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May 23, 2019

New D.C. leader says Church’s ‘sorrow and shame’ don’t define it

WASHINGTON (DC)
Crux

May 21, 2019

By Christopher White

In his opening words as the new leader of Catholics in the nation’s capital, Archbishop Wilton Gregory acknowledged the tempests facing the Church, telling the 3,000 people on hand for his installation that faith in Christ, “not any single minister,” will calm the Church’s storms.

Although he never uttered the phrase “sexual abuse,” Gregory referenced the “waves of unsettling revelations” which he said has “caused even the hardiest among us to grow fearful and perhaps even, at times, to want to panic.”

“We have been tossed about by an unusually turbulent moment in our own faith journeys recently and for far too long,” he said during his homily on Tuesday, before noting that, “Our recent sorrow and shame do not define us; rather, they serve to chasten and strengthen us to face tomorrow with spirits undeterred.”

Gregory succeeds Cardinal Donald Wuerl as the seventh archbishop of Washington. Wuerl’s resignation was accepted by Pope Francis in October following scrutiny of his handling of sex abuse cases earlier in his career.

Hierarchy and the need for a 'culture of vulnerability'

KANSAS CITY (MO)
National Catholic Reporter

May 22, 2019

By Tom Roberts

Hierarchy and vulnerability are seemingly incompatible ideas. Hierarchy (in the Catholic imagination) signals status, power, privilege and the ability to control. Vulnerability, on the other hand, signals weakness, a flaw of some sort. It is to be avoided.

But vulnerability, properly understood, is precisely what members of the Roman Catholic hierarchy need to embrace as a strength, argues Fr. James Keenan, a Jesuit theologian. If it is ever to understand an essential interior element at the core of our humanity, the absence of which lies at the core of the sex abuse crisis, the hierarchy must develop a culture of vulnerability.

Keenan, Canisius Professor and director of the Jesuit Institute at Boston College, is developing an important and fascinating insight into the abuse crisis, elevating the discussion about clerical and hierarchical culture well beyond the changes in law and protocols and institutional structure that the scandal has forced upon the church. So I'm going to stick to one subject this week, with connections to past columns on the same and a hope that the discussion continues in the future.

Two months ago, in a segment of this column, I made extended reference to an insightful piece by Fr. Mark Slatter, associate professor of theological ethics at St. Paul University, Ottawa, Ontario, on clerical culture. He generally described culture as "a network of personal meaning and valuing." In the clerical world, that means a psychology that "engenders webs of kinship among priests, bishops and similarly disposed lay groups, bishops and cardinals, wealthy lay Catholics and think tanks."

One in 10 Young Christians Has Left a Church Over Sexual Abuse

UNITED STATES
Relevant Magazine

May 22, 2019

A new study finds that ten percent of young Christians say they’ve left a church because they felt it didn’t take sex abuse seriously enough, former megachurch pastor James MacDonald is being investigated for murder-for-hire allegations and a new movie that premiered at Cannes is being hailed as a “Christian movie classic.”

Priest is 22nd in Saginaw Diocese ‘credibly accused’ of sexual misconduct

SAGINAW (MI)
MLive

May 23, 209

By Cole Waterman

Another priest in the Catholic Diocese of Saginaw is accused of sexual misconduct, adding to those previously named by the diocese.

The Rev. Dennis Kucharczyk is the 22nd clergyman the diocese has named as having had credible allegations of misconduct made against them. Many of those previously named are deceased.

Kucharczyk does not face any criminal charges and law enforcement officials have not said if they are specifically investigating him.

Representatives from both the Michigan State Police and Saginaw County Sheriff’s Office told MLive their agencies were not involved in the Kucharczyk matter. The Saginaw County Prosecutor’s Office referred all inquiries to the Michigan Attorney General’s Office, which is conducting a review of sex-abuse allegations dating back decades in all Michigan Catholic dioceses.

Los Angeles Times updates Scouting abuse: Religion angles? What religion angles?

LOS ANGELES (CA)
Get Religion

May 22, 2019

By Terry Mattingly

Journalists who have covered decades worth of stories linked to the sexual abuse of children and teens by Catholic clergy know that there are church leaders and laity who believe all or most discussions of this topic are fueled by some form of anti-Catholicism.

Yes, these in-denial Catholics are out there. Editors will hear from them.

But, in my experience, most Catholics who complain about news coverage of this hellish subject do not attempt to deny the size or the severe nature of this crisis and, especially, they want more digging into topics linked to the sinful and illegal cover-ups of these crimes.

So what angers these Catholics?

Former youth pastor acquitted on sex abuse charges

DOTHAN (AL)
WDHN

May 22, 2019

By Sarah Drake

A former youth pastor for Mt. Gilead Baptist Church accused of sexually abusing children has been acquitted after a jury deliberation Wednesday.

William Wesley Williamson disputed the four counts of sexual abuse of a child less than 12 charges against him Wednesday afternoon in a Houston County courtroom.

The allegations said the abuse took place in the summer of 2017, during a church function known as Wired and also during a summer church event known as Royal Ambassadors

When asked by the defense attorney, if he intentionally or specifically touched any child inappropriately, Williamson responded by saying "I did not intentionally or specifically touch any child inappropriately."

Relic of Catholic saint stops in Nashville; on tour to restore trust during clergy sex abuse scandal

NASHVILLE (TN)
WTVF

May 23, 2019

By Hannah McDonald

The actual heart of Catholic Saint John Vianney stopped in Nashville Wednesday.

In Catholic tradition, a relic, such as a heart, can be saved after a saint or holy person passes away for Catholics to view and pray with. The object is meant to draw a person closer to God and not for worshiping.

Saint Vianney lived in the 19th Century in France. He is the patron saint of priests. Many members of the clergy consider him to be a model for holiness.

"He was such a hero," said Father Ed Steiner, pastor of the Cathedral of the Incarnation.

Fr. Steiner is hopeful that St. Vianney's story can bring people back to the church.

My Take: Sexual abuse forever stays with victims

HOLLAND (MI)
Holland Sentinel

May 23, 2019

By Mary Johnson

Steve Lenzo (“Letter: Unbelievably light sentence for sexual criminal assault,” Sentinel, May 21) was outraged that the sentence a child predator who served on the West Ottawa School Board was so light and for good reason. But it is more than just a breach of public trust. There is a victim involved. Any sexual crime against a child is abominable, and judges should mete out a sentence that will keep such a person out of society for a long time. It is a well known fact that child sexual predators are rarely rehabilitated and will abuse again.

What about the life sentence the victims suffer? It happened to me when I was a little girl, but nothing was done to the perpetrator because he was a member of my parents’ church and the council did not want to deal with the “embarrassment” since the man had apologized to the council and to my parents. (I learned that much later.)

I remember hating to go to church because I had to see him sitting there in the back seat. I was told to “just try to forget it,” that I should forgive him and never talk about it. Years later, I found out he had molested other girls as well and they were basically told the same thing. Forget it? Not possible. It ruins something deep inside a child, rewires the sexual part of the brain, and the consequences affect forever — even 50 years later.

Polish bishops address clerical abuse crisis in letter to the faithful

VATICAN CITY
Vatican News

May 23, 2019

By Christopher Wells

The Permanent Council of the Polish Bishops’ Conference is meeting this week to confront the problem of the clerical abuse of minors.

In a letter to be read in churches throughout the country this coming weekend, Poland’s Bishops admit that “as shepherds of the Church, we did not do everything to prevent harm.”

“There are no words to express our shame at the sexual scandals involving priests”, the Bishops say. “They are a cause of great scandal and demand total condemnation, as well as severe consequences for the perpetrators, and for those who conceal such acts.”

The Permanent Council for the Polish Bishops’ Conference was convened this week by the President of the Conference, Archbishop Stanisław Gądecki in response to recent public revelations of the extent of abuse and cover-up in the Polish Church.

Abolishing the priesthood will not save the Catholic Church

KANSAS CITY (MO)
National Catholic Reporter

May 23, 2019

By Thomas Reese

In an article in The Atlantic’s June issue titled "Abolish the Priesthood," James Carroll provides thought-provoking analysis of the state of the Catholic Church, recounting the history of the sex abuse crisis in the church with special focus on Boston, Ireland, the Pennsylvania grand jury report and Theodore McCarrick.

None of this is new, of course, but seeing it all together depresses and angers the reader that such things were possible in the church.

Also not new is the culprit, in Carroll’s eyes. He points to clericalism as "both the underlying cause and the ongoing enabler of the present Catholic catastrophe."

"Clericalism, with its cult of secrecy, its theological misogyny, its sexual repressiveness, and its hierarchical power based on threats of a doom-laden afterlife, is at the root of Roman Catholic dysfunction," according to Carroll. "The clerical system’s obsession with status thwarts even the merits of otherwise good priests and distorts the Gospels’ message of selfless love, which the Church was established to proclaim."

Argentine doctor faces prison for refusing abortion; Chilean Jesuit faces abuse accusations

ROME
CRUX

May 23, 2019

By Inés San Martín

A doctor has been condemned in Argentina for refusing to perform an abortion in the fifth month of a pregnancy causing uproar among Catholics, Evangelicals and pro-life groups; Pope Francis has appointed two new auxiliary bishops to the troubled Archdiocese of Santiago, Chile; and an apology from a Chilean Jesuit who “saw nothing and knew nothing,” but says he is now convinced his late friend Father Renato Poblete is guilty of abusing many women.

Here’s the rundown of Catholic news from Latin America this week.

These Rape Victims Had to Sue to Get the Police to Investigate

NEW YORK (NY)
The New York Times

May 23, 2019

By Valeriya Safronova and Rebecca Halleck

As more women come forward to report sexual assault, some say law enforcement has failed them. ‘There was no collection of evidence,’ one victim said. ‘Except off my body.’

Evidence so neglected it grew mold. Calls to the authorities for help that went unanswered. Witnesses and victims who were never interviewed. These are just a handful of the claims that sexual assault survivors are making against law enforcement in courts around the country.

In at least seven places in recent years — Austin; San Francisco; Memphis; Houston; Baltimore; Greenwich, Conn.; and the Village of Robbins, Ill. — women have filed lawsuits in an attempt to force the police and prosecutors to improve their practices.

The unconnected lawsuits are adding a set of novel legal arguments to the search for solutions in the wake of the #MeToo movement, which exposed failures to recognize and pursue sex offenders. The lawsuits argue that sexual assault victims do not receive equal treatment compared with victims of other violent crimes, and that failure to test physical evidence collected from their bodies amounts to unreasonable search and seizure.

Catholic priests in WA to be forced to report child sexual abuse revealed during confession

AUSTRALIA
Australian Broadcasting Corporation

May 23, 2019

Ministers of religion in Western Australia will soon have to report child sexual abuse — even if the information is gained under confession — under planned changes to the state's laws.

Key points:
- Mandatory child sexual abuse reporting laws already apply to WA doctors, teachers and police
- The legislation will require religious leaders to report child sex abuse or face a $6,000 fine
-Child Protection Minister Simone McGurk said it's reasonable to expect ministers of religion to report abuse

The WA Government said it expected to introduce the necessary amendments in the second half of this year.

Mandatory reporting laws in WA already apply to doctors, teachers, nurses, midwives, police and school boarding supervisors.

Anyone convicted of failing to report child sexual abuse faces a $6,000 fine.

The new requirements would apply to "recognised leaders within faith communities who are authorised to conduct, religious worship", the WA Government said.

Calls for investigation of Catholic Church, better laws for victims of child sex abuse

IOWA
Radio Iowa

May 22, 2019

By O. Kay Henderson

Two men who say they were abused by priests joined the Iowa Senate’s Democratic leader today in calling on Iowa lawmakers to do more for victims of child sex abuse.

Senator Janet Petersen, a Democrat from Des Moines, said the state’s attorney general should investigate the Catholic Church. Petersen also said Iowa’s criminal and civil laws for child sex abuse cases are the most restrictive in the nation.

“Our laws do not protect our communities from sexual predators and I think we cannot continue to ignore this,” Petersen said during a news conference at the Iowa capitol. “There is case after case across this country.”

The time frame for filing criminal charges for child sex abuse is too short, according to Petersen. Child sex abuse victims have until they’re 33 years old to file a civil lawsuit. Sixty-seven-year-old John Chambers of Des Moines said studies show 52 is the average age when a victim reveals they were abused as a child.

Mario Batali Charged With Assault and Battery in 2017 Case, Report Says

NEW YORK (NY)
The New York Times

May 23, 2019

By Jacey Fortin

The celebrity chef Mario Batali, who built a formidable restaurant empire before retreating amid accusations of sexual harassment by several women, is now facing a criminal assault charge that he groped and kissed a woman at a Boston restaurant in 2017.

Mr. Batali, 58, has been charged with indecent assault and battery and is to be arraigned in Boston on Friday, The Associated Press reported.

The criminal complaint was filed last month, The Boston Globe reported, and it said that a woman had told the police that Mr. Batali kissed her and groped her chest and groin at a Boston restaurant two years ago.

Former Newark priest, accused of abuse, defended by his bishop in Brazil

NEW JERSEY
North Jersey Record

May 23, 2019

By Deena Yellin

Weeks after NorthJersey.com/The Record detailed the alleged abuse of a former Newark altar boy in 1991 by a visiting priest, a Catholic bishop in Brazil is defending the priest, who is now serving in his diocese, according to a report.

Bishop Edmilson Amador Caetano implied that the priest, the Rev. Rene Cavalcanti de Lima, is no longer a threat.

"He is a 74-year-old man who is recovering from prostate cancer. What risk can he be for the children of Guarulhos?" Caetano said in a May 1 article in a Brazilian newspaper, Guarulhos HOJE.

He was responding to an April 4 article by NorthJersey.com about Lima's alleged abuse of Newark native Johnrocco Sibilia when Sibilia was an altar boy at the Immaculate Conception Church in Newark in 1991.

Dinuba priest on leave after allegations of sexual abuse, but there's not much to go on, yet

VISALIA (CA)
Visalia Times-Delta

May 22, 2019

By James Ward

A Dinuba priest has been put on leave by The Roman Catholic Diocese of Fresno after the church learned of an investigation involving allegations of sexual abuse of minors.

But the case may not be so cut and dry.

On May 19, Bishop Joseph V. Brennan notified the parishioners of St. Catherine's Catholic Church in Dinuba that Rev. Raul Diaz was put on paid administrative leave in a statement.

Clergy Sex Abuse Survivors and Iowa Legislator Call for Changes to Child Sex Abuse Laws

DES MOINES (IA)
WHOtv

May 22, 2019

By Laura Barczewski

The Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests held a press conference at the Iowa Capitol with Iowa State Senate Minority Leader Janet Petersen on Wednesday to call on legislators and the attorney general to do more for victims of child sexual abuse.

SNAP President Tim Lennon shared his story of being sexually abused when he was 12-years-old by a Catholic priest.

“When I was about 43 I remembered some of the abuse. This priest would molest me in movies, at the park. He would pick me up at home. He was a friend of the family,” Lennon said.

Lennon said he suppressed the memories until they came up again when he was 43 and by then it was too late to pursue any type of justice.

“My viewpoint personally and from the viewpoint of my organization the survivors network of those abused by priests is there should be no statute of limitations.”

Sex abuse by clergy, what if media lead the debate?

DENVER (CO)
Catholic News Agency

May 22, 2019

By Andrea Gagliarducci

No doubt that the scandal of sex abuse by clergy has shocked the Church. No doubt that the Church is called to put measures in action to eradicate the scandal because even one abuse is too much. There is no doubt, indeed, that the contrary is possible. That is, that media report on alleged abuse taking only the side of those who say have been abused.

There have been many stories of “character assassination” of this kind. The latest one is that of Fr. Herman Geissler. Fr. Geissler resigned by the position of head of office of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith on Jan. 28, following allegations of harassment advanced against him by Mrs. Doris Wagner-Reisinger.

Mrs. Reisinger has been a nun, and from 2003 to 2011, she was a member of the Spiritual Family The Work. Also Fr. Geissler is a member of the same Congregation.

James Carroll's call to 'Abolish the Priesthood' is misguided and tiresome

KANSAS CITY (MO)
National Catholic Reporter

May 22, 2019

By Michael Sean Winters

Every sentence of James Carroll's recent article in The Atlantic, "Abolish the Priesthood," is theologically inept, historically anachronistic, self-referential, or all three. None of it is a surprise.

Carroll's embrace of theology is thoroughly opportunistic. At one point, he yearns for the pre-Constantinian church of Jesus' early followers, but later he states, "When the Catholic imagination, swayed by Augustine, demonized the sexual restlessness built into the human condition, self-denial was put forward as the way to happiness. But sexual renunciation as an ethical standard has collapsed among Catholics, not because of pressures from a hedonistic 'secular' modernity but because of its inhumane and irrational weight." But it is in the Gospels themselves that Jesus advocates self-denial, encourages the unmarried to remain celibate, and tells his followers to take up their cross and follow him. Following Jesus can lead down many different paths, but none of them have to do with sexual liberationism.

What Benedict's letter on sex abuse gets wrong

ROME
La Croix International

May 22, 2019

By Cathleen Kaveny

This implacable defender of the existence of intrinsically evil acts refuses to call these acts by their most basic moral name: child rape

The debate about Benedict XVI's recent intervention on the sex abuse crisis has focused on his account of its root causes. To the delight of conservatives and the consternation of progressives, he blames the lax sexual morality of the 1960s rather than the enduring phenomenon of clericalism.

In my view, the problem with Benedict's letter is far more fundamental. It also transcends the American progressive-conservative divide. He gets the basic moral description of the acts of sex abuse wrong. He frames them as acts of sacrilege rather than grave injustice.

U.S. Protestants’ Views Mixed about Extent of Clergy Sexual Abuse

UNITES STATES
EthicsDaily

May 22, 2019

U.S. Protestants offered mixed views when LifeWay Research inquired about the extent of sexual abuse by clergy in local congregations.

When asked if they “believe many more Protestant pastors have sexually abused children or teens than we have heard about,” 37% somewhat or strongly disagreed, 32% somewhat or strongly agreed and 31% were unsure.

Similar numbers resulted when respondents were asked about clergy sexually abusing adults, with 41% somewhat or strongly disagreeing, 30% unsure and 29% somewhat or strongly agreeing that it happens more than they know about.

Respondents had high views of their church’s ability to respond appropriately to allegations and to help in the healing process of abuse victims.

When asked if church leaders would try to cover up abuse claims, only 7% agreed that they would do so, while 83% disagreed.

May 22, 2019

New Guidelines In Clergy Sex Abuse Scandal

BISMARK (ND)
Kxnet

May 21, 2019

By Robert Suhr

In what's being called a revolutionary and landmark announcement by some, Pope Francis recently announced sweeping changes that hold bishops accountable for sexual abuse or covering it up.

So how does the news impact us here in Bismarck?

With the Catholic Church sex abuse scandal a worldwide problem, reporting abuse claims was often a disorganized mess...now Pope Francis is hoping to change that.

"I'm stunned that any priest or anyone representing the church, would ever do this to a child," said David Kagan, the Bishop of the Diocese of Bismarck.

Facing perhaps the largest scandal in the church's history, Pope Francis recently issued what's called a papal decree, forcing every diocese, worldwide, to create an office within the next year to handle the abuse claims confidentially.

Brothers sexually assaulted by priest for 3 years sue Vatican because Church did nothing to stop it

ST. PAUL and MINNEAPOLIS (MN)
Brinkwire

May 22, 2019

Three brothers who were sexually abused by a priest from the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis filed a federal lawsuit Tuesday against the Vatican.

They claim that the Holy See bears responsibility because the case was mishandled by former Archbishop John Nienstedt and the Vatican’s former ambassador to the United States.

The lawsuit, that includes two other accusers as plaintiffs, attempts to trace a direct line from clergy sex abuse victims to the Vatican, through Minnesota church officials.

Luke, Stephen and Ben Hoffman were abused by former priest Curtis Wehmeyer, roughly between 2009 and 2012. They want the names of agents involved in the cover-up, including priests, revealed and for the Vatican to stop internally reviewing cases.

The new lawsuit seeks monetary damages, but the plaintiffs said truth is the goal.

More than 80 clergy members named in sexual abuse report

ALBANY (NY)
WRGB

May 21, 2019

By Lynzi DeLuccia

A trio of sexual abuse survivors took a stand on Tuesday as lawyers released a report with the names of more than 80 Albany Diocese clergy members accused of sexual abuse.

One woman her story about how she was raped and exploited by a man who was a teacher and a counselor at Notre Dame Bishop Gibbons High School in the 70s. One thing she and the other victims had in common was the feeling that they were alone in their experiences.

"Many of us were told when we were being abused that we were the only one,” Mark Lyman said.

This isn’t the first time Lyman has spoken out about the abuse he says he suffered as a child growing up at his church in Troy.

Minnesota attorney sues Holy See for documentation on clergy offenders

ST. PAUL (MN)
Catholic News Service

May 21, 2019

By Maria Wiering

St. Paul attorney Jeff Anderson announced May 14 that he is representing five sexual abuse survivors suing the Holy See for names of clergy sexual abuse offenders worldwide and the names of church leaders who have been involved in abuse cover-up.

The lawsuit's defendants include Ben, Luke and Stephen Hoffman, brothers abused by then-Fr. Curtis Wehmeyer while he was at Blessed Sacrament in St. Paul from 2006 to 2012. He was removed from ministry in 2012, when the abuse was first reported to civil and church authorities, and then laicized in 2015. He is serving a prison sentence in Wisconsin for his abuse of Ben Hoffman there in 2011.

In the wake of its own child abuse scandal, Poland must break the Church’s grip ǀ View

IRELAND
Euronews

May 21, 2019

By Eoin Drea

I’m one of the Pope’s Children – a generation of Irish children born in the late 1970s and early 1980s – that have come to symbolise Ireland’s deep relationship with the Catholic Church. Pope John Paul’s II visit to Ireland in 1979 saw over 50% of the Irish population attend his events and reaffirm Ireland’s devotion to the Catholic cause. Ireland was poor then, with high unemployment, rampant emigration, a closed and rather isolated society unworried by the issues of immigration or race (we were all white with an excess of people, not jobs). For us, a ‘Protestant’ was exotic and reaching America (or at least England) was, for many, the ultimate objective. Ireland was, as The Economist noted in 1988, “the poorest of the rich.”

Poland leader slams church pathology, backs sex abuse probe

WARSAW (POLAND)
The Associated Press

May 18, 2019

Poland’s ruling conservative party leader said Friday it does not tolerate “pathology” in the Catholic Church and will back a commission to investigate sex abuse of minors in church but also in other circles.

It was the first reaction by Jaroslaw Kaczynski, a practicing Catholic, to a documentary film, “Tell No One,” that contains testimony by men and women that they were molested or raped by priests when they were children. Aired Saturday, it has provoked a heated public debate and soul-searching in the Church, which traditionally enjoys respect in predominantly Catholic Poland.

Also, the pro-church ruling Law and Justice party has rushed through parliament a law toughening punishment for pedophilia.

Archbishop says Indian Jesuit convicted of rape ‘totally innocent’

MUMBAI (INDIA)
CRUX

May 21, 2019

By Nirmala Carvalho

A Jesuit priest convicted of participating in a gang rape in India is “totally innocent,” according to the local archbishop.

Jesuit Father Alphonse Aind and five other people were sentenced to life imprisonment by a court in the eastern state of Jharkhand on May 17 for raping five women who were part of an NGO advocating for the rights of India’s marginalized Tribal community.

On June 19, 2018, the victims were performing a street play In the remote village of Kochang to spread awareness of human trafficking in the region.

They were from “Asha Kiran” (“Ray of Hope”), a rehabilitation center managed by the Ursuline Sisters, located about 10 miles south of Ranchi, the state capital.

Brazilian bishop accused of theft, covering up abuse resigns

SAO PAULO (BRAZIL)
Catholic News Service

May 21, 2019

Pope Francis accepted the resignation of Bishop Vilson Dias de Oliveira of Limeira.

The bishop is being investigated by authorities for extortion of priests, mismanagement of the diocese's funds and covering up alleged cases of abuse against minors by area priests. His resignation was announced May 17.

"I request my resignation for the sake of the church of Christ and for the good of this diocese," said the bishop in a statement read to parishioners.

"I take with me in my heart this learning, in the confidence and assurance that this work is from God, and I place myself at the disposal of the Holy Mother church to serve her no matter the place and ministry entrusted to me by God from now on," the bishop said.

According to the Sao Paulo state police, Oliveira took $975 from a local parish to build an artesian well in his beach house in Itanhaem. When faced with the accusation, the bishop confessed he obtained a "donation" from the parish and alleged he was facing financial problems.

Letter alleging Colorado Catholic priest's abuse found a decade after the author took his own life

DENVER (CO)
9News

May 21, 2019

By Kevin Vaughan

Neil Hewitt, a Catholic priest who was assigned to Leadville's Church of Annunciation, is accused of sexually abusing at two teenage boys in the 1960s.

Donna Ballentine was sorting through a box of her late mother’s papers when she came upon a two-page, handwritten letter.

She recognized the handwriting immediately – it was that of a cousin, Stuart Saucke, who’d taken his own life a decade earlier.

“Dear Neil,” the letter began. “It’s been 24 years since you sexually molested me. I also have been an alcoholic for 24 years.”

The letter wasn’t dated or signed, but Donna immediately knew it was meant for Neil Hewitt, a Catholic priest who married her and baptized two of her children at Leadville’s Church of the Annunciation.

.Internal investigation may yield greater sanctions against priests accused of sex abuse

BAKERSFIELD (CA)
The Californian

May 20, 2019

By Jose Gaspar

While separate criminal investigations are carried out by police in Firebaugh and Merced into allegations that Monsignor Craig Harrison sexually molested minors, there's another internal investigation being done by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Fresno. This one is based on a set of rules adopted by the nation's Roman Catholic bishops in June 2002 aimed to "repair the breach" with those sexually abused by church ministers.

Article 2 of the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People states that "Dioceses are to have policies and procedures in place to respond promptly to any allegations where there is reason to believe that sexual abuse of a minor occurred." And perhaps the most controversial requirement states, "Any credible allegations (against a priest or deacon) of sexual misconduct with a minor will result in immediate administrative leave" while an internal investigation is completed. Some priests find a problem with that.

"It's like martial law," said Monsignor Stephen Frost of Christ the King Church in Oildale. Under this process, Frost says due process goes out the window and the accused is accorded none or very little information about the allegations or who the accuser might be. Further, by removing the priest from his parish leaves the perception the priest is guilty before an investigation is begun.

Former Midland priest accused of misconduct

SAGINAW (MI)
Midland Daily News

May 21, 2019

By Lori Qualls

A Diocese of Saginaw priest who served several area parishes, including Blessed Sacrament in Midland, has been placed on administrative leave from priestly ministry because of an allegation of misconduct involving a minor that occurred years ago, the diocese announced late Tuesday afternoon.

The Rev. Father Kucharczyk was most recently pastor at St. John XXIII Parish, which includes St. Mary Church in Hemlock, Sacred Heart Church in Merrill and St. Patrick Church in Ryan, according to a diocese press release. He was removed from his post on Sunday by Bishop Walter A. Hurley, apostolic administrator.

The diocese received information from law enforcement regarding an allegation of misconduct involving a minor that allegedly occurred many years ago, the diocese stated in a press release. Based on this information, the diocese said it immediately removed Kucharczyk from active ministry.

DC Priest Accused of Abusing Girls, Woman Wants Separate Trials

WASHINGTON (DC)
NBC

May 21, 2019

A Catholic priest accused of sexually abusing two children and a woman involved in his D.C. parish wants the cases to be tried separately.

The priest, Urbano Vazquez, was arrested in November and accused of second-degree child sexual abuse. Police say Vazquez was 42 when, in May 2015, he inappropriately touched a 13-year-old female member of his church on two occasions.

Vazquez was arrested again in December on new allegations. A police report and a release from the District's U.S. Attorney's Office said Vazquez was accused of sexually touching a 9-year-old and a woman.

A lawyer for Vazquez says a single trial would be unfair, WTOP-FM reports. Attorney Robert Bonsib says that if jurors hear about the alleged child abuse, they may assume his client is guilty of assaulting the woman.

New D.C. Archbishop Wilton Gregory Addresses Abuse Scandal, Pledges Honesty

WASHINGTON (DC)
National Catholic Register

May 21, 2019

By Lauretta Brown

In his homily, the successor to Cardinal Donald Wuerl and former cardinal Theodore McCarrick acknowledged that ‘we clerics and hierarchs have irrefutably been the source of the current tempest.’

Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory was installed as the seventh archbishop of Washington Tuesday in a ceremony that comes at a turbulent time for the local Church under the cloud of his predecessors’ sexual abuse and cover-up scandals.

The newly-installed archbishop addressed the issue head-on in his homily, promising those gathered that he would be committed to transparency about his failings.

“I want to be a welcoming shepherd who laughs with you whenever we can, who cries with you whenever we must, and who honestly confesses his faults and failings before you when I commit them, not when they are revealed,” he said to loud applause from those gathered.

Archbishop Gregory’s appointment follows Cardinal Donald Wuerl’s resignation, which was accepted by Pope Francis last year after he came under scrutiny in the Pennsylvania Grand Jury report for his handling of sexual abuse allegations when he served as bishop of Pittsburgh from 1988 to 2006. Wuerl also faced criticism for initially denying that he knew of any sexual abuse claims against his predecessor Theodore McCarrick before later admitting that he had known of McCarrick’s sexual behavior with seminarians.

True Reform Will Come — If You and I Remain Steadfast

UNITED STATES
National Catholic Register

May 21, 2019

By Msgr. Charles Pope

As the U.S. Bishops’ June meeting draws near, it’s time for faithful Catholics to regain our focus

Bishop Robert Barron recently published Letter to a Suffering Church: A Bishop Speaks on the Sexual Abuse Crisis. It is an excellent book — a meditation, really. It gives a sobering summary of the sexual-abuse crisis and a historical perspective and offers encouragement to believers in the aftermath of the recent and horrific events.

It also comes at an opportune time. I say this because my concerns that the issue would eventually fade from the focus of Catholics have largely come to pass. Mention of the topic is somewhat rare lately, and mentioned more often in passing. This is problematic for at least two reasons.

First, our diverted attention is precisely what the evil one desires and uses. True reform is going to happen only if we remain steadfast and insist upon it. Bishop Barron calls attention to something that I have also suspected — namely, that this crisis is more devious than clerical malfeasance, cover-up and mismanagement. It is far more: It is diabolical. Bishop Barron, an auxiliary of Los Angeles, writes:

HOMOSEXUAL PREDATOR PRIEST IN ACTION

SAGINAW (MI)
ChurchMilitant.com

May 22, 2019

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

Fr. Robert DeLand: "To discover that you have some gay tendencies is a fine thing, because then you don’t have to be so confused."

A predator priest in action.

Fr. Robert DeLand: "I love you so much. I mean what I say, I love you so much."

The voice of Father Robert DeLand, now in prison, caught on tape grooming a victim for sex abuse.

Fr. Robert DeLand: "We're gonna get you drunk and you're gonna cry. Does that sound good?"

The victim, a 17-year-old male, secretly capturing audio of his encounters with the high-ranking Saginaw Michigan priest, who targeted the boy when he was grieving the death of his friend to suicide.

German bishops’ plan on sex abuse crisis ‘crazy’, ‘false’: former Vatican doctrine chief

GERMANY
LifeSiteNews

May 21, 2019

By Matthew Cullinan Hoffman

A proposed approach to dealing with the sex abuse crisis outlined by the German bishops in March of this year, which would involve possibly eliminating priestly celibacy and changing Catholic doctrine on sexual morality, is a “crazy” and “absolutely false” one, according to Cardinal Gerhard Müller, Prefect Emeritus of the Vatican’s Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith.

Müller also defended Pope Emeritus Benedict’s recently-published analysis of the sex abuse crisis as an accurate one, and blasted its critics as “ideologues.”

Speaking in an interview with the Spanish news service InfoVaticana, Müller said that the German bishops have deeply misunderstood the source of the sex abuse crisis, which stems in part from “moral confusion” in the Church.

Diocese reopens priest-abuse allegations first raised in 1998

BAKERSFIELD (CA)
Bakersfield.com

May 20, 2019

By John Cox

Decades after the allegations first came to light, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Fresno is revisiting accusations Bakersfield priest Craig Harrison inappropriately touched a teenager while working at St. Joseph Church in Firebaugh in the 1990s.

"It is under review," diocese spokeswoman Teresa Dominguez said Monday. She declined to elaborate other than to confirm the accuracy of a report by KQED Inc., a Northern California media group, about the case.

The allegations by an unnamed individual were initially reported to the Firebaugh Police Department in 1998. They were brought to the diocese in 2002 and dismissed as unsubstantiated.

Harrison's attorney, Kyle J. Humphrey, rejected the allegations as opportunistic and false.

"No matter how many times that you try to pretend that the world is flat," he said, "you’re wrong."

Abuse statistics undermine church’s credibility | Faith Matters

NEW JERSEY
Jersey Journal

May 19, 2019

By Rev. Alexander Santora

Eight days this month -- May 6 to 13 -- may turn out to be the most consequential in the state for the next phase of the long-running clerical sex abuse scandal.

First, Anderson & Associates released a list of 311 clergy and religious accused of abuse in New Jersey. Then, Pope Francis codified changes for the worldwide church to address sex abuse and hold people accountable. Lastly, Gov. Murphy signed into law legislation that ensures a longer period for victims of sexual abuse to sue and he made it retroactive, as well.

REFILE-Poland's pro-EU opposition takes big lead after Church abuse scandal - poll

WARSAW (POLAND)
Reuters

May 17, 2019

(Adds dropped word Poland in headline)

Poland’s pro-EU opposition has a 10-point lead over the ruling nationalists ahead of European Parliament elections, a survey showed on Friday, a sharp turnaround that some analysts linked to a film about sexual abuse scandals in the Catholic Church.

The documentary “Just don’t tell anyone”, which shows victims of child abuse confronting priests who had sexually abused them, has shocked Poles. The powerful Catholic Church has close ties with the governing Law and Justice party (PiS).

The European Coalition, which comprises pro-Europeans from across the political spectrum, would win 43.6% and PiS 32.9% in the May 26 election, according to the poll, conducted on May 14-16 by the Institute for Research into Public Affairs (IBSP) for Newsweek and Radio Zet.

SBC churchgoers split on existence of more clergy sex abuse

NASHVILLE (TN)
Lifeway Research

May 21, 2019

About one-third of Southern Baptist churchgoers believe more revelations of sexual abuse and misconduct by Protestant ministers remain to be exposed. But few know of specific individuals in their church whose misconduct still is hidden, according to a new LifeWay Research study.

The 2019 Sexual Misconduct and Churchgoers Study by LifeWay Research explored the perceptions and experiences of Southern Baptist and Protestant churchgoers.

“Protecting people from abuse of any kind should be of utmost importance to churches and our convention,” said Brad Waggoner, acting CEO of LifeWay Christian Resources. “LifeWay decided to sponsor this research because it’s imperative we make our churches safe places for people to hear the gospel and grow in their walk with Jesus Christ.”

The Investigator | Controversial Ohio Bishop reinstated following sex abuse allegations

COLUMBUS (OH)
WKYC3

May 21, 2019

By Tom Meyer

The Bishop’s reinstatement comes about 15 months after allegations of sexual misconduct that were first exposed in an exclusive Tom Meyer investigation.

Bishop Joseph White, the founder of a church with worldwide followers, has been reinstated as Bishop of the Church of the Living God International, which is headquartered in Columbus.

The Bishop’s reinstatement comes about 15 months after the church’s board of directors suspended him following allegations of sexual misconduct that were first exposed in an exclusive Tom Meyer investigation.

The board in its letter to church members said, "Through careful consideration and prayer, the CLGI Board of Directors has reinstated Dr. Joseph White." The letter goes on to say that White established churches all over the world.

The Catholic Church is tightening rules on reporting sexual abuse – but not swearing off its legal privilege to keep secrets

NEW YORK
University at Buffalo, The State University of New York

May 22, 2019

By Christine P. Bartholomew

(The Conversation is an independent and nonprofit source of news, analysis and commentary from academic experts.)

Christine P. Bartholomew, University at Buffalo, The State University of New York

(THE CONVERSATION) Pope Francis recently changed the Catholic Church law, making it mandatory for clergy to report sexual abuse to church superiors. In the past, such reporting was left to the discretion of a priest or nun.

Pope Francis’ proposal is an effort to address gaps in the regulatory process of the church, which has been accused of shielding clergy sexual abuse. It provides a process to report allegations up the pipeline.

As a scholar of law I worry that it fails to address what the church will do with that information.

To date, religious organizations, such as the Catholic Church, have adopted inconsistent positions on whether, and to what degree, they should share information necessary for legal action.

Clergy across various religions, ranging from Christians to Catholics to Muslims to Jews, are willing to share evidence in cases of violent crimes, such as murders. But when the evidence pertains to clergy misconduct, namely sexual abuse, the tide changes.

New sex abuse scandal rocks Catholic Church in Poland

POLAND
EuroNews

May 22, 2019

By Joao Vitor Da Silva Marques

A new documentary allegedly exposing child sex abuse by members of the Roman Catholic Church is forcing Poland's Catholic Church bishops to meet in Warsaw today.

Released over the weekend, the film entitled 'Tell No One' reportedly shows how abusive priests ruined the lives of victims and faced no consequences in Poland.

The Catholic Church's links to the political establishment in the country and its influence over the education system, culture and lawmaking means the scandal is quickly becoming a political issue.

Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said yesterday that a public inquiry on paedophilia is being launched: "A state committee to examine all paedophilia cases will be set up. I want to stress that Law and Justice government is a guard, a guarantor of physical security of children, of families” He added: “Our party has sought for many years to tighten the penalties for the most bestial, terrible crimes, also for the paedophilia crimes without excluding the Church, without excluding clergy, without excluding all the circles: teachers, artists, everywhere where there is contact with children, carers, coaches."

But the links between the Law and Justice ruling party and the Roman Catholic Church run deep in Poland. The party has a tight alliance with the clergy and many priests, especially those in smaller towns and villages, often openly backing the party.

Man entitled to names of others allegedly abused by priest, High Court rules

IRELAND
Irish Examiner

May 21, 2019

By Ann O'Loughlin

A man suing a priest and a religious order over alleged sexual abuse when he was a child is entitled to information about others who made similar allegations, the High Court has ruled.

The man is suing for damages over the alleged abuse by the priest who was his schoolteacher and a member of an order of priests and brothers whose members worked in education.

As part of the pre-trial process, he sought and obtained discovery of documents he said he needed to process his case. He got it, but certain details were blacked out and he then sought orders from the court that this information also be provided.

The information included the names of people who have made complaints to gardaí of personally experiencing or witnessing abuse by the priest or had brought their own civil actions over alleged abuse.

Confession bill amended, but church leaders say it still targets priests

LOS ANGELES (CA)
Catholic News Service

May 21, 2019

By Pablo Kay

Church officials are urging Catholics to continue to oppose a California bill that would force priests to disclose information about child sexual abuse that they hear in the sacrament of confession.

The call came as the Senate measure, known as S.B. 360, advanced in the Legislature after lawmakers "accepted several of the church’s recommendations to strengthen mandated reporting requirements for clergy," as Los Angeles Archbishop Jose Gomez noted in a May 20 statement.

Defrocked Ottawa priest, 85, on trial for historic sex abuse

OTTAWA (CANADA)
Ottawa Citizen

May 22, 2019

By Andrew Duffy

Two men have told court that they were sexually assaulted by a Catholic priest as teenagers in the same bed at a church rectory in Richmond.

Barry McGrory, 85, a former Ottawa priest, faces four charges based on two historic sex abuse complaints dating to the late 1960s.

Charges in connection with a third complainant were withdrawn last year after the man died of cancer.

McGrory, who was officially removed from the priesthood last year by the Vatican, has pleaded not guilty.

Ontario Superior Court Justice Michelle O’Bonsawin ruled Tuesday that Crown attorney John Semenoff will be allowed to use similar fact evidence as part of the case against McGrory.

Law Firms Accuse 83 Clerics Of Abuse In The Albany Diocese

ALBANY (NY)
WAMC

May 21, 2019

By Dave Lucas

Today in Albany, sexual abuse survivors joined representatives of two law firms in releasing the names and photographs of more than 80 clergymen in the Diocese of Albany accused of sexual misconduct. The Diocese disputes the report.

The law firms of Jeff Anderson & Associates of New York City and LaFave, Wein & Frament, PLLC, of Guilderland, produced a report they say reveals the identities, histories, photographs and information on the clerics, all accused of child sexual abuse. Jeff Anderson: "The Catholic Bishop in Albany has already released a list of some 47 under some pressure. The number of those we released here today is 83. A large number of names yet to be known are priests in the Diocese of Albany accused, but there's also a number of priests who are members of religious orders, that have never been disclosed."

European elections: sex and religion dominate campaigning in Poland

WARSAW
The Guardian

May 22, 2019

By Christian Davies

War of words over LGBT rights, perceived threats to traditional values and clerical child abuse

Campaigning in Poland for the European elections has descended into a war of words over religion, sex and morality after a documentary on clerical abuse raised questions about the government’s ties to the Catholic church and the ruling party campaign sought to portray LGBT rights supporters as a threat to children.

The release on YouTube earlier this month of the documentary, viewed more than 20m times and featuring several victims confronting their sexual abusers, electrified what had already been a febrile debate over the role of the powerful Roman Catholic church in Polish politics and society, during which homosexuality has regularly been equated with paedophilia.

Lawyers clash over revealing identity of the woman accusing Warren Jeffs and the FLDS Church of abuse

ST. GEORGE (UT)
FOX13

May 21, 2019

By Ben Winslow

Attorneys clashed in court over whether to publicly reveal the identity of a woman who has filed a multi-million dollar lawsuit against polygamist leader Warren Jeffs and the Fundamentalist LDS Church, accusing them of "ritualistic sex abuse."

In a hearing on Tuesday, lawyers for ex-FLDS leader Wendell Nielsen and the court-controlled United Effort Plan Trust sought to have the alleged child rape victim's name made public. They argued that it has been difficult to defend against her accusations when they have been bound by a non-disclosure agreement to even utter her name.

But attorneys for "R.H.," as she's known in court documents, told the judge that publicly disclosing her name presented significant security concerns.

Church Volunteer in Rancho Cucamonga Accused of Sexually Abusing Child Over 5-Year Period: Police

LOS ANGELES (CA)
KTLA 5

May 21, 2019

A church volunteer has been arrested in the alleged yearslong sexual abuse of a girl in Rancho Cucamonga, and police on Tuesday said there may be other victims in the case.

Christopher Sjaarda, 38, was taken into custody last Saturday and booked on suspicion of sexual acts against a child, according to a news release from the Rancho Cucamonga Police Department.

An investigation began last month when detectives were notified about possible sexual acts against a child in Rancho Cucamonga, the release read.

Through extensive interviews with the girl, detectives learned she was sexually abused on a number of occasions over the past five years, allegedly by Sjaarda, police said.

Sacramento Catholic diocese settles priest sex abuse lawsuit involving Woodland woman

SACRAMENTO (CA)
The Sacramento Bee

May 21, 2019

By Michael McGough

A Woodland woman has received a $200,000 settlement from the Sacramento Catholic Diocese and the current pastor of a Woodland church after filing a lawsuit in 2017 accusing a former priest of sexual assault and claiming church officials largely ignored her pleas for help.

Dorothy Small’s lawsuit alleged that she met the Rev. Renerio Sabuga Jr., the then-new assistant priest at Woodland’s Holy Rosary Catholic Church in 2014. Within months, the lawsuit claimed, Sabuga pursued Small romantically until he allegedly “cornered (Small) in her bedroom and sexually assaulted” her Feb. 17, 2015.

The allegations in Small’s lawsuit went on to say officials with the Sacramento diocese, and others at Holy Rosary, including current pastor the Rev. Jonathan Molina, did not do enough to address Small’s requests for help in the months after she took the complaints to church officials at the diocese – which was her preference over taking the matter to police.

Small, her attorney Joseph George and a coordinator with Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) discussed the case and provided a copy of the recent settlement during a Tuesday news conference at George’s office in Sacramento.

Loud Fence ribbons cut off in 'disrespectful' vandalism

AUSTRALIA
The Courier

May 22, 2019

By Jolyon Attwooll

Ribbons were cut off the St Patrick's Cathedral fence in an act of vandalism described as "disrespectful" and "selfish".

Maureen Hatcher, who set up the Loud Fence movement in support of victims and survivors of sexual abuse, said the action was very disappointing.

"It seems to happen every so often," she told The Courier.

Denver Priest Molestation Scandal Breaks Wide Open 5/20/19

DENVER (CO)
KGOV

May 8, 2019

Playtime: 28:50

Discuss: TheologyOnline.com

West Virginia AG Strengthens His Lawsuit against WV Catholic Diocese

WEST VIRGINIA
Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

May 21, 2019

We are grateful that West Virginia Attorney General Morrisey is keeping the pressure up on the Wheeling-Charleston diocese by bringing new counts and evidence to his lawsuit. Informed communities are safer communities, and the more that is investigated, the more truth gets exposed.

It is especially troubling to learn that church officials at the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston chose not to publicly disclose reports of child sexual abuse by one of their teachers in 2006. Given that this event happened years after the adoption of the “Dallas Charter,” there is no reasonable explanation church officials could use to explain why these allegations remained secret. The same is true for the diocese’s arrogant decision to allow individuals to volunteer at schools without background checks.

These are reckless and dangerous choices that church officials actively made. And until church officials are held accountable for their crimes of enabling and covering up child sex crimes, we fear that church officials will continue this pattern of irresponsible decision-making.

Catholic monk joins Msgr. Craig Harrison accusers

BAKERSFIELD (CA)
KGET

May 21, 2019

By Olivia LaVoice

It's been almost a month since Msgr. Craig Harrison was put on leave pending an investigation into allegations of sexual misconduct.

We've seen huge support for Msgr. Harrison, and we've seen support from victim advocacy groups for the men who've come forward.

In an exclusive interview, we hear from someone still part of the Catholic clergy.

Speaking out against another member of the church is something he says he never imagined he'd do, but after much prayer and many sleepless nights, he says he know this is the right thing.

May 21, 2019

'The Church of the abuse scandal is the only Church we know'

UNITED STATES
La Croix International

May 21, 2019

By Massimo Faggioli

University students in the United States offer fresh insights into the clergy sex abuse crisis

St. Augustine is quoted as saying that "one learns by teaching" — docendo discitur. This has never been more true for me than during this past semester when I taught an undergraduate university course on the sexual abuse crisis in the Catholic Church.

My class included 30 students aged 21-22, mostly from the United States. There was a mixture of males and females majoring in a variety of fields, from biology to political sciences. Most of them were Catholics, but there was a substantial minority of non-Catholics and even non-Christians. Almost all of them admitted to wrestling with the "God question" as well as the meaning of the Church.

I learned much while preparing my lectures, mainly from reading scholarly materials that integrated and systematized our knowledge of the various aspects of the abuse crisis from a historical and theological point of view.

On eve of divorce referendum, Irish Church urges more support for marriage

LEICESTER (UK)
CRUX

May 21, 2019

By Charles Collins

Ireland should do more to support marriage, instead of making it easier to get a divorce, says Bishop Denis Nulty.

The bishop of Kildare and Leighlin was speaking ahead of a May 24 referendum in the Republic of Ireland to change the Irish constitution which requires couples to have lived apart for four of the past five years before being able to dissolve their marriage.

The referendum is supported by every major party in Ireland and is expected to pass easily.

For most of its history, divorce was prohibited in the Republic of Ireland. In 1995, the constitutional ban on marriage dissolution was repealed in a referendum with just 50.28 percent of the vote.

The new constitutional language required a waiting period before a divorce, and also regulated which foreign divorces would be recognized by the Irish state.

Morrisey adds new allegations to sexual abuse lawsuit against diocese

WHEELING (WV)
Charleston-Gazette Mail

May 21, 2019

By Jake Zuckerman

West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey amended his lawsuit against the Wheeling-Charleston Diocese of the Catholic Church, submitting new allegations of sexual abuse and subsequent concealment.

Tuesday’s additions to his original suit, filed in Wood County Circuit Court in March, came after calling on victims or former employees of the diocese to come forward.

Among the new allegations:

1 in 10 Young Protestants Have Left a Church Over Abuse

UNITED STATES
Christianity Today

May 21, 2019

By Kate Shellnutt

As the generation most likely to report experiencing misconduct and least likely to tolerate it, Christians under 35 stand to shape how congregations respond.

Surrounded by revelations of #MeToo and #ChurchToo, younger Christians are more keen to recognize sexual abuse—and less likely to put up with it.

According to a new study sponsored by LifeWay Christian Resources, 10 percent of Protestant churchgoers under 35 have previously left a church because they felt sexual misconduct was not taken seriously. That’s twice as many as the 5 percent of all churchgoers who have done the same.

Among the younger demographic, 9 percent said they have stopped attending a former congregation because they personally did not feel safe from misconduct.

Churchgoers ages 18 to 34 are more likely than older generations to report experiencing sexual harassment—ranging from sexual comments and prolonged glances—at church and to know others at their church who are victims (23%).

Seeking Compensation After Abuse Allegations in Scranton Diocese

SCRANTON (PA)
WNEP

May 20, 2019

By Dave Bohman

Time may be running out for some victims of sexual abuse by Catholic priests because lawmakers are on the verge of killing a plan to give victims more time to sue for sex crimes.

Those men claim they were sexually abused in the 1970s by the same priest in Scranton, but that priest was not listed in a grand jury report released last year.

The three men we spoke with may not have their day in court, and they worry about pinning their hopes for justice on the diocese's victim's fund.

It is now Divine Mercy Parish in Scranton's Minooka neighborhood. It was St. Joseph's in the 1970s, and Fr. Michael Pulicare was its priest.

"When I was a little kid, he would kind of friend me. He would give me gifts and stuff like that," said John Patchcoski.

Poll: 89.3% of US Catholics say church was slow to take action on abuse

KANSAS CITY (MO)
National Catholic Reporter

May 21, 2019

By Maria Benevento

A survey released May 20 by the St. Leo University Polling Institute reveals that 81.3% of Americans in general, and 89.3% of Catholics, believe the Catholic Church was slow to take action on clergy sexual abuse.

The poll also asked respondents how much they agreed that each of a series of reasons had contributed to "slow church action," and asked them to select "contributing factors" for the abuse crisis.

It found that by far the most commonly identified cause of the church's slow response — by 74% of Americans and almost 85% of Catholics — was a desire to "preserve and protect the Church's influence and reputation at all cost."

The second and third most popular options were "to avoid the financial ramifications" and "to protect the 'good old boys' network,' " with both statements earning agreement from between 40% and 42% of both Americans overall and Catholics.

On several other options, Americans in general and Catholics diverged by more than 10 percentage points. Americans overall more likely to indicate that church leadership "believed the clergy instead of victims" (37.6% versus 26.4% of Catholics) or believed "clergy were above the law" (34.1% versus 24%).

Attorneys find no shortage of clients amid clergy abuse reports

PITTSBURGH (PA)
New Castle News

May 20, 2019

By Brent Addleman

Although the widespread impact of clergy sexual abuse in Pennsylvania Catholic churches came to light just last year, veteran Pittsburgh litigator Alan H. Perer has been representing victims for nearly two decades.

Perer, of SPK – the law firm of Swensen & Perer, located in downtown Pittsburgh, has been working cases against the Pittsburgh Diocese dating back to the early 2000s, long before an August 2018 Pennsylvania grand jury report detailed an extensive history of sexual abuse committed by clergy members within six dioceses, including Pittsburgh.

“I have been doing this for 17 years,” Perer said. “It has been very rough. A lot of cases earlier, we ran into the statute of limitations. We have been fighting this battle for a long time.

“I am hoping the compensation fund will be a compassionate fund. A lot of these people are really hurting and suffering from being abused as a child. I have many who were 10 to 12 years old, 13 years of age, some earlier in age and some that continued (suffering abuse) long after those ages.”

Perer said the abuse has taken a toll on his clients.

Arizona House speaker's bill on child rape is a total joke

AZCentral
Arizona Republic

May 21, 2019

By Laurie Roberts

Opinion: House Speaker Rusty Bowers has magically come up with a bill that does absolutely nothing to help child-rape victims hold their attackers accountable.

A clap of the hands, if you please, for this year’s legislative winner in that coveted category: Most Impressive Sounding Bill That Does Absolutely Nothing.

Naturally, there were a lot of entries in this highly competitive category at the Arizona Capitol. But a latecomer takes top honors – a last-minute bill that would give child victims of sexual assault more time to sue their rapists and the organizations that enable them.

Specifically, until they turn 30, up from 20.

Never mind that the average age that child victims of sexual assault come forward is 52, according to Child USA, a non-profit think tank that works on child abuse issues.

That is, after all, beside the point.

W.Va. AG Morrisey Says Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston Failed to Report Abuse or Conduct Background Checks

WHEELING (WV)
The Intelligencer

May 21, 2019

West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey sought to add claims Tuesday in his lawsuit against the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston, including a new count of unfair competition and new evidence of the church’s failure to conduct background checks and report abuse.

The amended complaint details allegations the Diocese chose not to publicly disclose a report of child sexual abuse by a teacher in 2006 and permitted several individuals to work or volunteer at Catholic schools without adequate background checks.

Other priests credibly accused of sexual abuse were also allowed to work in the Diocese without adequate background checks. The Diocese only released its list of credibly accused priests after the State of West Virginia issued its subpoena.

LA Archbishop says amended confession bill still targets priests, Catholic employees

LOS ANGELES (CA)
Crux

May 21, 2019

By Pablo Kay

Catholic officials are urging Catholics to continue to oppose a California bill that would force priests to disclose information about child sexual abuse that they hear in the sacrament of confession that is advancing in the state legislature.

Current California law requires clergy to report suspected abuse or neglect unless the information about the abuse was obtained during confession.

Senate Bill 360, authored by Bay-area Democrat, Sen. Jerry Hill, seeks to eliminate this so-called “exemption” for “penitential communication.”

On May 16, the Senate Appropriations committee voted 4-2 to send an amended version of Senate Bill 360 for a vote of the full Senate.

As amended, the bill, now protects the seal of the confessional - except in cases where a priest is hearing another priest’s confession or in cases where a priest is hearing the confession of a co-worker.

AG Morrisey: New evidence in Wheeling-Charleston Diocese lawsuit

WHEELING (WV)
WVNews

May 21, 2019

West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey sought to add claims Tuesday in his lawsuit against the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston, including a new count of unfair competition and new evidence of the church's failure to conduct background checks and report abuse.

The amended complaint details allegations the Diocese chose not to publicly disclose a report of child sexual abuse by a teacher in 2006 and permitted several individuals to work or volunteer at Catholic schools without adequate background checks.

Other priests credibly accused of sexual abuse were also allowed to work in the Diocese without adequate background checks, the lawsuit asserts. The Diocese only released its list of credibly accused priests after the State of West Virginia issued its subpoena, according to the lawsuit.

“The new information contained within our amended complaint further illustrates how the actions of the Wheeling-Charleston Diocese and its policies of cover-up have harmed children. Parents who pay and entrust the Wheeling-Charleston Diocese and its schools to educate and care for their children deserve full transparency," Morrisey said.

West Virginia Adds To Complaint Against Catholic Diocese

WEST VIRGINIA
WCBC Radio

May 21, 2019

West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey announced this morning that he seeks to add claims Tuesday in his lawsuit against the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston, including a new count of unfair competition and new evidence of the church's failure to conduct background checks and report abuse.

The amended complaint details allegations the Diocese chose not to publicly disclose a report of child sexual abuse by a teacher in 2006 and permitted several individuals to work or volunteer at Catholic schools without adequate background checks. Other priests credibly accused of sexual abuse were also allowed to work in the Diocese without adequate background checks. The Diocese only released its list of credibly accused priests after the State of West Virginia issued its subpoena. “How can anyone reasonably argue that these allegations are old when the Church refused to release its list of credibly accused priests until after the issuance of our subpoena in the fall of 2018?”

Attorney General Morrisey said. “The Church needs to come clean and end the secrecy.” “The new information contained within our amended complaint further illustrates how the actions of the Wheeling-Charleston Diocese and its policies of cover-up have harmed children. Parents who pay and entrust the Wheeling-Charleston Diocese and its schools to educate and care for their children deserve full transparency.”

Former Catholic priest acknowledges 'I did do things that were wrong' after 2 accusations of molestation

DENVER (CO)
9 News

May 20, 2019

By Kevin Vaughan

Neil Hewitt was at 5 Colorado churches in the 1960s and '70s. He answered 9Wants to Know's questions about his past.

For nearly 50 years, Michael Smilanic told no one about a trip he took to Montreal in 1967 with two other boys and a Catholic priest – told no one about the night in a hotel room in Rochester, N.Y.

He was 14 that summer, and it was there, he told 9Wants to Know, that he was molested by a priest he had previously believed was “really cool,” a priest who drove a Pontiac G.T.O., flew airplanes, and took him skiing.

“He seemed more human, I think, than some of the other priests,” said Smilanic, who grew up attending St. Therese Catholic Church in Aurora.

SNAP calls for better reporting of clergy abuse

OMAHA (NE)
FOX 42 KPTM

May 20, 2019

By Sydnie Holzfaster

For nearly 50 years Tim Lennon was silent about his allegations of abuse. He said he was raped by a priest when he was only 12 years old.

“At the time I froze. I didn’t say anything, I didn’t do anything, I didn’t tell anyone,”Lennon said.

Now Lennon is the president of the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests (SNAP). Monday morning members of SNAP held a demonstration in front of the Archdiocese of Omaha to shared their own personal stories of abuse.

Dee Thompson spoke about her sons accusations of abuse. She said her son was groomed and then sexually abused by a priest while he was serving as an alter boy in their church, but he didn’t tell his family until he was 42 years old.

“He went through a really hard time adjusting to what he was going through and we had no clue that he was being sexualy abused,” Thompson said. “They are destroying lives and it doesn’t just destroy it when they are little boys; it continues.”

Bishops preach accountability, say victim compensation funds 'help them now'

ERIE (PA)
Sharon Herald

May 20, 2019

By Melissa Klaric

The Erie Diocese, and the Catholic Church, are taking the priest sex abuse scandal seriously – and are addressing the damage done to victims through openness as well as the compensation fund, Erie's bishop said.

The Most Rev. Lawrence T. Persico said he does not know how many victims have applied for compensation through the fund set up by the diocese, although he estimated that as many as 100 people could receive payments.

Setting up the fund was the right thing to do, Persico said in an interview with The Herald of Sharon.

"People are grateful that we were doing something to compensate them," he said. "And just the general public thought that at least we were stepping up to try to help people who had been victims. We don't know when or what they would be able to receive. So, by creating this fund, we're trying to help them now."

Nationalists abusing Christian symbols 'greatest threat to EU'

FRANCE
La Croix International

May 20, 2019

By Christa Pongratz-Lippitt

Czech priest warns of increasing xenophobia and populism as European elections loom

An award-winning Czech Catholic priest and intellectual has warned Europeans to be wary of populist politicians who are using Christianity to push their nationalist agendas, saying this is the greatest threat to the European Union.

"We are once again witnessing how God is being confused with the nation and the Christian faith with the dangerous idolatry of xenophobia and populism," said Monsignor Tomas Halik, the 2014 winner of the Templeton Prize for advances in religion and spirituality.

Washington’s new archbishop wants to heal ‘anger at the failure of leadership’

HYATTSVILLE (MD)
Catholic News Service

May 20, 2019

By Julie Asher

Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory will have a lot of things on his plate when he becomes the newest leader of the influential archdiocese situated in the nation's capital: the sexual abuse roiling the Catholic Church, the tense political climate on the Hill and the challenges that come with learning about a new archdiocese.

The newest archbishop of Washington knows what his first priority will be however.

The "first and most important thing" is "getting out in the field and meeting the people," Archbishop Gregory told Catholic News Service in a May 17 interview.

Cardinal Sarah Praises Benedict’s ‘Notes’ on Abuse Crisis

VATICAN CITY
National Catholic Register

May 20, 2019

By Edward Pentin

Cardinal Sarah said that he, like the Pope Emeritus, was “deeply convinced” that abuse of minors will increase “if we do not adore the Eucharistic body of our God, if we do not treat him with joyful and reverent fear.”

Cardinal Robert Sarah has praised Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI’s recent “notes” on the clergy sexual abuse crisis, saying they have “proved to be a true source of light in the night of faith that touches the whole Church.”

The cardinal, who was expected to discuss his new book Le soir approche et déjà le jour baisse at a May 14 event in Rome, instead surprised the audience of invited French intellectuals and Vatican diplomats by dedicating his whole talk entirely to Benedict’s reflections.

Benedict had written the notes to coincide with the Feb. 21-24 Vatican summit of bishops on protection of minors in the Church.

In his talk, published in full in French by veteran Vatican journalist Sandro Magister, Cardinal Sarah said Benedict was a “'martyr' for the Truth” who sees the crisis “correctly.” His reflections were able to touch the “deepest heart” of the crisis, he said, but reactions to them have “at times bordered on intellectual hysteria” and Cardinal Sarah said he was “struck by the wretchedness and stupidity of several comments.”

BUFFALO COPS ORDERED NOT TO ARREST CATHOLIC PRIESTS, INSTEAD HAND THEM OVER TO DIOCESE

BUFFALO ((NY)
ChurchMilitant

May 20, 2019

By David Nussman

Unwritten policy of protecting priests after sexual misconduct claims

Retired police officers from Buffalo, New York are confirming they were given marching orders not to arrest Catholic priests after evidence of sexual misconduct, but instead hand them over to the diocese — special treatment they offered to Catholic priests and no one else.

A recent report from Buffalo News sheds light on how the police were ordered to report Catholic clergy's behavior to the diocese instead of arresting them. Former vice squad detective Martin Harrington said, "The department's unwritten policy was that Catholic priests did not get arrested."

Putting Justice First

NEW YORK (NY)
Commonweal Magazine

May 20, 2019

By Cathleen Kaveny

What Benedict’s Letter on Abuse Gets Wrong

The debate about Benedict XVI’s recent intervention on the sex-abuse crisis has focused on his account of its root causes, which occupies the vast majority of his letter. To the delight of conservatives and the consternation of progressives, he blames the lax sexual morality of the 1960s, rather than the enduring phenomenon of clericalism.

In my view, the problem with Benedict’s letter is far more fundamental. It also transcends the American progressive-conservative divide. He gets the basic moral description of the acts of sex abuse wrong. He frames them as acts of sacrilege, rather than grave injustice.

So what? Benedict clearly thinks these actions are unacceptable—why quibble about details? Because details matter, both theoretically and practically. If we get the description of a misdeed wrong, we fail to grasp the underlying moral reality of the situation. That, in turn, can lead to disastrous strategies for reform.

SNAP Calls for “Decisive Action” from New D.C. Archbishop

WASHINGTON (DC)
SNAP

May 20, 2019

SNAP CALLS FOR “DECISIVE ACTION” FROM NEW D.C. ARCHBISHOP GROUP LAYS OUT THREE IMMEDIATE STEPS HE CAN TAKE “IT’S TIME FOR CHANGE IN WASHINGTON,” THEY SAY

SNAP Calls for “Decisive Action” from New D.C. Archbishop

Group Lays Out Three Immediate Steps He Can Take

“It’s time for change in Washington,” they say

WHAT:

Leaders from the Washington, DC/Virginia chapter of the nation’s oldest and largest advocacy group for victims of clergy and institutional sex abuse, SNAP, will call on Archbishop Wilton Gregory to take decisive action to protect children and to reach out to survivors. They will also urge parishioners to stay vigilant and to continue to hold the church to their promises of transparency and accountability.

Former figure skater alleges abuse by former partner, who committed suicide, in Facebook posts

UNITED STATES
Yahoo Sports

May 20, 2019

By Ryan Young

Former figure skater Bridget Namiotka accused her former partner John Coughlin of abuse on Sunday night in multiple Facebook posts, writing that the late figure skater had “sexually abused” her for two years.

Namiotka was partners with Coughlin from 2004-2007, when she was between the ages of 14 to 17 and he was 18 to 21, according to USA Today. They won three medals on the Junior Grand Prix series and finished ninth at the 2007 U.S. national championships.

Coughlin committed suicide earlier this year. He was 33.

Namiotka, 29, wrote four posts on Facebook about Coughlin alleging abuse on Sunday night.

“I’m sorry but John hurt at least 10 people including me,” Namiotka wrote in the first post. “He sexually abused me for two years. Nobody innocent hangs themself.”

Namiotka followed the first post up with three more just minutes later.

After Ohio State Sex Abuse Report, Governor Calls for End to Statute of Limitations

OHIO
Tribune News Service

May 21, 2019

By Jeremy Pelzer

In the wake of revelations that ex-Ohio State University athletic doctor Richard Strauss sexually abused at least 177 male students between 1979 and 1998, Gov. Mike DeWine on Monday called on Ohio lawmakers to abolish the state's statute of limitations for sexual assault.

During a Statehouse news conference, the governor also urged legislators to extend the statute of limitations for other sex crimes, take a "hard look" at extending the statute of limitations for civil lawsuits, and toughen penalties for sex crimes committed by authority figures.

Strauss, who killed himself in 2005, likely couldn't be prosecuted for most of his crimes if he was alive today, DeWine said, because Ohio's statute of limitations for rape is 20-25 years, depending on the circumstances. The time limit on prosecuting other felony sex crimes is as little as six years, he said. Charges for misdemeanor sex crimes such as groping and fondling must be filed within two years, and civil lawsuits must be filed within 1-2 years.

Orange County Pastor Accused of Sexually Abusing 7 Children

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
The Legal Herald

May 2019

By Laurence Banville

Last week, a longtime pastor at several churches in Southern California was arrested a second time on allegations of child sex abuse. 67-year-old John Rodgers McFarland has been charged with seven counts of lewd and lascivious acts with a minor under 14 years old and four counts of lewd and lascivious acts with a minor between 14 and 15. There are allegedly seven victims.

McFarland pleaded not guilty during an arraignment on May 13. If convicted on all charges, he could face up to 179 years in prison.

The former pastor was first arrested in December on suspicion of child molestation in Escondido. While police were investigating those allegations, they reportedly discovered evidence that there were multiple victims of sex abuse by McFarland.

Calling Ohio State abuser Strauss a ‘monster,’ DeWine wants sex crime laws strengthened

COLUMBUS (OH)
The Columbus Dispatch

May 20, 2019

By Randy Ludlow

Citing the Ohio State University sex abuse scandal, Gov. Mike DeWine is calling for eliminating or lengthening statutes of limitations on sex crimes while ordering a new assessment of a decades-old, still-secret state investigation of physician-turned-predator Richard Strauss.

Twice calling the deceased Ohio State doctor a “monster,” DeWine urged lawmakers Monday to eliminate the statute of limitations for rape to allow criminal charges to be filed beyond the current deadline of 20 to 25 years, depending on the circumstances.

DeWine also wants to increase the allowable periods for filing charges for other sexual crimes and to increase the statute of limitations for filing civil lawsuits against state institutions and other organizations beyond the current one- to two-year window if a victim is assaulted while age 18 or older.

Morrisey to announce new details in Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston lawsuit

WHEELING (WV)
WTRF

May 20, 2019

West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey will be in Wheeling Tuesday with a big announcement.

Morrisey will disclose several new developments in his lawsuit against the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston.

The lawsuit is based on information included in the Diocese's November 2018 public disclosure of clergy credibly accused of child sexual abuse.

THE COST OF ABUSE | House-passed abuse bills now in Senate

NEW CASTLE (PA)
New Castle News

May 21, 2019

By Nancy Lowry

Earlier this month, the state House of Representatives approved measures to eliminate the criminal statute of limitations for child sex crimes and to propose a constitutional amendment to open a window for lawsuits in cases where the statute of limitations has already expired.

The measures moved to the Senate, where a group of Democrats also rolled out new legislation yesterday that would take a different approach, by opening a retroactive window to allow lawsuits for any victim of sex crime, regardless of age.

State Rep. Aaron Bernstine and state Rep. Chris Sainato, each of whom represents a portion of Lawrence County, voted to support the House bills.

DC priest charged with sex abuse of 3 parishioners seeks separate trials

WASHINGTON (DC)
WTOP

May 20, 2019

By Neal Augenstein

The D.C. Catholic priest indicted on seven counts of sexually abusing two children and a woman — all parishioners — wants three separate trials, according to his lawyer.

Urbano Vazquez, who was a priest at Shrine of the Sacred Heart, is charged with sexually abusing a 10-year-old girl, a 13-year-old girl and a 33-year-old woman.

In a motion filed in D.C. Superior Court, defense attorney Robert Bonsib said it would be unfair to his client if prosecutors were allowed to try Vazquez in a single trial.

Bonsib told WTOP Vazquez will plead not guilty when he is arraigned Friday.

Clergy abuse victim announces settlement

SACRAMENTO (CA)
Law Offices of Joseph C. George, Ph.D.,

May 21, 2019

She warns others about new church pay out program
Assaulted as an adult by her priest, she told Sac diocese
SNAP: “Sexual exploitation of church-goers is next wave in crisis”
Group urges “anyone who was hurt at any time” to “call AG & police now”

WHAT
A Catholic woman who sued and settled with local Catholic officials over the abuse
--describe the suffering she endured from both her perpetrator & his supervisors,
--wants church officials to make people who were abused by adults eligible for this new program, and
--warn others to be skeptical about the new diocesan victim pay-out program.​

And advocates for sexual abuse victims will​
-- predict 'next wave' of crisis will be those assaulted as adults, and
--blast Sacramento’s bishop for his “callousness” and “hair-splitting.”

WHEN
Tuesday, May 21 at 11:00 a.m.

WHERE
Law Offices of Joseph C. George, Ph.D., 601 University Ave, Suite 230, Sacramento

WHO
The victim, her Sacramento attorney, perhaps one other local victim and Melanie Sakoda, SNAP (Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests) Survivor Support Coordinator.

WHY
1) A still-devout Catholic woman was sexually violated by her Sacramento pastor, told the Sacramento bishop, and ended up suing them both and recently settling her case.

Now she’s speaking up and urging other victims to be wary of trusting church officials, especially with the just-announced diocesan pay-out program.

In 2014, Dorothy Small, a lifelong Catholic, met her new pastor Fr. Renerio Sabuga Jr. (a.k.a. Fr. Jong) at Holy Rosary Catholic Church in Woodland. She was a parishioner and choir member; he had just been re-assigned. Within weeks, he began to confide in her with intensely private thoughts.

Later that year, she called and filed a police report because of “continuous sexual harassment” by Fr. Sabuga.

In 2015, he sexually assaulted her in her home, according to her lawsuit.
The following year, Fr. Sabuga was transferred from Woodland to St. Clare Catholic Church in Roseville. Worried that he “might do the same thing with (another) parishioner,” Small reported the crime to Sacramento church officials and later met directly with Bishop Jaime Soto in person.
In 2017, she sued Fr. Sabuga, another priest (who reportedly told her “what man wouldn't want a piece of a** every now and then?”) and the Sacramento diocese.
Several weeks ago, Small settled her case. (A copy of the settlement agreement will be provided at the news conference.)

Small wants others who were exploited or attacked by clerics to speak up and get healing.
Fr. Sabuga was ordained in 2000 and is believed to still be an active priest in his native Philippines.
Stephen Greene (916 753 1300, sjg@greeneroberts.com) was the defense lawyer for the case.
https://www.sacbee.com/entertainment/living/religion/article150692782.html
https://www.sacbee.com/entertainment/living/religion/article150703947.html
https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4515766/Parishioner-claims-priest-sexually-assaulted-her.html

2) Earlier this month, for the first time ever, Pope Francis adopted a new world-wide abuse policy. “The most eye-catching change was a radical expansion of the definition of ‘vulnerable’ adults, a hotly contested” issue, according to one Catholic news source.

The new policy, which takes effect June 1, defines a vulnerable person very broadly.
https://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/analysis-pope-francis-issues-new-definition-of-vulnerable-adult-74015
https://www.americamagazine.org/faith/2019/03/29/pope-francis-issues-decree-protection-minors-and-vulnerable-adults-vatican

In light of this change, Small and other abuse victims are urging those who were hurt as adults by Catholic clerics to come forward, get help, call law enforcement and start healing.” They predict that the ‘next wave of abuse reports to hit the church will be from church employees and members who have been sexually violated or harassed by clerics.

One week after Pope Francis’ announcement, the Sacramento diocese, and five other California dioceses, announced a new victim compensation program.

https://www.sacbee.com/news/local/article230403279.html

Small wants church officials to make people who were abused by adults eligible for this new program. And she’s urging survivors to take caution if they choose to participate.

https://www.seattlepi.com/news/article/Clergy-parishoner-sex-is-never-consensual-1089390.php

Contact: Dr. Joseph C. George 916 802 7949 cell, 800 700 8613 office, jcg@psyclaw.com email, Melanie Sakoda 925 708 6175 cell, msakoda@snapnetwork.org email, Maricar A. Pascual 707 342 4722 cell, maricar@psyclaw.com

They Hoped the Catholic Church Would Reveal Their Abusers. They Are Still Waiting.

Janet Cleary Klinger, pictured here as a teenager, said she was sexually abused by a priest in the Diocese of Rockville Centre. She has been pushing for the diocese, on Long Island, to name alleged abusers.

May 21, 2019

By Rick Rojas

She has watched as diocese after diocese has identified Catholic priests accused of sexually abusing children. She saw the victims who, after confronting decades of church silence, could edge toward a sense of closure as bishops apologized and publicly named clergy members who abused them.

Yet for Janet Cleary Klinger, the silence has continued.

She said she had been abused as a teenager by a priest from her family’s parish in the Catholic Diocese of Rockville Centre, which sprawls over the suburbs of Long Island.

But the Rockville Centre diocese — one of the largest in the country with an estimated 1.5 million Catholics — has resisted publishing the names of priests credibly accused of abuse. It is the only diocese in New York that has not released a list. Miami, San Francisco and St. Louis are among the others nationwide.

Church leaders in many dioceses have hailed the release of lists of accused priests as a move toward transparency that will help quell tensions with followers.

But the dioceses that have declined to name priests are calling into question the church’s broader efforts to make amends for the abuse scandals, stirring a growing backlash from victims and their supporters.

They argue that the lack of disclosure creates another impediment toward understanding the church’s handling of the sex abuse epidemic across the nation and makes it more difficult to hold its leaders accountable.

“I, along with a lot of other people, have waited a long time to feel validated, and we continually cannot get that from the Diocese of Rockville Centre,” Ms. Cleary Klinger said. “We get nothing from the Diocese of Rockville Centre.”

Officials in dioceses that have not released names contend that declining to make such a disclosure does little to stand in the way of their pursuing a robust effort to help victims and prevent abuse.

“The Diocese of Rockville Centre, as a longstanding practice, works closely with law enforcement to make certain that all accusations of child sexual abuse against clergy — credible or not — of which the diocese is aware are reported,” Sean P. Dolan, a spokesman for the diocese, said in a statement.

The Crisis Continues

UNITED STATES
First Things

May 21, 2019

by Philip Lawler

Vos Estis Lux Mundi, the new papal directive for handling sex abuse charges, takes a few steps toward reform within the Catholic Church. But the papal document—a motu proprio, carrying the force of canon law—falls well short of an adequate response to a burgeoning scandal.

Pope Francis’s directive requires that every Catholic diocese and eparchy provide a formal system for reporting and addressing abuse complaints. For Americans, already living under the “Dallas Charter” mechanisms set up more than a decade ago, the new rule will have no major practical effect. But in other countries, where whistle-blowers still face strong resistance, it is an important advance.

The motu proprio also insists that abuse victims, and others lodging complaints, must be treated with respect and compassion and given the spiritual and material help they need. Too often, even after winning lawsuits, victims have been handed a check—without an apology—and sent on their way.

California confession bill amended, but still would require priests to violate seal

SACRAMENTO (CA)
Catholic News Agency

May 20, 2019

By J. D. Flynn

California’s state senate will vote on a bill that would require priests to violate the seal of confession in certain limited circumstances. An amended text of the bill passed the Senate appropriations’ committee May 16.

The bill, as amended, would require priests to report to law enforcement knowledge or suspicion of child abuse gained from hearing the sacramental confessions of other priests or co-workers.

The bill originally would have required California priests to violate the seal of confession anytime they gained knowledge or suspicion of child abuse from hearing the confession of any penitent.

In a May 20 statement, Archbishop José H. Gomez of Los Angeles said the bill remains “an unacceptable violation of our religious freedoms that will do nothing to protect children.”

Retired La Crosse priest accused of sexual assault at library

LA CROSSE (WI)
La Crosse Tribune

May 20, 2019

By Basma Amer

A 94-year-old retired La Crosse priest will appear in court June 3 after accusations of sexual assault.

According to the incident report:

On May 15, the victim told La Crosse Public Library security about an incident that took place on May 11. She said it happened at one of the benches behind the library about 5 p.m.

On May 16, library security reported the incident to La Crosse police.

The victim told police the man said his name was Bill and offered her money for sex. He also took her hand and put it on his genitals, and tried to kiss her.

Library staff was able to identify McGarty from security footage because they recognized him from the news.

Catholic Diocese of Dallas Is in a Place So Dark It’s Almost Incomprehensible

DALLAS (TX)
Dallas Observer

By Jim Schutze

May 20, 2019

The whole business about the Catholic Diocese of Dallas in January publishing a list of 31 so-called “credibly accused” priests seemed weird at the time. Credibly, who says so? Now as the story grows only darker, we have to wonder how the diocese, which is the regional headquarters of the church, could not have known what terrible mistakes it was making.

Clearly, based on an affidavit supporting a raid on diocesan records last week (see below), the Dallas Police Department doesn’t believe the diocese has ever played straight on these charges. The affidavit is only that — an allegation or claim. It isn’t a verdict. It isn’t even an indictment. The church deserves its say.

But to believe the claim of Bishop Edward Burns last week that cops who made the raid on his locked trove of sex abuse records only wanted to “probe the wounds,” we would have to believe the police are doing an awful lot of very clever, very detailed on-the-record lying. It doesn’t sound like it.

And if they’re not — if the claims of subterfuge and obfuscation that police made in the affidavit are true — then we have to weigh a different painful possibility. That possibility is that Burns’ entire “credibly accused” campaign has been a con job from the beginning at two important levels.

The first level of the con, if it has been a con all along, would be the conning of the public. Much as we might resent an attempt to fool us and see it as especially unbecoming of the clergy, recent events in Washington should have taught us all by now that it’s not against the law to lie to us.

May 20, 2019

Marching orders kept Buffalo cops from arresting child-molesting priests

BUFFALO (NY)
The Buffalo News

May 19, 2019

By Dan Herbeck

Hardly any of the more than 100 Buffalo area priests implicated as child molesters spent so much as one day in jail.

For years, most of their victims were too scared or embarrassed to make complaints.

But Buffalo Police had marching orders not to arrest Catholic priests, according to former vice squad Detective Martin Harrington and other retired officers. Instead they alerted the bishop’s office to any illegal activities.

“The department’s unwritten policy was that Catholic priests did not get arrested,” said Harrington, who investigated vice crimes for 17 years and retired in 1995. “I never had any experience with priests who molested children. I never heard of any priests molesting children. But we had priests we caught with pornography, or masturbating in the city parks, and our orders were to turn them over to the Buffalo Diocese. The diocese would deal with them … but they would not be arrested.”

The policy “only extended to Catholic priests,” Harrington recalled. “If we caught clergy from other religions, we arrested them.”

How will extending statute of limitations in sex abuse cases affect New Jersey?

NEW JERSEY
North Jersey Record

May 17, 2019

By Deena Yellin

The ink was still wet on the law signed by Gov. Phil Murphy last Monday extending the statute of limitations for victims of child sexual abuse when it was put into use:

A former altar boy announced Tuesday morning that he was filing a lawsuit against the Diocese of Camden and his former parish, alleging he was sexually abused as a child by the late Rev. Brendan Sullivan, a priest at St. James Roman Catholic Church in Ventnor City.

More lawsuits are likely to come. The question is whether there will be a flood or more like a trickle.

New York state passed a similar law in February and is facing a similar unknown.

Erie Catholic Diocese priest placed on administrative leave

ERIE (PA)
Times-News

May 18, 2019

Monsignor Charles Kaza facing allegations of sexual abuse of a minor while serving at Erie’s St. John the Baptist Parish in 1980s.

The Catholic Diocese of Erie has placed Monsignor Charles Kaza, pastor of St. Tobias Parish in Brockway, on administrative leave pending an investigation into allegations Kaza sexually abused a minor, Erie Catholic Bishop Lawrence Persico announced Saturday.

The abuse is alleged to have taken place while Kaza was serving at St. John the Baptist Parish in Erie in the 1980s, Persico said.

Kaza, who also serves as president of the DuBois Central Catholic School Board, was placed on administrative leave, effective May 13, after the state Attorney General’s Office forwarded the sexual abuse allegation to the Catholic Diocese of Erie and its independent investigators at the K&L Gates law firm.

Kaza is cooperating with the investigation, Persico said in a news release issued Saturday.

A CA Bill Forcing Catholic Priests to Report Child Sex Abuse Passes First Hurdle

CALIFORNIA
Friendly Atheist

May 20, 2019

By Hemant Mehta

Earlier this year, California State Sen. Jerry Hill filed a bill to remove clergy members from a list of those exempt from reporting child abuse.

As it stands, if someone walks into a confessional booth and admits to molesting a child, the priest doesn’t have to do anything with that information. Just say a couple of Hail Marys and be done with it. Compare that to public school teachers, who are required by law to tell a social worker if they learn about (or suspect) a child being abused.

The Church, of course, doesn’t want to play by those rules. Vatican officials claim the “seal of confession” is sacrosanct. Anything said in a confessional booth must be kept secret no matter what.

That leads to absurd consequences. In Australia, for example, a priest confessed to committing 1,500 instances of molestation (not a typo) to 30 separate priests over 25 years. Because of the sacred seal, though, no one ever reported his crimes, allowing the abuse to continue.

Former Police Detective: Department Had ‘Marching Orders’ Not to Arrest Catholic Priests

BUFFALO (NY)
Law and Crime

May 20, 2019

By Jerry Lambe

A general view of a mass for a canonization ceremony of Pope Paul VI and the martyred Salvadoran Archbishop Oscar Romero in St Peter’s Square at the Vatican, on October 14, 2018.

A police department received “marching orders” not to arrest Catholic priests but to instead alert the bishop’s office to any potentially illegal activities involving the priests, according to former a Buffalo Police Detective. This policy “only extended to Catholic priests.” “If we caught clergy from other religions, we arrested them,” he said.

Former vice squad Detective Martin Harrington and other retired Buffalo PD officers revealed this an explosive story published Sunday by Buffalo News. The interviews come just months after the Buffalo Diocese publicly identified 80 priests whom it determined were credibly accused of sexual misconduct with a minor, a number that would soon inflate to over 100.

Liberia: Priest Tells Catholics Allegations of Sexual Harassment are False

MONROVIA
Front Page Africa

May 20, 2019

Report by Tecee Boley, New Narratives Senior Justice Correspondent

One of the priests in the leadership of the Roman Catholic Church in Liberia has blasted parishioners for what he terms as a betrayal of the church. The Administrator of the Sacred Heart Cathedral, Rev. Father Alphonsus Momoh told parishioners in the Sunday service of his church that accusations by Fr. Gabriel Sawyer that Archbishop Lewis Zeigler and Bishop Andrew Karnley had bullied and abused him for more than a decade after he rebuffed their sexual advances, were nothing but an effort to taint the church.

“What you are hearing is because an individual is hurt and decided to smear the image of the church. One day the truth will be told by the one who told the lie. Some believe it, some don’t and some are standing firm. But there are some of you here taking notes and recording on your phones to send the recording to them,” Fr. Momoh said.

This is the first public statement coming out of a Liberian clergy since allegations of sex-based misconduct and abuse of power was made public in the media.

Fr. Momoh, in a further rebuke of Sawyer, claimed that it was a quest for material and financial gains that Sawyer and others are ruining the church. “Because of greed! Everybody wants to get rich. Nobody wants to go through the proper channel. You will go and tarnish the name of the institution (s) you belong to. There is no trust. We find in our midst- pulling down each other.”

California 'confession bill' viewed as violation of religious liberty

LOS ANGELES (CA)
Catholic News Service

May 17, 2019

By Pablo Kay

A bill making its way through the California Legislature would make the state the first since 1999 to require priests to choose between violating the law or violating the seal of the confessional.

At issue is the serious matter of child sexual abuse. Seven states right now require priests to violate the seal to report child abuse based on legislation passed in the 1970s and through the 1990s.

While many states have tried since 2002 to pass laws resembling the California Senate measure, S.B. 360, none have been successful. Instead, lawmakers around the country concluded similar bills would not protect children and would be a violation of religious liberty.

The summer of 2018 — with its Pennsylvania grand jury report on alleged abuse by priests and other church workers (with many claims decades old), the revelations of sexual misdeeds by then-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick of Washington and investigations by state attorneys general into clergy abuse records — brought the battle against sexual abuse back to the confessional.

In California, priests, along with teachers, social workers, doctors and other professionals, are "mandated reporters." That means they are required by law to report any case of suspected abuse to authorities. Currently, there is an exemption in the law for any clergy member "who acquires knowledge or a reasonable suspicion of child abuse or neglect during a penitential communication."

Catholic Conference apologizes for Facebook post trolling clergy abuse victim

HARRISBURG (PA)
WHTM

May 16, 2019

By Thomas LeClair

The Catholic Conference, a lobbying division of the church in Pennsylvania, is apologizing after a comment it made on Facebook in response to a victim of clergy abuse.

The conference recently posted on Facebook in support of a proposed limitation to abortion.

Carolyn Fortney is a Dauphin County survivor of clergy sexual abuse. She responded to the post with, "Up next, how about statute of limitations reform?"

The Catholic Conference replied, "Why do you have to troll here Carolyn? Don't you get enough media attention?"

That surprised Fortney.

Conroe police picked lock at Houston archdiocese to uncover priest child sex abuse records

HOUSTON (TX)
Houston Chronicle

May 16, 2019

By Nicole Hensley

Authorities used a lock pick to open a “bank vault” containing a trove of clergy files that the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston failed to hand over following a subpoena, according to court documents.

The picking tool helped Conroe Police Department investigators access the documents last November during a raid at the church’s Houston headquarters, Detective Joe McGrew said while describing the church’s lack of cooperation with their criminal probe. The agency was looking for evidence in the case against indicted priest Manuel La Rosa-Lopez and other clergy members who may have committed a crime.

A Dallas investigator said he contacted the Conroe Police Department and Montgomery County District Attorney’s Office regarding their search warrants. A sworn statement states that McGrew told his North Texas counterpart, David Clark, that after issuing a subpoena, his agency later “learned the Diocese of Galveston-Houston did not turn over everything” involving the priest in their investigation.

Archbishop Gregory plans to get 'out in field'

HYATTSVILLE (MD)
Catholic News Service

May 20, 2019

By Julie Asher

Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory will have a lot of things on his plate when he becomes the newest leader of the influential archdiocese situated in the nation's capital: the sexual abuse roiling the Catholic Church, the tense political climate on the Hill and the challenges that come with learning about a new archdiocese.

The newest archbishop of Washington knows what his first priority will be however.

The "first and most important thing" is "getting out in the field and meeting the people," Archbishop Gregory said in a May 17 interview.

He has six listening sessions scheduled with priests of the Washington Archdiocese, and "I'm trying to fill up my calendar right now with moments when I can be in the parishes with the people," he said. Like "a Sunday supply priest," he wants to visit local parishes to say Mass and afterward stand at the back of church and greet people.

Archbishop Gregory has "no fancy requirements" for such visits, nor would he expect any "fancy preparation." He just has "the real desire to be there as a listener," he said, adding that "it is that casual encounter with people that often proves to be the most fruitful."

Amended confession bill still targets priests, Catholic employees

CALIFORNIA
Angelus News

May 20, 2019

By Pablo Kay

Catholic officials are urging Catholics to continue to oppose a California bill that would force priests to disclose information about child sexual abuse that they hear in the sacrament of confession, which is advancing in the state legislature.

Current California law requires clergy to report suspected abuse or neglect unless the information about the abuse was obtained during confession.

Senate Bill 360, authored by Bay Area Democrat Sen. Jerry Hill, seeks to eliminate this so-called “exemption” for “penitential communication.”

Will India's ecumenical network beat clergy sex abuse?

INDIA
UCANews

May 20, 2019

By Cynthia Stephen

Rape charges against Jalandhar bishop force Indian Church to face its own demons, vindicate long-silenced nuns and lay women

Early in April, when police in India filed rape charges against Bishop Franco Mulakkal of Jalandhar, he became the first bishop in history to face court proceedings for raping a Catholic nun.

The charges were filed nine months after the nun complained to police of prolonged sexual abuse from the bishop, who also served as the patron of the diocesan women's congregation the nun had led for several years.

The nun and her supporters faced severe repression in the convent for going against the bishop. But the nun's public protest in Kochi, in southern India, last September forced the government, which had dragged its feet for weeks, to act. The bishop was arrested. A special team was constituted to probe the case. And finally, on April 9, a charge-sheet was filed in Pala, Kerala.

Allegation Against Bakersfield Priest Previously Deemed 'Unsubstantiated' Now Under Review By Fresno Diocese

FRESNO (CA)
KQED

May 19, 2019

By Alexandra Hall

More than 20 years after a man first reported he was abused by a Central Valley priest, the Catholic Diocese of Fresno is revisiting the allegation after several other individuals have come forward accusing the same priest. The diocese and Fresno County law enforcement officials had previously said the claim, first raised in 1998, was unsubstantiated.

The man, who has chosen not to disclose his identity, says that Bakersfield priest Monsignor Craig Harrison — who is currently on leave while under investigation for alleged sexual misconduct — inappropriately touched him when he was a teenager in Firebaugh.

According to the man’s attorney, Joseph George, the alleged abuse happened over the course of a year from 1992 to 1993 while the man was living at the rectory of St. Joseph Catholic Church in Firebaugh.

Former Catholic Priest Calls To 'Abolish The Priesthood'

WASHINGTON (DC)
NPR

May 19, 2019

Heard on All Things Considered

NPR's Michel Martin speaks with writer James Carroll, a former Catholic priest, about his piece in The Atlantic, titled "Abolish the Priesthood."

‘Tell No One’: Poland Is Pushed to Confront Abuse of Children by Priests

NEW YORK (NY)
The New York Times

May 17, 2019

By Marc Santora and Joanna Berendt

WARSAW — Anna Misiewicz was just 7 years old when she was invited into the private chambers of her parish priest, in the small village of Topola in southwest Poland. She thought he wanted her to count church donations.

Instead, she found herself alone with a predator, identified only as Father Jan A. He touched her chest, stroked her body and forced her to use her hands to masturbate him.

Decades later, the smell of milk disgusts her still, she said, “because the priest would drink milk and the taste stayed on his mouth and lingered in mine.”

In a powerful new documentary that is rocking this deeply Roman Catholic nation, Ms. Misiewicz recalls these childhood nightmares, and then goes farther. She summons the courage to knock on the door of her abuser, a feeble old man but still a priest, and pose a simple question: Why?

“I should never have done it,” the priest says quietly in a moment captured on secretly recorded video. It was “some stupid passion,” he says. He then offers an apology and asks to kiss her hand. She can barely contain her disgust.

Clergy Abuse Victims Caution Against Accepting Church Settlements

SAN DIEGO (CA)
KPBS

May 16, 2019

By John Carroll

Victims of sexual abuse by Catholic priests cautioned Thursday against accepting a church-sponsored program to financially compensate them.

At a news conference, several victims gathered with their lawyer and said the program does not hold the church accountable. The victims sat at a table with a banner featuring pictures of young victims and the words “stolen souls.”

One victim named Dede said she wanted people to understand the pain victims suffer at the hands of clergy.

“Do you know what it feels like to be terrorized, tormented, abused and knowing that you can’t do anything about it, that nobody believes and nobody’s gonna care?” she said.

Showdown Looms at Arizona Legislature Over Childhood Sexual Abuse Bills

PHOENIX (AZ)
Phoenix New Times

May 20, 2019

By Elizabeth Whitman

When Annette Schuster was a child, she spent afternoons after school at an uncle’s house. He was kind to her, or so it seemed for a time. She recalled that he made her peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, gave her a bed to nap in, and rubbed her back, among other places.

At the age of 12, Schuster informed her mother that she would never return to that uncle’s house, citing the abuse. Schuster's mother told her never to lie like that again, she said. Schuster closed her mind to what had happened and concentrated on graduating from high school.

In later years, she confronted family members, including the uncle, hoping for answers. She was repeatedly dismissed. The uncle’s ex-wife said he never would have done anything to hurt Schuster. The uncle himself told Schuster that he had done no wrong, that he had done nothing Schuster didn’t want, she remembered.

Gymnasts Testify; Lawmakers Won’t Name Abuse Bill Lobbyists

AUSTIN (TX)
Claims Journal

May 15, 2019

By Clarice Silber

Former U.S. national team gymnasts backing a Texas bill that would allow victims of sexual abuse more time to sue in civil court on Monday urged the state’s lawmakers to restore a key provision allowing those individuals to sue institutions.

How will extending statute of limitations in sex abuse cases affect New Jersey?

NEW JERSEY
North Jersey Record

May 17, 2019

By Deena Yellin

The ink was still wet on the law signed by Gov. Phil Murphy last Monday extending the statute of limitations for victims of child sexual abuse when it was put into use:

A former altar boy announced Tuesday morning that he was filing a lawsuit against the Diocese of Camden and his former parish, alleging he was sexually abused as a child by the late Rev. Brendan Sullivan, a priest at St. James Roman Catholic Church in Ventnor City.

More lawsuits are likely to come. The question is whether there will be a flood or more like a trickle.

Harvard Students Felt Unsafe Under Weinstein Lawyer's Watch. Now He's Lost His Dean Post

BOSTON (MA)
WBUR

May 20, 2019

With Meghna Chakrabarti

A Harvard law professor who was part of Harvey Weinstein’s defense team is out as an undergraduate faculty dean after student protests. We look at #MeToo justice and campus culture now.

Minnesota Lawsuit Aims to Make Vatican Publish Names of Sex Predator Priests

MINNESOTA
Legal Reader

May 17, 2019

By Ryan J. Farrick

Three of the plaintiffs are brothers–and this is their third time suing the Holy See.

Five Minnesota men who claim to have been abused as children by Roman Catholic clergy are suing the Vatican, accusing it of concealing the identities of thousands of sex predator priests.

The lawsuit, filed by three brothers and two other men, was filed in the U.S. District Court in St. Paul. The complaint claims that the Vatican has files on at least 3,400 clergy accused of sexual abuse, including some high-ranking officials.

Reuters notes that the Roman Catholic Church has been embroiled in a global scandal regarding child sex abuse since 2002.

In the past several years alone, dioceses in New York and California—as well as other states and U.S. territories—have paid out billions to settle with victims of abuse.

According to Reuters’ recap, the three brothers claim to have been molested by former Minnesota priest Curtis Wehmeyer for over a half-decade, between 2006 and 2012.

Another plaintiff says they were molested by another priest, Thomas Adamson, in the early 1980s. The remaining man, states the suit, was assaulted by former California clergyman Fidencio Silva-Flores sometime between 1978 and 1984.

THE COST OF ABUSE | Victims may face inconsistent rules, opportunities across dioceses

PENNSYLVANIA
CNHI News Service

May 19, 2019

By Dave Sutor

Politics, religion, law and finances were all linked in the process that led to the creation of compensation funds for victims of clergy sexual abuse in seven of Pennsylvania's Roman Catholic dioceses.

For years, when priests, parishes and dioceses faced allegations of abuse, the matters were often handled in secret — with victims being required to accept non-disclosure agreements as part of settlements.

But then, in 2018, the Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General released a grand jury report that provided details about how at least 300 priests allegedly abused thousands of children across six of the commonwealth's dioceses.

THE COST OF ABUSE | Scandal, cover-up painful, but Valley Catholics' faith not shaken

SUNBURY (PA)
Daily Item

May 19, 2019

By Rick Dandes

For some Valley Catholics, the litany of revelations about widespread sexual abuse of children within the six dioceses of the Church in Pennsylvania, and the subsequent cover-up, compounds their pain.

But their core faith, they said, has not been shaken.

“I wish it had all come out at once,” said Eleanor O’Conner, who attends Sacred Heart Church in Lewisburg. “There has been so much bad news. My fear is that all the good work done by the Church will be overshadowed by this scandal. I’m not downplaying the betrayal of trust, and it makes me angry to think about it. I’m praying for the victims. I have two grandchildren, and I want them to continue as Catholics.”

THE COST OF ABUSE | Victims push for window for statute of limitations, say law prevents closure

JOHNSTOWN (PA)
Tribune-Democrat

May 19, 2019

By Jocelyn Brumbaugh

Brooke Rush sat in a crowded Cambria County courtroom and listened as more than a dozen women shared details of their abuse at the hands of a former Johnstown pediatrician.

Their stories matched her experiences, but she couldn't testify because she was past the statute of limitations – age 30 for child sexual abuse.

"Even though the words weren’t coming out of my mouth, my story was still being told," she said.

Rush said she was 11 years old when, in the late 1980s, Dr. Johnnie "Jack" Barto abused her during an office visit.

Lawsuit: Priest's sexual abuse of Dededo boy under the guise of horseplay, affection

GUAM
Pacific Daily News

May 16, 2019

By Haidee Eugenio

A priest sexually abused a Catholic school student multiple times in the early '80s "under the guise of horseplay and affection," according to a lawsuit filed in local court on Thursday.

The plaintiff in the sex abuse case is identified in court documents only by the pseudonym A.A. to protect his privacy, according to the lawsuit.

Dallas Police Search Multiple Catholic Church Properties in Sex Abuse Investigation

DALLAS (TX)
The Legal Herald

May 15, 2019

By Paul Amess

Dallas Police searched Catholic Diocese of Dallas headquarters and several other church properties as part of their sexual abuse investigation into local churches.

According to a search warrant affidavit, the police say that the diocese has failed to provide full information on sexual abuse allegations against multiple priests. In some cases, the warrant says, the church gave authorities incomplete records on accused priests.

This investigation began with the issue of an arrest warrant for priest Edmundo Paredes, who formerly served at St. Cecilia’s Parish in Dallas. He is currently considered a fugitive.

Former Salvation Army officer now living in Saco accused of abuse

PORTLAND (ME)
Portland Press Herald

May 20, 2019

By Eric Russell

The Salvation Army says it terminated the officership after Gary Crowell was accused of abusing a teenage girl who lived with him and his wife in New York, but the alleged victim says the organization failed to tell the police.

A Saco man and former high-ranking officer in the Salvation Army in New York has been accused of sexually assaulting a teenager who lived with him for several years in the 1990s.

Nicole Sprout, who lives on Long Island, N.Y., held a press conference last week in front of the Salvation Army headquarters in Manhattan to levy accusations against Gary Crowell.

According to coverage from two local television stations, Sprout said Crowell and his wife, Carol Beth Crowell, took her into their home at age 11 after her mother, who lived with mental illness, could not care for her. Sprout said the abuse started shortly thereafter and progressed to sexual intercourse. It continued until she was 16, often two or three times a week.

Law Firms to Release Names of 83 Perpetrators Accused of Sexual Abuse in the Diocese of Albany

ALBANY (NY)
Jeff Anderson & Associates

May 20, 2019

On Tuesday in Albany, two sexual abuse survivors and the law firms of Jeff Anderson & Associates and LaFave, Wein & Frament, PLLC, will:

· Release a report containing the identities, histories, photographs and information on 83 clerics accused of child sexual abuse in the Diocese of Albany;

· A sexual abuse survivor will speak publicly about his abuse by a priest at St. Anthony of Padua in Troy, NY;

· A second sexual abuse survivor will speak publicly about her abuse by a religious cleric Bishop Gibbons High School in Schenectady, NY;

· Demand full disclosure by the Diocese of Albany and the religious orders, regarding all clergy accused of sexual abuse who worked in the diocese, including their current whereabouts, photographs and histories.

WHEN: Tuesday, May 21, 2019 at 1:00PM ET

WHERE: Hilton Albany – Chambers Room, 40 Lodge Street, Albany, NY 12207

Whitmer supports 'window' for priest survivors to sue

GRAND RAPIDS (MI)
WOOD TV

May 17, 2019

By Ken Kolker

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said she would support a law to open a legal window in Michigan for survivors of Catholic priests and other molesters to sue over childhood sexual assaults.

In other states, including Minnesota and California, so-called "window" laws, which pauses the statute of limitations, have led to multi-million dollar settlements between survivors of decades-old assaults and the Catholic church.

"I do support expanding the rights of victims to bring lawsuits, for prosecutors to bring charges," Whitmer told Target 8 on Friday. "I think that's something that's really important. So I do personally support it. We've got a legislature that drafts and writes the laws that come to my desk. I would certainly look favorably if they took that action."

State Sen. Winnie Brinks and State Rep. David LaGrand, both Democrats, said they were disappointed last year when window legislation failed in Michigan.

The Catholic church was among those who lobbied against it.

Target 8 recently revealed that 14 priests had molested at least 33 kids in the Grand Rapids Catholic Diocese over the decades, most without consequence.

Some of the priests are still living in West Michigan, collecting pensions.

But, because of the statute of limitations, survivors have no legal recourse.

The office of Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel is investigating allegations of priest abuse and cover-ups dating back decades at the state's seven Catholic dioceses. Her office said it expects to file criminal charges soon.

SNAP rally held outside Omaha Archdiocese Monday

OMAHA (NE)
KETC Channel 7

May 20, 2019

A rally will be held outside the Omaha Archdiocese Monday morning.

Leaders from the advocacy group for victims of clergy and institutional sex abuse, also known as SNAP, will gather at 11 a.m. to commend the state’s attorney general and urge other survivors of clergy sexual abuse to come forward, make a report to law enforcement, and assist the AG in his investigation.

Several members of the organization will be present, along with a victim, who is sharing his story of abuse at the hands of Rev. James Kelly for the first time.

SNAP is calling on other Nebraskans to take steps to prevent future cases of abuse while demanding transparency and justice from the state’s Catholic officials.

SNAP is encouraging Nebraskans across the state to take three steps that can make a difference:

First, survivors of abuse, make a report to AG Peterson’s abuse hotline by calling 1-800-652-1999.

Second, contact the county’s District Attorney and urge them to actively reach out to local communities, urging survivors to come forward and make a report of their abuse. District Attorneys can also encourage witnesses and whistleblowers to share any information they might have related to past or ongoing cases of clerical sexual abuse.

Third, contact state representatives and senators and urge them to create or sponsor legislation that will protect children, benefit survivors, and prevent future cases of abuse. For example, reforming statutes of limitations can help survivors find justice where none existed previously and can get important information about abusers into the hands of the public.

Los 12 curas colombianos en las listas negras de abuso de EE. UU.

[12 Colombian priests on U.S. list of abusers]

COLOMBIA
El Tiempo

May 14, 2019

Varios salieron de Colombia con denuncias en su contra, cinco fueron deportados al país.

La comunidad católica en Baltimore, Estados Unidos, quedó desconcertada cuando le notificaron que existían denuncias por abuso infantil contra el sacerdote colombiano Fernando Cristancho, quien oficiaba misas en las parroquias El Buen Pastor y San Ignacio. Y la sorpresa fue mayor cuando, en octubre de 2017, su arquidiócesis le confirmó que acababa de ser arrestado, por porte y producción de pornografía infantil. Además, que en 2002 se enteraron de que había engendrado trillizos con una mujer, a través de fertilización ‘in vitro’, y que un tribunal lo acusó de abusar de dos de ellos. Por eso, desde ese año estaba expulsado de la iglesia.

Pope Accepts Resignation of Brazilian Bishop Amid Investigation

RIO DE JANEIRO (BRAZIL)
The Rio Times

May 18, 2019

Bishop Vilson Dias de Oliveira of Limeira (SP) is under investigation for alleged extortion and cover-up of sexual abuse, Brazilian media report.

Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of Brazilian bishop Vilson Dias de Oliveira, according to the Vatican.

The Vatican did not explain in a statement on Friday what prompted the resignation of the bishop who, according to media reports in Brazil, is under investigation for alleged extortion and cover-up of sexual abuse.

In April, the bishop confessed to police that he had taken US$4,000 from parish funds for personal use, telling them he did so because he was having financial difficulties, according to reports.

The Catholic Church has been rocked by a global clerical pedophilia scandal, with victims coming forward in countries ranging from Australia to Chile, Germany, and the U.S.

Pope Francis passed a landmark new measure this month to oblige those who know about sexual abuse in the Church to report it to their superiors, in a move which could bring countless new cases to light.

As a result of the decree, bishops will be held directly accountable for sexual abuse or covering it up.

But crimes admitted during the sacrament of confession will remain exempt from the new church law.

Survivors’ groups have called for the Vatican to make reporting of suspected abuse to police mandatory – but the Vatican says church law cannot override local civil law.

Obispo de Iglesia Unida Metodista declina referirse a acusaciones de encubrimiento de abuso sexual

[United Methodist bishop declines to discuss accusations of sexual abuse cover-up]

CHILE
BioBioChile

May 19, 2019

By Emilio Lara and Oscar Cáceres

La mañana de este domingo, el obispo de la Iglesia Unida Metodista Pentecostal, Juan Ormeño, declinó referirse a las acusaciones de encubrimiento de abuso sexual que pesan en su contra. Lo anterior, por la denuncia que realizó hace más de dos años una joven de 17 años, por los hechos ocurridos en abril de 2017, en contra del pastor Salomón Morales, de la iglesia de San Joaquín, quien fue denunciado por tocaciones las que él mismo calificó como un impulso.

Is It a Scandal to Leave the Priesthood?

Patheos blog

May 20, 2019

By Deacon Greg Kandra

A few commenters on social media were upset and even angry over the news that Father Jonathan Morris has asked to leave the clerical state. I remarked that this is not, from all appearances and from the statement of Father Morris, scandalous — unlike some other high profile priests who have followed a similar path. I take him at his word that there is no present relationship involved that has led him to this decision, and that he wishes to remain a faithful and committed Catholic — albeit, one who can marry and have a family.

Some readers objected. No, they replied, this is a scandal. One reader told me to look again at the definition of scandal.

Okay. From the catechism:

2284 Scandal is an attitude or behavior which leads another to do evil. The person who gives scandal becomes his neighbor’s tempter. He damages virtue and integrity; he may even draw his brother into spiritual death. Scandal is a grave offense if by deed or omission another is deliberately led into a grave offense.

2285 Scandal takes on a particular gravity by reason of the authority of those who cause it or the weakness of those who are scandalized. It prompted our Lord to utter this curse: “Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened round his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea.” Scandal is grave when given by those who by nature or office are obliged to teach and educate others. Jesus reproaches the scribes and Pharisees on this account: he likens them to wolves in sheep’s clothing.

2286 Scandal can be provoked by laws or institutions, by fashion or opinion.

Therefore, they are guilty of scandal who establish laws or social structures leading to the decline of morals and the corruption of religious practice, or to “social conditions that, intentionally or not, make Christian conduct and obedience to the Commandments difficult and practically impossible.” This is also true of business leaders who make rules encouraging fraud, teachers who provoke their children to anger, or manipulators of public opinion who turn it away from moral values.

Internal investigation may yield greater sanctions against priests accused of sex abuse

BAKERSFIELD (CA)
The Californian

May 20, 2019

By Jose Gaspar

While separate criminal investigations are carried out by police in Firebaugh and Merced into allegations that Monsignor Craig Harrison sexually molested minors, there's another internal investigation being done by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Fresno. This one is based on a set of rules adopted by the nation's Roman Catholic bishops in June 2002 aimed to "repair the breach" with those sexually abused by church ministers.

Article 2 of the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People states that "Dioceses are to have policies and procedures in place to respond promptly to any allegations where there is reason to believe that sexual abuse of a minor occurred." And perhaps the most controversial requirement states, "Any credible allegations (against a priest or deacon) of sexual misconduct with a minor will result in immediate administrative leave" while an internal investigation is completed. Some priests find a problem with that.

"It's like Marshall law," said Monsignor Stephen Frost of Christ the King Church in Oildale. Under this process, Frost says due process goes out the window and the accused is accorded none or very little information about the allegations or who the accuser might be. Further, by removing the priest from his parish leaves the perception the priest is guilty before an investigation is begun.

"For those of us who have a sense of justice, it's a scandal the church would treat people like that and not give them any recourse for defense," said Monsignor Frost. In the case of Monsignor Harrison, Frost points out the allegations are many years old, and Harrison is no longer an immediate threat to any of his accusers who are now adults so there was no need to pull him out.

According to the Charter, placing a priest on administrative leave "...does not imply guilt, but is necessary for the good of God's people. All appropriate steps shall be taken to protect the reputation of the cleric during the investigation."

"I understand what the perception is," said Teresa Dominguez, Chancellor and Director of Communications of the Diocese of Fresno. Removing an credibly accused priest is necessary for several reasons including preserving the integrity of the investigation said Dominguez. "An administrative leave is also for his protection. It basically gets him out of the way of the investigation," she said. I can see her point. If the diocese had not put Harrison on administrative leave, that could leave parishioners feeling uneasy about taking their children to St. Francis as a cloud of suspicion hovers over Harrison's head. Others believe the removal of a priest is similar to other cases.

Local DCC priest on leave after charges of sex abuse surface

BROCKWAY (PA)
Clearfield Progress

May 18, 2019

Local priest Msgr. Charles Kaza has been placed on administrative leave pending investigation of an allegation of sexual abuse of a minor.

The Office of the Pennsylvania Attorney General forwarded the allegation against Kaza, the pastor of St. Tobias Parish in Brockway and president of the DuBois Central Catholic school board, to the Diocese of Erie, according to a press release received from the diocese Saturday.

K&L Gates, the diocese’s law firm, has conducted a preliminary investigation.

The diocese placed Kaza on administrative leave, restricting him from active ministry, effective May 13, while further investigation is underway. During the investigation, Kaza will not be in residence at St. Tobias Parish; he will be living at a private home with family.

The abuse is alleged to have taken place while Kaza was serving at St. John the Baptist Parish, Erie, in the 1980s.

The investigation is ongoing. Anyone with information related to this case is asked to contact the Pennsylvania Attorney General at 1-888-538-8541 and K&L Gates at ErieRCD@klgates.com.

A First Step, But Not The Last, For The Catholic Diocese Of Charlotte

CHARLOTTE (NC)
WFAE Radio

May 20, 2019

By Tommy Tomlinson

The Catholic Diocese of Charlotte is crawling into the 21st century. They should get some credit for finally moving forward. But they should also understand that there’s a long way to go.

For years – for decades – the diocese refused to name its clergy members who had been accused of sexually abusing children. But now the diocese plans to publish a list of those clergy by the end of the year.

That’s probably because some of those names have started coming out anyway. In February, the diocese in Richmond published its own list that included two Benedictine monks who had worked in the Charlotte area. One had been accused of sexual abuse at a Gastonia parish in the 1970s. And both had worked at Belmont Abbey College.

Then in March, the second-in-command of the Charlotte diocese resigned. He was facing allegations of sexual misconduct toward an adult student at Belmont Abbey in the 1980s.

All of this belongs in the bigger context of the gut-wrenching global scandal involving Catholic priests and sexual abuse. The church knew for decades that thousands of its priests had been credibly accused of abusing members of their flocks, often children. The vast majority of the cases never became public – instead, a priest might just disappear from a parish one day, only to surface in another one two or three states away.

Pope Francis recently announced a new church law on sexual abuse. Priests and nuns around the world are now required to report all cases they know about to church authorities -- even ones that happened long ago.

Priest says ‘religious ideologies’ complicate Chile’s abuse crisis

SANTIAGO (CHILE)
Crux

May 20, 2019

By Inés San Martín

Chile, a Latin American nation of 18 million people where the Catholic Church dominated society for centuries and was revered for decades as the main source of moral opposition to Pinochet, more recently has been home to what is arguably the single most intense clerical sexual abuse crisis anywhere in the world.

If you don’t know the story of what’s happened in Chile, it’s hard to appreciate just how massive, and painful, this crisis has been.

In May 2018, every Chilean bishop presented their resignation to Pope Francis, who so far has accepted 9, five of them from prelates who are under the age of 75, meaning they cannot claim the pope released them from their duties because they’re over the retirement age.

Many locals suspect they know why the pontiff yanked these bishops, including Gonzalo Duarte of Valparaiso, who’s long been accused of covering up crimes allegedly committed in his local seminary, and who’s been summoned by the prosecutor’s office to testify on those charges and also on charges that he abused his position, demanding massages, hugs and kisses from unwilling seminarians.

Just removing bishops, however, seems unlikely to satisfy Chileans scarred by the scandals.

May 19, 2019

Pope Francis’ edict to have little effect on how US priests, nuns report sex abuse

COLUMBUS (OH)
Columbus Dispatch

May 20, 2019

By Danae King

While a recent mandate on child sexual abuse from Pope Francis made headlines worldwide and garnered praise from Catholic leaders and some skepticism from victim advocates, not much about how abuse is reported in the United States will likely change.

The new church law, which was released on May 9 and goes into effect June 1, states that all Catholic priests and nuns have to report clergy abuse of minors and adults to church authorities. However, the edict, called a Motu Proprio, gives precedent to existing local practices, said Deacon Bernie Nojadera, executive director of the Secretariat for Child and Youth Protection with the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

In the United States, those practices were set by a 2002 document called the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People that instructs clerics to report suspected abuse to local authorities first, before telling church officials, Nojadera said.

“We are ahead of the curve on that,” he said of the United States’ practices. “From 2002 on, with the charter it’s been very clear that law enforcement is contacted.”

The charter also established training guidelines for people in the church involved with children, including clergy members, other church officials and volunteers. And they are trained on mandated reporting laws in their state.

Ohio is one of 28 states that names clergy as mandated reporters, and it’s a misdemeanor offense in the state if mandated reporters don’t report suspected child abuse to law enforcement, which could be police or children’s services agencies.

Under the pope’s edict, there are no penalties for not reporting sexual abuse — of minors, sexual misconduct with adults and knowing of or covering up any abuse — to the church.

Although clerics are mandatory reporters in Ohio, there are some exceptions to when they are required to report, including “privileged conversations” that take place during the Catholic sacrament of confession.

Columbus Bishop Robert J. Brennan released a written statement on the mandate, praising it as a “significant step” that will provide a framework for the diocese in the future. The diocese released a list of 34 clergy members who had been “credibly accused” of child sexual abuse in its more than 150-year history in early March, shortly before Brennan succeeded Bishop Emeritus Frederick Campbell as Columbus’ 12th bishop.

The most recent abuse case on the list occurred more than 25 years ago. The diocese has added two more names to the list since its release, bringing the total to 36, and diocesan officials said it is still subject to changes and revision.

″(Pope Francis’) order provides standards, expectations, and procedures that will assist the Church in addressing this worldwide problem,” Brennan said in the statement. “It affirms our current commitment to offer spiritual care for survivors and their families, to provide full compliance with all civil laws regarding reporting of allegations of sexual abuse to authorities, to uphold the right of any person to report these crimes, to guarantee prompt and objective investigations, and to assure strong lay involvement.”

Raid on Dallas Diocese inspires Catholics to close ranks or lose faith: 'Enough is enough'

DALLAS (TX)
Morning News

May 19, 2019

Catholics across the area wrestled with sadness, disappointment and outright anger after last week's raid on the Dallas diocese, which police say hasn't fully cooperated with a sexual abuse investigation.

The news was devastating to Becky Autrey, a 30-year member of North Dallas' St. Rita Catholic Community who was already struggling with her feelings about the church.

"I think this has lost me for good," she said. "I really don't have that deep faith anymore."

But the Rev. Martin Moreno told parishioners Sunday at the packed St. Cecilia Catholic Church that the raids shouldn't shake their beliefs.

"If this news means you have to go, then leave already," he said. "Those of us that remain will have true faith."

The Oak Cliff church was one of the places authorities raided Wednesday, but Moreno said he wasn't worried.

"Everything that I have, I have given police," he said. "The peace that comes from transparency, nobody can take that from you."

Police say the diocese has hidden records of complaints about priests, including former St. Cecilia pastor Rev. Edmundo Paredes.

Even as some say the new developments continue to test their beliefs, there are Catholics who say the church needs their support more than ever during this latest crisis, expressing almost familial obligations.

Ryan Report that shocked nation offers much but gaps in the detail still remain

NEW YORK (NY)
Irish Central

May 19, 2019

On 20 May 2009, Ireland made international headlines when the Report of the Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse (CICA) was published.

The Ryan Report, as it was to become known, quickly entered the Irish national lexicon as bywords to the Church and State’s shameful treatment of children in institutional care over a period of decades.

The report detailed in shocking detail, the scale of physical, sexual and emotional abuse suffered by children in institutions run by a range of Catholic Orders but which were funded and inspected by the Department of Education.

Abuse was reported by over 1,000 men and women in over 200 residential settings between 1914 and 2000.

The settings included industrial and reformatory schools, children’s homes, hospitals, national and secondary schools, day and residential special needs schools, foster care and a small number of other residential institutions, including Magdalene laundries.

The report identified some 800 known abusers.

The report concluded that physical and emotional abuse were features of the institutions examined while sexual abuse “occurred in many of them” — in particular boys’ institutions.

It found that the Department of Education had a “deferential and submissive attitude” towards the congregations that ran the institutions to the extent that it compromised its ability to carry out its statutory duty of inspection and monitoring of the schools.

Jerry Falwell Jr. plus 6 other church leaders ensnared in sex scandals

Queerty

May 18, 2019

Last week, Jerry Falwell Jr. made national headlines when it was reported that Michael Cohen allegedly helped stop the release of x-rated photos of the antigay activist shortly before he endorsed Trump for president in 2016.

According to Reuters, Falwell contacted Cohen in 2015 seeking assistance regarding an “embarrassing personal matter” involving him, his wife, and their 20-something pool boy, er, pool attendant from Miami.

Related: Jerry Falwell Jr.’s alleged x-rated photos could get him fired from his own university

Rumor had it, the pool boy possessed dirty pictures of Falwell and was using them to blackmail the evangelical leader to the tune of $1.8 million. Falwell denied any such photos existed, and the pool boy denied blackmailing him, but neither denied the $1.8 million payment, which remains unexplained.

Of course, Falwell is hardly the first antigay church leader to find himself embroiled in a bizarre sex scandal, alleged or confirmed.

Here are six other antigay church leaders who were recently exposed for hypocrisy…

Ernest Angley
The 97-year-old former leader of the Grace Cathedral Church in Akron, Ohio, who made his career out of preaching homophobia and scamming people with dementia out of their life savings, had a scandalous decades-old recording of himself leaked to the media earlier this year.

In the recording, which was made in 1996, Angley is heard admitting to getting naked and masturbating with an unnamed man in his bed, but he insists the encounter wasn’t gay because “I didn’t make him cum.”

“I didn’t ejaculate him,” Angley says. “I didn’t make him cum. … [And] he didn’t make me cum. No, he didn’t!”

Matthew Dennis Patterson
Perv pastor
The 45-year-old pastor of Nolensville Road Baptist Church in Nolensville, Tennessee and self-proclaimed “vocal opponent” of LGBTQ rights was ousted from his post in April 2018 after congregation members began complaining about his requests to “engage in strange activities” with their children.

Patterson was accused of asking numerous boys to strip down to their underpants and sit on his face over the course of 20 years. Police didn’t say how old the children were at the time of the alleged abuse; however, Patterson was indicted on eight counts of aggravated sexual battery with each count being linked to a different child.

In wake of Catholic abuse scandal, little movement to change law

ASHTABULA (OH)
Star Beacon

May 19, 2019

By Jon Wysochanski

If sexual assault or abuse occurred many years ago, victims have limited recourse in Ohio when filing criminal complaints or civil suits — as is the case with many of those victimized by priests.

In Ohio, lawmakers have not eliminated the statute of limitations for rape or sexual battery, though the statute was extended in recent years from 20 to 25 years from the time the offense was committed — when there is an indictment based on DNA evidence.

This change was a response to an overwhelming amount of rape DNA kits that had never been sent to labs, many of which would not have been admissible in court because the crimes were committed more than 20 years ago, said state Rep. John Rogers, D-Mentor-on-the-Lake.

“This created a window that would enable the prosecution of cases in which DNA could identify a possible perpetrator,” Rogers said.

Rogers, a former prosecutor who has handled a myriad of sexual assault cases, said he supports the idea of delving into this “window of opportunity” concept more and reviewing Ohio’s laws.

Prosecution of rape must commence within 25 years after it is committed, or within 25 years after a person turns 18 in the case of minors, and the statute of limitations varies for other sexual-related crimes such as gross sexual imposition.

Civil claims in sex cases involving juveniles must be brought within 12 years from when the child turns 18, meaning they have until they are 30 years old to file suit. There is also a $250,000 to $350,000 cap on damages that can be awarded to victims bringing forth such civil suits. Rep. Kristin Boggs, D-Columbus, said Ohio has one of the lowest damage caps in the country and it is the only state with a cap applied to victims of sexual violence.

Though Boggs said she supports examining the statute of limitations in such cases and revisiting the cap on civil claims, legislation hasn’t been introduced this session. Lawmakers several times had sought to eliminate the statute of limitations in rape cases, most recently by adding an amendment to the abortion ban bill, which lawmakers voted down, Boggs said.

State Rep. John Patterson, D-Jefferson, said statute of limitations laws are not something he has examined, and he deferred questions to Rogers.

Boggs said she fully supports removing the statute of limitations for rape, but only if it were to apply to all victims and is not based on whom the offender was. For example, some states have carved out laws to deal with specific instances of large-scale systemic abuse in institutions like the Catholic Church, which changes statutes of limitations for victims in those cases but not others, Boggs said.

“If we’re going to do this we should do it equally for everyone,” she said.

Church abuse, response

In October, the Youngstown Diocese released a list of 34 priests credibly accused of sexual abuse and a dozen of the clergy members named had an assignment passing through Ashtabula County at some point in their careers.

Robert Hill is the most well known, having spent time in prison after being convicted of paying a minor for sex. He spent time at Assumption of Mary in Geneva as well as St. Joseph in Jefferson.

Thomas Crum, who spent most of his career in the Youngstown area, was defrocked in 2009 after admitting to 30-year-old allegations that took place at least a decade prior to Crum’s service in St. Mary in Orwell, which dated from 1988 to 1991.

Robert Reidy, who in 2002 admitted to abusing two Austintown boys in the 1960s when he was at St. Nicholas in Struthers, had a previous assignment at St. Mary in Conneaut.

The Rev. Monsignor John Zuraw, Catholic Diocese of Youngstown, said the Diocese list is always updated when people are credibly accused. The diocese does not release the names of victims or where they live, he said, and since releasing the list of priests credibly accused in October, one person has come forward with allegations about a priest named on the list.

If Senate leaders won’t act on behalf of abuse victims, others need to step up

JOHNSTOWN (PA)
Tribune-Democrat

May 19, 2019

If the Republican leaders in the Pennsylvania Senate won’t step up and take action on behalf of sexual abuse victims who are beyond the statute of limitations, then others – including Wayne Langerholc of Richland Township – must push their stubborn colleagues aside and drive this important issue.

As Sunday’s CNHI in-depth report “The Cost of Abuse” shows, several options have been put forth to give those victims a pathway to justice.

Proposals in Harrisburg would address the plight of abuse victims – including those whose attackers were members of the clergy – through either a legislative change in the law or a movement to amend the Pennsylvania Constitution.

State House reporter John Finnerty’s relentless efforts to interview the Senate’s GOP leadership for this project garnered a repeated “no thanks” from Senate President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati, R-Jefferson, while Senate Majority Leader Jake Corman, R-Centre, commented only when cornered in a Capitol hallway.

Corman called any change in how the state handles cases of adults who were sexually abused as children “special legislation” that would need to be referred to the Senate judiciary committee.

Last year, the state House overwhelmingly approved a bill that would provide a two-year window for abuse victims to file civil action. The statute of limitations now denies victims who have reached the age of 30 that right – and age 50 for criminal cases.

The 2018 bill never made it onto the Senate floor for a vote.

But we’re seeing some signs in 2019 that a subtle shift is happening in the Senate.

Republican Langerholc said he “would support a window. I’ve been on record with that before. We need to come together to get something done. It’s something that’s been languishing and needs to be addressed.”

Allegation Against Bakersfield Priest Previously Deemed 'Unsubstantiated' Now Under Review By Fresno

SAN FRANCISCO (CA)
KQED Radio

May 19, 2019

By Alexandra Hall

More than 20 years after a man first reported he was abused by a Central Valley priest, the Catholic Diocese of Fresno is revisiting the allegation after several other individuals have come forward accusing the same priest. The diocese and Fresno County law enforcement officials had previously said the claim, first raised in 1998, was unsubstantiated.

The man, who has chosen not to disclose his identity, says that Bakersfield priest Monsignor Craig Harrison — who is currently on leave while under investigation for alleged sexual misconduct — inappropriately touched him when he was a teenager in Firebaugh.

According to the man’s attorney, Joseph George, the alleged abuse happened over the course of a year from 1992 to 1993 while the man was living at the rectory of St. Joseph Catholic Church in Firebaugh.

Harrison worked as a priest at St. Joseph from 1992 to 1999.

The man said that Harrison would inspect his genitals each night when he returned home under the pretext of checking to see if the teen had used drugs. He was 16 and 17 years old at the time.

In 1998, the man filed a report about the alleged abuse with the Firebaugh Police Department and the case was referred to the Fresno County Sheriff’s Office, George said.

A spokesman for the Fresno County Sheriff’s Office said Harrison was questioned but not arrested. The sheriff's office ultimately declared the allegation "unsubstantiated."

A case against Craig Harrison was submitted to the Fresno County District Attorney's Office's sexual assault unit that same year, according to a spokesperson, but no charges were filed.

Four years later, the man went to the Fresno Diocese to again report the alleged abuse. Diocesan administrative officials interviewed him at the time.

“The interview is curious to say the least,” George said, referring to a transcript he said his client received from diocesan staff when they recently met with him in his home. “It’s biased.”

During the interview, George said, the former director of human resources and former chancellor of the Fresno Diocese questioned the man and described his allegations as "harassment."

They also pointed out that the man’s parents had given their son permission to live in the rectory and that Harrison had spoken to the man’s parents. According to the transcript, the man replied that his parents only spoke Spanish, George said.

“He felt put off,” George said, “and said, ‘at some point I think I’m gonna read about this in The Fresno Bee when other people come forward. […] This happened to others. I’m sure I’m not alone.’”

California law requires that clergy and church records custodians report suspected abuse or neglect of children to law enforcement.

“There’s no way that the information that was conveyed to the diocese in 2002 would not create a reasonable suspicion of child abuse,” George said.
Sponsored

George said the man also provided diocesan personnel with the names of other potential victims.

“He said he never — capital 'N' — heard back from the diocese until this current flurry of reported allegations,” George said.

Since mid-April, three other men have come forward alleging Harrison touched them inappropriately or engaged in other sexual misconduct with them as teenagers. Two allege Harrison inspected their genitals under similar circumstances. Another alleges Harrison pinned him against a wall and rubbed his erect penis against his body through clothing.

All of the allegations were reported to have occurred in Firebaugh, Merced and Bakersfield, cities where Harrison worked as a priest at different points in time since the late 1980s.

Most of the victims came from low-income, Latino families, according to George.

The diocesan review board is now reconsidering the allegation first reported in 1998 and again in 2002, along with an unknown number of other claims of sexual abuse by Fresno Diocese clergy dating back to 1922.

Fresno Diocese chancellor and spokeswoman Teresa Dominguez said she recently visited the man at his home to apologize.

“I personally expressed my concern for him; told him that I believe him, and apologized for the pain this matter has caused him. I told him that I will support him and be an advocate for him in any way that I can,” said Dominguez in an email.

Former Priest: The Catholic Church Must “Abolish the Priesthood” to Save Itself

Patheos blog

May 17, 2019

By Hemant Mehta

James Carroll was a Catholic priest from 1969 to 1974. He was raised in a Catholic family and was proud of that… until he could no longer be. The sex abuse scandals were the tipping point, but the fundamental Catholic beliefs didn’t help either. Carroll says the exclusion of women from leadership, the requirement for celibacy among priests, and the opposition to LGBTQ rights have helped him realize the Church’s problems are far too large to overcome.

Now, in a cover story for the June issue of The Atlantic, Carroll says the Church should “abolish the priesthood.” In other words, the Church should eliminate the tradition that has arguably been the root cause for most of its biggest problems.

What Vatican II did not do, or was unable to do, except symbolically, was take up the issue of clericalism — the vesting of power in an all-male and celibate clergy. My five years in the priesthood, even in its most liberal wing, gave me a fetid taste of this caste system. Clericalism, with its cult of secrecy, its theological misogyny, its sexual repressiveness, and its hierarchical power based on threats of a doom-laden afterlife, is at the root of Roman Catholic dysfunction. The clerical system’s obsession with status thwarts even the merits of otherwise good priests and distorts the Gospels’ message of selfless love, which the Church was established to proclaim. Clericalism is both the underlying cause and the ongoing enabler of the present Catholic catastrophe. I left the priesthood 45 years ago, before knowing fully what had soured me, but clericalism was the reason.

I heard the confessions of young people wracked with guilt not because of authentic sinfulness but because of a Church-imposed sexual repressiveness that I was expected to affirm. Just by celebrating the Mass, I helped enforce the unjust exclusion of women from equal membership in the Church. I valued the community life I shared with fellow priests, but I also sensed the crippling loneliness that could result from a life that lacked the deep personal intimacy other human beings enjoy. My relationship with God was so tied up with being a priest that I feared a total loss of faith if I left. That very fear revealed a denigration of the laity and illustrated the essential problem. If I had stayed a priest, I see now, my faith, such as it was, would have been corrupted.

A preliminary investigation opened against a Catholic Priest

ERIE (PA)
YourErie.com

May 18, 2019

By David Belmondo

A preliminary investigation is opened against a Catholic Priest after allegations of sexual abuse surface.

Msgr Charles Kaza, Pastor of St Tobias Parish in Brockway, and president of Dubois Central Catholic School Board is accused of sexual abuse while serving at St John the Baptist Parish in Erie in the 1980's.

An allegation of sexual abuse was forewarded to the Diocese of Erie and its independent investigators by the Office of the Pennsylvania Attorney General.

Bishop Lawrence Persico has placed Kaza on administrative leave restricting him from active ministry effective May 13th.

Retired La Crosse priest accused of sexual assault

LA CROSSE (WI)
WSAW TV

May 18, 2019

A retired La Crosse priest, who has a history of sexual misconduct, is once again in legal trouble. Monsignor Bernard McGarty faces charges of fourth degree sexual assault.

According to WKBT, the CBS affiliate in La Crosse, surveillance video from the La Crosse library supports the criminal complaint which alleges the 94-year-old offered a woman money for sex, tried to kiss her, and took her hand and put it on his genitals on May 11.

In a statement to WKBT, the Diocese of La Crosse says: "On May 16, 2019, the Diocese of La Crosse learned of a recent situation at the La Crosse Public Library involving Msgr. Bernard McGarty, 94, a retired priest of the Diocese of La Crosse. According to diocesan policy Msgr. McGarty, from this moment forward, is on a leave of absence from public ministry while this current situation is being investigated. Due to this being an ongoing investigation, the Diocese of La Crosse has no further comment at this time."

McGarty has been released on a signature bond.

In 2014, McGarty was cited in Wausau for disorderly conduct after exposing himself to a massage therapist in a salon.

Abuse statistics undermine church’s credibility

HUDSON COUNTY (NJ)
Jersey Journal

May 19, 2019

By Rev. Alexander Santora/

Eight days this month -- May 6 to 13 -- may turn out to be the most consequential in the state for the next phase of the long-running clerical sex abuse scandal.

First, Anderson & Associates released a list of 311 clergy and religious accused of abuse in New Jersey. Then, Pope Francis codified changes for the worldwide church to address sex abuse and hold people accountable. Lastly, Gov. Murphy signed into law legislation that ensures a longer period for victims of sexual abuse to sue and he made it retroactive, as well.

“The Anderson Report on Sexual Abuse in the Archdiocese and Dioceses in New Jersey,” released May 6, is more than twice as long as the list of 188 names released by the Catholic church earlier this year. Anderson’s list is longer because it includes religious -- including three nuns, deacons and priests from New Jersey -- who abused elsewhere in the country.

The law firm’s introduction in the report asserts that it relied on “publicly available sources,” like media reports and court cases. It also claims that these mostly are “just allegations” and everyone is “innocent until proven guilty.”

I found listed a priest from the Archdiocese of Newark whose allegation was false and a grand jury declined to indict him. Including him with others whose cases are probably credible is a gross injustice.

Asked about it, Patrick J. Wall -- an advocate with Anderson’s L.A. office and former Benedictine priest who was in the order for 12 years -- could not explain why the priest was included.

“We include all open cases as the litigation moves forward,” he said. Yet, in this case, the case was closed.

In 2010, a detective from the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office along with a town policeman went to the priest’s rectory to inform him of an allegation. The priest hired his own lawyer and appeared before a grand jury. Months later, an abuse victim advocate showed up in town seeking dirt on the priest so he informed his parishioners and the archdiocese that he was never charged. It made the newspapers and that apparently justified Anderson including his name.

Marching orders kept Buffalo police from arresting child-molesting priests

BUFFALO (NY)
Buffalo News

May 19, 2019

By Dan Herbeck

Hardly any of the more than 100 Buffalo area priests implicated as child molesters spent so much as one day in jail.

For years, most of their victims were too scared or embarrassed to make complaints.

But Buffalo Police had marching orders not to arrest Catholic priests, according to former vice squad Detective Martin Harrington and other retired officers. Instead they alerted the bishop’s office to any illegal activities.

“The department’s unwritten policy was that Catholic priests did not get arrested,” said Harrington, who investigated vice crimes for 17 years and retired in 1995. “I never had any experience with priests who molested children. I never heard of any priests molesting children. But we had priests we caught with pornography, or masturbating in the city parks, and our orders were to turn them over to the Buffalo Diocese. The diocese would deal with them … but they would not be arrested.”

The policy “only extended to Catholic priests,” Harrington recalled. “If we caught clergy from other religions, we arrested them.”

El caso de pederastia por el que el arzobispo de Cali pidió perdón

[Archbishop of Cali asked for forgiveness following pedophilia case]

COLOMBIA
El Tiempo

May 16, 2019

Abogado de cuatro víctimas de sacerdote dice que no se ha cumplido con reparación.

La vida de cuatro niños, entre ellos dos hermanos, cambió en el 2009 en la parroquia de Nuestra Señora de la Candelaria del barrio Alfonso Bonilla Aragón. Es un humilde sector del Distrito de Aguablanca, en el oriente de Cali, donde muchos de los jóvenes que allí crecen se exponen a ser reclutados por bandas delincuenciales y pandillas.

Ex sacerdote testigo en denuncias contra Renato Poblete: "Sabía que no era un santo y que tenía debilidades"

[Former priest on accusations against Renato Poblete: "I knew he was not a saint and that he had weaknesses"]

CHILE
Emol

May 18, 2019

By Leonardo Vallejos

Renato Hevia, quien se retiró del sacerdocio para casarse con Clara Szczaranski, habló con Revista Sábado de su amistad con el acusado jesuita. "Qué culpa tiene él de ser picado de la araña, porque lo era", dijo.

Renato Hevia, ex sacerdote que dejó la Compañía de Jesús para casarse con Clara Szczaranski, la ex presidenta del Consejo de Defensa del Estado, ha sido llamado a declarar en la causa por denuncias de abusos que hay contra el fallecido Renato Poblete. "Sabía que no era un santo y que tenía algunas debilidades (...) No creo que Renato Poblete sea un psicópata ni un pervertido sexual ni un sádico (...) Qué culpa tiene él de ser picado de la araña, porque lo era. Debió haberse controlado más", señaló.

"La tentación es más grande": separaron al cura que así se defendió de una denuncia de abuso sexual

["The temptation is greater:" priest who defended himself against sex abuse complaint is removed from clerical state]

ARGENTINA
Uno Entre Ríos

May 3, 2019

La Justicia canónica le quitó el cargo de sacerdote a Fernando Yánez, que cuidaba chicos en un hogar. Pero no fue por esa acusación sino por otros delitos.

El Obispado de San Rafael, provincia de Mendoza, le quitó el cargo de sacerdote a Fernando Yáñez quien fue recientemente absuelto de las acusaciones de abuso sexual a un menor de edad. "Uno está rodeado de varones y necesita cariño", se le escucha decir al presbítero en un audio que habría sido grabado a escondidas por dos personas que trabajaban en el instituto que dirigía. Sin embargo, la decisión de la Iglesia no es por esta denuncia sino por otros delitos canónicos.

May 18, 2019

How Archbishop Gregory can restore Catholics’ trust

WASHINGTON (DC)
Washington Post

May 17, 2019

By Tim Busch

Catholics are excited for the new head of the church in the nation’s capital. Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory, who will be installed as the leader of the Archdiocese of Washington on May 21, is widely recognized as a principled reformer who seeks the truth and does what’s right. That kind of leadership is desperately needed after a year of disturbing revelations and scandals about senior church leaders, especially ex-cardinal Theodore McCarrick.

In April, Gregory promised that transparency would be at the top of his agenda, a positive sign after the past year. Last June, McCarrick — the city’s archbishop from 2001 to 2006 and one of the church’s best-known leaders — was credibly accused of sexually abusing a teenager earlier in his career. In the months that followed, further allegations arose against him involving abuse of seminarians, new priests and boys as young as 11 years old. McCarrick’s successor, Cardinal Donald Wuerl , reported at least one such accusation to the Vatican.

As these discoveries unfolded, Catholics demanded accountability. Last summer, Pope Francis accepted McCarrick’s resignation as cardinal, a first. The Vatican defrocked McCarrick in February, removing him from the priesthood after an internal investigation. Most recently, Pope Francis unveiled a historic new policy that expedites investigations of allegations against bishops, archbishops and cardinals. Catholics everywhere welcomed these moves.

But the faithful wanted more than punishments doled out after closed-door deliberations. We also wanted to shine a light into the darkness: Who knew what, when did they know it, what did (or didn’t) they do, and how deep does this rot run?

Gregory is the kind of leader who can address these concerns. In 2002, as head of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops , he oversaw the creation of the Dallas Charter, which enacted strict policies to stop abusive priests and support victims. This gives Catholics hope about what he’ll do to restore the faithful’s trust as the archbishop of Washington.

Catholics have more questions than answers about McCarrick’s actions and the church’s response to (and knowledge of) them. Over the past year, the archdiocese has said little about its internal workings and the handling of accusations, largely telling the media that it either knew nothing about specific allegations or had found no relevant documents in its records. Gregory could let Catholics review all relevant records to verify the church’s claims.

The Case Against Abolishing the Priesthood

New York (NY)
Americ Magazine
.
May 17, 2019

By James Martin, S.J

In the Dec. 11, 2000, issue of The New Yorker, the magazine’s revered literary critic James Wood began his review of the writings of J. F. Powers with a blunt question, “Does anyone, really, like priests?” I read that article a few months after my ordination to the priesthood. I found it hard to understand not only how an intelligent person could write a sentence like that, but how a prestigious magazine could print it.

It does not take too much creativity to imagine what the reaction might have been had The New Yorker’s literary critic written, “Does anyone, really, like imams?” Or “Does anyone, really, like rabbis?” Firestorms of denunciations would likely have followed. In the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, we saw a flurry of thoughtful articles distinguishing Islam from the terrorists who committed the atrocities (and the clerics who encouraged them), with commentators correctly making judicious distinctions between the actions of a few and the morality of the many.

But when it comes to priests, it is O.K. to hate them. Or at least wonder if anyone, really, likes them.

I thought of that article when I saw the cover of the latest edition of The Atlantic, which features a darkened photo of St. Patrick’s Cathedral above the headline, “Abolish the Priesthood.”

The cover was bad enough; the accompanying article, by James Carroll, was even more disappointing. If this is The Atlantic’s “deep dive” into the clergy abuse crisis, it represents something of a disservice to readers and the general public. Essentially, Mr. Carroll’s lengthy (and, admittedly, in some places careful) examination of the clergy abuse crisis can be boiled down to: It’s priests. He states his thesis with admirable concision at one point: “The very notion of priesthood is toxic.” Using the old dictum that what is easily asserted is easily denied, I would respond: “No, it is not.”

Mr. Carroll, an astute social critic and often brilliant writer, should know better. The problem is not the priesthood; the problem is clericalism, that malign brand of theology and spirituality that says that priests are more important than laypeople, that a priest’s or bishop’s word is more trustworthy than that of victims (or victims’ parents) and that the very selves of priests are more valuable than those of laypeople. Catholic theology is sometimes used to support this kind of supremacism. At his ordination a priest is said to undergo an “ontological” change, a change in his very being. The belief that this change makes him “better” than the layperson lies at the heart of clericalism and much of the abuse crisis.

Did Dallas Catholic Diocese properly report allegations to CPS?

DALLAS (TX)
Morning News

May 16, 2019

By Cassandra Jaramillo

In their search-warrant affidavit that allowed officers to seize boxes of files from Dallas Catholic Diocese offices Wednesday, Dallas police launched a salvo of accusations against church officials about their handling of sexual abuse allegations.

Among them: Diocese’ leaders over the years hadn’t properly reported allegations to Child Protective Services.

State law requires anyone who suspects child abuse and neglect to make a report to the Department of Family Protective Services, which oversees the CPS.

But children’s advocates and the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests — known as SNAP — said Thursday that the diocese's reporting efforts appeared minimal, and that officials should’ve better involved proper law enforcement agencies from the beginning.

“If someone tells you about a crime that was committed, you tell the police,” said Zach Hiner, SNAP’s executive director.

BISHOP BURNS RESPONDS TO INACCURACIES IN POLICE AFFIDAVIT

DALLAS (TX)
Diocese of Dallas

May 17, 2019

On May 15, 2019, the Dallas Police Department, supported by an affidavit sworn to by Detective David Clark, executed a search warrant on three properties related to the Diocese of Dallas. While there are a number of technical issues in the affidavit that will be addressed by lawyers and the Dallas Police Department, I feel a need to respond, as a shepherd of this Diocese, to many of the larger claims and implications made within that affidavit. Before I begin, though, I want to make it clear that the sexual abuse of minors is one of the most egregious sins any human being can commit. I am responding to this affidavit so that the faithful may know how important the issue of eradicating the sexual abuse of minors is to me, particularly with respect to how the Church responds to it. There are a number of important areas that I would like to address:

The fact that the Diocese is not in possession of certain names or information in some of its files does not mean that the Diocese has hidden or concealed those names or information.

The fundamental premise of the affidavit is that because a piece of information discovered in an entirely independent police investigation is not in the Diocese’s files, the Diocese must have hidden or concealed that information and is continuing to hide or conceal that information, so that it warrants a raid of religious offices. The affidavit consistently implies that information was not included in files that were turned over and from this fact concludes that the Diocese has, for presumably nefarious reasons, held that information back. But in reality, the Diocese cannot turn over what it does not have. All of the files for the names in the affidavit have been turned over, and the Diocese was working directly with Police on this, spending hours combing through thousands of files, some of which were decades old. In total, we reviewed 115,216 files, encompassing over 221,855 pages, that covered 70 years. Within this process, after files were being submitted to the police, the Diocese discovered additional files, identified by Detective Clark as an “additional 51 pages” in the affidavit. These 51 pages, out of the over 221,855 pages being reviewed, were immediately turned over to the police upon discovery. To imply that these documents were intentionally withheld in any capacity is to truly misrepresent the nature of our correspondence with the Dallas Police Department. In the case of many of the accused, the Diocese had even sought to help find more information not in its possession, tracking down dozens upon dozens of witnesses dating back decades so that additional information might be discovered by the Dallas Police. In fact, the Dallas Police Department was able to gather this additional evidence because of the information the Diocese had given to police in their efforts.

Robbins accused of sexual misconduct, berating abuse victims

NEW YORK (NY)
NBC News

May 17, 2019

By Daniella Silva and Chelsea Damberg

Self-help guru Tony Robbins has been accused of making inappropriate sexual advances on fans and staff and berating abuse victims in an investigation published by BuzzFeed News on Friday.

BuzzFeed said its report stemmed from an investigation that was based on leaked recordings, internal documents related to Robbins’ work and a series of interviews with fans and insiders. The allegations include sexual misconduct or harassment that took place in the 1990s and early 2000s, before he married his second wife, as well as claims Robbins berated victims of rape or domestic abuse during his self-help sessions.

NBC News has not been able to speak to BuzzFeed’s unidentified sources. It was not clear how many women BuzzFeed spoke to for its report.

Robbins vehemently denied the claims in a response on the website Medium on Friday, saying in part that the news outlet was publishing an “inaccurate, agenda-driven version of the past, pierced with falsehoods.”

“It is intended to disparage me personally, my family, my life’s work, and the efforts of the millions of individuals around the globe who have taken this journey with me over the last 40-plus years,” Robbins wrote.

KSN Investigates: Sex offenders in church

WICHITA (KS)
KSNW TV

May 16, 2019

By Stephanie Bergmann

While the priest sex abuse scandal has dominated headlines lately, churches of all denominations are dealing with another dangerous dilemma, whether to allow sex offenders seeking forgiveness to attend services where kids are present.

A church in Derby had to decide whether redemption is worth the risk of welcoming a convicted pedophile into the congregation.

"The prevalence (of child sex abuse) is unbelievable, how much is going on," said Dr. Gary Hackney, a clinical psychologist.

While it's impossible to know for sure how many kids are molested, estimates range from one in 10 to one in three.

Experts like Hackney, who work with pedophiles to try to keep them from re-offending, say the temptation is always there.

"That's what people have to understand, it doesn't go away," said Hackney.

That's why St. Mary Catholic Church in Derby took action, when convicted sex offender, Al Rocheleau, started going to Mass there.

Damage control

ROME (ITALY)
Washington Post

May 18, 2019

By Chico Harlan

His missions begin with a phone call from the Pope. "Do me a favour," Pope Francis tends to say, and then Archbishop Charles Scicluna steels himself, packs his bags and books a flight to another country where something terrible has happened.

Within a church besieged by clerical abuse cases, Scicluna, 59, has become the Vatican’s emergency investigator — a priest and lawyer turned sex crimes specialist who is dispatched to scandal zones.

"Nothing prepares you for the wounds," Scicluna said. "You don’t get used to it."

He is sent to places where cardinals or bishops are accused of committing abuse; where officials are suspected of burying evidence or systematically ignoring victims; where the church has profoundly failed and squandered trust. Over the past decade and a half, he has led at least four major investigations on four continents, interviewing hundreds of victims, during feverish days he likens to an "ant working in summer."

For most of that time, he has operated out of public view, refusing to speak about cases, returning to Rome from his missions with dossiers meant for the eyes of the Pope. But recently, with the church facing outside pressure to reform, Scicluna was vaulted by Francis into a broad and public role. The archbishop helped to plan a major anti-abuse summit in February and has worked on subsequent reforms.

As the Roman Catholic Church attempts to prove it can credibly police itself, it is presenting Scicluna as an example of how rigorous and caring it can be.

In interviews in his home country of Malta and inside the Vatican — where documents on the table are labelled in Latin "secreta" — Scicluna said he "hoped and prayed" that the institution, during his lifetime, can "become an example of best practices" for responding to and preventing abuse.

"But we will not solve the problem," he said, calling abuse a pervasive global issue that goes beyond the church. "This will not go away."

Scicluna has developed a reputation — even among some wary abuse victims and advocates — as one of the rare Vatican officials who appreciates the seriousness and scale of the church’s abuse crisis. Victims say Scicluna presents himself as a listener and fact-finder, sensitive but also meticulous in pinning down dates and specifics.

"He cared. It mattered to him," said Juan Carlos Cruz, a whistleblowing Chilean abuse victim now living in the United States, who met with Scicluna last year. Cruz had volunteered to speak with Scicluna via Skype. Instead, Scicluna flew to New York and spoke with Cruz for four hours.

"I’ve been telling my story and dealing with church officials forever," Cruz said. "It was the first time I felt empathy."

Scicluna points to past papal quotes as guiding wisdom for handling the crisis. He chides the church gently, prescribing reforms for handling complaints, urging prelates to listen more openly to victims. He speaks about the importance of transparency and encourages church officials to co-operate with civil authorities, but his own investigations are fully in-house, and not even summaries of his findings are made public.

He has carried out special investigations on behalf of both Francis and his predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI, and he considers his missions a "service" for the pontiff.

Vatican Adviser: Days Of Covering Up Abuse Allegations Are Over

ROME (ITALY)
Catholic News Service

May 16, 2019

By Carol Glatz

Pope Francis' new norms on protecting minors and strengthening accountability are the latest steps in driving home the message that the days of keeping abuse allegations covered up or ignored are over, said the Vatican's top abuse investigator.

"The good of the church requires condemnation" to the proper authorities when it comes to abuse of minors and abuses of power, said Archbishop Charles Scicluna of Malta, adjunct secretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, told reporters.

The archbishop spoke to reporters about Pope Francis' latest apostolic letter, "Vos estis lux mundi" ("You are the light of the world") at a May 9 news conference. The new document establishes and clarifies norms and procedures for holding bishops and religious superiors accountable when it comes to safeguarding minors as well as abuses carried out against adults with violence, threats or an abuse of authority.

The new norms are important, Archbishop Scicluna said, because they clearly tell people they have an obligation to report already existing crimes, negligence and inappropriate behavior to church authorities.

That obligation "has always been there, but experience shows us that either a closed-shop mentality or a misplaced interest in protecting the institution was hindering disclosure," he said.

The now-universal law of mandating all clerics, as well as men and women religious, to report to the competent ecclesiastical authorities the abuses of which they become aware is important, he said, "because it makes disclosure the main policy of the church."

Church in Chile ‘shocked,’ ‘perplexed’ over abuse crisis, locals say

SANTIAGO (CHILE)
Crux

May 18, 2019

By Inés San Martín

Though it’s been diminishing for a while, more so in some places than others, the influence of the Catholic Church across Latin America is still undeniable. Chile is no exception, especially given that the Church here was at the forefront of the defense of human rights during the 1973-1990 dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet.

The Church’s standing in Chile right now, however, is taking a historic beating.

According to the latest poll by the International Social Survey Program, the credibility of the Church among Chileans is today at a historic low, going from 51 percent of trust in 1998 to 13 percent in October 2018.

In May of last year, Pope Francis diagnosed part of the problem: a culture of clerical sexual abuse and cover-up.

According to Joaquin Silva, a lay man and Dean of the Faculty of Theology of Chile’s Catholic University, the Chilean Church today is in “shock” and cannot overcome its “perplexity” over the pope’s diagnosis.

“As a consequence, the necessary changes, the [pope’s] call to conversion and renovation, doesn’t take the shape of a concrete restructuring of the hierarchy, the ecclesial configuration and the understanding of the priesthood as a ministry,” he told Crux.

On the contrary, Silva said, the shock has led the Church to simply enact some “legal and protocol changes” which, even though they were necessary, don’t address the heart of the problem.

“People don’t commit crimes because we don’t know what’s good and what’s bad, or because we don’t have a protocol in place when a person abuses a minor,” Silva argued. “It takes time to assume the gravity of the problem of clerical sexual abuse, and it’s not only the abuses themselves - the problem of the Church in Chile is much deeper.”

Among the roots of the problem, Silva said, is the way members of the Church interact with one another, the Church’s understanding of society and the Church’s relationship with money, all of which, Silva noted, are also problems of the universal Church.

Some priests accused of abuse and removed from ministry land in jobs working with kids

JOHNSTOWN (PA)
Tribune Democrat

May 18, 2019

By Bill Bowman

At least two priests who served in the Harrisburg Diocese went onto other rolls involving youth after they left the church.

One who served a parish in Sunbury was removed as a part-time instructor for a Lehigh Valley-based drum corps last year. Another worked for more that two decades as a caseworker in the Mental Health/Intellectual and Development Disabilities section of the Human Services department in York County.

Donald Cramer served at St. Monica parish in Sunbury until the school closed in 2012. According to the diocese report, Cramer was investigated for possible child pornography possession, but the Department of Homeland Security found nothing criminal and didn’t investigate further.

Cramer is alive and, according to the Penn State World Campus website, is listed as a faculty member in labor and employment relations.

Cramer was let go by Youth Education in the Arts, the parent organization of the Cadets, in August, according to a report in the Allentown Morning Call. Leaders of the drum corps – which has members between the ages of 15 and 25 – said Cramer passed background checks since he was not charged in the investigation.

Cramer served St. Monica in Sunbury from June 2010 to August 2012, the year he took a leave of absence. Cramer requested and was granted dispensation from the priesthood by Pope Francis in 2014.

Between his leave of absence and dispensation, the Department of Homeland Security investigated Cramer for child pornography after he communicated online with an unidentified person later arrested on child pornography charges about wanting to “rent” boys in Mexico. The investigation closed after investigators found no evidence of child pornography on his computer. Some of the allegations against Cramer are redacted.

In York County, a priest who served in the Harrisburg diocese until his removal in 1990 spent more that two decades as a caseworker in the Mental Health/Intellectual and Development Disabilities section of the Human Services department according to published reports.

Father David H. Luck was named in last summer’s grand jury report. The grand jury report alleges Luck raped one boy and molested another. He was fired from his job with York County last September, according to the York Daily Record.

‘Beginning to see critical mass’: Dallas police raid shows new push to investigate Catholic clergy abuses

DALLAS (TX)
Morning News

May 18, 2019

When they showed up to Catholic diocese office doors with search warrants in hand Wednesday, the Dallas Police Department seemingly broke with tradition.

Except in rare occasions, priests in recent decades have avoided prosecution in Dallas and across the country for sexual abuse — even when criminal evidence came to light as a result of civil lawsuits.

Zach Hiner, executive director of Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, known as SNAP, said he believes police and district attorneys have generally respected the wishes of local church leaders to handle their own dirty laundry.

“Historically, there has been a lot of deference paid to religious institutions by our secular officials,” Hiner said. “They haven't really wanted to get involved.”

And even if authorities did so, Hiner said, “they didn't have all the information they needed.”

But increasingly, law enforcement agencies across the country are no longer sitting on the sidelines. And they’re not waiting for church higher-ups’ cooperation — a change that has heartened victims’ advocates and prompted cries of, what took so long?

May 17, 2019

Catholic Church: SNAP president to visit Sioux Falls, meet with sex abuse victims

SIOUX FALLS (SD)
Argus Leader

May 17, 2019

By Patrick Anderson

A top advocate for clergy sex abuse survivors across the United States is set to visit Sioux Falls on May 24 to push for better protections for victims.

Tim Lennon is president of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, or SNAP, a nonprofit that works to expose institutional abuse, seek justice for survivors and advocate for better laws to protect children.

Lennon hopes to draw attention to South Dakota’s statute of limitations law during his Sioux Falls visit. He also plans to meet with survivors who said they were abused at the state’s Catholic-run boarding schools.

“It is exceptionally restrictive, and the reasons politicians are giving for not bringing this into the modern world are pretty bogus reasons,” Lennon said Friday.

Dozens of Native Americans filed lawsuits against the Catholic Diocese of Sioux Falls, alleging numerous instances of rape and sexual molestation by priests, nuns and staff at three separate Indian Mission schools between the 1940s and 1980s.

The lawsuits eventually failed after a last-minute bill, written by a defense attorney for one of the schools being sued, passed through the Legislature and became law in 2010. It hurt the ability of child sex abuse victims to seek legal action against institutions responsible for their trauma.

Louise Charbonneau Aamot and her sisters still remember when former-Gov. Mike Rounds signed the bill, damaging their case against the Sioux Falls diocese and other Catholic institutions responsible for operating St. Paul’s Indian Mission school in Marty. She hopes Lennon’s visit will support the work she and other victims have been doing in Pierre since the current statute of limitations became law.

“To have them coming and supporting what we’ve been trying to do for so many years is a blessing,” Aamot said. “It is a huge blessing because we have someone who understands, and we have someone who would listen.”

SNAP has been a vocal advocate for survivors across the U.S., opening a national office in Chicago following 2002 reporting by the Boston Globe.

Catholic Diocese Of Dallas Bishop Edward Burns Issues Rebuttal

DALLAS (TX)
CBSDFW TV

May 17, 2019

Catholic Diocese of Dallas Bishop Edward Burns has posted a video rebuttal on Friday with documentation to counter details in a Dallas Police search warrant on Wednesday.

“We were surprised, dismayed and even disappointed by the actions taken on Wednesday,” Bishop Burns said in the video. “That is why I’m saddened that this Wednesday, DPD carried out a highly-publicized search based on an affidavit that contained multiple factual errors.”

“Any suggestion that the Diocese was not cooperating in good faith is simply not true. For this reason, I have prepared a document that shows in detail an outline of the many misstatements made in the affidavit and reported in the media when the affidavit was made public,” Bishop Burns said.

The warrants were related to allegations of clergy abuse against Edmundo Paredes, who was a priest at Saint Cecilia Catholic Church in North Oak Cliff for 27 years, and other suspects.

“In addition to the allegations against Mr. Paredes detectives are investigating at least five additional allegations of child abuse against other suspects. These investigations stem from additional allegations made after the case against Mr. Paredes became public,” Dallas Maj. Max Geron said at a morning press conference. “In furtherance of these investigations today we obtained and executed multiple search warrants to collect any data or documentation of previous reports or records of abuse that may be held by the Dallas Catholic Diocese.”

Major Geron said Dallas detectives are “working to complete a through investigation into each allegation – independent of any other entity – to ensure that each victim has a voice within the legal system.”

In the video post on the Diocese website, Bishop Burns lays out his case, saying he believes the affidavit that sparked the investigation into allegations of sexual abuse by priests is filled with factual errors.

Church: Sex abuse claim against dead priest deemed credible

DETROIT (MI)
Detroit Free Press

May 17, 2019

By Ann Zaniewski

Allegations of child sexual abuse against a priest who died in 1984 have been deemed credible, the Archdiocese of Detroit announced Friday.

Ned McGrath, a spokesman for the Archdiocese of Detroit, said the archdiocese received a complaint more than a decade ago — but still after Tyminski's death — about him sexually abusing a minor.

A different victim stepped forward within the last few months with a new complaint, McGrath said. That sparked an investigation by the Archdiocesan Review Board. The board, which investigates and considers allegations of clergy sexual abuse and makes recommendations to the archbishop, found the allegations to be credible.

Tyminski was ordained in 1935 in Poland and served in three parishes there. Five years after his ordination, he was incarcerated in concentration camps during World War II.

Tyminski arrived in the U.S. in 1950. He spent a year at SS. Cyril and Methodius Seminary in Orchard Lake and then was assigned in 1951 to St. Andrew, in 1954 to Resurrection, in 1963 to SS. Peter & Paul (Westside), in 1966 to St. Cunegunda and in 1969 to Immaculate Conception. He retired in 1976.

Affidavit alleges abuse by former Arkansas priest

LITTLE ROCK (AR)
Arkansas Democrat

May 17, 2019

By Youssef Rddad, Kat Stromquist

A former Arkansas priest is accused of molesting at least one boy in the 1980s while serving as dean of a Catholic school in Subiaco, with accusations coming to light through court records filed this week in Texas alleging abuse by clergy members.

Authorities say the Rev. Jeremy Myers sexually assaulted a boy several times in Arkansas and Texas while he was dean of the students' dorm at Subiaco Academy, according to an affidavit supporting a search warrant. The document states the abuse started in 1986 at the all-boys school in Logan County -- two years after Myers' ordination as a priest -- and continued when the boy visited the priest in Texas.

None of the church members in the document was criminally charged, but the filing explicitly describes allegations of sexual misconduct.

Myers is one of five clergy members under investigation as part of an investigation into alleged abuse within the Dallas Diocese. Police on Wednesday searched the church's offices and storage buildings in the Dallas metro area, and church officials have said they are cooperating with the investigations.

The document alleges numerous instances in which Myers performed sex acts with the boy in Subiaco and then later in Texas.

Subiaco Academy headmaster David Wright said in a statement Thursday that the school and Subiaco Abbey "are aware of, and have cooperated with, the investigation of Jeremy Myers. Because this investigation is ongoing, and to avoid any possible interference with it, we cannot comment further at this time."

Wright encouraged staff members and students to report any abuse, and said the school and abbey have "a duty to work to bring the truth to light."

Subiaco Abbot Leonard Wangler, who was headmaster at Subiaco Academy at the time, reportedly told Myers to speak to his alleged victim about the claims when they surfaced, an affidavit said.

Students at the school reported concerns about Myers' relationship with the boy after a witness saw the boy sitting on the priest's lap wearing only a towel, records show.

Myers reported back to Wangler that the victim said he was lying about any sexual contact, according to the document.

Abolish The Priesthood

NEW YORK (NY)
The Atlantic

May 17, 2019

By James Carroll

To feel relief at my mother’s being dead was once unthinkable, but then the news came from Ireland. It would have crushed her. An immigrant’s daughter, my mother lived with an eye cast back to the old country, the land against which she measured every virtue. Ireland was heaven to her, and the Catholic Church was heaven’s choir. Then came the Ryan Report.

Not long before The Boston Globe began publishing its series on predator priests, in 2002—the “Spotlight” series that became a movie of the same name—the government of Ireland established a commission, ultimately chaired by Judge Sean Ryan, to investigate accounts and rumors of child abuse in Ireland’s residential institutions for children, nearly all of which were run by the Catholic Church.

The Ryan Commission published its 2,600-page report in 2009. Despite government inspections and supervision, Catholic clergy had, across decades, violently tormented thousands of children. The report found that children held in orphanages and reformatory schools were treated no better than slaves—in some cases, sex slaves. Rape and molestation of boys were “endemic.” Other reports were issued about other institutions, including parish churches and schools, and homes for unwed mothers—the notorious “Magdalene Laundries,” where girls and women were condemned to lives of coercive servitude. The ignominy of these institutions was laid out in plays and documentary films, and in Philomena, the movie starring Judi Dench, which was based on a true story. The homes-for-women scandal climaxed in 2017, when a government report revealed that from 1925 to 1961, at the Bon Secours Mother and Baby Home, in Tuam, County Galway, babies who died—nearly 800 of them—were routinely disposed of in mass graves or sewage pits. Not only priests had behaved despicably. So had nuns.

In August 2018, Pope Francis made a much publicized visit to Ireland. His timing could not have been worse. Just then, a second wave of the Catholic sex-abuse scandal was breaking. In Germany, a leaked bishops’ investigation revealed that from 1946 to 2014, 1,670 clergy had assaulted 3,677 children. Civil authorities in other nations were launching investigations, moving aggressively to preempt the Church. In the United States, also in 2018, a Pennsylvania grand jury alleged that over the course of 70 years, more than 1,000 children had been abused by more than 300 priests across the state. Church authorities had successfully silenced the victims, deflected law enforcement, and shielded the predators. The Pennsylvania report was widely taken to be a conclusive adjudication, but grand-jury findings are not verdicts. Still, this record of testimony and investigation was staggering. The charges told of a ring of pedophile priests who gave many of their young targets the gift of a gold cross to wear, so that the other predator priests could recognize an initiated child who would not resist an overture. “This is the murder of a soul,” said one victim who testified before the grand jury.

Former assistant principal at Little Rock high school gets 1 year in prison

LITTLE ROCK (AR)
Arkansas Democrat

May 17, 2019

By John Lynch

A former assistant principal and music teacher whose supporters include the bishop of the Episcopal Church in Arkansas was sentenced to a year in prison Thursday for running over an off-duty Little Rock police officer and a prisoner in a past-midnight collision.

Keith Alan Hearnsberger, 37, did not testify at the sentencing hearing before Pulaski County Circuit Judge Chris Piazza. He pleaded guilty in February to two felony charges -- second-degree battery, reduced from first-degree battery, and failure to stop and render aid.

Prosecutors also withdrew a first-degree battery charge related to the prisoner's injuries in exchange for the guilty plea. Hearnsberger faced up to 12 years in prison, but as a first-time offender was eligible for probation.

More than a dozen supporters submitted written character endorsements for Hearnsberger, citing his compassion, his dedication to his Christian faith and hopes of becoming a priest.

Local Group Cautions Clergy Sex Abuse Victims to Not Rush Into Settlements With Church

SAN DIEGO (CA)
NBC 4 News

May 17, 2019

By Melissa Adan

The Roman Catholic Diocese of San Diego created a new compensation fund for victims of clergy sexual abuse, and several victims are speaking out against it.

On Tuesday, the Diocese of San Diego joined five other California dioceses with a compensation fund program for victims abused by clergy members.

“Do you know what it’s like to be terrorized, tormented, abused and knowing that you can do nothing about it?” said one victim named Dede.

On Thursday, four victims shared how they were abused by their priest when they were children.

“You’re nine years old -- but you have to be a horrible person, otherwise, why would they do it?” Dede said to a room full of media.

The victims came together through attorney Irwin Zalkin and the Survivor Network of those Abused by Priests, known as SNAP, to speak against the new victim compensation fund.

Zalkin has represented more than 100 victims of childhood sexual abuse involving clergy members.

“What happened to me and others is a crime and should be treated as a crime,” said Bill, a victim of abuse.

Bill said he was first abused by his neighbor and considers himself collateral damage when he confided this with his priest.

He said after sharing his abuse, the priest told him his neighbor had done nothing wrong and then began to abuse him.

“What's going to stop the abuse is mandatory reporting. What's going to stop the abuse is a statute of limitations extension. What's going to stop the abuse is opening up a window, so older people who didn't come forward because of shame, because of feeling a failure that somehow they were to blame,” Bill said.

Esther Hatfield Miller, a member of SNAP, said the compensation fund will not work because survivors will not get their day in court nor be able to expose wrongdoings of coverups or enforce accountability.

“A compensation fund like this does not reform statues of limitations. We need to reform those ancient laws,” Miller said.

Aida Bustos with the Diocese of San Diego said victims can decide to accept the compensation and seek other legal remedies.

Ex-Legionary, Fox News personality asks to leave the priesthood

ROME (ITALY)
Crux

May 17, 2019

By Inés San Martín

Father Jonathan Morris, a former member of the Legion of Christ who was at one time among the most prominent Catholic priests in America as a contributor to Fox News, has asked to be dismissed from the clerical state, indicating he wants to be free to “marry and have a family” though saying it’s not about an “existing relationship.”

In a statement released Friday, Morris writes that the decision has filled him “with newfound joy,” though he says he knows some people won’t understand his decision to leave the priesthood.

“After taking some months of sabbatical to be with family and to dedicate more time to prayer and retreat, I have decided to ask the Holy Father, Pope Francis, to release me from the duties and responsibilities of the clerical state,” Morris said in a statement, which he made available to Crux.

Morris left the troubled Legion of Christ in 2009, three years after the Vatican suspended its founder, Father Macial Marciel, from his priestly duties, having found Maciel guilty of various forms of sexual abuse and misconduct as well as abuse of power. Morris was incardinated into the Archdiocese of New York with the support of Cardinal Timothy Dolan.

He’s appeared on several TV networks and is best known for his role with Fox News, though he was also a theological adviser to Mel Gibson’s movie, “The Passion of the Christ”, and was the program director for “The Catholic Channel,” a project of the Archdiocese of New York, on the Sirius XM radio network for three years.

Vatican acquits priest accused of solicitation in confessional

ROME (ITALY)
National Catholic Reporter

May 17, 2019

By Joshua J. McElwee

The Vatican's highest court has dropped its investigation into a former Vatican official accused of soliciting a woman for sex in the confessional.

The Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura confirmed the acquittal of Fr. Hermann Geissler in a brief release May 17, following a statement from the priest's order that acknowledged the accusation but said a panel of five judges from the tribunal had found "no crime" in the case.

Geissler, who is a member of a religious community known colloquially as "the Work," is an Austrian theologian. He resigned as a department head at the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in January, after NCR and other outlets reported on Doris Wagner's accusation that he had solicited her during confession in 2009.

Geissler has denied the accusation. In its statement announcing his resignation in January, the doctrinal congregation said the priest had made the decision to step down in order to "limit the damage already done" to his employer.

The Apostolic Signatura is the highest judicial authority in the Catholic Church, apart from the pope himself. It has been led since 2014 by French Moroccan Cardinal Dominique Mamberti.

In its release, the court said the panel of five judges evaluating the case had been constructed from among its 19 cardinal and bishop members. It said the panel had issued an acquittal decree May 15 after it could not prove "with due moral certainty … the alleged 'grave delict.' "

Wagner, a former member of Geissler's religious community, provided NCR with copies of her communications with the Signatura over the past several months as the court was pursuing its investigation of the priest.

The correspondence, conducted via postal mail and containing the identifying official stamps of the court, indicates that the Signatura was asked to pursue the case Jan. 10 by Pope Francis, likely to avoid the doctrinal congregation having to investigate one of its own former officials.

Although Wagner was allowed to submit a written testimony detailing her accusations against Geissler and was initially asked to make herself available for a deposition, the materials indicate the Signatura later decided such a deposition would be unnecessary for its process.

Affidavit Supporting the Issuance of Warrants to Search

DALLAS (TX)
Judicial District Court, Dallas County

May 15, 2019

By Detective David Clark

5. I am currently employed by the Dallas Police Department (DPD) as a police officer. I have been so employed for approximately 20 years and have been a detective assigned to the Child Exploitation Unit, Crimes Against Persons Division, of said department for approximately the last nine years. I am responsible for the investigation of molestation and sexual assault cases involving children and strangers. During my employment as a police officer, I have used a variety of methods during various types of investigations, including, but not limited to, visual surveillance, general questioning of witnesses, defendants, and the use of search warrants, and electronic interceptions. Based on my training and experience relating to the investigation of child exploitation and human trafficking cases, and based upon interviews I conducted with defendants and witnesses, I am familiar with the ways that child sexual abusers groom their victims. My familiarity includes the various means and methods by which sexual predators single out their victims, attempt to befriend their parents and other family members, as well as use their position of power to convince their victims not to tell anyone of the sexual molestation that occurred between the defendant and victim. I have interviewed hundreds of victims of child sex abuse and understand these victims sometimes take several months, years, or sometimes never tell anyone about being a victim of sexual abuse as a child. I have presented an investigative topic on how to effectively investigate child abuse cases at several Child Abuse Conferences across the country.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVESTIGATION

6. On February 28, 2018, the Chancellor of the Diocese, Mary Edlund, contacted the Dallas Police Department's Child Exploitation Unit regarding allegations against a then-serving priest, Paredes. Chancellor Edlund advised the allegations regarded Paredes sexually abusing, over a period of years, several juvenile members of St. Cecilia Church. I was assigned this case and I made contact with Bill Sims, an attorney representing the Diocese. Mr. Sims stated the Diocese and the victims were in a monetary settlement process and he believed the victims did not want to pursue criminal allegations.

Native American victims of sex abuse at Catholic boarding schools fight for justice

SIOUX FALLS (SD)
Sioux Falls Argus Leader

May 16, 2019

By Patrick Anderson

DESPITE RECENT ATTEMPTS AT TRANSPARENCY BY SOUTH DAKOTA’S CATHOLIC AUTHORITIES, NATIVE AMERICAN ABUSE VICTIMS ARE STILL WITHOUT ANSWERS.

MARTY—There is a feel to the old place that still haunts her.

Even with construction crews working the earth and birds chirping noisily in the trees above, she can feel the silence.

Behind the silence, sadness and horror.

Louise Charbonneau Aamot rested her fist on the church windowsill as her eyes welled with tears. Its gray steeple cutting into the sky, the church towered over the grounds of the old St. Paul's Indian Mission boarding school..

The school, tucked away in a woodsy expanse of the Yankton Reservation, is where her childhood was destroyed.

Aamot is not silent.

Abuse victims back statute of limitations reform legislation

WILKES-BARRE (PA)
FOX 56

May 15, 2019

By Amanda Hoskins

Victims of sexual abuse by a Pennsylvania doctor are asking for their chance to file suits against him and the institutions they say covered it up.

Backing a Senate bill introduced in April, the victims took their stories to the state capitol Wednesday.

Just this week New Jersey's governor signed a statute of limitations bill into law, making it the 11th state to do so.

Victims hope the more they share their stories, the more pressure it will put on lawmakers in Pennsylvania to act too.

“He fondled and penetrated me as an 11 year old,” explained Ashley Krzanowsky.

She said what happened to her inside Dr. Johnnie Barto's office 22 years ago has scarred her.

New Jersey extends statute of limitations for child sex abuse claims

NEWARK (NJ)
CNA

May 14, 2019

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy signed into law this week a bill relaxing the state’s statute of limitations for child sex abuse victims.

The law will allow increased time for civil action and will permit victims to seek compensation from institutions as well as individuals.

The Archdiocese of Newark objected to certain portions of the bill, but stressed that overall, the Catholic Church is in favor of its crucial goal of bringing justice and healing for victims.

“While we disagreed on specific elements of this legislation, the Catholic community, the legislature, and the Governor sincerely agree on one key position - the need to restore justice for the victims of sexual abuse in New Jersey,” the archdiocese said in a statement.

Currently, the statute of limitations in New Jersey restricts sex abuse lawsuits to when the victim is 20 years old or two years after they first realize that they were harmed by abuse. In December, the new legislation will allow child victims of sexual assault to file civil lawsuits until they turn 55 or until seven years from the time they become aware of the injury, whichever comes later.

New Jersey Extends Statute of Limitations for Sex Abuse Victims

NEW JERSEY
Campus Safety

May 15, 2019

By Katie Malafronte

The extension will allow victims of sexual abuse more time to sue their attackers and seek damages from institutions.

Governor Phil Murphy of New Jersey signed a law on Monday to extend the statute of limitations for victims of sexual abuse.

Victims will now have more time to seek civil action for their sexual abuse and an easier time seeking damages from institutions, such as a church that may have covered up abuse, reports northjersey.com

Under the state’s current law, survivors of sexual abuse have only two years to pursue litigation and a victim of child sexual abuse has until age 20.

Now, victims of child sexual abuse have up until the age of 55 to sue their abusers, or within seven years of their realization that the abuse caused them harm.

Survivors who were prevented from taking their abusers to court due to the statute of limitations will now have the opportunity to do so. The new law will allow victims two years to file lawsuits and seek damages.

New Jersey Extends Statute Of Limitations, Allowing Sex Abuse Victims More Time To Sue

TRENTON (NJ)
CBS3

May 13, 2019

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy has signed legislation that eases restrictions on when childhood sexual abuse victims can seek damages in court. This comes after a wave of details last year about the abuse of minors in the Roman Catholic Church.

The legislation allows child victims to sue up until they turn 55 years old, or are within seven years of their first realization that the abused caused harm to them.

“This legislation allows survivors who have faced tremendous trauma the ability to pursue justice through the court system,” said Governor Phil Murphy

Brothers Abused By Minnesota Priest File Lawsuit Against Vatican

ST. PAUL (MN)
The Associated Press, News Partner

May 16, 2019

The lawsuit attempts to trace a direct line from clergy sex abuse victims to the Vatican, through Minnesota church officials.

Three brothers who were sexually abused by a priest from the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis filed a federal lawsuit Tuesday against the Vatican, claiming the Holy See bears responsibility because the case was mishandled by former Archbishop John Nienstedt and the Vatican's former ambassador to the United States.

The lawsuit attempts to trace a direct line from clergy sex abuse victims to the Vatican, through Minnesota church officials. Luke, Stephen and Ben Hoffman were abused by former priest Curtis Wehmeyer, roughly between 2009 and 2012.

"I have too many nieces and nephews to let something like this happen to anybody else," Stephen Hoffman said about his decision to come forward.

Nienstedt and the former ambassador, Carlo Maria Viganò, have previously denied the allegations raised in the lawsuit. The Vatican's U.S. lawyer, Jeffrey Lena, had no immediate comment. In the past Lena has described sex abuse lawsuits against the Vatican as publicity stunts.

California Dioceses Creating Abuse Compensation Program

CALIFORNIA
Insurance Journal

May 16, 2019

Six Roman Catholic dioceses in California are creating a program to compensate people who were sexually abused by priests as children, in return for them promising not to sue.

The program announced Tuesday includes the Archdiocese of Los Angeles and the dioceses of Fresno, Orange, Sacramento, San Bernardino and San Diego. Together, they cover 36 counties and some 10 million Catholics, or about 80 percent of the state’s Catholics.

How will extending statute of limitations in sex abuse cases impact New Jersey?

CAMDEN (NJ)
North Jersey Record

May 17, 2019

By Deena Yellin

The ink was still wet on the law signed by Gov. Phil Murphy on Monday extending the statute of limitations for victims of child sexual abuse when it was put into use:

A former altar boy announced Tuesday morning that he was filing a lawsuit against the Diocese of Camden and his former parish, alleging he was sexually abused as a child by the late Rev. Brendan Sullivan, a priest at St. James Roman Catholic Church in Ventnor City.

More lawsuits are likely to come. The question is whether there will be a flood or more like a trickle.

May 16, 2019

Money and transparency: Are the Diocese of Sacramento's efforts of atonement actually working?

SACRAMENTO (CA)
ABC 10 News

May 17, 2019

The Sacramento Diocese announced on Tuesday, May 14, 2019 the creation of a new victim compensation fund for people who have been abused by members of the clergy.

Sacramento is one of five dioceses across the state launching the fund in an effort “to own and atone for the Church’s failure to protect children and young people abused by Catholic priests,” according to Bishop Jaime Soto’s statement.

In April, the Diocese published a list of forty-four priests and two deacons credibly accused of perpetrating sexual abuse. The Diocese defined a credible allegation as one in which, "with the information we have, is it more likely than not that the allegation is true."

In the following weeks, the Bishop also made public the Diocese's commitment to cooperate with California Attorney, General Xavier Becerra’s investigation into whether California dioceses complied with their mandatory reporting of sexual abuse to law enforcement.

Since the list was made public, some have questioned whether it is complete and if there are more than the 130 victims reported in it.

Kurt Hoffman told ABC10 about the sexual assault he suffered while attending Sacramento Jesuit High School in 1987 when he was 14 years old.

“I was shocked and to my dismay, he wasn't included on the list,” said Hoffman of Brother William Farrington, the school’s swim coach at the time.

Kevin Eckery, a spokesperson for the Sacramento Diocese told ABC10 that "the name of Mr. Hoffman’s abuser was published by the Jesuits on December 7th of 2018 and distributed widely. There are currently efforts underway to add his name to the Sacramento list."

He added that, "Nuns or brothers may be added later. Staff or volunteers may be added at some point, but no decision has been made."

Hoffman said that after he made the accusation, school authorities fired Brother Farrington and told his parents the man would never work with young people.

Fifteen years later, “in 2002 when the church scandal erupted, I googled him... To my dismay, shock, and outrage, I found out he was working at Loyola Marymount University,” said Hoffman.

In court, Roxborough woman recounts alleged rape by priest also charged with making sex tapes

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
Philadelphia Inquirer

May 16, 2019

By Jeremy Roebuck

As a teenager committed to her Roman Catholic faith, she thought she was doing everything right.

She volunteered as an altar server at her Roxborough parish. She sang in the choir and worked nights and weekends as a fill-in secretary at the church office.

And even when, at 16, she gave in to the sexual advances of her priest — the Rev. Armand Garcia — she said she believed him when he told her that God had put him in her life to take care of her.

Then came the time she refused.

“He came up from behind me and pushed me up against a wall. He held my arms down and spread my legs apart,” the now 21-year-old testified in a Philadelphia courtroom Thursday. “I was wearing my school uniform. I didn’t know what to do.”

That alleged 2014 sexual assault in the rectory of Immaculate Heart of Mary parish now forms the basis of one of the first criminal prosecutions of an area priest since the Archdiocese of Philadelphia recommitted itself to cracking down on sexual offenses after a scathing 2011 grand jury investigation that led to charges against six clerics.

The testimony of the woman — offered publicly for the first time Thursday — serves as the backbone of the government’s case. The Inquirer is withholding her name because she is an alleged victim of sexual assault.

Her composed and self-assured account convinced Municipal Court Judge Wendy L. Pew to hold Garcia for trial on charges including rape, sexual assault, and corruption of a minor.

Prosecutors also have charged the 50-year-old priest with filming a sex act involving a child — counts tied to cellphone video his accuser said he shot of their encounters on at least two occasions.

“He said he wanted to have something to remember it by,” the woman recalled. “I could only watch a few minutes. I was very uncomfortable.”

Garcia, who spent much of Thursday’s hearing with his head bowed and hands clenched in his lap, has denied the charges.

But unlike many of the cases of sexual misconduct involving priests that have kicked off a new wave of the global clergy abuse crisis in the last year, Garcia’s alleged assault was preceded by what his lawyer, William J. Brennan, described Thursday as a “long-standing, consensual sexual relationship” with his accuser.


Abused Boy Scout limited to $20,000 award due to ‘archaic’ state law

BOSTON (MA)
Boston Herald

May 16, 2019

That law, lawyers and victims say, dissuades sexual abuse victims from coming forward.

“It’s a real slap in the face,” said a 64-year-old man, who was sexually abused by a scoutmaster in Hyde Park, Dedham and Walpole in the late 1960s. He was 12 at the time of the abuse.

“The cap minimizes what happened,” added the victim, whose name the Herald is withholding because he is a sexual assault victim. He received $20,000 a few years ago after suing the Boy Scouts.

“It should be more, especially if it happened to a minor,” he added. His lawyer, Carmen Durso, confirmed the details of the case to the Herald.

Bay State attorneys and lawmakers are looking to abolish the charitable immunity limit on cases against nonprofits. New York, New Jersey and the majority of other states have eliminated the cap.

“We’re usually the leader,” said state Rep. Carmine Gentile, a Sudbury Democrat. “This is one of those rare instances where the rest of the country got the message, but we haven’t yet in Massachusetts.”

Gentile has filed legislation to scrap the charitable immunity cap in Massachusetts, home of the lowest in the country. Other Massachusetts lawmakers have filed bills to raise the $20,000 cap on charities and universities, along with getting rid of the $100,000 cap for medical malpractice resulting in serious injury or death.

Costly legal struggles prompt dioceses to find ways to raise money

JOHNSTOWN (PA)
Tribune Democrat

May 14, 2019

By Dave Sutor

Back in 2014, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown announced plans to sell the bishop's residence in Blair County.

An acknowledgment was made that some undefined amount of money was needed because of costs associated with legal matters involving clergy sexual abuse. The decision was also presented as a choice by Bishop Mark Bartchak to live in simpler accommodations at the Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament's rectory.

At the time, the extent of the financial impact of Altoona-Johnstown's scandal was not really known outside of the diocese's inner-most circle, excluding a few instances, such as a settlement in the Michael Hutchinson v. Rev. Francis Luddy case.

But now, a half-decade later, the sale of the property might have been a foreshadowing of the fate that awaits the state's seven other dioceses – Allentown, Erie, Greensburg, Harrisburg, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and Scranton – as they attempt to deal with compensating victims.

All of those dioceses started funds that run during different time periods in 2019.

The programs were established after Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro released a grand jury report in August that provided details about decades of sexual abuse and coverup in six of the commonwealth's dioceses.

Many unknowns remain, though, concerning what will be the total financial impact to the dioceses, including whether any will need to sell off assets.

“The question is who they're going to pay and how much,” said Richard Serbin, a Blair County attorney who has represented hundreds of victims of clergy sexual abuse in the state. “And what is the limit and what is the minimum. We don't know any of that. None of that is transparent.

Victims may face inconsistent rules, opportunities across different dioceses

JOHNSTOWN (PA)
Tribune Democrat

May 14, 2019

By Dave Sutor

Politics, religion, law and finances were all linked in the process that led to the creation of compensation funds for victims of clergy sexual abuse in seven of Pennsylvania's Roman Catholic dioceses.

For years, when priests, parishes and dioceses faced allegations of abuse, the matters were often handled in secret – with victims being required to accept non-disclosure agreements as part of settlements.

But then, in 2018, the Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General released a grand jury report that provided details about how at least 300 priests allegedly abused thousands of children across six of the commonwealth's dioceses.

In response, the Philadelphia Archdiocese and dioceses in Pittsburgh, Erie, Scranton, Allentown, Harrisburg and Greensburg opened their own individual compensation funds with the goal of providing financial assistance to victims. Erie Bishop Lawrence Persico, when announcing his diocese's program earlier this year, said he wants the fund to “provide some measure of justice, closure and validation for the terrible acts that victims endured.”

Harrisburg Bishop Ronald Gainer called his diocese's fund an acknowledgment that “terrible abuses did occur.”

But some victims advocates have pointed out that the dioceses only started the funds after the coverups were publicly exposed and when legislators began considering changing the state's statute of limitations to include a two-year window during which victims could file civil claims for assaults that occurred in the past.

“Victims deserve to get compensation, but what is a better scenario is if the statute of limitations gets lifted and there gets to be a window of opportunity for old cases to come forward,” said Judy Jones, a Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests regional leader.

“We mostly think the church officials want to do the compensation thing so that people won't sue. The reason they don't want them to sue is not so much about the money. They don't have trouble spending parishioners' money. It is they don't want to go to trial.”

Differences by diocese

Seeking compensation can be both straightforward and nuanced, according to individuals who have dealt with the process.

'Independent' administrators play key role in compensation fund process

JOHNSTOWN (PA)
Tribune Democrat

May 14, 2019

By Dave Sutor

Camille Biros and Kenneth Feinberg are arguably the most influential people involved in the process of financially supporting victims of child sexual abuse perpetrated by Roman Catholic priests in Pennsylvania.

The two attorneys from Washington, D.C., administer compensation funds for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia and the dioceses of Pittsburgh, Erie, Scranton and Allentown. They determine what – if any – money victims receive.

But Biros and Feinberg play another role – beyond merely financial decisions – as their reputation is used to assuage concerns that the dioceses might be controlling the decisions. They have handled numerous high-profile funds, including ones related to the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks and Boston Marathon bombings.

Harrisburg and Greensburg compensation funds are being administered by Commonwealth Mediation and Conciliation Inc. from Massachusetts, while Altoona-Johnstown is the only diocese in the state without a fund.

“I'm not familiar with the Massachusetts fund administrators,” said Richard Serbin, a Blair County attorney, who has represented victims of clergy sex abuse in Pennsylvania for decades. “But Feinberg and Biros I do not feel – given their reputation – that they would allow the dioceses to control the day-to-day decisions.”

Biros described herself and Feinberg as “totally independent.”

“They hire us with the understanding that we're going to run these programs, and we're going to make these determinations, and we're going to offer amounts of money that we deem to be appropriate,” Biros said. “And they have really nothing to say about it. That's the agreement.”

But “nevertheless, the diocese has a great deal of control,” according to Serbin.

LAWLESS

KIANA (ALASKA)
Anchorage Daily News/Pro Publica

May 16, 2019

By Kyle Hopkins

Village Police Officer Annie Reed heard her VHF radio crackle to life in the spring of 2018 with the familiar voice of an elder. I need help at my house, the woman said.

Reed, who doesn’t wear a uniform because everyone in this Arctic Circle village of 421 can spot her ambling gait and bell of salt-and-pepper hair at a distance, steered her four-wheeler across town. There had been a home invasion, she learned. One of the local sex offenders, who outnumber Reed 7-to-1, had pried open a window and crawled inside, she said. The man then tore the clothes from the elder’s daughter, who had been sleeping, gripped her throat and raped her, according to the charges filed against him in state court.

Reed, a 49-year-old grandmother, was the only cop in the village. She carried no gun and, after five years on the job, had received a total of three weeks of law enforcement training. She had no backup. Even when the fitful weather allows, the Alaska State Troopers, the statewide police force that travels to villages to make felony arrests, are a half-hour flight away.

It’s moments like these when Reed thinks about quitting. If she does, Kiana could become the latest Alaska village asked to survive with no local police protection of any kind.

An investigation by the Anchorage Daily News and ProPublica has found one in three communities in Alaska has no local law enforcement. No state troopers to stop an active shooter, no village police officers to break up family fights, not even untrained city or tribal cops to patrol the streets. Almost all of the communities are primarily Alaska Native.

Seventy of these unprotected villages are large enough to have both a school and a post office. Many are in regions with some of the highest rates of poverty, sexual assault and suicide in the United States. Most can be reached only by plane, boat, all-terrain vehicle or snowmobile. That means, unlike most anywhere else in the United States, emergency help is hours or even days away.

No more secrets

SACRAMENTO (CA)
News & Review

May 16, 2019

By Stephen Magagnini

During his more than 35 years in the ministry, Sacramento Bishop Jaime Soto has never shied away from controversy, always standing up for what he believes is right, whether he’s fighting for immigration reform or a more inclusive view of all Catholics regardless of sexual orientation.

The 63-year-old cleric again finds himself in the eye of a spiritual storm—of sexual abuse revelations breaking over Sacramento and the rest of the Catholic world.

“Every week it seems that there are new revelations about the depth and horror of the scourge of sexual abuse,” Soto told SN&R last week. “I am committed to confronting this ugly past. We failed to protect you as children, we failed to tell you the truth as adults.”

On April 30, Soto released a list of 44 priests and two deacons who have been credibly accused of sexual abuse of minors and young people in the Diocese of Sacramento.

The list covered incidents between 1955 and 2014 “and is a necessary reckoning for our local church,” Soto said. None of the priests identified are still working for the diocese; many have died.

Based on a comprehensive outside review of nearly 1,500 clerics throughout the diocese, the victims who reported being sexually abused include 39 girls, 91 boys or young adults and three men.

The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests has been urging Soto to issue such a list, which includes photos of clerics, their whereabouts and full work assignments

Francis Follows Through

NEW YORK (NY)
America Magazine

May 16, 2019

When the Vatican summit on clerical sex abuse concluded in February, the editors of this magazine argued that its effectiveness would be demonstrated by what happened after it was over. Would it prove more than a public-relations exercise? Would the searing testimony of abuse survivors send bishops home determined to undertake the work of accountability and reform? Would Pope Francis actually deliver the “concrete measures” he indicated were forthcoming? Not all of these questions can be fully answered yet. But just three months after the summit’s conclusion, Francis has proved that at least his own words were not empty promises, handing down Vos estis lux mundi (“You Are the Light of the World”), a motu proprio that establishes universal laws for reporting and investigating sex abuse.

The first section of the document states that bishops, priests, and members of religious orders must report to church officials both abuse and the cover-up of abuse. This applies to the abuse not only of minors, but also of vulnerable adults, including those forced “to perform or submit to sexual acts” through threats or “abuse of authority”—a clear reference to seminarians preyed on by those with power over them. The motu proprio takes effect this month, and within a year, “public, stable, and easily accessible” systems for submitting reports of abuse must be instituted in dioceses where they do not currently exist.

The document also provides protections for those who report abuse. Any retaliation or discrimination against whistleblowers is prohibited. The document underscores that reporting abuse does not violate “office confidentiality,” and that those who submit a report have no obligation to “keep silent” about their claims.

Pennsylvania Catholic Conference Publicly Attacks Survivor Advocate

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

May 16, 2019

As a SNAP Leader in Philadelphia and one who works very closely with survivors of clergy sex abuse here in Pennsylvania, I am appalled at the remarks made on a social media platform of the Pennsylvania Catholic Conference towards Ms. Carolyn Fortney. The comment lacked professionalism, public opinion etiquette, and good taste, as well the promoted Catholic principles. We stand in solidarity with Carolyn and all other survivors and advocates who have felt insulted or besmirched by the posting.

This remark demonstrates the continued disdain that Catholic lobbyist employees have for survivors fighting for justice and for their lives. No survivor should ever be treated with such disrespect, ever, especially after already suffering harm from the Church. The Pennsylvania Catholic Conference should apologize publicly to Carolyn, and take formal disciplinary action on the person responsible.

More victims of child sex abuse show support for bill blocked by Capitol leaders

PHOENIX (AZ)
3TV/CBS 5

May 15, 2019

By Dennis Welch

As children, Tim Lennon and Mary O'Day were sexually abused by members of the Roman Catholic Church.

Now they are lending their voices to a fight at the Arizona Legislature over a childhood sexual assault bill.

Written by Sen. Paul Boyer, the proposal grants victims more time to sue their abusers in civil court.

The current law bars survivors from suing after they turn 20 years old.

Boyer proposes giving them seven years after they disclose as adults to file a civil claim. That could happen decades after they were abused.

"We have to give children their voice. Whether they are 12 or 42, the child still needs a voice," O'Day said Wednesday at the Capitol.

Her comments came a week after Boyer made a dramatic stand on the Senate floor.

Since numbers make news, how do we explain America’s religious recession since 2000?

Get Religion blog

May 16, 2019

By Richard Ostling

Numbers make news. Think of how many articles will report breathlessly on U.S. political polls between now and Nov. 3, 2020. And numbers created “the biggest American religion story of the past decade,” says analyst Mark Silk, referring to the increase in “nones” who tell pollsters they have no particular religious identity.

This is news: A new Gallup report says a severe religious recession began to build right around 2000.

What explains this turn-of-the-century turn? Journalists with Gallup numbers in hand should run this puzzle past the experts in search of explanations.

Gallup combines data from 1998–2000, compared with 2016–2018. A topline finding is that Americans reporting membership in a house of worship hit an all-time low of 50 percent by last year, which compares with a consistent 68 percent or more from 1937, when the question was first asked, and all the way through the 1990s. The era since 2000 mingles that loss with declining worship attendance and the “nones” boom.

Since your audiences are already transfixed by the 2020 campaign, consider this detail from Gallup’s internals. Comparing 1998-2000 with 2016-2018, church membership reported by Republicans slipped from 77 percent to 69 percent, but among Democrats plummeted from 71 percent to 48 percent, a remarkable 23 percent drop. (Independents went from 59 percent to 45 percent.) How come

Victims urge boycott of KC MO diocese

KANSAS CITY (MO)
Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

SNAP: “Give elsewhere until there’s honesty”

Bishop still hiding abusers’ names, group says

"At least reveal the living abusers NOW," it argues

Two more publicly accused KC area clerics are 'outed'

“For the safety of kids, stop stalling” victims beg prelate

Current and former church staff must call law enforcement, SNAP says

WHAT
Holding signs and childhood photos at a sidewalk news conference, clergy sex abuse victims and their supporters will
--'out' two more publicly and credibly accused priests who spent time in KC MO,
--urge Catholics to donate elsewhere until their bishop releases a list of such abusers.

They will also urge current and former KC area church staff to call the Missouri attorney general and the Kansas Bureau of Investigation – because of on-going probes of clergy sex crimes and cover ups in both states - with any information or suspicions they may have about clergy sex crimes and cover ups.

WHEN
Thursday, May 16 at 1:30 p.m.

Archbishop’s lawyer confirms charges against journalist to be dropped

ROME (ITALY)
Crux

May 16, 2019

By Elise Harris

A lawyer representing a Peruvian archbishop who last month withdrew criminal complaints against two journalists says that a delay in dropping the second case is due to a procedural issue, not because they are backtracking on the decision.

On April 24, Archbishop Jose Antonio Eguren Anselmi of Piura announced he was retracting a criminal complaint of aggravated defamation that he had launched against journalist Paola Ugaz last summer. Under Peruvian law, a private citizen can make a complaint of defamation that triggers a criminal investigation and, possibly, trial.

In Sex Abuse Investigation, Police Raid Catholic Diocese of Dallas

WASHINGTON (DC)
Governing

May 16, 2019

By Nichole Manna

The Catholic Diocese of Dallas has not been forthcoming in sharing information about priests accused of sexually abusing children, police said Wednesday.

Search warrants were executed Wednesday morning and officers were at the diocese offices at around 7:30 a.m. in connection with their investigation into five priests: Edmundo Paredes, 70; Richard Thomas Brown, 77; Alejandro Buitrago, 77; William Joseph Hughes Jr., 63; and Jeremy Myers, 62.

The warrant says investigators believe all five men sexually assaulted children, but that the diocese has not shared all of its information about them.

In a statement, the diocese said it has been cooperating with the investigation and that it was never subpoenaed. The statement also said that officials in the diocese have given police the personnel files of the five priests named in the warrant and "has been involved in ongoing discussions with DPD investigators."

However, a search warrant written by police says the diocese didn't cooperate with the investigation. In one of the cases, the warrant says, a priest was asked by the diocese to investigate himself.

Maj. Max Geron of the Dallas Police Department said the investigation started in August 2018, when police received information from the diocese about allegations against Paredes and financial improprieties.

Geron said the department has interviewed victims, witnesses and suspects. However, the department has not been given a number of personnel files for priests who were flagged for sexual abuse, the warrant says.

Asked if the investigation involves new allegations, Geron said, "I won't address the time frame for the allegations, but I will say they are new allegations that were made to us following the announcement of charges against Paredes."

Victims of Pa. pediatrician who sexually abused children push for reform of statute of limitations

HARRISBURG (PA)
Patriot News

May 15, 2019

By Ivey DeJesus

In recent years, the debate over reform of the state’s statute of limitations has overwhelmingly been framed against the clergy sex abuse crisis.

On Wednesday about a dozen victims of convicted serial predator pediatrician Johnnie “Jack” Barto lent their voices to that effort.

In a press conference held at the Capitol Rotunda, the victims, along with state Sen. Katie Muth (D-Montgomery), reiterated long heard arguments for the reform of the state’s child sex crime laws. Muth is a co-sponsor of Senate Bill 540, which calls for broad reform, including elimination of criminal statutes and a two-year retroactive window to allow time-barred victims to file civil suits.

Muth vowed to work across the aisle in the Senate to engender support for the bill, which currently has 18 co-sponsors. The freshman senator said victims of all ages need and deserve the protection of the law, adding that her bill would provide victims a choice between pathways to healing, including lawsuits.

“We are failing,” Muth said. “We are failing to give victims a reason to come forward.”

Attorney General Josh Shapiro who led the grand jury investigation into the Catholic Church in Pennsylvania as well as prosecuted Barto, has endorsed SB 540.

California confession debate pivots on how to keep children safe

ROME (ITALY)
Crux

May 16, 2019

By John L. Allen Jr.

When I started covering the Vatican back in the 1990s, Italian journalist Vittorio Messori was a legend. He was the author of the 1985 Ratzinger Report, the book that made the future Pope Benedict XVI a global lightning rod, as well as Crossing the Threshold of Hope with Pope John Paul II in 1994.

Messori is an epigrammatic guy, and I remember him talking once about stories on the Church no journalist could ever report. Among them, he said, was the story of how many atrocities in human history have been prevented by the sacrament of confession - that unique moment when, in absolute privacy, a priest has the chance to speak heart-to-heart with someone, potentially turning their life around.

The memory comes to mind in light of a bill currently being debated in the California Senate, SB 360, which would effectively shred the seal of the confessional by eliminating an exemption to the state’s mandatory reporting law for “penitential communication.” California is not the only venue in which such a proposal is in the air - both Chile and Argentina, for instance, are other examples.

The bill’s sponsor, Democratic Senator Jerry Hill of San Mateo, claims it’s necessary because “the clergy-penitent privilege has been abused on a large scale, resulting in the unreported and systemic abuse of thousands of children across multiple denominations and faiths.”

To state the obvious, Hill’s assault on the Church is a natural byproduct of its well-chronicled failures on the clerical sexual abuse crisis, including the fallout from the Pennsylvania Grand Jury report last year as well as the scandal surrounding ex-cardinal and ex-priest Theodore McCarrick.

The fact the Church has brought all this on itself, however, doesn’t mean every punitive measure one can imagine is necessarily a good idea - and there are multiple reasons to conclude that Hill’s proposal is a spectacularly bad one.

The list begins with the obvious and egregious violation of religious freedom the bill represents. The sacrament of confession is a core element of the Catholic faith, and no state should ever be in the position of dictating doctrine to a religious community.

One might also mention that targeting the Catholic Church ignores the broader context of child sexual abuse.

Recently, the Schools Insurance Authority in California commissioned an audit on the potential impact of another bill currently in the legislature that would make it easier to sue public schools for child abuse. The audit used a baseline 2017 estimate from the U.S. Department of Justice that 10-12 percent of children in public schools suffer sexual misconduct by an employee at some point K-12, and estimated that under the terms of the bill the losses of the California system due to such claims could grow from $813 million over the past 12 years to $3.7 billion.

May 15, 2019

Texas Lawmakers Consider Extending Statute Of Limitations On Child Sex Abuse Cases

DALLAS (TX)
CBS 11

May 15, 2019

By Erin Jones

A Dallas-based attorney who represents survivors of sexual abuse believes the investigation of alleged sex abuse by clergy shows why statewide, the statute of limitations needs to be extended for child victims.

One piece of legislation could make that happen.

“I represent a number of survivors of clergy abuse in the Catholic Church,” attorney Michelle Simpson Tuegel said.

She said most of these clients are in their 50s and 60s, waiting decades to talk about what happened to them and seek justice.

The statute of limitations for child sex abuse would start counting the years from the age of 18, just like what’s seen in current Texas law.

“There’s a lot of pressure to keep things silent,” Monica Baez said.

Baez said she was abused by a Houston priest as a toddler. His name is in a list of priests credibly accused of abuse.

“It’s very intimidating,” Baez said. “It’s very scary. Shameful. You don’t know if anyone is going to believe you because you’ve tried. It’s very emotional and you just want to hide.”

“I think particularly when you’re talking about abuse connected to someone’s religion – a religious institution, their faith, that makes it even harder to disclose,” Tuegel said.

Tuegel said that’s why she’s calling on Texas lawmakers to vote in favor of House Bill 3809, which would extend the civil statute of limitations from 15 to 30 ye

Retired priest accused of having child porn is sick and can’t stand trial, lawyer argues

NEW YORK (NY)
Daily News

May 15, 2019

By Trevor Boyer

A 98-year-old retired Catholic priest accused of possessing child pornography will never be fit to stand trial so charges against him should be dismissed, his lawyer argued in a motion filed on Wednesday at Bronx Supreme Court.

Monsignor Harry Byrne resides at St. Lawrence Friary Infirmary in Beacon, N.Y., and requires total care for all his basic needs, according to the filing. If accepted, the motion would dismiss the 74-count indictment that the priest faces.

"He is irreversibly infirm," his attorney, Marvin Ray Raskin, told the Daily News. "There's a lot of hope for rehabilitation, but there's no practical expectation."

Byrne was an activist priest who worked to create affordable housing in the Bronx and Manhattan, and he remained outspoken on church issues even after his retirement in 1996.

He faces 37 counts of possessing an obscene sexual performance by a child and another 37 counts of possessing a sexual performance by a child. He turned himself into police on Oct. 31, 2017, and pleaded not guilty.

Byrne “had dozens of photographs on his computer of girls 8 to 14 years old performing sex acts with men or posing naked,” Bronx District Attorney Darcel Clark said in announcing his indictment in 2017.

Prosecutors charged that Byrne used internet search engines to find the pornography online. The illegal images were found in a forensic sweep of the priest's computer by the NYPD Computer Crimes Squad, officials said.

In a July 2010 blog post, Byrne railed about the Catholic Church’s mishandling of the pedophile priest crisis.

“Bishops ... quietly reassigned miscreants and thereby exponentially multiplied the number of victims,” he wrote. “In the U.S., not one cover-up bishop has been arraigned before church authorities for his part in the scandal.”

Byrne, who was chancellor of the Archdiocese of New York from 1968 to 1970, was living at the St. John Vianney Center for Retired Priests in the Riverdale section of the Bronx. The probe, which was started five months prior to his indictment, was based on complaints from the home, officials said at the time.

How police felt stonewalled by Dallas Diocese at every turn in sex abuse investigation

DALLAS (TX)
Dallas Morning News

May 15, 2019

By Jennifer Emily and Cassandra Jaramillo

An affidavit Dallas police used to obtain a search warrant Wednesday to raid Dallas Catholic Diocese offices laid out allegations against five priests and suggested the church subverted police efforts to obtain more information.

The affidavit, signed by Detective David Clark, who is working full-time on sex abuse allegations within the Diocese, sought to seize Diocese records because the church hadn’t handed over all the records it had about allegations against the priests.

All five priests are on the Diocese’s list of 31 “credibly accused” priests, which the church released in January. That list included only accusations against priests that the Diocese concluded were credible after a review by former law enforcement officials and the Diocean Review Board.

But the records handed over to police were not complete, Clark wrote.

The accused priests could not be reached for comment and none have been arrested. One priest previously said he should not be included in the credibly accused list.

Here is a look at the allegations, according to the affidavit:

Edmundo Paredes
Dallas police began investigating a sexual abuse allegation into Edmundo Paredes, 70, after the Diocese told police a victim came forward in August. A warrant was issued for Paredes’ arrest in January. But the details of the allegations by a former altar server were not public until Wednesday in the affidavit.

Three others had previously accused Paredes of sexual abuse and he was included in the list of 31. But police had said the accusers did not want to pursue criminal charges.

Paredes is believed to have fled, possibly to his native Philippines.

The fourth accuser told the Diocese that Paredes sexually assaulted him in the 1990s, when the alleged victim was an altar server at St. Cecilia’s Church, the affidavit says. The boy also attended the church’s school.

The affidavit says Paredes "groomed him by taking him and other altar servers out to eat between Masses and bought them things” after they met in 1991.

In 1994, when the victim was a juvenile, the sexual assaults began: The victim told police "Paredes touched him on his genitals and Paredes placed his mouth on [his] genitals."

Police interviewed several parishioners, office staff members and priests, all of whom corroborated that Paredes brought "several juveniles" into the rectory during evenings and weekends.

The affidavit also states that "some office staff members met with now-retired Chancellor Mary Edlund, in 2006, regarding their concerns over Paredes having juveniles inside the church offices and inside his residence."

According to the affidavit, Edlund told Clark that Paredes' file should contain information about the 2006 meetings.

"That file did not contain any information regarding the 2006 meeting between parishioners and Chancellor Edlund," Clark wrote in the affidavit.

Instead, Clark wrote that he found only notes that appear to have been written by Edlund, which said, "Outcry from adult, send to CPS. ... won't hear back ... letter better than online entry."

In the affidavit, Clark says Child Protective Services officials "had no knowledge of ever seeing the letters" the Diocese says it sent concerning abuse allegations.

Clergy Abuse Survivors Group 'Applauds' Catholic Diocese of Dallas Raid

DALLAS (TX)
NBC DFW 5

May 15, 2019

By Noelle Walker

When Monica Baez saw news of the police raid on the Catholic Diocese of Dallas she had a thought.

"Oh, another one," Baez said. "It's overwhelming."

Baez said she was a toddler in the 1970s when she first became a victim of clergy abuse. Her alleged abuser was not in Dallas, but part of the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston.

"It was awful. He was a monster," Baez said. "I knew that it was something wrong because it was painful. He forced... it was child rape. I call it child rape. I call it was it is."

Baez said she was glad to see police outside three Diocese of Dallas properties Wednesday morning, where they executed search warrants looking for records of sexual abuse related to five priests.

"Because who's protecting the children? How can an institution tell on itself? They're not," Baez said. "It is unbelievable how it's still happening."

Baez said she thought similar raids should be conducted globally.

The Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests (SNAP) issued a statement Wednesday about the Dallas raid.

“We applaud Texas law enforcement officials for raiding the “secret archives” of the Catholic Diocese of Dallas. We are glad that police and prosecutors are taking the issue of clergy abuse in Texas seriously and are not just relying on the promises of church officials.

Disturbing undercover video shows elderly priest joking about his sexual abuse of deaf boys

MENDOZA (ITALY)
LifeSiteNews

May 7, 2019

By Martin M. Barillas

An elderly Catholic priest, apparently in an Italian hospital, was caught in an undercover video laughing and joking about his own sexual assault of boys — along with assaults of other priests — at a diocesan home for deaf-mute children.

The 2017 video shows Italian Father Eligio Piccoli recounting unapologetically -- almost boastfully -- how he abused boys.

“I lost my head and grabbed him from behind,” he said.

With gestures, Piccoli simulated sodomitic acts that priests and other religious allegedly committed with minors. In one instance, Piccoli pointed at the undercover journalist as if to humor him about homosexual rape.

Abuse survivors say "NJ got it right!: [Video]

TRENTON (NJ)
NJ.com

May 13, 2019

Monday, May 13, 2019 - Trenton – Senator Joseph Vitale holds a press conference in the Statehouse Annex on legislation he sponsored to expand the statute of limitations for sexual assault survivors being signed into law. Michael Mancuso | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com

Survivors seek meeting with Ken Feinberg about compensation programs

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

May 15, 2019

A support group for clergy abuse victims want a voice in compensation programs being set up by California Catholic officials.

Leaders of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, are writing to the firm headed by Ken Feinberg requesting the opportunity to meet soon regarding church-designed and run compensation programs, like the one announced yesterday by six other California dioceses.

The group is critical of any process designed to support and help survivors that does not also include survivor input and experiences. “Let us share our experiences to help create a program that will benefit survivors instead of hurt them,” SNAP says in their letter.

SNAP plans to write soon to the other six California bishops who have already announced the outlines of such a program. They are Los Angeles, Fresno, Orange, San Bernardino, San Diego and Sacramento. The Diocese of Santa Rosa has also announced plans for their own compensation program. The remaining five dioceses that have not yet announced plans are Oakland, San Jose, Monterey, Stockton and San Francisco.

A copy of SNAP’s letter is below:

Dear Mr. Feinberg,

We are advocates and survivors of clergy sex abuse. We organize to support others who have experienced abuse and advocate for change that will protect children and help victims of sexual abuse heal.

We have recently learned about the proposed compensation program you are helping church officials at six of the twelve California dioceses design. We write to you today to urge you to include survivors in this process as you work out the details of this proposed program.

In the past, many survivors in our network have leapt at the opportunity presented by compensation programs, believing that participation in the program will lead to a validation of their abuse, a heartfelt apology, and a chance at justice. And all too often, those survivors have come away feeling like little more than variables in a calculation, with the compensation program being less of a healing process and more of an algorithmic one. Critically, in some of these cases survivors have even been barred from bringing cases against their abuser forward or made to sign non-disclosure agreements.

Given this history, we respectfully submit that the same Catholic hierarchy that got us into this mess is now paying to get themselves out of this mess, with the real intent of continuing to cover up their own past and present complicity. And those prelates got us into this mess, in part, by reserving all the decision-making power to themselves, which they're now replicating by hiring your team and designing these programs with apparently little or no input from experienced survivor organizations like ours.

So we plead with you and ask that you and your team meet with us soon, before any more of these programs are devised, and let us share with you how survivors might best be served – and not be re-victimized – by these plans. We have, unfortunately, too much experience in this arena. Let us share our experiences to help create a program that will benefit survivors instead of hurt them.

We have no illusions of stopping top-down, church-run compensation programs. But they can be better designed to make sure the needs of survivors, both long term and short term, are met. And they can be designed to better expose wrongd

California confession bill won't stop abuse, but threatens religious liberty, critics say

WASHINGTON (DC)
Catholic News Agency

May 15, 2019

The appropriations committee of California’s state senate will hold a hearing Thursday on a bill that would require priests to violate the seal of confession if they became aware of allegations of child abuse or neglect while celebrating the sacrament of penance. Critics say the bill would deny Constitutional religious liberty protections, and that there is no evidence it would actually prevent child abuse.

The bill, California SB 360, requires clergy members to report to law enforcement knowledge or suspicion of child abuse or neglect, “including when the clergy member acquires the knowledge or reasonable suspicion of child abuse or neglect during a penitential communication.”

Clergy in California are already required to report knowledge or suspicion of child abuse in most circumstances, though penitential conversations like sacramental confession are exempted, as are other kinds of privileged conversations, among them those covered by attorney-client privilege.

The bill’s sponsor, California state Senator Jerry Hill (D-Calif. 13), has claimed that “the clergy-penitent privilege has been abused on a large scale, resulting in the unreported and systemic abuse of thousands of children across multiple denominations and faiths.”

The senator has claimed that such abuse has been revealed through “recent investigations by 14 attorneys general, the federal government, and other countries.” Hill’s office declined to respond to requests from CNA for clarity or specific instances of the abuse cited.

Archbishop Jose Gomez of Los Angeles said in a May 15 column that Hill’s claim is “simply not true. Hearings on the bill have not presented a single case — in California or anywhere else ­— where this kind of crime could have been prevented if a priest had disclosed information he had heard in confession.”

“SB 360 claims to solve a crisis that does not exist,” Gomez said.

While priests are forbidden from disclosing the contents of sacramental confessions under any circumstances, and face excommunication for doing so, few believe Hill’s bill would prevent child abuse.

California Catholic Conference executive director Andy Rivas told Angelus News May 15 that “there is no evidence that forcing priests to disclose what is learned in the confessional would prevent a single case of child abuse.”

If penitents report being abused, several priests told CNA, they are generally asked to discuss the matter with the priest-confessor immediately after confession has ended. When such conversations take place after confession, clergy members in California are already required by law to report them.

The bill is not the first time Hill has taken issue with internal Church practices. In 2015, he signed a letter urging San Francisco’s Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone to end an archdiocesan requirement that Catholic school teachers live in accord with the moral teachings of the Catholic Church.

The letter said the requirement had “a divisive tone, which stands in stark contrast to the values that define the Bay Area and its history.”

Dallas police investigating alleged sexual abuse by clergy raid Catholic diocese properties

DALLAS (TX)
CNN

May 15, 2019

By Ray Sanchez and Rosa Flores

Maj. Max Geron of the special investigations division said the raids are related to five new allegations of sexual abuse that emerged after police issued an arrest warrant for a priest named Edmundo Paredes, who was previously assigned to St. Cecilia's parish in Dallas.

The parish was one of the locations searched on Wednesday, along with the diocese headquarters and a storage facility, Geron said.

"In addition to the allegations against Mr. Paredes, detectives are investigating at least 5 additional allegations of child abuse against other suspects," Geron told reporters.

"These investigations stem from additional allegations made after the case against Mr. Paredes
became public."

In August, the diocese informed parishioners at St. Cecilia of allegations of sexual abuse by Paredes, the former pastor. The alleged criminal offenses occurred more than a decade ago, church officials said.

The raid comes as the church -- both in the United States and around the world -- wrestles with a fresh wave of scandals that have spurred criminal investigations, roiled the faithful and damaged the institution's moral credibility.

The raids took the diocese by surprise since church officials have been cooperating with authorities for months, according to Catholic Diocese of Dallas spokeswoman Annette Gonzales Taylor.

"We feel like we were being transparent," Gonzales Taylor told CNN.

The diocese was not subpoenaed, she said.

The search warrants were executed at various properties Wednesday, including the pastoral center and administrative offices, Taylor said.

Taylor said police were looking for files of priests who were on a list released by the diocese earlier this year of clergy who had been the subject of credible accusations.

In January, every Catholic diocese in Texas released the names of all priests, deacons and other clergy members accused of sexually abusing children in the past decades.

At least 298 clergy members across the state have faced "credible abuse" allegations going back to the 1940s, according to the lists compiled by the 15 Texas dioceses.

Leading the number of clergy members accused is the Archdiocese of San Antonio -- the largest one in the state -- with 56 priests and other clergy listed. Next is the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston and the dioceses of Dallas, El Paso and Amarillo.

Liberaron a un cura procesado por abusar de nenes de un jardín

[Priest prosecuted for abusing preschoolers released from prison]

ARGENTINA
Telefe Noticias

May 14, 2019

Tras la difusión de las denuncias que lo involucraban en orgías con el portero y la preceptora de un jardín parroquial de San Pedro, el cura fue apartado de la parroquia San Roque. Pero el Obispado de San Nicolás está a cargo de los honorarios de su defensa.

El cura Tulio Mattiussi, de 58 años, que había sido detenido en diciembre pasado junto al portero del Jardín de Infantes "Belén", de la localidad bonaerense de San Pedro, luego de que la Justicia constatara denuncias de abuso a nenes de esa institución que dirigía el sacerdote y acusara a ambos de abuso sexual agravado, fue liberado hace una semana. El auxiliar Anselmo Ojeda, en cambio, sigue detenido.

Sobrevivientes de Caso Maristas critican a Celestino Aós: Se ha alejado de su discurso

[Survivors of Marist abusers criticize Celestino Aós]

CHILE
BioBioChile

May 14, 2019

By Yessenia Márquez and Nicole Martínez

Este martes los sobrevivientes del Caso Maristas se reunieron con el administrador apostólico de Santiago, Celestino Aós. Este encuentro terminó con un balance poco positivo por parte de las víctimas y se señaló que se ha alejado de su discurso inicial.

12 años de prisión para el franciscano que abusó y pagó a una menor y a un discapacitado

[12 years in prison for Franciscan who abused and paid a minor and a disabled person]

SANTIAGO DE COMPOSTELA (SPAIN)
El País

May 15, 2019

By Silvia R. Pontevedra

La Audiencia de Lugo concluye que José Quintela, fraile en el Camino de Santiago, se aprovechó de la "precaria situación personal, familiar y económica" de la muchacha

La chica de 16 años declaró ante la Guardia Civil que el fraile le daba dinero antes, durante o después del sexo, y que la cantidad dependía de la afluencia de visitantes y peregrinos que llegasen al Santuario do Cebreiro (Pedrafita, Lugo), mítica puerta a Galicia del Camino Francés a Santiago. José Quintela Arias, la cara amable que recibía a los caminantes en el templo prerrománico, ha sido condenado por la Audiencia de Lugo a 12 años de prisión y otros 10 de libertad vigilada por abusar de L. de forma continuada y del primo discapacitado de esta en una ocasión. También de elaborar material pornográfico utilizando a la menor para ello, de lo que quedaron sobradas pruebas en su teléfono móvil: desde la cría desnuda y adornada de flores de Pascua en la sacristía hasta el pene del religioso envuelto en billetes de 50 euros.

'Hay curas a quienes se les está pidiendo el pasado judicial'

[Cardinal Salazar admits Colombian Church is lagging in investigations of clergy sex abuse]

COLOMBIA
El Tiempo

May 14, 2019

By Martha Soto and Jose Alberto Mojica

El cardenal Rubén Salazar descarta una epidemia, pero admite que hasta ahora arrancan indagaciones.

El máximo jerarca de la Iglesia católica, cardenal Rubén Salazar, admitió, en entrevista con EL TIEMPO, que están rezagados en las investigaciones de casos de sacerdotes pederastas y violadores. Y, aunque no tiene cifras en la mano, aseguró que no cree que el problema sea tan grave como se ha registrado en otros países.

Pederastia, la vergüenza de la Iglesia que se va develando en Colombia

[Pederasty, the shame of the Church, coming to light in Colombia]

COLOMBIA
El Tiempo

May 14, 2019

Hay apenas 57 procesos penales contra sacerdotes por pederastia, la mayoría en Antioquia.

En una celda de la cárcel de Villahermosa, Cali, está recluido William de Jesús Mazo Pérez, párroco en 2009 de la iglesia de Nuestra Señora de la Candelaria, quien paga 33 años por violar a cuatro niños. Y en la cárcel de Manizales permanece Pedro Abelardo Ospina Hernández, párroco de Filadelfia, Caldas, en el 2008, condenado a 21 años por abusar sexualmente de un joven con trastorno mental moderado.

Comunidad clausurada por excesos sexuales tenía sede en Cesar

[Vatican investigates claims of sexual excess within religious community]

COLOMBIA
El Tiempo

May 15, 2019

Vaticano indaga al Seminario del Pueblo de Dios. Iglesia local dice que en Valledupar no pasó nada.

Un equipo élite de investigación canónica, coordinado directamente desde el Vaticano, tiene abierto un expediente con alcances en territorio colombiano. En efecto, desde la casa matriz de la Iglesia católica se ordenó investigar el proceder de una congregación religiosa que, entre otras cosas, profesaba el sexo libre entre monjas y sacerdotes bajo el precepto de que la sexualidad es el reflejo carnal del amor.

Poland backs paedophilia law after Church documentary rattles ruling party

WARSAW (POLAND)
Reuters

May 14, 2019

Poland announced plans on Tuesday to tighten sentences for child sex abuse, just days after the country's politics were upended by a documentary on paedophilia in the Catholic Church, closely allied to the nationalist ruling Law and Justice party.

In just three days since it was posted on YouTube, more than 11 million people have viewed the documentary "Just Don't Tell Anyone". It shows Poles confronting priests they said abused them as children, and presents allegations that known paedophiles were shifted between parishes.

The documentary has led to a swift public outcry, with lawyers and journalists calling for the police to launch criminal investigations.

The issue has erupted in the run-up to a European parliamentary election in which issues of sexuality and religion have played a prominent role. Law and Justice (PiS) portrays the Catholic faith as a key element of national identity. Liberals argue that the Church has come to wield too much power.

‘Nos dieron la espalda por acusar al sacerdote que violó a mi hija’

["They turned their backs on us for accusing the priest who raped my daughter"]

BOGOTA (COLOMBIA)
El Tiempo

May 14, 2019

Una familia del Cauca lucha para que se haga justicia en el caso contra el párroco Arcángel Acosta.

La historia familiar de Flor Liliana Yatacué Viscunda siempre ha estado atada a la Iglesia católica de Miranda, Cauca. Ella tiene 33 años y vive de una pequeña empresa en la que vende empanadas precocidas, hielo y pulpa de fruta en el barrio El Ruiz.

Police raid Dallas Catholic Diocese offices

DALLAS (TX)
Dallas Morning News

May 15, 2019

Dallas police officers on Wednesday morning executed a search warrant at the Dallas Catholic Diocese's offices in Oak Lawn.

Police have not specified a reason for the raid, but said they'd give more information at an 11 a.m. news conference. A police spokesman said warrants will be executed at various diocese offices throughout Dallas.

The Dallas diocese on Wednesday did not immediately return calls seeking comment.

The raids come as the Catholic Church locally and worldwide continues to deal with its sex abuse crisis and allegations of cover-ups. As part of a transparency effort, all Catholic dioceses in Texas —including Dallas — in January published lists of clergy members "credibly accused" of sexual abuse of minors since 1950.

Dallas Catholic Diocese officials said they had a team of former law enforcement investigators comb through its files to compile the list of 31 names.

That announcement followed the August revelation that Edmundo Paredes, the longtime pastor at St. Cecilia Catholic Church in Oak Cliff, was credibly accused of molesting three teenage boys in the parish over a decade ago. Diocese officials said Paredes also allegedly stole from the church.

The Dallas diocese confirmed it had reached a financial settlement with the three male accusers, the details of which were confidential.

But in January, Dallas police — which assigned Detective David Clark to investigate sex-abuse allegations against Dallas clergy members — issued an arrest warrant for the former Oak Cliff priest after a new accuser emerged.

Paredes had gone missing, but it was believed he had fled to his native country of the Philippines, Burns told parishioners during services at St. Cecilia.

Church officials have in recent months called for potential victims to first contact police and have said they are cooperating with law enforcement investigations. But advocates for sex-abuse victims have remained skeptical of the church, which has had a long history of cover-ups.

After Wednesday's raid, advocacy group Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, or SNAP, released a statement saying they "applaud Texas law enforcement officials" for the raid.

Shame on Pennsylvania GOP as New Jersey, New York Dems deliver justice for abuse victims

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
Philadelphhia Inquirer

May 15, 2019

By Maria Panaritis

Do not for a moment buy the adage that justice is blind. Not in Pennsylvania. Not this week.

After a stunning change to New Jersey law that became official on Monday, and an equally stunning change to New York law in February, justice for sexual assault victims in Pennsylvania now is a second-tier matter, denied by politics and the poor luck of geography.

The divide is stark. It is absurd. And it is — make no mistake — entirely a product of Republican leadership of the House and Senate in Pennsylvania.

Were you raped as a child by a Pennsylvania priest or schoolteacher? If you want justice, then you had better hope it happened in New Jersey or New York. Only those states, under groundbreaking laws, allow civil action for abuse that happened years ago. It is why a Philadelphia man on Monday announced he is suing the Camden Diocese for alleged clergy abuse in Ventnor, N.J.

If, however, you were violated by a Pennsylvania priest or teacher somewhere between Erie and Philly, your only legal option is to shut up and move on. The men who control the House and Senate have chosen to bow to bishops and insurance underwriters rather than stand for the children damaged for life by abusers.

4 Investigates: New Mexico Sex Abuse Lawyers

ALBUQUERQUE (NM)
Channel 4 News

May 14, 2019

By Chris Ramirez

Many have seen the advertisements on TV and Facebook from groups of lawyers offering to help survivors of clergy sex abuse in New Mexico.

When the Archdiocese of Santa Fe declared bankruptcy, it brought a new deadline for lawsuits and a limited pool of money for sex abuse claims. Now, groups of out-of-state lawyers are setting up shop here.

Clergy sex abuse claims against the Archdiocese of Santa Fe must be submitted by June 17. After that, there's no guarantee that sex abuse survivors will get any kind of payout from the church.

Chris Ramirez with 4 Investigates looked into one group called "New Mexico Sex Abuse Lawyers" that's making a lot of noise to collect clients and tap into that money. The group is representing about 70 victims of clergy sex abuse.

Polish lawmaker panned for excusing priest who abused girls

WARSAW (POLAND)
Associated Press

May 15, 2019

Poland's opposition lawmakers demanded Wednesday that a ruling party member be excluded from parliament's work on new laws to curb sex abuse of minors, alleging he had tried to justify the actions of a priest convicted of pedophilia.

The conservative government said this week that the penalty for child sex abuse must be increased following recent revelations about such abuse by priests. Parliament is to debate the government draft Wednesday.

A documentary containing harrowing testimony by men and women of being molested and raped by priests when they were children aired (when) on YouTube, triggering soul searching in the nation's influential Catholic church.

Opposition lawmakers say prosecutor Stanislaw Piotrowicz, who is head of the parliament's justice commission and lawmaker for the ruling pro-church party, should be excluded from parliamentary debate and voting on the law. They claim he had in the past tried to play down the actions of a priest who later was convicted and handed a suspended prison term for inappropriately touching and kissing small girls.

Parliament officials said that the new law will not be sent to the commission he presides over for debate.

Trial date set for David O'Hearn, former Hunter priest accused of indecent assault

NEWCASTLE (AUSTRALIA)
The Herald

May 15, 2019

By Nick Bielby

Former Hunter priest David O'Hearn will face a trial in July over child sex charges levelled at him last year.

O'Hearn, who remains in custody following previous convictions for child sex offences, was charged with the fresh counts by Strike Force Georgianna detectives last March.

In Newcastle district court on Tuesday, his legal representative said there was no prospect of resolution without proceeding to trial.

The court heard there was one complainant in the matter, which related to alleged child sex offences in Lake Macquarie in 1994.

The Herald reported last November that O'Hearn pleaded not guilty to nine counts of aggravated indecent assault - under authority.

On Tuesday, Judge Roy Ellis scheduled the trial to begin on July 17.

The trial is expected to run for eight to 10 days.

New mediation program would allow victims of Catholic priest sexual abuse to settle claims outside court

SAN BERNARDINO (CA)
San Bernardino Sun

May 14, 2019

By Joe Nelson and Scott Schwebke

Six Catholic dioceses in California, including those in San Bernardino, Orange, and Los Angeles counties, have formed a compensation program for victims of clergy sexual abuse that allows them to settle claims privately, outside the courts, the California Catholic Conference announced Tuesday.

The voluntary program will be available to any person who has been sexually abused as a minor by priests from the dioceses of San Bernardino, Orange, Los Angeles, Fresno, Sacramento and San Diego.

As an alternative to litigation, victim-survivors can choose to meet with two mediators, in private and without an attorney if preferred, to potentially settle their claims. The mediators, Kenneth Feinberg and Camille Biros, will review the claims and determine who should be compensated and the amount offered.

Settlements will occur within 90 days and be determined by the mediators, with no church interference, according to the California Catholic Conference, which is the public policy arm of the Catholic Church in the state.

Feinberg and Biros are mediators for similar victim compensation programs involving Catholic dioceses in Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey and Colorado. The two attorneys also have represented the families of victims of the 9/11 terrorist attacks and the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, considered to be one of the largest petroleum spills ever.

Colombia’s catholic church promises action against child abuse, but plays down extent

MEDELLIN (COLOMBIA)
Colombia Reports

May 15, 2019

By Adam Veitch

Colombia’s Catholic Church is facing around 100 criminal investigations involving sexual abuse, the religious institution’s leader admitted Wednesday.

Cardinal Ruben Salazar admitted to the ongoing criminal investigations in an interview with El Tiempo, but downplayed the gravity of the sexual abuse claims, saying that sexual abuse by priests is “not an epidemic.”

The national church leader promised an investigation into historical child sex abuse in Colombia “as soon as we have a sufficiently qualified team and the resources to carry it out.”

The Catholic Church’s history of abuse in Colombia
Despite evidence to the contrary, Salazar told El Tiempo that there was no culture of covering up child abuse within the hierarchy of the Catholic Church.

knowing the bishops in this country as I do, I can tell you that no point has it ever been our desire to obscure the facts

Over the past few years, several cases of abuse have come to light in which church authorities in Colombia have been at best negligent in ensuring the welfare of young victims, and at worst complicit in endangering it.

Journalists reporting on these abuse cases suffered harassment allegedly orchestrated by church leaders.

One particular practice employed by the church hierarchy has been that of transferring priests facing child abuse accusations rather than reporting them to legal authorities.

The Pope Takes a Swing Against Sex Abuse

BROOKYLN (NY)
The Tablet

May 15, 2019

By Jorge I. Dominguez-Lopez

My friend and I were at Citi Field on a cool Friday evening. He is not religious, but the Mets were ahead 8-0 in the first inning, and he was ready to believe in miracles. He was in a good mood. Then, out of the blue, he asked me, “What about the Vatican’s new guidelines against sexual abuse? Shouldn’t they have just one simple rule, namely, ‘call 911’?”

He was referring to the “Vos estis lux mundi” (You Are the Light of the World), Pope Francis’ “motu proprio,” or edict, establishing norms for the universal Church against sexual abusers or those who cover up such crimes. It establishes procedures similar to those put in place in the United States by the Dallas Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People in 2002.

For almost a year now, our secular press has been commenting on the grand jury report from Pennsylvania and on other reports of sexual abuse by clergy. Usually, the press fails to note two important facts.

First, the lists of accused priests covers many decades. For example, in February when the Diocese of Brooklyn published a list of credibly accused clergy, the headline in The Tablet was “Diocese of Brooklyn Releases Names of Credibly Accused Clergy,” and the subhead read, “Comprehensive List Dates Back 166 Years.” But many newspapers didn’t mention that detail, and so readers were led to believe that the 108 priests on the list were involved in recent cases.

SNAP Praises Bishop Brennan and Calls for More Action in Fresno

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

May 14, 2019

We are grateful to Bishop Robert Brennan for his public show of support for survivors of clergy abuse and for calling for civility and understanding in cases of clergy sex abuse. There is power in public statements from church leaders and we are glad that Bishop Brennan chose to use his in this way.

Now that Bishop Brennan has spoken out publicly, we hope that he will continue to use his power on behalf of survivors and take steps to show other priests and parishioners how best to publicly respond and react to allegations against one of their priests.

We have sent a letter to Bishop Brennan, thanking him for his efforts and laying out what further steps we believe he can take that will result in a more informed, civil, and safer environment for all. A copy of our letter is below:

Re: Pastoral Response to Allegations of Clergy Sexual Abuse

Dear Bishop Brennen:

We wanted to thank you for your public words regarding the statements made by attorney Kyle Humphrey on behalf of your priest, Msgr. Craig Harrison. We truly appreciate your acknowledgement of the hurt that the lawyer’s remarks caused victims of Catholic sexual abuse.

Now that multiple victims have come forward, we ask you to go further. Since Mr. Humphrey is a parishioner and Msgr. Harrison is one of your clergymen, we urge you to use your power and authority to put an end to the “ugly, mean spirited, dismissive and unacceptable” language being used in the media.

THE COST OF ABUSE | Attorneys find no shortage of clients amid clergy sexual abuse reports

JOHNSTOWN (PA)
New Castle News

May 15, 2019

By Brent Addleman

Although the widespread impact of clergy sexual abuse in Pennsylvania Catholic churches came to light just last year, veteran Pittsburgh litigator Alan H. Perer has been representing victims for nearly two decades.

Perer, of SPK – the law firm of Swensen & Perer, located in downtown Pittsburgh, has been working cases against the Pittsburgh Diocese dating back to the early 2000s, long before an August 2018 Pennsylvania grand jury report detailed an extensive history of sexual abuse committed by clergy members within six dioceses, including Pittsburgh.

“I have been doing this for 17 years,” Perer said. “It has been very rough. A lot of cases earlier, we ran into the statute of limitations. We have been fighting this battle for a long time.

May 14, 2019

Bishop Barron says book on abuse crisis written from his ‘pastor’s heart’

WASHINGTON (DC)
Catholic News Service

May 14, 2019

Auxiliary Bishop Robert Barron of Los Angeles said his new book addressing the Church’s sexual abuse crisis and urging Catholics to “stay and fight for the body of Christ” comes from his “pastor’s heart.”

“It is simply my statement coming out of my whole life as a Catholic — 33 years as a priest, almost four years as a bishop,” he said in a podcast posted on YouTube May 13, the release date of his book “Letter to a Suffering Church: A Bishop Speaks on the Sexual Abuse Crisis.”

“It was my pastor’s heart that wanted to say something to the people of God,” added the bishop.

The book was published by Word on Fire Catholic Ministries, which was founded by Bishop Barron. He gave an overview of the 125-page book in the podcast with Brandon Vogt, Word on Fire’s content director.

In both the podcast and the book’s preface, Bishop Barron strongly emphasized he is speaking for himself and that the new volume is not an official statement of the U.S. bishops.

It is his attempt, he explained, to respond to the pastoral needs of Catholics demoralized by the abuse crisis and who are grieving over what it is doing to the Church. He said he wants to give them encouragement and hope and show “that there is a clear path forward for us today.”

Pope’s new sexual abuse reporting rules protect the church

SAN FRANCISCO (CA)
San Francisco Chronicle

May 14, 2019

By Celia Wexler

Pope Francis’ new rules on sexual abuse have been called “revolutionary,” “groundbreaking” and “exhaustive.”

But will the pope’s mandates, issued on May 9, actually bring about the reforms that Catholics so desperately want?

On paper, the pope scored a home run. Not only is every priest and member of a religious order required to report abuse or the cover-up of abuse, the pope includes misconduct toward minors and also harms to any adult considered vulnerable to clerical intimidation. That category includes seminarians, nuns and those with mental or physical disabilities.

All dioceses also will have to develop a “public and easily accessible” system for victims to submit complaints. Those who report misconduct cannot be retaliated against, and abuse victims cannot be silenced.

But here’s where the rule breaks down: The Vatican puts the responsibility for investigation of abuse in the hands of the bishops, the very people who have done such a terrible job over the past century.

Marie Collins, an Irish abuse survivor who resigned from the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors, put it this way: “[K]eeping it all within the church has been the problem all along, and this is just really continuing that.”

AZ Legislator and Activists Speak on Behalf of SOL Reform in the State Capital

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

May 14, 2019

Changes are needed because survivors of child sex abuse can take decades to come forward

The statutory amendments proposed would allow more victims an opportunity to have their claims heard in court

Revealing these 'hidden predators' and their enablers helps to protect boys and girls today

Senator who sponsored the bill has delayed state budget approval until his measure is heard

WHAT
At a news conference, a legislator and child sexual abuse (CSA) survivors will advocate for the reform of state laws limiting the ability of victims to have their day in court.

California dioceses announce new plan to help abuse victims

LOS ANGELES (CA)
Angelus News

May 14, 2019

By Pablo Kay

The Los Angeles Archdiocese today joined five other California dioceses in a new private compensation program that will be available to any person who has been sexually abused as a minor by diocesan priests.

In a letter to Los Angeles Catholics, Archbishop José H. Gomez said the new program would expand the Church’s efforts to provide pastoral care and financial support to victim-survivors of abuse.

“We have been providing pastoral care and financial support for victim-survivors here in the Archdiocese for many years,” Archbishop Gomez said. “We will continue to do so. But we also understand that some victim-survivors are reluctant to come to the Church for assistance. Our hope with this new program is to give these people a chance to seek redress and healing through an independent program.”

The new Independent Compensation Program for Victim-Survivors of Sexual Abuse of Minors by Priests is independent from Church control, according to a statement issued by the California Catholic Conference.

The Conference said the program will be run by Kenneth R. Feinberg and Camille S. Biros, nationally respected leaders in private compensation programs.

Feinberg and Biros have been working with the California bishops since late last year to design and administer the program, which will be similar to ones the pair has established for dioceses in New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Colorado.

The new program will be overseen by an independent board that includes former California Governor Gray Davis and business leader and former Administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration, Maria Contreras-Sweet.

Scranton diocese pays $2.2 million to clergy sex abuse survivors; Harrisburg to settle by June 28

SCRANTON (PA)
Times Tribune

May 14, 2019

The Diocese of Scranton has announced that it has paid 17 victims of clergy child sexual abuse almost $2.2 million during the first 90 days of a special initiative to compensate survivors, according to a report by the Standard-Speaker of Hazleton. The diocese launched its program Jan. 22.

In all, more than 100 individuals, including 54 people who had not previously reported abuse to the diocese, submitted claims to the Independent Survivors Compensation Program during the period, the diocese said.

The diocese said fund administrators Kenneth Feinberg and Camille Biros completed their review of about two-thirds of those claims and sent determination letters containing compensation offers totaling $3.64 million to 31 survivors, including the 17 people who accepted and received just under $2.2 million.

The other 14 claimants have not indicated if they will accept the offers, the diocese said. No offers have been rejected.

Of the 54 individuals who have come forward with allegations of abuse that were not previously known to the diocese, 51 have been accepted into the compensation program and one remains under consideration, the diocese said.

The Diocese of Harrisburg announced that its Survivor Compensation Program enrollment period ended Monday. The program opened on Feb. 12 and was open for 90 days. Settlements will be offered on or before June 28. The Harrisburg diocese is not involved in the process of determining who is eligible for settlements and the amounts.

The diocese previously stated that funding for the program will come in the form of a loan from the Priest’s Retirement Fund, other existing diocesan assets and “hopefully from insurance proceeds.”

Bishop Ronald W. Gainer announced said the diocese will release a final report on how many survivors it was able to support.

Enrollment period for Harrisburg diocese clergy sex abuse victims compensation program closes

HARRSIBURG (PA)
Patroit News

May 14, 2019

By Ivey DeJesus

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Harrisburg on Tuesday confirmed that its Survivor Compensation Program enrollment period ended Monday even as it hinted at a possible extension.

In a written statement, the diocese indicated that survivors who had not enrolled to participate “should await further announcements” from the diocese.

“The Survivor Compensation Program is a major component in our ongoing efforts to support survivors of clergy child sexual abuse,” Bishop Ronald Gainer said in a written statement. “We have just completed an important phase of this program.”

The fund administrator - Commonwealth Mediation & Conciliation - has indicated that “many survivors” had applied to participate in the program, he said.

Gainer said the diocese would release a final report on the number of individuals who filed to participate in the program once the settlement period has concluded.

The Survivor Compensation Program is poised to pay out millions of dollars to victims of clergy sex abuse. The diocese has not disclosed a specific dollar amount for the fund.

Private settlements to individual victims will be determined by the fund administrator. Settlement offers will be made on or before June 28.

Editorial: Bishops right with priest suspensions, disclosures

PITTSBURGH (PA)
Tribune-Review

May 14, 2019

Priests are people, too.

They do good things and bad things and sometimes very bad things. They make sacrifices and they make mistakes. Priests are no more likely to lie, cheat, steal or hurt someone than a teacher or a banker, a barber or a chef.

The statewide — and to be honest, global — Catholic church sex abuse issue has not reached the breadth and scope that it has because priests are evil. They aren’t, or at least, they are no more evil than any of the rest of us.

The problem was the organization. It was the protection. It was the lies.

It wasn’t that no one reported child sex abuse for 70 years. They did. It wasn’t that parents didn’t demand something be done. They did. It wasn’t that investigations were not conducted. They were.

It was that all of it was kept in the dark.

In the months since the grand jury report release that detailed decades of abuse and cover-up, the dioceses of Pennsylvania have adamantly pushed a message of change. These things wouldn’t happen again. There were policies. There were procedures. There were protocols and safeguards.

It’s hard to live in a world without any crime and abuse because we live in a world filled with people. What we need is a world where we try to stop it when we can and deal with it where we must. Both demand transparency and honesty. Those seem hard to find after so much secrecy.

Then this week both Pittsburgh and Greensburg dioceses released information on newly accused priests just days apart. In Pittsburgh, the diocese suspended a priest from ministry while it investigates allegations of inappropriate contact with women. In Greensburg, law enforcement is investigating new allegations of abuse of a minor 15 years ago.

The difference this time is that nothing was stuck in a file and locked in a box. The situations are being addressed openly.

Call for rise in payments to institutional abuse victims

BELFAST (NORTHERN IRELAND)
Belfast Telegram

May 14, 2019

By Gareth Cross

Calls have been made for an increase to payments offered to survivors of historical institutional abuse.

In January 2017 an inquiry led by Sir Anthony Hart found widespread and systemic abuse in children's homes across Northern Ireland.

The Historical Institutional Abuse Inquiry studied allegations of abuse in 22 homes and other residential institutions between 1922 and 1995.

Sir Anthony recommended a tax-free lump sum payment for all survivors ranging from £7,500 to £100,000.

However, the vast majority of respondents to an Executive Office consultation on the findings disagreed that the "standard" compensation amount should begin at £7,500, with the majority saying £10,000 would be a more appropriate amount.

The Executive Office launched the consultation in November 2018 and received 562 responses.

More than one-third of them came from victims and survivors of abuse.

Some 82% of respondents recommended higher redress payments and 69% of those think compensation should reflect the number of childhood years spent in abusive institutions.

One respondent described the £7,500 standard payment as "derisory".

"No amount of compensation can undo or repair the damage inflicted," they wrote. "Nevertheless there ought to be a tangible figure that in some way reflects the loss of a childhood; £10,000 is not an awful lot but at least it's a start. Nothing less."

One of the key issues raised by respondents was a proposal that victims would not be entitled to apply for compensation if they had previously been compensated for the same matter.

The majority proposed that those who had already received compensation should be allowed to have it reviewed and receive any difference awarded.

Poland's Walesa urges Catholic church action on abuse after his priest accused

WARSAW (POLAND)
Reuters

May 13, 2019

Polish Nobel Peace Prize laureate Lech Walesa has urged the Catholic Church to prevent further sexual abuse of children by members of its clergy after a new documentary film showed his priest to be one of the accused.

The film "Just don't tell anyone", which shows people confronting priests with accusations that they abused them as children, has attracted nearly 7 million views since it was posted on YouTube on Saturday. It presents allegations that known pedophiles were shifted between parishes.

One of the clergymen featured was Franciszek Cybula, who served as Walesa's priest for 15 years - from 1980 when he co-founded the trade union Solidarnosc which helped bring about the fall of Communism, through to his becoming Poland's first democratically elected president in 1990 and until his term ended in 1995.

"It is sad for me that I found out that my chaplain, my confessor, was behaving so badly," Walesa was quoted as saying by Polska The Times daily on Monday.

Poland is one of Europe's most devout countries and Catholic priests enjoy a high level of social prestige. Nearly 85 percent of Poland's 38 million-strong population identify as Roman Catholics and around 12 million attend mass every Sunday.

But Poland has not escaped the sexual abuse scandals that have battered the Catholic Church's reputation around the world along with accusations of senior clergy concealing or mismanaging cases.

In March the Polish Catholic Church published a study saying that between 1990-2018, its officials received reports of sexual abuse by clergy of 625 children since 1950, over half of them aged 15 or younger.

"The church is all of us, we should pray for priests, and the senior clergy - I repeat - must take action," Walesa was quoted as saying.

The documentary by director Tomasz Sekielski has reignited the debate about sexual abuse in the church just as Poland gears up for European Parliament elections on May 23-26.

Election campaigns have been marked by a focus on religion and sexuality amid tensions between liberals who feel the church wields too much power in Poland and ruling nationalist Law and Justice (PiS) party, which considers the Catholic faith as a key element of national identity whose influence must be protected.

PiS party leader Jaroslaw Kaczynski promised harsher sentences for child abuse on Sunday.

Franciscans: Credibly accused Gallup priest has died

GALLUP (NM)
Associated Press

May 14, 2019

A former Gallup priest listed as a credibly accused abuser by New Mexico's three Catholic dioceses has died.

The Gallup Independent reports the Albuquerque Franciscan province confirmed last week the Rev. Diego Mazon died in November 2018.

The Franciscan province did not issue a public announcement about Mazon's death since both the Diocese of Gallup and the Diocese of Las Cruces listed Mazon as a living credibly accused abuser.

Mazon was removed from ministry at Gallup's St. Francis Parish after an adult woman leveled a complaint against him. She alleged the Franciscan friar sexually abused her when she was a child in Roswell.

The Archdiocese of Santa Fe and the Franciscan Province of St. John the Baptist of Cincinnati, Ohio, Mazon's original religious order, settled with the woman in 2006.

N.J. diocese allowed ‘serial molester’ priest to prey on kids, former altar boy says in lawsuit

WOODBRIDGE (NJ)
NJ Advance Media

May 14, 2019

By Rebecca Everett

When Justin Hoffmann was 9 years old, his best friend was a priest in his late 60s. They spent time together almost every day.

But reflecting on that relationship Tuesday, a day after filing a lawsuit alleging the late Rev. Brendan Sullivan sexually abused him over the course of five years, Hoffmann said it wasn’t until 2017 that he realized, “it wasn’t a friendship.”

“When you’re with an authority figure when you’re young, you don’t know if something that they’re doing is right or wrong and I certainly shouldn’t have been expected to know," Hoffmann, now 29, said at a press conference in Cherry Hill with his lawyers.

Hoffmann, who was an altar boy with Sullivan at the former St. James Parish in Ventnor, filed a lawsuit against the Roman Catholic Diocese of Camden Monday and its former bishop accusing them of not preventing the alleged abuse. The abuse, which allegedly included inappropriate touching and indecent exposure, started in 1996 when Hoffmann was 7 and lasted until 2001, the suit claims.

Hoffmann calmly described Tuesday how he rationalized Sullivan’s actions.

“While they seemed playful and kind of like just messing around when I was a kid — it seemed O.K. When I look back on the things he was doing, it’s like gross negligence," he said. “I’m like, O.K., how did I get myself into this position.”

School janitor with hidden past as priest left wake of abuse

ALBANY (NY)
Times Union

May 12, 2019

By Brendan J. Lyons

A former custodian who has been accused of systematically raping boys at a Catholic elementary school in Albany in the 1970s had allegedly done the same thing years earlier while serving as a priest with a seminary in the Midwest, where he attended college.

Interviews with his former employers and alleged victims, and records obtained by the Times Union, indicate that Eugene Hubert Jr. — a U.S. Army veteran who died in 1997 — also immersed himself in maintenance jobs at various schools for nearly 30 years, including at least two Catholic grade schools in Albany.

SNAP Responds to California Bishops’ Compensation Fund

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

May 14, 2019

The California Catholic dioceses have announced their plans to create a compensation fund for survivors of clergy abuse. While we appreciate the gesture, we hope that survivors in California will carefully consider their options before signing on.

We believe that the best way to expose wrongdoing and enforce accountability is for crimes to be made public and for punishment and compensation to be meted out by courts, not the institutions that allowed the wrongdoing to happen in the first place. Survivors deserve a chance to have their day in court and shed light on their abuse, and that can only happen when statutes of limitations are reformed, civil windows are opened, and bishops are held accountable in courts of law.

Removing a survivor’s right to sue – as is common in compensation programs – can prevent them from forcing using legal tools in the future that can compel dioceses to release information or correct misinformation. This is especially important as right now there is a bill right now in the California Assembly that will open up a new “window to justice.”

But this announcement also comes with hope that, as the bishops work together to hammer out the details of this compensation program, that they will allow survivors to have a voice in the process. If California’s bishops are serious about creating a compensation program that is to the best benefit of survivors, they should seek to meet with survivors who have had experience with litigation and compensation to help refine and improve this compensation program.

Diocese removes accused priest

INDIANA (PA)
Indiana Gazette

May 14, 2019

By Patrick Cloonan

A priest who formerly served in Indiana County has been removed from his ministry in the Fay-West area south of Greensburg and relieved of all parish duties pending an investigation of an allegation.

“The diocese received an allegation of sexual abuse of a minor against Fr. Andrew Kawecki dating back 15 years,” the Roman Catholic Diocese of Greensburg stated Monday night.

“As per diocesan policy the allegation was phoned into the PA ChildLine, and the appropriate district attorney was contacted,” the statement continued. “The investigation is now in the hands of law enforcement.”

From 2002 to 2004 Kawecki, a native of Gdansk, Poland, served as pastor of the Church of the Resurrection, which serves Ernest, Clymer, Glen Campbell, Heilwood and Rossiter in northern Indiana County.

Indiana County District Attorney Patrick Dougherty this morning said the matter has not been referred to his office because the accusations are not connected with Kawecki's service in the Clymer parish.

“A credible allegation does not mean it has been substantiated or proven,” the diocese stressed. “This announcement in no way implies Father Kawecki is guilty.”

He was transferred to St. John the Baptist parish in Scottdale, Westmoreland County, where he served as pastor, and St. Joseph parish in Everson, Fayette County, where he served as administrator.

Pope Francis Stops Hiding From the Church’s Sexual-Abuse Epidemic

NEW YORK (NY)
The Atlantic

May 12, 2019

By Emma Green

Before this week, the Roman Catholic Church had no global policy requiring priests and bishops to report and investigate allegations of sexual abuse. No formal measure held bishops accountable for misconduct and cover-ups, despite a number of high-profile, horrific cases of wrongdoing by the Church’s top leaders. With story after story exposing new abuses around the world, Catholics have grown cynical about the Vatican’s willingness to face the global sickness of sexual abuse, and many have abandoned the Church entirely.

On Thursday, Pope Francis took a significant step toward changing that.

The pope’s moto proprio, which will take effect in June and remain in place as an experiment for three years, is a definitive and concrete step forward for the Church, demonstrating that Pope Francis is taking sexual abuse seriously. The new law is not a panacea, however: It does not detail specific punishments for Church leaders who violate these norms, and it does not mandate the involvement of authorities outside the Church. After years of paralysis on this issue, the Church must grapple with the crisis of confidence among the faithful, along with skeptics who believe the Catholic Church is not capable of policing itself against abuses of power.

The new law institutes a detailed mechanism for reporting allegations against bishops, and offers protections to whistle-blowers. The pope’s definition of sexual abuse is expansive enough to cover children, seminarians, nuns and women in religious orders, and people with mental disabilities—all of whom have been victimized by Church leaders. (It also condemns the possession or production of child pornography.) Perhaps most important, it demands that alleged victims are offered support services ranging from therapy to spiritual counseling, and promises to protect their confidentiality.

Chile bishop says pope’s criticism created ‘painful,’ ‘unfair’ image

SANTIAGO (CHILE)
Crux

May 14, 2019

By Inés San Martín

When the entire Chilean bishops’ conference presented their resignations to Pope Francis in Rome last year amid a massive scandal involving clerical sexual abuse and cover-up, Celestino Aos Braco had been a bishop of a small diocese for just four years.

As it turns out, it was scant preparation for the job the pope gave him in March: Apostolic administrator of the Archdiocese of Santiago, the capital of Chile and the eye of the local church’s storm.

Santiago is home to two of the country’s most infamous pedophile priests: Fernando Karadima and Cristian Precht, both of whom were expelled from the priesthood last year.

Aos spoke with Crux on May 4th, soon after the local church had signed a deal of cooperation with the Chilean prosecutor’s office - a deal that was rescinded by national prosecutor Jorge Abbott a few days afterwards.

Among other things, Aos said that comments from Francis last year about a “culture of cover-up” among the Chilean bishops led to impressions that all prelates in the country were equally guilty, an image he called “painful” and “unfair.”

Aos also discussed why he chose not to give communion to the faithful who wanted to receive it while kneeling down, even though it’s a practice allowed by the Vatican. He also spoke about his meeting with Cardinal Sean O’Malley of Boston while the two were in Rome in April.

What follows are excerpts of Aos’s conversation with Crux. The first part of that conversation is available here.

Clergy sex-abuse lawsuit: Camden Diocese priest was a 'serial molester'

CHERRY HILL (NJ)
Cherry Hill Courier-Post

May 14, 2019

By Jim Walsh

A Catholic priest, previously accused of sexually abusing a child at a parish in Atco, now is alleged to have molested an altar boy at a Ventnor church, according to a lawsuit filed Monday against the Diocese of Camden.

The suit claims a Philadelphia man, Justin Hoffman, was among multiple victims of the late Rev. Brendan Sullivan, who served at 10 parishes and two Catholic high schools between 1960 and 2004.

Hoffman accuses the diocese and a former leader, Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio, of failing “to warn or otherwise protect children of the diocese of Camden" from Sullivan, who’s described as a “serial molester and sexual abuser.”

A representative of the diocese could not be reached for immediate comment Tuesday morning.

The diocese in February included Sullivan’s name on a list of 57 clergymen credibly accused of sexual abuse of minors.

According to the lawsuit, Sullivan, who was determined no longer eligible to be a priest in 2010, “acknowledged the substantiated allegation of prior abuse” of a 14-year-old boy at Assumption Church in Atco.

’N.J. is going to find out who the hidden predators are.’ Sexual abuse survivors praise tough new law.

WOODBRIDGE (NJ)
NJ Advance Media

May 13, 2019

By Susan K. Livio

Todd Kostrub of Surf City started coming to the Statehouse in Trenton seven years ago to publicly share the dark secret that took him years to admit: His parish priest started raping him when he was a 7-year-old altar boy.

Kostrub said he revisited the shame and terrors of his memories to convince state lawmakers that survivors like him “deserve a taste a justice,” by expanding the window of time they get to sue their abusers in New Jersey. The law allowed childhood victims just two years past their 18th birthday to file a claim.

On Monday, Kostrub joined nearly 100 of fellow advocates at the Statehouse once again, this time to celebrate the enactment of the broadest statute of limitations law in the country for child and adult victims of rape.

Kostrub said he has hired a lawyer and is ready to savor whatever justice he can find.

“This is joy,” he said, hours after Gov. Phil Murphy signed the new statute of limitations legislation into law. “But I would trade anything in my life not to be here, to never have been a victim.”

Victims of clergy abuse sue Vatican, seek names of abusers

MINNEAPOLIS (MN)
The Associated Press

May 13, 2019

Five victims of sex abuse by Catholic priests plan to sue the Vatican and are demanding to know the names of thousands of predator priests they say have been kept secret.

Attorney Jeff Anderson plans to file his lawsuit on Tuesday.

The plaintiffs include three brothers who were abused by former priest Curtis Wehmeyer as recently as 2012 in St. Paul, Minnesota. Wehmeyer pleaded guilty to criminal sexual conduct and child pornography in connection with his contact with two of the boys, who were 12 and 14.

Butler Co. Priest On Administrative Leave, Accused Of ‘Inappropriate Contact’ With Women

PITTSBURGH (PA)
AP/KDKA

May 13, 2019

A priest with the Roman Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh has been placed on administrative leave while officials investigate claims that he had “inappropriate contact” with adult women.

The decision regarding Fr. James Young was announced in a May 4 letter from Bishop David Zubik that was distributed this past weekend in the church bulletins of St. Ferdinand in Cranberry Township, St. Gregory in Zelienople and Holy Redeemer in Ellwood City.

Fr. Young is a member of the ministry team for the merged parishes.

Many members of those congregations say their faith remains strong, and this won’t impact the way they serve their church families or their communities.

Suspenden a sacerdote acusado de abuso sexual a menor en Illapel

[Suspended priest accused of child sexual abuse in Illapel]

CHILE
El Día

May 10, 2019

By EFE (news agency)

Desde el obispado instaron a cualquier persona que disponga de antecedentes o pruebas sobre la denuncia o cualquier otra a que se ponga en contacto con ellos.

Desde el obispado de Illapel se suspendió al presbítero Renato Riveros después de ser informados que el sacerdote fue acusado ante la Fiscalía Nacional de presuntamente haber cometido abusos sexuales a un menor, según informó la diócesis a través de un comunicado.

Opinion: Abusos sexuales en la Iglesia católica: causas y responsabilidades

[Opinion: Causes and responsibilities of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church]

CHILE
El Mostrador

May 12, 2019

By Pablo Torche

En la práctica, la Iglesia Católica ha tendido a “normalizar” los abusos, concibiéndolos como una conducta sexual fuera de lo prescrito, pero sin percibir del todo su carácter deshumanizante, las gravísimas consecuencias que trae para la víctima ni el grado de perversión que revelan. Esta perspectiva puede explicar también que se hayan tratado de presentar como comportamientos excepcionales o aislados, lo que evidentemente constituyen patrones de conducta cada vez más consolidados. La única razón que se me ocurre para explicar esta grotesca confusión se relaciona con la visión misma de la sexualidad que sostiene la iglesia, lo que podría constituir una tercera línea explicativa de los abusos, sobre la que se ha discutido menos.

Las estremecedoras declaraciones de Marcela Aranda sobre la pesadilla que vivió a manos del sacerdote jesuita, Renato Poblete, renuevan la urgencia por tratar de comprender, al menos identificar, las razones o condiciones que hicieron posible estos horribles hechos. ¿Cómo puede entenderse que tantos hombres, que se supone debían consagrar su vida a Cristo, hayan incurrido en este tipo de abusos, de forma tan sistemática, en algunos casos hasta llegar a construir verdaderas cofradías del mal al interior de la Iglesia Católica? Tratar de comprender puede ser un primer paso para prevenir, un fundamento para avanzar hacia un mundo sin abusos.

Obispo castrense detalla a scalía cinco casos de sacerdotes de las FF.AA. denunciados por abusos

[Military bishop details prosecution of five armed forces priests accused of abuse]

CHILE
La Tercera

May 13, 2019

By Javiera Matus

El presidente de la Conferencia Episcopal, Santiago Silva, dio cuenta de desconocidas investigaciones canónicas realizadas contra presbísteros. Además, aseguró que altos mandos de las Fuerzas Armadas fueron informados de estas situaciones.

Desconocidos antecedentes reveló el 27 de agosto de 2018 el presidente de la Conferencia Episcopal, el obispo castrense Santiago Silva Retamales. Su declaración en calidad de testigo se la entregó al scal sur Guillermo Adasme, quien investiga presuntos delitos sexuales de sacerdotes. Entre otras materias, contó que tuvo conocimiento de cinco presbíteros de las Fuerzas Armadas denunciados por presuntos abusos sexuales.

Óscar Contardo: “En el tema de abusos sexuales, los jesuitas son iguales que cualquier otra congregación”

[Óscar Contardo: "On the subject of sexual abuse, the Jesuits are the same as any other congregation"]

CHILE
The Clinic

May 9, 2019

By Alejandra Matus

El autor de “Rebaño” sostiene que la idea de la excepcionalidad de esta Congregación en cuanto a su conducta más abierta y cercana a los que sufren, moderna y tolerante con los temas valóricos, ha persistido gracias a sus redes de poder y en los medios, y no a una conducta distinta en el tratamiento de las denuncias.

May 13, 2019

Victims of clergy abuse sue Vatican, seeking names of thousands of abusers

WASHINGTON (DC)
The Hill

May 13, 2019

By Zack Budryk

Five victims of clergy sexual abuse are suing the Vatican for the disclosure of thousands of predatory Catholic priests’ names, according to the Associated Press.

Plaintiffs in the lawsuit include three brothers who were abused by ex-priest Curtis Wehmeyer, who pleaded guilty to criminal sexual conduct and child pornography in St. Paul, Minn.

Internal documents indicated local church leaders were aware of Wehmeyer’s history of sexual misconduct when it installed him to lead St. Paul’s Church of the Blessed Sacrament in 2009, and a 2014 internal memo expressed worries that then- St. Paul Minneapolis Archbishop John Nienstedt’s judgment had been affected by his “social relationship” with Wehmeyer, the AP reported.

New legal woes for Catholic dioceses

SAN FRANCISCO (CA)
Bay Area News Group

May 13, 2019

By John Woolfolk

The California attorney general’s recent inquiry into how the state’s Roman Catholic dioceses complied with laws requiring them to report child sex abuse threatens new legal woes for a church still struggling to confront its sex abuse scandal.

But experts warn that if Pennsylvania’s groundbreaking grand jury report on church abuse is any guide, new revelations from the California probe may be too old to bring criminal charges.

The Pennsylvania investigation revealed decades of abuse and cover-up involving more than 1,000 children and more than 300 priests. Only two priests were charged, with grand jurors noting that “almost every instance of abuse we found is too old to be prosecuted.”

But more than a dozen new lawsuits followed, including two federal class actions against the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

A list of “credibly accused” clergy including 46 names was recently released by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Sacramento.

Dating back to the 1950s, nine of the priests identified had worked at Woodland’s Holy Rosary Church and another eight served at other locations around Yolo County. Information provided with the list estimated that 130 children and young adults had been abused.

As it has been so long since the alleged abuse occurred, many of the men have passed. Only a small number of the people named appeared to have faced criminal charges.

Diocese of Greensburg priest removed pending sex abuse investigation

PITTSBURGH (PA)
Tribune Review

May 13, 2019

By Jacob Tierney

A Diocese of Greensburg priest has been placed on leave as law enforcement investigates an allegation of sexual abuse of a minor, the diocese said.

Officials said they received the allegation Monday against the Rev. Andrew M. Kawecki. He served as pastor of St. Joseph Parish in Everson and St. John the Baptist Parish in Scottdale.

The allegation is in connection with an incident that allegedly happened 15 years ago, according to the diocese.

The diocese reported the allegation to the PA ChildLine.

“A credible allegation does not mean it has been substantiated or proven,” the diocese said in a statement. “This announcement in no way implies Fr. Kawecki is guilty.”

Kawecki was born in Gdansk, Poland. He was ordained in Greensburg in 1980.

He will remain on leave and will not participate in his parish duties until the investigation is complete.

Another pastor will be found for his parishes, according to the diocese.

“We know how important our actions and level of transparency are to survivors, parishioners and clergy,” the statement said. “That is why we are making this public announcement while the investigation is ongoing.

St. Paul victims, attorney suing Vatican for thousands of names of abusive priests

ST. PAUL (MN)
Associated Press

May 13, 2019

By Amy Forleti and Michael Rezendes

Five men who say they were sexually abused by Roman Catholic priests when they were minors are planning to sue the Vatican and are demanding the names of thousands of predator priests they claim have been kept secret by the Holy See.

In a Monday news release announcing the lawsuit, St. Paul attorney Jeff Anderson said he wants to show that the Vatican tried to cover up actions by top church officials, including former St. Paul-Minneapolis Archbishop John Nienstedt. The lawsuit being filed Tuesday seeks the release of 3,400 names of priests who were referred to the Vatican for “credible cases of abuse.” That number was released by the Vatican in 2014.

The lawsuit comes less than a week after Pope Francis issued a groundbreaking new church law requiring all Catholic priests and nuns worldwide to report clergy sexual abuse and cover-ups by their superiors to church authorities. The law is part of a new effort to hold the

The Catholic Church’s new law could let abuse continue

WASHINGTON (DC)
Washington Post

May 13, 2019

Regarding the May 10 news article “Vatican issues decree requiring clergy to report allegations of sexual abuse”

The article credited Pope Francis with instituting a “sweeping new law.” Instead, the pope should be credited with “sweeping under the rug” child sexual abuse allegations.

The Catholic Church’s new rules mandate internal reporting to church authorities exclusively — not civil authorities. As long as reporting remains internal, abuse will continue. In the United States, sexual assault is a crime and should be reported to civil authorities for investigation and prosecution. Catholic clergy are not above U.S. law.

If a teacher sexually abused a child, the principal would remove the teacher and call the police. Why should we expect any less from a pope? Pope Francis needs to send a clear message to predators: “If you sexually abuse anyone in my church, you will be laicized, the police will be called, and we will cooperate fully in their investigation.” Until then, children and vulnerable adults will remain at risk.

As a society, we must not tolerate the protection of institutional reputations over the safety of children. That children are safe from sexual abuse in church is a very low bar to clear, and anything less is unacceptable.

Maureen Roden, Severna Park

The writer is a member of the board of Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

NJ extends statute of limitations, allows sex abuse victims much more time to sue

WOODLAND PARK NJ)
North Jersey Record

May 13, 2019

By Deena Yellin

New Jersey victims of sexual abuse will now have sweeping new abilities to sue their attackers, and it will be easier for them to seek damages from institutions such as churches that shielded the abuse.

Until now, survivors of sexual assault were prevented from taking their abusers to court because of the statute of limitations: Under New Jersey's current law, survivors of sexual abuse have only two years to pursue litigation, and a victim of child sexual abuse has only until age 20.

After years of fighting, that changed Monday, when Gov. Phil Murphy signed a law that offers victims of child sexual abuse the ability to sue their abusers up until they turn 55, or within seven years of their realization that the abuse caused them harm.

In addition, victims previously barred by the narrow statute of limitations from suing their abusers and the institutions that protected them now have two years to file lawsuits seeking damages.

"Survivors of sexual abuse deserve opportunities to seek redress against their abusers," Murphy said Monday after the signing. "This legislation allows survivors who have faced tremendous trauma the ability to pursue justice through the court system."

New Jersey is the 11th state to pass such a statute of limitations bill, and the reform is pending in several other states. But New Jersey's law is distinctive because the window lets those who were sexually assaulted as adults file lawsuits, said Pro

Analysis: 'Vos estis' and 'vulnerability'

WASHINGTON (DC)
Catholic News Agency

May 13, 2019

By Ed Condon

Pope Francis’ recently promulgated policy on sexual abuse allegations made against bishops, Vos estis lux mundi, offers a new and much expanded interpretation of what constitutes a canonical sexual crime by a cleric.

That interpretation has raised real questions about how the law is to be applied, at the Vatican and in diocesan chanceries.

The new policy recognizes as explicitly criminal the abuse of authority in coercive sexual relationships, a move called for often in the wake of the Theodore McCarrick scandal. It also offers a new definition for “vulnerable” adults, a legal category of persons who could be subject to criminally coercive abuse.

The universal law of the Church previously defined a “vulnerable adult” as one who “habitually lacks the use of reason.”

The new definition classifies a “vulnerable adult” as “any person in a state of infirmity, physical or mental deficiency, or deprivation of personal liberty which, in fact, even occasionally, limits their ability to understand or to want or otherwise resist the offense.”

That definition could seem to cover a very broad swath of situations, which would be quite distinct from each other. Some Vatican and diocesan officials have told CNA they are concerned that the potentially broad applicability of the new definition could cause unjust expectations, and uncertainty about how to proceed in individual cases.

Specifically, some worry that Vos estis could foster a sense that nearly any sexual act committed by a priest is expected be treated on a par with the sexual abuse of minors, and lead to his removal permanent removal from ministry.

In a Church committed to zero-tolerance for sexual abuse, the new definition for “vulnerable adult” could make clergy discipline a decidedly more complicated undertaking.

Victims Of Clergy Abuse To Sue Vatican, Seek Abusers’ Names

MINNEAPOLIS (MN)
Associated Press

May 13, 2019

Five men who say they were sexually abused by Roman Catholic priests when they were minors are planning to sue the Vatican and are demanding the names of thousands of predator priests they claim have been kept secret by the Holy See.

In a Monday news release announcing the lawsuit, Minnesota attorney Jeff Anderson said he wants to show that the Vatican tried to cover up actions by top church officials including former St. Paul Minneapolis Archbishop John Nienstedt and former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, who was found guilty by the Vatican of sexually abusing minors and adults and defrocked by Pope Francis. The lawsuit, which will be filed Tuesday, seeks the release of 3,400 names of purportedly abusive priests.

The plaintiffs include three brothers who were abused by former priest Curtis Wehmeyer as recently as 2012 in St. Paul, Minnesota. Wehmeyer pleaded guilty to criminal sexual conduct and child pornography in connection with his contact with two of the boys, who were 12 and 14.

Wehmeyer’s arrest led prosecutors to file criminal charges against the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis for failing to protect children. It also led to the forced resignation of Nienstedt, who came under fire for his handling of Wehmeyer’s case.

Internal church documents show that church leaders knew Wehmeyer had engaged in sexual misconduct when they promoted him to lead The Church of the Blessed Sacrament in St. Paul, Minnesota, in 2009. The behavior included at least two occasions when Wehmeyer solicited men for sex. Yet, church leaders did not warn parishioners about his past.

Charlotte diocese to publish names of Catholic clergy ‘credibly accused’ of sex abuse

CHARLOTTE (NC)
Charlotte Observer

May 13, 2019

By Bruce Henderson

The Catholic Diocese of Charlotte said Monday it will publish by year’s end a list of clergy members who have been credibly accused of child sexual abuse. Survivors of abuse have criticized the diocese for not doing so sooner.

In a statement, Bishop Peter Jugis said that the 46-county diocese welcomes new procedures announced last week by Pope Francis that require priests and nuns to report sexual abuse by clergy. The procedures, which will apply to the church worldwide, include some measures already in use in Charlotte, Jugis said.

Jugis hinted at a change of heart when it comes to publishing the names of accused clergy, as other U.S. dioceses have done but Charlotte’s has not.

“Through my discussions with abuse survivors, I have come to believe that a full airing of abuse from the past is crucial in the healing process for victims and for the entire Church,” his statement said.

Victims appeal to Bridgeport bishop

BRIDGEPORT (CT)
Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

“He’s left 15 priests off his accused list,” they say, “including 11 who taught at Fairfield Prep."
SNAP: “Help us get alleged predator out of classroom”
Despite settlement paid, ex-CT cleric now teaches school in NJ. CT’s 5-yr Statute of Limitations prevented criminal charges.
Group says Catholic officials must “beat the bushes” to find more victims

WHAT
Holding signs and childhood photos at a sidewalk news conference, clergy sex abuse victims and their supporters will disclose names and information about 15 publicly and credibly accused child molesting clerics who worked in and around Bridgeport but have been left off the list published by the Bridgeport diocese.

They will also challenge Bridgeport’s bishop to
--add these 15 names to his official ‘accused’ list,
--include photos, whereabouts and work histories of ALL accused clerics, and
--help education officials oust a former Bridgeport predator priest who is now a teacher.

WHEN
Monday May 13 at noon

SNAP Calls Texans to Action as Case Against Conroe Priest Progresses

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

May 13, 2019

Earlier this month, a Conroe County Grand Jury indicted allegedly abusive priest Fr. Manuel LaRosa Lopez. Today, that case moves forward.

We hope that this trial will encourage other survivors in Texas to come forward, make a report to law enforcement, and find independent sources of healing. We also hope that this trial sends the message that, while one case may be moving in Conroe County, more work is desperately needed throughout Texas to protect children and vulnerable adults and to support survivors of sexual violence.

We are encouraging Texans across the state to take three steps that can make a difference:

First, contact Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton and urge to him to follow in the footsteps of nineteen other attorneys general around the country and open an investigation into clergy sex abuse. AG Paxton can make a difference by opening a confidential hotline and email address that survivors can use to report their experiences. And while he is soliciting this information, AG Paxton should be passing information on to local district attorneys in an effort to find cases that can be prosecuted. Sample language can be found here.

Second, contact your county’s District Attorney and urge them to actively reach out to local communities, urging survivors to come forward and make a report of their abuse. District Attorneys can also encourage witnesses and whistleblowers to share any information they might have related to past or ongoing cases of clerical sexual abuse.

Finally, contact your state representatives and senators and urge them to create or sponsor legislation that will protect children, benefit survivors, and prevent future cases of abuse. For example, reforming statutes of limitations can help survivors find justice where none existed previously and can get important information about abusers into the hands of the public.
Similarly, representatives and senators can look to create legislation that would allow AG Paxton to convene a Grand Jury, something that has been effective in other places including most recently in Pennsylvania.

These elected officials are key to the creation and implementation of critical reforms that can help keep the vulnerable in Texas safer, create healing environments for survivors, and find justice for past crimes while preventing future ones. We hope everyone in Texas will

Diocese of Charlotte will Post Names By “End of the Year,” SNAP Reacts

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

May 13, 2019

Charlotte's Catholic bishop will has finally decided to follow in the footsteps of most of his brother bishops and release a list of clergy who have been publicly accused of abuse. Yet, for some reason, he was unable to commit to releasing the list promptly, only agreeing to do so “by the end of the year.”

While we are glad that Bishop Peter Jugis is finally taking this much belated and long overdue step, it is challenging to understand why it took so long to reach this decision. In his statement, Bishop Jugis says that he began the review process last fall: why then, can he not put a preliminary list out today and then continue to add and update as more information comes in? That would be the better thing to do, and more in line with the Church’s pledges to be “open and honest” about the clergy sex abuse scandal.

The longer information about abusers remains hidden, the less informed communities are and the greater the risk to the vulnerable. Most bishops around the country have already released names and other information to the public. Bishop Jugis should not need the rest of the year to follow suit and should be able to commit to more than this vague deadline.

When the bishop does release his list, we hope that it is the single-most comprehensive list of its kind in the country. The extra time needed by Church officials in the Diocese of Charlotte should let them ensure that their list contains not only names and current status and whereabouts, but also headshots, work histories for each of the accused, dates the allegations were received and detailed information on what steps Church officials in Charlotte took in response to those allegations.

It is also worth pointing out that in his statement Bishop Jugissays that any allegation he uncovers in his "comprehensive review" will be forwarded to the Lay Review Board for examination, yet makes no mention of police or prosecutors. Institutions cannot police themselves and the only way to get to the bottom of the clergy abuse scandal and determine who knew what, when they knew, and what they did with that information is by involving the secular professionals in law enforcement.

While we are glad that Bishop Peter Jugis is finally taking this much belated and long overdue step, it is challenging to understand why it took so long to reach this decision. In his statement, Bishop Jugis says that he began the review process last fall: why then, can he not put a preliminary list out today and then continue to add and update as more information comes in? That would be the better thing to do, and more in line with the Church’s pledges to be “open and honest” about the clergy sex abuse scandal.

The longer information about abusers remains hidden, the less informed communities are and the greater the risk to the vulnerable. Most bishops around the country have already released names and other information to the public. Bishop Jugis should not need the rest of the year to follow suit and should be able to commit to more than this vague deadline.

NJ Governor Signs Historic Bill to Extend Statute of Limitations for Sexual Abuse and Open a 'Window to Justice'

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

May 13, 2019

We commend Governor Phil Murphy, Senator Joseph Vitale, Assemblywoman Annette Quijano, NJ SNAP leader Mark Crawford, and the hundreds of survivors and advocates who made this dramatic reform of the statute of limitations (SOL) in New Jersey possible. The new law will be one of the best in the nation, granting all sexual abuse survivors the opportunity to access the justice system.

Previously NJ had only allowed child sexual abuse victims two years from their 18th birthday to file a lawsuit against their perpetrators and the institutions that protected them. The new statute will extend the civil SOL to age 55, or seven years after the victims discover the connection of their emotional and psychological harm to their sexual abuse. It also opens a two year 'window to justice' to allow those previously barred by the state's extremely restricted SOL to take action. Finally, the new law extends the SOL for those who were sexually assaulted as adults from two years to seven years. These changes will help to bring accountability to any organization that harbors, conceals or protects those who sexually abuse children or vulnerable adults.

By taking this step today, New Jersey is providing an excellent example to other states of concrete legislation that can help survivors, create informed communities, and safeguard the vulnerable. We hope that legislators throughout the U.S. will seek opportunities to learn more and reform statutes of limitations laws or create "windows to justice" in their own states.

Former Charlotte priest accused of past abuse

CHARLOTTE (NC)
WCNC TV

May 10, 2019

As the Pope issues a new, groundbreaking law requiring Catholic priests and nuns to report sexual abuse and cover-ups by their superiors, we're learning the name of yet another former Charlotte priest accused of past abuse.

Sex abuse attorney Jeff Anderson listed Father Eugene D. Corbesero’s name alongside more than 300 other publicly accused predators this week. The list shows Corbesero eventually left the Catholic Church but first spent three years at Our Lady of Consolation in Charlotte and St. Dorothy in Lincolnton.

The Diocese of Charlotte said the late former priest served from 1973 to 1976 but was technically a member of a religious order, not the diocese. 30 years later, he reportedly pleaded guilty in New Jersey for molesting a 12-year-old boy who was attending a sleepover at his house.

“I cannot speak to what prompted them to put his name on their list,” Patricia Guilfoyle said.

The new information surfaced after a survivor filed suit this week against bishops in New Jersey, as part of an effort to force them to release a list of all known predators. The Diocese of Charlotte has also so far refused to release list, which remains under consideration.

Corbesero joins a growing list of at least 15 publicly accused priests with ties to the Diocese of Charlotte, including the former chancellor Monsignor Mauricio West. He resigned in March after an adult student accused him of sexual misconduct while at Belmont Abbey in the 80s.

Survivors and advocates here continue to push for the diocese to release its own list of predator priests, not to just document history, but to make other possible victims aware who these people are, where they worked and when.

Just days ago, the Pope demanded more accountability and transparency moving forward, effective June 1.

Attention journalists: New papal decree still avoids laity in process of fighting sexual abuse

Get Religion blog

May 12, 2019

Clemente Lisi

A new decree by Pope Francis that now requires priests and nuns to report cases of abuse by other clergy — including any cover-ups by superiors such as a local bishop — is long overdue.

It’s so long overdue that one has to wonder why this wasn’t something put into practice by the church years ago.

Nonetheless, the pope’s attempt to finally create some accountability and transparency is well intentioned, although misguided given that it largely ignores the role of laypeople and relies primarily on clergy self-policing, something sex abuse victims and their families have long decried as part of the problem.

The new church law — known as Vos Estis Lux Mundi (You Are the Light of the World) — announced this week doesn’t require clergy to report these cases to civil authorities, such as the local police. That’s a big mistake. The primary responsibility of anyone who witnesses a crime is to alert authorities. In the case of predator priests, the Vatican has long argued that involving civil authorities could potentially endanger the lives of church officials in places where Roman Catholics are persecuted.

As a result, this papal decree gives bishops (and men above them like archbishops) lots of power and appears to be a contradiction of those same claims of clericalism the pope and his supporters in the Roman curia largely pointed to last year when confronted with allegations of sex abuse. The practice of policing oneself hasn’t worked well in the past for the church or any large secular or religious organization.

“People must know that bishops are at the service of the people,” Archbishop Charles Scicluna, the Vatican’s sex crimes prosecutor, told The Associated Press. “They are not above the law, and if they do wrong, they must be reported.”

Thoughts on populism, liability and unfinished business on abuse norms

ROME (ITALY)
Crux

May 12, 2019

By John L. Allen Jr.

Now that the dust has settled a bit on Vos Estis Lux Mundi, a new set of papal norms governing both reporting and investigation into accusations of clerical sexual abuse and its cover-up released by the Vatican on Thursday, the overall reaction seems reasonably clear.

For most people, it can be expressed this way: So far as they go, these rules seem promising, but we need to see them applied in practice - because experience has shown that in the Catholic Church, as in virtually any other context, a law’s only as important as the will to enforce it.

Since that’s an “only time will tell” situation, here are three other quick thoughts on Vos Estis to chew on while the jury remains out.

Papal populism?
When the Vatican presented the norms to the media Wednesday, they turned again, as they almost always do on the abuse scandals, to the most credible voice they’ve got: Archbishop Charles Scicluna of Malta, formerly the Vatican’s top prosecutor on abuse cases and a man seen as the Elliot Ness of the Church on the issue, with an “untouchable” reputation for integrity.

One revealing moment came when Scicluna was surrounded by a scrum of Italian reporters, speaking in Italian for one of the country’s main broadcast outlets.

Fresno Diocese bishop responds to ‘ugly, mean-spirited’ comments made in sex abuse case

FRESNO (CA)
Fresno Bee

May 10, 2019

By Yesenia Amaro

The Diocese of Fresno’s new bishop has denounced comments made by a priest’s defense attorney targeting alleged victims of sexual abuse, calling the statements “unacceptable.”

Rev. Joseph V. Brennan’s statement came Friday afternoon, two days after an advocacy group demanded he make a public apology over comments made by Bakersfield attorney Kyle Humphrey.

Humphrey is representing Monsignor Craig Francis Harrison after allegations of sexual abuse against the priest emerged in Firebaugh and Merced.

Woman Claiming Abuse by Calif. Priest Urges Others to Report

WASHINGTON (DC)
Channel 4 News

May 11, 2019

By Christina Bravo and Melissa Adan

A San Diego woman who says she was abused by a clergy member as a girl is urging other local sexual abuse victims to file reports with the state so religious leaders may be held accountable.

Cynthia Ann Doe is speaking out for the first time about what she says Monsignor Gregory Sheridan did to her when she was five years old and a parishoner at St. Jude's Shrine of the West in the 60s.

Sheridan was named last November by the Catholic Diocese of San Diego among a list of more than 50 abusive priests in San Diego and San Bernardino of whom the diocese said it had received a credible allegation involving sexual abuse of a minor.

During a press conference outside the church's doors, Doe did not publicly detail the priest's acts but urged other victims to come forward so that Sheridan and the Diocese of San Diego could be investigated by the California Attorney General's office.

"Release yourself from the burden of the anger and the shame of what happened to you as an innocent child, it is not your fault and it is not too late," Doe said.

Pope Francis Mandates Sex Abuse Be Reported To Church, Not State

Patheos blog
May 10, 2019

By Michael Stone

Moral failure: Pope Francis issues new church law that sexual abuse must be reported to church officials, but not the police, not the state, not the secular authorities.

The BBC reports:

Pope Francis has made it mandatory for Roman Catholic clergy to report cases of clerical sexual abuse and cover-ups to the Church.

Many in the mainstream media are praising the new law as “groundbreaking.” And to be fair, it is a slight improvement. Previously church officials were not mandated to report sexual abuse, or suspected sexual abuse, to anyone. The new church law changes that. The BBC notes:

For the first time, clerics and other Church officials will be obliged to disclose any allegations they may have heard. Previously, this had been left to each individual’s discretion.

Yet the new law mandates that reports be made to church superiors, not the police, not the state, not the secular authorities. Reporting on the story The Guardian notes:

However, the church law does not require police to be notified. The Vatican has said that different countries’ legal systems make a universal reporting law impossible, and that imposing one could endanger the church in places where Catholics are a persecuted minority.

Another sex-abuse victim files complaint against church

GUAM
Pacific News Center

May 13, 2019

By Jolene Toves

An individual filed a complaint at the Superior Court of Guam, adding another case to the list of sexual abuse lawsuits against the Archdiocese of Agana.

Wishing to remain anonymous, the victim identified by the initials Z.S. had served as an altar boy at the Church of St. Jude in Sinajana since he was about seven years old.

When the victim reached the age of 15, he said Father David Anderson allegedly began touching, snuggling and groping him when he slept overnight in the convent.

According to the complaint, Father David would touch the victim inappropriately and would lay on top of the victim while he slept. The priest allegedly rubbed his genitals on the victim’s body causing “great shame and embarrassment to Z.S.

While he told his parents about what Father Anderson did to him, they did not believe him. He said the sexual abuse continued until he stopped serving as an altar boy.

Diocese of Charlotte announces plans to release names of credibly accused clergy, adopt new abuse policies

CHARLOTTE (NC)
WBTV

May 13, 2019

Peter J. Jugis, the bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Charlotte, announced on Monday that the Diocese welcomed new procedures for handling child sexual abuse cases recommended last week by Pope Francis.

These new procedures include new approaches to handling investigations and protecting the victims and whistleblowers involved in these situations.

Barron urges Catholics not to quit over scandals, but stay and fight

ROME
Crux

May 13, 2019

By John L. Allen Jr.

It’s now been almost a year since the latest wave of the clerical sexual abuse scandals in Catholicism erupted with news that the Vatican had removed then-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick from ministry following allegations deemed credible by a review board in the Archdiocese of New York.

How bad have things become over that year?

Well, one measure is this: Arguably the most prominent Catholic bishop in America, and by consensus the most talented natural communicator and evangelist among the current crop of U.S. prelates, felt compelled to bring out a new book today in which he urges, almost begs, rank-and-file Catholics not to just walk away.

“I have written this book for my fellow Catholics who feel, understandably, demoralized, scandalized, angry beyond words, and ready to quit,” writes Auxiliary Bishop Robert Barron of Los Angeles, known to millions of Catholics in America and around the world through his Word on Fire ministry and his “Catholicism” TV series.

“What I finally urge my brothers and sisters in the Church to do is to stay and fight-and to do so on behalf of themselves and their families, but especially on behalf of those who have suffered so grievously at the hands of wicked men,” Barron writes.

Documentary about pedophile priests shakes up Poland

WARSAW (POLAND)
The Associated Press

May 13, 2019

A new documentary revealing cases of sexual abuse by priests has deeply shaken Poland, one of Europe's most Roman Catholic societies, eliciting an apology from the church hierarchy and prompting one cleric to leave priestly life.

"Tell No One," a film financed through a crowdfunding campaign, was released on YouTube on Saturday. By Monday, the documentary had more than 8 million views.

It triggered soul searching in a country where there is no higher authority than the Catholic Church and its clergy.

"Why do priests commit such crimes? Why did the bishops not react as they should? Why, for years, did a conspiracy of silence prevail among the clergy?" journalist Andrzej Gajcy asked Monday on the news site Onet, voicing some of the uncomfortable questions confronting many Poles.

The primate of Poland has thanked the brothers who made the film, Tomasz and Marek Sekielski, for their "courage."

Paedophile bishop Peter Ball and Church independent inquiry into sex abuse

UNITED KINGDOM
County Gazette

May 13, 2019

By Phil Hill

PRINCE Charles was "deceived" into supporting a paedophile bishop, it is claimed.

Peter Ball, who retired to Aller, near Langport, and is now in is late 80s, may have preyed on more than 100 boys and young men over decades.

A report concludes that the Church of England responded with "secrecy" to child abuse allegations against Ball, who was Bishop of Lewes, East Sussex, from 1977 to 1992 and Bishop of Gloucester in 1992.

He then resigned through ill health after accepting a caution - an admission of guilt - for one count of gross indecency.

The Prince of Wales was described as "misguided" for speaking in support of Ball to the Archbishop of Canterbury, while the Duchy of Cornwall was criticised for buying a property to rent to the disgraced priest.

Pope gives church 19 new priests in Vatican ceremony

VATICAN CITY
The Associated Press

May 12, 2019

By Frances D'Emilio

Pope Francis has given the church 19 new priests, ordaining the men in an elaborate ceremony Sunday in St. Peter's Basilica, as the credibility of the Vatican and many of its clergy is threatened by widespread scandals of pedophile priests and systematic efforts at cover-ups.

Fifteen of the seminarians ordained by Francis are Italian; the others are from Croatia, Peru, Haiti and Japan. The seminarians' ages range from mid-20s to 46.

Wearing white robes, the seminarians stood in three rows before the central altar after replying, "Here I am," as their names were called one by one. Francis, reciting a ritual formula, asked if they were worthy to become priests. Later in the ceremony, the seminarians prostrated themselves in a sign of obedience to church authority and to God, on a carpet in front of the altar.

Thoughts on populism, liability and unfinished business on abuse norms

ROME
Crux

May 12, 2019

By John L. Allen Jr.

Now that the dust has settled a bit on Vos Estis Lux Mundi, a new set of papal norms governing both reporting and investigation into accusations of clerical sexual abuse and its cover-up released by the Vatican on Thursday, the overall reaction seems reasonably clear.

For most people, it can be expressed this way: So far as they go, these rules seem promising, but we need to see them applied in practice - because experience has shown that in the Catholic Church, as in virtually any other context, a law’s only as important as the will to enforce it.

Since that’s an “only time will tell” situation, here are three other quick thoughts on Vos Estis to chew on while the jury remains out.

Meet the Chile prelate who may just have the Church’s toughest job

SANTIAGO (CHILE)
Crux

May 13, 2019

By Inés San Martín

Though arguably it’s not easy being a Catholic bishop anywhere in the world these days, few prelates probably have ever stepped into an inferno quite the way Bishop Celestino Aós Braco of Chile did in March.

Since 2014, Aós had been serving as the bishop of Copiapó, a relatively sleepy diocese in the northern part of the country. Two months ago, however, Francis tapped him to become the apostolic administrator of Santiago, the national capital, which has been ripped apart by clerical abuse scandals and accusations of inaction against the last two archbishops, Cardinals Francisco Errázuriz and Ricardo Ezzati.

Aós, a 74-year-old Capuchin, hasn’t been on the job long, and there’s no guarantee he’ll keep it - as apostolic administrator, in theory he’s only keeping the seat warm until a new archbishop is named.

He may have few of the benefits of the post, but he certainly has all its headaches. Early on, critics pounced on his record as the Promoter of Justice in the Diocese of Valparaíso, Chile, where in 2007 he found “implausible” a complaint of sexual abuse made by a former seminarian against a former rector of a seminary now regarded as having been one of the epicenters of Chile’s abuse crisis.

One more day for Catholic sex abuse survivors to file claims for victim compensation fund

HARRISBURG (PA)
CBS 21 News

May 12, 2019

Monday is the last day for sex abuse survivors to file any claims for a victim compensation fund through the Harrisburg Diocese.

The fund was launched back in February. It gave survivors four months to file any claims.

The church has put aside millions of dollars for victims who want a settlement.

Monday is the last day any victim who was involved with the diocese can make a claim.

Investigan a tres sacerdotes por abuso sexual en Michoacán

[Three priests investigated for sexual abuse in Michoacán]

MEXICO
Informador.Mx

May 9, 2019

Autoridades eclesiásticas señalan que se le da seguimiento puntual a estos casos, y prometen tolerancia cero

El arzobispo de Morelia, Carlos Garfias Merlos, señaló que en Michoacán se investigan tres casos de presunto abuso de sacerdotes a niñas.

FATHER DISAPPOINTED WITH CHURCH'S RESPONSE IN DAUGHTER’S SEXUAL ASSAULT

CAPE TOWN
Eyewitness News

May 13, 2019

By Monique Mortlock

The father of a girl who was harassed by a church elder says the Seventh Day Adventist Church in George failed to adhere to church policy on reporting sexual abuse cases.

A George man said he was dissatisfied with a response by his church following a South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) complaint over the handling of a sexual assault matter involving his child.

The father said he'd lost trust in the church's leadership and opened a civil case against the institution.

He claimed the Seventh Day Adventist Church in George failed to adhere to church policy on reporting sexual abuse cases after his daughter and another young girl were harassed by a church elder a few years ago.

“They basically said the pastor reported the case, but they've never supplied a case number to verify that the pastor did report the case,” the father said.

Argentine bishops rue ‘continuous attacks’ on pope due to abuse crisis

ROSARIO (ARGENTINA)
Crux

May 12, 2019

By Inés San Martín

A group of Argentine bishops currently in Rome to meet their countryman Pope Francis have acknowledged that “abuses of power as well as sexual abuses” have caused distrust in the Church, but also expressed concern over what they called the “continuous attacks on the pope” associated with the abuse crisis.

The bishops also said that the terms of a national debate over the legalization of abortion “did us Argentines a lot of wrong,” expressing surprise at the level of anger they encountered.

The words belong to Bishop Oscar Ojea, president of the Argentine bishops’ conference, and they were expressed in a letter the bishops of the Buenos Aires region gave to Francis on Friday during their ad limina visit to Rome.

Ojea wrote that with the passing of the years, it’s become evident to the bishops that they still have a “long way to go” to be able to live up to the responsibility of being a conference to which the pope once belonged, and which he once led.

Víctimas de curas abusadores protestaron frente a un hogar sacerdotal en Flores

[Victims of abusive priests protest in front of clergy home in Flores]

ARGENTINA
TN

May 2, 2019

By Miriam Lewin

Son parte de una organización mundial. Denunciaron a los obispos argentinos que protegieron a curas pedófilos en sus diócesis.

La elección del lugar para dar una conferencia de prensa en plena calle es simbólica. Por eso, Ending Clergy Abuse, la ONG que busca terminar con el abuso del clero (de ahí su nombre), la eligió para enunciar un desafío al Papa Francisco junto a otros sobrevivientes de lo que el pontífice llamó" flagelo".

Pope Francis Issues New Church Law Regarding Clergy Sex Abuse. Victims Say It's Not Enough

VATICAN CITY
The Associated Press

May 10, 2019

By Nicole Winfield

Pope Francis issued a groundbreaking new church law Thursday requiring all Catholic priests and nuns around the world to report clergy sexual abuse and cover-ups by their superiors to church authorities, in a new effort to hold the Catholic hierarchy accountable for failing to protect their flocks.

The law provides whistleblower protections for anyone making a report and requires all dioceses to have a system in place to receive the claims confidentially. And it outlines internal procedures for conducting preliminary investigations when the accused is a bishop, cardinal or religious superior.

Abuse victims and their advocates said the law was a step forward, but not enough since it doesn’t require the crimes to be reported to police and essentially tasks discredited bishops who have mishandled abuse for decades with policing their own.

Pope Francis Stops Hiding From the Church’s Sexual-Abuse Epidemic

ROME
The Atlantic

May 12, 2019

By Emma Green

The leader of the Catholic Church has issued rules creating worldwide accountability for reporting allegations of abuse. But he still faces deep cynicism from the body faithful.

Before this week, the Roman Catholic Church had no global policy requiring priests and bishops to report and investigate allegations of sexual abuse. No formal measure held bishops accountable for misconduct and cover-ups, despite a number of high-profile, horrific cases of wrongdoing by the Church’s top leaders. With story after story exposing new abuses around the world, Catholics have grown cynical about the Vatican’s willingness to face the global sickness of sexual abuse, and many have abandoned the Church entirely.

On Thursday, Pope Francis took a significant step toward changing that.

The pope’s moto proprio, which will take effect in June and remain in place as an experiment for three years, is a definitive and concrete step forward for the Church, demonstrating that Pope Francis is taking sexual abuse seriously. The new law is not a panacea, however: It does not detail specific punishments for Church leaders who violate these norms, and it does not mandate the involvement of authorities outside the Church. After years of paralysis on this issue, the Church must grapple with the crisis of confidence among the faithful, along with skeptics who believe the Catholic Church is not capable of policing itself against abuses of power.

Woman Claiming Abuse by Calif. Priest Urges Others to Report

SAN DIEGO (CA)
NBC Bay Area

May 10, 2019

By Christina Bravo and Melissa Adan

The Priest was named last November by the Catholic Diocese of San Diego among a list of more than 50 abusive priests in San Diego and San Bernardino of whom the diocese said it had received a credible allegation involving sexual abuse of a minor

A San Diego woman who says she was abused by a clergy member as a girl is urging other local sexual abuse victims to file reports with the state so religious leaders may be held accountable.

Cynthia Ann Doe is speaking out for the first time about what she says Monsignor Gregory Sheridan did to her when she was five years old and a parishoner at St. Jude's Shrine of the West in the 60s.

Sheridan was named last November by the Catholic Diocese of San Diego among a list of more than 50 abusive priests in San Diego and San Bernardino of whom the diocese said it had received a credible allegation involving sexual abuse of a minor.

Nuevos casos de abuso sexual remecen a la Iglesia Católica - VIDEO

[New cases of sexual abuse shake Catholic Church - VIDEO]

CHILE
TVN

May 8, 2019

Conocimos la historia de Mario Montenegro, quien asegura haber sido abusado por un sacerdote en el Colegio Calasanz cuando él era un niño. Además, Isaac Givovich relató que fue violado en un colegio de los hermanos maristas cuando pequeño y que hasta el día de hoy ha afectado su vida.

Efectos en Chile de documento del Papa sobre abusos: no se obliga a ir a la scalía

[How the Pope's new rules affect Chile: priest do not have to report abuse to prosecutors]

CHILE
La Tercera

May 9, 2019

By María José Navarrete

El escrito tipica y penaliza canónicamente, por primera vez, los actos de encubrimiento, da un plazo de 90 días para las investigaciones y ja cómo abordar denuncias contra obispos.

“Los delitos de abuso sexual ofenden a nuestro Señor, causan daños físicos, psicológicos y espirituales a las víctimas, y perjudican a la comunidad”. Así comienza el documento, en forma de motu proprio, que hoy dio a conocer el Papa Francisco y que establece nuevas normas para enfrentar los casos de abusos en la Iglesia Católica.

Un cura fue denunciado por acosar a cinco estudiantes durante las confesiones

[Priest accused of harassing 5 students during confessions]

ARGENTINA
TN

May 9, 2019

Las víctimas tienen entre 12 y 15 años y asisten a un colegio de Dock Sud.

Un inesperado escándalo por acoso sexual estalló en el colegio Sagrado Corazón de Dock Sud. El acusado es un cura de unos 60 años que se habría amparado en la intimidad del momento de la confesión para abusar de por lo menos cinco alumnos. Una estudiante de 12 años fue la que sacó a la luz la conducta del religioso. Según su relato, estaba en plena clase cuando la llamaron para confesarse, aunque ella no lo había pedido. "Se sentó al lado de él y el hombre le tomó las manos, acercó su silla y comenzó a acariciarle las piernas. Las caricias no paraban, el cura le apretó las rodillas y comenzó a decirle que era muy linda y hermosa", contó Mónica, su mamá, a Crónica.

La crisis de la Iglesia española no ha hecho más que empezar

[The crisis of the Spanish Church has only just begun]

SPAIN
El País

May 12, 2019

By Frédéric Martel

Con el encubrimiento de los abusos y la negación de la sexualidad de los curas, la institución no va a encontrar nuevas vocaciones

La Iglesia católica española ha entrado en un final de ciclo, como ocurre en otros países. Ante la crisis de vocaciones, la Conferencia Episcopal ha lanzado una campaña que pretende atraer a futuros sacerdotes. Por su parte, el papa Francisco ha anunciado un endurecimiento de las normas a aplicar en caso de abusos sexuales, y a partir de ahora los sacerdotes y obispos de todo el mundo tendrán que ser más duros en su denuncia de los culpables. Son dos medidas que encajan en un mismo marco. Y ambas están condenadas de antemano a fracasar debido a que parten de un error inicial en su análisis de los problemas.

Archdiocese: More time for bankruptcy reorganization plan, former hotel sale price reduced

GUAM
Pacific Daily News

May 13, 2019

By Haidee V. Eugenio

The Archdiocese of Agana is seeking more time to present its reorganization plan under the Chapter 11 bankruptcy process, after all clergy sex abuse claims are filed by Aug. 15 and mediation is completed to settle those claims.

At the same time, the archdiocese revised its proposed sale price for the former Accion Hotel from the initial $5.4 million to $5.35 million.

Sale proceeds from the former hotel and seminary in Yona, as well as other property, will go toward paying more than 200 Guam clergy sex abuse claims against the archdiocese.

Archdiocese attorneys asked the federal bankruptcy court to give the church until Sept. 16 to file a plan for reorganization and disclosure statement, and until Nov. 18 to obtain acceptance of the plan.

Documentary aims to be Polish ‘Spotlight,’ compel bishops to act

POLAND
Crux

May 11, 2019

By Paulina Guzik

When a 39-year-old Polish woman confronted the Catholic priest who she said sexually abused her, using a hidden camera, her first question was: “You destroyed my life … do you know that?”

That moment is also the opening scene of “Just Don’t Tell Anyone,” a 2-hour Polish documentary just released online.

“I just knew there were other victims, I knew it!”, says the traumatized victim after meeting the priest who abused her. She never reported the crime to anyone, instead keeping the secret for 32 years as the priest had asked her to do.

The documentary’s director, Tomasz Sekielski, depicts what is rarely seen in the media - victims confronting their predators. The result is a powerful portrait of sexual abuse by Catholic clergy in Poland, following the model laid out by Pope Francis - focusing on the victims, their wounds and their pain.

Stirring people up is precisely what the director wants.

Cardinal DiNardo, Cardinal Dolan Welcome New Papal Norms on Preventing Clergy Abuse

NEW YORK (NY)
Catholic New York

May 10, 2019

New papal norms on preventing clergy sexual abuse are “a blessing that will empower the Church everywhere to bring predators to justice, no matter what rank they hold in the Church,” said Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

The new juridical instrument “calls for the establishment of easily accessible reporting systems, clear standards for the pastoral support of victims and their families, timeliness and thoroughness of investigations, whistleblower protection for those making allegations, and active involvement of the laity,” Cardinal DiNardo said May 9.

The new document, given “motu proprio,” on the pope’s own initiative, was titled “Vos estis lux mundi” (“You are the light of the world”). Cardinal DiNardo praised it for leaving latitude for national bishops’ conferences, such as the USCCB, to specify still more to account for their local circumstances.

"Era necesario reaccionar": Los ecos de la decisión de Abbott de quitar casos a fiscalía de O'Higgins

["It was necessary to react:" echoes of Abbott's decision to move clergy abuse cases from O'Higgins prosecutor's office]

SANTIAGO (CHILE)
Emol

May 10, 2019

By Tomás Molina J.

El jefe del Ministerio Público determinó derivar las investigaciones referentes a los abusos en la Iglesia y listas de espera -lideradas por Emiliano Arias- a Santiago.

Fue ayer, tras su regreso anticipado de Colombia por los problemas que están aquejando al Ministerio Público, que el fiscal Nacional, Jorge Abbott, llevó a cabo una intervención inédita en una región: sacó las investigaciones por abusos en la Iglesia y por las lista de espera de la fiscalía de O'Higgins, derivándolas a Santiago.

Journalist tells of look into abuse report, what lies ahead for Church

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
Catholic News Service

May 12, 2019

By Matthew Gambino

The clergy sex abuse crisis that engulfed the U.S. Church - and has since spread globally - requires understanding it as context for what is happening in the Church and society, according to journalist Peter Steinfels.

The global nature of the crisis means each new instance of abuse in any country becomes part of a single narrative for the Catholic Church everywhere - unlike any other institution, said Steinfels in an April 25 talk at Villanova University’s law school.

In the United States, the case of the disgraced former cardinal and now-defrocked Theodore McCarrick has intensified long-simmering divisions of conservative and liberal factions in the Church, each offering their own agendas for reform, said Steinfels, a former New York Times reporter, retired editor of Commonweal magazine and a retired professor at Fordham University in New York.

The crisis has also become part of “a civil war over the papacy of Pope Francis,” Steinfels said.

Archbishop Hebda: Pope’s legislation on clergy abuse includes ‘groundbreaking provisions’

TWIN CITIES (MN)
The Catholic Spirit

May 10, 2019

By Maria Wiering

Archbishop Bernard Hebda praised Pope Francis’ May 9 legislation on clergy sex abuse, saying the pope’s actions “reflect the urgent need to take concrete steps and provide clear direction for reporting and investigating allegations of sexual abuse of minors and adults by all clergy, including bishops.”

“This scourge of abusive acts — and the lack of clear procedures to respond effectively to them — as well as the failure of some bishops and other Church leaders to respond appropriately to reports of abuse, has profoundly harmed far too many,” Archbishop Hebda said in a May 9 statement. “Inadequate responses in the past, moreover, have also weakened the credibility of the Church as she strives to give witness to the good news of Jesus.”

Pope Francis released the legislation, known in canon law as a “motu proprio,” to address clergy sexual abuse in the Church worldwide. The document, titled “Vox estis lux mundi,” or “You Are the Light of the World,” followed an international meeting of bishops in Rome in February to address clergy sexual abuse.

Although the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops began to address clergy sexual abuse in the 1980s, it enacted the first binding national policies on it in 2002, following the Boston Globe’s investigation of the issue in the Archdiocese of Boston. That year, the U.S. bishops released “The Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People” and the corresponding “Essential Norms,” often together referred to as the Dallas Charter, which established procedures for preventing and reporting sexual abuse in U.S. Catholic dioceses.

Critics Say Papal Decree On Clergy Abuse Should Include Law Enforcement

ROCHESTER (NY)
WXXI/WSKG News

May 10, 2019

Pope Francis issued new church regulations this week that will change the way that the Catholic Church handles sexual abuse claims internally. The papal law has many requirements including mandating all church leaders to report sex abuse and cover-ups to other church leaders. It also requires the adoption of a new anonymous reporting system to be available at all dioceses.

Tim Thibodeau is a professor of history at Nazareth College. He studies the Catholic Church in depth. His reading of the document said that civil and criminal laws apply once the instances are reported to church leadership.

“As far as the investigation of a credible claim, I do think this has some teeth, but in the end this is not the criminal justice system. You’re not talking about going to the DA’s office. You’re going to a bishop’s office or archbishop’s office,” said Thibodeau. “I think it’s a remarkable document in the sense that it’s been four years in the making. And I think it’s been a long awaited and much needed solution to a huge problem.”

New Polish documentary reveals child abuse by leading clergy

POLAND
Emerging Europe

May 13, 2019

Father Franciszek Cybula, the former chaplain of president Lech Wałęsa, and Father Eugieniusz M, the custodian of the Shrine of our Lady of Sorrows and of the Basilica of Our Lady of Licheń, are among a number of priests who molested children, according to Just Don’t Tell Anyone, a documentary by Tomasz Sekielski.

“He told me to come to his room, and when I got there, he was standing there with his trousers down and with an erected penis. He said ‘what should I do? It won’t go down,” says a young man who was 12 at the time and now, as an adult pays, a visit to the old priest.

“This didn’t exceed any boundaries… there was no ejaculation. There was a moment of petting,” Father Cybula admits. He later suggests financial compensation. The 79-year-old priest, who was Wałęsa’s confessor back in the 1980s, dies while the documentary is being produced. During his funeral the Metropolitan Archbishop of Gdańsk Sławoj Leszek Głódź delivers a sermon remembering Father’s Cybula’s good deeds.

“I reported the case to the Curia, so Głódź must have known about it and yet he didn’t even mention it,” the victim says.

Will the new rule regarding sexual abuse in the Catholic church help?

CINCINNATI (OH)
WCPO

May 13, 2019

By Corey Rangel

Becky Ianni is still haunted by years of sexual abuse that happened at the hands of her priest when she was a young child.

"I had buried my head, because he told me I'd go to Hell if I told on him," Ianni said about the priest. "This was my darkest secret."

After coming forward, it took a year-and-a-half for church leaders to agree to a settlement, she said.

Last week, Pope Francis issued a new church law that requires all Catholic priests and nuns to report clergy sexual abuse and cover-ups to church authorities. Churches have until mid-2020 to comply with setting up a reporting system.

The new law does not require them to report to police, as victims such as Becky have demanded. Previously, such reporting was left up to the conscience of individual priests and nuns.

Religion in Quebec: The tumultuous years

CANADA
Montreal Gazette

May 13, 2019

By Andy Riga

Thirteen years later, the "reasonable accommodation" debate about religion's place in Quebec society rages on.

As the debate continues over Premier François Legault’s proposed religious symbols ban, the Montreal Gazette is publishing a timeline that looks at the history of religion and religious controversies in Quebec, and how the perception of religions has changed over time.

The chronology is in two parts.

The first instalment, published Saturday, focused on the period from before the French colonization of Quebec to the early 2000s.

Today’s second part examines more recent history, starting in 2006, when “reasonable accommodations” suddenly became an issue in the news media, sparking a debate that continues to make headlines 13 years later.

New Jersey Enacts Historic Sexual Abuse Law

TRENTON (NJ)
Anderson Advocates

May 13, 2019

Childhood Sexual Abuse Survivors Given More Time to Seek Justice, Healing
Two-Year Window Allows Survivors of Any Age to File Lawsuits

(Trenton, NJ) – New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy today signed historic legislation that gives child sexual abuse survivors more time to seek justice and healing.

“This is a great day for survivors and New Jersey,” said attorney Greg Gianforcaro of Gianforcaro Law in Phillipsburg, NJ, who represents childhood sexual abuse survivors. “We thank Sen. Joseph Vitale and the other New Jersey state legislators who have supported survivors of sexual abuse and worked hard for decades to make this happen.”

Under the new law, which goes into effect December 1, 2019 in New Jersey, child sexual abuse survivors will be able to file sexual abuse lawsuits until age 55, or seven years from the date they discover the cause of their injuries, whichever is later. And there will be a two-year window for child sexual abuse victims of any age to bring lawsuits for sexual abuse in cases that were previously barred by the statute of limitations.

Arizona senator holds out on the budget to force a vote on child rape claims. Good for him

PHOENIX(AZ)
Arizona Republic

May 13, 2019

By Laurie Roberts

Opinion: When it comes to childhood victims of sexual assault wanting to sue their attackers, Arizona is one of the most generous states – for the child rapists, that is.

It doesn’t seem as if Sen. Paul Boyer is asking for much.

He wants to give victims who were sexually assaulted as children more time to hold their rapists accountable. More time to do what they can to ensure that other children, today’s children, are protected.

Only in Arizona would such a thing be controversial.

Controversial enough, in fact, that Senate President Karen Fann refuses to put the bill up for a vote.

Diocese wants lawsuit against Bransfield dismissed

WHEELING (WV)
The Weirton Daily Times

May 12, 2019

By Joselyn King

The Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston has filed a motion to dismiss a sexual harassment suit against former Bishop Michael Bransfield.

The civil court action filed Thursday in Ohio County Circuit Court denies accusations set forth in a complaint filed March 22 by a former altar server and secretary to Bransfield, identified only as “J.E.” in court documents. The plaintiff alleges he was sexually assaulted by Bransfield in 2014 and was a victim of sexual harassment by him for years prior to that.

The motion filed Thursday by the Diocese asks that all counts be dropped, in that the statute for all tort claims under state law is two years. The diocese also denies most of the complaint’s allegations in its request for dismissal.

Sexual assault victims in N.J. will soon be able to sue nonprofits that employed their rapists under law Murphy just signed

NEW JERSEY
NJ Advance Media for NJ.com

May 13, 2019

By Susan K. Livio

Gov. Phil Murphy on Monday signed a law sought by victims in the Catholic Church sexual abuse scandal for two decades that will grant them greater freedom in New Jersey to sue their abusers and the nonprofits employers.

In his signing statement, Murphy acknowledged the legislation was the subject of a lengthy and emotional battle between victims and religious leaders.

“I recognize that this issue has evoked strong passions on both sides, as supporters of the bill rightly note that it greatly increases the ability of victims of sexual abuse to pursue justice through the court system,” Murphy said in his statement.

“Opponents argue that by exposing religious and nonprofit organizations to potentially massive financial liabilities, the bill may have the unintended effect of inhibiting these organizations from providing the services that many vulnerable New Jerseyans rely on,” the Democratic governor added.

'Release Yourself': Woman Claiming Abuse by San Diego Priest Urges Others to File Reports

SAN DIEGO (CA)
NBC San Diego

May 10, 2019

By Christina Bravo and Melissa Adan

The Priest was named last November by the Catholic Diocese of San Diego among a list of more than 50 abusive priests in San Diego and San Bernardino of whom the diocese said it had received a credible allegation involving sexual abuse of a minor

A San Diego woman who says she was abused by a clergy member as a girl is urging other local sexual abuse victims to file reports with the state so religious leaders may be held accountable.

Cynthia Ann Doe is speaking out for the first time about what she says Monsignor Gregory Sheridan did to her when she was five years old and a parishoner at St. Jude's Shrine of the West in the 60s.

Sheridan was named last November by the Catholic Diocese of San Diego among a list of more than 50 abusive priests in San Diego and San Bernardino of whom the diocese said it had received a credible allegation involving sexual abuse of a minor.

During a press conference outside the church's doors, Doe did not publicly detail the priest's acts but urged other victims to come forward so that Sheridan and the Diocese of San Diego could be investigated by the California Attorney General's office.

Catholic scandals prompt some women who had relationships with priests to ponder whether they, too, were abused

WASHINGTON (DC)
The Washington Post

May 12, 2019

By Marisa Iati

He was a 24-year-old seminarian from a blue-collar family. She was an idealistic 19-year-old psychology student. He wanted to teach. She wanted to be a missionary. They hung out at the Rathskeller, a now-defunct bar at Mount St. Mary’s College, to drink draft beer and eat soft pretzels.

When Theresa Engelhardt became pregnant with their son 15 years later, she ended her relationship with the Rev. Robert Dreisbach for the seventh — or was it the eighth? — and final time.

During the years that followed, the Diocese of Allentown in Pennsylvania offered her regular child-support payments, she said, in exchange for her silence and a promise that neither she nor her son, John, would contact Dreisbach.

Now 62, Engelhardt said she has a different perspective on her relationship with Dreisbach than she did as a love-struck student. Although she realizes that she was an adult who made her own decisions in the relationship, she says Dreisbach emotionally abused her by pressuring her to stay silent about their relationship to protect his career. And Engelhardt feels even more abused by the church, which she said treated her as unworthy when she became pregnant.

Poland's Walesa urges Catholic church action on abuse after his priest accused

WARSAW (POLAND)
Reuters

May 13, 2019

Polish Nobel Peace Prize laureate Lech Walesa has urged the Catholic Church to prevent further sexual abuse of children by members of its clergy after a new documentary film showed his priest to be one of the accused.

The film “Just don’t tell anyone”, which shows people confronting priests with accusations that they abused them as children, has attracted nearly 7 million views since it was posted on YouTube on Saturday. It presents allegations that known pedophiles were shifted between parishes.

One of the clergymen featured was Franciszek Cybula, who served as Walesa’s priest for 15 years - from 1980 when he co-founded the trade union Solidarnosc which helped bring about the fall of Communism, through to his becoming Poland’s first democratically elected president in 1990 and until his term ended in 1995.

“It is sad for me that I found out that my chaplain, my confessor, was behaving so badly,” Walesa was quoted as saying by Polska The Times daily on Monday.

Poland is one of Europe’s most devout countries and Catholic priests enjoy a high level of social prestige. Nearly 85 percent of Poland’s 38 million-strong population identify as Roman Catholics and around 12 million attend mass every Sunday.

Will new revelations in Catholic church scandal be too old to prosecute?

CALIFORNIA
The Mercury News

May 13, 2019

By John Woolfolk

California dioceses could face new legal woes but abuse may fall outside statute of limitations

The California Attorney General’s recent inquiry into how the state’s Roman Catholic dioceses complied with laws requiring them to report child sex abuse threatens new legal woes for a church still struggling to confront its sex abuse scandal.

But experts warn, if Pennsylvania’s groundbreaking grand jury report on church abuse is any guide, new revelations from the California probe may be too old to bring criminal charges.

New Jersey Governor Signs Bill Easing Limit on Sex Abuse Lawsuits

NEW JERSEY
NBC Philadelphia

May 13, 2019

By Mike Catalini

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy signed legislation Monday to ease restrictions on when childhood sexual abuse victims can seek damages in court.

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy signed legislation Monday to ease restrictions on when childhood sexual abuse victims can seek damages in court, an action that comes after a wave of details last year about the abuse of minors in the Roman Catholic Church.

Murphy said in a statement that he recognized opponents' worries that the expanded statute, which allows victims to sue institutions, will expose organizations to financial liability. But that is outweighed by concern over victims, the first-term Democrat said.

"I cannot deny victims the ability to seek redress in court for sexual abuse that often leaves trauma lasting a lifetime," he said in a statement accompanying his signature.

Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston Wants Former Bishop Michael Bransfield Case Dismissed

WHEELING (WV)
The Intelligencer

May 11, 2019

By Joselyn King

The Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston has filed a motion to dismiss a sexual harassment suit against former Bishop Michael Bransfield.

The civil court action filed Thursday in Ohio County Circuit Court denies accusations set forth in a complaint filed March 22 by a former altar server and secretary to Bransfield, identified only as “J.E.” in court documents. The plaintiff alleges he was sexually assaulted by Bransfield in 2014 and was a victim of sexual harassment by him for years prior to that.

The motion filed Thursday by the Diocese asks that all counts be dropped, in that the statute for all tort claims under state law is two years. The diocese also denies most of the complaint’s allegations in its request for dismissal.

“(The) plaintiff had two years from May 2014 to file his complaint,” states the motion, filed on behalf of the Diocese by attorney James Gardill of Wheeling. “Plaintiff did not file his complaint until March 22, 2019 nearly five years after the alleged event.

Priest on leave while church investigates accusations of 'inappropriate contact' with women

PITTSBURGH (PA)
Post-Gazette

May 13, 2019

By Peter Smith

A priest with the Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh has been placed on administrative leave while the church investigates accusations of "inappropriate contact with adult women," according to a letter by Bishop David A. Zubik to parishioners.

The letter, dated May 4, was distributed this weekend in the bulletins to the congregations of Saint Ferdinand in Cranberry, Saint Gregory in Zelienople and Holy Redeemer in Ellwood City.

In it, Bishop Zubik said the church is investigating accusations made against the Rev. James Young. The removal is not an implication of guilt, Bishop Zubik said, but will "safeguard the course of justice while preserving the rights of everyone involved."

While on leave, Father Young is "not allowed to engage in public ministry at your parish or any place else. He cannot administer the sacraments, dress in clerical attire or identify himself as a priest," Bishop Zubik wrote to parishioners.

Those restrictions will become permanent if the church finds that Father Young "did what he is

Murphy will sign law Monday giving N.J. sexual abuse victims far more time to sue

NEW JERSEY
NJ Advance Media for NJ.com

May 11, 2019

By Susan K. Livio

Gov. Phil Murphy will sign the broadest law in the nation Monday that will vastly expand the amount of time victims of sexual assault will be allowed to bring a lawsuit against predators and the nonprofit organizations that employed them.

Murphy has hinted he generally supports expanding New Jersey’s two-year statute of limitations for civil lawsuits, but had not said affirmatively he would sign the bill the state Legislature approved in March.

State Sen. Joseph Vitale, D-Middlesex, the bill’s prime sponsor, said he received confirmation Murphy was signing the bill on Monday, the last day he had to act before the law took effect automatically.

When Vitale said he learned there would be no signing ceremony, as major pieces of legislation often receive, he decided to host his own event on Monday afternoon.

St. Louis Man Tracks Down, Confronts Catholic Priest He Says Abused Him in 1974

ST. LOUIS (MO)
KTVI - St. Louis

May 10, 2019

An alleged abuser and his victim met face to face after 45 years. The former SLU High School student`s journey started with a message from the Catholic Church.

May 11, 2019

Writer of blunt '02 memo on abuse: Gregory can handle the truth

KANSAS CITY (MO)
National Catholic Reporter

May 13, 2019

By Peter Feuerherd

David Spotanski wrote the kind of candid memo to his boss in February 2002 that some underlings compose, think better of, and then delete.

It was no ordinary missive from a chancery bureaucrat. The then-vice chancellor for the Diocese of Belleville, Illinois, felt the memo was so important that he went to then-Bishop Wilton Gregory's house and personally read it aloud. The memo reflected rage, frustration and disgust about sex abuse in the church. In shockingly undiplomatic language, it didn't mince words.

"Too many nights I wake up and wonder if an institution that can be this insensitive to the physical, spiritual and emotional wellbeing of its most precious members — its very future — is even worthy of my three children's innocent faith," wrote Spotanski.

Spotanski continued, stating he wanted "to share clearly with the President of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops a perception to which he cannot relate. I can speak as a parent."

He urged his boss to push for reforms that would require bishops to be fully transparent on sex abusers and to dismiss offenders. In particular, he wanted Gregory to push back hard on foot draggers among his fellow bishops.

At the time, then Boston Cardinal Bernard Law was coming under fire for revelations exposed by the Boston Globe for allowing abusive priests to continue in ministry. In the memo, Spotanski said, "Wilton, it could have been my eleven-year-old Jonathan those bastards sodomized under Law's watchful eye."

Some bishops and church leaders were putting the blame on the media for sensationalizing cases in Boston and other dioceses. Spotanski would have none of it.

"I personally don't want the media to back off until I'm confident there are no more dirty little secrets buried amidst the Mysteries of our Faith," he wrote.

After Spotanski shared the note with friends and coworkers, the memo went viral. Some who read it considered it a miracle that Spotanski wasn't fired on the spot.

Tom Doyle on Why Clericalism Is Primary Root of Catholic Abuse Horror Show

LITTLE ROCK (AR)
Bilgrimmage blog

May 8, 2019

By William Lindsey

The emeritus pope recently published a statement about the abuse horror show in the Catholic church which makes absolutely no mention at all of the roots of this horror show in clericalism, and which takes no responsibility, on the part of the clerical governing sector of the church, for this horror show and the cover-up of clerical abuse for years. The emeritus pope's statements blaming the Catholic abuse horrors on the 1960s, not clericalism, were followed by a statement by the emeritus prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Cardinal Müller, affirming the emeritus pope's analysis and suggesting that the clericalism explanation of the abuse situation in the church is "ideological."

Here's a recent statement by one of the people who knows more than anyone else about the Catholic abuse story, Thomas Doyle. This is the opening part of an essay entitled "The Sexual Abuse Crisis is Not a Crisis" that I'd like to recommend to you in its entirety:

The clerical leadership of the Catholic church has been aware of sexual violation of minors and vulnerable adults for centuries. This tragic reality is a critical problem, even though it has been buried in secrecy. The secrecy ended in the mid-80s, when the media exposed the church’s cover-up of a prolific priest-perpetrator in Louisiana. Often referred to as a "crisis," it is, in truth, not a crisis. It is something much worse. It is a worldwide manifestation of a complex, systemic and self-destructive condition in the church. It is giving us a view of today's version of the Dark Side of the institutional church.

Brutal lesson: story of abuse by Dunedin nun

DUNEDIN (NEW ZEALAND)
Otego Times

May 11, 2019

By Chris Morris

Russell Butler is in a race against time.

The 63-year-old South Dunedin resident and practising Catholic has been diagnosed with terminal cancer and recently received the Last Rites from a priest.

Now he spends his days in his small Melbourne St flat, surrounded by medication and family photos, facing the inevitable.

But, before he dies, Mr Butler has a story he wants to tell.

He wants people to know about the savage beating he says he received as a 10-year-old boy at the hands of a nun from the Sisters of Mercy.

And he wants his story put on record by the pending Royal Commission of Inquiry into historic abuse in state and faith-based care.

Mr Butler told ODT Insight the beating occurred in 1966, when he was a pupil at St Mary's Primary School in Mosgiel.

At the time, most of the lessons at the Catholic school were still delivered by nuns from the Sisters
of Mercy religious order.

And, more than 50 years on, Mr Butler says he can still recall every detail of a lesson handed down one day by Sister Mary James.

That day, Mr Butler, a self-confessed "cheeky little Catholic boy", had become embroiled in a playground fight.

Afterwards, he fled - running home to his parents' house, before returning to school later in the day.

Upon his return, he was punished by the school's head nun.

Forget priest legacies, prioritize victims (letter to the editor)'

STATEN ISLAND (NY)
Staten Island Advance

May 10, 2019

By Stephen Weiss

Re: How will church handle legacies of legendary Staten Island priests on sex abuse settlement list?

We shouldn’t be so worried about the legacies or reputations of the 30 Staten Island priests who have sexually abused children. We should be worried about the impact of that abuse on those that had to endure it and, equally as important – what the Church is doing to ensure it never happens again.

The Church has yet to implement meaningful policies to end the cycle of abuse they have allowed to continue – and have covered up – for decades. At the very least, the Church should implement a zero-tolerance policy of abusive clergy members and the priests and bishops who protect them.

The Child Victims Act is an important opportunity for those who have been abused to file claims against their abuser and the Church. I’ve spoken to dozens of sexual abuse survivors who are planning to take this step – what they care about most is truth, transparency and holding the Church accountable. That’s what we should all care about.

Alleged victims told authorities Lafayette Diocese priest abused them; priest not on list of accused

LAFAYETTE (LA)
Acadiana Advocate

May 10, 2019

By Ben Myers

A Lafayette Diocese priest was accused of molesting minors during a monthslong State Police investigation in 2015 and 2016. Two alleged victims told authorities that former Rev. Albert Nunez had either sexually abused or attempted to abuse them in the 1970s, but the investigation was closed because the alleged victims did not press charges, according to a State Police report.

Nunez is not included in the diocese’s list of 37 clergymen “credibly accused” of sexual abuse against minors and vulnerable adults. The Lafayette Diocese last month became the last in Louisiana to release such a list, following months of public outcry.

One of Nunez’s alleged victims, who told authorities that Nunez had succeeded in abusing him, also told State Police that his late brother had confided in family members that he too was abused by Nunez. The victim, who had not initiated contact with investigators, told police he had reached a point of healing, but the investigation had reopened his wounds.

SNAP, with its fiery brand of victim advocacy and support, has critics and controversy

BAKERSFIELD (CA)
Bakersfield Californian

May 11, 2019

By Stacey Shepard

In front of TV cameras and reporters, they said five people have called or emailed them in the past week claiming sex abuse by Monsignor Craig Harrison, a well-known and highly regarded Bakersfield priest. They castigated the bishop for his handling of the situation and passed out a list of nearly two dozen clergy the group claimed had been accused of sex abuse and had some past or present affiliation with the diocese.

This was, for many, an introduction to the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, or SNAP, as the group is known. While the group has been around 30 years and has nine chapters in California, none exist between Los Angeles and Sacramento.

The group's sudden arrival on the scene in the wake of allegations against Harrison has come with the organization's trademark brand of in-your-face, watchdog activism.

According to its website, the organization is considered a loose network of volunteers who provide peer support to victims of clergy and other institutional abuse, share their stories and empower others to "confront the truth." The site says the group also engages in advocacy for laws to protect children from abuse, and "exposes predators."

SNAP got its start in 1989 by founder Barbara Blaine, who had recently gone public with her story of abuse as a teen by a priest in Toledo, Ohio. She put an ad in the National Catholic Reporter looking for other victims of clergy sex abuse to start a support group, according to her obituary in the New York Times. Today, the organization is a nonprofit with chapters throughout the country and around the world.

"We’re not an anti-Catholic organization. We’re not anti-priest. All we are is anti-child molester," said Joey Piscitelli, a SNAP volunteer leader in Northern California who was at the diocese in Fresno last week.

Two steps forward and one step back won’t cleanse the Catholic Church

WASHINGTON (DC)
Washington Post

May 11, 2019

THE ESSENTIAL problem that gave rise to decades of clergy sex abuse in the Roman Catholic Church was that bishops, whose authority over their domains is all but absolute, were too often complicit in enabling pedophile priests, covering up their crimes, and looking the other way as countless young victims were raped, molested, harassed and left scarred for life. Now Pope Francis, grappling with successive waves of scandals and revelations, has decreed elaborate new policies and procedures designed to beat back a scourge that has partly defined his papacy.

Unfortunately, as with so much the pope has said and done to contain the crisis, the laws he handed down, saying that sexual abuse must “never happen again,” are half-measures. The laws outline procedures mandating that priests and nuns report suspected abuse and coverup to their superiors, provide protections for whistleblowers, accelerate investigations and require that victims be informed of investigative outcomes if they desire.

However, even as he reshaped church law, the pope left its most fundamental features intact — bishops remain in charge, policing themselves and the church, and procedures for removing and punishing them remain uncertain. That was a bitter disappointment to victims of clerical sexual abuse, and it is likely to disappoint many of the church’s faithful, already disillusioned by a scandal that exploded nearly two decades ago.

The new protocols are not toothless — among other things, they apply retroactively, meaning priests and nuns will be expected to report old cases of abuse. And in announcing them Thursday, Francis acknowledged the suffering of victims and years of failure by his two predecessors to come to terms with the crisis. The church, he said, “must continue to learn from the bitter lessons of the past.”

Has a Tico Pedophile Priest in the US Returned To Costa Rica?

SAN JOSE (COSTA RICO)
Costa Rico Star

May 10, 2019

By Carol Vaughn

Alejandro “Alex” Castillo is on the lamb from the US after being accused of sexual misconduct with minors – something for which he already served one year in prison in 2012 – yet the church welcomed him back, even promoting him to Diocese’s Director of Department of Faith Formation and Evangelization for Oakland, California. He has now been placed on administrative leave while he skips around, one step ahead of the police. Lawyers in the US are preparing a strong case against Castillo on behalf of three of the boys Castillo allegedly abused. First they have to find him.

The Catholic Church has a relentless problem with child abuse, according to Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP). Pope Francis, leader of the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics attended a conference on sexual abuse in February, and called for “an all-out battle against a crime that should be erased from the face of the earth.”

Father Castillo personifies the problem of sexual misconduct, and how it is dealt with by the Catholic Church. He had a 20-year history of known and unreported predatory behavior. In the US he was intentionally placed in poor, Spanish speaking communities where children are less likely to report abuse. The recent lawsuit against him states, “Castilllo used his position as a priest to have unlimited access to the children. San Bernadino Church officials have known for years about Castillo’s predatory behavior, yet let him work in a parish with a school.”

Castillo, 65 years old, began his career in San Jose, working at a software development company, before hearing “the call”, and joining the seminary. He came to the US in 2008, and completed his theological studies at St. Patrick’s Seminary in Menlo Park. He was ordained in 2010. He is completely bilingual, and that skill enabled him to organize missionaries in both Costa Rica and USA. Bishop Barber called Castillo “inspiring”. He said “Father Castillo’s deep commitment to our faith and to the people of God in our diocese is inspiring. I know he will lead our work in faith formation and evangelization with integrity and fidelity.” Unfortunately, that seems to not be the case at all.

Some U.S. denominations are in turmoil

NEW YORK (NY)
Associated Press

May 11, 2019

By David Crary

It has been a wrenching season for three of America’s largest religious denominations, as sex-abuse scandals and a schism over LGBT inclusion fuel anguish and anger within the Roman Catholic, Southern Baptist and United Methodist churches. There’s rising concern that the crises will boost the ranks of young people disillusioned by organized religion.

“Every denomination is tremendously worried about retaining or attracting young people,” said Stephen Schneck, a political science professor at Catholic University. “The sex-abuse scandals will have a spillover effect on attitudes toward religion in general. I don’t think any denomination is going to not take a hit.”

For the U.S. Catholic church, the clergy sex-abuse scandal that has unfolded over two decades expanded dramatically in recent months. Many dioceses have become targets of investigations since a Pennsylvania grand jury report in August detailed hundreds of cases of alleged abuse. In mid-February, former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick was expelled from the priesthood for sexually abusing minors and seminarians.

The Southern Baptist Convention, America’s largest Protestant denomination, confronted its own sex-abuse crisis three weeks ago in the form of an investigation by the Houston Chronicle and San Antonio Express-News. The newspapers reported that hundreds of Southern Baptist clergy and staff had been accused of sexual misconduct over the past 20 years, including dozens who returned to church duties, while leaving more than 700 victims with little in the way of justice or apologies.

For both denominations, allegations of cover-ups and insufficient sympathy for victims have been as damaging in the public eye as the abuse itself.

The United Methodist Church, the largest mainline Protestant denomination, ended a pivotal conference Tuesday in a seemingly irreconcilable split over same-sex marriage and the ordination of LGBT clergy. About 53 percent of the delegates voted to maintain bans on those practices and strengthen enforcement, dismaying centrists and liberals who favored LGBT inclusion and now are faced with the choice of leaving the UMC or considering acts of defiance from within.

The Rev. Adam Hamilton, whose Church of the Resurrection in Leawood, Kan., is the nation’s largest UMC congregation, said the outcome would push youthful pastors and other young adults away.

“Three out of four of millennials who live in the U.S. support same-sex marriage and do not want to be a part of a church that makes their friends feel like second-class Christians,” he told the conference. “Many of you have children and grandchildren who cannot imagine that we’re voting this way today. They wonder, have these people lost their minds?"

Bishop Brennan, Diocese of Fresno issued a statement regarding victims of abuse by the clergy

FRESNO (CA)
Your Central Valley

May 10, 2019

Bishop Joseph Brennan of the Diocese of Fresno issued a statement May 10, 2019 regarding victims of abuse by the clergy.

Earlier this week, a protest was held in Fresno by the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, which is also known as SNAP.

It's demanding that the bishop release a list of priests and clergy accused of sexual abuse.

The group says the bishop's statement "falls short" of showing compassion for victims.

In response to Brennan's statement Friday, SNAP says:
"Although Bishop Brennan’s comment is a good start it still falls short of showing compassion for crime victims of the Catholic Church. Bishop Brennan ought to be mandating that all the secret files be released for credibly accused clerics. Further, he ought to be mandating that anyone who is employed by the church, or is a volunteer lay leader, to report what they know to local law enforcement, Fresno District Attorney and finally California Attorney General Becerra."

May 10, 2019

Sacramento attorney representing three men accusing Bakersfield priest of sexual misconduct

BAKERSFIELD (CA)
KGET

May 09, 2019

By Jason Kotowski

A Sacramento attorney and clinical psychologist says he is representing two men from Merced and one from Bakersfield who allege Msgr. Craig Harrison sexually abused them when they were minors.

Joseph George said each man has filed a report with local law enforcement agencies as well as the state attorney general's office regarding their allegations against the popular Bakersfield priest.

The attorney said he can't file a lawsuit on behalf of the men because the civil statute of limitations is up. He said he's representing them pro bono to guide them through the legal process and help ensure law enforcement does a thorough investigation.

Bakersfield police Thursday refused to confirm they have a current investigation involving Harrison. Last week the department said it did not have any open investigations involving the priest.

Eight priests with Kern County ties accused of past sexual abuse, list shows

BAKERSFIELD (CA)
The Bakersfield Californian

May 7, 2019

Eight priests with connections to Kern County have been accused of sexual abuse, according to a list released by the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests.

The advocacy group released a list on Tuesday of 23 priests who have worked in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Fresno who the group says has had accusations of sexual abuse lodged against them. One name was later removed from the list.

The names came from the website bishopaccountability.org, an online archive that tracks accusations of sexual misconduct by Catholic clergy.

Here’s a look at the priests listed with local ties:

These 311 N.J. priests, nuns and clergy are accused of sexual misconduct, law firm says. See the full list.

NEW JERSEY
NJ Advance Media for NJ.com

May 6, 2019

By Kelly Heyboer and Sophie Nieto-Munoz

More than 300 New Jersey priests, nuns, monks and other clergy accused of sexual misconduct -- including many not included in the Catholic Church’s official list -- were named in a report released Monday by lawyers representing an alleged victim suing the state’s dioceses.

The report by a Minnesota-based law firm is related to a lawsuit filed by Edward Hanratty, a sexual abuse victim from New Jersey that says New Jersey’s five Catholic dioceses created a “public hazard” by not naming all clergy members accused of sexually abusing children.

The 311 names in the report come from lawsuits, legal settlements, news reports and other public accounts of alleged abuse, the attorneys said.

In February, the Archdiocese of Newark and the state’s four other dioceses -- Camden, Metuchen, Trenton and Paterson -- released the names of 188 priests and deacons “credibly accused” of sexual abuse of children.

Lawsuit: Diocese of Covington demands Facebook remove 'unofficial page' with critical posts

COVINGTON (KY)
Cincinnati Enquirer

May 8, 2019

By Max Londberg

The Roman Catholic Church Diocese of Covington filed a lawsuit Tuesday in which it demands Facebook remove a page bearing the diocese's name, citing federal copyright law.

The page, "Roman Catholic Diocese of Covington," is not affiliated with the diocese. It has 372 likes as of Wednesday evening, and some of its posts are critical of the diocese and its schools.

One person wrote on the page that the diocese is a "breeding grounds for white privilege."

The lawsuit was filed in the Eastern District of Kentucky.

Vatican law: Priests, nuns must report sex abuse, cover-up

SAN FRANCISCO (CA)
KGO – San Francisco

May 9, 2019

Pope Francis has issued a new law requiring all Catholic priests and nuns around the world to report clergy sexual abuse and cover-ups by their superiors to church authorities.

Syracuse, New York, diocese pays $11M to settle abuse claims

SYRACUSE (NY)
The Associated Press

May 2, 2019

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Syracuse has paid nearly $11 million to settle claims of clergy sexual abuse with 79 people, who are now prohibited from suing.

The Post-Standard reports 85 of the 88 people who had applied to the Independent Reconciliation Compensation Program received offers.

Those who accepted signed releases that prohibit them from filing lawsuits. Kevin Braney declined compensation and recently sued the diocese after New York's Legislature expanded the statute of limitations on child sex abuse cases in January.

Lawsuits expected as dozens of WNY Boy Scout leaders accused of sex abuse

BUFFALO (NY)
The Buffalo News

May 10, 2019

By Jay Tokasz

Ronald C. Williams has served prison sentences in three states for child sex abuse felony convictions over the past 28 years.

But Williams' penchant for sexually abusing children goes back to when he was a K-9 patrolman on the Buffalo police force and volunteered with the Boy Scouts, according to Bob O'Donnell of the Town of Boston.

O’Donnell said Williams, who had been his Cub Scout leader, abused him at least 10 times in the mid-1970s, when O’Donnell was 13 or 14 and Williams took him canoeing and camping on Eighteen Mile Creek.

“The guy pretty much raped me, more than once, by giving me enough alcohol so that I didn’t even realize what was going on,” said O’Donnell, who is now 54.

Williams is among the more than two dozen Western New York-area Boy Scout leaders since the 1950s who have been accused of molesting children or of sex-related offenses. Nineteen were charged with crimes.

Ex-Point Pleasant Area Member Of Clergy Accused Of Sex Abuse

POINT PLEASANT (NJ)
Patch National

May 8, 2019

By Tom Davis

The names of more than 100 additional priests, clergy with NJ ties who have been accused of sexual abuse were released in a new disclosure.

The names of more than 100 additional priests and members of the clergy were released in a new disclosure this week made by attorneys who believe the state's Catholic dioceses need to be more forthcoming about what they know. One of them reportedly served in the Point Pleasant area.

The law firms of Jeff Anderson & Associates released a report containing the names and histories of more than 300 people accused of sexual misconduct in the Archdiocese of Newark, Diocese of Camden, Diocese of Metuchen, Diocese of Paterson and Diocese of Trenton. Read more: Another 100 NJ Priests, Clergy Accused Of Sex Abuse In Disclosure

The same law firm released the names of 52 Boy Scout leaders allegedly named in the organization's "perversion files" last month. Read more: 52 NJ Boy Scout Leaders Accused Of Sexual Abuse Named

Patch has identified only those who were formally accused of sexual abuse by law enforcement, Jesuits or the Catholic church. Patch also only listed names not previously disclosed.

Name Of Hillsborough Priest Accused Of Sex Abuse Disclosed

HILLSBOROUGH (NJ)
Patch

May 7, 2019

By Alexis Tarrazi

The man was among 100 more priests and clergy with New Jersey ties whose names were released in a new disclosure recently.

The name of a priest who served in Hillsborough was included in a list of more than 100 clergy who have been accused of sexual abuse.

Fr. Eugene M. O'Sullivan was assigned to St. Joseph's in North Plainfield from 1985 to 1987 and Mary Mother of God in Hillsborough from 1990 to 1991.

Other priests with Somerset County ties include:

Indian school removes priest over corporal punishment

INDIA
UCANews

May 10, 2019

Vice-principal of Jharkhand school accused of unlawful beating of student who forgot handbook

A Catholic school in India’s Jharkhand state has removed its priest vice-principal after he allegedly used corporal punishment on a student.

Father Prem James Tigga of Bishop Hartmann Academy, a high school in state capital Ranchi, was accused of beating a Grade 6 student on April 8 for allegedly not paying the previous month’s fees and not bringing his school handbook to the class.

Ranchi Archdiocese spokesman Father Anand David Xalxo said the Capuchin-run school has “admitted the mistake and has removed the priest from his office with immediate effect.”

“The school does not encourage corporal punishment for students,” he told ucanews.com.

Former Winter priest accused of sexual assault doesn’t want jury trial

ASHLAND (WI)
CBS3

May 6, 2019

A former Winter priest accused of sexual misconduct says he doesn’t want a jury trial.

According to the Ashland Daily Press, Thomas Ericksen, 71, made that request during a court hearing last week.

The 71-year-old former Catholic priest is accused of sexually assaulting children while serving as a priest in Winter decades ago.

A Priest Impregnated a Teenager. Decades Later, Should He Be Allowed to Teach?

NEW YORK (NY)
The New York Times

May 7, 2019

By Corina Knoll

An arbitrator ruled last month that Joseph DeShan can remain in the classroom, igniting a debate between parents determined to oust him and those who defend the longtime teacher.

It began last fall, when students new to Cinnaminson Middle School in New Jersey brought home rumors of a “rapist” at the school.

Eventually, their alarmed parents discovered that a teacher, Joseph DeShan, had a past life as a Roman Catholic priest in Bridgeport, Conn.: In the late ’80s, when then-Father DeShan was about 30 years old, he began a sexual relationship with a girl half his age, with whom he had a child.

This information was not a secret. The teacher’s past had first surfaced in 2002, when he was briefly removed from the classroom but was allowed to return by the superintendent at the time. The small community of 16,000 seemed to accept his past.

FORMER NEW BEDFORD-BASED PRIEST ACCUSED OF SEXUAL ASSAULT

BOSTON (MA)
WBSM

May 8, 2019

By Taylor Cormier

A Catholic priest with religious roots in New Bedford is one of eight priests named in new sexual assault allegations.

During a press conference in Boston Tuesday hosted by renowned attorney Mitchell Garabedian, Nadine Tifft, 37, of Indiana, accused Fr. John Sweeney of sexually assaulting her nearly 20 years ago.

Tifft, a teenager living in Vermont at the time, says in 2000 she attended a leadership retreat through her church. The retreat featured visiting church leaders from around New England. Tifft says one of the visiting priests, Fr. Sweeney, encouraged the young people to attend confession. After confession, Fr. Sweeney is alleged to have told several of the teenagers that they were possessed and he would perform exorcisms on them.

Tifft says that the sexual abuse of herself and others occurred during the "exorcisms" performed by Fr. Sweeney.

“We were teenagers who trusted that priest,” she said.

Peruvian archbishop withdraws defamation suit against second journalist

AUSTIN(TX)
Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas

May 1, 2019

By Paola Nalvarte/TM

A senior representative of the Peruvian Catholic Church who accused an investigative journalist of defamation withdrew his lawsuit against her. Days prior, the Archbishop did the same with another journalist, who had just been sentenced criminally for the case against him.

Through a press release, the Archbishop of Piura, José Antonio Eguren, of the Sodalitium Christianae Vitae (SVC), desisted from continuing with the criminal complaint for aggravated defamation that he made against Peruvian journalist Paola Ugaz. Among his reasons, he stated that in his decision to refuse to defend his honor, he seeks the unity of the Peruvian Catholic Church.

Priest accused of child sex abuse retiring

HOUSTON (TX)
KHOU11

May 9, 2019

A longtime Catholic priest accused of child sex abuse has submitted his resignation, according to an e-mail sent Wednesday to parishioners of the Prince of Peace Catholic Community.

Pope vows to fight nun abuse, urges service not servitude

VATICAN CITY
The Associated Press

May 10, 2019

Pope Francis vowed Friday to combat the sexual abuse of nuns and urged religious sisters to just say no when clergy want to use them as maids.

Francis told 850 superiors of religious orders gathered for the triennial assembly of the International Union of Superiors General, the main umbrella group of nuns, that theirs is a vocation of service, not servitude.

The union's president, Maltese Sister Carmen Sammut, told Francis that clergy abuse of sisters was "diffuse in many parts of the world," and included sexual abuse, spiritual abuse, as well as taking of their property. She added that there were also cases of nuns abusing other nuns.

Francis said sexual abuse of sisters was "a serious, grave problem" of which he was well aware.

Vatican Announces Landmark Law Aimed At Ending Clergy Sex Abuse

NEW YORK (NY)
May 9, 2019

CBS2 News At 5

Vatican Announces Landmark Law Aimed At Ending Clergy Sex Abuse

Pope Francis is taking new steps to combat sex abuse in the Catholic Church and hold leaders accountable. CBS2's Dick Brennan reports.

Church accused of ignoring abuse victims as 'seal of confessional' upheld

ENGLAND
The Telegraph

May 8, 2019

By Gabriella Swerling

The Church of England is ignoring abuse victims, survivors claim, following a report which said that clergy should report sex abuse confessions to police.

The seal of the confessional is a priest’s obligation under canon law to hear a person’s confession of sin, or imagined sin, in complete confidence.

Under these rules, nothing that a priest is told during will be repeated or disclosed under any circumstances. This is also the rule of the Roman Catholic Church.

In 2015 the House of Bishops and the Archbishop’s Council commissioned a working party to assess this law in relation to safeguarding and protecting victims from sexual abuse.

Breaking the seal: State bill asks clergy to report child abuse, even if disclosed in confession

LOMPOC (CA)
KEYT

May 9, 2019

By Nathalie Vera

Clergy now exempt from mandatory reporting laws

A California bill advancing in the state Senate would require clergymen to report child abuse, even if they learn of it in confession.

Leaders of the Catholic Church claim the legislation would violate their freedom of religion.

Father Joy Lawrence Santos, of the Queen of Angels Church in Lompoc, says confession is one of the most sacred sacraments of the church.

“It's all about God's love, God's mercy and forgiveness.”

Lawrence Santos says when a parishioner opens up to him about their sins, it stays between them and God.

Cardinal DiNardo welcomes new papal norms on preventing clergy abuse

WASHINGTON (DC)
Catholic News Service

May 9, 2019

New papal norms on preventing clergy sexual abuse are "a blessing that will empower the church everywhere to bring predators to justice, no matter what rank they hold in the church," said Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

The new juridical instrument "calls for the establishment of easily accessible reporting systems, clear standards for the pastoral support of victims and their families, timeliness and thoroughness of investigations, whistleblower protection for those making allegations, and active involvement of the laity," Cardinal DiNardo said May 9.

The new document, given "motu proprio," on the pope's own initiative, was titled "Vos estis lux mundi" ("You are the light of the world"). Cardinal DiNardo praised it for leaving latitude for national bishops' conferences, such as the USCCB, to specify still more to account for their local circumstances.

Man who killed elderly couple and bartender has appeal rejected by Supreme Court

MONTREAL (CANADA)
Canadian Broadcasting Corporation

May 9, 2019

The Supreme Court of Canada has rejected an attempt by triple-murderer Jesse Iemson to appeal a lower court decision that called into question claims that childhood sexual abuse contributed to his lethal behaviour as an adult.

Imeson was found guilty of killing three people in Southwestern Ontario in the summer of 2007.

On July 19, he strangled 25-year-old Carlos Rivera, a Windsor bartender. Four days later the bodies of Bill and Helene Regier, who had been shot to death, were found in their farmhouse near Grand Bend, northwest of London.

In October 2008, Imeson, then 23, pleaded guilty to three counts of second-degree murder and was sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole for 25 years.

While in prison in 2009, Imeson alleged that he had been sexually assaulted by Tony "Doe", a former child and youth worker with Maryvale Adolescent and Family Services in Windsor.

In 1996-1997, Imeson spent a few months at the residential institution, which cares for troubled youth.

He also alleged that about a year after leaving Maryvale and while in foster care, he was sexually abused by Father Howarth, a now deceased priest of the Roman Catholic Diocese of London.

In September, 2016, a jury found Maryvale vicariously liable for sexual assaults allegedly committed against Imeson by "Doe".

Chronology leading to SCC decision

The jury did not accept Imeson's claim that he was also sexually abused by the deceased priest, and the action against the Roman Catholic Diocese of London was dismissed.

During that trial, Imeson sought to call Dr. Kerry Smith, a mental health clinician employed in the British Columbia prison system who had seen and counselled Imeson over a long series of therapeutic sessions.

Lawyers for Maryvale tried to block Dr. Smith's evidence on the grounds that he lacked the necessary training and expertise to give an opinion on childhood sexual abuse. But the trial judge ruled Smith was qualified to provide "expert opinion with respect to certain issues."

The Ontario Court of Appeal ruled in 2018 that Smith's opinions did not qualify as expert evidence and that the trial judge erred by allowing it to be heard.

As a result, the court ordered a new civil trial between Imeson and Maryvale.

May 9, 2019

Pope Francis decree holds priests accountable for abuse; survivor reacts

COLUMBIA (MO)
KOMU TV

May 9, 2019

By Monica Madden

Pope Francis issued new rules Thursday requiring all priests and nuns to report clergy sexual abuse and instances of cover-up to address global abuse.

This comes in response to the long-running issue of widespread sexual misconduct and cover-ups within the Catholic church.

A local member of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, said although this is progress for the church, it doesn't fully address the problem.

"It is movement in a positive direction but it doesn’t sound to me like it has any teeth," survivor Don Asbee said. "If it were a superintendent shuffling around a pedophile teacher from school to school, he would be arrested, plain and simple."

The Pope's new law mandates that all priests and nuns are required to inform church authorities when they learn or have reasons to believe that a cleric or sister has engaged in sexual abuse of a minor, sexual misconduct with an adult, possession of child pornography — or that a superior has covered up any of those crimes.

Asbee said he doesn't think abuse should be handled internally, but by the state or outside law enforcement agencies.

"It is a crime to abuse children or cover it up. You have to recognize that it’s not just a sin it’s against the law, it’s a criminal offense," he said.

Asbee was raised Catholic and was nine years old when he said he was first groomed and abused by his priest.

He said several other "vulnerable" boys in his church were also deemed "special" by the priests and later assaulted.

"I never understood fully what was going on. I knew something was wrong but I didn’t put it together until I was 50," he said. "And it was pretty much just stated to me by the priests that you kind of brought this upon yourself. The guilt was all mine to bear."

Asbee said he was one of the thousands of children in Pennsylvania who experienced this and is now a vocal member of SNAP in an effort to end the cycle.

Father Rich Litzau, a priest at the St. Thomas More Newman Center in Columbia, said he recognizes the church has made its mistakes.

"I think it's time that those kind of things be pretty well legitimized and formulated so that it makes it very clear that the church's intention is the make sure that the problems that have existed in the past are resolved," he said.

Litzau said he thinks Pope Francis' new decree makes this set of rules and procedures standardized across the globe and is a step in the right direction.

Clergy sex abuse lawyer Garabedian faces defamation lawsuit in Pennsylvania

BOSTON(MA)
Boston Globe

May 9, 2019

By Laura Crimaldi

Mitchell Garabedian, the Boston attorney who pulled back the curtain on clergy sex abuse in the Catholic church, finds himself in an unusual position in federal court in Philadelphia: He’s being sued by a boarding school teacher who claims Garabedian and his client falsely accused him of being a child molester.

The lawsuit alleging defamation and intentional infliction of emotional distress was filed on April 10 against Garabedian and one of his clients, a 40-year-old man who lives in Milwaukee. The teacher, a resident of Ohio, filed the complaint under the pseudonym John Doe, citing a fear of “severe harm.”

Philadelphia magazine first reported on the lawsuit on May 3. The 13-page complaint alleges Garabedian, acting on behalf of his client, falsely accused the teacher of child molestation in an April 2018 letter addressed to the headmaster of The Hill School in Pottstown, Pa., where the teacher has worked for more than 25 years.

Diocese of Marquette responds to Michigan sexual abuse investigation

MARQUETTE (MI)
Marquette Diocese

May 9, 2019

The following a press release sent to Local 3 News by the Diocese of Marquette.

“We welcome Pope Francis’ moto proprio, ‘Vos estis lux mundi,’ or ‘You are the light of the world’ released today,” said Bishop John Doerfler. “The Holy Father’s moto proprio will guide our future efforts in the protection of children, young people and those who are vulnerable, continuing the work of the ‘Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People” that began in 2002.’”

“Pope Francis displays a pastoral heart toward those who have suffered abuse. He also shows determination to hold accountable anyone accused of the evil of sexual abuse, no matter what position in the Church that person may hold,” said Bishop Doerfler.

Since 2002, the diocese follows procedures set forth in the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People. Audited annually, the diocese was found to be in compliance with the Charter in 2017, the most recent year completed.

The diocese reports allegations of criminal sexual conduct to appropriate civil authorities. It is diocesan practice to defer to civil authorities before pursuing an allegation.

The Diocese of Marquette remains committed to fully cooperate with the Michigan Attorney General’s ongoing investigation into sexual abuse in the Church. Requests for information by the Attorney General have been fully complied with.

The Diocese of Marquette encourages individuals to report clergy, employee or volunteer sexual abuse of minors – no matter when the abuse occurred – to local law enforcement agencies and the Michigan Attorney General’s Office. The Michigan Attorney General’s Office may be reached at its toll-free reporting hotline at (844) 324-3374 (Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.) or by email at aginvestigations@michigan.gov

Victim advocacy group disappointed by Catholic Church changes on sex abuse

COLUMBUS (OH)
Channel 10 News

May 9, 2019

By Glenn McEntyre

Carol Zamonski represents the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, or SNAP.

When she learned the Pope had issued new rules governing reporting of sex abuse, her expectations were low. After reading the church's new guidelines, so is her assessment.

"This is not satisfactory. It's not going to solve the problem. It doesn't indicate to me that there's a will to actually solve the problem. This is just a great PR move," Zamonski said.

Among the changes:

Each diocese is to establish systems for the public to confidentially report abuse and cover-up within a year.
All clerics and church officials are obligated to report abuse and cover-up, and there can be no retaliation against whistle-blowers.
Archbishops or clerics must immediately inform the Vatican of an accusation, and the Vatican has 30 days to respond.
But the rules do not require law enforcement to be involved.

Catholic leaders welcome Pope Francis’ new rules on reporting sex abuse

NEW YORK (NY)
America Magazine

May 9, 2019

By Michael J. O’Loughlin

Catholic leaders greeted the news on May 9 that the Vatican will require all bishops to adopt procedures aimed at holding church leaders accountable for reporting sexual abuse with optimism. Victim advocacy groups appear more cautious, however, saying the new measure is only a first step.

Cardinal Blase Cupich, the archbishop of Chicago who in November floated an idea for bishop accountability similar to the outline released by the Vatican, called the new measure “revolutionary” and said it “closes a loop” when it comes to holding church leaders accountable.

“What’s quite extraordinary about this is that if in fact there is a mishandling by a bishop who’s responsible for an investigation, then he is liable to be investigated for any cover-up,” he said in an interview with America.

Under the decree, bishops will have just over a year to establish a system available to the public to report the sexual abuse of minors or adults, the use of violence to coerce adults into sex, and the creation, possession or distribution of child pornography. The new measure also addresses bishops or religious superiors who cover up any of those crimes.

Anne Barrett Doyle, a co-director of BishopAccountability.org, said in a statement that the new law is “a step forward,” specifically for protecting whistleblowers, prohibiting a requirement of secrecy for those making allegations and requiring bishops to adopt procedures for reporting allegations.

“Yet it’s not nearly enough,” she continued, pointing out that the church law does not include language relating to penalties. “[I]t’s still entirely possible for a bishop to punish a child-molesting priest with a slap on the wrist and to keep his name hidden from the public. The new law does nothing to enact zero tolerance for child sexual abuse or for cover-up.”

The Survivors Network for Those Abused by Priests also offered some praise, saying in a statement that “mandated reporting is a good thing” and highlighting that the new law applies to both children and “vulnerable adults.” While the new law requires bishops to comply with local civil law with respect to reporting abuse, it does not require all bishops to report claims to police. SNAP said it is concerned by the possibility of keeping some investigations within the church.

Critics say pope's law requiring priests, nuns to report sex abuse does not go far enough

NEW YORK (NY)
NBC News

May 9, 2019

By Corky Siemaszko

Victim advocates said Thursday that the fatal flaw in Pope Francis’ new mandate that priests and nuns report clerical sex abuse is that it requires the church to police itself, instead of notifying law enforcement.

They say it’s not enough that Francis has required whistle-blowers to report any abuse or cover-ups to their superiors.

“We're already seeing this 'new' church plan described as 'groundbreaking' and 'sweeping,' but that's irresponsible,” said David Clohessy, director of Survivor Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP). ”These are promises, plain and simple. They might lead to change. They might not. But children need concrete action, not more pledges from a complicit church hierarchy.”

Popes, said Clohessy, “have always had the power to defrock, demote and discipline bad bishops.”

“They just refuse to do so,” he said. “And that's why clergy sex crimes keep happening. What's needed is courage, not policies. Until heads roll, until a few dozen bishops are fired for hiding predators, little will change.”

“We're disappointed that the pope still refuses to simply tell church employees they must call the police. Any policy or pledge that still largely enables the Catholic hierarchy to handle crimes internally is doomed to continue both abuse and cover-up.”

Clohessy said the silver lining in Francis’ latest effort to tackle the sex abuse scandal, which some say has wrecked the credibility of the Roman Catholic Church’s hierarchy — and resulted in the church’s paying millions of dollars to settle lawsuits — is that priests and nuns are required to report even decades-old abuse allegations.

5 highlights of Pope Francis’ new reforms for handling clergy sex abuse

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
Philadelphia Inquirer

May 9, 2019

By Jeremy Roebuck

Pope Francis on Thursday issued a sweeping set of new Catholic Church laws aimed at better policing how the hierarchy investigates claims of clergy sex abuse and cover-up, marking his most concrete effort to date to respond to a crisis that has threatened to overwhelm his papacy. Here are some of the highlights:

1. Mandatory reporting

The new policies, outlined in what is known within the Church as a motu propio, require for the first time that all of the world’s 415,000 Catholic priests and 660,000 religious sisters inform Church authorities of all reports of abuse.

But the directive stops short of requiring them to go to police or other civil authorities — a nod to the Vatican’s long-held concern that doing so could endanger clerics in parts of the world where Catholics are a persecuted minority.

Bishops in the United States adopted a similar but tougher policy in the early 2000s, amid the first wave of the clergy sex abuse crisis here. The U.S. version requires dioceses to report suspected abuse to police.

2. Making it easier for victims to come forward

The Church also will require every diocese to create a public, easily accessible, confidential system to field complaints of sexual abuse and cover-up.

Most dioceses in the United States already have established protocols that meet this minimum requirement, but there have been calls for further reform.

For instance, after complaints that seminarians and priests feared repercussions if they came forward to accuse their superiors, bishops here launched a confidential third-party hotline last fall for reporting abuse.

The rules issued Thursday by the Vatican establish whistleblower protections, saying that those reporting misconduct from within the Church may not suffer “prejudice, retaliation, or discrimination.” It also requires that victims be notified of the outcome of any investigation.

Texas conv. removes church with sex offender pastor

GALVESTON (TX)
Baptist Press

May 9, 2019

By Art Toalston

A San Antonio church has been removed from the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention for retaining a pastor listed on the Texas Public Sex Offender Registry.

The action involving New Spirit Baptist Church was taken by the SBTC’s Executive Board during an April 22-23 meeting in Galveston, the Southern Baptist TEXAN reported May 2.

The TEXAN reported that representatives of the convention’s credentials committee had met with the church, which subsequently chose to retain the pastor, Erbey Valdez.

"The board reported that due to the church’s position, it was in violation of the Baptist Faith & Message," the TEXAN reported, referencing the Southern Baptist Convention’s doctrinal statement, which has also been adopted by other Baptist bodies.

New Spirit Baptist Church reported on the SBC Annual Church Profile a weekly average attendance of 24 in 2018.

Valdez, 47, a former middle school principal, was charged in a case dated July, 8, 2010, involving a 17-year-old and Texas Penal Code 43.25 (d), "Sexual Performance by a Child," a second-degree felony.

The section states in part, "A person commits an offense if, knowing the character and content thereof, he employs, authorizes, or induces a child younger than 18 years of age to engage in sexual conduct or a sexual performance."

The Texas registry states that Valdez is on probation/community supervision in that case.

Valdez was arrested in February 2010, the San Angelo Standard-Times reported on Feb. 15 of that year, for what the newspaper described as "indecency with a child." Valdez posted a $25,000 bond.

He had been indicted in January 2010, the Standard-Times reported, by a grand jury in Sutton County on "two felony counts of allegedly having sex with a high school student." He had been placed on administrative leave from the school district after an October 2009 arrest on a charge described by the Standard-Times as "an improper relationship between an educator and a then-17-year-old student."

The bylaws workgroup of the SBC’s Executive Committee became aware of the situation, and of action taken by the SBTC, soon after the TEXAN article was published, said D. August Boto. Boto, the EC’s interim president and executive vice president, told Baptist Press, "I have spoken with the chairman of that workgroup, who has said that the matter will be considered fully in the regular course of the workgroup’s work."

Boto went on to say that because the workgroup, and the entire Executive Committee, is composed of committed and involved laypersons, ministers and pastors, "Southern Baptists can be confident that its review will be handled in a thoughtful and responsible way, and its ultimate recommendation or determination will reflect the values held by the vast majority of the Convention’s congregations."

The success of Pope Francis’ new sex abuse reporting rules depends on enforcement

WASHINGTON (DC)
Religion News Service

May 9, 2019

By Thomas Reese

Learning from what he calls “the bitter lessons of the past,” Pope Francis has issued the most comprehensive response of his papacy to the sex abuse crisis.

The new document requires bishops, priests and religious to report sexual abuse and cover-ups to church officials and sets up new procedures for investigating bishops.

It also tells bishops to follow local laws governing reporting of abuse to civil authorities.

This is a major step forward for the Vatican. In dealing with not only abuse but also cover-ups, the pope has responded to demands that bishops be held accountable for not protecting children from abusive priests. It also responds to those who complained that the February sex abuse summit in Rome, to which the pope called leading bishops from all over the world, was all talk and no action. Now Francis has acted.

The new norms apply not only to abuse of minors (those under 18) but also to abuse of other vulnerable people, as well as anyone forced “by violence or threat or through abuse of authority, to perform or submit to sexual acts.” This includes adult seminarians, novices and women religious.

The May 9 document, “Vos estis lux mundi” (“You are the light of the world”), applies to all bishops, priests and religious throughout the world. It also encourages lay people to report abuse or cover-up. Those reporting must be protected from any “prejudice, retaliation or discrimination.” Nor can accusers or victims be required to keep silent about their accusations. And if the victims request it, they must be informed of the results of the investigation.

Bishops are required to set up procedures for reporting and investigating accusations against priests by June 1, 2020. U.S. dioceses already have such procedures, but they are lacking in many dioceses in the Global South. In the U.S. the procedures currently apply only to priests, not bishops.

Under the new norms, accusations of abuse or cover-up against a bishop are to be reported to his archbishop, also called a metropolitan, or to the Vatican. The metropolitan reports the accusations to Rome, which then empowers him to investigate. If an archbishop or cardinal is accused, it is reported to Rome, which will assign a prelate to investigate him.

Status reports on any investigation must be sent by the archbishop to Rome every 30 days, with the final report within 90 days, although extensions can be granted when needed.

SNAP Calls On Bishop To Release Names

MANHASSET (NY)
Manhasset Press

May 9, 2019

By Marco Schaden

In front of the St. Agnes Cathedral in Rockville Centre, Janet Klinger of Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) called on the Rockville Centre Diocese to release a list of sexual abuse accused clergy.

The Rockville Centre Diocese is the largest diocese in the nation that has not come out with a list of names of clergy accused of sexual abuse.

“Every day that a predator’s name is hidden, kids are at risk of horrific abuse,” said Klinger standing alongside members of SNAP and sexual abuse survivors. “[Bishop John O.] Barres must post credibly accused clerics’ names immediately. It’s never premature to warn the public about potentially dangerous men.”

In January, the USA Northeast Province Jesuits released a list of accused Jesuits—four of whom were in Manhasset during their time as part of the clergy. SNAP brought attention to these priests as evidence that there has been maligned behavior in the diocese. According to the report from the Jesuits:

Father Joseph Towle was accused of sexual abuse in 1971 and was based at Inisfada, a Jesuit retreat house in Manhasset that was sold to developers in 2013, from 1968 to 1971. Father Edward D. Horgan was accused of sexual abuse in 1966 while he was at Regis High School and also stayed at Inisfada from 1983 to 1994. Father John Garvey was accused of abuse in 1978-79 and was based at Inisfada from 1978 to 1987. Father Joseph Fitzpatrick was accused of abuse in the 1980s and from 1971 to 1983 he was at St. Mary’s parish in Manhasset. His whereabouts from 1984 to 1986 are unknown, but he started to work again in 1987 at St. Mary Church in Marlboro, New York.

“At the very least, Barres should tell us those alleged predators who are alive and may pose threats to children right now,” said Klinger.

However, Bishop Barres has been involved in covering up sexual abuse cases going back to his time as Bishop of Allentown from 2009 to 2016.

A grand jury report by the Pennsylvania Attorney General published in 2018 revealed that Bishop Barres failed to remove Father Michael S. Lawrence after he abused two minors, ages 12 and 13. In 2014, Bishop Barres wrote a letter to the Vatican stating that Lawrence would “remain under this supervised way of life,” and not be removed from the church.

Pope Francis Issues New Reporting Laws, SNAP Responds

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

May 9, 2019

A lack of policies or procedures has never been the main problem in the clergy sex abuse scandal. Rather, it has been a lack of accountability for hierarchs who conceal sex crimes and a deficit of courage and willingness to take immediate, decisive action on those who have enabled those crimes to occur.

Mandated reporting is a good thing. Yet while this new law will compel priests and nuns to report abuse, it requires them to do so internally, to the very Church structures and offices that have been receiving and routing allegations of abuse for years. We would have been far more impressed if this new law required church officials to report to police and prosecutors instead. Oversight from external, secular authorities will better protect children and deter cover-ups.

It is notable that this new law contains whistleblower protections for those who come forward. But we can only wonder if Church officials will simply be able to retaliate against whistleblowers in different ways, as we have seen in the recent case of Fr. John Gallagher.

While we remain skeptical of this new law, we recognize some good things within it. For example, we are glad that the Vatican is specifically recognizing the plight of vulnerable adults by acknowledging “the abuse of authority,” regardless of a victim’s age. We are also glad that the Vatican has pledged to move quickly on internal investigations.

Michigan AG Receives Death Threats over Clergy Abuse Probe

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

May 9, 2019

We are very sad that any law enforcement officer would face threats for doing his or her job and we are distressed that the Michigan attorney general has suffered in this way. We hope Michigan's bishops quickly and harshly condemn this hatred. Violence is never the answer.

For decades, police and prosecutors who pursued clerics who commit and conceal child sex crimes have been stonewalled, and Church officials have contributed to the unhealthy atmosphere that leads to threats of violence. While the Church hierarchy often postures as being the victims of governmental overreach, the reality is that they were often treated with too much deference in the past.

AG Nessel has been steadfast and strong in pursuit of the truth in Michigan. Such dedication should be met with thanks, not threats.

For the first time, a Bakersfield man details alleged sexual abuse by Monsignor Craig Harrison

BAKERSFIELD (CA)
ABC 23 News

May 8, 2019

By Kelly Broderick

An attorney representing a Bakersfield man who says he was inappropriately touched by Monsignor Craig Harrison says he has been trying to file a police report for the past week with Bakersfield Police on behalf of his client, but has received mixed messages of where to file the report.

According to Dr. Joseph George, a clinical psychologist and attorney out of Sacramento, his office got in touch with the head of the BPD Special Victims Unit, and will be filing a report on Wednesday, May 8.

George said his client was 13 to 14 years old when he became involved with Monsignor Harrison in Bakersfield. According to George, the alleged victim met Harrison prior to him becoming an Assistant Pastor in 1989.

The man says he attended St. Francis Elementary and was always around prior to Harrison relocating to Mojave. The man says he was an altar server, serving mass daily for years, five days a week.

The alleged victim admits he idolized Harrison, coming from a less fortunate family. At one point, the alleged victim said Harrison asked his mother if he could adopt him and the mother told Harrison he could not.

According to the man, the Monsignor gave groceries to his family and would give gifts to his friends.

The alleged victim said the sexual contact began through wrestling with Harrison, then grabbing and feeling through clothing.

Between 1989 and 1992, he says he would spend the night at Harrison's rectory. According to the attorney, his client would sleep on the couch and he said several of his friends would sleep on the bed with the Monsignor.

According to the alleged victim, between the ages of 13 and 16, there were 8 to 12 instances of sexual contact.

The attorney said his client still holds Monsignor Harrison in high esteem, saying "I still love him and I hate him."

The alleged victim said the contact was never skin on skin, but wrestling, where Harrison would pin him against the wall and grind on him with an erection.

The attorney said he is also representing an alleged victim from Merced, who reported lewd and lascivious conduct with the Monsignor.

Monsignor Harrison has been on administrative leave since late April, pending investigations surrounding sexual misconduct allegations with minors.

Francis mandates clergy abuse reporting worldwide, empowers archbishops to do investigations

ROME (ITALY)
National Catholic Reporter

May 9, 2019

By Joshua J. McElwee

Pope Francis issued sweeping new laws for the Catholic Church on the investigation of clergy sexual abuse May 9, mandating for the first time that all priests and members of religious orders worldwide are obligated to report any suspicions of abuse or its cover-up.

The pontiff has also established a new global system for the evaluation of reports of abuse or cover-up by bishops, which foresees the empowering of archbishops to conduct investigations of prelates in their local regions with the help of Vatican authorities.

The new norms, contained in a brief apostolic letter titled Vos estis lux mundi ("You are the light of the world"), are exhaustive in scope, applying in some way to every ordained or vowed member of the 1.3 billion-person church. They also encourage lay people to make reports of abuse, and provide for involvement of lay experts in investigations.

In his introduction to the document, which goes into effect June 1, Francis says he has created the new laws so the church will "continue to learn from the bitter lessons of the past, looking with hope towards the future."

"The crimes of sexual abuse offend Our Lord, cause physical, psychological and spiritual damage to the victims and harm the community of the faithful," the pope states. "In order that these phenomena, in all their forms, never happen again, a continuous and profound conversion of hearts is needed, attested by concrete and effective actions that involve everyone in the Church."

The norms are the second set of laws Francis has issued on abuse in the three months since he held a global summit on the issue with the presidents of bishops' conferences in February. They follow release of a new child-protection policy for Vatican City and for the church's global ambassadors.

The new investigatory process could be a significant achievement for the pope, who has struggled for four years to implement an effective and transparent procedure of accountability for bishops who abuse or cover-up.

Advocates for clergy sex abuse victims criticize Pope Francis' new laws

LONG ISLAND (NY)
Newsday

May 9, 2019

By Bart Jones

Advocates for clergy sex abuse victims on Thursday dismissed Pope Francis’ new rules on reporting allegations as an empty gesture that will perpetuate a culture of secrecy and cover-up.

The new church laws require all Catholic priests and nuns around the world to report clergy sex abuse and cover-ups involving superiors, with whistleblower protections and no retroactive limits. They are required to report allegations to church officials and not police, and there are no church sanctions laid out for violators.

“It’s all cut from the same cloth of, ‘We can fix this problem ourselves,’ ” said John Salveson, who says he was abused by a priest at St. Dominic’s parish in Oyster Bay for seven years starting in 1969.

"We are talking about criminal activity. Criminal activity should be reported to criminal justice agencies — to the police, to the district attorneys, to the FBI,” he said. Often, church higher-ups “are the enablers.”

Mitchell Garabedian, a Boston-based attorney who also represents victims in New York, said the new laws “continue the secrecy which has enabled clergy sexual abuse to exist, allows the Catholic Church to continue to ineffectively self-police and basically discourages victims from just calling the police.

“History has taught us that the Vatican, with it's with self-proclaimed laws and procedures, is incapable of protecting innocent children from being sexually abused,” said Garabedian, who was portrayed in the film “Spotlight” about the clergy sex abuse scandal in Boston.

Abuso sexual en la Iglesia: "Si la situación no cambia en la Argentina, no cambiará en ningún lugar del mundo"

[Sexual abuse in the Church: "If the situation does not change in Argentina, it will not change anywhere in the world"]

ARGENTINA
TN

May 2, 2019

By Miriam Lewin

Víctimas de delitos sexuales por parte de sacerdotes visitan Buenos Aires e interpelan a Francisco. Le exigen que venga a su país a tomar medidas concretas.

En el bar de un hotel de la zona de Congreso, los tres viajeros toman café y planifican sus actividades para los próximos días. Vuelos accidentados por paros y falta de conexiones no les impiden hablar con entusiasmo de su primera visita a Buenos Aires, varias veces postergada. Peter Isley, psicoterapista, es fundador de una organización internacional contra el abuso sexual en la Iglesia Católica, Ending Clergy Abuse (Terminar con el abuso del clero), activismo que comparte con Denise Buchanan, una psiconeuróloga jamaiquina residente en Los Angeles. Ambos fueron víctimas de delitos sexuales en su infancia y adolescencia. Anne Barrett Doyle vive en Boston, desde donde maneja la mayor base de datos sobre crímenes sexuales cometidos por religiosos del mundo, Bishop Accountability (Responsabilidad de los Obispos).

Si Francisco no viene, las víctimas argentinas de curas pedófilos viajarán al Vaticano

[If Pope Francis does not come to see them, Argentine survivors of clergy abuse will travel to Vatican]

ARGENTINA
TN

May 7, 2019

Decididos a conseguir que el Papa los reciba, un grupo de sobrevivientes de abuso sexual por parte de religiosos se presentarán en la Santa Sede. Se manifestaron en Mendoza y en La Plata.

Después de que el Papa Francisco comunicara a los obispos argentinos que no viajará al país, organizaciones de víctimas de abuso sexual por parte de sacerdotes decidieron enviar una delegación a Roma. El grupo estará encabezado por exalumnos del Instituto Próvolo de Mendoza y de La Plata, y la organización estará a cargo de una nueva asociación, Iglesias sin Abusos.

Acusan al arzobispo de Paraná de encubrir a un abusador

[Archbishop of Paraná accused of covering up abuse]

ARGENTINA
TN

May 4, 2019

En una protesta, lo señalaron por haber protegido al sacerdote Justo Ilarraz, condenado por abuso sexual en el Seminario Menor, cuando él dirigía la institución. Una de las víctimas adhirió con una dura carta abierta.

Frente al Hogar Sacerdotal Monseñor Espinosa, el pasado jueves, un grupo de víctimas de varios países enarboló un retrato de monseñor Juan Alberto Puiggari, arzobispo de Paraná, y lo denunció por haber encubierto al sacerdote condenado por abuso sexual en el Seminario Menor, Justo José Ilarraz.

Almodóvar, sobre su colegio de curas: “Al menos 20 niños fueron acosados. También lo intentaron conmigo”

[Filmmaker Almodóvar talks about clergy abuse in his school: "At least 20 children were harassed. They also tried with me"]

MADRID (SPAIN)
El País

May 8, 2019

"En el dormitorio, por la noche, nos contábamos nuestras experiencias. Teníamos miedo", ha contado el cineasta en una entrevista

El cineasta Pedro Almodóvar ha recordado cómo en el colegio, cuando él tenía 10 años, "al menos 20 niños" fueron acosados y también lo intentaron con él. "Pero siempre logré escapar. Había un sacerdote que siempre me daba la mano en el patio para besarla, pero nunca lo hacía, siempre huía y cuando estaba solo, no caminaba sino que corría", ha añadido.

Fiscalía presenta acusación contra sacerdote Muñoz Toledo por 4 delitos: arriesga 41 años de cárcel

[Prosecutor presents accusation against priest who could face 41 years in prison]

CHILE
BioBioChile

May 8, 2019

By Felipe Díaz and Nicole Martínez

La Fiscalía Regional de O’Higgins presentó la acusación en contra del excanciller del Arzobispado de Santiago, Óscar Muñoz Toledo, por delitos de abuso sexual, estupro y violación.

Fiscalía de O'Higgins pide 41 años de cárcel para ex canciller del Arzobispado de Santiago

[O'Higgins prosecutor requests 41 years in prison for former chancellor of Santiago Archdiocese]

CHILE
Emol

May 9, 2019

El Ministerio Público señaló que el sacerdote Óscar Muñoz "valiéndose de su ordenación sacerdotal, además de nexo de parentesco con algunas de las víctimas, ganó la confianza de los padres".

La Fiscalía de O'Higgins presentó la primera acusación contra el sacerdote y ex canciller del Arzobispado de Santiago, Óscar Muñoz, solicitando una pena de 26 años y dos días por cuatro víctimas de abuso sexual reiterado y otros 15 años por la violación de uno de ellas, sumando 41 años de cárcel. La acusación del Ministerio Público describe que el imputado valiéndose de su ordenación sacerdotal, además del nexo de parentesco con algunas de las víctimas -una de ellas es su sobrino- ganó la confianza de los padres de los menores de edad afectados".

Don't send a 'bishop to the crime scene': Church sex abuse survivors blast Pope Francis' new law on reporting

WASHINGTON (DC)
USA TODAY

May 9, 2019

By Lindsay Schnell

Peter Isley has been disappointed by the Catholic Church so many times, he's lost count.

Isley, a survivor of sexual abuse and one of the founding members of Ending Clergy Abuse, read Thursday's news from the Vatican, and felt another wave of frustration. The Catholic Church, Isley said, just doesn't get it.

On Thursday, Pope Francis issued a new law that requires all Catholic priests and nuns to report clergy sexual abuse and cover-up by their superiors to church authorities. Described by some media outlets as a "groundbreaking" new law, advocates who have pushed for more transparency from the Catholic Church say this is just more of the same.

The problem, according to Isley and other advocates, is that the church doesn't need to get itself any more involved – it needs outside input. Specifically, it needs local law enforcement to be part of the reporting process.

"Bishops reporting to themselves, that's been the problem from the beginning," Isley said. "All they did was add another layer of bureaucracy; this doesn't require civil authorities. What we need are police and prosecutors.

"Let's get the bishop to the crime scene first? Geez, that is not the guy you want. They need to watch 'Law & Order' to understand how this should work."

The new law provides whistle-blower protections for anyone making a report. It also states that dioceses around the world must have a system in place to receive allegations confidentially. And it outlines procedures for conducting preliminary investigations when the accused is a bishop, cardinal or religious superior.

But as Zach Hiner, executive director of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP), points out, most clergy have no background in conducting investigations. That should be left to the experts.

"If the church was truly listening to the pulse of the public and of survivors, they would know that they should be mandating priests and nuns report everything to outside, secular authorities," Hiner said.

"I get the argument that in some places of the world Catholics are discriminated against. However, for most of the world, that's not the case. In most of the world we have police and prosecutors who care about local communities and want to keep them safe, and that's who we charge to get to the bottom of things like this," he said.

The new law is the latest effort from Francis to respond to the global eruption of the sex abuse and cover-up scandal that has devastated the credibility of the Catholic hierarchy for the past few decades. It also provides a new legal framework for U.S. bishops to use as they prepare to adopt accountability measures of their own next month.

Analysis: How the new norms to tackle abuse will work

LONDON (ENGLAND)
The Tablet

May 9, 2019

The new law issued by Pope Francis to combat clerical sexual abuse is a significant milestone in the Church's long battle to tackle a scandal that has posed the greatest crisis to Catholicism's credibility in 500 years.

Finally, after years of wrangling and resistance, the Church has a universal set of norms for how to handle abuse allegations, giving everyone responsibility in tackling the scourge be they a Cardinal Archbishop or ordinary Catholic.

The laws widen the scope of abuse to include “abuses of authority” whereby seminarians or religious are manipulated into sexual activity by superiors and sets out how bishops will be investigated for both allegations of abuse and cover-ups.

These are welcome developments. The lack of accountability for Church leaders was brutally exposed by the case of Theodore McCarrick, a former cardinal and priest found to have abused both minors and seminarians. Despite concerns being raised about his behaviour he was able to rise up the cleric ranks to become Archbishop of Washington DC in 2000.

But the crucial shift in the new legislation is the obligation for everyone in the Church, ordained or not, to report abuse to superiors. What was in the past left up to the conscience of individual priests and nuns is now set out in law.

'Pedophilia is a systemic problem,' says future head of French bishops' conference

PARIS (FRANCE)
LaCroix International

May 9, 2019

The tone was firm and the will to cooperate complete.

At a 40-minute audition before the Senate commission on sex offences against minors on May 7, Archbishop Éric de Moulins-Beaufort of Reims and soon-to-be president of the Conference of Bishops of France demonstrated a certain voluntarism with regard to the need to shed light on the sex abuse scandals in the Church.

"It cannot be considered purely marginal," the archbishop, who will assume office of the president of the Conference of Bishops of France from July 1, said before about 10 senators. "It's a systemic problem that needs to be treated as such."

In Washington meeting, US bishops dialog with abuse victims

WASHINGTON (DC)
Catholic News Service

May 7, 2019

By Rhina Guidos

During the last days of April, a section of the student hub on the campus of The Catholic University of America in Washington displayed a gallery of tales of pain but also of recovery and healing featuring Catholics from around the country who had experienced sex abuse by clergy. They were men and women, younger and older, of various ethnicities -- profiles of Catholics who had survived torment by trusted members of the church but who also were helped to recover by Catholic communities of faith.

On May 1, just behind the walls where the tales of abuse and healing were on display, a small group of Catholics just like the ones in the stories gathered with bishops, clergy, victim advocates and others for a daylong event on the sex abuse crisis in the Catholic Church, but also to acknowledge the pain caused, to offer comfort, express sorrow, to share a meal, to pray and extend the wish to heal a broken trust.

"To see the bishops up on a platform with survivors having a discussion in front other people ... my hope is that it was the beginning of a lot more conversation between leadership and survivors," said Kathleen Chastain, a victim services coordinator from the Office of Child and Youth Protection for the Diocese of Kansas City in a May 2 interview with Catholic News Service.

Though the bishops gathered had heard the testimony of the two survivors before -- at their annual meeting in November in Baltimore -- the May gathering placed them together on a stage to dialogue, a back and forth of questions and answers, a sharing of experiences, which occasionally included an outpouring of painful memories during an event titled "Pushing back against the darkness," an effort that came about with coordination by Catholic University, members of the survivor group Spirit Fire, and the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Clergy sex-abuse crisis isn’t over, lawyer says, citing recent settlements

BOSTON (MA)
Boston Globe

May 7, 2019

By Laura Crimaldi

The religious retreats behind the Stamford, Vt., home where Nadine Tifft lived as a teenager were a destination for Franciscan priests, who regularly traveled there to pray and fast.

But 19 years ago, Tifft said, one of those priests, the Rev. John Sweeney of the Franciscans of Primitive Observance, told her she was possessed and performed an exorcism on her. At a press conference Tuesday in a downtown Boston hotel, Tifft said that Sweeney molested her during the encounter. She was 17 years old at the time.

“We were teenagers who trusted this priest who did the exorcisms over us as if we were possessed. He then used that forum to go on to molest others,” said Tifft, 37, who spoke in the company of her husband, Paul, and lawyer, Mitchell Garabedian. Garabedian called the abuse “cultlike.”

Deadline looms for victims of clergy sex abuse to file for compensation settlements with Harrisburg Diocese

HARRISBURG (PA)
Patriot News

May 9, 2019

By Ivey DeJesus

Survivors of clergy sex abuse have just few days to file claims with the Diocese of Harrisburg's victims compensation fund.

The deadline to file is Monday, May 13.

Diocese spokesman Mike Barley said the number of individuals who have filed for settlements will not be available until the fund administrator, Commonwealth Mediation & Conciliation, Inc., releases the information. That could be some time next week.

Barley said fund administrators have indicated that "they've had interest and feel comfortable about where program is."

The diocese in February rolled out the so-called Survivor Compensation Program, which is poised to pay out millions of dollars to victims of clergy sex abuse. The diocese has not disclosed a specific dollar amount for the fund, or details on the size of individual amounts that will go to victims.

Private settlements to individual victims will be determined by the fund administrator. Settlement offers will be made on or before June 28.

The Diocese of Harrisburg is of six dioceses across the state, as well as the Philadelphia Archdiocese, to have established compensation funds for victims amid escalating clergy sex abuse crisis. 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.

In March, after holding public forums with parishioners, Harrisburg Bishop Ronald Gainer eased some of the guidelines for participation in the program, including extending eligibility to survivors of abuse who had not previously come forward to the diocese.

Barley explained the importance of the compensation fund being administered by an outside party.

Protestors Want Names Added to List of Priest Accused in Diocese of Reno

RENO (NV)
Channel 2 News

May 7, 2019

By Brandon Fuhs

A few protestors, including members of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP), gathered in front of the Diocese of Reno Office in downtown Reno to argue seven names should be added to the list of priests credibly accused of child sex abuse the diocese released last month.

They want the names added to the list, because their names appear on similar lists from other dioceses they worked in during their careers. Here's the list of priests, and the religious bodies that put them on their list of priests credibly accused of child sex abuse.

Theodore Feely- Diocese of San Bernadino

Robert Buchanon- Diocese of San Bernadino

Gary Luiz- Diocese of Oakland

Stanley Wisniewski- Midwest Jesuit

Robert Corrigal- West Jesuits

John Leary- West Jesuits

Bertrand Horvath- Archdiocese of Los Angeles

"In order for a person who's been traumatized to heal from their trauma, they need to take some positive action to deal with that," SNAP member Patrick Wilkes says. "And what the action looks like differs in each particular case. But it always involves hearing the truth and hearing an admission of guilt from the guilty part."

Chancellor and Moderator of the Curia for the Diocese of Reno Robert Chorey says the list they released last month includes priests with credible accusations of abuse while they were working in the diocese. They did not add the seven names to the list, because they have not received credible accusations of abuse during their time in Reno.

"If any new allegations come up, any new information surfaces, we will examine that and then we can update that list," Chorey says.

Each diocese is ran by a Bishop, and it's up to the bishop to determine what qualifies as a credible accusation. Bishop of the Diocese of Reno Randolph Calvo set up a Diocesan Review Board to investigate any red flags raised by priests in the diocese. They determined a credible accusation meant there was corroborating evidence, a criminal prosecution, or an admission of guilt.

Diocese criticized for not listing some accused priests

BOSTON (MA)
Associated Press

May 8, 2019

A lawyer representing victims of clergy sex abuse criticized the Archdiocese of Boston on Tuesday for not listing on its website the names of several priests who have faced accusations, including five clerics who are dead.

Attorney Mitchell Garabedian, who has represented hundreds of victims, said by not publicly naming the priests, the diocese has shown it has “lost the ability to understand the need to protect children and help victims try to heal.”

“The Archdiocese of Boston and the Catholic Church have lost their moral compass and need to find it quickly for the sake of children,” Garabedian said in emailed statement.

The archdiocese said in an emailed statement it immediately reported all allegations to law enforcement when it received them and it has been consistent with its policy about which accused priests it publicly lists online.

The archdiocese said five of the priests died before allegations against them were received, meaning they were not added to the list, as is the archdiocese’s policy.

Archdiocese Releases List of Clergy Credibly Accused of Abuse of Minors or the Subject of a Claim Determined Eligible for Compensation

NEW YORK (NY)
Catholic New York

May 9, 2019

Cardinal Dolan, in a pastoral letter to the faithful of the archdiocese dated April 26, announced his decision to publish a comprehensive list of all archdiocesan clergy credibly accused of sexual abuse of minors or the subject of a claim made to the archdiocese’s Independent Reconciliation and Compensation Program determined to be eligible for compensation.

That list, which contains 120 names, is now public at archny.org/letter. Along with the names of those clergy members, the list includes their dates of ordination and current status. The list includes clergy who have been credibly accused of possessing child pornography.

“Please be assured there is not a single priest or deacon of the Archdiocese of New York against whom there has been a credible and substantiated claim of abuse against a minor currently in ministry,” the cardinal said in the letter.

“As we continue the Easter season, and affirm once again the central reality of our faith—that the Lord through His Cross has brought us to the new life in the Resurrection—we live as people of hope in the face of all the evil and sin we find in our world, and sad to say, even in our Church,” the cardinal said.

“I write today as someone who himself realizes the shame that has come upon our Church due to the sexual abuse of minors. I write to ask forgiveness again for the failings of those clergy and bishops who should have provided for the safety of our young people but instead betrayed the trust placed in them by God and by the faithful.

Syracuse diocese pays victims of 4 priests not on sex abuse list

SYRACUSE (NY)
Post Standard

May 7, 2019

By Julie McMahon

The Catholic Diocese of Syracuse paid settlements to four victims of priests who have not been publicly named to a list of child sex abusers.

The diocese said it previously did not have enough information to act on claims against four priests. The four accusers, however, were among 88 people the diocese invited to participate in an independent compensation program, which found they deserved to be paid settlements.Post

The Syracuse diocese announced last week it had paid $11 million to 79 victims of child sex abuse suffered at the hands of clergymen. Four of the 79 people accused four priests who have not been publicly named to the diocese’s list of abusive priests, a diocesan official told syracuse.com.

The four priests are no longer active, Chancellor Danielle Cummings said in a statement. The diocese will review the cases again, and could publicly name the priests after an investigation, Cummings said.

After the diocese in December released a list of 57 priests, critics and survivors’ advocates have said names were missing. The diocese acknowledged the list could be incomplete.

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

Cummings said the diocese has been open to adding names since it decided to release a list. “... Names will be added as credibility is determined,” she said.

Cummings said the diocese is conducting a review of the four cases in light of the independent mediators’ determinations. She said the four claimants were allowed to participate because they had contacted the diocese prior to the program’s start date.

The Church of England's working group report upholds the confidentiality of confession

LONDON (ENGLAND)
The Telegraph

May 8, 2019

By Gabriella Swerling

The Church of England is ignoring abuse victims, survivors claim, following a report which said that clergy should report sex abuse confessions to police.

The seal of the confessional is a priest’s obligation under canon law to hear a person’s confession of sin, or imagined sin, in complete confidence.

Under these rules, nothing that a priest is told during will be repeated or disclosed under any circumstances. This is also the rule of the Roman Catholic Church.

In 2015 the House of Bishops and the Archbishop’s Council commissioned a working party to assess this law in relation to safeguarding and protecting victims from sexual abuse.

The result was a report published today [WEDS] which concluded that the Church of England would uphold the confidentiality of confession - despite the urging of the Archbishop of York.

However the working party decided against abolishing the seal of the confessional - or even qualifying it with a loophole that priests had to report disclosures of abuse.

Now, unless Church of England’s bishops decide differently next week when they consider the working group’s report, led by the Bishop of Durham, confessions of criminal acts will not automatically be reported to police.

Abuse survivors reacted with frustration and dismay to the working group’s report - which was published a year later than its schedule of March 2018.

Phil Johnson, chair of the campaign group, Minister and Clergy Sexual Abuse Survivors (MACSAS), said that the Church of England’s failure to admit agree that abuse disclosed during confession should be reported shows that the institution “has missed a golden opportunity to take the moral high-ground”.

“The Church of England is a law unto themselves… they are far more concerned about reputational damage than they are about the welfare of children and all the victims who come forward and disclose abuse. The danger here is that the perpetrators and not the victims are being protected.”

Anti-sexual abuse group demands Catholic church release names of accused Valley priests

VISALIA (CA)
Visalia Times-Delta

May 8, 2019

By James Ward

In the wake of recent allegations of sexual molestation by a Bakersfield-area Catholic priest, a victims' advocacy group is demanding the Roman Catholic Diocese of Fresno immediately release the names of any clergy member accused of abuse over the past 50 years.

At a press conference held Tuesday in front of the Fresno Diocese in central Fresno, Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) released the names of two dozen San Joaquin Valley priests they say have been credibly accused of sexual misconduct.

At least three of the accused priests — reverends John Lastiri, Miguel Flores and Eric Swearingen, the current pastor of the Catholic Church of Visalia — have connections to Tulare County.

"Accusations should be taken seriously," said Esther Hatfield Miller, a SNAP volunteer, and survivor of clergy sexual abuse. "And it's important that those accusations should always be made public."

The Diocese of Fresno stretches across eight counties, including Tulare, Fresno, Kern, Kings, Inyo, Madera, Merced and Mariposa, and serves 1.2 million parishioners.

Pope Francis issues groundbreaking law requiring Catholic priests and nuns to report clergy sex abuse, cover-up

ROME (ITALY)
Associated Press

May 9, 2019

Pope Francis issued a groundbreaking law Thursday requiring all Catholic priests and nuns around the world to report clergy sexual abuse and cover-up by their superiors to church authorities, in a groundbreaking new effort to hold the Catholic hierarchy accountable for failing to protect their flocks.

The new church law provides whistle-blower protections for anyone making a report and requires all dioceses around the world to have a system in place to receive the claims confidentially. And it outlines procedures for conducting preliminary investigations when the accused is a bishop, cardinal or religious superior.

It’s the latest effort by Francis to respond to the global eruption of the sex abuse and cover-up scandal that has devastated the credibility of the Catholic hierarchy and his own papacy. And it provides a new legal framework for U.S. bishops to use as they prepare to adopt accountability measures next month to respond to the scandal there.

The law makes the world’s 415,000 Catholic priests and 660,000 religious sisters mandated reporters. That means they are required to inform church authorities when they learn or have “well-founded motives to believe” that a cleric or sister has engaged in sexual abuse of a minor, sexual misconduct with an adult, possession of child pornography — or that a superior has covered up any of those crimes.

The law doesn’t require them to report to police. The Vatican has long argued that doing so could endanger the church in places where Catholics are a persecuted minority. But it does for the first time put into universal church law that they must obey civil reporting requirements where they live, and that their obligation to report to the church in no way interferes with that.

Pope Francis orders bishops to report sex abuse, allows direct complaints to Vatican

ROME (ITALY)
Australian Broadcasting Company

May 9, 2019

Pope Francis introduced sweeping changes in Catholic Church law on Thursday local time to hold bishops accountable for sexual abuse or covering it up, making reporting obligatory for clerics and allowing anyone to complain directly to the Vatican if needed.

Key points:
The new rules cover the abuse of adults, as well as children, by clergy
The changes allow retroactive reporting and sets time limits on investigations
Those who report abuse can no longer be ordered to stay silent under new rules

The papal decree, which covers abuse of both children and adults, also obliges every Catholic diocese in the world to set up simple and accessible reporting systems and encourages local churches to involve lay experts in investigations.

The decree is the second such papal provision since a summit on abuse by senior Church bishops at the Vatican in February and comes after the Church was rocked in March by news of the conviction on charges of sex abuse of Australian cardinal George Pell, the highest-ranked Vatican official to be convicted.

It's the latest effort by Pope Francis to respond to the global eruption of the sex abuse and cover-up scandal that has devastated the credibility of the Catholic hierarchy and his own papacy.

And it provides a new legal framework for US bishops to use as they prepare to adopt accountability measures next month to respond to the scandal there.

"We have said for years that priests must conform to certain strict rules, so why shouldn't bishops and others in the hierarchy do the same?" said Cardinal Marc Ouellet, head of the Vatican office for bishops. "It's not just a law, but a profound responsibility."

Prince of Peace priest in child sex investigation asks to resign

HOUSTON (TX)
Houston Chronicle

May 8, 2019

By Nicole Hensley

A prominent Catholic priest, who was suspended amid an investigation into at least two allegations of child sex abuse, has asked to step down, a parish memo on Wednesday said.

John Keller, longtime pastor of Prince of Peace Catholic Community, “requested retirement, for age and medical reasons,” according to an email to parishioners. “His health concerns and the current process of the review board, which is ongoing and without update, have made him absent from our parish.”

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John Keller, longtime pastor of Prince of Peace Catholic Community, “requested retirement, for age and medical reasons,” according to an email to parishioners. “His health concerns and the current process of the review board, which is ongoing and without update, have made him absent from our parish.”

Related Stories

HOUSTON
By Nicole Hensley

Church of England child sex abuse allegations 'marked by secrecy'

LONDON (ENGLAND)
BBC

May 9, 2019

Prince Charles was photographed with the then Bishop of Gloucester Peter Ball in 1993
The Church of England's response to child sex abuse allegations was "marked by secrecy", a report has found.

Former Archbishop of Canterbury Lord George Carey has been criticised for supporting former Bishop Peter Ball.

The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) said Ball "was able to sexually abuse vulnerable teenagers and young men for decades".

Its report said the support given by the Prince of Wales to the shamed clergyman was "misguided".

It said his actions "could have been interpreted as expressions of support" for Ball and "had the potential to influence the actions of the church".

The IICSA described the "appalling sexual abuse against children" in the Diocese of Chichester, with 18 members of the clergy convicted of offences during a 50-year period.

Bishop Peter Hancock, the Church of England's safeguarding lead, said: "We are immensely grateful to survivors for their courage in coming forward. Their testimonies have made shocking and uncomfortable listening.

Pope Decrees First Global Rules for Reporting Abuse

ROME (ITALY)
New York Times

May 9, 2019

By Jason Horowitz

Pope Francis on Thursday introduced the Roman Catholic Church’s first worldwide law requiring fficials to report and investigate clerical sex abuse and its cover-up, issues that have haunted his papacy and devastated the church he has sought to remake.

The new norms, delivered in a Motu Proprio, or law decreed by the pope himself, come into force on June 1 and are experimental, in that they will be re-evaluated after a three-year trial period.

The law, titled “Vos estis lux mundi,” or “You are the light of the world,” obligates bishops or other church officials to report any credible accusation of abuse to their superiors.

Vatican officials and supporters of Francis said that in giving all local churches rules on how to report misbehavior, he was in effect writing accountability for bishops into church law. Until now, reporting and investigation practices have differed widely from country to country, or even diocese to diocese.

The law relates to the sexual abuse of minors under the age of 18, of vulnerable adults who are physically or mentally disabled and of people who are taken advantage of because they find themselves in positions in which they cannot exercise their full autonomy. It also extends to the creation, possession or use of child pornography.

If those crimes are covered up by bishops or other church officials, or if those officials “intended to interfere with or avoid civil investigations or canonical investigations,” Francis writes, then they will also be subject to investigation.

The church’s failure to hold bishops and senior clerics accountable for covering up sexual abuse has fueled enormous frustration and backlash inside and outside the church.

Francis acknowledged that damage in the new law.

To ensure that clerical abuses “in all their forms, never happen again, a continuous and profound conversion of hearts is needed, attested by concrete and effective actions that involve everyone in the Church,” Francis wrote. “Therefore, it is good that procedures be universally adopted to prevent and combat these crimes that betray the trust of the faithful,” he added.

Victims of abuse and their advocates are likely to be underwhelmed by the new norms, which do not address the church trials or penalties for abuse and its cover-up, and instead focus on reporting procedures. For the frustrated faithful and others infuriated by church inaction in addressing abuse, the new law was a modest and long-overdue application of common sense.

But on Thursday, the church’s top investigator of sex crimes, Archbishop Charles Scicluna of Malta, said at a Vatican news conference that the new law represented a significant step forward. Supporters of Francis said that the law faced much opposition within the Vatican, where many either remain unconvinced that abuse is a widespread problem or believe that it has already been solved.

Archbishop Scicluna said that the new universal law enforced a degree of accountability by obligating the reporting of abuse, including the misconduct of church leaders, and that it provided paths of reporting to make sure the complaints got through to the pope or to the relevant church authorities.

“No one in leadership is above the law, ”Archbishop Scicluna said, adding, “There is no immunity.”

Archbishop Scicluna said that decades of experience had shown a “misplaced interest in protecting the institution,” while the new law established “disclosure as the main policy of the church.”

The law does not require reporting to law enforcement authorities — as many critics, especially in the United States, have demanded — though it allows national bishops’ conferences to enact such policies. Archbishop Scicluna said that “it would be a good thing” for people to go to the police.

Church officials have argued that a universal requirement to do so was unthinkable, because in some parts of the world, reporting child sexual abuse — particularly same-sex abuse — would result in priests being killed.

Archbishop Scicluna said that the universal law had to factor in the vast array of cultures represented in more than 200 countries.

“It can’t be too strict,” he said. “Because otherwise it will be inoperative.”

Soon after he was elected in 2013, Francis suggested that he would remedy the erosion of trust caused by the abuse scandals, but change has been slow. Instead, Francis has occasionally stumbled, saying at times that he believed bishops over victims, pulling the plug on a new church body intended to hold bishops accountable and failing to take decisive action.

Abuse survivors to Diocese of Rockville Centre: Release names of credibly accused priests

LONG ISLAND (NY)
Long Island Herald

May 9, 2019

By Ben Strack

Members of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, known as SNAP, stood outside St. Agnes Cathedral in Rockville Centre on May 2 to call on Bishop John Barres to release the names of clergy who have been credibly accused of abusing children.

“Every day that a predator’s name is hidden, kids are at risk of horrific abuse,” said Janet Klinger, a survivor of clergy sexual abuse and a leader for SNAP. “Barres must post credibly accused clerics’ names immediately. That’s the only responsible, caring choice to make.”

The small rally came less than a week after the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New York released the names of 115 priests and five deacons who were “credibly accused” of sexually abusing children.

“The Diocese of Rockville Centre remains vigilant in its protection of all minors,” Sean Dolan, a spokesman for the Diocese of Rockville Centre, wrote to the Herald in an email last week, noting that the diocese’s Independent Reconciliation and Compensation Program is still open, and it “believes that while the investigations of claims and allegations are ongoing, it is premature to release a list of accused clergy.” He added that not one priest or deacon of the diocese who has been the subject of a credible and substantiated claim of abuse against a child is in the ministry, and that all allegations, credible are not, are reported to authorities.

But Klinger noted at the rally, “It’s never premature to warn the public about potentially dangerous men,” adding that Catholic officials are often investigating abuse claims, calling the delay “baloney.” She also urged Long Island Catholics to donate to charities that help children and fight abuse, rather than give money to the church.

Klinger said she was abused in 1968 by the Rev. John Mott at St. Pius X church in Plainview. She was joined by fellow survivor Brian Toale, and Mary McKenna, an advocate for victims of clergy sexual abuse who said people close to her were abused by a priest at her home parish in Brooklyn.

Though many of the priests whose names would be released are either defrocked are dead — a majority of the alleged abuse took place decades ago — outing them publicly can provide healing and spur others to share their stories, SNAP members said.

“Naming names can help a victim by providing a public acknowledgment of a vile abuser,” McKenna, 65, said. “It can provide an opportunity for a victim to tell a family member, a close friend, a counselor. It can help a victim understand that they are not alone, that it is not their fault.

May 8, 2019

I don’t care if you use my name:’ Survivors of abuse find strength in local group

HARRISONBURG (VA)
Harrisonburg Citizen

May 9, 2010

A local chapter of Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests (SNAP) meets in Harrisonburg, open to anyone who is a survivor of abuse, along with spouses, friends and family members.
Story by Jeremiah Knupp & photos by Holly Marcus, senior contributors

The conversation begins on the condition of anonymity, the topic a deeply personal and painful one for this man – his abuse as a teenager at the hands of a Catholic priest.

He’s come to Harrisonburg to meet with a group of fellow survivors of sexual abuse. The group is part of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests or “SNAP,” a national organization with a mission to “Protect the vulnerable. Heal the wounded. Expose the truth.”

“I couldn’t wait to get here,” the man says of the Harrisonburg SNAP group. “It’s been a lifeline. Literally, a lifeline.”

Founded in 1989 to work with those abused by members of the Catholic Church, SNAP became well known after the Oscar-winning 2015 film Spotlight. The film is about The Boston Globe‘s 2003 Pulitzer Prize-winning investigation into abuse within the city’s Catholic churches, which journalists worked with members of SNAP to report.

Over the last two decades, the organization has opened up to survivors from outside the Catholic faith, including other religious groups and people who suffered abuse in organizations like the Boy Scouts. It now has over 25,000 members worldwide.

“In some ways, from the very beginning, it was always a philosophy of we didn’t check I.D.s at the door. We welcomed all survivors,” said Tim Lennon, president of SNAP’s board of directors. “In the recent period I have talked to people from the gymnast community, Buddhists, victims of Hollywood producers, all in the effort to help them establish their own kind of networks. So it’s pretty broad and we’re pretty welcoming.”

A group is fighting for the list of all the names of priests who sexually abused children

RENO (NV)
News 4 & Fox 11

May 7, 2019

By Tony Phan

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests is a non-profit organization that supports the survivors of clergy sexual abuse.

In an effort to push Bishop Calvo to release the names of seven "credibly accused" priests who came through Reno, the group held a rally in front of the Diocese of Reno building Tuesday.

Patrick Wilkes, a member of SNAP says,

If we don’t speak up this can go on unchecked and many times within the church or other organizations in the past people have been taught not to speak up, not to say anything but to make excuses. We're saying no, if you see something say something.
Diocese of Reno released twelve names last month but SNAP wants them to provide the public with the seven new names.

According to SNAP here are the list of accused clerics who spent time in Reno:

Theodore W Feeley
Robert Buchanan
Gary M Luiz
Stanley T. Wisniewski
Robert F. Corrigal
John P. Leary
Bertrand Horvath

How to Write about Sex Abuse

NEW YORK (NY)
Commonweal

May 8, 2019

By Paul Elie & Paul Baumann

It’s good to have a response from Paul Baumann to my article in the New Yorker (titled “Acts of Penance” in the April 15 print issue, and “What Do the Church’s Victims Deserve?” online).

Paul is one of the hundred or so people I spoke with while reporting the article. Having served as editor of Commonweal across several recent decades, he is capable of engaging with the conviction about history that I brought to it: namely, that for American Catholics of our era, priestly sexual abuse (and the Church’s efforts to address it) is something other than a crisis—it is an everyday reality that has shaped the life of the church for a third of a century, affecting Catholics as a people and individually, touching on matters of truth that are the basis of the church’s existence.

There’s a personal dimension, too. When Paul was the editor of Commonweal, I told him that I had been violated by a Jesuit priest while I was a student at Fordham. He was the first person I told who was in a public Catholic role. “A priest you probably know,” I told him. At the time, Paul lived during the week in one of the group of apartments on West 98th Street known as the West Side Jesuit Community. That is, he lived in the apartment building where I had been violated, under the auspices of a community whose members included Edward Zogby, SJ, the priest who violated me. That’s one reason I told him. As I recall, Paul’s response wasn’t to ask what had happened or who the priest in question was. He simply said, “Well, if you’re ever interested in writing about it, let me know.”

Paul could have brought a great deal of shared history and common travail to his response. Instead, he took the position, well established at Commonweal, of aggrieved media scrutineer—finding disagreements where there are none, passing over careful distinctions and efforts of balance, and casting aspersions on the New Yorker and its supposedly “jeering readers.”

Opinión: Confianza rota

[Opinion: Broken trust]

CHILE
El Mostrador

May 8, 2019

By Edison Gallardo

Fue necesario recordarle al fiscal Abbott que, al momento del abuso, nuestra edad no superaba los 10 años. Agradezco a James Hamilton, Juan Carlos Cruz, José Murillo, Helmut Kramer, Silvana Bórquez y Jaime Concha, porque, a pesar de lo paradójico, lograron ejercer la presión suficiente para que la ya alicaída Fiscalía echara pie atrás en mantener este convenio. ¿Por qué digo paradójico? Porque es sabido que, para nosotros y por el tiempo transcurrido, la justicia nunca llegará, pero aún así se mantienen estoicos para que los niños, niñas y adolescentes de nuestro país ya no estén desamparados.

Hace muy pocos días nos enteramos de un acuerdo de cooperación que el Fiscal Nacional firmó con la Conferencia Episcopal, que, si bien ya fue dejado sin efecto, igual instaló un manto de dudas concerniente al real interés de la Iglesia católica por el esclarecimiento de la verdad, una que ha tenido que ser arrancada por la fuerza jurídica, la misma que se transó al mejor postor con ellos.

Ezzati permanece 7 horas en diligencias judiciales por presunto encubrimiento de abusos sexuales

[Ezzati spends 7 hours in judicial proceedings for alleged cover-up of sexual abuse]

CHILE
BioBioChile

May 8, 2019

By Ariela Muñoz and Nicole Martínez

El cardenal Ricardo Ezzati estuvo durante siete horas en la Brigada de Derechos Humanos de la Policía de Investigaciones, en medio de la indagatoria en su contra por eventual encubrimiento de abusos sexuales. Paralelamente, un denunciante de abuso sexual interpuso un recurso de protección contra el Ministerio Público y el fiscal nacional Jorge Abbott por el anulado convenio de colaboración con la Conferencia Episcopal.

La historia de cómo se gestó el polémico y fallido acuerdo entre la fiscalía y la Conferencia Episcopal

[History of controversial and failed agreement between prosecution and bishops' conference]

SANTIAGO (CHILE)
Emol

By Tomás Molina J.

En la tarde de ayer el fiscal nacional, Jorge Abbott, decidió bajar el convenio firmado hace exactamente una semana, que tuvo su génesis en agosto del año pasado.

El viernes 3 de agosto del año pasado, en Punta de Tralca, se llevó a cabo una reservada asamblea plenaria de la Conferencia Episcopal. Al igual que otras, esta reunión de los obispos chilenos se extendió por cinco días, pero tenía un rótulo especial: se trataba de un encuentro "extraordinario".

La Audiencia de Barcelona rechaza el ingreso en prisión del exprofesor de Maristas condenado por abusos

[Barcelona court does not imprison former Marists teacher condemned for abuse]

BARCELONA (SPAIN)
El País

May 7, 2019

By Jesús García

Joaquín Benítez fue condenado a 21 años y nueve meses de cárcel por abusar de cuatro alumnos

La Audiencia de Barcelona ha rechazado el ingreso en prisión de Joaquín Benítez, el exprofesor de los Maristas condenado a 21 años y nueve meses de cárcel por abusar sexualmente de cuatro alumnos. Los magistrados consideran que Benítez debe continuar en libertad provisional hasta que la sentencia sea firme. Señalan que sobre el exprofesor recaen ya fuertes medidas de control -retirada del pasaporte, comparecencias semanales, prohibición de hacer actividades con menores- que ha cumplido sin incidencias.

La Fiscalía pide que el pederasta de los maristas entre en prisión por riesgo reincidencia

[Prosecutor requests that Marists pedophile enter prison for risk of recidivism]

BARCELONA (SPAIN)
El País

May 7, 2019

Joaquín Benítez fue condenado a 21 años y nueve meses de cárcel por abusar de cuatro alumnos

La Fiscalía ha solicitado este lunes a la Audiencia de Barcelona que decrete ya el ingreso en prisión de Joaquín Benítez, el exprofesor de los maristas de Sants condenado a 21 años y nueve meses de cárcel por abusar sexualmente de cuatro alumnos, al considerar que existe un alto riesgo de reincidencia. La sección 21 de la Audiencia había convocado una vista para decidir si enviaba a prisión al pederasta confeso, cuya sentencia aún no es firme, pero, tras reunirse alrededor de media hora, el exdocente ha continuado en libertad provisional.

May 7, 2019

Organization calls on Fresno's bishop to acknowledge abuse allegations in local Catholic churches

FRESNO (CA)
KFSN TV

May 7, 2019

By Sontaya Rose

With a blanket of the faces of survivors as the backdrop, volunteers with the non-profit Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, or SNAP, asked for acknowledgment and transparency from Bishop Joseph Brennan.

"Instead of protecting and shielding accused serial molesters, he should be thinking about protecting kids," said Joey Piscitelli.

Piscitelli and two other survivors held signs and pictures of themselves when they were younger. They applauded other victims who have come forward also to reveal a dark secret they carried for years.

Esther Hatfield Miller says she has personally taken calls from several new alleged victims of Monsignor Craig Harrison. Harrison is now on leave from the Bakersfield church he oversaw.

"One is from Bakersfield, one is from Merced, and the other one from Firebaugh and the other surrounding areas," she said.

Miller says the stories are similar in nature and the number of accusers is growing.

"What they are saying is similar abuse, strategies, tactics and processes and he was Father Craig then," she said.

The survivors are also asking Bishop Brennan to release the names of those clerics who have served in the Fresno diocese and have been accused of abuse.

"The Catholic Bishops say they are being transparent now more than ever," said. "Well then we're calling you out on it. Be transparent."

Bishop Brennan issued a statement Tuesday, saying in part the diocese is still in phase one of their investigation process and continuing to follow their protocol with the eventual phase to include releasing the names of those accused and categorizing them.

Former Massachusetts priest John Sweeney sexually abused teens

BOSTON (MA)
Mass Live

May 7, 2019

Nadine Tifft’s faith has been tested.

The 37-year-old publicly accused a priest on Tuesday of sexually molesting her as a teenager growing up in New England.

“I’m still Catholic,” she said, but adding, “It makes it hard to go to church.”

Two decades ago, Tifft and several friends attended leadership retreats organized through her church for young members. The retreats were held around New England, designed to connect Catholics throughout New England with leaders in the church.

During such events, Tifft alleges she was sexually abused by a former clergyman in Massachusetts, the Rev. John Sweeney, of the “Franciscans of Primitive Observance,” a religious community under the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston.

Sweeney would encourage the teens to confess their sins and, after confessionals, told several they were possessed and would perform exorcisms on them, Tifft said.

During a church retreat in 2000, Tifft said Sweeney sexually molested her. In years since, Tiffts said other friends said they were sexually abused by Sweeney as well.

“We were teenagers who trusted that priest,” she said.

Former St. Barnabas Church Clergyman Named In Sex Abuse Lawsuit

BERKELEY (NJ)
Patch

May 7, 2019

By Josh Bakan

A clergyman who served at St. Barnabas in Bayville from 1974-75 was named in a lawsuit accusing more than 300 church leaders of sexual misconduct.

John R. Butler was accused of inappropriate conduct with a minor in a Long Island parish in the late '50s and early '60s, the Asbury Park Press reported in 2002.

Leaders of the Catholic Church in New Jersey revealed the names of priests "credibly accused" of sexual abuse on Feb. 13. The Church did not include Butler in their announcements.

The law firms of Jeff Anderson & Associates released the report with more than 300 people accused of sexual misconduct in New Jersey. The report contains the names of more than 100 additional clergymen that New Jersey dioceses did not release in February.

AG's Office: Charges related to Catholic Church investigation could be announced soon

LANSING (MI)
Fox 47 News

May 7, 2019

By Kyle Simon

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel could announce charges related to her office's investigation into the Catholic Church soon.

Nessel's spokeswoman, Kelly Rossman-McKinney, tells the Detroit News several assistant attorneys general are assigned to the investigation and have been working long hours on the case.

Rossman-McKinney says the department will be in a position to announce charges related to the investigation "soon."

The comments come after Nessel shared a photo on social media showing volunteers looking over the thousands of documents. The photo shows boxes piled up near a table where the volunteers are working.

While speaking about the volunteers on Twitter, Nessel says "they get no extra compensation and remain responsible for their regular caseload during the week, but these lawyers are so dedicated to protecting the public that they sacrifice spending time with their families in order to protect yours."

Many of the documents being reviewed were seized during raids on Michigan's seven Catholic dioceses last fall.

The simultaneous raids came just a few months after former Attorney General Bill Schuette opened an investigation into sexual abuse complaints within the Catholic church and the church's handling of the complaints.

Lawyer Mitchell Garabedian names 7 Boston Archdiocesan priests accused of sexual abuse who have never been publicly named before

BOSTON (MA)
Mass Live

May 7, 2019

By Noah R. Bombard

An attorney representing sexual abuse victims in the Boston area has released the names of seven priests from the Boston Archdiocesan who have been accused of sexually abusing minors.

Attorney Mitchell Garabedian, who has famously represented sexual abuse victims in the Boston area during the Catholic priest sexual abuse scandal, including the cases against Paul Shanley, John Geoghan and the Archdiocese of Boston plans to officially announce the names at a press conference at the Hilton Hotel in Boston Tuesday at 11:30 a.m.

Nadine Tifft, a client of Garabedian’s and a sexual abuse victim and survivor, will speak at the event.

The priests Garabedian says he’s adding to his website of priests accused of sexual abuse include the Rev. Gerard D. Barry, the Rev. Walter Casey, the Rev. Richard Donahue, the Rev. Charles McGahey, the Rev. Arnold E. Kelley, the Rev. Edward J. Mc Laughlin and Monsignor Charles J. Ring.

The priests are not named on the Boston Archdiocese website, Garabedian said. All are deceased.

Tifft will speak publicly for the first time about her sexual abuse as a child in Vermont in approximately 2000 by Fr. John Sweeney, of the “Franciscans of Primitive Observance,” a religious community under the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston and Cardinal Sean O’Malley.

The Archdiocese of Boston did not immediately return a call for comment.

Victims challenge new Fresno bishop

FRESNO (CA)
Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

They want him to denounce a lawyer & a priest

SNAP: “He should also tell flock how to act when accusations arise”

Groups urges him to pass out their flier in all parishes

Survivors also disclose 9 publicly accused but ‘under the radar’ clerics

WHAT
Holding signs and childhood photos at a sidewalk news conference, two clergy sex abuse victims and their supporters will disclose that 9 publicly accused priests spent time in Fresno, but have mostly escaped scrutiny here.

They will also push Fresno’s bishop to
--post his own list of those accused, including nuns, deacons, priests, brothers, bishops, seminarians, and lay and volunteer workers, and
--publicly denounce a local priest and local lawyer who made insensitive remarks concerning a pending abuse case.

WHEN
Tuesday, May 7 at 12:30 PM

Additions to the Diocese of Fresno's List of Accused Clergy

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

May 7, 2019

The below list of accused priests was compiled by SNAP Northern California leader Joey Piscitelli. These are men who worked and spent time in the Diocese of Fresno but are not listed on the diocesan list of accused priests.

Name Source Status

Fr.Willaim Allison BA, OCD sued, acc

Fr. Gaspar Bautista Fresno Bee 10/29/18, OCD accused

Fr. Brian Bjorklund BA, OCD accuse

Fr. John Bradley BA, OCD sued, acc

Fr. Tod Brown BA, OCD accused

Fr. Stuart Campbell BA , J AA, OCD sued, acc

Fr. Hermy Ceniza BA, OCD sued, acc

Fr. James Collins BA, OCD sued, acc

Fr. Basil Congro BA, OCD sued, acc

Fr Donlad Farmer BA, OCD arrested

Fr Don Flickinger BA, OCD sued,acc

Fr. Miguel Flores BA, OCD case reopened

Fr. Benjamin Gabriel BA, OCD accused, sued

Fr. Robert Gamel BA, OCD convicted

Fr. Louis Garcia BA, OCD accused

Fr. Craig Harrison BA, OCD accused

Fr. Anthony Herdegan BA, OCD sued, acc

Fr. John Lastiri Fresno Bee 10/29/18, OCD accused

Fr. Ricardo Magdeleno Fresno Bee 10/29/18, OCD accused

Fr.Vincent O' Connell BA, OCD sued, acc

Fr. Joseph Pacheco BA, OCD sued, acc

Fr Thomas Purcell BA, OCD convicted

Fr. Eric Swearingen BA, OCD accused, sued

TOTAL COUNT TO DATE: 23

BA = Bishopaccountability

JAA- Jeff Anderson Associates

OCD = Official Catholic Directory

List compiled by Joey Piscitelli 5-19

Caljoey1@aol.com

925-262-3699

SNAP Letter to Archbishop Carlson

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

May 7, 2019

Dear Archbishop Carlson:

As you know, next month you’ll reach the mandatory retirement age for bishops. Unless you do something remarkable in the coming weeks, your legacy and obituary will likely cause you, your loved ones and your flock considerable shame, because it will prominently feature the stunningly embarrassing video deposition in which, according to NBC News, you

--claimed you “didn’t know in the 1980s whether it was illegal for priests to have sex with children,” and
--“responded 193 times that (you) did not recall abuse-related conversations from the 1980s to mid-1990s.”

But this dismal performance need not define your clerical career. You can change this quickly and easily. You can act heroically and voluntarily disclose the names, whereabouts, photos and work histories of the 115 church staff who – by your attorneys’ own admission - are accused of sexually assaulting kids.

You’ve kept their identities secret for more than five years. But you can reverse course.

With such a move, you would become a hero to thousands of abuse victims and their families, and to millions of hurting, betrayed Catholics who long to see a church official truly ‘come clean,’ protect the vulnerable and heal the wounded by revealing the identities of those who have or could hurt children.

With this single, simple step, you would likely go down in history as the prelate who, in one fell voluntary swoop, did more to safeguard the vulnerable than any.

On the other hand, you could play it safe, avoid ‘rocking the boat,’ keep these names secret, and do nothing while more children are likely abused and more Catholics are disgruntled or alienated and while our group continues to ‘out’ more and more of them.

In September, for instance, we “outed” nine publicly accused predator priests who spent time in the St. Louis area.

In November, we outed eight more.

In December, the Jesuits outed 17 more.

In February, we outed five more.

In March, we outed another eight.

And now, in May, we’re outing another eight.

Maybe you don’t care about your legacy or reputation or obituary. If so, we applaud you. There are, of course, far better reasons to disclose these accused predators’ names.

More ‘Under The Radar’ Publicly Accused St. Louis Accused Priests

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

May 7, 2019

--Fr. Julian Haas, whose status is listed as “removed from ministry / under supervision” on a list of credibly accused Capuchin Franciscans (based inDenver, 303-477-5436 or jason.faris@capuchins.org, joseph.elder@capuchins.org).

Fr. Haas worked in Rome, Kansas, Pennsylvania, two Colorado cities (Denver and Colorado Springs) and two St. Louis locations: St. Crispin Friary and St. Patrick Friary. He reportedly abused in the 1970s and 1980s and faces more than one accuser.

https://www.denverpost.com/2019/03/28/catholic-sex-abuse-scandal-denver-colorado/

https://www.capuchins.org/documents/PressRelease2019.pdf

--Fr. Benignus Scarry, who was born in 1944, reportedly left the Capuchin Franciscan religious order in 2016. He worked in two Kansas cities (Lawrence and Hays), two in Colorado (Denver and Colorado Springs) and in St. Louis at the St. Crispin Friary.

He reportedly abused in 1980s and is on a list of credibly accused abusers released by the Capuchin Franciscans (based in Denver, 303-477-5436 orjason.faris@capuchins.org, joseph.elder@capuchins.org).

https://www.capuchins.org/documents/PressRelease2019.pdf

--Fr. Perry L. Robinson, who was sent to St. Luke's Institute in Maryland for treatment twice in the 1980s. He was fired from his long-time high school teaching position in Milwaukee in 1988 for taking nude photographs of students, and was quietly transferred to a parish in Omaha, NE. In 2011, he was removed from ministry in Omaha after a man informed the Omaha archbishop of the earlier allegations against Robinson. The man also stated that Robinson had given him an inappropriate backrub in the early 1980s when he was one of Robinson's high school students in Milwaukee.

Last year, his name was included in the Midwest Jesuits list of credibly accused clerics.

According to the Official Catholic Directory, from 1972-1973, he was in St. Louis at the Lewis Memorial Jesuit Community.

http://www.bishopaccountability.org/assign/Robinson_Perry_L_sj.htm

http://image.jesuits.org/MIDWESTPROV/media/All_Pastoral_Assignments_of_Jesuits_on_Midwest_Jesuits-12-17-18_List_posted_21_Dec_2018.pdf

--Fr. Timothy F. Keppel is a priest of the Congregation of the Resurrection who worked in the San Bernardino diocese. In 2013, his church supervisors announced that Fr. Keppel allegedly molested a child in the late 1970s in San Bernardino. Following an investigation, both the diocese and the Congregation of the Resurrection concluded that there was reasonable cause to suspect that inappropriate sexual behavior with a child did occur. Consequently, Fr. Keppel was removed from public ministry. His was included in the San Bernardino diocese’s list of clergy credibly accused of child sexual abuse. According to San Bernardino church officials, he is permanently banned from ministry in the diocese.

https://www.sbdiocese.org/documents/latestnews/Priest-List.pdf

From 1982-1983, he was at Our Lady of Loretto Church in Spanish Lake.

-- Fr. Marvin Archuleta who, according to the Santa Fe New Mexican, “was sent to the Vianney Renewal Center near St. Louis, which offered ‘rehabilitation and reconciliation’ for priests and was a stopping point for clergy accused of abuse.” He’s now wearing a GPS monitoring bracelet as he awaits trial.

http://www.bishop-accountability.org/news2019/01_02/2019_02_16_Press_Judge_of.htm

https://www.santafenewmexican.com/news/local_news/legal-options-limited-for-man-who-says-priest-molested-him/article_3a874088-f674-5f6f-a4e2-b1e52aa88345.html

--Fr. Clarence J. Vavra, who in 2003, was named by the St. Paul archdiocese as having a substantiated claim of sexual abuse of a minor.

http://www.bishop-accountability.org/news2013/11_12/2013_11_11_SurvivorsNetwork_SdPredator.htm

He was sent to the St. Michael’s Center here for treatment in 1996. The year before, he admitted sexually assaulting several kids on the Rosebud Indian Reservation in South Dakota. Yet no Catholic official ever told anyone about him.

SNAP to protest at Fresno Diocese

FRSNO (CA)
Your Central Valley

May 7, 2019

By Kathryn York

Fresno's new bishop Joseph Brennan is already facing challenges from victims of clergy sex abuse.

Members of SNAP or Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests will be protesting this afternoon at the Fresno Diocese. They want the bishop to post his own list of those accused.

Just last week, the Diocese of Sacramento released the names of child molestors within the
church.

The Fresno Diocese has not done that. An independent on-line archive called Bishopaccountability.org lists 12 clerics from the Fresno Diocese publicly accused of sexual abuse.


Why we didn't publish the names of 300 clerics and lay people accused of sexual assault

BERGEN (NJ)
North Jersey Record

May 6, 2019

By Ed Forbes

Another large group of priests and others who served the Roman Catholic Church were accused of sexual misconduct at a Monday press conference in Elizabeth.

Jeff Anderson & Associates, a New York law firm, released the names of more than 300 diocesan priests, religious order priests, deacons, nuns, and religious brothers and sisters. All, the firm said, are accused of sexual misconduct and associated with the Catholic dioceses in New Jersey.

The clerics were named at an Elizabeth press conference at which Anderson also announced that Edward Hanratty, a native of Ridgefield Park, has filed suit against all of New Jersey's Roman Catholic bishops and the New Jersey Catholic Conference for “maintaining a public hazard by keeping secret the names of all clergy accused of sexual misconduct in New Jersey.”

Why we didn't publish the names
We have decided not to publish those named in the Anderson firm's report. Why?

While the firm shared names and assignment histories, no details about credible accusations are included.

Anderson has asked you to believe that these 300 clerics are bad actors at face value. We believe details about accusations are required for New Jersey's Catholics to make that judgment.

Anderson said its report drew on information "from publicly available sources, claims made by survivors to the dioceses and religious orders responsible for the offenders, and legal settlements made as a result of claims for sexual abuse." We question why the firm didn't do more to attribute its information to those publicly available sources.

Documentary about Sudbury survivor of clerical sexual abuse wins award

SUDBURY (CANADA)
Sudbury Star

May 7, 2019

By Katie Jacobs

A Windsor-based documentary about a survivor’s personal and legal journey exposing his abuse by a Catholic priest received two awards last weekend.

The film Prey focuses on Rod MacLeod — a survivor from sexual abuse by Rev. William Hodgson Marshall — and his quest for justice as he and his lawyer Rob Talach took on the Catholic church in court.

MacLeod was a student at St. Charles College when Marshall, who was teaching there at the time, abused him.

The documentary is a TVO production made by Windsor-born Matt Gallagher, who also reached out to other survivors. This included Patrick McMahon, a Windsor resident who was the first to file a complaint against Marshall.

Demand for trial against clergy accused of abusing Argentinian deaf kids

BUENOS AIRES (ARGENTINA)
Associated Press

May 7, 2019

By Almudena Calatrava

International and Argentine activists on Monday called on Pope Francis to ensure that his “zero tolerance” pledge against sexual abuses by clergy is enforced in his homeland and demanded a trial for those accused of raping deaf and mute children at a Catholic school.

Prosecutors say that members of the clergy abused at least 20 children at the Provolo Institute in Mendoza province. The case has caused a worldwide uproar and more than a dozen people face charges.

The Argentine group Church Without Abuses and the international organizations Ending Clergy Abuse and BishopAccountability.org met with alleged victims Monday and criticized the lack of justice in a case that began more than two years ago.

At least 20 children say they were abused at the Provolo Institute by priest Nicola Corradi, priest Horaio Corbacho and three other men, who were arrested in 2016.

Dozens of students at another branch of the institute in Italy say they were similarly abused for decades, some allegedly by Corradi.

Both men are facing a preliminary hearing in Argentina, but the activists complain the process is taking too long.

“We came to Mendoza to show solidarity with the Provolo victims and echo their cry for justice,” said Anne Barrett Doyle of the online resource Bishop Accountability.

“Pope Francis owes them a personal apology for his complicity and silence. The Italian victims warned him for years that Corradi and others were working with children in Argentina. The pope did nothing.”

The unintended consequences of ‘doing good’ laws

NEW YORK (NY)
New York Post

May 6, 2019

“Doing good” can have serious unintended consequences — especially if you don’t look closely before you act.

State lawmakers, for example, didn’t consider how the new Child Victim Act would impact . . . local schools.

The law opened the door to civil lawsuits over past abuse, effectively extending the statute of limitations in these cases. The Legislature was plainly thinking about the victims in various Catholic Church scandals — but didn’t think about the public schools.

Now, the (Albany) Times Union reports, “Insurance companies are warning that the new law will likely lead to higher insurance rates for the state’s nearly 700 public school districts.”

California passed its own “look back” abuse-lawsuit legislation in 2003. As a result, notes Tom Stebbins of the Lawsuit Reform Alliance of New York, the Los Angeles Unified School District pays out tens of millions a year in abuse settlements — $139 million in the banner year of 2014.

This could eat up all the extra funds lawmakers devoted to education this year.

Another example: When Speaker Corey Johnson led the way to giving free phone calls to detainees and prisoners at Rikers Island, he surely didn’t anticipate the possibility of increased jail violence.

Chile prosecutor scraps controversial deal with Church on abuse cases

SANTIAGO (CHILE)
Crux

May 7, 2019

By Inés San Martín

After less than a week, Chile’s national prosecutor has decided to cancel a cooperation agreement it had signed with the national bishops’ conference on handling clerical sexual abuse cases, following an uproar over the terms of the deal among abuse survivors.

A statement released by the Public Ministry on Monday said the decision came after “meeting with several groups of abuse survivors.”

According to the statement, the goal of the deal was to generate a channel of access to the justice system for victims who choose to make complaints to the Church and not the prosecutor’s office, “amplifying the established legal standard and ensuring the confidentiality of the victims in case they ask for it.”

Yet, seeing that the agreement, had caused “mistrust and had a painful impact for the victims,” a situation that wasn’t “foreseen nor wanted,” Jorge Abott, the national prosecutor who signed the agreement April 30 with the secretary of the bishops conference, called it off.

Among the survivors who spoke out against the agreement is Juan Carlos Cruz, a victim of the notorious pedophile ex-priest Fernando Karadima, who said he wouldn’t stop until “Abott resigns.”

Activists protest in Mendoza to demand justice in clergy sex abuse case

BUENOS AIRES (ARGENTINA)
Buenos Aires Times

May 7, 2019

International and Argentine activists on Monday called on Pope Francis to ensure that his "zero tolerance" pledge against sexual abuses by clergy is enforced in his homeland and demanded a trial for those accused of raping deaf and mute children at a Catholic school.

Prosecutors say that members of the clergy abused at least 20 children at the Provolo Institute in Mendoza province. The case has caused a worldwide uproar and more than a dozen people face charges.

The Argentine group Church Without Abuses and the international organisations Ending Clergy Abuse and BishopAccountability.org met with alleged victims Monday and criticised the lack of justice in a case that began more than two years ago.

At least 20 children say they were abused at the Provolo Institute by priest Nicola Corradi, priest Horacio Corbacho and three other men, who were arrested in 2016.

Dozens of students at another branch of the institute in Italy say they were similarly abused for decades, some allegedly by Corradi.

Too long

Both men are facing a preliminary hearing in Argentina, but the activists complain the process is taking too long.

"We came to Mendoza to show solidarity with the Provolo victims and echo their cry for justice," said Anne Barrett Doyle of the online resource Bishop Accountability.

"Pope Francis owes them a personal apology for his complicity and silence. The Italian victims warned him for years that Corradi and others were working with children in Argentina. The pope did nothing."

The Italian Provolo students went public with tales of abuse in 2009 and named names. The Vatican ordered an investigation and sanctioned four priests, but Corradi apparently never was sanctioned.

The Verona diocese apologised to the Italian students in 2012. The students again accused Corradi, who was then living in Argentina, in a 2014 letter to the pontiff and the Verona bishop, but the Vatican still took no action.

In 2016, a Vatican official said Francis wanted to assure the victims that the church was taking measures to protect children and prevent sexual abuse.

Unlike the Verona case, the statute of limitations has not expired for the alleged crimes in Mendoza.

Bishops criticized for praising sex offender in New Zealand

PARIS (FRANCE)
La Croix International

May 7, 2019

Bishops who attended the funeral of a New Zealand priest accused of child sexual abuse have been criticized for speaking sympathetically of his plight rather than apologizing for his transgressions.

Father Thomas "Tom" Laffey admitted in 2003 that he had molested a teenager at St. Mary of the Angels Church in Wellington.

N.J. priest sex abuse hotline has generated ‘hundreds of leads,’ AG says. The phones were ‘ringing off the hook.’

NEWARK (NJ)
Star-Ledger

May 7, 2019

By Ted Sherman

A special hotline to report sexual abuse by clergy has generated hundreds of possible leads for criminal investigators, according to New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal, who said the state’s five Catholic dioceses have been cooperating with his office.

At the same time, he said that in some of those cases where the statute of limitations may have run out, his office intends to continue to pursue those who may have facilitated criminal conduct — such as church officials who allegedly did nothing when they learned of sexual abuse.

Grewal made his comments during an editorial board meeting with The Star-Ledger.

New Jersey officials in September set up a special task force to investigate allegations of sexual abuse by members of the clergy within the Catholic dioceses of New Jersey, in the wake of a report by a Pennsylvania grand jury which graphically detailed the abuse by priests who preyed upon children for decades.

“We’re going to be publishing a report similar to the Pennsylvania report,” Grewal said. “The people of this state have a right to know.”

While the attorney general said the calls received so far have generated a number of leads they have been pursuing, he would not disclose whether there are any active criminal cases. So far, only one priest has been charged as a result of a call to the task force.

In January, Rev. Thomas P. Ganley was arrested on sexual assault charges just two days after the victim in the nearly 30-year-old case made a call to the state’s clergy abuse hotline. Ganley, a parochial vicar at St. Philip and St. James Catholic Church in Phillipsburg, later pleaded guilty to the charges.

The state hotline — (855) 363-6548 — has gotten calls regarding other religions, not just Catholics. According to Grewal, the vast majority of the calls have been clergy related.

On Monday, meanwhile, more than 300 New Jersey priests, nuns, monks and other clergy accused of sexual misconduct, including many not included in the Catholic Church’s official list, were named by lawyers representing an alleged victim suing the state’s diocese.

May 6, 2019

Survivors Network claims five accusing Monsignor Craig Harrison of sexual abuse

BAKERSFIELD (CA)
ABC 23 TV

May 7, 2019

By Josh Sanders

Organizers with the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) will be holding a press conference early Tuesday afternoon, calling on the Catholic Diocese of Fresno's newly appointed bishop, Joseph Brennan to address sexual misconduct allegations made against Monsignor Craig Harrison .

Monsignor Harrison was placed on administrative leave in April pending an investigation surrounding sexual misconduct allegations made by a man who says he was a minor at the time of the alleged abuse. Since then, another victim has come forward , and we’ve learned that a third allegation was made against the monsignor in 1998.

Organizers are also calling on the new bishop to disclose names and information about, 9 publicly accused abusive clerics in the Fresno area. They say recent allegations against Bakersfield Monsignor Harrison are concerning.

SNAP officials say there are five alleged victims accusing Harrison of sexual abuse, however neither the Dioceses nor law enforcement agencies have confirmed the organization's number.

The press conference is scheduled for Tuesday, May 7 at 12:30 p.m. on the sidewalk outside the headquarters of the Fresno Diocese.

Five people allege abuse by Monsignor Craig Harrison, advocacy group says

BAKERSFIELD (CA)
Bakersfield Californian

May 6, 2019

By Stacey Shepard

A victims advocacy group has been contacted by five people in the past week who claim to be victims of sexual abuse by Monsignor Craig Harrison, according to a volunteer with the organization.

Esther Hatfield Miller, a native of Bakersfield, who is a volunteer leader for The Survivors Network for those Abused by Priests in California, said she's spoken directly with four people — one person who claimed abuse by Harrison in Bakersfield and three who say they were abused by Harrison in Merced and surrounding areas.

The fifth accuser contacted another SNAP volunteer on Monday, Hatfield Miller said.

Additional details of the allegations will come out in a news conference the group plans to hold Tuesday morning at the Roman Catholic Diocese of Fresno.

Teresa Dominguez, communications director the Fresno diocese, said she hopes the victims who've contacted SNAP will also contact law enforcement where the abuse took place, and also contact the diocese.

"The Diocese would also appreciate being informed so that we can provide the appropriate outreach," she said.

SNAP officials and attorneys who work with victims of church sex abuse said they do encourage victims to file reports with police but said some victims feel uncomfortable doing so.

Abuse victims blast Reno Catholic bishop

RENO (NV)
Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

His “accused” list is “inaccurate & inadequate,” group says

SNAP: “Seven more names should be added to the church website”

Victims, witnesses & whistle blowers are urged to call law enforcement

WHAT
Holding signs and childhood photos at a sidewalk news conference, two clergy se abuse survivors will disclose names and information about seven publicly accused child molesting clerics who spent time in the Reno area but who are absent from the bishop’s list of credibly accused clerics who have spent time in the Reno diocese.

They will also
--prod Reno’s Catholic bishop to add more names to his “credibly accused” clergy list,
--urge victims to “step forward, get help, protect kids and expose perpetrators,” and
--encourage anyone who saw, suspected or suffered clergy sex crimes or cover ups in Nevada to contact both the Diocese of Reno and appropriate sources of outside help: law enforcement, therapists and support groups like ours.

WHEN
Tuesday, May 7, at 2:00 p.m.

WHERE
On the sidewalk outside the Reno Catholic diocese headquarters (“chancery office”), 290 S. Arlington (corner of Ridge) in Reno NV (775 326 9410)

WHO
One-two abuse victims who belong to a group called SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAPnetwork.org)

WHY
Last month, Reno Bishop Randolph Calvo finally posted names of 12 "credibly accused" abusers on his website. https://www.kolotv.com/content/news/Reno_Catholic_Diocese_names_accused_priests-508185171.html

But SNAP has learned of seven publicly accused clerics who were ‘outed’ elsewhere but who spent time in the Reno as well. They also do not appear on the diocese's ‘credibly accused’ list.

Activists protest in Mendoza to demand justice in clergy sex abuse case

BUENOS AIRES (ARGENTINA)
Buenos Aires Times

May 6, 2019

International and Argentine activists on Monday called on Pope Francis to ensure that his "zero tolerance" pledge against sexual abuses by clergy is enforced in his homeland and demanded a trial for those accused of raping deaf and mute children at a Catholic school.

Prosecutors say that members of the clergy abused at least 20 children at the Provolo Institute in Mendoza province. The case has caused a worldwide uproar and more than a dozen people face charges.

The Argentine group Church Without Abuses and the international organisations Ending Clergy Abuse and BishopAccountability.org met with alleged victims Monday and criticised the lack of justice in a case that began more than two years ago.

At least 20 children say they were abused at the Provolo Institute by priest Nicola Corradi, priest Horacio Corbacho and three other men, who were arrested in 2016.

Dozens of students at another branch of the institute in Italy say they were similarly abused for decades, some allegedly by Corradi.

Both men are facing a preliminary hearing in Argentina, but the activists complain the process is taking too long.

"We came to Mendoza to show solidarity with the Provolo victims and echo their cry for justice," said Anne Barrett Doyle of the online resource Bishop Accountability.

"Pope Francis owes them a personal apology for his complicity and silence. The Italian victims warned him for years that Corradi and others were working with children in Argentina. The pope did nothing."

What to know about the newly released list of priests, others accused of abuse in NJ

WOODLAND PARK (NJ)
North Jersey Record

May 6, 2019

By Candace Mitchell

On Monday, a law firm released a list of names of more than 300 priests and others connected to the church who have been accused of sexual misconduct who have served in New Jersey.

Here's what you should know about the list.

What does the list include?
The list contains the names of diocesan priests, religious order priests, deacons, nuns, and religious brothers and sisters accused of sexual misconduct and associated with the Catholic Dioceses in New Jersey.

It also includes the cleric's work history. Attorneys said this was included to help families discern where the "perils have been and where the perils may still be."

Is it different than the list of names released in February?
Yes, the list released three months ago was released by New Jersey's Roman Catholic dioceses and named 188 priests and deacons who have been credibly accused of sexually abuse.

They key difference is the word credible. Many of the names on the list are allegations that have not been proven in court.

What's not on the list?
Unlike the list the New Jersey's Roman Catholic dioceses released three months ago, this list did not include any details, like number of victims or whether the religious person was laicized.

'Riveting and unflinching' clergy abuse trial film Prey wins $50K Hot Docs audience prize

MONTREAL (CANADA)
Canadian Broadcasting Company

May 6, 2019

Prey, a "riveting and unflinching" account of a sexual abuse survivor's legal fight against the Catholic Church, has won the top award at the Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Film Festival.

Directed by Matt Gallagher, Prey was named winner of the $50,000 Rogers Audience Award for best Canadian documentary on Sunday, the final day of Hot Docs, North America's largest documentary festival.

Immediately after the announcement, organizers held a free encore screening of the film.

Most cases of clergy sex abuse are settled quietly and out-of-court. Gallagher's film follows a Canadian man who chooses to pursue a public trial in order to shine a light on these cases of abuse and attempt to hold the Catholic Church accountable.

Rod MacLeod, who as a boy was abused for years by a Catholic priest and teacher, enlists civil lawyer Rob Talach, who has filed approximately 400 suits against the church, for the case.

In addition to the audience award, Prey also won a $5,000 special jury prize during an earlier Hot Docs awards ceremony in Toronto on Friday.

Other winners announced Friday include Tasha Hubbard's Colten Boushie doc nîpawistamâsowin: We Will Stand Up, which opened this year's edition of Hot Docs.

What Is Being Done to Prevent More Abusers Being Housed at Gonzaga?

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

May 3, 2019

Some question whether Gonzaga’s president knew about 24 suspended and accused abusive Jesuit priests who were at the school. But the key question is actually “What’s he doing now to punish those who were clearly reckless and reach out to those who may have been hurt?”

We share the view of those who believe GU President Thayne McCulloh knew about the potentially dangerous clerics. The Spokesman Review reports that the clerics sent there “included several notorious Jesuits with long and publicly documented histories of abuse. . .that were reported in the news media and revealed in lawsuits and bankruptcy actions over more than a decade,” and
McCulloh “offered a seemingly contradictory series of assertions about what he knew and didn’t know.”

He himself has said: “At no time during my tenure did the province inform me there were men on safety plans living at Bea House CONTEMPORANEOUS to the time they were living there.

Taking him at his word, it’s clear that McCulloh knew AFTER one or more Jesuits were at his school that they were accused abusers.

But again, the more pressing question is “What is McCulloh doing now to safeguard the vulnerable and heal the wounded?” We see little evidence he’s taking real action.

He should
--immediately commission an independent investigation into this troubling situation,
--publicly expose and harshly condemn, by name, Jesuit officials he suggests deceived he and his staff and his students,
--punish them as best he can, and
--write to all former students and staff who were at Gonzaga when these priests were, begging anyone with information or suspicions about their crimes to call law enforcement, and seek out independent sources of help like police, prosecutors, therapists and support groups like ours.
Last week, McCulloh wrote “We will continue to engage in ways of integrating and more deeply coming to understand how that history should inform our way of moving forward.” That’s gibberish. How to ‘move forward’ is crystal clear – use university resources to identify and expose anyone who acted recklessly and identify and help anyone who may have been hurt.

Attorneys reviewing 'massive' number of documents in Catholic Church investigation

LANSING (MI)
Detroit News

May 6, 2019

By Beth LeBlanc

Attorney General Dana Nessel’s office is working around the clock and then some in its review of thousands of pages of information seized from Michigan’s seven Catholic dioceses.

More than 25 assistant attorneys general are assigned to the investigation, in addition to their other assignments, and several regularly work for free on the weekends to process the "massive" amounts of information, said Nessel’s spokeswoman Kelly Rossman-McKinney.

The department will be in a position to announce charges related to the investigation soon, Rossman-McKinney said.

The volunteers were recognized by Nessel on social media Sunday when she posted a photo of attorneys examining paperwork in a room crowded with boxes and filing cabinets.

“They get no extra compensation, and remain responsible for their regular caseload during the week, but these lawyers are so dedicated to protecting the public that they sacrifice spending time with their families in order to protect yours,” Nessel wrote on Twitter.

Many documents under review were seized during simultaneous raids on Michigan’s seven Catholic dioceses in October, a couple of months after former Attorney General Bill Schuette began an investigation into clergy sexual abuse and the church's handling of such complaints.

The search warrant for the October raids remains under seal in a Lansing district court "to preserve the integrity of the investigation," Rossman-McKinney said.

The review started shortly after a grand jury investigation in Pennsylvania found hundreds of abuser priests had molested more than 1,000 children since the 1940s. Michigan’s investigation will investigate cases dating back to the 1950s.

The investigation is expected to last roughly two years. In March, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer asked the state Legislature for a $2 million supplemental allocation for the investigation, money that would come from state settlement funds.

Demand for trial against clergy accused of abusing deaf kids

BUENOS AIRES (ARGENTINA)
Associated Press

May 6, 2019

International and Argentine activists are calling on Pope Francis to ensure that his "zero tolerance" pledge against sexual abuses by clergy is enforced in his homeland. And they're demanding a trial for those accused of raping deaf and mute children at a Catholic school.

Prosecutors say that members of the clergy abused at least 20 children at the Provolo Institute in Mendoza province. The case has caused a worldwide uproar. More than a dozen people face charges.

The Argentine group Church Without Abuses and the international organizations Ending Clergy Abuse and BishopAccountability.org met with alleged victims Monday.

It's part of a campaign urging Francis to visit his homeland to ensure the Roman Catholic Church punishes the crimes and doesn't protect perpetrators. Francis hasn't visited Argentina since becoming pope in 2013.

Lawyers name more accused New Jersey predator priests

ELIZABETH (NJ)
Associated Press

May 6, 2019

Attorneys for a man seeking to force New Jersey's five Roman Catholic dioceses to release their clergy abuse records have issued their own list of more than 300 priests accused of child sexual abuse.

More than 100 of the names released by attorney Jeff Anderson Monday were not on the lists of credibly accused priests distributed by New Jersey's dioceses in February.

Anderson says his release includes religious order priests such as Jesuits as well as priests who are the subject of lawsuits, many of whom were not named by the dioceses.

Anderson represents Edward Hanratty, who alleges he was abused decades ago by a priest he says was still working at a church last year. His lawsuit seeks to force the dioceses to release all files on accused priests.

El Papa acepta la renuncia del arzobispo de Tarragona

[Pope accepts resignation of Tarragona archbishop]

ROME (ITALY)
El País (Spain)

May 4, 2019

By Lorena Pacho

Jaume Pujol, que alegó motivos de edad, cesó del cargo el pasado febrero en pleno escándalo de abusos a menores

El Papa ha aceptado la renuncia del arzobispo de Tarragona Jaume Pujol Balcells, que presentó su dimisión el pasado mes de febrero, en pleno escándalo de abusos sexuales a menores por parte de sacerdotes que dependen del arzobispado. Aunque Pujol puso su cargo a disposición de Francisco por motivos de edad, como marca el derecho canónico, al cumplir los 75 años y desvinculó su decisión del descrédito que vive la diócesis, el pontífice argentino ha resuelto la salida del arzobispo en un tiempo excesivamente breve para lo que suele ser habitual en estos casos. El sacerdote Joan Planellas Barnosell sustituirá a Pujol al frente del arzobispado de Tarragona, según informó la Santa Sede este sábado a través de un comunicado.

"No voy a parar hasta que renuncie": Juan Carlos Cruz lanza críticas a Jorge Abbott por convenio

["I will not stop until you resign:" Juan Carlos Cruz launches criticism of prosecutor Jorge Abbott]

CHILE
BioBioChile

May 3, 2019

By María José Villarroel and Nicole Martínez

La reunión que sostuvieron víctimas de abuso sexual con el fiscal nacional Jorge Abbott -por el controversial convenio de colaboración con la Conferencia Episcopal- tuvo momentos tensos con duras críticas al persecutor. Estos cuestionamientos fueron en especial de parte de Juan Carlos Cruz, uno de los denunciantes del exsacerdote Fernando Karadima, quien participó vía online de la cita.

Oscar Contardo y denuncia en contra de Renato Poblete: “Ese tipo de violencia sobre el cuerpo de una persona me recuerdan las descripciones de tortura durante la represión en dictadura”

[Oscar Contardo on accusations against Renato Poblete: "That type of bodily violence reminds me of descriptions of torture during dictatorship's repression"]

CHILE
The Clinic

April 30, 2019

By Alejandra Matus and Benjamín Miranda

El periodista y escritor nacional aborda con The Clinic la última denuncia que remeció a la Iglesia chilena, luego de que Marcela Aranda revelara que durante cerca de ocho años fue abusada sexualmente por el sacerdote jesuita Renato Poblete. En la siguiente entrevista, el autor de Rebaño (2018) analiza el impacto de las acusaciones y explica por qué la congregación logró, hasta este momento, apartarse de la crisis que afecta a la Iglesia local: “Los jesuitas representaban una especie de enclave libre de toda sospecha, pese a tener varias denuncias históricas que se han hecho públicas con mucha dificultad. La opinión pública los juzgaba distinto, pero no lo son. Es la misma iglesia, la misma estructura, la misma crisis”.

Marcela Aranda acusa a Renato Poblete: "Empezó a abusarme sexualmente con mucha violencia"

[Marcela Aranda's explosive accusations against Renato Poblete: "He started to abuse me sexually with a lot of violence"]

CHILE
Ahora Noticias

April 29, 2019

La denunciante habló en exclusiva con Ahora Noticias sobre la violencia que padeció de parte del sacerdote jesuita.

AhoraNoticias entrevistó de manera exclusiva a Marcela Aranda, la mujer que denunció abusos sexuales por parte del sacerdote jesuita y excapellán del Hogar de Cristo, Renato Poblete. De este modo, abrió el contenido más íntimo de la denuncia eclesiástica que realizó hace sólo unos meses ante la Comisión de Escucha instalada en Chile por el enviado del papa, monseñor Charles Scicluna.

Parlamentarios califican de insólito acuerdo entre Fiscalía y la Iglesia por casos de abusos

[Parliamentarians call abuse investigation agreement between Church and prosecutors "unusual"]

CHILE
BioBioChile

May 6, 2019

By Alberto González and Francisca Carvajal

Parlamentarios de la Comisión de Constitución de la Cámara de Diputados calificaron como “insólito” el acuerdo firmado entre la Conferencia Episcopal de Chile y el Ministerio Público, el cual tiene como objetivo el intercambio de información sobre delitos sexuales cometidos por miembros de la Iglesia.

Arzobispado de Santiago califica de "compleja e inverosímil" denuncia contra Tito Rivera

[Santiago Archdiocese calls accusation against Tito Rivera "complex and implausible"]

SANTIAGO (CHILE)
Emol

By Tamara Cerna

El abogado de la arquidiócesis cuestionó que el denunciante recuerde los detalles del abuso que habría sufrido si, según él mismo aseguró en la acción que pide $350 millones, fue drogado.

El abogado que representa al Arzobispado de Santiago, Ramón Cifuentes, contestó la demanda civil interpuesta por el ataque que un hombre que habría sufrido en 2015 en la Catedral de la capital por parte de Tito Rivera, cuando este, según asegura, lo drogó y violó. En la contestación a la acción que pide $350 millones, el litigante señaló que, pese a supuestamente haber ingerido involuntariamente una sustancia ilícita "que inhibe la voluntad", aquella "curiosamente no toca en un ápice ni la conciencia ni la memoria del drogado". Es por ello, y otras cosas expuestas, que asegura que dicha versión resulta "compleja e inverosímil".

Law firm releases 300 names of Catholic priests and others accused of abuse in NJ

WOODLAND PARK (NJ)
North Jersey Record

May 6, 2019

By Monsy Alvarado and Jean Rimbach

Attorneys at a Monday press conference released a list of names of more than 300 priests and others connected to the church, including nuns and deacons, who have been accused of sexual misconduct who have served in New Jersey.

At a press conference, held in Elizabeth, advocates and attorneys from law firm Jeff Anderson & Associate also announced that Edward Hanratty, a Ridgefield Park native, has filed a lawsuit against all of the New Jersey Catholic Bishops and the New Jersey Catholic Conference for “maintaining a public hazard by keeping secret the names of all clergy accused of sexual misconduct in New Jersey.”

“We release this report, the Anderson Report, and what it is is an identification all the clerics who have been publicly accused across the state of New Jersey," said Jeff Anderson, the law firm's founder. "We have also included the history, the assignment history of each of those clerics that have been publicly accused because we believe it's something that needs to be done.

They are demanding that New Jersey Bishops release the identities, background information, and histories on all clergy accused of sexual misconduct with minors, which they say has largely been concealed.

The report, released Monday, contains the names of diocesan priests, religious order priests, deacons, nuns, and religious brothers and sisters accused of sexual misconduct and associated with the Catholic Dioceses in New Jersey.

Those listed worked at churches in the Archdiocese of Newark, the Diocese of Trenton, Camden, Paterson and Metuchen. The information is derived from publicly available sources, claims made by survivors to the diocese and religious orders responsible for the offenders, as well as legal settlements made as a result of claims for sexual abuse, according to the report

Jesuitas piden tiempo para rmar acuerdo entre Iglesia y scalía por abusos

[Jesuits want more time to consider abuse agreement between Church and prosecutors]

CHILE
La Tercera

May 3, 2019

Al igual que franciscanos y mercedarios, argumentaron que todavía están analizando el documento, suscrito el martes.

“El documento lo estamos estudiando y, además, desde 2018 ya estamos colaborando con la scalía”. Esa fue la respuesta de la Compañía de Jesús ante el requerimiento de La Tercera, respecto de por qué no suscribieron este martes reciente el convenio entre la Fiscalía Nacional y la Conferencia Episcopal (Cech) para denuncias de abusos, al cual estaban convocados. Situación similar a la de otras dos congregaciones: mercedarios y franciscanos.

Las claves del controvertido convenio de colaboración entre la Fiscalía y el Episcopado ante casos de abusos sexuales

[Keys of controversial agreement between Prosecutor's Office and bishops' conference in sexual abuse cases]

SANTIAGO (CHILE)
Emol

May 3, 2019

By Juan Peña

Favorecer el desarrollo de las investigaciones, denunciar en un plazo máximo de 24 horas y confidencialidad para las víctimas, sostienen el acuerdo que, hasta ahora, tres congregaciones no han firmado.

Favorecer el desarrollo de investigaciones pasadas, en curso o próximas por abusos sexuales. Este es el motivo del controvertido convenio de colaboración que el Ministerio Público y la Conferencia Episcopal firmaron esta semana y al que tres congregaciones religiosas aún no adhieren. Los jesuitas, los mercedarios y franciscanos explicaron que necesitan más tiempo para analizar el documento, que promueve el intercambio de información ante denuncias por delitos de esta connotación.

Northeastern can’t paper over sex ads in Phoenix, top attorney says

BOSTON (MA)
Boston Herald

May 3, 2019

By Joe Dwinell

One of the city’s leading crusaders against sexual abuse in the Catholic church is calling on Northeastern University to explain to human-trafficking victims why it hosts the archives of the now-defunct Boston Phoenix — an alternative weekly fueled by prostitution ads.

The university addresses those ads by stating on the Snell Library website they were for “romantic mates,” and in a statement sent Saturday to the Herald saying readers need to “learn from and not repeat our mistakes.”

Attorney Mitchell Garabedian, widely hailed nationally for exposing rampant sexual abuse in the church, told the Herald Northeastern needs to address the matter further.

“Given society’s attitude in regards to sexual trafficking, Northeastern University has a responsibility to more completely explain why it’s hosting those archives,” Garabedian said. “It’s painful to many victims of sex trafficking, sexual abuse and to society in general.”

Some of the old ads in the Phoenix, according to archived photos, included: “Romantic red head” looking to take a man “to heaven and back … live life at 100 mph,” and “blonde girl with big personality.” Others were more to the point.

In a statement, the dean of the Snell Library, professor Dan Cohen, did not address calls for a forum about why the college hosts the controversial archives.

“Libraries and archives retain the past so that we can strive to learn from and not repeat our mistakes,” he said.

“This often means preserving materials that are troubling and offensive. It is only through honestly studying and understanding the past — including our best and worst selves — that societies can ensure human progress.”

Letter: Put the number of accused priests in historical context

SALT LAKE CITY (UT)
Sal Lake City Tribune

May 6, 2019

The April 27 article titled “Archdiocese of New York names 120 priests accused of sexual abuse” in The Salt Lake Tribune’s print edition was shocking.

Could it be, I thought, that these are all priests currently in ministry in New York? So I called a friend who works in the New York archdiocesan offices for some light on the matter.

He told me that the 120 cases go back to 1900; that the total number of priests working in the archdiocese since 1900 was, conservatively estimated, well over 6,000; that no priests on the accused list is currently in ministry; and that at the present time the archdiocese is dealing with no cases of clergy sex abuse of children and minors.

I am not for a moment playing down the disaster of clergy malfeasance in New York or anywhere else, the blot it leaves on the Catholic Church and the horror it has wielded on victims. But I did find it helpful to be able to put the April 27 story in historical and numerical context.

Monsignor M. Francis Mannion, pastor emeritus of St. Vincent Church, Salt Lake City

Clergy abuse victims are divided on how to secure right to file lawsuits

HARRISBURG (PA)
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

May 5, 2019

By Angela Couloumbis and Liz Navratil

When child sexual abuse victims and their advocates reunited on the Capitol steps last month to rally for the right to sue their violators, something didn’t look quite right.

Glaringly absent was state Rep. Mark Rozzi, a Reading Democrat who has for years been the Legislature’s loudest advocate for changing the law to give older victims of childhood sexual abuse two more years to bring civil claims. The idea has gained urgency amid the child sexual abuse scandal rocking the Roman Catholic church.

Mr. Rozzi’s absence hinted at a divide that has emerged between the lawmaker and some in the victim community who once considered him their champion. Those victims, advocates, say, now feel betrayed and abandoned by him.

Call to Action — the 'loyal left opposition' — reorganizes amid an uncertain future

KANSAS CITY (MO)
National Catholic Reporter

May 6, 2019

By Heidi Schlumpf

About a mile west of Wrigley Field, in Chicago's trendy Roscoe Village neighborhood, sits a three-story, yellow-brick building, where those who can't afford the nearby million-dollar, single-family homes can get a three-bedroom condo for half that. The building's first-floor commercial occupants are a spiritual giftshop and bookstore run by volunteers and open only on the weekends, and Call to Action, the 40-year-old Catholic church reform organization.

Call to Action purchased the spacious, newly renovated office space — as an investment, some said — just before the recession of 2008. Before that, CTA rented decidedly less swanky digs in the basement of a parish in a predominantly Latino neighborhood.

Now, facing twin challenges of anaging membership and dwindling financial resources and after several changes in leadership, CTA is putting its Roscoe Village office up for sale and has laid off two long-time staff members, "due to declining revenues and increased operating costs," CTA's Vision Council announced in a recent email letter.

"These decisions were made in consideration of our anti-racism and anti-oppression principles, with a desire to be the most responsible stewards of our limited resources, in collaboration with those most directly impacted, and after much prayer, conversation and discernment," the Feb. 20 email said.

Current CTA Executive Director Zachary Johnson, who works from Minnesota where smaller office space has been arranged, told NCR that the Roscoe Village building was too big and "assumed the size of an organization that we're clearly not."

Instead, Johnson wants to use Call to Action's resources to invest in younger leaders for the organization, through an innovative new program called Re/Generation. But those younger leaders may recreate the longtime Vatican II group into something quite different from the organization they have inherited.

Johnson, 30, is hoping his strategy will take Call to Action into the next 40 or 50 years.

"We're building for a longer-term future," he said. "I take church reform seriously, and if we're going to be serious, we've got to think in longer, bigger terms."

Day story timing insensitive to Catholic holy days

NORWICH (CT)
The Day

May 5. 2019

For some time The Day has had the Catholic Church in its crosshairs. Over the past several years, just prior to the major Christian holidays of Christmas and Easter, your newspaper hase trotted out denigrating articles about the Catholic Church; most recently the alleged abuse by priests. On Easter Sunday, there was nary a mention of this, the greatest of Christian holidays, nor of the hope and promise that the risen Christ represents to mankind. How many Catholics and Christians readers would you say you overlooked?

Christ teaches us to turn the other cheek. However, you seem to take that as an invitation to continue to lash out. It is both offensive and disturbing. Where is your balance? Where are the stories of the great personal sacrifice that Catholics and the Catholic clergy made while protecting thousands of our Jewish brethren during the holocaust? What about the great good that Catholic Charities does for people of all denominations? (It was worthy of air time by 60 Minutes on Sunday, April 28.) Where is your coverage of the tens of thousands of Christians (many of them Catholic) throughout the world who are being brutalized and murdered by extremist groups? How about articles on priests who, for decades, have faithfully served the moral and spiritual needs of our communities; prominent among them are names like Paul St. Onge, Joseph Castaldi and Mark O'Donnell?

Where are those stories?

With respect to the aforementioned clerical abuse: While Christ teaches us to forgive, most Catholics are sick and angry about the abuse; particularly the abuse of the innocent by someone in a position of authority and trust. Both those guilty of the crime as well as those who attempted to mask it ultimately will have to answer to a higher authority. God help them. Meanwhile, the rest of us remain frustrated, particularly by our inability to undo the damage as well as deal with those who would inflict such unconscionable harm.

However, to damn the entire Catholic Church for the actions of the few is flawed thinking and just plain wrong. In the words of Father Joseph Castaldi, “We are here to help, not to harm.” You would do well to listen to one of his homilies and tailor your newspaper coverage accordingly.

Outrage over senior bishops attending funeral of abusive priest Father Tom