« September 2017 | Main

October 21, 2017

Guam's Catholic Church abuse scandal widens

Radio New Zealand

September 20, 2017

By Jamie Tahana

[Note: We missed this important summary article and broadcast during our Tracker blogging in late September.]

In 1985, a 15-year-old boy was invited to do yard work at the local church, that soon led to invitations to watch TV, and then to drink seminary wine with the priest. One day, according to a lawsuit, the priest assaulted him - then dozens of times after that.

In another case, a 7-year-old was first abused on his 7th birthday, and then more than 100 times after that. Another claims he was assaulted in the car on his way to his grandmother's funeral.

These are just some of the allegations detailed in more than 100 lawsuits filed against the Catholic Church on Guam in the past year. New allegations continue to surface, along with signs of a systematic, decades-long cover-up.

So far, 16 priests, two archbishops and a bishop have been implicated in alleged abuse that spans from the mid-1950s to the early 1990s.

"It will continue getting bigger," said David Lujan, the lawyer representing a majority of the plaintiffs. "I still have another probably 15 more cases that I have yet to file and I keep getting phone calls from new clients. I suspect it's going to grow to at least 150, if not more."

The north Pacific island of 160,000 is one of the most Catholic places in the world - about 85 percent of the population identifies as Catholic.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 9:26 AM

NZ priest's secret children to come out of hiding

Radio New Zealand

October 19, 2017

By Phil Pennington

The secret children of a Catholic priest in New Zealand are about to reveal their identity to their local bishop, and a New Zealander who personally briefed the Pope on the topic says the Vatican has recognised the right to know one's parents

The adult siblings are among thousands internationally who have contacted the Coping International website, which offers support to the children of clergy.

The site's founder Vincent Doyle - an Irish man who himself is the son of a priest - said he expected many more New Zealanders who are priests' children, or their mothers, to come forward as they gained courage to speak up.

"We've been contacted from a number of people in New Zealand - one family where there's more than one child to the same priest, to the same woman - but they're going to be making moves in the coming future to the respective diocese and they'll be contacting the bishop concerned."

The family had contacted his website in the last three months, and granted him permission to speak a little about their situation, but most details remained confidential such as how many children there were and where they had grown up.

They were among 13,500 people worldwide who had been in touch with Mr Doyle since he started the website in late 2014.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 9:20 AM

Institut stellt Gutachten vor Missbrauch: »Muster des Wegschauens« im Bistum Hildesheim

Kirche + Leben

[Google Translation of First Paragraph: In the abuse case of the suspended priest Peter R., the independent Munich Institute for Practice Research and Project Counseling has accused the Diocese of Hildesheim and the Jesuits with a "pattern of the way to look." The threat posed by Peter R. had been consciously accepted by the Catholic bishopric over the decades, said expert Peter Mosser in Hildesheim on Monday.]

Im Missbrauchs-Fall um den suspendierten Priester Peter R. hat das unabhängige Münchener Institut für Praxisforschung und Projektberatung dem Bistum Hildesheim und den Jesuiten ein »Muster des Wegschauens« vorgeworfen. Die Gefährdung durch Peter R. sei von dem katholischen Bistum im Laufe der Jahrzehnte wissentlich in Kauf genommen worden, sagte Gutachter Peter Mosser am Montag in Hildesheim.

Insgesamt konnten Mosser zufolge elf gemeldete Fälle sexualisierter Gewalt während der Tätigkeit des Priesters in Hildesheim nachgewiesen werden, sechs davon seien den damaligen Bistumsverantwortlichen bekannt gewesen.

Vorwurf gegen Bischof weder bewiesen noch entkräftet

Der suspendierte Priester Peter R. gilt als einer der Haupttäter im Missbrauchsskandal am Berliner Gymnasium Canisius-Kolleg. Später arbeitete er rund 20 Jahre lang im Bistum Hildesheim.

Vorwürfe gegen den verstorbenen Bischof Janssen, zwischen 1958 und 1963 einen Jungen sexuell missbraucht zu haben, konnte das Gutachten weder beweisen noch entkräften. Dass in diesem Fall glaubwürdige Indizien nicht unter den Teppich gekehrt worden seien, sei ein großer Fortschritt, so Mosser. Ein Betroffener hatte sich Anfang 2015 an das Bistum Hildesheim gewandt. Eine Anerkennungszahlung von 10.000 Euro erfolgte laut Gutachten möglicherweise vorschnell. Auch hier hätte das Bistum professioneller vorgehen können, hieß es.
Die aktuellen Bemühungen des Bistums Hildesheim zur Vorbeugung von Missbrauch entsprächen dem Stand der Zeit, so die Gutachter. Dennoch solle sich die Diözese um weitere Professionalisierung bemühen.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 9:10 AM

Missbrauch – scharfe Kritik an Haltung des Bistums

Hildesheimer Allgemeine Zeitung

October 16, 2017

[Google Translation of title and first paragraph - Abuse: Sharp criticism of the attitude of the bishopric. Whether the former Hildesheim bishop Heinfrich Maria Janssen sexually abused teenagers or not, will probably never be enlightened. This is the conclusion reached by the experts of the Munich Institute IPP, which commissioned the Bishopric of Hildesheim to deal with the cases of Janssen and the former Jesuit Peter R.]

Hildesheim - Ob der frühere Hildesheimer Bischof Heinfrich Maria Janssen Jugendliche sexuell missbraucht hat oder nicht, wird sich wohl nie aufklären lassen. Zu diesem Schluss kommen die Gutachter des Münchner Instituts IPP, die das Bistum Hildesheim mit der Aufarbeitung der Fälle Janssens und des früheren Jesuitenpaters Peter R. beauftragt hatte.

Mit Blick auf den Fall R. übten die Gutachter teilweise scharfe Kritik am Vorgehen des Bistums. Weihbischof Heinz-Günter Bongartz bot deshalb seinen Rücktritt an. Der amtierende Bistumsleiter Nikolaus Schwerdtfeger lehnte das Ansinnen aber ab.

„Im Fall Janssen ist es unmöglich, die Vorwürfe zu belegen oder zu widerlegen“, sagte Gutachter Peter Mosser. Für Schwerdtfeger, der das Bistum nach dem Ende der Amtszeit von Norbert Trelle bis zur Bestimmung eines neuen Bischofs leitet, heißt das: „Die Unschuldsvermutung gilt. Aber der Zwiespalt bleibt.“

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 9:03 AM

Diocese of Sioux City in Compliance with Dallas Charter

The Catholic Globe of the Diocese of Sioux City

October 19, 2017

By Joanne Fox

[Note: See also the BishopAccountability.org database entry on the important case of Fr. Peter B. Murphy.]

The Diocese of Sioux City submitted its audit on Aug. 30 pertaining to the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People (Dallas Charter) to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and is in compliance.

According to Dan Ellis, diocesan coordinator of the office of safe environment, during the 2016-17 fiscal year, there were nine new allegations of misconduct reported to the diocese. All of the allegations pertained to priests who are currently retired or are deceased. There were no new allegations regarding any priests currently serving in the diocese.

Ellis stressed the importance of the church remaining diligent in the work of protecting children. He noted that in every case of abuse, there were warning signs that were either not recognized or not reported.

“The child protection measures that the Catholic Church takes cannot guarantee every child will be shielded from abusers – nothing can do that,” he said. “But we can, and do, insist that every adult who works with our children knows the warning signs of an abuser, and how to report those warning signs.”

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 8:53 AM

St. Pius first NM stop for Perrault

Albuquerque Journal

October 20, 2017

By Olivier Uyttebrouck

[Note: See the Perrault, Sigler, and Griego files.]

St. Pius X High School leaders were hit with a “bombshell” in 1970 when they were told of allegations of sexual abuse against the Rev. Arthur Perrault, a teacher at the Archdiocese of Santa Fe’s flagship high school.

Those allegations remained secret for decades, but documents released this week pull back the curtain on how those school leaders and the archbishop responded.

And the documents show that, once again, a priest was simply moved to another post where he had access to new victims. They also show that Perrault was sent to St. Pius in the first place as a “good test period” to allow the archbishop to observe the 20-something priest after he was released from a Jemez Springs center that treated pedophile priests.

He was at the school four years and was later accused of molesting 11 victims during that period, from 1966-1970.

In 1970, St. Pius board members were approached by the father of a student, who asked to meet with them because “one of his sons that was at Pius had been involved with Father Perrault,” a board member recalled in a 1992 deposition. The father said that as a result of the abuse, his son “was so messed up that he had been thinking about suicide.”

The father, who is not identified in the deposition, said he discussed the abuse with then-Archbishop of Santa Fe James Davis. The allegations were electrifying, the board member said, because Perrault was chairman of the theology department at the archdiocese’s flagship high school.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 8:38 AM

In wake of Weinstein abuse scandal, Catholics call Church to leadership


October 20, 2017

By Claire Giangravè

After thousands of men and women tweeted #metoo, recounting their experiences of sexual harassment and expressing support for victims in the wake of abuse allegations against Harvey Weinstein, Catholics say the Church should take a position of leadership in the fight against the exploitation of women.

Rome - When ‘Charmed’ actress Alyssa Milano asked her twitter followers to answer #metoo if they had also been victims of sexual harassment or assault, she probably wasn’t expecting to initiate a global viral trend.

In the wake of sexual abuse allegations against Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein, thousands of women - and men - have taken to their social media accounts to tell their stories and show support for victims.

Many leading Christian voices spoke up, including Catholics, who underlined that not only do people of faith object to such injustices, but also that the Church should take charge when it comes to sexual harassment.

“The Catholic Church should take a leading role, not only in raising people’s awareness of the crime against human dignity that is sexual abuse but also the Catholic Church should likewise lead in promoting healing,” said Dawn Eden Goldstein, assistant professor of dogmatic theology at the Holy Apostles College and Seminary of Connecticut, in an interview with Crux.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 8:32 AM

In wake of Weinstein abuse scandal, Catholics call Church to leadership


October 20, 2017

By Claire Giangravè

After thousands of men and women tweeted #metoo, recounting their experiences of sexual harassment and expressing support for victims in the wake of abuse allegations against Harvey Weinstein, Catholics say the Church should take a position of leadership in the fight against the exploitation of women.

Rome - When ‘Charmed’ actress Alyssa Milano asked her twitter followers to answer #metoo if they had also been victims of sexual harassment or assault, she probably wasn’t expecting to initiate a global viral trend.

In the wake of sexual abuse allegations against Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein, thousands of women - and men - have taken to their social media accounts to tell their stories and show support for victims.

Many leading Christian voices spoke up, including Catholics, who underlined that not only do people of faith object to such injustices, but also that the Church should take charge when it comes to sexual harassment.

“The Catholic Church should take a leading role, not only in raising people’s awareness of the crime against human dignity that is sexual abuse but also the Catholic Church should likewise lead in promoting healing,” said Dawn Eden Goldstein, assistant professor of dogmatic theology at the Holy Apostles College and Seminary of Connecticut, in an interview with Crux.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 8:32 AM

Man wants mom's tombstone to say she 'supported priest rapist victims,' but diocese objects

Chicago Tribune

October 20, 2017

Marguerite Ridgeway was a fervent Catholic until her faith was shaken when church sex abuse scandals came to light, particularly a decades-old trauma recounted by her daughter-in-law.

Now Ridgeway’s son wants to install a marker at his late mother’s gravesite in Wheaton bearing the inscription “She supported priest rapist victims.”

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Joliet, which owns Assumption Cemetery, has objected to what it calls the “explicit language” of the epitaph.

Ridgeway’s son, Jack Ruhl, of Kalamazoo, Mich., recently sent a rendering of the planned marker to the cemetery, along with a $350 check to cover the installation fee.

“I ask that you do not dishonor the memory of my mother by further delay in installation of her grave marker,” he said in an email to officials with the diocese earlier this month.

An attorney for the diocese in an Oct. 6 letter proposed removing the word “rapist” and substituting softer language, such as “She supported clergy sex abuse victims,” or “She supported victims of clergy sex abuse.”

The letter described the word rapist as “graphic, offensive and shocking to the senses.”

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 8:28 AM

A Papua New Guinea bishop confirms police investigation and backs reinstatement of priest

Newcastle Herald

October 21, 2017

By Joanne McCarthy

A Papua New Guinea Catholic bishop says he will reinstate an Australian Vincentian priest to a PNG high school despite a police investigation of allegations involving school students, and a church investigation confirming the priest touched students’ legs and sometimes slapped them.

Bishop Rolando Santos said Australian Vincentian priest Neil Lams was “firm, upright and committed” and he was not changing the priest’s assignment as chaplain to the PNG school. The bishop reserved the right to take defamation action against people, including school teachers, who complained about the priest’s behaviour.

A church investigation report, which Bishop Santos supplied to the Newcastle Herald, found no evidence to support allegations Father Lams sexually abused two female students at a Catholic high school in eastern PNG.

But investigators for the PNG Catholic Church Office of Right Relationships in Ministry found evidence of confessional “incidents”, where Father Lams touched students on the legs and asked questions about sex that left students “embarrassed or scared or hurt or surprised”.

Photo Caption - Criticism: Port Stephens woman Wendy Stein and Vincentian Bishop Rolando Santos in Papua New Guinea. Bishop Santos has criticised Ms Stein for reporting sexual abuse allegations to police.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 8:23 AM

October 20, 2017

El juicio por abusos contra el cura Justo Ilarraz será el 13 de noviembre

Diario El Argentino

October 19, 2017

[Google Translate: The trial for abuses against the priest Justo Ilarraz will be on November 13. The start date for one of the most anticipated debates this year is scheduled for November 13. The priest is accused of abusing children and adolescents at the Lower Paraná Seminary between the late 1980s and early 1990s, and will now sit in front of the court composed of Alicia Vivian of the Court of Trials and Appeals of Gualeguaychú); Edwin Ives Bastian (member of the Concordia Court of Appeals and Trials); and Darío Crespo (member of the Court of Appeals and Gualeguay).]

La fecha de inicio para uno de los debates más esperados de este año está prevista para el 13 de noviembre. El cura está acusado de abusar de niños y adolescentes en el Seminario Menor de Paraná -entre fines de la década del ’80 y los primeros años de la década del ’90-, y ahora deberá sentarse frente al tribunal compuesto por Alicia Vivian (vocal del Tribunal de Juicios y Apelaciones de Gualeguaychú); Edwin Ives Bastian (vocal del Tribunal de Juicios y Apelaciones de Concordia); y Darío Crespo (vocal del Tribunal de Juicios y Apelaciones de Gualeguay). Cabe señalar que este último también integró el tribunal que juzgó y condenó en los primeros días de septiembre al cura Juan Diego Escobar Gaviria; y que el defensor del cura colombiano, Milton Urrutia, se tornará querellante para el juicio a Ilarraz; consignó Análisis Digital.

“Su mayor defensa siempre fue la prescripción”, recordó hace un tiempo atrás la abogada querellante Rosario Romero, sobre la estrategia que aplicó el cura Ilarraz para defenderse en la causa judicial. La gravísima denuncia periodística por abusos a menores en el Seminario de Paraná se hizo en septiembre de 2012, a raíz de la investigación publicada por la revista Análisis. Entonces, la Procuración General del Poder Judicial decidió abrir una investigación de oficio. La causa comenzó con innumerables traspiés y demoras, tanto así que hace ya más de cinco años de aquella publicación que conmocionó a la prensa provincial, nacional e internacional. Incluso, actualmente existe un recurso que debe resolver la Corte Suprema de Justicia de la Nación, en el cual los defensores del cura reclaman que los delitos se declaren prescriptos.

El juicio llevará varios días de noviembre e incluso algunos de diciembre en los tribunales de Paraná, además tendrá varias singularidades: probablemente sea a puertas cerradas por el tipo de delitos que se juzga. Entre los testigos pasará el cardenal Estanislao Esteban Karlic, quien al momento de los hechos denunciados era obispo de Paraná, jefe directo y muy cercano a Ilarraz; también declarará el actual obispo Juan Alberto Puiggari, en la época de los hechos investigados estaba a cargo del Seminario Mayor, entre otros sacerdotes y autoridades de la Iglesia Católica.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 11:57 AM

New Mexico judge orders release of clergy sex abuse records

The Associated Press

October 19, 2017

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — The Archdiocese of Santa Fe has released hundreds of pages of court records related to sexual abuse allegations against clergy members in response to an order from a New Mexico judge, marking the largest disclosure of such records since alleged victims began suing the archdiocese nearly three decades ago.

Church officials said in a statement issued after Wednesday’s (Oct. 18) release that they hope the disclosure along with the recent publication of a list of clergy accused of sexual misconduct will serve as an additional step in healing for survivors, their families and parishioners.

The documents include letters showing church leaders knew of sexual abuse allegations that had been leveled against three priests from the 1960s through the 1980s.

Judge Alan Malott’s order stems from a request by KOB-TV , which intervened in several abuse cases for the purpose of obtaining the records. The Albuquerque station had argued that much of the information should no longer be guarded by a court-protected confidentiality order.

“I think it’s important because it gives people who have been abused the concrete validation of their claims,” Levi Monagle, an attorney for some of the victims. “It’s one thing to know your own truth, but it’s another thing to see that truth acknowledged by people in the highest positions of power within an institution like the church.”

The records paint a picture of a diocese that repeatedly assigned priests accused of sexually abusing children to posts where they could abuse again, the Albuquerque Journal reported . The records include letters and reports from psychologists to church leaders that detail allegations against the three priests.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 11:42 AM

Former Bishop of Chester Victor Whitsey was an abuser, police told

Church Times

October 20, 2017

By Madeleine Davies

CHESTER police have announced that they have conducted an investigation into allegations of sexual abuse made against a former Bishop of Chester, the Rt Revd Victor Whitsey, who died in 1987.

They confirmed on Tuesday that, were he alive today, he would have been spoken to by police.

Alleged victims of the Bishop say that they reported the abuse, one on the following day, but that no action was ever taken.

The current Bishop of Chester, Dr Peter Forster, and the Archbishop of York, Dr Sentamu, supported the investigation into “allegations of sexual offences against children and adults” by Bishop Whitsey, and have apologised to those who came forward.

The allegations date from 1974 onwards, when Bishop Whitsey was Bishop of Chester, and continued after 1981 when he retired and moved to Blackburn diocese, with permission to officiate. They relate to 13 complainants, five male and eight female.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 11:37 AM

Pope Francis reveals what will happen to priests guilty of child molestation

Daily Post

October 19, 2017

By Chijioke Jannah

Supreme leader of the Catholic Church, Pope Francis, on Thursday vowed that priests who were indicted in cases of sexual indecency against children would no longer be given a right of appeal against being kicked out of the Church.

Pope Francis, who added that he would never pardon any of such priests, said he had learned his lesson after allowing an Italian Bishop to not defrock a priest who had been found guilty of acts of abuse, and who then committed similar offences two years later.

The Catholic Pontiff said this while addressing his child abuse advisory panel at the Vatican.

Francis also acknowledged that the Church had been slow to wake up to the scale of the problem of clerical abuse, which has done enormous damage to its standing in many countries.

He said, “The abuse of a minor, if it is proven, is sufficient for there to be no possibility of appeal. If the proof is there, the punishment is definitive.

“And as for requests for papal pardons, I will not sign anything for these crimes.

“The means of resolving the problem are also arriving a bit late.

“That is the reality, the old practice of moving (paedophile priests) from one diocese to the other put people’s conscience to sleep.”

Francis has repeatedly vowed to rid the church of the scourge of paedophilia through a zero-tolerance approach which his predecessors proved incapable of implementing.

But his credibility on the issue has been hit by the resignation of two members of his advisory panel over opposition to changes from within the Vatican hierarchy.

Victims’ organisations also maintain that the church remains reluctant to hand paedophile priests over to criminal justice authorities.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 11:29 AM

Lawyer not surprised Guam church abuse victim was shunned

Radio New Zealand

October 20, 2017

A lawyer for church sexual abuse complainants on Guam is not surprised an alleged victim was 'shunned' when he tried to report abuse.

A former altar boy alleged Archbishop Anthony Apuron encouraged him to pray as a way of getting over repeated abuse by a priest in the 1990s.

The man, who is now 40, is seeking five million US dollars in damages for the abuse which allegedly occurred over eight years.

His lawyer David Lujan said the Archbishop's response was understandable given the accusations of abuse that had been made against him.

"Because the victim is reporting the abuse to another abuser, in fact the abuser-in-chief," he said.

"Apuron has been abusing young kids for a couple of decades already at that point."

Mr Lujan said he believed there were more recent cases of abuse in Guam's Catholic Church but the victims were yet to come forward.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 11:24 AM

New developments in disturbing case involving Catholic priests in NM

KOAT Action 7 News

October 19, 2017

By Nancy Laflin

There are new developments in a disturbing case involving Catholic priests in New Mexico -- a judge is allowing hundreds of pages of court records to be unsealed.

Attorneys involved in this case say the documents detail that the Catholic Church was put on notice of predatory priests dating back to the 1960's. Many of them were sent to New Mexico and ended up in parishes throughout the state.

For years KOAT has been telling you about a place called the Servants of the Paraclete. Priests from all across the country were sent to northern New Mexico for counseling and therapy, including priests who were accused of sexually molesting children.

Now unsealed documents detail exactly what happened in those cases -- dating back decades.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 10:43 AM

Mitchell Garabedian vs. the Catholic Church

Bostonia (Boston University magazine)

Fall 2017 (originally published Summer 2017)

By Lara Ehrlich • Photos by Jackie Ricciardi • Videos by Devin Hahn

A Boston lawyer crusades against clergy sex abuse — as told by clients and colleagues, survivors and Secret Files

In 2002, Boston attorney Mitchell Garabedian represented 86 people who claimed to have been molested or raped as children by Father John J. Geoghan, a Catholic priest from Dorchester, Mass. The case led to a $10 million settlement for Garabedian’s clients, and to a Boston Globe Spotlight team investigation that exposed an international epidemic of abuse and coverup extending all the way to the Vatican. Garabedian has since represented more than 1,000 victims in 14 countries, and he still gets more than 20 calls a month from alleged victims seeking his help.

The Globe investigation was rewarded with a Pulitzer Prize, and became the subject of the 2015 Academy Award–winning film Spotlight. Actor Stanley Tucci portrays Garabedian (CGS’71, CAS’73) in the film with such intensity, the Boston attorney says, that many reporters are now terrified of meeting with him.

People who know him don’t disavow that intensity, but, they say, there are other sides to the sometimes fearsome lawyer who grew up on a farm in Methuen, Mass. He is witty, and he is generous, a trait inherited from his father, whose farmhands often came to him for advice. His family attended an Armenian Apostolic church every Sunday. “It was a very peaceful, kind way to live,” says Garabedian, whose office, piled high with boxes and papers, is just around the corner from Faneuil Hall, where his family once sold vegetables grown on their farm.

Bostonia talked with him, and with people who know him well, about the scandal, his commitment to the victims, and what drove him to take on the Catholic Church.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 10:34 AM

October 19, 2017

Redacted Timelines and Supporting Documents Regarding Fr. Arthur Perrault, Fr. Jason Sigler, and Fr. Sabine Griego


October 19, 2017

These files and supporting documents were redacted and released pursuant to Judge Alan M. Malott’s October 11, 2017 Order Allowing Disclosure, in Jane Doe "D" et al. v. Archdiocese of Santa Fe et al. Judge Malott was responding to the Plaintiff's request for permission to release the documents supporting their timelines of transfers, notice, and abuse, and to KOB-TV's request for access to those documents. The timelines and supporting documents were produced by the Law Offices of Brad D. Hall.

We have optimized the files for somewhat easier download (they are still quite large), and we have added page numbers to each file in the lower left corner of the page, for easier handling and reference. We have not changed the content of the files in any way.

Some supporting documents listed in the timelines do not appear in the files. They were removed to comply with Judge Malott’s Order before the files were released.

• Exhibit 1: Redacted Timeline of Fr. Arthur Perrault with Supporting Documents [406 pages; 49 megabyte file]

• Exhibit 2: Redacted Timeline of Fr. Jason Sigler with Supporting Documents [405 pages; 47 megabyte file]

• Exhibit 3: Redacted Timeline of Fr. Sabine Griego with Supporting Documents [181 pages; 17 megabyte file]

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 7:57 PM

Abuse at exclusive schools revealed by royal commission

Daily Telegraph

October 17, 2017

By Janet Fife-Yeomans

Two of Sydney’s most exclusive religious schools have come under fire from the child sex abuse royal commission after boys were “raped” with a homemade wooden dildo at one school while other boys were bullied and one called a “cum rag” at another.

The shocking abuse at Parramatta’s The King’s School and Trinity Grammar at Summer Hill — where parents pay up to $60,000 a year for tuition and boarding — was not adequately dealt with by the schools, the royal commission said today.

The commission had heard that at Trinity, a year 9 boarding student was found by the boarding house master on the floor, crying, his face covered in black boot polish and his trousers down in August 2000.

He had been sexually assaulted with a large wooden dildo, dubbed “the anaconda”, that one of the boys made in a school woodwork class.

The royal commission found that it was not the only time “the anaconda” was used and the headmaster Milton Cujes was “likely” told about it later that day.

However without an investigation by the school psychologist Katherine Lumsdaine, the school would have done nothing, the commission said.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 3:34 PM

Abuse royal commission: Trinity headmaster misled council over assault

The Australian

October 18, 2017

By Stefanie Balogh

[Note: See also the text of the report and the hearings, submissions, and exhibits that support it.]

Abuse royal commission: Trinity headmaster misled council over assault
Trinity headmaster Milton Cujes did not inform the school council he was aware of allegations made by CLB, the royal commission says.

The Royal Commission into child sexual abuse has found a headmaster at one of the nation’s leading boys’ schools misled his school council over the alleged abuse of a student who accused boarders of carrying out assaults with a wooden implement dubbed “the anaconda’’.

The commission has today released its report into problematic and harmful sexual behaviours of children in schools. It examined three NSW government run primary schools, an independent boarding school, The King’s School in Parramatta, Trinity Grammar in Summer Hill, and Shalom Christian College in Queensland.

The infamous case of the wooden dildo, which was made in woodwork class and called “the anaconda’’, at Sydney’s elite Trinity Grammar led to two boarders pleading guilty to indecent assault charges which occurred in the boarding house in 2000.

A Year 10 boarder, known as CLA, was the main victim.

But separate allegations were also raised involving a Year 9 boarder known as CLB.

The commission’s report said the senior master and boarding master “knew that CLB had alleged that other boys in the boarding house had sexually assaulted boys and used wooden dildos on boys in the boarding house on multiple occasions before 11 August 2000’’.

It found Trinity’s headmaster Milton Cujes was given CLB’s incident report and knew of the allegations. CLB’s incident report alleged some boarders had tried to “rape’ him on August 11, 2000 and this was not the first time they had tried.

He alleged a boarder had made a “dildo in wood tech class’’ but it was not used that day.

“He (Mr Cujes) did not initiate an investigation of the allegations at any time before 7 September 2000. It is clear from his evidence that Mr Cujes did not inform the school council at any time on or before 13 February 2001 that he had been given CLB’s incident report on 11 August 2000,’’ the report said.

The commission said it was satisfied Mr Cujes was present at the school council meeting on February 13, 2001 and did not inform the school council he was aware of the allegations made by CLB and the effect of not disclosing that he, the senior master and boarding master were aware of allegations was that the “council was misled’’ about the adequacy of the response to the incident on 11 August 2000.

“Both Trinity and Mr Cujes submitted that a proposed finding that the school council was misled about the adequacy of the school’s response to the incident in the boarding house on 11 August 2000 should not be made because it is not available on the evidence,’’ the report says.

Despite this the commission found it was Mr Cujes had misled the school council.

“The effect of Mr Cujes misleading the school council was that the school council passed a resolution stating that it believed that ‘existing procedures were properly followed’ and expressed ‘full confidence in the Head Master and Staff in this regard’,’’ the report said.

“We accept … that the school council would not have passed the resolution if it had not been misled.’’

Then senior school psychologist, Katherine Lumsdaine, the commission said, was concerned that senior staff would not investigate the allegations so commenced her own inquiries, finding numerous accounts of students being sexually assault with the wooden dildo.

The commission said it was satisfied that if Ms Lumsdaine had not interviewed the boys and reported her conclusion there would have been no investigation of the sexual assaults that were occurring in the boarding house at Trinity in 2000.

“Save for Ms Lumsdaine’s investigation, Trinity did not seek out other boys who may have been sexually assaulted. Support was not given to the boys affected,’’ the commission said.

This report follows a public hearing held in Sydney in October and November 2016.

The report also said that Mr Cujes did not recall seeing CLB’s incident report and three senior staff members were investigating the incident. “His impression was that ‘the behaviour was a dorm rumble that got out of hand’,’’ the report said.

“He said that he did not ask for the details, because three trusted members of staff were already involved.’’

During last year’s hearings, he said he had “no idea that there was a sexual element’’ to the allegations and he had delegated responsibility for the investigation into the incident and it was not “put to one side’’.

The royal commission also found the prestigious The King’s School in Parramatta in Sydney’s west was beset with a culture of bullying in 2013 including an incident where a student was humiliated at a cadet camp.

Today’s report found the failure of senior management at the school to deal with the incident was “candidly’’ accepted by former headmaster Dr Timothy Hawkes.

CLC, who was a Year 10 student in 2013, woke up one night at a cadet camp to find another student had ejaculated onto his sleeping bag.

CLC was bullied over the following months including being called a “cum rag’’ and “cum dumpster’’.

On one occasion, students renamed The King’s wi-fi networks “CLC is a cum rag’’.

The student raised the alarm in August 2013, telling staff he had been bullied at the cadet camp.

Over the next fortnight, the deputy headmaster, Andrew Parry, conducted an investigation into the camp incident and the bullying, which broadly confirmed CLC’s allegations, the commission said.

Dr Parry discussed it with the Castle Hill police who advised him in an email that a criminal act had been committed and incident should be reported to police.

But no report was made.

The commission found it was “satisfied that the measures King’s took to address the bullying of CLC were ineffective. King’s also did not adequately address CLC’s parents’ concerns about the school’s response to the bullying of CLC’’.

“The commissioners found that in 2013 a bullying culture existed at King’s, both inside the boarding houses and in the school more generally,’’ the report said, and the school’s measures to address the bullying were ineffective.

CLC left King’s in Year 10 and began in Year 11 in 2014 at St Ignatius’ College, Riverview, which addressed bullying differently.

CLC told commission his experience at Riverview was “very different’’.

Combined tuition and boarding fees at The King’s School and Trinity are about $60,000 per senior school student.

Trinity Grammar’s spokesperson and council chairman Richard Pegg said the school “acknowledges with regret that its initial response to the incident of 2000 was inadequate’’.

“As the Head Master stated to the commission ‘we could have done better, we should have done better’,’’ Mr Pegg said.

“From the day the School became fully aware of the seriousness and extent of the issue and reported it to the authorities, the school committed itself unreservedly to the review and taking of appropriate measures to ensure the safety and wellbeing of all students.’’

Mr Pegg said “the welfare and wellbeing of our boys are paramount and we will consider seriously for implementation all recommendations that the Commission makes in its final report’’.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 3:19 PM

Top NSW private schools failed to address sex abuse claims: royal commission report

Sydney Morning Herald

October 18, 2017

By Rachel Browne

[Note: See also the Royal Commission's Report of Case Study No. 45.]

Two of the state's most exclusive private schools failed adequately to investigate and address allegations of sexual abuse involving students, a royal commission has found.

Senior management of The King's School in Parramatta did not report the alleged sexual assault of a student in 2013 to authorities, despite a police officer's written advice to do so.

The inaction was described by the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse as "a failure by the senior management of King's".

In its report into harmful sexual behaviour of children in schools, the royal commission also found senior management at Trinity Grammar School in Summer Hill did not adequately investigate allegations that students were being "raped" in the boarding house.

The report found that senior management, including headmaster Milton Cujes, were made aware of the allegations of sexual assault involving boarders in 2000.

School psychologist Kate Lumsdaine initiated her own inquiry because she was "concerned that senior staff would not investigate the allegations", the report determined.

"We are satisfied that, if Ms Lumsdaine had not interviewed the boys and reported her conclusion, there would have been no investigation of the sexual assaults that were occurring in the boarding house at Trinity in 2000," the commissioners wrote.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 3:17 PM

Report into problematic and harmful sexual behaviours of children in schools released

Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse

October 18, 2017

[Note: See also the text of the Report of Case Study No. 45: Problematic and harmful sexual behaviours of children in schools, and the Case Study No. 45 page with links to hearings transcripts, submissions, and exhibits.]

The Royal Commission into Institutional Reponses to Child Sexual Abuse's Report of Case Study 45 - Problematic and harmful sexual behaviours of children in schools - was released today.

This report follows a public hearing held in Sydney in October and November 2016.

The King's School, Parramatta NSW

The Royal Commission examined the response of The King's School to an incident of harmful sexual behaviour involving CLC, a former King's student, at a cadet camp in April 2013.

CLC, then in year 10, awoke one night to find that another student had ejaculated onto his sleeping bag. Over the following months, CLC was bullied by students, who called him 'cum rag' and 'cum dumpster'. On one occasion, students renamed the King's wi-fi networks 'CLC is a cum rag'.

In August 2013, CLC disclosed the cadet camp incident and the bullying he was experiencing to staff at King's. Over the next fortnight, the deputy headmaster, Dr Andrew Parry, conducted an investigation into the camp incident and the bullying, which broadly confirmed CLC's allegations.

Dr Parry telephoned the youth liaison officer at Castle Hill police station to discuss the incident. Following this conversation, the police officer sent Dr Parry an email advising that a criminal act had been committed and that the incident should be reported to police. However, no report was made.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 1:34 PM

Lawsuit accuses prominent church of not reporting abuse

Baptist News Global

October 18, 2017

By Bob Allen

A new lawsuit alleges that one of South Carolina’s largest and most respected Southern Baptist churches failed to report to police evidence of child sex abuse by a volunteer youth worker as required by law.

The lawsuit filed Oct. 10 in Richland County, S.C., claims a now 17-year-old teen identified under a pseudonym began attending First Baptist Church of Columbia, S.C., with family members when he was in elementary school.

When he was 11 and starting middle school, the youth says he began attending a Sunday night discussion group led by an adult volunteer who groomed the child and over time “gradually escalated his inappropriate and illegal activity” to include lewd text messages and “intentional touching.”

When informed of the messages, the lawsuit claims, church leaders did not turn over findings of their own investigation to law enforcement in compliance with a state law requiring certain professions, including clergy, to report information they receive in their professional capacity that gives them reason to believe a child has or may have suffered abuse or neglect.

A statement on the church website says the congregation became aware of the allegations last fall. An investigation by a church committee found the volunteer had violated church policies, and disciplinary action was taken. The volunteer no longer attends First Baptist, the statement says, and is prohibited from further contact with students.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 12:17 PM

New twist to the case of the Surrey pastor charged with sex assault

Global News/CKNW

October 17, 2017

By Jeremy Lye

Weeks after multiple sexual assault charges were laid against a Surrey pastor and his wife, a Bible camp on Vancouver Island where he has been listed as a director, may have been the scene of other assaults.

Samuel Emerson has reportedly been taken off the board at Cowichan River Bible Camp, although the Canada Revenue Agency’s website still has him listed as a “Director-Trustee Official.”

Meanwhile, CKNW has spoken to a woman who says as a teenager she used to be a regular guest at the camp.

“It started out with really long hugs, then their face would get closer to me and they would start giving me kisses on the cheek and then they’d start kissing me on the lips and then the next thing you know they’re caressing me to the point where they’re touching my genitals.”

“At that point, I realized something’s wrong and there’s nothing I can do about it and it’s completely out of my control, you ask them to stop and then they go ‘you’re the one who’s going to be in trouble.'”

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 12:13 PM

Hunter Pentecostal Christian pleads guilty to sexually abusing boys

Newcastle Herald

October 18, 2017

By Joanne McCarthy
By day he was the committed Pentecostal Christian youth pastor who ran a Hunter refuge for youths and praised Jesus during Assemblies of God church services at Hamilton.

By night Christopher Laban Bridge was a sexual predator, whose abuse of two boys was known by at least one Assemblies of God church leader from the early 1970s, before Bridge moved to the Hunter to take up a youth pastor position.

Court documents show Bridge moved to a Hamilton Assemblies of God church in 1975 after a Dubbo Assemblies of God minister was told Bridge sexually abused two boys in far west NSW. Bridge went on to sexually abuse a third boy at Charlestown in 1976 and a fourth boy at Cardiff in the early 1980s.

Bridge, 69, of Yarramalong, has entered guilty pleas to sexually abusing the four boys, including a boy who was abused at a Hunter refuge for “young people with drug addictions” after Bridge told him: “I need to check you to see if you are a virgin.”

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 12:08 PM

Police say 4 accusers claim abuse by Little Rock doctor

Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

October 19, 2017

By Ryan Tarinelli

Police said Wednesday that four people have accused a Little Rock doctor and church mentor of sexual assault.

James Nesmith, 53, was arrested Tuesday morning and charged with one count of second-degree sexual assault, according to a police report.

Lt. Michael Ford, a Little Rock police spokesman, said Wednesday that a church pastor had reported allegations against Nesmith to the Child Abuse Hotline in 2015. According to Ford, the pastor reported that four people said they were sexually assaulted by Nesmith.

"It's an ongoing investigation and we are expecting, probably, more victims to come forward," Ford said at a news conference Wednesday.

Leslie Taylor, a UAMS spokesman, said Tuesday that Nesmith is an associate professor at UAMS and a physician at Arkansas Children's Hospital. She said Nesmith, who was hired in 1995, was involved in adolescent and sports medicine.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 11:59 AM

Court docs: Rushville pastor lured young girls into office with candy, molested them

Fox 59

October 19, 2017

Rushville, Ind. – Officers with the Rushville Police Department arrested a pastor on child molestation charges following an investigation into sexual assault allegations at the Rushville Baptist Temple.

Garry Evans, 72, was charged with 3 counts of child molest, a Level 4 Felony; 4 counts of sexual battery, a Level 5 Felony; and 5 counts of child solicitation, a Level 6 Felony.

According to court documents, the investigation began on September 4 when a 3-year-old girl disclosed info to her mother who then reported the incident to the Department of Child Services.

In an interview with police, the girl said Evans took her into his office by herself to get candy. Once in the office, Evans pulled down his pants and made the girl touch his penis. He then told the girl not to tell anyone.

Officers obtained a search warrant, and it was executed on September 22 at the Rushville Baptist Temple Church in the 1300 block of North Spencer Street.

As word of the allegations spread throughout the church, it prompted several other women to ask their daughters about it. According to court documents, police interviewed four more girls all under the age of 10 who said they were molested by Evans.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 11:54 AM

Opinion: Moving an accused abuser to public schools is a new low for the Catholic Church

Los Angeles Times

October 19, 2017

To the editor: It is appalling that officials in the Seattle Roman Catholic Archdiocese took accommodation of child sexual abuse by a member of the clergy to an unimaginable low. They removed a priest repeatedly accused of child molestation from their diocese — and then recommended him for hire in a public school. (“The Catholic Church knew he was an abuser, but helped him get a job in public schools,” Oct. 13)

Thus this priest was able to become a public school teacher and continue assaulting minors. The church’s apology and $1.3-million payment to a victim doesn’t mean justice has been done. Perhaps this sad case will prompt laws making church officials criminally liable for failure to report sexual assault allegations to police, as many states now require.

The state of Washington, alas, permits “penitent privilege” to shield child abusers from law enforcement scrutiny. Deference to religion should end short of allowing children’s lives to be irreparably ravaged.

Edward Alston, Santa Maria


To the editor: On the one hand, I empathize with churches that do their utmost to secure devout, law-abiding clergy, yet wind up with chronic sex offenders in their pulpits.

On the other hand, I feel that any church whose administrators strive to cover up clergy sexual assaults should answer to the law (if not to their god) . . .

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 11:47 AM

My view: Let's talk about married priests

Derry Now

October 15, 2017

By Father Paddy O'Kane

[Note: The photo at the top of this article is not identified. It shows Anglican priest Father Alberto Cutié, who left the Catholic Church and married in 2009. He is pictured with his wife, stepson, and infant daughter in Biscayne Park FL in 2011.]

Story one. Three years ago in Lourdes we were sharing the hotel with another pilgrimage from Liverpool. In the bedroom next to mine there was a Roman Catholic priest and his wife.

All above board. He had been an Anglican minister and became a convert, one of the many to leave their church in protest against the introduction of women priests and bishops.

Story two. After dinner one evening on a recent pilgrimage I passed this question around the room: ‘”If you were Pope Francis for a day what changes would you make?”

I was surprised by how many who said: “The first thing I would do would be to would allow priests to marry.”

Story three. Let’s face it, we have a crisis. This year the national seminary in Maynooth had only eight students entering to study for the priesthood. Half of these will probably leave during their training. When I went there in 1966 there was over 80!

Priest-less parishes are appearing all over Ireland and may be here in this diocese before long.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 11:42 AM

'Priests should be allowed to marry' says Derry clergyman


October 19, 2017

A Londonderry priest has said he believes marriage should be an option for Catholic Church clergymen.

Fr Paddy O'Kane, of Holy Family Church in Ballymagroarty, said the move could help address the global shortage of Catholic priests.

A quarter of Catholic parishes worldwide now have no resident priest.

Fr O'Kane said the Church may have to "take another look at celibacy and women priests."

"Many priests might choose to be celibate, but for those who want to get married it should be an option," he said.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 11:38 AM

8 recent films that take on the church: Across the globe, cinematic portrayals of Christianity are increasingly emphasizing its faults

Christian Century

October 19, 2017

By Philip Jenkins

With the Roman Catholic Church hit by scandals involving abusive clergy, the figure of the pedophile priest has attracted the attention of some of the most significant filmmakers around the globe. Anti­clerical works of art are nothing new, but the proliferation of hostile images of the church can hardly fail to make a lasting impact on public opinion.

The brilliant 2015 Chilean film The Club is set at a remote seaside house that serves as a refuge for disgraced clergy whose sins are mainly sexual in nature. That same year brought another devastating Chilean study of a serially abusive cleric, Karadima’s Forest. The Mexican film Perfect Obedience (2016) describes abusive priests in a tale in­spired by the true-life career of Marcial Maciel, the influential founder of the worldwide Legion of Christ movement. The Irish film Calvary (2014) has at its center a fine and even heroic priest, but one whose life is destroyed by the fury of an abuse victim seeking revenge against the church.

Each of these films is impressive as an artistic production, and each contains superb acting. But each also carries a potent ideological message: the abuse scandals not only reveal the sins of individuals but are symptoms of comprehensive neglect and connivance by the church as an institution. Such systematic failings poison the work of even the best pastors. None of the films suggests any hope for the institution.

Crimes of sexual abuse are by no means the only indictment against the church. The Chilean church exposed in The Club also has to come to terms with its collaboration with that country’s homicidal military dictatorship of the 1970s. The British film Philomena (2013) addressed the once common custom that forced Ireland’s young unmarried mothers to give up their babies to adoption. As in the abuse films, clergy and nuns emerge as ruthless and flint-hearted.

Quite apart from these spectacular scandals, many other recent films depict the Catholic Church as largely irrelevant to the lives of its faithful. One Italian contribution is Alice Rohrwacher’s Heavenly Body (2011), a study of a teen­age girl preparing for confirmation. Heavenly Body is in no sense an anti-church film, and it shows the brave if ultimately doomed efforts of lay teachers to make religious training lively and enjoyable. The problem is that any successes occur despite the contributions of the priests rather than because of them. The priests are wholly involved in their political and business dealings and barely even go through the motions of working with youth.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 11:32 AM

Priest released from Port Aransas church; parishioners ask for reasons

Caller Times

October 17, 2017

By Monica Lopez

A Catholic church in Port Aransas is left without a priest after he was removed Wednesday by the bishop of the Diocese of Corpus Christi.

Rev. Krzysztof Bauta, known as Father Kris by his parishioners, said he was called into the bishop's office Wednesday and was told he was being removed from St. Joseph Parish.

"I was very distraught and shocked," Bauta said. "I asked him why and I was not given a reason."

* * *

"The pastoral change at St. Joseph’s Parish in Port Aransas was not prompted by allegations of sexual misconduct. As a matter of procedure, the Diocese of Corpus Christi is declining to comment further. This has not caused a change in the current Mass Schedule or the administration of the Sacraments," the diocese stated. "With proper oversight, accountability and in keeping with the law, any funds donated for Hurricane Harvey relief will be used for that purpose."

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 11:10 AM

Priest charged with East Gosford child sex offences in the 90's

Triple M 105.1

October 19, 2017

A former Catholic priest who also worked as a teacher has been charged with historical child sex offences dating back to the 80s and 90s.

It will be alleged the man indecently assaulted three young boys a number of times; firstly a young boy whilst he was employed as a teacher in Campbelltown in the 80s, and then two other boys when he was a Parish Priest in the East Gosford area in the 90s.

Following an extensive investigation by Brisbane Water detectives, yesterday police arrested a 78-year-old man at Coonabarabran.

He was charged with 13 child sex related offences and granted conditional bail to appear before Gosford Local Court on 31 October 2017.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 11:07 AM

Former Campbelltown Catholic priest charged with historic sex offences

Wollondilly Advertiser

October 19, 2017

A former Catholic priest who also worked as a Campbelltown teacher in the 1980s and 1990s, has been charged with historic sexual assault offences.

It is alleged the 78-year-old man assaulted three boys. One of the boys was allegedly assaulted during the man’s time as a teacher in Campbelltown.

The other two boys were allegedly assaulted when he worked as a Parish Priest in East Gosford in the 1990s.

He was arrested by Brisbane Water detectives at Coonabarabran yesterday.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 11:02 AM

A cautionary tale: Clergy sex abuse victim’s confidentiality breached

Gallup Independent

October 21, 2017

By Elizabeth Hardin-Burrola

[Note: See also BishopAccountability.org's database entry on Schornack, with links to complaints, newsletters, and other sources.]

Flagstaff, Ariz. – The story of plaintiff Jane L.S. Doe’s clergy sex abuse lawsuit in Coconino County Superior Court should be a cautionary tale for all sex abuse victims.

Particularly for any abuse survivor who is given promises that his or her identity and personal information will be kept confidential by attorneys and the court system.

In the case of Jane L.S. Doe v. the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament and St. Michael Indian School, Doe’s real name, identifying information and confidential details about her abuse have been published all throughout the public court file for months courtesy of the attorneys for the Sisters and Catholic school and her own attorney is now scrambling to seal all those documents.

The breach of Doe’s identity and confidential information came to light recently after a Gallup Independent reporter drove to Flagstaff to inspect the court file. Doe’s exposed information includes her name, date of birth, current address, previous employer, tribal census number, her parents’ names, her mother’s occupation and census number, and current and former spouses' names.

The file also includes pages from Doe’s St. Michael's school records, including transcripts of her high school grades, as well as a copy of Doe’s confidential proof of claim that was filed in U.S. Bankruptcy Court during the Diocese of Gallup's Chapter 11 reorganization. Although personal names were redacted on the claim form, which details her sexual abuse, the same names can be found elsewhere in the file.

Information laid bare

Doe is a middle-aged Navajo woman who was sent as a child to St. Michael Indian School in St. Michaels, Arizona, where she was sexually molested by the late Brother Mark Schornack, OFM, a Franciscan brother who drove a school bus and threw roller skating parties for St. Michael students. Doe is not an “alleged victim” and Schornack was not an “alleged abuser.” As an abuse claimant in the Diocese of Gallup’s bankruptcy case, her claim was deemed credible by court officials. Schornack has been publicly identified by the Gallup Diocese as a credibly accused child sex abuser.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 10:39 AM

Court docs exposed: Brother assigned to area while at treatment center for sex abusers

Gallup Independent

October 17, 2017

By Elizabeth Hardin-Burrola

[Note: See also BishopAccountability.org's database entry on Brother Mark Schornack OFM. The letter linked below was reproduced when this story ran in the Gallup Independent .]

Flagstaff, Ariz. — Usually it takes a judge’s order to pry the lid off a clergy sex abuser’s confidential personnel file.

But in the case of Brother Mark Schornack, OFM, it just took a mistake by a courthouse employee to publicly release restricted documents that were supposed to be filed under seal.

That mistake was made in Flagstaff’s Coconino County Courthouse with the case Jane L.S. Doe v. Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament and St. Michael Indian School. The documents reveal that Schornack, who has been identified as a credibly accused child molester by the Diocese of Gallup, was accepted into the Franciscan religious order while he was a patient at Via Coeli, the notorious New Mexico treatment center known for treating and recycling Catholic clergy sex abusers.

“Your application for admission to the brotherhood has been approved,” the Rev. Herbert Klosterkemper OFM wrote to Schornack Feb. 14, 1952. “You may arrange to report at St. Michael Mission, St. Michaels, Arizona, around the end of this month.” The letter was marked “Restricted Material” and “Confidential SJB001548” by the Franciscan Province of St. John the Baptist in Cincinnati, Ohio.

And with this acceptance letter, the Franciscans sent Schornack straight to his first mission assignment on the Navajo Nation and the Diocese of Gallup. According to the diocese’s list of credibly accused abusers, Schornack worked in the diocese from 1952 to 1984. Known mostly for driving a school bus and throwing roller skating parties for children, Schornack also had at least one assignment in the Archdiocese of Santa Fe at Jemez Pueblo in 1985. He died in January 2012 after being a resident at the Little Sisters of the Poor facility in Gallup.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 10:29 AM

Petaling Jaya priest under probe for allegedly sexually abusing adopted daughter

New Straits Times

October 19, 2017

By Faisal Asyraf

A priest is being investigated over allegations that he had sexually abused his own adopted daughter since 2009.

Police sources said the 49-year old man had allegedly molested the 17-year-old girl and forced her into peforming oral sex on him.

He is also said to have also forced the girl to sleep naked with him at night.

The incidents were believed to have taken place in a house in Petaling Jaya.

Sources said the girl’s nightmare began when her biological father died and her mother, a Chinese citizen, returned to China and entrusted the priest to take care of the girl.

She began living with the priest on Nov 15, 2009 as his adopted daughter.

“After several months, the man began to sexually abusing the girl. He threatened to hurt her if she told other people what he was doing," said the source.

On Oct 17, the girl finally worked up enough courage to run away from the house. She called her mother to tell her what happened and also lodged a report at the district police headquarters.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 10:23 AM

Awareness of the sins of the fathers

Albuquerque Journal

October 18, 2017

By Olivier Uyttebrouck and Maggie Shepard

[Note: The front page of the Albuquerque Journal showed excerpts from a document relating to each priest. The article includes summaries of the three priests whose files have been released: Jason Sigler, Sabine Griego, and Arthur Perrault. See also BishopAccountability.org's database entries on Sigler, Griego, and Perrault.]

Nearly 1,000 pages of Archdiocese of Santa Fe court records were released to the public on Wednesday, including letters written showing that church leaders knew of allegations of sexual abuse against three priests long before the priests left or were barred from ministry.

The records, released by order of District Judge Alan Malott, mark the largest release of Archdiocese of Santa Fe records since alleged victims of clerical sexual abuse began filing lawsuits against the archdiocese in the early 1990s.

The records include a wide variety of documents from the archdiocese’s personnel files, including letters written by three archbishops of Santa Fe, some in correspondence with bishops of other dioceses where the three priests lived and worked.

The records comprise what had been a secret history of the careers of former priests Jason Sigler and Sabine Griego, who both live today in New Mexico, and Arthur Perrault, who has fled the country.

Malott issued the order in response to a request by KOB-TV LLC, which filed in July as an intervenor in seven clerical abuse cases for the purpose of obtaining court records.

The records were obtained in the course of lawsuits filed by Albuquerque attorney Brad Hall, who has filed more than 70 lawsuits since 2011 on behalf of alleged clerical abuse victims. Hall compiled the records to support “timelines” he uses in ongoing lawsuits against the archdiocese.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 9:48 AM

Why we fought to unseal records detailing abuse by NM priests, and what's next


October 18, 2017

By Chris Ramirez

[Note: This video includes scenes from Judge Alan Malott's courtroom, a brief interview with survivors' attorney Levi Monagle, and a statement of KOB's planned approach to the three released files.]

For decades, the Catholic Archdiocese of Santa Fe has kept thousands of files on priests who abused children a secret, guarded by a court-protected confidentiality order.

KOB and members of its legal team challenged that secrecy in court. Judge Alan Malott agreed with the station that much of the information should no longer be kept in guarded files, saying that’s time to make the information available to the public.

Watch the above video to hear from KOB’s Chris Ramirez on why the station waged the fight, and what we plan on doing next.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 9:41 AM

October 18, 2017

The church covered up a catalogue of abuse, then installed a paedophile priest, but 30 years after he ruined another boy's childhood no-one has visited to say 'sorry'

Devon Live

October 17, 2017

By Anita Merritt

Parishioner calls for Bishop of Exeter to stand in pulpit and apologise for the cover-up that allowed Peter Cranch to repeatedly assault a choirboy

The Bishop of Exeter is being asked to apologise in person to the congregation of a church where a known paedophile was installed as a vicar.

Rev Peter Cranch was known to have abused boys in Cornwall and Devon in the 1970s before the church moved him to All Saints Church in Exmouth, where he went on to subject a choirboy to a horrific catalogue of abuse, sexually assaulting him hundreds of times.

In 2004, Cranch was sentenced to eight years in prison for serious sexual assaults against the boy. Then aged 57, he was found guilty of six charges of assaulting a male under 16, four of a serious sexual assault and two of indecency with a child. The boy had been attacked over a five-year period between 1985 and 1990 at All Saints. The judge accused him of "stealing his victim's childhood".

Although the then Bishop of Exeter, Michael Langrish, apologised for the Church's conduct after Cranch's conviction, no senior clergy have ever appeared in person to apologise to the All Saints' congregation, despite a lengthy campaign by parishioner Graham Martin

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 11:58 AM

Sacred Hearts Academy fires teacher for alleged ‘inappropriate behavior’ with 2 students

Honolulu Star Advertiser

October 17, 2017

By Kristen Consillio

Sacred Hearts Academy, on Waialae Avenue in Kaimuki, has fired a teacher after a report of “inappropriate behavior.”

Sacred Hearts Academy, an all-girls Catholic school in Kaimuki, has fired a teacher after two high school students reported “inappropriate behavior,” according to a letter sent to alumnae on Friday .

“We immediately investigated and dismissed the teacher on the same day the incidents were reported. We notified authorities, and the parents filed a police report. This is now a police matter, and we are fully cooperating with the investigation,” Betty White, head of school, said in the letter. “We acted quickly and deliberately in responding to our students who were very courageous in reporting the inappropriate behavior of this teacher.”

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 11:54 AM

Not Much To 'Smile' About In Roddy Doyle's Intense New Novel

National Public Radio

October 18, 2017

By Michael Schaub

Irish novelist Roddy Doyle has always had a lot of literary tools in his belt, but the one he's most known for is his sense of humor. His first three novels, The Commitments, The Snapper and The Van, were all laugh-out-loud funny, and even his most serious novel, The Woman Who Walked into Doors, which dealt with alcoholism and spousal abuse, had its (darkly) humorous moments.

Fans of Doyle might be expecting more of the same with his latest novel — it's called Smile, after all, and although its plot involves a broken relationship, Doyle has managed to mine humor out of similar situations before. But there are no laughs in Smile; the few jokes it has aren't designed to be funny. It's a shocking book, at times almost unbearable to read, and it's by far the most serious of Doyle's career. It also proves that there may not be anything that the novelist can't do.

Smile follows Victor Forde, a 54-year-old Irish man with an undistinguished career as a journalist and a long-term relationship that has recently dissolved. He's moved from the home he used to share with his famous wife into a lonely apartment, and spends his nights haunting a local pub. One evening, he meets a former secondary school classmate named Fitzpatrick; Victor has no memory of him, and isn't happy to make his acquaintance: "I didn't like him. I knew that, immediately."

When the resolutely uncharming Fitzpatrick starts teasing Victor about their days at a Christian Brothers school ("What was the name of the Brother that used to fancy you?"), it opens a floodgate of unhappy memories. One of the first is a comment that a Brother made in class: "Victor Forde, I can never resist your smile." It's quickly followed by the memory of another, more serious incident that's been gnawing at Victor for decades.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 11:42 AM

France considers tough new laws to fight sexual harassment and abuse

The Guardian

October 16 2017

By Kim Willsher

MPs to debate measures including a clear age of consent after court dropped rape charge in case involving an 11-year-old girl

French MPs are to debate legislation to crack down on sexist or sexual aggression and harassment, especially assaults on children.

A proposed legal bill would set down a clear age of consent for minors after a shocking case in which a rape charge was dropped when a court decided an 11-year-old girl had consented to sex with a man more than twice her age.

It will also give traumatised child victims more time to come forward to bring criminal charges against their attackers.

The announcement on Monday from the French equality minister, Marlène Schiappa, could hardly have come at a more appropriate time, with scores of French women coming forward to detail incidents of harassment and assault following the Harvey Weinstein scandal.

A Twitter appeal by the radio journalist Sandra Muller using #balancetonporc (squeal on your pig), encouraging women to publicly shame their attackers, was top of the French Twitter trend list over the weekend. A second international campaign #MeToo is now trending in France.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 11:28 AM

Do You Care About the #MeToo Trend? Beth Moore & Kay Warren Explain Why You Should

CBN News

October 17, 2017

By Heather Sells

Thousands of women are self-identifying on social media as victims of sexual assault or harassment, and they include women whose offenders were church leaders or who were told to keep quiet by church leaders.

Actress Alyssa Milano started the #MeToo hashtag on Sunday and since then thousands of women have publicly shared their stories. They want the world to know that the abuse which Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein is being accused of is rampant across the country.

Bible study leader Beth Moore has shared publicly for years about her childhood sexual abuse, but on Sunday she tweeted of a mentor who told her at age 25 "that people couldn't handle hearing about sexual abuse and that it would sink my ministry."

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 11:18 AM

Call to open Church records to abuse survivors

Irish Examiner

October 18, 2017

By Conall Ó Fátharta

The Government must push the Catholic Church and religious orders to open their records to abuse survivors and academics.

Catriona Crowe, former head of special projects at the National Archives of Ireland, said that it “should not be a matter of grace and favour” that survivors are granted full access to records, but a matter of right.

She said Ireland had seen unprecedented disclosures relating to treatment of vulnerable women and children across a unique archipelago of institutions — mother and baby homes, Magdalene laundries, industrial schools, and reformatories. She said the only way to achieve a complete picture of what happened is to have full access to their archives.

She said these institutions were run largely with the blessing of the State and, as a result, the State should now intervene.

“There should be very high-level talks between the Catholic Church and the State and the outcome of that should be that the Catholic Church would agree to put its records into an independent repository, including their parish records.”

Ms Crowe said some religious records were regarded as “a private fiefdom” by the Catholic Church, the dioceses, and religious orders.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 7:32 AM

Victim reported sex abuse to Apuron and Cristobal but was allegedly “shunned away”

Pacific News Center

October 18, 2017

By Janela Carrera

The former altar boy left the church after he was turned away while seeking help.

The most recent sex abuse lawsuit filed against the Archdiocese of Agana details sexual abuse that went on for a period of 8 years. The former altar server says he even reported the abuse to Archbishop Anthony Apuron and former Chancellor Father Adrian Cristobal but was “shunned away.”

It is perhaps the longest period of sexual assault that has been reported since the scores of sex abuse lawsuits have been filed, and it appears to be the most recent–the allegations took place between 1992 to 1999.

Filed by now 40-year-old P.P., the alleged sexual assault happened at the Santa Barbara Catholic parish in Dededo—the alleged abuser, now defrocked priest Raymond Cepeda.

P.P. says it began when he confided in Cepeda as a trusted mentor. Instead of helping the 15-year-old aspiring priest, Cepeda “took advantage of his vulnerability.”

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 7:29 AM

Lawsuit: Priest lured boys into homosexual lifestyle, smoking

Pacific Daily News

October 18, 2017

By Haidee V Eugenio, heugenio@guampdn.com

Father Louis Brouillard allegedly gave altar boys access to pornographic homosexual literature, allowed them to smoke, and treated them to restaurants while also sexually abusing them during Boy Scouts swimming trips, a lawsuit filed in local court on Tuesday states.

S.S., a plaintiff in the latest clergy sex abuse lawsuit, alleged that Brouillard sexually abused him on the grounds of the Barrigada parish and at Boy Scouts outings in or around 1978 to 1979, when he was about 12 to 13.

He was an altar boy and a Boy Scout at the time.

S.S., represented by attorney Michael Berman, demands a jury trial and at least $10 million in damages.

The lawsuit states Brouillard walked around naked in front of S.S. and other altar boys.

"While in his room, Brouillard had on display pornographic homosexual literature, showing adult males with underage boys, thereby hoping to entice S.S. into a homosexuality lifestyle with him," states the lawsuit filed in the Superior Court of Guam late Tuesday afternoon.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 7:26 AM

New priest accused of raping boy for 5 years

Pacific Daily News

October 18, 2017

By Haidee V Eugenio, heugenio@guampdn.com

Another priest, the now-deceased Monsignor Jose Ada Leon Guerrero, was added to the list of Guam clergy accused of sexually abusing or raping children.

A plaintiff, identified in court documents only as C.M.V. to protect his privacy, said in his complaint filed Wednesday that the priest sexually abused him, including penetration, when he was about 9 to 13 years old from about 1969 to 1973.

The priest allegedly abused the boy about twice a week for almost five years, and the priest would remind the boy not to tell anybody, the lawsuit says.

On several occasions, the priest would give the boy a gift to silence him, the complaint says.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 7:24 AM

Assignment Record – Rev. William T. White


October 17, 2017

Summary of Case: William T. White was a priest of the Archdiocese of New York, ordained in 1958. He worked as an assistant priest at a Manhattan parish early on, going on to spend a decade at Archbishop Stepinac High School in White Plains, where he served as a counselor and dean of students. That assignment was followed by a year with the Archdiocesan Department of Education, then six years as principal of Cardinal Spellman High School in the Bronx. From there White spent twelve years as pastor of a parish in New Rochelle. There is a gap in his assignments 1994-1995. During 1995-2002, White taught at St. Vincent de Paul Seminary in Boynton Beach, Florida in the Palm Beach diocese, while assisting at area parishes.

In 1997 a man reported to the archdiocese that White sexually abused him over a three-year period, beginning when the man was a 17-year-old Stepinac student in the 1970s. White admitted to the abuse. The former student received a settlement in 1998. White wasn't removed from ministry until March 2002, when the clergy sex abuse crisis was a major focus of attention in the news media. In 2004 White was accused in a lawsuit of having sexually abused a boy, ages 9-11, from 1959 to 1961, at Holy Cross parish in Manhattan.

Ordained: 1958

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 7:20 AM

October 17, 2017

Alleged victim of clergy abuse shares story as diocese unveils fund

News12 Long Island

October 16, 2017

As the Diocese of Rockville Centre unveils a compensation fund for victims of clergy sex abuse, a Long Island man who says he was sexually abused by a priest decades ago is sharing his story.

Thomas McGarvey says he grew up in a typical Irish Catholic family. He also says he was abused by a priest at St. Catherine of Sienna in Franklin Square, starting when he was 16.

Ever since then, McGarvey says he has struggled in both his personal and professional life.

"It almost ended my marriage," he says. "I had to take an early retirement from American Airlines."

McGarvey's attorney, Mitchell Garabedian, has represented clergy sexual abuse victims in Boston and in New York for years.

"Six different priests have been named to me by victims within the Diocese of Rockville Centre spanning a period of 21 years of abuse," Garabedian says.

On Monday, the Diocese of Rockville Centre unveiled its new Independent Reconciliation and Compensation Program. Officials say it is for survivors of sexual abuse by clergy within the diocese.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 7:45 PM

Motion filed to unseal documents involving prior First Baptist Church sex abuse

WIS-TV, Channel 10

October 17, 2017

By Caroline Patrickis

A popular Columbia church is at the center of a lawsuit claiming sex abuse - again.

The family of a teen filed a civil lawsuit in Richland County against First Baptist Church of Columbia accusing a former youth ministry volunteer of sex abuse last week.

The attorneys behind the lawsuit say they’re hoping to unseal documents in a previous civil lawsuit case from years ago. Among many allegations is that the church did not notify the police department about on-going sex abuse happening in the church.

The church is no stranger to child sex assault allegations: in 2002, the church was sued after a man was convicted of abusing a minor more than once at First Baptist Church.

The attorney behind this lawsuit, John Simmons, says he’s filed a motion to uncover the details in that case that he calls a cover-up. The lawsuit also names the church and several staff members, including their now-retiring pastor.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 7:14 PM

Pro-Child Victims Act PAC presses for constitutional convention

Albany Times Union

October 17, 2017

By Matthew Hamilton

The founder of a PAC formed to supposed candidates in favor of the stalled Child Victims Act in the Legislature is urging sexual assault survivors to vote yes on holding a constitutional convention in November.

Fighting for Children PAC founder Gary Greenberg, a sexual abuse survivor, said Tuesday that a constitutional convention, which would be held in 2019, would allow victims of sexual abuse to run as delegates and ultimately propose amendments reforming sexual abuse statutes.

Delegates would be selected in 2018 if a convention process is triggered.

Greenberg said he is looking into spending on online advertising and signs in support of a convention.

The Child Victims Act has been a controversial proposal at the Capitol. The Assembly passed a version of the bill, which would extend the statute of limitation for criminal and civil child sex abuse cases. The state Senate declined to take such legislation up at the end of the legislative session in June.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 7:08 PM

Assignment Record – Rev. James W. Devorak


October 17, 2017

Summary of Case: James W. Devorak was ordained for the Diocese of New Ulm in 1972. He went on to assist parishes in Marshall and Wilmar, after which he pastored in Graceville, Barry, Glencoe, Fairfax, Lake Benton, Stewart, Granite Falls, Montevido, Clara City, Rosen, Nassau and Ortonville. He also had assignments in parishes in Hutchinson, Darwin, Kandiyohi, and Lake Lillian. After his retirement in July 2015, Devorak worked as an assistant at two Roseville parishes, in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis.

In August 2017 Devorak was removed from public ministry due to an allegation against him of sexual abuse, stemming from his time in Glencoe in the 1990s. Glencoe police were investigating. Devorak denied the allegation.

Ordained: 1972
Retired: 2015

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 7:05 PM

Guam archbishop to join talks on settling island's priest sexual abuse cases

USA TODAY Network / Pacific Daily News

October 17, 2017

By Haidee V Eugenio

U.S. District Court Chief Judge Frances Tydingco-Gatewood on Tuesday ordered Archbishop Anthony S. Apuron, or his attorney, to participate in premediation talks to try to settle 134 Guam clergy sex abuse cases.

Apuron's attorney, Jacqueline Terlaje, who participated at a status hearing Tuesday afternoon via phone, confirmed they will take part in the talks. Judge Alex Munson will be the discovery monitor and California-based Antonio Piazza has been recommended to serve as a mediator.

Apuron has a pending motion to dismiss four clergy sex abuse cases filed against him, saying they are time-barred and infringe upon his constitutional rights. He also earlier asked the civil court to wait for the results of his Vatican canonical trial before seeking to include him in mediation.

Earlier in October, Archbishop Michael Jude Byrnes, who currently is in charge of the Catholic Church on Guam, said he was told by a Vatican official that a decision has been made in Apuron's trial. Byrnes, however, said he has yet to receive information on the specific charges and the specific verdict, as well as the punishment, because the judges have yet to sign off on the decisio

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 7:00 PM

40-year-old claims molestation by Dededo priest


October 17, 2017

By Krystal Paco

Another lawsuit filed just as Church status hearings wrapped up late this afternoon.

A 40-year-old man with the initials P.P. alleges he was sexually molested by Raymond Cepeda from 1992 through 1999 when he was a priest at the Santa Barbara Catholic Church in Dededo.

The alleged abuse started as sexual comments, touching, massages, fondling and groping on a daily basis.

The abuse ultimately resulted in masturbation and oral copulation.

Others knew about the abuse as P.P. states a retreat facilitator walked in on one of the incidents.

He also reports telling Monsignor Ziolo Camacho who told him to meet with Archbishop Anthony Apuron.

Apuron allegedly told him that "P.P. needs to pray about these types of evil in the world and that P.P. would get over it, if he prayed about it."

He also tried to meet with spiritual director Father Adrian Cristobal who reportedly shunned him away.

P.P. is suing for 5-million dollars.

Cepeda, meanwhile, was defrocked in 2009 or 2010.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 5:30 PM

Renewal of CBCP broadcast franchise not acted upon by House


October 17, 2017

By Lira Dalangin-Fernandez

MANILA, Philippines – The House of Representatives has failed to renew the broadcast franchise of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) for its television and radio service, which expired last August 7.

House Bill No. 4820 seeking the extension of the franchise for another 25 years was filed January this year, but it remained mired at the committee level.

“It has been referred to the committee on legislative franchises, and it is awaiting hearing,” Albay Representative Joey Salceda, the bill’s author, said. ...


The Church and the Duterte administration have been at odds over the rising number of deaths in the President’s war on drugs. The Church has also staunchly opposed the restoration of the death penalty, which the House approved on third and final reading. The Senate, however, has yet to act on the bill.

Last week, Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez also slammed the bishops for not addressing the issue of sexual abuse by priests.

“Mga minor pinapatulan, ang dami nila … mga pedophiles, ayusin muna nila iyong hanay nila bago sila putak nang putak laban sa gobyerno (They prey on minors, so many of them … are pedophiles, let them clean up their ranks before criticizing government),” he had said.

He added that instead of homilies against the war on drugs, “bakit hindi sermunan iyong mga pari na ang daming ginagawang kabulastugan (why not direct the sermons on sinful priests)?”

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 5:24 PM

Long Island Diocese Creates Compensation Fund For Clergy Abuse Victims

WSHU Public Radio

October 17, 2017

By Nicole Shannon


On Long Island, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Rockville Centre has started a compensation program for victims of clergy sexual abuse.

The Independent Reconciliation and Compensation program will allow victims who previously reported abuse to apply for compensation. Victims who accept the compensation must agree not to pursue legal action against the diocese.

Bishop John Barres made the announcement on the Diocese’s television channel. “I think it's a powerful moment for all of us to be united in communion and mission to take this next step, to really reach out at an extraordinarily deep level to our survivors of clergy sexual abuse, their friends, their family and the entire community.”

Critics of the program say the diocese is reacting to increased pressure by legislators, who are discussing lifting the statute of limitation that requires victims to come forward before they turn 23.

In January, the program will open up to victims who haven’t previously reported abuse.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 5:18 PM

Late Bishop of Chester abused children, witnesses allege

Christian Today

October 17, 2017

By Harry Farley

The late Bishop of Chester, Hubert Victor Whitsey, would have faced police questioning were he still alive after more than 10 allegations of child sex abuse were made by witnesses, the Church of England admitted on Tuesday.

The abuse is said to have happened from 1974 while Bishop Whitsey was still in his role in Chester and from 1981 after he retired and was living in the Blackburn diocese. Before his promotion to Chester, he had been Bishop of Hertford and earlier worked as a parish priest in Chorley, South Ribble and Bolton.

The Archbishop of York apologised to those affected, saying he is 'deeply sorry' and describing sex abuse as a 'heinous crime' in a statement alongside the current Bishop of Chester, Dr Peter Forster.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 8:17 AM

Investigation into sex abuse by bishop

Lancashire Post

October 17, 2017

By Emma Pearson

Police have launched an investigation into sexual abuse by a former bishop who retired to Lancashire

Cheshire Police have published details of an investigation into historic child sex abuse by Hubert Victor Whitsey, the former Bishop of Chester.

The Church of England Bishop, who has since died, retired in 1981 and came to live in Lancashire, where he grew up and had worked as a priest before becoming bishop.

Cheshire Police said it has looked into allegation of abuse of boys and girls dating from the 1970s and 80s, which covered both the time he was bishop and his retirement in the Diocese of Blackburn.

Assistant Chief Constable Nick Bailey said: “Cheshire Constabulary has published a report into the findings of an investigation into allegations of non-recent sexual abuse made against a former Bishop of Chester. Operation Coverage focused on allegations made against the late Bishop Hubert Victor Whitsey, which date back to the 1970s and 1980s. They relate to 13 victims (five male and eight female).

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 8:14 AM

Former Bishop of Chester was 'almost certainly' a child abuser

The Standard (Chester, England)

October 17, 2017

By Steve Creswell

A FORMER bishop of Chester was “almost certainly” a prolific abuser of children, a law firm acting on behalf of alleged victims has said.

Specialists at Slater and Gordon have been working with a number of men and women who claimed to have been abused by the late Bishop Hubert Victor Whitsey in the 1970s and 1980s.

In total eight women and five men have made complaints about the Anglican clergyman, who died in 1987 at the age of 71.

Cheshire Police conducted a thorough investigation into the allegations and have now concluded that Whitsey would be brought in for questioning, if he were alive today.

However, chiefs have stressed that this is no indication of his guilt.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 8:11 AM

Former bishop of Chester investigated over abuse allegations

The Guardian

October 17, 2017

By Harriet Sherwood

Victor Whitsey, who died in 1987, would have been interviewed over allegations if he were alive, police say

The former bishop of Chester, Victor Whitsey, is being investigated 30 years after his death over allegations of sexual abuse in the latest scandal involving high-profile figures in the Church of England.

A lawyer representing four of the alleged victims has claimed the abuse was covered up by the C of E and has called for a independent review.

The allegations date from the late 1970s when Whitsey was bishop of Chester, and in the 1980s after he had retired and was living in the diocese of Blackburn.

The C of E said it had supported a police investigation into allegations of sexual offences against children and adults. The police told the church that, had Whitsey still been alive, he would have been interviewed in relation to 10 allegations. Whitsey died in 1987.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 8:08 AM

Long Island Diocese Creates Fund for Victims of Clergy Abuse

The New York Times

October 16, 2017

By Sharon Otterman

Thomas McGarvey was going through a hard time as a teenager in 1981 when he first reached out to his parish priest, the Rev. Robert L. Brown, for spiritual guidance and someone to talk to.

Instead, Mr. McGarvey said he became a victim. At age 16, he began sleeping over at the rectory of St. Catherine of Sienna Parish in Franklin Square, N.Y, in Father Brown’s room, under the noses of the other priests and staff, he said. It was there that the abuse occurred, he alleged, in encounters ranging from fondling to rape. And through the eight years it continued, from 1981 to 1989, Mr. McGarvey alleged, no one helped him, even though he revealed the abuse in confessions with other priests.

“I thought I could trust Father Brown,” Mr. McGarvey, who is now 52, said in an emotional interview on Monday. “I thought I had a friend, but he took advantage of me.”

Several years ago, Mr. McGarvey finally began talking about the abuse, he said. He contacted a lawyer, Mitchell Garabedian, who told the Diocese of Rockville Centre, which includes Nassau and Suffolk Counties on Long Island. But because Father Brown had died in the mid-1990s, their lawyer replied by letter that it was “wholly impossible for the Diocese to investigate this claim at this juncture,” Mr. Garabedian said.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 8:03 AM

Lawsuit: Apuron told victim he would 'get over' sexual abuse

The Guam Daily Post

October 17, 2017

By Mindy Aguon

A former altar boy described eight years of sexual abuse at the hands of a former priest in a civil suit filed in the District Court today. He alleges he made several attempts to report the abuse to church officials, but was told he would "get over it, if he prayed about it."

P.P., who used his initials to protect his privacy, alleges the abuse began when he was 15 while serving as an altar boy and facilitator for the Catechism program at the Santa Barbara Church in Dededo.

The civil complaint, filed by P.P.’s attorney, David Lujan, alleges the teen aspired to become a priest and confided in Raymond Cepeda in 1992 about some childhood experiences in hopes the priest would help him overcome it.

"Instead Cepeda exploited the trust and confidence… and took advantage of his vulnerability," court documents state.

The alleged abuse began with sexual comments from Cepeda that turned into daily massaging, groping and fondling as the priest offered to "pleasure" the boy, the lawsuit states.

In 1993, during an overnight retreat at the Nuestra Senora de Las Aguas Catholic Church in Mongmong, Cepeda allegedly told the boy not to take his pain medication and said he would "take care of him," then sexually abused him.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 7:58 AM

October 16, 2017

Man says Franklin Square priest abused him

Long Island Herald

October 16, 2017

By Ben Strack

Comes forward as Diocese of RVC launches victim compensation program

The same day that the Diocese of Rockville Centre unveiled its compensation program on Monday for victims of clergy sexual abuse, Boston attorney Mitchell Garabedian stood outside the diocese’s headquarters on North Park Avenue with one of his clients, asserting that the church, through the program, is “trying to put a positive spin on an evil situation.”

The man he is representing, Thomas McGarvey, was 16 when he alleges that a priest began sexually abusing him at St. Catherine of Sienna Church in Franklin Square. The abuse spanned from 1981 to 1989, he said, and that priest has since died.

McGarvey, who now lives in Queens, said he would often stay over in the rectory with the priest, who abused him, adding that the priest also made sexual advances on his brother. “I was ashamed of it,” McGarvey said. “I was trying to hide it.”

Now, he said, he is considering participating in the diocese’s new Independent Reconciliation and Compensation Program — designed to grant financial settlements to victims — to put the past behind him and move on with his life

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 8:15 PM

The 'Madness' of Barbara Blaine: 'Flectere si nequeo superos, Acheronta movebo'

National Catholic Reporter

October 12, 2017

By Peter Isely

"Flectere si nequeo superos, Acheronta movebo." — Virgil

This quote in Latin is not a Catholic one. It is from Virgil, the great first century Roman poet. It can be translated in various ways, most literally, "If I cannot deflect the superior powers, then I shall move the River Acheron," and more commonly, "If I cannot bend the heavens, then I shall move the powers of hell."

This is the epitaph I would give to my generous, difficult and "mad" friend of over 25 years, Barbara Blaine, whose sudden death Sept. 24 I am still finding incomprehensible. I place Virgil's defiance, spoken by the goddess Juno, an infinite distance from Archbishop Wilton Gregory's quote in The New York Times obituary for Barbara: "May God have mercy on her soul."

Sigmund Freud famously placed Virgil's quote on the title page of his masterwork, The Interpretations of Dreams. It is the motto for any radical change. It points to the need for disturbing and interrupting the unexpressed, underground structure of our daily life. Of all forms of violence, the one with the most catastrophic consequences is not personal or interpersonal but "systematic": the kind of violence imposed by the fluid, seemingly natural functioning of our economic, political and religious systems.

It's one thing to try to change the written laws, difficult as that is (as Barbara knew very intimately from years of trying to push for reforms in sexual abuse statutes), but real change only erupts when the unwritten laws of a system are disturbed. It was Freud who, through his clinical work on the unconscious, recognized that what bonds and binds individuals to a system are its secret, half-spoken, shadowy rules. What really cements group loyalty and submission is not the open agreement on which laws to keep but the "somehow always already known" ones that everyone secretly agrees to break.

My favored translation of Virgil's saying is, "If you cannot move the upper regions, dare to move the underground." Was this not Barbara's supreme wager and ethical act? If you cannot move the upper regions of the Catholic Church, its pope and hierarchy, then dare to move the underground of its child sexual abuse survivors. Create a path for the upsurge from within its actually existing hell, not the one of theological fables, but the real one where across the centuries the bodies of hundreds of thousands of children have been sexually violated and dumped into the great black hole of institutional Catholicism to suffer and disappear. Bring these stories from hell to the surface, raise them up, speak to them: Shake the underground.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 4:13 PM

Remembering Barbara Blaine, a visionary advocate for survivors everywhere

The Daily Outrage - The Center for Constitutional Rights blog

September 26, 2017

By Pamela Spees

Barbara Blaine, founder and former president of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, died on Sunday, September 24, 2017. She was only 61. We are devastated by the loss of our friend and colleague.

CCR’s work with SNAP launched in September 2011 with the filing of a complaint at the International Criminal Court (ICC) requesting investigation and prosecution of high-level Vatican officials, including then-Pope Benedict, for the widespread and systematic rape and sexual violence within the Catholic Church. Barbara was the energy and inspiration behind the efforts to bring the issue to international human rights bodies. She had an early instinct and vision that the International Criminal Court was an appropriate forum to deal with the Vatican, an entity with a global presence and reach that fostered a climate where widespread and systematic rape and sexual violence were being committed and covered up with impunity. She was absolutely right.

SNAP started out as a tiny group of survivors of sexual violence by priests, who came together to support and validate each other. To reassure one another that they weren’t “crazy,” as they were sometimes described back then, before the world had begun to comprehend that this was actually happening, and grasp the magnitude and extent of it all and how far up the chain it went in the Vatican (all the way to the top). Barbara talked about how reading Our Bodies, Ourselves gave her the idea to help survivors take matters into their own hands and take control of their own healing and their lives. That little support group eventually exploded into an internationalized movement of over 25,000 survivors in countries around the world.

Barbara described how in the early days they thought if they could just let the bishops know what had happened to them, the problem could then be solved. Then they learned the unthinkable – that the bishops had known all along, and more, that the Vatican had known too. They were able to rally from their own shock and sense of betrayal and isolation to begin the process of calling out the Vatican and church officials – a tiny David taking on Goliath.

No one ever envisioned back then that they would eventually be responsible, in part, for getting a pope to resign and forcing a church spokesperson to emerge during the ensuing conclave to angrily remind the media that SNAP doesn’t get to decide who the next pope is.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 4:07 PM

Chicago's Cardinal Cupich not expected to be moved to Rome

National Catholic Reporter

October 16, 2017

By Joshua J. McElwee

Cardinal Blase Cupich is not expected to leave the Archdiocese of Chicago for a new position at the Vatican, several sources close to the prelate say.

A recent rumor that Cupich would replace Cardinal George Pell as the head of the Vatican's Secretariat for the Economy is "totally without foundation" said one of the sources, who said they had been told as much by the Chicago cardinal.

Cupich has been the archbishop of Chicago since 2014. A rumor about his possible transfer to Rome appears to have been initiated by Chicago Sun-Times gossip columnist Michael Sneed, who cited discussions in "Jesuit circles" in a recent column.

Pope Francis created the Secretariat of the Economy in 2014 to consolidate and oversee the Vatican's various financial offices. Pell, an Australian who is serving as the secretariat's prefect, returned to his home country over the summer to fight charges of historical sexual abuse against minors.

There is no indication that Francis is seeking to replace Pell while the cardinal fights the charges against him.

Should the pope decide to replace Pell, it appears unlikely he would choose an American for the job as the Vatican already has an American in high-level leadership with Cardinal Kevin Farrell, who leads the new Dicastery for Laity, Family and Life.

[Joshua J. McElwee is NCR Vatican correspondent. His email address is jmcelwee@ncronline.org. Follow him on Twitter: @joshjmac.]

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 3:01 PM

Former pupil allegedly abused by Ealing priest denies being a 'professional victim'


October 16, 2017

By Greg Wilford and Katy Clifton

The witness was called a fantasist after claiming he was raped and indecently assaulted by Andrew Soper

A former west London pupil - who won a £135,000 settlement after claiming he was sexually abused by a school priest - was accused of being a fantasist on Monday (October 16).

The alleged victim first came forward after claiming he was raped and indecently assaulted by Andrew Soper, 74, at St Benedict's School in Ealing in the 1970s.

The man, who remains anonymous for legal reasons, had his claim for criminal compensation refused when the case was dropped, but in 2012 he made a civil application for more than £800,000.

St Benedict's initially offered £25,000 before agreeing to settle the case for £135,000 “without prejudice” or any admission that Soper was guilty of abuse, the Old Bailey heard.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 2:57 PM

Suspended priest says church diverting resources from sex abuse victims


October 16, 2017

By Belinda Grant Geary

A Perth priest suspended for allegations of "blasphemy" says the Anglican church is wasting valuable resources disciplining him instead of supporting victims of abuse.

Reverend Chris Bedding was stood down from his role as priest at Darlington Parish two weeks ago after a complaint was lodged with the Perth Diocese Professional Standards Board last year.

Father Bedding, who moonlights as a comedian, said a string of allegations of misconduct have been levelled against him, which claim his Facebook posts and critically acclaimed comedy show Pirate Church feature "tones of blasphemy".

The progressive priest said the Professional Standards Board was formed primarily to support victims of clerical abuse and believes valuable resources are being wasted pursuing him.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 2:52 PM

Welby says sorry to sex abuse survivor whose 16 letters were ignored

The Times

October 16, 2017

By Kaya Burgess

The Archbishop of Canterbury has issued a personal apology to a victim of sexual abuse within the church who sent 16 letters to Lambeth Palace about his ordeal with no response.

Three prominent bishops have also raised concerns in a separate letter to the Church of England’s insurers that the process of “horse-trading” between lawyers over abuse claims has shown “little concern” for the impact on survivors.

This comes just days after one of the bishops, the Bishop of Buckingham, the Right Rev Alan Wilson, told The Times that the church’s stock response to abuse reports was to “hide behind the sofa and call the lawyers”.

One survivor, known as Gilo, who suffered abuse at the hands of a senior church figure as a teenager, sent a total of 17 letters to the archbishop’s office and received only one response from Lambeth Palace, from a correspondent clerk who offered prayers.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 2:50 PM

Bishops challenge Ecclesiastical over ‘horse trading’ of survivor settlements

Church Times

October 16, 2017

By Madeleine Davies

THREE bishops have sharply criticised the record of Ecclesiastical, the insurance company, over its treatment of abuse survivors on behalf of the Church of England.

In a letter to Mark Hews, the chief executive of the Ecclesiastical Insurance Group (EIG), the bishops condemn “horse trading” between lawyers negotiating settlements for abuse survivors.

The letter was sent after a meeting with a survivor, and calls on the insurer to consider revisiting both past settlements and its overarching approach to claims, questioning, for example, whether fairness should be taking precedence over justice and reconciliation.

The move was welcomed by the survivor, Gilo, also known as “Joe”, who first spoke of “offensive horse trading” years ago, when he was awarded £35,000 in a settlement with the diocese of London (News, 4 December), an experience he described as “demeaning, degrading”. He believes that the Church must remove all responsibility for handling of survivors from Ecclesiastical (News, 28 July).

Ecclesiastical has issued a strongly worded response to the bishops, stating that their letter “seriously misrepresents” the company’s actions and “misunderstands how insurance works”.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 2:46 PM

St William's child abuse victims call for compensation law change


October 16, 2017

A petition calling for a change in the law to help sex abuse victims seek compensation has been handed into Downing Street.

It comes as 249 men are suing the Roman Catholic Church over abuse claims against St William's children's home in East Yorkshire between 1970 and 1991.

Two of St William's former employees were jailed last year for abusing boys.

Their victims want the current three-year limit for personal injury damages to be abolished.

More than 60,000 people have signed the petition, which was started by Darren Furness, a former resident at the home in Market Weighton, which closed in 1992.

He said: "We want the government to intervene and get rid of the three-year limitation period that's holding the victims of St William's back, including myself.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 2:43 PM

Kindesmissbrauch tausendfach vertuscht: Weil nicht sein kann, was nicht sein darf


October 15, 2017

By Katharina Kluin

[Google Translate: In the GDR (East Germany), sexual abuse of children was not only outlawed, but also a political taboo."There was no such thing" in socialist society. The first systematic investigation shows that there were thousands of victims whose suffering was hushed up from the top. Those affected almost always remained alone.]

[This article addresses a newly published report, Historische, rechtliche und psychologische hintergründe des sexuellen Missbrauchs an Kindern und Jugendlichen in der DDR (The historical, legal and psychological background of sexual abuse of children and adolescents in the GDR).]

In der DDR war sexueller Kindesmissbrauch nicht nur geächtet, sondern auch auch ein politisches Tabu. "So etwas" hatte in der sozialistischen Gesellschaft nicht mehr vorzukommen. Die erste systematische Untersuchung zeigt: Es gab Tausende Opfer, deren Leid von höchster Stelle vertuscht wurde. Die Betroffenen blieben fast immer allein.

"Den Kindern die Zukunft" stand in großen Lettern an einem der Heime, in die sie Corinna Thalheim steckten. Man sollte ja glauben, der sozialistische Staat sorge gut für diejenigen, die es schwer hatten. Doch die Zukunft, auf die Corinna Thalheim einmal gehofft hatte, gab es nicht.

Man schrubbte sie unter der kalten Dusche "zur Begrüßung" blutig. Zwang sie in die Ausbildung zur Putzfrau. Und als sie schließlich dreimal "entwichen" und dreimal wieder aufgegriffen worden war, endete alles, woran Corinna Thalheim noch geglaubt hatte, im Jugendwerkhof Torgau, drei Monate vor ihrem 18. Geburtstag. Torgau, das hieß: Hantelspurts bis zur Ohnmacht, Schimmelfressen, Einzelarrest in Dunkelheit. Erzieher, die sich fluchtartig versetzen ließen, weil sie Menschen waren. Und Erzieher, die blieben, weil sie Sadisten waren.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 11:56 AM

Des présumées victimes d’un prêtre apostrophent Monseigneur Lacroix

Le Soleil

October 15, 2017

By Ian Bussières

[Men who say they were sexually abused by a priest, now deceased for more than 30 years, took advantage of the visit of Cardinal Gérald Cyprien Lacroix in Thetford Mines on Sunday to demonstrate in front of the St. Alphonsus Church and to present their grievances to the Archbishop of Quebec, whom they have been trying to meet for five years.]

Des hommes disant avoir été agressés sexuellement par un prêtre décédé depuis plus de 30 ans ont profité de la visite du cardinal Gérald Cyprien Lacroix à Thetford Mines dimanche pour manifester devant l’église Saint-Alphonse et pour présenter leurs doléances à l’archevêque de Québec, qu’ils tentent de rencontrer depuis cinq ans.

Pierre Bolduc, Denis Cloutier, Jean Poulin et Jean-Yves Tardif disent avoir été victimes de sévices sexuels de la part du prêtre thetfordois Jean-Marie Bégin alors qu’ils avaient entre 7 et 13 ans, soit de 1965 à 1980. Ils accusent le diocèse de Québec d’avoir transféré le prêtre de paroisse en paroisse, lui permettant de faire d’autres victimes. Le prêtre s’est enlevé la vie en 1986 à son chalet du lac de l’Est, à Disraeli.

Juste avant la célébration dominicale, MM. Bolduc, Cloutier et Poulin et leur porte-parole Roger Lessard sont entrés dans l’église Saint-Alphonse avec leurs pancartes pour s’adresser directement à Mgr Lacroix. «C’est la première fois qu’on lui parle. Il a toujours refusé de rencontrer les victimes. On voulait le rencontrer depuis 2012 et il nous a plutôt fait rencontrer par un avocat. On voulait lui dire que c’était immoral et hypocrite, et que le diocèse avait eu du front d’avoir fait changer de paroisse un prêtre qui a fait au moins quatre victimes», a expliqué Roger Lessard au Soleil.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 8:14 AM

Un sacerdote fue procesado por abusar sexualmente de una adolescente de 13 años

RIO GRANDE, Tierra del Fuego (ARGENTINA)
MinutoUno.com (M1)

October 15, 2017

[Google Translate: A priest was indicted by Fuegian justice for the crime of aggravated sexual abuse against a 13-year-old girl who is the daughter of a friend of his, and, although the priest may remain at large, a restriction was imposed on him not to approach that family. The accused priest, Cristian Vázquez , denied his responsibility in the case and declared that the denunciation was part of an apparent "revenge" by the minor because of the relationship that he had established with her mother.]

[See also the entry for Vázquez in BishopAccountability.org's database of accused clergy in Argentina.]

El cura está acusado de abusar de la hija de una amiga pero negó su responsabilidad y aseguró que la denuncia formaría parte de una aparente "venganza".

Un sacerdote fue procesado por la justicia fueguina por el delito de abuso sexual agravado contra una adolescente de 13 años que es hija de una amiga suya y, si bien puede permanecer en libertad, se le impuso una restricción para que no se acerque a esa familia.

Así lo indicaron este domingo fuentes de la investigación y señalaron que el sacerdote acusado, Cristian Vázquez, negó su responsabilidad en el caso y aseguró que la denuncia formaría parte de una aparente "venganza" de la menor de edad por la relación que él había entablado con la madre.

El procesamiento fue dispuesto recientemente por el juez de Instrucción Daniel Cesari Hernández, de la ciudad fueguina de Río Grande, contra el religioso al entender que existe el grado de sospecha suficiente exigido en la etapa de instrucción para considerarlo autor del delito de "abuso sexual gravemente ultrajante con acceso carnal, agravados" por su condición de sacerdote.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 7:56 AM

Priest puts in words the loneliness and isolation of Church's lost tribe

The Independent

October 16, 2017

By Sean Hayes

Fiction: A Lost Tribe, William King, Lilliput Press, €15.00

Struggling with the near impossible expectations of the priesthood is a familiar subject in the work of William King, parish priest at Rathmines. His previous novels, which include The Strangled Impulse (1997, 2014) and Leaving Ardglass (2008), address such issues, while also punctuating a wider national tale that has seen Ireland shaken by scandal, and the near collapse of the Catholic Church.

Thomas Galvin finds himself at the steps of Coghill House, St Paul's seminary, where he trained almost five decades previously, for a retreat with his ageing counterparts in the clergy. Through alternating chapters, he relives the memories of his youth, and recounts how he and his peers were seduced by the promise of power, and the supposedly modern outlook now favoured by the Vatican Council.

What is most striking, perhaps, is how far the church has fallen in the eyes of Irish society today. The seminary that once turned away hopeful entrants now has just one student up for ordination this year.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 7:46 AM

Diocese of Rockville Centre to unveil abuse compensation program


October 16, 2017

By Bart Jones, bart.jones@newsday.com

[See also the Rockville Centre's new website about its Independent Reconciliation and Compensation Program]

The Diocese of Rockville Centre on Monday is to unveil an independent compensation program for victims of clergy sexual abuse, a move that is likely to involve dozens of victims and cost the diocese millions of dollars.

The Independent Reconciliation and Compensation program is similar to ones started over the past year in the Archdiocese of New York and the Diocese of Brooklyn.

Under the program, victims deemed eligible for financial compensation must agree not to pursue legal action against the church in the future in order to collect.

“With this program we are making a major commitment to the ongoing healing of survivors of acts of child sexual abuse committed by clergy,” said Bishop John Barres, spiritual leader of the diocese of 1.5 million Catholics, in a statement set to be released Monday.

“We as a Church recognize that no amount of monetary compensation could ever erase or undo the grave harm suffered by survivors of child abuse,” Barres said. “Still, we embrace Christ’s healing power and the Mission of Mercy of the Catholic Church as we begin our Independent Reconciliation and Compensation program.”

The program will be administered by Kenneth R. Feinberg, who currently is in charge of the funds in New York and Brooklyn, and Camille Biros, a business manager in his Washington, D.C., law firm who also has been closely involved in administering those and other funds. The two will independently determine who is eligible for compensation and how much money will be offered in Rockville Centre.

Feinberg also has administered the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund, as well as compensation programs stemming from the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, the Boston Marathon terrorist attack, the shootings at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, and abuse claims brought against Jerry Sandusky, the former Pennsylvania State University assistant football coach.

“I think it is a wonderful step that the diocese is taking,” Biros said in an interview. “It follows two very successful programs which are still ongoing in Brooklyn and New York.”

The programs are “a recognition that there was wrongdoing and I think that’s what a lot of the claimants . . . are pleased about after all these years,” she said.

More than 200 cases have been settled in New York and Brooklyn out of 437 received so far, Biros said. To date no offer of compensation has been rejected by an alleged victim, she added.

It was not immediately clear how many victims will come forward in Rockville Centre, but Manhattan-based attorney Michael Dowd said he has 35 clients claiming clergy sex abuse in the diocese.

Dowd, who also is handling cases in Brooklyn and New York, said settlements accepted by his clients in the Archdiocese of New York’s program generally have ranged from the low- to mid-six figures, though he believes some in the Diocese of Brooklyn could exceed $1 million.

Rockville Centre said it will pay the compensation “by using funds from investment returns over time and insurance programs.”

The Archdiocese of New York announced its compensation program in October 2016, followed by the Diocese of Brooklyn in June.

Rockville Centre also said an Independent Oversight Committee will monitor implementation and administration of its program. Its three members include the Honorable A. Gail Prudenti, dean of the Maurice A. Deane School of Law at Hofstra University and former chief administrative judge of the Courts of New York State; Michael Cardello III, a partner with the law firm of Moritt Hock & Hamroff; and Thomas Demaria, director of the Psychological Services Center of the Clinical Psychology Doctoral Program at LIU Post.

Two weeks ago, Rockville Centre sent out letters to people who previously had filed complaints with diocesan officials, informing them that a compensation program would be announced later in the month.

The news was met with both praise and skepticism among some lawyers for clergy sex abuse victims and victims themselves.

“This is clearly a step in the right direction,” Dowd said. “It can’t possibly . . . make up for all the suffering that people have endured. [But] it’s clearly better than nothing.”

Mitchell Garabedian, a Boston-based attorney who represents victims in Boston and New York, said he will recommend to his clients that they participate in the program if they think it will help them heal.

But he also said he believes it is an effort by the Catholic Church in New York to act before state legislators lift a statute of limitations that requires victims of child sex abuse to file charges before they turn 23.

That could open the church to scores of lawsuits and potentially tens of millions of dollars in damages. It could also require the church to release information detailing the abuse including names of priests.

“The Catholic Church is feeling the heat with regard to the pending statute of limitations issues in the legislature and they are reacting to it,” said Garabedian, who was portrayed by actor Stanley Tucci in the 2015 film “Spotlight” about the church sex abuse scandal in Boston. “You have an entity that has allowed the wholesale sexual abuse of innocent children by priests for decades upon decades. They are not all of a sudden nice people.”

In response, diocesan spokesman Sean Dolan said: “Until the Archdiocese of New York announced its IRCP in October of 2016, it was not clear that a program like this could work in a diocese of our size. After substantial study, and once it became clear that it could work, Bishop Barres determined that this is the right thing to do.”

Dowd said he does not think the statute of limitations will be altered anytime soon. The Catholic Church has lobbied against efforts to overturn the law, saying it could nearly bankrupt the church.

Tom McGarvey, 52, a Jamaica resident who alleges he was abused by a priest in the diocese when he was 16 to 24 years old, and has suffered many personal and professional problems since then, said, “I’d rather have a victims sex abuse act passed” lifting the statute of limitations.

But he said he plans to participate in the diocese’s program. “At least I can put it [the abuse] behind me and move forward,” he said. “Then I could go on with my life.”

Rockville Centre’s program, like the ones in Brooklyn and New York, will operate in two phases.

In phase one, starting Monday, alleged victims who previously had reported abuse to church officials can apply for compensation, the diocese said. In phase two, anticipated to start in January 2018, alleged victims who never had reported allegations of abuse can apply.

Victims who are awarded compensation can choose to reject it and pursue other legal options on their own.

“We encourage survivors of abuse to come forward in a timely fashion to seek compensation through this independent program,” Feinberg said in a statement.

Both Dowd and Biros said they believe the model adopted by the three dioceses could spread to others around the state.

“You are going into the three biggest dioceses in New York and you are finding out that it works,” Dowd said. “It’s doing something for victims.”

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 7:23 AM

October 15, 2017

Missbrauch: Bistum veröffentlicht Gutachten

NDR (Public broadcaster)

October 13, 2017

By Florian Breitmeier

[GOOGLE TRANSLATE: The Catholic bishopric Hildesheim presented the report on the abuse allegations against the deceased Bishop Heinrich Maria Janssen and the retired priest Peter R. on Monday at 11 am. The 250-page document was written by the Independent Institute for Practice Research and Project Consulting in Munich.]

Das katholische Bistum Hildesheim stellt am Montag um 11 Uhr das Gutachten zu den Missbrauchsvorwürfen gegen den verstorbenen Bischof Heinrich Maria Janssen und den pensionierten Priester Peter R. vor. Das rund 250 Seiten umfassende Dokument wurde vom unabhängigen Institut für Praxisforschung und Projektberatung in München verfasst.

Der Vorwurf sexualisierter Gewalt gegen den 1988 verstorbenen Bischof Janssen wurde im Herbst 2015 bekannt. Ein ehemaliger Messdiener hatte sich an die Kirche gewandt: Janssen habe ihn von Ende der 1950er- bis Anfang der 1960er-Jahre regelmäßig sexuell missbraucht. Das Bistum hielt die Schilderungen des heute rund 70 Jahre alten Mannes für plausibel und leistete 2015 nach Prüfung entsprechender Aussagen eine Anerkennungszahlung für das erlittene Leid. Als ein juristisches Schuldeingeständnis wollte das Bistum dies aber ausdrücklich nicht verstanden wissen. Später wurde das Bistum unter anderem dafür kritisiert, es habe mit der Zahlung das Ansehen des beliebten Bischofs beschädigt, ohne die Entscheidung aufgrund konkreter Beweise rechtfertigen zu können.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 5:24 PM

L’association La Parole Libérée veut voir l’église indemniser les victimes d’abus sexuel


October 14, 2017

L’association a transmis un projet de réforme pour la prise en charge « des victimes d’actes de pédophilie commis par des clercs ».

[GOOGLE TRANSLATE: The (survivors') association has forwarded a draft reform for the "care of victims of acts of pedophilia committed by clerics." In a report revealed this Friday to the newspaper Le Monde, the association La Parole Libérée has asked the Catholic Church of France to compensate the victims of clergy, as is the case in other European countries. Indeed, during a scandal in Germany, several hundred children of a Catholic choir had been sexually abused between 1945 and the beginning of the 1990s.]

Dans un rapport révélé ce vendredi au journal Le Monde, l’association La Parole Libérée a demandé à l’Église catholique de France d’indemniser les victimes des membres du clergé, comme c’est le cas dans d’autres pays européens. En effet, lors d’un scandale en Allemagne, plusieurs centaines d’enfants d’un choeur catholique avaient subi des sévices sexuels entre 1945 et le début des années 1990. Pour ce préjudice, les institutions religieuses avaient indemnisé chaque victime jusqu’à 20 000 euros.

La Conférence des Évêques de France (CEF) se défend en rejetant toute responsabilité envers les membres du clergé, mettant en évidence la non-présence de rapport salarié/employeur entre les prêtres et les évêques. Dans les colonnes du Progrès, le porte-parole de la CEF rappelle que les victimes peuvent obtenir réparation du préjudice en se portant partie civile devant les tribunaux.

Dans le rapport transmis par l’association La Parole Libérée, ces derniers ont réalisé un « testing », consistant à envoyer un message à 33 cellules d’accueil sur une prétendue victime d’abus sexuels. Les retours relayés par l’association font part d’une réponse de la part de 28 diocèses et de la CEF, et seulement deux d’entre eux auraient alerté le procureur de la République.

Pour rappel, l’association La Parole Libérée a été créée en décembre 2015 à Lyon par d’anciennes victimes du prêtre Bernard Preynat, mis en examens en janvier 2016 pour des abus sexuels, et dont les faits remontent de la fin des années 1970 à 1991.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 5:15 PM

Vatican: Canada did not seek extradition for diplomat wanted on child pornography charges

Catholic News Service via Catholic Herald

October 14, 2017

Canadian authorities did not request the extradition of a Vatican diplomat who has been charged by police in Canada of accessing, possessing and distributing child pornography, a Vatican spokesman said.

“No request for extradition has come from Canada and no trial has been set at the Vatican” for the diplomat, Mgr Carlo Capella, who had been working in the United States, said Greg Burke, Vatican spokesman.

The Vatican investigation “requires international collaboration, and it has not ended yet,” he added.

The Italian monsignor, who had been working at the Vatican nunciature in Washington, was first recalled to the Vatican after the U.S. State Department notified the Holy See in August of his possible violation of laws relating to child pornography images.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 5:05 PM

Religious institution-focused training in child abuse prevention now available


October 6, 2017

By Anna Nguyen

Training is available to help adults who work with children to pick up on signs of abuse.

Did you know mandated reporters are people who are required by law to report suspected child abuse? To tell them about their obligation, the Pennsylvania Family Support Alliance provides child protection and Mandated Reporter Training.

Recently, the PFSA began offering religious-based institutions specialized training materials for their mandated reporters of child abuse. Reverend Kathy Nice of the Presbytery of Kiskiminetas had requested these materials to better meet their training needs.

We spoke with Reverend Nice and Angela Liddle, MPA, President and CEO of Pennsylvania Family Support Alliance about MDT and the need to tailor the training for the religious community.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 4:59 PM

Justin Welby apologises to sexual abuse survivor for C of E failings

The Guardian

By Harriet Sherwood

October 15, 2017

Archbishop of Canterbury writes personal letter to survivor known as Gilo for his office’s failure to respond to 17 letters

The archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, has personally apologised to a sexual abuse survivor for his office’s failure to respond to 17 letters seeking help and redress.

Three bishops have also urged the Church of England’s insurance company to review its settlement with the survivor, saying they are “very concerned about the way in which the claim was handled at the time”.

In a letter to the Ecclesiastical Insurance Group (EIG), the bishops expressed disquiet that “horse-trading” between lawyers over settlements has had “little concern for the impact” on survivors.

The two letters are the latest developments in a long struggle by Gilo – who is also known as Joe, and whose surname is withheld at his request – to force the C of E to acknowledge both the abuse he experienced as a teenager at the hands of a senior church figure and its failure to respond properly to his disclosures.

Gilo told dozens of C of E figures, including three bishops and a senior clergyman later ordained as a bishop, of his abuse over a period of almost four decades. A highly critical independent report commissioned by the C of E into Gilo’s case said last year that the failure of those in senior positions to record or take action on his disclosures was “deeply disturbing”.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 4:50 PM

Doubts Grow Over Archbishop’s Account of When He Knew of Abuse

The New York Times

October 14, 2017

By Ceylan Yeginsu

The Anglican Church has been embroiled for most of this year in a scandal involving decades-old abuses that occurred in elite Christian holiday camps for boys where Justin Welby worked in his 20s, before eventually assuming his current post as the Most Rev. Archbishop of Canterbury.

The archbishop has said that he knew nothing of the abuse until 2013, when the police were informed about it, and he apologized in February for not having done more to investigate the claims further.

But now the grown men who were victims of the abuse as boys are coming forward to challenge the archbishop’s version of events, casting doubt on his claims of ignorance.

The archbishop, 61, was working abroad in 1982, when an internal investigation by an influential Christian charity supported allegations of sadistic practices by John Smyth, a prominent lawyer and evangelical leader who ran the camps.

The results of that investigation were never made public, and the allegations were dismissed when they were first reported to the British police in 2013 because Mr. Smyth had moved to Africa and was no longer in the country’s jurisdiction. It was not until Channel 4 news disclosed the accusations in a report earlier this year that a criminal investigation was started.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 4:43 PM

Priester will “Zeichen” im Bus gesehen haben


October 13, 2017

By Carlo Kass

[The priest Emile was accused of raping a 14-year-old boy on a pilgrimage to Taizé. The priest admitted it from the outset, but claimed that the victim had initiated the sexual acts. The priest was acquitted in the first instance, the victim appealed, and the case is now before the appellate judges.The appeal process has been underway since Monday.]

Der wegen sexuellen Missbrauchs angeklagte Geistliche Emile A. war in erster Instanz freigesprochen worden. Ende 2008, Anfang 2009 soll er einen damals 14-jährigen Jungen bei einer Pilgerfahrt nach Taizé vergewaltigt haben. Der Fall landete nun erneut vor den Berufungsrichtern.

Ein kurzer Rückblick: Der damalige Pfarrer vom Belair war zwar von Anfang an geständig, behauptete aber, dass das Opfer die Initiative zu den sexuellen Handlungen ergriffen habe. Während seiner Aussagen änderte der Angeklagte in erster Instanz sechsmal seine Version, während das Opfer bei seiner ersten Schilderung blieb.

Am Ende der ersten Verhandlung forderte der Staatsanwalt sieben Jahre Haft, doch der Verteidiger Me Gaston Vogel setzte sich mit seiner Forderung nach einem Freispruch durch.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 12:58 PM

Abuso eclesiástico: Justicia mendocina declaró inconstitucionales dos artículos del derecho canónico

La Izquierda Diario

October 14, 2017

[Ecclesiastical Abuse: Mendoza Justice declared unconstitutional two articles of canon law.
The decision of the judge was in the context of a trial against the Salesian Order, accused of hiding information from a victim of abuse by the priest Raúl del Castillo.]

[See also the entry for Father Raúl Del Castillo in BishopAccountability.org's database of accused Argentine clergy.]

Le decisión del juez se dio en el marco de un juicio contra la Orden Salesiana, acusada de ocultar información a una víctima de abuso por parte del cura Raúl del Castillo.

Este jueves se conoció la sentencia en el marco del juicio que mantiene la Red Contra el Abuso Sexual Eclesiástico, contra la Congregación Salesiana, de la provincia de Mendoza. La acusación contra la orden tiene que ver con el ocultamiento de información a la víctima de abusos por parte de un cura perteneciente a la organización, Raúl del Castillo.

Según contó a La Izquierda Diario el abogado miembro de la red contra los abusos esclesiásticos, Carlos Lombardi, el juicio se ganó en primera instancia, lo cual es muy importante además, "porque el juez declaró la inconstitucionalidad de dos cánones del código canónico".

[Te puede interesar: Los crímenes de la Iglesia]

"La sentencia que obtuvimos corresponde a un juicio muy similar a que le ganamos una vez al arzobispado de Mendoza en el caso de Iván González. Este caso es el de Esteban Córdoba contra la Orden Salesiana" comentó Lombardi y agregó que "no solamente le otorgan a este chico la indemnización que corresponde por la no participación procesal, por haberle lesionado la garantía de defensa en juicio dentro del proceso canónico. Además el juez declaró la inconstitucionalidad de dos cánones del código de derecho canónico, el 1717 y el 1719, algo que nunca había pasado. Esos cánones hacen referencia al procedimiento canónico, que está amparado por el secreto pontificio aun respecto a los denunciantes".

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 12:47 PM

El silencio tiene su costo


October 14, 2017

[A Mendoza court ruled that the Salesian Congregation of Don Bosco was wrong to withhold information from a victim and must therefore pay the victim 80,000 pesos."This ruling is fundamental because the magistrates ruled that the human right to information prevails over canon law," said Carlos Lombardi, lawyer for the complainant.]

[See also the entry for Father Raúl Del Castillo in BishopAccountability.org's database of accused Argentine clergy.]

En 2008, un hombre denunció que un sacerdote había abusado de él en un colegio de Mendoza. La Iglesia abrió una causa canónica, pero nunca le brindó al denunciante información al respecto. Ahora, un fallo judicial ordena indemnizarlo por ese secreto.

La Congregación Salesiana debe indemnizar a un ex alumno por un abuso sexual

El Tribunal N°2 de Gestión de Justicia Administrativa de Mendoza condenó a la Congregación Salesiana de Don Bosco a pagar una indemnización a un ex alumno de la escuela de la capital provincial, quien había denunciado por abuso sexual a un sacerdote de esa institución religiosa. En 2008, la víctima acudió a la justicia penal y a la Congregación para acusar a Raúl Del Castillo –quien hasta el año pasado daba misas en Paraguay– por abusos tanto en el colegio como en una parroquia de la ciudad de Maipú cuando él asistía a la secundaria del colegio. Durante años, tanto la Iglesia como en Tribunales no le brindaron ninguna información a la víctima. Ahora, el juez Juan Pablo Civit multó con 80.000 pesos a la Congregación por haber privado de la información durante el proceso canónico. “Este fallo es fundamental porque los magistrados dispusieron que el derecho humano a la información prevalece por sobre el derecho canónico”, sostuvo a PáginaI12 Carlos Lombardi, abogado del denunciante. En otro fuero de la misma justicia mendocina, el penal, la causa por abuso fue archivada.

En 2011, E.C. –su identidad permanece bajo reserva– llegó temprano al Tribunal Interdiocesano de Mendoza. Allí lo esperaba un inspector provincial de los Salesianos, Reinaldo Godino, y otro sacerdote de la Congregación. En la reunión, el joven esperaba noticias sobre la denuncia de abuso sexual que había presentado, tres años atrás, en la sede Salesiana de Córdoba. La víctima quería cómo continuaba el proceso canónico, si habían podido dar testimonio algunos testigos y cuál era el destino de Del Castillo, el sacerdote denunciado. Nada de eso sucedió.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 12:03 PM

'Pack of hyenas': how Harvey Weinstein's power fuelled a culture of enablers

The Guardian

October 13, 2017

By Rory Carroll and Sam Levin

Weinstein’s alleged sexual harassment and assaults did not occur in a vacuum, say industry figures: many around him were complicit or turned a blind eye

‘Anybody is a potential enabler if they work in that industry,’ said the author of a book discussing Weinstein’s rise.

It was Harvey Weinstein’s most ambitious production. A storyline stretching over 20 years with a rotating cast of actors, multiple locations across the US and Europe, a disciplined crew of assistants, producers and fixers, savvy dealmaking, and a publicity machine like no other.

But this was not The English Patient, Pulp Fiction, Shakespeare in Love, The King’s Speech or any other of his films that earned more than 300 Oscar nominations.

It was a shadow production, an inverted version of Hollywood that leveraged entertainment industry might into an alleged spree of sexual harassment and assaults, including rape, and into a methodical way of hushing it all up with payments, threats and non-disclosure agreements.

Facilitators included colleagues and associates who set up meetings under false pretences and teams of lawyers and publicists who suppressed complaints.

It was a system of abuse involving some of the most famous people on the planet, in which success was measured not in awards or fame or box office revenue, but in silence.

Weinstein, 65, clenched his films in a tight grip but lost control of his shadow production when the New York Times published accounts of harassment and assault, prompting a cascade of other reports that led to Weinstein tumbling into disgrace, joblessness and possibly jail. Police in London and New York have opened investigations.

Weinstein has made an apology in vague terms for his behaviour but denies any accusations of non-consensual sex. He is a pariah – fired by his company, dumped by his wife, denounced by a roll call of stars and top politicians who used to defer to him for jobs and donations.

A vertiginous fall. But attention is shifting to those who were complicit, turned a blind eye, might have known or should have known – the assistants, producers, fixers, executives, publicists and lawyers who surrounded the co-founder of Miramax and the Weinstein Company.

“We’re all used to predators working alone, but when they band up like a pack of hyenas, that’s a whole other ballgame,” said Zoë Brock, a model and writer who accused Weinstein of making unwanted sexual advances.

“There are enablers all over the place,” said Jeff Herman, an attorney who represents sex abuse victims and is investigating options for some of Weinstein’s alleged victims. Predators’ companies often facilitated abusive encounters masquerading as work meetings, he said. “Sending limousines to pick up the victim, making flight arrangements. These guys aren’t making their own plans, making reservations.”

Other industry figures agreed, saying that transactions conducted amid sunshine, palm trees and dazzling smiles often concealed darker agendas.

The French actor Florence Darel told Le Parisien that she had repeatedly resisted calls to see Weinstein alone on different occasions but that her agent had insisted she must meet him. “Why do agents send women actors to predators?” she said. “Why are we supposed to go to meet producers in hotel rooms?”

Sex abuse in Hollywood required wider complicity than abuse in the Catholic church, said Lorien Haynes, a Los Angeles-based writer who worked on An Open Secret, a documentary about abuse of underage boys. “It’s even a little more insidious with Hollywood because men and women are involved.”

Peter Biskind, the author of Down and Dirty Pictures: Miramax, Sundance and the Rise of Independent Film, a 2004 book chronicling Weinstein’s rise in the 1990s, said facilitators ensured the alleged sexual abuse ran smoothly. “It does seem that way. They refined their technique.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 11:51 AM

Big business of change

Newcastle Herald

October 14, 2017

By Jeff Corbett

It's been all over the Hunter's media – on the front page of this newspaper and on our television screens – that the new Anglican Dean of Newcastle wants her church to be a safe place, and that's a heartwarming sentiment.

What she means is that she is hoping the Anglican church in the Newcastle region will no longer be the hotbed of paedophilia that was exposed in the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, that Anglican clergy will no longer be free to sexually abuse children, that Anglican leaders will no longer protect the abusers or at the least turn a blind eye to their clergy preying on children.

Dean Katherine Bowyer's hope is delivered with a smile, of course. As the city's new Anglican Dean she uses all the right words: courage of the victims, respect, vulnerability, humbling, deeply sorry.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 11:45 AM

Ottawa let Catholic Church off the hook for millions in residential school compensation

APTN (Aboriginal Peoples Television Network)

October 13, 2017

By Paul Barnsley

[See also the April 2016 Globe and Mail report on which this article is based.]

The source of an April 2016 Globe and Mail report outlining a mistake by federal government lawyers which allowed the Catholic Church to escape paying $21 million in obligations to the Residential School Settlement Agreement, now says that number is actually millions of dollars higher.

Ron Kidd, of Vancouver, said that of the $54 million various Catholic Church entities had agreed to pay, $37,875,660 has not been paid.

Kidd is a former provincial tax auditor, self-appointed church watchdog, and gay rights activist. He has a history of successfully leading anti-discrimination cases that trace back to the early 1990s.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 11:41 AM

There was a strong reaction to this priest's words on last night's Late Late


October 12, 2017

By Anna O'Rourke

"Finally, a priest that talks sense."

Fr Joe McDonald was a guest on last night's Late Late Show on RTÉ and gave viewers an alternative take on the Catholic Church.

The Ballyfermot-based priest appeared to promote his new book, Why The Irish Church Deserves to Die, and spoke about welcoming gay people into the church.

"They (the church) have used words like evil and disordered and so on and priests listen to those words and say we know what they meant, and we do... the problem is how it's heard.

"If all we can offer to the young gay man and all we can offer to his parents is fear and censure... then we should shut up - we should get off the stage.

"I want people to know that in St Matthew's in Ballyfermot, and other churches, they are welcome, they are welcome to be an active participant part of the community. We're supposed to love and cherish them."

Fr Joe also shared his story of sexual abuse, having been victimised by a local priest who was over the altar boys and a number of kids' activities while growing up in West Belfast.

He explained how he and other victims were taken advantage of by the abuser.

"It went on for three or four years, from the age of seven or eight.

"I think the manipulation of it is extraordinary... There were two of us that were abused by him. He used to say to me: 'if your mother knew about this, she'd die'.

"To my friend, he said 'if your father finds out about this, he'll kill you'. If he said to me: 'your father will kill you,' I'd laugh - my father wouldn't kill a fly. That was the cleverness of it and that's how he shut us up."

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 11:34 AM

The Story Behind ‘Spotlight’ Has a Lot to Say About Journalism

The Wire (India)

October 15, 2017

By Beena Sarwar

Behind the glamour and awards lies another story, about the importance of documentation, synthesising information, consistency and follow up.

Hearing Walter Robinson talk about the process behind the most well-known investigation by the Boston Globe’s Spotlight team that he led, I’m struck by some universal truths that emerge from his reflections.

The Oscar winning feature film Spotlight (best picture, best screenplay, 2015) is based on the story of how Robinson’s reporting team in 2002 exposed the Catholic Church’s cover-up of child sex abuse by its priests. The Globe won a Pulitzer in 2003 for public service for its coverage of the issue.

But behind the glamour and awards lies another story, about the importance of documentation, synthesising information, consistency and follow up. That is the first truth I take away from the wide-ranging talk by Robinson, now the Globe’s editor at large.

In June 2002, the Boston Globe published a book, Betrayal: The Crisis in the Catholic Church, based on the reports published until then. The following year, Robinson hammered out a 2,000-word piece “within a few hours” for Harvard’s Nieman Report (March 2003) outlining what lay behind his team’s string of over 900 reports by then.

The Columbia Journalism Review (CJR) published a 22-page case study in 2009 about the journalism involved in this series. The author was young novelist and freelance writer David Mizner. A couple of years later, while discussing the possibility of a film based on one of his novels with Hollywood producers Nicole Rocklin and Blye Faust, Mizner pitched the idea of a film based on his CJR report.

The enthusiastic producers flew to Boston. The Globe journalists, initially somewhat bemused and wary, gave the young filmmakers rights to their story and agreed to work with them. They didn’t expect much to come of it.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 11:24 AM

October 14, 2017

Ex-Lexington pastor accused of abusing 2 children

WBKO-TV (Channel 13)

October 13, 2017

A former associate pastor of a large Kentucky church has been accused of sexually abusing two children.

Citing court records, news outlets report that 63-year-old Reid Buchanan was arrested Wednesday and charged with two counts of sexual abuse.

Buchanan had worked at St. Luke United Methodist Church in Lexington from July 2016 to August 2017.

Kentucky Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church spokeswoman Cathy L. Bruce said Buchanan was immediately relieved of his duties and suspended when the church learned of the allegations in July.

Bruce says the alleged abuse did not take place on church grounds or at church events.

Buchanan pleaded not guilty to both charges in court on Thursday.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 11:22 PM

Op-Ed: The ’70s and Us

The New York Times

October 14, 2017

By Ross Douthat

“I came of age in the ’60s and ’70s, when all the rules about behavior and workplaces were different,” Harvey Weinstein wrote in his awful pseudo-apology, just before the fake Jay-Z quote and the promise to go to war with the N.R.A. “That was the culture then.”

Everyone has made sport of this line, but give the devil his due: In certain ways sexual predation actually was the culture in the years when Weinstein came of age, in the entertainment industry and the wider society it influenced and mirrored.

There is a liberal tendency to regard sexual exploitation as a patriarchal constant that feminism has mitigated, and a conservative tendency to regard it as a problem that’s gotten steadily worse since the sexual revolution. But a corrective to both assumptions (my own declinist ones included) is worth noting. When it comes to Weinsteinian behavior and related evils, things probably haven’t ever been as bad in modern America as they were for a time in the 1970s. And if you want to understand our own era’s problems, the specific ways that things were worse back then are worth remembering.

You can remember some of it with ’70s statistics: Never so many divorces, never so many abortions, a much higher rate of rape, an S.T.D. crisis that culminated in the AIDS epidemic.

But some of it is better grasped through anecdote and social history — particularly the extent to which the ’70s saw the drug-enabled exploitation of kids on a grimly horrifying scale.

As Matthew Walther pointed out recently in The Week, much of rock and roll’s groupie culture was a spree of statutory rape, with the gods of rock as serial deflowerers of girls not much older than Dolores Haze. In the same era’s anything-goes Hollywood, Roman Polanski had good reason to regard sodomizing a 13-year-old as what they let you do when you’re a star, or even when you’re not.

Yes, that was the entertainment business, always sordid and permissive — but the same pattern showed up all over, from posh prep schools to the Roman Catholic Church. The abuse of children by pedophile priests is an ancient problem, but something new happened in Catholicism between 1960 and 1980: The prevalence of pedophilia stayed about the same, but suddenly the rate of priests groping and seducing and raping teenagers shot way, way up. As went Bowie and Zeppelin, so went the most putatively-conservative institution in the country.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 11:11 PM

Bishop of Mackenzie-Fort Smith diocese moving on after 4 years


October 14, 2017

Bishop Mark Hagemoen has been appointed the Bishop of the Saskatoon diocese

After four years of service, the head of the Mackenzie-Fort Smith diocese in the Northwest Territories, Bishop Mark Hagemoen, is moving on.

Pope Francis has appointed Bishop Mark Hagemoen to serve the diocese of Saskatoon beginning at the end of November.

"I was very surprised," Hagemoen said about the news of the move, which he called bittersweet.

Hagemoen, who was born and raised in Vancouver, serves on several committees of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops, including the Canadian Catholic Aboriginal Council and the Northern Bishops Council.

Hagemoen dealt with many sensitive issues during his four-year tenure in the North, including the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's report on Canada's residential school system, assisted death legislation, and the onset of an inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls.

Hagemoen calls the aftermath of the TRC's report a "time of challenge and blessing."

"My hopes for the diocese is that we can continue to realize many of the calls to action that focus on raising up Indigenous leadership," he said.

Among its calls to action, the TRC called on the Roman Catholic Church to apologize for the abuse students suffered at church-run schools, as well as educate new clergy and congregations about the role it played in colonizing First Nations, Inuit and Métis children

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 11:08 AM

Ex President of Vatican Hospital Convicted of Abuse of Office


October 14, 2017

By Philip Pullella

The former president of a Vatican-owned hospital in Rome on Saturday was convicted of abuse of office for diverting nearly half a million dollars of funds to renovate a top cardinal's luxury apartment.

The Vatican court, a three-judge panel, gave Giuseppe Profiti a one-year suspended sentence. The prosecution had asked for three years for the former head of the prestigious Bambino Gesu hospital.

It also reduced the seriousness of the charge against Profiti to abuse of office from the initial embezzlement. Massimo Spina, the hospital's treasurer, was acquitted.

Testimony at the trial, which began in July in the city-state's courtroom, again exposed lack of transparency in the financial handling of Vatican assets in Italy, where it owns numerous institutions and much real estate.

Profiti and Spina were charged with spending 422,000 euros ($481,000) in 2013 and 2014 on refurbishing the large Vatican retirement home of Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, the Holy See's former number two.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 11:05 AM

Lawsuit accuses Columbia’s First Baptist Church of history of covering up child sex abuse

The State

October 13, 2017

By John Monk

A Richland County lawsuit quotes numerous sexually explicit text messages that a First Baptist Church youth worker allegedly sent to a boy in a church program, adding church officials did little or nothing for years while the worker sexually abused the youth.

That inaction is part of the downtown Columbia church’s history of failing to take action against potential molesters, the lawsuit alleges. The boy, now 17, was about 11 when the abuse began, according to the lawsuit, filed in Richland County Circuit Court this week.

Because of the assaults and touching, the youth suffered personal injury and “severe emotional distress,” the lawsuit alleges, asking for a minimum of $150,000 in damages.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 11:02 AM

Catholicism Slips In Popularity In Ireland

Opposing Views

October 13, 2017

By Allison Stutzka

A recent census report from the Republic of Ireland has shown a trend in religious affiliation with citizens identifying as 'no religion' steadily rising and the previously reigning religion of the country, Catholicism falling in popularity.

According to NPR, Pope Paul VI called Ireland the most Catholic country in the world back in 1946. The current census reports and political choices of the public have shown that statement to be losing it's credibility over the years.

The proportion of Catholics in Ireland fell by almost six percentage points between 2011 and 2016 when it stood at 78.3%, while the number of those saying they had no religion increased by 74% reports RTE News.

Those identifying as unaffiliated is expected to continue grow in popularity as a crossover of population between Europe and North America continues according to Pew Research.

In an interview conducted by NPR in 2015, the decrease in Catholic affiliated citizens can be correlated to the rise in scandals from the Catholic church involving the abuse of young children, women and sex scandals. Ireland was once referred to as the most catholic country in the world, however with the recent statistics and controversy, the number of unaffiliated is rising.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 10:58 AM

Netflix is having a Catholic moment. Here’s your guide on what to watch.

America Magazine

By Eloise Blondiau

October 13, 2017

In September it was announced—to a flurry of heart emojis on America’s Facebook page—that Netflix will be producing “The Pope,” an original feature film starring Pope Francis’ doppelganger Jonathan Pryce (“Game of Thrones,” “Pirates of the Caribbean”), with potentially Anthony Hopkins as Pope Benedict.

Although the announcement caused a stir, this is not the first time Netflix has jumped on the Catholic bandwagon—it is not even the first Pope Francis biopic the streaming service has made available to its audience. “Call Me Francis,” first released in Italy in 2015, follows the life of Jorge Bergoglio in his younger years.

And it’s not just “the Francis effect”; Netflix has a goldmine of content featuring Catholic characters and subjects. In 2017 Netflix released “The Keepers,” an original true-crime documentary that explores the mysterious and tragic murder of a religious sister in Baltimore nearly five decades ago; “Juana Inés,” about the 17th-century Mexican nun Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz (the so-called “first feminist of the new world”); and “Father Brown,” a mystery series based on G. K. Chesterton’s short stories.

America has compiled a list to help you find all the Catholic entertainment you’ve been looking for but didn’t know was there. (Disclaimer: Not all the content listed here takes its Catholic themes as seriously as others.)

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 10:53 AM

Columbia church named in lawsuit involving sex abuse of minor

WACH-TV (Channel 57)

October 14, 2017

By Kristen Schneider

The First Baptist Church of Columbia, as well as multiple employees, is named in a lawsuit where a minor alleges sexual abuse from a church group leader.

The victim, 17, and his parents filed the suit on Tuesday. The defendants named include the church, Andrew McCraw, Wendell Estep, and Philip Turner. According to the documents, McCraw was a youth assistant mentor and small group leader at the church. Turner oversaw McCraw as the Student Minister of First Baptist Church. Wendell Estep was the Pastor at First Baptist Church of Columbia but recently resigned.

According to the lawsuit, the victim, referred to as "Joel Doe," joined the church's Small Group Program when he was 11-years-old, and Turner assigned Doe to McCraw's group.

The suit goes on to say that, over the next few years, McCraw spent large amounts of time with Doe outside of the church, such as taking Doe to see movies and eat dinner; according to the documents, "during this lengthy period, Defendant McCraw gradually escalated his inappropriate and illegal activity." This included a sleepover where McCraw and Doe slept in the same bed.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 10:49 AM

LAWSUIT: Church employee at First Baptist Church of Columbia accused of sexual abuse of minor

WIS-TV (Channel 10)

October 13, 2017

By Tanita Gaither

A civil suit filed this week in Richland County 5th Judicial Circuit alleges that a 17-year-old was sexually abused over several years by a First Baptist Church of Columbia employee.

In the litigation filed on Oct. 10, a minor referred to as Joel Doe, and his parents, Jane and John Doe, are suing First Baptist Church, the pastor, Wendell Estep, youth assistant mentor and assistant small group leader Andrew McCraw, and church student minister Phillip Turner in a sexual abuse accusation.

The suit claims that McCraw had inappropriate contact and communications with Joel Doe, which included sexually-explicit text messages and social media communications, dinners alone, and sleepovers where no other children or adults were present.

Furthermore, the suit alleges that Estep and Turner knew about the abuse but did nothing about it, failing in their duty to report the abuse.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 10:47 AM

RVC Diocese to compensate church abuse victims

Long Island Herald

October 12, 2017

By Ben Strack

The Diocese of Rockville Centre notified victims last week of a fund that is being set up to compensate survivors of sexual abuse by members of the clergy, in an effort to repair some of the harm caused by such cases, which have plagued the Catholic church in recent years.

Called the Independent Reconciliation and Compensation Program, the fund will offer money to victims as determined by program administrators, according to a letter by Mary McMahon, director of the diocese’s Office for the Protection of Children and Young People, which was sent to survivors.

“…While no amount of monetary compensation could ever erase or undo the unimaginable harm suffered by victims of child abuse,” the letter states, “it is the sincere hope of the [Diocese of Rockville Centre] that those who have been alienated and distanced from the Church as a result of any abuse committed by [diocese] clergy will be empowered to begin the journey toward reconciliation with us.”

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 10:42 AM

Priest acquitted in rape case

The Hindu

October 12, 2017

By Nirnimesh Kumar

Court says testimony of victim not of ‘sterling quality’

Observing that “the testimony of the prosecutrix does not appear to be of sterling quality,” a Delhi court has acquitted a priest of rape charge. The accused, Pandit Shiv Dutt Sharma, stayed near the house of the victim.

“The testimony of the prosecutrix does not appear to be of sterling quality. There are embellishments and exaggerations in the testimony of the prosecutrix which go to the root of the case. The things appear to have not happened in the manner they have been projected,” Additional Sessions Judge Sanjiv Jain said while acquitting the accused, Pandit Shivdutt Sharma.

The woman, in her complaint lodged at the Jaitpur police station in south Delhi, alleged that the accused had sexually assaulted her at his house when she went to meet him to get an auspicious date for the marriage of her brother’s so

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 10:38 AM

Ex-priest to stand trial for historic child sex offences

West Sussex County Times

October 12, 2017

By Jennifer Logan

A former Church of England priest accused of historic sex offences against a young girl in Warnham will stand trial.

Brian Spence, 78, also known as Macduff, a former Church of England priest, of Sutton Road, Shrewsbury, is alleged to have committed four offences of indecent assault on a girl aged under 12 more than 30 years ago.

He pleaded not guilty to all offences and appeared at Lewes Crown Court yesterday (October 11) for a preliminary trial preparation hearing.

The trial has been set for May 21, 2018.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 10:36 AM

Pope accepts resignation of scandal-hit Indonesian bishop

La Croix International

October 12, 2017

By Ryan Dagur, Jakarta and Ferdinand Ambo, Ruteng

Bishop Hubertus Leteng of Ruteng was accused of misappropriating church funds and keeping a mistress

An Indonesian bishop who was accused by his own priests of misappropriating church funds and keeping a mistress has stepped down from his post.

The pope accepted the resignation of Bishop Hubertus Leteng of Ruteng on October 11 and appointed Bishop Silvester San of Denpasar on Bali Island as apostolic administrator until a new bishop is appointed.

Father Fabio Salerno, the Holy See's ad interim representative in Indonesia, asked priests to work with the apostolic administrator in a spirit of brotherhood, unity, and harmony.

Father Agustinus Manfred Habur, the bishop's secretary, said Bishop Leteng was given 10 days to prepare his move from Ruteng. "However, where he will be moved to is the secret of the Vatican," he told ucanews.com.

The Vatican did not detail reasons for Bishop Leteng's resignation.

However, it is believed to result from a conflict culminating in June with 69 clerics submitting letters of resignation as episcopal vicars and parish priests.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 10:24 AM

New allegations raised against Mannetta, Brouillard

The Guam Daily Post

By Mindy Aguon

October 13, 2017

An encounter with a priest in Talofofo in 1985 resulted in a teen boy quitting church and living with humiliation and embarrassment, according to the latest lawsuit filed against the Archdiocese of Agana and defrocked priest Andrew Mannetta.

A.J.B.W., 46, who used initials to protect his privacy, alleges he was sexually abused by Mannetta while helping the priest clean outside the rectory of San Miguel Catholic Church.

Boys in the village often played at the old basketball court near the parish and Mannetta would seek their help to clean around the church.

One day A.J.B.W. was summoned to help the priest clean outside the rectory. The lawsuit states Mannetta asked how the boy was doing in school. A.J.B.W. told him he was doing well but that he didn't go to school that day because of a stomachache.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 7:12 AM

Reporting revives bad memories of contentious amnesia theories

The Weekend Australian

October 14, 2017
By Warwick Middleton, Martin Dorahy, Michael Salter

Recent reporting by Richard Guilliatt has raised questions about the credibility of adults reporting child sexual abuse (“Those Events Never Happened”, The Weekend Australian Magazine, October 4-5). Underlying this and other ­articles in The Australian has been a sense of unease or outrage about the accuracy of memories of ­severe abuse being retrieved after a period of being forgotten by some traumatised individuals.

Reading these articles, there is the feeling that we have stepped back into the past century, ­before science had a solid understanding of the effects of trauma on memory. The early to mid-1990s saw the rise of terms such as recovered memory therapy to characterise mental healthcare for sexually abused people as stirring up false memories of traumatic events.

Activists promoting this view lobbied the Victorian health minister at the time, Bronwyn Pike, into launching an inquiry examining the extent recovered memory therapy was practised in Victoria. The inquiry reported in 2005, finding that the term was not used by health professionals but was being used by lobby groups for political purposes.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 7:10 AM

October 13, 2017

Missbrauch: Bistum veröffentlicht Gutachten

Norddeutscher Rundfunk

October 13, 2017

By Florian Breitmeier

[Summary: A report has been released on allegations of sexual abuse by Bishop Heinrich Maria Janssen of the Hildesheim diocese and a Jesuit, Peter R. The report was prepared for the diocese by the Institute for Practice Research and Project Consulting in Munich. See also the Institute's project description.]

Das katholische Bistum Hildesheim stellt am Montag um 11 Uhr das Gutachten zu den Missbrauchsvorwürfen gegen den verstorbenen Bischof Heinrich Maria Janssen und den pensionierten Priester Peter R. vor. Das rund 250 Seiten umfassende Dokument wurde vom unabhängigen Institut für Praxisforschung und Projektberatung in München verfasst.

Vorwurf sexueller Gewalt

Der Vorwurf sexualisierter Gewalt gegen den 1988 verstorbenen Bischof Janssen wurde im Herbst 2015 bekannt. Ein ehemaliger Messdiener hatte sich an die Kirche gewandt: Janssen habe ihn von Ende der 1950er- bis Anfang der 1960er-Jahre regelmäßig sexuell missbraucht. Das Bistum hielt die Schilderungen des heute rund 70 Jahre alten Mannes für plausibel und leistete 2015 nach Prüfung entsprechender Aussagen eine Anerkennungszahlung für das erlittene Leid. Als ein juristisches Schuldeingeständnis wollte das Bistum dies aber ausdrücklich nicht verstanden wissen. Später wurde das Bistum unter anderem dafür kritisiert, es habe mit der Zahlung das Ansehen des beliebten Bischofs beschädigt, ohne die Entscheidung aufgrund konkreter Beweise rechtfertigen zu können.

Auch Priester Peter R. beschuldigt

Im zweiten Fall wurden verschiedene Vorwürfe des sexuellen Missbrauchs gegen den pensionierten Priester Peter R. erhoben. Zuletzt von einer jungen Frau und deren Mutter, die beide angaben, als Kinder bzw. Jugendliche von Peter R. sexuell missbraucht worden zu sein.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 4:47 PM

Pastor Jimmy Hinton Resigns From Church Protect, Organization That Fights Sexual Abuse in Churches

Christian Post

October 5, 2017

By Leonardo Blair

Pastor Jimmy Hinton of Somerset Church of Christ in Pennsylvania announced Wednesday that he has officially resigned from Church Protect, an organization he founded with veteran clinical therapist Jon Uhler to help churches prevent and report sexual abuse.

"It is with sadness that I announce my resignation with Church Protect. There were some recent events that occurred which I personally felt were not at the heart of the mission of Church Protect and my conscience would not allow me to remain," Hinton said in a statement on his Facebook page.

According to Church Protect, the organization was launched after Hinton found out that his father, a former minister, is a pedophile.

"God allowed Jimmy's path to intersect with Jon Uhler and a partnership was born. Jon has over 20 years of counseling experience working as a clinical therapist, has worked extensively with survivors of child sex abuse, and has over 10 years of experience working with sex offenders who are in prison," the organization said.

* * *

According to Church Protect, more than 90 percent of pedophile say they are religious, which make churches attractive to sexual offenders.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 4:20 PM

Former pastor of large Lexington church charged with sexual abuse of teens

Herald Leader

October 12, 2017

By Mike Stunson and Greg Kocher

A former associate pastor of a large Lexington church has been charged with sexual abuse of two teens, according to court records.

Reid Buchanan, who worked at St. Luke United Methodist Church from July 2016 until August of this year, was arrested Wednesday by Lexington police. Two minors accused Buchanan, 63, of touching them inappropriately multiple times, starting when they were younger, according to a complaint warrant filed in Fayette District Court.

The abuse of the youngest victim allegedly began two years ago. She didn’t come forward until a recent incident.

Abuse of the other victim began many years prior with the latest incident in April, according to the complaint warrant.

Buchanan denied any wrongdoing, according to court records.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 4:14 PM

Sexueller Missbrauch: Das organisierte Tabu der DDR

Zeit Online

October 11, 2017

By Doreen Reinhard

[Summary: Renate Viehrig-Seger participated in an open hearing on 10/11/17 in Leipzig devoted to the taboo subject of sexual abuse experienced by children housed in institutions in the former East Germany. The hearing was part of the Independent Commission on the Elimination of Sexual Child Abuse.]

Sexuellen Missbrauch durfte es offiziell nicht geben in der DDR. Dabei gab es Tausende schwere Fälle – in Familien, in Kinderheimen und Jugendwerkhöfen des Systems.

"Bis zu meinem elften Geburtstag war meine Kindheit ganz okay", sagt Renate Viehrig-Seger. "Mal abgesehen von der Prügel, die ich immer wieder von meinem Vater bekam." Gewalt und Missbrauch zogen sich durch ihre Kindheit und Jugend, so heftig, dass sie ganz eigene Kategorien für das Ausmaß entwickelt hat.

Renate Viehrig-Seger war ein Kind der DDR und in der gab es so gut wie keine Chance, dass Tragödien wie ihre an die Öffentlichkeit gelangten. Dass ihr irgendwer zu Hilfe kam. Geboren ist sie 1959, aufgewachsen mit zehn Geschwistern, einem aggressiven Vater und einer Mutter, die vor allem weggeschaut hat. Als sie pubertierte, waren ihrem Vater Schläge nicht mehr genug. "Er holte mich nachts ins Wohnzimmer, um mich anzufassen. Im Raum daneben lag meine Mutter. Als sie ins Wohnzimmer kam, schnauzte mein Vater sie an, dass sie abhauen soll."

Renate Viehrig-Seger suchte Hilfe bei Ämtern, aber niemand glaubte ihr. Sie begann, zu verzweifeln. "Ich wurde rabiat, habe geklaut und über die Stränge geschlagen." Immer wieder versuchte sie, von zu Hause abzuhauen, aber jedes Mal wurde sie von der Polizei wieder zu den Eltern zurückgebracht. Irgendwann sagte ihre Mutter: "Es reicht, du gehst ins Heim."

Zunächst war dieser Weg für das Mädchen eine Erleichterung. "In dem Kinderheim, in das ich zuerst kam, gab es Ordnung, Sauberkeit, Struktur, so etwas kannte ich von zu Hause nicht." Bald darauf wurde sie jedoch in den Geschlossenen Jugendwerkhof Torgau verlegt, der zu den schlimmsten Institutionen des Staates gehörte, gedacht zur "Umerziehung" nach sozialistischen Maßstäben.

Insgesamt 474 staatliche Kinderheime gab es in der DDR. Davon waren 38 sogenannte Spezialkinderheime und 32 Jugendwerkhöfe, in denen jene Heranwachsenden verwahrt wurden, die als schwer erziehbar und verhaltensauffällig galten. Viele Kinder und Jugendliche haben dort die Hölle erlebt. Im Jugendwerkhof Torgau wurde auch für Renate Viehrig-Seger alles nur noch schlimmer. "Ich habe dort nächtlichen Besuch vom Direktor bekommen, der mich vergewaltigt hat." Als sie einem Erzieher davon erzählte, bekam sie auch dort keine Hilfe, stattdessen zwei Tage Arrest, weil sie Lügen erzählt habe.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 2:51 PM

Ex-friar accused of sexual abuse in Santa Fe quits Arizona health care job

Santa Fe New Mexican

October 12, 2017

By Andrew Oxford

[Note: This article provides a link to a 3/31/15 lawsuit John Doe N v Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament and Franciscan Friars alleging abuse by Br. Dennis Huff OFM. See also the BishopAccountability.org database entry on Huff.]

A top administrator at a health care organization in Arizona has resigned amid allegations that he sexually abused students at the St. Catherine Indian School in Santa Fe while serving as a Franciscan brother there 40 years ago.

Dennis Huff stepped down as behavioral health services administrator at Native Health, a nonprofit that primarily serves Native Americans, late last month after the Archdiocese of Santa Fe listed his name among 74 clergy and members of religious orders accused of sexually abusing children over the last half-century.

Huff’s resignation decades later and hundreds of miles away marks just the latest twist in the long unraveling of a scandal that has gone to the heart of the Catholic Church in New Mexico, where priests from around the country who were known to prey on children were sent for “treatment” and where officials are accused of covering up abuse for years.

The Phoenix New Times reported earlier this month it had received an anonymous letter sent to Native Health’s CEO in mid-August, disclosing that Huff was accused in a lawsuit of sexually abusing students at the now-shuttered school.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 2:24 PM

False hope for Md. childhood sexual assault survivors

Baltimore Sun

October 11, 2017

By Joanne Suder

At first glance, the newly enacted Maryland law that extends the statute of limitations for victims of childhood sexual abuse from age 25 to age 38 appears to offer hope to individuals who, for any number of reasons, are psychologically unable or unwilling to seek a remedy for the horrors they experienced as children until they are well into adulthood.

That’s not how it worked out, however, and at the very least this law delivers false hope. House Bill 642 instead dealt a stealthy and significant win to the Archdiocese of Baltimore — and any other employer that has allowed perpetrators under their purview to persist in terrorizing children.

Here’s why. Although the law extends the statute of limitations from age 25 to 38, it adds an onerous requirement: Victims older than 25 who sue a rapist’s employer must now meet the notoriously difficult-to-prove gross negligence standard. Before this law, a sexual-abuse victim had to demonstrate ordinary negligence by the employer. What the new law means is that older victims suing potentially culpable employers, such as the Archdiocese of Baltimore in the priest-rape cases, must prove that the employer was acting with thoughtless disregard for the consequences without the exertion of any effort to avoid them.

Therefore, schools or camps or other organizations that purport to care for children, but allow abuse under their noses, can get off the hook and avoid compensating victims because proving gross negligence is just too hard. Maryland's courts describe this standard as “an amorphous concept, resistant to precise definition.” Unfortunately, Maryland court history is riddled with cases stating that even the most egregious conduct that meets the negligence standard would not pass the gross negligence test.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 2:08 PM

Judge orders release of info from clergy abuse lawsuits

Albuquerque Journal

October 12, 2017

By Olivier Uyttebrouck

[Note: See BishopAccountability.org database entries on Griego, Sigler, and Perrault.

A wide variety of church documents and other records filed in clerical abuse lawsuits against the Archdiocese of Santa Fe will become public Wednesday under a ruling handed down by an Albuquerque judge.

District Judge Alan Malott approved a request from a television station to unseal court records related to three former priests who have been named in dozens of lawsuits dating to the 1990s. The former priests are Sabine Griego, Jason Sigler and Arthur Perrault. Perrault has fled the country.

Malott said he delayed public disclosure of the records until Wednesday to allow parties in the case to consider whether to appeal the ruling. An attorney for the archdiocese did not reply to a phone message Thursday.

In his order, Malott rejected the archdiocese’s objection that public disclosure of court records would endanger the church’s right to a fair trial. The church no longer denies that priests sexually abused young boys and girls in their parishes, he wrote.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 11:30 AM

The Catholic Church knew he was an abuser, but helped him get a job in public schools

Los Angeles Times

October 13, 2017

By Rick Anderson

[Note: See also BishopAccountability.org's database entry on Irish Christian Brother Edward C. (Chris) Courtney.]

Seattle - Time and again, the record shows, Brother Edward “Chris” Courtney was accused of child sexual abuse in the Roman Catholic schools where he taught, and the church responded by moving him to another jurisdiction.

That makes his case similar to those of hundreds of other priests and brothers who committed sexual abuse before the problem exploded into national consciousness more than 15 years ago.

What sets Courtney apart is this: According to a lawsuit settled last week in Seattle’s King County Superior Court, he was ultimately shuffled off to a public school, where he continued to commit sexual assault.

Courtney, now 82 and retired in Hawaii, was a member of the Christian Brothers religious order who has been accused of assaulting at least 55 boys during his three decades as a Catholic school educator in a variety of jurisdictions from New York to Seattle.

It was in Seattle, where he served as principal of a parochial school, St. Alphonsus, that his Catholic school career came to an end after allegations of groping. Catholic and Christian Brothers officials then wrote letters of recommendation to the state school system and, ignoring a legal requirement, never reported his history of sexual assaults. That omission allowed Courtney to obtain his license to teach in public schools, where the assaults continued, according to the lawsuit and criminal court records.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 11:14 AM

Lawsuit: Priest fondled boy who complained of stomach ache

Pacific Daily News

October 13, 2017

By Haidee V Eugenio

Former priest Andrew Mannetta allegedly fondled a boy around 1985 or 1986, in Talofofo, after telling the boy he would help his stomach pain go away, according to a lawsuit filed in federal court on Friday afternoon.

The plaintiff, identified in court documents only as A.J.B.W., was about 14 or 15 when Mannetta allegedly sexually molested and abused him during a break from cleaning the outside of the San Miguel Catholic Church rectory, the lawsuit states.

A.J.B.W., now 46, is represented by attorney David Lujan. He demands a jury trial and $5 million in minimum damages.

One day, while hanging out around the Talofofo parish, A.J.B.W. told Mannetta that he didn't go to school that day because he had a stomach ache, the lawsuit states. The priest invited the boy inside the rectory for a drink and asked about the area of his stomach that was hurting, the complaint states.

Mannetta asked the boy to sit on his lap so he could massage his stomach to help the pain go away, the lawsuit states. Mannetta then molested him, the complaint states.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 10:37 AM

October 12, 2017

Man lernt damit umzugehen, dass der Staat immer Recht hat

Mitteldeutsche Rundfunk

[Summary: The Independent Commission on the Elimination of Sexual Child Abuse held a public hearing on October 11, 2017 in Leipzig on child sexual abuse in the former East Germany. Survivors spoke about their experience of this taboo subject. With video report and comments.]

Missbrauch von Kindern und Jugendlichen - das gab es in der DDR offiziell nicht. Doch viele Jahre nach der Wende zeigt sich ein anderes Bild. Auf einem öffentlichen Hearing in Leipzig erzählen Betroffene am Mittwoch aus ihrer Jugend, die geprägt war von Gewalt.

"Ich bin als Säugling bis zum 18. Lebensjahr in Einrichtungen aufgewachsen, die der Umerziehung galten. Im Prinzip konnten die mit einem tun und lassen, was sie wollten." Wenn René Münch diesen Teil seiner Lebensgeschichte erzählt, bekommt man als Zuhörer zwangsläufig einen Kloß im Hals. Bis zu seinem 18. Geburtstag musste er einiges über sich ergehen lassen: Berührungen von Erziehern im Intimbereich und auch sexuelle Übergriffe von älteren Heimkindern, Erziehern und dem Mann seiner Mutter.

Über seine Erlebnisse spricht Münch erst seit 2012. Als er mit der Aufarbeitung seiner Geschichte beginnt, ist er 51 Jahre alt. "Über die Heimerziehung spricht man, aber dass dort auch sexueller Missbrauch stattgefunden hat, darüber spricht man nicht. Das liegt aber auch an uns Betroffenen. Man muss die Hemmschwelle überschritten haben. Ich habe gesagt, damit muss man an die Öffentlichkeit gehen. Denn das sind Verbrechen gegen die Menschlichkeit. Und man leidet auch das ganze Leben drunter."

"Der Staat durfte nicht beschmutzt werden"

Die Geschichte von René Münch ist längst kein Einzelfall - obwohl es Missbrauch in der DDR offiziell nie gegeben hat. Erst seit 2010 bekommt diese Fassade erste Risse. Mittlerweile hat eine Aufklärungskommission die Arbeit aufgenommen, um Betroffenen von sexuellem Missbrauch in der DDR Recht und Gehör zu verschaffen. Mitglied der Kommission ist auch die ehemalige Familienministerin Christine Bergmann. Nach einem Jahr Arbeit stellt sie fest: "Das Thema sexueller Missbrauch an Kindern und Jugendlichen war in der DDR weit mehr und länger tabuisiert als in den alten Bundesländern. Egal ob in der Familie oder in Heimen. Es passte nicht in die heile sozialistische Gesellschaft. Der Staat durfte nicht beschmutzt werden."

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 5:52 PM

Five things Hollywood could learn from the Catholic Church after Harvey Weinstein

America Magazine

October 11, 2017

By Jim McDermott [S.J.]

Living in Los Angeles and watching the cascade of horror that is the unraveling story of Hollywood uber-exec Harvey Weinstein and his abuses of women, I have had a strange sense of déjà vu. I was a seminarian studying for the priesthood in Boston in January 2002 when The Boston Globe began publishing its astonishing series of articles on child sexual abuse in the Catholic Church.

Those reports began a lot like the Weinstein story, with allegations surrounding one man, John Geoghan, who had been committing horrific acts of abuse for decades throughout the Archdiocese of Boston.

I suspect the Weinstein story is just the beginning of a much larger set of revelations about abuse and power in the entertainment industry.

I suspect the Weinstein story, too, is just the beginning of a much larger set of revelations about abuse and power in the entertainment industry. And 15 years into the Catholic crisis, having witnessed the choices the institutional church has made (some of them disastrous), I suspect there are things that Hollywood could learn from that experience right now. Here are five that come immediately to mind.

1. It’s all going to come out ...

2. There is an even bigger issue you have to face, and it is everyone else ...

3. When cultural expectations change, they change overnight and with no tolerance for the allowances of the past ...

4. Changing the rules is not the same as changing the culture ...

5. Reap the whirlwind ...

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 4:55 PM

Catholic Church 'hiding behind the law' over historic abuse compensation claims

ABC News Online

By Louise Milligan

A man who was raped and beaten by priests and brothers as a 12-year-old says he felt like a beggar when he asked the Catholic Church for money to pay for medical bills for treatment of the mental and physical illness he suffered as a result of his abuse.

Russell Clark is just one of many survivors of abuse who signed deeds of release, which prevent them from taking further legal action or requesting more compensation.

He was repeatedly raped and knocked unconscious as a schoolboy by priests and brothers at Salesian College in Adelaide in the 1960s.

"You'd go to bed at night crying and scared, you lived in terror," Mr Clark told 7.30.

"Because you knew that if you said anything, they'd just beat you up."

Catholic Church bodies are under fire for sticking to this and other historic settlements, signed with survivors of clergy child abuse for "pathetic" compensation sums despite the Royal Commission Into Institutional Responses To Child Abuse and the church's own bodies recommending they be scrapped in light of changes to the law.

"People in the past, hundreds of thousands of them, have had to sign these deeds for pathetic amounts of money — $20,000, $30,000, $40,000," lawyer Judy Courtin, who represents dozens of clergy abuse survivors including Mr Clark, told 7.30.

By contrast, in 2015 the Victorian Supreme Court awarded its largest ever damages payout to a survivor of institutional abuse — in this case, in an Orthodox Jewish school — for $1.2 million.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 4:18 PM

Missbrauchsskandal in Bad Münstereifel: Erzbistum Köln zieht beschuldigten Priester ab

Kölnischen Zeitung

[Summary: Just a month after the presentation of the final report on sexual abuse and ill-treatment at the Collegium Josephinum in Bad Münstereifel , the Cologne archdiocese took the last accused priest out of active duty. This article also describes the abuse experience of survivor representative Werner Becker, and his disagreement with the archdiocese at the time the report was released. See Claudia Bundschuh's report, Sexueller Missbrauch, physische und psychische Gewalt am Collegium Josephinum, Bad Münstereifel.]

October 11, 2017

By Martin Wein, Christoph Meurer, and Jörg Manhold

Bad Münstereifel/Rheinbach - Knapp einen Monat nach der Vorstellung des Abschlussberichtes über sexuellen Missbrauch und Misshandlungen am Collegium Josephinum in Bad Münstereifel hat das Erzbistum Köln auch den letzten beschuldigten Priester aus dem aktiven Dienst genommen.

Dabei dürfte es sich um einen Geistlichen handeln, der 1982 nach sexuellen Übergriffen in Bad Münstereifel versetzt worden war und anschließend noch einmal die Stelle wechseln musste. Er hatte zwar zuletzt keine eigene Pfarrei mehr, zelebrierte aber noch bis vor fünf Wochen Messen, Hochzeiten und Beerdigungen im Rhein-Sieg-Kreis, wo er auch wohnte. Gegenüber der Gemeinde wurden gesundheitliche Gründe für den Rückzug genannt.

Opfervertreter Werner Becker war selbst Opfer

Aus „personal- und persönlichkeitsrechtlichen Gründen“ könne das Erzbistum keine Anfragen zu bestimmten Personen beantworten, sagte Pressesprecher Christoph Heckeley. Dass unter Verdacht auf sexuellen Missbrauch stehende Priester mitunter noch viele Jahre seelsorgerisch tätig seien, liege allgemein daran, dass man zunächst den Hinweisen nachgehe. Falls diese konkret genug seien, seien personalrechtliche Konsequenzen möglich. Es müssten aber bestimmte Voraussetzungen erfüllt sein, teilte Heckeley mit.

* * *

Opfervertreter Werner Becker hatte von 1959 bis 1961 selbst das Schulinternat des Bistums in Bad Münstereifel besucht. Als Schüler der Obersekunda (Jahrgang 11) und Unterprima (Jahrgang 12) habe er damals als 18- beziehungsweise 19-Jähriger im dortigen Großen Haus gewohnt. Während dieser Zeit habe er sich vom damaligen Direktor, einem katholischen Priester, ständig beobachtet gefühlt. „Es gab keine Privatsphäre. Ständig stand jemand in deiner Zelle.“ Mindestens einmal in der Woche habe ihn einer der Betreuer gegen seinen Willen zu sich herangezogen, ihn gekniffen und auch an den Geschlechtsteilen berührt.

Dazu kam die Gewalt, die nach Beckers Einschätzung bei einigen der Täter eindeutig „sadistische Züge“ gehabt habe. Ein Großteil der Betreuer habe sich daran beteiligt. Tritte in den Hintern und Schläge ins Gesicht, die zu Wochen langen Ohrenschmerzen führten, seien wiederholt vorgekommen. Der Aufsicht führende Priester habe regelmäßig mit einem schweren Schlüsselbund nach den Schülern geworfen.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 11:55 AM

50,000 Euro Schweigegeld für Missbrauchsopfer in Rheinbach


October 11, 2017

By Martin Wein and Jörg Manhold

[Summary: Professor Werner Becker, representative of survivors in the abuse cases at Collegium Josephinum in Bad Münstereifel, says he also knows of three victims of abuse at two Rheinbach boarding schools, Sankt Albert and Hermann-Josef-Kolleg (later known as Vinzenz-Pallotti Kolleg). Becker has a sworn declaration of one of the victims, stating that the Pallottine Order paid him 50,000 euros in return for a promise of secrecy.]

Rheinbach - Am Rheinbacher Konvikt des Pallottiner-Ordens gab es Anfang der 1960er Jahre mindestens drei Fälle des sexuellen Missbrauch. Ein Täter soll sein Opfer mit 50.000 Euro abgefunden haben.

Die Debatte um Missbrauchsfälle im Collegium Josephinum in Bad Münstereifel hat auch neue Erkenntnisse im Hinblick auf die Pallottiner in Rheinbach gebracht. Der Bad Münstereifeler Opfervertreter Professor Werner Becker ist allerdings an mehreren Stellen ungehalten über die Informationspolitik der katholischen Kirche. Er selbst war in den in Bad Münstereifel Opfer von sexuellen Übergriffen geworden.

Jetzt erhebt er Vorwürfe, dass der Pallottiner-Orden, bei dem es Anfang der 1960er Jahre mindestens drei Missbrauchsfälle in den beiden Rheinbacher Internaten „Sankt Albert“ und „Hermann-Josef-Kolleg“ (das spätere Vinzenz-Pallotti-Kolleg) gegeben hatte, einem Opfer Schweigegeld gezahlt habe. Becker berichtet, ihm liege eine eidesstattliche Erklärung des besagten Opfers vor, der zufolge der Provinzial des Ordens ihm 50 000 Euro im Gegenzug zu einem Schweigeversprechen gezahlt habe.

Konkret habe es im Jahr 2009, noch vor dem öffentlichen Bekanntwerden der Fälle, eine notarielle Vereinbarung zwischen dem mit dem Vorgang beauftragten Pallottiner-Pater Norbert Possmann und dem Opfer gegeben, die einerseits die Zahlung von 50 000 Euro vorsieht und andererseits im Gegenzug „Stillschweigen über die Sachverhalte des Vergleichs“ verlangt.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 11:35 AM

Lawsuit: Priest takes boys' nude photos, abuses them during scout lessons

Pacific Daily News

October 12, 2017

By Haidee V Eugenio

[Note: See BishopAccountability.org's database entry on Fr. Louis Brouillard.]

Father Louis Brouillard allegedly took nude photos of boys, and groped and touched their private parts during swimming at the Lonfit River and Ypao Beach around 1975 or 1976, a lawsuit filed Thursday afternoon in local court states.

The latest plaintiff, identified in court documents only as G.E. to protect his privacy, said Brouillard, on numerous occasions, would fondle him in the water and then instruct him to sit on the priest's lap after swimming to be fondled again.

At the time of the alleged sexual abuse and molestation, G.E. said he was a Boy Scout and attended the Barrigada parish. He was about 11 or 12, the lawsuit states.

After church, he would visit the parish for regular Boy Scouts meetings with Brouillard at the priest's office and in the church basement.

G.E., now 54 is represented by attorney Michael Berman. His lawsuit states Brouillard would swim naked with the boys, whom he instructed to also swim naked.

The lawsuit states Brouillard would grope and touch their private parts, as well as take their photos while naked, without their permission. The complaint states Brouillard would reward the boys afterward, with trips to McDonald's or King's Restaurant.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 11:17 AM

Resignations and Appointments

Holy See Press Office

October 11, 2017

[Note: The Vatican no longer cites the canon (can. 401.1 and 2) that governs the resignation/removal of a bishop. Until September 2016, a canonical citation was a standard part of the Holy See's announcement. See, for example, the 4/21/15 announcement re Bishop Robert W. Finn. For more examples of canonical announcements, see BishopAccountability.org's Bishops Accused of Sexual Abuse and Misconduct: A Global Accounting.]

Resignation of bishop of Ruteng, Indonesia, and appointment of apostolic administrator sede vacante ed ad nutum Sanctae Sedis

The Holy Father Francis has accepted the resignation from the pastoral care of the diocese of Ruteng, Indonesia, presented by H.E. Hubertus Leteng, and has appointed H.E. Msgr. Sylvester San, bishop of Denpasar, as apostolic administrator sede vacante ed ad nutum Sanctae Sedis of the same diocese.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 10:43 AM

Indonesian bishop resigns amid embezzlement, affair accusations

Catholic News Agency/EWTN

October 11, 2017

An Indonesian prelate resigned Wednesday as Bishop of Ruteng amid mounting concerns surrounding an alleged mistress and reportedly stolen funds.

Bishop Hubertus Leteng, 58, was accused of borrowing $94,000 from the Indonesian bishops’ conference, as well as $30,000 from the Diocese of Ruteng.

Leteng said the money was being used to fund a poor youth’s education, although he failed to give any further details or information, according to Ucanews. He was additionally criticized for reportedly taking a mistress – an allegation which Leteng called “slanderous.”

In June, more than 60 priests of the diocese resigned from their assignments in protest of Leteng’s administration of the diocese.

A year earlier, 112 of the diocese's 167 priests had signed a letter of no confidence in Leteng, citing their suspicions of financial mismanagement and incontinence.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 10:25 AM

Indonesia bishop resigns in finance, mistress scandal

Associated Press via Washington Post

October 11, 2017

[Note: See the earlier UCAnews reports Vatican investigates bishop's money, alleged mistress and Vatican investigator wraps up cash, mistresss probe. See also Catholic Hierarchy's entry on Bishop Hubertus Leteng.]

A Roman Catholic bishop in Indonesia has resigned following reports that he had a mistress and siphoned off more than $100,000 in church funds.

Pope Francis on Wednesday accepted the resignation of Bishop Hubertus Leteng of Indonesia’s Ruteng diocese. The Denpasar bishop, Monsignor Sylvester San, will run the diocese until a permanent replacement is found, the Vatican said.

Local Indonesian media and the Ucanews agency, which covers the Catholic Church in Asia, reported that dozens of priests resigned en masse in June to protest Leteng’s administration.

The Vatican sent an investigator to look into their allegations that Leteng had a mistress and secretly borrowed $94,000 from the Indonesian bishops’ conference and another $30,000 from the diocese without accounting for it.

According to Ucanews, Leteng said the money was used to finance the education of a poor youth, though he declined to provide details. He called allegations he had a relationship with a woman “slanderous.”

The Vatican didn’t address the scandal or explain why Leteng was retiring early. The Ruteng diocese made no mention of the allegations in its announcement of Leteng’s departure Wednesday. Bishops normally submit their resignations when they reach age 75. Leteng is 58.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 10:14 AM

23 Women Accuse Former Queens Priest of Abusing Them as Children

New York Times

October 11, 2017

By Sharon Otterman

A former teacher at a Catholic school in Queens who said she had reported the sexual abuse of seven female students by a priest in 1991 now claims that the Diocese of Brooklyn covered it up for more than a decade, allowing more girls to be abused.

The teacher, Linda Porcaro, said on Wednesday that she is coming forward now because the victims, on whose behalf she was speaking, are ready to seek justice. Over the last two months, 23 women who said they were abused by the former priest, Adam Prochaski, have become clients of the lawyer, Mitchell Garabedian, who was portrayed in the Oscar-winning film “Spotlight,” about clergy sex abuse. Most of the women’s claims have been referred to the police.

Mr. Prochaski was based at Holy Cross Roman Catholic Church in Maspeth for nearly 25 years. He is accused of abusing the girls between 1972 and 1994, when they were between the ages 5 and 16.

In New York State, no criminal or civil litigation can take place for most child sex abuse crimes after a victim turns 23. But an exception can be made for rape. The New York Police Department was investigating whether any of the recent allegations qualify for prosecution, a spokeswoman for the Queens district attorney’s office said.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 9:48 AM

October 11, 2017

A leading advocate for survivors of childhood sexual abuse is Penn's latest 'professor of practice'

The Daily Pennsylvanian

October 10, 2017

By Lucy Curtis

Marci Hamilton, a 1988 Penn Law School graduate and a leading advocate for survivors of childhood sexual abuse, has just been hired as Penn’s third "professor of practice" in the Robert A. Fox Leadership Program in the College, according to an announcement by the University.

Practice professors are subject matter experts from outside of the world of academia, brought in to teach real-world applications of theory. The position is non-tenured and involves a term of three years for an associate practice professorship and five years for a full professorship.

Hamilton, who is also a scholar on church-state relations, will be teaching a seminar on law, religion and politics.

"I loved going to Penn’s law school -- it was a formative part of my career and it’s nice to be back," Hamilton said. She formerly served as the Paul R. Verkuil Chair in Public Law at Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law at Yeshiva University.

Hamilton is the founder, CEO and academic director of CHILD USA, the first research-based nonprofit think tank dedicated to preventing child neglect and abuse. Hamilton has dedicated her professional life to supporting victims of abuse. She is also the author of the Pulitzer Prize-nominated book, “Justice Denied: What America Must Do to Protect Its Children.”

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 2:47 PM

Las Cruces Youth Pastor Accused of Child Sexual Exploitation

The Associated Press via U.S. News & World Report

October 10, 2017

Federal authorities say a youth pastor from Las Cruces is facing child sexual exploitation and pornography charges.

They say 30-year-old Stephen Mendoza Arellano made his initial appearance Tuesday in federal court in Albuquerque.

He's being held on a criminal complaint charging him with attempted production of child pornography, enticement of a child to engage in sexual activity, and travel to meet a minor to engage in sexual conduct.

Prosecutors say the alleged crimes occurred between May and August of this year and involved a 15-year-old girl in El Paso, Texas.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 2:39 PM

Dark Canyon: Trust and Betrayal in the Northern New Mexico Church

KSFR (Santa Fe Public Radio)

October 11, 2017

By Ellen Berkovitch, Rita Daniels & Hannah Colton

[See also earlier features in KSFR's Dark Canyon investigation: Sexual Abuse and Secrecy in the Archdiocese of Santa Fe. Part 1; and A Follow-Up Interview with Bishop Accountability President.]

For the second feature-length installment of our series, our reporters go to Northern New Mexico where Catholicism has been a central part of life for centuries, since the Spanish conquest of New Mexico. The list of 74 credibly accused priests, brothers and deacons released by the Archbishop last month names more than a dozen priests who served the parishes in the Taos area.

St. Francis de Asis church in Ranchos de Taos is Rita Daniels begins the story. Ellen Berkovitch picks up from there with an exposition of all that is known about the 22-year of Father Michael P. O'Brien in the Archdiocese of Santa Fe.

Listen [Link to Audio]

Next time when our series continues… One of the priests whom the Brad Hall law firm calls one of the most prolific abusers, Fr. Sabine Griego—is still alive. He’s been laicized but he’s still living in Las Vegas NM among many of the people who reported him for abuse.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 2:31 PM

Australia's top bishops visit Vatican for talks on restoring trust

Catholic News Service via National Catholic Reporter

October 10, 2017

By Carol Glatz

The top leaders of the Australian Catholic Bishops' Conference and chair of the church's Truth, Justice and Healing Council met with Vatican officials to discuss issues emerging from national investigations into the abuse of minors.

"Topics covered included the Royal Commission Into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, the relationship between the church and society at large, the restoration of trust, and greater participation of the laity in decision-making roles in the church," the Vatican press office said in a written communique Oct. 7.

The bishops' delegation met Oct. 5 with Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Vatican secretary of state; Archbishop Paul Gallagher, Vatican foreign minister; Cardinal Marc Ouellet, prefect of the Congregation for Bishops; and Archbishop Giacomo Morandi, secretary for the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 2:27 PM

Liberal Hollywood destroys any credibility it had left

Conservative Review

October 11, 2017

By Steve Deace

In the immortal words of the great prophet Dave Chappelle, “You played yourself.”

From this time forward, when any insipidly sanctimonious Hollywood star comes forward to lecture us on Marxist agitprop masquerading as do-gooderism, the rest of America that does most of the living and dying around here can simply dismiss such virtue signaling with the following two words: “Harvey Weinstein.”

How ironic is it that in 2016, Hollywood deservedly awarded its coveted Best Picture award to the fantastic movie “Spotlight,” about the journalistic quest to break the long-hidden child abuse scandal within the Catholic Church — when many, too many, of those in attendance at the Oscars that evening were knowingly concealing a sexual predator of their own, masquerading as a movie mogul.

In fact, the “Los Angeles Times” wrote a feature about those 2016 Oscars and how rare it was for the “Diet Coke swigging, chain-smoking master” (as they described Weinstein) to be shut out from Hollywood’s biggest night. Absent from that piece was any mention of how Weinstein turned the already infamous casting couch into his personal hunting ground.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 2:21 PM

London priest 'sex abuse victim' had 'nightmares'


October 11, 2017

An alleged victim of a senior Roman Catholic priest has told a court he was haunted by "nightmares" of the sex abuse he suffered as a boy.

Laurence Soper, 74, the abbot of Ealing Abbey from 1991-2000, was headmaster and senior priest at St Benedict's School in Ealing, west London.

He is on trial at the Old Bailey where he denies 19 charges of child sex abuse against 10 boys between 1970 and 1980.

The boys allege they were subjected to sexual touching and beaten with a cane.

The witness told the court he would get "flashbacks" and "nightmares" about Mr Soper.

"It's a nightmare that is waking me up at the moment. I wake up absolutely soaking in sweat and the bed is wet," he said.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 1:41 PM

Archbishop Byrnes still needs approval from Rome to sell RMS property

Pacific News Center

October 11, 2017

By Janela Carrera

Archbishop Byrnes has indicated that the property could be worth between $2 million to $7 million.

While the closing of the disputed Redemptoris Mater Seminary in Yona may be a done deal, the sale of the property isn’t yet a guarantee.

Last week, Archbishop Michael Byrnes announced that, in consultation with various church organizations, such as the College of Consultors, the Archdiocesan Finance Council and the Presbyteral Council, the RMS will be closing down by the end of December.

Archbishop Byrnes also acknowledged that the closure of the seminary is being done, in part, in anticipation of the sale of the property next March or April. The funds will then be used to settle dozens of sex abuse claims filed against the church in court.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 10:15 AM

Priest acquitted in rape case, Court rejects woman's claims

The New Indian Express

October 11, 2017

Refusing to rely on the statement of a woman that she was raped and assaulted by a temple priest, a Delhi court has acquitted him observing that things do not appear to have happened the way they were projected.

Additional Sessions Judge Sanjiv Jain said though in rape cases conviction can be made on the sole testimony of the victim, in this case the woman's statement was "exaggerated" and led to doubts on the veracity of her evidence. Therefore, it is not safe to rely on her "uncorroborated version".

The court relied on the priest's version that he was assaulted by the woman on an assumption that he had a role in breaking the engagement of her son.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 10:11 AM

Lawsuits: Brouillard took advantage of ‘childhood and innocence’

The Guam Daily Post

October 11, 2017

By Mindy Aguon

[See also the entry for Brouillard in the database of accused U.S. priests on BishopAccountability.org.]

Four new clergy sex abuse lawsuits, seeking a total of $25 million in damages, were filed in the Superior and District Courts in the last week against Louis Brouillard, the Archdiocese of Agana and Boy Scouts of America. Brouillard took advantage of the altar boys' "childhood and innocence," court documents state.

Three cases filed by attorney Michael Berman on behalf of his clients, F.M., P.P. and R.G., in the Superior Court of Guam seek $5 million in damages each.

The alleged abuse occurred while Brouillard was a priest at the San Isidro Catholic Church in Malojloj, San Vicente Church in Barrigada and the Tumon parish in the 1970s.

F.M., who is now 49, alleges he was subjected to sexual abuse by Brouillard when he served as an altar boy at the Barrigada and Tumon parishes when he was 10 to 17 years old.

The lawsuit alleges Brouillard forced F.M. to shower with him and sexually abused the boy on church grounds, during Boy Scout swimming outings and in Beroun, Minnesota, where the priest relocated after leaving Guam.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 10:06 AM

Commentary:Vatican’s Double Standard on Child Abuse


October 10, 2017

By Bradley Eli, M.Div., Ma.Th.

Clerical sex abuse will continue until Church confronts problem of homosexual bishops and priests

Critics are noting Rome's apparent double standard in addressing child abuse in the wake of last week's Vatican-sponsored, three-day conference on child pornography, while seemingly protecting a priest who's wanted for allegedly trafficking in child porn.

At issue is the Vatican's use of diplomatic immunity to shield from civil prosecution a priest, Msgr. Carlo Alberto Capella, who's wanted by Canadian officials for his alleged involvement in child porn. Capella, a Vatican diplomat formerly stationed in D.C., was abruptly removed from his post when charges surfaced alleging he downloaded child pornography.

Canadian officials accused Capella of downloading child porn from a parish computer over Christmas last December. After U.S. authorities brought up similar charges in August, Capella was immediately recalled to Rome. The Vatican refuses to come forward with any information on the case and refuses to extradite Capella for civil prosecution. The Vatican is investigating the case and may try Capella in ecclesiastical court.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 9:59 AM

St. Louis priest settles part of civil case against accuser and SNAP

St. Louis Post-Dispatch

October 10, 2017

By Robert Patrick

A Roman Catholic priest has settled part of a federal lawsuit he filed against the mother of a boy who accused him of abuse, the group that supported the accuser and police, court filings Tuesday say.

In a filing in U.S. District Court in St. Louis, a lawyer for the Rev. Xiu Hui “Joseph” Jiang wrote that the case had been settled with Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, or SNAP, and SNAP officials, and that Jiang and the mother of his former accuser had “reached an agreement in principle.”

The formal dismissal of that part of the case should be filed before Oct. 23, Jiang’s attorney Neil Bruntrager wrote.

Bruntrager declined to comment Tuesday. Lawyers for SNAP did not return messages seeking comment.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 9:54 AM

Convicted priests still getting pensions and medical benefits


October 10 2017

By Connie Leonard

[See also the entry for Hemmerle in the database of accused U.S. priests on BishopAccountability.org.]

Louisville area priests convicted of molesting children in a court of law are still getting money and benefits from the Catholic Church.

What message is it sending?

Victims of priest abuse maintain that's a question parishioners should be asking their Catholic church leaders, to make sure their children and others are protected.

Priests, like Father Joseph Hemmerle, may deny heinous acts against children. "I'm innocent of all these charges," Hemmerle told a judge after being convicted by a Meade County jury.

Victims say that's what makes them so dangerous.

"As far as I'm concerned, the guy is a huge threat to other children," said Hemmerle molestation victim Michael Norris. Norris recently found out that because the crime occurred when he was 11, before 1980, the old rules apply and Hemmerle will be eligible for parole in 2018.

"I think it's absurd," Norris said. But he contends what's more absurd is that even though Hemmerle is a twice convicted pedophile, the Archdiocese of Louisville hasn't begun the process to remove him.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 9:46 AM

Matt Flynn announces gubernal candidacy

The Daily Cardinal

October 10, 2017

By Will Husted

Former Wisconsin Democratic Party Chairman Matt Flynn announced Tuesday he will run against Gov. Scott Walker in 2018.

A former lawyer for the Quarles and Brady firm, Flynn looks to reverse the fortune of past campaigns for public office. Flynn encountered unsuccessful bids for the U.S. Senate in 1986 and 1988 and for the U.S. House of Representatives in 1978 and 2004.

Flynn announced his candidacy in a video in which he states he “cannot stand by and watch our democracy be destroyed,” adding that “Scott Walker is destroying the Wisconsin way.” He additionally asserted that Walker is controlled by “big, strong corporate donors" and that Walker has been “taken to the cleaners” in the $3 billion Foxconn deal.

Flynn joins a long list of Democratic hopefuls in gubernatorial campaigns that include State Superintendent Tony Evers, businessman Andy Gronik, government reform advocate Mike McCabe, state Sen. Kathleen Vinehout, D-Alma, and state Rep. Dana Wachs, D-Eau Claire.

Spokesperson for the Republican Party of Wisconsin Alec Zimmerman has called Flynn a “dirty defense lawyer” who supports interests that “prey on Wisconsin families.”

“Flynn’s record [of] strong-arming victims of sexual abuse proves Wisconsin families cannot trust him,” Zimmerman said in a statement, referencing a sexual abuse case Flynn worked on for the Catholic Archdiocese of Milwaukee.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 9:42 AM

Chief judge grants Apuron's request for more time in sex abuse cases

Pacific Daily News

October 11, 2017

By Haidee V Eugenio, heugenio@guampdn.com

U.S. District Court Chief Judge Frances Tydingco-Gatewood on Wednesday granted Archbishop Anthony S. Apuron's request for more time to file his objection to a recommendation that sex abuse lawsuits filed against Apuron by former altar boys should not be dismissed.

Four lawsuits alleged that Apuron sexually abused or raped altar boys in the 1970s while Apuron was the parish priest in Agat. They are among 131 clergy sex abuse lawsuits filed so far in local and federal court, and Apuron is the only one that's not pursuing mediation and out-of-court settlement.

Apuron's original deadline to file an objection was Oct. 11, but the chief judge extended the filing deadline up to Oct. 25 as Apuron requested.

Attorney Jacqueline Terlaje, counsel for Apuron, asked for additional time, citing complex constitutional law issues that District Court Magistrate Judge Joaquin Manibusan addressed in his Sept. 27 report and recommendation.

Manibusan recommended that the chief judge not to dismiss the lawsuits against Apuron because the claims are not time-barred and do not infringe upon the archbishop's due process rights.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 9:18 AM

October 10, 2017

Another sex abuse lawsuit filed against church

PNC News First

October 10, 2017

By Janela Carrera

As the Archdiocese of Agana continues to wait on word regarding the fate of Archbishop Anthony Apuron, more lawsuits are being filed against them.

The latest lawsuit was filed in District Court by a 49-year-old man with the initials H.A.W. who claims he was molested by former Guam priest and Boy Scout Scoutmaster Louis Brouillard.

H.A.W. says it happened in the late 1970s when he was between the ages of 8 and 10 years old. While H.A.W. and other altar boys waited for CCD classes to start, the lawsuit states Brouillard would invite them over to the convent and sexually assault them.

H.A.W. is being represented by Attorney David Lujan and is seeking $10 million in damages.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 6:01 PM

Sacerdote denunciado por acoso sexual enfrentará juicio oral


[Priest denounced for sexual harassment will face oral trial: The case of the parish priest accused of sexual harassment of a young woman in the youth ministry, will go to oral and public trial, by resolution of the Court of the city of Limpio.]

El caso del cura párroco acusado de acoso sexual a una joven de la pastoral juvenil, irá a juicio oral y público, por resolución del Juzgado de la ciudad de Limpio.

October 5, 2017

La jueza Elsa Ydoyaga, encargada del proceso, con base a todos los antecedentes recabados de ambas partes, tomó la decisión de elevar el caso a juicio oral y público, que fue tomada con conformidad por parte de la víctima, así como del acusado.

El Padre Silvestre Olmedo estuvo acompañado de una gran masa de feligreses que afirman que el hecho no ocurrió y que en esta instancia se podrá demostrar su inocencia. Así también, un grupo de mujeres realizó una manifestación fuera del Juzgado mientras se resolvía la dirección que tomaría el proceso, según reporta Última Hora.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 5:56 PM

Cura va a juicio oral y público


October 5, 2017

[Google Translate: The case of the priest Silvestre Olmedo, who is accused of allegedly harassing a young woman, was brought to trial by the judge Elsa Idoyaga. The judge determined that there are elements to bring the case to trial.]

El caso del sacerdote Silvestre Olmedo, quien es acusado de supuestamente acosar a una joven, fue elevado a juicio oral y público por la jueza Elsa Idoyaga. La magistrada determinó que existen elementos para llevar la causa a juicio.

Luego de la audiencia preliminar, la jueza Elsa Idoyaga informó esta mañana sobre la decisión de elevar a juicio oral y público el caso del sacerdote Silvestre Olmedo, expárroco de Limpio. La imputación de coacción sexual contra el religioso tiene una expectativa de pena de 10 años de cárcel.

Idoyaga manifestó que el Ministerio Público rechazó la pericia psicológica que solicitó la defensa técnica debido a que la joven no puede ser doblemente victimizada. La defensa planteó sobreseimiento definitivo, pero la magistrada analizó y determinó que sí existen elementos para elevar la causa a juicio oral por el hecho punible de acoso sexual, informó la corresponsal Rocío Portillo.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 5:51 PM

'He took my innocence': Victims describe toll of ex-bishop's abuse

Deseret News

October 10, 2017

By McKenzie Romero

Mapleton man sentenced to up to 20 years in prison

PROVO — When they turned to their LDS bishop as vulnerable teenagers, two young men told a judge Tuesday that they instead became victims of a sly sexual predator who isolated them from their families and left them buried beneath guilt.

Erik Hughes, 51, was sentenced to at least one and up to 20 years in prison Tuesday, ordered to serve concurrent terms of one to 15 years for two counts of forcible sexual abuse, a second-degree felony, followed by a consecutive term of up to five years for witnesses tampering, a third-degree felony.

A recommendation for the sentence was agreed upon when Hughes pleaded guilty as charged in August, just two months after his arrest. A spokesman for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has said Hughes was immediately removed from his position when the allegations became known.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 5:46 PM

Priest withdrew money and 'went on the run in Albania after being accused of sexually abusing schoolchildren'

The Daily Mail

October 10, 2017

By Abe Hawken

Father Laurence Soper, 74, was a former abbot of Ealing Abbey in west London

Soper then skipped bail and flew to Kosovo when he was accused of sex offences

It is claimed the Catholic priest caned pupils to give himself a thrill at the school

A Roman Catholic priest withdrew £182,000 from his Vatican bank account and went on the run in Albania after he was accused of sexually abusing schoolchildren in the 1970s and 1980s, a court heard.

Father Laurence Soper, 74, a former abbot of Ealing Abbey in west London, skipped bail and flew to Kosovo when he was accused of sex offences including buggery and indecent assault on boys under 16, it is said.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 5:23 PM

Number Of Abuse Allegations Against Queens Priest Are Growing

WCBS-880 (CBS Radio)

October 10, 2017

The number of sexual abuse allegations against a Catholic priest in Queens is growing.

Twenty-three women now say the former Rev. Adam Prochaski abused them as children when he served at the Holy Cross parish in Maspeth from the early 1970s to the mid 1990s.

The alleged victims are being represented by Mitch Garabedian who was portrayed by actor Stanley Tucci in the Oscar-winning 2015 film “Spotlight.”

He believes the Brooklyn Diocese covered it up.

“There’s no doubt in my mind he was open and notorious,” he told WCBS 880. “He would sexually abuse children in the hallways.”

The parish has a large Polish congregation and Garabedian said many of these victims were first generation immigrants.

“I’ve heard that Father Prochaski used to help children get into the country and once they got into the country he sexually abused them,” Garabedian said. “He had a scheme going on and the supervisors were turning their backs and it was all about secrecy.”

Prochaski was suspended in 1994 and left the priesthood in 1995, but the official Catholic directory shows he was absent or on sick leave through 2002.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 5:20 PM

Bullies among clergy caused fall of Catholic Church in Ireland, says priest

The Irish Times

October 10, 2017

By Patsy McGarry

Bullies among clergy contributed most to fall of Catholic Church in Ireland, says priest

A general failure exists to respect individual in Rome and within religious congregations

The bullying of the people by some clergy played a greater role in Catholic church decline in Ireland than clerical child sexual abuse, a leading Dominican priest has said.

“They had little or no respect for individual people – and not just for minors,” said Fr Tom Jordan, editor of Spirituality magazine.

Referring in the current issue to a remark by an unnamed “acute observer of the church in Ireland,” he said “the failure of the church in recent times was due not so much to the abysmal behaviour by some clergy in sexually abusing minors but that some clergy were bullies.”

One of the glaring deficiencies of church practice in recent times was the failure of leadership to respect the individual.

“Consider the number of priests silenced or removed from office because of their expressed views, and without being afforded an opportunity of defending themselves.”

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 5:01 PM

Wisconsin gov. candidate Matt Flynn defends his work on priest abuse cases

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

October 10, 2017

By Daniel Bice

As he made his formal announcement to run for governor, former Democratic Party Chairman Matthew Flynn defended himself against charges that he was overly aggressive in representing the Archdiocese of Milwaukee against victims of sexual abuse by priests.

Specifically, Flynn came under attack for moving to collect $4,000 in legal fees from an alleged victim who lost his case. Also, Flynn is accused of telling a lawyer for several abuse victims that the archdiocese would "throw a crumb to your clients if you drop these cases.”

"Baloney!" Flynn said in response to the "crumbs" statement in an interview after his announcement in Glendale on Tuesday. "I never said that."

Flynn is one of eight Democrats seeking to challenge GOP Gov. Scott Walker next year.

This week, Peter Isley, Midwest director of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, called into question whether Flynn should be running for the state's highest political post.

Isley said the primary duty of any governor is the protection and safety of all state residents, especially children. But Isley said Flynn's record doesn't suggest he would be the best person to do this.

"For some fifteen years, Matt Flynn was the chief corporate lawyer for the Archdiocese of Milwaukee during the height of the widespread and systematic cover up of thousands of sex crimes against children by dozens of sex offender priests," Isley said.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 4:53 PM

Comenzó en Río Negro el juicio a un cura acusado de abuso sexual

El Diario

October 6, 2017

[Google Translate: The trial of a priest accused of sexual abuse began in Rio Negro, in the city of General Roca. The parish priest was accused of sexually abusing a minor ... in 2010, when the victim was 14 years old and the parish priest, Juan José Urrutia, was at the head of the Santa Catalina Parish of Allen.]

El cura párroco acusado de abusar sexualmente de un menor de edad comenzó a ser enjuiciado a en los tribunales de la ciudad rionegrina de General Roca. El proceso se llevó a cabo a puertas cerradas.

Si bien sobre el caso existe un fuerte hermetismo judicial, se supo que el hecho juzgado habría ocurrido en el 2010, cuando la víctima tenía 14 años de edad y el cura párroco, Juan José Urrutia, estaba al frente de la Parroquia Santa Catalina de Allen. Al religioso se le imputa el delito de abuso sexual con acceso carnal por aprovechamiento de la inmadurez sexual de la víctima.

Trascendió además que durante el proceso no habrá querella. La acusación está a cargo del fiscal, Andrés Nelli. La defensa del sacerdote acusado tendrá el patrocinio de los abogados Jorge Crespo y Guillermo Leskovar Garrigós. Según dio a conocer el Diario Río Negro, en la lista de testigos citados a declarar en el juicio figuran varios vecinos de Allen. También trascendió que la víctima y su familia se fueron de Allen hace ya un tiempo.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 9:38 AM

Santa Sede suspende a sacerdote acusado de abuso sexual contra 15 mujeres en Constanza

El Nuevo Diario

October 6, 2017

[The Holy See has suspended Juan Manuel Mota de Jesus (“Jhonny”), a priest accused of sexual abuse against 15 girls and women in Constanza.]

La Santa Sede despojó de sus atribuciones como sacerdote al padre Juan Manuel Mota de Jesús “Jhonny”, acusado de abuso sexual contra 15 mujeres en el municipio de Constanza, en La Vega.

La información fue ofrecida por el canciller del obispado local de La Vega, reverendo Fausto García, a un programa de televisión de Santiago, quien manifestó que la Santa Sede tomó la decisión tras ponderar las denuncias de 15 mujeres la cuales sostienen que fueron abusadas sexualmente por el sacerdote.

Las violaciones las habría llevado a cabo el suspendido cura mientras se desempeñaba como párroco de la iglesia principal del municipio de Constanza.

En el marco de una entrevista, el reverendo Fausto García manifestó que desde hace varios días, desde la Sede del Vaticano al país llegó una comunicación suspendiendo al cura.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 9:16 AM

New CCCB President outlines vision for future

Vatican Radio

October 9, 2017

Bishop Lionel Gendron of Saint-Jean-Longueuil was elected President of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) at the end of September.

Bishop Gendron, who will serve a two-year term, has been vice president of the CCCB since 2015.

He spoke to Linda Bordoni about the main points discussed during the plenary during which he was elected and about his vision for the Church in Canada in the years to come. [Link to audio] ...

... Another important theme at the plenary, Bishop Gendron explained, are the issues pertaining to the request for an apology by Canada’s ‘Truth and Reconciliation Commission’ (TRC) regarding the First Nations and the question of the residential schools, most of which were run by the Catholic, Anglican and United Churches.

Gendron explained that the TRC is asking different things from different Churches and the Catholic Church has been responding.

“One of the requests of the TRC is the visit of the Pope to Canada (within the year) to ask forgiveness for what has been done in the residential schools” Gendron explained, pointing out that this is not easy because in Canada one is liable to be sued for something like this.

So, he said “right now – the spirit is always working in the Church – there is a new shift, a new vision: instead of being there to respond to the TRC, and instead of answering the government that is insisting on that point, our mission is not to answer the TRC or the government, but to answer according to the Gospel”.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 9:06 AM

Pope Urges Global Response to Protect Children From Pornography, Online Abuse

National Catholic Register

October 9, 2017

By Edward Pentin

[See also the full text of the Pope's remarks.]

Four-day ‘Child Dignity in the Digital World’ conference brought religious and secular experts together to tackle a host of digital threats.

In the face of extensive online threats to minors, especially internet pornography easily accessible to millions of children worldwide, Pope Francis has cautioned against a sense of paralysis, urging leaders from various sectors to “join forces” to find the “right means and approaches needed for effective responses.”

Speaking Oct. 6 to a group of religious and secular experts from around the world in Rome to attend a four-day conference on the theme “Child Dignity in the Digital World,” the Pope said, “We have to keep our eyes open and not hide from an unpleasant truth that we would rather not see.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 5:53 AM

Second boy claims priest brought him to Minnesota for sex abuse

Pacific Daily News

October 10, 2017

By Haidee V Eugenio, heugenio@guampdn.com

[See also the entry for Brouillard in the accused priest database on BishopAccountability.org.]

Four new clergy sex abuse lawsuits were filed in local and federal court, including one by a second former altar boy who said priest Louis Brouillard paid for his summer trip to Minnesota and sexually abused and molested him.

The lawsuit states that Brouillard forced the boy to engage in sexual activity with another boy during the trip.

The plaintiff, identified in court documents only as F.M. to protect his privacy, said in the complaint that Brouillard sent for him and his friend.

Brouillard, now 96 and is living in Minnesota, was a Catholic priest on Guam from 1948 to 1981.

F.M.'s friend, with the initials F.S.L. based on court documents, filed a lawsuit Sept. 26.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 5:47 AM

Catholic Church struggles to erase stain of child sex abuse

October 7, 2017

By Santiago del Carril

Pope Francis admits the Church has not done enough to tackle the abhorent acts commited by some members of the clergy. The Vatican and the Argentine Synod say they are taking steps to tackle the problem. But survivors, victims and experts warn that some inside the Church are resistant to change and that many cases still go unreported.

In the Roman Catholic Church, they can no longer ignore the elephant in the room.

Growing public awareness of sex abuse offences committed by members of the clergy – in part aided by bombshell cases that have revealed scandalous attempts to cover-up the crimes and critically acclaimed movies addressing the topic, such as Spotlight – is piling pressure on the Church’s leaders, forcing them to act.

Yet experts consulted by the Times warn that some inside the Church remain resistant to change and that many abuse cases still go unreported.

Both the Vatican and locally, the Argentine Synod (Argentine Catholic Episcopal conference), have said they are taking steps to combat the rape and molestation of victims by members of the clergy, forming commissions to create policies on how to investigate these cases, protect minors and future potential victims.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 5:43 AM

Australian Church Facing Biggest Crisis in Its History, Says Brisbane Archbishop

The Tablet

October 9, 2017

By Christopher Lamb

The archbishop said the Church had been 'shaken to the core' by the abuse scandal and today was being called to a 'greater authenticity'

A leading Australian bishop says the Church in his country is facing the biggest crisis in its history after taking part in talks with the Vatican over how to address the problem.

The Archbishop of Brisbane, Mark Coleridge, who is Vice President of the Australian Bishops’ Conference, told The Tablet that he and fellow bishops were in Rome to discuss the fallout of the clerical sexual abuse crisis, and how the Church will adopt a new approach. This, he says, will look at how to include women in positions of “governance”.

High on the agenda at the Vatican summit was Australia’s Royal Commission inquiry into how institutions handled child sexual abuse. This has seen the Catholic Church facing unrelenting criticism for its response to the scandal. The problem has been magnified after the Australian police’s decision to charge Cardinal George Pell, the Vatican treasurer and former Archbishop of Sydney, with historic sexual offences.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 5:36 AM

Equality loophole ‘allows culture of abuse’ at church

The Times

October 9, 2017

By Kaya Burgess

The Church of England should be stripped of its exemptions under the Equality Act to help it to stamp out a culture of abuse, homophobia and sexism, a serving bishop has said.

Under the 2010 act, the church as a religious institution has special permission to insist that those it appoints are Christians, but can also discriminate over sex, sexuality, marital history and gender identity if they conflict with “strongly held religious convictions”.

These exceptions should be scrapped, the Bishop of Buckingham has told The Times, for the established church to adhere to the law of the land. This includes allowing priests to conduct same-sex weddings, he said.

The Right Rev Dr Alan Wilson, 62, also set out seven failings in the church’s safeguarding policies, warning that despite “good intentions” they did not provide survivors with enough protection from abuse.

The Archbishop of Canterbury faced a protest from sexual abuse victims outside Canterbury Cathedral last week.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 5:29 AM

Legionaries of Christ chief reveals his two children

The Australian

October 10, 2017

By Tom Kington

[Note: See also the Legionaries' announcement and Turrión's letter.]

A powerful order of Catholic priests hit by revelations that its founder had a secret family and abused children has now ­admitted that the head of its Rome seminary is the father of two children.

The Legionaries of Christ said Father Oscar Turrion, a 49-year-old Spaniard, would leave the priesthood.

It released a letter in which the priest asks “forgiveness for the scandal ... forgiveness for my bad example and the negative witness I have given”.

The order said Father Turrion, who supervised men studying for the priesthood in Rome, was replaced after he admitted in March that he had a daughter.

Last week he confessed that he had also had a son with the same woman but had kept quiet due to “weakness and shame”.

He had not used church funds to support his family, he added, relying on donations from friends.

The priest said he had “lost his grounding” and started a family at the time when the first scandal emerged involving the order’s founder, Father Marcial Maciel, having fathered children.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 5:22 AM

Expert 'shocked' at lack of awareness about online abuse

Catholic News Agency

October 9, 2017

By Elise Harris

(CNA/EWTN News).- At the close of a Rome conference on child protection online, a leading expert in the field said that while the statistics are well-known, he was surprised by the lack of awareness about the problem.

He added that all sectors of society need to take a more pro-active approach to the difficulty.

“If you study this field and if you work in it, you know about the numbers. I am more amazed about the lack of realization in many people about the scale of the problem about which we speak,” Fr. Hans Zollner SJ told CNA Oct. 7.

President of the Pontifical Gregorian University's Center of Child Protection (CCP) and a member of Pope Francis' commission for the protection of minors, spoke to CNA at the close of a four-day conference on “Child Dignity in the Digital World."

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 5:16 AM

Number of women accusing Catholic priest of sexual abuse rises to 23

New York Daily News

October 9, 2017

By Graham Rayman

The number of women alleging they were abused as children by a Catholic priest in Queens has swelled to 23, the Daily News has learned.

The accusers of former Rev. Adam Prochaski, ranging in age from 39 to 57, say the priest abused them in the Holy Cross parish in Maspeth between 1972 and 1994. The women were between 11 to 16 years old when the abuse allegedly took place.

Mitchell Garabedian, their lawyer, said he’s been contacted by women now living in six states, as well as Canada and London. When he first came forward with the allegations, there were 15 accusers.

“Many of them claim he abused them for years in the school, the church, the rectory, and some were abused in his car,” Garabedian said.

“The police are investigating this matter. I have forwarded many of my clients’ names to them and I am informed they are interviewing my clients.”

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 5:12 AM

October 9, 2017

The next domino falls: Rockville Center NY

The Worthy Adversary

October 8, 2017

By Joelle Casteix

The Catholic Diocese of Rockville Center, NY has announced an Independent Reconciliation and Compensation Plan. These plans, administered by Ken Feinberg and funded by the individual dioceses, aim to compensate victims for abuse. You can read more about them in my four-part series here.

Victims of sexual abuse in the Long Island Catholic diocese of Rockville Center began receiving letters last week. I predicted this back in July.

Like the other plans in the Archdiocese of New York and the Diocese of Brooklyn, victims receiving letters are in “phase one.” These are men and women who have previously come forward to the diocese to say that they were sexually abused.

Rockville Center, however, is a very unique place.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 3:46 PM

Der Pädophiliefall „Anneke“ in Belgien

Katholisches: Magazin für Kirche und Kultur

October 3, 2017

By Ferdinand Boischot

[Summary: Review of the case of "Anneke" a survivor of abuse perpetrated in 1995 at St. Idesbald, a special school in Roeselare, Belgium, run by the Broeders van Liefde (Brothers of Love). Brother Emiel Ceustermans, who was accused of the abuse, was sentenced in 1999 and died soon thereafter. The case unfolded against the background of the Dutroux affair. The article also summarizes subsequent events, including the cases of Cardinal Danneels, Abbot André Vanderlyn, and Abbot Robert Borremans (misidentified as Roger).]

Anneke war ein leicht geistig behindertes Mädchen aus Westflandern (Belgien), 8 Jahre alt, das in die Sonderschule St. Idesbald der karitativen Kongregation Broeders van Liefde (Brüder der Liebe) in Roeselare zur Schule ging.

Der Fall „Anneke“

In November 1995 merkte ihre Mutter (Frau Ria C.) plötzlich schwere Verhaltensauffälligkeiten. Anneke wurde sehr traurig, grundlos aggressiv gegenüber ihren Geschwistern, hatte Unterleibsschmerzen, bekam eine Vaginitis, litt plötzlich unter Bettnässen und hatte ausgeprägte Angst vor der Schule.

Das Mädchen wurde ärztlich und psychologisch untersucht, ohne Anhaltspunkte für eine innere Krankheit oder familiale Störungen.

Anneke wurde in den nächsten Wochen noch verstörter und ängstlicher und fing plötzlich an, ihre Mutter immer wieder über den Phallus zu befragen. Ihre Mutter wurde hellhörig.

Anneke vertraute sich ihrer Mutter an. Bei einem Gang über den Schulhof, an der Hand der Mutter, zeigte sie eindeutig den 78-jährigen Bruder Emiel Ceustermans, als Übeltäter an.

Ceustermans war im Alter von 12 Jahren als „Juvenist“ zur Kongregation gekommen. Er trat der Ordensgemeinschaft bei und war langjähriger Erzieher in den Sonderschulen der Broeders van Liefde. 1993 ging er in den Ruhestand und arbeitete als Gärtner an der Schule des MPI (Medizinisch-Psychologisches Institut) St.-Idesbald in Roeselare.

Die Mutter nahm sofort Kontakt mit dem Schuldirektor, Broeder Herman, auf, der abwimmelte. Der Direktor speiste die Mutter ab mit der Aussage: „Liebe Frau, Kinder fantasieren und die Eltern fantasieren mit“.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 3:25 PM

Fabian Vordermayer ist nicht mehr Pater


October 6, 2017

[Translation: Dr. Fabian Vodermayer can no longer call himself "Father". He was expelled from the Benedictine Order of the Melk Abbey. Once he was a popular priest in Traiskirchen, later he was condemned for sexual abuse by a minor, which he still fights to this day. In September his book Merciless appeared.]

Traiskirchen/Melk - Dr. Fabian Vodermayer darf sich nicht mehr als "Pater" bezeichnen. Er wurde aus dem Benediktiner-Orden des Stiftes Melk ausgeschlossen. Einst war er ein beliebter Priester in Traiskirchen, später wurde er wegen sexuellen Missbrauchs eines damals Minderjährigen verurteilt, was er bis heute bekämpft. Im September erschien sein Buch "Gnadenlos".

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 11:16 AM

Up to 50 witnesses could be called for Cardinal George Pell's committal hearing

Sydney Morning Herald

October 6, 2017

By Adam Cooper and Tom Cowie

Up to 50 witnesses could be called and a "voluminous" amount of evidence discussed when Cardinal George Pell, Australia's highest-ranking Catholic official, faces a committal hearing next year on charges of historical sex abuse.

Cardinal Pell, 76, who has vigorously denied all allegations of sexual abuse, returned to Melbourne Magistrates Court on Friday for a 20-minute administrative hearing.

The court was told 50 witnesses could be called at a four-week committal hearing – which will determine whether he stands trial – which is due to start on March 5.

Some witnesses will be former choirboys and are to be cross-examined over what allegedly happened in St Patrick's Cathedral.

In legal discussion, the cardinal's high-profile defence barrister Robert Richter, QC, said the prosecution case comprised "an awful lot of witnesses", and said the amount of evidence was "voluminous".

Cardinal Pell was charged in June with historical sexual offences involving multiple complainants. Details of the charges are yet to be revealed.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 10:51 AM

Woman sexually abused by school chaplain awarded 210,000 Euros

Irish Examiner

October 9, 2017

By Ann O'Loughlin

A 28-year old woman who was sexually abused by a school chaplain and teacher in the South East over a period of two years has been awarded €200,000 by the High Court.

Mr Justice Robert Eagar also commended the bravery of the woman in bringing her claim as he awarded a further €10,000 in aggravated damages.

He found the former chaplain had wrongfully physically and sexually assaulted, falsely imprisoned and sexually abused the woman who was only a transition year student at secondary school when the abuse began.

* * *

In the case which lasted 34 days the woman gave evidence of how between 2005 and 2007 she was abused and subjected to sexualised behaviour by the Catholic chaplain and teacher in her secondary school.

She said on a school trip to Gambia when she was 16 years of age, the chaplain invited her and another student to sleep in his bed with him. She said the chaplain first kissed her after she turned 17 and the sexual element between them progressed and they had oral sex about 35 times.

On a youth trip to Cologne, Germany to see the Pope, she said they had oral sex and also in the chaplain's school office, his bedroom, car and the school oratory.

The woman had also sued the school in the South East where the man was a chaplain at the time.

She also sued the local bishop.

Mr Justice Eagar, finding the school vicariously liable, said the failure of the school to adequately monitor the behaviour of the chaplain allowed for the inappropriate relationship to develop into an abusive relationship.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 10:29 AM

Priest held for sexually abusing minor girl inside church in Kerala

The Hindu Business Line

October 9, 2017

A Kerala priest was arrested today for allegedly sexually abusing a 10-year-old school girl inside a church, police said.

The crime took place yesterday when the victim had gone to the church for taking Bible lessons, they said.

The accused, Fr Devaraj (65), of Kandanthitta CSI church will be produced before a magistrate later in the evening.

A case under POCSO (Prevention of Children from Sexual Offences) Act and section 376 of IPC (rape) has been registered against the priest, police said.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 10:24 AM

Church 'failed' over Sussex abuse priest Jonathan Graves


Concerns about a former Church of England priest who tortured and sexually abused two boys in Sussex were first raised two decades ago, a BBC investigation has revealed.

Jonathan Graves, of Eastbourne, was jailed last month for sex offences in the 1980s and 1990s. He was arrested in 2013 and charged in 2015.

One mother said she raised concerns in 1997 but the church did nothing.

The church said bishops would meet to examine the issues raised by the BBC.

The woman who reported Graves, said: "They let me, my children, and countless other families down."

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 10:19 AM

Irish missionary priest calls for foreign travel ban on paedophiles

Irish Times

October 8, 2017

Irish missionary priest calls for foreign travel ban on paedophiles
Nobel Peace Prize nominee says ‘international and Irish sex tourists... coming here raping our children’

A four-time Nobel Peace Prize nominee has called on developed countries to ban paedophiles and suspected sex offenders from foreign travel in the same way as suspected terrorists.

Father Shay Cullen, an Irish missionary who has been rescuing street children in the Philippines since 1974, said hundreds of thousands of sex tourists travel to the country from Europe, including the UK and Ireland, the US and Australia.

The Columban priest missed out on the Nobel prize last week, but praised the decision to award it to a campaign for the abolition of nuclear weapons.

“The whole moral fabric of society and protection of human rights and the dignity of women and children is breaking down,” Fr Cullen said.

“One thing right now I would say to any government is to pass a law that would ban all convicted sex offenders from travelling abroad. That would be a very good thing they could do.”

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 10:13 AM

Ireland to be first in Europe to cancel passports of paedophiles

Irish Examiner

October 7, 2017

By Nick Bramhill

Ireland is on course to become the first country in Europe to cancel the passports of convicted paedophiles in a bid to prevent them travelling overseas to offend again.

Earlier this year Australia became the first country in the world to introduce strict legislation to clamp down on sex offenders leaving or attempting to go abroad.

Now Ireland looks set to follow with draft legislation expected to be introduced later this month, which would pave the way for this country becoming the first European nation to make it illegal for convicted paedophiles to travel overseas.

The campaign is being spearheaded by Fr Shay Cullen, the Nobel Peace Prize-nominated Irish missionary who runs the PREDA child abuse charity in the Philippines.

The Dublin-born priest said a move to prevent registered sex offenders from travelling abroad would particularly benefit developing nations, such as the Philippines, where sex tourism and child prostitution are rife.

He said: “It is a grievous crime for anyone to travel abroad to commit child abuse. Legislation was passed in Australia, but we want other countries to follow, and Ireland to take the lead in the EU on this.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 10:10 AM

October 8, 2017

Recent rector of a Legionaries of Christ-run seminary fathered two children

Catholic News Agency/EWTN

October 6, 2017

[Note: See also the Legionaries' announcement and Turrión's letter.]

The Legionaries of Christ announced Friday that Fr. Óscar Turrión, who was of the Pontifical International College Maria Mater Ecclesiae until earlier this year, has fathered two children and intends to leave priestly ministry.

Fr. Turrión had been rector of the seminary since 2014, and a formator there since 2007.

“As those responsible for an institutions that is dedicated to the formation of candidates to the priesthood, we are conscious of the impact that the negative example of a formator and rector has on them and the Christian faithful,” the Legionaries said in an Oct. 6 statement.

“We are deeply saddened that the recent history of our congregation has quenched the fervor of some of our members. We are firmly committed to accompanying our brothers in moments of difficulty. Likewise, we reiterate our commitment to the path of renewal that we continue to follow led by the Church.”

Mater Ecclesiae was founded in 1991, and is operated by the Legionaries of Christ.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 12:08 PM

Pope names Florida priest auxiliary bishop for Orange, California

Catholic News Service

October 6, 2017

Pope Francis has appointed Father Thanh Thai Nguyen, a priest of the Diocese of St. Augustine, Florida, to be an auxiliary bishop in the Diocese of Orange, California.
The appointment was announced in Washington Oct. 6 by Msgr. Walter Erbi, charge d'affaires at the Vatican's nunciature in Washington.

Born in Vietnam, Bishop-designate Nguyen, 64, fled the country in 1979 by boat with his family and spent 10 months in a refugee camp in the Philippines before arriving in Hartford, Connecticut, in 1980. After brief studies at Hartford State Technical College, he became a math and science teacher in Hartford public schools.

In 1984, he joined the Missionaries of Our Lady of La Salette, studying at Merrimack College and the Weston School of Theology, both in Massachusetts. He was ordained to the priesthood May 11, 1991.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 12:05 PM

Letter from Mary F. McMahon Regarding the Rockville Centre Independent Reconciliation and Compensation Program

Diocese of Rockville Centre via Newsday from Attorney Mitchell Garabedian

October 2, 2017

By Mary F. McMahon

[Note: This posting provides an easier download of a PDF of the letter, previously posted by Newsday and included on Tracker.]

As Victim Assistance Coordinator for the Diocese of Rockville Centre, I understand the sensitivities of people who have survived abuse. With that in mind, I am writing to advise you of the Independent Reconciliation and Compensation Program the Diocese of Rockville Centre (“DRVC”) will be initiating in the upcoming weeks (the “DRVC IRCP”). This letter will provide you, in advance, with information you may find helpful when the program is announced.

As you may recall, in October 2016, the New York Archdiocese implemented its IRCP; a two-phase program for survivors of clergy sexual abuse. This past June, the Brooklyn Diocese made its IRCP available. The DRVC is now preparing to offer, in October 2017, the DRVC IRCP to survivors of sexual abuse by DRVC clergy. As the DRVC prepares for the initial phase of the DRVC IRCP, I want to advise you of some details of this program in order to provide you with certain important information and in the hope of allaying any concerns you may have.

Later in October, shortly after the DRVC announces the program, you will receive information in the mail, including instructions for submitting a claim, from the administrators of the program: Mr. Kenneth Feinberg and Ms. Camille Biros. This information will be sent to you because at some time in the past a report of inappropriate sexual conduct by a member of the DRVC clergy was made to the DRVC and your name was associated with this report. Please be assured that your participation in this program is completely voluntary and, subject only to the special circumstances that will be clearly outlined in the DRVC IRCP Protocol (such as any required reporting to the appropriate District Attorneys' offices), will be kept strictly confidential All information any claimant provides on the claim form will be mailed directly by the claimant to Mr. Feinberg' s office.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 11:32 AM

Lawsuit: Abuse occurred in 2006

Guam Daily Post

October 7, 2017

By Mindy Aguon

A 23-year-old former altar boy is the latest victim to come forward alleging he was sexually abused by a Capuchin brother assigned to the Agana Heights parish in 2006.

J.C.M.P., who used initials to protect his identity, filed a lawsuit against the Archdiocese of Agana, the Capuchin Friars and Vernon Kamiaz.

The lawsuit alleges that Kamiaz sexually abused J.C.M.P. when he was 12 years old. Kamiaz allegedly was a Capuchin brother who was actively involved with training the altar boys.

One day after Mass, Kamiaz asked J.C.M.P. and his brother to help him clean up around his house, according to the lawsuit. The complaint states J.C.M.P. agreed because they looked up to Kamiaz as a trusted mentor and friend and he was also a friend of the family.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 11:07 AM

$50M suit filed against ‘sexually violent’ ex-priest Daniel McCormack

Chicago Sun-Times

October 6, 2017

A lawsuit filed Thursday in Cook County Circuit Court seeks more than $50 million in damages from convicted child molester and defrocked priest Daniel McCormack and the Archdiocese of Chicago.

The plaintiff, identified only as John Doe, developed a “trust relationship” with McCormack while playing on a basketball team the pastor coached at St. Ailbe School, 9037 S. Harper Ave., according to the suit. After graduating in 1998, the plaintiff continued playing basketball at St. Agatha’s Parish, 3147 W. Douglas Blvd., where McCormack was a pastor.

The suit alleges that McCormack sexually assaulted John Doe on one occasion —sometime between 1998 and 2000. The plaintiff didn’t recall the sexual abuse until the summer of 2017, according to the suit, which claims his memories were repressed and/or suppressed.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 10:56 AM

$50M Lawsuit Filed Against Former Chicago Priest

Associated Press via U.S. News and World Report

October 6, 2017

A lawsuit seeking more than $50 million in damages has been filed against the Archdiocese of Chicago and a former priest who was convicted of child molestation.

The lawsuit filed Thursday says the alleged victim developed a "trust relationship" with Daniel McCormack while playing on a basketball team he coached. The lawsuit alleges that McCormack sexually assaulted the person, identified only as "John Doe," on one occasion, sometime between 1998 and 2000. It says memory of the abuse had been repressed until this summer.

The lawsuit also alleges that the archdiocese was aware of McCormack's sexual misconduct, but still ordained him.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 10:49 AM

Rector of Legion-run seminary leaving after fathering 2 kids

Associated Press via Washington Post

October 7, 2017

By Nicole Winfield

The Legion of Christ religious order, stained by revelations that its founder sexually abused seminarians and fathered several children, is facing a new credibility scandal: The rector of its diocesan seminary in Rome is leaving the priesthood after admitting he fathered two children of his own.

In a letter released by the Legion on Saturday, the Rev. Oscar Turrion said he fell in love with a woman a few years ago during a time of turmoil in the Legion, fathered a son and, a few months ago, a daughter.

Turrion, a 49-year-old Spaniard, had been rector of the Pontifical Maria Matter Eclesiae International College since 2014. The institution is a residence for diocesan seminarians who study at Rome universities. Currently some 107 seminarians live there, most from India, Latin America and Africa, down from about 200 a few years ago.

The issue is particularly delicate given the international diocesan character of the seminary: Bishops entrusted their seminarians to the Legion to provide them with a wholesome living environment while they completed their studies.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 10:32 AM

Communiqué regarding the former rector of the Pontifical International College Maria Mater Ecclesiae

Legionaries of Christ

October 6, 2017

[Note: Includes link to an English translation of Fr. Óscar Turrión's letter.]

1. Given the publication of news regarding the former rector of the Pontifical International College Maria Mater Ecclesiae, Fr. Óscar Turrión, LC, we offer the following chronology of events. Fr. Óscar has written a personal letter in which he acknowledges the fact that he has
fathered children, apologizes, and requests prayers.

2. On March 27, 2017, Fr. Óscar Turrión informed the superiors that he had just had a
daughter and asked them to maintain confidentiality. Upon learning of this, his superiors
proceeded to ask the Holy See to appoint a new rector of the seminary, who began his term
in August.

3. For his part, Fr. Óscar asked permission to live for a time outside of community to reflect
and pray. His major superior granted this permission, according to the can. 665 of the Code
of Canon Law, with the restriction of not exercising public priestly ministry.

4. On October 5, 2017, Father Óscar Turrión acknowledged that he had had another child
with the same woman a few years ago. He also expressed his intention to leave priestly
ministry and to ask for the dispensation from the obligations contracted with ordination.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 8:26 AM

Nuevo escándalo en los Legionarios de Cristo

El Sol de México

October 7, 2017

Nuevo escándalo en los Legionarios de Cristo: rector de seminaristas tiene dos hijos
El reverendo español Oscar Turrión confesó ser padre de dos hijos y dejará el sacerdocio

By Jorge Sandoval G.

[Summary: Report on the removal of Fr. Óscar Turrión LC from leadership of the Legionaries' Rome seminary, College Maria Mater Ecclesiae, because he had fathered his second child. This article provides useful canonical and other detail.]

Rome - Nuevo escándalo en los Legionarios de Cristo. El deplorable ejemplo del padre Marcial Maciel, fundador de esta Congregación creada en México en 1941, al parecer sigue cundiendo entre los miembros de esta orden religiosa, no obstante el periodo de “purificación” impuesto por el Papa Benedicto XVI, de frente al que fue considerado un escándalo sin precedentes en la historia moderna de la Iglesia católica. Maciel abusó sexualmente de seminaristas y tuvo varios hijos.

Ahora el protagonista es el reverendo español Oscar Turrión, de 49 años, rector en Roma del prestigioso Pontificio Colegio internacional “Mater Ecclesiae”, quien confesó ser padre de dos hijos.

Marcial Maciel abusó sexualmente de seminaristas y tuvo varios hijos. Foto: Reuters
He aquí la cronología de los hechos, según un comunicado de los Legionarios de Cristo:

El pasado 27 de marzo, Turrión informó a sus superiores que “acababa de tener una hija”, solicitando permiso “para vivir un tiempo fuera de la comunidad para reflexionar y orar”.

En base al canon 665 del código de Derecho Canónico, sus superiores se lo concedieron, pero “con la restricción de no ejercer el ministerio sacerdotal en público”.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 8:11 AM

Legionaries of Christ hit by new scandal as priest fathers two


October 7, 2017

By Philip Pullella

The Legionaries of Christ, a Catholic religious order which fell into disgrace after the discovery that its founder was a sexual abuser with a secret family, has been hit by fresh scandal with revelations that the head of its Rome seminary fathered two children.

The order said in a statement late on Friday that Father Oscar Turrion would leave the priesthood. It also released a letter by Turrion in which he asks “forgiveness for the scandal ... forgiveness for my bad example and the negative witness I have given”.

The Legionaries is a conservative order of Roman Catholic priests. Turrion was rector of the Pontifical International College Maria Mater Ecclesiae, a seminary for men in the order studying for the priesthood in pontifical universities in Rome.

The Legionaries said Turrion, a 49-year-old Spaniard, told his superiors in March that he had just had a daughter. A new rector was appointed and Turrion was ordered not to practice his ministry publicly.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 8:04 AM

October 7, 2017

Celebrated Church of England bishop accused of child abuse 'will have his good name restored' by an inquiry

The Daily Mail

October 7, 2017

- Official review will criticise Church investigation into Bishop George Bell
- Bishop Bell was praised for speaking out against Hitler in the 1930s
- But Church said he has sexually assaulted a child on the 'balance of probabilities'

A celebrated bishop whose reputation was destroyed when the Church of England labelled him a paedophile is set to have his good name restored, The Mail on Sunday has learned.

An official review of the handling of abuse allegations against the late Bishop George Bell will criticise the original Church investigation as flawed and unfair, it is understood.

Bishop Bell the wartime Bishop of Chichester who died in 1958, was praised for speaking out against Hitler in the 1930s – and he was granted the Anglican equivalent of a Saint’s Day, an annual commemoration.

But to the fury of devotees, his character was blackened when the Church declared two years ago that ‘on the balance of probabilities’ he had sexually assaulted a child in the late 1940s and early 1950s.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 11:50 PM

Utah quietly withdraws from FLDS UEP Trust fund

Deseret News

October 6, 2017

By Pat Reavy

Utah has quietly withdrawn from the $110 million United Effort Plan trust of the Fundamentalist LDS Church.

Saying that the state's "objectives have been achieved," the Utah Attorney General's Office on Friday confirmed that it had removed itself from the UEP Trust, which holds most of the property and homes in the twin border towns of Hildale, Utah, and Colorado City, Arizona.

The UEP Trust was created by the FLDS Church in 1942 on the concept of a "united order," allowing followers to share in its assets. But the state of Utah seized control of it in 2005 amid allegations of mismanagement by FLDS Church leaders including Warren Jeffs, who was later convicted of child sex abuse and is serving a life prison sentence in Texas.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 11:47 PM

Capuchin brother accused again in clergy abuse lawsuit

Pacific Daily News

October 6, 2017

By Haidee V Eugenio

A lawsuit filed Friday in federal court states that clergy sex abuse on Guam happened as recently as 2006 or 2007, when former Capuchin brother Vernon Kamiaz allegedly molested an Agana Heights Parish altar boy.

Most of the clergy abuse suits filed so far - nearly 130 - allege children were abused decades ago, from the mid-1950s to the early 1990s.

The plaintiff, identified in court documents only as J.C.M.P. to protect his privacy, said in his lawsuit that Kamiaz was actively involved with training altar boys at the Agana Heights Parish and was also his neighbor and family friend.

J.C.M.P. was 12 or 13 when the alleged sex abuse happened, his lawsuit states. He is now 23.

J.C.M.P. is represented by attorney David Lujan and demands $5 million in minimum damages.

Attorney Gloria L. Rudolph, of the law firm of Lujan and Wolff, confirmed that J.C.M.P. is the youngest to file a clergy abuse suit.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 11:44 PM

'The Keepers': Baltimore news station uncovers lost video that could answer questions about case


October 6, 2017

By Christian Schaffer, Scripps National Desk

(WMAR) - A video that could hold vital answers to questions posed in Netflix’s true crime documentary “The Keepers” has been found in the archives of a Baltimore newsroom.

Journalists at WMAR in Baltimore — one of our sister stations— have uncovered video of Catholic Church documents being dug up at a local cemetery in 1994. The video, which shows black plastic bags and papers at the bottom of the a deep hole in a Baltimore cemetery, confirms the existence of documents discussed on “The Keepers,” and gives new insight into what Father Joseph Maskell hid amid accusations of sexual abuse.

“The Keepers” investigates the murder of Sister Cathy Cesnik — a teacher at Archbishop Keough High School who was killed in 1970. It also looks into allegations of sexual abuse by Maskell, a former chaplain at the school.

According to “The Keepers,” Maskell ordered dozens of boxes of documents to be buried at a local cemetery in 1990 — documents that activists say contained proof of sexual abuse of minors.

In August of 1994, the boxes were dug up. The WMAR video shows that among the documents that were buried is a version of the "Millon Clinical Multiaxial Inventory,” or MCMI.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 11:39 PM

Australian bishops at Vatican discuss 'restoring trust'


October 7, 2017

A delegation of top Australian bishops held meetings at the Vatican this week to discuss topics including the “restoration of trust” in the country where its senior Catholic Church figure is facing allegations of historical sexual offences.

The Vatican disclosed the meetings in a statement on Saturday, a day after Cardinal George Pell, the Vatican’s economy minister, attended a hearing in Melbourne over the allegations.

Pell, who has denied all accusations against him, has taken a leave of absence from his Vatican post to defend himself in his native Australia.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 11:36 PM

Compensation for uprooting indigenous children: Canada to pay $640m

Agence France-Presse via The Daily Star

October 8, 2017

An estimated 20,000 indigenous children taken from their families starting in the 1960s and placed for adoption or fostering will share in a Can$800 million (US$640 million) payout, the government announced Friday.

The so-called "Sixties Scoop" saw them placed with primarily white middle-class families in Canada, the United States and overseas.

In recent years, as the children grew into adults and became aware of their past, several lawsuits and class actions were filed over their loss of aboriginal identity, claiming in court documents that it resulted in psychiatric disorders, substance abuse, unemployment, violence and suicides.

"People affected by the '60s Scoop have told us that the loss of their culture and language are among the worst kinds of harm that they suffered," Indigenous Relations Minister Carolyn Bennett told a press conference, flanked by Scoop survivors.

"That is why our government is responding directly to remedy the ill-advised (policies) of the past."

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 11:32 PM

With new information, new questions arise in Aurora priest sex abuse case

Aurora Beacon-News / Chicago Tribune

October 7, 2017

By Hannah Leone

[See the entry for Pedraza-Arias in BishopAccountability.org's database of accused priests.]

New disclosures are raising questions in the case of an Aurora priest charged with sex abuse whose trial has been repeatedly delayed while he faces deportation.

"I know the state wants to keep this trial on the calendar," Kane County Circuit Judge Linda Abrahamson said Friday. "But this recent disclosure is like an atomic bomb."

Alfredo Pedraza-Arias, 51, has pleaded not guilty to multiple counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse, which allege that he sexually abused two girls at Aurora's Sacred Heart Church between 2012 and 2014, when both girls were younger than six. He appeared in custody in the courtroom Friday, along with his attorney, David Camic; Assistant State's Attorney Reagan Pittman; a representative from the Rockford Diocese; and a Spanish translator.

Abrahamson said the trial, slated for November, may be affected by whether lawyers have access to a man who investigated the case for the Kane County Child Advocacy Center.

New material disclosed last week includes notes about interviews the investigator conducted that weren't turned in when they should have been, Camic said.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 7:35 PM

Pope Francis commits the church to protect children from abuse in the digital world


By Gerard O'Connell
October 6, 2017

Pope Francis today committed the Catholic Church to work “effectively and with genuine passion,” in close association with lawmakers, police authorities, technological giants in the field of social communications and other actors in civil society, for “the effective protection of the dignity of minors in the digital world.”

He offered this commitment in the Vatican’s Clementine Hall when he addressed the 140 participants from the first world congress on “Child Dignity in the Digital World” that was held at the Jesuit-run Pontifical Gregorian University, Oct. 3 to 6.

He did so in response to its “Declaration of Rome,” a 13-point call to action, which was read to him at the audience by Muireann O’Carroll, a 16-year-old Irish girl, representing the “digital natives” generation.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 7:19 PM

Victims seek justice for former Maspeth priest’s sex abuse

Queens Times Ledger

October 6, 2017

By Mark Hallum

Up to 15 victims have come forward accusing a former Maspeth parish priest of sexual abuse.

A former Maspeth priest is under investigation for the sexual assault of up to 15 girls between 1973 and 1994 with the help of Boston attorney Mitchell Garabedian, who was depicted in the film “Spotlight. Additional women are coming forward.

During the time Father Adam Prochaski was with Holy Cross parish school at 61-21 56th Rd. , Linda Porcaro, a teacher who was close to the matter and the whistleblower in the case, claims the priest had assaulted numerous girls between the ages of 5 and 16 and was known to use physical intimidation on the boys in the school.

“He was mean and intimidati­ng,” Porcaro said in an interview with TimesLedger. “He was very large, he towered over me ... He was about 6-foot-4, he wasn’t slim, He wasn’t overweight, but he was built and to a child that’s already very intimidating. I know he was rough with the boys, I saw him with the boys.”

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 11:30 AM

Hiding reality of sexual abuse a grave mistake, Pope acknowledges

Agence France-Presse via ABS-CBN News

October 7, 2017

Pope Francis on Friday urged the world, including the Catholic Church, to face up to the devastating effects of online sexual violence on young people, including extreme pornography and sexting.

"We have to keep our eyes open and not hide from an unpleasant truth that we would rather not see," Francis said at a gathering of technology executives and health professionals at the Vatican.

Alluding to the pedophile scandals that have rocked the church, he added: "For that matter, surely we have realized sufficiently in recent years that concealing the reality of sexual abuse is a grave error and the source of many other evils?"

In a speech about protecting the dignity of children in the internet era, Francis warned of the spread of extreme pornography, sexting and online bullying as well as sexual exploitation, trafficking and the live-streaming of rape and violence against children.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 11:07 AM

Four-week court hearing for Cardinal Pell

AAP (Australian Associated Press)

October 6, 2017

A four-week hearing in March will determine if Cardinal George Pell stands trial over historical sexual offence allegations involving multiple complainants.

As many as 50 witnesses will give evidence during a hearing that will determine if Cardinal George Pell stands trial on historical sexual offence charges.

The highest-ranking Catholic official to be charged with sexual abuse has appeared in court for the second time, again for a brief administrative hearing in the Melbourne Magistrates Court.

The case will return to the same court for a four-week committal hearing beginning on March 5.

A magistrate will then decide if Pell stands trial in the Victorian County Court over the charges involving multiple complainants.

The defence will argue some of the allegations, those involving Melbourne's St Patrick's Cathedral, could never have happened.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 11:04 AM

Suburban NY Diocese Plans Compensation in Sex Abuse Cases

Associated Press

October 7, 2017

A Roman Catholic diocese in suburban New York is creating an independent compensation program for people who were sexually abused by priests.

Newsday reports the Diocese of Rockville Centre on Long Island sent letters this week to people who previously have filed complaints.

The diocese is the eighth largest in the United States with an estimated 1.4 million Catholics.

The compensation program will be modeled after ones established in the Archdiocese of New York and the Diocese of Brooklyn during the past year.

Victims deemed eligible for financial compensation must agree not to pursue legal action against the church in the future in order to collect.

Rockville Centre's program could involve dozens of cases of alleged abuse, some dating back decades.


Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 10:59 AM

Former Catholic priest facing trial accused of 19 historic sex abuse charges at Ealing school


October 4, 2017

By Emily Pennink and Katherine Clementine

Father Laurence faces 19 historical sex charges, including beating with a cane

A former Catholic priest in Ealing has gone on trial for allegedly sexually abusing a string of pupils at a boy's school.

Andrew Soper, known as Father Laurence, faces 19 historical sex charges relating to 10 former pupils at St Benedict's School.

The 74-year-old former abbot has denied the offences of indecent assault, indecency with a child, and buggery allegedly committed in the 1970s and 80s.

The boys, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, were subjected to sexual touching and beaten with a cane, according to the charges.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 10:48 AM

This victim was sent to live with a priest as punishment. Then the priest molested him.

Pacific News Center

October 5, 2017

By Janela Carrera

The lawsuit names former priest Father Andrew Mannetta.

Guam – Another sex abuse complaint was filed in Superior Court against the Archdiocese of Agana, naming former Guam priest Father Andrew Mannetta as the alleged perpetrator.

The lawsuit is brought by a a 46-year-old man with the initials G.E.J. who claims Father Mannetta sexually abused him when he was about 14 years old at the San Miguel Church in Talofofo.

According to the complaint, G.E.J.’s parents sent him to live with Father Mannetta because he was rebelling against his parents.

G.E.J. says that on several occasions Father Mannetta ordered him to lie on his stomach and then would rub his buttocks and legs while watching television. Every time this happened, G.E.J. says the priest inched closer and closer to his genitals.

G.E.J. says this happened about 10 to 15 times before he left the rectory and finally returned home.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 10:43 AM

Pope meets French cardinal accused of paedophilia cover-up

Agence France-Presse via The Guardian

October 5, 2017

Pope Francis met Thursday with French Cardinal Philippe Barbarin, who is awaiting trial over allegations he covered up for a paedophile priest in his diocese.

It was the first time Francis has met with Barbarin, the Archbishop of Lyon, since the cardinal learned last month that he would have to appear in court in April in connection with priest Bernard Preynat’s abuse of boy scouts in the 1980s.

Public prosecutors ruled last year that Barbarin did not have a case to answer but he and six other co-defendants have been directly indicted by some of Preynat’s victims. A judge ruled last month that the case could proceed.

Barbarin, 66, faces a potential jail sentence if found guilty of failing to act immediately and appropriately when one of the victims reported Preynat to the Church in 2014, demanding he be sacked.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 10:29 AM

Holy See Press Office Communiqué: Meeting of the leadership of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference in Rome, 07.10.2017

Holy See Press Office

October 7, 2017

The leadership of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference met this week in Rome with officials from the Secretariat of State and various offices of the Holy See for a wide-ranging discussion concerning the situation of the Catholic Church in Australia at this time.

Topics covered included the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, the relationship between the Church and society at large, the restoration of trust, and greater participation of the laity in decision-making roles in the Church.

The Australian delegation was comprised of the President of the Conference, the Most Rev. Denis James Hart, Archbishop of Melbourne; and the Vice-President, the Most Rev. Mark Benedict Coleridge, Archbishop of Brisbane; accompanied by Justice Neville John Owen of the Truth, Justice and Healing Council.

The main encounter took place on Thursday, October 5, with the Cardinal Secretary of State, His Eminence Pietro Parolin; the Secretary for Relations with States, Archbishop Paul Richard Gallagher; the Prefect of the Congregation for Bishops, His Eminence Marc Ouellet, P.S.S.; and the Secretary for the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Archbishop Giacomo Morandi.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 8:13 AM

Australian Delegation Travels to Rome Amid Sex Abuse Scandal

Associated Press via U.S. News & World Report

October 7, 2017

The Vatican says that leaders of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference have traveled to Rome to discuss "the restoration of trust" amid a sex abuse scandal involving Australian cardinal George Pell, a top adviser to the pope.

The Vatican announced the delegation's visit this week in a statement Saturday, saying key Australian church leaders met with top officials including the Vatican secretary of state and the secretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith, which is the Vatican office that processes all cases of priests accused of sexually abusing minors.

The extraordinary meetings in Rome come months after the Vatican released Pell to return to Australia to face charges in the decades-old case. Pell, who took a leave of absence as the Vatican's financial czar, denies the charges.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 8:07 AM

Diocese launches compensation fund for clergy abuse victims

News12 Long Island

October 6, 2017

The Diocese of Rockville Centre is launching a fund to compensate victims of sex abuse by clergy.

The Diocese sent a letter to victims notifying them of the settlement program. It's called the Independent Reconciliation and Compensation Program.

Victims who accept settlement money must waive their right to bring their cases to court.

The compensation fund is aimed at bringing closure to dozens of cases of alleged abuse by clergy that, in some cases, date back decades.

Settlements range from $100,000 to $500,000. Attorneys for clergy sex abuse victims say while accepting a settlement under the fund may help victims, it effectively hides the truth.

"In essence, they're paying people off," says attorney Mitchell Garabedian. "It's saying to these people, 'Here's some money. We're not going to list publicly the names of the predator priests. We just want you to go away.'"

It is unclear how many letters were sent out by the Diocese of Rockville Centre. A spokesman for the diocese says a formal announcement about the fund will be made in the near future.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 8:04 AM

Diocese of Rockville Centre's letter to those who have alleged clergy sexual abuse


[This is a letter to a survivor from the Rockville Centre diocese's Director of the Office for the Protection of Children and Young People. It was published on October 6 in Newsday's Letter: LI Catholic diocese creates sex abuse compensation program.]

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 7:55 AM

Letter: LI Catholic diocese creates sex abuse compensation program


October 6, 2017

By Bart Jones, bart.jones@newsday.com

The Diocese of Rockville Centre is creating an independent compensation program for people who were sexually abused by priests — the latest effort in New York to bring closure to a horrific chapter in modern Catholic church history.

The diocese this week sent letters to those who previously have filed such complaints with diocesan officials, according to attorneys representing some of them. Newsday obtained a copy of the letter Friday.

The program will be modeled after similar ones established in the Archdiocese of New York and the Diocese of Brooklyn during the past year.

Under those programs, victims deemed eligible for financial compensation must agree not to pursue legal action against the church in the future in order to collect. Rockville Centre’s program could encompass dozens of cases of alleged abuse, in some cases dating back decades.

In a statement to Newsday, Sean Dolan, a spokesman for the Diocese of Rockville Centre, wrote, “In the interest of providing survivors with advance notice of our impending Independent Reconciliation and Compensation Program, the Director of the Office for the Protection of Children and Young People sent a letter advising them of what would be occurring. A formal diocesan announcement will be made in the near future.”

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 7:49 AM

Clergy abuse happened as recently as 10 years ago, lawsuit claims

Pacific Daily News (USA TODAY Network)

October 6, 2017

By Haidee V. Eugenio

Some of the sexual abuse that more than 100 children on Guam are alleged to have suffered at the hands of Catholic clergy happened about 10 years ago, not in the more distant past as most lawsuits have claimed, according to a new suit filed Friday in federal court here.

Most of the nearly 130 lawsuits filed so far have said children were abused from the mid-1950s to the early 1990s.

But a 23-year-old man, identified in court documents as J.C.M.P., alleges that Vernon Kamiaz, a Capuchin brother involved in training altar boys at Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament Church in Agaña Heights, molested him in 2006 or 2007. Attorney Gloria L. Rudolph, of the law firm of Lujan and Wolff, confirmed that J.C.M.P. is the youngest to file a clergy abuse suit; USA TODAY does not use the names of potential victims of sexual abuse unless they consent to being identified.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 7:40 AM

October 6, 2017

Statement: Victims group blasts Vatican abuse summit

SNAP, the Survivors Network (SNAPnetwork.org)

October 5, 2017

Recent cases show epidemic of child pornography and cover-up in the church

Church should be target of global response, not leading it, group says

Today, the world’s largest support group for men and women sexually abused in the Catholic Church is criticizing a Vatican summit aimed at exposing child sexual abuse on the Internet.

"If the Vatican is so dedicated to punishing people who use the internet to exploit children, the first thing they need to do is fix the problem within the church. Then they must punish their own bishops who covered up for men who made, uploaded, viewed or distributed child pornography,” said Barb Dorris, the managing director of SNAP, the Survivors Network (SNAPNetwork.org).

“And there is the obvious: they must turn over Msgr. Carlo Capella to civil authorities in the United States and Canada. Anything less than that is smoke and mirrors,” she said.

Msgr. Carlo Capella is a Vatican diplomat who was recalled to the Vatican last month when U.S. authorities accused him of possession of child pornography. Last week, Canadian officials issued a warrant for his arrest on child pornography charges there.

The three-day Child Dignity in the Digital World Conference concludes October 6, 2017 at the Gregorian University in Rome. The event has brought together world leaders in digital media, according to media reports. However, the epidemic and cover-up of child pornography, SNAP says, is a big problem in the Catholic Church:

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 11:14 AM

Ex-Maspeth priest molested girls: lawyer

Queens Chronicle

October 5, 2017

By Christopher Barca

More than a dozen women have come forward in recent weeks to accuse a former Maspeth priest of molesting them as children decades ago.

Prominent attorney Mitchell Garabedian told the Chronicle in a Tuesday interview that 15 women claim that former Holy Cross Church pastor the Rev. Adam Prochaski sexually abused them at some point between 1973 and 1994.

“Father Prochaski was sexually abusing innocent children for more than two decades,” Garabedian said. “My clients are very courageous for coming forward.”

According to the Daily News, which broke the story, Prochaski was first assigned to Holy Cross in 1969. Garabedian said the abuse began four years later and occurred not just at the church, but at the parish’s now-defunct school and other locations.

“Sex abuse happened at school, in Holy Cross Church, in the rectory next door and in some of the children’s homes, as well as the father’s,” the attorney said. “In many cases, his abuse was open, notorious and in plain view.”

The ages of his alleged victims, many of them Polish immigrants, ranged from just 5 years old to 16, he added.

The allegations finally graduated from whispered rumors in 1990, when former Holy Cross teacher Linda Porcaro said seven of the priest’s alleged victims told her what had happened to them.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 9:49 AM

Pope Francis Says Tech Companies Should Protect Children From Sexual Exploitation, Cyber Bullying


October 6, 2017

The Pontiff argues filters and algorithms are not enough.

Pope Francis told executives of leading internet companies on Friday to use “their great profits” to defend children from sexual exploitation and other dangers lurking online.

The pontiff, speaking at a conference in Rome, said the Catholic Church needed to accept responsibility “before God, victims, and public opinion” for its own sex abuse scandals, but wanted to share the lessons it had learned.

Speaking to participants including representatives from Facebook (FB, +1.67%) and Microsoft (MSFT, +1.37%) , he said social media businesses had to do more than set up filters and algorithms to block harmful content.

The 80-year-old pope spoke out against the spread of extreme pornography, the dangers of so-called “sexting” between young people and between adults and children, and cyber bullying, calling it “a true form of moral and physical attack.”

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 9:30 AM

PNG Catholic priest accused of sexual misconduct

RNZ (Radio New Zealand)

October 6, 2017

Police in Papua New Guinea are investigating the conduct of a Catholic Priest, who is accused of sexual misconduct.

The Milne Bay police chief, George Bayagau, says an investigation has been launched after 16 girls complained about the priest's inappropriate behaviour.

Mr Bayagau told the Post Courier that officers from the sexual violence unit are investigating, although he refused to go into further detail.

The priest works as a chaplain at a local secondary school.

A Catholic Church investigation found no evidence of wrongdoing.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 9:26 AM

Pope pledges church commitment to fight child abuse on- and offline

Catholic News Service

October 6, 2017

By Cindy Wooden

Acknowledging how often the Catholic Church failed to protect children from sexual abuse, Pope Francis pledged "to work strenuously and with foresight for the protection of minors and their dignity," including online.

"As all of us know, in recent years the church has come to acknowledge her own failures in providing for the protection of children: Extremely grave facts have come to light, for which we have to accept our responsibility before God, before the victims and before public opinion," the pope said Oct. 6.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 9:23 AM

Pope Francis: 'painful' failures help Church lead in protecting minors

Catholic News Agency

October 6, 2017

By Elise Harris

On Friday, Pope Francis told a group of religious and secular experts from around the world that protecting minors against increasing online threats is a serious new concern, and one in which the Church can be a leading voice given the experience gleaned from past mistakes.

“As all of us know, in recent years the Church has come to acknowledge her own failures in providing for the protection of children,” the Pope said Oct. 6. “Extremely grave facts have come to light, for which we have to accept our responsibility before God, before the victims and before public opinion.”

Because of this, “as a result of these painful experiences and the skills gained in the process of conversion and purification, the Church today feels especially bound to work strenuously and with foresight for the protection of minors and their dignity, not only within her own ranks, but in society as a whole and throughout the world.”

The Church can't even attempt to “do this alone – for that is clearly not enough,” he said, but she stands ready by “offering her own effective and ready cooperation to all those individuals and groups in society that are committed to the same end.”

In this sense, he said, the Church adheres fully to the goal of putting an end to “the abuse, exploitation, trafficking and all forms of violence against and torture of children” that was set by the United Nations in the 2030 Sustainable Development agenda.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 8:46 AM

Pope Francis: speech to World Congress on Child Dignity in Digital World

Vatican Radio

October 6, 2017

Pope Francis addressed the participants in the World Congress on Child Dignity in the Digital World. Hosted by the Pontifical Gregorian University and its Centre for Child Protection, the four-day event brought together different government and police representatives, software companies, religious leaders and medical experts specialized in the impact of on-line abuse. Below, please find the full text of Pope Francis' prepared remarks, in their official English translation.

... I thank the Rector of the Gregorian University, Father Nuno da Silva Gonçalves, and the young lady representative of the youth for their kind and informative words of introduction to our meeting. I am grateful to all of you for being here this morning and informing me of the results of your work. Above all, I thank you for sharing your concerns and your commitment to confront together, for the sake of young people worldwide, a grave new problem felt in our time. A problem that had not yet been studied and discussed by a broad spectrum of experts from various fields and areas of responsibility as you have done in these days: the problem of the effective protection of the dignity of minors in the digital world. ...

... We know that minors are presently more than a quarter of the over 3 billion users of the internet; this means that over 800 million minors are navigating the internet. We know that within two years, in India alone, over 500 million persons will have access to the internet, and that half of these will be minors. What do they find on the net? And how are they regarded by those who exercise various kinds of influence over the net?

We have to keep our eyes open and not hide from an unpleasant truth that we would rather not see. For that matter, surely we have realized sufficiently in recent years that concealing the reality of sexual abuse is a grave error and the source of many other evils? So let us face reality, as you have done in these days. We encounter extremely troubling things on the net, including the spread of ever more extreme pornography, since habitual use raises the threshold of stimulation; the increasing phenomenon of sexting between young men and women who use the social media; and the growth of online bullying, a true form of moral and physical attack on the dignity of other young people. To this can be added sextortion; the solicitation of minors for sexual purposes, now widely reported in the news; to say nothing of the grave and appalling crimes of online trafficking in persons, prostitution, and even the commissioning and live viewing of acts of rape and violence against minors in other parts of the world. The net has its dark side (the “dark net”), where evil finds ever new, effective and pervasive ways to act and to expand. The spread of printed pornography in the past was a relatively small phenomenon compared to the proliferation of pornography on the net. You have addressed this clearly, based on solid research and documentation, and for this we are grateful. ...

... Very appropriately, you have expressed the hope that religious leaders and communities of believers can also share in this common effort, drawing on their experience, their authority and their resources for education and for moral and spiritual formation. In effect, only the light and the strength that come from God can enable us to face these new challenges. As for the Catholic Church, I would assure you of her commitment and her readiness to help. As all of us know, in recent years the Church has come to acknowledge her own failures in providing for the protection of children: extremely grave facts have come to light, for which we have to accept our responsibility before God, before the victims and before public opinion. For this very reason, as a result of these painful experiences and the skills gained in the process of conversion and purification, the Church today feels especially bound to work strenuously and with foresight for the protection of minors and their dignity, not only within her own ranks, but in society as a whole and throughout the world. She does not attempt to do this alone – for that is clearly not enough – but by offering her own effective and ready cooperation to all those individuals and groups in society that are committed to the same end. In this sense, the Church adheres to the goal of putting an end to “the abuse, exploitation, trafficking and all forms of violence against and torture of children” set by the United Nations in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (Target 16.2)

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 8:37 AM

Former abuse commission member Collins expresses concern over group's restructuring

National Catholic Reporter

October 5, 2017

By Joshua J. McElwee

The clergy abuse survivor who resigned in frustration from the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors last March has expressed concern about a proposal to restructure the group so it no longer includes direct involvement of survivors.

In an interview with NCR, Marie Collins said she worries the possible change to put survivors on a new advisory panel separate from the commission might mean they are not consulted on every issue the group considers.

"I feel it is a backward step," Collins said in an email conversation Oct. 3.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 8:30 AM

Cardinal charged with sex offenses jeered at Australia court

Associated Press

October 6, 2017

By Trevor Marshallsea

SYDNEY (AP) — Cardinal George Pell, the most senior Catholic official to face sex offense charges, was jeered by protesters as he made a court appearance in his native Australia on Friday in a case that has rocked the Vatican and placed scrutiny on the pope’s stance against abusive clergy.

Australia’s highest-ranking Catholic and Pope Francis’ top financial adviser, Pell entered the Melbourne Magistrates Court flanked by police and media as a small group of placard-waving protesters yelled from the sidewalk. He did not react to the hecklers.

The 20-minute hearing focused on planning for the committal hearing starting March 5 that will determine whether he goes to trial. As many as 50 witnesses could be called for that proceeding, expected to last a month.

Pell, who remained silent throughout, has been charged with multiple offenses involving multiple complainants. The exact detail and nature of the charges have not been disclosed to the public, though police have described them as “historical” sexual assault offenses, meaning they are alleged to have occurred years ago.

Pell through his lawyer has vowed to fight the charges. The 76-year-old cardinal has taken leave from his position as Vatican treasurer to return to Australia and defend himself. He has not been required to enter a plea in court, though his attorney said at his first court appearance in July that Pell intended to plead not guilty.

Pell’s attorney, Robert Richter, told Friday’s hearing at least one of the allegations could not have happened.

“We propose to demonstrate to Your Honor that what was alleged was impossible,” Richter told magistrate Belinda Wallington.

Today’s brief hearing centered on which witnesses would be cross-examined at the committal hearing, and touched on a factor likely to feature prominently in the case — the memories of witnesses speaking about incidents alleged to have occurred up to several decades ago.

Richter pointed out one witness had given police a “vague” statement. Wallington noted the man was age 11 at the time.

“We’re dealing with historical events. Memory’s not static,” Wallington said.

The magistrate refused Pell’s lawyers permission to cross-examine five witnesses they had hoped to question, but granted permission for them to cross-examine dozens of others at the committal hearing, saying it was appropriate to allow those witnesses’ memories to be “further explored.”

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 8:20 AM

Pope denounces porn and corruption of kids' minds, bodies

Associated Press via Miami Herald

October 6, 2017

By Nicole Winfield

Pope Francis on Friday denounced the proliferation of adult and child pornography on the internet and demanded better protections for children online — even as the Vatican confronts its own cross-border child porn investigation involving a top papal envoy.

Francis met with participants of a Catholic Church-backed international conference on fighting child pornography and protecting children in the digital age. He fully backed their proposals to toughen sanctions against those who abuse and exploit children online and improve technological filters to prevent young people from accessing porn online.

Francis said the Catholic Church knew well the "grave error" of trying to conceal the problem of sexual abuse — a reference to the church's long history of cover-up of priests who have raped and molested children around the world.

He said an international, cross-disciplinary approach was needed to protect children from the dark net and the "corruption of their minds and violence against their bodies."

Using terms that are certainly new to papal lexicon, Francis denounced "extreme pornography" on the web that adults consume and the increasing use of "sexting" and "sextortion" among the estimated 800 million minors who navigate the internet.

"We would be seriously deluding ourselves were we to think that a society where an abnormal consumption of internet sex is rampant among adults could be capable of effectively protecting minors," he said.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 8:12 AM

Vatican Finance Chief George Pell Faces March Hearing Over Sex-Abuse Charges

The Wall Street Journal

October 5, 2017

By Robb M. Stewart

Australian court allows lawyers for the cardinal to cross-examine witnesses named by prosecution

Lawyers for Cardinal George Pell, one of the most senior officials in the Vatican, will cross-examine dozens of witnesses called by prosecutors accusing him of historical sexual offenses in Australia.

Cardinal Pell, who is Pope Francis’ finance chief, appeared in the Melbourne Magistrates’ Court on Friday for a 20-minute procedural hearing. Magistrate Belinda Wellington agreed to a four-week committal hearing from March 5, during which the court will decide if there is enough evidence to progress the matter.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 7:59 AM

Pell to make case for abuse charges as ‘impossible’ at March hearing


October 6, 2017

In a court hearing on Friday, an attorney for Australian Cardinal George Pell described abuse charges against the 76-year-old prelate as "impossible." A four-week hearing has been scheduled beginning next March 5 to determine if the claims of "historical sexual offenses" against Pell are sufficient to proceed to a full trial.

Cardinal George Pell made his second appearance before an Australian court on Friday, with his defense team saying it wants to call some 50 witnesses in an effort to demonstrate that claims the 76-year-old prelate committed “historical sexual offenses” are impossible.

A four-week hearing has been scheduled beginning on March 5 of the next year to hear the evidence and determine whether the case should proceed to trial.

Legal observers in Australia say they assume Pell will have to stand trial, since roughly 95 percent of cases at the Magistrate’s Court level proceed to trial. Moreover, in a politically sensitive and high-profile case such as this, cases are rarely terminated at the preliminary stage.

Also at the March hearing, magistrates will decide which, if any, of the charges will proceed to trial, whether they will be tried together or separately.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 7:56 AM

Cardinal George Pell to face four-week court hearing over alleged historic sex assault offences

The Telegraph

October 6, 2017

By Jonathan Pearlman

Cardinal George Pell, one of the most powerful figures in the Vatican and Australia's most senior Catholic, will face a four-week court hearing next March over alleged historic sex assault offences that his lawyer described as “impossible”.

The 76-year-old, who has strongly denied any wrongdoing, attended a brief procedural hearing in Melbourne but made no comment.

The court has ordered a four-week committal hearing to begin on March 5.

The court heard that at least 50 witnesses will be called, including some who were choirboys at the time of their relevant evidence. Five witnesses were disallowed.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 7:52 AM

Top Vatican adviser Pell's hearing date set, dozens of witnesses planned


October 5, 2017

By Lucie Morris-Marr and Ben Westcott, CNN

Dozens of witnesses are expected to give evidence when Vatican treasurer Cardinal George Pell faces an Australian court again in March on charges of historic sexual assault.

One of the most senior figures in the Vatican, Pell appeared at Melbourne Magistrates' Court Friday after he was charged by detectives from Victoria Police in June.

He is fighting multiple allegations of historic sexual abuse, although the details of the charges have not been made public.

His barrister Robert Richter QC already told the court in the first hearing in July his client would plead not guilty.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 7:49 AM

Cardinal George Pell in Melbourne court over historical sexual offences


October 6, 2017

Guarded by a ring of police, Cardinal George Pell has been heckled outside the Melbourne Magistrates' Court where he appeared for a brief mention of his case.

A frail-looking Pell, 76, left the court building on Friday morning with his barrister Robert Richter QC and a band of police, who accompanied the pair to the lawyer's office amid a media frenzy.

As he made the slow walk to and from court, Pell was heckled by protesters but didn't react.

Police had cordoned off the court entrance early in the day and blocked part of the road outside.

A line of about 30 people - mainly media - waited for hours to secure a seat in the courtroom where the third most senior Vatican official's committal mention was heard.

There was no sign of Pell supporters, but some victim advocacy representatives turned up, a few holding signs.

"It doesn't matter how high up the tree you are, it doesn't matter how much access to money you have, no one is above the law," Brian Cherrie said.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 7:44 AM

Cardinal George Pell appears at Melbourne Magistrates' Court to fight historical sexual offence allegations

ABC (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

October 6, 2017

By Emma Younger

Cardinal George Pell will face a four-week committal hearing next March as he fights historical sexual offence allegations, some of which are impossible, according to his legal team.

Australia's most senior Catholic cleric has faced his second hearing at the Melbourne Magistrates' Court, after he was charged by Victoria Police detectives in June with offences involving multiple complainants.

The exact detail and nature of the charges have not been made public.

Cardinal Pell strenuously denies the allegations.

Cardinal Pell's defence barrister, Robert Richter QC, said his team will aim to prove some of the allegations made against his client could never have happened.

"We want to demonstrate that what was alleged was impossible," he told the court.

Magistrate Belinda Wallington refused Mr Richter's application to cross-examine five witnesses, but approved all others.

The court heard the prosecution's brief of evidence was "voluminous".

The hearing lasted about 20 minutes and mainly dealt with administrative matters.

The court heard about 50 witnesses will give evidence at Cardinal Pell's committal hearing, which will determine whether there is enough evidence to commit him to stand trial.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 7:33 AM

October 5, 2017

Erzdiözese Wien verstärkt Prävention bei Kindergruppen

Archdiocese of Vienna

October 4, 2017

[Summary: The Archdiocese of Vienna has released a brochure (31 megabyte download), "My Safe Place," providing guidance on preventing violence and abuse in church youth groups.]

Umfangreiche Broschüre mit Reflexionsfragen und Checklisten für Gruppenstunden und mehrtägige Veranstaltungen - Kardinal Schönborn: "Kirche soll ein sicherer Ort sein"

Praktische Hinweise für eine bessere Prävention von Gewalt und Missbrauch in kirchlichen Kinder- und Jugendgruppen liefert eine neue Broschüre der Erzdiözese Wien. "Mein sicherer Ort" heißt die 68-seitige Handreichung, die sich speziell an ehrenamtliche Gruppenleiter richtet und in den nächsten Tagen in 3.000-facher Ausführung in die Pfarren versendet wird. "Kirche soll ein sicherer Ort sein", betont Kardinal Christoph Schönborn im Vorwort. Die Broschüre solle alle in der Kirche Tätigen unterstützen bei ihrer Bereitschaft zu "Präventionsarbeit und auch Reflexion dessen, wie Kinder- und Jugendarbeit in den Gemeinden und Gruppen gestaltet wird", so der Erzbischof.

Wo in der Kirche Missbrauch durch Geistliche, Priester oder Ordensleute geschehe, könne dies zur "Gottesvergiftung" werden, mahnte der Kardinal mit Blick auf die Missbrauchskrise nach dem Jahr 2010. "Missbrauch verstellt oft für ein ganzes Leben den Zugang zu Gott, der mit uns ist und der uns befreit". Die Kirche sei verpflichtet zur "Umkehr", zur Aufarbeitung ihrer Vergangenheit und auch dazu, "uns aktiv und engagiert für die Prävention von Missbrauch und Gewalt sowie für den Schutz der jungen Menschen einzusetzen, die uns anvertraut sind".

Die Broschüre setzt an der bereits seit vielen Jahren laufenden Präventionsarbeit der Katholischen Jungschar an, ergänzt um die Expertise von diözesanen Präventionszuständigen und Fachleuten. Ziel sei es, "den Blickwinkel des Gewaltschutzes in die Arbeit mit Kindern und Jugendlichen einzubringen", erklärte die Leiterin der Stabsstelle für Missbrauchs- und Gewaltprävention, Kinder- und Jugendschutz der Erzdiözese Wien, Martina Greiner-Lebenbauer, im Interview mit "Kathpress". Auch die Themen sexuelle Übergriffe und Gewalt, Nähe und Distanz, Macht und Machtmissbrauch, Sexualität und das Verhalten in Verdachtsfällen werden im Druckwerk angeschnitten.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 5:24 PM

Victims can lose all memory of child abuse, says judge

The Australian

October 2, 2017

By Richard Guilliatt

The head of the royal commission into institutional child abuse has declined to respond to criticisms that it is endorsing controversial “repressed memory” counselling techniques but says he has seen direct evidence that victims may have complete amnesia of their trauma.

Judge Peter McClellan told a conference of psychotherapists in Sydney on Saturday that he had been “somewhat startled” while leading the inquiry to meet abuse victims who have no memory of their childhood trauma.

“I have sat with people in private sessions … when we know that that person has been abused by someone and the perpetrator has confessed and been convicted, and the victim has no memory of that abuse having occurred at all,” Justice McClellan said.

The Weekend Australian revealed on Saturday that experts in the field of trauma and memory were critical of the commission for endorsing “ethically dubious” counselling ideas that they say are identical to the repressed-memory therapy of the 1980s and 90s, when a rash of false and bizarre allegations of abuse were made.

Justice McClellan said he would not comment on the criticisms, which centre in part on the commission’s endorsement of the counselling guidelines of Cathy Kezelman, a high-profile activist who says she was sexually abused during her childhood by her father and a pedophile cult led by her grandmother.

The Weekend Australian revealed on Saturday that Dr Kezelman’s mother and brother repudiate her claims, and her psychologist was investigated by the Psychology Council of NSW. Dr Kezelman, who is president of the Blue Knot Foundation and sits on the expert panel devising the $4 billion redress scheme for victims of institutional abuse, denied at the weekend that the counselling guidelines she co-wrote advocated the retrieval of repressed memories.

Fairfax Media quoted her as saying it was “totally false” to suggest her repressed memories were triggered by her psychotherapy, because the memories began emerging when she was at home, not while with her therapist.

Dr Kezelman was scheduled to introduce Justice McClellan at Saturday’s conference but did not appear because of illness. The judge has previously called her an “old friend” of the commission and said her knowledge exceeded that of many judges and bureaucrats dealing with child abuse.

In his speech, Justice McClellan alluded to an address he gave 11 years ago that contained cautionary words about the repressed memory phenomenon, whereby adult psychotherapy patients recover memories of entirely forgotten child abuse. In that earlier speech, he noted that these memories could be false, citing scientific research.

On Saturday, Justice McClellan said the royal commission had commissioned a wide range of experts, and its research indicated memory was constantly refined and reconsolidated. Some adults could not recall their trauma in detail or at all, which could present problems when dealing with police or seeking compensation.

More than 7500 people have told the royal commission they were abused in institutional settings, and all will be eligible to apply for compensation payments and subsidised counselling under the federal government’s proposed redress scheme for victims. The maximum individual compensation has been set at $150,000.

Justice McClellan said counsellors employed by the redress scheme should have expertise in dealing with complex trauma.

The judge’s speech was preceded by a presentation from Joan Haliburn, a psychiatrist at the Complex Trauma Unit at Westmead Hospital, who said at least half of her patients had no memory of their trauma before entering psychotherapy with her.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 5:02 PM

Mum rejects Cathy Kezelman’s abuse claims

The Australian

October 4, 2017

By Richard Guilliatt

The elderly mother of child abuse activist Cathy Kezelman has broken her silence to reject her daughter’s claims of sexual abuse at the hands of her father and a paedophile cult.

In a letter to The Australian today, Lusia Puterman says the abuse her daughter alleges could not have occurred, describing her late husband as a loving man who “cherished his daughter”.

Dr Kezelman, whose expertise has been endorsed by the royal commission into institutional abuse and who sits on the advisory panel of the government compensation scheme for abuse victims, underwent psychotherapy for nine years and recovered repressed memories of extreme sexual abuse by multiple members of her family.

The Weekend Australian revealed on Saturday that leading experts in trauma and memory were critical of the royal commission for endorsing Dr Kezelman’s counselling ideas, which they said were potentially harmful and contravened the best-practice guidelines of major health bodies.

Mrs Puterman, who is 94 and lost her parents in the Holocaust after fleeing the Warsaw ghetto at 19, writes that she and her daughter were best friends until 1998, when Dr Kezelman entered psychotherapy following a breakdown and began experiencing repressed memories of abuse.

She says her daughter became distant and, without explanation, eventually stopped seeing her and that regular contact with her grandchildren ceased. She says she was further hurt in 2010 when her daughter published a memoir, Innocence Revisited, which detailed her allegations of abuse.

In her book, Dr Kezelman wrote that she had no recollection of being sexually abused until she began psychotherapy at 44, and that she developed a multiple-personality condition and remembered a decade of childhood abuse, including rapes by her ¬father and torture by a paedophile cult led by her grandmother.

Mrs Puterman says the allegations “stem only from Cathy’s mind” and it would have been impossible for such abuse to occur without anyone noticing. She says, however, she loves her daughter and has had email contact with her in recent years.

The commission has twice called Dr Kezelman as an expert witness and its chairman, judge Peter McClellan, has commended her expertise and appeared with her at public events.
Her counselling guidelines have been widely distributed and are quoted in the commission’s report on the proposed compensation scheme for victims.

Dr Kezelman was quoted at the weekend saying “traumatic memory is implicit, and mainly unconscious; it manifests in the body and via behavioural re--enactments rather than words”.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 4:57 PM

Child safety leader sees not just Church’s dark past, but game-changing future


October 5, 2017

By John L. Allen Jr. and Ines San Martin

Baroness Joanna Shields, an American-born expert on internet safety and child protection who's now a member of the British House of Lords and a former UK Government Minister, says that when she looks at the Catholic Church and child welfare she doesn't just see a mixed past but a potentially game-changing future: "When the pope speaks, people listen," she said.

Rome - For Catholics who’ve lived through the carnage of the Church’s clerical sexual abuse scandals, put the words “Vatican” and “child safety” into a sentence, and inevitably, understandably, the mental associations are with where Catholicism has failed.

Someone like Baroness Joanna Shields, however, brings a fresh set of eyes. One of the world’s leading experts on child protection, she’s hardly unaware of the Church’s mixed record. However, when she looks at Catholicism today, what she sees isn’t so much the problem but a potentially key ingredient of the solution.

“When the pope speaks, people listen, especially young people,” Shields said. “I think a lot of young people are really into how he connects with them. His Ted Talk, for instance, I thought was extraordinary. He talked about technology, and how it would be great if technology empowered everyone equally.”

“Well, just adding to what he said and his wisdom, I think it’s equally important that technology protects everyone equally,” Shields said on Wednesday.

Shields, born in Pennsylvania but today a member of the British House of Lords and a former UK Minister for Internet Safety and Security, is the founder of the WePROTECT global alliance, led by the UK government and supported by over 70 countries, 30 technology companies, and NGOs to combat the global crime of online child sexual abuse and exploitation.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 4:45 PM

Statement on Child Dignity in the Digital World


October 5, 2017

The Vatican conference on Child Dignity in the Digital World has just concluded its speeches and workshops. There will be a reception this evening, and then a papal audience tomorrow, during which the conference’s Final Declaration will be presented to Pope Francis.

During the conference, Msgr. Carlo Capella has been the elephant in the room. The Vatican diplomat is the subject of an international child pornography investigation, yet he is being harbored by the Vatican while the conference about child abuse images/child pornography and related problems proceeds.

To my knowledge, none of the participants has confronted the ironies of this situation, certainly not Cardinal Pietro Parolin. He dealt briefly with the “very painful” matter of Msgr. Capella before the conference, and then in his keynote address invoked the “tragic reality” and “extremely grave facts” of the Catholic abuse crisis, mentioning them as qualifications for the Vatican’s hosting the conference: “We want to share the experience we have acquired.”

Cardinal Parolin went on to cite the Holy See’s “adherence” to the Convention for the Rights of the Child. Yet in its Concluding Observations (2014), the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child stated:

“The Committee is gravely concerned that the Holy See has not acknowledged the extent of the crimes committed, nor taken the necessary measures to address cases of child sexual abuse and to protect children, and has adopted policies and practices which have enabled the continuation of sexual abuse by clerics and impunity for the perpetrators.” (para. 43)

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 4:41 PM

New Hampshire front at Rome’s child safety summit: ‘We can do something!’


October 5, 2017

By John L. Allen Jr.

At an Oct. 3-6 summit at Rome's Gregorian University, with the support of the Vatican, on efforts to keep children safe in the digital world, there's been a lot of talk about the massiveness of the challenges. In that context, speakers from New Hampshire have provided a badly-needed dose of hope, insisting that data show smartly-crafted and long-term programs to help children actually do make a difference.

Rome - New Hampshire is the lone state among the original 13 American colonies in which no Revolutionary War battle was fought, but militias from the “Live Free or Die” state did play key roles in several turning points in the struggle for independence, including helping the Continental Army win the Battle of Saratoga.

Perhaps that background helps explain why the New Hampshire contingent at an Oct. 3-6 summit at Rome’s Gregorian University devoted to “Child Dignity in the Digital Age” has been the most emphatic voice of optimism, insisting that the struggle against child abuse and exploitation online is not only a battle that can be fought, but it can be won.

From the beginning of the conference, one strong thrust has been to sound alarms about the massive dimensions of child abuse online.

Tim Morris, Executive Director of Police Services for Interpol, told participants that the “incidents” the global law enforcement agency flagged in 2016 - meaning a lewd comment on-line, an upload of offensive material, an attempt to lure a young person into sexual situations, and so on - amounted to 2.3 million on 15 notorious websites they monitor.

In the first eight months of 2017, he said, Interpol has already logged 3 million incidents.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 4:36 PM

Vatican conference focuses on dangers ‘dark web’ poses to children

America Magazine

October 2, 2017

By Gerard O'Connell

“Technology is transforming childhood beyond our recognition. It’s a challenge that transcends boundaries, and the only way we can respond is together,” Baroness Joanna Shields told a press briefing in advance of the first ever world congress on “Child Dignity in the Digital World,” which opens tomorrow, Oct.3, at the Jesuit-run Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome.

“Technology has no boundaries. Evil has the same access as good has,” the baroness, who is the founder of WePROTECT, added. Up to now, she said, we have tended to praise the great contribution the internet has made to humanity, and the horizons it has opened; but, she said, we may have been too uncritical, given the risks and dangers that we now see it presents to children. She believes this pioneering congress can help to strike a better balance. “It’s not about scaremongering,” she said; “it’s about alerting the public, so that parents understand the world their children are growing up in. It’s about protecting children from abuse on the internet.”

“It’s not about scaremongering. It’s about protecting children from abuse on the internet.”

Dr. Ernie Allen, another speaker at the congress, pushed this point home by emphasizing the fact that “the internet has changed the very nature of this problem—the abuse of children.” He told America that this is particularly true of “the dark web” which “was set up by the U.S. government for good purposes” and which he agreed with. One of the aims “was to protect the privacy of political dissidents during the Arab Spring, to protect them from retaliation by repressive regimes, or Turkey or other big ones,” he said. But, he commented, “the problem is the unintended consequences of this. When you develop something like that, you cannot limit who can use it, and so today it is being used by traffickers [of drugs and humans], arms dealers, terrorists, pedophiles and others.” In other words, the dark web has become what some authors (though not Allen) have called “the badlands of the internet.”

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 4:26 PM

Church more aware of crime, harm of child abuse, Vatican official says

Catholic News Service via National Catholic Reporter

October 4, 2017

By Carol Glatz

Child abuse is not only a crime, it is sacrilege, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Vatican secretary of state, said at a world congress promoting the protection of children online.

"The church has become increasingly aware of the harm experienced by victims, of their suffering and of the need to listen to them," he told an international assembly of more than 100 top experts and leaders in government, law enforcement, nonprofit organizations and technology, who are working in child protection.

Action must be taken to "heal wounds, restore justice, prevent crimes" and establish a culture of "real safeguarding" so children can grow up healthy and safe, Parolin said Oct. 3 in a keynote address opening the four-day gathering.

"Fortunately, with regard to the church, this is already happening, in various institutions and regions, even when society in general has not yet developed the necessary awareness," he said. "These efforts, however, must continue, must be expanded and deepened with clarity and firmness."

"To disparage infancy and to abuse children," he said, "is for the Christian, therefore, not only a crime, but also -- as Pope Francis has stated -- sacrilege, a profanation of that which is sacred, of the presence of God in every human being."

The congress, "Child Dignity in the Digital World," was being held as the Vatican was investigating accusations that one of its foreign diplomats had violated laws relating to child pornography images.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 4:21 PM

Lawsuit: Priest abused boy daily

Guam Daily Post

October 5, 2017

By Mindy Aguon

A former Guam resident alleges he was subjected to daily sexual abuse while required to live with a priest at the San Miguel Church in Talofofo in 1985.

A lawsuit, filed by G.E.J. who used his initials to protect his identity, named Andrew Mannetta.

The Bremerton, Washington, resident alleges that when he was 14, he rebelled against his parents and ran away from home for a brief period.His parents made arrangements for G.E.J. to live with former Guam priest Andrew Mannetta at the church for two weeks.

Mannetta was the parish priest at the Talofofo church. The civil complaint, filed in the Superior Court today, alleges the priest subjected the boy to daily sexual abuse by forcing him to lie on his stomach as the priest rubbed the boy’s thighs and private parts.

When the boy tried to move away from contact, Mannetta allegedly grabbed him and threw him back on his stomach, court documents state.

Archdiocese of Agana blamed

The lawsuit alleges Mannetta was grooming G.E.J. for an increased level of sexual abuse including penetration.

G.E.J.’s attorney, Anthony C. Perez, alleges the Archdiocese of Agana knew or should have known of Mannetta’s “heinous and despicable conduct” and failed to take any steps to warn its parishioners of the risk of harm to children.

Perez said the archdiocese had a practice and pattern of harboring child abusers and protecting their identities.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 4:14 PM

Lawsuit: Boy sexually abused daily while living with priest

Pacific Daily News

October 5, 2017

By Haidee V Eugenio

After former altar boys tearfully went public with allegations, a law was passed to open doors for lawsuits against the church, clergy and others.

A 14-year-old boy whose parents thought it would be best for him to live with a Catholic priest after he ran away from home was sexually abused daily by the priest for about two weeks, according to a lawsuit filed in local court on Thursday.

Former island priest Andrew Mannetta allegedly sexually abused the plaintiff, identified in court documents only as G.E.J. to protect his privacy, at the rectory adjacent to San Miguel Church in Talofofo in 1985.

G.E.J. is now living in Bremerton, Washington. He is represented by attorney Anthony C. Perez.

In the lawsuit, G.E.J. said he was born and raised in a family that was devout Catholic. The lawsuit says in 1985, when G.E.J. was about 14 years old, he rebelled from his parents and ran away from home for a brief period of time. That's when his parents thought the boy would benefit from staying with a priest.

"While living with Father Andy, plaintiff was subjected to daily sexual abuse," the lawsuit says. "Father Andy would order plaintiff to lie on his stomach on Father Andy's bed next to Father Andy while watching television."

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 4:05 PM

Vatican Shines Light on Child Abuse as Claims Against Priests Persist

New York Times

October 5, 2017

By Jason Horowitz

Vatican City — For a church hierarchy excoriated for decades over the sexual abuse of children in its trust, hosting a conference this week about the spreading scourge of online child pornography was an opportunity to strike a positive note about the Vatican’s role in protecting minors.

“Yes, yes, yes,” said Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Vatican’s secretary of state, when asked Tuesday night at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome if the Catholic Church could lead a global response to the problem.

But in an awkward confluence of events, the four-day congress, Child Dignity in the Digital World, is taking place mere weeks after the Holy See recalled Msgr. Carlo Capella, a church diplomat in the Vatican’s Washington Embassy, amid accusations that he had possessed child pornography.

It was just the latest of the abuse accusations against priests that have dogged the church around the globe for decades even as it has promised to punish predators and protect the preyed upon. Advocates for the victims have questioned the church’s commitment.

Last week, as organizers prepared for the congress — with its keynote address by Cardinal Parolin, the second-highest-ranking official after Pope Francis; blanket coverage by the church’s news media; and a papal audience with Francis on Friday — the Canadian police issued an arrest warrant for Monsignor Capella. He was accused of distributing child pornography during a Christmas visit in 2016 to Ontario.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 3:27 PM

Vatican needs boots on the ground to promote child safety, expert says


October 5, 2017

John L. Allen Jr. and Ines San Martin

American Monsignor Stephen Rossetti is one of the key participants in the Oct. 3-6 summit at Rome's Gregorian University on "Child Dignity in the Digital World." He's been involved in anti-abuse efforts in the Church for years, and he has some concrete advise to offer.

Rome - Very few people in the Catholic Church, at any level or in any place, have a deeper experience of the clerical sexual abuse scandals and the broader effort to promote child safety than American Monsignor Stephen Rossetti, a former president of the St. Luke’s Institute in Silver Spring, Maryland, and a key adviser to virtually every anti-abuse initiative in the Catholic Church.

Thus when Rossetti speaks, people tend to listen. He’s part of the scientific committee organizing an Oct. 3-6 summit at Rome’s Gregorian University on “Child Dignity in the Digital World,” and he’s got a clear message about what would constitute a serious commitment from the Vatican coming out of this high-profile event: Boots on the ground.

“You need people doing this 24/7. People who are actually collaborating with UNICEF, with the United Nations, with Interpol,” Rossetti said.

He said one logical place for such a dedicated team within the Vatican to be located would be the Secretariat of State, typically the Vatican’s main policy-setting organism, because, among other things, “it’s international,” meaning that it deals with global diplomacy.

Rossetti spoke to Crux on Oct. 4, during the Gregorian conference.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 3:20 PM

Child safety summit reflects Pope’s ‘extraordinary’ power to convene


October 4, 2017

By John L. Allen Jr.

Look around at the lineup at an Oct. 3-6 summit at Rome's Gregorian University on "Child Dignity in the Digital World," and it's a host of experts from the biggest outfits in their various fields -- Harvard, Interpol, Facebook, UNICEF, Microsoft, and so on. It's the cream of the crop, and it's another illustration of the Vatican's unique power to convene, since basically nobody can say no to an invite from the pope.

Rome - Ever since the collapse of the Papal States in 1870, the Vatican has had to make its way in the world as a “soft power,” relying on moral authority and the pope’s massive bully pulpit to move the ball on matters it perceives as priorities.

That soft power takes many forms, but one is on especially clear display this week at Rome’s Jesuit-sponsored Gregorian University: The power to convene.

One of the near-universal truths about the Vatican’s role in the world today is that virtually nobody can say no to an invitation from the pope. You can put together almost any sort of event you want, from a study of artificial intelligence to a symposium on punk rock in the 1980s, and if it comes with the promise of face time with the pope at some point, the world’s leading authorities on the subject inevitably will show up.

That’s not the only reason they come, of course - they come because they’re passionate about the subject, because Rome is not the worst place to spend a few days, and because they’ll see valued friends and colleagues who plow the same furrows. Still, however, it’s fair to say that the magnetic attraction of the pope doesn’t hurt.

Oct. 3-6, the Gregorian is hosting a major international summit titled “Child Dignity in the Digital World,” devoted to the effort to combat child abuse and exploitation online, especially the so-called “Dark Web.” It’s a vast region of the internet, perhaps the overwhelming majority, which is anonymous and designed to be impossible to detect, where 80 percent of the traffic is believed to be driven by child pornography.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 10:53 AM

Church more aware of crime, harm of child abuse, top Vatican official says

America Magazine

October 4, 2017

By Gerard O'Connell

“We must work to take control of the development of the digital world, so that it might be at the service of the dignity of minors,” Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Vatican Secretary of State, said in his keynote address at the opening of “Child Dignity in the Digital World,” the first world congress focused on addressing the dangers children and adolescents face on the internet.

Addressing the 140 participants from all continents at the Oct. 3 - 6 congress, at the Gregorian University in Rome, Cardinal Parolin said everyone present knows that “the sexual abuse of minors constitutes a very vast and widespread phenomenon.” Over the past few decades, he acknowledged, “this tragic reality has come powerfully to the fore in the Catholic Church and very grave facts have emerged.”

The church has become “progressively aware of the harm suffered by the victims” and of the need to listen to them so as to find ways “to heal the wounds, re-establish justice, prevent crimes” and to develop and consolidate “a new culture of child protection,” he said.

The congress was being held as the Vatican was investigating accusations that one of its foreign diplomats had violated laws relating to child pornography images.

Italian Monsignor Carlo Capella was recalled to the Vatican from his post at the Vatican nunciature in Washington, D.C., after the U.S. State Department notified the Holy See of his possible crimes. Police in Canada also issued a nationwide warrant for the monsignor's arrest on charges of accessing, possessing and distributing child pornography while he was visiting Canada.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 8:13 AM

The Holy See and Its Commitment to Combatting Sex Abuse Online

Vatican Radio

October 4, 2017

By Cardinal Pietro Parolin

[Note: The available URL for this speech is defective. We link to the Google cache of the Vatican Radio webpage.]

(Vatican Radio) Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin on Tuesday addressed the Child Dignity in the Digital World world congress being held at Rome’s Pontifical Gregorian University this week. In his speech to the conference the Cardinal spoke about "The Holy See and Its Commitment to Combatting Sex Abuse Online".

Please find the English translation of Cardinal Parolin's speech:

Dear President of the Senate, Your Eminences, Excellencies, Dear Father General, Ambassadors, Father Rector, Academic Authorities and Professors, Dear Friends, I thank you for inviting me to speak at the opening of this important Congress, thus allowing me to convey the greetings and appreciation of His Holiness Pope Francis and of the Holy See for this initiative. It is an event that is hosted and organized, along with other laudable events, by a prestigious Pontifical University.

I greet the distinguished persons and institutions who are participating in this initiative, and I express my gratitude to all those who have contributed concretely to the organization and planning of this Congress. Above all, I wish to express my appreciation for having chosen the topic that will be discussed: the dignity of the child in the digital world. The majority of you, who have worked for a long time in this field, are well aware that the sexual abuse of minors constitutes a vast and widespread phenomenon. Over the past few decades, this tragic reality has come powerfully to the fore in the Catholic Church and extremely grave facts have emerged. The Church has become increasingly aware of the harm experienced by the victims, of their suffering and of the need to listen to them, in order to work on various fronts; these include: a wide range of interventions which must be carried out in order to heal wounds, restore justice, prevent crimes and form educators and persons who deal with minors, with a view to spreading and consolidating a new culture of child protection – a real safeguarding – that effectively guarantees they can grow up in a healthy and safe environment. This is a task requiring deep human care, competence and tenacity; experience tells us that where this commitment is consistent and continuous, the fruits that will come of it are positive and encouraging. The Church’s effort in this sense, even when society in general has not yet developed the necessary awareness, must continue, must be expanded and deepened, with clarity and firmness, so that the dignity and rights of minors may be protected and defended with much greater attentiveness and effectiveness than was done in the past. In this venue, we want to share the experience we have acquired, so that it may prove useful for an ever greater good, thanks to collaboration with all of you. The world into which human persons are today born and raised is characterized, ever more deeply and pervasively, by the development and ubiquity of new communications technologies and new instruments for their use. Handheld phones and tablets and other devices have come to be part of the daily life of an ever greater number of people; these users are ever younger, so much so that we can speak of the young generations as “digital natives.” This has spread to every part of the world, reaching even areas where economic and social development are as yet inadequate and uneven.

The phenomenon is now global and so we speak of a “digital world.” We now realize that, supported by ever greater evidence, the scourge of offenses against the dignity of minors, as with so many other dramatic problems in today’s world, spreads through and aligns itself within the new parameters of the digital world. This plague meanders and infiltrates along a labyrinth of paths and through deep, hidden layers of reality. The digital world is not, in fact, a separate part of the world: it is an integral part of the unique reality of the world. Minors who grow up in it are exposed to new risks, or rather, to old risks manifested in new ways; and the culture of the protection of minors that we want to spread must be sufficiently able to address today’s problems. Looking at our contemporary world, Pope Francis continually reminds us that the forms of abuse and violence against minors proliferate in an interwoven manner: the traffic of minors and of human persons generally, the phenomenon of child soldiers, the absence of even the most elementary education, the fact that small children are the first victims of hunger and extreme poverty. On the day dedicated by the Church to the memory of the Holy Innocents, Pope Francis wrote: “We need the courage to respond to this reality, to arise and take it firmly in hand (cf. Mt 2:20)… [We need] the courage to guard this joyfrom the new Herods of our time, who devour the innocence of our children. An innocence stolen from them by the oppression of illegal slave labour, prostitution and exploitation. An innocence shattered by wars and forced migration, with the great loss that this entails. Thousands of our children have fallen into the hands of gangs, criminal organizations and merchants of death, who only devour and exploit their neediness” (Letter to Bishops, 28 December 2016). In all these situations, the horrendous reality of sexual abuse is nearly always present, as a common aspect and consequence of multifaceted and widespread violence that ignores all respect, not only for the body, but more so for the soul, for the profound vulnerability and dignity of every child, of every young boy and girl of whatever nation. And so we recognize the challenges, but realize too that even though we have learned a great deal with respect to this phenomenon, it remains important to understand it ever better, and, more than anything, to continue to make our understanding of the phenomenon accessible to all those who promote the protection of the rights of minors. Only in this way can we effectively fight the battle to protect minors in our digitalized world. The phenomena we observe reach levels of shocking gravity; their dimensions and the speed with which they spread surpass our imagination. Here then is the second reason for my appreciation of the method employed by this Congress: calling together representatives from the various fields of scientific research as well as those who are actively committed to the protection of minors; representatives of leading companies in technological development and communications characteristic of the digital world; those responsible for the common good of human society; legislators, politicians, and law enforcement agencies called upon to combat crimes and abuses; religious leaders and leaders of civil society organizations committed to working for minors. Like some of the other speakers, I too want to insist on a distinguishing characteristic of this assembly, one that makes it new and even unique, namely: establishing a dialogue between the many competent and meritorious people who have made their own the cause of defending the dignity of minors in the digital world. They are doing this by channelling their energies towards a shared commitment in order to overcome the sense of disorientation and powerlessness when faced with such a markedly difficult challenge, and to help us to intervene creatively. Once this basic strategic territory has been identified, we must work to regain control of the development of the digital world, so that it may be at the service of the dignity of minors, and thus of the whole human race of tomorrow. For the minors of today are the entirety of tomorrow’s human race.

Following the research and understanding of these problems there must come a commitment and a far-seeing, courageous endeavour on the part of all of us here present; there must also be an appeal for the cooperation of every person in a position of responsibility, in the various countries and sectors of society. Perhaps I may be permitted to offer some further reflections, which I propose for your consideration. The demographic development of humanity is particularly rapid in many countries where economic and social progress is still lacking or uneven. Hundreds of millions of children and young people are growing up in a digital world within a context that is still largely undeveloped. Their parents and teachers may not, perhaps, be culturally equipped to accompany them and help them to grow up in this world, whereas their political leaders will often not know where to begin in order to protect them. We have a responsibility to these children too, as do the companies that promote and drive the development of the digital world. With its international, global and interdisciplinary perspective, this Congress must take responsibility for those minors at the world’s “peripheries”, of which Pope Francis continually speaks: peripheries that are in geographic areas of greater economic poverty, but that are also found within wealthy societies where there is considerable human and spiritual poverty, loneliness and a loss of the meaning of life. It is not by chance that it is minors in all these peripheries who are the preferred target of networks of exploitation and of organized online violence on a global scale.

Both in society and in the Church, there has always been insistence on the primary responsibility of the family and of the school in guaranteeing minors a sound education so essential to the protection and promotion of their dignity. This still very much applies today and every effort must be made so that parents and educators may be increasingly able to undertake their duties, even in the face of risks and challenges from the digital world. There is, however, no doubt that in the modern context their ability to influence the formation of young generations is proportionately far less than in the past, and is often frustrated and overtaken by the continual wave of messages and images that come to even the smallest children through countless open avenues provided by the new media. For this reason too, responsibility towards young generations must be shared fully by all the sectors of society that you represent. Finally, we find ourselves hosted here by an institution which depends on the Catholic Church and which is thus particularly attentive to the moral and religious dimensions of the life and development of the human person. I hope that your work may be able also to integrate these perspectives into the shared work of reflection and commitment, and that from them you may draw vigour, inspiration and motivation. For the rest, all of us surely agree on what is affirmed in the second principle of the Universal Declaration of the Rights of the Child, namely, that every child should have the means “to develop physically, mentally, morally, spiritually and socially in a healthy and normal manner and in conditions of freedom and dignity”. Moreover, as John Paul II affirmed in 1990, on the occasion of the World Summit for Children, we stress “the need to do much more to safeguard the well-being of the world’s children, to enunciate the rights of the child and to protect those rights through cultural and legislative actions imbued with respect for human life as a value in itself, independently of sex, ethnic origin, social or cultural status, or political or religious conviction” (Letter to J. Pérez de Cuellar, 22 September 1990. The Holy See adhered to the Convention on the Rights of the Child in 1990). The minors of whom we speak and whose dignity we wish to defend and promote are human persons, and the value of each of them is unique and unrepeatable. Each of them must be taken seriously and protected in this ever more digitalized world, so that they may be able to fulfil the purpose of their life, their destiny, their coming into the world. The destiny and the life of each of them is supremely important, precious in the sight of human beings and in the sight of God. According to Scripture, every human being is created “in the image and likeness” of God. According to the New Testament, the Son of God came among us as a vulnerable child, and in needy circumstances, assuming both the fragility and the hope for a future that are intrinsic to an infant.

To disparage infancy and to abuse children is for the Christian, therefore, not only a crime, but also – as Pope Francis has stated – sacrilege, a profanation of that which is sacred, of the presence of God in every human being. The forces that drive the technical and economic development of the world seem unstoppable and, as we know, are perhaps often determined and driven by economic and even very powerful political interests, which we must not allow ourselves to be dominated by. The power of sexual desire that dwells in the depth of the human mind and heart is great and wonderful when it advances the path of humanity; but it can also be corrupted and perverted, to become a source of suffering and unspeakable abuse: and so it must be elevated and directed. The sense of moral responsibility in the sight of humanity and in the sight of God, the reflection on the correct use of freedom in the building and orientation of a new world and in learning how to live in it, are thus absolutely necessary and fundamental for our common future. You have come together here to address one of today’s most important and urgent issues for the journey of humanity. I hope that the living sense of the beauty and the mystery of human persons, of the greatness of their vocation to life, and thus of the duty to protect them in their dignity and their growth, may inspire your work and bear concrete and effective fruit.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 8:05 AM

October 4, 2017

Vatican to Host Youth Summit to Hear Doubts, Criticism

Associated Press via New York Times

October 4, 2017

Pope Francis wants to hear firsthand from young people about their "doubts and criticisms" in the run-up to a big meeting of bishops on how the Catholic Church can better minister to young people today.

The Vatican said Wednesday it would host a summit of young people from around the world March 19-24 as a preparatory meeting to the synod of bishops later in the year. As well as young Catholics, other Christians and young atheists have been invited to the event.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 10:26 AM

Vatican Urges Online Protections for Kids Amid Porn Scandal

Associated Press via U.S. News and World Report

October 3, 2017

By Nicole Winfield

The Vatican secretary of state urged law enforcement agencies, governments and social media sites on Tuesday to take responsibility to protect children from online sexual abuse and exploitation — a statement that came even as one of his diplomats is caught up in an international child porn investigation.

Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin said the case of Monsignor Carlo Capella was "very painful" for all involved.

Parolin said the Vatican was treating the Capella case with "utmost concern, utmost commitment" but also confidentiality to protect the integrity of the investigation. He spoke to reporters on the sidelines of a Catholic Church-sponsored conference on protecting children from online threats.

Canadian police have issued an arrest warrant for Capella, accusing him of accessing, possessing and distributing child pornography during a visit to an Ontario church over Christmas. He is now in the Vatican after being recalled from the Vatican's embassy in the U.S.

Vatican prosecutors have also opened an investigation into Capella's actions.

Parolin — Capella's boss — headlined the opening of the four-day conference on protecting children online that has drawn leading researchers in public health, Interpol, the U.N., government representatives as well as executives from Facebook and Microsoft.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 10:19 AM

Cardinal Parolin: When protecting kids in the digital world, don't forget the peripheries

Catholic News Agency/EWTN

October 3, 2017

By Elise Harris

In the keynote speech at a conference on protecting children in the digital world, Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin said child safety is one of the most urgent issues of modern times, and stressed that children on the global “peripheries” shouldn't be forgotten.

In his Oct. 3 speech, Parolin noted that technological and cultural change “is particularly fast in many countries in which social and economic progress are still very limited and unbalanced.”

Thousands of children are now growing up in the digital world in vastly underdeveloped nations, he said, which means their parents and educators “will no longer be culturally equipped to accompany them and help them grow in this world, while their governments often don't know where to begin in protecting them.”

“We are also responsible for these children, and the businesses that promote and push the development of the digital world are also responsible for them,” he said.

Given the international and interdisciplinary approach of the conference, Parolin stressed that the participants themselves “must take responsibility for those peripheries of the world of which Pope Francis continually speaks.”

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 10:11 AM

Top Vatican official says ‘tragic experience’ on sex abuse helps Church lead


October 4, 2017

By Inés San Martín

At the opening session of a major conference at Rome's Jesuit-run Gregorian University on the protection of children in a digital world, the Vatican's number two official, Italian Cardinal Pietro Parolin, said the Catholic Church's "tragic experience" with clerical sexual abuse allows it to be a leader in the fight against child abuse in other arenas.

Rome - Addressing a group of experts gathered in Rome, including representatives of Facebook, Google, and Microsoft, Pope Francis’s right-hand man said on Tuesday that the Church’s tragic experience with the sexual abuse of children, “this reality [that] has come powerfully to the fore in the Catholic Church,” allows it to help lead the fight in other arenas.

“In this venue, [the Catholic Church] want[s] to share the experience we have acquired, so that it may prove useful for an ever greater good, thanks to collaboration with all of you,” Italian Cardinal Pietro Parolin said.

Parolin, the Vatican’s Secretary of State, was one of two keynote speakers at a conference titled “Child Dignity in the Digital World,” being held at Rome’s Pontifical Gregorian University Oct. 3-6. It’s organized by the university’s Centre for Child Protection (CCP), a UK-based global alliance called WePROTECT, and “Telefono Azzurro,” the first Italian helpline for children at risk.

“We recognize the challenges, but also realize that even though we have learned a great deal with respect to this phenomenon, it remains important to understand it ever better, and, more than anything, to continue to make our understanding of the phenomenon accessible to all those who promote the protection of the rights of minors,” he said.

“Only in this way can we effectively fight the battle to protect minors in our digitalized world,” Parolin told the gathering. “The phenomena we observe reach levels of shocking gravity; their dimensions and the speed with which they spread surpass our imagination.”

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 10:01 AM

Parishioner suing former Manitoba Anglican priest for alleged sexual exploitation

CBC News

Parishioner suing former Manitoba Anglican priest for alleged sexual exploitation
Brandon bishop 'horrified' by allegations, says he demanded priest’s resignation

October 4, 2017

By Vera-Lynn Kubinec and Katie Nicholson

A woman who was a parishioner of an Anglican church in western Manitoba is alleging she was exploited and sexually assaulted by her priest for years, after he manipulated her into a sexual relationship.

The woman is suing former priest Nigel Packwood and the Anglican synod of the Diocese of Brandon.

Packwood "initiated and maintained" an illicit and long-standing sexual relationship with the parishioner, says the statement of claim filed Sept. 19 in Winnipeg.

"Rev. Packwood exploited and misused the power, authority and discretion conferred upon him by the Diocese to gain access to confidential information about [the plaintiff] and her circumstances and to initiate and maintain illicit intimate sexual contact with, and to manipulate, control and sexually exploit [the plaintiff] for his own personal sexual gratification," the claim says.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 9:52 AM

Danish priest made sex videos with teenager

The Local

October 4, 2017

A 47-year-old priest used promises of trips abroad to persuade a 16-year-old boy to have sex with him, Holbæk City Court heard during the former clergyman’s trial on Tuesday.

The priest met the 16-year-old on gay dating site boyfriend.dk, writes news agency Ritzau.

Pretending to work for the army, the priest began speaking to the teenager, who is from Jutland, the court heard according to Ritzau’s report.

The former priest at the Tømmerup Church is currently on trial at Holbæk City Court, accused of sexual misconduct with 12 children between the ages of 12 and 17 years.

He was initially arrested in June 2016.

He recorded sex with the 16-year-old boy several times, the court heard during proceedings Tuesday.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 9:44 AM

Guam's day of reckoning after decades of sex abuse

National Catholic Reporter

October 4, 2017

By Anita Hofschneider

Chalan Pago-Ordot, Guam — B.J. pushes aside the ferns as he approaches the edge of the muddy river in central Guam. Hunched over and carrying a cane, he is looking for the spot where he was tied to a tree decades ago. Mosquitoes descend ferociously with every step he takes. Apart from the gushing water, the jungle is quiet.

"Look, if you yell, nobody can hear you," he says. "Or if anything happens to you, nobody will know."

The river looks completely different from that day 46 years ago when B.J. says he was raped repeatedly by Fr. Louis Brouillard, a priest and then-Boy Scout leader. B.J. was only 11 years old, and remembers the water was calm. The trees weren't pressed so hard against the water's edge.

"He had me strapped to one of these trees like this," he says, pointing to the trees next to him. "He went down there, right, and then he started to slowly swim back here, right, and he got up here to me, right? That's when everything changed."

B.J. is one of more than 100 men and women who have filed lawsuits against the Archdiocese of Agana on Guam alleging abuses that occurred between the 1950s and 1980s.

Sex abuse scandals have roiled archdioceses throughout North America for the last two decades. But only in recent years has the church in this small, intensely Catholic U.S. territory begun confronting its own legacy of abuse.

The magnitude of the claims is staggering. According to a recent USA Today analysis, Guam, with a population of only about 160,000, has a per-capita rate of abuse claims more than five times higher than in Boston. So far, 16 priests have been accused of sexual abuse. About a third of them are deceased and some have left the priesthood. One was defrocked.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 9:32 AM

October 3, 2017

Expert says Vatican botched response to child porn suspicions about envoy


September 28, 2017

By John Allen and Claire Giangrave

German Jesuit Father Hans Zollner, who leads a child protection center at a Roman university and serves on a papal commission advising Francis on reform, says the Vatican should have been more transparent about recent reports that an envoy at the papal embassy in Washington, D.C., is part of an investigation for possible involvement in child pornography, seeing it as part of an going struggle to be more "up-front."

ROME - Arguably the Catholic Church’s leading expert in the fight against child sexual abuse believes the Vatican dropped the ball on a recent case in which a diplomat at the papal embassy in Washington, D.C., was flagged as a possible suspect in a child pornography investigation, saying, “This should have been handled differently.”

“I really don’t understand this type of reaction [from the Vatican], and I’m pretty sure the American bishops were quite upset about how it was handled,” said German Jesuit Father Hans Zollner.

Zollner heads the Centre for Child Protection at Rome’s Gregorian University and is also a member of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors, a body created by Pope Francis to advise him on the reform effort and led by Cardinal Sean O’Malley of Boston.

Zollner called the way the recent case has been handled “tragic” and “unprofessional.”

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 8:40 PM

Pédophilie : l'Eglise tremble avant le procès du cardinal Barbarin

LYON (France)

September 28, 2017

By Philippe Clanché

Jugé en avril prochain pour “non-dénonciation d'agressions sexuelles sur mineurs” commises par un de ses prêtres, l'archevêque de Lyon, trop sûr de lui, incarne l'impuissance de l'institution religieuse à faire face publiquement à un mal qui la ronge.

Philippe Barbarin prêchait (la bonne parole bien sûr) aux futurs prêtres en soutane de la très classique communauté Saint-Martin, dans la Mayenne, lorsqu'il a appris en ce 19 septembre une contrariante nouvelle. Le cardinal-archevêque de Lyon doit comparaître devant la 6e chambre correctionnelle du tribunal de Lyon, du 4 au 6 avril 2018, pour « non-dénonciation d'agressions sexuelles sur mineurs », des faits commis par un prêtre de son diocèse, Bernard Preynat. Comment une affaire aussi ancienne peut-elle aujourd'hui faire vaciller la star de l'épiscopat français ? Et faire trembler, par ricochet, tous les évêques, qui paniquent à la perspective de découvrir une brebis galeuse parmi leur troupeau…

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 8:26 PM

News Release: Jehovah’s Witness Sexual Abuse Class Action

TORONTO (Ontario, Canada)
Law Firm of McPhadden Samac Tuovi Haté

October 2, 2017

For Immediate Release

Jehovah’s Witness Sexual Abuse Class Action Toronto law firm McPhadden Samac Tuovi Hate announced today that it had commenced a class action in Ontario against 3 Jehovah’s Witness organizations, one in Canada and two in the United States.

The amount claimed on behalf of the former students is the sum of $66,000,000.

The case has been brought on behalf of current and former Jehovah’s Witnesses who claim they were sexually assaulted by Elders of the organization. There is also a class of claimants composed of those who allege that when they were children they were sexually assaulted by adult Jehovah’s Witnesses.

The action has been commenced on behalf of all those affected, regardless of where in Canada they reside.

While the name of the proposed representative plaintiff has been disclosed in the Statement of Claim, a discreet and confidential claims process whereby the identities of other claimants are not disclosed will be sought.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 2:47 PM

$66M class action sex abuse suit filed against Jehovah's Witnesses

TORONTO (Ontario, Canada)
680 News

October 2, 2017

A group of alleged sexual abuse survivors from across the country have filed a $66-million class action lawsuit against the Jehovah’s Witness, CityNews has learned.

The suit accuses the religious organization of having rules and policies that protect child sex abusers and put children at risk.

“The organization’s policy and protocol for dealing with allegations of sexual abuse is seriously flawed, and results in further harm to victims of sexual abuse and results in legitimate allegations of sexual abuse going unreported,” it alleges.

“This is an issue that the wider community should be concerned with, and not just Jehovah’s Witnesses,” says Tricia Franginha. She says her first 14 years of life as a Jehovah’s Witness were filed with sexual abuse.

“As a result of their procedures, when abuse allegations come forward, these sexual offenders are left at large,” Franginha says. “As most people know about Jehovah’s Witnesses, they are the ones who come to your door on Saturday mornings, when your kids are home, and for all you know, that person has offended more than once.”

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 2:40 PM

Oregon Court of Appeals upholds pastor's child sex abuse conviction

The Oregonian/OregonLive

October 2, 2017

The Oregon Court of Appeals has upheld the conviction of a pastor sentenced to prison for sexually abusing a girl who grew up in his Happy Valley church.

The court affirmed the conviction of Mike Sperou without opinion on Wednesday, records show. A Multnomah County jury convicted Sperou in 2015 on three counts of first-degree sexual penetration of a person under the age of 12, and he was sentenced to 20 years in prison.

He's being held in the Oregon State Penitentiary in Salem, and records list his earliest release date as December 27, 2032.

In 1997, seven girls complained that Sperou, co-founder of the North Clackamas Bible Community, had molested them. No charges were brought because the girls' stories were inconsistent or vague. The allegations came on the heels of a split in the church, leading to the exit of several families.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 2:35 PM

Church hosts conference on Child Dignity in Digital World

Vatican Radio

October 2, 2017

Child Dignity in the Digital World is the title of a world congress being held at Rome’s Pontifical Gregorian University this week. Among the key note speakers is the Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, and the meeting ends with a papal audience on Friday.

Ahead of the opening session, organisers held a press conference to highlight the urgency of this global challenge of protecting children from on-line abuse.

Listen to Philippa Hitchen's report:


The secret, scary world of children being groomed, abused and radicalized on-line was the subject of a short video shown at the press conference on Monday. It featured seven boys and girls, from toddlers to teens, talking about how easy it is to fall prey to internet paedophiles, traffickers, bullies or recruiters for extremist organisations.

It was a sobering start to this World Congress, which brings together top researchers, government representatives, law enforcement officials, software specialists, NGOs andreligious leaders.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 2:27 PM

Salina Catholic Bishop moving to Arizona

KAKE News (Salina KS)

October 3, 2017

SALINA, Kan. - Some Kansans might dream in winter of moving to Arizona. Now a Kansas Catholic leader is doing it - but not to retire.

The Vatican announced Tuesday that Salina diocese Bishop Edward Weisenburger is being transferred, to become Bishop of Tucson. He will be installed November 29, to replace Bishop Gerald Kicanas. Kicanas was required to resign upon turning 75.

Weisenburger, 56, has served in Salina since May 2012. A statement from the Salina diocese praised him for working in the acquisition of Manhattan's hospital by Via Christi-Ascension, as well as "efforts to shine a spotlight on the cruel abuse of the poor at the hands of the predatory ('payday') loan industry."

Tucson's diocese is much larger than Salina's. The Tucson area has about 450,000 Catholics as opposed to 44,000 in northern Kansas.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 10:38 AM

Pope transfers Salina Bishop to Arizona

Salina Post

OCTOBER 3, 2017

Pope Francis has transferred Bishop Edward Joseph Weisenburger from the Diocese of Salina to the Diocese of Tucson, Arizona, according to a media release.

The Holy See made the announcement Tuesday in Rome. Weisenburger was notified last week by the Apostolic Nuncio, Archbishop Pierre Christophe, that Pope Francis was entrusting to him the pastoral care of the good people of the Diocese of Tucson.

Bishop Gerald F. Kicanas, sixth Bishop of Tucson, submitted his resignation in accord with Church law upon reaching his 75th birthday. He will serve as the administrator of the Diocese until Weisenburger’s installation. Weisenburger’s appointment comes more than a year after Kicanas’ offered his retirement. In light of Kicanas good health and exceptional service, it is not surprising that the Holy See extended his tenure for an extra year. Weisenburger stated “I am humbled to follow in the footsteps of a shepherd who has served graciously and generously for many years. Bishop Kicanas has served in many national capacities for the Catholic Church and is highly esteemed. Knowing that he will continue to reside in our Diocese is a great comfort for me and a blessing for our people.”

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 10:34 AM

Australian Abuse Report Deeply Flawed

Catholic League

October 3, 2017

By Bill Donohue and Rick Hinshaw

[The report to which this blog post refers is Child Sexual Abuse in the Catholic Church: An Interpretive Review of the Literature and Public Inquiry Reports, by Desmond Cahill and Peter Wilkinson, RMIT University, Australia.]

The following analysis is the work of Catholic League president Bill Donohue and Catholic League director of communications Rick Hinshaw; Donohue has a Ph.D. in sociology and Hinshaw has an M.A. in political science:

On October 6, Cardinal George Pell will appear in a Melbourne court on trumped up sexual abuse charges. The media will no doubt turn its attention to a report issued in August by the Centre for Global Research at RMIT University, Melbourne, “Child Sexual Abuse in the Catholic Church.” It offers what it calls an “interpretive review of the literature and public inquiry reports” on the subject. Its reach is wide: it offers biblical and historical analysis, and covers many nations.

By any measure, the report is deeply flawed and highly politicized. It is also poorly edited—the exact wording on various subjects is repeated several times. Quite frankly, it is one of the most sophomoric attempts to deal with the issue of clergy sexual abuse ever published.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 8:30 AM

Church report: Decision reached in Guam archbishop's Vatican trial


October 2, 2017

By Haidee V Eugenio, heugenio@guampdn.com

[See the summary of the case against Apuron in our Bishops Accused of Sexual Abuse and Misconduct: A Global Accounting.]

HAGÅTÑA, Guam — A decision has been reached in Archbishop Anthony S. Apuron's Vatican trial, Archbishop Michael Jude Byrnes said Monday, but it is still awaiting the judges' signatures.

Tony Diaz, director of communications for the Archdiocese of Agana, said the decision — known as a sentence — has three elements. The first is the specific charge, the second is the specific verdict — guilty, not guilty or not proven, and the third is the penalty.

Diaz said Byrnes has only been notified that there is a decision, but he does not know the specific charges, the verdict or the penalty, if any.

Diaz said the Archdiocese will share whatever information they get from the Vatican as soon as they get it.

Former altar boys have accused Apuron of sexually abusing them in the 1970s. They have filed lawsuits against Apuron and the Archdiocese.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 8:24 AM

Amid child porn scandal, Vatican backs push for child safety online

ROME (Italy)

October 3, 2017

By John L. Allen Jr.

As the Vatican deals with criticism of its handling of the case of a papal diplomat recalled to Rome from Washington facing allegations of child pornography use both in the U.S. and Canada, it's backing a major summit at Rome's Jesuit-run Gregorian University this week designed to tackle the growing problem of child vulnerability in an internet age.

ROME - On the heels of its own child pornography scandal involving the computer of a papal diplomat, the Vatican is lining up behind a major summit this week at Rome’s Jesuit-run Gregorian University devoted to the broader theme of keeping children safe in an internet-saturated age.

Titled “Child Dignity in the Digital World,” the Oct. 3-6 conference brings together leading experts on child protection, law enforcement officials, executives of Internet and social media companies, NGOs, and others, to discuss how to promote child welfare online.

The idea is for those various players to hammer out a plan of action, which will be presented to Pope Francis on Friday when conference participants meet him in an audience.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 8:20 AM

Judge orders Montana Catholic diocese to update court on settlement plan

Great Falls Tribune

October 2, 2017

By Seaborn Larson, slarson@greatfallstribune.com

A U.S. bankruptcy judge last week ordered a hearing intended to map out the remaining settlement proceedings between the Great Falls-Billings Diocese and the 86 victims claiming they were abused by eastern Montana priests through the 1900s.

Last month, settlement negotiations ended after a two-day session without resolution. The impasse reportedly came as the parties disagreed about whether or not certain church assets are available to the settlement fund.

In the order setting the Nov. 2 hearing, Federal Bankruptcy Judge Jim Pappas asked the diocese to provide a summary of the church's income and expenses since it filed for bankruptcy in March. Primarily, the judge hopes to discuss "the factors leading to the filing of this Chapter 11 case; (the diocese's) objectives in the case, and the means by which (the diocese) hopes to achieve those objectives." The hearing also gives the diocese a chance to discuss any other topic of significance that affects the bankruptcy case.

The diocese has argued that certain assets are being held in trust for the parishes, and are therefore exempt from a settlement fund the diocese promised to create for victims when it filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy on March 31.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 8:14 AM

Pope names Cardinal Burke a judge on Vatican supreme court

Catholic News Service via thecatholicspirit.com

October 2, 2017

By Cindy Wooden

Pope Francis has named U.S. Cardinal Raymond Burke a member of the Apostolic Signature, the Church’s supreme court, which the cardinal headed as prefect from 2008 to 2014.

Members of the Apostolic Signature serve as judges in the cases, which mainly involve appeals of lower-court decisions or of administrative decisions by other offices of the Holy See.

The appeals involve everything from challenges to the decisions of marriage tribunals to recourse against the dismissal of a religious, the transfer of a parish priest, the restriction of a priest’s ministry, removal of ministerial faculties, renovation of a parish church and dismissal from a teaching position.

Cardinal Burke’s nomination was met with surprise in some quarters because he continues to speak publicly about issuing a formal “fraternal correction” of Pope Francis over the pope’s teaching in “Amoris Laetitia,” his exhortation on the family. But the public criticism of the pope did not prevent Pope Francis in late 2016 from naming Cardinal Burke the presiding judge in a church trial investigating allegations of sexual abuse leveled against Archbishop Anthony S. Apuron of Agana, Guam. The results of the investigation and trial have not been announced.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 8:12 AM

The Most Offensive Street Name in Dallas

D Magazine

October 2017

By Tim Rogers

How this happened is still unclear. What should happen next is not.

[See also BishopAccountability.org's resource page about Grahmann's handling of the Kos case. Grahmann was bishop of Dallas from 1989 to 2007.]

A newcomer to town wouldn’t give it a second thought. Off West Jefferson Boulevard, in southwest Dallas, between Dallas National Golf Club and Cockrell Hill, there’s a small working-class subdivision called Santa Clara. The entry road is called Via Bishop Grahmann. What could possibly be remarkable about that?

Charles Grahmann served as the sixth bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Dallas, from 1990 to 2007. It was on his watch that a jury in 1997 found the Diocese guilty of gross negligence, conspiracy, malice, and fraud in trying to hide the heinous acts of a child-molesting priest named Rudy Kos. One of Kos’ victims committed suicide. The jury returned the largest clergy-abuse verdict in history, nearly $120 million (later reduced). On the witness stand, Grahmann claimed to have no knowledge of the abuse. Here’s how the jury forewoman described Grahmann’s attitude to the Dallas Morning News: “It looked like he was bored to death and thought he was above it all. I don’t know how you can be in that much denial and have that much evidence.” As the full extent of Grahmann’s culpability was laid bare, the News and D Magazine, both owned by Catholics, called for his resignation.

That is the man whose name the street bears. How that happened remains a bit of a mystery. The land that Santa Clara now occupies once belonged to the Cockrells, one of the founding families of Dallas. It changed hands over the years and eventually came into the possession of the Sisters of Our Lady of Charity and Refuge, who still have a convent a little ways to the north. From them it passed to a number of owners, until a developer called Lennar Corporation, through a subsidiary named NuHome Designs, bought it. The land was platted in 2000, just three years after the Kos trial.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 8:03 AM

Diplomat's recall not unusual, but justice must be served, says expert

Catholic News Service

October 2, 2017

By Carol Glatz

ROME (CNS) -- The recall of a Vatican diplomat suspected by U.S. authorities of having a connection with child pornography reflects normal international protocol, but the suspect must be put on trial and receive punishment if found guilty, said a key organizer of a world congress on child protection.

"Due process has to be followed. If there is a case and if the person is found guilty, then he or she needs to be punished, whoever that is," said Jesuit Father Hans Zollner, head of the Pontifical Gregorian University's Center for Child Protection, which is hosting a world congress on protecting minors from online abuse, violence and exploitation.

The Oct. 3-6 congress in Rome came on the heels of the recall of Italian Msgr. Carlo Capella from the Vatican nunciature in Washington, D.C., after the U.S. State Department notified the Holy See of his possible violation of laws relating to child pornography images.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 7:57 AM

Judge finds probable cause to charge priest with sex assault

NJ Advance Media for NJ.com

October 2, 2017

By Justin Zaremba, jzaremba@njadvancemedia.com

GUTTENBERG -- A hearing has found probable cause for the filing of charges against a Catholic priest accused of sexually assaulting a young parishioner two decades ago.

Probable cause was found for charges of first-degree aggravated sexual assault and second-degree sexual assault against the Rev. Michael "Mitch" Walters on Wednesday, according to an official with the Guttenberg court. The case was then transferred from the municipal court up to the Hudson County Superior Court.

A criminal probe into Walters was first announced in 2016 by Road to Recovery, a Livingston-based group that advocates for victims of clergy abuse. Walters, the group alleged, molested a boy at the St. John Nepomucene Parish in Guttenberg in the 1990s.

Months earlier, Walters was removed from ministry at the Our Lady of Sorrows church in South Orange following allegations he molested children at St. Cassian's Parish in Montclair in the early 1980s.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 7:53 AM

Longtime Native Health Staffer Out After Sex Abuse Allegations Surface

Phoenix New Times

October 2, 2017

By Antonia Noori Farzan

Dennis Huff, the longtime head of behavioral health services at Native Health of Phoenix — which primarily serves the urban Native American community — has left the organization amid allegations of sexual abuse of students at St. Catherine's Indian School in Santa Fe during the late 1970s and early 1980s.

Last month, the Archdiocese of Santa Fe included a person named Dennis Huff on a list of 74 clergy members who had been "credibly accused of sexual misconduct over the last several decades," according to the Santa Fe New Mexican.

On Tuesday, September 26, when Phoenix New Times first contacted Native Health to ask about the accusations, Huff was identified on the nonprofit community health center's website as a member of the leadership team, with the title of behavioral health services administrator.

Two days later, Huff was no longer listed on the website. Communications coordinator Susan Levy wrote in an email, "Regarding your inquiry, Dennis Huff is no longer employed at Native Health. Our policy is not to release any information regarding current and former employees, except dates of employment."

On Friday afternoon, Walter Murillo, Native Health's CEO, shared the following statement:

"Dennis Huff was hired by NATIVE HEALTH in 1992, and served as an exemplary member of our administrative staff. Recently, NATIVE HEALTH received an anonymous letter with allegations against Mr. Huff involving events said to have allegedly occurred prior to his employment with our organization. NATIVE HEALTH requires all employees to pass a rigorous background check and we are not aware of any complaints during Mr. Huff’s employment, nor are there any disciplinary actions reported by the State of Arizona Board of Behavioral Health Examiners. Mr. Huff was required to maintain a criminal background check card, which was monitored and maintained by the Arizona Department of Public Safety, for the length of his employment with us. Upon learning of the allegations against him, NATIVE HEALTH initiated an internal process to determine the best course of action, culminating in Mr. Huff’s decision to resign. During that time, Mr. Huff continued to serve in an administrative role only, with no direct client contact. NATIVE HEALTH regularly reviews our policies, procedures, and practices to ensure that we remain true to our mission providing holistic, patient-centered, culturally sensitive health and wellness services to all people."

In 2014, a lawsuit filed in New Mexico district court alleged that Huff, then a Franciscan monk at the now-defunct St. Catherine Indian School in Santa Fe, had sexually abused a 15-year-old boy living in the school's dorms back in 1976. After a settlement conference, the case was dismissed in February at the plaintiff's request.

In January 2016, a little over a year after the lawsuit was filed, Louie Toya identified himself as the "John Doe" in the case. Toya, a member of Jemez Pueblo, told the Albuquerque Journal that he had run away from the school after the alleged rape occurred and gone on to struggle with alcoholism for most of his life.

According to the complaint, Toya also suffers from "delayed PTSD symptoms, embarrassment, humiliation, destruction and loss of faith, loss of sexual capacity and intimacy, loss of self-esteem, depression, anger issues, nightmares, and other damages" as a result of the abuse.

Toya's attorney, Levi Monagle, whose firm has filed more than 70 lawsuits against priests from the Archdiocese of Santa Fe, couldn't confirm that the Dennis Huff named in the lawsuit was the same individual formerly employed by Native Health.

"The Dennis Huff in our case did spend time in Arizona in various capacities," he acknowledged. "If it is the same person, I find it very troubling."

Eric Morrow, who represented Huff in the lawsuit, declined to comment on whether his client had relocated to the Phoenix area. Directory phone numbers listed for Huff were either out of date or not in service.

However, a 1997 article in the Albuquerque Journal, archived on a website documenting sexual abuse in the Catholic church, noted that Huff had left the order and was believed to be living in Mesa. At the time, Huff had just been accused of sexually abusing another former student, who had been at the school between 1980 and 1983. (The former student submitted a complaint to local police, but Phoenix New Times was unable to locate any records suggesting that charges were ever filed in court.)

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 7:38 AM

October 2, 2017

Opinion: Attacks on the credibility of abuse survivors are not justified by research

The Guardian

October 1, 2017

By Michael Salter

New science of trauma and memory has shown that the assertions of ‘false memory’ advocates are exaggerated

For a quarter of a century, the concept of “false memories” has provided a scientific fig leaf for sceptics of child sexual abuse allegations.

The “false memory” argument is deceptively simple: children and adults are prone to invent false memories of child sexual abuse that never occurred, particularly if encouraged by a therapist or some other authority figure.

So-called “recovered memories”, in which adults recall sexual abuse in childhood after a period of amnesia, have been a particular focus of disbelief.

In fact, scientific studies find that children are far less suggestible than we have been led to believe. Brain imaging studies have identified the neurological mechanisms involved in the process of forgetting and then recalling sexual abuse as an adult.

Delayed disclosure and amnesia are now understood as normal coping mechanisms in response to abuse.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 3:36 PM

Pastors told to report cases of child abuse

New Vision

October 2, 2017

By Luke Kagiri

Bagonza said there are some pastors who tend to hold on to cases of child abuse as spiritual cases in churches.

Born-Again pastors in Uganda have been advised not to spritualise child abuse cases, but to always report them to Police and concerned authorities.

This was revealed by Bishop Charles Bagonza, the overseer of the Pentecostal Churches of Uganda. Bagonza said there are some pastors who sometimes tend to hold on to cases of child abuse as spiritual cases in churches.

“Any issue or case of child abuse or any form of violation should not be handled in church, but should be reported to the relevant authorities,” he said.

Bagonza was on Saturday addressing the faithful at Mityana Pentecostal Church in Busimbi, Mityana municipality, at an event to mark the closure of the four-month prayer campaign dubbed ‘The DOVE 120’ (Days of Victory Ever).

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 3:32 PM

Jeff Anderson's firm to fund law school's Zero Abuse Project

National Catholic Reporter

October 2, 2017

By Brian Roewe

[See the 9/14/2017 news release by Jeff Anderson & Associates about the launch of the Zero Abuse Project.]

A $2 million gift from a leading firm in sexual abuse litigation seeks to turn a Minnesota law school into a national training and resource center for child abuse prevention and response.

The donation, from the firm Jeff Anderson and Associates, will create at the Mitchell Hamline School of Law in St. Paul, Minnesota, what is called the Zero Abuse Project. The effort will educate and train lawyers and other professionals in the skills necessary to recognize signs of child abuse, how to better work with people who have experienced such trauma, and ultimately how to advocate for an end to child abuse through courtroom litigation and legal reform.

"Our law firm is making this commitment in the hopes that people don't need to contact us in the future," Jeff Anderson, whose office is also based in St. Paul, said in a Sept. 14 press release announcing the project.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 3:23 PM

Rushville church at center of child sexual abuse allegations


September 29, 2017

By Vi Nguyen

RUSHVILLE, Ind. — Neighbors are responding after learning about allegations of child sexual abuse at a church in Rushville.

Police executed a search warrant last week at Rushville Baptist Temple Church at 1335 North Spencer Street as part of their investigation.

Police said they are looking into allegations of child molestation and began looking into the church several weeks ago after a woman told them her young daughter was a victim.

During the course of their investigation, police said another woman came forward and said the same thing happened to her as a young girl nearly 30 years ago.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 11:12 AM

Vatican No. 2 opens online abuse seminar amid porn scandal

The Associated Press via WRAL.com

October 2, 2017

By Nicole Winfield

The Vatican's secretary of state is headlining an international conference on protecting children from online sexual abuse and exploitation, weeks after he recalled one of his diplomats who was caught up in a U.S.-Canadian investigation into child porn.

Organizers said the arrest warrant issued for Monsignor Carlo Capella showed the need for the conference, which opens Tuesday and ends Friday when participants bring a set of proposals to Pope Francis.

Cardinal Pietro Parolin will deliver the keynote address on "The Holy See and its commitment to combatting sex abuse online." Panelists include leading researchers in public health, law enforcement, government as well as executives form Facebook and Microsoft — evidence of the across-the-board realization that the digital age is bringing exponential new threats to children.

"The risks are everywhere. It is not a western problem," said the Rev. Hans Zollner, conference organizer and head of the Center for Child Protection at the Pontifical Gregorian University, the Catholic Church's leading research and education center on sexual abuse prevention and child protection.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 11:07 AM

Archbishop of Canterbury accused of hypocrisy by sexual abuse survivors

The Guardian

September 30, 2017

By Harriet Sherwood

Comments follow Justin Welby’s criticism of the BBC over its handling of the Jimmy Savile abuse cases

Survivors of sexual abuse by Church of England figures have accused Justin Welby of “breathtaking hypocrisy” after the Archbishop of Canterbury criticised the BBC for the way it handled abuse by Jimmy Savile.

Welby said the BBC had not shown the same integrity over accusations of child abuse that the Catholic and Anglican churches had.

In a statement, six survivors of abuse by powerful church figures rejected Welby’s comments and said the record of the church and Welby himself was one of “silence, denial and evasion”.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 10:59 AM

Justin Welby accuses BBC over Jimmy Savile abuse victims

The Guardian

September 30, 2017

By Jamie Doward and Harriet Sherwood

Archbishop of Canterbury faces backlash after claiming broadcaster showed less integrity than church in tackling scandal

The Church of England and the BBC engaged in an extraordinary war of words on Saturday over their responses to sex abuse scandals within their ranks.

The dispute was prompted by criticism of the BBC levelled by Justin Welby for its response to the Jimmy Savile crisis. The archbishop of Canterbury said the BBC had not shown the same integrity over accusations of child abuse that the Catholic and Anglican churches had.

The BBC’s religious affairs correspondent, Martin Bashir, responded by listing cases of alleged sex abuse within the Anglican church, adding that Welby’s comments reminded him of the passage in the gospel of St John in which Christ says “Let him who is without sin cast the first stone”.

Survivors of sexual abuse by CoE clerics accused Welby of “breathtaking hypocrisy” after his criticism of the way the BBC dealt with the many cases of abuse carried out by Savile.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 10:54 AM

Anglican church failed to pay child sex abuse survivor agreed $1.5m settlement

The Guardian

September 29, 2017

By Christopher Knaus

‘It’s extremely hard,’ says abuse survivor, who was forced to take church back to court to obtain payment

The Anglican church failed to pay a child sexual abuse survivor an agreed $1.5m settlement, prompting allegations it has treated him with disdain.

The church, however, says the failure to meet Thursday’s payment deadline was inadvertent, and urgently moved to transfer the money after being alerted to the error on Friday.

The survivor, who asked for anonymity, sued the Anglican church’s Brisbane diocese in late 2015 for horrific abuse he suffered at St Paul’s school in the 1980s, at the hands of convicted paedophile Gregory Robert Knight.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 10:49 AM

Opinion: Pope Francis is no heretic

The Globe and Mail

October 1, 2017

By Michael W. Higgins

Michael W. Higgins is a distinguished professor of Catholic Thought at Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, Conn. He is the co-author of Suffer the Children Unto Me: An Open Inquiry into the Clerical Sex Abuse Scandal.

Evidently, the last time anything like this happened was during the reign of Pope John XXII in the year 1333.

It doesn't happen that often, so when it does, it is a matter of note.

The fuss in Catholic conservative circles, and the unwelcome stress it has created in the Vatican of Pope Francis, is the letter Correctio filialis de Haeresibus Propagatis or Filial Correction of Pope Francis for the Propagation of Heresies. Traditionalist groups have a sacred bond with the Latin language – the onetime lingua franca of the Roman Catholic Church – so everything, admonition, indictment, or apocalyptic screed appears in the mother tongue.

The Correctio is more than an historical oddity, a fervent initiative launched by scandalized Catholics keen on getting the Barque of Peter steered in the right direction again. It is a shot across the bow and should be read as such and not dismissed as the rantings of a disaffected crowd of ultra-conservative Catholics horrified by the "untoward" actions and musings of a Latin American pontiff who does not play by the rules of orthodoxy.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 8:44 AM

New mediator in settlement talks

The Guam Daily Post

October 2, 2017

By Mindy Aguon

A new mediator has been agreed upon by the parties in more than 100 church sex abuse cases.

Attorney David Lujan, who represents the bulk of the plaintiffs who have alleged sexual abuse by members of the Archdiocese of Agana and the Boy Scouts of America, confirms retired federal Judge Michael Hogan will not be the arbitrator for the church settlement discussions.

“One of the groups didn’t want Hogan and refused to deal with him because of a bad experience in the past,” Lujan said.

Antonio Piazza, of Mediated Negotiations based in San Francisco, California, has been recognized as one of the leading mediators in the world.

According to his company website, he pioneered the development of mediated negotiations as the preferred alternative to protracted conflict in complex civil disputes, having successfully mediated the resolution of more than 4,000 cases since 1980 with some individual settlements exceeding $1 billion.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 8:41 AM

BBC and Archbishop of Canterbury should stop pointing the finger at one another over child abuse, victims' lawyer says

The Telegraph

October 2, 2017

By Sarah Knapton

The BBC and the Archbishop of Canterbury should both stop pointing the finger at one another over child abuse, a representative of victims has said after a row over how the corporation and the Church of England handled complaints.

The Most Rev Justin Welby had claimed the church handled sex scandals with more integrity than the broadcaster.

Richard Scorer, a specialist abuse lawyer at Slater and Gordon, who has represented victims of Savile and former Bishop Peter Ball said the BBC and the Church of England should both be "looking very hard at themselves and be focused entirely on how they can both look to improve safeguarding in the future."

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 8:27 AM

Vatican tribunal has made a decision in Apuron’s trial

Pacific News Center

October 2, 2017

By Janela Carrera

The decision, however, has yet to be made public.

[See the summary of the case against Apuron in our Bishops Accused of Sexual Abuse and Misconduct: A Global Accounting.]

The highly anticipated decision into Archbishop Apuron’s canonical trial has been made but what the decision is has not yet been revealed.

It’s been about a year since a canonical trial was launched on dethroned Archbishop Anthony Apuron in Rome and we are now at the precipice of what will definitely be a historical moment for the Catholic faith on Guam.

Coadjutor Archbishop Michael Byrnes gave an update on Archbishop Apuron’s trial today during a press conference at the Chancery Office.

“I was in contact with Father Justin Wachs just last week, he says that the sentence has been determined but they have to send it out to the other judges for their signatures,” said Byrnes.

Archbishop Apuron stands accused of sexually assaulting at least four altar servers in the 1970s at the Mt. Carmel Catholic Church in Agat. All four alleged victims have pending lawsuits in District Court—one of whom, the late Joseph Sonny Quinata, was done through his estate.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 8:05 AM

October 1, 2017

Children of priests step out of the shadows, and the Catholic church responds

Boston Globe

September 30, 2017

By Michael Rezendes

[See a PDF of the Boston Globe front page with this story.]

Mary “Mimi” Bull was happily married and the mother of three children when she found out that her biological father was a Catholic priest she had known growing up in Norwood in the 1940s. She had always believed that she was adopted and that the priest who often visited was just a family friend.

But it wasn’t until last month, at age 80, that Bull finally spoke to someone with a life story like her own. He is an Irish activist who learned as an adult that his godfather, a local priest, was really his biological dad. Bull talked on the phone for an hour with Vincent Doyle, the first time she had ever spoken with another priest’s child.

“It was huge,” Bull told the Globe.

Many children of priests grow up thinking they are alone in their situation, in their confusion, anger, or sorrow. But they are now discovering how much company they have, and some are coming forward in the aftermath of a Globe Spotlight series in August on a painful, little-discussed issue in the Catholic church: the fate of children born to priests who break their promise to live without marriage or sex.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 12:48 PM

Cardinal Burke back at Vatican high court — but as adviser

Associates Press via Washington Post

September 30, 2017

One of Pope Francis’ leading conservative critics, American Cardinal Raymond Burke, is getting a second life at the Vatican high court he headed until Francis removed him in 2014.

Francis appointed Burke as a member of the Apostolic Signatura on Saturday. Members serve as advisers to the court, which currently is headed by a longtime Vatican diplomat, Cardinal Dominique Mamberti.

Francis removed Burke as the court’s prefect in 2014 and named him envoy to the Knights of Malta lay religious order. The pope then effectively sidelined Burke from that job this year after he intervened in a condom scandal that led to a governance crisis in the order.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 12:15 PM

First-of-its-kind congress leads global conversation on digital sexual child abuse

Catholic News Agency/EWTN

September 30, 2017

By Hannah Brockhaus

A global congress to be held in Rome next week will focus on how to protect children in the digital age, bringing together various experts from around the world to develop concrete ways to combat the issue of online child sex abuse.

Fr. Hans Zollner, SJ told journalists Sept. 29 that this is an issue that is dangerous for “many, many young people in the world today.”

Head of the Center for Child Protection and a member of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors, Zollner said he has spoken to many parents who do not know what to do about their children’s access to the internet: “Everyone is talking and they do not know what to do.”

With this congress, “we can propose something we believe could be useful.”

But this is just the beginning, he told CNA. “We will start now, but this is again, one step in a very long journey that needs persistence and perseverance and we try to give our contribution to that.”

The world congress, on the topic of "Child Dignity in the Digital World,” is being held in Rome Oct. 3-6. It has been organized by the Pontifical Gregorian University’s Center for Child Protection (CCP).

The week-long congress will include scientists, academic experts, leaders of civil society, high-level politicians, and religious representatives from around the world. It will conclude with a papal audience, where participants will present a final document – a declaration on future action – to Pope Francis.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 12:14 PM

Internet Pornography 'Pernicious', Says Priest

The Tablet

September 28, 2017

Catholic columnist and parish priest Alexander Lucie-Smith has raised concerns over the widespread availability of pornography on the internet and said many in the Church will not accept pornography use is “near universal” among boys and young men, writes Bernadette Kehoe.

Addressing the annual Ordinariate festival, in a talk entitled “Preaching the Gospel in the Internet Age”, Fr Lucie-Smith argued that the “pernicious” effect of pornography meant a generation was growing up unable to embark on a proper human relationship. He called for “an urgent, proper proclamation of the sixth commandment and a radical new approach to sex education, marriage preparation and education for chastity”. Organisers of the festival, which took place at a school near Westminster Cathedral, said that the question-and-answer session after the talk showed that he had struck a chord with many of the priests present – and their experience in the confessional.

Fr Lucie-Smith defended the importance of traditional preaching in the computer age, but highlighted the proliferation of opinion in a way that was unknown a generation ago when the “commentariat” comprised a few hundred people. Now, he said, everyone has an opinion and can share it instantly. In his view, a trawl of the Catholic internet reveals “voices overwhelmingly for tradition; it’s the out-of-touch elite that wants change”.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 12:03 PM

Alleged Perv Priest Holed Up in Vatican Now Wanted in Two Countries

Daily Beast

A Vatican diplomat-priest, wanted in the U.S. and Canada on child pornography charges, is now safe in the Holy See. Can he be brought to justice? Will he?

By Barbie Latza Nadeau

Rome - Monsignor Carlo Capella, a 50-year-old priest and diplomat in the Vatican’s foreign service, allegedly uploaded child pornography from a church in Windsor, Canada, last Christmas, according to a new arrest warrant issued by Canadian authorities. The cleric currently is wanted for accessing child pornography, possessing child pornography and distributing child pornography––but he won’t face the secular charges any time soon because he is safely inside the fortified walls of Vatican City in Rome.

Capella is reported to be the same priest who was secretly swooped back to Rome last August when American authorities wanted his immunity lifted on similar charges. The Vatican will not confirm or deny his identity and would not comment on the Canadian arrest warrant, which does name the suspect. But in September, the Holy See did say it was disciplining the errant unnamed priest in house.

“The Holy See, following the practice of sovereign states, recalled the priest in question, who is currently in Vatican City,” a statement released September 15 says.

According to the Canadian arrest warrant, “Investigators believe that the offenses occurred while the suspect was visiting a place of worship in Windsor. Investigators have determined that the suspect has returned to his residence in Italy.”

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 11:58 AM

New poll finds Pope Francis still enjoys widespread popularity in U.S.


September 29, 2017

By Christopher White

New poll finds Pope Francis still enjoys widespread popularity in U.S.

Two years after his visit to the United States in September 2015, Pope Francis is still enjoying widespread approval in the country. New polling results from Saint Leo University Polling Institute found the pope's overall approval ratings held high, despite waning support for his handling of clergy sexual abuse and immigration.

Two years after Pope Francis visited the United States in September 2015 and four months after his first meeting with President Donald Trump, the pope’s overall approval among Americans Catholics is at 87.9 percent-up from 82.6 this past March.

While the new data evidences a five-point bump among the U.S. Catholic population, his popularity dipped slightly among the general U.S. population, now at 67.9 percent approval, down slightly from 70.5 percent last March.

The polling, which was carried out by Saint Leo University Polling Institute, took place from September 10-16 among 1,000 individuals.

Respondents were asked to weigh in on six areas of the pope’s job performance: Advancing the cause of the poor, human rights work, environmental issues, migration and immigration, handling cases of sexual abuse involving Catholic clergy, and marriage and family issues.
The pope received his lowest approval for his handling of sexual abuse issues, with 46.4 percent of national respondents saying they “strongly or somewhat approve” of his work in this area, while 30.8 percent say they “somewhat and strongly disapprove” of the pope’s course of action.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 11:55 AM

Pope Francis Remains Popular, Lowest Marks Earned for Clergy Sex Abuse

St. Leo University Polling Institute

September 29, 2017

Pope Francis Remains Popular in National Saint Leo University Poll, Lowest Marks Earned for Clergy Sex Abuse, Immigration, Marriage Issues
Work on human rights issues and in helping the poor received the highest approval ratings

While Pope Francis continues to garner favorable opinion in the most recent Saint Leo University Polling Institute (http://polls.saintleo.edu) survey, his lowest marks come on the issues of handling sexual abuse by clergy, immigration/migration, and marriage and family issues.

The nonpartisan poll was conducted online among 1,000 American adults from September 10 through September 16. As a Catholic university, Saint Leo’s polling institute examines American’s opinions about the pope in each quarterly survey.

Saint Leo’s poll shows the pope’s current favorable opinion rating at 67.9 percent—down from 70.5 percent in the March 2017 poll, and up from the 62.6 percent in the November 2016 poll. Among Catholics nationally, Pope Francis’ popularity increased, with 87.9 percent having a favorable opinion of him, up from 82.6 percent in the March poll.

While the Saint Leo poll routinely asks respondents to rate the job Pope Francis is doing on four issues, the September poll added two issues—one regarding sexual abuse by clerics and one about marriage and family. The poll asked, “How would you rate the job Pope Francis is doing on:”

- Advancing the cause of the poor;
- Human rights;
- Environmental issues;
- Migration/immigration;
- Handling cases of sexual abuse involving Catholic clergy;
- Marriage and family issues.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 11:51 AM

Vatican diplomat also wanted in Canada on child porn charges

Catholic News Service

September 29, 2017

By Cindy Wooden

An arrest warrant has been issued in Canada for Msgr. Carlo Capella, the Vatican diplomat recalled from service in Washington in late August, who already was the subject of a Vatican criminal investigation involving child pornography.

Police in Windsor, Ontario, issued a statement Sept. 28 saying, “A Canada-wide arrest warrant has been issued for Carlo Capella, a 50-year-old male, for the charges of: access(ing) child pornography, possess(ing) child pornography and distribut(ing) child pornography.”

“Investigators believe that the offenses occurred while the suspect was visiting a place of worship in Windsor,” the statement said. “Investigators have determined that the suspect has returned to his residence in Italy.”

Msgr. Capella had worked since the summer of 2016 at the Vatican nunciature in Washington. Prior to that, he worked on the Italy desk at the Vatican Secretariat of State. He was ordained to the priesthood in 1993 for the Archdiocese of Milan.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 11:46 AM

Why the U.S. Catholic Church Has Lost More Members than Any Other Major Denomination

The Open Tabernacle

October 1, 2017

By Betty Clermont

The downward trend in the number of Catholics is pretty familiar by now. In 2016, we were 18% of the population according to a recent PRRI report. In 2014, we were 21% and in 2007, 24% according to a Pew Religious Landscape Study.

The decline in non-Hispanic white Catholics is a bit steeper: 11% in 2016, 12% in 2014 and 16% in 2007.

Thirty six percent of Catholics are Hispanic; 9% are black, Asian and other. Hispanics are 52% of Catholics under the age of 30. The proportion of Hispanics is likely to increase because they have younger children and larger families, according to PRRI.

In 1990, native-born Catholics were 23% of the U.S. population and 87% were white, non-Hispanic.

“The largest decline among major religious groups” has occurred in the Catholic Church according to an earlier PRRI survey. “Nearly one-third (31.2%) of Americans report being raised in a Catholic household, but only about one in five (20.9%) Americans identify as Catholic currently.”

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 11:25 AM

Barbara Blaine 1956-2017: The Catholic activist who fought for victims of clergy sex abuse

The Week

October 6, 2017

For decades, Barbara Blaine stayed silent about the sexual abuse she had suffered as a teenager at the hands of a Catholic priest. Then in 1985, the Chicago social worker read a newspaper story about a pedophile priest in Louisiana and decided to confront church officials in her hometown of Toledo. They dismissed her claims and left her feeling, she said, "raked over the coals." Uncertain how to heal, Blaine sought out other victims and in 1988 formed the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP). The group today has more than 21,000 members and is the nation's most powerful voice for abuse victims. "I don't think any of us thought when we started;' Blaine said in 2014, "that we would still be doing it now:'

Blaine was 13 when she was first abused by a priest who convinced her that she was an "evil temptress;' said The Boston Globe. After attending college in St. Louis, she moved to Chicago, where she headed a Catholic charity that helped to house the homeless. She initially founded SNAP in Chicago as a support group, but its mission soon expanded to advocacy. Members posted fliers outside churches warning that an abusive priest was inside; victims held vigils holding photos of themselves as children when they were first abused.

That activism, together with revelations of massive church cover-ups in Boston and elsewhere, eventually led U.S. bishops to pledge to remove all alleged abusers, said The New York Times. But SNAP accused the church of failing to keep those promises, so Blaine kept campaigning. Following her death, her husband, Howard Rubin, said he was inundated with messages from survivors. "I'm hearing from people," he said, "who are saying, 'She saved my life.'"

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 11:16 AM

Child institutional abuse probe’s approach under fire

The Australian

September 30, 2017

By Richard Guilliatt

[See also our caches of Child institutional abuse probe’s approach under fire and ‘Those events never happened’.]

The $500 million royal commission into institutional child abuse is promoting “ethically dubious” and potentially harmful ideas about the counselling of sexual abuse victims and the reliability of their testimony, senior experts in the field have warned.

Several leading national and international researchers say the long-running inquiry has adopted a misguided victim-advocacy role and published misleading, inaccurate research that could potentially undermine the $4 billion redress scheme for abuse victims.

Richard Bryant, director of the Westmead Trauma Stress Clinic, said the royal commission ­appeared to be advocating counselling practices that were potentially dangerous and contradicted guidelines endorsed by the ­National Health and Medical Research Council.

His concerns were echoed by several experts in psychology, including emeritus professor Don Thomson, chairman of the ethical guidelines committee of the Australian Psychological Society, and Elizabeth Loftus of the University of California Irvine, an internationally renowned memory researcher who described some of the ideas endorsed by the commission as “brain babble”.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 11:02 AM

Child abuse activist Cathy Kezelman hits back over 'false memory' claims

The Sydney Morning Herald

September 30, 2017

By Michaela Whitbourn

[See the article that Kezelman is responding to: 'Those events never happened'.]

A leading child abuse activist linked to the $500 million child abuse royal commission has hit back at claims by her family that her psychological treatment triggered "false memories" of abuse at the hands of her father as she comes under fire over her role advising on a compensation scheme for victims.

Cathy Kezelman, a former GP who heads the influential Blue Knot Foundation representing adult victims of childhood trauma, helped co-write national counselling guidelines for sexual abuse victims and was appointed last year to a panel advising the Turnbull government on the rollout of a $4 billion redress scheme for victims of institutional child sexual abuse.

But in an article published in the Weekend Australian Magazine on Saturday, Dr Kezelman's brother and emergency doctor Claude Imhoff said he "utterly refute[d]" his sister's claims that she suffered horrific abuse at the hands of her father and a group of paedophiles led by her paternal grandmother.

"I can categorically state that those events never happened," Dr Imhoff said.

He said his sister had "simply ignored the professional guidelines and not mentioned anything about the dangers of false memories" being created in counselling sessions and he was speaking out to prevent a wave of false accusations against alleged perpetrators.

Dr Kezelman told Fairfax Media it was "completely false" to suggest her own memories of childhood trauma were triggered by her psychological treatment.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 10:55 AM

‘Those events never happened’

The Australian

September 30, 2017

By Richard Guilliatt

[To download the counselling guidelines discussed in this article, visit the Blue Knot Foundation. The Royal Commission reports mentioned in the article are Empirical Guidance on the Effects of Child Sexual Abuse on Memory and Complainants’ Evidence and Redress and Civil Litigation. This article also references 'I hated myself for the things I'd done as part of the abuse', by Tim Elliott, The Sydney Morning Herald, November 19, 2012. See also our cache of this article: 'Those events never happened'.]

She’s a highly influential activist for childhood trauma survivors. But questions are being asked about Cathy Kezelman’s own shocking story of abuse.

For Dr Cathy Kezelman, the past two decades have been tumultuous indeed. In late 1998, at the age of 44, she abandoned her demanding career as a Sydney GP after suffering a shattering breakdown following the death of her 18-year-old niece in a car accident. In the years that followed, her mental state seesawed wildly between bedridden clinical depression, terrifying panic attacks and flights of mania so severe that she once frenziedly hacked her garden to pieces with a saw and secateurs. At her lowest ebb, Kezelman would drive repeatedly from her home in the city’s affluent eastern suburbs to the nearby sandstone clifftops of The Gap, a notorious suicide spot that looms high above the Tasman Sea, where she would stand for hours at the safety rail “pondering my demise”.

In 2010, Kezelman revealed the source of her anguish: in a memoir entitled Innocence Revisited she wrote that she had been violently sexually abused from early childhood by her father, a former Brisbane schoolteacher, and by a group of sadistic paedophiles led by her paternal grandmother. The abuse was so traumatic, she wrote, that her mind had fragmented into multiple personalities, a condition that had been cured with the help of a gifted and patient psychologist. In numerous interviews to promote Innocence Revisited, and in her role as head of the advocacy organisation Adults Surviving Child Abuse (ASCA), Kezelman emerged as a compelling figurehead for survivors of childhood trauma. The NSW prosecutor Mark Tedeschi QC hailed her courage, and the noted child development expert Professor Freda Briggs lauded her book as “a testament to human resilience”.

Today Kezelman is the most influential child abuse activist in the country. Her organisation, now called the Blue Knot Foundation, is regarded as the peak body representing adult abuse victims, and her work there has earned her an Order of Australia. Justice Peter McClellan, head of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, calls her an “old friend”, and the commission has strongly endorsed Blue Knot’s work. In her roles as a director of the Mental Health Co-ordinating Council of NSW and president of Blue Knot, she co-wrote the counselling guidelines that are being used to train thousands of staff in sexual assault clinics, mental health wards and counselling centres around the country. Most recently she was appointed to the panel that will administer the proposed $4 billion redress scheme to compensate victims of institutional abuse.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 10:46 AM