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March 31, 2018

R.I. lawmakers mull ending statute of limitations on lawsuits against sexual predators

PROVIDENCE (RI)
Providence Journal

March 30, 2018

By Katherine Gregg

Abuse victims gave wrenching accounts at a House hearing on the bill introduced by Rep. Carol Hagan McEntee, whose legislation was motivated by her own sister’s repeated abuse as a child by their family’s parish priest.

A Rhode Island lawmaker has ripped the scab off the Catholic Church sex-abuse scandal with legislation born out of her older sister’s repeated abuse, as a child, by their family’s parish priest.

Rep. Carol Hagan McEntee’s legislation would remove the seven-year statute of limitations on the pursuit of legal claims against perpetrators of sex abuse. The statute of limitations derailed a lawsuit by two former victims of an infamous pedophile priest in 2016.

A late-night hearing on her bill earlier this week drew pained personal recollections from her sister, now a 65-year-old psychologist; a well-known doctor talking about his abuse publicly for the first time; and Jim Scanlan, a R.I. man whose account of sex-abuse by a Boston College High School priest in the late 1970s figured in the Oscar-winning movie “Spotlight.”

But the tales of abuse by trusted elders were not limited to the Catholic Church. Two women describing themselves as victims of sex-abuse scandals reaching back to the 1970s at St. George’s School in Middletown and the Gordon School in East Providence also conveyed their support for the bill, which has no restrictions on how far back the cases might reach.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 8:23 AM

Parishioners celebrating Holy Week with 'heavy hearts' amid Saginaw Diocese sex abuse probe

SAGINAW (MI)
Michigan Live

March 30, 2018

By Michael Kransz

The Catholic Diocese of Saginaw says many parishioners are celebrating Holy Week with "very heavy hearts" after recent search and seizures on two church properties and the home of Bishop Joseph R. Cistone as part of an investigation into sexual abuse by priests.

Just days before Holy Week, which started March 25 and concludes with Easter Sunday on April 1, police raided the bishop's home, a cathedral rectory and the diocese offices. The search warrants were executed, because, prosecutors allege, diocese officials failed to fully cooperate in the ongoing investigation into sexual abuse within the diocese.

On Tuesday, March 27, Cistone commented on the doubts some parishioners might have about clergymen.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 8:19 AM

Now-deceased priest who had Elk Co. ties accused of abuse

BRADFORD (PA)
The Bradford Era

March 30, 2018

A former priest has publicly named a now-deceased priest, who served in Elk County, as having sexually abused him when he was a teenager in the Erie area.

James Faluszczak, 48, of Buffalo, N.Y., told The Courier-Express of DuBois that the Rev. Monsignor Daniel J. Martin abused him. Martin served as pastor of St. Boniface Parish, Kersey, in 1962, and as headmaster of Elk County Christian — now Elk County Catholic — until 1970. Martin died in 2006 at age 88.

Faluszczak says he was one of many witnesses to testify before a grand jury around September 2016 to investigate sex abuse allegations in dioceses throughout Pennsylvania, according to the Erie-Times News.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 8:16 AM

Local man marks Good Friday with claim of sex abuse by Catholic priest

BUFFALO (NY)
WBFO

March 30, 2018

By Chris Caya

[Includes audio of Mark Lynch's complete statement.]

A local man is going public with claims of being sexually abused as a teenager by a Catholic priest employed by the Diocese of Buffalo.

Mark Lynch, of Lewiston, says he was sexually assaulted in the rectory of Mount Carmel Parish, in Niagara Falls, by Father Joseph Schuster.

"It was 50 years ago. I was 13 years of age."

Lynch said, he just began his healing process in December. And he chose to break his silence, Good Friday, with great reverence for the traditions stolen from him by the abuse he suffered at the hands of a Catholic priest.

That's one of the great wounds that I have from this abuse is the fact that this man stole my sacraments. He stole my church from me."

And Lynch says, other victims who came forward recently should not be blamed for hindering the Catholic Charities Appeal. He points to Bishop Richard Malone.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 8:07 AM

Another former priest accused of sexual abuse

BUFFALO (NY)
WIVB 4

March 30, 2018

By Jenn Schanz

[Includes video interview with Mark Lynch.]

50 years after Mark Lynch claims a Buffalo priest sexually abused him, he's speaking out.
Lynch was raised in a devout Irish Catholic family in Niagara Falls.

"On Good Friday, when Christ hung on the cross, between the hours of 12 and three, we respected three hours of silence," it's that tradition, Lynch told News 4, that inspired him to share his story at exactly 3 o'clock on Good Friday.

"In 1968, at the age of 13 I was sexually assaulted by Father Joseph Schuster," he said on the steps of St. Joseph's Cathedral Friday.

In the days after the Buffalo Diocese released a list of 42 former priests accused of sexually abusing children, Lynch reached out to News 4 via email.

"When that list came out I was hungry to find his name on that list. And it was not on that list and it was like I was punched in the gut. For some reason that moment made me feel like I didn't count," he said.

Aside from stating they are aware of these allegations, a spokesperson for the Buffalo Catholic Diocese would not comment further.

However, a spokesperson has explained that deceased former priests were listed only if they had at least two allegations against them.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 8:04 AM

March 30, 2018

Push to extend abuse-claim limit fails in budget talks

ALBANY (NY)
The Daily Star

March 29, 2018

By Joe Mahoney

Advocates for a one-year window to allow child victims of sexual assault to bring civil suits against molesters and employers who enabled abuse said Thursday they are deeply disappointed that the measure was sliced out of state budget negotiations.

Those crusading for the Child Victims Act — legislation that has been opposed by the state's Roman Catholic bishops, some youth groups and the insurance industry — said they will resume their push in Albany's post-budget legislative session, which closes in mid-June.

The one-year revival is intended to arm victims with the ability to pursue legal claims even decades after they were molested.

"We're going to continue our grassroots effort and I think it's highly likely we're going to make this happen," said Bridie Farrell, a Saratoga Springs native and former Olympic speed skater who was molested by an adult male when she was 15.

State Senate Republicans, who control the upper chamber of the statehouse, succeeded in having the measure cut out of the budget legislation submitted in January by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat.

Critics of the measure say it would lead to an evidentiary nightmare for New York's courts.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 3:17 PM

Survivor’s Story: Former Presentation Student Accuses Coach of Sexual Abuse

SAN JOSE (CA)
NBC Bay Area

March 29, 2018

By Vicky Nguyen, Michael Bott, and Mark Villarreal

Grace Leonis speaks out for the first time, accusing her JV water polo coach of sexually abusing her when she was a freshman. Friends say they reported sexting and an inappropriate relationship to the school, but police were never notified

Grace Leonis arrived as a freshman at San Jose’s Presentation High School feeling like a fish out of water. A standout swimmer, her prowess in the pool got her to the Catholic school for girls, where tuition runs $20,000 a year.

Leonis joined the water polo team but still struggled to make friends and says she often felt dejected and alone. She says she turned to her junior varsity water polo coach Jenna Roe for support. Leonis, who first met Roe at a water polo camp in August 2013, right before school started, says Roe lavished attention on her.

“I’ve never gotten attention like that before from anybody,” Leonis, now 18, said in a recent interview at her parents’ home in San Jose. “I liked it. I wanted to be around her.”

The two began texting each other. Leonis said she confessed to Roe, 24, that she had a crush on her.

“She told me she felt the same way, and at first, I was like, ‘That’s not right,’” Leonis said.

Leonis, who had just turned 14, said she felt conflicted about her coach’s response.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 3:14 PM

Mormon youth interviews with bishops under scrutiny

SALT LAKE CITY (UT)
The Associated Press

March 30, 2018

By Brady McCombs

A group of people demanding an end to one-on-one interviews between Mormon youth and lay leaders and the sexual questions that sometimes arise during the meetings plan to march to church headquarters Friday to show they're not satisfied despite a rule change this week that allows children to bring parents with them.

Group organizer Sam Young, a Mormon father from Houston, says a parent or adult should be required for all meetings that usually happen twice a year starting at age 12. He said sexual questions often become explicit and argues children should only be asked if they are obeying the faith's law of chastity.

Young is expecting several hundred people at the event that comes one day before a twice-annual conference put on by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. They plan to deliver 55,000 signatures supporting the cause.

Church officials have said the interviews allow bishops to get to know youth better and determine their religious habits and obedience to God. The bishops are instructed how to handle the meetings and swear to keep the conversations confidential.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 3:12 PM

Most senior Catholic official faces trial over historic sexual abuse allegations Kate Buck

AUSTRALIA
Metro

March 29, 2018

The hearing of a whether a Cardinal charged with historic sex offences should stand trial has concluded in Melbourne.

George Pell, 76, Pope Francis’ former finance minister and the third most senior official in the Vatican, was charged on June 29 2017 with sexually abusing multiple people in his Australian home state of Victoria.

He is the most senior Vatican cleric ever charged in the Catholic Church sex abuse crisis.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 3:10 PM

A gym built on fear

LANSING (MI)
CNN

March 29, 2018

By Majlie De Puy Kamp

Larry Nassar molested them. Now gymnasts describe a different kind of abuse by famed Olympic coach John Geddert

Late one night in the fall of 2012, 17-year-old Brittany Aragon overdosed. She took four Valium pills, lay down in bed and waited.

She was nervous, she said, but the thought of having to go back to the gym and face her coach, John Geddert, terrified her more than taking the pills.

While Larry Nassar was sexually abusing gymnasts in the back room of Twistars Gymnastics in Lansing, Michigan, Geddert – the famed Olympic coach and then-owner of the gym – was subjecting them to a different kind of horror: routinely ignoring their injuries and verbally assaulting them, according to former gymnasts and their families.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 3:07 PM

Cardinal and the showman: Pell barrister has been ruthless in defence

AUSTRALIA
The Age

March 30, 2018

By Melissa Cunningham & Adam Cooper

From the first day the door of court 22 was opened to the public, the man hired to represent Cardinal George Pell was ruthless in defence of his client.

Barrister Robert Richter, QC, is renowned for his confrontational courtroom tactics and they were on full display as he mercilessly tore into police, advocates for victims of sex abuse and even the magistrate.

Mr Richter is Australia’s foremost criminal defence counsel, known for successfully defending Mick Gatto on the charge of murdering underworld hitman Andrew Veniamin. Mr Gatto later had ‘‘Robert Richter’’ tattooed on his chest.

The QC has represented the dangerous, violent and the deeply disturbed, Hoddle Street massacre killer Julian Knight not least among them.

But Cardinal Pell, the highest-ranking modern-day Catholic to be charged with sexual offences, is Mr Richter ‘s most high-profile client.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 3:04 PM

Cardinal Pell's court hearing weighs evidence for abuse allegations

MELBOURNE (AUSTRALIA)
CNA/EWTN News

March 29, 2018

A hearing will that will decide whether Cardinal George Pell will go on trial for alleged abuse came to a conclusion Thursday after Pell’s attorney launched a vigorous defense and sought to cast doubt on the path from the first police investigations through the filing of legal charges.

Pell’s defense lawyer Robert Richter, 72, engaged in cross-examination of the charges against his client, with Victoria Police Crime Command’s head of serious crime, Paul Sheridan, taking the stand in court.

The Victoria Police launched a special operation in 2013 to investigate Pell, “Operation Tethering.” Richter charged that at its launch, “it was an operation looking for a crime because no crime had been reported.”

Sheridan confirmed the effort had been launched in 2013 specifically to gather information on the cardinal. There was a search for complainants and no one came forward until more than a year after the investigation began.

The total number of charges are not public, but most abuse allegedly took place in the 1970s. An additional allegation concerned the cardinal’s time as Melbourne’s archbishop from 1996-2001. Cardinal Pell has said he is innocent. He currently heads the Holy See’s Secretariat for the Economy and is one of the nine cardinals advising Pope Francis.

The hearing in Melbourne Magistrates Court concluded Thursday after hearing testimony from 50 witnesses, including Pell’s accusers, CNN reports. The cardinal was present every day of the hearing.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 3:02 PM

MSU trainers knew Nassar issues but are still on job, ex-athletes say

LANSING (MI)
Detroit Free Press

March 30, 2018

By Gina Kaufman and Joe Guillen

Two Michigan State University employees who allegedly were aware of complaints years ago against Larry Nassar are still on the job, raising continuing questions about the university’s response to abuses by the former Olympic doctor that go back decades.

The two athletic trainers were informed nearly 20 years ago of incidents in which Nassar made athletes uncomfortable during appointments, according to two former athletes. It's unclear what the trainers did with the information, but Nassar wasn't stopped.

One of the trainers, Destiny Teachnor-Hauk, is named as a defendant in a federal lawsuit, which claims she and others at MSU "knew or should have known of Nassar's abuse yet failed to take corrective action."

An MSU spokeswoman told the Free Press in mid-March the trainers have never been suspended and are still working.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 2:59 PM

Victim support group returns, Saginaw Diocese refuses questions

SAGINAW COUNTY (MI)
NBC25

March 27, 2018

By Amanda Chodnicki

A survivor who said he was sexually abused decades ago by a priest within the Saginaw Diocese is helping alleged victims get through recent events surrounding the Catholic church.

Just last week, the offices of the Saginaw Diocese, the Bishop Joseph Cistone's residence and the rectory at Saint Mary's Cathedral were raided by police.

Boxes of items including electronics, were seized and all the while, victims were continuing to come forward.

This survivor, Brad Sylvester, is now a volunteer with the organization "SNAP", or the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 2:12 PM

Insurer for Lansing diocese files suit against Okemos priest accused of embezzlement

MASON (MI)
Lansing State Journal

March 30, 2018

By Beth LeBlanc

A priest accused of embezzling more than $5 million from his Okemos parish is now the subject of a civil lawsuit lodged by the insurance company for the Catholic Diocese of Lansing.

The insurance provider claims to have paid out roughly $2.5 million to the diocese so far to cover its losses.

To protect the assets that will cover those losses, the agency convinced a judge Wednesday to place the Rev. Jonathan Wehrle’s sprawling estate into receivership.

“While this suit is pending, nobody wants to see the property go to waste or be damaged before the property can be forfeited,” said Randy Marmor, lawyer for The Princeton Excess and Surplus Lines Insurance Corporation.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 2:09 PM

Pope faces indigenous Canadians' anger over refusal to apologize for past abuse

TORONTO (CANADA)
The Guardian

March 30, 2018

By Leyland Cecco

Canada bishops’ group said Francis would not offer personal apology for residential school system that abused generations of children

Survivors of Canada’s residential schools have expressed dismay after Pope Francis for a system that abused thousands of indigenous children for generations.

The schools, many of which were run by missionaries, were used to convert indigenous children to Christianity through a governmental policy of “aggressive assimilation”. More than 150,000 children passed through around 80 schools across the country until the last one closed in 1996.

The Canadian government formally apologized for the program 10 years ago. In 2014, Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission recommended a papal apology, which the prime minister, Justin Trudeau, personally lobbied for when he visited the Vatican last year.

While he has apologized for the “grave sins” of colonialism in South America, in a letter released Tuesday by the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops, the president of the organization said Pope Francis would not issue a personal apology.

Stephen Kakfwi, the former premier of the Northwest Territories, attended a number of residential schools in the Canadian Arctic. He argued that survivors of the schools were not calling for a personal apology from the pontiff, but an institutional response from the Catholic church.

“We asked as for an apology from the pope, the head of the Catholic faith, for the millions of people who are Catholics around the world,” said Kakfwi, who helped arrange visits by Pope John Paul II to the Arctic.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 2:07 PM

Elaine Wynn says she reported rape allegation to company

LAS VEGAS (NV)
The Associated Press

March 28, 2018

By Regina Garcia Cano

Elaine Wynn, the ex-wife of embattled casino mogul Steve Wynn, said during a court hearing Wednesday that she told the company's general counsel in 2009 that she had received information alleging her ex-husband had raped an employee in 2005. The general counsel later denied receiving any information about a rape allegation.

The revelation came during testimony in a special hearing in a yearslong civil case in state court in Las Vegas involving her, her ex-husband and the casino-operating company they founded. It was the first time she testified in open court regarding the sexual misconduct allegation against Steve Wynn.

He has denied any wrongdoing.

Elaine Wynn said she did not report the information to anyone else in the company other than general counsel Kimmarie Sinatra. She acknowledged under questioning from the attorneys representing Wynn Resorts that she did not share the information with the company's board of directors of which she was a member at the time.

"I told Ms. Sinatra that I had received information alleging that Mr. Wynn had raped an employee of the hotel in 2005," she testified. She said Sinatra later told her the accusation "had been discussed by attorneys and that it was deemed not to have been an issue of concern for the company, that it had been handled personally, and therefore, it had been resolved."

Elaine Wynn has argued she was not re-nominated the company's board of directors in 2015 in retaliation for her inquiries into company activities.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 1:10 PM

Breaking silence on claimed priest abuse in a search for healing

NIAGARA (NY)
Niagara Gazette

March 30, 2018

By Philip Gambini

After five decades of silence since being sexually assaulted at the hands of a well-known Niagara County priest, Mark Lynch will speak his truth this afternoon in the City of Buffalo.

“I have feared for several months the reality that, somewhere along in this healing process, a public statement would be both necessary and healing. I am answering the call from Bishop (Richard J.) Malone to come forward and be counted,” Lynch said in a prepared statement shared with the Niagara Gazette on Thursday.

Lynch, 63, will deliver his remarks today in Buffalo on the steps of St. Joseph’s Cathedral, 50 Franklin St., at 3 p.m. – a time of religious significance on the Catholic holy day of Good Friday.

“I am making this public statement in the hopes that other victims might be emboldened to come forward,” Lynch said.

In his remarks, Lynch said the sexual assault was perpetrated by a clergyman well-known in the Niagara Region, whose name he will disclose at the press conference later today.

The priest, now deceased, was not on a list of 42 known clergy abusers released by the diocese earlier this year, but Lynch said it his “understanding that I was only the first among many of his victims.”

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 11:47 AM

REPORT ISSUED ON ALBANY DIOCESE ABUSE ALLEGATIONS

ALBANY (NY)
Spectrum News

March 29, 2018

A new report has been released detailing allegations of sexual abuse by priests in the Albany Diocese, including the locations they were assigned.

Forty-two priests are named in the report titled "Hidden Disgrace Three," released by attorneys in the group 'Lawyers Helping Survivors of Child Sex Abuse.' They say the information needs to get out into the public to prevent further incidents of abuse, and unlike other dioceses in the state, Albany does not have a current compensation program for survivors.

Attorneys say while the diocese keeps a list of priests facing credible accusations on its website, that list hasn't been updated since 2015. Ultimately, the group is hoping their efforts help victims come forward who otherwise wouldn't.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 11:43 AM

Deadline To Report Clergy Sex Abuse To Brooklyn Diocese Is This Saturday

BROOKLYN (NY)
Bklyner

March 29, 2018

By Zainab Iqbal

Survivors of clergy sex abuse in Brooklyn have until this weekend to report their abuser to the Brooklyn Diocese to be eligible for compensation. Here’s what it means and how survivors can get started.

In the fall of 2016, Archdiocese of NY set up a voluntary Independent Reconciliation and Compensation Program (IRCP), which allows clergy sex abuse survivors to report their abuse and seek settlements with the church. This IRCP is coming to an end, which is why survivors have until Saturday to apply. The eligibility requirements require that the person who perpetrated the abuse be a priest or deacon ordained in that diocese.

In order to be potentially compensated, survivors should report their abuse (if they have not done so already) by the reporting deadline, which is this Sat. March 31. The filing deadline to IRCP is April 15, but if the abuse is not reported by this weekend, the survivor will not be eligible.

Lawyers Helping Survivors of Child Sex Abuse is a joint venture of three law firms representing over 100 survivors who have filed a claim with the IRCP’s.

“It’s an opportunity, finally, for survivors of child sex abuse to get some measure of relief,” Jerry Kristal, attorney at Weitz & Luxenberg said, “some measure of recognition hat this actually happened to them, some sort of satisfaction that the church is finally doing something to try to right the wrong that had been done to them.”

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 11:41 AM

Paying for the sins of their church

NEWCASTLE (AUSTRALIA)
Australian Broadcasting Corporation

March 29, 2018

By David Lewis

The Anglican Diocese of Newcastle is using money raised from selling churches to compensate victims of child sexual abuse, but one coastal community is fighting back.

Chapter I

The church on the hill

The closest thing the tiny town of Bungwahl has to a landmark is its church. St James sits high on a hill, overlooking the sparkling Myall Lakes on the New South Wales mid-north coast.

It has been there for more than a century but many tourists fail to notice the heritage-listed building as they drive past on their way to Seal Rocks or Forster.

On the day I visited, however, the church was hard to ignore.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 11:37 AM

#ChurchToo exposes sexual abuse in the church

SILOAM SPRINGS (AR)
The Threefold Advocate

March 29, 2018

By Megan Koontz

For years Emily Joy sat in the back of her home church, unable to tell the truth about what kind of man her pastor was. Now, she’s free to be honest

The #ChurchToo movement was spurred on by the #MeToo movement and started by activist and writer Hannah Paasch and spoken word poet Emily Joy. Joy was groomed and raped by her youth pastor at the age of 16 and felt shamed by the culture of the megachurch she grew up in. She never shared her story with anyone in her church. After attending Moody Bible College and feeling the shame follow her, Joy finally gained the courage to confide in Paasch, whom met at Moody, the secret she had been hiding, according to The Huffington Post.

On Nov. 20, 2017, Paasch posted a tweet offering the hashtag #ChurchToo and asking women who had experienced sexual abuse within the church to come forward with their stories. Within 48 hours, people around the world were using the hashtag to recount stori es of pain and abuse they had experienced within the church.

Soon thereafter, the hashtag #SilenceisNotSpiritual followed, and women who are considered prominent in the church—including Beth Moore, Jen Hatmaker, Emily McFarlan Miller and Serene Jones—and 150 other women, published a statement challenging churches to stand by women who had experienced abuse in the church.

The root of abuse that happens within the church, according to Paasch and Joy, is often linked to the purity culture that permeates evangelical churches, the “theology of abstinence that singles out women and slut shames everyone who engages in any kind of sexual activity outside of marriage. Purity culture is the religious antecedent to rape culture, as it lays the bulk of the responsibility for maintaining the sexual purity of both genders on women’s attire and behavior,” Paasch said.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 11:22 AM

Mormon church announces closure of missionary training centers in Chile and Spain

SALT LAKE CITY (UT)
The Salt Lake Tribune

March 29, 2018

By Mariah Noble

The Mormon church announced Thursday that it plans to close two missionary training centers — one in Santiago, Chile, and the other in Madrid, Spain — in January.

A news release from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints said ecclesiastical leaders “continue to seek the best use of resources worldwide according to the needs and demands of each area.”

Starting in January, missionaries who would have attended either of these centers will be trained at one of the remaining 13 missionary training centers around the world, including the flagship facility in Provo.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 11:18 AM

First Presidency counsels leaders on how to prevent, identify and respond to abuse

SALT LAKE CITY (UT)
Deseret News

March 29, 2018

By Sarah Jane Weaver

In a continuing effort to counsel leaders on how to prevent, identify and respond to abuse, the First Presidency announced changes on March 26 detailing the Church actions “to protect God’s children.”

The First Presidency sent a letter and resource document — which includes an updated version of guidelines first issued in 2008 — to Church leaders in the United States and Canada.

“To help ensure the safety and protection of children, youth and adults, we ask that all priesthood and auxiliary leaders become familiar with existing Church policies and guidelines on preventing and responding to abuse,” stated the letter, signed by President Russell M. Nelson, President Dallin H. Oaks and President Henry B. Eyring.

The letter noted that in 2008, the First Presidency encouraged Church leaders to reach out in love to assist those who were suffering from abuse. “This global issue continues to be of great concern to us today. Our hearts and prayers go out to all who are affected by this serious problem.”

The changes detail how bishops and stake presidencies may conduct interviews with women and children and how they counsel victims of abuse and sexual abuse.

The revised statement on policies and guidelines specifies that children, youth and women now may invite an adult to join them in what traditionally have been personal interviews.

The First Presidency also clarified to members of bishoprics and stake presidencies how they should respond to reports of sexual abuse and how to minister in those situations. Church leaders are to rely on Church doctrine when addressing abuse and should never disregard a report of abuse or encourage members to remain in an abusive situation.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 11:14 AM

New administrator in Newry diocese criticised by priest

NORTHERN IRELAND
The Irish Times

March 30, 2018

By Patsy McGarry

Bishop Philip Boyce expressed regret his focus on victims’ needs was not greater in the past

The Catholic diocese of Dromore has distanced itself from comments by a retired priest there who said he was “disgusted” at the appointment of Bishop Philip Boyce as its administrator this week.

Bishop Boyce (78) had been Bishop of Raphoe in Donegal since 1995 until he retired last year. He was appointed administrator of Dromore (which includes parishes in Antrim, Armagh and Down) after Pope Francis accepted the resignation of Bishop John McAreavey.

That followed controversy over the diocese’s handling of child sexual abuse allegations made against former president of St Colman’s College, Newry and former parish priest at Clonduff/Hilltown, Fr Malachy Finnegan, who died in 2002.

In a BBC Radio Ulster interview this week Fr Eamon Murray pointed out that in 2011 Bishop Boyce was criticised for his handling of clerical sex abuse allegations in Raphoe.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 11:11 AM

Boy, 11, punched a priest in a bid to avoid sexual assault

SCOTLAND
The Free Thinker

March 28, 2018

By Barry Duke

A 51-year-old man who cannot be named for legal reasons claims that he was punished after he reported Father Francis Paul Moore, above, for attempting to abuse him in a Scottish church.

According to this report, the alleged victim was just 11 when he had an encounter with Moore in St Margaret’s Church in Castlepark.

The man says the incident occurred when he had visited the church with his cousin who had been locked in an office with Moore.

He said after he banged on the door to help his cousin, the priest pounced and he knew he was going to be his next victim.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 11:08 AM

Judge: Lawsuit against former Fall River Diocese Bishop Cronin can proceed

FALL RIVER (MA)
The Herald News

March 29, 2018

By Brian Fraga

A judge is allowing a trial to proceed against former Fall River Bishop Daniel A. Cronin, who was sued three years ago for his alleged failure to supervise a priest who is accused of molesting two boy altar servers in the 1970s and 1980s.

In his ruling on Cronin’s motion for a summary judgement, dated March 5, Middlesex County Superior Court Judge Maynard Kirplani said a jury should decide the case because questions remain as to whether Cronin should have been suspicious of and investigated the late Monsignor Maurice Souza for spending a lot of time away from his parish on the Cape and going on road trips with adolescent boys.

Boston attorney Mitchell Garabedian, who represents the plaintiffs, said the judge’s decision is significant because it says the former bishop “had an obligation to supervise in a reasonable manner” to determine whether Souza violated the Catholic Church’s rules regulating priests’ vacations and prohibiting lay people from staying in a rectory. Garabedian said those concerns could have triggered an inquiry in to Souza’s behavior.

“Bishop Cronin could therefore be found by a jury to be negligent even though it has not been shown that Bishop Cronin had prior notice of Monsignor Souza sexually abusing the plaintiffs,” said Garabedian, who has represented dozens of victims of clergy sex abuse.

Garabedian said Kirplani’s ruling “helps hold supervisors accountable which helps victims try to heal and it helps protect children.”

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 11:07 AM

Judge says abused former altar boys can sue bishop

BOSTON (MA)
Boston Herald

March 30, 2018

By Bob McGovern

Former altar boys who claim they were molested by a priest years ago are allowed to sue the bishop they say failed in supervising him, according to a recent court ruling.

Paul Andrews and Daniel Sherwood are suing the Rev. Daniel Cronin, the former bishop of the Fall River Archdiocese. They argue that he was negligent in supervising and retaining the services of Maurice Souza — a now-deceased priest who they say sexually molested them when they would go on out-of-state trips in the late 1970s and early 1980s.

Judge Maynard A. Kirpalani ruled that the case could go on, despite a pitch from Cronin’s attorneys to toss the suit.

“While the case is certainly slim, genuine issues of material fact do remain,” Kirpalani wrote earlier this month. “In particular, an issue remains about whether Cronin, who was in charge of the diocese and had the power to remove Souza, should have known that one of his priests spent significant time away from the parish ... on extended road-trips with adolescent boys.”

Mitchell Garabedian, an attorney representing Andrew and Sherwood, said it was a huge decision for his clients.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 10:49 AM

March 29, 2018

Saginaw Diocese parishioners call for Bishop Cistone to resign after raids

SAGINAW (MI)
MLive

March 28, 2018

By Michael Kransz

Some Saginaw Diocese parishioners are calling for Saginaw Bishop Joseph R. Cistone to step down after prosecutors say his diocese failed to cooperate in an ongoing sexual abuse investigation.

"He has no credibility," said Mary Ureche, a parishioner at St. Thomas Aquinas Church in Saginaw Township. "The reason he's here is because of the cover-up and shredding of documents in Philadelphia."

Nathan Medina grew up worshiping at Cathedral of Mary of the Assumption in Saginaw. The 34-year-old said, among other options to rebuild trust, the bishop should resign.

"The Diocese of Saginaw needs somebody who can fix this, and I don't think Bishop Cistone can," Medina said.

Ureche and Medina were referencing Cistone's time as a high-ranking member in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia and a grand jury report on sexual abuse and cover-up within that diocese.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 2:13 PM

Spiritual Abuse is Real; it’s a big problem in the Church

ZIMBABWE
The Zimbabwe Mail

March 29, 2018

By Brill Pongo

About 3 years ago I joined a prophetic church largely out of curiosity and I quickly began to investigate the operations of how things work my fascination was mainly with the culture and behaviour of the members of these churches and the celebrity type leaders, who are treated as ‘demigods’.

Because of my previous stance and views vis-à-vis these churches I was treated more favourably by the leadership and found my way and acceptance into the inner circle very quickly.

In no time I was tasked with doing some media and PR work to assist the ‘truth’ and aid the image of the leader.

It was from that position that I was able to carry out my investigations and I was able to observe and understand a lot that goes on behind the scenes, which I will reveal in due course but for now I want to focus on spiritual abuse in general and its excesses particularly in some modern day prophetic movement churches.

My hope is that by writing about these excesses publicly, we can begin to dialog openly about this very real problem. Hiding it or pretending it doesn’t exist simply adds more confusion and anger to those who have walked through the trauma of spiritual abuse.

So I wrote these traits of spiritually abusive ministries and churches. This is not an exhaustive list, but it typifies what happens. My heart in sharing this is to simply shed light on unhealthy, manipulative, controlling practices.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 2:11 PM

Pope will not apologize for abuse in Canada's indigenous schools

OTTAWA (CANADA)
The Guardian

March 28, 2018

Schools largely run by Catholic church took 150,000 First Nations, Inuit and Métis children away from families and force them to convert

Pope Francis will not apologize to survivors of Canada’s Indian residential schools for the role the Roman Catholic church played in operating the institutions or the abuses suffered there.

Some 150,000 First Nations, Inuit and Métis children were taken from their families over much of the last century and put in the schools, where they were forced to convert to Christianity and not allowed to speak their native languages. Many were beaten and verbally and sexually abused, and up to 6,000 are said to have died. Almost two-thirds of the 130 schools were run by the Catholic church.

Bishop Lionel Gendron, president of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops, said on Wednesday in a letter to the Indigenous Peoples of Canada that Francis has not shied away from acknowledging injustices faced by indigenous peoples around the world, but that he cannot personally issue an apology for residential schools in Canada.

“The Catholic Bishops of Canada have been in dialogue with the Pope and the Holy See concerning the legacy of suffering you have experienced,” Gendron wrote.

“After carefully considering the request and extensive dialogue with the bishops of Canada, he felt that he could not personally respond.”

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 2:07 PM

Residential school survivors upset by no Catholic Church apology

LA RONGE (SASKATCHEWAN, CANADA)
LaRonge Now

March 28, 2018

By Derek Cornet

Residential schools survivors who attended a two-day gathering this week aren’t happy with Pope Francis’ decision to not apologize for the trauma they went through.

“I talked to a few people this morning and the Pope knows what happened from so many stories,” Lac La Ronge Indian Band elder Tom Roberts, who organized the event held March 27 and 28, said. “They’re not happy, I’m not happy, but what we learned at the residential school and being survivors now, is we are very resilient people. If we get knocked down, we get up.”

As one of the Calls to Action from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, the Pope was asked to come to Canada and apologize to survivors, their families and communities for the Roman Catholic Church’s role in the spiritual, cultural, emotional, physical and sexual abuse of First Nations, Inuit and Métis children in Catholic-run residential schools. Roberts said through the vast amounts of testimony already given about people’s experiences at those schools, Pope Francis should be well aware of what happened.

Roberts attended residential school in Prince Albert for seven years and said his journey in life has been hard because of it. He said people are now in a period of reclaiming their identities, which are slowly coming back. First Nations people were hopeful the Catholic Church would have apologized this summer, Roberts said, adding he feels sorry for the Pope not coming.

“It didn’t have to happen that way, where they took us away from our moms and dads as young as five years old to be taken to the residential school for 10 months out of the year,” he said.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 2:03 PM

Saskatoon bishop 'hopeful' for eventual visit to Canada from Pope Francis

SASKATOON (SASKATCHEWAN, CANADA)
Saskatoon StarPhoenix

March 28, 2018

By Dave Deibert

The Bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Saskatoon says he remains 'hopeful' that Pope Francis will one day travel to Canada to apologize to residential school survivors and their families.

The Bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Saskatoon says he remains “hopeful” that Pope Francis will one day travel to Canada to apologize to residential school survivors and their families for the role of the Roman Catholic Church in operating residential schools and for the abuse suffered by the schools’ students.

A papal apology was No. 58 of the 94 recommendations from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

The commission recommended an apology similar to that offered by the Pope to Irish victims of sexual abuse in 2010. In 2015, Pope Francis issued an apology in Bolivia to Indigenous peoples in the Americas for the “grave sins” of colonialism.

Instead, Bishop Lionel Gendron, president of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops, on Tuesday released a letter to the Indigenous Peoples of Canada saying Pope Francis has not shied away from acknowledging injustices faced by Indigenous peoples around the world, but that he can’t personally issue an apology for residential schools.

“I recognize that the recent letter to the Indigenous Peoples (of) Canada from the president of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) is a disappointment to many people in our community,” Roman Catholic Diocese of Saskatoon Bishop Mark Hagemoen wrote in a statement issued to media.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 1:59 PM

Incidents of sexual harassment, assault high at music festivals, new survey reveals

UNITED STATES
Chicago Tribune

March 29, 2018

By Jessi Roti

More than 90 percent of female concertgoers surveyed by OurMusicMyBody experienced being harassed, the campaign said Monday.

Launched in 2016 as a joint effort between nonprofit organizations Between Friends and Rape Victim Advocates, the OurMusicMyBody campaign aims to promote “fun and consensual music experiences for all” through anti-harassment policies and guidelines at music venues and festivals across Chicago.

After recognizing that festivals and venues did not have procedures in place to address issues of harassment and assault, or coordination and education between security and support teams (like medical, for example) about the next steps to take if these issues arise, the campaign became necessary — as echoed by Riot Fest creative director Jeremy Scheuch when he was asked why the festival partnered with OurMusicMyBody.

In 2017, OurMusicMyBody was responsible for the implementation of anti-harassment guidelines and policies at the city’s three major music fests, Pitchfork, Lollapalooza and Riot Fest, as well as more locally focused events Ruido Fest and Green Music Fest. The campaign also partnered with various venues such as Lincoln Hall, Schubas, Subterranean and Beat Kitchen to provide information at concerts hosted year-round.

More than 500 respondents answered questions about harassment in the online survey taken between November and December 11, 2017. The survey was broken down by gender: 379 females, 84 males and 57 nonbinary people. Harassment was defined as spoken violence and aggression to physical assault — including being drugged or being coerced into drinking.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 1:56 PM

Nassar fallout hurts Michigan State University financial rating

LANSING (MI)
Detroit Free Press

March 29, 2018

By David Jesse

A financial rating firm has dropped its outlook for Michigan State University to negative as it evaluates the fallout from the Larry Nassar sexual assaults scandal.

S&P Global Ratings credit analyst Ashley Ramchandanisaid pending investigations into MSU, along with lots of turnover in senior leadership, sparked the change. The firm also says they aren't sure how all the fallout will shake out.

"While management reports the hiring of additional staff and implementation of amended policies to address sexual assault prevention, patient care and campus safety, in our opinion, current campus community tension may stall prompt and equitable resolution of stakeholders' concerns."

Ratings affect the university's ability to borrow money through bonds and the interest rates it gets. The agency left the rating for current bonds unchanged.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 1:10 PM

Trudeau disappointed by Pope's decision not to apologize for residential schools

CANADA
The Canadian Press

March 28, 2018

Truth and Reconciliation Commission called for a papal apology to survivors

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said today he's disappointed with the Pope's decision to not apologize for the Catholic Church's role in Canada's residential schools and the trauma experienced by their students.

The prime minister said reconciliation is not just a matter between government and Indigenous people, but must also involve non-government actors as well.

A letter released Tuesday by the president of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops says Pope Francis has not shied away from recognizing injustices faced by Indigenous peoples around the world, but he can't personally apologize for residential schools.

"Obviously I'm disappointed with the Catholic Church's decision not to apologize for their role in residential schools," said Trudeau.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 1:06 PM

Jesuit ‘man on a mission’ sees change happening on sexual abuse

ROME
CRUX

March 29, 2018

By John L. Allen Jr.

Father Hans Zollner, an earnest 51-year-old Bavarian Jesuit psychologist and vice-rector at Rome’s prestigious Gregorian University, who’s considered perhaps Catholicism’s leading expert on sexual abuse and child protection, is, in almost every sense of the word, a man on a mission.

In the 21st century, we use that phrase to mean someone with a cause, and that’s certainly Zollner. He sees the protection of vulnerable people, especially children, as a core part of the Christian faith, and he’s determined to do everything in his power to promote and foster safe environments.

In the history of Zollner’s Jesuit order, “mission” also implies hitting the road, taking the Gospel to the four corners of the world, and that’s him as well. Over the past four years or so, he’s led approximately 600 training sessions in child protection for bishops, religious superiors, and Church institutions, in virtually every part of the world. When he spoke to Crux on March 28, he had just returned from a session with the French bishops in Lourdes, and he ticked off plans for the near future including stops in Kenya and in Papua New Guinea.

While he tries to go wherever he’s invited, Zollner says he gets about one-third more invitations than even someone with his inexhaustible energy and relentless commitment can possibly accept, so he hands those off to a growing network of like-minded colleagues and former students.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 12:43 PM

Cardinal’s Australian court hearing on sex abuse charges ends

MELBOURNE (AUSTRALIA)
The Associated Press

March 29, 2018

An Australian magistrate on Thursday closed a monthlong court hearing of evidence on whether the most senior Vatican cleric ever charged in the Catholic Church’s sex abuse crisis will stand trial.

Belinda Wallington told the Melbourne Magistrates Court she would make her decision after lawyers make their final submissions on April 17 as to whether prosecutors have a strong enough case against Australia’s highest-ranking Catholic, Cardinal George Pell, currently on a leave of absence as head of the Vatican’s Secretariat for the Economy, to warrant a trial by jury.

Pell was charged last June with sexually abusing multiple people in his Australian home state of Victoria. The details of the allegations against the 76-year-old cardinal have yet to be released to the public, though police have described the charges as “historical” sexual assault offenses - meaning the crimes allegedly occurred decades ago.

Pell has not been required to enter pleas, but has said through his lawyers he will plead not guilty to all counts if ordered to stand trial.

The cardinal has attended every day of the four-week preliminary hearing. The first two weeks were closed to the public as his alleged victims testified via a video link to the court. Such closed courts are standard in Victoria when alleged sex abuse victims testify.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 12:42 PM

Pope won’t personally apologize for Catholic Church’s role in residential schools

OTTAWA (CANADA)
The Canadian Press

March 27, 2018

By Mia Rabson

Pope Francis will not apologize to residential school survivors and their families for the role the Roman Catholic Church played in operating the schools or the abuses suffered by their students.

A papal apology was one of the 94 recommendations from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and during a visit to the Vatican last year, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau personally asked the Pope to consider such a gesture.

The commission recommended an apology similar to that offered by the Pope to Irish victims of sexual abuse in 2010. In 2015, Pope Frances issued an apology in Bolivia to Indigenous peoples in the Americas for the “grave sins” of colonialism.

Bishop Lionel Gendron, president of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops, today released a letter to the Indigenous Peoples of Canada saying Pope Francis has not shied away from acknowledging injustices faced by Indigenous peoples around the world, but that he can’t personally issue an apology for residential schools.

“The Catholic Bishops of Canada have been in dialogue with the Pope and the Holy See concerning the legacy of suffering you have experienced,” Gendron wrote. “The Holy Father is aware of the findings of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, which he takes seriously. As far as call to action #58 is concerned, after carefully considering the request and extensive dialogue with the bishops of Canada, he felt that he could not personally respond.”

Gendron says the Pope has not ruled out a visit to Canada and a meeting with Indigenous Peoples, but in the meantime is encouraging Canadian bishops to continue working with Indigenous Peoples on reconciliation issues and projects that help with healing.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 12:40 PM

OPINION: Why the Catholic Church must commit to women’s equality

CANADA
The Globe and Mail

March 28, 2018

By Michael W. Higgins

Michael W. Higgins is a distinguished professor of Catholic Thought at Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, Conn.

One of the highlights of the liturgical year, for me at least, when I was a seminarian in the mid-1960s, was the steak-and-wine celebration immediately following the Holy Thursday mass. The Feast of the Last Supper, as it was also known, was traditionally understood as the occasion when Jesus instituted the priesthood, so there was special reason for an enclave of clerics and would-be clerics to break their Lenten fast and rejoice in their unique and sacred calling. It was an event for men only, although in fact there were some women present: the nuns who prepared and served our food.

It was also the liturgy at which the feet of the youngest seminarians were washed by the rector and vice-rector in imitation of Jesus’s washing of the feet of the apostles at the Lord’s Supper. Again, the only women present were the nuns, who assumed a prayerful position at the back of the chapel. Their feet were excluded from the washing, although in terms of humble service – the model of behaviour Jesus exemplified – they were the best living illustration.

The faculty and students in no way saw this ecclesiastical arrangement as anything other than normative and unalterable. It was God’s will. It was their spiritual gift.

I was reminded of this patriarchal bit of theatre recently when the Mary McAleese affair erupted, first on the Irish scene and now globally.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 12:35 PM

CNN exclusive: In depositions, Karolyis say they knew nothing of Nassar's abuse at their ranch

HUNTSVILLE (TX)
CNN

March 29, 2018

By Jean Casarez and Laura Dolan

Bela Karolyi helped build Karolyi Ranch with his own hands. It's where he and his wife Martha helped train more than a dozen elite gymnasts to Olympic glory.

But the most powerful couple in US gymnastics history, who coached legends Nadia Comaneci, Mary Lou Retton and Kerri Strug, said they can't recall numerous details about what happened at their ranch in Huntsville, Texas, such as whether former USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar was licensed to practice there or who was responsible for keeping the gymnasts secure.
In depositions obtained exclusively by CNN, the Karolyis said they had very little to do with the day-to-day operation of the ranch when it served as a training site for the women's national gymnastics team.

Their depositions, given in May of 2017, are part of a civil lawsuit filed by former elite gymnast Mattie Larson, which claims that the Karolyis "turned a blind-eye to the perpetrator Nassar's sexual abuse of children at the Ranch."

Nassar has pleaded guilty to criminal sexual conduct in two cases and to federal child pornography charges. He is serving prison sentences of up to 175 years.

Karolyi Ranch, a 2,000-acre compound about 70 miles north of Houston, wasn't just a gymnastics mecca bearing the coaches' names. It became the US Women's National Team Training Center in 2001 and a US Olympic Training Site in 2011 -- during many of the same years Nassar was the national team doctor.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 12:28 PM

Abuse hearing for Vatican treasurer Pell ends amid fiery accusations

MELBOURNE (AUSTRALIA)
CNN

March 29, 2018

By Lucie Morris-Marr

Fiery accusations by the defense against witnesses and even the magistrate dominated the last days of a month-long committal hearing into allegations of abuse against Cardinal George Pell, the treasurer for the Vatican.

Pell has attended Melbourne Magistrates Court every day of the hearing, which concluded Thursday after listening to testimony from 50 witnesses, including a number of Pell's accusers.
The cardinal, Australia's highest-ranking Catholic official, is alleged to have committed abuse in the 1970s, in locations including a swimming pool, a cinema, a chapel and on a hill top in country Victoria. Pell has vehemently denied the allegations.

An additional allegation of abuse emerged during the committal hearing, of an incident at a sacristy at St Patrick's Cathedral in Melbourne. Between 1996 and 2001 he was the Archbishop for the city.

A final decision on whether the case will proceed to trial will be made by the magistrate at an undisclosed future date. There is still a further hearing to take place on April 17 for the defense and prosecution teams to make their verbal submissions to the court.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 12:26 PM

Former Weinstein assistant slams ‘morally lacking’ gag order

LONDON (ENGLAND)
The Associated Press

March 28, 2018

By Jill Lawless

Harvey Weinstein’s former British assistant said Wednesday that a gag order she had to sign when she left his film company was “morally lacking in every way” and failed to stop the movie producer’s harassment and abuse of women.

Zelda Perkins quit Weinstein’s firm Miramax in 1998 along with a colleague who accused the movie mogul of trying to rape her. Each received a 125,000-pound ($177,000) settlement and signed a non-disclosure agreement.

Perkins told a committee of British lawmakers that she felt “defrauded” by the agreement, which contained clauses intended to stop Weinstein from sexually harassing or abusing staff.

The agreement committed Weinstein to attend therapy and required the company to act if he made any more payouts over alleged wrongdoing. Perkins said she has no evidence that these actions were carried out.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 12:24 PM

Priest-abuse survivor backs state’s Child Victims Act

ALBANY (NY)
Times Herald-Record

March 28, 2018

By Chris McKenna

Lex Filipowski was a 7-year-old altar boy at Holy Cross Church in Wawayanda, alone with the pastor as they changed into their robes before Mass, when the Rev. George Boxelaar pulled him close and began kissing him on the lips.

Thus began an abuse routine that escalated to groping and lasted for four years in the early 1970s, ending when Filipowski’s family changed churches. Filipowski first went public with Boxelaar’s molestation of him in a Times Herald-Record story in 2002, prompting at least 25 other people to come forward with reports of being sexually abused by the same priest when they were young boys. By that time, Boxelaar had been removed from the priesthood and had returned to his native Holland, where he died at age 81 in 1990.

Today, Filipowski has added his voice to an intense campaign on behalf of the Child Victims Act, a state bill that abuse survivors and their advocates have sought for more than a dozen years and that was part of budget negotiations in Albany this week. The bill would extend the statutes of limitation for criminal and civil cases against abusers — New York doesn’t let cases be brought after the victim turns 23 — and open a one-year window for any past victims to sue their abusers and culpable institutions.

The targets of the campaign are the Senate’s ruling Republicans, who have blocked the legislation because they oppose the one-year window.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 12:22 PM

SEX ABUSE VICTIM: SAGINAW BISHOP IGNORED MY REQUESTS

SAGINAW (MI)
Church Militant

March 28, 2018

By Christine Niles, M.St. (Oxon.), J.D.

Brad Sylvester asked for multiple meetings with Bp. Joseph Cistone, which went ignored

A victim of sex abuse claims Bp. Joseph Cistone of Saginaw, Michigan refused to talk or meet with him after multiple requests.

Brad Sylvester, a Saginaw local, hand-delivered a letter to the diocese in 2012 detailing his abuse at the hands of Fr. Stanislaus Bur when he was a child, and requested a face-to-face meeting with Bp. Cistone. It was one among multiple letters he had sent to the diocese that went ignored by the bishop.

Because the abuse took place nearly three decades earlier, it was beyond the statute of limitations.

Instead, the diocese sent Sr. Janet Fulgenzi, victim assistance coordinator for the diocese's Office of Child and Youth Protection. "She was just sitting in, listening to my sessions, like a bystander," Sylvester told Church Militant of his meetings with his social worker, where Fulgenzi was present on several occasions. According to the victim, Fulgenzi asked no questions and offered no helpful advice.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 12:20 PM

Lawsuit alleges Archbishop Walsh was aware of priest's child sex abuse, but did not stop it

OLEAN (NY)
Olean Times Herald

March 28, 2018

By Tom Dinki

A lawsuit filed by a former Archbishop Walsh High School student alleged the Rev. James A. Spielman abused him from approximately September 1979 through 1982 when he was 14 to 17, and that school officials were aware of the abuse but did nothing to stop it.

The lawsuit, filed in 2014 in the U.S. District Court for the District of Hawaii, includes allegations Spielman molested the victim, including by sexual intercourse, and that the former Walsh priest and religion teacher supplied minors with alcohol and pornography.

Both Catholic Diocese of Buffalo and Walsh officials were aware Spielman “had an unusual interest in minor boys,” yet allowed him to have frequent, unsupervised contact with them, according to the lawsuit.

Photos from the 1982-83 Walsh yearbook obtained by the Olean Times Herald state senior classes would go on annual, three-day retreats to Spielman’s “cabin on the hill.” Students even dedicated that entire yearbook to Spielman for “acting not only as a teacher but as a friend as well.”

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 12:18 PM

Michigan State spent $500K in January to monitor social-media accounts of Larry Nassar victims, others

EAST LANSING (MI)
Lansing State Journal

March 28, 2018

By Matt Mencarini

A public relations firm billed Michigan State University for more than $500,000 for January as it tracked social-media activity surrounding the Larry Nassar case that often included the accounts of victims and their families, journalists, celebrities and politicians.

Michigan State University's Office of Communication and Brand Strategy previously had been doing the work, which also included collecting and evaluating news articles, and some of its employees continued to do so in January.

The work by Weber Shandwick, a New York-based firm, totaled $517,343 for more than 1,440 hours of work, according to documents obtained through a public records request. The firm billed for work done by 18 employees, whose hourly rates ranged from $200 to $600 per hour.

Five billed Michigan State for more than $50,000, including one for $96,900 and another for $120,893.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 12:16 PM

Despite Abuse, They Stayed in the Church

BOSTON (MA)
New Boston Post

March 29, 2018

By Kevin Thomas

Elena received her fair share of faulty Catholic teaching as a child, never believing she was good enough … “so any imperfection must be willful on my part and therefore a sin …”

“I learned not to trust my judgment on anything but to allow the priests and others in authority to usurp the role of my conscience and the role of God in my life.”

Then, Elena was molested by a priest when she was 12.

“I felt like Jesus must be on his side.”

Remarkably, both Elena and her faith survived.

“I realized, believing that Jesus was on the priest’s side was part of the lie,” she wrote. “I imagined how angry I would be if someone hurt one of my children.

“Somehow knowing God was on my side, that he was just as angry as I was, helped me to find forgiveness alongside the anger.”

That is part of one story, in a collection of essays in the recently released Christ’s Body, Christ’s Wounds: Staying Catholic When You’ve Been Hurt in the Church” (Cascade Books), edited by Eve Tushnet.

The 12 essays detail a variety of experiences, including abuse, manipulation, rejection, theft, personal judgmentalism, and racism.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 12:09 PM

Larry Nassar's Michigan State supervisor gets arrested after being fired last month

LANSING (MI)
CBS Sports

March 27, 2018

By Kevin Skiver

Interim president John Engler is trying to hold William Strampel accountable for Nassar's crimes

With Larry Nassar being sentenced to what will amount to life behind bars, Michigan State University is now trying to address the system that made his crimes possible. Nassar's boss when he was at Michigan State, former dean William Strampel, has reportedly been arrested for his role (or lack thereof) in Nassar's crimes. Ingham County Sheriff Scott Wriggelsworth confirmed to The Detroit Free Press that Strampel was being held, but he said that he wouldn't comment on the charges until arraignment.

The Free Press, however, is reporting that Strampel is being held for multiple charges, including at least one felony and several misdemeanors.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 11:44 AM

Larry Nassar's boss arrested on neglect of duty charges

WASHINGTON (DC)
UPI

March 27, 2018

By Danielle Haynes

Police in Michigan arrested William Strampel, Dr. Larry Nassar's former boss, Tuesday on allegations he failed to protect students at Michigan State University and criminal sexual conduct charges.

The charges came after state authorities removed items from a building at the school over its handling of the Nassar case and other alleged sexual assault cases. In particular, authorities requested records and electronic devices Strampel used during his time as dean of the College of Osteopathic Medicine.

Strampel resigned from the school in December citing health concerns.

He faces four charges, including a felony charge of criminal sexual conduct, two misdemeanor charges of willful neglect of duty by a public official, and felony misconduct in office.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 11:43 AM

$25 million settlement reached in Crosiers clergy abuse cases

ISLE (MN)
MilleLacs Messenger

March 28, 2018

By Vivian LaMoore

A $25 million settlement agreement was approved on Thursday, March 22, by the court between the Crosiers religious order and victims of clergy sexual abuse.

The Crosiers emerged from Chapter 11 as the U.S. Bankruptcy Court confirmed the reorganization plan to allow the Crosiers to settle on $25.5 Million – $5.7 million will be paid directly by the Crosiers and just short of $19 million would be paid by the insurers, Jeff Anderson, attorney for the survivors, said.

The agreement was made in advance of the Crosier reorganization settlement under the Child Victims Act, Anderson added.

“We worked with them, and they made public all of the offenders known to the Crosiers. All of the case files will be made public as well,” Anderson said. “I commend the Crosiers for being transparent and helping so many who were hurt to begin to heal.”

Anderson also commended Fr. Tom Enneking, osc, prior provincial of the U.S. Crosier Province, who took the stand and gave a “heartfelt apology and expressions of sorrow” before the court.

The Crosiers filed for Chapter 11 protection over nine months ago, according to a statement by the Crosiers. U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Robert Kressel for the District of Minnesota, confirmed the Crosiers’ plan for reorganization on March 22. The Crosier Fathers and Brothers Province, Inc.; Crosier Fathers of Onamia; and the Crosier Community of Phoenix filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy June 1, 2017.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 11:40 AM

Police deny 'zeroing in' on George Pell

AUSTRALIA
Illawarra Mercury

March 29, 2018

By Jacqueline Le and Megan Neil

A detective who led the historical sex offence investigation into Cardinal George Pell has denied "zeroing in" on Australia's highest-ranked Catholic.

The police investigation into Pell has come under repeated attack by lawyers during a hearing to determine if the 76-year-old should stand trial.

Robert Richter QC on Thursday said Pell was targeted for "special treatment" by detectives from Sano Taskforce, which investigates historical sex abuse.

While questioning lead investigator Sergeant Christopher Reed, the barrister said a man made horrendous allegations against a nun before alleging Pell committed a sex offence against him.

"Do you say, and I'm not attributing any blame to you, do you say that the allegation against Cardinal Pell was treated like any other allegation?" the barrister asked on Thursday.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 11:04 AM

March 28, 2018

Anger at Scottish policy that may force rape victims to testify

SCOTLAND
The Guardian

March 26, 2018

By Nick Dowson

Campaigners say move to compel court appearance if deemed in public interest is inhumane

Campaigners in Scotland have expressed anger at new guidance that could force rape victims to give evidence against their will.

Rape Crisis Scotland, , have hit out at the new “reluctant complainers” policy which means rape victims who try to withdraw from cases may be compelled to testify where prosecution is deemed to be in the public interest.

“For anyone who has the courage to report it and then gets to the point where they can’t continue – to then force them to testify is inhumane,” said Sandy Brindley, the chief executive of Rape Crisis Scotland. “It’s also self-defeating – if you have to put them in the cells the night before it’s not going to be useful evidence.”

Rape Crisis Scotland has written an open letter expressing its concern to the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS), which is responsible for prosecutions in Scotland.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 3:22 PM

Judgment For Dino Cinel

COLOMBIA
The American Conservative

March 27, 2018

By Rod Dreher

Even if you are well versed in the clerical sexual abuse scandal, you probably don’t know the name Dino Cinel. He was just murdered in Colombia by his lover. From the New Orleans Advocate, some background on this criminal:

Cinel was a historian on the Tulane University faculty and was living at the rectory of St. Rita Catholic Church in late 1988 when a fellow priest discovered him with child pornography and homemade tapes of Cinel having sex in the rectory with young men.

The story did not become public at that time, and the official response raised immediate controversy when it finally became known more than two years later.

Upon first learning of the discovery, Archbishop Philip Hannan fired Cinel, who was on vacation in Italy at the time. But some suspected the archbishop was giving Cinel a heads-up that authorities were onto him, said Bruce Nolan, who covered the ensuing scandal for The Times-Picayune.

Then-District Attorney Harry Connick, a St. Rita parishioner, let the church hold onto the video recordings for weeks, which church officials explained by saying they were trying to identify and contact any victims involved. Connick later concluded that the evidence in the case was not strong enough to prosecute Cinel.

At one point, a former sexual partner who said he was underage at the time he had a recorded encounter with Cinel sued him in Orleans Parish Civil District Court.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 3:03 PM

Catholic bishop is caught with £19,000 stashed in a false wall 'after group of priests stole £425,000 from donations and wedding fees over three years' in Brazil

BRAZIL
Daily Mail

March 26, 2018

By Sara Malm

- Bishop in Brazil 'led group of priests embezzling £426,000 of church money'
- One priest was fopund with £19,200 hidden behind a false wall in his home
Bishop of Formosa, five clergymen and three lay people arrested in Goias
- They are accused of stealing from church donations, and ceremony fees

A group of Catholic priests in Brazil have been arrested, accused of embezzling £426,000 of church donations, funeral fees and fundraising cash.

The Bishop of Formosa, Jose Ribeiro, along with five clergymen and three lay people were detained in prison in Goiás this week charged with stealing over 2 million reais (£426,000) from church funds.

A police raid on one of the priests' home saw officers prise open a false wall in to find some £19,200 in plastic bags hidden in a secret storage space.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 2:52 PM

More victims share stories of abuse by Catholic priests

BUFFALO (NY)
WGRZ

March 23, 2018

2 On Your Side has heard from more victims who say they were sexual abused by catholic priests.

More and more victims of alleged sexual abuse by Buffalo catholic priests continue to come forward.

Jim Napora, 56, says he was abused by two priests and both of their names are on the list of 42 that the Buffalo Diocese released.

"Seeing the list on Tuesday was such a freeing event, it vindicated me finally. I felt free," Napora said.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 2:51 PM

SEXUAL ABUSE: CHURCH HAS GREAT RESPONSIBILITY HERE

MEMPHIS (TX)
The Alabama Baptist

March 28, 2018

By Carrie Brown McWhorter

Andy Savage, who served on the senior leadership team as teaching pastor at Memphis’ Highpoint Church, has stepped down following public acknowledgment that he sexually assaulted a teen 20 years ago while serving as her youth minister at a Texas church.

Highpoint Church, a megachurch which is affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention, was widely criticized in January when Savage was given a standing ovation after apologizing for a “sexual incident” in 1998 involving Jules Woodson, a 17-year-old high school senior in his youth group at Woodlands Parkway Baptist Church in suburban Houston.

Woodson remained silent for two decades until the #MeToo movement exposing sexual abuse by powerful men prompted her to share the story on two Christian blogs.

In a New York Times video published in early March, Woodson said she looked up to Savage and trusted him before the 1998 encounter. Afterward, she said, church leaders didn’t handle it properly.

“What happened was a crime,” Woodson said. “This is not something the church should handle internally. … We as a church, of all places, should be getting this right.”

The allegations against Savage came at the height of the #MeToo and #ChurchToo movement that saw many female Christian teachers, including Kay Warren and Beth Moore, and thousands of Christian women acknowledge past sexual abuse and call out the church’s silence on the issue.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 2:49 PM

Mormon Church working with McKinney police after years of instructor's alleged sexual abuse

MCKINNEY (TX)
The Dallas Morning News

March 27, 2018

By Tom Steele

Updated March 28: Revised to include statement from the church.

McKinney police say an instructor at a Mormon church sexually assaulted multiple children over a period of years.

Noel Young Anderson, 22, was arrested Friday on a charge of aggravated sexual assault of a child. He remained in the Collin County jail Tuesday, with bail set at $100,000.

According to police, Anderson — a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on North Lake Forest Drive — admitted to sexually assaulting four children over the past seven years. The victims ranged in age from 2 to 6, police said.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 2:45 PM

The Latest: Mediator will try to help settle Nassar lawsuits

EAST LANSING (MI)
The Associated Press

March 27, 2018

The Latest on the Larry Nassar sexual abuse case (all times local):

7:10 p.m.

Lawyers for Michigan State University and more than 200 girls and women say they're restarting talks that could lead to a settlement in civil lawsuits related to sexual abuse by former sports doctor Larry Nassar.

In a court filing Tuesday, the parties say they're scheduling mediation with Layn Phillips, a former federal judge in Oklahoma.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 2:44 PM

Former priest expresses 'disgust' at appointment of Bishop Boyce in Dromore

NORTHERN IRELAND
The Belfast Telegraph

March 28, 2018

A retired priest has said he is ‘disgusted’ by the appointment of Philip Boyce as Bishop of Dromore.

John McAreavey stood down as Bishop of Dromore last month after criticism of him celebrating Mass with paedophile priest Father Malachy Finnegan.

Speaking on the Nolan Show on Radio Ulster, Father Eamon Murray said he was disgusted with the appointment of Boyce as Fr McAreavey’s replacement.

In 2011 Philip Boyce was criticised for his handling of clerical sex allegations when working in the Diocese of Raphoe in Co Donegall.

Fr Murray said the appointment of Boyce would “rub salt” on the wounds of those who have already suffered from clerical sexual abuse in Dromore.

He said: “I am so annoyed about this, that he has been appointed to Dromore where there has been a huge problem. I think that’s rubbing the salt on the wound.”

A review into the handling of clerical abuse in the Diocese of Raphoe in 2011 singled out Bishop Boyce’s actions in a serious case of abuse in which he attempted to protect the priest’s family rather than have the cleric removed from the ministry.

At the time Bishop Boyce apologised for "poor judgements" in managing priest accused of "horrific acts of abuse" against children.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 2:21 PM

Taoiseach says it would be appropriate for Pope to visit survivors of Catholic Church abuse in Ireland

IRELAND
The Journal

March 28, 2018

By Christina Finn

The government will tell the Vatican that families ‘of all shapes and forms’ should be celebrated during Pope’s Irish visit

THE TAOISEACH HAS said it would be appropriate for the Pope to visit survivors of abuse perpetrated by the Catholic Church when he visits Ireland in August.

Leo Varadkar also said that the government’s view that “families in all their shapes and forms should be celebrated” will be relayed to the Vatican.

Leo Varadkar told the Dáil yesterday that the government is very much of the view that there are many different types of families.

“All types should be celebrated, including the traditional nuclear family with the man married to the woman with children, one-parent families, families led by grandparents, and families led by same-sex couples. We will make it known in our meetings with the organisers that the government’s view is that families in all their forms should be celebrated,” he said.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 1:56 PM

Julia Baird, Andrew Bolt Clash over Church Abuse Reporting

AUSTRALIA
Insights Magazine

March 28, 2018

Journalist Julia Baird and commentator Andrew Bolt have clashed over reports by the latter on the ABC’s webpage about domestic abuse in churches.

In a series of articles that has been running since late 2017, Dr. Baird and cowriter Hayley Gleeson have explored research that suggests churches have high percentages of domestic violence. The series has been widely read and led to a number of church denominations apologising to domestic abuse survivors and vowing to be more vigilant in detecting abuse within their congregations.

This, Mr. Bolt argued, was tantamount to an attack on churches. A tweet promoting his show, The Bolt Report, suggested that the ABC “cites a dodgy survey to slander Christians.”

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 1:56 PM

Fr Malachy Finnegan: Police to investigate when authorities became aware of priest's abuse

NORTHERN IRELAND
The Journal

March 28, 2018

By Paul Hosford

The PSNI will also investigate if there was any abuse of children by any other person at the Newry school where he worked.

THE PSNI WILL investigate claims of sexual abuse made against Father Malachy Finnegan who worked at a school in Newry.

Fr Finnegan, who died in 2002, was a teacher at St Colman’s College in Newry from 1967 to 1976 and was later President of the school.

Abuse claims against him were detailed in a BBC Spotlight programme in February. The revelation that John McAreavey had officiated at the funeral mass of Finnegan led to his resignation as Bishop of Dromore earlier this month.

It was announced yesterday that Pope Francis had accepted his resignation.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 1:52 PM

Syracuse Catholic Church leaders won't ID accused priests; will Ogdensburg Diocese do the same?

SYRACUSE (NY)
InformNNY

March 28, 2018

The Diocese of Syracuse isn't following Buffalo Catholic leaders who identified priests accused of sexual abuse. Last week, the Diocese of Buffalo dropped a bombshell list of 42 priests who had credible accusations of sexual abuse lodged against them.

The Syracuse diocese isn't changing its position and will continue withholding the names of priests accused of sexual abuse unless victims identify them first. Recently, a law firm representing sexual abuse victims called on the Catholic Diocese of Ogdensburg to release the names of 15 priests who also had credible accusations made against them. No word from church leaders on whether those names will eventually be made public.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 1:50 PM

Buffalo Diocese: Another former St. Mary’s priest facing abuse allegations

BATAVIA (NY)
The Daily News

March 27, 2018

By Matt Surtel

Less than two weeks after Fr. Donald Becker was named on a list of priests accused of sexual abuse, another former St. Mary’s Church pastor is facing allegations.

Fr. Dennis Riter has been placed on administrative leave from St. Elisabeth Ann Seton Parish in Dunkirk, the Buffalo Diocese has confirmed. The news came allegations from two former altar boys and their families, including a detailed interview on WKBW Channel 7 in Buffalo.

The allegations did not include Batavia.

Riter was pastor from 2002 to 2009 at St. Mary’s Church in Batavia, before his assignment to Dunkirk.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 12:28 PM

Former priest 'disgusted' at Bishop Boyce appointment

NORTHERN IRELAND
BBC News

March 28, 2018

A retired priest has spoken out against the appointment of Philip Boyce as interim Bishop of Dromore.

Former Bishop of Dromore John McAreavey stood down in March amid controversy over celebrating Mass with paedophile priest the late Fr Malachy Finegan.

Fr Eamon Murray says his is "disgusted" with Boyce's appointment.

In 2011 Philip Boyce was criticised for his handling of clerical sex abuse allegations when he was Bishop of Raphoe.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 12:27 PM

Second Niagara County priest ID'd as abuser

NIAGARA FALLS (NY)
Niagara Gazette

March 27, 2018

By Rick Pfeiffer and Philip Gambini

FALL FROM GRACE: Attacks followed classic pattern of pedophiles.

In 2002 as the scope of the scandal of sexually abusive priests was sweeping across America, only one Niagara County clergyman stood accused.

But revelations from the Catholic Diocese of Buffalo, more than 15 years later, show that Father Richard Judd was not alone in preying on youth in the region.

At least seven priests, who served in parishes in Niagara County and elsewhere in Western New York, have now been publicly identified as having had “credible allegations of sexual misconduct involving minors” made against them.

In parishes stretching from Niagara Falls to Lewiston to Lockport and as far as the Southern Tier, the priests practiced their ministry from 1962 to as late as 2004. And the faithful were never made aware of the claims against them.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 12:25 PM

Sean Kirst: In priest abuse fallout, two survivors find themselves outside the lines

BUFFALO (NY)
The Buffalo News

March 28, 2018

By Sean Kirst

Jonpaul Okal and Robert Swierat have never met. They grew up in separate parts of Western New York, and their lives took different turns.

But they share the same wounds.

Both say they were sexually abused as children by Catholic priests in their communities, accounts supported by their families. One says he was assaulted in the basement recreation room in his home, the other in a bedroom and shower while staying at a residence for priests who taught in a Lancaster high school.

In both situations, the accused priests have been identified as abusive in unrelated cases.

Okal and Swierat each also represent a void in the way the Diocese of Buffalo is responding to accounts about improper sexual behavior. For different reasons, both said diocesan officials told them they are ineligible for a new review process that offers financial compensation in cases of credible abuse.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 12:24 PM

Deceased priest accused of sexual abuse not on Buffalo diocese's list

BUFFALO (NY)
The Buffalo News

March 27, 2018

By Aaron Besecker and Jay Tokasz

A former Genesee County man has accused a dead Buffalo Diocese priest of sexually abusing him as a teenager.

The Rev. Robert P. Conlin was not on the list of 42 priests whom the diocese recently said had credible allegations against them.

Wayne Bortle, 53, publicly accused Conlin of sexually abusing him in the rectory of St. Mary Church in Pavilion more than three decades ago, when Bortle was about 16.

Bortle said Conlin frequently hosted boys inside the rectory to watch television and to play pool, foosball and ping pong. Bortle said he was alone in the rectory with Conlin watching television the night he alleges the priest molested him.

"That was the only time I was there I can remember no one else was there," he said. Bortle said he never went back to the rectory.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 12:23 PM

Erie Diocese to name priests accused of sexual abuse, but Syracuse Diocese won't

BUFFALO (NY)
The Buffalo News

March 27, 2018

By Aaron Besecker

The Catholic Diocese of Buffalo's decision to publicly name its priests who had credible allegations of sexual abuse involving a minor will be followed by one neighboring diocese, but not by another.

After the Buffalo Diocese released on March 20 a list of 42 priests accused of abusing minors, the Catholic Diocese of Erie, Pa., said it plans to release its own list of accused priests in the coming weeks, the Erie Times-News reported last week.

But the Diocese of Syracuse has not changed its position about withholding the names of accused priests despite what the Buffalo diocese has done, according to newyorkupstate.com.

Erie's decision comes as the Pennsylvania Attorney General's Office has been investigating the diocese's handling of abusive priests, the Times-News reported. Erie is one of six Catholic dioceses in Pennsylvania being investigated by the state Attorney General's Office. A report on that investigation is expected to be released sometime this year.

Lawrence Persico became bishop of the 13-county Erie Diocese in 2012, following the term of Bishop Donald W. Trautman, who served for 22 years. Prior to working in Erie, Trautman served as auxiliary bishop of the Buffalo Diocese.

An Erie Diocesan spokeswoman told the Times-News it would disclose a list after questions arose once Buffalo released its list.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 12:21 PM

Australian Catholics need to wake up

AUSTRALIA
The Sydney Morning Herald

March 28, 2018

By Terry Fewtrell

Australian Catholics are being conned. After all the disgrace of the Royal Commission evidence and its specific and telling recommendations, the response effectively proposed by the Australian Bishops is to call a Plenary Council of the church in Australia in 2020-21. Australia's Catholics seem to be meekly agreeing to what is an unconscionable delay and a fudge. In short, the bishops have us where they want us: corralled and quietened.

In one sense, convening such a forum could be seen as innovative and consultative. Realistically, it downplays the magnitude and urgency of the issues that need to be addressed. Whether the agenda ultimately addresses the main reform issues raised by the Royal Commission is a moot point. Such forums in the Australian church have a habit of being lead down paths that produce platitudinous outcomes and avoid the contentious. More significantly it is openly acknowledged that there is considerable doubt and dispute as to whether such a forum would have the authority to make decisions that address the real issues.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 12:20 PM

Malcolm Turnbull blasts 'indifference and resistance' by churches in child sex abuse letter

AUSTRALIA
The Sydney Morning Herald

March 27, 2018

By Michael Koziol

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has tried to pressure the major churches into circumventing the states and immediately joining the national redress scheme for survivors of child sexual abuse, telling them their "indifference and resistance" must stop.

Just two states - NSW and Victoria - as well as the Australian Capital Territory have signed on to the Commonwealth scheme, which would provide up to $150,000 in compensation for 60,000 survivors of abuse in government and non-government institutions.

States must commit to the scheme to enable institutions in their jurisdiction to formally sign on. So far, the major churches in NSW and Victoria have intimated they will join a fully national scheme but want to see the details.

In a letter obtained by Fairfax Media, Mr Turnbull urged institutions including the Catholic church, the Anglican church, Scouts Australia and the YMCA to opt into the scheme "as soon as possible" rather than wait for the holdout states.

"I am seeking your in-principle support to join the scheme, so survivors know your position as we continue to seek agreement from all state and territory governments," Mr Turnbull wrote.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 12:15 PM

Launceston Christians apologise to sexual abuse victims

LAUNCESTON (TASMANIA, AUSTRALIA)
The Examiner

March 28, 2018

By Stefan Boscia

A Launceston priest has no personal objection to making celibacy optional for Catholic Church clergy.

Father Mark Freeman suggested it was one of several measures that should be considered to bring the church further in line with other Christian denominations.

The Catholic Church forces clergy to remain celibate throughout their life, unlike other mainstream Christian denominations.

A recent royal commission into institutional sexual abuse recommended the Catholic Church reconsider the practice.

“[The Catholic Church] needs to look seriously at anything that puts priests up on a pedestal,” he said.

“I would have no difficulty if the discussion lead to the fact that that [celibacy] was an optional thing [for Priests] – it would not worry me.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 12:12 PM

Catholics react to Buffalo Diocese sex abuse scandal

BUFFALO (NY)
WIVB

March 27, 2018

By Rachele Mongiovi

As the Buffalo Diocese celebrates holy week, it is also reeling from a sex abuse scandal involving dozens of priests.

Last week, Bishop Richard Malone released the names of 42 priests accused of child sex abuse. This week, the Bishop placed an active Dunkirk priest on administrative leave following abuse claims.

Tuesday night, Catholics filed into St. Joseph Cathedral for a standing room only Chrism Mass.

Some faithful followers refuse to let the scandal rock their faith.

“I think as a catholic we believe that human nature has problems so it’s not that big of a surprise that even people in the church have problems. You know priests are human beings as well and I think that at the end of the day it’s about love and it’s a crazy journey and none of us are all that great,” said Jonathan Michals, Catholic.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 12:11 PM

Guam archdiocese to move offices, sell chancery, other church properties

HAGATNA (GUAM)
Catholic News Service

March 28, 2018

The Archdiocese of Agaña will sell its chancery property in Hagatna and relocate its offices in September.

“The move is part of archdiocesan-wide efforts related to the liquidation and sale of church property on Guam in the midst of challenging financial times and settlement of clergy sexual abuse cases,” the archdiocese said in a statement.

Church offices will be moved to the Cathedral Basilica of the Sweet Name of Mary in Hagatna, the Guam capital.

“Now that the mediation process related to the sexual abuse lawsuits has been set for September, the archdiocese is in the process of evaluating these claims on an individual basis,” the March 21 statement said. “This necessitates the selling of certain properties owned by the archdiocese.”

The chancery property, a gift to the archdiocese from the estate of Henry Flores Nelson in 1950, is tied to St. John Paul II’s historic visit to Guam Feb. 22-23, 1981. The pontiff stayed overnight at the residence of then-Bishop Felixberto C. Flores at the chancery.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 12:10 PM

Pope won’t personally apologize for Catholic Church’s role in residential schools

OTTAWA (CANADA)
The Canadian Press

March 27, 2018

By Mia Rabson

Pope Francis will not apologize to residential school survivors and their families for the role the Roman Catholic Church played in operating the schools or the abuses suffered by their students.

A papal apology was one of the 94 recommendations from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and during a visit to the Vatican last year, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau personally asked the Pope to consider such a gesture.

The commission recommended an apology similar to that offered by the Pope to Irish victims of sexual abuse in 2010. In 2015, Pope Frances issued an apology in Bolivia to Indigenous peoples in the Americas for the “grave sins” of colonialism.

Bishop Lionel Gendron, president of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops, today released a letter to the Indigenous Peoples of Canada saying Pope Francis has not shied away from acknowledging injustices faced by Indigenous peoples around the world, but that he can’t personally issue an apology for residential schools.

“The Catholic Bishops of Canada have been in dialogue with the Pope and the Holy See concerning the legacy of suffering you have experienced,” Gendron wrote. “The Holy Father is aware of the findings of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, which he takes seriously. As far as call to action #58 is concerned, after carefully considering the request and extensive dialogue with the bishops of Canada, he felt that he could not personally respond.”

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 11:44 AM

March 27, 2018

NY Archdiocese 'most secretive' on priest abuse: Report

NEW YORK (NY)
LoHud

March 27, 2018

By Jorge Fitz-Gibbon

The Archdiocese of New York is among the "most secretive" Catholic districts in dealing with sex abuse allegations against priests, a new report alleges.

BishopAccountability.org, a Massachusetts-based clergy abuse watchdog group, said this week that the nation's second largest diocese has done so poorly exposing sex abuse by priests that it has exposed fewer than one of the nation's smallest dioceses.

The Archdiocese of New York, with more than 2.5 million members, has had 84 Catholic clergy members identified as sexual abusers of children, compared with 92 in the Diocese of Manchester, New Hampshire, which has 316,000 members, the report said.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 3:27 PM

Pope accepts resignation of Irish bishop criticized for handling of abuse report

VATICAN CITY
CNA/EWTN News

March 26, 2018

By Hannah Brockhaus

On Monday, Pope Francis accepted the resignation of Bishop John McAreavey of Dromore, Ireland, who had asked to step down earlier this month following media claims that he mishandled an abuse report in the early ‘90s.

Pope Francis accepted McAreavey’s request to resign as bishop March 26 and appointed an apostolic administrator, retired Bishop Philip Boyce of Raphoe, 78, until the appointment of a successor.

In a letter announcing his resignation March 3, McAreavey wrote that “with a heavy heart” he would be resigning “following recent media coverage which has disturbed and upset many people.”

“I wrestled with this decision over recent weeks; it was not an easy decision to take,” he said, also asking for prayers for anyone who has been abused.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 3:00 PM

PSNI to probe sex abuse priest

IRELAND
Irish Independent

March 27, 2018

By Allan Preston

Victims who were abused by the late paedophile priest Malachy Finnegan have been urged to contact a dedicated PSNI team.

A number of those abused by Finnegan in St Colman's College in Newry have already spoken out publicly about his conduct there between 1967 to 1987.

Clem Leneghan, the youngest brother of former President Mary McAleese, has revealed he suffered psychological and physical abuse at the hands of Finnegan and has called for an independent inquiry into allegations of sexual abuse at the college.

Sinn Féin MLA Conor Murphy has also spoken out about how he was savagely beaten by Finnegan. He also claimed the priest attempted to sexually groom him.

Although the disgraced cleric died in 2002 and can no longer be held accountable for his crimes, the PSNI's public protection branch said other areas needed to be investigated.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 2:56 PM

Priest accused of groping teen, calling her 'sexy'

MORRISTOWN (NJ)
The Associated Press

March 26, 2018

A recently ordained Roman Catholic priest accused of groping a 13-year-old girl under her skirt last summer has been indicted on criminal sexual contact and child endangerment charges.

Morris County prosecutors say the Rev. Marcin Nurek touched the girl's buttocks over her underwear and told her she was "sexy." The indictment was recently handed up by a county grand jury.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 2:54 PM

Dino Cinel, disgraced ex-Catholic priest, found murdered in Colombia

MEDELLIN (COLOMBIA)
NOLA.com/The Times-Picayune

March 26, 2018

By Maria Clark

Disgraced ex-priest Dino Cinel, 76, was stabbed to death last month by his 18-year-old lover in Medellin, Colombia, according to reports from several international news outlets.

The former Catholic Priest rattled New Orleans in 1991 when a fellow priest discovered a collection of child pornography and homemade videotapes Cinel had filmed of himself having sex with young men in the Uptown rectory he lived in until 1988.

Cinel's homicide was confirmed by the chief of security of Medellin, Andres Felipe Tobon, who said that local authorities were unaware the former priest had been living in the northern Colombian city for the past five years and that he had been charged with possession of child pornography, according to Colombian news outlet El Tiempo.

Local police told El Tiempo that the young man called emergency services after stabbing Cinel confessing to the crime. Police arrived at the home and found Cinel tied to his bed with a stab wound to his abdomen according to news reports. The young man had been threatening to commit suicide by jumping from the sixth floor of the apartment building where he had been living with Cinel.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 2:52 PM

I-Team: Former altar boy details alleged sexual contact by Buffalo Diocesan priest

BUFFALO (NY)
WKBW

March 26, 2018

By Charlie Specht

As Holy Week begins, the Catholic sexual abuse scandal that has exploded in the Diocese of Buffalo now reaches an active priest.

The Rev. Dennis Riter, current pastor of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic Church in Dunkirk, was put on administrative leave by Bishop Richard Malone this afternoon, the bishop’s spokesman told the 7 Eyewitness News I-Team

Riter’s removal comes as a 7 Eyewitness News investigation was about to break in which two former altar boys or their families came forward to allege inappropriate sexual contact by the priest when he served at a church in Buffalo’s Old First Ward in the 1990s.

Riter presided yesterday at the church’s Palm Sunday service, more than two weeks after an altar boy reached out to the diocese’s victim assistance hotline to report abuse he said occurred decades ago. It was the second time Father Riter was accused of abuse.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 2:33 PM

LDS Church First Presidency issues letter, guidelines for handling abuse

SALT LAKE CITY (UT)
KUTV

March 26, 2018

By Larry D. Curtis

The LDS Church issued a letter from its First Presidency Monday, its highest church office, with guidelines for handling abuse.

Its media page, called MormonNewsroom, said its letter and guidelines published in 2008 are part of its continuing effort to help leaders prevent and respond to abuse.

It read:

To help ensure the safety and protection of children, youth, and adults, we ask that all priesthood and auxiliary leaders become familiar with existing Church policies and guidelines on preventing and responding to abuse. A revised statement of these policies and guidelines is enclosed.

The letter and revised guidelines are sent to the church's General Authorities, who have regional or world-wide responsibilities and to local leaders in the United States and Canada. The abuse resources were first issued in 2008. The official name of the worldwide organization is The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Many know it as the Mormon Church.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 2:30 PM

Dunkirk priest put on leave amid investigation into abuse complaint

BUFFALO (NY)
WIVB/News 4

March 26, 2018

A pastor from a Catholic parish in Dunkirk has been put on administrative leave by Bishop Richard Malone following an abuse complaint.

Father Dennis G. Riter of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish has been put on leave as the investigation continues, the Buffalo Diocese confirmed Monday afternoon.

The DA’s Office has been notified.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 2:28 PM

The Mormon Church Must Learn from #MeToo

UNITED STATES
The Daily Beast

March 24, 2018

By Sam Young

Church-sanctioned ‘worthiness interviews’ allow older men to be alone with children and ask them questions of a sexual nature. It’s time to end this practice.

In recent months, our country has been having a critical and long overdue national conversation on sexual harassment and abuse. From Hollywood power brokers to celebrity chefs to members of the news media, we are seeing a new era of transparency and accountability as victims step forward and speak out.

But as a lifelong Mormon and father of six girls, it was the case of former top Trump White House official Rob Porter that struck closest to home. In speaking out about years of alleged abuse by Porter, his two ex-wives began to shed a long overdue light on the unique, deeply personal, and some would say, disturbing, role that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints can sometimes play in the lives of its members. In Porter’s case, we learned that two young women had turned to their church leaders for guidance in the face of abuse and instead were encouraged by church bishops to stay in an allegedly abusive marriage. In short, to stay quiet and place the professional career of their husband ahead of their own well-being.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 1:06 PM

LDS Church First Presidency releases update on abuse, interview protocol for leadership

SALT LAKE CITY (UT)
Daily Herald

March 27, 2018

By Genelle Pugmire

The First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints issued an updated policy on church leadership manuals on preventing and responding to abuse.

It is an update to the guidelines first issued in 2008 in Handbook 1, which is issued to church leadership such as stake presidencies and bishoprics.

In the 2008 letter from the First Presidency they define abuse as, “the mistreatment or neglect of others (such as a child or spouse, the elderly, or the disabled) in a way that causes physical, emotional, or sexual harm.

“Abuse causes confusion, doubt, mistrust, and fear in the victims and sometimes inflicts physical injury. Most, but not all, allegations of abuse are true, and should be taken seriously and handled with great care. Abuse tends to become more severe over time.

“The Lord condemns abusive behavior in any form — including neglect and physical, sexual or verbal abuse. Most abuse violates the civil laws of society.”

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 1:03 PM

I-Team: Priest put on leave amid child sex abuse allegations

BUFFALO (NY)
WKBW

March 26, 2018

The Buffalo Diocese has placed an active priest on administrative leave as it looks into allegations of child sexual abuse dating back to the 1990s, a spokesperson tells the 7 Eyewitness News I-Team.

The Rev. Dennis Riter is pastor of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic Church in Dunkirk. He presided over the church's Palm Sunday services yesterday and has led masses at the church for the past nine years.

According to the Official Catholic Directory, Father Riter served at Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Buffalo's Old First Ward from 1995 until 2001. An article in the Western New York Catholic states he went on a six-month sabbatical before then-Bishop Henry Mansell appointed him pastor of St. Mary's in Batavia in 2002. He has served under two more bishops since then, with former Bishop Edward Kmiec transferring him to Dunkirk in 2009.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 1:01 PM

Reed Talks March For Our Lives, Priest Abuse, Stormy Daniels

UNITED STATES
The Post-Journal

March 27, 2018

By Katrina Fuller

From Page A1

Reed said the issue of child sex abuse is currently being dealt with at the state level and at the federal level which includes support for anti-abuse and anti-human trafficking legislation.

“From a big picture federal level very much is in play, but when you get down to the state avenues of recourse, (it’s) really being handled, from my understanding of the situation, at the state capitals. Albany is dealing with the issue as we speak.”

Reed said his office is making sure any such issues are brought to his attention, but to his knowledge, his office has not dealt with a child sex abuse victim involving a priest.

“If we hear of anything, we’ll obviously be a voice and stand ready to assist anyone who wants that assistance,” he said. “We will be a resource, and we stand firm with them and in their corner as they go through a tremendously difficult situation.”

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 12:54 PM

Dino Cinel, ex-priest whose sex scandal rocked New Orleans, is killed in Colombia

MEDELLIN (COLOMBIA)
The New Orleans Advocate

March 26, 2018

By Ramon Antonio Vargas

Authorities tell media he was stabbed to death by man, 18, who was former lover

Disgraced former Catholic priest Dino Cinel — who became infamous in New Orleans when it was discovered that he had taped himself having sex with young men in an Uptown church rectory and had amassed a collection of child pornography — was stabbed to death last month in South America by a young man with whom he had a romantic relationship, according to authorities cited by international media outlets.

Police in Medellin, Colombia, said they discovered the 76-year-old Cinel's body when Santiago Alberto Morales Parra, 18, called them to report that he had killed his lover inside his apartment Feb. 1.

Morales told investigators that the two had argued while discussing a break-up after three months of living together, and police found Cinel's body with a knife wound to the abdomen, according to numerous media reports in Cinel's native Italy as well as Colombia.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 12:51 PM

Top award for Eastbourne man who exposed child abuse within the Church

ENGLAND
The East Bourne Herald

March 26, 2018

By Phil Johnson and Peter Tatchell

An Eastbourne man who has campaigned on behalf of survivors of child abuse within the Church of England has been given a top award.

The National Secular Society has named Phil Johnson as one of its Secularists of the Year for 2018.

Phil, abused as a child by paedophile priests in Eastbourne, accepted a £5,000 prize from the human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell at an awards ceremony in central London at the weekend.

He was honoured for his work campaigning on behalf of survivors of child abuse in the Church of England.

Phil has worked as the chair of Minister And Clergy Sexual Abuse Survivors (MACSAS), a support group for those who have been sexually abused by ministers or clergy and also runs Eastbourne Survivors.

The award was handed over the day after the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse concluded three weeks of hearings into the cover-up of abuse in the diocese of Chichester. Phil gave evidence to the inquiry earlier this month.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 12:45 PM

Evangelical Pastor Claims Traditional Gender Roles Can Prevent Sexual Abuse

MINNEAPOLIS (MN)
The Huffington Post

March 26, 2018

By Carol Kuruvilla

Advocates for survivors of sexual abuse believe John Piper’s traditional theology is part of the problem.

An evangelical Christian pastor has put forth a troubling suggestion for how to deal with the issues highlighted by sexual abuse survivors as part of the Me Too movement.

John Piper, an influential Baptist author and speaker and chancellor of a Christian college in Minnesota, claims that a return to traditional gender roles would help keep women safe from sexual abuse. Piper’s definition of traditional gender roles involves women submitting to male leadership, and men accepting their God-given responsibility to protect these “weaker vessels.” This conservative Christian approach to gender relations is known as complementarianism.

In a recent podcast, Piper argued that society’s departure from these traditional roles over the past 50 years has laid the groundwork for sexual abuse.

“Egalitarian assumptions in our culture, and to a huge degree in the church, have muted — silenced, nullified — one of the means that God has designed for the protection and the flourishing of women,” Piper said, according a podcast transcript published on his website March 16.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 12:43 PM

Saginaw church records, computers seized in probe of abuse allegations

SAGINAW (MI)
Catholic News Service

March 26, 2018

The news that law enforcement authorities served the Saginaw Diocese with a search warrant March 22 was “distressing and disheartening for the greater community and most especially our Catholic faithful,” Saginaw Bishop Joseph R. Cistone acknowledged.

The bishop made the comments in a statement sent late evening March 23 to Catholic News Service and other news media.

The warrant included the Saginaw diocesan offices, Cistone’s residence and the Cathedral of Mary of the Assumption. Records, documents and computers were seized as part of an ongoing probe into sexual abuse allegations against a half dozen priests of the diocese.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 12:33 PM

Updated LDS policy allows another adult to sit in on leaders' interviews with children and women

SALT LAKE CITY (UT)
Deseret News

March 26, 2018

By Tad Walch

The LDS Church's First Presidency announced significant policy changes Monday, providing direction on how bishops and stake presidencies may conduct interviews with women and children and how they counsel victims of abuse and sexual abuse.

The changes specified that children, youth and women now may invite an adult to join them in what traditionally have been personal interviews. Some had said they were uncomfortable being interviewed one-on-one by a male priesthood leader.

The First Presidency also clarified to members of bishoprics and stake presidencies how they should respond to reports of sexual abuse and how to minister in those situations. The changes explicitly state that local leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints should never disregard a report of abuse and should never encourage members to remain in an abusive situation.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 12:30 PM

Fr Malachy Finegan: PSNI team investigates abuse

NORTHERN IRELAND
BBC News

March 27, 2018

The police have set up a dedicated team to investigate the circumstances of the child abuse carried out by the late paedophile priest, Fr Malachy Finegan.

The County Down parish priest, who also taught at St Colman's College in Newry, has been accused of a litany of sexual and physical abuse against young boys.

The PSNI said although he died in 2002 and "can no longer be held accountable in a court", lessons may be learnt from how authorities dealt with him.

They asked victims to contact the team.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 12:29 PM

Many flaws with releasing priests’ names accused of sex abuse, but we need to prevent any future victims

BUFFALO (NY)
The Daily News

March 26, 2018

The release by the Diocese of Buffalo of the names of priests accused of sexually assaulting children stirs strong and mixed feelings – anger, outrage, sorrow, horror.

Even if you accept that priests are human beings with flaws, it is difficult to accept that such evil flaws were allowed to flourish in the echoing silence of the Catholic Church. The lessons to be learned here are many, and they apply to everyone, not just Catholic authorities – Protestants have had similar problems.

It should be noted, first, that an accusation is not a conviction. Perhaps that is the saddest part of this whole situation — that these reports were handled internally, and the courts were not allowed to sort out the truth.

Now, because there are so many accusations, mixed in with confessions and a few convictions, there is a tendency to view all the accusations as true. In some cases, the accused priests are dead – they do not have an opportunity to defend themselves, and unfortunately, the victims do not have the opportunity to seek justice.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 12:22 PM

PSNI investigates Fr Malachy Finnegan abuse allegations

NORTHERN IRELAND
ITV

March 27, 2018

Police are investigating allegations of abuse by Father Malachy Finnegan.

A team has been set up with within the Public Protection Branch of the PSNI to “investigate the circumstances of abuse committed by Fr Finnegan”.

The priest, who died in 2002, worked for some time in the Diocese of Dromore.

“If you were abused by Father Malachy Finnegan, or abused by any other person at St Colman’s between 1967 and 1987, the investigation team would like to hear from you,” a statement from the PSNI said.

Detectives hope to establish and take action against any living offender from that time, and assess if there are any current child safeguarding risks.

They also want to determine if there was any other abuse of children committed by any other person at St Colman’s College during the time when Fr Finnegan worked there.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 12:19 PM

Michigan State alum: Choose the right leader for MSU

LANSING (MI)
Detroit Free Press

March 27, 2018

By Matthew Clayson

As the collective outrage inevitably wanes in the aftermath of Michigan State University’s botched efforts to effectively address campus sexual assault, there remain serious questions about who will be selected to lead the university as the permanent president and how that person will lead.

Michigan’s citizens need answers about how survivors will be made whole, what efforts will be championed to ensure a safe campus and accountable leadership and what MSU will look like in five years. Interim leadership by its nature is temporary and is not well positioned for compensating survivors, healing a divided campus and leading a strategy to restore trust with Michigan’s citizens. There needs to be a robust conversation about securing a permanent president at MSU, how that individual will engage with the campus community and what sort of future that individual will chart.

Getting this decision right is of utmost importance, especially given the increasingly complicated nature of MSU’s budget and the ramifications that any permanent president’s budgetary priorities will place on survivors, the MSU community and Michigan’s taxpayers.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 12:04 PM

Sheriff: Michigan State official arrested amid Nassar probe

LANSING (MI)
The Associated Press

March 27, 2018

By David Eggert

A Michigan State University official who oversaw Larry Nassar was arrested Monday amid an investigation into the handling of complaints against the former sport doctor, who is in prison for sexually assaulting patients under the guise of treatment.

William Strampel was in jail pending an arraignment Tuesday, Ingham County Sheriff Scott Wriggelsworth told The Associated Press. He declined to say what charges Strampel was facing because the probe is being led by the Michigan attorney general’s office.

A spokeswoman for Attorney General Bill Schuette declined to comment. A news conference was scheduled for Tuesday, two months after Schuette appointed a special assistant attorney general to investigate.

Strampel, 70, is the first person besides Nassar to be charged in connection with the worst sexual abuse case in sports history. Nassar pleaded guilty to molesting patients and possessing child pornography. Strampel’s arrest was first reported by the Detroit Free Press, and WILX-TV earlier reported that state police were seen outside Strampel’s Lansing-area home.

Strampel was the dean of the College of Osteopathic Medicine, which includes the sports medicine clinic, until he announced a leave of absence for medical reasons in December. He told police last year that he never followed up after ordering Nassar in 2014 to have a third person present when providing treatment to “anything close to a sensitive area.” In letting Nassar resume seeing patients, he also said any skin-to-skin contact should be minimal and needed to be explained in detail.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 12:02 PM

Sources: Police arrest Larry Nassar's Michigan State University boss

MASON (MI)
Detroit Free Press

March 26, 2018

By David Jesse and Gina Kaufman

Police have arrested William Strampel, the former Michigan State University dean who was Larry Nassar's boss, according to multiple sources with knowledge of the situation.

Strampel, 70, is being held in the Ingham County Jail.

Ingham County Sheriff Scott Wriggelsworth confirmed that Strampel is lodged in the jail, but said information on what charges he is being held on would not be released until he is arraigned.

Strampel faces multiple charges. At least one is a felony and others are misdemeanors, sources told the Free Press without specifying the charges. Strampel served as dean of the College of Osteopathic Medicine from 2002 until December, when he stepped down for medical reasons.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 11:58 AM

Ex-university dean tied to U.S. gymnastics scandal charged

DETROIT (MI)
Reuters

March 27, 2018

Michigan prosecutors on Tuesday charged a former state university dean who supervised the doctor at the center of the USA Gymnastics sex abuse scandal with criminal sexual conduct and other crimes.

In court papers filed in the state district court in East Lansing, prosecutors said a student at Michigan State University had accused William Strampel, the 70-year-old former dean of its College of Osteopathic Medicine, of forcible sexual contact.

Strampel had supervised ex-USA Gymnastics physician Larry Nassar, who has been sentenced to prison for sexually abusing female gymnasts.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 11:58 AM

St. Mary’s Palm Sunday Mass reconciles with sex abuse allegations

OLEAN (NY)
Olean Times Herald

March 26, 2018

By Tom Dinki

At least three former assistant pastors among diocese’s list of accused

Celebration and victory, as well as shame and betrayal, were the themes the Basilica of St. Mary of the Angels conveyed to its parishioners at Palm Sunday Mass.

The basilica celebrated Jesus’ triumphant entry into Jerusalem by having its younger parishioners roam the aisles with palm fronds and tambourines, but also acknowledged the Catholic Diocese of Buffalo’s sexual abuse scandal and the revelation several former St. Mary’s priests are among the accused.

“I’m very upset,” said Lucille Shavalier, 81, of Eldred, Pa., holding a palm frond in her hand while on her way out of the basilica on Sunday.

It was St. Mary’s first Sunday Mass since the diocese on Tuesday announced the names of 42 priests who were removed from ministry, left ministry or retired after allegations they sexually abused a minor.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 11:58 AM

Mormon leaders unveil new rules allowing another adult in room for interviews

SALT LAKE CITY (UT)
The Salt Lake Tribune

March 26, 2018

By Peggy Fletcher Stack and Benjamin Wood

Amid a grass-roots outcry about sexually explicit interviews with children and sexual assault allegations leveled at a former Mormon mission leader, the LDS Church’s governing First Presidency unveiled revised guidelines Monday for one-on-one meetings between members and local lay leaders while emphasizing that most abuse allegations are “true and should be taken seriously.”

In a document titled “Preventing and Responding to Abuse,” congregational leaders in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are encouraged to invite a parent or other adult to sit in an adjoining room when meeting with women and children.

A change to those instructions includes the option for the interviewee to ask a witness to sit in on the interview itself.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 11:55 AM

Brazilian Bishop And Priests Accused Of Stealing £462,000 From Church Funds

BRAZIL
LAD Bible

March 26, 2018

By Tom Wood

A group of Brazilian priests have been arrested on charges of stealing £426,000 in donations to the church, funeral costs, and charity cash.

Jose Ribeiro, who is the Bishop of Formosa - located in Brazil's state of Goiás - has been arrested alongside five other priests and three non-priests.

They've all been detained in prison accused of stealing 2 million reais (£426,000) from the church. The police raided one priests house and found about 90,000 reais (£19,200) hidden in plastic bags and stashed behind a false wall.

It is thought that the scheme took place over three years and aimed at diverting money from the church's coffers and into the pockets of the gang.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 11:08 AM

Pope could herald new start for Catholic church in Ireland if he shows contrition

IRELAND
The Irish Times

March 24, 2018

By Patsy McGarry

Vatican photograph from 2007 captures church past and questions its future

It is the story of a photograph: four cardinals, all Irish, and one president, Mary McAleese. The occasion was the elevation in 2007 of the then primate of All Ireland Archbishop Seán Brady to the College of Cardinals.

The location was the Irish College in Rome. Cardinal Desmond Connell and Cardinal Cahal Daly stand to McAleese’s right. Standing to her left, Cardinal Seán Brady and Cardinal Keith O’Brien.

The latter was born on March 17th, 1938, in Ballycastle, Co Antrim. His family moved to Scotland while he was still young, settling in Edinburgh. His death last Monday, aged 80 brought back memories of the photograph.

However, it raised thoughts, too, about the damage caused to the Catholic Church by its handling of sexual abuse allegations; but also about next August’s visit by Pope Francis.

It could be an opportunity to heal, if the right choices are made now. His personal stature is such that he is seen by many, and not just Catholics, as separate from the institution he leads, and which he himself struggles to reform.

Appropriate contrition from him to all the Irish people – abuse victims, their families, perhaps even the Irish Catholic Church itself where appropriate – could herald a new beginning. For there is much contrition to be done.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 11:05 AM

Churches want voice in abuse inquiry

NEW ZEALAND
Otago Daily Times

March 27, 2018

The Catholic and Anglican Churches have both written to Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern asking for religious institutions to be included in the Royal Commission into abuse in state care.
The Prime Minister says the terms of reference for the inquiry are still being consulted on and while what churches have to say could feed into the inquiry, she stood by her belief that the inquiry should look primarily into what happened to children while in the care of the state.

"I understand that churches have taken a position and certainly it is important that feeds into the discussion we're having on the terms of reference as well,'' she said yesterday.

"I still absolutely think the primary reason that this was instigated by a large group of people was for us to take responsibility for the role of the state by inquiring into ourselves,'' Ms Ardern said.

"I've always had concerns around the impact of broadening the inquiry and diluting the responsibility that we need to take for those who were harmed in state care.''

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 11:03 AM

Dunkirk priest placed on leave following abuse accusation

DUNKIRK (NY)
WGRZ

March 26, 2018

A priest in Dunkirk has been placed on leave by Catholic Diocese of Buffalo following an accusation of abuse.

A priest in Dunkirk has been placed on leave by Catholic Diocese of Buffalo following an accusation of abuse.

Father Dennis G. Riter, a pastor at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish, is on administrative leave during the investigation.

The Diocese told 2 On Your Side it received a complaint about Father Riter, so Bishop Richard Malone placed him on leave and notified the District Attorney's Office.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 8:47 AM

Accused and removed Catholic priest now a Lutheran church organist

BUFFALO (NY)
WGRZ

March 22, 2018

By Claudine Ewing

Rev. David Bialkowski was removed from the Buffalo Catholic Diocese, but he is now an organist in a WNY Lutheran church.

One of the 42 Buffalo Catholic Diocesan priests removed from ministry after allegations of sexual abuse of a minor is now serving as a church organist.

Rev. David Bialkowski served for years at St. John Gualbert in Cheektowaga. It is where many of his alleged victims claim they were abused by him.

2 On Your Side learned that Bialkowski is serving as the organist at Immanuel Lutheran Church in Tonawanda. A church official told Channel 2's Claudine Ewing that Bialkowski is the organist and confirmed he is the same Bialkowski on the list of priests removed.

Attorney Kevin Stocker represents some of the victims who claim they were abused by Bialkowski. "I called the local police department and the council men and women an advised them of what he had been accused of and I talked to the minister of that church and said he had an obligation to tell the congregation of what this person was accused of so that other children didn't become harmed by it."

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 8:45 AM

Dunkirk priest on leave amid investigation into abuse complaint

BUFFALO (NY)
The Buffalo News

March 26, 2018

By Jay Tokasz

The pastor of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Church in Dunkirk was placed on leave Monday after the Catholic Diocese of Buffalo received a complaint of alleged abuse.

Bishop Richard J. Malone wrote an open letter to parishioners stating that the Rev. Dennis G. Riter was placed on "administrative leave" pending an investigation into the complaint.

"Please note that this leave is for investigation purposes only and does not imply any determination as to the truth or falsity of the complaint," Malone said in the letter. "Please pray for Father Riter and for this investigation. Of course, we continue to pray for all victims of abuse."

The bishop's acknowledgement of the complaint against Riter follows weeks of intense focus on how the Buffalo diocese handles clergy sex abuse allegations and the release by the diocese last week of the names of 42 priests identified as having had credible allegations of abuse against them.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 8:43 AM

LDS Church updates guidelines on how leaders should handle abuse

SALT LAKE CITY (UT)
FOX13

March 26, 2018

By Taylor Hartman

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints announced Monday that it had updated its’ guidelines on preventing and responding to abuse after a former Missionary Training Center President was accused of sexual assault.

The three-page document, first issued in 2008, is meant to act as a guide on how to properly handle all types of abuse for LDS Church leadership. The document states that it operates a free and confidential abuse helpline that can be utilized, and encourages members to look for signs of abuse.

Bryndis Roberts, Chair of Ordain Women, a group within the LDS Church that supports the ordination of women into the priesthood, says the new guidelines are well overdue, but may not be sufficient.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 8:42 AM

March 26, 2018

Pell dodges charges because alleged victim too sick to show

AUSTRALIA
Central Telegraph

March 24, 2018

By Padraic Murphy

SEVERAL historical sex offence charges against Cardinal George Pell will be withdrawn because a complainant is unable to testify at a hearing that will determine if Australia's highest ranked Catholic stands trial.

Pell is facing a pre-trial committal hearing at Melbourne Magistrates Court, which wrapped up its third week on Friday.

At the end of Friday's hearing, prosecutor Mark Gibson SC said one of the complainants will not give evidence because he is "medically unfit". Pell's lawyer immediately requested the charges be removed from the committal proceedings.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 2:49 PM

Cardinal Pell ‘exposed himself’ claims accuser

AUSTRALIA
News.com.au

March 24, 2018

Cardinal Pell allegedly ‘exposed himself’ to a choir member in the 1990s, claimed a woman whose brother made the allegations during a drunken chat.

CARDINAL George Pell “exposed himself” to a cathedral choir member while working as a bishop in Melbourne in the 1990s, a court has heard.

The sister of one of George Pell’s accusers told the Melbourne Magistrates Court on Friday that her brother had broken down while revealing the alleged incident to her in 2012 or 2013.

Giving evidence at Mr Pell’s pre-trial hearing before Magistrate Belinda Wallington into alleged historical sexual offences, the woman said her brother was crying when he told her.

She said they had been drinking at their grandmother’s 80th birthday beforehand, and his claim related to an offence which allegedly had taken place about 16 years earlier.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 2:48 PM

Vatican treasurer Cardinal Pell faces final week of historical abuse hearing

MELBOURNE (AUSTRALIA)
CNN

March 25, 2018

By Lucie Morris-Marr

Cardinal George Pell is set for a tense wait for a decision over whether an abuse case against him will proceed to full criminal trial in Australia when the committal hearing against him wraps up this week.

The Vatican treasurer is the most senior figure in the Holy See to ever face criminal charges, and the past three weeks of evidence has revealed details of multiple allegations of historical sexual abuse.

The 76-year-old Cardinal, who stood aside from his senior post in Rome when he was charged in June last year, will not hear a final decision from the magistrate on whether the case will proceed to trial for up to two weeks, possibly longer. He has strenuously denied all charges.

This week the remaining 50 witnesses will give testimony at Melbourne Magistrates Court where the case against Pell has been heard since early March.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 2:47 PM

Cardinal George Pell: court told archbishop robes could not be easily removed

AUSTRALIA
The Guardian

March 22, 2018

By Melissa Davey

Pastoral associate agrees that robes not able to be parted to ‘reveal one’s genitals’

A pastoral associate who worked at St Patrick’s Cathedral in Melbourne when Cardinal George Pell was archbishop has told a court that the archbishop’s robes were heavy and could not be easily lifted or moved while being worn to expose oneself.

Rodney Dearing was cross-examined by Pell’s defence team on Thursday as part of the committal hearing into historical sexual offence charges against Pell. Dearing told the court that he was responsible for hanging up Pell’s robes and he was therefore familiar with the weight and manoeuvrability of them.

Pell’s barrister Ruth Shann put it to Dearing that the robes were “not able to be parted in the middle to reveal ones genitals or indeed parted to the side to reveal ones genitals”.

“No,” Dearing responded.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 2:45 PM

New Zealand primates say Church should be included in state abuse inquiry

NEW ZEALAND
Anglican Communion News Service

March 26, 2018

A Royal Commission of Inquiry established to investigate historical abuse in state care in New Zealand should be expanded to include the role of the church-related bodies, the Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia said today. In a letter to the country’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, and the Children’s Minister, Tracey Martin, Archbishops Winston Halapua and Philip Richardson said that the decision to ask for churches to be included in the Inquiry was made by the Standing Committee of the province’s General Synod when it met earlier this month.

“Our Christian faith teaches us the power of truth, justice and reconciliation,” they said. “We see this Commission of Inquiry as one way we can put that faith into action, and we encourage you to give this request serious consideration, in the hope that this will provide a pathway to healing and wholeness for all concerned.”

In their letter, the co-Primates said: “Our primary concern is for the needs of those whose lives have been impacted by abuse, and we are conscious that abuse has been perpetrated by agencies across our society, including the Church and its agencies. We are concerned that it will be unhelpful to victims and survivors, if the inquiry and its process is limited only to the state sector, denying some the right to have their voices heard.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 12:49 PM

Grace period: Diocese extends deadline for abuse victims to apply for compensation

BROOKLYN (NY)
Brooklyn Paper

March 26, 2018

By Colin Mixson

Locals sexually abused by Catholic clergy in the Diocese of Brooklyn have one more week to apply for the fund set up to compensate those victims.

Diocesan leaders set a new deadline of March 31 to report incidents in order to be eligible for money from the program, after announcing the fund in June 2017.

Last December, a flock of legal eagles released a list of Kings County’s corrupt Catholic priests that they hoped will encourage sexual-abuse victims to apply for compensation before it’s too late, according to one of the lawyers.

“We’re hoping to raise awareness with this report about the Brooklyn Diocese, the availability of this program for survivors, and specifically that the clock is running and there’s a hard deadline,” said Jerry Kristal, who works for law firm Weitz and Luxenberg, which released the list as part of a multi-firm collective called Lawyers Helping Survivors of Child Sex Abuse.

The document, entitled “Hidden Disgrace,” identified 65 priests within the local diocese who were accused or convicted of sex crimes against children.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 11:54 AM

LDS Church ‘committed to bringing accountability’ for sexual abuse at MTC: acknowledges second potential victim

SALT LAKE CITY (UT)
FOX13

March 23, 2018

By Mark Green and Ben Winslow

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has issued an updated statement on allegations of sexual abuse at the Provo Missionary Training Center after an un-redacted police report was published this week.

The new statement acknowledges the LDS Church is aware of at least one other woman who informed local ecclesiastical leaders in 2010 that she was sexually abused by Joseph Bishop at the Missionary Training Center.

"When she reported the alleged abuse to her local Church leaders in 2010, they provided emotional support as well as professional counseling services," the LDS Church states. "Mr. Bishop’s local ecclesiastical leaders were contacted and they confronted him with her claims, which he denied, and local leaders did not feel they could pursue church discipline for Mr. Bishop."

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 11:51 AM

Removed from churches, some priests accused of sexual abuse live near schools

BUFFALO (NY)
The Buffalo News

Published March 23, 2018; Updated March 24, 2018

By Jay Tokasz

Eight priests from the Diocese of Buffalo accused of sexually abusing children live within a short walk of area elementary and middle schools.

Beyond naming the priests, the diocese has declined to disclose addresses or any other information about the 42 priests it said on Tuesday had credible allegations of sexual misconduct involving minors brought against them.

Seventeen of the 42 clergy on the list are alive.

A Buffalo News search of public records showed eight of the living priests resided within blocks of a school. In some cases, they lived across the street from a school or down the road a few houses.

"Obviously, it's a cause for concern. It's an issue that the community needs to recognize," said Erie County District Attorney John J. Flynn. "The problem is that these individuals are not required to be registered. They were never found guilty of any offense. They're not in any local database for sex registry offenses. So legally, there's nothing that anyone can do to prevent them from living near a school. That's the unfortunate reality here."

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 11:49 AM

Opinion: Gay clergy will live in torment until the Catholic church drops this hypocritical oath

SCOTLAND
The Guardian

March 24, 2018

By Kevin McKenna

Instead of tolerance, a grotesque group of inquisitors are alienating the faithful

The most human response to the death of Scotland’s shamed cardinal came from the journalist whose articles forced his resignation. Catherine Deveney spoke with compassion and pity as she expressed the hope that Cardinal Keith Patrick O’Brien had found peace and forgiveness at the end. Deveney’s articles for the Observer in 2013 revealed that O’Brien had, for many years, conducted a series of inappropriate relationships with young priests under his jurisdiction.

Like others, she had been aware of a whiff of scandal surrounding this widely admired man who, unlike many of his predecessors and contemporaries, seemed to possess something that endeared him to people. It was only when O’Brien began to front an ill-advised and nasty campaign against same-sex marriage that three priests who had been in sexual relationships with him felt they had to speak out and subsequently approached Deveney with their stories.

A few months before this, I was informed by the editor of the Catholic Observer that O’Brien had chided her for publishing an article of mine in which I had criticised his attitude to gay people and the use of the word “grotesque” in describing their sexuality. Yet I didn’t derive any delight at his public outing, only a sense of deep sadness that a man with great qualities of leadership and compassion had been brought low by a lie that had probably stalked half his adult life. What misery and self-loathing must he have endured as he preached his fables about human sexuality. And yet what damage had he caused to the faith of thousands not by being revealed as a sinner but as a hypocrite.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 11:47 AM

One in four churchgoers in abusive relationships, UK study finds

ENGLAND
Australian Broadcasting Corporation

March 26, 2018

By Julia Baird and Hayley Gleeson

One in four churchgoers has experienced domestic abuse in their current relationship, according to a new study in Britain.

The research, conducted in Cumbria by academics at Coventry University and the University of Leicester in conjunction with Christian charity Restored, has led to urgent calls for churches in Britain and Australia to expose and counter abuse in their midst, with the authors finding more priests need to publicly condemn abuse "from the pulpit".

Almost half of those who sought help from their church (47.2 per cent) said they were unlikely to do so again, if they experienced abuse in the future.

Only two in seven thought their church was adequately equipped to deal with a disclosure of abuse.

Mandy Marshall, a co-founder of Restored, a global Christian alliance that aims to end violence against women, said: "One of the biggest barriers we have faced is Christians not believing that domestic abuse could happen in their church."

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 11:45 AM

Catholic Church wants to be included in state abuse inquiry

NEW ZEALAND
NZ Herald

March 26, 2018

By Lucy Bennett

The Catholic Church has written to Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern asking for religious organisations to be included in a Royal Commission looking into abuse in state care.

The New Zealand Catholic Bishops and representation from Catholic religious orders wrote to Ardern, Minister for Children Tracey Martin and Sir Anand Satyanand, chairman of the Royal Commission into Abuse in State Care.

The letter, signed by Bishop Patrick Dunn, the president of the New Zealand Catholic Bishops Conference and Sister Katrina Fabish RSM, congregational leader of the Sisters of Mercy, said they supported the work of the Royal Commission of Inquiry into Historical Abuse in State Care but wanted the Inquiry's terms of reference broadened to include a range of Church institutions.

"We are of the firm view that no individual should be denied the possibility of making a submission to this government inquiry. It would be wrong if some individuals felt excluded from this process simply because their path of referral to an institution was different from someone else's," the letter said.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 11:43 AM

Young Catholics tell Pope Francis the church is indifferent and judgmental

ROME
The Washington Post

March 25, 2018

By Amanda Erickson

On Saturday, hundreds of young Catholics gathered to give Pope Francis a piece of their minds.

They called for a more transparent and “authentic” church, one with a bigger role for women and more wisdom about the benefits and challenges of technology. They called for more flexibility, too, arguing that “unreachable” moral standards should not be the only way to live an authentically Catholic life.

These findings were part of a 16-page report assembled by 300 young people at a week-long conference sponsored by the Vatican. It drew, too, on online submissions from 15,000 others.

“We, the young church, ask that our leaders speak in practical terms about subjects such as homosexuality and gender issues, about which young people are already freely discussing,” the report said.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 11:42 AM

Aly Raisman: Banning leotards from gymnastics to prevent abuse is a form of 'victim shaming'

UNITED STATES
Yahoo Lifestyle

March 26, 2018

By Erin Donnelly

There’s been much debate over how to tackle sexual abuse against young gymnasts following the trial of sports doctor Larry Nassar, who was sentenced to 40 to 175 years in prison after more than 260 people accused him of molesting them.

For Aly Raisman, one of the many athletes abused by Nassar, real reform means holding everyone accountable. Earlier this year the gold medalist filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Olympic Committee for failing to pursue allegations about him.

But there’s one proposed solution she won’t entertain: a new dress code for gymnasts.

Raisman took to Twitter to lambast suggestions that gymnasts should stop wearing leotards to deter would-be abusers.

The Olympian said such measures implied that the athletes were partly responsible for the actions of perpetrators like Nassar.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 11:33 AM

Young Catholics call for ‘merciful Church which appreciates its roots’

ROME
Catholic Herald

March 25, 2018

By Cindy Wooden

Final document of a pre-synod gathering asks Church to be more credible, honest and transparent

“We need a Church that is welcoming and merciful, which appreciates its roots and patrimony and which loves everyone, even those who are not following the perceived standards,” the final document of a pre-synod gathering organised by the Vatican has said.

The document reflects the input of 305 young adults attending the meeting in Rome and some 15,000 young people who participated through Facebook groups online.

It was to be presented to Pope Francis at the end of Palm Sunday Mass and was to be used in drafting the working document for the Synod of Bishops on young people, faith and vocational discernment in October, said Cardinal Lorenzo Baldisseri, secretary general of the synod.

With a frantic pace of life, thousands of life choices and proponents of different ideas and ideals battling for their attention, young people said what they want most from the Church is “attractive, coherent and authentic models,” who will accompany them in their search for meaning and fulfilment.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 11:32 AM

Sharing abuse stories without hope of accountability 'feels hollow' - Anglican Church

NEW ZEALAND
Stuff

March 26, 2018

By Laura Walters

The Anglican and Catholic Churches of New Zealand are making a last push to have those abused in faith-based institutions included in the scope of the Government's Royal Commission of Inquiry into State Abuse.

But the prime minister said the primary purpose of the inquiry was to hold the state to account, and there was a risk of "diluting" that responsibility if non-state institutions were included.

Last month, Children's Minister Tracey Martin and Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced the draft terms of reference, and scope, of the inquiry.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 11:10 AM

Young adults ask church to welcome, listen and involve them

ROME
Catholic News Service

March 26, 2018

Young people want to know they are valued members of the Catholic Church and that their questions and struggles are taken seriously enough that someone will spend time with them discussing issues rather than simply repeating "prefabricated" responses, said delegates to a meeting in Rome.

"We need a church that is welcoming and merciful, which appreciates its roots and patrimony and which loves everyone, even those who are not following the perceived standards," said the final document of a pre-synod gathering organised by the Vatican 19-25 March.

The document reflects the input of 305 young adults attending the meeting in Rome and some 15,000 young people who participated through Facebook groups online.

Released on 24 March, it was to be presented to Pope Francis at the end of Palm Sunday Mass the next day and was to be used in drafting the working document for the Synod of Bishops on young people, faith and vocational discernment in October, said Cardinal Lorenzo Baldisseri, secretary general of the synod.

With a frantic pace of life, thousands of life choices and proponents of different ideas and ideals battling for their attention, young people said what they want most from the church is "attractive, coherent and authentic models," who will accompany them in their search for meaning and fulfillment.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 10:48 AM

New Zealand tells country’s sex abuse commission to include Church institutions

NEW ZEALAND
Crux

March 26, 2018

Just months after the Australian Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse issued its final report, New Zealand is beginning its own royal commission - and the nation’s Catholic bishops are asking its institutions not to be excluded from scrutiny.

A royal commission is the highest form of inquiry in most countries where Queen Elizabeth II is the head of state, including Australia and New Zealand.

Right now, the New Zealand royal commission will look into youth detention centers, psychiatric hospitals and orphanages, as well as any government care services contracted out to private institutions.

Although this will include some Church-run facilities, the commission doesn’t include a broad mandate to look into religious organizations.

“We are of the firm view that no individual should be denied the possibility of making a submission to this Government inquiry,” said a letter from the New Zealand bishops’ conference.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 10:42 AM

Youth want bishops to face sex abuse, women in the Church

ROME
CRUX

March 25, 2018

By John L. Allen Jr.

Since Pope Francis called a summit of Catholic bishops on youth and discernment two years ago, fixing it for this October, speculation has swirled about which topics would loom largest during the meeting, given that its themes seem vast enough to embrace almost everything under the sun.

We won’t really know until the Synod of Bishops gets underway, but if 300 young people from around the world who met in Rome this week to provide input to the bishops have anything to do with it, two tough subjects will be unavoidable: The Church’s sexual abuse scandals, and the role of women in Catholicism.

“The Church should condemn actions such as sexual abuse and the mismanagement of power and wealth,” the young advisers said in a concluding document from their reflections released in a Vatican news conference on Saturday.

“The Church should continue to enforce her no-tolerance stance on sexual abuse within her institutions, and her humility will undoubtedly raise its credibility among the world’s young people,” they said.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 10:41 AM

Chichester child abuse: How did one small Church of England diocese produce so many paedophile reverends?

ENGLAND
Independent

March 25, 2018

By Andreas Whittam Smith

Evidence at the inquiry concluded that the abuse was 'normalised' because it was practised by so many. Worse still, one member of the clergy believed that God had forgiven him and therefore 'his slate was wiped clean'

For a long time, I have wanted to understand why one small area of the Church of England has had a large number of the clergy sent to gaol for sexually abusing young people and children. The place is Sussex, particularly East Sussex, part of the diocese of Chichester.

I have not been alone in wanting this question answered. For the Government has set up an Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse in England and Wales and this body has turned its attention to the diocese of Chichester. The hearings have been going on for some weeks now. I shall make extensive use of what the inquiry has been told.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 10:39 AM

Philadelphia priest under investigation for alleged misconduct with a minor

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
The Inquirer

March 25, 2018

By Jeremy Roebuck & Stacey Burling

The pastor of a Northeast Philadelphia Catholic parish has been placed on administrative leave while police investigate a report of alleged misconduct with a minor, a spokesman for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia said Sunday.

The Rev. Armand Garcia, formerly of St. Martin of Tours parish in the city’s Summerdale section, was removed from his post March 16 – the same day that investigators executed a search warrant on the parish rectory, said Kenneth Gavin, chief communications officer for the archdiocese.

Parishioners were informed of Garcia’s leave and the circumstances behind it last weekend. But details of the investigation remained sparse more than a week later.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 10:37 AM

Irish priest who claimed he had sex with a murder victim accused of raping a schoolgirl

IRELAND
The Irish Mirror

March 26, 2018

By Craig McDonald

The accuser is now aged 51 and is to launch a civil action against the Church

A disgraced Irish priest who claimed he had sex with a murder victim has been accused of raping a schoolgirl.

The accuser is now aged 51 and is to launch a civil action against the Church over the alleged attacks that she says destroyed her life.

The woman – who asked to be identified only as Teresa – said Fr Gerry Nugent made his way into her life when she went to stay with her gran as a vulnerable 11-year-old.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 10:19 AM

Ex-priest names former ECC headmaster as alleged abuser

ERIE (PA)
The Courier-Express

March 25, 2018

By Katie Weidenboerner

Former-priest James Faluszczak, 48, now of Buffalo, N.Y., has decided to speak out — naming his alleged abuser, an Erie priest with local ties.

Faluszczak has identified the Rev. Monsignor Daniel J. Martin, who served as pastor of St. Boniface Parish, Kersey, in 1962, and as headmaster of Elk County Christian, as the school was then called, serving there until 1970. Martin died in 2006 at age 88.

The incident has surfaced as Faluszczak claims to have been one of many witnesses to testify before a grand jury, whose proceedings are secret and which was convened at the request of the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office around September 2016 to investigate sex abuse allegations in dioceses throughout Pennsylvania, according to the Erie-Times News.

Faluszczak said that Martin molested him when he was 16 to 19 years old, adding that the abuse occurred at St. George and at Mt. Calvary Church and then at Mercyhurst College, now Mercyhurst University, all in the Erie area, where Faluszczak said Martin was living at the time.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 9:49 AM

Baltimore’s rally protest Catholic Church coverup of sexual abuse cases

BALTIMORE (MD)
Baltimore Post-Examiner

March 25, 2018

By Bill Hughes

On a brisk, Palm Sunday morning about 20 activists, carrying signs and posters, gathered at the Villa Assumpta on North Charles St. at Bellona Avenue in Baltimore County, MD. The Villa Assumpta is a retirement home, a convent for nuns run by the School Sisters of Notre Dame. (SSND).

Back in the 1970s, Sister Eileen Weisman was the principal at the Catholic Community Middle School (CCMS), formerly Our Lady of Good Counsel School in Locust Point. It was a SSND school. One of the lay teachers under her supervision from 1972 to 1979, was the later convicted – sexual predator – John Merzbacher.

The protesters claim Merzbacher’s tenure was “a reign of terror” for many of his students – male and female alike. They insist Sister Weisman knew or should have known, about his serial sex abuses and other outrageous conduct, including repeatedly threatened students with a loaded handgun – and did nothing.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 9:16 AM

Sexual Abuse Survivors In Baltimore Catholic Schools Call Out Nun Who They Allege Stayed Silent

BALTIMORE (MD)
CBS Baltimore (WJZ-TV)

March 25, 2018

By Mike Hellgren

[Includes video]

Several survivors of sexual abuse in Baltimore’s Catholic schools are demanding action against a nun who they say turned a blind eye to crimes decades ago.

“All we want is the truth to be out, and we want justice to be served,” abuse survivor Bill Stankiewicz said.

Survivors and their supporters carried signs outside a home for retired nuns Sunday to draw attention to a former school principal, Sister Eileen Weisman, who they claim knew but never reported a teacher at her former school, John Merzbacher, was sexually abusing students.

Survivors of sexual abuse at Catholic schools in Baltimore—and their supporters—protested outside Villa Assumpta today; they want to draw attention to a nun/former principal who they claim failed to report abuse.

Merzbacher is currently in prison for child rape.

Kathie Lewandowski Richardson says Merzbacher abused her in the 1970s at Catholic Community Middle School. She says Sister Weisman ignored it.

Court records from the Merzbacher case also state Weisman knew Merzbacher was abusing children but didn’t intervene.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 9:11 AM

Prosecutors to Drop Some Sex-Offense Charges Against Cardinal Pell

MELBOURNE (AUSTRALIA)
The Wall Street Journal

March 23, 2018

By Robb M. Stewart

Hearings continue on whether charges of historical sexual offenses against Vatican finance chief will go to trial

Several charges against Cardinal George Pell, one of the Vatican’s most senior officials, will be dropped, prosecutors said Friday.

At the conclusion of the third of four weeks of hearings to determine whether charges of historical sexual offenses will go to trial, prosecutor Mark Gibson told the court that a scheduled witness wouldn’t be able to testify for unspecified medical reasons. He said charges would be withdrawn formally next week.

One charge against Cardinal Pell, Pope Francis ’ finance chief, was dropped as the pretrial hearings began.

Mr. Pell stepped away from his role at the Vatican last year, after police in Australia’s southern Victoria state in late June charged the cardinal with multiple historical sexual offenses. The number and nature of the charges, which involve multiple complainants, haven’t been disclosed. Mr. Pell has vehemently denied any wrongdoing and, through his lawyer, indicated a plea of not guilty to all charges.

The hearings allow the defense to examine statements made by dozens of witnesses named by the prosecution.

Mr. Gibson offered to produce a medical certificate for the witness, but Cardinal Pell’s lawyers said it wouldn’t be necessary.

Born in 1941 in the historic gold-rush town of Ballarat in southeastern Australia, Mr. Pell studied for the priesthood in Australia and Rome and was ordained in late 1966. He rose through the church’s ranks in Australia, working in parishes around Melbourne and in senior roles in Catholic education.

In 1987 Mr. Pell was ordained as auxiliary bishop of the Melbourne archdiocese. Pope John Paul II appointed him seventh metropolitan archbishop in 1996 and archbishop of Sydney five years later.

In February 2014, Pope Francis appointed Cardinal Pell prefect of the newly created Secretariat for the Economy at the Vatican.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 9:08 AM

George Pell committal: A number of charges to be dropped, prosecutor says

MELBOURNE (AUSTRALIA)
ABC (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

March 23, 2018

The Melbourne Magistrates Court has been told a number of charges against Cardinal George Pell will be dropped.

Prosecutor Mark Gibson SC said the charges related to one of the complainants who was medically unfit to give evidence.

He said the charges would formally be withdrawn when the committal hearing resumes next Tuesday.

The announcement was made at the end of Friday's court hearing.

Cardinal Pell has strenuously denied charges of historical sexual offending against multiple complainants.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 9:05 AM

Cardinal George Pell case: Alleged inappropriate conduct occurred in public pool, court hears

MELBOURNE (AUSTRALIA)
ABC (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

March 23, 2018

By James Hancock

Cardinal George Pell allegedly acted inappropriately against complainants "under the water" of a public swimming pool and out of sight of others, the Melbourne Magistrates' Court has heard.

A sister of one of the complaints told the 76-year-old's committal hearing she helped her brother make a report in early 2016 of inappropriate conduct against Cardinal Pell.

Cardinal Pell has strenuously denied charges of historical sexual offending against multiple complainants.

No other details can be reported for legal reasons.

The sister told the court her brother spoke of the alleged offending occurring at a public swimming pool in regional Victoria.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 9:02 AM

March 25, 2018

Catholic Diocese report offers vindication for Falls priest accuser

NIAGARA (NY)
Niagara Gazette

March 24, 2018

By Rick Pfeiffer and Philip Gambini

REPORT: More than 15 years after going public, Catholic Diocese links former pastor to abuse.

For decades, no one but his fellow victims would believe or admit what happened to Nick D'Amico was true.

But now, more than 15 years after he first publicly revealed his alleged sexual abuse at the hands of a priest from the Catholic Diocese of Buffalo, D'Amico has found vindication.

On a list of priests that the diocese admits "were removed from ministry, were retired, or left ministry after allegations of sexual abuse of a minor" is the name of the man D'Amico says abused him, Father Richard P. Judd. The revelation has only increased what D'Amico called his "outrage."

"It's outrage that it's taken this long for the truth to come out," D'Amico said. "It's outrage (that) when I accused them of this 15 years ago, they called me a liar. And now they want to make amends? They swept it under the rug for six decades."

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 8:32 PM

Catholic Church facing payout over claim Peter Tobin priest raped schoolgirl

GLASGOW (SCOTLAND)
The Daily Record

March 25, 2018

By Craig McDonald

A 51-year-old woman says the priest disgraced in the Angelika Kluk murder trial repeatedly raped her when she was a child.

The Catholic Church is bracing itself for a compensation action over claims the priest disgraced in the Angelika Kluk murder trial repeatedly raped a schoolgirl.

The Archdiocese of Glasgow has been paying for the victim to attend counselling sessions after she made allegations against the late Father Gerry Nugent three years ago.

Now a 51-year-old mum is to launch a civil action against the church over the alleged attacks which she says destroyed her life.

The woman – who asked to be identified only as Teresa – said Nugent manoeuvred his way into her life when she went to stay with her gran as a vulnerable 11-year-old.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 8:24 PM

Our view: Erie diocese takes another welcome step [Editorial]

ERIE (PA)
Erie Times-News

March 25, 2018

By the Editorial Board

The Catholic Diocese of Erie announced on Wednesday that in the coming weeks it will release the names of priests in the diocese who had been credibly accused of sexually abusing minors.

That has taken too long. But it’s a welcome step in the right direction nevertheless.

The Erie diocese made the announcement a day after the Catholic Diocese of Buffalo released the names of the accused there. That diocese identified 42 accused priests, 24 of whom are dead.

When Erie Bishop Lawrence Persico releases the list, the 13-county, 202,000-member Erie diocese will join a relatively small minority of U.S. dioceses that have taken that step. The diocese said it declared its intention to do so in the face of questions about the Buffalo diocese’s actions.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 8:19 PM

Man sexually abused by ex-Northampton priest says diocese botched response

NORTHAMPTION (MA)
Northamption Gazette

March 16, 2018

By Emily Cutts

South Hadley native Richard Koske was always drawn to a life of holiness. A devout Catholic, he says his faith remains strong despite being abused by three priests and receiving a disappointing response from the Roman Catholic Diocese of Springfield.

“I always had a love for Christ as a kid growing up. I knew, I know he is real,” Koske, 62, said in an interview at the Gazette last week. “People ask me, ‘How can you even step foot in a Catholic church?’ I said, ‘because Christ didn’t do it to me. His workers did.’”

In sharing his story, Koske said he hopes his experience will help others avoid the trauma he endured. “I went through hell and I’m still going through hell,” he said.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 8:16 PM

Costs From Nassar Case Likely to Exceed $500 Million for Michigan State

MICHIGAN
The Wall Street Journal

March 25, 2018

By Melissa Korn and Rebecca Davis O’Brien

The tally includes possible settlements with about 250 victims, legal fees associated with an army of law firms representing the university and fines

Financial fallout from sexual-abuse allegations against former U.S. national gymnastics team doctor Larry Nassar will likely soar well past half a billion dollars for Michigan State University, estimates from legal experts indicate, more than twice the cost of the abuse scandal at Pennsylvania State University.

The tally includes possible settlements with about 250 victims, legal fees associated with an army of law firms representing the university and fines. Victim settlements alone could account for over $300 million, based on precedents in the Penn State and Catholic Church abuse cases. It isn’t clear how much of the tab would be covered by the school’s insurers.

The looming costs have major implications for Michigan State, especially if state lawmakers pass proposed bills that would increase the statute of limitations for victims and take away legal immunity for public universities. Interim President John Engler, a former Michigan governor, has said increased tuition is one possible way to cover the costs, and warned that consequences could be even more dire.

**

Mr. Feinberg said another potential approach is establishing a victim compensation fund, with an administrator evaluating claims and offering payouts based on specifics of the abuse. With that approach, Mr. Feinberg has overseen payments to resolve more than 450 claims of abuse against the Catholic Church in New York so far. Such systems were also used after the BP oil spill and the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 4:56 PM

Churches push for inclusion in Royal Commission into abuse

NEW ZEALAND
Radio New Zealand

March 25, 2018

By Phil Pennington

The Anglican and Catholic churches are making their most concentrated push yet to get the Royal Commission into abuse expanded to fully include them.

Anglican Archbishop Philip Richardson and Catholic Cardinal John Dew have met with the commission chair Sir Anand Satyanand.

"The Anglican Church needs to collaborate fully with the Royal Commission and we need the terms of reference to be extended in a way that allows that to be possible," Archbishop Philip Richardson said.

"That's the best way of addressing long-term hurt and long-term consequences."

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 4:54 PM

Philadelphia priest under investigation for 'alleged misconduct with minors'

PHILADELPHIA
Philly.com

March 25, 2018

By Stacey Burling

The Archdiocese of Philadelphia says it is cooperating with the police investigation.

A priest from St. Martin of Tours parish in Northeast Philadelphia has been placed on administrative leave while Philadelphia police investigate a report of “possible alleged misconduct with minors,” a spokesman for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia said Sunday.

The Rev. Armand Garcia was placed on administrative leave March 16. A search warrant was executed in the parish rectory that day, said Kenneth Gavin, chief communications officer for the archdiocese. He said no charges have been filed.

A police spokeswoman said she was unable to check search warrants on Sunday.

Gavin said the archdiocese is “cooperating fully.” Garcia, he said, had cleared background checks for criminal record and child abuse. He had also completed “safe environment” training courses.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 4:48 PM

Opinion: Reckoning looms in Erie Catholic Diocese

ERIE (PA)
Erie Times News [goerie.com]

March 25, 2018

By Pat Howard

It’s a rare movie about journalism that doesn’t make me roll my eyes and/or shout at the television.

But “Spotlight,” the Best Picture-winning account of the Boston Globe’s heroic reporting on the Catholic Church’s sexual abuse scandal in that city, gets it mostly right. For me it also carries a personal resonance. ...

**

On Tuesday, the Catholic Diocese of Buffalo released the names of 42 priests, 24 of whom are dead, who had been credibly accused of sexual misconduct with minors. On Wednesday, the Erie diocese issued a statement saying that Persico, who became bishop in 2012, would do the same here in the coming weeks.

That plan extends Persico’s policy of proactively releasing information in current cases. And it promises the fullest accounting yet of the criminals who hid behind the collar in the 13-county Erie diocese.

I don’t know why Persico has decided to name the priests and chose this timing. So far he isn’t saying.

It might have something to do with the statewide investigative grand jury that’s been digging into the diocese’s darkest secrets since 2016. The Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office sometime this year is expected to release the grand jury’s report, and it, too, is expected to name names. ...

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 4:46 PM

[Opinion] Pat Howard: Reckoning looms in Erie Catholic Diocese

ERIE (PA)
Erie Times News [goerie.com]

March 25, 2018

By Pat Howard

It’s a rare movie about journalism that doesn’t make me roll my eyes and/or shout at the television.

But “Spotlight,” the Best Picture-winning account of the Boston Globe’s heroic reporting on the Catholic Church’s sexual abuse scandal in that city, gets it mostly right. For me it also carries a personal resonance. ...

**

On Tuesday, the Catholic Diocese of Buffalo released the names of 42 priests, 24 of whom are dead, who had been credibly accused of sexual misconduct with minors. On Wednesday, the Erie diocese issued a statement saying that Persico, who became bishop in 2012, would do the same here in the coming weeks.

That plan extends Persico’s policy of proactively releasing information in current cases. And it promises the fullest accounting yet of the criminals who hid behind the collar in the 13-county Erie diocese.

I don’t know why Persico has decided to name the priests and chose this timing. So far he isn’t saying.

It might have something to do with the statewide investigative grand jury that’s been digging into the diocese’s darkest secrets since 2016. The Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office sometime this year is expected to release the grand jury’s report, and it, too, is expected to name names. ...

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 9:21 AM

[Editorial] The Francis enigma: Five years in, Pope Francis continues to inspire

PITTSBURGH
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

March 25, 2018

By the Editorial Board

Winston Churchill famously said of Russia in 1939 that “it is a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma.” To hear many commentators and experts on religion, especially the Roman Catholic faith, tell it, this phrase could be used to describe Pope Francis.

The world marked the fifth anniversary of Pope Francis’ installation as bishop of Rome this month, and the verdicts came flying from all directions.

Conservatives say he is doctrinally confused and that he has reversed, or is trying to reverse, the ethical rigor of Pope John Paul II and the liturgical dignity and theological clarity of Pope Benedict XVI.

Liberals complain that Pope Francis has failed to change doctrine, on divorce and remarriage, for example. That he has not reformed church structure. And that he has failed to come to terms with clergy sexual abuse — either as past sin or ongoing sin. They say the church has never really done penance for the horrors of priest pedophilia, not only in the U.S. but around the world.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 9:18 AM

Statement from Bishop Cistone

SAGINAW (MI)
Diocese of Saginaw

March 23, 2018

“As you are aware, yesterday, March 22, the Diocese was served with a search warrant. This warrant included the Diocesan offices and Center for Ministry, the Bishop's residence, and the Cathedral.

“I understand this news is distressing and disheartening for the greater community and most especially our Catholic faithful.

“The Diocese has made a sincere effort to cooperate with law enforcement to date and will continue to do so moving forward.”

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 9:15 AM

Sexual predator act author tries to outmaneuver opponents

GEORGIA
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

March 25, 2018

By Ty Tagami

The sponsor of Georgia legislation to give adults more time to sue people they say molested them when they were children is trying a legislative maneuver to save his bill.

After the Senate reduced what the Hidden Predator Act of 2018 offered victims, Rep. Jason Spencer, R-Woodbine, on Friday got his colleagues in the House of Representatives to revive the version it adopted by a 170-0 vote last month.

That version extended the statute of limitations for victims’ lawsuits to age 38 from the current 23, and it opened a one-year window for adults of any age to sue. It also allowed lawsuits against organizations accused of harboring predators even if the sexual abuse and the cover-up occurred decades ago.

But on Thursday a Senate committee, which had been lobbied by the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Atlanta and by the Boy Scouts of America, changed the bill in a way that made it harder to sue organizations.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 9:12 AM

‘The Secrecy Must End’

BUFFALO (NY)
Jamestown Post-Journal

March 25, 2018

By Katrina Fuller

‘Spotlight’ Attorney:Child Sex Abuse By Priests Is ‘Systemic’

[Photo caption: Pictured, clockwise from top left, are Chester S. Stachewicz, Joseph P. Friel, Francis T. Hogan, Martin L. Pavlock, Thomas L. Kemp, Mark M. Friel, John P. Hajduk, and Donald S. Fafinski. The Buffalo Diocese on Tuesday released the names of 42 priests who were removed, retired or left the ministry after being accused of sexual abuse of a minor. Several of the priests named served in churches in Chautauqua County.]

The shudder of an unsavory case first unearthed in Boston about 16 years ago is still being felt today, even in Western New York.

In January 2002, a secret world of child sex abuse was uncovered in the Catholic Church by a special team of investigative reporters at the Boston Globe known as the “Spotlight Team.”

Buffalo and the surrounding areas felt the reverberations this past week after the Buffalo Diocese released a list of 42 priests who had been removed from ministry, retired or had left ministry after allegations of sexual abuse of a minor. Many of those named in the list served in churches in Chautauqua and Cattaraugus counties.

REPRESENTING VICTIMS

Mitchell Garabedian, a Boston-based attorney who represents victims of sexual abuse, said the Catholic Church’s issues with child sexual abuse are potentially “endless.” Submitted photo

One of the main players in helping to unravel the secret abuse perpetrated by dozens of priests over many years is Mitchell Garabedian, a Boston-based attorney who specializes in sexual abuse cases. Garabedian said he has represented at least 20 clients in the Buffalo Diocese, which encompasses Chautauqua County and other areas in Western New York.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 9:03 AM

March 24, 2018

New Accuser Comes Forward, As Malone Apologizes For Priest Sex Abuse Cases

BUFFALO (NY)
WBEN

By Dave Debo

March 23, 2018

Wayne Bortle Says Apology Doesn't Matter

Another man who accuses a Diocese of Buffalo priest of sexually abusing him as a child, stood in front of the Buffalo Catholic Diocese headquarters Friday, and rejected the idea of having Bishop Richard Malone's apology, just after Malone released one to all victims, via an online video.

Wayne Bortle had previously not revealed his accusations, against Father Robert Conlin until Friday, and did not seem particularly impressed with Malone's apology saying "I don't know how an apology would impact me. I mean, the sentiment is nice, but there is more, obviously that needs to be done.," Bortles ( pictured above center, with victims advocate Robert Hoatson R, and his wife L)

Bortle says that Fr. Robert P. Conlin, then pastor at St. Mary’s Parish in Pavilion, Genesee County abused him in a basement rectory recreation room where youth gatherings were sometimes held, in 1980 when Bortle was approximately 16 years old.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 4:28 PM

Opinion: Victims of abuse must be provided with help and support

NORTHERN IRELAND
The Irish News

March 24, 2018

Conor Murphy is the latest high profile figure to speak out following the revelations about Fr Malachy Finegan, the former head of St Colman's College in Newry.

The Sinn Féin MLA has detailed the appalling physical abuse he suffered at the hands of the priest while a schoolboy at St Colman's.

Mr Murphy told how he was dragged up two flights of stairs before being beaten with a stick on the hands and about the body.

Once this savage outburst was over, Finegan then switched to asking deeply personal and intimate questions of a sexual nature, a completely inappropriate interrogation that Mr Murphy now characterises as grooming.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 4:25 PM

Youth say they want a Church that's transparent, up-to-date

VATICAN CITY
Catholic News Agency

March 24, 2018

At the end of a week-long meeting held at the Vatican, young people from around the world have urged the Church to be more authentic, modern and creative in the way it interacts with young people, and in addressing controversial contemporary issues.

“We want to say, especially to the hierarchy of the Church, that they should be a transparent, welcoming, honest, inviting, communicative, accessible, joyful and interactive community,” the youth delegates said in the final document of this week's pre-synod meeting in Rome.

“A credible Church,” they said, “is one which is not afraid to allow itself be seen as vulnerable.”

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 4:13 PM

Eighteen alleging abuse by Finegan

NORTHERN IRELAND
Irish News

March 24, 2018

By John Monaghan

Eighteen people have now come forward to report abuse by Co Down priest and school principal Fr Malachy Finegan.

Sinn Féin Newry and Armagh MLA Conor Murphy revealed on Thursday that as a schoolboy he had been beaten with a stick by the paedophile priest, who also attempted to sexually groom him.

Fr Finegan, who died in 2002, was the parish priest of Clonduff in Hilltown and a teacher and later president at St Colman's College in Newry.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 4:08 PM

Young people give Pope Francis a piece of their mind

VATICAN CITY
Associated Press

March 24, 2018

Young Catholics told the Vatican on Saturday they want a more transparent and authentic church, where women play a greater leadership role and where obeying “unreachable” moral standards isn’t the price of admission.

In a fascinating final document from a weeklong Vatican-initiated conference, 300 young people from around the world joined by 15,000 young people online gave the older men who run the 1.2-billion strong church a piece of their collective mind.

They urged Pope Francis and the bishops who will gather at the Vatican in the fall to back their recommendations that church leaders must address the unequal roles of women in the church and how technology is used and abused. They warned that “excessive moralism” is driving faithful away and that out-of-touch church bureaucrats need to accompany their flock with humility and transparency.

**

But mostly, they say, the church needs to admit that it is human and makes mistakes, and that its mentors aren’t perfect people but forgiven sinners. The document cited the clergy sex abuse scandal as both an error that has driven people away and an ongoing issue that requires admission of wrongdoing.

“Some mentors are put on a pedestal, and when they fall, the devastation may impact young people’s abilities to continue to engage with the church,” they said.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 4:05 PM

Exclusive – Atty. Mitchell Garabedian Talks About Stony Brook Molestation Case

CAPE COD (MA)
Cape Cod Times

March 23, 2018

“Pedophiles abuse as many children as they can get their hands on…”

Mitchell Garabedian is the world-renowned attorney who broke the Boston Roman Catholic priest molestation case wide open. Today his practice continues to focus on representing sex abuse victims/survivors.

This morning Mitchell sat down with CCToday to talk a bit about the alleged sexual molestations at Stony Brook Elementary School in Brewster and school sexual molestations in general.

Imperative to Find All Victims

Attorney Garabedian began by telling us that, in any molestation case, it is imperative that all alleged victims be located. “It’s very important that every single child and their parents receive counseling. The damage is too great…” to let a victim remain without support.

Left unsupported, a sex abuse victim/survivor can suffer years of post-traumatic stress. Such stress can manifest itself in anything from poor grades in school, to substance abuse, violent behavior or even the victim becoming a molester himself.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 3:54 PM

Bishop Cistone issues statement after police raids on diocese properties

SAGINAW TOWNSHIP (MI)
mlive.com

March 23, 2018

By Bob Johnson

[See also: Statement from Bishop Cistone]

Bishop Joseph Cistone issued a statement Friday evening regarding raids conducted by law enforcement agencies on his home and other Saginaw Catholic Diocese properties as part of an ongoing investigation into sexual abuse in the church.

The statement, which was sent shortly after 8 p.m. on March 23, said that the diocese "has made a sincere effort to cooperate with law enforcement to date and will continue to do so moving forward."

Search warrants were executed on March 22 at the bishop's home on Corral Drive in Saginaw Township, the rectory at Cathedral of Mary of the Assumption, 615 Hoyt in Saginaw, and the Catholic Diocese of Saginaw offices in Saginaw Township.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 10:29 AM

Santa Fe archdiocese faces defamation lawsuit

SANTA FE (NM)
Santa Fe New Mexican

March 23, 2018

By Phaedra Haywood

A Santa Fe man is accusing the Archdiocese of Santa Fe of defamation, claiming in a new lawsuit that the Catholic organization wrongly included his name on a list of 74 priests, deacons and brothers who have been convicted or credibly accused of sexual abuse or misconduct over the last few decades.

Rudy Blea says in his complaint, filed this week in the state District Court in Santa Fe, that the list issued last fall identifies him as a member of the Benedictine Order — “by implication” announcing to the world that he was a “Benedictine priest who was a child molester.”

The list, released at the urging of sexual abuse survivors who had long demanded accountability from the Catholic Church, actually refers to Blea as a brother of the Benedictines, which would mean he was a monk rather than a priest.

But Blea says in his complaint that he was never a “brother, monk, deacon, or priest” in any Catholic order.

Court records show Blea was identified as a monk from the Pecos Benedictine Monastery in a 1994 civil suit accusing him of molesting a minor in 1969 or 1970 at a religious event. The suit also named the archdiocese, a bishop and the Benedictine monks as defendants.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 10:24 AM

Confused, disappointed and angry but still believing: Catholics struggle to cope

BUFFALO (NY)
The Buffalo News

March 23, 2018

By Barbara O'Brien

Catholics in Western New York have had less than a month to digest the re-emergence of the priest sexual abuse scandal, and less than a week to come to terms with the list of names released by the Buffalo Catholic Diocese of priests accused of misconduct.

And it's not easy.

Some are resolute: "I'd never leave the church and certainly not over an issue like this," said Jen Krey of Clarence. "If anything, this makes me feel like the Church needs faithful Catholics now more than ever to get involved and make sure that the ones responsible for this are purged from the Church.

But others, even those who serve in religious orders, are struggling.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 10:22 AM

Opinion: An important visit

IRELAND
Irish Times

March 24, 2018

By Martyn Turner

Confirmation this week that Pope Francis will attend the World Meeting of Families in Dublin next August is welcome news, in particular for the almost 4.5 million Catholics on the island.

While the drift away from the Catholic Church over the decades since Pope John Paul visited in 1979 is pronounced, as indeed is the case with the other churches in Ireland, it remains a fact that 78.3 per cent of people in the Republic identified themselves as Roman Catholic as recently as in the census of April 2016.

It showed, whether practising or otherwise, that the Catholic Church remains very much part of the DNA of a great majority of Irish people.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 10:17 AM

Opinion: The Vatican has missed a great opportunity

NORTHERN IRELAND
Belfast Telegraph

By Alf McCreary

March 24 2018

There was no surprise at this week’s confirmation from Rome that Pope Francis will visit Ireland in August. It had been well flagged in advance that the Pope would be the chief guest at the World Meeting of Families.

However most people were greatly surprised that he will not be coming to Northern Ireland in a visit that historically would complete the visit of Pope John Paul II nearly 40 years ago.

John Paul II was prevented from coming north because of the dire security situation, and this grieved him greatly.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 10:13 AM

Opinion:Forgive me Father, but you need to confess to being a pedophile before you die

BATAVIA (NY)
The [Batavia] Daily News

March 24, 2018

By Scott DeSmit

Forgive me Father, for I have sinned, my last confession was Tuesday ...

I was here in 2002 when Father Donald Becker disappeared from St. Mary’s Church, now part of Resurrection Parish.

He just left. Gone. No goodbyes.

The Diocese of Buffalo, when pressed, had only this to say: He was on leave for medical reasons

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 10:07 AM

March 23, 2018

SF man accused of abuse sues archdiocese

SANTA FE (NM)
Albuquerque Journal

March 22, 2018

By Mark Oswald

A Santa Fe man says he was defamed when the Archdiocese of Santa Fe last year published the names of 74 men it said were Catholic clergy who had been credibly accused of sexually abusing children in New Mexico.

Rudy Blea, in a state court lawsuit, says he has never been a member of the clergy and that Archbishop John C. Wester and other church officials have refused to correct the archdiocese’s September news release, which came after years of complaints by victims over a lack of transparency about the history of sexual abuse by priests in the state.

Blea says that in the archdiocese’s list of accused abusers, he was wrongly identified as a member of the Benedictine Order.

“By implication,” the lawsuit states, the archdiocese “announced to the world” that Blea “was a Benedictine priest who was a child molester.” The archdiocese list actually identified Blea as “Br. Rudy Blea” of the Benedictines, meaning as a “brother” or monk.

Blea says in the new lawsuit that he has never been a member of the Benedictine order or “employed by them or lived in residence with them at any time during his life,” nor has he ever been “a brother, monk, deacon or priest in any diocese of the Catholic church.”

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 3:14 PM

Bankruptcy Judge Approves $25M Crosiers Sex Abuse Settlement

MINNEAPOLIS (MN)
The Associated Press

March 22, 2018

A federal bankruptcy judge has approved a $25 million settlement by the Crosier religious order over lawsuits alleging clergy sex abuse in Minnesota.

A federal bankruptcy judge has approved a $25 million settlement by the Crosier religious order over lawsuits alleging clergy sex abuse in Minnesota.

Judge Robert Kressel approved the plan Thursday. The Phoenix-based Crosier Fathers and Brothers filed for Chapter 11 reorganization last year. The order has communities in Onamia, Minnesota, and Phoenix.

The order will pay $5.7 million, with its insurer paying the remaining $19.7 million.

The Rev. Thomas Enneking, the order's religious superior in the U.S., apologized from the witness stand.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 3:12 PM

NZ Catholic Church still keeping issues behind closed doors

NEW ZEALAND
Radio NZ

March 23, 2018

By Phil Pennington

Analysis - The sexual abuse of women by men in positions of power takes many guises, writes Phil Pennington.

Where it occurs in the Catholic Church, and priests are the perpetrators, Cardinal John Dew, who is also bishop of Wellington, has been uncompromising in the past in calling it out.

It was "professional misconduct by means of sexual abuse" for any priest to have a sexual relationship with a parishioner, he has said.

"It is always, in the case of a member of the clergy, his professional and pastoral responsibility to recognise the vulnerability of the person he's ministering to and to take appropriate steps to avoid emotional, physical and sexual involvement."

There was always a power imbalance between priests and their parishioners, and "meaningful consent" could not apply.

"It is a sad reality that there have been many instances of sexual abuse, this is always a betrayal of trust, it is always an inappropriate use of power and control that a priest ...has."

Cardinal John Dew - the Catholic Archbishop of Wellington - wrote that back in 1996 in a Church paper, following revelations that a bishop in Scotland had been living with a divorcee and had fathered a son with another woman.

His spokesperson this week told RNZ that "the Cardinal stands by his comments".

But two decades on, Cardinal Dew is not so forthcoming on the related issue of priests who father children.

Others have spoken up, with Pope Francis saying he would be inclined to tell a priest "he must leave his priestly ministry and take care of his child".

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 3:09 PM

Cosby wants judge ousted over wife’s sex-assault advocacy

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
The Associated Press

March 22, 2018

Bill Cosby’s lawyers on Thursday asked the judge in his upcoming sexual assault retrial to step aside, arguing the judge could be seen as biased because his wife is a social worker who has described herself as an “activist and advocate for assault victims.”

Cosby’s lawyers contend some of Judge Steven O’Neill’s recent pretrial rulings could give the appearance he’s being influenced by his wife’s work, particularly his decision last week to let prosecutors have up to five additional accusers testify when he allowed just one at the first trial.

O’Neill did not immediately rule on the request. He and his wife, Deborah, did not immediately respond to messages seeking comment.

Deborah O’Neill is a psychotherapist at the University of Pennsylvania and coordinates a team providing care, support and advocacy for student sexual assault victims. In 2012, she wrote her doctoral dissertation on acquaintance rape, the type of assault at issue in Cosby’s criminal case.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 3:06 PM

Michigan priest suspended, diocesan property raided

SAGINAW (MI)
National Catholic Reporter

March 22, 2018

By James Dearie

After a sting operation resulted in the arrest of a Saginaw diocese priest in late February, another priest has been suspended amid reports of sexual misconduct, and diocesan property has been raided by the police.

Fr. Ronald J. Dombrowski, 72, a sacramental minister at Holy Family Parish in Saginaw, was suspended over the weekend after an adult contacted the diocese claiming to have suffered abuse by the priest as a child, the Midland Daily News reported March 19.

Dombrowski is not allowed to present himself as a priest publicly or have contact with people under 21 while the case progresses. He has not been charged with a crime.

On March 22, the Saginaw News reported that police had raided the rectory of the Cathedral of Mary of the Assumption, Saginaw diocese's offices, and the house of Bishop Joseph Cistone. It is not clear what officers were searching for, but local officials say that the diocese's refusal to cooperate with their investigation into sex abuse in the church necessitated the raids.

"Contrary to the statements of the diocese and the bishop that they would fully cooperate with law enforcement, they did not," county prosecutor Mark Gaertner told the paper. "Therefore it was necessary for law enforcement to use other investigative tools, including search warrants."

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 2:20 PM

Police search Michigan bishop's home, citing lack of cooperation in sex abuse investigation

SAGINAW (MI)
CNA/EWTN News

March 23, 2018

By Mary Rezac

On Thursday, police in Saginaw, Michigan raided the home of Bishop Joseph Cistone, as well as the diocesan chancery and its cathedral rectory, as part of an ongoing investigation into sex abuse allegations against several diocesan priests.

CNA has reached out to the Diocese of Saginaw, Michigan for comment but did not receive a response by press time.

Police told local media that they could not reveal what they were searching for or taking from the properties. However, authorities did say that the search warrants were due to a lack of cooperation on the part of the diocese related to an ongoing clerical sex abuse investigation.

"Contrary to the statements of the diocese and the bishop that they would fully cooperate with law enforcement, they did not," Saginaw County Assistant Prosecutor Mark Gaertner told local news source Michigan Live. "Therefore it was necessary for law enforcement to use other investigative tools, including search warrants."

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 2:18 PM

Cuomo blasts Dolan's claim of 'toxic' clause in Child Victims Act

ALBANY (NY)
New York Daily News

March 21, 2018

By Kenneth Lovett

Gov. Cuomo stood up for survivors of childhood sexual assault on Wednesday, and pushed back against Timothy Cardinal Dolan’s statement that a lookback provision for them to revive old legal claims would be “toxic.”

"These victims have been denied their day in court for far too long and we stand with them," Cuomo told the Daily News in a statement. “The arguments against a lookback do not stand up against the experience of every other state and this debate only wastes time and delays justice.”

While his statement did not mention Dolan by name, it came one day after the cardinal met with him to argue against a lookback provision being included in the Child Victims Act, which would extend the statute of limitations on criminal and civil child sex abuse cases.

After meeting separately with Cuomo and Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan (R-Suffolk County), Dolan told reporters a lookback provision would be “toxic for us” because it would lead to a flood of civil cases against the Church.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 2:14 PM

REVEREND SCEPTICAL OVER ANGLICAN CHURCH’S HANDLING OF SEX ABUSE CASES

CAPE TOWN (SOUTH AFRICA)
Eyewitness News (EWN)

March 23, 2018

By Monique Mortlock

Anglican Archbishop Thabo Makgoba says he has begun 'urgent consultations' to strengthen procedures for dealing with sexual abuse cases in the church.

A reverend who says she was sexually assaulted by ministers in the Anglican Church is hoping that the church will improve the way it handles sexual abuse cases.

Anglican Archbishop Thabo Makgoba says that he has begun “urgent consultations” to strengthen procedures for dealing with sexual abuse cases in the church.

This includes setting up an advisory team in the different dioceses across Southern Africa to help bishops handle sexual abuse complaints.

Makgoba's announcement on Thursday was prompted by several cases of sexual abuse that have made it into the public domain in recent weeks, including damning allegations by award-winning South African author Ishtiyaq Shukri.

Makgoba has admitted the church is failing in its duty to offer healing to victims of sexual abuse and more needs to be done.

But Reverend June Dolley-Major is sceptical.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 2:11 PM

Women harassed at Capitol jobs want input on #MeToo legislation

ALBANY (NY)
The New York Post

March 23, 2018

By Kirstan Conley

A group of women who suffered sexual harassment at their jobs in the state Capitol don’t want “three men in a room” to be the only ones deciding how to stop the culture of misconduct in Albany.

Leah Hebert, Rita Pasarell and Tory Buhrans Kelly — who helped lead to the downfall of late Assemblyman Vito Lopez after complaining that he groped them — issued a joint statement saying they want to give input as the legislature tries to seize on the #MeToo moment.

“We have come together for the first time to raise our collective voice as people who have experienced and/or reported sexual harassment in the New York State Legislature,” they said.

The statement also came from Erica Vladimer, who worked for Independent Democratic Caucus leader Sen. Jeff Klein.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 2:08 PM

Editorial: The Guardian view of abuse in the church: a truly dreadful story

ENGLAND
The Guardian

March 22, 2018

The evidence that has emerged of the Church of England’s attitude towards abusive clergy has gravely damaged its moral authority

The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse is just finishing its investigation of the scandals involving the Church of England in Sussex or, in the jargon, the diocese of Chichester. What it has found, in the words of one witness, has been “horrifying to a huge degree, because you see this extraordinary and atrocious willingness to turn a blind eye to things going very, very seriously wrong, and entirely damaging human beings for their whole lifetimes”. The speaker was Justin Welby, the present archbishop of Canterbury. He can’t on this occasion be accused of overstatement. The picture that has emerged of the Church of England is an organisation almost paralysed by self-importance, but lacking in real self-confidence and, as a result, almost wholly unaccountable, even internally. Bishops quite often burned all their confidential files on leaving office, to ensure there was no evidence to trouble their successors. The clergy were held to be more important than the laity, and the bishops far superior to the parish clergy. The archbishop told the inquiry that he thinks every day about how the church will answer for its sins on the day of judgment, but few people within it seem to have been troubled by the thought of any earlier reckoning.

This goes for both the preceding archbishops of Canterbury, Lord Williams and Lord Carey. Lord Carey, who submitted two paragraphs of written evidence to the inquiry, was sacked last summer by Mr Welby from his post as an unpaid parish priest after details emerged of his suppression of evidence in the case of Peter Ball, who had abused boys as a junior bishop in Chichester before being promoted to become bishop of Gloucester and finally arrested, charged and sentenced after one of his victims killed himself. Lord Carey still believes he has been treated unfairly, and some of his conservative evangelical supporters claim that he is being persecuted for his theological views.

Lord Williams gave evidence that there may have been a reluctance to pursue priests who abused children because the church, embarrassed by its earlier attitudes to gay clergy, was wary of seeming “judgmental about people’s sexual activities”. He also said he was entirely unaware of the efforts of his staff to throw all the blame for the scandal on to the then bishop of Chichester.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 2:05 PM

Woman accusing former Mormon Missionary Training Center leader of sexual abuse says she may sue the LDS Church

SALT LAKE CITY (UT)
The Salt Lake Tribune

March 23, 2018

By Peggy Fletcher Stack

Days after MormonLeaks published an audio recording and transcript of a nearly three-hour conversation between a former Mormon Missionary Training Center (MTC) president and a Colorado woman who has accused him of attempted rape, settlement talks between the woman and the LDS Church have stalled.

In the explosive recording, the woman details how Joseph L. Bishop allegedly ripped her clothes and tried to rape her. She also presses him to confess to other misconduct.

“Since the leak, there have been no further settlement discussions” with the LDS Church, the woman’s attorney, Craig Vernon, confirmed to The Salt Lake Tribune on Thursday. “My client deserves justice.”

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 12:45 PM

Disgraced Cardinal to be denied funeral mass in Edinburgh and will not be buried at St Mary's Cathedral, Catholic Church says

SCOTLAND
The Herald

March 22, 2018

The funeral of Cardinal Keith O’Brien will be held in Newcastle, with Archbishop of Westminster Cardinal Vincent Nichols leading proceedings, the Catholic Church has announced.

The arrangements, which were made with input from Pope Francis himself, aim to resolve a dilemma for the Church over how to honour the disgraced Cardinal and draw a line under the scandal.

Cardinal O’Brien, who stepped down as Archbishop of St Andrews and Edinburgh in 2013, and relinquished all duties after admitting sexual misconduct, will not be accorded a full requiem mass in his own diocese and will not be buried at the city’s St Mary’s Cathedral.

Instead he is to be interred at Mount Vernon Cemetery, Edinburgh, in the same grave as his parents – which the Church said was in accordance with his own wishes.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 12:43 PM

Letters: Face up to problem of coercion in the Catholic Church

SCOTLAND
The Herald

March 22, 2018

CONGRATULATIONS to Rosemary Goring ("Cardinal O' Brien's tale was a betrayal of hope and trust", The Herald, March 21) for stating clearly that Cardinal O'Brien's sin was not his homosexuality but his coercive control of men over whom he had authority. His was not a mere peccadillo, a case of failing "to live up to the sexual standards to which he was committed" as Bruce Kent put it in his letter the same day: it was a case of repeatedly abusing other human beings. I suspect it is because of this abuse and the harm it caused that Archbishop Scicluna's report has been suppressed, but I would welcome the chance to be proved wrong by its publication.

I am a believing Catholic, but no longer a fully practising one.

The persistent habit of the Catholic Church, particularly in Scotland, is to make token apologies and then sweep abuses under the carpet without allowing light to fall on their fundamental cause. For Keith O'Brien to have become head of the church in Scotland there must already have been a culture of coercive and controlling behaviour within the church, for his abuses were already known in clerical circles.

To quote the title of a recent article by the journalist Kevin McKenna in your sister paper the Sunday Herald last month, "a sickness has infected the Catholic church in Scotland". An aspect of that sickness is coercive control. Coercive control is a key indicator of psychopathy.

Peter Martin,

Sruth Ruadh, Milton, Strathconon, Muir of Ord.


IN his ironic funeral oration for Caesar, Mark Anthony said: "The evils that men do live after them, the good is oft interred with their bones." Students demand the names of philanthropists be purged from college buildings for their "evils" starting with the likes of Lee and Rhodes but soon progressing to Washington and Jefferson.

The death of Cardinal Keith O'Brien has evoked similar passions in obituarists and correspondents. Yet the announcement that this former scientist with the liberal views of Pope John and Vatican II was to be become only the third Scottish Cardinal since the Reformation was widely welcomed both in the Catholic Church and beyond.

The Christian church took on a harder edge during his career and while liberal ministers like me could afford to rattle the Kirk's cage that wasn't an option for the Cardinal. He argued a Vatican orthodoxy which did not reflect his kindly nature and I was heartbroken when he was engulfed in a scandal I still find hard to credit.

It is apparent some want to believe his work as a priest, his brilliance as a preacher and the good that he manifestly accomplished have all been lost in his downfall. He was a casualty of the Great Celebrity Witchhunt that has diverted the nation in recent years and I truly believe history will be kinder to him than his contemporaries.

Rev Dr John Cameron,

10 Howard Place, St Andrews.


MY thanks to Bruce Kent for putting his head above the parapet and admitting that Cardinal O’Brien did some considerable good in his life – like most of us he was a mixture of good and bad.

I can’t speak for those let down by the Cardinal but I think most people agree with this. However, Christ taught that no man is beyond redemption. God is merciful but also just –and only He knows the full truth of this sad tale.

Mrs E McDermott,

1 Fairfield Place, Bothwell.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 12:39 PM

Politician breaks silence over abuse from paedophile priest Malachy Finnegan

NORTHERN IRELAND
Press Association

March 23, 2018

A senior Sinn Fein politician has revealed a notorious paedophile priest physically abused him when he was a schoolboy and tried to sexually groom him.

Conor Murphy has recounted how the late Malachy Finnegan dragged him into an office and savagely beat him with a stick before asking a series of explicit questions, including whether he loved him.

In an exclusive interview with the Press Association, Mr Murphy outlined his experiences in the late 1970s at the hands of Finnegan at St Colman's College in Newry, Co Down.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 12:36 PM

SF MLA breaks silence over abuse from paedophile priest

NORTHERN IRELAND
ITV

March 23, 2018

A senior Sinn Fein politician has revealed a notorious paedophile priest physically abused him when he was a schoolboy and tried to sexually groom him.

Conor Murphy has recounted how the late Malachy Finnegan dragged him into an office and savagely beat him with a stick before asking a series of explicit questions, including whether he loved him.

Speaking to the Press Association, Mr Murphy outlined his experiences in the late 1970s at the hands of Finnegan at St Colman's College in Newry, Co Down.

Mr Murphy, who attended St Colman's from 1975 to 1980, said he was angry that no one in authority stopped Finnegan's reign of abuse, despite his sexual interest in young boys being common knowledge within the school.

He has demanded a full investigation.

The high-profile politician is the latest former pupil of St Colman's to reveal their treatment at the hands of the abusive and sadistic cleric, whom he described as a "violent, volatile, bullying drunkard".

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 12:31 PM

Sinn Féin's Conor Murphy says he was abused by paedophile priest Finegan

IRELAND
The Journal

March 23, 2018

By Gráinne Ní Aodha

MLA Conor Murphy said that he was seriously physically abused by the paedophile priest.

SINN FÉIN MLA Conor Murphy has said that he was abused while at school in Co Down by paedophile priest Malachy Finegan.

In an exclusive interview with the Irish News, Murphy said that Finegan physically abused him when he was a schoolboy at St Colman’s College in Newry.

“I think it was just before the end of our third year, I was a 14-year-old, and there was a bit of ruckus going on in the class we were in and Finegan burst into the room,” the Newry and Armagh Assembly member told Irish News.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 12:26 PM

Waiving limitations on civil abuse suits called ‘unfair, catastrophic’

ATLANTA (GA)
Catholic News Service

March 22, 2018

By Nichole Golden

Georgia lawmakers are considering waiving the statutes of limitations on civil lawsuits claiming sexual abuse of young people against nonprofits and businesses, but not government agencies or public schools.

Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory of Atlanta said the bill called the Hidden Predator Act, or H.B. 605, is unfair to the Catholic Church and would be catastrophic to the church’s mission. Many of the cases of alleged abuse could go as far back as the 1940s.

“I write to inform you of an extraordinarily unfair bill currently pending in our state legislature,” he said in a March 9 statement. “If passed, H.B. 605 could drastically damage our ability to carry out the mission of our Catholic Church in the state of Georgia.”

Sponsored by Republican Rep. Jason Spencer, the legislation was approved Feb. 28 by the Georgia General Assembly’s House of Representatives and sent to the state Senate for consideration.

“We have always fully supported criminal prosecution of and lawsuits against any individual abuser of children, no matter how long ago the abuse is alleged to have occurred,” said Gregory. “Additionally, for the past two decades the Catholic Church in Georgia has had what may be the strongest safe environment program, nonprofit or otherwise, in the state.

“Our church and our schools have strict zero-tolerance policies regarding sexual abuse of any vulnerable person.”

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 12:23 PM

Pastor Andy Savage Resigns After Sex Abuse Investigation, His Accuser Responds

MEMPHIS (TN)
CBN News

March 22, 2018

By Charlene Aaron

Pastor Andy Savage of Highpoint Church in Memphis, TN has resigned from his position after accusations of a sexual assault 20 years ago.

Earlier this year Savage took a leave of absence during an investigation into the alleged incident involving a teenage girl. He officially resigned Tuesday.

"I now believe it's appropriate for me to resign from my staff position at Highpoint Church and step away from ministry in order to do everything I can to right the wrongs of the past," he said in his resignation statement.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 12:19 PM

SA Anglican Church sex abuse scandal: four victims come forward

SOUTH AFRICA
Times LIVE

March 22, 2018

Anglican Archbishop Thabo Makgoba says four cases of sexual abuse in two dioceses have emerged in recent weeks.

Urgent consultations are now under way to bolster procedures for dealing with cases of sexual abuse in the church‚ he said on Thursday.

The church has been rocked by allegations of abuse‚ with South African author Ishtiyaq Shukri saying he had been “repeatedly and routinely” sexually abused in the past by priests at St Cyprian's Cathedral‚ Kimberley.

A second victim told the Weekend Argus at the weekend that he had been abused from the late 1970s until the early 1980s when he was 13 years old.

“The other priest stopped pursuing me. But one continued. He would come to our home‚ telling my parents he was taking me to church events. This continued for about four years. And suddenly he was moved about 150km from Cape Town‚” he said.

Archbishop Makgoba acknowledged on Thursday that the church had been “lagging behind in our care for victims of abuse”.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 12:17 PM

Domestic abuse happens in churches too: new research highlights churchgoers’ experience

ENGLAND
Anglican Communion News Service (ACNS)

March 21, 2018

New research into the prevalence of domestic abuse amongst churchgoers shows that one in four people have experienced abuse in their current relationship. The research, by academics at Coventry University and the University of Leicester for the Christian charity Restored, surveyed churchgoers in the north-west English county of Cumbria for the ground-breaking study of domestic abuse.

“Domestic abuse happens in churches too,” Dr Kristin Aune of Coventry University, who led the research, said. “A quarter of the people we heard from told us they had, for example, been physically hurt by their partners, sexually assaulted, emotionally manipulated, or had money withheld from them. This includes 12 women who have experienced between 10 and 20 abusive behaviours and six women who are currently in relationships where they fear for their lives.”

The co-author of the research, Dr Rebecca Barnes, of the University of Leicester, said: “More broadly, 42 per cent of the people we heard from had experienced in a current or previous relationship at least one of the abusive behaviours we asked about.”

The report says that 438 churchgoers from a range of churches completed the survey, and 109 of them said they had experienced abusive behaviours in their current relationship. People aged over 60 were less likely to say they had experienced domestic abuse than younger adults were, and women more likely to say they had experienced serious forms of abuse than men.

Only two in seven churchgoers felt their church was adequately equipped to deal with a disclosure of abuse.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 12:15 PM

Anglican Church of Southern Africa seeks to “act more effectively” to abuse allegations

CAPE TOWN (SOUTH AFRICA)
Anglican Communion News Service (ACNS)

March 22, 2018

The Primate of Southern Africa, the Archbishop of Cape Town, Thabo Makgoba, has written to the bishops of the province asking them to establish diocesan advisory teams to handle allegations of abuse. He is also “urgently consulting more widely on how the Church can not only act more effectively, but be seen to act effectively in cases of sexual abuse,” he said in a statement released today. “Key to my efforts is to achieve holistic and sustainable healing.” In his statement, Archbishop Thabo said that in recent weeks “four individuals have either spoken out publicly or contacted my office privately to report experiences of sexual abuse in two dioceses” dating back to the 1970s and 1980s.

One of those cases involved the South African writer Ishtiyaq Shukri. In an open letter at the end of last month, he said that he had been “repeatedly and routinely” sexually abused by Anglican priests at St Cyprian’s Cathedral in Kimberley from the age of 10 in 1978. “The abuse was alienating and confusing,” he wrote. “I did not know what to do‚ so I kept quiet‚ knowing that I was not alone‚ and that there were others‚ too. That knowledge provided a distorted sense of comfort‚ normalising the abnormal‚ which‚ after all‚ is what life in apartheid South Africa trained us all to do.”

He published his open letter in response to comments by Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu on the Oxfam abuse scandal. Archbishop Tutu had said that he was “deeply disappointed by allegations of immorality and possible criminality involving humanitarian workers linked to the charity.” His spokesman said that Tutu was “saddened by the impact of the allegations on the many thousands of good people who have supported Oxfam’s righteous work.”

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 12:10 PM

Several accused priests served in Cattaraugus, Allegany counties

OLEAN (NY)
Olean Times Herald

March 21, 2018

By Tom Dinki

Diocese yet to detail which churches allegations stem from

Among the 42 priests identified by the Catholic Diocese of Buffalo as having been accused of sexually abusing children, more than a third served throughout Cattaraugus and Allegany counties at some point in their careers.

The diocese, which released the names Tuesday amid public pressure, stated the priests were removed from ministry, retired or left ministry after allegations of sexual abuse of a minor. However, the diocese did not specify which parishes and years the priests served.

The histories of the men are slowly being pieced together through various diocese directories and media reports. The Olean Times Herald archives show records of some of men serving in Southern Tier throughout the second half of the 20th century.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 12:06 PM

Erie diocese set to release priests’ names in big policy shift

ERIE (PA)
GoErie

March 22, 2018

By Ed Palattella

Bishop Persico to disclose list of accused clergy “within the next several weeks,” the diocese said. Buffalo’s Catholic bishop released names there on Tuesday.

On Tuesday, the Catholic Diocese of Buffalo released the names of priests in the diocese accused of sexually abusing minors.

On Wednesday, the Catholic Diocese of Erie announced that it will release its own list of accused priests over the next several weeks.

Robert Hoatson, president of Road to Recovery, an advocacy group for abuse victims, said the timing of Erie Bishop Lawrence Persico’s announcement is not coincidental.

“I’m sure he is releasing those files because of what happened in Buffalo,” said Hoatson, a former priest. “No doubt about it.”

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 12:03 PM

Ex-Erie priest names priest he says abused him

ERIE (PA)
GoErie

March 23, 2018

By Ed Palattella

The accused priest is now deceased. The former priest now lives in Buffalo and said the abuse occurred when he was a teenager in Erie in the 1980s.

A former Erie priest pressed earlier this week for the Diocese of Buffalo to release the names of accused clergy.

He has now decided to name the Erie priest he said abused him as a teenager in the 1980s.

The former priest, James Faluszczak, 48, identified his abuser as Monsignor Daniel J. Martin, a former pastor of St. George Church in Millcreek Township who died at 88 in 2006.

Faluszczak said that Martin molested him when Faluszczak was 16 to 19 years old. He said the abuse occurred at St. George and at Mt. Calvary Church and then at Mercyhurst College, now Mercyhurst University, where Faluszczak said Martin was living at the time.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 12:00 PM

Sinn Féin's Conor Murphy reveals grooming by paedophile priest

NORTHERN IRELAND
BBC News

March 23, 2018

A senior Sinn Féin politician has said paedophile priest Fr Malachy Finegan physically abused him and tried to sexually groom him.

Conor Murphy said the priest, who died in 2002, dragged him into an office in St Colman's College, Newry, County Down, and beat him with a stick.

Mr Murphy told the Press Association that the priest asked him explicit questions, including if he loved him.

Fr Finegan taught in St Colman's from 1967 to 1976.

He was also the school's president.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 11:57 AM

Police raid Michigan diocese while priest faces sex charges

SAGINAW (MI)
The Associated Press

March 22, 2018

Police in Michigan raided the Catholic Diocese of Saginaw, the residence of the bishop and a rectory Thursday following the recent arrest of a priest accused of committing sex crimes.

Saginaw County Assistant Prosecutor Mark Gaertner said he could not disclose what officers were after in the searches conducted at the diocesan offices, the home of Bishop Joseph Cistone and the rectory at the Cathedral of Mary of the Assumption in Saginaw.

Cistone and the diocese have not carried through on promises to support investigators looking into sexual abuse allegations against the Rev. Robert DeLand and others in the diocese, the prosecutor said.

"Contrary to the statements of the diocese and the bishop that they would fully cooperate with law enforcement, they did not," Gaertner said. "Therefore it was necessary for law enforcement to use other investigative tools, including search warrants."

Earlier this month, prosecutors formed a team to coordinate and investigate allegations of abuse within the diocese. Messages seeking comment were left for a diocesan representative.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 11:55 AM

Accused and removed Catholic priest now a Lutheran church organist

BUFFALO (NY)
WGRZ

March 22, 2018

By Claudine Ewing

Rev. David Bialkowski was removed from the Buffalo Catholic Diocese, but he is now an organist in a WNY Lutheran church.

One of the 42 Buffalo Catholic Diocesan priests removed from ministry after allegations of sexual abuse of a minor is now serving as a church organist.

Rev. David Bialkowski served for years at St. John Gualbert in Cheektowaga. It is where many of his alleged victims claim they were abused by him.

2 On Your Side learned that Bialkowski is serving as the organist at Immanuel Lutheran Church in Tonawanda. A church official told Channel 2's Claudine Ewing that Bialkowski is the organist and confirmed he is the same Bialkowski on the list of priests removed.

Attorney Kevin Stocker represents some of the victims who claim they were abused by Bialkowski. "I called the local police department and the council men and women an advised them of what he had been accused of and I talked to the minister of that church and said he had an obligation to tell the congregation of what this person was accused of so that other children didn't become harmed by it."

He also spoke with someone at the Lutheran church. "I said if you don't advise the mothers and fathers of the children, I said you're going to have blood on your hands for not doing what's right."

The church can employ Bialkowski because he has not been convicted of a crime.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 11:52 AM

Buffalo Catholic Diocese lists wrong name for accused priest

BUFFALO (NY)
WGRZ

March 22, 2018

A spokesman for the Buffalo Catholic Diocese calls it "an unfortunate mistake"

The Catholic Diocese of Buffalo put out a list earlier this week with the names of priests accused of sexual abuse.

One of the priests listed is not supposed to be on that list.

On the list of 42 priests, it should have read Rev. James P. Hayes as the priest who died in 1988, not James F. Hayes who should not have been placed on the list

A spokesman for the Buffalo Catholic Diocese calls it “an unfortunate mistake”

Also of note, Rev. Chester S. Stachewicz died in 2010. Originally, the Diocese indicated he was alive.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 11:46 AM

New details about 42 former Buffalo priests accused of child sex abuse

BUFFALO (NY)
WIVB

March 22, 2018

By Jenn Schanz

42 former Buffalo priests were accused of child sex abuse since 1950.

According to a spokesperson for the Buffalo Diocese, the priests were either removed from ministry, retired, or left the Church.

Tuesday, the Buffalo Diocese released a list of their names.

According to Bishop Richard Malone, it was needed to begin healing for the survivors and to bring the alleged crimes into the public light.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 11:42 AM

Sponsor: Senate’s changes wreck law to allow child-sex lawsuits

ATLANTA (GA)
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

March 22, 2018

By Ty Tagami

It was supposed to open the courts to adults who say they were sexually abused decades ago, but Georgia’s Hidden Predator Act has been so heavily amended that its author says it would be of no use to the victims he knows.

“I will now have to tell the five men in my district that I tried to help them, but I couldn’t,” Rep. Jason Spencer, R-Woodbine, said Thursday after a Senate committee voted unanimously to add several pages of amendments that limit who can sue.

House Bill 605 faced opposition from two powerful institutions that have been accused of systematically covering up child sexual abuse: the Catholic Church and the Boy Scouts. It passed the House of Representatives 170-0 last month with language that would have opened the door wide to lawsuits by adults of any age. But the Senate Judiciary Committee, meeting in private, added several pages of amendments that effectively shield such organizations from most liability over past inaction.

“We tried to strike a balance for victims’ rights and the rights of defendants, particularly entities, to due process,” said the committee chairman, Sen. Jesse Stone, R-Waynesboro.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 11:14 AM

Clerics in row over BBC Nolan show child abuse claim

IRELAND
The Belfast Telegraph

March 23, 2018

By Rebecca Black

An outspoken Free Presbyterian minister has refuted an accusation by a Catholic priest that he attempted to "sectarianise" the issue of child sex abuse.

Fr Patrick McCafferty, parish priest of Corpus Christi in west Belfast, criticised Rev David McIlveen after he told BBC NI's Nolan Live TV show that "false religion will always breed immorality".

But last night Rev McIlveen told the Belfast Telegraph that he had in no way implied that child abuse only happened within the Catholic Church.

"This is a Biblical position that false religion will breed immorality - that probably is something he might well be taking exception to," he said.

"I didn't say that the Roman Catholic church bred immorality.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 11:12 AM

Police Raid Three Saginaw Diocese Locations

SAGINAW (MI)
WSGW

March 22, 2018

By Ann Williams

Police from several agencies were executing search warrants Thursday at three locations in connection with recent sex abuse allegations involving two Saginaw-area Catholic priests. MLive.com quotes Saginaw County Assistant Prosecutor Mark Gaertner as saying despite pledges the diocese has made to cooperate with the investigation, they have not. Gaertner said the search warrants were executed as a necessary investigative tool of law enforcement. The locations being searched were the home of Bishop Joseph Cistone, The Catholic Diocese of Saginaw offices and the rectory at St. Mary’s Cathedral.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 11:07 AM

BREAKING: Police raid bishop’s house, offices as part of sex-abuse investigation

SAGINAW (MI)
LifeSiteNews

March 22, 2018

By Claire Chretien

Police raided the home of Bishop Joseph Cistone, his diocesan offices, and his cathedral rectory today, saying Cistone and the Diocese of Saginaw are not fully cooperating with law enforcement’s clerical sex-abuse investigation.

A priest in Cistone’s diocese was charged with sexually assaulting a 17-year-old male last month, and since then law enforcement has formed a special task force to “look into complaints” related to the case.

Police brought a canine unit to the bishop’s house as they executed their search warrant, according to ACB12.

“Contrary to the statements of the diocese and the bishop that they would fully cooperate with law enforcement” in the ongoing sex-abuse investigation, “they did not," said Saginaw County Assistant Prosecutor Mark Gaertner. “Therefore it was necessary for law enforcement to use other investigative tools, including search warrants.”

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 11:04 AM

Police search Michigan bishop’s home, citing lack of cooperation in sex abuse investigation

SAGINAW (MI)
CNA/EWTN News

March 22, 2018

By Mary Rezac

On Thursday, police in Saginaw, Michigan raided the home of Bishop Joseph Cistone, as well as the diocesan chancery and its cathedral rectory, as part of an ongoing investigation into sex abuse allegations against several diocesan priests.

CNA has reached out to the Diocese of Saginaw, Michigan for comment but did not receive a response by press time.

Police told local media that they could not reveal what they were searching for or taking from the properties. However, authorities did say that the search warrants were due to a lack of cooperation on the part of the diocese related to an ongoing clerical sex abuse investigation.

"Contrary to the statements of the diocese and the bishop that they would fully cooperate with law enforcement, they did not," Saginaw County Assistant Prosecutor Mark Gaertner told local news source Michigan Live. "Therefore it was necessary for law enforcement to use other investigative tools, including search warrants."

Gaertner told Michigan Live that search warrants were executed on Thursday at Bishop Cistone’s home as well as on the rectory of the diocesan cathedral and on the diocesan offices.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 11:03 AM

MLive: Police raided Catholic Diocese in Saginaw in ongoing sex abuse investigation

SAGINAW (MI)
MLive via The Morning Sun

March 22, 2018

Police raided two Catholic Diocese of Saginaw properties and the home of Bishop Joseph Cistone on Thursday as part of an ongoing investigation into sexual abuse in the church.

Saginaw County Assistant Prosecutor Mark Gaertner said he cannot say what officers were searching for and what they took from the properties, but confirmed the search warrants executed Thursday are related to a lack of cooperation by the diocese which includes Clare, Gratiot and Isabella counties, as reported by MLive/Saginaw News.

“Contrary to the statements of the diocese and the bishop that they would fully cooperate with law enforcement, they did not,” Gaertner said. “Therefore it was necessary for law enforcement to use other investigative tools, including search warrants.”

Search warrants were executed at the bishop’s home on Corral Drive in Saginaw, the rectory at Cathedral Of Mary Of The Assumption, 615 Hoyt, in Saginaw, and the Catholic Diocese of Saginaw offices in Saginaw Township, according to Gaertner.

To date, only one diocese priest, Rev. Robert DeLand, has been criminally charged. He was accused of sexually assaulting two males -- a 21-year-old and a 17-year-old -- in his Saginaw Township condominium.

Since DeLand’s Feb. 26 arrest, numerous tips and allegations about further sexual abuse dating back as far as three decades have flooded area police departments, investigators previously said. Among the tips were allegations against other clergymen.

Another diocese priest, Rev. Ronald J. Dombrowski, was recently suspended by the diocese after it received a report he allegedly sexually assaulted a person when they were a minor. He has not been criminally charged.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 10:11 AM

March 22, 2018

Diocesan Priests Who Were Removed from Ministry, Were Retired or Left Ministry after Allegations of Sexual Abuse of a Minor

BUFFALO (NY)
Diocese of Buffalo

March 20, 2018

The following list identifies diocesan priests who were removed from ministry, were retired, or left ministry after allegations of sexual abuse of a minor. This list also includes deceased priests with more than one allegation made against them. The year of death is listed next to those who are deceased.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 7:35 PM

Where the 42 Buffalo area priests accused of sexual misconduct with minors worked

BUFFALO (NY)
Buffalo News

March 21, 2018

By Mike McAndrew

Where did the 42 Catholic Diocese of Buffalo priests who had credible allegations of sexual misconduct involving minors work?

Diocese officials did not release that information Tuesday when Bishop Richard J. Malone released for the first time a list of the 42 priests accused of sexual contact with minors.

The diocese's annual directories and newspaper archives provide some information, although there are a few gaps in the records available. It's possible the priests served in additional parishes beyond those listed below:

John R. Aurelio, from 1967 to 1993: St. Helen's, Hinsdale; Cardinal Mindszenty High School, Dunkirk; St. Leo the Great, Amherst; West Seneca Developmental Center; St. Catherine of Siena, West Seneca; St. John the Evangelist, Buffalo; and Christ the King Seminary, East Aurora.

Donald W. Becker, from 1968 to 2002: St. Mark's, Rushford; St. Mary's of the Assumption, Lancaster; St. Bonaventure, West Seneca; SS. Peter & Paul, Hamburg; Nativity of Our Lord, Orchard Park; St. Stephen's, Grand Island; St. Agatha's, Buffalo; St. Joseph's, Fredonia; St. Mary's, Batavia.

David M. Bialkowski, from 1989 to 2011: St. Bernard's, Buffalo; SS. Peter & Paul, Hamburg; and St. John Gualbert, Cheektowaga.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 7:27 PM

Editorial: Bishop Malone makes a start by releasing names of priests

BUFFALO (NY)
Buffalo News

March 21, 2018

Bishop Richard J. Malone took a giant step Tuesday toward getting right with the victims of sexual abuse by priests in the Buffalo Diocese. By releasing a list of 42 priests facing allegations, Malone and the church opened the door to a greater level of healing by both the church and the victims of sexual abuse. It’s a start. It shouldn’t be the end.

In releasing this list of names, Malone followed the example he set in his previous posting in Portland, Maine, and which many other dioceses around the country have adopted. For reasons that remain unexplained – though they may seem obvious – the Buffalo Diocese until Tuesday was operating in protection mode.

That strategy became untenable in the days since Michael F. Whalen Jr. came forward to report that, as a teenager 40 years ago, he was sexually abused by the Rev. Norbert F. Orsolits, who then acknowledged abusing “probably dozens” of teenage boys. That broke open the dam, and other victims started coming forward, sharing the pain that still haunts them and demanding an accounting from the church.

On Tuesday, Malone agreed, providing 27 names more than had previously been known. The question now is whether the list is exhaustive. Could there be more priests, either protected by or unknown to the diocese?

Whalen thinks that could be the case, and so does Tom Travers of Buffalo, who says a priest abused him in the 1970s when he was an altar boy. “My abuser is not on the list,” he said. That makes it incomplete.

What is more, Travers said the diocese has contacted him about participating in its recently created Independent Reconciliation and Compensation Program, meant to settle claims of sexual abuse. There’s a disconnect between those circumstances. So the question inevitably arises: What more does the church have yet to reveal?

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 7:23 PM

Names of Buffalo Diocese priests accused of abusing minors

BUFFALO (NY)
Buffalo News

March 20, 2018

By Aaron Besecker

[Includes links to articles about priests previously named and known.]

Bishop Richard J. Malone on Tuesday released the names of priests who have been accused of sexual misconduct with minors.

"The following list identifies diocesan priests who were removed from ministry, were retired or left ministry after allegations of sexual abuse of a minor," the diocese said. The list includes deceased priests with more than one allegation made against them. Priests who are deceased have their year of death listed next to their name, the diocese said.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 7:19 PM

Under pressure, Buffalo bishop names 42 priests accused of abuse

BUFFALO (NY)
Buffalo News

March 20, 2018

By Jay Tokasz

For more than 30 years, Timothy J. Clark lived with the emotional scars of being sexually abused by a parish priest.

The name of the man who allegedly assaulted Clark remained a closely guarded secret. Clark didn't want to talk much about it. Bishops for the Catholic Diocese of Buffalo refused to acknowledge anything about priests who were accused of molesting minors.

Bishop Richard J. Malone altered course Tuesday morning by disclosing the names of 42 priests facing allegations of sex abuse, including 27 priests whose names had not previously been linked in public to molestation complaints. The diocese joined about 30 other dioceses in the country that have disclosed the names of clergy accused of sexual misconduct.

Among the 27 new names was the Rev. Louis J. Hendricks, the priest that Clark said repeatedly abused him when he was a teenager growing up in South Buffalo in the 1980s.

The stunning list stirred a mix of emotions in Clark, a former altar boy who is now 49 and lives in Alaska.

"It was very surreal seeing Hendricks' name finally put out there. And it makes me wonder how much did the church know before he got to me," he said.

Hendricks died in 1990 at the age of 53. Two dozen priests on the list released Tuesday were deceased, including Monsignor Joseph E. Schieder, a powerful cleric who had advised two presidents on youth issues in the 1950s and 1960s. A handful of other monsignors – a Vatican designation reserved for certain priests who were recommended to the pope because of their good work – made the list.

Most of the priests on the list were never prosecuted on criminal charges or sued in civil courts. Some of the priests were quietly removed from ministry under the guise of early retirements or medical leaves. The diocese on Tuesday did not provide any information about the specific allegations against each priest, or disclose where the living priests are residing.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 7:16 PM

More names of priests expected to surface after release of list from Buffalo Diocese

BUFFALO (NY)
Buffalo News

March 21, 2018

By Jay Tokasz

A spokesman for the Catholic Diocese of Buffalo declined on Wednesday to disclose more information about 42 priests who were identified as having had credible allegations of child sexual abuse brought against them, but he said further disclosures "certainly will be considered" in the future.

"At this time what we felt was most appropriate was to get the names out on a timely basis and that's what we did," said the spokesman, George Richert.

Diocesan officials, he said, will "take under consideration" the release of a fuller accounting, such as when the priests were accused of abuse, what parishes they served in, how many allegations were lodged against them and when they were removed from ministry or left ministry on their own.

Richert also declined to say how the diocese determined that the allegations against the priests were credible.

The list included the names of priests who started working in parishes as far back as 1935. The accused priests served in parishes across all of the eight counties of the Buffalo Diocese.

Bishop Richard J. Malone's reversal on Tuesday of a longstanding policy in which it kept secret the identities of clergy accused of sexual misconduct with minors failed to mollify victims and their advocates.

They said the list of 42 was incomplete and lacked the kind of full transparency that would help victims heal and find justice.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 7:11 PM

Police raiding Saginaw diocese, bishop's home in priest sex abuse probe

SAGINAW (MI)
MLive

March 22, 2018

By Michael Kransz

Police are raiding two Catholic Diocese of Saginaw properties and the home of Bishop Joseph Cistone as part of an ongoing investigation into sexual abuse in the church.

Saginaw County Assistant Prosecutor Mark Gaertner said he can't say what officers are searching for and taking from the properties, but confirmed the search warrants executed Thursday, March 22, are related to the diocese's lack of cooperation.

"Contrary to the statements of the diocese and the bishop that they would fully cooperate with law enforcement, they did not," Gaertner said. "Therefore it was necessary for law enforcement to use other investigative tools, including search warrants."

Gaertner said search warrants were executed at the bishop's home on Corral Drive in Saginaw, the rectory at Cathedral Of Mary Of The Assumption, 615 Hoyt, in Saginaw, and the Catholic Diocese of Saginaw offices in Saginaw Township.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 1:51 PM

Campaigner warns of protests over child abuse during Pope’s visit to Ireland

IRELAND
The Belfast Telegraph

March 21, 2018

The Pope has expressed ‘pain and shame’ over the clerical sex abuse of children.

Pope Francis will face protests about child abuse when he visits Ireland, a campaigner said.

The pontiff will attend part of the 9th World Meeting of Families which will take place from August 21 – 26 in Dublin.

Margaret McGuckin is leading calls for a special payment to child victims of institutional abuse in Catholic residential homes in Northern Ireland.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 1:49 PM

LDS Church responds to allegations of sexual abuse by former MTC president

PROVO (UT)
The Daily Universe

March 21, 2018

By Ashley Lee

The LDS Church is responding to sexual assault allegations against a former president of its Missionary Training Center in Provo.

The accusations come from a former church member who served as a missionary in 1984, according to a statement released Tuesday, March 20. She reported to the leaders of the Pleasant Grove West Stake in 2010 that Joseph Bishop had sexually assaulted her when she was at the MTC.

According to the church statement, the stake leaders reported the claims to the Pleasant Grove Police Department. “The church does not know what she said in that interview, but the church received no further communication from the police concerning the matter,” according to the statement.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 1:48 PM

Child abuse imagery found within bitcoin's blockchain

GERMANY
The Guardian

March 20, 2018

By Samuel Gibbs

Researchers discover illegal content within the distributed ledger, making possession of it potentially unlawful in many countries

German researchers have discovered unknown persons are using bitcoin’s blockchain to store and link to child abuse imagery, potentially putting the cryptocurrency in jeopardy.

The blockchain is the open-source, distributed ledger that records every bitcoin transaction, but can also store small bits of non-financial data. This data is typically notes about the trade of bitcoin, recording what it was for or other metadata. But it can also be used to store links and files.

Researchers from the RWTH Aachen University, Germany found that around 1,600 files were currently stored in bitcoin’s blockchain. Of the files least eight were of sexual content, including one thought to be an image of child abuse and two that contain 274 links to child abuse content, 142 of which link to dark web services.

“Our analysis shows that certain content, eg, illegal pornography, can render the mere possession of a blockchain illegal,” . “Although court rulings do not yet exist, legislative texts from countries such as Germany, the UK, or the USA suggest that illegal content such as [child abuse imagery] can make the blockchain illegal to possess for all users.”

“This especially endangers the multi-billion dollar markets powering cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin.”

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 1:46 PM

Guam Catholic Church 'has a lot of work to do'

GUAM
Radio NZ

March 22, 2018

A Catholic Church watchdog on Guam says the church has a lot to do to rebuild trust, after the top Archbishop was convicted by a Vatican trial last week.

A secretive Vatican trial on Friday found Anthony Apuron guilty of "certain accusations" related to the sexual abuse of minors.

Dave Sablan, whose group, Concerned Catholics of Guam, was formed around the time allegations began to surface, said the verdict was the first bit of justice for the dozens of men who came forward.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 11:18 AM

Editorial: Springfield diocese must do better in response to sexual misconduct

SPRINGFIELD (MA)
The Daily Hampshire Gazette

March 21, 2018

When the Roman Catholic Diocese of Springfield reached a settlement with Richard Koske in 2013 after he described sexual abuse by a former Northampton priest years earlier, it could have remained just another “personnel matter” kept behind closed doors.

In fact, that’s how the diocese treated the incident until Koske, 62, of South Hadley, went public this month, detailing his story of sexual abuse at the hands of retired priest Eugene Honan in the rectory of St. Mary’s Church in Northampton during the mid-1990s.

While the $20,000 settlement may have given Koske a sign that the diocese acknowledged wrongdoing, he was disturbed to learn over the course of several agonizing years how the church dealt with Honan. We also find it troubling.

A devout Catholic who had known Honan since he was a teenager, Koske first told the diocese in 2006 about the sexual abuse involving Honan. Five years later, Koske went to the diocese again after attending services at St. Patrick’s Church in South Hadley and seeing Honan at the altar.

In 2011, a Diocesan Review Board found Koske’s report of abuse credible and the matter was referred to a district attorney’s office. At the time, Honan, who retired in 2010, was already out of regular, full-time ministry. Koske said he was told of a confession by Honan in 2011 and understood that the priest was going to be moved out of state for a month while the diocese decided what to do.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 10:37 AM

Hawaii lawmaker is latest to resign after misconduct probe

HONOLULU (HI)
The Associated Press via The Chicago Sun-Times

March 21, 2018

A former speaker of the Hawaii House of Representatives will resign by next week to resolve sexual harassment allegations brought by several women, the latest case of an elected official being forced from office over misconduct.

The Hawaii State Ethics Commission on Wednesday announced the settlement in its investigation of state Rep. Joseph Souki of Maui, a Democrat. The investigation included allegations Souki, 86, sexually harassed multiple women by subjecting them to unwanted kissing, touching and sexual language.

Sexual misconduct allegations against movie producer Harvey Weinstein in October have led women around the country to come forward with claims against powerful men in politics, entertainment, business and media.

Since 2017, at least 23 state lawmakers have resigned or been expelled from office amid sexual misconduct or harassment allegations. That includes the 17 who left office since reports about Weinstein’s misconduct.

The settlement calls for Souki to resign by March 30, issue a public apology, pay a $5,000 penalty and not seek office for two years.

According to the settlement, Souki admitted he “touched and kissed more than one woman in ways that were inappropriate and unwelcome. He admits that this physical contact exceeded the boundaries of the customary ‘aloha kiss.'”

He also admitted making “sexual comments, including comments on the physical appearance of more than one woman, that were inappropriate and unwanted.”

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 10:34 AM

Hawaii Democrat Resigns In Response To Sexual Harassment Claims He Still Denies

HONOLULU (HI)
The Huffington Post

March 22, 2018

By Carla Herreria

State Rep. Joe Souki had said he merely gave one of his accusers an “aloha kiss” on the cheek, but an ethics report says he admitted it was more than that.

A long-serving Hawaii lawmaker will resign from his post at the end of the month in response to sexual harassment complaints made against him by several women.

Hawaii’s State Ethics Commission said that state Rep. Joe Souki, an 84-year-old Democrat who previously served as the state’s House speaker, has admitted to touching and kissing “more than one woman in ways that were inappropriate and unwelcome.”

The commission added that Souki has acknowledged that his actions “exceeded the boundaries of the customary ‘aloha kiss,’” a customary greeting in the islands that involves a platonic kiss on the cheek.

Souki also admitted to making sexual comments, including comments on physical appearance, to more than one woman, according to the commission’s report on its investigation, released Wednesday.

Rachel Wong, a former state Department of Human Services director, filed a sexual harassment complaint against Souki in February, accusing him of an incident that occurred in 2015 in the presence of another male colleague, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported at the time.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 10:30 AM

Former Missionary Training Center president admits to asking a young missionary to expose her breasts in the ’80s, BYU police say

SALT LAKE CITY (UT)
The Salt Lake Tribune

March 21, 2018

By Peggy Fletcher Stack

A former president of the LDS Missionary Training Center has admitted that he took a young woman into a small room at the Provo campus in 1984 and asked to see her breasts, according to a report released Wednesday by Brigham Young University police.

The release comes three days after MormonLeaks published an explosive, taped conversation between the woman and Joseph L. Bishop, who she accuses of attempting to rape her.

Bishop, now 85, said during their December conversation that he didn’t remember taking her into the room, let alone sexually assaulting her. But he repeatedly apologized, describing himself as a predator and saying he had confessed to other sexual misconduct — disclosures that have ignited outrage online and questions about whether the Mormon church failed to protect women.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 10:27 AM

Woman levels accusations against former MTC president

PROVO (UT)
Deseret News

March 20, 2018

By Tad Walch

The LDS Church is investigating a woman’s claim that a former president of the Missionary Training Center in Provo sexually assaulted her while she was a missionary there in 1984, an allegation that he denies.

The woman, who is 55, posed as a reporter in December to confront Joseph L. Bishop, 85, who served as MTC president from 1983-86 and as president of Weber State College in the 1970s. She told Bishop that he groomed her by making her feel special, then took her to a basement storage room in the MTC and attempted to rape her, an allegation she later said was rape.

The conversation, which she taped, and its 76-page transcript was released by a website called MormonLeaks run by a former member of the LDS Church. The woman told the Deseret News Monday that the tape was released without her permission. The Deseret News typically does not release the identity of alleged victims of sexual assault.

Bishop adamantly denied the allegations through his son, Gregory Bishop, who questioned the woman's credibility, saying she has accused 10 other men of sexual assault, sexual harassment or assault without charges being filed and has sought cash settlements in other cases. In 2010, she threatened to kill Bishop, according to police records and her own statements.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 10:24 AM

Top judge slams Catholic Church for being "in denial” over sexual abuse

LIVERPOOL (UNITED KINGDOM)
Liverpool Echo

March 22, 2018

By Neil Docking

Father Thomas Wood visited internet chat rooms and watched videos of children being raped

A top judge slammed the Catholic Church for being in “denial” over sexual abuse problems within the priesthood.

Former Liverpool priest Father Thomas Wood, 55, yesterday admitted possessing and making indecent images of children.

He visited internet chat rooms to join other perverts watching videos of young children being raped in November 2015.

Wood’s Internet Protocol (IP) address led police to the presbytery of Our Lady’s church in Southport Road, Lydiate.

But he was spared jail after convincing Judge Clement Goldstone, QC, that he wanted help to address his problems.

Damian Nolan, defending, provided Liverpool Crown Court with a number of references on behalf of the disgraced priest.

Judge Goldstone said: “Some of the references I find much more compelling than others.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 10:19 AM

Anglican archbishop tackles sex abuse in the church

CAPE TOWN (SOUTH AMERICA)
News24

March 22, 2018

By Amanda Khoza

The Anglican Church in Cape Town is urgently taking steps to address sex abuse cases in the church.

In a statement, Anglican Archbishop of Cape Town, Reverend Thabo Makgoba, said he has started urgent consultations to address the issue and to "strengthen" procedures which are in place for those who deal with sex abuse cases when they are reported.

His statement comes after "four individuals have either spoken out publicly or contacted my office privately" to report sex abuse in two dioceses, apparently during the 1970s and 1980s.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 10:16 AM

Former Elk County priest alleges abuse before grand jury

ERIE (PA)
The Courier Express

March 21, 2018

By Katie Weidenboerner

A former local priest has spoken out, saying he testified about an alleged incident of abuse before a grand jury investigating the Catholic Diocese of Erie.

According to an article from the Erie-Times News, that priest is James Faluszczak, 48, now of Buffalo, N.Y. He was a priest from 1996-2014. He served locally during that time in the Elk County Catholic school system, as the pastor of St. Boniface Parish in Kersey, and as a campus minister at Clarion University before resigning from the priesthood.

The Erie-Times News reported that Faluszczak said, “It hurt me very deeply to resign and cease functioning as a priest...I loved my work. I loved the people and communities I served.”

Faluszczak is believed to be one of many witnesses who have testified before the grand jury, whose proceedings are secret and which was convened at the request of the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office around September 2016, according to media reports.

In those media reports, Faluszczak said the attorney general’s office contacted him after he called, in the spring of 2016, a hotline that the office set up in March 2016 for victims of clergy sex abuse. The Erie-Times News reported that on Monday he said that he testified before the grand jury in October 2016, that when he was 16 to 19 years old, he was “molested by my priest in Erie.”

Faluszczak has not publicly named the Erie priest.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 10:13 AM

Bishop responds to criticism after naming former priests accused of child sex abuse

BUFFALO (NY)
WIVB

March 21, 2018

By Jenn Schanz

It’s a club Gary Astridge never wanted to be a part of.

“I guess [there were ] many psychological reasons as a little boy for me not saying anything to anyone when this all happened to me, but I can’t stay quiet anymore,” he told News 4.

Decades after he says he was molested by a Buffalo priest, Astridge is speaking out.

“When you look at pictures of me as a little boy, it’s just like oh my God how could someone do that?”

The priest Astridge claims abused him died several years ago.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 10:10 AM

N.Y. Catholic Archbishop Opposes Bill Making It Easier for Abuse Victims to Sue

ALBANY (NY)
Advocate

March 21, 2018

By Trudy Ring

Cardinal Timothy Dolan, the famously anti-LGBT Roman Catholic archbishop of New York, is arguing against pending state legislation that would offer a window for survivors of sexual abuse to sue over crimes that happened decades ago.

Dolan made an unannounced visit to the state capitol in Albany to urge lawmakers and Gov. Andrew Cuomo not to support a “lookback” provision in the Child Victims Act, which would give survivors a one-year period to bring suits over decades-old incidents of abuse.

“Lookback would be toxic for us,’’ Dolan told reporters after meeting with politicians, the New York Daily News reports. He added, “The lookback we find to be very strangling because we unfortunately have precedent. When that happens the only organization targeted is the Catholic Church.’’ The church and other organizations, such as the Boy Scouts of America, have warned of a flood of litigation during the lookback period. He said he is not opposed to other moves that would make it easier for abuse survivors to bring the perpetrators to justice, such as easing the statute of limitations.

Abuse survivors and their advocates quickly struck back at Dolan. “Is it a lookback or priest raping kids that is toxic? I'm just trying to figure out which causes more damage to society,” Kat Sullivan, who was raped by a teacher at her private school in 1998, told the Daily News. “I think the words of a man who knowingly impedes a bill that would provide due process to citizens currently being excluded should be ignored because he represents an institution that not only violated children but actively worked to cover it up a

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 10:08 AM

Bishop speaks about releasing list of priests accused of abuse

BUFFALO (NY)
WKBW

March 21, 2018

[Note: This article is two pages.]

Bishop Richard Malone is speaking for the first time since the Catholic Diocese of Buffalo released the names of 42 priests who were accused of sexually abusing minors.

The list dates back to the 1950's and includes priests that have multiple allegations against them. Some of the priests on the list have already passed away. All of the priests on the list were removed from ministry, were retired, or left the ministry since the allegations surfaced.

In an interview with 7 Eyewitness News, Malone admitted past policies were only partially adequate when it came to addressing cases of abuse, because they sometimes allowed for accused priests to return to ministry.

"When there was an allegation of abuse that had what we call a semblance of truth, that priest would be removed from ministry and usually sent for some kind of assessment by professionals," Malone said. "Sometimes in the past, the verdict would be that they could return to ministry."

Malone said the Diocese now exercises a "Zero Tolerance Policy" and would never allow a priest who has been accused of sexual abuse return to ministry.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 10:05 AM

Catholic Church, Boy Scouts Oppose Georgia’s Child Sexual Abuse Bill

ATLANTA (GA)
Courthouse News

March 21, 2018

By Kayla Goggin

A legislative effort to bolster Georgia’s Hidden Predator Act by granting additional protections to victims of childhood sexual assault is under fire by Atlanta’s Catholic Archdiocese and the Boy Scouts of America.

The organizations object to the inclusion of language in the bill allowing victims to sue “entities,” including churches, private schools and youth organizations. Under Georgia’s current laws, organizations are able to escape legal liability for protecting the alleged perpetrators of sexual abuse.

The bill could expose organizations to increased financial liability as well.

House Bill 605 would extend the statute of limitations for survivors of childhood sexual assault, allowing adults up to the age of 38 to sue alleged perpetrators and their employers for sexual abuse. Currently, the Hidden Predator Act only offers protections to adults up to the age of 23.

The bill makes allowances for certain situations in which victims of any age could sue alleged perpetrators and the organizations accused of covering up their crimes.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 10:02 AM

List the predators: Ogdensburg Diocese should name all those accused of abuse

OGDENSBURG (NY)
Watertown Daily Times

March 22, 2018

A representative of a law firm in Minnesota called on the leaders of the Roman Catholic dioceses of Ogdensburg and Syracuse last week to release the names of all priests accused of sexual abuse.

“We hope the dioceses will view this as being on the cusp of doing the right thing,” Mike Reck, a lawyer with Jeff Anderson & Associates, said during a March 14 news conference. “They have this information. They could disclose it, and we hope they do.”

The law firm represents victims of abuse by priests in these two dioceses. It released a report naming eight priests from Ogdensburg and 19 from Syracuse accused of sexual abuse.

In so doing, the law firm urged the two dioceses to become more transparent by making public the names of all their priests who have faced accusations of abuse. This would show that church leaders take this crisis seriously by exposing the predators within their ranks.

The Diocese of Ogdensburg, however, has opted to follow a tragic pattern of obstruction. Through a spokesman, Bishop Terry R. LaValley made it clear that the diocese would continue to keep the names of these priests under wraps.

“The concern of Bishop LaValley and the Diocese of Ogdensburg remains with the victims of sexual abuse by clergy and their healing,” Mr. Crowley said in a statement. “To protect the privacy of victims, the diocese will not release or confirm names of accused clergy.”

Mr. Crowley said that some victims have asked Bishop LaValley to withhold the name of their abusers. However, this appears to be a tactic to safeguard the identity of perpetrators rather than to serve victims.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 9:59 AM

Outraged Catholics say Australian church leaders are 'locked in a misogynistic and unaccountable culture'

AUSTRALIA
The Newcastle Herald

March 22, 2018

By Joanne McCarthy

AUSTRALIAN Catholic church leaders are “locked in a misogynistic and unaccountable culture” that has failed to adequately respond to the child sexual abuse scandal and is denying the need for urgent reform, say Catholic groups meeting in Canberra on Friday to demand change.

More than 50 leading Catholic reformists are expected to seek an urgent meeting with Australia’s bishops after a request to release the first formal church assessment of child abuse royal commission recommendations was declined last week by Melbourne Archbishop Denis Hart.

The lack of a decisive response on systemic reform after the “catastrophe of sex abuse by clergy” was “the last straw for many committed Catholics”, said Australian Catholic Coalition for Church Reform in a statement on Thursday.

Coalition convenor Peter Johnstone said the Canberra meeting is a direct response to the bishops’ refusal to release a Truth Justice and Healing Council analysis of the royal commission’s findings and recommendations before a bishops’ conference in May. It was given to a senior church leaders group several weeks ago.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 9:57 AM

Australian Catholic Church to hold first Plenary Council in 80 years

AUSTRALIA
VATICAN News

March 20, 2018

By Richard Marsden

The Australian Catholic Church, with the approval of Pope Francis, will hold a Plenary Council in 2020 to discuss its way forward in light of the challenges it faces in contemporary society.

Pope Francis has given his approval for the Catholic Church in Australia to hold its first Plenary Council - the most significant national ecclesiastical gathering – in more than 80 years.

The Council in 2020 will address the way forward for the Church in Australia in light of the challenges it faces in contemporary society.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 9:55 AM

Archbishop of Canterbury: Church has failed to protect children from abuse

LONDON (ENGLAND)
National Catholic Reporter

March 21, 2018

By Catherine Pepinster

Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby told a national commission investigating child sex abuse that his church has not done enough to root out the problem.

Welby, the leader of the Church of England and the Anglican Communion — who himself has come under some criticism for his handling of abuse cases — told the commission Wednesday (March 21) that the church needs new powers to safeguard children.

He said reading about abuse and listening to survivors was particularly painful because the church had failed victims of abuse by Anglican priests.

"You see this extraordinary and atrocious willingness to turn a blind eye to things going very, very seriously wrong and entirely damaging human beings for their whole lifetimes," Welby said.

Welby is the most high-profile witness so far to give evidence to the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse, a commission charged by the British government to head a wide-ranging investigation into the failures of 13 institutions in England and Wales to protect children.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 9:53 AM

Abuse makes me ashamed of church, says Welby

ENGLAND
The Times

March 21, 2018

By Sean O’Neill

The Archbishop of Canterbury told a public inquiry he felt ashamed of the Church of England after hearing evidence of abuse and cover-up over many years.

The Most Rev Justin Welby said the lesson of three weeks of hearings at the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse which focused on abuse scandals in the Diocese of Chichester was that continued training and development was needed.

“I’ve learnt to be ashamed again of the church,” said the archbishop. “You can’t read the transcripts, you can’t read the evidence statements without being moved. The church does wonderful, wonderful things across the country and the most stressful job in the church is to be a parish priest. That a minority, a small minority, has betrayed that is horrifying.”

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 9:50 AM

BISHOP MALONE ADDRESSES LIST OF PRIESTS ACCUSED OF ABUSE, ANOTHER ALLEGED VICTIM GOES PUBLIC

BUFFALO (NY)
Spectrum Local News

March 21, 2018

By Andy Young

Bishop Richard Malone said Wednesday he wanted to shed light on the Catholic Diocese of Buffalo’s decision to release a list of more than 40 priests accused of sexual assault.

"My job is to bring things out of the darkness and into the light,” said Malone. “Primarily so we can offer healing, mercy and justice to victims, and, in the process, heal the church because something like this obviously mars the integrity of the church."

Another victim, Gary Astridge of Tonawanda, came forward Wednesday to share the pain he's dealt with for years, the result of alleged sexual abuse by a priest in the Catholic Church.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 9:48 AM

DIOCESE OF BUFFALO NAMES 42 PRIESTS ACCUSED OF SEXUAL ABUSE

BUFFALO (NY)
Spectrum Local News

March 20, 2018

By Mark Goshgarian

In its promise to be more transparent, the Diocese of Buffalo released the names Tuesday of 42 priests accused of sexual abusing a minor. Those identified were either removed from ministry, retired, left on their own amid abuse allegations, or have died.

"Shocking, this news is. But not shocking in one sense because we know that at least four bishops covered this up and secreted these men away for decades," said Robert Hoatson, Road To Recovery president.

The list comes on the heels of a national law firm representing victims releasing 13 names from the Diocese last week. Some of the names on the list overlap with priests named by Jeff Anderson & Associates in a report released. It also comes weeks after the Diocese announced a new compensation program for victims as well.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 9:42 AM

March 21, 2018

Priest who abruptly left St. Mary’s in Batavia named in sex abuse scandal as Diocese releases 42 names

BATAVIA (NY)
The Daily News

March 20, 2018

By Scott Desmit

Four days after The Buffalo News detailed sexual assault allegations against a priest who abruptly left a Batavia parish in 2002 and the priest’s denial, the Diocese of Buffalo has released his name, along with 41 other priests accused of sexually abusing children.

Father Donald Becker’s name was on that list. Becker left St. Mary’s Church in Batavia in 2002, “because of a medical leave of absence,” the Diocese said at the time.

Last week, The Buffalo News featured an article about three men who accused Becker of sexually assaulting them when they were children, including at a camp Becker owned in Java, Wyoming County.

Becker denied the allegations to the paper. He is retired and lives in Florida, according to the article.

The Diocese has seen increasing pressure to release the names of all its priests who have been accused of sexually abusing minors. A press release was sent about 11 Tuesday morning, giving the names of “diocesan priests who were removed from the ministry, were retired or left ministry after allegations of sexual abuse of a minor in the Diocese of Buffalo since 1950,” said George Richert, director of communications.

About half of the men on the list are dead.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 2:16 PM

Older pupils also abused students at German Catholic choir school: report

BERLIN (GERMANY)
Reuters

March 20, 2018

A German public broadcaster on Tuesday broadened the scope of allegations of decades of abuse at Germany’s most famous Roman Catholic choir school, saying not only teachers but older students were to blame.

Last July, an independent report chronicled physical and sexual assaults by teachers against 547 pupils between 1945 and 2015 at the boarding school of the “Regensburger Domspatzen”, or Regensburg Cathedral Sparrows.

Citing legal documents and personal accounts, broadcaster Suedwestrundfunk, part of the ARD consortium, reported on Tuesday pupils were also subjected to sexual assaults, ranging from forced masturbation to anal sex, by older students.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 2:14 PM

Archbishop of Canterbury 'ashamed' of Church over abuse

ENGLAND
BBC News

March 21, 2018

The Archbishop of Canterbury has said how "ashamed" he is of the Church in the wake of the child sex abuse inquiry.

The Most Rev Justin Welby told the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse that it was "horrifying" to read the evidence from survivors.

"I have learned to be ashamed again," he said.

The three-week hearing is looking into the Diocese of Chichester, where dozens of clergy have been accused of abuse.

Mr Welby said: "To read the transcripts, to read the evidence, to meet the survivors, is horrifying to a huge degree, because you see this extraordinary and atrocious willingness to turn a blind eye to things going very seriously wrong and entirely damaging human beings for their whole lifetimes."

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 1:43 PM

Timothy Cardinal Dolan urges state pols to reject 'toxic' lookback window in child abuse cases

ALBANY (NY)
New York Daily News

March 20, 2018

By Kenneth Lovett and Glenn Blain

Timothy Cardinal Dolan urged Gov. Cuomo and state lawmakers Tuesday to reject any legislation that gives child abuse victims a window to revive old legal cases.

Dolan, who made an unannounced trip to the state Capitol to lobby the governor and legislative leaders, said the idea of a “lookback would be toxic for us” because it would lead to a flurry of cases against the church.

“The lookback we find to be very strangling,” Dolan told reporters after meeting with Cuomo for more than an hour. “When that happens, the only organization targeted is the Catholic Church.”

A lookback window is among the most controversial components of the Child Victims Act, which would make it easier for abuse survivors to seek justice as adults by extending the timeframes they can bring criminal and civil cases.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 1:41 PM

Inhumanity in the Name of Jesus: Catholic Dogma Which Led to the Holocaust also Led to the Cover-Up of Clergy Sex Abuse

SPRING VALLEY (NY)
EINPresswire

March 21, 2018

New book argues that it is the history and magisterium of the Catholic Church which made the Holocaust possible and the cover-up of clergy sex abuse inevitable.

G.R. Pafumi has released the first of two volumes about sex abuse in the Catholic Church, Inhumanity in the Name of Jesus. Volume I: Pain and Suffering, Aftermath of the Catholic Church’s Belief in its Own Infallibility. With sex abuse accusations against major celebrities and public figures, such as Harvey Weinstein, Charlie Rose and Matt Lauer, Pafumi focused on victims abused by Catholic clergy. They paved the way for the #MeToo movement. Victims of Catholic clergy are no longer willing to remain silent about the abuse they suffered, sometimes decades ago. Pope Francis is currently dealing with the fallout from his trip to Chile, where he defended a bishop who covered for a clergy sex offender. The Pope accused the alleged victims of calumny even though he was given an eight-page letter from one of the victims. It seems the Pope lied. Why?

The Catholic Church, including the sex abuse crisis, is not easily understood without a consideration of the Church’s history. The cover-up of sex abuse was inevitable because of the Church's belief in its ecclesiastical infallibility and its long history of unchecked power. The Church believes it is never wrong because it has been guided by the Holy Spirit for nearly 2,000 years ago. The Holy Spirit would not allow the Church or its popes to make errors in its magisterium, i.e. teaching authority. Pafumi asks, “Where was Holy Spirit when the Jews were being persecuted and children sexually molested?” Since the first century, Jews have been identified by the Church as Christ killers. Jewish disdain is manifest in the Apostolic constitution Ineffabilis Deus (Ineffable-indescribable-God), a decree promulgated by Pope Pius IX in 1854. The Virgin Mary was claimed to be conceived without the stain of original sin. Her entire ancestry back to Adam needed to be immaculately conceived, since the Jewish faith is passed along through maternal parentage. By having an immaculately conceived heritage, Mary had no Jewish blood. It appears that the real purpose of this constitution was to de-Jewify Jesus by de-Jewifying his mother and her ancestry.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 1:39 PM

LDS Church responds to allegations of sexual abuse by former Provo MTC president

PROVO (UT)
Daily Herald

March 20, 2018

By Genelle Pugmire

Allegations of sexual assault by a former president of the Provo Missionary Training Center against a sister missionary have resurfaced after 34 years.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints released a statement Tuesday to clarify the path the allegation has taken over the decades, and the controversial audio leaked Monday.

“These allegations are very serious and deeply disturbing,” the church statement says. “If the allegations of sexual assault are true, it would be a tragic betrayal of our standards and would result in action by the Church to formally discipline any member who was guilty of such behavior, especially someone in a position of trust.”

According to the statement, the matter was first brought to the attention of the church in 2010, approximately 26 years after the alleged assault. The woman, who served briefly as a missionary in 1984, told leaders of the Pleasant Grove Utah West Stake that she had been sexually assaulted by Joseph Bishop, then- president of the Provo Missionary Training Center.

“They listened carefully to the claims being made and then this was immediately reported to the Pleasant Grove Police Department, and the police interviewed her at that time,” the church statement said. “The church does not know what she said in that interview, but the church received no further communication from the police concerning the matter.”

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 1:37 PM

Louisville priest appealing 7-year prison sentence, saying there was 'no intent to abuse' 10-year-old victim

LOUISVILLE (KY)
WDRB

March 20, 2018

By Katrina Helmer

Fr. Joseph Hemmerle, convicted of abusing a boy in the 1970s, is appealing to three judges to reconsider his case.

Michael Norris testified during the 2016 trial that when he was 10 years old, Hemmerle sexually abused him while he attended Camp Tall Trees in 1973. Norris said he had poison ivy, and when Hemmerle offered to treat it in private, Norris said Hemmerle sexually abused him instead. Norris said he never had poison ivy on his genitals, so there was no reason for Hemmerle to touch Norris’ genitals or for Hemmerle to put his mouth on Norris’ genitals.

In 2016, Hemmerle was tried on two different charges of abuse: carnal abuse and indecent or immoral practices. Since the victim said the abuse happened in the 1970s, the language of the law is different from what would be today’s charges of sodomy and sexual abuse.

At trial, Hemmerle testified he would apply lotion to the genitals of child campers for poison ivy, but he denied ever abusing any children.

The jury, in 2016, found Hemmerle not guilty of carnal abuse but guilty of indecent or immortal practices by inappropriately touching Norris. The judge sentenced Hemmerle to seven years in prison. Then in December 2017, after less than a year behind bars, Hemmerle’s request for parole was denied.

On Tuesday afternoon, Hemmerle’s attorney, David Lambertus, presented his case for appeal. Lambertus argued Hemmerle never performed an indecent act on the victim, that there was no intent to abuse the victim, that the verdicts were inconsistent, that the jury was given inconsistent instructions and that the two counts did not differentiate and needed to be merged.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 1:35 PM

Several Priests Accused Of Sexual Abuse Served In Local Churches

JAMESTOWN (NY)
The Post-Journal

March 20, 2018

By Katrina Fuller, Mike Rukavina, and Eric Tichy

Several priests accused of sexual abuse of minors by the Buffalo Diocese served in Chautauqua County churches at various times over the last several decades.

The diocese on Tuesday released the names of 42 priests who were removed, retired or left the ministry after allegations of sexual abuse were reported since 1950. Included in the list are priests with more than one allegation; more than half on the list have since died after being accused.

In a statement to The Post-Journal, a spokesman said the diocese could not get into specific dates of when it received allegations of sexual abuse against the priests on its list. No formal statement was being made Tuesday, the spokesman said.

The following are priests named by the diocese that served in local churches. The information was collected from various articles that appeared in The Post-Journal.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 12:57 PM

Archbishop Welby to give evidence at national inquiry into child sexual abuse

ENGLAND
The Tablet

March 20, 2018

By Rose Gamble

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, is due to give evidence on Wednesday at the national inquiry into child sexual abuse.

Over the past three weeks, the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) has been examining how the Church of England handled allegations of sexual misconduct stretching back to the 1950s, focusing on the Diocese of Chichester.

Archbishop Welby joins two former Archbishops, serving bishops, safeguarding officials and abuse survivors in giving evidence - or submitting witness statements – to the hearing.

In a statement read by his counsel Nigel Giffin QC on the opening day of the hearing, Archbishop Welby apologised for the church’s “deeply shaming” failure to protect children.

“That children have been abused within communities of churches is indeed shameful,” he said. “We agree..that the voices of these children are not to be marginalised and that the future prevention of such abuse is and must be a very high priority," the statement continued.

The Church of England’s national head of safeguarding, Graham Tilby, admitted at the start of this week that despite major investments into safeguarding, the CofE still did not have the systems in place to ensure that cases of serious abuse within the church would be reported to his team.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 12:55 PM

Canons of St. John Cantius founder removed amid misconduct claims

CHICAGO (IL)
Catholic News Agency

March 20, 2018

By Kevin J. Jones

The pastor of Chicago’s St. John Cantius Church was removed from office last week for unspecified “credible” allegations of misconduct involving adult men, a response the Chicago archdiocese says is typical in such cases.

Cardinal Blase Cupich of Chicago removed Father C. Frank Phillips, founder of the Canons Regular of St. John Cantius and pastor of Chicago’s St. John Cantius Church.

“I am aware that this is difficult news to receive, but the Archdiocese of Chicago is committed to ensuring those serving our parishioners are fit for ministry,” the cardinal said in a statement. “Know that this decision was made after careful consideration. I will continue to pray for you and am confident the Lord will sustain the St. John Cantius community as you make this transition.”

Cupich said he had to withdraw the priest’s faculties to minister in the archdiocese “after learning of credible allegations of improper conduct involving adult men.”

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 12:45 PM

French government to tackle sexual and gender-based violence

PARIS (FRANCE)
The Associated Press

March 21, 2018

By Sylvie Corbet

France's government on Wednesday presented a bill to fight sexual and gender-based violence, in the wake of the #MeToo movement.

Junior minister for gender equality Marlene Schiappa said at a news conference the measure will impose fines for gender-based harassment on the street or in public transport of between 90 and 750 euros ($110-920).

Schiappa said she is convinced the measure "will act as a deterrent because never before have we heard so much talk about street harassment."

Witnesses to such acts will know the French Republic's law is on the side of women, she stressed.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 12:45 PM

Andy Savage resigns from Highpoint Church following investigation

MEMPHIS (TN)
Commercial Appeal

March 20, 2018

By Ron Maxey

Andy Savage, accused of sexually assaulting a teenage girl in Texas 20 years ago, has resigned from his ministerial post at Highpoint Church.

The Memphis megachurch announced the resignation Tuesday, saying that while an investigation found no other instances of abuse, "the leadership team at Highpoint Church agrees that Andy's resignation is appropriate."

The statement is the first time the church leadership has termed the encounter involving Savage as "abuse."

Savage's fall culminates more than two months of accusations and soul-searching over a case that became symbolic of the #churchtoo offshoot of the #metoo movement.

Savage was teaching pastor at Highpoint, part of the church's senior leadership team. His resignation from the post follows a lengthy investigation by Scott Fredricks, a Fort Worth, Texas, attorney whose specialties include assisting churches with child abuse investigations.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 12:37 PM

CHICAGO PRIEST DEFENDS HIMSELF AGAINST ACCUSATIONS

CHICAGO (IL)
Church Militant

March 20, 2018

By Christine Niles, M.St. (Oxon.), J.D.

Fr. Frank Phillips of St. John Cantius Parish is 'looking forward to clearing his name'

A Chicago priest accused of "improper conduct" with men is defending himself against the accusations.

On March 16, Cdl. Blase Cupich announced he had removed Fr. Frank Phillips as pastor of St. John Cantius Parish in Chicago over "credible allegations of improper conduct involving adult men." A spokesman made clear no minors were involved.

"Father Phillips is looking forward to the convocation of the review board," Steven Komie, attorney for Phillips, told Church Militant. "His religious superiors are going to appoint the board, and he's looking forward to appearing in front of the board and clearing his name and reputation."

Phillips founded the Canons Regular of St. John Cantius in 1998 under Cdl. Francis George. The parish is known for its beautiful and reverent traditional liturgy, as well as its preaching of orthodoxy. Last year it undertook a historic Fatima procession through the streets of Chicago, in the 100th anniversary year of the apparitions.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 12:35 PM

Justin Welby: sexual abusers can never be trusted again

ENGLAND
The Guardian

March 21, 2018

By Harriet Sherwood

Archbishop of Canterbury tells inquiry even those who repent should not get second chance

People who sexually abuse children or vulnerable adults can never be trusted again even if they genuinely repent, the archbishop of Canterbury has told the independent inquiry into child sexual abuse.

“We know abusive behaviour tends to repeat. If someone has been an abuser, they can never be trusted again. You will never take a chance on them again,” Justin Welby said.

The Bible was “utterly, brutally blunt about the difference between forgiveness and the consequences of sin. Where there is something done wrong, there will be consequences,” he said.

“If you have abused and repent genuinely, you should still go to prison,” he added.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 12:34 PM

Judge rules Roman Catholic corporation not liable for abuse at Mount Cashel

ST. JOHN'S (NEWFOUNDLAND)
National Observer/The Canadian Press

March 21st 2018

By Sue Bailey

The Roman Catholic Episcopal Corporation of St. John's, N.L., is not liable for abuse in the 1950s at the notorious Mount Cashel orphanage because a senior priest likely didn't believe boys who reported it, a judge ruled Tuesday.

One of the lawyers representing many of the more than 80 plaintiffs swiftly announced plans to appeal.

Justice Alphonsus Faour of the provincial Supreme Court says in a 174-page judgment that he believes men who testified they told a senior priest about abuse at least seven times. Plaintiffs in the case are from an earlier era — long before sexual and physical abuse emerged as a public scandal with criminal convictions and a public inquiry starting in 1989.

But Faour concludes it's doubtful whether that priest, who can't be named under a publication ban, would have fully understood or believed the boys who reported similar horrors decades before.

"I do not doubt that the disclosures were made," Faour wrote, but said they must be put in historical context. "The testimony and statements provided indicate only seven disclosures out of potentially hundreds of confessions heard by the priest during the relevant period.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 12:31 PM

The Vatican acknowledges abuse in Guam, and Arizona man rejoices: 'They believed' us

GUAM
The Republic | azcentral.com

March 20, 2018

By Jerod MacDonald-Evoy

Walter Denton lives in Casa Grande, half a world away from the Pacific island of Guam, where he grew up in the 1970s.

Despite all the distance and all the years passed, Denton holds close his memories of one night of terror in a church rectory.

He was an altar boy, and he was raped when he was 13, he told church authorities years later.

Denton accused Guam Archbishop Anthony Apuron, then a parish priest, of the sexual abuse. It was just one of many accusations against the clergyman.

On Friday, a specially appointed Vatican tribunal in Rome announced that Apuron was “guilty of certain accusations” related to the sexual abuse of minors, stripping the 72-year-old of his position and prohibiting him from returning to Guam, a U.S. territory.

The Vatican did not address the number of potential victims, but dozens of lawsuits alleging sexual abuse of minors have been filed against Apuron and other clergy in Guam.

Apuron said he intends to appeal the church's ruling.

Denton said he learned of the tribunal ruling Friday morning through a text message from a friend.

His friend just sent him a story link, and Denton instantly had a feeling he knew what it was.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 12:30 PM

What the Buffalo Catholic diocese's abusive priest list doesn't say

BUFFALO (NY)
WKBW

March 20, 2018

By Charlie Specht

Victims say it leaves questions unanswered

Sexual abuse victims say the Catholic Diocese of Buffalo releasing a list of priests accused of sexual abuse is a good first step.

But they say that’s all it is -- a first step.

Victims and their lawyers say there are categories of potential pedophile priests that this list leaves out.

First, there’s a discrepancy in the numbers. In 2004, Syracuse Bishop Robert Cunningham -- who was then the number two man in the Buffalo Diocese -- said there were a total of 53 priests in the diocese accused of abuse since 1950.

Fourteen years later, the list released today includes the names of 42 priests. Spokesman George Richert says the missing 11 priests are from religious orders and the diocese is “not intending to release more information than the names.”

There’s no mention of where the abuse occurred (what parishes), during what time period and how the diocese handled the abuse.

The diocese is also keeping secret the names of dead clergymen who had only one allegation against them. If someone else comes forward with allegations, Richert says they may add to the list.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 12:28 PM

Reaction to list of priest child sex abusers

BUFFALO (NY)
WKBW

March 20, 2018

By Ed Reilly

The Catholic Diocese of Buffalo released the names of 42 diocesan priests accused of sexually abusing a child. It includes priests who have died, were removed or retired, or left the ministry after the allegations.

However, a local survivor, Tom Travers, who operates a support group for priest child sex abuse victims, called "William's Place," wonders why the list is missing the names of his abuser and others he has heard from victims that he works with.

The Diocese said the list does not include non-diocesan priests (such as priests from other religious orders who worked in the Buffalo Diocese) or deceased priests who had only one allegation of abuse. When asked if there are other priests currently under investigation whose names are not on the list, a diocesan spokesman said there was "no comment at this time."

7 Eyewitness News Reporter Ed Reilly spoke with Tom Travers. Travers has been notified that he is eligible to file a claim under a compensation program set up by the diocese for sex abuse victims. As a young altar boy in the mid-1970's, Travers said he was abused by a priest at Nativity of Our Lord Parish in Orchard Park.

The diocese previously declined to confirm or deny to 7 Eyewitness News if Travers' abuser, who has since died, was under investigation.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 12:26 PM

Child sex abuse survivor, advocate say Diocesan list doesn't go far enough

BUFFALO (NY)
WBFO

March 21, 2018

By Michael Mroziak

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Buffalo ended a decades-long policy of withholding the names of clergy accused of sexually abusing minors. That changed Tuesday when the Diocese released the names of 42 priests who were removed, retired or otherwise left active ministry amid abuse accusations. Survivors of abuse and their advocates say the list is a start but doesn't go far enough to address past wrongdoing.

The list released Tuesday morning by the Diocese of Buffalo identifies 42 priests who were, according to officials, "removed from ministry, were retired or left ministry after allegations of sexual abuse of a minor" and faced more than one accusation. Of the 42 priests identified, 24 are deceased.

Diocesan officials said there would be no local interviews granted Tuesday. However, Bishop Richard Malone offered comments to the Buffalo News while on a trip to Albany.

"I have just become more and more convinced it was time to put those names out," he told the newspaper. "The main reasons are really transparency."

Tom Travers, a childhood sexual abuse survivor, says the Diocese of Buffalo is being "semi-transparent" with the release of the list. He also told WBFO that list is incomplete and omits the name of his own alleged abuser, the late Monsignor Sylvester Holbel, who died in 1983.

"I've been invited into the reconciliation program that the Buffalo diocese has forwarded," Travers said. "I've received a letter from them yet they fail to acknowledge Monsignor Holbel in their current list."

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 12:25 PM

Childhood sex abuse survivor speaks of getting help for victims [with audio]

BUFFALO (NY)
WBFO

March 21, 2018

By Michael Mroziak

On the same day the Roman Catholic Diocese of Buffalo released a list of 42 clergy accused of sexually abusing minors, a childhood sex abuse victim - himself allegedly abused by a now-deceased priest - shared his experience of coming to terms and reaching out for help.

Tom Travers, who now brings people together to share and cope with their childhood experiences with the group William's Place, told WBFO although he was abused as a child, he didn't feel strong enough to reveal his trauma until he was in his late 40s.

At the age of 48, he returned to the church where he said he was abused. Travers says it took about a year after that until he could go public with his story. The few he told, he explained, didn't receive him well and left him feeling re-victimized.

"Shame and guilt are major driving factors in being able to come to terms with this," Travers said. "When these things happen to us as children, we absolutely feel that we were involved in it, that it was partially our fault. And often, abusers convince us that we have to remain secret and that we were an active participant in the abuse."

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 12:19 PM

World premiere of “An Undivided Heart” about church abuse and tainted water

LOS ANGELES (CA)
People's World

March 20, 2018

By Eric A. Gordon

Twenty-five years or so ago two major moral crises unfolded at about the same time in Massachusetts. One had to do with the widespread cover-up of child abuse in the Roman Catholic Church, the other with toxic drinking water caused by unregulated corporations (W.R. Grace Co., Beatrice Foods, and the Unifirst Co. were implicated). The first issue was handily dealt with in the 2015 film Spotlight, which won Academy Awards for Best Picture and Best Original Screenplay. The water crime was the subject of the book and 1998 film starring John Travolta, A Civil Action.

In a world premiere collaboration production of Yusuf Toropov’s An Undivided Heart by the Echo Theater Company & Circle X Theatre Co., the author conflates these two crises and asks how far will powerful men and institutions go to keep their secrets—and who pays the price when they do?

Yusuf Toropov surely knows Henrik Ibsen’s 1882 play An Enemy of the People, which deals with moral issues over contamination of the town’s public baths. One more thing that Ibsen’s and Toropov’s plays have in common is the issue of whistle-blowing in the media—a newspaper in Norway, a book in Boston.

The play also shares some common ground with the 2005 Pulitzer Prize-winning Doubt, A Parable by John Patrick Shanley, which similarly, in a Catholic school setting, took on the question of how much and what kind of proof do we require to act on our suspicions.

What distinguishes Toropov’s play is the focus on the different hierarchical levels, generations and standards of ethical commitment within the Church, as well as on the townspeople whose entire lives have been spent in the arms of the Roman Catholic religion—and within homes supplied by toxic, unholy water. Interestingly, Toropov, an American writer, is himself a convert to Islam who lives in Ireland, where a bright light on the misdeeds of the Catholic Church also has been shining for the past several years.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 11:29 AM

Clergy burnt church files after being accused of covering up abuse, inquiry hears

ENGLAND
Christian Today

March 20, 2018

By Harry Farley

A senior clergyman burnt church files, an inquiry heard today, after he failed to report the systematic abuse of children by a priest to the police.

John Treadgold, the former dean of Chichester Cathedral, returned to the empty deanery after he retired in 2001, took files from the basement and burnt them in the garden, his former colleague Peter Atkinson said.

It happened as Terence Banks, the head steward of the cathedral, was convicted of 32 sexual offences against 12 boys over a period of 29 years. He was sentenced to 16 years in jail in 2001 after an investigation by Sussex police.

However it later emerged through a report conducted by Edina Carmi in 2004 that Treadgold had been told of Banks' abuse by a victim in 2000 but had not reported it to the police, the child protection adviser or social services.

Of Banks' 12 victims, all were under 16 years of ago and some were as young as 11. He was eventually convicted in 2001 of 23 charges of indecent assault, five of buggery, one of indecency with a child under 14 years, and two of attempting to procure acts of gross indecency.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 11:21 AM

Clergy sex abuse mediation set for September

GUAM
The Guam Daily Post

March 21, 2018

By Kevin Kerrigan

The attorney for the Archdiocese of Agana said Tuesday in the District Court of Guam he would begin taking sworn statements from the plaintiffs today. He hopes settlement offers will be ready for mediation in the clergy sex abuse cases by September, three months later than previously expected.

At the status hearing yesterday, attorney Michael Patterson said he will begin taking sworn statements from 161 alleged victims, 151 of whom have filed sexual abuse lawsuits in either the District Court or the Superior Court of Guam.

Ten alleged victims have declined to file lawsuits, Patterson said, but he said they will be included in the final mediated settlement offers.

Superior Court Judge Michael Bordallo has 53 of the cases and Chief Judge Frances Tydingco-Gatewood has 108. The two judges sat side by side on the bench Tuesday, presiding over this unusual joint hearing at the District Court. Fifteen attorneys representing all the plaintiffs were either in the courtroom or on the phone for the hearing.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 11:15 AM

Tennessee megachurch pastor steps down after admitting to 1998 sexual assault

MEMPHIS (TN)
New York Daily News

March 21, 2018

By Nicole Hensley

A Tennessee megachurch pastor who admitted to having a “sexual incident” with a teen girl more than 20 years ago resigned Tuesday.

Andy Savage had been on a leave of absence from Highpoint Church in Memphis for about two months after the victim came forward accusing him of the 1998 assault in January.

Jules Woodson alleged that Savage assaulted her while he was a youth minister at the Woodlands Parkway Baptist Church in suburban Houston, Texas. He was 22 at the time, while Woodson was 17.

“I have come to see that many wrongs occurred in 1998,” Savage said in a statement to Highpoint’s website.

“The first was my inappropriate relationship with Jules, which was not only immoral, but meets the definition of abuse of power since I was her youth pastor,” the pastor wrote. “Therefore, when our relationship became physical, there could be no claim of mutual consent.”

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 10:39 AM

TENNESSEE PASTOR WHO RECEIVED OVATION AFTER ADMITTING 'SEXUAL INCIDENT' WITH TEEN RESIGNS

MEMPHIS (TN)
Newsweek

March 21, 2018

By Tom Porter

Andy Savage, a Tennessee megachurch pastor who admitted to a “sexual incident” with a teenager 20 years ago, resigned from his position Tuesday.

He had been on a leave of absence from the Highpoint Church in Memphis since January, after a woman came forward and alleged that she had been assaulted by him when she was a 17-year-old high school student and he was a 22-year-old youth minister.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 10:36 AM

Memphis megachurch pastor resigns following sexual abuse investigation

MEMPHIS (TN)
The (Memphis) Commercial Appeal

March 20, 2018

By Ron Maxey

A pastor accused of sexually assaulting a teenage girl in Texas 20 years ago resigned from his ministerial post Tuesday at a Memphis megachurch.

Andy Savage, teaching pastor at Highpoint Church and part of the church's senior leadership team, follows a leave of absence and lengthy investigation by Scott Fredricks, a Fort Worth lawyer whose specialties include assisting churches with child-abuse investigations.

Savage's fall culminates more than two months of accusations and soul-searching over a case that became symbolic of the #churchtoo offshoot of the #metoo movement.

While the investigation found no other instances of abuse, "the leadership team at Highpoint Church agrees that Andy's resignation is appropriate," officials at the nondenominational church with campuses in Memphis and suburban Collierville, Tenn., announced in a statement.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 10:35 AM

Weinstein Co. files for bankruptcy, voids nondisclosure pacts

SAN FRANCISCO (CA)
SF Gate

March 20, 2018

By Brooks Barnes

The Weinstein Co. clung to life longer than anyone in Hollywood expected following a sexual harassment scandal so big that it started a global workplace reckoning.

But the troubled studio finally flatlined.

The Weinstein Co. filed for bankruptcy protection late Monday in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Delaware. The company had been struggling after one of its co-founders, Harvey Weinstein, was fired as chief executive in October after women publicly accused him of sexual misconduct stretching back decades.

The studio said that it had lined up Lantern Capital Partners, a Texas private-equity firm, as a “stalking horse bidder,” meaning that it will be the first bidder in the bankruptcy process, which allows a distressed company to avoid low bids on its assets.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 10:29 AM

March 20, 2018

WELL-KNOWN TORONTONIAN CHARGED WITH CHILD SEX ASSAULT

TORONTO (CANADA)
The Canadian Jewish News

March 16, 2018

By Sheri Shefa

Phillip Kravetsky – who’s well known in Toronto’s Jewish community as a family law mediator, psychotherapist, teacher, family man and DJ – is being investigated by the Toronto Police Service on a child sexual assault complaint.

The 51-year-old Torontonian was arrested on March 13, after police were called in to investigate a claim that a child was assaulted in the Lawrence Avenue and Bathurst Street area of the city.

Kravetsky is charged with sexual assault and sexual interference and is scheduled to appear in court on April 27.

Although police released Kravetsky’s photo and a request for information from anyone who might have any details related to the case, Toronto Police Const. Jenifferjit Sidhu said that, “In order to protect the identity of the victim, we cannot provide any further details.”

According to a police press release, Kravetsky was arrested by members of the Child & Youth Advocacy Centre, a group that partners child abuse investigators from the Toronto Police Service with community and government agencies, including the Children’s Aid Society of Toronto and Jewish Family & Child.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 2:58 PM

Buffalo diocese names priests accused of abusing minors

BUFFALO (NY)
The Buffalo News

March 20, 2018

By Aaron Besecker

Bishop Richard J. Malone on Tuesday released the names of priests who have been accused of sexual misconduct with minors.

"The following list identifies diocesan priests who were removed from ministry, were retired or left ministry after allegations of sexual abuse of a minor," the diocese said. The list includes deceased priests with more than one allegation made against them. Priests who are deceased have their year of death listed next to their name, the diocese said.

John R. Aurelio (2009)
Donald W. Becker
David M. Bialkowski
Robert J. Biesinger (2012)
James H. Cotter (1991)
Donald S. Fafinski
Douglas F. Faraci
Fred G. Fingerle (2002)
Michael R. Freeman (2010)
Joseph P. Friel (1995)
Mark M. Friel
Thomas G. Gresock
John P. Hajduk
Michael J. Harrington (1989)
Brian M. Hatrick
James F. Hayes (1988)
Louis J. Hendricks (1990)
J. Grant Higgins (2016)
Francis T. Hogan (2010)
Fred D. Ingalls
Florian A. Jasinski (1983)
Gerald C. Jasinski
Richard P. Judd (1988)
Timothy J. Kelley
Thomas L. Kemp
Richard J. Keppeler (2011)
John D. Lewandowski (1982)
Bernard M. Mach (2004)
Loville N. Martlock (2014)
Thomas J. McCarthy
Basil A. Ormsby (1997)
Norbert F. Orsolits
Martin L. Pavlock
Roy K. Ronald (2013)
Joseph E. Schieder (1996)
Gerard A. Smyczynski (1999)
James A. Spielman
Chester S. Stachewicz
Edward J. Walker (2002)
William G. Ward (2008)
William F. J. White (2016)
Robert W. Wood

The list includes 26 priests who have not been previously linked to allegations of sexual abuse. Some of the priests have already been publicly identified.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 11:44 AM

Diocese to release names today of priests accused of abusing minors

BUFFALO (NY)
The Buffalo News

March 20, 2018

By Jay Tokasz

Update: The diocese released the list Tuesday morning.

Bishop Richard J. Malone is planning to release a list later this morning of the names of priests who have been accused of sexual misconduct with minors.

Malone alerted diocesan priests in an email Monday of his decision to disclose the names of priests that have been kept secret for decades.

Diocesan spokesman George Richert did not return multiple calls from late Monday and this morning. But a lawyer for the diocese, Lawlor F. Quinlan III, confirmed this morning that the list would be made public today, likely by noon. Quinlan declined to provide any further details.

Malone's email on Monday said the list would include "all priests of our diocese who were removed from ministry, were retired or left ministry after allegations of sexual abuse of a minor."

The bishop has been under growing pressure to provide a fuller accounting of the clergy sex abuse scandal in the Diocese of Buffalo, following retired Rev. Norbert Orsolits' admission in February that he had abused "probably dozens" of boys in the 1970s and 1980s.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 11:42 AM

Victims to give sworn statements, mediation moves forward in Guam's clergy sex abuse cases

GUAM
Pacific Daily News

March 20, 2018

By Haidee V. Eugenio

Clergy sex abuse accusers will begin providing sworn statements for case review and claims evaluation Wednesday. Mediation has been pushed back to Sept. 17-19 as part of the process to try to settle 160 sex abuse cases.

A new lawsuit was filed Tuesday, with another Capuchin Franciscan priest named as a defendant for the first time.

Three sets of lawyers, led by Attorneys Delia Lujan Wolff/David Lujan, Kevin Fowler and Michael Berman, are proceeding with mediation for 150 plaintiffs. Ten other accusers, represented by attorney Anthony Perez, haven't signed off on the proposed pre-mediation protocols due to settlement concerns.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 11:40 AM

Another Capuchin priest named for first time in clergy sex abuse suit

GUAM
Pacific Daily News

March 20, 2018

By Haidee V. Eugenio

Another Capuchin Franciscan priest was named as a defendant in a clergy sex abuse lawsuit, filed Tuesday by a former seminarian identified in federal court documents only as K.B.

The lawsuit states another seminarian later confided to K.B. that the same priest also sexually abused him.

K.B. now resides in California and was 14 or 15 years old when Father Leon "Warren" Murphy sexually abused him around 1969 in the rectory living room of the Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church in Agat, the lawsuit states.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 11:39 AM

Saginaw-area priest suspended amid abuse allegations

SAGINAW (MI)
The Associated Press

March 19, 2018

A 72-year-old Roman Catholic priest accused of sexual abuse has been suspended in the Saginaw area.

The suspension, announced Saturday, is described by the diocese as a “precautionary measure.” No charges have been filed.

Church officials say they were contacted by a man last Thursday. He told officials that he was a boy at the time of the alleged conduct.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 11:37 AM

Church Council to map future of Australian Church after damning abuse report

AUSTRALIA
The Tablet

March 20, 2018

By Mark Brolly

Pope Francis has approved the Australian Church's first Plenary Council in more than 80 years and the first set to include lay members – the major gathering planned to chart the future of Australian Catholicism following the gruelling five-year Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.

The Pope has also approved Archbishop of Perth Timothy Costelloe, nominated by his fellow bishops, as president of the council.

It is due to be held in two sessions – in late 2020, in Adelaide, Darwin or Alice Springs; and in May 2021, probably in Sydney, where the most recent Plenary Council, in 1937, was held.

The Plenary Council's new website says Canon Law requires that all diocesan Archbishops and Bishops, auxiliary bishops, Vicars-General, Episcopal Vicars, some Superiors and Congregational Leaders of religious orders and rectors of seminaries in Australia must be called to the Council, while those who may be called include lay people, clergy and retired bishops.

"The number of people who can be called to the Council must be a maximum of half of those who must be called: i.e. if the total number of people who must be called is 164, then the maximum number of others who may be called is 82 people," the website says.

"All Council delegates have a vote. Some have a deliberative vote, while others have a consultative vote. The deliberative voting is how the final decisions are made at the Council. These deliberative decisions are forwarded to Rome to ensure they are consistent with the universal teachings of the Catholic Church and then the legislation becomes binding for the Catholic Church in Australia.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 11:36 AM

Abuse allegations must be reported, Church of England safeguarding adviser tells IICSA

ENGLAND
Church Times

March 20, 2018

By Hattie Williams

THE National Safeguarding Adviser of the Church of England, Graham Tilby, has said that the language of safeguarding policies and regulations could be clarified to support the call from survivors for mandatory reporting in the Church.

Giving evidence on Monday and Tuesday to the public hearing being conducted by the Independent Inquiry into Child Sex Abuse (IICSA) into safeguarding failures of the Anglican Church, Mr Tilby said: “I would agree that if a matter is reported to whoever, whether it is a member of [the] clergy or a layperson, that clearly is a safeguarding allegation or an admission, then that must be reported. . .

“Our guidance — as I say, I’m happy to look at it in terms of whether there are ways of strengthening that, but I think the position is clear: it must be reported. I would have to have those conversations with lawyers to work out whether that was something that needed to be enshrined in legislation.”

Asked on behalf of the lawyers representing survivors how the Church could ensure that the number of reports of abuse went up, unless there was mandatory reporting, he said: “It is equipping people with the skills and confidence to recognise abuse, so fundamentally training has to be key to support that.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 11:34 AM

Mediation protocol still not finalized in sexual abuse cases against Catholic Church

GUAM
Pacific News Center

March 20, 2018

By Jolene Toves

An agreement on the mediation protocol to be used in the sexual abuse cases against the Archdiocese of Guam is still on the drawing board as several modifications have gone back and forth between the parties. While one group of plaintiffs is still not on board, Archbishop Anthony Apuron is now expressing interest in the mediation. Last Friday, a Vatican Tribunal found him guilty of certain accusations stemming from sex abuse claims.

Six months ago, the court had ordered all parties to participate in the mediation process that includes Archbishop Anthony Apuron. According to his attorney Jacque Terlaje she has received the latest version of the mediation protocol and will review it to determine her clients course of action.

“Our participation in mediation has always been about cost that one of the problems that many plaintiffs, that small plaintiffs and small defendants have in a large suit like this is simply the cost factor in litigating 160 different cases,” stated Terlaje.

At this point the court has held a status hearing to deal with potential issues in the mediation protocol which governs how the parties will conduct themselves during the mediation, but still debatable is whether or not all parties are in agreement with the mediation protocol. While Anthony Perez’s clients and Thomas Brown’s client the Sisters of Mercy are still on the fence, the Archdiocese of Agana is ready to move things forward and that the door to mediation for Perez’s clients is still open.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 11:33 AM

Ex-priest says a priest abused him as a teen in Erie

ERIE (NY)
GoErie.com

March 20, 2018

By Ed Palattella

James Faluszczak, now of Buffalo, said he testified about the abuse before a grand jury investigating the Catholic Diocese of Erie.

A former northwestern Pennsylvania priest has provided a glimpse into a Pennsylvania grand jury’s investigation of the Catholic Diocese of Erie.

James Faluszczak, who resigned from the active priesthood in the Erie diocese in 2014, said he testified before the grand jury about how a priest in Erie sexually abused him when he was a teenager in the 1980s.

Faluszczak, 48, now of Buffalo, is believed to be one of many witnesses who have testified before the grand jury, whose proceedings are secret and which convened at the request of the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office around September 2016.

But he is one of the few witnesses who have publicly commented on their grand jury testimony, which the law allows a witness to disclose. His comments also show how state investigators gathered witnesses for the probe, which the attorney general’s office is leading.

Faluszczak said the attorney general’s office contacted him after he called, in the spring of 2016, a hotline that the office set up in March 2016 for victims of clergy sex abuse.

He said on Monday that he testified before the grand jury in October 2016. He told the Erie Times-News about his testimony a day after he told the Buffalo News that, when he was 16 to 19 years old, he was “molested by my priest in Erie.”

Faluszczak has not publicly named the Erie priest. He said he wanted to wait on releasing that information until after the grand jury releases its report.

“I want to see how the grand jury deals with the material I presented them,” he said.

Faluszczak was a priest from 1996 to 2014. For the last four years in the ministry, he was pastor at St. Boniface Church in Kersey, Elk County.

The Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office since 2016 has been using the grand jury process to investigate how the Catholic Diocese of Erie and five other Catholic dioceses in Pennsylvania handled allegations of clergy sexual abuse.

The Erie diocese has never disclosed the names of priests accused of or dismissed in the past over allegations of sexual abuse. In February 2004, the diocese released data that showed 20 priests were credibly accused of sexually abusing a total of 38 minors in the diocese from 1950 to 2002.

In Buffalo, Faluszczak made the abuse allegation on Sunday during a demonstration outside St. Joseph Cathedral, where he and others called on Bishop Richard J. Malone to release the names of clergy involved in sexual-abuse cases in the Catholic Diocese of Buffalo.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 11:31 AM

Gove faces fresh scrutiny over school sexual abuse case

ENGLAND
The Guardian

March 20, 2018

By Owen Bowcott and Rob Evans

Second witness tells inquiry that then education secretary intervened in Downside case

Michael Gove is facing fresh questions about his alleged intervention in a sexual abuse investigation at a Catholic school after further evidence emerged that appears to link him to the inquiry.

The independent inquiry into child sexual abuse (IICSA) has already written to Gove asking whether he tried, during his time as the education secretary, to find out about an investigation into a priest suspected of abuse at Downside Abbey boarding school in Somerset.

Now the environment secretary, Gove denied making any calls to the local authority about the investigation.

It has now emerged that a second witness testified to the inquiry that Gove took an interest in the Downside investigation.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 11:14 AM

Guam's Catholic church apologizes to former archbishop's abuse victims

GUAM
Pacific Daily News

March 19, 2018

By Haidee V. Eugenio

Guam church apologizes to child abuse victims

HAGÅTÑA, Guam — Archbishop Michael Jude Byrnes on Monday said Guam's Catholic church is beginning a new journey following a Vatican tribunal's conviction of former Archbishop Anthony S. Apuron.

"We are becoming a better church," Byrnes said at a press conference, three days after the Vatican announced its decision to convict Apuron in a case that includes child sexual abuse accusations.

Byrnes apologized to the former altar boys who publicly accused Apuron of childhood sexual abuse, and to the mother of one who is now deceased.

"I convey my deepest apologies to Mr. Roy Quintanilla, Mr. Walter Denton, Mr. Roland Paul Sondia, and the late Joseph 'Sonny' Quinata for the tremendous damage inflicted upon each of you by now Bishop Apuron and the Archdiocese of Agana," Byrnes said.

He said the victims' families have suffered as well.

"I apologize to them too, most certainly to Doris Concepcion, who stepped forward courageously to speak and lobby on behalf of her son, Sonny," Byrnes said. "I issue this public apology on behalf of the entire Archdiocese of Agana.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 11:10 AM

Conservative groups split over child sex abuse legislation

VIDALIA (GA)
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

March 19, 2018

By Ty Tagami

A lawsuit has split a South Georgia town between supporters of a local church and those who are deeply troubled by allegations of child sexual abuse involving church members.
A man from the world’s sweet onion capital says in a lawsuit that he was a child when an older man associated with the youth group at First Baptist Church molested him a couple of decades ago.

“Things are not real good in Vidalia, Georgia right now. Citizens are torn up,” said Kay Stafford, a church member and retired attorney who isn’t directly involved in the lawsuit but is bothered by what he sees as a culture of silence around child sexual abuse. “It ain’t going to be right until there’s justice.”

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 11:06 AM

Longtime pastor removed from Chicago parish over improper conduct

CHICAGO (IL)
WGN News

March 19, 2018

A longtime pastor has been removed from a local church after three decades following reports of improper conduct.

Reverend Frank Phillips from St. John Cantius Church in Goose Island was removed by the Chicago Archdiocese.

Cardinal Cupich says there have been credible allegations that Phillips engaged in improper conduct with other adult males.

The allegations do not involve improper contact with minors.

Church members learned of Phillips' removal during Sunday services. A statement on the church's website refers all questions to the archdiocese.

Phillips' has been with the parish since 1988. He's also a founder of an order of men who devote their life to the church.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 9:14 AM

Steve Wynn settled with second woman over sex allegations

LAS VEGAS (NV)
The Associated Press

March 19, 2018

By Regina Garcia Cano

Embattled casino mogul Steve Wynn brokered a settlement more than a decade ago with a second woman who accused him of sexual misconduct and recently reported her to the FBI, his attorneys say in court documents.

Wynn and one of his attorneys met with FBI agents last month to accuse the woman of trying to extort him by threatening to go public with details from the 2006 settlement, according to documents received earlier this month in state court in Las Vegas.

It comes two months after the Wall Street Journal reported that several women said the billionaire harassed or assaulted them and that one case led to a $7.5 million settlement with a manicurist formerly employed by the company. He resigned as chairman and CEO of Las Vegas-based Wynn Resorts last month.

Wynn has vehemently denied the accusations reported by the newspaper and attributed them to a campaign led by his ex-wife. Her attorney has denied that she instigated the report.

The recent court filings do not provide details of the newly revealed settlement. The woman on Monday did not return a message seeking comment from The Associated Press, which generally does not name people who say they are victims of sexual misconduct.

Her attorney, Lisa Bloom, said in an email that her client denies the extortion allegations.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 9:12 AM

Weinstein Company Releases All Accusers From Nondisclosure Agreements With Bankruptcy Filing

LOS ANGELES (CA)
The Wrap

March 19, 2018

By Matt Donnelly

Expect a deluge of new details in the coming days

The Weinstein Company has dissolved its nondisclosure agreements with Harvey Weinstein’s many sexual misconduct accusers, Bob Weinstein said on Monday,

In step with announcing its bankruptcy filing, the TWC chairman said his brother “Harvey Weinstein used non-disclosure agreements as a secret weapon to silence his accusers. Effective immediately, those ‘agreements’ end.”

Bob Weinstein said the Company “expressly releases any confidentiality provision to the extent it has prevented individuals who suffered or witnessed any form of sexual misconduct by Harvey Weinstein from telling their stories. No one should be afraid to speak out or coerced to stay quiet.”

It’s not immediately clear what impact the newfound freedom for accusers means for ongoing civil and criminal Weinstein cases, including police investigations in three cities and a class action against the disgraced mogul.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 9:08 AM

Scandal-hit Weinstein Co. files for bankruptcy protection

NEW YORK (NY)
Miami Herald

March 20, 2018

By Alexandra Olson

The Weinstein Co. filed for bankruptcy protection on Monday with a buyout offer in hand from a private equity firm, the latest twist in its efforts to survive the sexual misconduct scandal that brought down co-founder Harvey Weinstein, shook Hollywood and triggered a movement that spread out to convulse other industries.

The company also announced it was releasing any victims of or witnesses to Weinstein's alleged misconduct from non-disclosure agreements preventing them from speaking out. That step had long been sought by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, who filed a lawsuit against the company last month on behalf of its employees.

"Since October, it has been reported that Harvey Weinstein used non-disclosure agreements as a secret weapon to silence his accusers. Effective immediately, those 'agreements' end," the company said in a statement. "No one should be afraid to speak out or coerced to stay quiet."

In a statement, Schneiderman praised the decision as "a watershed moment for efforts to address the corrosive effects of sexual misconduct in the workplace."

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 9:06 AM

Steven Seagal accused by 2 women of rape and sexual assault

LOS ANGELES (CA)
ABC News

March 19, 2018

By Luchina Fisher

Two women have come forward to accuse action star Steven Seagal of sexual assault and rape.

Regina Simons and Faviola Dadis made the allegations during a press conference alongside their attorney Lisa Bloom. The women have also filed a police report with the Los Angeles Police Department, according to Bloom.

The women first went public with their accusations in a story by The Wrap.

Responding to the accusations from them and others, Seagal told "InfoWars" that women have "lied and been paid to lie about me without any evidence, any proof, any witnesses."

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 9:01 AM

Ex-student sues California college, player in rape case

LOS ANGELES (CA)
The Associated Press

March 19, 2018

By Amanda Lee Myers

A former student is suing a Southern California community college and the football player convicted of raping her, accusing the school of allowing the young man to attend school despite a previous sexual assault conviction.

The woman's attorneys announced the lawsuit Monday against Cerritos College, the school's dean of student services and the now-former player, 22-year-old Kishawn Holmes.

The lawsuit accuses Cerritos of accepting Holmes to the school and its football program even though he was convicted of rape in 2014 when he was 17.

"Despite having actual knowledge of Holmes' conviction for rape, absolutely no safeguards were put into place to protect (the student)," according to the lawsuit, filed March 12 in Los Angeles County Superior Court.

University spokeswoman Miya Walker said the school doesn't comment on pending litigation.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 8:57 AM

Buffalo Catholic diocese to release names of priests accused of sex abuse

BUFFALO (NY)
WKBW

March 19, 2018

By Charlie Specht

In memo, Bishop Malone calls it a "very dark time"

It took a victim's courage, a priest's confession and a scandal that deepened by the day.

But after decades of secrecy, the Catholic Diocese of Buffalo is taking an unprecedented step toward transparency.

Bishop Richard J. Malone -- giving in to mounting pressure from sexual abuse victims -- announced in an internal memo obtained by the 7 Eyewitness News I-Team that Tuesday he will release the names of "all priests of our diocese who were removed from ministry, were retired, or left ministry after allegations of sexual abuse of a minor."

Each of Malone's predecessors -- including bishops Edward Head, Henry Mansell and Edward Kmiec -- refused to name suspected pedophile priests in the diocese, even after the international clerical abuse scandal first broke in Boston in 2002.

In an email to priests, Malone called the move "difficult but necessary," acknowledging the church in Western New York is going through "a very dark time."

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 8:55 AM

March 19, 2018

Accused child sex abuser Malka Leifer to stay in jail while extradition case is heard

AUSTRALIA and ISRAEL
The Sydney Morning Herald via AAP

March 19, 2018

With Gabrielle Weiniger

A former Melbourne principal accused of child sex crimes will remain behind bars after a successful appeal against her release to home detention in an Israeli court.

Ms Leifer is the former principal of the ultra-Orthodox Adass girls' school in Elsternwick in Melbourne's south-east.

An Israeli judge had said that Malka Leifer could be released to home detention earlier this month after a rabbi offered to take care of her while she awaited an extradition outcome.

But days later, the rabbi withdrew his support for Ms Leifer to be released on house arrest.

Ms Leifer had been ordered to stay in police custody in a medical facility while the Supreme Court considered the prosecution's appeal against her release to home detention.

The court has now ruled that Ms Leifer is to remain in detention until the completion of the extradition proceedings.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 3:19 PM

Malka Leifer to remain in prison in Israel after appeal against releasing her to house arrest upheld

AUSTRALIA And ISRAEL
Australian Broadcasting Corporation

March 19, 2018

A former Melbourne school principal facing extradition to Australia on child sex abuse charges will remain in an Israeli jail after an appeal against releasing her to house arrest was successful.

Malka Leifer, 54 is wanted by Victorian police on 74 charges of child sexual abuse, including rape.

The former principal of the Addas ultra-orthodox girls school in Melbourne has been in custody since February 12, when Israeli police rearrested her, accusing her of faking mental illness for the past three years in order to avoid extradition to Australia.

Earlier this month there were angry scenes outside a Jerusalem court after an Israeli judge ruled Ms Leifer could be freed from police custody to home detention, following the intercession of a high-profile rabbi.

But Israel's Supreme Court has now upheld an appeal against that decision.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 3:16 PM

Guam Catholic Church seeks to rebuild after Vatican verdict

GUAM
Pacific Daily News

March 18, 2018

By Haidee V. Eugenio

After a Vatican tribunal convicted Archbishop Anthony S. Apuron and removed him from office, Catholics on Guam said this could be a turning point in the healing process of a church rocked by clergy sex abuse scandal.

"I feel the healing will start. It will be a slow, slow process but it will happen," Tamuning resident Van Morada said as he and his family were about to attend Sunday Mass at Dulce Nombre De Maria Cathedral-Basilica in Hagåtña, the mother church on the island.

Morada said regardless of the outcome of Apuron's canonical trial, he and his family pray for Apuron, his accusers, and the people of Guam.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 2:31 PM

Parties for 160 sex abuse lawsuits against clergy due in court

GUAM
KUAM News

March 16, 2018

By Krystal Paco

Back in court this week will be parties for the 160 clergy sexual abuse lawsuits. Back in January, majority of counsels were in agreement on pre-mediation protocol and anticipated mediation to take place in June or earlier.

Only one group of plaintiffs, those represented by attorney Anthony Perez, requested lifting the stay on those cases in the local court.

The deal breaker appears to be how mediation will be handled, the Church proposing global mediation while Perez's clients have expressed interest in individual settlement.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 2:30 PM

A Nashville judge was caught in a sex scandal. Then he hatched a plot to cover up it up, prosecutors say

NASHVILLE (TN)
The Washington Post

March 19, 2018

By Meagan Flynn

It's not the crime but the coverup, as the famous phrase goes. But nobody seems to pay the warning much heed.

According to federal prosecutors, it didn't stop Nashville judge Casey Moreland either. He is now ex-Nashville judge Casey Moreland, in jail awaiting trial for obstruction of justice and embezzlement, all connected with his efforts to cover up a sex scandal that threatened to bring him down.

The problems for Moreland started last year when Natalie Amos publicly revealed that Moreland helped her wipe away debt she owed from court fines and traffic-ticket fees - then pursued a sexual relationship with her.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 2:28 PM

Lujan: 'It's a great verdict'

GUAM
The Guam Daily Post

March 19, 2018

By Kevin Kerrigan

Attorney David Lujan reacted to the guilty verdict handed down Friday against suspended Archbishop Anthony Apuron by the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

"I think it's a great verdict," Lujan said. "It vindicates what everyone has been saying."

The attorney represents five people who have publicly accused Apuron of sexual abuse.

Walter Denton, Roy Quintanilla, Roland Sondia and the late Joseph "Sonny" Lujan, through his mother Edith Doris Concepcion, have accused Apuron of sexual abuse when he was a priest at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church in Agat more than 40 years ago.

A fifth victim, Apuron's nephew, Mark Apuron, came forward in January accusing his uncle of raping him in the chancery bathroom nearly 30 years ago after he had already been promoted to archbishop.

A five-member tribunal, that lasted nearly one year, reviewed several accusations, including accusations of sexual abuse of minors, and found Anthony Apuron guilty of "certain of the accusations."

The suspended archbishop appealed the verdict, putting a stop to the imposing of penalties cited by the Vatican that included stripping him of his title and banishing him from Guam.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 2:27 PM

George Pell accused of cinema, pool abuse

AUSTRALIA
9News

March 19, 2018

Cardinal George Pell is accused of abusing a complainant while watching the film Close Encounters of the Third Kind at a country Victorian cinema.

Australia's highest-ranked Catholic is also accused of abusing another complainant at a swimming pool.

Pell, 76, returned to Melbourne Magistrates Court on Monday for week three of a committal hearing as he fights charges of multiple historical sex offences involving multiple complainants.

The court has not released details of the charges.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 2:15 PM

Former head of Catholic Church in Britain dies after fall

SCOTLAND
The Irish Post

March 19, 2018

By Ryan Price

THE FORMER most senior cleric of the Catholic Church in Britain has passed away aged 80 after suffering a fall.

Cardinal Keith O’ Brien was taken to hospital in Newcastle after suffering a severe head injury brought about by a fall last month in which he also broke his collarbone.

His successor administered the last rites on Friday, on the eve of his 80th birthday.

His passing was announced early this morning.

The Co. Antrim native resigned as Archbishop of St Andrews and Edinburgh in 2013 after apologising for sexual misconduct in his past.

Three priests and a former priest alleged improper conduct in the 1980’s.

Having initially contested the allegations, Cardinal O’ Brien later apologised upon his retirement: “I wish to take this opportunity to admit that there have been times that my sexual conduct has fallen below the standards expected of me as a priest, archbishop, cardinal. To those I have offended, I apologise and ask forgiveness,” he said.

Pope Francis accepted his resignation and stripped him of his duties.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 2:05 PM

Cardinal Keith O'Brien, disgraced Catholic church leader, dies

SCOTLAND
The Guardian

March 19, 2018

By Severin Carrell

O’Brien, who died aged 80, was accused of sexual misconduct by three priests and a former priest

Cardinal Keith O’Brien, the disgraced former head of the Roman Catholic church in Scotland, has died, aged 80, in hospital after being injured in a recent fall.

O’Brien was forced to resign as archbishop of St Andrew’s and Edinburgh in February 2013, after serious allegations of sexual misconduct emerged following an investigation by the Observer.

The most senior Catholic figure in the UK at the time, O’Brien was accused by three priests and a former priest of improper sexual conduct in relation to a series of incidents in the 1980s.

After rising to become one of Scotland’s most famous religious figures, O’Brien left the country in disgrace – moving first to Ireland, then to Northumberland, before settling in Newcastle. He retained his title as cardinal despite his misconduct.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 2:02 PM

Former head of Catholic Church in Britain Cardinal Keith O’Brien dead at 80

SCOTLAND
Metro

March 19, 2018

By Richard Hartley-Parkinson

Cardinal Keith O’Brien, formerly the Catholic Church’s most senior cleric in Britain, has died at the age of 80.

He had recently been injured in a fall and died in a Newcastle hospital.

Cardinal O’Brien resigned as Archbishop of St Andrews and Edinburgh in 2013 after admitting sexual misconduct.

Confirmation of his death was announced by his successor, Archbishop Leo Cushley.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 1:57 PM

Vatican says Guam Archbishop guilty of abuse accusations

GUAM
Radio New Zealand

March 19, 2018

A Vatican tribunal has found the archbishop of Guam, Anthony Apuron, guilty of "certain accusations" related to the sexual abuse of minors.

The Catholic Church on the island has been consumed by a child sex abuse scandal that went right to the top of the church's hierarchy: Archbishop Anthony Apuron.

Apuron was accused of assaulting altar boys when he was a parish priest on Guam in the 1970s.

When the allegations first surfaced in June 2016, Pope Francis suspended Apuron and put his before a secretive Vatican procedure.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 12:37 PM

How #MeToo is leaving child victims behind

NEW YORK (NY)
The Week

March 19, 2018

By Dani Bostick

For years as a child, I was abused by an adult. I kept this secret for decades.

I'm sure I knew other victims. But I heard none of their stories. Like me, they chose silence.

We survivors of child sexual abuse don't just know how to keep a secret — we were groomed to believe secrecy was essential to our survival.

#MeToo has changed that, as more and more survivors of sexual violence and sexual harassment are coming forward to share their stories. But while some of these stories have included child victims, for the most part, the focus of #MeToo has been on adult victims of workplace sexual misconduct. The subsidiary #MeTooK12 movement emerged recently as a way to address sexual misconduct that occurs in schools, but even still, the scores of young girls and boys who experience child sexual abuse are largely cut out of the conversation.

This has to change. Roughly 1 in 5 girls and 1 in 20 boys experience sexual abuse. It is a sad fact that children are the most vulnerable among us and also the least equipped to advocate for themselves.

Children are victimized at higher rates than adults, per Darkness to Light, a nonprofit organization focused on educating adults to prevent child sexual abuse. Their youth renders them "uniquely vulnerable," Heidi Fuchs, a criminal justice clinician at TESSA, a domestic violence support center in Colorado, told The Week, as they may not be able to properly understand and process the abuse they've endured. Children are "most in need of effective advocacy," Fuchs said, because "they lack the information, resources, experience, and ability to advocate for themselves."

Moreover, unlike adults, children are often completely powerless in their environments. Abusers are frequently the people who also meet a kid's most basic needs, like food and shelter. Even when abuse takes place outside of the home, it is often perpetrated by a trusted individual, and often in the context of activities that are presented as mandatory — like USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar's rampant abuse of young female athletes during medical treatments.

When children are trapped in these abusive situations, the consequences can be devastating. In fact, child sexual abuse can cause literal changes to the structure of the brain, researchers discovered in a 2015 study.

That's why it is time for the women and men of #MeToo to advocate for children as ardently as they do for adults. Removing stigma is key, and encouraging survivors to disclose their own experiences will help others feel safe enough to come forward. We must disrupt the silence, because silence benefits only perpetrators, never victims.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 12:36 PM

Sex abuse lawsuit against Scouts halted, for now

ATHENS (GA)
Athens Banner-Herald

March 18, 2018

By Lee Shearer

A lawsuit filed by former Boy Scouts over alleged sexual abuse by a former Scout leader has been dismissed, but that won’t be the end of it, says a lawyer for the men.

The men filed suit nearly a year ago against the Boy Scouts of America, the Northeast Georgia Council of Boy Scouts, several Athens churches and the estate of Ernest Boland, saying they suffered lasting harm from Boland’s sexual abuse.

The Scouts and the churches knew Boland had been accused of sexual abuse as long ago as 1961, yet allowed him to continue as a Scout leader for years, according to the lawsuit.

A successful Athens businessman, Boland died at age 88 in 2013, the year after an Oregon judge forced the Boy Scouts to release the names of thousands of Scout leaders expelled from the organization because of accusations of sexual abuse.

The Clarke County lawsuit, filed last year, alleged the churches and the Scouts had endangered the public with a “persuasive and systematic cover-up” of those identities.

Darren Penn, the lawyer for the men suing the Boy Scouts and Boland’s estate, said the men will file suit again, but just when, and on what grounds, depends on a bill now pending in the Georgia Legislature.

Penn requested the lawsuit be dismissed without prejudice earlier this month, just days before a hearing was scheduled on defendants’ motion to dismiss the lawsuit before new Western Judicial Circuit Judge Regina Quick, who took over the case when she was appointed to take the place of retiring Judge David Sweat.

Their decision to dismiss the suit hinged on several factors, Penn said, including objections defendants had made about notification, and the possibility that Quick could have ruled in favor of the defendants, which would have presented a big obstacle for the plaintiffs.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 12:20 PM

Hannibal Buress’ Microphone Cut During Colossus Performance

CHICAGO (IL)
Loyola Phoenix

March 18, 2018

By Luke Hyland

Comedian Hannibal Buress’ mic was cut after making a joke about the Catholic Church’s history of child abuse during his Saturday night Colossus performance, attendees said.

Colossus is an annual, two-night show held by Loyola’s Department of Programming (DOP) in Gentile Arena, where a musical act performs one night and a comedic act the other night.

Buress reportedly opened his set with pictures of an email he said he received from Loyola detailing the school’s restrictions for Colossus artists, including a ban on any content regarding rape, sexual assault, race and sexual orientation.

The show began with a DJ opener, Tony Trimm, whose set was also reportedly cut short. Buress took the stage soon after another comedian warmed up the crowd.

After making a comment referencing priests’ molestation of children, Buress’ microphone cut out. The upset crowd booed but eventually quieted so Buress could perform without a microphone. The background music’s volume was reportedly increased, according to attendees, and the comedian left the stage for 15 minutes. After the break, he returned and finished his set.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 12:16 PM

Parishioners calling for change after second priest suspended on sexual abuse allegations

SAGINAW (MI)
NBC25 News

March 18, 2018

By Jasmyn Durham

A second Saginaw priest is facing sexual abuse allegations in less than a month.

The Catholic Diocese of Saginaw released a statement this weekend, saying they received a complaint against 72-year-old Father Ronald Dombrowski.

Father Dombrowski was suspended from ministry while he is being investigated, and Saginaw worshipers say they want change.

Saginaw resident Dan Renner say although he doesn't know Father Dombrowski or the victim, he knows a lot of people of the Catholic faith.

"Kids and people that I know went to them in the 70's and the 80's and it's just very sad.”

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 12:14 PM

Vatican removes Guam archbishop accused of abuse

GUAM
Catholic Herald

March 16, 2018

The Catholic Herald understands that Archbishop Apuron will appeal the verdict

A Vatican tribunal has found Archbishop Anthony Sablan Apuron, who was accused of sexual abuse, guilty of “certain of the accusations” against him, and removed him from office.

A five-judge panel of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) announced the verdict on Friday and imposed upon the archbishop “the penalties of privation of office and prohibition of residence in the Archdiocese of Guam”.

Archbishop Apuron has headed the Archdiocese of Agaña since 1986, but was placed on leave by Pope Francis in 2016 after a series of abuse accusations from young men.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 12:12 PM

Sunday school teacher accused of sex abuse

MESQUITE (TX)
WFAA

March 16, 2018

A Sunday School teacher in Mesquite is charged with Continuous Sexual Abuse of a Child.

The suspect, Benjamin Baldiviez, was a volunteer at Parkside Baptist Church.

Police issued a news release Friday announcing the arrest.

They believe the abuse happened between March and October of 2017 both at the church and while away on church events.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 12:11 PM

Church child sex abuse inquiry revealed stupidity and lying, claims bishop

ENGLAND
The Times

March 19 2018

By Kaya Burgess

A child sex abuse inquiry has exposed “stupidity, incompetence and lying” at the highest levels of the Church of England a serving bishop has said, calling for an independent body to oversee safeguarding policy.

During two weeks of evidence sessions, with another week still to go, the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) has heard numerous accounts of abusers within the church whose offences were ignored, dismissed or covered up by senior figures.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 12:09 PM

Priest accused of demeaning church employees resigns

TRENTON (NJ)
NJ.com

March 17, 2018

By Olivia Rizzo

A Catholic priest accused of harassing female church employees and making inappropriate comments has resigned from his position at The Church of Saint Ann in Lawrence.

Rev. Gerrard Lynch resigned from his position at the parish on March 7. He has since returned to the Trinitarian Order, a Diocese of Trenton spokeswoman said Friday.

A lawsuit filed last month by current and former employees of the church accuse Lynch of being biased against them and saying vulgar, demeaning and inappropriate things, which caused them "fear, consternation and loss of faith."

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 12:06 PM

UCLA student wins sexual misconduct claim against professor

LOS ANGELES (CA)
Los Angeles Times

March 18, 2018

By Teresa Watanbe

Kristen Glasgow was tenacious even after a $110,000 settlement. Last week, just over a decade after her first encounter with the teacher, she learned that he finally had lost his job

UCLA graduate student Kristen Glasgow says she first met Gabriel Piterberg, a history professor, in 2008. They had coffee together and then, she alleged, he walked her to her car, pushed her against it and forced his tongue into her mouth.

Glasgow detailed this and other claims of Piterberg’s sexual misconduct over five years in a lawsuit she filed against the University of California in 2015.

The lawsuit said that UCLA essentially ignored her complaints when she tried to go through the Title IX complaint process. It led to a settlement in which the university gave her $110,000 and a fellowship to support her work on her doctoral dissertation.

But even after that validation, UCLA’s initial response to her charges still gnawed at Glasgow — as did the fact that Piterberg still had his job. When UCLA hired a new Title IX coordinator, Glasgow filed a complaint again, in 2016. This time, she won.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 9:21 AM

DUTCH JEWISH COMMUNITY DISTANCES ITSELF FROM CHIEF RABBI JACOBS

AMSTERDAM (THE NETHERLANDS)
Jewish Community Watch

March 17, 2018

The organization representing the Jewish community in Amsterdam has severed ties with Rabbi Binyomin Jacobs because of the Chief Rabbi’s involvement in covering up child sexual abuse.

This is according to a letter by David Brilleslijper, Chairman of the Jewish community of Amsterdam (NIHS), which was obtained by The Parool. (A leading Dutch newspaper.)

These actions mark the first time that a Jewish organization has distanced itself from the Chief Rabbi, after years of allegations of his involvement in several abuse cases.

Jacobs is chief rabbi of all Jewish communities in The Netherlands, except for the capitol Amsterdam, the Hague and Rotterdam.

Several parents came forward and testified that Jacobs urged them in 2012 to not report to the authorities, the sexual abuse suffered by their children at the hands of a teacher employed at the Cheider.

Jacobs warned them of “severe penalties” of falsely reporting crimes, and that their children, the abuse victims, would not be able to find suitable marriage candidates within the Jewish community.

Because of the delay in reporting to the police, the teacher suspected of sexual abuse, Ephraim S, was able to flee to Israel where he became a citizen.

After lengthy legal battles, he was extradited in 2016. On Wednesday he will appear in front of a judge for the initial hearing of the case.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 9:18 AM

Ex-Jehovah's Witnesses break silence on shunning: 'My mother treats me like I'm dead'

DETROIT (MI)
Detroit Free Press

March 18, 2018

By Tresa Baldas

Amber Sawyer was just 8 years old when it happened.

She was watching cartoons on the living room floor of her Mississippi home when she heard the bang.

She went to investigate and found her 21-year-old sister, Donna, dead in her bed. She had shot herself in the heart with their father’s hunting rifle weeks after being excommunicated by their church for getting engaged to a non-Jehovah’s Witness.

For Sawyer — who sat on the bedroom floor near her sister's body for hours that day, waiting for her mother to come home from her door-to-door missionary work — it was the beginning of a long, painful journey that would one day tear her family apart.

Years later, Sawyer got excommunicated, too, after seeking a divorce from an abusive husband. She ended up leaving the husband — and the faith. Her family cut all ties.

“Jehovah’s Witness kids grow up knowing that if they ever mess up, their parents will leave them — and that’s scary,” Sawyer, now 38, said in a recent interview from her home in Pascagoula, Miss. “The shunning is supposed to make us miss them so much that we’ll come back. … It didn’t work.”

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 9:16 AM

Diocesan Priest Suspended from Ministry as Allegation is Investigated

SAGINAW (MI)
Diocese of Saginaw

March 17, 2018

A senior priest of the Diocese of Saginaw, Father Ronald J. Dombrowski, 72, has been suspended from priestly ministry by the Most Rev. Joseph R. Cistone, Bishop of Saginaw, as an allegation of sexual abuse against Father Dombrowski is being investigated. A self-identified victim, who was a minor at the time and is no longer a minor, was in contact with the Diocese on Thursday, March 15. The diocese shared this information with law enforcement.

Although nothing has yet been determined, as a precautionary measure, Father Dombrowski was immediately suspended from priestly ministry. He is to have no contact with individuals under 21. This prohibits Father Dombrowski from going on school properties and participating in school and parish activities and functions. In addition, Bishop Cistone has informed Father Dombrowski that he must refrain from wearing clerical garb, refrain from the exercise of public ministry, and may not present himself publicly as a priest while the allegation is being investigated.

Father Dombrowski most recently served as sacramental minister at Holy Family Parish in Saginaw, 1525 S. Washington Ave., Saginaw, 48601, where he celebrated Mass and the sacraments.

Father Dombrowski was ordained to the priesthood on January 22, 1972. Prior to ordination to the priesthood, he served as a deacon at St. Josaphat Parish, Carrollton, from May 1970 to September 1970; St. Joseph Parish, Auburn, from September 1970 to June 1971; and Sacred Heart Parish, Caro, from June 1971 to January 1972.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 9:14 AM

ESPN among 'worst offenders in the nation' regarding sexual misconduct, ex-governor says

LANSING (MI)
FOX News

March 18, 2018

A former Republican governor of Michigan took ESPN to task Saturday during a fiery exchange with a reporter for the sports network over recent sexual misconduct allegations involving Michigan State University.

Michigan State coach Tom Izzo was set to speak about his team’s win Friday over Bucknell when ESPN reporter Dan Murphy asked former Gov. John Engler: “Do you not think Michigan State is one of the worst offenders of sexual assault right now?” the Detroit Free Press reported.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 9:07 AM

March 18, 2018

Victims' advocate to Buffalo diocese on priest sex abuse: 'Secrecy must end'

BUFFALO (NY)
Buffalo News

March 18, 2018

By Jane Kwiatkowski Radlich

A nationally known recovery group for sexual abuse victims increased the pressure Sunday on the Catholic Diocese of Buffalo to release the names of all clergy involved in the growing number of sexual abuse cases in Western New York.

"Bishop Richard Malone told the media recently that he inherited a policy of secrecy regarding the names of sexually abusive clergy in the Diocese of Buffalo, yet he has done nothing to change that policy for five and a half years," said Robert M. Hoatson, president of Road to Recovery Inc., a nonsectarian organization that works with survivors of sexual abuse.

"In the interest of full transparency, validation and the safety of children, Bishop Malone must release the names of sexually abusive clergymen in the Diocese of Buffalo and the documents surrounding each and every case," said Hoatson. "The secrecy must end."

The pronouncement came Sunday morning during a press conference called by Hoatson on Franklin Street, one block from St. Joseph's Cathedral, where Malone was celebrating Mass. Hoatson was accompanied by a priest who came forward Sunday morning to identify himself publicly as the victim of sexual abuse by a Roman Catholic priest in the Diocese of Erie, Pa.

"I was molested by my priest in Erie from the time I was 16 to 19, and I ended up actually becoming a priest myself," said James Faluszczak, 48, who lives here now and also called on Malone to release the names of priests accused of abuse.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 5:02 PM

Father testifies in Australian court cardinal abused son

MELBOURNE (AUSTRALIA)
Associated Press

March 15, 2018

A father testified in an Australian court Thursday that his son said he was sexually abused by Vatican Cardinal George Pell during a waterskiing outing years ago. When a defense lawyer accused him of lying, the father told the court it was an insult.

The testimony in the Melbourne Magistrate Court came at a hearing to determine whether prosecutors have sufficient evidence to put Pell on trial.

Pope Francis’ former finance minister was charged in June with sexually abusing multiple people in his Australian home state of Victoria. The details of the allegations have yet to be released to the public, though police have described the charges as “historical,” meaning they allegedly occurred decades ago.

Pell, 76, has said he will plead not guilty if the magistrate rules a jury trial is warranted.

The father of one of the alleged victims, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, testified via a video link that he first learned of the alleged abuse in 2015 and that his son struggled to talk about it.

Defense lawyer Robert Richter said the father did not name Pell in a statement he made to police then. “Do you have any explanation as to how it is there is no mention of Pell there, as having done anything wrong at the lake?” Richter asked.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 4:29 PM

Vatican Reveals Full Text of Benedict XVI’s Letter to Msgr. Viganò

ROME (ITALY)
National Catholic Register

March 17, 2018 (and earlier reports)

By Edward Pentin

[Includes an English translation of the entire letter. See also the letter as released by the Vatican and also a PDF of the letter.]

The Vatican released on Saturday the full text of Benedict XVI's letter to Msgr. Vigano showing that two paragraphs were concealed. The Vatican said it had no intention to censor the letter but chose to leave out parts of it as the letter was confidential. The story as it developed.

* * *

The letter in full:

Benedictus XVI
Pope Emeritus
Most Reverend Msgr. Dario Edoardo Viganò
Prefect of the Secretariat for Communications
Vatican City
February 7, 2018

Most Reverend Monsignor,

Thank you for your kind letter of 12 January and the attached gift of the eleven small volumes edited by Roberto Repole.

I applaud this initiative that wants to oppose and react to the foolish prejudice in which Pope Francis is just a practical man without particular theological or philosophical formation, while I have been only a theorist of theology with little understanding of the concrete life of a Christian today.

The small volumes show, rightly, that Pope Francis is a man of profound philosophical and theological formation, and they therefore help to see the inner continuity between the two pontificates, despite all the differences of style and temperament.

However, I don’t feel like writing a short and dense theological passage on them because throughout my life it has always been clear that I would write and express myself only on books I had read really well. Unfortunately, if only for physical reasons, I am unable to read the eleven volumes in the near future, especially as other commitments await me that I have already made.

Only as an aside, I would like to note my surprise at the fact that among the authors is also Professor Hünermann, who during my pontificate had distinguished himself by leading anti-papal initiatives. He played a major part in the release of the “Kölner Erklärung”, which, in relation to the encyclical “Veritatis splendour”, virulently attacked the magisterial authority of the Pope, especially on questions of moral theology. Also the “Europaische Theologengesellschaft”, which he founded, was initially conceived by him as an organization in opposition to the papal magisterium. Later, the ecclesial sentiment of many theologians prevented this orientation, allowing that organization to become a normal instrument of encounter among theologians.

I am sure you will understand my refusal and I offer you cordial greetings.

Yours,

Benedict XVI

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 4:23 PM

Vatican 'Lettergate' scandal comes to a head as text released

VATICAN CITY
Reuters

March 17, 2018

By Philip Pullella

[See also the letter as released by the Vatican and also a PDF of the letter.]

The Vatican “Lettergate” scandal came to a head on Saturday when the Holy See, under pressure from the media and conservatives, released a full text by former Pope Benedict that before was cited only selectively.

The Vatican Secretariat for Communication, which had come under sharp criticism all week for blurring part of a photograph of the letter and for withholding another section, said in a statement there had been “no intent of censorship”.

It said the letter, written for the presentation of a Vatican-published 11-booklet series on the theology of Pope Francis, was private and therefore officials had cited only the “opportune and relative” parts.

But the episode, which has cast a shadow over the Vatican for a week, has proven to be a public relations fiasco, particularly for its communications chief, Monsignor Dario Vigano.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 4:17 PM

Vatican bows to pressure, releases retired pope’s letter

VATICAN CITY
Associated Press

March 17, 2018

By Nicole Winfield

[See also the letter as released by the Vatican and also a PDF of the letter.]

Stung by accusations of spreading “fake news,” the Vatican on Saturday released the complete letter by Emeritus Pope Benedict XVI about Pope Francis after coming under blistering criticism for selectively citing it in a press release and digitally manipulating a photograph of it.

The previously hidden part of the letter provides the full explanation why Benedict refused to write a commentary on a new Vatican-published compilation of books about Francis’ theological and philosophical background that was released to mark his fifth anniversary as pope.

In addition to saying he didn’t have time, Benedict noted that one of the authors involved in the project had launched “virulent,” ″anti-papist” attacks against his teaching and that of St. John Paul II. He said he was “surprised” the Vatican had chosen the theologian to be included in the 11-volume “The Theology of Pope Francis.”

“I’m certain you can understand why I’m declining,” Benedict wrote.

The Vatican’s Secretariat for Communications said Saturday it was releasing the full text of the letter due to the controversy over the “presumed manipulation” of information when the volume was launched Monday with great fanfare on the eve of Francis’ anniversary.

It said its decision to withhold part of the letter at the time was based on its desire for reserve, “not because of any desire to censor.”

The so-called “Lettergate” scandal has embarrassed the Vatican’s communications operations and fueled the growing chasm between supporters of Francis’ pastoral-focused papacy and conservatives who long for the doctrine-minded tenure of Benedict.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 4:09 PM

Cardinal George Pell abused son at lake, court hears

SYDNEY (AUSTRALIA)
The Australian

March 15, 2018

By Tessa Akerman

Cardinal George Pell allegedly abused one of his victims at a lake in the 1970s, a court has heard.

The Melbourne Magistrates Court this morning heard evidence from the father of an alleged victim that he initially heard about the abuse in 2015 from his other son.

“He could not talk to his father about it and he still cannot,” the man, who cannot be identified, said.

Cardinal Pell is appearing in a committal hearing charged with historical sexual offences in relation to multiple complainants.

The hearing will determine whether the cardinal will stand trial over the allegations.

Today the court heard the offending allegedly occurred when then Father Pell visited the lake with another priest while the father and his family were there.

The man said none of his family told him about improper, sexual or inappropriate behaviour while they were at the lake.

Robert Richter QC, representing Cardinal Pell, said the man was proud that he had given Cardinal Pell a water ski ride.

“I was proud because he was such a big man as to challenge a man driving a ski boat,” the father said.

The court heard the father did not name Cardinal Pell in his 2015 police statement as one of the men who allegedly committed offences against his son.

Mr Richter questioned the man about his statement.

“You say your omission from the statement was just ‘you forgot’,” Mr Richter said.

“That’s an invention of yours since July 2015. You just made that up after you made your statement.”

The father said Mr Richter had insulted him.

“Yes, that may be an insult but it’s true is it not,” Mr Richter said.

“Absolutely not,” the father said.

The man said when he spoke to the alleged victim his son did not go into detail and only said he was abused.

“I cannot remember the details, I was more concerned about the fact that he had been abused by priests.”

The father said he did not ask his son which priests allegedly committed offences against him.

Mr Richter said it was a “huge stretch” that the father did not mention Cardinal Pell when he was questioned by police.

The court heard the father had no idea there was an allegation against Cardinal Pell before his sons spoke to him in 2015.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 3:19 PM

First Plenary Council meeting in 80 years to discuss sex abuse fallout

SYDNEY (AUSTRALIA)
The Australian

March 19, 2018

By Emily Ritchie

[See also a description of the council and the council's mandate.]

Dealing with the fallout from the royal commission into sex abuse is on the agenda at the first Catholic Church national plenary council to be held in more than 80 years.

The significant opportunity, which will be revealed today after Pope Francis gave it his blessing, will involve community consultations from this Easter before two meetings of more than 40 bishops in October 2020 and May 2021.

The event, not held in Australia since 1937, aims to engage the Catholic community in dialogue about the role of the church in the future and redefining Australia’s place in that future.

The process has the potential to initiate landmark changes to the Catholic Church’s code of canon law, with approval from Rome.

“The council will be an opportunity for people to come together and listen to God, and in particular by listening to one another as ­together we discern what God is asking of us at this time — a time when the church in Australia is facing significant challenges,” said Brisbane Archbishop Mark Coleridge, chair of the Bishops Commission for the Plenary Council.

“We sincerely hope the preparation and celebration of the Plenary Council is a time when all parts of the church listen to and talk to one another as we explore together how we might answer the question: ‘What do you think God is asking of us in Australia?’”

A post on the plenary council website says: “There are many reasons for having a plenary council for the Catholic Church in Australia: Pope Francis has invited local church to dialogue; the contemporary society of Australia has changed significantly; and the Royal Commission into Institutional Response to Child Sexual Abuse has been a significant and influential event that requires deep consideration and response.”

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 3:05 PM

Buffalo diocese paid $1.5 million to settle priest sex abuse lawsuit

BUFFALO (NY)
Buffalo News

March 18, 2018

By Jay Tokasz

[See also this article on the front page of the Sunday Buffalo News.]

The Catholic Diocese of Buffalo quietly paid $1.5 million in 2016 to a man who alleged a priest sexually abused him when he was a teenager more than three decades ago.

It was the diocese's second financial settlement of a lawsuit alleging abuse by James A. Spielman, a former diocesan priest who served in at least six Western New York parishes and taught religion at Archbishop Walsh High School in Olean.

The settlement is the largest that has come to light so far in the Buffalo diocese for a clergy sex abuse case.

The News found the case in a recent search of federal court records from Hawaii, where the lawsuit was filed.

The massive settlement added to questions about whether diocesan officials have disclosed the full extent of clergy sex abuse in Western New York.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 9:25 AM

Second Saginaw Diocese priest suspended amid sexual abuse probe

SAGINAW (MI)
Michigan Live

March 17, 2018

Another longtime priest in the Catholic Diocese of Saginaw has been suspended amid sexual abuse allegations, according to a statement from the diocese.

The Rev. Ronald J. Dombrowski, 72, was recently suspended as a "precautionary measure" after a person told the diocese on Thursday, March 15, that Dombrowski allegedly sexually abused them when they were a minor, according to the statement.

The diocese forwarded the complaint to law enforcement. Saginaw County Assistant Prosecutor Mark Gaertner said Saturday that no charges have been filed against Dombrowski.

The Rev. Joseph R. Cistone, bishop of Saginaw, ordered Dombrowski not to wear his clerical attire, present himself as a priest in public or perform ministry while the allegation is investigated.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 9:21 AM

Another abuse claim rocks Anglican Church

CAPE TOWN (SOUTH AFRICA)
Cape Argus

March 18, 2018

By Bulelwa Payi

The Anglican Church has been rocked by another disclosure of sexual abuse, a few weeks after a well-known author broke a 40-year silence on his own experience.
This week, David Fields (not his real name) recalled how the abuse lasted from the late 1970s until the early 1980s when he was 13 years old.

“As a young boy I grew up in church. Our parents wanted us to attend church and priests were looked up to in the community as people with authority and power.

“The priest and another one in the parish started taking an interest in me, but at the time I didn’t know why nor could I understand what the interest was all about. Then the abuse started with touching and led to sexual activity.

“The other priest stopped pursuing me. But one continued. He would come to our home, telling my parents he was taking me to church events. This continued for about four years. And suddenly he was moved about 150km from Cape Town.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 9:18 AM

Pope Francis Is Beloved. His Papacy Might Be a Disaster.

NEW YORK (NY)
New York Times

March 16, 2018; print edition, Week in Review, March 18, 2018

By Ross Douthat

The conversation has become predictable. A friendly acquaintance — a neighbor, a fellow parent, our real estate agent — asks about my work. I say I’ve been writing a book about the pope, and the acquaintance smiles and nods and says “Isn’t he so wonderful?” or, “That must be an inspiring thing,” or, “I have a friend who would love to read it.” And then eventually I find myself saying, uncomfortably, “Well, they should know that it’s not entirely favorable.”

A pause, puzzled and slightly crestfallen. “But you’re writing about the nice pope?”

The consistency of these exchanges is a testament to the great achievement of Pope Francis’ five years on the papal throne. He leads a church that spent the prior decade embroiled in a grisly sex abuse scandal, occupies an office often regarded as a medieval relic, and operates in a media environment in which traditional religion generally, and Roman Catholicism especially, are often covered with a mix of cluelessness and malice.

And yet in a remarkably short amount of time — from the first days after his election, really — the former Jorge Bergoglio has made his pontificate a vessel for religious hopes that many of his admirers didn’t realize or remember that they had.

* * *

Meanwhile, the pope’s response to the sex abuse scandal, initially energetic, now seems compromised by his own partiality and by corruption among his intimates. The last few months have been particularly ugly: Francis just spent a recent visit to Chile vehemently defending a bishop accused of turning a blind eye to sex abuse, while one of his chief advisers, the Honduran Cardinal Óscar Maradiaga, is accused of protecting a bishop charged with abusing seminarians even as the cardinal himself faces accusations of financial chicanery.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 9:11 AM

March 17, 2018

The revelations about child abuse are insult to memory of St Patrick

BELFAST (NORTHERN IRELAND)
Belfast Telegraph

March 17, 2018

By Alf McCreary

This is St Patrick's Day, and one hopes that people will celebrate wisely rather than too well. It is a sad irony that some of the greatest drunkenness and disorder from students takes place in what we call the "Holy Land" area of Belfast.

There is nothing holy about such self-indulgent behaviour, or about the blatantly sectarian way in which St Patrick has been hijacked by some die-hard republicans on the edges of the various parades.

St Patrick is the patron saint of Protestants as well, and hard-line republicans who use the Irish flag in the name of St Patrick ought to remember that. So much for Sinn Fein's hollow mantra about "respect."

St Patrick, that austere, godly and lovable fifth-century saint, would be distressed by the deep divisions in our society today, and he would be particularly saddened by the shadow which hangs over one major denomination of the Christian Church he established in Ireland so long ago.

He might also be distressed by the secularisation of society, but he would be most deeply hurt by the continued scandal of clerical child sex abuse in the Catholic Church.

This has surfaced again recently with the revelations of the evil and heinous abuse by the paedophile Newry priest Fr Malachy Finnegan on Church premises in the Dromore Diocese and in St Colman's College where he had been a teacher and, for 11 years, the President.

This scandal only became public recently after it emerged that the diocese had paid a six-figure sum in compensation to one of the abuse victims.

One bizarre aspect was that the tombstone of Fr Finnegan, who died in 2002, was removed from the graveyard under the cover of darkness. This reads like something out of a lurid Dracula novel rather than as disturbing and real facts of only a couple of months ago.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 1:11 PM

Fr Malachy Finnegan: A child abuser and his victims

DUBLIN (IRELAND)
Irish Times

March 17, 2018

By Patsy McGarry

During therapy sessions for sex offenders, Finnegan insisted: ‘I’ve done nothing wrong’

A former Catholic priest remembers Fr Malachy Finnegan when he was at the Stroud treatment centre for sex offenders in Gloucestershire, England. It was 1995, and the former priest had himself been sent there because he was gay and was considered a sex addict by church authorities.

He recalls Finnegan during group therapy sessions when everyone was expected to be open and honest about their activities as part of their treatment “He never opened his mouth for the four months he was there [at the sessions] except to say, with resolute stubbornness, ‘I’ve done nothing wrong’.”

If “he had admitted anything he would never have returned to ministry”, the former priest said. “Everything he would have said and done would have been reported back [to his bishop].”

Away from the therapy sessions he and Finnegan became friendly. It was how the former priest discovered Finnegan has spent some time in the South at a parish in Co Laois, and how he had claimed that he and the then bishop of Dromore diocese Francis Brooks had been classmates.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 1:02 PM

Donations double for San Jose Catholic girls school accused of ignoring sex abuse

SAN JOSE (CA)
Mercury News

March 15, 2018

By John Woolfork

Despite allegations that administrators ignored sexual harassment and abuse complaints at a San Jose Catholic girls school, donors outraged by the accuser’s tactics have more than doubled their contributions.

Presentation High School reported Thursday that the school raised more than $126,000 in its crowdfunding campaign this week even as critics wrote school supporters urging them to withhold donations to pressure the school to investigate the allegations. That was more than twice last year’s $59,000 haul.

“It’s nice to see these misleading claims not only haven’t made a dent in our reputation, they have encouraged people to stand up and fight the falsehoods by voting their consciences with their wallets,” Kristin Cooke Schneider, the school’s alumnae director, said in a statement. She said money raised will fund scholarships and other student programs at the prestigious school, where tuition is nearly $20,000 a year.

But news of the surging donations came as critics leveled new charges Thursday that Presentation ignored “numerous sexual abuse allegations” about a former performing arts instructor who left in 2004.

The instructor was convicted on child molestation and pornography charges in 2014 while teaching at a private San Mateo school for children with learning disabilities. He is now a registered sex offender. The critics allege that Presentation never reported that instructor to authorities even “after his own admission” to Principal Mary Miller “that he had inappropriately fondled an underage student,” when he was teaching at Presentation High.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 12:58 PM

Archdiocese of Mexico backs sentence of priest jailed for abuse

MEXICO CITY (MEXICO)
Catholic News Agency / ACI Prensa

March 15, 2018

The Archdiocese of Mexico reaffirmed its commitment to fighting sexual abuse and expressed its support for the 62-year jail sentence for a priest found guilty of abuse.

The archdiocesan communications office issued a statement March 13 on the sentence imposed on the priest Carlos Lopez Valdés, who was found guilty of molesting Jesús Romero Colín several times between 1994 and 1998.

Lopez Valdés, who is now 72, served at San Agustín de las Cuevas parish in Tlapan, south of Mexico City. Romero was his altar boy, and was abused between the ages of 7 and 11.

Romero filed a complaint against the priest in 2007 and the Archdiocese of Mexico then opened an ecclesiastical trial, which found the priest guilty and dismissed him from the clerical state.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 12:49 PM

Suspended sentence for former priest who abused girl as she made First Confession

CORK (IRELAND)
Evening Echo

March 17, 2018

By Liam Heylin

A West Cork priest sexually assaulted a little girl throughout her First Confession, and yesterday the 79-year-old got a suspended jail term.

Judge Sean Ó Donnabháin noted that the accused had served two previous jail sentences for similar crimes at this time and said that there was no point in re-committing him to jail at this point in his life.

John Calnan who is now living at The Presbytery, Roman Street, Cork, pleaded guilty to carrying out the indecent assault on the communion girl in the late 1980s.

The victim said yesterday at Cork Circuit Criminal Court: “I did inform my teacher and parents about the incident at the time but I am not sure they believed me. On the day of the abuse, I knew before ever entering the room for this man to hear my confession that something bad was going to happen. I went through my life never feeling believed.”

On the day she was wearing a little badge. The priest told her to come close to him so that he could see the badge and he then put his hand up her pinafore and put his fingers in her vagina.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 12:39 PM

False priest abuse claim brings $60K in sanctions

CHICAGO (IL)
Chicago Daily Law Bulletin

A Cook County judge ordered more than $60,000 in sanctions Wednesday against a man accused of making false sex abuse claims against ex-priest Daniel McCormack. The Archdiocese of Chicago filed a motion in July requesting Supreme Court Rule 137 sanctions against John J. Doe one month after he voluntarily dismissed his suit against McCormack.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 12:25 PM

Priest denies sexually abusing children; Diocese says allegations prompted removal

BUFFALO (NY)
Buffalo News

March 16, 2018

By Dan Herbeck and Jay Tokasz

Three men have told The Buffalo News they were sexually abused as boys by the Rev. Donald W. Becker, a Catholic priest removed from the ministry in 2003.

On Friday, a spokesman for the Catholic Diocese of Buffalo told The News that Becker was barred from performing priestly duties then because of sexual abuse allegations against him.

Bishop Richard J. Malone made a similar statement Friday to a reporter from WKBW television news station.

But Becker, now 75 and living in Florida, denied the allegations.

"No, I did not," Becker told The News, when asked if he had ever molested children. "Certainly not sexual…This is quite shocking."

Becker's three accusers said the priest molested them after getting them drunk. Two of the men told The News they were in their teens when they were molested, and the third said he was 10 or 11 years old. One said he recently received a financial settlement from the diocese. Another said the diocese agreed to pay for his psychological counseling, his medical care and his medications after he made a complaint against Becker more than a year ago.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 12:14 PM

I-Team: Buffalo diocese forced out priest, hid abuse allegations from public

BUFFALO (NY)
WKBW ABC 7

March 16, 2018

By Charlie Specht

Rev. Donald Becker denies multiple abuse claims

A longtime priest in the Catholic Diocese of Buffalo was forced out of service and put on “medical leave” in 2002 after allegations of child sexual abuse came to light, the 7 Eyewitness News I-Team has learned.

Until now, the Rev. Donald W. Becker has never been named publicly as an alleged child sex abuser even though victims have come forward with stories of abuse and the reverend has long had a poor reputation among some diocesan priests.

The timing of Becker’s forced retirement -- he was given a “medical leave of absence” soon after the Catholic sex abuse scandal first broke in Boston in 2002 -- looks especially suspect in hindsight, clerical sexual abuse experts said.

Since he was ordained in 1967, Becker has served at multiple parishes -- mostly in the Southtowns and in rural areas -- including St. Bonaventure in West Seneca, Nativity in Orchard Park, SS. Peter & Paul in Hamburg, St. Agatha’s in South Buffalo and St. Mary’s in Batavia.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 12:11 PM

March 16, 2018

Former Catholic church employee charged over sex offences

CANBERRA (AUSTRALIA)
The Canberra Times

March 16, 2018

By Emily Baker

A 79-year-old man has been charged with child sex offences linked to incidents alleged to have happened while he was an employee of the Catholic Archdiocese of Canberra and Goulburn almost three decades ago.

NSW Police will allege the man was performing an administrative role within the archdiocese when he met the 15-year-old alleged victim.

The offences are alleged to have occurred in 1989 during a work-related trip to Batemans Bay and Huskisson.

Police investigated the alleged incidents after receiving a referral from the archdiocese's Institute for Professional Standards and Safeguarding last year.

The man was arrested in Brisbane on Tuesday and charged with five counts of gross indecency by male with male under 18 years.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 12:53 PM

Woman seeks dismissal of former priest's counter-claim

GUAM
Pacific Daily News

March 16, 2018

By Haidee V. Eugenio

A woman from Saipan has asked the court to dismiss a recent counter-claim filed by a former Guam priest who denied allegations that he sexually abused her when she was about 12 years old, around 1963.

Former priest Andrew San Agustin, now known as Joe R. San Agustin, told the court he's been harmed by the accusations against him and asked the federal court to award damages for pain and suffering.

A woman identified in court documents only as B.T. to protect her privacy, on March 14 filed a motion to dismiss San Agustin's counter-claim.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 12:51 PM

Letter: Catholic Church needs to atone for terrible sins

BUFFALO (NY)
The Buffalo News

March 16, 2018

Catholic Church needs to atone for terrible sins

I am replying to the March 7 News editorial, “Is it time for a change?” Just as it focused on the topic of celibacy not always being in existence, the hierarchy of the Catholic Church also wants the laity to believe that women priests never existed in the church’s past history, which is certainly not the truth.

The Vatican has even likened the grave offense of pedophilia to ordaining women priests. As underhanded as that pronouncement is, certainly more despicable and as low as you can possibly get were these so-called men of God and their reprehensible actions. The specific bishops who gave orders of transfer to offending priests were indeed looking out solely for themselves.

With this deed now done, those priests were out of their sight. But how in any universe could they ever erase from their mind the victims, the actual children and young men and women whose lives were forever shattered?

While the hierarchy of the church was only concerned with keeping this hidden, the bishops were only concerned with their own ladder climbing to move up the rung career wise, even if that meant basically stepping over all of these victims while at the same time offering no help or compassion – absolutely nothing other than looking the other way.

Yes, indeed, the hierarchy needs to go over its current centuries-old policies. Cardinal Bernard Law, who was constantly moving offending priests from one area to another, was rewarded by the hierarchy by being transferred from Boston to Rome. Recently a woman sex abuse victim resigned from a papal commission. She was fed up with the public stance the hierarchy presents, but would not actually act on behind closed doors. When an institution still does not seem to get it completely, that needed change will be sorely missing.

Peg O’Connor

Buffalo

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 12:50 PM

Vatican tribunal finds Archbishop Apuron of Guam guilty of abuse

VATICAN CITY
Catholic News Service

March 16, 2018

By Carol Glatz

A Vatican tribunal found Archbishop Anthony S. Apuron of Agana, Guam, guilty of some of the accusations made against him, accusations which included the sexual abuse of minors.

After a canonical trial conducted by the apostolic tribunal of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Vatican judges imposed the following sanctions on the 72-year-old archbishop: the removal from office and a prohibition from residing in Guam. The archbishop can appeal the sentence.

Archbishop Apuron is among the highest-ranking church leaders to have been tried by the Vatican for sexual offenses.

In a press statement released March 16, the tribunal said, “The canonical trial in the matter of accusations, including accusations of sexual abuse of minors, brought against the Most Reverend Anthony Sablan Apuron, O.F.M.Cap., Archbishop of Agana, Guam, has been concluded.”

“The apostolic tribunal of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, composed of five judges, has issued its sentence of first instance, finding the accused guilty of certain of the accusations and imposing upon the accused the penalties of privation of office and prohibition of residence in the Archdiocese of Guam.” U.S. Cardinal Raymond L. Burke, a noted canon lawyer, was the presiding judge in the canonical investigation of Archbishop Apuron.

“The sentence remains subject to possible appeal,” the Vatican statement said. “In the absence of an appeal, the sentence becomes final and effective. In the case of an appeal, the imposed penalties are suspended until final resolution.”

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 12:49 PM

Vatican removes from office and exiles Guam archbishop accused of sexual abuse

GUAM
Pacific Daily News

March 16, 2018

By Haidee V. Eugenio and Dana M. Williams

A Vatican tribunal found Archbishop Anthony Apuron guilty of sexually abusing minors, removing him from office and exiling him from the island.

The Vatican said in a statement that Apuron's trial has concluded, and the tribunal "has issued its sentence of first instance, finding the accused guilty of certain accusations and imposing upon the accused the penalties of privation of office and prohibition of residence in the Archdiocese of Guam."

The announcement said the sentence remains subject to possible appeal.

"In the absence of an appeal, the sentence becomes final and effective," the Vatican said. "In the case of an appeal, the imposed penalties are suspended until final resolution."

Apuron was suspended as archbishop in June 2016 following public allegations that he had sexually abused altar boys when he was the parish priest in Agat in the 1970s. He denied the accusations and threatened to sue his accusers.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 12:47 PM

Donations double for San Jose Catholic girls school accused of ignoring sex abuse

SAN JOSE (CA)
The Mercury News

March 15, 2018

By John Woolfolk

Despite allegations that administrators ignored sexual harassment and abuse complaints at a San Jose Catholic girls school, donors outraged by the accuser’s tactics have more than doubled their contributions.

Presentation High School reported Thursday that the school raised more than $126,000 in its crowdfunding campaign this week even as critics wrote school supporters urging them to withhold donations to pressure the school to investigate the allegations. That was more than twice last year’s $59,000 haul.

“It’s nice to see these misleading claims not only haven’t made a dent in our reputation, they have encouraged people to stand up and fight the falsehoods by voting their consciences with their wallets,” Kristin Cooke Schneider, the school’s alumnae director, said in a statement. She said money raised will fund scholarships and other student programs at the prestigious school, where tuition is nearly $20,000 a year.

But news of the surging donations came as critics leveled new charges Thursday that Presentation ignored “numerous sexual abuse allegations” about a former performing arts instructor who left in 2004.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 12:46 PM

Fr Seamus Reid connected to Newry sex abuse

NORTHERN IRELAND
BBC News

March 16, 2018

A second priest has been connected to sexual abuse in Catholic schools in Newry during the 1960s.

Fr Seamus Reid, who died in 2001, was not a teacher at St Colman's College but was known to visit the school.

In 2015 the Catholic Church confirmed a catalogue of allegations had been made against the priest.

In February, it came to light that Fr Malachy Finegan, who taught at St Colman's from 1967 to 1976, had sexually abused pupils.

He died in 2002.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 12:29 PM

Parish priest told to 'get out of town' amid abuse scandal involving deceased predecessor

NORTHERN IRELAND
Christian Daily

March 15, 2018

By Rachel Cruz

A parish priest at the County Down in Northern Ireland told parishioners during Sunday Mass that he had received and reported an abusive and threatening letter to authorities.

Father Charles Byrne of the Clonduff parish did not exactly clarify what was in the letter but he described the contents as being "abusive." The letter also called for him to "get out of town" for he had apparently failed to properly handle an abuse scandal involving his predecessor, Father Malachy Finnegan.

Byrne also told his parishioners that there had been a "very hurtful" social media post that defamed his character. He has referred this matter to a legal counsel.

During the 1980s, Finnegan, who was once the parish priest of Clonduff, allegedly sexually and physically abused over a dozen young boys from the St. Colman's College at the parochial house for decades. He had taught in the school and was later on assigned to be the school's president.

Finnegan reportedly used to bring students into his bedroom at the parochial house when overnights were still allowed. Not one of the reported abuses, however, resulted in a prosecution. Clerics were then not permited to use the parochial house for overnight stays when the abuse reports surfaced.

Byrne, who became the parish priest in late 2017, on the other hand, has not used the parochial house after members of the community refused to set foot in the building. When they learned that Finnegan had abused the children on the site, parishioners stopped attending community meetings and other activities.

Finnegan died in 2002. Father John McAreavey, who became the appointed Bishop of Dromore in 1999, officiated his Requiem Mass even though he knew of the allegations.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 12:26 PM

Allegations of second paedophile priest in Dromore diocese

NORTHERN IRELAND
The Belfast Telegraph

March 16, 2018

It has been alleged that a second paedophile priest was operating in the Newry area at the same time as Fr Malachy Finnegan.

The allegation came to light on BBC Radio Ulster's Stephen Nolan Show on Friday, March 16.

An anonymous caller to the show alleged that he and a number of other boys were abused by a second priest at St Joseph's Boys' High School and St Colman's College, Newry.

The caller said that the abuse was carried out by Fr Seamus Reid.

Fr Reid allegedly carried out abuse at St Joseph's and St Colman's under the guise of conducting confession.

He was also involved with the local Boys Scouts.

In 2015 the Catholic Church confirmed that 11 allegations have been made against Fr Seamus Reid since 1997.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 12:24 PM

Retired priest convicted of historical sexual abuse

GLASGOW (SCOTLAND)
STV

March 14, 2018

A retired priest has been convicted of the historical sexual abuse of three young boys and a trainee priest.

Father Francis Moore, 82, was told by a judge he had abused his position as a parish priest and caused "immeasurable damage" to his victims.

The High Court in Glasgow heard that the allegations against Father Moore, also known as Father Paul, were first raised in 1996, but it was not until 2015 that a major police investigation was launched.

The court heard that the priest groomed some of his victims by taking them swimming or out for meals before sexually abusing them.

His youngest victim was just five when the priest abused him in his primary school.

The man, now aged 46, told the court he was abused by Father Moore on four or five occasions over a six-month period.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 12:22 PM

Child abuse inquiry: Diocese had 'major issue'

UNITED KINGDOM
BBC News

March 14, 2018

The diocese of Chichester had a "major issue" with priests carrying out abuse, an inquiry has heard.

Bishop of Chichester, the Rt Rev Martin Warner, made the claim when giving evidence to the independent inquiry into child sexual abuse.

Dr Warner said there had been a "breakdown of trust" between the Church of England and the local council.

He also said he was warned by a senior Church of England official that the area was considered "a basket case".

The bishop claimed Caroline Boddington, who was the Archbishop of Canterbury's appointments secretary, made the remark when he was appointed in 2012.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 12:21 PM

Church official arrested over child abuse

AUSTRALIA
Australian Associated Press

March 16, 2018

By Daniel McCulloch

Police have arrested a former employee of the Catholic Archdiocese of Canberra and Goulburn over historical child abuse allegations.

A former employee of the Catholic Archdiocese of Canberra and Goulburn has been arrested on child abuse charges.

The charges related to offences alleged to have occurred when the 79-year-old held an administrative position with the archdiocese in 1989.

"Police will allege the male offender was performing an administrative role within the archdiocese at the time he met the victim who was then aged 15," NSW Police said in a statement on Friday.

"The offences are alleged to have occurred in 1989 during a 'work related' trip to Batemans Bay and Huskisson."

The 79-year-old was arrested in the Brisbane suburb of Mitchelton on Tuesday and charged with five counts of gross indecency with an underage male.

The archdiocese referred the complaint to police in 2017 and promised to cooperate with the investigation.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 12:19 PM

Alaska Airlines pilot accuses co-pilot of rape in lawsuit, calls it a 'not-dealt-with issue in our industry'

UNITED STATES
Good Morning America (ABC News)

March 16, 2018

By Catherine Thorbecke and Sabina Ghebremedhin

An Alaska Airlines pilot who is suing her employer, claiming that she was drugged and raped by her co-pilot during a layover, said she believes that what happened to her is an industry-wide issue that is often "swept under the rug."

"I believe that this is an under-reported, swept-under-the-rug, not-dealt-with issue in our industry," Betty Pina, an Alaska Airlines first officer and former military pilot, told ABC News. "It's not just our airline."

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 12:17 PM

Man accuses the Anglican Church of ‘silencing’ sexual abuse

CAPE TOWN (SOUTH AFRICA)
Mail & Guardian

March 16, 2018

By Carl Collison

On a wintry Sunday afternoon last year, in Cape Town’s St George’s Cathedral, Gavin Hendricks* sat across from the priest who, he says, had sexually abused him for years as a child. Although the years of abuse ended more than three decades ago, the prospect of sitting face to face with his abuser filled Hendricks with dread.

“I was very anxious, but I had gotten to a place a few months ago where I just thought: ‘I need to approach this guy.’ You see, what happened then played a critical role in my life. I see the devastation that the abuse brought to my life, to my former marriage and also to relationships after that. At 52, I still struggle to form relationships with people,” says Hendricks today.

His anxiety was somewhat quelled by the presence of two people he refers to as his “safety net”: his brother and the dean of St George’s Cathedral, Michael Weeder.

Weeder, who had been providing Hendricks with counselling to better deal with the years of trauma, facilitated the meeting between Hendricks and the former priest whom he accuses of sexual abuse while heading the Cape Flats-based parish.

Weeder says that his role “was not so much counselling [Hendricks] as it was guiding him to the point of meeting [his abuser]”.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 12:15 PM

Vatican convicts ex-Guam archbishop accused of abuse

VATICAN CITY
The Associated Press

March 16, 2018

By Nicole Winfield

VATICAN CITY (AP) — The Vatican on Friday removed the suspended Guam archbishop from office and ordered him not to return to the Pacific island after convicting him of some charges in a sex abuse trial.

The Vatican didn’t say what exactly Archbishop Anthony Apuron had been convicted of, and the sentence was far lighter than those given high-profile elderly prelates found guilty of molesting minors. It amounts to an early retirement anywhere in the world but Guam, a remote U.S. Pacific territory.

Apuron is 72, while the Vatican retirement age is 75.

The Vatican spokesman declined to comment. Calls placed to the tribunal judge weren’t answered. Apuron’s whereabouts weren’t immediately known.

Pope Francis named a temporary administrator for Guam in 2016 after Apuron was accused by former altar boys of sexually abusing them when he was a priest. Dozens of cases involving other priests on the island have since come to light, and the archdiocese is facing more than $115 million in civil lawsuits alleging child sexual abuse by priests.

Apuron strongly denied the charges and said he was a victim of a “calumny” campaign. He wasn’t criminally charged. The statute of limitations had expired.

A statement from the tribunal in the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which handles sex abuse cases, said Apuron had been convicted of some of the accusations against him. It said he had been ordered removed from office and could no longer live in the archdiocese of Guam.

The conviction and sentence can be appealed. If Apuron appeals, the penalties are suspended until the case is resolved.

In the past, when an elderly or infirm priest has been convicted by the Vatican of sexually abusing minors, he has often been removed from ministry and sentenced to a lifetime of “penance and prayer.” Younger priests convicted of abuse have been defrocked, removed from ministry or forbidden from presenting themselves as priests.

Francis, however, has intervened in a handful of cases to lower sentences, and several high-ranking Vatican prelates oppose defrocking convicted molesters and have long lobbied for more lenient sentences.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 12:14 PM

Bill Cosby Will Face 5 More Accusers at Retrial for Sexual Assault

UNITED STATES
Vogue

March 16, 2018

By Bridget Read

A judge ruled on Thursday that Bill Cosby will face five additional women who are accusing him of sexual assault at his retrial in April, in a major decision for the case against Cosby. Last year, Cosby’s original trial ended in a hung jury, during which he only faced two accusers, Andrea Constand and Kelly Johnson. Prosecutors asked that they admit testimony from 19 additional women who say Cosby abused them; even the five additional women will aid the prosecution in establishing Cosby as a serial predator, whom they are alleging has exhibited an established pattern of drugging and assaulting victims.

The judge, Steven T. O’Neill, did not readily offer an explanation for why he decided to allow more women to give their accounts this time around. His ruling included a stipulation that the five women who will testify at the retrial be chosen from the eight most recent reported incidents. More than 50 women allege sexual misconduct by Cosby, who maintains his innocence.

Andrea Constand is a former Temple University employee, who testified in court that Cosby drugged and sexually assaulted her at his home near Philadelphia in 2004. In the first trial, the defense questioned Constand, among other aspects of her allegations, about why she took a year to report the incident the police and why she continued to have contact with Cosby after the fact. The testimony from the additional five women will allow prosecutors to establish Cosby’s behavior outside of Constand’s account, possibly bolstering her version of events despite the areas in which the defense previously found weakness.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 12:12 PM

Archdiocese: Crosier plan objection aims to secure compensation for abuse claimants

ST. PAUL and MINNEAPOLIS (MN)
The Catholic Spirit

March 16, 2018

By Maria Wiering

Leaders of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis said its legal objection filed against the Crosier Fathers and Brothers’ plan for reorganization aims to help victims/survivors of clergy sex abuse, not stymie the Crosiers’ reorganization process.

“The archdiocese is committed to maximizing its resources available to compensate victims and to reach a prompt consensual result in its bankruptcy case through the mediation ordered by Judge Kressel. The availability and value of its insurance is at the heart of these resources,” said Thomas Abood, chairman of the archdiocese’s reorganization task force, in a March 15 statement.

“The archdiocese filed its objection in the related Crosier matter to ensure the preservation of insurance rights for the benefit of the victim creditors in its case,” he added. “The archdiocese fully expects that its filing, as well as the similar filing by the Crosiers in the Archdiocese case, will be resolved in a way that does not delay confirmation of a plan in either case.”

Attorneys for the archdiocese filed the objection with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court March 14 in order to have the plan amended in a way that would preserve the compensation obligations of insurers affected by both the Crosiers’ and archdiocese’s Reorganization efforts. The Crosiers and the archdiocese are among Catholic entities in Minnesota that separately filed for Reorganization following the 2013 lifting of a statute of limitations by the Minnesota State Legislature, which ushered in a wave of historic sexual abuse claims.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 12:11 PM

Alleged abuse victims testify against Cardinal Pell at Australian court hearing

MELBOURNE (AUSTRALIA)
CNA/EWTN News

March 15, 2018

Alleged victims of abuse of Cardinal George Pell gave testimonies this week during a hearing in an Australian court which will determine if he will face a trial.

The committal hearing for the Prefect of the Secretariat for the Economy took place at the Melbourne Magistrate Court, and will allow prosecutors to determine whether there is enough evidence for a jury trial. The hearing began last week and is expected to take about a month to complete.

This week, the hearing was closed to media and the public while alleged victims gave testimony to the court through a video link. The courtroom reopened to the public Wednesday afternoon.

The total number of charges brought against Pell are not public, although some of the charges previously brought against Pell date as far back as 1961. In January, a key charge against Pell was dropped after the complainant died of leukemia.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 12:09 PM

Phillip Kravetsky, 51, charged in ongoing Sexual Assault investigation, Bathurst Street and Lawrence Avenue West area, Man’s photograph released

TORONTO (CANADA)
Toronto Police

March 15, 2018

Sex Crimes
416-808-2922

Case #: 2018-411456

The Toronto Police Service would like to advise the public of an arrest in an ongoing Sexual Assault investigation.

It is alleged that:

- a 51-year-old man sexually assaulted a child at an address in the Bathurst Street and Lawrence Avenue West area.

- this man is employed in Toronto as a psychotherapist with a focus on family counselling and corporate mediation

On Tuesday, March 13, 2018, Phillip Kravetsky, 51, of Toronto, was arrested by Child & Youth Advocacy Centre members. He is charged with:

1) Sexual Assault
2) Sexual Interference

He is scheduled to appear in court at 1000 Finch Avenue West on Friday, April 27, 2018.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 12:08 PM

Catholic Dioceses Asked To Release Names Of Priests Accused Of Sexual Abuse

SYRACUSE (NY)
WRVO

March 15, 2018

By Ellen Abbott

An attorney representing some survivors of clergy sexual abuse is calling on both the Catholic Diocese of Syracuse and Ogdensburg to release names of all priests accused of abuse.

Attorney Mike Reck works for a Minnesota law firm that has represented victims of clergy sexual abuse across the country, including central New York and the North Country. After presenting a list of publicly known priests who have been credibly accused of sexual abuse in those dioceses, he called on bishops to release the names of all clergy who’ve been credibly accused in the past.

“We believe the disclosure of this information is vital for the sake of public safety, and for the sake of the survivors who need this in order to begin their healing process,” Reck said.

Reck contends the church knows about dozens of priests who have been accused, but not publicly named.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 12:06 PM

Christian Brothers teacher admits abusing Kalgoorlie schoolboy more than 50 years ago

AUSTRALIA
Australian Broadcasting Corporation

March 15, 2018

By Joanna Menagh

A former Kalgoorlie Catholic schoolboy who says he was sexually abused by a Christian Brother more than 50 years ago has expressed his relief that his long battle for justice has finally led to the man responsible admitting what he did.

James Brian Hamilton, who was a teacher at the Christian Brothers College in Kalgoorlie, has pleaded guilty to a charge of indecently and unlawfully dealing with a child under 14 — an offence that happened in 1964.

Hamilton, who is now in his 80s, appeared in Perth's District Court via video link from Melbourne, where it is believed he has lived for the past few decades.

A second charge was discontinued by the prosecutor, who told the court the decision to drop that count was made on "public interest grounds".

Watching on from the public gallery was Hamilton's victim, who cannot be identified and is now in his 60s, but who was only aged about 13 when the abuse happened.

After the brief hearing, he spoke outside the court about his 50-year fight to bring Hamilton to justice and the effect the abuse has had on him.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 11:43 AM

She said she was raped on a flight. American Airlines called it a 'nuisance claim.' Now, she's speaking out

UNITED STATES
The Dallas News

March 15, 2018

By Conor Shine

It was shortly before 10 p.m. on June 16 when Aubrey Lane boarded American Airlines Flight 1280 at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, eager to meet up with family in New York for what she described as a bucket-list trip.

Several hours into the red-eye flight, she got up to use the bathroom.

There, Lane said she was trapped in the lavatory and raped by a noticeably intoxicated man who’d been sitting next to her during the flight.

The following hours were a blur of trauma and confusion, Lane said, as she was moved to a seat toward the back of the plane, met by police officers when she got off the plane at JFK International Airport and then transported to a nearby hospital.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 10:21 AM

An Alaska Airlines pilot is suing the airline alleging another pilot drugged and raped her

UNITED STATES
Business Insider

March 14, 2018

By Benjamin Zhang

- Alaska Airlines pilot Betty Pina is suing the airline.
- The first officer claims she was drugged and raped during a layover by the captain in charge of her flight.
- She claims Alaska Airlines is responsible for the captain’s behavior.
- The pilot also claims Alaska Airline’s response to the incident was lacking.

An Alaska Airlines pilot has filed a lawsuit against the airline claiming that she was drugged and raped while on the job. Betty Pina, a 39-year-old first officer who has been flying commercially with Alaska Airlines since 2016, alleges that she was drugged and raped at a hotel during a layover in Minneapolis, Minnesota by the Captain in charge of her flight.

(Pina’s name is being used because she has given on the record interviews with media outlets. The identity of the captain named in Pina’s suit is being withheld because he has not been charged with a criminal offense.)

In the lawsuit filed on Wednesday at Washington State Superior Court, the 39-year-old former Army helicopter pilot claims Alaska Airlines should be liable for the alleged actions of employees, including the Captain accused of the offenses. In addition, Pina claims the airline’s response to the incident was inadequate and “unlawfully retaliatory.”

“This is an open and active investigation and we aren’t going to comment,” an Alaska Airlines spokesman said in a statement to Business Insider. “What we can say is that we are taking this matter seriously. The safety and well-being of our employees and guests is a top priority.”

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 10:19 AM

Press Release from the Apostolic Tribunal of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith

VATICAN CITY
Holy See

March 16, 2018

The canonical trial in the matter of accusations, including accusations of sexual abuse of minors, brought against the Most Reverend Anthony Sablan APURON, O.F.M.Cap., Archbishop of Agaña, Guam, has been concluded.

The Apostolic Tribunal of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, composed of five judges, has issued its sentence of first instance, finding the accused guilty of certain of the accusations and imposing upon the accused the penalties of privation of office and prohibition of residence in the Archdiocese of Guam.

The sentence remains subject to possible appeal. In the absence of an appeal, the sentence becomes final and effective. In the case of an appeal, the imposed penalties are suspended until final resolution.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 9:30 AM

Reformers urge Australian bishops to release report on child sexual abuse royal commission

AUSTRALIA
Illawarra Mercury

March 15, 2018

By Joanne McCarthy

AUSTRALIAN Catholic bishops face “make or break time”, say prominent Catholics urging the church to make public its first formal analysis of damning child sexual abuse royal commission findings.

Reform group Catholics for Renewal and prominent Catholic author Paul Collins say public release of the Truth Justice and Healing Council’s royal commission assessment report, delivered to bishops last week, is a test of whether Australia’s bishops have learnt the lessons of the royal commission and are prepared to include lay Catholics in decision-making.

Former priest and Catholics for Renewal president Dr Peter Wilkinson and vice president Peter Johnstone said their group had asked bishops and leaders of Catholic orders to regard the TJH Council analysis of royal commission recommendations as a church “white paper” for reform.

They called on bishops to release the report to Catholics and the broader community for comment and consider those responses before preparing the church’s formal response to royal commission recommendations to the Federal Government.

“Not to make that document available is just another sign of continuing secrecy by the bishops,” said Dr Wilkinson, who co-authored a five-year study into systemic reasons for child sexual abuse within the Catholic Church.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 9:29 AM

Korea sets up panel to curb sexual abuse by priests CBCK president will chair committee as it seeks ways of handling human rights violations

SEOUL (SOUTH KOREA)
UCA News

March 15, 2018

The Catholic Bishops' Conference of Korea (CBCK) will set up a special bishops' committee in a bid to prevent sexual abuse by priests as more incidences of misconduct are exposed.

Korean bishops held a spring plenary session from March 5-9 and discussed setting up the Special Committee to Prevent Priests' Sexual Abuse panel under the CBCK.

"A bond has developed among our bishops [who believe] the recent cases of sexual abuse by priests serve as a last warning from God to the church in Korea," said Archbishop Hyginus Kim Hee-joong of Kwangju, a city in the center of South Korea.

"With this momentum, the church in Korea should repent and prepare a path toward renewal and change," he said.

"The special committee will work to spread a culture that priests must both respect and care for the faithful."

In addition to the committee, each diocese will install a window to receive reports of sexual abuse inside the church. Bishops will directly handle such cases.

According to the CBCK, the special committee will consider remedies to prevent human rights abuses and support victims of sexual abuse.

It will also come up with a formal process to punish priests who commit such abuse and integrate an anti-abuse campaign into priestly training.

The committee also plans to research the causes of sexual abuse by priests and sexual discrimination in the church in general, after which it will produce guidelines to help eradicate these.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 9:24 AM

Calls for Catholic Church to give equal justice to overseas abuse victims

AUSTRALIA
Australian Broadcasting Corporation

March 14, 2018

By Catherine Graue

As debate continues about the Catholic Church's approach to the national redress scheme for Australian victims of child sexual abuse, the church is now being challenged to take responsibility and deal with crimes carried out by church officials overseas, in developing countries that include Papua New Guinea and the Philippines.

The call, from the chief executive officer of the Church's Truth, Justice and Healing Council, comes as police in PNG wrap up their investigations into allegations an Australian priest, still working with children, inappropriately touched students.

Francis Sullivan said it was clear that priests with child sex allegations made against them had been sent overseas, although he is not prepared to concede that those actions were deliberate.

But he said the church needed to treat overseas survivors exactly as they would those in Australia, and ensure they get justice.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 9:03 AM

AP: Families feel deserted after sex assaults at base school

UNITED STATES
The Associated Press

March 15, 2018

By Reese Dunklin and Justin Pritchard

The three military fathers sat at the commander’s conference table on the U.S. Army base in Germany, pleading for help.

They told the commander that their daughters were among a half-dozen girls sexually assaulted by a boy in their first-grade class at the base school. The principal had known about the boy’s behavior for months, they said, but the abuse continued.

The girls’ parents had already turned to Army police, military child-abuse authorities and sex-assault specialists. The response throughout the U.S. military’s vast support structure was always the same, they said: Sorry this has happened; there’s nothing we can do.

“It gives us a sense of hopelessness,” one of the fathers, a soldier, said. “We can only do so much as parents.”

Tens of thousands of children and teenagers live and attend school on U.S. military bases while their parents serve the country. Yet if they are sexually violated by a classmate, a neighborhood kid or a sibling, they often get lost in a legal and bureaucratic netherworld . That’s because military law doesn’t apply to civilians, and the federal legal system that typically handles civilian crimes on base isn’t equipped or inclined to prosecute juveniles.

The Pentagon’s response to addressing this problem stands in contrast to how it cracked down on sexual assault in the ranks following congressional scrutiny more than a decade ago.

“If this would have been a soldier, things would have happened much differently,” the soldier’s wife said.

The Office of the Secretary of Defense said it “takes seriously any incident impacting the well-being” of soldiers and families and promised, without elaboration, “appropriate actions.”

The military’s school system — the Department of Defense Education Activity, or DoDEA — said it had “zero tolerance for sexual assault” and that an investigation of what happened at the German base school showed staff “took the appropriate actions to best meet the needs of all students involved.”

Yet, in a military that prizes procedure and protocol, the Pentagon’s school system has no specific policy to respond to student-on-student sexual violence. It doesn’t accurately track the incidents and affords students fewer protections than those assaulted in U.S. public schools, an Associated Press investigation found.

Three sets of parents interviewed for this story spoke on the record. But AP does not name victims of sexual assault without consent and, to protect their daughters’ identities, extended that anonymity to their parents.

“The one place you can feel safe with your child going is school,” said another mother whose daughter was among those who reported being attacked, “and then you can’t even trust school.”

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 8:58 AM

March 15, 2018

Report says priests accused of sex abuse were in a dozen St. Lawrence County towns up to early 2000s

POTSDAM (NY)
North Country Now

March 14, 2018

A report from a Minnesota law firm specializing in representing sexually abused children has released a report identifying eight priests who were assigned to St. Lawrence County churches that have been publicly accused of molesting children.

The report comes from the Jeff Anderson and Associates firm out of St. Paul, Minn.
The priests include fathers John J. Fallon, Theodore M. Gillette, John Hunt, Liam O’Doherty, Robert M. Shurtleff, Clark S. White, David E. Wisniewski and Paul F. Worczak.

The firm says the vast majority of the accusations have not gone to court, and the statute of limitations has expired on many of them.

It is believed that the Diocese of Ogdensburg does not make available to the public the full history, knowledge and context of the sexually abusive clerics,” the report says. “The Diocese of Ogdensburg can be viewed as a microcosm of the national problem of priests sexually assaulting minors because the diocese fails to fully disclose its knowledge of sexually abusive priests. Upon instituting a zero tolerance policy in 2002, half of the eight publically known perpetrators were removed (Fathers Gillette, Shurtleff, White & Wisniewski).”

In 2002, Diocesan Administrator Monsignor Richard Lawler said that since 1950, 56 people, 37 of whom were minors at the time, have made sexual-abuse allegations against 35 clergymen. The diocese determined that the allegations against 23 of the priests were credible, according to the report.

The identities of all 35 priests have not been disclosed to the public.

“In the interest of public safety the identities and the histories should be disclosed,” the report says.

The Ogdensburg diocese has created the Independent Reconciliation and Compensation Program, which is a third-party-administered fund that compensates some victims of childhood sex abuse by priests. There is a May 31 deadline for those who qualify.

“Currently, the IRCP is available only for survivors who previously reported their abuse. It is possible the program will be made available in the future to survivors of abuse who have not yet reported their abuse,” the report says. “While the IRCP does provide some measure of justice and accountability, it is also complex and requires a survivor to waive his/her future rights if a settlement is received.”

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 2:53 PM

Williams: church's old views on gay clergy led to desire not to judge sexual activities

ENGLAND
The Guardian

March 14, 2018

By Harriet Sherwood

Former archbishop tells child sexual abuse inquiry ‘there was perhaps overcompensation’ for repressive views

The Church of England may have “overcompensated” for earlier repressive attitudes to gay clergy with a reluctance to deal rigorously with priests who sexually abused children, Rowan Williams, the former archbishop of Canterbury, has said.

Giving evidence to the independent inquiry into child sexual abuse, Williams said an “awkwardness” about the church’s views on homosexuality 30 or 40 years ago may have led to a desire not to be “judgmental about people’s sexual activities”.

In recent years, “more and more people [are] coming out of the closet. The question of clergy sexuality has been more openly discussed. The change in climate has been quite striking … I think there has been a sea change.”

He went on: “At a time when people were beginning to feel awkward about traditional closeted attitudes, there was perhaps an overcompensation, [people] saying, ‘Well, we don’t want to be to be judgmental about people’s sexual activities … We must therefore give people a second chance and understand the pressures,’ and so on.”

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 2:52 PM

State legislators to grill MSU interim president John Engler today

DETROIT (MI)
Detroit Free Press

March 15, 2018

By David Jesse

State senators will grill Michigan State University President John Engler Thursday during a higher education subcommittee meeting. The testimony is set to begin at 1:45 p.m.

Senators hope to hear answers about how MSU failed in itshandling of complaints raised against Larry Nassar, the MSU doctor accused of sexually assaulting dozens of female athletes on campus, and solutions from Engler about how the school is making sure it doesn't happen again.

Some of those questions will focus on which sexual assault cases make it up to the attention of MSU's top leaders and board, said Tonya Schuitmaker, the chairwoman of the committee.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 2:39 PM

ROWAN WILLIAMS ADMITS FAILINGS OVER C OF E CHILD ABUSE

ENGLAND
The Tablet

March 15, 2018

By Rose Gamble

Former Archbishop of Canterbury says it took 'unconscionably long' to focus on needs of abuse complainants

The Church of England was “naive and uncritical” when in came to abuses of power by clergy, former Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams told the independent inquiry into child sexual abuse.

On day eight of a three-week hearing on the Anglican church as part of the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA), Lord Williams of Oystermouth said that a mindset in which the authority of an ordained minister was thought to be “beyond criticism” was a “definitely a problem” when it came to preventing abuse.

“So much of this turns on how we understand the exercise of power in the Church, in which we have often been in the past — myself included — naïve and uncritical,” he admitted. “It did take us an unconscionably long time for us to really focus on the need of the complainant and the proper care,” he told the inquiry.

He added that this “top down model of authority” leaves “little mental or spiritual space for a victim to speak out in the confidence that they will be heard”.

Even when the Church did begin to act, such as in a review of past cases a decade ago, it only “skimmed the surface”, and failed to do justice to the perspective of victims, he said.

Lord Williams was also questioned on the particular problems in the diocese of Chichester, which is the focus of this strand of the inquiry.

Conservatism along with clericalism was a problem in the diocese, Lord Williams said.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 2:37 PM

Priest guilty of child sex abuse

GLASGOW (SCOTLAND)
BBC News

March 14, 2018

An 82-year-old Catholic priest has been convicted of sexually abusing three children and a student priest in crimes spanning more than 20 years.

Father Paul Moore committed the crimes in various locations in Ayrshire between 1977 and 1996.

The court heard how he abused one boy at a school, another at a leisure centre and a third on the beach at Irvine in the 1970s.

He was also found guilty of indecently assaulting a student priest in 1995.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 2:36 PM

Church overlooked sexual abuse by bishop because he was gay, former Archbishop suggests

ENGLAND
The Telegraph

March 14, 2018

By Olivia Rudgard

The Church of England may have overlooked abuse by paedophile bishop Peter Ball because he was gay, a former Archbishop of Canterbury has suggested.

Baron Rowan Williams told the independent inquiry into child sexual abuse that "overcompensation" by colleagues who felt "awkward about the traditional closeted attitude" of the Church of England might have allowed Ball "second chances".

Asked by Fiona Scolding QC, lead counsel to the Anglican investigation, whether attitudes towards homosexuality affected the way Ball was treated, he said that church figures didn't want to be "seen to be judgmental about people's sexual activities".

He said Ball's colleagues felt that while "we may formally in a disciplinary way disapprove, we may treat them according to the protocols, but we mustn't be seen to be, or we mustn't be judgmental, we must therefore give people second chances and understand the pressures and so on.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 2:32 PM

Church's approach to abuse was to 'stonewall' and 'say nothing', says Rowan Williams' former aide

ENGLAND
Christian Today

March 15, 2018

By Harry Farley

Rowan Williams' former spin doctor today admitted the Church of England's policy was to 'stonewall' abuse victims.

A former official for Lord Williams in his time as archbishop of Canterbury said Lambeth Palace's approach was 'to do and say nothing' in the face of allegations of child sexual abuse in 2010.

George Pitcher, William's former public affairs secretary, insisted the Church should not see him as 'the bad boy of its communications' after he was criticised during hearings into whether the CofE, colluded in, covered up or facilitated abuse.

The inquiry into child sex abuse heard the extent to which Pitcher and other Lambeth Palace officials were desperate to shield Lord Williams from the abuse allegations.

In an internal email from Pitcher to other senior officials he said the 'real danger here is that these stories are used to suggest the CofE is as bad as Rome, both in abuse and cover-up'.

He went on to suggest the then bishop of Chichester, John Hind, 'may have to be thrown to the press as a sacrifice' as allegations of child abuse in east Sussex emerged.

'The aim must be to distance the current ABC [archbishop of Canterbury] from it as much as poss [sic]. All actions must serve that purpose in my view.'

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 2:30 PM

Former Henrietta pastor pleads guilty to sexual abuse

HENRIETTA (NY)
Democrat & Chronicle

March 15, 2018

By Victoria E. Freile

A former Henrietta pastor known for running a fight club in his church pleaded guilty to sexual abuse charges Wednesday in Henrietta Town Court.

Paul Burress, 43, who was accused of groping three women in his Henrietta home, was charged last fall with four counts of forcible touching, a misdemeanor. On Wednesday, he pleaded guilty to third-degree sexual abuse, a misdemeanor, according to the Monroe County District Attorney's Office.

Burress was a charismatic pastor at Victory Church in Henrietta, a large non-denominational church, for a number of years.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 2:27 PM

Paedophile priest Father Moore guilty of historical child abuse in Irvine

GLASGOW (SCOTLAND)
Irvine Times

March 14, 2018

A DISGRACED retired priest has been convicted of the appalling historic sexual abuse of three young boys and a trainee priest.

Eighty-two-year-old Father Francis Moore was told by judge Rita Rae that he had abused his position as a parish priest.

Moore who was also known as Father Paul, was found guilty after trial at the High Court in Glasgow.

Some of the jurors were openly weeping as they delivered their verdicts.

Judge Lady Rae told the priest: “Mr Moore you have abused your position as a priest in the most horrible manner. You have been convicted of , particularly in relation to the young children, appalling abuse.

“The damage such conduct does to young people is immeasurable.”

First offender Moore will be sentenced next month.

He showed no emotion as he was remanded in custody and led away to the cells.

The court heard that the allegations against Father Moore were first raised in 1996, but it was not until 2015 that a major police investigation was launched after former top cop and Labour MSP Graeme Pearson raised the matter in the Scottish Parliament.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 2:26 PM

Paedophile priest Malachy Finegan ministered in Co Laois

IRELAND
RTÉ News

March 14, 2018

By Joe Little

The Catholic Church has said that paedophile priest, the late Malachy Finegan, ministered for three years in the Diocese of Kildare and Leighlin.

Responding to a query from RTÉ News, a spokesman for the diocese said the disgraced cleric, who is known by his own northern Diocese of Dromore to have sexually abused minors, worked as a curate in Rosenallis, Co Laois from 1953 to 1956.

The spokesman added that the Diocese of Kildare and Leighlin had "no knowledge or record of any complaint or allegation concerning Fr Finegan".

Earlier this week the former President Mary McAleese called on the civil authorities in Northern Ireland to launch a public inquiry into the Diocese of Dromore's response to complaints about Finegan's abuse which, she said, stretch back as far as the early 1970s.

On 1 March Dr John McAreavey announced his resignation as Bishop of Dromore in the wake of revelations by some of Finegan's victims that, in 2000, he had concelebrated mass in public with Finegan in spite of the church's ban on the paedophile ministering in public.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 2:24 PM

Sexist Church culture may be linked to failure to tackle child abuse – Williams

UNITED KINGDOM
The Belfast Telegraph

March 14, 2018

Former Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams addressed the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse.

A sexist and misogynist culture in the Anglican Church may have contributed to failings in tackling child sex abuse, the former Archbishop of Canterbury told an inquiry.

Lord Rowan Williams, who held the post from 2002 to 2012, said the Church still has a “mindset”, but not a “dominant ethos”, of being a “close-knit male body of clergy protective of their dignity and authority”.

He made the comments while giving evidence in London on Wednesday afternoon to the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse.

Fiona Scolding QC, the lead lawyer for the Anglican strand of the inquiry, is examining how the Church of England handled allegations of sexual misconduct stretching back to the 1950s, first focusing on the Diocese of Chichester.

She questioned Lord Williams after reading a statement from retired judge Baroness Elizabeth Butler-Sloss who described how she found there was a “culture of denial” about child abuse among police and clergy in Sussex and said the diocese had an “anti-woman culture”.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 1:01 PM

Lawyer for clergy sexual abuse survivors calling for naming of all accused priests

SYRACUSE (NY)
CNY CENTRAL

March 14, 2018

By Daniel Messineo

It is a call for clarity aimed at the Syracuse Catholic Diocese.

A lawyer representing alleged victims of clergy sexual abuse is pushing for the diocese to release all of the names of credibly accused priests.

“The disclosure of this information is vital for the sake of public safety and for the sake of the survivors who need this to begin their healing process," Mike Reck, attorney with Jeff Anderson and Associates, said.

Reck said the release of names, and where and when the credibly accused priest served in the diocese, would go a long way in helping survivors heal.

“We view this as an opportunity and a call to action for the bishops of each of the diocese to disclose what they knew, when they knew it and make this information available to the public," Reck said.

Patrick Wall is a victim advocate that works with Reck.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 1:00 PM

Eastern Montana Catholic diocese's effort to drop bankruptcy after settlement fails is a first

BILLINGS (MT)
Billings Gazette

March 14, 2018

By Phoebe Tollefson

For the first time ever, a U.S. Catholic diocese is trying to back out of bankruptcy court due to its failure to reach a settlement with victims of clergy sex abuse.

In a motion filed Tuesday, the Great Falls-Billings Diocese said negotiations with the abuse victims had broken down and that continuing through bankruptcy court would only add to litigation costs and diminish the funds that will eventually be used to compensate victims.

The diocese filed for bankruptcy a year ago as part of its plan to settle complaints by 72 people claiming sex abuse by Eastern Montana clergy. Later more victims came forward and there are now 86.

The diocese is required to pay for all litigation costs, including the work of the victims’ attorneys, under bankruptcy court rules. That tab is likely to run into millions of dollars, the diocese said in a press release issued Wednesday by Chancellor Darren Eultgen.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 12:55 PM

Vatican Treasurer's pre-trial hearing re-opens to public

MELBOURNE (AUSTRALIA)
Reuters

March 14, 2018

By Sonali Paul

The pre-trial hearing examining charges against Vatican treasurer Cardinal George Pell of historical sexual offences re-opened to the public and media on Wednesday following a week of closed evidence from complainants.

Pell, 76, a top adviser to Pope Francis, sat quietly next to his lawyers during the open session at Melbourne Magistrates' Court.

The hearing, scheduled to last four weeks, started on March 5 to determine if prosecutors have enough evidence for a case to be committed to a full trial.

In the open session, Pell's lawyers called as a witness the father of an alleged victim. The father, who can't be named under Australian law in case it identifies the alleged victim, told the court he had no reason to suspect his son had been sexually assaulted. The allegation only arose after his son died of what he said was an accidental heroin overdose in 2014.

"I never saw, he never hinted that there was something going on," the father, who described himself as a practicing Catholic, said via a video link to the court.

He said his son had been in and out of drug rehabilitation centers seven or eight times. The father said his son had said he got hooked on heroin because he enjoyed the drug and had never hinted that he had turned to drugs as a result of sexual abuse.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 12:53 PM

Street in new Freeland development named after accused priest changing

FREELAND (MI)
WJRT

March 14, 2018

The name of a new street in Freeland will most likely be changed as fallout from a sex abuse case involving a priest continues.

A new subdivision north of St. Agnes Catholic Church in Freeland has a road called DeLand Drive.

It was named for Robert DeLand, the pastor of the church since 2011. But he now faces sex assault charges and a federal civil lawsuit from one of his alleged victims.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 12:52 PM

Michigan priest accused of grooming, groping teen

SOUTHFIELD (MI)
WJBK

March 14, 2018

A Michigan priest has been charged with sexual assault after a teenager said the priest fondled him, provided cash, and requested that they 'party together' with drugs. It started with two victims but police in Saginaw fear many more are out there.

Robert Deland, 71, went from the cloth to the jail jumpsuit. Known as Father Bob, he's accused of preying on young men while a priest at St. Agnes Catholic Church in Freeland, near Saginaw. The charges involve a 21-year-old man and a 17-year-old, who worked undercover to make the arrest.

Todd Weglarz with Fieger Law is representing the 17-year-old, who first met DeLand when he was 16 at his friend's funeral after that friend committed suicide last May. The teen had been in legal trouble and it's alleged the priest invited him to do community service at his church.

"It's a progressive, gaining your trust-type thing, and then he starts moving in: Let's start getting drugs, let's party, I have a special bedroom for you.Then the assaults. Yes, this is very well calculated," Weglarz said.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 12:51 PM

George Pell accused of abuse at family trip to lake

AUSTRALIA
The New Daily

March 15, 2018

By Lucie Morris-Marr

Cardinal George Pell has been accused in court of alleged abuse during a water skiing trip in rural Victoria.

The Vatican treasurer, 76, whose committal hearing for multiple allegations of historic sexual abuse continued at Melbourne Magistrates Court on Thursday, was alleged to have been invited to join a Catholic family for an afternoon when he was working as an assistant priest.

A family member said Cardinal Pell arrived with another priest at a lake in regional Victoria just after lunch and enjoyed a trip on skis behind the family speedboat before joining them for afternoon tea. His visit apparently lasted about two hours.

However, Robert Richter, Cardinal Pell’s lead barrister, questioned the father of the alleged male victim about why he did not mention Cardinal Pell’s name in a statement to Sano Task Force in 2015.

In heated exchanges, Mr Richter told the witness, who cannot be named, that the reason Cardinal Pell was not mentioned was because he did “nothing wrong”.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 12:49 PM

Lawsuit: Priest quoted Bible during abuse

GUAM
The Guam Daily Post

March 15, 2018

By Mindy Aguon

A former altar boy and Boy Scout alleges he was forced to engage in oral sex with a priest and was told that by doing so he was “one to one with God,” states a lawsuit filed Thursday in the Superior Court.

J.G., 49, who used his initials to protect his identity, filed a civil complaint against the Archdiocese of Agana, the Boy Scouts of America and retired priest Louis Brouillard.

The plaintiff alleges the sexual abuse began when he was 9 and served as an altar boy at San Vicente Ferrer-San Roke Catholic Church in Barrigada where Brouillard served as parish priest and scoutmaster.

The lawsuit states Brouillard would walk around before Mass exposing himself to the altar boys and while in his room would sexually abuse J.G. by rubbing his private parts over his clothing in a sexually suggestive manner and fondle the boy.

The abuse also occurred during outings at the Lonfit River where Brouillard allegedly instructed the boys to swim naked, the lawsuit states. The priest allegedly groped J.G. and others and took pictures of them naked. The lawsuit states Brouillard told the boys they “needed” to do these things to obtain their merit badges.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 12:48 PM

Our Editorial: Statute of limitations deserves debate

DETROIT (MI)
The Detroit News

March 14, 2018

Lawmakers are in a hurry to come to the aid of the women who suffered abuse from Larry Nassar while he was employed by Michigan State University. And while the victims deserve justice, the dramatic changes proposed to the state’s statute of limitations deserve much more debate.

Sen. Margaret O’Brien, R-Portage, who spearheaded the package of bipartisan bills, has said she wants the legislation to “put fear into the heart” of sexual perpetrators — especially those who would harm children. But some of the bills, which have now passed the full Senate, are also striking fear into the hearts of university, business and local government leaders.

Republicans heard Tuesday from a plethora of groups concerned with extending the statute of limitations for decades and eliminating governmental immunity in cases of sexual abuse.

Top legal voices statewide and nationally are also cautioning against having such a wide window for civil lawsuits, as proposed.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 12:47 PM

Paedophile priest abused young boys at Irvine school and Magnum leisure centre

GLASGOW (SCOTLAND)
The Daily Record

March 15, 2018

By Irvine Herald

Father Paul Moore now faces a lengthy prison term, writes Wilma Riley.

A disgraced retired priest has been convicted of the appalling historic sexual abuse of three young boys and a trainee priest.

Eighty-two-year-old Father Francis Moore was told by judge Rita Rae that he had abused his position as a parish priest.

Moore who was also known as Father Paul, was found guilty on Wednesday after trial at the High Court in Glasgow. Some of the jurors were openly weeping as they delivered their verdicts.

Judge Lady Rae told the priest: “Mr Moore you have abused your position as a priest in the most horrible manner. You have been convicted of , particularly in relation to the young children, appalling abuse.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 12:45 PM

Michigan Senate passes legislation backed by Nassar victims

LANSING (MI)
The Associated Press

March 14, 2018

By David Eggert

The Michigan Senate on Wednesday passed bills inspired by the Larry Nassar sexual abuse case, voting to retroactively give the imprisoned sports doctor's victims more time to sue, restrict governments' ability to claim immunity from such lawsuits and require more people to report suspected abuse to authorities.

The fast-tracked legislation was sent to the House for further consideration more than two weeks after Nassar victims helped unveil it at the Capitol. Measures that would extend the statute of limitations and strip the immunity defense in certain cases had received pushback from universities, schools, local governments, businesses and the Catholic Church over the broader financial implications of facing an unknown number of suits for old claims.

"This package of bills delivers justice, justice for the children who were sexually assaulted," said a lead sponsor, Republican Sen. Margaret O'Brien of Portage.

Michigan State University and USA Gymnastics, where Nassar worked for decades, have been sued by more than 250 girls and women. Among the school's arguments in federal court are that many accusers took too long to sue and that it has immunity.

People sexually abused as children in Michigan generally have until their 19th birthdays to sue, which critics argue is inadequate because victims often wait to report the abuse due to fear. Under a bill approved 28-7, those abused as children in 1997 or later would have a one-year window in which to file suit retroactively — but not those abused as adults.

Prospectively, victims abused in childhood would have until their 48th birthdays to sue. For others, the three-year time limit would rise to 10 years.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 12:43 PM

Lawsuit: Priest tells boy he's 'one to one with God' when sexually abusing him

GUAM
Pacific Daily News

March 15, 2018

By Haidee V. Eugenio

A priest would often tell an altar boy he was "one to one with God" when the priest was sexually abusing him around 1979 or 1980, according to a $10 million lawsuit filed Thursday in local court.

The lawsuit says Father Louis Brouillard, now a retired priest and former scoutmaster living in Minnesota, sexually abused a Barrigada parish altar boy, who also was a Boy Scout and around 9 or 10 years old at the time.

The plaintiff, identified in court documents only as J.G. to protect his privacy, said in his lawsuit that Brouillard would sexually abuse the boy in the priest's room by rubbing his private parts over his clothing and would place the boy's hands on the priest's private parts.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 10:06 AM

Priest who abused boys was sent to Canada for treatment

LONDON (ENGLAND)
The Times

March 15 2018

By Wilma Riley

A retired priest has been convicted of the sexual abuse of three boys and a trainee cleric.

The offences were committed between 1977 and 1996 but the High Court in Glasgow was told that when the Catholic church was informed about allegations, Father Paul Moore, a priest in Ayrshire, was sent for treatment in Canada rather than being reported to the authorities.

Judge Lady Rae told the priest, who had denied the offences: “Mr Moore you have abused your position as a priest in the most horrible manner. You have been convicted of, particularly in relation to the young children, appalling abuse. The damage such conduct does to young people is immeasurable.”

The allegations against Moore, 82, who will be sentenced next month, were first raised in 1996 but it was not until 2015 that a major police investigation got under way after Graeme Pearson, a former senior policeman and Labour MSP, raised the matter in the Scottish parliament.

Bishop Maurice Taylor, 91, the bishop of Galloway between 1981 and 2004, told the court that in 1996 Moore admitted he had an attraction to young boys and had “a desire to abuse minors”. As a result, he was sent to a specialist clinic in Toronto for his problem. When he returned he was told he could no longer be a parish priest.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 10:01 AM

Sex-abuse priest Finnegan 'spent three years at parish in Laois'

DUBLIN (IRELAND)
Independent

March 15, 2018

By Ian Begley

A priest who sexually abused children in Northern Ireland is said to have worked in a parish in Co Laois.

Fr Malachy Finnegan worked as a curate for three years in Rosenallis in the Slieve Bloom mountains from 1953 to 1956.

A spokesman from the Diocese of Kildare and Leighlin confirmed to RTÉ it had “no knowledge or record of any complaint or allegation concerning Fr Finnegan”.

Finnegan later moved to the Diocese of Dromore where he is known to have abused children at St Colman’s College in Newry.

Earlier this week, former president Mary McAleese called on the authorities in Northern Ireland to launch a public inquiry into the Diocese of Dromore’s response to abuse complaints, which stretch back to the early 1970s.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 9:41 AM

Lawyers for Vatican treasurer question accusers in Australian court

MELBOURNE (AUSTRALIA)
Reuters

By Sonali Paul

Lawyers for Vatican treasurer Cardinal George Pell questioned family members of two of his accusers during a second day of open testimony in a pre-trial hearing into charges of historical sexual offences in an Australian court on Thursday.

Australian-born Pell, 76, a top adviser to Pope Francis, was summoned by police last year and is the most senior Catholic official to face such charges. Details of the charges have not been made public.

Pell’s lawyers have said at previous administrative hearings he will plead not guilty to all charges. Pell is not required to enter a formal plea unless a magistrate determines there is cause for a full trial.

His lawyer, Robert Richter, questioned the fathers and a brother of two of his accusers about statements they had given to police about when and where certain events were alleged to have taken place and when they became aware of them.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 9:38 AM

Former pupil speaks of his abuse by Fr Malachy Finnegan

DUBLIN (IRELAND)
Irish Times

March 14, 2018

By Patsy McGarry

‘I’m still shaking today when I think of that monster’

Donal remembers vividly one particularly beating by the late president of St Colman’s College, Newry, Fr Malachy Finnegan, mainly because the priest insisted his mother should witness it.

He was about 15 or 16 then and in 4th year at the time.

There was a rumpus in the class and Fr Finnegan was passing on the corridor outside. “He came in and grabbed me and two or three others and brought us into the corridor. He caught me by the throat and lifted me by the collar two or three feet off the ground and he said ‘go home and you won’t be allowed back until one of your parents comes in’.”

Donal was “shaking”.

He went home and told his mother. She came back to St Colman’s with him to meet Fr Finnegan. “He brought us to his office and asked her “What kind of Catholic have you reared?”

She was told she was there to witness Donal’s punishment. The priest explained it was the only way, or Donal would not be let back to the college.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 9:35 AM

Law firm demands names of North Country's abusive Roman Catholic priests

CANTON (NY)
North Country Public Radio

March 15, 2018

By Brian Mann

Westport NY - A law firm that represents victims of sexual abuse by clergy is urging the North Country's Roman Catholic diocese to release the names of priests suspected of committing sexual crimes.

At a press conference yesterday, the firm Jeff Anderson and Associates published the names of eight priests suspected of molesting children.

They say Church officials have other names which haven't been made public, a claim the Diocese of Ogdensburg confirms.

"Many many survivors still think that they are alone," said Attorney Mike Reck, speaking yesterday in Syracuse, calling on the Diocese of Ogdensburg to release names of priests who face credible claims of sexual abuse. "The time for thinking about what's right is done. It's time to take action. It's time to actually do the right thing."

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 9:29 AM

Pedophile priest gets 63 years for abuse

MEXICO CITY (MEXICO)
Mexico News Daily

March 14, 2018

It marks the first time in Mexican history that a priest has been jailed for pedophilia

For the first time in the history of the Mexican justice system a pedophile Catholic priest has been sentenced to jail, a decision deemed a “milestone” by the victim’s lawyer.

Carlos López Valdez will serve 63 years for the sexual abuse of Jesús Romero Colín over a four-year period after Romero, then a minor, agreed to live with López in the hope of one day becoming a priest himself.

López, now 72, was sentenced yesterday in Mexico City. He was also ordered to pay 75,000 pesos (US $4,000) in reparation.

The victim’s lawyer told the newspaper El Universal that the sentence was “a milestone with regard to clerical pedophile cases.”

At least two high-ranking members of the Catholic church, Jonás Guerrero Corona and Marcelino Hernández Rodríguez, the bishops of Culiacán and Colima, respectively, were aware of the abuse “but they did nothing,” said the lawyer for an advocacy group.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 9:24 AM

Rights group: Mexican priest gets 63 years for sex abuse

MEXICO CITY (MEXICO)
Associated Press via Fox News

March 15, 2018

A Mexican human rights group says a Roman Catholic priest has been sentenced to 63 years in prison for abusing a boy.

The Action Group for Human Rights and Social Justice said Tuesdays the conviction and prison sentence for Carlos Lopez Valdes is the first against a priest in Mexico City. He would only have to serve 40 years, the maximum sentence applicable in Mexico City.

The Mexico City court system and prosecutors' office do not normally announce or confirm such sentences.

The 72-year-old priest had been arrested about 1 ½ years ago. The man who filed the abuse complaint said it took years to convince prosecutors to file charges and ask for an arrest warrant.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 9:19 AM

March 14, 2018

Mary McAleese | Today with Sean O'Rourke

DUBLIN (IRELAND)
RTÉ

March 12, 2018

Sean, look, 1988, when John Paul wrote a letter, Mulieris Dignitatem, in which he set out the reasons why women couldn’t be ordained. That was 1988. And I wrote to the Pope at the time and said, look, I have great difficulty, I can’t believe this, I can’t accept it, I can’t teach my children it. I don’t want to be out of communion with my church – tell me, am I out of communion with my church? And he wrote back, through an intermediary, of course, saying, absolutely not, that’s fine, you know. And I accept, I absolutely accept the authority of the Pope. Do I believe absolutely everything the Pope says? I don’t have to, no, because only very occasionally does he speak with what we call infallible authority; a lot of the time he doesn't. Let me just take very recently, a month ago he spoke in Chile, to victims of sexual abuse, and what he said was dreadful, hurtful, and also deeply inaccurate, very flawed. Do I have to accept that? Of course I don’t. I’m perfectly correct to say that that was hurtful to a lot of people. He himself had to apologise.

* * *

They are legion; they are legion, the silent sufferers. And they carry it with them through their lives and it remains unresolved and it causes dysfunction and it causes difficulties, and we know that story, because it’s the story of Ryan, of Murphy, of Cloyne, of Hart, of all these [reports]. And the sad thing for me is, that here we are, you know, and it’s 20 years after the new Guidelines were introduced and everything, and we were supposed to have diocesan audits, and we were supposed to be told, all the secrets were supposed to be out there, there were supposed to be no more secrets, and yet here we are, and there is a mountain of them, and a mountain of hurt.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 5:04 PM

Australian Court Hears Public Testimony in Cardinal Pell Abuse Case

NEW YORK (NY)
New York Times

March 14, 2018

By Adam Baidawi

Melbourne, Australia - A judge allowed reporters into an Australian courtroom on Wednesday to hear witness testimony during a pretrial hearing for Cardinal George Pell, the Vatican’s third-highest-ranking priest, in a high-profile sexual abuse case that has largely unfolded behind closed doors.

Cardinal Pell has been accused of “historical sexual offenses,” meaning they took place decades ago, but the details of the criminal complaint have not been made public. For the past 10 days the court has been closed to the public as those accusing Cardinal Pell were questioned via video conference.

In general, Australian law tends to be more favorable to defendants, and proceedings more secretive, than in the United States. Such cases are often subject to the country’s contempt standards, and other legal restrictions, which prohibit journalists from reporting on details of criminal allegations.

The hearing, which is expected to run for at least another week, will determine if Cardinal Pell, the most senior member of the Catholic Church to face such accusations, will stand trial.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 4:58 PM

OPINION: Five years on, Pope Francis has failed to deliver on his promises

VATICAN CITY
The Guardian

March 12, 2018

By Catherine Pepinster

The pontiff’s efforts at church reform have stalled, letting down liberal Catholics on issues such as child abuse and the role of women

If there is something the Roman Catholic church does supremely well, it is the spectacle of an election. From the cardinals in the Sistine Chapel voting and the white plumes announcing the election of a new pope, to the new man stepping onto the balcony of St Peter’s to greet the crowds, it is one moment of high drama after another.

Now such a huge global figure, it is hard to believe that when Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio of Buenos Aires first greeted the crowds on 13 March 2013, and announced he would be called Pope Francis, most of the world – including Catholics – asked, “Who’s this?”

As Francis quipped on the day, the cardinals went to the ends of the earth to find a new pope. They made their decision based partly on the troubles the Catholic church faced, troubles that had so overwhelmed Benedict XVI that he had resigned. These troubles included the decline in Catholic numbers in the west, the mess of the church’s finances and evidence of money-laundering and corruption, the Vatican’s bureaucracy, the child sexual abuse scandals and the fading influence of Catholic sexual morality in the face of more secular influence.

And just as Francis had pleased the cardinals, he quickly won over the world. His modest lifestyle, his ready engagement with ordinary people, his desire for reform of the church’s structures and more compassionate attitudes to divorced, remarried and gay people, made him hugely popular. At the Vatican, he quickly took action, setting up a group of progressive cardinals to investigate how to reform it.

Five years on, Francis’s efforts at reforms have got stuck. The pope recognises the problems of overhauling the unwieldy structure of the Vatican bureaucracy: he has likened it to cleaning the Egyptian sphinx with a toothbrush. Then there is his calling of synods to discuss the family, especially the treatment of divorced and remarried Catholics. They have won him huge support among millions of people in the pews, but have led to open hostility from conservative prelates.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 4:19 PM

5 things HR managers say about sexual harassment in #MeToo era

DETROIT (MI)
Detroit Free Press

March 14, 2018

By Kristen Jordan Shamus

The steamroller of sexual assault and harassment claims have left no industry untouched in the #MeToo era.

Allegations of sexual misconduct took down media giant Matt Lauer, Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein and dozens of others. In Detroit last week, WXYZ-TV anchor Malcom Maddox was temporarily taken off the air when his former colleague Tara Edwards sued the station in federal court, seeking $100 million in a civil rights case claiming years of harassment.

Edwards said it's the stories of others who've been empowered to talk about sexual harassment and abuse in the workplace that gave her "the courage to speak out. ... I used to think no one would ever believe my story."

The societal crescendo of truth telling has had another kind of ripple effect. It's given a boost to human resources companies that investigate claims of sexual harassment and offer training to workers and their bosses about what is and what isn't appropriate behavior.

"This is an important movement that is happening right now, and it is serious," said Kristen Baker, vice president of Detroit-based HR Advantage Advisory. "From any company's perspective, the need for training and proper reporting protocol is critical, not only to protect yourself but to educate employees and supervisors."

She said her company has seen a 60% to 75% uptick in the number of requests for online or in-person anti-sexual harassment training in the months since news of the Weinstein scandal broke, as well as companies requesting help from an outside entity to conduct independent sexual harassment investigations.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 4:15 PM

Abuse victim plea for Jehovah's Witness inquiry

UNITED KINGDOM
BBC News

March 13, 2018

A founder of a sexual abuse charity is calling for an inquiry into the Jehovah's Witnesses organisation.

Peter Saunders said there should be a "broad" investigation into the religious group which he says has serious questions to answer.

An independent abuse watchdog has said it will carefully consider investigating.

The religious organisation said it did not "shield" abusers and suggestions of a cover-up were "absolutely false".

The plea follows a BBC Hereford and Worcester investigation last year which uncovered claims of child abuse within the organisation.

Mr Saunders, 61, who suffered sexual abuse at the hands of a family member, teacher and two Catholic priests, is the founder of the National Association for People Abused in Childhood (NAPAC) and is currently participating in the Independent Inquiry into Sexual Abuse (IICSA) victims and survivors consultative panel.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 4:03 PM

Despite Syracuse diocese claim, parishioners will help pay sex abuse victims' settlements

SYRACUSE (NY)
Syracuse.com

Mar 12, 2018

By Patrick Lohmann

In announcing a program to compensate victims of clergy sexual abuse, Roman Catholic Diocese of Syracuse officials said payments to victims would not come from parishioners' donations.

Instead, they said, the money would come from the diocese's general liability insurance fund.

In reality, however, money collected from church members each Sunday will be used to help pay the victims.

That's because the diocese is self-insured. It doesn't buy insurance from a third party like an insurance company.

That means the diocese acts as its own insurance company, taking some of the money collected at each church and putting it aside into a fund to cover costs that normally would be paid by an insurance company, said spokeswoman Danielle Cummings.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 3:56 PM

Catholic bishops will 'fully co-operate' with any abuse inquiry

IRELAND
RTÉ News

March 14, 2018

By Joe Little

The Catholic bishops have said they will fully cooperate with any statutory inquiry into clerical child sexual abuse, following former President Mary McAleese's call for a public inquiry into the Church's response to child abuse allegations against Father Malachy Finegan.

Responding to the call by former President McAleese for a public inquiry into the Church's response to child abuse allegations against Finegan in the northern diocese of Dromore, a spokesman re-issued the bishop's statement on child safeguarding published following last week's regular Spring meeting of the hierarchy.

It recalled that the bishops met John Morgan and Teresa Devlin, the chair and CEO of the church-established National Board for Safeguarding Children in the Catholic Church in Ireland (NBSCCCI).

It continued: "Irrespective of improved standards, vigilance and greater awareness, bishops agreed that the Church can never become complacent concerning the safeguarding of children.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 3:50 PM

Catholic Church fights new child sex abuse bills in Florida & Georgia as ‘unfair’

UNITED States
RT News

March 13, 2018

The Catholic Church is opposing new child sex abuse legislation in both Georgia and New York. One archbishop described proposed statute of limitations extensions for survivors to come forward as "extraordinarily unfair."

A legislative proposal known as the "Hidden Predator Act" (House Bill 605), to extend the statute of limitations for adult survivors of child sex abuse, has been decried by the Roman Catholic Church (RCC) in Georgia as a step too far. A lobbyist for the RCC's Archdiocese of Atlanta is attempting to gut the bill, which would afford survivors more time to file lawsuits against groups, entities or organizations that harbored pedophiles in the past. The proposed rule change would extend the statute of limitations for child sex abuse cases from age 23 to 38. It would also afford survivors additional recourse beyond that upper limit.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 3:48 PM

Child sex abuse bill unfairly shields public institutions, Atlanta archbishop warns

ATLANTA (GA)
CNA/EWTN News

March 12, 2018

The Archbishop of Atlanta released a statement Friday announcing his opposition to a bill in the Georgia legislature that would discriminate between government and private entities in past cases of sex abuse.

House Bill 605, which is currently under session at the Georgia General Assembly, would extend the time limits for child abuse victims to sue their perpetrators, changing the age from 23 to 38, and potentially longer.

“In our Archdiocese of Atlanta, the Office of Child and Youth Protection helps us carry on our ‘Promise to Protect and Pledge to Heal’ by creating and maintaining safe environments and walking alongside survivors of sexual abuse on their journey to healing,” said Archbishop Wilton Gregory of Atlanta in a March 9 letter.

“With this commitment to safety and healing in mind, I write to inform you of an extraordinarily unfair bill currently pending in our state legislature,” Archbishop Gregory continued, referencing House Bill 605.

“All governmental agencies – park districts, public school districts, care facilities, and so forth – are inexplicably immune from the potential devastating effects of these lawsuits,” he wrote. “Churches, religious and private schools, non-profits and businesses are affected.”

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 3:46 PM

Authorities investigating 20 to 30 sexual abuse complaints against Saginaw church officials

SAGINAW (MI)
WJRT

March 12, 2018

By Terry Camp

Sexual abuse allegations in the Catholic Diocese of Saginaw may extend beyond the Rev. Robert DeLand.

The 71-year-old DeLand is accused in two sexual abuse complaints brought by a 17-year-old from Tittabawassee Township and a 22-year-old from Saginaw Township. He was arrested Feb. 25.

Since the arrest, authorities have received 20 to 30 more credible allegations of sexual abuse involving DeLand and possibly other Catholic church officials, said Saginaw County Assistant Prosecutor Mark Gaertner.

He did not name any of the clergy from the Catholic Diocese of Saginaw named in the other complaints.

DeLand appeared in court Monday for a conference to see whether he and his attorney are ready for a preliminary hearing later this month. They asked for and received a delay.

"He needs to receive substantial discovery materials, reports, audio/video discs and the like," Gaertner said.

The preliminary hearing will be set for another date.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 3:37 PM

Abuse survivor tells IICSA of her battle for justice

UNITED KINGDOM
Church Times

March 13, 2018

By Hattie Williams

A SURVIVOR of clerical abuse, Professor Julie Macfarlane, who brought a civil suit against the diocese in which she was abused, has said that an article she wrote in the Church Times “galvanised” the Ecclesiastical Insurance Group (EIG) into meeting to discuss settlement and change their civil-claims policy.

Professor Macfarlane of the University of Windsor, Ontario, in Canada, was giving evidence on Tuesday to the public hearing conducted by the Independent Inquiry into Child Sex Abuse (IICSA), in London, on the extent to which the Anglican Church has failed to protect children from sexual abuse.

In an article published in this paper in 2015, she spoke of how she had been abused for more than a year at the age of 16 by the rector of the church she attended at that time, and to whom she had gone for spiritual counselling after experiencing some doubts about her Christian faith (Comment, 11 December 2015).

She wrote: “He told me that God wanted me to kneel and perform oral sex on him. This was the start of more than 12 months of constant sexual abuse by the priest. He continued to make me perform fellatio on him, and masturbated on me, in multiple locations. He waited for me in dark alleyways as I walked home from the restaurant where I worked as a dishwasher in the evenings.”

She told no one about the abuse until she was in her 20s, and did not bring her civil claim against the Church, and a subsequent complaint to Sussex Police, until 1999 and 2014 respectively. The rector was not identified in the article, and was referred to in the hearing only as “F12” due to the ongoing police complaint against him.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 3:27 PM

Three more Buffalo priests publicly accused of sexual abuse

BUFFALO (NY)
The Buffalo News

March 13, 2018

By Mike McAndrew

The names of three more priests in the Catholic Diocese of Buffalo publicly accused of sexual abuse – including one who was arrested – have emerged in recent days.

These new names are in addition to a Buffalo News list of 19 priests who worked in the diocese and were accused of sexual improprieties.

There has been a flurry of allegations against priests from the Buffalo area since the Rev. Norbert Orsolits admitted Feb. 27 to The Buffalo News that he sexually abused "probably dozens" of teenaged boys while serving as a priest.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 3:26 PM

Calley: Michigan State University should stop fighting lawsuits from Nassar's victims

LANSING (MI)
The Detroit Free Press

March 14, 2018

By Brian Calley

Leadership at Michigan State University needs to abandon its adversarial legal approach toward survivors of Larry Nassar and the culture that allowed him to hurt people for so long. Though Interim President John Engler has made some changes, the university's legal approach has not changed. The current path won’t work — not for MSU and certainly not for the survivors who shouldn’t be dragged through years of litigation.

MSU’s reputation can never be fully restored, but the university can help write the last chapter in this tragedy with a bold change in their legal strategy. Doing so requires breaking the conventional rules and placing the victims’ interests ahead of its own. Hammering survivors in court is wrong. There is another way.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 3:23 PM

Mexican priest sentenced to 63 years in jail for abusing boy

MEXICO CITY
IOL

March 14, 2018

By Andrea Sosa Cabrio and Sinikka Tarvainen

Mexico City - A Mexican judge on Tuesday sentenced a Catholic priest to 63 years in prison for sexually abusing a boy between 1994 and 1998, the victim and his lawyer said.

Carlos Lopez Valdes, 72, was also ordered to pay 4 000 dollars in damages to Jesus Romero Colin.

Lopez was found guilty of abusing Romero while he was between 11 and 16 years old. The boy was assisting the priest at a Mexico City church.

Romero's lawyer David Pena described the case as a "watershed" for being the first guilty verdict of a Catholic priest in a sex abuse case in Mexico City, one of the world's largest Catholic dioceses, though there have been guilty verdicts elsewhere in the country.

Romero said he had reported Lopez for abuse already a decade ago, but both church and civilian authorities tried to shelve the case while the priest continued celebrating Mass.

Church authorities "argued that I wanted money, that I was lying, that I wanted to attack the church," Romero said.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 3:21 PM

Child-migrant sex compo spat

AUSTRALIA
The West Australian

March 12, 2018

By Phoebe Wearne

About 3000 Commonwealth child migrants settled in WA after World War II are at the centre of an intensifying row between the State and Federal governments over redress for child sexual abuse victims.

With thousands of survivors expecting to be able to apply for redress across Australia from July 1, the Commonwealth is ramping up pressure on States, churches and institutions to join its national redress scheme, warning those who do not “will be judged harshly”.

Federal Attorney-General Christian Porter yesterday took aim at the WA Government over its reluctance to opt in until it receives more information.

But the criticism hit a nerve, with WA Attorney-General John Quigley questioning why Social Services Minister Dan Tehan is yet to respond to a December letter seeking clarification on key issues such as whether WA will be wholly responsible for compensating victims among the 2941 Commonwealth child migrants brought to WA.

“The Commonwealth brought thousands of child migrants to Australia after World War II, dumped most of them in WA and now washes its hands of all liability and says, ‘WA, you pay for those by yourself,” Mr Quigley said.

Mr Quigley also blasted Mr Porter’s role in handling a previous State-run redress scheme for victims of abuse in 2009.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 3:20 PM

Cardinal's alleged abuse victims end testimony in Australia

MELBOURNE (AUSTRALIA)
The Associated Press

March 14, 2018

The alleged victims of the most senior Vatican official charged in the Catholic Church sex abuse crisis finished testifying to an Australian court Wednesday.

A hearing began last week in the Melbourne Magistrate Court to determine whether prosecutors have sufficient evidence to put Australian Cardinal George Pell on trial.

Pope Francis' former finance minister was charged in June with sexually abusing multiple people in his Australian home state of Victoria. The details of the allegations against the 76-year-old cardinal have yet to be released to the public, though police have described the charges as "historical" sexual assault offenses — meaning the events are alleged to have occurred decades ago.

The courtroom had been closed to the public and media while alleged victims testified by a video link from an undisclosed location but was reopened Wednesday afternoon after the final alleged victim gave evidence.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 3:19 PM

Francis Sullivan says the Australian Catholic Church must take responsibility for offenders sent overseas

AUSTRALIA
The Newcastle Herald

March 14, 2018

By Joanne McCarthy

THE Australian Catholic Church needs to “deal with” the legacy issues of transferring child sex offenders overseas for decades, says the man who steered the church through the Australian child abuse royal commission, Francis Sullivan.

“This is certainly an issue the church leadership in Australia needs to respond to and deal with,” the outgoing chief executive of the Truth Justice and Healing Council said a week before the council is disbanded.

“The sexual abuse of any child anywhere is an abomination and when the perpetrator is a Catholic religious or priest then the Catholic Church needs to take responsibility,” Mr Sullivan said.

“Survivors of abuse in Papua New Guinea or any other overseas jurisdiction by offenders sent to those places by Australian Church authorities should be treated in the same way as survivors abused in Australia.”

His comments came as Papua New Guinea police commander Andrew Weda said on Tuesday he would meet this week with police who have completed an investigation into “touching” allegations against Australian Vincentian priest Neil Lams while chaplain to a school.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 2:46 PM

Eastern Montana Catholic Diocese wants to back out of bankruptcy

BUTTE (MT)
The Montana Standard

March 14, 2018

By Phoebe Tollefson

The Catholic diocese for Eastern Montana is hoping to back out of the bankruptcy proceedings it entered into a year ago, petitioning instead for a settlement with sex abuse victims in state court.

The move comes after negotiations were stalled by disputes over which church assets are fair game in the bankruptcy.

On Tuesday, the Diocese of Great Falls-Billings filed a motion to dismiss its Chapter 11 case with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Montana.

The diocese initiated bankruptcy proceedings roughly a year ago as a way to settle 86 claims by people alleging sexual abuse by Eastern Montana Catholic clergy between the 1940s to the 1980s.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 2:32 PM

Central African bishop accuses U.N. forces of rape, abuse

MADRID (SPAIN)
Catholic News Service

March 13, 2018

MADRID — A Catholic bishop in the Central African Republic accused U.N. peacekeeping troops of sexual abuse in his diocese and warned they could be guilty of crimes against humanity.

"Women are selling their bodies to the Blue Helmets out of desperation," said Bishop Juan Aguirre Munoz of Bangassou.

"Many are doing this to avoid dying of hunger, and some of the abused are minors. When I asked their mothers what happened, they sank their heads."

The bishop spoke while staying in his native Spain on U.N. advice after his diocesan vicar general narrowly survived a machete attack.

In an interview with Madrid's Alfa y Omega Catholic weekly, he said up to 2,000 Muslims had been sheltering in the seminary adjoining Bangassou's Catholic cathedral, protected by peacekeepers, since a wave of anti-Muslim violence in May 2017 left dozens dead.

However, he added that poor sanitary conditions had increased the risk of cholera, while many young Muslim men had resorted to violence after "losing everything."

"That some women, even girls, have been made pregnant by the U.N. soldiers is a crime against humanity," said Aguirre, who has ministered in Central African Republic for 38 years and was appointed to Bangassou, on the southeastern border with Congo, in 2000.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 2:30 PM

Lynda Carter Reveals ‘Wonder Woman’ Harassment, Says Cameraman Drilled a Hole in Her Dressing Room Wall

UNITED STATES
IndieWire

March 13, 2018

By Zack Sharf

Carter says the cameraman was eventually caught and fired from working on the superhero television series.

Lynda Carter reflects on her own history dealing with sexual harassment in Hollywood in a new interview with The Daily Beast. The “Wonder Woman” icon told the publication that she was the victim of sexual abuse in the past and that her abuser is now facing justice and some form of punishment. Carter did not name her abuser or get into the specifics of his punishment.

“He’s already being done in. There’s no advantage in piling on again,” Carter said about. “I can’t add anything to it. I wish I could. But there’s nothing legally I could add to it, because I looked into it. I’m just another face in the crowd.”

Carter said she “fended off” her share of abusers throughout her career as a television star. The actress explained to The Daily Beast that she never reported the incidents because men would be ready to disprove her at every turn, so she relied on confiding in female friends.

“Who are you going to tell except your girlfriends and your circle of friends?” she said. “You’d say or hear, ‘Stay away from that guy.’ ‘Watch out for this casting director.’ And so you would hear it from other people, other people would hear it from other people. ‘Watch out for so and so.’ That’s how you protected yourself: through the grapevine.”

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 2:28 PM

Lynda Carter recounts alleged harassment on 'Wonder Woman' TV show set

UNITED STATES
CNN

March 13, 2018

By Sandra Gonzalez

(CNN)Actress Lynda Carter is sharing her #MeToo stories for the first time.

The legendary Hollywood figure, best known for her role in the "Wonder Woman" TV series, recounted two instances of sexual harassment to The Daily Beast in a new interview.

She insinuated that one of the men who had sexually harassed her had already been named in the wave of the #MeToo movement, saying he had victimized "a lot of people."

She declined to identify him or detail the incident.

"He's already being done in. There's no advantage in piling on again," she told the publication, adding that she'd explored legal options, only to find she had none.

"There's nothing legally I could add to it, because I looked into it. I'm just another face in the crowd," she said.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 2:12 PM

Pierce County school district, Seattle Archdiocese settle child sex abuse lawsuit

TACOMA (WA)
The News Tribune

March 13, 2018

By Alexis Krell

A former Parkland Elementary student who says he was sexually assaulted by a teacher there in the 1980s has settled a lawsuit against the Franklin Pierce School District and the Seattle Archdiocese.

Franklin Pierce agreed to pay $950,000 to the alleged victim, identified in court records as D.W. The Archdioceses agreed to pay $1.5 million.

The complaint accused the Archdiocese of helping teacher Edward Courtney get hired in the public school system, despite the fact that he’d been accused of sexually abusing students at multiple Catholic schools where he worked before Parkland.

“Courtney then used his position at Parkland Elementary to gain access to Plaintiff D.W. and to sexually abuse him multiple times in multiple locations, including at Parkland Elementary and other activities that Courtney arranged through his position at the school,” according to the lawsuit, which was filed in 2016 and was set to go to trial March 12.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 2:10 PM

More charges for priest: 'No doubt this defendant has very sadistic and deviant sexual interests'

BOISE (ID)
Idaho Statesman

March 13, 2018

By Katy Moeller and Nicole Blanchard

Editor’s note: Magistrate Judge James Cawthon presided at Tuesday’s hearing. An earlier version of this story listed the judge who originally was scheduled for the hearing.

A retired Boise priest was handcuffed and taken to the Ada County Jail on Tuesday morning — after a magistrate judge raised his bond to $1 million following the filing of numerous new charges of child porn possession and distribution.

That wasn’t the only surprise at the hearing: Prosecutors said a second person had come forward to accuse the Rev. W. Thomas Faucher of child sexual abuse.

Faucher, 72, was arrested Feb. 2 on 14 charges involving possessing and sharing child pornography, and drug possession. He was out of jail on $250,000 bond and scheduled for a preliminary hearing this morning.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 2:09 PM

We need to talk about sexual assault in marriage

UNITED STATES
VOX

March 8, 2018

It feels impossible to discuss openly.

Eight years into our marriage, sitting in a therapist’s office with my husband, I mustered all my courage and said my deepest, darkest truth: “When we have sex, I feel like I’m being violated.” The unwanted sex at times made me sick: Once I had to run straight from bed to the bathroom, where I retched into the toilet. I spared him and the therapist that detail.

My husband shrugged and, staring ahead with more indifference than disdain, replied, “She’s always so melodramatic.” His response didn’t surprise me. It was his standard reaction to my complaints about the sad state of our marriage, his way of training me to see my needs — emotional connection and communication — as excessive, and his (primarily sex) as entirely reasonable.

I had dragged us to couples counseling because I could no longer live in the vacuum left behind after the emotional intimacy had seeped out of our marriage. My husband hadn’t noticed the loss, proclaiming himself happy. At home, having tried without success the therapist-prescribed exercises for restoring emotional connection — check-ins about feelings, “nonsexual” touch — my husband lobbied for his own solution: “The thing you need is really complicated and difficult, and it’s not something I can do. But the thing I need is easy and quick. Why can’t you just give me the thing I need?”

I acquiesced. At the time, it didn’t feel like a choice; it felt inevitable. I lived every evening dreading the signals of my husband’s desire. I bargained my way out of sex as often as I could. I gloried in being sick enough to have the right to refuse.

On the nights when I couldn’t get out of it, we used a method that I had taught myself to tolerate and that he, astoundingly, tolerated as well: I read a book to distract myself for as long as I could while he did the thing he needed to do. I did not let him kiss me for the last several years of our marriage. That was the rule: You can fuck me, but you can’t kiss me, and I don’t have to pretend to like it. This satisfied him.

Submitting to sex with a man who knew it was unwanted, who knew I felt deep pain at our lack of emotional connection, and who knew — who had been clearly told — that it felt like a violation, broke something in me. Knowing that he could still enjoy and feel emotionally fulfilled by that unwanted sex shattered my idea of our marriage. I felt like a sex doll. I felt unselfed.

But I blamed myself. I was the one whose desire was “deficient,” according to my husband and our sex-obsessed culture. When multiple couples therapists over several years made no significant impact, I blamed myself again: I should have been more forceful when I said my dark truth.

Only 15 years later, as I witness so much outrage on the behalf of women who have been shamed, coerced, and bullied into sex in so many other contexts, do I wonder: How could my husband listen to me say what I said — even once, even timidly — and sleep well that night, much less continue to insist on sleeping with me?

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 1:51 PM

Priest used camping trips to abuse boy

LONDON (ONTARIO, CANADA)
The London Free Press

Published on March 8, 2018; Updated March 13, 2018

By Jane Sims

Pedophile priest gets unfettered access to boy, because mother saw him as good influence

All she wanted was a positive male role model for her nine-year-old son.

Instead, the single mother got parish priest David Norton, a sexual predator.

The facts supporting the sexual interference conviction of Norton, 72, a retired Anglican priest and former instructor at King’s University College, describe mentoring, grooming and then assaults.

Norton pleaded guilty a week ago to sexual interference involving the boy, now 34, who kept the abuse a secret until other charges involving children were laid against Norton in 2015.

While those charges are heading to trial in April, Norton has admitted to the abuse of his young charge from St. Mark’s church in London, where Norton had served as priest.

Assistant Crown attorney Chris Heron told Superior Court Justice Lynne Leitch the relationship between priest and boy, whose identity is protected by court order, began in 1991. The boy’s mother saw Norton as “a role model.”

For the next four years, Norton and the boy were often alone at the priest’s house, the boy’s house, in Norton’s camping trailer or his 1986 grey Mazda truck.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 1:45 PM

Catholic Charities Appeal takes hit from growing sex abuse claims against priests

BUFFALO (NY)
WKBW

March 12, 2018

CEO says funds go toward services, not settlements

Sexual abuse allegations against Catholic priests in Western New York are having an impact on the annual Catholic Charities Appeal.

The $11 million campaign is behind other years, according to Catholic Charities of Buffalo CEO Dennis Walczyk. He tells 7 Eyewitness News that part of the reason is because some community members are reluctant to contribute out of concern that their donation will be used to pay out settlements between the Catholic Diocese of Buffalo and victims of sexual abuse by priests.

Walczyk stresses that donations go towards the organization's services, not settlements.

"We want everyone to understand that contributions to Catholic Charities directly support the services we provide,” Walczyk said in a statement.

The Appeal helps fund 70 programs and services across Western New York. So far it's reached 40% of its goal, with a little more than three months left in the campaign.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 1:42 PM

Family stands by Kevin Braney's claim of priest sexual abuse (Your letters)

SYRACUSE (NY)
Syracuse.com

March 14, 2018

By Your Letters
To the Editor:

The Braney family, in support of our son and brother, validates the facts of his story as he has told it to The Post-Standard over these last four years. More importantly, the Vatican, the Diocese of Syracuse and their Diocesan Review Board found his sexual abuse claims against Charles Eckermann credible after months of investigation. This is contrary to Onondaga County District Attorney William Fitzpatrick's recent and inaccurate public statements. Clearly, Fitzpatrick does not have all of the information about Kevin's case.

Kevin's family has learned of the painful events suffered by him many years ago through his healing process these past five years. We applaud both Kevin's courage to speak out and his continuous and relentless efforts to prompt the Syracuse Diocese to release the names of the 11 remaining pedophile priests to this community to keep our children safe. We support him 100 percent!

Ronald and Patricia Braney
Manlius

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 1:35 PM

New report has details on 13 WNY priests accused of sex abuse

BUFFALO (NY)
WGRZ

March 13, 2018

By Emily Lampa

A national law firm calls for the Diocese of Buffalo to fully disclose names and information of all priests accused of sexual abuse and address concerns over victim compensation program.

A national law firm that represents thousands of alleged abuse victims is calling on the Diocese of Buffalo to release the names and information of all priests accused of sexual abuse.

Attorney, J. Michael Reck, and former Catholic priest, Patrick Wall, gave local news agencies the details of a report, compiled by Jeff Anderson & Associates, PA - a law firm based in New York City.

"We're here today," said Reck, "to call on the Diocese of Buffalo to do the right thing. And to release the of other credibly accused clerics that it knows of that it continues to hold in secret."

The report highlights 13 accused Western New York priests. Reck explained that while the report documents the reported transgressions of 13 clerics, based on publicly available data, the Diocese of Buffalo has acknowledged that 40 more priests have been accused of sexual abuses.

"From the 53 that the Diocese of Buffalo has publicly acknowledged. That means there are 40...40 alleged clerics from the diocese of Buffalo whose identities and whereabouts are unknown to the public," Reck said.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 1:32 PM

Sex abuse victim reaches $2.4 million settlement with archdiocese, school district

SEATTLE (WA)
KOMO News

March 13, 2018

A man who was sexually abused as a child has reached a $2.45 million settlement with the Catholic Archdiocese of Seattle and the Franklin Pierce School District.

The man, whose name was not publicly released, alleged in a lawsuit that he was sexually abused in the early 1980s by former teacher Edward Courtney at Parkland Elementary, a now-closed grade school in the Tacoma area.

The $2.45 million settlement was reached just before the case was scheduled to go to trial Monday in King County Superior Court. It is believed to be one of the largest settlements involving the Catholic Church in Western Washington, said the victim's attorney, Michael Pfau.

Under terms of the settlement, the Seattle Archdiocese will pay $1.5 million and the Franklin Pierce School District will pay $950,000. Seattle Archbishop J. Peter Sartain said he hopes the settlement will bring closure and assist the victim in his healing process.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 1:30 PM

Francis fifth year as Pope: a fearless reformer overwhelmed by the Church's sex abuse scandals

MONTEVIDEO (URUGUAY)
Merco Press

March 14, 2018

As Pope Francis marks the fifth year of his papacy next week, the pontiff once hailed as a fearless reformer is under fire for his handling of the sex abuse scandals that have rocked the Roman Catholic Church. Since taking over in March 2013, the 81-year-old Argentine has championed the cause of the marginalized, saying he wanted a “poor church for the poor” and shunning papal palaces and ostentatious displays of wealth.

His reform agenda has introduced the possibility in certain cases to allow divorced and remarried believers to take communion, although he still agrees with the Church’s traditional positions on other issues, such as abortion, artificial contraception and gay marriage. But the sex abuse scandals have haunted his papacy and last month the Vatican announced it was reviving its anti-pedophile panel.

A trip to Chile in January was seen as a resounding failure after he defended a bishop accused of covering up the crimes of a pedophile priest. Francis, who like his predecessor Benedict XVI, promised a “zero tolerance” approach to sexual abuse, sparked uproar when he said: “The day they bring me proof against Bishop (Juan) Barros, then I will speak.” But he later apologized to the victims and sent a Vatican top expert on sex abuse to hear the witnesses in the case.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 1:08 PM

'We beg forgiveness'‚ says Archbishop Makgoba as SA author accuses priests of abuse

SOUTH AFRICA
Sowetan Live

March 14, 2018

By Matthew Savides

Archbishop Thabo Makgoba said on Tuesday that he took responsibility for cases of abuse within the Anglican Church‚ even when it happened under the watch of his predecessors.

He was speaking after award-winning author Ishtiyaq Shukri issued a statement earlier this month that detailed years of abuse at the hands of priests in Kimberley.

Shukri’s revelation came in the wake of Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu’s resignation as an ambassador for Oxfam amid a sex scandal that has rocked the international aid organisation.

Shukri said this resignation was hypocritical because Tutu had been silent on sex scandals in the church.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 1:06 PM

$10M lawsuit alleges sexual abuse by priest

GUAM
The Guam Daily Post

March 14, 2018

By Mindy Aguon

A Mongmong resident alleges he was sexually abused by a now-retired priest during Boy Scout outings more than 40 years ago.

P.Q., who used initials to protect his identity, filed a $10 million lawsuit in the District Court of Guam against the Archdiocese of Agana, the Boy Scouts of America and Louis Brouillard.

While he never served as an altar boy or joined the Boy Scouts, P.Q. said at the age of 12, he would join the other boys from the village on outings with Brouillard, who was a parish priest and a scoutmaster.

The priest routinely drove from village to village to pick up the boys and take them swimming at the Lonfit River.

P.Q. would be picked up with the other boys at the Nuestra Señora De Las Aguas Catholic Church, court documents state.

Brouillard allegedly instructed the boys to remove their clothes and swim naked, and promised to buy them burgers, fries and sodas after the outings, the lawsuit states.

P.Q. alleges Brouillard groped and touched his private parts as he swam naked and then offered a reward to the boys by taking them out to eat at different restaurants.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 1:05 PM

Survivor Calls For Change In How Churches Respond To Abuse Allegations

UNITED STATES
The Huffington Post

March 12, 2018

By Carol Kuruvilla

“The church should have been the first group to stand up and say, ‘We will not allow this.’”

In early January, a Tennessee pastor who stood accused of sexual assault received a standing ovation from members of his evangelical Christian congregation after confessing to a “sexual incident” with a woman 20 years before. Now, the woman who went public with her allegations against her former youth pastor is again speaking out about her experience, this time urging American churches to more fully reckon with their responsibility to sexual assault victims.

“We as a church, of all places, should be getting this right,” Jules Woodson said in a New York Times op-ed video published on Friday. “It’s unfathomable to me that the secular world, Hollywood, are taking a stand. The church should have been the first group to stand up and say, ‘We will not allow this.’”

Woodson came forward in January with allegations against her former youth pastor, Andy Savage. She claims that when she was 17 in 1998, Savage drove her to a private location after a church event in Texas and forced her to perform sexual acts. She said church leaders at Woodlands Parkway Baptist Church (which later changed its name to StoneBridge Church) urged her to keep quiet and promised the church would take care of the matter internally.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 1:02 PM

Law firm releases names of 13 more priests accused of child abuse, including six with ties to Genesee and Wyoming

BUFFALO (NY)
Batavia News

March 13, 2018

By Scott Desmit

Six priests with ties to Wyoming and Genesee counties were among 13 priests in the Diocese of Buffalo who were accused of sexually assaulting children.

Jeff Anderson & Associates law firm of Minnesota released the names during a press conference in Buffalo Tuesday morning. The firm has led the way in the fight for the victims of priests and has filed numerous lawsuits seeking compensation and accountability from the Catholic Church.

In all, at least 22 priests who served the Diocese of Buffalo have been named since the 1980s and nearly 100 more have been targets of various lawsuits and complaints.

Tuesday, the names of 13 more were released in an ongoing effort to get the Diocese to identify all the priests who have been accused.

Among those named were five who served in Wyoming or Genesee counties and one who was arrested and charged with sodomizing children at a camp in Wyoming in the 1980s.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 12:55 PM

Law firm to release identities of 27 NY priests accused of sexually abusing minors

SYRACUSE and OGDENSBURG (NY)
Press Connects

March 14, 2018

By Hannah Schwarz

A law firm that specializes in clergy sexual abuse will disclose on Wednesday the names of 27 New York clergy members accused of sexually abusing minors, the firm, Jeff Anderson & Associates, said Tuesday.

Nineteen of those clergy members are from the Diocese of Syracuse; eight are from the Diocese of Ogdensburg. The identities and other information on the clergy members will be released at a 10 a.m. news conference in Syracuse, where the firm will also discuss the Diocese's recently unveiled sexual abuse compensation program, and will urge the Church to release the names of priests who have been accused of sexual abuse of minors.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 12:52 PM

President McAleese is wasting her breath. The Catholic Church will never reform

IRELAND
The Avondhu

March 14, 2018

By Donal O'Keeffe

Former President Mary McAleese is a decent and fiercely-intelligent woman who is hugely respected by the Irish people. She’s in for a disappointment, though, if she thinks the Catholic Church values her opinion any more than it does that of any other woman, writes Donal O’Keeffe.

They gave Cardinal Bernard Law a grand old send-off all the same last December. Granted, the turnout in St Peter’s Basilica was clearly sparser than anticipated, with ushers stacking away the chairs which had been set out for an expected larger crowd, but Law’s funeral Mass was presided over by senior Italian Cardinal Angelo Sodano, and the coffin was blessed by Pope Francis himself.

No mention was made at Law’s funeral of the reason he had been forced to resign on December 13 2002, after 18 years as Archbishop of Boston. Law’s resignation came at the culmination of a series of Pulitzer Prize-winning articles by Boston Globe reporters, in which they outlined how paedophile priests were moved – under Law’s watch – from parish to parish without notifying parishioners or authorities. This was dramatised in the superb 2015 film ‘Spotlight‘, a film I watched with a strange feeling of déjà vu, because – of course – we in Ireland had seen the Boston story before ever Boston saw it.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 12:47 PM

Law firm begins unmasking of Ogdensburg, Syracuse priests accused of abuse

OGDENSBURG (NY)
Watertown Daily News

March 14, 2018

By Larry Robinson

The names of eight priests associated with the Diocese of Ogdensburg who are alleged to have sexually molested children were made public by a Minnesota-based law firm representing victims of child abuse.

The names, along with some 19 others from the Diocese of Syracuse, were being released during a live press conference streamed on Facebook by the firm of Jeff Anderson & Associates.

The priests associated with sexual abuse allegations within the Ogdensburg Diocese are:

Father John F. Fallon; Father Theodore M. Gillette; Father John Hunt: Father Liam O’Doherty; Father Robert M. Shurtleff: Father Clark S. White; Father David E. Wisniewski; and Father Paul F. Worczak.

Some of the priests are deceased, others are listed as whereabouts unknown, according to the report.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 12:45 PM

Law firm preparing to name north country priests accused of sexual abuse

OGDENSBURG (NY)
Watertown Daily News

March 14, 2018

By Larry Robinson

A Minnesota-based law firm representing victims of child sexual abuse plans to release reports today that contain the identities, histories and background information on 27 priests accused of sexual offenses against minors in the Diocese of Syracuse and the Diocese of Ogdensburg.

The event will be streamed live on Facebook at 10 a.m. from the Marriott Syracuse Downtown Conference Center, according to a news release from the law firm of Jeff Anderson & Associates.

The news conference link is https://www.facebook.com/AndersonAdvocates/

Jeff Anderson & Associates is one of the nation’s leading law firms representing victims of childhood sexual abuse, according to its website.

The separate reports to be released today will identify 19 Diocese of Syracuse priests and another eight priests from the Diocese of Ogdensburg, according to the firm. All of the priests allegedly stand accused of sexual offenses against minors.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 12:43 PM

MCALEESE CALLS FOR INQUIRY INTO CHURCH HANDLING OF FR FINNEGAN ABUSE ALLEGATIONS

IRELAND
The Tablet

March 13, 2018

By Sarah Mac Donald

McAleese also revealed that her 49-year-old brother had been 'seriously, physically, sadistically' abused by Fr Malachy Finnegan

The former president of Ireland, Mary McAleese has called for an independent inquiry into the Church’s handling of allegations of abuse against the late Fr Malachy Finnegan, a one time president St Colman’s College in Newry, and a priest of the Diocese of Dromore.

In an interview with RTE Radio’s Sean O’Rourke programme this week, Dr McAleese said she believed the victims were “legion” and said the first complaints against Finnegan dated back to the 1970s not the 1990s.

She also revealed that her 49-year-old brother had been “seriously, physically, sadistically” abused by Fr Malachy Finnegan for all the years he attended St Colman’s College.

“There are huge questions to be answered by all the people who were involved at a senior level in that school and in the diocese as to what they knew and when they knew it. It shouts for an inquiry really,” she said.

Mrs McAleese said that her 90-year-old mother had only learned about her brother’s treatment, when Clem Leneghan wrote a letter about his experiences at the college to the Belfast Telegraph last month. He described Malachy Finnegan as a sadist who had “presided over a culture of bullying, violence, intimidation and secrecy.”

In her RTE interview, Dr McAleese became emotional as she admitted that because the “culture of silence” was “so oppressive and because these children were made to be so fearful”, she had only learned of her brother’s abuse within the past year.

Fr Finnegan taught at St Colman’s from 1967 and was president of the school between 1976 and 1987. He later served in parishes in the diocese of Dromore and died in 2002.

“So many people who were in the school had to have known; so many people who could have done something about it. We know now that the very first complaints about Malachy Finnegan go back to the 1970s not the 1990s.”

Responding to Ms McAleese’s call, a spokesman for the Irish bishops indicated that they would cooperate with any public inquiry into child sexual abuse by Fr Finnegan.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 12:41 PM

Priests tied to abuse listed

NIAGARA FALLS (NY)
Niagara Gazette

March 13, 2018

By Mark Scheer and Rick Pfeiffer

REPORT: Some of accused clergy have ties to Niagara County.

A list of priests accused of sexual abuse while serving in the Catholic Diocese of Buffalo includes several names with previous ties to parishes in Niagara County.

The list, released Tuesday morning by attorneys representing sexual abuse victims, covers clergy associated with the Diocese of Buffalo who have been accused of committing sexual offense crimes against minors.

Of the 13 priests on the list compiled by Jeff Anderson & Associates, P.A., five were shown to have service histories with ties to Niagara County communities, including Niagara Falls, North Tonawanda and Lockport.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 12:38 PM

FEDERAL SEX ABUSE LAWSUIT NAMES BP. CISTONE, SAGINAW DIOCESE

SAGINAW (MI)
Church Militant

March 13, 2018

By Christine Niles, M.St. (Oxon.), J.D.

17-yr-old victim accuses bishop of engaging in cover-up

A sex abuse victim is filing a federal lawsuit accusing the Saginaw diocese and Bp. Joseph Cistone of a cover-up.

According to the complaint, Linden v. Saginaw, filed Monday in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, John Doe — the 17-year-old male victim — alleges that he was the victim not only of Fr. Robert DeLand (arrested for sexual assault) but also of Bp. Cistone and the Saginaw diocese, who knew about DeLand's criminal behavior but did little to address it.

The complaint claims Fr. DeLand engaged in grooming behavior, giving him cash and other gifts (including buying John Doe an expensive "vape" machine), and paying for counseling sessions for John Doe as he dealt with a friend's suicide. The priest allegedly called or texted the boy 17–20 times a day, and told him "he had set up a special bedroom" in his condominium that was offered to the boy for use.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 12:16 PM

Call for swift inquiry into priest abuse

IRELAND
The Times

March 14, 2018

By Ellen Coyne

Mary McAleese’s younger brother has called on the British government to hold a swift inquiry into a priest who abused him and others at a school.

Clem Leneghan has said that many people both at St Colman’s College in Newry, Co Down, and the diocese of Dromore knew about Father Malachy Finnegan’s actions and failed to act. In a statement yesterday, he called on all those who knew about the abuse to come forward to the PSNI.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 12:14 PM

Catholic deal looms for redress payments to sex abuse victims

MELBOURNE (AUSTRALIA)
The Australian

March 15, 2018

By John Ferguson

The Catholic Church yesterday began historic negotiations to join the Turnbull government’s $4 billion sex abuse redress scheme, a move that would place intense pressure on the remaining states and faiths yet to sign up.

Social Services Minister Dan Tehan said Catholic Church officials had agreed to hold intensive talks in the next three weeks to iron out problems with the draft laws to enable the faith to lead the way among non-government institutions. If the church opts in before the July 1 start — as expected — it will transform the rollout of the scheme in Australia.

Mr Tehan met Catholic officials in Canberra where the path was laid for the church to opt into the scheme, which would provide up to $150,000 in redress to proven victims but with a lower burden of proof compared with the courts.

Catholic bishops have agreed to opt into the scheme but officials are attempting to clarify and resolve a series of outstanding concerns to enable the church to become involved. No firm timeline has yet been agreed.

Church officials only received key documents on the scheme on Friday and are yet to see draft legislation proposed by the Victorian government.

But with momentum heading towards a deal within weeks or months, smaller institutions and churches will be under enormous pressure to fall into line. There remain real concerns that some entities with high abuse rates could be sent broke by the scheme.

The NSW and Victorian governments decided last Friday to opt into the scheme.

A spokesman for Mr Tehan said there would be intensive talks in the lead up to Easter.

“It was agreed to have ongoing, detailed discussions over the next three weeks with the intention of Catholic Church entities opting in to the national redress scheme,” the spokesman said. “The minister welcomed the constructive way the Catholic Church has engaged on the issue and looks forward to an ongoing dialogue.”

The Australian understands the church will negotiate on a series of concerns it still holds, many articulated in the Truth Justice Healing Council submission to a Senate committee investigating the original federal bill that was drafted to set up the scheme. Concerns in that submission include the standard of proof required to receive a payment, the formula for which compensation payments will be decided and the desire that all state governments should commit to participating in the redress scheme as a matter of urgency.

The scheme, if passed by parliament, will require participants to release offending institutions from civil liability for the abuse but in turn will enable them to receive a one-off payment or an additional top-up payment if any original redress were deemed inadequate.

The remaining states, churches and other institutions are facing intense pressure to opt into the scheme amid concerns they will struggle to fund some payments. Labor backs a $200,000 cap but the federal government and major states believe $150,000 will be as high as the scheme can go. The key number will be the average cost of each claim, which is likely to be about $75,000.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 12:08 PM

Did a Couple Adopt a Native American Child for $10 in 1952?

SAN DIEGO (CA)
Snopes.com

March 13, 2018

By Dan MacGuill

The story behind a decades-old letter that went viral in 2018.

A letter purportedly documenting a Catholic orphanage’s sale of a Native American child to an Illinois couple received widespread attention decades later on social media, highlighting a practice that has not made it into many American history books — but which is an indelible part of the country’s recent past.

In the 1952 letter, Fr. John Pohlen, who ran the Tekakwitha Indian Mission in Sisseton, South Dakota, wrote:

Dear Mr. and Mrs. Seely,

Thank you very kindly for your donation of 10.00 for my little Indians. Yours is the first invitation that was ever extended to one of our papooses [Native American children] to come and spend the vacation somewhere. We have a few little boys and girls who have noone at all interested whether they live or die or come and go.

I would send a little boy of six years or older or a little girl whatever you prefer. These Indian children are very little trouble, especially the one I have in mind. If you really mean it, I will see that we get him ready; you may have him any time you desire. I am not making any inquiries about you, because it takes a good person to make an offer as you did.

Please, let me know.

With kindest regards,

Father John

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 9:45 AM

James Levine’s Final Act at the Met Ends in Disgrace

NEW YORK (NY)
New York Times

March 12, 2018

By Michael Cooper

The Metropolitan Opera fired the conductor James Levine on Monday evening, ending its association with a man who defined the company for more than four decades after an investigation found what the Met called credible evidence that Mr. Levine had engaged in “sexually abusive and harassing conduct.”

The investigation, which the Met opened in December after a report in The New York Times, found evidence of abuse and harassment “both before and during the period” when Mr. Levine worked at the Met, the company said in a statement.

It was an extraordinary fall from grace for a legendary maestro, whom many consider the greatest American conductor since Leonard Bernstein.

The Met did not release the specific findings of its investigation, which it said had included interviews with 70 people. But the statement said that the investigation had “uncovered credible evidence that Mr. Levine engaged in sexually abusive and harassing conduct toward vulnerable artists in the early stages of their careers, over whom Mr. Levine had authority.” It said that it was terminating its relationship with Mr. Levine, who is currently the company’s music director emeritus and the artistic director of its young artists program.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 9:42 AM

With James Levine Fired, Should We Rethink Maestro Worship?

NEW YORK (NY)
New York Times

March 13, 2018

By Zachary Woolf

It was about 9:30 on Monday evening at the Metropolitan Opera, just a few hours after the Met had fired the conductor James Levine, its musical lodestar since the early 1970s, for what the company found was sexual abuse and harassment, including of young artists under the Met’s guidance.

Yannick Nézet-Séguin, the 43-year-old the company has hired as its next music director, was taking his bow after Strauss’s “Elektra,” an opera about killing your parents that Mr. Levine led three dozen times with the Met. The audience roared its approval as Mr. Nézet-Séguin grinned. It felt like an anointing.

But is an anointing what the Met should want? The fate of Mr. Levine, 74, who has not commented publicly since denying any misconduct in December, after The New York Times reported a series of accusations, may be an opportunity to think about what it means to be a maestro, to consider the vast power we grant to conductors and whether that power has outlived its usefulness.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 9:39 AM

Mary McAleese on Today with Sean O'Rourke

DUBLIN (IRELAND)
RTE, Today with Sean O'Rourke

March 12, 2018

By Mary McAleese

[This important video might be viewable only through March 14, 2018. At 12:22 of the video, McAleese discusses Pope Francis's statements about Bishop Barros. At 27:50 she discusses her brother's abuse by Fr. Malachy Finnegan; her view that Pope Francis should visit Newry during his trip to Ireland in August 2018; and her position that an independent inquiry on Finnegan is needed.]

The former President of Ireland joins Sean O'Rourke to discuss recent comments she made about the Catholic Church.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 9:28 AM

International Women's Day address by Mary McAleese

ROME (ITALY)
Independent Catholic News

March 8, 2018

By Mary McAleese

[See also a video of McAleese's speech at the Voices of Faith conference.]

Mary McAleese, former President of Ireland, gave the following address today at the Voices of Faith International Women's Day Conference, on the theme 'Why women matter' - held at the Jesuit Curia in Rome.

The Israelites under Joshua's command circled Jericho's walls for seven days, blew trumpets and shouted to make the walls fall down. (cf. Joshua 6:1-20). We don't have trumpets but we have voices, voices of faith and we are here to shout, to bring down our Church's walls of misogyny. We have been circling these walls for 55 years since John XXIII's encyclical Pacem in Terris first pointed to the advancement of women as one of the most important "signs of the times".

"they are demanding both in domestic and in public life the rights and duties which belong to them as human persons" .… The longstanding inferiority complex of certain classes because of their economic and social status, sex, or position in the State, and the corresponding superiority complex of other classes, is rapidly becoming a thing of the past.

At the Second Vatican Council Archbishop Paul Hallinan of Atlanta, warned the bishops to stop perpetuating "the secondary place accorded to women in the Church of the 20th century" and to avoid the Church being a "late-comer in their social, political and economic development". The Council's decree Apostolicam Actuositatem said it was important that women "participate more widely … in the various sectors of the Church's apostolate". The Council's pastoral constitution Gaudium et Spes said the elimination of discrimination based on gender was a priority. Paul VI even commissioned a study on women in Church and Society. Surely we thought then, the post-Conciliar Church was on the way to full equality for its 600 million female members. And yes-it is true that since the Council new roles and jobs, have opened up to the laity including women but these have simply marginally increased the visibility of women in subordinate roles, including in the Curia, but they have added nothing to their decision-making power or their voice.

Remarkably since the Council, roles which were specifically designated as suitable for the laity have been deliberately closed to women. The stable roles of acolyte and lector and the permanent deaconate have been opened only to lay men. Why? Both laymen and women can be temporary altar servers but bishops are allowed to ban females and where they permit them in their dioceses individual pastors can ban them in their parishes. Why?

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 9:22 AM

Former priest charged in sex abuse case returned to Colombia

AURORA (IL)
Associated Press via Fox Illinois

March 13, 2018

A former Catholic priest in suburban Chicago who was accused of sexually abusing two girls has returned to his native Colombia.

The Aurora Beacon-News report comes a little more than a month after the office said it had dropped felony charges of sexual abuse against 51-year-old Alfredo Pedraza-Arias in exchange for his guilty plea to misdemeanor battery with the understanding that the former priest would be removed from the United States when he served his jail sentence.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 9:18 AM

Probation terminated after former Aurora priest removed to Colombia

AURORA (IL)
Beacon-News

March 13, 2018

By Hannah Leone

A former Aurora priest who avoided a jury trial on child sex abuse charges through a misdemeanor plea deal is back in Colombia, and his probation in Kane County has been terminated.

Alfredo Pedraza Arias, 51, lost his temporary religious worker visa after he was charged with sexually abusing two girls at Sacred Heart Church in Aurora and at one of the girls' homes between 2012 and 2014. In June 2017, a federal immigration judge ordered Arias removed from the United States, a decision the priest waived his right to appeal.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement deportation officers arrested Arias Feb. 10 at the Kane County jail in St. Charles after he completed his criminal sentence, ICE spokeswoman Nicole Alberico said in an email. On Feb. 26, ICE deportation officers executed the removal order and removed Arias to Colombia, Alberico said.

On Friday, an order closed the Kane County criminal case, terminating his probation.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 9:16 AM

March 13, 2018

Metropolitan Opera fires James Levine after finding evidence of sexual abuse

NEW YORK (NY)
The Week

March 12, 2018

By Catherine Garcia

The Metropolitan Opera in New York fired James Levine on Monday, after an investigation into the conductor's behavior found evidence of sexual misconduct and harassment.

A preeminent conductor, Levine, 74, made his debut at the Met in 1971, and went on to conduct 2,552 performances. He became artistic director in 1976, but stepped down two years ago due to Parkinson's disease, taking on a new role as the head of the young artists program. Levine was suspended in early December when several New York newspapers printed allegations of sexual misconduct against him, some going back to the 1960s.

The firm Proskauer Rose was hired to head the investigation, and the Met said that after interviewing more than 70 people, investigators "uncovered credible evidence that Mr. Levine engaged in sexually abusive and harassing conduct toward vulnerable artists in the early stages of their careers, over whom Mr. Levine had authority. In light of these findings, the Met concludes that it would be inappropriate and impossible for Mr. Levine to continue to work at the Met." He has not been charged with any crime. Levine's representative did not respond to The Associated Press' request for comment.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 3:02 PM

Met Opera Fires James Levine, Music Director Emeritus Accused Of Sexual Abuse

NEW YORK (NY)
The Huffington Post

March 12, 2018

By Antonia Blumberg

The company suspended Levine in December over allegations dating back decades.

The Metropolitan Opera fired music director emeritus James Levine on Monday, citing “credible evidence” of sexual abuse and harassment by the once-renowned conductor.

The Met said in a press release that a months-long investigation carried out by “outside counsel” that included interviews with 70 people led to its decision to dismiss Levine.

The investigation, it said, “uncovered credible evidence that Mr. Levine engaged in sexually abusive and harassing conduct towards vulnerable artists in the early stages of their careers, over whom Mr. Levine had authority.”

“In light of these findings,” the statement said, “the Met concludes that it would be inappropriate and impossible for Mr. Levine to continue to work” at the opera.

Levine was fired as both music director emeritus and artistic director of the Met’s young artist program.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 3:01 PM

Met Opera sacks legendary conductor Levine after abuse probe

NEW YORK (NY)
Agence France-Presse

March 13, 2018

By Shaun Tandon

New York's Metropolitan Opera announced Monday it fired legendary conductor James Levine, for decades the face of its orchestra, after finding "credible evidence" that he sexually abused younger musicians.

The leading US opera house had already suspended Levine in December after allegations first became public against him. Levine guided the Met's orchestra for 40 years as music director.

The Met said it has "terminated its relationship" with Levine, who retired in 2016 amid failing health but until the scandal had remained a frequent presence as a conductor.

"The investigation uncovered credible evidence that Mr. Levine had engaged in sexually abusive and harassing conduct both before and during the period when he worked at the Met," the opera house said in a statement.

The three-month investigation concludes a spectacular fall from grace for a musician often hailed as one of the top US conductors of his generation.

Fittingly perhaps, his final Met appearance was conducting Verdi's "Requiem" in December.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 2:57 PM

Saginaw County priest wants more time to prepare sexual assault case

SAGINAW (MI)
NBC25/FOX66

March 12, 2018

A Saginaw County priest accused of sexual assault wants more time to prepare his case.

71-year-old Fr Robert Deland is waving his rights to a preliminary hearing in 21 days.

He's charged with two cases of sexual assault while he was the pastor of St. Agnes Catholic Church.

The assistant prosecutor in the case says police are still getting calls about other suspects.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 2:56 PM

Warrant out for alleged child molester

NOGALES (AZ)
Nogales International

March 13. 2018

By Arielle Zionts

Local authorities are searching for a Rio Rico man accused of child molestation who appears to have fled the area.

Mario Montano, 60, is accused of one count of continuous sexual abuse of a child that allegedly occurred between August 2010 through August 2011. He is also accused of two counts of furnishing harmful items to minors – child and adult pornography – between August 2010 and Sept. 15, 2010.

The felony charges were filed at Nogales Justice Court on Feb. 27, a day before a warrant was taken out for Montano’s arrest.

“The investigation in this matter is still ongoing and law enforcement is working diligently to take Montano into custody,” said County Attorney George Silva.

Silva confirmed that Montano’s whereabouts are unknown, but he would not say where officials suspect he is living or fled to. He said anyone with information on where Montano is should contact law enforcement.

He and a spokesman for the Nogales Police Department said they could not share any other details about the case.

The charges against Monano and his fugitive status came to public light after a family member of the alleged victim sent an email to the NI and a number of other news outlets on March 5 labeled as “breaking news” and containing news release-style accounts in English and Spanish. Some Mexican media immediately published information from the email and a version of it is also circulating on Facebook.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 2:53 PM

$5M lawsuit: Priest abused boy to 'cleanse' him of sins

GUAM
The Guam Daily Post

March 13, 2018

By Mindy Aguon

A new clergy sex abuse lawsuit against the Archdiocese of Agana accuses deceased Rev. Ray Techaira of sexual abuse while Techaira was a priest serving at Niño Perdido y Sagrada Familia Catholic Church in Asan.

J.M.R., of Dededo, filed a civil complaint filed with the District Court of Guam on Friday alleging he had been sexually abused by Techaira after asking questions about the Catholic faith during confirmation class in 1984.

J.M.R. asked Techaira, according to the lawsuit: If there is only one God – the Father – why address Techaira as "father?"

The priest became upset and told J.M.R. to stay after confirmation class, the lawsuit alleges. After the other kids had left, Techaira instructed the teen to go to the office and stand in the prayer position and allegedly began the sexual assault, the lawsuit alleges.

Techaira allegedly told the boy he had sinned and was not ready to receive the sacrament of confirmation.

When the boy told the priest to stop the sexual abuse, Techaira scolded the boy, the lawsuit alleges. The priest allegedly instructed the boy to continue praying and told the minor, "I need to do this to you, to cleanse you of your sins," court documents state.

J.M.R. told the priest he was going to report him, but Techaira told him no one would believe him because he is highly respected in the Catholic Church and in the community, the lawsuit states.

Posted by Pauline Hodgdon at 1:35 PM

Minnesota law firm prods bishop on names of local priests accused of abuse

BUFFALO (NY)
The Buffalo News