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February 17, 2019

'Awful, awful trauma' — Southern Baptist church members and leaders react to sexual abuse findings

HOUSTON (TX)
Houston Chronicle

February 16, 2019

By John Tedesco and Robert Downen

Leaders of the Southern Baptist Convention vowed last week not to tolerate sexual abuse and to enact reforms after an investigation by the Houston Chronicle and the San Antonio Express-News revealed that more than 700 people had been molested by Southern Baptist pastors, church employees and volunteers over a span of two decades.

But the question remains: What will leaders of the largest coalition of Baptist churches in the United States actually do about the problem?

SBC President J.D. Greear, a North Carolina pastor, said he was “broken” by what he read in the newspapers. He hasn’t offered specific solutions, but he ordered a study of sexual abuse in Southern Baptist churches last summer and is expected to unveil proposals when SBC leaders meet in Nashville, Tenn., this coming week.

Other prominent SBC officials are calling for changes that include creating a registry of church employees and volunteers credibly accused of sexual misconduct and aggressively removing from the convention churches that knowingly hire predators.

'These men are a disgrace': South Jersey churches respond to sex abuse list

ATLANTIC CITY (NJ)
The Press of Atlantic City

February 17, 2019

By Avalon Zoppo

Halfway through the Sunday service at St. James Church, prayers paused momentarily.

Rows of attendees turned their attention to a prerecorded message broadcast on two small TVs addressing the sex abuse scandal that has rocked the Catholic Church for decades, and that has now reached South Jersey.

The Diocese of Camden last Wednesday released the names of 56 priests and one deacon who had a history of sexually abusing minors. Of them, 47 were from Atlantic, Cape May and Cumberland counties. St. James Church had among the most reported abusers, with seven clergy members identified.

“These men are a disgrace. ... Their despicable acts have wounded their victims, our church and the priesthood,” Bishop Dennis J. Sullivan said in a nine-minute video that played inside churches across South Jersey.

Other clergy members named had ties to Blessed Sacrament in Margate, Holy Spirit High School in Absecon, St. Vincent de Paul in Mays Landing, St. Joseph High School in Hammonton and Our Lady Star of the Sea in Atlantic City. A majority of them are dead and 12 have been removed from ministry. The status of two are unknown.

The bishop told parishioners that the diocese published the list for transparency, but said he hopes the credible allegations do not lessen anyone’s religious faith.

Only lawmakers can protect pedophile priests. Let the law work for victims

NEWARK (NJ)
Star-Ledger

February 17, 2019

The Roman Catholic Church in New Jersey believes it has found a path to redemption by releasing a list of 188 predatory priests – 108 of them deceased – which it hopes is a step toward “healing for the victims” and the “restoration of trust in church leadership.”

That, to coin a term, is a Hail Mary. There is no catechism to comfort raped children. There is no psalm of purification for this occasion. The disclosure of these credibly accused clerics is important, but sexual assault victims are not likely to be healed by this perfunctory gesture sanctified by Cardinal Joseph Tobin.

To the contrary, many remain haunted by decades of silence, and wonder why names were hidden for so long. They seek the identities of the bishops who engineered the coverup. They will say this confession was triggered only by the creation of a daunting task force, convened to investigate clergy abuse throughout our state by a determined Attorney General.

And they will still seek real transparency and true justice, which can only be found in a court of law.

That time is approaching, with the announcement from Sen. Joe Vitale that his bill to expand the statute of limitations for civil cases brought by childhood victims of sexual assault will finally get a debate and a floor vote next month.

With so much of its leadership compromised, is the Catholic Church irredeemable?

BOSTON (MA)
Boston Globe

February 14, 2019

By Michael Rezendes

IT’S DIFFICULT TO EXAGGERATE the crisis that has engulfed the Catholic Church due to unending revelations about priests who have sexually abused children, young adults — even nuns — and the bishops who have covered up for them.

Each week, it seems, the scandal detonates yet again with fresh news of priests who have had their way with children, and the bishops who have allowed them to continue working as trusted clergymen. Nearly two decades after the scandal erupted in Boston and began its relentless march around the world, it’s become a crisis without end.

Later this week, in what is merely the latest attempt to arrest the scandal, top bishops from around the world will gather at the Vatican to meet with Pope Francis and assure the Catholic faithful that leaders of the global religion, with an estimated 1.2 billion followers, are finally ready to face the crisis.

But Vatican officials, including Pope Francis, are already working to manage expectations. They are particularly concerned about those followers who think it’s high time that the Holy See adopt a set of clear, global guidelines for preventing abuse, as well as a mechanism for disciplining the bishops who try cover it up.

While returning to Rome from a recent trip to Panama, the pope told reporters he was seeking to “deflate” those hopes, describing the gathering as a “catechesis” — an educational opportunity to help bishops understand the effects of clerical abuse and proper ways to respond.

A Catholic priest reflects on the sexual abuse crisis

LANCASTER (PA)
Lancaster On Line

February 17, 2019

By Rev. Allan Wolfe

Everyone with a heart recoils at the tremendous damage caused by the sexual abuse of children.

Most recognize that the wounds are deepened when the abuse is perpetrated by a person of trust — a parent, another relative, a teacher or a coach.

And we are outraged when this terrible crime, this grave sin, is perpetrated by a member of the clergy or someone else affiliated with the church. Religious faith is meant to bring people greater peace and wholeness. Yet it has been entangled with these profound violations, these acts of violence, these betrayals against the core aspects of the human person.

Having heard firsthand from victims and survivors of child sexual abuse, I am so sorry and grieve the suffering, pain and isolation they endure on so many levels.

Recognizing the evil of child sexual abuse is simple. Understanding the complexities of the factors and contexts contributing to these crimes and sins — and thus determining the best way to address this plague in society and protect all children — is much more complicated.

When Rome speaks, the world listens and hopes

HUDSON COUNTY (NJ)
Jersey Journal

February 17, 2019

By Rev. Alexander Santora

After a 2018 summer of stunning revelations of sexual abuse by then-Theodore Cardinal McCarrick, followed by the explosive release of the Pennsylvania grand jury report, Pope Francis took action last September. Short of convening a Vatican council, which would have summoned all the Catholic bishops from around the world, Francis called for a meeting of all the presidents of the national conferences – 110 in all. For example, Daniel Cardinal DiNardo from Texas represents the U.S. bishops. And likewise, the Mexican and Canadian counterparts will send their presidents.

They are in Rome Thursday through next Sunday. Along with them are members of the Roman Curia, the pope’s cabinet, representatives of the international unions of major religious superiors (both men and women) and a number of survivors of abuse.

“The goal is that all of the bishops clearly understand what they need to do to prevent and combat the worldwide problem of the sexual abuse of minors,” Alessandro Gisotti, the interim director of the Holy See press office, told journalists earlier this year. The pope, he said, wants the bishops to return to their countries and “understand the laws to be applied and ... take the necessary steps to prevent abuse, to care for the victims and to make sure that no case is covered up or buried.”

Editorial: Sorrow? Regret? Not good enough

WILLINGBORO TOWNSHIP (NJ)
Burlington County Times

February 17, 2019

Sometimes sorrow and regret aren’t enough.

Those were the words that Cardinal Joseph Tobin, of the Archdiocese of Newark, used in trying to lessen the pain and anguish of all those victimized children “who put their trust in a member of the church, only to have that trust so profoundly betrayed.”

Tobin added, “We must protect our children, first, foremost, and always.” One would think that came with the job descriptions of priest, clergyman and deacon. But these sad excuses for role models give not only religion a bad name, but also humanity.

Apologies don’t count for much anymore, and they sure don’t mean a lot in this scandal, but what does count is the continuing exposure of the lies and immoral cover-up of the Catholic Church, and of the names of the nearly 200 men in New Jersey who disgraced themselves and their faith with such repugnant behavior.

Newspapers and other media published stories on Thursday after various archdioceses in the state revealed the names of Roman Catholic clergy members — a few served at Burlington County churches — who they say have been “credibly accused” of sexually abusing minors, as long ago as 1940.

That’s nearly 80 years — as a point of context, a year before we entered World War II. We have to ask: Just how far back does this worldwide systemic problem go, and how long did the church hierarchy know it and look the other way? We shudder to think.

Dioceses in more than two dozen states have released the names of abusive clergy members. In August, a Pennsylvania grand jury report identified over 300 predator priests, some of them now dead. The overall number in our country alone very likely is in the thousands.

It’s equally unsettling to think that some of the victims are now parents and grandparents. They have had to live their adulthoods with this undeserved black mark.

‘It Is Not a Closet. It Is a Cage.’ Gay Catholic Priests Speak Out

NEW YORK (NY)
New York Times

February 17, 2019

By Elizabeth Dias

Gregory Greiten was 17 years old when the priests organized the game. It was 1982 and he was on a retreat with his classmates from St. Lawrence, a Roman Catholic seminary for teenage boys training to become priests. Leaders asked each boy to rank which he would rather be: burned over 90 percent of his body, paraplegic, or gay.

Each chose to be scorched or paralyzed. Not one uttered the word “gay.” They called the game the Game of Life.

The lesson stuck. Seven years later, he climbed up into his seminary dorm window and dangled one leg over the edge. “I really am gay,” Father Greiten, now a priest near Milwaukee, remembered telling himself for the first time. “It was like a death sentence.”

The closet of the Roman Catholic Church hinges on an impossible contradiction. For years, church leaders have driven gay congregants away in shame and insisted that “homosexual tendencies” are “disordered.” And yet, thousands of the church’s priests are gay.

The stories of gay priests are unspoken, veiled from the outside world, known only to one another, if they are known at all.

Fewer than about 10 priests in the United States have dared to come out publicly. But gay men likely make up at least 30 to 40 percent of the American Catholic clergy, according to dozens of estimates from gay priests themselves and researchers. Some priests say the number is closer to 75 percent. One priest in Wisconsin said he assumed every priest is gay unless he knows for a fact he is not. A priest in Florida put it this way: “A third are gay, a third are straight, and a third don’t know what the hell they are.”

Two dozen gay priests and seminarians from 13 states shared intimate details of their lives in the Catholic closet with The New York Times over the past two months. They were interviewed in their churches before Mass, from art museums on the weekend, in their apartments decorated with rainbow neon lights, and between classes at seminary. Some agreed to be photographed if their identities were concealed.

Almost all of them required strict confidentiality to speak without fear of retribution from their bishops or superiors. A few had been expressly forbidden to come out or even to speak about homosexuality. Most are in active ministry, and could lose more than their jobs if they are outed. The church almost always controls a priest’s housing, health insurance and retirement pension. He could lose all three if his bishop finds his sexuality disqualifying, even if he is faithful to his vows of celibacy.

Former New Mexico priest accused of rape released

ALBUQUERQUE (NM)
KRQE TV

February 16, 2019

The former New Mexico priest charged with rape and kidnapping has been released. Marvin Archuleta is accused of raping a former student at Holy Cross Catholic School in northern New Mexico in the early 1980s.

The 81-year-old was arrested at his Albuquerque home in early February. The attorney general's office filed a motion to keep him behind bars until trial Friday.

However, Judge Matthew Wilson decided to release Archuleta with GPS monitoring. The former priest is also banned from being around children.

The Rev. Mark Inglot, accused of sexual harassment, can no longer publicly serve as priest

EAST LANSING (MI)
Lansing State Journal

February 17, 2019

By Eric Lacy

A religious leader who resigned after being accused of sexually harassing a coworker last fall can no longer publicly function as a priest, a Catholic Diocese of Lansing spokesman said Sunday.

The Rev. Mark Inglot, 63, who served East Lansing's St. Thomas Aquinas Parish and St. John Church and Student Center, has been given senior priest status, the Catholic church's equivalent of retirement.

"In this climate we just want to make sure to folks this is not a question of a priest abusing children," Michael Diebold, a diocese spokesman, said Sunday. "It was a credible allegation of sexual harassment, which was why Father Inglot was removed from the parish last fall."

Inglot has not been charged of any crimes but will be prohibited from having any parish assignments within any Catholic church, Diebold said.

"Our senior priests are those who have reached an age where they are no longer assigned to a parish," Diebold said. "Generally, a senior priest can and does help at parishes when it is necessary. That will not be the case with Father Inglot."

A news release posted Saturday on the diocese's website said Inglot was granted senior priest status after "a five-month period of therapy and discernment" and 37 years of service in the diocese.

It also stated that Inglot "will not have public faculties to celebrate the sacraments" and that he will "use the tools he has gained to live out priesthood in right relationship with God and others, and to strengthen his commitment to celibacy."

Attempts to reach Inglot Sunday weren't successful. Diebold said he isn't sure if Inglot still resides in the Lansing area.

El breve y distendido paso por Chile del nuncio Luigi Ventura, hoy acusado de abuso

[A look at Luigi Ventura's brief time in Chile before he was accused of abuse]

CHILE
La Tercera

February 15, 2019

By Sergio Rodríguez

El exdelegado papal en nuestro país, entre 1999 y 2001, fue denunciado en enero pasado en Francia por un trabajador del Ayuntamiento de París, por supuestas tocaciones.

“No pensé nunca haber venido a Chile y ha sido una oportunidad de vivir dos años intensos y hermosos”, le decía el 27 de junio de 2001, a Radio Agricultura, el sacerdote Luigi Ventura.

Francisco José Cox recurrirá a la Defensoría Pública para enfrentar denuncias de abusos

[Ex-Archbishop Francisco José Cox will appeal abuse case with public defender]

CHILE
La Tercera

February 16, 2019

La audiencia será este próximo 19 de febrero, a las 8:30 de la mañana, en La Serena.

Después de 17 años fuera del país, el exarzobispo de La Serena Francisco José Cox ya está en Chile para enfrentar a la justicia. Miembros del movimiento de Schoenstatt aseguraron que el 19 de febrero, en el Juzgado de Garantía de La Serena, Cox será representado por la abogada de la Defensoría Pública Rosa Álvarez. En la ocasión se resolverá si el exarzobispo puede ser juzgado bajo el actual sistema penal. ¿La razón? Los abusos sexuales por los que se le acusan habrían sido cometidos en el año 1985.

“Es el momento de la verdad. Aunque nos humille y dé miedo”

[Archbishop Scicluna: "It is the moment of truth. Even if we humble ourselves and fear]

ROME (ITALY)
El País

February 17, 2019

By Daniel Verdú

El arzbopispo de Malta, máximo experto en el Vaticano en la lucha contra los abusos y organizador de la cumbre de esta semana, cree que es la hora de hacer justicia

En el corazón del órgano doctrinal de la Iglesia, en el viejo palacio de la antigua Inquisición o Santo Oficio, vuelve a tener un despacho el hombre menudo e implacable cuya firma aparece en todas las grandes pesquisas de abusos en la Iglesia. El arzobispo de Malta, Charles Scicluna, es probablemente la figura de mayor prestigio dentro del Vaticano en esta lucha. Autor de la histórica investigación contra el fundador de los legionarios de Cristo, el Padre Marcial Maciel, y recientemente también de la de los obispos de Chile, ha vuelto al organigrama vaticano para tratar de frenar la hemorragia por la que se desangra la Iglesia católica. El Papa le ha confiado un papel primordial como secretario adjunto de la Congregación para la Doctrina de la Fe y como miembro del comité organizador del encuentro que a partir del jueves se celebrará en Roma con todos los presidentes de las conferencias episcopales del mundo.

Dozier named in Richmond list of priests accused of child sexual abuse

MEMPHIS (TN)
Daily Memphian

February 16, 2019

By Bill Dries

The first bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Memphis is among 42 priests from the Catholic Diocese of Richmond, Virginia, who have been accused of child sexual abuse over several decades.

Carroll Dozier’s name is on a list released Thursday by Richmond Bishop Barry C. Knestout. Knestout is the latest U.S. bishop in recent years to release such a list.

Knestout said all of those on the list had “a credible and substantiated claim of sexual abuse against a minor” that was reported to church leaders either in Richmond or elsewhere.

In Dozier’s case, the allegation was made to church officials after his death in 1985.

The listing provided no further details of the allegation or when and where the alleged abuse happened.

The Richmond Diocese released four lists of alleged abusers based on where they were ordained. Dozier appears on the list of priests who were ordained in Richmond and served there.

Knestout decided who would be on the list in consultation with canonical advisers in the Richmond Diocese.

Analysis: After McCarrick sex abuse verdict, money and power questions remain

ROME (ITALY)
Catholic News Agency

February 16, 2019

By Ed Condon

The Holy See announced Saturday the conviction of Theodore McCarrick on charges of the sexual abuse of minors and adults - aggravated by the abuse of power - and solicitation in the confessional. The administrative penal process imposed a penalty of laicization.

A special congresso of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith imposed the Jan. 11 decision. It was appealed to the Feria IV, the regular meeting of the CDF’s full episcopal membership, who rejected the appeal on Feb. 13. No further appeal is possible.

The final disposition of McCarrick’s case marks the end of a luciferian fall from grace by a man once seen as the leader of the Catholic Church in the United States, and one of the most influential cardinals world-wide.

To go from membership in the college of cardinals in June to being expelled from the clergy altogether in February is unprecedented.

While the intervening months have seemed interminable for many Catholics in the pews, as accusations mounted and details of abuse emerged, the canonical process which declared McCarrick guilty proceeded at lightning speed by Vatican standards.

Now that the McCarrick verdict is announced, just in time for the pope’s looming summit on sexual abuse, many of the former archbishop’s former colleagues are hoping he will exit the news along with the clerical state.

But McCarrick’s laicization answers few of the questions raised by his case, the most pressing of which is how a man with an obviously scandalous track record was able to rise so high in ecclesiastical responsibility.

Since the first allegation against McCarrick was made public in June, a number of accounts have emerged apparently showing that Rome was aware of McCarrick’s behavior, or at least his proclivities, for years.

Former apostolic nuncio to Washington, Cardinal Agostino Cacciavillan, has said that he first heard accounts of McCarrick’s misbehavior in 1994.

Fr. Boniface Ramsey raised the issue of McCarrick’s misconduct with seminarians at the now infamous beach house to Cacciavillan’s successor in 2001, receiving a tacit receipt of the allegations – together with a request for any related information about a Newark priest – from the Vatican’s Secretariat of State in 2006.

New book claims gay subculture flourishes at Vatican

ROME (ITALY)
Crux

February 16, 2019

By Christopher White

A new book, whose release is timed to coincide with the start of Pope Francis’s major summit on sex abuse on February 21, contains sweeping, although unverified, claims that 80 percent of the Vatican clergy are gay.

In the Closet of the Vatican: Power, Homosexuality, Hypocrisy by French journalist Frédéric Martel will be released in 8 languages in 20 countries and is the product of 4 years of research and interviews with over 1,500 individuals in 30 countries, including 41 cardinals, 52 bishops, and 45 apostolic nuncios.

Ahead of its release, Crux reviewed portions of the work, which, among its most scandalous claims, alleges Colombian Cardinal Alfonso López Trujillo, Pope John Paul II’s point man on marriage and family, had a “double life” with male prostitutes and affairs, alleges the two deceased “dubia” cardinals were gay, and that “this best kept secret of the Vatican is no secret to Pope Francis,” and it is the motivation for the pontiff regularly speaking out on hypocrisy.

While Martel, who is openly gay, fails to document what percentage of Vatican clergy are actively gay, and at times makes the distinction between those whom he believes are in-touch with their homosexuality but do not act on their orientation and those who do so, he maintains that “the world I am discovering, with its 50 shades of gay, is beyond comprehension,” and ultimately defines many of the power struggles inside the Church.

Martel begins the nearly 600-page book with the expression “he’s of the parish,” a phrase he claims is used frequently inside the Vatican to identify members of the clergy who are known to be homosexual.

As the text unfolds, Martel establishes what he terms as fourteen “rules of the closet,” which are broad principles for understanding both the operations and tensions within the Vatican over this issue.

Perhaps the most salient reason for the timing of the book’s release is the rule that “behind the majority of cases of sexual abuse, there are priests and bishops who have protected the aggressors because of their own homosexuality and out of fear that it might be revealed in the event of a scandal.”

‘What difference does it make to McCarrick?’ Critics question the value of defrocking.

WASHINGTON (DC)
Washington Post

February 16, 2019

By Michelle Boorstein

In Catholic Church law, being forcibly laicized is sometimes called the death penalty for priests. A dismissal from the priesthood is permanent — something that can’t even be said of excommunication. Even priests who request laicization are told to move away and, unless necessary, to keep quiet about what happened to avoid scandalizing other Catholics. No working in parishes, seminaries, Catholic schools. Your previous identity is wiped out.

But, in the eyes of the church, the mark of priestly ordination can never be removed. Something metaphysical changes that can’t be undone.

Theodore McCarrick is believed to be the first cardinal — a title he held until sexual abuse allegations against him surfaced in the summer — laicized for sexual misconduct. He is one of just six bishops accused of similar crimes and dismissed, according to the abuse-tracking group BishopAccountability. But in an era of rampant clergy scandals, experts predicted that many Catholics won’t see the rare defrocking as sufficient justice for McCarrick’s alleged victims.

Wuerl's zero tolerance of sexually abusive priests was only partial, reports suggest

PITTSBURGH (PA)
Post-Gazette

February 16, 2019

By Peter Smith

Soon after taking the helm as the Roman Catholic bishop of Pittsburgh in 1988, Donald Wuerl made emphatic statements to the public, to his own priests and to the Vatican that he’d have a zero-tolerance approach toward sexually abusive priests.

This was 14 years before zero-tolerance became a U.S.-wide policy among his fellow Catholic bishops. Whether to make it a global policy is among the topics under discussion as top bishops from around the world gather in Rome for a summit on the abuse crisis beginning this Thursday.

But did zero tolerance really get the head start in Pittsburgh that it seemed at the time?

In fact, under Bishop Wuerl, the deeds fell far short of the words, as revealed in an August 2018 Pennsylvania grand jury report. That report showed a far less consistent policy between 1988 and 2002, the year that U.S. bishops adopted a nationwide zero-tolerance policy.

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reviewed each of the local cases in the grand jury report to look for factors that informed the dioceses’ decisions on accused priests. The report was largely based on internal diocesan documents.

Bishop Wuerl led the Diocese of Pittsburgh from 1988 to 2006 before becoming archbishop of Washington, D.C., which he led for the next dozen years while also gaining the title of cardinal. Now 78, he’s winding down his long career as a U.S. church administrator, awaiting the appointment of his successor in Washington.

Expectations high for Pope Francis’ sex-abuse summit, but some brace for disappointment

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
Philadelphia Inquirer

February 17, 2019

By Jeremy Roebuck

In what could be a defining moment for his papacy, Pope Francis will welcome more than 100 top Catholic bishops from around the globe to Rome this week for an unprecedented summit aimed at tackling the issue of clergy sex abuse.

Never before has a pontiff convened the global church’s leaders to discuss the issue. And after a bruising year that saw high-ranking church officials resign in scandal, fresh investigations, and demands for new laws, the conference that opens Thursday could present an opportunity for Francis to dispel criticism that he has responded sluggishly as the crisis continued to flash across the globe.

But should his four-day event fail to deliver, the pope risks cementing the impression among detractors that he remains resistant to meaningful change.

Hundreds of reporters and sexual-abuse victims — including some from Pennsylvania — are expected to set up shop outside the Vatican as the prelates gather behind closed doors.

“They know that this is a very high-stakes meeting,” said Massimo Faggioli, a theologian and scholar of church history at Villanova University. “The attention here in Rome is already similar to what you’d see for a papal conclave."

As if to signal his seriousness, Francis on Saturday took his most meaningful step to date by defrocking Theodore McCarrick, a former cardinal and archbishop of Washington, after the church found him guilty of sexually abusing minors and adult seminarians.

Though the Vatican had laicized hundreds of priests for sexual misconduct since the worldwide crisis began nearly two decades ago, McCarrick, who previously served as a bishop in two New Jersey dioceses, is the first cardinal in modern history to be expelled from the priesthood, the most serious penalty the church can impose.

Before that significant move, Francis and his aides in recent weeks had sought to temper expectations for the conference itself. Speaking to reporters on a papal flight returning from World Youth Day in Panama last month, the pope suggested that anticipation surrounding the conference had grown well beyond anything the meeting itself could deliver.

Pope asks for prayers for summit, calls clergy abuse an ‘urgent’ problem

ROME (ITALY)
Crux

February 17, 2019

By Elise Harris

Pope Francis petitioned Catholics Sunday to pray for an upcoming anti-abuse summit at the Vatican, saying he wanted to call the gathering as a response to the “urgent” challenge of clerical sexual abuse.

“From Thursday to next Sunday, there will take place in the Vatican a meeting with the presidents of all bishops’ conferences on the topic of the protection of minors in the Church,” the pope said Feb. 17, and asked Catholic faithful to pray for the summit, which he said he called as “a strong act of pastoral responsibility faced with an urgent challenge in our time.”

The pontiff was speaking at his usual Sunday noontime Angelus address.

The appeal comes days ahead of a Feb. 21-24 summit addressing the global clerical abuse crisis in the Catholic Church, and just a day after the Vatican announced that Theodore McCarrick, the former archbishop of Washington, was dismissed from the clerical state on charges of sexual abuse and harassment.

Described by the pope as a pastoral meeting rather than a decision-making event, the summit will draw the participation of leading prelates, religious superiors and survivors.

Both Francis and several others involved with the summit have previously said expectations are too high, and that while it likely won’t result in sweeping changes, the goal is to at least get everyone on the same page.

However, many, including survivors of clerical abuse want action, and view McCarrick’s defrocking as just the beginning of a larger problem aimed at cracking down not just on clerical abuse but also those who cover it up.

Ahead of abuse summit at Vatican, Cupich confident meeting will result in plan to protect children

CHICAGO (IL)
WGN TV

February16, 2019

By Dina Bair

Bishops from all over the world are heading to the Vatican next week for an abuse summit. Pope Francis gave Cardinal Blase Cupich the responsibility of planning the gathering.

This is the first time a pontiff has called all the presidents of the world’s bishops' conferences together. With nearly 200 church leaders converging on the Vatican, no one will be allowed to hide from this crisis.

Cupich recently spoke to WGN’s Dina Bair about the critical issue, which has haunted the catholic church for decades.

The Holy Father warned Catholics to keep their expectations low, but he said at the end of this week-long meeting, he is confident there will be a plan in place to protect children from sex abuse in the church.

“It will be very clear to bishops when they come to this, that when they go home, they have some homework to do,” he said.

Every bishop who comes to the summit claims ownership for this very difficult moment and takes action in a way that makes every bishop in the world responsible for the care of children as a priority.

“There will be a framework of procedures that will be given to bishops,” Cupich said. “Not only for the handling of cases of abuse by clergy, but also the consequences for bishops when they mishandle it or themselves misbehave.”

Vatican summit on sex abuse: What victim groups are demanding

ROME (ITALY)
Agence France-Presse

February 16, 2019

As the Vatican prepares to host a global child abuse summit on the protection of minors this week, victims' associations are calling for concrete steps from the Catholic Church to end paedophilia.

While Pope Francis has sought to play down expectations from the summit, here are the main demands from victim groups:

OUST ABUSERS OR THEIR PROTECTORS
Zero tolerance for sexual abuse by clerics should be "written into universal church law by the end of the summit", says organisation Ending Clerical Abuse.

The organisation, which brings together activists and survivors from more than 17 countries, said any cleric found to have abused a child or covered up abuse - regardless of how long ago the crime took place - should be defrocked.

The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests wants the Vatican to "fire any and all bishops or cardinals who have had a hand in clergy sex abuse cover-ups".

DEFINE CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE
Expert Marie Collins, who resigned in protest from a Vatican committee she said was failing to adequately tackle paedophilia, insists the Church should "agree on a clear definition of what constitutes the sexual abuse of a minor".

"There is currently no clear definition...to guide leaders in their handling of abuse," says Ms Collins, herself a child victim.

Canon law refers to it as "delicts against the sixth commandment of the Decalogue", an obscure reference which also fails to specify whether it covers indirect abuse such as a cleric exposing himself or looking at pornographic images of children.

END SECRECY
Clerics found guilty of sexually assaulting minors should be placed on a global public registry, says the group Ending Clerical Abuse.

It wants an "independent Vatican Truth Commission" to be created, to examine and publish the global abuse archives of the Church, beginning with the Vatican.

Bishops around the world should be "compelled to turn their files over to law enforcement for independent investigations into their handling of clergy sex abuse cases".

Pennsylvania to figure high in Vatican abuse summit this week

PITTSBURGH (PA)
Tribune Review

February 16, 2019

By Deb Erdley

When Catholic leaders gather in Rome this week for an international summit on sexual abuse scandals that have plagued the church, there will be a distinctive Pennsylvania presence — both among the assembled church leaders and an international group of abuse survivors who want action.

That presence runs the gamut from Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, archbishop of the Galveston Houston archdiocese and president of the U.S. bishops, who grew up in the Pittsburgh area and attended seminary with Pittsburgh Bishop David Zubik, to Shaun Dougherty, the 49-year-old Johnstown abuse survivor who has been asked to represent survivors before the summit.

Although the Vatican press office has cautioned against high expectations, saying the summit is just the most recent phase in a 15-year effort to address the problem, Pennsylvania abuse survivors say they are taking their message to Rome in hope of gaining support for changes in the law here.

Pennsylvania state Rep. Mark Rozzi, D-Berks, a survivor who says he was abused as a young teen, said he will join Dougherty in Rome. He said survivors from around the world will make a case for justice for survivors and an end to the abuse and cover-ups that have reached into the upper echelons of the church.

The Latest: Cardinal calls McCarrick punishment ‘important’

ROME (ITALY)
Associated Press

February 16, 2019

The Latest on the defrocking of former U.S. cardinal Theodore McCarrick (all times local):

12:20 a.m.

The archbishop of Boston says the Vatican’s decision to defrock former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick is an important step for “administering justice” for McCarrick’s crimes.

Cardinal Sean O’Malley issued a statement Saturday after the announcement that McCarrick had been found guilty by the Vatican of sex abuse, including while hearing confession.

O’Malley says church leaders “must enforce accountability for cardinals and bishops.”

O’Malley says his archdiocese is committed to taking reports of abuse seriously, saying it has a “moral responsibility” to be always vigilant.

10:50 p.m.

A Kansas diocese says disgraced former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick will continue to live at a local friary “until a decision of permanent residence is finalized.”

McCarrick had moved to the St. Fidelis Friary in Victoria, Kansas, in September after Pope Francis ordered him to live in penance and prayer while the investigation into his actions continued.

McCarrick was defrocked after being found guilty by the Vatican of sex abuse, including while hearing confession.

In a statement Saturday, Bishop Gerald L. Vincke of the Salina, Kansas, Diocese said he hopes the Vatican’s decision will “help bring healing to all affected by sexual abuse and those hurt by this scandal.”

___

Abuse victim advocates call Catholic Church defrocking of McCarrick ‘damage control’

BOSTON (MA)
Boston Herald

February 17, 2019

By Lisa Kashinsky

Former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick has been defrocked after the Vatican found him guilty of sex abuse, but attorney Mitchell Garabedian, a longtime critic of the Catholic Church’s handling of decades of misconduct, says the latest crackdown is just “damage control.”

“The Catholic Church is trying to deceptively convince the public that they’ve fixed the problem when they are the problem,” said Garabedian, an advocate for victims of sexual abuse by priests. “Take away the robes and religion, and the priests are just criminals who either sexually abused children or who covered up the sexual abuse of children.”

Zach Hiner, executive director of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, said McCarrick’s dismissal shows clergy preying on minors goes far beyond low-level priests.

“This problem exists at every level of the church. It’s not just bad priests here or there, it’s something that is systemic from the base-level staff to the highest level,” Hiner said.

McCarrick’s defrocking made the 88-year-old former archbishop of Washington, D.C., the highest-ranking clergyman and first cardinal to be punished by dismissal. Pope Francis last July removed McCarrick as a cardinal after a U.S. church investigation found credible an allegation that McCarrick fondled a teenage altar boy in the 1970s, reports state.

Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo, president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, said McCarrick’s dismissal “is a clear signal that abuse will not be tolerated. No bishop, no matter how influential, is above the law of the church.”

Church entrusts papal succession role to McCarrick associate

BOSTON (MA)
Boston Herald

February 16, 2019

By Peter Borre

In the past few days, four stories involving senior Vatican officials have broken:

The defrocking of a former cardinal; a groping accusation against the Vatican’s ambassador to France; an official of the Vatican’s highest court “credibly accused” of abusing a minor; and the appointment of an American cardinal as ‘chamberlain’ in the event of the pope’s resignation or death. No coincidence that all this comes into public view just before next week’s Rome summit on clergy sex abuse.

There is link between the defrocking of former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick and the naming of Cardinal Kevin Farrell as chamberlain of the Vatican.

As acting pope, the chamberlain confirms the death or resignation of the pope, and manages all temporal goods of the Vatican until a new pope is installed. These responsibilities are much more than ceremonial: there is lingering controversy over the death of Pope John Paul I, the 33-day pope in 1978; and during the vacancy between the resignation of Pope Benedict and the election of Pope Francis in 2013, there were hurried reshuffles within the controversial Vatican Bank. So the Vatican’s chamberlain should be like Caesar’s wife.

Farrell entered the priesthood in 1968 through the Legionaries of Christ; years later he shifted to diocesan priest. The Legionaries became a major scandal, with their Mexican founder eventually removed by the Pope for “reprehensible and objectively immoral behavior.”

Maybe old stuff. But during Farrell’s career, he also spent six years very close to McCarrick. Farrell was No. 2 in the archdiocese of Washington when McCarrick took over in 2001, and Farrell remained in that role until 2007. Their close association extended to sharing an apartment. Yet when Farrell learned of the allegations against McCarrick, he told the Catholic News Service, “I was shocked, overwhelmed; I never heard any of this before in the six years I was with him.”

But according to the AP, a priest/professor at a New Jersey seminary “informed the Vatican in a November 2000 letter about … McCarrick’s misconduct with seminarians.” And Farrell was “shocked?”

The Catholic church is still making excuses for paedophilia

LONDON (ENGLAND)
The Guardian

February 17, 2019

By Peter Stanford

When the first meeting in the Vatican of cardinals from around the world to discuss clerical sexual abuse was announced, hopes were high among Catholics. Finally, it seemed, the courageous, mould-breaking Pope Francis was going to force through root-and-branch reforms to tackle the scandal that has done such damage to the reputation of the institution he leads.

Yet even before 180 cardinals assemble on Thursday in Rome for this unprecedented four-day summit, the chance of such prayers being answered is looking increasingly remote. The Vatican press office has been downplaying the event as simply an opportunity to remind senior clerics of the patchy efforts that global Catholicism has made this past quarter of a century to address the thousands upon thousands of cases of priests molesting, abusing and traumatising children in their care.

To be fair, a reminder is no bad thing, since there is a long list of bishops around the globe who still make negative headlines because they refuse to take this crisis seriously, and put protecting the institution before the victims of predator priests.

Even in the Vatican itself, the powerful Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith has refused a very basic request from the Commission for the Protection of Minors, set up by Francis in 2014, to send a letter acknowledging receipt of every new report of abuse that reaches it.

Column: “Nuns, too” and my own reckoning with the Church

CHAPEL HILL (NC)
The Daily Tar Heel

February 17, 2019

By Annie Kiyonaga

It’s hard to express the depth of my disappointment with the Catholic Church in 500 words. I was raised in a staunchly Catholic family, and my parents are still my favorite types of Catholics: intellectually engaged with the Church’s long history of social justice work, and convinced that the grace of God can be found in art and literature and small acts of kindness. They work together as criminal defense attorneys, and their faith informs their shared belief that everyone deserves a good defense against incarceration. I went to an all-girls Catholic school, where I was taught to prize intellectual curiosity, personal faith and social action.

I blossomed under these conditions, and I’ve held onto my role as a questioning Catholic throughout college out of respect for the people and institutions that formed me. I still believe in God; I still value my parents’ version of faith hugely; I still credit my Catholic school education for my personal and intellectual formation.

Last week, Pope Francis (finally) publicly acknowledged the rash of sexual assault allegations lodged against priests and bishops by nuns around the world. In November, the International Union of Superiors General – which is not, in fact, a Star Wars tribune but a collective of Catholic women’s religious orders – issued a statement condemning the “culture of silence and secrecy” that abounds in the Catholic Church. The editor of Women Church World – yet another incredible name – blamed the sexual assault scandal on the imbalance of power between genders in the Church. Whatever the cause, the stories are horrific: nuns in sexual slavery; nuns reporting abuse and being subsequently shamed; nuns being pressured to get abortions to cover up the misdeeds of priests.

Something about this blatant abuse of power feels especially insulting given the gender inequality within the Church at large. I went to a Catholic school that valued confidence and empowerment for women, but I was never under any illusion that the Catholic Church as a whole valued my rights to control my own body or my potential for intelligent leadership. The Church is a male institution, predicated on the faithful and docile service of its female congregants.

February 16, 2019

Despite defrocking, the fat lady hasn’t yet sung on the McCarrick saga

ROME (ITALY)
Crux

Feb 17, 2019

By John L. Allen Jr.

For Theodore McCarrick, the other shoe finally dropped on Saturday as he was formally dismissed from the clerical state, or, to use the colloquial argot, “defrocked.” He was already an ex-cardinal; now, he’s also an ex-priest.

The verdict was expressed in a brief Vatican statement indicating that McCarrick had been found guilty of “solicitation in the Sacrament of Confession, and sins against the Sixth Commandment with minors and with adults, with the aggravating factor of the abuse of power.”

In July, Pope Francis accepted McCarrick’s resignation from the College of Cardinals after he’d been removed from ministry over a charge of sexually abusing a 16-year-old altar boy decades earlier while serving as a priest in New York, an allegation McCarrick denied.

Since then, at least two other charges of abuse of minors have surfaced, along with charges of sexual misconduct with adult seminarians and priests. All of that comes bundled with suggestions of abuse of power, since in virtually every case McCarrick held either direct or indirect authority over the other party.

Laicization is the most severe penalty under Church law for a cleric, and no doubt McCarrick’s victims and others outraged by the scandals will draw some satisfaction from seeing him held accountable.

However, it would be terribly premature at this stage to say that the fat lady has sung. The Vatican may have wanted the McCarrick case to be over before Francis opens a keenly anticipated summit of presidents of bishops’ conferences from around the world and other senior officials on Thursday, but there are at least four further dimensions that collectively suggest fallout from the McCarrick scandal will continue to haunt the Vatican and the U.S. Church for some time to come.

The Southern Baptist Sex Abuse Scandal Tells Us a Lot About the Catholic Church

Patheos blog

February 16, 2019

By Hemant Mehta

The Southern Baptist Convention is currently embroiled in an investigation about how it harbored sexual abusers for years. A report by the Houston Chronicle and the San Antonio Express-News found that, over the past decade, more than 250 staffers or volunteers with Southern Baptist churches were “charged with sex crimes” against more than 700 victims.

If all of that sounds eerily familiar, it’s because the Catholic Church has been exposed for its own (larger) problems sheltering and covering up for sexual abusers.

Now, writing for Religion News Service, Rev. Thomas J. Reese has an excellent list of ways the two scandals are different. In fact, he says, the Southern Baptist problem actually debunks many of the myths spread by critics and defenders of the Catholic Church.

For example, how many times have you heard people blame the Catholic Church crisis on its policy of celibacy? The Southern Baptist scandal shows that treating sex as a sin for ministers isn’t the problem:

… Many liberal critics tried to blame the sex abuse crisis in the Catholic Church on priests’ vow to abstain from sex, yet Baptists are having the same problem, and there is no equivalent requirement for SBC ministers. Most Baptist predators are married men. There are good reasons for married priests in the Catholic Church, but marriage does not prevent a man from abusing.

Similarly, Church defenders often blamed the abuse on gay priests… but most (if not all) of the Baptist ministers are straight.

Is the Catholic Church’s abuse problem exacerbated by its hierarchical structure? The Southern Baptists don’t have that structure, yet the abuse thrived.

You get the idea.

The Catholic Church is headed for another sex abuse scandal as #NunsToo speak up

CAROL STREAM (IL)
Christianity Today

February 15, 2019

By Kathleen McPhillips

All eyes will turn to Rome between 21-24 February, when senior church clerics across the world meet to discuss how to handle the widening sexual abuse crisis in the Catholic Church. Until recently, this has been focused on the abuse of children. But now Pope Francis has admitted – for the first time – sexual abuse by priests against religious women exists and must be acknowledged.

And Catholic women are speaking out, under the #NunsToo hashtag.

Twenty-five years ago, Irish nun, Maura O'Donohue prepared an extensive report for the Vatican on the abuse of nuns internationally by priests. Her report was based on information supplied by priests, doctors and others, and she had been assured records existed for several of the incidents. But the report was covered up.

In late November, influenced by the success of the #MeToo movement, a group of women theologians convened a meeting – called Voices of Faith – in Rome to share their stories of sexual harassment and abuse at the hands of male clerics, and decry the patriarchy of the Catholic hierarchy.

Doris Wagner, a German theologian, recalled her terror as a young woman in a mixed-gender religious order. A superior of the order entered her room one night and raped her. She knew if she were to report this, she would be told it was her fault, so she kept quiet. Years later, she did tell her superior, who did exactly as she feared – she blamed her, and asked if she had used contraceptives.

Wagner said she was later groomed by priest Hermann Geissler. He worked in the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith, the Vatican organisation that deals with complaints of child sexual abuse. This led to a series of sexual assaults in the confessional, which she reported.

Geissler was found to have acted inappropriately but was not removed from his job, despite working on child sex abuse cases. He was publicly outed and resigned only after Wagner disclosed the story at the meeting in Rome last year. But the priest who committed the rape is still ordained and living in a religious community with young women.

AG: Priests, church leaders could face criminal charges

LANSING (MI)
WOOD TV

February 15, 2019

By Ken Kolker

The state's investigation into decades of child sexual abuse by Roman Catholic priests in Michigan is focusing not only on the offenders, but also on church leaders who protected them, Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel told Target 8.

"In any other place, we would call this a criminal enterprise, wouldn't you?" Nessel said in her first television interview since taking office in January.

"It's not just unethical, but I believe that is criminal behavior, and you can bet if we're able to use our state laws to charge people who've been involved in that kind of activity, we will do so," she said.

She said her office will pursue criminal charges for any sexual abuse against children since 1995, as far back as it can go under the statute of limitations. It will also pursue any diocesan officials who shuffled pedophile priests from church to church, diocese to diocese or state to state, she said.

"That is something that needs to be explored: If people knowingly allowed an individual they knew was conducting acts of pedophilia and transferred them to another location which enabled them to continue to commit those criminal acts, certainly that's something that we're going to have to look into," Nessel said.

The Catholic Church's euphemization of power

KANSAS CITY (MO)
National Catholic Reporter

February 15, 2019

By Michele Dillon

Leaders of the national conferences of Catholic bishops will soon convene Feb. 21-24 in Rome to collectively confront the scourge of clerical sex abuse that failures in leadership have allowed to fester over several decades. Concrete action outcomes are urgently needed and impatiently awaited.

Any emergent policy, however, if it is not built on church leaders' recognition of how sacramental power (ordination) may contribute to the fermentation of abuse, is unlikely to be effective in eliminating clerical sexual activity and its cover-up. This task requires Pope Francis and his fellow bishops to actively choose to get to the truth and to outline it.

The great late French sociologist Pierre Bourdieu wrote in his book Practical Reason: On the Theory of Action about how word games, including euphemisms, are a crucial strategy in the Catholic Church's reproduction of inequality between the hierarchy and the laity. Euphemistic language is not simply jargon or the pragmatic shorthand of insiders. It is used rather to mystify and to distract from and, especially, to deny a given reality. Church officials use euphemistic language, Bourdieu argued, to inoculate themselves from acknowledgement of the real truth of church practices and to convince the laity (and others) that there is nothing arbitrary about hierarchical power and the clerical privilege it embeds.

I thought about Bourdieu in August 2018 as I read the findings from the Pennsylvania grand jury report on sex abuse in Pennsylvania Catholic dioceses. The report documented multiple instances of euphemization in action. And indeed it called out euphemization for what it is.

Summarizing the analysis of the diocesan sex abuse files conducted by the FBI, the grand jury wrote: "It's like a playbook for concealing the truth: First, make sure to use euphemisms rather than real words to describe the sexual assaults in diocese documents. Never say 'rape'; say 'inappropriate contact' or 'boundary issues.' … When a priest does have to be removed, don't say why. Tell his parishioners that he is on 'sick leave,' or suffering from 'nervous exhaustion.' Or say nothing at all."

Disgraced Cardinal Theodore McCarrick Defrocked, SNAP Responds

ST. LOUIS (MO)
Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

February 16, 2019

Vatican officials announced today that disgraced Cardinal Theodore McCarrick has been formally defrocked for serially abusing minors.

For the sake of his victims, we are grateful that this case has been somewhat resolved. Still, we cannot help but notice the timing of this resolution: the Friday before the pope’s much ballyhooed global abuse summit. We believe that this decision was “fast-tracked” by the hierarchy because it’s so damning:

--a prominent cardinal severely abused his power and prestige to hurt others,
--another prominent cardinal, Donald Wuerl, covered it up and then repeatedly lied about that, and
--Vatican officials kept silent despite repeated warnings about a predator.

This decision comes on the heels of other high-profile scandals for church officials, including the case of Fr. Hermann Geissler, an Austrian priest accused of sexually abusing a nun, resigning as section manager at the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF), or the resignation of Msgr. Joseph Punderson, a high ranking Vatican canon lawyer, after being exposed in New Jersey as an abuser.

These examples are yet more proof, all in the past few months, that Catholic officials tout but do not practice “transparency.”

It is still possible, and preferable, that criminal charges be filed, not just against Cardinal McCarrick, but also against Church officials who hid his wrongdoing for decades.

Theodore McCarrick has been defrocked. Why did it take so long?

WASHINGTON (DC)
Washington Post

February 16, 2019

By Elizabeth Bruenig

Theodore McCarrick, a former cardinal and archbishop of Washington, has been laicized by the Vatican, stripping him of all rights and obligations as a member of the clergy. The rare and severe penalty marks the end of the investigation into McCarrick launched by Rome after the Archdiocese of New York found allegations of sexual misconduct against the former cardinal credible last summer. According to a statement issued by the Vatican, McCarrick was found guilty of “solicitation in the Sacrament of Confession, and sins against the Sixth Commandment” involving both minors and adults, with “the aggravating factor of the abuse of power.” These findings are based on allegations brought by a reported three accusers in 2018 during a penal process initiated by Rome. Pope Francis has rendered the verdict “definitive.” There will be no appeal.

Rome’s decision on McCarrick marks the first time a U.S. bishop has been laicized due to sexual abuse. While many U.S. priests have been laicized for the same, prelates such as McCarrick have been dismissed from the clerical state for sexual misconduct much more rarely — until now. The Vatican has laicized several recently, including two Chilean bishops, perhaps signaling the seriousness of Pope Francis’s “zero tolerance” campaign against the sexual abuse of minors. But for McCarrick, the penalty represents a dizzying, precipitous fall from grace.

Before news of the allegations against him broke last summer, McCarrick was among the most powerful, well-connected prelates in America. Ordained in 1958, McCarrick was first assigned as a chaplain at the Catholic University of America, where he went on to serve as a dean of students for several years. In 1965, he was made a monsignor by Pope Paul VI and was named president of the Catholic University of Puerto Rico in Ponce, a stunning double feat for an up-and-comer in only his mid-30s. McCarrick was called back to his native New York in 1969 by Cardinal Terence Cooke, who made McCarrick assistant secretary for education in the Archdiocese of New York; in 1971, Cooke made him his personal secretary. In 1977, he became an auxiliary bishop of New York; in 1981, the first bishop of Metuchen, N.J.; and in 1986, the archbishop of Newark. In early 2001, McCarrick was installed as archbishop of Washington and shortly thereafter was made a cardinal by Pope John Paul II.

Judge sets conditions of release for ex-priest

ALBUQUERQUE (NM)
Associated Press

February 16, 2019

A New Mexico judge has set conditions of release for a former Catholic priest accused of kidnapping and raping a 6-year-old boy in the 1980s.

KOB-TV reports a judge ruled Friday that 81-year-old Marvin Archuleta must wear a GPS monitoring device while he awaits trial. He also cannot be in contact or around children.

Archuleta was arrested last week in Albuquerque.The New Mexico Attorney General's Office had filed a motion for him to remain held until his trial. A grand jury in Santa Fe returned an indictment Thursday against Archuleta on charges of kidnapping and rape.

He is accused in court documents of raping a boy who attended the Holy Cross Catholic Church in Santa Cruz, New Mexico, during the mid-1980s. Archuleta's trial has not yet been scheduled.

Giving voice to those abused by priests and pastors

SAN ANTONIO (TX)
Express News

Feb. 16, 2019

By Elaine Ayala

A local survivor of abuse holds support group meetings in San Antonio every second Monday.
Photo: Bob Owen, Staff-photographer / San Antonio Express-News
As difficult as it is, Patti Koo reads every word she can about priests and pastors who sexually abused children and adults in places that should have been safe, in houses of worship where perpetrators found protection and victims weren’t believed.

She’s a survivor of such abuse. Her pastor and Bible study teacher in the Rio Grande Valley groomed and manipulated her when she was at her most vulnerable — when she was in counseling with him, where he sexualized religious notions and ultimately assaulted her.

He was a popular preacher, had a religion column in the local newspaper, the McAllen Monitor, and enjoyed the support of congregants. They didn’t believe Koo and blamed her instead. “We lost a lot of friends,” she said.

It’s why many survivors never report the abuse, says Candace Christensen, who specializes in gender-based violence prevention in the Department of Social Work at the University of Texas in San Antonio. That’s especially true in cases where the stories around the abuse are complicated and not as clear-cut as the rape of a child.

She calls those who come forward “heroic.”

Over the span of 18 months, beginning in 2000, Koo’s Baptist-ordained Presbyterian preacher Kenneth Perry Wood sexually abused and assaulted her. She was 44 then, and a physician’s assistant.

“I should have known better,” she recalls thinking over and over again. Her journey included a suicide attempt. She knew the risks of going public.

It took all she had to tell her husband. It took far more to tell her children. Then she and her husband went to the police.

Pope Makes Unprecedented Move of Defrocking Ex-Cardinal McCarrick Over Sex Abuse

NEW YORK (NY)
Slate

February 16, 2019

By Molly Olmstead

The Vatican announced on Saturday that ex-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, once the archbishop of Washington, has been expelled from the priesthood after being found guilty of sexually abusing minors for decades. McCarrick was for decades one of the most powerful figures in the American Catholic church.

According to the New York Times, the ruling appears to be the first time an American cardinal or bishop has ever been laicized, a process that strips a former priest of all clerical titles, rights, and resources, including housing and any other financial benefits. It also seems to be the first time any cardinal has been laicized over sexual abuse.

The 88-year-old McCarrick has been accused of abusing three minors over decades. Last summer, an investigation by the Archdiocese of New York found an assault accusation from the 1970s to be credible, and McCarrick was removed from office—making him the highest-ranking American Catholic leader to be held to account for abuse allegations. Further reporting by the New York Times and Washington Post found that McCarrick’s rumored behavior had long been an open secret and that church leaders had paid settlements to men who complained of abuse when McCarrick was a bishop. Pope Francis ordered McCarrick to a life of “penance and prayer” during the recent investigation, and he has been living in a Kansas religious residence since.

California's Franciscan Order to Release Names of Priests Accused of Sexual Misconduct with Minors

SAN FRANCISCO (CA)
KQED Radio

February 16, 2019

In response to reignited public outrage over the Catholic Church sex abuse scandal, a number of independent religious orders are publishing lists of priests accused of sexual misconduct with minors.

Father David Gaa, head of the Franciscans Friars of the Province of Santa Barbara, which oversees more than 140 priests — or brothers, as they're called — in California and neighboring states, is leading this effort within his order, combing through records going back as far as 1950.

Franciscans keep their own archives and run their order independently from dioceses.

Gaa, whose official title is Provincial Minister, said he knows the church has a history of releasing incomplete lists of accused brothers, and because of that, trust has not been repaired.

“I clearly understand the outrage," he said. "It's been a colossal failure of the leadership of the hierarchy of the Catholic church. It’s the last chance, the last opportunity, to make sure things are transparent and that the truth just comes out."

Timeline of McCarrick’s priesthood, ministry

WASHINGTON (DC)
Catholic News Service

February 16, 2019

By Paul Haring

Here is a timeline of key events in the life of Theodore E. McCarrick, beginning with his ordination as a priest for the Archdiocese of New York more than 60 years ago and ending with the Vatican’s announcement Feb. 16 that Pope Francis has confirmed his removal from the priesthood.

The timeline includes information on his episcopal appointments to dioceses and archdioceses and covers allegations of abuse lodged against him.

1958, June 15 — Father McCarrick ordained a priest for the Archdiocese of New York by Cardinal Francis Spellman.

1958 — Father McCarrick performs his first baptism in Tenafly, New Jersey. The child, James, later would allege he was abused by Father McCarrick.

1969 — Msgr. McCarrick named assistant secretary of education for the Archdiocese of New York.

1969 — Msgr. McCarrick allegedly exposes himself to James, then an 11-year-old boy, in Northern New Jersey. As reported by The New York Times July 19, James alleged that an abusive relationship continued for nearly 20 years.

1971 — Msgr. McCarrick becomes personal secretary to Cardinal Terence Cooke of New York.

1971 — Msgr. McCarrick allegedly abuses a 16-year-old altar boy in the Archdiocese of New York prior to Christmas Mass. A year later he allegedly abuses the same altar boy, again before Christmas Mass. Both incidents were reported to the archdiocese sometime between March 1, 2017, and April 15, 2018.

1977, June 29 — Msgr. McCarrick ordained as an auxiliary bishop of New York by Cardinal Cooke.

1981, Jan. 31 — Bishop McCarrick installed as first bishop of newly created Diocese of Metuchen, New Jersey.

1984 — Bishop McCarrick authorizes Diocese of Metuchen to purchase beach house in Sea Girt, New Jersey, according to The New York Times. He is alleged to have abused seminarians at the house.

1986, July 25 — Archbishop McCarrick installed as archbishop of Newark, New Jersey.

1987 — Archbishop McCarrick allegedly abuses unnamed seminarian for the Diocese of Metuchen in New York City. The former priest received a settlement from the Archdiocese of Newark and Diocese of Metuchen in 2007, as reported by The New York Times July 16, 2018.

1994 — The unnamed Metuchen priest writes a letter to Archbishop McCarrick’s successor in Metuchen, Bishop Edward T. Hughes, stating that abuse he allegedly endured from Archbishop McCarrick and other priests triggered him to touch two 15-year-old boys inappropriately. In the letter he also claimed he saw Archbishop McCarrick having sex with a young priest and that the archbishop invited him to be next. The letter was in a file the priest provided to the Times on the condition his name not be used.

1995, October — Archbishop McCarrick hosts Pope John Paul II in Newark during his Oct. 4-9 visit to the United States.

Priest named on molestation list was Texas sniper’s scoutmaster, friend and confidant

RANCHO CUCAMONGA (CA)
Inland Valley Daily Bulletin

February 16, 2019

By Jo Scott-Coe

On January 31, I saw the stunning, awful news. In Texas, the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston included the Rev. Joseph G. Leduc on its list of forty priests “credibly accused” of abusing children since 1950.

As a writer who spent the past six years tracking Leduc’s life and its strange intersection with the story of the 1966 shooting at the University of Texas at Austin, I never thought I would see that revelation in my lifetime, though I had long suspected, and feared, the worst.

In 2012, it had piqued my attention to discover that the FBI interviewed Leduc two weeks after Charles Whitman’s shooting rampage. Due to a combination of factors, however, the priest had virtually ghosted the historical narrative, meriting only a passing (and, as I later realized, often misspelled) mention in coverage of the massacre.

As a Catholic by tradition and education, I could not let go of my nagging sense that Leduc mattered more deeply than he had been credited — as scoutmaster, friend, and confidant to a mass shooter. A lack of religious understanding may have caused others to overlook this part of Whitman’s story, and I knew that the priest’s presence was significant enough to merit more thoughtful interpretation.

But how could I approach this elusive subject as an essayist? Leduc had been dead nearly three decades. When I started my search there was no public accusation against him, although I knew all too well the milieu in which I would be asking questions.

Lists of NJ priests accused of sexual abuse has some notable omissions

WOODLAND PARK (NJ)
North Jersey Record

February 16, 2019

By Abbott Koloff

Advocates for children abused by priests say the lists bearing the names of nearly 200 accused clergy members that were released last week only hinted at a larger problem that they expect to be brought to light after a state grand jury reviews more detailed records.

The disclosure of 188 names by New Jersey's five Catholic dioceses was prompted by a statewide criminal investigation, and Church leaders emphasized that the lists, which were released Wednesday, included only a narrowly defined group: clerics who had been credibly accused of sexually abusing minors.

The restrictions omitted priests of religious orders who were ordained by local bishops and have been accused of sexually abusing children in diocesan churches. The lists didn't include anyone accused of abusing young adults after they turned 18.

One priest whose name was not on the list stepped down from an Essex County parish in 2014 after a decades-old allegation of abuse surfaced stemming from his time in Bergen County. Church officials said it raised "grave concerns."

And an unknown number of records from the Paterson Diocese were destroyed decades ago, making it impossible to know how many abuse cases were not counted from before that time.

Will the Catholic Church stop the sexual abuse? Don't hold your breath

ST. CLOUD (MN)
St. Cloud Times

February 15, 2019

Karen Cyson

Let's not discuss the varied opinions on border walls, refugees and immigration. Let's not discuss the efficacy of vaccines or medical marijuana. Let's not even discuss whether University Drive should be pushed through to U.S. Highway 10.

Can we agree on one thing? Can we agree that raping children is wrong? I think it's wrong. Do you?

We live in a world where an international organization, one established on every continent save Antarctica, knows that thousands of its leaders have raped thousands of children over decades and perhaps centuries.

This week that organization is convening a summit to discuss the problem. Don't hold your breath waiting for reform. Here are the words of the world leader of the group concerning the summit: "I permit myself to say that I've perceived a bit of an inflated expectation. We need to deflate the expectations."

Those were the words of Pope Francis to the world's1.2 billion Roman Catholics when he got wind of expectations that the summit Feb. 21-24 would produce a zero-tolerance policy regarding priests raping children, bishops and archbishops moving predators from parish to parish and cover-ups. Don't get your hopes up. Don't expect the summit to actually do anything.

Perhaps the pope isn't aware of the magnitude of the problem. Could that be it? Sure, he's spoken with survivors, he has acknowledged that there has been harm. Has he seen the lists? Have you?

The website BishopAccountability.org (bishop-accountability.org/priestdb/PriestDBbydiocese.html) maintains a list, by diocese, of credibly-accused priests in the U.S.While it may not be completely up to date, what with the release of 286 names in Texas last week, 58 priests named in Virginia andnearly 200 priests named in New Jersey on Thursday,it does contain an astonishing database of credibly-accused priests and the response of the Church (or lack thereof) in all 50 states. Just click on a state and view the roll call. The group that maintains this site has also added links to information on Chile, Argentina and Ireland.

On Thursday, Pope Francis will convene the summit to discuss the issue of sexual abuse with the intent of making bishops aware of the suffering of victims and protocols for dealing with complaints.

'The Michael Cohen of the diocese'

NEW YORK (NY)
Daily News

February 16, 2019

By Nancy Dillon and Dan Good

She calls him her "nemesis" and the "fixer" of the Diocese of Brooklyn — and she's not surprised by a new allegation he too was a predatory priest.

Sister Sally Butler, a longtime Brooklyn nun, says Queens-based Monsignor Otto Garcia personally covered up multiple sex abuse complaints involving other priests while serving in high-ranking positions under Bishop Thomas Daily.

She brought forward three cases to the diocese, she said, so hearing this week he's now facing the first public allegation he personally molested an adolescent boy in the early 1970s was hardly a shock.

"He was the Michael Cohen of the diocese. He was the 'fixer.' He seemed to be a totally amoral person," she said of Garcia, comparing him to the disgraced lawyer who pleaded guilty last year to illegally funneling money to cover up alleged affairs involving President Trump.

Butler spoke out after Queens resident Thomas Davis told the Daily News in an exclusive interview that Garcia sexually assaulted him multiple times when he was a minor working in the rectory at St. Michael's Catholic Church in Flushing between 1973 and 1975.

Garcia denied the allegations to The News, claiming he barely knew Davis. "I had so little contact with him that I didn't know him at all," he said.

The Brooklyn Diocese released the names Friday of 108 priests credibly accused of sexual misconduct. Garcia was one of two priests listed separately who had an allegation against him that was deemed "unsubstantiated."

Former Queens resident Bob Burns said hearing the new allegation against Garcia made him "feel violated again."

"I'm just pissed off. I'm angry," he told The News. "I wish I was shocked. I always had issues with (Garcia). He was the clean-up man."

Theodore McCarrick was just defrocked by the Vatican. But is it justice?

WASHINGTON (DC)
Washington Post

February 16, 2019

By Michelle Boorstein

In Catholic Church law, being forcibly laicized is sometimes called the death penalty for priests – a dismissal from the priesthood, a status change that is permanent, something that can’t even be said of excommunication. Even priests who request laicization are told to move away, and to not divulge what happened unless they have to, in order to avoid scandalizing other Catholics. No working in parishes, seminaries, Catholic schools. Your previous identity is wiped out.

At the same time, in the eyes of the church the mark of priestly ordination can never be removed. Something metaphysical changed then that can’t be undone. A Minnesota diocesan official who was laicizing a man still warmly reassured him, tapping his chest: In here, you’re a priest forever, the official said, a former church lawyer present testified in a 2014 affidavit. The man had abused women, including in the confessional, one of whom killed herself.

Theodore McCarrick is believed to be the first cardinal -- a title he held until allegations surfaced last summer -- laicized for sexual misconduct, and one of just six bishops accused of similar crimes and dismissed, according to the abuse-tracking group BishopAccountability. But in an era of rampant clergy scandals, when the words “bishop” and “cardinal” are being removed from Catholic fundraising drives in order to boost giving, experts predict many Catholics won’t see the rare defrocking as particularly weighty. Or as sufficient justice for McCarrick’s alleged victims.

Brooklyn Diocese names more than 100 clergy accused of sex abuse

NEW YORK (NY)
New York Post

February 15, 2019

By Rebecca Rosenberg

The Brooklyn Diocese on Friday published the names of more than 100 clergy “credibly accused” of sexually abusing minors.

The list’s release comes two days after the Diocese of New Jersey published a similar list.

There are 108 names on the shameful registry, which include priests, bishops and deacons in Brooklyn and Queens. Two-thirds of them are deceased, according to a press release by the diocese.

“We know this list will generate many emotions for victims who have suffered terribly. For their suffering, I am truly sorry,” said Brooklyn Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio in a statement.

“I have met with many victims who have told me that more than anything, they want an acknowledgment of what was done to them. This list gives that recognition, and I hope it will add another layer of healing for them on their journey toward wholeness.”

A clergy member was considered “credibly accused” if he confessed, had been criminally convicted or had the allegations substantiated by the Independent Diocesan Review Board, church officials said.

Joseph Zwilling, spokesman for the Archdiocese of New York, which covers Manhattan, the Bronx, Staten Island and additional counties, said it has no plan to release a similar list.

US ex-cardinal Theodore McCarrick defrocked over abuse claims

LONDON (ENGLAND)
BBC News

February 16, 2019

A former Roman Catholic cardinal has been defrocked after historical sexual abuse allegations.

Theodore McCarrick is the most senior Catholic figure to be dismissed from the priesthood in modern times.

US Church officials said allegations he had sexually assaulted a teenager five decades ago were credible.

Mr McCarrick, 88, had previously resigned but said he had "no recollection" of the alleged abuse.

The alleged abuses may have taken place too long ago for criminal charges to be filed because of the statute of limitations.

Mr McCarrick was the archbishop of Washington DC from 2001 to 2006. Since his resignation last year from the College of Cardinals, he has been living in seclusion in a monastery in Kansas.

He was the first person to resign as a cardinal since 1927.

He is among hundreds of members of the clergy accused of sexually abusing children over several decades and his dismissal comes days before the Vatican hosts a summit on preventing child abuse.

Virginia’s two dioceses release lists of clergy credibly accused of abuse

WASHINGTON (DC)
Catholic News Service

February 16, 2019

Virginia’s two Catholic bishops, Arlington Bishop Michael F. Burbidge and Richmond Bishop Barry C. Knestout, released lists Feb. 13 of the clergy credibly accused of child sex abuse in their respective dioceses.

In Arlington, Burbidge said releasing the list fulfills a commitment he made to publish these names “in the hope that providing such a list might help some victims and survivors of clergy sexual abuse to find further healing and consolation.”

“The publishing of this list will bring a range of emotions for all of us,” he said in a letter to Catholics of the diocese that accompanied the list. “Embarrassment, frustration, anger and hurt are all natural emotions to experience in a time such as this. I share those emotions.”

The complete list of 16 names can be found on the diocesan website, www.arlingtondiocese.org. The list of priests credibly accused dates back to when the diocese was established in 1974.

In an open letter published with the Richmond diocesan list, Knestout said: “To the victims and to all affected by the pain of sexual abuse, our response will always be about what we are doing, not simply what we have done. We will seek not just to be healed but will always be seeking healing. We will seek not just to be reconciled but will always be seeking reconciliation.”

Vatican Defrocks Former US Cardinal Theodore McCarrick Over Sex Abuse

NEW YORK (NY)
Associated Press

February 16, 2019

Pope Francis has defrocked former U.S. Cardinal Theodore McCarrick after Vatican officials found him guilty of soliciting for sex while hearing confession and sexual crimes against minors and adults, the Holy See said Saturday.

McCarrick, 88, is the highest-ranking churchman to be laicized, as the process is called. It means he can no longer celebrate Mass or other sacraments, wear clerical vestments or be addressed by any religious title.

The scandal swirling around him was particularly damning to the church’s reputation in the eyes of the faithful because it apparently was an open secret that he slept with adult seminarians. Francis removed McCarrick as a cardinal in July after a U.S. church investigation determined that an allegation he fondled a teenage altar boy in the 1970s was credible.

The punishment for the once-powerful prelate, who had served as the archbishop of Washington and had been an influential fundraiser for the church, was announced five days before Francis is set to lead an extraordinary gathering of bishops from around the world to help the church grapple with the crisis of sex abuse by clergy and systematic cover-ups by church hierarchy. The decades-long scandals have shaken the faith of many Catholics and threatened Francis’ papacy.

List of priests who were accused of sexual abuse not enough, says survivors group

WILLIAMSBURG (VA)
Williamsburg Yorktown Daily

February 16, 2019

On Wednesday, the Catholic Diocese of Richmond made waves when it published a list of 42 names of clergy with “credible and substantiated” allegations of sexual abuse involving minors.

Some of the names were priests who were assigned in Catholic churches in Virginia Beach and Norfolk.

One of the priests, Rev. Msgr. Joseph Thang Xuan Pham, was a parochial vicar at St. Bede Catholic Church in Williamsburg from 1985 to 1988, his first assignment after being ordained, according to an online biography.

An Open Letter to Rachael Denhollander on #SBCtoo

Eric Schumacher blog

February 11, 2019

Dear Rachael,

This past week, the Houston Chronicle published a three-part series on sexual abuse in the Southern Baptist Convention.

In response, you asked: “Pastors, where were you? When we were pleading for you to speak up against your peers or the leaders your support props up, where were you?”

I want (and need) to answer your question.

Ten years ago, I was thirty-two years old, almost three years into pastoring my second church. We were recovering from some heart-breaking and regrettable division while walking into new conflicts. I was in the throes of life-paralyzing depression, not knowing how to handle what was happening.

Essential lessons for conducting grand jury investigations of clergy sexual abuse

KANSAS CITY (MO)
National Catholic Reporter

February 16, 2019

by Hank Shea, Thomas Wheeler

The Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro, through a grand jury investigation supervised by his office, has claimed that the investigation revealed the truth about the sexual abuse crisis in the Catholic Church: "Now we know the truth: [the abuse] happened everywhere."

The grand jury's report, released August 2018, highlighted in horrifying detail sexual abuse crimes and misconduct that spanned over 70 years, involved six Pennsylvania dioceses, implicated 300 predator priests and identified over 1,000 child victims. But as with any report that contains such shocking and highly disturbing allegations, people want to know the evidence: Who made the allegations? When did the crimes occur? What was the church's response? More simply, they want to know the details of the investigation and how its findings were reached.

Some commentators who have analyzed the Pennsylvania's grand jury's investigation have found it seriously deficient. Peter Steinfels, in a lengthy Commonweal article, has provided the most trenchant critique. Such criticism has spawned a debate as to how the investigation was conducted and ultimately, the legitimate use of the Pennsylvania grand jury report. (See this piece by Nicholas Frankovich in the National Review, this view by Christopher R. Altieri in The Catholic World Report and this response by George Weigel at First Things.)

As such, the fairness of the investigation and value of the report have been called into question — did the grand jury's investigation consider, and its report properly present, all the relevant information? Has the public been provided an accurate and balanced picture? What is the actual truth?

February 15, 2019

Should We Keep Studying a Fired Pastor’s Work?

CAROL STREAM (IL)
Christianity Today

February 15, 2019

By Kate Shellnutt

As more preachers gain national (and global) followings through books, podcasts, and other resources, the fallout around disgraced leaders extends across the church at large. Christians are left to reckon with how or whether they will continue to engage their past teachings.

America’s largest chain of Christian bookstores, LifeWay Christian Resources, decided to stop selling titles by former Harvest Bible Chapel pastor James MacDonald after his termination this week, taking down all 58 of his items from its website.

LifeWay, the publishing arm of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC), will also no longer print the books MacDonald released over the past three years through LifeWay Press and B&H Books, including Lord, Change My Attitude Before It’s Too Late;Think Differently, Act Like Men—The Bible Study; and The Will of God is the Word of God Companion Guide.

Previously, LifeWay has pulled titles from Mark Driscoll and Jen Hatmaker and books about heaven tourism due to doctrinal standards. Individual churches have also opted to no longer make resources by their former pastors available, as Calvary Chapel Fort Lauderdale did with Bob Coy’s popular sermon podcast after he resigned due to a “moral failing” in 2015.

But the decision of whom to continue to read, listen to, learn from, and support is often left up to individual believers. Christians understand that none are without sin, and God uses imperfect vehicles to convey his perfect gospel—but when do their personal shortcomings affect the message they teach?

More Names Hidden in Chicago, SNAP Responds

ST. LOUIS (MO)
Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

February 15, 2019

Less than a week before the international summit he is slated to lead, Chicago’s top Catholic official is facing new questions about his knowledge and handling of three “credibly” accused priests in his archdiocese.

According to the Chicago Sun Times, church officials in the Archdiocese of Chicago claim they only learned two months ago that three abusive clerics have lived for years on church property near Northbrook. We find this hard to believe, but at the very least Cardinal Blase Cupich should have disclosed their presence as soon as he learned of it. We wonder if the names would ever have been revealed if the Sun Times had not broken the story.

Just a few months ago, when asked about keeping track of religious order priests who have been accused of sexual abuse, the Cardinal’s spokeswoman said, “it is done on a regular basis.” That was apparently not true, or at least the basis was not regular enough.

Cardinal Cupich claims that he did not know about these priests – Fr. Joe Fertal and two others who Catholic officials still refuse to name – and may say that the responsibility for his lack of knowledge will rest on someone else’s shoulders. But we say that the buck must stop somewhere, that there must be one person within the Archdiocese who is willing to accept responsibility for leaving the names of accused perpetrators off of lists, for consistently choosing not to inform community members of their presence, and for continuing to obfuscate and minimize allegations of clergy misconduct.

Given that Cardinal Cupich is in charge of the dioceses within Illinois, SNAP believes this person should be him. The Sun Times story is yet another reason why the Cardinal should step down from his role in next week’s Vatican abuse meeting.

Fr. Quang Dinh is the supervisor of these priests, as the head of the Divine Word religious order, and we believe that he should be held equally responsible along with Cardinal Cupich. If these two men want to show that they are taking this abuse crisis seriously, they should immediately disclose the names, photos and full work histories of these three clerics.

New Lawsuit Claims Archdiocese Of New York Schemed To Trick Sex Abuse Victims Out Of Suing Church

NEW YORK (NY)
CBS New York

February 15, 2019

One day after Gov. Cuomo signed the Child Victims Act into law, a class action lawsuit has been filed against the archdiocese of New York.

During a Friday morning press conference, attorney Jeff Herman said the suit was filed on behalf of Emmett Caldwell.

Caldwell alleges he was the victim of sexual abuse while a child in the Catholic Church. He and several other victims claim the archdiocese tricked them into waiving their right to sue the church for abuse.

Herman said Friday that his client was convinced to join the church’s Independent Reconciliation and Compensation Program (IRCP) without the aid of an independent lawyer.

Herman alleges that the program’s purpose was to “eliminate claims of victims before the Child Victims Act was passed and became law.”

The attorney slammed the head of New York’s archdiocese, Cardinal Timothy Dolan, saying the program was nothing more than a scheme to pay victims “pennies on the dollar.”

“A contract, like a release, may be voided where one party is taken advantage of,” Herman explained.

The lawsuit is not seeking to void the contracts signed with the IRCP; allowing Caldwell and others the ability to take the archdiocese to court under the state’s new Child Victims Act.

State lawmakers want to eliminate the statute of limitations on sex-abuse lawsuits. Here's why

HARTFORD (CT)
Capitol Watch podcast

February 14, 2019

Right now, if you're older than 48, you can't file a civil lawsuit in Connecticut alleging you were sexually abused as a minor.

State lawmakers want to change that. Success could mean hundreds of costly new lawsuits against the Catholic Church.

Capitol Watch sits down with reporter Dave Altimari, whose coverage of priest abuse prompted lawmakers to take action. We also talk to sexual abuse survivor Gail Howard, who now co-leads the peer network SNAP.

Diocese Of Brooklyn Reveals 108 Names Linked To Church Sex Abuse Allegations

NEW YORK (NY)
CBSN ewYork

February 15, 2019

New revelations in the ongoing church sex abuse scandal are having a direct effect on Catholics in the five boroughs.

On Friday, the Diocese of Brooklyn released a list of clergy members who the church says have been credibly accused of sexually abusing a child.

Nicholas DiMarzio, the bishop of Brooklyn, released a video statement saying he knows this will be emotional for the victims.

“For their suffering, I am truly sorry. I have met with many victims who have told me more than anything they want an acknowledgment of what was done to them. This list gives that recognition,” DiMarzio said.

The list of 108 priests spans the diocese’s 166-year history, and includes information about any action taken against the accused.

Officials with the church say the priests being named represents less than five percent of clergy in the Diocese of Brooklyn.

Only a third of the accused priests listed in the release are still alive.

Also on Friday, a class action lawsuit was filed against the archdiocese of New York. An attorney for the plaintiff – an alleged victim of clergy sex abuse – says his client and other victims were misled into waiving their right to sue the church for sexual misconduct.

A new state law has extended the statute of limitations to age 28 for child sex abuse victims and also allows them to sue up to age 55.

Brooklyn Archdiocese releases names of more than 100 clergy `credibly' accused of sexual misconduct with a minor

NEW YORK (NY)
Daikly News

February 15, 2019

By Leonard Greene

The Brooklyn Archdiocese on Friday released the names of more than 100 priests credibly accused of sexual misconduct with a minor.

The list, 108 in total, includes priests, bishops and deacons for whom allegations were reported to the Diocese or the church’s Independent Reconciliation and Compensation Program.

“As we know, sexual abuse is a shameful and destructive problem that is found in all aspects of society, yet it is especially egregious when it occurs within the church, and such abuse cannot be tolerated,” Archbishop Nicholas DiMarzio said in a letter accompanying the release.

“It is my hope that the publishing of this list will provide some assistance to those who are continuing the difficult process of healing, as well as encourage other victims to come forward.”

Among the names on the list is a priest, the Rev. James Lara, who was removed from the ministry in 1992.

Lara, who served in Brooklyn for 19 years, re-emerged in the world of academia under the name Jaime Lara, a professor of medieval and renaissance studies at Arizona State University, with a 25-year career teaching about sacred art history.

The church first disclosed his name two years ago.

Lara resigned from Arizona State after the revelation.

Administrators apparently did not know he spent nearly two decades as a priest, and Lara's time in active ministry was notably absent from his 18-page curriculum vitae.

Lara’s victims, some of whom have been financially compensated by the church, have described a predator who doted on Boy Scouts and altar boys.

Also on the list is Joseph Byrns, who was defrocked in 2013 after being removed from the ministry in 2004.

Monsignor Otto Garcia, who was accused by a victim in a Daily News report of covering for pedophile priests, and sexually abusing a teenager 40 years ago, did not appear on the list. A statement from the diocese said a review board determined the allegations against Garcia were unsubstantiated.

Cardinal expects 'significant progress' at sex abuse summit

DETROIT (MI)
The Associated Press

February 15, 2019

By Jeff Karoub and Nicole Winfield

The U.S. archbishop helping to organize next week's summit of the world's bishops at the Vatican on sexual abuse by clergy said Thursday he expects to make "significant progress" in responding to the scandal that's riven the church, and that lay Catholics will help to hold the hierarchy accountable.

Chicago Cardinal Blase Cupich told The Associated Press in a phone interview that the Feb. 21-24 prevention summit, convened by Pope Francis, is necessary for all global Catholic church leaders to understand they must act and be accountable to the victims for the abuse cases stretching back decades. He spoke of the urgency while acknowledging that victims and their advocates consider such a gathering long overdue.

"I think there is understandable frustration on that level," said Cupich, hand-picked by Francis to help organize the summit. "All I can say now is I believe we're going to make significant progress here. And we should also realize that we always have to keep learning — we can't get to a place that we think we have this nailed down. If we do that we're going to get it wrong.

"This meeting will be a significant moment, I think, to put us on a fresh trajectory — in a whole new direction," he added.

Virginia’s two Catholic bishops release names of 58 priests they say have been credibly accused of sexually abusing minors

WASHINGTON (DC)
The Washington Post

February 13, 2019

By Michelle Boorstein and Sarah Pulliam Bailey

Virginia’s two Catholic dioceses on Wednesday released lists of clergy who officials say were deemed “credibly accused” of sexually abusing youth, the latest in a slew of U.S. dioceses to make public such names amid a national crisis over clerical abuse and coverups.

The Diocese of Arlington, which covers the northeastern corner of Virginia, released a list of 16 names. It said the list was the product of two former FBI agents contracted by the diocese and given access to clergy files and information dating to its founding in 1974. It was not immediately clear whether any of the names of the accused were not previously known to Catholics of the diocese.

Bishop Michael F. Burbidge said in a letter that he ordered the list be released to help “victims and survivors of clergy abuse to find further healing and consolation.”

The Diocese of Richmond, which covers the rest of the state, released 42 names.

Bishop Barry Knestout, who came to Richmond in January 2018, wrote in a letter that the church is called to be “immersed” in reconciliation. “We need to bring to light the damage that has been done by child sexual abuse in the Church in order for healing to take place,” he wrote. “We must continue to demonstrate our commitment to never let this happen again.”

Update: Great expectations: Vatican abuse summit has key, realistic goals

VATICAN CITY
Catholic News Service

February 13, 2019

By Carol Glatz

All eyes and ears will be on the Vatican during an unprecedented gathering Feb. 21-24 to discuss the protection of minors in the Catholic Church.

When Pope Francis announced the international meeting in September, it sparked an optimistic note that the global problem of abuse finally would be tackled with a concerted, coordinated, global effort.

The breadth of the potential impact seemed to be reflected in the list of those convoked to the meeting: the presidents of all the world's bishops' conferences, the heads of the Eastern Catholic churches, representatives of the leadership groups of men's and women's religious orders and the heads of major Vatican offices.

But the pope tried to dial down what he saw as "inflated expectations" for the meeting, telling reporters in January that "the problem of abuse will continue. It's a human problem" that exists everywhere.

New York law gives child sex abuse victims more time to sue

NEW YORK (NY)
AFP

February 14, 2019

The governor of New York state on Thursday signed a law extending the statute of limitations for victims of childhood sex abuse, a move that could trigger a torrent of new complaints.

The law known as the Child Victims Act -- which the Catholic Church fought against for years -- will allow alleged victims until age 55 to file civil cases and 28 for criminal suits, compared to a limit of 23 under the old rule.

The new law, which will go into effect in six months, also establishes a one-year litigation window for any victim, regardless of age, to take civil action.

"This bill brings justice to people who were abused, and rights the wrongs that went unacknowledged and unpunished for too long," the state's governor, Andrew Cuomo, said in a statement.

"By signing this bill, we are saying nobody is above the law, that the cloak of authority is not impenetrable, and that if you violate the law, we will find out and you will be punished and justice will be done."

Lists tie more than 230 Catholic priests to sex abuse in multiple states

NEW JERSEY/VIRGINIA
ABC News Videos

February 14, 2019

Multiple lists of Catholic priests that were said to be credibly accused of sexual abuse were released in New Jersey and Virginia on Wednesday.

Catholic priest named by Diocese of Metuchen in sexual abuse list no longer works at Monmouth Medical Center

SOMERVILLE (NJ)
Bridgewater Courier

February 15, 2019

By Nick Muscavage

A former priest, named earlier this week by the Diocese of Metuchen in a list of clergymen credibly accused of child sexual abuse, is no longer employed by a Central Jersey hospital.

Mark Dolak, who's been accused by a former Fords woman among others, no longer works for Monmouth Medical Center, a RWJBarnabas spokesperson said Friday.

Dolak was employed as an acute care family support specialist.

Ellen L. Greene, vice president of Strategic Corporate Communications for RWJBarnabas Health, did not confirm what led to Dolak's departure or the date he left the position.

The Diocese of Metuchen, along with the state's four other Catholic dioceses, released lists of credibly accused clergymen on Wednesday.

"We know the release of these names may inspire others who have been abused to come forward," Bishop James Checcio, head of the Metuchen Diocese, said in a statement following the list's release. "This in fact would be a healthy outcome, as we seek to live in the light."

My Central Jersey published a story about accusations made against Dolak last summer.

Susan Bisaha stepped forward with claims against Dolak after she learned of Cardinal Theodore McCarrick's suspension for sexual abuse allegations.

McCarrick, who was the first bishop of Metuchen before rising to the rank of Cardinal, had oversight of the diocese at the time Bisaha said she was repeatedly abused by Dolak from 1979 to 1987.

Senior canon lawyer at the Vatican revealed as sexual abuser

PARIS (FRANCE)
LaCroix International

February 15, 2019

By Robert Mickens

Pope Francis has got a real mess on his hands. In just a few days he will gather the presidents of the all the world's episcopal conferences in Rome to make them understand there must be "zero tolerance" for priests who sexually abuse minors.

But on the eve of this important meeting, yet another long-serving Vatican official has been revealed as a perpetrator.

Msgr. Joseph Punderson, who has worked at the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura since 1993 and its Defender of the Bond (DOB) since 1995, is expected to end three decades of service in Rome after his New Jersey diocese listed him among those "credibly accused of the sexual abuse of a minor."

Punderson, 70, was one of 30 people on a preliminary list of offenders published on Feb. 13 by the Diocese of Trenton. The news comes only two weeks after Father Hermann Geissler, an Austrian priest accused of making sexual advances on a nun, resigned his post as section manager at the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF).

11 priests and deacons accused of abusing children worked in Paterson churches

PATERSON (NJ)
Paterson Times

February 15, 2019

By Jonathan Greene

New Jersey’s five Catholic dioceses released the names of 188 priests and deacons “credibly accused” of sexually abusing children on Wednesday. Among them were 11 clergy members who worked in churches in Paterson.

“Today, in our effort to be transparent, we are publicly releasing the names of those clergy members who we believe have been credibly accused of such misconduct,” bishop Arthur Joseph Serratelli of the Diocese of Paterson said on Wednesday. “None of these individuals is serving as a priest or deacon within the Catholic Church. To the extent that they had priestly faculties, those faculties were removed.”

Diocese of Paterson which covers Morris, Passaic, and Sussex counties released 28 names. 11 of the clergy members served in churches located in Paterson:
Jose Alonso – St. Agnes, Paterson; Our Lady of Victories, Paterson; St. John Cathedral
Charles Bradley – St. John Cathedral, Paterson; Faculty, Paterson Catholic High School, Paterson
William Cramer – Chaplain, St. Joseph Hospital, Paterson
Francis Dennehy – Our Lady of Victories, Paterson; Chaplain, St. Joseph Hospital, Paterson; St. Therese, Paterson.
John Derricks – St. Joseph, Paterson
Stanislaus Durka – St. Stephen, Paterson
Patrick Erwin – St. Gerard Majella, Paterson; St. Joseph, Paterson; Social Action Department (in residence – Our Lady of Victories, Paterson); St. Mary, Paterson.
Carlos Guzman – St. John Cathedral, Paterson
John Heekin – St. Mary, Paterson; St. Therese, Paterson.
James A.D. Smith – Our Lady of Victories, Paterson; St. George, Paterson.
John Sutton – St. Agnes, Paterson; Chaplain, St. Joseph’s Hospital.
100 of the 188 priests and deacons are deceased.

“If you have been a victim of sexual abuse, my prayers and heart go out to you for this horrible action which has been committed against you,” Serratelli said. “I pray for your healing and, on behalf of myself, our diocese and the Catholic Church, I deeply and sincerely apologize for the pain that you have endured.”

The release of names came after the New Jersey Attorney General’s Office established a task force to investigate allegations of sexual abuse by clergy.

Los claretianos de Barcelona llevan a la Fiscalía una acusación contra un religioso

[Claretians of Barcelona bring abuse allegation against teacher to prosecutor's office]

BARCELONA (SPAIN)
El País

By Oriol Güell

February 13, 2019

El colegio ha apartado al docente tras tener noticia de los hechos, aireados por un exalumno a través de las redes sociales

El Colegio Claret de Barcelona, fundado en 1871, ha apartado a uno de sus docentes y ha llevado a la Fiscalía el caso dado a conocer el pasado fin de semana a través de las redes sociales por un exalumno, que acusa al religioso de haberle tocado todo el cuerpo, menos los genitales, durante un viaje de fin de curso a Menorca hace 20 años. El centro también ha puesto los hechos en conocimiento del Departamento de Educación de la Generalitat de Cataluña.

What Catholics and Southern Baptists can learn from each other about sex abuse crisis

WASHINGTON (DC)
Religion News Service

February 15, 2019

By Fr. Thomas Reese

Seventeen years after the Boston Globe exposé of sex abuse in the Catholic Church, two Texas newspapers have published a similar exposé of abuse in Southern Baptist churches.

Although the National Catholic Reporter had reported on sex abuse by priests since the mid-1980s, it was the Boston Globe reporting in 2002 that captured the attention of the nation. Likewise, there have been stories about Baptist ministers in the past, but they had not captured national attention like this month’s coverage by the Houston Chronicle and San Antonio Express-News.

The existence of clergy sexual abuse in the Southern Baptist Convention provides no satisfaction to us Catholics, but it does allow us to test our theories about the causes of abuse.

The Baptist scandal shows us that at least five explanations of the sex abuse crisis in the Catholic Church don’t hold up:

It is not celibacy. Many liberal critics tried to blame the sex abuse crisis in the Catholic Church on priests’ vow to abstain from sex, yet Baptists are having the same problem, and there is no equivalent requirement for SBC ministers. Most Baptist predators are married men. There are good reasons for married priests in the Catholic Church, but marriage does not prevent a man from abusing.

It is not homosexuality. Many conservative critics tried to blame the sex abuse crisis in the Catholic Church on homosexual priests, but most of the Baptist ministers alleged to have committed abuse are heterosexual. Studies have also found that most of the priests abusing boys were heterosexual.

It is not just the hierarchy. Most commentators, myself included, have quite rightly been very hard on the Catholic bishops for not dealing with abusive priests. But the SBC is very decentralized in governance, and it has also had problems. Neither governance structure has done well in dealing with abusive clergy or protecting children.

It is not the liberal reforms of the Second Vatican Council. Many conservative Catholics tried to blame the sex abuse crisis on the reforms that came from the Second Vatican Council, the meeting of bishops from all over the world from 1962 to ’65 that attempted to update the church to deal with the modern world. Southern Baptists had no council, and they are having the same problems.

Survivors Say NJ's List of Abusive Clergy Leaves Many Unanswered Questions

NEW YORK (NY)
WNYC Radio

February 14, 2019

New Jersey's bishops have released the names of nearly 200 priests who were "credibly accused" of child sex abuse. But according to survivors who spoke with WNYC, the lists raise almost as many questions as they answer.

For instance, priests who are currently under investigation aren't included. Some of the dioceses list priests who abused "multiple" victims, but don't offer specific numbers. Four of the five dioceses fail to disclose the dates of when abusive priests were removed from ministry.

And Mark Crawford, the New Jersey coordinator for the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP), says there's another key piece of information that's missing.

"They failed to disclose what they knew and when," Crawford said. "As a victim, it's part of your healing. You want to know. You have a need [and] an appetite for that information."

Through Crawford's extensive network of survivors in New Jersey, he estimates at least 100 clergy are missing from the lists, including the priest who repeatedly raped Fred Marigliano and his little brothers over the course of several years in the 1950's and 60's. That's because their abuser was from a religious order, like the Jesuits, the Franciscans and, in their case, the Society of St. Paul. A spokesperson for Newark's Archdiocese says priests from religious orders aren't included on the dioceses' list because the orders are supposed to police themselves.

Cardinal Tobin's challenges after release of list of NJ priests accused of abuse

WOODLAND PARK (NJ)
North Jersey Record

February 15, 2019

By Mike Kelly

The Roman Catholic prelate who was the driving force behind the dramatic release on Wednesday of the names of nearly 200 New Jersey priests who abused children has a curious way of describing his role.

“I’m in sales. I’m not in management,” Cardinal Joseph Tobin, the head of the Newark Archdiocese and its 1.3 million Catholics, said in interview with NorthJersey.com and the USA Today Network New Jersey.

“I don’t think anything is beyond the grace of God,” he added. “So we have to do our best and trust that God can do what only God can do.”

Tobin’s remarks, in response to questions about how he might reset Catholicism’s moral compass after years of reports of sex abuse by priests, echoed a classic God-is-really-in-charge belief that has long been a cornerstone of Judeo-Christian theology.

But his description of himself as a salesman offers an additional glimpse into the daunting task he faces in trying to cleanse his church of the taint of sexual abuse while also remaining a credible voice on such progressive issues as economic reform and fair treatment for immigrants.

“We’re working for justice. We’re working for healing,” said Tobin, an unabashed political progressive, in pointing out his dual roles as reformer within the church and amid the outside world.

But for all his buoyant confidence, Tobin conceded what plenty of research studies have already discovered in the wake of Catholicism’s long running sex abuse scandal. “The bishops in this country," he said, "have lost credibility.”

Wednesday’s publication by New Jersey’s five Catholic dioceses of 188 names of priests and deacons who had been “credibly accused” of molesting children during the last eight decades was part of an attempt for more transparency by American Catholic officials after years of stubborn secrecy that had eroded trust in the church.

How long, O Lord, must we wait to reform the clerical system?

KANSAS CITY (MO)
National Catholic Reporter

February 15, 2019

by Christine Schenk

Pope Francis's recent acknowledgment that bishops and priests have raped and sexually abused Catholic sisters ignited yet another media firestorm about the egregious lack of clerical accountability in the Catholic Church.

Kudos to long time Rome Associated Press reporter Nicole Winfield for raising the issue with the Pontiff on his flight back from the United Arab Emirates. In a 23 minute New York Times podcast, veteran religion reporter Laurie Goodstein cited NCR's 2001 investigative exposé by John Allen and Pam Schaeffer that first broke this story. Their courageous reporting was also cited by Winfield last July. I gave an interview to National Public Radio on February 7.

Kudos and thanks to NCR for factually grounding a story of sister abuse that would otherwise seem unbelievable to faithful Catholics. Unbelievable that is, until 2001, when the clergy sexual abuse of children hit the headline s— a story NCR also broke in 1985 based on reports by investigative journalist Jason Berry.

How long O Lord? How long must we wait for both clergy and laity to recognize that incremental change will not work?

We need wide-ranging structural reform. We need checks and balances rather than the feudal governance we have now in which each bishop is the undisputed master of his diocesan fief.

Catholic patience is (finally) running out. And many Catholics are working to find solutions rather than enable the present moribund clerical system.

Here is a sampling of the creative activity of various groups and individuals in advance of the Feb. 21-24 Vatican summit of 100 heads of the world's bishops' conferences to discuss the sex abuse crisis.

Beyond #ChurchToo: A Path Forward for Evangelicals

NASHVILLE (TN)
Ethics Daily

February 15, 2019

By Christa Brown

A 16-year-old girl was groomed and manipulated into an abusive “relationship” by the youth pastor of her evangelical church. When the truth came to light, she was shamed, blamed and silenced. The pastor continued in ministry.

This is the story of Emily Joy, co-creator of the #ChurchToo Twitter hashtag.

It’s also my story.

And it’s the story of thousands of others who have recounted similar church-based traumas under the still-exploding #ChurchToo hashtag.

Inspired by the #MeToo movement, Emily Joy and Hannah Paasch launched #ChurchToo as a way to provide a space for long-silenced people to share their stories of sexual abuse in evangelical churches.

And the stories have indeed flooded forth, not only from women but also from men, telling of the abuse they suffered as church kids.

Such an outpouring stands as a collective testament to a chilling reality. For decades, evangelical clergy have been sexually abusing women and children, and all the while, other religious leaders have known and turned a blind eye. This has been the status quo.

Many people have tried to shine a light on this systemic problem, but with International Women’s Day (March 8) approaching, my heart is filled with particular gratitude for all the strong women, past and present, who have been sisters-in-arms in what has been a multigenerational effort to try to bring change.

But will change ever get here?

“Te ven vestido de cura en el metro y te llaman pederasta”

["They see you dressed as a priest in the subway and they call you a pederast:" priests and lay people discuss clergy abuse]

MADRID (SPAIN)
El País

February 14, 2019

El obispo José Cobo participa en el primer debate sobre los abusos sexuales en la Iglesia católica con religiosos y víctimas

"Te ven vestido de cura en el metro y te llaman pederasta", lamenta el obispo José Cobo Cano, prelado auxiliar del cardenal Carlos Osoro en Madrid. Lo dijo ante un centenar de personas convocadas por Redes Cristianas y Religión Digital este miércoles en el colegio mayor Chaminade, en un foro que reunió por primera vez a obispos, religiosos y víctimas de abusos sexuales por eclesiásticos. Cobo confesó tener miedo. "El crimen nos toca a todos", añadió. Fue Benedicto XVI el primero en observar lo que ahora es un clamor. "Cada sacerdote se ve bajo sospecha. Muchos ya no se atreven a dar la mano a un niño, ni a hablar de hacer un campamento de vacaciones con niños", dijo el Papa emérito en 2010.

Lo que las víctimas de pederastia le pedimos al Congreso

[Opinion: The penal code must be reformed so the statute of limitations extends to pedophilia victims' 50th birthday]

SPAIN
El País

February 14, 2019

By Miguel Hurtado Calvo

Se debe reformar el código penal para que el plazo de prescripción comience a contar a partir de que la víctima cumple los cincuenta años

En los últimos años han salido a la luz pública graves casos de pederastia que han conmocionado la conciencia de nuestro país. Desgraciadamente, muchos de estos delitos no han sido castigados porque cuando las víctimas han denunciado, el crimen ya había prescrito. Esta impunidad ha alarmado a la ciudadanía y abierto el debate sobre cuándo deben prescribir los delitos sexuales contra menores. En mi opinión la respuesta es clara. El Congreso debe reformar el código penal para que el plazo de prescripción comience a contar a partir de que la víctima cumple los 50 años, como han propuesto las principales organizaciones de protección a la infancia españolas. De esta forma, la víctima podrá denunciar hasta los 55 años en los casos más leves y hasta los 65 años en los casos más graves.

The Vatican’s Gay Overlords

NEW YORK (NY)
New York Times

February 15, 2019

By Frank Bruni

Marveling at the mysterious sanctum that his new book explores, the French journalist Frédéric Martel writes that “even in San Francisco’s Castro” there aren’t “quite as many gays.”

He’s talking about the Vatican. And he’s delivering a bombshell.

Although the book’s publishers have kept it under tight wraps, I obtained a copy in advance of its release next Thursday. It will come out in eight languages and 20 countries, under the title “Sodoma,” as in Sodom, in Western Europe and “In the Closet of the Vatican” in the United States, Britain and Canada.

It includes the claim that about 80 percent of the male Roman Catholic clergy who work at the Vatican, around the pope, are gay. It contends that the more showily homophobic a Vatican official is, the more likely he belongs to that crowd, and that the higher up the chain of command you go, the more gays you find. And not all of them are celibate. Not by a long shot.

I’m supposed to cheer, right? I’m an openly gay man. I’m a sometime church critic. Hooray for the exposure of hypocrisy in high places and the affirmation that some of our tormentors have tortured motives. Thank heaven for the challenge to their moral authority. Let the sun in. Let the truth out.

But I’m bothered and even a little scared. Whatever Martel’s intent, “In the Closet of the Vatican” may be less a constructive reckoning than a stockpile of ammunition for militant right-wing Catholics who already itch to conduct a witch hunt for gay priests, many of whom are exemplary — and chaste — servants of the church. Those same Catholics oppose sensible and necessary reforms, and will point to the book’s revelations as proof that the church is already too permissive and has lost its dignity and its way.

Although Martel himself is openly gay, he sensationalizes gayness by devoting his inquiry to Catholic officials who have had sex with men, not ones who have had sex with women. The promise of celibacy that priests make forbids all sexual partners, and what violates Catholic teaching isn’t just gay sex but sex outside marriage. In that context, Martel’s focus on homosexuality buys into the notion that it’s especially troubling and titillating.

His tone doesn’t help. “The world I am discovering, with its 50 shades of gay, is beyond comprehension,” he writes. It will seem to some readers “a fairy tale.” He challenges the conventional wisdom that Pope Francis, who has detractors all around him, is “among the wolves,” clarifying, “It’s not quite true: he’s among the queens.” Maybe it’s better in the original French, but this language is at once profoundly silly and deeply offensive.

The sourcing of much of “In the Closet of the Vatican” is vague, and other Vatican experts told me that the 80 percent figure is neither knowable nor credible.

“It’s not a scientifically based accusation — it’s an ideologically based one,” said the Rev. Thomas Reese, a columnist for The National Catholic Reporter who visits the Vatican frequently and has written several highly regarded books about the Roman Catholic hierarchy. “One of the problems is that Catholic bishops have never allowed any kind of research in this area. They don’t want to know how many gay priests there are.” Independent studies put the percentage of gay men among Catholic priests in the United States at 15 percent to 60 percent.

In a telephone interview on Thursday, Martel stressed that the 80 percent isn’t his estimate but that of a former priest at the Vatican whom he quotes by name in the book. But he presents that quotation without sufficient skepticism and, in his own words, writes, “It’s a big majority.”

He says that “In the Closet of the Vatican” is informed by about 1,500 interviews over four years and the contributions of scores of researchers and other assistants. I covered the Vatican for The Times for nearly two years, and the book has a richness of detail that’s persuasive. It’s going to be widely discussed and hotly debated.

It depicts different sexual subcultures, including clandestine meetings between Vatican officials and young heterosexual Muslim men in Rome who work as prostitutes. It names names, and while many belong to Vatican officials and other priests who are dead or whose sexual identities have come under public scrutiny before, Martel also lavishes considerable energy on the suggestion that Francis’ predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI, and other towering figures in the church are gay.

Perhaps the most vivid of the double lives under Martel’s gaze is that of Cardinal Alfonso López Trujillo of Colombia, who died a little over a decade ago. According to the book, he prowled the ranks of seminarians and young priests for men to seduce and routinely hired male prostitutes, sometimes beating them up after sex. All the while he promoted the church’s teaching that all gay men are “objectively disordered” and embraced its ban on priests who are believed to have “deep-seated homosexual tendencies,” whether they act on them or not.

Part of my concern about the book is the timing of its release, which coincides precisely with an unprecedented meeting at the Vatican about sexual abuse in the church. For the first time, the pope has summoned the presidents of every Catholic bishops conference around the world to discuss this topic alone. But the book “is also bound to shift attention away from child abuse and onto gay priests in general, once again falsely conflating in people’s minds homosexuality and pedophilia,” said the Rev. James Martin, a best-selling Jesuit author, in a recent tweet. He’s right.

The book doesn’t equate them, and in fact makes the different, important point that the church’s culture of secrecy — a culture created in part by gay priests’ need to conceal who they are — works against the exposure of molesters who are guilty of crimes.

As David Clohessy, a longtime advocate for survivors of sexual abuse by priests, said to me on the phone a few days ago: “Many priests have a huge disincentive to report sexual misdeeds by colleagues. They know they’re vulnerable to being blackballed. It’s celibacy and the secretive, rigid, ancient all-male hierarchy that contributes to the cover-up and, therefore, more abuse.” Abuse has no sexual orientation, a fact made clear by many cases of priests having sex with girls and adult women, including nuns, whose victimization by priests was publicly acknowledged by Pope Francis for the first time early this month.

Archdiocese: Didn’t know for years that 3 ‘order’ clerics faced sex accusations

CHICAGO (IL)
SunTimes

February 15, 2019

By Robert Herguth

Asked in September about whether the Archdiocese of Chicago keeps track of religious order priests who have been accused of sexual abuse, Cardinal Blase Cupich’s spokeswoman Paula Waters said, “It is done on a regular basis.”

But even amid heightened scrutiny of predator priests from the semi-autonomous orders, the cardinal’s office learned only recently that three elderly Catholic clerics with long-ago allegations of sexual misconduct that were deemed credible have been living on the Society of the Divine Word order’s grounds near Northbrook for years, the Chicago Sun-Times has learned.

One of them, the Rev. Joe Fertal, had been the subject of a lawsuit church authorities in California settled after he was accused of molesting a teenage boy.

Chicago Cardinal Blase Cupich expects 'significant progress' during sex abuse summit next week at the Vatican

CHICAGO (IL)
Associated Press

February 15, 2019

By Jeff Karoub and Nicole Winfield

Chicago Cardinal Blase Cupich, who is helping to organize next week’s summit of the world’s bishops at the Vatican on sexual abuse by clergy, said Thursday he expects to make “significant progress” in responding to the scandal that’s riven the church, and that lay Catholics will help to hold the hierarchy accountable.

Cupich told The Associated Press in a phone interview that the Feb. 21-24 prevention summit, convened by Pope Francis, is necessary for all global Catholic church leaders to understand they must act and be accountable to the victims for the abuse cases that stretch back decades. He spoke of the urgency while acknowledging that victims and their advocates consider such a gathering long overdue.

“I think there is understandable frustration on that level,” said Cupich, hand-picked by Francis to help organize the summit. “All I can say now is I believe we’re going to make significant progress here. And we should also realize that we always have to keep learning. We can’t get to a place that we think we have this nailed down. If we do that, we’re going to get it wrong.

“This meeting will be a significant moment, I think, to put us on a fresh trajectory — in a whole new direction,” he added.

Víctimas de pederastia exigen a los partidos que aclaren su postura sobre la prescripción del delito

[Pedophilia victims demand that political parties clarify their position on statute of limitations]

MADRID (SPAIN)
El País

February 14, 2019

By Íñigo Domínguez

Afectados por abusos piden, en una protesta en el Congreso, que se amplíe a 50 años la edad a partir de la cual cuenta el plazo para denunciar

Víctimas de la pederastia en la Iglesia se han manifestado este jueves ante el Congreso para exigir a los partidos políticos que "se mojen" y aclaren su postura sobre la ampliación de los plazos de prescripción de este delito, que ellos quieren llevar de los 18 años, la edad en que actualmente se empieza a contar el tiempo para denunciar, hasta los 50 años. Ante la próxima campaña electoral, han pedido que cada formación lo ponga por escrito en su programa.

Clergy abuse survivors group says Omaha Archdiocese left 4 names off list of accused priests

OMAHA (NE)
Omaha World-Herald

February 14, 2019

By Christopher Burbach

A national group of clergy abuse victims said Wednesday that the Archdiocese of Omaha left four Catholic priests off the list of priests accused of sexual misdeeds with minors that the archdiocese made public in November.

The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests said the four had been publicly accused of sexually abusing minors and had spent time in the Omaha area. David Clohessy, the former national director of SNAP, said Wednesday in Omaha that Archbishop George Lucas should include the four on his list.

The archdiocese said the four do not belong on the list of priests that it made public and sent to the Nebraska Attorney General’s Office in November. The archdiocese had no personnel files on the four men whom Clohessy named and had received no allegations against them, said Deacon Tim McNeil, chancellor of the archdiocese.

Last year, Nebraska Attorney General Doug Peterson asked the state’s three Catholic dioceses to hand over any information on claims of sexual exploitation since Jan. 1, 1978.

Lucas made public a list of 38 priests and deacons against whom “substantiated allegations” had been made. He also gave the attorney general 100 more names of church personnel who had faced claims of sexual misconduct or impropriety since 1978.

Clohessy has raised similar issues in other dioceses, including in Kansas City last month. On Wednesday, he and SNAP supporter Gordon Peterson of Omaha said the Omaha Archdiocese should publicize the four priests’ names and assignment records to protect vulnerable people now and reach out to any unknown victims who might exist.

“Our position is that when it comes to the safety of kids, there should be no hairsplitting or ducking and dodging,” Clohessy said.

He said the four priests with Omaha ties are Thomas B. Laughlin, Alphonsus Ferguson, James E. Kelly and Michael Patrick Nash.

Laughlin admitted to sexually molesting dozens of boys for decades before he was convicted of molesting two boys and sent to prison in the 1980s, according to news reports. The newspaper the Oregonian reported that Laughlin was “one of Oregon’s most notorious pedophile priests.” Laughlin reportedly lived in Omaha for several years until his death in 2013.

In a 2014 lawsuit against the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, a Minnesota man accused Ferguson of raping him when he was an altar boy in Hastings, Minnesota, in the 1950s. Ferguson died in 1973. He reportedly belonged to a religious order in Omaha.

El Atlético de Madrid rompe con Manuel Briñas y abre una investigación en su cantera

[Madrid football club breaks with Manuel Briñas, opens investigation]

BARCELONA (SPAIN)
El País

By Oriol Güell

February 14, 2019

Nuevos testimonios revelan que los abusos del religioso se prolongaron durante 24 años

El Atlético de Madrid ha decidido este jueves romper su relación con quien durante dos décadas fue responsable de su cantera, el fraile marianista Manuel Briñas, tras conocerse los casos de abusos sexuales a menores del religioso. Las cinco víctimas con las que hasta el momento ha hablado EL PAÍS sitúan los abusos entre 1972 y 1985, cuando tenían entre 10 y 14 años, en las dependencias del Colegio Marianista Hermanos Amorós de Madrid y en los campamentos de verano que Briñas organizaba en la Sierra de Gredos. Ninguno de estos casos se produjo en las instalaciones del club de fútbol.

Cuatro nuevas víctimas acusan de abusos sexuales a Manuel Briñas

[Four new victims accuse Manuel Briñas of sexual abuse]

BARCELONA (SPAIN)
El País

By Oriol Güell

February 13, 2019

Dos de los afectados definen al exresponsable de la cantera del Atlético de Madrid como “un depredador”

El testimonio de cuatro nuevas víctimas, que ayer detallaron su experiencia a EL PAÍS, eleva ya a cinco el número de quienes aseguran haber sufrido abusos sexuales —cuando tenían entre 10 y 14 años— por parte de Manuel Briñas, el fraile marianista que dirigió dos décadas la escuela deportiva del Atlético de Madrid. Briñas, que hoy tiene 88 años, ha admitido un abuso, pero los nuevos casos contradicen su versión de que no hubo más.

Leading Southern Baptist apologizes for supporting leader, church at center of sex abuse scandal

HOUSTON (TX)
Houston Chronicle

February 14, 2019

By Robert Downen

Al Mohler, a leading Southern Baptist figure, on Thursday apologized for supporting a religious leader who was accused of helping conceal sexual abuses at his former church.

A leading Southern Baptist figure on Thursday apologized for supporting a religious leader who was accused of helping conceal sexual abuses at his former church, and for making a joke that he said downplayed the severity of the allegations.

In an interview with the Houston Chronicle, Al Mohler said for the first time publicly that he regrets his embrace of C.J. Mahaney, the former leader of the non-Southern Baptist group Sovereign Grace Ministries, now known as Sovereign Grace Churches.

Mahaney and his former organization were sued in 2013 by 11 people alleging that their abuses were concealed by leaders, at least one of whom was later convicted.

Harrisburg diocese holds listening session in Mechanicsburg

MECHANICSBURG (PA)
WHTM TV

February 14, 2019

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Harrisburg held a listening session on clergy sex abuse in Mechanicsburg Wednesday night.

The session was held at Saint Joseph Parish at 410 East Simpson Street.

Bishop Ronald Gainer answered questions about Pennsylvania's grand jury report that uncovered more than 300 predator priests across the state.

This was the fifth listening session. The diocese plans on holding nine sessions.

abc27 News cameras were not allowed inside the meeting.

Child Victims Act Signed into Law, SNAP Responds

ST. LOUIS (MO)
Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

February 14, 2019

The much-needed and greatly anticipated Child Victims Act was signed into law today in New York.

We applaud all those involved in championing and passing this important piece of legislation. Any time survivors are given a chance to share their experience and expose their abusers and enablers, it helps protect children and prevent future cases of abuse. The best way to create these opportunities are by reforming the archaic and predator-friendly statutes of limitations and creating “look-back” windows. We are grateful to every person who had a hand in pushing this critical reform through.

Having the chance at their “day in court” can also be a key piece of the healing process for survivors and we are grateful that those who were abused in New York will have this opportunity.

List Of Maryland Priests Accused Of Child Sexual Abuse

BALTIMORE (MD)
Patch

February 15, 2019

By Deb Belt

A new wave of lists naming Catholic priests credibly accused of sexual abuse against children has been released in the past two months, including the Baltimore archdiocese. In late December the church posted a revised list of priests and religious brothers facing accusations over the years; it includes an initial list of 57 men posted in 2002, along with additions of those later accused, and priests named in a grand jury report released by the Pennsylvania Attorney General in August 2018, who either had an assignment in Maryland or were accused of engaging in sexual abuse of minors in Maryland.

"Many Catholics here in our own archdiocese, as well as many across the country, are rightly dismayed by what they perceive as a lack of decisive action to strengthen protocols of accountability for bishops accused of sexual abuse or misconduct," Archbishop William E. Lori said in November after U.S. bishops met in Baltimore. "Understandably, there is a sense that this was a missed opportunity – and one unnecessarily so. ... We must be held fully accountable – as are priests, deacons, lay employees and volunteers of the Church – in matters of moral and professional conduct."

Priests of the Archdiocese of Baltimore have no parentheses after their names. Priests and brothers from religious orders or other dioceses have that noted in parentheses after their names. None of the men listed are in ministry in the Archdiocese of Baltimore; some have died and some have been laicized. All have had their faculties to function as a priest in the Archdiocese of Baltimore permanently removed.

September trial set for former Fort priest

FT. ATKINSON (WI)
Jefferson County Daily Union

February 15, 2019

By Ryan Whisner

A week-long September trial has been set for a former Fort Atkinson priest charged with molesting an altar boy during his tenure at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church.

The Rev. William A. Nolan, 65, formerly of Madison, has pleaded not guilty to six felony counts of sexual assault of a child under the age of 16 that reportedly occurred while he was serving at the Fort Atkinson parish from 2002-07 and for some years beyond.

The alleged victim, now 26, alleges that the incidents of assault began in February 2006 and occurred over a five-year period when he was ages 13-17. He told authorities that the alleged contact between them occurred more than 100 times.

If convicted of the combined charges, Nolan is facing a maximum sentence of 40 years in prison for each of the six counts.

On Thursday, Nolan appeared before Jefferson County Circuit Court Judge William Hue for a motion hearing.

New lawsuit seeks court order forcing Catholic Church to disclose 'secret' lists of pedophile priests and brothers in New York

NEW YORK (NY)
New York Daily News

February 14, 2019

By Molly Crane-Newman and Nancy Dillon

A Manhattan native who says a priest repeatedly molested her – sometimes during games of strip poker – is among the plaintiffs in a new lawsuit demanding the names of all New York pedophile priests and brothers reported to the Catholic Church.

The lawsuit against the Catholic Conference of Major Superiors of Men was filed Thursday in Manhattan Supreme Court, the same day Gov. Cuomo signed into law the historic Child Victims Act.

The new law extends the criminal and civil statutes of limitations on sexual assault so victims, including victims of clergy sex abuse, have a new chance to seek justice and accountability decades later.

“For years I had hoped that something would change, so that I, and people like me, who have stayed silent, would finally see justice. Today, by filing this lawsuit, hopefully the truth about the perpetrators will come out,” plaintiff Bridget Lyons, 47, said as the lawsuit was announced.

Lyons was a 13-year-old girl living with her mom and 8-year-old brother in the East Village when Father Jack Kennington began molesting her in the 1980s, she says.

Kennington, who was a priest at Most Holy Redeemer in Manhattan, inappropriately touched her and her brother during massages and the secret card games, she and her family previously alleged.

“This abuse led to years of depression, PTSD, trust issues. …It also ruined my faith and trust in the Catholic Church,” she said Thursday at a press conference with her fellow plaintiffs and lawyer Jeff Anderson.

Lyons’ initial bid to sue Kennington in 1993 was rejected due to the statute of limitations, but her brother was allowed to file thanks to his younger age. The brother’s suit was settled for an undisclosed sum.

Advocates expect increase in victims coming forward after Catholic sexual abuse allegations list

HAMPTON ROADS (VA)
WTKR TV

February 14, 2019

By Allison Mechanic

It has been one day since the Catholic Diocese of Richmond released a list of priests who have substantiated claims of sexual abuse against them. Area advocacy groups for survivors are already feeling the affects.

"We see an increase within the hotline because people are triggered," explained Courtney Pierce with Samaritan House in Virginia Beach.

Samaritan House offers a wide variety of resources both on the phone and in person. While they are expecting to see an increase in calls to the hotline over the next few days, they say friends and family members should also be prepared.

"It's really important to empower survivors to do whatever it is they want to do - if that’s to come forward and let their community know about their abuse or seek one-on-one counseling or speak to a friend," said Pierce.

If a survivor does come to a friend, Pierce suggests listening and support.

"People say they don’t have the words or they're not well-trained to handle the situation, but a listening ear is really important," said Pierce. "Affirmation and confirmation of their victimization is also important."

The state of Virginia is also prepared to handle cases of sexual abuse by a priest. Last year, Attorney General Mark Herring launched the Virginia Clergy Abuse Hotline. The number for the hotline is 1-833-454-9064.

List of priests names who were accused of sexual abuse not enough, says survivors group

VIRGINIA BEACH (VA)
Southside Daily

February 15, 2019

On Wednesday, the Catholic Diocese of Richmond made waves when it published a list of 42 names of clergy with “credible and substantiated” allegations of sexual abuse involving minors.

Some of the names were priests who were assigned in Catholic churches in Virginia Beach and Norfolk.

The “Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests,” or SNAP, claims on their website to be the largest, oldest, and most active support group for women and men wounded by religious and institutional authorities. SNAP has a Virginia Beach chapter, but its local coordinator, Wayne Dorough, was not immediately available for comment.

But SNAP’s executive director, Zach Hiner, made a public statement Wednesday both praising and criticizing the Richmond Diocese for releasing the names.

“It is always helpful for survivors when these lists are posted especially for those who may be suffering in silence. But what is not helpful is when lists are carefully curated to leave off names of priests who have been accused of abuse, but whose allegations haven’t been deemed by church officials to be ‘credible,'” Hiner said.

SNAP is calling on Catholic officials to go a step further.

“We urge Catholic officials in Virginia to not only go back to these lists and add any names that may have been omitted, but also to add work histories, information about current whereabouts and, critically, when the diocese first learned of the allegations and what their immediate response was,” Hiner said. “Only by including this information can we get a clearer picture of what went wrong in Virginia and what must be done now to protect children and prevent abuse.”

Lots of names are missing from the list of 188 N.J. priests accused of sexual abuse. Here’s why.

NEWARK (NJ)
Star Ledger

February 14, 2019

By Kelly Heyboer and Rebecca Everett

The lists of priests and deacons accused of child sexual abuse released by New Jersey’s five Catholic dioceses earlier this week was startling.

They contained page after page of names -- 188 in total -- of clergy members accused of sexually abusing generations of children in every corner of the state over several decades.

But the list only told part of the story.

The list, released Wednesday by the Archdiocese of Newark and the Dioceses of Camden, Metuchen, Paterson and Trenton, did not include priests, monks, nuns or others who served in religious orders or order-run Catholic schools in New Jersey. It only included only the names of priests and deacons “credibly accused” while they worked within the dioceses.

So, that means Jesuit priests, Franciscan priests, Benedictine monks and others who served in religious orders that operate under separate leadership structures than the five New Jersey dioceses were likely not included on any of the lists.

It is unknown how many additional clergy members from New Jersey might be on those lists if they are ever all released. Critics said the Catholic community in New Jersey deserves to know the full number of accused priests.

Former Evansville Diocese priest accused of sexual abuse

EVANSVILLE (IN)
Evansville Courier & Press

February 15, 2019

By Jon Webb

An Indiana man has publicly accused a former Evansville Diocese priest of sexual abuse.

Testifying in front of the Indiana Senate Judiciary Committee Wednesday, Christopher Compton, 42, said the Rev. Raymond Kuper sexually abused him multiple times when Compton was 9 years old.

He accused of Kuper of "borderline brainwashing" him.

Kuper died in 2012.

The Courier & Press doesn’t usually name accusers of sex crimes, but Compton has testified in a public meeting and has been named in other publications as well. Video of the hearing is available on the state website.

Compton and several others testified in favor of Senate Bill 219, which would give accusers more time to pursue civil cases in incidents that have long exceeded the statute of limitations.

Deeper look at abuse history: Evansville Catholic diocese has history of abusive priests| Webb

Recent report of abuse: Evansville Diocese places priest on administrative leave after sexual misconduct report

Compton told legislators the reported abuse occurred when he was a student at Christ the King School. According to his obituary, Kuper was pastor at Christ the King from 1977 to 1987.

Richmond Diocese adds another priest to list of members accused of sexual assault

RICHMOND (VA)
News Channel 6

February 15, 2019

The Catholic Diocese of Richmond has released the name of another priest with a “a credible and substantiated allegation of sexual abuse” against a child.

The group announced Thursday they they received information from the order of Saint Benedict about an allegation of abuse that occurred outside the Richmond Diocese.

An sexual assault allegation against Rev. Donald Scales, O.S.B. was found credible by the Diocese of Charlotte Review Board.

Fr. Scales served in the Diocese of Richmond.

While the Richmond Diocese claims they were unaware of any allegations of abuse against Fr. Scales, Bishop Knestout has added his name to the list previously published on February 13.

Retired Police Lt. recalls investigating Richmond priest convicted of child sex abuse

RICHMOND (VA)
News Channel 6

February 15, 2019

By Brendan King

Retired Prince George Police Lieutenant Bill King remembers the early 2000's well - the time he helped convict a priest for sex crimes against a child.

The suspect was Rev. John P. Blankenship who was the chaplain at Petersburg Federal Correctional Center at the time he was indicted.

In February of 2003, he pleaded guilty to four separate counts of sodomizing a minor in Prince George County.

Rev. John Blankenship is a registered sex offender residing in the city of Richmond.

The abuse took place in 1982 at the Church of the Sacred Heart. The victim was 14 at the time.

Investigators said that Blankenship took advantage of the young teen while his mother cleaned the church.

King said Blankenship turned himself in alongside his lawyer at the police station.

"He was basically stoic because I'm sure his attorney had told him to be limited in what he said," King recalled. "There we arrested and booked him."

King said he was surprised that church officials claimed they did not know police were investigating Blankenship prior to his indictment.

"I had already been [to the Richmond Diocese] and told them who I was looking for. They gave me the information I needed on him to indict him," he explained. "When I went there to get the information and was met by Father Apuzzo, he wasn’t surprised."

In 2002, the Daily Press reported "diocesan officials say they were surprised to learn of the priest's indictment or the county's interest in the case."

"We didn't know that there was an investigation going on until this morning," the Rev. Pasquale Apuzzo, spokesman for the diocese, told reporters at the time.

Deal reached to expand statute of limitations for sexual abuse lawsuits

WASHINGTON (DC)
Politico

February 14, 2019

By Matt Friedman

New Jersey victims of sexual abuse may soon have more time to file lawsuits against their alleged abusers.

State Sen. Joe Vitale and Assemblywoman Annette Quijano (D-Union) said Thursday that state lawmakers have reached a deal after an effort to remove the statute of limitations entirely on civil sexual abuse cases spent years in legislative limbo.

“I want to thank all of the advocates, many of them victims and survivors themselves, who have worked tirelessly to see this bill heard in front of the Judiciary,” Vitale (D-Middlesex) said in a statement. “Steadfast in their fight, and with great resolve, they recognize all victims deserve the same corridor to justice. They have had an immense amount of patience with me and my staff as we have grasped the weight of this issue over the last decade, and I will forever be in awe of their courage and bravery.”

The bill also has the support of Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy, making its passage into law guaranteed if lawmakers can muster the voters to pass it in the Assembly and Senate.

"Victims of sexual abuse, especially those victimized in childhood, deserve to find doors held open for them as they seek justice against their abusers,” Murphy said.

Currently, sexual abuse victims who are 18 or older have two years from the point when they realize the abuse has damaged them to file a lawsuit against their abusers or the institutions that harbored them. Under Vitale’s compromise proposal, which he said will have a hearing in the Senate Judiciary Committee on March 7 followed by a vote in the full Senate on March 13, the window for victims to file lawsuits would expand to seven years as long as they’re under the age of 55.

The compromise deal was first reported by NJ Advance Media.

New Jersey’s statute of limitations for criminal sexual abuse was removed long ago. Vitale has long worked to repeal it for civil cases as well, but was unable to wrangle enough votes for passage, while the Church enlisted the help of one of Trenton’s top lobbying firms.

“There wasn’t enough support to eliminate it entirely. That wasn’t because my colleagues didn’t think victims shouldn’t have access to justice, just that some of them thought there should be a level of predictability,” Vitale said in a phone interview, adding that the bill would get a hearing in the Senate Judiciary Committee on March 7, followed by a vote in the full Senate on March 11.

Vitale said he believes he has the votes necessary to pass the bill.

SNAP advocate believes more cases of sexual abuse by priests have happened but not been reported

RICHMOND (VA)
News Channel 6

February 14, 2019

By Matthew Fultz

As victims, church members and the general public look through the list of names of men the Catholic Diocese of Richmond says has hurt children, they still have many questions - like where are the names of the other priests who were accused and have there been no reports of abuse since 1993?

CBS 6 talked to a victims advocate, Dottie Klamer, with Survivors Network of those Abused by Priest (SNAP) to get answers.

"Everything that`s going on in the Catholic church right now has been brewing for a long long time," said Klammer.

Decades and decades of sexual abuse have been slowly coming to light. After Virginia's attorney general opened an investigation into clergy abuse last year, Wednesday, the Dioceses of Arlington and Richmond released a list of names of catholic priests who abused minors.

"We tell them first of all that they need to file a police report, that they need to go on record," said Klammer.

Dottie Klammer, Richmond Coordinator for SNAP, tells victims each day who say their abuser not on the list, to file first.
She said the investigation starts internally at an accused priest's church.

"What I understand is that they have panel and boards at the different parishes in the state of Virginia," said Klammer. "And people are deciding on some level who`s guilty and who isn`t."

Special Report Part 2: “The Sound of Silence,” experts explain the how and why of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church

PEORIA (IL)
WEEK TV Channel 25

February 14, 2019

Jeff Jones says he was just 9 years old when the beloved Priest he first met at St. Joseph’s in Pekin started sexually abusing him.

“Every day,” he begins with a long pause, “…since I was nine or 10, I think about this.”

And he’s not alone in his claims. The attorney who represented him and 11 others in a lawsuit later settled with the Peoria Diocese said these cases are still happening today.

Frederick W. Nessler, Attorney: ” Well we’ve handled between 200 and 300 cases, and I think it’s north of 250, now. I think we have 40 cases in house, presently, we’re working on,” explained Attorney Frederick W. Nessler of The Law Offices of Frederick W. Nessler & Associates, Ltd.. Admittedly, he has multiple law offices in several states including Illinois, and some of those cases involved sexual abuse in other denominations and institutions, but he reiterated the majority of them involved the Catholic Church.

For Jones, he says the sexual abuse he suffered at the hands of Father Walter Breuning lasted 6 years, but took him decades to reveal.

“I think it boils down to shame and humiliation,” Jones shares.

It’s something Illinois State University Professor Shelly Clevinger, PhD says is common among victims of sexual abuse.

NJ measure to ease sex abuse statute of limitations shows signs of progress

WOODLAND PARK (NJ)
North Jersey Record

February 15, 2019

By Philip DeVencentis and Deena Yellin

After nearly 20 years of failed efforts, proposed legislation that would ease the civil statute of limitations for sex abuse survivors is showing signs of progress in New Jersey.

State Sen. Joseph Vitale, D-Middlesex, sponsor of S-477, said Thursday that the Senate Judiciary Committee will vote on the measure March 7 and that he was "extraordinarily hopeful" about its prospects. Also on Thursday, Gov. Phil Murphy announced his support.

The bill would allow child victims of sexual abuse to sue until age 55, or from seven years of their realization that the abuse occurred. It would give adult victims seven years to bring a civil case, or seven years from the time they discover their abuse, whichever is later.

The bill would also give a two-year window to those victims who were previously time-barred so that they have the opportunity to pursue their cases. It would allow victims to hold both the individual and any liable institution accountable.

Current laws demand that civil action be filed within two years after a victim turns 18.

Assemblywoman Annette Quijano, the prime sponsor of the bill in the Assembly, said, "If we put short, arbitrary legal limits on their time to process, we limit their ability to pursue justice and we, ourselves, become perpetrators in their injustice."

"The language in the current bill has the approval of all the survivor groups, and that has helped to bring along some of my colleagues," Vitale said. "Now we're at a point that it seems as though the vast majority of my colleagues on both sides of the aisle support the bill. I’m extraordinarily hopeful."

The measure has also gained the backing of the New Jersey Catholic Conference. On Thursday, Executive Director Patrick Branigan said: “We fully support the elimination of the statute of limitations prospectively for both perpetrators and institutions. We support the elimination of the statute of limitations retroactively for perpetrators, which would address Sen. Joseph Vitale’s frequent comment about the need to hold accountable the 95% of perpetrators who are not clergy.”

Vitale's announcement comes on the heels of five dioceses in New Jersey releasing lists of priests credibly accused of sexually abusing children.

Murphy said, "Victims of sexual abuse, especially those victimized in childhood, deserve to find doors held open for them as they seek justice against their abusers. I commend Senator Vitale and Assemblywoman Quijano for their pursuit of legislation to extend the statute of limitations."

Similar measures have been passed in New York and other states.

Prominent nun says Polish priests must stop abusing women religious

WASINGTON (DC)
Catholic News Service

February 15, 2019

One of Poland's most senior nuns said priests must stop sexually molesting religious women, in line with efforts to improve treatment of women in the traditionally Catholic country.

"Sexual abuse of nuns by clergy has long been a problem in Poland -- and it's a very painful matter," Ursuline Sister Jolanta Olech, secretary-general of the Warsaw-based Conference of Higher Superiors of Female Religious Orders, told Poland's Catholic Information Agency, KAI.

Sister Olech told KAI on 14 February that no data had been collected on the abuse of nuns in her country. However, she added that she had been informed of "very painful" cases during 12 years as conference president and secretary-general, and she welcomed Pope Francis' 5 February call for action against offending clergy.

"This isn't the first time the issue has been raised, and we don't know if it will change much -- but it should show some people at least that the time for concealing this problem is over," she said. "The cases I dealt with were reported to the superiors of the priests and monks concerned. But I don't know what the results were, and the cases were never made public."

Put a period on the list of abuser priests

JERSEY CITY (NJ)
Jersey Journal

February 14, 2019

By Rev. Alexander Santora

Growing up in Catholic Jersey City – Holy Rosary Grammar School, its church, St. Joseph’s up the hill, St. Peter’s Prep and College – I knew many priests.

Never once did I suspect that one of them, or any, would ever be involved in abusing a minor. I would never even link the words “priest” and “abuse” in the same sentence.

Not until I was assigned to St. Aloysius Church did I gradually learn about a priest – Carmen Sita, whom I replaced. He had been removed and sent to a rehab for his abusive behavior and was then assigned to a parish in Missouri under a pseudonym, Gerald Howard.

His name appeared on the list released yesterday of 188 priests in New Jersey with credible accusations of a sexual abuse of minors against them. From the list, I also learned of priests I had crossed paths with in ministry, though I’d never lived with them in a rectory. And priests I knew as fellow seminarians at Darlington. Probably about three dozen in all.

I was particularly shocked that a Trenton priest who has worked in a Vatican office in Rome for 30 years was on the list. I knew him and his family from a Toms River parish I assisted on weekends for 12 years.

Abuse Victim Who Chained Himself to Vatican Finds Closure in Meeting

LONDON (ENGLAND)
The Tablet

February 15, 2019

By Claire Giangravè

Since the Church’s sex abuse scandals first erupted, victims have tried different methods to be heard by Church authorities. Some have protested, others have marched, others still have appealed to friends and connections in order to bring their case to the Vatican.

But for one Italian survivor, the key was not so much storming the gate as being chained to it.

Arturo Borrelli, 40, claims to have been sexually abused about thirty years ago on the peripheries of Naples, Italy, by his religion teacher Father Silverio Mura. On Feb. 4, he shackled himself to the Sant’Anna entrance of the Vatican in a desperate attempt to be heard.

Police officers arrested him and took him in for questioning, but the unlikely result was that Borrelli was invited to meet officials of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF), which handles matters of clerical abuse, at the Vatican ten days later.

In an email sent to the survivor’s lawyer, Italian Cardinal Angelo Becciu, prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints and former Substitute in the Secretariat of State, voiced the “full availability” of the CDF for such a meeting.

Borrelli was finally able to enter the Sant’Anna gate Thursday at 10:00 a.m., where he was greeted by Father Paolo, a priest delegated by Pope Francis to follow his case. (The priest did not give his last name.) At the same time, his lawyer met with CDF officials to present legal documentation.

“I am pleased,” Borrelli told Crux in an interview following his meeting. “Finally, I was welcomed the way I wanted. Since 2010 I have asked for the love of the Church and finally Father Paolo gave it to me.”

Borrelli met Francis in July 2018, when he said he had the chance to tell the pontiff about his abuse. On the same day, Borelli’s eighteen-year-old son died in a car accident leaving him “emotionally wrecked.”

During the meeting on Thursday, Borrelli said he was moved by the opportunity to pray in a chapel for his son with Father Paolo. He was later offered refreshments and spoke of his experience.

The priest promised that a legal decision will be made as soon as May regarding his abuser, Mura, who might be defrocked. While the exact date of the verdict remains unclear, Borrelli said that the CDF is “moving quickly, since they know that my case is a delicate one and I am suffering a lot.”

Chaining oneself to the Vatican is an unorthodox way to gain access, and an impossible prospect for many clerical abuse victims who can’t make it to Rome but still wish to denounce the injustice they suffered. But Father Paolo, Borrelli said, claimed that while “in the past there was another mentality” regarding victims, today “everything has changed.”

For Borrelli, it was perseverance and determination that allowed him to find the closure he long awaited, qualities that he encourages for every victim wishing to be heard to have.

“Whoever has been a victim of abuse must not be afraid to denounce it! Denounce it! Denounce it! Because at the end the truth always emerges,” he said. “There must be no shame. You have to fight!”

The activist and survivor will be in Rome for the upcoming Feb. 21-24 summit of heads of bishops’ conferences on the topic of clerical sexual abuse. He said that he plans to encourage the bishops to adopt legislation that emphasizes the protection of minors and get behind Francis on this issue.

“I trust the pope blindly, because in my case he contributed many times,” Borrelli said. “I hope that those close to him allow him to work. Because if people close to the pope let him do his job surely this battle, that is not easy to fight, can be won.”

Emerging satisfied from the Vatican was also Carlo Grezio, Borrelli’s lawyer for the past four years, who met with two officials of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith – a disciplinary section head Father John Kennedy, and undersecretary Father Matteo Visioli.

“I had their reassurance regarding the timing of the sentence of Father Silvio Mura and a total, definitive, reassurance on the fact that Monsignor Mura is no longer in contact with children or anyone else,” he told Crux in an interview.

Grezio described the meeting as “a victory from one point of view, because we began to obtain what we should have obtained ten years ago when the curia in Naples failed us.”

'Onslaught' of allegations against priests predicted under Child Victims Act

BUFFALO (NY)
Buffalo News

February 14, 2019

By Jay Tokasz

Six Catholic dioceses in New York so far have identified 249 Catholic priests who have been credibly accused of molesting children.

But the names of potentially hundreds more priests could surface publicly now that Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo has signed the Child Victims Act.

Cuomo’s signature on the legislation Thursday means that childhood victims of sexual abuse who previously were time-barred from suing now will have an opportunity to file lawsuits.

Victims of childhood sex abuse had until age 23 to sue under New York’s statute of limitations. The age now changes to 55. In addition, the new law opens a one-year “look back” window for victims to file claims, even in sex abuse cases from decades ago. The look-back period starts in six months.

“We are anticipating a lot of people will come forward,” said attorney Jayne Conroy, who represents sex abuse victims across the country, including in the Buffalo Diocese. “I think in New York state it will be an onslaught.”

El arzobispo de San José de Costa Rica, acusado de encubrir a un cura denunciado por abusos a menores

[Archbishop of San José, Costa Rica, drops out of papal summit, accused of covering up clergy abuse]

SAN JOSE (COSTA RICA)
El País

February 15, 2019

By Álvaro Murillo

El superior de la Iglesia católica en el país centroamericano, José Rafael Quirós, se ha visto forzado a cancelar su participación en la cumbre sobre pedofilia convocada por el Papa

Cuando todavía era menor de edad, el joven Anthony Venegas fue a la Curia Metropolitana de Costa Rica para contar que el sacerdote de su parroquia, un cura mediático y venerado, abusaba sexualmente de él y de otros adolescentes. Era 2003 y la delación la escuchó el vicario José Rafael Quirós, que una década más tarde fue nombrado arzobispo de San José —la capital tica— y ahora enfrenta denuncias ante el Vaticano por encubrir los casos, en su mayoría prescritos. "Ese asunto se me pasó", se justificó el año pasado ante dos denunciantes. Esta semana, Quirós se vio forzado a cancelar su participación en la cumbre sobre pedofilia convocada para el próximo día 21 por el papa Francisco en Roma.

After the Fall: The legacies of Grand Rapids' two most notorious priests

GRAND RAPIDS (MI)
WOOD TV

February 14, 2019

By Ken Kolker

No matter how many years pass, the memories will not.

The bad ones burn deepest: like what happened more than once in the small log cabin on the Grand Rapids-Walker city line to a 12-year-old girl who thought she was Father John Sullivan's one and only.

Or what she saw through the small second-floor window on the south side of her family's home, the window on the left, as her abuser walked away with his arm around her little sister.

"I knew what he was going to be doing," Fran Heinemann said.

There's the pew in a small country church near Grand Haven where the priest first approached a 14-year-old girl who wanted to be a nun, his latest prey.

The broom closet at Holy Spirit in Grand Rapids.

There's the spot on Campau Lake near Caledonia, about 100 yards out, where a 12-year-old altar boy went swimming with a priest he idolized.

And there's the confessional where the abused went to their abuser for forgiveness of sins they thought were their own.

"I knew it was him because you'd see him walk in there to do confessions," Heinemann said.

The Roman Catholic dioceses in Grand Rapids and across Michigan are bracing for the worst from a state attorney general’s investigation into decades of priest abuse: the possibility that it could uncover more abusive priests, more cover-ups and more survivors than ever before revealed.

The AG started investigating after a grand jury in Pennsylvania revealed that 300 priests had molested 1,000 children since the 1940s. That prompted Target 8 to investigate the legacy of abuse in the Grand Rapids diocese.

Gay Priests To Pope: Don't Blame Us For Child Sex Abuse

ROME (ITALY)
Daily Beast

February 15, 2019

By Barbie Latza Nadeau

The letter couldn’t have come at a better time. Just a week before Pope Francis convenes a crisis summit in Rome on systematic clerical sex abuse in the global Catholic Church, a group of gay priests from the Netherlands have written a letter trying to restore some perspective. In it, they ask the pontiff not to validate persistent gossip that a so-called “gay mafia” inside the Catholic Church is responsible for systematic clerical sex abuse of children.

In fact, orientation should not matter at all in the celibate world of the Catholic clergy. Priests and nuns take a vow of celibacy at ordination that prohibits them from engaging in any sexual act — including masturbation — no matter what their sexual orientation. But if the endemic clerical sexual abuse of minors, the majority of them boys, is confounded with homosexuality, that’s a convenient excuse for the church. The last three popes have pretended the pedophile scandal can be “solved” by getting rid of gay priests.

“We have the distinct impression,” the Dutch group wrote to Francis, “that the Vatican and the Congregation for the Clergy and perhaps even you yourself tend to suggest that those priests who are openly gay are the ones responsible for the sexual abuse of children and minors.”

In point of fact there is no link between the two, and that there is even ample evidence of widespread healthy, consensual gay relationships between gay priests living in communal situations. The more plausible answer regarding pedophiles is that they are attracted to the priesthood simply because of the well known access to and power over little kids.

The Dutch group clearly disagrees with the premise that gay priests are the problem, and instead says it believes unhealthy sexual repression is the key to the crisis. When young men enter the seminary, often as adolescents, they are told that sexual urges are sinful and that they must repent for being normal. The only way to talk about sex for a seminarian is in the context of the confessional.

“We believe that the current major crisis with respect to this context is primarily the result of the disapproval, suppression, denial and the poor integration of sexuality, and especially homosexuality, on the part of many individual priests and within our Church as a whole,” the gay priest group writes, noting that if young men entering seminaries were actually screened for sexually deviant behavior such as pedophilic tendencies, that would also help a lot.

SBTS President Albert Mohler Apologizes for Supporting C.J. Mahaney

OREGON

February 14, 2019

By Julie Anne

This is a big story – one we’ve been waiting for over 7 years. C.J. Mahaney, former President of Sovereign Grace Ministries churches has been best buds with leaders in the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) despite the fact that there were huge sex abuse scandals (including reports of a pedophile ring) under Mahaney’s watch.

Most of the survivors have never had justice served because of a technicality which disallowed their case from being heard: the Statute of Limitations. (Don’t get me going on that topic.)

But despite having had no independent investigations, C.J. Mahaney’s pals from Together for the Gospel, The Gospel Coalition, and the Southern Baptist Convention have stood by him, even publicly defending him, and inviting him to speak at their conferences! #mindblown

Today, the Houston Chronicle interviewed Albert Mohler, President of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, in which he apologized for not speaking out earlier.

Interestingly, today I was tweeting about Albert Mohler’s relationship with C.J. Mahaney, even tagging Albert Mohler and asking about their relationship in light of the SBC sex abuse cases uncovered by journalists at the Houston Chronicle.

Here is Mohler’s apology:

“I believe in retrospect I erred in being part of a statement supportive of (Mahaney) and rather dismissive of the charges,” Mohler said. “And I regret that action, which I think was taken without due regard to the claims made by the victims and survivors at the time, and frankly without an adequate knowledge on my part, for which I’m responsible.”

Five disturbing things we learned from the Catholic Church’s list of 188 alleged sexual abusers in N.J.

NEWARK (NJ)
Star Ledger

February 14, 2019

By Stephen Stirling

The list spans nearly a century. It reaches across every corner of the state. And it reveals a tangled web of abuse allegedly carried out by scores of priests, some of whom were apparently shuffled from parish to parish.

The five Catholic Dioceses’ release of 188 priests and deacons who were credibly accused of sexually abusing children reverberates across generations of Catholics both in New Jersey and across the country, once again confronted with disheartening allegations against church leaders amid an ever-deepening scandal.

Even as details remain scant, an analysis of the information released by the Catholic Church Wednesday reveals what many expected — that in New Jersey, and, as has been shown elsewhere, allegations of sexual abuse date back decades and come out of every diocese and dozens of parishes.

Here are some of the key takeaways from our reporting, thus far.

Hundreds of victims
While very few details have been released about how many people came forward with abuse allegations, data shows 57 of the clergymen named by the church Wednesday have multiple accusers.

Taken with others that have a single accuser and the nearly half for whom no information was released, there are at least 245 alleged victims. The actual number is likely far higher.

Sacerdote docente envió videos sexuales a alumnos: su colegio no lo denunció y pudo cambiar de país

[El Salvador teacher-priest sent sexual videos to students: his school did not denounce him and he may have moved to Guatemala]

CHILE
BioBioChile

February 13, 2019

By Paola Alemán and Francis López

En noviembre pasado, un grupo de padres de familia del Colegio Salesiano San José, de Santa Ana, al occidente de El Salvador, elevó su queja contra las autoridades de esta institución de estudios, tras descubrir un video de alto contenido sexual cuyo protagonista era el padre Melvin Pérez. El religioso envió el material erótico a un alumno menor de edad, de tercer año de bachillerato (4º medio en Chile) con quien, según testigos, tenía una “relación consentida”.

'RULE' OF VATICAN 'CLOSET' Top Catholic bishops who attack homosexuality are MORE likely to be gay, explosive new book claims

LONDON (ENGLAND)
The Sun

February 14, 2019

By Neal Baker

SENIOR Catholic bishops who attack homosexuality are MORE likely to be gay, an explosive new book claims.

Among its most startling claims is an alleged "rule" about top figures in the church who condemn homosexuality, Catholic news site The Tablet reports.

According to sources close to the book, author Frederic Martel suggests that senior clerics who are more vocal in their criticism of homosexuality are more likely to be gay themselves.

The French journalist and sociologist is said to have spent four years carrying out 1,500 interviews with dozens of clergy and other Vatican sources.

His landmark book - which will send shock-waves through the Catholic church - is due to be published next week.

Many priests maintain discreet long-term relationships - while some live double lives having casual sex with gay partners and using male prostitutes, the book allegedly finds.

Also among the most incendiary claims is the suggestion that up to four in five priests working in the Vatican are gay - although they may not be sexually active.

Bloomsbury, the British publisher, describes In The Closet Of The Vatican as a "startling account of corruption and hypocrisy at the heart of the Vatican."

The book will be published in eight languages across 20 countries next Wednesday - to coincide with the opening of a Vatican conference on sexual abuse.

Martel, a former adviser to the French government, alleges that Colombian cardinal Alfonso López Trujillo was among the most vociferous defenders of church teaching on homosexuality - while also being gay.

Trujillo - a senior Vatican figure - regularly used male prostitutes, the book claims.

Critics of the book said "it is not always easy to tell when Martel is trafficking in fact, rumour, eyewitness accounts or hearsay," according to the Tablet.

The book does not make links between the allegedly widespread homosexuality among priests and child sex abuse in the church, sources say.

Although In The Closet Of The Vatican does reportedly claim that gay priests felt compelled to keep quiet about reports of abuse to avoid their sexuality being exposed.

Martel is a non-believer and is gay.

Among his interviewees were 41 cardinals, 52 bishops and monsignors, 45 papal ambassadors or diplomatic officials, 11 Swiss guards and more than 200 priests and seminarians, The Tablet reported.

Great expectations: Vatican abuse summit has key, realistic goals

MASSACHUSETTS

February 15, 2019

By the Bishops of Massachusetts

We write as your pastors; we write also at a critical moment for the Catholic Church in Massachusetts, in the nation and throughout the world. The issue which confronts us all, but especially confronts us as bishops, is the sexual abuse crisis that has again enveloped the life of the Church.

Catholics throughout the United States and the world have struggled with the deepest questions of reason and faith as the multiple issues of sexual abuse by priests and bishops have become public over the last sixteen years. The past year has been especially traumatic, and we again apologize to survivors and their families for all they have endured. We also apologize to the Catholic community for the seemingly unending nature of this scandal and the many questions it raises regarding Church leadership.

The attention of the Church and the wider society will be focused in an extraordinary way on the upcoming Summit Meeting in Rome, convoked by Pope Francis to address the crisis globally. Our purpose in this message is to provide perspective on the meeting considering what has occurred in the Church in the United States and throughout the world.

The Past: The clergy abuse crisis exploded in the United States early in 2002 when the unprecedented dimensions of the crisis became clear, leading the U.S. Bishops Conference to adopt "The Dallas Charter" later that year. The Charter promised a policy of zero-tolerance of sexual abuse of minors, meaning that accused priests determined to have abused a minor would be removed from ministry; all cases would be referred to appropriate civil authorities and each case would then be investigated within the Church. Beyond the provisions in the Charter, individual dioceses have adopted policies to provide care and counseling for survivors and education and prevention training in our parishes, schools and religious education programs. Reviewing the past, we acknowledge the record includes gaps and failures as well as successful implementation of these policies. At the same time, the Church in the rest of the world has experienced the abuse crisis in different ways at different times.

February 14, 2019

Vatican envoy to France under investigation for sexual assault

PARIS (FRANCE)
CNN

February 15, 2019

By Saskya Vandoorne

The Vatican's envoy to France, Archbishop Luigi Ventura, is under investigation for sexual assault, a French judicial source told CNN Friday.

The Paris prosecutor's office opened an investigation on January 24, the source said.
Ventura, 74, has been based in Paris since 2009, serving as a diplomat for Pope Francis, as reported by Agence France-Presse (AFP).

The Vatican said in a statement that the Holy See was aware of the investigation and that it "awaits the results." While the Vatican's embassy in Paris said it would not comment on the investigation.

French archbishop's proposals for fighting sexual abuse

PARIS (FRANCE)
LaCroix International

February 14, 2019

By Céline Hoyeau and Gauthier Vaillant

Archbishop Georges Pontier of Marseille, president of the Bishops' Conference of France will take two ideas to Rome. One is the creation of a Specialized Ecclesiastic Court. The other is about reforming the management of diocesan archives.

On Feb. 12, he met for two hours with four victims of sexual abuse, three of whom had had a discussion session with French bishops at their assembly in Lourdes past November. Pope Francis himself had asked the presidents of all conferences of bishops to hold such a meeting ahead of the global summit on sexual abuse in the Church at the Vatican he called Feb. 21-24.

Archbishop Pontier met the press on Feb. 13 to brief them on summit. The Archbishop of Marseille, representing France, will attend the summit, together with 114 other chairs of episcopal conferences worldwide.

French Senate questions Catholic official on abuse by clergy

PARIS (FRANCE)
Associated Press

February 14, 2019

By Thomas Adamson

The spokesman for France's Catholic bishops' conference told lawmakers Tuesday the French church is working with authorities to uncover and eradicate child sex abuse after allegations made in recent years revealed the scope of the country's problem with pedophile priests.

Senators questioned the Rev. Olivier Ribadeau Dumas of the Conference of Bishops of France for a Senate commission that is preparing a report on pedophilia across French institutions.

It is being compiled as senior churchmen from every bishops' conference around the world are preparing to attend a Feb. 21-24 Vatican summit convened by Pope Francis to try to develop a universal response to the problem.

The commission's work also takes place as the trial of a prominent French cardinal accused of protecting a pedophile priest nears its end next month.

The Rev. Bernard Preynat confessed to abusing French Boy Scouts in the 1980s and 1990s, and his victims allege clergy in positions of authority covered up for him for years. One of the church leaders they accused of allowing Preynat to continue working with children until his 2015 retirement is Cardinal Philippe Barbarin.

Clergy abuse survivor sues Syracuse Catholic Diocese hours after new law takes effect

SYRACUSE (NY)
Post-Standard

February 14, 2019

By Julie McMahon

A survivor of clergy sexual abuse in Central New York filed a lawsuit against the Syracuse Roman Catholic Diocese, this afternoon after a new law lifted restrictions on such suits.

The Child Victims Act, passed in New York in January and signed by the governor today, gives victims until their 55th birthday to file civil suits against their abusers and institutions.

Kevin Braney, 46, filed his lawsuit hours after Cuomo at 11:25 a.m. signed the bill, which went into effect immediately. By 3 p.m., Braney had filed accusations against three priests who he says raped and molested him over about two years beginning in 1988. As a teenager, he served as an altar boy at St. Ann’s Church in Manlius.

The lawsuit is the first reported in the Syracuse diocese. It is likely one of the first filed in New York state under the new Child Victims Act.

The spokeswoman and chancellor for the Syracuse diocese did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Braney last year rejected a $300,000 settlement offer from the diocese through a compensation program set up for victims. Braney said his goal is not a financial settlement but to expose abuses by individual priests and cover-ups by the Catholic church. He said he’s committed to having a jury hear his claims.

“Every day I get a step closer to justice, the further I get from the horrors of the past,” he said.

Two priests Braney accuses in the lawsuit were named to the Syracuse diocese’s list of clergy members with credible claims against them last year. Both are deceased.

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Syracuse has released a list of priests who faced credible allegations of abuse.

A third priest, who is active, was previously cleared by diocesan officials and Onondaga County District Attorney William Fitzpatrick of allegations brought forward by Braney.

Child Victims Act signed into law

ALBANY (NY)
Times Union

Thursday, February 14, 2019

By Rachel Silberstein

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo signed New York's Child Victims Act into law on Thursday, extending the statute of limitation for victims of childhood sex abuse who pursue civil and criminal charges against their perpetrators.

The bill signing took place in the New York Daily News' Manhattan newsroom. The New York City tabloid had crusaded for child victims and their advocates for years, shaming lawmakers and opponents of the bill on its front cover and in editorial pages as the bill stalled in the Senate.

"This is society's way of saying we are sorry," Cuomo said. "We are sorry for what happened to you. We are sorry that it took so long for us to recognize what happened to you."

Massachusetts Church Officials Announce 15 New Cases

ST. LOUIS (MO)
Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

February 14, 2019

Catholic officials from the Diocese of Springfield, MA have announced that they received 15 new reports of child sexual abuse last year.

We are grateful that victims are stepping forward and making reports of their abuse and we applaud the bravery of those who are speaking up today. By coming forward about what happened to them, victims help protect children and prevent future cases of abuse. When these survivors do come forward, we hope they will first seek independent sources of help like police, therapists and support groups, before contacting church officials.

Based on revelations from recent investigations into clergy sexual abuse, we are not confident of the claim that ‘all new cases have been referred to the relevant district attorney.’ While we hope this is the case, we believe that victims, witnesses and whistleblowers should play it safe and call law enforcement authorities directly.

Nor are we confident that ‘Only eight incidents are listed as having happened in this century,’ as the diocese claims. Church officials have long and troubling track records of being dishonest or disingenuous about this continuing crisis.

Man sexually assaulted by priest he met in Troy to sue clerics group

ALBANY (NY)
Times Union

February 14, 2019

Mark Lyman, a local man who was sexually assault by a Catholic priest when he was a boy, will be among a group of people filing a lawsuit against an organization of priests and religious brothers, alleging the group concealed the "histories and identities" of clerics who abused children.

The filing of the lawsuit against the Catholic Conference of Major Superiors of Men on Thursday coincides with Gov. Andrew Cuomo's signing of the Crime Victims Act.

The legislation passed last month sets a one-year period for alleged victims of sexual assault to file a lawsuit against their abusers or any organization or individuals that may have facilitated the abuse.

Thursday afternoon, Lyman and three other plaintiffs are expected to talk about their lawsuit against the conference and the opportunities for justice that the Child Victims Act will offer victims. The plaintiffs are also expected to demand the histories of each priest and brother who sexually abused children in New York.

The lawsuit is not being filed under the victims act but as a separate legal action.

Bishop Sullivan’s statement on releasing the names of credibly accused clerics

CAMDEN (NJ)
Catholic Star Herald

February 14, 2019

By Bishop Dennis J. Sullivan

In keeping with a promise made by the Roman Catholic Bishops of New Jersey, I am today releasing the names of 56 priests and one deacon of the Diocese of Camden who have been credibly accused of sexual abuse of minors (see page 4). The other bishops from New Jersey are simultaneously releasing the names of priests from their dioceses.

In the Diocese of Camden, these 56 priests are a small percentage of the more than 800 priests who have faithfully served the people of South Jersey since the diocese was founded in 1937.

As to the names on the attached list, it includes those who admitted to the abuse, those who were found guilty after a trial in the church courts or the civil courts, and others against whom the evidence was so overwhelming as to be virtually unquestionable. Most of these incidents occurred in the 1970s and the 1980s and involved male teenagers. It should also be noted that the majority of these priests, all of whose names have been provided to local law enforcement authorities, are dead.

Why Does the Catholic Church Keep Failing on Sexual Abuse?

WASHINGTON (DC)
The Atlantic

February 14, 2019

By Emma Green

Cardinal Seán O'Malley has spent decades cleaning up after pedophile priests. Now he's once again found himself in the middle of a crisis.

A few years after seán o’malley took over the Archdiocese of Boston in 2003, at the peak of the clergy sexual-abuse crisis in America, he led novenas of penance at nine of the city’s most affected parishes. At each church he visited, he lay facedown on the floor before the altar, begging for forgiveness. This is how O’Malley has spent his life in ministry: cleaning up after pedophile priests and their apologists, and serving as the Catholic Church’s public face of repentance and reform.

Possibly more than any other cleric on Earth, O’Malley understands how deeply the Church’s errors on sexual abuse have damaged its mission and reputation. Today, he is one of Pope Francis’s closest advisers, the only American on a small committee of cardinals who meet regularly at the Vatican. He runs the pope’s special commission on the protection of minors. And he is a member of the influential Vatican office responsible for preserving and defending Catholic doctrine. He believes that the Church has changed, can change, and will change. But as the world’s top bishops prepare to meet later this month for an unprecedented summit on sexual abuse at the Vatican, O’Malley has found himself frustrated, unable to push reforms through at the top.

In an interview on a recent cold morning in Boston, the cardinal spoke about the progress he believes the Church, and Pope Francis, have made in recent years, and what’s still lacking. He detailed his proposal to establish Vatican tribunals to deal with bishops accused of wrongdoing—one of the major problems the Church has yet to address. The pope “was convinced to do it another way,” O’Malley said. “We’re still waiting for the procedures to be clearly articulated.” He often described problems in the Church passively, without directly assigning agency or fault. For example: American bishops have asked the Vatican for an investigation into Theodore McCarrick, the former cardinal who was consistently elevated despite widely acknowledged rumors of sexual misconduct, until he was removed from ministry last summer. After months of requests, an investigation appears to be under way. “Certainly, many of us have personally expressed to the Holy Father and the secretary of state the need to do something quickly,” O’Malley said. “I keep getting assurances. But we’re waiting for the documents to be produced.”

Catholic dioceses in New Jersey release names of accused priests

NEW JERSEY
Reuters

February 13, 2019

By Brendan O'Brien

Five Roman Catholic dioceses in New Jersey on Wednesday released the names of 188 clergy members who have been accused of sexually abusing children dating back decades, including a former cardinal facing defrocking by the Vatican.

The disclosure was the result of an internal investigation of archdiocese records and all of the priests and deacons listed have previously been reported to law enforcement and none remain in the ministry, Newark Archbishop Cardinal Joseph Tobin said in a statement.

"It is our sincerest hope that this disclosure will help bring healing to those whose lives have been so deeply violated," he said, noting some of the abuse dates back to 1940.

New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal formed a task force in September to investigate allegations of sexual abuse by members of the clergy in his state, along with any efforts to cover up such abuse.

"I am pleased to see that our task force’s grand jury investigation has prompted the dioceses to finally take some measures to hold predator priests accountable," Grewal said in a statement on Wednesday.

What Hollywood Can Teach the Catholic Church About Confronting Longtime Sexual Abuse (Guest Blog)

LOS ANGELES (CA)
The Wrap

February 13, 2019

By Johnathon Schaech

Pope Francis has called an unprecedented “summit” of bishops to the Vatican to discuss for the umpteenth time the problem of sexual abuse by priests — this one is focused on the abuse of children. The summit starts Feb. 21 and ends on the night of the Academy Awards, Feb. 24.

I cannot help but see the significance between the revelations about abuse and power in the Roman Catholic Church mirroring the revelations of abuse and power in our community out here in Hollywood. Clergy sex-abuse survivors have been coming together and speaking out since 1988 through SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests. In 2002, the group helped the Boston Globe investigative team expose the Boston diocese’s practice of covering up for predators and moving them to new, unsuspecting parishes. Hollywood immortalized that moment in the 2016 Oscar-winning movie “Spotlight.”

In Hollywood, the silence breakers of 2017 had their own “Spotlight” moment. They gave a new and different focus to the issue covering up and ignoring sexual abuse in our society, and the #MeToo movement gained serious momentum.

Whether simply a coincidence or the result of the burgeoning #MeToo movement, this past year a Pennsylvania grand jury exposed more than 300 “predator priests” in just six dioceses in that state and found more than a 1,000 victims. Since the report was released, more survivors have come forward and more clergy have been exposed.

Investigative reporters in Boston and Philadelphia determined that as many as one in three American bishops have failed to respond appropriately to cases of sexual abuse. The attorney general of Illinois revealed that close to 75 percent of allegations reported to the Catholic Church in that state were either minimized or never even investigated in the first place. The FBI observed in the Pennsylvania report that the Church had what was akin to “a playbook” for concealing and covering up the truth.

Heading to Rome for Clergy Sex Abuse Conference

ERIE (PA)
Erie News Now

February 11, 2019

By Paul Wagner

Local Men Prepare to Attend Papal Sexual Abuse Conference in Rome

Two men who say they were abused years ago by Erie Catholic Diocese priests will travel to Rome next week for a conference on clergy sexual abuse.

Pope Francis is holding the meeting with key bishops from around the world.

We spoke by face time today with both Jim Vansickle and James Faluszczak.

Both men testified before the Pennsylvania grand jury that named 301 so-called predator priests and about 1,000 victims.

They say the church must do more, including taking a zero tolerance stance against covering up abuse.

They hope their presence in Rome will give strength to victims.

Faluszczak said, "If that gives victims in Pennsylvania and throughout the world greater courage in going to law enforcement as I did then, mission accomplished."

Proposed bill could lead to prosecution of priests, lawsuits against dioceses

NEW LONDON (CT)
The Day

February 12. 2019

By Joe Wojtas

Over the past several years, bills introduced by state legislators to extend or eliminate the state’s rather short statute of limitations for filing charges in sexual assault cases were not approved.

But this year, supporters of the measure hope the recent release by the Archdiocese of Hartford and the Diocese of Norwich of the names of 91 priests who have been credibly accused of sexually assaulting children and teens will not only result in one of the bills becoming law but also eliminating the statute of limitations for filing civil lawsuits.

If both occur, living priests could face criminal charges and the dioceses likely would face a large number of new lawsuits by alleged victims who currently are prohibited from filing lawsuits after their 48th birthday.

One of the new bills has been filed by state Rep. Devin Carney, R-23rd District, who represents Lyme, Old Lyme, Old Saybrook and Westbrook.

“I just think it’s the right thing to do,” Carney said Tuesday. “This issue crosses party lines. I know Republicans who are proposing it and I know Democrats who are proposing it. It has bipartisan support.”

Here's List Of NJ Priests Accused Of Child Sexual Abuse (UPDATED)

NEWARK (NJ)
Patch

February 13, 2019

By Tom Davis

More names have been released. Leaders of the Catholic Church in NJ said they revealed the nearly 200 names to provide "healing."

Leaders of the Catholic Church in New Jersey revealed the names of priests "credibly accused" of child sex abuse Wednesday to help victims heal as more revelations have been made in recent months.

The list shows nearly 200 members of the clergy with ties to New Jersey who have faced allegations of child sex abuse. Nearly all of them were either sanctioned by the church, charged with a crime or both.

Patch has the list of priests and deacons provided by each New Jersey archdiocese – Metuchen, Newark, Trenton, Camden and Paterson – below. All five New Jersey dioceses released names; not all provided details on church affiliations.

Cardinal Joseph W. Tobin, the archbishop of Newark, said the list includes all those from New Jersey who were credibly accused of sexual abuse of minors dating back to 1940.

THE PRIEST RESTORING TRUST IN THE CATHOLIC CHURCH — BY EXPOSING ITS SINS

MOUNTAIN VIEW (CA)
OZY/The Daily Dose

February 13, 2019

By Nick Fouriezos

As the son of a Baptist preacher in Wisconsin, it was a huge scandal in Ronald Lemmert’s family when he converted to Catholicism and later joined the priesthood. His journey had started when he was drafted during the Vietnam War and sent to West Point, where the Catholic chapel needed an organist. “I had a very powerful conversion experience,” Lemmert says, one built around his love for the Eucharist, which Catholics believe is the body of Christ.

But soon after becoming a New York diocesan priest in 1979, Lemmert realized the church was ailing from within. On one of his first assignments, he spent a year with an alcoholic priest who stayed up all night and slept all day. After Lemmert reported him, the priest was reassigned without receiving treatment and continued to work in another parish for years. Later, Lemmert’s fellow pastor at Holy Name of Mary church in Westchester County, Gennaro “Jerry” Gentile, took altar boys to his lake house on the weekends and on overnight trips to Disney World and Italy. Eventually, two families came to Lemmert to voice their concerns that children were being sexually abused. But when Lemmert told the archdiocese, it responded by banning him from the parish, blaming the accusers and sending its vice-chancellor to defend Gentile with the archbishop’s approval.

Kerala Nuns Allege Rape Accused Bishop's Hand In Transfer Orders

KOTTAYAM, KERALA (INDIA)
NDTV

February 10, 2019

"We believe that Bishop Angelo is the apostolic administrator of Jalandhar diocese. But when we see the kind of letters we doubt whether Bishop Franco still wields power in the diocese," the representative of the protesting nuns told reporters at Kuravilangad near Kottayam.

Rape-accused Bishop Franco Mulakkal, who was relieved of his pastoral responsibilities by Pope Francis, still interferes with the administrative matters of Jalandhar diocese of the Roman Catholic Church, nuns protesting against him alleged in Kerala today.
"We believe that Bishop Angelo is the apostolic administrator of Jalandhar diocese. But when we see the kind of letters (being issued by the diocese PRO and Missionaries of Jesus congregation head), we doubt whether Bishop Franco still wields power in the diocese," the representative of the protesting nuns told reporters at Kuravilangad near Kottayam.

Their statement comes a day after Jalandhar diocese PRO Father Peter Kavumpuram, who is allegedly close to Bishop Mulakkal, issued a clarification statement countering an e-mail issued to nuns by its apostolic administrator Bishop Angelo Ruffino Gracias.

In his e-mail, Bishop Angelo had assured the five nuns, who are staying with the rape survivor nun, that "there will be no move from the diocese of Jalandhar to oust" them from the Kuravilangad convent in Kottayam district as long as they are needed for the court case.

Indian nun who accused bishop of raping her 13 times says church tried to silence her

KERALA (INDIA)
Independent

February 12, 2019

By Maria Abi-Habib

Women at Kerala monastery say victim's accusations acknowledged only after public protests

An Indian nun who says a bishop raped her 13 times and was urged by church officials to keep silent about it has been told the case is going to trial.

Bishop Franco Mulakkal, who maintains his innocence, will be charged and face trial by a special prosecutor on accusations of rape and intimidation, police said.

He was arrested on 21 September in the southern state of Kerala on suspicion of raping the nun 13 times between 2014 and 2016.

She first spoke out in June but police started formal questioning only in September as fury over the case mounted.

Monsignor Otto Garcia was tasked with handling pedophile priests in the Brooklyn Diocese — but now a man is accusing him of abuse

NEW YORK (NY)
Daily News

February 14, 2019

By Linda Stasi and Dan Gold

A Queens man claims he endured sexual abuse by a priest who would later be accused of concealing the sins of pedophile priests in the Brooklyn Diocese.

For over four decades, Tommy Davis says, he carried the secret that he’d been repeatedly sexually abused as a teen by Monsignor Otto Garcia, one of the most powerful figures in the diocese — a figure alleged in a bombshell 2003 lawsuit of being “part of the concerted effort” to cover up diocese sex abuse.

And Davis says his shame caused him to fall into drugs, alcoholism and ruined relationships before getting sober. It took him decades to tell his story, only to be ignored by the law and rebuffed by the church after the diocese’s Independent Reconciliation and Compensation Program (IRCP) found that there was “insufficient support” to find his claim eligible for compensation.

Garcia denies all of Davis’ accusations.

With the passage of the Child Victims Act in New York State — which was signed into law by Gov. Cuomo Thursday — Davis and other alleged sex abuse victims are hoping for another chance at finally getting divine justice.

But it was a long time coming.

Davis told The News in painful, wrenching interviews and emails over the course of six months that his sexual abuse began when he was a teenage altar boy at St. Michael’s Church in Flushing, Queens. He remembers how happy his parents, devoted parishioners, were when they got the news that he had secured a job answering phones in the rectory after the secretaries left at 5 p.m.

Springfield Catholic Diocese received 15 clergy sex abuse reports in 2018

SPRINGFIELD (MA)
The Republican

February 14, 2019

By Anne-Gerard Flynn

Fifteen reported cases of clergy sexual abuse were made to the Roman Catholic Diocese of Springfield in 2018, according to a two-page report in the latest issue of the diocesan magazine, The Catholic Mirror.

It is the highest number reported since 52 claims were made in 2004, according to the report on how the Springfield diocese handles allegations.

All new cases have been referred to the relevant district attorney, diocesan spokesperson Mark Dupont said.

The published data lists the number of abuse reports made by year back to 1986 and also lists the decades going back to 1930s when the incidents reportedly occurred, something Dupont stressed when asked to comment on the report.

The 1970s is shown as the decade with the highest number of occurrences with 80, followed by 74 in the 1960s and 33 in the 1980s.

Only eight incidents are listed as having happened in this century.

The published report, which can also be read on the diocesan website, notes that most occurrences were reported beginning in 1993 -- the diocese set up an independent review board in 1994 -- and later. (The list dates to 1986 because that was when the diocese, through Bishop Joseph Maguire, first began a more formal process of handling abuse reports, Dupont said.)

Some 43 are shown as having been reported in 2002 and 42 in 2003.

"First it is important to note the difference between when abuse reports are made and when the abuse actually occurred. In almost all cases the time spam goes back decades. This is part of the difficult path many victims follow in coming to terms with their abuse," Dupont said.

"But regardless of how long ago the abuse occurred, we offer each victim full outreach and assistance. Included in this is the commitment to report all cases to the appropriate district attorneys' offices which we have done."

He added, "The spikes in reporting generally have to do with external factors, mostly major news coverage."

Irish experience of abuse should inform worldwide Church

BELFAST (NORTHERN IRELAND)
Irish News

February 14, 2019

By William Scholes

WHEN the Irish News spoke to Archbishop Eamon Martin at Christmas about the clerical sexual abuse conference which takes place in Rome next week, he said he intended to draw on the Irish experience to "encourage others to come out of denial".

"Ireland will be able to bring our bitter, sad experience of what it has been like, how the story of abuse has destroyed lives, how it has damaged people’s faith and trust in the Church," he said, adding that clerical abuse "has even shattered people’s relationship with God in some cases".

The summit, which was announced in September, is the first global gathering of bishops to discuss the abuse scandal.

Pope Francis called the meeting following a request from the group of cardinals who advise him.

Dr Martin said he hoped the meeting would also bring "some clearer sense within the Church on issues of accountability".

"In Ireland, our fundamental accountability is to the law," he said.

Editorial: Southern Baptist scandal shows need to act

COLUMBUS (OH)
Columbus Dispatch

February 14, 2019

It seems that nearly every day there is a fresh story of children being sexually abused. This time it’s evidence of such abuse going on inside the Southern Baptist Convention.

The temptation is to hope there is an easy fix that involves setting up training or some other measure against all future abuse. The truth is that this is a complex problem that crops up in so many places because it stems from an evil embedded in human nature. To guard against it, we need our institutions to act proactively, to create a culture of speaking up and acting on evidence rather than ignoring it.

The Catholic Church is grappling with evidence of priests who abused children for decades. This has prompted calls to allow priests to marry and to give laypeople broader authority in the church.

But the experience of the Southern Baptist Convention suggests making such changes won’t solve the problem. A Houston Chronicle investigation showed sexual abuse at the hands of hundreds of pastors and volunteers in a denomination in which pastors are allowed to marry and laypeople historically take on large roles in their churches.

And consider the problem of predators in our schools and universities, where the environment is different from church, and yet, sexual abuse continues to happen. The data on child sexual assault show a widespread problem. According to a 2013 study by researchers at the Crimes Against Children Research Center at the University of New Hampshire, the rate of lifetime sexual abuse or assault at the hands of adults is 1 in 9 girls and 1 in 53 boys. If you were not sexually abused as a child, you almost certainly have a friend or relative who was.

First the Catholics and Now the Baptists

Patheos blog

February 14, 2019

Bt Gene Veith

The Roman Catholic Church has been shaken by revelations of rampant sexual abuse among its clergy. Now the Southern Baptist Church is being shaken by a similar scandal.

The Houston Chronicle has uncovered 380 church workers–pastors, but also youth ministers, Sunday School teachers, and other volunteers–who have been charged with sexual misconduct over the last 20 years. That list includes 250 who were charged with sex crimes, including rape, sexual assault, and child molestation.

The investigation found some 700 victims. Some were children as young as three. The cases seem to be mostly heterosexual assaults, but some were homosexual. Some of the girls got pregnant and were pressured into getting abortions.

As with the Catholic scandal, another dimension is the cover-up and failure to take action on the part of church officials.

Lack of Central Authority Poses Challenges for Southern Baptists Amid Abuse Scandal

IRONDALE (AL)
National Catholic Register

February 14, 2019

In the wake of months of sexual-abuse reports and allegations within the Catholic Church, and just before a Vatican summit on the problem, two Texas newspapers published a three-part investigation into the Southern Baptist Convention, uncovering at least 700 cases of child sexual abuse at the hands of church leaders and volunteers.

The joint investigation by the Houston Chronicle and the San Antonio Express-News revealed that, since 1998, around 380 Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) leaders and volunteers have been accused of sexual misconduct — some resulting in lawsuits and convictions and others in personal confessions and resignations.

“They left behind more than 700 victims, many of them shunned by their churches, left to themselves to rebuild their lives. Some were urged to forgive their abusers or to get abortions,” the Houston Chronicle reported. “About 220 offenders have been convicted or took plea deals, and dozens of cases are pending. They were pastors. Ministers. Youth pastors. Sunday school teachers. Deacons. Church volunteers.”

In many ways, the scandal resembles that of the Catholic Church abuse scandals: children robbed of innocence, pastors abusing their positions of trust and authority, negligence and lack of appropriate, timely action on the part of some leadership once they were informed of abuse, and the shuffling of accused pastors from church to church.

Our view: SBC must act in aftermath of abuse scandal

LUBBOCK (TX)
Avalanche-Journal

February 13, 2019

A church is expected to be a place of sanctuary and hope, populated with leaders who represent God, but sadly a recent joint investigation by the Houston Chronicle and San Antonio Express-News found a number of disturbing instances where this was not the case.

The newspapers discovered hundreds of Southern Baptist church leaders and workers had been accused of sexual misconduct over the past two decades, leaving a trail of human brokenness in the wake of another church scandal. In all, per an Associated Press story, more than 700 victims, some as young as 3, have had their lives forever impacted by 380 people in positions of trust at SBC-affiliated churches.

First, one abuse victim in any setting is one too many. One abuser in any position of trust is one too many. Instances where other church officials either ignored what was going on, refused to respond to victims’ cries for help or who enabled this reprehensible behavior to continue are a sad commentary and injure the credibility and mission of the church in the world. That, in some cases, victims and their families were also shunned by churches when they needed compassion is an unimaginably painful scenario.

There are a number of theories as to why churches can be especially susceptible to scandals such as this. Church leaders should be above reproach and often are seen that way by the people they serve, creating an aura of absolute trust, but, as is obvious from this investigation, church leaders are human and fallible. All churches should see these scandals as a call to tighten background checks, accountability standards and measures to protect the vulnerable from anyone entrusted with leadership responsibilities in a church.

Harvest Bible Chapel moves quickly to fire founder MacDonald after recordings air

CHICAGO (IL)
Chicago Daily Herald

February 13, 2019

By Susan Sarkauskas

Thirty-one years after he founded it, Pastor James MacDonald has been fired as the leader of megachurch Harvest Bible Chapel.

The church announced the move Tuesday on its website.

The announcement said the elders had previously determined they were going to remove MacDonald but that they moved quickly after "highly inappropriate recorded comments made by Pastor MacDonald were given to media and reported."

The elders fired him Monday, according to the announcement. MacDonald founded the church in Rolling Meadows, and it now has seven Chicago-area locations and one in Florida.

"This decision was made with heavy hearts and much time spent in earnest prayer, followed by input from various trusted outside advisers," the elders' statement said.

The comments attributed to MacDonald were broadcast by WLS-AM radio show host Mancow Muller, a former member of the church who said he was baptized by MacDonald in the River Jordan in Israel.

The clips purportedly are of MacDonald talking of a plan to put child pornography on the computer of Christianity Today magazine's chief executive officer and about whether writer Julie Roys, one of the critics the church sued in October, was having an affair with Mark Galli, editor-in-chief of the publication.

The audio clips include an insult of Galli and an accusation that Roys had approached the houses of people who were victims in a DCFS investigation of a church worker and harassed them. There were also comments about MacDonald being able to raise $100,000 "in a minute."

Roys, of Carol Stream, wrote on her blog that "Galli and I have never had anything but a professional relationship, and it's repulsive that anyone -- a pastor, no less -- would make a joke about that."

Christianity Today magazine, based in Carol Stream and founded in 1956 by the Rev. Billy Graham, published a story when Harvest filed the defamation suit last year against Roys, Ryan Mahoney of Wheaton, Scott Bryant of Geneva and the two men's wives. Mahoney and Bryant write The Elephant's Debt blog critical of the church.

The Pope’s Upcoming Summit Needs To Do a Full Accounting Of the Cover-up Of Sexual Abuse

Patheos blog

February 13, 2019

by Timothy D. Lytton, Georgia State University

Pope Francis is gathering 200 bishops and heads of religious orders from around the world for a global summit in Rome to discuss the crisis facing the Catholic Church over sexual abuse scandals.

The meeting begins on Feb. 21 and will last four days. It is likely to produce a new round of public apologies, expressions of concern for victims and pledges of reform.

But recent statements by leading bishops and the pope suggest that church officials are not ready to take what I believe is an essential step in ending the scandal: providing a full and detailed accounting of their own role in concealing credible allegations of sexual abuse.

I’m a legal scholar who has written a book on clergy sexual abuse in the Catholic Church, and it appears to me that the church’s latest response, so far, is part of a familiar pattern that has persisted for nearly three decades.

African Church leaders express concern about clerical abuse

DUBLN (IRELAND)
Irish Catholic

February 14, 2019

When child sexual abuse scandals involving Catholic priests emerge in Africa, they do not draw a frenzied reaction similar to that witnessed in developed countries, but the continent’s Church is affected, Catholic leaders have said.

While there is a general view that the scandals are a challenge of the Church in Europe and America, African officials confirm the incidents, amid reports of some provinces expelling or defrocking priests.

In Africa, clerics view the issue as too delicate and sensitive for the public, and many remained tight-lipped on the subject. At the same time, the Church leaders said they were concerned about the abuses and closely follow any such reports, both locally and globally.

“Africa is also affected like any other continent, but to what extent, I am not sure,” said Precious Blood Sr Hermenegild Makoro, general secretary of the Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference.

In October, the South African Church defrocked three priests over sexual abuse of children in the parishes. Since 2003, 35 cases of abuse involving priests have been reported to the Church in South Africa.

Sr Makoro said out of the 35 cases, only seven were being investigated by the police, and one has led to a life sentence.

Lack of women in Catholic clergy challenged Irish minister says the Church is being hurt by the continuing exclusion

PARIS (FRANCE)
La Croix International

February 14, 2019

The Catholic Church should overcome its unwillingness to embrace woman and the marginalized, according to Ireland's Minister for Culture, Heritage and Gaeltacht Irish speaking regions, Josepha Madigan.

"For many, the revelations of sexual and physical abuse scandals, and the denigration of marginalized people within the Church has shaken their faith and sense of belonging to its core," she said, The Irish Times reported.

The minister, at a Feb. 13 Dublin meeting on why all ministries should be open to women, added that Catholics had a responsibility to speak up for values they expect the church to uphold.The Irish Times reported that Madigan noted that Protestant churches in Ireland have more than 400 women as ordained members of the clergy."Nobody finds this unusual because in those church communities it is considered quite the norm," she said.

"Why can't the Catholic Church be the same? More often than not, it is women who are holding parishes together, doing the lion's share of the work."

Details Emerge Regarding the Diocese of Harrisburg's Victim Assistance Fund

ST. LOUIS (MO)
Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

February 13, 2019

Last November, the Diocese of Harrisburg announced that they were creating a victims compensation fund to aid survivors of clergy abuse in their diocese. Today we have learned the details of that fund.

The plan from the Diocese of Harrisburg is as milquetoast as is it ineffectual. The details – giving survivors a mere 90 days to come forward while also precluding their ability to sue in the future – are intended to sound good and mollify an angry public. The fact is, if Church officials cared about protecting children and supporting survivors, they would have devised a very different plan.

We believe that the more information that is known about abusers the better parents, parishioners, and the public are equipped to prevent future cases of abuse. We notice that the Diocese is not offering to make public the information that they receive from victims. Removing a survivor’s right to sue will not prevent cases of abuse, but will prevent survivors from using legal tools that can compel dioceses to release information or correct misinformation.

Four publicly accused clerics who are not on Omaha"s list of those with "substantiated allegations"

ST. LOUIS (MO)
Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

February 13, 2019

Four publicly accused clerics who are not on Omaha"s list of those with "substantiated allegations"

--Fr. Thomas B. Laughlin, who “admitted to molesting dozens of boys over decades,” was described by a newspaper as “one of Oregon's most notorious pedophile priests,” and who spent “his last years living a quiet existence near family in Omaha.” A Nebraska native, Fr. Laughlin was ordained in Lincoln. He faced numerous civil suits, most of which settled, and was convicted at least once and sentenced to one year in jail. “Laughlin was known as an exceptionally charismatic priest and tremendous church fundraiser who hobnobbed with Portland's Catholic business and political elite,” wrote the Oregonian.

New Jersey Dioceses Release Lists of Accused Clerics

ST. LOUIS (MO)
Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

February 13, 2019

Today, dioceses across the state of New Jersey have released their lists of clerics who have been “credibly” accused of abuse. We applaud this move but push for further action.

Between the dioceses of Camden, Metuchen, Newark, Paterson, and Trenton, 188 names of clergy who have been found to have abused children were released. These lists are critical for the prevention of abuse, the protection of children, and healing for survivors. We hope that seeing these names in print will bring solace to survivors and let victims who may still be suffering in silence find the strength to come forward and make a report of their abuse to law enforcement officials.

Yet we also know that there are more names of clerics who have hurt people in New Jersey that were not disclosed today. None of the lists released include the names of religious order or “extern” priests. While bishops often claim that they do not have authority over these clerics, the fact that they worked in New Jersey – regardless of whether they were brought there by a religious order leader or on loan from another diocese – behooves the inclusion of their names on these lists. If New Jersey bishops want to live up to their 2002 promise to be open and transparent, we believe that all those who hurt children while working in one of their dioceses should be listed.

Virginia Dioceses Release Lists of Accused Clerics

ST. LOUIS (MO)
Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

February 13, 2019

Two dioceses in Virginia have released their lists of clergy who have been “credibly” accused of abuse. We are grateful for this move but urge further action.

The Diocese of Richmond, VA has released a list of 42 names of clerics who have been accused of sexually abusing children or vulnerable adults. Similarly, the Diocese of Arlington has announced a list of 16 accused clergy.

It is always helpful for survivors when these lists are posted, especially for those who may be suffering in silence. Seeing that they are not alone helps victims heal and could also compel others who were abused – whether by the same person or in the same place – to come forward.

But what is not helpful is when lists are carefully curated to leave off names of priests who have been accused of abuse but whose allegations haven’t been deemed by church officials to be “credible.” We have seen previous cases where accusations have been deemed not credible only for those determinations to have been disastrously wrong.

Church in Oceania still shaken by pedophilia scandals Local bishops are trying to repair their damaged credibility

PARIS (FRANCE)
LaCroix International

February 14, 2019

By Claire Lesegretain

This is the second in a five-part series on steps taken by Catholic bishops on the various continents. Australia, which has a 25 percent baptized Catholic population, has experienced a series of crises over the Church pedophilia scandal since the first accusations became public during the 1980s.

In 1996, after a rising number of revelations, the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference (ACBC) published its plans in a document entitled "Towards Healing" while the Archdiocese of Melbourne developed a plan of its own entitled "The Melbourne Response."The two protocols set out the procedures to be followed in cases of suspicion and reporting of abuse allegations involving a member of Church personnel.

They included preventive measures as well as a process of accompaniment and compensation for victims.Despite these efforts by the Church, the devastating report of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, which was made public in February 2017, once again shone a torchlight on the scandals in the Church.

Prepared over a period of five years and covering more than 4,000 youth institutions – both religious- and government-run, the report showed that "between 1950 and 2010, 7 percent of priests had been accused of sexual abuse of children."

Therapist, Exorcists Comment on Satanic Catholic Priest

IRONDALE (AL)
National Catholic Register

February 14, 2019

By Patti Armstrong

In December, a Boise, Idaho, priest of 45 years, who lived in world of Satanism and child pornography, was sentenced to 25 years in prison. I came across the story, glossed over it, and turned away, finding it too disturbing.

Then an editor asked if I wanted to write about it. Well, not really. But after talking about it with a Catholic therapist and two exorcists, I discovered some worthwhile points to ponder. First, brace yourself for a summary and go here if you can stomach it all.

Thomas Faucher, 73, was caught with thousands of heinous images and satanic pronouncements on his phone and computer. There were 24 charges against him — including possession of LSD, marijuana, and Ecstasy — of which he pleaded guilty to five, claiming he could not remember much due to depression and dementia. Faucher’s interests on chat rooms are testimony to the hideous face of evil: actively seeking interests with gay men, satanic interests, violent and torturous images including rape, torture, and killing children, and fantasies including altar boys and babies.

Faucher’s defense pointed out that he never actually sexually abused a child and that he was a wonderful person who helped many people. Going from a position of power to nothing through retirement led to loneliness, alcoholism and drug abuse, which were blamed for his fall into darkness.

The diocese evicted Faucher while he was being held in the county jail and they had the house exorcised before selling it. Faucher apologized at his sentencing. “I was one really sick puppy. I screwed up big time... I feel so much remorse and anger.”

How Can This Happen?

How could a priest plunge so deep into depravity? I asked Paul Peloquin, a Catholic clinical psychologist in Albuquerque, New Mexico, who was abused as an 11-year-old. He returned to the Church after a thirty-year absence and now helps others to heal spiritually and emotionally.

SNAP calls for state to set up hotline to report abuse by priests

NORWICH (CT)
The Day

February 13. 2019

By Joe Wojtas

The Connecticut chapter of the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests on Wednesday called on Chief State’s Attorney Kevin Kane to set up a hotline to receive complaints from people who say they were abused by Catholic priests in the state.

In addition, Gail Howard said her organization has identified three priests, in addition to the six priests and brothers identified by The Day, who were not included on the list of 43 substantively accused of sexually assaulting minors that was released by the Diocese of Norwich on Sunday.

Howard, who made the comments during a Wednesday afternoon news conference in front of the Cathedral of St. Patrick, which is just yards from Bishop Michael Cote’s office, also called on the diocese to release more information about those on the list, such as what parishes and schools they served at.

“We need to know where these offenders worked and what parishes allowed them to have access to children,” said Howard, who was accompanied by John “Tim” McGuire of New London, who alleged last summer that, when he was 8 and an altar boy at St. Joseph's Church in Noank, the late James Curry molested him.

The diocese’s list also did not say what the priests were accused of doing and whether the diocese reported them to police or the state Department of Children and Families, which clergy have been required to do under the state’s mandatory reporter law since 1971.

While all but 10 of the priests on the list are deceased, Howard said SNAP wants to know where the ones who are alive are now living.

“These are people who are a danger to children now. They need to be watched carefully,” she said.

According to the diocese’s list, diocesan priests such as Richard Buongirno and R. Thomas McConaghy still are alive.

Ex-Pope John HS Priest Named On Church Sex Abuse List

SPARTA (NJ)
Patch

February 14, 2019

By Katie Kausch

A former priest who worked at Pope John High School faced a credible sexual abuse allegation, the Diocese of Paterson said.

James Scott, who was on the faculty at Pope John High School, was named on a newly released Diocese list of credibly accused priests. He served at other North Jersey churches and schools during his career (you can find a full list of churches at the bottom of this article).

The priest was included on a list of 28 from the Diocese of Paterson who face credible abuse allegations. All the priests are either deceased, removed from the ministry, or laicized.

"Such misconduct by those ordained as ministers of our faith can never be tolerated. The faithful of our diocese have a right to know that the diocese is doing everything it can to ensure the safety of our children and to report perpetrators to law enforcement authorities," Bishop Arthur Serratelli said in a letter.

Scott faces one accusation; more information on the details of the allegation was not immediately available. He was removed from the ministry in 1995.

Editorial: A list of names, and a long-needed reckoning for the church

WOODLAND PARK (NJ)
North Jersey Record

February 14, 2019

How much of a stain does a priest’s garment carry? How much of a stench of shame?

Certainly not much for most priests, not for “good priests,” not for those who go about their daily walk ministering, first and foremost, to humankind and to the faithful who look to them for spiritual and emotional guidance.

And yet not all priests are good, and we are staggered by the sheer number of priests in New Jersey, past and present, who allegedly abused the trust, sexually abused children under their watch, and, shamefully, were protected by the Roman Catholic Church.

On Wednesday came a long-awaited reckoning for Catholic priests in New Jersey, some of the "bad ones," believed to have abused young boys and girls, priests who too often were allowed to keep their cassocks and to keep performing Mass — even after their terrible secrets were known to the church hierarchy.

Cardinal Joseph William Tobin greets parishioners at the Cathedral Basilica of the Sacred Heart in Newark before he is installed as head of the Archdiocese of Newark on Friday, Jan. 6, 2017.
Cardinal Joseph William Tobin greets parishioners at the Cathedral Basilica of the Sacred Heart in Newark before he is installed as head of the Archdiocese of Newark on Friday, Jan. 6, 2017. (Photo: Michael Karas/Northjersey.com)

On Wednesday we at last saw the names, 188 of them, from New Jersey’s five Catholic dioceses, who the church said had been “credibly accused” of sexually abusing children. The Newark Archdiocese posted its list shortly after 9:15 a.m. — a total of 63 names that included 33 priests who are deceased. Some of the priests had one alleged victim, but 33 had multiple victims. The Paterson Diocese list includes 28 clerics.

The release of the lists came after Cardinal Joseph Tobin announced last year that the dioceses were in the process of reviewing clergy sex abuse cases. The lists, he said, were compiled during an “extensive review” of records dating to 1940.

The length of the lists and the length of years covered by the lists speak directly to the depth and breadth of the abuse, but it cannot speak to the horror of it.

It cannot speak for long-ago victims who were subjected to abuse by men of God, men who were supposed to be their protectors — not their predators.

It cannot speak for all those who were abused, who had no lifeline to which to turn, save the church, and who had, in the end, neither the strength nor the wherewithal to speak up or cry out for justice.

Independent investigator issues report on abuse in Louisville Archdiocese

WASHINGTON (DC)
Catholic News Service

February 14, 2019

By Marnie McAllister

A report by an independent investigator into the Archdiocese of Louisville's handling of clergy sexual abuse in the course of 80-plus years begins as a story of failure followed by what the report calls "a sea change" in the past 17 years.

Attorney Mark Miller penned the report — that includes a list of 34 credibly accused priests of the Archdiocese of Louisville — after spending three months poring over 400 files and thousands of pages of documents.

He described his process and findings during a news conference Feb. 8 at the Archdiocese of Louisville Pastoral Center, formally presenting his report to the media and John Laun, chair of the archdiocese's Sexual Abuse Review Board.

The board had requested the third-party investigation last fall, according to Archbishop Joseph Kurtz of Louisville.

Miller is a former U.S. attorney, former commissioner of the Kentucky State Police and retired judge advocate general.

During the news conference, Kurtz repeatedly indicated that the report is meant to be preliminary — a beginning, not an end, of a larger effort to bring healing to victims and transparency to the archdiocese's handling of sexual abuse by clergy.

"Our primary purpose today is healing — healing of people who are victim survivors, many of whom I've spoken directly to and who have told me that having a report and a list of credibly accused priests will provide validation for something that has been part of their life, often for many decades.

"And secondly," he said. "There is the thought that it will inspire others who have not come forward to come forward now for the healing that they truly deserve."

He urged people who want to report abuse to contact police and the archdiocese, adding, "Do not delay in that."

Woman says brother was sexually abused by priest in the Catholic Diocese of Richmond

RICHMOND (VA)
WRIC TV

February 13, 2019

By Sierra Fox

The names of 42 Catholic clergy members with ties to the diocese of Richmond were released on Wednesday after "credible and substantiated" allegations of sexual abuse involving minors were made against them.

8News spoke with a woman who said her brother was abused by a priest on the list of 42 clergy members. The woman asked not to be on camera but said her name was Kathleen.

"Sadly, my brother was molested by a priest," Kathleen said.

She said her brother was sexually abused by Father George George from the age of 13 to 16.
"When I saw the name of the priest," she explained to 8News. "It really brought back some terrible memories and the terrible time my family went through."

Kathleen said her brother stopped going to church and started using drugs to cope.

"I'm not gonna let this one monster change the way I feel and celebrate God," she said.

Some survivors told 8News that what happened to them did change the way they feel and celebrate god. ​​​​​​​

SPECIAL REPORT: “The Sound of Silence,” a look at allegations of abuse within the Peoria Diocese

PEORIA (IL)
Channel 25 News

February 13, 2019

(Warning: This story contains graphic material and is not suitable for a younger audience.)

Although he now lives in Rockford, Jeff Jones was born into a devout Catholic family in Pekin. Growing up in Central Illinois in the 1950’s and 60’s his mother often volunteered at St. Joseph’s. It was during that time he first met Father Walter Breuning.

“He would bring gifts. He bought my mom and dad an air-conditioning unit, he bought them new carpet. And I’m a little boy right and I’m seeing all the stuff thinking, ‘gosh, this guy is tremendous,'” recalls Jones.

At a young age Jones says he quickly grew attached to the Priest. So, when Father Breuning was transferred from his Parrish in Pekin to St. Anthony’s in Atkinson, Jones says he jumped at the invitation to come stay with the Priest on various breaks from school, including his summer vacation. He recalls working odd jobs around the rectory for money by day, sleeping on a couch in the living room by night.

But then, one day, he says the relationship changed.

“He said to me, ‘You know, why don’t you go in here? The air conditioner is better in my room. Why don’t you come on in there and sleep in there?’ And I said, ‘OK,” Jones begin, with a long pause as he looks down and stares at his clenched hands. “He started rubbing my back and I’m thinking, ‘OK, this is OK, and then he started dipping his hand down in my underwear. He took my underwear off and he began to, you know, massage me down there.”

Victims sexually abused by priests would be able to sue decades later under new deal

NEWARK (NJ)
Star Ledger

February 14, 2019

By Susan K. Livio

State lawmakers will announce on Thursday they have reached an agreement that will repeal New Jersey’s narrow two-year statute of limitations that childhood victims of sexual assault say have prevented them from suing churches and other nonprofits, NJ Advance Media has learned.

The new legislation, which has not yet been made public, will allow a victim of childhood sexual abuse to bring a civil suit up until the age of 55 or seven years after they make “the discovery that they connect the injury to the abuse,” said Sen. Joseph Vitale, D-Middlesex, the bill’s prime sponsor.

“They may have known they were abused but don’t connect the psychological damage to it,” Vitale said. “Two years is a ridiculously short time” to have to come to grips with what happened, and tell their families, he said.

The legislation also allows adult victims of sexual assault seven years to file a civil lawsuit, instead of the current two-year time limit, Vitale said.

New Jersey dioceses just named 188 priests accused of child sex abuse. Will more priests go to jail?

NEWARK (NJ)
Star Ledger

February 14, 2019

By S.P. Sullivan

After decades of relative silence, New Jersey’s five Catholic dioceses on Wednesday identified 188 priests credibly accused of sexual abuse against children. The disclosures come amid an ongoing state grand jury investigation expected to identify pedophile clergy and reveal whether there were any efforts to cover up their abuse.

Among the priests identified, 110 are dead. More than 75 had been removed from ministry as a result of their behavior, including some of the deceased. Two were listed as “whereabouts unknown. The records date back to the 1940′s and it is not known how many clergy were ever charged criminally.

But even with the release of the list, legal experts say it is unlikely many be prosecuted even though the state attorney general in New Jersey has launched its own sweeping investigation into allegations of sexual abuse. If similar efforts in other states are any indication, the inquiry could more likely prompt a hard look at systemic failures to stop abuse than put large numbers of priests in prison.

Former law enforcement officials and advocates for sexual assault survivors say clergy abuse cases are among the most difficult to prosecute for several reasons.

It was not unusual decades ago for victims to decide not to report abuse because they were skeptical that there would be consequences. And when victims did come forward in decades past, their complaints were frequently not turned over to authorities by church officials. Also, the lack of witnesses or corroborating evidence complicates criminal convictions further.

Even in Pennsylvania, where Attorney General Josh Shapiro last year published an unprecedented report naming more than 300 priests accused of abusing more than 1,000 children, just three clerics have been criminally charged.

SNAP leader recognizes abuser after Diocese of Arlington release names of priests accused of child sex abuse

RICHMOND (VA)
CBS 6 News

February 13, 2019

By Matthew Fultz

Becky Ianni tells CBS 6 that although her abuse happened more than five decades ago, Wednesday's list of priests that sexually abused minors brought back all of those horrible memories.

"I think I flashback back to the abuse and what he did to me and how it changed my life," said Ianni. "My first reaction was to check the list here and check the list in Arlington to make sure he was on there and he was," Ianni said.

That name was William Reinecke, a man who Ianni said abused her for several years as a child.

Today shes the Virginia State Leader for the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP). Although she is glad a list was published, she said its information is incomplete.

"There`s information missing. They don`t have listed how many people have accused each of these priests," said Ianni. "It could be one, it could be dozens of victims. It doesn`t list the perishes they were at. It does`t say when they found out and what they knew."

The Diocese of Arlington released 16 priests names today.

'I think there is probably people who aren't on that list because they didn't make the cut for whatever reason and we don`t even know what that reason is," Ianni added.

While the Diocese of Richmond had 42 names of priests who abused minors. CBS 6 took to the streets of Richmond to hear what catholic members had to say.

The list of Catholic priests accused of abuse in NJ is out. What's next?

WOODLAND PARK (NJ)
North Jersey Record

February 14, 2019

By Sarah Nolan and Deena Yellin

NorthJersey.com's Ed Forbes discusses the release of names by NJ dioceses of priests credibly accused of sexual abuse. Paul Wood Jr. and Michael V. Pettigano and Ed Forbes, North Jersey Record

The names of 188 priests and deacons who have been credibly accused of sexually abusing children over several decades were released by New Jersey Roman Catholic dioceses on Wednesday.

The public release of the names was the result of an internal review spurred by law enforcement officials launching their own investigation and “an effort to do what is right and just,” according to Cardinal Joseph Tobin, head of the Newark Archdiocese.

The Newark Archdiocese alone released 63 names, 33 of whom are now dead. Of all the accused priests, 109 are dead and 79 living.

Will the priests go to jail?
In most cases these charges are from decades ago, and the statute of limitations has expired, so it's unlikely. While there is no longer a statute of limitations on reporting sexual abuse of a minor, in years past there were limits on how much time could elapse between when a crime was committed and when charges could be filed.

The Catholic Church’s US seminaries need reform

WASHINGTON (DC)
Religion News Service

February 12, 2019

By Thomas Reese

No one has a greater impact on a Catholic parish than its pastor, which is why diocesan seminaries are key to the future of the church in America. Diocesan seminaries evaluate and then form those men who want to be parish priests. Sadly, in recent decades, too many of the priests coming out of these seminaries have been trained to be authoritarians with few pastoral skills.

Some of them come to seminary with an authoritarian mindset, but faculty at today’s seminaries often do little to change that. Some faculty members even foster it, teaching their students that they have all the answers and that their job is to kick the laity into shape. In these cases, seminarians are not taught to listen, to delegate, to work with committees or to empower the laity, especially women.

This is not true of all seminaries and seminarians. Chicago’s Mundelein Seminary has improved under the leadership of Cardinal Blase Cupich. Some are mixed bags. Others are disaster areas.

In the worst programs, students are told not to ask questions but to consult “The Catechism of the Catholic Church,” the book-length presentation of the teachings of the church prepared under the papacy of John Paul II. The documents of the Second Vatican Council are either downplayed or interpreted through a conservative lens. In too many places by too many faculty, moral theology is presented in a legalistic framework in which everything is black or white.

This has been going on in American seminaries since at least the mid-1990s, after conservative bishops had consolidated their control of seminaries. The result is that many parishioners are unhappy with their pastors.

Seminaries were one of the great reforms that came out of the Council of Trent, the long meeting of the church in the mid-1500s spurred by the Protestant Reformation. Until that time, many clergymen were ignorant and sometimes even illiterate. Trent insisted that the clergy be educated and urged bishops to set up seminaries to prepare men for the priesthood.

Seminaries also were a way of segregating seminarians from the world in order to protect and foster their vocations. Seminaries were often built in the countryside, where the seminarians could be easily protected from temptation. If they don’t interact with women, they will not fall in love and leave.

What Hollywood Can Teach the Catholic Church About Confronting Longtime Sexual Abuse

LOS ANGELES (CA)
The Wrap

February 13, 2019

By Johnathon Schaech

Pope Francis has called an unprecedented “summit” of bishops to the Vatican to discuss for the umpteenth time the problem of sexual abuse by priests — this one is focused on the abuse of children.

The summit starts Feb. 21 and ends on the night of the Academy Awards, Feb. 24. I cannot help but see the significance between the revelations about abuse and power in the Roman Catholic Church mirroring the revelations of abuse and power in our community out here in Hollywood.

Clergy sex-abuse survivors have been coming together and speaking out since 1988 through SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests. In 2002, the group helped the Boston Globe investigative team expose the Boston diocese’s practice of covering up for predators and moving them to new, unsuspecting parishes. Hollywood immortalized that moment in the 2016 Oscar-winning movie “Spotlight.”

The Pope’s Top Reformer on Sexual Abuse Can’t Fix the Catholic Church

BOSTON (MA)
The Atlantic

February 14, 2019

By Emma Green

Cardinal Seán O'Malley has spent decades cleaning up after pedophile priests. Now he's once again found himself in the middle of a crisis.

A few years after Seán O’malley took over the Archdiocese of Boston in 2003, at the peak of the clergy sexual-abuse crisis in America, he led novenas of penance at nine of the city’s most affected parishes. At each church he visited, he lay facedown on the floor before the altar, begging for forgiveness. This is how O’Malley has spent his life in ministry: cleaning up after pedophile priests and their apologists, and serving as the Catholic Church’s public face of repentance and reform.

Possibly more than any other cleric on Earth, O’Malley understands how deeply the Church’s errors on sexual abuse have damaged its mission and reputation. Today, he is one of Pope Francis’s closest advisers, the only American on a small committee of cardinals who meet regularly at the Vatican. He runs the pope’s special commission on the protection of minors. And he is a member of the influential Vatican office responsible for preserving and defending Catholic doctrine. He believes that the Church has changed, can change, and will change. But as the world’s top bishops prepare to meet later this month for an unprecedented summit on sexual abuse at the Vatican, O’Malley has found himself frustrated, unable to push reforms through at the top.

In an interview on a recent cold morning in Boston, the cardinal spoke about the progress he believes the Church, and Pope Francis, have made in recent years, and what’s still lacking. He detailed his proposal to establish Vatican tribunals to deal with bishops accused of wrongdoing—one of the major problems the Church has yet to address. The pope “was convinced to do it another way,” O’Malley said. “We’re still waiting for the procedures to be clearly articulated.” He often described problems in the Church passively, without directly assigning agency or fault. For example: American bishops have asked the Vatican for an investigation into Theodore McCarrick, the former cardinal who was consistently elevated despite widely acknowledged rumors of sexual misconduct, until he was removed from ministry last summer. After months of requests, an investigation appears to be under way. “Certainly, many of us have personally expressed to the Holy Father and the secretary of state the need to do something quickly,” O’Malley said. “I keep getting assurances. But we’re waiting for the documents to be produced.”

February 13, 2019

'The Safety of Victims Matters More than the Reputation of Southern Baptists'

VIRGINIA BEACH (VA)
Christian Broadcasting Network

February 12, 2019

A multi-month Houston Chronicle investigation into sexual abuse in Southern Baptist churches has rocked the denomination and prompted calls for immediate, aggressive action.

Southern Baptist president J.D. Greear called for the denomination to mourn and repent. He promised to put the Southern Baptist Convention's spiritual, financial and organizational resources behind an effort to stop predators in churches and other Southern Baptist institutions.

He also called for the care of victims saying "the safety of victims matters more than the reputation of Southern Baptists."

Dr. Russell Moore, the president of the convention's Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, called on churches to report all child abuse cases to the civil authorities.

Moore also addressed church governance issues which historically have been used by denominational leaders to reject calls for abuse protection measures such as a registry of offenders to track predators who move from church to church.

"Church autonomy is no excuse for a lack of accountability," said Moore. He called on churches that use issues like sexual immorality or opposing missions to deem another church "out of fellowship" to do the same for churches that cover up rape or sexual abuse.

Last year the denomination created a Sexual Abuse Presidential Study Group, largely in response to the #MeToo and #ChurchToo movements. One of the key goals is to train churches to recognize sexual predators and how to respond to charges of abuse.

Release of abusive priests’ names only a beginning

SAN ANTONIO (TX)
Express-News

February 13, 2019

There is much work to be done by the U.S. Catholic Church as it moves forward with restoring the public trust, shattered by decades of failing to properly address allegations of sexual abuse of children by clergy.

The release last month of the names of close to 300 Texas-based priests who have been credibly accused of sexual abuse, including 54 in the Archdiocese of San Antonio, will go a long way toward starting the healing process for many victims and their families. But it’s only a beginning.

The scars are deep.

The cases on the Bexar County list date back as far as 1941 and include 150 separate allegations of misconduct. Most of the allegations were under the radar of most Bexar County residents because only a few ever surfaced in court. A review of Express-News archives indicates the archdiocese had paid at least $6.63 million as of 2011 to victims of sexual abuse by priests in Bexar County.

As painful as these types of cases are, there needs to be continued honesty and transparency going forward. Needed: strong policies that ensure allegations of misconduct are reported to law enforcement in a timely manner and suspects are sidelined from their jobs while investigations are conducted.

Those who participate in cover-ups and allow suspected child molesters to be reassigned must also be held accountable. Pretending the problem does not exist won’t make it go away. Decades of trying to resolve the problem internally have proven futile.

Lawsuit against St. Edward School alleges former priest raped boy in 1970s

CARLSBAD (NM)
Carlsbad Current-Argus

February 13, 2019

By Michael Smith

A lawsuit filed in New Mexico's Fifth Judicial District Court Monday alleged a priest sexually abused a 7-year-old boy more than 40 years ago while the clergyman was assigned to St. Edward School in Carlsbad.

The boy, listed in the lawsuit as John Doe, was allegedly raped by Kerry Guillory, per the suit, on the campus of the school on multiple occasions.

Between 1972 and 1974, the 7-years-old boy was allegedly sexually assault by Guillory.

“The suit was prompted by our client struggling through the failure of what scientists call ‘child coping skills.’ When really bad things happen to children, especially (by a person) in a position of trust and authority over the child, they survive by utilizing whatever coping mechanisms work to block out bad things,” said Albuquerque attorney Brad Hall, who filed the lawsuit.

Defendants in the case are the Catholic Diocese of El Paso, Conventual Franciscan Friars, Province of Our Lady of Consolation, Inc., St. Edward Parish, Inc. and St. Edward School, Inc., read the complaint.

“We have no comment on pending litigation,” said Fernie Ceniceros, interim communications director for the El Paso Catholic Diocese.

As more abuse surfaces, reaction remains: ‘How could they?’

GARDENCITY (KS)
Garden City Telegram

February 13, 2019

My first reaction upon hearing that hundreds of leaders in the Southern Baptist church had sexually abused as many as 700 people in 400 churches, including victims as young as 3, was “how could they?” It was the same reaction I had when news of predatory priests in the Roman Catholic Church, and the cover-up that followed the sexual abuse allegations, surfaced.

I have belonged to Southern Baptist churches in the past, so I know something about their proud “independent” status. Some critics have said it is the lack of a central authority in these churches that contributed to failed oversight. The Catholic Church has a central authority. How do you explain its oversight structure?

The reporting by the Houston Chronicle, San Antonio Express-News and The Washington Post should turn any stomach. Most Baptists have had children in their Sunday school programs. What must they be thinking as they ponder whether to ask their child, who by now might be a teen or an adult, if they had ever been abused by a teacher, pastor or counselor?

The Washington Post reports: ”...instead of ensuring that sexual predators were kept at bay, the Southern Baptist Convention, resisted policy changes. ...Victims accused church leaders of mishandling their complaints, even hiding them from the public.”

Philly organization pushing for clergy abuse reform laws says lawsuits turn tragedy into justice

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
KYW Newsradio

February 13, 2019

By Steve Tawa

The parents of a man who won what may be the largest payout to date from the Archdiocese of Philadelphia in a clergy abuse case are donating a chunk of it to CHILD USA to track the Statute of Limitations reform movement.

University of Pennsylvania Law School professor Marci Hamilton, a nationally-recognized advocate for survivors of clergy sex abuse, believes that 26-year-old Sean McIlmail, a former student in a northeast parish, died of a heroin overdose in 2013 because he was unable to cope.

"He was under tremendous pressure, because he was the only victim who could go after a prosecution of a priest," Hamilton said.

She says that was due to Pennsylvania's exceedingly short limit to file a lawsuit. He was about to testify against a now-defrocked priest, Robert Brennan.

Hamilton says public pressure is forcing state legislatures to allow child abuse victims to go after the Roman Catholic Church.

"Over half of the states this year have already introduced legislation to expand or eliminate the criminal and civil statutes of limitations. That's a record," she said.

Sean's father, Michael, a former Philadelphia police officer, recalls the church approaching the family to donate part of their settlement to the church to deal with abusive priests. They decided instead, to give it to Hamilton's CHILD USA.

Church in New Jersey names 188 credibly accused priests

DENVER (CO)
Crux

February 13, 2019

By Christopher White

Following a trend throughout the country, New Jersey’s five Catholic dioceses released on Wednesday the names of its priests credibly accused of sexual abuse.

In total, 188 names were included on the five lists: 63 from Newark, 56 from Camden, 30 from Trenton, 28 from Patterson, and 11 from Metuchen.

While the majority of the priests named are deceased, one name appearing on two lists remains the subject of intense controversy: Theodore McCarrick.

Earlier this summer, McCarrick, the former bishop of Metuchen and later archbishop of Newark (and then Washington, D.C.), was credibly accused of abusing an altar boy while serving as a priest of the archdiocese of New York during the 1970s.

McCarrick would go on to become one of the most prominent members of the U.S. Church, and the scandal surrounding him led Pope Francis to accept McCarrick’s resignation from the College of Cardinals last summer, along with removing him from ministry.

The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF), the powerful Vatican body that investigates abuse against minors, is expected to issue a decision on whether to laicize McCarrick in the coming days. Should the Vatican make such a move, McCarrick would be permanently removed from the priesthood.

The archdiocese of Newark included McCarrick in its full listing, noting: “Archbishop Theodore McCarrick has been included on the list based on the findings of the Archdiocese of New York that allegations of abuse of a minor against then Father McCarrick were credible and substantiated.”

Doing the right thing: Abuse summit aims to put the world’s bishops on the same page

TORONTO (CANADA)
The Catholic Register

February 13, 2019

By Michael Swan

Ever since Pope Francis announced in September that he was calling the heads of the world’s bishops’ conferences to Rome for an unprecedented summit on sexual abuse, expectations have been mounting.

He called for the summit as the Church was reeling from several abuse scandals that had implicated priests, bishops and even cardinals. Nine months into 2018, it was already a horrible year for the Church and it would get worse. More than just a Pennsylvania grand jury report on 70 years of clerical abuse and cover-ups, or lurid tales of sexual predation by former Washington Archbishop Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, or having every single bishop in Chile tender his resignation — beyond these ghastly headlines was a relentless drip of revelations of abuse, negligence and concealment.

Then in November the Pope instructed the American bishops to postpone a vote on stringent new abuse protocols that included creation of a phone line to report misconduct by bishops. He wanted them to wait until the abuse crisis was discussed by bishops from around the world. His intervention further fuelled anticipation of major developments when the three-day summit convenes Feb. 21 in the Vatican.

But as the date approaches, the Vatican has been trying to dampen anticipation.

“I’ve perceived a bit of an inflated expectation,” Pope Francis told reporters on the plane as he returned to Rome Jan. 26 from World Youth Day in Panama. “We need to deflate the expectations.”

That doesn’t mean the Pope is having second thoughts about his own summit. But his ambitions differ from the thousands of Catholics worldwide who may be expecting dramatic announcements or the immediate imposition of new measures to combat abuse.

What the Army can teach the Catholic Church about responding to sexual abuse

NEW YORK (NY)
America Magazine

February 13, 2019

By James M. Dubik

When Pope Francis said in a 2015 interview, “I am a sinner,” he reminded us of a fundamental truth: We are all imperfect. Even those striving for both moral and spiritual perfection are prone to mistakes, errors in judgment, blindnesses and biases. As human beings, we cannot be otherwise, and the organizations we create to govern ourselves—whether for business, political, security, social or religious purposes—reflect these imperfections. The Catholic Church is facing twin crises that prove this point exactly: a sexual abuse crisis and a crisis of confidence in leadership practices that allowed, then covered up, the abuse.

The issue now is how to restore trust in church leadership. My experience in the United States Army—over 37 years, 11 as a general officer—suggests that the path of “I’m sorry, trust me this time” won’t work. Rather, the church must become trustworthy, and that means taking comprehensive corrective action.

Addressing scandal in the ranks

At one point in my career, I witnessed how then-Chief of Staff of the Army, General (now retired) Dennis J. Reimer, and the rest of the senior Army leadership dealt with the 1996 Aberdeen sexual abuse scandal. I was a colonel then, General Reimer’s executive officer. This scandal broke when Major General (now retired) Robert Shadley discovered, reported and began an investigation into allegations of sexual abuse involving the Army drill instructors responsible for training new recruits at Aberdeen Proving Grounds, Md.

Diocese of Camden Lists Names of 56 Priests 'Credibly Accused' of Sexual Abuse of Minors

CAMDEN (NJ)
Cape May County Herald

February 13, 2019

On Feb. 13, 2019, the Diocese of Camden, in concert with the other dioceses of New Jersey, has published the names of all diocesan priests credibly accused of sexual abuse of minors.

The following is Bishop Dennis Sullivan's explanatory statement regarding the release of names.

In keeping with a promise made by the Roman Catholic Bishops of New Jersey, I am today releasing the names of 56 priests and one deacon of the Diocese of Camden who have been credibly accused of sexual abuse of minors. The other bishops from New Jersey are simultaneously releasing the names of priests from their dioceses.

In the Diocese of Camden, these 56 priests are a small percentage of the more than 800 priests who have faithfully served the people of South Jersey since the diocese was founded in 1937.

As to the names on the attached list, it includes those who admitted to the abuse, those who were found guilty after a trial in the church courts or the civil courts, and others against whom the evidence was so overwhelming as to be virtually unquestionable. Most of these incidents occurred in the 1970s and the 1980s and involved male teenagers. It should also be noted that the majority of these priests, all of whose names have been provided to local law enforcement authorities, are dead.

In many cases, a single allegation from 30 or 40 years ago was the only such charge that had ever been made against the priest and was received after he had died. Thus, he was unable to respond to the allegation.

Former Prince George priest listed as sex abuser

PETERSBURG (VA)
Progress Index

February 13, 2019

By Bill Atkinson

Diocese releases names of 42 men with ‘credible, substantiated’ accusations of assault of minors

The Catholic Diocese of Richmond released a list Wednesday of 42 former diocese priests having “credible and substantiated” accusations of sexual abuse of minors, and that list includes a former priest at a Prince George County parish.

In an open letter to the diocese membership, Bishop Barry C. Knestout said the release coincides with his promise for transparency and accountability in how the church has dealt with the allegations. Knestout said the release is being done to help the survivors and their families heal from their past abuse.

“To those who experienced abuse from clergy, I am truly, deeply sorry,” Knestout wrote. “I regret that you have to bear the burden of the damage you suffered at the hands of those you trusted. I am also sorry that you must carry the memory of that experience with you. Moreover, I apologize to family members and friends of the abused, and to all members of the Catholic Church.”

Knestout stated that the crisis calls for the diocese to “be immersed in three aspects of reconciliation” — acknowledgement of the abuse, regret for the victims and a commitment that it never happens again.

“In doing so, we make known — and support with actions — our commitment to repair the damage that has been done,” the bishop wrote.

Protesters say Norwich diocese list of priests is incomplete

NORWICH (CT)
Norwich Bulletin

February 13, 2019

By Kevin Aherne

The Diocese of Norwich this week released the names of 43 former priests in the diocese with “allegations of substance” made against them regarding the sexual abuse of minors, but a group of protesters say the church has not gone far enough to address the issue.

A small group of protesters from the Connecticut chapter of SNAP — the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests — held a press conference Wednesday afternoon in front of the Cathedral of Saint Patrick in Norwich urging the diocese to “come fully clean now” and to out additional priests the organization said were excluded from the list.

Also Wednesday, the Roman Catholic diocese in Richmond, Va., published a list of 42 priests with a “credible and substantiated” allegation of sexual abuse against a child, while New Jersey’s five Roman Catholic dioceses listed more than 180 priests who have been credibly accused of sexually abusing minors over a span of several decades.

Gail Howard, the leader of the Connecticut chapter of SNAP, said the release of the names by the Norwich diocese was a step forward in addressing decades of abuse that had been previously covered up, but more steps need to be made.

Howard also claimed the list of 43 clergy in the Norwich diocese omitted at least nine names, citing six missing names reported Tuesday by The Day, and three more identified by SNAP.

Howard unveiled details on the three priests that had previously gone unreported by the diocese and the media including: a priest who allegedly repeatedly assaulted a boy in New Hampshire in the 1960s and had served in the Norwich diocese at a church in Willimantic; a priest charged in 1993 with molesting a child in Massachusetts who had previously served in the Norwich diocese at a church in Middletown; and a priest who admitted abuse who had served in the diocese at a church in Middlefield.

Survivors group in Topeka reveals names of more Catholic priests accused of molestation

TOPEKA (KS)
Topeka Capital-Journal

February 13, 2019

By Tim Hrenchir

The names of five Roman Catholic priests thought to have molested children in other states — though they weren’t on the list the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas released Jan. 25 identifying 22 priests it concluded had sexually abused children — were made public Wednesday in Topeka by the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests.

Four of the five priests on the list released by Kansas City SNAP leader Jim McConnell are deceased. They include the Rev. Anthony Palmese, whom an obituary provided by SNAP indicated held assignments that included serving at Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church in Topeka.

The archdiocese confirmed Wednesday that two of the priests had served there but said it had no record of sexual allegations against either during their time there.

The archdiocese indicated it had no record of the other three, including Palmese, having been assigned there and had confirmed that with Husch Blackwell, the law firm hired to independently review all its files.

“It is possible that one or more of these individuals worked, undertook studies or lived in the area at some time in the past,” said Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann. “But if they did, we were not aware of it because the records, going back some 75 years, did not show it.”

Virginia’s two Catholic bishops release names of 58 priests they say have been credibly accused of sexually abusing minors

WASHINGTON (DC)
Washington Post

February 13, 2019

By Michelle Boorstein and Sarah Pulliam Bailey

Virginia’s two Catholic dioceses Wednesday released lists of clergy whom officials say were deemed “credibly accused” of sexually abusing youth, the latest in a slew of U.S. dioceses to make public such names amid a national crisis over clerical abuse and cover-ups.

The diocese of Arlington, which covers the northeastern corner of Virginia, released a list of 16 names. It said the list was the product of two former FBI agents contracted by the diocese and given access to clergy files and information dating to its founding in 1974. It wasn’t immediately clear if any of the names were completely new to Catholics of the diocese.

Bishop Michael F. Burbidge said in a letter that he ordered the list be released to help “victims and survivors of clergy abuse to find further healing and consolation.”

The diocese of Richmond, which covers the rest of the state, released 42 names.

List reveals names of dozens of Virginia priests facing 'credible' child sex abuse allegations

RICHMOND (VA)
WRIC TV

February 13, 2019

The Catholic Diocese of Richmond has released the names of dozens of priests that are facing 'credible and substantiated' allegations of sexual abuse against a minor.

The list, which contains the names of 42 priests, was published by the Diocese of Richmond Wednesday afternoon.

The full list of priests can be found below.

“To the victims and to all affected by the pain of sexual abuse, our response will always be about what we are doing, not simply what we have done," the Most Rev. Barry C. Knestout, Bishop of Richmond, said in an open letter published with the clergy list.

"We will seek not just to be healed but will always be seeking healing. We will seek not just to be reconciled but will always be seeking reconciliation."
In an open letter addressed to the Catholic Church community last September, Bishop Barry Knestout says he is committed to addressing accusations of abuse quickly and transparently., Bishop Knestout promised to address all accusations 'quickly and transparently.'

Snap, or Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, called for the names, "that may have been omitted," to be added to the list on Wednesday. Snap also asked for additional background information about the priests, including how the diocese handled each allegation, to be made public.

We urge catholic officials in Virginia to not only go back to these lists and add any names that may have been omitted, but also to add work histories, information about current whereabouts and, critically, when the diocese first learned of the allegations and what their immediate response was. Only by including this information can we get a clearer picture of what went wrong in Virginia and what must be done now to protect children and prevent abuse."-Snap

Group says other priests could be part of Omaha sex abuse claims

OMAHA (NE)
KMTV

February 13, 2019

By Jake Wasikowski

A victim's support group is calling for more transparency from the Archdiocese of Omaha amid the sexual abuse scandal.

"The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests" is calling on Omaha’s Catholic Church to include four clerics who were accused of sexual abuse on children in other states.

In December, the church released a list of 38 clergy with substantiated claims of sexual abuse or sexual misconduct with a minor.

SNAP says Fathers Thomas Laughlin, Alphonsus Ferguson, James Kelly, and Michael Nash all worked or spent time in Nebraska and were accused of sex crimes in other states. Though Laughlin and Ferguson have died; they say the others could be living here.

"Our view is that any child molesting priest, brother, nun, bishop, seminarian who was in this arch diocese the Catholics and the citizens need and deserve to know about them because we can protect our kids best if we know who and where these predators are,” said David Clohessy, with SNAP.

The Nebraska Attorney General's Office has asked the Omaha, Lincoln, and Grand Island diocese to share investigation reports dating back 40 years.

CZECH CARDINAL DOMINIK DUKA AGREES TO MEET VICTIMS OF SEXUAL ABUSE BY PRIESTS

PRAGUE (CZECH REPUBLIC)
Czech Radio

February 13, 2019

Unlike elsewhere in Europe, the Catholic Church in the Czech Republic has faced relatively few scandals involving the sexual abuse of minors or nuns by priests. But as is common worldwide, many cases are never reported or become public knowledge.

Petra Panská, a former nun, is among seventeen people, including victims, who have signed on to a letter to Cardinal Dominik Duka asking him to meet in person with those abused by clergymen. After years of silence, she told Czech Radio, she began speaking out about her own repeated abuse by a Catholic priest, since convicted of multiple counts of rape.

“In my case, I experienced post-traumatic stress disorder, and a multiple personality disorder and depressive disorder also developed. Again and again in my mind I intensively re-live these traumatic events.”

Cardinal Duka has tended to downplay the problem, claiming that only 10 percent of accusations against priests are proven – which does not mean they did not occur. In 2010, when still Archbishop of Prague, he spoke of sexual abuse by the clergy as “abominable” but also said it was over-reported, part of a wider “media campaign” against the Catholic Church and the Pope.

It was for such a stance on the issue that the US-based Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, or SNAP, includes Cardinal Duka on its “Dirty Dozen” list of papabiles deemed unfit to ever become Pope. This due to his role, according to SNAP, in protecting paedophile priests and making public statements offensive to their victims.

The letter challenging Cardinal Duka to meet face to face with victims was initiated by documentary filmmaker Michal Štingl. He says it stems from the frustration of signatories – all practising Catholics – with the Church’s reluctance to address the issue in open discussion.

“I have repeatedly tried to meet both with the Archbishopric and with the heads of the dioceses where cases have occurred. There was virtually no reaction anywhere. The vast majority are simply not willing to talk about it.”

380 Southern Baptist leaders and volunteers accused of sexual misconduct

WASHINGTON (DC)
Religion News Service

February 13, 2019

By Daniel Burke

Since 1998, about 380 Southern Baptist leaders and volunteers have faced allegations of sexual misconduct, according to a sweeping investigation by two Texas newspapers.

The Houston Chronicle and the San Antonio Express-News also found that in the past 20 years, more than 700 victims have been abused, with some urged to have abortions and forgive their abusers.

The newspapers said their investigation included "examining federal and state court databases, prison records and official documents from more than 20 states and by searching sex offender registries nationwide."

In Texas alone, the newspapers interviewed police and district attorneys in 40 counties.

"Ultimately, we compiled information on 380 credibly accused officials in Southern Baptist churches, including pastors, deacons, Sunday school teachers and volunteers," the newspapers said. "We verified that about 220 had been convicted of sex crimes or received deferred prosecutions in plea deals."

Of those 220, 90 remain in prison and 100 are registered sex offenders, according to the report.

The investigation comes as other religious bodies, including the Catholic Church, face accusations of widespread sexual abuse of its members, especially children, over decades.

Churches are autonomous
But unlike the Catholic Church and other Christian denominations, the Southern Baptist Convention is a collection of 47,000 autonomous churches, with little power to force churches to comply with policies.

"The SBC presents no governing policies to churches because the SBC is not a governing organization; it is a service organization. Each church is self-governing," said Sing Oldham, a spokesman for the Southern Baptist Convention.

"However, the Convention has consistently called on churches to report immediately to law enforcement any known or suspected instance of sexual abuse in a church context and has provided resources to inform churches of ways to help protect their congregants," Oldham added.

With about 15 million members, the Southern Baptist Convention is the largest Protestant denomination in the United States.

When the Catholic Church’s prohibition on scandal helped women

WASHINGTON (DC)
Washington Post

February 13, 2019

By Sara McDougall

Speaking with reporters last week, Pope Francis acknowledged that the Catholic Church is confronted not just with a crisis of widespread allegations of sexual assault and abuse of minors, but also the rape and even “a kind of sexual slavery” of nuns.

This statement was not technically news. Many already knew of these long-standing allegations of such horrific abuses of power.

What was new, and what some might consider a grave sin on the part of the pope, was not his silence but his public recognition of the problem.

We know all too well how long Catholic authorities have sought to keep priests’ sexual sins quiet. Only recently, because of the brave children and nuns who have come forward, has the depth of sexual abuse in the church been acknowledged as a crisis that must be addressed.

But why has scandal been systematically silenced in the church for so long? One answer lies in the medieval church's doctrine on scandal.

Will the release of names of abusive priests in NJ restore church credibility?

WOODLAND PARK (NJ)
North Jersey Record

February 13, 2019

By Mike Kelly

The names are just ordinary. John and Michael and Robert and Peter and William and Thomas and Ken.

All Catholic priests.

All accused of abusing little boys and girls.

On Wednesday, after decades of CIA-like secrecy and obfuscation, the Catholic church in New Jersey finally opened its files and told the faithful in the pews what it knew about priests who had molested children.

“I wish to express my genuine sorrow to the victims and their families who were so profoundly betrayed,” Newark’s Cardinal Joseph Tobin wrote in a letter that accompanied the list. “On behalf of our Church, I beg your forgiveness. You have my solemn promise of prayers and support as you continue on your healing journey.”

In itself, the list is shocking – more than 60 names, just in the Newark Archdiocese, which includes roughly 1.3 million Roman Catholics in Bergen, Hudson, Essex and Union counties. By noon, the list had grown to nearly 200 priests across the state as New Jersey’s four smaller dioceses of Paterson, Metuchen, Trenton and Camden released names of abusive priests.

Click here for the full list of names.

At the same time, however, these lists– and, in particular, how many priests were named – should not shock anyone who has followed the sex-abuse crisis that has crippled the Catholic church for the past two decades, draining its finances and its moral credibility.


Church officials, in New Jersey and across the world, have known for years that far too many priests led secret lives in which they regularly abused some of the most vulnerable members of their flock.

The list of Newark Archdiocesan abuser priests dates back to 1940. It includes ordinary parish priests and others who became significant leaders. The archdiocese said all the cases had been "previously reported to law enforcement agencies."

One prominent name is former Newark Archbishop Theodore McCarrick, who regularly abused seminarians but was nevertheless promoted to cardinal and placed in charge of the politically significant Archdiocese of Washington, D.C. McCarrick, now in retirement near Washington, has since been stripped of his cardinal’s title by the Vatican.

DIG DEEPER
Catholic priest abuse in NJ
NJ Catholic dioceses release names of priests accused of sexual abuse
Here’s the list of NJ priests accused of sexually abusing children
Can the release of abusive priests' names restore church credibility?
Catholic sexual abuse crisis: Where to get help

Another prominent figure is the Rev. Charles Hudson, a well-known parish priest in Bergen County and former chaplain at Holy Name Medical Center, who became a nationally recognized leader in the hospice movement. Hudson died two decades ago. But the hospice he founded, the Center for Hope in Union County, is still considered a trend setter in the care of those who are dying. One of the center's facilities in Elizabeth is called "Father Hudson House."

The release of names such as McCarrick and Hudson underscore just how damaging the sex abuse scandal has been to the church and what it sees as its mission to offer guidance on a wide range of social, political and moral issues.

Just a few weeks ago, in the midst of the partial shutdown of the federal government over President Donald Trump’s demand for a wall along the Mexican border, Cardinal Tobin wrote a passionate op-ed article for the The New York Times in which he called for more lenient treatment of immigrants. The article was part of Tobin’s unabashed effort to become a national voice in America’s immigration debate.

“There are moral issues involved,” Tobin said in an interview about his stance on immigration. “I think the responsibility from a Christian standpoint is to welcome the stranger, to assist those in danger, certainly to offer love we owe to children and the mothers who carry them.”

Story continues below video:


Cardinal Joseph Tobin, the leader of the Newark Archdiocese posted this video message on the Newark Archdiocese web site on Feb. 13, 2019. North Jersey Record

This week, however, Tobin has been pulled back to the church’s dark side – its sex-abuse crisis.

On Monday, he announced a special fund to compensate victims. On Wednesday, he released the names of abuser priests.

“The revelations of clergy sexual abuse of minors throughout this past year have provoked feelings of shock, anger, shame, and deep sorrow throughout our Catholic community,” Tobin said Wednesday. “Victims, their families, and the faithful are rightfully outraged over the abuses perpetrated against minors. Additionally, the failure of Church leadership to immediately remove suspected abusers from ministry is particularly reprehensible."

Instead of calling police or defrocking abusive priests, bishops and other church leaders regularly often moved them to different parishes – a pattern that sometimes resulted in even more abuse.

Nevertheless, the fact that the files were finally pried open just a bit represents a significant change from the church’s long history of secrecy – and, sometimes, outright lies – when it comes to questions of behavior by priests.

But while Wednesday’s release of names of abuser priests in New Jersey represents a renewed emphasis by the Vatican on transparency, the list is still not complete.

Not included were priests from some religious orders such as the Franciscans, Dominicans, Benedictines and Carmelites who served parishes or schools in New Jersey. Last month, the Jesuit order released names of 50 abusive priests from northeast states, including 10 who worked in New Jersey.

Also not included are the files on the abusive priests that could offer some context on how many children were victimized and why bishops and other church officials did not impose some measure of discipline. And finally, there is no reporting yet by church officials on whether bishops or other Catholic leaders might be disciplined for helping to cover up the reports of abuse.

Catholic Church names New Jersey clergy accused of sexual abuse

NEWARK (NJ)
KTRK TV

February 13, 2019

New Jersey's five Roman Catholic dioceses listed more than 180 priests Wednesday who have been credibly accused of sexually abusing minors over a span of several decades, joining more than two dozen other states that have named suspected abusers in the wake of a landmark grand jury report in Pennsylvania last year.

The lists released Wednesday (and posted below) identified priests and deacons who served in the dioceses of Camden, Trenton, Metuchen and Paterson and the archdiocese of Newark. Many priests on the lists are deceased, and others have been removed from ministry.

Cardinal Joseph Tobin, the archbishop of Newark, which listed 63 former priests, said in a statement that he hoped the disclosure "will help bring healing to those whose lives have been so deeply violated."

Camden's diocese listed 56 priests and one deacon; Trenton's diocese named 30 priests; the Paterson diocese listed 28; and Metuchen's diocese named nine plus two others who are currently the subject of civil investigations.

State Attorney General Gurbir Grewal formed a task force in the fall to conduct a criminal investigation into sexual abuse by clergy in the state, shortly after a Pennsylvania grand jury report identified over 300 predator priests and more than 1,000 victims in that state.

Richmond Diocese names 42 priests accused of child sex abuse

RICHMOND (VA)
News Channel 6

February 13, 2019

By Scott Wise

The Catholic Diocese of Richmond has released a list of 42 priests who have “a credible and substantiated allegation of sexual abuse” against a child.

“To the victims and to all affected by the pain of sexual abuse, our response will always be about what we are doing, not simply what we have done. We will seek not just to be healed but will always be seeking healing. We will seek not just to be reconciled but will always be seeking reconciliation,” the Most Rev. Barry C. Knestout, Bishop of Richmond, wrote in an open letter published with the list of priests.

The first “credible and substantiated” incident of child sex abuse was reported to the Diocese in the 1950s, according to a Catholic Diocese of Richmond spokesperson. The most recent occurred in 1993, the spokesperson continued.


Catholic Diocese of Trenton church names abusive priests with Shore ties

TRENTON (NJ)
Asbury Park Press

February 13, 2019

By Alex N. Gecan and Andrew Goudsward

The Catholic Diocese of Trenton has named 30 former clergymen who stand credibly accused of sexual abuse against children.

All 30 men are either dead or have been removed from their ministries. The diocese did not specify whether the men were priests or deacons, where they worked when active, what sort of accusations they faced or from how many victims.

"This preliminary list will be updated as more information becomes available," Bishop David M. O'Connell wrote in a statement Wednesday. "I do this with the greatest sadness and a heavy heart.

The Diocese of Trenton is in charge of churches in Burlington, Mercer, Monmouth and Ocean counties, according to its website.
The accused are:
Romanilo S. Apuro
Ronald R. Becker (deceased)
Richard C. Brietske
Gerard J. Brown (deceased)
Francis D. Bruno
Charles J. Comito (deceased)
Benjamin R. Dino (deceased)
Manuel R. M. Fernandez (deceased)
Thomas J. Frain (deceased)
Gerald J. Griffin (deceased)
Douglas U. Hermansen
Frank J. Iazette (deceased)
Vincent J. Inghilterra
Francis J. C. Janos (deceased)
Leo A. Kelty (deceased)
Patrick F. Magee
Terrance O. McAlinden (deceased)
Francis M. McGrath
Joseph F. McHugh (deceased)
William J. McKeone
Richard R. Milewski
Liam A. Minogue (deceased)
Sebastian L. Muccilli (deceased)
Robert J. Parenti
Joseph J. Prioli
Joseph R. Punderson
Thomas A. Rittenhouse (deceased)
John E. Sullivan (deceased)
Florencio P. Tumang (deceased)
Brendan H. Williams

N.J. Roman Catholic dioceses release names of clergy ‘credibly accused’ of sex abuse

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
WHYY Radio

February 13, 2019

By Joe Hernandez

New Jersey’s five Roman Catholic dioceses on Wednesday released the names of nearly 200 priests and deacons they say were credibly accused of sexual abuse.

The releases from the Archdiocese of Newark and the Dioceses of Camden, Trenton, Metuchen, and Paterson come as the child sexual abuse scandal in the church continues to unfold and just five months after New Jersey authorities announced a statewide investigation of allegations of abuse and cover-ups.

Cardinal Joseph Tobin, the ​Archbishop of Newark, said he wants to restore trust in the scandal-scarred church and provide solace to victims, and he said releasing the names could help get justice for those abused.

“The disclosure of this list of names is not an endpoint in our process. Rather, it is an expression of our commitment to protecting our children, and a new level of transparency in the way we report and respond to allegations of abuse,” Tobin said in a statement. “We must protect our children, first, foremost, and always.”

Yet some critics viewed Wednesday’s news as damage control by a church they said had been uncooperative in investigating child sex abuse.

“My message would be take these lists with a large dose of salt,” said Mitchell Garabedian, a Boston attorney who has represented scores of clergy sex abuse victims and was portrayed in the film “Spotlight,” which profiled the Boston Globe’s seminal investigation of clergy sex abuse.

Newark archdiocese releases names of 63 pedophile priests

NEWARK (NJ)
Associated Press

February 13, 2019

By David Porter and Claudia Lauer

The Archdiocese of Newark released a list Wednesday of 63 Roman Catholic clergy members that it said have been credibly accused of sexually abusing minors dating back to 1940.

Joseph Cardinal Tobin, the archbishop, said in a statement that he hoped the disclosure “will help bring healing to those whose lives have been so deeply violated.”

New Jersey is one of more than two dozen states where dioceses have released the names of abusive clergy members since a Pennsylvania grand jury report in August identified over 300 predator priests.

In the wake of the Pennsylvania report, New Jersey's attorney general formed a task force last fall to conduct a criminal investigation into sexual abuse by clergy in the state.

Newark's list includes Theodore McCarrick, a former Newark archbishop who served as Washington, D.C., archbishop from 2000 to 2006. McCarrick was removed from public ministry in June.

All of the clergy members on the list are described as deceased or having been removed from ministry, and about half have been named in previous news reports. About half are believed to be responsible for multiple victims.

New Jersey's four other dioceses are expected to release names soon of clergy members suspected of abusing minors.

The number of named clerics on the Newark list is likely to grow larger, as the current list doesn't include those who are currently the focus of lawsuits. The archdiocese said those names would be added if accusations are found to be credible.

El fundador de la escuela del Atlético admite haber abusado de un niño

[Friar and founder of Atlético school admits having abused a child]

BARCELONA (SPAIN)
El País

February 13, 2019

By Oriol Güell

Una víctima acusa al marianista Manuel Briñas de haberle agredido sexualmente en un colegio de Madrid durante tres años

El fraile marianista Ángel Manuel Briñas, quien fue uno de los responsables de la cantera del Atlético de Madrid durante más de dos décadas, ha admitido a EL PAÍS haber abusado sexualmente de un menor de edad cuando era fraile marianista en un colegio de Madrid. Los hechos, según la víctima, ocurrieron entre 1973 y 1975, cuando Briñas era el responsable deportivo y de scouts del Colegio Marianista Hermanos Amorós, del barrio de Carabanchel. El centro educativo y el club han mantenido históricamente una estrecha relación por la que muchos futbolistas de las categorías inferiores del Atlético estudiaban allí.

La red de poder que miró al techo ante la doble vida del cura Poblete

[The powerful network that overlooked priest Poblete's double life]

CHILE
El Mostrador

February 13, 2019

By Macarena Segovia

El sacerdote construyó un sistema perfecto con el que no solo sustentó la obra del Padre Hurtado, haciendo crecer el Hogar de Cristo, sino que recobró el poder y la influencia en la élite que los jesuitas habían perdido tras la irrupción de otras órdenes, como el Opus Dei. El poder de sus amistades y benefactores le dieron un "halo" que sumió en la ceguera a sus cercanos, en donde a pesar de que "todos sabían" y se le veía cerca de mujeres jóvenes, "nadie sabía" del abuso y poder que ejercía sobre ellas.

“Polvete”, así era llamado Renato Poblete Barth, el sacerdote que fue pilar fundamental del Hogar de Cristo y del legado del Padre Alberto Hurtado. Un hombre poderoso, “casi santo”, que ostenta el Premio Bicentenario entregado por la Presidenta Michelle Bachelet y que hasta cuenta con un parque con su nombre para honrarlo. Un religioso que protagonizó la reinvención de los jesuitas, luego que la Compañía de Jesús comenzara a perder fuerza entre los católicos de élite a fines de los sesenta, y constituyó la beneficencia como la base de las redes de poder que lo protegieron durante décadas ante los “rumores” que siempre hubo sobre su doble vida.

Iglesia se compromete a colaborar con la justicia por denuncias contra Francisco Cox por abusos

[Catholic order promises to cooperate with abuse investigations into Francisco Cox]

CHILE
BioBioChile

February 13, 2019

By Alberto González and Nicole Martínez

Los Padres de Schoenstatt reiteraron que entregarán toda la colaboración a la justicia para establecer la verdad en los casos de abuso sexual contra menores que pesan sobre el exsacerdote Francisco José Cox. Recordemos que el exreligioso, quien fue destituido de sus labores sacerdotales por el papa Francisco, retornó a nuestro país procedente de Alemania para enfrentar acusaciones en su contra por abuso de menores.

El administrador apostólico de Puerto Montt "pidió no condenar" a ex sacerdote fallecido

[Apostolic administrator of Puerto Montt asks people not to condemn a deceased former priest]

CHILE
SoyChile

February 13, 2019

Ricardo Morales se refirió al suicidio de Francisco Núñez quien era investigado por abusos sexuales.

El padre Ricardo Morales administrador apostólico de la Arquidiócesis de Puerto Montt, emitió un comunicado público tras la muerte del ex sacerdote José Francisco Núñez Calisto, donde solicitó no reprochar y menos condenar al fallecido.

Few sex abuse scandals in the Asian Church to date In Asia

PARIS (FRANCE)
LaCroix International

February 13, 2019

Asia has so far experienced very few instances of clergy sex abuse involving minors. One primary reason is that Roman Catholics are just a drop in a this ocean of overwhelmingly Hindu, Buddhist, Taoist and Muslim countries of Asia. Catholics are a majority only in the Philippines and Timor Leste.In the Philippines, "no member of the clergy has been convicted or imprisoned for sexual abuse of children or vulnerable adults," Bishop Buenaventura Famadico of San Pablo, south of Manila, and president of the Episcopal Commission for the Clergy, told La Croix last September.

Catholic higher ed wants to be 'part of the solution' to sex abuse crisis

WASHINGTON (DC)
National Catholic Reporter

February 13, 2019

By Heidi Schlumpf

After the release of the Pennsylvania grand jury report last summer, Thomas Mengler, president of St. Mary's University in San Antonio, Texas, sat down and wrote his archbishop a letter, in effect saying, "You need to get ahead of this."

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Mengler recommended a lay commission to audit the archdiocese's efforts addressing the issue and to suggest ways to improve. This would be separate and in addition to the archdiocesan review board that evaluates individual allegations — and this new commission's members would not be appointed by the archbishop.

San Antonio Archbishop Gustavo García-Siller listened. A well-respected retired appeals court chief justice, Catherine Stone (herself a survivor of sexual abuse, though not by a clergy member), was tapped to head the commission, which issued its report on Jan. 31, the same day the Texas bishops released names of priests accused of sexual abuse.

Six of the seven members of that commission were affiliated in some way with St. Mary's University; five were alumni, including Stone, whose law degree is from the Marianist school. The commission is one example of how Catholic colleges and universities are stepping up to the plate to assist the church with the crisis of sexual abuse and cover-up.

"I think Catholic universities have a responsibility to help the church," Mengler said. Mengler told the story of the commission as part of a workshop — ominously titled "Multiple Paths of Securing Money in a Hostile Environment" — as part of the annual meeting Feb. 2-4 of the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities in Washington, D.C.

In video, Bridgeport bishop calls sex abuse by clerics crime and sin

WASHINGTON (DC)
Catholic News Service

February 13, 2019

By Rhina Guidos

In a video posted Feb. 11 on YouTube, Bishop Frank J. Caggiano of Bridgeport, Connecticut, offered support for the “many sisters and brothers who have been wounded, violated, hurt and abused at the hands of priests and deacons” and whose sexual abuse in their youth “changed their lives forever.”

“The crime and sin of sexual abuse in our midst is a deep evil that has created a deep wound,” said Caggiano, who has been one of the most outspoken U.S. bishops on the topic of sex abuse by clergy.

Getting rid of the “evil” is not enough, he said, calling on others to offer support for those who have been victimized, “those whose lives sometimes have been completely shattered.”

“We stand with them because we love them, because they’re part of our family and even though some members of our family have betrayed them, you and I will not,” he said. “We stand with them because in the name of Jesus, his love invites them and us to heal, for we are all in need of healing.”

No clear-cut solution to sex abuse, but next week's meeting won't be a failure

KANSAS CITY (MO0
National Catholic Reporter

February 13, 2019

By Michael Sean Winters

One week from tomorrow, the presidents of the world's bishops' conferences will begin a four-day meeting in Rome to discuss the church's response to clergy sex abuse. What can we reasonably expect from such a short meeting and on such a complex issue?

Most prognosticators think the meeting will fall short of expectations. I suppose that depends on what those expectations are. Take for example, my colleague Jesuit Fr. Tom Reese, who offered five reasons he thought the meeting would fail, the last of which was this:

Nonetheless, the meeting will also fail because, in order to succeed, Francis will have to lay down the law and simply tell the bishops what to do, rather than consulting with them. He'll have to present a solution to the crisis and tell them to go home and implement it.

Francis will not do that. He does not see himself as the CEO of the Catholic Church. He has a great respect for collegiality, the belief that the pope should not act like an absolute monarch. At his first synod of bishops, he encouraged the bishops to speak boldly and not be afraid to disagree with him.

Fund for clergy sex abuse victims: Will it bring healing or protect the Catholic church?

HARRISBURG (PA)
PennLive

February 12, 2019

By Ivey DeJesus

Catholic bishops have long held that victims compensation programs offer a chance for victims to heal.

That theory is about to be put to the test for potentially hundreds of victims of clergy sex abuse across the Diocese of Harrisburg.

On Tuesday, officials from the diocese rolled out a program that will pay out millions of dollars in financial compensation to adults who were sexually abused as children by priests and church officials. The diocese has not announced the size of the fund or estimates of how much will be awarded to settle individual claims.

Some victims welcome the idea of a compensation award, particularly in light of the fact that the legislative reforms that would allow victims to sue predatory priests in court have up to now failed in the General Assembly.

The majority of victims linked to the findings of the grand jury report are timed out of the legal system because the statute of limitations have expired for them.

Local Survivor Of Catholic Priest Sex Abuse Is Headed To The Vatican

PITTSBURGH (PA)
Newsradio 1020 KDKA

February 12, 2019

“I was a sophomore in high school when I met David Pullson at Bradford Central Christian in the little town of Bradford and he was my English teacher.” Jim Van Sickle told KDKA Radio’s Marty Griffin and Wendy Bell on Tuesday afternoon.

“He had just come out of seminary that same year. I had just some things happen in my family that had me wondering aimlessly.”

“I was a perfect target.”

Sickle is just one of countless survivors of Catholic priest sex abuse that has come forward to tell their stories in hopes to heal, inspire others, and to get the Catholic Church to stop trying to protect itself, and start healing the survivors of these atrocious crimes.

It is in this pursuit for vindication that has fueled Sickle to travel to the Vatican, where he has meetings set up to speak with people in high-powered positions. He hopes that his meetings will get his messages heard, and, hopefully, be taken to the top of Catholic leadership: the Pope himself.

Indy Archdiocese Suspends Priest Accused Of Sexually Abusing Minor

INDIANAPOLIS (IN)
WISH-TV

February 13, 2019

The Archdiocese of Indianapolis said Tuesday it has suspended one of its priests from the ministry after a report of sexual abuse involving a minor in 2016.

The Rev. David J. Marcotte is prohibited from all public ministry. The abuse report about the 32-year-old priest was made Wednesday to the archdiocese's victim assistance coordinator, a statement said.

The statement said "civil authorities" and the chair of the Archdiocesan Review Board were notified of the allegation. Local law enforcement officials have announced no criminal charges against Marcotte.

Marcotte was ordained June 7, 2014. He has worked with these ministries: 2014, associate pastor, SS. Francis and Clare Parish, Greenwood, and Catholic chaplain, University of Indianapolis; 2015, associate pastor, St. Malachy Parish, Brownsburg; 2016, administrator, St. Martin of Tours Parish, Martinsville; 2017, chaplain, Roncalli High School, Indianapolis; Catholic chaplain, University of Indianapolis; and sacramental assistance, SS. Francis and Clare Parish, Greenwood.

In 2018, the Archdiocese of Indianapolis suspended two more priests for sexual abuse allegations. Retired Priest John Maung came to light in August, and Father Patrick Doyle was the subject of credible accusations in September. Doyle later resigned.

Clergy sex abuse support group to challenge Omaha Catholic officials Wednesday

OMAHA (NE)
KMTV

February 12, 2019

By Danielle Meadows

Holding childhood photos and signs, members of a nation-wide support group for clergy sex abuse will stand outside Omaha's Catholic headquarters tomorrow urging officials to make changes and provide more information.

The support group is called SNAP (the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests), and say via e-mail that Omaha Archbishop George Lucas omitted crucial details and four names from his list of 38 alleged predators released in November.

Members plan to disclose those four names of publicly accused priests who spent time in the Omaha area but have been left off of the Catholic church's recently released accused clerics list.

SNAP will urge Omaha Catholic officials to add those names to the list and do "more aggressive outreach" towards those who may have been impacted by priest abuse in the city.

According to the e-mail, SNAP hopes Archbishop Lucas will release more details about two clerics accused of sexual misconduct who face multiple allegations but have "apparently not been ousted from ministry," and provide more information on accused "extern" clerics whose whereabouts are not being disclosed.

The group also aims to urge the Archbishop to provide more details about the allegations against Father Francis Nigli and Father Andrew Syring.

Members will gather on the sidewalk outside the Omaha Catholic headquarters at 100 N. 62nd St. Wednesday at 1:45p.m.

New Details About A Sex Abuse Scandal In The Southern Baptist Convention

MEMPHIS (TN)
LocalMemphis.com

February 12, 2019

By Rebecca Butcher

The sex abuse investigation surrounding the Southern Baptist Convention faults a prominent local pastor for being complacent in reporting sexual abuse.

The Houston Chronicle reports current pastor of Bellevue Baptist, Steve Gaines, failed to immediately fire an offender.

Now he says his staff is trained detect abuse.

When Local 24 News asked Pastor Gaines about the incident - he released this statement saying:

“Any form of abuse is tragic and the occasion of great sorrow, and there should be absolutely no tolerance for any sort of abuse. Consequently, all of our staff have been and are being trained on an ongoing basis to detect abuse and know what to do if it is suspected or reported. Every church should do the same. Churches must take responsibility to protect and minister to all victims and be safe places for all congregants. The Southern Baptist Convention now has a Sexual Abuse Presidential Study Group to help churches deal with these heinous issues. I fully support this initiative and look forward to the report and the suggestions that they bring.” ~Steve Gaines, Senior Pastor, Bellevue Baptist Church

According to the report, Gaines admits waiting six months to fire a pastor who confessed to molestation.

amily of Jesuit priest files canon law appeal to Vatican over accused priests list

DALLAS (TX)
WFAA TV

February 12, 2019

By Jobin Panicker

Attorney David Finn confirmed to WFAA that the family of Fr. Patrick Koch – a former president and principal at Jesuit prep school in Dallas – has filed a cannon law appeal to the Catholic Diocese of Dallas, the Diocese of Corpus Christi, and the Vatican over Koch being included on a list of priests credibly accused of sexual abuse.

The appeal was hand-delivered to the diocese on Monday before close of business, according to Finn.

The Koch family met with Bishop Edward Burns last Friday to discuss Koch being named on the list. Finn said that the meeting was very cordial and the family said Burns "showed remarkable and unprecedented courage" in meeting with them.

In late January, the Catholic Diocese of Dallas released names of priests "credibly accused" of sexual abuse of minors over the last seven decades. Koch, who was principal at Jesuit from 1972-1979 and president from 1979-1980, was one of 31 priests named.

Finn said the appeal was represented by more than 25 members of the Koch family across the country. The attorney also said the family has also enlisted the help of a cannon lawyer based out of Rome.

"We want to make this very clear: this is not an attack on any victims," Finn said. "We encourage any and all victims of abuse to come forward. This is about transparency to the process and fairness. My concern is whether there was due process. We don't know who said what, where, or when. The jury is still out on this. He's [Koch] not here to protect his good name."

They are angry’: Harrisburg Diocese Catholics bring questions to session about clergy sex abuse

HARRISBURG (PA)Penn Live

Feb 12, 2019

By Jana Benscoter

A Manheim Township couple who has stopped attending Mass said they don’t believe the leader of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Harrisburg when he speaks.

Central Pennsylvania’s diocese has scheduled listening sessions to atone their role in the Catholic Church’s clergy sexual abuse scandal. The fourth session was held at St. Leo the Great Parish in Lancaster County on Tuesday evening. Another session is scheduled Wednesday in St. Joseph Parish in Mechanicsburg.

Harrisburg’s Diocese earlier Tuesday announced its establishment of a victim’s compensation fund, which is why Claire Rennie, 60, said she attended the Lancaster listening session. She said her husband was abused in the Altoona-Johnstown Diocese.

She thinks it’s insulting, she added, that Bishop Ronald W. Gainer deflects questions and avoids providing sincere answers.

“We hear the church abused you, the bishop covered it up, you don’t get statute of limitation,” she said..

The couple has been married for over 30 years, but Rennie said she only learned of her husband’s childhood nightmare a year ago.

February 12, 2019

US Southern Baptist churches embroiled in sex abuse scandal

CHICAGO (IL)
Agence France-Presse

February 12, 2019

By Nova Safo

The United States' largest Protestant denomination, the Southern Baptist Convention, is facing a sexual abuse crisis after a bombshell report revealed hundreds of predators and more than 700 victims since 1998.

The report by 2 Texas newspapers found some 380 church leaders and volunteers have faced public accusations of abuse, mostly of children as young as three years old.

Some of the accused continued to work at Southern Baptist churches, the newspapers said.

In response to the report, church officials acknowledged the number of victims could actually be higher and urged survivors to come forward.

"One of the things I'm encouraged by are the number of pastors that are actively engaged right now," in the report's aftermath, convention leader Russell Moore told AFP on Tuesday.

The revelations threatened to engulf the denomination -- with some 47,000 churches and 15 million members mostly in the southern US -- in the same type of scandal that has roiled the Catholic Church.

A more comprehensive response was likely to come from the Southern Baptist organization next week when president JD Greear "is scheduled to give an update on a sexual abuse study he commissioned last summer," said spokesman Roger Oldham.

LAX OVERSIGHT

Unlike the Vatican, the Southern Baptist Convention is a loose network of churches allowed to run autonomously, ordain their own ministers -- who are not required to be celibate -- and hire staff and volunteers based on each church's own standards.

McCarrick might be 'laicized' this week. What's that?

DENVER (CO)
Catholic News Agency

Feb 12, 2019

By J. D. Flynn

Archbishop Theodore McCarrick will reportedly be laicized this week, if he is found guilty of having sexually abused minors.

But what does it mean to be “laicized,” “defrocked,” or “dismissed from the clerical state?”

Ordination, the Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches, “confers a gift of the Holy Spirit that permits the exercise of a ‘sacred power’ which can come only from Christ himself through his Church.”

The Church says ordination marks a person with an irremovable imprint, a character, which “configures them to Christ.” Ordination, in Catholic theology, makes a permanent change that the Church has no power to reverse.

“You are a priest forever,” the Letter to the Hebrews says.

This change is referred to as an ontological change, or a change in being itself.

In addition to making an ontological change, ordination also makes a legal change in a person’s status in the Church. By ordination, a person becomes in canon law a “cleric.” The word “cleric” is derived from the Greek word for “casting lots,” a process of selection similar to drawing straws or rolling dice, because in Acts 1:26, Matthias is added to the 11 remaining apostles after lots are drawn to select the right person.

A cleric, or a sacred minister in the Church, is an ordained man who is permitted by the Church to exercise sacred ministry. A cleric is bound to certain obligations, among them is usually celibacy in the Latin Catholic Church, and he possesses certain rights, among them is the right to be appointed to pastoral leadership positions in the Church. Clerics have the right to be financially supported by the Church, and are bound by obedience to the pope and to local Church authorities.

Three more publicly accused abusers are “outed”

NORWICH (CT)
Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

February 12, 2019

Three more publicly accused abusers are “outed”
All were left off Norwich’s list of clergy with "allegations of substance"
Victims want Catholic officials to “come fully clean now”
SNAP to CT officials: “Remove time limits for abuse victims”

WHAT
Holding signs and childhood photos at a sidewalk news conference, clergy sex abuse victims and their supporters will disclose the names and histories of three publicly accused child molesters who worked in the Norwich Catholic Archdiocese but were left off a just-posted list of those with "allegations of substance."

They will also call on Connecticut’s Church officials to

include the three new names on the diocese’s list,
give more details about each abuser, especially their photos, current whereabouts and full work histories and
They will also urge Connecticut’s political officials to act, specifically prodding
CT legislators to totally remove the criminal and civil statutes of limitations for child sexual abuse and open a permanent civil window, and
CT law enforcement agencies, especially the attorney general, to work harder to investigate and pursue charges against clergy who commit or conceal heinous crimes against kids.

WHEN
Wednesday, Feb. 13 at 1:00 p.m.

WHERE
On the sidewalk outside St. Patrick’s Cathedral, 213 Broadway, Norwich, CT

A Report On Abuse In The Southern Baptist Church Reveals Hundreds Of Leaders Were Guilty

NEW YORK (NY)
Bustle

February 12, 2019

By Seth Millstein

According to an investigation by the Houston Chronicle and San Antonio Express-News, over 200 employees or volunteers at Southern Baptist Convention churches were convicted of sex crimes or pleaded guilty to them in the last 10 years. More than 700 people have reported being abused by church workers since 1998, and dozens of the accused have been able to find jobs at Southern Baptist churches, the Chronicle and Express-News report.

In total, around 380 Southern Baptist ministers, deacons, youth pastors and others have been accused of sexual misconduct in the last 20 years, the Chronicle and Express-News report. Over 250 were charged, around 220 either pleaded guilty or were convicted, and nearly 100 of them are in prison today. There were more accused of sexual misconduct who worked in Texas than any other state, according to the Chronicle and Express-News' review of court records and newspaper articles from that time. Bustle has reached out to the Southern Baptist Convention for comment.

As part of its report, the two newspapers compiled a database of convicted sexual predators in the Southern Baptist church — a measure that, according to the newspapers, the church itself refused to to do despite requests from alleged survivors.

Since 1998, at least 10 Southern Baptist churches employed, or provided volunteer opportunities to, members who had been charged with sex crimes, the newspapers report. At least 35 accused sexual predators were able to find work at churches after their accusations.

UN committee blasts Italy for complicity in Church’s abuse scandals

DENVER (CO)
Crux

February 12, 2019

By Claire Giangravè

A United Nations commission has published a scathing report of Italy’s handling of clerical sexual abuse, stating its concern with numerous cases of children being sexually abused by Catholic priests in the country and calling for an independent and impartial commission of inquiry.

“The committee is concerned about the numerous cases of children having been sexually abused by religious personnel of the Catholic Church in the State party and the low number of investigations and criminal prosecutions,” said a Feb. 7 report of the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child.

The committee had summoned the Italian government Jan. 22-23 before the UN’s High Commissioner in Geneva regarding the implementation of the 1990 Convention on the Rights of the Child. Among the main topics was Italy’s alleged complicity in the Catholic Church’s child abuse scandals.

Italy was called to answer about its protection of the rights of minors regarding immigrant and refugee children and awareness campaigns throughout the territory, but the commission left ample space for the issue of clerical abuse.

The committee asked for a national plan to prevent and combat sexual exploitation of children and asked that the country “establish an independent and impartial commission of inquiry to examine all cases of sexual abuse of children by religious personnel of the Catholic Church.”

Other recommendations include “the transparent and effective investigation of all cases of sexual abuse allegedly committed by religious personnel of the Catholic Church, the criminal prosecution of alleged perpetrators, the adequate criminal punishment of those found guilty, and the compensation and rehabilitation of child victims, including those who have become adults.”

The UN panel, composed of experts in the protection of the rights of the child, invited the Italian government to establish safe channels for children to report abuse and to ensure their protection by preventing perpetrators who have been found guilty from having further access to minors.

Explainer: Former Cardinal McCarrick faces laicization. What does that mean?

NEW YORK (NY)
America Magazine

February 12, 2019

By Michael J. O’Loughlin

Archbishop Theodore McCarrick, the former archbishop of Washington who last summer was removed from public ministry and who then resigned from the College of Cardinals, could also be dismissed from the clerical state, one of the highest forms of punishment issued to priests. Also known as laicization and sometimes referred to colloquially as defrocking, a sentence of laicization would complete a stunning fall from grace for the former cardinal, who at one time wielded immense influence in both Rome and the United States. Last year, then-Cardinal McCarrick was reported to the Archdiocese of New York, accused of abusing a 16-year-old boy in the 1970s. Two more allegations of the abuse of minors also surfaced, as did claims that Archbishop McCarrick sexually harassed and assaulted priests and seminarians.

If the Vatican decides to expel Archbishop McCarrick from the priesthood, it would close one chapter of the abuse crisis, but many questions will remain.

What is laicization?
The term “laicization” refers to scenarios in which a member of the clergy, through the use of the church’s legal apparatus, is no longer permitted to act as a priest. Sometimes a priest may petition Rome for laicization, often in order to marry. (A priest who wishes to marry needs, in addition to laicization, to request being released from his vow of celibacy, which is a separate process.)

In other cases, laicization is a form of punishment, commonly described as being “dismissed from the clerical state,” often because of violations of the commandment barring adultery. (Before the 1983 revision to the code of canon law, priests who were laicized were often referred to as being “reduced” to the lay state.)

A sentence of laicization would complete a stunning fall from grace for the former cardinal, who at one time wielded immense influence in both Rome and the United States.
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This is the portion of canon law used by the church to prosecute priests and bishops accused of sexual abuse of a minor. Between 2004 and 2014, the Vatican laicized 848 priests because of sexual abuse. Only the Vatican can laicize priests so accused, which critics say makes the process too cumbersome.

New Jersey’s Catholic dioceses to provide victim names to fund

NEWARK (NJ)
The Associated Press

February 12, 2019

By David Porter

Victims of sexual abuse by Catholic clergy in New Jersey will soon be able to apply for compensation from a fund representing all five of the state’s dioceses, one of the fund’s administrators announced Monday.

Camille Biros, who also is overseeing similar compensation funds in Pennsylvania and New York, said New Jersey’s will be different because all five of the state’s dioceses will follow the same protocols. Those will be posted on a website by early next week followed by a 30-day public comment period before they are finalized.

The first phase will last at least six months, Biros said, and will focus on alleged victims who have made previous claims. A second phase will focus on new claims.

“We are looking forward to working with the dioceses and are pleased about the fact this is a common protocol for the entire state,” Biros said.

A fund Biros oversees in New York has paid out more than $210 million to more than 1,100 victims in five dioceses, she said.

Abuse of Faith | Part 2

HOUSTON (TX)
Hoston Chronicle

February 12, 2019

By John Tedesco, Robert Downen, and Lise Olsen; Multimedia by Jon Shapley

Offend, then repeat

Southern Baptist churches hired dozens of leaders previously accused of sex offenses

Doug Myers was suspected of preying on children at a church in Alabama — but he went on to work at Southern Baptist churches in Florida before police arrested him.

Timothy Reddin was convicted of possessing child pornography, yet he was still able to serve as pastor of a Baptist church in Arkansas.

Charles Adcock faced 29 counts of sexually assaulting a 14-year-old girl in Alabama. Then he volunteered as a worship pastor at a Baptist church in Texas.

The sordid backgrounds of these Southern Baptist ministers didn't stop them from finding new jobs at churches and working in positions of trust.

They're among at least 35 Southern Baptist pastors, youth ministers and volunteers who were convicted of sex crimes or accused of sexual misconduct but still were allowed to work at churches during the past two decades, an investigation by the San Antonio Express-News and the Houston Chronicle reveals.

New Jersey Catholic dioceses may release lists of abusive priests on Wednesday

NEWARK (NJ)
North Jersey Record

February 12, 2019

By Deena Yellin and Abbott Koloff

Hundreds of priests gathered at the headquarters of the Archdiocese of Newark on Tuesday afternoon amid anticipation that the Catholic Church in New Jersey was preparing to release lists of names of abusive priests this week.

Several priests said as they left the meeting that the lists are expected to come out on Wednesday. Others declined to comment, and one priest said the group had been told not to discuss the meeting, which started at 1:30 and lasted a little over 30 minutes.

Cardinal Joseph Tobin, the Newark archbishop, announced last year that the state's five dioceses were reviewing clergy sex abuse cases. The church, he said, planned to publish the names of all priests and deacons who have been credibly accused of sexually abusing children sometime this year.

The review followed an announcement by state law enforcement officials that they had launched a statewide investigation into alleged sexual abuse by priests.

The state's five dioceses — Newark, Paterson, Metuchen, Trenton and Camden — are expected to release their lists at the same time. The Diocese of Paterson plans to post its list on its website sometime Wednesday morning, the diocesan attorney, Ken Mullaney, said Tuesday.

Priests who work in the diocese will be notified shortly before the list is published, he said, adding that he didn't know what time it would be released to the public.

Exobispo Francisco Cox retorna a Chile para enfrentar denuncias por abuso a menores en La Serena

[Ex-bishop Francisco Cox returns to Chile to face allegations of child abuse in La Serena]

CHILE
BioBioChile

February 12, 2019

By Alberto González and Nicole Martínez

El exobispo Francisco Cox, quien fue destituido de sus labores sacerdotales por el papa Francisco, retornó a nuestro país procedente de Alemania para enfrentar acusaciones en su contra por abuso de menores, informó este lunes la Iglesia en un comunicado.

Southern Baptist Churches Hired Accused Ministers: Report

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

February 12, 2019

By Megan Trimble

MORE THAN TWO DOZEN Southern Baptist church leaders had faced sexual misconduct charges, but churches employed them anyway, according to a new report from the Houston Chronicle.

A San Antonio Express-News and the Houston Chronicle investigation found churches in the Southern Baptist Convention hired at least 35 Southern Baptist pastors, youth ministers and volunteers in the last two decades, despite their being convicted of sex crimes or accused of sexual misconduct. The Southern Baptist Convention is the largest coalition of Baptist churches in the U.S. It has refused proposed reforms, such as creating a registry to track abuse cases, the Houston Chronicle reports.

According to the second of three installments published on Tuesday, churches, in some cases, knew of a pastor's past but still allowed him to work. In other cases, church inaction might have allowed the employees to move between parishes undetected, the report said.

The first installment of the bombshell report revealed sexual misconduct allegations against roughly 380 church leaders and volunteers dating to 1998 and involving some 700 victims. About 220 offenders have been convicted or taken plea deals, the report found.

One pastor has compared the recent report to removing a cancerous lesion.

“The analogy I would give is this: I recently had a cancerous lesion removed from my skin and it hurt and the hole left behind was deep. Was it good? No, it was needed.," Pastor Wade Burleson told NBC News of the report, which he called a "punch in the gut."

Burleson told NBC that he thinks the recently published database will lead to change, but he also said he was sad "we didn’t do it ourselves."

Eugenia Valdés, del Sagrado Corazón de Jesús: “Hay más religiosas y mujeres abusadas”

[Eugenia Valdés, of the Sacred Heart of Jesus: "There are more clerics and women who are abused"]

CHILE
La Tercera

February 6, 2019

Esta semana el Papa Francisco reconoció casos de abusos sexuales a monjas por parte de obispos y sacerdotes, y señaló que esto sería algo que aún ocurre.

María Eugenia Valdés, religiosa del Sagrado Corazón de Jesús, ve como una buena noticia que el Papa Francisco “diga con su nombre y admita que esta es una realidad a voces” los casos de abusos a religiosas dentro de la Iglesia. “Creo que sucede en todas partes”, asegura, y afirma que “hay más religiosas y mujeres abusadas. Debe haber muchos otros testimonios que están en silencio”.

Encuentran muerto a sacerdote investigado por abuso de menores en Puerto Montt

[Priest investigated for child abuse found dead in Puerto Montt]

CHILE
La Tercera

February 9, 2019

By A. Vera

Tras la investigación y los exámenes realizados por el Servicio Médico Legal se determinó que se trata de un suicidio.

El viernes en horas de la noche fue encontrado el cuerpo del sacerdote José Francisco Núñez – quien estaba siendo investigado por abuso de menores – en su hogar en la comuna de Puerto Montt (región de Los Lagos).

Los obispos catalanes prometen colaborar con la justicia en los abusos a menores

[Catalan bishops promise to collaborate with civil investigations into abuses of minors]

BARCELONA (SPAIN)
El País

February 12, 2019

By Oriol Güell

La Conferencia Tarraconense muestra su "firme compromiso" con la legislación civil y llama a las víctimas a denunciar

La Conferencia Episcopal Tarraconense, que reúne a los 10 obispos catalanes de las provincias eclesiásticas de Barcelona y Tarragona, ha prometido esta mañana dar un paso en firme para imponer al clero la obligación de poner en conocimiento de la Fiscalía los casos de abusos sobre los que tenga noticia.

Why hasn't the Child Victims Act been signed into law?

ALBANY (NY)
NEWS 10

February 6, 2019

By Anya Tucker

The Child Victims Act passed unanimously in the Senate on January 28th, but the bill is still waiting to be signed into law by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo.

This has some victims of childhood sexual abuse growing nervous.

The Child Victims Act would raise the age from 23 to 28 for victims in criminal cases to come forward. In civil cases, it raises the age to 55. It also provides a one-year lookback in which to file those civil lawsuits.

“The purpose of getting this law was to get the statute of limitations clock going. And the law won’t change until he signs it," says Gary Greenberg.

The childhood sexual abuse survivor says his concern is for victims who may have birthdays coming up in the next couple of days or weeks that would leave them out of the bounds of the new statute. He points to the speed at which Gov. Cuomo signed other bills into law, such as the Reproductive Health Act, on the very same day it was passed.

Gov. Cuomo’s office sent NEWS10 ABC an email saying, in part, “We are working to identify a date for a bill signing with advocates and survivors who have been affected by this issue...[they] need to have an opportunity to attend this historic event.”

Clergy child sex abuse compensation fund opens in Harrisburg Diocese

ALLENTOWN (PA)
Morning Call

February 12, 2019

By Steve Esack

The Harrisburg Diocese opened its child sex abuse compensation fund Tuesday, giving victims 90 days to make claims about assaults by clergy.

And victims had better be prepared to bare their souls.

The diocese’s Survivor Compensation Program, administered by a national mediation firm, includes an eight-page online questionnaire asking victims a host of biographical questions about schooling, employment, marital and offspring status, and about criminal history before asking them to detail the alleged abuse.

The form also carries a warning that anyone making an abuse claim that had not been previously disclosed to the diocese as of Monday will have their allegations forwarded to law enforcement and to the Department of Human Services for investigations.

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Victims will have until May 13 to apply for the first round of payouts. Those who receive a payment can still receive counseling services, but must give up their right to sue the diocese at a later date.

Lawsuit payouts typically are bigger than victims compensation funds.

New victims who come forward after the program starts will be considered for future participation in the program.

“The establishment of the Survivor Compensation Program is another step forward in our Diocese’s efforts to show our support to survivors of clergy child sexual abuse,” said Bishop Ronald W. Gainer, a former Allentown Diocese official. “While we understand that financial compensation will not repair or erase the heartache and damage done by the abuse these survivors have suffered, we hope and pray this support can help to improve their lives.”

The Allentown Diocese will open its victim compensation fund in March or April, spokesman Matt Kerr said.

All eight Catholic dioceses in Pennsylvania announced plans last year to start their own victim compensation funds after Attorney General Josh Shapiro released a scathing statewide grand jury report detailing decades of child abuse and cover-ups in six dioceses. The two dioceses excluded from that report — Philadelphia and Johnstown — were the subject of prior grand jury reports that found similar abuses and cover ups.

From Evasion to Conversion: How Pope Francis Sees the Sex-Abuse Crisis

NEW YORK (NY)
Commonweal

Feb 12, 2019

By Austen Ivereigh

Pope Lowers Expectations for Next Month’s Sex Abuse Summit — the Associated Press headline may not have been heart-lifting, but it was fair. During Pope Francis’ flight back from Panama on January 27, he had told reporters that “we have to deflate the expectations” surrounding the bishops’ first global summit on clerical sex abuse, which is to take place at the Vatican between February 20 and February 24.

Francis described the summit as essentially a “catechesis”: to make church leaders across the world aware of the pain of victims, and their obligations to act against abuser priests, as well as to hear survivors’ testimonies and to pray, penitentially, for the church’s failures. But three days is not a long time, and no one is expecting a revolution. “The problem of abuse will continue,” Francis assured reporters. “It’s a human problem.” No one should be expecting the pope to pull a new solution out of a top hat.

As the Vatican’s press-office director, Alessandro Gisotti, points out, the Vatican meeting is only the latest stage in a long-maturing response. If you thought this was just Rome’s attempt to seize the initiative after the Pennsylvania grand-jury report or the Cardinal McCarrick scandal, forget it. The Vatican’s editorial director, Andrea Tornielli, insists that the issue will be looked at from a “global perspective,” not “solely European and American.”

This is just as much about Africa and Asia and Latin America, where they don’t think they have an abuse crisis, but they do.Still, while Francis may have wanted to “deflate” expectations, he was not saying the meeting does not matter. He thinks it matters very much—just not in the way people might think it does. Before talking about new protocols and procedures, the pope said on the plane, there is something else the bishops have to do: “We must become aware.”

Catholic church reveals at least 152 priests suspended for abuse in 9 years

MEXICO CITY (MEXICO)
Mexico Daily Times

February 12, 2019

The Catholic church in Mexico has revealed that 152 priests have been suspended over the past nine years for child sex abuse, triggering demands that the clerics’ names and whereabouts be made public.

Rogelio Cabrera López, president of the Mexican Episcopal Conference (CEM), revealed the information Sunday, explaining that some of the priests are serving prison terms while others received non-custodial forms of punishment.

However, he didn’t disclose the number of victims.

Cabrera, who is also the archbishop of Monterrey, lamented that there is no national information system which compiles information related to cases of sexual abuse within the Catholic church and said that it was necessary to establish one.

He also said it was the responsibility of bishops to formally report to authorities all illegal acts detected within the church.

Responding to the church’s revelation, the Mexico director of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP), a non-governmental organization founded in the United States, said he was taken by surprise that such a high number of priests have been suspended for committing sexual abuses against children.

Showing up to effect change

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
The Hawk

February 12, 2019

A panel discussion held on Feb. 6 about Pennsylvania’s 40th Grand Jury Report was an opportunity for candid conversation on reconciling Catholic identity with the Church’s sexual abuse crisis and cover-ups.

Despite the event’s importance, it was sparsely attended by St. Joe’s students, predominantly attracting community members including Charles Gallagher, a former prosecutor who worked on a 2005 grand jury investigation of sexual abuse concealment within the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.

Contributions from people outside the St. Joe’s community can add new dimension and insight to open forum discussions, especially those regarding issues as widely impactful as sexual abuse within the Catholic Church. Events like last week’s panel can and should be promoted to members of the outside community.

However, as part of a Catholic university, St. Joe’s students have a responsibility to be informed on the topic of sexual abuse within the Catholic Church.

Even if we do not identify as Catholic, and whether or not we have ever known anyone who was a victim of priest abuse, we live and learn in an environment steeped in Jesuit-Catholic identity.

Catholic values are enshrined in our General Education Program in the form of Faith, Justice, and the Catholic Tradition, the theology requirement.

An education on Catholicism is incomplete without an understanding of the institution behind it, and that requires learning about the Catholic Church’s internal structuring and its institutional history of protecting priests who commit sexual abuse. Last week’s panel was an opportunity to learn from experts who have worked with victims of priest abuse and who study the crisis within the Church.

Scheduling conflicts and busy days may also be to blame for the lack of turnout from St. Joe’s students, and that is perfectly understandable. With discussions as important as these, however, the focus should be on making time rather than finding the time.

Catholicism. Power. And the way abuse echoed for generations in my family.

HOUSTON (TX)
Houston Chronicle

February 12, 2019

By Leslie Contreras Schwartz

In 1999, during my last semester at the University of St. Thomas, I studied Spanish and Mexican culture in Merida, Yucatan, with a priest as one of my teachers. Father Jack Hanna, a charismatic and charming priest, taught us about Mayan culture and the joy of the Spanish language. Over those three months, I had no reservations in living in a house with him and the other dozen students.

A few weeks ago, the Galveston-Houston diocese released a list of priests "credibly accused" of sexual abuse. Hanna's name was on the list.

SNAP Stands with Survivors from the Southern Baptist Convention

ST. LOUIS (MO)
Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

February 11, 2019

Yesterday, the Houston Chronicle and San Antonio Express-News published the first part of a bombshell series looking into the abuse of children and vulnerable adults in the Southern Baptist Convention.

We are grateful to these intrepid journalists for looking deeply into this issue. As this article shows all too well, abuse by clergy is not just a Catholic issue. In any situation where the powerful have authority and autonomy over the vulnerable there are bound to be tragic situations like this. We have seen this play out from Hollywood to Michigan State University, and in churches across the globe.

What is critical is that the article lead not only to awareness of this issue in the Southern Baptist Convention, but to immediate and decisive action by church and law enforcement officials. We hope that anyone who has seen, suffered, or suspected abuse by Southern Baptists – or any other religious figure – will immediately contact the local police, prosecuting attorneys, state attorneys general, and the Department of Justice. It is critical that law enforcement officials at every level of government look into these cases and determine what actions they are able to take immediately to keep the vulnerable safe and to ensure that those who have abused children or adults are removed from any position of power that would let them hurt others.

More and more people are finding their voice and the ability to speak out about heinous crimes such as those described in yesterday's article. It is critical that we as a nation continue to listen to and learn from victims as they share their experiences. By believing and advocating for survivors, we can learn from their trauma how to prevent cases like this in the future, to ensure that no child or adult is ever hurt by an authority figure that is meant to care for them.

NJ Catholic dioceses unveil compensation program for victims of clergy abuse

WOODLAND PARK (NJ)
North Jersey Record

February 11, 2019

By Deena Yellin

Victims of clergy abuse from any of New Jersey's five Roman Catholic dioceses will be able to seek compensation from a newly launched Independent Victim Compensation Program, the program's administrators announced Monday.

The administrators, Kenneth Feinberg and Camille Biros, are noted victims' compensation experts who have operated similar programs for dioceses in other states, as well as the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund.

"The program provides victims with an attractive alternative to litigation, providing victims a speedy and transparent process to resolve their claims with a significantly lower level of proof and corroboration than required in a court of law," Feinberg and Biros said in a joint statement.

The announcement of the program drew mixed reactions Monday from advocates for victims of clergy abuse.

"If the compensation fund helps a clergy sexual abuse victim try to heal, then the victim should enter into the fund process. But if a victim wants to try to gain full transparency through a legal action, then the victim should wait to determine if the statute of limitations will be amended," said attorney Mitchell Garabedian, who has represented more than 50 clergy abuse victims in New Jersey.

Harrisburg Diocese puts millions of dollars into fund to start paying clergy sex abuse victims

HARRISBURG (PA)
Penn Live

February 12, 2019

By Ivey DeJesus

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Harrisburg on Tuesday rolled out a program that will pay out millions of dollars to victims of clergy sex abuse - but disclosed no specific dollar amount for the fund, or details on the size of individual amounts that will go to victims.

The diocese’s so-called Survivor Compensation Program will be administered by Commonwealth Mediation & Conciliation, Inc. and will be effective immediately for three months.

Private settlements to individual victims will be determined by the fund administrator. The diocese said it has set aside a “substantial” amount of money in the millions to fund the compensation program. Within 14 days of the close of the claims period, the fund administrators will notify all claimants as to their eligibility.

Settlement offers to the claimants will be made on or before June 28.

Harrisburg joins five other dioceses across the state and the Philadelphia Archdiocese in establishing a compensation fund for victims. The dioceses rolled out the programs in the wake of a scathing grand jury report released in August 2018 detailing the horrific and widespread sexual abuse of thousands of minors over seven decades by hundreds of priests in six Catholic dioceses, including Harrisburg. Nearly identical patterns of abuse were previously found several years ago in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia by a local grand jury investigation.

Another church sex abuse scandal. This time, it’s the Southern Baptists

NEW ORLEANS (LA)
Times Picayune

February 12, 2019

By Tim Morris

So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin. — James 4:17

One common evil in the sex abuse scandals in the Roman Catholic and Southern Baptist churches is the number of people in authority who chose to cooperate, compromise or remain silent in allowing the wrongdoing to continue.

Just six months after a grand jury report provided horrific details of sexual exploitation and abuse by members of the Catholic clergy and laity in Pennsylvania, the Houston Chronicle and the San Antonio Express-News published a joint investigation Sunday (Feb. 10) documenting similar offenses by pastors, ministers and volunteers within the churches of the Southern Baptist Convention.

As with the Catholic offenses, the worst atrocities are magnified by the church's indifference to the victims or its protection of the perpetrators.

District attorney says we have a crime problem, not an incarceration problem

A case in point is the story of Debbie Vasquez, who was just 14 when she was first molested by her Southern Baptist pastor in Sanger, Texas, a small town an hour north of Dallas. The abuse went on for years until she became pregnant at age 18.

Africa is also grappling with clerical abuse, say Catholic leaders

WASHINGTON (DC)
Catholic News Service

February 12, 2019

By Fredrick Nzwili

'I think there could be more cases in Africa, but most go unreported because of fear'

Africa is also grappling with clerical abuse, say Catholic leaders

When child sexual abuse scandals involving Catholic priests emerge in Africa, they do not draw a frenzied reaction similar to that witnessed in developed countries, but the continent's church is affected, said Catholic leaders.

While there is a general view that the scandals are a challenge of the church in Europe and America, African officials confirm the incidents, amid reports of some provinces expelling or defrocking priests.

In Africa, clerics view the issue as too delicate and sensitive for the public, and many remained tight-lipped on the subject. At the same time, the church leaders said they were concerned about the abuses and closely follow any such reports, both locally and globally.

Kentucky Southern Baptist leaders among hundreds accused of sex abuse

LOUISVILLE (KY)
Louisville Courier Journal

February 12, 2019

By Andrew Wolfson

Six Kentucky men are among roughly 380 Southern Baptist church preachers and volunteers accused of sexual abuse and misconduct over the past 20 years, two newspapers have reported.

The Kentuckians named include a pastor, an associate pastor and four youth ministers, according to a database compiled by the Houston Chronicle and San Antonio Express-News. There are 2,400 Southern Baptist churches in Kentucky.

The newspaper report said the more than 300 named either were convicted or credibly accused, leaving behind more than 700 victims, many of them shunned by their churches or urged to forgive their abusers or to get abortions.

About 220 offenders, including Sunday school teachers, deacons and pastor, were convicted or took plea deals, and dozens of cases are pending, the report says.

Nearly 100 are still held in prisons across the U.S., more than 100 are registered sex offenders, and some still work in Southern Baptist churches today.

Archdiocese of Louisville report:48 Louisville priests, others accused of sex abuse

Curtis Woods, co- interim executive director of the Kentucky Baptist Convention, said in a statement that “as a Christian leader and former child abuse prevention social worker, I grieve with thousands of Kentucky Baptist churches over the devastating effects of immorality in any sphere of human existence, especially when children are victimized by predatory adults."

Woods, who also is an assistant professor of applied theology and biblical spirituality at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, added that "in any child abuse case, the best interest of the child should be the first line of defense. God-fearing Christians must see themselves as mandated reporters. There is no excuse.”

The Kentucky church leaders identified were:

Joseph Niemeyer
Joseph Niemeyer (Photo: Kentucky Corrections Department)

• Joseph Niemeyer, a youth pastor at the Banklick Baptist Church in Walton, who was convicted last year of sodomy and sexual abuse and sentenced to 20 years in prison. According to press accounts, a prosecutor said Niemeyer raped and sexually abused a 5-year-old in his custody over four years.

• Gordon H. Lunceford, a former youth minister at First Baptist Church in Lawrenceburg, who pleaded guilty in 2010 to an unlawful transaction with a minor and sexual misconduct many years earlier. He was sentenced to five years of probation.

Former priest accused in rape of boy, 6, is arraigned

SANTA FE (NM)
Santa Fe New Mexican

February 11, 2019

Inmates were asked to clear a room at the Santa Fe County jail Monday afternoon for the video arraignment of an 81-year-old former priest charged with raping and kidnapping a 6-year boy in the late 1980s.

Unlike other inmates, Marvin Archuleta’s hands were unbound. He leaned heavily on a walker as he entered the room, his sliver-white hair parted to the side. Slowly, he lowered himself into his seat, adjusted the walker, cleared his throat and straightened the collar of his khaki jumpsuit. He looked into the camera lens, then down.

Santa Fe Magistrate Judge David Segura addressed Archuleta’s televised image through the window of a Sony television set.

“A criminal complaint has been filed against you,” Segura began. The judge read aloud the statutes that govern first-degree criminal sexual penetration of a child under 13, kidnapping or unlawful confinement resulting in great bodily harm.

Archuleta, who served as a priest for the Archdiocese of Santa Fe for more than a decade, was arrested Friday in Albuquerque on charges he raped and confined a first-grader at Holy Cross Catholic School in Santa Cruz. If convicted, he could face up to 60 years in state prison.

Monday marked his first court appearance.

Archuleta bobbed his head to his chest and said “yes” to confirm he understood the charges. He told the judge he would like time to arrange his affairs and finances for his studio apartment in Albuquerque.

But Segura told the former priest Magistrate Court has no legal authority over his release and the conditions will be set during a detention hearing in District Court. The state Attorney General’s Office filed a motion Monday asking Archuleta be kept in custody without bond until trial; he will face a District Court judge within the next five days on the state’s custody request.

“We believe this individual is a danger to the community,” said David Carl, a spokesman with the Attorney General’s Office. “And no conditions of release would have protected the community from him.”

The motion to keep Archuleta confined argues the former priest already has proven himself a threat to the community and an international flight risk.

Las Cruces Diocese gives AG files on accused priests

LAS CRUCES (NM)
Albuquerque Journal

February 11, 2019

By Angela Kocherga

Acknowledging that it must “atone for past mistakes,” the Catholic Diocese of Las Cruces on Monday said it has given the state Attorney General’s Office personnel files and other documents connected to 28 priests and other clergy “credibly accused” of sexual abuse of children and minors.

“We have sent these files to the attorney general for his review, and in those files are the allegations against these individuals and how the situation was managed by the diocese,” Bishop Gerald Kicanas told a news conference in Las Cruces. The diocese said roughly 12,000 pages were turned over, although some of the documents were redacted.

Release of the documents comes three days after the AG’s Office arrested and charged former Archdiocese of Santa Fe priest Marvin Archuleta, 81, on first-degree felony counts of criminal sexual penetration of a child under 13 and kidnapping in the rape of a 6-year-old boy in the 1980s at Holy Cross Catholic Church in Santa Cruz, near Española.

And in September, federal agents extradited former Kirtland Air Force Base chaplain Arthur Perrault from Morocco and charged him with six counts of aggravated sexual abuse and one count of sexual contact in the molestation of an 11-year-old boy in the early ’90s. Perrault has pleaded not guilty to all counts.

The Diocese of Las Cruces, meanwhile, has also added the names of 13 priests “credibly accused of sexual misconduct with minors” to the list of 28 individuals released in November. The new names were of priests who had allegations against them but not during their time in the Las Cruces Diocese.

Peruvian archbishop suing journalists responds to Crux coverage

ROME (ITALY)
Crux

February 12, 2019

Archbishop Jose Antonio Eguren Anselmi of Piura, Peru, has responded to a Feb. 5 Crux report by senior correspondent Elise Harris regarding lawsuits for charges of aggravated defamation he filed against two Peruvian journalists.

In his letter to Crux, Eguren Anselmi said he said he wanted to correct “false or inaccurate” statements on the “prestigious” Crux news site. In general, he believes Crux misrepresented the motives for his lawsuit and also omitted the point that he’s not seeking a jail sentence.

The journalists, Pedro Salinas and Paola Ugaz, co-authored a 2015 bombshell book “Half Monks, Half Soldiers,” which details years of sexual, psychological and physical abuse inside the Sodalitium Christianae Vitae (SCV). A controversial Catholic organization, the SCV originated in Peru and its founder, layman Luis Fernando Figari, has been accused of physical, psychological and sexual abuses.

Figari was prohibited by the Vatican in 2017 of having further contact with members of the group.

Eguren Anselmi, who is part of the SCV, filed the complaints separately but at the same time in July 2018. If the journalists are found guilty, theoretically they could be subject to a fine of $60,000 dollars and a 3-year jail sentence.

Norwich Diocese Is 'Grievously Sorry,' Reveals Names Of Abusers

HARTFORD (CT)
WNPR Radio

February 11, 2019

By Frankie Graziano

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Norwich has released names of clergy found to be credibly accused of sexually assaulting minors.

This follows continued reporting by The Day that found at least 28 clergy affiliated with the Norwich diocese had been accused of sexual assaulting both minors and adults. The diocese said last year that the list would come out sometime in January of 2019.

The report lists 43 names, arranged by the person’s position in the diocese. The report also includes some information about what happened to the accused. But, advocates want to know more about what’s not included in the report.

The diocese, according to the report, has paid out around $7.7 million to survivors in a total of nine lawsuits against it. Attorney Kelly Reardon, a managing partner with The Reardon Law Firm in New London, said that number is confusing, because her firm has won more than that just for victims that she’s represented.

El cara a cara más duro de los jesuitas: cómo las denuncias por abuso sexual marcarán su cónclave íntimo

[The Jesuits' toughest face-to-face: how abuse accusations will affect their intimate conclave]

CHILE
La Tercera

February 10, 2019

By Carla Pía Ruiz and Fredi Velásquez

Las acusaciones de abuso sexual en contra del sacerdote Renato Poblete detonaron una crisis sin precedentes al interior de la Compañía de Jesús y encendieron un debate -hasta ahora soterrado- que amenaza con estallar en el Encuentro de Provincia que se desarrollará en los próximos días.

Fue un ataque silencioso. Estaba en la primera fila, sentado, escuchando a un expositor, como todos sus compañeros jesuitas, en una de las salas de reuniones de la casa construida por el Padre Hurtado. Era la víspera del anual Encuentro de Provincia de la Compañía de Jesús. De pronto, la cabeza del sacerdote cayó hacia un costado, en el hombro de otro jesuita. Primero, pensaron que se había quedado dormido. Lo empezaron a mover. No despertó. Sin sacarlo de su silla, lo llevaron a una pieza.

El complejo escenario judicial que espera al exobispo Francisco José Cox en Chile

[The complex judicial scenario awaiting ex-bishop Francisco José Cox in Chile]

CHILE
La Tercera

February 11, 2019

By J. M. Ojeda and M. J. Navarrete

Exsacerdote enfrenta dos investigaciones por supuesto abuso sexual contra menores: una en La Serena y otra en Rancagua. El exreligioso arribó a Chile el domingo y vivirá con un matrimonio en las afueras de Santiago.

El martes 19 de febrero, el Juzgado de Garantía de La Serena decidirá quién llevará adelante la investigación por presunto abuso sexual de menores que habría cometido el exobispo de La Serena Francisco José Cox. Una posibilidad es que la causa quede en manos de la justicia antigua y la otra es que recaiga en el Ministerio Público.

El caso de abusos en los salesianos de Deusto salpica a un antiguo director

[Abuse cases in the Salesians of Deusto taints former director]

MADRID (SPAIN)
El País

February 8, 2019

By Julio Núñez

La Ertzaintza ha recibido 17 denuncias en dos semanas, en las que figuran ya como acusados de pederastia tres clérigos

Las denuncias por abusos en el colegio salesiano de Deusto (Bilbao) no cesan. A las presentadas hace una semana se han sumado después otras cinco y otras cinco más, en total, 17. tras revelar un antiguo alumno su caso, ocho más decidieron hacer pública la cara oculta de José Miguel San Martín, conocido, don Chemi, un salesiano que en los ochenta impartía clases en el centro, de cuyo profesorado formó parte desde 1975 a 1990. Hasta este viernes, la Ertzaintza ha recogido al menos 17 denuncias por pederastia y maltrato en las que, además de figurar como acusado San Martín, están el sacerdote y antiguo director del colegio Luis Rojo (fallecido) y otro religioso que fue docente allí.

Los salesianos de Deusto reconocen que conocían desde 1989 los abusos

[Salesians of Deusto admit they knew of abuses since 1989]

MADRID (SPAIN)
El País

February 8, 2019

By Julio Núñez

El colegio pide perdón "por no haber actuado con la diligencia que la gravedad de los casos requería"

La dirección del colegio salesiano de Deusto tuvo conocimiento a finales de 1989 de dos casos de abusos que se produjeron en el seno de la institución en la década de los ochenta. Así lo ha reconocido en un comunicado en el que la Congregación Salesiana brinda "su apoyo a las víctimas". La institución asume que la actuación del centro "fue a todas luces insuficiente" y su reitera su petición de perdón "por no haber actuado entonces con la diligencia que la gravedad de estos casos requería". También ha anunciado que muestran su apoyo a la concentración que este viernes por la tarde han convocado en la plaza de San Pedro de Deusto las víctimas de abusos.

Mexican Church suspended 152 priests across 9 years for alleged abuse: bishop

MEXICO CITY (MEXICO)
Reuters

February 11, 2019

By Lizbeth Diaz

At least 152 Catholic priests in Mexico have been suspended in the past nine years for sexual abuse against minors, Mexico’s Archbishop for Monterrey said, prompting a lawyer for alleged victims of abuse to question on Monday the Church’s sincerity.

“Some delinquent priests are in prison, others have been suspended from their ministries. In the last nine years, 152 priests have retired,” Rogelio Cabrera, Archbishop of Monterrey, told reporters on Sunday.

The Mexican Church’s announcement comes amid extensive sexual abuse scandals across the Catholic Church in countries including the United States, Chile, Australia, and Germany. Mexico is home to the world’s second-largest Catholic community after Brazil.

Pope Francis will receive bishops at the Vatican later in February to discuss worldwide revelations of sexual abuse in the Church, which have badly eroded the institution’s credibility.

UN committee blasts Italy for complicity in Church’s abuse scandals

ROME (ITALY)
Crux

February 12, 2019

By Claire Giangravè

A United Nations commission has published a scathing report of Italy’s handling of clerical sexual abuse, stating its concern with numerous cases of children being sexually abused by Catholic priests in the country and calling for an independent and impartial commission of inquiry.

“The committee is concerned about the numerous cases of children having been sexually abused by religious personnel of the Catholic Church in the State party and the low number of investigations and criminal prosecutions,” said a Feb. 7 report of the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child.

The committee had summoned the Italian government Jan. 22-23 before the UN’s High Commissioner in Geneva regarding the implementation of the 1990 Convention on the Rights of the Child. Among the main topics was Italy’s alleged complicity in the Catholic Church’s child abuse scandals.

Italy was called to answer about its protection of the rights of minors regarding immigrant and refugee children and awareness campaigns throughout the territory, but the commission left ample space for the issue of clerical abuse.

The committee asked for a national plan to prevent and combat sexual exploitation of children and asked that the country “establish an independent and impartial commission of inquiry to examine all cases of sexual abuse of children by religious personnel of the Catholic Church.”

February 11, 2019

NJ Catholic dioceses unveil compensation program for victims of clergy abuse

WOODLAND PARK (NJ)
North Jersey Record

February 11, 2019

By Deena Yellin

Victims of clergy abuse from any of New Jersey's five Roman Catholic dioceses will be able to seek compensation from a newly launched Independent Victim Compensation Program, the program's administrators announced Monday.

The administrators, Kenneth Feinberg and Camille Biros, are noted victims' compensation experts who have operated similar programs for dioceses in other states, as well as the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund.

"The program provides victims with an attractive alternative to litigation, providing victims a speedy and transparent process to resolve their claims with a significantly lower level of proof and corroboration than required in a court of law," Feinberg and Biros said in a joint statement.

The announcement of the program drew mixed reactions Monday from advocates for victims of clergy abuse.

"If the compensation fund helps a clergy sexual abuse victim try to heal, then the victim should enter into the fund process. But if a victim wants to try to gain full transparency through a legal action, then the victim should wait to determine if the statute of limitations will be amended," said attorney Mitchell Garabedian, who has represented more than 50 clergy abuse victims in New Jersey.

New Jersey Catholic dioceses launch compensation fund for victims of clergy sex abuse

HARRISBURG (PA)
Pittsburgh Post Gazette

February 11, 2019

By Liz Navratil and Angela Couloumbis

The Roman Catholic dioceses in New Jersey, some reeling from their own clergy abuse scandals, announced plans on Monday to establish a unified victims-compensation fund aimed at providing money to some people who were abused by clergy members as children.

“This is the first time we’re doing a statewide program using the same protocol and the same eligibility criteria,” said Camille Biros, who will administer the program and currently oversees similar ones in New York and Pennsylvania. “This is important news, and we’re looking forward to working with all the dioceses in the state.”

Details of the plan are still being finalized, and it likely won’t include all victims. As has been the case elsewhere, people determined to have been abused by religious order priests, rather than those who report directly to the diocese, are likely to be excluded.

People who accept money from the compensation fund will be required to sign a release saying that they will not sue the diocese. The agreements would not include a confidentiality clause for victims, Biros said.

“Administrators of this program are bound by confidentiality,” she said, later adding: “But the claimant can speak to whomever they want. ... They can talk about the money; they can talk about the process.”

Such compensation funds have typically proven controversial. Some clergy abuse victims welcome the news of such funds, viewing them as a path toward justice since they are barred from filing lawsuits by civil statutes of limitations.

Harrisburg diocese listening sessions helping family, church heal after abuse scandal

YORK (PA)
York Daily Record

February 11, 2019

By the Fortney family

“I feel like I have a scarlet letter on my chest!”

A common feeling amongst all of us as we walked into the first listening session hosted by Bishop Gainer of the Diocese of Harrisburg.

However, that feeling dissipated as the parishioners’ voices filled with hope, support and love for us and all victims echoed throughout the church. Originally meant as a symbol of shame, our “scarlet letter” quickly became a powerful symbol of Assurance!

Initially intended as a forum for the bishop to hear feedback and answer questions, the listening sessions, for us and many victims as well as parishioners, has become a refuge for healing and empowerment. While some still refuse to acknowledge the darkness behind the pulpit and choose to use their voice as an opportunity to win the bishop’s favor, we also witnessed victims standing up and speaking out for the first time, as well as parishioners enraged and full of disgust pleading for transparency and truth. Some spoke out with questions and concerns while others offered ideas and solutions!

It was clear to us that the majority of Catholic parishioners in attendance were there because they love their church! This is their community, their family, and they are broken! But they aren’t giving up! They have been beaten down many, many times and continue to pick themselves back up,

It has been almost 6 months since the statewide Pennsylvania Grand Jury Report that outlined the widespread sexual abuse of children and the systematic coverup by senior church officials in Pennsylvania and at the Vatican was released, sending shockwaves around world! But why? Have the numerous grand jury reports over the years as well as several movies depicting the magnitude and scope of these criminal and grotesque violations against children by their faithful leaders not been enough for people to stand up and demand change? Maybe it’s just too much to comprehend, or maybe by acknowledging its existence, we then have to acknowledge that it’s true. But that shock is wearing off and the world can no longer deny the truth; on the contrary, the world is demanding it!

New Jersey’s State Senate and A Path to Salvation

VERONA (NJ)
Inside New Jersey

February 11, 2019

By Tom Barrett

New Jersey State Senator Joe Vitale (D-19) has a bill that’s now grown moldy in the Judiciary Committee (S-477). It calls for the elimination of the two-year statue of limitations for those victimized by sexual abuse.

Amending the current statue would essentially allow victims more time to seek justice against their abusers and enjoin those who may have enabled them to do so. Right now, victims have two years past the age of 18 to file claims in civil court.

Vitale, to his credit, recognizes that it’s way past time that the New Jersey Legislature takes a stand on behalf of sexual abuse victims, in particular, by priests in the Roman Catholic Church.

A strong voice for reform, Senator Vitale is on record saying: “It takes years for victims to come to terms with abuse…my legislation allows victims to file a claim regardless of when they were abused.”

Bottom line: Southern Baptist Convention's legal structure will affect fight against sexual abuse

Get Religion blog

February 11, 2019

By Terry Mattingly

If you have followed GetReligion over the years, you may have noticed several themes running though our discussions of news coverage of scandals linked to sexual abuse by clergy and other leaders of religious institutions.

Let’s run through this again.

* This is not a liberal Catholic problem. This is not a conservative Catholic problem. And there is way more to this issue than reports about high numbers of gay priests — celibate and noncelibate — in the priesthood. Once again let me repeat, again, what I’ve said is the No. 1 issue among Catholics:

The key to the scandal is secrecy, violated celibacy vows and potential blackmail. Lots of Catholic leaders — left and right, gay and straight — have sexual skeletons in their closets, often involving sex with consenting adults. These weaknesses, past and/or present, create a climate of secrecy in which it is hard to crack down on crimes linked to child abuse.

* This is not a “fundamentalist” problem in various church traditions. There are abusers in all kinds of religious flocks, both on the doctrinal left and the right.

* This is not a “Christian” thing, as anyone knows who has followed news about abuse in various types of Jewish institutions. Also, look of some of the scandals affecting the secular gurus in yoga.

* This is not a “religion” thing, as seen in any quick scan of scandals in the Boy Scouts, public schools, team sports and other nonprofits. This is a national scandal people — journalists, too — tend to overlook.

However, religion-beat pros do need to study the patterns of abuse in different types of institutions. It would be impossible, for example, to ignore the high percentages of abuse among Catholic priests with teen-aged males. It would be impossible to ignore the Protestant patterns of abuse in some forms of youth ministry or improper relationships linked to male pastors counseling female members of their flocks.

This brings me to the post earlier today by our own Bobby Ross Jr., about the massive investigation of abuse inside the Southern Baptist Convention, published by the Houston Chronicle and the San Antonio Express-News. If you haven’t read Bobby’s post, click over and do that right now. I want to focus on one quote — mentioned by Bobby — from a Q&A with August "Augie" Boto, SBC general counsel, featured in that investigation. Here it is again.

New Jersey's clergy abuse victims soon can apply for compensation

NEWARK (NJ)
Associated Press

February 11, 2019

By David Porter

Victims of sexual abuse by Roman Catholic clergy in New Jersey will soon be able to apply for compensation from a fund representing all five of the state's dioceses, one of the fund's administrators announced Monday.

Camille Biros, who also is overseeing similar compensation funds in Pennsylvania and New York, said New Jersey's will be different because all five of the state's dioceses will follow the same protocols. Those will be posted on a website by early next week followed by a 30-day public comment period before they are finalized.

The first phase will last at least six months, Biros said, and will focus on accusers who have made previous claims. A second phase will focus on new claims.

“We are looking forward to working with the dioceses and are pleased about the fact this is a common protocol for the entire state,” Biros said.

A fund Biros oversees in New York has paid out more than $210 million to more than 1,100 victims in five dioceses, she said.

Five months ago, New Jersey's attorney general announced a criminal investigation into clergy sexual abuse on the heels of a grand jury investigation in Pennsylvania that found more than 1,000 children had been abused by about 300 priests over a span of decades.

Victims who accept compensation in New Jersey will give up their right to sue, which could be of particular importance because state lawmakers have proposed a bill that could eliminate the statute of limitations for child sexual abuse victims to file civil actions. Currently, adults have two years to sue from the time they first realize the abuse damaged them.

The fund also won't cover abuses by religious order priests, such as Jesuits, who may serve in parishes or schools but are not ordained by the diocese.

Gregory Gianforcaro, an attorney who has won civil settlements for numerous victims of clergy sexual abuse in New Jersey, said that while compensation can be a welcome development for victims, it could preclude other redress they might seek.

Preliminary settlement in Haitian sex abuse case involving Fairfield U., others

NEW HAVEN (CT)
New Haven Register

February 11, 2019

By Bill Cummings

About 133 victims of sexual abuse at a Haitian boys school affiliated with Fairfield University and other religious groups are a step closer to receiving $250,000 each — or $61 million in total — for their suffering.

U.S. District Judge Robert Chatigny on Monday accepted a negotiated settlement with the university and other groups for payment to the victims. A final settlement is expected to be approved this spring.

The agreement consolidates dozens of lawsuits into one class action suit that creates a $60 million fund to help 133 victims and a $1.2 million fund to administer payments.

"I have no doubt that I should grant preliminary approval," Judge Chatigny said. "I have studied the papers and, apart from some minor suggestions, I have nothing to say but you have done an admirable job."

Both sides — a team of lawyers representing the victims and a team representing Fairfield University and other organizations — presented the agreement to the judge, saying it represented months of work and negotiation.

The lawyers said a system to vet additional claims by victims is included in the settlement and initial payouts of up to $10,000 will quickly go out to already vetted victims.

The final settlement amount will depend on whether additional victims are certified and court and legal costs, they said.

Mexican church says 152 priests removed in 9 years for abuse

MEXICO CITY (MEXICO)
Associated Press

February 11, 2019

The head of the Mexican bishops' conference says that 152 Roman Catholic priests have been removed from the ministry over the last nine years for sex abuse offenses against "youths or vulnerable adults."

Archbishop Rogelio Cabrera says some of the priests have been prosecuted and sent to prison, but did not specify how many.

Cabrera said Sunday that Mexico still doesn't have a central clearinghouse for information on abuse by the clergy since each bishop handles cases that occur in his diocese.

Pope Francis has convened presidents of all the bishops' conferences around the world for a three-day summit this month to address the abuse of minors.

The church often uses the term "vulnerable adults" to refer to those with mental or physical handicaps.

Former Priest Accused Of Sex Abuse Resigns As School Teacher In Westchester

RYE (NY)
Rye Daily Voice

February 11, 2019

By Zak Failla

A former teacher and priest at a private prep schools in Westchester and Fairfield County has resigned after being one of 50 charged with sexually abusing minors last month.

Robert Cornigans, an educator who lived and worked at the Masters School in Dobbs Ferry, who taught English since 2004, resigned immediately on Jan. 15 when his name was on a list of Jesuits

A dozen priests - including Cornigans - from New York and Connecticut who once worked at Fairfield University or Fairfield College Preparatory School were among the list released by the USA Northeast Province Jesuits. Priests on the list have been accused as early as 1950.

“Many accusations were made decades after the abuse allegedly took place, and often after the accused Jesuit had died," the USANPJ said. "Jesuits with allegations currently under investigation are not included on this list.”

In a letter to parents, Masters said that officials spoke with Cornigans immediately when his name was listed, and he was removed from the campus within days. Upper school students were notified, though younger students were not told of the allegations, and the school left that to parents to determine the best course of action.

The Southern Baptist Convention sex scandal shows every institution is vulnerable

DALLAS (TX)
Dallas Morning News

February 11, 2019

It seems that nearly every day there is a fresh story of children being sexually abused. This time it’s evidence of such abuse going on inside the Southern Baptist Convention.

The temptation is to hope there is an easy fix that involves setting up training or some other measure that ensures against all future abuse. The truth is that this is a complex problem that crops up in so many places because it stems from an evil embedded in human nature. To guard against it, we need our institutions to act proactively, to create a culture of speaking up and acting on evidence rather than ignoring it.

The Catholic Church is grappling with evidence of priests who abused children for decades. This has prompted calls to allow priests to marry and to give laypeople broader authority in the church.

Norwich diocese posts list of priests accused of sexually assaulting children

NEW LONDON (CT)
The Day

February 11. 2019

By Joe Wojtas

The Diocese of Norwich on Sunday afternoon released the names of 43 priests who have served in the diocese since its founding in 1953 and have had "allegations of substance" made against them regarding the sexual abuse of minors.

The list does not include what parishes the priests served at, what they were accused of doing and whether the diocese reported them to police or the state Department of Children and Families, which clergy have been required to do under the state’s mandatory reporter law since 1971.

Sunday's list also does not say which priests were involved in the almost $7.7 million worth of settlements paid out to victims. It also does not include priests accused of sexually assaulting adults.

The list includes the priest’s name, date of ordination, if they were removed from ministry, if they are deceased and if they are a member of the diocese, members of other dioceses or religious orders, or priests who served in the diocese but had allegations in other locations.

The list includes a large number of priests who have not been publicly identified in the past as having been accused of sexually abusing children.

Prior to the release of the list, The Day had identified 28 priests and brothers affiliated with the Diocese of Norwich who have been accused of sexually assaulting children and adults, according to lawsuits, depositions, sworn statements and statements from alleged victims. Six of these priests were not on the list released by the diocese Sunday.

Diocese spokesman Wayne Gignac said Sunday the diocese would not be commenting on individual allegations or settlements and did not say which allegations were reported to DCF or police. In addition, he said interviews with Bishop of Norwich Michael Cote are not being granted at this time.

"The scope of the task was to provide a list of names of clergy with allegations of substance of sexual abuse of minors. It is our hope that the release of the names will bring some measure of healing, and acknowledgement to those who have been directly harmed," he wrote in an email.

In a letter distributed at churches in the diocese this weekend, Cote defined an "allegation of substance" as one in which the priest has pleaded guilty or no contest in criminal court to any incident of sexual misconduct, the allegation has been investigated and "been determined to be reasonable, plausible, probable and bearing the semblance of the truth," is corroborated with other evidence or another source and/or has been acknowledged or admitted to by the accused priest.

Southern Baptist leaders vow to improve addressing sex abuse after papers’ report

WASHINGTON (DC)
Religion News Service

February 11, 2019

By Adelle M. Banks

Leaders of the Southern Baptist Convention have called the reports by two Texas newspapers of hundreds of sex abuse cases in affiliated churches evidence of “pure evil” and “satanic” behavior within their ranks.

Several vowed to improve the ways churches address such behavior.

The Houston Chronicle and San Antonio Express-News launched an “Abuse of Faith” investigative series over the weekend that reports about 220 Southern Baptist church leaders and volunteers have been convicted of or pleaded guilty to sexual misconduct in the last two decades. Overall, they found about 380 Southern Baptists who faced allegations from more than 700 victims in that time period.

“Nearly 100 are still held in prisons stretching from Sacramento County, Calif., to Hillsborough County, Fla., state and federal records show,” they reported. “Scores of others cut deals and served no time. More than 100 are registered sex offenders. Some still work in Southern Baptist churches today.”

SBC President J.D. Greear said the news coverage of the abuse shows that churches connected to the nation’s largest Protestant denomination have failed the survivors of sex abuse.

For Catholics in the church's 'middle,' patience has run out

WASHINGTON (DC)
National Catholic Reporter

February 8, 2019

By Tom Roberts

If there were a compass mark for a true-north Catholic, John Carr could well be the setting.

He defies the divisions within the Catholic community because he's not divided on anything when it comes to the church. You can't bait him into the culture wars because there is no war within him. For him, the seamless garment is more than metaphor. He wears it well and, in it, walks right down the middle of whatever tensions he may find himself mediating these days as moderator of endless discussions in his role as director of the Initiative on Catholic Social Thought and Public Life at Georgetown University.

But the conduct of the leaders of the institution he has served his entire life, many of them friends and a few, former bosses, has pushed his forbearance to the limit. "The patience of the people of God is exhausted with the episcopal and clerical culture that puts itself first," he said.

That was the final line he spoke at the end of a Feb. 2 news conference following two days of discussions of the clergy sex abuse crisis organized here by the Leadership Roundtable, a group of lay, religious and clergy founded to promote best management practices within the church. At the meeting were more than 200 people at more than 20 tables of participants, including Cardinals Sean O'Malley of Boston, Joseph Tobin of Newark, New Jersey, and Blase Cupich of Chicago. Joining them were 12 bishops, along with theologians, canon lawyers, abuse survivors, assorted experts from across the country, the papal nuncio and Jesuit Fr. Hans Zollner, the head of the office of child protection at the Vatican. Such a collection of people was perhaps a sign that the patience had run out and that something significant needs to be done.

During the news conference Carr offered up a self-assessment that gives expression to the feelings of many other Catholics rocked by the revelations of the past year. "I'm different," he said. "You know the talk I gave today I would not have given 18 months ago."

Diocese of L.C. lists more accused priests; including one with conviction

LAS CRUCES (NM)
KVIA Channel 7

February 11, 2019

By Kate Bieri

On Monday, the Diocese of Las Cruces released the names of thirteen more credibly accused former priests, including one who pled guilty to sexually assaulting a child prior to his assignment in Las Cruces.

"These priests did not abuse here while they were serving in the Diocese of Las Cruces," said Bishop Gerald Kicanas. "However, they have been listed on the credible lists of other dioceses."

Father Lucas Galvan was previously convicted of a sexual crime in Colorado, as listed below. According to the Denver Post, Galvan admitted to sexually assaulting an 11-year-old girl in 1990 and got two years of probation.

A spokesman for the Diocese told ABC-7 that Galvan - a convicted pedophile - served at St. Genevieve in 1993.

Nienstedt probe shows need for bishop reforms, Minnesota Catholics say

MINNEAPOLIS (MN)
Star Tribune

February 11, 2019

By Jean Hopfensperger

Pope Francis will convene a historic clergy sex abuse summit this month, and many Minnesota Catholics are watching to see if it tackles an issue close to home — what to do about reported misconduct by bishops.

It’s an issue felt keenly in the Twin Cities, where the halted 2014 investigation into former Archbishop John Nienstedt is considered by many Catholics as a case study of all that can go wrong when the church has no clear, independent policies for investigating its top leaders.

St. Paul and Minneapolis Archbishop Bernard Hebda is among U.S. bishops now urging the creation of a national commission, with lay members, to tackle reports of bishop wrongdoing. It could build far more public trust than what transpired in St. Paul, which hasn’t been fully resolved even after four years, many Catholics say.

“I hope that what we went through in the Twin Cities shows the compelling need for reform,” said Hank Shea, law professor at the University of St. Thomas and a former assistant U.S. attorney. “Those lessons should be heeded by every American archbishop and bishop to avoid their repetition elsewhere.”

NJ clergy sex abuse compensation fund set to open

NEWARK (NJ)
Associated Press

February 11, 2019

Victims of sexual abuse by Roman Catholic clergy in New Jersey will soon be able to apply for compensation from a fund representing all five of the state's dioceses.

Details were announced Monday. The administrators of the fund say guidelines will be posted by next week followed by a 30-day public comment period. All the dioceses will be asked to turn over lists of known or alleged victims.

Those compensated will give up their right to sue. Administrators said Monday a similar program in New York has paid out more than $210 million to more than 1,100 victims.

Houston Chronicle identifies Southern Baptist Church staff, volunteers convicted of sex crimes

TYLER (TX)
CBS 19 TV

February 11, 2019

By Reagan Roy

On the heels of the Texas Catholic Conference of Bishops instructing all Catholic dioceses in the state release a public list of clergy "credibly accused" of child sex crimes, the Houston Chronicle has published a nationwide report detailing Southern Baptist Convention church officials and volunteers nationwide who have been convicted of sex crimes.

In the Texas section, four ex-East Texas pastors were identified.

BILLIE LEWIS MINSON - PASTOR (SMITH COUNTY)
Minson was arrested in August 2008 one count of indecency with a child. Police say he molested a 12-year-old female family member at a motel.

Newspaper story on sexual abuse in SBC was a long time coming for activist Christa Brown

WINSTON-SALEM (NC)
Baptist News Global

February 11, 2019

By Bob Allen

Christa Brown contacted 18 influential Baptist leaders in four states between July 2004 and May 2005, warning there might be a sexual predator among their ranks. Not one offered to help.

Today she has their attention. The Colorado woman and sexual abuse survivor is among sources quoted in a 6,000-word investigative story by two Texas newspapers reporting decades of sexual abuse by hundreds of church leaders and volunteers in the Southern Baptist Convention.

Sunday’s story, the first of a three-part expose by the Houston Chronicle and the San Antonio Express-News, says about 380 Southern Baptist pastors, Sunday school teachers, deacons and church volunteers have faced allegations of sexual misconduct since 1998.

More than 200 have been convicted or confessed as part of a plea bargain, and nearly 100 are currently in prisons across the United States. The papers found more than 700 victims in the past 20 years.

Some, like Brown, have been asking the nation’s largest Protestant body to consider prevention policies similar to those adopted by other faith groups, such as the Roman Catholic Church, for more than a decade.

“My heart grieves for the 700 documented victims in this report even as it splits wide open with the certain knowledge that these 700 are just the tip of the iceberg,” Brown said Feb. 11. “There are so many more whose stories remain hidden, who were bullied into silence in the past and who may never come out from that shroud of shame again.”

“My heart grieves for the 700 documented victims in this report even as it splits wide open with the certain knowledge that these 700 are just the tip of the iceberg.”

In her 2009 book, This Little Light: Beyond a Baptist Preacher Predator and His Gang, Brown tells how she broke down in tears during a piano lesson due to guilt from having had “an affair” with her youth minister. She was forced to apologize to the man’s wife and told never to speak of it again. He soon moved to another church, complete with the type of send-off celebration befitting a man of God.

When Brown’s daughter turned 16 – the age she had been when her own abuse began – she saw herself at that age. Imagining how she would feel if her child were victimized by an authority figure in a position of trust, she assumed Southern Baptist leaders would want to know if her abuser still had access to children.

Op-Ed: Why Does the San Jose Diocese’s List of Abusive Clergy Members Come Up So Short?

SAN JOSE (CA)
San Jose Insider

February 11, 2019

By Joey Piscitelli

On Oct. 18, 2018, Bishop Patrick McGrath of the San Jose Diocese released a public list of “priests with credible allegations of sex abuse” in the Diocese. That list contained only 15 names. In comparison, other dioceses in the U.S. this past year released lists of clergy abusers with much higher numbers.

The disparity left parishioners, public, and media in San Jose scratching their heads. Was the San Jose Diocese uncommonly less prone to child sex abuse reports than the rest of the country? Or did Bishop McGrath and his consultants arbitrarily pick and choose what priests they wanted on the list?

According to newly released documents and testimony from clergy abuse victims, the list appears to be 440 percent short.

Ever since the Pennsylvania Attorney General and grand jury released their scathing report of clergy abusers in August 2018, dioceses across the U.S. have been releasing their own voluntary lists of abusers. Abuse victims and their advocates say this voluntary action is an attempt at damage control, and an effort to beat other state attorneys general to the punch. Some say it’s also an attempt at minimizing the numbers beforehand.

Why the purportedly low numbers in San Jose?

To Baptist clergy sex abuse survivors: 10 tips from the trenches

WASHINGTON (DC)
Religion News Service

February 11, 2019

David Clohessy and Christa Brown

As the media spotlight focuses its glare on the clergy sex abuse scandal in the Southern Baptist Convention, we who have been dealing with abuse issues for years already see familiar patterns of institutional protection and image management in the Southern Baptist leadership’s response.

To Baptist clergy sex abuse survivors, therefore, we’re offering these tips in your efforts to confront the dysfunction and intransigence you may be encountering in the days ahead.

Know that you aren’t alone. The cruelest lie that clergy abuse survivors can believe is that their experience is unique. It isn’t. Experts say that more kids are likely being abused among Protestants than among Catholics, and the recent Houston Chronicle exposé makes plain that the extent of the Baptist problem is horrific.

Find a trauma therapist. When horrific memories begin to intrude, many survivors make the mistake of thinking, “I can handle it.” But almost without exception, every abuse survivor will be able to “handle it” better with the support of a skilled therapist. Get one sooner rather than later, and make sure she or he is licensed by the state. Faith-based counselors who are typically ill-equipped for dealing with such serious trauma have further wounded countless numbers of survivors.

‘I went through hell.’ 2 men settle child sex abuse lawsuits against Catholic schools

NEW JERSEY
NJ.com

February 8, 2019

By Rebecca Everett

The Benedictine religious order in charge of the Delbarton School and the former St. Elizabeth’s School has settled two lawsuits from men who said they were sexually abused by monks when they were students over 45 years ago.

The settlements are the sixth and seventh in the last year in the sex abuse scandal involving the schools. In a letter to the community last summer, Delbarton leaders said 30 former students had reported being abused by 13 monks going back decades. Former students who said they were abused argue that the number of victims is much higher.

One of the men who settled, identified in court by the pseudonym John Doe, said that reliving everything and fighting in court was a hellish experience, and he didn’t settle for the money.

“I couldn’t take it anymore,” said the man, who agreed to speak to NJ Advance Media on the condition his real name not be used.

Pope Francis for first time acknowledges sexual abuse of nuns by priests

VATICAN CITY
NBC News

February 5, 2019

By Claudio Lavanga and Corky Siemaszko

But scope of problem worldwide remains unclear as victims are reluctant to come forward and church leaders are slow to admit behavior of predator clergy.

Pope Francis for the first time publicly acknowledged that nuns have also been the victims of sexual abuse at the hands of predator priests and bishops.

Vowing to do more to protect vulnerable nuns, the pontiff also credited his predecessor, Pope Benedict, with taking action against a French-based order after some of its nuns were subjected to "sexual slavery.”

“Should we do something more? Yes," Francis told reporters during a press conference on the papal flight back to Rome from his historic two-day visit to the United Arab Emirates. "Is there the will? Yes. But it’s a path that we have already begun.”

"It’s not something that everyone does, but there have been priests and even bishops who have done what you say,” Francis added. “And I think that it’s continuing because it’s not like once you realize it that it stops. It continues. And for some time we’ve been working on it.”

Ungodly abuse: The lasting torment of the New Tribes missionary kids [with video]

THE PHILIPPINES
NBC News

February 7, 2019

By Kate Snow, Aliza Nadi and Rich Schapiro

The accused sexual predators are living freely in communities around the U.S., their sordid pasts known only to a few.

When the clock struck 8 p.m. inside the Aritao boarding school in the Philippines, the children would gather in a common area for their evening routine.

A nightly devotional. A Bible reading. Prayers.

The children were the sons and daughters of American evangelical missionaries. The sessions were led by mission caretakers known as the "dorm dad" and "dorm mom."

When the prayers were over, the boys and girls as young as 6 would march off to bed. Sometimes, the dorm dad would trail behind the girls, slip into their rooms and do ungodly things to them in the dead of night.

He would put "his hands under the covers and would touch me," recalled Joy Drake, who says the sexual abuse started when she was 9.

Texas bishops take a step toward transparency in the Catholic Church

FORT WORTH (TX)
Star-Telegram

February 8, 2019

By Cynthia M. Allen

Last week, the Roman Catholic Bishops of Texas did something rather unprecedented. They made public a list of clergy credibly accused of sexual misconduct.

The list spans eight decades, covers 15 dioceses and contains nearly 300 names. Some of the clerics identified have been defrocked; others have served jail time (although many have not, as the term “credibly accused” suggests a lower standard than that employed by law enforcement); far more are deceased. The details offered about the accused are often scant — just their names, those of the parishes they served and their dates of service are included.

For some Catholics and abuse survivors, the release was a tremendous letdown. Paul Petersen, a spokesman in Dallas for the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, called the total number of names released “crazy low.”

Accused French priest tries to block film on child abuse scandal

BERLIN (GERMANY)
AFP

February 8, 2019

A priest accused of molesting more than 80 boys is trying to block the release of a film about a scandal which has rocked the French Catholic church and put one of its most senior cardinals in the dock.

The acclaimed director Francois Ozon worked for years in secret on "By the Grace of God", which will be premiered Friday at the Berlin film festival.

But its release in France later this month is threatened, with the accused priest Bernard Preynat going to court to demand that it is not shown until after his trial, which is due to start later this year.

A lay voluntary worker for the Lyon diocese, Regine Maire, has also issued a legal challenge to have her name removed from the film.

Private school starts probe of accused pedophile priest teacher

NEW YORK (NY)
New York Post

February 7, 2019

By Laura Italiano

A tony Westchester private school found out two weeks ago that it had an accused, former pedophile on its faculty — and in short order, parents were alerted, the teacher was ousted and a respected New York private investigative firm was hired for an in-house probe.

“We are aware of how unsettling this allegation is,” parents and alumni of The Masters School in Dobbs Ferry were told in a letter this week.

The letter was a follow-up to a Jan. 16 email revealing that English teacher Robert Cornigans had been accused of an abuse that took place in a Boston private school in 1976.

He has since resigned and moved off campus, according to this week’s letter, signed by Head of School Laura Danforth and Edith Chapin, who chairs the board of trustees.

A week after longtime Jesuit figure lands on accused priests list, alum wants answers

DALLAS (TX)
WFAA 8 ABC

February 7, 2019

By Jobin Panicker

Father Patrick Koch was a former principal and president at Jesuit College Preparatory School in Dallas.

If you walk into John Patrick Korman's home, you will see an abundance of school pride.

"It's walking into Jesuit," said Korman, a graduate of Jesuit Preparatory School in Dallas.

He was class of 1970 and once a teacher at Jesuit for five years, teaching film-making.

But any pride he has is masked now by the news that came out last week.

"It's the five stages of grief," Korman said. "I'm not sure which one I'm in now."

The Catholic Diocese of Dallas released names of 31 priests "credibly accused" of sexual abuse of minors over the last seven decades. On that list was Father Patrick Koch, who was a former principal and president at Jesuit College Preparatory School in Dallas.

Korman has been in contact with alumni through a series of emails, which he released to WFAA.

From Connecticut to New Mexico to Morocco, allegations have followed former Hartford Archdiocese priest set to stand trial on sexual assault charges

HARTFORD (CT)
Hartford Courant

February 7, 2019

By Dave Altimari

A former Hartford Archdiocese priest, whose career started at a Catholic school in Naugatuck, will go on trial in Albuquerque, N.M., this month on charges of sexually assaulting one of his altar boys at a New Mexico Air Force Base and a national cemetery 27 years ago.

It has been a circuitous route for Arthur Perrault, who was ordained as a Hartford priest in 1964, sent to New Mexico for psychological evaluation at a now infamous treatment center and transferred to the Santa Fe Archdiocese, before fleeing to Morocco in 1992 only to be expelled last year and returned to New Mexico to face federal charges of aggravated sexual abuse and aggravated sexual contact.

The now 82-year-old Perrault — who, records show, once wrote a letter to a victim’s family claiming he had molested their son because he had cancer when he didn’t — fled the United States in 1992 when he learned that a series of lawsuits alleging he had sexually assaulted as many as 38 boys in New Mexico were about to be filed, court records show. He lived in an apartment in Tangier teaching at an all-boys school, until FBI agents — after getting the King of Morocco to agree to expel him from the kingdom — swooped in and arrested him in September of 2017. He has been held in a federal prison ever since, after a judge ruled him a flight risk and a danger to society.

Pope Francis Must Act Now - Reform on Sexual Abuse is Long Overdue

WASHINGTON (DC)
National Organization for Women

February 8, 2019

By National NOW President Toni Van Pelt

For years, the Catholic Church hierarchy has proven it has no moral authority on issues concerning women. This week, Pope Francis publicly acknowledged for the first time a chronic history of sexual abuse by priests and bishops of nuns, who had been forced to have abortions or give birth to children of these men. In his response, he claimed that the Church has a will to “do something more.”

So do more. Actions speak louder than words. Stop objectifying children and women, treating them as second class parishioners, concubines, or indentured acolytes who are available to service predatory men in your church.

Abuse in the Church has been a well known issue for decades. Some believe sexual abuse of nuns dates back centuries, and in the 1990s, members of religious orders prepared private reports about this abuse for top Vatican officials that went nowhere.

Stop protecting abusive priests, open the gates of secrecy and adopt real reforms - starting with independent oversight that includes lay persons and leaders of the various orders of Catholic Sisters as part of the process.

ILLINOIS BISHOP FORCES WHISTLEBLOWER PRIEST ONTO SABBATICAL

JOLIET (IL)
ChurchMilitant.com

February 6, 2019

By Bradley Eli, M.Div., Ma.Th.

Fr. Jankowski: 'I have to answer to God about how I have lived as a priest'

A priest wanting to shield minors from potential sex abuse in the diocese of Joliet, Illinois is now on a forced sabbatical.

Father Peter Jankowski was removed as pastor from St. Patrick's Catholic Church in Joliet and put on a forced sabbatical by his ordinary, Bishop R. Daniel Conlon, last July. Jankowski, who was pastor at St. Patrick's from 2006 until his removal, was voicing his concern over fallacious background checks conducted at his parish by its former pastor, Fr. James Lennon.

Jankowski was even more concerned by Fr. Lennon's frequenting of his parish accompanied by clerics who had been removed from active ministry owing to credible allegations of sex abuse.

Jankowski told Church Militant, "My predecessor at St. Patrick's (Rev. James Lennon) continuously brought these priests on church property during his tenure and mine (from 1995 through 2007 when I stopped the practice), on school days when [there were] children present, often unbeknownst to those on the property."

Clergy sex assault survivor readies for meeting with Diocesan Review Board

PITTSFIELD (MA)
The Berkshire Eagle

February 9, 2019

By Larry Parnass

Richard Koske knows he won't get one of the things he wants most, when he meets Wednesday with the Diocesan Review Board:

Words from the priest he says drugged and assaulted him — an allegation the Springfield Diocese accepts as true.

Koske, 63, is scheduled to meet with the nine-member board that advises the diocese on clergy abuse matters, joined by his daughter and defender, Rebecca Koske.

The meeting comes eight years after Koske filed a complaint against the Rev. Eugene Honan. It comes six years after the diocese, having issued sanctions against Honan, paid Koske $20,000.

But Koske had never told his story directly to the review board. That time has come.

The South Hadley man says he will describe what happened in Honan's Northampton rectory when Koske was in his 40s. If Koske had his way, the panel would call Honan in as well.

"If the board wants to hear my story, don't they want to hear his?" he asked.

Before Koske accepted his settlement, he said he was urged by the diocese to halt communications with an attorney. Koske had been in contact with Mitchell Garabedian, the Boston lawyer who has represented scores of clergy abuse victims. Garabedian is portrayed in the movie "Spotlight" about The Boston Globe's coverage of how the church acted over many years, at the highest levels, to conceal sexual abuse by priests.

Op-Ed: Why Does the San Jose Diocese’s List of Abusive Clergy Members Come Up So Short?

SAN JOSE (CA)
San Jose Inside

February 11, 2019

By Joey Piscitelli

On Oct. 18, 2018, Bishop Patrick McGrath of the San Jose Diocese released a public list of “priests with credible allegations of sex abuse” in the Diocese. That list contained only 15 names. In comparison, other dioceses in the U.S. this past year released lists of clergy abusers with much higher numbers.

The disparity left parishioners, public, and media in San Jose scratching their heads. Was the San Jose Diocese uncommonly less prone to child sex abuse reports than the rest of the country? Or did Bishop McGrath and his consultants arbitrarily pick and choose what priests they wanted on the list?

According to newly released documents and testimony from clergy abuse victims, the list appears to be 440 percent short.

Ever since the Pennsylvania Attorney General and grand jury released their scathing report of clergy abusers in August 2018, dioceses across the U.S. have been releasing their own voluntary lists of abusers. Abuse victims and their advocates say this voluntary action is an attempt at damage control, and an effort to beat other state attorneys general to the punch. Some say it’s also an attempt at minimizing the numbers beforehand.

Why the purportedly low numbers in San Jose?

It’s Everywhere: Investigation Finds 700 Victims of Southern Baptist Sex Abuse

Patheos blog

February 10, 2019

By Deacon Greg Kandra

“20 years, 700 victims”

So reads part of the headline of a sweeping investigation that has found years of sexual abuse perpetrated by hundreds of Southern Baptist church leaders against an even larger number of victims.

The Houston Chronicle and the San Antonio Express-News reported that nearly 400 Southern Baptist church leaders and volunteers have faced sexual misconduct allegations in the past two decades. As many as 700 victims — some as young as 3 — were sexually abused, some raped and molested repeatedly, according to the report.

But instead of ensuring that sexual predators were kept at bay, the Southern Baptist Convention resisted policy changes, the newspapers found. Victims accused church leaders of mishandling their complaints, even hiding them from the public. While the majority of abusers have been convicted of sex crimes and are registered sex offenders, the investigation found that at least three dozen pastors, employees and volunteers who showed predatory behavior still worked at churches.

The revelations, published Sunday, have not only led to a chorus of condemnation and calls for restructuring, but have also pushed church leaders to grapple with the troubling history — and future — of the largest Protestant denomination in the country.

“We must admit that our failures, as churches, put these survivors in a position where they were forced to stand alone and speak, when we should have been fighting for them,” J.D. Greear, who was elected president of the Southern Baptist Convention last summer, said on Twitter. “Their courage is exemplary and prophetic. But I grieve that their courage was necessary.”

Archdiocese of Chicago examines sex abuse policies following Attorney General’s investigation

CHICAGO (IL)
The Depaulia

February 11, 2019

By Cailey Gleeson

Prompted by abuse claims in Philadelphia in August, a December report from now former Attorney General Lisa Madigan found that the number of abusive clergy members in Illinois is higher than reported.

Madigan’s preliminary investigation found that while 185 clergy were “credibly” reported for abusive behaviors toward minors, the six dioceses in Illinois did not include the names of at least 500 additional clergy.

Fr. Jeremy Dixon, a pastor at St. Vincent De Paul Parish, shares the frustration felt by survivors and advocates alike.

“My hope is that this will all help to reform some of our structures in the church,” Dixon said.

“And eliminate the clericalism and sense of power that is at the root of this abuse and cover up.”

At DePaul, the largest Catholic university in the nation, professors within the theology department reflect on the history of abuse in the Church in light of the new scandal.

William Cavanaugh, professor at DePaul and director of the Center for World Catholicism and Cultural Theology, shares Fr. Dixon’s belief that clericalism is the root of the scandal.

“It’s responsible both for clergy who think they are entitled to prey on minors and for the bishops’ impulse to protect the clergy rather than those they abused,” Cavanaugh said.

Gina Orlando, part-time faculty at the School of New Learning and member of the Encyclical Working Group, believes that the Church’s “distorted sexual message” is partially to blame.

Sackcloth and Ashes in the Southern Baptist Convention

Patheos blog
February 11, 2019

By Josh Daffern

Yesterday the Houston Chronicle released a bombshell report (part 1 of 3) about sexual abuse within the Southern Baptist Convention. It is scathing and it is gut-wrenching to read as a lifelong Southern Baptist. The report names names, and while most will think the most important names are the denominational leaders and megachurch pastors called out, the most important names are the names of the victims, lives forever tarnished and ruined by vicious sexual assaults, assaults that took place within the sacred confines of our church buildings and within relationships fostered by the church. From the article:

Heather Schneider was 14 when she was molested in a choir room at Houston’s Second Baptist Church, according to criminal and civil court records. Her mother, Gwen Casados, said church leaders waited months to fire the attacker, who later pleaded no contest. In response to her lawsuit, church leaders also denied responsibility.

Schneider slit her wrists the day after that attack in 1994, Casados said. She survived, but she died 14 years later from a drug overdose that her mother blames on the trauma.

“I never got her back,” Casados said.

Ahead of pope’s abuse summit, expert warns there’s no ‘one size fits all’ fix

ROME (ITALY)
Crux

Feb 11, 2019

By Elise Harris and John L. Allen Jr.

A leading expert in the field of child protection has said that while one goal of the upcoming Vatican summit on abuse prevention is to get the world’s bishops on the same page, a uniform solution to the clerical abuse issue doesn’t exist.

Speaking to Crux, Jesuit Father Hans Zollner said he believes the reason for calling the Feb. 21-24 anti-abuse summit is because “this is a very urgent, very challenging moment for the Church and an urgent question which the Holy Father has made a priority for himself and for the Church, by calling for this unique meeting.”

Zollner, head of the Center for Child Protection at Rome’s Pontifical Gregorian University and a member of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors, is a member of the organizing committee for the February meeting along with Cardinal Blase Cupich of Chicago; Cardinal Oswald Gracias from India and Archbishop Charles Scicluna of Malta, the Vatican’s former top prosecutor of sex abuse crimes.

The heads of all bishop’s conferences throughout the world will attend the gathering, as well as members of Eastern Catholic Churches and religious superiors.

Echoing the words of Pope Francis, Zollner said the summit will be a meeting of “pastors” who will come together to pray, and who will “listen to be informed about what they need to do, and to own that.”

SBC sexual abuse report a 'warning sent from God,' 'scandal crying out to heaven,' leaders say

WASHINGTON (DC)
Christian Post

February 10, 2019

By Napp Nazworth

Southern Baptist leaders are thanking God and promising change in response to a Houston Chronicle report spotlighting sexual abuse in its churches.

"The voices in this article should be heard as a warning sent from God, calling the church to repent," Southern Baptist Convention President J.D. Greear wrote in response to the report on Twitter.

"This is a scandal crying out to heaven," wrote Russell Moore, president of the SBC's Ethic & Religious Liberty Commission, in a blog post. "The church’s message to survivors should be a clear communication that they are those who have been sinned against, not those who have sinned, that they are not troublemakers in the church but those who are helping the real 'trouble' to come to light."

The Houston Chronicle's Sunday report, the first in a three-part series, found over 700 victims of alleged sexual abuse by 380 Southern Baptist leaders and volunteers since 1998. 220 have been convicted. 100 are still in prison.

More disturbing still, many of the victims accused other Southern Baptist leaders, including past presidents, of concealing the abuse. Some of those who were accused of sexual abuse and left their congregations were able to find jobs in other Southern Baptist churches. Many of the victims were kids when the abuse occurred, as young as 3.

Hundreds of secret graves for orphanage kids lie unmarked at church with headstones for dead dogs

GLASGOW (SCOTLAND)
Scotland Daily Record

February 11, 2019

By Jackie Grant

A former resident of Aberlour Orphanage, Moray, said ­youngsters there were unaware at least 236 ­children were buried in the grounds of St Margaret’s Church in the village.

Graves of children who died at an orphanage were left unmarked in a churchyard where ­headstones were erected to dead dogs.

A former resident of Aberlour Orphanage, Moray, said ­youngsters there were unaware at least 236 ­children were buried in the grounds of St Margaret’s Church in the village.

The man said they were only shown the tomb of orphanage founder Canon Charles Jupp and the ­headstones to his dogs.

The children were buried from 1882 to 1947 with only wooden crosses on the graves. A small ­memorial stone was unveiled in 2005 but it provided no details about the youngsters.

The man, who asked to remain ­anonymous, said: “I was there in the 60s and there were no wooden crosses then. The most galling thing was you were shown Canon Jupp’s tomb and headstones to his dogs. The fact there were all these children also buried there was kept utterly secret.”

The Aberlour Child Care Trust chief executive has pledged to consider installing a fitting tribute.

Sally Ann Kelly said: “We welcome the ­opportunity to meet those with an interest and to discuss how each of these children can best be remembered in the most appropriate manner.”

Hundreds of sex offenders at Southern Baptist Church molested 700 or more children over decades: report

NEW YORK (NY)
New York Daily News

February 10, 2019

By Theresa Braine

An explosive new report reveals decades of abuse by Baptist clergy, youth leaders and other leaders in the Southern Baptist Church against children and teens – the 380 perpetrators, some registered as sexual predators, left at least 700 victims.

And this is just since 1998.

The Southern Baptist Church literally has no mechanism for compiling lists of miscreant pastors, so the Houston Chronicle and the San Antonio Express-News in Texas did it for them. The list is long and the ruin incalculable.

In the first of a three-part series, the newspapers give an overview of the depth and breadth of the scandal.

Covering up sexual abuse in Southern Baptist churches does not protect Jesus' reputation

DALLAS (TX)
Dallas Morning News

February 11, 2019

By Russell Moore

Sunday's edition of the Houston Chronicle features a major investigation into church sexual abuse in Southern Baptist contexts, looking at the harm done to over 700 survivors, including children as young as three years old. The report also details over 200 offenders who were convicted or took plea deals, demonstrating how a shocking number returned to ministry to abuse again. The report is alarming and scandalous, the courage and grace of these survivors is contrasted with the horrific depravity of those who would use the name of Jesus to prey on them. So how should Christians think about this latest revelation?

The first is to see with clear eyes what is before us. Some have ridiculed this concern as being some irrational sweep into a secular #MeToo moment, implying that the problem is "political correctness" over an issue that is no real problem within church life. Others have suggested that the church should not concern itself with questions of "justice," and that preaching the gospel itself will resolve matters of injustice. Others have implied that the horrific scandals we have seen in the Roman Catholic church are due to the theology of Catholicism, the nature of a celibate priesthood and so forth. All of these are not only wrongheaded responses, but are deadly dangerous both to the lives of present and future survivors of these horrors and to the witness of the church itself.

More Names Of Clergy Accused Of Sex Abuse In CT Released: Diocese

NORWICH (CT)
Patch

February 10, 2019

By Brian McCready

The Diocese of Norwich on Sunday released the names of 43 priests who are accused of sexual abuse of a minor. The priests have all served in Connecticut and have had "allegations of substance" made against them, according to a news release.

Diocese of Norwich Bishop Michael Cote said the allegations of sexual abuse dates back to formation of the diocese in 1953, according to a letter shared by the diocese. Cote stressed that no active priest is the subject of abuse allegations.

The diocese has paid out $7.7 million in settlements with victims in nine cases, according to the diocese's letter. A total of 23 more cases are pending and some victims missed the deadline to file suit, The New London Day also reports.

Norwich diocese lists 43 priests linked to sex abuse claims

NORWICH (CT)
Associated Press

February 10, 2019

Diocese of Norwich Bishop Michael Cote has released the names of 43 priests who have served in the Connecticut diocese and have had “allegations of substance” made against them about the sexual abuse of minors.

The list of priests accused of abuse since the diocese was established in 1953 was posted Sunday on its website www.norwichdiocese.org .

He said no priest or deacon currently in active ministry in the diocese is the subject of an allegation of substance regarding the sexual abuse of a minor. Thirty-three of the priests are dead.

Cote said in a letter in church bulletins Saturday that since 1977 the diocese has paid about $7.7 million in settlements to victims in nine cases. Twenty-three cases are pending.

Prep school teacher accused of sexually abusing minors while acting as a priest at religious schools

DOBBS FERRY (NY)
NewsChannel 12

February 10, 2019

A teacher at a prestigious Westchester private prep school has been accused of sexually abusing minors while acting as a priest at religious schools decades ago.

The Masters School, in Dobbs Ferry, is the latest to be rocked by allegations of priests and sexual abuse.

English teacher Robert Cornigans was revealed last month as one of 50 priests with credible allegations of sexual abuse of minors, according to a list released by the Jesuit order.

The allegations stem from when the 68-year-old Dobbs Ferry resident was teaching at private religious schools in Boston and then Fairfield, Connecticut in the late 1970s.

Following sexual abuse allegation, priest who worked near Penn put on leave by Archdiocese

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
Daily Pennsylvanian

February 11, 2019

By Chris Doyle

Rev. Steven Marinucci, a Catholic priest who worked near Penn’s campus for 10 years, has been placed on administrative leave following an allegation that he sexually abused a minor in the late 1970s.

Marinucci, 71, worked at St. Agatha-St. James Church on 38th and Chestnut streets from 2001 to 2010. The church serves Penn and Drexel University students, as well as residents in the University City and West Philadelphia area. The Archdiocese of Philadelphia put Marinucci on leave soon after it received the allegation against Marinucci in late January.

The Archdiocese wrote in a Feb. 3 announcement that it forwarded the allegations to legal authorities, and will continue to cooperate with law enforcement. The church will then conduct an internal investigation of the claim against Marinucci.

Marinucci has denied the allegation, the Archdiocese said. When put on leave, Marinucci was ministering at the St. Matthew Parish in Northeast Philadelphia.

Current and former religious leaders in Penn's Catholic community said they were saddened by the news of this allegation.

Father Eric Banecker, Catholic priest and 2011 College graduate, was a member of the Catholic Newman Center while Marinucci was stationed at St. Agatha-St. James. Banecker said he had a good relationship with Marinucci when he was a student at Penn.

‘Pure evil’: Southern Baptist leaders condemn decades of sexual abuse revealed in investigation

WASHINGTON (DC)
Washington Post

February 10, 2019

By Kristine Phillips and Amy B Wang

“20 years, 700 victims”

So reads part of the headline of a sweeping investigation that has found years of sexual abuse perpetrated by hundreds of Southern Baptist church leaders against an even larger number of victims.

The Houston Chronicle and the San Antonio Express-News reported that nearly 400 Southern Baptist church leaders and volunteers have faced sexual misconduct allegations in the past two decades. As many as 700 victims — some as young as 3 — were sexually abused, some raped and molested repeatedly, according to the report.

But instead of ensuring that sexual predators were kept at bay, the Southern Baptist Convention resisted policy changes, the newspapers found. Victims accused church leaders of mishandling their complaints, even hiding them from the public. While the majority of abusers have been convicted of sex crimes and are registered sex offenders, the investigation found that at least three dozen pastors, employees and volunteers who showed predatory behavior still worked at churches.

The revelations, published Sunday, have not only led to a chorus of condemnation and calls for restructuring, but have also pushed church leaders to grapple with the troubling history — and future — of the largest Protestant denomination in the country.

“We must admit that our failures, as churches, put these survivors in a position where they were forced to stand alone and speak, when we should have been fighting for them,” J.D. Greear, who was elected president of the Southern Baptist Convention last summer, said on Twitter. “Their courage is exemplary and prophetic. But I grieve that their courage was necessary.”

The investigation comes amid a string of recent allegations of widespread sexual abuse by Catholic priests and coverups by the church hierarchy. Just a few days earlier, Pope Francis acknowledged that members of the Catholic clergy had abused nuns for years.

Child sex abuse called 'a serious and pervasive' issue in US society

WASHINGTON (DC)
Catholic News Service

February 11, 2019

By Julie Asher

Child sexual abuse in the United States is at epidemic levels.

More than 60,000 children are reported to have been abused every year, outnumbering those killed by guns or cars. Those who survive are often left not only with physical wounds, but also with psychological wounds that may never heal. These wounds exact both a profound personal and social cost.

Much attention has been focused on the issue of child sexual abuse and the Catholic Church, and rightly so. Allegations of abuse by clergy and church workers as well as cover-ups and bureaucratic mishandling by bishops, dioceses and religious orders have caused terrible pain for survivors of such abuse and their families. It also has resulted in disillusionment on the part of ordinary Catholics. The cost of this abuse and its aftermath totals more than $4 billion so far, according to the U.S. bishops' Secretariat for Child and Youth Protection.

While the Catholic Church continues to struggle with this legacy, it has instituted a wide variety of steps to improve oversight, identify abusers and protect children.

One under-reported fact from the recent, highly publicized Pennsylvania grand jury report is that for all of the many horrors it identified, the good news was that it appeared to document the decline in current cases.

February 10, 2019

A simple defrocking won’t mean the McCarrick case is over

ROME (ITALY)
Crux

February 10, 2019

John L. Allen, Jr.

Various news agencies have reported, and Crux has confirmed, that the Vatican will shortly announce a ruling in the case of former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, accused of sexual abuse of a 16-year-old boy more than 50 years ago as well as various incidents with adult priests and seminarians.

By all accounts, McCarrick will lose his clerical status, more commonly known as being “laicized” or “defrocked.” When that decision is involuntary, it’s considered the death penalty for a cleric in Church law, the most severe punishment that can be imposed for especially heinous offenses.

McCarrick already received an unusual sanction in July, when he became the first cardinal in a century to lose his red hat. Assuming the laicization happens, he would also be the highest-ranking Catholic cleric in modern times to suffer that penalty.

Much of the reporting has indicated that the timing of the announcement is deliberate, in that Pope Francis and his Vatican team want the McCarrick case to be resolved before a high-profile summit of presidents of bishops’ conferences from around the world on the clerical abuse scandals set for Feb. 21-24.

Here’s the thing, however: Even if McCarrick is defrocked, that hardly would mean his case is over.

To be sure, the specter of a former cardinal suffering the Church’s ultimate penalty would send an important signal ahead of the pope’s summit, suggesting that Francis is committed to a “zero tolerance” policy no matter who’s involved.

The Irish woman who exposed abuse of nuns by priests 25 years ago

IRELAND
Irish Times

February 10, 2019

By Patsy McGarry

Report by Clare sister claimed such abuse took place in 22 countries, including Ireland

Reports last week Pope Francis said the Catholic Church has faced a persistent problem of sexual abuse of nuns by priests and even bishops, seem to have taken many people by surprise.

Speaking to reporters on the flight back to Rome from his trip last Tuesday it was the first time Pope Francis publicly acknowledged the issue, although it is not new.

Catholic nuns have accused clerics of sexual abuse in recent years in India, Africa, Latin America and in Italy, and a Vatican magazine last week mentioned nuns having abortions or giving birth to the children of priests.

Indeed, 25 years ago an Irish nun prepared an extensive report for the Vatican on just such abuse of nuns internationally by priests. It was shelved.

Vatican ex-doctrine chief pens manifesto amid pope criticism

VATICAN CITY
Associated Press via PBS

February 9, 2019

By Nicole Winfield

The Vatican’s former doctrine chief has penned a “manifesto of faith” to remind Catholics of basic tenets of belief amid what he says is “growing confusion” in the church today.

Cardinal Gerhard Mueller didn’t name Pope Francis in his four-page manifesto, released late Friday. But the document was nevertheless a clear manifestation of conservative criticism of Francis’ emphasis on mercy and accompaniment versus a focus on repeating Catholic morals and doctrine during the previous two papacies.

Mueller wrote that a pastor’s failure to teach Catholic truths was the greatest deception – “It is the fraud of the anti-Christ.”

Francis sacked Mueller as prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in 2017, denying the German a second five-year term.

Vatican tries to rein in expectations for sexual abuse summit

VATICAN CITY
The Washington Post

February 9, 2019

By Chico Harlan

Pope Francis is preparing to convene an unprecedented summit on sex abuse this month, widely viewed as among the most pivotal moments of his papacy, but the Vatican is cautioning not to expect too much.

“I permit myself to say that I’ve perceived a bit of an inflated expectation,” Francis told reporters in late January. “We need to deflate the expectations.”

The Holy See’s press office released a statement calling the meeting just one stage in a 15-year journey.

The pope described his goal as educating bishops on the problem of abuse and how properly to handle it — which advocates say the church has talked about for years.

Francis called for the summit while facing a crescendo of sexual abuse scandals across the Catholic world — cases in which bishops and cardinals are alleged to have enabled abuse or carried it out themselves.

The four-day meeting — scheduled to begin Feb. 21 and to be attended by the heads of more than 100 national bishops’ conferences — marks the first time a pope has brought together the religion’s top leaders to discuss the issue of abuse. It presents an opportunity for Francis to work to repair the church’s damaged reputation and demonstrate that it will be more proactive in its effort to eliminate the scourge of abuse.

But the landmark event is a risk for the pontiff and could end up boosting criticism that he is moving too slowly and reluctantly to tackle the Roman Catholic Church’s greatest crisis.

Vatican watchers say it is unclear whether the church can emerge from the summit with the kind of concrete policymaking reforms that have long been urged by advocates. Such reforms would include changes in canon law or new mechanisms that aim to hold accountable bishops who cover up abuse.

Speaking to reporters last month, Francis said he intended the event to help bishops become better aware of both the suffering of victims and the “protocols” for dealing with complaints.

Here is the list of Louisville priests accused of sexual abuse

LOUISVILLE (KY)
Louisville Courier Journal

February 8, 2019

Catholic Church leaders in Louisville released a report on Friday listing 48 priests and members of religious orders credibly accused of sexual abuse.

The report released by the Archdiocese of Louisville was prepared by an independent reviewer who examined archdiocese files involving the sexual abuse of minors by diocesan priests. It marks the first time Louisville's archdiocese has published such a list from its files.

That 48 includes 22 archdiocese priests with substantiated abuse allegations, 14 priests and others who are members of various religious orders such as Franciscan Friars, and 12 priests with allegations considered credible but which there wasn't enough information to fully investigate or confirm the report.

Abuse of Faith: 20 years, 700 victims: Southern Baptist sexual abuse spreads as leaders resist reforms

HOUSTON (TX)
Houston Chronicle

February 10, 2019

By Robert Downen, Lise Olsen, and John Tedesco

Multimedia by Jon Shapley

[This collection of mug shots includes a portion of the 220 people who, since 1998, worked or volunteered in Southern Baptist churches and were convicted of or pleaded guilty to sex crimes.]

First of three parts

Thirty-five years later, Debbie Vasquez's voice trembled as she described her trauma to a group of Southern Baptist leaders.

She was 14, she said, when she was first molested by her pastor in Sanger, a tiny prairie town an hour north of Dallas. It was the first of many assaults that Vasquez said destroyed her teenage years and, at 18, left her pregnant by the Southern Baptist pastor, a married man more than a dozen years older.

In June 2008, she paid her way to Indianapolis, where she and others asked leaders of the Southern Baptist Convention and its 47,000 churches to track sexual predators and take action against congregations that harbored or concealed abusers. Vasquez, by then in her 40s, implored them to consider prevention policies like those adopted by faiths that include the Catholic Church.

Cardinal Müller: Clergy Sex Abuse Involves Sexual Misconduct, Not Merely Clericalism

ROME (ITALY)
National Catholic Register

January 23, 2019

By Edward Pentin

Speaking with the Register, the former head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith says Church leaders must acknowledge the central role homosexuality has played in the abuse crisis.

Those who reduce clergy sex abuse to clericalism and never mention the role that homosexuality has played in the crisis “don’t want to confront the true reasons” for the abuse, Cardinal Gerhard Müller has told the Register.

The prefect emeritus of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith also said these groups and individuals who publicly hold these views are against priestly celibacy and are exploiting such abuse crimes “for their own agenda.” Cardinal Müller shared these words in a sit-down interview with the Register in Rome recently, during which he shared his hopes for the Feb. 21-24 meeting of bishops on the “protection of minors” and discussed a range of other topics.

Cardinal Müller Issues ‘Manifesto of Faith’

National Catholic Register

February 8, 2019

By Edward Pentin

The former Vatican doctrinal head upholds key teachings in the face of ‘growing confusion’ about Church doctrine and a ‘growing danger’ that people are ‘missing the path to eternal life.’

Cardinal Gerhard Müller has issued a forthright “manifesto of faith,” calling primarily on Church leaders to fulfil their obligation to lead people to salvation in the face of “growing confusion” about Church doctrine.

In a four-page public testimony (see below) released in multiple languages Feb. 8, and whose title is taken from the Gospel of John “Let not your heart be troubled!”, the prefect emeritus of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith reasserts many key teachings of the faith, reminding clergy and laity it is up to “shepherds” to “guide those entrusted to them on the path of salvation.”

“Today, many Christians are no longer even aware of the basic teachings of the Faith,” the German cardinal laments, “so there is a growing danger of missing the path to eternal life.”

Written in response to requests from “many bishops, priests, religious and lay people,” the cardinal’s testimony comes as the Church awaits the Feb. 21-24 Vatican summit on clergy sexual abuse, and following statements and documents from the Pope down that many practicing faithful have, at times, found confusing, disorienting and inconsistent with the Church’s teaching.

Sacked cardinal issues manifesto in thinly veiled attack on pope

VATICAN CITY
Reuters

February 9, 2019

By Philip Pullella

A cardinal who was sacked from a senior Vatican post by Pope Francis has written his own “Manifesto of Faith,” in the latest attack on the pontiff’s authority by a leading member of the Church’s conservative wing.

Cardinal Gerhard Mueller, 71, a German who was the Vatican’s doctrinal chief until 2017, issued the four-page manifesto on Friday via conservative Catholic media outlets.

He said “many bishops, priests, religious and lay people” had requested it. He did not say how many and why he was issuing it now.

However, conservatives balked this week when Francis made the first trip by a pope to the Arabian peninsula and signed a “Document on Human Fraternity” with a Muslim faith leader.

Ultra-conservative Catholics are opposed to dialogue with Islam, with some saying its ultimate goal is to destroy the West.

Vatican to rule next week on defrocking of disgraced U.S. cardinal: sources

VATICAN CITY
Reuters

February 8, 2019

By Philip Pullella

Vatican officials will meet next week to decide the fate of disgraced former U.S. cardinal Theodore McCarrick over allegations of sexual abuse, Vatican sources said on Friday.

Vatican sources told Reuters last month that McCarrick will almost certainly be dismissed from the priesthood, which would make him the highest profile Roman Catholic figure to be defrocked in modern times.

Cardinal Luis Francisco Ladaria, head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF), the Vatican department that will rule on the case, met Pope Francis on Thursday, according to a public Vatican schedule.

The Vatican did not say what was discussed but one source said it was likely that Ladaria briefed the pontiff on the final stages of the McCarrick case. The sources spoke on the condition of anonymity because they are not authorized to discuss the case.

Francis, who will have to sign off on any dismissal decision, wants the McCarrick case over before heads of national Catholic churches meet at the Vatican from Feb. 21-24 to discuss the global sexual abuse crisis, three Vatican sources told Reuters last month.

Polish archbishop meets pedophilia victims, says concealing abuse inexcusable

WARSAW (POLAND)
Reuters

February 6, 2019

By Marcin Goclowski

Archbishop Stanislaw Gadecki said on Wednesday that 28 people who suffered abuse as children had accepted his invitation, some of whom he had already spoken to.

The scandal in Poland follows investigations into widespread abuse of minors by clergy in other countries - notably in Chile, the United States, Australia and Ireland - that have shaken the Roman Catholic Church to its foundations.

Pope Francis is due to receive a report this month that will accuse some bishops in devoutly Catholic Poland of failing to report pedophilia cases, which activist and opposition lawmaker Joanna Scheuring-Wielgus said in January should cost them their jobs.

Gadecki said the victims’ pain and suffering “require everyone - from bishops and religious superiors, from clergy and laity - to be unconditionally involved in the process of reporting, hearing, repairing and preventing such crimes.”

Poland is one of Europe’s most religious countries, where nearly 85 percent of the 38 million population are Catholic and an estimated 12 million attend Sunday mass.

But Church authorities there have yet to reach a consensus on how to address the issue of abuse.

An arm of the Church has filed a suit in the Supreme Court seeking to annul a 1 million zloty ($265,0000) payment ordered by a lower court to a woman who, as a 13-year old child, was repeatedly raped by her local priest.

The case was a landmark ruling in granting compensation and an annuity to a victim of sexual abuse by a Catholic priest in Poland.

February 9, 2019

I was groped by a man called “Mary”: The world changes but not the Catholic Church

UNITED STATES
Salon

February 9, 2010

Lucian K. Truscott IV

The Catholic Church is still only groping its way toward telling the truth about sexual abuse by priests

“Mary’s” real name was Francis Cardinal Spellman. The year was 1967, and he was Archbishop of the diocese of New York. An intimate of popes going back to Pope Pius XII, whom he had befriended when he was Archbishop Eugenio Pacelli in the 1920’s and serving as Papal Nuncio in the Vatican, Spellman was the most powerful Catholic figure in the United States, and one of the most powerful in the world.

The groping took place in his private quarters behind St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Manhattan in the presence of two West Point cadets and one Monsignor who was introduced to us as the Cardinal’s “personal assistant.”

I was a junior at West Point, and one of the editors of the cadet magazine, The Pointer. Cadets were allowed only two weekend leaves each semester in those days, and what they called a “weekend leave” consisted of being allowed to leave the campus on the Hudson from noon on Saturday until 6 p.m. on Sunday, so it wasn’t a “weekend” at all.

'Who Is This Stupid God?'

PHILIPPINES
Commonweal Magazine

February 8, 2019

By Adam Willis

At La Loma Cemetery in Caloocan City, Manila, Bishop Pablo “Ambo” David’s cassock curled behind him as he stepped through the iron chapel doors into the morning light, half-past nine on All Souls Day last November. Mass was over. So were the blessings, greetings, and photo-ops that always follow, and he stepped away from the stone chapel with warlike urgency. At the bottom of the chapel steps, he was whisked off in a white van, and I jumped into an SUV with two other journalists, speeding out of a parking spot to keep pace.

Ambo was headed for the grave of Kian Delos Santos, the most famous of the nearly twenty-five thousand victims in Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs. In August of 2017, security cameras in Caloocan City captured uniformed officers dragging the seventeen-year-old into an alley, and multiple witnesses watched as the officers forced a gun into his hand and shot him as he kneeled on the ground in his boxer shorts. Whatever veneer of justice still hung over the anti-drug operations was stripped away with Kian’s death. Though the Philippine Catholic Church was slow to respond to the vicious, violent anti-drug campaign, Kian’s death galvanized marches in the streets and spurred calls to activism in the church.

Arcebispo da PB assina decreto que proíbe padres de estarem sozinhos com menores de idade

[Archbishop of PB signs decree prohibiting priests from being alone with minors]

PARAÍBA (BRAZIL)
Globo

February 8, 2019

Decreto foi assinado duas semanas depois de condenação da Igreja Católica pela Justiça do Trabalho ter sido divulgada.

Um decreto assinado pelo arcebispo metropolitano da Paraíba, Dom Manoel Delson proíbe que os padres estejam na companhia de menores e de adultos vulneráveis desacompanhados dos pais ou responsáveis, na casa paroquial, no carro paroquial ou em outros ambientes reservados. O decreto foi assinado na quarta-feira (6).

[Decree was signed two weeks after the Catholic Church's conviction for Labor Justice has been disclosed.

[A decree signed by the metropolitan archbishop of Paraíba, Dom Manoel Delson prohibits priests from being in the company of minors and vulnerable adults unaccompanied by their parents or guardians, in the parish house, in the parochial car or in other reserved places. The decree was signed on Wednesday (6).]

Catholic archbishop in Brazil bans priests from being alone with children

PARAIBA (BRAZIL)
The Independent US

February 9, 2019

By Tom Embury-Dennis

Decree follows court order forcing archdiocese to pay almost £2.5m in compensation over sexual exploitation of minors

A Brazilian Catholic archbishop has banned priests in his district from being alone with children.

Manoel Delson, archbishop of the northeastern state of Paraiba, signed the decree on Wednesday following a court order forcing the archdiocese to pay almost £2.5m in compensation over the sexual exploitation of minors.

Mr Delson’s decree prohibits priests from being in the company of children and vulnerable adults unaccompanied by their parents or guardians.

It also states they are not allowed to offer parish accommodation to minors, while “spiritual care” must be done in confessionals or locations that “ensure safety and visibility”, according to Brazilian newspaper Globo.

Nun’s Rape Case Against Bishop Shakes a Catholic Bastion in India

KOCHI (INDIA)
The New York Times

February 9, 2019

By Maria Abi-Habib and Suhasini Raj

When Bishop Franco Mulakkal agreed to personally celebrate the First Communion for Darly’s son, a rare honor in their Catholic Church in India, the family was overcome with pride.

During the ceremony, Darly looked over at her sister, a nun who worked with the bishop, to see her eyes spilling over with tears — tears of joy, she figured. But only later would she learn of her sister’s allegation that the night before, the bishop had summoned the nun to his quarters and raped her. The family says that was the first assault in a two-year ordeal in which the prelate raped her 13 times.

The bishop, who has maintained his innocence, will be charged and face trial by a special prosecutor on accusations of rape and intimidation, the police investigating the case said. But the church acknowledged the nun’s accusations only after five of her fellow nuns mutinied and publicly rallied to her side to draw attention to her yearlong quest for justice, despite what they described as heavy pressure to remain silent.

“We used to see the fathers of the church as equivalent to God, but not anymore,” said Darly, her voice shaking with emotion. “How can I tell my son about this, that the person teaching us the difference between right and wrong gave him his First Communion after committing such a terrible sin?”

The case in India, in the southern state of Kerala, is part of a larger problem in the church that Pope Francis addressed on Tuesday for the first time after decades of silence from the Vatican. He acknowledged that sexual abuse of nuns by clerics is a continuing problem in the church.

At a time when church attendance is low in the West, and empty parishes and monasteries are being shuttered across Europe and America, the Vatican increasingly relies on places like India to keep the faith growing.

“India’s clergy and nuns are hugely important to the Catholic Church in the West. The enthusiasm of Christians in Asia stands in stark contrast to the lower-temperature religion in the West,” said Diarmaid MacCulloch, a professor of church history at the University of Oxford.

But the scandal in Kerala is dividing India’s Catholics, who number about 20 million despite being a relatively small minority of a vast population.

Former priest arrested on sex abuse charges, kidnapping

ALBUQUERQUE (NM)
KOAT-TV

February 8, 2019

A victim says he was raped by Archuleta when he was 6 years old and attending Holy Cross Catholic School.

An 81-year-old priest was arrested by New Mexico State Police on Friday. Marvin Archuleta was taken into custody at the Sun Village Apartments in Albuquerque after a two-year investigation by the New Mexico Office of the Attorney General.

Archuleta faces multiple charges, including sexual penetration of a minor and kidnapping. A victim says he was raped by Archuleta when he was 6 years old and attending Holy Cross Catholic School.

Archuleta served as a priest in the 1970s and 1980s at several churches in New Mexico. Investigators say the crimes allegedly happened in the '80 in Santa Fe County.

This arrest comes as several cases of child sexual abuse by church officials across the nation are being investigated and victims are coming forward.

Column: He tried speaking out about priest abuse in Catholic church. Now he's shouting about it.

GREEN BAY (WI)
Green Bay Press-Gazette

February 8, 2019

By Paul Srubas

https://www.greenbaypressgazette.com/story/news/2019/02/08/catholics-abuse-norbertines-jason-jerry-green-bay-llama-news-survivor-speaks-out/2747719002/

The problem with Jason Jerry is he makes a lousy victim.

Victims are supposed to be subdued, repressed, sorrowful. It helps if they can look up at us with sad eyes, maybe bite their lower lip a little. Obviously, we don’t want them to be beaten down or crushed, but we’re used to thinking of them as tender and vulnerable, and that’s what we need to get our caring, nurturing instincts kicked into high gear.

Jerry, 44, of Howard, is none of that. He’s an angry victim. He’s mouthy. He can be, let's face it, kind of abrasive when he talks about how a priest molested him years ago and got away with it.

“What are you going to do about the Norbertines?” he shouted at Bishop David Ricken at a listening session in September. “And for you to sit there and nod? Your silence is deafening.”

Ex-priest accused of child abuse in Texas gets trial delayed

HOUSTON (TX)
Associated Press via Houston Chronicle

February 8, 2019

El Paso - The trial of a former Texas priest accused of sexually abusing an alter server for years has been postponed after Catholic leaders revealed the names of hundreds of priests with links to the state who are credibly accused of child abuse.

Miguel Luna, one of the clergymen identified by the Catholic Diocese of El Paso last week, had his trial delayed on Wednesday, the El Paso Times reported. Luna is charged with molesting and raping a child at an El Paso Catholic church.

Luna's lawyer, Francisco Macias, said the delay will allow media coverage of the list to calm down and hopefully give Luna a chance at a fair trial. His new trial date is set for April 5, according to court records.

Nephew accuses his uncle, Father Art Smith, of abuse

BUFFALO (NY)
WGRZ-TV

February 5, 2019

By Claudine Ewing

A well known local Catholic priest in Buffalo, who is suspended for allegations of sexual abuse, is now accused by a family member of abuse. For the first time that family member is sharing his story.

Reverend Arthur Smith, known by many in Buffalo, inside and outside the Catholic Church, as Father Art, is accused by his nephew of sexual abuse. Three members of the family tell 2 On Your Side that Father Smith abused someone in his own family.

Ryan Cooley, now 33, says he was 9 years old when he was abused by his uncle. Cooley recalls it happened in a family member's North Buffalo home in a bedroom. Cooley could not hold back tears while telling a story that has bothered him for nearly his entire life.

"I wanted to crawl under the bed," Cooley said.

During the one and only encounter, Cooley said his uncle Father Smith sat him on the bed and said, " 'You're growing up so fast.' He just started like rubbing my back, stuck his hand up my shorts and just kept touching me. He knew that I didn't want that, and from that moment on he disrespected me."

Cooley never told anyone about the abuse until a couple of years ago. He was raised in a Catholic family in South Buffalo.

Arkansas Priest Sex Abuse Allegations Grow

SPRINGFIELD (MO)
Ozarks First

February 8, 2019

Little Rock, Ark. - The Catholic Diocese of Little Rock is releasing new information in the continuing investigation into allegations of clergy sexual abuse of children. The office is also urging other alleged victims to come forward.

On Friday, Bishop Anthony B. Taylor released a statement to the Catholics in the Diocese of Little Rock following a review by an outside firm, Kinsale Management Consulting, of more than 1,350 files of clergy and religious who served in ministry in the diocese.

The DOLR released these items:
An Updated Clergy Disclosure List,
A Historical Explanation of the Church’s Handling of Allegations of Abuse of Minors Prior to 2002, and
An exit letter from Kinsale Management Consulting (full letter posted below)

The Diocese says Bishop Taylor remains deeply concerned for anyone who has been a victim of sexual abuse, especially anyone who has been abused by a priest, deacon or other representative of the church.

Louisiana clergy abuse lists include one priest who left three-decade-long trail of victims

NEW ORLEANS (LA)
The New Orleans Advocate

February 8, 2019

By Andrea Gallo and Ramon Antonio Vargas

It was 1959 when priest John Franklin was stripped of his ability to minister to Catholics in the New Orleans area because he had been credibly accused of sexually abusing a minor.

Yet within a few years, Franklin was working as a priest in central Louisiana, holding invocations at prep sports awards banquets, presiding over funerals — and by 1966, allegedly abusing another child.

He was still a priest 20 years later, when he fatally shot himself in the head shortly before he could be tried on charges that he sexually abused a preteen altar boy in Florida

His suicide note said he preferred to be “a dead memory than a living … disgrace.”

Franklin’s story, buried in the balkanized record keeping of the U.S. Catholic Church, has slowly resurfaced following his appearance on last year’s list of credibly accused clergy abusers from the Archdiocese of New Orleans and a listing this week on the release from the Diocese of Alexandria.

Accused priest tries to block film on French child abuse scandal

PARIS (FRANCE)
The Local / Agence France-Presse

February 8, 2019

A priest accused of molesting more than 80 boys is trying to block the release of a film about a scandal which has rocked the French Catholic church and put one of its most senior cardinals in the dock.

The acclaimed director Francois Ozon worked for years in secret on "By the Grace of God", which will be premiered Friday at the Berlin film festival.

But its release in France later this month is threatened, with the accused priest Bernard Preynat going to court to demand that it is not shown until after his trial, which is due to start later this year.

A lay voluntary worker for the Lyon diocese, Regine Maire, has also issued a legal challenge to have her name removed from the film.

The movie's premiere comes as Cardinal Philippe Barbarin, the archbishop of Lyon, and five others including Maire await the verdict of a court in the central eastern city on charges of covering up the abuse.

Abuse victims ask DA to investigate when Oakland Diocese reported priest

SAN JOSE (CA)
The Mercury News

February 8, 2019

By John Woolfork

State law requires church officials to immediately report suspected abuse

Concerned that church officials took too long to report a priest’s misconduct, abuse victims are asking the Alameda County District Attorney to investigate when the Diocese of Oakland first learned of child abuse allegations involving a priest who was placed on leave last week.

Representatives of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) sent a letter to District Attorney Nancy O’Malley noting that the diocese publicly announced it had placed the Rev. Alex Castillo on leave five hours before notifying Oakland police

Clergy members along with teachers, medical professionals, law enforcement officials and others are required under state law to immediately or as soon as practical report suspected child abuse to police or child welfare authorities when they become aware of it. Failure to do so is a misdemeanor.

“There was obviously a delay in reporting, but whether it was hours, days, weeks, or months, is
not entirely clear,” said the letter to Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O’Malley from Bay Area SNAP representatives Melanie Sakoda, Dan McNevin, Joey Piscitelli and Zach Hiner.

Archdiocese: 48 Louisville priests, others credibly accused of sex abuse

LOUISVILLE (KY)
Louisville Courier Journal

February 8, 2019

By Chris Kenning

Louisville Archbishop Joseph Kurtz on Friday released the names of 48 archdiocese priests and members of religious orders credibly accused of child sexual abuse dating back 70 years, the first such accounting since the priest abuse scandal exploded in 2002.

The report, prepared by former assistant U.S. attorney and Kentucky State Police Commissioner Mark Miller, follows a growing number of Catholic diocese from Atlanta to Indianapolis issuing similar lists, spurred partly by a 2018 Pennsylvania grand jury investigation that reignited outrage and sparked new priest-abuse investigations.

Kurtz said the list was meant to provide transparency and healing for a “tragic history” and said the list is only a beginning, not a final accounting. The numbers will likely rise, he said, and he said he hoped the report would inspire others to report abuses.

Of the 48 named people, 22 were archdiocese priests with at least one substantiated allegation. Another 14 were priests (including one who became a bishop) and other members of religious orders such as Franciscan Friars, and 12 were priests with credible allegations for which there was insufficient information to fully investigate or confirm.

Restoring Trust: Report on Sexual Abuse in the Archdiocese of Louisville

LOUISVILLE (KY)
Archdiocese of Louisville

February 8, 2019

By Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz

[Includes links to the Miller report, with its list of accused archdiocesan priests, and a list of accused religious order priests and others.]

Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ:

May God bless you! I have written on many occasions over the last several months about the sexual abuse of children in the Church and how the Archdiocese is responding in a pastoral way.

As part of our response, the Archdiocese of Louisville Sexual Abuse Review Board requested a careful review by an independent investigator of our records involving sexual abuse of minors by diocesan priests with a report of the findings. The investigator is Mr. Mark Miller, a former Assistant U.S. Attorney, former First Assistant Jefferson County Commonwealth Attorney, and former Commissioner of the Kentucky State Police, and he presented his report to the Sexual Abuse Review Board today. This report includes a list of credibly accused diocesan priests. In addition to Mr. Miller’s report, we also are releasing a list of credibly accused religious order priests. Because the personnel records for these priests are maintained by the religious order, we had only limited information for review, and so religious order priests are not included in Mr. Miller’s report. Many religious orders have published a list or are in the process of doing so, and we provided the web page for each religious order involved.

Several weeks ago, Mr. Miller shared his initial findings with the Sexual Abuse Review Board. During that meeting, I confirmed with him that he had received unfettered and independent access to what he needed to complete his work.

February 8, 2019

Nuns: Time to rethink male hierarchy

VATICAN CITY
Associated Press via Portland Press Herald

February 8, 2019

The statement by the sisters comes after Pope Francis admitted the problem of priests and bishops sexually abusing nuns.

By Nicole Winfield

The largest association of religious sisters in the United States called Thursday for an overhaul of the male-led leadership structure of the Catholic Church, after Pope Francis publicly acknowledged the problem of priests and bishops sexually abusing nuns.

The Leadership Conference of Women Religious also appealed in a statement for reporting guidelines to be established so abused nuns “are met with compassion and are offered safety.”

The conference’s statement followed Francis’ acknowledgement this week that clergy abuse of nuns was a problem. The pope said the Vatican was working on it but that more needed to be done.

His comments, given in response to a reporter’s question during an in-flight news conference, were the first public acknowledgement by a pope of a long-simmering scandal that is erupting at the same time that the Catholic hierarchy is under siege for its decades-long cover-up of the sexual abuse of minors.

Baton Rouge Diocese list of credibly accused clerics grows from 37 to 38 with new addition

BATON ROUGE (LA)
The Advocate

February 8, 2019

By Andrea Gallo

The Diocese of Baton Rouge is adding Timothy Sugrue, a priest who served for at least seven years in St. James Parish, to its list of Catholic clergymen who have been credibly accused of sexual abuse.

With the addition of Sugrue, the diocese's list now includes 38 clerics who served under its umbrella who stand credibly accused of sexual abuse of a minor. The Advocate reported Tuesday that Sugrue had been left off the diocese's list even though he was targeted by a high-profile lawsuit in Arkansas and was included on a similar list from the Diocese of Little Rock last year.

Dan Borné, a spokesman for the Diocese of Baton Rouge, said the diocese has yet to receive any credible allegations against Sugrue from his time at St. Michael the Archangel in Convent and St. Joseph Church in Paulina. The Marist priest left the Diocese of Baton Rouge in 1987.

Sex-Abuse Crisis: Bishops Press Forward With Own Reforms

UNITED STATES
National Catholic Register

February 8, 2019

By Stephen Beale

A number of U.S. dioceses have already announced new initiatives to deal with the crisis, ahead of this month’s global summit on clerical sexual abuse at the Vatican.

While the hands of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops may have been tied until the Vatican conference on clerical sex abuse later this month, many individual bishops aren’t waiting to usher in sweeping new reforms in their dioceses in the wake of the latest revelations.

“I believe that bishops have sufficient latitude to implement reforms in their dioceses,” Archbishop William Lori of Baltimore told the Register. “As I understand it, canon law affords bishops authority to make certain decisions for the good of the local Churches they serve. In view of the importance of transparency and accountability, it was determined that these additional protocols were warranted and within my authority to implement.”

In mid-January, Archbishop Lori announced a third-party reporting system for accusations of any improprieties, criminal actions or unethical behavior — sex abuse or otherwise — for any bishops actively serving in the Archdiocese of Baltimore.

Any allegations will be assessed by an independent review board headed up by two retired judges. The board will also be publishing an annual report on how the archdiocese has dealt with the allegations it has received.

Vatican advances probe of Argentine bishop close to Pope

BUENOS AIRES (ARGENTINA)
Associated Press

February 8, 2019

The Vatican is proceeding with an investigation into an Argentine bishop close to Pope Francis who has been accused of improper behavior with seminarians and sexual abuse.

In a statement posted to its Facebook page, the Argentine Diocese of Oran said Feb. 5 that the Vatican’s Congregation for Bishops had entrusted Tucuman Archbishop Carlos Alberto Sanchez with the next phase of the investigation regarding accusations against Bishop Gustavo Zanchetta.

The development is significant because it signals that a preliminary investigation conducted by the Oran diocese and sent to the Vatican was deemed credible enough to warrant further investigation by an outside party.

The Associated Press reported last month that the Vatican received indications of inappropriate behavior by Zanchetta in 2015 and again in 2017, with reports from his former vicars and the seminary rector.

New name added to Catholic Diocese of Baton Rouge’s list of names of clergy credibly accused of sexually abusing minors

BATON ROUGE (LA)
WAFB-TV

February 8, 2019

By Kevin Foster, Nick Gremillion, and Matt Houston

UPDATE - FEB. 8

Another name has been added to the Catholic Diocese of Baton Rouge’s list of clergy members accused of sexually abusing minors.

The diocese released the updated list Friday, Feb. 8. It includes a new name, one that was released in a report from the Diocese of Little Rock in September of 2018. The Baton Rouge diocese was reportedly not notified he had served in Louisiana.

Timothy Sugrue reportedly left Baton Rouge in 1987. The Baton Rouge diocese says they have no record of a credible allegation against him while he served in Baton Rouge, but that since he’s listed on the report from Little Rock, his name has been added to their list.

The diocese also noted another change to the list in which an individual accused was misidentified.

“The change involves Myles Joseph Kearney, whose is name No. 17 under Section A of our list. Two individuals named Myles Joseph Kearney served the Diocese of Baton Rouge. The allegation listed is NOT against the Fr. Kearney who was ordained in 1938 and served at Our Lady of Mt. Carmel in St. Francisville. In addition, the Myles Joseph Kearney on our list served as a transitional deacon at St. George Parish in Baton Rouge, and he did not serve at Ascension of Our Lord Parish in Donaldsonville as had previously been reported. (Note: Prior to their ordination to the priesthood, seminarians are ordained to the diaconate. This diaconate is usually called the “transitional diaconate” because it is conferred in anticipation that the man will be ordained to the priesthood. Men who are not anticipating ordination to the priesthood are also ordained as deacons. They are generally called 'permanent’ deacons. There are no permanent deacons on our diocesan list.)”

'Listening to the victims will be a core mission' La Croix speaks to Jean-Marc Sauvé, president of the French bishops' new independent commission of inquiry into sexual abuse within the Church

PARIS (FRANCE)
La Croix International

February 8, 2019

By Anne-Bénédicte Hoffner and Céline Hoyeau

The first meeting of the Independent Commission of Inquiry into Sexual Abuse within the Church (CIASE) is being held on Feb. 8 in Paris.

Jean-Marc Sauvé, former Vice-President of the Council of State, explains the philosophy of the Commission, which he was appointed to lead by the bishops of France.

La Croix: You were appointed at the end of November 2018 to preside over the Commission, with the aim of "casting light on the sexual abuse of minors and vulnerable persons" in the Church and in order to "study the manner in which these cases were handled." How are you planning to proceed?

Jean-Marc Sauvé: The starting point of this work is the acknowledgment and understanding of the victims' suffering. From now on, this must be taken into account and addressed. This will occur through attentive listening.

The sexual abuse of minors and of vulnerable persons constitutes a denial of the foundation of the Church: it is therefore particularly intolerable.

Responding to the suffering of the victims is what has motivated me. Listening to them will therefore be one of the core missions of the Commission

There was brave talk at St. Joseph’s University about clergy abuse. Will Pope Francis follow with action? | Maria Panaritis

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
Philadelphia Inquirer

February 8, 2019

By Maria Panaritis

On a Jesuit campus in Lower Merion Township, inside a building named for a Delaware County man who would one day become a cardinal of the Roman Catholic church, the answers to clergy sexual abuse seemed, at least to those typically in church pews, perfectly clear.

Major changes are in order, said a group of thoughtful people who call themselves the faithful but who, unlike their bishops, do not wear mitre hats or white robes. Such people gathered at St. Joseph’s University a few nights ago to demand major institutional reforms.

Here’s some of what they had to say:

Force dirty bishops and priests to resign or fire them. Let women become priests. Let priests marry. Let married men and women become priests. Make sure that American leaders of the church return from this month’s Vatican meeting on clergy abuse with substantive orders to fix the rotting architecture of a religious institution that millions of Pennsylvanians turn to for sacred guidance.

Much of $100 million from sale of Holy Name lot to go to church sex-abuse debts

CHICAGO (IL)
Chicago Sun-Times

February 8, 2019

By Robert Herguth

Anticipating getting $100 million or more from the sale of a parking lot at Holy Name Cathedral, the Archdiocese of Chicago expects to spend most of that windfall repaying money that was borrowed to cover the financial costs of clergy sex abuse claims.

That’s according to a Chicago Sun-Times examination of the church’s most recent financial reports and interviews that show the archdiocese owes more than $200 million, mostly related to sex abuse claims. And the church estimates it could end up with another $100 million in costs for pending and future claims.

In October 2017, church officials, discussing plans to sell the property across from Holy Name, the seat of the archdiocese, said, “We sought a developer who shared our vision of improving the neighborhood we have been proud to call home for nearly 175 years.”

Column: He tried speaking out about priest abuse in Catholic church. Now he's shouting about it.

GREEN BAY (WI)
Green Bay Press-Gazette

By Paul Srubas

February 8, 2019

The problem with Jason Jerry is he makes a lousy victim.

Victims are supposed to be subdued, repressed, sorrowful. It helps if they can look up at us with sad eyes, maybe bite their lower lip a little. Obviously, we don’t want them to be beaten down or crushed, but we’re used to thinking of them as tender and vulnerable, and that’s what we need to get our caring, nurturing instincts kicked into high gear.

Jerry, 44, of Howard, is none of that. He’s an angry victim. He’s mouthy. He can be, let's face it, kind of abrasive when he talks about how a priest molested him years ago and got away with it.

“What are you going to do about the Norbertines?” he shouted at Bishop David Ricken at a listening session in September. “And for you to sit there and nod? Your silence is deafening.”

Spain questions Catholic Church over sex abuse cases

MADRID (SPAIN)
Associated Press

February 8, 2019

Spain’s justice minister has asked the country’s Catholic Church leaders to hand over all the information they possess about internal investigations or proceedings related to sexual abuse allegations at church institutions.

The Justice Ministry says in a statement that the request sent by letter Thursday reflects a need to move forward with any criminal proceedings as well as to throw a light on “deeds our society can no longer remain quiet about.”

The Spanish Episcopal Conference replied that it has already provided information about known cases to the Vatican and Spanish judicial authorities, as required by law.

It also expressed “sincere concern” for the victims of “a serious problem which affects the whole of society.”

Only a handful of church-linked sexual abuse cases have emerged in Spain.

Catholic Abbot didn't report abuse allegation against priest jailed for child sex offences

LONDON (England)
Express

February 8, 2019

By Joe Duggan

The Abbot of a Benedictine abbey withheld an allegation of abuse from police about a priest who was later jailed for child sex offences committed while teaching at a leading Catholic school, an inquiry heard this week.

Abbot Shipperlee admitted to the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) he failed to report a claim of abuse against Soper to the police when informed of it in 2001.

He said: “Because I simply did not believe that this was possible.

“I was outraged that such an accusation could be made against someone of whom I - well, it did not occur to me that it was possible that this sort of thing could happen.”

In October 2009, Pearce, a former junior school head master at St Benedict's, was jailed for eight years for abuse at the school from 1972 to 1992, as well as one offence in 2007.

Transcript: How a culture of secrecy covered up the abuse of nuns in the Catholic Church

WASHINGTON (DC)
PBS News Hour

February 7, 2019

Pope Francis is publicly acknowledging for the first time that clergymen have sexually abused nuns. Private reports that were sent to top Vatican officials, but not publicly reported on until much later, indicate the abuse goes as far back as the 1990s. John Yang speaks to Associated Press reporter Nicole Winfield about why it took so long for the accusations to come to light.

Amna Nawaz:

Pope Francis broke his silence on Wednesday, acknowledging for the first time that clergymen have sexually abused nuns.

John Yang has more on the story

John Yang:

Amna, for decades, the persistent allegations of sexual abuse of nuns and religious women by Roman Catholic priests and bishops have been overshadowed by other scandals in the church.

Now decades of silence are ending. Last year, a bishop in India was arrested after a nun told police he had repeatedly raped her between 2014 and 2016. Many priests celebrated when the bishop was released on bail. He faces trail later this year.

This week, for the first time, Pope Francis addressed the issue as he returned to Rome from the United Arab Emirates.

Pope Francis:

It's not something that everyone does, but there have been priests and even bishops who have done this. And I think it is still taking place because it is not as though the moment you become aware of something, it goes away.

The thing continues, and we have been working on this for some time. We have suspended a few clerics and sent some away over this.

John Yang:

The pope was responding to a question from Associated Press Vatican correspondent Nicole Winfield, who joins us now from Rome.

Nicole, thanks so much for being with us.

You published an investigation last summer that documented abuse going back decades and spreading across at least four continents. Why has it taken so long for this silence to break and for this to surface?

Nicole Winfield:

The first public reports were in 2001. The National Catholic Reporter did a groundbreaking report and provided documentation that had been given to the Vatican a decade before about the situation in Africa.

So, I took that as a starting point and decided that, with the reckoning that was going on in the United States, that it was a time to really look at what was going on around the world as far as the religious sisters were concerned.

And, indeed, we found that really nothing had changed.

Pope Francis Admits Priests, Bishops Have Sexually Abused Nuns

BOSTON (MA)
WBUR - On Point

February 7, 2019

By Meghna Chakrabarti with Nicole Winfield, Sister Kathleen Bryant, Susan Reynolds

[Audio - 45 minutes, interviews and call-in]

Pope Francis publicly acknowledges the sexual abuse of nuns by priests and bishops. Worldwide, nuns are speaking out. We’ll shed light on the newest scandal for the Catholic Church.

Priest insists fighting child abuse goes well beyond the Church

DENVER (CO)
Crux

February 8, 2019

By Elise Harris

Rome - Speaking at a secular conference on child pornography and online threats to youth on Thursday, a Catholic priest said the fight against child abuse isn’t merely a cause for the Church, but for the entire human family and for civilization itself.

During the Feb. 7 panel titled, “Pornography, Minors and Safety on the Internet,” sponsored by the Italian government, Father Aldo Bonaiuto told attendees that “the human family, if we are really civil, we want to fight.”

“We are here because these people belong to us, we feel that they belong to us, we feel that they are our children,” he said, referring to children and adolescents who experience online abuse or who are exposed to harmful content on digital devices.

Sexual Abuse of Nuns: Longstanding Church Scandal Emerges from Shadows

ROME
New York Times

February 6, 2019

By Jason Horowitz

The sexual abuse of nuns and religious women by Catholic priests and bishops — and the abortions that have sometimes resulted — has for years been overshadowed by other scandals in the Roman Catholic Church.

That seemed to change this week when Pope Francis publicly acknowledged the problem for the first time.

“I was so happy,” said Lucetta Scaraffia, the author of an article denouncing the abuse of nuns and religious lay women by priests that was published this month in a magazine, Women Church World, which is distributed alongside the Vatican’s newspaper.

Speaking from her Rome apartment, which she said had essentially been converted into a television studio full of international reporters, Ms. Scaraffia said, “Finally, now many women will have the courage to come forward and denounce their abusers.”

Pope Acknowledges Nuns Were Sexually Abused by Priests and Bishops

VATICAN CITY
New York Times

February 5, 2019

By Jason Horowitz and Elizabeth Dias

Pope Francis said on Tuesday that the Roman Catholic Church had faced a persistent problem of sexual abuse of nuns by priests and even bishops, the first time he has publicly acknowledged the issue.

Catholic nuns have accused clerics of sexual abuse in recent years in India, Africa, Latin America and in Italy, and a Vatican magazine last week mentioned nuns having abortions or giving birth to the children of priests. But Francis has never raised the issue until he was asked to comment during a news conference aboard the papal plane returning to Rome from his trip to the United Arab Emirates.

“It’s true,” Francis said. “There are priests and bishops who have done that.”

The pope’s admission opens a new front in the long-running scandal of sexual abuse by priests, recognizing nuns who have tried for years to call attention to their plight. With the #MeToo movement going strong, and Francis under pressure for neglecting the victims of child abuse, the nuns’ pleas have gained traction.

Without any touching - ​A serious wound

VATICAN CITY
Women Church World

February 1, 2019

By Lucetta Scaraffia

Touch – as we are taught on the one hand by the commentaries on the Gospels and on the other by psychoanalysis – which occupies a crucial place in Gospel evangelical teaching is an essential factor of our way of knowing the truth and of communicating with others. It is a hidden but most powerful sense that involves the deepest aspects of the human psyche. The fact that for priests and religious touch has become an impracticable form of contact with children and women for some years now as a result of the abuses scandal not only constitutes a new form of etiquette and a form of elementary prudence to avoid (even unfounded) suspicion but is also a real mutilation of relational life and of the apostolate in the Christian community. At a time in history when the Church is going through a serious crisis regarding her capacity for transmitting the Gospel message, the heart of the Christian message, the impossibility of giving a caress to a child or of shaking the hand of a woman who is grieving or upset is a serious wound. By denying the possibility of using touch as a form of communication it becomes almost impossible to understand the ability of the person involved to face the reciprocity of the relationship and the intimacy and identity of the other person – essentially the profound reality of a human relationship.

It cannot of course be denied that it is a question of a deserved mutilation, but nevertheless it is still a mutilation.

Returning to the freedom to bestow a caress, to take someone by the hand, to put an arm round a shoulder – charity also consists of this – some way out of the abuses scandal needs to be found.

Every gesture has become suspect because the simple, good and affectionate meaning of so many gestures has been used not to reassure or encourage someone but to violate the intimacy of a child or a woman, that is, of someone weak.

Pope Francis has given the strongest and most radical interpretation of this crisis: it is not, he says, a question of falling into the temptations of the flesh, of sexual sins, but rather of an abuse of power, an abuse that is born from a perverted interpretation of the priestly role, arising from an evil which he has called clericalization.

Release of Names of Priests Who Served in the Former Diocese of Alexandria-Shreveport Removed for Sexual Abuse of Minors

SHREVEPORT (LA)
Diocese of Shreveport

February 6, 2019

By Peter B. Mangum

[Note: This press release includes the list.]

http://www.dioshpt.org/release-of-names-of-priests-who-served-in-the-former-diocese-of-alexandria-shreveport-removed-for-sexual-abuse-of-minors/

RE: Release of Names of Priests Who Served in the Former Diocese of Alexandria-Shreveport Removed for Sexual Abuse of Minors

The following is a statement from the Very Rev. Peter B. Mangum, Diocesan Administrator, on the public release of names of priests accused of sexual abuse of minors in the Diocese of Alexandria, which, prior to 1986, included what is now the Diocese of Shreveport.

In my press release on November 8, 2018, I explained that the Diocese of Shreveport was established in 1986 when the Diocese of Alexandria-Shreveport was divided by the Vatican. When the Diocese of Shreveport was formed, all historical documents and records, including the files related to priests, living and deceased, remained in Alexandria, as per Church protocol. Thus, all records of priests who served in what is now the Diocese of Shreveport before June 1986 are still located in the Diocese of Alexandria’s files.

I reported then that, since June 1986, no allegations of sexual misconduct of a minor by a bishop, priest or deacon have been received in the Diocese of Shreveport. This review of the files of all priests (living and deceased, diocesan priests and those in religious orders, native and foreign born) who have served in the Diocese of Shreveport since its creation, was conducted by a lay professional and local attorney, without the presence of any clergy or employee of the diocese. (To read the Diocese of Shreveport’s complete press release from November 8, 2018, visit: http://www.dioshpt.org/release-of-names-of-priests-removed-for-sexual-abuse-of-minors/)

17 north Louisiana priests accused of sexually abusing children prior to 1986

SHREVEPORT (LA)
Shreveport Times

February 6, 2019

By Nick Wooten and Ashley Mott

Seventeen priests who served in north Louisiana were accused of sexually abusing minors before 1986. Nearly all of them had ties to the Shreveport-Bossier City area, according to a report released by the Diocese of Alexandria Wednesday.

Prior to 1986, the Diocese of Alexandria included the Diocese of Shreveport, but all files related to priests, living and deceased, stayed in Alexandria due to church protocol. No allegations of sexual misconduct of a minor by a bishop, priest or deacon was received in the Diocese of Shreveport since June 1986, said Rev. Peter B. Mangum, the Shreveport diocesan administrator.

The Shreveport diocese covers 16 north Louisiana parishes — Bienville, Bossier, Caddo, Claiborne, DeSoto, East Carroll, Jackson, Lincoln, Morehouse, Ouachita, Red River, Richland, Sabine, Union, Webster and West Carroll.

Priest who died in 2004 accused of sexual abuse at Central Catholic in 1960s

PITTSBURGH (PA)
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

February 7, 2019

The Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh on Thursday said it received an accusation of sexual abuse of a minor against a lay brother teaching at Central Catholic High School who later became a priest.

The allegation against Father John O’Brien, who died in 2004, dates to the mid-1960s.

No details were released about the alleged abuse.

Father O’Brien was a Christian brother known as Brother Firmilian John at the time of the alleged abuse. He was ordained as a priest in 1975.

It’s the first accusation that the diocese or the Christian Brothers have received against Father O’Brien, according to the diocese.

He was not one of the Pittsburgh-area priests whose names were released in last year’s grand jury report about clergy sex abuse in six of Pennsylvania’s eight dioceses.

February 7, 2019

Three Names Added to List of Abusive Priests in the Diocese of Peoria

ST. LOUIS (MO)
Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

February 7, 2019

A diocese in Illinois added names to their list of publicly accused priests in the wake of new disclosures of credibly accused priests from other states and the hard work of journalists in Illinois.

Three priests total were added to the list previously published by the Diocese of Peoria. One of those priests is Fr. Kenneth J. Roberts. The cleric was added after his name was included on the list of abusive priests in Dallas, TX. Fr. Roberts has been accused of abuse in Dallas, St. Louis, Peoria and Belleville. To date, Belleville Bishop Edward Braxton has yet to add Fr. Roberts to the Belleville list.

We know a brave and persistent survivor who reported his abuse by Fr. Roberts years ago, so it is difficult for us to believe that Peoria Bishop Daniel Jenky only recently learned of Fr. Roberts’ presence in the Peoria Diocese. It is a shame that bishops continue to minimize allegations and hide information related to abusive priests unless they are faced with continued external pressure.

The other two priests in question – Fr. Ron Roth and Fr. Bernard Tomaszewski – were also added to the list of abusive priests from the Diocese of Peoria this week, but apparently only after having been ‘outed’ by the News Tribune.

SNAP Prods Alameda County DA to Investigate Oakland Diocese’s Response to Abuse Allegations

ST. LOUIS (MO)
Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

February 7, 2019

Members of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, recently wrote to Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O’Malley asking her to investigate whether or not the Oakland Diocese reported allegations that Fr. Alex Castillo sexually abused a minor to law enforcement in a timely fashion.

Mandatory reporters in California must make an “immediate” phone call to law enforcement when they learn someone is accused of child sexual abuse. Clergy, such as Oakland Bishop Michael C. Barber, SJ, are among those who are required to make that call. Failure to report is a crime punishable by up to 6 months in jail or a $1000 fine.

From media reports it appears that no one from the Diocese made an “immediate” report to the Oakland Police as required by law. Moreover, the Church may have known about the allegations earlier in the month, or even since last fall.

“We know there was a delay in reporting,” said Dan McNevin, Volunteer Oakland SNAP Leader and a survivor of abuse himself. “What we don’t know is if the delay was a matter of hours, days, weeks or even months. We are hoping that the DA can nail down the timeline, and make a determination as to whether the law has been violated.”

SNAP Stands in Solidarity with Nuns who have been Victimized by Clergy

ST. LOUIS (MO)
Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

February 7, 2019

Our hearts ache for the thousands of nuns who have been sexually abused and harassed by priests, bishops and other Catholic clerics. We are glad their plight is finally attracting attention but feel compelled to stress that when it comes to the Church hierarchy, awareness does not guarantee action.

It is worth noting that, once again, a clergy sex scandal surfaces only because of outside pressure on the Vatican. Sometimes, it is a prosecutor or governmental body or an external study that achieves prompt disclosure. This time, it was investigative journalism. We are grateful for all those individuals and institutions who keep chipping away at this ancient, rigid, male-dominated hierarchy that remains so dreadfully committed to secrecy.

We share the view of Anne Barrett Doyle of BishopAccountability who said that she is “bewildered that the pope verifying this should make headlines — it‘s an epidemic problem in certain areas. The Vatican has documentation on likely tens of thousands of cases of sexual violence, and so when a Vatican official or the pope makes a pronouncement as if it’s occurring to them for the first time — as if they’re identifying a problem for the first time — it strikes me as disingenuous.”

Those who have been sexually assaulted by priests, bishops, brothers, seminarians, deacons and yes, nuns, have heard many pledges of reform from Catholic officials over the years, and have witnessed these promises fall short. So we are not in the least encouraged by the pope’s claim that high-ranking church staff has the will to stop this horror.

Church releases more names of Catholic priests accused of molesting children

SHREVEPORT (LA)
KTBS TV

February 9, 2019

The Catholic church has released the names of 17 priests assigned to churches in North Louisiana who are believed to have sexually abused children before 1986. Thirteen served at churches in Shreveport-Bossier City.

The names were released Wednesday by the Diocese of Alexandria, which oversaw Shreveport until 1986, when Shreveport became a separate diocese. Under church protocol, the files of accused pedophile priests stayed in Alexandria.

The diocese released the names of priests both living and dead, the North Louisiana churches where they served and general allegations against them. The church has paid damages to several of the victims, although it has not disclosed details of the amounts. In each case there were "credible allegations" of sexual abuse of a minor, the diocese said.

The priests identified by the diocese are:
Father Edward Allen; St. Theresa in Shreveport and St. Lucy in Hodge. Allegations of sexual abuse of a boy dating to 1973 was brought before a Permanent Review Board in 2005. Allen resigned from the ministry in 2005 and a settlement with the victim was made in 2012. Allen died in 2018.

Father William Allison; Our Lady of Fatima in Monroe and Christ the King in Bossier City. An allegation of sexual abuse of a boy dating back to 1961 was brought before the review board in 2004. Allison died in 1986.

Father William Bressler; St. Catherine of Siena in Shreveport. Multiple allegations of sexual abuse of boys and girls dating back to the 1960s were brought before the review board in 2004 and 2005. Bressler died in 1990. Settlements were made with victims in 2006 and 2017.

Diocese of Alexandria says it has no plans to release parishes where accused clergy worked

ALEXANDRIA (LA)
KALB TV

February 7, 2019

By Andrea Finney, Brooke Buford & Allison Bazzle

We are continuing with our coverage of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church involving clergymen within the Diocese of Alexandria. Twenty-seven priests and deacons, both living and dead, are accused of sexual abuse and misconduct. That list was compiled beginning last August.

According to the Diocese of Alexandria, there are five former clergymen still living. And, Thursday morning, with the help of the Rapides Parish Tax Assessor's Office, we were able to track down one of them - Monsignor Frederick Lyons, who still lives in Alexandria.

He's accused of multiple allegations of sexual misconduct and abuse of boys dating back to the 1960s. When those allegations were deemed credible, he was removed from active ministry in 2006. But, according to a press release issued by the diocese in 2013, he was not stripped of his priesthood. Instead, the diocese imposed "a life of prayer and penance" on him.

"When he met with the review board, which he did not have to do, he chose to do it. I was not present, but the report they gave me was that he neither admitted nor denied," said Bishop Ronald Herzog in 2006. "Of course, that is always someone's option to listen to what is presented without addressing it beyond that."

According to information provided in 2013, Lyons served as a priest at St. Francis Xavier Cathedral in Alexandria, St. John the Baptist in Cloutierville, St. Anthony Padua in Bunkie, and Our Lady of Prompt Succor in Alexandria. He was appointed monsignor in 1962 and retired in 1989.

On Thursday, we visited his home to find out if he would comment on the list and were met at the door by him and a caretaker. He chose not to comment.

News Channel 5 also requested information on the assignments of the priests and deacons on the list, including specific schools and churches where they may have been placed.

The Diocese of Alexandria gave us this statement:

"The members of the Personnel Review Board (PRB) discussed this aspect of their investigation thoroughly.

Along with not wanting to re-victimize any victims, the PRB understood that communities were also affected in the past, where the rumor of a “bad priest” or rumors of untold behaviors or rumors of a child or teen affected by the behavior of a cleric affected the spirit of the community negatively. Communities (parishes, missions) are not to be re-traumatized about a sad portion of their history (with allegations or convictions of abusive priest(s) ), placing an unwanted spotlight on the community of faith today in 2019.

Pope reveals nun abuse, but U.S. Catholic women say it has been happening for decades

ARLINGTON (VA)
USA TODAY

Feb. 7, 2019

By Lindsay Schnell

Pope Francis' acknowledgement aboard the papal plane this week that nuns have suffered sexual abuse by priests and even bishops -- including nuns in the U.S. -- caught many offguard with his frankness.

But it wasn't exactly new information, according to U.S. women leaders within the Catholic Church.

In a statement issued Thursday, the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, the largest association representing nuns in the U.S., said that while this problem is prevalent mostly in developing countries — there have been many cases in Africa, and last year a nun in India accused a priest of repeatedly raping her between 2014 and 2016 — it has gone on in the U.S., too.

The conference specifically referenced a 1996 study from St. Louis University that indicated, "there were sisters in the United States who had suffered some form of sexual trauma by Catholic priests. Often those sisters did not share this information even with their own communities."

Anne Barrett Doyle, co-director of BishopAccountability, a website that tracks abusive priests, was both underwhelmed and hopeful after hearing the pope’s comments.

Priest who died in 2004 accused of sexual abuse at Central Catholic in 1960s

PITTSBURGH (PA)
Post Gazette

February 7, 2019

The Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh on Thursday said it received an accusation of sexual abuse of a minor against a priest when he was teaching at Central Catholic High School.

The allegation against Father John O’Brien, who died in 2004, dates to the mid-1960s.

No details were released about the alleged abuse.

Father O’Brien was a Christian brother known as Brother Firmilian John at the time of the alleged abuse. He was ordained as a priest in 1975.

It’s the first accusation that the diocese or the Christian Brothers have received against Father O’Brien, according to the diocese.

He was not one of the Pittsburgh-area priests whose names were released in last year’s grand jury report about clergy sex abuse in six of Pennsylvania’s eight dioceses.

The diocese said it reported the allegation to the Allegheny County district attorney’s office. Central Catholic alumni and parishes where Father O’Brien served as a priest are also being notified.

“Confess”: The profoundly spiritual art exhibit tackling the abuse crisis

NEW YORK (NY)
America Magazine

February 7, 2019

By Jim McDermott

Eight years ago, the Irish-born artist Trina McKillen returned to Dublin to discover that her elderly mother no longer wanted to go to Mass—the ongoing revelations of clerical child abuse were just too much.

This was a woman who had nine children “because you have as many children as God gave you,” Ms. McKillen told a gathering of over 200 people at Loyola Marymount University a week ago. Her mother had an image of the Sacred Heart across from her bed; “she used to say, ‘The Sacred Heart is my best friend.’”

“For me, she was the church,” Ms. McKillen told the crowd. “And here she was walking away at the age of 84 from her spiritual home. I felt I had to do something. It’s not right for my mother not to have her refuge.”

U.S. Nuns Call for Catholic Leadership Overhaul After Pope Admits They Are Abuse Victims Too

ROME (ITALY)
Associated Press

February 7, 2019

By Nicole Winfield

The largest association of religious sisters in the United States called Thursday for an overhaul of the male-led leadership structure of the Catholic Church, after Pope Francis publicly acknowledged the problem of priests and bishops sexually abusing nuns.

The Leadership Conference of Women Religious also appealed in a statement for reporting guidelines to be established so abused nuns “are met with compassion and are offered safety.”

The conference’s statement followed Francis’ acknowledgement this week that clergy abuse of nuns was a problem. The pope said the Vatican was working on it but more needed to be done.

His comments, given in response to a reporter’s question during an in-flight press conference, were the first public acknowledgement by a pope of a long-simmering scandal. Reporting by The Associated Press and other news media, as well as the reckoning demanded by the #MeToo movement, has brought the issue to the fore.

The LCWR, which represents about 80 percent of Catholic sisters in the U.S., said it was grateful Francis had “shed light on a reality that has been largely hidden from the public and we believe his honesty is an important and significant step forward.”

The group also said some religious congregations had been part of the problem and didn’t support sisters in coming forward to report abuse.

“We regret that when we did know of instances of abuse, we did not speak out more forcefully for an end to the culture of secrecy and cover-ups within the Catholic Church that have discouraged victims from coming forward,” the association based in Silver Spring, Maryland, said.

It made two recommendations: the creation of reporting mechanisms and what it called a “refashioning” of the church’s overall leadership structure to involve laity and to reform the clerical culture that affords all power to the clergy.

“The revelations of the extent of abuse indicate clearly that the current structures must change if the church is to regain its moral credibility and have a viable future,” the group said.

Doris Reisinger: For clergy, 'I was the perfect victim'

BONN (GERMANY)
Deutsche Welle

February 7, 2019

As the Catholic Church reels from continued reports of sexual abuse by clergyworldwide, Pope Francis has, for the first time, acknowledged the rape of nuns by clergy, saying the Vatican must do more to prevent assault.

In January, the Austrian theologian Hermann Geissler resigned as chief of staff of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the Vatican body that investigates reports of assault within the Catholic Church. The priest's departure comes after a nun's accounts of repeated rape by him were made public.

German dioceses have invited Reisinger to address assault in the Catholic Church

The former nun Doris Reisinger, a well-known philosopher, theologian, author and activist, told DW that the hierarchies of many religions and faith communities, such as the Catholic Church, subordinate individuals and often provide the ideal conditions for assault by men higher up in the ranks. She also spoke of her own experiences of assault within the Catholic Church.

Reisinger was born in Germany in 1983. At the age of 19, she joined the Catholic religious community Das Werk, which maintains close ties to the Roman Curia. She says she was subjected to various forms of abuse by Catholic clergy, from spiritual manipulation to rape and assault by priests.

In 2011, Reisinger left Das Werk. In 2014, she completed her theology studies in Germany. As Doris Wagner, her birth name, she has written two books about sexual assault by Catholic clergy and her experiences. Reisinger is currently writing her PhD thesis in analytical philosophy. She is married and has a child.

El Gobierno pide a la Iglesia datos sobre los casos de pederastia

[Spanish government asks bishops for information on church abuse cases]

MADRID (SPAIN)
El País

February 7, 2019

By Julio Núñez

La iniciativa del Ejecutivo deja fuera a los casos cometidos dentro de las órdenes religiosas

El Gobierno ha solicitado este jueves a la Conferencia Episcopal Española (CEE) información sobre los casos de pederastia de los que tiene constancia, los que está investigando y los que ha instruido en el pasado con el objetivo de "arrojar luz sobre unos hechos que nuestra sociedad no puede permitirse seguir manteniendo ocultos si desea afrontar el futuro con dignidad". A través de una carta oficial al presidente de la CEE, el cardenal Ricardo Blázquez, la ministra de Justicia, Dolores Delgado, ha subrayado que los casos de abusos, "sean en el seno de la Iglesia como en cualquier otra institución, no pueden ser ocultados ni considerados como hechos privados", sino que merecen "la contundente respuesta del ordenamiento jurídico penal".

El arzobispo de Tarragona renuncia en pleno escándalo de abusos a menores

{Archbishop of Tarragona resigns in midst of abuse scandal]

TARRAGONA (SPAIN)
El País

February 7, 2019

By Marc Roviro

Jaume Pujol alega que cesa del cargo por motivos de edad

El arzobispo de Tarragona, Jaume Pujol, presenta ante el Vaticano su renuncia al cargo. La dimisión se produce justo cuando la diócesis de Tarragona está en el punto de mira por una sucesión de escándalos relacionados con abusos sexuales a menores por parte de curas que dependen del Arzobispado. Tras descubrirse las prácticas de los sacerdotes, Pujol compareció este miércoles ante la prensa y calificó los abusos como un "mal momento" por parte de los capellanes. Justificó que no se les expulsara del oficio religioso porque, dijo, no fue un asunto lo suficientemente importante como para alejarles del contacto con los feligreses. "No fue tan grave como para secularizarlos", dijo Pujol.

‘Archangel’ who led lay movement wants fast-track trial on abuse charges

ROM (ITALY)
Crux

February 6, 2019

By Claire Giangravè

Charged with sexually abusing at least six underage girls, the head of a lay Catholic association in southern Italy considered by his devotees to be the incarnation of an archangel, who’s scheduled to go to court Feb. 18 for a preliminary hearing, has asked for an expedited trial.

“Often this is a decision that we can describe as a media strategy,” said Tommaso Tamburino, who represents four of the six alleged victims, in a phone interview with Crux on Feb. 5.

“It’s a decision often made by someone who wants to give the impression to the public opinion to have independently chosen to go to trial,” he said. “It’s a way of saying that [Capuana] himself wants justice and wishes to go to trial quicker.”

Under Italian law, the decision to ask for an expedited trial can only come from the accused party and not from a judge. According to Tamburino, it’s often a way of trying to persuade the public that since an indictment is inevitable, Capuana can act as if the decision to go to trial is his own instead of the judge’s.

Defense sources contacted by Crux said they didn’t want to discuss the case ahead of the trial.

Piero Alfio Capuana, 74, is among the founders of the Catholic Culture and Environment Association (ACCA) near Catania, Sicily, which counts almost 5,000 followers, many of whom consider him to be the reincarnation of the Archangel Michael.

What we know about the priests accused of sexual abuse of minors in Corpus Christi

CORPUS CHRISTI (TX)
Corpus Christi Caller Times

February 7, 2019

By Alexandria Rodriguez

Twenty-six clergy members with ties to the Catholic Diocese of Corpus Christi had "credible" claims of sexual abuse to minors

The diocese was among the 15 in Texas that released names of clergy members with "credible" accusations Jan. 31.

Twelve of the clergy members listed were dead and two received criminal convictions. Bishop Michael Mulvey said no one on the list is active in the ministry.

Here's what we know about the men on the Diocese of Corpus Christi's list.

More: These Diocese of Corpus Christi priests were accused of sexual abuse

Bishop Michael Mulvey answers questions from the media after Diocese of Corpus Christi released a list of names of priests accused of sexual abuse of minors on Thursday, Jan. 31, 2019.Buy Photo
Bishop Michael Mulvey answers questions from the media after Diocese of Corpus Christi released a list of names of priests accused of sexual abuse of minors on Thursday, Jan. 31, 2019. (Photo: Courtney Sacco/Caller-Times)

Bishop Joseph Vincent Sullivan
Joseph Vincent Sullivan was ordained in the Diocese of Kansas City in 1946. The Diocese of Corpus Christi said in its list that Sullivan visited the area. He died in 1982.

He was the bishop of Baton Rouge.

In 2009, a Nueces County judge ordered the Catholic dioceses of Baton Rouge and Corpus Christi to hand over records for a civil lawsuit alleging Sullivan abused a boy in Corpus Christi from 1978 to 1982, according to a Caller-Times article.

The man, who was a teenage student in the Baton Rouge minor seminary and the Corpus Christi Minor Seminary, said Sullivan would visit him in Corpus Christi. The lawsuit alleged the dioceses "failed to protect the boy," the article states.

"The man did not remember the abuse until within two years of the filing of the lawsuit in 2007, according to court documents. Attorney Johnny Garza said memories resurfaced in therapy the man underwent after his second marriage collapsed," the article reads.

‘Zero tolerance’ doesn’t seem an inflated expectation for pope’s summit

ROME (ITALY)
Crux

February 7, 2019

By John L. Allen Jr.

Twice now, and with ascending levels of authority, we’ve been cautioned not to expect too much from the summit on clerical sexual abuse Pope Francis has called for Feb. 21-24 for the presidents of bishops’ conferences around the world.

First came the Vatican’s new editorial director, veteran Italian journalist Andrea Tornielli, who penned a Jan. 10 editorial complaining of media “hype” over the meeting, quipping that it’s being covered as if it were “halfway between a council and a conclave.”

Then on his way home from World Youth Day in Panama in late January, Francis waded into the fray during an in-flight news conference.

“Let me say that I’ve perceived expectations that are a little inflated,” he said. “We need to deflate those expectations.”

Africa is also grappling with clerical abuse, say Catholic leaders

NAIROBI (KENYA)
Catholic News Service

February 7, 2019

By Fredrick Nzwili

When child sexual abuse scandals involving Catholic priests emerge in Africa, they do not draw a frenzied reaction similar to that witnessed in developed countries, but the continent’s church is affected, said Catholic leaders.

While there is a general view that the scandals are a challenge of the church in Europe and America, African officials confirm the incidents, amid reports of some provinces expelling or defrocking priests.

In Africa, clerics view the issue as too delicate and sensitive for the public, and many remained tight-lipped on the subject. At the same time, the church leaders said they were concerned about the abuses and closely follow any such reports, both locally and globally.

“Africa is also affected like any other continent, but to what extent, I am not sure,” Precious Blood Sister Hermenegild Makoro, general secretary of the Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference, told Catholic News Service.

In October, the South African church defrocked three priests over sexual abuse of children in the parishes. Since 2003, 35 cases of abuse involving priests have been reported to the church in South Africa.

Sister Makoro said out of the 35 cases, only seven were being investigated by the police, and one has led to a life sentence.

SNAP Delivers Letter to Papal Nuncio in Advance of February Summit

ST. LOUIS (MO)
Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

February 7, 2019

Leaders from the nation’s oldest and largest advocacy group for victims of clergy and institutional sex abuse delivered a letter today to the papal nuncio, asking for Pope Francis to take five specific actions at his summit in February and requesting a meeting with Pope Francis.

Representatives from SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, delivered the letter today which outlines specific actions that they are asking the Pope to take at the papal abuse summit to be held in Rome from February 21 to 24. They are also asking for a meeting to explain why these requested actions will not only help survivors heal but also protect children by preventing future cases of abuse from happening in the first place.

In their letter, the group calls for Pope Francis to:

Fire any and all bishops or cardinals who have had a hand in clergy sex abuse cover-ups,
Impose “dramatic and punitive consequences” to deter any future cover-ups,
Eliminate any directive for church staff to report abuse to bishops and instead direct all church staff and officials to make reports to law enforcement, and
Compel bishops around the world to turn their files over to law enforcement for independent investigations into their handling of clergy sex abuse cases, and
Order your bishops and other hierarchs to cease lobbying efforts against legislative reform that would benefit survivors.

Church clerical abuse: Former nuns share their experiences

LONDON (ENGLAND)
BBC

February 7, 2019

A day after Pope Francis publicly admitted for the first time that clerics had sexually abused nuns, promising to tackle the issue that was "still going on" within the Catholic Church, two former female members of the Church have spoken about their experiences with the BBC.

Appearing on BBC Radio 4's Woman's Hour on Thursday morning, the women welcomed the pontiff's acknowledgement of the scandal, saying that for too long there had been a "culture of silence and secrecy within the hierarchy".

But the descriptions of their experiences will only serve to exacerbate a scandal that continues to rock the Catholic Church.

Dr Rocio Figueroa says she was "very naive"

Dr Figueroa is a theologian and lecturer in Auckland, New Zealand, and a survivor of abuse she says she suffered at the hands of a priest in Lima, Peru.

She told the BBC that she joined the society of apostolic life within the Catholic Church as a teenager living in a "very poor part of the world" because she "needed to do something".

"I was 15 years old and the founder asked me to begin a spiritual direction with a vicar, who became my spiritual director.

Pope wants bishops conferences to take responsibility for sexual abuse issue

ROME (ITALY)
LaCroix International

February 7, 2019

By Anne-Bénédicte Hoffner

The presidents of the world's episcopal conferences as well as the primates of the Eastern Catholic churches in communion with Rome will take part in the Vatican summit from Feb. 21-24.On Sept. 12, the Holy See announced that the pope had decided to call the summit, which will have an unprecedented format, "to discuss the prevention of abuse of minors and vulnerable adults."Pope Francis will take part as will representatives of victims and religious communities, several members of relevant congregations of the Rome Curia and finally "men and women lay experts in the field of abuse."

Peoria Diocese expands list of accused priests

PEORIA (IL)
Journal Star

February 7, 2019

By Brett Herrmann

A former priest who once served in a leadership role at a Catholic retreat at St. Bede has been listed as “credibly accused” of sexual abuse by the Catholic Diocese of Peoria.

Kenneth J. Roberts, a priest with sexual abuse allegations made against him in multiple states, was listed with 285 other priests in Texas last week, and this week the Peoria Diocese added him to a list of “Incardinated priests in other dioceses/religious orders removed from ministry due to allegations of abuse of a minor.”

The Illinois Valley has ties to a list of priests with abuse allegations, and the list could get a lot longer
It was last month when Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan unveiled that the Catholic Church in Illinois had received allegations against a…

Roberts spent time in a leadership position during the Diocese of Peoria Emmaus Days Retreats in the 1980s, some of which took place at St. Bede. And it was there that one of his alleged abuses took place. Roberts was accused of sexually abusing a boy at one of the retreats in the early 1980s, according to a 2009 article from the Peoria Journal Star.

Roberts also had accusations made against him during his time in the St. Louis, Dallas and Belleville dioceses.

Roberts was ordained in 1966 and suspended from public ministry by the Diocese of Dallas in 1998. He died in 2018.

Cardinal says new 'season' could come after abuse crisis

WASHINGTON (DC)
Catholic News Service

February 7, 2019

By Rhina Guidos

The laity may be angry over the most recent revelations of the Catholic Church's sex abuse crisis, but bishops, particularly younger ones, share in that anger and "want to move with real force" toward solutions and it could yield a new season for the church, said the president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo, who is the archbishop of Galveston-Houston, made the comments on Feb. 6 during a day-long conference to address the problem.

The "Healing the Breach of Trust" conference, the second such meeting at The Catholic University of America in Washington, addressed the need of more involvement by lay women and men – one inspired by the teachings of the Second Vatican Council – in building what the cardinal called in the morning part of the conference a new "season" for the church, and one that may not be accidental.

"Think about what the Spirit might be doing in all of this," Cardinal DiNardo said. "In saying this, I am in no way trying to deny or dodge the issues of the episcopal responsibility and accountability that this crisis has raised," but added it's worth it to ponder St. Augustine's principle "that God can bring good even out of evil."


Bishops must be held to account

LONDON (ENGLAND)
The Tablet

February 7, 2019

The Vatican summit which Pope Francis has convened for 21 February could be a watershed moment in the history of the Catholic Church’s response to the scandal of child sexual abuse within its ranks. There is no quick fix available, but there is a deep appreciation within the Church of how profoundly serious the issue really is, and a growing consensus about what needs to be done. The summit, to which presidents of bishops’ conferences throughout the world have been invited, is aimed at solidifying that consensus and drawing into it those parts of the Church not yet fully on board. Bishops’ conferences, of which there are more than a hundred, have been required by the Vatican to implement local guidelines for dealing with safeguarding issues. So far as many as a quarter of them have failed to do so. The religious orders, too, must no longer be allowed to escape the net.

Systemic abuse

HOUSTON (TX)
Houston Chronicle

February 7, 2019

Regarding “What you need to ask about Catholic scandals” (Outlook, Sunday): Not much frustrates me more than lines such as this one in the opinion piece: “The world has been aware of systemic sexual abuse in the U.S. Catholic Church since 2002, when the Boston Globe [...] exposed the breadth of this crime epidemic.”

No! Read Jason Berry’s “Lead Us Not Into Temptation” for details on the early 1970s abuse scandal in Lafayette, La., with charges continuing into the early 1980s, and look at the mid-1980s for Father Tom Doyle’s comprehensive report on priests’ sexual abuse, the early 1990s for abuse charges in Providence, Fall River and Boston, and the late 1990s for abuse lawsuits in Dallas, and then 2001 in Tucson — all before the powerful Boston Globe reporting. Note that this list is not comprehensive, and it includes only cases within the United States.

Catholics and their church must stop wringing their hands and pretending that this is a new aberration that they were somehow unaware of before 2002. That damaging illusion simply continues the abuse.

Sarah Jenkins, The Woodlands

Here's what we know about Thomas Ericksen, former priest accused of assaulting children

WAUSAU (WI)
Wausau Daily Herald

February 7, 2019

By Laura Schulte

Nearly nine years after victims first told police that Thomas Ericksen molested them when they were children, the former Wisconsin priest is behind bars as four sexual-assault cases against him make their way through the legal system.

The allegations were initially met with inaction and delays by law enforcement, but there have been many new developments in recent weeks as more victims have come forward.

Here's what we know so far about Ericksen:

Police knew about Ericksen's actions in the town of Winter since 1983
Ericksen was ordained in the early 1970s and served as a priest in Eagle River, Merrill, Winter and other parishes. The Sawyer County Sheriff's Department first investigated the priest in 1983, but ended up releasing him to then-Bishop of Superior George Albert Hammes after Ericksen confessed to investigators that he "had a problem."

India’s Kerala state publishes guidelines on clerical sex abuse

MUMBAI (India)
Crux

February 7, 2019

By Nirmala Carvalho

Bishops in India’s most Christian state have declared a “zero tolerance” policy for the sexual abuse of children.

The Kerala Catholic Bishops’ Council issued safe environment guidelines this week, sending them to every Catholic institution in the state.

Kerala has 6.1 million Christians - over 18 percent of the population of the southern state - and 60 percent of them are Catholic, divided into Latin, Syro-Malabar, and Syro-Malankara rite jurisdictions.

Kerala’s Catholic Church is highly influential throughout India, since many priests and religious in other parts of the country come from the state.

Atonement

EUREKA (CA)
North Coast Journal

February6, 2019

By Jennifer Fumiko and Thadeus Greenson

While the Roman Catholic Church's sexual abuse scandal has been widely known and reported on the North Coast going back 25 years, the Santa Rosa Diocese's recent release of a list of 39 accused priests illuminates the systemic nature of the problem. These were not the isolated incidents of a few bad actors. As you'll see in this week's cover story, this was a case of widespread predation by a significant portion of the diocese's clergy that its leaders worked to conceal and allowed to continue with horrendous consequences, especially for Humboldt County families.

While we can all hope the days of the diocese turning an indifferent eye to priests molesting children, and then simply moving them to another community when parishioners refused to do the same are over, it's important to recognize the ripple effect of this abuse continues to sprawl. People's faith has been broken. Lives have been shattered, consuming families and, in turn, communities. Studies have repeatedly shown that sexual abuse perpetrators are more likely than the general population to have experienced sexual abuse themselves as children, meaning some of the church's victims have themselves likely grown up to victimize, continuing a devastating cycle.

There is no salve that can heal this wound, nothing that can stop the ripples. The best we as a community — and the Catholics among us, especially — can hope for is atonement.

The Santa Rosa Diocese took a marked step in that direction this week, releasing the list of the accused and devoting much of the January issue of its newspaper to the subject, with a lengthy apology from Bishop Robert Vasa, an urging for additional victims to come forward and an explanation of the diocese's revised "policy for the protection of children and young people," which makes clear that clergy should be considered mandated reporters and that anyone who hears an abuse allegation should report it to police. While these are all positive steps, they are also woefully inadequate — and decades late. The idea that in 2019 an institution that asks parents to entrust it with their children should be applauded for making clear it has a zero -tolerance policy toward sexual predators would be laughable if it didn't expose the horrid depths from which we have come.

'Rid me of This Troublesome Priest'

EUREKA (CA)
North Coast Journal

February 7, 2019

By Thadeus Greenson

Earlier this month, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Santa Rosa took an unprecedented step — for the church, anyway — releasing a list naming 39 of its priests who have been accused of sexually abusing minors. While the North Coast began publicly grappling with predatory clergy earlier than most communities — the arrest of Rev. Gary Timmons, a former St. Bernard priest who founded Camp St. Michael in Leggett, on 17 counts of child molestation came more than six years before the nation became aware of the growing crisis in the church. But the diocese's list — which critics charge is an incomplete effort at damage control — reveals that the extent of such abuses in Humboldt County was far beyond what anyone outside the church likely knew.

Consider this: Of the 39 priests on the diocese's list, at least 10 worked in Humboldt County, together comprising an almost consistent 45-year stretch when a priest who had been or would face allegations of abuse was working in a local church. Five of them worked at St. Bernard, four at St. Mary's in Arcata, three at Humboldt State University's Newman Center. And, coupled with the Santa Rosa bishops' history of extensive efforts to protect and even enable the accused, that's led some advocates to draw a very dark conclusion.

"Humboldt County and Eureka, unfortunately, was one of the 'dumping grounds' for abusive clergy, and the church is not going to reveal the true depths of depravity that has existed there," says Joey Piscitelli, who was abused by a priest in the Bay Area and is now a member of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP). "What I can say without reservation is that the Catholic Church in Northern California was inundated with child rapists, pedophiles and depraved molesters for decades, and depraved bishops who harbored them, shuffled them, shielded them and enabled them without any regard for children's safety."

The Archdiocese of Santa Fe left names off its list of pedophile priests—and has no plans to add them

SANTA FE (NM)
Santa Fe Reporter

February 6, 2019

By Matt Grubs

Jim Field loved going to church.

As a kid, he remembers waking for morning mass.

"The sun might just about be coming up. And I'd get in the bathtub, I'd clean myself up, I'd hop on my bike and ride to Sacred Heart Church in Farmington," he says. "And I would sit and wait for mass. I just loved being there."

It was around 1960 and the service, he recalls, was in Latin. He didn't understand a word, but something about the ceremony—the quiet, the reverence—resonated with him.

He was 8 years old, getting ready to turn 9 in 1961, when the abuse happened. It was summer. Father Conran Runnebaum, a Franciscan priest, had only been a cleric since 1955. Farmington was his second assignment, starting in 1958.

Field is not sure how many times the priest abused him. Once for sure. Maybe three times, he thinks.

"Conran had me pull down my pants and he pulled up his habit, like a cassock," Field begins. He had no idea what was happening.

"How would I know what was going on? Except, I do remember at one point, enters Miguel … and he's horrified," Field says of another priest, Miguel Baca. Horrified—but also the same man who would later expose himself to, and further abuse, Field.

"I have a memory of later, in the bathroom, which you accessed from outside the church in those days … but it was in that bathroom where those …" Field trails off.

It would be 40 years before the memories, in terrifying flashes, started to come back to him. "My knees went weak and I fell to the floor and began to sob and cry. … It was like lava in a volcano coming up through me," he says.

Catholic bishops should have experts at conference to address global clerical sexual abuse

SAN FRANCISCO (CA)
San Francisco Chronicle

February 6, 2019

By Thomas G. Plante

Catholic bishops from across the globe will meet Feb. 21-24 at the Vatican for a much anticipated conference to discuss global clerical sexual abuse. While clerics might know a lot about theology, church history and church law, they aren’t experts on research and best practices in child protection, child abuse or pedophilia. Those experts aren’t invited to the conference. And it is a shame.

Without experts in attendance and actively involved, we can expect that the most conservative voices in the church will try to blame the clergy sexual abuse crisis on homosexual clerics or liberal approaches to church teachings that began to get traction after Vatican II. The most liberal voices may blame the problem on mandated clerical celibacy or the fact that only men can be priests in the Roman Catholic Church.

Both groups would be wrong. And their views may lead to unproductive or counterproductive directions for interventions and resolutions of this problem that have plagued the institution for too long.

What the experts might say, if invited and allowed to speak, would be that best practices in child protection and screening adults who work with children are readily available and can be enlisted to make the church and other organizations much safer than they are now. Among the most commonsense solutions: incorporate careful screening and training of those who work with children and teens into any plan to protect minors both in and outside of church communities.

Things Get Heated At Hearing For Local Priest Accused Of Molestation

PITTSBURGH (PA)
KDKA TV

February 6, 2019

By Brenda Waters

A local priest accused of molesting a 10-year-old boy will stand trial, but his attorney is raising some objections to the way his client was treated on Wednesday.

Once a priest at Saint Therese Catholic Church in Munhall, Father Hugh Lang is now accused of sexual abuse of a child and indecent assault and exposure.

The 88-year-old left his preliminary hearing on Wednesday afternoon after his attorney, Kerry Lewis, told the magistrate judge, Thomas Terkowsky, he objected to the hearing and found his attitude toward him and his client to be disgraceful.

Lewis wanted Terkowsky to recuse himself, and the judge refused.

The 29-year-old accuser, who was 10-years-old at the time of the alleged incident, claims Lang took him away from other boys during alter training, He alleges Lang took him to the basement of the church, had him take off his clothes and took a Polaroid picture and committed a sexual act.

“He is charged with an act that is a pedophile,” Lewis said. “This kind of conduct when he was 72 years old, there’s never been any complaint against him before and there hasn’t been one since. He just didn’t become an abuser, a pedophile, one day in June in 2001.”

The accuser, who now lives in another country, said in court his mother told him about indictments against priests who had abused children and he called the attorney general’s office in August of last year.

Local victim pushes for reforms in the Catholic Church ahead of the Pope's sexual assault summit

ST. LOUIS (MO)
KSDK TV

February 6, 2019

By Chris Davis

Pope Francis has acknowledged for the first time that nuns have been sexually abused in the Catholic Church.

The pope admits the abuse at the hands of priests and other clergy has been going on for decades.

Some had even been subjected to sex slavery in a French order.

This comes as the pope prepares to convene a summit of bishops from around the world to address the crisis of sexual abuse in the church.

A local advocate wants even more from the pontiff.

"I was abused from the time I was about 6 until I was 12-13 by my best friends uncle, who was a priest at our parish," Barbara Dorris said.

Her abuse was constant. Her priest had access to her far beyond the St. Louis parish walls.

"He could call my mother, she’d send me. He could call the nuns at school, they’d send me to his bedroom," Dorris said.

When the abuse finally ended, she blocked the memories and moved on.

It wasn't until 1991 while she was teaching at the same parish, that she revisited her own pain by witnessing someone else's.

"And I caught the associate pastor molesting a child, and that’s what brought me into the movement," she said.

Ever since, she's dedicated her life to helping other victims and putting pressure on the church the change their practices.

"It’s not that there are abusive priests, it’s the fact that when they’re caught, they’re protected, enabled and moved to a new parish," Dorris said.

While Dorris celebrates the pope's acknowledgment, she fervently believes he must do more.

"Women and girls have been fairly ignored in this process so to finally acknowledge that I believe women are almost equally abused as the men, is important," she said.

Barbara no longer seeks the church as a place of comfort, but still holds on to her faith.

"I believe in what I was taught as a child, and I try to live by it," she said.

Her prayer: that the church will finally address this problem head-on.

Catholic Diocese Discloses Alleged Abusers

AUSTIN (TX)
Austin Chronicle

February 8, 2019

By Mike Clark-Madison and Sarah Marloff

Along with its fellow Roman Catholic dioceses throughout the state, the Diocese of Austin last week published the names and clerical assignments of priests who have been "credibly accused" of committing sexual abuse against minors. A total of 22 ordained religious who had ministered in the diocese, which includes Austin, Waco, Temple/Killeen, Bryan/College Station, and surrounding counties, were identified "with a contrite heart" by Bishop Joe Vásquez, who said he'd commissioned an outside review of 70 years of church archives to compile the list. Half of the men on the list have died; only one is apparently serving as a priest, in Jamaica, the rest having retired or been defrocked.

The bishop's list gives no indication of whether the "credible" allegations had been substantiated, or when the acts of abuse may have occurred, or to whom, or how many times, or whether those acts constituted criminal offenses, or whether these or other clergy had also been accused of misconduct with adults. The coordinated effort by the Texas bishops, which had been announced last fall, follows the November raid by local and federal agents of the offices of Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, archbishop of Galveston-Houston, who also serves as president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, in connection with the case of a priest arrested in September on four counts of indecency with a child. "It is my prayer and hope that publishing this list will help to bring healing from the hurt and anger caused by the lack of accountability and transparency on the part of church leadership," said Vásquez. One of the priests on the list, the now-deceased Fr. Milton Eggerling, was the subject of a 2016 lawsuit regarding alleged abuse in the Seventies of a teen altar boy at St. Louis King of France Catholic Church in North Austin ("Austin Diocese Implicated in Child Abuse Suit," April 1, 2016).

February 6, 2019

Priest accused of abuse worked in Shelby County

KIRKSVILLE (MO)
Kirksville Daily Express

February 6, 2019

An advocacy organization for the victims of abuse by Catholic priests has claimed that a newly accused priest worked in 11 parishes throughout Missouri, including two in Shelby County.

The Diocese of Jefferson City, which covers 38 counties in northeastern and central Missouri, released a list of priests “credibly accused of sexual abuse” which included Fr. Eric A. Schlachter, who the diocese said had been deemed “unsuited for ministry out of concern for the safety of our youth.”

The organization Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests said in a press release Monday that the diocese has refused to provide work histories for Schlachter or the other priests and religious brothers publicly accused of misconduct in the diocese; the list currently includes 38 names.

SNAP released a list of parishes where it found Schlachter to have worked in the past, including St. Mary’s in Shelbina and St. Patrick’s in Clarence, as well as parishes in Jefferson City, Hannibal, Boonville, Chamois, Morrison, Pilot Grove, Clear Creek, Kahoka and Wayland.

“The group suspects Fr. Schlachter may have molested kids in some of those places and feels that Catholic officials have a moral and civic duty to warn and alert parents, police, prosecutors, parishioners and the public about him,” SNAP said in a press release.

Helen Osman, director of communications for the diocese, said the diocese does not provide work histories of accused priests in order to protect victims’ privacy, at the request of some victims. She confirmed that Schlachter did work in parishes in Shelby County.

SNAP’s information is drawn from the Official Catholic Directory and the website bishopaccountability.org, which maintains a database of priests accused on abuse and their work assignments.

At least eight people say, when they were children in the 1960's and 70's, they were sexually abused by Father Joseph Friel.

BUFFALO (NY)
WGRZ Channel 2

February 6, 2019

By Steve Brown and Dave Harrington

‘Am I the only one?’

For years, Christopher Szuflita wondered.

He didn’t think so. But now, he knows.

He is not the only child in the late 60’s who says they were sexually abused at the hands of Father Joseph Friel.

Szuflita’s encounters with Friel happened after the then-teenager had completed his elementary education at the parish school at Fourteen Holy Helpers in West Seneca.

He returned to attend religious instruction classes. That’s where Friel made his move, pulling Szuflita from class and leading him to the parish rectory.

"We were taught to respect priests and nuns," says Christopher Szuflita.

“It was in his own room, up the stairs,” recalled Szuflita, “I guess he played some music. I don’t remember if there was alcohol served but I remember smelling alcohol on him… and he tried to kiss me. Sat me on the bed and… and from there things progressed.”

After pausing, Szuflita continued, “And then it happened again.”

...and again.

2 priests on New Orleans' list of accused clerics face additional molestation claims in lawsuit

NEW ORLEANS (LA)
The Advocate

February 6, 2019

By Ramon Antonio Vargas

A Catholic priest allegedly masturbated while lotion was being rubbed on his feet by a New Orleans altar boy — an act which the cleric called “the best hand job” his feet had ever gotten.

Another priest would allegedly fondle the genitals of that same altar boy and other children while play-wrestling with them at that cleric’s family’s summer home in Mississippi.

Both priests, Michael Fraser and Paul Calamari, were named Nov. 2 on a list of Archdiocese of New Orleans clergy who had been stripped of their ministries years earlier after facing credible allegations of sexually abusing minors. And both were named in a lawsuit filed Wednesday in Orleans Parish Civil District Court that accuses them of previously unreported sexual molestation that was unrelated to the abuse that landed them on the archdiocese’s list.

The unnamed plaintiff’s lawsuit is the latest legal volley fired at the local Catholic Church involving clerical abuse allegations dating back decades.

Editorial: Explanations, not just lists, needed in Catholic abuse scandal

AUSTIN (TX)
American-Statesman

February 6, 2019

The Roman Catholic dioceses’ release last week of roughly 300 names of clergy members across Texas who were credibly accused of abusing children was overdue, unprecedented — and still, sadly, not enough.

Those who endured unspeakable abuse, often decades ago, at the hands of trusted religious leaders deserve more than names. They deserve an explanation.

Seeking to promote healing and rebuild trust amid sexual abuse scandals that have roiled the church for years, Texas dioceses took the exceptional step of opening their files to outside reviewers, then publicly sharing the names of credibly accused clergy.

The Archdiocese of San Antonio made an exemplary effort with its 25-page report, giving a short narrative account of when and where each victim was abused, specifying the number of allegations against each clergy member, and disclosing when supervisors reported incidents to police — or when they failed to take action or alert other parishes.

Such transparency is badly needed. We are dismayed it is lacking in the minimal lists posted by most other Texas dioceses, including the Diocese of Austin, which simply provided the names of credibly accused clergy, their dates of service and a list of their parish assignments — with a disclaimer noting the abuse may not have happened at any of those locations.

Austin Bishop Joe Vásquez told Statesman reporter Asher Price that “out of respect for the victims,” he wouldn’t say how many accusers the diocese knows about or how many cases it had reported to law enforcement. After we pressed the matter, diocese spokesman Christian González told us the review team found the church properly notified law enforcement when credible allegations surfaced against living priests.

Catholics pray for abuse survivors, more lay involvement in Church

MORGANTOWN (WV)
Catholic News Service

February 6, 2019

By Colleen Rowan

Members of four area parishes came together in Morgantown Jan. 26 to pray for victims of abuse by clergy and for more transparency by the Church and more lay involvement.

“We gather here today as laypeople upset and frustrated that we were not aware of what was happening in our own church, not aware of the conduct of some members of the clergy and some members of the hierarchy,” said Charles DiSalvo of St. Francis de Sales Parish in Morgantown to begin the prayer service.

“Our hearts are filled with sympathy and concern for those who have been abused and mistreated. Today we call for prayers for the healing of victims,” he continued. “Today we call for reparations for the victims. Our spirits are filled with resolve that this will never happen again. We will remain silent no more.”

“Today we gather to call for accountability by priests and bishops. Today we gather to a call for a reform of the Church. Today we gather to call for change.”

Investigation finds 27 local priests accused of sexual abuse

ALEXANDRIA (LA)
Opelousas Daily World

February 6, 2019

By Jeff Matthews

Twenty-seven priests incardinated or serving in the Diocese of Alexandria were found to have credible accusations of sexual abuse against minors in an investigative by the diocese.

The names of the priests were released Wednesday in a letter from Bishop David P. Talley. The cases, which were discovered through a review of hundreds of files of priests who have served in the diocese, date back to the 1940s.

In the letter, Talley calls the accusations an "evil chapter in the life of our diocese." He said the entire diocese extends "our heartfelt sorrow for all the pain and anguish caused to our children and youth by this evil. Please know that I am ready to meet with any victim in this healing process."

"In publishing this list, it is not our intent to re-victimize those who have already been so wounded by the actions of some clerics who served in our diocese over the past one hundred sixty-five years," the letter read. "This evil can only be purged through a vigilant process that is transparent to the public. Our response must demonstrate the highest levels of honesty and scrutiny."

The Diocesan Permanent Review Board reviewed 535 files of clergy who have served in the diocese since its establishment in 1853. Both clergy and lay people were part of the investigative team.

Charges held against suspended priest as victim testifies at hearing

PITTSBURGH (PA)
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

February 6, 2019

By Peter Smith

Criminal charges against the Rev. Hugh Lang, an 88-year-old retired Catholic priest of the Diocese of Pittsburgh, were held for trial at a contentious preliminary hearing Wednesday in Munhall that featured graphic testimony by a 29-year-old man who alleged an episode of sexual abuse in 2001, when he was 11 years old.

The accuser, who now lives overseas, appeared in a dark suit, and answered questions from both prosecutor Thomas Kelly and defense attorney J. Kerrington Lewis readily and without emotion. The young man said that he was punished for a comment he made while in training to be an altar server at St. Therese Parish in Munhall in 2001. He described in detail how, he said, Rev. Lang brought him to a basement room, had him undress, and sexually assaulted him.

During the hearing, Mr. Lewis became frustrated with District Judge Thomas Torkowsky’s rulings on objections and even on the arrangement of the courtroom. Mr. Lewis asked the judge to recuse himself from the case. The judge refused.

Mr. Lewis then said that when the case proceeds to the Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas, he will ask that the assigned judge order a new preliminary hearing.

St. Francis Xavier pastor accused of sexual harassment against junior priest

GAYLORD (MI)
Petosky News

February 6, 2010

By William T. Perkins

A top-ranking vicar in the Diocese of Gaylord and at St. Francis Xavier Catholic Parish in Petoskey has continued to be active approximately six months after having been accused of sexual harassment against a younger priest.

The Rev. Dennis Stilwell is alleged to have initiated unwanted physical contact with the Rev. Matthew Cowan during the summer of 2015, when Cowan, then 30 years old, was newly assigned to the Diocese of Gaylord. He filed a complaint of the behavior in late August last year.

Stilwell is pastor of St. Francis Xavier Parish in Petoskey.

Candace Neff, spokeswoman for the diocese, said Tuesday that Stilwell had not been suspended from his duties. She said she preferred more time to answer some of the News-Review's questions and would be following up with additional information over email.

"Following the independent investigation, the Diocesan Review Board (which is also an independent body composed primarily of laity from throughout the diocese) met and concluded that the allegation did not reach the level of credible and substantiated sexual misconduct," she said in that followup email Wednesday.

A press release Wednesday from Gaylord Diocesan Watch, a newly formed activist group, claimed that Bishop Steven Raica "suspended" Matthew Cowan, the accuser. That group is calling for Cowan to be reinstated. Neff told the News-Review that Cowan had been placed on administrative leave — not suspended — and that his faculties for ministry were withdrawn on Jan. 7, and that the decision was not based on his harassment complaint.

Diocese of Alexandria releases names of clergy with credible allegations of sexual abuse

ALEXANDRIA (LA)
KALB TV

February 6, 2019

The Diocese of Alexandria released a list of clergy members, both living and dead, with credible allegations of sexual abuse on Wednesday afternoon.

A team of eight laypersons and seven clergy members reviewed over 500 files of clergy who served the Diocese of Alexandria since 1853 when it was established.

"I believe, together with all the members of the Permanent Review Board, that we have done what we can to present as truthful and as thorough a record of the alleged instances of sexual abuse by clerics against minors during our long history," said Bishop David Talley. "I know that this list may be incomplete, not because we have held anything back, but because this kind of evil is perpetrated in secret and out of fear and shame some may not have been able to come forward."

Talley also encouraged victims to come forward with any information.

"If you are a victim of sexual abuse, please contact your local law enforcement agency," Talley said. "Sexual abuse is a serious crime and must be treated as such. If you would like more information or are in need of assistance, please contact our Victims’ Assistance Coordinator, Dr. Lee Kneipp, at (318) 542-9805."

The full document, along with Bishop Talley's letter, can be found in the Related Documents section of this page.

Buffalo Diocese says Bishop Kmiec correctly handled Nashville abuse complaint

BUFFALO (NY)
Buffalo News

February 6, 2019

By Jay Tokasz

A lawyer for the Buffalo Diocese defended retired Bishop Edward U. Kmiec’s handling of a case of alleged clergy sex abuse from Kmiec’s time as bishop of the Nashville Diocese.

The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests of Tennessee said this week that Kmiec allowed the Rev. James A. Rudisill to retire as a priest in good standing and remain in ministry, despite the priest’s alleged admission in 1994 that he had molested a 12-year-old girl in the 1950s.

But diocesan attorney Lawlor F. Quinlan III said that Kmiec did remove Rudisill from ministry and forbade him from presenting himself as a priest. A lawyer for the Nashville Diocese also notified governmental authorities in Tennessee about the case, Quinlan said in a letter emailed to The News late Tuesday.

"It is unfair and wrong to criticize Bishop Kmiec in this case when he correctly removed the offender from ministry," said Quinlan.

Quinlan also suggested that The News did not provide the diocese with enough time to respond to the criticisms of Kmiec.

The News called Kmiec last week Friday and he referred the query to Buffalo Diocese spokeswoman Kathy Spangler, who provided no comments. The News also asked Rick Musacchio, spokesman for the Diocese of Nashville, for details about the handling of the Rudisill case and Musacchio said he did not know any additional details.

The News published its story online Monday afternoon and in print editions on Tuesday. No one from the Buffalo Diocese got back to The News to comment until Quinlan’s letter Tuesday evening.

Kmiec was Nashville bishop from 1992 to 2004 and Buffalo bishop from 2004 until his retirement in 2012.

Italian protesting clerical abuse arrested in front of the Vatican

ROME (ITALY)
Crux

February 5, 2019

By Claire Giangravè

Just a few weeks before bishops from around the world convene in Rome to discuss the clerical sexual abuse crisis, an Italian victim peacefully protesting in front of the Vatican Feb. 4 was escorted away by police officers.

“Police agents escorted him to the station after he handcuffed himself to a pole,” Carlo Grezio, the victim’s lawyer, told local reporters.

“He was treated with regard and respect. Some agents know his story and expressed solidarity, but regardless, a formal charge will be made against him for wasting police time,” he added.

Arturo Borrelli, 40, claims to have been sexually abused by Father Silverio Mura, who was his religion teacher, about thirty years ago in the peripheries of Naples, Italy.

“I ask for justice and that all victims have justice because it’s essential to heal,” Borrellli told Crux in a phone interview Feb.4. “I will continue my fight until the end.”

The victim said he had informed the Vatican’s Secretary of State that he was coming to Rome to denounce his abuse. He claims that when he arrived Monday morning at the St. Anna entrance of the Vatican, about twenty police officers and journalists were awaiting him.

A Utah Orthodox rabbi said his childhood nanny sexually abused him for 10 years. Here's why he decided to tell his story for the first time

SALT LAKE CITY (UT)
Deseret News

February 5, 2019

By Gillian Friedman

From behind the witness stand, Utah Rabbi Avrohom (“Avremi”) Zippel gazes out into the sea of faces and prepares to speak.

It's a dreary Tuesday morning, and normally, public speaking doesn’t intimidate the 27-year-old. Since he was a child — the precocious and prized eldest son of a prominent rabbi — he has revelled in the attention of a crowd.

But today, sitting in a courtroom in downtown Salt Lake City, the confidence that usually comes so easily evades him.

He fidgets nervously, his fingers playing with his long dark beard, adjusting his black suit and yarmulke, the traditional garb of observant Jewish men.

Time seems to slow to a stop, and all he can hear is the sound of his heart pounding in his ears. But then, one message rings clear in his head, as if from on high: you are doing the right thing.

He clears his throat, and in a voice barely above a whisper, begins to share a story that has haunted him for decades.

Recommendations for Churches Dealing with Abuse

JENKINTOWN (PA)
Dr. Diane Landberg blog

February 5, 2019

Like any other institution churches are susceptible to the twin plagues of the abuse of power and sexual misconduct. How should a church respond when such things are alleged or exposed?

GENERAL PRINCIPLES
We need to acknowledge to ourselves and publicly that the problems of abuse (child sexual abuse, rape, physical abuse and clergy sexual abuse) are not just out there; they are also in here with us.

We need to approach this work carefully and with great humility. Churches often have little to no education about these matters. Most seminaries never speak about abuse. We have not invited victims to tell us their stories and learned from them. We have not been taught about offenders and how they work. We have not developed policies and safeguards for the children under our care. We teach about God, marriage, sex and parenting but we do not usually include the topics of sexual abuse, rape or domestic violence.

We often assume that when sin occurs in a relationship it is always a 50-50 proposition. We have assumed that with rape, domestic violence, verbal abuse and with clergy or counselor sexual abuse. We look for an external cause for sin. “I hit her because she…”

The Bible does not support the assumption of an external cause. Jesus said that it is out of our hearts that evil proceeds. Abuse is an exposure of the abuser’s heart, not the victims.

Gay Catholic Leader Confronts Alt-Right Harassers

NEW YORK (NY)
Gay City News

February 6, 2019 l

By Matt Tracy

By his own admission, Aaron Bianco was a “nobody” until he was discovered by the alt-right.

An out gay former pastoral associate at St. John’s the Evangelist Catholic Church in San Diego, Bianco was long treated with respect in the workplace and largely accepted by parishioners and church leaders alike.

But everything went downhill in June of 2017 when the parish’s priest left, forcing Bianco to assume more responsibilities and play a more visible role in the absence of a permanent replacement pastor.

The alt-right news sites LifeSite News and Church Militant started attacking him, first when Bianco’s role expanded and again in August of last year when the Pennsylvania Supreme Court named at least 300 Catholic priests in an investigation of child sex abuse.

The news articles written about him were followed by a barrage of horrifying events: Bianco started receiving death threats laced with homophobic slurs, found his car’s tires entirely punctured, and saw someone creepily stalking him outside of his house. He arrived at the church one day to find the doors had been lit on fire and “NO FAGS” spray-painted on a wall.

Bianco recalled the time he had to dodge a punch from a man who walked up to him following Mass and demanded to know if he were married. In a fit of rage, the man had to be restrained by others nearby, and a police investigation followed, according to Bianco.

Time to restore marriage rights to priests

WASHINGTON (DC)
The Washington Times

February 6, 2019

By Cheryl K. Chumley

The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, SNAP, is holding a summit this week to press Pope Francis into taking stronger action against clergy members who commit acts of sexual abuse.

Well and good. Stronger action is definitely warranted.

But a better course of action would be for the Catholic Church to open its priestly ranks to marriage.

Yes, Jesus was chaste. Yes, Paul, one of the apostles, recommended celibacy as a means of moving closer to God. But Peter, the first pope, was married

Amid uproar, Vatican clarifies Pope's comments on 'sexual slavery' of nuns

ATLANTA (GA)
CNN

February 6, 2019

By Daniel Burke

A day after Pope Francis created an international uproar by saying Catholics nuns had been subjected to "sexual slavery" by the founder of a French order, the Vatican sought to clarify his remarks.

"When the Holy Father, referring to the dissolution of a Congregation, spoke of 'sexual slavery,' he meant 'manipulation,' a form of abuse of power which is reflected also in sexual abuse," said Vatican spokesman Alessandro Gisotti.

The Pope's shocking comments were the first time he has publicly acknowledged the sexual abuse of nuns by Catholic bishops and priests. To date, much of the clergy abuse scandal has focused on minors, who represent the vast majority of cases.

But many Catholics say abuse of vulnerable adults, including nuns and seminarians, has long been a problem in the church. Some hope the church will address the issue at the upcoming meeting on the abuse crisis to be convened by Pope Francis from February 21 to 24 in Rome.

Polish archbishop meets victims of pedophile priests

WARSAW (POLAND)
Agence France-Presse

February 6, 2019

Polish Archbishop Stanislaw Gadecki on Wednesday said he had met with several victims of church sex abuse ahead of a Vatican meeting on the issue later this month.

Pope Francis has called senior bishops from around the world to Rome on February 21-24 to provide them with concrete measures to deal with widespread clergy sex abuse of children and young people.

"A couple of weeks ago... I invited victims of clergy sexual abuse in childhood or youth to meet with me," Gadecki said in a video message on the episcopate's website.

"I am grateful to all 28 individuals who accepted the invitation. I have already met with some of them. The rest of the meetings will be scheduled bit by bit."

It is difficult to pinpoint the extent of sex abuse by clergy in the devout Catholic country of 38 million people.

But Marek Lisinski, head of a Polish foundation for its victims, told AFP that around 700 victims had disclosed clergy abuse to the organisation.

Polish courts have convicted 62 priests of the crime.

Cardinal DiNardo speaks on ‘healing breach of trust’ caused by sex abuse crisis

NEW YORK (NY)
Crux

February 6, 2019

By Christopher White

Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), echoed Pope Francis’ call for a “new ecclesial season,” in response to the clergy sex abuse scandals, saying that one positive fruit of the present crisis could be a deeper embrace of the Second Vatican Council.

DiNardo’s remarks came during a day-long conference on Wednesday sponsored by the Institute for Human Ecology at the Catholic University of America on “The Role of the Laity in Responding to the Crisis: Theological and Historical Foundations”

The conference is part of an ongoing series at the university on “Healing the Breach of Trust,” in response to the clerical sexual abuse crisis.

In reflecting on Vatican II (1962-1965), DiNardo said he believed that the Holy Spirit is using the present moment “to open the Church, sometimes with great force, to what was developing half a century ago.”

Nuns 'sex slaves' scandal fresh blow to Catholic Church

CHANDIGARH (INDIA)
India Tribune

February 6, 2019

Pope Francis's public admission that priests have used nuns as "sexual slaves"—and may still be doing so—marks a new chapter in the abuse crisis rocking the Catholic Church.

"It is the first time that the pope, but also the church as an institution, has publicly admitted this abuse is taking place, and that's hugely important," Lucetta Scaraffia, editor of the Vatican's women's magazine, told AFP on Wednesday.

The pontiff on Tuesday said Catholic priests and bishops had been sexually abusing nuns, and that his predecessor Benedict XVI had dissolved a religious order of women because of "sexual slavery on the part of priests and the founder".

The Church has "suspended several clerics" and the Vatican has been "working (on the issue) for a long time", he said.

The abuse was "still going on, because it's not something that just goes away like that. On the contrary", he added.

Editor of Vatican's women's magazine says 'many' rape claims have been filed with the Church 'but not followed up'

LONDON (ENGLAND)
Daily Mail

February 6, 2019

By Sara Malm

The editor of the Vatican's women's magazine has accused the Catholic Church of ignoring complaints of rape and sexual abuse made against priests by nuns.

Lucetta Scaraffia is now calling for a commission to be set up by the Vatican to investigate historical and contemporary allegations.

This came after Pope Francis's public admission that priests have used nuns as 'sexual slaves' - and may still be doing so.

'It is the first time that the pope, but also the church as an institution, has publicly admitted this abuse is taking place, and that's hugely important,' Ms Scaraffia, editor of 'Women Church World', told AFP.

'Many complaints have been filed with the Vatican and have not been followed up.

'I very much hope that a commission will be set up to investigate, and that nuns expert in the issue will be called to take part,' she told AFP.

'They could move quickly with trials, and above all raise awareness because silence is what allows rapists to continue to rape,' she added.

The pontiff on Tuesday said Catholic priests and bishops had been sexually abusing nuns, and that his predecessor Benedict XVI had dissolved a religious order of women because of 'sexual slavery on the part of priests and the founder'.

As Catholic Dioceses Release Lists of Priests Credibly Accused of Abuse of Minors, Important Things to Watch for: The Case of Arkansas

LITTLE ROCK (AR)
Bilgrimage

February 6, 2019

By William Lindsey

As more and more U.S. Catholic dioceses — but not the diocese of Charlotte, North Carolina, which remains "one of the least transparent" dioceses in the nation — release names of priests credibly accused of sexual abuse of minors, I am following those lists to see if I spot names of priests with connections to my diocese of Little Rock, Arkansas. I'm doing this, in part, because I think it's important that we inform ourselves of what's happening in our own back yard as we talk about bigger problems that manifest themselves in more than one place in the world. I also want to note that others who are monitoring these lists have been very generous in pointing me to important Arkansas-themed information in them: this is not a project I'm undertaking all on my own, but a collaborative one.

In several lists of credibly accused priests released by dioceses other than the diocese of Little Rock, I do, in fact, see the names of priests with Arkansas ties, all of whom also seem to have had pastoral positions in Arkansas in addition to the ones they had in other states that have resulted in their listing in those states. Spotting these names — not all of which are on the list released by the bishop of Little Rock, Anthony Taylor, last year — makes me recall three things I told you last November as I commented on how more and more dioceses are releasing lists of credibly accused priests, and that I was being told by people with reason to know that some names of credibly accused priests in Arkansas had not been included in the list the Little Rock diocese released in September. I wrote:

1. There appears to be very strong reason — survivors and others tracking the abuse situation in the Catholic church across the U.S. are reporting this all over the place — to conclude that even now, with law enforcement officials breathing down their necks and as they claim to be providing complete information about abusive priests within their dioceses, one bishop after another is hiding information as he discloses names of credibly accused priests.

‘We still don’t matter’: Dallas twins react to list’s omission of priest they reported for sexual misconduct

DALLAS (TX)
Dallas Morning News

February 6, 2019

For twin sisters raised in Dallas’ historic St. Peter the Apostle Catholic Church, the release of the names of priests “credibly accused” of sexual abuse of minors only twisted the knife in wounds that the two have lived with for more than 30 years.

Myrna Dartson and Micaela Dartson Hicken were 19-year-old college sophomores in 1986 when, they say, Father Czeslaw “Chester” Domaszewicz began to behave inappropriately toward them. They describe a priest who sexually harassed them, grabbed at their breasts and buttocks, pulled on their bras and made vile, suggestive comments.

Through the Florida diocese where he is now assigned, Domaszewicz has strongly denied the allegations.

But those accusations and others prompted a pastoral council meeting about the priest’s behavior in 1989 or 1990. The diocese’s notes indicate the priest apologized, but don’t say for what.

The Dartsons had hoped to see Domaszewicz's name on the Dallas diocese’s list of 31 “credibly accused” clergy members since 1950. The list, released last week, likely provided a bit of closure to some victims and Catholics, but the diocese’s transparency effort focused only on victims 18 and younger.

By a mere one year, the Dartson twins missed their chance at justice. And as of now, the Dallas diocese doesn’t plan a formal release of names related to young adults’ cases.

Survivors Applaud Removal of Accused Bishop's Name

ST. LOUIS (MO)
Survivors Network of Abused by Priests

February 6, 2019

West Virginia Catholic officials have taken a small step forward in healing for survivors by removing an accused bishop’s name from a gym named after him.

Former Bishop Michael Bransfield’s name has been taken off Wheeling Central Catholic High School, by the school’s board of directors. Given that Bishop Bransfield has faced multiple allegations of sexual harassment and abuse, we believe that this was the right move by administrators at Central Catholic High School.

The very least church officials can do is remove honors for clerics who commit or conceal sexual wrongdoing. We hope that this step will bring some comfort to those whose abuse happened on Bransfield’s watch and to those who may were hurt by Bransfield.

El actual párroco de Constantí renuncia tras conocerse que había sido investigado por pederastia

[Constantí parish priest resigns after pedophilia investigations]

CONSTANTI (SPAIN)
El País

February 5, 2019

By Marc Rovira

El arzobispado de Tarragona reaccionó al sospechar de la conducta de dos párrocos

El actual cura de Constantí (Tarragona), Francesc Xavier Morell, estuvo apartado del servicio religioso durante dos años mientras el Vaticano investigaba si había incurrido en un delito de pederastia. Morell fue citado a declarar antes en una investigación civil por estar en posesión de pornografía, que fue sobreseída por el juez. A pesar de ello, la Santa Sede abrió diligencias para aclarar la conducta del sacerdote a instancias del Arzobispado de Tarragona, que reaccionó al tener conocimiento de prácticas poco ortodoxas llevadas a cabo por dos curas de la diócesis. En concreto, a Morell se le aisló del oficio religioso mientras se comprobaba si había cometido actos de naturaleza sexual con menores de edad. La investigación religiosa concluyó que el párroco no había incurrido en ningún delito de naturaleza civil.

El Gobierno pide a la Fiscalía información sobre los casos abiertos de pederastia en la Iglesia

[Spain's government asks Prosecutor's Office for information about open cases of pedophilia in the Church]

MADRID (SPAIN)
El País

February 5, 2019

By Julio Núñez

El Ejecutivo no ha solicitado a la Conferencia Episcopal datos sobre denuncias o quejas conocidas o instruidas

El Gobierno ha solicitado este martes a la Fiscalía General del Estado que le informe sobre las diligencias abiertas en los tribunales por casos de pederastia cometidos en el seno de la Iglesia, tanto en las parroquias que dependen de las diócesis como en los colegios de las congregaciones religiosas. La información que remite la Fiscalía nunca será el grueso de estos delitos, porque la mayoría de ellos no llegan a la justicia civil sino que se instruyen en procesos eclesiásticos. Son los obispos y los superiores de las órdenes religiosas los que se han encargado de juzgarlos y, en algunas ocasiones, de dictar indemnizaciones o bien de encubrir lo ocurrido.

El fraile del Camino acusado de abusos dice que perdió “el norte”

[Trial begins for friar accused of abuse along the Camino pilgrim route]

LUGO (SPAIN)
El País

February 5, 2019

By Pepe Seijo

Ataca en el juicio a la menor a la que supuestamente pagaba tras el sexo: "Era una persona independiente", "sacaba dinero de estar con otras personas"

El juicio contra un fraile franciscano José Q.A., acusado de supuestos abusos sexuales y elaboración de material pornográfico, por lo que la fiscalía pide 17 años, ha comenzado con la declaración del procesado y, a puerta cerrada, la de sus dos supuestas víctimas, una joven que en el momento de los hechos tenía 16 años y su primo discapacitado. En la sección segunda de la Audiencia Provincial de Lugo, el religioso mantuvo en su declaración que las relaciones fueron consentidas y que en aquella época padecía una “profunda depresión” y perdió “el norte”.

El arzobispo de Tarragona cesa al cura de Arbeca, en Lleida, por abusos a menores

[Archbishop of Tarragona removes priest of Arbeca and Lleida for abuse of minors]

LLEIDA (SPAIN)
El País

February 6, 2019

Josep Maria Font ha pedido disculpas en una carta publicada en la web del Arzobispado

El arzobispo de Tarragona, Jaume Pujol, ha cesado este miércoles al rector de la parroquia de Arbeca (Lleida) y otras poblaciones leridanas, Josep Maria Font, un día después de apartar de sus funciones al párroco de Constantí (Tarragona), Francesc Xavier Morell, ambos presuntamente involucrados en tocamientos a menores.

El arzobispo de Tarragona, sobre los abusos en su diócesis: “Fue un mal momento” de los sacerdotes

[Archbishop of Tarragona on abuses in his diocese: "It was a bad time"]

SPAIN
El País

February 6, 2019

By Marc Rovira

Jaume Pujol afirma que "todo el mundo puede cometer errores" tras conocerse tres casos de pederastia. El párroco de Arbeca renuncia tras descubrirse su implicación

El goteo de revelaciones sobre abusos sexuales a menores y casos de pederastia presuntamente cometidos por curas del Arzobispado de Tarragona ha provocado un nuevo cese. El sacerdote Josep Maria Font ha confirmado su renuncia y, en un comunicado, pide disculpas "a todas las personas a las que haya podido ofender o decepcionar". Font oficiaba actualmente en el municipio leridano de Arbeca y en otras pequeñas parroquias de la provincia de Lleida, pero los abusos que han trascendido presuntamente los cometió cuando ejercía en la zona de Tarragona, donde Cambrils fue su último destino. Se da la circunstancia que Font, de 65 años, nació en Constantí, el pueblo donde se destaparon los primeros episodios de esta serie de casos de abusos sexuales a menores. El arzobispo de Tarragona, Jaume Pujol, ha valorado los episodios de pederastia como un "mal momento" por parte de los sacerdotes y niega que los actos descubiertos sean "tan graves" como para forzar su secularización. "Todo el mundo puede cometer errores", ha añadido.

Former Bishop Michael Bransfield’s Name Removed From Wheeling Central Catholic High School Gym

WHEELING (WV)
The Intelligencer

February 6, 2019

By Heather Ziegler

Central Catholic High School’s gymnasium in East Wheeling no longer bears the name of former bishop Michael J. Bransfield, as the school’s board of directors recently voted to have it removed.

Bryan Minor, delegate for administrative affairs for the Catholic Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston, said the decision to remove Bransfield’s name also has the approval of Archbishop William E. Lori, who has been serving as apostolic administrator of the diocese since being appointed by Pope Francis in September.

Lori is overseeing the Wheeling-Charleston diocese after the Vatican appointed him to investigate allegations that Bransfield sexually harassed adults.

Bransfield ended his tenure Sept. 13 after serving the diocese for 13 years. Bransfield, 75, had just turned the age of retirement when canon law dictates bishops must submit their resignations to the Pope. The Pope then decides when to accept the resignation.

Bransfield’s resignation was accepted immediately.

Lori, who is from the Baltimore Diocese, has been overseeing the lay-led investigation into the allegations against Bransfield. Minor said the investigation could be finalized this month.

As for removing Bransfield’s name from Central’s gymnasium, Minor said Lori accepted the board’s decision. The name was placed on the gym last spring.

Trail of reports prompt question: Did church enable more priest abuse?

GREENVILLE (TX)
Herald Banner

February 6, 2019

By Travis Hairgrove

It began more than a half-century ago: the trail of lawsuits, settlements, internal Catholic Church documents and public reports of sexual abuse allegations against Patrick J. Lynch.

Lynch is one of 31 former Diocese of Dallas priests whose name was released last week on a list of priests with “credible allegations of sexual abuse” against them. The accusations against the priest date back to 1966 and include several lawsuits and settlements, records show.

Now deceased, Lynch was never removed from service; instead, he was reassigned to new parishes at least 12 times over the course of his 36 years in the priesthood.

He retired in 1997, after the Diocese of Dallas “discovered a church memo” dated 1966 in his personnel file revealing the sexual abuse had been known and documented even then.

Since Lynch’s retirement from St. Joseph Catholic Church in Richardson in 1995, the diocese has paid out several settlements to individuals alleging that Lynch sexually abused them as children.

Summit, lawyers discuss what's needed to solve church's abuse crisis

WASHINGTON (DC)
Catholic News Service

February 5, 2019

By Kurt Jensen

Permanent solutions to the church's sexual abuse crisis are going to require a greater level of lay participation and more legal muscle.

These were conclusions discussed at two events in Washington: a lawyers' panel at the Catholic Information Center, sponsored by the Thomas More Society Jan. 31, and a media conference Feb. 2 following the Leadership Roundtable's Catholic Partnership Summit Feb. 1-2.

The summit, which included three cardinals, university and college presidents and canon lawyers representing 43 dioceses, is expected to issue a document with recommendations in a couple of weeks.

The key term at both discussions was "emerging best practices" for identifying abusers and bringing them to justice.

Some of the participants in the summit spoke to the press in a teleconference afterward.

Former Plainview priest, other former area priests listed among accused Catholic clergy members

PLAINIEW (TX)
Plainview Herald

February 5, 2019

By Ellysa Harris

Catholic Diocese throughout the state released lists of clergy accused of sexual abuse of minors on Thursday and a former priest at a Plainview church made the list.

The Lubbock chapter of the Roman Catholic Diocese identified the late Robert Patrick Hoffman, who served at Sacred Heart Catholic Church from 1983 to 1986 as a clergy member with a credible allegation.

Hoffman died in 2005.

According to his obituary, which was published in the March 21, 2005 edition of the Amarillo Globe-News, he was ordained to priesthood on May 25, 1968 and served the Catholic Church until December 2000 when a bout with bone marrow cancer resulted in a request for medical retirement.

Hoffman was assigned to four different parishes, in addition to his stint in Plainview. The Diocese of Lubbock was formed June 17, 1983. Prior to that date, many of the parishes now within its geographic boundaries were a part of the Amarillo Diocese, according to news releases from both the Lubbock and Amarillo Catholic Dioceses. That's why Hoffman's name and the five parishes he served are on lists for both of the dioceses.

An official from the Lubbock Diocese told The Herald an allegation was made against Hoffman while he was serving Sacred Heart in Plainview. The church took action and the Lubbock Diocese stepped in and removed Hoffman from the church.

The Lubbock Diocese lists him as removed from the ministry in 1987.

Pope Francis Acknowledges, For First Time, Sexual Abuse Of Nuns By Priests

WASHINGTON (DC)
National Public Radio

February 5, 2019

By Richard Gonzales

Pope Francis, for the first time, acknowledged the sexual abuse of nuns by priests and bishops, including a case in which some clergy used women as sex slaves. He said on Tuesday that he is committed to ending the problem in the Roman Catholic Church.

His comments came in response to a reporter's question on his flight returning to Rome from Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. The reporter asked the pope about a Vatican magazine article published last week detailing reports of sexual abuse by clerics resulting in nuns having abortions or giving birth to children fathered by priests.

"It is true ... there have been priests and even bishops who have done this," said Francis as quoted by Reuters. "I think it is still going on because something does not stop just because you have become aware of it," he added.

After years of revelations of sexual predation by priests upon children and the growing public attention paid to the #MeToo movement, Francis and the church are being forced to address persistent reports of abuse of members of its own hierarchy: the nuns who serve the church in a secondary capacity to men.

Former Rider Priest accused of sexual abuse

LAWRENCEVILLE (NJ)
The Rider News

By Lauren Minore

In light of multiple allegations of child sex abuse in the Roman Catholic Church, a former Rider priest has been recognized as having credible accusations of sexual abuse of a minor against him.

Andrew Dittrich, who served at Rider from 1977 to 1989, was one of 50 clergy members on the list of credibly accused child sex offenders in New Jersey and nearby states. The list was released by the USA Northeast Province of the Jesuits, which represents Roman Catholic priests in parts of New Jersey.

According to the USA Northeast Province of the Jesuits website, the regional organization represents eight states, including New York, northern New Jersey and Connecticut, among others.

The allegations against Dittrich surfaced in 2002 and resurfaced in 2018. According to the report from the organization, Dittrich was accused of sexual abuse of minors between 1966 and 1976 — one year prior to his involvement with the university.

Dittrich also served at Rutgers University from 1970-1977, six years during the time which he was accused of sexual abuse.

In a letter from Fr. John J. Cecero, Provincial of USA Northeast Province, said, “Hoping to contribute to healing from the pain and anger caused by clergy sex abuse and the lack of accountability and transparency on the part of church leadership, I am making public a list of any Jesuit in the USA Northeast Province who has had a credible allegation of abuse against a minor or vulnerable adult since 1950.”

Retired Judge Dismissed As Intermediary In Local Priest Sex Abuse Investigation

SAGINAW (MI)
WGSW Radio

February 6, 2019

The Administrator of the Saginaw Catholic Diocese says addressing sexual abuse allegations involving priests will require greater transparency. Bishop Walter Hurley promised that lines of communication will remain open with law enforcement.

Hurley added retired Judge Michael Talbot who had been an intermediary between the Diocese and authorities was dismissed following the recent death of Bishop Joseph Cistone. Hurley explained Cistone had requested Talbot’s assistance while struggling with health issues, but that with Cistone gone, Talbot’s services will no longer be required.

Hurley says he’ll take on Talbot’s responsibilities and pass on any new abuse reports directly to authorities. Hurley says it’s unclear how long it will take to resolve investigations involving the Saginaw County Prosecutor’s Office and Michigan Attorney General.

New report warns against priests placing themselves above laity

KANSAS CITY (MO)
National Catholic Reporter

February 5, 2019

by Peter Feuerherd

First comes baptism, then comes holy orders, a Boston College report about forming new priests reminds seminary educators and others in a study released in December 2018. The paper, titled "To Serve the People of God: Renewing the Conversation on Priesthood and Ministry," argues that sacramental doctrine is a starting point in transforming seminary formation.

Priests in today's church need skills in forming communities and working with all the baptized faithful, particularly women, the study proposes.

It warns against priests placing themselves above laypeople.

"If priesthood becomes a path to power, priests can understand themselves as gatekeepers of 'discipline, rules and organization,' rather than as disciples among disciples," it says. The document, created out of a series of meetings of a dozen religious educators, theologians and church ministers, both men and women, cautions against "a concentration on functions unique to priests" which can "appear to create a gulf" between them and the laity.

For Thomas Groome, professor in theology and religious education at Boston College and a member of the panel who authored the report, the future of seminary formation could be seen in his classroom when a grandmother took a fellow student and Jesuit scholastic under her wing, becoming a spiritual mentor. Priesthood, the study says, is not an excuse to rule over laypeople but should provide an opportunity to be part of collaborative ministry, through which priests and laypeople learn from each other.

Retired Northampton Catholic Priest on trial accused of sexually assaulting children

NORTHHAMPTON (ENGLAND)
Northhampton Chronicle

February 6, 2019

Francis McDermott, a 75-year-old retired Catholic Priest from the Northampton Diocese, has appeared at court accused of sexually assaulting six children in the 1970s.

A complainant, now in his 50s, who alleges he was sexually abused by the defendant, described Father McDermott as having a very high sex drive, saying: “He was sex mad. He was always talking about it.”

In 2004, the witness was contacted by the Priest after the latter had been accused of sexually assaulting a young girl be-known to the witness. She believed the witness had knowledge of her assaults, which also took place in the 1970s.

Before meeting McDermott, the witness purchased a tape recorder and recorded their conversation.

The witness said: “I just wanted to record what he said as I sensed panic. I guessed it was about the sexual abuse.”

Bishop talks to parishioners about abuse, abortion

RUTLAND (VT)
Rutland Herald

February 6, 2019

By Gordon Dritschilo

Discussion of abortion and sexual abuse scandals dominated a forum Bishop Christopher Coyne held at Christ the King Church on Tuesday.

The talk, part of a listening tour bringing Coyne to churches around the state, also touched on how the church can win back parishioners it has lost and what the diocese can do for local parishes. Coyne said this was the sixth such meeting, and common themes from the previous ones included sex abuse scandals in the Catholic church, a decision to lower the age of first communion and calls for the ordination of female priests.

Preaching respectful listening, Coyne opened the floor to the roughly 100 in attendance, saying people who came forward would get 2 minutes each for questions or comments. The first came from a man who began by proclaiming his love for the church and his belief in literal transubstantiation.

“I am very angry at the hierarchy of our church,” he said. “I am angry at your brother bishops and the Bishop of Rome.”

The man said when news of sexual abuse coverups broke more than a decade ago, parishioners were assured that reforms had been implemented and such abuse would not happen again. Then the public learned of more abuses last year.

“Now, I realize the bishops did not do what they said they would do, and I am angry about it,” he said.

The man said his anger was compounded because the scandals robbed the bishops of their moral authority, which they need to argue against measures like H.57, the bill that would preserve abortion rights in Vermont. The man said the bill “borders on infanticide,” while later speakers outright called it infanticide.

“There’s a lot there,” Coyne said. “I can only be responsible for myself. ... I can’t answer for some of the bishops.”

Priests Placeholder

New York (NY)
Fordham Ram

February 6, 2019

By Erica Scalise

A number of priests living in Murray-Weigel Hall, a retirement home on campus, have recently been included on lists of priests accused of sexual abuse. The university has claimed that it did not have access to information listing who lives in the retirement homes on campus, operated by the Jesuit Northeast Province.

Bob Howe, director of communications for the university, did not respond to questions on the existence of a list of Jesuits in residence at Fordham.

He said the university “does not generally know the histories” of those living in the Jesuit retirement homes on campus.

A list of Jesuits in residence at Murray-Weigel has been available to anyone with access to Walsh Library, even as allegations against Catholic priests continue to make headlines.

Murray-Weigel said they could not provide The Ram with these lists, and the Northeast Province said they are not available to the public. These catalogs, known as “Curia,” available from the 19th century to 2018, detail the names of Jesuit priests, their dates of birth, when they entered the Society of Jesus and when they left. They also include information on where these priests live, including those accused of sexual abuse.

Bob Howe said the university’s statement from a Jan. 30 article in The Ram remains the same.

“The University has never had control over Murray-Weigel Hall or a regular flow of information concerning its tenants and any allegations of misconduct that may have been made against them,” said Howe.

State AGs double down on objections to Church’s handling of sex abuse

NEW YORK (NY)
Crux

February 6, 2019

By Christopher White

Two state attorneys general that have issued reports on the Catholic Church’s handling of clerical sexual abuse cases doubled-down on Monday, defending their efforts and saying the Church cannot be responsible for policing itself.

Former Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan and Josh Shapiro, Attorney General of Pennsylvania, took part in a panel discussion at the University of Chicago’s Institute of Politics, where Madigan said the Church “failed to react properly, they haven’t put in place the policies, they haven’t put in place procedures, they haven’t admitted what has happened,” when it came to its handling of clerical abuse.

In December, Madigan released a report saying that the state’s six dioceses had not released the names of more than 500 priests accused of abuse. The report was a preliminary look into Illinois’ handling of sex abuse cases that is now being carried on by her successor, Kwame Raoul.

Madigan’s report follows a wave of state investigations into the Catholic Church set off by Shapiro’s August grand jury report, which he described as “the largest scope in this country…maybe in the history of the world.”

On Monday, Shapiro sharply criticized what he described as the Church’s efforts to minimize or hide cases of abuse.

Pope Francis says priests and bishops have sexually abused nuns

NEW YORK (NY)
New York Times

February 6, 2019

By Jason Horowitz and Elizabeth Dias

Pope Francis has said the Roman Catholic Church has faced a persistent problem of sexual abuse of nuns by priests and even bishops.

This is the first time he has publicly acknowledged the issue.

Catholic nuns have accused clerics of sexual abuse in recent years in India, Africa, Latin America and in Italy, and a Vatican magazine last week mentioned nuns having abortions or giving birth to the children of priests.

But Francis has never raised the issue until he was asked to comment during a news conference aboard the papal plane returning to Rome from his trip to the United Arab Emirates.

“It’s true,” Francis said on Tuesday. “There are priests and bishops who have done that.” The pope’s admission opens a new front in the long-running scandal of sexual abuse by priests, recognising nuns who have tried for years to call attention to their plight. With the #MeToo movement going strong, and Francis under pressure for neglecting the victims of child abuse, the nuns’ pleas have gained traction.

In November, the organisation representing the world’s Catholic women’s religious orders, the International Union of Superiors General, publicly denounced the “culture of silence and secrecy” that contributed to abuse, and urged nuns to report abuse to law enforcement.

A top official in the Vatican office that handles sexual abuse allegations resigned last month after a former nun accused him of making sexual advances during confession. The official, the Rev. Hermann Geissler, chief of staff in the Vatican’s doctrinal office, denied the allegation, the Vatican said.

An article last week in Women Church World, the women’s magazine of Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano, blamed the abuse on the outsize power of priests. “The abuse of women results in procreation and so is at the origin of the scandal of imposed abortions and children not recognized by priests,” wrote the article’s author, Lucetta Scaraffia, a feminist intellectual and editor-in-chief of Women Church World.

TEXAS IMMIGRANT SHELTER EMPLOYEE ALLEGEDLY OFFERED CANDY TO CHILDREN IN RETURN FOR SEXUAL FAVORS

NEW YORK (NY)
Newsweek

February 6, 2019

By Kashmira Gander

The former employee of a shelter for immigrant children groped a boy at the facility and tried to ply others with candy for sexual favors, according to police.

Edgar Alexander Campos, 23, is said to have put his hand down a 16-year-old’s shorts on August 2018 and touched his genitals at the St. Michael's Home for Children, in Houston, Texas, the Houston Chronicle reported, citing an affidavit. The boy had asked Campos if he could use his cell phone to call his family in Guatemala before the incident, according to court documents seen by Click2Houston.

That night, Campos is said to have entered the boy’s bedroom at the Catholic facility at 2900 Louisiana Street, and touched his genitals again while the child was asleep. Surveillance camera footage revealed the worker had entered the boy’s room after hours on at least four occasions.

Campos was arrested on February 1, and booked into Harris County Jail over charges of indecency with a child involving sexual contact, sheriff office records show. His bond was set at $30,000.

The 23-year-old was in charge of supervising around 32 kids at the organization.

February 5, 2019

Alleged priest abuse victims call on diocese to set up compensation fund

NEW LONDON (CT)
The Day

February 5, 2019

By Joe Wojtas

A group of people who say they were abused by Diocese of Norwich priests but are barred from filing lawsuits due to the statute of limitations are calling on Bishop Michael Cote to meet with them and establish a victims compensation fund.

In an open letter to Cote, John Timothy McGuire of New London said that while Pope Francis recently has instructed bishops to seek out victims, he and the others have not heard from him.

“We need to meet. Not for your 'understanding' of what happened to us, or to hear you again say you are sorry for us being abused. We are all aware of your efforts against future abuse within the Norwich diocese, and the zero tolerance policies the diocese has in place now.”

Instead, McGuire said the meeting “is for the diocese to directly address the need for justice and recompense.”

“We will settle for nothing less than a compensation program for us and all victims, not just for being sexually assaulted by its clergy but also for the role the diocese played in enabling the continuance of said crimes,” McGuire wrote, referring to the failure of the diocese to report accused priests under the state’s mandatory reporter law and transferring them to other parishes, where they sexually assaulted more children and teens.

McGuire told Cote that “your priests used the ultimate force to sexually molest children. God.”

The diocese did not respond to a request for comment about McGuire’s letter.

McGuire has alleged that on four occasions when he was an 8-year-old altar boy at St. Joseph’s Church in Noank, the late Rev. James Curry took him into the room next to the altar, where the priest undressed the boy and they fondled each other’s genitals. Afterwards, McGuire said he had to confess to Curry that he tempted the priest. On the fifth occasion, when McGuire told Curry he was not going to do it anymore, Curry allegedly told McGuire, “Then you’re not what God is looking for. You’re never going to be an altar boy.”

Alleged priest abuse victims call on diocese to set up compensation fund

NEW LONDON (CT)
The Day

February 5, 2019

By Joe Wojtas

A group of people who say they were abused by Diocese of Norwich priests but are barred from filing lawsuits due to the statute of limitations are calling on Bishop Michael Cote to meet with them and establish a victims compensation fund.

In an open letter to Cote, John Timothy McGuire of New London said that while Pope Francis recently has instructed bishops to seek out victims, he and the others have not heard from him.

“We need to meet. Not for your 'understanding' of what happened to us, or to hear you again say you are sorry for us being abused. We are all aware of your efforts against future abuse within the Norwich diocese, and the zero tolerance policies the diocese has in place now.”

Instead, McGuire said the meeting “is for the diocese to directly address the need for justice and recompense.”

“We will settle for nothing less than a compensation program for us and all victims, not just for being sexually assaulted by its clergy but also for the role the diocese played in enabling the continuance of said crimes,” McGuire wrote, referring to the failure of the diocese to report accused priests under the state’s mandatory reporter law and transferring them to other parishes, where they sexually assaulted more children and teens.

McGuire told Cote that “your priests used the ultimate force to sexually molest children. God.”

The diocese did not respond to a request for comment about McGuire’s letter.

McGuire has alleged that on four occasions when he was an 8-year-old altar boy at St. Joseph’s Church in Noank, the late Rev. James Curry took him into the room next to the altar, where the priest undressed the boy and they fondled each other’s genitals. Afterwards, McGuire said he had to confess to Curry that he tempted the priest. On the fifth occasion, when McGuire told Curry he was not going to do it anymore, Curry allegedly told McGuire, “Then you’re not what God is looking for. You’re never going to be an altar boy.”

Former St. James priest was accused of sexual abuse in Arkansas, but was omitted from Baton Rouge list

NEW ORLEANS (LA)
The Advocate

February 5, 2019

By Andrea Gallo

The list of abusive clergymen the Diocese of Baton Rouge produced last week did not include a Marist priest who was the pastor of St. Joseph Church in Paulina three decades ago and who was later credibly accused of sexual abuse in Arkansas.

Timothy Francis Sugrue is the second Marist priest who served in St. James Parish who was publicly accused of sexual abuse. The other one was included on the Diocese of Baton Rouge’s list of credibly accused clergy, but Sugrue was not. Diocese of Baton Rouge spokesman Dan Borné said Tuesday evening that the diocese was still researching Sugrue's record and would report back to The Advocate once officials have more definitive information.

The newspaper's archives show that Sugrue worked in Paulina, on the east bank of the Mississippi River, between 1980 and 1987 and possibly longer, and that he celebrated scores of local weddings and funerals during that span. After Sugrue left the Diocese of Baton Rouge, he and the Marist order faced a lawsuit in 1992 regarding alleged sexual abuse. A woman in Alabama said Sugrue had sexually abused her in 1978, when she was 8 and he was a military chaplain at the now-closed Eaker Air Force Base in Blytheville, Arkansas.

The alleged abuse happened before Sugrue moved south to Louisiana. The attorney who represented the woman who alleged abuse by Sugrue told The Advocate that he believes it's likely the priest has victims elsewhere.

Morgan “Chip” Welch, now a state judge for the 6th Judicial District Court in Arkansas, said in an interview Tuesday that when he asked Sugrue about abuse in a number of cities, the then-priest alternated between invoking his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination and denying that he had abused anyone.

“His pretrial deposition was a game of`Connect the Dots,'” Welch said.

Priest Listed By Diocese Of Dallas As Likely Sex Abuser Of Minors Was Dallas County Jail Volunteer

DALLAS (TX)
CBS DFW Channel 21

February 5, 2019

The Dallas County Sheriff’s Department said Tuesday it has discovered one of the names on the list of priests with credible allegations of sexual abuse of minors since 1950s, was also a service provider/volunteer at the Dallas County Jail.

The Catholic Diocese of Dallas released the list last week.

Robert Crisp was a listed Religious Service Provider representing the Catholic Diocese from 2015 until 2018.

His volunteer duties included accepting confessions from the inmates behind a glass window in a controlled visitation environment. No other services were performed by Crisp.

The Dallas County Sheriff’s Department said it conducts background checks for outstanding warrants and criminal history on all their volunteers. The Sheriff’s Department also conducts a re-check of the information provided every 6-8 months to insure no criminal cases or warrants have been brought against a volunteer.

In a news released, the department said Tuesday, “Due to no criminal history information having been found, Crisp was allowed to volunteer as a religious service provider. His last clearance was in July 2018 where his information was again checked and verified by the jail’s religious services staff. His last visit to the jail was for confessionals with inmates that had requested a visit in September 2018. No complaints were reported to the Sheriff’s Department about Crisp.”

Vatican Sexual Abuse Meeting Is Destined to Fail—To Stop the Problem or the Decline

BETHESDA (MD)
Rewire News

February 5, 2019

By Mary Hunt

Pope Francis’ agenda for the highly anticipated February 21-24, 2019 meeting in Rome with presidents of the national bishops’ conferences around the world is really about branding and market share despite public focus on sexual abuse and coverups. The Roman Catholic brand is in tatters, its market share shrinking by the minute.

The advertised theme of the ill-fated gathering is “The Protection of Minors in the Church,” with the explicit goal “that all of the Bishops clearly understand what they need to do to prevent and combat the worldwide problem of the sexual abuse of minors.” This is a losing proposition from the outset. The meeting is being held at the wrong time with the wrong people about the wrong issues.

Virtually any other global corporate board with such a serious product problem and as profound a public relations disaster would have met months ago. The Pennsylvania Grand Jury report that exposed hundreds of priest abusers and thousands of cases of abuse, and the extraordinary exploits of the alleged serial abuser Cardinal Theodore McCarrick broke in late summer of 2018. High-ranking Vatican official Australian Cardinal George Pell was found guilty of sexually abusing young boys in December of 2018. How long does it take to get a plane ticket to Rome? Why not convene a Zoom meeting to save time, money, and face? Any PR flack knows that step one is to put out the fire ASAP.