaubens

DEUTSCHLAND
Focus

Regisseur Tom McCarthy hat sich mit „Spotlight“ an ein heikles Thema gewagt: sexueller Missbrauch in der katholischen Kirche. Das Star-Ensemble wurde brillant gecastet. Es ist ein Film, der berührt, aufwühlt und vielleicht sogar tief erschüttert. Gerade deswegen ist es ein ganz wichtiger Film.

Sexueller Missbrauch in der katholischen Kirche - ein heikles Thema, das sich Regisseur und Drehbuchautor Tom McCarthy („Cobbler - Der Schuhmagier“) für seinen Film „Spotlight“ ausgesucht hat. Er schickt sein brillantes Star-Ensemble in ein Fadenkreuz des Glaubens und lässt sie Stück für Stück die erschütternde Wahrheit aufdecken. Dieser Film, der auf wahren Begebenheiten beruht, wird niemanden kalt lassen, er wühlt auf, berührt und erschüttert. Gerade deswegen ist es ein ganz wichtiger Film. „Spotlight“ ist für sechs Oscars nominiert, u.a. „Bester Film“, „Beste Regie“, „Bestes Drehbuch“ und Mark Ruffalo und Rachel McAdams als „Beste Nebendarsteller“.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:34 PM

Sisyphos vor dem Aktenberg

DEUTSCHLAND
NZZ

von Tim Slagman
24.2.2016

Nur ein einziges Mal platzt jemandem der Kragen: «Es ging um Kinder, und Sie haben es einfach zugelassen», brüllt Michael Rezendes seinem Boss entgegen, dem Leiter des Investigativ-Ressorts «Spotlight» beim «Boston Globe». Dessen Team gewann 2003 den Pulitzerpreis für seine Recherchen zu Fällen von sexuellem Missbrauch in den Institutionen der katholischen Kirche – Dutzende von Vergehen alleine in der Erzdiözese Boston, die jahrelang systematisch vertuscht wurden. Rezendes' Wutanfall ist also absolut verständlich, womöglich sogar notwendig, und dennoch eine bemerkenswerte Anomalie in dem Film von Tom McCarthy, der die Geschichte dieser Enthüllung nacherzählt.

Ein Schauspielerfilm

McCarthy, der gemeinsam mit Josh Singer auch das Drehbuch verfasst hat, mag keine Heldengeschichten, kein Skandalpathos. Er hat 2003 in seinem Langfilmdebüt «Station Agent» den «Game of Thrones»-Star Peter Dinklage entdeckt. Doch McCarthy hat kein Interesse am Epischen, an der grossen Geste. Der Regisseur, der auch als Schauspieler arbeitet und in der legendären Krimiserie «The Wire» ausgerechnet einen betrügerischen Reporter gespielt hat, macht Filme für Schauspielkollegen – und für Antihelden.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:31 PM

Pädophile Priester und das Schweigen der Schafe

DEUTSCHLAND
Welt

Der Film "Spotlight" mit Michael Keaton feiert die Reporter, die den Missbrauchsskandal der Kirche in Boston aufdeckten. Der Cast sieht aus wie bei einem Comic-Film. Aber Superkräfte hat hier keiner. Von Lucas Wiegelmann

Stellen Sie sich vor, Ihr Pfarrer kommt morgen zu Besuch. Stellen Sie sich nicht irgendeinen Priester vor, einen gesichtslosen Mann mit schwarzem Hemd und weißem Kragen, sondern wirklich Ihren Pfarrer. Den Mann, den Sie vielleicht hin und wieder im Gottesdienst sehen. Der vielleicht Ihre Kinder getauft hat oder jedes Jahr auf dem Adventsbasar das Waffeleisen bedient oder vor einiger Zeit nach dem Tod Ihres alten Schulfreundes eine tröstliche Rede gehalten hat.

Vielleicht haben Sie sogar irgendwann schon einmal bei ihm gebeichtet. Vielleicht ist es schon Jahre oder Jahrzehnte her, und als Sie fertig waren mit Ihren bescheidenen Vergehen, mit dem Neid auf den Mercedes des Nachbarn oder mit den unprofessionellen Gedanken, die der Anblick ihrer hübschen neuen Kollegin in Ihnen hin und wieder auszulösen pflegt, hat der Priester Ihnen die Absolution erteilt, nicht mit Worten, sondern mit seinem Wesen, mit seiner Aura, er war die Mensch gewordene Vergebung. Er hat Ihnen die Hand auf die Stirn gelegt. So etwas tun sonst nur Mütter, wenn ihr Kind Fieber hat. So eine Berührung war das.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:29 PM

Keaton, 'Spotlight' editor discuss church scandal and newspapers

UNITED STATES
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

By Barbara Vancheri / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Michael Keaton said he had the “greatest day” — thanks to the Teenie Harris photography collection in Pittsburgh — and 200-plus people could boast the same, thanks to the actor known as Beetlejuice, Batman, Birdman, Mr. Mom and one of the stars of “Spotlight.”

The Pittsburgh native and Walter “Robby” Robinson, the real-life Boston Globe editor he portrays on screen, were part of a private event Tuesday night at the SouthSide Works Cinema. Outside was a small red carpet and inside, flutes of champagne, phones in camera mode, and sobering conversations about challenges both in the Catholic Church and the newspaper business.

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette organized the reception, the screening of “Spotlight” and a conversation with the men afterward, moderated by executive editor David Shribman.

“Spotlight” is the story of how the Boston Globe exposed predatory priests and the Catholic Church’s cover-up of the molestation. Clergy were shuffled from one parish to the next or placed on “sick leave” while their superiors lost sight of their targets, often young boys from poor or broken homes.

The Globe’s investigation won the 2003 Pulitzer Prize for public service. The movie goes into Sunday’s Academy Awards with six nominations, including for best picture, director and original screenplay.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:26 PM

Bankruptcy judge pushes for diocese February filing

NEW MEXICO
Gallup Independent

Published in the Gallup Independent, Gallup, N.M., Feb. 22, 2016

By Elizabeth Hardin-Burrola
Independent correspondent
religion@gallupindependent.com

ALBUQUERQUE – Two years ago U.S. Bankruptcy Judge David T. Thuma urged attorneys to get to the “end zone” in the Diocese of Gallup’s Chapter 11 case.

On Friday, after attorneys for the diocese were not able to reach their own goal of filing a plan of reorganization the first week of February, Thuma pushed attorneys in the case to have the plan filed Feb. 29.

“We are behind where we hoped to be a month ago, but things are moving along and progressing,” diocesan attorney Thomas Walker told Thuma Friday, during the latest in a series of continued status hearings.

Walker said attorneys for the Gallup Diocese planned to distribute a “somewhat vetted plan” and disclosure statement to all the parties in the case next week. With the distribution, he said, the plan would be open for discussion and possible changes.


“It’s still in draft form,” diocesan attorney Lori Winkelman explained. “There’s different parts that need to be discussed and are still being somewhat negotiated, but we’re hoping that everybody can move relatively quickly on that and shoot for having something on file at the end of the month. That is still our goal.”

Winkelman said retired U.S. District Court Judge Michael R. Hogan, the new future claims representative, has already had discussions with many of the parties in the case. In addition, Winkelman said an “all parties call” is scheduled for Tuesday afternoon that will include “the entire universe of the settling parties” to discuss approval of a disclosure statement and other documents.

Attorney James Stang, legal counsel for the Official Committee of Unsecured Creditors, which represents the interests of clergy sex abuse claimants, agreed the call was a good idea and will allow all the parties to “literally do a page turn” on significant documents.

Stang said his committee had approved someone to be an abuse claims reviewer and had approved an allocation protocol. The committee had also offered comments to the Gallup Diocese about the last version of a settlement agreement with Catholic Mutual and still owed comments on a Franciscan settlement agreement.

Thuma scheduled another status conference Friday morning and urged the attorneys to have the reorganization plan ready the following Monday.

“I hope I’m not leaning on people too hard… I think it would be great to get a plan on file by the 29th,” Thuma said. “So let’s shoot for it and see if we can get it done.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:24 PM

Post's Marty Baron will attend the Oscars this year

CALIFORNIA
LAObserved

By Kevin Roderick | February 24, 2016

Washington Post editor Martin Baron usually falls asleep during the Academy Awards, but this year he will have to stay awake. That's because he will be inside the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood as part of the contingent for "Spotlight." In the movie about the Boston Globe investigation into Catholic priest sexual abuse and the Boston church's cover-up, he is portrayed by Liev Schreiber.

It's not about the statuette, the former LA Times reporter and editor writes for the Post.

The movie has been nominated for six Oscars, including best picture. And, journalistic objectivity be damned, I’m hoping it wins the entire lot. I feel indebted to everyone who made a film that captures, with uncanny authenticity, how journalism is practiced and, with understated force, why it’s needed.

The awards take the form of a statuette, recognition for outstanding moviemaking. The rewards of this film matter more to me, and they will take longer to judge.

The rewards will come if this movie has impact: On journalism, because owners, publishers and editors rededicate themselves to investigative reporting. On a skeptical public, because citizens come to recognize the necessity of vigorous local coverage and strong journalistic institutions. And on all of us, through a greater willingness to listen to the powerless and too-often voiceless, including those who have suffered sexual and other abuse.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:21 PM

‘The Club’ Review: Tough Stuff

UNITED STATES
Hi-Def Digest

Posted by Philip Brown - February 24, 2016

'The Club'
Movie Rating:
3.5

Complex, thought-provoking, daring and bleakly funny in the most disturbingly possible ways, Pablo Larrain’s ‘The Club’ is a savage little intimate drama.

It’s also a peculiar companion piece of sorts to this year’s awards darling ‘Spotlight’. Anyone who has seen that movie will recall the sequence in which a father discovers that a house on his street was used to shelter priests accused of child molestation. Larrain’s film takes place inside one of those houses and tackles all the icky subject matter therein head on.

The film opens by gradually introducing viewers to the four aging priests and one creepily perky nun sharing a house in a small community. Their days are dull, spent mostly in hiding. Their only connection to the outside world is a dog that they train to race with great success. They watch the race from a distance through binoculars and squirrel away their winnings for unknown purposes. Things are shaken up when a stranger (Roberto Farias) arrives. He screams about being molested as a child in graphic detail outside the house. Eventually, one of the hidden priests commits suicide. That event prompts the arrival of a new priest (Marcello Alonso), sent to interrogate and challenge these lost souls in the hopes of getting some sort of confession and doling out penance. In other words, the movie doesn’t exactly occur within a happy space, and you can be certain that it isn’t marching towards a redemptive ending either.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:39 PM

GRANDPRE, REV. LOUIS E.

MICHIGAN
Death Notices

GRANDPRE REV. LOUIS E. Age 81, a beloved priest, pastor and educator, died on Saturday, February 20, 2016, at Angela Hospice in Livonia, after a long illness. Fr. Grandpre, who resided in Detroit, was remembered as a genuinely pastoral man with a kind heart, an enthusiastic smile, and a scholarly mind. Fr. Lou is the beloved brother of Don and the late Kay Kuntz. Also survived by several nieces, nephews, and many loving friends. Family will receive friends Friday 3-8 p.m. with prayers 7 p.m. at A.J. Desmond & Sons (Vasu, Rodgers & Connell Chapel), 32515 Woodward (between 13-14 Mile), 248-549-0500. Mass of the Resurrection Saturday 11 a.m. at SS. Peter & Paul Jesuit Catholic Church, 629 E. Jefferson Ave., Detroit, MI 48226. Visitation at the church begins at 10 a.m. Memorial tributes to SS. Peter & Paul Church Warming Center (Pope Francis Center), Angela Hospice, or the charity of donor's choice.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:24 AM

Watching Oscars will be very personal this year, because I’m in ‘Spotlight’

UNITED STATES
Washington Post

By Martin Baron

February 24

Most years I try to stay attentive, or at least awake, through the Academy Awards. Most years I fail.

On Sunday, however, fatigue has an overwhelming counterweight — obvious self-interest. Plus, I will be sitting inside the Dolby Theatre.

“Spotlight” brought to the big screen the first six months of a Boston Globe investigation that in 2002 revealed a decades-long cover-up of serial sexual abuse by priests within the Boston Archdiocese.

Liev Schreiber portrays me as the newly arrived top editor who launched that investigation, and his depiction has me as a stoic, humorless, somewhat dour character that many professional colleagues instantly recognize (“He nailed you”) and that my closest friends find not entirely familiar.

The scandal disclosed by the Globe’s Spotlight investigative team ultimately took on worldwide dimensions. Fourteen years later, the Catholic Church continues to answer for how it concealed grave wrongdoing on a massive scale and for the adequacy of its reforms, as it should.

The movie has been nominated for six Oscars, including best picture. And, journalistic objectivity be damned, I’m hoping it wins the entire lot. I feel indebted to everyone who made a film that captures, with uncanny authenticity, how journalism is practiced and, with understated force, why it’s needed.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:14 AM

This is the one scene former Globe editor Marty Baron wanted in ‘Spotlight’

MASSACHUSETTS
Boston.com

By Eric Levenson @ejleven
Boston.com Staff | 02.24.16

Former Boston Globe editor Marty Baron emphatically approves of the Oscar-nominated film Spotlight, in which he is portrayed by Liev Schreiber.

But there’s one scene Baron wishes had been in the movie.

Reflecting in The Washington Post ahead of Spotlight’s turn at the Academy Awards, Baron writes that a particular real-life speech railing against the Globe’s investigation into the Catholic Church sexual abuse scandal has stuck with him almost 15 years later.

“Occasionally I have been asked what I would have liked to see in the movie that was not portrayed,” he writes. “One answer, I confess, is a product of my own anger that the years have yet to extinguish.”

He continues:

I’m referring to a Nov. 4, 2002, speech given by Mary Ann Glendon, a Harvard law professor who would later become U.S. ambassador to the Vatican. “All I can say,” she declared before a conference of Catholics, “is that if fairness and accuracy have anything to do with it, awarding the Pulitzer Prize to the Boston Globe would be like giving the Nobel Peace Prize to Osama bin Laden.”

Glendon’s infamous analogy came amid a lengthy criticism of the Globe. Glendon also said that the Globe had created a “climate of hysteria the likes of which has not been seen in Boston since the Ursuline convent was burnt down.”

As Baron tells it, that speech was emblematic of larger issues.

“A brief glimpse of the speech might have said volumes about the culture of denial and defiance that afflicted the Church before, and for long after, our investigation,” he writes.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:09 AM

The Oscars: How ‘Spotlight’ is a master class in the art of visual nuance

UNITED STATES
Washington Post

Michael Cavna February 23

I LIVE for composition. Whether staring at a still-life or gazing at the glow of a projected image in motion, there is something beguiling about the balance of objects created in space and manipulated to trip the wires of our minds. To decode composition is to understand what the artist is saying without words; you are invited to join in this telepathic dance.

This year, five wonderful cinematographers are nominated for Oscars, including two favorite legends, Roger Deakins (“Sicario”) and Emmanuel Lubezki (“The Revenant”): Both are virtuosic in their ability to elevate storytelling through visual craft. And both are painters in space who can dazzle you with their panache.

Then there is a film like “Spotlight,” which is up for six Oscars this weekend, including best picture. Truthful films that function as procedurals of journalism and the law often dwell in the cinematic realm of nuance. The camera must inform but not distract, and the visual tone necessarily must match the gravitas of the tale told.

Among the films that “Spotlight” director Tom McCarthy has said he drew influence from are “All the President’s Men” and “The Verdict,” and it’s worth noting that neither of those much-lauded movies received Oscar nominations for cinematography. (The former film won four Academy Awards, and was up for best picture; the latter film was nominated for five.) Visual subtlety isn’t particularly magnetic near awards hardware, yet it’s an art of informational restraint unto itself. If you look closely, you can be dazzled by the discipline.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:47 AM

Handling of priest's theft did real harm to Greek Orthodox Church

ILLINOIS/WISCONSIN
Chicago Tribune

John Kass

If you stole $100,000 from a church, a reasonable person would expect that you'd get some jail time for your crimes.

If a poor kid was charged with stealing a fraction of that much cash from a sandwich shop, chances are that jail would be waiting.

But a Wisconsin priest stealing from a church trust, a priest with a fondness for luxury goods and fine restaurants, a priest with a powerful ally in the Chicago Greek Orthodox church hierarchy?

Well, that's a different story, because that's no poor kid. That's a holy man with the robes to prove it.

And in this one, the priest walks and doesn't serve a day in jail.

It is the case of the Rev. James Dokos, the Greek Orthodox priest who pleaded guilty this week in Milwaukee County Circuit Court to a felony for embezzling more than $100,000 from the Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church in Milwaukee.

He paid the money back as restitution, and if he behaves himself and spends 40 hours doing community service, it'll all be dropped down to a misdemeanor, authorities said.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:38 AM

Athié: el arzobispo ha dado continuidad a la impunidad que goza el cura Nicolás Aguilar

MEXICO
La Jornada Oriente

[Perhaps the Archbishop of Puebla, Víctor Sánchez Espinosa, knows the whereabouts of the priest Nicolas Aguilar, a pederast who raped dozens of children in the region of Tehuacan and the United States and may be ministering with impunity, according to Alberto Athie, defender of victims of sexual abuse by clergy. He said this impunity can spread as a bad example to other priests who commit statutory rape.]

Publicado por Martín Hernández Alcántara

Es posible que el arzobispo de Puebla, Víctor Sánchez Espinosa, sepa el paradero del cura pederasta Nicolás Aguilar, quien violó a decenas de niños en la región de Tehuacán y Estados Unidos y que incluso el sacerdote siga ejerciendo su ministerio con impunidad, advirtió Alberto Athié, defensor de las víctimas de abuso sexual por clérigos.

Athié consideró que la impunidad que goza Nicolás Aguilar puede cundir como ejemplo para otros sacerdotes que incurren en la violación de menores, por lo que re necesario que desde la comunidad católica se presione a la jerarquía para que se castigue al cura, tal y como ha sucedido en Estados Unidos en casos similares.

Los comentarios de Athié se dieron en el marco de una jornada de análisis y reflexión titulada “¿Qué deja la visita de Francisco a México?”, celebrada ayer en la Universidad Iberoamericana Puebla y en el que participaron especialistas y activistas expertos en el tema.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:32 AM

En un cuarto de hotel y a medianoche, celebrarán audiciencias de sacerdotes acusados de abuso sexual

ROMA
Hoy Los Angeles

Una escena extraordinaria tendrá lugar en un hotel en Roma el domingo por la noche, cuando uno de los asesores más cercanos al papa Francisco enfrente la primera de cuatro noches de declaraciones –que serán transmitidas en vivo-acerca de su rol en un supuesto encubrimiento de abuso sexual en Australia.

El cardenal George Pell, ministro de finanzas del Vaticano y alto clérigo católico de Australia, se someterá a un interrogatorio entre las 10 p.m. del domingo y las 2 a.m. del lunes, durante al menos tres –posiblemente cuatro- noches. La indagatoria será realizada por jueces de diferentes países, que se conectarán con Sídney (donde será de mañana) por videoconferencia, desde las distintas partes del mundo.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:26 AM

Vaticano, l'ex vittima di abusi: "Il Papa contro i pedofili non fa nulla"

ROMA
il Giornale

[Peter Saunder, former members of the papal child abuse commission, said the pope has done nothing against pedophilia in the church.]

Lucio Di Marzo - Mar, 23/02/2016

L'accusa è delle più gravi e arriva da un'intervista alla Bbc, in cui Peter Saunders, che Papa Bergoglio aveva voluto nella commissione vaticana contro i preti pedofili si scaglia contro la Santa sede, accusando Francesco di non fare abbastanza per arginare il fenomeno.

"La Chiesa cattolica non ha fatto nulla per eliminare gli abusi sui minori da parte del clero", spiega Saunders, riferendosi al periodo successivo all'elezione al Soglio pontificio del Papa argentino. Vittima di molestie da parte di un sacerdote, Saunders sostiene di essere "una spina nel fianco del Vaticano" e di esserlo stato fin dal momento in cui è entrato nella Commissione, da cui è stato sospeso a febbraio.

Pensai che il nostro lavoro sarebbe stato quello di prendere delle decisioni contro i singoli sacerdoti abusatori e invece l'obiettivo è creare politiche e linee guida per stabilire quali sono le migliori pratiche per evitare gli abusi", accusa Saunders, secondo cui la Commissione è solo una "questione di pubbliche relazioni".

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:23 AM

Victimes d’abus sexuels dans l’Eglise catholique, parlez, il n’est pas trop tard

BELGIQUE
La Libre

[Abus sexuels dans l’Eglise]

[Victims of abuse in the Belgian Catholic Church are urging other victims to file complaints with the church.]

OPINIONS

Nous lançons cet appel à tous les Belges qui ont été agressés ou abusés dans leur enfance ou adolescence, par le clergé de l’Eglise catholique en Belgique, et qui n’ont jamais porté plainte contre ces agressions.

Quelque 950 personnes ont déjà fait appel à notre association Droits des hommes dans l’Eglise catholique. Nous invitons ces personnes à porter plainte contre les coupables de l’époque, vivants ou décédés, et également contre la hiérarchie ecclésiastique qui avait autorité sur les coupables en ces moments, si l’on peut soupçonner que certains de ces supérieurs étaient au courant de ce qui se passait et n’ont rien fait pour arrêter cela.

La façon dont la hiérarchie ecclésiastique belge se défend chez le juge est si pénible pour les victimes que nous nous sentons obligés d’exprimer cette douleur (pour preuve, écoutez l’exposé de leur avocat Me Keuleneer, fin janvier dans la class action à Gand (2) concernant la plainte de 39 victimes pour omission coupable des supérieurs ecclésiastiques à l’époque des abus).

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:18 AM

50 slachtoffers misbruik richten zich tot andere slachtoffers

BELGIE
De Standaard

[Werkgroep Mensenrechten in de Kerk – Wegen tot herstel]

[Fifty victims of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church have come forward publicly and want to help others, still hidden, to complain about their abuse.]

door Yves Delepeleire

Vijftig slachtoffers van seksueel misbruik in de Kerk komen vandaag voor het eerst met naam naar buiten. Ze hopen andere slachtoffers ervan te overtuigen om alsnog een klacht in te dienen.

Meer dan vijftig slachtoffers van seksueel misbruik komen (bijna allemaal) voor het eerst met hun naam en voornaam naar buiten: alleen al daarom is hun oproep in De Standaard uniek. De vijftig richten zich tot alle slachtoffers van seksueel misbruik in de Kerk die hun verhaal tot nu toe voor zich hebben gehouden, uit schaamte of angst. Ze roepen hen op om er alsnog mee naar buiten te komen door bij de politie een klacht in te dienen tegen de dader of zijn hiërarchische overste, als er sprake zou zijn van schuldig verzuim. Óf ze kunnen naar een opvangpunt van de bisdommen en congregaties stappen.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:14 AM

Meldestelle für misshandelte Kinder aus Korntaler Heimen startet

DEUTSCHLAND
epd

[A reporting center for those abused at Korntaler homes has been set up.]

Eine "Unabhängige telefonische Meldestelle Aufarbeitungsprojekt Korntal" startet am 1. März. Personen, die sexuelle Gewalt und anderes Unrecht in Heimen der Evangelischen Brüdergemeinde Korntal erlebt haben oder davon wissen, können dort vertraulich und auf Wunsch anonym anrufen, teilte Mechthild Wolff von der Hochschule Landshut am Dienstag mit. Wolff und drei weitere Expertinnen wurden von der Brüdergemeinde mit dem wissenschaftliche Forschungsprojekt "Historische Aufarbeitung der Heimerziehung der Evangelischen Brüdergemeinde seit den 50er Jahren" beauftragt. Dafür sammelt die Meldestelle Informationen.

Die Meldestelle solle dazu beitragen, "Ausmaß und Art von Unrechtsfällen zu erfassen", teilte Wolff mit. Ziel des Projekts sei die Aufklärung von Gewalttaten und der individuellen und institutionellen Verantwortlichkeiten. Anlass waren Berichte von ehemaligen Heimkindern aus drei Kinderheimen der Evangelischen Brüdergemeinde Korntal über sexualisierte, physische und psychische Gewalt. Die Täter waren teils Erziehungs-, Bildungs- und Leitungspersonal, aber auch Personen im technischen Bereich oder aus dem heimnahen Umfeld.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:09 AM

Missbrauchsopfer bei Befragung Pells in Rom

ROM
religion@orf

Der Finanzchef des Vatikans, der australische Kardinal Kardinal George wird per Videoschaltung als Zeuge im australischen Ballarat bei Melbourne aussagen. Zehn Missbrauchsopfer wollen persönlich an der Befragung von Pell in Rom teilnehmen.

Der Finanzchef des Vatikans, der australische Kardinal Kardinal George Pell, wird per Videoschaltung zu Vorwürfen des Missbrauchs durch Priester in der Stadt Ballarat bei Melbourne als Zeuge aussagen. Der Kardinal wird am kommenden Sonntag in dem Konferenzsaal mit dem Gerichtssaal in Ballarat verbunden sein, berichteten italienische Medien.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:07 AM

Archbishop of Canterbury moves forward on inquiry into sex abuse bishop

UNITED KINGDOM
Christian Today

Ruth Gledhill CHRISTIAN TODAY CONTRIBUTING EDITOR
24 February 2016

The Archbishop of Canterbury has appointed a woman who is an expert on government and safeguarding to head his independent inquiry into whether there was any kind of cover-up in the Church of England over sex abuse bishop Peter Ball.

Justin Welby, who last year disclosed the inquiry was to take place, has announced that Dame Moira Gibb is to chair the investigation into "the way the Church of England responded" to complaints about the disgraced former Bishop of Gloucester, jailed last year for a string of sex offences.

Dame Moira, former chief executive of Camden Council until 2011 and who chaired the serious case review into safeguarding at Southbank International School in the wake of the crimes committed by William Vahey, is expected to report before the end of this year.

The separate Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse, chaired by Justice Goddard, will also be looking at the Peter Ball case.

Dame Moira's chairmanship was announced as The Times reported that a Church of England priest who was a former police officer held talks with police in an attempt to cover up the scale of offending by Ball. The priest had set out to establish that Ball was innocent but according to a 1993 document seen by The Times, and written up for the attention of the then-Archbishop Lord Carey of Clifton, the priest found that Ball had abused "very many young men who passed through his care".

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:04 AM

Dame Moira Gibb announced as Chair of independent review into Peter Ball case

UNITED KINGDOM
Church of England

24 February 2016

The Archbishop of Canterbury has announced the appointment of Dame Moira Gibb to be chair of the independent review into the way the Church of England responded to the case of Peter Ball, the former Bishop of Gloucester, who was jailed last year for sex offences.

Dame Moira has worked at a senior level in the statutory sector - she was Chief Executive of Camden Council until 2011 - and holds a range of non-executive roles. Most recently she was the chair of the Serious Case Review (published January 2016) into safeguarding at Southbank International School in the wake of the crimes committed by William Vahey.

She will be assisted in the review by Kevin Harrington JP, safeguarding consultant and lead reviewer on a range of Serious Case Reviews; James Reilly, former Chief Executive of Central London Community Healthcare NHS Trust (until Feb 2016); Heather Schroeder MBE, currently vice chair of Action for Children and formerly held senior positions in social services and children's services in a number of local authorities.

The review will be published once Dame Moira and her team have completed their work which is expected to be within a year. The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) chaired by Justice Goddard will also be looking at the Peter Ball case but have made it clear that institutions should continue with their previous commitments on safeguarding and the Church is in ongoing touch with IICSA on this.

The aim of the review will be to consider: What information was available to the Church of England, who had this information and when and to provide a detailed timeline and transparent account of the response; whether the response was in accordance with recognised good practice, and compliant with CofE policy and legislation as well as statutory policy and legislation; lessons about any necessary changes and developments needed within the CofE to ensure that safeguarding work is of the highest possible standard; how complaints and disciplinary processes are managed and any other specific areas of Church behaviour and practice identified by the review.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:02 AM

NSS raises alarm over major flaws in Church’s sex abuse inquiry

UNITED KINGDOM
National Secular Society

Posted: Wed, 24 Feb 2016

The National Secular Society has warned that the Church's inquiry into their handling of the Bishop Peter Ball sex abuse case could leave significant questions unanswered.

Bishop Ball was jailed last year for sexual offences, after escaping justice twenty years previously. A letter-writing campaign at the time saw support for the bishop come from senior establishment figures, including a member of the royal family.

The Church of England has now announced that an inquiry will look at the case to establish how much senior figures in the Church of England knew about Ball's crimes.

However, the NSS has criticised the terms of reference of the Church of England's review and warned that they do not go to the heart of the failures which contributed to Ball escaping justice for twenty years. In this period one victim committed suicide.

The review will establish "what information was available to the Church of England ... concerning Peter Ball's abuse of individuals; who had this information and when. To provide a detailed timeline and transparent account of the response within the Church of England. To consider whether the response was in accordance with recognised good practice, and compliant with Church of England policy and legislation as well as statutory policy and legislation."

But the review into the case will be carried out behind closed doors. Keith Porteous Wood, executive director of the National Secular Society, warned that "while this may encourage greater frankness of those giving evidence, it will be regarded as lacking openness and transparency, qualities already shown to be sorely lacking in the Church over such matters even today."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:00 AM

Cover-up let sex abuse bishop escape justice, victim claims

UNITED KINGDOM
Telegraph

A bishop who sexually abused young men escaped justice thanks to a "deeply sinister, co-ordinated" cover-up, one of his victims has said.

Former Bishop of Lewes Peter Ball was jailed for 32 months in October 2015 after pleading guilty to historical sex offences, but he had been originally investigated and cautioned by police in 1993.
Documents seen by the BBC suggest that his defence team in the first investigation sought a deal with the police to avoid scandal as the bishop was "friendly with Prince Charles".

The Rev Graham Sawyer, one of the men abused by Ball, told the BBC: "It looks like there was a deeply sinister, co-ordinated, but probably in the end rather inept attempt at a cover-up."

After Ball was sentenced, Lord Carey, who was the head of the Church of England when it emerged that the bishop had misused his power over teenagers and young men, apologised for dealing with his victims "inadequately" but denied presiding over a cover-up.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:57 AM

‘Spotlight’ discussion guide a meaningful conversation starter for preventing sexual abuse in churches

UNITED STATES
United Church of Christ

February 02, 2016
Written by Barb Powell

Download the “Spotlight” discussion guide.

Sexual abuse of children, teens and adults by church leaders is a serious problem brought back into focus recently by the heralded film, "Spotlight." To aid thoughtful dialogue about issues highlighted in the movie, the United Church of Christ has released a film discussion guide for use by churches interested in addressing ways to ensure members of our faith communities are not vulnerable to abuse.studyguidecover.jpg

The story of how the Boston Globe uncovered the massive scandal of child molestation and cover-up in the local Catholic Archdiocese, "Spotlight" is a top contender for the Best Picture Oscar and recently took home the best ensemble cast award from the Screen Actors Guild awards.

"'Spotlight' is indeed a cautionary tale for us all. While non-Catholics might be tempted to walk away from the theater with just a tinge of self-righteousness, assuming that this is a Catholic problem, don't give into that temptation," said the Rev. Marie M. Fortune, a UCC minister who heads the Seattle-based FaithTrust Institute, which is working to end sexual and domestic abuse. "The fact is that sexual abuse of children, teens, and adults by those designated as faith leaders is a serious and disturbing reality in every faith community. No exceptions."

The discussion guide, developed by the UCC's Local Church Ministries as part of the denomination’s 2016 multimedia campaigns tied to its core mission, encourages UCC members and leaders to see the film and then reflect on its implications for their local churches and the denomination as a whole.

"'Spotlight' is a wonderfully engaging, yet haunting, film," said the Rev. J. Bennett Guess, executive minister of Local Church Ministries. "It is the perfect movie for church audiences to see together and then discuss how our churches are taking the necessary steps to protect children and other vulnerable people who are in our care."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:54 AM

From missing to murder: The Irene Garza case

TEXAS/ARIZONA
Arizona Republic

Christopher Silavong, The Republic | azcentral.com

February 24, 2016

An extradition hearing will be held Wednesday for an 83-year-old Scottsdale man accused of murdering a Texas beauty queen when he was a young priest in 1960.

Prosecutors want John Feit to be returned to Hidalgo County, Texas, to be tried for the first-degree murder of Irene Garza, a 25-year-old school teacher. She went to Feit's parish on April 16, 1960, and never returned home.

Since nearly a lifetime ago, Feit had been the sole occupant on detectives’ list of suspects in the murder, although he never had been arrested or charged.

His name is absent from the earliest police records generated in the missing-person-turned-murder case. The Republic obtained copies of those records with help from the McAllen Monitor.

The following is an account of the very first days of the case, from when Irene Garza's father reported her missing to the McAllen Police Department through the forensic examination of her body that would occur five days later.

The beginning

Irene Garza hadn't called her mother, something she did whenever she was going to be late.

She left home at about 6:30 p.m. for Sacred Heart Catholic Church. It was the night before Easter 1960.

The missing person report gives no indication about when her family expected her home, just that eight hours had passed without word.

Her parents, Josefina and Nicolas Garza, were worried something happened. Nicolas went driving and found her car parked just south of the church. His next stop was the McAllen Police Department to report Irene missing, a report taken at 3:10 a.m. April 17.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:49 AM

Former Toronto private school director facing child-porn charges in U.S.

CANADA/UNITED STATES
Toronto Star

By: Peter Goffin Staff Reporter, Published on Mon Feb 22 2016

A man who resigned as director of a Toronto private school in 2008 over graphic poems on his website is now facing child-pornography charges in California.

On Monday, the district attorney of Contra Costa County in the San Francisco Bay area charged David Prashker, 60, with possession of child pornography and attempting to destroy evidence.

County investigators went to search Prashker’s home in Lafayette, Calif. on Feb. 18. When they arrived, Prashker allegedly ran to the back of the house and threw a laptop out a second-storey window into the backyard.

The district attorney’s office said that forensic examiners later found evidence of child pornography on the laptop.

Prashker had recently worked as a substitute teacher at two private schools in Contra Costa, the district attorney said. He has also worked at schools in London and Miami.

From 2004 to 2008, Prashker was director of Leo Baeck Jewish Day School, a kindergarten-to-Grade-8 private school with campuses in Thornhill and just west of Forest Hill.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:56 AM

Rev. Gerald P. Ruane Obituary

NEW JERSEY
Obits for Life

Date of Birth:
Saturday, January 6th, 1934
Date of Death:
Saturday, August 15th, 2015
Funeral Home:
Farmer Funeral Home
farmerfuneralhome.com
45 Roseland Avenue
ROSELAND, New Jersey, UNITED STATES
07068

Obituary:

Rev. Gerald P. Ruane, 81, of Brick, New Jersey, passed away on August 15, 2015, the Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin. Rev. Ruane was ordained a Priest of the Archdiocese of Newark in 1960. He was a Priest at Our Lady of Lourdes, West Orange, N.J., Pastor of Holy Trinity Church, Westfield, N.J., Professor and Chaplain at Caldwell College, Caldwell, N.J., and Director and Founder of the Sacred Heart Institute in Caldwell, N.J., until his retirement in 2004.

Gerald was much more than a priest. He lived a dynamic life. He was a gifted speaker and author of many books. With a love for travel, he often led spiritual retreats to Rome, the Holy Land, and Medjugorie. His abundant love for family and friends was evident through frequent visits and gatherings for meals, prayers, masses and intriguing conversation. He was well known and loved for his various inspirational Community and Fellowship work - most recently with Alcoholics Anonymous. He generously shared his spirit, time, witty sense of humor, and counsel, all of which will never to be forgotten.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:55 AM

Could alleged abuser Malka Leifer become the next Avrohom Mondrowitz?

ISRAEL
The Jewish Week

Tue, 02/23/2016

Nathan Jeffay
Contributing Editor

Will the Jewish women who claim sexual abuse by their headmistress get to see her go to trial? Or will Malka Leifer become the next Avrohom Mondrowitz — another alleged abuser who won’t be extradited from Israel to stand trial.

Mondrowitz, an American Orthodox rabbi, fled the U.S. in 1985 before an arrest warrant could be executed on an indictment handed down against him for child abuse. In the case of Leifer, she fled to Israel from Melbourne, Australia, in 2008, when allegations surfaced that she had abused girls in her care at the Adass Israel School.

She is living in the predominantly Orthodox city of Bnei Brak, and attempts to extradite her are proving fruitless, despite her house arrest. In fact, it’s thought to be one of the most complicated extradition cases in Israeli history.

Leifer claims that she cannot attend extradition proceedings because when court dates loom, the stress brings on psychotic episodes — and these claims have delayed proceedings for a year-and-a-half. The Israeli state prosecutor pushing for extradition told the Jerusalem District Court on Sunday that it’s time to have a state psychiatrist examine whether there may be “elements of fabrication” in this claim.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:52 AM

Senator alleges sex abuse within judiciary

AUSTRALIA
7 News

Outspoken Liberal senator Bill Heffernan has renewed his call for a national investigation of the judiciary, alleging cover-ups of pedophilic judges.

Senator Heffernan has told parliament on Wednesday the child abuse royal commission should be extended to investigate sex abuse in judiciary ranks, producing an alleged list of pedophiles he says includes senior judges and lawyers, as well as a former prime minister.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:50 AM

'I'm appalled at what happened': former headmaster's regrets at child abuse inquiry

AUSTRALIA
The Islander

By MELISSA CUNNINGHAM
Feb. 24, 2016

A RELIGIOUS superior has admitted to a woefully inadequate culture of protecting children and told an inquiry the Christian Brothers could have not comprehended the enormity of the trauma caused by their brutality and sexual abuse.

Superior of the Christian Brother’s Ballarat community and former headmaster of St Patrick’s College Brother Paul Nangle said the psychosexual formation of brothers was “defective” and while the rape of children could never be justified, he believed society was more relaxed about matters of sexuality during the sexual revolution in the 1970s.

"In my regret I profoundly wish I had of been better informed and had better knowledge of what was occurring," Br Nangle said.

"I'm appalled at what happened and I'm deeply sorry for pain people have suffered as a result of that."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:46 AM

Christian Brother didn't believe complaint

AUSTRALIA
news.com.au

Megan NeilAAP

A religious superior threatened to "get" a teacher who complained about a pedophile Christian Brother, an inquiry has heard.

A lay teacher was shocked when another pedophile Brother, Br Edward Dowlan, joined Geelong's St Mary's College, soon after another had left, the child abuse royal commission heard.

"Dowlan's inappropriate behaviour with the students was worse than (redacted) and I couldn't believe what was happening," Robert Thompson told police.

"Within a short period of time I was beginning to receive complaints from students about Br Dowlan and that he was sexually interfering with them."

Mr Thompson said he was "frozen out" at the college after approaching the Christian Brothers community leader Br John O'Halloran in 1987 or 1988.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:44 AM

Ballarat MP Catherine King hits out at Cardinal George Pell

AUSTRALIA
Courier

[with video]

Federal member for Ballarat Catherine King has made an emotional plea for Cardinal George Pell not to let the Ballarat community down again.

In a prepared speech in parliament on Tuesday, Ms King said the Cardinal’s failure to appear at the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Abuse in Ballarat were “not the actions of a man of courage”.

Labelling the Cardinal “Ballarat to the core”, a clearly emotional Ms King had this to say: “As you prepare to give testimony on the 29th, I want to say to you: please do not let them down again.”

Her speech followed that of Wendouree MP Sharon Knight, who made a similar speech on February 10.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:42 AM

Abuse victims from former girls home confront nuns caring for dying bishop

AUSTRALIA
ABC - PM

MARK COLVIN: Meanwhile, a lot of people in Ballarat are on edge to hear the testimony of the city’s former bishop Ronald Mulkearns at the Royal Commission tomorrow.

Some victims have waited decades for the bishop to respond to allegations that he ignored complaints that his priests were abusing children.

He’s also been accused of moving paedophile priests from parish to parish during his term between the years of 1971 and 1997.

Bishop Mulkearns is expected to give his evidence by video link from his Ballarat nursing home tomorrow.

Today, some of the victims of the ergion’s most infamous paedophile priest, Gerald Ridsdale, took their complaints to the door of that home.

Charlotte King reports from Ballarat.

CHARLOTTE KING: They call themselves 'Nazzie girls': children who ended up in the care of the Sisters of Nazareth girls' home in Ballarat in the 1950s and ‘60s.

GABRIELLE SHORT: Ninety-five per cent hell. Yeah torture, abuse, fear, terror.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:40 AM

Charles, the paedophile bishop and a cover-up by the Church lasting 23 years: Scandal deepens over claims religious leaders knew clergymen was a sexual abuser of young men

UNITED KINGDOM
Daily Mail

By TOM KELLY FOR THE DAILY MAIL

The scandal of a predatory Bishop who escaped prosecution for child abuse for two decades deepened last night as it was claimed that the Church of England knew he was a serial abuser of ‘young men’.

Peter Ball – who was eventually jailed after admitting the abuse last year – benefited from a ‘deeply sinister cover-up’.

Secret documents claimed that he had been let off 23 years ago to ‘prevent a scandal in the press’ – despite the Church of England being told he was a serial abuser. Ball resigned as Bishop of Gloucester in 1993, but returned to work within two years.

The report was compiled at the time by a private detective working for Ball’s legal team. It warned senior figures that Ball had been ‘abusing not only his office but many young men’ and had confessed to his behaviour.

Its existence was reported by the BBC and it was described as being for the information solely of the Bishop of Chichester, the late Eric Kemp, and the then Archbishop of Canterbury, George Carey.

The documents also indicate the private investigator frequently got to his victims before police did. They also made it clear that Ball had confessed to abusing boys.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:34 AM

Sexual abuse in the Church - more than 1,000 paedophile priests' victims come forward in four years

BELGIUM
The Brussels Times

Between 2012 and 2015, 418 victims of sexual abuse commited by men of the cloth have come forward say centres established by the Catholic Church, and also a further 628, the Arbitration Centre opened at the request of the Commission Spéciale du Parlement pour le Traitement des Plaintes pour Abus Sexuels (Special Parliamentary Commission for Sexual Abuse Complaints-handling) states.

During this period, the ecclesiastical authorities have given 3.9 million euros to such victims, it emerges from a new report written by Manu Keirse, Professor Emeritus of the KULeuven (University of Leuven) and President of the Commission Interdiocésaine pour la Protection des Enfants et des Jeunes (Inter-diocesan Commission for the Protection of Children and Youths) which will be presented this Monday (today) in Brussels.

To deal with victims' complaints, the Church has itself put in place reception centres, which are spread across Belgian dioceses and religious congregations, as well as a central information point where those wishing to make a complaint are assisted to do so.

Victims of crimes which are statute-barred, who cannot take legal action have also been encouraged to come forward through public appeals. “Just because the legal time-limits for these crimes have passed, does not mean that these crimes are a thing of the past for victims,” Manu Keirse asserts.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:31 AM

Detective: Church worker used his position to pressure 16-year-old into sex

KENTUCKY
Lexington Herald-Leader

BY MICHAEL MCKAY
mmckay@herald-leader.com

The church worker charged with rape of a 16-year-old met his alleged victim when she was 10 and warned her she would be banned from mission trips if she told anyone about their activities, a Lexington detective testified Tuesday.

Tony Sasnett, 39, was the home Bible study director for Greater Faith Apostolic Church on Clay’s Mill Road in Lexington. As a result of Sasnett’s church role, police and the prosecution argued he was in a position of “special trust” with the victim, but his attorney, Dan Carman, disputed that contention at Tuesday’s preliminary hearing with Fayette District Judge Kim Wilkie.

Sasnett is charged with four counts of third-degree rape, one count of sexual abuse and one count of using a phone to solicit nude photos of a minor. He was originally charged with five counts of rape, but one charge was dismissed at Tuesday’s hearing because the alleged event happened in neighboring Jessamine County.

In testimony, detective Tyler Smith with the Crimes Against Children Unit described how the father of three school-aged children escalated the relationship with the victim from a joke about a massage to sex in parked cars and in Sasnett’s home.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:29 AM

Church pastor faces sex abuse charges as the community and family speak out

OHIO
WOWK

[with video]

By Randy Yohe

A community expressed relief after police arrest a man they are calling a sexually violent predator. Police arrested a Southern Ohio country church pastor Monday, and said he preyed on children and the disabled.

A Jackson County, Ohio Grand Jury charged 67-year-old Dennis Wright with 15 felony charges. Charges that included seven counts of rape, two counts of sexual battery, two counts of unlawful sexual conduct with a minor, and several other sexually related charges ...

Reports said two of the victims belonged to the church where Wright worked as a Minster. 13 news has more on how police are now looking for more victims.

"Everybody in the neighborhood knew what was going on," Elliott Perry said.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:27 AM

Belgium uncovers its own Spotlight paedophile scandal

BELGIUM
WEST - Welfare Society Territory

by Ivano Abbadessa - 2016.02.23

In Belgium, more than 1,000 people have reported sexual abuse committed by priests between 2012 and 2015. It’s just one of the striking findings of a report presented in Brussels by an inter-diocese Commission for sexual abuse in the Church. The victims were mainly children with 89 per cent still classed as juveniles at the time. Almost one-quarter (23 per cent) were under 10 and 71 per cent were male. They were abused by dozens of paedophile priests. Although 80 per cent of cases took place more than 30 years ago, the horror suffered by the victims leaves an indelible mark that often drives them to alcohol, drugs and, in extreme cases, even suicide. This European scandal is a close-to-home reminder of the American abuse cases, uncovered as part of the ‘Spotlight Investigation’. Now an Oscar-nominated film just out in Italian cinemas, Spotlight tells the story of the Boston Globe reporters who, in 2002, revealed the abuse perpetrated in the US Church, which for years hid the most serious acts of paedophilia by clergy.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:24 AM

Christian Brother authorised funding for private investigator to track down abuse victims, child sex abuse hearing told

AUSTRALIA
ABC News

By Jessica Longbottom
Posted February 24, 2016

A senior Christian Brother authorised spending on a private investigator to track down victims of notorious paedophile Brother Edward Dowlan, the royal commission into child sexual abuse has heard.

Brother Brian Brandon was a provincial council member of St Patrick's province of the Christian Brothers, which covered Victoria and Tasmania, between 1984 and 1996.

Since 1993, he has dealt with sex abuse claims brought against the Christian Brothers as part of his role with the order's Professional Standards Board.

Testifying before the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse in Ballarat, he revealed the tactics engaged by the Christian Brothers to bully people who took sex abuse claims to police.

In 1995, he authorised spending on a private investigator who was targeting victims of Brother Edward Dowlan, who is now in jail for molesting dozens of boys.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:22 AM

Daily Maverick Podcast: Richard Sipe

SOUTH AFRICA
Daily Maverick

[audio]

KINGSLEY KIPURY interviews Richard Sipe, sociologist and ex-priest who authored the ground-breaking research on sexual abuse in the clergy. He explains how this has gone on for centuries, how celibacy could be the problem, and what the church needs to do if it has any chance of reform

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:18 AM

Corruption within Catholic church overshadowed

UNITED STATES
The Stylus

By Charlotte Luft
On February 23, 2016

The Catholic Church has been a powerful institution since its inception; even during a time when people who were found to be Catholic were killed, the church had great power and sway.

The key element behind the church’s power was the idea that Catholicism was for the common man.

The idea of Catholicism has evolved since it was created as it has switched from the common man’s religion to a religion of the rich and powerful.

The introduction of money into the church system has lead to corruption on multiple levels, but perhaps the most atrocious institution that has evolved into the church system is the sexual abuse of children.

According to the columbia.com article, “Catholic clergy scandal: Possibly just 5 out of 77 sexual abusers convicted” by The Associated Press, there is a list of 77 Catholic priests and clergy members who were listed as allegedly sexually abusing children, of those accused on the list only about five were convicted of the crime.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:16 AM

With Predator Priests Named, Survivors Still Want to Know Who Let it Happen

WASHINGTON
Seattle Weekly

By Sara Bernard Tue., Feb 23 2016

Last month, the Seattle Catholic Archdiocese published a list of 77 names of priests and other clergy credibly accused of child sexual abuse while working or living in western Washington. (It was updated a week later and now contains 78 names.) As a step toward healing and transparency, it made a significant splash, but perhaps not quite the one the church had hoped. Releasing a list of names is “not a worthless gesture,” says David Clohessy, executive director of the St. Louis-based Survivors’ Network of Those Abused by Priests (SNAP), but the information is, to him, infuriatingly incomplete.

“There have been tons of exposes, and harsh editorials, and criminal prosecutions, and lawsuits, and settlements, and apologies, and promises” involving the Catholic church, argues Clohessy, who was molested for years, along with his two brothers, by a priest in Missouri’s Jefferson City Diocese. He says Seattle is the latest in a list of dioceses across the country to “parcel out tiny bits of information” without revealing larger, systemic truths. “The one untried remedy here is punishing—or even exposing—the enablers. I challenge Catholics to name one church employee anywhere, from custodian to cardinal, who’s lost one day’s pay for ignoring or concealing horrific crimes against kids.”

Clohessy, like many survivors and advocates, including former King County Superior Court judge Terry Carroll, former U.S. attorney Mike McKay, Seattle attorney Michael Pfau, SNAP Northwest director Mary Dispenza, and the Seattle Times editorial board, is urging the Seattle Archdiocese to release the full files on its predator priests—a trove of still-secret documents that private consultants used to put the original list together.

That would paint a much fuller picture, Clohessy and others say, of the system that allowed this abuse to happen.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:13 AM

Decision to give orphange job to paedophile priest was 'questionable', top Christian Brother tells royal commission

AUSTRALIA
The Age

February 24, 2016

Chris Johnston

The former headmaster of St Kevins College in Toorak, Brother Brian Brandon – a senior Victorian Catholic administrator - admitted today it was "questionable" to give paedophile priest Ted Dowlan a job at an orphanage housing young victims of clerical sexual abuse.

Brother Brandon – a former head of legal affairs and provincial council member of the Christian Brothers for Victoria and Tasmania – said there were "suspicions" but not "knowledge" of Brother Dowlan's sexual interest in boys at the time of the appointment.

Brother Brandon has also held a role with the church's professional standards team.

Brother Dowlan started working at the St Vincents Boys Orphanage in South Melbourne in 1989.
He was jailed in 1996 for sexually interfering with boys in Ballarat, both at St Patrick's College, and his previous school, St Alipius primary.

At the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse in Ballarat, under questioning by Justice Peter McClellan, Brother Brandon said despite "suspicions" about Dowlan, a serial paedophile since the early 1970s, he was not made a teacher at the orphanage, but a co-ordinator.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:10 AM

Royal Commission: Victim protest outside Bishop Mulkearns' Ballarat nursing home

AUSTRALIA
The Age

February 24, 2016

Amber Wilson

A GROUP of women claiming to have been abused by the Ballarat clergy in the 1950s and 1960s have started a protest outside Nazareth House, the Ballarat nursing home where Bishop Ronald Mulkearns now lives.

Bishop Mulkearns, now retired, is due to give evidence to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse on Thursday via video link from the Mill Street nursing home.

Gabby Short and Wendy Eldridge were among the group of women who demanded answers from the staff at the site, which was formerly also a girls' orphanage. They are demanding to know why the home is now "giving sanctuary" to the priest, whose testimony has regularly been delayed by Bishop Mulkearns' ill health.

At one point the women tried to enter the building but were asked to leave by staff.
Police said they were happy for the women to protest from the street, but asked them not to enter the premises.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:07 AM

Spotlight on the Church

MALTA
Times of Malta

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

by Martin Scicluna

I have just seen the film Spotlight. It tells the story in a calm and low key manner of the Boston Globe’s team of reporters and that newspaper’s tenacious and scrupulous exposure in 2002 of the most harrowing litany of child sex abuse crimes dating back 50 years in the Roman Catholic diocese of Boston.

The diocese had covered up the decades-long abuse at the highest levels in Boston’s religious, legal and state establishments, sparking off a wave of revelations around the world, leading the Vatican to consider similar allegations against some 3000 priests between 2001 and 2010.

The Diocese of Boston subsequently paid $85 million in compensation for the mental anguish and, in many cases, criminal violence inflicted on about 550 victims. The Archbishop of Boston, Cardinal Law, was subsequently forced to resign.

When asked to comment on the film, Archbishop Charles Scicluna, who served for eight years in the Vatican as the prosecutor of sexual abuse of minors by priests from 2002 (the same year as the Boston revelations), said that: “Disclosure of abuse is the best service that one can render the Church.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:04 AM

Ex-Chicago priest due in court on new child sex abuse claims

CHICAGO (IL)
Chicago Sun-Times

A former Chicago priest who pleaded guilty to multiple child sex abuse charges in 2007 is due in court on more abuse allegations involving a boy while he was still a priest.

Daniel McCormack was arrested in 2014 in the 2005 case involving a 10-year-old alleged victim at a West Side parish.

Attorneys also will be in court Wednesday for a status hearing on his custody at a state mental health facility. McCormack remains committed under the Sexually Violent Persons Commitment Act.

McCormack was removed from the priesthood and pleaded guilty in 2007 to abusing five children. He was sentenced to five years in prison.

Earlier this month a judge ruled that a man who was an alleged victim of McCormack’s 16 years ago can seek punitive damages.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:01 AM

Christian Brothers hired private investigator to 'dig dirt' on abuse victims

AUSTRALIA
The Age

February 24, 2016

Chris Johnston

The Christian Brothers hired a private investigator in 1995 to "dig up dirt" on victims of a notorious paedophile priest in Ballarat.

The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse was told today the private investigator, Glynis McNeight, of Ballarat, visited two victims of Brother Ted Dowlan at home just before Dowlan was charged by police for historical sex crimes against boys.

The object of the exercise, the commission heard, was for the Christian Brothers' legal team – from a small firm in Ocean Grove – to find out what kind of witnesses the victims would be in court and whether, according to counsel assisting the commission Stephen Free, they would be "easily torn apart in the witness box".

One victim Ms McNeight visited ended up crying and agitated and she reported to the law firm – which was being paid by the Christian Brothers – that the victim was "nervous" and "excitable" and was prone to tears and bad language. He would have "no credibility" as a witness, she wrote.

The investigator, who called herself an "inquiry agent", asked Victoria Police for details of the victims but police refused. A policeman involved in the investigation warned her that she could pervert the course of justice.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:57 AM

Father John Fleming ‘a criminal, moral coward’, Supreme Court rules

AUSTRALIA
The Advetiser

Sean Fewster and Nigel Hunt
The Advertiser

FATHER John Fleming engaged in criminal, predatory, deceitful and morally reprehensible sexual behaviour with a minor while working as an Anglican priest, the Supreme Court has ruled.

On Wednesday, the court dismissed the now-Catholic priest’s defamation lawsuit, ruling The Advertiser and Sunday Mail’s reports about his illegal sexual misconduct were true.

Auxiliary Justice Malcolm Gray ruled the newspapers had made out their defence to Fr Fleming’s claims they had defamed him and caused him to lose a lucrative job with a Catholic college.

He said the newspapers’ imputations that Fr Fleming — one of Australia’s most prominent priests — “engaged in criminal sexual behaviour” during his time with the Anglican Church were substantially true.

He also said the articles truthfully conveyed imputations that Fr Fleming was engaged in “sexual misconduct, predatory sexual behaviour, morally reprehensible and deceitful conduct, an immoral, adulterous, homosexual affair, hypocrisy, abuse of trust, moral cowardice and false denial of sexual involvement.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:55 AM

Mendham victim and others talk about 'Spotlight' and clergy sexual abuse

NEW JERSEY
Observer-Tribune

By PHIL GARBER Managing Editor

MENDHAM – It was just too painful to see it alone, so Bill Crane asked his wife, Jane, to go with him to see the film, “Spotlight.”

Monsignor Kenneth Lasch said he knew seeing the film would trigger many difficult memories so he also needed someone to help him get through it.

And Richard Sipe said he cried at the point in the movie when the Boston Globe‘s editor, Marty Baron, tells his staff that he wants to expose the system, and not just individuals, that allowed priests to go unpunished while they sexually abused young boys.

“Spotlight” is the story of the Boston Globe’s Pulitzer Prize winning investigation into cases of widespread and systemic child sex abuse in the Boston area by numerous Roman Catholic priests. The Globe investigation sparked similar probes around the nation and the world. It touched locally when a former priest at St. Joseph Church in Mendham, James Hanley, was defrocked for having abused multiple young boys.

In addition to the priests who have been defrocked and prosecuted, the National Catholic Reporter found that clergy abuse has cost the Catholic Church in America $4 billion since 1950 in settlements, therapy for victims, and other costs.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:53 AM

February 23, 2016

Surveillance video refutes boy’s claim of sexual assault on Buffalo school bus

NEW YORK
Buffalo News

By Jay Rey | News Staff Reporter
on February 23, 2016

Video footage from a Buffalo school bus refutes a young boy’s claims that he was sexually assaulted in December while on the bus home from a Catholic school, according to a source familiar with the investigation.

Investigators have retrieved the surveillance footage from the day of the alleged bus incident and found nothing on the video to substantiate that the 6-year-old accuser was sexually molested by an older student.

“The videotape does not support the allegations of abuse,” the source said.

The Catholic Diocese of Buffalo echoed that stance Tuesday.

“Our investigation of the allegation of abuse, including a review of the videotape, does not support the claim of abuse,” the diocese said in a statement.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:18 PM

How ‘Spotlight’ impacted the legislative process

MASSACHUSETTS
CommonWealth

ANTONIO F.D. CABRAL
Feb 23, 2016

SPOTLIGHT, BOSTON’S OWN OSCAR NOMINEE FOR BEST PICTURE, highlighted the courageous work of Boston Globe reporters and editors that exposed the Catholic Church’s handling of clergy sexual abuse. The Globe’s reporting forced the issue of clergy sexual abuse onto the Commonwealth’s agenda, both culturally and politically.

Since the movie focused elsewhere, few of the movie’s fans know the political impact of the Globe’s work. I had a front row seat to Beacon Hill’s reaction to the Globe’s reporting as I’d been appointed the House chairman of the legislative committee that handled child abuse legislation just a few months earlier. While the story may not be Oscar worthy, the speed with which Massachusetts state government responded to the scandal, after years of inaction prior to the Globe’s reports, is a reminder that the legislative process, designed to be deliberative, can move quickly at times even in the face of long-standing opposition.

As Spotlight portrays, the issue of clergy sexual abuse was not unknown when the Globe published the first of its many stories on the church’s coverup on Jan. 6, 2002. For at least a decade, legislators had been filing bills in Massachusetts to include clergy in the Commonwealth’s mandated reporter law, section 51A of Chapter 119 of the Massachusetts General Laws. This law, enacted in the 1970s, requires those who hold certain jobs, generally the jobs which require interaction with children and their families, to immediately report the abuse of a child to law enforcement. Until 2002, religious officials, including priests, rabbis, etc., as well as their superiors, were exempt from this law.

A handful of victims of abuse by priests, like Phil Saviano who appears in the film, had been lobbying for these bills for years, testifying before the Legislature, trying unsuccessfully to get attention for the issue. At the time of the law’s passage in the 1970s and through the following decades leading up to the Globe’s reporting, the Catholic Church had a full-time lobbyist on Beacon Hill and these bills that would have added clergy to the list of mandated reporters never made it out of committee.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:15 PM

Spotlight on a Scandal

UNITED STATES
Slant

An Interview with Neal Huff

BY GERARD RAYMOND ON FEBRUARY 23, 2016

It was Phil Saviano's persistence to bring his story of sexual abuse to the attention of the Boston Globe's Spotlight team that led to a full-scale investigation into the allegations and reports of sexual misconduct by priests of the Archdiocese of Boston and its cover-up by officials in the Catholic Church. This investigation would eventually win the paper's reporters the Pulitzer Prize, and more than 10 years later become the focus of Tom McCarthy's critically acclaimed Spotlight. Neal Huff, who plays Saviano in the film, worked with McCarthy on HBO's The Wire, on which the former played a political aide and the latter a morally challenged reporter. While their working relationship may have allowed Huff to get his foot in the door, it was the physical and emotional intensity of his audition that sealed the deal. The New York stage, film, and television actor's incredibly deep connection to Saviano is very much evident on the screen, and during our recent chat, he discussed the making of Spotlight and his relationship with Saviano, as well as his urgent desire to play his character in a way that was at once truthful and necessarily representative.

What was it like meeting the real Phil Saviano?

When I read the script I didn't even know if the character was an actual person. So the first thing I did was ask if they had any info on him beyond the scene itself. It turned out that [co-screenwriter] Josh Singer had done a really extensive interview with Phil in 2012 and he shared that with me. I immediately asked if I could get in touch with Phil, add within days I was in Phil's house, spending time with him. That began what has become a really significant friendship in my life. He's a real original, from the way he thinks to expresses himself. He was so generous. I immediately knew that it was going to be a collaboration between us. But I also knew that the character had to serve a certain function in the story. There are a few survivors in the film, and they all serve different functions—even as notes for the audience. And so I spent a lot of time talking with Tom [McCarthy] about what he really needed. We knew there was Phil, but there was also the Phil Saviano character, which was what they needed for the purposes of the scene. Phil knew this wasn't exactly about him—that he was representing a lot of people.

How did you gain his confidence?

He said he could tell my heart was in the right place and that he knew I had a very personal stake. I had friends who'd been abused from childhood and high school, so I was very curious. And the thing with Phil is his remarkable generosity. I have never met anybody like him in that regard. He's very open about what happened to him and he never repressed any of it. He just thought he was the only one, which is why he never talked about it.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:13 PM

Convicted priest’s suspension lifted, clearing Jeyapaul to return to work

MINNESOTA
Crookston Times

By Jess Bengtson

Posted Feb. 23, 2016

The Roman Catholic Church in southern India recently made a decision to lift the suspension of a former Crookston priest accused of sexual abuse.

Father Joseph Palanivel Jeyapaul, 61, was originally suspended in 2010 after being charged with assaulting two girls who were both 14 at the time of the alleged abuse. Jeyapaul fled the United States, but was arrested in India by Interpol in 2012 and extradited to the U.S. He plead guilty and was convicted of fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct involving a Greenbush, Minnesota teenage girl, and was sentenced to one year in jail.

Jeyapaul is now back in his native country of India and could be allowed to work in the church again following the lifted suspension.

Former Clay County prosecutor Heidi Davies told a local news station that she was “shocked” that the Catholic Church had not even contacted law enforcement to learn anything about him or his case. Minneapolis attorney and child victim advocate mentioned that the promise made by Pope Francis to tackle the problem of sexual abuse by priests seems to have been violated.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:11 PM

ARE THE GIRLS SCOUTS EVIL? AND WHAT ABOUT THIN MINTS?

MISSOURI
Religion Dispatches

BY PATRICIA MILLER FEBRUARY 23, 2016

In the latest example of a high-ranking Catholic prelate who hasn’t gotten the memo from Pope Francis that the culture wars are over, St. Louis Archbishop Robert Carlson is urging parishes in his diocese to cut ties with the Girl Scouts because the organization is “increasingly incompatible with Catholic values.”

And what could members of the 100-year-old girls service organization be doing that has so alarmed Carlson? Are Brownies dissing Jesus by making Christmas trees out of old Reader’s Digests? Is someone taking that Campfire badge a little too seriously (I swear it was an accident—and my sister’s eyebrows did grow back)?

No, what has Carlson concerned isn’t anything specific Girl Scouts or Girl Scout troops in St. Louis are doing. His concerns include a rehash of charges against the national Girl Scouts organization ginned up by conservatives associated with the Ethics and Public Policy Center and given credence by an “investigation” by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. These charges boil down to the organization’s membership in the World Association of Girl Guides and Girls Scouts (WAGGGS), which, according to the bishops, advocates for “so-called ‘sexual and reproductive health/rights’.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:09 PM

The church ‘covered up bishop’s abuse’

UNITED KINGDOM
The Times

Sean O’Neill Chief Reporter

A Church of England priest held secret talks with police in an attempt to cover up the scale of sex offending by a senior bishop who was a friend of the royal family, according to documents seen by The Times.

The priest, a former police officer, set out to disprove the police case against Peter Ball but concluded in a confidential report in 1993 that the cleric had abused “very many young men who passed through his care."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:20 PM

Parents at schools in Mentone and Parkdale seek legal action to remove priest

AUSTRALIA
Leader

Nicholas Payne
Mordialloc Chelsea Leader

ANGRY parents at two Catholic schools have hired a prominent sexual and institutional abuse lawyer as they demand the resignation of the parish priest.

Parents from St Patrick’s Parish Primary in Mentone and St John Vianney’s in Parkdale want Father John Walshe to quit his post.

Their lawyer, Angela Sdrinis, told the Leader the school community “has lost confidence” in the priest and that his position “is untenable”.

Ms Sdrinis said the concerned parents believe they “strongly represent the vast majority of the parents in the school community”, and have requested an “urgent response” from the Melbourne Archdiocese.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:16 PM

BBC Panorama The Secret Letters of Pope John Paul II BBC Documentary 2016

UNITED KINGDOM
YouTube - via BBC Panorama

Panorama -
The Secret Letters of Pope John Paul II

Pope John Paul II ruled the Catholic Church for 27 years until 2005. He was one of the most influential figures of the twentieth century, revered by millions and made a saint in record time. Now reporter Edward Stourton can offer a new perspective on the emotional life of this very public figure.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:25 PM

Details Scarce in Removal of Belleville Diocese Priest

ILLINOIS
WJBD

2/23/2016

BELLEVILLE, Ill. (AP) - Questions remain about the removal of a priest recruited from the Philippines by the Catholic Diocese of Belleville to replace a cleric arrested for theft.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that parishioners in two small towns near southern Illinois' Rend Lake weren't told why the Rev. Peter Balili was removed in 2014.

U.S. Conference of Bishops' notice that Balili was dismissed over "inappropriate conduct regarding certain of his parishioners" doesn't appear to have been released by the Belleville diocese to its members. The notice did not specify the nature of that conduct or the age of the parishioners.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:17 PM

Inquiry to examine how much Church of England knew about sex abuser bishop

UNITED KINGDOM
Telegraph

Dame Moira Gibb to oversee behind-closed-doors review in case handling of Peter Ball case in Carey era

By John Bingham, Religious Affairs Editor 23 Feb 2016

A new inquiry is to investigate how much senior figures in the Church of England including the former Archbishop of Canterbury Lord Carey knew about the activities of the sex abuser bishop Peter Ball.

It follows claims the Church covered up the full extent of its knowledge of the abuse for two decades.

Dame Moira Gibb, a former council chief executive, is to chair an independent review, ordered last year by the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Rev Justin Welby, into how the Church of England responded to the case of Ball, who resigned in disgrace as Bishop of Gloucester in 1993.

Ball, now 83, was jailed last year after pleading guilty to abusing 18 young men, including teenagers, in Litlington, East Sussex, in the 1970s and 1980s during his time as Bishop of Lewes.

Ball accepted a police caution for gross indecency and resigned from his position as Bishop of Gloucester after one victim went to police in the early 1990s.

But it meant he avoided more serious charges until the case was finally reopened 20 years later.

The Rev Vickery House, Ball’s deputy helping run a Church gap-year scheme for young men testing out a possible “call” to ordination was also jailed for sexual offences in a separate case. ...

Keith Porteous Wood, executive director of the National Secular Society, which has campaigned on the issue of clerical abuse, said the inquiry must also investigate allegations that whistleblowers were effectively silenced.

"The inquiry is woefully incomplete unless the terms of reference make specific reference to establishing the extent of historic and current bullying by senior figures in the Church of alleged victims and whistleblowers,” he claimed.

“This bullying has led to a suicide and considerable psychological harm beyond the abuse itself.

“They must also specifically establish the extent to which church officials sought - or encouraged others - to intervene with the CPS, the police and dissuading complainants from reporting to the police.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:09 PM

Catholic sex abuse hearing will take place in the dead of night in a hotel in Rome

ROME/AUSTRALIA
Los Angeles Times

[note: Testimony will begin in the U.S. at 4 p.m. (eastern time zone) on Sunday and will be live- streamed from the Royal Commission web site.]

Tom Kington

An extraordinary scene will unfold in a hotel in Rome late Sunday night when one of Pope Francis’ most trusted advisors sits down for the first of up to four nights of live-streamed testimony about his role in an alleged cover-up of sexual abuse in Australia.

Cardinal George Pell, the Vatican finance minister and Australia’s senior Roman Catholic cleric, will be subjected to questioning from 10 p.m. until 2 a.m. nightly for at least three and possibly four nights by judges linked via video from halfway around the world in Sydney, where it will be morning.

Pell, 74, has not been allowed to have a lawyer travel from his home country to be at his side, but he will not be alone: He is being joined during the hearings by a group of victims of priestly abuse who are traveling from Australia to be in the room with him.

In December, Pell was summoned to give evidence about abuse near Melbourne, Australia, but his lawyers argued his heart condition made it dangerous to fly, and suggested he speak by videolink from Rome.

Australia’s Royal Commission on child abuse wants to quiz the cardinal about his alleged role in moving a pedophile priest, Gerald Ridsdale, from one parish to another in Australia in the 1970s and 1980s — a common pattern in Catholic dioceses around the world at the time.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:04 PM

Disgraced Langport bishop tried to make deal with police to avoid scandal, documents claim

UNITED KINGDOM
Western Gazette

A BISHOP from the Langport area convicted of sex offences attempted to make a deal with police to avoid a scandal, it has been claimed.

Bishop Peter Ball, formerly of Aller, was sentenced to 32 months' imprisonment in October, after he pleaded guilty to two counts of indecent assault and one count of misconduct in a public office between 1977 and 1992.

Now documents have come to light which suggest that Ball's defence team, which included a priest, sought to broker a deal with the police to avoid the "scandal of a trial".

The documents in question, which were seen by the BBC, were intended only for the eyes of the late Eric Kemp, former bishop of Chichester, and Lord George Carey, then-Archbishop of Canterbury.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:44 PM

10 CLAVES | Los “príncipes” de la Iglesia católica y sus excesos: viajes, lujos, casas, fiestas…

MEXICO
Sin Embargo

[10 Keys | The "princes" of the Catholic Church and its excesses: travel, luxury, homes, parties ...]

Durante su visita a México, el Papa Francisco I fue crítico con los políticos mexicanos, pero también, de manera enfática, con la cúpula de la Iglesia católica, vista por los fieles muy cercana a los poderes político y económico, y cada vez más lejos de su grey, especialmente de los más pobres y desamparados. Obispos y Arzobispos, sin embargo, están permanentemente rodeados de gobernantes y empresarios influyentes, y presumen, sin rubor, un estilo de vida suntuoso.

Ciudad de México, 20 de febrero (SinEmbargo).– El llamado del Papa Francisco a los obispos mexicanos durante su visita al país fue claro y contundente: deben acercarse a la “periferia humana”, “involucrarse en las comunidades parroquiales y las escuelas”, dejarse de personalismos y no actuar como “príncipes”.

México es un país donde la jerarquía eclesiástica en general mantiene un estrecho vínculo con la clase política y económica, vive fuera del precepto de austeridad y tiene posiciones muy conservadoras y distantes de lo que opina el país en temas como el matrimonio homosexual o el aborto.

Los casos son varios. Por ejemplo, al Arzobispo primado de México, el Cardenal Norberto Rivera Carrera, se le pudo ver junto al magnate Carlos Slim Helú y otros grandes empresarios del país en Galicia, España, en agosto de 2013, donde ofició una misa y pasó unos días de vacaciones.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:40 PM

State Education Dept. investigating alleged abuse on Buffalo school buses

NEW YORK
WIVB

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — A spokeswoman for Sen. Tim Kennedy says the State Education Department is investigating two alleged cases of abuse on Buffalo school buses.

In a letter to State Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia, Kennedy says a 6-year-old boy was allegedly abused by a 12-year-old on the bus in December.

School officials with the Catholic Diocese of Buffalo are also investigating that incident.

The letter also mentioned a situation where a mother said her 9-year-old South Buffalo son was physically and sexually abused on a school bus.

Kennedy says he wants to see if bus aides are needed to prevent issues of abuse.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:08 PM

6-year-old raped by a priest in Madhya Pradesh

INDIA
Times of India

PAL: A six year old girl was raped by the priest of a temple in Anuppur district of Madhya Pradesh.
The accused priest Ramkrishna Kewat, was arrested and presented before court on Tuesday.

The incident took place at Badra village under Bhalumada police station of the district on February 21.

The survivor's parents went to market in Kotma town leaving the girl at home, it was then that the accused took the girl to the temple and raped her, said police.

When the parents of the girl returned they found that the girl is not well, she was taken to the local doctor but the girl could not tell what has happened, it was only after her condition deteriorated next day, she told her mother about the incident on February 22, police said.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:05 PM

Church appoints panel to examine its role in Peter Ball abuse case

UNITED KINGDOM
The Guardian

Harriet Sherwood Religion correspondent
@harrietsherwood
Tuesday 23 February 2016

The Church of England has appointed an independent panel to review its handling of the case of Peter Ball, the former bishop of Lewes and Gloucester who was jailed for sex abuse offences, and to help it “learn from its errors”.

The review, which will report to the archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, within a year, is to examine what information was in the church’s possession concerning Ball, and when; and whether the church’s response was appropriate and complied with the law.

Ball, 83, was sentenced last October to 32 months in prison for the grooming, sexual exploitation and abuse of 18 vulnerable young men between 1977 and 1992.

His trial at the Old Bailey heard that a string of senior establishment figures, including an unidentified member of the royal family, wrote letters in support of Ball while the police were investigating allegations of abuse. Following a caution for gross indecency in 1993, Paul resigned as bishop of Gloucester and lived in a rented cottage on the Prince of Wales’s Duchy of Cornwall estate. He was not prosecuted for more than 20 years.

On New Year’s Eve, the church released a cache of letters following a Freedom of Information request. One from the former archbishop of Canterbury, George Carey, to the chief constable of Gloucester spoke of Ball’s “excruciating pain and spiritual torment” over the abuse allegations.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:31 AM