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February 24, 2018

Mons. Alejandro Goic reflexionó sobre los desafíos en prevención de abusos al interior de la Iglesia

CHILE
Iglesia.cl (website of the Chilean bishops' conference)

>>>Bishop Alejandro Goic reflected on the challenges in preventing abuse within the Church

February 24, 2018

En entrevista con Revista Sábado, el obispo de Rancagua se refirió, entre otros temas, al caso del obispo de Osorno y a la misión del Arzobispo de Malta, Chales Scicluna en Chile.

En una extensa entrevista con el periodista Gazi Jalil F. Mons. Alejandro Goic aborda varios temas, habla de su salud y del pedido expreso del Papa Francisco para que continúe -pese a haber presentado su renuncia hace casi tres años- a cargo de la diócesis de Rancagua.

Obispo Barros

Sobre la participación de Mons. Barros en la reciente visita del Papa Francisco, Mons. Goic señala que "él debió haberse restado, por prudencia evangélica y por prudencia pastoral, porque él sabe que su persona, más allá de su inocencia o culpabilidad, es una figura controvertida. Lo que debía brillar en ese momento era el Papa y por eso he dicho, sin hacer juicios sobre él (Barros), que me dejó un sabor amargo, porque era obvio que los periodistas lo iban a buscar."

[Google Translation:

Bishop Alejandro Goic reflected on the challenges in preventing abuse within the Church

In an interview with Revista Sábado, the bishop of Rancagua spoke, among other issues, about the case of the Bishop of Osorno and the mission of the Archbishop of Malta, Chales Scicluna in Chile.

In an extensive interview with the journalist Gazi Jalil F. Mons. Alejandro Goic addresses several issues, speaks of his health and the express request of Pope Francis to continue, despite having submitted his resignation almost three years ago, in charge of the diocese of Rancagua.

Bishop Barros

On the participation of Bishop Barros in the recent visit of Pope Francis, Bishop Goic states that "he should have subtracted, for evangelical prudence and pastoral prudence, because he knows that his person, beyond his innocence or guilt He is a controversial figure, what should shine at that moment was the Pope and that is why I said, without making judgments about him (Barros), that he left me with a bitter taste, because it was obvious that the journalists were going to look for him. "]

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 5:04 PM

Six Oregon men file suit against Albany First Assembly church for sex abuse

ALBANY (OR)
Corvallis Gazette-Times

By Lillian Schrock

February 24, 2018

Six Oregon men filed a lawsuit Friday against the Albany First Assembly church, and the state and national organizations that operate the church, for sexual abuse they say they suffered as children in the 1980s, according to the Portland law firm representing the plaintiffs.

The lawsuit alleges that the church and its governing organizations failed to investigate and forward to police reports that a youth leader in the church had sexually abused a boy. Two leaders of a church youth program were later criminally convicted for sexually abusing several boys.

According to the complaint, Ralph Wade Gantt and Todd Clark were leaders in the church-sponsored Royal Rangers, an educational and recreational program for boys similar to Boy Scouts. The lawsuit alleges Gantt and Clark abused their position of leadership, trust and respect to repeatedly sexually abuse the six plaintiffs when they were as young as 10 years old.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 4:55 PM

Opinion: A complete loss of moral authority

NEW ZEALAND
Gisborne (New Zealand) Herald

By Martin Hanson

February 24, 2018

In his February 18 column “Prayer move a rejection of Christ”, Ken Orr asks why, in seven generations, we have changed dramatically from a Christian nation dedicated to love, truth and justice, to an increasingly agnostic, secular humanist society that has lost its way?
While I agree with Tony Lee that a morality instilled by fear of the supernatural provides no sound basis for good behaviour, I think that there is another reason; the complete loss of moral authority by the Catholic Church.

For centuries the church has wielded great power, and as we all know, power and corruption often go together — the greater the power, the greater the tendency to abuse it. One of the most unforgiveable examples has been the sexual abuse of children in many countries by Catholic clergy. Compounding the effect of these evil crimes has been the cover-up and the relocation of offenders to other parishes where in many cases they have gone on to reoffend multiple times.

The timing of Mr Orr’s column was therefore particularly unfortunate, as it came hot on the heels of the February 11 edition of the Sydney Morning Herald (SMH), which suggested that where sexual abuse of children is concerned, the Catholic Church in Australia considers itself above the law.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 4:50 PM

Vatican child abuse investigator meets with accused Chilean bishop

SANTIAGO (CHILE)
Reuters

February 23, 2018

A Vatican investigator sent to Chile by Pope Francis to interview sex abuse victims met on Friday with Chilean Bishop Juan Barros about accusations that he covered-up sexual abuse of minors committed by a priest.

The investigator, Spanish priest Jordi Bertomeu, declined to share details of the interview with Barros, but told reporters the meeting was “cordial and friendly”.

Earlier in the day, the Vatican’s lead investigator, Archbishop Charles Scicluna, was released from a hospital in Santiago after undergoing emergency gallbladder surgery, and may conduct more interviews.

Scicluna has recovered well and will remain in the country to rest, Episcopal Conference spokesman Jaime Coiro said.

Scicluna’s assistant, Bertomeu, was enlisted to replace him in scheduled interviews with sex abuse victims through Friday.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 4:42 PM

Counseling for clergy sex abuse accusers continues

GUAM
Pacific Daily News

February 24, 2018

By Haidee V Eugenio

Professional counseling services continue for victims of clergy sex abuse, nearly a year since the Archdiocese of Agana created Hope and Healing Guam in April 2017 amid efforts to try to settle clergy abuse lawsuits.

Hope and Healing's mission to provide counseling, treatment and spiritual healing doesn't overlap or duplicate the work of the attorneys representing the archdiocese in the clergy sex abuse cases, said Andrew Camacho,the organization's president.."

"We remain ready to assist the victims with counseling and to that ensure those who are not represented by attorneys but desire to resolve their claims are supported through the process."

Because of the confidential nature of counseling and other services and to avoid discouraging current or future clients, Hope and Healing isn't giving an estimate on the number of people who have called in and received or are receiving counseling. Camacho said low numbers would be discouraging, while high numbers aren't at all indicative of the extent of the abuse.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 11:34 AM

Victoria on brink of national redress scheme for sex abuse survivors

AUSTRALIA
The Age

February 24, 2018

By Farrah Tomazin

Premier Daniel Andrews has given the strongest signal yet that Victoria is on the brink of signing up to a national compensation scheme for child sex abuse survivors.

Speaking during a whirlwind trip to the US, Mr Andrews also confirmed his government was preparing new laws that could invalidate a controversial legal tactic preventing survivors of clergy abuse from suing the Catholic Church.

As revealed by The Age on Saturday, the passing of such laws in Victoria could expose billions of dollars in assets of the Catholic Church and other religious bodies to potential legal action for the first time in more than a decade.

"We'll very soon introduce into the Parliament a bill to deal with that. What's more, we are very hopeful of being able to sign on to a true national redress scheme as well,” Mr Andrews told Sky News in Washington.

“The Prime Minister and I, and I think perhaps the Premier of NSW, will have more to say about that quite soon.”

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 11:30 AM

Sexual abuse survivors in Victoria to be able to sue churches as Government moves to end 'Ellis defence'

AUSTRALIA
ABC (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

February 23, 2018

Survivors of sexual abuse will soon be able to sue churches in Victoria, as the State Government moves to close a legal loophole.

Currently, laws in the state prevent victims from being able to take legal action against some non-incorporated organisations, like churches.

Attorney-General Martin Pakula said the new legislation was in response to a key recommendation from the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.

A bill will be introduced into State Parliament in the first half of the year, he said.

"We're developing legislation to overcome the so-called Ellis defence, in response to key recommendations of the Betrayal of Trust report and the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse," Mr Pakula said in a statement.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 11:24 AM

Bishop at heart of abuse cover-up claims testifies in Chile

SANTIAGO (CHILE)
Associated Press via ABC News

February 23, 2018

The Chilean bishop accused of covering up sex abuse by a pedophile priest has testified before a Vatican mission looking into the allegations, a priest involved in the interviews said Friday.

Bishop Juan Barros has been among those interviewed by the team, said the Rev. Jordi Bertomeu, who has been handling recent interviews in the investigation. But he did not say when the interview occurred, or whether Barros appeared voluntarily or was summoned.

Barros has been accused by victims of witnessing and ignoring the abuse of young parishioners by the Rev. Fernando Karadima, who was removed from ministry and sentenced to a lifetime of "penance and prayer" in 2010.

Barros has denied knowing of the abuse.

The investigation is being led by Maltese Archbishop Charles Scicluna, who was released from a hospital earlier in the day after undergoing gallbladder surgery.

Before being hospitalized Tuesday, he had started his interviews with victims and others opposed to the pope's appointment and support of Barros.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 11:12 AM

February 23, 2018

Former Winnipeg rabbi facing sexual assault charges believed to have fled Canada: police

WINNIPEG (CANADA)
CTV Winnipeg

February 20, 2018

Police believe a former Winnipeg rabbi charged with sexual assault has fled to the United States.

A warrant was issued for the arrest of 42-year-old Yacov Simmonds in October of 2017.

Police say there are three complainants and the alleged incidents occurred between 1993 and 1999.

Simmonds faces three counts of sexual assault, three counts of sexual interefrence, and two counts of invitation to sexual touching.

Officers say he is aware of the warrant and is actively evading police.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 5:23 PM

Boarding Schools: The Secret Shame – Exposure review: a raw and emotional exploration of systematic failure of abuse victims

ENGLAND
The Telegraph

February 19, 2018

By Michael Hogan

An estimated one million people in Britain today went to boarding school. Increasingly, the extent of sexual abuse in these institutions is coming to light. Boarding Schools: The Secret Shame – Exposure(ITV) followed journalist Alex Renton, who was himself abused as an eight-year-old by his teacher, as he investigated how much schools knew about what was going on behind their closed doors.

Since going public four years ago about his own experience, Renton has built a unique database, created from the plentiful personal correspondence he has received from other victims. Here they spoke openly about the abuse they suffered, many for the first time, and how it contaminated their lives – “like having a toxin inside you”, as one powerfully put it.

The pattern was disturbing, with paedophiles grooming and habitually assaulting boarding students. If pupils reported abuse, it was hushed up to avoid scandal and protect the school’s precious reputation, meaning prolific abusers got away with it for decades. If they were “moved on”, according to the programme, they left with glowing references and continued teaching elsewhere, preying on more children.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 5:20 PM

Rabbi skips town after charges laid for multiple sex offences: Winnipeg police

WINNIPEG (CANADA)
CBC News

February 20, 2018

By Kristin Annable

A warrant for Rabbi Yacov Simmonds's arrest was issued in October

A rabbi well known in Winnipeg's Jewish community has been on the lam since October after being charged with sexual assault, sexual interference and invitation to sexual touching, CBC News has learned.

Police believe that Rabbi Yacov Simmonds, 42, has been hiding out somewhere in the United States after a warrant was issued for his arrest on three counts of sexual assault, three counts of sexual interference and two counts of invitation to sexual touching.

"We believe this individual has fled to the United States. Yacov Simmonds is aware of the warrant and we feel he is actively evading police," Winnipeg police spokesman Const. Jay Murray told CBC News.

"We have spoken to this individual … and for that reason, we know this individual is aware there is a warrant."

Simmonds had been terminated the previous year as the director of development at Chabad-Lubavitch of Winnipeg — the local branch of a larger Orthodox Jewish movement — when police first began their investigation in May of 2017.

It is still an ongoing, active investigation so police could offer few details on the matter. They could not comment on what efforts have been made to locate Simmonds, whether police had made contact with authorities in the United States, or further details on the alleged victims.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 5:17 PM

Former Winnipeg rabbi charged with sex crimes 'actively evading police'

WINNIPEG (CANADA)
Winnipeg Free Press

February 20, 2018

By Carol Sanders

Winnipeg police have issued an arrest warrant for a rabbi charged with sex crimes alleged to have occurred between 1993 and 1999.

Yacov Simmonds, 42, has been charged with three counts of sexual assault, three counts of sexual interference and two counts of invitation to sexual touching.

Sexual interference involves touching someone under the age of 16 for a sexual purpose and a conviction carries a minimum one-year prison sentence. Invitation to sexual touching also involves minors and a minimum one-year prison term.

Winnipeg police said Tuesday that they issued a warrant for Simmonds' arrest in October. Investigators believe he fled to the United States.

Simmonds "is aware of the warrant and is actively evading police," WPS said in a statement.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 5:15 PM

Opinion: In Which The Jewish Community Gives Cover To A Child Molester - Again

EAST BRUNSWICK (NJ)
Forward

February 20, 2018

By Bethany Mandel

Almost exactly two years ago, I basically left my local Jewish community. I removed myself from every Facebook group and stopped attending local events, playgroups and more. The reason? A local rabbi, Aryeh Goodman, had been released from prison, after he served time for inappropriately touching a minor while working at a summer camp in 2001.

But it wasn’t Goodman who made me remove myself from my community. It was the community’s response.

When I posted about his release in Facebook groups in order to warn fellow parents, I was asked by several members of the community to remove the post. In groups where I was not an administrator, the post was deleted without my consent.

I was utterly horrified by how many members of the community downplayed the abuse he perpetrated (one message: “he didn’t actually molest him”) and tried to hide the abuse he committed, supposedly in order to protect his wife who runs a local preschool and his parents who run the Chabad at nearby Rutgers University from the shame of his actions.

I argued then that their shame should come from his actions, not the fact that they have been publicized, and that we have a moral and religious imperative to warn parents of a convicted predator in our midst. At the time that he was arrested, he was director of Chabad of East Brunswick (Chabad denies any affiliation with him), which focuses on educating children. He was charged with 12 counts of indecent assault of a person less than 13 years old, which took place 12 years earlier when he was a camp counselor in Pennsylvania.

Goodman served his time and was released two years ago. But this week, my warnings about the likelihood of the rabbi offending again were confirmed. He was caught with a child in an illegal sex act — again.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 5:06 PM

Vatican judge accused of possessing child pornography accepts plea deal

ITALY
Catholic Herald

February 22, 2018

By Junno Arocho Esteves

He has resigned his position on the Roman Rota

A judge on a top Vatican tribunal was given a 14-month suspended sentence by an Italian court for possessing child pornography and sexual molestation. He then resigned his position on the Roman Rota, the tribunal.

According to the Italian newspaper La Stampa, Mgr Pietro Amenta, a judge on the Rota, a court that deals mainly with marriage cases, accepted the terms of plea bargain on February 14.

In an email to Catholic News Service on February 21, Paloma Garcia Ovejero, vice director of the Vatican press office, said the Italian monsignor “resigned as prelate auditor of the Roman Rota last week” following his conviction.

Mgr Amenta was detained by police in March 2017 after he was accused of fondling an 18-year-old man in a public square in Rome. The young man followed him and called the police, who subsequently took Mgr Amenta into custody, Italian newspapers reported.

In the investigation that followed, police apparently found pornographic images involving minors on the monsignor’s personal computer. The Italian press also said the investigators discovered that Mgr Amenta was accused of “obscene acts” in 1991 and sexual molestation in 2004. Neither of those allegations led to a conviction.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 5:04 PM

Former principal wanted on child sex abuse charges kept in custody in Israel, will face new psychiatric test

ISRAEL and AUSTRALIA
Australian Broadcasting Corporation

February 14, 2018

By Sophie McNeill

Malka Leifer, a Melbourne school principal wanted on 74 charges of child sexual abuse, has been sent for a new psychiatric examination after Israeli police accused her of faking mental illness in order to avoid extradition.

After three years of avoiding extradition hearings, Ms Leifer appeared in the Jerusalem district court on Wednesday morning, her second court appearance in just two days.

Australia has been trying to extradite the woman since 2013, but the 54-year-old has refused to front court, with her lawyers claiming she has panic attacks, anxiety and is too unwell to face extradition hearings.

Israeli police re-arrested her on Monday, accusing her of faking a mental illness to avoid extradition.

Prosecutor Matan Akiva showed Judge Ram Winograd evidence he said proved she was fit to attend court.

He played video to the judge that he said showed Ms Leifer going to the post office by herself and signing cheques.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 5:01 PM

Archbishop on 'mission' in New York, Chile

MALTA
Times of Malta

February 15, 2018

Not in a position to comment or answer questions about mission

Archbishop Charles Scicluna will leave Malta on Thursday on a mission entrusted to him by Pope Francis.

He will visit New York and Chile for a number of private meetings.

Mgr Scicluna will return to Malta on February 25.

The Curia said the Archbishop was not in a position to comment or answer questions related to this mission.

In Archbishop Scicluna's absence, Vicar General Joe Galea Curmi will assume
the leadership of the Archdiocese of Malta.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 4:54 PM

Rabbi charged with having sex with 17-year-old girl forced into prostitution

EAST BRUNSWICK (NJ)
NJ Advance Media for NJ.com

February 19, 2018

By Jeff Goldman

A New Jersey rabbi was among 30 men who had sex with a teenage girl forced into prostitution by a New York City man and woman who face charges of human trafficking, authorities said.

Gabriella Colon, 18, and Richard Ortiz, 23, both of Bronx, New York, were arrested at a motel in Fort Lee on Friday and charged with 11 counts of human trafficking as well as child pornography offenses, the Middlesex County Prosecutor's Office said in a statement.

Aryeh Goodman, who runs a religious learning center out of his East Brunswick home, paid to have sex with the 17-year-old girl at a hotel in the township, authorities said.

Goodman, 35, turned himself in five days later. He was charged with engaging in prostitution with a child and endangering the welfare of a child. Goodman has previously served time in prison for indecent assault on a child under the age of 13 in Pennsylvania.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 4:51 PM

Sisters Who Accuse Australian Principal of Sexual Assault Herald Her Arrest in Israel as ‘Important Breakthrough’

ISRAEL and AUSTRALIA
Haaretz

February 13, 2018

By Dina Kraft

After investigation, Israel Police alleges the ultra-orthodox school principal has pretended to be mentally ill to avoid extradition

- Israel arrests Australian principal suspected of abusing ultra-Orthodox schoolgirls
- The woman spearheading the fight against sexual assault in ultra-Orthodox society
- Private event hosting ultra-Orthodox sex offender and ex-fugitive canceled after backlash

The three sisters from Australia who came to Israel four months ago to fight for the extradition of the woman they accuse of sexually abusing them for years said they were elated by news of her arrest here Monday. They call it an “important breakthrough in our long journey to get justice.”

The former headmistress of the ultra-Orthodox Melbourne girls school the three attended was arrested Monday by Israel Police, who suggested that she had been faking a mental health condition to avoid extradition to Australia, where she faces 74 counts of indecent assault and rape. An Israeli citizen, she fled here in March 2008, allegedly with the help of some members of the religious community that ran the school, just hours after allegations against her first surfaced.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 4:49 PM

‘I never imagined sitting in court, seeing my former principal in handcuffs’

ISRAEL and AUSTRALIA
Plus61j

February 14, 2018

By Ittay Flescher

AS A FORMER TEACHER at the Adass Israel school in Melbourne, I never imagined that a day would come when I would be sitting in a Jerusalem courtroom a metre away from the principal of the school with handcuffs around her hands and ankles.

Australia has been exerting pressure to extradite Malka Leifer following the college’s reprehensible behaviour in helping her flee to Israel ten years ago after allegations came to light that she had sexually abused a number of female students on school camps.

The 54-year-old resident of the West Bank settlement of Emmanuel is now wanted on 74 charges of child sexual abuse.

As I entered the tiny courtroom with no more than 30 seats, mostly filled with journalists, I was struck by the fact that the only Haredim in the court were the family and supporters of her campaign to avoid justice in Australia.

Seeing her sitting in the courtroom wearing a tichel (religious head covering) and traditionally modest clothing worn by Ultra-Orthodox women, I was reminded of the values and lifestyle that she had once tried to instil into girls at the school, and how many innocent childhoods she had destroyed in her failure to do so.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 4:46 PM

Melbourne teacher Malka Leifer arrested on child sex claims

ISRAEL
News Corp Australia Network

February 2018

By Ellen Whinnett

SCHOOLTEACHER Malka Leifer, accused of sexually abusing students in Australia, was arrested by Israeli police after they infiltrated her secretive religious community and
planted an undercover officer in her synagogue.

Ms Leifer’s 10 years of freedom ended on February 12 when she was dragged screaming from her home in Emmanuel, a remote ultra-orthodox Jewish settlement in the occupied Palestinian West Bank.

Police finally swooped after Jewish community activists handed them secret video recordings of Ms Leifer shopping, catching the bus, chatting on the phone and going to the post office.
The material gathered in the surveillance appears to contrast with Ms Leifer’s claims that she could not be extradited to Australia because her mental illness was so severe she was virtually housebound and non-communicative.

PRIVATE EYE

Sexual abuse advocacy group Jewish Community Watch funded a team of private investigators who photographed Ms Leifer apparently living a normal life with her husband and several of her five children in Emmanuel.

She was attending synagogue, hosting Shabbat dinners and taking part in community life.
Confronted with this evidence, the Israeli police Special Investigations Unit went undercover and infiltrated the notoriously-closed community.

One policeman dressed in the distinctive suit, large black hat and white shirt worn by ultraorthodox men and attended synagogue at Emmanuel to observe Ms Leifer’s interactions on the Shabbat.

He cast aside strict religious rules by phoning the results of his investigations through to superiors from the bathroom of the synagogue on the Shabbat, Judaism’s rest day.

The presence of a female officer also infiltrated the community during the month-long investigation in December and January.

Police have now accused Ms Leifer of faking the mental illness which for 10 years has allowed her to dodge extradition to Australia to face 74 accusations of sexually abusing female students at the Adass Israel School in Elsternwick in suburban Melbourne, where she had been principal between 2003 and 2008.

EXILE ENDS

Ms Leifer fled to Israel in 2008, the day the accusations were made. Israeli courts have consistently agreed with the findings of psychiatrists that she was too mentally unwell to be extradited.

In her court appearance this week she shook visibly and clawed at her face and head as the court decided to detain her until next Wednesday in a secure mental health facility to determine whether she was well enough to face extradition to Australia and to decide whether she was actually mentally ill.

A spokesman for Jewish Community Watch told News Corp they had been inspired by the courage of Melbourne woman Dassi Erlich, one of Ms Leifer’s alleged victims, and admired her years-long campaign for justice.

After meeting Ms Erlich, they decided to fund a covert operation into Ms Leifer’s life in Emmanuel.

“We put together a team that surveilled Malka Leifer for a period of time,” the spokesman said.
“She has a very normal, typical social life, very active, travelling long distances, socially meeting with people.

Ms Leifer has also been charged with domestic offences in Israel of interfering with a court process, obstruction of justice and interfering with evidence.

Pictures by Franck Bessiere, additional reporting Shakked Auerbach

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 4:36 PM

Jewish principal accused of abusing girls ‘faked illness’

ISRAEL and AUSTRALIA
The Australian

February 15, 2018

By Jacob Atkins, Jamie Walker

The stalled extradition of fugitive Melbourne Jewish school principal Malka Leifer has been revived, with the accused child molester last night making her second appearance this week in an Israeli court.

Flanked by her lawyers, the 54-year-old grandmother wept in court and was frequently asked by guards to stop rattling the cuffs on her shackles, when she ­appeared before a judge on charges of obstructing justice, allegedly by faking mental illness to avoid being put on a plane back to
Australia.

Ms Leifer is wanted on 74 counts of child sex abuse, including rape, allegedly committed against girls when she was a teacher and headmistress at the ultra-orthodox Adass Israel School from 2003-08.

Israeli prosecutors last night applied in the Jerusalem court for the reinstatement of an extradition application from Australia for Ms Leifer to be returned to Melbourne.

Welcoming the move, the ­Attorney-General, Christian Porter, said her alleged crimes were “abhorrent” and it was imperative she faced an Australian court.

“We have been advised that Ms Leifer has been arrested following a domestic investigation in Israel for possible administration of justice offences,” he said.

“This is a positive development and we welcome the work of Israeli authorities. ”

The case effectively collapsed last year after an Israeli judge accepted defence evidence that panic attacks and a form of psychological paralysis prevented Ms Leifer from attending court, a legal requirement in Israel. Ms Leifer was subsequently released from home detention.

Pressure from Australia, including direct representations from Malcolm Turnbull and Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, paved the way for ­Israeli police to mount an undercover operation that allegedly ­exposed her claimed incapacity as a sham.

State prosecutor Matan Akiva said last night he was in possession of several covertly recorded videos in which Ms Leifer was filmed at the supermarket, laundromat and post office, and standing on the balcony of her home speaking on a mobile phone.

Mr Akiva argued that this was sufficient evidence that she was hoodwinking the psychiatrists evaluating her, who had been told that she was bedridden and in need of a caretaker to enable her to be physically mobile.

Ms Leifer’s lawyer, Yehuda Freid, argued his client was the victim of pressure from Australian officials. “The prosecution don’t like to lose and they are very frustrated, what do they do? Catch her at the laundromat? And it looks to the Australians like they are doing something,” he said.

The new judge overseeing the case, Ram Winograd, ruled that she be kept in hospital under prison conditions and be put under close observation by the Jerusalem district psychiatrist, who would recommend next week whether she was fit for the hearings to proceed.

“The judge’s decision may be a best-case scenario because she’s not free, she’s going to be locked up, observed, assessed over a solid week — something that’s never happened before,” victims advocate Manny Waks said outside court last night.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 4:32 PM

Lawsuit over sex abuse insurance could have consequences for future cases, experts say

VANCOUVER (BRITISH COLUMBIA, CANADA)
The Province and Canadian Press

February 21, 2018

A decade-long court battle between an insurance company and an Ontario Catholic diocese over coverage for settlements in sexual abuse cases could have wide-ranging consequences for victims and religious institutions involved in similar cases across Canada, legal experts say.

The Catholic Diocese of London filed a lawsuit against AXA Insurance Canada in 2008 claiming a breach of policy after the company refused to pay out claims related to settlements between the church and victims of two priests, Father Charles Sylvestre and Father John Harper, who were convicted of sexually abusing children.

The diocese argues it had liability insurance in the 1960s and early 1970s — when the abuse took place — that entitles it to payouts from AXA.

But the insurance company argues in its statement of defence that the diocese’s policy is void because church officials knew of, and failed to disclose, sexual abuse allegations levelled at Sylvestre before the insurance policy was enacted. AXA is further demanding the diocese return $10 million already paid out under the insurance policy.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 2:55 PM

Judge dismisses Baton Rouge Catholic Diocese, priest from lawsuit involving the confessional

BATON ROUGE (LA)
The Advocate

February 22, 2018

By Joe Gyan, Jr.

The Catholic Diocese of Baton Rouge and one of its priests have been dismissed from a lawsuit that claimed a teenager confessed to him in 2008 that a church parishioner was sexually abusing her, but the priest did not stop or report the alleged abuse.

State District Judge Mike Caldwell signed an order Feb. 9 dismissing the diocese and Father Jeff Bayhi from the longstanding suit by Rebecca Mayeux and her parents, the diocese announced Thursday in a news release.

The judge's order came in response to a motion by Mayeux and her parents to dismiss their claims against Bayhi and the diocese, with each party bearing their own costs.

"The decision preserves the Seal and sanctity of the Confessional which the Church considers inviolable," the diocese's statement said.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 2:52 PM

Former Sussex priest jailed for sex abuse against boy

LONDON (ENGLAND)
BBC

February 22, 2018

A "disgusting and despicable" ex-Anglican priest has been jailed for sexually abusing a boy and conspiring with another priest to abuse the child.

Ifor Whittaker, formerly Colin Pritchard, was convicted of abusing the boy, aged between 10 and 16 when the abuse happened in the 1980s and 1990s.

The 73-year-old also conspired with ex-clergyman Roy Cotton, who has since died, to commit sex acts.

Whittaker, of Rectory Road, Sutton, south London, was jailed for 16 years.

He was told he will serve a minimum of 10 years in prison. He is already a registered sex offender for life after a previous conviction.

Sentencing Whittaker, Judge Paul Tain described the priest's behaviour as "disgraceful, disgusting and despicable",

He said: "It was an obvious and clear case of grooming, where he carefully manipulated a vulnerable child."

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 2:50 PM

Long overdue laws will empower child sexual abuse survivors

CANBERRA (AUSTRALIA)
Canberra Times

February 24, 2018

By Ben Schneiders

The pain of being raped or sexually abused as a child by a member of the clergy is forever wrought on the souls of survivors.

For many it is a daily struggle just to get by, their nights claimed by torment dating back decades.

Some are broken entirely, many have died early, their deaths often stemming from that abuse.

No single piece of legislation can rectify the crimes committed against children in Australia’s religious institutions.

But the new draft laws proposed by Victorian Attorney-General Martin Pakula are important in giving more power to survivors.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 2:47 PM

Ex-Priester muss wegen schweren Missbrauchs in Psychiatrie

BERLIN (GERMANY)
Die Welt

>>>Ex-priest must undergo therapy because of serious abuse

February 22, 2018

Ein Priester erschleicht sich das Vertrauen von Eltern und vergeht sich jahrelang an deren Kindern. Dafür wurde er nun zu 8,5 Jahren Haft verurteilt. Zunächst muss er aber in Therapie. Selbst der Richter zweifelt an einem Erfolg.

Wegen schweren sexuellen Missbrauchs von Kindern hat das Landgericht Deggendorf einen ehemaligen katholischen Priester aus Bayern zu einer Freiheitsstrafe von achteinhalb Jahren verurteilt. Zuvor wird der 53-Jährige auf unbefristete Zeit in der geschlossenen Psychiatrie untergebracht, um eine Therapie zu absolvieren. Eine anschließende Sicherungsverwahrung zum Schutz der Allgemeinheit behält sich die Justiz vor. Eine Revision ist möglich.

Eine Behandlung des Mannes werde „viele, viele“ Jahre dauern, sagte der Vorsitzende Richter Thomas Trautwein bei der Urteilsverkündung. Und ein Erfolg sei zweifelhaft. Abgeurteilt wurden 108 Missbrauchstaten, die der gebürtige Wuppertaler zwischen 1997 und 2016 an fünf Jungen unter 14 Jahren im In- und Ausland begangen hat.

Der Richter sprach von einem „entsetzlichen Unheil“, das der Angeklagte durch das „Zerstören von Kinderseelen“ angerichtet habe. Für die Opfer ende die Schädigung auch mit dem Ende des Prozesses nicht, die Aufarbeitung erstrecke sich über Jahrzehnte. Der Angeklagte verfolgte die Urteilsverkündung äußerlich regungslos. Zum Schutz der Persönlichkeit des Angeklagten und der minderjährigen Opferzeugen war die Öffentlichkeit weitgehend vom Prozess ausgeschlossen worden.

[ Google Translation:

Ex-priest must undergo therapy because of serious abuse

A priest gets the confidence of parents and goes to their children for years. He was sentenced to 8.5 years imprisonment. But first he has to be in therapy. Even the judge doubts a success.

ay serious sexual abuse of children has sentenced a former Catholic priest from Bavaria to a prison sentence of eight and a half years, the District Court Deggendorf. Previously, the 53-year-old will be housed for an indefinite period in closed psychiatry to complete a therapy. A subsequent preventive detention for the protection of the general public reserves the right of the judiciary. A revision is possible.

A treatment of the man will take "many, many" years, said the presiding judge Thomas Trautwein at the verdict. And a success is doubtful. 108 acts of abuse were investigated, which the native Wuppertal committed between 1997 and 2016 to five boys under 14 years at home and abroad.

The judge spoke of a "terrible calamity" that the defendant had caused by "destroying children's souls". For the victims, the damage does not end with the end of the process, the processing extends over decades. The defendant pursued the verdict externally motionless. To protect the personality of the defendant and the minor victims, the public had been largely excluded from the trial.

The youth chamber positively credited the defendant for having fully admitted the deeds - albeit late and only under the impression of being one of the victims. "Obviously he sees the injustice of his actions now, perhaps for the first time in his life." The defendant was also willing to therapy. By the confession, he finally opened up the possibility of someday yet to come back into freedom, the judge justified the decision to reserve the preventive detention.

With the confession, the defendant procured the witness discharge and above all saves the still youthful victims a retraumatisierung by a statement in court. "That's not high enough." The court's conviction has seen the man sexually abused the five boys on more than 100 occasions since the mid-1990s. The deeds are said to have happened above all in the Mainz area and in the Deggendorf district.

"Dreadful conditions for the children"

Already from 2003 to 2009, the defendant sat for a judgment of the district court in Karlsruhe for sexual offenses for five and a half years in prison. In 2008 he was released from the priesthood after a canonical judgment in Freiburg. He then pretended to be a priest again.

The man was always using the method of grooming, said the judge. He had sought contact with devout, pious families, where the father figure was missing or weak and the mother was overwhelmed. There, the man had taken root, taken over the education role and allowed to sleep with the children in the room. This allowed the former priest to commit the crimes in the first place and it was virtually impossible for the victims to escape. "These were horrible conditions for the children."

The defendant exploited the trust placed in him and his position of power - over a long period of time and with a large number of victims. "Pedophilia is not curable, you can at best work to get a grip," the judge said. The defendant had not done so far.

"A man to protect children from"

Several times Trautwein referred to the expert's report, according to which the events like a "red thread" through the life of the defendant. In his current condition, the accused is "a man to protect children from."

A therapeutic success is not likely, but also not ruled out. That's why the 53-year-old is initially indefinite in psychiatry. After successful treatment, he must then take the prison sentence. This is offset with the years in psychiatry. Otherwise, the preventive detention can be arranged.

Two of the victims who appeared as co-plaintiffs in the trial were relieved after the verdict. It was important to follow the process, to understand how the defendant ticked - and to be able to break the years of silence, said one of the young men. ]

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 2:40 PM

Sutton man jailed for using his position as a priest to sexually abuse 'vulnerable' 10-year-old boy

GUILDFORD (ENGLAND)
Croydon Advertiser

February 22, 2018

By Sarah George

Ifor Whittaker would offer his young victim glasses of cola spiked with alcohol and urged him to keep quiet about his depraved abuse.

A pensioner from Sutton has been jailed after a jury found him guilty of sexually abusing a 10-year-old boy while he worked as a priest in the late 1980s.

Ifor Whittaker, 73, currently of Rectory Road, Sutton, denied committing seven offences against the "vulnerable" young boy, but was found guilty following a nine-day trial.

Whittaker, previously known as Colin Pritchard before a legal name change, used his position of power at an East Sussex vicarage to abuse the boy.

He would spike the boy's drinks with alcohol before sexually assaulting him, then urge him not to speak out about his experiences, Lewes Crown Court heard.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 2:33 PM

Controversial child sex abuse legal tactic to be struck out

MELBOURNE (VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA)
The Age

February 24, 2018

By Royce Millar, Chris Vedelago, and Ben Schneiders

The controversial legal tactic that prevents survivors of child sexual abuse from suing the Catholic church would be invalidated by sweeping legislative changes planned by the Andrews government.

The Age has obtained a confidential draft of a bill that addresses several outstanding recommendations from the state’s 2013 Betrayal of Trust inquiry. The bill is expected to be introduced into parliament this year.

If passed, the law will expose billions of dollars in assets of the Catholic church and other religious organisations to potential legal action for the first time in more than a decade.

It is designed to tackle the so-called “Ellis defence” established when the NSW Court of Appeal ruled in 2007 that the Catholic Church does not exist in a legal sense because its property assets are held inside a special trust structure that is immune to lawsuits.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 2:28 PM

Diocese compensation program to help clergy victims

EAST SETAUKET (NY)
Times Beacon Record

February 21, 2018

By Alex Petroski and Sara-Megan Walsh

A group of lawyers is working to deliver a clear message to survivors of sexual abuse at the hands of clergy members: You are not alone.

Lawyers Helping Survivors of Child Sex Abuse, a national team of attorneys, released a report Feb. 5 detailing allegations of childhood sexual abuse made against 51 individuals associated with the Diocese of Rockville Centre. The report, titled Hidden Disgrace II, is comprised of clergy referenced but not named in a 2003 Suffolk County grand jury investigation of the diocese, those accused in previous media reports and individuals accused by survivors.

The goal of the report was to create a central location where Long Islanders can easily find information about accused clergy members, to empower survivors and to enlighten communities to the abusers’ diocese appointments, according to Jerry Kristal, an attorney at the law firm Weitz & Luxenberg, who joined up with the law group behind the report.

At least one North Shore survivor has felt empowered and publicly shared his story in the aftermath of the report’s release.

The group is also working to make the public aware of the April 30 deadline to file a claim with the diocese compensation program for victims of abuse.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 12:30 PM

Catholic Church wins lawsuit over confession

BATON ROUGE (LA)
WBRZ

February 22, 2018

By Trey Schmaltz and Chris Nakamoto

[Note from BishopAccountability.org: See also the earlier opinion of the LA Supreme Court.]

A long legal battle between the Catholic Church and a woman who argued she tried to use a confession as a way to report sexual abuse against a church parishioner has ended.

In a news release announcing its pleasure with the outcome, the Diocese of Baton Rouge said it and Father Jeff Bayhi had been dismissed from the lawsuit.

The lawsuit argued a priest should have to report being told about child abuse while hearing a confession – a meeting faithful believe is an exchange between themselves and a messenger of God who can clear their sins. In most cases, state law requires people with knowledge of child sex abuse to report such crimes to authorities. Though, a September 2017 ruling by a district court judge in Baton Rouge found priests were not bound under the law.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 12:24 PM

Diocese of Baton Rouge and priest dismissed from lawsuit over confession

BATON ROUGE (LA)
WAFB

February 22, 2018

The Diocese of Baton Rouge has won a near decade-long court battle over confession.

The Roman Catholic Church of the Diocese of Baton Rouge and Father Jeff Bayhi have been dismissed from an 8.5-year long lawsuit to protect a priest from having to disclose possible allegations of sexual abuse against a teenage girl that he heard during confession.

Father Bayhi said fundamental core beliefs were challenged and he’s grateful religious liberties have been protected. “I think there are a lot of people that believe that the purpose of the church is to change so that we keep up with modern culture. The purpose of the church is to remain faithful to God and try to bring modern culture to God,” he said.

"The decision preserves the Seal and sanctity of the Confessional which the Church considers inviolable," according to a statement released by the church Thursday.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 11:48 AM

Victims of clergy abuse stand together at Cathedral of St. Mary

ST. CLOUD (MN)
St. Cloud Times

February 22, 2018

By Stephanie Dickrell

Victims of clergy abuse and supporters gathered Wednesday night at the Cathedral of St. Mary. A healing prayer service was planned in response to news a local priest was arrested and faces charges of criminal sexual conduct in the third degree.

Organizers hoped to reclaim space in sacred spaces for victims who may have had their connection to the church and faith damaged by abuse.

The Rev. Anthony Oelrich faces charges of criminal sexual conduct in the third degree. He is accused of engaging in a sexual relationship with an adult whom he was giving spiritual counsel.

On Wednesday night, two groups stood on the steps of the cathedral before the service: one to sing and one to protest. While both seek justice, their tactics differed.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 11:42 AM

Catholic Diocese responds after student’s parent arrested on child rape charges

MEMPHIS (TN)
WREG - News Channel 3

February 21, 2018

By Eryn Taylor and Nina Harrelson

[Includes text of diocese's statement.]

The details are disturbing.

An arrest affidavit shows 31-year-old James “Trey” Bradshaw III admitted to inappropriately touching his then-girlfriend’s son repeatedly sometime between 2015 and 2016.

He also admitted to having the boy perform oral sex on him.

* * *

Vince Higgins, with the Catholic Diocese of Memphis, confirms James Bradshaw was a parent volunteer coach of a kindergarten basketball team at Holy Rosary as recently as November.

Higgins says he was never alone with children and no additional allegations have surfaced.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 11:26 AM

Former papal adviser says Francis needs to make sex abuse a priority

DENVER (CO)
Crux

February 22, 2018

By Claire Giangravè

Rome - A former member of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors has charged that Pope Francis is not making the fight against sexual abuse a priority, and expressed her frustration with the procedures and limitations of the group, which she said led her to hand in her resignation last year.

The commission is an advisory body to the pope on the issue of safeguarding minors and vulnerable adults from sexual abuse. Its first three-year mandate concluded in December 2017, and appointments of new members, along with the confirmation of some previous members, came earlier this month.

French child psychiatrist Catherine Bonnet said she tendered her resignation letter in June to Cardinal Sean O’Malley of Boston, a member of the C9 group that advises the pope and the president of the commission, after she failed to convince the majority of its members to enact changes she perceived as necessary.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 11:22 AM

Member of Pope’s anti-abuse panel insists, ‘The Church is not failing’

DENVER (CO)
Crux

February 23, 2018

By John L. Allen Jr. and Ines San Martin

Rome - After a former member of Pope Francis’s key advisory body on the fight against sexual abuse charged that letters from victims are not answered, a new member of the same panel and a former staffer responded that it’s “meticulous in responding to all correspondence from victims.”

French child psychiatrist Catherine Bonnet made the charge in an interview with French news outlet L’Express, in which she suggested that Pope Francis needs to make the anti-abuse effort “a priority now.”

A failure to respond to victims’ correspondence was also a key element in Bonnet’s indictment.

“When [abuse victims] send letters, we do not answer them! Marie Collins found this point particularly unbearable,” Bonnet said, adding that in her 35 years of experience working in this field, the testimonies of survivors are essential.

Teresa Kettelkamp, who was hired by the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors in January 2016 to assist in its Rome office in the development of anti-abuse guidelines around the world, says that in terms of responding to victims, while not commenting on the practice in other Vatican departments, responding to victims is actually a high priority for the commission.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 11:02 AM

Pédophilie dans l'Église: pourquoi Catherine Bonnet a donné sa démission au pape

PARIS (FRANCE)
L'Express

>>>Pedophilia in the Church: Why Catherine Bonnet submitted her resignation to the Pope

February 20, 2018

By Claire Chartier

Le pape a remanié ce samedi la commission contre la pédophilie du Vatican. La pédopsychiatre Catherine Bonnet avait présenté sa démission dès juin dernier. Elle s'en explique.

La lutte contre la pédophilie dans l'Église cause décidément bien des remous au Vatican. Le pape vient d'annoncer le renouvellement de plus de la moitié des membres de la Commission pontificale sur la protection des mineurs, après trois ans de fonctionnement.

Dès juin dernier, la pédopsychiatre française Catherine Bonnet, spécialiste des violences sexuelles sur mineurs, avait présenté de manière confidentielle sa démission au pape. Avant elle, deux autres membres de l'instance et ex-victimes, le Britannique Peter Saunders et l'Irlandaise Marie Collins, avaient claqué la porte de façon tonitruante. Catherine Bonnet, explique les raisons de son retrait.

Pourquoi avoir présenté votre démission au pape?

Catherine Bonnet. Je plaidais à titre personnel pour que les évêques et les supérieurs des ordres religieux aient l'obligation de signaler des suspicions de violences sexuelles sur mineurs aux autorités civiles, ce qui se fait déjà aux États-Unis y compris pour tous les membres du clergé. J'avais des soutiens, mais quand j'ai vu, en juin, que je n'allais pas pouvoir convaincre les deux tiers des membres de la commission, comme le veut la règle, j'ai écrit ma lettre de démission. J'ai demandé au cardinal O'Malley de la transmettre au pape. Lequel ne l'a d'ailleurs pas acceptée.


[ Edited Google Translation:

Pedophilia in the Church: Why Catherine Bonnet submitted her resignation to the Pope

The pope has reshuffled this Saturday the Vatican's commission against pedophilia. The child psychiatrist Catherine Bonnet had resigned last June. She explains it.

The fight against pedophilia in the Church is definitely causing a stir in the Vatican. The pope has just announced the renewal of more than half of the members of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors, after three years of operation.

As early as last June, French child psychiatrist Catherine Bonnet, a specialist in sexual violence against minors, confidentially presented her resignation to the pope. Before her, two other members of the court and ex-victims, the British Peter Saunders and Ireland's Marie Collins, had slammed the door loudly. Catherine Bonnet, explains the reasons for her withdrawal.

Why did you submit your resignation to the pope?

Catherine Bonnet. I personally advocated that bishops and superiors of religious orders be required to report suspicions of sexual abuse of minors to civil authorities, which is already done in the United States, including for all clergy. I had support, but when I saw in June that I was not going to be able to convince two-thirds of the commissioners, as the rule is, I wrote my letter of resignation. I asked Cardinal O'Malley to pass it on to the Pope. Who did not accept it.

Is this reporting obligation the same as the one you have been asking for for several years for medical staff who suspect sexual violence committed against their young patients?

It is indeed the same logic. This reporting is essential because it highlights the responsibility of bishops and religious leaders: when the law obliges people to report, it is easier to prosecute those who are silent, and who by their silence prevent the victims' recovery and hope for justice. In addition, this measure followed from the motu proprio of the pope, "Like a loving mother".

How?

The motu proprio raises the idea that every bishop or other religious person who is accused of negligence is judged by a disciplinary committee, specifically constituted for the occasion, after the instruction by congregational leaders. Then the pontiff would decide, assisted by a group of expert jurists. A year before, our commission had advocated something else: the creation of a tribunal before which would be brought the bishops who remained silent on pedophilia cases. The Pope and his C9 Cardinals Council accepted our proposal in June 2015.

What did you think of this change?

We have not been informed of the reasons for the change. The most important thing was that something was put in place. But the motu proprio was to come into effect in September 2016. So far, no case has been heard.

Another source of concern that you share with the rest of the members of the former commission is the lifting of the pontifical secret for cases of violence against minors. What is it, exactly?

The pontifical secret is the confidentiality code of canon law. It applies to every complaint related to the internal life of the Church which is the subject of a canonical procedure.

Clearly, nothing filters these files?

Less than nothing, I would say, since the victims themselves do not have access to the elements of the procedure. When they send letters, they don't get a response! Marie Collins found this point particularly unbearable. The pontifical secret, however, is relatively recent, since its premises date from 1922 and it was expanded to its present form in 1974. Our commission had voted by majority a proposal asking the pope to authorize the exceptional lifting of this secret for sexual violence against minors. This would have allowed us to establish the rights of victims during the proceedings and in particular to determine whether or not there are any obstacles to reporting in the cases concerned.

What has become of this proposal?

The pope did not give an answer. I hope that he will be able to give one and that the new committee will make progress on this point.

You also wanted your group to hear victims. That makes sense, right?

Indeed. In 35 years of experience on this subject, all that I learned, I drew from the testimonies I collected and from the field. It is essential to be able to hear adult survivors, either alone or in the context of associations in the struggle, such as Ending Clerical Abuse. We wanted to work with the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which is officially charged with pedophilia issues in the Vatican. But it was not easy. However, the pope appointed Cardinal O'Malley to the Congregation to improve things, and he did not renew his prefect, Cardinal Muller. The problem is that the pope did not come to our plenary meetings. It would have been necessary that one could submit to him our subjects of debate before our meetings, and that he comes to think with us. Not to mention that we only meet for a week, twice a year! It is far too little. Pope Francis must now make the protection of children a priority.

What do you think of the new commission?

There are more members, some of whom have a relevant profile: a professor of African law who belonged to the Committee on the Rights of the Child, a retired Australian judge - no judge was a member, until now - a Polish specialist in constitutional law and a religious expert in canon law, for example. A commission such as this one must make recommendations, but not only. If you want to arrest criminals, there has to be a change of law, because that's the only thing that scares them. ]

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 10:31 AM

Ireland Tells State-Run Schools: Stop Steering Pupils to Religion Class

NEW YORK (NY)
New York Times

February 21, 2018

By Richard Pérez-Peña

Ireland’s state-run secondary schools can no longer assume that their students will receive religious instruction, the government has said, directing the schools to offer alternative classes — a striking move in a country where education has long been dominated by the Roman Catholic Church.

Irish law already states that government-run schools cannot require students to take religion classes, which have been dominated by Christian doctrine. But that law has had limited effect, as schools have routinely enrolled all students in the courses unless their parents opted out.

The schools have not usually offered alternative classes, often requiring that exempted students remain in their classrooms during religion courses that they were, in theory, not taking. This week, the Department of Education directed state-run secondary schools to end the opt-out requirement — so that taking a religion class would be an affirmative choice, not a default — and to offer other courses that could be taken instead.

And on Wednesday, the Teachers’ Union of Ireland called for the change to apply to all secondary schools in the country, including religious ones.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 10:26 AM

February 22, 2018

Trust in the Catholic Church Has Been 'Broken', Says Top Nun

LONDON (ENGLAND)
The Tablet

February 22, 2018

By Christopher Lamb

The Church has to change a “deep-seated culture” that resists transparency and accountability when dealing with clerical sexual abuse, according to one of the new members of Pope Francis’ child protection body.

Sister Jane Bertelsen, named last week to the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors, told The Tablet that this culture has been around for centuries and that the Pope had made attempts to change it.

"We have to restore credibility. Trust has been broken. And we have got to keep trying to restore that credibility, with truth-seeking, compassionate listening and in whatever way we can," she said.

But she emphasised that this could could not be left to the Catholic hierarchy. She said restoring the Church’s credibility over handling the abuse scandal requires collective involvement from the laity.

The British religious sister has long experience of working in child protection and helped draw up guidelines in England and Wales following Lord Nolan’s 2001 report into the church’s handling of abuse. These are widely considered to be one of the most robust set of church safeguarding rules in the Catholic world.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 5:13 PM

Cardinal George Pell's barrister: loud, socially progressive and an avowed atheist

SYDNEY (AUSTRALIA)
Sydney Morning Herald

February 17, 2018

By Tim Elliott

Robert Richter is not the obvious choice to defend Catholic Cardinal George Pell against historical sex charges. But the celebrity silk’s reputation for skewering witnesses – and winning cases – has delivered him the most high-profile case in his long and storied career.

In October 2016, the Melbourne-based defence barrister Robert Richter packed a pair of sunglasses and his panama hat and boarded a plane to Rome. Autumn is especially magical in the Eternal City: the colours are out and the crowds are down. If you're lucky, you might even be able to stroll through St. Peter's Square without being trampled. But sightseeing wasn't on Richter's to-do list. Rather, he was there to see the man at the centre of the most important case of his career, Cardinal George Pell.

Now 76, Pell has been an influential figure in the Catholic Church for more than 30 years. After serving as Archbishop of Melbourne, and then of Sydney, where he earned a reputation for being bluntly effective, he was called to Rome in 2014 and made the Vatican's money czar, charged with untangling its finances, elements of which date from the 17th century. The appointment, which made Pell the third most powerful man in the Catholic Church and a trusted adviser to Pope Francis, seemed to mark just the latest station in his remarkable rise.

All that came to an end, however, in early 2016, when reports surfaced, first in newspapers and then on the ABC, that a Victorian police taskforce was investigating him for historical sex offences. Pell rejected the claims, which his spokesman described as "calumnies". At the same time, he retained Richter. And when, in October 2016, three Victorian detectives travelled to Rome to interview the cardinal, Richter made sure he was by his side.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 11:56 AM

Abuse survivors push to change New York statute of limitations

KANSAS CITY (MO)
National Catholic Reporter

February 22, 2018

By Peter Feuerherd

After three metro area dioceses offered programs to compensate victims of church sex abuse, Brian Toale was one of those who applied.

Toale, on his personal website at https://briantoale.com/, describes a horrific series of events in the early 1970s when, he wrote, as a student at Chaminade High School in Mineola, Long Island, New York, he was systematically groomed and abused by the Marianist school's radio club moderator. According to Toale, the alleged abuser, a layman now deceased for 27 years, took Polaroids of the abuse and threatened to expose the then-16-year-old if he told anyone.

Now 64, Toale has endured decades of therapy and struggles with alcohol, which he has addressed via Alcoholics Anonymous.

"My survival strategy was if I didn't tell anyone, no one would know. On the day I graduated, I could then just live my life. But my life fell apart," he told NCR during a recent interview over coffee at a Manhattan diner. In a story all too common for sex abuse survivors, Toale describes a painful divorce, dropping out of college, and substance abuse issues that plagued his life and from which it took him decades of therapy and emotional support to emerge.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 11:54 AM

Presentation High: Police investigating whether school followed abuse-reporting law

SAN JOSE (CA)
The Mercury News

February 22, 2018

By John Woolfolk

Raising the stakes for a prestigious Catholic girls school reeling from accusations of mishandling student sex abuse complaints, police Wednesday confirmed they are investigating whether school officials violated state law that requires them to report such claims to authorities.

Presentation High School has been rocked since October by allegations from former students that school officials did not report to police or child protection authorities as required when they complained of teachers or other staff allegedly sexually harassing or abusing them.

Police spokeswoman Gina Tepoorten confirmed officers are looking into the matter but would not comment otherwise on their investigation.

“We welcome the San Jose Police Department’s investigation” into the complaints, Presentation spokesman Sam Singer said Wednesday. The accusations, which former students have posted on a website and social media, have led to school officials and supporters being subjected to anonymous “hate-filled” letters, emails and voice mail messages, Singer added.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 11:50 AM

Child sex abuse allegation v. retired Boise priest raises question: Is it too late to prosecute?

BOISE (ID)
Idaho Statesman

February 20, 2018

By Katy Moeller

Idaho lawmakers removed the statute of limitations on most child sex crimes in 2006 — so does that mean cases of alleged abuse from decades ago can be prosecuted?

That question is now swirling in the wake of the last week’s revelation that someone has come forward to accuse the Rev. W. Thomas Faucher of child sexual abuse. The alleged misconduct occurred 40 years ago, the diocese said.

The short answer: It’s too soon to tell, but it appears unlikely.

Faucher was arrested and charged with possession of child pornography and illicit drugs on Feb. 2. The diocese has since put out a call to anyone who might have suffered abuse at the hands of clergy, staff or others.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 11:48 AM

German ex-priest convicted of sexually abusing boys

BERLIN (GERMANY)
Associated Press via Washington Post

February 22, 2018

A court in southeastern Germany has sentenced a former Catholic priest to 8 ½ years in prison for child sex abuse.

The regional court in Deggendorf, about 100 kilometers (62 miles) northeast of Munich, found the defendant guilty Thursday of abusing five boys on more than 100 occasions since the mid-1990s.

He was also convicted of bodily harm, forging documents and possessing child pornography.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 11:44 AM

February 21, 2018

Cardinal George Pell’s lawyers denied access to more accusers' medical records

LONDON (ENGLAND)
Australian Associated Press via The Guardian

February 20, 2018

Magistrate denies request for confidentiality reasons as Pell’s legal team prepares defence against historical sexual offence charges

Cardinal George Pell’s lawyers have been denied access to further complainants’ medical records as they prepare his defence against historical sexual offence charges.

Pell, the highest-ranking Catholic official to be charged with sexual abuse, was not in the Melbourne magistrates court on Wednesday for a brief administrative update centred on requests for a variety of documents.

After last week denying the defence access to the complainants’ medical records, magistrate Belinda Wallington ruled out another category of communications with medical practitioners for confidentiality reasons.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 2:28 PM

New Zealand PM urged to expand royal commission over St John of God child-sex abuse

SYDNEY (AUSTRALIA)
The Sydney Morning Herald

February 22, 2018

By Joanne McCarthy

Australian victims of notorious St John of God Brother Bernard McGrath have urged New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern to include churches in a child abuse royal commission after McGrath's fight against extradition from New Zealand stopped the Australian royal commission from a public inquiry into the Catholic order.

Victims, their families and advocates in Australia and New Zealand are mobilising after the New Zealand government established the child abuse royal commission on February 1, but controversially failed to include sport- and faith-based institutions, and restricted investigations to sexual and physical abuse allegations between 1950 and 1999 where the state was involved.

Ms Ardern and Children's Minister Tracey Martin said the royal commission could investigate abuse cases involving children under state care in church facilities but the inquiry was "about the people, not the institutions".

The restriction could rule out up to 50 per cent of complainants, critics say.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 2:24 PM

Presentation High: New independent office to handle sex abuse complaints

SAN JOSE (CA)
The Mercury News

February 20, 2018

By John Woolfolk

A prominent San Jose Catholic girls high school, rocked by accusations that it failed for years to report sexual misconduct complaints against teachers and staff, announced Tuesday it will create a new independent office to handle such claims from students in the future.

The announcement came after Presentation High School officials spent months insisting they’ve had sound policies in place for protecting students from sexual harassment or abuse and properly handled complaints brought to their attention.

“We are committed to being proactive, forward-thinking and the gold standard for student safety in the prevention of sexual misconduct, abuse, harassment and bullying,” Principal Mary Miller said in a statement Tuesday.

The new Office for the Prevention of Student Bullying, Harassment and Abuse will report directly to Presentation’s board of directors, Miller said.

But Robert Allard, an attorney representing former students who complained of abuse, called the move “lipstick on a pig” that “will change nothing.” The current principal, Miller, accused by several former students of improperly handling their complaints, influences who sits on the board, Allard said. A former principal, Marian Stuckey, also accused of mishandling complaints, is a board member, he said. And the board isn’t qualified to deal with abuse allegations, he added.

“As long as Mary Miller and Marian Stuckey have control of the school and the board, student safety will always be at risk,” Allard said.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 2:18 PM

Molesta 20enne condannato monsignore della Sacra Rota

ROME (ITALY)
La Repubblica

>>>20-year-old Victim Accused a Monsignor of the Sacred Rota

February 16, 2018

Accusato di aver palpeggiato un giovane di 20 anni e di detenzione di materiale pedopornografico ha patteggiato un anno e 2 mesi di reclusione. Si tratta di monsignor Pietro Amenta, sacerdote e uditore del tribunale apostolico della Rota Romana, la Sacra Rota, il consesso giudicante della Santa Sede. Ieri il gup Massimo Di Lauro ha dato il via libera alla pena dopo l'accordo ottenuto dalla difesa del prelato con la procura.

Le accuse contestate al " giudice" dello Stato Vaticano sono violenza sessuale nei confronti di uno studente di origine romena, assistito dall'avvocato Alessandro Olivieri, e di detenzione di 82 immagini di natura pornografica ritraenti minori: foto trovate nella memoria del suo pc, legate ad attività di navigazione su internet.

Il fatto è avvenuto al marzo dello scorso anno al mercato di piazza San Giovanni di Dio, a Monteverde. È sera, sono circa le 21. Il ragazzo è fermo tra i banchi in attesa della fidanzata. Stando alla ricostruzione degli inquirenti, l'uomo si avvicina al ventenne e lo palpeggia. Il giovane resta di sasso e il prete gli si avvicina ancora, salvo essere respinto.

Poi fa dietrofront: " No scusa mi sono sbagliato". Nel verbale di denuncia del giovane viene ricostruito il dialogo fra i due: "No tu adesso non te ne vai, aspetti che chiamo i carabinieri", lo ammonisce la vittima. La discussione continua per alcuni minuti: " Io adesso me ne vado, non hai capito chi sono io", la risposta del sacerdote.

Tutto termina con l'arrivo di un agente della polizia municipale che casualmente percorre in auto la strada limitrofa. Pochi minuti più tardi arrivano anche i militari, chiamati proprio dal ragazzo, che identificano il prelato. Sentito in fase di indagine l'uomo ha respinto le accuse: «Stavo andando alla mia auto. Quel punto è stretto e per passare c'è stato un contatto tra di noi».

[Google Translation:

20-year-old Victim Accused a Monsignor of the Sacred Rota

Accused of having touched a young man of 20 years and possession of child pornography he has negotiated a year and 2 months imprisonment. This is Monsignor Pietro Amenta, priest and auditor of the Apostolic Tribunal of the Roman Rota, the Sacred Rota, the judging assembly of the Holy See. Yesterday the gup Massimo Di Lauro gave the go-ahead after the agreement obtained by the defense of the prelate with the power of attorney.

The charges challenged by the "judge" of the Vatican State are sexual violence against a student of Romanian origin, assisted by the lawyer Alessandro Olivieri, and detention of 82 images of pornographic nature depicting minor: photos found in the memory of his PC, linked to surfing on the internet.

The event occurred in March last year at the market in Piazza San Giovanni di Dio, in Monteverde. It's evening, it's about 9 pm. The boy is standing between the desks waiting for his girlfriend. According to the reconstruction of the investigators, the man approaches the twenty-year-old and grasps him. The young man remains a stone and the priest approaches him again, unless he is rejected.

Then he turns around: "No excuse I was wrong". In the report of the young man's reconstruction the dialogue between the two is rebuilt: "No, you're not going now, wait for me to call the carabinieri", the victim warns him. The discussion continues for a few minutes: "Now I'm leaving, you did not understand who I am", the priest's answer.

It all ends with the arrival of a municipal police officer who casually travels the neighboring road by car. A few minutes later the military arrived, called by the boy, who identify the prelate. During the investigation, the man rejected the accusations: "I was going to my car. That point is tight and to pass there was a contact between us "]

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 2:10 PM

Giudice della Rota patteggia 14 mesi per violenza sessuale e pedopornografia digitale

ROME (ITALY)
La Stampa - Vatican Insider

>>>Judge of the Rota gets 14 months for sexual violence and digital child pornography

February 18, 2018

Monsignor Amenta ha fatto avances a un ragazzo (maggiorenne) romeno. Nel suo pc scoperte immagini pedopornografiche

Monsignor Pietro Amenta, 55enne prete della diocesi di Matera, canonista, già officiale della Congregazione per il Culto divino e attuale giudice della Rota romana, il 14 febbraio scorso ha deciso di patteggiare la condanna a un anno e due mesi (con sospensione della pena) per l’accusa di violenza sessuale e pedopornografia digitale.

I fatti risalgono al 2 marzo 2017: quella sera Amenta avrebbe molestato un ragazzo (maggiorenne) rumeno in piazza San Giovanni di Dio. Il giovane lo ha inseguito e si è rivolto ai vigili urbani. In quel momento arrivava anche una pattuglia dei carabinieri. Dopo l’identificazione del prelato è emerso che era stato già denunciato per atti osceni nel 1991 e per molestie sessuali nel 2004. Mentre cinque anni fa era stato lui a denunciare di essere stato derubato da due transessuali.

Il giorno dopo l’episodio delle molestie ai danni del giovane rumeno, nel corso di una perquisizione, la polizia nel computer del prelato ha scoperto immagini pedopornografiche.

[Google Translation:

Judge of the Rota gets 14 months for sexual violence and digital child pornography

Monsignor Amenta has made advances to a Romanian boy (who had reached the age of majority). In his PC discovered child pornographic images

Monsignor Pietro Amenta, 55-year-old priest of the diocese of Matera, canonist, formerly official of the Congregation for Divine Worship and current judge of the Roman Rota, decided on February 14th to settle the sentence for a year and two months (with suspension of sentence) for the accusation of sexual violence and digital child pornography.

The events date back to 2 March 2017: that evening Amenta would have molested a Romanian (adult) boy in Piazza San Giovanni di Dio. The young man chased him and turned to the traffic police. At that moment a carabinieri patrol arrived too. After the prelate's identification, it emerged that he had already been sued for obscene acts in 1991 and sexual harassment in 2004. While five years ago he was the one who denounced having been robbed by two transsexuals.

The day after the incident of harassment against the young Rumanian, during a search, the police in the prelate's computer discovered child pornography images.

Two weeks ago, opening the judicial year, the promoter of justice of the Vatican City State, Gian Piero Milano, had announced that there were two cases of pedophilia and child pornography under investigation in the Vatican. The case of a priest member of the diplomatic corps of the Holy See accredited to Washington was known. Furthermore, "the case of the Office of the Promoter of Justice has recently come to two cases of different configuration and relevance falling within the scope of crimes against the person, in particular against minors", Milan said. «The investigations initiated are at the preliminary stage and are dutifully carried out in the most absolute reserve, out of respect for all the subjects involved; just as firm is the determination to plumb in all the factual implications, legal and human the merits and contents of the hypotheses of crime (such are in the state), in search of the truth. It is a difficult task, both from a technical-juridical point of view (starting from the identification of de facto elements concerning passive subjects, relevant for the purpose of framing the case) and, above all, to the psychological impact profiles of those involved in these crimes. and for the alarm which, in whatever sphere, arouses such events on a social level. With this awareness it is the intention of the Office to carry out the investigations with extreme care, without neglecting or neglecting anything, in all directions ».

Then, on February 14th, the news of Amenta's plea bargain. both on the technical-legal level (starting from the identification of factual elements concerning the taxable persons, relevant for the purpose of framing the case) and, above all, for the psychological impact profiles of those involved in these crimes and for the alarm which, in any area, cause such events to be socially. With this awareness it is the intention of the Office to carry out the investigations with extreme care, without neglecting or neglecting anything, in all directions ». Then, on February 14th, the news of Amenta's plea bargain. both on the technical-legal level (starting from the identification of factual elements concerning the taxable persons, relevant for the purpose of framing the case) and, above all, for the psychological impact profiles of those involved in these crimes and for the alarm which, in any area, cause such events to be socially. With this awareness it is the intention of the Office to carry out the investigations with extreme care, without neglecting or neglecting anything, in all directions ». Then, on February 14th, the news of Amenta's plea bargain. these events give rise to social issues. With this awareness it is the intention of the Office to carry out the investigations with extreme care, without neglecting or neglecting anything, in all directions ». Then, on February 14th, the news of Amenta's plea bargain. these events give rise to social issues. With this awareness it is the intention of the Office to carry out the investigations with extreme care, without neglecting or neglecting anything, in all directions ». Then, on February 14th, the news of Amenta's plea bargain.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 2:01 PM

Ex-Vatican judge takes plea bargain on molestation, child pornography charges

DENVER (CO)
Crux

February 20, 2018

John L. Allen Jr.

Rome - A former judge of the Roman Rota, the Vatican’s highest appellate court, has accepted a plea bargain in an Italian criminal court for a conditionally suspended sentence of one year and two months in prison on charges of sexual molestation and possession of child pornography.

Based on reports in the Italian media, 55-year-old Monsignor Pietro Amenta was detained by police after an incident in March 2017, in which Amenta allegedly fondled the genitals of a young but over-age Romanian man in a Roman market. The man reportedly then followed Amenta and summoned police, who took Amenta into custody.

An investigation later discovered roughly 80 pornographic images on Amenta’s personal computer, some involving minors, leading to a second charge in the case.

Amenta resigned his position from the Rota last week, according to a Vatican spokesperson.

According to reports, Amenta has previously faced charges of obscenity in 1991 and sexual molestation in 2004, though neither of those charges led to convictions. In 2013, Amenta himself made a complaint to police of being robbed by two transsexuals.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 1:57 PM

Un juge de la Rote condamné pour possession d’images pédopornographiques

ROME
La Croix

>>>Rota judge sentenced for possession of child pornography

February 16, 2018

By Nicolas Senèze

Mgr Pietro Amenta a plaidé coupable après la découverte de 80 photos pédopornographiques sur son ordinateur et a été condamné, jeudi 15 février, à 14 mois de prison avec sursis.

Un prélat auditeur du Tribunal de la Rote romaine, la plus haute juridiction de l’Église en matière de procès matrimoniaux, a été condamné jeudi 15 février par un juge de Rome pour détention d’images à caractère pédopornographiques, rapporte le quotidien Il Messaggero.

Ayant choisi de plaider coupable, Mgr Pietro Amenta, 55 ans, prêtre du diocèse de Matera (sud de l’Italie), a écopé d’une peine de 14 mois de prison avec sursis.

Selon le quotidien romain, l’affaire aurait éclaté un soir du mois de mars après une altercation, quand un jeune Roumain de 18 ans a accusé un homme d’attouchement dans un marché.

[Google Translation:

Rota judge sentenced for possession of child pornography

Bishop Pietro Amenta pleaded guilty after the discovery of 80 child pornography photos on his computer and was sentenced Thursday, February 15, to 14 months of suspended sentence.

A prelate auditor of the Court of the Roman Rota, the highest court of the Church in matrimonial matters, was sentenced on Thursday, February 15 by a judge in Rome for possession of images of child pornography, reports the daily Il Messaggero .

Having chosen to plead guilty, Msgr. Pietro Amenta, 55, priest of the diocese of Matera (southern Italy), received a suspended sentence of 14 months in prison.

According to the Roman daily, the affair broke out one evening in March after an altercation, when an 18-year-old Romanian boy accused a man of touch in a market.

Known to the police
To explain his ambiguous gestures, the man, who turned out to be a priest, first argued that there was not much room between the stalls before he fled, pursued by the young man.

Both were then caught by an off-duty municipal officer, before the arrival of a carabineros car where the young man complained that he had twice been touched by the priest.

During the carabineros' inquiries, it became clear that the young Romanian was not known to the Italian police, while the priest, prelate auditor at La Rote since 2012, had already been the subject of a complaint for obscene acts in 1991 and, in 2004, for sexual harassment. In 2013, he also filed a complaint after being robbed by two transsexuals.

Investigations at the Vatican
During a search of his home, the carabinieri then found on his computer 80 pornographic photos with minors in the foreground. If he denied having downloaded them, the priest then chose to make a deal with Italian justice.

If the case concerned the Italian justice, the promoter of justice of the State of the Vatican City had revealed, early February at the time of the Vatican judicial return, that his services were currently investigating two cases of pedophilia from people working for the Vatican.

So far, only one case was known: that of a priest of the nunciature in Washington targeted by an investigation for possession of child pornography.

"The investigations initiated are at the preliminary stage and are carried out conscientiously, with the most absolute reserve, out of respect for all the persons concerned", assured the prosecutor Gian Piero Milano, expressing the "determination" of the Vatican justice in the material.]

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 1:49 PM

The shocking case that shows how far the Vatican has to go in child protection

LONDON (ENGLAND)
Catholic Herald

February 20, 2018

By Ed Condon

Everyone in Rome says they want an end to abuse scandals. But will they do what it takes?

We canon lawyers, unfortunately, spend a lot of time dealing with tragic, disturbing, sometimes appalling situations. It’s all too easy to become inured. But even among canonists who routinely deal with cases of child sexual abuse, the news that Mgr Pietro Amenta, a senior Vatican judge, has been convicted of possessing child pornography is shocking.

Mgr Amenta was not a minor figure: he was a prelate auditor (judge) of the Roman Rota, the Church’s final judicial court of appeal. (It does not, thank God, have jurisdiction over abuse cases.) He also appears to have been well-known to the police, having been reported for alleged obscene acts and harassment in 1991 and 2004 respectively. (He was not charged.)

If this were an isolated act, it would be one thing. But it suggests a culture in parts of the Church which is still not taking abuse seriously enough. Even a cursory examination would have shown that Mgr Amenta’s appointment should have at least been delayed until matters were properly investigated.

This is not the only case of basic due diligence being skipped. Bishop Juan Barros denies all the allegations that he turned a blind eye to abuse. But in that story, too, we see the same failure to address concerns before appointing someone to a position of authority. The same goes for other cases. Last year, for instance, a Vatican diplomat was recalled from assignment to Washington, DC, after both American and Canadian authorities opened investigations into alleged child pornography offences.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 1:46 PM

As cardinals age, looking ahead to Pope Francis’s next consistory

DENVER (CO)
Crux

February 21, 2018

John L. Allen Jr. and Ines San Martin

Judging by past performance, it would seem Pope Francis enjoys creating new cardinals. So far, he’s held one consistory, the event in which that happens, during each full year of his papacy, which would mean that if things hold to form, there could be one before the end of 2018 as well.

On Tuesday, Cardinal Paolo Romeo, the former archbishop of Palermo, Sicily, turned 80, meaning he’s no longer an “elector,” meaning a cardinal eligible to vote for the next pope. He’s one of six cardinals who will age out between now and June, with the others being:

March 6: Cardinal Francesco Coccopalmerio, Italy
March 17: Cardinal Keith O’Brien of Scotland, United Kingdom (In March 2015, O’Brien lost his right to participate in a conclave, in consistories, and in meetings reserved only to the College of Cardinals.)
March 29: Cardinal Manuel Monteiro de Castro, Portugal
April 1: Cardinal Pierre Nguyễn Văn Nhơn, Vietnam
June 8: Cardinal Angelo Amato, Italy

Those birthdays mean that should Francis choose to hold a consistory sometime over the summer, and, if he elects to retain the limit of 120 cardinal electors established by Blessed Pope Paul VI, he could name six new Princes of the Church.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 10:18 AM

Francis canonizing not only Paul VI’s life, but also his legacy

DENVER (CO)
Crux

February 21, 2018

John L. Allen Jr.

Rome - Now that Pope Francis has said out loud what many have long suspected, which is that Blessed Pope Paul VI will be declared a saint within the year, it’s worth asking what the current pontiff seems to have picked up from his recent predecessors.

In all honesty, it’s possible to see pieces of each of the previous five popes in Francis.

From John XXII, Francis gets a maverick streak, and a determination to shake up a Church that both popes saw as being excessively closed on itself. From John Paul I, Francis picks up the smile and a populist touch. He’s got John Paul II’s charisma and command of the stage, as well as his relentless drive to make the social and political message of the Church relevant in the here-and-now. And from Benedict, Francis carries forward the root conviction that it’s time to focus on what the Church says “yes” to, not those things to which it says “no.”

That leaves the question of what Francis’s inheritance from Paul VI is, and perhaps the best one-word answer is “bishops” - like Paul VI in his time, Francis seems to want a cohort of pastorally-minded, center-left prelates to steer the Church in a direction perceived as more dialogical and less rigid.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 10:15 AM

Former priest denies sex abuse allegation

GUAM
Pacific Daily News

February 21, 2018

By Haidee V. Eugenio

In response to a lawsuit accusing him of sexual abuse, former priest Andrew San Agustin filed a counter-claim stating that he has been harmed by the accusations against him and asking a court to award damages for pain and suffering.

San Agustin, now known as Joe R. San Agustin, is representing himself in the case. In documents filed in federal court Wednesday, he denied allegations that he sexually abused a girl from Saipan, referred to by the initials B.T., in 1963. She is seeking $5 million in damages.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 10:13 AM

Book gathers perspectives on the words of Pope Francis

KANSAS CITY (MO)
National Catholic Reporter

February 21, 2018

A Pope Francis Lexicon is a new volume collecting 54 essays by prominent figures on the different words that have become important in the ministry of Pope Francis. The book has a foreword from Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew and a preface from Boston Cardinal Sean O'Malley.

The volume is co-edited by Cindy Wooden, Rome bureau chief for Catholic News Service, and Joshua J. McElwee, NCR's Vatican correspondent. Following are condensed excerpts from three of the essays in the Lexicon, available in the U.S. from Liturgical Press on Feb. 15.

- Careerism, by Cardinal Joseph W. Tobin, CSsR

- Throwaway Culture, by Sr. Pat Farrell, OSF

- Women, Astrid Lobo Gajiwala

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 10:08 AM

Leaked docs raise question of Pope’s personal role in new Vatican financial scandal

FRONT ROYAL (VA)
LifeSiteNews

February 20, 2018

[Includes PDFs of three documents.]

Rome – Leaked documents obtained by LifeSiteNews connect the Pope himself to a new Vatican financial scandal and raise serious questions about his global reputation as the “pope for the poor.”

LifeSiteNews has obtained internal documents of the U.S.-based Papal Foundation, a charity with a stellar history of assisting the world’s poor, showing that last summer the Pope personally requested, and obtained in part, a $25 million grant to a corruption-plagued, Church-owned dermatological hospital in Rome accused of money laundering. Records from the financial police indicate the hospital has liabilities over one billion USD – an amount larger than the national debt of some 20 nations.

The grant has lay members of the Papal Foundation up in arms, and some tendering resignations. Responding to questions from LifeSiteNews, Papal Foundation staff sent a statement saying that it is not their practice to comment on individual requests.

Speaking of grants in general, the Papal Foundation said their mission has not changed. “The grants to help those in need around the world and of significance to the Holy Father are reviewed and approved through well-accepted philanthropic processes by the Board and its committees,” it said.

Lay membership or becoming a “steward” in the Papal Foundation involves the pledge “to give $1 million over the course of no more than ten years with a minimum donation of $100,000 per year.” Those monies are invested in order to make a perpetual fund to assist the Church.

However, the majority of the board is composed of U.S. bishops, including every U.S. Cardinal living in America. The foundation customarily gives grants of $200,000 or less to organizations in the developing world (see a grant list for 2017 here) via the Holy See.

According to the internal documents, the Pope made the request for the massive grant, which is 100 times larger than its normal grants, through Papal Foundation board chairman Cardinal Donald Wuerl in the summer of 2017.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 10:05 AM

Vatican Sex Abuse Investigator Hospitalized in Chile

SANTIAGO (CHILE)
Associated Press via New York Times

February 21, 2018

The special envoy sent by Pope Francis to investigate allegations that sex abuse was covered up has been hospitalized in Chile, a church official said Wednesday.

Catholic bishop's conference spokesman Jaime Coiro said the problems affecting Charles Scicluna aren't extremely serious, "but neither are we dealing with a very simple ailment."

He didn't give details, but said Scicluna had been hospitalized for tests to determine what treatment is needed.

The Maltese archbishop on Tuesday began meeting victims and others opposed to the appointment of a bishop accused of covering up for the country's most notorious pedophile priest.

Coiro said the pope has asked that interviews with witnesses continue Wednesday through Friday as planned. They are to be handled by Jordi Bertomeu, a Spanish priest who has been serving as Scicluna's translator and notary.

Scicluna came to Chile to investigate complaints about Bishop Juan Barros, who has been strongly defended until now by the pope.

Barros has been accused by victims of witnessing and ignoring the abuse of young parishioners by the Rev. Fernando Karadima, who was removed from ministry and sentenced to a lifetime of "penance and prayer" in 2010.

Barros has denied knowing of the abuse.

Barros has been a bishop since 1995, but his 2015 appointment to the city of Osorno by Francis caused outrage after the Karadima scandal had eroded the Catholic Church's credibility in Chile. He has faced protests in Osorno by priests and lay Catholics who question how someone who says he never saw anything suspicious at the parish could be trusted to protect Osorno's children today.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 9:58 AM

Arzobispo Scicluna sufre complicaciones de salud y fue trasladado a la clínica

SANTIAGO (CHILE)
La Tercera

>>>Archbishop Scicluna suffers from health complications and is transferred to a clinic

February 21, 2018

By Claudia Soto

El Arzobispo de Malta que estaba a cargo de escuchar a las víctimas de Fernando Karadima, sufrió complicaciones por lo cual debió someterse a exámenes. En su rol asumirá el sacerdote Jordi Bertomeou, quien continuará el proceso de entrevistas.

El arzobispo de Malta, Charles Scicluna, quien fue designado por el Papa Francisco para recopilar antecedentes que pesan sobre el obispo Juan Barros por un posible encubrimiento a Fernando Karadima, debió ser trasladado hasta un recinto médico tras sufrir complicaciones de salud.

Así lo confirmó el vocero de la Conferencia Episcopal, Jaime Coiro, quien indicó que Scicluna sentía malestares hace varios días, pero no fue hasta la noche de ayer cuando se decidió llevarlo hasta la Clínica UC San Carlos de Apoquindo para que fuera revisado por un equipo y sometido a exámenes.

“Se le están practicando exámenes de rigor, al parecer no es un malestar de extrema gravedad, pero tampoco es algo sencillo, y se requieren exámenes para determinar cual es el curso a seguir”, indicó.

[Google Translation:

Archbishop Scicluna suffers from health complications and is transferred to a clinic

The Archbishop of Malta who was in charge of listening to the victims of Fernando Karadima, suffered complications for which he had to undergo tests. In his role will assume the priest Jordi Bertomeou, who will continue the process of interviews.

The archbishop of Malta, Charles Scicluna, who was appointed by Pope Francis to collect background information about Bishop Juan Barros for a possible cover up to Fernando Karadima, had to be taken to a medical facility after suffering health complications.

This was confirmed by the spokesman of the Episcopal Conference, Jaime Coiro, who said that Scicluna felt discomfort several days ago, but it was not until yesterday night when it was decided to take it to the UC San Carlos Clinic in Apoquindo to be reviewed by a team and submitted to exams.

"They are practicing rigor tests, apparently it is not a very serious malaise, but it is not something simple either, and tests are required to determine which course to follow," he said.

Despite this, and on behalf of the Pontiff, the process of interviews with victims and denouncers will continue, but in the hands of the Spanish priest Jordi Bertomeu , who until now officiated as notary of the case. In addition, he will be accompanied by another priest - until the moment a person was appointed provisionally - to assume as the new notary.

According to Coiro, "Scicluna itself has expressed its willingness to continue with the process of meeting people, as long as their physical possibility allows it."

Scicluna arrived in the country on Monday, but his inquiries about the Barros case began on Saturday, when he met for almost four hours with Juan Carlos Cruz in the parish of Holy Name of Jesus in New York.

Yesterday, meanwhile, he received in the Apostolic Nunciature James Hamilton, who arrived accompanied by his lawyer Juan Pablo Hermosilla and José Andrés Murillo. For today he had scheduled a meeting with the lay organization of Osorno.

It is expected that around midday a medical report will be delivered on the state of health of the Pope's envoy.]

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 9:52 AM

Monseñor Scicluna Debió Ser Hospitalizado de Urgencia

SANTIAGO (CHILE)
La Nación

>>>Monsignor Scicluna Is Rushed to the Hospital

February 21, 2018

El Papa Francisco decidió que el proceso de escucha de los testimonios continué a manos del sacerdote español Hará Jordi Bertomeu.

Este miércoles debió ser hospitalizado el arzobispo de Malta, Charles Scicluna, que se encuentra en Chile como enviado del Papa Francisco para escuchar los testimonios y esclarecer el supuesto encubrimiento del obispo Juan Barros a los abusos sexuales cometidos por Fernando Karadima.

Según informó el vocero de la conferencia episcopal, Jaime Coiro, Scicluna debió ser internado en la Clínica de la Universidad Católica por presentar malestares que mantenía desde su viaje a Estados Unidos, sin embargo, se encuentra estable.

Tras la hospitalización del arzobispo, el Papa Francisco decidió que el proceso de escucha de los testimonios continué a manos del sacerdote español Hará Jordi Bertomeu, oficial de la Congregación para la Doctrina de la Fe que hasta el martes oficiaba como notario en este caso.

[Google Translation:

Monsignor Scicluna Is Rushed to the Hospital

Pope Francis decided that the process of listening to the testimonies continued at the hands of the Spanish priest Hara Jordi Bertomeu.

This Wednesday the archbishop of Malta, Charles Scicluna, was hospitalized and is in Chile as an envoy of Pope Francis to hear the testimonies and clarify the supposed cover-up of Bishop Juan Barros to the sexual abuse committed by Fernando Karadima.

As reported by the spokesman of the episcopal conference, Jaime Coiro , Scicluna had to be admitted to the Clinic of the Catholic University for presenting discomforts that he maintained since his trip to the United States , however, he is stable .

After the hospitalization of the archbishop, Pope Francis decided that the process of listening to the testimonies continued at the hands of the Spanish priest Hara Jordi Bertomeu , official of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith that until Tuesday officiated as a notary in this case.

Coiro informed that the meetings scheduled for these four days, from Tuesday to Friday, will be maintained , unless some of the people prefer not to attend, but so far no notice has been received that someone has canceled their participation.

In addition, Monsignor Scicluna is fully aware of the situation, so he has expressed his willingness to resume his duties as soon as possible to be able to hold at least some meetings on Friday.]

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 9:43 AM

James Hamilton tras reunión con arzobispo Scicluna: "Señor Errázuriz, usted es un criminal"

SANTIAGO (CHILE)
24Horas

>>>James Hamilton after meeting with Archbishop Scicluna: "Mr. Errázuriz, you are a criminal"

February 20, 2018

[Includes video (in Spanish) of James Hamilton's entire press conference.]

Después de reunirse con el sacerdote designado por el Papa Francisco para indagar la vinculación entre el obispo Juan Barros y los abusos de Fernando Karadima, Hamilton hizo fuertes críticas a Francisco Javier Errázuriz y a Ricardo Ezzati.

"Nada ha cambiado, a la Iglesia sigue sin importarle un comino, por lo menos a este Papa y a algunos obispos dentro del Vaticano", comentó James Hamilton - una de las víctimas del ex párroco de El Bosque, Fernando Karadima- luego de reunirse con el arzobispo de Malta, Charles Scicluna.

Cabe recordar que Scicluna fue destinado a nuestro país por el Papa Francisco con el deber de escuchar nuevos elementos en torno a la vinculación del obispo de Osorno, Juan Barros Madrid, y los delitos cometidos por el ex párroco de El Bosque.

[Google Translation:

James Hamilton after meeting with Archbishop Scicluna: "Mr. Errázuriz, you are a criminal"

After meeting with the priest appointed by Pope Francis to investigate the link between Bishop Juan Barros and the abuses of Fernando Karadima, Hamilton made strong criticisms of Francisco Javier Errázuriz and Ricardo Ezzati.

"Nothing has changed, the Church still does not care a damn, at least this Pope and some bishops inside the Vatican," said James Hamilton - one of the victims of the former pastor of El Bosque, Fernando Karadima - after meeting with the archbishop of Malta, Charles Scicluna.

It is worth remembering that Scicluna was destined to our country by Pope Francis with the duty to listen to new elements regarding the connection of the Bishop of Osorno, Juan Barros Madrid, and the crimes committed by the former pastor of El Bosque.

During the afternoon of this Tuesday the envoy of the Vatican met with James Hamilton, who went accompanied by José Andrés Murillo to the place. Upon leaving the premises, James Hamilton said he still has confidence and hope that the truth about the cover-up of the abuses committed by Karadima is clarified .

"I am certainly clear that the reports that come out of here from Chile will be truthful and sincere reports , " said Hamilton, noting that his duty is "to collaborate in any order and search for justice" and that the meeting with Scicluna is He made with "much respect".

Despite that optimism, Hamilton questioned the leaders of the Catholic Church in our country and referred to Cardinal Francisco Javier Errázuriz and Santiago archbishop Ricardo Ezzati as "liars" and "concealers", stating that they have omitted and action around the case. He even referred to the first as a "criminal."

Charles Scicluna arrived on Monday February 19 to the capital and between Tuesday and Friday will continue holding meetings to hear new testimonies and information.]

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 9:35 AM

February 20, 2018

Why there’s so much silence around being sexually assaulted in the Asian community

UNITED KINGDOM
Metro.co.uk

By Faima Bakar

February 20, 2018

I was ten years old when the priest who came to teach us how to read Arabic started touching me.

Twice a week he would push his hand down along my body and force me to touch him.

I never told anyone, keeping it silent until I spoke to other south Asian women to research this article.

Shamefully, this is the reality for a few of my Muslim peers. In one day I spoke to 13 of my friends who each had some variation of this experience, as though it’s some sort of disgusting rite of passage.

From casual brushes against our bodies to deliberate touching, to full on molesting, and even raping, south Asian women have kept quiet about their abuse and they continue to do so.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 10:20 PM

Pope’s decision on child sex-abuse commission members criticised

IRELAND
Irish Times

February 19, 2018

Marie Collins fears working groups set up to address care of survivors may be scrapped

By Patsy McGarry

Dublin abuse survivor Marie Collins has criticised a decision by Pope Francis not to reappoint “some of the most hard-working, independent, and active members” of the outgoing Vatican Commission for the Protection of Minors to the new commission announced at the weekend.

The former commission ended its term of office in December. Ms Collins resigned from it last March after serving “three difficult years”, due to frustration with some officials in the Roman curia, particularly at the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

The only other abuse survivor appointed to the original commission with her , the UK’s Peter Saunders, took leave of absence in 2016 and resigned last December for similar reasons to Ms Collins.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 10:16 PM

Vatican probe of child sexual abuse begins in Chile

SANTIAGO (CHILE)
Santiago Times

February 19, 2018

The archbishop of Malta, Charles Scicluna, has begun the investigation ordered by Pope Francis to clarify whether Chilean bishop Juan Barros concealed the sexual abuse of minors committed by nearly 80 priests.

Scicluna opened the case with the testimony of Chilean journalist Juan Carlos Cruz, one of the victims of the influential Chilean priest Fernando Karadima who was accused of pedophilia and sentenced in 2010 by the Vatican to “A life of prayer and penance”, he heard in a parish in the U.S. city of New York.

“It was a long, emotionally difficult meeting, but I am very happy to have been able to speak with Monsignor Scicluna, they behaved incredibly well and for the first time I feel they are listening to us,” Cruz said in statements made in New York, broadcast by local media.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 10:13 PM

Vatican special envoy hears Chilean abuse victims' testimony

SANTIAGO (CHILE)
Reuters

February 20, 2018

By Cassandra Garrison

A Chilean man who was sexually abused by a priest said he was hopeful that the testimony he shared on Tuesday with a Vatican investigator would lead to better protection for children.

“I hope that in the Chile of the future, there is security for children, there is no statute of limitations on sexual abuse, that Sename (Chile’s child protection service) cares for children,” James Hamilton told reporters on Tuesday. “It does not matter to me what the Catholic Church determines.”

Hamilton’s testimony against Father Fernando Karadima during a previous Vatican investigation helped convict the priest in 2011 of abusing a number of boys.

Archbishop Charles Scicluna is in Santiago looking into accusations that a bishop covered up crimes against minors. He started hearing victims’ testimony on Tuesday, including that of Hamilton.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 10:11 PM

Apuron breaks his silence

VATICAN CITY
Vatican Insider

February 11, 2018

By Salvatore Cernuzio

The February 7th audience with Pope Francis in the Vatican. The verdict of Cardinal Burke's trial remains unpublished. The latest accusation from his nephew. The Church on the island is hit with an avalanche of lawsuits

Guam’s Archbishop Apuron breaks his silence: “I deny all allegations made against me”

“Holy Father, I wanted to see you before dying.” Arriving at the Paul VI Hall in a wheelchair due to health problems, Msgr. Anthony Apuron, the Archbishop of Guam suspended amid abuse accusations, greeted Pope Francis at the end of the general audience on February 7th. Bergoglio reacted with affection, shaking the bishop’s hand and privately giving him a few words of encouragement.

Apuron had recently undergone surgery, as he revealed in a statement released in the last few weeks breaking his silence concerning the accusations of sexual abuse against minors first made against him in June of 2016—accusations which forced him to suspend himself as archbishop of the Pacific island while a canonical trial was initiated.

“As I lay sick after another surgery and I face the final judgment approaching evermore close, having lost interest in this world” reads the statement, in which the prelate specifically responds to the latest accusation from his nephew Mark Apuron, who in an interview with a Guam news outlet described an alleged assault in the bathroom of his uncle’s house during a family dinner. The incident, according to the man, happened sometime around 1989 or 1990.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 9:46 PM

Iowa priest suspended after allegation of 'unwelcome advances,' diocese says

DES MOINES (IOWA)
Des Moines Register

February 20, 2018

By Luke Nozicka

A Council Bluffs priest was suspended Tuesday after an allegation of unwelcome advances, the diocese said.

Father Carlos Gomez Pineda was suspended after Bishop Richard Pates heard about the allegation early Tuesday morning, the Diocese of Des Moines said in a statement. Pineda was accused of making "a serious violation of boundary issues related to unwelcome advances toward an adult," the diocese said.

Pates has notified authorities about the allegation against Pineda, who serves as parochial vicar of Corpus Christi Parish in Council Bluffs.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 9:43 PM

Vatican investigator meets with Chilean sex abuse victims

SANTIAGO (CHILE)
Associated Press

February 20, 2018

By Patricia Luna

The Vatican’s sex abuse investigator on Tuesday began a series of meetings in Chile with abuse victims and others who have opposed the appointment of a bishop accused of covering up for the country’s most notorious pedophile priest.

Pope Francis has strongly backed Bishop Juan Barros, who is accused by victims of witnessing and ignoring the abuse of young parishioners by the Rev. Fernando Karadima, who was removed from ministry and sentenced to a lifetime of “penance and prayer” in 2010.

The Chilean conference of bishops said that Maltese Archbishop Charles Scicluna will also talk to a delegation of lay Catholics and priests from the Chilean diocese of Osorno during four days of meetings.

The conference did not provide the names of the victims to protect their privacy, but it said Scicluna will be meeting both with people who reached out, as well as those that he demanded to interview.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 9:41 PM

Pope's investigator meets Chile sex abuse victims

CHILE
BBC News

February 20, 2018

A Vatican cleric leading investigations into sexual abuse has started hearing testimony from victims in Chile.

Archbishop Charles Scicluna of Malta is looking into accusations that a bishop appointed by Pope Francis in 2015 covered up crimes against children.

The pontiff sparked controversy by saying during a visit to the country last month there was no evidence against Bishop Juan Barros.

Pope Francis apologised and asked the archbishop to investigate the claims.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 9:18 PM

Los focos puestos en la Nunciatura: Scicluna recoge testimonios por obispo Barros

>> Photos: Spotlight on the Nunciature: Scicluna collects testimonies about Bishop Barros

CHILE
cooperative.cl

February 20, 2018

[This links to ten photos of scenes today outside the nunciature in Chile, located in the Providencia section of Santiago. The nunciature is where special papal envoy Archbishop Charles Scicluna has begun interviewing witnesses as part of his investigation of possible cover-up by Bishop Juan Barros.]

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 5:44 PM

Juan Carlos Cruz describe encuentro con obispo Scicluna por encubrimiento de Barros

>> Juan Carlos Cruz describes meeting with bishop Scicluna for cover up of Barros

CHILE
Bío Bío Express

February 20, 2018

By María José Villarroel

Juan Carlos Cruz, una de las víctimas de Fernando Karadima, conversó con el Expreso Bío Bío sobre la reunión que sostuvo en Estados Unidos con el arzobispo de Malta, Charles Scicluna, en el marco de la investigación por estos casos.

El arzobispo de Malta además desde este martes comenzará con sus actividades en Chile donde se espera que reciba a más víctimas de Karadima y también a testigos del presunto encubrimiento que habría realizado el obispo de Osorno Juan Barros.

Lee también: Arzobispo Scicluna comienza agenda para esclarecer presunto encubrimiento de Juan Barros

[GOOGLE TRANSLATION: Juan Carlos Cruz , one of the victims of Fernando Karadima, spoke with the Bío Bío Express about the meeting held in the United States with the archbishop of Malta, Charles Scicluna , in the framework of the investigation into these cases.

The archbishop of Malta will also begin his activities in Chile on Tuesday, where he is expected to receive more victims of Karadima and also witnesses of the alleged cover-up that the Bishop of Osorno Juan Barros would have carried out.

Read also: Archbishop Scicluna begins agenda to clarify alleged cover-up of Juan Barros]

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 5:21 PM

Obispo Scicluna tendrá al menos 20 reuniones por denuncias contra Barros

CHILE
La Tercera

February 19, 2018

By C. Reyes and Y. Moya

Durante la mañana de hoy arribó al Aeropuerto de Santiago el arzobispo de Malta, Charles Scicluna, quien fuera designado el 30 de enero por el Papa Francisco como enviado especial para recopilar antecedentes de las acusaciones que pesan contra el obispo Juan Barros, a cargo de la Diócesis de Osorno, como presunto encubridor de los abusos cometidos por Fernando Karadima.

El trabajo de Scicluna, quien es especialista en indagar sobre abusos cometidos por sacerdotes, comenzó oficialmente el sábado, cuando por casi cuatro horas se reunió con Juan Carlos Cruz, en la parroquia Holy Name of Jesus, en Nueva York. “ Me sentí escuchado, me sentí muy bien”, indicó Cruz tras ese encuentro.

Durante su estadía en Chile se espera que Scicluna mantenga al menos 20 encuentros con diferentes personas y grupos que lo han contactado para dar antecedentes sobre el caso que afecta a Barros, así indicaron a La Tercera fuentes ligadas al proceso. El arzobispo de Malta quiere desarrollar un trabajo bajo reserva, para así también brindar confidencialidad a las personas que quieran reunirse con él.

[GOOGLE TRANSLATION: During the morning of today, the Archbishop of Malta, Charles Scicluna, arrived at the Airport of Santiago, who was appointed on January 30 by Pope Francis as special envoy to gather information about the accusations against Bishop Juan Barros, in charge of the Diocese of Osorno, as alleged cover-up of the abuses committed by Fernando Karadima.

The work of Scicluna, who is a specialist in investigating abuses committed by priests, officially began on Saturday, when for almost four hours he met with Juan Carlos Cruz, in the Holy Name of Jesus parish, in New York. "I felt heard, I felt very good," Cruz said after that meeting.

During his stay in Chile, Scicluna is expected to hold at least 20 meetings with different people and groups that have contacted him to provide background information on the case that affects Barros, as they indicated to La Tercera sources linked to the process. The archbishop of Malta wants to develop a work under reserve, in order to also provide confidentiality to people who want to meet with him.]

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 5:18 PM

Ex-Chilean seminarian: meeting with Vatican abuse investigator ‘intense’

NEW YORK (NY)
Catholic News Service via CatholicPhilly.com

February 20, 2018

A former Chilean seminarian who accused a current bishop of abuse cover-up met with a Vatican investigator and said he finally felt he had been heard.

Juan Carlos Cruz met for nearly four hours Feb. 17 with Archbishop Charles Scicluna of Malta, a longtime expert on clergy sex abuse. Cruz, who currently lives and works in Philadelphia, said that this is the first time he felt church officials had listened to how, as a seminarian, he was sexually abused by Father Fernando Karadima, a Chilean priest. Cruz maintains that now-Bishop Juan Barros of Osorno, Chile, witnessed some of the abuse.

In a statement to reporters outside of Manhattan’s Church of the Holy Name of Jesus Feb. 17, Cruz called his meeting “a good experience,” one he described as emotional and at times “very intense and very detailed.” He also said he thought it was “eye-opening” for the archbishop.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 5:14 PM

Audit critical of five Catholic male congregations on child protection

IRELAND
The Irish Times

February 20, 2018

By Patsy McGarry

Tusla review finds ‘a clear shift in attitudes and culture within the congregations’

Sixteen out of 135 Catholic congregations in Ireland had “unsatisfactory” child protection procedures in place to the end of 2015, according to an audit by Tusla, the child and family agency.

The audit found “a clear shift in attitudes and culture” within the congregation and deemed safeguarding procedures in 29 congregations to be “excellent” and said they were “satisfactory” in 43 others.

Among those Tusla deemed “excellent” were the Christian Brothers, the Spiritans, the Sisters of Mercy, the Dominicans, Benedictines, Legionaries of Christ, Society of African Missions, Missionaries of the Sacred Heart, Divine Word Missionaries, Vincentian Fathers, and the Loreto Sisters.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 4:40 PM

Pope renews child protection body

ROME
The Tablet

February 20, 2018

By Christopher Lamb

Pope Francis has sought to wrestle back the initiative over his handling of clerical sexual abuse by renewing a papal child protection commission and revealing he regularly meets victims.

Last week the Vatican announced a re-booted Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors, a body that had been allowed to lapse after the initial three-year membership terms of the members expired at the end of last year.

This led some survivors to question whether the Pope had de-prioritised the issue while his dismissal of victims in the Bishop Juan Barros case – a Chilean prelate accused of turning a blind eye to abuse – has drawn heavy criticism.

But last Saturday the Pope announced a 16-member child protection commission including nine new members coming from six continents and which, according to the Vatican, included unnamed abuse survivors. The body, set up by Francis in 2014, is now looking to set up an “International Survivor Advisory Panel” modelled on the one set up by the Church in England and Wales.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 4:37 PM

Australia prelates criticise 'relentless' media campaign against Church

AUSTRALIA
The Tablet

February 20, 2018

By Mark Brolly

[See the two opinion pieces discussed in this article: Where will relentless campaign leave the most needy? by Archbishop Anthony Fisher, The Sydney Morning Herald, February 12, 2018; and A message from Bishop Vincent Long about recent media reports, Catholic Outlook, February 15, 2018.]

The archbishop said some would like the Catholic Church to be 'knocked out of the equation'

Archbishop Anthony Fisher of Sydney and Bishop Vincent Long Van Nguyen of Parramatta have both criticised as a "relentless" campaign a series of newspaper articles last week by Fairfax, publisher of The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age, about the Catholic Church, its purported wealth and its response to victims of child sexual abuse by Church personnel.

Archbishop Fisher, in an article in The Sydney Morning Herald on 12 February, wrote that given its many works, it was inevitable that the Church would have lots of "assets", but the works were done as a non-profit organisation. "To compare this with the corporates like Westfield and Wesfarmers, as the SMH and Age did yesterday, is unreal," he wrote. "So is valuing St Mary’s Cathedral as if it were a potential site for a high rise development. Its value is as spiritual and artistic heritage of the Church, city and nation.

"Comparisons with the big corporates fail for another key reason: companies make money for their shareholders, the Church spends its resources on others.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 4:27 PM

Details emerge of alleged sexual misconduct by priest who served in, around Modesto

MODESTO (CA)
Modesto Bee

February 9, 2018

By Brian Clark

A Catholic priest who served in Modesto and throughout Stanislaus County nearly two decades ago is under criminal investigation, suspected of sexual misconduct with a child.

The alleged incident in 1999 involved a 15-year-old girl who was a member of St. Stanislaus Catholic Church, according to Heather Graves, spokesperson for the Modesto Police Department.

Father Eduardo De Jesus Perez Torrez is the focus of the police investigation and a review by the Diocesan Review Board, the Diocese of Stockton wrote in a statement released late Thursday afternoon.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 4:14 PM

Five religious orders criticised for 'significant' child safeguarding weaknesses

IRELAND
RTÉ

February 20, 2018

By Joe Little

[See the report published today by Tusla, the state agency in Ireland that oversees child welfare issues: Audit of Religious Orders, Congregations and Missionary Societies Safeguarding Arrangements and Management of Allegations of Child Sexual Abuse - Volume 2 - Section 1 and Section 2. See also Volume 1 on the dioceses in Ireland, published on October 11, 2012.]

Five Catholic religious orders have been criticised by the Child and Family Agency's audit for their "significant (child) safeguarding weaknesses".

Tusla's report on the response to child sexual abuse by 135 orders says it worked closely with four of the weakest ones until it was satisfied that each had significantly improved its safeguarding practices, while another church-appointed audit body supervised the fifth.

Today's report censures the Christian Brothers, De La Salle Brothers, the Irish Norbertines, the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart and the Holy Spirit Congregation for weaknesses.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 4:05 PM

Cardinal George Pell's case back in court

AUSTRALIA
Australian Associated Press via nine.com.au

February 21, 2018

Cardinal George Pell's lawyers and prosecutors are due back in court again before a March hearing to determine if he stands trial on historical sexual offence charges.

Australia's most senior Catholic denies the allegations and is not expected to attend Wednesday's brief hearing in Melbourne Magistrates Court.

It will be a further administrative update for the defence and prosecution to finalise matters before Pell, 76, faces a four-week committal hearing beginning on March 5.

Pell is the highest-ranking Catholic official to be charged with sexual abuse.

The former Sydney and Melbourne archbishop and Ballarat priest has taken leave from his position as Vatican treasurer to fight the charges.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 4:02 PM

Abuse survivor: Why I won't seek reparations from Syracuse diocese (Commentary)

SYRACUSE (NY)
The Post-Standard/syracuse.com

February 20, 2018

Kevin Braney, Ph.D., formerly of Manlius, now lives in Denver, Colorado.

By Kevin Braney

I recently reviewed the Independent Reconciliation and Compensation Commission procedures posted on the website for the Syracuse Catholic Diocese. I myself, as a survivor of priest sexual abuse, received a letter Feb. 17 that states I "may" qualify to submit a claim.

I commend Bishop Robert Cunningham for opening a path forward, as imperfect as it is, to aid survivors' healing. The commission will serve as a valuable tool to provide much needed relief for some.

Based upon my initial review, it appears this commission will not be part of my path forward. I will press onward in hopes the New York Child Victims Act passes. My analysis of the commission's protocols leads me to the below questions and concerns:

First, why do the protocols require me to relitigate my claim against Charles Eckermann? The Vatican already defrocked Eckermann. It took from September 2013 until April 2014, countless phone calls, meetings with investigators, written statements, oral statements, to ensure Eckermann no longer had access to children in his priestly role. Why is the previous investigation now insufficient?

The continued assertion that all priests who have raped children have been removed is false. Until all pedophile priests are in jail, children are at risk. Here are just two examples:

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 3:44 PM

Catholics Rejoice Over Cdl. Mahony Cancellation

SCRANTON (PA)
ChurchMilitant.com

February 20, 2018

By Alexander Slavsky

Special envoy to the pope claims he is "not able to attend"

Cardinal Roger Mahony is canceling his appearance in Pennsylvania after outcry from faithful Catholics.

William Genello, executive director of communications for the diocese of Scranton, confirmed with Church Militant that the former archbishop of Los Angeles won't be attending the diocese's 150th anniversary Mass.

"We were informed last week that Cdl. Mahony is unable to attend," he told Church Militant. When pressed for reasons for the cancellation, Genello simply repeated the statement.

We were informed last week that Cdl. Mahony is unable to attend.Tweet
Church Militant also asked if there would be a replacement for Mahony, but Genello only repeated his statement, providing no further details.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 3:41 PM

Abp Scicluna in Chile to hear testimony in the Barros case

VATICAN CITY
Vatican News

February 20, 2018

[See also the February 19, 2018 press release by the Chilean conference of Catholic bishops: Presencia de Mons. Charles Scicluna en Chile]

The Chilean bishops have released information about the visit of Archbishop Scicluna in Chile, who has been tasked with gathering information concerning the case of Bishop Juan Barros of Osorno.

The Chilean Episcopal Conference (Cech), has released some details regarding the presence in Chile, in recent days of Charles Scicluna, archbishop of Malta and President of the College for the examination of appeals (in matters of delicta graviora) for the Ordinary Session of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. The Cech, in a press release, said that Archbishop Scicluna arrived in Chile yesterday, and today he will begin to listen to those who have expressed their desire to provide new facts regarding the situation of the bishop of Osorno. The archbishop will continue to listen to the witnesses until next Friday, in premises made available by the apostolic nunciature.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 9:25 AM

Papal envoy Scicluna’ s first day in Chile, over 20 audiences scheduled

ROME (ITALY)
Vatican Insider

February 20, 2018

By Luis Badilla

After the meeting with Cruz in New York, the archbishop will listen to Murillo and Hamilton, two other victims of Karadima. Scheduled a meeting with a delegation of faithful from Osorno who oppose Barros

Pope Francis’ envoy to Chile, Monsignor Charles Scicluna, who has been investigating possible new elements in the “Karadima-Barros” affair since 17 February, arrived yesterday morning in Santiago de Chile. Today, in the Nunciature headquarters (and until Friday 23 February) the envoy will begin his delicate mission in the country: first of all, he will meet and listen to the other two people, out of three, who accuse Monsignor Juan Barros of having covered up the sexual abuse committed by the priest Fernando Karadima, of whom he was a disciple in the Fraternity of the parish of El Bosque.

Scicluna has already met, last Saturday 17th in New York, in the rectory of the Church of the Holy Name of Jesus, the witness and victim Juan Carlos Cruz. Today at 4:00 am local time (it will be evening in Europe), the Archbishop of the Maltese diocese of La Valletta, together with Father Jordi Bertomeu, the Spanish official of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, will meet with the other two victims, José Andrés Murillo and James Hamilton.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 9:14 AM

Sex abuse claim against Guam church brings total lawsuits to 157

GUAM
Radio New Zealand

February 20, 2018

Another lawsuit has been filed against the Catholic Church in Guam, bringing the total lawsuits alleging historical sexual abuse to 157.

The latest case, against a priest Louis Brouillard, is for raping an altar boy during sleepovers when he was a teenager in the 1970s.

Mr Brouillard, who is now 96, was on Guam from 1948 to 1981, and is accused of abusing boys in 100 of the lawsuits the church is facing.

He has admitted abusing boys during his time on Guam, before the church relocated him to the United States mainland.

Fifteen other priests, two archbishops and a bishop have also been implicated in abuse that spans from the mid-1950s to the early 1990s.

So far, the sum of the lawsuits the Catholic Church is facing exceeds $US600 million.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 9:10 AM

Sr Arina Gonsalves joins Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors

MUMBAI (INDIA)
AsiaNews.it

February 19, 2018

By Nirmala Carvalho

The Indian nun has a long experience with the Archdiocese of Mumbai. In 2016 Card Gracias chose her as a member of the expert group for child protection. In India, abuses occur “in schools and even in orphanages,” she notes.

Pope Francis has chosen Sister Arina Gonsalves, an Indian nun, to help the Catholic Church protect children and prevent violence against them.

Sister Arina belongs to the congregation of the Religious of Jesus and Mary (RJM), and has a long history of personal involvement with the Archdiocese of Mumbai to protect children.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 9:06 AM

Audit gives more than half of church bodies 'satisfactory' child protection rating

IRELAND
BreakingNews.ie

February 20, 2018

[See also: Publication of Audit of Religious Orders, Congregations and Missionary Societies Volume II, produced by Tusla, the Republic of Ireland's agency charged with improving the lives of children.]

Almost 1,900 allegations of child sex abuse were made against religious orders between 1996 and 2015.

Tusla has published a new report which shows that 10% of individuals involved were convicted for child sexual abuse offences.

This audit was undertaken as a recommendation of the Ferns report in 2005 and is the second report which covers the period from 1996 up to 2015 and involved all 135 religious orders.

It found that 1,882 allegations were made against 549 current, former and deceased members.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 8:50 AM

$10M suit: Priest raped boy 8 or 9 times

GUAM
Pacific Daily News

February 19, 2018

By Haidee V Eugenio

A lawsuit filed on Monday accuses former priest Louis Brouillard of raping an altar boy eight or nine times during overnight sleepovers at the Barrigada parish rectory, around 1971.

Brouillard also allegedly subjected the boy, who was around 14 at the time, to seeing Brouillard walk around naked in the priest's room before Mass. This happened for more than a year, the complaint states.

The plaintiff is identified in Superior Court documents only by his initials A.B.L. to protect his privacy.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 8:48 AM

Catholic aid agencies pledge “zero tolerance” as sex scandal grows

LEICESTER (UNITED KINGDOM)
Crux

February 19, 2018

By Charles Collins

Catholic international aid charities have pledged zero-tolerance for sexual exploitation by their employees, as a sex abuse scandal affecting one of Britain’s largest charities is now latching onto U.N. aid agencies.

Andrew MacLeod, the former Chief of Operations of the UN Emergency Coordination Center for the 2005 Kashmir earthquake, estimated in The Sun - a British tabloid - that tens of thousand of people have been raped by UN employees, and the international body employs at least 3,000 pedophiles.

“There are tens of thousands of aid workers around the world with pedophile tendencies, but if you wear a UNICEF T-shirt nobody will ask what you’re up to,” MacLeod told the newspaper.

“You have the impunity to do whatever you want,” he said. “It is endemic across the aid industry across the world.”

(The United Nations has disputed Macleod’s methodology, and stated it has a zero-tolerance policy on sexual abuse by staff.)

The scandal began last week when an investigative series by The Times, an English newspaper, revealed Oxfam staff used prostitutes in “Caligula”-like sex parties while providing aid in Haiti in 2011. The newspaper alleges some of those prostitutes may have been underaged.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 8:29 AM

February 19, 2018

Former Catholic priest Charles Alfred Barnett apologises to sexual abuse victims in court

ADELAIDE (SOUTH AUSTRALIA)
ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

By Rebecca Opie

A former Catholic priest who snuck through a window to sexually abuse one of his young victims has apologised for his crimes, ahead of his sentencing in Adelaide's District Court.

Charles Alfred Barnett, 72, was jailed in 2010 for sexually abusing four teenage boys between 1977 and 1994 while he was the priest at a Catholic church in Port Pirie, in South Australia's mid-north.

He was arrested in Indonesia in 2008 and extradited to South Australia.

On his release from the six-year sentence, he faced further charges relating to the indecent assault of two children and the persistent sexual exploitation of another child.

He pleaded guilty to the charges and will be sentenced for those crimes within weeks.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 9:36 PM

Ex-Priest faces victims in court

SOUTH AUSTRALIA
The Advertiser

February 19, 2018

By Meagan Dillon

A judge urged a former South Australian priest who used his power, influence and authority to sexually abuse teenage boys more than three decades ago to address his apology to his victims.

Charles Alfred Barnett, 72, appeared in the District Court on Monday ahead of sentencing next month after admitting the persistent sexual exploitation of one boy, and indecent assault of two others.

His three victims all read emotional victim impact statements to the court, expressing how the historic crimes had affected their lives.

Barnett apologised, saying: “Your Honour, I’m deeply aware of the seriousness of my offending”, before Judge Jack Costello interrupted him.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 9:19 PM

Disgraced cardinal cancels appearance representing Pope after locals vow to protest

SCRANTON (PA)
LifeSiteNews.com

February 19, 2018

By Claire Chretien

[See also the Vatican's notice on January 13, 2018 announcing the appointment of Cardinal Mahony as papal envoy to the celebration of Scranton diocese's 150th anniversary.]

Pope Francis appointed disgraced Cardinal Roger Mahony to be his special envoy to the Catholic Diocese of Scranton’s 150th anniversary Mass. But after uproar, the diocese removed the announcement of Mahony’s visit from their website and told LifeSiteNews the cardinal informed them “late last week” that he’ll be unable to attend.

On January 13, the Diocese of Scranton issued a press release saying, “Pope Francis has appointed Cardinal Roger Michael Mahony, Archbishop Emeritus of Los Angeles, as his special envoy at the celebration of the 150th anniversary of the erection of the Diocese of Scranton, to be observed with a Pontifical Mass on March 4 in the Cathedral of Saint Peter, Scranton.”

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 9:08 PM

Paedophile’s victims say abuse was known of for years

IRELAND
Irish Examiner

February 20, 2018

By Caroline O'Doherty

Victims of paedophile basketball coach Bill Kenneally say they have evidence that gardaí suspected him of abusing children at least eight years earlier than has been acknowledged to date.

They say officers who detained a child in Waterford over a juvenile matter in 1979 used the opportunity to ask him what he knew about Kenneally, who lived locally.

They also say they have learned that Kenneally was interviewed about an attack on a child in 1987 (for which he was not responsible) five months before the first formal complaint about him. Gardaí say they knew nothing before this complaint.

They have called for the commission of inquiry agreed by the Government in the wake of Kenneally’s conviction to begin without delay. Kenneally is appealing a 14-year term given in 2016 after he admitted 10 sample counts of indecently assaulting boys in Waterford between 1984 and 1987.

Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan has said an inquiry can not take place until criminal proceedings end.

A number of victims, who waived their anonymity, claimed this was a “cop out” and said the “substantial and systematic” cover-up of Kenneally’s activities by State agencies, the Catholic Church and local people of influence should not be delayed any further.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 9:00 PM

Insurer seeking $10 million back from diocese that knew about predator priest

LONDON (ONTARIO, CANADA)
The Toronto Star

February 18, 2018

By Mary Ormsby and Sandro Contenta

The diocese of London, Ont., is suing AXA Insurance for breach of contract. The insurer is pushing back, saying priests’ sex abuse of minors was covered up decades ago.

One of Canada’s largest liability insurance companies wants the Roman Catholic diocese of London, Ont., to return $10 million paid to the diocese for settlements to victims sexually abused by priests.

AXA Insurance, now owned by Intact Financial Corp., accuses the diocese of hiding pedophile priests by moving them to different parishes or duties for decades, thereby misleading the insurance company and exposing it to greater financial risk.

In documents filed with Superior Court in London, the company cites the cases of five notorious offenders, including serial predators Charles Sylvestre and John Harper, for sexual assaults against children and teens from the 1960s to the 1970s.

“The Diocese of London, consistent with the policies and practices of the Roman Catholic church more broadly, engaged in a practice of concealing reports of child sexual abuse by members of the diocese’s clergy, and then assigning the priests in question to different parishes in the Diocese, thereby providing the priests with further opportunity to commit sexual assaults upon children within the new parish,” AXA court documents allege.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 8:56 PM

Now you’re seeing behind the “Pope Francis curtain”

UNITED STATES
TheWorthyAdversary.com

February 19, 2018

By Joelle Casteix

When Pope Francis appoints Cardinal Roger Mahony as a Papal Envoy in a state where almost every diocese is under investigation for the cover up of child sexual abuse, you know the Vatican has gone full tone-deaf on sex abuse.

And now is not the time to go full tone-deaf.

The PR Shine Fades

Since his election as pope, die-hard Pope Francis fans have been singing his praises, calling the South American prelate a “new kind of Pope.” Insiders call it the “Francis effect.”

Victims and advocates know differently. It was good PR, spun by his hired flack.

That glow lasted for years. But in the past few weeks, even Francis couldn’t keep remembering his speaking points. First, he pulled the infamous “I need proof” statement, defending a controversial bishop and saying that victims need to provide him evidence of abuse before he believed that they had been sexually abused.

Little did most of the public know that one of them—Juan Carlos Cruz—already had. And he had the photo to prove it.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 8:49 PM

Pope Resurrects Dormant Sex Abuse Commission

ROME (ITALY)
ChurchMilitant.com

February 19, 2018

By Stephen Wynne

In the wake of criticism over Pope Francis' handling of clerical sex abuse, the Vatican is reviving the council responsible for advising the pontiff on the crisis.

On February 17, the Holy See announced the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors (PCPM) will return to work in April.

Boston Cdl. Seán O'Malley will continue as president of the 16-member papal advisory body which went dormant after its mandate expired in December. The reconstituted PCPM is a diverse panel composed of eight men and eight women from 15 countries and six continents, designed to reflect "the global reach of the Church and the challenge of creating safeguarding structures in different cultural contexts."

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 7:06 PM

What is clergy sexual abuse and how does it happen?

ST. CLOUD (MN)
St. Cloud Times

February 18, 2018

By Stephanie Dickrell

Clergy sexual abuse is when a member of clergy uses his or her position and power to exploit, harm, and sexually abuse a member of their congregation.

The recent arrest of the Rev. Anthony Oelrich, a Catholic priest who has worked in the Diocese of St. Cloud since 1992, has the community asking a lot of questions.

What happened? How did it happen? Who's at risk?

Oelrich is facing a charge of third-degree criminal sexual conduct after he was accused of engaging in a sexual relationship with an adult to whom he was a spiritual counselor.

Bishop Donald Kettler removed Oelrich as pastor of the Newman Center and suspended his priestly faculties, which means he cannot function or present himself as a priest.

Oelrich has not been convicted of a crime.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 7:02 PM

Paedophile's jail should be longer: victim

NEW ZEALAND
NZCity

February 20, 2018

A New Zealander says a St John of God Catholic brother, who sexually abused him when he was six, says a 33-year Australian jail term is not long enough.

A New Zealand man who had his childhood "stolen" from him by a St John of God Catholic brother says a 33-year jail term for his sexual abuser is not enough.

The jail term was handed to convicted sex offender Bernard McGrath, 70, in a Sydney court last week after he subjected boys at Kendall Grange boys' home in New South Wales to years of sexual assaults in the 1980s.

Victims and their families cheered the sentence in relief, Australian media reports.

But for Darryl Smith, 54, the jail term is not enough.

McGrath sexually abused him at New Zealand's Marylands school for boys in Christchurch when he was six-years-old.

"I got my life totally stolen from me. I had no childhood because of this monster, I lost everything," he told RNZ.

Despite allegations of McGrath's abuse against Christchurch boys being known to St John, the order transferred him to Kendall Grange in New South Wales and made him the home's headmaster

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 6:57 PM

Francis backs down in dispute with Nigerian priests, accepts bishop's resignation

ROME (ITALY)
National Catholic Reporter

February 19, 2018

By Joshua J. McElwee

Pope Francis has removed a Nigerian bishop whose 2012 appointment sparked years of protest from the diocese's priests, backing down from a confrontation eight months after threatening to suspend the priests should they continue to agitate.

In a short note Feb. 19, the Vatican said the pontiff had accepted the resignation of Bishop Peter Okpaleke, head of the southern Nigerian diocese of Ahiara, and put neighboring Umuahia Bishop Lucius Ugorji in charge as apostolic administrator.

Okpaleke was appointed to his post by Pope Benedict XVI but was never able to take possession of the diocese because of the widespread nature of the protests. Francis wrote to the priests of the diocese last June, giving them 30 days to accept their bishop or be suspended from ministry.

The priests had complained that Okpaleke was not from Mbaise, the region surrounding their diocese. They said it is unfair that there is no Catholic bishop in Nigeria originally from their region, long known as one of the country's most Catholic areas.

Francis' removal of Okpaleke represents the second notable about-face the pontiff has made regarding a local bishop in three weeks, following his Jan. 30 decision to send Maltese Archbishop Charles Scicluna to investigate accusations against Chilean Bishop Juan Barros Madrid.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 3:02 PM

East Brunswick rabbi accused of prostitution

BRUNSWICK (NJ)
MyCentralJersey.com

February 19, 2018

By Suzanne Russell

An East Brunswick rabbi and two people from the Bronx, New York are facing charges related to human trafficking and prostitution of a 17-year-old girl from Lancaster, Pennsylvania.

Rabbi Aryeh Goodman, 35, is charged with one count of engaging in prostitution with a child and one count of endangering the welfare of a child, Middlesex County Prosecutor Andrew Carey and East Brunswick Police Chief James Conroy said in a release late Sunday.

Goodman runs a Chabad, a religious learning center, out of his East Brunswick home. Officials said Goodman may have affiliation with another location on Lexington Avenue in East Brunswick. Accompanied by his attorney, Goodman turned himself in to authorities at the East Brunswick Police Department on Feb. 6, the release said.

An investigation indicated that the rabbi allegedly engaged in sexual relations with the 17-year-old girl at an East Brunswick hotel Feb. 1.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 2:54 PM

Resignation of bishop of Ahiara, Nigeria, and appointment of Apostolic Administrator sede vacante ed at nutum Sanctae Sedis

VATICAN CITY
Vatican website

February 19, 2018

[See also: Pope backs down, OKs resignation of divisive Nigerian bishop, by Nicole Winfield, Associated Press, February 19, 2018.]

Resignation of bishop of Ahiara, Nigeria, and appointment of Apostolic Administrator sede vacante ed at nutum Sanctae Sedis:

The Holy Father has accepted the resignation from the pastoral care of the diocese of Ahiara, Nigeria, presented by H.E. Msgr. Peter Ebere Okpaleke, and at the same time has appointed as apostolic administrator sede vacante et ad nutum Sanctae Sedis of the same diocese H.E. Msgr. Lucius Iwejuru Ugorji, bishop of Umuahia.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 12:07 PM

60-year-old claims sexual abuse by priests

GUAM
KUAM News

February 19, 2018

By Krystal Paco

Another clergy sexual abuse lawsuit has been filed in the Superior Court of Guam. Only identified by his initials to protect his privacy, 60-year-old A.B.L. alleges he was raped up to nine times by former Guam priest, Father Louis Brouillard.

The rapes occurred during sleepovers at the Barrigada church when he was about 14-years-old.
According to court documents, A.B.L. slept over at the request of the priest. Upon arrival, he was greeted by hugs and kisses all over his body before the priest allegedly raped him.

Though he reported being in pain and wanting the abuse to stop, the priest told him it was normal and that because he was a priest, he should believe his word. Court documents state "Only as A.B.L. got older did he realize Brouillard's conducts was very wrong and was in fact criminal."

Along with being raped on Church grounds, A.B.L. states he and other Boy Scouts were forced to swim naked with the priest who groped and touched them in the water. The swimming trips were always followed by trips to McDonalds and other restaurants.

A.B.L. is suing for $10 million. He is represented by attorney Michael Herman.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 12:04 PM

Lawsuit: Priest told boy abuse was 'natural and normal'

GUAM
The Guam Daily Post

February 19, 2018

By Mindy Aguon

A former altar boy alleges he was raped multiple times by a priest who told him that it was "natural and normal," according to the latest clergy sex abuse case filed in the Superior Court of Guam.

A.B.L., who used initials to protect his identity, filed a civil lawsuit against the Archdiocese of Agana, the Boy Scouts of America and retired priest Louis Brouillard.

A.B.L. became an altar boy at the Barrigada parish in 1971, when he was 14. Brouillard was the parish priest at the time.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 12:01 PM

Rape-accused Catholic priest surrenders before court

KOTTAYAM (KERALA, INDIA)
India Today

February 16, 2018

A Catholic priest, accused of raping a Bangladeshi woman, today surrendered before a court in Vaikom in the district.

Thomas Thanninilkkumthadathil (36) had gone into hiding after the woman filed a police complaint on Wednesday. As police intensified the search, the priest surfaced in the magistrate court in Vaikom with his lawyer and surrendered. The court remanded him in 14-day judicial custody. In her complaint, the 42-year-old UK-based Bangladeshi woman alleged that the Syro-Malabar Catholic Church priest raped her after befriending her on Facebook, police said. Thomas allegedly committed the offence after promising that he would marry her. The incident occurred last month when Thomas was serving as vicar of the church at Perumthururth near Kaduthuruthy. Pala diocese of the Syro-Malabar Catholic Church dismissed Thomas from pastoral service and "all stages of priesthood" following the incident. An explanation was sought from him after summoning him to the diocese on February 13 when the church authorities came to know about his "misconduct".

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 11:57 AM

Kerala Catholic priest arrested for allegedly raping a British-Bangladeshi woman

KERALA (INDIA)
bdnews24.com

February 17, 2019

A Catholic priest in Kerala, who is accused of sexually assaulting a Bangladeshi woman based in the UK, has surrendered to the police.

He has also been booked for extorting money from the woman in a complaint file by her, according to media reports.

The priest was produced in a court in Vaikkom and remanded to a 14-day judicial custody, police told local media.

Father Thomas Thanninilkkumthadathil, in his 40s, is accused of raping the 42-year-old woman after befriending her through Facebook, the Bangalore Mirror and Indian Express reported.

The victim, a dual citizen of Bangladesh and Britain, had come to Kottayam from the UK and stayed as the priest's guest at the parsonage for about a week in January this year.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 11:52 AM

Probe continues in priest's texts

HERMITAGE (PA)
The Herald (Sharon PA)

February 18, 2018

By Melissa Klaric

A Pittsburgh law firm representing the Catholic Diocese of Erie uncovered more information in the case of a Kennedy Catholic priest accused of sending inappropriate text messages to a student, a diocese spokesman said on Friday.

Ann-Marie Welsh, director of communications for the diocese, confirmed on Friday that the law firm of K&L Gates LLC in Pittsburgh concluded that the information warranted further investigation by the state Attorney General’s office. She did not reveal further details.

”This is not just an internal investigation,” Welsh said of the law firm’s findings. “These are professionals who conduct independent investigations.”

Bishop Lawrence T. Persico of the Erie Diocese said the Rev. Sean Kerins has been removed from his assignments at Kennedy and at Church of the Good Shepherd Parish in West Middlesex pending completion of the investigation.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 11:41 AM

Pope backs down, OKs resignation of divisive Nigerian bishop

VATICAN CITY
Associated Press via ABC News

February 19, 2018

By Nicole Winfield

Pope Francis backed down Monday and accepted the resignation of Nigerian bishop who had been rejected for years by the priests of his diocese, setting a precedent that could have repercussions in Chile and elsewhere when papal authority is challenged.

The announcement came after Francis in June issued a harsh ultimatum to the priests of Nigeria's southern Ahiara diocese, warning they would lose their jobs if they didn't obey him and accept Monsignor Peter Okpaleke as their bishop. Francis gave each priest 30 days to pledge their obedience.

The Vatican said Monday that 200 priests obeyed, but some still expressed problems in working with Okpaleke.

Pope Benedict XVI had appointed Okpaleke to Ahiara in 2012, but the local clergy rejected him. Ahiara is in the Mbaise region, and its faithful objected to the appointment of an outsider from the Anambra region to lead them. In protest, the Mbaise blocked access to the cathedral when Okpaleke was to be formally installed, and he was installed outside the diocese.

The Vatican's mission office said Monday the pope took the priests' "repentance" into account in deciding not to sanction them for "the grave damage" they had inflicted on the church by rejecting Okpaleke. But the Vatican said it hoped "in the future they will never again repeat such unreasonable actions opposing a bishop legitimately appointed by the Supreme Pontiff."

The case could affect another divisive bishop appointment, Chilean Bishop Juan Barros.

Ever since Francis appointed him bishop of Osorno, Chile, in 2015, Barros has been rejected by many faithful and priests. His opponents cite accusations by sexual abuse victims who say Barros witnessed and ignored their abuse by Chile's most notorious predator priest.

After Francis sparked an outcry during his recent trip to Chile by defending Barros, the pope did an about-face and sent in a Vatican investigator to take testimony about Barros' behavior. The investigator, Archbishop Charles Scicluna, met with Barros' main accuser on Saturday.

Many Vatican watchers had cited the Nigerian conflict in explaining Francis' refusal to remove Barros. Barros had been named a bishop by St. John Paul II and confirmed by Benedict, making it difficult for Francis to sack him without compelling reason.

But Francis' decision to accept the resignation of the Benedict-appointed Okpaleke due to popular opposition suggests he could do the same for Barros, who has already offered his resignation twice and had it rejected by Francis.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 11:34 AM

Priest charged with sexual misconduct is responsible for own legal fees

ST. CLOUD (MN)
St. Cloud Times

February 18, 2018

By Stephanie Dickrell

The Rev. Anthony Oelrich will be responsible for paying his own legal fees related to a charge of criminal sexual conduct, a church spokesperson confirmed this week.

Oelrich faces charges of criminal sexual conduct in the third degree. He is accused of engaging in a sexual relationship with an adult whom he was giving spiritual counsel.

Joe Towalski, director of the office of communications for the Diocese of St. Cloud, confirmed that the church would not be funding Oelrich's legal defense.

Oelrich is staying at a residence in St. Cloud owned by the diocese while the judicial process proceeds, Towalski added. The diocese continues to provide for Oelrich's basic needs.

Bishop Donald Kettler removed Oelrich as pastor of the Newman Center and suspended his priestly faculties, which means he cannot function or present himself as a priest.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 11:28 AM

After priest arrest, grassroots group, church plan healing events

ST. CLOUD (MN)
St. Cloud Times

February 19, 2018

By Stephanie Dickrell

In the #MeToo moment, it's important to know how to respond when a loved one says "Me too."

Nearly a week after the arrest of a local Catholic priest for sexual misconduct, the community is looking for ways to process the news.

The Rev. Anthony Oelrich faces charges of criminal sexual conduct in the third degree. He is accused of engaging in a sexual relationship with an adult whom he was giving spiritual counsel.

The church has organized events for this week:

- 6:30 p.m., Tuesday, listening session and gathering for permanent members of Christ Church Newman Center in the Terrace room at the center.
- 6 p.m., Wednesday, healing prayer service in the lower church at St. Mary's Cathedral.
- 6:30 p.m., Thursday, listening session and gathering for student members of Christ Church Newman Center in the Terrace room at the center.

In a Facebook post, the Rev. Scott Pogatchnik, rector of the cathedral, wrote:

"So many are overwhelmed with emotion. For me too, the pain and confusion are so raw that I don't know where to begin or even that I want to begin. Wherever you are, Jesus invites us: Come to me…I will give you rest.' Through prayer and scripture, rituals of healing and reflection, you are invited to join us as we begin this long journey of healing together."

Another group is focusing on the victims of clergy sexual abuse, sexual assault and bullying. The grassroots group of parishioners and friends will gather at the cathedral before the prayer service Wednesday.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 11:03 AM

February 18, 2018

Pope’s Claim, “I Normally Meet Sex Abuse Victims,” is Contradicted by Lack of Action

UNITED STATES
Open Tabernacle

February 18, 2018

By Betty Clermont

Pope Francis has a history of dishonesty and hypocrisy on the subject of clerical sex abuse. Survivors of sex abuse, and those who “normally” meet with them, know there are a number of actions the pope can take immediately to protect children, but he refuses to do so.

“On Fridays – sometimes this is known and sometimes it is not known – I normally meet some of them [sex abuse victims],” the pope said. He had “approved for publication” this and other statements he made last month.

“The percentage of pedophiles who are Catholic priests does not reach 2 percent, it’s 1.6 percent. It is not that much,” the pope also told his listeners.

The Australian Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse recently released their findings that “7 percent of Catholic priests had been accused of abusing children from 1950 to 2010. In some Catholic religious orders the figures were much higher: 40 per cent for the St John of God Brothers and 22 per cent for the Christian Brothers …. Even the Church acknowledges these figures are an understatement because many victims have never come forward and never will.”

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 1:28 PM

Lynn Beyak 'inflamed attitudes against Indigenous citizens': Manitoba senator

WINNIPEG (MANITOBA, CANADA)
CBC News

February 16, 2018

Residential school survivor Mary Jane McCallum pens open letter to controversial Ontario colleague

[Includes a PDF of McCallum's letter.]

The senator from Barren Lands First Nation, Man., is taking Ontario colleague Lynn Beyak to task over her controversial defence of Canada's residential school system, and her refusal to strip letters supporting that stance from her Senate website.

"No amount of good times can ever override the bad times in the institution, especially if it involves sexual abuse," Sen. Mary Jane McCallum wrote in an open letter to Beyak shared online on Thursday.

"No amount of good memories can override the negative experiences I have gone through in the past sixty years due to the 'teachings' of residential school."

___________

'Telling our stories is one way of taking back our power and spirit. Through voicing our stories we are telling Canada our hearts had been broken.'

- Sen. Mary Jane McCallum

___________

In the letter McCallum equates her 11-year experience in residential schools with "spiritual genocide" and being imprisoned, and suggests the Ontario senator's apologetic stance on the system has "inflamed attitudes against Indigenous citizens."

She also writes of the importance of letting Indigenous survivors lead the discussion on residential schools.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 1:14 PM

‘Decades of monstrous sexual abuse’ by psychiatrist costs famous Hawaiian school $80 million

WASHINGTON (DC)
Washington Post

February 17, 2018

By Fred Barbash

Kamehameha School in Honolulu is one of a kind. Situated on a sprawling 600-acre campus on choice Oahu land, its massive multibillion-dollar endowment supports a first-rate K-12 education for some 3,000 children of Hawaiian ancestry. It offers otherwise deprived families a wealth of facilities, exceeding those of the fanciest private schools in the country, with more than 70 buildings, including an Olympic-size swimming pool and an athletic complex seating 3,000 spectators.

Kamehameha School is “a towering symbol of Hawaiian pride” with a proud legacy, as Hawaii News Now expressed it. Named for the great monarch who united the Hawaiian Islands — King Kamehameha I — and established in the will of his last direct descendant, it has educated some of the Islands’ leading lights since 1887.

But it also harbored a sordid secret for years: The school was covering up what a lawsuit brought by 32 of those former students described as “decades of monstrous sexual abuse” perpetrated largely against male boarders who were entirely in the care of Kamehameha.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 1:10 PM

Priest accused of sexually abusing a 12-year-old child in Mexico City

MÉRIDA (YUCATÁN, MEXICO)
Yucatan Times

February 17, 2018

A 58-year-old priest was arrested and placed at the disposal of the Central Prosecutor’s Office for the Investigation of Sexual Offenses accused of sexual abuse against a 12 year-old child.

The Attorney General’s Office of Mexico City reported that, according to the first investigations, on February 14 at 7:00 p.m., the mother of the victim left the child in a temple to study the cathecism. The church was located in the Buenos Aires neighborhood in the Cuauhtémoc delegation, downtown Mexico City.

Through deception, the priest took the 12 year-old girl to the offices of the enclosure where he sexually abused her.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 12:41 PM

Churches want child sex abuse compensation extended to criminals

MELBOURNE (AUSTRALIA)
The Age

February 18, 2018

By Stephanie Peatling

Church and religious organisations have told the federal government it should extend its compensation scheme for survivors of institutional child sexual abuse to include those who have been convicted of serious crimes.

A joint submission by the Anglican Church, the Uniting Church and the Salvation Army to a federal government committee examining the scheme said extending it would mean "all survivors are eligible for redress".

"It is well known and recognised by the royal commission that some survivors - as a result of their abuse - have engaged in abusive conduct themselves, including criminal conduct. It would be unfair that such persons are ineligible for redress," the submission said.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 12:38 PM

Days of fasting and reparation in sorrow for child sexual abuse and for the healing of victims

CANBERRA (AUSTRALIA)
Australian Bishops Conference

February 14-17, 2018

[Includes a link to the liturgical texts.]

Dear brothers and sisters,

Last December, the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse handed down its final report. Like the Australian Government and many other institutions, the Catholic bishops of Australia and leaders of religious institutes are currently studying the final report and its recommendations.

In the long years since the tragedy of child sexual abuse within the Catholic community became known, the Church has committed to policies, procedures and structures to respond better to survivors of abuse and their families, to establish professional standards for all ministers and Church workers, and to safeguard children and vulnerable people. For the Church, as for other institutions, this has involved gradual learning and development, and so it will continue to be.

Through these years, Australia’s bishops and other Church leaders have often expressed their sorrow and have offered their apology for what has occurred in the past – the harm suffered by victims and survivors, the instances of cover-up, the failure to believe survivors’ stories and to respond with compassion and justice, and the distress that many still experience.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 12:30 PM

Facing criticism on handling of sex abuse, Pope Francis reveals he meets victims regularly

NEW YORK (NY)
America Magazine

February 15, 2018

By Gerard O’Connell

Pope Francis “normally” meets with victims of abuse on Fridays, and “sometimes this is known and sometimes it is not known,” he revealed in a Jan. 19 conversation with Peruvian Jesuits in Lima, Peru.

He said it is “terrible” if even one priest abuses a minor, “for God anointed him to sanctify children and adults, and instead of making them holy he has destroyed them. It is horrible!”

He insisted that “we need to listen to what someone who has been abused feels,” and he revealed that he had done so in Chile. “As their process is very hard, they remain annihilated. Annihilated!” he said.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 12:21 PM

Pope reappoints Cardinal O'Malley to safeguarding commission

VATICAN CITY
Catholic News Service via The Pilot

February 17, 2018

By Cindy Wooden

Pope Francis has named nine new members to the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors, including abuse survivors or the parents of survivors, the Vatican said.

However, respecting "the right of each person to disclose their experiences of abuse publicly or not to do so," the commission said Feb. 17, "the members appointed today have chosen not do so publicly, but solely within the commission."

Pope Francis re-appointed Cardinal Sean P. O'Malley of Boston to be president of the commission, which the pope originally established in 2014. The terms of the original members had expired in December.

The first group of members had included two survivors who were very public about their experience of abuse as children. Peter Saunders, a British survivor and advocate, was asked by the commission to take a leave of absence in 2016; Marie Collins, an Irish survivor and advocate, announced in March 2017 that she had resigned. Both were outspoken about what they saw as resistance to implementing change and ensuring accountability for bishops guilty of covering up abuse.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 12:17 PM

O’Malley stays as head of panel on child abuse

BOSTON (MA)
Boston Herald

February 18, 2018

By Laurel J. Sweet

Pope keeps ‘go-to guy’ despite recent criticism

Cardinal Sean P. O’Malley has agreed to remain president of a Vatican child-abuse brain trust despite his recent unorthodox criticism of Pope Francis for siding with a Chilean bishop accused of covering up sexual molestation by a priest.

The Vatican announced yesterday that the archbishop of Boston will continue to lead the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors — a post O’Malley was first appointed to by Francis in 2014, when the advisory board was created.

O’Malley joins seven fellow returning members and nine new members. The global panel’s only other U.S. representative is Teresa Kettelkamp, a former colonel with the Illinois State Police, who previously served as executive director of the U.S. Bishops’ Office of Child and Youth Protection.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 12:14 PM

O’Malley will head revived Vatican abuse panel

BOSTON (MA)
Boston Globe

By Jeremy C. Fox

Cardinal Sean O’Malley has been reappointed as the head of a Vatican commission on child sex abuse, as Pope Francis on Saturday revived the panel in the wake of widespread condemnation last month of the pontiff’s defense of a Chilean bishop accused of witnessing and ignoring abuse.

The Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors lapsed in December, when its members’ terms expired, prompting concerns that the advisory body could be disbanded.

In addition to O’Malley’s return as the panel’s president, Pope Francis named seven returning members and nine new members representing countries around the world, including Brazil, the Netherlands, Ethiopia, and India, according to a statement from the Vatican.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 12:12 PM

Press Release of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors

VATICAN CITY
Holy See Press Office

February 17, 2018

Pope Francis has confirmed Cardinal Seán O’Malley, OFM Cap. as President of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors [PCPM] and named sixteen (16) members to this advisory body, including nine new members.

The new members are: Prof. Benyam Dawit Mezmur (Ethiopia); Sr. Arina Gonsalves, RJM (India); Hon. Neville Owen (Australia); Ms. Sinalelea Fe’ao (Tonga); Prof. Myriam Wijlens (Netherlands); Prof. Ernesto Caffo (Italy); Sr. Jane Bertelsen, FMDM (UK); Ms. Teresa Kettelkamp (USA) and Mr. Nelson Giovanelli Rosendo Dos Santos (Brazil).

The seven returning members are: Dr. Gabriel Dy-Liacco (Philippines); Bishop Luis Manuel Alí Herrera (Colombia); Fr. Hans Zollner, SJ (Germany); Prof. Hannah Suchocka (Poland); Sr. Kayula Lesa, RSC (Zambia) Sr. Hermenegild Makoro, CPS (South Africa), and Mons. Robert Oliver (USA).

Cardinal O’Malley stated: “Our Holy Father, Pope Francis, has given much prayerful consideration in nominating these members. The newly appointed members will add to the Commission’s global perspective in the protection of minors and vulnerable adults. The Holy Father has ensured continuity in the work of our Commission, which is to assist local churches throughout the world in their efforts to safeguard all children, young people, and vulnerable adults from harm.”

The Holy Father has chosen these eight women and eight men from a multi-disciplinary field of international experts in safeguarding children and vulnerable adults from the crime of sexual abuse. Representatives from several new countries will now offer their insights and experience to the Commission, reflecting the global reach of the Church and the challenge of creating safeguarding structures in diverse cultural contexts.

Victims/survivors of clerical sexual abuse are included among the members announced today. Since the Commission’s foundation, people who have suffered abuse and parents of victims/survivors have been members. As has always been the Commission’s practice, the PCPM upholds the right of each person to disclose their experiences of abuse publicly or not to do so. The members appointed today have chosen not do so publicly, but solely within the Commission. The PCPM firmly believes that their privacy in this matter is to be respected.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 12:08 PM

Pope Francis reactivates sexual abuse advisory panel

VATICAN CITY
UPI

February 17, 2018

By Allen Cone

Pope Francis has reactivated a sexual abuse advisory panel, retaining Cardinal Sean O'Malley of Boston as president of the panel but replacing nine members, the Vatican announced Saturday.

The 16-member Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors concluded its three-year tenure last December.

"Representatives from several new countries will now offer their insights and experience to the Commission, reflecting the global reach of the church and the challenge of creating safeguarding structures in diverse cultural contexts," according to a Vatican news release.

The commission of eight women and eight men includes victims of clerical sexual abuse and parents of victims, the Catholic News Agency reported.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 12:05 PM

Senegal man sues Quebec Catholic congregation over alleged sexual abuse

MONTRÉAL (QUÉBEC, CANADA)
CTV News and The Canadian Press

February 18, 2018

A Senegalese man is suing a Quebec-based Catholic congregation for $1.4 million, alleging one of its brothers sexually abused him when he was a boy in the 1980s at a school the religious order ran in Africa.

Legal experts consulted by The Canadian Press said they weren't aware of another case where a Canadian religious organization was taken to court for the alleged actions of its members in another country.

Max Silverman, the Senegalese plaintiff's Montreal-based lawyer, said the congregation indicated it will contest the Quebec court's jurisdiction, setting up a legal battle over whether the province is the best place to hear the evidence.


"The other side has made it clear they intend to contest the jurisdiction of the court and that debate will happen in the fall," said Silverman, who filed the suit on behalf of the man who has chosen to remain anonymous.

Known in court documents as NBS, the plaintiff alleges a now-deceased Quebec member of the Brothers of the Sacred Heart congregation sexually abused him between 1984 and '87, at a school the order ran in Kaolack, Senegal.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 12:01 PM

Victims of sexual abuse committed by Brothers of Sacred Heart at Collège Mont Sacré-Coeur

MONTRÉAL (QUÉBEC, CANADA)
Kugler Kandestin

February 7, 2018

By Robert Kugler, Pierre Boivin, and Olivera Pajani

Kugler Kandestin files a class action seeking compensatory damages, as well as punitive and exemplary damages of $15 million.

The class action seeks to enable access to justice to numerous people who were victims of sexual abuse during their childhood, by religious members of the Brothers of Sacred Heart associated with Collège Mont-Sacré-Coeur in Granby. The class action alleges that the reprehensible and unacceptable sexual abuse was perpetrated systematically for several decades by at least 18 religious Brothers.

- Motion to Institute Proceedings dated February 5, 2018

- Judgment dated November 23, 2017

- Application for Authorization to Institute a Class Action

[Note from BishopAccountability.org: According to the documents linked above, the class action pertains to allegations of abuse by religious members of the Brothers of Sacred Heart Congregation, including:
- Brother Claude Lebeau SC (also known as Brother Gatien)
- Brother Jean-Guy Roy SC
- Brother Paul-Émile Blain SC
- Brother Louis Raymond SC (Raymond Decelles)
- Brother Majoric Duchesne SC
- Brother Roch Messier SC
- Brother Hervé Aubin SC (also known as “Frère Économe”)
- Brother Georges-Arthur SC
- Brother Gerry SC
- Brother Eudes SC
- Brother Gilles SC
- Brother Lucien Martel SC (Brother Gédéon)
- Brother Jean Royer SC
- Brother Jean-Claude Leduc SC
- Brother Arcène SC
- Brother Éphrem Chaput SC (Brother Aldéi)
- Brother Patrice SC (Cyrille Picard)
- Brother Antonio SC]

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 11:40 AM

Independent Reconciliation Compensation Program for Survivors of Clergy Sexual Abuse

SYRACUSE (NY)
Diocese of Syracuse

February 14, 2018

[Note from BishopAccountability.org: Includes links to the Protocol and Bishop Cunningham's letter to parishioners.]

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Syracuse has announced another step in its going efforts to respond to the past sexual abuse of minors by clergy with the establishment of a voluntary Independent Reconciliation Compensation Program (IRCP) for survivors of clergy sexual abuse. The purpose of the program is to promote reconciliation and further healing of those who were harmed by members of the clergy.

The program will be administered by Mr. Kenneth Feinberg and Ms. Camille Biros. Mr. Feinberg is world renowned for his experience in mediation, administering compensation programs for the survivors of the 9/11 tragedy, BP Oil spill and most recently the IRCP programs offered in the three downstate dioceses.

Serving as independent administrators, Mr. Feinberg and Ms. Biros will work with those who have previously notified the diocese that they had been harmed by a member of the clergy. These individuals will be contacted by letter to invite them to participate in this voluntary program. Mr. Feinberg and Ms. Biros retain complete and sole discretion over all eligibility agreements and settlement compensation amounts for the eligible individuals. The diocese will accept their determinations without question.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 11:35 AM

Pope Revives Sexual Abuse Commission Amid Criticism of Vatican

NEW YORK (NY)
New York Times

Leer en español: El Vaticano reactiva la comisión sobre abusos sexuales ante críticas

February 17, 2018

By Jason Horowitz

After his spirited defense of a Chilean bishop accused of covering up sexual abuse prompted the greatest crisis of his pontificate, Pope Francis reactivated an abuse commission on Saturday that had lapsed into dormancy.

It was the latest in a series of measures by the Vatican to counter criticism that fighting abuse was not a priority for Francis’ papacy.

Cardinal Sean O’Malley of Boston was reappointed as the leader of the group, called the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors. A Vatican statement said the panel would include some victims of clerical sexual abuse.

“The Holy Father has ensured continuity in the work of our commission, which is to assist local churches throughout the world in their efforts to safeguard all children, young people, and vulnerable adults from harm,” Cardinal O’Malley said in a statement.

The Vatican statement said the abuse victims on the commission preferred to keep their histories private.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 11:24 AM

Press Conference: Announcement of IRCP in the Diocese of Syracuse

SYRACUSE (NY)
Diocese of Syracuse

February 14, 2018

[Video of the full press conference announcing the Independent Reconciliation Compensation Program of the Syracuse diocese.]

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Syracuse has announced another step in its going efforts to respond to the past sexual abuse of minors by clergy with the establishment of a voluntary Independent Reconciliation Compensation Program (IRCP) for survivors of clergy sexual abuse. The purpose of the program is to promote reconciliation and further healing of those who were harmed by members of the clergy.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 11:19 AM

Syracuse program gives abuse victims until May 16 to file claims

KANSAS CITY (MO)
National Catholic Reporter

February 16, 2018

By Renee K. Gadoua

Syracuse NY - Citing the Lenten virtues of penance and reconciliation, Syracuse Bishop Robert Cunningham, announced Feb. 14, Ash Wednesday, that the diocese has established an Independent Reconciliation Compensation Program for survivors of clergy sexual abuse.

Victims have until May 16 to submit claims, which the bishop stressed would be paid for through the diocese's general liability insurance program, not donations. Only people who submitted claims to the diocese before Feb. 14 are eligible. Participants will not sign confidentiality agreements, but they agree not to sue the diocese or diocesan staff.

About 76 victims from cases dating to 1941 are eligible for compensation for "pain and suffering" at the hands of priests, Cunningham said at a press conference. The day's ashes "outwardly express our guilt before God and we are prompted by the hope that the Lord is kind and compassionate, patient and understanding," he said.

The diocese previously settled 20 clergy sex abuse cases. Forty priests in the seven-county diocese have been accused since 1941. Of those, 18 are alive; they are considered credibly accused and have been removed from ministry.

Cunningham reiterated his policy of not naming accused priests who have not been identified publicly, saying he is respecting requests from some survivors not to do so.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 11:13 AM

Diocese of Syracuse announces program to compensate victims of clergy sexual abuse

SYRACUSE (NY)
WSYR-TV

February 14, 2018

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Syracuse has announced a new program created to compensate victims and survivors of clergy sexual abuse.

The purpose of the Independent Reconciliation Compensation Program is to promote "reconciliation and further healing of those who were harmed by members of the clergy," the Diocese stated in a release.

“Over the past year, we have monitored the IRCP in the Archdiocese of New York, the Diocese of Brooklyn and the Diocese of Rockville Centre. The response from survivors and their families has been extremely positive. We know and acknowledge that we cannot reverse the damage that was done but our hope is that this new effort will provide an opportunity to seek forgiveness for the irreparable acts of the past and perhaps, bring a sense of healing to some," Bishop Robert Cunningham said.

The program will be independently administered.

Those who had previously notified the Diocese of abuses will be contacted by the program and a settlement will be reached at the discretion of the administrators.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 11:10 AM

Letter to the editor: Catholic church should open window to old sex abuse claims

SYRACUSE (NY)
Syracuse.com

February 17, 2018

By Dave Pasinski

"The last temptation is the greatest treason: to do the right deed for the wrong reason." This poignant phrase from T.S. Eliot's "Murder in the Cathedral" sets a high bar for the motivation for any worthy action. Yet, since the time of Sigmund Freud, most psychologists would recognize that nearly all actions have roots that are ambiguously intertwined.

Therefore, as The Post-Standard editorial stated well, the fact that the Diocese of Syracuse is now attempting to make a good-faith "reparation" for the exploitation of the many known victims of clerical sexual abuse is an important step, even as serious questions of motivation and justice persist.

It is certainly understandable that victims, their advocates and many others of good will may also question the motivation that accompanies this program. If it is an attempt to simply close a window that would allow past claims to be brought to light, it indeed is insidious - even though it is ministered by two people completely apart from the diocese whose integrity is unquestionable.

Yet motivations may abound in all directions. Seeking to punish those perpetrators who are long dead or defrocked -- and the irresponsible, naive or duplicitous hierarchy of those past years who sheltered them -- through settlements at this point can be of questionable value also. No financial settlement can ever ameliorate innocence and trust lost, but it is nevertheless necessary to both assist victims and deter future negligence.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 11:06 AM

Syracuse Bishop announces program for victims of clergy sexual abuse

SYRACUSE (NY)
Syracuse.com

By Bishop Robert J. Cunningham

A video of Bishop Cunningham's announcement.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 11:02 AM

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Syracuse, New York Independent Reconciliation and Compensation Program

SYRACUSE (NY)
Diocese of Syracuse

Regarding Claims Reported to the Diocese Prior to February 14, 2018

An Independent Reconciliation and Compensation Program to pay victims of alleged clergy sexual abuse of minors (the “IRCP”) was announced today by Bishop Robert J. Cunningham of the Diocese of Syracuse, New York (the “Diocese”).

• The Diocese has engaged Kenneth R. Feinberg and Camille Biros (the “Administrators”) to design, implement and administer a program for the submission, evaluation, and settlement of individual claims of sexual abuse of a minor reported to the Diocese prior to February 14, 2018.

• The Diocese of Syracuse (the “Diocese”) IRCP is modeled after the successful programs of the Archdiocese of NY, the Diocese of Brooklyn, NY, and the Diocese of Rockville Centre, NY. All three of these programs are administered by Mr. Feinberg and Ms. Biros.

• The IRCP is purely voluntary; no individual is required to participate in the program. An individual only waives rights to litigate against the Diocese if the individual is satisfied with the compensation provided and signs a release of liability.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 10:57 AM

Hear from one of the 76 sexual abuse victims included in the Syracuse Diocese's compensation program

SYRACUSE (NY)
WSYR-TV

February 15, 2018

By Andrew Donovan

Oswego NY - Now that the Roman Catholic Diocese of Syracuse has announced its compensation program for victims of clergy sexual abuse, the 76 people who've previously filed claims will be getting letters with instructions.

That includes 41-year-old George O'Neil, who is still considering whether or not he'll take part in the program.

O'Neil says:

"Father Casey would take me in various places over 100 times. He would take advantage of me, and take advantage of our situation alone together. Sometimes, in front of people. He violated me in ways that no child should every be violated. It's hard to talk about. It really is."

O'Neil, as a fifth and sixth grader, claims he was sexually abused at St. Paul's Church in Oswego by Father Daniel Casey.

On Thursday, O'Neil got the closest to the front door of the church as he's been in 30 years.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 10:49 AM

Pope Francis wowed the world but, five years on, is in troubled waters

LONDON (ENGLAND)
The Guardian

February 17, 2018

By Catherine Pepinster

He entered office on a wave of energy but, as discontent grows over his attitude to abuse scandals, Francis faces opposition on all sides

Chatham House is one of the most important foreign affairs thinktanks in the UK. But on Wednesday its focus will not be a president, or an organisation like the World Bank, or the future of the EU after Brexit, but a religious leader: Pope Francis. And it will be the third time in recent weeks that Britain has turned its attention to the pope.

Two weeks ago, the Foreign Office-sponsored thinktank Wilton Park took delegates to the Vatican to meet the pope and discuss violent religious extremism, while last week the Metropolitan police commissioner, Cressida Dick, was in Rome to talk with Francis about modern slavery.

This engagement confirms the pope as one of the leading figures of the age. It will be five years on 13 March since the then Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio of Buenos Aires was elected leader of the world’s 1.3 billion Catholics, following the shock resignation of Pope Benedict XVI.

Since then, Bergoglio, who on election took the name Francis after St Francis of Assisi, has become hugely popular. Even atheists declare: “I love this guy!” on social media. Fellow church leaders, such as the Orthodox leader, ecumenical patriarch Bartholomew, and the archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, politicians and other public figures flock to meet him. The Chatham House event will explore the Roman Catholic church’s role in diplomacy, its relationship with the US, and the significance of the first post-western pope, who has diluted the Eurocentrism of the Vatican.

Yet in the Vatican itself, all is not well. Ever since his election in 2013, Francis’s efforts at reform have made him deeply unpopular with conservative Catholics, some in positions of influence within the Vatican itself. They have balked at his efforts to change the way the Vatican is run, including its bank, and to rethink the manner in which the church deals with failed marriages, including welcoming remarried divorcees to receive holy communion. Now the rumblings of discontent have spread to liberals who support Francis but are deeply upset by recent remarks he has made on child abuse.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 10:41 AM

Chilean Sexual Abuse Victim Testifies Before Vatican Investigator

NEW YORK (NY)
Reuters via U.S. News & World Report

February 17, 2018

By Alice Popavici

The key witness in the case of a Chilean bishop accused of covering sexual abuse said on Saturday he gave "eye opening" testimony to a papally mandated investigator and hoped it would lead to the truth.

Juan Carlos Cruz met in a church on Manhattan's Upper West Side for about four hours with Archbishop Charles Scicluna, one of the most experienced and respected Vatican investigators of clergy sexual abuse.

"It's been a good experience and I leave here very hopeful today," he told reporters afterwards. "I feel that I was heard ... it was very intense and very detailed and very, sometimes, eye-opening for them."

"Hopefully it will lead to good things," he said.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 10:36 AM

Scottish charity regulator speaks up on sexual misconduct cases

SCOTLAND
The National

February 17, 2018

By Martin Hannan

SCOTLAND’s charities have been asked to consider at a senior level how they protect the people their staff and volunteers are supposed to be looking after.

The missive came from the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator (OSCR) after it revealed it had dealt with 15 cases of alleged sexual misconduct within the sector in the past two years.

OSCR told The National: “All organisations need to develop policies and procedures that are fit for purpose. We wrote to all charities this week asking the trustees to discuss safeguarding at their next board meeting.”

The regulator said the cases it had handled – known as “notifiable events” – were “mostly historical”, and none had resulted in a formal inquiry.

The Scottish Catholic International Aid Fund (Sciaf) was the only Scottish charity working internationally to have reported allegations, said OSCR.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 12:51 AM

'We were innocent': How one survivor hopes to get justice for Duplessis Orphans

CANADA
CBC.CA

February 17, 2018

By Jaela Bernstien

Montrealer is filing motion to launch class action

Now 62 years old, Marc Boudreau has come to accept that he will likely never find peace, or be able to live a normal life, after a childhood spent in institutions.

Many days are a struggle for Boudreau, who still finds it difficult to talk about his past.

"It was a stolen childhood, because we were children and we were innocent," he said. "We were defenceless."

In a motion to be authorized to launch a class action lawsuit, Boudreau alleges that his mother handed him over to a Catholic-run organization as an infant. After some time in foster care, Boudreau spent most of his early years in orphanages and psychiatric hospitals in Quebec.

In the motion, he claims that physical and sexual abuse in those institutions left him with long-term scars — both physical and emotional — and that prevented him from forming stable relationships or finding steady work.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 12:46 AM

Sex-abuse cover-ups cast a long shadow

LONDON (ENGLAND)
The Times

February 18, 2018

By David Quinn

The UN and Oxfam have learnt nothing from the church’s disgrace

When an organisation is hit by complaints of sex abuse, and when it is discovered that the abuse was covered up by those in charge, the effect on that organisation is devastating. The Catholic church is the best example. In this country, abuse by priests and religious was a dominant news story from roughly the mid-1990s until 2011, when the report about abuse in the Cloyne diocese was published.

The blanket coverage of that story is what makes it so mystifying to see other organisations also engage in the cover-up of sex abuse, including sporting bodies, schools, scouting organisations, other churches, the UN and, most recently, Oxfam.

If these abuses had been covered up years ago, before the scandals that embroiled the Catholic church had come to light, that might be one thing. While it would not, of course, excuse the abuses or the cover-ups, it would mean those other organisations had no opportunity to learn from the catastrophic mistakes made by the Catholic church. But many incidences of abuse and cover-ups occurred after those lessons should have been learnt. They were not.

A report last year into the Hillsborough disaster of 1989, in which 96 people were killed at a football match in Sheffield, described what seems to be almost an immutable law of human nature, namely “an instinctive prioritisation of the reputation of an organisation over the citizen’s right to expect people to be held to account for their actions”.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 12:35 AM

Los próximos pasos del arzobispo Scicluna tras su encuentro con Juan Carlos Cruz

SANTIAGO (CHILE)
El Mercurio - emol.com

February 17, 2018

El enviado papal llegará a Chile el próximo miércoles 21 de febrero. Su visita se enmarca en la investigación de las acusaciones de encubrimiento en contra del obispo Juan Barros.

El periodista Juan Carlos Cruz se mostró conforme tras la reunión que sostuvo esta tarde con el arzobispo de Malta, Charles Scicluna, quien fue designado por el Papa Francisco para investigar las acusaciones de encubrimiento en contra del obispo Juan Barros.

Cruz, quien fue una de las víctimas de Fernando Karadima, expresó que tanto para él como para el representante de la Santa Sede el encuentro había sido emotivo y agregó que "por primera vez siento que nos están oyendo". La reunión entre el denunciante del ex párroco de El Bosque y el enviado papal forma parte de la investigación que está llevando a cabo el Vaticano, a la que también se sumarán una serie de conversaciones que Scicluna sostendrá durante la próxima semana en Chile.

La reunión entre el denunciante del ex párroco de El Bosque y el enviado papal forma parte de la investigación que está llevando a cabo el Vaticano, a la que también se sumarán una serie de conversaciones que Scicluna sostendrá durante la próxima semana en Chile. El arzobispo de Malta llegará al país el próximo miércoles 21 de febrero, día en el que se juntará con el vocero de laicos de Osorno, Juan Carlos Claret, y otros dos laicos en la sede de Obras Misionales Pontificias.

[GOOGLE TRANSLATION: The next steps of Archbishop Scicluna after his meeting with Juan Carlos Cruz: The papal envoy will arrive in Chile next Wednesday, February 21. His visit is part of the investigation of the cover-up accusations against Bishop Juan Barros.

The journalist Juan Carlos Cruz was pleased after the meeting he had this afternoon with the archbishop of Malta, Charles Scicluna , who was appointed by Pope Francisco to investigate the accusations of cover-up against Bishop Juan Barros.

Cruz, who was one of the victims of Fernando Karadima , said that for him and for the representative of the Holy See the meeting had been emotional and added that "for the first time I feel that they are listening to us."

The meeting between the denouncer of the former parish priest of El Bosque and the papal envoy is part of the investigation being carried out by the Vatican, to which will also be added a series of conversations that Scicluna will hold during the next week in Chile . The archbishop of Malta will arrive in the country next Wednesday, February 21 , day in which he will meet with the spokesman of lay people of Osorno, Juan Carlos Claret , and two other lay people at the Pontifical Missionary Works site.]

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 12:27 AM

February 17, 2018

Juan Carlos Cruz tras reunión con monseñor Scicluna: “Por primera vez siento que nos están oyendo”

NEW YORK (NY)
La Tercera

February 17, 2018

By Francisca Labarca

Este sábado Juan Carlos Cruz, una de las víctimas del ex párroco Fernando Karadima se reunió en Estados Unidos con la comisión enviada por el Papa Francisco que investigan las acusaciones de encubrimiento contra del obispo de Osorno Juan Barros.

En la oportunidad, Cruz sostuvo una reunión con el arzobispo de Malta, Charles Scicluna en Estados Unidos, la que se prolongó por cerca de tres horas y media en una parroquia de Nueva York.

“Fue una reunión larga, emocionalmente difícil, pero estoy muy contento de haber podido hablar con monseñor Scicluna, ellos se portaron increíblemente bien y por primera vez siento que nos están oyendo”, aseguró el Juan Carlos.

[GOOGLE TRANSLATION: Juan Carlos Cruz after meeting with Monsignor Scicluna: "For the first time I feel that they are listening to us"

This Saturday Juan Carlos Cruz, one of the victims of former pastor Fernando Karadima met in the United States with the commission sent by Pope Francisco to investigate the accusations of cover-up against the Bishop of Osorno Juan Barros.

On the occasion, Cruz held a meeting with the archbishop of Malta, Charles Scicluna in the United States, which lasted for about three and a half hours in a parish in New York.

"It was a long, emotionally difficult meeting, but I am very happy to have been able to speak with Monsignor Scicluna, they behaved incredibly well and for the first time I feel like they are hearing us ," said Juan Carlos.]

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 8:51 PM

Vatican investigator meets with Chilean abuse victim in New York

NEW YORK (NY)
National Catholic Reporter

February 17, 2018

By Peter Feuerherd

Juan Carlos Cruz, who has accused a Chilean bishop of witnessing and covering up for sex abuse he endured as a minor, met here Feb. 17 with Archbishop Charles Scicluna, a representative of Pope Francis. "For the first time, I felt someone was listening," Cruz said after emerging from the three-hour meeting.

On January 30, the Vatican announced that Scicluna, a Maltese archbishop, would collect testimony about Bishop Juan de la Cruz Barros Madrid of Osorno, Chile. Barros has been accused by Cruz, who now resides in the Philadelphia area, and two other men, of witnessing Fr. Fernando Karadima sexually abuse them when they were minors.

Scicluna will travel to Chile to continue the investigation. Karadima, now 87, was a charismatic church leader in Chile. A Chilean court declined to rule on the case because of a statute of limitations, with a judge emphasizing that the case did not lack for evidence.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 8:09 PM

Vatican investigator meets with Chile abuse victim in NYC

NEW YORK (NY)
Associated Press

February 17, 2018

By Claudia Torrens

A key victim in the Chilean sex abuse scandal said he felt his story was finally heard after an hours-long meeting with a Vatican sex-crimes investigator on Saturday, the same day Pope Francis revived his lapsed sex abuse advisory commission amid criticism of how he is handling the scandal.

The meeting at a Manhattan church between Archbishop Charles Scicluna and whistleblower Juan Carlos Cruz was “intense, detailed and eye-opening,” Cruz said to the reporters outside the Church of the Holy Name of Jesus. Scicluna didn’t speak to reporters after the meeting that lasted more than three hours.

“For the first time I felt that someone is listening,” Cruz said. “I think (Scicluna) was sincerely moved by what I was saying. He cried.”

Cruz said they mainly spoke about Chilean Bishop Juan Barros, whom Pope Francis has vigorously defended. Barros is accused by victims of witnessing and ignoring the abuse of young parishioners by the Rev. Fernando Karadima, who was removed from ministry and sentenced to a lifetime of “penance and prayer” in 2010.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 7:30 PM

Fresh twist as Vatican revives Pope's sexual abuse panel

VATICAN CITY
Agence France-Presse

February 18, 2018

The Vatican said yesterday it has renewed its anti-paedophile panel as Pope Francis acts to quell the global scandal over the sexual abuse of children by priests.

The panel had come under fire from two high-profile members, former sex abuse victims who quit at what they saw as a lack of reform and obstruction at the highest level of the Catholic Church.

Victims have come forward from across the world over the past two decades accusing priests of sex crimes, unleashing one of the biggest crises faced by the Catholic Church. US Cardinal Sean O'Malley was confirmed as the head of the child protection panel along with seven other incumbent members, while nine new members were added, the Vatican said.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 7:09 PM

With CDA support, ministry facilitates healing for abuse victims

PHOENIX (AZ)
The Catholic Sun

February 17, 2018

By Lisa Dahm

“I didn’t think I needed it,” said Alecia Turner of the invitation to attend a five-day Grief to Grace Retreat in Phoenix through Restore Dignity. “I didn’t think my current-day struggles had anything to do with my past.”

As she explored the timeline of her life, Turner realized that with her abuse history she would benefit from the faith-based, holistic program designed to help participants address abuse-related trauma through a Catholic lens.

“It did take a lot of humility and it was a leap (attending the Grief to Grace retreat), but I had hope because I was talking to the Restore Dignity people,” Turner said. “I realized that healing is possible.”

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 6:40 PM

Rob Porter’s case shows how the Mormon Church can fail abused women

UNITED STATES
Vox

February 16, 2018

By Tara Isabella Burton

Colbie Holderness and Jennifer Willoughby called out the church for not taking domestic abuse seriously enough.

Last week, White House aide Rob Porter resigned from his position after it emerged that both of his ex-wives had accused him of domestic abuse. But his ex-wives’ accounts, shared in the media, don’t just tell the story of two abusive marriages. They also reveal the structural and institutional failure of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (or, the Mormon Church) to protect women from toxic and abusive relationships.

Both Colbie Holderness and Jennifer Willoughby told CNN this week about how they’d shared their experiences with Mormon bishops, who only downplayed the severity of their accusations or encouraged them to be mindful of the consequences to Porter’s career if they came forward.

Willoughby said one bishop discouraged her from filing a protective order in order to preserve Porter’s reputation. Likewise, Holderness recalled being consistently turned away by the Mormon bishops she sought guidance from. “For years I would go to Mormon bishops and I would try to find the words to explain what was going on, but I was at a loss. … It wasn’t until I went to a secular counselor … [that somebody] told me that what was happening was not okay,” Holderness told CNN.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 6:32 PM

The Latest: Chile Abuse Victim: Story Is Finally Heard

NEW YORK (NY)
Associated Press via US News & World Report

February 17, 2018

The Latest on a Vatican sex-crimes investigator meeting in New York with one of the key victims in the Chilean abuse scandal (all times local):

3 p.m.

A key victim in the Chilean sex abuse scandal says he feels his story finally has been heard after meeting with a Vatican sex-crimes investigator for more than three hours.

Whistleblower Juan Carlos Cruz met with Archbishop Charles Scicluna at a Roman Catholic church in Manhattan on Saturday.

Scicluna is investigating accusations against Bishop Juan Barros, a protege of Chile's most notorious predator priest, the Rev. Fernando Karadima.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 6:12 PM

Priest accused in rape case surrenders

KOTTAYAM (INDIA)
The Times of India

February 17, 2018

The priest against whom a complaint of rape was filed by a Bangladeshi woman with a British citizenship surrendered before the judicial first class magistrate court in Vaikom on Friday. After a medical examination, Fr Thomas Thanninilkumthadathil (44), was remanded in judicial custody for 14 days. He was moved to Kottayam sub-jail. Meanwhile, Kaduthurthy police have requested the court for the custody of the accused.

He was charged under sections 376, 380, 323 and 506 (1) of IPC based on the complaint by the 42-year-old woman. The priest had befriended the woman through Facebook. On January 7 the woman arrived here to meet the priest accompanied by a Zimbabwean youth. They had stayed with the priest at his official residence in the church and also in a resort in Kumarakom. The two were here from January 7-12 during which the alleged offences including the rape had happened. The woman had also complained that while the priest had dropped her at the resort in Kumarakom where she had booked a room, he took away her gold and money after locking her in the toilet.

The Pala diocese had removed him from the post immediately after the allegation came up.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 6:07 PM

Pope revives lapsed sex abuse commission amid skepticism

VATICAN CITY
Associated Press

February 17, 2018

By Nicole Winfield

Pope Francis revived his lapsed sex abuse advisory commission by naming new members Saturday, after coming under fire for his overall handling of the scandal and his support for a Chilean bishop accused by victims of witnessing and ignoring their abuse.

The announcement of the new members of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors came on the same day that a Vatican investigator will take the testimony in New York of one of the main whistleblowers in the Chilean cover-up scandal.

Francis tasked Archbishop Charles Scicluna with the fact-finding mission into Bishop Juan Barros after he came under blistering criticism in Chile for defending Barros and calling the victims’ cover-up accusations against him slander.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 8:45 AM

Vatican Investigator Meeting With Chile Abuse Victim in NYC

NEW YORK (NY)
Associated Press via US News & World Report

February 16, 2018

By Claudia Torren

A Vatican sex-crimes investigator is meeting in New York with one of the key victims in the Chilean abuse scandal.

A Vatican sex-crimes investigator is meeting in New York with one of the key victims in the Chilean abuse scandal that involves a bishop Pope Francis has vigorously defended.

The meeting on Saturday between Archbishop Charles Scicluna and whistleblower Juan Carlos Cruz will take place at a Roman Catholic church in Manhattan.

Scicluna is investigating accusations against Bishop Juan Barros, a protege of Chile's most notorious predator priest, the Rev. Fernando Karadima.

Cruz and two others have said Barros witnessed the abuse Karadima inflicted on them and ignored it.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 8:40 AM

Child abuse, sex assaults at Mount Saint Joseph youth house, suit says

PATERSON (NJ)
NorthJersey.com (The Record)

February 17, 2018

By Richard Cowen

A former administrator with Catholic Family & Community Services has sued the agency, claiming she was sickened by toxic mold in the workplace and later fired after investigating allegations of child abuse and sexual assault at the Mount Saint Joseph's Children Center in Totowa.

In a lawsuit, Loretta Urban-Critchett says she went to Mount Saint Joseph's in June of 2015 to investigate a report that an employee had thrown hot coffee on a student. There were also reports of a boy who had twice been sexually assaulted — once in a van with employees present. And she alleges there was a "fight club" organized by night shift workers at the home for troubled youths.

Urban-Critchett says she spoke to the executive director, Diane Silbernagel, who promised to hire a private investigator. She also spoke to the Human Resources director, Dennis Butler, "and Mr. Butler failed to act on the rape incident," the lawsuit says.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 8:35 AM

Francis renews abuse commission but casts aside six founding members

ROME
National Catholic Reporter

February 17, 2018

By Joshua J. McElwee

Pope Francis renewed the mandate of his clergy sexual abuse commission Feb. 17, two months after the group's lapse into an inactive state led some survivor advocates to question whether protecting children was being given the highest priority in the Catholic Church.

The pontiff reappointed eight of the previous members of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors and added nine new people to its ranks. Boston Cardinal Sean O'Malley returns as the president of the group, and Boston priest Msgr. Robert Oliver returns as its secretary.

While none of the members of the commission are publicly known as abuse survivors, the group said in a statement that some of them are survivors who have yet to publicly identify themselves. The commission said it "believes that their privacy in this matter is to be respected."

Six former members of the commission were not reappointed by Francis, including some of the best known figures in the group, such as: French psychotherapist Catherine Bonnet, British Baroness Sheila Hollins, New Zealand church official Bill Kilgallon, and religious congregation advisor Krysten Winter-Green.

Marie Collins, an Irish abuse survivor who resigned from the commission in frustration last March, told NCR some of those not reappointed were among the group's most active members.

"I'm shocked at the discarding of some of the most active and independent members of the commission," said Collins. "Four of the laywomen have gone and they were really the most active and had the most experience of working in child protection and working directly with survivors."

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 8:27 AM

February 16, 2018

#MeToo advocate hit with new claims of misconduct

SACRAMENTO (CA)
The Associated Press

February 15, 2018

California Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia, a vocal #MeToo leader, faces fresh allegations of misconduct in her office, including frequent discussions about sex and alcohol consumption at the Capitol.

San Diego lawyer Dan Gilleon filed a formal complaint Wednesday with the Legislature detailing the allegations on behalf of four anonymous former employees in Garcia’s office.

The complainants allege that Garcia regularly talked about her sexual activity, including with other members, in front of staff. They also allege Garcia drank alcohol while doing official Assembly business and pressured staff to join her in drinking at the office or at bars.

Garcia, in a Facebook post, said she will address each of the issues individually once an investigation has been completed. But she said the claims don’t square with the atmosphere she worked to create.

“I am confident I have consistently treated my staff fairly and respectfully,” she wrote.

Garcia took a leave of absence last week following news she is being investigated for allegedly groping a colleague’s former staff member, Daniel Fierro, in 2014. The allegations against her marked a stunning twist to the California Legislature’s widening sexual harassment scandal that first broke open last fall and prompted two assemblymen to resign.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 5:05 PM

Scottish charity regulator deals with 15 sexual misconduct cases

SCOTLAND
Basingstoke Gazette

February 16, 2018

Scotland’s charity regulator has dealt with 15 cases of alleged sexual misconduct within the sector in the past two years.

The Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator (OSCR) said the cases – known as “notifiable events” – were “mostly historical”, and none have resulted in a formal inquiry.

The Scottish Catholic International Aid Fund (Sciaf) is the only Scottish charity working internationally to have reported allegations, the watchdog said.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 4:56 PM

Sciaf chief calls for aid worker register after sex abuse cases

SCOTLAND
The National

February 15, 2018

By Greg Russell

THE head of a major Scottish charity has said there should be a register for aid organisations to share information about staff or volunteers who have been investigated over allegations of sexually abusing children.

Alistair Dutton, director of the Scottish Catholic International Aid Fund (Sciaf), was speaking to The National after the charity confirmed it had dealt with two cases involving alleged sexual misconduct with children.

The first, in 2012, involved a 45-year-old volunteer for a partner agency in Burundi, who allegedly raped a 15-year-old girl; the second, in 2016, involved a junior staff member for a joint organisation with two other charities in Ethiopia, who was accused of sexual misconduct with a boy under 16.

His comments came amid scrutiny of the UK aid sector after Oxfam was accused of concealing the findings of an inquiry into claims its staff used prostitutes while delivering aid in Haiti in 2011.

He said there was “a real issue” with how charities passed information among themselves.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 4:55 PM

Scottish Catholic aid charity confirms it dealt with two child abuse cases

SCOTLAND
Catholic Herald

February 15, 2018

Sciaf said it had dealt 'decisively' with the cases

A Scottish Catholic aid charity has said it has dealt with two cases of alleged sexual abuse of children.

The Scottish Catholic International Aid Fund (Sciaf) said it dealt with the issues “decisively” and reassured supporters it had strong safeguarding procedures.

One case involved the alleged rape of a 15-year-old girl by a Burundian man who had volunteered for a local partner organisation. The other involved an Ethiopian man who was a junior staff member at the time. He is accused of sexually assaulting a boy aged under 16.

Sciaf said that neither of the alleged victims were being helped by the charity at the time.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 4:53 PM

Priest River Man Convicted of Ritualized Abuse of His Family

SANDPOINT (ID)
The Associated Press

February 16, 2018

A northern Idaho man accused of using his religious beliefs to justify the physical and sexual abuse of his wife and children was found guilty of more than a dozen felony charges.

A northern Idaho man accused of using his religious beliefs to justify the physical and sexual abuse of his wife and children was found guilty of more than a dozen felony charges.

The Bonner County Daily Bee reports a jury on Thursday convicted 49-year-old Dana Andrew Furtney on charges that included lewd conduct, sexual abuse of a child, ritualized abuse and domestic violence.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 4:51 PM

Use Lent to remember child abuse: Catholic Archbishop of Perth

PERTH (AUSTRALIA)
The West Australian

February 16, 2018

By Kim Macdonald

The Catholic Archbishop of Perth has called for Lent to be dedicated to victims of child abuse, slamming the church for its “dark and sordid past” and the “devastating failure” of some clergy over the matter.

In a pastoral letter this week, Archbishop Timothy Costelloe called on Catholics to set aside the first four days of Lentas a time of fasting and reparation for child sex abuse and for the healing of its victims. He called for Sunday, March 11, to be a special remembrance day.

Archbishop Costelloe said the final report of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse had shone a “blinding light into the dark places of the Church”.

“It has enabled us to realise the terrible burden so many have had to bear — and still bear — because of the devastating failures of some clergy, religious and other Church personnel and the often grossly inadequate response of some of our leaders to this shocking betrayal of trust,” he said.

“Notwithstanding the good work the Church has done and continues to do for so many people, we now know that the Church in Australia has had a dark and sordid side.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 4:24 PM

How unusual is it for a priest to be arrested?

ST.CLOUD (MN)
St. Cloud Times

February 15, 2018

By Stephanie Dickrell

A St. Cloud priest was arrested this week on suspicion of sexual misconduct. Just how unusual is that? Pretty unusual, but becoming more common, a local expert says.

The Rev. Anthony Oelrich was arrested Tuesday and faces charges of sexual misconduct for having a sexual relationship with a woman he was counseling spiritually.

Has it happened here before?

Oelrich's case is the first time a specific statute regarding clergy abuse in a counseling relationship has been used in Stearns County since 2005, said Janelle Kendall, county attorney. That's as far back as her database goes.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 1:58 PM

Indianapolis youth pastor sexually abused girl in church office, authorities say

INDIANAPOLIS (IN)
The Indianapolis Star

February 15, 2018

By Ryan Martin

A former youth pastor used an Indianapolis church office to secretly meet and sexually abuse a 14-year-old girl, according to a federal indictment announced Thursday.

Federal authorities say the minister, 51-year-old Maurice Frazier, also threatened to retaliate against the girl if she reported him to police, according to a news release from U.S. Attorney Josh Minkler's office.

Now he is facing federal charges of coercion and enticement, sexual exploitation of a child, six counts of receipt of child pornography, possession of child pornography and an offense by a registered sex offender, according to the release.

“When individuals abuse their position of trust to prey on children, they will feel the full force of the federal hammer,” Minkler said in a written statement.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 1:26 PM

Trial Alleging Mormons Overlooked Sex Abuse Enters 5th Week

MARTINSBURG (WV)
The Associated Press

February 16, 2018

A trial in West Virginia accusing The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and several officials of hiding years of sexual abuse by one man entered its fifth week on Wednesday.

A trial in West Virginia accusing The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and several officials of hiding years of sexual abuse entered its fifth week on Wednesday.

The Journal of Martinsburg reports that the civil trial involves accusations that 26-year-old Michael Jensen abused several children over five years. Defendants include the Corporation of the President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, local church officials, Jensen, and his parents Chris and Sandra Lee Jensen.

The lawsuit, filed in 2013 by plaintiffs who say they were between the ages of 3 and 12 when abused, seeks unspecified punitive and compensatory damages.

The church says it took action when it learned of the allegations. Jensen was excommunicated from the church by the Martinsburg Stake High Council in 2013.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 1:24 PM

Understanding spiritual abuse

ENGLAND
Church Times

February 16, 2018

If it is to be tackled in the Church, a clear definition is needed, says Lisa Oakley

THERE is growing concern among Christians about spiritual abuse: what it is, and what can be done about it.

Research published last month by CCPAS, of which I was a co-author, found that two-thirds of respondents to a survey said that they had been spiritually abused. Around the same time, a vicar in Oxfordshire, the Revd Timothy Davis, was convicted by a church tribunal of spiritual abuse against a teenage boy (News, 12 January).

Writing on the ViaMedia blog last month, the Revd Anna Norman-Walker said: “What the Church needs to be clear about is that the issue of spiritual abuse, and the stories of its victims, are not going away. Pandora’s box is already open, and we would be very unwise to try and shut it.”

The term “spiritual abuse” is contentious, however. In a thoughtful article for Christianity Today last month, Krish Kandiah grappled with the terminology of spiritual abuse, and asked questions about its usefulness and definition. In other writing and reports, the term has been criticised for its ambiguity (News, 9 February).

It is, indeed, a difficult issue, and there is anxiety about discussing this at a time when the Church is already under pressure over its response to sexual abuse. But this is exactly why it is important to discuss it. Rather than ignore harmful behaviour, we should take this opportunity for transparency and openness.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 1:22 PM

OPINION: With piety and steel, Justin Welby has the church in his firmest grip

ENGLAND
The Guardian

February 16, 2018

By Andrew Brown

The Archbishop of Canterbury has shaped the CofE to his will with a skill of a politician – and made it all the better

Last Saturday in central London, two archbishops joined a small group of people protesting about sexual abuse. Though you might expect – or at least hope – to find archbishops on the side of the angels, what was remarkable was that they were protesting against their own church. The building in question was Church House, in Westminster, where the Church of England’s General Synod was meeting, due later that day to discuss the problem of sexual abuse, with the church facing more than 3,000 historical claims. By standing with the protesters, the Archbishops Justin Welby and John Sentamu were making a loud statement about where their sympathies lay. You had to listen very carefully under the noise to notice that the synod debate was in fact a presentation of a report and there were no survivors speaking in it.

The day before, there had been two other announcements on the subject: the church passed over its papers on the diocese of Chichester, where most of the scandals have come from, to the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse – 75,000 documents in all. What needles might be concealed in this haystack will be for the commission to discover. More sensationally, it announced that a second allegation against the late, and almost sainted, Bishop George Bell of Chichester had been passed to the police.

This came in the wake of unprecedented public criticism of Welby by heavyweight legal figures for his apparent assumption of Bell’s guilt on the word of one pseudonymous accuser. He has refused to back down despite Lord Carlile QC’s scathing verdict of the church’s inquiry. Welby has refused to say either that Bell was guilty or that his name can be cleared. So you might say that this is a typical Anglican fudge, but it is very much more hard-edged than most of those.

The whole show was typical of Welby’s style as Archbishop of Canterbury: he combines energy, ruthlessness and a determination to get the church moving, through a mixture of public theatricality and arm-twisting behind the scenes. He has been archbishop for five years and next month will publish a fat state-of-the-nation book that covers almost all the current areas of political and cultural dispute in the church. The early coverage of him concentrated first on the unashamed poshness of his background – an Etonian whose mother had been one of Churchill’s secretaries and who had worked for 10 years in the oil industry – and then on his attacks on payday lending. The church, he promised, would outcompete Wonga in helping the poor. This was a successful piece of outrageous bluff. The church did no such thing, but in pledging to do so Welby captured the public imagination.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 1:20 PM

Here's what Michigan State University has done since Larry Nassar's trial

EAST LANSING (MI)
CNN

February 14, 2018

By Eric Levenson

Weeks after the remarkable sentencing of longtime sexual abuser Larry Nassar, Michigan State University has made several changes in personnel, policy and procedure as it faces investigations into its role, if any, in the scandal.

Nassar, the doctor for USA Gymnastics and Michigan State, was sentenced to lengthy prison sentences and admitted to using his trusted position to sexually abuse young girls for more than two decades. Scores of them came forward and told heart-wrenching stories of his abuse, and several blamed Michigan State for dismissing their complaints and failing to stop him.

A lot has happened since the case ended and Nassar was incarcerated. Here's a look at some of the steps Michigan State has taken, including installing an interim president, furnishing more resources for Title IX complaints, and responding to a "daunting" number of requests for information from investigators.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 1:18 PM

Report: Michigan State player being investigated for criminal sexual conduct

EAST LANSING (MI)
NBC Sports

February 16, 2018

By Travis Hines

A Michigan State men’s basketball player has been under investigation from criminal sexual assault since early in the academic year, according to a report from ESPN.

The player is the lone suspect in an incident that campus police “have classified as fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct,” according to the report, which cites anonymous sources close to the case. A female student has accused the player of forcibly groping her without permission in August, and police forwarded the investigatory findings to the county prosecutor in December, according to ESPN.

NBC Sports is not naming the player because he has not been charged with a crime.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 1:01 PM

Pope Francis reveals he meets with victims of sex abuse on Fridays

VATICAN CITY
CRUX

February 15, 2018

By Austen Ivereigh

Pope Francis has revealed that “regularly” on Fridays, he meets quietly with a group of survivors of sexual abuse, saying it’s important for him to hear their stories because “what they have been through is so hard, they are destroyed.”

The pontiff also said that clerical sex abuse is “the greatest desolation that the Church is undergoing,” one that expresses both the Church’s fragility as well as its “hypocrisy.”

The revelations come in a record released today of the pope’s meetings with Jesuits on his trip last month to Chile and Peru. The transcript was approved by the pope and released by Francis’s longtime Jesuit collaborator, Father Antonio Spadaro.

The director of the Vatican Press Office, Greg Burke, released a statement on Thursday confirming the meetings.

“I can confirm that, several times each month, the Holy Father meets victims of sexual abuse either individually or in groups,” Burke said. “Pope Francis listens to the victims and seeks to help them to heal the grave wounds caused by the abuse they’ve suffered.”

“The meetings take place with the greatest discretion,” Burke said, “out of respect for the victims and their suffering.”

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 12:58 PM

8 file sex abuse claims against former LI priest

ST. JAMES (NY)
News 12 Long Island

February 15, 2018

Eight people have filed claims against a former Long Island priest they accuse of sexually molesting them decades ago.

The accused is Father Peter Charland – a priest and a pastor at St. Phillips and James Church in St. James in the early 1970s.

One of his accusers, Steven Werner, was a young boy back then and a member of the parish's popular "PJ Folk Singers" group. Werner says he is one of eight members of that group who now say they were sexually abused by Charland.

"I certainly thought I was unique. I certainly thought it was wrong, but I didn't, for whatever reason, think it was appropriate to stand up. That's something I regret," says Werner.

Starting at age 11, Werner says Charland molested him in the church rectory, in his car and on a choir trip to Romania.

"2013 was the first time I ever told anybody, but I will hide no more from that secret," says Werner.

Werner's attorney Michale Reck announced Thursday that the group of eight filed claims with the Diocese of Rockville Centre's Independent Reconciliation and Compensation Plan. The plan provides victims with financial compensation if they agree not to take legal action against the diocese in the future.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 12:56 PM

Accused priest extradited from PH pleads not guilty

FARGO (ND)
The Associated Press

February 16, 2018

A Roman Catholic priest accused of molesting two boys in North Dakota in the 1990s has pleaded not guilty.

Fernando Sayasaya was recently returned to the United States from the Philippines, where he had been since 1998. He entered his pleas Thursday to two counts of felony gross sexual imposition.

Prosecutors alleged that Sayasaya abused two underage siblings from 1995 to 1998, while he was assigned to the Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church and St. Mary's Cathedral in the Fargo area.

A Philippines court ordered his extradition in 2010. He appealed, lost and was ultimately arrested in November. He remains jailed on $5 million bond. He faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 12:52 PM

Kerala priest accused of sexual abuse, surrenders

INDIA
Gulf News

February 16, 2018

By Akhel Mathew

He had been on the run ever since the victim complained

Thiruvananthapuram: A Roman Catholic priest in Kerala, who is accused of sexually abusing a foreign national and robbing some of her ornaments and cash, surrendered at the Vaikom court on Friday.
He had been on the run ever since the victim who is a 42-year-old Bangladeshi native and residing in Britain complained about the priest to the police in Kaduthuruthy, about 40km from Kochi.

The accused, 44-year-old Thomas Thaanninilkum Thadathil, was quickly removed from priestly services by the Pala diocese of the Catholic Church on Thursday even as police launched a search for him.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 12:50 PM

Court likely to withdraw charge of key accuser in Cardinal Pell abuse case

MELBOURNE (AUSTRALIA)
CNA/EWTN News

February 15, 2018

By Elise Harris

The Melbourne Magistrates Court heard Wednesday that a charge related to a key witness in the case against Cardinal George Pell, accused of historical sexual abuse, is likely to be withdrawn.

In the Feb. 14 hearing, the director of prosecutions for the Melbourne Magistrates Court said that while they had not decided on the matter, the charge of a key complainant who died in January would likely be withdrawn.

Defense attorney Ruth Shann argued against the man's credibility, saying Pell's legal team would be examining the credibility of the “unreliable” witness when the formal four-week committal hearing begins March 5.

The witness, Damian Dignan, who died of leukemia in early January, and a fellow classmate at St. Alipius school in Ballarat accused Pell in 2016 of inappropriate sexual behavior when they were minors. The cardinal had previously been accused of acts of child sexual abuse dating as far back as 1961.

Shann said Dignan's complaints – which he made to Australia's Royal Commission in 2015, nearly 40 years after the alleged abuse, after reading about other cases in the commission in newspapers – had a “domino effect” in terms of other people contacting the police.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 12:49 PM

Paper Cuts by Stephen Bernard review – a powerful memoir of sexual abuse

ENGLAND
The Guardian

February 16, 2018

By Jenny Turner

As a child, Bernard was repeatedly abused by a Catholic priest. Now an Oxford literary scholar, he has written a remarkable account of the damage done

Starting in 1987, when he was 11 years old, Stephen Bernard was sexually abused by Canon Thomas “Dermod” Fogarty, the priest who was, supposedly, helping him with his French and Latin. This was in Midhurst, Sussex, in the diocese of Arundel and Brighton, then headed by Cormac Murphy-O’Connor, the future leader in England of the Roman Catholic church. A few years ago, reading about Murphy-O’Connor’s reaction to other cases of abuse in the 80s, Bernard “wanted to die” – he’d already been in hospital more than once after previous suicide attempts – but decided, this time, to go to the police.

The deaths of Fogarty in 2012 and Murphy-O’Connor in 2017 presumably have a lot to do with the timing of this book.

Bernard, who is now in his early 40s, is a scholar of 18th-century English literature, a former research fellow at University College, Oxford, and the editor of authoritative works about the Tonsons, the foremost publishers of the late 17th and early 18th century, and the plays of Nicholas Rowe. He continues to live and work in Oxford, and his memoir unfolds over a single day in January 2016 at the Bodleian library, where he’s trying to finish an article for the Times Literary Supplement.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 12:46 PM

Hotchkiss School Changes Sex Abuse Investigators After Outcry Over Bias

LAKEVILLE (CT)
Hartford Courant

February 15, 2018

By Josh Kovner

The Hotchkiss School, one of the exclusive New England preparatory schools grappling with sexual abuse allegations from former students, has dismissed its independent investigator following an outcry from alumni who learned he had represented institutions, including the Norwich diocese, that had been accused in sexual assault cases.

“We’ve switched investigators,” Hellen Hom-Diamond, the Lakeville school’s communication director, said Thursday when asked whether Simsbury lawyer James Sconzo had been relieved of duties he had conducted since June 2016. Sconzo did not immediately return a telephone message Thursday afternoon.

“In June 2016, we retained a third party to conduct an investigation into reports of sexual misconduct by members of the faculty or staff that occurred at any time in the School’s history,” begins a post on the Hotchkiss website.

In new language added to the post on Thursday, the school said, “Based on feedback from the alumni community, we have retained the law firm of Locke Lord to take over the investigation and build upon the considerable work that has been done to date.”

The school said the investigation “will be wholly independent and will conclude with the release of a public report …”

In January, attorney Roderick MacLeish wrote to Craig Bradley, the Hotchkiss head of school, on behalf of a group called Hotchkiss Alumni for Reconciliation and Healing.

MacLeish cited what he said were the factors that should disqualify Sconzo from investigating sexual abuse at the school. MacLeish asked Bradley to remove Sconzo and work with the alumni group “to procure an investigator who will rightly be perceived as independent.”

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 12:33 PM

Diocese of Rockville Centre awards $500K to clergy sex abuse victim

ROCKVILLE CENTRE (NY)
LI Herald

February 15, 2018

By Ben Strack

Former St. Agnes priests named as abusers in newly compiled report

An alleged sex abuse victim who filed a claim in the Diocese of Rockville Centre’s Independent Reconciliation and Compensation Program last year was recently granted a settlement of $500,000, according to the man’s lawyer, Mitchell Garabedian.

The recipient of the settlement, Thomas McGarvey, was 16 when he alleges that Father Robert L. Brown began sexually abusing him at St. Catherine of Sienna Church in Franklin Square. The abuse, which allegedly took place in the church’s rectory, spanned from 1981 to 1989, McGarvey said at a news conference last October. Brown has since died.

Garabedian — who was portrayed by actor Stanley Tucci in the Oscar-winning film “Spotlight,” about the Boston Globe’s series of stories detailing the abuse allegations against priests in Boston — is representing dozens of others who claim that clergy members within the diocese sexually abused them.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 10:44 AM

February 15, 2018

“Where have our people been creative?”

CHILE and PERU
La Civilta Cattolica

February 15, 2018

Pope Francis

Conversations with Jesuits in Chile and Peru

On Tuesday, January 16, 2018, at 7 p.m., on his first full day of an apostolic journey to Chile and Peru, Pope Francis met with 90 Chilean Jesuits in the Centro Hurtado of Santiago. On arrival he was shown a reproduction of the green Ford van that St. Alberto Hurtado would use to bring aid to the city’s marginalized: it is a true symbol of apostolic passion. The pope was accompanied by the provincial, Fr. Cristián del Campo, into the chapel where the remains of the Jesuit saint are kept. Inaugurated in 1995, the sanctuary houses the tomb of the saint, a stone sarcophagus containing clumps of earth from each region of Chile which together symbolize the embrace of the country’s faithful. The provincial greeted the pope in the name of all the Jesuits – including notably many young ones – and asked him: “How are things going in Chile and have you felt welcomed to our country?” The meeting quickly became warm and familial. Fr. Del Campo presented two of those present, Frs. Carlos and José Aldunate, blood brothers, ages 101 and 100 years.

The following transcript of the conversations has been approved for publication in this form by the pope himself.

Antonio Spadaro, SJ


Francis began with these words:

I am so pleased to see Fr. Carlos! He was my spiritual director in 1960 for my juniorate. José was the master of novices, and then they made him provincial. Carlos was the caretaker and was…the king of common sense! He could give spiritual advice with really good sense. I recall one time I went to him because I was very angry with someone. I wanted to face up to that person and tell him off. Carlos advised me: “Calm down! Do you really want to break off with him immediately? Try other ways…” I have never forgotten that counsel, and I thank him for it now. Yes, in Chile I immediately felt very welcome. I came yesterday. Today I have been very well received. I have seen many gestures of dear affection. Now ask me whatever you want.


A Jesuit steps forward: “I would like to ask what have been the great joys and disappointments that you have experienced during your pontificate.”

This time of the pontificate is a quite peaceful time. As soon as I realized during the conclave what was about to happen – a complete surprise for me – I felt great peace. And up to today that peace has never left me. It is a gift of the Lord and I am grateful for it. And I really hope he won’t take it away from me. It is a peace that I feel as a pure gift, a pure gift. There is something that does not take peace away from me, but which does hurt me, and that is gossip. I don’t like gossip, it makes me sad. It often spreads in closed-off worlds. When it happens in a world of priests and religious I want to ask: how is this possible? You left everything, you decided not to have a wife next to you, you didn’t marry, you had no children… Do you want to finish as a gossiping old bachelor? Oh, my God, what a sad life!

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 1:57 PM

Vatican seeks to defuse scandal, says pope meets victims

VATICAN CITY
The Associated Press

February 15, 2018

By Nicole Winfield

The Vatican said Thursday that Pope Francis meets frequently with victims of sexual abuse, seeking to defuse a mounting scandal over his unbridled support for a Chilean bishop accused by victims of witnessing and ignoring their abuse.

Spokesman Greg Burke said Francis meets in private with victims individually or in groups several times a month to “listen to them and try to help them to heal their serious wounds.”

Yet at least one Chilean abuse victim, Juan Carlos Cruz, wondered if Francis had really heard what they said, given Francis’ dismissal of Cruz’s complaints that Chilean Bishop Juan Barros covered up his abuse. During a recent trip to Chile, Francis repeatedly called accusations against Barros by Cruz and other victims slander and said he was certain of Barros’ innocence.

Cruz said Thursday the problem of clerical abuse is global and has not stopped.

“It should be a priority, and not a false ‘zero tolerance,‘” he told The Associated Press, echoing Francis’ frequent insistence that he has “zero tolerance” for abuse.

After his abuse comments sparked outrage, Francis was forced to do an about-face and send in a Vatican investigator to look into accusations against Barros, a protege of Chile’s most notorious predator priest, the Rev. Fernando Karadima.

Archbishop Charles Scicluna, the Vatican’s respected former sex crimes investigator, begins his fact-finding mission on Saturday by meeting with Cruz, the main accuser against Barros.

Cruz and two other key whistleblowers have said Barros witnessed their abuse, ignored it and even participated in the psychological abuse that Karadima would then inflict on them when he sensed disobedience or disloyalty.

Barros has denied witnessing any abuse or covering it up.

Francis sparked outrage in 2015 when he appointed Barros, then Chile’s military chaplain, to head the diocese of Osorno, Chile, over the objections of some members of the Chilean bishops’ conference who were concerned about fallout from Karadima’s actions.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 1:50 PM

MSU hires firm to speed up sex assault investigations

EAST LANSING (MI)
The Detroit News

February 13, 2018

By Jonathan Oosting

Michigan State University is bringing in outside help to speed up investigations into growing complaints of sexual assault and harassment on campus, which officials say now take an average of 80 days to complete.

The university announced Tuesday that the Office of Institutional Equity has hired the Kroll corporate investigation firm of New York to assist with Title IX relationship violence and sexual misconduct cases.

Reports of sexual assault and harassment at MSU increased by 35 percent between the academic year 2015-16 and 2016-17, according to the university. Officials expect that number to continue to climb as more victims feel comfortable reporting incidents.

“We are taking active steps to make MSU a shining example of Title IX compliance; 80 days is not only far too long for a response to a complaint, it’s totally unacceptable,” Interim President John Engler said in a statement. “We owe it to all those who have been assaulted and had the bravery to step forward to have a safer MSU be their legacy.”

MSU policies and practices for investigating sexual assault allegations have been under scrutiny with the recent conviction for former university and USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar, who is accused of assaulting more than 200 young girls and women over the course of more than two decades.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 1:44 PM

How the #MeToo movement is changing the way mothers and daughters talk about sexual assault

LOS ANGELES (CA)
Los Angeles Times

February 13, 2018

By Claire Hannah Collins and Jessica Q. Chen

Over the past year, a growing conversation about sexual harassment has erupted.

To explore how this conversation has changed, generation to generation, we asked mothers and daughters about how they were raised to talk, react and take action when it comes to sexual harassment and assault.

Liz and Terrie

Liz Cotone’s daughter is only 6, but she is already learning about consent. Liz, 42, and her mother, Terrie Rosengren, 70, talk about how to teach children to ask permission, laying the groundwork for understanding autonomy over one’s body.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 1:41 PM

French girl, 11, 'not a child' say lawyers for man, 29, accused of sexual abuse

FRANCE
The Associated Press

February 13, 2018

Case rekindles debate about age of consent in France as family argue suspect should be charged with rape

A 29-year-old French man went on trial on Tuesday in a Paris suburb accused of sexually abusing 11-year-old girl in a case that has rekindled debate about France’s age of consent.

France does not have a legal age under which a minor cannot agree to a sexual relationship – although the country’s top court has ruled that children aged five and under cannot consent. Lawyers for the suspect argued that the girl was consenting and aware of what she was doing, while lawyers for the girl have said she was simply too young and confused to resist.

In a decision that shocked many, the prosecutor’s office in the town of Pontoise decided to put the man on trial not for rape but on charges of “sexual abuse of a minor under 15”.

Defence lawyers say the man and the girl had met in a park and the girl had voluntarily followed him to an apartment and consented to intercourse. They have also said their client, then 28, thought she was at least 16.

The girl’s family filed a complaint of rape in the town of Montmagny but prosecutors apparently felt the suspect did not use violence or coercion. French law defines rape as sexual penetration committed “by violence, coercion, threat or surprise”.

“She was 11 years and 10 months old, so nearly 12 years old,” the defence lawyer Marc Goudarzian said Tuesday. “It changes the story. So she is not a child.”

His colleague Sandrine Parise-Heideiger went further, saying: “We are not dealing with a sexual predator on a poor little faultless goose.”

She said as soon as children have “sexual expressiveness and you have an attitude of putting yourself in danger” then “it doesn’t necessarily mean the person on the other side is a sexual predator”.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 1:36 PM

Shaun White, Harvey Weinstein turned to same firm after allegations

UNITED STATES
USA Today Sports

February 15, 2018

by Brent Schrotenboer

Olympic gold medalist Shaun White made a strategic choice in 2016 after being accused of sexual harassment by the former drummer in his band.

He hired a law firm, but not just any law firm. He turned to the law firm of Glaser Weil in Los Angeles, led by attorney Patricia Glaser.

Her clients in recent months have included Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein, former Fox Sports executive Jamie Horowitz, California lawmaker Matt Dababneh and music executive Charlie Walk — all of whom have faced accusations of sexual misconduct.

The firm is known for its celebrity clientele and has attracted high-profile business recently from those who stand accused in the #MeToo movement ignited by the Weinstein scandal of last October.

“Clients come to us because they are looking for positive resolutions,” Glaser’s bio says on her firm’s website. “It’s about resolving the client’s issues aggressively, effectively and efficiently.”

Timing was a big reason the lawsuit against White barely got any other media attention when USA TODAY Sports reported how it was resolved in May 2017. The accuser, Lena Zawaideh, had reached an undisclosed settlement with White to end the case, months before the rise of #MeToo — which dramatically raised awareness about sexual harassment.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 1:32 PM

Alexander Polinsky Alleges Scott Baio Exposed Himself on Set, Sexually Harassed Him With Homophobic Slurs

UNITED STATES
Variety

February 14, 2018

By Elizabeth Wagmeister

Alexander Polinsky is claiming years of “sexual-themed hazing” by Scott Baio on the set of their ’80s sitcom “Charles in Charge.” According to the former child star, Baio allegedly exposed himself, threw hot tea in Polinsky’s face, and pulled down Polinsky’s pants when he was a minor.

Polinsky, who was 11 years old at the time the alleged child abuse began, says his harassment was homophobic in nature.

Polinksy shared his story on Wednesday during a press conference in Los Angeles with his attorney Lisa Bloom and his “Charles in Charge” co-star Nicole Eggert, who has also accused Baio of sexual harassment and child abuse.

“I was sexually harassed by Scott Baio and ultimately assaulted by him between the ages of 12 and 15 years old,” a somber and shaken Polinsky said during the news conference.

Polinsky says the harassment began one day on set when he “innocently hopped on his lap” when he was 11 years old. “I was so naive,” Polinsky said, explaining he expected Baio to tell him innocent stories, but instead, “Scott immediately threw me off him and angrily called me f—t.”

“It was not innocent. It was sexual in nature,” Polinsky said, adding he felt “confusion, shame and fear” after realizing that he judged the situation incorrectly. “It made me question my place on the show, my safety on set” and began a period of depression.

Polinsky said Baio’s harassment and abuse was a daily occurrence that endured through the sitcom’s five-season run, and although it was painful going to work every day, he did not want to leave the show because he was a working actor who had auditioned against hundreds of kids for the role on the sitcom. Polinsky added, “I was a professional who did not want to give up what I had worked so hard for.”

Polinsky claims Baio repeatedly talked about “gay sex acts that he told me I would grow up to perform.” The actor says he would protest and tell him to stop saying those types of things, but that he was “branded with the most homophobic words about homosexuals that exist.” Polinsky recalled, “Scott Baio told me I was never going to be loved by a woman in my life because I was so effeminate.”

Polinksy also said Baio would frequently discuss his “sexual conquests” with his co-stars and other women

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 1:31 PM

Priest faces criminal charges after being accused of having sexual relationship with parishioner

ST. CLOUD (MN)
St. Cloud Times

February 13, 2018

By Stephanie Dickrell and Clairissa Baker

A St. Cloud priest faces criminal charges on suspicion of engaging in a sexual relationship with a parishioner.

The Rev. Anthony Oelrich, 51, was charged with criminal sexual conduct in the third degree. The state statue makes it a crime for a member of clergy to engage in a sexual relationship with someone they are counseling spiritually or religiously.

St. Cloud police arrested Oelrich Tuesday morning and he appeared in court Wednesday.

Oelrich has worked as a priest in the Diocese of St. Cloud since 1992 and until Wednesday was the priest assigned to Christ Church Newman Center.

According to the criminal complaint, an adult woman went to Oelrich for spiritual guidance and told him during confession in December 2013 about a past relationship that included sexual abuse.

Oelrich later reached out and asked the woman further questions about the abuse. She told Oelrich she had become suicidal and Oelrich consoled her.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 1:29 PM

Syracuse Roman Catholic Diocese Offers Reparations For Past Clergy Abuse

SYRACUSE (NY)
WRVO

February 15, 2018

By Ellen Abbott

Syracuse Bishop Robert Cunningham hopes a new program offering reconciliation and compensation to victims of clergy abuse can move the church past a scandal that has dogged it for years.

The new Voluntary Independent Reconciliation Program will look at claims filed by survivors of clergy abuse in the Syracuse Diocese and offer reparations and promote healing to those harmed by members of the clergy. It will be administered by two outside individuals who have run similar compensation programs downstate.

In announcing the program, Cunningham admitted the church will never fully make amends for the harm caused by the church.

“I hope that this will be seen by all of our Catholic people as a step forward, and step to reach out to people who have been harmed by the church,” Cunningham said.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 1:14 PM

Compensating clergy sex abuse survivors a meaningful step for church (Editorial)

SYRACUSE (NY)
syracuse.com

February 15, 2018

By Editorial Board

The Catholic Diocese of Syracuse took a big step Wednesday to make amends for the sexual abuse perpetrated against children by its priests. Bishop Robert Cunningham announced that the diocese would create a program to compensate survivors, "to seek forgiveness for the irreparable acts of the past and perhaps, bring a sense of healing to some."

It is a stunning turnaround. In the not too distant past, the diocese was so reluctant to admit any fault that at least one survivor of clergy sexual abuse was forced to sue the church for counseling money.

It was during the deposition phase of that lawsuit that Cunningham said the children were "culpable" in their own abuse - a statement that sent shockwaves through the community and angered many survivors, who demanded his removal. At the time, the bishop apologized for his poor choice of words. On Wednesday, Cunningham stated flatly that "no child is responsible for his or her abuse ever." Amen to that.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 1:13 PM

Syracuse clergy abuse victims: 'It's way past time' for new compensation program

SYRACUSE (NY)
syracuse.com

February 14, 2018

By Patrick Lohmann

SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- Two survivors of sexual abuse at the hands of clergy in the Syracuse diocese are greeting the news of a new compensation program with caution.

One victim, Charlie Bailey, said it is a good first step to help people like himself to finally get affirmation of the trauma they endured, but he added the details of the program are crucial.

Another victim, Kevin Braney, said he's still not sure if he'll participate at all in the compensation program.

"Maybe there's hope here that something has changed. Maybe," Braney told Syracuse.com | The Post-Standard. "But I really don't have enough information now.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 1:11 PM

OPINION: The Mormon Church Has A Domestic Violence Problem

WASHINGTON (DC)
The Huffington Post

February 14, 2018

By Neil J. Young

In defending Rob Porter, the disgraced Trump White House staffer who resigned last week amid published reports he had physically abused his two ex-wives, his backers have bizarrely cited his professional resume as a sort of bulwark against the allegations: two degrees from Harvard, a Rhodes scholarship to Oxford, and work experience for two U.S. senators. Some have also noted his “exemplary character” and religious faith as a devoted member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and a former Mormon missionary.

But this last point, his affiliation with the LDS Church, may not so much provide the character alibi his defenders intend as much as it helps us understand the deeper patterns of abuse in his two marriages.

Both Colbie Holderness and Jennifer Willoughby, Porter’s two ex-wives, have stated that Mormon bishops had long ignored or minimized their reports of domestic abuse. As Holderness explained to The Daily Mail, after months of speaking to her religious authorities about the abuse, it was a “secular” counselor at her workplace “who told me what was happening was not okay.” In a separate interview with The Intercept, Holderness drew a starker contrast between her secular counselor’s response and how her church leaders had reacted. “When I explained to him what was happening,” Holderness said, “he had a very different reaction from the Mormon bishops ... He was very concerned to hear Rob was choking me.”

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 1:07 PM

Las Cruces ex-priest accused of sexually assaulting Hobbs man turns self in

LAS CRUCES (NM)
KVIA

February 15, 2018

By Katherine Faller

The Las Cruces priest accused of sexually assaulting a Hobbs man surrendered to law enforcement earlier this week, according to the Las Cruces Sun-News citing court records.

Father Ricardo Bauza, 51, turned himself in to Hobbs police on Monday morning, according to his attorney, Jason Bowles of Albuquerque.

Bauza had been wanted by authorities in Hobbs since October after he was accused of sexually assaulting an adult male in 2016 in Hobbs while he was the pastor at St. Helena Catholic Church.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 12:43 PM

Effort to extend Colorado’s statute of limitations for failure to report child abuse fails after opposition from Catholic church, teachers group

DENVER (CO)
The Denver Post

February 14, 2018

By Jesse Paul

The bill was inspired by a case out of the Cherry Creek School District

An effort to extend Colorado’s statute of limitations for the crime of failing to report child abuse died in a Senate panel Wednesday following opposition from a teacher’s organization and the Catholic Church.

The vote for Senate Bill 58 was 3-2 along party lines in the Republican-controlled Senate’s State, Veterans and Military Affairs Committee.

The legislation would have changed the start of the statute of limitations for failing to report child abuse — a Class 3 misdemeanor — from 18 months to five years. It would have specifically applied to so-called mandatory reporters, people who are legally bound, such as a doctor or school officials, to report abuse to authorities when they are told about or discover it.

The legislation was sparked by charges that were filed against three Cherry Creek School District leaders accused of failing to properly report claims of sexual assault by a teacher against a teen student.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 12:40 PM

Pope Francis says he meets almost weekly with abuse victims

ROME
National Catholic Reporter

February 15, 2018

By Joshua J. McElwee

Pope Francis revealed in a meeting with confreres of his Jesuit order last month that he meets with survivors of sexual abuse on a nearly weekly basis, according to a newly released transcript of the encounter.

In a Jan. 19 question and answer session during his visit to Peru, the text of which was published for the first time Feb. 15 by Italian Jesuit magazine La Civiltà Cattolica, the pope said the Catholic Church must hear from those who have been abused by clergy.

"We need to listen to what someone who has been abused feels," Francis told the Jesuits, according to the transcript, and continued: "On Fridays — sometimes this is known and sometimes it is not known — I normally meet some of them."

"The process they go through is very tough," said the pope. "They are left annihilated. Annihilated!"

Francis had previously been known to have met with abuse victims only a handful of times over the span of his nearly five-year papacy. He met with survivors once in Philadelphia during his 2015 visit to the U.S. and again last month in Chile, where he visited before Peru.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 12:38 PM

Boise priest charged with child porn now accused of sexual abuse from decades ago

BOISE (ID)
The Idaho Statesman

February 14, 2018

By Katy Moeller

A retired Boise priest facing child pornography and drug possession charges has now been accused of sexually abusing a minor, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Boise said in a news release Wednesday.

The Rev. W. Thomas Faucher, 72, was arrested Feb. 2 on 14 charges involving possessing and sharing child pornography, as well as drug possession. All of the charges are felonies except the drug charges. After his arrest, the diocese told the Statesman that it had no record of sexual abuse complaints about Faucher.

The alleged child sexual abuse happened more than 40 years ago, according to the diocese, and this appears to be the first public allegation that Faucher molested a child. Church officials say they have notified the Idaho Attorney General’s Office, as well as an internal Diocesan Review Board that focuses on child abuse claims.

Scott Graf, a spokesman for the Idaho Attorney General’s Office, said it will not comment on investigations.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 12:37 PM

Catholic Diocese of Syracuse Starts Compensation Program for Clergy Sex Abuse Victims

SYRACUSE (NY)
The Christian Post

February 15, 2018

By Michael Gryboski

The Diocese of Syracuse, New York, announced Wednesday that its launching an Independent Reconciliation Compensation Program for victims of clergy sexual abuse.

Bishop Robert Cunningham of Syracuse admitted in his announcement that there "is no question we have made missteps in handling this crisis."

He added that "over the past 15 years, the Diocese of Syracuse has addressed this problem aggressively by reporting all allegations to the appropriate district attorney, ensuring that no clergy with a credible allegation of abuse remains in ministry."

"Survivors have been provided counseling, spiritual direction and other support to help them find ways to move forward. As we begin this Lenten season, we must continue to seek forgiveness as a Church and seek reconciliation for those who have been hurt."

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 12:34 PM

Vatican tries to ease pressure on pope over sex abuse stance

VATICAN CITY
The Associated Press

February 15, 2018

The Vatican said Thursday that Pope Francis meets frequently with victims of sexual abuse, seeking to defuse a mounting scandal over his unbridled support for a Chilean bishop accused by victims of witnessing and ignoring their abuse.

Spokesman Greg Burke said in a statement that Francis meets in private with victims individually or in groups several times a month to "listen to them and try to help them to heal their serious wounds."

In comments also released Thursday, Francis called clerical sex abuse a "humiliation" that exposes the church's "hypocrisy."

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 12:32 PM

Ex-Las Cruces priest surrenders to Hobbs police

LAS CRUCES (NM)
Las Cruces Sun-News

February 14, 2018

By Carlos Andres López

A former Las Cruces priest accused of a sexually assaulting a Hobbs man surrendered to authorities earlier this week, more than three months after a warrant for his arrest had been issued, court records show.

Father Ricardo Bauza, 51, voluntarily surrendered to Hobbs police on Monday morning, according to his attorney, Jason Bowles of Albuquerque. A booking sheet indicates that Bauza was placed under arrest at 6:05 a.m.

Bauza had been wanted by authorities in Hobbs since last October, when police obtained an arrest warrant for the former Las Cruces priest, who served as the pastor of St. Genevieve Catholic Church for almost a decade.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 12:30 PM

Police: St. Cloud priest accused of sexual assault

ST. CLOUD (MN)
KMSP

February 14, 2018

By Allie Johnson

A priest in St. Cloud, Minnesota was arrested Tuesday following allegations of sexual assault.

Anthony Oelrich, 51, of St. Cloud is being held in the Stearns County Jail on pending charges of third degree criminal sexual conduct. He is a priest serving in the Diocese of St. Cloud.

The St. Cloud Police Department began investigating the allegations in late 2017.

According to police. The victim, a woman from St. Cloud, began seeing Oelrich for spiritual advice in 2013.

She reported engaging in a sexual relationship with him between 2013 and 2014 in St. Cloud. Under Minnesota law, a member of the clergy is prohibited from engaging in a sexual relationship under those circumstances.

As a result of the investigation, Oelrich was arrested. The Diocese of St. Cloud says Oelrich has been placed on administrative leave from his current assignment as pastor of Christ Church Newman Center in St. Cloud. He has also been suspended from his priestly duties, meaning he cannot function or present himself as a priest. An administrator has been appointed to the parish.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 12:27 PM

Ex-priest who fled to Philippines pleads not guilty to sexually abusing kids in Fargo area

FARGO (ND)
The Jamestown Sun

February 14, 2018

By Helmut Schmidt

A former Catholic priest accused of sexually abusing children while he worked at churches in Fargo and West Fargo has pleaded not guilty to two Class B felony counts of gross sexual imposition.

Fernando Laude Sayasaya, 53, appearing in orange Cass County Jail garb, said little during the hearing Wednesday, Feb. 14, in Cass County District Court before Judge Steven McCullough.

Each count against Sayasaya has a maximum prison sentence of 10 years, prosecutor Ryan Younggren said after the hearing. Younggren said he could not comment on whether there have been any negotiations for a plea agreement in the case.

In a December hearing, Sayasaya's bail was set at $5 million cash — a stratospheric amount nearly unheard of in area courtrooms.

Prosecutors had sought a high bail for Sayasaya, saying he posed a flight risk. Sayasaya fled to the Philippines about two decades ago and never returned of his own volition, even though he told investigators at the time that he would return, prosecutors said.

In 2002, Sayasaya was charged in Cass County District Court with the two felony counts of gross sexual imposition.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 12:23 PM

Former Fargo Catholic Priest Pleads Not Guilty To Molesting Boys

FARGO, (ND)
KVRR

February 14, 2018

By Joe Radske

IN DECEMBER, SAYASAYA'S BAIL WAS SET AT $5 MILLION DOLLARS BECAUSE PROSECUTORS CONSIDER HIM A FLIGHT RISK.

Fernando Sayasaya, the former Fargo Catholic priest accused of molesting two underage boys, plead not guilty in a Cass County Court this morning.

Sayasaya, 53, waived his preliminary hearing.

His next court date will be in April.

In December, Sayasaya’s bail was set at $5 million dollars because prosecutors consider him a flight risk.

Over the course of 19 years, it took the Fargo and West Fargo Police Departments, the FBI, U.S. Marshals and the Philippines national police to capture and bring former Catholic priest Fernando Sayasaya back to North Dakota.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 12:21 PM

Accused priest extradited from Philippines pleads not guilty

FARGO (ND)
The Associated Press

February 15, 2018

A Roman Catholic priest accused of molesting two boys in North Dakota in the 1990s has pleaded not guilty.

Fernando Sayasaya was recently returned to the United States from the Philippines, where he had been since 1998. He entered his pleas Thursday to two counts of felony gross sexual imposition.

Prosecutors allege that Sayasaya abused two underage siblings from 1995 to 1998, while he was assigned to the Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church and St. Mary's Cathedral in the Fargo area.

A Philippines court ordered his extradition in 2010. He appealed, lost and was ultimately arrested in November. He remains jailed on $5 million bond. He faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 12:18 PM

Oxfam: Former staff member dismissed by Cafod after abuse claims

UNITED KINGDOM
BBC News

February 14, 2018

A Catholic charity has sacked a worker after it emerged he had been accused of sexually exploiting vulnerable people in Haiti while working for Oxfam.

Cafod said it was "unaware" of the claims until contacted this week by the Times, which broke the Oxfam story.

Meanwhile, Sengalese singer Baaba Maal has told BBC Newsnight he is standing down from his role as a global ambassador to Oxfam after six years.

The star said he found the sex abuse claims "disgusting and heartbreaking".

Describing the allegations as "very sad", Maal said he was "disassociating" himself from Oxfam "immediately".

Maal was one of 14 global ambassadors for Oxfam International.

Others include singer Annie Lennox, the band Coldplay, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, and the model Helena Christensen.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 12:06 PM

February 14, 2018

One of men accused of historic school abuse found not guilty

ENGLAND
The Westmorland Gazette

February 13, 2018

ONE of five men on trial over alleged historical physical abuse of pupils at a South Cumbria boarding school has been found not guilty of the only charge he was facing.

John Studley was acquitted of one assault allegation on the direction of a judge at Carlisle Crown Court.

Mr Studley, aged 66, had denied a charge which alleged that he was involved in the assault of one boy at Underley Hall School, near Kirkby Lonsdale. This was alleged to have occurred during the mid to late 1980s.

Mr Studley, of Silverdale, Lancashire, was found not guilty today after the alleged victim gave evidence during week three of the hearing.

After legal discussions, Judge James Adkin told the jury: "Ladies and gentlemen, you have heard evidence from that particular witness concerning his recollection of events at the school.

"In fact, he had been called to deal with count nine on your indictment (the alleged assault by Mr Studley). I am going to withdraw that count from your consideration and there is no evidence to prove the allegation against Mr Studley.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 5:01 PM

63 people come forward following investigation into historic sex abuse at mental health unit

ENGLAND
St. Albans & Harpenden Review

February 13, 2018

By Rachel Russell

Around 63 people have come forward following an investigation into historic sex abuse against adolescents at a mental health unit.

Hertfordshire Constabulary launched Operation Meadow last year after receiving reports from various sources about physical and sexual abuse at the Hill End Hospital Adolescent Unit, in St Albans.

A team of specially trained officers have been investigating into the claims which allegedly occurred between 1969 and 1995.

A police spokesperson said: “We are continuing to gather information and evidence in relation to the adolescent unit and the experiences of those who stayed or visited there.”

The unit was open from 1899 until 1995 in the Highfield Park area of St Albans to help people with mental health issues.

However, it is now the site of a housing development.

Operation Meadow was announced in November with assistant chief constable Bill Jephson at the time saying he wanted to “lift the lid” on what could have happened at the hospital.

No arrests have been made.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 4:56 PM

Catholic Church's misconceived wealth and power, and its growing weakness

AUSTRALIA
The Sydney Morning Herald

February 15, 2018

By John Warhurst

The Catholic Church is a wealthy institution, but Archbishop Anthony Fisher is right that to compare its type of wealth to that of Westfield or Wesfarmers is crude and simplistic. Nevertheless, that wealth, however calculated, stands in stark contrast to the resistance and mean-spiritedness that, it has now been demonstrated beyond reasonable doubt, has characterised its leaders' treatment of those who were sexually abused while in the church's care.

This injustice has compounded the crimes that happened on its watch and its criminal cover-ups. Most of the victims were Catholics themselves at the time.

There is another disjunction that troubles many Catholics. The rhythm of church life experienced by most ordinary Catholics is not one of great wealth, but of local fund-raising and donations to church causes. This month, there are two major church-related campaigns: the Vinnies annual doorknock appeal and the Project Compassion annual Lenten appeal to support the church's international aid and development arm, Caritas Australia. Last year, Project Compassion raised $359,000 in Canberra-Goulburn alone.

This disjunction between the hurt that has been done under the church's name and the demands made on ordinary Catholics is one reason for the growing bewilderment and lack of trust that is now sweeping the church. The National Church Life Survey, conducted across 20 denominations, has reported that 48 per cent of Catholic respondents agreed (only 34 per cent disagreed) that sexual abuse by clergy had damaged their confidence in church authorities.

In the past, Catholics were mainly loyal and hard-working subjects rather than informed and vocal citizens within their own church. Bewilderment and lack of trust is now turning belatedly to activism and demands for renewal of church governance and structures, as well as for the transparency and accountability rightly demanded by the community at large. It remains to be seen whether the church's authorities are really listening.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 4:53 PM

LDS women say Church leaders encouraged them to stay with their abusers

SALT LAKE CITY (UT)
KUTV

February 13, 2018

By Hannah Knowles

After the spousal abuse allegations against White House Staff Secretary, Rob Porter went public, many Mormon women are now saying their Church leaders encouraged them to stay with their abusers for the sake of the marriage.

According to an article from cnn.com, both women Porter had previously been married to shared how "the unique role the Mormon church played in their troubled relationships."

For many Mormons, the first line of help for any issue or advice outside the family is often the local bishop or the home teachers. In a recent article by BuzzFeed News, 20 female members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints said they "had been victims of marital abuse and confided in their Church leaders for help."

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 4:52 PM

SYRACUSE CATHOLIC DIOCESE TO COMPENSATE VICTIMS OF CLERGY ABUSE

SYRACUSE (NY)
Spectrum News

February 14, 2018

Syracuse Catholic Diocese Bishop Robert Cunningham unveiled the establishment of a compensation fund for victims of abuse at the hands of clergy in the diocese.

The voluntary Independent Reconciliation Compensation Program has a goal to "promote reconciliation and further healing of those who were harmed by members of the clergy."

Cunningham on Wednesday, commented that on a holy day for Catholics, Ash Wednesday is a day of pennance, and a fitting time to make the announcement.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 4:51 PM

Two Diocese of Erie Priests Removed from Ministry, Prohibited from Contact with Minors

ERIE (PA)
Erie News Now

February 13, 2018

Two Diocese of Erie priests have been removed from ministry - one for alleged sexual abuse and the other for inappropriate contact with minors.

Father David Poulson, 64, pastor of St. Anthony of Padua Parish, Cambridge Springs, and Father Sean Kerins, 27, chaplain at Kennedy Catholic High School, Hermitage, have been prohibited from any public ministry, as well as from any contact with minors.

The diocese said it received what it believes are credible allegations against Father Poulson regarding the sexual abuse of minors. The matter has been turned over to law enforcement. A preliminary, independent investigation is ongoing.

Kennedy Catholic High School in Hermitage informed the Diocese's Catholic Schools Office late last month about possible inappropriate communication from Father Kerins, who is a faculty member, to a student at Kennedy. ChildLine and law enforcement were informed, per school and diocesan policy. He was placed on temporary leave, but the diocese determined the text messages in question were inappropriate. He has been removed from his assignments at the school as well as Good Shepherd Parish.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 4:48 PM

Two priests removed by Diocese of Erie

ERIE (PA)
The Meadville Tribune

February 14. 2018

Roman Catholic priests from parishes in Cambridge Springs and West Middlesex have been removed from any public ministry as well as from any contacts with children by the Diocese of Erie.

Father David Poulson, 64, pastor of St. Anthony of Padua Parish, Cambridge Springs, and Father Sean Kerins, 27, chaplain at Kennedy Catholic High School, Hermitage, also assigned to Church of the Good Shepherd Parish, West Middlesex, have been removed.

A statement from the Diocese said the two removal actions are unrelated to each other but come in the wake of investigations by the Diocese.

The diocese received what it believes to be credible allegations against Poulson regarding the sexual abuse of minors. A preliminary independent investigation is still ongoing, and the matter has been turned over to law enforcement, the Diocese said in a statement.

With Kerins, the Catholic Schools Office of the Diocese of Erie was informed in late January by Kennedy Catholic High School of a possible inappropriate communication from Kerins, a faculty member, to a student at Kennedy.

The Diocese had a preliminary independent investigation conducted which found a series of text messages in question were inappropriate according to diocesan and school standards, and in violation of diocesan policy, the Diocese said.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 4:47 PM

Diocese of Syracuse creates program to compensate victims of clergy sexual abuse

SYRACUSE (NY)
syracuse.com

February 14, 2018

By Patrick Lohmann

SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- The Catholic Diocese of Syracuse announced today it will create a program that will allow victims of clergy sexual abuse to seek compensation.

Bishop Robert Cunningham made the announcement at an Ash Wednesday news conference at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in downtown Syracuse.

The program, which the diocese called an "independent reconciliation compensation program for survivors," is aimed at giving a measure of justice to dozens of churchgoers who alleged sexual abuse at the hands of clergy in this area.

The program will be run by Kenneth Feinberg and Camille Biros, who were involved in mediation and administration of compensation for survivors of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, the British Petroleum oil spill and similar programs in Downstate dioceses.

The pair will work with those who have previously notified the diocese that they were harmed by a member of the clergy. There are 40 priests in the seven-county area who have been credibly accused of fraud, though 11 of them have not been named, officials said.

Eighteen of the priests are still alive, officials said.

There are 76 victims who have previously alleged sexual abuse by priests in the Syracuse diocese, officials said. Those victims will get letters inviting them to participate in the voluntary program.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 4:44 PM

Syracuse Bishop: New settlement program for sex abuse victims

SYRACUSE (NY)
Press Connects

February 14, 2018

By Hannah Schwarz

The Diocese of Syracuse is establishing a settlement program for victims of clergy sexual abuse spanning decades, Syracuse Diocese Bishop Robert Joseph Cunningham announced Wednesday.

More than 70 people will receive letters informing them of the possibility of settling, Cunningham said. Those cases relate to roughly 40 priests, none of whom are still serving in the Diocese, and many of whom are no longer alive.

The settlement program will be administered by lawyers who oversaw compensation programs for 9/11 survivors, the BP oil spill and three compensation programs in downstate dioceses.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 4:43 PM

Syracuse Diocese to offer compensation for abuse survivors

SYRACUSE (NY)
Observer-Dispatch

February 14, 2018

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Syracuse announced Wednesday it is establishing a voluntary program to provide compensation for survivors of clergy sexual abuse.

The Independent Reconciliation Compensation Program (IRCP) is meant to “promote reconciliation and further healing of those who were harmed by members of the clergy,” according to a news release. Only those who reported alleged abuse prior to Wednesday will be eligible to participate.

Bishop Robert Cunningham made the announcement at the cathedral in Syracuse on Wednesday morning. In a letter posted to the diocese website, he said the date of the announcement was significant.

“It is fitting that I am announcing this program on Ash Wednesday — the beginning of our Lenten Journey,” the letter states. “The ashes that we receive are a sign of penance, biblical in origin which express our human condition as affected by sin. In this sign, we outwardly express our guilt before God and thereby prompted by hope that the Lord is kind and compassionate, patient and abounding in mercy.”

In the release, Cunningham similarly stated that while the diocese “cannot reverse the damage that was done,” it hopes that “this new effort will provide an opportunity seek forgiveness for the irreparable acts of the past.”

How the program will work

According to the release, the ICRP program was created, in part, based on the success of similar programs in the Archdiocese of New York, the Diocese of Brooklyn and the Diocese of Rockville Centre. It will be independently administered by Kenneth Feinberg and Camille Biros, who have previous experience coordinating mediation and compensation for those programs, as well as survivors of the 9/11 terrorist attacks and those affected by the BP oil spill.

Individuals who have previously notified the diocese that they have been harmed by a member of the clergy will be contacted by letter and invited to participate in the program. Beyond that, Feinberg and Biros will “retain complete and sole discretion over all eligibility agreements and settlement compensation amounts” and the diocese “will accept their determinations without question,” the release states.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 4:41 PM

Retired priest who fought against child sex abuse arrested for child pornography: report

BOISE (ID)
Fox News

February 14, 2018

A retired Idaho priest who fought against child sex abuse in the Catholic church was arrested Friday for possession of child pornography and drug charges, the Idaho Statesman reported.

Authorities had received a tip from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, and obtained a warrant to search Fr. W. Thomas Faucher’s home, the Statesman reported.

Authorities found images of young children subjected to sexual acts on Faucher’s computer, prosecutors said at a probable cause hearing Monday morning. In email and chat conversations viewed by investigators, Faucher expressed of his desire to “rape and kill children,” another proesutor said.

Faucher was held on a $250,000 bond, forbidden from using the internet and prohibited from having any contact with children under 18, the Statesman reported.

Mark Manweiler, Faucher's lawyer, pressed for his release, arguing that despite being around “tens of thousands” of children, there has never been a claim of abuse or impropriety.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 4:40 PM

Two priests fired after alleged sexual abuse and inappropriate contact with minors

ERIE (PA)
Your Erie

February 13, 2018

The Diocese has announced that two priests, Father David Poulson, 64, and Father Sean Kerins, 27, have been removed from the Erie Catholic Diocese. According to a memo from the Diocese, the two have been "prohibited from any public ministry, as well as from any contact with minors".

They tell us the situations are unrelated. In the case of Poulson, who was the pastor of St. Anthony of Padua Parish in Cambridge Springs, the Diocese received what they said they believe "to be credible allegations against [him] regarding the sexual abuse of minors". A preliminary independent investigation is ongoing and the matter has been "turned over to law enforcement". Monsignor Robert Brugger, former pastor of Saint Anthony Parish, will take over Poulson's parish, effective immediately".

In the case involving Father Sean Kerins, Chaplain at Kennedy Catholic High School in Hermitage and Church of the Good Shepherd Parish in West Middlesex, Kerins allegedly inappropriately texted a student at Kennedy. Law enforcement has been informed and a preliminary independent investigation is complete. After the findings of the investigation, the Diocese concluded that the text messages were, in fact, inappropriate according to diocesan and school standards. Kerins has been removed and ordered to have no contact with minors while law enforcement conducts their own investigation.

Professional counselors are available to the children at the school today.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 4:38 PM

SYRACUSE DIOCESE ANNOUNCES COMPENSATION PROGRAM FOR CLERGY SEX ABUSE VICTIMS

SYRACUSE (NY)
WKTV

February 14, 2018

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Syracuse has established a compensation program for survivors of clergy sexual abuse, Bishop Robert Cunningham announced Wednesday.

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Syracuse has established a compensation program for survivors of clergy sexual abuse, Bishop Robert Cunningham announced Wednesday morning at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Syracuse.

The Independent Reconciliation Compensation Program (IRCP) is a voluntary program meant to “promote reconciliation and further healing of those who were harmed by members of the clergy,” according to Cunningham. Only those who reported their abuse prior to Feb. 14, 2018 will be eligible to receive the compensation.

Kenneth Fienberg and Camille Biros – who previously helped administer compensation programs for survivors of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, the BP oil spill and IRCP programs with other Catholic dioceses – will be responsible for administering the program.

Feinberg and Biros will work with people who previously notified the Diocese of Syracuse that they had been abused or harmed by a member of the clergy. Those victims will receive a letter inviting them to participate in the program, and then Feinberg and Biros will “retain complete and sole discretion over all eligibility agreements and settlement compensation amounts for the eligible individuals.”

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 4:37 PM

St. Cloud Priest Arrested, Charged With Sexual Misconduct

ST. CLOUD (MN)
The Associated Press

February 14, 2018

A priest who serves in the Diocese of St. Cloud has been arrested and charged on accusations of sexual misconduct.

The Rev. Anthony Oelrich, 51, is jailed in Stearns County Wednesday and appeared in court on allegations of third-degree criminal sexual conduct.

Oelrich, of St. Cloud, is charged with one felony count of third-degree criminal sexual conduct.

Between Dec. 1, 2013 and April 30, 2014, Oelrich is accused of engaging in sexual misconduct with a woman who sought his spiritual advice after a sexually abusive relationship. The victim said that they engaged in a sexual relationship.

Minnesota statue prohibits a member of the clergy from engaging in a sexual relationship under these circumstances, police said.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 4:35 PM

Priest charged after accusations of sexual misconduct

ST. CLOUD (MN)
KARE 11

February 14, 2018

The priest was arrested on Feb. 13.

An ordained priest with the St. Cloud Diocese is accused of sexual assaulting a woman who came to him for spiritual guidance due to a prior relationship which included sexual abuse.

Father Anthony Joseph Oelrich, 51, is charged with criminal sexual conduct for an inappropriate relationship with the victim that started in 2013. He was arrested on Feb. 13 and is currently in custody in Stearns County. He is scheduled to make his first court appearance on Wednesday.

According to the criminal charges, the woman sought the help of Father Oelrich after confessing she was the victim of sexual abuse in December of 2013. After her initial disclosure with Oelrich, he began asking further questions about the abuse. The woman told investigators she became suicidal at one point and Oelrich reached out to her and consoled her.

The criminal complaint details a number of incidents where Father Oelrich asked the victim to touch him inappropriately when she sought his help.

The victim also told authorities she was suffering from insomnia so Oelrich would tuck her in at night and often sleep with her in her bed until 1 a.m.

In January 2014, the woman said she was invited to the rectory in St. Cloud to have dinner with Father Oelrich. That night, he suggested she stay the night and the two engaged in sexual intercourse. This occurred repeatedly until April of 2014.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 4:33 PM

Kennedy Catholic priest accused of sending inappropriate text to student

HERMITAGE (PA)
WKBN

February 13, 2018,

Father Sean Kerins is no longer at the school and has been ordered not to contact the student

A 27-year-old priest at Kennedy Catholic High School in Hermitage has been removed from the Erie Catholic Diocese.

Father Sean Kerins was the chaplain at the school, as well as a priest in residence at Church of the Good Shepherd in West Middlesex.

Through an investigation, the diocese said Kerins sent a series of inappropriate texts to a student at Kennedy Catholic.

Kerins is no longer at the school and has been ordered not to have contact with minors.

Law enforcement has been notified and is doing its own investigation.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 1:47 PM

Jennie Willoughby The story of my abuse is also the story of the millions of victims who still can't speak out

UNITED STATES
NBC News

February 13, 2018

As the smoke clears following my ex-husband Rob Porter’s resignation from the White House, a deeper narrative is developing.

Even people who knew me did not know the details of my marriage. You see, society encourages us to keep some secrets hidden. But in an attempt to conquer the shame that had been plaguing me for the three years since my divorce, I chose to reveal my darkest one online. I drove to my former home and snapped a picture of a Post-It note reading: “I stayed with my abusive husband.” Then I sat in my car in the light drizzle of the evening and composed an Instagram post which, a mere eight months later, would spark a hashtag — #AndSoIStayed — and a national controversy.

As the smoke clears on the initial news of my ex-husband Rob Porter’s White House dismissal, a deeper story is developing. People responded intensely to my words because this is a story that occurs all too often behind closed doors. Locked in closets and bathrooms. Trapped in cars. Isolated at school or at church or at work. Hiding under the bed. Indeed, cowering in kitchens and living rooms all across America are the unspoken stories of abuse. And speaking out about my own story has showed me just how desperate people are for a way to express what they themselves are going through.

For days, pleas have poured into my DMs on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Thousands are seeking answers about how to leave, how to overcome shame, or how to start over. Hundreds of comments flooded my blog post from those who are still suffering and scared.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 1:45 PM

Victims critical of Paul de Jersey's intervention in church debate on limiting abuse cases

QUEENSLAND (AUSTRALIA)
Australian Broadcasting Corporation

February 13, 2018

By Josh Robertson

Queensland Governor and former chief justice Paul de Jersey and a fellow judge played a key role in thwarting an internal push by Anglican clergy for the church to abandon a contentious legal defence against child sex abuse claims, victims and their supporters say.

Abuse survivors and supporters have criticised the judges' intervention in the 2009 general meeting of the Anglican Brisbane Diocese, which voted down a motion to stop using legal time limits.

The limits forced victims to sue by the age of 21, effectively limiting any institution's potential legal exposure.

The motion, which called on the church to "set an ethical lead in the community by ... not invoking the statute of limitations defence", would have set a nationwide precedent.

But the Queensland Governor, who in 2009 was chief justice and chancellor, or legal advisor, to the diocese, warned the church would lose its insurance.

According to notes of the meeting by an abuse survivor, the chief justice also referred to victims suing because of the church's "deep pockets".

It comes after legal experts raised doubts about the appropriateness of judges' roles as legal advisors to the church.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 1:43 PM

Church of England’s reputation damaged by sexual abuse claims

UNITED KINGDOM
La Croix International

February 13, 2018

Calls for a “culture change” are growing as the Church of England now faces 3,300 sexual abuse claims, with one-fifth directed against clergy and other church officials.

Denial is no longer an option as recent inquiries highlight “the continuing need for a culture change within the church,” Roger Singleton, a member of the Anglican Church’s national safeguarding panel, told The Guardian.

He said a minority of parish clergy are either “unwilling to accept the need for sensible, proportionate measures” or seek to downplay the damage caused by physical, sexual, emotional or spiritual abuse.

But while the church has been accused for decades of trying to bury its head in the sand mounting litigation is forcing a head-on collision with an avalanche of sexual abuse cases.

The Church of England has seen its spending in this area quintuple over the last four years. Next month it will go under the microscope again amid a stepped-up independent inquiry into child sexual abuse.

“This will not be an easy couple of years — we will hear deeply painful accounts of abuse, of poor response, of ‘cover-up’,” the daily quoted Bishop Peter Hancock of Bath and Wells, the Church of England’s lead bishop on safeguarding, as saying.

While 80 percent of the sexual abuse claims are reportedly aimed at volunteers and other congregation members, clergy are increasingly being urged to admit any wrongdoing by their peers.

Reflecting the turning tide, each diocese has now appointed a professional adviser to safeguard against abuse.

Moreover, the archbishops of Canterbury and York recently showed their support for survivors of church sexual abuse by holding a two-minute vigil outside Church House in Westminster.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 1:41 PM

Chile sex abuse victim's credibility praised, challenged

VATICAN CITY
The Associated Press

February 14, 2018

By Nicole Winfield and Eva Vergara

When a Vatican court convicted a Chilean predator priest of sex crimes, it went out of its way to affirm the credibility of his victims. Their testimony had been consistent and corroborated, while their motives in coming forward had been only to "free themselves of a weight that had tormented their consciences," the tribunal said.

One key witness in the Rev. Fernando Karadima's 2010 trial is preparing to testify again, this time in a spinoff case with potentially more significant consequences. Juan Carlos Cruz's allegations of a cover-up raise questions about Pope Francis' already shaky track record on preventing clergy sex abuse and concealment.

Cruz has accused Chilean Bishop Juan Barros of having been present when Karadima kissed and fondled him as a 17-year-old, and of then ignoring the abuse. One of Francis' top advisers has privately called Cruz a liar who is out to destroy the Chilean church. Francis, who has called allegations against Barros slander, may have accepted the adviser's take.

After his defense of Barros sparked an outcry during his recent trip to Chile, Francis did an about-face and asked Maltese Archbishop Charles Scicluna, a former Vatican sex crimes investigator, to gather testimony about Barros and then report back. Cruz, who now works in communications in the U.S., is his first witness Saturday.

"We've been giving this testimony for years and years, but finally it's being heard," Cruz told The Associated Press. "So when the pope says he needs evidence, he's had it for a long time."

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 1:37 PM

Diocese of Syracuse starting compensation program for past sexual abuse victims

SYRACUSE (NY)
CNY Central

February 14, 2018

The Diocese of Syracuse is starting an independent compensation program for victims of past clergy sexual abuse.

Bishop Cunningham announced the establishment of the voluntary Independent Reconciliation Compensation Program (IRCP) during a news conference Wednesday. According to the Diocese, the purpose of the program is to promote reconciliation and further the healing of those harmed by members of the clergy.

"Child sexual abuse is a grave sin and a crime. And no child is responsible for his or her abuse ever," Cunningham said. "We will not return to the mistakes of the past."

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 1:36 PM

Catholics urging for publication of Apuron's verdict

GUAM
KUAM News

February 13, 2018

By Krystal Paco

Guam Catholics want answers. The recent sighting of Guam's suspended Archbishop Anthony Apuron in Rome is concerning for the Faithful who continue to wait for a verdict on Apuron's canonical trial.

Concerned Catholics of Guam President David Sablan tells KUAM "Since he is in Rome, he more than likely was informed."

Sablan urges the Tribunal to publicly release the verdict.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 1:30 PM

Olympian admitted to indecent assault of girl in letter to ex-wife, court hears

NEW ZEALAND
Stuff

February 14, 2018

By Catrin Owen

An Olympic athlete admitted to indecently assaulting a girl in a letter to his ex-wife, a court has heard.

New Zealand gold medallist Arthur Parkin is on trial in the Auckland District Court for allegedly indecently assaulting three young girls.

The fourth witness in the trial is Parkin's ex-wife. Their marriage ended in 2007.

In court on Wednesday, she said Parkin sent her a letter during their divorce proceedings stating that he had exposed himself and asked one of the complainants to touch his penis.

She later burned the letter, she said.

Parkin had told her sometime in the early 1990s he had indecently assaulted the complainant, she said.

Parkin used a "brutal word" she had never heard before, she told the court.

"I went into turmoil and into a state of shock . . . it was devastating."

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 1:27 PM

NY Diocese Begins Program for Survivors of Clergy Abuse

SYRACUSE (NY)
The Associated Press

February 14, 2018

Syracuse diocese of the Roman Catholic Church setting up reconciliation program for survivors of clergy sexual abuse.

The Syracuse diocese of the Roman Catholic Church is establishing a reconciliation program for survivors of clergy sexual abuse.

Bishop Robert Cunningham announced the voluntary program Wednesday. It's aimed at promoting reconciliation and healing, and possibly compensation, for those who have been harmed by members of the diocese's clergy.

The program will be administered by Kenneth Feinberg and Camille Biros, who were involved in programs for survivors of 9/11, the British Petroleum oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, and programs in three downstate New York dioceses.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 1:22 PM

ST. CLOUD PRIEST ACCUSED OF SEXUAL MISCONDUCT WITH ADULT WOMAN

ST. CLOUD (MN)
WJON AM 1240

February 14, 2018

By Lee Voss

A St. Cloud Priest is charged with 3rd-degree criminal sexual conduct while acting as clergy and providing ongoing spiritual advice. Fifty-one-year-old Father Anthony Oelrich is a pastor at Christ Church Newman Center and has been put on administrative leave and suspended of his priestly duties by the Diocese of St. Cloud.

The St. Cloud Police Department began investigating after an adult woman came forward in December alleging a number of sexual encounters in late 2013 and early 2014.

The woman told investigators she began seeing Father Oelrich for spiritual guidance following a sexually abusive relationship. The abuse came to light during confession in December 2013.

According to the criminal complaint, the woman said she was suicidal and Father Oelrich offered to console her whenever she needed to talk about it.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 1:20 PM

Porter was up for promotion despite abuse allegations

WASHINGTON (DC)
CNN

February 13, 2018

By Kaitlan Collins and Kevin Liptak

Rob Porter was involved in serious discussions to be promoted when he abruptly resigned from the White House last week amid allegations that he abused his two ex-wives, multiple sources familiar with the matter tell CNN.

His anticipated elevation further highlights how top White House officials were willing to overlook indications from the FBI that there were potential abuse allegations in his background in exchange for professional competence in a tumultuous West Wing.

Porter had been actively lobbying to take on new policy portfolios outside the traditional scope of the staff secretary, one person familiar with the matter said, which included speechwriting duties and a role in planning policy rollouts. Neither of those tasks is traditionally carried out by the staff secretary.

One of the areas Porter was set to delve further into was trade policy, according to the person. Porter was a regular attendee at a weekly trade meeting among top-level administration officials.

He was also being considered for the deputy chief of staff position, another source familiar with the situation said. CNN reported Friday that Jim Carroll, who served as the deputy chief of staff for less than three months, was stepping down to helm the Office of National Drug Control Policy.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 1:17 PM

Australian cardinal blames abuse inquiry for sex allegations

MELBOURNE (AUSTRALIA)
The Associated Press

February 14, 2018

Lawyers for Cardinal George Pell, the most senior Catholic cleric to face sex charges, told an Australian court on Wednesday that the allegations stemmed from publicity surrounding a national inquiry into child abuse three years ago.

Pope Francis’s finance minister was charged last year with offenses involving multiple complainants in his native Australia. The exact details and nature of the charges have not been disclosed to the public, though police have described them as “historical” sexual assaults, meaning they are alleged to have occurred decades ago.

Pell’s lawyers failed in his application in the Melbourne Magistrates Court on Wednesday to gain access to his alleged victims’ medical records.

The court will hold a preliminary hearing next month to determine whether prosecutors have sufficient evidence to warrant a jury trial. The charges and potential penalties have not been made public.

Pell has vowed through his layers to fight the charges. He returned to Sydney to face the allegations but was not required to attend court on Wednesday.

His lawyer, Ruth Shann, told Magistrate Belinda Wallington that the first complainant approached police in 2015, 40 years after the alleged crimes, in response to media reports about Australia’s Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.

“We will be saying that that complaint and the basis for it lacks reliability and credibility,” Shann told the court.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 1:13 PM

Update: St. Cloud priest arrested on suspicion of sexual misconduct with adult

ST. CLOUD (MN)
St. Cloud Times

February 13, 2018

By Stephanie Dickrell

St. Cloud police arrested a priest who serves in the Diocese of St. Cloud Tuesday morning.

The Rev. Anthony Oelrich, 51, of St. Cloud was arrested at about 10 a.m.

Stearns County Jail records say he was jailed on suspicion of third-degree criminal sexual conduct. A St. Cloud Police Department spokesman said Tuesday night that no further information would be released until Wednesday.

In a statement released Tuesday night, Bishop Donald Kettler said he was notified by St. Cloud police of Oelrich's arrest following "an investigation of alleged sexual misconduct involving an adult woman."

Kettler placed Oelrich on administrative leave from his current assignment. Oelrich is listed as a pastor at Christ Church Newman Center Catholic Student Community on its website.

Kettler also suspended Oelrich from his priestly faculties, which means Oelrich cannot function or present himself as a priest pending the outcome of the judicial process.

"The diocese is cooperating with civil authorities and encourages all victims of abuse to come forward," the statement from the Diocese of St. Cloud said.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 1:10 PM

The ugly story of Shaun White's sexual-harassment lawsuit and trying to reconcile it with his Olympic gold

PYEONGCHANG (SOUTH KOREA)
Yahoo Sports

February 14, 2018

By Jeff Passan

They grabbed, pawed, frothed, hopeful he might deign to make eye contact or maybe even snap a selfie. For nearly two hours following his Olympic gold medal-winning run in snowboard halfpipe, Shaun White, in the midst of television appearances and radio hits, never ignored the cadre of fans who stayed to pay homage for too long. Every few minutes, he acknowledged them, and they roared back. Eventually he veered toward those who braved the frigid air. The reaching arms almost swallowed him. Personal space does not exist in cults of personality.

Halfway across the world, those who don’t deify White struggled to reconcile what he’d done Wednesday morning – throw arguably the greatest run in halfpipe snowboarding history – with what he’d allegedly done in previous years. The 100th Winter Olympics gold medalist in American history – according to a lawsuit by Lena Zawaideh, the former drummer in his band, that White later settled – texted her pictures of penises. He showed her video of a couple having sex on top of a bear that the man had shot dead and another “hardcore porn” video involving a priest, a nun and feces when she was 17 or 18 years old. He allegedly forced her to drink vodka. He insisted she change her look and wardrobe, once threatening to send her home because he didn’t like a fleece sweater she had worn. He stuck his hands down his pants, then shoved them in her face to smell them, the lawsuit alleged.

“After losing at the Olympics [in 2014],” the lawsuit said, “White became increasingly hostile and threatening, especially toward Zawaideh.”

White, who admitted to sending the texts but denied other allegations, has acknowledged being in a dark place following his fourth-place finish in the Sochi Games and cast his gold medal in PyeongChang, the third of his Olympic career, as the denouement of a redemptive arc. White refused to address questions about the lawsuit, calling it “gossip.” “I am who I am,” he said. “And I’m proud of who I am. And my friends love me and vouch for me, and I think that stands on its own.”

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 12:06 PM

Why Isn't Anyone Talking About Shaun White's Sexual Harassment Lawsuit?

UNITED STATES
Glamour

February 14, 2018

By Stacey Leasca

UPDATE 2/14: After immense coverage—and criticism— online, NBC addressed Shaun White's sexual harassment lawsuit on the air Wednesday. "I've grown as a person over the years," White said during an interview on the "Today" show, hours after winning his third gold medal in the men's snowboarding halfpipe. White also apologized for calling the allegations as "gossip" during a post-competition press conference. "I'm truly sorry that I chose the word 'gossip.' It was a poor choice of words to describe such a sensitive subject in the world today," he said."I was so overwhelmed with just wanting to talk about how amazing today was and share my experience." White also told "Today" he feels like he's "a much more changed person than I was when I was younger. I'm proud of who I am today."

Original story 2/13: On Tuesday, snowboarder Shaun White competed in the halfpipe finals at the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics. The 31-year-old—arguably the biggest celebrity in Olympic village beloved by fans, the media, and advertisers—took the gold medal. Deserved, as far as the competition goes, but according to a 2016 lawsuit, White has a history that's being overlooked.

According to USA Today, In May 2017, White settled a lawsuit leveled against him a year earlier by Lena Zawaideh, the former drummer of his band Bad Things. In the suit, Zawaideh alleged that White repeatedly sexually harassed her and forced her to watch “sexually disturbing videos, including videos sexualizing human fecal matter." Moreover, TMZ reported that Zawaideh said she was also forced to watch a video showing a couple killing a bear and fornicating on top of it.

Zawaideh, according to USA Today, first put forth a suit against White and his company for breach of contract for failing to pay her $3,750 monthly retainer from September 2013 through August 2014. She later amended the complaint to include sexual harassment allegations and pointed to screenshots of vulgar messages allegedly sent by White as evidence.

“Shaun took some kind of joy in seeing how much he could break me down and mess with me,” Zawaideh told Page Six in 2016. “I don’t know why, but every time he saw that I was uncomfortable with something, he would just keep going just to be like, ‘Can I break her?’ That’s not acceptable for an employee, which I was. Contractually.”

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 12:04 PM

Aly Raisman poses unclothed for Sports Illustrated: 'Women do not have to be modest to be respected'

UNITED STATES
Yahoo Lifestyle

February 13, 2018

By Raechal Leone Shewfelt

Olympic great Aly Raisman has returned to the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issue, and this time, she brought along a message.

The 23-year-old, who led the U.S. gymnastics team to gold medals in 2012 and 2016, posed with inspiring words scrawled on her body, such as “survivor” across her chest, “live 4 you” and “every voice matters” down one arm, and “fierce” on the other. “Women do not have to be modest to be respected” ran down one side of her body. There was no swimsuit, no clothing at all, just those words, which Raisman — not the photographer or stylists — chose, as did all the women featured in the what the magazine called its “In Her Own Words” project.

Raisman has been showing her strength beyond the physical, which audiences saw on display in London and Rio de Janeiro. In November, she revealed on 60 Minutes that she was one of the more than 265 people who had been sexually abused by Larry Nassar, the disgraced former doctor for the USA gymnastics team who’s been convicted of molesting athletes. Then, Raisman was one of around 100 victims who addressed Nassar in the courtroom as he was sentenced in January.

When it was her turn to speak — she was the 73rd victim to address Nassar — Raisman did not mince words. She was, well, fierce.

“Larry, you do realize that this group of women you heartlessly abused over a long period of time are now a force. And you are nothing,” Raisman said, as she faced her abuser. “The tables have turned Larry. We are here. We have our voices. And we are not going anywhere.”

In the wake of the Nassar scandal, Raisman also has called out the USA Gymnastics culture that enabled Nassar to continue abusing for decades.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 12:01 PM

USA Gymnastics: There are no other non-disclosure agreements

LANSING (MI)
The Associated Press

February 13, 2018

By David Eggert

USA Gymnastics told Congress it has not used non-disclosure agreements in investigations except in the case of Olympic gold medalist McKayla Maroney, one of more than 200 women and girls who have said now-imprisoned sports doctor Larry Nassar sexually abused them under the guise of treatment.

The Indianapolis-based organization's statement was part of its response to an initial congressional inquiry that was made public Tuesday. The leaders of a Senate subcommittee with jurisdiction over the health and safety of athletes also released answers provided by Michigan State University — Nassar's longtime employer until 2016 — and the U.S. Olympic Committee.

The Senate probe, one of at least three investigations in Congress, is partly focused on the non-disclosure agreement for Maroney, who in December sued to invalidate the deal that had been reached with USA Gymnastics more than a year before. She said she was forced to sign the confidential settlement and argued it violated California law.

USA Gymnastics President and CEO Kerry Perry in a letter to Sens. Jerry Moran, a Kansas Republican, and Richard Blumenthal, a Connecticut Democrat, denied that the organization coerced Maroney and said it had worked with its insurer to resolve the claim "expeditiously without the need for litigation." USA Gymnastics took "absolutely no action" against Maroney with respect to the confidentiality provision when she disclosed the abuse publicly in October and has publicly praised her for coming forward, Perry said. Maroney also had a victim impact statement read on her behalf when Nassar was recently sentenced to 40 to 175 years in prison in Michigan.

"At this time, USA Gymnastics deems the parties mutually released from the mutual confidentiality agreement (and certain other settlement provisions challenged in her lawsuit) and has communicated that to Ms. Maroney's counsel," Perry wrote.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 12:00 PM

U.S. restaurant workers target low wages in campaign against sexual harassment

UNITED STATES
Reuters

February 13, 2018

By Lisa Baertlein

Restaurant workers in seven U.S. cities on Tuesday lobbied state and local lawmakers to combat sexual harassment in the industry by shifting from the $2.13 federal minimum wage for tipped employees to a higher “fair” wage.

Some 70 percent of workers who receive tips in addition to their hourly pay in the United States are women.

The combination of low hourly pay and dependence on customer gratuities makes them particularly vulnerable to harassment from customers and colleagues, said Saru Jayaraman, president of the Restaurant Opportunities Centers United (ROC) which advocates for better working conditions.

Women workers earning their state’s full minimum wage before tips reported half the rate of sexual harassment as women in the states that pay $2.13 per hour, according to a study from ROC, which has called on lawmakers to follow the lead of California, Washington, Nevada and four other states that pay the more generous “fair” wage.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 11:57 AM

Queens man who claimed clergy sex abuse gets $500,000 award

ROCKVILLE CENTRE (NY)
Newsday

February 13, 2018

By Bart Jones

The money comes from a program set up in October by the Diocese of Rockville Centre to give victims compensation if they agree not to sue the diocese.

A Queens man who said he was sexually abused by a priest in the Diocese of Rockville Centre decades ago said Tuesday he was awarded $500,000 through a compensation fund set up by the diocese.

Thomas McGarvey, 52, said he received notification of the payment last month from the administrators of the Independent Reconciliation and Compensation Program. The settlement, announced at a news conference Wednesday, is the first to be publicly disclosed.

The program, established in October, provides victims with financial compensation if they agree not to take legal action against the diocese. It was modeled after programs launched in the Archdiocese of New York and the Diocese of Brooklyn.

McGarvey said the settlement was bittersweet for him. “Whatever settlement they gave me is not going to wipe out the pain that I went through,” he said.

But he added that he hopes it will at least give him some closure to the events that have haunted him for decades, and help him move on with his life.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 11:54 AM

February 13, 2018

I’ve Been a Mormon for 75 Years. Here’s What I Know About the Church and Assault.

NEW YORK (NY)
The Cut

February 13, 2018

By Judy Dushku

The most shocking thing about the outing of Rob Porter this week is not that there is another accused wife-batterer in the White House — it’s who did the outing: his Mormon ex-wives. Mormon women pretty reliably show up in comedy and drama as naïve, passive, and sweet mothers; gentle women who do not take the reins in blowing up an abuser and a criminal. In bringing down Porter, Jennie Willoughby and Colbie Holderness defied their church bishops, who had dismissed their allegations about how he punched and choked them, and instead went public. They shared photographs, and details of the alleged abuse, and refused to back down — even in the face of a president who doubts them. To see Mormon women take on a Mormon man of such stature is quite a new image.

I’m a 75-year-old woman, and I’ve been a Mormon my whole life. I am so proud of these breakers of the mold, these bold and honest survivors who have taken a well-protected bull by his horns and refused to give up.

Mormon women often ask ourselves if we are “too nice” and “too timid.” In the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we are urged to speak up and take a stand on important issues of the day, but we acknowledge that we are culturally socialized to be polite and gentle to the point of being submissive. In talks by our leaders, women held as role models are typically described as modest, humble, and kind, people who accomplish great things through quiet persistence or meekness. We tease each other about how often we begin a sentence with “I’m sorry, but …” Or if we decide to criticize something, we say, “I don’t mean to be mean, but … ” Often, we back down from our firmest declarations of disagreement and anger.

And if a woman acts in ways out of sync with this style, she is usually shunned. Administrative and teaching roles in Church congregations are filled by members who are “called to serve” by a local male leader. Women who are “called” are likely to be charismatic and energetic — but still able to appear docile and dutiful. Women who seem to have mastered the art of leading with an air of the eager harmonizer are the ones who rise to the “top” spots in a congregational or ward hierarchy.

Women habituated to this style of interacting with others are perhaps not the best prepared to fight back if they are mistreated. In our church, the abuse of women by men is not new. And in the last decade it has been widely discussed, and acknowledged as a problem. Yes, there are manuals for ward bishops that are intended to help them deal with the complaints of women who describe abuse — but everyone knows about incidents of spousal abuse in every ward, which still often go minimized or ignored. When Colbie Holderness confided in her bishop about Porter’s alleged abuse, he cautioned that filing a protective order could harm her husband’s career. Jennie Willoughby says her bishop did not respond to her complaints about her husband being “physical” with any great concern.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 4:37 PM

FBI Chief Disputes White House Claims On When It Heard Of Rob Porter Allegations

WASHINGTON (DC)
The Huffington Post

February 13, 2018

By S.V. Date

Christopher Wray said the FBI turned in a partial report about the domestic abuse accusations nearly a year ago.

WASHINGTON ― The White House’s attempts to explain why it allowed a top aide accused of domestic violence by both of his ex-wives to keep his job took another hit on Tuesday, this time from FBI Director Christopher Wray.

President Donald Trump’s other top aides have been claiming that they did not know about the domestic violence allegations against former staff secretary Rob Porter until recently and that they did not appreciate the full extent of the accusations until photographs of one woman’s injuries were published by news outlets.

But Wray, who was named to that job by Trump, told the Senate Intelligence Committee that the FBI had given the White House a preliminary report on Porter nearly a year ago.

“I can’t get into the content of what was briefed,” he said in response to a question from Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.). “What I can tell you is that the FBI submitted a partial report on the investigation in question in March and then a completed background investigation in late July.”

Wray added that the FBI “soon thereafter” received a request for a follow-up from the White House, which it completed and returned in November.

The FBI closed out its investigation in January, but then received “additional information” in early February, which it passed along as well, Wray said.

White House officials did not respond to multiple requests for comment about Wray’s testimony, which contradicts timelines offered by the White House press office over the past week.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 4:32 PM

Lee students blast sexual assault scandals through podcast

CLEVELAND (TN)
Lee Clarion

February 13, 2018

By Kiersten Powers

If there's something to be said about the students featured on the Thoughts of the Roundtable podcast, it's that they aren't shying away from the tough subjects.

The students, Juan and Rebeca Molina, Chris Seders and Gabby Oechsle, have a mission of addressing important topics to further educate and discuss solutions with each other.

And recently? Sexual abuse in the church.

In a recent episode of Thoughts of the Roundtable entitled “Chris Hansen, Where Are You?,” the group discussed the multitude of recent sexual harassment scandals, from those in Hollywood to the accused in politics and religion.

Pope Francis is currently receiving backlash for his support of a bishop who has been accused of covering up one of the largest sexual assault cases.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 4:32 PM

Judge: Lawsuit Claiming Montana Priest Sex Abuse Can Proceed

GREAT FALLS (MT)
The Associated Press

February 13, 2018

A federal judge is allowing lawsuits to proceed in state court by two people who claim they were sexually abused in a small southern Montana town by a Roman Catholic priest in the 1970s and 1980s.

A U.S. judge has granted a request for lawsuits to proceed in Montana state court that were filed by two people who claim they were sexually abused as children by a Roman Catholic priest in the small southern town of Absarokee in the 1970s and 1980s.

Monday's order by U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Jim Papas said the parties were not making progress in settlement negotiations, the Great Falls Tribune reported .

"Time to do something else," he wrote.

The Diocese of Great Falls-Billings, which covers the eastern half of Montana, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection while working to settle 86 claims of abuse from the 1940s to the 1980s.

Attorneys for the two victims whose cases are moving forward argued deciding their claims in state court could help determine damage amounts due to the other 84 plaintiffs.

The claims involve a woman who said the Rev. Joseph Heretick abused her from 1983 to 1986 and a man who said he was abused by Heretick and another priest from 1974 to 1980. Heretick died in 1999.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 4:30 PM

‘Bill & Ted’ Star Alex Winter Says ‘Silly’ Films Helped Him Heal Sexual Abuse Trauma

LOS ANGELES (CA)
The Wrap

February 2, 2018

By Rosemary Rossi

Actor says “hellish” experience left him with PTSD

Alex Winter best known as Bill to Keanu Reeves’ Ted in the cult classic “Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure,” has come forward as a victim of sexual abuse.

In an interview with BBC Radio 5, the former teen star said he was sexually abused when he was a child actor in the 1970s, and making the “Bill & Ted” films and short-lived series was “therapeutic.”

“It was an opportunity to be child-like… innocent and sweet,” the actor said in an interview Friday. “I absolutely feel like a survivor.”

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 4:28 PM

More than 60 women have filed sexual harassment complaints against IHOP, Applebee’s restaurants

UNITED STATES
Vox

February 7, 2018

By Alexia Fernández Campbell

They describe a work environment where groping and sexual requests from co-workers were rampant.

In late 2011, a 16-year-old girl from suburban St. Louis landed her first job as a waitress at a local IHOP restaurant. She needed to work there for at least a year to complete her high school co-op program. At first, it made her uncomfortable when her boss repeatedly complimented her appearance. Within a few months, his behavior made her terrified to go to work.

The Illinois teen's fear of getting fired — and not graduating on time — led her to put up with escalating sexual harassment from the restaurant's general manager, according to allegations described in federal court documents filed in September. At one point, the manager allegedly threatened to "get violent" if she didn't have sex with him.

Ten of the waitress's female co-workers described similar experiences with two male cooks at the restaurant in a sexual harassment lawsuit they filed together in September 2017 against the IHOP franchise owner. They all accused the general manager and other supervisors of ignoring their complaints — and even condoning the behavior in some cases.

Those complaints were just a few of the nearly 7,000 sexual harassment reports against employers that were reviewed in 2017 by the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), which enforces federal civil rights laws. Sexual harassment at work is a form of illegal gender discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. The women each filed a separate EEOC complaint, and the EEOC decided to file a class-action lawsuit on their behalf.

Sexual harassment is a particularly serious problem in restaurant and hotel jobs. From 2005 to 2015, hotel and restaurant workers filed at least 5,000 sexual harassment complaints with the EEOC — more than any other industry, according to an analysis from the Center for American Progress. This number represents only a fraction of all complaints filed by restaurant workers, as only about half of the 85,000 sexual harassment complaints filed with the EEOC in that time frame designated a specific industry.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 4:26 PM

One in five women have been sexually assaulted, analysis finds

ENGLAND and WALES
The Guardian

February 8, 2018

By Alan Travis

Official analysis from latest Crime Survey of England and Wales lays bare extent of problem

One in five women in England and Wales have experienced some type of sexual assault since the age of 16, according to official analysis of violent crime figures.

The latest release of findings from the Crime Survey for England and Wales shows more than 510,000 women – an estimated 3.1% of all women aged 16 to 59 – experienced some type of sexual assault in the past year.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 4:20 PM

Judges Hear Arguments in Spanier Appeal

STATE COLLEGE (PA)
State College

February 7, 2018

By Geoff Rushton

A panel of Superior Court judges heard oral arguments on Wednesday as former Penn State President Graham Spanier seeks to have his conviction on a charge of endangering the welfare of children overturned.

Spanier was found guilty in March on the misdemeanor charge related to his handling of a 2001 report about Jerry Sandusky, but the jury found him not guilty on a felony child endangerment charge and a felony count of conspiracy.

The two-year statute of limitations had long run out when he was charged in 2012, he argues. Spanier's attorney, Bruce Merenstein, said trial judge John Boccabella made a post-trial ruling granting an exception for an extension that applies to a child endangerment charge when a minor under the age of 18 was the victim of a sexual offense, until the victim is 50, according to the Associated Press.

That issue was never raised before Boccabella made the post-trial ruling and Spanier's attorneys had no opportunity to address it, Merenstein argued.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 3:44 PM

RTAB #82: JOHN BARR

UNITED STATES
PodcastOne

February 11, 2018

By Andrew Brandt

ESPN Investigative reporter John Barr is this week's guest on the Business Of Sports. He talks with Andrew about covering the Larry Nassar case.

Length: 0:43:28

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 3:18 PM

Judge grants clergy abuse plaintiffs 2 more months to serve papers

GUAM
Pacific Daily News

February 13, 2018

By Haidee V. Eugenio

U.S. District Court Chief Judge Frances Tydingco-Gatewood granted seven clergy sex-abuse accusers up to early April to serve legal documents to three defendants in their lawsuits.

This includes the Capuchin Franciscans and the Congregation of Holy Cross, which are both in Italy, and former Saint Anthony Catholic School teacher Ray Caluag in the Philippines.

"The court finds good cause for and finds defendants will not be prejudiced by the requested extensions," the judge wrote, granting a two-month extension that takes effect from the date of her Feb. 12 order.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 2:17 PM

Commentary: Mormon church needs to train bishops better — and teach them that most domestic violence reports turn out to be true

SALT LAKE CITY (UT)
Religion News Service via the Salt Lake Tribune

February 13, 2018

By Jana Riess

I’m angry, but I’m trying to understand.

White House aide Rob Porter resigned last week from his job as staff secretary because a story broke that his two ex-wives had accused him of abuse. Despite that, this administration had kept him in power.

Apparently, after the FBI’s investigation early in 2017, it did not grant Porter a full security clearance, and he’s been operating all this time on an interim clearance.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 2:15 PM

Evidence shows Pope Francis is a ‘principal in a cover-up’ of clergy sex-abuse in Chile: Expert

WASHINGTON (DC)
LifeSiteNews

February 12, 2018

By Lisa Bourne

Those familiar with Jorge Bergoglio in Argentina before he became Pope Francis say it is a “classic” move of his to provide “mercy” to clergy who are sexual predators while asking everybody else to simply “move on,” said attorney and child advocate Elizabeth Yore on an EWTN show last week.

“I think this is a misplaced mercy. It is mercy for the predator priests,” she told EWTN’s Raymond Arroyo on the February 8 episode of World Over.

“There are many people who know the Pope from Argentina who have said this is classic Bergoglio to provide mercy to the predators and ask everybody else to move on,” she added.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 2:14 PM

Australian Bishops: Pray and fast in reparation for child sexual abuse

AUSTRALIA
Vatican News

February 13, 2018

By Richard Marsden

Catholics in Australia will observe a four day period of fasting and reparation in sorrow for child sex abuse and for the healing of victims.

The Catholic Bishops of Australia are calling on the Catholic community to make the first four days of Lent a period of fasting and reparation in sorrow for the “tragedy” of child sex abuse within the Church.

In a letter published by the Australian Bishops Conference, Catholics are encouraged to pray at home and in their parishes - that is, both privately and publicly - for the healing of victims and survivors ahead of the Church giving its response to recommendations made by the Royal Commission into child sex abuse.

The bishops conference has also published texts of special liturgies and prayers for the period of reparation (February 14-17) on its website - including a Holy Hour and Benediction, a Penitential Celebration, and Evening Prayer of the Church.

In the Lenten statement, the bishops write: “Through fasting, we stand in solidarity with the victims and survivors of abuse whose much deeper hunger is for healing and peace in their lives. Through reparation, we make amends for the sin of those in the Church who abused children or failed to listen and act when they should have.” The message adds that these spiritual exercises “express our desire for God’s reconciling and healing grace.”

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 2:08 PM

Investigator | Church suspends controversial Bishop following alleged sex abuse

CLEVELAND (OH)
WKYC3

February 12, 2018

By Tom Meyer

Joseph White has been suspended.

Dr. Joseph White, presiding Bishop of the Church of the Living God International (CLGI), has been suspended following allegations of sexual misconduct.

The church’s board of directors placed White on leave from any official duties or capacity with the church until the matter is resolved.

In a letter to CLGI members, the board said, “…these are serious allegations…we must allow the legal process to work…so that justice may be served.”

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 1:53 PM

Porter ex-wife: Strength doesn't 'inoculate a person against abuse'

WASHINGTON (DC)
CNN

February 13, 2018

By Eli Watkins

WH staff secretary Rob Porter reresigned last week

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Colbie Holderness, one of the women who have gone public with allegations of spousal abuse by a former top White House aide, wrote in a piece published Monday evening that abuse affects many different types of people.

"Being strong -- with excellent instincts and loyalty and smarts -- does not inoculate a person against abuse. It doesn't prevent her from entering into a relationship with an abuser. Abuse often doesn't manifest itself early on -- only later, when you're in deep and behind closed doors. The really ugly side of Rob's abuse only came out after we married, following three years of dating," Holderness wrote in a Washington Post op-ed.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 1:51 PM

Rob Porter's first ex-wife responds to Kellyanne Conway

WASHINGTON (DC)
Politico

February 13, 2018

By Louis Nelson

Colbie Holderness, an ex-wife of a former Trump administration official Rob Porter, took umbrage in a Washington Post op-ed at the seeming suggestion from counselor to the president Kellyanne Conway that victims of domestic violence lack strength.

Conway, in an appearance last weekend on CNN’s “State of the Union,” was asked about Porter, the former White House staff secretary who resigned last week amid allegations of abuse from Holderness and another ex-wife, Jennifer Willoughby. The counselor to the president told CNN she had no reason not to believe the allegations from Willoughby and Holderness, but when asked if she feared for White House communications director Hope Hicks, reported to be dating Porter, Conway said, “I’ve rarely met somebody so strong with such excellent instincts and loyalty and smarts.”

“Her statement implies that those who have been in abusive relationships are not strong,” Holderness wrote in her op-ed, published online Monday night. “I beg to differ.”

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 1:49 PM

WHITE HOUSE THINKS HOPE HICKS IS ‘IMMUNE’ TO DOMESTIC VIOLENCE FROM ROB PORTER, MSNBC HOST SAYS

WASHINGTON (DC)
Newsweek

February 13, 2018

By Harriet Sinclair

The Trump White House has taken an unusual position on Hope Hicks’s romantic relationship with alleged domestic abuser Rob Porter, MSNBC host Lawrence O'Donnell has claimed.

On Monday, O'Donnell slammed counselor Kellyanne Conway for her assertion that the White House Communications Director Hicks is a “strong woman.”

On his show, The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell, the host singled out White House counselor Kellyanne Conway for claiming she is not worried about communications director Hicks's relationship with Porter because Hicks is a "strong woman."

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 1:48 PM

Judge allows two claims in diocese sex abuse case to proceed in district court

GREAT FALLS (MT)
Great Falls Tribune

February 12, 2018

By Seaborn Larson

A federal judge on Monday granted a motion allowing two claims of sexual abuse by an Absarokee priest in the 1970s and '80s to proceed to conclusion through the state courts.

The order by U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Jim Papas allows two claims to move forward in district court, which was not previously an option after the Great Falls-Billings Diocese filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy last year to move toward a settlement for the 86 people who have filed claims of sexual, physical and emotional abuse. Most claim the abuse took place in their youths at the hands of eastern Montana clergy from 1940s to the 1990s.

"The parties have negotiated, and are not making any progress in the Chapter 11 case," Papas said during the hearing. "Time to do something else."

Attorneys for the victims argued in January that while settlement negotiations are not moving forward, processing two claims at the state court level would provide more insight when working toward a settlement for the remaining 84 victims.

The district court case will likely decide whether or not the diocese was negligent in these instances of abuse, as alleged by attorneys for the victims.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 1:45 PM

Surprised John Kelly would overlook abuse? The military that bred him is rife with it.

UNITED STATES
USA Today

February 13, 2018

By Joanne Lipman

Military leaders believe the brothers in arms they know, not the female victims they don’t. It’s not surprising that Kelly would defend Porter.

For days, pundits have been puzzling over how John Kelly, the straight-arrow retired general brought in to restore order to the Trump White House as chief of staff, could have tolerated an accused wife-beater as staff secretary.

After all, Kelly was told about Rob Porter’s alleged abuse weeks ago by the FBI, which also informed him that Porter was unlikely to receive security clearance because of it, according to Politico. On Friday, a second White House staffer stepped down after he too was accused of abusing his wife.

The question is, why would Kelly have put up with it?

Here’s one answer that few have dared raise: the ingrained, extensive culture of sexual harassment in the military. Not just tolerating abuse, but allowing it to fester, particularly at the highest levels. The military culture that turned a blind eye to domestic abuse and sex scandals by top brass over a period of many years is the same one that bred John Kelly.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 1:19 PM

The conversation we need to have about abuse

ST. GEORGE (UT)
Deseret News Hive via The Spectrum

February 12, 2018

By Lois M. Collins

Domestic violence has stepped to the forefront of national discussion with the resignations last week of two well-placed White House staffers amid allegations they abused their former spouses.

Both Rob Porter, who was serving as staff secretary, and speechwriter David Sorenson have denied the accusations.

The national conversation on domestic violence overlaps increased awareness of sexual harassment and assault, courtesy of the #MeToo and Time's Up campaigns. Those rose from myriad allegations of sexual wrongdoing against prominent men in media, entertainment, politics and elsewhere. The #MeToo social media campaign has focused on how women are treated and some experts believe the openness engendered there is spilling over to benefit victims of domestic violence, most of whom are women.

"I can't believe that it wouldn't to some degree," although no one's studied if #MeToo has impacted victims of domestic abuse, said David Derezotes, University of Utah social work professor and director of the Peace and Conflict Studies Program.

To Kathleen Lopez, the shattered silence sounds beautiful.

"Calling it 'time's up' is perfect. It's time to have these conversations and make things better," said Lopez, owner and CEO of Sentinel Sales & Management in American Fork. Three decades ago, she packed only a diaper bag and took her 8-month-old son to a battered-women's shelter to escape domestic abuse.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 1:15 PM

Resignation of White House staffer shines light on LDS Church’s abuse training

SALT LAKE CITY (UT)
FOX13

February 12, 2018

By Matt McDonald

The resignation of White House staffer Rob Porter is shining a light on domestic abuse and the role LDS bishops have in aiding victims.

"I hold no ill will towards that bishop. I think he was making a decision the best that he could,” said Jennie Willoughby, one of Porter’s ex-wives. She says she told her LDS bishop about the abuse and was counseled to consider the impact a protective order would have on Porter’s career.

Her story has sparked many to post their own experiences in online forums.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 1:09 PM

Jury told accused priest threw out pills

SYDNEY (AUSTRALIA)
9News

February 13, 2018

A Russian Orthodox priest accused of molesting a 14-year-old boy threw out a rubbish bag containing tablets after he was questioned by police, a Sydney jury has been told.

Stanislav Vakhabov, known as Father Christopher, has pleaded not guilty to detaining the boy for his own sexual gratification, giving him intoxicating substances to make it easier to have unlawful sexual activity and four counts of indecent assault in 2014

The Crown has alleged the now 35-year-old invited the overseas boy to stay with him at his single-bedroom flat on the Croydon church grounds, not informing church authorities.

Giving evidence in the District Court on Tuesday, Deacon Ivan Bots said Vakhabov phoned him about midnight around the middle of 2014 saying he had just got back from the police station after being interrogated.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 1:07 PM

Native American Boarding School Abuse Victims Seek New Law

PIERRE (SD)
The Associated Press

February 12, 2018

By James Nord

South Dakota lawmakers may establish a new window for victims of childhood sexual abuse at Native American boarding schools to file lawsuits against organizations like schools and churches.

South Dakota lawmakers are considering establishing a three-year window for victims of childhood sexual abuse at Native American boarding schools to file lawsuits against organizations like schools and churches, a move that supporters say would allow survivors to have their stories heard.

The Senate Judiciary Committee plans to debate a measure Tuesday that would create the new time frame for victims to file civil claims and repeal a provision in state law banning victims 40 and older from recovering damages from people or entities other than the actual abuser.

Louise Charbonneau Aamot is one of nine sisters who unsuccessfully sued over alleged sexual abuse committed before 1975 at St. Paul's Indian Mission, a boarding school in Marty, South Dakota. The 67-year-old member of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa said officials need to ensure it never happens again at any school or church.

"We know that God's with us on this journey. We've been through so much, and there's so much pain," she said. "But we're hoping, you know, they listen to us this time."

The Associated Press typically doesn't identify sexual assault victims unless they come forward publicly.

Attorney Michelle Dauphinais Echols, the bill's author, said it's for "healing and justice." Victims haven't had an opportunity to have their cases heard on the merits of their claims, she said.

"I think this would be a great first step to just try to help them along their journey to healing and closure," Dauphinais Echols said.

The South Dakota Supreme Court in 2012 dismissed the sister's and others' claims against religious groups including the Catholic Diocese of Sioux Falls. The court found that the lawsuits were filed years after the applicable statute of limitations had expired and that the diocese wasn't liable because it wasn't responsible for the children.

The new legislation would clarify that any person or organization engaged in the Native American boarding school system may be held liable for childhood sexual abuse. The bill's original language would eliminate the statute of limitations, but an amendment aims to create a three-year window for filing claims, Dauphinais Echols said. It also would revive claims barred because the applicable statute of limitations has expired.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 1:04 PM

UK Catholic aid agency suspends staff member implicated in Oxfam sex scandal

LEICESTER (UK)
Crux

February 13, 2018

By Charles Collins

A scandal involving a British anti-poverty charity in Haiti has impacted CAFOD, the Catholic international aid agency for England and Wales.

An investigative series by The Times, an English newspaper, revealed Oxfam staff used prostitutes in “Caligula”-like sex parties while providing aid in Haiti in 2011. The newspaper alleges some of those prostitutes may have been underaged.

Oxfam is a global international aid agency founded in Oxford in 1942. It now consists of 19 separate international committees, and is one of the largest aid federations in the world.

It was revealed that one of the persons accused of sexual misconduct later began working for CAFOD in the Philippines, after leaving Oxfam.

“CAFOD has a zero-tolerance approach to misconduct breaching our Code of Behavior, including fraud, abuse, intimidation and other acts,” said Chris Bain, the director of the Catholic agency.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 1:02 PM

Survivors respond to Ballarat Diocese meeting abuse compensation

BALLARAT (AUSTRALIA)
The Courier

February 13, 2018

By Rochelle Kirkham and Siobhan Calafiore

Clergy abuse survivors are pushing for a more comprehensive redress model as the Catholic Diocese of Ballarat reveals it is confident in being in a financial position to meet all compensation claims.

The Ballarat Diocese has paid more than $4.9 million in compensation to survivors of child sexual abuse and more than $1 million in pastoral support to abuse survivors so far.

But Ballarat clergy abuse survivor Tony Wardley has said while the figure may seem big, broken down it was simply not enough when it came to redress for survivors.

He estimated using the money as compensation for the victims of disgraced paedophile priest Gerald Ridsdale alone would equate to about $30-40,000 each.

“If you divide that up by the amount of survivors you’ll see how pathetic the actual compensation has been for (the Catholic Church’s) Towards Healing,” he said.

“We want just compensation, not more money because more money doesn’t fix anything. It’s ongoing care like medical, that’s where the redress scheme has let everyone down. We need specialist help from the medical side and just can’t afford it.”

Diocesan business manager Andrew Jirik has said the diocese would continue to meet compensation claims from its assets and insurance.

“The Diocese of Ballarat has drawn these funds from its own resources, including its insurer where its policies apply, without recourse to the assets of its 51 parishes which belong to local parish communities across the diocese,” Mr Jirik said.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 1:00 PM

Australian bishops dedicate start of Lent to abuse victims

SYDNEY (AUSTRALIA)
CNA/EWTN News

February 13, 2018

The bishops of Australia have called on the faithful of the country to begin the season of Lent with four days of fasting and reparation for victims of sexual abuse within the Church.

One suggested prayer for the penitential period asks God: “May all those who have been abused physically, emotionally and sexually by your ministers be respected and accompanied by tangible gestures of justice and reparation so that they may feel healed with the balm of your compassion.”

It adds: “We pray that your Church may be a secure home where all children and vulnerable adults are brought closer to your Beloved Son.”

The Australian Catholic Bishops Conference in a Feb. 5 message asked Catholics to dedicate Feb. 14-17 as days of fasting and reparation for cases of sexual abuse within the Church.

They said that they and other Church leaders have often expressed sorrow and apologies for “the harm suffered by victims and survivors, the instances of cover-up, the failure to believe survivors’ stories and to respond with compassion and justice, and the distress that many still experience.”

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 12:59 PM

This is how Boise’s Catholic Diocese investigates sexual abuse accusations

BOISE (ID)
Idaho Statesman

February 12, 2018

By Ruth Brown

Until his recent arrest, Catholic Church officials say they didn’t investigate any complaints about the Rev. W. Thomas Faucher because they had none.

If the Roman Catholic Diocese of Boise had been aware of allegations of sexual misconduct against 72-year-old Faucher before his arrest, it would have followed existing policy, officials said.

Faucher, a longtime Catholic priest in Boise, was arrested last week on accusations of possessing and sharing child pornography, and possessing drugs such as marijuana and ecstasy. Prosecutors have no reason to believe any of the images were of local children, though they had not verified all of the victims’ identities last week.

The diocese’s 63-page policy is readily available and easily accessible. But it’s unclear how often the diocese investigates complaints of sexual misconduct, because investigations are not public record.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 12:43 PM

Larry Nassar case, #MeToo spur new Michigan legislation to combat sexual assault

DETROIT (MI)
Detroit Free Press

February 13, 2018

By Kristen Jordan Shamus

A group of Michigan lawmakers came together Monday to call for a three-pronged approach to combating sexual assault and harassment, especially on college campuses, aiming to pass new laws that will bolster prevention and education, better protect assault survivors and offer more accountability.

The Michigan Progressive Women's Caucus hopes to lift the statute of limitations on sexual assault cases involving those under the age of 16, create a new position of Title IX ombudsman within the state Department of Civil Rights, and increase funding for sexual assault prevention and education programs, among other measures.

The action comes in the midst of the #MeToo movement, and after the sentencing hearings of former Michigan State University sports medicine doctor Larry Nassar, who will serve the rest of his life in prison after assaulting hundreds of women and girls in the guise of medical care.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 10:34 AM

ALLEGED SEX-OFFENDER ARRESTED FOR FAKING MENTAL ILLNESS TO AVOID EXTRADITION

ISRAEL
The Jerusalem Post

February 12, 2018

By Jeremy Sharon

- Israel to extradite suspected haredi sex abuser to Australia
- Washing away the trauma of abuse

Malka Leifer is accused of having sexually abused several former pupils of hers while she served as the principal of the Adass Israel School in Melbourne, Australia.

Suspected sex offender Malka Leifer was arrested on Monday morning by police after an undercover investigation indicated that she has been feigning mental illness to avoid extradition to Australia.

Leifer is accused of 74 charges of sexual abuse against former pupils, who were minors at the time, at the Adass Israel School in Melbourne Australia where she served as a teacher and principal from 2003 to 2008.

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She fled to Israel in 2008 to avoid criminal proceedings, but extradition proceedings only began in 2014.

Leifer has managed to avoid extradition, however, by claiming mental illness ever since – claims that until now have been upheld by a medical review panel dealing with her case.

The Australian authorities have been anxious for Leifer’s extradition to be expedited given the gravity of the charges against her, and officials from the Australian government have met with Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked regarding the case on several occasions.

The police said in a statement on Monday that they had been requested to investigate the truth of Leifer’s mental status by Interpol and subsequently initiated their investigation.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 10:24 AM

Accused sex abuser Malka Leifer in Israel arrest

ISRAEL
The Australian

February 13, 2018

By Cameron Stewart

Accused sex offender and former school principal Malka Leifer has been re-arrested in Israel, a move welcomed by her victims who have fought a high-profile campaign to extradite her to Australia.

Police in Israel confirmed overnight that they had arrested Ms Leifer after a covert investigation into her claims that she was too mentally ill to face extradition to Australia. Israeli authorities said they would now renew extradition proceedings to bring her back to Melbourne where she is wanted for 74 counts of child sex abuse.

Dassi Erlich, one of Ms Leifer’s victims along with her two sisters Elly and Nicole, has welcomed the news.

“It is with a mixture of elation and relief coupled with anticipation towards the future, that we welcome the news of Malka Leifer’s arrest,” the sisters said in a statement. “We see this as a very important breakthrough in our long journey to achieve justice. It is shocking that charges of fraud and the feigning of mental illness have been used to evade justice for such a long time, but we are relieved that Malka Leifer’s arrest removes her from posing a potential threat to other vulnerable children.”

“It has been a very long ten years since Malka Leifer fled Australia. We are hopeful that this is a turning point in the extradition process.”

The covert police investigation into Ms Leifer came after Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull raised the issue with Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during Mr Turnbull’s visit to Israel in October.

Both sides of Australian politics as well as influential members of Australia’s Jewish community have lobbied Israel over the Liefer case.

Ms Leifer, who allegedly sexually abused girls in her care while principal of the ultra-orthodox Jewish Adass Israel school, fled Australia in 2008 before charges could be laid.

Ms Leifer was initially arrested in August 2014 but extradition proceedings against her all but collapsed in May last year when Ms Leifer’s lawyers successfully argued that she was psychologically unwell and too ill to attend extradition hearings. She was allowed to walk free but was ordered to undergo psychiatric treatment — a development that could have dragged on for years.

Concerns that Ms Leifer was faking her illness to avoid justice were raised when she was spotted at a festival in northern Israel last year.
Israeli police initiated a covert investigation into Ms Leifer to see whether her claims to be too ill to attend court were valid.

Child sex abuse activist and former abuse victim Manny Waks also welcomed the news. “I’m delighted to hear of Malka Leifer’s arrest and hope that it is the re-commencement of a process that leads to her extradition to Australia to face her accusers,” he said. “Her arrest is a credit to the many people who have worked tirelessly to ensure that she will be held to account and can no longer be a potential threat to children in Israel. I’m especially happy for her courageous alleged victims.”

Ms Leifer was helped by senior members of Melbourne’s ultra-orthodox Adass community in 2008 after they became aware of allegations of sexual abuse involving Ms Leifer, who was principal of the Adass Israel School. Victoria Police would eventually charge her with 74 counts of sexual assault and rape.

In 2015, former Victorian Supreme Court judge Jack Rush ordered the school to pay $1,024,428 in damages after Ms Erlich sued the school.

Ms Leifer’s alleged abuse of Ms Erlich began when Ms Erlich was 15 and allegedly continued for years. The leaders of the Adass community were widely criticised for helping Ms Leifer to fly to Israel on the night when allegations against her were first raised with them.
In his judgment Justice Rush stated: “The failure of the board to report the allegations to police prior to arranging Leifer’s urgent departure is deplorable.”

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 10:16 AM

MEDIA RELEASE – FEBRUARY 12, 2018

NEW YORK
Road to Recovery

Road to Recovery, Inc. – P.O. Box 279, Livingston, New Jersey 07039 – 862-368-2800

A childhood victim of clergy sexual abuse in the Diocese of Rockville Centre, New York, Thomas McGarvey, received $500,000 through the Independent Reconciliation and Compensation Program of the Diocese of Rockville Centre

Thomas McGarvey was sexually abused by Rev. Robert Brown (deceased) over the course of many years at St. Catherine of Sienna Parish, Franklin Square, Long Island, at other “Church” locations in the Diocese of Rockville Centre, New York, and in secular locations on Long Island

What

A press conference announcing that childhood clergy sexual abuse victim, Thomas McGarvey of Queens, New York, has received a settlement of $500,000 from the Diocese of Rockville Centre, New York, through its Independent Reconciliation and Compensation Program

When

Tuesday, February 13, 2018 at 11:45 am

Where

On the public sidewalk across from St. Agnes Cathedral, 29 Quealy Place, Rockville Centre, New York 11570

Who

Robert M. Hoatson, Ph.D., President of Road to Recovery, Inc., the non-profit charity based in New Jersey that has worked with Thomas McGarvey for years to help him recover and heal from childhood clergy sexual abuse. Thomas McGarvey and his attorney, Mitchell Garabedian of Boston, will be available by telephone

Why

Thomas McGarvey was a child when he was sexually abused many times over the course of many years by Fr. Robert Brown at St. Catherine of Sienna Parish in Franklin Square, Long Island and at other parishes and locations throughout Long Island. Thomas McGarvey courageously came forward to report that he had been sexually abused by Fr. Robert Brown and submitted his case to the Independent Reconciliation and Compensation Program (IRCP) of the Diocese of Rockville Centre, Long Island. The IRCP found Thomas McGarvey’s allegations credible and settled with him for $500,000.

Contacts

Robert M. Hoatson, Ph.D., Road to Recovery, Inc., 862-368-2800 – roberthoatson@gmail.com

Attorney Mitchell Garabedian, Boston, MA – 617-523-6250 – mgarabedian@garabedianlaw.com
(portrayed in the 2016 Academy Award-winning Best Picture, “Spotlight”)

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 10:10 AM

February 12, 2018

Clergy still believe some complainants are 'simply out for the money', abuse expert tells church leaders

ENGLAND
The Telegraph

February 10, 2018

By Olivia Rudgard

Clergy believe some abuse complainants are "simply out for the money", an expert has told General Synod.

Roger Singleton, a former chair of the Independent Safeguarding Authority, said that while attitudes among church members had improved, some priests still treated abuse allegations with "ambivalence, even hostility," and were "unable or unwilling to accept the need for sensible, proportionate measures" to prevent abuse.

As part of an update by church leaders on the Church of England's preparation for a series of abuse inquiries later this year, the former chief adviser to the government on the safety of children said some clergy "minimise the impacts which physical, sexual, emotional or spiritual abuse can have on people's lives". In some cases, he said, they "believe that complainants are simply out for the money".

He added that the Church needed to "grasp the nettle of dealing with clergy, readers, priests with PTO [permission to officiate] and lay leaders who persistently fail to attend training opportunities or speak disparagingly about reasonable safeguarding measures".

The bishop of Leeds also said that relations with the police needed to be improved, and said bishops were "frustrated by having to take the rap for things which are not our responsibility".

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 6:01 PM

Catholic Church's massive wealth revealed

AUSTRALIA
The Sydney Morning Herald

February 12, 2018

By Royce Millar, Ben Schneiders, and Chris Vedelago

The Catholic Church in Australia is worth tens of billions of dollars, making it one of the country’s biggest non-government property owners, and massively wealthier than it has claimed in evidence to major inquiries into child sexual abuse.

A six-month investigation by The Sydney Morning Herald has found that the church misled the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse by grossly undervaluing its property treasures in both NSW and Victoria while claiming that increased payments to abuse victims would require cuts to its social programs.

The investigation was based on intricate data from local councils that allowed more than 1860 valuations of church-owned property in Victoria. That showed that across 36 municipalities - including nearly all of metropolitan Melbourne - the church had land and buildings worth almost $7 billion in 2016.

Extrapolated nationally, using conservative assumptions, the church owns property worth more than $30 billion Australia-wide.

This put the Catholic church among the largest non-government property owners, by value, in NSW and Australia, rivalling Westfield’s network of shopping centres and other assets. It dwarfs all other large property owners.

"These figures confirm what we have known; there is huge inequity between the Catholic Church’s wealth and their responses to survivors," said Helen Last, chief executive of the In Good Faith Foundation.

"The 600 survivors registered for our Foundation’s services continue to experience minimal compensation and lack of comprehensive care in relation to their Church abuses. They say their needs are the lowest of church priorities.’’

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 5:58 PM

At the #metoo Olympics, organizers confront sexual abuse

PYEONGCHANG (SOUTH KOREA)
The Associated Press

February 12, 2018

By Claire Galofaro

A Catholic nun waits eight hours each day at a folding table, ready for a call but praying nothing has happened to cause the phone to ring.

Her office, the “Gender Equality Support Centre,” a tiny trailer tucked between a bathroom and a police post under the ski lift at the Phoenix Snow Park, is a nondescript acknowledgment of the revolution in women’s rights that, outside the Olympic gates, is thundering through the world.

Sungsook Kim — who goes by her religious name, Sister Droste — speaks little English. But to describe her mission, she says the name of the American movement: “me too.”

The Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang arrives amid the reckoning that has brought down celebrities, politicians and the entire board of U.S.A Gymnastics. NBC star Matt Lauer was fired for sexual misconduct, and his accuser said the harassment began at the last Winter Olympics, in Sochi.

During the Summer Games in Rio, two athletes were accused of assaulting housekeepers. A horrified world recently watched dozens of women and girls, some of them Olympians, describe in detail how Larry Nassar, the gymnastics doctor, had sexually abused them for decades as layers of elite athletic organizations failed to stop it.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 5:55 PM

With $30b in wealth, why is the Catholic Church struggling to pay for justice?

WOLLONGONG (AUSTRALIA)
Illawarra Mercury

February 12, 2018

By Ben Schneiders, Royce Millar, and Chris Vedelago

After a lifetime contributing to the Catholic Church, Neil Ormerod could give no more.

Following a Sunday mass in 2014, the Australian Catholic University theology professor told his parish priest he no longer trusted the church to use its resources in a way Jesus Christ would approve.

The trigger for his rebellion was the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse in 2014 - in particular, Cardinal George Pell’s testimony about the church’s brutal legal assault on John Ellis, a former altar boy abused by a priest in the 1970s.

When Ellis finally confronted the Sydney archdiocese in 2002, then led by Pell, it offered him $25,000 in compensation, which he rejected.

The church then dismissed Ellis’s proposal for a $100,000 settlement, instead spending $800,000 fighting him in court, successfully arguing it could not be sued because it did not exist as an entity.

The church threatened to pursue Ellis for its legal costs.

"That money was the accumulated wealth of generations of good faithful Catholics who gave with the best will in the world," says Ormerod. "It was used in an immoral attack on an abuse survivor and church member."

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 5:52 PM

Church facing years of shame as extent of abuse emerges, bishop warns

ENGLAND
Christian Today

February 10, 2018

By Harry Farley

The Church of England has upped its spending on safeguarding five-fold since 2014 as it attempts to address hundreds of abuse allegations against clergy and officials.

Despite this rapid increase in spending, Peter Hancock, the Bishop of Bath and Wells and the CofE's lead on safeguarding, warned the Church faces a painful couple of years as it goes before the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (ICCSA)'s public hearings.

'This will not be an easy couple of years – we will hear deeply painful accounts of abuse, of poor response, of "cover up",' he told the ruling general synod on Saturday. The Church, he added, will 'feel a deep sense of shame'.

In a presentation on safeguarding to the synod, he said: 'For too long, the Church has not responded well to those who allege abuse within our church communities. This is now changing and further change is needed.'

He added that while progress was made on safeguarding as a result of the spike in spending, the pace of that change must accelerate even more.

Figures revealed to synod revealed the Church dealt with 3,300 safeguarding cases in 2016 alone, around 594 of which were claims against clergy and officials. These include a mixture of new and historic accusations.

'I want to pay tribute to victims and survivors of abuse, regardless of their age or the circumstance in which the abuse took place or how long ago it took place. I have been humbled by their courage,' he said.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 5:50 PM

Children’s Publishing Reckons with Sexual Harassment in Its Ranks

NEW YORK (NY)
School Library Journal

January 3, 2018

By Drew Himmelstein

A writer was making small talk during the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators’ (SCBWI) annual conference when she says the man she was chatting with, a successful children’s book illustrator, reached over and touched her hair.

“He fondled a lock of my hair and leaned in to my ear and said, ‘You’re kinky, aren’t you?’” says the writer, who asked not to be identified. (See updated story: “Ishta Mercurio Goes Public as David Díaz Accuser.”)

The exchange, which happened in 2012 at SCBWI’s winter conference in New York and was witnessed by one of the writer’s friends, left the woman feeling “horrified” and “disgusted.” The illustrator, David Díaz, was a member of SCBWI’s board and a faculty member at the conference. Still, the writer, who at that point in her career was an unpublished aspiring children’s book author, did not complain about the incident at the time. However, in December 2017, Díaz resigned from his position on the SCBWI’s board, after sexual harassment complaints emerged about his past.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 5:48 PM

Cardinal Cupich defends Pope’s record on doctrine and abuse

ENGLAND
Catholic Herald

February 10, 2018

By Dan Hitchens

Cardinal Cupich called for a 'paradigm shift' in pastoral practice and said that the Pope recognised the need to 'listen' to abuse survivors

Cardinal Blase Cupich has defended Pope Francis’s record and called for a “paradigm shift” in Catholic practice.

Addressing the Von Hügel Institute at St Edmund’s College, Cambridge, under the title “Pope Francis’ Revolution of Mercy: Amoris Laetitia as a New Paradigm of Catholicity”, Cardinal Cupich called for “a major shift in our ministerial approach that is nothing short of revolutionary”.

The hoped-for “paradigm shift”, the cardinal said, would be from an approach focused on “the automatic application of universal principles” to one which is “continually immersed” in “concrete situations”.

Vigorous debate has followed the publication of Amoris Laetitia in April 2016, with different cardinals, bishops and theologians advancing varying interpretations.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 5:33 PM

Catholic Church national wealth estimated to be $30 billion, investigation finds

AUSTRALIA
Australian Broadcasting Corporation

February 12, 2018

By Emily Bourke

There are calls for the Catholic Church's tax-free status to be reviewed after a Fairfax investigation revealing the extent of property, assets and investments owned by the church in Australia.

Fairfax's six-month investigation found the Catholic Church was worth more than $9 billion in Victoria alone.

The investigation extrapolated that figure to estimate the church's national wealth at $30 billion.

The Age's journalists obtained property valuations from dozens of Victorian councils.

They found 1,800 church-owned properties, including churches, presbyteries, schools, nursing homes, hospitals, offices, tennis courts and even mobile phone towers.

But beyond real estate, there was superannuation, telecommunications, Catholic Church Insurance and Catholic Development Funds, which serve as an internal treasury.

Catholics for Renewal's Peter Johnstone, a corporate governance consultant, said most Catholics would have no idea about the extent of the church's assets.

"Certainly there's been no public record available to Catholics," he said.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 5:31 PM

Tribune Editorial: Sen. Hatch, and the LDS Church, minimize domestic violence

SALT LAKE CITY (UT)
The Salt Lake Tribune

February 11, 2018

Now that Sen. Orrin Hatch has announced his retirement, it appears that his handlers have taken the muzzle off.

Hatch made headlines this past week after he cavalierly dismissed reports of spousal abuse by his former chief of staff, Rob Porter.

Porter resigned as staff secretary to President Trump after information about his alleged physical and mental abuse of two ex-wives became public.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 5:29 PM

How the Ballarat Diocese is paying for abuse survivors compensation

BALLARAT (AUSTRALIA)
The Courier

February 12, 2018

By Rochelle Kirkham

The Catholic Diocese of Ballarat has revealed it is confident it will be in a financial position to meet all compensation claims for survivors of abuse.

The Ballarat Diocese has paid over $4.9 million in compensation to survivors of child sexual abuse and over $1 million in pastoral support to abuse survivors so far.

Diocecan business manager Andrew Jirik said the diocese would continue to meet compensation claims from its assets and insurance.

“The Diocese of Ballarat has drawn these funds from its own resources, including its insurer where its policies apply, without recourse to the assets of its 51 parishes which belong to local parish communities across the diocese,” Mr Jirik said.

“The diocese has been able to meet all claims to date and is confident that it will be in a position to continue to do so.”

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 5:28 PM

Catholic Church asked to acknowledge priest's daughter

AUCKLAND (NEW ZEALAND)
Radio NZ

February 12, 2018

By Phil Pennington

Kathleen* holds the rosary that was her mother's.

On the living room wall behind her is the wooden cross that was her father's.

Her father was a Catholic priest.

He took Holy Orders. He had a high profile in the Auckland diocese, said Kathleen. He was meant to be celibate.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 5:26 PM

Top U.S. diplomat highlights mandatory sexual harassment training

CAIRO
Reuters

February 12, 2018

CAIRO (Reuters) - U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Monday urged department employees to intervene if they witness sexual harassment, two days after U.S. President Donald Trump expressed sympathy for those accused of harassment and not given due process.

“There is no form of disrespect for the individual that I can identify, anything more demeaning than for someone to suffer this kind of treatment,” he said.

“It’s not OK if you’re seeing it happening and just look away. You must do something. You must notify someone. You must step in and intervene,” Tillerson added, speaking in Cairo to about 150 U.S. embassy staff outside the ambassador’s residence.

Tillerson’s comments came amid a chorus of sexual misconduct accusations against powerful men in media, business and politics in the United States that in recent days has reached top aides in the White House.

His remarks also stand in stark contrast to those expressed by Trump, who last week defended a top aide who resigned after domestic violence allegations against him came to light and over the weekend also took to Twitter to raise doubts about such allegations.

A second White House aide left late last week after domestic violence allegations against him also surfaced. Both men have denied the accusations. Reuters has not independently verified either case.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 5:22 PM

Chile Sex-Abuse Victim: 'Vatican Investigation Must Be Fair'

CHILE
TeleSurTV

February 9, 2018

Juan Carlos Cruz said Pope Francis had "set the clock back years and years" with his recent comments casting doubt on the credibility of victims of abuse.

A Chilean victim of clerical sexual abuse who is the key witness in the case of a bishop accused of covering it up says a Vatican investigation must be rigorous and fair if the church is to salvage its reputation on the issue.

In a telephone interview with Reuters from his home in the United States on Thursday, Juan Carlos Cruz said Pope Francis had "set the clock back years and years" with his recent comments casting doubt on the credibility of victims of abuse.

On Jan. 30, the Vatican said the pope had appointed the church's most experienced sexual abuse investigator to look into accusations that Bishop Juan Barros of the diocese of Osorno in Chile had covered up crimes against minors.

It was a dramatic U-turn for the pope, who eight days earlier told reporters aboard his plane returning from Latin America he was sure Barros was innocent and that the Vatican had received no concrete evidence against him.

Cruz said he had been "very touched and grateful" when the investigator, Archbishop Charles Scicluna of Malta, telephoned him to arrange a meeting in New York next week on his way to Chile.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 5:14 PM

Call for church to acknowledge priest was woman's father

AUCKLAND (NEW ZEALAND)
Radio New Zealand

February 12, 2018

An Auckland woman is breaking a half century of secrecy around her father. It's believed to be the first time in New Zealand that the child of a supposedly celibate Catholic priest has gone public. This comes after an international support website told RNZ a week ago, that half a dozen New Zealanders have contacted it saying they are the children of priests. The priest, who has since died, had a high profile in the Auckland Diocese. RNZ has seen the evidence he is the father - as has Bishop of Auckland Patrick Dunn.

An Auckland woman is asking the Catholic church to acknowledge her father was a priest.

The unnamed woman says her father was forced to keep the secret for decades as Catholic priests are meant to be celibate, RNZ reported.

The woman had received scientific evidence the priest was her father, and had taken that to Auckland Bishop Pat Dunn.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 5:11 PM

Former Priest Charged With Sexual Abuse Pleads to Battery

AURORA (IL)
NBC Chicago

February 11, 2018

His attorney says he expects Pedraza-Arias to leave the country soon

A former Catholic priest in suburban Chicago who was charged with sexually abusing two girls is likely returning to his native Colombia soon after pleading guilty to misdemeanor battery.

The Kane County State's Attorney's office says it agreed to the plea deal Friday after prosecutors analyzed evidence, communicated with the victims' families and received assurances that Alfredo Pedraza-Arias will be "removed from the United States."

A jail official says Pedraza-Arias was released Saturday "to the custody of another agency" but wouldn't elaborate. His attorney says he expects Pedraza-Arias to leave the country soon.

Pedraza-Arias was charged in 2016 with aggravated criminal sexual abuse of two girls younger than 13 after he allegedly abused one of them at Sacred Heart Church in Aurora and the other at her Aurora home.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 5:09 PM

Revealing #MeToo as #WeToo in Jewish Communal Life

NEW YORK (NY)
JGirls Magazine

February 2018

By Ayelet Kalfus

The night started with song. The words of Shehecheyanu, the Jewish blessing for gratitude at experiencing something new, washed over the crowd as Naomi Less sang: “Blessed are You who has enabled us to reach this moment.” We weren’t singing in gratitude for what had brought us here; rather, we were grateful to be, for the first time, confronting an issue that had been wrongfully denied and neglected for years within our community.

We, nearly 300 communal professionals, lay leaders, and members of the public, were at the “Revealing #MeToo as #WeToo in Jewish Communal Life” event at the Jewish Women’s Foundation of New York (JWFNY). Using two events in the theater industry as a model, JWFNY organized the night to reveal the prevalence of gender-based harassment in Jewish organizations and strategize for the future.

The first half of the night was storytelling. When I was first invited to the event as a teen reporter, I imagined that these stories would be long, court-like testimonies. I was wrong. Performers from the Jewish community, varying in race and gender stood from their seats, slowly walking to carefully-placed microphones spread throughout the audience. JWFNY had collected the stories of anonymous Jewish-community professionals. The performers read parts of these stories—moments taken from long accounts of gender-based harassment.

For 40 minutes, the crowd was silent, except for sharp intakes of breath, sounds of surprise and disgust. The air was crackling with anger, sadness, pain. I had chills the entire time. The fact that the performers were standing within the audience amplified the night’s message: these stories were our own. This pain was the pain of our fellow community members.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 5:07 PM

How the Catholic Church vastly understated its true wealth

AUSTRALIA
AAP

February 12, 2018

The Catholic Church has vastly understated the value of its multi-billion-dollar property portfolio, amid claims it cannot afford to pay compensation to abuse victims, according to an investigation of its assets.

An investigation by Fairfax Media published on Monday found that the church owns more than $30 billion in property and other assets across Australia.

Fairfax estimated the church’s total wealth in Victoria alone to be about $9 billion, almost 82 times larger than the the $109 million it revealed to the royal commission in 2014 as the estimated value of its Victorian property portfolio.

The investigation makes the church Victoria’s largest non-government property owner, casting serious doubt over its claims that it would be forced to cut back on social work if forced to compensate victims of clergy sexual abuse.

The reported wealth of the church also contrasts with findings by the royal commission, which found the average payout by the church’s compensation scheme established by former archbishop George Pell 20 years ago was $35,000 or less for those who had been abused by clergy.

“These figures confirm what we have known; there is huge inequity between the Catholic Church’s wealth and their responses to survivors,” Helen Last, chief executive of the In Good Faith Foundation, which supports abuse survivors told Fairfax.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 5:04 PM

Church ‘facing two years of abuse revelations’

ENGLAND
The Week

February 12, 2018

The Church of England is facing two years of revelations about sexual abuse and attempts to cover it up, its ruling general synod has been told.

Responding to reports the Church is dealing with more than 3,000 reports of sexual abuse within its parishes, the Bishop of Bath and Wells, Rev Peter Hancock, said: “We will hear deeply painful accounts of abuse, of poor response, and over cover-up.”

Hancock, the lead bishop for safeguarding, told the synod that “this will not be an easy couple of years”.

The most recent figures for 2016 showed that dioceses are dealing with 3,300 “concerns or allegations”, the vast majority related to “children, young people and vulnerable adults within Church communities”.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 5:02 PM

Las Cruces Diocese sued in alleged Hobbs sexual abuse case

HOBBS (NM)
Associated Press

February 11, 2018

A man who alleges a former New Mexico priest sexually abused him is suing the Diocese of Las Cruces.

The lawsuit, filed last week against the diocese and St. Helena Parish in Hobbs, says the diocese facilitated sexual battery and assisted Father Ricardo Bauza in evading authorities, the Hobbs News-Sun reports.

It comes three months after Hobbs police issued a warrant for Bauza’s arrest following a complaint he sexually assaulted an adult male.

According to a criminal complaint filed in the fall, Bauza got into a shower with an adult male and washed the victim’s body with a loofah in the church rectory in April 2016.

The complaint says two male church members also told police Bauza showed them cellphone photos of his genitals.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 5:01 PM

In abuse scandal, Pope stakes his case on evidence, not authority

ROME
Crux

February 9, 2018

By John L. Allen Jr.

ROME - In many ways, it’s surprising that Pope Francis’s spontaneous, shoot from the hip style of public speech hasn’t gotten him into serious trouble long before now.

There have been mini-fracases along the way - for instance, what exactly did he mean that Catholics “don’t have to breed like rabbits,” as he put it in a memorable press conference in January 2015 on the way back from the Philippines? - but never enough to put much of a dent in the broad media love affair with Francis.

If anything, the pontiff’s maverick style and penchant for plain speech has been part of that romance, contrasting favorably with the bland corporate boilerplate one often gets from officialdom.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 4:59 PM

Catholic Church asking wealthy followers to help pay for Pope's visit to Ireland

IRELAND
The Irish Mirror

February 11, 2018

By Gavin O'Callaghan and Edel Hughes

The visit is expected to cost €20m

The Catholic Church in Ireland is trying to persuade wealthy followers to donate millions of euro to pay for the Pope’s visit here.

The World Meeting of Families, which will take place from August 21 to 26, is estimated to cost around €20million.

And the collection bowl is being passed to rich followers and businesses who will be asked to dig deep and contribute thousands of euro.

A spokesman for the organisers said the Church is following methods used by charities and a “limited number of tickets” were put aside for donations.

He added: “ WMOF2018 is in the process of approaching a number of individuals and corporates, both in Ireland and internationally, to assist in defraying the cost of hosting the event.

“In our conversations with potential donors, we are discussing the nature of the event and asking them if they would like to contribute.

“From our conversations with potential donors, we understand this practice of seeking donations from individuals and corporates is very common in the charity sector.

“The level of an individual’s or corporate donation is their own decision.”

The source told the Sunday Business Post the event will include a concluding mass in Dublin’s Croke Park with a “limited supply” being set aside for contributors.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 4:50 PM

Harvey Weinstein, His Brother And Their Company Hit With Civil Rights Lawsuit

NEW YORK (NY)
NPR

February 11, 2018

By Colin Dwyer

Harvey Weinstein, the Hollywood megaproducer accused of sexual harassment and assault dating back decades, has been slapped with a civil rights lawsuit by New York's attorney general. Eric Schneiderman announced the suit Sunday, saying his office has sued not only Weinstein, but also his brother, Robert, and The Weinstein Company.

"As alleged in our complaint, The Weinstein Company repeatedly broke New York law by failing to protect its employees from pervasive sexual harassment, intimidation, and discrimination," Schneiderman said in a statement.

"Any sale of The Weinstein Company must ensure that victims will be compensated, employees will be protected going forward, and that neither perpetrators nor enablers will be unjustly enriched. Every New Yorker has a right to a workplace free of sexual harassment, intimidation, and fear."

The lawsuit also threatens to disrupt a reported $500 million sale of the company the Weinstein brothers co-founded in 2005. As The Los Angeles Times reports, former Obama administration official Maria Contreras-Sweet had been in weeks-long negotiations to buy the troubled organization and set up a proposed fund for Weinstein's alleged victims.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 4:49 PM

Weinstein Attorney Responds to NY Suit: ‘He Will ‘Vigorously Defend Himself’

NEW YORK (NY)
The Wrap

February 11, 2018

By Rosemary Rossi

"Harvey Weinstein promoted more women to key executive positions than any other industry leader," attorney Ben Brafman says

Harvey Weinstein’s attorney says that his client deserves credit for promoting “more women to key executive positions than any other industry leader.”

That statement from Ben Brafman was a response to a civil rights lawsuit filed by New York’s attorney general, Eric Schneiderman.

“If the purpose of the inquiry is to encourage reform throughout the film industry, Mr. Weinstein will embrace the investigation,” Brafman writes. “If the purpose, however, is to scapegoat Mr. Weinstein, he will vigorously defend himself.”

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 4:46 PM

Weinstein Company Sale Halted by Lawsuit Accusing the Studio of Enabling Harassment

NEW YORK (NY)
Slate

February 12, 2018

By Molly Olmstead

New York’s attorney general has filed a lawsuit against the Weinstein Company accusing the studio of creating a “toxic environment” that allowed movie producer Harvey Weinstein to sexually abuse and harass women at his company.

The suit, filed Sunday in the State Supreme Court in Manhattan, halted the company’s sale, which was expected to be finalized that day, according to the New York Times. If the sale doesn’t go through, the company, which has struggled since accusations against Weinstein began piling up in October, will be headed toward bankruptcy, according to the Times.

The lawsuit alleges that the Weinstein Company and the two Weinstein brothers who founded it violated state and city laws related to discrimination, harassment, abuse, and coercion, according to the Times.

The investor group that planned to buy the company said it would set aside $20 million to $30 million for a settlement fund for Weinstein’s victims, according to Variety. Weinstein’s brother, Bob Weinstein, would leave the studio, and the group had said it planned to put more women in leadership positions. But the new owners would make David Glasser, Harvey Weinstein’s right-hand man, the new CEO.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 3:31 PM

Larry Nassar sent to maximum security prison in Arizona

TUCSON (AZ)
CBS/AP

February 11, 2018

Prison records show that disgraced former gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar has been transferred to a federal prison in Tucson, Arizona. The Federal Bureau of Prisons online inmate registry on Saturday showed that the 54-year-old was housed at the high security prison that also has an adjacent minimum security satellite camp.

Nassar faces two long prison sentences in Michigan for molestation. But first he must serve 60 years in federal prison for child pornography crimes.

The Nassar scandal upended the gymnastics world and raised alarms about the sport's ask-no-questions culture. His serial sexual abuse of girls and young women has shaken Michigan State University and elite sports associations.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 3:24 PM

Disgraced former USA Gymnastics doctor sent to Arizona federal prison

TUCSON (AZ)
Reuters

February 10, 2018

By Suzannah Gonzales

Former USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar has been transferred to a high security federal prison in Tucson, Arizona, after being convicted of molesting scores of young women who went to him for treatment, authorities said on Saturday.

The Federal Bureau of Prisons said the 54-year-old Nassar was at the United States Penitentiary, Tucson, which holds about 1,390 male inmates. The bureau’s website listed his release date as March 23, 2069.

After weeks of horrifying testimony from nearly 200 victims about his decades of abuse, Nassar was sentenced on Monday in Michigan to 40 to 125 years in prison.

He had already received a 40-to-175-year sentence in a neighboring Michigan county, and was sentenced to a 60-year federal term for child pornography convictions.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 3:24 PM

Weinstein sued by NY attorney-general over sexual harassment

NEW YORK (NY)
Financial Times

February 11, 2018

By Shannon Bond

Potential sale of troubled film studio thrown into doubt

New York’s attorney-general has sued Harvey Weinstein and The Weinstein Company, throwing into doubt the potential sale of the troubled film studio following allegations of serial sexual misconduct by the once powerful producer.

“The Weinstein Company repeatedly broke New York law by failing to protect its employees from pervasive sexual harassment, intimidation, and discrimination,” said Eric Schneiderman, the state’s top prosecutor, on Sunday.

Following a four-month investigation into TWC, the complaint alleges “a years-long gender-based hostile work environment, a pattern of quid pro quo sexual harassment, and routine misuse of corporate resources for unlawful ends” dating back to 2005, the year Mr Weinstein founded the company with his brother Bob, who is also named in the suit.

The complaint alleges that Mr Weinstein engaged in a long-running pattern of harassment and abuse and that the company failed to investigate or stop it. It accuses the brothers and TWC of “repeated, persistent, and egregious violations of law”.

Since the first allegations against him emerged publicly in October, Mr Weinstein has been accused by more than 80 women of harassment or assault. He denies all allegations of non-consensual sex. He was fired from TWC in October and is under criminal investigation by police in New York, Los Angeles and London.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 2:35 PM

Enabling Harvey Weinstein’s sex life was ‘condition of employment,’ New York attorney general says in lawsuit

NEW YORK (NY)
The Washington Post

February 12, 2018

By Samantha Schmidt

New York’s attorney general on Sunday filed a civil rights lawsuit against Harvey Weinstein and his film company, accusing the disgraced Hollywood mogul of repeatedly sexually harassing, intimidating and demeaning female employees and perpetrating a hostile work environment.

Weinstein’s “vicious and exploitative” treatment of employees, coupled with the company’s failure to protect them, presented “egregious violations of New York’s civil rights, human rights, and business laws,” according to the lawsuit, which also names Weinstein’s brother and the studio’s co-founder, Bob.

The lawsuit, announced by state Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman, appeared to throw a wrench into a deal to sell the Weinstein Co. to Maria Contreras-Sweet, who led the Small Business Administration under President Barack Obama. Negotiations for the $500 million deal halted Sunday, people familiar with the matter told the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times, making it likely that the debt-ridden studio will be forced to file bankruptcy.

Sunday’s lawsuit, filed in New York County Supreme Court, relied on interviews with numerous Weinstein employees, executives and accusers, as well as a trove of company records and emails. The investigation into the Weinstein Co. detailed “a years-long gender-based hostile work environment, a pattern of quid pro quo sexual harassment, and routine misuse of corporate resources for unlawful ends” that extended from about 2005 through October 2017.

Weinstein’s “assistants were exposed to and required to facilitate” his “sex life as a condition of employment,” it alleged.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 2:33 PM

State AG lawsuit accuses Harvey Weinstein of hiring ‘wing women’ to set up his ‘sexual conquests’

NEW YORK (NY)
New York Daily News

February 12, 2018

By Stephen Rex Brown and Leonard Greene

Accused sexual predator Harvey Weinstein hired “wing women” to facilitate his abusive conquests and bragged about having Secret Service contacts who could run interference, according to a lawsuit by the state’s attorney general.

Weinstein, his brother Robert, and their film company were all complicit in the “vicious and exploitative mistreatment of company employees,” said Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, who filed a civil rights lawsuit Sunday against the Weinstein Co. that derailed a $500 million deal to sell the agency, according to a report. Schneiderman had been concerned that the sale would go through without Weinstein’s victims having a chance to be properly compensated.

The suit, filed in Manhattan Supreme Court, included an array of new allegations regarding Weinstein’s depraved behavior.

The disgraced movie mogul has been accused by nearly 100 women of sexual harassment, bullying or rape.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 2:20 PM

Allegation is in New York attorney general’s lawsuit against Bob and Harvey Weinstein

NEW YORK (NY)
The Irish Times

February 11, 2018

New York attorney general Eric Schneiderman has filed a lawsuit against disgraced movie producer Harvey Weinstein, his brother Bob Weinstein and their film production company alleging serious violations of civil rights, human rights and state business laws.

The lawsuit, which was filed on Sunday with the New York County supreme court, alleges that the Weinsteins created “a years-long gender-based hostile work environment, a pattern of quid pro quo sexual harassment and routine misuse of corporate resources for unlawful ends that extended from in or about 2005 through at least in or about October 2017.”

The complaint comes after four months of investigation and as the company seemed to be nearing a $500m sale to a group led by Maria Contreras-Sweet, who led the Small Business Administration for Barack Obama.

Harvey Weinstein faces sexual misconduct investigations in four separate jurisdictions in the wake of the avalanche of sexual misconduct accusations against him in the last few months, which he denies.

The 39-page suit alleges that unlawful conduct took two primary forms.

First, that as co-chief executive of the Weinstein Company, Harvey Weinstein “repeatedly and persistently sexually harassed female employees at TWC by personally creating a hostile work environment that pervaded the workplace and by demanding that women engage in sexual or demeaning conduct as a quid pro quo for continued employment or career advancement”.

Second, Harvey Weinstein repeatedly and persistently used his position, female employees and the resources at his disposal as a co-chief executive, to serve his interests in seeking sexual contact with women seeking employment at the company.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 2:18 PM

New York sues Harvey Weinstein over sexual misconduct

NEW YORK (NY)
Al Jazeera

February 12, 2018

New York's attorney general has filed a lawsuit against scandal-hit Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein, his brother and his former company, alleging that their film studio failed to protect its employees against its cofounder.

Weinstein, 65, was fired from The Weinstein Company last October, after more than 70 women accused him of sexual misconduct, including rape. He has denied all allegations of "non-consensual sex".

The case was brought forward by Eric Schneiderman on Sunday, following an investigation into accusations against the prominent film producer of sexual harassment by dozens of women in the film industry.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 2:16 PM

Edmundites to pay up in priest sex-abuse lawsuit

COLCHESTER (CT)
Burlington Free Press

January 18, 2018

By Adam Silverman

A Colchester-based religious order is among several Roman Catholic institutions that recently settled a priest sex abuse lawsuit in Connecticut for nearly $1 million.

The court case centered on misconduct claims involving defrocked priest Charles Many, a Vermont native and St. Michael’s College graduate who helped lead parishes in Essex Junction and in Groton, Connecticut, and was a member of the Society of St. Edmund.

The society and the Roman Catholic Diocese of Norwich in Connecticut agreed to split the $900,000 settlement paid to Andrew Aspinwall, 50, of New London, said his lawyer, Kelly Reardon. The agreement, which Aspinwall and the defendants reached on the eve of a trial that was set to begin early this month, contained no admission of wrongdoing.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 1:30 PM

Vatican expert to meet delegation in Chile bishop dispute

VATICAN CITY
The Associated Press

February 12, 2018

By Eva Vergara and Nicole Winfield

The Vatican's sex abuse investigator has agreed to meet with a delegation of lay Catholics and priests from the Chilean diocese of Osorno who have opposed the appointment of a bishop strongly backed by Pope Francis, according to an email seen Monday by The Associated Press.

The Vatican's embassy in Santiago set the meeting for Feb. 21 in Santiago and asked the Osorno group to select no more than five people to meet with the investigator, Maltese Archbishop Charles Scicluna.

In the email, the Vatican's ambassador also asked delegation members to send a "detailed" document to him by Friday, five days before the meeting, outlining what they intend to tell Scicluna. The ambassador, or nuncio, said the document would help Scicluna in his fact-finding mission about Bishop Juan Barros.

But Juan Carlos Claret, spokesman for the Osorno laity, expressed concern and said he would only provide general points to the embassy ahead of time. He accused the embassy of long refusing to acknowledge or respond to their complaints about Barros, who is accused by Osorno laity of being unfit and by victims of a prominent Chilean predator priest of having witnessed their abuse and done nothing.

"During these last three years, it has been the nuncio who has blocked all attempts at dialogue, not just with the clergy but with the laity," Claret told AP.

He said he would, however, provide detailed information directly to Scicluna, who was tasked with taking testimony about Barros after Francis sparked outrage in Chile by strongly defending him and saying accusations against him were slander.

Barros was a protege of the Rev. Fernando Karadima, who was sanctioned by the Vatican in 2011 for sexually and psychologically abusing minors in his Santiago parish community. Victims testified to both Vatican and Chilean prosecutors about how Karadima would kiss and fondle them, and masturbate them behind closed doors.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 1:28 PM

Head of child protection centre says Church must be more transparent in response to abuse

LONDON (ENGLAND)
Catholic News Service

February 12, 2018

By Megan Cornwell

Jesuit Father Zollner said some priests are even unsure of the civil laws surrounding the reporting of abuse

The Head of the Pontifical Gregorian University’s Centre for Child Protection has said the Church’s legal process for handling accusations of abuse must be more transparent and that it will take a long time for the culture of the Church to change.

Jesuit Father Hans Zollner was speaking to reporters on Friday at a ceremony awarding 18 people - religious and lay - diplomas for completing a specialisation course in safeguarding minors.

Even though the Catholic Church has all the necessary norms and laws in place to safeguard minors from abuse by clergy, the problem continues to be a lack of understanding or care about those rules and guidelines and applying them effectively, he said.

The legal process must be "more transparent for everyone", including the victims, the accused and his or her superiors, Father Zollner said at the ceremony.

Victims receive no information during the process and the accused are left "in limbo" for what may be five years or more not knowing if they will be sentenced or even found guilty, he said. Not even the bishop or religious superior of the accused receives information about what's happening, he added.

So while the Church's definitions of what constitutes a crime and suggested sentences are clear, he said, what needs addressing is how to beef up the Church's legal system so that it can "actually bring justice to everyone" and truly protect minors.

Reporters also asked Father Zollner about his thoughts concerning Pope Francis' decision to believe Bishop Juan Barros of Osorno, Chile, and not victims who claimed the bishop may have been aware of and even present during their abuse by the bishop's former mentor, Father Fernando Karadima. The priest was sentenced to a life of prayer and penance by the Vatican after he was found guilty of sexually abusing boys.

But when pressed about doubts over whether the Pope listened to a Chilean survivor who had written a letter to the Pope that was to be hand delivered by Cardinal Sean O'Malley, head of the papal commission, Father Zollner said he would have no way of knowing whether the Pope read the letter.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 1:24 PM

Church braced for shame over child abuse revelations

ENGLAND
The Times

February 12, 2018

By Kaya Burgess

The Church of England faces a painful two years of revelations about sexual abuse and cover-ups as independent inquiries get under way, a bishop has said.

The Bishop of Bath and Wells warned members of the church’s General Synod that they would feel a “deep sense of shame” as accounts emerge of sexual abusers within the church and a lack of support and credence given to their victims.

The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse will start three weeks of hearings next month to examine the church’s failure to protect vulnerable people from sexual abusers, focusing on the diocese of Chichester, where there have been several allegations.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 1:23 PM

Rob Porter, and Mormonism's #MeToo Moment

WASHINGTON (DC)
CNN

February 11, 2018

By Daniel Burke and MJ Lee

Colbie Holderness says she met Rob Porter at a Mormon student congregation in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Lifelong Mormons, they married in the church in 2003. When Porter turned abusive and their marriage went bad, Holderness said, they turned to the church for guidance.

Porter, who had been a rising star in President Donald Trump's White House before abruptly resigning on Wednesday, has forcefully denied the abuse accusations from two ex-wives, calling them part of a "smear campaign." He did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Friday.

Both of the women Porter has been married to -- Holderness and Jennie Willoughby -- shared with CNN this week the unique role the Mormon church played in their troubled relationships.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 1:20 PM

"Doubt" raises issues of abuse by clergy, race, and justice

BRENTWOOD (TN)
Brentwood Homepage

February 10, 2018

Posted by Mark Cook

STUDIO TENN

Studio Tenn’s production of Doubt: A Parable, opens Feb. 15 at the Jamison Theater in the Factory at Franklin.

The challenging play by Pulitzer Prize-winning author John Patrick Shanley asks the question, “What do you do when you’re unsure?”

Winner of the Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award for Best play, Doubt is set in the Bronx in 1964 where an unthinkable allegation is leveled against Father Flynn. The watchful, reserved, unsentimental Sister Aloysius, who accuses the beloved priest of misconduct with the school’s first and only African American student, realizes that the only way to get justice is to create it herself.

First performed off Broadway in 2004, Doubt: A Parable featured Tennessee native Cherry Jones in the Tony Award-winning performance as Sister Aloysius. Shanley directed a 2008 film adaptation that starred Meryl Streep, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Amy Adams and Viola Davis, all of which were nominated for Academy Awards for their performance.

Studio Tenn’s rendition of the powerful parable stars Marguerite Lowell as Sister Aloysius, Brent Maddox as Father Flynn, Emily Landham as Sister James and Aleta Myles as Mrs. Muller. Nathaniel McIntyre directs, with set and costume designs from Studio Tenn’s Artistic Director, Matt Logan.

“I have always been so stricken by this play, not for what it tells us, but for what it asks us to examine,” Logan said. “The answer of the play is tied up in the audience’s interpretation, and oftentimes, tied to their own personal experience. It’s a wonderful production to ask our audiences to play along and consider.”

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 1:18 PM

Church of England facing more than 3,000 sexual abuse complaints

ENGLAND
The Christian Times

February 10, 2018

By Jardine Malado

The Church of England is dealing with more than 3,000 cases of sexual abuse in the forms of concerns and allegations, prompting concerns that it would have to pay millions in compensation even if only a fraction of the complaints were upheld.

Peter Hancock, bishop of Bath and Wells, has shared the latest figures showing that the total of concerns or allegations of sexual abuse had reached 3,300 by 2016.

The report, which was unveiled during a three-day meeting of the General Synod in London, has sorted out new complaints from longstanding ones, but nearly all cases involve children, young people or vulnerable adults.

The figures have shown that 18 percent of the cases involve church officers, most likely members of the clergy, while others facing sexual abuse allegations in the church setting include lay individuals and other churchgoers.

Hancock stated in documents prepared for the Synod that dioceses made 338 "risk assessments" in 2016 after complaints against individuals, with 19 of the assessed being members of the clergy. The Church has reportedly created 867 "safeguarding agreement" with individuals in order to ensure that someone who has been assessed as a risk is supervised and kept away from possible victims.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 1:16 PM

Need for culture change over church abuse complaints, General Synod told

BELFAST (Northern Ireland)
Belfast Telegraph

February 10, 2018

Reverend Peter Hancock, Bishop of Bath and Wells, lead bishop for safeguarding, told the Synod “this will not be an easy couple of years”.

There is a need for a culture change within the Church of England, with some clergy believing that abuse complainants are “simply out for the money”, the General Synod has heard.

Sir Roger Singleton, member of the national safeguarding team, said the church has done “some useful work” in recent years, but added that “an enormous amount” still needs to be done.

He told the Synod there is a “common theme” running through recent reviews and inquiries, and said: “That is a continuing need for culture change within the church.”

Sir Roger was speaking at a session about safeguarding, where there was a presentation on national developments and on the Church’s preparation for the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse.

He said: “I am heartened by the positive affirmation which our archbishops, diocesan bishops and deans continue to give to the importance of creating and sustaining a safe church.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 1:11 PM

February 11, 2018

Editorial: The Guardian view on the Catholic church and child abuse: Pope Francis gets it wrong

LONDON (ENGLAND)
The Guardian

February 11, 2018

His defence of an accused bishop appears to put him on the side of the hierarchy against the people in the pews

It is five years since Pope Benedict XVI stunned the Roman Catholic world by announcing he would resign. His time in office had been blighted by the emergence of terrible stories of sex abuse and institutional cover-up. Even though most of these dated from the time of his predecessors, Benedict’s efforts to make things right were clumsy and inadequate to the scale of the problem. His successor, Pope Francis, seemed as if he were going to change all that as part of the openness, energy and realism that has characterised his approach. But developments in recent weeks have cast Francis’s sincerity and seriousness into question and threaten to overshadow many of the other accomplishments of his papacy.

Earlier in his pontificate, Francis had to deal with the enforced departure of one of his closer collaborators, Cardinal George Pell, who left the Vatican to face charges of historic child abuse, which he vigorously denies, in his native Australia. Several members of the church’s commission for the protection of minors, which the pope had set up, resigned in protest at the obstructionism of some parts of the Vatican bureaucracy; but these are the parts that are thought hostile to Francis, too, so he was not widely blamed for what happened.

All that changed with the pope’s visit to Chile. The church there had been convulsed by the discovery that children had been abused by an influential priest for years. It is claimed that many other priests knew or even witnessed what was going on. Among them was Juan Barros, whom Francis made a bishop in 2015 and installed in a southern diocese in the teeth of furious protests from both clergy and congregation. Bishop Barros, who denies the claims, was prominent among the bishops who received Francis on his visit: the two men were photographed embracing; and when Francis was asked on the flight back what he thought of the allegations against the bishop, he replied that they were merely slander, and that he had not seen any proof to back them up.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 4:43 PM

Pope Francis, a brewing crisis and 'feminine genius'

VATICAN CITY
La Croix International

February 9, 2018

By Robert Mickens

The biggest error Catholic leaders have made regarding the church’s response to priests abusing children has been the exclusion of women leading the policy-making process

The last couple of weeks have not been what anyone in his or her right mind would call the most brightly shining moment in the current pontificate.

First, the cardinal in charge of the Roman Curia’s office on the laity blocked Ireland’s former president, Mary MacAleese, from speaking at an International Woman’s Day event originally scheduled to take place inside the Vatican. In response, the organizers simply moved the venue to the nearby Jesuit headquarters.

Then, a retired Chinese-born cardinal from Hong Kong blasted the Cardinal Secretary of State — and, by implication, Pope Francis — for being “a man of little faith” and selling out “suffering” Catholics on the Communist-ruled Chinese mainland by adopting a “naïve” strategy of appeasement in dealing with state authorities.

Next, a maverick and irascible bishop who oversees two Vatican think-tanks (the pontifical academies for science and the social sciences) overstepped his institutional boundaries and waded into the controversy over the pope’s China policy. He spouted the unbelievable and embarrassing claim that the Communist nation is the world leader in implementing Catholic social teaching.

The bishop, an Argentine who would have the world believe he’s best friends with Francis (he is not), based his assessment on his first and only visit to China six months ago. If it’s ever proven that Chinese government officials spiked his egg rolls with brainwashing chemicals, perhaps all will be forgive.

However, great damage has already been done.

But that’s not the worst of what has been a very bad period for Pope Francis. The most serious blow to him and his pontificate came from an Associated Press (AP) report that produced some hard and rather convincing evidence that the pope has not been completely forthcoming about what he really knows (and when he first found out) about allegations that Bishop Juan Barros of Chile tried to cover-up abuse of a convicted sex abusing priest.

The AP article included an eight-page letter that one of the Chilean priest’s victims sent to Francis in April 2015, which meticulously outlined Bishop Barros’ alleged actions in unflattering detail. The letter was hand-delivered by Cardinal Sean O’Malley, a member of the pope’s Council of Cardinals (C9) and chairman of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors (PCPM). If true, this contradicts Francis’ claim that he had never received evidence of such a cover-up from any of the victims.

This is not good news. And dispatching the Vatican’s former chief prosecutor of clergy sex abuse crimes to Chile to collect more evidence on the Barros case — as laudable and important that this 11th hour operation is — does not address, in any way, the real problems the AP report reveals.

Only one of three of things can be true — either Francis never bothered to read the letter, or he read and dismissed it as unconvincing, or he just forgot that he ever read it.

There is a fourth, even if less plausible, possibility. Perhaps O’Malley, in reality, never gave the pope the letter, even though one of the then-members of the PCPM (who gave it to O’Malley — there is a photo to prove it) and the victim (who wrote it) said the cardinal told them he had delivered it.

None of these possible scenarios is encouraging. Because it means someone is not being completely transparent. Up to now, only one side has spoken publicly about the AP report — the former PCPM member (Marie Collins) and the Chilean abuse victim (Juan Carlos Cruz).

Pope Francis and Cardinal O’Malley have so far kept their silence. In order to shed light on what really happened and reveal who is giving an accurate account of this story they need to speak up.

If O’Malley were to all of a sudden declare that, no, he never gave Cruz’s letter to the pope — whether because he forgot to do so and then lied about it, or because he is trying to protect Francis from the current embarrassment and brewing crisis this is turning into — he would have to step down as PCPM chairman. His credibility among the commission’s members (still to be named in the coming weeks) would be greatly compromised.

And what about the pope?

If Francis received the letter and never read it, or simply forgot about reading it, this becomes yet another piece of evidence that dealing with the sex abuse crisis — particularly by holding negligent bishops accountable — is still not a major priority for the pope, despite whatever his apologists say to the contrary.

However, it would be even more damaging for the pope if he were to admit that, yes, he read the letter, but did not believe that Cruz’s accusations against Bishop Barros were credible. This would mean he was not entirely telling the truth during his visit last month to Chile and Peru when he told reporters he’s never received “proof” — than he corrected that to “evidence” — to support the accusations against the bishop.

This is quickly becoming one, big unholy mess. And it would be devastating to many Catholics and other people of good will if it were to severely cripple a pontificate that has launched a deeply-rooted and long-term project to reform and restore credibility to the Catholic Church and its witness to the Gospel.
So what can be done at this point?

First of all, the pope and his communications department (which is in disastrous disarray and is not serving him well) have to address the contents of the AP report and the fallout that has ensued. One would hope that Cardinal O’Malley could be of assistance in this first, necessary step.

Secondly, assuming that the essentials in the report are correct (the letter exists and it was delivered to the pope), it is difficult to see how Francis can respond without confessing that he was negligent (by failing to read the letter for whatever reason) or was not completely transparent (i.e. by concealing from journalists that he read it but did not believe its contents).

As I’ve written many times before, this pope has not been afraid to be vulnerable and show what some might consider weakness in order to engage others for what he perceives to be the greater good of the church and humanity. His meeting with the Orthodox Patriarch of All Russia, his efforts to constructively engage Donald Trump and other world leaders, and his policy on China are just a few examples.

The pope needs to quickly make the sexual abuse crisis in the church — which, by the way, is nowhere near to being resolved — a bigger priority. Quite frankly, he has not done so up to now.

He can start by coming clean with the members of his church and speaking truthfully to them about his own thinking — his doubts, concerns, apprehension, omissions and even missteps — on the way church authorities (he included) have addressed the abuse crisis to this point.

He still enjoys rock solid credibility and trust among millions and millions of people who would see his candid confession and testimony as a truly human and positive step forward, rather than cry of surrender. But that trust and credibility will erode if he does not say something soon. And the upcoming penitential season of Lent offers the perfect opportunity for such a truly Christian and even dramatic gesture.

One final thought:

Pope Francis also needs to totally revamp the mandate and mission of Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors and set up other mechanisms to deal with the sex abuse crisis. Most of the new PCPM members and his other advisors on this issue should be women. And he should demand that dioceses and national episcopal conferences give women, and especially mothers, the lead role on this issue, too.

This would be an important way for him to make a prophetic and necessary corrective to the, up-to-now, inadequate response the Catholic Church has offered.

Many men in the hierarchy hide and justify their misogyny, fear of women or desire to keep the church’s decision-making structures in the hands of clerics — all men, of course — by repeating Saint John Paul II’s paternalistic paean to something he called “the feminine genius.”

This phrase, which the late pope first wrote about in 1995 — and which Benedict XVI, Francis and countless churchmen have gone on repeating — embodies a catalogue of traits that are somehow especially peculiar to women by virtue of God’s design of nature.

People can debate whether all these characteristics are really exclusive to women. But one thing for certain is that only women can be mothers. And because of the intricate connection between mother and child through pregnancy, birthing and infancy, it can be argued that women — mothers — have unique protective and nurturing instincts that are developed differently from the same instincts in fathers.
The biggest error Catholic leaders in every part of the world have made regarding the church’s response to the phenomenon of priests abusing children and youngsters has been the exclusion of women from actually leading the policy-making process. Where women have been included, they have been mere consultants or experts, often just flowerpots to salve uneasy male consciences and to satisfy the demands of public opinion.

Pope Francis can put this right and show that the church really does believe women have a special “feminine genius” — at least in the area of the relationship between mother and child — by putting women in charge of the church’s response to sex abuse. So far, the “clerical genius” has not produced good fruits.

A leading Catholic layman who has done a tremendous job in helping his country’s bishops deal with the sex abuse crisis loves to repeat this line: “Until the pope has a lay man being the last one to give advice on these matters the clerical instincts will always be a problem!”

That is exactly right. But the layman should be a woman.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 4:25 PM

El Osorno del obispo Juan Barros

SANTIAGO (CHILE)
La Tercera

>>>The Osorno of Bishop Juan Barros

February 11, 2018

By Pablo Barría

Luego de la visita del Papa Francisco a Chile y la posterior designación del obispo de Malta para indagar el presunto encubrimiento por parte del religioso, La Tercera recorrió la ciudad y constató la visión de religiosos y feligreses ante un caso que divide a la comunidad.

Las últimas semanas han sido intensas para el obispo de Osorno, Juan Barros. La visita del Papa Francisco a Chile, en enero pasado, hizo que su nombre volviera a la palestra pública, de la cual se mantuvo alejado luego de las manifestaciones en su contra tras ser designado como autoridad eclesiástica en la zona.

“No hay una sola prueba contra el obispo Barros, todo es calumnia”, dijo el Papa Francisco cuando estuvo de paso por Iquique. Sus declaraciones levantaron fuertes críticas e, incluso, lo obligaron a pedir disculpas y anunciar la visita del arzobispo de Malta, Charles Scicluna, para recoger los testimonios de quienes acusan a Barros de encubrir los abusos cometidos por el ex párroco Fernando Karadima.

[Google Translation:

The Osorno of Bishop Juan Barros

After the visit of Pope Francis to Chile and the subsequent appointment of the Bishop of Malta to investigate the alleged cover up by the religious, La Tercera toured the city and verified the vision of religious and parishioners before a case that divides the community.
The last weeks have been intense for the Bishop of Osorno, Juan Barros. The visit of Pope Francis to Chile, last January, brought his name back to the public arena, from which he stayed away after the demonstrations against him after being appointed as ecclesiastical authority in the area.

"There is not a single test against Bishop Barros, everything is slander," said Pope Francis when he was passing through Iquique. His statements raised strong criticism and even forced him to apologize and announce the visit of the archbishop of Malta, Charles Scicluna, to collect the testimonies of those who accuse Barros of covering up the abuses committed by the former parish priest Fernando Karadima.

After the announcement, the decision of the Vatican is taken with moderation in the Catholic Church of the Los Lagos Region. They are close to 7:00 pm on Thursday and a small group of faithful arrive at the Osorno Cathedral, where the parish priest Bernardo Werth will hold a ceremony.

Before beginning, the religious pauses and clarifies his vision about the appointment of Bishop Scicluna: "If the Pope took that step it is to make it clear in the eyes of people all over the world, how is the real situation, for So under my gaze is positive, "he said, then go up to the altar and start the mass.

Outside the Cathedral some young people skate, without paying attention to what happens around them. In the case of Bishop Barros, says Carlos Sandoval, "I have no idea. I know nothing".

A few meters from them, María Elena Yáñez, a native of the O'Higgins Region, leaves the religious site with a poster of Pope Francisco in her hands. A member of the "Mujeres Iglesia" group, formed by 15 lay women, Yáñez is critical of what is happening with the Bishop of Osorno. Even, he said, his group tried to deliver a letter to the pontiff where they alerted what was happening in the church of Los Lagos.

"In that letter we mentioned to His Holiness our concern for what is happening here in Osorno, but the letter did not reach his hands because it was not easy to reach him," he said.

Different opinion expressed Nina, an elderly woman who frequently attends the masses of the Cathedral of Osorno. And it was in that same instance where Bishop Juan Barros claimed innocence.

"He told us at Mass a few days ago, when he returned from Santiago, that he was innocent, he said it at Mass and why he is going to be lying to us. Well, if you lie to us, I also forgive you, because I'm not the one to not forgive, "said the woman.

Inside a small kiosk of newspapers, magazines and various products is a lonely man, who prefers not to give his name. According to him, the "tension" that existed in the city when the designation of Barros was known has been appeased with the passage of time. "There were many protests here, all were peaceful, but now nothing is seen, everything is quiet, it seems that everything was fixed," he said.

Groupings

The group of Laity and Laity of Osorno is the entity that has tried to keep the case of Bishop Juan Barros in force. They have a critical vision on the management of the religious in charge of the bishopric of Osorno and assure that their presence has impacted the level of parishioners who attend the masses.

"For December 8, for example, which is the closing mass of the Month of Mary, before 10,000 people gathered. And now, with luck, 1,000 people gathered last December. Who answers for those who did not attend these Masses? Now you do not see so much fervor, so much enthusiasm, "said Juan Carlos Claret, spokesman for the group.

Claret said that there have even been episodes in which young parishioners have shown their rejection of Juan Barros. "Last Saturday there were confirmations at the Reina de los Mártires church. Bishop Barros went to the trials of these confirmations where he informed the young people that he would preside over the ceremony. Three of these young men told him they did not want him to confirm them and they subtracted from the ceremony. In the end, Barros did not arrive at the ceremony, "he explained.

Jose Manuel Rozas, professor of philosophy and personal secretary of the priest Peter Kliegel, who has made public his rejection of Barros through letters, says that those who have made noise in the city correspond to "an isolated group of lay people who meet on Fridays, the rest of the pastoral agents of the diocese are doing their work in their respective parishes. "

Rozas says that he, as a faithful person, will respect the decisions that are adopted once the visit of the archbishop of Malta is over. "If at the end of this process, the Church says that Bishop Barros has to leave the diocese, blessed be God, but if he says he must continue, blessed be God also," he concluded.

They are close to 8:00 pm and the mass of the Cathedral of Osorno came to an end. Slowly the parishioners begin to leave the place to their homes. An image that depicts how Osorno de Juan Barros is, who lately has diminished his public appearances and waits in silence for the decision that his Maltese pair Charles Scicluna and the Vatican will take regarding his case. For now the city of Bishop Barros awaits quietly.]

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 4:14 PM

Conferencia episcopal defiende silencio de obispo Barros tras acusaciones en su contra

SANTIAGO (CHILE)

>>>Episcopal Conference defends Bishop Barros silence after accusations against him

February 10, 2018

By Nicole Briones and Eric Paredes

[Note from BishopAccountability.org: Includes audio clips of statements.]

Desde la nunciatura apostólica se confirmó que la visita del arzobispo de malta Charles Scicluna a Chile, será entre el 20 y 23 de febrero.

Jaime Coiro, portavoz de la Conferencia Episcopal de Chile, afirmó el arribo del enviado del papa Francisco, el cual tendrá como propósito tomar el testimonio de las personas que han acusado al obispo de Osorno, Juan Barros, de encubrir los delitos sexuales de Fernando Karadima.

A partir de esta investigación, Barros se ha referido poco y nada sobre esta situación. Posición que Coiro defiende, explicando que el obispo tiene todo el derecho de no dar declaraciones.

Scicluna se reunirá con Barros en Santiago, y además con James Hamilton y Juan Andrés Murillo, quienes -junto a Juan Carlos Cruz- denuncian al obispo de Osorno haber ocultado los abusos cometidos por Karadima en la parroquia de El Bosque.

[Google Translation:

Episcopal Conference defends Bishop Barros silence after accusations against him

From the apostolic nunciature it was confirmed that the visit of the archbishop of Malta Charles Scicluna to Chile, will be between February 20 and 23 .

Jaime Coiro, spokesman for the Episcopal Conference of Chile, affirmed the arrival of the Pope's envoy, whose purpose will be to take the testimony of the people who have accused the bishop of Osorno, Juan Barros, of covering up the sexual crimes of Fernando Karadima. .

From this investigation, Barros has referred little and nothing about this situation. Position that Coiro defends, explaining that the bishop has every right not to give statements .

Scicluna will meet with Barros in Santiago, and also with James Hamilton and Juan Andrés Murillo, who - together with Juan Carlos Cruz - denounce the bishop of Osorno to have hidden the abuses committed by Karadima in the parish of El Bosque.]

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 3:55 PM

Peter Kliegel: “La situación de la iglesia es desgarradora”

BONN (GERMANY)
Deutsche Welle

>>>Peter Kliegel: "The situation of the church is heartbreaking"

February 10, 2018

By Victoria Dannemann

Un sacerdote alemán ha levantado la voz en la Iglesia católica chilena exigiendo la salida del obispo Juan Barros, acusado de encubrir abusos sexuales. Peter Kliegel busca reunificar a una institución dividida.

El sacerdote Peter Kliegel no oculta su molestia y dolor por la crisis que vive la iglesia en Chile. El religioso alemán, nacido en Dillenburg, lleva casi 50 años trabajando en la diócesis de Osorno, en el sur de Chile, la misma en que el 2015 asumió el cuestionado obispo Juan Barros.

Anteriormente obispo castrense, Barros se formó al alero de Fernado Karadima, un sacerdote que durante décadas gozó de gran poder en un parroquia de un barrio acomodado de Santiago. Allí se rodeó de jóvenes y formó a futuros sacerdotes y obispos. El escándalo estalló cuando antiguos seguidores denunciaron abusos de poder y sexuales de parte de Karadima. Asimismo, aseguran que varios sacerdotes y obispos fueron testigos o incurrieron en conductas impropias.

Uno de ellos sería Barros, acusado de encubrir a su antiguo mentor. A pesar de la fuerte oposición que se ha levantado en Osorno, Barros no sólo se ha negado a dejar su cargo, sino que figuró junto al papa Francisco en su visita a Chile.

Con franqueza y valentía, Kliegel ha manifestado su opinión al nuncio y a la Iglesia. En entrevista con DW, el sacerdote galardonado en Alemania con la Cruz al Mérito en 2017 habla del duro momento que vive la iglesia en Chile y de la necesidad de buscar la verdad.

Deutsche Welle: Usted fue una de las primeras personas que manifestó la inconveniencia de que Juan Barros asumiera como obispo de Osorno. ¿Por qué asumió este rol activo?

Peter Kiegel: Yo vine a Chile hace 52 años y soy parte de esta iglesia, interesado en que tenga un mensaje muy claro en cuanto al encargo que nos hizo nuestro Señor. La situación se originó cuando supimos que el obispo Barros iba a tomar la diócesis de Osorno y que venía desde el ambiente de Fernando Karadima, lo que para nosotros era inaceptable. Por eso empecé a levantar mi voz.

[Google Translation:

Peter Kliegel: "The situation of the church is heartbreaking"

A German priest has raised his voice in the Chilean Catholic Church demanding the departure of Bishop Juan Barros, accused of covering up sexual abuse. Peter Kliegel seeks to reunite a divided institution.

The priest Peter Kliegel does not hide his annoyance and pain because of the crisis that the church in Chile is going through. The German priest, born in Dillenburg, has been working for almost 50 years in the diocese of Osorno, in the south of Chile, the same one in which the questioned bishop Juan Barros assumed office in 2015.

Formerly military bishop, Barros was formed at the eaves of Fernado Karadima, a priest who for decades enjoyed great power in a parish in a well-off neighborhood of Santiago. There he surrounded himself with young people and trained future priests and bishops. The scandal erupted when former followers denounced sexual and power abuses by Karadima. Also, they assure that several priests and bishops were witnesses or incurred improper conduct.

One of them would be Barros, accused of covering up his former mentor. Despite the strong opposition that has arisen in Osorno, Barros not only refused to leave his post, but also appeared with Pope Francisco on his visit to Chile.

Frankly and courageously, Kliegel has expressed his opinion to the nuncio and to the Church. In an interview with DW, the priest awarded in Germany with the Cross of Merit in 2017 speaks of the hard time the church is living in Chile and the need to seek the truth.

Deutsche Welle: You were one of the first people to express the inconvenience that Juan Barros assumed as bishop of Osorno. Why did you assume this active role?

Peter Kiegel: I came to Chile 52 years ago and I am part of this church, interested in having a very clear message regarding the order that our Lord made us. The situation originated when we learned that Bishop Barros was going to take the diocese of Osorno and that he came from the environment of Fernando Karadima, which for us was unacceptable. That's why I started raising my voice.

What response has he had?

A few days after it was learned that Juan Barros would be our bishop, I manifested myself before the nunciature, first asking, but since we never received an answer, our voice became a little more insistent.

Has the nuncio never answered the requirements that you have asked him?

Never, which is very discourteous.

Why do you think that you or other priests and lay people have not been taken into account?

I think it has to do with administrative power in the Church, which is not fair, because as baptized and part of the church we have the right to be heard, which is what we demand.

What has the presence of Barros in Osorno meant?

The situation has been heartbreaking. The union of the diocese was destroyed. We do not know more than what the victims say, but we suffer the collateral damage of this Karadima environment. The damage he did to the Chilean church is so great that it is not acceptable for someone not to react. And since Rome did not react and our bishop does not understand us, we keep raising our voices to listen to us. We have never been heard, only once in the Episcopal Conference when they told us they could not do anything. And now, for the first time, after so many cries, Rome reacts by sending us to the archbishop of Malta, Bishop (Charles) Scicluna.

What do you expect from the management that he can do in Chile?

We have a lot of hope. We are going to make contact so that they give us the opportunity to make known what we live. It is not about being an opponent, but about seeking peace, which can only be built from the truth. We need an intervener to listen to the bishop and to us, to clarify situations that we can not understand or accept.

Why do you think that Bishop Barros, despite facing so much opposition, has not left office?

This is what we do not understand. He says he has been named, which is a valid argument, but we can not be satisfied because our parishioners do not accept it either. In many parishes they do not accept that the bishop administers the sacrament of confirmation. When he makes a mass, many people get up and leave. It can not be that a shepherd who must take care of his sheep lives in that situation and puts us in this mess.

Messages of Pope Francis' visit to Chile

Franciso's pastoral message in Chile, where he advocated for the dignity of women held in prison, for understanding with the Mapuche people or immigrants, for solidarity and also expressed their pain and forgiveness for the abuses committed by members of the Church, went into the background before the scandal of Bishop Barros. Even more when he appeared with the pope at Masses. "He was present as taking refuge behind the pope, which was quite unworthy for us and it hurt us greatly, but the bishop has not been able to confront the victims of Karadima." When we invited one of them, the bishop was ripped off. In my last letter I wanted to demonstrate with examples of the same words of the Pope in Chile, that we live in an unacceptable situation, "says Liegel.

Do you think that Francisco's visit deepened the crisis that the church is experiencing in Chile?

Personally I do not think so. You have to read the messages that the Pope gave in Chile, which are very good. I think he made a mistake in his spontaneity, but the messages were very clear. First of all he spoke to us about dignity and that is why we get up, because we demand human and spiritual dignity.

The Pope said in Chile that there was no evidence against Barros, although he later apologized for the pain caused to the victims. Is it possible that Barros knew nothing about abuses?

Only witnesses know that. But the atmosphere of Karadima is so incredibly damaging, that for prudence Bishop Barros should not continue. That is a spiritual, pastoral and human error

Did you expect Pope Francis to take a stand on this in his visit to Chile?

Hope was there, but I thought it would not be possible, for many reasons. There are other dioceses that also have bishops who were born in the environment of Karadima and who have not spoken, but they know that everyone is sitting in the same boat.

Have you had contact with Bishop Barros?

A lot, and he knows that I am very frank with him. I have never acted behind his back. I meet him and I always tell him what we think in the community. I'm telling you face to face.

How would you catalog Barros' management as a bishop?

We hardly have a pastoral plan and that is what saddens us. We are like swimming in warm waters, which is not good for our work. Besides, he can not show himself in public, he's afraid, he hides. It is unpleasant when in a ceremony there are people who stand up with signs that say "resign." He is our head and this hurts us a lot, the best thing would be for him to step aside.

Despite being German, you live this situation as your own ...

Of course, Chile is now my homeland, it is my church. This is my faith and also he is administratively my bishop, that is why I fight for a good cause.

Are you free to express your opinion?

Of course, that we will always have and demand, because we are not a dictatorship. We live in the church, although with obedience, but we have a voice and a vote.

What reception has your intervention in this case?

A good number of bishops wrote me very happy with my words. With pain, but satisfied. I have also received responses from laity and priests from Chile and the world. Of course not everyone was satisfied with my words, but I think they were sober and clear. This is why the echo is important, not to expose me but to demand truth and above all truthfulness. We have to be heard. That is the first step to seek the peace we need. The Catholic Church in Chile is unfortunately very discredited because of all this, which is very sad, if one thinks that at the time of the dictatorship the Church was the most valued institution and today is the least appreciated.]

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 3:45 PM

Suit alleges Las Cruces diocese aided priest charged with sexual battery

LAS CRUCES (NM)
Las Cruces Sun-News

February 6, 2017

By Carlos Andres López

A former Hobbs resident allegedly sexually abused by a former Las Cruces priest is suing the priest and the Catholic Diocese of Las Cruces over allegations that church officials facilitated the priest’s abuses and helped him flee the state.

The man's allegations were detailed in a lawsuit filed Monday in 3rd Judicial District Court in Las Cruces.

In addition to the Las Cruces diocese, Father Ricardo Bauza, the former pastor of St. Genevieve Catholic Church in Las Cruces, was named as a defendant in the lawsuit, as well as St. Helena Catholic Church, where Bauza mostly recently served as a pastor.

The allegations in the lawsuit are related to an alleged criminal incident involving Bauza that allegedly occurred in April 2016 in Hobbs.

The lawsuit accuses of Bauza of sexual battery, alleging he sexually abused the plaintiff — listed as John Doe 81 — in the rectory of the Hobbs parish.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 3:40 PM

Lawsuit alleges Las Cruces Diocese knew of alleged sexual assault involving priest

EL PASO (TX)
KFOX14

February 7, 2018

By Samantha Lewis & Jamel Valencia

Las Cruces NM - A priest who served at a parish in Las Cruces for nine years and the Las Cruces Diocese are facing a lawsuit.

The lawsuit accuses the Rev. Ricardo Bauza of sexual battery, alleging he sexually abused a victim in the rectory at St. Helena Catholic Church in Hobbs, New Mexico, in 2016, according to court records.

Before becoming a priest in Hobbs, Bauza was a priest at St. Genevieve Catholic Church in Las Cruces from 2005 to 2014.

The lawsuit was filed in Las Cruces on Monday, according to court records.

It alleges Bauza abused his power as a priest to sexually harass and sexually abuse the alleged victim and that the Las Cruces Catholic Dioceses and St. Helena facilitated the priest’s abuses and helped him flee New Mexico

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 3:36 PM

Oxfam among charities reeling as 120 workers accused of sexual abuse in last year alone

LONDON (ENGLAND)
The Sunday Times

February 11, 2018

By James Gillespie, Caroline Wheeler, Iram Ramzan and Richard Kerbaj

Minister threatens to withdraw aid funding

More than 120 workers for Britain’s leading charities were accused of sexual abuse in the past year alone, fuelling fears that paedophiles are targeting overseas aid organisations.

As new figures emerged revealing the extent of the crisis, Priti Patel, the former international development secretary, warned “predatory paedophiles” had been allowed to exploit the aid sector.

Last night her successor, Penny Mordaunt, threatened to withdraw funding from Oxfam and “any other organisation that has safeguarding issues”. She condemned the “horrific behaviour” of some Oxfam staff and said it was “utterly despicable” that allegations of abuse persisted in the aid sector.

Mordaunt expected charities to “co-operate fully with . . . authorities, and we will cease to fund any organisation that does not”.

Speaking on the Andrew Marr Show this morning, Mordaunt said Oxfam had demonstrated an “absolute absence in leadership”.

“I think it’s shocking and it doesn’t matter how good the safeguarding practices are in an organisation, if that organisation does not have moral leadership to do the right thing, and where in particular they have evidence of criminal activity to pass that information to the relevant authorities including prosecuting authorities, that’s an absolute absence of leadership,” she said.

When pressed as to whether she felt the charity had failed in its moral leadership, Mordaunt said “yes, I do”.

Mordaunt plans to meet Oxfam tomorrow to discuss the scandal and afford the charity “the opportunity to tell me in person what they did after these events”.

Figures collated by charities cover sexual harassment in Britain and abroad. They raise troubling questions about regulation within the charity sector.

Oxfam recorded 87 incidents last year, Save the Children 31 — 10 of which were referred to the police and civil authorities — and Christian Aid two. The British Red Cross admitted there had been a “small number of cases of harassment reported in the UK”, believed to be up to five. All four receive money from the Department for International Development.

Of the Oxfam cases, 53 were referred to the police or other statutory authorities. A total of 20 staff or volunteers were dismissed. The charity employs 5,000 staff and has a further 23,000 volunteers.

Caroline Thomson, Oxfam’s chairwoman of trustees in the UK, said it was working to “address the underlying cultural issues that allowed this behaviour to happen”.

“We also want to satisfy ourselves that we do now have a culture of openness and transparency and that we fully learn the lessons of events in 2011,” she said.

She said Oxfam staff had come forward with concerns about the recruitment and vetting of workers involved in the scandal.

She added: “We will examine these in more detail to ensure we further strengthen the improved safeguarding, recruitment, vetting and staff management procedures that were put in place after 2011.”

Incidents involving charity workers that have come to light since The Times revealed Oxfam workers in Haiti in 2011 were dismissed after using local prostitutes for sex parties include:

● The Charities Commission criticised the Grail Trust, which raises funds for a disadvantaged children’s charity in India, last March for failing to report an allegation of child abuse in India and for initially publicly rejecting the claim.

● Teacher Simon Harris, who was head of a charity in Kenya, abused children at a school there. He was jailed for more than 17 years at Birmingham crown court in 2015.

Andrew MacLeod, a former aid worker for the Red Cross and the UN, told The Sunday Times there was a lack of response to “institutionalised paedophilia” among aid workers. He said he was shocked by what he saw in the Philippines.

“Walk near the Greenbelt Mall [in Manila] and you would see businessmen, tourists and aid workers meeting local girls for the night. You would say: ‘How old do you think these women are?’ They’d look at you with a twinkle in their eye and say: ‘She says she is 18.’

“Many aid workers will have to ask themselves: ‘What did I do to try and stop it?’”

It is not clear from last year’s figures how many allegations were made by other staff or whether the alleged victims were beneficiaries of the charities’ work.

Save the Children said all 31 cases of alleged abuse had taken place abroad and 16 people had been dismissed as a result.

Christian Aid said: “In the past 12 months, Christian Aid has investigated two incidents of sexual misconduct, both of which occurred overseas. One investigation led to the dismissal of a staff member, while the other case resulted in disciplinary action [not dismissal].”

It emerged last night that Oxfam did not give the Charity Commission full details about the use of prostitutes by some aid workers in Haiti seven years ago.

Haiti’s ambassador in London, Bocchit Edmond, criticised Oxfam for failing to inform the country’s authorities about the scandal and said it should publicly apologise.

The commission said: “We have written to the charity as a matter of urgency to request further information regarding the events in Haiti in 2011. This information will be considered as part of an ongoing case regarding the charity’s approach to safeguarding.”

Mordaunt said the Department for International Development was not told about the events at the time.

She said “They [Oxfam] initially said that they were investigating misconduct and when they concluded that report they did not tell us the nature of these events.

“They did tell the Charity Commission that there was sexual inappropriate behaviour, bullying and harassment of employees but they did not report that to us.”

She added that Oxfam also reassured the department that no harm was done and there was no involvement of any beneficiaries.

Andrew Marr said: “That was a lie, wasn’t it?”

Mordaunt replied: “Well, quite.”

She said she did not know what Oxfam’s motivation was for handling the investigation as it did, and warned that its relationship with the government was at risk.

“If the moral leadership at the top of the organisation is not there then we cannot have you as a partner,” she said.

Mordaunt said the charity had done “absolutely the wrong thing” by failing to tell the Charity Commission and prosecuting authorities the full details of the allegations.

She added: “If they do not hand over all the information that they have from their investigation and subsequently to the relevant authorities including the Charity Commission and prosecuting authorities then I cannot work with them any more as an aid delivery partner.”

Former international development secretary Priti Patel told BBC Radio 5 Live’s Pienaar’s Politics she was aware of abuse involving aid workers in disaster zones and had done her own research on the issue

She told the programme: “People knew in DfID, I raised this directly with my department at the time.

“I had quotes from the United Nations reports on the number of people.

“I think even the secretary-general last year said there were 120 cases involving something like over 300 people, and that was just the tip of the iceberg.”

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 3:31 PM

Olympic Swimmer Ariana Kukors Accuses Former Coach of Sexual Abuse

NEW YORK (NY)
New York Times

February 8, 2018

By Jacey Fortin

An American swimmer who competed in the 2012 Olympics has accused her former coach of sexually abusing her when she was a teenager.

The swimmer, Ariana Kukors, 28, said in a statement on Wednesday that the coach, Sean Hutchison, began sexually abusing her when she was 16 and had been “grooming” her for three years before that.

“I never thought I would share my story because, in so many ways, just surviving was enough,” Ms. Kukors said in the statement. “I was able to leave a horrible monster and build a life I could have never imagined for myself. But in time, I’ve realized that stories like my own are too important to go unwritten.”

In a statement emailed by his lawyer, Mr. Hutchison, 46, said Thursday that the accusations were not true. He said that the two had had a “committed relationship” that began after she was of age and that they had lived together for more than a year after the 2012 Olympic Games.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 3:28 PM

My Story

UNITED STATES
ArianaJKukors.com

February 9, 2018

By Ariana Kukors

Any swimmer will tell you about the black line on the bottom of every pool . . . the line that we follow day after day. We develop a relationship with that line; it holds our hopes and our dreams, but it also holds our fears. If only that black line could talk, it would tell you of my nightmare.

To those in the swimming community, if you've heard the rumors about me, you may have been wondering if and when I’d find the courage to speak my truth.

This is the truth.

I recently came across a quote by Thich Naht Hahn that said, “People have a hard time letting go of their suffering. Out of a fear of the unknown, they prefer suffering that is familiar.” This quote is ironic, because I can still picture Hahn’s books lying on his bedside table.

I grew up in a family of 5 just outside of Seattle. I was the middle sister of 3 girls, the Kukors Sisters, as we were often referred to. When I was little we used to take our family boat out in the Puget Sound and many of my first memories are of water. The water has always felt natural to me. My older sister, Emily, joined a swim team when she was nine. I was five and eager to follow in her footsteps. That was when my swimming career began, and all three of us girls, my Mom’s mermaids, fell in love with the sport. In 2008, the three of us competed at the US Olympic Swim Trials, a moment in time I will never forget. I trained with my sisters, dreamed with them, won and lost with them. Before each race, we would always tell each other the same message: “I’m sending you my strength”.

I poured everything into my training. I had talent at a young age and progressed quickly with the help of extraordinary age group coaches; coaches who supported, developed, and challenged me in all the right ways. When I was 13, just on the cusp of making the USA National Team, I was handed off to a new coach, Sean Hutchison.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 3:13 PM

Former Priest Charged with Sexual Abuse Pleads to Battery

AURORA (IL)
Associated Press via U.S. News and World Report

February 10, 2018

A former Catholic priest in suburban Chicago who was charged with sexually abusing two girls is likely returning to his native Colombia soon after pleading guilty to misdemeanor battery.

The Kane County State's Attorney's office says it agreed to the plea deal Friday after prosecutors analyzed evidence, communicated with the victims' families and received assurances that Alfredo Pedraza-Arias will be "removed from the United States."

A jail official says Pedraza-Arias was released Saturday "to the custody of another agency" but wouldn't elaborate. His attorney says he expects Pedraza-Arias to leave the country soon.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 2:49 PM

C of E facing 3,300 sexual abuse claims, figures reveal

LONDON (ENGLAND)
The Guardian

February 10, 2018

By Harriet Sherwood

Bishop tells synod ‘it will not be an easy couple of years’ as IICSA prepares to take evidence

Church of England spending on issues relating to sexual abuse has increased fivefold since 2014 and the most recent figures show it is facing more than 3,300 allegations.

The disclosures come as the church prepares to face intense scrutiny by the independent inquiry into child sexual abuse (IICSA), which starts hearing evidence next month.

“This will not be an easy couple of years – we will hear deeply painful accounts of abuse, of poor response, of ‘cover-up’. We will … feel a deep sense of shame,” Peter Hancock, the bishop of Bath and Wells and the C of E’s lead bishop on safeguarding, told the general synod in London.

Professional safeguarding advisers have been appointed to every diocese to deal with disclosures of abuse, but Hancock said the pace of change needed to accelerate. “For too long the church has not responded well to those who allege abuse within our church communities. This is now changing and further change is needed.”

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 2:46 PM

Caldey Abbey: first male victim comes forward to describe sexual abuse

LONDON (ENGLAND)
The Guardian

By Amanda Gearing and Steven Morris

February 9, 2018

Man says he was abused by Cistercian monk during family holidays on Welsh island

A man has come forward to describe how he was groomed and sexually abused as a child by a Benedictine monk on Caldey Island, intensifying calls for an inquiry into what happened at the abbey in south-west Wales.

The victim, who has told police of the abuse he was subject to during summer holiday trips to Caldey Island, is the first man to allege he was sexually assaulted by Father Thaddeus Kotik.

More than a dozen women have come forward to report offences committed by Kotik, a member of the Cistercian order of Benedictine monks who lived at Caldey Abbey on the Pembrokeshire island from 1947 until his death in 1992.

The Guardian has learned that two other men who lived and worked on Caldey Island were subsequently convicted of child sex offences.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 2:43 PM

Plea deal for former Aurora priest in sexual abuse case

ARLINGTON HEIGHTS (IL)
Daily Herald

February 10, 2018

By Marie Wilson

A former Aurora priest pleaded guilty to misdemeanor battery and was released from jail Saturday without prosecution on charges of sexual abuse.

Now it's likely the former priest, 51-year-old Alfredo Pedraza-Arias, will leave the country, his attorney David Camic said Saturday -- whether on his own or possibly by deportation to his native Colombia.

Pedraza-Arias was charged in February 2016 with aggravated criminal sexual abuse of two girls younger than 13, whom he was accused of abusing between January 2009 and November 2014, one at Sacred Heart Church in Aurora and another at her Aurora home.

Camic said his client did not commit any sexual offense, which is why he pleaded guilty only to misdemeanor battery in a deal reached Friday with the Kane County state's attorney's office.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 2:40 PM

The costs of surviving childhood sexual abuse

SAN FRANCISCO (CA)
Salon

February 11, 2018

By Marci Hamilton

It is difficult not to be stunned into silence by the testimony of 156 female gymnasts against serial pedophile Dr. Larry Nassar. His “practice” was a factory assembly line of abuse — one girl after the other, day after day. He was prolific but not a rarity: child sex abuse in the United States is a mass epidemic that saturates our culture and even impacts the economy. And as the national #MeToo movement has shown, the time is now, to say, “enough is enough.”

Ignorance, discomfort and a legal system geared toward adults rather than children have kept these stories from the public. The numbers are staggering: research by the Centers for Disease Control estimates that 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 6 boys will be sexually abused before their 18th birthday. That means that in every classroom, team and congregation it is likely that there are children who have been or are being victimized.

Victims often do not disclose their abuse until they are in their 40s, according to the University of Georgia School of Law's Child Endangerment and Sexual Exploitation Clinic. While 38 states have eliminated the criminal statute of limitations (SOL) for at least some child sex crimes, most have not done so for all of them, leaving large loopholes that protect many perpetrators whose “lesser” abuse can still yield enormous harm. Many more states have not yet eliminated the civil SOL, which means institutions and their insurers have not been adequately incentivized to change their practices to deter child sex abuse effectively. Indeed, the worst states, like New York, Alabama and Michigan, permit institutions and predators to revel in SOLs that cut off claims once the victim reaches their early 20s.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 2:16 PM

Catholic school where convicted child abuser once taught moves on

PORTLAND (ME)
Portland Press Herald

February 11, 2018

By Edward D. Murphy

St. John's in Brunswick said reinforced policies, plus a new administration and a focus on the future, will help the school going forward.

More than 16 months after Henry Eichman was arrested for the sexual abuse of multiple children, the Brunswick parochial school where he taught is trying to put the episode behind it.

Eichman, who was sentenced Jan. 3 for abusing eight children in Sagadahoc County, was arrested in September 2016 and charged with abusing children at his home in Topsham, where he had started a theater group. He was subsequently charged with abusing one child at St. John’s Catholic School, where he worked as a drama teacher and helped with an after-school day care program.

Eichman was sentenced to 10 years in prison on 10 counts, including nine felonies. But the start last month of his prison term doesn’t signal the end of the impact his actions have had in two midcoast communities. At St. John’s, a new administration has pledged to enforce policies to protect children. And although no charges were ever filed because of contact Eichman had with children at his Midcoast Youth Theater in Topsham, the drama group points to its policy that no adult is ever alone with a child involved in a theater activity as a shield against abuse.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 2:08 PM

Catholic Inc: What the Church is really worth

MELBOURNE (AUSTRALIA)
The Age

February 12, 2018

By Royce Millar, Ben Schneiders & Chris Vedelago

An Age investigation reveals for the first time the value of the Catholic Church’s wealth in Australia and raises serious questions about compensation payments to victims of child sex abuse.

The Catholic Church in Victoria is worth more than $9 billion, making it the biggest non-government property owner in the state and much wealthier than it has admitted in evidence to major inquiries into child sexual abuse.

A six-month investigation by The Age has found that the church misled the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse by grossly undervaluing its property portfolio while claiming that increased payments to abuse survivors would likely require cuts to its social programs.

Figures extrapolated from a huge volume of Victorian council valuation data show the church has more than $30 billion in property and other assets, Australia wide.

Based on these figures, the church is clearly the largest non-government property owner, by value, in the state, and close to the largest in Australia, rivalling giant Westfield, with its vast network of shopping centres and other assets.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 1:51 PM

Editorial: Troubling allegations against Catholic Diocese

LAS CRUCES (NM)
Las Cruces Sun-News

February 10, 2018

[Note from BishopAccountability.org: This editorial references a statement by Bishop Oscar Cantú. That statement is available here.]

The allegations against a former priest in the Catholic Diocese of Las Cruces that are contained in a recent lawsuit are disturbing. The alleged cover-up by church officials, if true, would be beyond disturbing.

The lawsuit involves Father Ricardo Bauza, who had previously served as pastor of St. Genevieve Catholic Church in Las Cruces. The allegations in the lawsuit involve complaints made by several people after Bauza had been moved to St. Helena Catholic Church in Hobbs.

The adult man who filed the lawsuit claims that on two different occasions when he was using the shower at the parish rectory, Bauza entered the shower naked and began to wash the other man’s body, including his genitals.

The complaint also accused Bauza of showing photos of his penis and other sexually explicit images to church workers.

One worker also alleged that Bauza had engaged in sexual activities with other men in the church rectory. And, a cleaning lady told investigators that when she was cleaning the rectory one day, she saw Bauza standing naked in the hallway with his backside exposed to her.

Court records show that Bauza was charged in October with one misdemeanor count of criminal sexual contact. There is an active court warrant for his arrest.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 1:41 PM

Priest sex abuse settlement stirs old aches for local man

NEW LONDON (CT)
The Day

February 10, 2018

By Karen Florin

[Note from BishopAccountability.org: Includes an important video interview with John Waddington, a survivor of abuse by Fr Charles Many SSE, an Edmundite priest. This article appeared on the front page of the Sunday paper.]

John Waddington felt the blood drain from his face when his girlfriend called him last month to say a former altar boy at Sacred Heart Church in Groton who was molested by a priest in the late 1970s and early 1980s received a $900,000 settlement from Catholic church officials.

Waddington's cubemates at Electric Boat saw his face go pale and thought somebody in his family had died, the 54-year-old electrical designer said during an interview Thursday.

The news of Andrew Aspinwall's settlement brought Waddington back to the day in 1978 when he, a 14-year-old altar boy at Sacred Heart, was sexually assaulted by former priest Charles Many.

Same church, same priest, same time period.

"It was like it happened to me again," Waddington said.

The now-disgraced former priest had arrived at Sacred Heart a few years earlier and started a youth group. Waddington said Many kept asking him to watch a movie in his room at the rectory. The priest was "a really soft-spoken, mellow kind of guy," Waddington said, and he relented.

"He puts on 'The Exorcist' and molests me, and I didn't remember it until I was 28," Waddington said. The intense feelings associated with a divorce from his first wife and a confrontation at work triggered the memory, he said. He suffers from depression, post-traumatic stress disorder and anxiety. He's been married and divorced three times, and has had years of counseling.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 12:59 PM

February 10, 2018

House Oversight Committee opens probe into sexual abuse of gymnasts

WASHINGTON (DC)
The Hill

February 8, 2018

Nassar has been sentenced to up to more than a century in prison for serially sexually abusing young gymnasts who sought treatment for their sports injuries.

A total of 156 women testified about his abuse at his sentencing hearing last month, as well as another 60 women at another sentencing hearing last week.

Oversight Committee leaders are asking entities involved, including the U.S. Olympic Committee, USA Gymnastics and Michigan State University, for documentation of how they handled complaints against Nassar.

“To ensure this never happens again, the Committee is seeking to understand what failed within our Olympic and collegiate systems, and why,” a letter from Oversight Committee members to USA Gymnastics President Kerry Perry reads.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 4:10 PM

Letter: 'I am a mom who was in the room while Larry Nassar treated my daughter'

INDIANAPOLIS (IN)
Indianapolis Star via USA Today

February 9, 2018

By Kristen Chatman

I am a mom who was in the exam room while Dr. Larry Nassar treated my daughter.

She had extreme back pain — to the point that it was difficult to walk. So of course, we called Larry. There was no other option in our minds. He was world-renowned. THE gymnastics doctor. Simply the best. No question. You see, we had been his patients at that point for nearly three years. So, we trusted him implicitly.

Frankly, I had been a bit skeptical of those in the medical profession — for a lot of reasons. We had seen numerous doctors on numerous occasions with the same outcome. No help. From inaccurate diagnoses to no diagnosis at all, our experiences jaded me. I was untrusting. Even cynical. Until I met Larry.

On our very first visit, he gave us an accurate diagnosis and charted a course of action as well. And it worked. And then, when another issue arose, we called Larry again. True to form, he helped solve the problem and put my daughter on the road to healing. This happened off and on for years. No problems. No questions.

And then the back pain came. Desperate for answers and relief, we called our favorite doc, Larry. Due to our mutually busy schedules, we met him off hours. “How nice of him!” we thought. Little did we know that this was a pattern of his behavior. He proceeded to evaluate my girl and then gave her (the) treatment.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 4:04 PM

Michigan State turns over 45,000 pages to AG, gets extension from lawmakers

LANSING (MI)
Lansing State Journal

February 9, 2018

By Justin A. Hinkley

Michigan State University was expected on Friday to have turned over some 45,000 pages of documents to investigators at the Michigan Attorney General's Office, with more to come on "a rolling basis," according to a letter from the university's attorneys to investigators.

Meanwhile, lawmakers on Friday gave the university until Wednesday to hand over documents in their own investigation into how MSU officials responded to Larry Nassar scandal.

According to a letter penned by attorney Patrick Fitzgerald of the law firm Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom and posted online by the university, among some 20,000 pages to be turned over Friday to the Attorney General's Office were:
• University investigatory files related to former MSU physician and convicted sexual abuser Larry Nassar and other MSU employees,
• Personnel files for employees involved in the Nassar case,
• Policies for MSU doctors and the university's sexual misconduct policies,
• Organizational charts, and
• Nassar-related documents that MSU has released through the state's Freedom of Information Act.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 3:57 PM

How Larry Nassar’s Trial Made the Case for Cameras in the Court

NEW YORK (NY)
New York

February 8, 2018

By Jeffrey Toobin

Cameras in the courtroom used to be a hot topic. In the nineteen-eighties and early nineties, many states began to allow broad media access to their judicial proceedings, and even the federal courts were experimenting with cameras. Court TV, a network devoted almost exclusively to live coverage of trials, was flourishing. But then the momentum stopped with a thud, and everyone remembers why: the trial of O. J. Simpson.

One can debate, and I have, whether the cameras in Judge Lance Ito’s courtroom during the case, in which Simpson was charged with the murder, in 1994, of his former wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ronald Goldman, affected the conduct of everyone involved and the verdict. (Simpson was acquitted.) Advocates for cameras saw the case as an opportunity for public education about the judicial process; opponents regarded the cameras as accessories to, and a cause of, a demeaning circus. But there is no doubt that the case poisoned the atmosphere for multimedia access to trials. In the two decades since, the trend has been toward fewer cameras, not more. New York is a prime example. The state allowed cameras in its courts for a decade, from 1987 to 1997, but then, post-O. J., forbade them again. (An experiment with expanding access is only now under way.) Court TV died a much mourned death, in 2008. To the extent that the subject of cameras in the courtroom came up at all, the negative example of the Simpson case drowned out much of the debate on the matter.

But recent events in Michigan serve as a reminder that cameras can be better than a necessary evil: they can be a positive good. Over the course of several days last month, Judge Rosemarie Aquilina allowed the victims of Lawrence G. Nassar, the former USA Gymnastics and Michigan State University sports-medicine doctor, to recount the stories of the abuse they suffered at his hands. (Michigan gives judges the discretion to allow or prohibit cameras in their courtrooms.)

More than a hundred and fifty victims testified, and their stories were harrowing. Sometimes standing with family members, sometimes alone, the young women told of how Nassar abused the trust they had placed in him and how their lives had been shaped, and often shattered, by what he did to them. Their stories reverberated well beyond the courtroom. As a result of the outrage people around the country expressed, the president of Michigan State University and the entire board of USA Gymnastics were forced to resign. With all respect to the power of the printed (and pixelated) word, this might never have happened if coverage had been limited to the stories produced by the journalists who covered the proceedings. We live in a culture that is saturated with video, from movie theatres to our phones, and we have come to expect to see news events for ourselves. Judge Aquilina did the right thing, and justice was served. (Nassar received multiple sentences, totalling well over a hundred years.)

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 3:47 PM

The Smearing of Woody Allen

NEW YORK (NY)
New York Times

February 9, 2018

By Bret Stephens

Soon after Rolling Stone published a sensational — and, as it turned out, false — account of a gang rape at a University of Virginia fraternity, Richard Bradley, the editor of Worth magazine, suspected that something was amiss.

Basic journalistic rules, such as seeking comment from the alleged perpetrators, had not been observed, he noted on his blog. Details of the assault, one of which seemed ripped from “Silence of the Lambs,” were lurid past the point of plausibility.

But what most stirred Bradley’s doubt was how perfectly the story played “into existing biases,” especially the sorts of biases Rolling Stone readers might harbor about fraternity life at Southern universities.

Since the account of the rape “felt” true, it was easy to assume it was. Since the alleged victim had supposedly suffered grievous harm, it was awkward to challenge her version of events. Since important people took the story on faith and sought to press it into the service of an undeniably noble cause, the story’s moral truth overwhelmed its factual one.

All this, Bradley knew, was the surest way to fall for the biggest lies. It’s a caution that could serve journalists and the wider public well in the case of Woody Allen’s alleged molestation, in 1992, of his then-7-year-old adoptive daughter, Dylan Farrow.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 3:43 PM

Trump, Saying ‘Mere Allegation’ Ruins Lives, Appears to Doubt #MeToo Movement

NEW YORK (NY)
New York Times

February 10, 2018

By Mark Landler

President Trump complained on Saturday about allegations that he said were destroying the lives of those accused — appearing to express doubts about the #MeToo movement after the resignations this week of two White House aides facing claims of domestic violence.

In an early morning Twitter post, Mr. Trump did not name the former aides, but said: “Peoples lives are being shattered and destroyed by a mere allegation. Some are true and some are false. Some are old and some are new. There is no recovery for someone falsely accused — life and career are gone. Is there no such thing any longer as Due Process?”

Mr. Trump’s claim ran counter to the White House’s portrayal of its actions in response to the abuse allegations. Administration officials maintained that they acted decisively in the cases of Rob Porter, the staff secretary, and David Sorensen, a speechwriter, both of whom stepped down after their former wives accused them of emotional and physical abuse.

But the president’s defense is in keeping with the White House’s initially defensive reaction to the charges against Mr. Porter — as well as his tendency to dismiss allegations made against him and other powerful men by women who say they were sexually harassed.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 3:37 PM

Church expert: #Metoo, Chile bishop scandal a wake-up call

VATICAN CITY
Associated Press via Bozeman Daily Chronicle

February 9, 2018

By Nicole Winfield

The #MeToo movement and the controversy over a Chilean bishop show the need for a broader response to “the abuse of power and conscience,” the head of the Catholic Church’s leading center on preventing priestly sexual abuse said Friday.

The Rev. Hans Zollner spoke at the graduation ceremony for students who have completed a course in safeguarding people from abuse held at the Jesuit-run Pontifical Gregorian University.

In addition to his role at the Gregorian, Zollner is also one of the founding members of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors, Pope Francis’ hand-picked group of experts on sexual abuse.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 3:33 PM

Cardinal George Pell's lawyers seek access to complainants' medical records

MELBOURNE (AUSTRALIA)
Australian Broadcasting Corporation

February 9, 2018

By Emma Younger

Lawyers for Cardinal George Pell are seeking access to the medical records of complainants in the case against him.

Cardinal Pell, 76, is set to face a four-week committal hearing in the Melbourne Magistrates' Court next month as he fights historical sexual offence charges involving multiple complainants.

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

One of Cardinal Pell's defence barristers, Ruth Shann, made what she described as a "responsible and considered" application to access the medial records of complainants in the case.

Ms Shann told the court the records would have substantial probative value, meaning they would contain important evidence to the case.

She said a complainant may not be in the best position to describe their own mental health.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 1:32 PM

Cardinal Pell's lawyers want access to his accusers' medical records

LONDON (ENGLAND)
The Guardian

February 9, 2018

Pell’s legal team denies their request for access to records of those who have accused the Cardinal of sexual offences is a “fishing expedition”

Cardinal Pell’s legal team argued the particular features of the case warrant access to the information, including that it involved a high-profile person. Photograph: Joel Carrett/AAP
Cardinal George Pell’s lawyers want access to the medical records of people who have accused him of sexual offences, denying it is “a fishing expedition”.

Prosecutors oppose the defence application for access to the complainants’ treatment information.

The crown Prosecutor Mark Gibson SC said there was no substantial probative value in the material being provided.

“It’s tantamount to a fishing expedition rather than having a legitimate forensic purpose,” Gibson told Melbourne magistrates court on Friday.

The defence application came three weeks before a hearing that will determine if Australia’s most senior Catholic stands trial on historical sexual offence charges.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 1:27 PM

Funding suspended to St John of God order in Malawi

DUBLIN (IRELAND)
Irish Times

February 4, 2018

By Elaine Edwards

Charity ‘extremely concerned’ about allegations involving Irish Brother

A charity has suspended its funding to the St John of God Order for a project in Malawi following allegations of child abuse against a former school principal and member of the order.

Misean Cara, which gets funding from the State’s overseas development programme Irish Aid, said it was “extremely concerned” about issues raised involving Brother Aidan Clohessy. It said it had requested “a number of clarifications” from the order.

Br Clohessy was head of St Augustine’s, a school for boys with special needs in Blackrock, Co Dublin, from 1970 until 1993, when he was relocated to Malawi. The first serious child-abuse allegation was made against him in 1985 and two new claims by former St Augustine’s pupils emerged as late as last month.

The St John of God order has confirmed it has told the Garda Síochána about the new allegations.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 12:59 PM

Taxpayers’ funding to St John of God mission in Africa is suspended

DUBLIN (IRELAND)
Irish Mail on Sunday via NewsScoops.org

February 4, 2018.

By: Michael O’Farrell

[Note from BishopAccountability.org: See also a PDF of the newspaper version of this article.]

The provision of Irish taxpayer funds to the St John of God order in Malawi has been suspended in the wake of the coverup of child abuse allegations, exposed by the Irish Mail on Sunday.

The order’s Malawi operations are supported by Misean Cara – a missionary charity that distributes a 16m euro block grant from the taxpayer-funded Irish Aid each year.

Misean Cara’s accounts show the St John of God order got more than €2.3m in public funds since 2009 – an unknown proportion of which went to Malawi.

In order to receive the funds for Malawi the order – currently led by Brother Donatus Forkan – signed contracts that included statements that child safeguarding policies are being implemented. Failure to make a declaration of compliance would have disqualified St John of God (SJOG) from eligibility for funding.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 12:54 PM

Catholic Brother left to work with street kids in Malawi as allegations of child abuse mounted

MZUZU (MALAWI)
Nyasa Times

January 26, 2018

By Michael O’Farrell and Collins Mtika

[Note from BishopAccountability.org: The text below is a brief introduction to Part 2 of this feature. See the full report in PDFs of the original newspapers, with photographs, a timeline, and survivor profiles:
Brother Accused of Abuse Was Left in Africa, with related articles, by Michael O'Farrell et al. (January 21, 2018)
Breaking 35-Year Silence on Abuse, with related articles, by Michael O'Farrell et al. (January 28, 2018)
Taxpayers' Funding to St John of God Mission in Africa Is Suspended, by Michael O'Farrell (February 4, 2018)]

The St John of God order covered up 20 child abuse allegations against a school principal and allowed him to work and live with vulnerable children in Malawi for decades – even as payouts were made to his Irish accusers.

Brother Aidan Clohessy was principal of St Augustine’s in Blackrock in south Dublin – a school for special needs boys – from 1970 until 1993 when he was relocated to a Mzuzu city in Malawi. The first serious child abuse allegation was made against Brother Aidan in 1985 and claims continue to emerge.

As recently as this week, two new sets of allegations of sex abuse against Brother Aidan – unearthed by the Irish Mail on Sunday – have been referred to Irish police called gardaí and child and family agency Tusla for investigation.

The newspaper has also confirmed that a number of alleged victims in Ireland received compensation through the Redress Board – even as Brother Aidan remained working and living with children in Malawi.

Despite this the order appear to have ignored the danger Brother Aidan may have posed to children in Mzuzu city, Malawi – where many children were housed at the brother’s home – and its own childprotection guidelines. As a result of one allegation in Ireland, the order says it instructed Brother Aidan ‘not to work with children’ in 1997.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 12:47 PM

St John of God order reports allegations against former principal to Garda

DUBLIN (IRELAND)
Irish Times

January 21, 2018

By Elaine Edwards

[Note from BishopAccountability.org: This article cites as source an unnamed "newspaper report." That report is Brother Accused of Abuse Was Left in Africa, by Michael O'Farrell, Irish Mail on Sunday, January 21, 2018. The article also alludes to Bringing hope to Africa's poorest, by Eithne Donnellan, Irish Times, December 14, 2010.]

Br Aidan Clohessy ‘still worked with children in Africa’ after Irish sex abuse claims

The St John of God order has said it has told the Garda Síochána about new allegations of child abuse against a former school principal who subsequently went to work with children in Africa.

Br Aidan Clohessy was head of St Augustine’s, a school for boys with special needs in Blackrock, Co Dublin, from 1970 until 1993, when he was relocated to Malawi. The first serious child-abuse allegation was made against him in 1985; two new claims by former St Augustine’s pupils emerged as late as this week, a newspaper report said on Sunday.

The report claimed that up to 20 allegations were made against Br Clohessy up to 2014, and that when the State established the Residential Institutions Redress Board, in 2002, payouts were made to Irish accusers of Br Clohessy but he continued to work with children in Africa after that time. It also alleged that he had converted a garage at his home to house boys who had been on the streets.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 12:39 PM

Brother Accused of Abuse Was Left in Africa

DUBLIN (IRELAND)
Irish Mail on Sunday via NewsScoops.org

January 21, 2018

By Michael O’Farrell

[Note from BishopAccountability.org: The text below is a brief introduction. See the full report in PDFs of the original newspapers, with photographs, a timeline, and survivor profiles:
Brother Accused of Abuse Was Left in Africa, with related articles, by Michael O'Farrell et al. (January 21, 2018)
Breaking 35-Year Silence on Abuse, with related articles, by Michael O'Farrell et al. (January 28, 2018)
Taxpayers' Funding to St John of God Mission in Africa Is Suspended, by Michael O'Farrell (February 4, 2018)]

The St John of God order covered up 20 child abuse allegations against a school principal and allowed him to work and live with vulnerable children in Africa for decades – even as payouts were made to his Irish accusers.

Brother Aidan Clohessy was principal of St Augustine’s in Blackrock in south Dublin – a school for special needs boys – from 1970 until 1993 when he was relocated to a city in Malawi.

The first serious child abuse allegation was made against Brother Aidan in 1985 and claims continue to emerge. As recently as this week, two new sets of allegations of sex abuse against Brother Aidan – unearthed by the Irish Mail on Sunday – have been referred to gardaí and child and family agency Tusla for investigation.

The MoS has also confirmed that a number of alleged victims in Ireland received compensation through the Redress Board – even as Brother Aidan remained working and living with children in Malawi.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 12:19 PM

Former member of Vatican abuse commission says trust in pope “undermined” by Chile scandal

DENVER (CO)
Crux

February 7, 2018

By Charles Collins

Marie Collins, who was a founding member of Pope Francis’s Commission for the Protection of Minors but resigned in early 2017, says his handling of a letter from a Chilean abuse survivor has “definitely undermined credibility, trust, and hope” in the pontiff.

“He has said all the right things and he has expressed all the right views on abuse, and the harm and the hurt, but in this case at least it would seem his actions have not matched the words, and that is sad,” she said.

In 2015, the Irish abuse survivor personally handed the letter from Juan Carlos Cruz to Cardinal Sean O’Malley, the Boston archbishop who heads the commission, in an attempt to stop Francis from transferring Bishop Juan Barros to the Diocese of Osorno.

In the eight-page letter, Cruz detailed the abuse, kissing and fondling he says he suffered at the hands of Father Fernando Karadima, Chile’s most notorious priest-abuser.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 11:34 AM

Retired Idaho priest charged with sex exploitation of child, child porn

BOISE (ID)
Catholic News Service via National Catholic Reporter

February 8, 2018

The arrest of a retired Boise Catholic priest on multiple charges of sexual exploitation of a child, distribution of child pornography and drug possession has shocked Catholics in the statewide Diocese of Boise.

"When I first heard of these allegations, I was absolutely stunned," Boise Bishop Peter Christensen said in a statement Feb. 6. He said that "there are no excuses" for the behavior described in the charges.

Fr. Thomas Faucher, 72, was arrested Feb. 2 and charged with 10 counts of sexual exploitation of a child, two counts of distributing sexually exploitative material involving children and two counts of drug possession. "All of the charges, except one of the drug counts, are felonies. If convicted, he faces a lifetime in prison," reported the Idaho Statesman daily newspaper.

"If these allegations are true and proven in court, they are a betrayal of the trust we place in all ministers such as Father Faucher. Anyone who takes advantage of and exploits children for their own gratification is absolutely wrong. There are no excuses for such behavior by any one of our clergy," Christensen said.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 11:31 AM

Pope Francis’ reputation on sex abuse ‘has gone from bad to worse’

VATICAN
National Catholic Register

February 8, 2018

By Christopher Lamb

From his advocacy for migrants to opening up the Sistine Chapel to Rome’s homeless, Pope Francis has been an outspoken voice for people suffering on the margins.

But the 81-year-old pontiff’s appeals on behalf of the downtrodden are being overshadowed by the way he is dealing with victims of clerical sexual abuse.

“This is a situation which the Pope has mishandled, and it’s gone from bad to worse,” Marie Collins, a former member of a pontifical commission on clerical sex abuse, who herself was abused by a priest when she was 13 years old, told Religion News Service.

The Pope — who has repeatedly been accused of having a tin ear on this issue — is coming under pressure after it emerged he was handed a letter detailing abuse committed by the Rev. Fernando Karadima, a prominent Chilean priest, and how a future bishop witnessed it but did nothing.

It contradicted Francis’ comments to journalists last month that no victims had come forward with evidence of a cover-up by Bishop Juan Barros, whom the Pope appointed in 2015 to lead the Diocese of Osorno. During a trip to Chile in January, Francis also upset survivors by describing the claims against Barros — many of them made by victims — as “calumny.”

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 11:29 AM

Vatican to interview Chile victim in person

VATICAN CITY
Associated Press via Salt Lake Tribune

February 10, 2018

By Nicole Winfield and Eva Vergara
·
The Vatican’s sex-crimes expert is changing plans and will fly to New York to take in-person testimony from a Chilean sex abuse victim after his pleas to be heard by Pope Francis were previously ignored, the victim told The Associated Press on Wednesday.

The switch from a planned Skype interview came after the AP reported that Francis received a letter in 2015 from Juan Carlos Cruz, a survivor of Chile’s most notorious pedophile priest. Cruz wrote the pope that one of the priest’s proteges, Bishop Juan Barros, was present for his abuse and did nothing, and questioned Francis’ decision to make him a diocesan bishop.

Barros has denied seeing or knowing of any abuse committed by the Rev. Fernando Karadima, a charismatic priest sanctioned by the Vatican in 2011 for sexually abusing minors.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 11:26 AM

Did Pope Francis Receive a 2015 Letter With Detailed Allegations Against Bishop Barros?

VATICAN CITY
National Catholic Register/Catholic News Agency/EWTN

February 6, 2018

A Chilean survivor of sexual abuse says that he wrote to the Holy Father and that the pontiff failed to act on the information.

A Chilean survivor of sexual abuse says that he wrote a letter to Pope Francis in 2015 claiming that Bishop Juan Barros of Chile witnessed abuse perpetrated by his friend Father Fernando Karadima and that the Pope failed to act on the letter.

In April 2015, Marie Collins, then a member of the Vatican’s Pontifical Commission for Minors, along with three other members of the commission, met with Cardinal Sean O’Malley, the Pope’s top advisor on sex abuse, giving him a letter from a victim of Father Karadima to deliver to the Pope, according to a Feb. 5 report from The Associated Press.

The meeting followed Francis’ controversial appointment of Bishop Barros to lead the Diocese of Osorno, Chile, in January 2015.

Collins told the AP that Cardinal O’Malley said he would deliver the letter to Pope Francis. The letter’s author, Juan Carlos Cruz, now living and working in Philadelphia, told the AP that Cardinal O’Malley told him in 2015 that the letter had been delivered to Francis.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 11:21 AM

Chilean victim of sexual abuse demands thorough Vatican investigation

ROME (ITALY)
Reuters

February 9, 2018

By Philip Pullella

A Chilean victim of clerical sexual abuse who is the key witness in the case of a bishop accused of covering it up says a Vatican investigation must be rigorous and fair if the church is to salvage its reputation on the issue.

In a telephone interview with Reuters from his home in the United States on Thursday night, Juan Carlos Cruz said Pope Francis had “set the clock back years and years” with his recent comments casting doubt on the credibility of victims of abuse.

On Jan. 30, the Vatican said the pope had appointed the church’s most experienced sexual abuse investigator to look into accusations that Bishop Juan Barros of the diocese of Osorno in Chile had covered up crimes against minors.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 11:17 AM

The Bishop Barros crisis: how bad is it?

LONDON (ENGLAND)
Catholic Herald

February 10, 2018

By Christopher Altieri

At this point, there are only four possible explanations for what happened to a crucial letter

“How bad is it?” That was the question a friend put to me, à propos the leadership crisis in the Catholic Church. Pope Francis precipitated the crisis by levelling repeated accusations of calumny against survivors of sexual abuse perpetrated by a prominent Chilean cleric, Fernando Karadima, who was convicted of his crimes by a Vatican court in 2011. Karadima’s victims claim one of their abuser’s protégés, Juan Barros – ordained bishop in 1995 and appointed by Pope Francis to head the diocese of Osorno, Chile, in 2015 – witnessed the abuse they suffered at Karadima’s hands, covered for his mentor and enabled his abusive behaviour. Put just like that, it is bad enough.

It gets worse.

Pope Francis first accused the victims of calumny in a heat-of-the-moment exchange with a reporter in a press gaggle at the gate of the Iquique venue where he was heading to say Mass on the last day of his recent visit to Chile. News of the Pope’s “hot takes” overshadowed the final, Peruvian leg of his South American tour. The Pope then used his in-flight press conference – days later – on the return trip to Rome, to double down on his accusations of calumny, saying he has not received any evidence of Barros’ alleged wrongdoing, and that the victims had never brought their case to him. “You [reporters], in all good will, tell me that there are victims, but I haven’t seen any, because they haven’t come forward,” Pope Francis said.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 11:14 AM

‘Archangel’ charged with sex abuse freed from pre-trial detention

ROME (ITALY)
Crux

February 10, 2018

By Claire Giangravè

After six months in a Sicilian prison, the leader of a lay Catholic association charged with having sexually abused at least six underage girls has been released and allowed to await trial under house arrest.

In previous reporting, Crux has followed the story of Piero Alfio Capuana, a banker turner charismatic religious leader of the “Catholic Culture and Environment Association,” or ACCA, a lay association not officially recognized by the Church, that counted more than 5,000 members in the highly devout Sicilian inland near Catania.

Over the span of 25 years, Capuana, 73, who was regarded as an incarnation of the Archangel Gabriel by his followers, now stands charged with sexually abusing young girls between the ages of 11 and 16 with the help of three of his “Apostles,” meaning aides, who allegedly coaxed victims into interpreting his sexual advances as “pure love” and “love from above.”

In August of last year, an investigation conducted by the Italian police led to the arrest of Capuana, who was kept in isolation inside the Cavadonna prison in Syracuse until a review court found Feb. 8 that there are insufficient requirements for his remaining behind bars awaiting trial.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 11:11 AM

Church's legal procedures for abuse cases need changing, expert says

ROME (ITALY)
Catholic News Service via National Catholic Reporter

February 9, 2018

By Carol Glatz

Even though the Catholic Church has all the necessary norms and laws in place to safeguard minors from abuse by clergy, the problem continues to be a lack in understanding or caring about those rules and guidelines and applying them effectively, said one Jesuit expert.

But what must change, "without a doubt," are church procedures for handling accusations of abuse, said Jesuit Father Hans Zollner, head of the Pontifical Gregorian University's Center for Child Protection.

Joy-of-the-Family-Guide.jpgExplore Pope Francis’ apostolic exhortation on the family. Download our free study guide.

The legal process "must be more transparent and more transparent for everyone," including the victims, the accused and his or her superiors, Zollner told reporters Feb. 9 at a ceremony awarding 18 people -- religious and laity -- diplomas for completing a specialization course in safeguarding minors.

Victims receive no information during the process and the accused are left "in limbo" for what may be five years or more not knowing if they will be sentenced or even found guilty, he said. Not even the bishop or religious superior of the accused receives information about what's happening, he added.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 11:08 AM

Aurora priest charged with child abuse, facing deportation won't have to register as sex offender in plea deal

CHICAGO (IL)
Beacon News and Chicago Tribune

February 9, 2018

By Hannah Leone

An Aurora priest who was charged with sexually abusing two young girls pleaded guilty Friday to a misdemeanor that does not require him to register as a sex offender.

Even if it did, he'd still face deportation to his native Colombia — one of the reasons his trial had been rescheduled so many times. Set for Feb. 20, the trial was likely about to be pushed again, according to a recent court order and the priest's lawyer.

Alfredo Pedraza Arias was sentenced to 205 days in county jail with credit for time served after his guilty plea. With credit for time already spent in jail, Arias was set to be released Saturday morning, Attorney David Camic said.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 10:55 AM

John Sarro, former Delaware priest accused of child rape, pleads not guilty

WILMINGTON (DE)
News Journal

February 9, 2018

By Xerxes Wilson

John Sarro, a former priest with the Catholic Diocese of Wilmington, on Friday pleaded not guilty to charges that he raped a pre-teen girl in the '90s.

Sarro, 76, is charged with first-degree unlawful sexual intercourse and second-degree unlawful sexual contact. He is accused of fondling and raping a girl who court documents said was less than 16 years old between 1991 and 1994 when the abuse is said to have occurred. He was a pastor at St. Helena Parish in Bellefonte at the time.

On Friday, his first court appearance in Delaware, he spoke briefly from a wheelchair only to tell the judge that he has to tell the management of his assisted living home when he is coming or going. After entering his plea, he was assigned a public defender and allowed to leave.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 10:52 AM

Marists in Chile begin probe into sex abuse allegations

SANTIAGO (CHILE)
Associated Press via Yahoo News

February 9, 2018

The Marist Brothers in Chile opened a canonical investigation Friday into the sexual abuse accusations shaking their order with the first testimony from one of the alleged victims.

Isaac Givovich Contador testified for more than three hours to the Salesian priest in charge of the investigation, David Albornoz. When he left, a visibly affected Givovich was unable to talk to reporters at a news conference even though he was to speak on behalf of four other victims.

"What Isaac has just gone through in this place is part of a tremendously traumatic and re-victimizing process," said Jose Andres Murillo, one of the victims of Chilean priest Fernando Karadima, the most visible face of sexual abuse in the South American country. Karadima's case is not related to the Marists.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 10:49 AM

Update: Church says it will evict Boise priest following child porn, drug charges

BOISE (ID)
Idaho Statesman

Updated February 9, 2018

By Michael Katz, Ruth Brown, and Katy Moeller

Church spokesman Gene Fadness says Rev. W. Thomas Faucher will be served an eviction notice Friday afternoon. A certified letter regarding the eviction will also be sent to Faucher.

Faucher pays to rent his home from the Diocese of Boise. Fadness earlier this week told the Statesman that Faucher’s lease agreement prevented the church from evicting Faucher following recent charges of child porn and drug possession.

Friday, Fadness said the church does have options regarding the lease that he was previously unaware of. Friday’s action by the church would start the process laid out in Idaho law for an eviction.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 10:45 AM

February 9, 2018

What We Must Do to End Child Sexual Abuse in Organizations

NEW YORK (NY)
Psychology Today

February 8, 2018

By Elizabeth Letourneau, Ph.D.

Why must we wait for hundreds of victims to come forward before we act?

Last week after days of emotional testimony by victims, Judge Rosemarie Aquilina sentenced Dr. Larry Nassar, the doctor who assaulted at least 150 girls while working as a doctor for USA Gymnastics, to 40 to 175 years in prison. On February 5, a Michigan judge sentenced Nassar to an additional 40 to 125 year sentence, which brought the criminal proceedings against Nassar to a close. Nassar’s previous sentence is a 60 year federal term for child pornograghy crimes.

What makes this case and other similar cases deeply upsetting is how many victims Nassar harmed while acting in the role of a trusted adult and caretaker. Many victims tried to come forward over the years, but their allegations were not believed.

In the United States, 25 percent of girls and 8 percent of boys are sexually abused before they turn 18. It’s incredible then that with a staggering number of victims, it often takes a critical mass—and time—before we’re willing to acknowledge that people we admire or trust are capable of sexually abusing children. People who abuse children often appear to be regular, normal folks, and we often don’t recognize that child sexual abuse is occurring because it is committed by people we know.

What can we do to make sure there are fewer victims and abusers? We desperately need to change the way we think about and react to child sexual abuse in our country. The days of waiting until abuse is detected is untenable.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 4:05 PM

Diocese again pushes back deadline to file clergy sexual abuse claims

ROCKVILLE CENTRE (NY)
LI Herald

February 8, 2018

By Ben Strack

Phase Two of Reconciliation and Compensation Program begins

The second phase of the Diocese of Rockville Centre’s Independent Reconciliation and Compensation Program has begun, and will allow more survivors of sexual abuse by clergy members to seek financial compensation.

Victims who had previously notified the diocese that they had suffered abuse by a member of the clergy were invited to participate in Phase One of the program. Phase Two was set up to allow those who had never reported abuse to apply. To receive monetary compensation, victims must agree that they will not pursue legal action against the church in the future.

“…While no amount of monetary compensation could ever erase or undo the unimaginable harm suffered by victims of child abuse,” states a letter by Mary McMahon, director of the diocese’s Office for the Protection of Children and Young People, which was sent to survivors last year, “it is the sincere hope of the [Diocese of Rockville Centre] that those who have been alienated and distanced from the Church as a result of any abuse committed by [diocese] clergy will be empowered to begin the journey toward reconciliation with us.”

Any person wishing to file a new claim alleging sexual abuse not previously reported to the diocese should visit www.rockvillecentredioceseircp.com to register and receive the claim form and other documents needed to file a Phase Two Claim. The information will be turned over to the appropriate District Attorney’s office and be investigated fully.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 4:02 PM

How to give bread, not stones

LONDON (ENGLAND)
Church Times

February 9, 2018

By Andrew Graystone

Andrew Graystone asked abuse victims how the Church could better help them

OVER the past two years, I have come to know a great many abuse victims as friends. Some remain faithful members of their Church. Others, understandably, never want to enter a church or meet a priest again. Some do not wish to revisit their abusive experiences. Others cannot get through an hour of the day or night without reliving their personal horror.

I have wanted the leaders of the Church to take on board some of the insights I have been given into the experience of victims. So I asked a number of people who have been abused within a church context to answer my questions about the ways in which the Church had responded to them. Their verbatim replies are contained in a booklet, Stones Not Bread, which will be presented to all members of the General Synod as they meet this week. Below is an extract from the booklet.

They come from nine different individuals who were abused. Most of them do not know each other, and they answered individually. All of them have been physically or sexually abused in situations where the Church has accepted some responsibility. They represent at least eight otherwise unrelated instances of church abuse. All of them are “recent”, in that they have been dealing with the Church’s safeguarding procedures in the past few months and years, even if in some cases the abuse is non-recent.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 3:59 PM

‘Spiritual abuse’ term ‘unworkable’ and ‘damaging’ to interfaith relations, say Evangelical Alliance

LONDON (ENGLAND)
Church Times

February 9, 2018

By Hattie Williams

The term “spiritual abuse” should not be written into safeguarding policies or law because it is “unworkable” and “potentially discriminatory” towards religious communities, the Evangelical Alliance (EA) has said.

In a report, Reviewing the Discourse of “Spiritual Abuse”: logical problems and unintended consequences, published on Monday, the theology advisory group of the EA said that recent attempts to categorise “emotional and psychological abuse in religious contexts” as “spiritual” were also damaging to interfaith relations.

In the foreword, the chairman of the group, the Revd Dr David Hilborn, and the general director of Evangelical Alliance UK, Steve Clifford, wrote: “[Spiritual abuse] is a seriously problematic term partly because of its own inherent ambiguity, and also because attempts by some to embed it within statutory safeguarding discourse and secular law would be unworkable in practice, potentially discriminatory towards religious communities, and damaging to interfaith relations.”

While the report “in no way downplays” the harm that spiritual abuse caused, they said, more “precise, well-founded, workable definitions of abuse” were needed to help survivors.

The report comes after the Churches’ Child Protection Advisory Service (CCPAS) conducted a survey last month of more than 1500 Christians, two-thirds of whom said that they had been victims of spiritual abuse (News, 12 January). The study acknowledges that definitions of spiritual abuse are not clear cut, and suggests that this lack of clarity may be a significant barrier to responding appropriately to its victims within the Church.

The EA report states that its members had met the CCPAS to discuss spiritual abuse, but concluded that the term was “not a legally recognised category of abuse”, and that they had become “increasingly uneasy” about its application.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 3:56 PM

Man testifies in suit alleging Mormons overlooked sex abuse

MARTINSBURG (WV)
The Associated Press

February 8, 2018

A man accused in a West Virginia lawsuit along with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints of covering up years of child sexual abuse testified he was unaware of the allegations that led to his son’s conviction until he was charged.

The Journal reports Chris Jensen testified Tuesday in Berkeley County Circuit Court in the trial of a lawsuit filed by plaintiffs on behalf of nine families.

Plaintiffs contend the Mormon church and others knew about 26-year-old member Christopher Michael Jensen’s sexual abuse convictions and allegations but “did nothing to warn and protect” their children.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 3:55 PM

Letter: 'I am a mom who was in room while Larry Nassar treated my daughter'

UNITED STATES
USA Today Network

February 9, 2018

By Kristen Chatman

I am a mom who was in the exam room while Dr. Larry Nassar treated my daughter.

She had extreme back pain — to the point that it was difficult to walk. So of course, we called Larry. There was no other option in our minds. He was world-renowned. THE gymnastics doctor. Simply the best. No question. You see, we had been his patients at that point for nearly three years. So, we trusted him implicitly.

Frankly, I had been a bit skeptical of those in the medical profession — for a lot of reasons. We had seen numerous doctors on numerous occasions with the same outcome. No help. From inaccurate diagnoses to no diagnosis at all, our experiences jaded me. I was untrusting. Even cynical. Until I met Larry.

On our very first visit, he gave us an accurate diagnosis and charted a course of action as well. And it worked. And then, when another issue arose, we called Larry again. True to form, he helped solve the problem and put my daughter on the road to healing. This happened off and on for years. No problems. No questions.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 3:52 PM

Mormon bishops told ex-wives of former Hatch, White House staffer to consider his ‘career ambitions’ when they reported his physical abuse, they say

SALT LAKE CITY (UT)
The Salt Lake Tribune

February 8, 2018

By Thomas Burr

The LDS Church declared Thursday that it has “zero tolerance” for abuse of any kind but couldn’t speak directly to allegations by the ex-wives of a former White House official who reported they received no help from their Mormon clergy when they were being abused.

Jennifer Willoughby and Colbie Holderness — former wives of Rob Porter, who resigned as White House staff secretary this week — said their LDS bishops either didn’t believe them or didn’t step in to help when they alleged Porter had physically abused them.

Porter has denied the charges.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 3:42 PM

Sexual Harassment in the Children’s Book Industry

UNITED STATES
Medium

February 7, 2018

By Anne Ursu

Sometimes, it’s in the form of inappropriate comments.

An author wrote, “An editor who was considering my work commented very thoroughly on my body type as a possible personal advantage of working with me.” For her now, “it makes submissions feel like a minefield.”

For an author/illustrator, it was at a book party with a famous illustrator; “I introduce myself to him,” she writes, “and he makes a crack about my breasts.” After enough incidents like these she’s “completely stopped socializing in this business because each time it becomes another abuse story.”

Sometimes the comments are more pointed, like for the publicist who says her supervisor told her he had a crush on her and if he wasn’t married and twice her age he would ask her out. Or a writer’s conference attendee who says that a faculty member asked her if she was “kinky” at the opening mixer. Or the aspiring illustrator who won a mentorship contest, and at the end of her meeting with the mentor she said she had to go get a drink of water because she was hot. According to her, “he said ‘Yes, you are.’ And squeezed my arm. And raised his eyebrows in a suggestive way.”

These are the sort of events we’re told to brush off — they’re jokes, they’re flattering, no big deal. But when you believe you are a professional and someone informs you they see you as a sex object, it can shatter your sense of self and your sense of safety.

Sometimes, it’s inappropriate touching and groping: as in “a senior editor of a division I don’t work in being a tad too handsy;” or the author who says another author groped her while taking pictures at a conference; or an agent who says she was sitting in the backseat with a bestselling author during a conference, and as he pretended to be searching for his seatbelt, he fondled her.

Sometimes, it’s stories of women being invited to a networking opportunity only to get propositioned; or of male conference faculty and staff acting like all female paying attendees are potential and willing conquests; or of powerful men trying to ruin the reputations of women who won’t sleep with them.

And sometimes, the stories reveal serial predators unchecked by an industry that does not want to acknowledge such things could be possible of its men.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 1:19 PM

Priest who served in Modesto, throughout area, accused of sexual misconduct with minor

MODESTO (CA)
The Modesto Bee

February 8, 2018

By John Holland

A priest who served in Modesto and throughout Stanislaus County has been accused of sexual misconduct with a child.

Father Eduardo De Jesus Perez Torrez is the focus of a review by Diocesan Review Board, the Diocese of Stockton wrote in a statement on Thursday afternoon.

The alleged incident apparently took place in 1999.

"In accord with the diocesan policy, the Modesto Police Department was notified," the statement said. "The Diocese will continue to fully cooperate with law enforcement."

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 1:16 PM

How do you rate Pope Francis’ handling of sex abuse in the church?

UNITED STATES
America: The Jesuit Review

February 8, 2018

In response to the question above, asked on social media and in our email newsletter, America readers gave mostly lukewarm responses. Thirty-one percent of readers rated Pope Francis’ handling of sex abuse in the church as “somewhat positive,” while 30 percent of readers told us it was “somewhat negative.”

On the whole, respondents who answered either “very positive” (14 percent) or “somewhat positive” (31 percent) highlighted how Pope Francis is listening to victims of abuse. “Pope Francis has been a very heartfelt contributor to those families who are still suffering from the effects of sex abuse at the hands of clergy,” wrote Rylee Hartwell of Joplin, Mo.

Most of those in the “somewhat positive” camp expressed a desire for Pope Francis to do more to prevent and address sex abuse in the church. Chris Carroll of Philadelphia alluded to Pope Francis’ defense of Bishop Juan Barros, who has been accused of being present during instances of sex abuse by the notorious Chilean predator, the Rev. Fernando Karadima. “The pope has not gone as far as I would like,” said Mr. Carroll. “The church is still protecting some clergy.”

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 1:14 PM

Seeking a Confession Part 5: Jim Graham goes public

BUFFALO (NY)
WGRZ

February 8, 2018

By Steve Brown and Dave Harrington

2 On Your Side's Steve Brown has been sharing his "Seeking a Confession" series all week about how a man, born in Buffalo in 1945, wants the Catholic Church to admit a priest is his biological father. You can watch the entire series here.

PART 5 GOING PUBLIC

Jim Graham had a story and he wanted the world to know it.

Among the artifacts and documents Jim Graham has dug up, one item is most prized.

It is a large, heavy crucifix. It belonged to Father Thomas P. Sullivan.

Graham claimed it at the Oblate Mission national headquarters in Washington. He told a priest there that he was a relative.

“It’s a piece of him. I knew this was bouncing off his chest for 59 years. It makes me feel close to him” says Graham.

But the accumulated treasures from almost a quarter-century of searching left him short of his goal: to get the Catholic Church to admit Father Sullivan was his parent.

Then, Graham saw the movie “Spotlight”, which told the story of the Boston Globe’s Pulitzer Prize winning investigation into widespread sexual abuse committed by priests. It gave Graham an idea.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 1:10 PM

Senators to investigate USA Gymnastics and Olympic committee after Larry Nasser sex abuse conviction

UNITED STATES
The Independent

February 7, 2018

By Mythili Sampathkumar

The US Olympic Committee may have known about his crimes as far back as 2015

A bipartisan group of Senators has called for an investigation into the US Olympic Committee and USA Gymnastics after former team doctor Larry Nasser was convicted of several counts of sex abuse.

A special committee is set to be established to carry out the investigation after allegations from young and aspiring athletes that the groups knew about the abuse but ignored it.

Senator Joni Ernst said the time has come to "put an end to this type of outrageous abuse” and “stand up for athletes."

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 1:07 PM

Raisman says former coach Geddert may have known of Nassar's abuse: CNN

UNITED STATES
Reuters

February 8, 2018

(Reuters) - Three-time Olympic gold medalist Aly Raisman told CNN that her former coach, John Geddert, might have known about sexual abuse by former USA Gymnastics team doctor Larry Nassar as early as 2011.

“We would talk about it amongst ourselves,” she said in an interview that aired on Thursday. “And one of my teammates described in graphic detail what Nassar had done to her the night before. And John Geddert was in the car with us and he just didn’t say anything.”

Raisman, who previously said Nassar abused her, told CNN that conversation occurred in 2011, five years before Nassar was exposed.

Neither Geddert nor his attorney, Cameron Getto, could immediately be reached to comment.

Geddert, who worked with Nassar at his Lansing, Michigan-area gymnastics center Twistars, was suspended in January by USA Gymnastics (USAG), the sport’s governing body, and subsequently retired.

The Eaton County Sheriff’s Office in Michigan on Tuesday said it was investigating complaints against Geddert, but did not provide further details.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 1:04 PM

Man accuses California #MeToo leader of sexual misconduct

SACRAMENTO (CA)
The Associated Press

February 8, 2018

By Kathleen Ronayne

California Democratic Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia, the head of the Legislative Women’s Caucus and a leading figure in the state’s anti-sexual harassment movement, is accused of groping a male staffer from another lawmaker’s office.

Daniel Fierro told The Associated Press on Thursday that Garcia stroked his back, squeezed his buttocks and attempted to touch his crotch in a dugout after a legislative softball game in 2014.

Fierro didn’t report it at the time but in January told his former boss, Democratic Assemblyman Ian Calderon, who reported it to Assembly leaders. The Assembly is now investigating Garcia.

Politico first reported Fierro’s accusation.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 12:58 PM

Cardinal reiterates commitment to healing at Mass of Prayer and Penance

LOWELL (MA)
The Boston Pilot

February 9, 2018

By Mark Labbe

During a Mass of Prayer and Penance at St. Michael Church in Lowell, Feb. 4, Cardinal Seán P. O'Malley reiterated the Church's commitment to work for healing and reconciliation for all those affected by clergy sexual abuse.

"I am here today aware that many parishioners in this community were seriously affected. I wish once again to ask pardon and assure you of our commitment to work for healing and reconciliation," said the cardinal in his homily.

In the Church, the "work of healing and child protection is an ongoing task, a sacred one," he said.

The Mass was held in response to a call last year from Pope Francis for all episcopal conferences across the world to have a Day of Prayer and Penance in recognition of harm done by clergy sexual abuse within the Church. At the request of Cardinal O'Malley, all Masses held in the Archdiocese of Boston for Sunday, Feb. 4 were offered for Prayer and Penance.

In his homily, the cardinal requested prayers "for forgiveness of the Church, and healing for those who were harmed, "as well as for "those who have died from suicide and substance abuse because of what happened to them."

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 12:55 PM

APNewsBreak: Sexual assault reports doubled at West Point

WASHINGTON (DC)
The Associated Press

February 8, 2018

By Lolita C. Baldor

The number of sexual assaults reported at the U.S. Military Academy roughly doubled during the last school year, according to data reviewed by The Associated Press, in the latest example of the armed forces’ persistent struggle to root out such misconduct.

It’s the fourth year in a row that sexual assault reports increased at the school in West Point, New York. There were 50 cases in the school year that ended last summer, compared with 26 made during the 2015-2016 school year. By comparison, the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, and the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado, saw only slight increases.

Defense Department and West Point officials said the big jump at the Military Academy resulted from a concerted effort to encourage victims to come forward. But the dramatic and consistent increases may suggest more assaults are happening.

“I’m very encouraged by the reporting,” Lt. Gen. Robert Caslen, superintendent at West Point, told the AP in an interview. “I recognize that people are not going to understand” the desire for increased reporting, he said. But, he added, “I’ve got the steel stomach to take the criticism.”

The annual report on sexual assaults at the three military academies is due out this month. The Naval Academy’s reports increased to 29 last year from 28. The Air Force Academy’s edged up by one, to 33.

About 12,000 students are enrolled across all three institutions. The AP reviewed the data ahead of its public release.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 12:48 PM

Safed rabbi sentenced to 7.5 years in jail for sexual assault

SAFED (ISRAEL)
The Times of Israel

February 6, 2018

By Raoul Wootliff

Ezra Sheinberg, ex-yeshiva head, confessed to using his position as spiritual leader to take advantage of 8 women

A well-known rabbi and yeshiva head from the northern city of Safed was sentenced Tuesday to seven and a half years in prison for committing a slew of sexual crimes against eight women, including multiple counts of sexual assault.

Rabbi Ezra Sheinberg, 49, was convicted last July in Nazareth District Court as part of a plea deal over a series of crimes committed against women who came to him for advice and counseling.

The specific charges were not publicized by the court. The criminal proceedings were under a gag order preventing publication of any details of the incidents due to the “egregious nature” of the crimes and to protect the privacy of the victims.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 12:45 PM

‘I am on a pilgrimage toward Home’: Pope Benedict XVI writes frankly of his nearing death

WASHINGTON (DC)
The Washington Post

February 8, 2018

By Julie Zauzmer

Benedict XVI spent almost eight years as pope, and the past five years as something no man has been since the 15th century — pope emeritus.

Now, the pontiff who stunned the Vatican by retiring from the position in February 2013 says he is headed toward his next step: “I am on a pilgrimage toward Home.”

Writing in the Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera, he capitalized the word “Casa” to refer to his heavenly home.

Now 90 years old, Benedict says he has heard from many well-wishers, including readers of the Italian paper, who “want to know how I am experiencing this last period of my life.”

According to widely published translations of Benedict’s short letter, he said that his physical strength is diminishing. “It is a great grace in this last, sometimes tiring stage of my journey, to be surrounded by a love and kindness that I never could have imagined,” he wrote.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 12:42 PM

List of alleged sexual abuse-assault victims at San Jose Presentation H.S. grows

SAN JOSE (CA)
KTVU

February 7, 2018

By Jesse Gary

The list of alleged abuse victims at a prestigious San Jose all-girl’s high school continues to grow. Now, 20 former students say they were sexually abused or assaulted while attending Presentation High School.

“I can not understand how they can be a catholic school and respond to victims like this. I can’t. I can’t wrap my head around it,” said Cheryl Hodgin Marshall, who attended the school from 1987-1991.

20 accusers have now come forward, targeting Presentation High School for an internal investigation and sweeping change. This comes after multiple victims who attended the all-girl’s school say administrators did not report instances of sexual abuse and assault by at least eight teachers and coaches – stretching back three decades..

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 12:40 PM

Priest warned abuse victim he would be 'ruined' if he spoke out

NORTHERN IRELAND
The Irish News

February 9, 2018

A MAN who was sexually abused by a priest as a child said the cleric warned it would "ruin" his life if he spoke out.

Sean Faloon from Hilltown was a 10-year-old altar boy when he was first abused by Fr Malachy Finnegan.

Fr Finnegan, who died in 2002, also abused boys at St Colman's College in Newry.

He taught at the school from 1973 to 1976 and was school president between 1976 and 1987.

The first of 12 abuse allegations was reported to the Diocese of Dromore in 1994.

The diocese has settled a claim with one of the victims.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 12:37 PM

Stockton priest accused of sexual misconduct with minor

STOCKTON (CA)
KCRA

February 8, 2018

By Jonathan Ayestas

Diocese of Stockton reported allegations to Modesto police

A priest is being accused of sexual misconduct with a minor, the Diocese of Stockton said.

The district reported the accusation against Father Eduardo De Jesus Perez Torrez from 1999 to the Modesto Police Department. Perez worked in the Diocese of Stockton from 1999 to 2014.

The allegation is also being reviewed by the Diocesan Review Board.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 12:28 PM

Aly Raisman skeptical US Olympics investigation will be independent or comprehensive [with video]

Washington (DC)
CNN

February 8, 2018

By Saba Hamedy

Olympic gold medalist Aly Raisman is calling for a thorough, publicly-released investigation into the sexual abuse of gymnasts, expressing doubt that current probes launched in the wake of the Larry Nassar scandal go far enough.

Raisman is among more than 200 women who have publicly come forward with stories of abuse at the hands of Nassar, a former team physician. The disgraced doctor was sentenced Monday in Michigan to 40 to 125 years in prison.

"If we were that successful while we were being molested, wouldn't we have been more successful if we had the right doctor that actually helped heal our injuries, that didn't traumatize us? If we had people around us that genuinely wanted to help us?" she told CNN's Jake Tapper in an interview that aired Thursday on "The Lead."

The interview aired the day before the start of the 2018 Winter Olympics amid uproar around the way the US Olympic Committee and USA Gymnastics handled the Nassar matter.

"I met a lot of incredible women and young girls ... it was just really incredible how even though we didn't know each other, we just felt an instant connection to each other because we've all been through something so horrible," Raisman said, recalling her experience testifying in the courtroom against Nassar. "And we all feel let down by the organization ... I think we all deserve to have answers. We've already all been through enough."

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 12:25 PM

Number of sex assaults at West Point nearly doubled last year

NEW YORK (NY)
The New York Post

February 7, 2018

By Mark Moore

​The ​number of sexual assaults at West Point nearly doubled in the last school year, ​the fourth straight year the military academy recorded an increase, a report said Wednesday.

The school in upstate New York had 50 cases in the school year that ended last summer, compared with the 26 during the 2015-2016 school year, the Associated Press reported after reviewing data from the Defense Department.

That rate outpaces sexual assaults at the Naval Academy, which showed an increase from 28 to 29, and the Air Force Academy, which edged up one to 33, over the same period​, the wire service reported.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 12:23 PM

Neighbors want retired Boise priest facing child sexual exploitation charges evicted from his home

BOISE (ID)
7KTVB

February 8, 2018

By Dean Johnson

Some neighbors are calling on St. Mary's Parish to evict Father W. Thomas Faucher, who's facing multiple felony counts of sexual exploitation of a child.

BOISE - A retired Boise priest facing multiple felony counts of sexual exploitation of a child bonded out of the Ada County Jail Tuesday night, the Ada County Sheriff's Office confirmed.

Sheriff's office spokesman Patrick Orr said Father W. Thomas Faucher - a retired priest at St. Mary's Catholic Church in Boise - bonded out at around 6 p.m. His bond was set at $250,000.

Some neighbors are now calling on his landlord, Saint Mary’s Parish, to evict him.

Those neighbors are aware of an Idaho law that says, if a landlord has reasonable grounds to believe any person is or has been engaged in the unlawful delivery, production or use of a controlled substance on the leased premises, the landlord can move to evict that tenant.

Father Faucher was also charged with possession of marijuana and ecstasy, which some of Faucher’s neighbors say gives the church grounds to evict him.

“Shock and surprise and fear are always the first feelings I think you have,” Wendy Wong said.

Wong has lived just a few doors down from Father Faucher for more than a decade.

“There's not a ton that we can do as a neighborhood,” Wong said.

Wong feels St. Mary’s, the church Faucher has a rental lease agreement with, should evict him. She cites the fact that they live just a couple of blocks away from Cynthia Mann Elementary School in northwest Boise. Wong also claims the charges of possession of marijuana and ecstasy warrant an eviction.

“I think it is unfair of the landlord to say because he pays rent he can stay. I know there are other ways to get a tenant out that have nothing to do with rent and I would like to make sure that we're at least exploring all of those options before we decide that this is where he needs to be,” Wong said.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 12:21 PM

VIDEO: More allegations of sexual abuse at San Jose Catholic high school

SAN JOSE (CA)
KRON

February 8, 2018

By Rob Fladeboe

SAN JOSE (KRON) — A 1991 Presentation High School graduate says she was sexually abused by a teacher, who is now dead, and more accusers have come forward.

Since Kathryn Leehane and a classmate went public with their stories, 18 other former students have also come forward, implicating at least eight teachers and staff members from the Catholic high school.

“My incident was in the 1990s, but we have incidents going right up to 2017,” Leehane said.

“I was not surprised by the additional victims by my abuser, but to find out that there are additional abusers and violations of the law has been shocking and horrifying,” Leehane added.

Last fall, Leehane went public with her story about how she was sexually abused by a teacher, who is now deceased, and how the administration failed to fully investigate.

“The teacher had me in his office, and he put his arm around me…and, and was intimate with me and kissed my hand and later showed me a picture of a naked woman,” Leehane said.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 12:19 PM

Priest warned abuse victim he would be 'ruined' if he spoke out

BELFAST (NORTHERN IRELAND)
Irish News

February 9, 2018

A man who was sexually abused by a priest as a child said the cleric warned it would "ruin" his life if he spoke out.

Sean Faloon from Hilltown was a 10-year-old altar boy when he was first abused by Fr Malachy Finnegan.

Fr Finnegan, who died in 2002, also abused boys at St Colman's College in Newry.

He taught at the school from 1973 to 1976 and was school president between 1976 and 1987.

The first of 12 abuse allegations was reported to the Diocese of Dromore in 1994.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 10:15 AM

Maybe someday the scales will fall from their eyes

BOSTON (MA)
Boston Globe

February 8, 2018

By Kevin Cullen

Last month, after I had the temerity to criticize Pope Francis because he smeared survivors of clerical sexual abuse in Chile, I got a phone call at my desk at the Globe.

* * *

“Is this Mr. Cullen?” a raspy voice asked.

For a fleeting moment, I thought it was one of my favorite aunts, Aunt Junie, who looked like my dad, but then I quickly remembered that my Aunt Junie died some years ago.

“Yes, this is me,” I answered.

“Mr. Cullen,” the woman on the other end of the line said, “I just want to let you know that you are going to hell.”

* * *

I got thinking about the Church Lady who condemned me to eternal fire the other day as I was reading a story about how, despite the pope’s denials, he was, in fact, told about how his protege, a Chilean bishop named Juan Barros, was credibly accused of having ignored the crimes of a priest whom the Vatican later found guilty of sexually abusing young people.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 10:08 AM

Why is the Church still so slow to tackle cases of clerical sex abuse?

BELFAST (NORTHERN IRELAND)
Belfast Telegraph

February 9, 2018

By Malachi O'Doherty

Bishop John McAreavey's apology over paedophile priest Malachy Finnegan was welcome but long overdue, writes Malachi O'Doherty

Malachy Finnegan was escorted to his grave by people who revered and respected him. We don't all get a bishop to officiate in the ceremony.

He met his end in the knowledge and confidence that he was thought well of, that he had not been found out, that the young people he had molested and abused - physically, sexually and emotionally - had not ratted on him.

We don't know the state of his conscience then, whether he was ashamed of himself, whether he trusted in God's forgiveness, or if, harbouring his horrid secrets and believing in the teaching of his Church, he stared Hell in the face.

One of the questions over paedophile priests is whether they were believers at all, or just opportunistic hypocrites.

If you were cynical enough and wanted work that would give you access to children, the priesthood and the religious orders were your natural refuge.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 10:03 AM

Pope Francis Needs to Come Clean on Chilean Sex Abuse

BOSTON (MA)
WBUR

February 9, 2018

By Rich Barlow

As a Catholic, I've disagreed with critics of Pope Francis from both ends of the spectrum.

Right-wing whining (he's for the poor and the environment? Marxism!) is just daft; leftist grousing (he’s all style and no substance, as when declining to condemn gays while upholding church teaching on the sinfulness of homosexual acts) ignores the effect of personal example on a conservative culture. Airing out a musty attic makes breathing easier, even if the attic still needs some cleaning.

But now comes news that Francis personally received a letter two years ago from a man who claimed Chilean Bishop Juan Barros stood by and watched a priest abuse the letter writer. Yet just last month, the pope dissed accusations against Barros as “calumny” (derived from the Latin that the church is fond of, that’s “lies” in the King’s English).

There’s no defending the pope here. Catholics, especially victims of abuse in Chile and everywhere, need an explanation and probably an apology from the pontiff. Sooner, not later.

If that sounds impertinent, I cite both Francis’s admirable humility — the pope is not God — and the fact that the sin of sexual abuse, and the church’s cover-up thereof, have always been sui generis. No crisis since the Reformation so rocked Catholicism; selling indulgences seems penny-ante by comparison.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 9:56 AM

Fr Finnegan: Survivor speaks of sex abuse 'secret'

BELFAST (NORTHERN IRELAND)
BBC

February 8, 2018

[Note from BishopAccountability.org: Includes brief video of interview with a Finnegan survivor.]

A County Down man who was sexually abused by a priest as a child said he did not speak out as he was told it would "ruin" the rest of his life.

Sean Faloon from Hilltown was first abused as an altar boy from the age of 10 by Fr Malachy Finnegan.

Fr Finnegan, who died in 2002, also abused boys at St Colman's College in Newry, where he taught from 1967 to 1976.

Twelve victims have come forward to the Catholic Diocese of Dromore.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 9:51 AM

February 8, 2018

Presentation High: 20 students, alums now allege sex abuse involving 8 teachers, staff

SAN JOSE (CA)
The Mercury News

February 7, 2018

By John Woolfolk

The number of women claiming they were sexually abused as students at a prestigious San Jose Catholic girls high school has swelled to 20 while the number of accused staff has grown to eight. The mounting accusations surfaced as nearly 5,000 former students and their supporters have signed a petition demanding an independent investigation of how the administration handled reported abuse.

But even amid a global “#MeToo” reckoning of sexual abuse, the accusers say, Presentation High School officials are ignoring their demands, and the former students are urging alumnae to withhold financial support until school officials call for an independent investigation.

“It sounds like they’re hoping we’ll go away,” said Kathryn Leehane, who wrote Oct. 20 in the Washington Post about how she and a classmate complained decades ago about abuse by a former Presentation teacher to no avail. The teacher remained on the job and has since died.

Since her article, 18 other students and graduates have come forward with similar stories involving eight Presentation teachers or other staff, according to “#PresentationToo,” a group of alumnae, students, parents and others.

“It’s definitely gotten much bigger,” Leehane said. “I had no idea the can of worms I was opening. But once I heard from so many young women, I couldn’t turn my back. That’s not what Presentation taught me. They taught me to fight for the unrepresented.”

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 3:06 PM

Editorial: Important to confront the dark secrets of child abuse

AUSTRALIA
Gulf News

February 8, 2018

Australia’s decision to issue a sincere apology to childhood victims of violation deserves praise

Like in so many other nations, children in Australia have suffered at the hands of men in positions of moral, educational and administrative authority, subjected to systemic sexual, emotional and physical abuse by dark figures in the Roman Catholic church and its hierarchy.

The pattern of abuse is similar, whether it be in schools in Australia, residential institutions for First Nations Child and Family Caring Society of Canada, in parishes across Ireland, or where depraved and criminal minds were able to carry out their dark deeds under the veneer of doing charitable or spiritual work.

The issue of child abuse is something that impacts societies around the world.

In India, for instance, a child is sexually abused every 15 minutes, according to the latest government figures.

The systemic abuse that occurs to young and vulnerable children is a crisis that has yet to be fully addressed. Indeed, there are those still in the corridors of power who would prefer if those who suffered abuse at the hands of priests, simply went away. But the violations, scars and trauma inflicted by the abusers on the young remain and rarely ever go away.

A recent royal commission in Australia into the abuse of children placed in the care of institutions in which the church had control contains a litany of abuses that, in its very own words, “has shaken Australia to its core”.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 3:04 PM

Olympic Swimmer Says Former USA Swimming Coach Sexually Abused Her For Years

UNITED STATES
The Huffington Post

February 8, 2018

By Alanna Vagianos

Ariana Kukors says her longtime coach Sean Hutchison began “grooming” her when she was 13.

Olympic swimmer Ariana Kukors says former U.S. Olympic swimming coach Sean Hutchison began sexually abusing her when she was 16.

Kukors, now 28, said in a statement late Wednesday night that Hutchison began “grooming” her when she was 13 years old after he became her coach at King Aquatic swimming club in Seattle.

“I never thought I would share my story because, in so many ways, just surviving was enough,” Kukors said in a statement. “I was able to leave a horrible monster and build a life I could have never imagined for myself. But in time, I’ve realized that stories like my own are too important to go unwritten.”

Kukors is the 2009 world champion in the 200-meter individual medley and placed fifth in the 200-meter individual medley in the 2012 Summer Olympics. Hutchison was an assistant USA Swimming Olympic coach in 2008, but resigned from the position in 2010 amid rumors that he was having a sexual relationship with one of his swimmers. He still coaches swimmers in Seattle and is still listed as the owner of King Aquatic.

The former swimmer said she only recently realized Hutchison abused her. Delayed reporting is somewhat common for victims of child sexual abuse.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 3:03 PM

Sex harassment can make victims physically sick, studies reveal

WASHINGTON (DC)
The Washington Post

February 8, 2018

By William Wan

When Rebecca Thurston read the accounts of 150 women and girls sexually abused by a Michigan athletic doctor, one of the first things she worried about was their health — not the psychological effect of the abuse, but the long-term physical toll it could take on their bodies.

An epidemiologist, Thurston has spent the past four years studying women who have suffered sexual abuse and harassment. Over time, she discovered, sexual harassment can work like a poison, stiffening women’s blood vessels, worsening blood flow and harming the inner lining of their hearts.

“People need to understand that trauma is not just something that happens in the mind,” said Thurston, who published her cardiovascular findings this winter in the scientific journal Menopause. “It has real implications on the body.”

After being dismissed for decades, denied funding and greeted with skepticism, researchers studying sexual harassment say their field is undergoing a renaissance — injected with newfound energy and relevance amid the growing #MeToo movement.

In particular, recent studies like Thurston’s research on cardiovascular health have begun to quantify the vast toll of harassment, which detractors — often men — have tried to play down for decades.

“The field suddenly feels alive and vibrant,” said Louise Fitzgerald, who pioneered much of the earliest work in the field.

In more than a dozen other studies over the past decade, researchers have documented other physical symptoms caused by sexual harassment, such as headaches, gastrointestinal problems and disrupted sleep.

“People often think of harassment as a single event, but much more commonly, it’s a process that happens over time. You keep going to work day after day while this stuff keeps happening,” said Fitzgerald, who has studied harassment in utility workers, office settings and factories. “It’s that prolonged exposure to stress that turns into a physiological reaction.”

In her most recent work, Thurston and a team of researchers at University of Pittsburgh’s School of Medicine measured the cardiovascular health of 272 women who also completed detailed surveys about trauma they had experienced in their lifetimes, including car crashes, natural disaster and the death of a child.

Most women, roughly 60 percent, reported experiencing some form of trauma. The most common, reported by 22 percent of the women, was unwanted sexual contact. Roughly 20 percent had experienced sexual harassment, with some overlap between the two groups.

Healthy blood vessels are able to expand and contract to transport the right amount of blood. But women who experienced trauma, Thurston found, had decreased flexibility in their blood vessels. The more trauma each woman experienced, the more impaired their blood vessels were.

This held true even after her team accounted for other factors like diet, exercise, cholesterol, depression and anxiety. “We kept looking at other explanations. Is what we’re seeing due to education, race, ethnicity? There was very clear link to trauma,” Thurston said.

Thurston and others have replicated the cardiovascular findings in three large surveys, including two national studies. She and others are now doing more research to try to pinpoint how and why trauma has this effect.

She suspects sleep may play a pivotal role. In her team’s studies, women who slept more than six hours a night seemed to create a buffer of sorts against the cardiovascular harm of trauma. “We need to help women cope with this trauma and protect their health because this is happening on such a wide scale,” Thurston said.

Sexual harassment often lasts for longer than six months in more than a quarter of cases, according to surveys of harassment in the military, which are required by law and therefore among the most comprehensive.

During that period, researchers say, a woman’s body reacts as if to high stress: Immune systems function more poorly. Inflammation increases. The body begins secreting higher levels of the hormone cortisol, which contributes to high blood pressure, high cholesterol, weight gain, impaired memory function and depression. The negative effects can linger for years.

One of the most comprehensive studies tracked 1,654 employees at an unnamed Midwestern university over the course of six years. The 2005 study, published in the Journal of Business and Psychology, found that those who experienced sexual harassment were more prone to sickness, illness and accident, and not just around the time they experienced the harassment. When researchers surveyed the group again years later, the harassment continued to have an enduring effect on their rates of illness, injury and accident.

The mental strain of harassment also often leads to depression, anxiety and other disorders. In recent years, studies have shown sexual harassment makes women more likely to drink as a way of coping. Harassed women are also more likely to develop eating disorders. Researchers have shown the harmful effects even trickle down to co-workers who witness or hear of the harassment, a phenomenon analogous to secondhand smoke.

Among the most debilitating effects is post-traumatic stress disorder. A 2015 study found that 20 percent of female veterans of the Vietnam War suffered from PTSD — not because of the war itself but largely due to sexual harassment they suffered from their male counterparts.

The study — commissioned by the Department of Veterans Affairs — shocked military researchers because a similar study of male Vietnam veterans had shown a PTSD incidence of just 17 percent — a rate already considered high.

“The numbers for the women were mind-boggling. We couldn’t understand why,” said Kathryn Magruder, the epidemiologist who led both surveys for VA. Among female veterans, nearly 16 percent were still suffering from PTSD some 50 years after the war.

Because most of the female veterans had served as nurses, researchers at first assumed the PTSD was caused by exposure to gruesome injuries or danger. But after surveying the experiences of more than 4,219 women, they found that sexual harassment and gender discrimination were the leading causes.

“For the most part, these were not necessarily major traumas like rape. It was touching and fondling, snide remarks, constant comments, pressure to fraternize,” said Magruder, who has since retired as a researcher for VA.

“The awful thing is that we often think of the horrors of war as unavoidable,” Magruder said. “But this PTSD came from something that’s completely avoidable, and it was troops from our own side doing it.”

Harassment researchers have had to overcome a lot of obstacles. When Louise Fitzgerald began her first study on the topic in 1983, she knew of only one other researcher working on the issue. Many in America weren’t even familiar with the term “sexual harassment.”

Now a professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Fitzgerald said that when she focused her research on sex harassment among students, professors and employees earlier in her career at two other institutions, administrators tried to shut her work down.

Men in her department, she said, spread rumors that she was making up data. And almost every company and workplace she approached refused to cooperate.

“In the early days, people either didn’t take it seriously or they took it as a threat,” said Fitzgerald, who said she witnessed two female colleagues studying campus harassment and assault be pushed out of research positions.

When the Clarence Thomas hearings captured national attention in 1991, it looked like a turning point for the field at large and for Fitzgerald, who was retained as a consultant by Anita Hill’s legal team.

“I remember thinking that the cultural moment had come and everything would change,” she said. “But here we are, 20-some years later when people are suddenly rediscovering yet again that sexual harassment exists.”

To seize this cultural moment, Fitzgerald said, society needs to support more comprehensive research to understand its roots, its perpetrators, its victims and its effects.

After three decades of work, she notes, researchers still have not answered one of the most basic questions: How prevalent is sexual harassment in America?

In 2016, a federal task force on harassment concluded that the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission should work with the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Census Bureau and private partners to create a national survey of sexual harassment. So far, however, nothing has happened.

“If you want to fight harassment, you need to know if it’s increasing or decreasing. We don’t even have the basic measurement to use as a benchmark,” Fitzgerald said. “It’s like trying to treat a fever when you don’t have the thermometer.”

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 2:58 PM

Australia to apologise to institutional child sex abuse victims

SYDNEY (AUSTRALIA)
AFP

February 8, 2018

Australia will apologise to survivors of institutional child sex abuse by the end of the year, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said Thursday (Feb 8) after a five-year inquiry detailed harrowing stories from victims.

A royal commission established in 2012 to investigate abuse was contacted by more than 15,000 survivors with claims - some decades-old - involving churches, orphanages, sporting clubs, youth groups and schools.

Turnbull told parliament he would consult with survivors before making the apology on behalf of the nation "before the end of the year".

"As a nation, we must mark this occasion in a form that reflects the wishes of survivors and affords them the dignity to which they were entitled as children, but which was denied to them by the very people who were tasked with their care," he said.

"Reading some of the witness statements, it's clear that being heard and being believed means so much to the survivors ... Three words: 'I believe you,' coming after years, often decades, of authorities' denial of responsibility."

The royal commission released its final report in December and said more than 4,000 institutions were accused of abuse, with many of them Catholic-managed facilities.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 2:49 PM

Australian Prime Minister To Issue National Apology For Child Sexual Abuse

AUSTRALIA
NPR

February 8, 2018

By James Doubek

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull says he will offer a national apology to victims of institutional child sexual abuse before the end of the year.

It comes after a five-year investigation by a government commission found that 7 percent of Catholic priests allegedly sexually abused children between 1950 and 2010.

"We owe it to the survivors not to waste this moment and we must continue to be guided by their wishes," Turnbull told Australia's House of Representatives Thursday. He said a "survivor-focused reference group" would help to write the apology.

The Royal Commission into the Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, which issued its final report in December, heard from more than 8,000 people about abuse in more than 4,000 institutions.

The report said people "in religious ministry and teachers were the perpetrators we heard about most commonly," though abuse was reported at childcare centers, youth detention facilities, health service centers, in home care, youth clubs, at jobs, sports events and the armed forces.

"Now that those stories have been told, now that they are on the record, we must do everything within our power to honor those stories and to act," Turnbull said. "I am committed and my government is committed to doing everything possible to make sure that this national tragedy is never repeated."

The commission's report made 409 recommendations, including a lifting of celibacy requirements for Catholic clergy and a requirement to report abuse mentioned in confessions.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 2:46 PM

'He punched me in the face': The shocking allegations of abuse against the top White House staffer who just resigned

WASHINGTON (DC)
Business Insider

February 7, 2018

By Eliza Relman

- White House staff secretary Rob Porter resigned Wednesday after his two ex-wives publicly alleged years of physical and emotional abuse.
- Both women told the FBI about the alleged abuse in interviews conducted last year as part of Porter's application for a security clearance.
- Porter called the allegations a "coordinated smear campaign" on Wednesday.

White House staff secretary Rob Porter, an integral part of President Donald Trump's inner circle, resigned Wednesday after both of his ex-wives came forward to allege years of physical and mental abuse.

Colbie Holderness and Jennifer Willoughby alleged that Porter physically and mentally abused them during their marriages. Holderness, married to Porter from 2003 to 2008, provided photos of a black eye she claimed she suffered from Porter. Willoughby, married to Porter from 2009 to 2013, provided a copy of a 2010 restraining order she filed against Porter.

The Daily Mail reported last week that Porter is romantically involved with White House communications director Hope Hicks.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 2:43 PM

SC coaches, church volunteers, Scout leaders would be required to report child abuse

COLUMBIA (SC)
The State

February 7, 2018

By John Monk

A bill aimed at expanding child-safety protections against molesters and other abusers took a small but significant step forward Wednesday.

The bill, sponsored by state Rep. Bruce Bannister, R-Greenville, would add coaches, camp counselors, Scout leaders, firefighters, school and college administrators, as well as “clerical or nonclerical religious counselors” to those who are required by law to report cases of suspected child abuse or neglect.

A “mandated reporter” is a person who the law requires to report suspected abuse to either law enforcement or the S.C. Department of Social Services. Already, nurses, doctors, members of the clergy, teachers, principals, mental health professionals, social workers and judges are required to report suspected abuse.

Bannister, chair of the subcommittee that on Wednesday sent the bill to the full House Judiciary Committee, told his panel that he was proposing the change because there is a growing religious group in Greenville whose members “are holding themselves out as counselors” but who are not part of any organized church.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 2:42 PM

I-Team Followup: Church raided after alleged child sex abuse

HUNLOCK CREEK (PA)
WBRE/WYOU

February 7, 2018

By Chelsea Titlow

The search warrant was sealed until Wednesday.

HUNLOCK CREEK, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU)- Back in December, there was a lot of police activity at a Luzerne County church.

Eyewitness News confirmed there was a state police raid, but at the time, no one would say why troopers were there. But now, we have the court documents explaining what led up to the raid.

Troopers are investigating allegations that the pastor of the church had sexual contact with a young man at the church.

The search warrant served on the pastor had been sealed by court order until Wednesday. The warrant contains details, allegations only at this time, of child sex abuse at the church.

In early December, state police could be scene removing boxes of documents and computers from inside Roaring Brook Baptist Church in Hunlock Creek.

The search warrant used at the time of the raid indicates troopers are investigating allegations that Pastor Dan Brubaker had sexual contact with a young boy at the church.

The young boy was taking part in a youth group class when, according to the warrant, Brubaker called him out of the class, took him to a basement room, and allegedly forced the boy to perform a sex act on him. According to the search warrant Brubaker told him, "God would want you to do this."

The day of the raid, Brubaker told Eyewitness New he wasn't going to answer any questions.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 2:40 PM

Fatima Shrine Priest Removed in Harassment Case

LEWISTON (NY)
WGRZ

February 7, 2018

By Ron Plants

The Buffalo Catholic Diocese says a priest who is a member of the Barnabite Order at Our Lady of Fatima Shrine in Lewiston was removed from active ministry as part of a harassment investigation.

Lewiston, NY — A priest who served at a shrine in Niagara County is now accused of sexual harassment. It's a difficult situation for a religious order at the Our Lady of Fatima Shrine.

It was a quiet winter afternoon at the Our Lady of Fatima Shrine in Lewiston, but for the staff and members of the Barnabite Fathers, religious order has been a trying time as they found out that one of their fathers was accused of sexual harassment.

A source confirmed to 2 On Your Side a report that a woman filed the complaint against Rev. John Paul Bahati. The 48-year old priest was featured in a spring 2015 article of the Barnabite Messenger newsletter as a new arrival at the shrine and he is said to be from the Democratic Republic of the Congo in Africa. He studied in Rome and became involved with a religious radio program and as a spiritual leader in his home country.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 2:38 PM

Retired Boise priest facing child sexual exploitation charges out on bond

BOISE (ID)
KTVB

February 7, 2018

Father W. Thomas Faucher faces 12 counts of sexual exploitation of a child, as well as additional charges for possession of marijuana and ecstasy.

BOISE - A retired Boise priest facing multiple felony counts of sexual exploitation of a child bonded out of the Ada County Jail Tuesday night, the Ada County Sheriff's Office has confirmed.

Sheriff's office spokesman Patrick Orr said Father W. Thomas Faucher - a retired priest at St. Mary's Catholic Church in Boise - bonded out at around 6 p.m. His bond was set at $250,000.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 2:37 PM

Retired Boise priest accused of sex crimes out on bond

BOISE (ID)
Idaho Press-Tribune

February 7, 2018

BOISE — A retired Boise priest accused of possessing child pornography and drugs is no longer in custody at the jail, according to the Ada County Jail.

Former St. Mary’s Catholic Church priest W. Thomas Faucher posted a bond of $250,000 around 6 p.m. Tuesday night, said Patrick Orr, Ada County Sheriff’s Office spokesman.

Faucher is charged with 10 counts of sexual exploitation of children, two counts of distributing sexually exploitative material involving minors and two charges of possessing a controlled substance.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 2:36 PM

Timeline of institutional child sex abuse cases

AUSTRALIA
Gulf News

February 8, 2018

In many parts of the world, institutional child abuse cases are an endemic problem

January 24, 2018
Dr Lawrence G. Nassar, former doctor for American gymnastics team, sentenced to 40 to 175 years for multiple sex crimes. Nassar accused of molesting girls for years under the guise of giving them examinations or medical treatment. Some were as young as 6. Many of them were Olympic gymnasts.

January 2017
Ireland’s Historical Institutional Abuse Inquiry (HIA) studies allegations of child abuse in 22 homes and residential institutions between 1922 to 1995.

November 23, 2017
Chinese police investigate claims of sexual molestation and needle marks on children at a Beijing kindergarten, a booming childcare industry.

September 21, 2017
Pope Francis promised to respond with the “firmest measures possible” against priests who rape and molest children, and said bishops and religious superiors who cover up for them will be held accountable.

February 27, 2017
Britain’s inquiry into historical child sex abuse finally begin holding first public hearings.

February 16, 2017

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 2:33 PM

MPs face tougher sanctions for sexual harassment and bullying

ENGLAND
BBC News

February 8, 2018

MPs found to have bullied or harassed their staff will have to write a letter of apology and undergo training, under new proposals.

In more serious cases, they could be suspended or forced to face a public vote on their future.

The plans were drawn up by a cross-party committee after widespread allegations of sexual harassment.

At the moment, MPs don't have any formal disciplinary procedures.

Discipline is handled by their parties and there are no independent channels for staff to raise complaints about their behaviour.

Commons Leader Andrea Leadsom, who chaired the committee, said: "This is a major step in bringing about the culture change that Parliament needs."

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 2:32 PM

Australia child sex abuse: Victims to receive national apology

AUSTRALIA
BBC News

February 8, 2018

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has said he will deliver a national apology to victims of child sexual abuse.

Mr Turnbull's pledge follows the conclusion of a four-year inquiry that found tens of thousands of children had been abused in Australian institutions.

The crimes, over decades, took place in institutions including churches, schools and sports clubs.

The apology would be given later this year, Mr Turnbull said.

"As a nation, we must mark this occasion in a form that reflects the wishes of survivors and affords them the dignity to which they were entitled as children, but which was denied to them by the very people who were tasked with their care," he told parliament on Thursday.

The royal commission inquiry, which concluded in December, made more than 400 recommendations, including calling on the Catholic Church to overhaul its celibacy rules.

"It is not a case of a few 'rotten apples'. Society's major institutions have seriously failed," it said.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 2:31 PM