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December 14, 2017

A national compensation scheme for abuse victims was supposed to be up and running by now. Why isn't it?

AUSTRALIA
Australian Broadcasting Corporation

December 14, 2017

By Samantha Donovan

In 2015, the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse recommended a national redress scheme for victims of institutional child sexual abuse be up and running by mid-2017 "at the latest".

But the $4 billion scheme is still not in place.

The Federal Government has introduced a bill into Parliament, but the states and territories are reluctant to sign up to the proposed scheme.

And the major institutions which will pay the compensation to survivors are waiting to see what the states do.

Which leaves around 60,000 Australians anxiously waiting for their chance to apply for compensation.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 5:20 PM

Michigan State Can't Bury Its Role In The Largest Sex Abuse Scandal In Sports History

NEW YORK (NY)
Deadspin

December 14, 2017

By Dvora Meyers

This past March, Michigan State University trustee Joel Ferguson told Michigan’s WXYZ-TV that “MSU is going to look great” after an internal investigation into how the school handled sexual assault allegations against Larry Nassar. For all that we still do not know about Nassar’s crimes or the institutional cover-ups that allowed them to continue, we do know this: Nassar will almost certainly spend the rest of his life in jail for decades of offenses against hundreds of athletes, most of them young gymnasts. He was sentenced to 60 years for federal child pornography charges last week and will be sentenced on state level criminal sexual conduct charges next month. The former physician for Michigan State and USA Gymnastics is the most prolific sex criminal in sports history.

But, as of now, there is no way to know how MSU and their actions appear in that internal Michigan State review on how the school handled sexual abuse allegations against Nassar. If the report even exists—and a letter released this week by Patrick Fitzgerald, the former U.S. attorney who is representing the school, suggests that it does not—the university has no plans to release it. MSU spokesperson Jason Cody has repeatedly asserted that the findings of the review were “never designed to end in a report.”

Until very recently, USA Gymnastics has received most of the critical coverage when it came to Nassar’s sexual abuse of gymnasts. And deservedly so: journalists and victims have cited the national governing body’s failure to properly supervise how Nassar provided medical “treatment” at the national team training center and on the road at competitions, the complicity of its board of directors, the prioritization of medals ahead of athlete well-being. In the year and change since the Indianapolis Star first broke the Nassar story back in September 2016, Steve Penny was forced to resign as CEO of USA Gymnastics in March. Former Olympic gymnasts and national team members testified before a Senate committee about their experiences as young athletes. (USA Gymnastics did not send a representative to this hearing.) And Olympic stars like Aly Raisman and McKayla Maroney have recently come forward and said that they were abused by Nassar and denounced how USA Gymnastics looked after them when they were minor gymnasts competing on the national team. None of this criticism is disproportionate. But there is another, much larger institution that has, until now, mostly escaped repercussions in the Nassar case—Michigan State.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 5:18 PM

The monks who stole my childhood

ENGLAND
The Sunday Times

December 10, 2017

By Stephen Bleach

Forty years ago, I was just one of the pupils beaten and molested by a teacher at a top Catholic school. Last week I saw him convicted of a litany of abuse — and I wept

Four decades on I can still remember his hand on my backside. It didn’t bother me much at the time: I was too scared of what was coming next. If you haven’t been beaten with a cane by somebody who really enjoys doing it, it’s hard to describe how much it hurts.

Afterwards I straightened up, tearful and shaky. The man stood in his black Benedictine monk’s robes, cane still in hand, a kindly, almost embarrassed expression on his face. “That wasn’t so bad, was it?” he said. Whether he meant the caning or his furtive, five-second grope as I bent over his office chair, I couldn’t tell. After all, I was only 13.

That man was Andrew Soper, although I knew him by his Benedictine name of Father Laurence.
He was one of my teachers during the 1970s at St Benedict’s in Ealing, west London — a Catholic school that was recently described as having been “one of Britain’s most notorious dens of paedophilia”.

Last week I looked down at him standing in the dock at the Old Bailey, where he was found guilty on 19 counts of child sexual abuse including buggery, indecency with a child and indecent assault.

Soper taught me maths. Rather well — I got an A at O-level. He also taught me that the world was a dangerous place. He used beating as a sadistic ruse to gain sexual gratification, the court was told. In other words, he got off on it.

Well, obviously. You didn’t need an O-level to know that.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 2:00 PM

JOB NOT OVER AFTER CHILD ABUSE INQUIRY

AUSTRALIA
FIVEaa

December 14, 2017

The head of the royal commission that exposed decades of inaction and cover-ups of child sexual abuse wants the leaders of Australian institutions to set aside any resentment and enact real change.

Victims and child protection advocates say the job is far from over after the end of the $500 million five-year inquiry, demanding immediate action from governments, churches, charities and other organisations that failed children so badly.

Commission chair Justice Peter McClellan said many institutions and government agencies now accept they failed and must make changes, but also warned of possible holdouts.

"There may be leaders and members of some institutions who resent the intrusion of the royal commission into their affairs," Justice McClellan told the inquiry's final sitting in Sydney on Thursday.

"However, if the problems we have identified are to be adequately addressed, changes must be made.

"There must be changes in the culture, structure and governance practices of many institutions."

After exposing a national tragedy involving tens of thousands of children being sexually abused over decades in more than 4000 institutions, the royal commission will recommend widespread changes by governments and organisations.

It will be up to governments and institutions to implement the recommendations in the commission's final report to be released on Friday, which will add to its existing calls for reforms in the criminal and civil justice systems.

Survivor Joan Isaacs said the royal commission left no stone unturned in identifying the horrific nature and extent of institutional abuse and the sheer scale of cover-ups.

"The job of the commission is done, but the journey is not over. There is much to do," she said.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 1:56 PM

From darkness, a light starts to shine

AUSTRALIA
The Newcastle Herald

December 14, 2017

By Ian Kirkwood

ALMOST five years have elapsed since the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Abuse began its processes in 2013.

Although it has been a truly national inquiry, Newcastle Herald readers will know that a lot of the events that led to the commission took place in this part of the world. Indeed, a lot of the reporting that played a major role in putting pressure on the federal government to commission the inquiry came from the Herald and its Shine the Light campaign spearheaded by Gold Walkley-winning journalist Joanne McCarthy. But the Hunter’s role in the road to the royal commission did not start with Joanne.

It began with another formidable Herald writer, Jeff Corbett, whose reporting of court cases involving now notorious Catholic Hunter paedophiles including Vince Ryan and Jim Fletcher earned the repeated ire of the bishop of the day, Michael Malone.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 1:54 PM

CofE set to publish report into handling of George Bell 'abuse' case – but will it satisfy critics?

ENGLAND
Christian Today

December 14, 2017

By James Macintyre

The Church of England is expected tomorrow to publish an independent report into its handling of an abuse claim against the late George Bell, the former Bishop of Chichester, after keen anticipation from his supporters that is likely only partially to be satisfied.

While critics of the Church are confident that the report is likely to be highly critical of procedures, any examination of the terms of reference makes clear that there will be no call for an apology from the CofE nor, crucially, any judgment on whether allegations from Bishop Bell's accuser are true or untrue.

The objectives of the review as set out in the terms of reference are merely to ensure that lessons are learnt from past practice; survivors are listened to, taken seriously and supported; good practice is identified and disseminated; and recommendations are made to help the Church embed best practice in safeguarding children and adults in the future.

The Church is said to be bracing itself for criticism when it comes to past practice, but expectations among Bell's fiercest defenders may be dashed.

In 2015 the Bishop of Chichester issued a formal apology following the settlement of a legal civil claim regarding allegations of sexual abuse by the late Bishop Bell, who was Bishop of Chichester from 1929 until shortly before his death in 1958.

In November last year, the Church announced the Carlile review which it said was aimed at investigating 'the processes surrounding the allegations which were first brought in 1995 to the diocese of Chichester, with the same allegations brought again, this time to Lambeth Palace, in 2013.' The Church added at the time: 'It will also consider the processes, including the commissioning of independent expert reports and archival and other investigations, which were used to inform the decision to settle the case, in order to learn lessons which can applied to the handling of similar safeguarding cases in future.'

Some critics, led by the Mail on Sunday journalist Peter Hitchens, have accused the Church of 'delaying' publication of the report from the review by Lord Carlile of Berriew into lessons learnt from the case, which was delivered on October 7.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 1:52 PM

Progress on abuse reporting measure

FOXBORO (MA)
The Sun Chronicle

December 14, 2017

By Rick Foster

FOXBORO — Leaders of a local effort to expand reporting of suspected sexual abuse of children say they’re feeling good about chances of getting state legislators to take action on a bill this year.

Members of a local committee formed to combat sexual abuse testified before the Joint Committee on Children, Families and Persons with Disabilities last week on the bill that would broaden mandated reporting of suspected abuse to include a wide range of people who work with children, including volunteer coaches.

The bill is the legacy of reported sexual victimization of children by a teacher and volunteer swim coach locally and in Florida over more than two decades. Former Foxboro resident William Sheehan, who also served as a scoutmaster, has been accused of assaulting dozens of children during that time.

However, it was decades before Sheehan’s alleged crimes were reported.

Local officials including state Rep. Jay Barrows, R-Mansfield, who filed the bill said they believed they got a sympathetic reception from the legislative committee.

“I think we all left with a sense that the members present were supportive,” said Rev. William Dudley, who testified he was assaulted by Sheehan as a child. “Chairman (Kay) Kahn seemed very much so, as did another representative to her left. Jay explained it will be a slog to get there, but we left feeling quite upbeat.”

Police Lt. Richard Noonan was equally pleased with the reception.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 1:50 PM

Bond denied for Quincy pastor facing sex abuse charges in Virginia

VIRGINIA BEACH (VA)
THE HERALD-WHIG

December 14, 2017

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. -- Bond was denied for a Quincy pastor and former Marine colonel who faces multiple sex abuse crimes in Virginia.

WAVY-TV in Portsmouth reported that Todd Shane Tomko, 54, was denied bond during his appearance Wednesday in Virginia Beach General District Court.

Tomko was arrested Nov. 22 in Quincy on Virginia Beach warrants issued on three counts of aggravated sexual battery, three counts of indecent liberties with a child, and one count of felony cruelty to children.

Prosecutors said in court that Tomko made children watch pornography and learn sexual acts when they were as young as 4 years old, and then carried out sexual acts when they were older. The incidents allegedly occurred in Virginia Beach starting in 2002, police said.

A Quincy native, Tomko enlisted in the Marine Corps in 1983. He has been pastor of Parkview Church, 1500 S. Eighth, since his 2016 retirement from the military. The station reported that prosecutors said the charges were based on information from three accusers who knew Tomko was working with children at the Quincy church.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 1:48 PM

'Nobody saved us': Man describes childhood in abusive 'cult'

SPINDALE (NC)
The Associated Press

December 13, 2017

By Mitch Weiss and Holbrook Mohr

SPINDALE, N.C. — Jamey Anderson vividly recalls being a skinny kid trembling on the floor of a dank, windowless storage room, waiting in terror for the next adult to open the door.

He was bruised and exhausted after being held down while a group of Word of Faith Fellowship congregants — including his mother and future stepfather — beat him with a wooden paddle, he said. As with most punishments at the secretive Christian church, Anderson said, it was prompted by some vague accusation: He had sin in his heart, or he had given in to the “unclean.” The attacks could last for hours until he confessed to something, anything, and cried out to Jesus, he said.

Sometimes even that wasn’t enough for redemption. Then, Anderson said, he would be locked in a dark place he called the “green room,” where he would bang his head against the brick wall, wanting to die.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 1:46 PM

GOP Senate must stop blocking legal recourse for New Yorkers abused as kids

NEW YORK (NY)
LoHud

December 13, 2017

A Journal News editorial

The #MeToo movement has awakened many to the wide range of sexual misconduct. We've heard of powerful men repeatedly, with apparent impunity, accosting and assaulting women. The contentious Alabama Senate election shone a spotlight on accusations that GOP candidate Roy Moore had targeted young adolescent girls.

With so much news about and, finally, serious consequences for sexual harassment, assault and abuse, many New Yorkers might assume that those who were victims of abuse as children are given fair and ample opportunity to seek some measure of justice. But they would be wrong. Under state law, criminal charges against an accused molester, for most forms of abuse short of rape, must be filed before a victim is 23. Victims who want to seek redress in civil court can only sue a church, school or other institution before they are 21, and can only sue their abuser until they are 23.

Such limits on seeking justice are more than unfair. New York legislators have had a bill in front of them for years to realign the statute of limitations to something that is fair and fits the timeline of trauma that victims of child sexual abuse can face. Yet the Republican-controlled Senate has failed to allow this bill to come to a vote.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 1:36 PM

Justice Peter McClellan: Survivors deserve our nation’s thanks

AUSTRALIA
The Courier

December 14, 2017

By Siobhan Calafiore

Clergy abuse survivors have been publicly thanked for telling their stories as the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse officially ended its five-year-long inquiry.

Chair Justice Peter McClellan used a symbolic sitting held in Sydney on Thursday to reflect on the history of the commission, honour the survivors, and warn sexual abuse of children was not only a problem of the past.

He said more than 15,000 people had contacted the royal commission, more than 8000 people had spoken with a commissioner in a private session and more than 1300 survivors had provided a written account of their experiences.

For many of the survivors who had never reported their abuse to police or a person in authority, the royal commission marked the first time they had told their stories.

“They have had a profound impact on the commissioners and our staff,” Justice McClellan said of the survivors.

“Without them we could not have done our work… they deserve our nation’s thanks.”

He said recounting the abuse had required great courage and determination.

“Most are stories of personal trauma and many are of personal tragedy. It is impossible not to share the anger many survivors have felt when they tell us of their betrayal by people they believed they were entitled to trust,” Justice McClellan said.

He also recognised the parents, spouses and siblings who had come forward about allegations of abuse of their relatives who had died, sometimes through suicide.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 1:35 PM

Milestone an intense time for survivors as they wait for report

AUSTRALIA
The Courier

December 14, 2017

By Siobhan Calafiore

Overwhelming, intense and nerve-racking are some of the words used to describe what clergy abuse survivors may be feeling as they wait for a final report.

The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse officially concludes when the report and recommendations are delivered to the Governor General on Friday.

But survivors still do not know when these documents will be made public or how the final recommendations will be implemented.

Ballarat’s Centre Against Sexual Assault operational director Shireen Gunn said coupled with the Christmas period, which was often a difficult time for survivors, it was a “double whammy”.

“It has been an intense and long process that was extended too because there were so many people that came forward,” Ms Gunn said of the royal commission.

“There will be very strong interest about what is going to be said in that report.

“It’s one of the big milestones for those who have been closely involved in the royal commission and given evidence, this is another one of the main events.”

Ms Gunn said even after the release of the report, there was still a lot of work to be done around recognising the abuse that occurred and supporting survivors.

She hoped the conclusion of the royal commission would not mean the community would leave the stories of abuse in the past because it was a difficult subject.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 1:33 PM

Victims' group forced to give docs to Pell

AUSTRALIA
Australian Associated Press

December 12th, 2017

By Jacqueline Le

Victims' advocacy group Broken Rites has been forced to hand over documents to lawyers representing Cardinal George Pell as he fights historical sex abuse charges.

Counsel for Pell, Broken Rites, Victoria Police and broadcaster ABC appeared before Melbourne Magistrates Court on Tuesday.

Defence barrister Ruth Shann said Victoria Police and Broken Rites have provided the materials that Pell's lawyers requested in a subpoena, but the details of the documents were not disclosed.

Pell's defence team has also sent subpoenas to ABC investigative journalist Louise Milligan and Melbourne University Press, who published her book Cardinal: The Rise and Fall of George Pell.

On November 23, magistrate Belinda Wallington said some of the material sought could be subject to journalistic privilege.

Ms Shann indicated on Tuesday journalistic privilege could be avoided if the defence had more time to hold discussions with the ABC and Ms Milligan.

"We think we are very close to reaching a consent position in relation to the two summons," she said.

Pending those discussions, counsel for the ABC, Haroon Hassan, said it was too early to say if the ABC would need to invoke journalistic privilege.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 1:32 PM

MANDEL: Greek Community of Toronto lawsuit claims unholy pilfering by Greek Orthodox church

TORONTO (CANADA)
Toronto SUN

December 14, 2017

By Michele Mandel

TORONTO — Stealing donations for a sick baby, the appointment of known sex abusers and skimming money earmarked for the poor are some of the explosive allegations in a Greek church civil war now raging in Toronto.

In 2012, when baby Alexander Karanikas needed more than $100,000 to airlift him home from Greece for lifesaving heart surgery at Sick Kids, the Greek Canadian community rallied and raised thousands of dollars after the fundraiser was announced by the archbishop (“the Metropolitan”) of the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Toronto (Canada).

But most of the money never reached the child’s family, a lawsuit claims.

Instead, according to the suit filed by the Greek Community of Toronto (GCT), the Metropolis handed over a paltry $1,450 of the estimated $50,000 they raised and never issued the promised charitable tax receipts. “In misrepresenting the intended purpose of the subject fundraiser and the amount of the collected donations, from which they then personally benefitted, (they have) harmed and damaged the Greek Orthodox Churches’ reputation in Canada, in general, and GCT’s reputation in particular.”

That’s just one of many shocking allegations contained in the statement of claim filed recently against the Metropolis, its archbishop, Sotirios Athanassoulas, four priests, members of the church’s women’s auxiliary as well as the wife and children of Father Philip Philippou for allegedly misappropriating funds earmarked for the sick, homeless and poor.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 1:30 PM

'We were little slaves': Child abuse survivors share stories ahead of royal commission findings

AUSTRALIA
Australian Broadcasting Corporation

December 13, 2017

By Emily Piesse

Dallas Phillips describes her childhood in Western Australia as akin to slavery.

It began in the Wheatbelt town of Goomalling, where the Noongar woman was beaten by a local priest.

"I still see him in my sleep. He was a really, really bad man," she said.

She acted out against the abuse and was sent to the Benedictine Community of New Norcia, about an hour's drive away.

The New Norcia diocese had the highest number of alleged child sex offenders in the WA Catholic Church between 1950 and 2010.

"I suffered so much," Ms Phillips recalled.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 1:15 PM

Swiss priest convicted of sexual abuse at Belgian school

BELGIUM
SWI swissinfo.ch

December 14, 2017

A Belgian court has found a Swiss priest guilty of sexually abusing a young boy at a boarding school in Brussels belonging to the Society of Saint Pius X, a traditionalist Catholic group.

On Wednesday, the Brussels Court of Appeal sentenced the priest to five years in prison, of which two years were suspended.

The priest was found guilty of sexually abusing a boy aged under 16 who he was supervising at the Society of Saint Pius X boarding school in Brussels between 2010 and 2011. The victim and his parents had filed a civil suit in court.

A lower court had earlier cleared the priest of these charges, claiming that there was insufficient evidence. The Brussels Criminal Court also acquitted him of similar sexual abuse allegations against two other boys at the school, who did not file a civil action before the court of appeal.

On Wednesday, the priest did not appear before the appeal court, as his lawyer said he had fallen ill the previous evening and had to be hospitalized.

The priest had already been accused of paedophilia in Switzerland. He was cleared by an ecclesiastical court in 2006, but was forbidden to have contact with children for a period of ten years.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 1:12 PM

Haworth man attacks "failings" of Catholic school after former priest found guilty of sexual abuse

HAWORTH (ENGLAND)
Keighley News

December 13, 2017

By Miran Rahman

A HAWORTH resident whose evidence formed part of the sex abuse prosecution case against a former Roman Catholic priest has reacted to news of the accused's conviction.

Author and photographer Peter Paul Hartnett commented after 74-year-old Laurence Soper was found guilty of abusing boys at a London school during the 1970s and 80s.

Mr Hartnett said he had himself been let down by those in charge at this school, and said the school had failed in its duty of care.

Soper had faced 19 charges of indecent and serious sexual assault against 10 former pupils at the independent St Benedict's School in Ealing, where he taught.

The Crown Prosecution Service confirmed that Soper was not charged with any offence against Mr Hartnett.

Earlier this month an Old Bailey jury took 14 hours to find Soper guilty of all the charges he faced. Soper, who had previously fled to Kosovo to try and avoid prosecution, is due to be sentenced on December 19.

He is the latest in a number of men to face allegations of abuse relating to their time at St Benedict's.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 1:09 PM

‘He lived in a difficult time in the church’

ST. JOHN'S (CANADA)
The Telegram

December 13, 2017

Archbishop Currie says archbishop Alphonsus Penney showed courage in calling inquiry into abuse, resigning

The head of the Roman Catholic Church in St. John’s understands there are mixed emotions being expressed at the news that former archbishop Alphonsus Penney has died.

But in expressing his condolences, Archbishop Martin Currie said he appreciated the way Penney handled the aftermath of what was one of the darkest periods in the church’s history.

“He lived in a difficult time in the church,” Currie told The Telegram Wednesday, referring to the scandal that erupted in the late 1980s over allegations of widespread sexual abuse of children by clergy that dated back to the 1970s.

“But we are grateful for the courage that he showed in calling the Winter Commission of inquiry into child sexual abuse and for his integrity and fortitude in resigning upon receipt of the report.”

Penney died Tuesday after hitting his head in a fall at St. Patrick’s Mercy Home, a long-term care facility. He was 93.

Born in St. John’s in 1924, Penney was ordained a priest in 1949 and served as bishop of Grand Falls from 1972-79. He was appointed archbishop of St. John’s in March 1979 and held the position until 1991, when he resigned after the Winter Commission of inquiry found he likely knew priests in his archdiocese were sexually abusing children.

In 1992, while testifying at the inquiry — which Penney had called — he admitted he first learned of allegations against Father James Hickey in 1987.

It was also revealed that many boys at the Mount Cashel Orphanage in St. John’s had been physically and sexually abused by Christian Brothers, who ran the orphanage.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 12:58 PM

OPINION: Archbishop Penney's passing should keep history of sex abuse scandal alive

ST. JOHN'S (CANADA)
CBC News

December 14, 2017

By Roger Bill

Alphonsus Penney led St. John's Roman Catholic archdiocese during sex abuse scandal; dead at 93

Somehow it seems fitting that no picture accompanies the obituary of the former Archbishop of St. John's at the Telegram website.

The Catholic church has wanted Alphonsus Penney to disappear ever since the first priest in the archdiocese was charged with sexually assaulting boys during his watch. That priest was Jim Hickey, and Alphonsus Penney knew Jim Hickey from the time Penney was an assistant priest at St. Joseph's church on Quidi Vidi Road and Hickey was a member of the church choir.

Their long association made it difficult to believe the archbishop in 1988 when he told a hastily arranged press conference following Hickey's conviction that he never had any indication that Jim Hickey was abusing children. Penney said he had no knowledge of any complaint about anybody. "None," he said.

Later, an inquiry commissioned by the Church concluded that Penney had lied about what he claimed he didn't know.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 12:54 PM

Abuse survivor resigns from Vatican child protection commission

ENGLAND
Catholic Herald

December 13, 2017

By David V Barrett

Peter Saunders said he was 'disappointed that the commission didn’t do what I thought it was set up to achieve'

Sexual abuse survivor Peter Saunders has resigned from the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors, set up by Pope Francis to make recommendations on the Church’s role in child protection.

“I’m disappointed that the commission didn’t do what I thought it was set up to achieve,” Mr Saunders told The Tablet. “And there is still a huge amount of work that needs to be done.”

The commission only has an advisory role and does not comment on current cases of abuse.

“There was a bit of a misunderstanding about the commission’s role,” said Mr Saunders, who wanted it to have a more active role. “But I thought the Pope was serious about kicking backsides and holding people to account. I believe the Church deserves better on this.”

Mr Saunders was given “leave of absence” from the commission in February 2016 following friction with other members.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 12:52 PM

Bishop to sue alleged child abuse victim

BELGIUM
Catholic Herald

December 13, 2017

By David V Barrett

The bishop, who was defended by Cardinal Godfried Danneels in a previous case, faces new accusations

A bishop who has previously been embroiled in a sex abuse scandal has said he will sue a new complainant for slander and defamation.

Bishop Roger Vangheluwe of Bruges, Belgium resigned in 2010 following revelations that he had sexually abused his own nephew. Now he faces fresh allegations from a 36-year-old man, Michael, who claims to have been “rented” for eight years as a child, especially to clergymen.

Michael, who has a criminal and drug history, has had psychiatric treatment and has spent time in prison, alleges that he was abused from the age of five.

Bishop Vangheluwe’s lawyer said he would be filing a legal complaint.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 12:49 PM

Whether Francis is a ‘Reform Pope’ depends on whom you ask

ROME (ITALY)
CRUX

December 14, 2017

By John L. Allen Jr.

ROME - “Reform” is one of those notoriously ambiguous words - in the same category with hope, change, progress, and improvement - which everyone professes to support, but which no one defines in quite the same way.

Thus, the question of whether or not Francis is a “Reform Pope” will depend largely on what you mean by the term.

Many observers are convinced that Francis is a quintessential reformer; Crux contributor Austen Ivereigh, for instance, titled his biography of the pontiff The Great Reformer. For this group, “reform” usually functions as a placeholder for enacting what they perceive as the vision of the Second Vatican Council (1962-65), meaning a Church heavier on mercy and lighter on judgment; a Church closer to the people than to elites; a Church less beholden to conservative political forces and alignments; and a decentralized Church, less dominated by Rome.

If that’s your definition of “reform,” then Francis is almost unquestionably a reformer, and a fairly successful one to boot. From his ruling on Communion for divorced and remarried Catholics in Amoris Laetitia to his decision to restore control over many matters of liturgical translation to local bishops’ conferences, it’s hard to argue he isn’t delivering on the “Vatican II” agenda.

On the other hand, if your understanding of “reform” is more classical, seeing it as a reaffirmation of traditional doctrine and discipline after a period of lassitude - sort of like the Franciscan reform, based on a more exacting embrace of the original spirit of the order - then Francis may not profile as a “reformer” at all. Instead, you may see him as the kind of pope who’s actually creating the need for a future reform, by allowing things to go to seed.

Then there are single-issue Catholics, for whom the lone test of reform is how the pope stacks up on the thing that concerns them the most - with the consequence that whether Francis is a reformer in their eyes will depend on his track record on that issue.

To take the most obvious example, many people deeply concerned with the Church’s response to its child sexual abuse scandals, arguably the most serious crisis to face Roman Catholicism since the Protestant Reformation, aren’t yet ready to call Francis an historic reformer.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 12:48 PM

The New York Archdiocese's New Approach to Abuse Claims in the Catholic Church [with audio]

NEW YORK (NY)
WNYC News

December 14, 2017

By Danny Lewis

Earlier this year, the New York Archdiocese announced it was starting an independent program to compensate survivors of sexual abuse by clergy. Since then, the archdiocese has handed out just over $40 million to 189 people through the Independent Reconciliation and Compensation Program. It's the first time the church has addressed these claims in this manner, and it's inspired similar efforts in local dioceses in Brooklyn and Long Island.

However, the effort is raising questions about why the church is going this route. According to Peter Feuerherd of the National Catholic Reporter, the program could be a response to ongoing efforts in New York to expand the statute of limitations for claims of child sexual abuse.

"If you want to look at this in the most positive way, they are opening up a venue for people to get justice who wouldn't be covered because of the statute of limitations," Feuerherd tells WNYC's Richard Hake. "If you want to use it on a very cynical level, they are simply trying to get ahead of the possibility of the state enacting a different statute of limitations."

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 12:46 PM

Catholic school teacher accused of abusing student in the '90s

GUAM
Pacific Daily News

December 14, 2017

By Haidee V Eugenio

A Catholic school teacher has been accused of repeatedly raping and sexually molesting a student from 1994 to 1996, according to a lawsuit filed on Thursday in local court.

Michael J. Unpingco, a teacher at San Vicente Catholic School in Barrigada, allegedly sexually abused and molested a plaintiff identified in court documents only as S.L.H. to protect his privacy.

The student asked the math teacher to stop abusing him, but Unpingco would allegedly make S.L.H. feel guilty by saying he should permit the abuses because of the personal favors he did for him, the lawsuit says.

On other occasions, S.L.H. pushed the teacher off of him because of the pain and the teacher would cry in an effort to make the student feel guilty, the complaint says.

S.L.H., represented by attorney Michael J. Berman, said in his lawsuit that he was about 12 to 14 years old when the teacher molested and abused him. He was in the 6th to 8th grade at the time, the lawsuit says.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 12:44 PM

'Changes must be made': Shocking Australian child abuse inquiry ends

MELBOURNE (AUSTRALIA)
CNN

December 14, 2017

By Lucie Morris-Marr

Children are still being sexually assaulted in Australian institutions.

That was the stark warning of an exhaustive five-year investigation by an Australia Royal Commission into institutional child sex abuse that concluded Thursday.

In a short hearing in Sydney, Hon Justice Peter McClellan, who has headed the investigation, said the "nation thanks the survivors" who gave testimony about decades of systematic abuse and cover-ups in religious and state institutions such as churches, youth groups, care homes and schools.

More than 8,000 people gave evidence in private sessions, and 2,559 referrals were made to authorities, including the police, as a result of the $383 million (AU$500 million) probe.

"The sexual abuse of children is not just a problem from the past. Child sexual abuse in institutions continues today," said McClellan. "In some case studies into schools the alleged abuse was so recent that the children are still attending school."

McClellan singled out the Roman Catholic Church in particular for often putting reputation above the safety of children in what they found to be decades of systematic sexual abuse -- a familiar pattern of scandals dogging Catholic institutions globally.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 12:43 PM

Royal commission: where to from here?

CANBERRA (AUSTRALIA)
The Australian

December 14, 2017

By Jack the Insider

I was interviewed for the ABCs documentary, Undeniable, which examined the events leading up to the establishment of the royal commission into institutional responses to child sex abuse.

Towards the conclusion of the interview I was asked what my expectations were after the Commission handed down its final report.

“Well, what do we want do, burn another generation of children and get back to this in thirty years?”

Some might see that as a flippant remark and perhaps understandably, it found its way to the floor in an editor’s suite.

I thought it was a reasonable point to make because that is where we are now.

The grave concern I have is we will view the royal commission’s work as an historical problem rather than one that exists today. There are some who argue that the worst of the offending occurred in the 1970s and 80s. They may be right. I hope they are. But no one can be sure because what we do know is the lag between the date of the offence and the reporting of it is around 25 years.

Moving forward, we need to avoid the Guiness Book of Records superlatives, dwelling on what institution was worst in the dreadful statistics, pound for pound or weight for age.

Clearly, the Catholic Church has been a principal offender. The Anglican Church in this country has nothing to be proud of. But this appalling business has pervaded almost everywhere from the Scouts, the YMCA, the Salvation Army, children’s homes, orphanages, sporting clubs and associations, other religious groups like the Salvation Army, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Jewish sects, hippy cults, dance and theatre groups, the ADF and to the most expensive and prestigious private schools in the country.

The commission estimated child sexual abuse has occurred at 4000 institutions across the country. There is more than enough blame to go around.

There are law reform issues for states and territories to consider. We need laws to be consistent across the country. These include facilitating victims’ rights to sue institutions and the withdrawal of the statute of limitations for civil cases in relation to child sexual abuse. Some states have already acted on the latter, others are yet to do so.

Top of the list for any state and territory government must be beefing up the reporting laws on child sexual abuse. Currently and unbelievably there are little or no sanctions available to the courts. Prosecutions are like rocking horse excreta. Queensland is the only state that has a custodial sentence on the books, most others offer only fines. In New South Wales, there is no penalty at all.

We know that senior figures within institutions react reflexively, almost in Pavlovian fashion, when confronted by the knowledge of child sex offending on their watch. They move to protect the reputation of the institution often at the expense of the rights of victims. In that environment child sex offending proliferates.

We have no assurance that leaders of institutions will behave any differently in future. If we take the example of a school principal who becomes aware that a child has been sexually abused at the school and the principal fails to report to police, there virtually no prospect of the principal facing criminal sanction. Institutional leaders need to face the full force of the law for failing to report child sexual abuse and that must involve a jail term. I guarantee behaviours will change.

The commission estimated the total cost of a national redress scheme for 60,000 abuse victims, including administration costs, at $4.3 billion. Payments to victims will be capped at $150,000. The institutions who allowed children to be abused will contribute to the scheme which will commence in 2018.

The federal parliament has acted on this but at present who pays what is grey and uncertain. The offending institutions need to be the major contributors. The taxpayer should not be footing the bulk of the bill.

Just as importantly there needs to be an understanding that victims of institutional child sex abuse will need assistance for the rest of their lives. It cannot simply be a matter of handing them a cheque.

Many victims who received compensation in the past, often a pittance compared to the trauma they endured, went into rapid declines, their meagre payments pounded into poker machines or pissed up against a wall in booze and drugs. The money often exacerbated their problems and sometimes brought their lives to an abrupt end through recklessness and addiction.

There must be provision of counselling services, life skills and adult education programs, community and peer support groups.

My singular disappointment with the royal commission was its apparent reluctance to investigate failures in policing child sexual abuse. .

As many of you know, I was involved in telling the story of Denis Ryan, the Mildura detective who was pushed out of the Victoria Police Force for trying to prosecute a paedophile priest in 1972.

VicPol conspired with the Ballarat Diocese to ensure the priest would not be charged.

I have looked at the rates of offending in the wake of that conspiracy. The effect was twofold. Victims would not report to police because they understood the police would not act. Meanwhile offenders believed they could rape children with impunity. In the Ballarat Diocese, it literally became open season on kids.

It’s not difficult to understand. Tell a safe breaker or an armed robber their criminal behaviour won’t be pursued by police and what would we expect to happen? Obviously, rates of these crimes would escalate. It is no different with child sex offending.

I have no particularly intimate knowledge of matters in Newcastle but a commission of inquiry there found the whistleblower cop, Peter Fox who alleged police were failing to act on credible reports of child sex offending, had made mistakes and lost his objectivity.

Of course he did. He was a whistleblower and whistleblowers make mistakes driven by stress. But rather than examine Fox’s mistakes, the question needed to be asked, how was it that there was so much offending going on in Newcastle and until recently, so few prosecutions to show for it?

Our police forces around the country need to convince us they are better at investigating child sexual abuse than they have been in the past. Public confidence can only be restored by an acknowledgment of the failures in the past. Yet too often, the politics of policing prohibits candid disclosure.

We simply cannot go through this again. We know too much. To allow the preconditions for institutional child sex offending to remain in place, to permit the possibility of future generations of children being subject to these indignities would be a failure on us all.

Put simply, a society that fails to protect its most precious asset, its children, is a failed society and that failure would be on every single one of us because we know the truth now.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 12:39 PM

December 13, 2017

Second Diocese of Duluth insurer settles

DULUTH (MN)
Duluth News Tribune

December 13, 2017

By Tom Olsen

A second insurer has agreed to settle its part in a lawsuit brought by the Diocese of Duluth in its ongoing bankruptcy.

Fireman's Fund Insurance Co. would pay the diocese $975,000 to resolve claims filed in federal court in June 2016. It is the second of five insurers named in the lawsuit to reach an agreement.

The proposed settlement, which must still be approved by a judge, would be used to continue litigation against the remaining insurers with the goal of obtaining monetary damages for victims of child sexual abuse, according to court documents.

While the agreement inches the diocese closer to resolving its already 2-year-old bankruptcy case, officials have stressed that much work remains to be done.

"This tentative settlement is another step toward the two goals that remain our priority here: providing compensation to victims in the most just way possible and emerging from bankruptcy as soon as we can," said Deacon Kyle Eller, a diocese spokesman.

The diocese filed for bankruptcy in December 2015 in the wake of a $4.9 million verdict in the first case to go to trial under the Minnesota Child Victims Act. It sued the five insurers six months later, seeking to force coverage of 125 abuse claims received in the bankruptcy case.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 5:21 PM

It was us against everyone’: how abuse survivors will keep pushing for change

AUSTRALIA
The Guardian

December 13, 2017

By Melissa Davey

Melissa Davey spoke to Manny Waks and other advocates about the end of the royal commission and the path ahead

Manny Waks, a survivor of sexual abuse who exposed crimes against children that occurred within the secretive Jewish Yeshivah community, describes the work of the child abuse royal commission as “life-saving” and “life-changing”.

On Thursday morning the six royal commissioners led by Justice Peter McClellan will sit for a final time in front of abuse survivors and advocates, many of whom followed the commission’s work around the country. Guardian Australia spoke to Waks and other advocates and experts about the commission’s work over the past five years and what they hope will change once its work is done.

Waks was the first abuse survivor within the Yeshivah community in Australia to publicly call out his abusers and those who concealed their crimes. His whistleblowing saw him shunned by many in his community. His former peers ostracised him, verbally abused him and attempted to discredit his abuse. Speaking to Guardian Australia from where he now lives in Israel, Waks says it was the royal commission’s interrogation of Yeshivah authorities that helped to validate his story, along with the stories of of dozens of others abused within Jewish institutions.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 5:20 PM

Ireland has lessons for Australia eight years after its own child abuse royal commission

AUSTRALIA
Australian Broadcasting Corporation

December 14, 2017

Ireland is still debating the scandal of child abuse in the Catholic Church, eight years after a royal commission into the matter delivered its groundbreaking report.

Ireland is still debating the scandal of child abuse in the Catholic Church, eight years after a royal commission into the matter delivered its groundbreaking report.

It found abuse was endemic in church-run schools where the under-privileged and troubled were sent.

The Ryan Commission published its report in 2009, 10 years after it began, and found that "beyond a doubt the entire system treated children like prison inmates and slaves".

Mannix Flynn was seven years old when he was taken to court for skipping school and stealing a toy car in Dublin.

"I was brought into the cells under the building, dragged out in a police van and taken away on a train, hundreds of miles away," Mr Flynn said.

He was sentenced to seven years at St Joseph's Industrial School in Letterfrack on the other side of the country, run by the Christian Brothers.

He suffered sexual abuse and was one of the hundreds of witnesses who gave evidence to the Ryan Commission.

The inquiry in Ireland was restricted by two rules — there would be no calls for prosecution and no sanctions of any party involved.

Mr Flynn, who is now a Dublin city councillor, said it was a flawed process and he was pessimistic about the impact of the Australian inquiry.

The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse in Australia is due to hand down its final report on December 15.

"So what will happen in Australia is that there'll be mock shock, they'll print out the report, they'll find things we already knew but there will be no justice delivered," Mr Flynn said.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 5:17 PM

Catholic Church 'shouldn't run schools' unless it reports abuse revealed during confession: survivor

AUSTRALIA
Australian Broadcasting Corporation

December 13, 2017

By Elise Scott

Child sexual abuse survivor Damian De Marco is calling for the Catholic Church to be banned from operating Australian schools unless it agrees to report abuse revealed during confession.

The call comes as the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse prepares to hand down its final report tomorrow.

Mr De Marco said government support should be pulled from Catholic schools unless the church promises to protect children over its own reputation.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 4:59 PM

Survivor wants the world to know her residential school story – but first, she must get permission

OTTAWA (CANADA)
The Globe and Mail

December 12, 2017

By Gloria Galloway

The federal government says an Indigenous woman who was abused at a residential school must get Ottawa's permission and that of the Catholic Church, which ran the institution, before she can donate documents related to her case to a centre that is preserving the horrific legacy of the schools.

Angela Shisheesh, 72, says she wants to tell the world what happened to her and her sister at the infamous St. Anne's Residential School in Fort Albany, Ont., and she is determined to have her story documented at the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation in Winnipeg.

"Everybody has to know what took place in that school," Ms. Shisheesh said on Tuesday. "This is why I am not afraid, even though it is hurting me as much as it was when I was there. It feels that I am just reliving everything. But I want to do this. I want to be strong for my brothers and sisters who were there."

In the early 2000s, Ms. Shisheesh was the lead plaintiff in a suit involving 156 students who were physically or sexually abused at the institution. That ended in a financial settlement in 2004 – two years before the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement (IRSSA) was signed by lawyers for former students, the Assembly of First Nations, the federal government and the churches that ran the schools.

The IRSSA, which compensated those who attended the schools and provided additional money to those were were abused, came after an estimated 18,000 civil actions, included the one involving Ms. Shisheesh, had been launched by survivors.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 1:59 PM

Archdiocese pays $750K to victims of former Croton priest Gennaro 'Jerry' Gentile

NEW YORK (NY)
LoHud

December 12, 2017

By Jorge Fitz-Gibbon

The Archdiocese of New York has paid $750,000 to three men who were abused as children by former Croton-on-Hudson priest Gennaro "Jerry" Gentile.

An attorney for the three unidentified men said they were victims of ongoing molestation by Gentile — who once even wrote a children's book — while he was pastor at Holy Name of Mary Catholic Church in Croton from 1987 to 2000.

Their settlements under the Independent Reconciliation and Compensation Program now bring the amount paid to victims of Catholic priest abuse in the archdiocese to more than $40 million. In all, 189 abuse victims received compensation.

"I think the problem is that the church, at that time, was essentially protecting them," said Joe O'Connor, the attorney for the three men abused by Gentile. "I mean, that’s the whole story. If you look at the record at how many times Gentile was moved, I think that’s the real harm, that they didn’t reach out and discipline.”

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 1:57 PM

Gerald Ridsdale victims battle for compo

AUSTRALIA
The Australian

December 14, 2017

By Tessa Akerman

Victims of Australia’s worst pedophile priest, Gerald Ridsdale, are still locked in highly contested court battles with the Catholic Church despite Truth Justice Healing Council guidelines which urge compassion and decry making victims prove facts the church knows are true.

Lawyers for the diocese of Ballarat and its Bishop Paul Bird are contesting a Supreme Court compensation claim brought by a woman whom Ridsdale has ­already pleaded guilty to abusing.

The abuse occurred in Edenhope in regional Victoria in late 1979 or early 1980, when the woman, then a minor, was on holiday in the area and Ridsdale was parish priest. Ridsdale pleaded guilty in 2014 to the abuse charge in the County Court.

Documents filed in the ­Supreme Court compensation case in May on behalf of the ­diocese deny the then bishop ­Ronald Mulkearns failed to take any reasonable steps to ensure Ridsdale did not abuse children.

The child sex abuse royal ­commission last week found Mulkearns knew of Ridsdale’s ­offending by late 1975 and moved him between parishes when complaints arose.

The commission found Ridsdale was appointed temporary parish priest of Edenhope in 1976 after his removal from Inglewood parish, following complaints and without Mulkearns ­receiving any assurance from Ridsdale’s psychiatrist that it was suitable for Ridsdale to be put back into ministry.

“Bishop Mulkearns did not place any restrictions or conditions on how Ridsdale should ­operate in Edenhope,” the commission said.

Court documents from the woman’s civil claim show that lawyers for the church denied Ridsdale was a servant, agent, representative or otherwise acting under the control and auspices of Mulkearns when the abuse occurred.

The church’s defence, filed two years after the royal commission hearings into Ballarat ­diocese began, also denies Ridsdale held a special authority and influence within the community by reason of his position and ­status as a priest.

The royal commission heard Ridsdale had been convicted of child sexual abuse in parishes including Ballarat East, Swan Hill, Warrnambool, Apollo Bay, Inglewood, Edenhope and Mortlake.

Ridsdale was first convicted in 1993 but didn’t receive a prison sentence. Since he was first jailed in 1994, Ridsdale has been ­sentenced to 33 years’ jail with a minimum of 28 years.

The documents show that lawyers for the church admit Mulkearns owed a duty to exercise “reasonable care” for the safety of persons dealing with Ridsdale as Edenhope “administrator and parish priest” but deny the bishop owed a duty to protect the plaintiff from sexual abuse by Ridsdale.

The woman’s lawyer, Vivian Waller, told The Australian the defence documents were filed more than a year after the Truth Justice Healing Council guidelines came into effect, which ­advise church authorities to act honestly, fairly and compassionately when ­dealing with civil claims. Dr Waller represents 46 ­people who are seeking compensation from the church in relation to Ridsdale. The Ballarat diocese declined to comment.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 1:26 PM

Out on bail for 23 child molestation counts, East Bay minister flees during trial

MARTINEZ (CA)
East Bay Times

December 12, 2017

By Nate Gartrell

MARTINEZ — An East Bay minister who was out of jail on $1.3 million bail is a wanted man for failing to show up in court after a girl testified he sexually abused her for years.

Fernando Maldonado, 37, was on trial facing 23 counts of child molestation when he apparently fled the area, possibly to Mexico. His alleged victim, a girl who was less than 16 years old when the alleged sexual abuse occurred, testified Thursday and Friday that he sexually abused her numerous times over a three-year period, while he was a minister at two local churches.

Then, on Monday, Maldonado failed to show up to court. Judge Clare Maier issued a bench warrant for his arrest the same day, listing him as “voluntarily absent.” That means the trial will proceed without him. Closing arguments are expected to take place Wednesday.

If convicted, Maldonado could be sentenced to more than 30 years in prison, according to court records. Prosecutors on Tuesday argued that they should be able to refer to the defendant’s absence during closing arguments, and Maier seemed open to it, but has not yet issued a ruling.

The abuse began when Maldonado, a Concord resident, was a minister at Morello Avenue Baptist Church in Martinez and the victim was a parishioner there, police said.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 1:23 PM

Former member calls WNC church a ‘cult’, says he suffered ‘beatings, isolation’

SPINDALE (NC)
The Associated Press

December 13, 2017

Jamey Anderson fled Word of Faith Fellowship church when he was 18

SPINDALE, N.C. (AP) —
A former member of an evangelical church in western North Carolina says he endured a childhood of beatings and isolation and calls the church a "cult."

Word of Faith Fellowship Former members say church controls sex lives, behavior with violent punishment
Jamey Anderson fled Word of Faith Fellowship church when he was 18, but says he's not free. (Video at the top of this story includes an interview with Anderson)

More than a decade later, he still struggles to find his footing in a world he doesn't understand.

Night terrors jolt him awake and he fears people will think he's delusional if he discusses his experiences in the secretive evangelical sect because the stories seem unbelievable. Worst of all is the suffocating anguish that rushes in when Anderson said he looks back on what he calls a childhood of beatings and isolation.

"This was like a programmed thing of 'Always be smiling. Always have a happy face.' It's the 'life of God,' is what they would call it. And if you're walking around without a smile, there's something wrong. And they're gonna deal with you until you can have a smile," Anderson told the AP.

Anderson was a toddler when his mother joined Word of Faith. He describes his childhood as nothing short of hell.

Forty-three former members spoke with the Associated Press earlier this year.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 1:21 PM

Settlement For Abuse Victims At Holy Name Church In Croton

CROTON-ON-HUDSON (NY)
Ossining Patch

December 12, 2017

By Lanning Taliaferro

The Journal News reports a $750K settlement. It's part of the NY Archdiocese's Independent Reconciliation and Compensation Program​.

CROTON-ON-HUDSON, NY — The Archdiocese of New York has paid $750,000 to three men who were abused as children by former Hudson Valley priest Gennaro Gentile, The Journal News reports. Gentile served in Catholic churches in Croton-on-Hudson, Poughkeepsie, Tuckahoe and Yonkers, according to lohud.com.

He was removed from the priesthood in 2005.

TJN reporter Jorge Fitzgibbon talked to an attorney for the men, who were Gentile's victims at Holy Name of Mary Church in Croton. "I think the problem is that the church, at that time, was essentially protecting them," Joe O'Connor told him. "I mean, that's the whole story. If you look at the record at how many times Gentile was moved, I think that's the real harm, that they didn't reach out and discipline."

Holy Name had two priests accused of sex abuse, Gentile and the man who replaced him, The Rev. Kenneth Jesselli.

The settlements are under the Independent Reconciliation and Compensation Program, which began in March. Church officials launched an outreach effort in an attempt to locate potential victims who have yet to come forward with sex-abuse claims.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 1:10 PM

Lawyer who is suing prominent SBC leaders describes ‘Vatican light’ system for enabling abuse

HARRIS COUNTY (TX)
Baptist News

December 12, 2017

By Bob Allen

A Texas lawyer who once sued the pope in connection with the Roman Catholic pedophile priest scandal is now taking aim at what he sees as another system of complicity in sexual abuse — this one in the Southern Baptist Convention.

A pending lawsuit in Harris County, Texas, names Paul Pressler and Paige Patterson, key figures in a reorientation of the 15 million-member denomination’s priorities in the last century, and other parties. It seeks more than $1 million in damages for a man claiming physical and spiritual harm resulting from a period of Baptist history often called the “Conservative Resurgence.”

“In this case, I am attacking the whole system,” Houston attorney Daniel Shea said in an interview with Baptist News Global.

Shea, who has a master’s degree in church history, said he is approaching the Southern Baptist system of shifting responsibility for alleged sexual abuse by claiming the autonomy of local churches and denominational bodies as a sort of “Vatican-light.”

In 2008, Shea, a former Catholic deacon, settled a lawsuit with the Roman Catholic Diocese of Galveston and Houston, accusing Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger — who later became Pope Benedict XVI — of conspiring to obstruct justice.

Now he represents a client alleging similar mistreatment during the late 20th century movement in the SBC credited with delivering America’s largest Protestant group from the political center to the Religious Right under the banner of biblical “inerrancy.”

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 1:08 PM

How Television Anticipated the Weinstein Moment in 2017

WASHINGTON (DC)
The Atlantic

December 13, 2017

By Sophie Gilbert

From The Keepers to National Treasure, The Deuce to The Handmaid’s Tale, new shows probed the institutionalized nature of sexual assault.

This article contains spoilers about the Hulu show National Treasure.

On October 5, The New York Times published a remarkable investigation by Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey into acts of sexual harassment and sexual assault reportedly committed by the film producer Harvey Weinstein over several decades. That story was published a little over two months ago, which feels baffling now, given the chain of events it set off, and the number of giants who’ve been accused of misconduct and subsequently toppled in that short space of time. Roy Price. Mark Halperin. Kevin Spacey. Louis C.K. Russell Simmons. Matt Lauer. Garrison Keillor. The revelations show no sign of abating; the Weinstein effect seems fated to continue in 2018, in one of the most significant public reckonings with systemic male abuse of power in history.

At the beginning of the year, no one could have anticipated what was coming. But television, in some ways, did. 2017 on the small screen was defined by a wealth of stories that thoughtfully and powerfully considered sexual assault. There were dramas that focused on the personal ramifications of abuse, like HBO’s Big Little Lies and SundanceTV’s Liar. But more common were shows that interpreted it as a wider, institutionalized phenomenon, and sought to engage with how deeply entrenched assault and harassment can be in systems of power. Top of the Lake: China Girl investigated workplace misogyny, male online culture, and the sex industry. The Handmaid’s Tale brought Margaret Atwood’s narrative of a theocratic reproductive dystopia to life onscreen for the first time since 1990. The Deuce explored the dynamic between 1970s sex workers and the men who control them with both physical and sexual cruelty.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 1:03 PM

Cardinal George Pell committal hearing to be held behind closed doors

VICTORIA (AUSTRALIA)
The Age

December 12, 2017

By Adam Cooper

The first half of the hearing that determines whether Cardinal George Pell will stand trial on historical sex offences will be closed to the public, when his alleged victims give evidence over a period of up to 10 days.

Prosecutors have booked a remote witness facility – a video link that allows complainants alleging sexual abuse to give evidence from a location outside the court room – for the first two weeks of Cardinal Pell's committal hearing, Melbourne Magistrates Court heard on Tuesday.

The committal hearing, which will determine whether Cardinal Pell stands trial, is due to start on March 5 and run for four weeks.

Cardinal Pell, 76, faces charges of historical sexual offences involving multiple complainants. Details of the charges are yet to be revealed.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 12:56 PM

New York Archdiocese pays $40 million to clergy sexual abuse victims

NEW YORK (NY)
Catholic News Service via Crux

December 12, 2017

By Christie L. Chicoine

NEW YORK - According to newly released information, the Archdiocese of New York has resolved claims from 189 victims of clergy sexual abuse in the amount of $40 million.

The figure was contained in a report released Dec. 7 under the archdiocese’s Independent Reconciliation and Compensation Program.

The program is part of the archdiocese’s continuing effort to renew its contrition to those who suffered sexual abuse as a minor by a priest or deacon and to bring a sense of healing to victim-survivors.

The report said the archdiocese was grateful to the more than 200 victim-survivors who stepped forward to participate in the program. The archdiocese also renewed “our sorrow and shame at what they were forced to endure” in the document.

The report outlined the program’s progress and reviewed steps the archdiocese made in dealing “vigorously” with clergy accused of abuse and preventing acts of abuse through the safe environment programs.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 12:53 PM

Undeniable: Politicians must 'resist religious influence' when child abuse royal commission makes recommendations

AUSTRALIA
Australian Broadcasting Corporation

December 13, 2017

By Paul Kennedy

Justice for survivors of child sexual abuse now hangs on the courage of politicians to resist religious influence and self-interest when acting on the royal commission's recommendations, according to a ground-breaking former Victorian MP.

"It's over to you. You are the ones directly responsible," Ann Barker said in a message to parliamentarians across the nation.

"And if you don't fulfil your responsibility, then I think the community of Australia — not just the victims and survivors that have gone through this whole process, but the broader community — will say to politicians, 'No. You have a responsibility, fulfil it, and do it now'."

After five years of public inquiries, the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse will hold its last sitting on Thursday before handing its final report to the Governor-General the following day.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 12:51 PM

Whether Hollywood or the Vatican, patriarchy gives men license to abuse

UNITED STATES
National Catholic Reporter

December 12, 2017

By Jamie Manson

In mid-November, at what many thought was the height of revelations about sexual misconduct by powerful men in the media (we were post-Harvey Weinstein and Louis C.K., but pre-Charlie Rose and Matt Lauer), the New Yorker Radio Hour presented a series of interviews on the fallout from the unrelenting flood of sordid tales of sexual misconduct and assault by men.

In one interview, feminist author and activist bell hooks was asked about the roots of this male aggression and violence. She told New Yorker editor David Remnick that, though she had read a lot of commentaries since the first revelations about Weinstein, hardly any commentator had used the word "patriarchy" to explain the root cause of all of this bad behavior.

"We want to act like this is individual male psychopathology," hooks said, rather than admit that this behavior has been normalized for men by a patriarchal system.

Lately it feels like every day another a man vanishes from the limelight, as if taken by a plague. But in these cases, the pestilence was of their own making. And, as hooks points out, patriarchy created the conditions under which it could breed.

Patriarchy is any system in which men hold the power and women are largely excluded from it. In a patriarchal structure, powerful men dominate women, children, nature and other men. Frequently, one of the key ways that men predominate over women is by fixating on and controlling female sexuality.

In Hollywood and in the media, elite, ruling classes of wealthy men act as kingmakers. They have the power to decide what faces will become famous, which voices will become influential, and whose unknown name will become a household name. The patriarchal system gives these men license to abuse their power through the sexual coercion and domination of women and, in some cases, minors.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 12:33 PM

Australian bishop urges end to clericalism

PARRAMATTA (AUSTRALIA)
National Catholic Reporter

December 13, 2017

By Peter Feuerherd

Bishop Vincent Long Van Nguyen says culture of church contributed to sex abuse crisis in country

Bishop Vincent Long Van Nguyen of Parramatta, Australia, speaking to the National Council of Priests of Australia, urged an end to clericalism in the church and expressed hope that a newly revitalized Catholic clergy would emerge from the sex abuse crisis that has wracked the Catholic Church in Australia.

He spoke Aug. 30 to the National Council of Priests in Australia, which reprinted his remarks in the December edition of The Swag, its quarterly magazine.

Van Nguyen, 55, a Conventual Franciscan who became bishop of Parramatta last year, declared in a message to a Royal Commission investigating sex abuse in the Catholic Church that he himself had been abused by church members as an adult. He told the priests' group that "we are in a big mess" as priests "bear the brunt of public anger and distrust in the wake of the sexual abuse crisis. It is one of the hardest times to be a priest."

He suggested they look to the example of Pope Francis as a vision of priesthood based on a servant, not an authoritarian, model.

After Francis was elected, he eschewed the usual papal trappings and asked for the gathered crowd to pray for him at St. Peter's Square. That gesture, said Long, "was truly the prophetic sign of the century."

"The ground under our feet has shifted," said Long. "There needs to be an attitudinal change at every level, a conversion of mind and heart that conforms us to the spirit of the Gospel, a new wine in new wineskins, not a merely cosmetic change or worse, a retreat into restorationism."

In Australia, he said, "the priesthood no longer enjoys the prestige and the power it once had. For a lot of young people, it is no longer surrounded with the aura of mystique and fascination." In response, he urged priests to embrace what he called a model of servant-leader.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 12:31 PM

Exclusive: Peru prosecutor probing alleged abuse seeks to jail Catholic society founder - lawyer

LIMA (PERU)
Reuters

December 13, 2017

By Mitra Taj

LIMA (Reuters) - A public prosecutor in Peru is seeking the pre-trial detention of Luis Figari, founder of an elite Catholic society who is accused of sexually and physically abusing children and former members of the group, the attorney for the victims of the alleged abuse told Reuters on Wednesday.

The prosecutor will ask a judge to order Figari and three other former leaders of Sodalitium Christianae Vitae to spend up to nine months in jail ahead of trial, said Hector Gadea. Gadea said he received a copy of the prosecutor’s so-called preventive prison request on Wednesday.

A hearing on the request has yet to be scheduled, Gadea said.

The prosecutors’ office did not immediately respond to request for comment.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 12:26 PM

New York archdiocese stresses commitment to aiding victims of clergy abuse

NEW YORK (NY)
CNA/EWTN News

December 13, 2017

Nearly 200 sex abuse victims of clergy in the New York archdiocese have received compensation through a program the archdiocese says shows the Church’s willingness to reach out to and listen to victims.

“At a time when nearly every institution that involves minors has had to face allegations of abuse, the Church is now a model in how to respond to this horror,” the Archdiocese of New York said Dec. 7.

Since its program launched last year, the archdiocese has compensated 189 victims of archdiocesan clergy abuse in amounts totaling more than $40 million.

“By any measure, the reconciliation program has been a success,” the archdiocese said. “Many of the victim-survivors have expressed their gratitude that the Church extended an invitation, listened, and responded with compassion and understanding. All left knowing that the Archdiocese of New York was willing to make a genuine act of reparation for the harm that was done to them.”

Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York launched The Independent Reconciliation and Compensation Program in October 2016.

The program was headed by Kenneth Feinberg, an attorney and mediator who led the September 11 victims’ fund. He has been assisted by his colleague Camille Biros. They determined issuance and amount of compensation to be given to victims.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 12:25 PM

Suspended member of papal clergy abuse commission to resign

VATICAN CITY
National Catholic Reporter

December 13, 2017

By Joshua J. McElwee

VATICAN CITY — The member of Pope Francis' commission on clergy sexual abuse who was suspended nearly two years ago after publicly critiquing the pope says he will now resign his post in advance of the expiration of his term of office Dec. 17.

Englishman Peter Saunders told NCR Dec. 13 he is planning to send a formal letter of resignation Dec. 15 to Boston Cardinal Sean O’Malley, the president of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors.

"It's just a kind of closure for me that I feel I've done my best for the church and the institutional church has kind of rejected me," Saunders said in a brief interview. "And so I will resign."

Saunders, a sexual abuse survivor who founded the UK’s National Association for People Abused in Childhood, was placed on leave from the papal commission in February 2016. His expected resignation was first reported by The Tablet.

While the commission did not elaborate on the reasons for Saunders' 2016 suspension, the survivor had been publicly critical of Francis' record on clergy abuse. He particularly criticized Francis' appointment of Chilean Bishop Juan Barros, who has been accused of covering up abuse by Fr. Fernando Karadima.

The Vatican office for the papal commission declined to comment on Saunders' decision to resign. While Saunders will be the second of the two abuse survivors originally appointed to the commission to resign, his expected resignation comes days before his term's expiration.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 12:23 PM

Royal Commission: Former PM Julia Gillard says public wants action after five-year abuse inquiry

NEWCASTLE (AUSTRALIA)
The Newcastle Herald

December 12, 2017

By Joanne McCarthy

REMOVING tax concessions to push “recalcitrant” churches to act on child sexual abuse reforms would have community support because “the public won’t tolerate” inaction after the five-year child abuse royal commission, said Julia Gillard on the eve of the commission’s final report.

Australians would be “waiting and watching” for any sense of church or political delay after a final Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse sitting on Thursday and the handing of the final report and recommendations to Governor General Sir Peter Cosgrove on Friday, Ms Gillard said this week after establishing the commission in 2012.

“Any sense that this is going to go on the back shelf and gather some dust, the community won’t tolerate it, the public won’t tolerate it,” she said.

She declined to predict if the royal commission would recommend linking tax concessions to reforms, after a public hearing in March where the Anglican church was warned to “get its house in order” or “the state could intervene by changing the money regime in relation to the church”.

The warning came after senior Anglicans told the commission the church had been unable to agree on uniform child protection regimes across the country.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 12:21 PM

Grappling with Rome: David Marr's lessons from the royal commission

AUSTRALIA
The Guardian

December 12, 2017

by David Marr

In the squalid history of the Catholic church’s part in the sexual abuse of children, the only law that really counted was the Vatican’s. As Australia’s massive public inquiry into the scandal delivers its final report, has that changed?

When I grew up on the sheltered Protestant north shore of Sydney one of the givens about the Catholic church was that when push came to shove it would obey Rome rather than the law.

This was a time when the election of a Catholic president of the United States was widely considered impossible or at the least dangerous. Where would JFK’s loyalties lie in a crisis, to Washington or Rome?

I worked to get that fear out of my system because I saw it as religious bigotry. Australia shed it too. So did the western world. JFK turned out to be the poster boy for Catholic leadership, a man of undivided loyalties to his country.

But when I began reporting the royal commission into institutional responses to child sexual abuse I could see evidence everywhere in the squalid history of the Catholic church’s part in the abuse of children – evidence from around the world – that the only law that really counted here was the law of Rome.

Across the world the church hid paedophile priests and snubbed their victims. Whether in Buenos Aires or Berlin or Ballarat, the story was absolutely the same. There were no whistleblowers. It was a faultless, international operation to defy criminal laws in the interests of the church.

Asking questions is the business of a royal commission. Masters of the art were at work before this commission. God knows how many they asked over the last five years. Tens of thousands in all shapes and sizes: brusque and discursive, technical and folksy, kind and absolutely lethal.

Two great questions mattered. To victims: what happened? And to institutions: why didn’t you pick up the phone and call the cops?

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 12:19 PM

What victims should know about the RVC Diocese’s Compensation Fund

ROCKVILLE CENTRE (NY)
LI Herald

December 13, 2017

By Mitchell J. Birzon

There has been much written recently about the establishment of the Diocese of Rockville Centre’s Independent Reconciliation and Compensation Program, created specifically to compensate survivors of sexual abuse by their clergy. That’s no surprise. This is a big announcement, as it literally gives certain victims what may be their last chance to file a claim.

However, clergy abuse, and the law and emotions that surround it, can be extremely complex and difficult to understand. With that in mind, what follows are eight simple keys to understanding this IRCP if you, or someone you know, is a victim:

Time is of the essence! The diocese announced the fund’s establishment on Oct. 16 and is offering a small window for victims to file a claim. Phase One of the program, which began with the announcement, is open to individuals who have previously notified the diocese of abuse perpetrated against them by members of the clergy. Those victims have until the end of the year to file a claim. Phase Two will include any person alleging sexual abuse that was not previously reported. It will begin in early 2018 and will be open for a few months.

Any person — male or female — who, as a minor, was sexually abused by a bishop, priest or deacon in the diocese at any time, may be eligible to participate in the fund. The law has previously prohibited any claims after the victim has reached the age of 23. That restriction does not apply to the IRCP. For many victims, because of the state’s statute of limitations, there is no certainty that they will ever have another chance to file a claim.

It’s important to reject many common fallacies about this type of abuse. Victims have been led to believe that there is no abuse if sexual contact that began when they were a minor continued beyond the age of consent, if they were “old enough to resist,” or if they otherwise gave an indication that they were willing participants. Others believe that they have no claim because their abuser has left the clergy, been transferred, or died. None of those factors excuse sexual contact of any kind before the age of 18 or disqualify a victim from this program.

Victims often think they are alone. Compensation funds created in neighboring dioceses have already paid hundreds of victims, and this program is expected to yield similar results. There are many, many victims.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 12:17 PM

Two more offenders have ties to Caldey Island, source says

WALES
BBC News

December 12, 2017

Two more sex offenders have had ties with Caldey Island which is at the centre of calls for an inquiry into historical abuse, a source has claimed.

Six women have been paid compensation following sexual abuse by a monk at the Pembrokeshire island's abbey.

It later emerged a fugitive child sex offender fled to the abbey to hide out.

The abbey has confirmed a priest was convicted of offences after leaving the island but denied knowing a serial sex offender had also stayed on the island.

BBC Wales has reported in recent weeks that Father Thaddeus Kotik lived on the island for 45 years and abused several girls there in the 1970s and 80s.

Child sex offender Paul Ashton fled to Caldey island in 2004 while on the run from the police after being charged with possessing indecent images of children.

He lived in the abbey until he was arrested in 2011.

Another sex offender believed to have lived on the island is notorious predator John Cronin.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 12:13 PM

December 12, 2017

NYPD adjusts interview techniques for sexual assault victims

NEW YORK (NY)
Axios

December 10, 2017

By Erica Pandey

Amid a flood of sexual misconduct allegations — some of which have turned into police investigations — the New York Police Department has taken a new approach to questioning victims, the Wall Street Journal reports.

The bottom line: "The focus that’s occurring on sexual criminal conduct coming out of the Hollywood celebrities and members of Congress may be a watershed moment,” NYPD Deputy Chief Michael Osgood told the Journal. He says more sensitive and open-ended questioning techniques may lead to breakthroughs in cold cases that have been abandoned for years.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 4:49 PM

We All Helped Build The Wall Of Silence Around Victims Of Sexual Assault

CANADA
The Huffington Post

December 12, 2017

By Guila Benchimol

Silence is not created in a vacuum. Collectively, we create walls of silence that make crime invisible, allowing it to persist.

Gretchen Carlson, whose sexual harassment claims led to Roger Ailes's downfall, recently stated that "the culture of concealment and denial is coming to an end" and the Silence Breakers were just named Time Magazine's Person of the Year. But a culture of silence does not simply end when its victims are ready to speak up. For victims to be heard, we must understand what role we play in building the silence around them.

Silence is a sexual predator's weapon, protecting them from detection and prosecution. Simon Hallsworth and Tara Young explain that while silence is a common feature of most crimes, it is the noise that receives our attention. Silence, however, is not created in a vacuum. Collectively, we create walls of silence that make crime invisible, allowing it to persist. Similarly, according to Eviatar Zerubavel's The Elephant in the Room, a conspiracy of silence is the result of individual and collective efforts at denial.

The culture of silence is the most striking pattern in recent sexual victimization revelations. The underlying message in the investigative reports is that walls of silence were built by perpetrators, control agents and bystanders, highlighting why victims are silent, or silenced, for so long. This machine of silence enabled perpetrators. People looked away while victimization occurred and went to great lengths to ensure silence. Active measures to promote silence continue today, including attempts to undermine victims and those who report their stories.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 4:44 PM

Sexual abuse survivors fear being 'deserted' after royal commission ends

AUSTRALIA
The Guardian

December 11, 2017

By Melissa Davey

Advocates say commission’s closure will create ‘sense of loss’ and express concerns there will be insufficient support

Survivors of sexual abuse and their advocates have spoken of their fears of being left in the lurch once the child abuse royal commission’s work officially draws to a close.

On Friday the royal commissioners will deliver their final report to the governor general in Canberra, marking the end of their five-year inquiry into how abuse was able to occur in more than 4,000 Australian institutions.

Dr Judy Courtin, a lawyer who has represented dozens of survivors and their families, said that through public hearings and private sessions the commission had shown people that their stories of abuse were believed, and that they were not to blame. It would be tough for many survivors once that focus ended, she said.

“It’s like having a favourite aunty who you totally trust and believe in, and they back and support you, and then suddenly they’re not there,” Courtin said. “There is a risk people will just feel deserted.”

The commission had been a valuable source of support for legal professionals too, Courtin said, being an authority where submissions about abuse and failures of organisations could be referred for further investigation.

“People are losing a powerful ally in the commission,” she said.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 1:40 PM

Casi di pedofilia e abusi: ecco il dossier sul cardinale Pell

ITALY
il Giornale

December 8, 2017

By Francesco Boezi

[Google Translate: A dossier of the Commission of Inquiry into the case of Cardinal Pell, accused of having covered cases of pedophilia and of real "historical" abuses]

Un dossier della Commissione d'Inchiesta sul caso del cardinale Pell, accusato di aver coperto casi di pedofilia e di veri e propri abusi "storici"

Il cardinale Pell - com'è noto - è accusato di aver coperto dei casi di pedofilia quando era arcivescovo di Melbourne.

Il porporato australiano - successivamente - sarebbe stato incriminato anche per presunti "storici" abusi sessuali su minori. Durante la prima udienza tenutasi lo scorso luglio in Australia, Pell ha respinto tutte le accuse: "A scanso di equivoci, dico subito che il cardinale Pell si 
dichiara non colpevole...", sottolineò all'epoca l'avvocato Robert Richter in tribunale. Pell - tuttavia - scelse in quell'occasione di non pronunciarsi personalmente. La seconda udienza, svoltasi ad ottobre - poi - durò venti minuti e si è limitò ad indagare sugli aspetti amministrativi. La Corte - in questa seconda circostanza - ha udito la previsione della deposizione di 50 testimoni prevista per il prossimo marzo: un passaggio cruciale per verificare l'esistenza del fumus boni iuris e procedere - quindi - con il processo. Una vicenda davvero pesante - insomma - considerando che Pell è la più alta carica ecclesiastica mai finita sotto accusa per reati inerenti la pedofilia. Papa Francesco - inoltre - aveva nominato l'australiano prefetto della Segreteria per l'Economia del Vaticano solo nel 2014 e così - tutta la "questione Pell" - ha assunto rilevanza mediatica anche in funzione della fiducia che il papa sembrava aver riposto in quest'uomo di Chiesa.

Ma quali sono queste accuse mosse nei confronti del cardinale? L'edizione odierna di Repubblica ha pubblicato il contenuto dell'ultimo dossier della Commissione d'inchiesta. Il documento sottolinea che: "il desiderio di evitare scandali e di proteggere la reputazione dei sacerdoti e della stessa Chiesa cattolica ha condotto a un «fallimento straordinario » rispetto a ciò che invece sarebbe stato doveroso fare". Per la Commissione - insomma - le diocesi di Ballarat e Melbourne non avrebbero risposto adeguatamente a denunce riguardanti abusi su minori che sarebbero state presentante nel corso di trent'anni. Pell - nelle città australiane citate - è stato prima sacerdote e poi vescovo. Ma il passaggio apparentemente più sconcertante tra quelli rivelati riguarda la testimonianza di Graeme Sleeman: un testimone che - nel novembre 2015 - avrebbe dichiarato che il porporato australiano - dinanzi ad alcune richieste su questi casi di abusi - "Mi attaccò il telefono". La tendenza della diocesi - poi - sarebbe stata quella di trasferire in nuove diocesi i sacerdoti accusati di pedofilia.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 1:24 PM

In Sex Abuse Cases, an Expiration Date Is Often Attached

NEW YORK (NY)
New York Times

December 4, 2017

By Elizabeth A. Harris

As prep schools increasingly confront past sexual misconduct, they often use laws limiting when a lawsuit can be filed to avoid paying victims.

When John Humphrey was a student at what is now the Pingry School in New Jersey in the early 1970s, he was sexually abused by a teacher, he said. It began when he was 11 years old, and happened several times a week over two school years, until he left the school after the sixth grade.

Ray Dackerman said he was abused more than 100 times while he was a student there around the same time, beginning when he was 12 years old. The abuse took place in the teacher’s office and in Boy Scout tents, and even in the teacher’s home while his wife was in the house.

Mr. Humphrey and Mr. Dackerman say they were abused by the same man, Thad Alton, at the same school — even in the same tent at the same time. In its own investigation, Pingry found that Mr. Alton had abused at least 27 boys at the school.

When the men began settlement discussions with Pingry this fall, the school could have treated them equally, based on their abuse. But instead, their lawyers say, it drew a line using civil statutes of limitation, which spells out how long victims have to bring a lawsuit. In New Jersey, the clock starts running when survivors discover that the abuse left lasting injuries on their lives. They have two years from that date to initiate legal action.

Mr. Humphrey, who clearly fell within the statute and so could sue, was most likely looking at a substantial amount of money; Mr. Dackerman, who did not, seemed likely to get far less.

Statutes of limitation are devised to protect people and institutions from false allegations that are impossible to defend because evidence is stale, witnesses are dead and documents have been lost. But as schools increasingly confront sexual abuse carried out against children in their care, sometimes decades ago, the statutes have also become a way for them to avoid paying victims.

Lawyers, insurers and other experts in the field say that former students whose abuse falls within the statute might receive a settlement in the high six figures, even millions. But once outside it, victims see just a fraction of that, even as schools commission investigations, declare their contrition and promise to do right by them. Often, survivors see nothing at all.

That is largely a function of who is paying. Abuse is usually covered by a school’s general liability insurance policy, according to Robb Jones, senior vice president and general counsel for claims management at United Educators Insurance. In general, insurers will pay when the abuse in question is within the statute.

“The promise that comes as part of an insurance contract, so to speak, is to pay for legal liability, not for moral liability,” Mr. Jones said. For his company, a significant player among independent schools, paying for a case outside the statute of limitations “would be a true exception.”

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 1:18 PM

Priest jailed for child abuse images lived on scandal-hit Caldey Island

WALES
The Guardian

December 12, 2017

By Amanda Gearing and Steven Morris

Exclusive: revelations mean that four men convicted or accused of sexual offences against children lived or stayed on tiny monastic Welsh island

A priest who was jailed for downloading hundreds of pictures of child sexual abuse is the latest offender to be identified as having close links with the monastic island of Caldey, which is at the centre of a growing scandal.

Father John Shannon, who was subsequently caught on the mainland with pictures of children as young as nine, lived on the island off the Welsh coast for nine months.

The revelation means that four men convicted or accused of sexual offences against children have now been identified as having lived or stayed on Caldey and will increase pressure for an inquiry.

In November the Guardian revealed a string of allegations against a monk, Thaddeus Kotik, dating back to the 1970s and 80s. Kotik was a member of the Cistercian order of Benedictine monks and lived in the monastery on Caldey Island from 1947 until his death in 1992.

It later emerged that police are investigating a second man over accusations of sexual abuse on the island during the same period and that a sex offender called Paul Ashton hid there while on the run from police. Ashton was finally caught on the island in 2011, taken back to the mainland and jailed.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 1:12 PM

George Pell: Complainants to give evidence on historical sexual offence charges over two weeks

AUSTRALIA
Australian Broadcasting Corporation

December 12, 2017

By Emma Younger

It is expected to take up to two weeks for the complainants against Cardinal George Pell to give their evidence at an upcoming committal hearing, a Melbourne court has heard.

The 76-year-old will face the pre-trial hearing in March next year on historical sexual offence charges, involving multiple complainants.

No other details of the case can be reported for legal reasons.

Cardinal Pell strenuously denies the allegations.

Prosecutor Fran Dalziel told a short hearing at the Melbourne Magistrates' Court that a remote facility had been booked for a fortnight to allow the complainants to give evidence via video link.

The court will be closed to the public during that part of the month-long proceeding, as required by law.

Cardinal Pell's defence barrister Ruth Shan told the hearing they had received documents requested from Victoria Police and advocacy group Broken Rites.

Cardinal Pell was not required to attend court today and did not appear.

Another procedural mention has been set down for next Thursday.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 12:59 PM

New York Catholic Archdiocese Pays $40 Million to Sexual Abuse Victims

NEW YORK (NY)
The Christian Post

December 11, 2017

By Michael Gryboski

The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New York announced that it paid out approximately $40 million to victims of sexual abuse by clergy.

In an update released last Thursday, the archdiocese noted that its Independent Reconciliation and Compensation Program resolved the claims of 189 victims, totaling $40,050.000.

"There are additional claims which were made prior to the November 1 application deadline that are still being processed by the program administrators," noted the archdiocese.

"The report also provides a summary of the Church's efforts to combat the scourge of sexual abuse of minors, which have resulted in the Church being a leader in the prevention of abuse, and in the care for victim–survivors."

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 12:57 PM

EDITORIAL: Default must be to trust the victim

UNITED STATES
National Catholic Reporter

December 12, 2017

In our legal system, we presume an accused person to be innocent until someone can prove otherwise. In the case of sexual assault, violence or harassment, that means the burden is on victims to prove their trustworthiness. Often, in those cases, we are asked to choose sides based on the stories of the only two people involved — the accuser and the accused. In the post-Weinstein milieu we are now experiencing, one is a woman and the other a man who holds some level of power. In a different conversation, the victims have been children and the powerful accused have been priests.

It's difficult to prove sexual assault — much less harassment — in a court of law, especially in a case of "she said, he said." Because the "he" is innocent until proven guilty, the "she" bears the burden of proof. (We choose to use as default language "man" for the accused and "woman" for the victim, because while men are also victims of sexual assault, the rate of incidence for men compared to women is very small.) Having documentation and corroborating witnesses helps, as does finding other women to tell similar stories. But lacking hard evidence puts many women in the role of defendant.

The problem turns even more daunting when the man holds a position of power, such as a supervisor, a senator, a celebrity or a Catholic priest. The refrain of "no one will believe you" rings in the ears of women who have been harmed by such men. Often, the women are not even sure they should be believed, especially if they fault themselves (wrongly) for the actions of someone else.

Right now, at least, it does feel as if women are being heard. Matt Lauer of NBC's "Today" show, was fired a day after a woman colleague said he had exhibited inappropriate behavior toward her. From all accounts, NBC executives acted quickly to listen to the woman and to let Lauer go.

His on-air partner, Savannah Guthrie, summed up the issue well. She called Lauer "my dear, dear friend and my partner." But she went on to say "we are grappling with a dilemma that so many people have faced these past few weeks: How do you reconcile your love for someone with the revelation that they have behaved badly? … This reckoning that so many organizations have been going through is important, it's long overdue and it must result in workplaces where all women, all people, feel safe and respected."

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 12:50 PM

Paul Pressler, former Texas judge and religious right leader, accused of sexually assaulting teen for years

AUSTIN (TX)
The Texas Tribune

December 12, 2017

By Emma Platoff

A lawsuit filed this fall alleges that Paul Pressler, a former state judge, lawmaker and leader on the religious right, repeatedly sexually assaulted a young man over a period of decades, beginning when the boy was just 14.

A former Texas state judge and lawmaker has been accused of sexually abusing a young man for several decades starting when the boy was just 14, according to a lawsuit filed in October in Harris County.

The lawsuit alleges that Paul Pressler, a former justice on the 14th Court of Appeals who served in the Texas state house from 1957–59, sexually assaulted Duane Rollins, his former bible study student, several times per month over a period of years. According to the filing, the abuse started in the late 1970s and continued less frequently after Rollins left Houston for college in 1983.

In a November court filing, Pressler “generally and categorically [denied] each and every allegation” in Rollins’ petition.

The abuse, which consisted of anal penetration, took place in Pressler’s master bedroom study, the suit alleges. According to the lawsuit, Pressler told Rollins he was “special” and that the sexual contact was their God-sanctioned secret.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 12:37 PM

State Rep. Dan Johnson's resignation sought after church member alleges sexual abuse

LOUISVILLE (KY)
Louisville Courier Journal

December 11, 2017

By Thomas Novelly

Another Frankfort legislator is being asked to step down amid allegations of sexual misconduct.

Dan Johnson, a preacher and Republican representative from Bullitt County, was accused of sexually abusing a member of his Fern Creek church, Heart of Fire, when she was 17. The woman says Johnson molested her after a New Year’s party in 2012, according to a report published Monday by the Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting.

Johnson was not available for comment at his office Monday, and he did not return a phone call left at his home. Courier Journal is not naming the woman because she says she was a victim of sexual abuse.

Officials from both sides of the aisle are calling on Johnson to step down.

"Following today’s extensively sourced and documented story from the Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting, we once again find ourselves in a position where we must call for him to resign, this time, from the Kentucky General Assembly," Mac Brown, the chairman of the Republican Party of Kentucky, said in a statement.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 12:33 PM

Statement from LDS church about practice of clergy interviews, including with children

SALT LAKE CITY (UT)
KUTV

December 11, 2017

By Larry D. Curtis

SALT LAKE CITY — (KUTV) The LDS church issued a response to KUTV about the practice of its local leaders interviewing children and teens, including questions about sexuality and masturbation. The entire church response is reprinted below:

Personal interviews are an important part of ministering to those in a congregation. They offer an opportunity for a leader to know an individual better and to help them live the gospel of Jesus Christ. Leaders are instructed to prepare spiritually so they can be guided by the Holy Ghost during these interviews. Leaders are provided with instructions in leadership resources and are asked to review them regularly.

Interviews are held for a number of reasons, including for temple recommends, priesthood quorum or Young Women class advancement, callings to serve in the Church or when a member requests to meet with a priesthood leader for personal guidance or to help them to repent from serious sin.

For youth, a bishop meets with a young person at least annually to teach, express confidence and support, and listen carefully. These interviews should be characterized by great love and the guidance of the Holy Ghost. They speak together about the testimony of the young woman or young man, their religious habits (such as prayer, church attendance and personal study of the scriptures) and their obedience to God's commandments. They may review together these teachings in the scriptures or other Church resources, such as For the Strength of Youth.

In these interviews, Church leaders are instructed to be sensitive to the character, circumstances and understanding of the young man or young woman. They are counseled to not be unnecessarily probing or invasive in their questions, but should allow a young person to share their experiences, struggles and feelings.

There are times when a discussion of moral cleanliness is appropriate—particularly if a young man or young woman feels a need to repent. In these instances leaders are counseled to adapt the discussion to the understanding of the individual and to exercise care not to encourage curiosity or experimentation.

Church leaders have a solemn responsibility to keep confidential all information they receive in confessions and interviews. When a young person is faced with serious sin or temptation, a bishop will likely encourage them to share (as appropriate) their struggles with their parents so they can pray for, teach and encourage the young man or young woman.

When a Church leader meets with a child, youth or woman, they are encouraged to ask a parent or another adult to be in an adjoining room, foyer or hall, and to avoid circumstances that may be misunderstood.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 12:28 PM

Opinion: Dr. Margaret Kierstein: All women must continue breaking silence, loudly

NORTHAMPTON (MA)
Daily Hampshire Gazette

December 11, 2017

LETTER TO THE EDITOR
All women must continue breaking silence, loudly
Thank you Time magazine. It has done a wonderful job of highlighting the prevalence and profound importance of the abuse of woman over the course of recent history (“Time magazine honors ‘Silence Breakers’,” Dec. 7).

This abuse has gone on since the beginning of time, but repeatedly has new waves of silence breaking, with #MeToo calling on woman to use social media to tell their stories.

Recent history points to the Catholic Church, President Trump, Roy Moore and their ilk, and of course Hollywood’s men in power, to name just a few.

I’m not on Facebook or Twitter, so have not used #MeToo, but I want to be counted here. My incidents are numerous, from doing child care as a young teen, to boys in high school who could assault you as you walked down the hall, to a professor at the University of Massachusetts where my grade depended on whether I had sex with him, to a psychiatrist at a local mental health center who was a colleague. His personnel file was sealed and the abuser moved to yet another mental health facility after at least 11 others came forward as victims. He fortunately ended up in prison since his abuse involved a child as well.

I don’t believe I know a woman who has not been a victim. May we all keep breaking the silence as often as needed, and doing so very loudly.

Dr. Margaret Kierstein
Northampton

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 10:58 AM

Disney Music Executive Charged with Child Sex Abuse (EXCLUSIVE)

SANTA CLARITA (CA)
Variety

December 8, 2017

By Gene Maddaus

Jon Heely, the director of music publishing at Disney, has been charged with three felony counts of child sexual abuse.

Heely, 58, of Santa Clarita, is accused of sexually abusing two underage girls approximately a decade ago. He allegedly victimized the first girl when she was 15. According to the charges, he began abusing the second when she was about 11 years old and continued until she was 15.

In a statement, a Disney spokesman said the company suspended Heely late on Friday, after being informed of the charges.

“Immediately upon learning of this situation tonight, he has been suspended without pay until the matter is resolved by the courts,” the spokesman said.

Heely was arrested on Nov. 16 by deputies from the Santa Clarita station of the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department. Booking records indicate he was later released on $150,000 bail.

On Wednesday, prosecutors charged him with three counts of lewd and lascivious acts on a child. Heely pleaded not guilty at his arraignment at the San Fernando courthouse on Thursday. He is due back in court on Jan. 10. If convicted, he faces up to nine years and three months in prison.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 10:56 AM

Disney executive, 58, charged with three felony counts of child sexual abuse

SANTA CLARITA (CA)
AOL.COM

December 11, 2017

By Jennifer Kline

A Disney executive has been charged with three felony counts of child sexual abuse.

Jon Heely, 58, is Disney's director of music publishing. He is accused of sexually abusing two underage girls. The first child was fifteen. The second child was 11 when the alleged abuse began, and it continued until she was 15.

Specific dates are not yet known, but Variety reports that the incidents occurred about ten years ago.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 10:54 AM

New Yorker fires star reporter Ryan Lizza over sexual misconduct, CNN pulls him off air

NEW YORK (NY)
Fox News

December 11, 2017

By Brian Flood

The New Yorker has severed ties with star reporter Ryan Lizza in response to behavior the magazine described as “improper sexual conduct.”

Lizza emerged as a household name last summer after he recorded a phone call with then-White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci, who went off on a profanity-laced tirade. President Trump fired Scaramucci after less than two weeks.

“The New Yorker recently learned that Ryan Lizza engaged in what we believe was improper sexual conduct. We have reviewed the matter and, as a result, have severed ties with Lizza. Due to a request for privacy, we are not commenting further,” the magazine said in a statement.

Lizza is also a contributor to CNN and the network put out its own statement shortly after the news broke.

“We have just learned of the New Yorker's decision. Ryan Lizza will not appear on CNN while we look into this matter,” a CNN spokesperson said.

“I am dismayed that The New Yorker has decided to characterize a respectful relationship with a woman I dated as somehow inappropriate,” Lizza said in a statement to the media. “I am sorry to my friends, workplace colleagues, and loved ones for any embarrassment this episode may cause. I love The New Yorker... But this decision, which was made hastily and without a full investigation of the relevant facts, was a terrible mistake.”

“In no way did Mr. Lizza's misconduct constitute a 'respectful relationship' as he has now tried to characterize it,” the unnamed accuser's attorney, Douglas Wigdor, told a Washington Post reporter.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 10:52 AM

Prosecutors review checks as part of priest embezzlement case

TULARE (CA)
ABC 30 Action News (KFSN)

December 11, 2017

By Brian Johnson

TULARE, Calif. (KFSN) -- A South Valley priest accused of stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars from his church was back in court Monday.

52-year-old Ignacio Villafan was the former priest at Rita's Catholic Church in Tulare. His preliminary hearing continued on Monday, and Gerrie Lenn Pimentel again took the witness stand.

As director of parish financial reporting for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Fresno, she discovered discrepancies that eventually lead to Villafan's arrest in late 2014.

Prosecutors say Villafan stole $425,000 from St. Rita's between 2005 and 2012.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 10:43 AM

Julia Gillard prepares for end of the royal commission she ordered five years ago

AUSTRALIA
Brisbane Times

December 12, 2017

By Joanne McCarthy

The prime minister who instigated the royal commission into sexual abuse says Australians "won't tolerate" more inaction, and predicts removing tax concessions to push "recalcitrant" churches to act on reforms would win strong public support.

Julia Gillard said Australians would be "waiting and watching" for any sense of church or political delay after the release on Friday of the landmark final report from the five-year long Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.

"Any sense that this is going to go on the back shelf and gather some dust, the community won't tolerate it, the public won't tolerate it," Ms Gillard told Fairfax Media.
She declined to predict if the royal commission would recommend linking tax concessions to reforms, after a public hearing in March where commission chair Justice Peter McClellan raised a scenario with senior Anglican clergy where the state could intervene by denying financial concessions "unless you get your house in order".

Ms Gillard said churches, governments and other institutions would need time to respond to the report but public pressure will exist regardless of "what levers are then needed to push some recalcitrants into action".

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 10:40 AM

Closed court hearings for Cardinal George Pell

AUSTRALIA
Sky News

December 12, 2017

The Melbourne Magistrates Court has requested an off site location for two weeks, when the trial against Cardinal George Pell begins next year.

The remote location will be used to hear the evidence of complainants in a closed court.

Closed court hearings are required for certain types of complainants in Victoria.

Lawyers for Pell are also continuing to negotiate with the ABC over information subpoenad from one of its journalists.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 10:39 AM

Maitland-Newcastle Royal Commission report withheld until "a later time"

NEWCASTLE (AUSTRALIA)
The Newcastle Herald

December 12, 2017

By Ian Kirkwood

THE Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse has handed its report into the Catholic Church’s Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle to the federal government.

But it has recommended the contents not be made public at this point.

The commission said on Tuesday that it had delivered Case Study 43 - The response of Catholic Church authorities in the Maitland-Newcastle region to allegations of child sexual abuse by clergy and religious.

It also handed up Case Study 44, which involved “allegations of child sexual abuse against a priest” in the the Catholic dioceses of Armidale and Parramatta.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 10:32 AM

December 11, 2017

Notice Of Credible Allegation Of Abuse Dating To 1950s

KANSAS CITY (MO)
The Catholic Key

December 11, 2017

The diocese recently received an allegation of sexual abuse of a minor by Father Sylvester Hoppe dating to 1953 to 1956. The priest, who died in 2002, was chaplain to St. Mary’s Orphanage in St. Joseph at the time.

Consistent with diocesan policy, the allegation was reported to the civil authorities and investigated. It was found credible by the independent ombudsman, Independent Review Board and Bishop Johnston.

Several prior allegations have been received against Hoppe since 2002. He also was the subject of two lawsuits claiming child sexual abuse that the diocese settled in 2008.

Hoppe served at Immaculate Conception, St. Joseph; St. Rose, Savannah; St. Patrick, Forest City; St. Paul, Tarkio; St. Benedict, Burlington Junction; St. Columban, Chillicothe; St. Ann, Excelsior Springs, and Sacred Heart Norborne. He also served as diocesan director of Catholic Boy Scouts before retiring in 1991.

“Our prayers are with the individual who came forward, which takes great courage, and with all those who have been affected,” said Carrie Cooper, Director of the office of Child and Youth Protection.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 3:23 PM

Op-Ed Dylan Farrow: Why has the #MeToo revolution spared Woody Allen?

UNITED STATES
Los Angeles Times

December 7, 2017

By Dylan Farrow

Editor’s Note: Woody Allen, who declined to comment prior to publication, has long denied the allegations described in this Op-Ed. Dylan Farrow’s allegations against Allen were investigated by sex-abuse experts at Yale-New Haven Hospital, who found no evidence of abuse. Some questioned their methodology. A state’s attorney in Connecticut said he had “probable cause” to prosecute in 1993 but did not file charges.

We are in the midst of a revolution. From allegations against studio heads and journalists, to hotel maids recounting abuses on the job, women are exposing the truth and men are losing their jobs. But the revolution has been selective.

I have long maintained that when I was 7 years old, Woody Allen led me into an attic, away from the babysitters who had been instructed never to leave me alone with him. He then sexually assaulted me. I told the truth to the authorities then, and I have been telling it, unaltered, for more than 20 years. Why is it that Harvey Weinstein and other accused celebrities have been cast out by Hollywood, while Allen recently secured a multimillion-dollar distribution deal with Amazon, greenlit by former Amazon Studios executive Roy Price before he was suspended over sexual misconduct allegations? Allen’s latest feature, “Wonder Wheel,” was released theatrically on Dec. 1.

Allen denies my allegations. But this is not a “he said, child said” situation. Allen’s pattern of inappropriate behavior — putting his thumb in my mouth, climbing into bed with me in his underwear, constant grooming and touching — was witnessed by friends and family members. At the time of the alleged assault, he was in therapy for his conduct towards me. Three eyewitnesses substantiated my account, including a babysitter who saw Allen with his head buried in my lap after he had taken off my underwear. Allen refused to take a polygraph administered by the Connecticut state police.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 2:57 PM

Child sex abuse royal commission: sins of the fathers to be laid bare

AUSTRALIA
The Australian

December 11, 2017

By John Ferguson

When the late Frank Little retired two decades ago, he recounted with humility and understated ­humour the highlight of his 22-year calling as Archbishop of Melbourne.

Little was preparing to pass the keys to St Patrick’s Cathedral to ­George Pell when he recounted a trip around Flemington Racecourse with Pope John Paul II in 1986.

“I was in the Popemobile with the Holy Father and we were going down the straight, away from people, and then there was a lady who was separated from everyone else and she saw her ­opportunity and ran over to the fence,” Little recalled.

“The Holy Father was getting ready to wave to her, then she waved like mad and yelled out, ‘Hello, Archbishop Little.’ He was marvellous, he was sort of taken aback for a moment, and then he turned around and sort of smiled saying, ‘Win some, lose some.’ ”

In the nearly 10 years since Little died aged 83 in 2008, many have forgotten the broad sense of warmth and appeal that marked the late archbishop’s decades in charge of the heartland of Victorian Catholicism.

Fast-forward a decade and few could have predicted that Little’s reputational win-loss ratio had peaked, that his fall from grace would be so catastrophically complete and his history so comprehensively rewritten.

As the child sex abuse royal commission prepares to release its final report this week, two of its last three case studies focused on dioceses in Melbourne and Ballarat and the third on the Anglican Diocese of Newcastle.

The two faiths dominated complaints cited at the inquiry; 4756 Catholic abuse complaints, mostly between 1950 and 1989, and 1119 reported Anglican complaints, between 1980 and 2015.

In the Victorian reports, the commission found that the once admired Little had led a coterie of senior Catholics in Melbourne ­between 1974 and 1996 who were responsible for a run of cover-ups of sex offending by clergy and a long-term pattern of failing to protect children.

The evidence is appalling, ­including cases where obfuscation or inaction guaranteed further ­offending; where seven of the priests mentioned by the com­mission committed possibly hundreds of offences aided and abetted by a system of Machiavellian indifference to the suffering of the children.

Little’s complicity was only ­exceeded by the relentless number of crimes committed in a neighbouring diocese, with the effective green light of the Bishop of Balla­rat, Ronald Mulkearns, a man ­unmatched in his capacity to shop abusers around western Victoria to continue their offending.

There were probably thousands of offences committed under Mulkearns’s reign, although the final number will never be known, with apparently fewer than 10 core offenders, some of whom — like their bishop — never facing proper justice.

Combined, the two Victorian case studies provided 825 pages of evidence and commentary on some of the worst institution-sanctioned sex crimes committed in church history.

The Melbourne case study outlined in stunning detail the extent to which Little failed to act to protect the children of the Archdiocese of Melbourne, how police and prosecutors dropped the ball in the handling of investigations into the disgraced priest Father Nazareno Fasciale.

But also the extent to which no fewer than four high-ranking church men and some Catholic educators failed to head off offenders like the insane Father Peter Searson, who terrorised parish children in the full knowledge of Little’s church.

Worse, Little conspired to conceal the truth of offending across the diocese, destroyed documents and worked assiduously with ­others to send offenders to other postings where they would go on offending.

Like Ballarat, the numbers of offending clergy weren’t radically high; fewer than 10 offending men of the cloth in the archdiocese ­examined by the commission were left to operate unchallenged.

This was enough, though, to cause decades of turmoil that is still being unpicked by church authorities.

History shows that it wasn’t until George Pell took over as Archbishop of Melbourne in 1996 and the Melbourne Response ­that the archdiocese started transforming its systems and compensating victims for their trials. Little, like Mulkearns, was the roadblock with key underlings adding obstacles to the passage of justice.

“Archbishop Little abjectly ­failed to exercise proper care for the children within the arch­diocese’s parishes and schools,’’ the commission found.

The commission painted a picture, not so much of a friendly bloke next door as archbishop (he was “Uncle Frank’’ to his family) but a calculating exploiter of his position.

Little, it might have found, had behaved like a profit-driven company man rather than a man of the cloth. The same could be said of Ballarat’s Ronald Mulkearns. They were two men dressed as bishops who could easily have been Collins Street businessmen covering up wrongdoing to protect the share price.

Little and Mulkearns did to the church what business did for asbestos.

Of Little, the commission said: “During the tenure of Archbishop Little, decision-making within the archdiocese in response to complaints of child sexual abuse against priests was highly cen­tralised.

“There were no effective checks and balances on the archbishop’s exercise of his powers in relation to priests the subject of complaints.

“As the evidence in the case study makes plain, a system for responding to complaints of child sexual abuse in which the exclusive authority for making decisions was vested in one person is deeply flawed.’’

For the Catholic Church, criticism of its power structures has been running for hundreds of years. It seems likely that when the commission hands down its final report this week that it will back an overhaul of reporting sex offences within the churches, perhaps even tougher penalties for failing to ­report crimes.

Francis Sullivan, the chief executive of the church’s Truth, Justice and Healing Council, says that while Little and Mulkearns were at the head of the rotten fish, there were plenty of others ­beneath them who had failed to do enough to stop the crimes and subsequent suffering.

On the question of the church’s structures, he says: “The Catholic Church still has plenty of residue of the medieval times.

“The handling of child sex abuse in the Catholic Church is all about the misuse of power, privilege and those who participated in the positions of responsibility. The leadership and those in positions of responsibility instructively protected the institution before the welfare of the children. It’s writ large in every page (of the commission’s case studies).

“You’ve got to be angry because nothing else will change the ­system.’’

Where it’s hard to get a full picture of where the commission is heading is the significant number of pages that are heavily redacted because of looming court cases affecting both Melbourne and ­Ballarat.

To that end, it is not legally or practically possible to analyse the role of now Cardinal George Pell, who was for years a prominent figure in Ballarat and Melbourne. It’s fair to say, though, that after Pell took charge of Melbourne there were significant attempts to deal with the sex abuse scandal, chiefly the Melbourne Response compensation scheme, and the veil ­lifted on offending under Little.

This veil was removed in the Victorian parliamentary inquiry several years ago — the effective precursor to the royal commission — when both Little and Mul­kearns were excoriated for operating against the church victims’ interests.

The church is in an invidious position and is undeniably the focus of a feeding frenzy, where unfiltered or even cross-checked information is rarely sought. Where the worst possible assumptions are made and then treated as fact.

Few, for example, have both­ered to even consider the similarities between the commonwealth’s new sex abuse redress scheme and the original Melbourne ­Response set up under Pell, largely because it doesn’t fit the convenient narrative.

Of the 19 victims referred to by pseudonyms in the Melbourne case study last week, 16 were the subject of compensation and psychological care.

It’s not fashionable to give the church any credit for the attempts to deal with the wrongs committed in the past and in a purely emotional sense this is understandable, but not necessarily adding to the full factual picture.

Post-Little, the independent commissioner Peter O’Callaghan QC, for example, did encourage victims to report the crimes to police and of the 145 complaints to the independent commissioners relating to the offenders Kevin O’Donnell, Nazareno Fasciale, Ronald Pickering, Desmond Gannon, David Daniel, Peter Searson and Wilfred Baker, more than a third were reported to police.

This was either before the complainants spoke to the church or after speaking to the independent commissioners. It is wrong to say that the church in Melbourne — after Little — didn’t encourage police investigation of the crimes given that every victim who ­engages the response is encouraged to report the offending.

But at the same time it’s absolutely right to say that Little and Mulkearns oversaw operations that relentlessly failed to bring in the police and in well-documented cases the police were generally hopeless.

It’s also entirely legitimate for the church’s critics to be as vocal and critical of its failures as they want to be; reading the two Victorian case studies is an exercise in melancholy and outrage-inducing bewilderment.

Lawyer Vivian Waller is a veteran advocate for victims who warns there has been, and continues to be, a dark streak of arrogance where the church sees itself as being above the law.

“What Australian company or tertiary organisation wouldn’t ­involve the police?’’ she asks.

“Especially if it’s such a widespread thing. And I think part of the problem also from the cultural point of view is that the Catholic Church seemed to regard sexual offending against children as a moral failing which would be forgiven at confession and the perpetrator sent out again.

“As opposed to thinking of it as criminal failure.’’

For sheer weight of offending, it’s hard to go past the corruption that Mulkearns oversaw in the diocese of Ballarat, which spreads across Victoria’s west.

It seems that when Mulkearns couldn’t cover it up, the Christian Brothers finished the job.

With the aid of a pathetic police force in past decades, few can match the excesses of Mulkearns, who covered up offending and shifted wickedly prolific priests such as Gerald Ridsdale from parish to parish.

Ridsdale probably offended against hundreds of children ­although there have been 78 formal claims. The number of convictions against him masks the reality that most child sex offending goes unpunished.

Mulkearns and many others were given relentless warnings that Ridsdale was offending, yet did little except shift him; Mul­kearns’s defenders point to a ­different era, a lack of understanding of pedophilia and the misguided cultural demand that the church’s reputation be protected at every turn.

“On no occasion during the public hearing did commissioners hear evidence that Bishop Mul­kearns or any other member of the clergy reported allegations or complaints of child sexual abuse to the police or another authority,’’ the Ballarat commission case study reported.

The commission also has ­remarked on the role of the bishop and the power and authority that went with the position in terms of reporting to police, adding: “There was evidence that some records relating to allegations of child sexual abuse were destroyed.’’

However, the commission found that Mulkearns did not keep his conniving to himself, suggesting that Mulkearns had discussed allegations about offending clergy with others.

Like Melbourne, there were several senior diocese officials made relentlessly aware of offending.

In brutally simple language, Mulkearns was a liar and a ­destroyer of documents.

“Of the many reports to the diocese which we found were made by victims, their families and others in the community, very few were recorded in contemporaneous notes or documents.’’

Books have been written on any number of child sex offenders, including Monsignor John Day, who benefited from police cor­ruption that helped cover up his offending in Victoria’s far northwest, with one brave policeman, Denis Ryan, the exception to the rule.

There is a book in Ridsdale for anyone who wants to drown in the sorrow of Catholic wrongdoing. The commission data states that 140 people made a claim of sexual abuse against police and religious figures operating in the Ballarat Diocese between January 1980 and early 2015, but this excludes Christian Brothers offending, which was profound. Given that Ridsdale’s family and victims feared he offended against up to 500 children, this number seems quite conservative.

Ninety per cent of all claims in Ballarat were made against seven priests, who were each subject to three or more claims of child sexual abuse and 95 per cent of claims relating to between 1950 and 1989.

There is a lag between when ­offending occurs and when victims feel empowered enough to ­report, which means more cases are inevitable but hopefully not at the same rate as the past.

One significant factor will be the determination of the church and schools to ensure the past is not repeated.

To that end, on the day that the commission tore apart Little’s ­already battered reputation, Little’s alma mater — St Patrick’s College in Ballarat — drove a bulldozer into his grave.

The school that gave the church Little and Cardinal Pell and 111 AFL-VFL footballers, will strike Little’s name from a campus building and pen a line through his legacy on the school honour board.

Citing the withering findings of the commission’s Melbourne case study, the school’s headmaster, John Crowley, said today’s college demanded the highest possible standards of behaviour to students in its care. Little, he argued, failed those standards.

“The findings demonstrate that Archbishop Little’s behaviours do not meet these expectations,” Crowley said.

For many in the scarred ­regional city of Ballarat it was a welcome act of contrition.

For others, it will be too Little, too late.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 2:55 PM

Sisters at Catholic orphanage force-fed residents, child abuse inquiry hears

SCOTLAND
The Herald

December 11, 2017

By Colin McNeill

A former resident of a Catholic orphanage has told an inquiry how she was severely punished for wetting the bed.

June Smith, who waived her right to anonymity, said she had moved in to Smyllum Park in Lanark, South Lanarkshire, in 1969 when she was about three or four.

She told the Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry in Edinburgh that she persistently wet the bed until she was 15, which saw her severely punished by staff and nuns.

Ms Smith, who left the home in 1981, added: "(One of the sisters) would come in the morning, pull you out of bed and put you in a cold bath.

"Sometimes she would throw disinfectant over you and put her knuckles right into your head, that was sore - really sore."

She added that children who wet their beds were made to carry their sheets up a hill so everybody knew what had happened, which meant they would be bullied.

Ms Smith also told how, from the age of six, she was woken up during the night and made to take tablets to stop bedwetting.

She added: "I (still) wake up every night. When I get to sleep I'm alright until 2am, then that's me until 6am or 7am."

In a statement she had previously submitted she said she was taking part in the inquiry so other children in care do not suffer similar experiences.

She added her later years were better as the nuns in charge were "nice".

Another witness told how his time at Smyllum, which was run by the Daughters of Charity of St Vincent de Paul, means he avoids certain meals with his family.

He was moved to the home in 1974, aged around eight years old, and left in 1981 but said his time there still impacts his life.

Punishments included being beaten with "Jesus slippers" and being locked in a dark room, he told the inquiry.

The witness said: "What was put in front of you, you had to eat, we were getting force-fed.

"The sister would come behind you, hold your nose and ram it down you.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 2:51 PM

Catholic abuse report findings to be released

AUSTRALIA
Australian Associated Press

December 11,2017

The prime minister and premiers must act now to ensure reforms recommended by the child sexual abuse royal commission are not shelved or lost in politics, a key Catholic Church adviser says.

The church's Truth Justice and Healing Council CEO Francis Sullivan has called on Malcolm Turnbull and state and territory leaders to immediately set up a COAG committee to implement the recommendations in the inquiry's final report, which will be released on Friday.

Mr Sullivan says once the report is in the public domain all participants including the Catholic Church need to implement the recommendations and it is up to Mr Turnbull to lead the way.

'I think he has to show that this report is going to be taken 100 per cent seriously, it's not going to be put in a drawer, it's not going to be just one bit's accepted and another bit's not,' Mr Sullivan told AAP.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 2:44 PM

Anglican Church slams move by Rescue Churchie on child abuse

QUEENSLAND (AUSTRALIA)
The Courier-Mail

December 11, 2017

By Peter Michael

The Anglican Church has slammed a move by Rescue Churchie to disband the School Council over child sex abuse payouts at one of Queensland’s most prestigious private schools.

Church leaders urged anyone with evidence of bogus child sex abuse claims to make an official report to police.

The Anglican Church Grammar School, known as Churchie, in East Brisbane is facing open revolt by a group of Old Boys over a reported $130,000 compensation payment to a convicted killer and conman.

“If anyone has evidence of fraud it should be reported to police,” an Anglican Church spokesman told The Courier-Mail.

“But it is important for survivors of abuse to continue to be encouraged to come forward to report abuse and that all allegations of abuse are taken with the utmost seriousness and investigated.”

Rescue Churchie yesterday launched a social media campaign to replace the Anglican Diocesan Council, the governing body of Churchie, with an autonomous school council.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 2:42 PM

Op-Ed The evangelical slippery slope, from Ronald Reagan to Roy Moore

UNITED STATES
Los Angeles Times

December 11, 2017

By Randall Balmer

When I was growing up in the evangelical subculture in the 1960s and 1970s, I heard a lot of warnings about slippery slopes, especially relating to the Bible. If you dared to interpret the many-headed beasts or the vials of judgment in the Book of Revelation as allegory, then pretty soon you’d read the creation accounts at the beginning of Genesis not as history but as stories. Slippery slope. Not long thereafter you’d question the miracles of the New Testament, trade in your King James Bible for Kahil Gibran’s “The Prophet” and become (I don’t know) a Druid, an Episcopalian or perhaps a coastal elite.

Many of the slippery slope scenarios I heard applied to behavior. A sip of beer would lead to wine, then the hard stuff and, inevitably, to a life of debauchery. A trip to the movie theater would lead to a pornography addiction. Playing poker with friends would lead to a gambling addiction. Slippery slope. Dancing, of course, placed you on the fast track to sexual intercourse.

I left the evangelical subculture, more or less, at the end of the 1970s. Little did I know that evangelicals were then stepping onto their own slippery slope that would lead to Donald Trump and now Roy Moore.

To say that I left the evangelical subculture is not quite accurate — and not only because evangelicalism is so stamped into my DNA that it is impossible to leave entirely. Evangelicalism really left me more than I left it. The religious tradition that shaped me was part of a long and noble movement that, in earlier generations of American life, took the part of those on the margins of society. Evangelicals, especially in the 19th and early 20th centuries, sought to educate those on the bottom rungs of society so they would have a better life. They worked for the abolition of slavery and advocated equal rights, including voting rights for women.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 2:39 PM

Notary for Vatican tribunal quits amid allegations

GUAM
The Guam Daily Post

December 11, 2017

By Mindy Aguon

The notary for the Vatican tribunal who came to Guam to investigate child sex abuse allegations against Archbishop Anthony Apuron has resigned from his position at the Vatican's Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faithful.

Rev. Justin Wachs, the notary and recorder for the tribunal, resigned from his Vatican appointed position for "personal and professional reasons," according to a letter from Sioux Falls, South Dakota Bishop Paul Swain's letter to clergy dated Nov. 29.

The information about Wachs' resignation came out after Keloland Media Group uncovered allegations of sexual harassment that had been filed against Wachs by the former secretary of the Sioux Falls Diocese where Wachs had previously served as priest.

The woman alleged Wachs inappropriately touched her and interacted with her in 2014.

According to the Keloland report, Wachs and the diocese tried to save the working relationship and establish professional boundaries between the woman and Wachs, but months later, he resigned from the parish and went on medical leave, Post files state.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 2:38 PM

Cynthia M. Allen: Attitudes toward sex empower male abusers

COLUMBUS (OH)
The Columbus Dispatch

December 10, 2017

By Cynthia M. Allen

We are on the verge of some significant cultural change — at least we should be — if we are to effectively confront the deluge of sexual harassment and assault scandals that have swept up dozens of prominent men in news media, government and business.

In some ways, what’s happening is good.

By coming forward, women are unearthing systemic sexism that has permeated some workplaces for years, and many employers are responding appropriately, albeit belatedly.

And it is the first time in decades where there seems to be a growing consensus across the political spectrum that our past acceptance of such transgressions was flawed, and we now need to draw bright lines when it comes to sexual behavior.

While the actions of the accused covers a broad spectrum of behavior — rape is a far more serious crime than sending a lewd photo — the fact that many Democrats and Republicans are calling for the heads of their own no matter the degree of the crime, is a positive development.

In the weeks and months to come, more stories and accusers will surface, and prescriptions for “fixing” things — mandatory harassment training and better support for women — will be implemented. There also should be agreement on moral standards of conduct for people in high-profile jobs in the public and private sectors.

But these remedies will be Band-Aids only if we fail to understand how we came to a place and time where a man dropping his pants at the office could go unchecked for so long.

How did we get here?

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 2:36 PM

Pointing a Canon at the Catholic Church: How Civil Suits Against Pedophile Priests are Handled in Canada

CANADA
Forget the Box

December 11, 2017

By Samantha Gold

Quebec has a love-hate relationship with its Catholic heritage. The province began as a settlement ripped from First Nations by Catholic France before the British took the colony. Quebec owes its first schools, public records, and health care and social welfare facilities to the Catholic Church who set them up at time when secular governments stayed out of them.

During the Duplessis era from the mid 1940s to late 1950s, the Church cooperated with the near dictatorial government to try and keep the people of Quebec obedient and unquestioning of authority. The Quiet Revolution that followed emptied the churches as French Canadians embraced women’s liberation, free sex, and the right to question even the Pope.

Though the province now claims to be aggressively secular (see Bill 62), it is determined to hold on to Catholic symbols such as the crucifix in the National Assembly and the tacky cross currently adorning Mount Royal in the name of glorifying a heritage that credits Quebec society solely – and incorrectly – to its white, Catholic, French-speaking founders.

As any place with Catholic roots, Quebec is not immune to the scandals erupting from the sexual abuses of children carried out by priests, nuns, and friars working in the province’s many schools. At the end of November, The Quebec Court of Appeal approved a class action lawsuit by the victims of sexual abuse who are suing Montreal’s Saint Joseph’s Oratory and the Province Canadienne de la Congregation de Sainte-Croix for the molestation they endured while attending schools the defendants operated.

This article will look at how our legal system handles civil suits against religious authorities accused of participating in sexual abuse and the St Joseph’s case in a little more detail.

Courts in Canada are generally sympathetic to the young victims of sexual assault by Catholic clergy.

In 2004’s John Doe v. Bennett, the Supreme Court dismissed the appeal of the Roman Catholic Episcopal Corporation of St. George’s in Newfoundland who had been found liable for the sexual abuse of boys by a priest operating under their authority for two decades. Though provinces have their own civil laws, the principles of this case are similar to such civil suits in Quebec.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 2:28 PM

Sex offender priest dies same day he's due in court on new charges

WINNIPEG (CANADA)
CBC News

December 8, 2017

'Where's the justice in that?' says alleged victim

A Catholic priest and convicted pedophile from Winnipeg died this week, just as he was set to appear in court on new allegations.

An online obituary notice from family says Father Omer Desjardins died Dec. 4 at the St. Boniface Hospital in Winnipeg at the age of 85. He was due in court that same day.

News of Desjardins' death doesn't sit well with one of his alleged victims, who had been waiting for a trial to get underway — and for the ordained Oblate priest's expected guilty plea — since breaking 28 years of silence and telling his story of abuse to police in November 2016.

Joe, who does not want his last name used, previously told CBC News he first met Desjardins in October 1988 when the priest was working as the night caregiver at Credo Home, a Winnipeg group home run by the Oblates of Mary Immaculate, a Roman Catholic religious community of priests and brothers commonly referred to as the Oblates.

Joe had just turned 15 and didn't want to live with his mother and her boyfriend. He became a ward of Child and Family Services and was placed in the group home.

Joe says Desjardins soon began coming into his bedroom at night to talk.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 2:25 PM

Reporting of suspected child abuse becomes mandatory

IRELAND
RTÉ

December 11, 2017

The Irish Association of Social Workers has criticised the HSE for failing to appoint designated liaison persons to oversee the handling of allegations of child abuse that are brought to its attention.

The criticism comes on the day mandatory reporting of concerns about child welfare has been introduced by the government.

Minister for Children Katherine Zappone says the Government's introduction of mandatory reporting ends 20 years of stalling by Governments in the face of a series of reports on child abuse in church, State and voluntary organisations.

From today, thousands of professionals, such as teachers, doctors, nurses and gardaí, must report suspicions of child abuse to Tusla, the Child and Family Agency.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 2:24 PM

Abuse survivor reflects on royal commission's damning findings into Newcastle's Anglican Diocese

AUSTRALIA
ABC Newcastle

December 10, 2017

By Robert Virtue and Paul Turton

A survivor of child sexual abuse at the hands of the Anglican Church in the 1960s is calling for the Federal Government to fully implement the final findings of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.

The call comes in the wake of the royal commission delivering a damning assessment of the Newcastle Anglican Diocese's responses to abuse cases, when it handed down its findings last week.

The commission found there had been a "distinct lack of leadership" from bishops Alfred Holland and Roger Herft, and a "cumulative effect of … systemic issues was that a group of perpetrators was allowed to operate within the diocese for at least 30 years".

Paul Gray said he had been abused by a number of perpetrators when he was aged 10 to 14, including Father Peter Rushton, who died in 2007 without being charged.

Mr Gray said lawmakers needed to act to ensure children were kept safe.

"How about we make sure we get consensus in the Parliament to instigate the findings of the royal commission and keep our children safe?" he said.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 2:22 PM

Pope’s Personal Income: Billions and Very Secret

UNITED STATES
The Open Tabernacle

December 10, 2017

By Betty Clermont

In 2013, the first year of Pope Francis’ pontificate, Catholics around the world put €378 million (over $515 million) in the collection basket for the annual Peter’s Pence donation, the fund for the pope’s charitable works. This information was provided by Emiliano Fittipaldi in his book, Avarice: Documents Revealing Wealth, Scandals and Secrets of Francis’ Church.

That same year, as in every year before, the Vatican Bank financial statement noted that profits were “offered to the Holy Father in support of his apostolic and charitable ministry.” In 2013, that was “a sum of €50,000,000” (over $68 million). A declaration that profits were given to the pope has been omitted in subsequent statements.

Beginning in March 2016, the “messages of Pope Francis published daily on Twitter and Instagram together with photos and reflections” include a link for making donations to the Peter’s Pence fund for “all people who want to help those most in need.” The papal Twitter accounts in nine languages have over 40 million followers and his Instagram account is close to 5 million, according to the Vatican Secretariat for Communications, the new department created by Pope Francis to make sure “what the pope says and does is made known to the world as quickly as possible.”

Additionally, the Peter’s Pence fund was given its own web site in November 2016 to increase the opportunity for more online contributions.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 2:19 PM

This Is Survival

UNITED STATES
The Players' Tribune

December 7, 2017

By Aly Raisman

Everyone is a survivor of something.

Everyone is battling something.

Everyone goes through ups and downs in their lives. The hard parts are scary and uncomfortable to talk about, but they are part of the fabric of our lives. The tough times make us stronger and make us who we are.

I’ve chosen to open up about my experience because I want change. It is very hard and uncomfortable to talk about. I have learned that everyone copes differently. There’s no map that shows you the path to healing. Some days I feel happy and protected for sharing my story. Other days I have bad anxiety and either feel traumatized from Larry Nassar’s abuse or I fear something else will happen in the future. When I have these scary thoughts, I try my best to find things to help me manage my fears. I go for a walk outside. I read a book. I meditate and practice my breathing exercises. I take a hot bath. I draw. I hang out with family and friends. And I remind myself I am in control and that I will be O.K.

I also want people to understand that abuse is never O.K. One person is too many and one time is too often. We must protect the survivors and people who are suffering in silence. We must support those who come forward, whether it is today, tomorrow, in three months, one year from now, 10 years from now. Whenever it is, everyone must show support. Victim shaming must stop. There are those who ask tough questions. Why didn’t you speak up? Why are you just speaking now? Are you nervous this will define you? To them I ask that they consider how complicated it is to deal with abuse. Abusers are often master manipulators and make their survivors feel confused and guilty for thinking badly of their abusers. And the abusers also often make everyone around them stand up for them, leaving the survivor afraid that no one will believe them. That needs to stop. Those who look the other way must stop and help protect those being hurt. Abusers must never be protected.

The power needs to shift to the survivors.

Sexual abuse isn’t just in the moment. It is forever. Healing is forever.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 12:38 PM

BREAKING NEWS: Former abbot, 74, who withdrew £182,000 from his Vatican bank account and went on the run in Albania is found guilty of abusing boys at Catholic school

ENGLAND
Daily Mail

December 6, 2017

By Richard Spillett

- Andrew Soper, 74, raped and groped pupils at St Benedict's School in Ealing
- He later used £182,000 from Vatican bank account to flee justice to Albania
- Soper was convicted of several counts of sexual and indecent assault on boys
- Victims said they had breakdowns because they 'would not be believed'

A Roman Catholic priest who sexually abused children at an abbey school which became one of Britain's most notorious dens of paedophilia is set to die behind bars.

Andrew Soper, 74, raped and groped pupils at St Benedict's School in Ealing in the 1970s and 80s and used £182,000 from his Vatican bank account to flee to Albania when victims came forward decades later.

Former headmaster father David Pearce and former maths teacher John Maestri had been jailed for abusing children at the £12,000-a-year private school.

Soper flew to the UK to be interviewed by police about the claims in July 2004, June 2009 and September 2010, and was allowed to return to Rome, Italy, on police bail until 11 March 2011.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 12:35 PM

Gerald Elias: Sexual predators know the difference between right and wrong — they abuse because society has tolerated it for so long

SALT LAKE (UT)
The Salt Lake Tribune

December 10, 2017

By Gerald Elias

When drunken frat boys and campus sports heroes rape female students, we wring our hands but chalk it up to bad upbringing or aberrant behavior or extra testosterone or the reason-numbing effects of binge drinking. We decry it but can, to some degree, understand it.
But when such crimes are committed or tolerated by revered university profes­sors and administrators, how do we explain that away? Misunderstandings? If a professor or administrator can’t discern the difference between right and wrong, who can? Is it that difficult?
We are now engaged in a raging national debate regarding sexual misconduct that goes far beyond the college campus. High-profile men in the entertainment industry, in the media, in government, have been outed for sexual misconduct ranging from an unwanted kiss to pathological pedophilia. Even this is but the tip of the iceberg. Below the surface, sexual misconduct in the workplace — in offices, in hotels, in factories, in athletics, in the armed forces — has yet to be fully exposed. And it goes even beyond the workplace. Women do not feel safe from harassment or being groped simply walking down the street, sitting in a bus or going to a park.

When students and former students have come to me with stories of being victimized by members of my profession, the most important thing I can do is help them regain their ability — which has been so violently compromised — to trust someone, anyone. I try to provide that trust and support. In a society that has no difficulty talking about violence but is unable to openly discuss sex, especially sexual predation, it is no wonder that women are only now coming forward and with such difficulty and with such courage.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 9:56 AM

Archdiocese pays 3 local men $250K each after priest-abuse claims

KINGSTON (NY)
Times Herald-Record

December 10, 2017

By Paul Brooks

KINGSTON – Three Hudson Valley men abused by a Catholic priest decades ago will receive $250,000 each in compensation from the New York Archdiocese, according to their Kingston lawyer.

Joe O’Connor of Mainetti, Mainetti & O’Connor confirmed the payouts Friday.

The money from the Archdiocese was authorized after a review of the claims the three men filed with the Independent Reconciliation and Compensation Program.

The Archdiocese has paid out more than $40 million under the program, it said in a report released Thursday.

The claims of the three local men outlined details of the sexual abuse suffered at the hands of Gennaro “Jerry” Gentile, a priest who spent time in nine different parishes in the Hudson Valley between 1970 and 2002, according to church records.

The three men filed their claims with the IRCP in October, then told their stories to the program’s two-person staff, who had authority to evaluate the claims and determine what to pay victims.

Victims had to waive their right to otherwise sue the Archdiocese, but could speak freely of their abuse.

The law firm’s Michael Kolb played a major role in assisting the victims, O’Connor said.

Two of the victims he represents have declined to discuss their abuse publicly. One is still considering that step, O’Connor said.

Gentile abused them while he was at the Holy Name of Mary church in Croton-On-Hudson. He was a pastor there from April 1987 to 2000, church records show. Their families were parishoners at the church, O’Connor said.

The three were between the ages of 9 and 15 at the time, and the abuse by Gentile went on for at least six years in all three cases, O’Connor said.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 9:54 AM

Royal commission condemns Wimmera Catholic authorities

AUSTRALIA
The Wimmera Mail Times

December 7, 2017

By Erin Witmitz

THE Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse has released a scathing final report into Catholic authorities in the Wimmera.

The report found the Diocese of Ballarat had an secretive and abusive culture that prioritised reputation above child welfare and failed to stop the crimes.

The commission was particularly scathing of the actions of former Bishop Ronald Mulkearns, saying he failed to take action to have (infamous paedophile priest Gerald) Ridsdale referred to police and to restrict Ridsdale's contact with children.

In July 1986 Bishop Mulkearns appointed Ridsdale as assistant priest at Horsham.

The commission said Ridsdale should never have been appointed to Horsham because Bishop Mulkearns knew about sexual allegations against Ridsdale at the time.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 9:53 AM

Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse | Abuse impacts families following of the Catholic church

AUSTRALIA
The Wimmera Mail Times

December 10, 2017

By Brendan Wrigley

IT WILL come as no surprise to anyone who has followed the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse to hear Anne Levey has not stepped foot inside a Catholic church for more than two years.

Her son Paul’s tale of being sent to live with notorious paedophile priest Gerald Ridsdale in Mortlake in the 1970s was among the most harrowing heard across more than two years of testimony.

Despite her best efforts to have her teenage son removed from Ridsdale’s control, disgraced former Bishop Ronald Mulkearns claimed he could not fulfill her wish despite knowing of the priest’s abusive history.

Now living in Albury, Ms Levey said her once devout commitment to the cross had evaporated after hearing countless cases of rampant sexual abuse and systematic cover-ups.

“I was totally devastated when I went to the commission. I thought it was just Ridsdale,” Ms Levey said upon hearing of the volume of paedophile priests operating throughout the Ballarat diocese, including towns across the Wimmera.

“I used to go to church every Sunday but I just couldn’t go down to the church now and look a priest in the face.”

While many parishioners such as Ms Levey have chosen to abandon the organisation, others with an intimate understanding of the abuse have found comfort in their faith. However in the wake of the scandal there is a clear, growing groundswell calling for major reform of the Catholic Church’s governance.

Nowhere clearer was the commission’s damning effect on a once mighty institution of western Victoria felt than in the 2016 census, which delivered a blunt critique of the Catholic Church’s standing within Ballarat.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 9:50 AM

December 10, 2017

The Reckoning, a major new podcast series on the child sexual abuse royal commission, launched by Guardian Australia.

AUSTRALIA
The Guardian

December 10, 2017

[Press release from The Guardian Australia]

In his first podcast series, David Marr investigates the story of Australia’s world-first royal commission into how institutions concealed child abuse

A powerful podcast series on Australia’s royal commission into institutional responses to child sexual abuse is launched today by Guardian Australia, investigating faith, money, abuse and power.

In his first podcast series, Guardian Australia’s award-winning writer and broadcaster David Marr examines how the commission came to investigate decades of child abuse, hidden by the Catholic church and other institutions.

As the royal commision prepares to deliver its final report after five years, Marr and Melbourne bureau chief Melissa Davey talk to victims, experts and participants in the royal commission to investigate: why was it necessary? What did it uncover? And what comfort can it give to the victims?

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 9:27 PM

Most senior Catholic priest to be convicted of sex crimes in the UK found guilty on 19 charges

UNITED KINGDOM
The Sun

December 11, 2017

By Oliver Harvey

Andrew Soper, 74, a former Abbot of Ealing Abbey who abused boys during the '70s and '80s, is the fifth person related to St Benedict's School to be convicted of sex crimes

THE implements on Father Laurence Soper’s desk looked like something from a medieval torture chamber rather than a master’s study at a leading Catholic school.

Led to his office on trumped- up misdemeanors, schoolboys blanched in horror at the sight of the “sadistic” monk’s cat-o’-nine-tails whip, canes and a leather strap.

Outwardly pious, Soper “cunningly” used corporal punishment as an excuse to pull down the boys’ trousers and sexually abuse them.

He even hoisted up his priestly robes to rape a 12-year-old boy over his desk at West London’s £5,368-a-term St Benedict’s School — then run by monks from Ealing Abbey.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 9:07 PM

Why Australia's royal commission on child sexual abuse had to happen – explainer

AUSTRALIA
The Guardian

December 10, 2017

By Melissa Davey

The inquiry which investigated decades of sexual abuse in institutions delivers its final report on 15 December

What is the royal commission into institutional responses into child sexual abuse?

The royal commission delivers its final report to the Australian governor general, Sir Peter Cosgrove, on 15 December, after five years’ work.

In 2012 the then prime minister, Julia Gillard, announced a royal commission into institutional responses into child sexual abuse, something survivors and their advocates had been seeking for years after allegations in Australia and in other countries, notably the US and Ireland. “There has been a systemic failure to respond to it,” Gillard said. “The allegations that have come to light recently about child sexual abuse have been heartbreaking. These are insidious, evil acts to which no child should be subject. There have been too many revelations of adults who have averted their eyes from this evil.”

While successive prime ministers said a royal commission was not needed because state inquiries and investigations had been held, Gillard ordered the commission after explosive allegations made by Peter Fox, a detective chief inspector within New South Wales police. In a letter to the Newcastle Herald, he wrote that victims of historical abuse were coming forward in increasing numbers.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 9:01 PM

Former Priest Sentenced to Life in 57-Year-Old Murder Case

EDINBURG (TX)
KRGV-TV, Channel 5

December 8, 2017

[Video]

A former priest convicted in a 1960 murder will spend the rest of his life behind bars.

The decision, the harshest sentence the jury could give 84-year-old John Feit, was unanimous just after four hours of deliberation.

On Friday, 21,055 days after Irene Garza was last seen alive, the Hidalgo County 92nd District Court was packed.

A jury was about to send a former priest to prison for life.

It took authorities 56 years to arrest Feit and another year to bring him to trial.

The night before the rare burst of snow fell on Deep South Texas, it had taken a jury, in a predominately Catholic region, just six hours to convict the former priest of murder.

It would take another four hours for the few family members Garza has left to hear a foreperson from the jury say, “For a term of life.”

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 8:21 PM

Former Student of Irene Garza Speaks Out

McALLEN (TX)
KRGV-TV, Channel 5

December 9, 2017

[Video]

A former student of Irene Garza spoke to CHANNEL 5 NEWS.

Garza was murdered in 1960. John Feit, a former priest, was convicted Thursday in her murder and sentenced to live in prison.

Garza's former student Maria Olivares now lives in California. She spent her early years in McAllen, where Irene Garza taught her in elementary school.

"She was kind, generous, and she did help all of us that she went down the aisle, making sure our work was done," said Olivares.

The former student said Garza would even buy students shoes when they needed them.

Olivares said she was devastated because she had a special bond with Garza since they both spoke Spanish.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 8:18 PM

Priest gets life sentence in cold-case murder of Texas beauty queen

EDINBURG (TX)
Reuters

By Jim Forsyth

December 8, 2017

A retired Catholic priest convicted of murdering a former beauty queen who came to him for confession was sentenced to life in prison by a jury in south Texas on Friday, local media reported, ending a cold case that has troubled the community for nearly 60 years.

John Feit, a visiting priest in McAllen, Texas, when the second-grade teacher came to him for confession during Holy Week in 1960, was convicted on Thursday of premeditated murder in the death of Irene Garza, then 25.

It was the maximum sentence possible for Feit, who was 27 at the time of the murder and is now 85, KRGV TV and The Monitor of McAllen reported.

Garza’s murder still haunts the communities that line the Rio Grande, across the river from Mexico.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 7:46 PM

Editorial: Let's have constructive conversations about sexual misconduct

GUAM
The Guam Daily Post

December 10, 2017

Amid the tsunami of sexual harassment and assault allegations, our community should have constructive conversations about what all of these revelations mean.

The national media has put a spotlight on the pervasive problem in the entertainment industry.

Time magazine's Person of the Year cover honors individuals who reported sexual misconduct. The cover features singer Taylor Swift who countersued a DJ who groped her. Swift appears next to actress Ashley Judd, one of the first women to publicly accuse Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein of sexual harassment.

The conversations should focus on changing the mindset. It's not OK for people in positions of power to abuse others.
In addition, the Time article includes early evangelists of the #MeToo movement that led to a worldwide discussion about sexual misconduct.

Here on Guam, the local media has chronicled church sex abuse lawsuits. Once-admired priests are now pariahs.

As more people share their stories, it's getting easier to talk about sexual harassment and assault. We must keep up the momentum and steer the dialogue in a positive direction.

The conversations should focus on changing the mindset. It's not OK for people in positions of power to abuse others. We must hold perpetrators accountable, and we must encourage victims to seek justice.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 7:42 PM

Ex-priest gets life in prison for 1960 parishioner slaying

EDINBURG (TX)
Associated Press

December 9, 2017

A jury on Friday sentenced an 85-year-old former priest to life in prison for the 1960 killing of a schoolteacher and former beauty queen who was a member of the parish he served.

The same jurors in Hidalgo County in South Texas found John Bernard Feit guilty of murder Thursday night. Prosecutors asked jurors Friday for a 57-year prison term — one year for each year he had walked free since killing Irene Garza after she went to him for confession at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in McAllen, Texas.

The 25-year-old Garza disappeared April 16, 1960. Her bludgeoned body was found days later. An autopsy revealed she had been raped while unconscious, and beaten and suffocated.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 7:39 PM

Women tell of assaults, harassment in #ChurchToo

PITTSBURGH
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

December 10, 2017

By Peter Smith

When United Methodists’ Council of Bishops met recently, it held break-out discussions on the topic of sexual harassment and misconduct in their churches.

The discussion had been scheduled before the Harvey Weinstein scandal unleashed a tsunami of revelations of sexual misconduct in media, politics and other fields, but the news of the day underscored the gravity of the discussions, said Pittsburgh Area Bishop Cynthia Moore-Koikoi.

“We had an opportunity to share our own stories,” Bishop Moore-Koikoi said. “For me to be able to say to my colleagues, ‘Me too,’ was valuable to hear.”

In both her previous career as a school psychologist and as a minister, “there have been times I have had unwanted advances from people who were my superiors.”

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 7:35 PM

Call for immediate action on abuse inquiry

AUSTRALIA
Australian Associated Press, appearing in the Daily Mail

December 10, 2017

The prime minister and premiers must act now to ensure reforms recommended by the child sexual abuse royal commission are not shelved or lost in politics, a key Catholic Church adviser says.

The church's Truth Justice and Healing Council CEO Francis Sullivan has called on Malcolm Turnbull and state and territory leaders to immediately set up a COAG committee to implement the recommendations in the inquiry's final report, which will be released on Friday.

Mr Sullivan says once the report is in the public domain all participants including the Catholic Church need to implement the recommendations and it is up to Mr Turnbull to lead the way.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 7:33 PM

Why 'Silence Breakers' are key in any abuse crisis

UNITED STATES
Catholic News Agency

December 10, 2017

By Mary Rezac

This week, TIME Magazine announced a group of women and men as their collective Person of the Year.

What do these people have in common? They are what TIME called “The Silence Breakers” - people who have blown the whistle on sexual assault and abuse within the workplace, largely in the industries of film, politics, and media.

In recent months an avalanche of abuse allegations have been brought to light against powerful figures, starting most notably with a piece in the New York Times in which several women accused Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein of sexual assault. This sparked a flood of men and women coming forward with other allegations of abuse against numerous people in positions of power.

“These silence breakers have started a revolution of refusal, gathering strength by the day, and in the past two months alone, their collective anger has spurred immediate and shocking results: nearly every day, CEOs have been fired, moguls toppled, icons disgraced. In some cases, criminal charges have been brought,” TIME reported.

Not long ago, the Catholic Church in the United States was reeling from its own sex abuse crisis. In the early 2000s, reporters at the Boston Globe broke the story of a former priest who was accused of molesting more than 100 boys over 30 years, which led to a large-scale uncovering of thousands more allegations of abuse in dioceses throughout the country.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 7:29 PM

Rescue Churchie: Parents, alumni outraged by sex payout

QUEENSLAND (AUSTRALIA)
The Courier-Mail

December 10, 2017

By Peter Michael

One of Queensland’s most prestigious private schools is facing public revolt after it secretly apologised and paid out $130,000 to a convicted killer and conman over alleged historic child sex abuse.

Rescue Churchie, a group of about 1000 parents and alumni of Anglican Church Grammar School in East Brisbane, will this week launch a push to disband the school’s governing church council.

Some of Australia’s corporate titans including Qantas chairman and former Rio Tinto chief Leigh Clifford are behind the move to “end the dark ages” of church-appointed school governance.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 6:39 PM

Victims fear abuse royal commission report will be shelved

AUSTRALIA
Australian Associated Press, appearing in news.com.au

December 10, 2017

By Megan Neil, AAP

Child abuse victims fear the $500 million royal commission’s final report later this week will be shelved and they may face a battle to get governments to act.

While survivors are grateful their voices have finally been heard and cover-ups exposed, there are concerns over what happens after the five-year institutions sexual abuse inquiry ends on Friday.

There is a lot of hope but also much anxiety and a real lack of certainty, survivor and activist Dr Cathy Kezelman says.

“The inquiry has provided a place where survivors felt that they had people who were looking after their interests,” the Blue Knot Foundation president said. “When the commission goes, who is going to take that position? Who will be able to keep ensuring that there are real changes to institutions, that institutions change in culture and structure and children are safe?

“We’re just hoping that a whole lot of people who put their hearts and souls on the line are not going to be let down.”

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 6:35 PM

States and churches face $4bn abuse redress pressure

AUSTRALIA
The Australian

December 11, 2017

By John Ferguson

The states and churches will be told to sign up to the commonwealth’s $4 billion sex abuse ­redress scheme this week as the royal commission hands down a landmark final report that will back overhauling the way offending against children is handled.

Social Services Minister Christian Porter said yesterday he was hopeful the states and institutions would sign up “in the not-too-­distant future’’ and that as many as possible would agree to opt in to the national scheme.

The royal commission will hand its final report to the ­Governor-General on Friday, but a formal government response will probably not be known for months. The government has not announced when the report will be made public, but when that happens there will be immense pressure applied to the states and institutions to sign up to provide victims with another layer of ­financial and counselling support.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 6:33 PM

How child abuse royal commission happened

AUSTRALIA
Australian Associated Press

December 9, 2017

THE EARLY DAYS OF THE CHILD SEX ABUSE ROYAL COMMISSION

The Royal Commission is announced

Then prime minister Julia Gillard said there had been a systemic failure to respond to "vile and evil" child sexual abuse and a national response was appropriate.

"There have been revelations of child abusers being moved from place to place rather than the nature of their abuse and their crimes being dealt with," she said on November 12, 2012.

"There have been too many revelations of adults who have averted their eyes from this evil."

What was the lead-up?

Several inquiries investigated specific aspects of abuse, but none had looked at the problem across all institutions nationally.

NSW

NSW announced its own special commission of inquiry three days before the federal government said it was setting up a royal commission.

It followed Detective Chief Inspector Peter Fox's call for a royal commission into allegations of child sex abuse at the hands of Catholic Church clergy in the Hunter region and cover-ups by police and the church.

It ultimately found no evidence to show senior police officers tried to block child abuse investigations.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 6:27 PM

Church reform not over after abuse inquiry

AUSTRALIA
Australian Associated Press, appearing in the Daily Mail

December 9, 2017

The Australian Catholic Church must do more to atone for the widespread child sexual abuse within its ranks and its cover-up despite facing influential pockets of resistance, its key royal commission adviser argues.

The need for reform and change in the church is far from over despite the end of the five-year inquiry that exposed "a massive concealment exercise", Truth Justice and Healing Council CEO Francis Sullivan says.

"Church leaders can apologise until they're blue in the face but until they demonstrate by their actions that they sincerely want to atone for what's happened, no one will listen to them," Mr Sullivan told AAP.

"It will be on their heads if they don't step up and demonstrate that they are going to take the church in a direction that resonates with what the community and the royal commission believes to be a sensible and prudent approach."

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 6:24 PM

Former priest gets life in prison for killing Rio Grande Valley beauty queen

EDINBURG (TX)
San Antonio Express-News

December 9, 2017

By Aaron Nelsen

Jurors sentenced former priest John Feit to life in prison Friday for killing 25-year-old Irene Garza, bringing an end to a controversial case that languished for more than 50 years.

The sentence means Feit, now 85, likely will die behind bars.

Feit was convicted of murder with malice aforethought Thursday after a short trial that brought day after day of explosive testimony, including allegations that the then-district attorney struck a deal with the Catholic Church to stop investigating Feit to avoid a scandal that threatened to affect John F. Kennedy’s race for president. Kennedy became the first Catholic elected president later that year.

Garza was last seen going to confession at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in McAllen. Feit first denied, then admitted, that he had heard Garza’s confession on April 16, 1960, in the church rectory.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 12:48 PM

Photo Gallery: Life Sentence and Final Statements in John Feit's Murder Trial

EDINBURG (TX)
The Monitor (McAllen TX)

December 8, 2017

Eighteen photos from the sentencing phase of John Feit's trial for the 1960 murder of Irene Garza in the 92nd state District Court Friday, December 8, 2017, at the Hidalgo County Courthouse in Edinburg.

See also the Monitor's displays of previous daily photo galleries from the trial: Day 6 (closing arguments and guilty verdict), Day 5, Day 4, Day 3, Day 2 and Day 1.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 12:29 PM

Former DA: No regrets about Feit case

EDINBURG (TX)
The Monitor (McAllen TX)

December 9, 2017

By Naxiely Lopez-Puente

The former Hidalgo County district attorney who refused to take the Irene Garza case to trial said Thursday he wasn’t surprised the jury found John Feit, a former priest, guilty of the 1960 murder of the McAllen schoolteacher and beauty queen.

“I was not surprised,” Rene Guerra said shortly after the jury returned with a guilty verdict Thursday evening. “I found him guilty when the judge started admitting all sorts of hearsay evidence in the case — testimonials and all that kind of stuff.”

Guerra, the longest-serving district attorney in Hidalgo County history, alleged state District Judge Luis Singleterry admitted evidence that won't hold up in an appeals court.

“I was surprised that the jury took that long,” he said about the jury’s deliberation. “I don’t know that it will hold up in an appeal, but only God knows what’s going to happen.”

Guerra has long been haunted by the case, which likely contributed to his election loss in 2014, when current DA Ricardo Rodriguez Jr. unseated him after promising to pursue the case.

Rodriguez, who has now successfully brought the case to trial, equated Guerra’s decision to not try the case with a lack of compassion at a news conference Friday.

“If my predecessor had an ounce of sympathy in all his 30 years as DA he would have seen that the evidence was compelling enough to convict,” Rodriguez said. “It was right under his nose all this time; he just didn’t care.”

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 12:23 PM

Ex-priest gets life in prison for 1960 parishioner slaying

EDINBURG (TX)
The Associated Press

December 8, 2017

[Note: See also: the original of a stunning letter presented at trial that showed church-state collusion involving the Bishop of Austin and the Provincial of the Oblates of Mary Immaculate in the Southwest; and the McAllen TX Monitor's 12/6/2017 article about the letter.]

A jury on Friday sentenced an 85-year-old former priest to life in prison for the 1960 killing of a schoolteacher and former beauty queen who was a member of the parish he served.

The same jurors in Hidalgo County in South Texas found John Bernard Feit guilty of murder Thursday night. Prosecutors asked jurors Friday for a 57-year prison term — one year for each year he had walked free since killing Irene Garza after she went to him for confession at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in McAllen, Texas.

The 25-year-old Garza disappeared April 16, 1960. Her bludgeoned body was found days later. An autopsy revealed she had been raped while unconscious, and beaten and suffocated.

Prosecutor Michael Garza, who is not related to the victim, had asked the jury not to view the now elderly and weak Feit as he is today, but to try to imagine him as a 28-year-old man capable of subduing the woman.

The jury deliberated just over four hours Friday before deciding on the maximum sentence. Afterward, Garza said at a news conference that he wished that he could take credit for the conviction and sentence, "but it was God-driven."

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 12:07 PM

Pastor, Christian festival founder abused minors for 16 years, authorities say

NEW JERSEY
nj.com

December 7, 2017

By Amanda Hoover

A church pastor is accused of sexually assaulting four minors over a 16-year period.

Harry L. Thomas, 74, of Medford Township, faces charges of aggravated sexual assault, sexual assault and endangering the welfare of a child, according to the Burlington County Prosecutor's Office.

The alleged assaults came to an end two years ago. Thomas is currently the pastor of Come Alive Church in Medford. He is also a co-founder of the Creation Festival, said to be the nation's largest Christian rock festival, first held in Pennsylvania in 1979.

Authorities said the assaults took place between 1999 and 2015 in Medford.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 9:38 AM

New Jersey pastor accused of sexually assaulting four kids

NEW JERSEY
Fox News

December 7, 2017

By Nicole Darrah

A church pastor in New Jersey has been accused of sexually assaulting children during a 16-year period.

Harry Thomas, 74, the pastor of Come Alive Church in Medford Township, was arrested Wednesday, NJ.com reported.

Thomas has been accused of sexually assaulting four children in Medford between 1999 and 2015, the Burlington County Prosecutor’s Office said.

No further information was released about the cases in order to protect the victims’ identities.

Thomas is being held in a medical facility for treatment, according to NJ.com.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 9:34 AM

Men came forward to abuse royal commission

AUSTRALIA
Australian Associated Press, appearing in the Daily Mail

December 9, 2017

AN INSIGHT INTO THE VICTIMS OF CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE IN AUSTRALIAN INSTITUTIONS

(Based on survivors who told their stories to the abuse royal commission in private sessions)

[See also the narratives of victims who told their stories to the Royal Commission in private sessions.]

GENDER

* Most male (64 per cent)

* Outside of institutional settings, girls make up a higher proportion of victims

* 70 per cent of survivors of abuse in religious institutions male; 66 per cent for institutions managed by secular organisations; 55 per cent for government institutions

* More girls than boys abused in child care and health settings

* More boys than girls abused in places of worship, out-of-home care, social support services, juvenile justice and detention, educational, recreation, sports and clubs, armed forces and youth employment settings

--

AGE

* 10-14 most common age of first abuse (46 per cent of victims)

* 28 per cent abused when aged five to nine; five per cent aged under five

* 10 per cent abused when 15-17

* Female victims tended to report that abuse began at younger age than male victims

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 9:27 AM

Inquiry shone spotlight on child sex abuse

AUSTRALIA
9.com.au

December 10, 2017

Gabrielle Short hopes Australia doesn't forget. But more than anything she hopes it never happens again.

She is one of the tens of thousands of children sexually abused in more than 4000 Australian institutions.

The children who were not believed or were too scared to tell anyone, often for decades, if ever.

The organisations that turned a blind eye to the abuse as they put their reputation ahead of the protection of children.

The crimes. The cover-ups. The denials. The inaction or inadequate and unjust responses.

A national tragedy perpetuated over generations within many of Australia's most trusted institutions, to use the words of the judge who led the five-year child abuse royal commission.

This is not a case of a few "rotten apples".

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 9:21 AM

Hundreds of charges from abuse inquiry

AUSTRALIA
Australian Associated Press, appearing in the Daily Mail

December 9, 2017

Hundreds of people may be charged with child abuse thanks to a royal commission that advocates say has already helped victims achieve some justice by uncovering the truth.

The five-year inquiry has referred 2559 matters to the authorities, mostly the police.

So far 204 prosecutions have been commenced.

Hundreds more are currently under investigation and hundreds are awaiting investigation.

However, the royal commission has cautioned that in many cases the matters may not result in prosecutions because the offender has died or there are other difficulties in commencing criminal proceedings.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 9:18 AM

Diocese scores low on openness

BROWNSVILLE (TX)
The Brownsville Herald

December 9, 2017

By Steve Clark

New website in development

[Read VOTF's full report, Measuring and Ranking Diocesan Online Financial Transparency, and read VOTF's press release summarizing the results.]

The Catholic Diocese of Brownsville was among the lowest scoring U.S. dioceses in terms of online financial transparency, according to a study released Nov. 7 by Voice of the Faithful, a nonprofit group originally formed to support survivors of clergy sexual abuse but which also advocates for “accountability and transparency” in how the church handles its financial resources.

However, a spokeswoman for the diocese said an initiative was already underway to make more financial information available online.

The Brownsville diocese scored 10 out of 60 possible points in the study conducted by the VOTF Finance Working Group, which surveyed all 177 U.S. diocese websites and found “a level of openness well below what could be reasonably expected of an organization anywhere near the size of the U.S. Catholic Church.”

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 9:05 AM

December 9, 2017

Catania. Ragazzini abusati durante riti religiosi, le madri: «E' una purificazione». Arrestato un santone

CATANIA (ITALY)
Il Messaggero

December 8, 2017

[Google Translate: Catania: little boys abused during religious rites, mothers: "It is a purification." A holy man arrested. The Catania Public Prosecutor has issued a notice concluding investigations of the "12 apostles" investigation for alleged sexual abuse of minors consumed within a Catholic-inspired community. ...]

La Procura di Catania ha emesso un avviso di conclusione indagini dell'inchiesta "12 apostoli" per presunti abusi sessuali su minorenni consumati all'interno di una comunità di ispirazione cattolica. Sono sette le persone raggiunte dal provvedimento, che si proclamano innocenti. Tra loro il 'santonè Piero Alfio Caruana, bancario in pensione di 73 anni, alla guida della comunità che avrebbe abusato di ragazzine di età compresa tra 13 e 15 anni, in alcuni casi con la complicità delle madri delle vittime, sostenendo che il rapporto sessuale non era un abuso, ma un atto purificatorè compiuto da un 'Arcangelò reincarnato.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 7:58 PM

KCK priest accused of inappropriately touching young girl to stand trial

KANSAS CITY (KS)
KSHB-TV, Channel 4

December 8, 2017

A district judge ordered a KCK priest who is accused of inappropriately touching a young girl to stand trial.

Father Scott Kallal was in his mid-30s when prosecutors say he inappropriately touched a then 11-year-old girl. The alleged incident happened in 2015 in the gym at St. Patrick’s Catholic Church.

The now 13-year-old girl was in court Friday. She said Kallal tickled her and touched her breasts. She told him to stop and ran out of the gym and into the bathroom. The girl said Kallal followed her, pushed open the door to the bathroom stall and carried her out to her mother.

On Friday, Kallal’s defense attorney said during questioning it’s possible to start tickling someone and by mistake touch them inappropriately.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 7:52 PM

Church of England faces a new sex abuse cover-up row as vicars refuse to scrap confessional secrecy

ENGLAND
Daily Mail

December 9, 2017

By Jonathan Petre

Centuries-old laws prevent vicars revealing sins heard in privacy of confession

Applies if dangerous offender admits to crime and then refuses to tell the police

But group will tell bishops this week ancient ‘seal’ of the confessional must stay

Critics say this does not go far enough as clergy will be barred from reporting

The Church of England is facing a new sex abuse row – by refusing to scrap the secrecy of the confessional.

Centuries-old laws prevent vicars revealing the sins they hear in the privacy of confession, even if a dangerous offender admits to a serious crime and then refuses to tell the police.

Following claims that the Church has repeatedly covered up abuse, senior figures have called for clergy who hear of such crimes to be required to report them.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 7:48 PM

Creating a comfortable climate at home for kids to talk about sexual assault

UNITED STATES
Chicago Tribune

November 21, 2017

By Danielle Braff

When she was 15, Michelle Forbes’ high school teacher reached up her skirt between her legs.

Shortly after, the same teacher brought her to a secluded area in the woods and taught her how to perform oral sex on him. And on her 17th birthday, he had intercourse with her for the first time.

When a false rumor started going around school that Forbes was pregnant with the teacher’s child, he called her into his office and berated her, saying, “‘I thought you were mature enough for this: Do you want me to lose my job? If you tell, I’ll humiliate you.’”

It wasn’t until two years ago that Forbes, now 46, told her parents the details of the sexual abuse she endured.

She’s not alone. The National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey found that 8.5 million women and 1.5 million men experienced sexual violence before the age of 18. According to Darkness to Light, a nonprofit organization committed to preventing child sex abuse, only 38 percent of child victims disclose their abuse, and many of those tell a friend, not a parent.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 7:42 PM

Report into Anglican Diocese of Newcastle released

AUSTRALIA
Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse

December 7, 2017

A redacted version of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse’s report into Case Study 42 - The responses of the Anglican Diocese of Newcastle to instances and allegations of child sexual abuse was released.

The report follows a public hearing held in August 2016 in Newcastle and in November 2016 in Sydney. The hearing inquired into the experiences of survivors of child sexual abuse perpetrated by clergy and lay people involved in or associated with the Anglican Diocese of Newcastle.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 7:38 PM

Missionary from Stuarts Draft charged with abusing Haitian boys

BALTIMORE (MD)
The Associated Press, appearing in WHSV.com

December 8, 2017

Federal authorities have arrested a Christian missionary from Stuarts Draft who allegedly told a counselor and investigators that he had sexual contact with boys in Haiti.

If the allegations are proven, James Arbaugh, formerly of the Virginia town of Stuarts Draft, would be only the latest missionary to take advantage of Haiti's extensive poverty and anemic rule of law to abuse vulnerable youngsters.

A federal affidavit filed by a special agent with Homeland Security Investigations says a counselor in Virginia reported Arbaugh to authorities in September after he allegedly disclosed sexual contact with boys. The affidavit alleges he told investigators in subsequent interviews that he "groomed" or had sexual contact including oral sex with at least 21 boys. One 5-year-old boy he allegedly molested was the son of a pastor in Jeremie, a city devastated last year by Hurricane Matthew.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 3:16 PM

Broken Faith: NC steps in on child abuse cases involving controversial church

NORTH CAROLINA
Associated Press, appearing in the Lakeland (FL) Ledger

December 8, 2017

By Mitch Weiss and Holbrook Mohr

Spindale, North Carolina — In an unprecedented move, North Carolina’s state child welfare agency will participate in reviewing every new allegation of abuse and neglect involving a controversial church that has been the focus of an Associated Press investigation exposing years of physical and emotional mistreatment of congregants, including children.

Under North Carolina’s child welfare system, county agencies are responsible for investigating abuse allegations. The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services provides oversight and training, but generally does not get involved in a county agency’s daily operations.

The state would not say what prompted the move, but it follows a series of AP stories that have cited dozens of former Word of Faith Fellowship members who say congregants are regularly beaten to “purify” sinners. Founded in 1979, the evangelical sect has grown to about 750 congregants in North Carolina and a total of nearly 2,000 other followers worldwide.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 2:02 PM

Betsy DeVos and the Bishops

UNITED STATES
First Things

December 8, 2017

By Thomas G. Guarino

Recently, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos made significant changes to the way universities are to handle complaints of sexual assault. DeVos made clear that in no way will such assaults be tolerated, for “one rape is one too many.” But she also accented the rights of the accused, insisting that “one person denied due process is one too many.”

DeVos’s policy changes make sense: Both the accused and the accuser must enjoy clearly defined rights—rights that must be equitably balanced so that the truth of an accusation may be determined and justice served. This procedure has been at the heart of American jurisprudence for centuries.

I invoke DeVos’s astute and courageous changes because similar adjustments are necessary in the Charter for the Protection of Young People (commonly called the Dallas Charter) enacted by the American bishops in 2002 in the wake of the sex-abuse crisis in the Catholic Church. The Charter has caused serious problems—of theology, justice, and morale—which continue to bedevil and undermine the Catholic priesthood in the United States.

Under the Dallas Charter, when an accusation of priestly abuse is made, the priest is immediately suspended from public ministry, regardless of the accusation’s merit. Some will reply that the claim of “immediate suspension” is inaccurate; a review board must first determine an accusation’s “credibility.” But author after author, from Avery Cardinal Dulles (in First Things and America) to David Pierre (in Catholic Priests Falsely Accused), has shown that “credibility” is a laughably low standard. Evidence is barely required. Indeed, almost every accusation is deemed “credible” unless the accused can prove that thirty years ago (and most accusations are from decades long past) he was on a different continent when the alleged abuse occurred. In other words, “credible” has come to mean “not entirely impossible.” With such a standard, accused priests are placed in an untenable situation.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 7:30 AM

In 1960, a Texas woman went to confession and vanished. Now an ex-priest has been convicted of murder.

UNITED STATES
The Washington Post, appearing in The Denver Post

December 8, 2017

By Samantha Schmidt

For more than five decades, the black-and-white image of Irene Garza has haunted the town of McAllen, Texas, her story painfully recounted again and again.

She was a 25-year-old dark-haired former beauty queen, her high school’s first Latina drum majorette, the first in her family to graduate from college. She was named Miss All South Texas Sweetheart, and worked as a teacher for disadvantaged children.

But at the center of Garza’s life was her devout Catholic faith. In a letter to a friend in April 1960, she wrote about how she was no longer afraid of death. “You see, I’ve been going to communion and Mass daily and you can’t imagine the courage and faith and happiness it has given me,” she wrote in the letter, according to Texas Monthly.

And so when Holy Week came, the most sacred time of year for Catholics, Garza decided to go to confession.

On the eve of Easter, she drove to the Sacred Heart Catholic Church in McAllen.

She never came home. Two days later, her beige, high-heeled shoe was found inches from the curb near the church. The following Thursday, her body was found floating in an irrigation canal.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 7:22 AM

December 8, 2017

Sentencing phase in Feit trial begins today

EDINBURG (TX)
The Monitor

December 8, 2017

[Note: See also a PDF of the original Pawlicki letter and See also South Texas DA Refuses to Pursue Ex-Priest, by Brooks Egerton, Dallas Morning News, November 21, 2004.]

A jury found ex-priest John Feit guilty of the April 1960 murder of schoolteacher Irene Garza on Thursday night.

Today, that same jury will determine the 85-year-old's sentence, bringing an end to a cold case that has captivated the Valley for decades.

Feit asked that the jury decide his punishment.

The state is expected to ask the jury to sentence Feit to 57 years in prison, one year in prison for every year since Garza's murder.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 3:03 PM

Assignment History– Rev. William Authenrieth

UNITED STATES
BishopAccountability.org

Summary of Case: William Authenrieth was ordained for the Diocese of Brooklyn in 1962. He was an associate priest at St. Vincent Ferrer until 1973, when he moved to the Diocese of Orlando, Florida.

Authenrieth's time in Florida was marked by numerous transfers, due to allegations that he had sexually abused children. In 1978, after a parishioner at All Souls in Sanford reported to the diocese that Authenrieth had touched his son's genitals, the priest was quietly moved to St. Mary's in Rockledge. In 1983 a St. Mary's parishioner told its pastor that his three young altar-boy sons had been fondled and sodomized by Authenrieth. The pastor told the parishioner to pray, and nothing was done. The family later sued. A fourth young man alleging abuse by the priest at St. Mary's during the same time-period also sued in the mid-1980s. Authenrieth admitted to fondling the four boys, and the cases were settled. In a deposition related to the litigation, Authenrieth stated that he had brought more than one-hundred men to St. Mary's for sex. He also testified that his reason for leaving Brooklyn was that a young male parishioner, "about 18", threatened to reveal that the two of them had engaged in sex. In October 1985 Authenrieth was removed from ministry and sent to the House of Affirmation in Massachusetts for treatment.

A 2002 lawsuit claimed that Authenrieth had sexually abused a boy in the parish rectory during his time at St. Vincent Ferrer's in Brooklyn. Further accusations emerged along with lawsuits in 2012, 2013 and 2014 regarding sexual abuse of young males by Authenrieth in Rockledge and Sanford.

Authenrieth is last known to have been living in a retirement community in Massachusetts.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 3:01 PM

Tom Roberts, longtime NCR editor, retires

KANSAS CITY (MO)
National Catholic Reporter

December 8, 2017

By Dennis Coday

Tom Roberts, who has served the mission and readers of NCR for nearly 24 years, is retiring.

The official record will note that Roberts joined NCR in January 1994 serving as managing editor, editor and editor at large. The simplicity of those words do not convey the true meaning of what Roberts has done for this news organization and for those of us who have had the privilege, honor and pleasure to have worked with him.

Tom’s greatest gift to NCR and what he has shared daily with NCR staff and readers is his love for journalism. He lives journalism as a craft and a vocation. He practiced and honed his skills as a reporter, writer and editor for more than four decades, and he likes nothing better than taking on an apprentice to pass on that craft. He always had time to talk over ideas, offer advice on how to approach a source or how to unclog a writer’s block.

More than the mechanics of journalism, Tom knows and models journalism as a pledge to public service that must be lived with deliberateness and integrity. Many of us are better writers and editors because of Tom’s mentorship and concern. I know too that many of us are better people for having worked with him.

NCR publisher Caitlin Hendel has observed that Tom “led NCR’s editorial coverage during a tumultuous time, for the nation, the world and the Catholic Church.” He joined NCR at the apex the John Paul II papacy, watched its last years and was in Rome for election of Pope Benedict XVI. For the election of Pope Francis, he was in the newsroom in Kansas City so I could be in Rome. Tom had a special love for Central American coverage, and he traveled to Iraq in the late 1990s when its people were suffering under years of economic sanctions. That experience guided NCR’s coverage of the debacle of the 2003 invasion of Iraq that still plagues our nation. Tom led the newsroom through the shock of the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. He reported and edited more stories about clergy sex abuse than any one person should endure.

“Tom’s steady demeanor and passionate regard for the truth combined to hold institutions accountable and to put the voiceless front and center,” Hendel told me. “That is a legacy we inherit from Tom and pledge to continue.”

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 1:25 PM

South West Centre Against Sexual Assault the trauma of abuse is ongoing

AUSTRALIA
The Standard

December 8, 2017

By Clare Quirk

THE trauma of Warrnambool children abused by the Catholic Church is ongoing and should never be forgotten, according to the boss of the South West Centre Against Sexual Assault.

The comments by centre manager Mary Clapham come after the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Assault released a scathing report which condemned the church’s Ballarat diocese leaders, who were responsible for parishes across the region.

Ms Clapham said the horrific abuse which occurred in Ballarat was also experienced in south-west communities, including Warrnambool and Mortlake

“Those same priests were located here,” she said.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 1:22 PM

Archbishop Philip Wilson sent $1000 to abuse victim's parents

ADELAIDE (AUSTRALIA)
9News

December 8, 2017

More than 30 years after Adelaide Archbishop Philip Wilson ignored an altar boy's claims he'd been abused by a pedophile priest he sent $1000 to the parents of another boy abused by the same priest, a court has heard.

Wilson, accused of concealing sexual abuse by the now-dead priest James Fletcher in the NSW Hunter region when told about it in 1976, sent the cheque in 2009, Newcastle Local Court was told on Friday.

The family of the abused boy refused to accept Wilson's cheque and sent it back.

The abused boy's sister, who cannot be named, told the court Wilson had been a family friend who had officiated with Fletcher at her wedding.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 1:20 PM

Ex-priest with NM ties convicted of murdering Texas woman

EDINBURG (TX)
Albuquerque Journal

December 7, 2017

[Note: See also a PDF of the original Pawlicki letter and See also South Texas DA Refuses to Pursue Ex-Priest, by Brooks Egerton, Dallas Morning News, November 21, 2004.]

An ex-priest who once headed the Servants of the Paraclete retreat house in Jemez Springs was convicted of murdering a 25-year-old Texas schoolteacher and beauty queen on Thursday in Edinburg, Texas, more than 57 years after Irene Garza went to Sacred Heart Catholic Church in McAllen intending to go to confession.

Garza’s bludgeoned body was found days after her April 16, 1960, disappearance. An autopsy revealed that she had been raped while unconscious and had been beaten and suffocated.

A Hidalgo County jury deliberated 6½ hours before returning its verdict in the murder trial of John Bernard Feit, an 85-year-old former priest, after hearing five days of testimony.

Feit, who was 28 at the time of her death, came under suspicion early on, telling police that he heard Garza’s confession — in the church rectory, not in the confessional — but denying he killed her.

This week, prosecutors presented evidence that elected and church officials suspected Feit killed her but wanted to avoid prosecuting him because it might harm the church’s reputation and elected officials politically. Most elected officials at the time in Hidalgo County were Catholic, and Sen. John F. Kennedy, a Catholic, was running for president that year.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 1:15 PM

Pastor at Come Alive Church accused of juvenile sex crimes

MEDFORD (NJ)
Courier Post Online

December 7, 2017

By Jim Walsh

MEDFORD - A 74-year-old pastor active in promoting Christian music festivals is accused of sexually assaulting four minors here over a 16-year period, authorities said Thursday.

Harry L. Thomas, who preached at Come Alive Church in Medford, allegedly assaulted his victims between 1999 and 2015, according to the Burlington County Prosecutor's Office.

It did not name the victims or describe their relationship with Thomas, a Medford resident who played a prominent role in a sensational child-abuse case more than a decade ago.

The prosecutor's office asked anyone "who may have experienced inappropriate contact" with Thomas to contact investigators.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 1:02 PM

Perth archbishop Roger Herft should face charges: Abuse victims

PERTH (AUSTRALIA)
The West Australian

December 7, 2017

By Nick Butterly

Victims of abuse by priests say former Perth Anglican Archbishop Roger Herft should face criminal charges for failing to report suspected criminal clergy to police.

Abuse survivors are also calling for Archbishop Herft to be defrocked and to hand back his Order of Australia, saying the saga has caused immeasurable pain to victims.

A report from the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse which investigated the Anglican Church’s diocese of Newcastle detailed how systemic issues inside the Church allowed a group of perpetrators to operate for at least 30 years.

The report noted seven clergy and others associated with the Newcastle diocese had been convicted of child-sex offences. Father Peter Rushton, who has since died, is accepted by the church to have been a notorious abuser, but he was never charged.

The royal commission heard horrific testimony from victims of how they were taken on camps as children by Father Rushton, then chased through the bush and raped.

It was told Archbishop Herft was made aware of allegations Father Rushton had sexually abused boys in 2002 and again in 2003, but no action was taken.

Perth-based victims group Survivors and Friends, which deals mostly with cases in the Anglican Church, said the Anglican diocese of Perth needed to review any abuse cases that fell under the time Archbishop Herft led the Church.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 1:00 PM

Jury Delivers Guilty Verdict in John Feit Murder Trial

EDINBURG (TX)
KRGV

December 7, 2017

[Note: See also a PDF of the original Pawlicki letter and See also South Texas DA Refuses to Pursue Ex-Priest, by Brooks Egerton, Dallas Morning News, November 21, 2004.]

EDINBURG – A jury just reached their decision for a former priest on trial for the 1960 murder of Irene Garza.

The jury reached a guilty verdict minutes ago.

Eighty-four-year-old John Feit was the prime suspect in Garza’s death.

The school teacher’s body was found in a canal in Apr. 1960. She was last seen at confession at Sacred Heart Church in McAllen.

Feit was arrested last February in his Arizona home in connection with the death.

Now jurors will decide how long the former priest will spend behind bars.

Sentencing is scheduled for Friday at 10 a.m.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 12:58 PM

John Feit found guilty of murder in death of beauty queen Irene Garza

EDINBURG (TX)
CBS 4 News

December 7, 2017

[Note: See also a PDF of the original Pawlicki letter and See also South Texas DA Refuses to Pursue Ex-Priest, by Brooks Egerton, Dallas Morning News, November 21, 2004.]

Jurors on Thursday night found former priest John Feit guilty of murder in the 1960 killing of beauty queen Irene Garza.

Jurors deliberated for nearly seven hours before reaching the verdict. Earlier Thursday, jurors requested to end deliberations at 4:30 p.m.

Judge Luis Singleterry denied their request.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 12:33 PM

FEIT FOUND GUILTY

EDINBURG (TX)
The Monitor

December 7, 2017

By Molly Smith

[Note: See also a PDF of the original Pawlicki letter and See also South Texas DA Refuses to Pursue Ex-Priest, by Brooks Egerton, Dallas Morning News, November 21, 2004.]

Emotions run high as jury convicts ex-priest in 1960 murder of Irene Garza

EDINBURG — Six hours of deliberation ended 57 years of speculation Thursday night when a jury found ex-priest John Feit guilty of the April 1960 murder of schoolteacher Irene Garza.

Feit showed no emotion as the verdict was read, appearing almost defiant as he learned of his conviction for murder with malice aforethought, or premeditation. The 85-year-old defendant also didn’t offer anything in the form of remarks while being led out of the courtroom, as defense attorney O. Rene Flores said Feit wouldn’t speak to the media.

In contrast, members of Garza’s family, who were present in the courtroom when the verdict was read, were visibly emotional and embraced each other following news of Feit’s fate, which ends a nearly six-decade wait for justice in the death of the 25-year-old.

Also on hand was McAllen Police Chief Victor Rodriguez, who has worked on the case since 2002 and long believed there was sufficient probable cause to charge Feit with the murder.

Rodriguez was also among the many who testified in a trial chock-full of compelling testimony — this including accounts from women who detailed encounters with Feit in 1960 that included the then-priest asking to take photos of one at a cemetery and warning another that she was “next, honey.”

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 12:30 PM

Ex-priest convicted of 1960 Texas teacher murder

EDINBURG (TX)
The Associated Press via KHOU

December 07, 2017

[Note: See also a PDF of the original Pawlicki letter and See also South Texas DA Refuses to Pursue Ex-Priest, by Brooks Egerton, Dallas Morning News, November 21, 2004.]

EDINBURG, Texas (AP) - A former priest has been found guilty of murder in the 1960 slaying of a South Texas teacher and one-time beauty queen who was a member of the parish he served.

A Hidalgo County jury deliberated 6½ hours after hearing five days of deliberations before returning its verdict in the murder trial of 85-year-old John Bernard Feit. He was accused of strangling 25-year-old Irene Garza to death in McAllen, Texas.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 12:29 PM

‘Wolf in Priest’s Clothing’ John Feit Convicted Of Murder

EDINBURG (TX)
Courthouse News

December 8, 2017

By Erik De La Garza

[Note: See also a PDF of the original Pawlicki letter and See also South Texas DA Refuses to Pursue Ex-Priest, by Brooks Egerton, Dallas Morning News, November 21, 2004.]

EDINBURG, Texas (CN) — A Texas jury convicted former Catholic priest John Feit of murder Thursday evening for the Easter weekend 1960 killing of schoolteacher Irene Garza, closing a case that took 57 years to bring to trial and featured allegations of a church cover-up.

The seven-woman, five-man jury deliberated for just over six hours before rejecting Feit’s decades-old claim that he had nothing to do with the disappearance and suffocation of the 25-year-old McAllen schoolteacher and former Miss South Texas.

Feit, 85, sat emotionless as the verdict was read at 8:17 p.m. in the same courtroom where he pleaded no-contest in 1962 for attacking another South Texas woman, 20-year-old college student Maria America Guerra. Feit was fined $500, but served no jail time in that case.

He will be sentenced by a jury Friday morning for first-degree murder, followed by a victim impact statement expected from her nephew.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 12:25 PM

Ex-priest found guilty in 1960 murder of Texas teacher, beauty queen

EDINBURG (TX)
Fox News

December 7, 2017

[Note: See also a PDF of the original Pawlicki letter and See also South Texas DA Refuses to Pursue Ex-Priest, by Brooks Egerton, Dallas Morning News, November 21, 2004.]

A former priest will finally pay for his sins.

John Bernard Feit, 85, was convicted Thursday in the decades-old murder of Irene Garza, a Texas teacher and beauty queen who had visited his church for confession.

The jury handed down its ruling Thursday evening after deliberating for about 6 1/2 hours at the Hidalgo County Courthouse in Edinburg.

Feit was accused of strangling the 25-year-old woman on April 16, 1960 after she visited Sacred Heart Catholic Church in McAllen.

Garza never returned home. Her body turned up five days later in a canal, The Monitor reported.

An autopsy determined that Garza, who was Miss All South Texas Sweetheart 1958, was beaten and raped while unconscious and asphyxiated.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 12:22 PM

Former priest found guilty of murder in case that haunted South Texas for decades

EDINBURG (TX)
San Antonio Express-News

December 7, 2017

By Aaron Nelsen

[Note: See also a PDF of the original Pawlicki letter and See also South Texas DA Refuses to Pursue Ex-Priest, by Brooks Egerton, Dallas Morning News, November 21, 2004.]

EDINBURG — Former priest John Feit was convicted Thursday of murder with malice aforethought in the killing of a beauty queen in 1960 and now faces a sentence of up to 99 years.

Sentencing begins today with victim impact statements.

Jurors deliberated about six hours Thursday before deciding Feit, now 85, committed murder in the death of Irene Garza, a 25-year-old schoolteacher, whose death during Holy Week that year has haunted South Texas.

Feit, who was 27 at the time of the killing, sat stone-faced as the verdict was read. He declined to comment as deputies escorted him out of the courtroom.

“Justice was served,” Noemi Sigler, Garza’s cousin, said after the proceedings. “Irene finally got her day in court. Now she can rest — her story has been told.”

Members of Garza’s family lingered in 92nd state District courtroom after the verdict was read, tearfully embracing McAllen Police Chief Victor Rodriguez, a witness during the trial, and District Attorney Ricardo Rodriguez, who fulfilled a 2014 campaign pledge to reopen the case.

“Today pigs are flying, a little bit of snow, but pigs are flying,” said Lynda de la Vina, another Garza cousin. “We’ve spoken truth to the power of the Catholic Church, and to the former political leaders of Hidalgo County.”

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 12:19 PM

Former priest, 85, is convicted of murdering Texas beauty queen who vanished after confession in 1960

EDINBURG (TX)
New York Daily News

December 8, 2017

By Jessica Chia

[Note: See also a PDF of the original Pawlicki letter and See also South Texas DA Refuses to Pursue Ex-Priest, by Brooks Egerton, Dallas Morning News, November 21, 2004.]

A former priest was convicted Thursday in the brutal murder of a Texas beauty queen who was raped, beaten, and suffocated more than 57 years ago.

A jury found John Bernard Feit, 85, guilty of murdering Irene Garza after more than six hours of deliberations in Hildalgo County on Thursday.

Gaza’s family members burst into tears in the courtroom, relieved that justice had been served decades after the 25-year-old teacher and beauty queen was found dead in a canal.

In April 1960, Garza disappeared after she went to confession at the Sacred Heart Church in McAllen, where Feit was a visiting priest.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 12:17 PM

Former priest found guilty of murder in case that haunted South Texas for decades

EDINBURG (TX)
My San Antonio

December 7, 2017

By Aaron Nelsen

[Note: See also a PDF of the original Pawlicki letter and See also South Texas DA Refuses to Pursue Ex-Priest, by Brooks Egerton, Dallas Morning News, November 21, 2004.]

EDINBURG - A former priest accused of killing a Rio Grande Valley beauty queen in 1960 was found guilty of murder with malice aforethought Thursday after a jury deliberated for about six hours.

John Feit, now 85, sat stone-faced and showed no emotion as he was convicted of killing Irene Garza, a 25-year school teacher, when he was 27 and serving as a fill-in priest in the Valley. Family members of the victim hugged each other after the verdict was read.

Garza was last seen going to Sacred Heart Catholic Church in McAllen where Feit heard her confession. Her body was found five days later in a canal. Autopsy results showed she had been raped while unconscious and died of asphyxiation, likely from suffocation.

Garza’s grisly killing during Holy Week 1960 haunted South Texas for decades and was the subject of a 48 Hours television special.

Feit’s conviction brings an end to one of the oldest cases in the Hidalgo County judicial system, but leaves unresolved allegations of a deal cut between the district attorney and church leaders to stop the investigation into Feit and avoid a scandal.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 12:15 PM

Ex-priest convicted of murdering Texas woman in 1960

EDINBURG (TX)
The Associated Press

December 7, 2017

[Note: See also a PDF of the original Pawlicki letter and See also South Texas DA Refuses to Pursue Ex-Priest, by Brooks Egerton, Dallas Morning News, November 21, 2004.]

EDINBURG, Texas – An ex-priest was convicted of murdering a 25-year-old Texas schoolteacher and beauty queen on Thursday, more than 57 years after Irene Garza went to Sacred Heart Catholic Church in McAllen intending to go to confession.

Garza's bludgeoned body was found days after her April 16, 1960, disappearance. An autopsy revealed that she had been raped while unconscious and had been beaten and suffocated.

A Hidalgo County jury deliberated 6½ hours before returning its verdict in the murder trial of John Bernard Feit, an 85-year-old former priest, after hearing five days of testimony.

Feit, who was 28 at the time of her death, came under suspicion early on, telling police that he heard Garza's confession — in the church rectory, not in the confessional — but denying he killed her.

This week, prosecutors presented evidence that elected and church officials suspected Feit killed her but wanted to avoid prosecuting him because it might harm the church's reputation and elected officials politically. Most elected officials at the time in Hidalgo County were Catholic, and Sen. John F. Kennedy, a Catholic, was running for president that year.

Feit later spent time at a treatment center in New Mexico for troubled priests and after that became a supervisor and had a part in clearing priests for assignments to parishes. Among the men Feit helped keep in ministry was child molester James Porter, who assaulted more than 100 victims before he was ultimately defrocked and sent to prison.

Feit left the priesthood in 1972, married and went on to work at the Catholic charity St. Vincent de Paul in Phoenix for a number of years, training and recruiting volunteers and helping oversee the charity's network of food pantries.

Among the evidence that pointed to Feit as a suspect over the years: His portable photographic slide viewer was found near Garza's body. Two fellow priests told authorities Feit confessed to them. And one of them said he saw scratches on Feit soon after Garza's disappearance.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 12:13 PM

In 1960, she went to confession and vanished. Now we know the priest murdered her.

EDINBURG (TX)
The Washington Post

December 8, 2017

By Samantha Schmidt

[Note: See also a PDF of the original Pawlicki letter and See also South Texas DA Refuses to Pursue Ex-Priest, by Brooks Egerton, Dallas Morning News, November 21, 2004.]

For more than five decades, the black-and-white image of Irene Garza has haunted the town of McAllen, Tex., her story painfully recounted again and again.

She was a 25-year-old dark-haired former beauty queen, her high school’s first Latina drum majorette, the first in her family to graduate from college. She was named Miss All South Texas Sweetheart, and worked as a teacher for disadvantaged children.

But at the center of Garza’s life was her Catholic faith. In a letter to a friend in April 1960, she wrote about how she was no longer afraid of death. “You see, I’ve been going to communion and Mass daily and you can’t imagine the courage and faith and happiness it has given me,” she wrote in the letter, according to Texas Monthly.

And so when Holy Week came, the most sacred time of year for Catholics, Garza decided to go to confession.

On the eve of Easter, she drove to the Sacred Heart Catholic Church in McAllen.

She never came home. Two days later, her beige, high-heeled shoe was found inches from the curb near the church. The following Thursday, her body was found floating in an irrigation canal.

An autopsy would later determine she had been beaten, suffocated, and raped while unconscious.

Authorities found few clues and struggled to piece together the moments before her death. But one fact soon became clear. Among the last to see her was a 27-year-old priest with horn-rimmed glasses — the Rev. John Feit.

The young priest admitted he had heard Irene’s confession that night, in the rectory instead of the confessional. But he denied killing the young woman. The priest avoided criminal charges, decade after decade. As the years passed, witnesses died, detectives changed and the investigation into Garza’s murder stalled.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 12:10 PM

Both sides rest in trial of former priest accused of murder

EDINBURG (TX)
McAllen Monitor

December 7, 2017

By Lorenzo Zazueta-Castro

[Note: See also a PDF of the original Pawlicki letter and See also South Texas DA Refuses to Pursue Ex-Priest, by Brooks Egerton, Dallas Morning News, November 21, 2004.]

Both sides in the trial of former Priest John Feit rested Wednesday, bringing an unexpectedly short ending to the proceedings.

Feit, who is accused of murder in the 1960 death of 25-year-old Irene Garza, considered testifying in his own defense but told the court outside the jury’s presence that he decided against it on the advice of his attorneys.

“It’s a wrestling match between my vanity and common sense,” he said.

After five days of testimony, the state rested shortly after the court returned from recess at 1:30 p.m. The prosecution had been expected to spend up to two weeks presenting its case.

For its part, the defense rested after one witness, investigator Rudy Jaramillo, a member of the Texas Rangers cold case unit assigned to the Garza slaying in 2002. Jaramillo had been called earlier as a prosecution witness and detailed how his unit reviewed the cold case.

Also Thursday, Hidalgo County forensic pathologist Norma Jean Farley testified that, based on files and medical records she reviewed, Garza died of asphyxiation, most likely from being suffocated. The defense had no questions.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 12:07 PM

Amid a sex abuse crisis, a new conservative Christian vision for womanhood?

UNITED STATES
Religion News Service

December 7, 2017

By Jonathan Merritt

In times of cultural crisis, societies have no choice but to enter a period of rethinking.

America has crossed the rubicon with the recent tidal wave of sex abuse scandals. Dozens of influential men have lost their jobs and reputations due to their offensive, predatory, and often illegal behaviors. These allegations have torn down the facade of respectability these men had carefully constructed, but they’ve also unmasked the lies some have believed for too long.

We can no longer pretend that sexism is a thing of the past. Or that powerful men can be trusted to behave with decorum and respect in the workplace. Or that women are safe and protected in our “enlightened” age. Amid this cultural crisis, religious communities must now enter a period of rethinking.

Julie Roys, a popular conservative Christian radio show host, believes that this must include a critical discussion about popular notions of womanhood. In her book, “Redeeming the Feminine Soul: God’s Surprising Vision for Womanhood,” she rejects the “feminist distortion” and “fundamentalist caricature” of womanhood. I’ve known Roys for years, and while we often disagree, I’ve always found her to be fair-minded and thoughtful. So I decided to invite her to share her vision for womanhood with the “On Faith and Culture” audience.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 12:05 PM

John Cleary paid the price for speaking out in Newcastle Anglican diocese

NEWCASTLE (AUSTRALIA)
The Newcastle Herald

December 8, 2017

By Joanne McCarthy

JOHN Cleary is the former banker who looked back fondly on his banking years while drowning in Newcastle Anglican Church's dark child sex history for more than a decade.

"There were days when I thought, 'Oh gee I miss the banks'," said the former Newcastle Anglican diocese registrar who became a whistleblower before severing ties with the church in February.

"People bag the banks for doing the wrong thing but look what the Royal Commission's shown us about what happened in churches. Is there a lot of difference?" he said as the long-awaited final report into the Hunter Anglican history was released.

Mr Cleary settled a legal case against the diocese after alleging he had been "marginalised, bullied and ostracised" by senior church officials for his stand on behalf of victims of abuse and attempts at reform.

Although it is nearly one year since he left the diocese to work at a Hunter aged care facility, Mr Cleary said the "horrific and graphic abuse of children" he discovered, exacerbated by the diocese's "cover-up culture", caused real damage.

"I don't know if I can every truly switch off from it," Mr Cleary said.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 11:19 AM

Clergy sex abuse at Mortlake tests mum's faith

AUSTRALIA
The Standard

December 8, 2017

By Brendan Wrigley

It will come as no surprise to anyone who has followed the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse to hear Anne Levey has not stepped foot inside a Catholic church for more than two years.

Her son Paul’s tale of being sent to live with notorious paedophile priest Gerald Ridsdale in Mortlake in the mid-1970s was among the most harrowing heard across more than two years of testimony.

Despite her best efforts to have her teenage son removed from Ridsdale’s control, disgraced former Bishop Ronald Mulkearns claimed he could not fulfill her wish despite knowing of the priest’s abusive history.

Now living in Albury, Ms Levey said her once devout commitment to the cross had evaporated after hearing countless cases of rampant sexual abuse and systematic cover-ups.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 11:18 AM

Melbourne archbishop prioritized church interest over clergy abuse victims, Royal Commission finds

MELBOURNE (AUSTRALIA)
Christian Daily

December 7, 2017

By Lorraine Caballero

The former Melbourne Catholic Archbishop had prioritized the interest of the church over the welfare of its clergy abuse victims and covered up the allegations by transferring offending priests to other locations, the Royal Commission into Institutional Child Sexual Abuse has found.

In a recently released report, the Royal Commission shared how the late Archbishop Frank Little went to certain lengths to hide the sexual abuse allegations against priests under him. The investigating body made the conclusion after it heard the accusations against seven ministers in the Melbourne Archdiocese, ABC News relayed.

In addition, the commission found that Archbishop Little had transferred Father Peter Searson from the Sunbury Parish after accusations - including those of sex abuse and rape - had surfaced in the years leading to 1984. Even after he was transferred to Doveton Parish, similar complaints still followed him there.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 11:15 AM

Little legacy lost after school wipes former archbishop's name from school building

VICTORIA (AUSTRALIA)
The Age

December 6, 2017

By Melissa Cunningham

Former Melbourne Archbishop Frank Little will have his name removed from a building at his old school for his role in orchestrating a culture of secrecy that allowed scores of children to be sexually abused by Catholic clergy.

The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse delivered a withering assessment of the Melbourne archdiocese's handling of clerical abuse on Tuesday, with much of its opprobrium reserved for Archbishop Little.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 11:13 AM

Archbishop Philip Wilson faces landmark trial on allegations he failed to report child sex allegations

NEWCASTLE (AUSTRALIA)
The Newcastle Herald

December 8 2017

By Sam Rigney

CONCERNED about the “acts of punishment” that Hunter priest Jim Fletcher had been subjecting him to, a young Peter Creigh reached out to someone he thought he could trust.

It was 1976 and Mr Creigh, then a 15-year-old boy, sought out the “young, fun” priest who organised the youth group activities at St Joseph’s Church, East Maitland.

That man, he claims, was Philip Wilson, then a junior Maitland-Newcastle priest, now the Archbishop of Adelaide and the most senior Catholic cleric in the world to be charged with concealing child sex allegations involving another priest. He denies the allegation.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 11:08 AM

Brouillard named in 149th Sex abuse lawsuit against Catholic church

GUAM
Pacific News Center

December 8, 2017

By Jolene Toves

The cases against Father Louis Brouillard continue to roll in as another alleged victim shares details of the the sexual abuse he endured nearly 39 years ago.

Guam – His father gave consent without the slightest of doubt, “not realizing that he was send the victim J.Q.M.and his brother to be sexually abused by a predator disguised in the robes of the clergy,” states a complaint filed in District Court this week.

Why? Well, according to court documents, J.Q.M.’s father was decieved by Brouillard just as the Catholic community at large on Guam had been inculcated by a deep-seeded trust in the Catholic Church. Brouillard has been named in a multitude of sexual abuse cases filed against the Archdiocese of Guam.

In this particular case, the victim J.Q.M. was around the age of ten or 11 years old when he was repeatedly sexually abused and raped. Like the other cases against Brouillard, it details the retired priest’s M-O, targeting young boys who served as altar boys and boy scouts, sexually abusing and raping them on “outings” and then rewarding them by taking them to restaurants. He shares that during these outings, Brouillard would swim naked and instruct the boys to do the same so as to fondle and grope them.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 11:01 AM

DISGRACED EX CHURCH OF ENGLAND BISHOP WANTS TO BECOME CATHOLIC

ENGLAND
The Tablet

December 7, 2017

By Bernadette Kehoe

'We love the Church of England but would like to end our days in a church where we can live and worship in anonymity and without constant fear'

Clifton diocese has confirmed that a former Church of England bishop jailed for sex offences and his twin brother have said they are looking to become Catholics “to live and worship in anonymity.”

A spokesman for the diocese told The Tablet : “We confirm that Peter and Michael Ball have been in contact with the Clifton Diocese expressing an interest in becoming members of the Catholic Church. This matter is subject to discussions with the Statutory Authorities, who are the lead with regards to Peter Ball’s risk management in the community. The Church of England authorities including their Safeguarding Team are aware of this request.”

The former Bishop of Lewes and of Gloucester, Peter Ball was jailed for 32 months for offences against 18 teenagers and men. He was released in February after serving 16 months. He carried out the abuse between the 1970s and 1990s. Ball’s identical twin, Michael Ball, the former Anglican Bishop of Truro, said in an email that “the events of the last years and rightly or wrongly the battering by the Church have totally wearied and reduced us."

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 11:00 AM

Disgraced former Anglican Bishop becoming Catholic to ‘live and worship in anonymity’

CLIFTON (ENGLAND)
Herald Malaysia

December 8, 2017

Peter Ball is reportedly in discussions about joining the Catholic Diocese of Clifton

CLIFTON: An Anglican bishop who was jailed for sexually abusing 18 young men is converting to Catholicism to “live and worship in anonymity”.

Peter Ball, who was Bishop of Lewes and of Gloucester for the Church of England, was jailed for 32 months in October 2015 for offences dating back to the 1970s.

A spokesman confirmed that he has been in talks to join the Catholic Diocese of Clifton, although he is unlikely to take Holy Orders.

The Daily Mail reports that his identical twin brother Michael, who served as an Anglican bishop, sent an email to friends and relatives revealing the plan.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 10:57 AM

Victims of abuse in the Catholic Church find help locally

MEMPHIS (TN)
WMC Action News 5

December 7, 2017

By Janeen Gordon

In the wake of the hashtag #MeToo Movement initiated by "The Silence Breakers," women who spoke out against sexual abuse and assault and the allegations of sexual misconduct that spans from the United State Senate, to prominent journalists, to Hollywood, one local diocese is offering help to local victims abused by a member of the Catholic Church.

For decades the Catholic Church has been plagued by allegations of sexual abuse and protecting the church rather than the victims.

One local church wants to change that. In a weekly bulletin posted by St. Augustine Catholic Church, "The Catholic Diocese of Memphis encourages all victims, or parents of minors who are victims of sexual abuse by a priest, deacon, or diocesan employee or agent, to report such abuse..." The church encourages victims to contact the Tennessee Child Abuse Hotline.

The Diocese of Memphis also is said to offer abused victims spiritual and psychological assistance.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 10:55 AM

Catholic Archdiocese of New York Pays $40M to sexual Abuse Victims

NEW YORK (NY)
USA Herald

December 8, 2017

By Marivic Cabural Summers

[Note: See also a PDF of the Report on the Archdiocese of New York's Independent Reconciliation and Compensation Program]

The Archdiocese of the Roman Catholic Church in New York paid $40.05 million to sexual abuse victims.

According to the archdiocese,189 sexual abuse victims received payments through the Independent Reconciliation and Compensation Program (IRCP). The administrators of IRCP are still processing compensation for additional victims.

Last year, the New York archdiocese launched the IRCP, an outreach program to reach out to the victims of its clergy. More than 200 individual participated and submitted their claims through program, which ended on November 1.

Around 40 priests committed sexual abuse

In 2016, the New York Times reported that around 40 priests were accused of sexual abuse. The archdiocese did not and will not release the names of the priests.

During the launching of the IRCP, Cardinal Timothy Dolan, the Archbishop of the Archdiocese of New York expressed hope to bring a measure of peace and healing” to the victims.

Atty. Ken Feinberg, a well-known mediator and his associate Camilline Biros served as administrators of the IRCP. They had full independence in evaluating the claims of the victims and determining the amount of compensation for them.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 10:50 AM

New York Catholic Church Paid $40 Million to Sex Abuse Victims

NEW YORK (NY)
The Associated Press

December 7, 2017

[Note: See also a PDF of the Report on the Archdiocese of New York's Independent Reconciliation and Compensation Program]

(NEW YORK) — The Archdiocese of New York says it has paid just over $40 million in compensation to 189 people who identified themselves as victims of clergy sexual abuse.

The Independent Reconciliation and Compensation Program ended Nov. 30, but some additional claims are still being processed.

Mediators evaluated claims and determined the amount of compensation.

A spokesman for the Roman Catholic archdiocese did not have a breakdown on the various amounts of payments to each recipient. Some of the victims’ claims date back decades.

The archdiocese also issued an eight-page report detailing efforts it is making to prevent future cases of abuse.

U.S. Catholic leaders have grappled with a clergy sexual abuse crisis since 2002.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 10:49 AM

Archdiocese Of New York Pays $40 Million To Sexual Abuse Victims

NEW YORK (NY)
The Huffington Post

December 7, 2017

By Antonia Blumberg

[Note: See also a PDF of the Report on the Archdiocese of New York's Independent Reconciliation and Compensation Program]

The compensation payments were made to nearly 200 survivors.

The seat of the Roman Catholic Church in New York says it has paid roughly $40 million in compensation to victims of sexual abuse.

In a press release posted on the archdiocese’s website Thursday, media liaisons Joseph Zwilling and Mercedes Lopez Blanco said the payments were made to 189 abuse survivors.

The payments mark the end of a reconciliation program to evaluate claims by alleged abuse victims. In 2016, the New York Catholic Church launched its Independent Reconciliation and Compensation Program to assess abuse claims by more than 200 people who said they’d been victimized by members of the archdiocese’s clergy.

The cases involved roughly 40 priests, The New York Times reported last year. Zwilling told HuffPost the archdiocese will not be releasing the names of the clergy members involved in the claims.

The program was headed up by Kenneth Feinberg, a lawyer who also mediated in the compensation fund for victims of the Sept. 11 attacks. In administering the archdiocese’s reconciliation program, Feinberg and his colleague, Camille Biros, “were given total independence to evaluate claims and determine compensation,” the release said.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 9:58 AM

NYC Sex Abuse Victims Get $40M From Catholic Church

NEW YORK (NY)
The New York City Patch

December 7, 2017

By Noah Manskar

[Note: See also a PDF of the Report on the Archdiocese of New York's Independent Reconciliation and Compensation Program]

The Independent Reconciliation and Compensation Program made payments to 189 people who were abused by priests.

NEW YORK, NY — Some 189 people who were sexually abused by Catholic priests got more than $40 million from a new victims compensation fund as of Nov. 30, the Catholic Archdiocese of New York announced Thursday. The payments were the first from the archdiocese's Independent Reconciliation and Compensation Fund, a pool of money created last year to repay survivors of abuse.

More than 200 victims of abuse applied for compesnation before the Nov. 1 deadline, the archdiocese said. The average amount paid out so far is about $211,904.

"Throughout the process, victim-survivors made clear they are not just interested in money, but instead are seeking some tangible sign of the Church's desire for healing and reconciliation," the archdiocese wrote in its report released Thursday.

The report does not include information about any individual cases. But one of those who got payments was former priest Stephen Ryan-Vuotto, who has said the well known Greenwich Village priest Rev. Robert Lott sexually abused him as a teenager. Ryan-Vuotto told reporters he reached a $500,000 settlement with the compensation fund.

Kenneth Feinberg and Camille Biros, two high-profile attorneys specializing in mediation, are in charge of evaluating victims' applications for compensation, the archdiocese says. An independent panel that includes former NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly oversees their work.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 9:54 AM

New York Catholic Church pays $40M to clergy sex abuse victims

NEW YORK (NY)
The Associated Press

December 7, 2017

[Note: See also a PDF of the Report on the Archdiocese of New York's Independent Reconciliation and Compensation Program]

NEW YORK -- Just over $40 million in compensation has been paid to 189 people who identified themselves as victims of clergy sex abuse, the Archdiocese of New York said in a report released Thursday. The archdiocese noted that the Independent Reconciliation and Compensation Program ended Nov. 30, but some additional claims are still being processed.

Money for the payouts came through a long-term loan.

Mediators Ken Feinberg and Camille Biros evaluated victim claims and determined compensation.

Archdiocese spokesman Joseph Zwilling said he did not have a specific breakdown of how much each recipient received; some of the victims' claims date back decades. The payouts averaged $211,600.

The eight-page report also summarized efforts by the church to combat sexual abuse.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 9:49 AM

Person of the Year: Time magazine explains mystery arm

ENGLAND
BBC News

December 7, 2017

The faces of five women who have spoken out about sexual harassment appear on Time magazine's Person of the Year front cover - along with a mystery right arm. But whose is it?

If you simply glanced at the front cover of the latest Time magazine you may have missed it - an apparently rogue right arm poking into shot.

The faces of five women - including singer Taylor Swift and actor Ashley Judd - feature on the magazine's 2017 Person of the Year cover.

The quintet represent the "the Silence Breakers" - "the thousands of people across the world who have come forward with their experiences of sexual harassment and assault" this year, the magazine says.

However, in the bottom right-hand corner of the cover is the arm of an anonymous woman, with the remainder of her body deliberately cropped out of shot.

Helpfully, the magazine has now explained who the arm belongs to and why it's there.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 9:45 AM

Former Victoria Police detective Denis Ryan a hero of child abuse inquiry

CANBERRA (AUSTRALIA)
The Australian

December 8, 2017

By Jack the Insider

Imagine in this age of instant gratification, having to wait for something, anything for 45 years. Then think what it must be like to have to wait so long for something as fundamental as the truth.

Former Victoria Police detective, Denis Ryan, turned 86 last month.

In 1972, he was forced out of the Victoria Police Force after trying to bring the pedophile priest, Monsignor John Day, to justice.

Forty years later, Denis came to my home and together we wrote the book of that appalling story, Unholy Trinity: The Hunt for the Pedophile Priest Monsignor John Day”.

At the time I cautioned Denis about setting his expectations too high. The subject material of the book was so disturbing I doubted it would be a bestseller. To publisher Allen & Unwin’s credit they published anyway.

The book was a modest seller but some important people read it, including a former Chief Commissioner of Victoria Police, Mick Miller. Mick is in his 90s but he agitated on Denis’s behalf within the upper echelons of the Victoria Police Force.

Earlier this week the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse handed down its report into Catholic Church Authorities in Ballarat, known otherwise as Case Study 28. .

On page 231 of that report an extract of Mick Miller’s testimony appears.

“This entire episode was a shameful event in the history of Victoria Police. It might well be remembered as a definite disincentive to others, confronted by a similar set of circumstances, to emulate former Senior Detective Denis Ryan’s peerless, principled performance of his sworn duty.”

Mick’s remark was followed by a two word note from the Commission.

“We agree.”

And with those two simple words, vindication came for Denis Ryan.

Denis had given evidence to the Royal Commission. He took to the witness box immediately before Mick Miller back in December 2015. Like Miller, his evidence was not challenged. There was no cross examination. Police knew the game was up. Since then VicPol has offered its apologies to Denis in a formal setting at their St Kilda Road headquarters. Chief Commissioner Graham Ashton has offered apologies in public and in private at Denis’s home.

The Royal Commission’s Report was the final and most formal stage in the process of Ryan’s vindication.

How does one feel after waiting so long? Relieved? Exhilarated?

“I feel flat this morning. It took 45 years to expose what has been said is the biggest criminal conspiracy in Victoria’s history,” Denis said.

“Victoria Police pushed me out of the place. I was a good policeman.”

He was better than good. He was hell on wheels as a detective. He solved murders. In his own methodical, probing way, he obtained confessions from violent criminals.

When he came to investigate Monsignor John Day, Denis had a pool of Mildura’s young men - not crooks, just young adults hooning around in cars, doing what young men in country towns do to ease the boredom. He’d befriended them and often sort them out for information. That group of young men were the catalyst in the investigation, one Denis would later describe as “like stepping stones”, going from one victim to the next.

They knew what the denizens of Mildura merely suspected. Day was an outrageous pedophile. The young blokes knew because some of them were his victims and it was only when they were together, perhaps ripping the top off a few cold ones down on the banks of the Murray that they felt safe enough to share their stories. They felt safe enough to share their stories with Denis, too.

Denis took their statements and then sought help from senior police outside Mildura. That was when the shit hit the fan.

Denis was ordered off the investigation. Senior cops put the smother on. Denis was offered an inducement - a promotion - to run dead on the investigation. He declined. He continued making his inquiries. More victims, more statements. In the end, a Detective Chief Superintendent and a Detective Chief Inspector both working under the instruction of the Chief Commissioner Reg Jackson, basically tore up Denis’s work, silenced victims and destroyed Denis’s career.

Denis was ostracised. For nine months no police officer would speak to him. He was placed on divisional patrol duties. Denis was instructed not to leave the Mildura area without the approval of his senior officers. He was threatened with disciplinary action but the charges were a joke and never saw the light of day. Denis had always done things by the book. He was meticulous.

Then he was ordered to transfer to Melbourne, something senior police knew he could not do, due to the health of his children.

More importantly Denis knew if he did accept the transfer that would make him complicit in the conspiracy. It is almost certainly true that if Denis had remained in the force, we simply would not know today what happened in Mildura in 1972 and how Victoria’s most senior police conspired with Bishop Ronald Mulkearns to remove Day from Mildura and set him up in another parish where the old degenerate priest offended again. Monsignor John Day, in my view one of the most prolific child sex offenders in this country’s history, died in 1978. He was never brought to account for his many crimes.

By any measure it was a conspiracy to pervert the course of justice and everyone involved from Commissioner Jackson down should have been prosecuted for it.

But only Denis would be punished, forced out of the job he loved.

There will be more to the Denis Ryan story. Vindication is one step in the process. Compensation another. Denis Ryan should be seen as the hero he is, as a model for any servant of the public, one that when challenged, never wavered, never took the easy way out. It cost him half his life. Financial mayhem, emotional pain, psychological torment.

When I spoke to Denis just after the Royal Commission handed down its report. I was triumphant but Denis was not in celebratory mood.

“I still think about how many hundreds of victims might have been spared if Victoria’s most senior police did what they were charged to do, what they took an oath to do.”

Then he paused.

“It’s been a long time.”

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 9:43 AM

December 7, 2017

Closing Arguments Done, Jury to Deliberate in John Feit Murder Trial

EDINBURG (TX)
KRGV

December 7, 2017

By Christian Von Preysing

[Note: See also a PDF of the original Pawlicki letter and See also South Texas DA Refuses to Pursue Ex-Priest, by Brooks Egerton, Dallas Morning News, November 21, 2004.]

EDINBURG – Closing arguments are underway in the trial against former priest John Feit. He is accused of killing Irene Garza in the 1960s.

The prosecution spent the morning reminding jurors of testimony about Feit’s aggressive attitude towards women.

They also asked the jury to consider how the church moved him out of the Valley right after Garza’s death.

Prosecutor Michael Garza reminded the jury of Feit’s previous conviction of assaulting America Guerra and that the other women reported him as well.

Garza touched on how the Catholic Church and the Hidalgo County sheriff at the time colluded to avoid a scandal.

The defense said there’s a lack of physical evidence in the case that can, with certainty, prove Feit killed Garza.

Defense attorney Oscar Flores questioned one piece of evidence – a viewfinder police say they found at the scene in 1960.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 5:18 PM

Accused Murderer John Feit Will Not Testify at Trial

EDINBURG (TX)
Courthouse News

December 7, 2017

[Note: See also a PDF of the original Pawlicki letter and See also South Texas DA Refuses to Pursue Ex-Priest, by Brooks Egerton, Dallas Morning News, November 21, 2004.]

EDINBURG, Texas (CN) – Accused murderer John Feit will not testify in his own defense, so after closing arguments Thursday the jury must decide whether the former Catholic priest killed a South Texas schoolteacher 57 years ago, suffocating her in a bathtub in the church rectory.

“It was a wrestling match between my vanity and my common sense, and my common sense prevailed,” Feit told Hidalgo County Judge Luis Singleterry on Wednesday, outside the jury’s presence, on the fifth and final day of testimony.

Feit is charged with the first-degree murder of Irene Garza, a 25-year-old elementary school teacher and beauty queen, who was assaulted, bound and suffocated to death with a cellophane bag on Easter weekend in 1960, testimony revealed.

Feit, then a 27-year-old visiting priest at McAllen’s Sacred Heart Church, pulled the devoutly religious schoolteacher by the arm and told her she was “too good” to give confession in church, prosecutors said. He led her to its next-door rectory, and killed her there on Holy Saturday, according to the state.

Prosecutors called the 57-year-old cold case a Catholic Church cover-up, a claim bolstered by an internal church letter dated Oct. 1, 1960 that showed a relationship between the church and local authorities, to avoid the potential scandal to it “as an institution.”

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 5:17 PM

The Latest from Day 6: Deliberations in the John Feit murder trial begin

EDINBURG (TX)
The Monitor

December 7, 2017

By Lorenzo Zazueta-Castro

[Note: See also a PDF of the original Pawlicki letter and See also South Texas DA Refuses to Pursue Ex-Priest, by Brooks Egerton, Dallas Morning News, November 21, 2004.]

EDINBURG — John Feit, a former priest, is on trial for the 1960 murder of Irene Garza after she went to confession at McAllen’s Sacred Heart Catholic Church. Here is the latest from the trial:

12:42 p.m.

The cold case that has captivated the Rio Grande Valley for more than 50 years is now in the hands of a jury.

The jury has been moved out of the courtroom to begin deliberations.

Jurors are instructed that "intent to kill" is an essential element of murder. If jurors have reasonable doubt regarding this element, they are to consider aggravated assault.

12:35 p.m.

The defense asks jury "what evidence is there that Feit had intent to kill?" during its closing arguments Thursday, adding that "there wasn't any."

Defense says there is no evidence that Feit had intent to kill or was involved in Garza's disappearance.

The defense passes to the state for its rebuttal.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 5:13 PM

Priest accused of sexual assault won't have to go through trial

NEW BRUNSWICK (CANADA)
CBC News

December 7, 2017

By Gabrielle Fahmy

Crown withdraws charge against Paul Breau after doctors declare former U of M chaplain mentally incompetent

A sexual assault charge was withdrawn Thursday against the former chaplain at the University of Moncton after the Crown learned he was mentally incompetent for a trial.

Priest Paul Breau, who is 86, was not in court when the Crown announced it was not going ahead with the charge.

According to the file, the alleged incidents took place in 1985 and 1986 in Shediac, when Breau was priest at the St. Joseph parish.

Breau was the chaplain at the University of Moncton until just recently and is now in a nursing home. His arraignment was scheduled for Thursday.

But a Crown prosecutor told reporters outside court that a decision was made to withdraw the charge against Breau after two medical reports, including one from his doctor, declared him incompetent.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 5:11 PM

London priest who fled to Kosovo found guilty of abusing schoolboys

ENGLAND
The Guardian

December 6, 2017

By Owen Bowcott

Andrew Soper convicted of sexually abusing pupils at St Benedict’s school in Ealing during 1970s and 80sAndrew Soper

A former abbot who fled to Kosovo to escape justice has been convicted of abusing 10 boys at a Catholic-run school in London during the 1970s and 80s.

Andrew Soper, 74, formerly known as Father Laurence Soper, was found guilty of 19 charges of rape and other sexual offences after a lengthy trial at the Old Bailey.

Soper sexually abused pupils while he was master in charge of discipline at St Benedict’s school in Ealing, west London. He would assault them after subjecting them to corporal punishment using a cane.

The first victim contacted police in 2004 after Soper left his role as abbot of Ealing Abbey and moved to the Benedictine order’s headquarters in Rome.

The former pupil was initially told by officers there was insufficient evidence.

Soper was later interviewed at Heathrow police station in 2010 and subsequently fled to Kosovo while on police bail the following year.

He was arrested at Luton airport in August 2016 after being deported by the Kosovan authorities and returned to the UK.

Tetteh Turkson, a senior Crown Prosecution Service lawyer involved in the case, said: “Soper used his position as a teacher and as a priest to abuse children for his own sexual gratification.

“He compounded this by trying to evade justice and fleeing to Kosovo in order to go into hiding. The victims’ bravery in coming forward and giving evidence has seen him convicted of these serious offences.”

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 5:05 PM

Sexual Harassment Is Everybody’s Problem

BROOKLYN (NY)
Jacobin Magazine

December 7, 2017

By Alex N. Press

Let's seize this opportunity to change how harassment is dealt with.

n an article on sexual harassment by Linda Gordon — originally published in a special issue of Radical America from 1981 and recently republished in Viewpoint Magazine — Gordon explains why sexual abuse matters as an obstacle to working-class solidarity and unity, and as an obstacle to unity on the Left:

The attitudes that produce sexual harassment also maintain a powerful bonding among men which not only weakens any existing class consciousness, but is one of the major obstacles to its development.

Thus, from a socialist perspective as well as from a feminist one, no general issue is more important than sexual harassment. To challenge it, to make it unacceptable, is to attack one of the major barriers to unity among people who have the possibility of bringing about radical social change.

If the racism of white workers was debilitating for the American labor movement, the same could be said for sexism within the working class. From the earliest years of labor organizing, sexism, and unions’ periodic complicity in preventing full equality in the workplace for women and people of color, male and female alike, hamstrung the development of working-class power. Neither of these bigotries has been resolved: racism remains a problem among white workers of all genders, and as we can see from the overwhelming evidence of pervasive sexual harassment, sexism continues to infuse the workplace.

And sexual abuse isn’t just an obstacle to working-class unity: it also remains a presence on the Left and in our movements. As I’ve written elsewhere:

I am not alone in having experienced the immense pressure brought to bear on anyone speaking out about sexual violence in an organizing space. At worst, you become subject to reminders of the damage you can do to the movement by accusing a prominent man (it’s not always a man, but it usually is) of sexual violence. “The Right will use this information against us,” you might be reminded, or, “We can’t win without him” — the implication being that if you insist on bringing up a leader’s misconduct, “we” can’t win with you.

I recently asked a friend how we on the Left, in our limited capacity, can use this moment — and referring to it as a moment, not a movement, is a useful way to describe what we’re experiencing today — in a way that will have long-lasting effects. And one answer is that we can use it to democratize and build our movements and spaces, especially workplaces but also anywhere that we exist: among our colleagues, our families, our friends, our communities, and our organizations.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 5:02 PM

Ex-priest found guilty of 19 historic sex abuse charges

LONDON (ENGLAND)
Independent Catholic News

December 7, 2017

A former abbot who fled to Kosovo to escape justice has been convicted of abusing 10 boys at a Catholic school in west London during the 1970s and 80s.

Andrew Soper, 74, was found guilty of 19 charges of rape and other sexual offences after a lengthy trial at the Old Bailey. He will be sentenced on 19 December.

In a statement issued today, Ealing Abbey said:

Andrew Soper has finally been brought to justice.

Our thoughts and prayers are with his victims. We admire them for their courage in coming forward as witnesses in order to secure his conviction.

We apologise to everyone who is affected by the crimes Soper committed while he was a monk of Ealing and a teacher at St Benedict's School in the 1970s and 1980s. The prosecution of non recent sexual offences is an important element in ensuring that, so far as possible, such events do not occur in future.

Soper, whose religious name was Laurence, was Head of St Benedict's Middle School between 1975 and 1984 and Abbot of Ealing from 1991 to 2000. After stepping down as Abbot he became Bursar at S'Anselmo, the Benedictine University in Rome. When allegations were made against him these were subject to investigation by Police and Social Services with the co-operation and assistance of the Abbey and St Benedict's School. Soper was immediately placed under restrictions at S'Anselmo, which included no unsupervised contact with children or young people and restrictions on his movements away from the campus.

Having agreed to co-operate with the Police by returning to London for further questioning, in March 2011 he failed to return for a police interview and left the monastery in Rome. To our knowledge nothing further was heard from or about him until he was arrested in Kosovo in May 2016.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 5:00 PM

Suzette Martinez Standring: The Catholic Church and financial transparency

DOYLESTOWN (PA)
The Intelligencer

December 7, 2017

By Suzette Martinez Standring

Sunday collections and annual appeals: How transparent is your Catholic diocese or archdiocese? Do they post audited financial statements on their websites? How are cash donations protected from theft? Recent survey results make me feel as insecure as a basket of $20 bills in an empty room.

The national survey by Voice of the Faithful measured and ranked online financial transparency of 177 U.S. territorial dioceses and archdioceses by examining their websites for audited financial statements and weekly collection security practices. VOTF is a Catholic lay group founded in 2002 in response to the sex abuse crisis within the Catholic Church.

Answers to 10 objective survey questions were examined about arch/diocese website information:
-- Can financial data be found within a few to several minutes?
-- Is there a workable search function?
-- Are audited financial statements posted?
-- If not, is financial info reported in another format, e.g., booklet form?
-- Is the Bishop’s Annual Appeal explained somewhere on the website, and/or is it reported on the financial statements?
-- Is the annual parish assessment explained somewhere on the website, and/or is it reported on the financial statements?
-- Is contact info for the business office posted?
-- Is the finance council identified?
-- Are parish financial guidelines posted?
-- Are detailed collection and counting procedures posted?

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 4:58 PM

NY Catholic Church pays $40 million to sex abuse victims

NEW YORK (NY)
Associated Press

December 7, 2017

NEW YORK – Just over $40 million in compensation has been paid to 189 people who identified themselves as victims of clergy sex abuse, the Archdiocese of New York said in a report released Thursday.

The archdiocese noted that the Independent Reconciliation and Compensation Program ended Nov. 30, but some additional claims are still being processed. Money for the payouts came through a long-term loan.

Mediators Ken Feinberg and Camille Biros evaluated victim claims and determined compensation.

Archdiocese spokesman Joseph Zwilling said he did not have a specific breakdown of how much each recipient received; some of the victims' claims date back decades. The payouts averaged $211,600.

The eight-page report also summarized efforts by the church to combat sexual abuse.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 4:57 PM

Kristine Ward, 'moral advocate for survivors' of abuse, remembered

DAYTON (OH)
National Catholic Reporter

December 7, 2017

by Brian Roewe

Memorial Mass for co-founder of National Survivor Advocates Coalition is Dec. 9 in Dayton, Ohio

A memorial Mass Dec. 9 in Dayton, Ohio, will remember Kristine Ward, a lay Catholic compelled by the Boston Globe's 2002 clergy sex abuse investigations to become a prominent advocate for survivors.

Ward died Nov. 9 after a years-long battle with cancer. The Mass will take place at Queen of Martyrs Church, in Dayton, followed by a celebration of life reception.

Ward was chair and co-founder of the National Survivor Advocates Coalition, an organization formed in 2009 by lay Catholics with an intent focus on promoting justice for abuse survivors and educating other Catholics about sexual abuse.

"She was just a fierce and loving advocate, and she set the bar high for the Catholics in the pews, and I think that will be her legacy, that very strong and uncompromising voice of hers," said Anne Barrett Doyle, co-director of BishopAccountability.org.

Jason Berry, a leading journalist and author in unmasking the clergy abuse scandal, described Ward as "a moral advocate for survivors" who worked tirelessly on their behalf.

Friends and colleagues remember Ward as a dynamic speaker, fierce defender and fun-loving. It was Ward who introduced an ice cream social at annual Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) conferences as a way to help attendees feel more comfortable and also to add some cheer before serious and, often emotional, discussions.

"There's a lot of people in the movement that do great things and you like and respect them, but Kris was somebody you had a good time with," said Barbara Dorris, SNAP executive director. "When you were with Kris, you knew you were going to have a good time."

"From the tip of her flame-colored hair to her cherry-red lips and scarlet nails, Kris Ward was a walking firebrand," her close friend Ginny Hoehne stated in a testimonial she plans to read at the memorial service. "But the true flame came from within. The flame of love, compassion, caring, and desire for justice for children of abuse. Those abused by war, and those abused by clergy, Kris devoted her life to find justice for these hurting souls."

A former UPI reporter, Ward grew up in Pennsylvania and earned a degree in broadcast journalism from Penn State University. Like many Catholics, she was devastated in 2002 by the Boston Globe's Spotlight investigations into the sexual abuse of children by at least 70 priests and the cover-up efforts undertaken by the Boston Archdiocese. Rather than hold her in despair, the revelations shook her to take action.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 3:00 PM

Larry Nassar, USA Gymnastics doctor, sentenced to 60 years on child porn charges

GRAND RAPIDS (MI)
The Washington Post

December 7, 2017

By Will Hobson

A judge sentenced Larry Nassar, the former Olympic gymnastics team physician and longtime Michigan State University instructor, to 60 years in prison on Thursday for federal child pornography crimes. The sentence, handed down by a judge in Grand Rapids, Mich., ensures that Nassar, 54, likely will spend the rest of his life in prison.

Nassar, accused in civil and criminal complaints of sexually assaulting more than 140 women, also has pleaded guilty to several sex crimes in two counties in Michigan, and will be sentenced for those charges in separate hearings in state courts next month. The judge Thursday ordered Nassar to serve his federal sentence — 20 years each for three counts — consecutively to state sentences, seemingly foreclosing any possibility he obtains an early release.

Olympians McKayla Maroney, Aly Raisman and Gabby Douglas are among those who have said Nassar assaulted them.

“He abused my trust, he abused my body and he left scars on my psyche that may never go away … He needs to be behind bars so he will never prey upon another child,” Maroney wrote in a statement to the judge before Thursday’s hearing.

Once one of the most respected sports physicians in the country specializing in treating gymnasts, Nassar’s swift downfall started last August, when a woman filed a police report alleging Nassar had assaulted her during a medical examination years prior, when she was a 15-year-old gymnast in Michigan seeking treatment for back pain.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 2:56 PM

Women sexually abused by senior rabbi speak out for first time

ISRAEL
Israel Hayom

November 30, 2017

By Emily Amrousi

Complainants against Safed Rabbi Ezra Sheinberg describe to Israel Hayom how he wielded his influence to have them perform sexual acts • Sheinberg pleaded guilty to eight counts of sexual offenses as part of a plea bargain inked in July.

Complainants against Safed Rabbi Ezra Sheinberg are speaking out for the first time.

Sheinberg, a prominent rabbi who previously headed a Jewish community and a network of yeshivas in the northern Israeli city pleaded guilty to eight counts of sexual offenses against eight separate women who had turned to Sheinberg for spiritual guidance, as part of a plea bargain signed in July.

Three of Sheinberg's victims spoke to Israel Hayom about how he used his influence to demand they perform sexual acts on themselves while speaking to him via video chat and later that they meet with him privately.

"The meetings slowly became more physical. In his home and at my home, when my husband was away," one of the victims said. "A medical issue that I had in my body went away, and I was convinced it was due to the 'treatments' he performed on me. It created a sort of dependency on my part. Every time, he would think of a new sickness I had, and I believed the illnesses went away because of him. He said that if I said anything about the 'relaxation treatments,' the blessing would not take effect, and something terrible would happen to my husband or my kids."

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 2:52 PM

Text of Catholic Church correspondence entered as evidence in Feit trial

EDINBURG (TX)
The Monitor

December 6, 2017

[Note: See also a PDF of the original Pawlicki letter and See also South Texas DA Refuses to Pursue Ex-Priest, by Brooks Egerton, Dallas Morning News, November 21, 2004.]

Editor’s Note: Below is the full text of the 1960 letter from Rev. Joseph Pawlicki to Rev. Lawrence Seidel regarding the investigation of then-Rev. John Feit’s role in the murder of Irene Garza. It was read to jurors in Feit’s trial on Tuesday.

Aug. 1, 1960

Father Seidel:

Last week I had the opportunity of speaking with the sheriff about the case. His observations are not only keen, and based upon much experience in such matters, but seem to be the course we should follow. I gave this same set of observations to Bishop Reicher, and he too is impressed with the saneness, and the practicality of the sheriff’s conclusion.

After outlining to the sheriff the many facts I had received from Father Nash, the Sheriff is of the opinion that the case is quite weak for the prosecution. He is also of the opinion that the prosecution must be made to see just how weak their case is, lest they go off half-cocked, and set the wheels into motion that would bring this out in public print, and give the opponents of the Church a field day. He is also of the opinion that the case would be tried here, and would not be judged on logic, but on the prejudices of the jury. There are also political implications to this that could make this a juicy scandal for the opposition to Kennedy, and last of all there are the Masons, whom the Bishop feels smell a chance to hurt the Church, just as the H.E.B. Baptists paid for the prosecution of the Priest in East Texas who was killed by the lad he befriended.

What to do about this? First, the Sheriff said that we should follow the idea of not hiring a lawyer, for the reasons given by Father Nash. Second, we should not put a detective on the case hired by us, since that would mean he would be snooping around, requestioning witnesses, and stirring up things again. However, he does feel that we should hire a person, something like a first class private detective who would be able to sit down with Father Nash and Father (Pastor of McAllen) to get all the information on this case. Then let him write it up and present it on paper in such a way as to highlight the loopholes that are so numerous in this case. Once this is done, arrange a meeting with the police chief of McAllen, the prosecuting attorney, and the sheriff, plus four priests. At this meeting the whole situation is brought out, and the prosecution will be able to see how strong this opposition is to their charges. They can also be brought to realize in a nice way that the Church will not take this sitting down.

The Sheriff does not want more than the number mentioned, and he thinks that this will quiet things considerably. Once this is done, then after three or four months, or even less if possible, have this young man transferred to another part of the country, as a normal obedience. He feels that everyone knows that priests are always being transferred around so this would not be strange. After some time in his new place, a year or two, then have him sent out to a foreign Mission. The reason for the first move is to get him out of the area of suspicion. If something happens, the officers at the area will always be suspicious of him.

The sheriff concludes that the longer time we have, the weaker the case gets, and so he suggested all the foregoing. He has much experience in such things, and I believe this is extremely wise. He also is a Catholic, and he also stands to lose materially by such a scandal here, in such a non Catholic area. I feel that he has rendered us an invaluable service. I submit these ideas after having consulted with Bishop Reicher, who is also in agreement with this course.

The Bishop wishes to see you, Father, at your convenience. Let me know if I can do anything in the future to help this thing along. Your worries are ours, since we fight the same Evil One who has concocted this thing in his ceaseless fight against the Church, and to stop the good being done by your wonderful Congregation. My prayers, and my Mass intentions are with you, Father, and I am sure our Priests will pray hard for a “special intention” mentioned as such to them.

Father J.F. Pawlicki, c.s.c.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 2:42 PM

Commentary: It's time for Muslims to talk about sexual misconduct among our Islamic preachers

DALLAS (TX)
The Dallas Morning News

December 7, 2017

By Shaheen Pasha

Activist Alia Salem had just finished watching the Oscar-winning film Spotlight, detailing sexual abuse in the Catholic Church, when she received a text message from a Muslim mother asking for help. Her daughter was in an inappropriate relationship with a Muslim clergy member from whom she had sought counseling. The clergyman had used his authority over the young woman to coerce her into a sexual relationship and the mother had no idea where to turn.

Salem said the young woman desperately needed an advocate to navigate the criminal act — in 17 states it is a felony for clergy members to have sex with anyone they are counseling — but couldn't find any organization within the U.S. Muslim community equipped to handle such issues.

"I considered it a moment of divine intervention," Salem said. "I saw patterns happening across the country, across communities. But in our Muslim community, there was no specific mechanism to call out such abuses, to investigate whether allegations were true, to prevent (the perpetrators) from going somewhere else and doing it again."

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 2:35 PM

Editorial: We all have responsibility in dealing with sexual abuse of girls and women

MADISON (WI)
Catholic Herald

December 7, 2017

By Mary C. Uhler

We’ve been hearing a lot about incidents of sexual abuse of girls and women this year.

It is a difficult subject to talk about, and I think many people want to avoid discussing it. However, I think we all have a responsibility to deal with this issue, especially in our own families.

My experiences as a child
Being a teacher, my mother was ahead of her time in discussing the dangers of sexual abuse with her children.

She warned us — when we were pretty young — to be cautious about any suspicious behaviors of boys and men. If someone tried to do something we didn’t like or think was appropriate, she asked us to tell her right away.

I remembered her warnings when a boy in our neighborhood tried to do something inappropriate with me. I told my mother, she talked with his mother, and that was the end of that kind of behavior.

When I was in seventh grade, a boy pulled me into a locker at school during recess and closed the door. I also told my mother about that, she talked with his mother, and that ended that behavior.

I don’t know why I didn’t tell my teacher about that incident, but it was perhaps because we hadn’t discussed what to do about that kind of behavior in our classroom.

A pope’s letter to women
Another person who was ahead of his time was St. John Paul II. In 1995, he wrote a letter to women of the world, still available on the Vatican website (http://w2.vatican.va/content/vatican/en.html). In that letter, he said, “Unfortunately, we are heirs to a history which has conditioned us to a remarkable extent. . . . Women’s dignity has often been unacknowledged and their prerogatives misrepresented; they have often been relegated to the margins of society and even reduced to servitude.”

When it comes to setting women free from every kind of exploitation and domination, St. John Paul II said, we have only to look to the attitude of Jesus Christ himself as revealed in the Gospels. “Transcending the established norms of his own culture, Jesus treated women with openness, respect, acceptance, and tenderness. In this way, he honored the dignity which women have always possessed according to God’s plan and in his love.”

In his letter, St. John Paul II addressed the topic of violence against women in the area of sexuality. “At the threshold of the Third Millennium, we cannot remain indifferent and resigned before this phenomenon,” he said. “The time has come to condemn vigorously the types of sexual violence which frequently have women for their object and to pass laws which effectively defend them from such violence.”

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 2:30 PM

Disgraced ex-Church of England bishop who was confidant of Prince Charles and jailed for sex abuse plans switch to Catholicism to 'live and worship in anonymity'

ENGLAND
Daily Mail

December 7, 2017

By Anthony Joseph

- Peter Ball, the former Bishop of Lewes and Gloucester who boasted of links to royalty, has asked to join the Roman Catholic Diocese of Clifton in Bristol
- His identical twin brother, Michael Ball, also sent an email to friends telling them
- Peter Ball was jailed for 32 months in October 2015 for offences in the 1970s
- Justin Welby commissioned a report into his actions after the sentencing

A disgraced former Church of England bishop, who was a confidant of Prince Charles and jailed for sex abuse plans, has converted to Catholicism to 'live and worship in anonymity'.

Peter Ball, the former Bishop of Lewes and Gloucester who boasted of links to royalty, has asked to join the Roman Catholic Diocese of Clifton, in Bristol, a spokesman for the Church confirmed.

His identical twin brother, the former bishop of Truro Michael Ball, also sent an email to friends telling them of the idea.

Peter Ball, now 85, was jailed for 32 months in October 2015 for offences dating back to the 1970s against 18 young men at his home in East Sussex.

The email sent yesterday morning said the pair would not be sending Christmas cards after recent events had 'totally wearied and reduced' them.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 2:26 PM

UK Catholic School Master Convicted Of Sex Abuse

LONDON (ENGLAND)
Agence France-Presse

December 7, 2017

A jury in London found him guilty of all charges. Soper, who faces about 10 years behind bars, is to be sentenced on December 19.

LONDON: A former master at a top British Catholic school was convicted Wednesday of raping and sexual abusing boys in crimes dating back to the 1970s.

Andrew Soper, 74, fled to Kosovo in 2011 to avoid prosecution over charges he molested boys at St Benedict's School in London.

He was extradited in 2016 to face 19 counts of indecent assault and buggery against 10 former pupils in the 1970s and 1980s.

A jury in London found him guilty of all charges. Soper, who faces about 10 years behind bars, is to be sentenced on December 19.

Prosecutor Gillian Etherton told the court how Soper's victims were subjected to sadistic beatings for "fake reasons".

They included kicking a football "in the wrong direction", "failing to use double margins", and "using the (wrong) staircase", leading to a caning and a sexual assault, she said.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 2:18 PM

Former USY Director Admits To Sexual Misconduct In The ’80s – Allegations Reported To Movement Years Ago

NEW YORK (NY)
The NY Jewish Week

December 6, 2017

By Gary Rosenblatt

Robert D. Fisher admitted to “improper behavior” with at least three USY teenage boys in his charge in the late 1980s.

The sleepover invitations seemed almost innocent, at least from the vantage point of the late 1980s.

At the time, Robert D. Fisher was the highly popular and charismatic leader of the Pacific Southwest Region of United Synagogue Youth, the Conservative movement’s youth arm. Two top youth leaders, David Benkof, then 18 and the international president of USY, and Ben (who asked that his full name not be used), then 16, were inspired by Fisher, and each — on separate occasions — took the older, single man up on his invitation to sleep over at his house in Los Angeles.

In a series of telephone and email interviews with The Jewish Week in recent days, Benkof, now 47, said, “He told me to sleep in his bed with him and even tried to shame me into undressing while he watched, saying ‘I’ve never known an international president to be shy.’” He did on one occasion but no physical contact took place, Benkof said.

About a year earlier, Ben, who was 16 at the time, had driven an hour from his home to Los Angeles to help plan a USY bus tour later that summer. He had slept over at Fisher’s house several other times — even in his bed, though he thought it was strange — without incident. One morning, though, Ben recounted to The Jewish Week, he woke up to find Fisher massaging his legs and slowly working his way up with his hands.

“I was on my stomach, and when he reached the top of my buttocks, I got very scared and froze, and then started to shake uncontrollably. Then he stopped.”

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 1:49 PM

Ex-teacher jailed for sex abuse

AUSTRALIA
Australian Associated Press

December 7, 2017

By Rick Goodman

A former Melbourne schoolteacher has been jailed for four years for sexually abusing boys in his care.

A former Melbourne schoolteacher who sexually abused schoolboys under his care decades ago could walk from jail in a year.

Vili Kovac, 85, raped a boy during a school camp while teaching at Marcellin College and abused another boy while working as an athletics coach at Xavier College.

The assaults occurred in the 1960s when the boys were aged 12 or 13 and attending the Catholic schools.

Kovac was on Thursday jailed for four years for buggery and indecent assault.

He denied the buggery charge, which went to trial during which the victim had to recount to a jury the school camp attack.

The rape occurred in a tent at night during a camp Kovac was supervising at Wilson's Promontory, the victim said.

"He described waking up to a hand over his mouth," Victorian County Court Judge Susan Cohen said.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 12:37 PM

Caldey Island: Victim's call to remove abuse monk's body

WALES
BBC News

December 7, 2017

A survivor of abuse perpetrated by a monk from Caldey Abbey has called for his body to be exhumed and removed from the island.

The woman, who was abused by Father Thaddeus Kotik in the 1970s and 80s, said she wants an inquiry to be held.

Charlotte said that she did not speak out about the abuse as a child because Kotik threatened her.

Caldey Abbey has previously apologised for not passing the reports of abuse on to police at the time.

Charlotte (not her real name) visited Caldey Island as a child until she moved to Australia when she was 11.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 11:43 AM

December 6, 2017

HISTORY STORIES: Step Into the Vatican’s Secret Archives

New York (NY)
History

December 6, 2017

By Erin Blakemore

Fifty-three miles of shelving. Thirty-five thousand volumes of catalogue. Twelve centuries worth of documents. Housed in one of the most iconic bastions of religion and culture ever, the Vatican’s Secret Archives are the stuff of historical legend—but their existence is absolutely real.

Just the name invokes the mystery and pageantry of the Catholic Church, and prompts the more imaginative to come up with sinister theories about what might lie within. The archives’ indexes are not public—and are only accessible to scholars once they are 75 years old—and they are housed in a fortress-like part of the Vatican.

The secretive nature of the Catholic Church and the potential trove within have fueled years of wild speculation about what was inside. Even today, conspiracy theories abound over its contents—like wacky speculation that the Vatican is hiding extraterrestrial beings inside.

In reality, however, the Vatican’s Secret Archives are not actually secret. The word “secret” comes from a misunderstanding of the Latin word “secretum,” or private. The archives were—and still are—designed to house the Holy See’s official paperwork along with correspondence and other information related to the Pope.

They also contain some of the Catholic Church’s most impressive treasures—documents that date back from the eighth century. But, until 1881, not even scholars of Christianity were permitted access to the archive. That’s when Pope Leo XIII, known as an intellectual who confronted the modernization of the late 19th century, opened the trove to researchers. These fascinating documents tell not just the story of the Church, but the rest of the world.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 5:00 PM

Reggio Calabria: Arcivescovo sospende sacerdote per pedofilia

ITALY
Notizie

December 6, 2017

By Giada Talamo

[Google Translate: Another priest who abused children. An archbishop has removed a priest for possession of child pornography and for sexual abuse]

Un altro prete che ha abusato dei bambini. Un arcivescovo ha allontanato un prete per possesso di materiale pedopornografico e per abuso sessuale

L’arcivescovo di Reggio Calabria, mons. Giuseppe Fiorini Morosini, ha sospeso un sacerdote che, nel ruolo di rappresentante di Dio, è don Carmelo Perrello, parroco della chiesa di San Gregorio, conseguentemente al fatto che al prete è stato notificato un decreto di perquisizione da parte della Procura della Repubblica per detenzione di materiale pedopornografico. Materiale in cui la visione era di bambini, che erano alla “mercé” di uomini adulti. Il don è indagato anche per rapporti sessuali con minorenni.

Pedofilia, la Chiesa

Il Credo cattolico ultimamente è visto sotto l’aspetto di una religione che deve mettere insieme dei pezzi, Una sorta di puzzel che non è del tutto chiara. Le IENE, trasmissione di punta di Mediaset, proprio per le ultime notizie sugli abusi perpetuati dai preti pedofili, ha messo in luce le ultime testimonianze dei chierichetti. Chierichetti, che sono stati allontanati dalla possibilità di fare un percorso nel pendere la tonaca clericale proprio perché si sono esposti ai media.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 4:57 PM

Witness: Catholic leaders feared Feit scandal could affect JFK’s bid for president

EDINBURG (TX)
San Antonio Express-News

December 5, 2017

By Aaron Nelsen

[Note: See also http://www.bishop-accountability.org/news3/2004_11_21_Egerton_StexasDA_John_Feit_8.htm]

EDINBURG — The Hidalgo County sheriff told Catholic Church officials in 1960 they should hire a private investigator to undermine the murder investigation of Father John Feit and thereby avoid a scandal that threatened to rock the presidential campaign of John F. Kennedy, a witness testified Tuesday.

Feit, now 85 and no longer a priest, is on trial for the murder of Irene Garza, a 25-year-old elementary school teacher and former beauty queen killed during Holy Week that year. He was 27 at the time and serving as a fill-in priest in the Rio Grande Valley.

An official letter dated Oct. 1, 1960, written by Father Joseph Pawlicki, pastor of a church in Georgetown near Austin, to Father Lawrence J. Seidel, provincial of the Oblates of Mary Immaculate Southern Province, urged church officials to avoid a public scandal.

“I believe I found some element in every paragraph that I found very unusual, that pointed to an attempt to cover this up, to minimize the circumstances … to make it go away,” testified Father Thomas Doyle, 73, a canon lawyer who has worked with survivors of priest sex abuse.

Doyle read the letter to the jury Tuesday.

Sheriff E.E. Vickers, a Catholic, suggested a private investigator might compel the district attorney to find a case against Feit weak, Pawlicki wrote.

Pawlicki also told Seidel that allowing the case to go before a jury would expose the church to its enemies, and threatened to become a political scandal possibly affecting Kennedy, who was running for president.

Kennedy would be the first Catholic elected to the nation’s highest office and was the target of anti-Catholic sentiment.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 4:55 PM

FORMER ABBOT LAURENCE SOPER CONVICTED OF SEXUALLY ABUSING BOYS AT CATHOLIC SCHOOL

ENGLAND
The Tablet

December 6, 2017

By Rose Gamble

'Soper abused his position as a teacher and as a priest to abuse children for his own sexual gratification'

The former Abbot of Ealing Abbey, Laurence Soper, has been convicted of abusing 10 boys at a Catholic-run school in the 1970s and 80s.

Andrew Soper, 74, was found guilty on Wednesday afternoon of 19 individual rape and sexual offences of offences after a trial at London’s Old Bailey.

Soper sexually abused 10 boys while he was a teacher at St Benedict’s School, Ealing. He would abuse them after hitting them with a cane, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said.

His first victim came forward in 2004, after Soper had left his role as Abbot and moved to the Benedictine headquarters in Rome. He was initially told by police there was insufficient evidence.

Soper was interviewed by appointment by Police at Heathrow airport in 2010, but he fled to Kosovo while on police bail in 2011.

He was arrested at Luton Airport in August 2016 after he was deported by the Kosovan authorities.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 4:53 PM

Judge Denies Motion for Mistrial in John Feit Murder Trial

EDINBURG (TX)
KRGV

December 6, 2017

[Note: See also http://www.bishop-accountability.org/news3/2004_11_21_Egerton_StexasDA_John_Feit_8.htm]

EDINBURG – The judge overseeing a 1960 murder case out of Hidalgo County issued his ruling on the defense’s request for a mistrial.

Judge Luis Singleterry denied the motion for a mistrial in the John Feit murder trial. He said trial proceedings are now set to continue today.

Feit is on trial for the murder of Irene Garza. Today marks day five of the trial.

CHANNEL 5 NEWS will continue to report the latest.

You read other reports about the trial and from people who knew the victim visit here.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 1:29 PM

The Latest from Day 5: Forensic pathologist expected to take stand in Feit trial

EDINBURG (TX)
The Monitor

December 6, 2017

By Lorenzo Zazueta-Castro

[Note: See also http://www.bishop-accountability.org/news3/2004_11_21_Egerton_StexasDA_John_Feit_8.htm]

EDINBURG — John Feit, a former priest, is accused of the 1960 murder of Irene Garza after she went to confession at McAllen’s Sacred Heart Catholic Church. Here is the latest from the trial:

Tuesday's proceedings were highlighted by expert testimony by a former monk and former priest.

Richard Sipe is a former Benedictine monk who has written books about Catholicism and the sexual abuses arising from the Catholic Church's requirements of celibacy.

Thomas Doyle was a Catholic priest in the Dominican Order. He co-authored "The Problem of Sexual Molestation by Roman Catholic Clergy" in 1986, alerting bishops of sexual abuse by clergy.

Each testified as experts in these fields to further drive the state’s argument that there was collusion between high-level church officials and authorities to keep the Garza case under wraps.

The day’s most damning testimony against Feit was that of Doyle, who read a letter he said was about "protecting the church." The letter, written by one church official to others, addressed how to best maneuver around the the Garza case before Feit was moved to a monastery in Missouri.

Today, the trial is set to begin with Hidalgo County's forensic pathologist, Norma Jean Farley.

Also expected to testify is Texas Ranger Rudy Jaramillo and another Texas Department of Public Safety lab technician.

It is possible that the state will rest its case today.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 1:25 PM

Judge Denies Defense Motion For Mistrial In John Feit Murder Trial

EDINBURG (TX)
710 KURV News Talk

December 6, 2017

By Zack Cantu

[Note: See also http://www.bishop-accountability.org/news3/2004_11_21_Egerton_StexasDA_John_Feit_8.htm]

The murder trial of former McAllen priest John Feit will continue. Judge Luis Singleterry this morning denied a defense motion for a mistrial, saying the mention of the word “polygraph” by a prosecution witness was not grounds to declare a mistrial. The parties had agreed that the polygraph tests given to John Feit after the murder of Irene Garza would not be mentioned in the trial. But under cross-examination by the defense yesterday afternoon, a prosecution witness made mention of those tests. The defense argued the witness acted in bad faith and harmed Feit’s right to a fair trial. Prosecutors argued against that and Judge Singleterry agreed, but also ordered that part of the testimony be stricken from the record. Jurors will return to the courtroom this hour for day five of trial testimony.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 1:23 PM

TIME PERSON OF THE YEAR 2017: THE SILENCE BREAKERS

UNITED STATES
TIME Magazine

December 6, 2017

By Stephanie Zackarek, Eliana Dockterman and Haley Sweetland Edwards
Photographs by Billy and Hells for TIME

Movie stars are supposedly nothing like you and me. They're svelte, glamorous, self-­possessed. They wear dresses we can't afford and live in houses we can only dream of. Yet it turns out that—in the most painful and personal ways—movie stars are more like you and me than we ever knew.

In 1997, just before Ashley Judd's career took off, she was invited to a meeting with Harvey Weinstein, head of the starmaking studio Miramax, at a Beverly Hills hotel. Astounded and offended by Weinstein's attempt to coerce her into bed, Judd managed to escape. But instead of keeping quiet about the kind of encounter that could easily shame a woman into silence, she began spreading the word.

"I started talking about Harvey the minute that it happened," Judd says in an interview with TIME. "Literally, I exited that hotel room at the Peninsula Hotel in 1997 and came straight downstairs to the lobby, where my dad was waiting for me, because he happened to be in Los Angeles from Kentucky, visiting me on the set. And he could tell by my face—to use his words—that something devastating had happened to me. I told him. I told everyone."

She recalls one screenwriter friend telling her that Weinstein's behavior was an open secret passed around on the whisper network that had been furrowing through Hollywood for years. It allowed for people to warn others to some degree, but there was no route to stop the abuse. "Were we supposed to call some fantasy attorney general of moviedom?" Judd asks. "There wasn't a place for us to report these experiences."

Finally, in October—when Judd went on the record about Weinstein's behavior in the New York Times, the first star to do so—the world listened. (Weinstein said he "never laid a glove" on Judd and denies having had nonconsensual sex with other accusers.)

When movie stars don't know where to go, what hope is there for the rest of us? What hope is there for the janitor who's being harassed by a co-worker but remains silent out of fear she'll lose the job she needs to support her children? For the administrative assistant who repeatedly fends off a superior who won't take no for an answer? For the hotel housekeeper who never knows, as she goes about replacing towels and cleaning toilets, if a guest is going to corner her in a room she can't escape?

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 11:59 AM

Time’s Person of the Year: ‘The Silence Breakers,’ for speaking out against sexual harassment

UNITED STATES
The Washington Post

December 6, 2017

By Lindsey Bever

Time magazine has named “The Silence Breakers” as its 2017 Person of the Year — the women (and some men) who came forward with stories of sexual harassment and assault, forcing a nationwide reckoning.

The magazine calls them “the voices that launched a movement.”

Among them: Actresses Ashley Judd and Rose McGowan, whose stunning accusations against Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein helped lead to his downfall; activist Tarana Burke, the creator of the #MeToo movement; and Alyssa Milano, the actress who amplified it.

“The galvanizing actions of the women on our cover … along with those of hundreds of others, and of many men as well, have unleashed one of the highest-velocity shifts in our culture since the 1960s,” Time’s editor in chief, Edward Felsenthal, said in a statement to “Today.”

These “silence breakers” have forced a national reckoning on sexual harassment.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 11:56 AM

As a Muslim woman, it’s my duty to speak out about the sexual abuse I survived as a child

LONDON (ENGLAND)
The Independent

December 6, 2017

We have talked about the abuse in the Roman Catholic Church for decades, now we Muslims need to talk about this on our own doorsteps. These men can’t hide behind their beards anymore

From the outside, this man appears to the world as someone who cares about women. He is the director of a Muslim charity whose aim it is to improve lives, but they don’t know how he destroyed mine.

Fleeting moments for him were the times he served me a life sentence. The day he imposed his perversion on me was my first sexual experience – he stole my own journey of discovery as a consenting adult. I was 13 years old.

When I was a kid I dreamed of being an archaeologist. I studied Hieroglyphics and dinosaurs in my spare time. I was so excited to see Jurassic Park, yet that darkened room was where he took my innocence from me. Images of dinosaurs now give me flashbacks. From then on every night he has climbed into bed behind me, cradling me, as I lay in terror.

After a career in child protection, my adult self sees his grooming efforts for what they were. I would bend down to pick up things he would drop on the floor. I’d arise to his groin in my face. He took his time with every brush, every touch.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 11:51 AM

Brouillard allegedly raped altar boy in Tumon church decades ago

GUAM
Pacific Daily News

December 6, 2017

By Steve Limtiaco

Former Guam priest Louis Brouillard allegedly raped an altar boy who was sleeping over at the rectory of the Tumon church in the late 1970s, according to a lawsuit filed Wednesday afternoon in the U.S. District Court of Guam.

The lawsuit, filed by a 49-year-old man with the initials “J.M.Q.” is the 146th lawsuit accusing someone affiliated with the Guam Catholic church of child sexual abuse. It’s the 91st lawsuit naming Brouillard as the abuser.

According to the lawsuit filed by J.M.Q, Brouillard asked the boy’s father for permission to have J.M.Q. and his brother spend the evening at the rectory so they would not be late to serve as altar boys at Mass the following morning.

“J.M.Q.'s father gave consent without the slightest of doubt, not realizing that he was sending J.M.Q. and his brother to be sexually abused by a predator disguised in the robes of the clergy,” the lawsuit states.

The lawsuit accuses Brouillard of walking around naked and fondling J.M.Q, and of raping J.M.Q. at the Tumon rectory.

J.M.Q. who was 10 or 11 years old at the time, also was a Boy Scout with the Barrigada troop and helped Brouillard as an altar boy at the Barrigada parish, the lawsuit states.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 11:49 AM

Inquiry into child sex abuse hears evidence from Somerset's Downside School today - live updates

ENGLAND
Somerset Live

December 6, 2017

By Claire Herbaux

Offenders targeted two schools: One in Somerset and one in North Yorkshire

An inquiry is looking into paedophilia at a Somerset school and evidence will be heard today.

The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) is examining the prevalence of paedophilia in the English Benedictine Congregation and failures in protecting young people.

This will focus on offenders that targeted children at two Roman Catholic schools, Ampleforth in North Yorkshire and Downside in Somerset , over the course of many decades.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 11:46 AM

SPIRITUAL LEADERS HEAR SOBERING WORD ABOUT CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE WITHIN CHURCH

BIRMINGHAM (AL)
The Alabama Baptist

December 6, 2017

By Michael J. Brooks

Research suggests at least 60 million Americans are survivors of sexual abuse.

Concerned churches must be proactive in protecting children in their care from predators.

That was the message of the MinistrySafe Conference held at Canaan Baptist Church, Bessemer, on Sept. 19. The event was jointly sponsored by the Alabama Baptist State Board of Missions (SBOM) and GuideStone Financial Resources.

Greg Love, an attorney and a minister, served as presenter at the conference. Love and his wife, Kimberlee Norris, are co-founders of MinistrySafe and Abuse Prevention Systems of Fort Worth, Texas.

An estimated 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 6 boys under age 18 will be sexually abused, Love said. As a place where children are invited and welcomed, churches often attract predators.

Abusers most often go where the barriers are the lowest, Love explained.

“The Church is welcoming and affirming,” he said, “and we’re overjoyed when new people come and volunteer to work with children and youth. The abuser tries to gain the trust of leaders or what I call the ‘gatekeepers.’ They convince us they’re helpful, trustworthy and kind. Then they proceed to gain the trust of our children. This is called ‘grooming,’ and it’s a significant mark of the abuser.”

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 11:44 AM

The Latest from Day 4: Judge to rule on motion for mistrial Wednesday

EDINBURG (TX)
The Monitor

December 5, 2017

By Lorenzo Zazueta-Castro

[Note: See also http://www.bishop-accountability.org/news3/2004_11_21_Egerton_StexasDA_John_Feit_8.htm]

EDINBURG — John Feit, a former priest, is accused of the 1960 murder of Irene Garza after she went to confession at McAllen’s Sacred Heart Catholic Church. Here is the latest from the trial:

3:09 p.m.

Following testimony from Thomas Doyle, an American Catholic priest, the state called another expert witness in the study of celibacy among Roman Catholic priests.

Richard Sipe, a former Benedictine monk, has written books about Catholicism and the sexual abuses arising from the Catholic Church's requirements of celibacy.

Sipe, who began collecting data in this field coincidentally the same year Irene Garza was killed, has written multiple books in this field and has had his research used most notably by the movie "Spotlight" — a 2015 film about the Catholic Church’s abuses in Boston.

The state established Sipe and Doyle as experts in these fields to argue that the church exhibited a pattern of concealing indiscretions by its priests.

The court recessed early for the day.

There is an issue the court will take up this afternoon related to the defense’s motion for a mistrial.

The defense claims that Sipes violated the agreement that he could only testify to evidence already entered into the record.

Because Sipes said "polygraph" during the defense’s cross-examination, the defense argued that this was in violation of what was agreed to by the court.

The state argues this was not brought up by prosecutors and that there was never a discussion of the results of Feit’s polygraph, thus no harm.

The judge is set to rule before testimony resumes tomorrow.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 11:42 AM

Photo Gallery: Day 4 of John Feit trial

EDINBURG (TX)
CBS 4 News

December 5, 2017

[Note: See also http://www.bishop-accountability.org/news3/2004_11_21_Egerton_StexasDA_John_Feit_8.htm]

Day four of the John Feit trial has ended with the defense asking for a mistrial motion.

After the last witness took the stand Tuesday, the defense asked the court for a mistrial regarding something that Richard Sipe said during his testimony.

The court ruled before Richard Sipe’s testimony that the state was limited to questioning Sipe only on admissible evidence. Sipe, a former priest who deals with mental health problems of priests and their sexuality, used his expertise to identify some red flags in Feit.

During his testimony, Sipe said the word “polygraph”—which was not admissible.

Feit’s defense attorney, Rene Flores, immediately asked for a mistrial.

Prosecutors say the action was a harmless error.

The court allowed the state to submit papers on the mistrial motion, but a decision will not be made until Wednesday morning.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 11:40 AM

Former monk testifies against ex-priest accused in beauty queen's 1960 slaying

EDINBURG (TX)
CBS/AP

December 5, 2017

[Note: See also http://www.bishop-accountability.org/news3/2004_11_21_Egerton_StexasDA_John_Feit_8.htm]

EDINBURG, Texas -- A former monk has testified that an ex-priest accused of killing a Texas woman in 1960 confessed to him three years after the killing. Dale Tacheny testified Monday in the murder trial of John Feit, now 85, who is accused of suffocating Irene Garza after she went to confession at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in McAllen.

An autopsy determined the teacher and former beauty queen was beaten, raped while unconscious and asphyxiated. "48 Hours" investigated the case in the 2014 episode, "The Last Confession."

While police had interviewed hundreds of people in connection with Garza's murder, Feit was their focus. He was the last person to see Garza. However, no charges were filed against Feit at the time. He eventually left McAllen, and the case went cold amid what many believed was a cover-up by the church.

Tacheny said Feit confessed to him in 1963, after the church sent Feit to a Missouri monastery where Tacheny worked. The former Trappist monk said Feit expressed no remorse during the confession.

Tacheny said he didn't initially report the crime because it "was not my place to make a judgment." The 88-year-old said he instead tried to counsel Feit to change his behavior toward women. But in 2002, Tacheny went to police in San Antonio and reported what Feit allegedly told him decades earlier.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 11:36 AM

Feit Defense Request Motion for Mistrial after Witness’s Testimony

EDINBURG (TX)
KRGV

December 5, 2017

[Note: See also http://www.bishop-accountability.org/news3/2004_11_21_Egerton_StexasDA_John_Feit_8.htm]

EDINBURG – After another busy day in court, jurors were dismissed early Tuesday in the John Feit murder trial.

The judge is considering a defense motion to declare a mistrial.

Two experts in Canon and Catholic Church law took the stand Tuesday. A statement from one of those experts prompted the mistrial request.

Before the request, jurors spent most of the day listening to testimony from the two church experts.

At the start of the day’s session, lead prosecutor Michael Garza said it’s a case of betrayal, murder and a cover-up.

One of the witnesses was an expert in church law and the other an expert on the sexual behavior of some Catholic priests.

Thomas Doyle is a priest who no longer conducts church ceremonies. He was given access to some of the church’s files regarding Feit.

The files included letters and memos that were exchanged between priests in the Rio Grande Valley shortly after Irene Garza was killed.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 11:33 AM

Royal Commission slams Catholic Church leaders

AUSTRALIA
The Standard

December 6, 2017

By Monique Patterson

A "catastrophic institutional failure" by the Catholic Church to take action on cases of sexual abuse led to more south-west children being abused, a royal commission has found.

The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Assault released a scathing report on Wednesday, which condemned the church’s Ballarat diocese leaders, who were responsible for parishes across the region.

“That harm could have been avoided if the church had acted in the interests of children rather than in its own interests,” the report said.

“It was only when there was a possibility that the sexual abuse of children by a priest would become widely known that any action was taken.

“Invariably, that action was to remove the priest from the community for a short period and then place him in another, more distant parish.

“Restrictions were not placed on priests and supervision was not given.”

The report said “commissioners heard that there was a tendency by clergy in the Diocese to treat complaints or allegations of child sexual abuse dismissively and in favour of the priest who was the subject of the allegation”.

The commission heard about abuse at a number of locations, including Mortlake and Warrnambool.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 11:31 AM

An update from Bishop Vincent Long about the Royal Commission

AUSTRALIA
Catholic Outlook

December 6, 2017

Dear friends,

Re: Royal Commission Update

The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse will shortly release its final findings on public hearings, and its recommendations, related to the Catholic Church in Australia.

These case studies included evidence around the pain and hurt that was inflicted upon victims of abuse by Church authorities, including Diocese of Parramatta personnel.

Once again, I apologise on behalf of the Catholic Church and the Diocese of Parramatta for the irreparable harm caused to people who were betrayed by clergy, religious and lay people who were entrusted to lead ministry in this Diocese. Our response and processes at the time were clearly inadequate. For these failings, I wish to express my profound sorrow.

Throughout the Royal Commission, the Diocese of Parramatta has strived to engage in their processes with openness, transparency and a commitment to learning about our history so that our child protection policies and procedures are strengthened and there is restored confidence in Church ministry.

As we await the final reports and recommendations to be handed down, I would like to remind you that should anyone wish to report abuse by Church personnel to the Diocese, or require support for the impact upon them from abuse by Church personnel, that they may contact the Office for Safeguarding & Professional Standards on 02 8838 3419 or safeguarding@parra.catholic.org.au. Any matter of a criminal nature should be reported to the NSW Police on 131 444.

For any media related questions, please direct them to Joseph Younes, Communications Director on 02 8838 3435 or jyounes@parra.catholic.org.au.

Yours sincerely in Christ,

Most Reverend Vincent Long Van Nguyen OFM Conv

Bishop of Parramatta

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 11:28 AM

Vindication for Ballarat survivors after release of report

AUSTRALIA
Bendigo Advertiser

December 6, 2017

By Siobhan Calafiore

Clergy sexual abuse survivors feel they have been heard in a report deeming Ballarat’s Catholic Church culture of cover-up as a catastrophic institutional failure.

Survivor Paul Levey, who features in the redacted report released on Wednesday, said there was a sense of vindication in having Australia’s most powerful legal body reinforce survivors’ stories.

The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse was scathing in its findings of the Congregation of Christian Brothers and the Catholic Diocese of Ballarat responses to abuse allegations.

Mr Levey lived at the presbytery in Mortlake after his parents separated in 1982, where he was subjected to daily sexual abuse at the hands of notorious paedophile Gerald Ridsdale.

“It has really put everything in black and white, what we all thought and what we all knew," he said of the report.

“Because it was pretty bad what the (church) hierarchy did with it, covering it up.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 11:27 AM

Ballarat diocese's 'catastrophic' failure led to more abuse, commission finds

VICTORIA (AUSTRALIA)
The Age

December 7, 2017

By Melissa Cunningham

A "catastrophic and inexcusable" failure by the Catholic Church in Ballarat to deal with paedophile priests led to scores of children being abused, a royal commission has found.​

The response within the diocese of Ballarat to abuse complaints spanning more than three decades was driven by a desire to avoid scandal and protect the church's reputation, the report by the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse found.

"That harm could have been avoided if the Church had acted in the interests of children rather than in its own interests," the commission said in a report released on Wednesday.

The findings, which come a day after a similarly damning report about the Melbourne archdiocese, said "there was a tendency by clergy in the diocese to treat complaints or allegations of child sexual abuse dismissively and in favour of the priest who was the subject of the allegation".

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 11:24 AM

Report gives Ballarat abuse survivors ‘ultimate confirmation’ of failures

AUSTRALIA
The New Daily

December 6, 2017

By Lucie Morris-Marr

Witnesses at the Ballarat hearings will never forget the testimony of brave adult men as they recalled the horrific abuse they suffered as children in Catholic schools, choirs and orphanages.

Many shook violently and sobbed as they recalled in fine detail the beatings, the psychological terror and the vile sexual attacks all endured at the hands of the supposedly good men of the cloth.

Many old school friends in the town had already taken their own lives, they said, due to the unbearable memories and sense of shame and confusion about what was inflicted in dark corners of classrooms of St Alipius primary school, presbytery bedrooms and confession boxes.

Some later drove their cars into trees when they were adults.

Others spiralled into despair and depression, tumbling down into fatal hell-holes of drug and alcohol abuse.

The men who gave evidence in May 2015 were the survivors.

But only just.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 11:23 AM

Inquiry found church failures led to abuse

AUSTRALIA
Sky News (AAP)

December 6, 2017

The Ballarat Catholic Church's catastrophic and inexcusable failures led to more children being sexually abused by its clergy, a royal commission has found.

The response within the Diocese of Ballarat to abuse complaints spanning at least three decades was driven by a desire to avoid scandal and protect the church's reputation, the commission said.

Priests were moved to another parish if allegations emerged where they often offended again.

The inexcusable failures led to more children being sexually abused by Catholic clergy in the diocese.

'That failure led to the suffering and often irreparable harm to children, their families and the wider community,' the commission said in its report released on Wednesday.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 11:17 AM

Catholic schools 'completely failed' to protect children, abuse inquiry finds

AUSTRALIA
Christian Today

December 6, 2017

By Harry Farley

A Catholic diocese in Australia is being accused on a 'catastrophic failure in leadership' in a damning report into its handling of child sex abuse by priests.

The Royal Commission into Institutional Child Sexual Abuse's latest report is based on public hearings held in the Diocese of Ballarat between 2015 and 2016. It accuses the diocese of a culture of secrecy and said 90 per cent of the abuse complaints related to seven priests with more than half linked to just one, Gerald Ridsdale, acording to ABC.

Ridsdale was given 16 appointments over 29 years across western Victoria, Australia, and the report said the complaints against him were 'remarkably and disturbingly similar'.

'Harm could have been avoided if the Church had acted in the interests of children,' the report said.

'That failure led to the suffering and often irreparable harm to children, their families and the wider community.'

The report focuses on schools run by the Christian Brothers religious order and one school in particular – St Alipius boys school – where four of the school's brothers and its chaplain, Gerald Risdale, were accused of sexually assaulting children.

The brothers' response to the accusations was 'grossly inadequate', the commissions said, adding they 'completely failed ... to protect the most vulnerable children in their care' and operatedin a structure 'without checks and balances'.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 11:12 AM

Catholic bishop cared little for children and left them in danger, royal commission finds

AUSTRALIA
The Guardian

December 5, 2017

By Melissa Davey

Ballarat’s Ronald Mulkearns knew or strongly suspected paedophile priest was sexually abusing children and did nothing, report says

Children were sexually abused over many decades by notorious paedophile priests within the diocese of Ballarat largely because the bishop at the time, Ronald Mulkearns, had little concern for children, deliberately left them in danger, and failed to investigate or report offenders to police.

This was a key finding from a report on Catholic church authorities in Ballarat published by the child sex abuse royal commission on Wednesday. The report is the result of public hearings held in three parts in 2015 and 2016 in Ballarat and Sydney.

The hearings examined the response of the congregation of Christian Brothers in the St Patrick’s province of Ballarat and the Catholic diocese of Ballarat to complaints and allegations of child sexual abuse by Christian brothers, clergy and other religious staff.

“There is no doubt from the many documents which are in evidence that, at various times, Bishop Mulkearns, the bishop of Ballarat, knew or strongly suspected that these priests had sexually abused children in the diocese,” the report said.

“His concern was overwhelmingly about protecting the reputation of the church and avoiding scandal. There was little evidence that he was concerned to protect children from these priests.”

Mulkearns died last year aged 85. He managed the diocese from 1971 and during a time when numerous notorious paedophiles, including Gerald Ridsdale, Robert Best and Edward Dowlan, were found to have been abusing children. Australia’s most notorious paedophile, Ridsdale, has been convicted of sexually abusing 65 children, although his victims are believed to run into the hundreds.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 11:09 AM

'Catastrophic failure' of Catholic Church leadership in Ballarat caused 'irreparable suffering': royal commission

AUSTRALIA
Australian Broadcasting Corporation

December 5, 2017

By Charlotte King

The Royal Commission into Institutional Child Sexual Abuse has released a damning report into the Catholic Diocese of Ballarat, describing its handling of clergy child sex abuse as a "catastrophic failure of leadership".

The commissioners found a culture of secrecy and failures in the church's structure led to children being abused across the diocese over a number of decades.

"That failure led to the suffering and often irreparable harm to children, their families and the wider community," the report stated.

"That harm could have been avoided if the Church had acted in the interests of children."

The royal commission report is based on three public hearings into Ballarat — the first case study to look at the affect of child sexual abuse on an entire town.

The hearings, held over 2015 and 2016 in Ballarat and Sydney, revealed in gruelling detail the extent of child sex abuse across parishes, schools and homes in the far-reaching diocese.

Ninety per cent of the 140 abuse complaints reported to the diocese related to seven priests, with more than half of those relating to one individual, the infamous paedophile Gerald Ridsdale.

More than 100 pages of the report were dedicated to his crimes across western Victoria, where he was given 16 appointments over a period of 29 years.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 11:07 AM

Royal Commission finds 'inexcusable failures' in Ballarat Catholic Church's treatment of abuse victims

VICTORIA (AUSTRALIA)
The Age

December 6, 2017

By Megan Neil and Brendan Wrigley

A "catastrophic institutional failure" by the Ballarat Catholic Church to take action on cases of sexual abuse led to more children being abused by its clergy, a royal commission has found.

The response within the diocese of Ballarat to abuse complaints spanning at least three decades was driven by a desire to avoid scandal and protect the church's reputation, the report by the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse found.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 11:02 AM

Archbishop accused of covering up child sex abuse for DECADES 'told an 8-year-old boy he was lying when he complained about being abused by a priest and that he should be ASHAMED of himself'

ADELAIDE (AUSTRALIA)
Australian Associated Press

December 6, 2017

- Adelaide Archbishop Philip Wilson is accused of covering up child sex abuse
- Wilson allegedly tried to prevent abuse claims from being reported to police
- He's accused of covering up abuse by now-dead pedophile priest James Fletcher

Adelaide Archbishop Philip Wilson has been accused of covering up child sex abuse by the Catholic clergy for nearly three decades.

Crown prosecutor Gareth Harrison told the Newcastle Local Court on Wednesday that Wilson had allegedly been involved in a number of cases where he had tried to prevent abuse claims being reported to police between 1976 and 2004 to protect the Catholic Church.

In his opening address on the first day of Wilson's trial where he is accused of concealing information about the abuse of an altar boy by now-dead pedophile priest James Fletcher in the NSW Hunter region, Mr Harrison said the evidence would show Wilson had failed to report widespread child abuse by the Catholic clergy and a teacher.

The prosecutor said Wilson had been a priest at a parish in 1976 when an altar boy came to him in the presbytery to reveal he had been sexually abused by Fletcher when he was 10 years old.

The altar boy claimed Wilson was shocked by the abuse claims and promised to look into it but nothing happened.

Mr Harrison said another altar boy, aged between eight and nine years old, went to see Wilson in the confessional box in late 1976 to complain about being abused by Fletcher but Wilson told the boy he was lying.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 10:58 AM

Archbishop accused of covering up child sexual abuse in landmark trial

AUSTRALIA
The Sydney Morning Herald

December 6, 2017

Joanne McCarthy

Archbishop Philip Wilson allegedly told a boy he "should be ashamed of himself for lying" and ordered him to "say 10 Hail Marys" after the child allegedly disclosed he had been sexually abused by Hunter priest Jim Fletcher, a landmark trial has heard.

Archbishop Wilson, then a junior Maitland-Newcastle priest, allegedly asked the boy "where he got the story from" and told him he did not believe him after the boy protested he was not making it up.

The court heard the boy allegedly told the then Father Philip Wilson during confession in 1976 that Father Fletcher "asked me to put my mouth on his penis, where you go to the toilet" while helping as an altar boy at an East Maitland Catholic church.

The boy was one of two alleged to have told Father Wilson in 1976 that they had been sexually abused by Fletcher.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 10:52 AM

Ballarat Catholic diocese catastrophic, abuse royal commission finds

AUSTRALIA
The Australian

December 6, 2017

By Tessa Akerman

The Royal Commission into Child Sex Abuse has slammed the leadership failings of the Catholic Diocese of Ballarat as “catastrophic”.

The commissioners said the failings led to “the suffering and often irreparable harm” to the child victims, their families and the wider community.

“That harm could have been avoided if the Church had acted in the interests of children rather than in its own interests,” they said in the report published today.

The inquiry into the vast diocese in western Victoria spanned from the late 1960s to the early 1990s and examined the conduct of Gerald Ridsdale, Australia’s most notorious paedophile priest.

The commission found Ridsdale admitted his offending to Bishop Ronald Mulkearns by late 1975 and the bishop, who died last year, knew Ridsdale’s conduct was known to Bendigo police.

“It follows that Bishop Mulkearns, knowing that Ridsdale had offended against children ... placed Ridsdale in another parish situation,” they said.

“It was inexcusably wrong for Bishop Mulkearns to have done so. It was an extraordinary failure for Bishop Mulkearns to appoint Ridsdale parish priest ... it showed complete disregard for the safety and welfare of children in the Parish of Bungaree.”

The commission also found Bishop Mulkearns’ further appointment of Ridsdale to Edenhope was “inexcusably wrong”.

Complaints were made about Ridsdale’s later offending at Mortlake to Father Brian Finnigan, who later became a Bishop, and told the inquiry he didn’t realise parents’ concerns regarding their children.

“Given the questions he asked of the parents, and the need to ‘confront’ Ridsdale, we are satisfied that he understood the complaints to be serious matters concerning an improper relationship that Ridsdale was having with the children,” the commission found.

Ridsdale was later moved to the Catholic Enquiry Centre in Sydney and the commission found the appointment was under the belief it would limit Ridsdale’s access to children.

“We are satisfied that Bishop Mulkearns’ overwhelming concern was to protect his Diocese and the Church from further scandal,” the commissioners said.

The commission also found a former Victorian Police Chief Superintendent offered Detective Denis Ryan a promotion if he discontinued his investigations into alleged paedophile Monsignor John Day in 1972.

Day died in 1978 without being charged.

The commissioners found Bishop Mulkearns, his vicar general Father Frank Madden and some teachers at Catholic schools in Mildura were aware of allegations concerning Monsignor Day by 1972 and then Father George Pell had heard gossip “about Monsignor Day’s sexual activity with children”.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 10:47 AM

Adelaide Archbishop ordered to stand trial over child sex abuse cover up charges

ADELAIDE (AUSTRALIA)
Ten Eyewitness News

December 6, 2017

The trial of the world’s most senior Catholic official to be charged over failing to report child sex abuse offences will go ahead, after a Newcastle magistrate deemed him fit to stand trial.

Philip Wilson, Archbishop of Adelaide, had his trial delayed last week after “acting on medical advice” not to travel, following pacemaker surgery and because of concerns over his cognitive capacity, according to his defence barrister.

Earlier last week the Archbishop was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, for which his defence team said he was taking medication which could take six months to work.

In a statement Archbishop Wilson said he hoped the prescribed medication would assist in slowing the progress of the disease and improving his current health.

“It is a present reality that much stigma is still associated with Alzheimer’s disease,” he said.

“An initial reaction by many people is to think that life is all but over, and that a person with such a diagnosis cannot continue to live a productive life and contribute to society.

“If a point comes in the next eight years before my mandatory retirement as Archbishop of Adelaide… and I am advised by my doctors that the effects of Alzheimer’s disease might be beginning to impair my ability to function properly as Archbishop, I will offer my resignation."

But after a one-week delay to his trial, the Newcastle Local Court heard evidence this morning from a South Australian neuropsychologist, who deemed him well enough to stand trial after examining the 67-year-old’s health.

Archbishop Wilson was charged in 2015 with failing to report child sex abuse allegations concerning another priest, dating back to the 1970s.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 10:45 AM

Adelaide Archbishop Philip Wilson faces magistrate-alone trial in Newcastle over alleged abuse cover-up

ADELAIDE (AUSTRALIA)
Australian Broadcasting Corporation

December 5, 2017

By Lucy Carter and Giselle Wakatama

Archbishop Philip Wilson has appeared in court in Newcastle on one count of covering up an indictable offence after being declared fit to stand trial.

He flew into Newcastle today from Adelaide for the magistrate-alone trial.

The 67-year-old is accused of covering up abuse by priest Jim Fletcher in the Hunter Valley in the 1970s.

The Adelaide Archbishop is the most senior Catholic in the world to be charged with this offence.

Last week, Archbishop Wilson's legal team told Newcastle Local Court their client had just had a pacemaker put in and had received an Alzheimer's diagnosis after a fall.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 10:42 AM

Defense Motions For A Mistrial In John Feit Murder Trial, Judge To Rule Wednesday Morning

EDINBURG (TX)
710 KURV News Talk

December 5, 2017

[Note: See also http://www.bishop-accountability.org/news3/2004_11_21_Egerton_StexasDA_John_Feit_8.htm]

Defense attorneys have filed a motion for a mistrial in the murder trial of former McAllen priest John Feit, claiming a prosecution witness violated an agreement to not mention the polygraph tests given to the defendant.

The polygraph mention came Tuesday afternoon as prosecutors were questioning Richard Sipe, a former monk who has written books about sexual abuse among Catholic priests. Judge Luis Singleterry dismissed the jury early and said he will rule on the mistrial motion prior to the start of the trial Wednesday morning.

Prosecutors spent the day showing how the Catholic Church often attempted to hide the actions of bad priests, and before Sipe, they called to the stand another author who has investigated and written about sexual abuse by priests.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 10:39 AM

December 5, 2017

UPDATE: Prosecution Witness Implies A Church Coverup Of The Murder Of Irene Garza

EDINBURG (TX)
710 KURV News Talk

December 5, 2017

[Note: See also http://www.bishop-accountability.org/news3/2004_11_21_Egerton_StexasDA_John_Feit_8.htm]

An expert prosecution witness has been testifying today about past efforts by the Catholic Church to hide the actions of bad priests. Hidalgo County prosecutors in the murder trial of former McAllen priest John Feit today called to the stand Thomas Doyle, who has investigated child sexual abuse by priests and written several books on the matter.

Doyle cited the church’s attempts to cover up crimes by troubled priests by entering into unofficial agreements with local law enforcers that would allow local church leaders to simply move the priest out of the parish in order to avoid tarnishing the image of the church.

Doyle testified he believed that’s what happened to cover up the murder of Irene Garza, believed to have been committed Easter weekend of 1960 by John Feit who was a visiting priest at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in McAllen. Jurors are hearing a fourth day of testimony today.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 4:50 PM

Girl's arm 'broken by nun who discovered abuse by priest'

SCOTLAND
STV News

December 5, 2017

Theresa Tolmie-McGrane described a catalogue of abuse at an orphanage in Lanark.

A young girl had her arm broken by a nun who had discovered the child was being sexually abused by a priest, an inquiry has heard.

Theresa Tolmie-McGrane told how she had hoped she would be protected when the nun walked in on the assault in 1970, when she was eight, but was instead called a "whore", grabbed and thrown towards a wall.

She said she was then given a "real hiding" by another nun and threatened with having her other arm broken if she told anybody what had happened.

Ms Tolmie-McGrane waived her right to anonymity at the Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry.

She recounted a catalogue of abuse during her 11 years at Smyllum Park orphanage in Lanark, South Lanarkshire, which closed in the 1980s.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 4:48 PM

Rep. John Conyers Jr. retires, ending a half-century in Congress

UNITED STATES
The Washington Post

December 5, 2017

By Elise Viebeck and David Weigel

Facing multiple allegations of sexual harassment, Rep. John Conyers Jr. (D-Mich.) resigned as Congress’s longest-serving member on Tuesday, becoming the first lawmaker to step down as Capitol Hill grapples with allegations of inappropriate behavior by lawmakers.

Conyers, who represented the Detroit area for 52 years, yielded to mounting pressure from Democratic leaders to step aside as a growing number of female former aides accused him of unwanted advances and mistreatment. He has denied wrongdoing.

From a hospital in Detroit, the 88-year-old congressman said he was “putting his retirement plans together” and endorsed his son John Conyers III to replace him. Another Conyers family member has already declared his intention to run for the seat, raising the specter of an intrafamily contest.

Asked about the harassment allegations, Conyers said his legacy “can’t be compromised or diminished in any way by what we’re going through now.”

“This, too, shall pass,” Conyers told a local radio station in an interview. “My legacy will continue through my children.”

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 4:45 PM

Assignment Record: Rev. Joseph Vincent Agostino, C.M.

UNITED STATES
BishopAccountability.org

Summary of Case: Joseph V. Agostino was ordained for the Congregation of the Mission (Vincentians) in 1983. With the exception of a year in the late 1980s at Immaculate Conception parish in Baltimore, Agostino spent two and a half decades at St. John the Baptist in Brooklyn. He was named pastor in 2000, a role he held until 2009.

In 2003 a man came forward to allege that he had been sexually abused by Agostino. The Vincentians and the diocese investigated, both determining that there was insufficient evidence to substantiate the man's claims. Agostino remained in ministry. In April 2009 the same man contacted the diocese, this time providing more detailed information about the alleged abuse, including that it occurred when he was a minor. Agostino was suspended pending the outcome of a new investigation. In September 2009 he was transferred to the Vincentians' Eastern Province headquarters where, according to a bio on his order's website in December 2017, "Fr. Joe has been assigned to various projects by the Superior General of the Congregation."

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 4:36 PM

Il prete, i presunti abusi e l'esilio forzato a Bronte Incredulità dei fedeli: «Predicava in modo netto»

ITALY
Meridio News

December 2, 2017

By Dario de Luca

[Google Translate: So much silence and words pronounced with the dropper. In Bronte , the day after Father Pio Guidolin's arrest , disbelief prevailed among the faithful . Many have been displaced by looking at the picture of the priest ended up in all the newspapers yesterday. Accused, by the magistrates of the prosecutor of Catania, to have carried out sexual abuse on some minors during the assignment in the church of Santa Croce in the district Sant'Agata Village . A period, that in the peripheral parish in the capital of Etna, with different shadows, including that on the economic management of funds. Elements that force the curia to move Guidolinin another location, and for the occasion the church Madonna del Riparo is located, right in Bronte.]

CRONACA – Dalle fine del 2016, e sino a qualche mese fa, il sacerdote accusato di abusi su minorenni era stato inviato dalla curia diocesana nella città del pistacchio. Dove i fedeli si dicono oggi «spiazzati» da quanto scoperchiato dai magistrati. Non diceva messe, soltanto qualche omelia: «Era pure bravo», raccontano

Tanto silenzio e parole pronunciate con il contagocce. A Bronte, il giorno dopo l'arresto di padre Pio Guidolin, tra i fedeli a prevalere è l'incredulità. In tanti sono rimasti spiazzati osservando la foto del sacerdote finita su tutti i giornali nella giornata di ieri. Accusato, dai magistrati della procura di Catania, di avere compiuto abusi sessuali su alcuni minorenni durante l'incarico nella chiesa Santa Croce nel quartiere Villaggio Sant'Agata. Un periodo, quello nella parrocchia periferica nel capoluogo etneo, con diverse ombre, compresa quella sulla gestione economica dei fondi. Elementi che costringono la curia a spostare Guidolin in altra sede, e per l'occasione viene individuata la chiesa Madonna del Riparo, proprio a Bronte. Il religioso arriva nella città del pistacchio a fine 2016 e ci rimane per diversi mesi del 2017.

«Non ha mai celebrato la messa, ma lo vedevo sull'altare», racconta a MeridioNews un fedele, che preferisce rimanere anonimo. Guidolin durante il suo esilio forzato a Bronte è stato affiancato nella chiesa guidata da padre Vincenzo Bonanno, con funzioni di assistente durante le celebrazioni religiose, senza occuparsi di somministrare i sacramenti. «Ha fatto qualche predica, ed era pure bravo. Con un linguaggio giovanile e netto», conclude il parrocchiano. Lungo le strade del centro pedemontano tutti si dicono spiazzati dal coinvolgimento dell'uomo in questa storia ma in pochi hanno davvero voglia di parlare. «È stato ospita a casa mia e non mi sarei mai immaginata una cosa del genere», aggiunge una donna.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 1:50 PM

CHURCH REVEALED FOR ALL ITS 'HYPOCRISY AND SELF-INTEREST, SAYS AUSTRALIAN ABUSE COUNCIL HEAD

AUSTRALIA
The Tablet

December 5, 2017

By Mark Brolly

'The damaged credibility of the Church because of the abuse scandal affects all Catholics'

Church revealed for all its 'hypocrisy and self-interest, says Australian abuse council head
Francis Sullivan, the chief executive of the Truth, Justice and Healing Council that was set up to coordinate the Catholic Church’s response to the Royal Commission into Child Sexual Abuse, has said the Church “has scandalised the faithful and those who rely on it as a moral compass and prudent guide”.

He made the statement in his regular blog, after speaking to the Australian bishops' plenary meeting in Sydney last week. The Royal Commission’s final report, to be delivered on 15 December, will make recommendations that aim to support and inform the Australian government, institutions and the general public in preventing and responding to child sexual abuse in institutional contexts.

In the blog Mr Sullivan said the Council was charged to operate for the "life of the Royal Commission". "That time is rapidly running out,” he said. “As part of our advisory role we will provide the church leadership with our own take on what these last five years have revealed and what the implications for the Church are contained within the Commission’s findings and recommendations.”

However, before the report is released he had a harsh message for bishops and religious leaders. They must commit he said to a future that is not characterised by a “business as usual” mentality. “They cannot fall prey to those reactionary interests within and without the Church who jump at any shadow and too quickly cast any public criticism of the Church as yet another shot across the bow of religious freedom,” he warned.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 1:03 PM

FORMER AMPLEFORTH HEADMASTER TRIED TO 'CONTROL' INVESTIGATION INTO CHILD SEX ABUSE, INQUIRY TOLD

ENGLAND
The Tablet

December 5, 2017

By Rose Gamble

Ampleforth did not have means, understanding or the 'basic willingness' to deal with child protection matters up until 2006, former social worker says

The national inquiry into child abuse has heard that police raised concerns that a former headmaster of Ampleforth college was “trying to control” an investigation into child sex abuse.

A north Yorkshire police detective asked if Father Leo Chamberlain, headmaster of the Catholic boarding school between 1992-2004, “interfered with the police investigation” by speaking to a victim of alleged abuse before informing the police.

These concerns were raised at the start of the second week of a hearing on the English Benedictine Congregation as part of the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA). The Catholic Church is one of 13 organisations being examined by the inquiry, which is led by Prof Alexis Jay.

The inquiry heard details of a report from a Detective Sergeant Harnett, who was involved in investigating allegations at Ampleforth in the 1990s. In the report, he said that Fr Chamberlain had had a telephone conversation with the parents of the alleged victim, after which it was confirmed that the child would not give an account when questioned.

Giving evidence via video link on Monday 4 December, Fr Chamberlain, who worked at the school for over 30 years, told the inquiry: “There was no skulduggery before I put him on the telephone.”

“My responsibility is precisely to tell the parents, he added. “It made no obstruction to any police investigation.”

Police concerns that he had attempted to control the investigation were “completely subjective,” he told the inquiry.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 1:02 PM

Melbourne archdiocese had culture of secrecy to protect Church interests, new report says

MELBOURNE (AUSTRALIA)
The Catholic Leader

December 5, 2017

By Mark Bowling

THE Archdiocese of Melbourne allowed paedophile priests to abuse scores of children, according to a report released by the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.

The report, which describes “a culture of secrecy” inside the Melbourne archdiocese, was released on December 5, just 10 days before the Commission’s final report is due to be handed down.

It found former Melbourne Archbishop Frank Little, who headed the archdiocese from 1974 until 1996, “sought to protect the archdiocese from scandal and liability and prioritised the interests of the Church over those of the victims”.

The Commission found Archbishop Little lied about the resignation of priests accused of child abuse, concealed ongoing financial assistance to some accused priests and moved others between parishes.

Sections of the Commission report that appear to deal with Cardinal George Pell who succeeded Archbishop Little as leader of Melbourne’s Catholics are redacted.

Cardinal Pell will face a four-week committal hearing next March as he fights sexual offence allegations. He denies the allegations.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 12:58 PM

Former Melbourne Catholic archbishop failed to protect kids: inquiry

MELBOURNE (AUSTRALIA)
Illawarra Mercury

December 5, 2017

A former Melbourne Catholic archbishop failed to protect children from a priest despite numerous complaints as he sought to avoid scandal to the church, a royal commission has found.

Archbishop Frank Little's inaction over Doveton priest Fr Peter Searson left children at risk of harm, including sexual harm, and had catastrophic human consequences, the child abuse royal commission said.

"We are satisfied that there was a prevailing culture within the Archdiocese, led by Archbishop Little, of dealing with complaints internally and confidentially to avoid scandal to the church," its report released on Tuesday said.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 12:56 PM

Damning report condemns former Archbishop for failing children

MELBOURNE (AUSTRALIA)
The New Daily

December 5, 2017

By Lucie Morris-Marr

Among the worst of it was a letter. It was dated August 20, 1984.

The Archbishop of Melbourne at the time, Frank Little, whose role would later be succeeded by the ambitious George Pell, wrote telling parishioners that he would not be investigating allegations of abuse by a priest as requested. He felt it was “improper”.

It was down to them to approach the priest, Father Peter Searson.

The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse has issued a damning final report into “case study 35” on the Archdiocese of Melbourne exposing the culture of secrecy and failures.

In particular they singled out Archbishop Little, who died in 2008, for “abjectly failing to protect the safety of children” and leaving them at risk of “catastrophic human consequences”.

“Complaints were dealt with in a way that sought to protect the Archdiocese from scandal and liability and prioritised the interests of the Church over those of the victims,” the royal commission report said

The report said Archbishop Little, who headed the Archdiocese from 1974 to 1996, dismissed or ignored serious allegations of child sexual abuse against a number of priests including Searson who terrorised children.

And despite the long list of allegations against Searson, Archbishop Little then appointed him in 1984 as the parish priest at Doveton where complaints continued to be made.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 12:54 PM

Melbourne Archdiocese put church interests first with catastrophic consequences: royal commission

MELBOURNE (AUSTRALIA)
Australian Broadcasting Corporation

December 5, 2017

By Nicole Asher

The former Melbourne Catholic Archbishop Frank Little led a culture of secrecy to protect the interests of the church ahead of abuse victims, the Royal Commission into Institutional Child Sexual Abuse has concluded.

A report released by the royal commission today details how Archbishop Little covered up abuse allegations and moved offending priests to other parishes, where they continued to offend.

The report follows public hearings last year, where the royal commission was told of abuse allegations against seven priests in the Melbourne Archdiocese, including Father Peter Searson.

Father Little moved Father Searson from the Sunbury Parish after a string of allegations in the decade to 1984, including accusations he raped a woman, and threatened a girl with a knife.

He was moved to Doveton Parish where he continued to be the subject of complaints.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 12:52 PM

Psychotic gun-wielding priest had free rein to abuse children and torture animals for years

MELBOURNE (AUSTRALIA)
International Business Times

December 5, 2017

By Ewan Palmer

- Report finds former Melbourne archbishop Thomas Francis Little "ignored" allegations against Father Peter Searson.
- Archbishop moved Searson from parish after string of sexual assault allegations against priest.
- Searson found to have pointed gun at children and killed bird with screwdriver in front of them.

The former Melbourne Catholic Archbishop has been heavily criticised for failing to act on allegations of rape, sexual misconduct and animal torture against priests in order to protect the Church from scandal, an inquiry has found.

Archbishop Thomas Francis Little, who headed the Archdiocese from 1974 to 1996, was found to have dismissed or ignored serious allegations against a number of priests, even moving some alleged abusers to other parishes where they continued to offend.

A report from the child sex abuse royal commission focussed on the allegations against one priest in particular, Father Peter Searson, in relation to his conduct in the parishes of Doveton and Sunbury.

Among the allegations that Archbishop Little ignored were that Searson had raped a woman in 1974, made a "sexual advance" to a child in the confessional, sexually assaulted several boys and girls, conducted sex education classes with students in his bedroom and heard how some parishioners would not allow their children to be alone with him.

As well as other concerns raised to Little about Searson's "unpleasant, strange, aggressive and violent" behaviour, there were also two instances in which he was said to have tortured animals in front of children, including stabbing a bird to death with a screwdriver, pointing a gun at some children and showing a dead body to some altar boys.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 12:50 PM

Melbourne Archbishop knew about ‘litany’ of child abuse and did nothing

MELBOURNE (AUSTRALIA)
AAP

December 5, 2017

By Megan Neil

A DAMNING new report reveals how this Archbishop protected a gun-toting Catholic priest at the cost of the children he and others continued to abuse.

A FORMER Melbourne archbishop repeatedly did nothing about a gun-toting priest and others who abused children as he sought to protect the Catholic Church from scandal, an inquiry has found.

Archbishop Frank Little led a culture of secrecy in the Melbourne archdiocese designed to hide child abuse complaints against several priests and protect the church’s reputation, the child abuse royal commission concluded.

Archbishop Little knew about a litany of allegations against Sunbury and Doveton parish priest Father Peter Searson ranging from child sexual abuse to complaints about his unpleasant, strange, aggressive and violent conduct.

He did nothing, even when Searson pointed a hand gun at two people, threatened a girl with a knife and showed altar boys a dead body in a coffin.

The archbishop dismissed serious and credible complaints, backing a priest he knew had allegedly raped a woman in 1974 over concerned parishioners and parents.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 12:48 PM

Melbourne Catholic archdiocese's inaction had 'catastrophic' consequences

MELBOURNE (AUSTRALIA)
The Guardian

December 5, 2017

By Melissa Davey

Royal commission finds former archbishop Thomas Francis Little ‘dismissed or ignored’ allegations of child sexual abuse

The failure of senior figures within the Catholic archdiocese of Melbourne, including the former archbishop Thomas Francis Little, to deal with serious allegations of child sexual abuse “demonstrates the catastrophic human consequences of inaction”, a report from the child sex abuse royal commission has found.

On Tuesday the commission released its findings from hearings held in Melbourne in 2015 and in Sydney last year about the response of Melbourne Catholic church authorities to allegations and complaints of child sexual abuse made against seven priests, and especially the abuse by Father Peter Searson.

Those hearings culminated in evidence from Cardinal George Pell, who gave evidence via video-link from the Vatican after his doctor declared him too unwell to fly to Australia to appear in person.

The commission’s report found that Little, who headed the archdiocese of Melbourne from 1974 to 1996, “dismissed or ignored serious allegations of child sexual abuse against a number of priests” and did not investigate or report them to police. The commission also found Little moved offending priests to other parishes where they continued to offend. Little died in 2008.

“We are satisfied that the evidence in the case study showed a prevailing culture of secrecy within the archdiocese, led by Archbishop Little, in relation to complaints,” the report found. “Complaints were dealt with in a way that sought to protect the archdiocese from scandal and liability and prioritised the interests of the church over those of the victims.”

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 12:45 PM

Why trust in the clergy is plummeting

ENGLAND
The Catholic Herald

December 4, 2017

By Fr. Alexander Lucie-Smith

And what we can do about it

A recent piece of research shows that trust in the clergy has declined markedly in recent years, as this magazine reports. Though the clergy are far more trusted than politicians and journalists, they lag behind nurses and doctors.

The survey should not come as a surprise to anyone, but one might like to give a little thought to why this is the case.

Once, the clergy were often the only highly educated men in their communities, and thus their words would have counted for much. Now, they are just one of many professions, one set among many qualified people.

Social change has led to a decline in clergy status, which would have happened anyway, but this has undoubtedly been accentuated by self-inflicted wounds, in particular, that of the child abuse scandal, and the attendant cover-up. This cannot be stressed enough: the scandal did grave damage to the credibility of the Church. Because priests and bishops lied to cover up the misdemeanours of some, this created the impression that all clergy were quite prepared to be less than truthful if it suited their own ends. The child abuse scandal gave credence to the charge of hypocrisy, which sounds the death knell of respect for the clergy.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 12:40 PM

Woman abused by Caldey Island monk tells of lasting impact

WALES
The Guardian

December 5, 2017

By Amanda Gearing and Steven Morris

‘Alice’ says she fled UK to escape the painful memories but would return to give evidence in any inquiry into abbey

A victim of a monk who abused girls on Caldey Island has described how she took drugs to numb the emotional pain and eventually fled the UK to escape the memories.

Alice – not her real name – told the Guardian her earliest memories were of the monk, Thaddeus Kotik, and how he lured her with sweets and pets into dens he had set up around the remote island off the Welsh coast.

She had planned not to return to the UK but now says she will come back to give evidence if an inquiry is called into the abuse she and other girls suffered and how it was covered up.

Caldey Abbey is at the centre of a growing scandal after the Guardian revealed a string of allegations against Kotik dating back to the 1970s and 80s. Kotik was a member of the Cistercian order of Benedictine monks and lived on the island from 1947 until his death in 1992.

Six women sued the abbey over the allegations against Kotik, and another six women and a man have come forward reporting that they, too, were abused by him.

It has also emerged that police are investigating a second man over accusations of sexual abuse on Caldey and that a convicted sex offender, Paul Ashton, who is wanted by police, hid there for seven years until 2011.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 12:37 PM

Dean of St Paul's calls for 'compromised' bishops to lose responsibility for safeguarding

ENGLAND
Christian Today

December 5, 2017

By Mark Woods

One of the Church of England's most senior clergy has called for a radical overhaul in how the Church deals with issues of safeguarding.

The Dean of St Paul's, Very Rev Dr David Ison, has spoken out in an article posted on Christian Today and Via Media following high-profile cases where survivors of abuse have revealed their deeply troubling treatment at the hands of Church authorities.

He called for 'robust structures and practices' aimed at stopping the abuse of vulnerable people by clergy, urging a change in the Church's culture to ensure particularly male pastors were enabled to understand issues of vulnerability. 'An inadequate pastor will be flattered or frightened, or assume that it's all about me, the pastor, rather than all about them, the person in need,' he said. 'If the pastor is also emotionally vulnerable, they can exploit the vulnerability of the person in need who is drawn to them – hence so much emotional and sexual abuse in the church and in other caring organisations.'

Controversially, Ison backed calls for the CofE to set up structures for safeguarding and discipline independent of the bishops, whose ministry he said was 'compromised' because they had to administer both pastoral care and discipline.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 12:25 PM

Detective says priest 'delayed' child sex abuse investigation

ENGLAND
Premier

December 5, 2017

By Cara Bentley

In an inquiry into child sexual abuse, a detective has said he didn't trust the Catholic head teacher at a boarding school.

Fr Leo Chamberlain was the head teacher of the Roman Catholic boarding school, Ampleforth College between 1992 and 2003.

He was questioned on Monday on whether he had interfered with the police's investigation into a case of child sexual abuse by speaking to one of the alleged victims at his school before the police did.

He said that he spoke to the parents of a boy, who were abroad, over the phone and that "the child didn't want to speak to anyone".

The independent inquiry heard from Father Chamberlain that the child did not wish to make a statement and that his parents "did not feel a prosecution would serve any beneficial purpose".

It was pointed out that he could be seen as controlling the investigation because he took the matter to social services and not to the police straight away.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 12:23 PM

Danny Masterson fired from Netflix's 'The Ranch' amid multiple sexual assault allegations

UNITED STATES
NBC11 Alive

December 5, 2017

By Sara M Moniuszko

Netflix fires Danny Masterson amid allegations

Actor Danny Masterson has been ousted from Netflix's The Ranch amid multiple sexual assault allegations, Netflix said in a statement to USA TODAY.

“As a result of ongoing discussions, Netflix and the producers have written Danny Masterson out of The Ranch," the statement read. "Yesterday was his last day on the show, and production will resume in early 2018 without him.”

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 12:19 PM

Cassock chasers and compromised clergy: A response to abuse in the Church

ENGLAND
Christian Today

December 5, 2017

By David Ison

Some recent blogging about sexual abuse and harassment in the Church of England has referred to 'cassock chasers'. When I read it, it was a phrase new to me; but finding out what it meant was a revelation, in two ways. It's not only that women are afraid to complain about male clergy harassment because they'll be dismissed as 'cassock chasers' - women who pursue priests and look for revenge when their feelings aren't reciprocated. But it's also that some male clergy actually do stereotype women in this way, similar to how many men inside as well as outside the Church may see women, not as people, but as sexual stereotypes – 'gels', 'slags', 'slappers' or worse, to be defined by men's desires and fears, not understood for who they really are.

Some will say, 'It's just a joke', the dishonest defence of bullies everywhere. But it isn't, is it? That the phrase even exists, that any cleric could think of a woman as a 'cassock-chaser', that any woman could fear being treated as one, is a symptom of how deep-rooted the problem of patriarchal control is in the Church of England. To call someone a 'cassock chaser' is no joke, but a shallow, stereotyped and sexualised male-centred response to a person's pastoral need.

There are many people we encounter in pastoral work who long for love, affection and intimacy. Some may respond to the loving pastoral care of a priest or other caring person by transferring their feelings to them, perhaps projecting onto them their image of an idealised partner.

A professional and caring pastor will handle those feelings carefully, and find ways to help the person concerned, even if because of the person's mental illness, or because of the transference taking place, they aren't able to help the person directly.

An inadequate pastor will be flattered or frightened, or assume that it's all about 'me the pastor' rather than all about them the person in need. If the pastor is also emotionally vulnerable, they can exploit the vulnerability of the person in need who is drawn to them – hence so much emotional and sexual abuse in the church and in other caring organisations. And so the need for robust pastoral structures and practice, proper supervision and the confessional, and for pastors – and men in particular – to know themselves well and be getting help for their own emotional issues. If you don't understand what transference and projection is, you shouldn't be in pastoral ministry – you and others will be at risk.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 12:16 PM

Baptist pastor accused of sex abuse

GUAM
The Guam Daily Post

December 5, 2017

By Kevin Kerrigan

A trial date has been set for a pastor at the Living Lighthouse Church who has been indicted on criminal sexual conduct charges involving a minor, who later "became suicidal."

Renato Capili Bosi, 57, was indicted on Oct. 27 on two counts of second-degree criminal sexual conduct as a first-degree felony, two counts of fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct as a misdemeanor and child abuse as a misdemeanor.

During a hearing yesterday morning at the Superior Court of Guam, Judge Vern Perez scheduled Bosi's trial for Jan. 16, 2018.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 12:14 PM

Lighthouse Baptist Church pastor charged with child abuse, criminal sexual conduct

GUAM
KUAM News

December 5, 2017

By Krystal Paco

"Pastors get tempted, too", these words reportedly from Renato Capili Bosi, better known as Pastor Raye of Lighthouse Baptist Church.

The 57-year-old man was arrested two months ago and faces multiple criminal sexual conduct and child abuse charges.

According to court documents, the alleged victim is a 14-year-old girl who stayed with the pastor when her mother was away and her father was sick.

The girl, reportedly telling police Bosi was "father figure" to her.

Though the alleged abuse started last year, the girl reportedly didn't tell her parents out of fear for their health.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 12:08 PM

Judge sets deadline for parties in church sex abuse cases

GUAM
KUAM News

December 5, 2017

By Krystal Paco

To date, close to 150 clergy sexual abuse lawsuits have been filed in the local and federal courts. While the majority have showed interest in settlement, there could be some dealbreakers ahead. The local court giving those uncertain parties a deadline to figure it out, or go to trial.

Will majority of the clergy sexual abuse lawsuits be settled out of court? That depends if parties can agree on pre-mediation protocol. The Court, during a status hearing on Tuesday, hoping to push parties along. Superior Court Judge Michael Bordallo said, "The reality is dates tend to get people to move."

That day is January 16.

By then you're committed to settlement or you prepare for trial. Church attorney John Terlaje reporting the majority appear to be agreeable to pre-mediation terms, saying, "About 95% of the cases are involved in this pre-mediation protocol."

The remaining plaintiffs, Terlaje reports, are the 11 represented by attorney Anthony Perez. Perez said, "It's not that we're not on board. It's just that we've been working on it for four months. We've had meetings in Hawaii. Meetings in Minnesota. Non-stop emails. And from three months or four months ago to today, nothing's been accomplished."

So, what appears to be the deal breaker? Terlaje said, "The biggest issue is if there's going to be an individual mediation or there's going to be a group mediation. If the one group stays out and doesn't want to do the mediation and they insist on individual mediation, so be it."

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 12:06 PM

Mediation in church sex abuse cases at a standstill

GUAM
Pacific News Center

December 5, 2017

By Jolene Toves

Parties involved in the sex abuse lawsuit against the Archdiocese of Agana are having difficulty agreeing on a mediation protocol.

Guam – Will the cases filed against the Archdiocese of Agana move forward with mediation? That is a question that remains unanswered.

After four months of meetings to determine what mediation protocol to utilize in the numerous sex abuse lawsuits filed against the archdiocese, it appears that no progress has been made, according to Attorney Anthony Perez.

While Attorney Patrick Civille, who represents the Boy Scouts of America which is also named simultaneously in cases involving retired priest Father Louis Brouillard, informed the court that 95 percent of the plaintiffs are in agreement, the remaining 5 percent represented by Perez are in disagreement, as some of the conditions they are proposing, according to Civille “don’t look like they are going to fly.”

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 12:03 PM

Sexual Abuse Happens In #ChurchToo — We’re Living Proof

UNITED STATES
The Huffington Post

December 4, 2017

By Hannah Paasch

And purity culture teaches women that it’s all their fault.

“Do I out my high school abuser?” she typed into the group chat on the night #ChurchToo was born. “Probably, huh?”

I knew the weight behind this seemingly nonchalant question. Years ago, when I first met Emily Joy, a college freshman at Moody Bible Institute, she was fresh off the evangelical assembly line. While still decidedly her own person, she had been indoctrinated with some views about holding hands with boys so strange that even my sheltered mind couldn’t quite wrap itself around them.

It took a few months of the late-night coffee dates and Bible school sleepovers that made up our budding friendship before she revealed her secret to me: that a church youth leader had groomed and manipulated her into a romantic relationship at the age of 16.

When the truth came to light, it was Emily who had been censured by her peers in the youth group, punished by her parents and generally ostracized from the cult of good reputation at her local megachurch. The last years of her teens were spent keeping to herself on the outskirts of the church and — thankfully for the world — writing a lot of angry poetry.

She told me of other victims who had suffered at the youth leader’s hands. Their names would echo through my head at the most inopportune moments: in the middle of chapel, in systematic theology class. The cognitive dissonance was jarring.

Recently, as allegation after allegation surfaced against powerful men in Washington and Hollywood, Emily and I realized that it was time to create space for survivors within the evangelical church and for those who have left its walls. So we launched #ChurchToo, a Twitter hashtag that quickly drew out widespread stories of sexual abuse and harassment. It was a reckoning.

For me, it was also the culmination of years of speaking out against and unlearning the strictures of evangelical purity culture.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 12:00 PM

Royal Commission delivers withering criticism of Melbourne Archdiocese

VICTORIA (AUSTRALIA)
The Age

December 5, 2017

By Cameron Houston and Chris Vedelago

The Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne has been found to have ignored, dismissed or covered up allegations of appalling child abuse by seven of its priests in a bid to protect the church's reputation and avoid scandal.

The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse delivered a withering assessment of the Archdiocese's handling of clerical abuse, with much of its opprobrium reserved for former Archbishop Frank Little who died in 2008.

"We are satisfied that the evidence in the case study showed a prevailing culture of secrecy within the Archdiocese, led by Archbishop Little," the royal commission found.

"Complaints were dealt with in a way that sought to protect the Archdiocese from scandal and liability and prioritised the interests of the Church over those of the victims."

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 11:56 AM

Photo Gallery: Day 3 of John Feit trial

EDINBURG (TX)
CBS 4 News

December 4, 2017

[Note: See also http://www.bishop-accountability.org/news3/2004_11_21_Egerton_StexasDA_John_Feit_8.htm]

Key witnesses took the stand on the third day of the John Feit murder trial.
John Feit is a former priest accused of killing a McAllen school teacher in 1960.

Eighty-eight-year-old Dale Tacheny gave an emotional testimony Monday as he went into detail about Feit’s alleged confession of Irene Garza. Tacheny said Feit confessed to the murder while they were both at a monastery in San Antonio.

Tacheny says he didn’t tell anyone of Feit’s alleged confession because, as a monk, it was not his place to judge—only to figure out what to do. Tacheny went on to say after some time, the monastery concluded Feit was not fit to live there, and sent him away.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 11:53 AM

Feit allegedly confessed to murder in 1963, saying victim told him ‘I cannot breathe’

EDINBURG (TX)
San Antonio Express-News

December 4, 2017

By Aaron Nelsen

[Note: See also http://www.bishop-accountability.org/news3/2004_11_21_Egerton_StexasDA_John_Feit_8.htm]

EDINBURG — John Feit confided that he had gotten away with murder, Dale Tacheny said Monday on the stand in Feit’s murder trial.

Feit showed little remorse, Tacheny testified Monday, yet the troubled priest confessed in 1963 that he was still haunted by the sound of the heels of Irene Garza, a former beauty queen he is accused of killing in 1960. Tacheny was a Trappist monk at Assumption Abbey, a monastery in Ava, Missouri, when Feit was sent there. Tacheny left the monastery in 1967.

“He put the young lady in a bathtub,” the 88-year-old Tacheny testified. “As he was leaving, the young lady said ‘I cannot breathe, I cannot breathe.’ Then he left.”

Feit attacked Garza in the church rectory, fondled her, then stored her in the basement while he went next door to Sacred Heart Catholic Church in McAllen to offer the sacrament of confession, Tacheny said.

Feit took a break to transport Garza to the pastoral house, a hotel in San Juan where he stayed, leaving her in a bathtub before returning to the church to again offer confession. When he returned the next day, Garza was dead, Feit allegedly confessed to Tacheny.

“I asked him, ‘Do you feel bad about any of these things, do you feel remorse, do you feel guilt?’” Tacheny said. “He said, ‘No, I get anxious when I hear … heels on a hard concrete, hard floor,’” Tacheny testified, rapping his knuckles on the witness stand for emphasis.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 11:48 AM

December 4, 2017

Disturbing Evidence Piles Up Against Accused Murderer Feit

EDINBURG (TX)
Court House News

December 4, 2017

By Erik De La Garza

EDINBURG, Texas (CN) – A South Texas beauty queen struggled to understand why a new Catholic priest kept pulling her from the confessional days before she vanished on Easter weekend 1960, testimony in John Feit’s murder trial revealed Friday.

The 85-year-old former priest is on trial in Hidalgo County for the murder of Irene Garza, whose partially decomposed body was found in a canal five days after she was last seen alive, going to confession at Sacred Heart Church. Feit was the prime suspect in the McAllen schoolteacher’s rape and murder but was not charged until February 2016 after the election of a new district attorney, who said “new facts and evidence” had been uncovered.

Hidalgo County prosecutors breezed through seven witnesses on the second day of trial, where jurors saw articles of Garza’s clothing, including her shoe, purse and floral-colored skirt. A McAllen Police Department evidence technician spent the morning unsealing what was left of the items Garza wore on the night she went missing over a “running objection” from defense attorneys.

Feit briefly closed his eyes as Assistant District Attorney Michael Garza held up Irene’s petticoat, more than half a century after Feit sat in the same courtroom for the attack on another South Texas woman, 20-year-old college student Maria America Guerra. He pleaded no contest in 1962 to a reduced charge of aggravated assault in that case and was fined $500, but faced no jail time.

Guerra is slated to testify as a prosecution witness.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 4:35 PM

Charlie Rose reportedly 'doesn't seem to fully get' the severity of his sexual misconduct

UNITED STATES
AOL

December 4, 2017

Despite being ousted from "CBS This Morning" for alleged sexual misconduct, Charlie Rose doesn't appear to be worried about his future.

Sources close to the 75-year-old news veteran told Page Six that "it hasn't quite hit him yet" that his career is likely over after a handful of women came forward with allegations that he sexually harassed them over the years.

"He doesn't seem to fully get that what he's done is wrong and that he likely won't recover from this," a source told the outlet.

The reveal comes a week after Rose told paparazzi that his actions were "not wrongdoings."

Not only that, but it also appears as though he's been able to go on about his normal life outside of work despite the reveal about his past. According to Page Six, the television personality has been eating at his usual jaunt, the upscale Upper East Side eatery Le Bilboquet, where he was spotted "dining solo."

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 4:34 PM

Two New Books Reveal the Dark Heart of the Francis Papacy: Sex Abuse

UNITED STATES
The Open Tabernacle

December 4, 2017

By Betty Clermont

Emiliano Fittipaldi’s Lussuria. Peccati scandali e tradimenti di una Chiesa fatta di uomini (Lust. Sins, Scandals, and Betrayal of a Church Made of Men) chronicles Pope Francis’ personal involvement in the global sex abuse of children.

Gianluigi Nuzzi’s Peccato Originale (Original Sin) recounts how Pope Francis was personally informed of alleged sex abuse of minors in the Vatican’s preseminary where boys aspiring to become priests serve as altar boys for papal Masses in St. Peter’s Basilica. The pope did nothing to stop it.

From the beginning

Fittipaldi relates how, a month after his election in March 2013, Pope Francis appointed a council of eight cardinals to help him govern the Church. Three had protected and covered-up for pedophile priests.

Honduran Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga is the pope’s close friend and he named Rodriguez Maradiaga as coordinator of the group. “Maradiaga had protected a pedophile priest from Costa Rica, a fugitive from Interpol, who was found in bed with an eight-year-old child by her mother,” according to Fittipaldi.

Prior to his selection by the new pope, Australian Cardinal George Pell had made national headlines for years. He was called a “sociopath” by relatives of children sexually abused by priests for his callous and combative treatment of the survivors and their families. When John Ellis, a former altar boy, sued Pell and the Sydney archdiocese, Pell “instructed his lawyers to crush this victim.”

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 4:31 PM

More than the Billy Graham rule: What faith groups can offer to the sexual assault debate

SALT LAKE CITY (UT)
Deseret News

December 4, 2017

By Kelsey Dallas

SALT LAKE CITY — The recent onslaught of sexual assault allegations has left few industries untouched. Hollywood producers, politicians, celebrities, Silicon Valley insiders and journalists have been outed as abusers, prompting a depressing question: Who's next?

"We're in a time of reckoning," said Dan Darling, vice president for communications for the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention.

This reckoning is playing out in mostly secular settings, but it's centered on moral and spiritual concerns. Religious leaders have a role to play in ongoing conversations about sex and power, said Charlie Camosy, an associate professor of ethics at Fordham University.

"We're at this cultural moment where we don't quite know what to do," he said. "It would be odd to not have all hands on deck to try to rethink our sexual culture."

Yet, for the most part, faith has been relegated to a small role in initial efforts to improve professional ethics, serving as a resource in the search for ways to reduce temptation.

Fearing accusations of creating unsafe work environments, some business leaders have proposed limiting one-on-one meetings between men and women, like a famed evangelist before them. The "Billy Graham rule" instructs men to refrain from spending time alone with women to whom they aren't married, and it's famously observed by Vice President Mike Pence.

"I think a lot of Christians and people in public leadership support some version of the Billy Graham rule because it's clear. It provides clarity in situations where the boundaries aren't always clear," said Katelyn Beaty, an evangelical Christian writer. However, this clarity often comes at the expense of career advancement opportunities for professional women.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 4:28 PM

Child sex abuse inquiry: Priest 'tried to control' investigation

UNITED KINGDOM
BBC News

December 4, 2017

Police raised concerns that the head of a Roman Catholic boarding school tried to "control" a child sex abuse investigation, an inquiry has heard.

A former North Yorkshire detective said officers were "excluded" from inquiries at Ampleforth College in 1995 and 2002.

But former head teacher Father Leo Chamberlain denied influencing a boy's parents during a phone call in 1995.

He told the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse there had been "no skulduggery".

The Catholic Church is one of 13 public organisations being scrutinised by the inquiry, which is being headed by Prof Alexis Jay.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 4:26 PM

He used holy oil to abuse children, pedophile priest arrested in Sicily

CATANIA - SICILY (ITALY)
La Stampa

December 1, 2017

By Fabio Albanese, Translated by Anna Martinelli

One of the minors who refused and reported everything was isolated from the community of faithful, very devoted to the priest

For at least three years a priest who worked in the parish of a working-class district of Villaggio Sant’Agata, on the southern outskirts of Catania, would have abused children who were entrusted to him. Not only he would frighten those who did not want to undergo his “rites”, carried out with a great deal of holy oil. The Carabinieri (one of Italy’s police corps e.d.) arrested him this morning: Padre Pio Guidolin is accused of aggravated sexual violence against minors.

According to investigations, the priest, who for some time had already been subject to precautionary measures by the Curia of Catania, exploited his role and, “took advantage of the particularly fragile situation of several children (under 14 years of age), with challenging backgrounds, by forcing them to undergo and perform sexual acts, as he rubbed them with holy oil (removed from the premises of the Church), claiming his acts had a spiritual sense that could “purify them” and take “their sufferings” away .

The investigation found that one of the children had refused to submit to these “rites” and revealed the abuses but, for this reason he was isolated from the community of the faithful, very devoted to the priest. But it gets worse: when the rumors turned into solid suspicions, and some parents were ready to denounce, Father Pio would in order to stop them, boasted ties within the mafia, as a way to intimidate them and have them back down. One of the parents, however, was denounced for personal aiding and abetting because, after his son was heard by investigators, he had informed the priest about the investigation.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 4:23 PM

Catania, cospargeva i ragazzini con l'“olio santo” e poi li violentava: arrestato padre Pio Guidolin

ITALY
La Sicilia

December 1, 2017

[Google Translate: The carabinieri led him to prison. Various sexual abuses against children under 14 are contested. And those who rebelled were isolated from the religious community and threatened those who wanted to denounce him to have the Mafia intervene. One of the parents investigated for personal aid: when the son was questioned he warned the religious]

I carabinieri lo hanno condotto in carcere. Gli sono contestati diversi abusi sessuali su minori di 14 anni. E chi si ribellava era isolato dalla comunità religiosa e minacciava chi voleva denunciarlo di far intervenire la mafia. Uno dei genitori indagato per favoreggiamento personale: quando il figlio è stato interrogato lui ha avvertito il religioso

I carabinieri di Catania, su ordine del gip del Tribunale di Catania e su delega della Procura etnea, hanno arrestato un sacerdote, padre Pio Guidolin, per violenza sessuale aggravata su minori. Le indagini hanno infatti consentito di accertare che, sin dal 2014, il sacerdote, sfruttando il suo ruolo e profittando della condizione di particolare fragilità aveva costretto diversi ragazzini, minori di 14 anni, a subire e compiere atti sessuali, cospargendoli prima con l’olio santo che prelevava dai locali della chiesa, ammantando così i suoi gesti come “atti purificatori”.

E quando uno dei ragazzini aveva opposto resistenza rispetto alle azioni del sacerdote, rivelando gli abusi subiti negli anni, quest’ultimo era stato isolato dalla comunità di fedeli ed accusato di calunnia nei confronti del religioso.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 4:19 PM

"Abusi su bambini in difficoltà", arrestato un prete a Catania

ITALY
Rai News

December 1, 2017

[Google Translate: A priest accused of pedophilia was arrested in Catania. Father Pio Guidolin, until now responsible for the parish of Santa Croce in the Villaggio San'Agata in Catania, according to the carabinieri, is responsible for sexual violence against minors. The investigations revealed that he was abusing young and forced them to perform sexual acts, after having them sprinkled with holy oil taken from the Church, thus presenting to the victims their relationships as "purifying acts", able to soothe their inner sufferings.]

A coprire le azioni del sacerdote anche alcuni genitori dei ragazzi che hanno provato a insabbiare le accuse

Arrestato a Catania un sacerdote accusato di pedofilia. Padre Pio Guidolin, finora responsabile della parrocchia Santa Croce al Villaggio San'Agata a Catania, secondo i carabinieri è responsabile di violenza sessuale su minori. Dalle indagini è emerso che abusava di giovanissimi e li costringeva a compiere atti sessuali, dopo averli cosparsi con l'olio santo prelevato dalla Chiesa, presentando così alle vittime i loro rapporti quali "atti purificatori", in grado di lenire le loro sofferenze interiori.

Guidolin che esercitava la funzione di sacerdote in periferia a Catania, avrebbe abusato di ragazzini minori di 14 anni, provati da vicende personali che li avevano turbati, approfittando della loro condizione di particolare fragilità. Quando uno dei minori aveva opposto resistenza e aveva rivelato gli abusi subiti negli anni, era stato isolato dalla comunità di fedeli ed accusato di calunniare il prete.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 4:15 PM

Stressed clergy put faith in the power of unions

LONDON (ENGLAND)
The Times

December 4, 2017

By Kaya Burgess

Priests and rabbis left psychologically bruised by their congregations are seeking outside help for counselling and advice on grievances.

Spurred by concerns over internal disciplinary procedures, religious leaders have been seeking guidance not only from God but from trade unions too.

The Unite union has had a surge in ministers joining its faith workers division in the past year. Almost 1,500, including priests, rabbis and a few imams, are members, a rise of almost 200, or 16 per cent, on the year before.

Clerics are unionising although many, including Church of England priests, have no rights under employment law. Priests are “office-holders” rather than employees and cannot have grievances heard by an employment tribunal.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 4:12 PM

Ex-church choirmaster jailed for child sex abuse

LEICESTER (ENGLAND)
BBC News

December 4, 2017

A former church choirmaster has been jailed for sexually abusing three boys in the 1970s and 1980s.

Robert Kalton, 82, sexually assaulted the children while he was working at a church in Leicestershire and Wiltshire, Leicestershire Police said.

He had moved to live in Portugal after the attacks and was arrested in 2013.

Kalton, of no fixed address, was found guilty of 15 child sex abuse offences at Leicester Crown Court and sentenced to nine years in prison.

He was also put on the sex offenders register for life.

Police said the victims were sexually abused at a church in Melton Mowbray and Trowbridge.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 4:10 PM

Maryville College sociology professor sees impact of culture in recent sexual harassment revelations

MARYVILLE (TN)
The Daily Times

December 4, 2017

By Amy Beth Miller

Over the past two months, dozens of men in powerful positions in entertainment and politics have faced public allegations of sexual misconduct.

The conduct isn’t new, but the response is.

“This has been going on for literally centuries,” said Dr. Tricia Bruce, an associate professor of sociology at Maryville College.

Public allegations against Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein, starting in early October, provided a tipping point and motivated other women to tell their stories, Bruce noted.

Since then, dozens more men have been accused of misconduct, most recently NBC anchor Matt Lauer and longtime public radio host Garrison Keillor.

Bruce sees similarities with the child abuse scandal that rocked the Catholic church, affecting so many families either directly or indirectly.

Posts on social media with “#metoo” gave a glimpse at how widespread sexual harassment has been.

Bruce’s first book, “Faithful Revolution: How Voice of the Faithful Is Changing the Church,” published in 2011, is about the lay movement that started in response to that crisis within the church.

Like the child abuse within the church that came out in the early 2000s, often decades after the fact, today women are feeling safer to talk about past harassment.

“The behavior itself is not new,” Bruce said. “The question is why are people talking about it now, why is there accountability for it now.”

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 12:54 PM

Ireland’s first healing circle for stressed out Catholic priests

IRELAND
Irish Central

December 04, 2017

By Nick Bramhill

Organizers of Ireland's first-ever healing circle for priests suffering from anxiety and stress have said more therapy sessions are likely to be held across the country from early next year.

At least 10 priests from the Munster region attended an initial group therapy session in Parish Center in Ovens, Co. Cork on Tuesday, November 28.

But the Association of Catholic Priests (ACP), which organized the workshop, said the event could be "the first of many,” provided there is a strong demand from members of the clergy.

Father Tim Hazelwood, a spokesman for the 1,000-strong priests' group, said the purpose of the sessions was to provide support to innocent churchmen who have been negatively affected by the abuse scandals in the Catholic Church.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 12:47 PM

Maine’s Catholic bishop shocks parishioners with details of priest’s affair with employee

PORTLAND (ME)
Portland Press Herald

December 3, 2017

By Kelley Bouchard

Bishop Robert Deeley informs church members in Cape Elizabeth, Scarborough and South Portland that retired Monsignor Michael Henchal is living with a former church administrator.

Bishop Robert Deeley personally delivered shocking news over the weekend to Roman Catholic church members in Cape Elizabeth, Scarborough and South Portland, telling them that their longtime former pastor and a former parish administrator had started a relationship before he retired in July and are now living together.

Formerly a high-ranking official in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland, Monsignor Michael Henchal had been pastor of St. Bartholomew Parish in Cape Elizabeth since 1997. As the diocese consolidated parishes in response to dwindling numbers of priests and active members, he took on additional duties as pastor of St. Maximilian Kolbe Parish in Scarborough in 2006 and St. John and Holy Cross parishes in South Portland in 2008.

Deeley spoke at the start of seven services Saturday through Sunday, sometimes racing from one church to another to accommodate the Mass schedule and staying to celebrate the Eucharist with congregants when possible.

Reading from a prepared statement at the 9 a.m. Mass at St. Bart’s on Sunday, Deeley said that shortly after Monsignor Paul Stefanko took over as the new pastor of the cluster of churches, “a serious matter was brought to his attention” and he “immediately informed me.” Deeley said he was aware of “many stories and rumors circulating” about Henchal and that he was “here to share the facts as I know them.”

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 12:45 PM

Judge limits defendants' disclosure of clergy sex abuse accusers' identities

GUAM
Pacific Daily News

December 4, 2017

By Haidee V Eugenio

U.S. District Court Chief Judge Frances Tydingco-Gatewood ordered attorneys for the defendants in dozens of clergy sex abuse lawsuits to limit their disclosure of the true names of accusers who are identified only by their initials in court documents.

In a Nov. 30 blanket order in at least 101 clergy sex abuse cases, the chief judge said defendants' attorneys shall not disclose plaintiffs' true names "until that person has certified in writing that the person is either an insurer or an investigator for the defendants or their counsel and further assures that the true names shall not be disclosed to any other person."

Among the defendants in the cases are the Archdiocese of Agana, Boy Scouts of America, priests, other clergy, and others associated with the Catholic Church of Guam.

Initially, the chief judge ordered plaintiffs' attorneys to disclose the true names of the plaintiffs, to defendants' attorneys.

She also initially ordered plaintiffs' attorneys to file, along with any complaint not yet filed, a statement with the true name of the plaintiff, under seal.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 12:35 PM

18 ways churches can fight sexual assault in 2018

ROCHESTER (NY)
The Christian Century

December 4, 2017

By Ruth Everhart

Read the main article, “A pastor's #MeToo story.

1. Maintain and update safe church child protection policies.

2. Require all leaders to take boundary training, even non-ordained leaders.

3. Post domestic violence and sexual violence hotline numbers in church restrooms.

4. Teach the warning signs of domestic abuse and abuse of children in the church newsletter or bulletin.

5. Intentionally use the words sexual violence in the liturgy—for example, in a prayer of confession.

6. Use the hashtag #MeToo on the church’s outdoor sign.

7. Take a special offering for a local domestic violence shelter.

8. Hang posters in April for Sexual Assault Aware­ness Month and in October for Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

9. Plan education classes on these issues during April and October.

10. Educate the congregation about the grooming behaviors of predators.

11. Invite a victims’ advocate to lead an adult education class or series.

12. Focus education about sexual violence on justice, rather than healing.

13. Have various groups sponsor a #MeToo night.

14. Preach a sermon or series on biblical texts of terror, such as Tamar’s story.

15. Put women in high-level positions in leadership.

16. Speak about sex from the pulpit in a frank and forthright manner without using code words or making inappropriate jokes.

17. Have the leaders create a no-tolerance statement and post it beside the church’s mission statement: If any abuse occurs within the fellowship of this church, we will prosecute to the fullest extent of the law no matter who the offender might be.

18. Pull the skeletons out of the church closet and prosecute the offenders.

A version of this article appears in the December 20 print edition under the title “18 ways churches can change their culture in 2018.”

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 12:31 PM

Survivor keeps pressure on Archbishop to bring in mandatory reporting of abuse

ENGLAND
Church Times

December 4, 2017

By Hattie Williams

A SURVIVOR of clerical child-abuse, Gilo, has criticised the Archbishop of Canterbury for failing to offer “clear leadership” in response to calls for the Church of England to support the mandatory reporting of abuse.

Gilo was sexually assaulted by the Revd Garth Moore, a former diocesan chancellor (News, 4 December 2015), who died in 1990. After his long struggle to tell senior church figures about his ordeal, the C of E settled his claim for £35,000, and initiated the Elliott review, which later called for significant reforms to safeguarding procedures (News, 18 March 2016).

The Archbishop issued a public apology to Gilo in October for the failure of his office to respond to his 17 letters. Gilo is among a group of survivors who have further called for a re-appraisal of compensation awards and the mandatory reporting of all allegations of sexual abuse (News, 10 November).

In a reply to Gilo’s most recent letter, seen by the Church Times this week, Archbishop Welby writes that the “complex issue” of reopening past settlements from the C of E’s insurer, Ecclesiastical, will be taken up by the Bishop at Lambeth, the Rt Revd Tim Thornton.

The question of mandatory reporting is a complicated one, the Archbishop writes. Clerics are expected to report a safeguarding issue or disclosure, and are liable to disciplinary proceedings should they fail to do so. “As you know, we are now in the middle of the Independent Inquiry into Child Sex Abuse and I am keen to hear its views and wisdom on the subject of mandatory reporting — which is not as straightforward an issue as is sometimes suggested.”

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 12:27 PM

Ex-priest with long history as a sex offender pleads not guilty to new charges in Maine

PORTLAND (ME)
Portland Press Herald

December 1, 2017

By Eric Russell

James Talbot, 80, will face as much as 25 years in prison if convicted of sexually assaulting a 9-year-old boy in a Freeport church nearly two decades ago.

A former Jesuit priest and longtime Cheverus High School teacher pleaded not guilty Friday to charges that he sexually abused a 9-year-old boy at a Freeport church nearly 20 years ago.

James Francis Talbot, 80, appeared Friday in Unified Criminal Court in Portland. He has been held in the Cumberland County Jail since Wednesday, when he was extradited from Missouri.

Bail was set at $50,000 cash. It was unclear where he would go if he were released since he hasn’t lived in Maine for many years, but his attorney, Walt McKee, called his client “penniless,” suggesting that bail was a long shot.

Talbot, dressed in a light brown prison uniform, did not speak.

He has been charged with one count of gross sexual assault, a Class A felony, and one count of unlawful sexual contact, a Class C crime. Both involve a victim whose family were members of St. Jude Church in the late 1990s when Talbot was a substitute priest and religious instructor. If convicted, the Class A charge carries a penalty of as many as 25 years in prison.

Although details about the abuse have not made public in criminal case filings, two people involved in the case have confirmed to the Portland Press Herald that Talbot settled a civil case with the same victim this summer.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 12:24 PM

Ten Guidelines issued for religious leaders to insure proper conduct with congregants

JERUSALEM (ISRAEL)
Jewish Telegraphic Agency

December 4, 2017

JERUSALEM (JTA) — An interfaith initiative has created international ethics guidelines for religious leaders to insure proper conduct with their congregants.

The Ten Guidelines were announced last week in Jerusalem by the International Conference of the Israeli organization Tahel, Israel’s Crisis Center for Religious Women and Children. The new initiative calls upon religious leaders around the world to unite and discuss issues of sexual violence and abuse within the community and to formulate and adhere to international guidelines.

The Ten Guidelines include a reminder to clergy to trust their instincts. For example, the guidelines say: “If you feel that extra distance is appropriate in a specific circumstance, trust your feelings. It’s a red flag, warning you to take extra precautions.”

Another guideline urges religious leaders to avoid virtual communication with their students, congregants and followers, since words can be misconstrued and understood as inappropriate or harassing. They are also encouraged to install glass doors in their offices, place a desk between them and their guests, document any meeting in writing, and avoid all physical contact.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 12:22 PM

Peggy Noonan’s Willful Blindness

UNITED STATES
Slate

December 1, 2017

By Rebecca Onion

Her latest column suggests that harassment is a product of the sexual revolution. She can’t possibly believe that.

Finally, we know why sexual harassment happens! Peggy Noonan and an unnamed “aging Catholic priest” she quotes secondhand in her latest column seem to believe that harassment is a product of the sexual revolution, and especially of the availability of contraception and abortion. “Once you separate sex from its seriousness, once you separate it from its life-changing, life-giving potential, men will come to see it as just another want, a desire like any other,” Noonan wrote on Nov. 23 in the opinion section of the Wall Street Journal. “Once they think that, then they’ll see sexual violations as less serious, less charged, less full of weight. They’ll be more able to rationalize. It’s only petty theft, a pack of chewing gum on the counter, and I took it.”

Unfortunately, Noonan isn’t the only conservative to point to the sexual revolution (and, implicitly, the feminists who successfully lobbied to make birth control and divorce more widely available) as the genesis of sexual harassment. At the Advocate, Trudy Ring rounds up links to several right-wing commentators who’ve made this argument since the Harvey Weinstein accusations went public; more recently, in Crisis magazine, Stephen Baskerville wrote an editorial headlined “The Sexual Revolution Turns Ugly.” Don’t forget White House Chief of Staff John Kelly saying that “women were sacred, looked upon with great honor” while he was “growing up,” and that this is “obviously not the case anymore, as we’ve seen from recent cases.”

It’s almost too easy to show the receipts that prove that sexual harassment and abuse are as old as the hills. That’s because, in the four or five decades since the project of writing women’s history began in earnest, historians working within this subfield have made this point over and over again: The harassment and assault of women has existed pretty much as long as there have been women. But, their work argues, protection from these evils has long been much harder to come by if you weren’t well-to-do, white, and married. It’s that part of the picture—the relationship between sexual harassment and other systems of social power—that makes this history so impossible for the conservatives scapegoating the sexual revolution to see.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 12:18 PM

RITUALIZED ABUSE CASE EXPANDS

SANDPOINT (ID)
Bonner County Daily Bee

December 3, 2017

By Keith Kinnaird

SANDPOINT — A criminal case against a Bonner County man accused of perpetrating ritualized and sexual abuse expanded on Friday.

Dana Andrew Furtney initially faced five criminal charges ranging from lewd conduct to sexual battery and ritualized abuse, but the criminal complaint was supplanted Friday with a grand jury indictment alleging 10 counts of lewd conduct and lone counts of sexual abuse of a child under the age of 16, ritualized abuse, felony injury to a child and felony domestic battery causing traumatic injury.

Furtney, 48, pleaded not guilty to all 14 felony counts during his arraignment in 1st District Court on Friday, court records show. A four-day jury trial is set for February 2018.

Furtney is charged with four counts of lewd conduct against a 14-year-old girl, five counts of lewd conduct and one count of sexual abuse against a 12-year-old girl and one count of lewd conduct with a 6-year-old girl, according to the indictment. Furtney is further charged with ritualized abuse for forcing an 11- to 12-year-old boy ingest Furtney’s excrement as part of a ceremony or rite.

All of those offenses are alleged to have occurred in 2010.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 12:13 PM

Ex-priest on trial for woman's 1960 slaying

EDINBURG (TX)
KRGV/CNN

December 2, 2017

EDINBURG, TX (KRGV/CNN) - An 84-year-old former priest is on trial in Texas for a 1960 murder.

John Feit is accused of killing Irene Garza in McAllen in April of that year. He was a 27-year-old priest at the time, and she was a 25-year-old second-grade teacher.

Their paths crossed on Easter weekend at Sacred Heart Catholic Church. Prosecutors said Feit lured her into the rectory and killed her.

He entered the courtroom Thursday using a walker for the first day of the trial.

"Irene Garza went into a church trusting that her soul would be saved, but it was suffocated," said Michael Garza, Hidalgo County Assistant District Attorney.

Investigators found Irene Garza's body five days after she disappeared, in a canal. Investigators said she died from suffocation.

For years, Feit has denied killing Irene Garza, whose story has appeared in several TV special investigations, including one that aired on CNN.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 12:11 PM

Dallas Morning News objects to former reporter’s possible testimony in Feit trial

EDINBURG (TX)
The Monitor

December 4, 2017

By Molly Smith

The former employer of a reporter called to testify in the John Feit murder trial is objecting to his testimony, according to court documents filed last week.

Feit, 85, is on trial for allegedly murdering schoolteacher Irene Garza in April 1960, when he served as a visiting priest.

The Dallas Morning News submitted an objection to the prosecution’s Nov. 21 subpoena of Brooks Egerton, a former investigative reporter who currently resides in Tennessee and works as a freelance writer and editor and has written about sexual abuse in the Catholic Church.

The judge presiding over the case has yet to issue a ruling on the objection.

Lawyers for The Dallas Morning News argue in the objection that under the Texas Free Flow of Information Act — also known as Texas reporter’s privilege — “a journalist and a news medium hold a testimonial privilege against being compelled to ‘testify regarding … any confidential or non-confidential unpublished information … obtained or prepared while acting as a journalist’.”

Egerton published a 2004 article titled “DA Refuses to Pursue Ex-Priest,” in which he interviewed “new witnesses” in the case — two former clergy members who worked with Feit and, according to the article, said he “incriminated himself in individual conversations with them many years ago.”

These witnesses are Rev. Joseph O’Brien, a now-deceased priest who worked with Feit at McAllen’s Sacred Heart Church — the location Garza was last seen alive — and Dale Tacheny, a former monk at a Missouri monastery where Feit was sent in 1963.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 12:08 PM

The Met May Not Survive the James Levine Disgrace

NEW YORK (NY)
Vulture

December 3, 2017

By Justin Davidson

The investigations have begun, three victims have stepped into the light, and, while his crimes remain in the “alleged” column, James Levine’s career has clearly ended. If the now 74-year-old high priest of the Metropolitan Opera’s pit did what he has been credibly accused of doing, the principal casualties are his victims — three who have identified themselves, those who may soon do the same, and others who never will.

Since the New York Post first reported the existence of a police report in Lake Forest, Illinois, and the Metropolitan Opera announced it would look into the accusations, many music-world insiders have snorted that Levine’s child molestation has been an “open secret” for decades. But for most, “knowing” really meant that we had heard fourth-hand mutterings, with few details and no corroboration. Publications that tried to nail down the story found it slipping away.

There are some, probably many, who cannot believably claim ignorance. So far, his alleged victims have described encounters during long-ago summers at the Meadow Brook School of Music in Michigan and the Ravinia Festival outside Chicago. But it seems highly unlikely that Levine, who lives a few blocks from Lincoln Center, confined his molestation of teenagers to out-of-town trips or stopped decades ago. Even if that were true, Levine has spent virtually his whole adult life as a celebrity in the insular world of opera and classical music, and during most of that time, he has been protected by an elaborate apparatus centered at the Metropolitan Opera. Ever since he became the company’s music director at 26, he has had an army of assistants, Met staffers, managers, and publicists whose job was to keep him happy. We will soon find out exactly how far they went.

For decades, the Met was essentially the Levine Company. Its identity was intertwined with his. His taste in composers, his relationships with singers, his hires, orchestra, conducting style, and even, for a while, his eye for productions all shaped what happened onstage in seven performances a week. Divas remained loyal to the Met because they felt safe onstage so long as he was in the pit. Audiences burst into applause as soon as his corona of springy curls bobbed into the spotlight. Critics — and I include myself — lauded his leadership as well as his musicality. His cheery, seemingly eternal presence thrilled the board and helped keep the spigot of donations open.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 12:06 PM

Legendary opera conductor molested teen for years: police report

NEW YORK (NY)
The New York Post

December 2, 2017

By Isabel Vincent and Melissa Klein

Legendary Metropolitan Opera conductor James Levine molested an Illinois teenager from the time he was 15 years old, sexual abuse that lasted for years and led the alleged victim to the brink of suicide, according to a police report obtained by The Post.

The alleged abuse began while Levine was guest conductor at the Ravinia Music Festival outside Chicago, a post the wild-haired maestro held for two decades.

The alleged victim came forward to the Lake Forest, Ill. Police Department in October 2016 to detail the molestation, including times when Levine would masturbate in front of him and kiss his penis, according to the report.

The alleged victim informed a former Met Opera board member of the alleged abuse in 2016 and she alerted the Met’s general manager, yet Levine continued to wield his baton.

The now 74-year-old maestro, who spent 40 years as music director of the Metropolitan Opera and is currently director emeritus, conducted a performance of Verdi’s “Requiem” at Lincoln Center Saturday.

The alleged victim’s 2016 claims came nine years after the statute of limitations on a possible child sex crime in Illinois had expired. The age of consent in that state is 17. The Lake Forest Police Department investigated the allegations anyway, and turned its findings over to the Lake County State’s Attorney. A State’s Attorney spokeswoman told The Post Friday the case is still under review and no charges have been brought.

“I began seeing a 41-year-old man when I was 15, without really understanding I was really ‘seeing’ him,” the alleged victim, now 48, said in a written statement to the police department. “It nearly destroyed my family and almost led me to suicide. I felt alone and afraid. He was trying to seduce me. I couldn’t see this. Now I can.”

The alleged victim, whose name is being withheld by The Post, said Levine showered him with $50,000 in cash over the years.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 12:00 PM

Interview: Alexis Jay

UNITED KINGDOM
Big Issue North

December 4, 2017

The head of the Independent Inquiry into Child Sex Abuse insists it is on track to complete its hearings despite the criticism and loss of its previous chairs

Not long after qualifying as a social worker in Scotland, Alexis Jay took on some of her “most challenging work ever”. That role was to relocate 45 of Glasgow’s homeless family groups into bed and breakfast accommodation.

“It was a very significant experience for me,” she says. At that point, Jay could “not have imagined at all” that one day she’d be heading a multi-million pound inquiry into historic child sex abuse – one that, if all goes according to plan, could uncover institutional failings in some of the UK’s most longstanding establishments, including the NHS, the BBC and Westminster.

“I certainly didn’t expect to be in this position – chair of a public inquiry – but that’s life,” she laughs, apparently taking it in her stride. In August 2016, Jay, who led the pioneering Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Exploitation in Rotherham, was appointed chair of the Independent Inquiry into Child Sex Abuse (IICSA), which has suffered setbacks and controversy.

“There’s been much frustration along the way,” Jay admits. But nearly 18 months on, she believes progress is being made, even if it’s not as fast as many would like. Although new figures show that only 145 public evidence hearings have been held over a four-year period, Jay is pleased to report that by the end of 2017 the inquiry will have held 10 weeks of public hearings, hosted six public seminars and published five reports.

“It’s no secret that there was a lot to be done when I became chair,” Jay says. “But the most important thing was to get a proper work plan in place to lay out how we were going to proceed. That was a priority. We set that out in a report last December and have adhered to that timescale of public hearings, seminars and other activities. I’m pleased that we’re nearly a year on and we’ve managed to stick to a very demanding schedule. Everyone has worked very hard to deliver that.”

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 11:57 AM

Notorious orphanage ‘covered up’ the deaths of children in its care including a boy who was savagely beaten by a nun, inquiry is told

LANARK (SCOTLAND)
The Scottish Daily Mail

December 2, 2017

By Graham Grant

- Child abuse inquiry heard harrowing testimony from Smyllum Park survivors
- The orphanage in Lanark, Scotland, was run by 'psychopathic nuns', inquiry told
- Some 400 children from the Smyllum believed to be buried in unmarked grave

A notorious orphanage ‘covered up’ the deaths of children in its care including a boy who was savagely beaten by a nun, an inquiry heard yesterday.

One former resident of Smyllum Park in Lanark said six-year-old Sammy Carr died days after a nun launched a frenzied attack on him, repeatedly kicking him in the head.

In posthumous evidence, another ex-resident said 13-year-old Francis McColl died after a member of staff hit him on the head with a golf club.

Deaths were ‘covered up’ at the institution, run by ‘psychopathic’ nuns who meted out physical and sexual abuse – and even used crucifixes as ‘weapons’.

It emerged earlier this year that at least 400 children from Smyllum are thought to be buried in an unmarked grave at the town’s St Mary’s Cemetery.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 11:54 AM

What churches must do right now to stop being part of the sexual harassment problem

NEW YORK (NY)
The Washington Post

December 1, 2017

By Rev. Amy Butler

We’re less than two weeks from the special election in Alabama that will determine whether a man accused of sexual assault of minors will be elected to the United States Senate. At the same time that the heirs of the religious right are tripping over their own hypocrisy and white evangelicals remain conflicted on whether to vote for a morally bankrupt candidate, we now are hearing stories about Matt Lauer and Garrison Keillor joining the growing list of powerful men losing their jobs over sexual misconduct allegations. Despite dire warnings of the immorality of a secular Hollywood and the media, it would appear that corporate America is more willing to show moral leadership than the church. This is not merely ironic. The church’s silence and inaction are sins.

The other night I was hosting a Pastor’s Table, a small dinner party at my home with a diverse group of congregation members. As we sat around the table, one of the men in the group brought up the subject of sexual harassment allegations we’re seeing all over the media. He asked what he could do.

As a woman sitting at that table, I appreciated his questions. But it quickly became apparent that those questions were not the most pressing issues on our minds.

Each woman started sharing her story. “I remember the first time I saw a male teacher looking down my shirt. When I complained, I was told to button more buttons.”

“The first time a man exposed himself to me, I was at a neighborhood pool. I was 7.”

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 11:51 AM

She was abused into having an abortion. Now Anne Sherston is changing the lives of other abuse survivors

AUSTRALIA
The Catholic Leader

December 4, 2017

By Emilie Ng

SEVENTEEN abuse survivors are sitting in a room in Hobart as a Catholic priest guides them through the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

For several days the survivors have unpatched hidden wounds caused by traumatic abuse experiences in their childhood or adult life.

There are a number of people who were sexually abused by clergy, others were the victims of horrific violence, and still more were violated by their own families.

They all long for one thing – to be healed.

Anne Sherston is observing the faces of these survivors, many of whom have kept their abuse a secret for decades upon decades.

Their faces are beginning to change; that spark in their spirit is coming back to life.

It’s what Anne calls the “magnificent” transformation that occurs in people who go on a Grief to Grace retreat.

Grief to Grace is a Catholic ministry founded in America by counselling psychologist Dr Theresa Burke to provide psychological and spiritual healing for survivors of abuse.

The retreat is offered to people who were abused in any way in their history, whether physical, emotional, spiritual, financial, or sexual, including institutional and clergy child sexual abuse, rape, incest or neglect.

According to a 1999 report on ending violence against women, one in three women worldwide has been beaten, coerced into sex, or otherwise abused.

Open to men and women of all religions, and Catholic clergy or religious, Grief to Grace retreats last for five to seven days and take participants on a spiritual pilgrimage towards healing.

There are no spectators on the retreat; every single person making the retreat has, in some way or another, experienced abuse.

Anne is the first person to bring the retreat to Australia and ran her first successful retreat this year.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 11:48 AM

Matt Lauer won't get paid rest of $20 million contract after NBC fired him

NEW YORK (NY)
ABC News

December 2, 2017

By Joi-Marie McKenzie and Aaron Katersky

Matt Lauer will not receive a payout for the rest of his million-dollar contract, an NBC News spokesperson confirmed to ABC News today.

The disgraced former "Today" show anchor was fired after a colleague accused him of "inappropriate sexual behavior in the workplace," the network said Wednesday in a memo obtained by ABC News.

In a statement released one day later, Lauer, 59, said some of the allegations are "untrue or mischaracterized," but "there is enough truth in these stories to make me feel embarrassed and ashamed."

Lauer, who had just signed a contract last year that would put him in the anchor chair through 2018, had a contract worth a reported $20 million, according to Variety.

He had been at the "Today" since 1994 and became an official co-anchor three years later.

After firing Lauer, NBC News' human resources department said they're now sifting through Lauer's emails in an effort to bring more justice to any colleagues who may have suffered in silence.

NBC News president Noah Oppenheim promised swift action against anyone who may have known about sexually inappropriate behavior and didn’t report it.

This comes after NBC News executives learned that Oppenheim and NBC News Chairman Andy Lack had previously questioned Lauer about allegations weeks before the accuser came forward, NBC News reported. When asked about any sexual misconduct, the former anchor reportedly said that he was "racking his brain and couldn’t think of anything at all."

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 11:42 AM

Sheryl Sandberg Warns Of #MeToo Backlash Against Women

UNITED STATES
The Huffington Post

December 3, 2017

By Emily Peck

The Facebook executive is hearing people say this is why you shouldn’t hire women. Actually this is why you should.

Facebook executive Sheryl Sandberg warned Sunday morning about the potential for women to wind up on the losing end of what seems like a watershed moment in feminism.

The Lean In author is cheering women on, but she writes in a lengthy Facebook post, “I have already heard the rumblings of a backlash.”

Over the last two months, every day has seemed to bring new allegations of sexual misconduct against powerful men, who are facing real consequences for their actions. And people are already saying, “‘This is why you shouldn’t hire women,’” Sandberg writes.

“Actually, this is why you should,” she continues. Hiring, mentoring and promoting women is the only long-term solution to sexual harassment, which is all about power, according to Sandberg. In her post, she also outlines some basic guidelines that companies should follow if they’re serious about preventing harassment at work.

The solution certainly isn’t the so-called Pence rule ― the vice president reportedly will not dine alone with another woman unless his wife is present ― as some have suggested. Instead, Sandberg writes, men should strive to treat colleagues and employees equally. If you won’t dine or drink alone with a woman, then you shouldn’t do it with a man either.

“Doing right by women in the workplace does not just mean treating them with respect. It also means not isolating or ignoring them,” Sandberg writes. “And it means making access equal. Whether that means you take all your direct reports out to dinner or none of them, the key is to give men and women equal opportunities to succeed.”

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 11:33 AM

COMMENTARY: We must start believing victims of child abuse

WASHINGTON (PA)
Observer-Reporter

December 3, 2017

By Northrop

“Who did you tell?”

“What did they do after you told them?”

These are questions I ask almost every child that I interview. The answers are important; they tell me not just who the child trusts, but also about that child’s history, including what their life as a survivor of childhood sex abuse has been like. I am a child abuse pediatrician, specializing in the care of children with concerns for neglect, physical abuse, and sexual abuse. The majority of my work is in sexual abuse, and I am often called to court to explain not only physical exam findings, but the process of disclosure. Most commonly, I explain why children wait to tell.

Recent events, ranging from the women-focused “#metoo” movement to outcries of repeated sexual abuse by powerful men in government and Hollywood, have made sexual abuse, child sexual abuse, and disclosure part of the national conversation. Statistically, children wait an average of two years before beginning the disclosure process, if they ever report it at all. No one who regularly works with victims of abuse is surprised to see victims come forward years after their abuse has ended.

Disclosure is a process, not a singular event. The reasons for delaying disclosure vary, but I see many common themes repeated over and over. We see these same themes repeated in the media by victims who have come forward against high-profile perpetrators.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 11:29 AM

A pastor's #MeToo story

ROCHESTER (NY)
The Christian Century

December 4, 2017

By Ruth Everhart

"What can we do to make this go away?" a member of the personnel committee asked.

ur culture is facing a new accountability. Each day brings a tale of some powerful perpetrator brought low. Victims tell of unwanted sexual advances that made them feel less than human, less than holy. The stories are not new, but they are newly being heard.

Like so many women, I have unsought expertise in this subject. Decades ago I was raped at gunpoint. Writing a memoir about that event brought me into contact with dozens of other survivors. What strikes me is how our stories echo Tamar’s story in 2 Samuel 13. Our agency was stripped from us by multiple men—not only the Amnons who abused us, but the Jonadabs who connived to set us up, and the Absaloms who silenced us, or even exploited our trauma for their own ends. And in church contexts there was all too often a powerful King David, whose abuse of Bathsheba was visited upon the next generation.

I wrote my memoir to reclaim my own agency. Now I have another story to tell. In many ways, this one is even more difficult to set down on paper. The offender was not a stranger who broke into my home, but a person who’d been charged to care for me. This offender was my boss, my senior pastor, the person privileged to lay his hands on me to ordain me to my first call.

Zane Bolinger was the beloved senior pastor of Penfield Presbyterian Church, a thriving suburban church near Roches­ter, New York, when I received a call to be its associate pastor for children and youth in 1990. “From here you’ll be able to go anywhere!” ZB told me the first time we talked. “The sky’s the limit!” I felt lucky to receive a first call to such a healthy church. My new boss was a recent widower, 62 years old—twice my age—and serving as the moderator of the presbytery. He assured me I would soon be in positions of power, too.

Ministry was the vocation I desired with all my heart. My husband, Doug, and I relocated to upstate New York with our two daughters, a preschooler and an infant. Doug’s teaching credentials did not transfer smoothly so we decided that, for the first few months at least, he would be a stay-at-home dad and I would support the family. We would have to live paycheck to paycheck.

That October, ZB was to preach my ordination service. He said it was important that we get to know each other before that. He took me out for lunch weekly, to nice restaurants, where we talked about church in only cursory ways. Mainly he probed me about my history, especially my story of rape at gunpoint, which I was very private about at that time. He pressed me for details in a way that only the detectives and prosecuting attorney had ever done. ZB wanted to know how I managed to have intimate relationships with men, considering this history. I felt beholden to answer because he was my boss and, I thought, a man of wisdom and power.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 11:26 AM

Mennonite missionary charged with child abuse

HAITI
The Mennonite

December 1, 2017

James Daniel Arbaugh, a Mennonite missionary, has been arrested and charged with molesting children while serving in Haiti. On Nov. 21, The Daily News-Record of Harrisonburg, Virginia, reported that Arbaugh was arrested on Nov. 15 by a U.S. Homeland Security special agent. Court records show that Arbaugh, 40, was charged with felony coercion or enticement of a minor. Arbaugh attended Mountain View Mennonite Church in Lyndhurst, Virginia, a former Mennonite Church USA congregation, and was a board member for Walking Together for Christ Haiti.

The criminal complaint, filed with the U.S. District Court in Harrisonburg, states that “Arbaugh reported grooming and/or having sexual contact with approximately 21 males under the age of 18.” Arbaugh disclosed the abuse to a counselor during a Sept. 11 session. In Virginia, health-care providers are mandated to report child abuse to social services. According to the Daily News-Record, social services contacted the Harrisonburg Police Department, who then contacted federal agents.

Arbaugh traveled to Haiti from 2009 to 2015. According to a website where he documented his mission work, Arbaugh was a self-supporting “tentmaker” partnering with Walking Together for Christ in Haiti and involved in “media ministry.” The last post on the site is from July 2.

According to the complaint, on Sept. 15, Arbaugh allowed police to look at his laptop and showed police a picture of a 5-year-old boy, the son of a pastor at a church in Haiti, on the computer. The complaint states that Arbaugh confessed to molesting the boy.

The complaint states, “Arbaugh indicated he used his missionary work in Haiti to build friendships with the minors. Arbaugh acknowledged that he groomed the minors in Haiti by engaging in minor sexual activities with them so that one day they would be open to more.”

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 11:24 AM

Justin Welby under pressure to overhaul approach to church sex abuse survivors

ENGLAND
Christian Today

December 4, 2017

By Harry Farley

The Archbishop of Canterbury is facing a mass call to overhaul the Church of England's approach to sex abuse survivors after his letter to one victim was branded 'painful' and 'disappointing'.

'Gilo', a survivor of clerical sex abuse whose surname is withheld to protect his identity, wrote an open letter to Justin Welby urging him to abandon the Church's insurer, Ecclesiastical Insurance Group (EIG), in the wake of a scandal over its 'derisory and heartless' treatment of victims.

Welby replied last month and said the 'complex issues' Gilo raised were being addressed through a mediation process and said the question of mandatory reporting of abuse, which Gilo called for, was a 'complicated question' and 'not as straightforward an issue as is sometimes suggested'.

But in a longstanding row over how seriously the Church takes allegations of abuse, Gilo said the archbishop's response failed to answer the questions he raised.

'There doesn't seem any ownership of the crisis, nor recognition that questions such as these need facing at "archbishop level" and the clear call of leadership required to shift the Church into structural and cultural change and towards authentic justice,' he said. 'Until the Church buckles under the weight of these things – the shilly-shallying will continue.'

But a legal expert consulted by Christian Today said: 'On the assumption that the issue might possibly give rise to legal action against the CofE, anything that any senior bishop says on the matter – let alone the Archbishop of Canterbury – must inevitably be guarded so as to avoid any premature admission of liability.

'The Church's lawyers would have been totally failing in their duty to their client had they not pointed that out and, in the circumstances, it's difficult to see what else anyone could have done.'

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 11:21 AM

December 3, 2017

Ex-priest on trial in slaying of South Texas beauty queen who vanished after confessing her sins to him

TEXAS
Dallas News

December 2, 2017

By Marc Ramirez

Details shared with a South Texas jury Friday portrayed a former priest who was anything but priest-like in the ongoing trial of John Feit, accused of murdering a 25-year-old beauty queen over a half-century ago.

Irene Garza had been raped and bludgeoned to death when she was found in a McAllen canal in 1960, five days after she vanished from church on Easter weekend. A portable photographic slide viewer belonging to Feit was found near the body.

On Friday, as the San Antonio Express-News reported, jurors were told of Feit's questionable behavior involving other women.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 10:22 PM

Rape, murder and harassment: Painful stories shared at MMIWG hearings in Quebec

QUEBEC
CTV News Montreal

December 1, 2017

The inquiry into murdered and missing Indigenous women and girls has wrapped up its first week of testimony in Quebec.

Dozens of families travelled to the Innu community of Mani-Utenam near Sept-Iles to share their emotional stories, many opening up about allegations of rape, murder, and harassment at the hands of police.

Before the hearings got underway Friday, one woman presented commissioners with a gift of moccasins, mittens, and a baby bottle to represent the lost girls of her community.

The commission heard testimony from the mother of an Innu teenager who was kidnapped and tortured in 2011. She recounted how police dismissed the disappearance as a runaway case.

Commissioners heard from a mother whose five-year-old daughter was taken from her in the early 1080s and given to a family. That girl was raped and murdered.

There were also stories of abuse at the hands of a Catholic priest who worked on the north shore for decades.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 8:27 PM

Child abuse survivor in vigil outside parliament while Kezia Dugdale remains in jungle

SCOTLAND
Holyrood Magazine

December 1, 2017

By Tom Freeman

An adult survivor of child abuse is sleeping rough outside the Scottish Parliament until former Labour leader Kezia Dugdale is voted off reality TV show I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here.

Dave Sharp, who was abused and raped at a Catholic residential school in Scotland as a child, said Dugdale had told him she would do everything she could to help him and other survivors of abuse and that her decision to enter the television show while the Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry was going on “hurt”.

He has pledged to remain camped outside the parliament for “the duration of the time she is taking part in a demeaning reality show in Australia for a handsome fee”.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 8:24 PM

Victim of paedophile priest left so traumatised he attempted suicide

LIVERPOOL (ENGLAND)
Liverpool Echo

December 1, 2017

By Josh Parry

Stephen Armstrong-Smith has bravely spoken out about his struggle to live with having been abused

A man who endured years of sexual abuse at the hands of a priest was so traumatised he turned to self-harm and extreme suicide attempts.

Father John Kevin Murphy, 93, used his position of trust to groom four boys during the 60s and 70s while working as a priest at St Luke’s Parish in Whiston, and the attached St Edmund Arrowsmith Catholic School.

Today Liverpool Crown Court heard how during his 12 years working in the area, Murphy, of St George’s Court in Maghull, gained the trust of several families and offered to take boys, aged between 11-16 at the time, for swimming lessons, exercise sessions and even camping trips abroad in order to abuse them.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 8:18 PM

Seeking new life for the center of Boston Catholicism

BOSTON (MA)
Boston Globe

December 2, 2017

By Thomas Farragher

The roof leaks. The wiring is shot. The heating system is temperamental. And — I’m not afraid to tell you — there are bodies in the basement.

And yet when the priest and the builder, the latest caretakers of the 142-year-old puddingstone church on Washington Street, close their eyes, decades of decay and dust suddenly disappear.

They see a sparkling jewel. They hear an angelic choir and the tolling of 19th-century bells. They can smell incense — ancient and holy — wafting over a congregation who calls this place their spiritual home.

Simply put, they envision a shining, newly remodeled home for the mother church of Boston Catholicism, a home that had grown careworn, even neglected, and needs just about everything — new roofing, new altar, new systems, new floor, plus polish and paint from entrance to apse.

In short, new life.

“This is going to be our most significant renovation,’’ said the Rev. Kevin J. O’Leary, the Cathedral of the Holy Cross’s rector. “It’ll enrich parish life.’’

**
... Across the years, the old granite-trimmed church has been fraying at its edges, and then some. Fifteen years ago, as the global church was rocked by the clergy abuse scandal, whose epicenter was here in Boston, it didn’t seem the time to launch the costly repair work needed.

Now, O’Leary said, it feels a right and proper — and joyful — thing to do.

“For us, for this diocese, it’s going to be a symbol of hope for what we’ve been through,’’ O’Leary said. “The cardinal has been insistent about maintaining a place in the city as a beacon of hope for neighborhood people.’’

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 8:13 PM

Rush on abuse deals before scheme: group

AUSTRALIA
Australian Associated Press

December 3, 2017

By Megan Neil

Advocates say some child abuse victims are receiving lower compensation from institutions than they would possibly get under a national redress scheme.

Some institutions are rushing to lock child sexual abuse survivors into accepting top-up damages payments before a national redress scheme comes into effect, advocates say.

A number of institutions are "herding people through" before the mid-2018 start of the federal government's redress scheme, church abuse victims' advocacy group Broken Rites spokesman Wayne Chamley says.

"Individual institutions are rushing to lock people in before national redress can occur," he told AAP.

Dr Chamley said institutions like the Salvation Army are renegotiating top-up payments of settlements at amounts below what would be provided under the national redress scheme and locking victims in with a deed of release, stopping them bringing a civil claim in court.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 8:01 PM

Mahoney Calls for Churches to Lead in Healing of Sexual Abuse and Assault

UNITED STATES
CBN News (Christian Broadcasting Network)

December 2, 2017

The Rev. Patrick Mahoney, the pastor of Church on the Hill and director of the Christian Defense Coalition, has called for faith communities to be a leading voice in confronting sexual abuse and assault and to bring healing to those who have been wounded and impacted.

He's encouraging churches all over North America to become involved and to speak out on these issues.

On Saturday, the Church on the Hill met near Capitol Hill in Washington D.C., to hear Mahoney present "A Christian Response to Sexual Assault and Rape Culture."

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 7:00 PM

57 años después juzgan al cura que dio la última confesión a la hispana Irene Garza

EDINBURGH (TX)
Univision

December 3, 2017

[Google Translate -- 57 years later, they are judging the priest who gave the last confession to the Latina Irene Garza, murdered in 1960. On April 21, 1960, a man discovered the body of a woman floating in a canal in McAllen, Texas. It turned out to be Irene Garza, of Hispanic origin, who died asphyxiated after being raped. The case remained unsolved for 56 years, until in 2016 they arrested the priest who heard his last confession, John Feit, for his murder.]

El 21 de abril de 1960 un hombre descubrió flotando en un canal de McAllen, Texas, el cuerpo de una mujer. Resultó ser Irene Garza, de origen hispano, que murió asfixiada después de ser violada. El caso quedó sin resolver durante 56 años, hasta que en 2016 detuvieron por su asesinato al sacerdote que escuchó su última confesión, John Feit.

Crónica del crimen de una reina de belleza en el sur de Texas hace medio siglo Univision
El 21 de abril de 1960 W. Arnold descubrió flotando en un canal de la ciudad texana de McAllen el cuerpo de Irene Garza. La mujer, de origen mexicano, había desaparecido días antes. Tenía 25 años. Según la autopsia la mujer fue violada, asfixiada y lanzada al canal.

Irene Garza era profesora y solía presentarse a concursos de belleza: dos años antes había sido elegida Miss Sur Texas. Era católica practicante y se confesaba con regularidad. Sus familiares contaron cuando desapareció que había ido a confesarse a la parroquia del Sagrado Corazón en la ciudad texana y nunca regresó. Cinco días después se encontró su cadáver.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 6:54 PM

Escándalo en Oro Verde con el regreso de Nicola como párroco.

ORO VERDE (ENTRE RIOS PROVINCE, ARGENTINA)
Analisis Digital

December 2, 2017

Está acusado de abuso de menores

[Google Translate: Scandal in Oro Verde with the return of Nicola as parish priest. He is accused of abusing minors. Last Wednesday, the parish priest of Oro Verde, Alfredo Nicola, accused of child abuse as revealed in the latest issue of the magazine ANALISIS, returned surprisingly to his position in the church "Jesus Christ Master and Lord of Humanity and Our Lady of Pompeii". "The bishop lifted my license, and asked me to show up in the town and start giving mass. So here I am," was the first thing he said when he arrived. The return of the priest puts in an uncomfortable situation Archbishop Juan Alberto Puiggari, who would be aware of the two complaints of abuse that were presented in the curia and that blame Nicola.]

El pasado miércoles, el párroco de Oro Verde, Alfredo Nicola, acusado de abuso de menores según reveló la última edición de la Revista ANALISIS, regresó sorpresivamente a su cargo en la iglesia “Jesucristo Maestro y Señor de la Humanidad y Nuestra Señora de Pompeya”. “El obispo me levantó la licencia, y me pidió que me muestre en el pueblo y empiece a dar misas. Así que acá estoy”, fue lo primero que dijo cuando llegó. La vuelta del cura pone en situación incómoda al arzobispo Juan Alberto Puiggari, quien estaría al corriente de las dos denuncias por abuso que se presentaron en la curia y que responsabilizan a Nicola. Oficialmente Puiggari no intervino ni dio instrucciones ni tampoco informó si la vuelta del sacerdote es permanente o temporal. La llegada de Nicola creó una situación incómoda: el vicario Daniel Rodríguez, que con la partida apresurada del párroco había quedado como administrador parroquial, volverá a su antigua función.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 6:48 PM

One-man play chronicles how ‘the force’ saved sexual abuse survivor’s life

VANCOUVER (CANADA)
Vancouver Courier

December 3, 2017

By John Kurucz

Creator of How Star Wars Saved My Life found solace and inspiration in 1977 film

In an alternate universe, the force has moved mountains, dethroned despots and fine-tuned fighting instincts.

For Nicholas Harrison, the force has had a more tangible application — it saved his life.

Harrison is at the helm of a one-man show called How Star Wars Saved My Life, an 80-minute long play that debuts at Performance Works on Granville Island Dec. 6.

The production hones in on Harrison’s experiences as a survivor of sexual and physical abuse and how he reconciled those episodes of abuse as a teenager, and then as an adult.

“On the outside, I’ve got a doctorate, I’m a successful artist and I do all these interesting things,” Harrison says. “It sounds great. But underneath that, what people don’t see, are these hidden stories that we are taught to supress or to feel shame or guilt about. We are told to keep quiet.”

The play is set in a fictional northern B.C. town called Hopeless, and the story picks up with Harrison as a five-year-old. He is subjected to four years of rape and physical abuse from priests and others at the Catholic school he attended.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 4:59 PM

The children of Smyllum tell their heartbreaking stories

EDINBURGH (SCOTLAND)
Sunday Post

December 3, 2017

By Gordon Blackstock

After waiting years to be heard, the children of Smyllum tell their heartbreaking stories

They had waited a long time to be heard.

But in this nondescript office block, as commuters rushed by outside, they would speak at last.

And, finally, after all those years, these adults, who were once children in Scotland’s care homes, would tell their stories. Stories of neglect, of cruelty, of abuse and of murder.

The Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry started its second phase in Edinburgh last week as judge Lady Smith, pictured, turned her attention to Smyllum Park children’s home in Lanarkshire, the orphanage where, as we revealed in September, up to 400 children are buried in an unmarked grave.

The hearings were harrowing for those who gave evidence and those who heard it. It was often heart-breaking.

Some in the seats open to the public wept as former child residents – most are now pensioners – described growing up in Smyllum.

One former resident of Smyllum Park in Lanark said six-year-old Sammy Carr died days after a nun launched a frenzied attack on him, repeatedly kicking him in the head.

In posthumous evidence, another ex-resident said 13-year-old Francis McColl died after a member of staff hit him on the head with a golf club.

Deaths were ‘covered up’ at the institution, run by ‘psychopathic’ nuns who meted out physical and sexual abuse – and even used crucifixes as ‘weapons’.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 4:47 PM

Former priest pleads not guilty to sexually assaulting child in 1990s

PORTLAND (ME)
WMTW-TV

December 1, 2017

Former priest James Talbot, 80, pleaded not guilty Friday to gross sexual assault and unlawful sexual touching.

A judge set bail at $50,000.

Talbot is accused of sexually abusing a 9-year-old Freeport boy in 1997 and 1998.

He was recently indicted and brought back to Maine.

Talbot pleaded guilty in 2005 to molesting two students while he was a wrestling coach at Boston College High School in the 1970s.

Talbot was transferred to Cheverus High School in 1980, where he was a coach and teacher for nearly 20 years.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 8:52 AM

Ex-priest with long history as a sex offender pleads not guilty to new charges in Maine

PORTLAND (ME)
Portland Press Herald

December 1, 2017

By Eric Russell

James Talbot, 80, will face as much as 25 years in prison if convicted of sexually assaulting a 9-year-old boy in a Freeport church nearly two decades ago.

A former Jesuit priest and longtime Cheverus High School teacher pleaded not guilty Friday to charges that he sexually abused a 9-year-old boy at a Freeport church nearly 20 years ago.

James Francis Talbot, 80, appeared Friday in Unified Criminal Court in Portland. He has been held in the Cumberland County Jail since Wednesday, when he was extradited from Missouri.

Bail was set at $50,000 cash. It was unclear where he would go if he were released since he hasn’t lived in Maine for many years, but his attorney, Walt McKee, called his client “penniless,” suggesting that bail was a long shot.

Talbot, dressed in a light brown prison uniform, did not speak.

He has been charged with one count of gross sexual assault, a Class A felony, and one count of unlawful sexual contact, a Class C crime. Both involve a victim whose family were members of St. Jude Church in the late 1990s when Talbot was a substitute priest and religious instructor. If convicted, the Class A charge carries a penalty of as many as 25 years in prison.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 8:49 AM

Photo Gallery: Day 2 of John Feit trial

EDINBURG (TX)
CBS 4 News

December 1, 2017

Day two of testimony wrapped up in the murder trial of John Feit, former priest accused of killing McAllen beauty queen Irene Garza nearly 60 years ago.

Seven witnesses took the stand Friday, including an evidence technician, friend of Garza, and employee of the church.

Forensic document examiner Kenneth Crawford took the stand and was asked to examine documents from the case, including a letter Feit allegedly wrote admitting that the viewfinder found at the bottom of the canal where Garza’s body was found, was in fact his. Crawford testified that after examining other documents, the letter was signed by Feit.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 8:32 AM

CRIME HUNTER: Did priest strangle beauty queen in 1960?

TEXAS
Toronto Sun

December 2, 2017

By Brad Hunter

In the dusty, southern tip of Texas that sits on the Mexican border death came calling for a dedicated teacher and one-time beauty queen.

Irene Garza was 25 years old that warm April day in 1960.

She attended confession at a Catholic church in McAllen in the late afternoon.

And then she vanished.

Five days later her lifeless body was found in a lonely canal. She’d been sexually assaulted and strangled.

People in the tiny Texas town have been haunted for decades by the gruesome killing.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 8:17 AM

John Feit Murder Trial to Continue on Monday

EDINBURG (TX)
KRGV-TV

December 1, 2017

A total of seven witnesses took the stand in the trial of a former priest accused of killing a McAllen woman in Apr. 1960.

There were a few tense exchanges Friday between the attorneys in this case, but there were also a few light-hearted moments.

Day two of John Feit’s murder trial brought two women, who were in their early 20’s around the time of Irene Garza’s death, to take the stand Friday.

Both claim to have encountered Feit.

Beatrice Garcia said Feit asked to photograph her at a cemetery.

“He said I would love to take a picture of you in black by the cemetery, that is him right there,” testified Garcia while pointing at a photo of a young Feit displayed in court.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 8:08 AM

December 2, 2017

Nun tells Scottish child abuse inquiry Catholic sisters sexually abused her

SCOTLAND
The Times

December 2, 2017

by Gurpreet Narwan

A nun brought up in a Catholic care home was beaten and sexually assaulted by the sisters in charge, the historical Scottish child abuse inquiry was told.

The witness, known as Sister Louise, who lived at Bellevue House children’s refuge in Rutherglen and Smyllum Park orphanage in Lanark, said that she was forced to eat food and routinely cried herself to sleep at night.

Giving evidence to the second phase of the Scottish child abuse inquiry, Sister Louise said that she was sexually assaulted by a staff member on several occasions and that the sisters would be lying if they denied the abuse took place.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 5:05 PM

Book Review: A Lost Tribe by William King – Silent on the great spiritual needs

IRELAND
Irish Times

December 2, 2017

By Niall Coll

In all the reflection on the alienation which clergy experience in this secular age, there’s little sense of the pain and joy that a typical priest finds in the lives of people he serves

Book Title: A Lost Tribe
ISBN-13: 9781843517146
Author: William King
Publisher: Lilliput Press
Guideline Price: €15.00

Even though this novel opens in the context of a priests’ retreat, one’s first impression is of spiritual emptiness and resignation. In many striking snatches of clipped conversation, the novel excavates the effects of the beating that the author feels the Irish Catholic clergy have taken in recent decades at the hands of angry secularists and under the weight of thousands of abuse allegations. The impression is of a beleaguered sub-group stranded in a wider culture which has moved on. One priest quips, ironically echoing Joyce’s outcast character, James Duffy, in the story A Painful Case: “Wouldn’t you feel you’re excluded from the party? Life I mean.” Another is unsurprised at news that a priest has committed suicide: ‘we’re expected to live this nonsensical life. Drudgery and isolation . . . It’s killing us.” The clerical ire reserved for remote, self-absorbed bishops who do little to help priests falsely accused of abuse is a particularly conspicuous theme.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 4:56 PM

How Ireland Moved to the Left: ‘The Demise of the Church’

DUBLIN (IRELAND)
The New York Times

December 2, 2017

By Liam Stack

When Ailbhe Smyth was 37, voters in Ireland approved a constitutional amendment that banned abortion in nearly all cases and committed the nation to the principle that a pregnant woman and her fetus have an “equal right to life.”

Next year, when Ms. Smyth, a former professor and chairwoman of the Coalition to Repeal the Eighth Amendment, will be 72, Irish voters are expected to remove or alter that amendment in a new referendum that could give Ireland’s Parliament the freedom to legislate on the issue and write more flexible abortion laws.

What are the driving forces behind this significant shift in voter attitudes toward abortion and other social issues?

Ireland was long a bastion of Catholic conservatism, a place where pedestrians might tip their hats and hop off the footpath when a priest walked past. But economic and technological changes helped propel a shift in attitudes that accelerated with the unfolding of far-reaching abuse scandals in the Roman Catholic Church in the 1990s.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 4:49 PM

Women's voices are missing amid discussions of sex assault, power abuse

UNITED STATES
National Catholic Reporter

December 1, 2017

By Kent P. Hickey

"This story is going to be hard," I tell my sophomore Scripture class as we start Genesis 34.

Dinah is raped by Shechem, son of Hamor the Hivite. After the rape, Shechem tells Hamor to "get me this girl for a wife." So, Hamor meets with Dinah's father, Jacob, and the two tribal chieftains quickly realize that an opportunity is at hand for a mutually beneficial political alliance. A bargain is struck. Dinah is to marry Shechem.

Jacob's sons — "speaking with guile because their sister had been defiled" — agree to the arrangement under the condition that all the males in Hamor's tribe get circumcised. Hamor complies and, after their circumcisions, he and all of his men go to their tents to recover. It's at this moment of vulnerability that Jacob's sons swoop in, kill them all, and loot the town. Jacob angrily confronts his sons, to which they reply, "Should our sister have been treated like a harlot?"

The morality of these men's actions (especially the killing in tents) has been debated for centuries. What hasn't been debated much is the question I pose to my sophomores: "Whose voice is missing in all this?" That's right. Dinah, the afterthought.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 4:45 PM

Sogyal Rinpoche and the abuse accusations rocking the Buddhist world

AUSTRALIA
Sydney Morning Herald

December 1, 2017

By David Leser

Punching. Emotional abuse. Eye-popping sexual misdeeds. The accusations made against Sogyal Rinpoche – a key lama in the uptake of Buddhist principles by the West – have rocked devotees, including many in the top echelons of Australian business
.

On a late September evening this year, a group of leading Australian business figures gathered in a Sydney boardroom to discuss a series of allegations that had scandalised the Buddhist world, and shaken their own to the core. The meeting was called by David White, chairman of business strategy advisers Port Jackson and Partners; Ian Buchanan, former lead partner with management consultants Booz Allen Hamilton; Diane Grady, non-executive director of Macquarie Bank and chair of Ascham School; and Gordon Cairns, chairman of Origin Energy and Woolworths.

What these four had in common was a long-standing involvement in Practical Wisdom, a series of business retreats held in Sydney over the past 15 years with Sogyal Rinpoche, the Tibetan Buddhist teacher and author of the 1992 international bestseller The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 4:41 PM

As James Talbot answers to sex charges, man who accused him years ago is in the courtroom

PORTLAND (ME)
Portland Press Herald

December 1, 2017

By Eric Russell

The allegations of Michael Doherty, formerly of Freeport, nearly two decades ago got Talbot fired from Cheverus High School and led more victims to come forward.

When he returned home to Maine recently, Michael Doherty didn’t expect to face the man he says sexually assaulted him back in the mid-’80s.

Doherty, 49, formerly of Freeport, settled a lawsuit 16 years ago with former priest and Cheverus High School teacher James Francis Talbot.

Doherty now lives in Florida.

But on Friday, he was in a courtroom in Portland waiting for Talbot to formally face criminal charges of abuse involving another victim.

Asked why it was important for him to be there, Doherty said he didn’t want the victim, or his family, to feel like they were alone.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 9:13 AM

December 1, 2017

Assignment History– Rev. Scott J. Kallal, A.V.I.

UNITED STATES
BishopAccountability.org

Summary of Case: Scott J. Kallal was ordained in 2011 in Kansas City, Kansas for the Rome-based Apostles of the Interior Life. His whereabouts until 2014 are unclear; the 2013 and 2014 Catholic Directories show that he was assigned to "Further Studies." During 2014-2016 Kallal was an assistant priest at St. Patrick's in Kansas City, after which he was assigned to the same role at Holy Spirit in Overland Park.

In July 2017 Kallal was suspended from public ministry, after the archdiocese received allegations from two different sources that he had engaged in "boundary violations." A man stated publicly that, in the summer of 2015, Kallal had tickled his 11-year-old daughter and touched her breast at a church gathering. Kallal denied "any moral misconduct or malicious intent" and was sent to Maryland for treatment. He was arrested shortly thereafter, on charges of two counts of aggravated indecent liberties with a child.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 5:21 PM

“A Professor Is Kind of Like a Priest”

NEW YORK (NY)
The New Republic

November 30, 2017

By Irene Hsu and Rachel Stone

Two recent cases reveal how the structure of American graduate schools enables sexual harassment and worse.

It was 1998 when Franco Moretti approached Kimberly Latta on an airplane. At the time, Latta was a PhD student at Rutgers, and Moretti a professor of English and comparative literature at Columbia University. Latta recalled, “[Franco] came over with a big smile on his face and said, ‘Hello, hello! Do you remember me?’” Latta, who was sitting beside a friend, summoned the courage to respond. “Of course I remember you,” she told Moretti. “And I will never forgive you for what you did to me.”

It wasn’t until this year that Latta spoke out publicly. Latta wrote—on Facebook, in a letter to Stanford administrators, and to reporters—that Moretti stalked and raped her in the 1984-1985 school year, when she was a graduate student and Moretti was a visiting professor at UC Berkeley. Latta is now a practicing psychotherapist; Moretti has been a professor emeritus at Stanford since 2016. (Irene Hsu, a co-writer for this article, graduated from the Stanford in June 2017 with a degree in English.)

Latta’s Facebook post, published in November, followed an essay by Seo-Young Chu, now an associate professor of English at Queens College, CUNY, about how her advisor, the late professor Jay Fliegelman, sexually harassed and raped her when she was an English PhD candidate at Stanford.

These stories have surfaced as part of the #MeToo movement, a watershed moment for workplace equality that has shaken politics, the media, and the entertainment industry. They mark what could be the beginning of a long-overdue public reckoning with power and consent in American graduate school programs. The allegations against Fliegelman (who died in 2007) and Moretti are not singular instances of faculty sexual abuse, limited to a single department within a particular educational institution—in the past month alone, graduate students have spoken out against faculty at Princeton University and the University of Rochester, among a slew of others. They are the product of a larger culture of silence and complicity, which has made for a dangerous, destructive, and exclusionary educational environment.

Moretti became a professor at Stanford in 2000, where he taught until his retirement. While there, he established “distant reading” as a novel and controversial mode of criticism. He is a veritable celebrity as far as literary scholars go, having been profiled in The New York Times and The New Yorker. His research was collected in Canon/Archive, co-authored by 14 others, which was published at the end of October by n+1 books. (Shortly after Latta’s Facebook post, the editors of n+1 books told The New Republic, “We were disturbed to hear of the allegations against Moretti, which only came to our attention yesterday. n+1 does not tolerate sexual harassment and abuse, and we take these allegations seriously.”)

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 5:18 PM

The Weinstein Effect: Avalanche of allegations usher in a new era

BROOKLINE (MA)
Wicked Local Brookline

November 29, 2017

By Dr. Ruth Nemzoff and Ellen Offner

Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein’s repugnant behavior has revealed for Americans that sexual predators lurk in schools and workplaces threatening young women and boys. Florence Graves was ahead of her times in 1995 when she exposed Bob Packwood’s peccadilloes, and she suffered retribution for her courage. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (NY), a close ally of Bill and Hillary Clinton’s, has said that in today’s climate Bill Clinton would have had to resign the presidency. What about President Trump?

The excesses of the Catholic clergy, Bill Clinton and Donald Trump exposed this chilling behavior, but Weinstein’s behavior has freed many victims to speak out and awaken the public to this exploitation: in Hollywood, independent schools, colleges, places of worship, Congress and corporations. Wherever powerful authority figures can reward or punish those less powerful, predatory behavior seems all too common.

Times have changed since 1991, when the all-male Senate Judiciary confirmed Clarence Thomas’ nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court despite the chilling testimony of Oklahoma law professor Anita Hill that he had sexually harassed her while he was her boss. Nonetheless, Ronan Farrow, who reported on the “Weinstein Effect” in the New Yorker and on CNN, claims that NBC refused to air his report. This is not surprising since Fox News paid off women who complained about unwanted overtures from Roger Ailes and Bill O’Reilly. Hence kudos to The New Yorker for publishing outstanding articles such as “Anita Hill on Weinstein,” and “Trump, and a Watershed Moment for Sexual-Harassment Accusations,” by Jane Mayer, and Jia Tolentino’s “How Men Like Harvey Weinstein Implicate Their Victims in Their Acts.”

It is important to note that whereas the headline-grabbing stories are mainly about men harassing young women, male harassment of young boys has also been surfacing. Now the actor Anthony Rapp has stated that actor Kevin Spacey “got on top of him” when he was only 14 years old, Heather Unruh, a former Boston TV anchor, has revealed that Spacey sexually assaulted her son, then 16 years old, at a bar in Nantucket. The family has retained the lawyer Mitchell Garabedian, who represented victims of Catholic clergy abuse and was featured in the film “Spotlight” about the courageous reporting in the Boston Globe. Spacey’s “excuse” that he has decided to live as a gay man is a non sequitur.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 5:15 PM

Judge sets media protocol for Feit trial

EDINBURG (TX)
The Monitor

November 28, 2017

By Molly Smith

EDINBURG — The judge presiding over the John Feit trial, which is arguably the highest profile case in Hidalgo County history, spent the final pretrial hearing leading up to the first day in court briefing members of the media on protocol.

Given local and national media interest in the case, and in an effort to minimize courtroom distractions, 92nd state District Judge Luis Singleterry designated a single pool photographer and pool videographer.

The Monitor will be providing still photography to all media and CBS’ “48 Hours” will be in charge of video. The crime and justice series previously ran a segment on the Irene Garza cold case in 2014.

Now 85 years old, Feit is accused of murdering Garza, a then 25-year-old schoolteacher, in April 1960 after she went to confession at McAllen’s Sacred Heart Church. He was a visiting priest at the church at that time.

Singleterry ordered that live streaming the trial — both video and audio — would not be permitted. Reporters, however, will be allowed to take to social media during the trial, which the judge said could take approximately 10 business days.

Final jury selection takes place Tuesday and Wednesday and, per Singleterry's orders, media is not permitted in the courtroom during that time.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 5:10 PM

Former priest, 85, accused of strangling a Texas beauty queen in 1960, appears in court

TEXAS
Daily Mail

December 2, 2017

By Matthew Wright

Former priest, 85, 'who beat, raped and strangled a Texas beauty queen to death in 1960' appears in court with a walker as jury is shown her tattered outfit, shoe and purse that were found in a ditch

The petticoat, blouse, shoe, belt and purse belonging to Irene Garza were shown in an Edinburgh, Texas court for the case of 85-year-old John Feit

Feit is accused of beating and strangling the 25-year-old teacher and former beauty queen in 1960

Juan Gonzales and Alfredo Barrera testified on Thursday that they had both come across the purse after Garza had been killed

Authorities questioned the then-27-year-old priest who had scratches on his hand and failed a lie detector test but he was later listed as not being a suspect

The case went cold twice before a new jury indicted Feit in February 2016

The tattered outfit and purse of a Texas beauty queen killed in 1960 were shown in court on Friday in the trial of the former Catholic priest accused of killing her.

A crime scene technician looked over the personal effects of Irene Garza, 25, to help the state in their prosecution of 85-year-old John Feit.

Garza, a schoolteacher and Miss All South Texas Sweetheart 1958, disappeared on Easter weekend in April 1960 and was found dead in a canal five days later.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 5:07 PM

She Didn’t Fight Back: 5 (Misguided) Reasons People Doubt Sexual Misconduct Victims

UNITED STATES
The New York Times

November 30, 2017

By Shaila Dewan

She took decades to come forward. She can’t remember exactly what happened. She sent friendly text messages to the same man she says assaulted her. She didn’t fight back.

There are all sorts of reasons women who report sexual misconduct, from unwanted advances by their bosses to groping or forced sex acts, are not believed, and with a steady drumbeat of new reports making headlines, the country is hearing a lot of them.

But some of the most commonly raised causes for doubt, like a long delay in reporting or a foggy recall of events, are the very hallmarks that experts say they would expect to see after a sexual assault.

“There’s something really unique about sexual assault in the way we think about it, which is pretty upside down from the way it actually operates,” said Kimberly A. Lonsway, a psychologist who conducts law enforcement training on sexual assault as the research director of End Violence Against Women International. “In so many instances when there’s something that is characteristic of assault, it causes us to doubt it.”

Partly this is because of widespread misconceptions. The public and the police vastly overestimate the incidence of false reports: The most solid, case-by-case examinations say that only 5 to 7 percent of sexual assault reports are false. Responses to trauma that are often viewed as evidence of unreliability, such as paralysis or an inability to recall timelines, have been shown by neurobiological research to be not only legitimate, but common. And when it comes to the most serious assaults, like rape, people imagine that they are committed by strangers who attack in a dark alley, and base their view of how victims should react on that idea — even though the vast majority of assaults occur between people who know one another.

Many of the same credibility issues surround reports of sexual harassment involving advances made by a boss or someone in a position of power over the victim.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 5:05 PM

Jury out on man accused of Christian school sex abuse

LONDON (ENGLAND)
Premier

December 1, 2017

By Alex Williams

A jury at the Old Bailey in central London has retired to consider its verdicts in the case of a former abbot accused of sexually abusing boys at a Catholic school in west London.

Andrew Soper, who worked as headmaster and senior priest at the fee-paying St Benedicts School in Ealing, denies 19 offences of indecent assault and buggery against boys during the 1970s and 1980s.

The 74 year old, who was also head of Ealing Abbey between 1991 and 2000, is accused of sexual touching and using a cane to beat youngsters.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 5:03 PM

FALSELY ACCUSED PRIESTS RETURN TO MINISTRY

GRANADA (SPAIN)
ChurchMilitant.com

November 30, 2017

By Stephen Wynne

Court orders one accuser to pay court costs after false account dismissed

GRANADA, Spain (ChurchMilitant.com) - After a long battle over false accusations of sexual abuse, three Spanish priests are returning to ministry.

The archdiocese of Granada has announced the Vatican is lifting its precautionary suspension of Fr. Román Martínez and two other priests associated with the case.

In a communiqué released Wednesday, the archdiocese proclaimed:

The archdiocese of Granada, today, November 29, 2017, makes public the decision of the Holy See to have the precautionary canonical measures lifted from Mr. Román Martínez Velázquez de Castro, Mr. Francisco José Martínez Campos and D. Manuel Morales Morales, who had imposed them since October 15, 2014. Consequently, from today they return to exercise their priestly ministry, and on this same day they have received the communication of a new pastoral assignment.

The reinstatement comes after Fr. Martínez, the lone defendant in the case, was acquited of all charges in a Spanish court and complainant David Ramirez Castillo was ordered to pay all legal costs.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 5:01 PM

Abuse inquiry: Nun tells of growing up in fear in care homes

SCOTLAND
BBC News

December 1, 2017

A nun who was brought up in care homes run by Catholic nuns has said the sisters in charge are lying if they deny abuse took place there.

The witness, known as Sister Louise, lived at Bellview children's refuge in Rutherglen and Smyllum Park orphanage in Lanark.

She has been giving evidence to the second phase of the Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry being held in Edinburgh.

She said her abiding memory of her time spent in the homes was fear.

The homes were run by the Daughters of Charity of St Vincent de Paul.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 4:59 PM

The Australian Church is in desperate trouble

AUSTRALIA
Catholic Herald

November 30, 2017

By Natasha Marsh

In 2017, the Church has endured an abuse crisis, lost a same-sex marriage vote and failed to stop euthanasia. Can it recover?

This Sunday marks the beginning of a new year (Year B, to be precise) in the Church’s liturgical calendar. That may be a relief for Australian Catholics, who will be glad to say goodbye to 2017 a few weeks early.

The year opened on a hard note, with the Royal Commission into Child Sexual Abuse, in its fifth and final year, holding a three-week “wrap-up” session on the Catholic Church in February. The results were shocking and sickening, and were splashed across the news daily. While the vast majority of abuse was historical (between 1950 and 2010) these reports cast a chill on all good-hearted people – Catholic or not.

Many faithful Catholics were further disappointed and disillusioned as entire archdioceses lay paralysed by silence, peeping out from behind media releases and communications offices. Where were the prayer vigils? The novenas? The tears? Church billboards declaring “Not in my name”?

While disappointment was one emotion, another was rage. And the mainstream media capitalised on the zeitgeist, openly speculating whether it was Catholicism itself – from celibacy to Confession – that was intrinsically paedophilic.

Over the months, the spotlight was slowly directed towards one man – Australia’s highest ranking Catholic, Cardinal George Pell. The cardinal became the subject of countless articles, parodies and memes. A comedic song, calling him “scum”, gathered 2.5 million views, while a polemical book Cardinal: the Rise and Fall of George Pell was published in May. In November, an obscene public mural crept across a pub wall in Sydney depicting the cardinal with former prime minister Tony Abbott.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 4:57 PM

Pastor at Freeport church to encourage members to report any sexual abuse by clergy

FREEPORT (ME)
Portland Press Herald

December 1, 2017

By Eric Russell and Megan Doyle

The message to be delivered to parishioners at St. Jude comes after a former priest with a history of transgressions is charged with assaulting a 9-year-old boy there in 1998.

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland said Thursday that it plans to encourage members to come forward with any information about suspected sexual abuse by a church official, in light of new criminal allegations against a former Jesuit priest.

James Francis Talbot was indicted this week on charges of gross sexual assault and unlawful sexual contact involving a 9-year-old boy at St. Jude Church in Freeport in 1998. Talbot was a longtime teacher at Cheverus High School in Portland when he also served at times as a priest in Freeport.

Two people involved in the case confirmed for the Portland Press Herald that Talbot, now 80, settled a lawsuit in June with the same alleged victim. The lawsuit describes how the alleged victim went through severe depression, loss of faith and thoughts of suicide as an adult. It also argues that church leaders and Cheverus officials should have prevented Talbot from ever having access to the boy.

Dave Guthro, spokesman for the diocese, said in an email that the Rev. Daniel Greenleaf, the parish pastor, “will be talking to the parishioners at St. Jude in Freeport to address the situation.” Guthro said Greenleaf would provide them with information about how to come forward with information about sexual abuse by clergy members, but he did not know whether the message would mention Talbot.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 4:54 PM

93-year-old paedophile priest claimed he 'forgot' years of sexually abusing boys

LIVERPOOL (ENGLAND)
ECHO

December 1, 2017

ByJosh Parry

Father John Kevin Murphy abused boys as young as 11

A paedophile catholic priest who used swimming lessons and foreign camping trips as a ploy to abuse boys as young as 11 claimed he ‘couldn’t remember’ his sickening crimes.

Father John Kevin Murphy, 93, used his position of trust to groom four boys during the 60s and 70s while working as a priest at St Luke’s Parish in Whiston, and the attached St Edmund Arrowsmith Catholic School.

Today Liverpool Crown Court heard how during his 12 years working in the area, Murphy, of St George’s Court in Maghull , gained the trust of several families and offered to take boys, aged between 11-16 at the time, for swimming lessons, exercise sessions and even camping trips abroad in order to abuse them.

While teaching the boys to swim, he would put his hands inside their swimming trunks, touch their genitals, and then make them shower naked.

On one occasion, he made one of his victims sit on his knee in a changing room and performed a sex act on him.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 4:52 PM

Father John Murphy, 93, jailed for sexually abusing boys

LIVERPOOL (ENGLAND)
BBC News

December 1, 2017

A Roman Catholic priest who admitted sexually abusing four boys over 40 years ago has been jailed.

Father John Murphy, 93, of St George's Court, Maghull, pleaded guilty to 14 counts of indecently assaulting boys at swimming pools, on camping trips and at a church between 1962 and 1974.
He also admitted two counts of inciting boys to engage in sexual activity between 1963 and 1969.

He was sentenced to three years in prison at Liverpool Crown Court.

The court heard that Murphy had ministered to the relatives of the boys, who were aged between 11 and 16 at the time, and was treated with "reverence and respect" by one of his victims' families.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 4:49 PM

Ex-reporter at priest’s murder trial tells of cover-up by Catholic Church, DA

EDINBURG (TX)
San Antonio Express-News

November 30, 2017

By Aaron Nelsen

EDINBURG — A deal struck between the Hidalgo County district attorney and the Catholic Church allowed a priest who was a suspect in the 1960 murder of a South Texas beauty queen to walk free, former reporter Darrell Davis testified Thursday.

It was the first day of the trial of John Feit, now 85, accused of murder in the death of Irene Garza, a 25-year-old second-grade teacher who had gone to him for the sacrament of confession.

Robert Lattimore, then Hidalgo County district attorney, agreed to steer investigators away from Feit, and in return the 27-year old priest would be sent to a monastery to live out the remainder of his days, Davis told the jury. He was a television reporter at the time, assigned to cover the case.

Lattimore “knew that John Feit had killed Irene Garza and the church knew it,” said Davis, 77. Lattimore “had reached an agreement with the church that John Feit would be placed in a monastery for disturbed priests and remain there for the rest of his life.”

It was April 16, 1960, the evening before Easter Sunday and Garza had gone to confession at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in McAllen. Her lifeless body was pulled from a canal five days later. An autopsy found that she had been beaten, raped while unconscious and then asphyxiated.

Two weeks before, Feit had attacked America Guerra at a church in Edinburg. It wasn’t long before Feit became a suspect in Garza’s murder.

Davis was covering the Guerra case and the Garza death for a local television station.

Testifying in the 92nd district court Thursday, the same courtroom where Feit faced charges of assault and attempted rape of Guerra, Davis recalled his off-the-record meeting with Lattimore.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 4:47 PM

Ex-priest took confession, then murdered Texas beauty queen: prosecutors

AUSTIN (TX)
Reuters

November 30, 2017

By Jon Herskovitz

AUSTIN, Texas (Reuters) - A former Roman Catholic priest took the confession of a Texas beauty queen, then lured her to a church rectory and killed her, prosecutors said on Thursday to start a trial for a 1960 murder that has been one of state’s most notorious cold cases.

In opening statements at a state court in the border county of Hidalgo, prosecutors said John Feit, 84, charged with the murder 57 years ago of Irene Garza, then 25, engaged in “betrayal, murder and cover-up,” local media reports from the courtroom said.

Feit, who used a walker when he entered court, has denied the charges and his lawyers urged the jury to believe facts about the case and not stories.

“There wasn’t enough evidence then, and there isn’t enough evidence now,” defense attorney O. Rene Flores was quoted as saying by the McAllen Monitor newspaper.

Garza, a former Miss South Texas and second-grade school teacher, was a devout Catholic who often went to confession, prosecutors told the court, the reports said.

After the April 1960 attack, Feit returned to the church and continued to hear confessions, prosecutors said.

Garza’s body was found five days later in a nearby canal. An autopsy showed that she had been raped while comatose and died of suffocation, according to the Texas Rangers, a statewide police agency.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 4:45 PM

Former priest on trial for murder of South Texas beauty queen in 1960

EDINBURG (TX)
KENS-TV

December 1, 2017

By Oscar Margain

EDINBURG, TX - A former priest accused of a 1960 murder of a South Texas beauty queen is now being tried in state court. It’s a case that has left many unanswered questions about what happened the night the young woman went missing.

Day one of the trial wrapped up at the Hidalgo County court house with opening statements and six witnesses taking the stand on Thursday.

John Bernard Feit, 85, arrived at the 92nd district in a walker next to his defense attorney.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 4:43 PM

The Latest from Day 2: Women testify that Feit made ominous remarks

EDINBURG (TX)
The Monitor

December 1, 2017

By Lorenzo Zazueta-Castro

EDINBURG — The Latest on the John Feit trial:

12 p.m.

After more boxes of evidence were opened following the first break, the evidence tech remained on the stand and fielded questions from the defense.

Handwritten letters from Feit to McAllen Police Chief Clint Mussey and an affidavit from the defendant taken shortly after Garza’s disappearance were among the items entered as evidence.

Before the court recessed for lunch break, jurors heard from an employee of Sacred Heart church in Edinburg, Cleotilde “Tilly” Sanchez.

Sanchez, the state’s third witness of the day, worked as a cook in the rectory at the church.

She testified about receiving an anonymous call from a man who made an ominous statement: “Tilly, you’re next honey.”

Despite the caller not identifying himself, Sanchez said she recognized Feit's voice. She said she often encountered him at the church’s rectory, where he spent time with other priests.

In another instance, Sanchez testified about Feit remarking to other priests, “We should lock the door, and make Tilly disappear.”

Although not part of her testimony Friday, Sanchez has claimed that the threatening call from Feit came shortly after the Guerra incident, in which Feit’s finger was allegedly injured.

This testimony followed Beatrice Garcia, who testified that a man approached her in his car as she walked in downtown McAllen, near the Sacred Heart Church, and told her that he’d love to take pictures of her by the cemetery.

Garcia, who was in her 20s in 1960, said she felt scared by the proposition and later learned it was Feit, who had been implicated in the Guerra incident.

After the encounter, Garcia said her father would accompany her when she walked to work.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 4:41 PM

Trial begins in case of former priest accused of killing Texas beauty queen in 1960

EDINBURG (TX)
CBS/AP

November 30, 2017

EDINBURG, Texas — A prosecutor tells jurors evidence will show an 85-year-old former Catholic priest was responsible for the slaying of a South Texas teacher and ex-beauty queen 57 years ago. 48 Hours investigated the case in the 2014 episode, "The Last Confession."

Opening statements and testimony began Thursday in the trial of John Feit in Edinburg, Texas.

He's accused of the April 1960 beating and suffocation of 25-year-old Irene Garza. Garza's body was found in an irrigation canal in McAllen, Texas. The last time anybody saw the beauty queen, she was going to confession at Sacred Heart Catholic Church. Feit, 27 at the time, heard that confession. He was a visiting priest.

The Monitor of McAllen reports prosecutor Michael Garza told jurors that Feit committed the murder "with malice and forethought." According to Reuters, prosecutors argued that after hearing Garza's confession, Feit lured her into the rectory, where he killed her.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 4:25 PM

New review system implemented for Word of Faith DSS cases

RUTHERFORD CO. (NC)
7News WSPA

December 1, 2017

By Brianna Smith

RUTHERFORD Co., NC (WSPA) — Rutherford County Department of Social Services and the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services has announced a new partnership in reviewing child abuse and neglect cases connected to Word of Faith Fellowship.

A settlement between Word of Faith and Rutherford County DSS in 2005 from a federal lawsuit, has recently become scrutinized. The settlement closed and expunged records of 10 pending cases on children within the Western North Carolina church. The settlement also laid out stipulations for future cases. Those stipulations included giving Word of Faith Fellowship the right to record any interviews Rutherford County DSS had with children, it also to some extent protected a religious ritual inside the church known as blasting. Blastings are prayers within the church that include large amounts of screaming or shrieking and often physical abuse, according to former members. Word of Faith Fellowship has repeatedly denied any abuse claims within the church.

To read the full settlement, click here: Rutherford Co. DSS Settlement

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 4:23 PM

Catholic priest accused of raping children after purifying them with holy oil is arrested

SANT'AGATA (ITALY)
International Business Times

December 1, 2017

By Jason Murdock

Father Pio Guidolin now stands accused of sexual assault on minors.

Italian law enforcement has arrested a Catholic priest working in the parish of the village of Sant'Agata who, for at least three years, is alleged to have raped several children under the age of 14.

Father Pio Guidolin now stands accused of sexual assault on minors. Local media reported that the carabinieri – military police – arrested the priest on Friday (1 December) following an investigation by the District Prosecutor's Office in Catania, the second largest city of Sicily.

The priest allegedly exploited his role and took advantage of the "fragility of several youngsters" who were left disturbed by the incidents, read a notice released by the prosecutor of Catania.

Police believe the priest forced children to perform sexual acts. According to La Stampa, Guidolin would sprinkle victims with holy oil taken from his church.

He would reportedly conduct what he claimed were "purifying acts" to "soothe their inner sufferings."

The police investigation discovered that after one child refused to submit to the priest he was isolated from the religious community.

Local media revealed that after some parents became highly suspicious of his actions he threatened and intimidated them by speaking about his knowledge and links to the mafia.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 4:20 PM

Testimony starts in ex-priest’s trial for 1960 Texas killing

EDINBURG (TX)
The Associated Press

November 30, 2017

EDINBURG, Texas (AP) — A prosecutor tells jurors evidence will show an 85-year-old former Catholic priest was responsible for the slaying of a South Texas teacher and ex-beauty queen 57 years ago.

Opening statements and testimony began Thursday in the trial of John Feit in Edinburg, Texas.

He’s accused of the April 1960 beating and suffocation of 25-year-old Irene Garza. She was found dead five days after going to a McAllen church for confession.

The Monitor of McAllen reports prosecutor Michael Garza told jurors that Feit committed the murder “with malice and forethought.”

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 4:18 PM

60 Years Later, A Murdered McAllen Schoolteacher May Get Justice

EDINBURG (TX)
Texas Standard

November 30, 2017

By Michael Marks
Written by Jen Rice

On April 16, 1960, a 25-year-old schoolteacher and former beauty queen named Irene Garza attended confession at Sacred Heart Church in McAllen. Five days later, she was found dead in a nearby canal. An investigation revealed she’d been sexually assaulted, beaten, and suffocated.

No one’s ever been convicted of murdering Garza. The crime has loomed over the Rio Grande Valley for nearly 60 years. But now, the priest who heard her final confession has been charged with her murder. John Feit, who’s since left the priesthood, will stand trial this week in a case that’s attracted national attention.

Lorenzo Zazueta-Castro, a reporter for the McAllen Monitor, says the trial stems from a campaign promise made by Hidalgo County District Attorney Ricardo Rodriguez Jr., who vowed to get justice for Garza’s family.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 4:15 PM

Testimony To Resume This Morning In The Irene Garza Murder Trial

EDINBURG (TX)
710 KURV News Talk

December 01, 2017

By Zack Cantu

It’ll be day two of testimony starting this morning in the murder trial of former McAllen priest John Feit, accused of killing former McAllen beauty queen Irene Garza 57 years ago. Prosecutors kicked off the first day of testimony late Thursday morning by calling local attorney Darrell Davis to the stand. Five more witnesses were questioned before the trial adjourned for the day. Before that, prosecutors used their opening statements to say that Feit engaged in “betrayal, murder, and cover-up” when he raped and suffocated Garza. They told the Hidalgo County jury that Feit committed the murder with “malice and forethought”, saying Feit heard Garza’s Easter weekend confession, then lured her to the rectory of Sacred Heart Catholic Church, and killed her. Defense attorneys, in their opening statements, told jurors there wasn’t enough evidence in 1960 to show Feit committed murder and there isn’t enough evidence now. A 7 woman-5 man jury is hearing the high-profile case.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 4:12 PM