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July 19, 2019

Sex abuse claims against archdiocese, clergy now under review

TAOS (NM)
Taos News

July 19, 2019

By Cody Hooks

When the June 17 deadline to file sexual abuse claims against the Archdiocese of Santa Fe passed, 340 people had submitted paperwork to be part of the bankruptcy settlement.

Now, the bankruptcy process is moving along and the claims are being reviewed.

The participants in the bankruptcy proceedings are “close” to identifying a mediator for settlement discussions, according to Jim Stang, a lawyer representing the creditors’ committee, a group of eight survivors or the parents of survivors.

A corporate arm of the archdiocese, which manages some of its endowment, should also be responding to requests for disclosure of documents, he said.

After decades of sexual abuse lawsuits and millions of dollars in payouts to survivors of alleged clergy abuse, the archdiocese filed for bankruptcy in December in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for New Mexico. The archdiocese has about $49 million in assets, according to the court documents.

Wife of church volunteer arrested for child molestation is now facing charges herself

GILBERT (AZ)
3TV/CBS 5

July 19, 2019

By Eric Zott

The wife of a Gilbert man arrested last week on child abuse charges will now face charges herself for not reporting his crimes.

Gilbert Police Department Sgt. Bill Balafas said Leslie Little was arrested today around 9:30 a.m.

In a recent interview with Arizona's Family, Leslie Little said she and George Little grew up together and have been married for 12 years.

George Little volunteered to work on occasion at Vineyard Community Church with elementary aged kids in the children’s ministry.

Balafas says Leslie Little is being charged with four counts of failure to report abuse and one count child abuse.

July 18, 2019

Former Conroe priest returns to court after latest indictment

CONROE (TX)
Houston Chronicle

July 18, 2019

By Nicole Hensley

A priest accused of molesting three children at a Montgomery County parish returned to court Thursday for the first time since his indictment on a new charge of indecency with a child.

Manuel La Rosa-Lopez entered a plea of not guilty on the latest charge as his day in court was pushed back to September, with a lawyer for the former Sacred Heart Catholic Church priest saying the Montgomery County District Attorney’s Office was still sifting through a trove of subpoenaed records from the Archdiocese of Galveston Houston.

Assistant District Attorney Wesley LeRouax said the priest waived a formal arraignment by signing off on resetting the appearance.

The 61-year-old priest, flanked by his defense team, said nothing as he left the courtroom through a side door and out a back alley into the sweltering heat in downtown Conroe. He ran a rosary through his hands as he crossed a street.

Credibly Accused Priests in the Kansas City, KS Archdiocese (7/19)

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

July 18, 2019

The independent and respected website BishopAccountability.org lists 22 publicly accused KC KS archdiocesan clerics: John Brayley, William Bruning, Thomas F. Cawley, Lambert Dannenfelser, William A. Finnerty, James A. Forsythe, Lawrence Ginzkey, William M. Haegelin, Martin Juarez, Scott James Kallal, Steven Lamping, Adrian Lickteig, Finian Meis, Anthony Putti, Barry Richardson, Edward F. Roberts, Christopher Rossman, Frank Shepers, Dennis E. Schmitz, John Henry Wisner, Jr., Norman Charles Wolfe and Camillus Wurtz.

In addition to these names, here are some others on the official KC KS archdiocesan website listed as ‘credibly accused’ abusers: John Fiala, Dave Gottschalk, John J. Harrington, David Imming, Marvin Justi and Donald Redmond.

(To see where they worked, go to the archdiocesan website - archkck.org - and type in “substatiated allegations” into the search box at the top right hand side of the home page.)

The archdiocese claims that abuse allegations against William Haegelin are ‘unsubstantiated.’

--Since January, SNAP has discovered and disclosed these credibly accused abusive priests who were in the KC KS archdiocese but are NOT on the official archdiocesan ‘accused’ list (even though Catholic officials elsewhere have deemed nearly all of them ‘credibly accused’ child molesters). They are: Fr. Gilbert Stack, Fr. Placidus Kieffer, Fr. Thomas S. McShane, Fr. Philip D. Kraus, Fr. Anthony D. Palmese, Fr. Roger A. Sinclair, Fr. Eugene A. Maio, Fr. John C. (Fidelis) Forrester, Fr. Norman J. Rogge and Fr. Gregory Beyer.

--Four others are allegedly predatory Jesuits who were at St. Mary's College in St. Mary's, KS: Fr. Francis W. Callan (from 1942 – 1943), Fr. John A. Coughlin (from 1931 – 1935), Fr. Richard J. Pauson (from 1956 – 1959) and Fr. Patrick J. Conway (from 1931 – 1934). Their names appear on the Jesuits’ credibly accused list released in December.

http://jesuitswest.org/Assets/Publications/File/JW_List_1207_English.pdf

--In a 2006 church publication (The Leaven), archdiocesan officials made public the names of two clerics who have sexually abused, exploited or harassed adults. (We suspect there are many more.)

Priest in KCK Archdiocese charged with possessing child pornography

KANSAS CITY (MO)
KCTV

July 18, 2019

By Emily Sinovic and Zoe Brown

A priest in the Kansas City, Kansas Archdiocese has been charged with possession of child pornography.

Some are calling for the archbishop to do more to protect parishioners from predator priests.

Father Christopher Rossman was first ordained back in 2007 in the KCK Archdiocese.

Rossman, still currently a priest within the KCK Archdiocese, has been charged in federal court with possessing child pornography.

Rossman was a priest at Prince of Peace in Olathe during his first two years but has since been all over the diocese including parishes in Topeka, Holton, Mayetta, Holton, Baldwin City, and Lapeer.

In September of 2016, the diocese suspended Rossman,

The KCK Archdiocese released a statement on Thursday, that said in part:

“On Sept. 9 the archdiocese received information indicating that father Rossman had accessed inappropriate content on his computer; the archdiocese then reported the matter to police. . . Father Rossman was immediately suspended. . . The archdiocese will continue to cooperate with law enforcement.”

SNAP leader says organization is here for local priest sex abuse survivors

ALBANY (NY)
WNYT Channel 13

July 18, 2019

Shortly after NewsChannel 13 brought you Michael Harmon's story of alleged priest sex abuse in Albany in the 1980s, the Albany chapter of the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests or S.N.A.P contacted NewsChannel 13's investigative team. Albany SNAP Leader Nancy Fratianni has a message for survivors in the Capital District.

Nancy Fratianni S.N.A.P. leader for Albany, "For people to reach out who don't know where to go. They don't know what the first step is, they may not want to go back to the church to somebody because they're uncomfortable with that. They're afraid to go to the police, they're afraid to talk to friends or family."

NewsChannel 13 is digging deeper, taking a closer look at the list of the Diocese of Albany's Credibly Accused while serving in the Diocese. Those included have been removed from ministry and those who were deceased or resigned prior to a finding of reasonable grounds by the Diocesan Review Board due to sexual misconduct with a minor according to the Albany Diocese.

Several ex-priests within the Diocese of Albany have been named in civil lawsuits over the years. Some court records WNYT found show the cases were discontinued. No civil records are kept on file out of court settlements. Some former priests locally have been convicted criminally for crimes against children. One of them managed to walk away a free man.

Nancy Fratianni with S.N.A.P. in Albany told NewsChannel 13, "Every time one survivor comes out and says something, it makes it easier for others as well."

Not long after 49-year-old Michael Harmon went public with his accusations against ex-priest with the Albany Diocese Father Edward Pratt, emails from viewers started coming in to WNYT.

Nancy Fratianni added, "I wanted him to know that he was supported and that we care. We're here for him and other survivors like him, and how very brave that was to speak openly about his experience."

In June, Michael Harmon told NewsChannel 13, "I had to be at his mercy, because he told me if I ever stopped him that I would be taken away from my mother."

Pratt declined to speak with 13 Investigates. One of 47 clergy listed as credibly accused by the Diocese of Albany and removed from ministry. Less than-two dozen are alive today, including ex-priest Father Joseph Romano.

NewsChannel 13 found Romano living at an apartment in Clifton Park.

Sir Anthony Hart, retired judge who chaired a major inquiry into historical child abuse in Northern Irish institutions – obituary

LONDON (ENGLAND)
The Telegraph

July 18, 2019

Sir Anthony Hart, who has died aged 73, was a retired judge of the Northern Irish High Court who in 2012 was appointed to chair the biggest child abuse inquiry ever held in Britain; he went on to show that abuse in children’s homes and other institutions on the island of Ireland was not a problem confined to the Irish Republic.

The Historical Institutional Abuse Inquiry (HIAI) was set up in May 2012 by the Northern Irish Assembly to investigate allegations of abuse in 22 institutions between 1922 and 1995.

Sexual abuse now involves Buddhists, too

KANSAS CITY (MO)
Faith Matters blog

July 10, 2019

By Bill Tammeus

A decade or two ago many Americans were under the impression that the only religious group dealing with charges of sexual abuse was the Catholic Church.

Shambhala-Thangka-fullThat has turned out to be wrong on many counts. For example, this summer's national gathering of Southern Baptists devoted a lot of time to how to handle sexual misconduct charges in various Baptist congregations and institutions.

And just this week, The Denver Post published this story about abuse among Buddhists in Colorado who are part of what's called the Shambhala movement. It also published this backgrounder about Shambhala.

As the story noted, "Shambhala, the Boulder-born Buddhist and mindfulness community, for decades suppressed allegations of abuse — from child molestation to clerical abuse — through internal processes that often failed to deliver justice for victims, The Denver Post found through dozens of interviews with current and former members and a review of hundreds of pages of internal documents, police records and private communications.

"That suppression came in the form of worshipful vows students said they were told to maintain to the very teachers they alleged abused them; in explicit and implicit commands not to report abuse; and through a cultish reverence that served to protect Shambhala’s king-like leaders, according to interviews and third-party reviews commissioned by Shambhala itself."

Reform or Dismantle?

NEW YORK (NY)
Commonweal

July 18, 2019

By Massimo Faggioli

One of the effects of the sex-abuse crisis is the current moment of institutional iconoclasm—the temptation to get rid of the institutional element of the Catholic Church. The failures of the church’s institutions are now on full display, even more so than after the revelations of the Spotlight investigation. It is hypocritical, however, to interpret the abuse crisis as a clerical abuse crisis rather than a Catholic abuse crisis. Obviously, the clergy had a unique role in the crisis, but the moral and legal responsibilities do not belong exclusively to those wearing a Roman collar. We are still reluctant to acknowledge the systemic nature of this crisis as something that affected the entire Catholic world and not just its ordained ministers. We would like to contain it neatly within the hierarchy so as to exempt ourselves from the burden of critical self-reflection.

American Catholicism has not yet found its way out of the blame game for the abuse crisis. One sees this on both sides of the ideological spectrum. Recent attempts to use the crisis as a pretext for abolishing the priesthood are just a liberal version of conservative attempts to blame sexual abuse on gays or the sixties. All such strategies spare lay Catholics the bother of having to ask “What did I do wrong?” The abuse itself damaged the lives of the victims and their families, friends, and communities. Now, the shortcomings of our response to the abuse crisis—our failure to deal with its root causes—is causing another kind of damage. When prominent scholars of Catholicism publicly display their “disgust” for Catholicism, it is clear that the abuse crisis has blurred the line between an ecclesially engaged Catholic theology and the more dispassionate, agnostic religious studies of Catholicism. The abuse crisis has produced two kinds of counter-evangelization: first, the counter-evangelization of the hierarchical church, whose example scandalizes the faithful and repels outsiders; second, the counter-evangelization of those who have used this crisis to self-righteously declare their liberation from what they describe as a morally corrupt institution. There is a prefabricated quality to at least some of these declarations. They seem less like honest reckonings with new information than shrewdly timed expressions of old resentments. There will always be an appreciative audience for “Why I Left” pieces.

Reform or Dismantle?

NEW YORK (NY)
Commonweal

July 18, 2019

By Massimo Faggioli

One of the effects of the sex-abuse crisis is the current moment of institutional iconoclasm—the temptation to get rid of the institutional element of the Catholic Church. The failures of the church’s institutions are now on full display, even more so than after the revelations of the Spotlight investigation. It is hypocritical, however, to interpret the abuse crisis as a clerical abuse crisis rather than a Catholic abuse crisis. Obviously, the clergy had a unique role in the crisis, but the moral and legal responsibilities do not belong exclusively to those wearing a Roman collar. We are still reluctant to acknowledge the systemic nature of this crisis as something that affected the entire Catholic world and not just its ordained ministers. We would like to contain it neatly within the hierarchy so as to exempt ourselves from the burden of critical self-reflection.

American Catholicism has not yet found its way out of the blame game for the abuse crisis. One sees this on both sides of the ideological spectrum. Recent attempts to use the crisis as a pretext for abolishing the priesthood are just a liberal version of conservative attempts to blame sexual abuse on gays or the sixties. All such strategies spare lay Catholics the bother of having to ask “What did I do wrong?” The abuse itself damaged the lives of the victims and their families, friends, and communities. Now, the shortcomings of our response to the abuse crisis—our failure to deal with its root causes—is causing another kind of damage. When prominent scholars of Catholicism publicly display their “disgust” for Catholicism, it is clear that the abuse crisis has blurred the line between an ecclesially engaged Catholic theology and the more dispassionate, agnostic religious studies of Catholicism. The abuse crisis has produced two kinds of counter-evangelization: first, the counter-evangelization of the hierarchical church, whose example scandalizes the faithful and repels outsiders; second, the counter-evangelization of those who have used this crisis to self-righteously declare their liberation from what they describe as a morally corrupt institution. There is a prefabricated quality to at least some of these declarations. They seem less like honest reckonings with new information than shrewdly timed expressions of old resentments. There will always be an appreciative audience for “Why I Left” pieces.

The hope of justice heals old, still raw wounds

ALBANY COUNTY (NY)
Altamont Enterprise

July 18, 2019

Last year, we used this page to call for passage of the Child Victims Act, and we were glad when this year — with two Democratic houses — the legislature finally passed the act, extending the statute of limitations for civil suits alleging sexual abuse up to the age of 55 with a look-back year so suits, for one year, could be filed regardless of a victim’s age.

But even we weren’t prepared for the emotions unleashed when we published a front-page story last week on a priest who had served in our community — in Altamont and in the Hilltowns — being accused of raping boys in his care.

In our April 2018 editorial, we had referenced a podcast we’d produced, interviewing Richard Tollner of Rensselaerville who told us how, when he was at the tender age of 15 and 16, he was sexually molested by a priest he had trusted at the seminary he attended.

“It affected who I was; it affected my confidence; it affected my opinion of people. It affected my sexuality. I wasn’t sure — was this my problem?” he told us.

When Tollner was 17, his father died in a car crash. He realized then that he had to take care of himself, he said, and soon after reported the abuse three times — to another priest, to a teacher, to the head of the seminary. Nothing happened.

It was the mid-1970s, before The Boston Globe’s 2002 exposé on priests abusing children, before such matters were openly discussed.

Tollner says he came to realize, “I’m not the bad guy. I never was the bad guy.” But that journey for him was long and painful.

Here’s how Tollner described it: “With children, it’s not like an attack. It’s more like grooming that child for a relationship so they do not realize due to the immaturity and the trust in the person.” Many sexually abused children feel guilty and even complicit.

“A lot of victims don’t even realize it was criminal until years, decades later when they realize, ‘Oh, my gosh, that was not only wrong but it was criminal,’” said Tollner.

Our Church review – quietly powerful parish abuse reckoning

LONDON (ENGLAND)
The Guardian

July 18, 2019

By Arifa Akbar

The #MeToo movement has inspired a number of plays giving voice to the victims of sexual predation. Now comes drama tackling the inner lives of sex offenders themselves, the most prominent of these being Downstate, a Steppenwolf and National Theatre co-production, and David Mamet’s current West End play, Bitter Wheat.

Marietta Kirkbride’s Our Church is far quieter and more English than either of these. It is set in a fictional village that could be the backwaters of Ambridge. Three church committee members eat Hobnobs and discuss parish matters, from dwindling volunteers (“We need fresh blood”) to a diseased pear tree, a renegade cow and a game of croquet for villagers.

It is only when June (Kirsty Cox) nominates a churchgoer called Tom to be part of the group that their conversation becomes charged. Tom is a convicted sex offender who was caught with downloaded images of underage girls. Now elderly, the sustained suspicion towards him in the village is aired by Michael (Robert East, who doubles excellently as Tom) and Anne (Susan Tracy).

Kirkbride’s script is a blend of convincingly naturalistic dialogue with comic edges and thorny conversations tackling the difficulties around rehabilitation and Christian forgiveness, particularly between Tom and Anne, who has her own history of abuse and is played by Tracy with a dialled-down spiky nervousness.

While it does not have the dramatic complexity of Downstate, Nik Partridge’s production captures the awkward reckoning and reconciliation process between abuser and abused. At times, it treads a fine line between potent drama and debating society rhetoric but it never slips into judgment, and Tom’s argument – that he can only do good in society if that society begins to trust him again – is a powerful one.

New guidelines will inform Church’s response to abuse

PARRAMATTA (AUSTRALIA)
Catholic Outlook

July 18, 2019

The Catholic Church is developing new national policy guidelines to strengthen and standardise Church authorities’ responses to historical and contemporary concerns and allegations of abuse of children and vulnerable adults.

Archbishop Mark Coleridge, president of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference, said the development of the guidelines is a critical step forward in the Church’s ongoing response to the recommendations of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.

“The bishops are following through on our commitments made last year, and having a consistent approach to the management of allegations of abuse of children and vulnerable people is central to our reforms,” he explained.

The Implementation Advisory Group, set up in May 2018 to monitor and advise Catholic leaders on the Church’s response to the Royal Commission’s recommendations, is overseeing the development of the policy guidelines.

The guidelines will serve as a public commitment to integrity and accountability in responding to allegations of abuse. They will make clear the obligations of all Church authorities to respond with processes that are fair and effective, and which comply with all Australian laws.

The assessment and management of risk to children will remain paramount throughout the new national guidelines. Prioritising children’s safety and wellbeing will ensure that Church authorities’ responses to concerns or allegations effectively address existing risks and do not create further risk to children.

The guidelines will be considered in conjunction with the new National Catholic Safeguarding Standards, approved and launched by Catholic Professional Standards Ltd earlier this year.

“The national guidelines and the Safeguarding Standards will become two focal points for the Church’s work in protecting children and vulnerable adults from abuse and ensuring survivors are at the centre of our response to allegations that arise,” Archbishop Coleridge said.

The guidelines will address all forms of child abuse, including sexual, physical and psychological abuse, and neglect and maltreatment. The development of the guidelines will include extensive consultation, inviting abuse survivors and their supporters to participate.

Lay Group Suspends Campaign Against Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston After Archbishop Lori Agrees to Open Financial Statements

WHEELING (WV)
The Intelligencer

July 17, 2019

Lay Catholic Voices for Change on Wednesday agreed to suspend its campaign asking parishioners not to tithe to the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston after Archbishop William Lori said the diocese had hired a new auditor and would publish full financial reports moving forward.

In its July 9 letter to Lori, the group demanded that the diocese hire a new auditor, disclose the audit’s results to the public, and announce a timetable for the completion of the audit and the release of information.

The diocese has agreed to all three demands.

“This is an important first step in a long process of reform”, said Charles DiSalvo, a member of the LCVC Steering Committee. “It is a basic structural change that will help bring about a healthier distribution of power between the hierarchy and West Virginia Catholics. Up to now, the diocese has kept the laity in the dark regarding its actual income and expenditures. With this increased measure of information, West Virginia Catholics will be that much more empowered to see that the funds they entrust to the diocese are spent properly.”

LCVC member Frances Brownfield says, “I am very encouraged by the response from our diocese and look forward to future opportunities for diocesan and lay dialogue. This is a first step in the restoration of trust within our community of faith.”

Pittsburgh Catholic Diocese Trying To Sort Out Financial Problems In Wake Of Abuse Scandal

PITTSBURGH (PA)
KDKA

July 16, 2019

By Andy Sheehan

The Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh is not declaring bankruptcy, but it must take several steps to avoid it.

That is the message that Pittsburgh Bishop David Zubik told nearly all of the priests and deacons in the diocese at special meeting held at St. Paul Seminary.

The bishop revealed that since the grand jury report on child sexual abuse, Mass attendance is down nine percent and collections are down 11 percent.

“For me, to lose even one parishioner is severe enough, but the trends have been going that way for the last 20 years,” Zubik said.

While donations are down, the diocese underestimated the number of claims that would be filed under its victim’s compensation fund.

Jeffrey Epstein’s Dark Façade Finally Cracks

UNITED STATES
Forbes

July 12, 2019

By Lisette Voytko

It’s only been a week since Jeffrey Epstein’s arrest on two federal charges of sex trafficking and conspiracy burst onto cable news chyrons and across social media, a decade-long wrong, in many observers' minds, finally righted. The mysterious Manhattan financier, who maintains his innocence, had become a pariah from the wealth and power enclaves he inhabited before his arrest and eventual plea bargain in 2008 on two reduced, state-level felony charges of prostitution.

In recent years, even as his profile dimmed, a certain outrage stirred. Long gone were the wealthy and famous figures in his life, such as Donald Trump, Bill Clinton, Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Prince Andrew, Woody Allen and, perhaps most importantly, longtime friend and early patron Leslie Wexner, the billionaire retail magnate. In 2003, Wexner spoke highly of Epstein. “[He’s] very smart with a combination of excellent judgment and unusually high standards. Also, he is always a most loyal friend.” This week, a spokesperson told Forbes, “Mr. Wexner severed ties with Mr. Epstein more than a decade ago.”

Post-#MeToo, the Miami Herald’s Julie K. Brown revisited the Epstein case in a five-part series to examine what might have protected him after prosecutors had built what seemed to be a powerful, 53-page indictment, with lurid allegations of Epstein’s abuses—that he would receive massages from 36 identified underage girls, with the knowledge that some were as young as 14, and in some instances rape them.

Former KCK Archdiocese priest charged with possessing child pornography

KANSAS CITY (MO)
Kansas City Star

July 18, 2019

By Katie Moore

A former priest who served at several locations under the Kansas City, Kansas, Archdiocese has been charged in federal court with possessing child pornography.

Christopher Rossman allegedly possessed visual depictions of a minor engaging in sexually explicit conduct in September 2016, according to charging documents.

The Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas said it reported Rossman to police after receiving information that he had accessed the inappropriate content.

He was immediately suspended from serving as a pastor in Baldwin City and Lapeer, Kansas, the Archdiocese said. He had previously been assigned to churches in Olathe, Topeka, Holton, Mayetta and the Potawatomi Reservation.

“The Archdiocese will continue to cooperate with law enforcement as this matter moves forward,” the organization said in a statement Thursday.

Scott Toth, Rossman’s attorney, said it would be premature to comment on the case now.

In January, the Archdiocese published a list of clergy who have been accused of sexual abuse.

Rossman was listed among priests who were the subject of publicized allegations the Archdiocese said it wasn’t able to substantiate, along with three other men. Those included Scott Kallal, who now faces two counts of aggravated indecent liberties with a child in Wyandotte County District Court.

Kallal’s trial, which has been delayed once, is scheduled to start Sept. 9.

IN 44 STATES, CLERGY DON'T HAVE TO TELL POLICE WHEN SOMEONE CONFESSES TO CHILD SEX ABUSE

NEW YORK (NY)
Newsweek

July 18, 2019

By Jacob Wallace

Under current Utah law, members of the clergy are not required to report confessions of child sex abuse. Utah State Rep. Angela Romero wants to change that.

Romero is drafting a bill that would require any religious leader in a position of authority to become a mandatory reporter—an individual required by law to notify authorities of any admissions of abuse. Teachers, coaches, doctors and others who work with children are often mandatory reporters. Failure to report can be considered a criminal offense.

In a statement on Facebook, Romero said the bill was not targeting any particular religious group, but was rather intended to protect children from harm.

"Too often cases of sexual abuse involving ecclesiastic leaders have been covered up and the victims are denied justice," she wrote. "We already have laws that mandate reporting whenever anyone learns about abuse of a child or a vulnerable person. Ecclesiastic leaders need to be held to the same standard."

If the measure passes, Utah would be one of only seven states that explicitly require priests, ministers, rabbis and other religious leaders to report confessions of child sex abuse to law enforcement.

"My concern is getting somebody off the street that shouldn't be on the street, regardless of if they confessed to a clergy member or regardless if someone they know told a clergy member," Romero told Fox 13. "Regardless of what that religious institution is, it needs to be investigated by law enforcement."

In most states, clergy have ecclesiastical privilege, a right similar to attorney-client privilege allowing them to refuse to disclose any admission made in the context of a confession.

Currently, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, Texas and West Virginia are the only states that have laws requiring clergy to be mandatory reporters.

The statutes are a little murkier in Tennessee, Indiana and Connecticut: Priests have been allowed to voluntarily break their priest-penitent privilege, but it's unclear whether they are required to.

confession sex abuse priest penitent privilege
Only six states currently require clergy to report instances of child sexual abuse to authorities.
SHALONE CASONE
In 2005, the Mississippi Supreme Court ruled that the privilege superseded the state's mandatory reporting laws, meaning clergy effectively didn't have to report confessions.

In 2013, though, the New Hampshire Supreme Court ruled that clergy were required to report abuse because confessants "cannot have an objectively reasonable expectation that such a statement will remain confidential."

A California bill weaker than the Utah measure was scuttled after State Senator Jerry Hill couldn't muster the votes to get it out of the Assembly's public safety committee. SB 360 would have required reporting when an admission of sex abuse arose in "penitential communications" between two clergy members or between a clergy member "and another person that is employed at the same site or facility as the clergy member."

The bill was fiercely criticized by Catholic leaders in California, who argued it impinged on their religious freedom. In a statement signed by various Catholic and Protestant leaders, the Religious Freedom Institute (RFI) argued the law would violate the "seal of the confession" and would hurt efforts to identify and prosecute abusers.

"First, confession is often not undertaken face-to-face in order to preserve the anonymity of the penitent. In such cases the priest does not know who is confessing," RFI wrote. "Second, the provisions of SB 360 could worsen the problem by discouraging confession and its intended result – a turning away from grave sin. There is no reason to believe that those guilty of sexual abuse would be more likely to confess this crime to a priest who is required by law to turn them in."

In Pope’s backyard, Church struggles with increasingly polarized politics

BUENOS AIRES (ARGENTINA)
Crux

July 18, 2019

By Inés San Martín

Pope Francis’s Argentina today is a polarized country, something visible virtually everywhere in the streets of Buenos Aires, the nation’s capital and political center. People of all walks of life right now are carrying colorful handkerchiefs expressing their views on legalizing abortion: Those in favor wear green, those against it light blue.

The color coding reflects a bitter national debate following a narrow vote in the senate last year defeating a bill to expand abortion rights. The division today now on display has long been about more than abortion, extending to politics, the economy, views on history’s first Argentine pontiff and even Argentina’s history.

According to Bishop Daniel Fernandez from Jujuy, in Argentina’s remote northwest, this national polarization, dubbed here as a “crack,” is something that deeply worries the pope.

“Pope Francis is concerned about this famous ‘crack’ that grows and doesn’t allow us social friendship, that beautiful concept that means we can think differently and have different philosophies and praxis but when it comes to generating the common good, we can each put the best we have,” Fernandez said on Monday.

French priest suspended over sex abuse allegations

PARIS (FRANCE)

July 18, 2019

Father Jean-François Six, a renowned theologian and biographer of Charles de Foucauld, has been suspended by Archbishop Hervé Giraud, prelate of the Mission de France in Pontigny, of which he has been a member since 1964.

In a statement dated July 15 and sent to all members of the mission, the archbishop of Sens-Auxerre said he had received several reports implicating Father Six, 90, which "led him to exclude this priest from any pastoral ministry, including any communication and publication, through protective measures."

According to initial information gathered by La Croix, the allegations relate to events dating back to the 1970s and involve young women.

"The presumption of innocence must be respected for the implicated priest while justice runs its course," said Archbishop Giraud, who said he had referred the matter to the public prosecutor and the authorities in Rome.

He said his reason for making a public statement was to "free the speech of others if it must be free."

Pope accepts Pates' resignation as bishop for Diocese of Des Moines, appoints replacement

DES MOINES (IA)
Des Moines Register

July 18, 2019

Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of the Rev. Richard Pates as bishop of the Diocese of Des Moines and appointed his replacement, according to a news release.

The Rev. William Joensen, who serves in the Archdiocese of Dubuque, was selected by the pope as bishop-elect for the diocese. Joensen's ordination as a bishop is planned for Sept. 27.

Joensen, 59, was born in Waterloo and attended seminary at the Pontifical College Josephinum in Columbus, Ohio, according to a release from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. He was ordained as a priest in the Archdiocese of Dubuque on June 24, 1989.

In addition to the theology degree he has from Josephinum, Joensen also has Ph.D. in philosophy from the Catholic University of America.

Pates, the ninth bishop of Des Moines, announced his resignation in February 2018 when he turned 75 years old. By Canon Law, bishops must resign at age 75. He has been bishop since 2008.

Known for his openness and welcoming personality, Pates’ tenure has been marked by impressive growth, increased diversification of the local Catholic flock and ongoing fallout from Catholic scandals.

In February, following a diocesan review, Pates announced the names of nine priests found to be credibly accused of sexually abusing minors while serving the diocese.

July 17, 2019

Priest Roundup Shows Michigan Attorney General Isn't Letting Justice Evade Victims

DETROIT (MI)
Deadline Detroit

July 18, 2019

By Michael Betzold

Bringing cases against priests based on decades-old incidents shows how determined Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel is to use her resources in the now years-long Catholic Church abuse scandal.

It must have been a shock to the six men arrested around the world May 24; most had been living quietly in other states for decades. But Nessel knew what they most likely didn’t: The clock on Michigan’s statute of limitations law stops running when the accused perpetrator leaves Michigan.

The arrests sent a clear signal to church leaders and to victims: she’s leaving no stone unturned.

In the case of Fr. Tim Crowley, the John Doe victim in Nessel’s complaint didn’t want the Washtenaw County prosecutor to bring charges on his behalf back in 2012, when evidence was already public, but he’s apparently changed his mind. Crowley was transported in a police van from retirement in Arizona to face Nessel’s complaint alleging eight counts of criminal sexual conduct at St. Thomas the Apostle Church in Ann Arbor. At 70, Crowley – who left the state a year after the incidents in question – faces a July 30 probable cause conference.

Neil Kalina was snatched up in California as part of the AG’s May 24 sweep and remains in the Macomb County jail. He faces charges that he invited a boy of 13 to overnight stays at his rectory at St. Kieran in Utica in 1983 and 1984, gave him alcohol, cocaine, and marijuana – and sexually assaulted him.

“I’ve waited for this day for 18 years,” said the wife of the alleged victim, sitting in Judge Thomas Shepherd’s courtroom in Shelby Township July 2 for a scheduled probable cause conference for Kalina.

Forged document case: Police record statement of senior priest

KOCHI (INDIA)
New Indian Express

July 18, 2019

City police on Wednesday recorded the statement of Fr Kuriakose Mundadan, secretary of the Presbyteral Council, in connection with the alleged forging of documents to defame Cardinal Mar George Alencherry. According to sources, the investigating team probing the case visited the priest’s office and sought details from him for over three hours.

Fr Mundadan, a senior priest of Ernakulam-Angamaly Archdiocese, said that being the secretary of the Presbyteral Council, the police sought details regarding the Church land scam.

“As part of the ongoing probe, the investigators sought some inputs relating to the case. Being the secretary of the council, I will be able to throw light on the land deals,” Fr Mundadan told Express.

Meanwhile, police officials said that investigation is progressing and they are collecting statements from several people and priests belonging to the archdiocese.

Former apostolic administrator of the archdiocese Bishop Mar Jacob Manathodath and senior priests Fr Paul Thelakkat and Fr Tony Kallookaran are the first and second accused, respectively, in the document forgery case. The other accused are Adithya Zacharia and his friend Vishnu, who allegedly helped Adithya to forge the documents.

Facing dire financial situation, Pittsburgh diocese looks to make changes

DENVER (CO)
Catholic News Agency

July 17, 2019

The Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh is evaluating options to respond to severe financial strains, exacerbated in the last year by the sex abuse crisis, a diocesan official said Wednesday.

“The challenges that we’re facing are similar to that of many other churches, I think, throughout the country,” said Msgr. Ronald Lengwin, Vicar for Church Relations for the diocese.

He told CNA that already-existing financial struggles had been greatly compounded by the sex abuse crisis that broke last summer.

In August 2018, a Pennsylvania grand jury report was released, identifying more than 1,000 allegations of abuse at the hands of some 300 clergy members in six dioceses in the state, including 99 from Pittsburgh. It also found a pattern of efforts by Church authorities to ignore, obscure, or cover up allegations – either to protect accused priests or to spare the Church scandal.

Since that report was released, Mass attendance has dropped 9% and offertory donations have declined 11%, CBS Pittsburgh reported.

Diocese of Crookston Reaches Settlement with 15 Survivors

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

July 17, 2019

The Diocese of Crookston today has settled with fifteen survivors of clergy abuse. We hope that this settlement will bring comfort, healing, and change.

We applaud these brave survivors for speaking up, persevering, and for insisting on pledges of reform by church officials and disclosure of long-hidden abuse records, not just financial considerations in this settlement. Litigation can help survivors get the power to change church practices as well as achieve justice, and we are glad these survivors took the chance to demand both.

It is good that a bankruptcy was avoided because that process almost inevitably helps church officials keep hidden documents hidden and ensures cover ups remain covered up.

We hope that the information that the Diocese of Crookston has agreed to release will be made public soon. Information about those who committed and concealed these crimes will create a safer, more informed community and will help parents, police, prosecutors, and parishioners better protect children and vulnerable adults.

The cautionary tale of Pastor Amy

LONDONN (ENGLAND)
Catholic Herald

July 15, 2019

By Sohrab Ahmari

Trouble roils Manhattan’s Riverside Church, the neo-Gothic behemoth on the Upper West Side that serves as one of the enduring bastions of American liberal Protestantism. As the New York Post (where I serve as op-ed editor) first reported last week, the church and its pastor, the Rev Dr Amy Butler, mutually parted ways amid accusations that Butler, known as “Pastor Amy”, had taken underlings and a congregant on a sex toy shopping spree.

So much for liberal Catholics’ undying belief that ordaining women is the answer to our troubles.

While visiting Minneapolis for a homiletics festival in May, Pastor Amy allegedly took two junior ministers and a congregant to a sex shop called the Smitten Kitten, per the Post. There, she spent $200 for a “bunny-shaped blue vibrator called a Beaded Rabbit for one minister – a single mom of two who was celebrating her 40th birthday – as well as more pleasure gadgets for the congregant and herself.”

The alleged element of coercion – the junior ministers reportedly didn’t want to join Pastor Amy on the raunchy shopping trip but feared retaliation if they declined to go along – led to a formal harassment complaint days later and a third-party investigation. Eventually, Riverside and Pastor Amy concluded that the latter’s position was “untenable”, per the Post’s sources.

In an apparent attempt to forestall the Post’s exposé, Pastor Amy’s allies ran to the New York Times. The Grey Lady duly obliged with a story that painted the pastor as a victim of sexism and a progressive champion, who had written “in searing, and deeply personal, terms about her decision years ago to have a late-term abortion”.

The Times also politely alluded to the pastor’s “push for a substantial raise”, another point of contention with Riverside that predated the sex toy episode. But according to the Post, Pastor Amy was seeking $100,000 in additional compensation that would come on top of her $250,000 salary, plus a six-month housing allowance worth $48,000 and “annual retirement contributions of $59,000 for three years”.

Why Aren’t Americans Paying Attention to Pope Francis’ Progressive Ideas?

Fair Observer blog

July 17, 2019

By Gary Grappo

In his papal encyclical, “Laudato Si’” (“Praise Be”), issued in May 2015, Pope Francis reminded humanity of its responsibility for stewardship of the planet, including addressing the challenge of our times, climate change. Had the pope stuck to the environmental message, it would have been papal history making enough. However, he went on to connect environmental devastation to poverty, growing inequality and the consumer-driven economies of today’s world. The latter, said Francis, prioritize profit and individual comfort and well-being over the welfare of mankind and the health of the planet.

The pope affirmed his agreement with the scientific consensus that not only is the earth warming at an alarming rate, but also that humanity bears a significant share of the responsibility. He condemned “worship of gross national product over human life and health” and tied such worship to mankind’s treatment of “Mother Earth,” asserting that “We have come to see ourselves as her lords and masters, entitled to plunder her at will.”

Was It Un-American?
In the US, a self-confessed secular but majority-Christian nation, the pope’s encyclical was greeted predictably with cheers and jeers as many pundits and politicians chose to read it as a political treatise — if not outright lecture to capitalist economies — as opposed to a spiritual message and call to Christian action. Was its less-then-veiled criticism of economic policies today a full-on assault of capitalism by the left-leaning pontiff? American audiences could hardly be expected to embrace such a politically tainted condemnation of their nation’s underlying economic system.

Coming just 18 months before the 2016 presidential election, in which issues like climate change, poverty and inequality were heavily debated, the pope’s document received much media attention. The candidates, however, largely avoided committing themselves, neither harshly criticizing nor warmly embracing its arguments.

Catholic Diocese of Crookston settles clergy sex abuse lawsuit

ST PAUL (MN)
KFGO TV

July 17, 2019

By Paul Jurgens

A Twin Cities law firm says the agreement will result in payments to 15 abuse victims and keep the diocese from filing for bankruptcy. The names of priests will also be disclosed.

Attorney Jeff Anderson says the victims are taking back power that was stolen from them as children. He says the settlement will help with their healing and advance child protection in the diocese. Anderson says the abuse took place between 1969 and 2009.

Four other lawsuits against the diocese were settled earlier.

Vic pedophile priest to be sentenced

SYDNEY (AUSTRALIA)
Channel Nine News

July 18, 2019

A Victorian pedophile priest and repeat offender is to discover on Thursday whether he will spend extra time in prison after confessing to more historical child sex crimes.

Robert Claffey, 76 is already serving a minimum of 13 years and four months' jail for sexually abusing 12 children aged as young as five, between 1969 and 1992.

But last week he admitted he abused another two boys in Ballarat during the 1980s, following
fresh allegations.

Prosecutors want Claffey to have time added to his non-parole jail term.

Last week, Claffey's lawyer Alan Hands asked County Court Judge Paul Higham to consider that Claffey had already been "vilified" by the media and community, and shouldered the burden of his offending for years.

But the judge wasn't convinced the pedophile was vilified or burdened by guilt, adding "being held accountable for your actions is not vilification".

The Catholic Church became aware of Claffey's behaviour during the 1980s but moved him "parish to parish" throughout western Victoria.

Skepticism over New Calls to Abandon Priestly Celibacy

NEW YORK (NY)
Crisis Magazine

July 17, 2019

By Casey Chalk

In the wake of ongoing new reporting regarding sex scandals among many clerics, we have witnessed increased calls for the Catholic Church to loosen celibacy restrictions for the priesthood. Even many devout Catholics have begun to believe celibacy represents an unhealthy repression of sexual urges. To stem the tide of clerical abuse, the Church must dispense with celibacy. Fr. Carter Griffin is an outspoken opponent of this reasoning. His new book, Why Celibacy?: Reclaiming the Fatherhood of the Priest, encapsulates his thinking on the topic, going far beyond the commonly-heard defenses of clerical celibacy. As the title suggests, Fr. Griffin’s defense of celibacy relies on a robust understanding of the priest as father.

As Scott Hahn observes in the foreword, the priesthood is not simply a job or a career. It is a vocation that demands total commitment, and “celibacy has safeguarded that commitment.” The connection between the priestly vocation and celibacy has a strong biblical pedigree. Sexual continence was required for priests serving in the temple. Jesus, the preeminent priest who offered the greatest sacrifice for the salvation of the world, was celibate. St. Paul embraced celibacy as part of his apostolic calling, and urged others to do the same (1 Cor. 7:7). As Fr. Griffin then explains, the practice of clerical celibacy is visible very early in the Church, confirmed or encouraged by the Councils of Elvira (305 A.D.) and Trullo (691 A.D.), and later by the Second Lateran Council (1139 A.D.).

Yet the Church never understood celibacy in and of itself as the key to unlocking the spiritual power of the priesthood. Rather, it was celibacy united to an understanding of the priest as a supernatural father. Biblical imagery for this relationship is seen in Christ’s role as the new Adam generating the Church through his sacrifice and becoming a father of a new humanity (1 Cor. 15:45). Like a good father, Christ protects, suffers, and dies for his spiritual family. Moreover, Christ often referred to his disciples as children (Mark 10:24; John 13:33, 21:5; Mark 2:5). St. John speaks of Christians as “born of him” (1 John 2:28-29). The testimony of the early Church—including that of Sts. Justin Martyr, Irenaeus of Lyon, Clement, Athanasius, Benedict, Ambrose, Augustine, and Leo the Great—use the imagery of Christ as a spiritual father. The supernatural paternity of priests and bishops is also explicit in St. Ignatius of Antioch, the Passion narrative of Sts. Perpetua and Felicity, and the Didascalia Apostolorum. Many of these same sources also explicitly associate priestly celibacy with supernatural generation.

Cardinal Dolan Must Come Clean about Gifts from Bishop Bransfield

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

July 17, 2019

New York’s top Catholic official has kept silent now for over a month now regarding cash gifts he received from a now-disgraced colleague. We believe he owes his flock an apology and an explanation, and that he should return the money to its rightful owners.

On June 5, the Washington Post revealed that the now-retired Charleston West Virginia Bishop Michael Bransfield used proceeds from an odd source – a little-known Texas oil field – to spend lavishly on himself and other high-ranking Catholic officials, including New York’s Cardinal Timothy Dolan.

Some of those church officials have pledged to return the money to the West Virginia diocese. Others claim they’ve donated it to charity. Cardinal Dolan, however, has remained silent and is apparently doing neither.

Dolan’s silence is particularly ironic because he is one of the loudest bishops when it comes to promising “openness” and “transparency.” And he’s one of the prelates who needs extra money the least.

According to the Baltimore Sun, “Bransfield disbursed gifts amounting to $350,000 in cash to powerful cardinals and bishops including Dolan, Archbishop Lori of Baltimore, Cardinal Raymond Burke of the Vatican; and disgraced Cardinals Bernard Law, who was forced to resign as Boston’s archbishop in 2002 for his role in covering up child abuse by priests there, and Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, who resigned last year amid allegations he sexually abused children and adults over decades.” That’s a group of men with pretty questionable records.

Cardinal DiNardo Should Ask Abusive Conroe Priest to Plead Guilty

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

July 17, 2019

An allegedly abusive priest from Conroe County is due in court on Thursday for the next phase of his trial. We believe that church officials can and should spare his victims the pain of that trial and should encourage the priest to plead guilty instead.

Fr. Manuel LaRosa Lopez will be back in court on Thursday following his indictment in May on three counts of indecency with a child. He has now been charged with five counts from three separate victims. The incidents for the five counts occurred in the late 1990’s and early 2000’s. There is also a fourth victim who went to the Archdiocese of Galveston/Houston in 1992 with an accusation, but this incident occurred outside of the window of the Statute of Limitations. If the church had been responsible at that time, they would have removed Fr. LaRosa Lopez from ministry, preventing the three victims in the criminal case from being sexually abused, changing their lives forever. Given this information, we feel that Cardinal Daniel DiNardo should use his power to help spare the pain and expense of a trial and encourage Fr. LaRosa Lopez to plead guilty.

SNAP Urges Boycott of Businesses Displaying Signs Supporting Accused Priest

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

July 17, 2019

We are extremely saddened to learn that signs supporting a priest facing multiple allegations of abuse are being distributed. We fear that this will have a chilling effect on any young victims who see them displayed.

Supporters of accused clergyman Msgr. Craig Harrison are publicly posting signs around Bakersfield. We understand that it is only natural for people to want to show solidarity with a religious leader that they love and respect when allegations arise. However, we always recommend that they show this support privately.

Somewhere in the community there may be a young girl being molested by a relative or a boy being abused by his coach or youth leader. If these children see adults publicly rallying around an accused perpetrator, they will be less likely to report their own victimization. Scared into remaining silent, they will continue to suffer alone.

We fervently hope that the monsignor’s supporters will think about that and reconsider displaying these signs.

Former El Paso Catholic priest sentenced to 18 years in prison in sexual assault case

EL PASO (TX)
El Paso Times

July 17, 2019

By Aaron Martinez

A former El Paso Catholic priest was sentenced to 18 years in prison Tuesday after he was convicted the previous day on a dozen sexual abuse charges.

MiguelLuna, 69, was sentenced to 18 years in prison on six counts of aggravated sexual assault of a child and 10 years in prison on the three counts of sexual assault of a child.

He was also sentenced to 10 years of probation on three counts of indecency with a child.

The sentences will be served concurrently.

Luna was facing up to life in prison on the aggravated sexual charges.

A jury of nine woman and three men reached the sentencing verdict Tuesday. The same jury convicted him Monday on all 12 charges.

Want more coverage on issues that matter to you? Consider supporting local journalism with a subscription to the El Paso Times.

The trial was held in the 120th District Court with Judge Maria Salas-Mendoza presiding.

Luna was arrested June 11, 2018, after one of his victims, who is now in her late 30s, reported that the former priest began sexually abusing her when she was 8 years in the 1990s at an El Paso church.

Down by the Riverside: Fractured church picking up pieces after bombshell reports on pastor’s departure

NASHVILLE (TN)
Baptist News Global

July 15, 2019

By Bob Allen

Riverside Church in New York City held a members-only meeting Sunday, following a week of sensational headlines in competing newspapers covering the departure of senior pastor Amy Butler.

The Washington Post reported July 15 that during the meeting 11 members of the historically significant congregation introduced a petition demanding that Butler, former pastor of Calvary Baptist Church in Washington, D.C., be reinstated as senior pastor.

Butler, who in the past wrote columns for Baptist News Global and its predecessor Associated Baptist Press, released a joint statement last Tuesday with the chair of the church council announcing that her five-year contract as pastor would not be renewed.

On Thursday the New York Times quoted unnamed sources who attribute her departure to sexism and the “stained-glass cliff” – the name given to an informal barrier faced by women in ministry. Unlike the so-called stained-glass ceiling, which keeps women from climbing up the ministerial ladder, the stained-glass cliff posits that women are actually more likely than men to get promoted if the organization is facing a crisis, increasing the odds that they will fail.

The New York Post followed up with a much different story about salary demands and possible conduct unbecoming a minister.

Xaverian Brothers’ disclosure on past sexual abuse falls short

BOSTON (MA)
The Boston Globe

July 16, 2019

By Eric MacLeish

Last weekend, the Xaverian Brothers, a religious order that operates five Catholic high schools in Massachusetts released the names of 34 priests alleged to have sexually abused children in St. John’s Preparatory School in Danvers, Xaverian Brothers High School in Westwood, St. John’s High School in Shrewsbury, and Malden Catholic High School. This disclosure differs dramatically from those transparent investigations made recently by private schools all around the country and pays only lip service to current standards on responses to sexual abuse allegations.

For starters, the data for the current report was based on a “file review,” presumably of personnel files. In 2002, then-Cardinal Bernard Law promised a similar file review, which captured only a fraction of child molesters masquerading as priests and contained almost no information about their enablers. File reviews presume that the despicable crimes of religious order priests and their superiors were well-documented. While some crimes were described, no investigation can presume that a file review tells the complete story. The horrific history of child abuse is littered with cover-ups and the deletion of information concerning predatory priests and cooperative bishops.

Victim: Catholic Priests Kept Jobs Despite Sex Abuse Claims

NEW YORK (NY)
WCBS 880 Radio

July 16, 2019

A new lawsuit filed Tuesday claims two Catholic priest that were accused of sexually abusing inors were allowed to remain active at their churches despite complaints to the archdiocese.

The lawsuit alleges church officials either covered up or misrepresented the abusive histories of Father Donald Timone and Monsignor John Paddack, who Joseph Caramanno says abused him when he was a student at St. Joseph’s by the Sea on Staten Island.

“I personally wonder if –while I was in high school back in 2001, 2002 – was there someone that knew about Monsignor Paddack, was there someone that knew that he had, you know, done some things to others before me,” Caramanno said.

The allegations forced Paddack to resign from the Church of Notre Dame on the Upper West Side.

Timone is accused of sexually abusing the late husband of one of the plaintiffs when he was a teenager. The alleged victim died from an apparent suicide in 2015.

“The allegations against Fr. Timone and Fr. Paddack were shared with law enforcement, and both are currently out of ministry while the archdiocese investigates these new allegations against them,” the archdiocese said in a statement.

It notes that earlier claims against the two were investigated but “were found not to be substantiated.”

Irreligion, Sexual Abuse and Sacrilege

DENVER (CO)
National Catholic Register

July 12, 2019

By John Grondelski

Over at Commonweal, Boston College theology and law professor Cathleen Kaveny tries to obfuscate the meaning of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI’s recent letter on the sexual abuse crisis… and perhaps score some points for the revisionist agenda of blaming that crisis on “clericalism” rather than the sexual immorality that—rightly—Benedict identifies as where the Church and modern culture began going off the rails in the late 1960s.

Kaveny claims that Benedict misidentifies the moral wrong behind the sexual abuse crisis: she thinks he is equating it with sacrilege (although she admits that “[h]e does not use the term”). She claims that this shift lets the Church off the hook, protecting the institution by identifying it as the victim rather than defending children victims. “Benedict’s letter seems to put clergy sex abuse in the category of sacrilege, not injustice.”

She wants to see the sacrilege versus justice question as an either/or proposition (not unusual for defenders of revisionist moral theology). It isn’t. It’s both.

I have always been very pleased by the fact that the 2011 retranslation of the Novus Ordo Missae restored the typical text, not ICEL’s “equivalent” translations. One of the important places where that translation recovered the real meaning of the text was in the introductory dialogue to the Preface. We used to say, “It is right to give Him thanks and praise.” We now respond, in keeping with the venerable ancient text, “It is right and just” (dignum et justum est).

New poll shows growing view that clergy are irrelevant

WASHINGTON (DC)
Religion News Service

July 16, 2019

By Yonat Shimron

In her 2004 Pulitzer-Prize winning novel “Gilead,” Marilynne Robinson sketches a portrait of the Rev. John Ames, a small- town pastor in 1950s Iowa who is humble, self-aware, compassionate and devoted to his family and his congregation, and they to him.

Americans no longer hold clergy in such high regard, according to a recent poll, and even regular churchgoers are seeking counsel elsewhere.

A NORC/AP poll of 1,137 adults released this month shows that doctors, teachers, members of the military — even scientists — are viewed more positively than clergy. The less frequently people attend church, the more negative their views. Among those who attend less than once a month, only 42% said they had a positive view of clergy members — a rate comparable to that of lawyers, who rank near the bottom of the list of professions.

While frequent church attenders still hold clergy in high regard — about 75% viewed them positively — they give them only passing grades on a number of personal attributes. Only 52% of monthly churchgoers consider clergy trustworthy (that number drops to 23% among those who attend less than once a month) and 57% said they were honest and intelligent (compared with 27% and 30% among infrequent attenders).

“If you buy into the religious worldview, then the religious leader looks completely different than if you don’t buy into the religious worldview,” said Scott Thumma, professor of the sociology of religion at Hartford Seminary. “The perception from the outside is pretty bleak.”

Doc details fight for justice by local victim of former Sudbury priest

SUDBURY (CANADA)
Sudbury.com

July 17, 2019

He has been dead for more than five years, but when a convicted pedophile priest makes a sudden appearance in a documentary about his crimes, it's like a bolt of lightning.

By now, most people in Sudbury are familiar with the crimes of Fr. William Hodgson Marshall, a priest who molested young boys at St. Charles College in the late 1960s and early 1970s before moving on to prey on more children in other places.

The public has never heard Marshall directly talking about his crimes. A new TVO documentary entitled 'PREY' changes that, showing him for the first time responding to questions from the lawyer representing his victims. PREY – a pun on pray – is playing at Cinefest this year.

Director Matt Gallagher's film focuses on the 2018 lawsuit by Rod McLeod, one of Marshall's victims in Sudbury who was awarded $2.57 million (https://www.sudbury.com/local-news/victim-of-abuse-by-sudbury-priest-awarded-25m-907564) for the abuse he suffered – and for the Basilian Fathers of Toronto for allowing it to continue.

Column: Allegations against Epstein have put #MeToo in context

COLUMBUS (OH)
Columbus Dispatch

July 17, 2019

By Christine Flowers

A few years ago, I wrote a column about Malala Yousafzi around the time that the young Pakistani activist was shot in the head by the Taliban. She was targeted for death simply because she wanted to help give girls the same educational opportunities as boys.

Instead, Malala survived. She became a symbol of fierce and principled defiance in the face of an oppressive regime, a true patriarchy.

That column garnered a lot of criticism because my central point was that women in our country did not understand what true persecution looked like.

Seven years later, and our gauge of what counts as true abuse against women hasn’t gotten any better. I blame #MeToo, which has robbed us of the ability to see things in context. The fratboy antics of Al Franken, Joe Biden and by then wheelchair-bound George H.W. Bush were condemned as if these men committed aggravated felonies. The mere accusation of date rape is enough to deprive young male college students of due process. Unearthed stories from three decades ago almost scuttled the judicial nomination of a man whose only proven bad behavior is — horror of horrors — liking beer.

This is why the indictment of Jeffrey Epstein for sex trafficking is so important.

July 16, 2019

SNAP leader calls for more accountability after St. Xavier releases list of accused abusers

LOUISVILLE (KY)
WDRB TV

Jul 16, 2019

By Katrina Helmer

After the Xaverian Brothers released a list of brothers facing credible accusations of sexual abuse with minors, the leader of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) in Louisville hopes it leads to more accountability and justice for the victims.

St. Xaverian High School in Louisville released a letter to alumni and school families last week, which included a list of 14 brothers who have ties to the school dating back to the 1930s and who are also accused of abusing minors.

Cal Pfeiffer, the local leader of SNAP who graduated from St. X in 1966, said he was never abused there, and he never witnessed any abuse. However, he said it was heartbreaking and felt personal reading the letter from the school.

“Come to find out, two of the brothers were there when I was there,” Pfeiffer said.

Pfeiffer now supports and fights for victims of abuse within the Catholic Church. He believes people are starting to “finally realize this is a huge crisis.”

And that’s why he said just releasing a list of names is not enough. He said St. X, the Xaverian Brothers and the Catholic Church need to be held accountable. The letter does not state if or how anyone was punished, leaving Pfeiffer with lingering questions.

Catholic priest, Father Andrew Manetta, accused in new molestation case

HAGATNA (GUAM)
Pacific Daily News

July 17, 2019

By Steve Limtiaco

A man who took confirmation classes at the Chalan Pago church in the mid-1980s, when he was a teenager, has accused Father Andrew Manetta, who was parish priest at the time, of sexually assaulting him during a sleepover.

The man, identified in Superior Court of Guam documents by the initials L.L.L., has asked for at least $5 million in damages from the Capuchin Franciscans, Manetta's religious order.

According to the lawsuit, Manetta molested L.L.L. when he and another boy slept over at the priest’s residence to help prepare for a swimming outing for the confirmation class.

It states Manetta caught the two boys smoking marijuana, then smoked a marijuana joint himself and gave the boys wine.

Followers of accused priest Monsignor Harrison show their support with new signs

BAKERSFIELD (CA)
Bakersfield Californian

July 16, 2019

By John Cox

Signs of support for accused priest Father Craig Harrison are beginning to pop up around Bakersfield.

At least 200 corrugated plastic signs stating "We support Monsignor Craig Harrison" were given out recently at the store on 18th Street where his adopted son works, prompting an order for 100 more.

The black-and-white signs, measuring 12 inches by 18 inches, have been posted in front of at least a few local businesses since they were first made available last weekend.

One such business is H. Walker’s Mens Clothing & Accessories on 17th Street. Owner Tracy Kiser said she wanted to show her support for a friend and customer.

"We're just proud of who he is and what he's done for our community," Kiser said of Harrison.

The signs were ordered and paid for by local lawyer Dan Raytis, a parishioner at St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church, where Monsignor Harrison worked as pastor until being placed on leave in April over allegations he sexually abused a minor while serving as a priest in Firebaugh. Other accusers have since come forward making similar accusations against Harrison.

Raytis said he and his family alone came up with the idea of having the signs printed. He said the signs speak for themselves.

Readers sound off on Father John Duffell

NEW YORK (NY)
Daily News

July 16, 2019

By Eileen A. Fagan

I am truly shocked that Father John Duffell has been suspended from active priestly service pending an allegation of abuse by an adult in the Archdiocese of New York. Truth be known, those who know Duffell know he is a controversial character. He was always ahead of his time and ready to take on things that others were too timid or lazy to even approach. Because of it, social justice with Gospel values blossomed in New York. We should not forget that for a moment.

I realize the Church has had some 17 years of adverse publicity regarding sexual abuse by priests. Yes, I believe a very small percentage of the allegations against priests are true. However, I also believe that many have been wrongly accused and are suffering from the consequences imposed by the Archdioceses and Dioceses throughout the country. I understand we need to protect and help victims. My question is: Who helps the priests who have wrongfully lost their reputations and have been removed from ministry at a time when the Church needs them so much? Whatever happened to innocent until proven guilty?

Having worked with Duffell for many years, his zeal for the Gospel is relentless. The Catholic Church needs more servants like him, not less. I pray his good name and reputation is returned to him with God’s speed!

Dalton School Should Do Outreach in Wake of Epstein Scandal

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

July 16, 2019

Given the pending prosecution of convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, officials at the prestigious Manhattan school where he has been accused of inappropriate behavior should immediately start reaching out to find former students and staff that may have seen, suspected or suffered crimes by him. This is the best way that the school can help law enforcement keep Epstein away from other children and can potentially help alumni and drop-outs who might have been hurt and may still be suffering today in silence, shame and self-blame.

We believe this request is simple and straightforward. When institutions like schools and churches hire staff that turn out to be sexual abusers, they must take affirmative steps to help law enforcement prosecute those perpetrators. Schools have mailing lists, websites and other means to contact former staff and students,and now they should use their resources to seek out victims, witnesses and whistleblowers – for both prevention and healing.

Pastor’s wife charged with sexually assaulting student; former congregants celebrate

WASHINGTON (DC)
Christian Post

July 11, 2019

By Leonardo Blair

A pastor’s wife and teacher from Burbank, Illinois, has been arrested and charged after she allegedly supplied alcohol to a 15-year-old student at Jordan Baptist School, a ministry of Jordan Baptist Church, and had sex with him at least five times before it was legal for her to do so.

Shannon Griffin, 49, wife of Pastor Thomas Griffin who led both Jordan Baptist Church and the affiliated school during the period of the crimes, is alleged to have sent nude images to the student she is alleged to have had sex with as well as a 16-year-old boy using Snapchat and asking for illicit images in return, the Chicago Tribune reported.

The pastor’s wife, who some members in her community allege had been abusing underage kids for years, was allegedly pictured in some photos getting into the shower attached to text messages such as “Come on in” and “Missing you,” Assistant State’s Attorney Kyle Gruca told the publication.

The Christian Post reached out to the church for comment Thursday but did not immediately receive a response. Former members protested Sunday in the parking lot and turned away potential worshipers who were in the dark about the alleged crimes that had been taking place at the church.

Apparently most "LGBT folks are on board with pedophillia"

The Slowly Boiled Frog blog

July 16, 2019

By David Carey Hart

One Matthew Hanley has penned LGBT is swiftly being normalized. Pedophilia is next. At another site, the accusation is more direct; titled Adding P to LGBT. Hanley is just one more demented schmuck claiming that LGBT people pose a peril to children. According to the Catholic faith, one should not engage in gay sex. Adherents have some choices to make.

The faith does not require smearing LGBT people as pedophiles. I know at least one priest who would say that such behavior is discouraged, even sinful. That makes Matthew Hanley a bigoted fool. Does Mr. Hanley have underage fantasies? Does Hanley have repressed gay fantasies? Those questions are perfectly reasonable and appropriate. Homophobia, for example, is bigotry based on one's own sexual insecurities.

Much to their credit, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has issued very strong statements opposing Trump's border policies. If Mr. Hanley is so concerned about the welfare of children, why is he not writing about “kids in cages?”

LifeSiteNews is already on a trajectory to be designated a hate group at the end of 2019. Providing an outlet for the mad ravings of Matthew Hanley is not going to help their cause. They had the common sense to water down Hanley's title but the text is the same.

Follow the money? By all means. But Bransfield scandal may involve some 'Catholic" issues

Get Religion blog

July 16, 2019

By Terry Mattingly

It’s time for another trip into my GetReligion folder of guilt. That’s where news features go that I know are important, but I cannot — quickly — spot the issue that is nagging me.

Thus, the story gets filed away, while I keep thinking about it.

In this case, we are talking about a Washington Post story that is an important follow-up on the newspaper’s investigation into charges of corruption against Catholic Bishop Michael J. Bransfield of West Virginia — an important disciple of the fallen cardinal Theodore “Uncle Ted” McCarrick. Click here for the first GetReligion post on this topic, by Bobby Ross, Jr.

The headline on this new expose states: “Warnings about West Virginia bishop went unheeded as he doled out cash gifts to Catholic leaders.” Yes, this story is about money, money, money and then more money.

Oh, there is some signs of sexual harassment of seminarians in there, but that doesn’t seem to interest the Post team. And there are hints that some of the conflicts surrounding Bransfield may have had something to do with Catholicism. Maybe. Hold that thought because we will come back to it.

The 50 Year Secret: An ABC7 News exclusive documentary

WASHINGTON (DC)
WJLA TV

July 16, 2019

By Reporter Jay Korff and Ryan Eskalis

Documentary Details Former Altar Boy's Never-Before-Told Story Claiming Once Prominent Priest was a Serial Pedophile.

The Catholic Diocese of Arlington and the Catholic Diocese of Richmond released in February of 2019 their list of priests credibly accused of child sex abuse.

The Diocese of Arlington did so “in the hope that providing such a list might help survivors of clergy sexual abuse find further healing and consolation.”

Father William Reinecke, one of the highest-ranking members of the clergy in our region in the last half century, was among those listed.

After speaking with one of his survivors we realized that a much larger, never-before -old story of widespread, serial pedophilia involving Reinecke may exist. And while we can’t prove it, there are also strong suggestions of a cover-up in Father Reinecke’s case. Officials with the Diocese of Arlington strongly deny these suggestions. Officials with the Diocese of Richmond declined to answer any questions for this story.

So, we decided to dig deeper. After more than five months of investigating we unraveled Father Reinecke’s haunting past with the help of people close to him: a former priest, a survivor of Reinecke’s abuse and a witness to Reinecke’s grooming tactics and abuse. The latter, Kelley Arnold, is the keeper of The 50 Year Secret.

What we uncovered, revealed in a series of stories called The 50 Year Secret, we hope will help victims heal, hold the powerful accountable and illustrate the very real danger children still face today across America.

What does Varadkar really think of priests?

DUBLIN (IRELAND)
Irish Times

July 16, 2019

Fr. Brendan Hoban

The recent Dáil exchange in which Taoiseach Leo Varadkar compared Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin to “one of those parish priests who preaches from the altar telling us to avoid sin while secretly going behind the altar and engaging in any amount of sin himself” came as something of a shock.

The immediate reaction was one of surprise and confusion. What was this about? Was Varadkar just tired after a hectic schedule in Brussels? Was he just being smart-assed and playing to the gallery? Or was it that in the heat of the moment the truth came out?

Did we glimpse the real Varadkar, instead of the carefully-constructed media image of a leader happy and privileged to lead the very disparate communities that make up the new Ireland? Was this indicative of what he really thought of the Catholic Church and of priests?

The widespread condemnatory response to his comments was immediate and strong. The reason, I think, was that what he seemed to be saying was not just that the church had a lot to answer for (as we do); or that we should apologise for our failings (which we have) but that behind the facade of condemnation priests were living lives that contradicted what they were preaching.

Richmond Catholic Diocese suspends Roanoke-raised priest

RICHMOND (VA)
WFIR Radio

July 16, 2019

By Evan Jones

The Catholic Diocese of Richmond has suspended a Norfolk priest who graduated from Roanoke Catholic School, was an altar server at St. Andrews Church and held his first priestly assignment there. Diocesan officials say the suspension of Joseph Metzgar the Third followed recent accusations that he violated the code of conduct with minors. The news release did not offer details, but it did say the violations did not involve sexual abuse.

From the Catholic Diocese of Richmond:

Bishop Barry C. Knestout has suspended the priestly faculties of Father Joseph H. Metzger III effective Friday, July 12, 2019.

On July 5, 2019, a complaint was sent to the Diocesan Office of Safe Environment regarding a recent violation of the Diocese’s Code of Conduct with Minors. (Link to CDR Code of Conduct with Minors: https://richmonddiocese.org/mcoc).

While the complaint does not involve an accusation of sexual abuse, in accordance with diocesan policy and practice, the complaint was reported to law enforcement. Following an inquiry into the complaint by the Office of Safe Environment and consultation with the Diocesan Review Board, Bishop Knestout met with Fr. Metzger and suspended his priestly faculties.

The suspension means Fr. Metzger cannot present himself publicly as a priest, wear clerical attire, administer the sacraments or celebrate Mass publicly, nor is he to have any interaction with minors or youth.

'The 50 Year Secret' - Q&A and Reporter's Notebook

WASHINGTON (DC)
WJLA TV

July 16, 2019

By Jay Korff

This Q&A time line begins February 13, 2019 when the Diocese of Arlington and Diocese of Richmond released their lists of priests credibly accused of child sex abuse. My questions , responses and key dates are in bold. Church answers are not in bold. My remarks are in italics. You’ll find the more questions asked the more revealing answers we got. Some sections below were edited for brevity.

Feb 13, 2019 with Diocese of Arlington
Since this was my first day on this story I quickly reached out to officials with both Dioceses and confirmed the names on the list. Our focus wasn’t on one specific priest, yet.

Question: Were there any priests moved around from one diocese to another?

Response: Since 2002 we have implemented a zero-tolerance policy in which anyone with a credible accusation of sexual abuse of a minor is permanently removed ministry. When the initial allegation is received, it is reported to law enforcement immediately. Prior to the adoption of the Charter for the Protection of Youth and Young People in 2002 there was not a consistent standard for managing allegations of sexual abuse of minors.

Question: Where did these priests serve?

Response: For today’s announcement, we did not pull together all assignment histories. If you are looking to ask a specific question about a particular parish, I’ll look into it for you.

Question: When did the process begin?

Response: In late September, 2018. The examiners were two former FBI special agents that were contracted by the Diocese, given full access to all files and information related to clergy, and performed a thorough review to assist the Diocese in its publishing of a list of priests who are credibly accused of sexual abuse of a minor.

Question: How many were criminal cases?

Response: Allegations regarding Krafcik and Brooks were the only cases for which criminal charges were brought by law enforcement.

"Piles of cash" and passport with fake name found during raid of Jeffrey Epstein's NYC home

NEW YORK (NY)
CBS News

July 15, 2019

By Brian Pascus

Federal prosecutors revealed in court on Monday that authorities found "piles of cash," "dozens of diamonds," and an expired passport with Jeffrey Epstein's picture and a fake name during a raid of his Manhattan mansion earlier this month.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Alex Rossmiller revealed at a bail hearing that the bogus passport, issued in the 1980s, listed a Saudi Arabia residence and has a photo of Epstein but a different name, CBS News' Cassandra Gauthier reported from the courtroom. Prosecutors also cited a mysterious lack of financial records.

Epstein was arrested in New York on July 6 and charged last week with sex trafficking and sex trafficking conspiracy. He is alleged to have abused dozens of underage girls as young as 14 over a number of years. Monday's hearing concluded with Judge Richard Berman saying he needed more time before making a decision as to whether Epstein would be granted bail. He is expected to announce his decision on Thursday.

Day five of the Miguel Luna trial is expected to start back up Monday morning

EL PASO (TX)
CBS4

July 15, 2019

By Holly Bock

Monday marks day five of the Miguel Luna trial. It is set to begin at 9 a.m. in the El Paso County Courthouse with Judge Maria Sales-Mendoza.

The Miguel Luna case dates back to the 1990s, while he was an active priest. He is accused of sexually assaulting young girls for several years.

During Friday’s testimony, Luna admitted to fathering a child with a prostitute in Juarez around the same time. Luna says he took money from a church in El Paso to buy groceries for that child and the mother.

One of his alleged victims testified Luna got her pregnant and that she had a miscarriage. She said it started when she was 11 and lasted until she was 17. A second woman claims Luna got her pregnant and that she had an abortion.

Column: When a sexual predator’s crimes rely on an entourage

CHICAGO (IL)
Chicago Tribune

July 12, 2019

By Mary Schmich

It often takes a village to help a sexual predator stalk his victim.

Bill Cosby had a village. Larry Nassar had a village. So did the abusive clergy of the Catholic Church. All these predators relied for years on a community of people who actively enabled their predations or who conveniently looked away.

If the charges are to be believed, R. Kelly and Jeffrey Epstein had their villages too.

We often talk and think of sexual predators as lone wolves but the rich and famous, I’m guessing, never are. Look at what we’ve seen in the past week alone.

The singer R. Kelly was indicted twice — in Chicago and New York — on federal charges related to his alleged abuse of girls and women. The indictments aren’t the first he has faced, but this time they go further than one man.

Xaverian Brothers Release Names Of Members Accused Of Abuse

BALTIMORE (MD)
CBS/AP

July 14, 2019

A Baltimore-based Catholic religious order that sponsors schools across the U.S. has released a list of dozens of members accused of sexually abusing children.

The list released Friday by the Xaverian Brothers includes two current members “with a credible or established offense.” The group, a separate entity not part of the Archdiocese of Baltimore, says no credibly accused brothers are in active ministry.

Eighteen men on the list are dead or former brothers with a credible or established offense. Also named are 14 dead or former brothers against whom there are allegations that couldn’t be “fully investigated” but for which there is a “reasonable possibility” that they occurred.

The Baltimore Sun reports the order’s general superior issued a statement asking forgiveness “for this unspeakable violation of trust.”

Harvard’s Jeffrey Epstein hypocrisy: Harvard drops #MeToo image when donations are at risk

BOSTON (MA)
USA TODAY

July 12, 2019

By Sabrina L. Schaeffer

Now that financial mogul Jeffrey Epstein is charged with sex trafficking girls — including minors as young as 14 years old — his relationship to Harvard University and Harvard's hypocrisy and failure to respond adequately to the Epstein scandal deserves our attention.

Epstein did not attend Harvard. Nor is he a faculty member. In fact, he doesn’t have a college degree. But for decades he has been a substantial supporter of Harvard’s programming, faculty, and social institutions. Prior to his 2008 plea deal in Florida, Epstein made sizeable grants to the university, including a $6.5 million donation in 2003 to the university's Program for Evolutionary Dynamics and additional pledges of up to $30 million. During this period, he supported several professors and he frequently described himself as a “Harvard investor.”

After Epstein was charged with soliciting sex in 2006, Harvard’s interim president made clear — as reported in The Harvard Crimson — that the university would not return his gift. He added that only in “extreme cases” would the university refuse contributions from questionable sources. But that prompts the question: Does Harvard not consider involvement in sex-trafficking girls to be an “extreme case?”

Sexual Assault Allegation Surfaces About Nominee for Joint Chiefs Vice Chairman

UNITED STATES
Defense One

July 2019

By Marcus Weisgerber

Cleared by Air Force investigators, Gen. Hyten may yet face questions during his Senate confirmation process.

An allegation of sexual assault — though found baseless by Air Force investigators — could complicate the Senate confirmation of a top general slated to become the U.S. military’s No. 2 officer.

The accused is Gen. John Hyten, who leads U.S. Strategic Command and has been formally nominated to become the next Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Air Force officials opened an investigation into the alleged incident, which took place sometime between late 2017 and early 2018, according to multiple defense and congressional aides familiar with the matter.

Hyten was cleared by “a comprehensive investigation by the Air Force Office of Special Investigations,” Pentagon spokesman Col. DeDe Halfhill wrote in a Wednesday statement to Defense One. “There was insufficient evidence to support any finding of misconduct on the part of Gen. Hyten,” who cooperated with the investigation, Halfhill said.

NYPD let convicted pedophile Jeffrey Epstein skip judge-ordered check-ins

NEW YORK (NY)
New York Post

July 10, 2019

By Elizabeth Rosner, Tina Moore, Larry Celona and Bruce Golding

Convicted pedophile Jeffrey Epstein never once checked in with city cops in the eight-plus years since a Manhattan judge ordered him to do so every 90 days — and the NYPD says it’s fine with that.

After being labeled a worst-of-the-worst, Level 3 sex offender in 2011, Epstein should have reported in person to verify his address 34 times before he was arrested Saturday on federal child sex-trafficking charges.

Violating requirements of the state’s 1996 Sex Offender Registration Act — including checking in with law enforcement — is a felony punishable by up to four years in prison for a first offense.

Subsequent violations carry a sentence of up to seven years each.

Father Adrian Cristobal, accused of sex abuse in Guam, is missing after leaving Phoenix

PHOENIX (AZ)
Arizona Republic

June 15, 2018

By Jerod MacDonald-Evoy

Father Adrian Cristobal, who was on sabbatical in Phoenix until recently and is accused of sexually abusing two boys more than 20 years ago in Guam, has not returned to the island as ordered by the church.

Two men filed separate civil suits in federal court in Guam in April and May accusing Cristobal of sexual abuse.

Cristobal had arrived in Phoenix in December 2017 for sabbatical with a letter of good standing, the Phoenix Diocese said in a written statement to The Arizona Republic. He did not have an assignment and the Phoenix Diocese said it removed his faculties, or his ability to perform church sacraments, after the first suit was filed in April.

Why Are Judges So Concerned About the Future Potential of Rapists?

UNITED STATES
Rolling Stone

July 9, 2019

By EJ Dickson

A judge in New Jersey sparked outrage by giving a 16-year-old alleged sexual abuser a slap on the wrist, citing his sterling academic record

In 1989, members of the Glen Ridge, New Jersey football team raped a 17-year-old girl in the basement of one of the boys’ houses. The girl had an intellectual disability, and was later reported to have an IQ of about 64. The boys took turns orally and vaginally penetrating her, and then penetrated her with a broom and a baseball bat, both of which were covered in baggies coated with Vaseline. One of them said they should stop, a suggestion that was ignored. The boys then told the girl not to tell anyone, then told her to leave. The incident was only reported to the police when a teacher overheard one of the boys bragging to another student that they were planning to coax a repeat performance out of the girl, which they planned to videotape.

Jury finds former El Paso priest guilty in sexual assault trial

EL PASO (TX)
CBS 4 News

July 15, 2019

By Justin Kree

A jury has found former El Paso priest Miguel Luna guilty on all 12 counts of sexual assault of a minor.

Closing arguments took place and a third victim testified on Monday, saying Luna raped her.

In closing arguments, the state told jurors Luna used his position to sexually assault and that religion had nothing to do with the incident and told them that God was used to groom and rape the victim.

The defense told the jurors that the testimonies and timeliness don't add up and asked the jurors to listen to the facts.

Another victim has taken the stand this morning saying that she was raped by former El Paso priest Miguel Luna after coming back from Juarez one summer night in 1990.

The third victim claims Luna raped her after a night of dinner and dancing in Juarez back in 1990. She said she was 30 years old when she was raped by Luna, unlike the other victims.

She testified that she met Luna when she worked as a secretary at St. Pius X. Church.

She said she would associate with Luna at parish functions and talked about their mutual love for dancing.

Luna asked the victim if she would go to dinner and dancing.

The defense argued the victim was divorced and dressed that night to impress Luna.

She knew Luna liked her and said he often told her, “I would leave the priesthood to be with you.”

The victim said she made it very clear to Luna that she looked at him like a brother and was not interested in him.

The victim claimed when Luna dropped her off that night, he pushed his way into her house, pushed her on the living room floor and raped her.

The victim said she ran into the bathroom to shower because she felt “dirty” and told Luna to leave her house.

She claimed she didn’t tell anyone that night but eventually told her mom and boyfriend — but never filed a police report.

Kelley Arnold - The Witness

WASHINGTON (DC
WJLA TV

July 15, 2019

by Jay Korff

Kelley Arnold grew up in Old Town Alexandria. Arnold says a significant part of his childhood revolved around the church he and his family attended: St. Mary Catholic Church, now the Basilica of St. Mary.

Father William Reinecke began working at St. Mary when Arnold was a young teenager. Arnold says Father Reinecke was beloved and respected by parishioners. So, when Reinecke invited minor boys on overnight, out of town trips, Arnold insists no one, initially, suspected Reinecke was a serial pedophile.

Arnold, in chilly detail, now tells the never heard before stories of Father Reinecke’s grooming and eventual sexual assault of boys. Arnold’s heartfelt story of regret reveals the method of a deranged yet trusted religious leader. He hopes by coming forward others will get the help they need.

Thirteen-year-old Kelley Arnold was an altar boy at St. Mary Catholic Church in Alexandria, Virginia in the mid-to-late 1960s.

The newly ordained Father William Reinecke was his priest. Arnold says Father Reinecke quickly formed friendships with children.

12 with ties to St. John's Prep on sex abuse list

SALEM (MA)
Salem News

July 16, 2019

By Ethan Forman

Twelve men who were at one time associated with St. John's Preparatory School are on a list released Friday of current or former Xaverian Brothers members with "a credible allegation of sexual abuse of a minor against them."

The Xaverian Brothers, a Baltimore-based Roman Catholic order that sponsors 13 schools including St. John's Prep, released 34 names, dating back decades. The 12 associated with St. John's Prep were in Danvers at some point between 1922 and 1978.

Among them is Thomas Morrissey, also known as Brother Gabriel, who worked at the school from 1965 to 1967. Morrissey is listed as a current Xaverian Brother "with a credible or established offense against a minor" and has been "placed on a safety plan with no contact with minors," according to the order.

Safety plans are described as "restrictions on behavior, including the use of technology, travel, and access by visitors."

The allegations of abuse and attempted abuse against Morrissey were first reported in 2002 and date back to his time at both St. John's Prep and at the Xaverian Brothers High School in Westwood, where he worked from 1967 to 1979.

“We understand that the information we are releasing today cannot undo the damage caused by some of our brothers, but we hope this confession, our repentance and our apology will provide some peace for survivors of abuse and allow our community to begin to heal," said General Superior Brother Edward Driscoll, in a letter provided by the Xaverian Brothers. "We humbly ask forgiveness for this unspeakable violation of trust.”

Letter to Bishop Johnston from KC SNAP

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

July 16, 2019

Dear Bishop Johnston:

To help victims and Catholics heal, to help protect kids and to help deter future wrongdoing, we're respectfully asking you to use your new powers to restrict the public ministries of Bishop Robert Finn and Bishop Joseph Hart.

Finn has been deemed, in a civil court, guilty of refusing to report known or suspected child sex crimes.

Hart has been deemed, by his successor, a "credibly accused" child molester, with abuse reports in Wyoming and Missouri, by at least ten individuals.

Both have returned to Kansas City, sometimes appearing in public, which has prompted concern and consternation by still-suffering victims and still-betrayed Catholics.

We believe that long ago you could and should have used your bully pulpit, quiet influence and existing powers to dissuade or prevent Finn and Hart from appearing in your diocese. But now, with the powers recently given to you by the US Conference of Catholic Bishops, you have no excuse for not protecting the safety and feelings of your flock, and deterring future crimes and cover-ups, by banning these two disgraced prelates from your jurisdiction.

We would ask you to consider one simple question: Why take the risk? Why chance making even one more person who was raped, sodomized or fondled as a child by a cleric feeling outraged or fearful or disgusted when he or she sees Hart or Finn presiding at a Catholic function in Kansas City? Why run the risk that even one more wounded Catholic, who is faith is on shaky ground, feeling betrayed and disappointed and hurt again when they see the activities of other disgraced prelates (Cardinal Roger Mahoney, Cardinal Theodore McCarrick) being restricted while the activities of Hart and Finn are not?

The rise of EWTN: from piety to partisanship

KANSAS CITY (MO)
National Catholic Reporter

July 16, 2019

By Heidi Schlumpf

On Memorial Day, viewers who tuned into EWTN's News Nightly for "news from a Catholic perspective" were treated to two previously recorded one-on-one interviews by anchor Lauren Ashburn.

In the first, a 10-minute sit-down with Mike Pence during his March visit to Ave Maria University in Florida, the vice president bashed "media elites and Hollywood liberals," called Democrats "the party of abortion on demand, even the party of infanticide" and described President Donald Trump as "the most pro-life president in American history."

In the second interview, Ashburn served up softball questions for 11 minutes with former White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders. The EWTN anchor gushed about the latest unemployment numbers and asked why the mainstream media hasn't given more coverage to this accomplishment, held up a devotional book she learned Sanders reads daily before asking about religious liberty, and ended with a query about her favorite ice cream. (It's mint chocolate chip.)

As part of a question that cited a poll showing white Catholics were holding a 44 percent favorable approval rating for Trump, Ashburn pointed out: "And I would just say that 44 percent number could be a lot higher if he came on to News Nightly."

"We'll work on that," Sanders responded with a laugh.

The segment was clear evidence of how a television outlet once devoted to expressions of Catholic piety and conservative catechesis and apologetics has grown into a truly influential media empire, well connected to Republican politicians and the Trump White House. EWTN, where the "Catholic perspective" is unabashedly partisan, has also become the media star in a web of connections including wealthy conservative Catholic donors and some of the most public anti-Pope Francis forces in the Catholic world. Those connections, traceable through a maze of non-profit organizations, helped fuel EWTN's development. It is a complex tale involving the matchup of a peculiar brand of U.S. style conservative Catholicism with conservative political ideology and economic theory.

NCR made repeated requests over nearly a week for comment from EWTN, but the network said it was unable to produce anyone to answer questions before publication.

July 15, 2019

Boarding School for Missionary Kids Uncovers Dozens of Abuse Allegations

WASHINGTON (DC)
Religion News Service

July 15, 2019

Those allegations include faculty physically and sexually abusing students mostly in the 1960s and 1970s, though a representative for a school alumni group said she is aware of cases as early as the late 1950s and as recent as the 1990s.

A written statement on the school’s website from Anda Foxwell, head of school, said the alleged abuse reportedly occurred “a quarter to a half century ago.”

But, Foxwell wrote, the Christian Academy in Japan admits that “as a school, CAJ did not provide the nurturing and caring environment for children that we should have provided.

“This is not the school CAJ is now. We renounce a culture of silence that suppressed the truth, which prohibited children from being heard in their suffering. We acknowledge that students were vulnerable to the way staff members used their power against them in ways that were hurtful and harmful, and we want to express our deep grief over learning about the pain some children endured,” the statement reads.

The investigation comes after former students began connecting and sharing stories about their experiences at the school on social media amid the attention given to sexual abuse by #MeToo and similar movements, Foxwell told Religion News Service.

Some of the stories she heard were secondhand, she said. But, she added, “I didn't doubt the experiences.”

The head of school began responding to people individually after she was made aware of their social media posts about two years ago and later posted a letter of apology on the school website, she said. That letter, which caused a stir in the school's alumni community, later was removed from the site over concern it could interfere in the investigation, she said.

Perhaps the letter was “naïve,” Foxwell admitted.

“But I was really hoping to address the concerns and express just sorrow over what people experienced,” she said.

Tom Doyle - The Truth Seeker

WASHINGTON (DC)
WJLA TV

July 15, 2019

If you ask Tom Doyle to describe himself he would say a former priest and Catholic Church attorney who now helps priest sex abuse survivors by testifying in court cases as an expert on the policies and practices of the Church. Doyle also consults for states and nations investigation child sex abuse.

In a sense, Doyle is a whistle blower for how the Catholic Church used to, and presently, operates.

He says leadership within the Catholic Church is doing much better in terms of preventing pedophile priests from abusing and helping abuse survivors get help. But he says the lies continue and for that reason shared his thoughts with ABC7 News for The 50 Year Secret.

Tom Doyle was an active priest from 1970 to 2004. He also served as a US Air Force Chaplain for nearly 20 years.

Doyle now testifies on behalf of abuse survivors and consults for states and nations investigated priest sex abuse. He's certified expert on Canon Law.

“I have been involved in this, directly involved since the very beginning and no one else has. I was involved in the middle, in the inside of the Roman Catholic Church. I worked at the Vatican Embassy.”

Doyle was an attorney for the Catholic Church in the 1980s.

During that time, he looked at widespread allegations of priest sex abuse in a Louisiana diocese that erupted in scandal.

Norfolk priest suspended of ‘priestly faculties’ due to complaints

NORFOLK (VA)
News Channel 3

July 15, 2019

By Julia Varnier

The former pastor of Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church has been suspended of ‘priestly faculties’ after complaints were made against him that went against the Diocese’s Code of Conduct with Minors.

In December 2018, Joseph H. Metzger III took a leave of absence amid non-sexual complaints against him, Richmond Diocese Bishop Barry Knestout wrote in a letter to members of the parish.

On July 5, another complaint was sent to the Diocesan Office of Safe Environment regarding a recent violation of the Diocese’s Code of Conduct with Minors.

While the complaint does not involve an accusation of sexual abuse, in accordance with diocesan policy and practice, the complaint was reported to law enforcement.

After an investigation conducted by the Office of Safe Environment and consultation with the Diocesan Review Board, Bishop Barry Knestout met with Metzger and suspended his priestly faculties.

Gaylord Grace Baptist pastor, founder resigns after months of controversy

GAYLORD (MI)
Herald Times

July 15, 2019

By Arielle Breen

The Gaylord Grace Baptist Church founding pastor is eaving after 33 years in the region’s ministry.

An announcement on the church’s website shows Jon Jenkins resigned as pastor of Grace Baptist Church July 7 to take a position as pastor at a North Carolina Baptist church.

“As the founder and visionary of Grace, Pastor Jenkins’ leadership has guided our church family through storms, trials, challenges, deaths and hardships — but also through prosperity, new life, expansions and a level of growth rarely seen in such a rural area,” reads part of the church’s announcement.

This move comes after months of attention over accusations and criminal sexual conduct cases that have surfaced with ties to the church and its school dating back about 17 years.

In a previous Herald Times story, Jenkins commented on instances of abuse or alleged abuse involving former teachers. Jenkins said he had reported two of the school’s former teachers to police for sexual abuse of students years ago.

Jenkins said he reported former teacher Aaron Willand to Michigan State Police, and later, another former teacher to the Otsego County Sheriff’s Department.

Willand was convicted in Washington state of raping a child and child molestation in 2006. The survivor, now an adult, is also seeking charges in Otsego County for abuse she said also occurred in Michigan. Willand has not been charged in Michigan.

Jenkins said he also reported former teacher David Beckner to the Otsego County Sheriff’s Department in 2011. Eight criminal sexual conduct charges have been officially filed by Otsego County courts against Beckner. The case was bound over to Otsego County’s 46th Circuit Court Thursday.

The sheriff’s department showed no records of Grace Baptist reporting either former teacher to police.

Herald Times’ Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests for Michigan State Police reports filed by Grace Baptist show no police reports filed by Grace Baptist with any references to Aaron Willand or David Beckner.

Clark Martin, a former congregation member and volunteer bus driver, was convicted of criminal sexual conduct against a former Grace Baptist student in 2002 and 2003. According to Otsego County court records from that case, Martin had also molested another youth, a 12-year-old boy, in St. Clair County in 1966.

Martin also pleaded guilty in May to criminal sexual conduct charges for allegedly molesting a teen boy in 1991 and 1992.

Jeffrey Epstein and His Enablers Are Evil, But Not Special: He’s Just the Latest Example of a Toxic Culture for Children

Verdict Justia blog

July 15, 2019

By Marci Hamilton

Jeffrey Epstein’s sex trafficking scheme that entrapped dozens of teenage girls is disgusting. But let’s be honest: this is just another example of a poisoned culture that protects adults over child well-being. This isn’t news—it’s a call to action against a toxic culture for children.

One person alone could not have accomplished the full scope of Epstein’s scheme. You need help to successfully abuse dozens and hundreds of children, and everyone needs to pitch in to make it a success.

Epstein had it all.

First, he worked with people who looked the other way. When his career started, Epstein taught at the highly regarded Dalton School, where he left strong clues that there is something not quite right about the way he deals with girls. He later had employees cooperate by scheduling victims to be when and where he wanted them, according to the federal indictment recently unsealed in New York.

Second, he had willing pilots for a plane dubbed the “Lolita Express.” I guess they never read the book?

Third, he had powerful buddies to partake in his jetset, party lifestyle in Palm Beach, New York, a private Caribbean island, and his other homes. It is simply a fact that Presidents (Trump and Clinton), were in the mix along with Britain’s Prince Andrew, former Harvard Law Professor Alan Dershowitz, and many others. Even when people knew he was a registered sex offender, following his release from prison, he was welcomed back to high society with open arms, and that includes women as well as men, conservatives and liberals alike. Even journalists accepted his hospitality like Katie Couric and George Stephanopoulos, and universities eagerly welcomed his philanthropy. Yet, it appears that no one sought out his victims to unravel this story until Miami Herald investigative reporter Julie Brown doggedly pursued it.

Becky Ianni - The Survivor

WASHINGTON (DC)
WJLA TV

July 15, 2019

By Jay Korff

Becky Ianni, a spokesperson for SNAP in the D.C. region and a child sex abuse survivor, gave ABC7 News access to the recording she made of her Diocese of Arlington Review Board Hearing in 2007. This recording is equal parts revelatory and heartbreaking. The Diocese of Arlington eventually ruled that Ianni’s abuse allegations against Monsignor William Reinecke were credible.

Ianni is permitting us to air parts of her testimony to help survivors find the strength to come forward and for institutions, like the Catholic Church, to understand more completely the horrors unleashed by abusive members of the clergy on generations of children.

Becky Ianni is a spokesperson for SNAP, Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, in the Washington, D.C. region.

Ianni attended St. Mary Catholic Church in Alexandria, Virginia as a child.

She says Father William Reinecke, new to the parish in the mid-1960s, sexually abused her for years.

In 2007, Ianni appeared before the Diocese of Arlington Review Board to testify about her torment so Father Reinecke’s abuse would be deemed credible by church leaders.

She recorded her testimony.

“Well, I just wanted to start off by saying that it is really, really hard for me to be here," Ianni says in the recording.

“He was our friend," she says. "He was just always there and we always thought so much of him.”

Lawyer for abuse victims demands New York Archdiocese release ‘predator priest’ data

NEW YORK (NY)
New York Post

July 15, 2019

By Allie Griffin and Natalie O'Neill

A lawyer representing childhood victims of alleged sex abuse on Monday demanded the Archdioceses of New York release “secret files” on “predator priests” — before a one-year statute of limitations rule expires.

“We’re launching a petition today to demand that the Church of New York, all the Catholic Dioceses, release their secret files that contain important information on predator priests,” said Jeff Herman, an attorney representing the victims in a class action lawsuit against the archdiocese.

In the yet-to-be released documents, more than 500 priests have been identified as child abusers, Herman said.

“That’s the tip of the iceberg,” he proclaimed. “There’s probably over a thousand priests there may be files on.”

It’s important that the archdioceses move swiftly in releasing the files due to the New York Child Victims Act, which recently created a one-year window allowing victims of sex abuse to file civil suits without dealing with state statute of limitations rules.

“It’s important so that they can evaluate and learn whether or not they can file claims and finally seek justice under this new law,” he said.

In April, the Archdiocese of New York released a list of 120 clergy who it said have been “credibly accused” of sexually abusing a minor.

Catholic Group’s Response: Not a Dime to the Diocese

WHEELING (WV)
The Intelligencer.net

July 12, 2019

By Alan Olson

Following an open letter to Archbishop William Lori and the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston, a group of Catholics have declared their intent to withhold funds to the diocese after failing to receive a measured response.

The letter can be found here: Catholic-Response

Last month, Lay Catholic Voices for Change, an organization comprised of Catholics from north-central West Virginia, sent an open letter to Lori addressing what they saw as numerous issues with the structure of the church, as well as their proposed solutions and a call for increased parishioner participation in clerical matters. The letter requested a response by June 28, which did not come.

The letter and its demands came following an investigation into former bishop Michael Bransfield that found excessive spending and credible claims of sexual harassment against adults.

“We set forth in our June 12 letter a variety of remedial actions you and the Diocese could take to repair the trust that has been breached. We wrote to you in good faith,” the organization stated in a follow-up letter dated Tuesday.

“You chose to ignore our letter – in much the same way you and other church leaders ignored or discounted the laity, clergy, and religious who, over the years, cried out for help in ridding ourselves of Michael Bransfield and in much the same way you and other church leaders ignored or discounted the repeated press reports of Michael Bransfield’s improper behavior. … You apparently have so little respect for lay people, you chose not to issue even a pro forma response to our letter. You simply ignored us.”

In response to the silence, LCVC has asked parishioners to participate in a campaign to boycott donations to the diocese, by withholding donations to collections at church; instead, the boycott calls for parishioners to place white envelopes, with their names and the statement “Not a Dime to the Diocese” in the collection basket.

“LCVC is not encouraging withholding of donations to local parishes,” a press release states. “However, parishioners who are concerned about the percentage of the general donation that goes to the Diocese may “earmark” donations toward specific uses in their parishes.”

The boycott is to take place during weekends between July 20 and Aug. 4, with the hope that the diocese commissions a complete, independent audit of the diocese’s finances, one of the goals outlined in LCVC’s open letter.

Lawsuit: Priest raped Barrigada girl in 1970s, told her she's going to heaven for it

HAGATNA (GUAM)
Pacific Daily News

July 15, 2019

By Haidee Eugenio Gilbert

A lawsuit filed on Monday alleges that Father Louis Brouillard, in or about 1974 to 1975, sexually abused and raped a Barrigada girl and told her she's going to heaven for being a "good girl."

The plaintiff, now 55 years old, is identified in federal court documents only by the initials E.A.B. to protect her privacy.

After raping the girl at the Barrigada church's back room, the priest told her "she will never go to hell because she is a good girl and that the devil will never take (her) because she was with a priest and that he will keep the devil away," the lawsuit says.

Brouillard went on to sexually abuse the girl for about two years, including during outings of the Boy Scouts of America at Lonfit River with other boys and girls, the lawsuit says.

Reddit group becomes flashpoint in sex abuse scandal at La Luz del Mundo church

LOS ANGELES ( CA)
Los Angeles Times

July 15, 2019

By Leila Miller

Growing up, Sandra Martinez’s world revolved around La Luz del Mundo church. She shoveled dirt as a teenager to help build a new church in Houston.

Years later, when the church asked congregants to help support their missionaries, Martinez said she and her husband donated the deed to their house and moved into an apartment.

After Martinez, now 37, left the church, she was able to preserve her relationship with her mother, a current member. But that changed in early June, when Naason Joaquin Garcia, the head of the church, known to followers as “the apostle” of Jesus Christ, was arrested and charged with multiple counts of sexual abuse.

Mother and daughter exchanged a heated, long string of texts. They haven’t spoken since. Her mother, who would usually visit Martinez and her children every month, has not come by.

As the church aggressively backs Garcia, former parishioners are quietly wrestling with the news of his arrest. The more than a dozen former members The Times spoke to cited a variety of reasons for leaving a church that had once been so central to their lives, including potential backlash for dating outside of their faith and feeling unaccepted because they were gay. Some said they simply no longer believed in the apostle.

Like Martinez, some former church members have found a sense of community in a Reddit group with more than 800 members, where individuals anonymously discuss developments in a criminal case that has repercussions ranging from Mexico — where La Luz del Mundo was founded — to dozens of countries around the world.

Holy Trinity forged to fight sexual abuse crisis in Catholic Diocese

BUFFALO (NY)
WBFO TV

July 15, 2019

By Marian Hetherly

The Child Victims Act fully becomes New York law on Aug. 14. It is expected to bring a new wave of sexual abuse cases into the light, as the law allows more survivors their day in court. It also adds more urgency to the work currently underway to transform the Buffalo Catholic Diocese into a place of healing for those who have lost faith in the church.

"We're going to find out here just how widespread this issue of child sex abuse is," said Movement to Restore Trust organizer John Hurley.

Canisius College President John Hurley and other lay Catholic leaders organized the Movement to Restore Trust in the fall of last year to ensure the sexual abuse crisis in the church never happens again. In May, the diocese reported its compensation program for survivors awarded 127 people an average of $160,000 each and rejected more than half the claims filed.

"The Child Victims Act engages on Aug. 14. I'm pretty sure a number of the people who did not accept the offer and other people we don't know about yet, I'm pretty sure we'll hear from them," said Bishop Richard Malone, who has led the diocese since 2012.

While the compensation program has ended, Malone has accepted with "general support" a nine-point plan of additional recomendations created by more than 100 Catholics who joined the Movement. The two are now working to make it happen, in a partnership being held up as a model for other dioceses.

"I see their model as both heart and head. They are keenly aware that people are deeply wounded and angry and committed to their church, and so there's a process to care for that. And there's also a process looking at how can we address the leadership culture and the trust rebuilding and the institution of the church moving forward," said Leadership Roundtable CEO Kim Smolik.

Chicago priest removed from duties after sex abuse allegation

CHICAGO (IL)
Associated Press

July 14, 2019

The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Chicago has removed a priest from pastoral duties in the wake of allegations of sexual abuse that took place two decades ago.

In a Saturday letter to members of two South Side parishes, Cardinal Blase Cupich says the Rev. William McFarlane was asked to step aside from ministry after the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services and the Cook County state’s attorney’s office revealed the allegation.

McFarlane formerly worked at the Nativity of Our Lord and St. Gabriel Parish. The archdiocese says Deacon Robert Boharic has been appointed as pastoral coordinator at the parishes.

The archdiocese said it wasn’t known if the person accusing McFarlane was a minor at the time of the alleged abuse in 1997.

How Catholic clergy ruled alongside the 'gay mafia', despots, and rent boys in Latin America

SYDNEY (AUSTRALIA)
Australian Broadcasting Company

July 15, 2019

By Alan Weedon

The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, running from 2013 to 2017, found that 7 per cent of all Australian priests — or 1,880 alleged perpetrators — were accused of child sexual abuse between 1950 and 2010.

It determined that the Australian Church was responsible for "catastrophic failures of leadership" over decades, where civil authorities were actively kept away from numerous allegations of abuse in parishes around the country.

For survivors of child sexual abuse, reading the details of crimes can provoke a wide range of emotions. We spoke to experts about how to deal with triggering, traumatic news.

In March 2019, one of the Vatican's highest-ranked officials, Cardinal George Pell, was prosecuted for the sexual abuse of two choirboys, which seemed to mark an apex in Australia's civil reckoning of the clergy's crimes.

However, for Frédéric Martel, a French journalist and author, the prosecution of Pell is just the tip of a global iceberg.

"When I was in Australia some people asked, 'Is the world speaking about Pell?', and I said no," Martel told the ABC.

"Pell is one symptom among many others."

Earlier this year, Martel released In the Closet of the Vatican: Power, Homosexuality, Hypocrisy, a book that maps the presence of homosexuality within the Catholic Church's patriarchal hierarchy.

While it speculates that about 80 per cent of clergy are homosexual — who may or may not act on their desires — the process of writing the book put Martel up against some of the clergy's most egregious crimes.

When he looked into the Latin American Church's late-20th century history, a picture of regional fiefdoms quickly emerged, with Mexico's Marcial Maciel telling one of the Church's darkest stories.

Maciel was the founder of the Legionaries of Christ order in 1941 — a group praised by Pope John Paul II for bringing in a record number of seminarians and money into Church coffers.

But by the end of century, Maciel would be accused of numerous instances of sexual abuse against children and his seminarians that stretched over decades.

By 2010, the Legionaries acknowledged that he had fathered a child with a long-term partner.

In the weeks after the official disclosure, a Mexican attorney alleged that Maciel fathered up to six children, after being asked to litigate on behalf of three of them.

Theology professor and Church historian Massimo Faggioli, who has written extensively about the Church's sexual abuse crisis, told the ABC that cases like Maciel's were the product of a time when the protection and growth of the Catholic brand was paramount.

Trial for former El Paso priest resumes Monday morning

EL PASO (TX)
KFOX14/CBS4

July 15, 2019

By Holly Bock

The Miguel Luna case dates back to the 1990s, while he was an active priest. He is accused of sexually assaulting young girls for several years.

During Friday’s testimony, Luna admitted to fathering a child with a prostitute in Juarez around the same time. Luna says he took money from a church in El Paso to buy groceries for that child and the mother.

One of his alleged victims testified Luna got her pregnant and that she had a miscarriage. She said it started when she was 11 and lasted until she was 17. A second woman claims Luna got her pregnant and that she had an abortion.

Another big moment of the trial so far was when Bishop Mark Seitz of the Catholic Diocese of El Paso was questioned about a phone conversation with Luna.

Seitz showed the courtroom a written statement that he wrote during their phone call in 2017.

The bishop wrote that Luna accused him of having no mercy and ruining his life.

Seitz said Luna insisted that if he were to make this sexual abuse public, it would bring out false accusers, saying there were no other victims.

To Cast Down an Idol

Patheos blog

July 13, 2019

By Mary Paluzzo

I’ve had to walk by the former House of Prayer and Peace several times this summer. It’s on the way to the pool, and Rosie is learning to swim.

I try to walk on the opposite side of the street, because the abusive nun’s only recruit to her self-aggrandizing religious order still lives there. She is not allowed to wear the habit or go by her name in religion anymore, but somehow she got to keep the house.

I have seen her twice.

She wears trousers and has long hair now; she drives a car tiled all over with decals and bumper stickers. Half of these glorify handguns and the Second Amendment, and the other half are about how we should pray the Rosary to end abortion and stop all the killing. Once she was getting out of that car as Rosie and I were walking by, and she started to say hello– but then she realized who I was, and stopped awkwardly.

I pretended I didn’t see and kept walking. I shouldn’t have done that. It wasn’t kind. I ought to have said something. But what?

I have not been up to Franciscan University’s campus in several years, but this week I keep seeing photos of the Portiuncula chapel.

July 14, 2019

Catholic order that operates 5 local high schools publishes list of accused members

BOSTON (MA)
Fox 25 TV

July 14, 2019

The Xaverian Brothers, a Catholic order, has named 34 men accused of sexually abusing children at their high schools dating back to the 1930s. The allegations listed span the course of 50 years, with the most recent ones coming in the 1980s.

The Catholic group operates 13 schools, including five in Massachusetts. Of the men accused at least a dozen are associated with St. John's Preparatory school in Danvers and five with Xavierian Brothers High School in Westwood.

Others worked at Malden Catholic and St. John's High School in Shrewsbury.

The Xaverian Brothers have also issued an apology and are asking for forgiveness for failing to protect the victims.

To view the written apology and see the list of credible allegations, click here.

Christian Brothers under financial pressure after paying $213 million in abuse compensation

AUSTRALIA
Sydney Morning Herald

July 15, 2019

By Farrah Tomazin and Chris Vedelago

The viability of the Christian Brothers is in doubt as the religious order is forced to spend hundreds of millions of dollars to settle an avalanche of compensation claims stemming from decades of child abuse.

The Age can reveal the Christian Brothers’ Australian wing has already spent more than $213 million on victims’ payouts and legal expenses in the past six years, with the order expecting to outlay at least another $134 million in the future.

But as survivors continue to seek compensation under the National Redress Scheme, the Catholic order is relying on massive injections of cash from its regional headquarters to pay out people who were abused in its schools and orphanages.

Figures show that the Christian Brothers spent only $3.6 million on “legal and litigation expenses” in 2013, the year the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse was established.

But this cost ballooned to $134 million in 2018 - nearly nine times what the group’s officials estimated it would be liable to pay for that year.

Despite the blowout, the order insists it will be able to meet its commitments to survivors through the continued “responsible management of our finances''.

Priest list includes affiliation and status

RICHMOND (VA)
The Catholic Virginian

July 14, 2019

The Diocese of Richmond added six priests to its list of clergy with credible and substantiated claims of child sexual abuse, Thursday, June 27.

In a statement released simultaneously with the six names, Bishop Barry C. Knestout said, “As we continue to engage with survivors of abuse and learn more about the history of our diocese, we continue our commitment to transparency. It is my sincere hope that the additions of these individuals will help provide healing for anyone who suffered at their hands.”

These are the priests, their affiliation and status:

• Stanley F. Banaszek, Maryknoll, deceased

• Anthony M. Canu, Third Order Regular Franciscan, deceased

• Patrick J. Cassidy, diocesan, deceased

• Leonardo G. Mateo, extern, Archdiocese of Tagbilaran (Philippines), deceased

• Thomas D. Sykes, Franciscan Friar of Atonement, deceased

• Vincent The Quang Nguyen, extern, Archdiocese of Saigon, Vietnam, unknown

Woman accused of vandalizing Mesa church over sexual abuse allegations

PHOENIX (AZ)
Channel 12 News

July 13, 2019

Kat Durnil allegedly vandalized Mesa Central Christian Church by adhering flyers demanding the church apologize for reportedly covering up sexual abuse allegations.

A woman was arrested last week for allegedly vandalizing a Mesa church by adhering flyers that demanded the church apologize for reportedly covering up sexual abuse allegations.

Kat Durnil was arrested on July 10 on one count of aggravated criminal damage at a place of worship after she allegedly vandalized Mesa Central Christian Church the morning prior.

According to court documents, Durnil and her husband allegedly placed red flyers on the poles in the church's main courtyard, using a substance sprayed from a paint can to adhere them.

Durnil allegedly sprayed the substance and placed the flyers on the poles, the court documents alleged. She is accused of defacing six poles on the church's campus.

Church officials attempted to remove the flyers when they arrived on campus around 6 a.m. that morning, but "due to the adhesive used...it was impossible for anyone to remove them by hand."

The church reportedly had to hire a company to remove the flyers, which caused paint damage to the poles, so another company had to come and paint all of them.

The Latest: Man accused of orphanage sex abuse kept jailed

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
Associated Press

July 12, 2019

The Latest on child sexual abuse charges against a man who founded and ran a Kenyan orphanage (all times local):

4:30 p.m.

An American man accused of sexually abusing four girls who lived in the Kenyan orphanage that he founded will remain behind bars, at least for the next few days.

A federal judge in Philadelphia on Friday ordered 60-year-old Gregory Dow, of Lancaster, Pennsylvania, temporarily detained until a hearing Wednesday on his status.

Federal prosecutors say Dow is a flight risk, noting he left Kenya in 2017, just as police were investigating sex abuse allegations at the Dow Family Children’s Home in Boito.

India toughens law to protect children from sexual abuse

NEW DELHI (INDIA)
Associated Press

July 12, 2019

The Indian government has toughened a law against child sexual abuse and child pornography.

The law amended this week has increased the maximum penalty for child sex abuse to capital punishment from 20 years in prison.

The government also defined child pornography for the first time and made the penalties more stringent, with a maximum punishment up to three years in prison.

The amendments prohibit administering hormones or chemical therapies to children to hasten their sexual maturity for the purpose of sexual intercourse. The updated law clarifies that children are protected from sex abuse even during natural disasters.

Chicago priest removed from duties after sex abuse allegation

CHICAGO (IL)
Associated Press via WGN-TV

July 14, 2019

The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Chicago has removed a priest from pastoral duties in the wake of allegations of sexual abuse that took place two decades ago.

In a Saturday letter to members of two South Side parishes, Cardinal Blase Cupich says the Rev. William McFarlane was asked to step aside from ministry after the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services and the Cook County state’s attorney’s office revealed the allegation.

McFarlane formerly worked at the Nativity of Our Lord and St. Gabriel Parish. The archdiocese says Deacon Robert Boharic has been appointed as pastoral coordinator at the parishes.

The archdiocese said it wasn’t known if the person accusing McFarlane was a minor at the time of the alleged abuse in 1997.

Attempts Sunday to reach McFarlane by telephone for comment were unsuccessful.

Why they’re Catholic: A review of Trent Horn, 'Why We’re Catholic'

UNITED STATES
Christian Post

July 14, 2019

By Randal Rauser

In his 2017 book Why We’re Catholic, Catholic apologist Trent Horn aims to provide a clear, concise, and winsome introduction to the Catholic faith. The book consists of twenty-five short and punchy chapters divided into five sections: truth and God, Jesus and the Bible, The Church and the Sacraments, Saints and Sinners, and Morality and Destiny.

I count Trent a friend and a joint laborer in the cause of Christian apologetics. And as I’ve said before, he is in the very top tier of young Christian apologists. At the same time, I am not a Catholic, so you can expect this review to identify some number of disagreements.

Let’s begin with the points of agreement. As I just said, Horn is a top tier apologist and that means he’s a top tier communicator, one who can dispense with errant arguments and misguided reasoning with a quick and memorable rejoinder. Consider, for example, the tired attempt to marginalize Christian belief with the statement “You’re only a Christian because you were born in a Christian country” (or whatever). Horn retorts,

“If I had been born in India, wouldn’t I be writing a book called Why We’re Hindu instead of Why We’re Catholic? Maybe, but if I had been born in ancient China I might have written a book called Why We Believe the Earth Is Flat.”

In other words, if social location marginalizes our beliefs about God, it also marginalizes our beliefs about nature … and everything else. In this way, Horn handily takes down the objector with a reductio ad absurdum.

Our View: Judge owes apology to man alleging abuse

PORTLAND (ME)
Portland Press-Herald

July 14, 2019

By the Editorial Board

It's not willful blindness that keeps sexual abuse victims from speaking up, and Judge Lance Walker should know better.

It’s been 16 years since The Boston Globe exposed widespread sexual abuse and a culture of coverup within the Roman Catholic Church. Since then, sex assault scandals involving the U.S. military, universities, Hollywood, Congress and a wide array of businesses have reinforced the same two points:

Sexual predators take advantage of people who are less powerful than they are. And they hide in organizations that want to protect their own reputations.

A victim’s relatively low social status, combined with a reasonable expectation of backlash from a threatened institution, makes it difficult for them to tell their story, especially if they are children or were children at the time of their abuse.

It’s not only easy to understand why many child sex abuse victims don’t come forward right away, it but should almost be expected that they won’t, which is why many states including Maine have eliminated the statute of limitations for criminal charges of sexual abuse of a child. By now everyone should know this, but unfortunately, that’s not the case.

Chile ends statute of limitations for sex crimes with underage victims

SANTIAGO (CHILE)
Catholic News Agency

July 13, 2019

Chile has removed the statute of limitation on sex crimes against children and adolescents, though the new law is not retroactive. The move comes in the wake of major controversies about abusive Catholic clergy and attempts at reform in the Catholic Church in Chile.

“Beginning today, the passing of time will never more be an accomplice to those who abuse our children, nor an ally of impunity,” said Chile’s President Sebastian Pinera, a center-right politician who signed the bill into law July 11.

The bill was first proposed in 2010, Reuters reports. Going forward, there will be no statute of limitations on rape, sexual abuse, production of pornographic materials and prostitution where children and adolescents are the victims.

Depending on the crime, previous limitations on prosecution ranged from five to 10 years after the alleged incident.

Legal team helped bring Arthur Perrault to justice

ALBUQUERQUE (NM)
Albuquerque Journal

July 13, 2019

By Kent Walz

Brad Hall and his legal team doggedly pursued notorious child sex abuser Fr. Arthur Perrault.

Hall’s work helped spur the FBI to investigate decades-old allegations and bring Perrault back to the United States from Africa last fall to face federal criminal charges.

The 81-year-old former pastor of St. Bernadette Parish in Albuquerque was convicted in April of sexually assaulting a parish altar boy on federal property in New Mexico in the early 1990s. A federal court jury found the assaults occurred at the Santa Fe National Cemetery and Kirtland Air Force Base – where Perrault served as a military chaplain.

Face to Face with Brad Hall: Fighting for victims of clergy sex abuse

ALBUQUERQUE (NM)
Albuquerque Journal

July 13, 2019

By Kent Walz

Editor’s note: Albuquerque attorney Brad Hall has represented more than 200 victims of priest sex abuse in New Mexico. As his years-long legal battle nears its conclusion in federal bankruptcy proceedings, Hall talked about the legal and emotional journey that began with an unlikely visit.

Brad Hall was thinking about hanging it up after more than two decades as a successful plaintiff’s lawyer specializing in civil rights cases. Maybe travel. Visit his kids living in exotic locations. Maybe do some writing.

That all changed in 2011 when a former basketball teammate from a county league team in the 1980s walked into his office.

“I hadn’t seen him in 20 years. But in the next three or four hours he told me how as an altar boy he had been sexually assaulted by Fr. George Weisenborn at Saint Francis Xavier in Albuquerque.”

Just telling the story was a gut-wrenching experience for his former teammate.

“Afterward, I watched him go out the door and head towards his car,” Hall said. “He fell to his hands and knees on the sidewalk and vomited.”

It turned out to be Hall’s first case of many representing victims of sexual assault by Roman Catholic priests and clergy in New Mexico. His thoughts of retirement and travel were pushed to the background.

The Archdiocese in Providence, Rhode Island, had sent Weisenborn to the Servants of the Paraclete treatment center in Jemez Springs in 1964.

Dave Peyton: To church members: Suspect something, report it

HUNTINGTON (WEST VIRGINIA)
Herald-Dispatch

July 14, 2019

One of the responsibilities of a columnist is to bell the cat (to borrow a phrase).

But belling some "cats" is unpopular and can get criticism.

One of those "cats" is the church. Even if you aren't a church member, you shy away from criticizing churches, particular Christian churches in all its forms.

A Baptist church pastor in Alabama was arrested recently, just days after after he'd molested at least one young boy from his church.

John Martin, the pastor of Lighthouse Baptist Church, confessed to four counts of sexual abuse. He was arrested on felony sex abuse charges about a week ago, after members of his church reported him to authorities.

How Catholic clergy ruled alongside the 'gay mafia', despots, and rent boys in Latin America

AUSTRALIA
ABC (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

July 13, 2019

By Alan Weedon

Key points:
- Egregious crimes were perpetrated by some Catholic leaders in Latin America
- This happened during the Cold War, a period where the Church was fighting Communism
- Vatican factional fighting has stymied responses to the crimes of clergy

Over the past few years, Australians have been largely pre-occupied with revelations of decades of misconduct by the country's Catholic Church.

The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, running from 2013 to 2017, found that 7 per cent of all Australian priests — or 1,880 alleged perpetrators — were accused of child sexual abuse between 1950 and 2010.

It determined that the Australian Church was responsible for "catastrophic failures of leadership" over decades, where civil authorities were actively kept away from numerous allegations of abuse in parishes around the country.

Passing the torch: Cardiologist prepares younger colleagues to confront nuclear threat

BOSTON (MA)
Boston Globe

July 12, 2019

By Robert Weisman

It’s lunch hour at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and the cafe is full of patients and white-coated staffers. At a corner table, Dr. James Muller huddles with junior colleagues discussing a peril that has long preoccupied him: the threat of nuclear war.

“We haven’t yet got the message out to the public,” said Muller, 76, a prominent cardiologist. “It’s a mystery why the presidential candidates are largely silent on this.”

As a young doctor, Muller pressed heads of state to halt weapons-building and spelled out the danger of nuclear arms on Soviet television. He cofounded the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War at the height of the Cold War. Its work earned him and his colleagues — American and Russian heart specialists — the 1985 Nobel Peace Prize for fueling “an awareness of the catastrophic consequences of atomic warfare,” in the words of the Nobel panel. ...

... When playing guitar and bantering with neighbors at the recent Newton Porchfest, the soft-spoken Muller seems like a man who would be content to spend his afternoons belting out Beatles songs on his porch with his wife, Kathleen, and their grown children. But he has long been drawn to social justice issues. He was founding president of Voice of the Faithful, the Catholic laity reform movement spawned by the clergy abuse crisis, after years of sounding the alarm on nuclear weapons. ...

Everyone knew about Jeffrey Epstein. Nobody cared

BOSTON (MA)
Boston Globe

July 12, 2019

By Renée Graham

Serial sexual abuse takes more than a predilection for predation. It requires enablers, too — both explicit and implicit.

According to published reports, Jeffrey Epstein, a man of seemingly vast and certainly mysterious wealth, had associates who helped recruit teenage girls into his lair of trafficking and sexual assault. He also had friends who knew Epstein was a registered sex offender and accused pedophile, but treated the allegations as little more than a nasty habit best ignored.

In the toniest circles of Manhattan and Palm Beach, the rich and famous flocked to his lavish homes for parties, flew on his planes, and went scuba diving off the coast of his private Caribbean islands. Befriended by former and future presidents, Epstein made contributions to politicians, and burnished his reputation as a philanthropist with major donations to top-notch universities, including Harvard and MIT.

Everyone knew. And except for Julie K. Brown, the intrepid Miami Herald reporter who pursued the Epstein story for two years, few gave a damn.

Xaverian Brothers release names of members credibly accused of abuse

BOSTON (MA)
Boston Globe

July 13, 2019

By Danny McDonald and Alison Kuznitz

The Xaverian Brothers, a Roman Catholic religious order that operates five high schools in Massachusetts, has identified 34 men found to be credibly accused of sexually abusing minors dating back to the early 20th century.

At least a dozen of those named were associated with St. John’s Preparatory School in Danvers and at least five men worked at Xaverian Brothers High School in Westwood. Others taught at Malden Catholic High School and St. John’s High School in Shrewsbury, according to the list.

The Baltimore-based congregation, which operates 13 schools in five states, said the list released Friday was compiled by an independent investigator who reviewed personnel files for the brothers accused of sexual abuse since the early 1900s.

The names were published on its website, along with a letter from Superior General Brother Edward Driscoll apologizing for the actions of the brothers, many of whom are deceased.

“As religious, the Xaverian Brothers are deeply sorry for the pain caused by the crime of sexual abuse of minors committed by any Xaverian Brother,” Driscoll wrote. “We regret not being worthy of the trust of young people. We must confess and repent as we ask forgiveness for the actions of ‘shepherds’ who betrayed this sacred trust and inflicted great suffering.”

The headmasters of Malden Catholic, St. John’s Prep, St. John’s High School, and Xaverian Brothers High School also sent letters to students and alumni on Friday, identifying the brothers named who once taught at their institutions, and outlining steps taken to protect students now enrolled.

At St. John’s Prep, the brothers accused were associated with the school between 1922 and 1978. Ten of the 12 are dead. One, George Gardiner, has left the order and is still alive, and another, Thomas Morrissey, is currently a Xaverian Brother who is on a “safety plan,” according to a letter Headmaster Edward P. Hardiman sent to the school’s community.

Morrissey, known as Brother Gabriel, was associated with the school between 1965 and 1967, and the allegations of abuse are related to his time there, as well as his time working at Xaverian in Westwood, where he was from 1967 to 1979. He also had two different stints at St. John’s High School in Shrewsbury.

According to the letter to the St. John’s Prep community, “any living Brother with a credible allegation of sexual abuse of a minor has been removed from ministry and lives under a closely monitored safety plan.”

Allegations made against half of the 12 men who had ties to St. John’s Prep were connected to their stints at the school, which was founded by the order in 1907.

That group included William Burns, who was known as Brother Francis Jerome and worked at the Danvers school in the early 1930s, the early 1950s, and the early 1960s. Burns was also assigned to Malden Catholic during the 1930s and from 1968 to 1974, Xaverian Brothers High School in Westwood in 1966, and St. John’s High School in Shrewsbury the following year, according to the order.

Also in the group were John Sullivan, who was known as Brother John Augustine and was at St. John’s Prep from 1937 to 1938, Albert Kerressey, who was known as Brother Ricardo and served at the school in the mid-1940s and from 1956 to 1971, Thomas Harrison, who was known as Brother Bosco and served at the school for seven years starting in 1949, Thomas Holihan, who was known as Brother Rudolph and was at the school for more than 40 years starting in 1940; and Morrissey.

With the exception of Morrissey, all of those men are dead, according to the school. Harrison left the Xaverian Brothers before he died.

In Shrewsbury, at St. John’s High School, five of the six accused brothers are dead, with their assignments spanning from 1907 to 1998, according to a letter sent from Headmaster Alex Zequeira, and Christopher Creed, chairman of the school’s trustees.

Woman accuses North Dakota priest of abuse

FARGO (NORTH DAKOTA)
Associated Press

July 11, 2019

By Dave Kolpack

[PHOTO: Kateri Marion, right, appears at a news conference in Fargo, N.D. on Thursday, July 11, 2019, to talk about a civil lawsuit that she plans to file against a former North Dakota Roman Catholic priest and other church officials over alleged sexual abuse. Marion says she came forward publicly to help other alleged victims and give them strength to talk about it. The 33-year-old Marion says the church "was my everything" and she was scared to come forward. One of her lawyers, Tim O'Keefee. is seated to her right. (AP Photo/Dave Kolpack)]

A woman who says she was sexually abused by a Roman Catholic priest in North Dakota said Thursday she is suing the priest for the alleged assault and the Fargo Diocese for failing to protect her.

Kateri Marion choked back tears at a news conference in Fargo Thursday describing the alleged abuse by the Rev. Michael Wight of St. Ann’s Catholic Church in Belcourt, located on the Turtle Mountain Indian Reservation in northeastern North Dakota. She said Wight tried to touch her sexually during confession, tried to massage her back by reaching his hands under her shirt, and gave her a hug when he was sexually aroused.

The Associated Press does not typically identify alleged victims of sexual abuse, but Marion said she hoped that making her case public will help “everyone who has ever been abused in the church and whoever will be abused in the church” and asked them to come forward.

Report claims church leaders long knew about Bransfield accusations

WASHINGTON D.C
Catholic News Service via National Catholic Reporter

July 12, 2019.

By Rhina Guidos

A recent newspaper report details claims that senior church leaders in the United States knew as far back as 2012 about complaints against a West Virginia bishop whose spending habits and recent accusations of sexual misconduct have dogged the body of U.S. bishops at a time when they're seeking a path toward greater accountability for themselves.

A July 3 story in The Washington Post said U.S. and Vatican officials had for years received correspondence from parishioners and others concerned with excessive spending by Bishop Michael Bransfield, the former head of the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston in West Virginia, one of the poorest states in the country.

In total, the newspaper story said, Bransfield spent more than $4.6 million on the bishop's residence, $2.4 million on travel and $350,000 on financial gifts to other churchmen, including some who later investigated him.

The local paper, the Charleston Gazette-Mail, had written stories about the complaints of lavish spending, including one published six years ago on July 7, 2013.

'Filled with God’s compassion and love for us': Community mourns loss of Phoenix priest

PHOENIX (AZ)
Arizona Republic

July 13, 2019

By Claire Rafford

Monsignor Michael O'Grady, a longtime priest in the Diocese of Phoenix, died in his sleep Saturday at his home in Ireland, according to Rob DeFrancesco, a Diocese of Phoenix spokesman. O'Grady was 85.

The diocese said O’Grady was “a humble and generous priest who always had a heart for those in need.”

“His great humor, demeanor, and holiness will be greatly missed,” DeFrancesco said in a statement. ...

... O’Grady, however, was accused of covering up for a fellow priest during the diocese’s sex-abuse scandal. He was accused by at least one victim and his family of failing to act when told that the Rev. Patrick Colleary, an associate at Holy Spirit, was suspected of molesting the child in the late 1970s. The diocese reached a settlement with the victim in 2005.

Vatican’s ’empty tomb’ a challenge to credibility when it matters

ROME (ITALY)
Crux

July 14, 2019

John L. Allen Jr.

Christianity, of course, is founded on the discovery of an empty tomb. Perhaps it’s only fitting, therefore, that Christ’s vicar on earth now has his own “empty tomb” ferment on his hands.

This one, however, almost certainly isn’t a prelude to resurrection, but rather to yet another of what the Italians call a giallo, meaning a mystery story that acts as a magnet for speculation and conspiracy theories.

This Thursday, technicians opened a tomb in a German cemetery on Vatican grounds known as the Campo Teutonico in an effort to locate the remains of Emanuela Orlandi, a 15-year-old girl and daughter of a Vatican employee when she disappeared in 1983, whose fate has been the most enduring giallo in Italian life over the last 35 years. The opening occurred in the presence of members of Orlandi’s family and legal team, the head of the Vatican Gendarmes, and descendants of the supposed occupants of the tombs.

July 13, 2019

Tuam babies just a hoax, says priest

LONDON (ENGLAND)
The Sunday Times

July 14, 2019

By Justine McCarthy

A Catholic priest has said he does not believe babies were buried in sewage chambers at a Tuam mother and baby home run by nuns, even though a state inquiry has ordered an excavation to verify the existence of a mass grave.

“From the word go, I didn’t believe the story,” said Gerry Young, a curate in Greystones, Co Wicklow.

“I happened to have done a bit of study on how the church buried people. As soon as I heard this story about all these little bodies wrapped up on shelves, I thought, ‘Catacombs.’ We’ve always kept the dead with us.”

Why is priest sex abuse often unreported?

WASHINGTON (DC)
WJLA TV

July 12, 2019

By Jay Korff

Survivors and experts who work in the field of child sex abuse will tell you there are many reasons why it’s difficult for some to report priest sex abuse. Denial, fear and shame are just a few of the reasons. So, we asked survivors and experts on this subject why sex abuse is so often unreported or reported decades after occurring.

“I always blamed myself," Becky Ianni says. "I was taught that he was sent by God so therefore God is punishing me. I must be a bad little girl. There must be something that I’ve done and I carried that through adulthood always thinking that I wasn’t a good person. That somehow, even though I did not remember my abuse until I was 48, that feeling of inadequacy was with me my entire life.”

Becky Ianni says Father William Reinecke sexually abused her for years when she went to St. Mary Catholic Church in Alexandria, Virginia.

“I knew that God could read my thoughts and I thought if he knows that this is happening then I’m going to hell so I just buried it until I came across this picture. I was looking through old pictures and I found this picture of myself with him and I started getting sick at my stomach, I started having anxiety attacks and a few days later I started having flashbacks to the abuse,” says Ianni.

The Diocese of Richmond and Arlington spent months deciding who would handle Ianni’s case since her abuser worked for both.

AG's review goes beyond church's list of 'credible' accusations

PROVIDENCE (RI)
Associated Press

July 13, 2019

By Jennifer McDermott

Rhode Island's attorney general said Friday that it will be several more months before he is finished reviewing allegations of sexual abuse by Roman Catholic clergy in the state.

Democrat Peter Neronha said he continues to review allegations of clergy sexual abuse to figure out what happened, what the response was and whether anyone can be held responsible.

Last week, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Providence released a list of 50 clerics, religious order priests and deacons it deems to have been credibly accused of sexually abusing children. The diocese reviewed files dating to 1950.

The list posted on the diocese website includes 19 priests and deacons who are still alive, ranging in age from 60 to 98, although nearly all have been removed from ministry. One priest resigned. The list also includes 25 dead priests and six others, including religious order priests.

Rhode Island is one of the most heavily Catholic states. Bishop Thomas Tobin, in a letter accompanying the list, called its release "a difficult but necessary moment" in the history of the church.

Neronha, who launched his review shortly after taking office this year, said the diocese's list is a subset of the allegations. He's looking at all allegations, not just those deemed credible by the church, and reviewing disclosures made by the diocese to law enforcement, criminal and civil cases and complaints to police.

SNAP Calls for the Protection of Migrant Children

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

July 13, 2019

The abuse of children is not a political topic. People from every party or political leaning can agree that children should be safe, protected, and allowed to live their lives free of abuse and the negative, lifelong effects that can come with it. This is an American value, not a Democratic or Republican one.

Yet the situation that many children now find themselves in at our southern border is not in keeping with our American values. Many media articles have exposed how migrant children have suffered degradation, deprivation, and abuse while living in camps set up by our government at the U.S. border. The conditions these children live in, including being separated from their parents, removes needed protections and creates situations where children can be abused.

No answers from Washington archdiocese about McCarrick’s money

DENVER (CO)
Catholic News Agency

July 12, 2019

By Ed Condon

More than one year after the announcement of allegations of sexual abuse against former cardinal Theodore McCarrick, the Archdiocese of Washington has continued to refuse questions about McCarrick’s use of a personal charitable fund.

McCarrick funnelled hundreds of thousands of dollars through what was known as the Archbishop’s Fund, and reportedly made gifts to senior Vatican officials, even while the fund remained under the charitable auspices of the archdiocese.

Senior sources close to the Archdiocese of Washington have confirmed that archdiocesan records include the names of individuals, including senior Vatican figures, to whom McCarrick made payments from the fund.

But the Archdiocese of Washington has declined to disclose sources, sums, and uses of money, though it has acknowledged that the fund exists.

The archdiocese has also declined to comment on whether Archbishop Wilton Gregory will address accusations of financial misconduct by McCarrick, or publish the names of bishops who personally received gifts from the disgraced former archbishop.

The former cardinal’s reputation for gift-giving and participation in so-called “envelope culture” has come under renewed scrutiny following recent revelations concerning former Wheeling-Charleston Bishop Michael Bransfield.

Like Bransfield, McCarrick has faced a string of allegations of sexual misconduct, dating back years, and his ability to offer large financial gifts to other bishops has come under scrutiny as a possible reason he was able to operate unchecked for so long.

Several sources, among them cardinals, officials of the Roman curia, and McCarrick’s former staff members, have told CNA about McCarrick’s habit of visiting Rome and distributing cash or personal checks to senior officials.

It's Not My Fault Project

CHATTANOOGA (TN)
Times Free Press

July 13, 2019

SNAP of Tennessee (the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests) has launched a new initiative to raise awareness of clergy sexual abuse by having victims tell their stories at HopeChronicles.org. Anonymity is guaranteed unless the victim requests otherwise. The website RemembertheSurvivors.com also has information on the abuse crisis in Tennessee.

Former priest admits to fathering prostitute’s child, being aware of complaints

EL PASO (TX)
KTSM TV

July 12, 2019

By Cesar Vazquez

On Friday, ex-priest Miguel Luna, 68, took the stand in his trial for 12 charges of sexual assault.

As KTSM previously reported, Luna is accused of sexually assaulting a young girl for “several years” throughout the 1990s.

During Friday’s testimony, Luna also admitted to fathering a prostitute’s child in that same time frame.

He was also asked if he knew about the allegations of him asking inappropriate questions to people when they were confessing to him.

Luna said that he was aware of the complaints, but said the questions were “in regards to the Ten Commandments.”

Luna admitted that he was no longer allowed to have teenagers confess to him in 2008.

Luna later said he was frustrated when he was assigned to maintain a library at a Maryland church. “I wasn’t doing what my vocation was,” he said.

Child sex abuse sentencing for former priest delayed

GEELONG (AUSTRALIA)
Bay 93.9 FM

July 13, 2019

By Kristie Sullivan

A former Geelong man and repeat offender pedophile priest will be sentenced next week on more child sexual abuse charges.

Robert Claffey is already serving a minimum of 13 years and four months for sexually abusing 12 children as young as five, between 1969 and 1992 in Victoria's south-west.

On Monday the 76-year-old old admitted he abused another two boys in Ballarat during the 1980s.

One of his victims told the County Court on Friday he had lost faith in the church.

The court is waiting to receive one more victim statement before Claffey is sentenced for his Ballarat crimes on Thursday.

July 12, 2019

Secrecy over sexual crimes scars the Church of England

LONDON (ENGLAND)
The Times

July 13, 2019

By Kaya Burgess

The Church of England should restore its powers to “defrock” rogue priests, a senior bishop has said, calling for the ability to strip criminal clerics of their holy orders.

The Bishop of Bath and Wells, the church’s lead bishop for safeguarding, was among a host of church leaders grilled by the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) during its final week of hearings into the handling of abuse allegations by the church.

The inquiry published an initial report in May that found the church’s response to claims of sexual abuse had been “marked by secrecy, prevarication and avoidance of reporting alleged crimes”.

It heard from the Archbishop of Canterbury this week that he was “utterly horrified” by the church’s failures.

Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta Must Step Down

LOS ANGELES (CA)
Ms Magazine

July 9, 2019

by Greta Baxter

Jeffrey Epstein has been dominating the headlines this week after the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York arrested him on charges of child sex trafficking—but over a decade ago, the billionaire was accused, with overwhelming evidence, of similar crimes, and then-prosecutor Alexander Acosta pioneered a lenient plea deal that ended the case.

Acosta is now Secretary of Labor—and he’s facing calls from lawmakers and advocates to step down in the wake of the latest charges against Epstein.

Acosta’s original plea deal for Epstein was negotiated in 2008 without the knowledge of the survivors, illegally keeping them out of the prosecution process. Epstein ultimately served just 13 months in prison, in the private wing of the Palm Beach County jail, with access to amenities including the use of his private jet. In February, a federal judge ruled that prosecutors broke the law when arranging that plea deal.

Acosta, who was named Labor Secretary in 2017, is not the only member of the Trump administration with ties to Epstein. The president himself has praised the financier in the past, even noting that Epstein “likes beautiful women as much as I do, and many of them are on the younger side.”

“Epstein plays by the same rule book as Donald Trump, Les Moonves, Harvey Weinstein, Eric Schneiderman and other powerful men who have been revealed as serial abusers of women,” NOW President Toni Van Pelt said in December. “Epstein’s scant 13-month stay in a county jail—where he was even allowed to spend twelve hours a day, six days a week, at his office, was made possible by a culture of powerful men, enabling each other, while dismissing, excusing or demeaning the women and children they brutalize with physical and sexual violence.”

Former South Yorkshire vicar claims sex abuse reports were 'ignored' by clerics

SOUTH YORKSHORE (ENGLAND)
South Yorkshire Times

July 11, 2019

By Lee Peace

The Rev Matthew Ineson, who was ordained in 2000 and practised as a vicar in Rotherham for more than 10 years, criticised the archbishops as he gave evidence to the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse investigation into the Anglican Church.

He called for changes to the way the church investigates safeguarding issues and complaints about clerics, describing the current system as "totally unsuitable."

The witness told the inquiry how he suffered abuse at the hands of priest Trevor Devamanikkam, who took his own life on the day he was due to appear in court accused of sexual offences against Mr Ineson.

He said he made his first disclosures between 2012 and 2013 to the Bishop of Doncaster Peter Burrows, the then bishop of Sheffield Steven Croft, and the then archdeacon of Rotherham Martyn Snow, but that nothing came of his reports.

Rev Ineson told the hearing no further action was taken by the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby when he made complaints.

He told the inquiry: "Bishops sit on thrones. They live in fine palaces and houses, they wear the finest robes and garments, they bully people. People literally kneel down and kiss the ring on their finger,” adding: “I don't think those people are fit for office."

Mr Ineson said he met the Archbishop of York Dr John Sentamu at a meeting for survivors of clerical abuse at a General Synod in York and asked him for an apology for his failure to act on his disclosures but Dr Sentamu replied: "Apologies mean different things to different people."

Mr Ineson went on to make two written disclosures to Mr Croft, now the Bishop of Oxford, and sent copies to the Bishop of Beverley and Dr Sentamu.

Riverside Church pastor set to receive $500K payout after sex toy scandal

NEW YORK (NY)
New York Post

July 12, 2019

By Ebony Bowden

Riverside Church’s outgoing female pastor is set to receive an exit package worth at least half a million dollars — after leaving her job amid allegations she bought an employee an unwanted $200 vibrator while on a work trip, The Post has learned.

The Rev. Dr. Amy Butler — who made $250,000 a year as the first woman to lead the historic congregation — will leave with 12 months’ salary, a six-month housing allowance worth $48,000 and annual retirement contributions of $59,000 for three years, according to her contract.

An email sent by the chair of the church council and seen by The Post says Butler will also get a $100,000 “separation payment”– which would take her golden handshake to a total of $594,530, when including her unused vacation payout and the $10,000 tab for her lawyer’s fees.

According to the emails, the church council voted to approve the agreement — although one employee raised concerns about the large sum blowing out the house of worship’s operating budget, which covers payroll.

Riverside Church has until July 31 to pay Butler the money she is owed from the five-year contract, which expired on June 30.

St. Xavier High School releases names of brothers it says sexually abused children

LOUISVILLE (KY)
Courier Journal

July 12, 2019

By Matthew Glowicki

St. Xavier High School released a list of former brothers who it says sexually abused minors while either at the Louisville high school or at some point during their years of service.

Nine brothers appear on the list with "credible or established" acts of sexual abuse against youth, two of whom were assigned to St. X at the time of the abuse. Years spent at the high school are noted below.

Only Carbin and McCormack are noted as having credible allegations stemming from their time at St. X.

Brother "Ricardo" Albert Kerressey (1938-1942)
Brother "Francis Jerome" William Burns (1939-1940)
Brother "Alois" Donald O'Toole (1940-1941)
Brother "Brennan" John Devoe (1953-1960)
Brother "Bosco" Thomas Harrison (1956-1963)
Brother "Kentigern" William Carbin (1958-1962)*
Brother "Barton" George Gardiner (1959-1964)
Brother "Damian" John McMahon (1965-1974)
Brother "Pierre" James McCormack (1973-1984)*

Former El Paso priest on trial for child sex abuse takes witness stand to proclaim innocence

EL PASO (TX)
KVIA ABC 7 News

July 12, 2019

By Jim Parker and Julio-Cesar Chavez

A former El Paso Catholic priest on trial for allegedly sexually abusing a girl from age ten through her teen years took the witness stand in his own defense on Friday and vehemently denied the accusations.

Miguel Luna, 68, is charged with multiple counts of aggravated assault of a child in a case that dates back to the 1990s while he was still an active priest; the alleged victim is now a 36-year old woman.

Luna's accuser testified at the trial's start that she was an altar server at Corpus Christi church when he first began sexually abusing her. She told jurors the sexual conduct continued until she moved away from the area when she turned 17.

Luna on Friday acknowledged first meeting the girl at age ten, but he repeatedly rebuffed her claims of abuse under questioning from his own defense attorney.

"No, never," Luna replied several times when asked if he had ever sexually assaulted or touched her inappropriately as either a child or a teenager.

Prosecutors contend Luna was a "wolf in sheep's clothing," exploiting his role as a priest to engage in sex acts with the girl. But the defense contends the now-grown woman was motivated by money to report the alleged incidents.

New developments in the Lynn Messer case come to light during vigil

ST. LOUIS (MO)
Channel 2 News

July 8, 2019

By Roche Madden

There are new developments in the Lynn Messer case, the woman went missing five years ago Monday. She disappeared in 2014 in Ste. Genevieve County, her remains were discovered in 2016.

A vigil was held Monday at the county courthouse for the 52-year-old woman, people don’t want her to ever be forgotten.

Debra Donze is Lynn Messer’s sister, “It’s really hard on the boys and the grandkids one day she was there and the next day she wasn’t,” said Donze.

Friends and family of Lynn Messer wanted to send a message to the county prosecutor and sheriff. Abram Messer is Lynn’s son, “We want them to know we are supporting them and are so thankful that law enforcement has refused not to let go of this they are pursuing this,” said Messer. Carolyn Deevers is an advocate for abused women. She said, “We would like to see charges filed soon but not at the expense of the case.”

Lynn Messer disappeared July 8, 2014, from her home near Bloomsdale. She left without any of her personal belongings and at the time she had health problems and a broken toe. She lived with her husband, Kerry Messer, a Missouri lobbyist. In November of 2016, Lynn’s skeletal remains were discovered on the edge of the family’s property. Authorities said the area had been well searched when she disappeared almost two and half years earlier.

Attorney general continues review of church abuse claims

PROVIDENCE (RI)
CTVNews.ca

July 12, 2019

By Jennifer McDermott

Rhode Island's attorney general said Friday that it will be several more months before he is finished reviewing allegations of sexual abuse by Roman Catholic clergy in the state.

Democrat Peter Neronha said he continues to review allegations of clergy sexual abuse to figure out what happened, what the response was and whether anyone can be held responsible.

Last week, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Providence released a list of 50 clerics, religious order priests and deacons it deems to have been credibly accused of sexually abusing children. The diocese reviewed files dating to 1950.

The list posted on the diocese website includes 19 priests and deacons who are still alive, ranging in age from 60 to 98, although nearly all have been removed from ministry. One priest resigned. The list also includes 25 dead priests and six others, including religious order priests.

Rhode Island is one of the most heavily Catholic states. Bishop Thomas Tobin, in a letter accompanying the list, called its release "a difficult but necessary moment" in the history of the church.

Neronha, who launched his review shortly after taking office this year, said the diocese's list is a subset of the allegations. He's looking at all allegations, not just those deemed credible by the church, and reviewing disclosures made by the diocese to law enforcement, criminal and civil cases and complaints to police.

"I don't think this will be a quick enterprise. It's going to take time," he said in an interview Friday. "But I'm committed to doing it responsibly, thoroughly, and being as transparent as I can about whatever conclusions that we reach."

Liberals irked by Catholic bishops spokeswoman's personal tweets

WASHINGTON (DC)
Washington Times

July 11, 2019

By Christopher Vondracek

Liberal Catholics are criticizing the spokeswoman for the D.C.-based U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops for the conservative politics she shares on her personal Twitter account.

Judy Keane, the director of public affairs at the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, doesn’t have a large following on social media — roughly 300 followers — but in the past months she has frequently excoriated Democrats such as Sen. Kamala D. Harris of California and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, according to reporting that first appeared in Commonweal, a liberal magazine for American Catholics.

The Washington Post reported Thursday that Ms. Keane, who has been employed as director since 2016, produced a “series of tweets enthusiastically backing President Trump.”

Criticism of Ms. Keane’s tweets began with one posted May 29. She was responding to Newt Gingrich’s remarks about former special counsel Robert Mueller with a link to a pro-Trump website boasting that the president had taken the “shackles” off ICE.

Supporters demand answers on five-year anniversary of woman’s disappearance, death

NASHVILLE (TN)
Baptist Gobal News

July 12, 2019

By Bob Allen

About 75 people gathered July 8 outside a Missouri courthouse demanding answers and justice on the five-year anniversary of the disappearance and death of a woman married to a Missouri Baptist lobbyist.

Lynn Messer, wife of Kerry Messer, a conservative lobbyist with past clients including the Missouri Baptist Convention, disappeared suddenly from her rural home near Ste. Genevieve, Missouri, on July 8, 2014. Her skeletal remains were found more than two years later near an edge of the 250-acre family farm.

Her death certificate filed in July 2017 lists the cause of death as “undetermined at this time” and the investigation as pending. Sources quoting police say the case is still open, and her husband, who since remarried, has not been ruled out as a person of interest.

“The first thing I want to do is thank law enforcement for refusing to stop, for refusing to let go,” son Abram Messer told friends, family members and advocates gathered outside the Ste. Genevieve County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office in a candlelight vigil convened to, in his words, “cry out for justice.

Irreligion, Sexual Abuse and Sacrilege

DENVER (CO)
National Catholic Register

July 11, 2019

By John Grondelski

Over at Commonweal, Boston College theology and law professor Cathleen Kaveny tries to obfuscate the meaning of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI’s recent letter on the sexual abuse crisis… and perhaps score some points for the revisionist agenda of blaming that crisis on “clericalism” rather than the sexual immorality that—rightly—Benedict identifies as where the Church and modern culture began going off the rails in the late 1960s.

Kaveny claims that Benedict misidentifies the moral wrong behind the sexual abuse crisis: she thinks he is equating it with sacrilege (although she admits that “[h]e does not use the term”). She claims that this shift lets the Church off the hook, protecting the institution by identifying it as the victim rather than defending children victims. “Benedict’s letter seems to put clergy sex abuse in the category of sacrilege, not injustice.”

She wants to see the sacrilege versus justice question as an either/or proposition (not unusual for defenders of revisionist moral theology). It isn’t. It’s both.

I have always been very pleased by the fact that the 2011 retranslation of the Novus Ordo Missae restored the typical text, not ICEL’s “equivalent” translations. One of the important places where that translation recovered the real meaning of the text was in the introductory dialogue to the Preface. We used to say, “It is right to give Him thanks and praise.” We now respond, in keeping with the venerable ancient text, “It is right and just” (dignum et justum est).

Why Did It Take So Long to Take Down Epstein, Cosby, and Spacey?

BATON ROUGE (LA)
The Advocate

July 12 2019

By Amanda Kerri

The other day, I had the movie Spotlight going on in the background. If you’ve never seen it, it’s about The Boston Globe uncovering the sexual abuse of children priests by the Catholic Church. One of the big dramatic moments in the movie is when they go to an attorney who had filed lawsuits against the church back in the early ’90s over allegations of abuse, and the reporters ask why he never came to them with the story. He says he sent them a list of 20 names, but they never ran the story. In reality it turns out that the Globe did run the article listing the names. On page B42 of the Metro section.

What’s more notable is that at the time, there was already a huge case about an abusive priest. The story, which hinted at a larger conspiracy and problem, was overlooked because there was already so much pushback, and no one followed up. The film kept that moment to reflect on the meaning behind it; in that the abuse, the scandal, was sitting right there and no one put it all together. It reflects our collective guilt at not wanting to dig deeper into dark things.

This moment immediately made me think of the scandal involving financier and well-connected pedophile Jeffrey Epstein. Epstein came to our collective attention when the Miami Herald wrote a story about the offensively lenient sentence he received for “solicitation” negotiated by President Trump’s recently-departed Secretary of Labor Alex Acosta. However, I recall reading about Epstein and his alleged ties to high-powered politicians and celebrities over a decade ago during his trial. In fact, if you go to Google and filter your search results to exclude everything after July 2015, you’ll find article after article talking about his ties to Trump, Bill Clinton, royalty, and celebrities of all types, and all the rumors about him. Now that Epstein is being prosecuted in a federal district court less friendly to him, all of the media is abuzz with talk of the ties between Epstein and Trump. Especially the winking nod to Epstein’s love of “young women” in a quote from the president letting us come to the horrifying realization that Epstein’s abuse was sort of an open secret or at least whispered about.

While many other folks are talking about what this means for Trump and turning all of this into a partisan political fight, it left me wondering, why did it take till now? Plenty of people are coming forward to talk about how they saw things, how they heard things (they called his private island “Pedophile Island”), and how some even counseled Epstein on how to spin it all, and all I can think is, And you motherfuckers did nothing?

Let’s be real here. There are way too many of us who not only enable all of this in the desire to be close to the seat of power and profit, but far too many of us just want all of this buried and to go away because we don’t want to talk about it. Maybe it’s because no one wanted to face the idea that someone we trusted, someone we liked, could be like that. I know that it’s a well-worn trope and a point of anger often that when someone is caught being awful, people talk about how nice they were, how quiet they were, how nothing seemed odd. Hell, it’s a source of pride for New Yorkers who regularly brag about, joke about, or ignore the obviously mentally ill homeless guy having an episode on the subway.

Yet as much loss of faith in humanity as that causes, it’s a fact this was out there for years. We knew about Epstein’s ties, about the sweetheart deal, about all of this, and there were people reporting on it for years, and nothing happened until now. Yes, new charges are being brought against Epstein, which makes it news, but why weren't we this outraged in 2010? 2012? Why did it take 'til Trump was three years into office to really have these allegations explode like this? I have a sick feeling in my stomach in that we just didn’t care enough, or that we thought “we” might get hurt by maybe finding out Epstein helped people we like do something terrible. Oh, so many people are saying they would love to see people on “their side” taken down if it’s found out, but far, far too many times, we have seen where people will gladly turn a blind eye when it suits them.

Shielding predators must end

ALTOONA (PA)
Altoona Mirror

July 11, 2019

Trust that Roman Catholic Church officials will do the right thing about allegations of sexual misconduct by members of the clergy is in question in many countries, not just the United States. What Pope Francis and others in the Catholic hierarchy do about the matter is watched closely throughout the world.

An announcement by the Vatican that its ambassador to France no longer enjoys diplomatic immunity is welcome, then.

As a diplomat, Archbishop Luigi Ventura normally would have enjoyed immunity from investigation or prosecution involving many crimes. Several men have accused him of touching them inappropriately. Ventura denies the allegations.

But French authorities had said the archbishop’s diplomatic immunity had stalled their investigation into the men’s accusations.

That ended Monday, with the Vatican’s announcement. Now, Ventura can be investigated — and, if appropriate, charged — just like any other visitor to France. Let us hope the matter is cleared up, one way or the other, expeditiously.

Sexual predation by members of the clergy is bad enough. Adding to the outrage over Roman Catholic church handling of such crimes has been a pattern over decades of protecting predators. Instead of reporting them to law enforcement authorities, church officials often transferred guilty priests away from locales where they had abused both children and adults, and to new locations where they sometimes committed the same crimes.

Former church chancellor stripped of pay

HATAGNA (GUAM)
Guam Daily Post

July 11, 2019

By Mindy Aguon

A former chancellor of the Archdiocese of Agaña who has been accused in multiple child sex abuse lawsuits still holds the title of a priest of the archdiocese but no longer receives a salary nor an honorarium.

Father Adrian Cristobal remains away from Guam with restrictions the archdiocese placed on him last year. He's prohibited from performing the role of a priest in public, including the wearing of clerical garb.

Tony Diaz, the archdiocese's director of communications, confirmed the archdiocese is proceeding with an administrative penal process – based on canon law – on the allegations of child sexual abuse against Cristobal.

Diaz said the archdiocese could not comment any further on the matter because it involves lawsuits.

Last year, Archbishop Michael Byrnes placed restrictions on Cristobal after having repeatedly called for the priest to return to Guam.

Cristobal had left Guam for an unspecified role in the Catholic diocese in Phoenix, Arizona, but has subsequently left the jurisdiction of that diocese, Post files state.

Cristobal has been accused in four lawsuits filed on Guam of sexually assaulting altar boys in the parishes he worked at while on Guam decades ago.

On The Scale Of Reporting On Different Child Abuse Scandals

LONDON (ENGLAND)
Leading Britain's Conversation

July 12, 2019

By James O'Brien

An independent inquiry into child sexual abuse found children could have been saved from abuse if the Church had focussed less on its own reputation rather than the impact of the abuse.

More than 130 allegations of abuse were made against 78 people associated with the Birmingham Catholic Church - the cardinal denied a cover-up, but allegations were found to have been "ignored".

But James O'Brien focussed on why this story didn't have the same level of coverage as the case of the Rotherham grooming gangs.

"The so-called Asian grooming gangs, they get coverage on a scale that is utterly huge compared to the coverage Catholic priests get," James said.

"So this idea that the government or the establishment has colluded in keeping these stories quiet only works with people who are too thick to work out where the news channel is on their televisions."

Curt Smith: Undermining the freedom of religion

INDIANAPOLIS (IN)
Indiana Business Journal

July 12, 2019

By Curt Smith

Hoosiers once venerated faith leaders in public life, but today we denigrate or even desecrate those taking a public stand for religion.

Consider Indianapolis Archbishop Charles Thompson. We have not met, but I respect his principled stand that Catholic schools under his purview in central Indiana must hire faculty whose lives are consistent with the human sexuality (among other) Roman Catholic Church teachings they are charged with imparting to students.

“One’s orientation is not sin, as I said in the beginning,” Thompson told WRTV-TV Channel 6. “It’s the public witness with the church’s teachings. … We do the same thing if someone is cohabiting.”

He needed to take a public stand because a Roncalli Catholic high school guidance counselor was dismissed last year, and in June, a Cathedral Catholic high school teacher was let go because both were in homosexual marriages.

In between, Brebeuf high school rebuffed the archbishop by refusing to dismiss an openly gay teacher. I intentionally dropped Catholic from Brebeuf’s description, because Thompson decided to no longer recognize Brebeuf as a Catholic institution.

The usual howling and condemnations ensued. We know them well, alas, and nothing new was offered. Social media bristled with out-of-state activist rants.

Maybe Thompson’s image was not tweeted around the world—complete with photoshopped horns—as happened to some during the Religious Freedom Restoration Act legislative debates in 2015. But, sadly, neither have our civic leaders stepped forward to support the archbishop’s courage to do what was right for the church he leads.

And why is that important? Because two foundational issues to the quality of “our democracy” rest on letting the church be the church.

The first essential issue: Who defines what it means to be Catholic? The short answer is Catholics—not the Legislature, the courts, the media, or elite progressive opinion. The long answer from a non-Catholic also in public ministry is, the Catholic Church has a formal, hierarchical structure beginning with the pope, then cardinals, archbishops and bishops. Their decisions bind church members.

Syracuse ex-priest, removed over child sex abuse, dies at 81

SYRACUSE (NY)
Post-Standard

Jully 11, 2019

By Julie McMahon

A former Syracuse priest, removed in 2002 over allegations of child sexual abuse, has died. He was 81.

Chester Misercola worked as a priest in Syracuse and Oswego, including as a teacher at Oswego Catholic High and Bishop Cunningham High School in Oswego from 1970 to 1992, according to his obituary.

He died Saturday.

Misercola was most recently living at a Loretto facility in Syracuse, the obituary said. He previously lived at a controversial retirement home for priests, shuttered by the Catholic Diocese of Syracuse in 2016.

He was one of 57 priests named to a list of clergy with credible allegations of child sexual abuse, announced by the diocese last year.

Most of the priests who were named were dead at the time the list was published. Misercola was one of 19 who were still alive at the time

First Female Pastor Of Renowned Riverside Church Is Out After Making Harassment Allegation

NEW YORK (NY)
Forbes Magazine

July 11, 2019

By Natalie Sachmechi

Even in a progressive bastion like New York's Riverside Church — which touts LGBTQ equity, supports immigrants and focuses on environmental justice — one high-ranking woman seems to have been ousted in the aftermath of sexual harassment allegations.

The church has been at the forefront of progressive Christian leadership since its inception in 1930. Statues of scientists like Darwin, Galileo and Einstein decorate the building where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. gave his famous anti-Vietnam War speech in 1967. And in 2004, the church issued a statement in support of same-sex marriage and said it had been performing same-sex ceremonies as early as 1991.

In 2014, the church made headlines when it hired its first female senior minister, the Rev. Dr. Amy Butler. She was known as a progressive Christian leader to her followers and “wanted to be known as a pastor who happens to be a woman, not a woman pastor,” she wrote in a blog post.

Last week, her name was all over Christian media outlets when news broke that she was stepping down after five years at Riverside — and no one appeared to know exactly why. A statement issued by the church said that she would not be renewing her contract, and Butler called her time at Riverside “one of the greatest honors of my life.”

First Female Pastor Of Renowned Riverside Church Is Out After Making Harassment Allegation

NEW YORK (NY)
Forbes Magazine

July 11, 2019

By Natalie Sachmechi

Even in a progressive bastion like New York's Riverside Church — which touts LGBTQ equity, supports immigrants and focuses on environmental justice — one high-ranking woman seems to have been ousted in the aftermath of sexual harassment allegations.

The church has been at the forefront of progressive Christian leadership since its inception in 1930. Statues of scientists like Darwin, Galileo and Einstein decorate the building where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. gave his famous anti-Vietnam War speech in 1967. And in 2004, the church issued a statement in support of same-sex marriage and said it had been performing same-sex ceremonies as early as 1991.

In 2014, the church made headlines when it hired its first female senior minister, the Rev. Dr. Amy Butler. She was known as a progressive Christian leader to her followers and “wanted to be known as a pastor who happens to be a woman, not a woman pastor,” she wrote in a blog post.

Last week, her name was all over Christian media outlets when news broke that she was stepping down after five years at Riverside — and no one appeared to know exactly why. A statement issued by the church said that she would not be renewing her contract, and Butler called her time at Riverside “one of the greatest honors of my life.”

Rosario: On traffickers, pledges and an All-Star snub

ST. PAUL (MN)
Pioneer Press

July 11, 2019

By Ruben Rosario

Things that made me nod, scratch or shake my head this week:

The Jeffrey Epstein caper: He’s Exhibit A why, in America, you can truly get the best justice money can buy. The accused billionaire human trafficker of underaged girls got the sweetheart deal of a lifetime more than a decade ago, courtesy of Alex Acosta, a former south Florida chief prosecutor now serving as the nation’s secretary of labor.

Instead of charging Epstein in a 53-page indictment that was drafted and later sealed from the public, Acosta entered into an agreement with Epstein’s well-heeled lawyers to have him plead guilty instead to a state charge. But wait, folks, that’s not all. Epstein was sentenced to 13 months in prison, yet was allowed to leave jail for 12 hours daily, six days a week. Acosta also reportedly broke federal law by not informing Epstein’s alleged victims of the plea agreement. Alleged co-conspirators received immunity from prosecution.

Federal prosecutors in New York this week did what Acosta’s office should have done. They arrested him and charged him with alleged crimes that took place in that city around the same time. Acosta defended his actions in a news conference this week and essentially blamed a former state prosecutor involved in the case.

In Patriarchy No One Can Hear You Scream: Rebecca Solnit on Jeffrey Epstein and the Silencing Machine

Lit Hub

July 10, 2019

By Rebecca Solnit

One of my favorite books when I was young was T. H. White’s The Once and Future King, and one of its central themes is the attempt of King Arthur to replace an ethos of “might is right” with something closer to justice. Justice means everyone is equal under the law—and equality means both that everyone has equal value under the law and that everyone is subject to the law. That’s been a foundational concept for the United States, but might is right has never ceased to be how things actually work at least some of the time. In White’s novel, might means in part the capacity for physical violence on the part of individual warriors, armies, tribes, and kingdoms, but the ability of individuals (and corporations and nations) to commit that violence with impunity is another kind of might that matters now.

The great work of investigative journalists in recent years has let us see might, naked and corrupt, doing its best to trample, silence, discredit the less powerful and their rights and with it the idea of right as an ethic independent of power. That these men actually run the media, the government, the financial system says everything about what kind of systems they are. Those systems have toiled to protect them, over and over. Indeed, power is not vested in them but in the individuals and institutions all around them. This makes it essential to look past individual perpetrators to the systems that allow them to commit crimes with impunity.

Maybe one of the reasons rape has so often been portrayed as “a stranger leaps out of the bushes” is so we’ll imagine rapists acting alone. But in so many cases rapists have help in the moment and forever after, and the help is often so powerful, broad, and deep—well, that’s why we call it rape culture, and that’s why changing it means changing the whole culture. Sometimes it’s the family, community, church, campus looking the other way; sometimes it’s the criminal justice system. If Jeffrey Epstein goes to jail for the new round of indictments—which only came about because one investigative journalist, Julie K. Brown of the Miami Herald, did an extraordinary job of digging up what had been buried in his case—a host of people who knew, laughed, looked the other way, allegedly helped him sexually abuse children for years will still be at large, and the circumstances that allow other Epsteins to attack other children will still exist.

Chile removes statute of limitations on child sex abuse amid Church crisis

SANTIAGO (CHILE)
Reuters

July 11, 2019

By Natalia A. Ramos Miranda

Chilean President Sebastian Pinera signed into law on Thursday a bill to remove the statute of limitations on sex crimes involving children amid a sex abuse crisis that has rocked the country’s Catholic Church and claimed more than 200 victims.

The law, which first was proposed in 2010, ends impunity in cases that would have previously had a statute of limitations that varied between five and 10 years, depending on the nature of the crime. The new law is not retroactive.

“Beginning today, the passing of time will never more be an accomplice to those who abuse our children, nor an ally of impunity,” Pinera said.

The center-right Pinera revived the nearly decade-old bill last year, following a visit to the South American nation by the pope that brought to the surface a string of abuse allegations now being investigated by prosecutors.

July 11, 2019

The Archbishop of Canterbury banned abuse victim from cathedral grounds after treating his case with “casual indifference”, IICSA hears

LONDON (ENGLAND)
The Telegraph

July 11, 2019

By Gabriella Swerling

The Archbishop of Canterbury banned a “vulnerable” abuse victim from cathedral grounds after treating his case with “casual indifference”, an independent inquiry heard.

Details of the incident emerged for the first time today and occurred in 2011 when the Most Rev Justin Welby was Dean of Liverpool Cathedral.

The man had alleged he was sexually abused by an unidentified offender who was linked to the Cathedral.

However after alleging that Archbishop Welby had dismissed his claims of abuse, the man appeared outside the Cathedral “angry and upset” before he swore at staff and “threatened security with violence”. As a result, he was banned from the grounds.

Giving evidence to the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA), the Archbishop admitted “there were a number of things I got wrong on this” in relation to the encounter.

This came as he backed a “mandatory reporting” law for the first time and said that he was “utterly horrified” by historic failures to protect victims from abuse within the Church of England.

Mandatory reporting would require people who work with children, including priests, to face punishment if they fail to pass suspicions of child abuse on to statutory authorities.

Yesterday the IICSA was shown an email exchange dated July 6, 2011 between Archbishop Welby - while he was still a Dean - and the alleged unidentified victim.

Paedophile priest Robert Claffey due to be sentence

BALLARAT (AUSTRALIA)
The Courier

July 11, 2019

Robert Claffey, 76, is already serving more than a decade in prison for child sex crimes.

However on Monday he admitted abusing another two boys at Ballarat during the 1980s.

One of the victims was aged between 12 and 15 at the time, while the other was aged six to seven.

One of the boys, now a man, is expected to a read a statement in the County Court of Victoria on Friday about how Claffey's crimes have affected his life.

It is then expected the former Our Lady Help of Christians Church in Wendouree parish priest will be sentenced.

But while prosecutors have argued Claffey should spend more time behind bars, the now lay priest's legal team claims he's already been vilified.

His lawyer argued Claffey's prison release date should remain unchanged as he's been "hunted" by the media and scorned by the community after being moved from parish to parish by the Catholic Church while he offended.

Former altar boy comes forward with stunning revelations about former local priest

WASHINGTON (DC)
WJLA News

July 11, 2019

By Jay Korff

Earlier this year, the Catholic Diocese of Arlington released its list of priests credibly accused of child sex abuse.

Father William Reinecke, one of the highest-ranking members of the clergy in our region in the last half century, was among those listed.

After speaking with one of Reinecke’s survivors, we realized that a much larger, never-before-told story of widespread, serial pedophilia involving Reinecke may exist. So, we decided to dig deeper.

After more than five months of investigating we unraveled Father Reinecke’s haunting past with the help of people close to him: a former priest, a survivor of Reinecke’s abuse and a witness to Reinecke’s grooming tactics and abuse. The latter, Kelley Arnold, is the keeper of The 50-Year Secret.

What we uncovered, revealed in a series of stories called The 50-Year Secret, we hope will help victims heal, hold the powerful accountable and illustrate the very real danger children still face today.

Let us be heard': Belcourt woman sues Fargo Diocese, priest accused of sexually assaulting her

FARGO (NORTH DAKOTA)
InForum

July 11, 2019

By April Baumgarten

A Belcourt, N.D., woman has filed a civil suit against the Catholic Diocese of Fargo and a priest who she says sexually assaulted her three years ago.

Kateri Marion, 33, held back tears Thursday, July 11, during a news conference in Fargo as her attorneys laid out allegations against the Rev. Michael Wight, a Texas priest who, according to Marion, groomed her before sexually abusing her in mid-2016. She told the Fargo Diocese about the abuse, but she claims church leaders ignored her and blamed her for what allegedly happened.

"I can't tell you how scared I was when I came forward," she said at the news conference held at the law offices of O'Keeffe O'Brien Lyson Foss. "When I came forward, they left me in despair to pick up the pieces myself."

New Independent Ombudsman Begins Work

KANSAS CITY (MO)
The Catholic Key

July 11, 2019

By Marty Denzer

Bishop James Johnston, Jr., recently announced that the Diocese of Kansas City – St. Joseph has engaged Captain Joseph Crayon previously of the Kansas City Police Department as its new Independent Ombudsman. Crayon began his new duties July 1 following his retirement from a 32-year career with the police department.

The diocese created the position of Ombudsman in 2011 as part of its response to failures made in handling a case of the creation of child pornography by a diocesan priest. The Ombudsman serves as an independent contractor with a broad commission to receive and investigate all accusations of child sexual abuse and boundary violations with a minor against any cleric, employee or volunteer of the diocese, no matter how long ago the abuse occurred. The Ombudsman is further empowered to independently report cases of child sexual abuse to civil authorities and law enforcement without supervision or approval by diocesan officials.

Capt. Crayon replaces Jenifer Valenti, a former attorney and investigator with the Jackson County Prosecutor’s Office, who in April accepted the leadership of the Office of Child and Youth Protection in the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas. At the time Valenti began her service with the Diocese of Kansas City – St. Joseph, she was the first Independent Ombudsman in any U.S. diocese.

Capt. Crayon, one of nine children, was born and raised in New York State. Growing up, he always wanted to be a police officer, as his father was. Capt. Crayon moved to the Midwest during his college years and graduated from the Kansas City Police Academy.

Update: Lay role matters in renewing church wounded by abuse, speaker says

WASHINGTON (DC)
Catholic News Service

July 11, 2019

By Gina Christian

The laity can lead the way in renewing a church wounded by the decades-long sexual abuse scandal, according to Meghan Cokeley, director of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia's Office for the New Evangelization.

Prayer, redemptive suffering, forgiveness and a deeper understanding of the laity's calling can radically revive the church, said Cokeley, who has been touring Philadelphia-area parishes to deliver a talk titled "What Can We Do? The Role of Laity in a Time of Crisis."

Combining Scripture, catechesis and historical examples, the presentation offers "a message of hope" as well as several specific action points to counter feelings of despair and apathy in church life.

Abuse survivor calls for transparency within Charlotte Catholic Diocese\

CHARLOTTE (NC)
WSOC TV

July 11, 2019

The Catholic church abuse scandal erupted years ago, but there are still demands for accountability.

Names of church leaders accused of abuse have been released city by city, but not in Charlotte.

A survivor told Channel 9 his calls for action have been ignored.

“I want them to know that I have not disappeared,” he said.

Faith Leaders Now Mandatory Reporters Of Abuse Under New Law

RICHMOND (VIRGINIA)
WCVE News

July 11, 2019

Faith leaders in Virginia are now required to report suspected child abuse. Legislation that went into effect July 1 adds ministers, priests, rabbis, and imams to the list of mandated reporters. But victim advocates say they want the law to go further.

Becky Ianni with the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests said she hopes the law will increase reporting of child abuse, but is concerned about what she identifies as a loophole.

Clergy are exempt from reporting abuse if the religious organization requires the conversation to be confidential, like during confession.

“I’m afraid that that loophole will keep some cases from being reported,” Clergy said.

Jeff Caruso, Executive Director of the Virginia Catholic Conference, defended the importance of this exemption.

Diocese of Yakima Releases List of Accused Priests

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

July 10, 2019

The Diocese of Yakima has just released a list identifying priests and deacons with “substantiated allegations” of sexual abuse of a minor during their ministries. While this is a good first step from church officials in Yakima, more needs to be done.

The list put out by the Diocese of Yakima is a start, yet it lacks critical information, such as information regarding when the allegations were first received by the diocese and what steps were taken in response to those allegations. Such data is critical to understanding what went wrong in the past, who was involved in the wrongdoing, and what must be done to prevent cases of abuse in the future.

We hope that parishioners and the public in Yakima will push Bishop Joseph Tyson and other church officials to live up to their promise to be “open and transparent” in cases of clergy sex abuse, updating their list as more information becomes available. We also hope that church officials will ensure that this list is announced in every parish, and that Bishop Tyson will personally visit each parish where these men worked and beg victims, witnesses and whistle blowers to come forward and make a report.

Once Again, Catholic Church Officials Put Themselves Above the Law

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

July 11, 2019

Before SB 360 was withdrawn from consideration today, Catholic Church officials spoke out against it in no uncertain terms. Bishops in San Jose, Sacramento, Stockton, and Los Angeles all urged parishioners to oppose the measure. Oakland Bishop Michael Barber may have gone the furthest when he said that he would use his power as Bishop to order the priests employed by him to disobey that civil law. Even the Vatican weighed in, saying that "no human power" can compel priests to violate seal of confession.

This opposition to the reform of the mandatory reporting law is problematic for a couple of reasons.

First, this lack of respect for secular laws seems to us to be part of the reason why there is an abuse scandal in the Catholic church in America and worldwide. Cases of child sexual abuse by clergy were not only not reported to law enforcement, they were concealed from parishioners and the public. Priests were treated as if they were above the criminal law.

Second, the bishops are conflating the intent of this law - the explicit protection of children - with other church precepts. The law was modified to specify only information on ministerial abuse of children received in confession - no other penitent privileges were impacted. The free exercise of religion is not absolute, and the protection of the young and vulnerable from clerical abusers would not seem to be an unreasonable intrusion on practice.

FACT SHEET: Long Island Bishop John Barres and abuse and cover up

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

July 11, 2019

--About 130 of the 170 bishops in the US have posted names of credibly accused predator priests on their websites. This is not hard, expensive or controversial. Bishops started doing this in 2002. It’s the quickest and easiest way a bishop can protect kids. There’s no reason to keep hiding the identities and whereabouts of potentially dangerous individuals. Barres refuses to take this simple step toward prevention, healing and transparency.

http://www.bishop-accountability.org/AtAGlance/diocesan_and_order_lists.htm

--In May, we in SNAP asked Barres to by tell his flock about six credibly accused predator priests who were on Long Island but who have attracted virtually no attention there: Fr. Joseph Towle, Fr. Edward D. Horgan, Fr. Joseph Fitzpatrick, Fr. John Garvey, Fr. Ernest E. Robinson, Fr. Augustine J. Seidenburg. Barres essentially ignored us.

http://www.snapnetwork.org/statement_by_janet_klinger_of_snap_new_york_may19

--And in February, we asked Barres to alert his flock to two other credibly accused predator priests who spent time on Long Island: Fr. Freddy Washington and Fr. Christopher Pliauplis. Barres essentially ignored us.

DNA database helps one of Spain's 'stolen babies' find family

MADRID (SPAIN)
Agence France-Presse

July 11, 2019

The first woman recognised by Spanish courts as one of the “stolen babies” of the Franco dictatorship has discovered her biological family thanks to a DNA database.

Scores of babies were taken from their mothers – who were told their children had died – and given to others to adopt during the 1939-1975 dictatorship, often with the help of the Catholic church.

Initially, babies were taken from leftwing opponents of the regime, with the practice later expanded to supposedly illegitimate children and those from poorer families.

The newborns were meant to be raised by affluent, conservative and devout Roman Catholic families.

Estimates range from hundreds to tens of thousands of victims.

On Thursday, Ines Madrigal, 50, who found out in 2010 that she was a “stolen baby”, said she had been able to find a cousin thanks to a DNA database.

The cousin then informed her that her biological siblings were also searching for her.

“For the first time, I have completed the puzzle that is my life,” she said. “I know who I am and where I am from.”

Priest Sexual Abuse Survivor John 'Tim' McGuire Pickets Churches

MYSTIC (CT)
Patch

July 11, 2019

By Ellyn Santiago

John Timothy 'Tim' McGuire told The Day what hurts most is being accused by Catholic congregants of looking for a payday. The 60-year-old New London man who says he was sexually abused when he was an 8-year-old altar boy by a Noank priest has taken to the street to open a dialogue he told the paper, and that conversation begins with picket signs he holds outside of local Roman Catholic churches.

Wednesday, he picketed outside St Patrick's Church in downtown Mystic. Some were supportive, others not.

McGuire told the paper that he was approached by a church-goer who accused him causing trouble and looking for a large settlement from the church: "What are you doing that for? All you want is money!" A similar accusation was made when he protested outside a New London church.

McGuire told reporter Joe Wojtas, "That's what hurts the most. When someone from your own church accuses you of only wanting money. I'm the person who was abused by a priest." The law prohibits McGuire from suing because he missed a filing cutoff date by less than a month.

McGuire says he was habitually sexually assaulted by Father James Curry at St. Joseph's Church in Noank in the mid-1960s. McGuire has testified before state legislators, is involved with a global group of survivors of sexual abuse by the clergy and now, with signs of protest outside local churches.

Catholic Church Offers Cash to Settle Abuse Claims—With a Catch

SCRANTON (PA)
Wall Street Journal

July 11, 2019

By Ian Lovett

A potential flood of lawsuits has spurred the Catholic Church to offer mediation, only if accusers agree not to sue

Four decades ago, Jimmy Pliska says, he was sexually assaulted by his local parish priest on an overnight fishing trip. Now, he has an agonizing decision to make.

Amid a recent wave of sexual-abuse investigations and allegations against the Catholic Church, Mr. Pliska wants to sue the Diocese of Scranton, which employed the priest. But the case is too old to bring to court. Although state lawmakers have proposed lifting the statute of limitations on the sexual abuse of children, it is unclear when—or if—that will happen.

The diocese, meanwhile, has set up a program to financially compensate victims of clergy sexual abuse. In exchange for accepting money from the program, the diocese won’t have to release any documents that might show what church officials knew about the alleged abuse. Mr. Pliska also would be barred from suing the church.

Time is running short for Mr. Pliska, 55 years old, to decide. The church has set a July 31 deadline. “The church shouldn’t be the judge,” he said of the program. “They should be held accountable.”

The Catholic Church has a great deal riding on whether alleged victims take part in compensation programs like the one in Scranton.

Since a widely publicized report last year from the Pennsylvania attorney general, which documented the abuse of more than 1,000 children by Catholic clergy in the state over half a century, public officials around the U.S. have looked for their own ways to pursue allegations made against the church.

More than a dozen states are considering lifting the civil statute of limitations on child sexual abuse or already have done so. The legislation, if passed, would unleash a surge of new lawsuits against the church.

A new wave of sexual abuse litigation would present a serious threat to both the church’s finances and its reputation. Large jury awards and settlements could cost the church millions, while legal discovery could make public documents showing how dioceses dealt with abuse.

As lawmakers debate the measures, Catholic dioceses in at least six states have tried to stem the tide by offering victim compensation programs.

“While no financial compensation can change the past, it is my hope that this program will help survivors in their healing and recovery process,” Joseph C. Bambera, the Scranton bishop, said when the diocese launched its program last fall.

The programs, which are run by third-party administrators outside the church, offer swifter resolution than trials, and alleged victims are less likely to walk away empty-handed. They also shield the church against lawsuits that could cause greater damage.

Payouts pale compared with what victims have won in court. Those who accept settlements must agree not to sue the church in the future.

The programs could ultimately save Catholic institutions hundreds of millions of dollars, said Marci Hamilton, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania who also has worked on clergy abuse cases as a lawyer.

“Settle as many cases as you possibly can, because statute of limitations reform is inevitably going to pass,” she said. “It lets them have the dual action of looking generous but protecting as many assets of the organization as possible.”

Clergy abuse victims face agonizing choices

LONDON (ENGLAND)
Daily Telegraph

July 11, 2019

Jimmy Pliska, of Scranton, Pa., is one of those who is seeking compensation from the church for sexual abuse that happen...

Catholic Church Offers Cash to Settle Abuse Claims—With a Catch

SCRANTON (PA)
The Wall Street Journal

July 11, 2019

By Ian Lovett

A potential flood of lawsuits has spurred the Catholic Church to offer mediation, only if accusers agree not to sue

Four decades ago, Jimmy Pliska says, he was sexually assaulted by his local parish priest on an overnight fishing trip. Now, he has an agonizing decision to make.

Lawsuit: 2 priests abused Sinajana boy in early 1970s

HAGATNA (GUAM)
Pacific Daily News

July 11, 2019

By Haidee Eugenio Gilbert

A lawsuit filed on Thursday afternoon says a Sinajana boy was sexually abused in the early 1970s by two now-deceased priests, including one who told the boy's mother that the molestation and attempted rape were not true.

The plaintiff is identified in federal court documents only with the initials H.H.H. to protect his privacy,.

In his $5 million lawsuit, H.H.H. said Father Louis Brouillard sexually abused him a few times around 1972 or 1973, and Father Antonio Cruz sexually molested and attempted to rape him once around 1973.

H.H.H., represented by attorney David Lujan, said he was about 12 to 13 years old at the time of the priests' abuses.

He said in his lawsuit that after at least four Boy Scouts of America swimming at Lonfit River, he became uncomfortable because Brouillard, a scoutmaster at the time, "encouraged, insisted, required and forced the boys to swim completely in the nude."

The priest, according to the lawsuit, said these were for the purpose of teaching each boy to paddle with the hands and feet, while Brouillard touched and stroked each boy's private parts.

Archbishop of York: Parishes are 'enabling abuse' by refusing to punish paedophiles whom they deem 'lovely people'

LONDON (ENGLAND)
The Telegraph

July 11, 2019

By Gabriella Swerling

The Archbishop of York has blamed parishes for enabling child sexual abuse as they refuse to punish paedophiles whom they deem to be "lovely people" and "fantastic priests".

Dr John Sentamu told a government inquiry yesterday that among some dioceses there was the misconception that safeguarding was merely an "optional extra".

The Archbishop, who is due to retire next year, was responding to allegations that there were attitudes still prevalent within the Church of England that there could be no sex offending without corroborative evidence. He was also questioned about allegations from a surviving victim, the Rev Matthew Ineson.

Giving evidence to the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) for the first time, Dr Sentamu said: "I have come across [examples] in my diocese where three clergy persons were convicted and the parishes where they had served, they all tell you it couldn't be true, in spite of the fact that people have been convicted."

Dr Sentamu, 70, denied that such attitudes regarding reporting abuse were inextricably linked to the Church.

Former archdeacon jailed again for indecent assault

TYNE AND WEAR (ENGLAND)
ITV Tyne Tees

July 11, 2019

A former senior clergyman has been sentenced to 10 months in prison after being found guilty of two counts of indecently assaulting a young man in the 1970s.

Granville Gibson, who is now 83, was previously Archdeacon of Auckland, a deputy to the Bishop of Durham.

Gibson was found to have deliberately touched a teenager in a sexual manner when he was a vicar in Newton Aycliffe around 40 years ago.

It happened inside the vicarage where Gibson lived, next to St Clare’s Church.

Steve Ebdon, who was 17 or 18 when Gibson assaulted him, has waved his right to anonymity.

He told ITV Tyne Tees he was "dissapoiinted" by the 10 month sentence, calling Gibson "an animal."

In a statement, the Right Revd Paul Butler, Bishop of Durham said:

It is a matter of deep shame and regret that a former priest in the Church of England Granville Gibson has today been found guilty and received a custodial sentence of 10 months for two further counts of indecent assault against a male person. There are no excuses whatsoever for what took place; abuse is a terrible crime and a grievous breach of trust, which has lifelong effects.

Jeffrey Epstein accusers eligible to file lawsuits under New York’s new Child Victims Act

NEW YORK (NY)
Daily News

July 9, 2019

By Stephen Rex Brown

Women who accuse Jeffrey Epstein of abusing them as minors can soon sue him under a new state law that will be used to compensate victims of sex abuse by priests.

Alleged Epstein victims are eligible under the Child Victims Act to bring civil claims against the perv financier for one year starting mid-August.

Too little too late for church

LINCOLN (RI)
Valley Breeze News

July 9, 2019

By Arlene Violet

Despite being prepared for the release of the list of clergy members who had been “credibly accused “of sexually abusing children I still felt sick reading about it. After all, as attorney general in 1985-86 I prosecuted four of those priests and indicted another who ultimately made the Hall of Shame list on perjury charges. Rhode Island was only the second jurisdiction in the United States to prosecute child sex abuse cases where the perpetrator was a priest.

It is difficult to remember that time of innocence when people were actually shocked by such a revelation. Now it is commonplace. Good priests have been victimized by their confreres. Virtually everyone today in a Roman collar is viewed with skepticism.

As bad as the transfer of “guilt by association” is from the guilty priests, the Catholic Church has shot itself in the foot and other parts of its body politic over and over. One of the priests in a rectory who reported the criminal activity of a clergyman was treated as a pariah with then-Bishop Louis Gelineau transferring him out of the Diocese because he was also a priest who belonged to a religious order. The message was loud and clear to other priests namely: shut up or lose your ministry. It was only when the provincial of the religious order agreed to send the reporting priest back to testify that the perpetrator professed guilt pre-trial. Yet, the damage was done since some priests mummed up when they should have had the courage to come forward.

Leader of El Paso Catholic Church testifies in ex-priest's sexual assault trial

EL PASO (TX)
CBS 4 News

July 11, 2019

By Justin Kree

Bishop Mark Seitz of the El Paso Catholic Diocese was called to testify in the trial of a former El Paso priest accused of sexually abusing a young girl in the 1990s.

Seitz was only on the stand for 10 to 15 minutes.

He was questioned about a telephone conversation with former priest Miguel Luna in August 2017.

On Tuesday, Luna pleaded not guilty to all 12 counts of sexual assault of a young girl who served as an altar server in the church where Luna was a priest in El Paso

Seitz faced rapid questioning about the phone call, and was not able to fully answer one question without being asked another.

Seitz recounted that Luna sounded groggy during their conversation — and got angry when Seitz said he had to make public what Luna had done.

Church officials not above the law

SALEM (OH)
Salem News

July 11, 2019

Trust that Roman Catholic Church officials will do the right thing about allegations of sexual misconduct by members of the clergy is in question in many countries, not just the United States. What Pope Francis and others in the Catholic hierarchy do about the matter is watched closely throughout the world.

An announcement by the Vatican that its ambassador to France no longer enjoys diplomatic immunity is welcome, then.

As a diplomat, Archbishop Luigi Ventura normally would have enjoyed immunity from investigation or prosecution involving many crimes. Several men have accused him of touching them inappropriately. Ventura denies the allegations.

But French authorities had said the archbishop’s diplomatic immunity had stalled their investigation into the men’s accusations.

That ended Monday, with the Vatican’s announcement. Now, Ventura can be investigated — and, if appropriate, charged — just like any other visitor to France. Let us hope the matter is cleared up, one way or the other, expeditiously.

Sexual predation by members of the clergy is bad enough. Adding to the outrage over Roman Catholic church handling of such crimes has been a pattern over decades of protecting predators. Instead of reporting them to law enforcement authorities, church officials often transferred guilty priests away from locales where they had abused both children and adults, and to new locations where they sometimes committed the same crimes.

July 10, 2019

Phoenix man says he was sexually abused as altar boy

PHOENIX (AZ)
3TV/CBS 5

July 11, 2019

By Nicole Crites

We are hearing for the first time from a Phoenix man who says he was sexually abused by a former priest who was just extradited to the Valley to face charges after more than a decade on the run.

Now a high school teacher, he asked us to protect his identity as he prepares to testify at trial.

"I'm not showing my face because not everybody can deal with that, and there are gonna be people who say, 'Hey, watch out for this guy,'" he said

He says former father Joseph Henn sexually abused him when he was an altar boy at St. Mark's in the late '70s and early '80s.

"No one, not one, even to today, these many years afterwards (sic), no one from the church has come to interview me or ask, 'What happened?'" he said. "They don't wanna know!

Republican Mark Foley left Congress for hitting on young male pages. Now he’s hoping for a comeback.

LGBTQ Nation blog

July 10, 2019

By John Gallagher

Proving that no offense is too great for Republicans to overlook, Mark Foley is apparently thinking about a political comeback.

In case you’ve forgotten or were unaware, in the early 2000s, Foley was a high-powered Republican in Congress, having first been elected from his Florida district in 1994. Then he ran into a bit of a problem: the story broke that he liked to hit on underage Congressional pages. Male pages, to be exact.

Unfortunately for Foley, he left a huge electronic trail because he liked to email or message pages with ideas that ranged from the suggestive to the explicit. In the latter category: asking a 17-year-old if he wanted to come over to Foley’s place for oral sex. Or asking another page for a picture of his erection. In several cases, Foley did have sex with ex-pages, but after they had turned 18.

Needless to say, Foley’s voting record in Congress was impeccably anti-LGBTQ. Ironically, given his prediliction for underage boys, Foley made opposition to child pornography one of his signature issues.

Foley was a classic example of someone in a glass closet. He was constantly being outed, and once held a press conference to describe the rumors that he was gay as “revolting” – while not denying them.

Leader of El Paso Catholic Church testifies in ex-priest's sexual assault trial

EL PASO (TX)
CBS 4 News

July 10, 2019

By Justin Kree and Jala Washington

Bishop Mark Seitz of the El Paso Catholic Diocese was called to testify in the trial of a former El Paso priest accused of sexually abusing a young girl in the 1990s.

Seitz was only on the stand for 10 to 15 minutes.

He was questioned about a telephone conversation with former priest Miguel Luna in August 2017.

On Tuesday, Luna pleaded not guilty to all 12 counts of sexual assault of a young girl who served as an altar server in the church where Luna was a priest in El Paso.

Seitz faced rapid questioning about the phone call, and was not able to fully answer one question without being asked another.

Seitz recounted that Luna sounded groggy during their conversation — and got angry when Seitz said he had to make public what Luna had done.

Priest abuse victim picketing Catholic churches

NEW LONDON (CT)
The Day

July 10. 2019

By Joe Wojtas

Tim McGuire of New London, who alleges that a Noank priest sexually assaulted him when he was an 8-year-old altar boy in the 1960s, has begun protesting in front of Catholic churches in the Diocese of Norwich.

On Wednesday morning, clad in shorts, T-shirt, flip-flops, sunglasses and a baseball cap, a sweating McGuire walked back and forth along a sunbaked sidewalk in front of St. Patrick Church in downtown Mystic for three hours.

Hundreds and hundreds of people, some who were stuck in traffic waiting for the drawbridge to close or arriving for 12:05 p.m. Mass, saw his signs. Some gave him a thumbs-up, a few pulled over to express support and a few yelled criticisms, accusing him of just wanting a big payout.

Most just slowed down and read his handmade signs which read: "WE ARE NOT SECRET FILES," "WHEN YOU PRAY FOR VICTIMS. BISHOP COTE ABUSES THEM. ASK ME. I'M ONE." and "NORWICH DIOCESE. HUNDREDS OF MOLESTATIONS. DOZENS OF VICTIMS. NO CONVICTIONS. PRETTY SLICK."

Laxity in Seminaries as a Contributing Cause to the Sex-Abuse Crisis

UNITED STATES
National Catholic Register

July 10, 2019

By Janet E. Smith

“Hide the handsome ones.” That was what was “jokingly” said when Theodore McCarrick would visit seminaries. It disgusts me that such “jokes” — which clearly portrayed a reality — did not lead to a thorough investigation of McCarrick decades ago. The likely reason they did not was that, for decades, U.S. seminaries not only tolerated but recruited and favored seminarians who have sex with males.

The McCarrick scandal revealed a fact known by few Catholic laity: Seminarians have been, and still are in some places, preyed upon by faculty, staff, fellow students and even bishops.

The Changing Face of the Priesthood by Father Donald Cozzens (2000) and Goodbye, Good Men by Michael Rose (2002 and reissued in 2015) documented well the extent of the presence of active homosexuals in seminaries among students and faculty and of the accompanying harassment of heterosexuals. A survey done by Dean Hoge at The Catholic University of America in 2002 reported:

“55 percent of priests say such a subculture ‘clearly’ or ‘probably’ exists in their diocese or religious institute. Forty-one percent of priests said a homosexual subculture clearly or probably existed in the seminaries they attended.”

Those comments were made by priests who went through seminaries in the ’70s, ’80s and ’90s. Pope Benedict, in his letter on the sex-abuse crisis, identified the condition of seminaries as one of the sources of the problem.

What Do Jeffrey Epstein, Harvey Weinstein and Theodore McCarrick Have in Common?

DENVER (CO)
National Catholic Register

July 10, 2019

By Jennifer Roback Morse

Jeffrey Epstein, Harvey Weinstein and Theodore McCarrick operate(d) in different sectors of society, have different marital statuses and sexual preferences and profess different religions. What do these disparate men have in common? A belief system that claims that sex is an entitlement. They operate according to the tenets of the most powerful ideology currently at work in the world: the ideology of the sexual revolution.

Epstein, the millionaire financier and admitted sex offender who pleaded not guilty July 9 to charges of sexual trafficking, allegedly got away with sickening crimes for a long time. But it would be a serious mistake to succumb to cynicism. “What do you expect? Wealthy guys like him have always gotten to do what they want. It is not fair to blame the sexual revolution for their abuses.”

That is, at best, a partial truth. The rich and powerful have always been able to buy their way out of problems that would crush an ordinary person. But the widespread acceptance of the sexual revolutionary ideology smooths their path. To an unprecedented extent, the reigning secular religion of our time enables sexual abuse, disarms victims and empowers predators.

“You don’t want to be a prude, do you?”

“You want to be ‘sex positive,’ don’t you?”

“Sex is nothing to feel guilty about.”

“You just have to take off your clothes and let him look at you. It is nothing be ashamed of.” (That’s one of Epstein’s contributions to the pick-up-line genre.)

“You were born this way.”

Detroit Pastor, Founder of Accused Priest Support Group, Under Investigation

DENVER (CO)
Catholic News Agency

July 10, 2019

By Christine Rousselle

A priest in the Archdiocese of Detroit who helped to found a nonprofit to support priests accused of abuse, has been temporarily removed from ministry and is the subject of a canonical investigation, the archdiocese has confirmed.

Father Eduard Perrone, pastor at Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Grotto) Parish in Detroit, was accused of groping a former altar boy. The priest strenuously denies the allegations. His suspension was announced by the archdiocese on Sunday, July 7.

After receiving authorization from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the archdiocese conducted a preliminary investigation, the first stage of a canonical process, into the allegations against Perrone. A subsequent presentation to the Archdiocesan Review Board “found that there was a semblance of truth to the allegation,” Monsignor Mike Bugarin told CNA on Tuesday.

Bugarin serves as Episcopal Vicar and Delegate for Matters of Clergy Misconduct in the Detroit archdiocese.

While speaking to CNA, the monsignor avoided describing the charges as either “credible” or “substantiated” and emphasized that at this stage the only conclusion had been of a “semblance of truth.”

Semblance of truth is a legal standard in canon law usually defined as “not manifestly false or frivolous” that establishes only that an allegation cannot be immediately dismissed as factually impossible.

Bugarin emphasized that the process is still in the “very beginning” stages, and will now be referred back to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith for further evaluation.

The Archdiocese of Detroit declined to provide details of when the alleged incident is said to have taken place, citing the ongoing nature of investigations, but did confirm that the alleged incident concerns Perrone’s “earlier years of ministry.”

Catholic Church in California Lobbies Against Legislation Aimed at Protecting Children and Preventing Abuse

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

July 10, 2019

A bill that was aimed at reforming mandated reporting laws to ensure that all crimes committed against children are reported to the authorities immediately was withdrawn from consideration following extensive lobbying by the Catholic Conference of California. We are disappointed that, once again, church officials have mobilized to defeat legislation that could help prevent more cases of abuse in the future.

SB 360, a bill that was sponsored by State Senator Jerry Hill, would have removed an exception to California’s mandated reporting rule that allowed Catholic clergy to refrain from reporting any crime they learned about in confessional. But thanks to extensive lobbying from the Catholic Conference of California, this loophole will remain intact for the time being.

Once again, church officials have poured tons of money, time and effort into defeating legislative reform aimed at preventing abuse. Given that the church has spent more than $10 million knocking down other legislation that would benefit survivors and protect children, we are not surprised, simply disappointed.

Wrongdoing will Thrive when Wrongdoers are Promoted

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

July 3, 2019

Why does wrongdoing thrive in the Catholic hierarchy? Here’s the answer in a nutshell.

Two controversial bishops have recently landed cushy jobs in Rome, showing again that corrupt clerics continue to be protected – and sometimes promoted – which only encourages more wrongdoing.

A German bishop, ousted because of his extravagant spending, is now “a Vatican official,” notes veteran church observer John Allen. He’s Bishop Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst, better known as the “Bishop of Bling.

And Argentinian Bishop Gustavo Zanchetta resigned as head of his Argentinean diocese in 2017 – first, facing financial misconduct charges and later, adult sexual abuse charges.

“Despite that, Francis in 2017 not only brought Zanchetta to Rome but named his now Assessor to the Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See (APSA), the Vatican’s financial powerhouse which oversees both the Holy See’s investment portfolio and its real estate holdings in Italy and around the world,” reports Allen.

Until misconduct is punished, misconduct will thrive.

Diocese releases several names of priests accused of sex abuse from Tri-Cities

YAKIMA (WA)
KEPR TV

July 10, 2019

By Thomas Yazwinski

The names of dozens priests and deacons in Central Washington with substantial sexual abuse allegations were released on Wednesday.

Bishop Joseph Tyson, after thorough consultation and upon the recommendation of the Yakima Diocese Lay Advisory Board, has established a website listing the names of priests and deacons with substantiated allegations of sexual abuse of a minor during their time of ministry within the Diocese of Yakima.

Officials say the decision is based on the bishop's desire for transparency and to encourage victims of abuse to come forward.

The following is a list of all the names of men who served in the area of the Tri-Cities:

Dale Calhoun was permanently removed from ministry. He had multiple claims and lawsuits settled. He served at St. Francis Cabrini in Benton City and St. Joseph in Kennewick.

Robert Davalle was permanently removed from ministry. He admitted to abusing minors and is currently incarcerated. He served at Christ the King in Richland.

Brian Gallagher is now deceased. He served at St. Frances Xavier Cabrini in Benton City.

Gustavo Gomez has been permanently removed from ministry. He served at St. Francis Xavier Cabrini in Benton City.

Peter Hagel is now retired and not in the ministry. He has a lawsuit pending in a new case. He served at St. Francis Xavier Cabrini in Benton City.

Anthony King is now deceased. He had a lawsuit settled regarding sexual abuse. He served at Christ the King in Richland and Sacred Heart Parish in Prosser.

Joseph Sondergeld is now deceased. He had multiple claims and lawsuits settled. He served at
Sacred Heart in Prosser.

John Tholen is now deceased. He had a lawsuit settled and had retired in 1997. He served at Sacred Heart in Prosser.

Vatican hailed for lifting apostolic nuncio's immunity

PARIS (FRANCE)
LaCroix International

July 10, 2019

By Nicolas Senèze

The Vatican has officially waived the diplomatic immunity of the Apostolic Nuncio in France, Archbishop Luigi Ventura, allowing him to appear before a civil court where six complainants have accused him of sexual assault.

This decision, unprecedented in the history of modern Vatican diplomacy, was communicated last week to the French authorities by the Secretariat of State of the Vatican.

Even before that, according to our information, two victims met a key figure in Rome: Father Hans Zollner, President of the Centre for the Protection of Minors of the Pontifical Gregorian University, a specialist in cases of sexual abuse in the Church.

Personal twist to drama about pedophilia in the Church

PARIS (FRANCE)
LaCroix International

July 10, 2019

By Céline Hoyeau

"This gift is not shown, it is not shared, it is not talked about, out of modesty, out of shame, out of fear of the eyes of others.

"This "gift" is the abuse Gabriel suffered at the hands of a priest at the age of 8, a gift that poisons his adult life and the relationship he is trying to build with Camille.

Their story intersects with the stories of two other characters, Father François and Sister Blandine, while the nun tries to open the priest's eyes to the drama of pedophilia, convinced that "true indifference is not to not look but to feel nothing."

Reporters will need help from canon lawyers to correctly explain California’s confession bill

Get Religion blog

July 10, 2019

By Clemente Lisi

In this politically polarized world, there are issues that can drive a large wedge between people — including several that, one way or another, are tied to religion.

Immigration and abortion are two of the biggest in the Donald Trump era, issues that dominated the Supreme Court’s recently-completed term and the Democratic presidential primaries that are just underway. Then again, immigration and abortion are the issues that dominate news on the web and cable TV.

Religious freedom, an old-school liberal issue now largely taken up by conservatives, is often lost in mainstream news coverage. Lost in this coverage is an issue of such importance to Roman Catholics, that it may very well be the biggest fallout to come from years of clerical sex abuse when it comes to how it affects the law.

The California State Senate, controlled by Democrats, recently passed a bill (the first of its kind in the United States) that would compel a priest — violating centuries of Catholic law and tradition — to disclose to civil authorities any information learned in the confessional if it involves the sexual abuse of a minor committed by another priest or lay worker. The bill was supposed to head to the State Assembly later this summer, where Democrats hold a majority.

On Tuesday, on the eve of a scheduled hearing, State Sen. Jerry Hill withdrew the bill after realizing he didn’t have the votes to get it passed out of committee. Opponents may have rejoiced, but this issue is far from over. It certainly will gather steam again in future legislative sessions. That means reporters need to be better equipped to cover such an issue in a balanced and fair way.

Child rights body files case against Kerala priest who was held for abusing minors

MUMBAI (INDIA)
Times Now News

July 10, 2019

The Kerala State Commission for Protection of Child Rights (CPCR) on Tuesday has filed a case against the Kerala Catholic priest who was recently arrested by the police for sexually abusing minor boys.

The director of the boys' home in Kochi, Father George TJ alias Jerry, was arrested by the Kerala police on Sunday. The arrest was made following a complaint by the parents of the victims, who alleged that their boys were being abused for over six months now.

According to a report, the Kerala CPCR said that the boy's home has been working without authorisation, it was closed down by the commission in March 2018. The commission chairperson, P Suresh said that the commission observed that accommodating children secretly without authorisation was a major offence, the higher authorities of the institution will also have to face the legal action as per the Juvenile Justice Act.

In the wake of such incidents of sexual harassment, the commission has directed the police officials and the Social Justice Department to raid and inspect institutions across the state which had been closed down in 2018 for not being registered under the Juvenile Justice Act.

Sex Abuse and a FOCUS Missionary

Patheos blog

July 10, 2019

By Guest Contributor

I don’t usually write when I’m this angry.

Healthy ways of dealing with anger is something I’m working on in therapy. But you know what? I don’t give a flying fuck right now because if I don’t write this down now, I’m going to be raging the rest of the day. Not good for my home life and not good for my blood pressure. Oh, and if you didn’t realize that fucks fly, you’re probably too sensitive for this article.

I gave a FOCUS missionary some choice words after Mass today, and I’m not done.

Because I’m the joyful parent of a toddler, most of my experience of Mass is now spent running and dragging my screaming offspring out of the sanctuary. After the regular announcements, our pastor invited the resident FOCUS missionary to share his usual spiel at the ambo. I didn’t catch most of it – because I was making sure said toddler didn’t eat another kid’s crayons – but I did hear mention of the typical statistics of why Catholic young people leave the Church. He ended with an invitation to come speak with him in the narthex afterward. Before my toddler tried to pop me in the eye, I considered that.

Should I go talk to him? There will probably be other people congratulating him on saving Western Civilization from secularism. Hmmm.

Priest Accused of Abuse in Fargo Sent to Corpus Christi

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

July 10, 2019

A North Dakota priest was just named publicly as an alleged abuser. He was ordained in a religious order based out of Corpus Christi, TX and apparently sent back there after the abuse was reported to church officials in Fargo. Despite this, he has not been named on any list of accused priests nor was the local community alerted to his presence. We are calling on church officials in Texas to explain why.

According to the West Fargo Pioneer, Fr. Michael Wright is alleged to have assaulted a vulnerable adult at St. Ann’s Catholic Church in Belcourt, ND. According to the woman’s attorneys, following the receipt of the allegations church officials in the Diocese of Fargo sent Fr. Wright back to Corpus Christi, TX for “counseling,” although they apparently did so without notifying communities in either Belcourt or Corpus Christi why the reassignment occurred.

We cannot help but consider that church officials in this case failed in their responsibility and promise to be “open and honest” in cases of clergy abuse.The lack of public disclosure from the Diocese of Corpus Christi is especially egregious given that their list of “credibly” accused priests was released earlier this year, and the society into which Fr. Wright was ordained is also headquartered in the Diocese of Corpus Christi.

Vatican’s move regarding its French ambassador is the right one

MARIETTA (OH)
Marietta Times

July 10, 2019

Trust that Roman Catholic Church officials will do the right thing about allegations of sexual (and other) misconduct by members of the clergy is in question in many countries, not just the United States. What Pope Francis and others in the Catholic hierarchy do about the matter is watched closely throughout the world.

An announcement by the Vatican that its ambassador to France no longer enjoys diplomatic immunity is welcome, then.

As a diplomat, Archbishop Luigi Ventura normally would have enjoyed immunity from investigation or prosecution involving many crimes. Several men have accused him of touching them inappropriately. Ventura denies the allegations.

But French authorities said the archbishop’s diplomatic immunity stalled their investigation into the men’s accusations.

That ended Monday, with the Vatican’s announcement. Now, Ventura can be investigated — and, if appropriate, charged — just like any other visitor to France. Let us hope the matter is cleared up, one way or the other, expeditiously.

Bill to make priests report abuse put on hold in California

SACRAMENTO (CA)
Associated Press

July 9, 2019

By Adam Beam

A bill that would require California religious leaders to report their co-workers' confessions of child abuse or neglect has been put on hold amid opposition from the Catholic church.

California law already requires clergy to report knowledge of child abuse and neglect. But they can keep it a secret if they learned about it during a confession.

State Sen. Jerry Hill, a Democrat from San Mateo, wrote a bill this year to change that, but only if the confession was from another religious leader or someone who works at the church. It passed the Senate by a vote of 30-4 in May.

On Tuesday, Hill announced he was putting the bill on hold because it did not have enough support to pass the state Assembly. But Hill said the issue remains important to him, and he vowed to continue his efforts to pass it.

July 9, 2019

Catholic priest, Father Adrian Cristobal accused of sex abuse by fourth person

HAGATNA (GUAM)
Pacific Daily New

July 10, 2019

By Haidee Eugenio Gilbert

After former altar boys tearfully went public with allegations, a law was passed to open doors for lawsuits against the church, clergy and others. Wochit

Father Adrian Cristobal, who was sanctioned by the Archdiocese of Agana in 2018 for failing to return to Guam after he was named in three child sexual abuse lawsuits, has been accused of sexually abusing a fourth minor.

The fourth lawsuit against Cristobal was filed on Wednesday in federal court by a plaintiff identified in court documents only as D.D.D. to protect his privacy. D.D.D. said in his $5 million lawsuit that Cristobal sexually abused him from about early 2008 to 2010, when he was about 12 to 14 years old.

At the time of the alleged abuses, D.D.D. was a volunteer for the San Vicente Ferrer/San Roke Catholic Church in Barrigada, where Cristobal was the parish priest.

"During the entire two-year period when he served as a volunteer, plaintiff was sexually molested and abused every Saturday, without fail, by Adrian," the lawsuit says.

“It Was Her Fault” Attorneys Claim Fargo Diocese Blamed Alleged Sexual Assault Survivor

FARGO (ND)
KVRR TV

July 8, 2019

By Austin Erickson

Attorneys for an alleged sexual assault survivor say the Fargo Diocese told them “it was her fault” after coming forward.

The law firms of Bradshaw and Bryant and O’Keeffe O’Brien Lyson Foss will hold a press conference Thursday, July 11 in Fargo. They claim Father Michael Wright abused someone at St. Ann’s Catholic Church in Belcourt, North Dakota.

Lawyers claim the Diocese responded by “blaming the survivor and shipping Father Michael Wright back to Texas to the Society of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity community without an investigation.” They also say the SOLT sent Father Wright to counseling following the alleged assault which they call “reprehensible.”

The firms demand the Diocese disclose its list of known offending priests. They’re also calling on the North Dakota legislature to open up the statute of limitations so “offenders can no longer be shielded from civil remedies.”

After Almost a Year, the Public Deserves Answers on Accused Priest

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

July 9, 2019

Almost a year ago, a New Jersey priest accused of sexual abuse voluntarily stepped down from ministry, but so far Newark church officials have neither resolved the case or updated parishioners and the public. It is time for Archbishop John Tobin to provide answers.

According to the Newark Star Ledger, Fr. Jim Weiner was allowed to step down from his position last August following allegations that he sexually assaulted a seminarian in the 1980s. Fr. Weiner’s accuser said he reached a settlement with the church in 2004 over the alleged abuse, but the priest was permitted to continue his ministry.

In a story last week, the newspaper noted “Fr. Weiner is still listed as pastor of St. Andrew’s Parish on its website, but parishioners said he has not preached since he voluntarily stepped aside.”

We hope anyone with information or suspicions about Fr. Weiner – or any Newark church staffer – will come forward to trusted, independent sources of help, like local police and prosecutors. We also hope that church whistleblowers will especially take this step, now that they have been promised protection by Pope Francis.

It’s a sin to put money in the church collection plate

MELBOURNE (AUSTRALIA)
The New Daily

July 9, 2019

By Garry Linnell

We went because of the kid. He’s only 11 years old, this godson of ours, still in the last days of innocence, that wonderful time before voices break and pimples erupt with the fury of Mount Vesuvius to herald entry into a harsher, more complicated world.

His mother is a lapsed churchgoer. No longer believes in the Old Man upstairs.

But she wanted her son confirmed as a Catholic in an understandable nod to family tradition and, more importantly, to ensure he remains in the warm bosom of a heavily subsidised private school.

So there we were, hundreds crammed into an old church, gulping fumes of sickly sweet incense while a two-hour Mass celebrated the confirmation of dozens of young boys and girls.

As it finally drew to a close, a familiar sound woke many of us from our Sunday afternoon stupor. It wasn’t the angelic voices of the choir. Not even a few Latin sentences mumbled by a tuneless bishop.

Nay, it was the sound of cash registers.

It was time for the collection plates to do the rounds. Except these were no ordinary plates. These had nets attached, some so large they must have been borrowed from passing fishing trawlers.

Been a while since the old church had enjoyed a full house like this and despite having staged Mass at least twice that day, this was an opportunity too good to pass up.

But as the day’s catch of coins and notes began to grow, I sat firmly on my wallet. I don’t mind giving. But handing over cash to a tax-exempt organisation with an estimated $30 billion Australian property portfolio?

Blindly donating to an institution that provides little transparency on how it spends the dough?

Problem is, I’ve seen where some of it goes.

Former El Paso Catholic priest's sexual assault trial begins

EL PASO (TX)
CBS 4 News

July 9, 2019

By Justin Kree

Former El Paso priest Miguel Luna, who is accused of sexually assaulting an underage girl decades ago, was in court Tuesday morning for the start of his trial.

“A wolf in sheep clothing” is how prosecutors described the former El Paso priest Miguel Luna.

The state went on to say that he used his position of trust to sexually assault the victim back in the 1990s.

The state said the victim was a little girl who was an alter server at Corpus Cristi Catholic Church in El Paso.

Then the defense spoke during their opening statement -- using the same analogy agreeing that Luna is a wolf, stating that a wolf in nature stays faithful and only has one mate.

Luna’s attorneys describing that mate as the Catholic Church to Luna and he remained faithful during his years as a priest.

The victim took the stand after the statements, explaining that she was 8 years old when she was first an alter server helping then-Rev. Luna during Mass.

The victim testified that she was in a private confessional with Luna about two years later when the first abuse started.

The victim said that during the confession is when he first pulled the victims chair closer to him to where their legs were touching and asked her everything from if she has a boyfriend, to if she watches pornographic material, then asking if she masturbates.

A Seminarian and Survivor Addresses the Abuse Crisis

Patheos blog

July 9, 2019

By Guest Contributor

[Blogger’s note: this piece was submitted to me by someone I’ve verified is a Catholic seminarian, currently studying at a seminary in the United States. I offered to let him write anonymously so that he could reach others without his privacy being endangered at the seminary. I think that young men like this, who understand what abuse really is, are the very people we need more of in the priesthood if we are ever to heal the Church. –Mary Pezzulo]

Brother seminarians, we are living in challenging times. You truly are doing something heroic for accepting the cross of pursuing intellectual, human, spiritual, and pastoral formation for Holy Orders, despite what is going on around us in the Church. Of the time I have spent in seminary formation, this past year has been the most challenging year by far.

We came to seminary, some of us for the first time, with the elephant of the allegations of then-Cardinal McCarrick’s abuse of seminarians no different than ourselves surrounding us in the room. We wondered what more bad news the year would hold, and we weathered a trickle, then a stream, and finally a torrent of even worse news. We heard of perpetrators and more scandals both near and far, and we wondered if we were crazy for pursuing the sacrament of holy orders when some who have gone before us were proving themselves capable of the most egregious sins of unholiness imaginable. How are we to respond?

Discerning out of seminary sometimes seemed like the easy way out of this crisis, but we know that God did not call us to seminary only to discern out when confronted with deep scandal in the Church, but rather to become holy men formed after his Sacred Heart and capable of serving the Church through the celebration of the sacraments. We need only to look to the words of St. Peter, the father and founder of our beautiful Catholic faith, to find the path forward to greater holiness: “Like obedient children, do not act in compliance with the desires of your former ignorance, but, as he who called you is holy, be holy yourselves in every aspect of your conduct, for it is written, ‘Be holy because I am holy.’” It is only by uniting ourselves to Christ that we can achieve the holiness that is needed. As men of the Church, we are to strive for holiness in all things, whether they be big things or little things.

Former Northwoods Catholic priest convicted of sexual abuse to live in Merrill soon

WAUSAU (WI)
Wausau Daily Herald

July 9, 2019

By Natalie Brophy

A former Northwoods Catholic priest released from custody in June will soon live in Merrill.

Beginning Saturday, David J. Malsch, 80, will live at N2345 Memorial Drive in Merrill, according to the Lincoln County Sheriff's Office. He previously lived at N4883A Lilac Lane in Gleason when he was released June 19.

Malsch, who was ordained as a Catholic priest in 1967, is accused of sexually abusing at least three young boys while he worked at churches in Superior and Tomahawk, according to bishopaccountability.org, a website that tracks abuse by Catholic priests.

In 1993, he was convicted of child enticement in Marathon County. In that case, Malsch took a 14-year-old with learning disabilities to a hotel in Rib Mountain, gave him alcohol and took nude photos of him. Malsch also showed the boy pornography, according to Wausau Daily Herald archives.

Malsch was civilly committed in 2001 under Wisconsin's sexual predator law and sent to a treatment facility for "troubled priests" in Missouri, according to bishopaccountability.org. Malsch stayed at the center until 2003, until he was caught with child pornography in his room and sentenced to nine years in federal prison. He was removed from the priesthood in 2005, according bishopaccountability.org.

Pittsburgh Catholic Diocese places deacon on leave over allegation

PITTSBURGH (PA)
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

July 8, 2019

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh has confirmed it placed a deacon on leave pending an investigation into “an allegation of inappropriate conduct with a minor.”

The deacon, John C. Miller, of St. Teresa of Avila Parish in Ross, was placed on leave in 2018, according to the Rev. Nicholas Vaskov, diocesan spokesman.

Deacon Miller was accused of an unwanted kiss to a minor girl, the “first such allegation ever made against him,” according to a statement from Father Vaskov. He was placed on leave, forbidden from doing ministry or presenting himself as a deacon, while the investigation was pending.

The case required a preliminary investigation, “which was delayed due to grave health issues Deacon Miller was facing,” said Father Vaskov.

Jesuit leader encourages sexual abuse victims to testify

FRANCE
La Croix International

July 9, 2019

By Céline Hoyeau

Head of French-speaking Jesuit Province of Western Europe acknowledges congregation has been slow to act but insists it's been 'deeply affected' by victims' stories
A Jesuit provincial has defended his congregation against accusations it has dragged its feet over the issue of sexual abuse and says its attitude toward the issue has been "transformed" after meetings with victims.

The Society of Jesus in France has just published an appeal in which it encourages victims of abuse committed by Jesuits to make themselves known to the Independent Commission on Sexual Abuse in the Church and its own professional conduct team.

Jeffrey Epstein, billionaire and former friend of Duke of York, 'charged with sex trafficking'

NEW YORK (NY)
The Telegraph

July 7, 2019

By David Millward

Jeffrey Epstein, a billionaire financier and former friend of the Duke of York, Donald Trump and Bill Clinton, has been charged with sex trafficking, according to reports in the US.

Epstein, 66, was arrested by FBI officers on Saturday, the New York Police Department confirmed. He was apprehended when his private jet landed at Teterboro Airport in New Jersey following a trip to Paris.

According to the Federal Bureau of Prisons website, Epstein is currently being held at the Metropolitan Correctional Centre in Manhattan.

He is due to appear before a federal magistrate on Monday to face charges dating back to the 2000s.

The latest allegations come more than a decade after Epstein avoided federal criminal charges under a plea deal which faced considerable criticism.

Morrisey renews request for Diocese to release Bransfield report

CHARLESTON (WV)
West Virginia Record

July 3, 2019

By Kyla Asbury

West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey urged again for the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston to release its report on former Bishop Michael Bransfield, calling the Diocese's attempt to dismiss his suit an attempt to conceal the report.

"The Diocese’s latest motion to dismiss represents yet another attempt to sidestep transparency as it continues to conceal its investigative report on former Bishop Bransfield in hopes to distract public attention from allegations that it employed pedophiles, failed to conduct background checks and condoned Bransfield’s alleged sexual harassment of employees and others," Morrisey said in a statement. "The Diocese did not issue its list of credibly accused priests until after issuance of our first investigative subpoena in fall 2018, and continues to demonstrate a pattern of concealing information until external pressure from our office and the media forces its hand."

Morrisey said his office's lawsuit against the Diocese chronicles its decades-long pattern of concealing criminal behavior of priests as it relates to sexual abuse of children, while it advertised its schools and camps as safe learning environments.

"It is past time for the Diocese to come clean," Morrisey said. "We reiterate our call for the Diocese to release all relevant materials, including the Bransfield report. Not only will this allow us to move this matter toward resolution; it is essential for the Church to restore public trust."

Billionaire Jeffrey Epstein Arrested for Sex Trafficking Minors

UNITED STATES
Rolling Stone

July 7, 2019

By Peter Wade

Billionaire Jeffrey Epstein was arrested on Saturday for allegedly sex trafficking dozens of minor girls, some as young as 14, The Daily Beast reported. The investor, who was arrested by the FBI-NYPD Crimes Against Children Task Force, is expected to appear in federal court on Monday.

Twelve years ago in 2007, Epstein escaped harsh punishment when he secured a secret non-prosecution plea deal with Florida federal prosecutors, including the man who is now President Donald Trump’s labor secretary, Alexander Acosta. In the subsequent years, Epstein was hit with numerous lawsuits from victims and media investigations into his abuse of young women but managed to evade federal charges, thanks in large part to his wealth and connections, until now.

Lori says he hopes report on Bransfield sees light of day

WHEELING (WV)
The Parkersburg News and Sentinel

July 7, 2019

The Vatican will decide whether a un-redacted report will be publicly released on the investigation of the former bishop of the Diocese Wheeling-Charleston, the apostolic administrator of the diocese said in an interview with the Wheeling News-Register this week.

Archbishop William Lori of Baltimore was appointed last year by Pope Francis to head the diocese and conduct an investigation into former Bishop Michael Bransfield.

The investigation report was obtained by The Washington Post, which said it cited lavish spending and gifts given by Bransfield, including spending diocese funds on a personal residence, spending thousands of dollars a month on alcoholic drink and buying gifts for other clergy.

Lori, who reimbursed the diocese for gifts he had received from Bransfield over the years, told interviewers he wanted the full report publicly released.

Warnings about WV bishop went unheeded as he doled out cash gifts to Catholic leaders

WEST VIRGINIA
The Washington Post

July 3, 2019

By Robert O’Harrow Jr. and Shawn Boburg

Senior Catholic leaders in the United States and the Vatican began receiving warnings about West Virginia Bishop Michael Bransfield as far back as 2012. In letters and emails, parishioners claimed that Bransfield was abusing his power and misspending church money on luxuries such as a personal chef, a chauffeur, first-class travel abroad and more than $1 million in renovations to his home.

Vatican to open tombs in bid to solve 36-year-old cold case

ROME
CNN

July 2, 2019

By Hada Messia and Lauren Said-Moorhouse

The Vatican has ordered two of its own tombs to be searched -- the latest twist in the mysterious disappearance of a teenager, 36 years ago.

Emanuela Orlandi was 15 when she vanished without a trace in the summer of 1983. The daughter of a prominent employee of the Institute for the Works of Religion -- better known as the Vatican Bank -- Orlandi was last seen at a music lesson in the grounds of Sant'Apollinare basilica in Rome.

On Tuesday, Gian Piero Milano, the Vatican's Promoter of Justice, authorized two exhumations in response to a petition launched by the teenager's family, who believe that her body is buried at the Teutonic Cemetery in Vatican City.

Exclusive: Officials substantiate child sex abuse allegations at prominent DC synagogue's preschool

WASHINGTON (DC)
CNN

July 2, 2019

By Daniel Burke

Officials have substantiated multiple accusations of child sexual abuse by a preschool teacher at a prominent synagogue in Washington, DC, according to a cease-and-desist letter sent by the DC superintendent of education to the synagogue in June.

The letter says the district's Child and Family Services Agency found that "more than one child was a victim of sexual abuse by the alleged maltreator" at Washington Hebrew Congregation's preschool.

CNN obtained a copy of the letter through a Freedom of Information Act request.

Founded in 1852, Washington Hebrew Congregation, is one of DC's oldest and most prominent Jewish institutions, attended by the city's Jewish elites for generations.

But the congregation and its early childhood education center have been thrown into turmoil since allegations of child sexual abuse arose last August. The cease-and-desist letter is believed to be the first public finding of an investigation into the alleged abuse at the school by DC authorities.

University of Utah officer who mishandled Lauren McCluskey’s concerns has now been disciplined for mistakes on another domestic violence case

SALT LAKE CITY (UT)
The Salt Lake Tribune

July 1, 2019

By Courtney Tanner
·
Officer Miguel Deras mishandled reports from student-athlete Lauren McCluskey weeks before she was killed on campus last fall. But instead of being fired, he and the entire University of Utah Police Department went through training to better recognize the warning signs of domestic violence he and others had missed.

Then, months later, Deras made the same mistakes again on another woman’s case.

And for that, he received the first written warning in his personnel file. It’s the only disciplinary action at the school, so far, to come out of the department’s shortcomings and subsequent reform after McCluskey’s murder on Oct. 22. U. President Ruth Watkins had said shortly after McCluskey’s death that no individual officers would be punished for how they had managed — or mismanaged — her case. Watkins has held to that.

Bill to require California priests to report confessions of child sex abuse on hold

SAN JOSE (CA)
Mercury News

July 9, 2019

By John Woolfolk

The author of a California bill strongly opposed by the Roman Catholic Church that would require priests to report confessions of child sex abuse to authorities said Tuesday he has put it on hold, citing lack of support.

SB 360 by Sen. Jerry Hill, D-San Mateo, had passed out of the state Senate on a 30-4-4 vote May 23. But Hill’s office said he pulled it from a scheduled Tuesday Assembly Public Safety Committee hearing after he “became aware that the legislation would not have enough support to move on.”

“This issue remains important to me, and I will continue to champion it in the hope that my colleagues can come together on legislation,” Hill said in a statement Tuesday. “I strongly believe that for any institution self-policing and self-investigation are not effective ways to combat alleged abuse, as our own state Legislature has found. To be clear, I have placed SB 360 on hold. The bill is on pause, it has not been withdrawn.”

The Roman Catholic Church, struggling to restore parishioners’ confidence amid accusations that some high-ranking clergy had helped cover up reports of abuse by priests, opposed the bill as an assault on the sacrament of Reconciliation. Priests have told parishioners at Sunday Mass that the bill was a threat to their core beliefs.

“An amazing number of people spoke to their legislators to explain the sacred nature of the sacrament of Reconciliation,” said Andrew Rivas, executive director of the California Catholic Conference. “It is important to our spirituality and our relation to God and to others. Our thanks go to all who played a part.”

Archbishop of Canterbury says failure on child sexual abuse is 'knife in Church's soul'

LONDON (ENGLAND)
The Telegraph

July 9, 2019

By Gabriella Swerling

The Archbishop of Canterbury has told Church of England leaders that their failure to deal with child sexual abuse is "a knife in our soul".

Speaking at the opening of the General Synod in York on Friday, the Most Rev Justin Welby told an audience of hundreds of synod members that there is much more progress to be made in the wake of the safeguarding scandal.

He said that "every time the Archbishop of York or I see another case where there's a falling short of our response, it is a knife in our soul".

The Archbishop of Canterbury, along with Dr John Sentamu, are due to give evidence at the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) later this week.

The Archbishops are the two most senior members of the Church of England. Previous findings from IICSA have already concluded that the Church's response to sexual abuse allegations was "marked by secrecy". This investigation into the Anglican Church is currently assessing the appropriateness of safeguarding and child-protection policies and practices.

Gallup: Confidence in Organized Religion is at an All-Time Low (Again)

Patheos blog

July 9, 2019

By Hemant Mehta

How much confidence do you have in organized religion?

Gallup asks that question every couple of years, and once again, we can safely say confidence in churches is at an all-time low. Only 36% of Americans say they have a “great deal” of confidence in organized religion.

Confidence in organized religion topped confidence in all other institutions from 1973 to 1985, and, even after falling amid televangelist scandals in the 1980s, it registered at the majority level consistently until 2001. After the Boston Globe‘s 2002 expose revealed Catholic church leaders were aware of and did not take strong action to stop serial sex abuse by priests, confidence in organized religion dropped sharply to 45%. It recovered slightly in the years after the scandal broke, hovering around the 50% mark. Between 2010 and 2017, it regularly registered in the 40s. Since then, in 2018 and 2019, Americans’ confidence in religion has been below the 40% mark.

All the more reason to keep pointing out and criticizing the problems with faith. It’s easier today more than ever — in part because of how Donald Trump has become a magnet for white evangelicals, a pairing that will hopefully become an albatross around their necks for decades to come. In the past couple of years, we’ve also seen major sex scandals in evangelical megachurches, the Southern Baptist Convention, and whatever shopping malls Roy Moore decides to visit.

Then there’s the continued bigotry against LGBTQ people and the advocacy for cruel anti-abortion policies that, if upheld, will inevitably lead to the death of many women.

Vatican Waives Immunity for Archbishop Accused of Abuse

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

July 8, 2019

The Vatican has apparently waived diplomatic immunity for a French archbishop accused of abuse. We are encouraged by this move and long for the day such cooperation with law enforcement is an everyday procedure for church officials.

We are cautious, however, because so often the church hierarchy tends to act properly only in the most high profile of all cases, such as with the case of Theodore McCarrick. In the past year, we have seen many announcements from church officials that seem to exaggerate the importance of one decision, claiming that these choices herald ‘a new day’ in how church officials deal with abuse and cover up. We hope that church officials will not revert to the secretive patterns of old once the glare of publicity wanes.

Still, no one can deny the decision to waive immunity for Archbishop Luigi Ventura is a positive step forward. We hope it will prompt other church employees, not only in France but throughout the world, to call police with information or suspicions about clergy sex crimes and cover ups.

Vatican lifts diplomatic immunity for envoy facing assault claims

LONDON (ENGLAND)
The Guardian

July 9, 2019

By Harriet Sherwood

The Vatican has waived diplomatic immunity for its envoy to France, who is under investigation for sexual assault.

The move – an indication of the Vatican’s tougher approach to sexual misconduct and abuse – clears the way for Archbishop Luigi Ventura, the apostolic nuncio, to face criminal charges.

Ventura, 74, is accused of molesting a male employee of Paris city authorities during a new year reception at which Anne Hidalgo, the mayor of Paris, addressed diplomats, religious leaders and civil society figures. Parisian authorities have been investigating the allegation for several months.

According to a judicial source, “during the ceremony, a city employee was repeatedly groped on the backside, in three instances, once in front of a witness”.

In March, Nathalie Loiseau, France’s minister of European affairs, urged the Vatican to waive immunity.

“At this point, [Ventura] benefits from diplomatic immunity, but the Holy See is clearly aware of the serious accusations that have been brought against the apostolic nuncio and I don’t doubt for a second that the Holy See will do the right thing,” Loiseau said.

Victorian priest convicted of sexual abuse has suffered enough, his lawyer says

SYDNEY (AUSTRALIA)
7 News Australia

July 8, 2019

By Karen Sweeney

A Victorian pedophile priest has admitted to more offending, but his lawyer argues he shouldn't be given a longer jail sentence because he's already been vilified.

Robert Claffey, 76, is serving more than a decade in prison for sexual crimes against children, but on Monday he admitted abusing another two boys when he was a parish priest in Ballarat in the 1980s.

Prosecutors have called for a lengthier non-parole period as Claffey's victim count rises.

But his lawyer appealed for his release date to remain the same because he's already been "hunted" by the media and vilified by the community after being moved from parish to parish by the Catholic Church while he offended.

One of the victims was aged between 12 and 15 at the time he was abused, the other was aged between six and seven.

Claffey was a priest at Our Lady Help of Christians Church in Wendouree and abused his first victim while providing counselling to the boy in his bedroom.

He kissed, touched and abused the boy.

BROUGHT INTO THE SUN: SPEAKING TRUTH TO MENNONITE COLLEGES

Into Account blog

July 8, 2019

By Erin Bergen, Stephanie Krehbiel and Hilary Jerome Scarsella

In March of this past spring, Into Account received an unexpected invitation from Mennonite Church USA, the largest Mennonite denomination in the U.S., to present two panels at their biennial convention in July 2019, together with an offer for free booth space in the convention’s exhibit hall. While we were honored by the invitation, we struggled initially with whether accepting it made sense to our organizational mission. Mennonite conventions are historically abusive spaces for marginalized people. Our Into Account co-founder and Development Chair Jay Yoder, for instance, was the target of vitriolic, homophobic sexual harassment and profound spiritual violence at every MC USA convention they ever attended. We feared that any Into Account presence would legitimize us institutionally on the backs of people who do not receive such invitations.

In the end, we said yes, and I think the reason why can be seen in the contents of the following video, taken on Saturday, July 6 at the Kansas City Convention Center.

Rebecca Schrag, Anneliese Baer, and our Student Advocacy Coordinator Erin Bergen addressed a room of over one hundred convention attendees, made up largely of youth and the parents of prospective or current college students. When they concluded their powerful, instructive presentations, the whole audience gave them a standing ovation.

We knew the convention would provide a forum for speaking truth in ways that could meaningfully alter the seemingly insurmountable power dynamics that these women are facing at Mennonite colleges.

After Saturday, we’re hopeful. And dear readers who care about Mennonite colleges, what happens next is largely up to you.

Man charged in sex assaults on ‘pre-pubescent’ kids lured at Filipino churches

TORONTO (CANADA)
CP Channel 24

July 4, 2019

By Chris Herhalt

A Toronto man is facing 22 charges after he allegedly lured at least three small children at two Filipino churches over the past year, recording his sexual assaults on them and sharing them online.

Det. Const. Don Bai says that sometime before March 2019, Facebook contacted American law enforcement officials with information suggesting someone was trading and sharing videos and images of the sexual abuse of children using their service.

The Americans then contacted the RCMP, who then notified Toronto police.

Bai said police raided the home of a man in the Bathurst Street and Sheppard Avenue West area on June 12, and seized a number of devices.

The devices allegedly contained videos of a man sexually abusing victims who Bai said were “pre-pubescent.”

Three have been identified so far.

Bai said the children were lured at two churches in 2018, Word and Life Christian Assembly on Coldstream Avenue and Jesus Reigns Forever International Ministry on Finch Avenue West.

Clergy sex abuse plaintiff objects to lawyers' request for higher fees

HAGATNA (GUAM)
Pacific Daily News

July 9, 2019

By Haidee Eugenio Gilbert

A man who filed a May 2017 lawsuit alleging that a Talofofo priest sexually abused him more than 50 times in the 1980s is objecting to his lawyers' request for higher attorney fees.

His lawyers obtained in 2018 a confidential settlement agreement with the religious order, Capuchin Franciscans, on his behalf.

The work is not done yet as the plaintiff, identified in court documents only as N.Q. to protect his privacy still has claims against the Archdiocese of Agana through the bankruptcy process.

N.Q. is represented by three sets of lawyers or law firms: Guam-based attorney Anthony C. Perez, Idaho-based James, Vernon and Weeks, and Honolulu-based Rosenberg McKay Hoffman.

Counsels would continue to work on N.Q.'s behalf in the bankruptcy context to secure additional payments as damages for the abuse he has suffered, Perez said in a June 25 filing in federal court.

Guam law provides maximum limits of attorney fees in an action involving personal injury or death. It also allows counsels to apply to the court, with written notice to the client, for an increase in the fee if attorneys consider that the contingent fee within maximum limits to be insufficient.

Closed-door hearing agreed for 'crystal-meth' priest

NEW YORK (NY)
The Independent

July 9, 2019

A New York judge yesterday chastised a Dublin born priest Fr. Michael O'Leary for failing to complete the full term of his drug rehabilitation but agreed to let his case on four drugs charges go to a closed-door hearing.

The charges, including criminal possession of a controlled substance with intent to sell, are to be heard in a higher court, Westchester County Court, probably in about two months.

Peekskill City Court Judge, Reginald J. Johnson, meanwhile expressed displeasure over the rehab mandated for Fr. O’Leary after his arrest allegedly with a half-ounce of methamphetamine, scales and packaging materials in Peekskill, New York, on St. Patrick’s Day.

“You only attended 80 days. I don’t know what the deal is with that, but you don’t get to decide. Ninety days is 90 days.”

The Bronx-based priest has a 2017 charge for drunk driving in the US, where he is a citizen.

An Open Letter to Franciscan University of Steubenville

Patheos blog

July 8, 2019

Preface by Rebecca Bratten Weiss

In October 2018 the National Catholic Reporter published a story by Jenn Morson, detailing the ongoing grooming and assault of female students by Samuel Tiesi, TOR, chaplain at Franciscan University of Steubenville during the 1980s and 1990s. Morson also reported on the university’s systemic cover-up of Tiesi’s activities, and finally their removal of a plaque dedicated to him, once some of the truth about his behavior emerged.

Morson’s article focused particularly on the painful and traumatizing experiences of one student, Karen, who was repeatedly assaulted by Tiesi, then later blamed and silenced by his fellow friars from whom she sought help – including beloved Franciscan University president Michael Scanlan.

Morson and NCR acted justly and courageously on behalf of the victims and the truth of their stories; however, many still turn away from these accounts that make them uncomfortable, challenge their preconceptions.

But survivors like Karen deserve to be heard and taken seriously; it is the least we can do for them, after what has been done to them. For this reason, I agreed to publish Karen’s open letter to Franciscan University and the institutional leaders who failed her.

This story is difficult to read, and could potentially be triggering for other victims of assault and cover-up, so be advised.

This story will also, I am certain, be upsetting for many who admired or even loved the men she names. I am one who liked and admired Sam Tiesi, and who revered and loved Michael Scanlan. But my shock and perturbation, in facing the reality of what these men did, are nothing compared with the suffering of the survivors who were viciously betrayed and silenced, and who carry scars of sexual, psychological, and spiritual abuse for life.

Lawmakers, Abuse Survivors Demand Alex Acosta Resign Over Jeffrey Epstein Sex Case

NEW YORK (NY)
Huffington Post

July 9, 2019

By Dominique Mosbergen

Democratic lawmakers and sexual abuse survivors have called for President Donald Trump’s labor secretary, Alex Acosta, to resign from his Cabinet post over a controversial 2008 plea deal he made with billionaire sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.

The deal, approved by Acosta while he was serving as Miami’s top federal prosecutor, allowed Epstein ― who was accused of sexually assaulting dozens of underage girls at his Palm Beach mansion ― to avoid federal prosecution and a possible life sentence. The financier ended up serving only 13 months in prison, a large chunk of which was spent in an office as part of a work-release program.

The plea deal ― and the role Acosta played in it ― has come under renewed scrutiny in recent days following the decision by federal prosecutors in New York to revive the sex crimes case against Epstein.

Epstein, 66, who was arrested in New Jersey on Saturday, faces new charges accusing him of operating a sex trafficking scheme in Manhattan and Palm Beach between 2002 to 2005. Prosecutors claim Epstein “sexually exploited and abused dozens of minor girls,” some as young as 14, by “enticing them to engage in sex acts with him in exchange for money.” Epstein, they said, “perpetuated this abuse in similar ways” in both New York and Florida.

Following the unsealing of the new charges, to which Epstein pleaded not guilty on Monday, several Democratic lawmakers, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), called for Acosta to step down.

New clergy sex abuse lawsuit alleges archdiocese knew of incident

HAGATNA (GUAM)
KUAM News

July 9, 2019

Another clergy child sex abuse complaint has been filed in the District Court of Guam. It was filed by an individual identified as J.J. to protect his privacy.

J.J. who is from Saipan would visit Guam when he was a minor. The victim alleges that he was sexually molested by Capuchin priest, Father Daniel Cristobal. The priest is now deceased.

Court documents state that J.J. first met Father Cristobal in 1961 at Mount Carmel Elementary and Middle School in Saipan. During his visit the priest allegedly sexually molested him.

In 1962 J.J. came to Guam to look into attending the Territorial College. While here he attended mass at St. Anthony’s Catholic Church in Tamuning where the victim discovered Cristobal was presiding over the service. Cristobal is alleged to have sexually molested J.J. multiple times while he was on island.

The complaint alleges the Archdiocese of Agana was aware of Cristobal's sexual abuse but deliberately remained quiet to protect him, St. Anthony’s Church, and the Capuchins “thereby placing their loyalty above their duty to protect the minor children and their legal responsibilities,” court documents state.

J.J. is seeking a trial by jury and up to $5 million in damages. He is being represented by the Lujan and Wolff Law Firm.

Diocese still investigating priest accused of abuse, more than a year after he was accused

BUFFALO (NY)
Buffalo News

July 9, 2019

By Jay Tokasz

Fourteen months after a Lockport man accused Monsignor John M. Ryan of molesting him in the 1980s, Bishop Richard J. Malone has yet to decide whether Ryan committed the abuse and should be further punished.

The man's May 8, 2018 application to a Buffalo Diocese program that compensates victims of clergy abuse prompted Malone to suspend Ryan, 89, last July from publicly celebrating Masses and other priestly functions.

This past May, the diocese received a second complaint about Ryan from a Pennsylvania woman who said the former superintendent of Catholic schools repeatedly molested her in the late 1950s when she was a parishioner at Queen of Heaven Church in West Seneca. Her lawyer notified the diocese in a letter.

Both accusers said they plan to sue the diocese in August under the Child Victims Act, which allows a one-year window for childhood sex abuse victims to pursue civil cases from years ago that were time-barred under statutes of limitations.

Ryan served as superintendent of Catholic schools from 1975 to 1981, overseeing more than 42,000 students in about 150 elementary and high schools in eight counties at the time.

Clergy abuse survivors call on Acosta to resign over role in Epstein case

WASHINGTON (DC)
The Hill

July 8, 2019

By Zack Budryk

An advocacy group for survivors of clergy abuse on Monday called on Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta to resign over the plea deal he made with Jeffrey Epstein in 2008 that allowed the billionaire financier to avoid federal prosecution and a possible life sentence.

Acosta, a U.S. attorney at the time of Epstein’s conviction for soliciting underaged girls, approved the deal with Epstein, allowing him to plead guilty to state prostitution charges and serve roughly a year in prison. The deal also let him spend 16 hours a day outside of prison. Acosta has defended the deal as necessary to ensure Epstein served time.

Acosta has faced growing pressure over the deal since Epstein was charged Monday with sex trafficking.

In a statement Monday, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) noted that a federal judge previously ruled Acosta broke the law when arranging the deal for Epstein.

The statement also blasted unnamed defenders of Acosta for citing how long ago the deal was made, comparing the defense to public relations strategies deployed by the Catholic church in the wake of clergy abuse allegations.

“As head of the Labor Department, Secretary Acosta plays a critical role in the monitoring of crimes like sex trafficking. We simply cannot believe that he can be effective in that role with a cloud – and history – like this over his head.”

SB 360, Legislative Threat to Seal of Confession, Pulled from Committee

SACRAMENTO (CA)
California Catholic Conference

July 8, 2019

The day before hundreds of Catholics were planning to voice their opposition by attending a hearing in the Capitol, SB 360 was pulled from agenda for tomorrow’s Assembly Public Safety Committee effectively removing it from any further consideration this year.

SB 360 Mandated reporters: clergy (Hill, D-San Mateo) attempted to deny the sanctity of confession when it comes to child sexual abuse to priests and to Catholics who work with priests in parishes, Church agencies and ministries.

The action follows the delivery of tens of thousands of letters, emails and phone calls from Catholics and others concerned with the free expression of religion. Hundreds more planned on boarding buses from as far away as Los Angeles to voice their opposition tomorrow.

Andrew Rivas, executive director of the California Catholic Conference, expressed his thanks to the Californians who reached out to their legislators to oppose SB 360:

“An amazing number of people spoke to their legislators to explain the sacred nature of the Sacrament of Reconciliation,” said Rivas. “It is important to our spirituality and our relation to God and to others. Our thanks go to all who played a part.”

Rivas emphasized the strengthening mandatory reporting laws continues to be a priority of the Conference’s public policy efforts.

July 8, 2019

AG questions why priests released after charges

GRAND RAPIDS (MI)
WOOD TV

July 8, 2019

By Ken Kolker

As state Attorney General Dana Nessel announced Monday that her office had charged a sixth Michigan priest with sexual assault, she questioned why some already have been released from custody.

“I will say that we’re seeing a pattern of personal bonds being granted in very serious cases where it has not been my experience that I’ve seen personal bonds on those kinds of cases,” Nessel told Target 8.

“I hope that people aren’t getting special consideration just because they happened to have been or currently are members of the clergy,” she added.

On Monday, police arrested Father Joseph Baker, 57, of the Catholic Archdiocese of Detroit on a charge of raping a victim under the age of 13, early in his ministry. He’s been a priest since 1993, always serving in the Detroit area.

Also on Monday, Nessel’s office said, a judge released the priest on a tether.

Other accused priests, she said, also have been released with low bonds or no bonds at all.

The Detroit archdiocese tipped off the AG about Baker after removing him from public ministry. The archdiocese also released a list of more than 60 Detroit-area clergy with credible allegations of sexually abusing minors over the decades, according to its website. Nearly half of them have died.

Detroit became the third diocese in the state, after Gaylord and Saginaw, to release such a list.

The Diocese of Grand Rapids has not, even after a Target 8 investigation in February found as many as 14 priests had molested more than 30 children since the 1950s.

Target 8 reached out to the Grand Rapids diocese to ask whether it plans to release such a list, but had not heard back as of Monday afternoon.

Rights activists alarmed as Mike Pompeo installs anti-gay anti-abortion activist

Raw Story blog

July 8, 2019

By David Badash

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Monday announced the formation of a new commission that will take a “fresh look” at human rights through the lens of “natural law,” and civil and human rights advocates are outraged. In preliminary filings the State Dept. noted the Commission will explore “our nation’s founding principles of natural law and natural rights.”

“Natural law,” is religious right wing extremist code for anti-abortion and anti-LGBTQ rights, especially marriage for same-sex couples.

Secretary Pompeo, a known right wing Christian extremist in his own right, has named Mary Ann Glendon, a professor who is also his former mentor, to lead the “Commission on Unalienable Rights.”

Glendon is an anti-abortion, anti-gay Catholic activist who served as U.S. Ambassador to the Holy See (the Vatican) under President George W. Bush. She is also known for her opposition to the use of condoms to reduce the spread of HIV/AIDS.

“I hope that the commission will revisit the most basic of questions: What does it mean to claim something is, in fact, a human right?” Pompeo told reporters Monday, adding, as Yahoo News notes, that “words like rights can be used for good or evil.”

Glendon should understand Pompeo’s remarks. She penned a 2004 op-ed supporting a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage. In a unique twist of language she claimed the amendment “should be welcomed by all Americans who are concerned about equality and preserving democratic decision-making.”

And in a shocking move Glendon chastised the awarding of a Pulitzer Prize to the Boston Globe for its work exposing pedophile priests. She reportedly said; “If fairness & accuracy have anything to do with it, awarding the Pulitzer to the Boston Globe would be like giving the Nobel Peace Prize to Osama bin Laden.”

Healing Will Be Ongoing Process

WHEELiNG (WV)
The Intelligencer

July 8, 2019

As Roman Catholic Archbishop William Lori pointed out in an interview we published Sunday, restoring trust in the church’s Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston will be an ongoing process. What church leaders must keep in mind is that Catholics in the diocese will be watching closely, for years.

Lori, of Baltimore, was appointed to oversee the diocese temporarily after former Bishop Michael Bransfield retired in disgrace. It was left to Lori to deal with financial mismanagement by Bransfield, allegations the former bishop sexually harassed some young priests, and the church-wide scandal of predator priests victimizing children and adults.

Trouble such as that within the diocese cannot be resolved overnight. As Lori put it, he has been doing “the groundwork” for an ongoing time of healing.

Steps taken during the past year or so have been good. A list of predator priests who worked in the diocese has been released. An investigation found accusations of harassment against Bransfield to be credible. The former bishop’s use of millions of dollars in church funds for his own benefit was revealed.

Safeguards have been put in place to prevent financial misdeeds as well as other misbehavior by the clergy.

A council overseeing diocesan finances has been doubled in size and made more effective by including members with special expertise. Some Mountain State Catholics will want to examine for themselves how money is being spent.

Fr. Jack Baker Arrested in Michigan, SNAP Applauds AG Investigation

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

July 8, 2019

For the sixth time in three months, Michigan’s top law enforcement professional has charged a priest with child sex crimes. She predicts more arrests will be made before her investigation is completed.

We are grateful to AG Dana Nessel and her team for their dedication to investigating cases of clergy sex abuse and cover-up, including this one against Fr. Joseph “Jack” Baker. Children and vulnerable adults are safer because of her courage, as well as the bravery of Michigan victims who have come forward to aid in this investigation and who continue to cooperate with secular officials.

There is no doubt in our mind that attorneys general in most other states could be just as successful at uncovering and prosecuting crimes if they were as determined as AG Nessel. She and her staff spend weekends volunteering to comb through church abuse records. We applaud all of them and hope their example inspires other AGs throughout the country.

For a long time, cases of clergy abuse in Michigan have been stymied and survivors have been denied the chance to expose abusive clergy and complicit church officials in court, thanks to the state’s outdated statute of limitations for filing civil suits for child sex abuse. We hope that legislators in Michigan will take a cue from AG Nessel and use their power to help protect children and support survivors by taking up the issue of SOL reform.

SNAP Calls for Alexander Acosta to Resign for His Role in the Jeffrey Epstein Scandal

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

July 8, 2019

According to a federal judge, the U.S. Secretary of Labor broke the law when arranging for a much-derided plea deal with a billionaire accused of abuse. Today we join the chorus of those calling for the resignation of Secretary Alexander Acosta due to his mishandling of the Jeffrey Epstein case. If children are to be safe from sexual violence, those who help minimize these crimes must be punished, not promoted.

In a move that elicits the public relations strategies often employed by Catholic church officials, defenders of Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta are stressing how long ago the former prosecutor’s alleged wrongdoing was. Yet this bald-faced effort to minimize that wrongdoing cannot erase it.

What matters is not when a powerful official helped a powerful predator. What matters is THAT a powerful official helped a powerful predator.That official deserves to be demoted for his hurtful choices.

As head of the Labor Department, Secretary Acosta plays a critical role in the monitoring of crimes like sex trafficking. We simply cannot believe that he can be effective in that role with a cloud – and history – like this over his head.

Jeffrey Epstein has connections on both sides of the political aisle, so this move should not be seen as a partisan one. According to one news account, “In 2011, Gawker.com reported (Epstein’s phone book) was filled with . . . politicians Tony Blair, Michael Bloomberg, Andrew Cuomo, and Ted Kennedy.”

Finally, now is not the time to get complacent about Epstein’s prosecution. A charge is not a conviction, and a conviction doesn’t guarantee prison. Epstein will again no doubt hire the very best lawyers who will again try hard to exploit loopholes and pull strings to avoid his being found guilty and being incarcerated. Police and prosecutors will need all the help they can get.

Vatican waives immunity for France envoy accused of sexual assault

PARIS (FRANCE)
CNN

July 8, 2019

By Barbara Wojazer and Valentina DiDonato

The Vatican has waived immunity for its envoy to France, who is under investigation for sexual assault, according to the Bishops' Conference of France.

Archbishop Luigi Ventura, 74, is alleged to have inappropriately touched a junior male official working at the Paris city hall, deputy mayor Patrick Klugman told CNN earlier this year.

The French government confirmed it received "confirmation from the Holy See that it waived immunity" for Ventura.

The interim director of the Vatican press office, Alessandro Gisotti, said the decision demonstrated Ventura's commitment to cooperating with the investigation.

"This is an extraordinary gesture that confirms the will of the Nuncio (ambassador), expressed from the beginning of this situation, to collaborate fully with the French judicial authorities," Gisotti said.

GERMAN CLERIC URGES FORGIVENESS FOR PREDATOR PRIESTS LABELED AS ‘CRIMINALS’

World Religion News blog

July 8, 2019

By Alison Lesley

MEMBERS OF THE HOLY SPIRIT CHURCH WALKED OUT THE SERMON IN PROTEST Retired priest, Ulrich Zurkuhlen, has caused quite a stir in the city of Münster, northwest Germany, after urging everyone to practice forgiveness for priests who had sexually abused minors.

This message by Zurkuhlen comes at a difficult time for the Roman Catholic Church which is currently dealing with a barrage of allegations from different parts of the world of priest’s predatory conduct as well as church attempts at cover-ups.

The German Bishops’ Conference published a report in 2018 which said that 1,670 priests, which is almost 4.4 percent of clerics were guilty of abusing 3,677 people between 1946 and 2014 in Germany.

Kirche-und-Leben.de, an internet portal, reported that 70 members walked out of the congregation in protest.

Several parishioners tried to argue with the 79-year-old Zurkuhlen. The priest wasn’t able to finish the sermon as the situation became chaotic. There were several victims of abuse present at the sermon.

Gallup: Confidence in church or organized religion falls to 36 percent

NEW YORK (NY)
United Press International

July 8, 2019

By Clyde Hughes

Thirty-six percent of respondents to a new Gallup poll released Monday said they have confidence in the church or organized religion, a far cry from the 60-plus percent confidence the institutions enjoyed in the 1970s and 1980s.

The annual poll, which was conducted from June 3-16, measured church or organized religions with 13 other institutions.

Confidence in church or organized religions enjoyed highs of 68 percent in the mid-1970s and from 66 to 61 percent in the 1980s before several popular televangelist scandals made national headlines, including those involving ministers Jim Bakker, Jimmy Swaggart, and Oral Roberts.

That confidence in churches and organized religions reached 60 percent again in early 2000, before showing an uneven fall since, partly fueled by the sexual abuse scandals in the Catholic Church. The 36 percent marks the lowest confidence in the church and organized religions since the survey's highs in the 1970s.

"The downward trend in confidence in organized religion is partly attributable to the rising share of Americans who identify as having no religion -- a group that has little confidence in organized religion, and now comprises about one-fifth of the U.S. population," Gallup's Justin McCarthy said.

"But confidence in organized religion has also declined among those who are religious, including Catholics and Protestants," he added.

Only three of the 14 institutions Gallup poll surveyed captured majority levels of confidence among the respondents -- the military (73 percent), small businesses (68 percent) and police (53 percent).

The results on confidence in the church and religious institutions appeared to support a Pew poll released last week that showed a growing number of Americans no longer claim a religious affiliation.

Anti-gay pastor in Alabama arrested and accused of sexually molesting young boys

NEW YORK (NY)
Daily News

July 3, 2019

By Muri Assunção

The pastor of a Baptist church in Alabama was arrested Friday, just days after confessing he’d molested at least one young boy from his congregation.

John Martin, the lead pastor of Lighthouse Baptist Church, confessed to four counts of sexual abuse on June 23. He was arrested on felony sex abuse charges Monday, after members of his church reported him to authorities, AL.com reported.

According to local news station WAFF48, the 41-year-old pastor from Florence, Ala., confessed to his congregation from the pulpit, after telling his wife. He called the abuse an “affair,” court records say. Before being arrested, he’d checked himself into a psychiatric unit and turned over two guns.

Martin abused at least one underage boy several times, at his home and on a road trip, and he also sent the boy explicit text messages, court records reveal.

Angie Hamilton, an assistant district attorney in Lauderdale County, said more victims could be involved. “We have identified several potential victims,” she told AL.com. “We believe other charges are forthcoming."

A Drunk, an Exorcism, and a Flippant Seminarian

Patheos blog

July 7, 2019

By Mary Pezzulo

It’s been a rough twenty-four hours on the internet.

It started Friday evening, with a man drunk-friending me on facebook so that he could tag me in a post bragging about how much tequila he’d had and how much he’d enjoyed watching a fight between me and somebody I’d blocked. Yes, he tagged the blocked person as well. The next thing I knew, someone who has screenshotted my friends-only posts to bully me before was on the thread accusing me of all kinds of nasty things. I blocked the drunk and tried to go back to my writing.

Moments later, a woman who apparently founded a site called “Roaming Catholics” was calling me stupid, telling me I needed an exorcism and that I was in mortal sin; she then tried to give me a grammar lesson:

For those of my readers who are visually impaired, that’s a screenshot of a woman with an American flag for a profile picture saying “exorcism is a verb, not a noun, and you have a blog? lol.” And for those of you who are unsure, “exorcism” is definitely a noun. Yes, she got blocked too.

Then it was Saint Maria Goretti’s feast day, a difficult day for rape survivors. I re-shared an old blog post where I explained what the saint’s virtues were and clarified the Church’s teaching on rape. I always re-share this post on her feast, because a surprising number of people like to go around claiming that rape victims “take the easy way out” and we should all be saintly and just get stabbed to death instead– never mind that that has never been Church teaching, and that many of us rape survivors didn’t have that choice. Some catechists hold up Maria Goretti as a martyr for purity not because she valued her and Alessandro’s chastity and forgave her attacker, but because he managed to fatally stab her before he got his wish of molesting a twelve-year-old girl.

As if Saint Maria would somehow be less virtuous if Alessandro had just gone ahead and raped her after she was stabbed. I think it’s very important that we be clear that that’s wrong, especially in this day and age. Victims of sexual assault and abuse are not the ones who sin. Their attackers are. To say a victim incurs guilt for having something done to them against their will, is heresy. It’s not just me, a hysterical woman blogger saying that; St. Thomas and St. Augustine also stated that a virgin who is raped remains a virgin. No one can sin against their will. And hijacking a saint’s hagiography to shame victims is just one more way to exploit an abused child.

Cardinal Schönborn: 'Spiral of silence' is at the heart of ongoing clerical sex abuse

PARIS (FRANCE)
LaCroix International

July 8, 2019

Cardinal Christoph Schönborn, the third most senior active cardinal in the worldwide Church, has called on bishops and other Catholic officials to better engage in listening to victims of clergy sex abuse.

At a lecture last month in the Austrian capital of Vienna, where he has been archbishop since 1995, Schönborn said listening to victims was essential to breaking the "spiral of silence" that has allowed such abuse to continue for so long."

The victims have to overcome an enormously high threshold even to begin talking," the 74-year-old cardinal said at a conference on "Sex & Crime" at the Religiosity in Psychiatry and Psychotherapy Institute at Vienna University.

Seminar teaches community residents about Child Victims Act

ITHACA (NY)
Ithaca Times

July 1, 2019

By Edwin J. Viera

In January, New York State passed the Child Victims Act (CVA), which opened up New York’s previously strict criminal and civil statute of limitations on child sexual assault allegations. Instead of the criminal statute beginning when a person is 18 and ending when a person turns 23, the statute now begins when a person turns 23 and ends when they turn 28. For the civil statute of limitations, victims had to file before the age of 23. Now, the statute for any child sexual assault after February 14, 1996 can file a lawsuit before the age of 55. This is just one of many differences to come from the new legislation.

On June 25, at the BorgWarner Room of the Tompkins County Public Library, the Zero Abuse Project and NYS Assembly member Barbara Lifton sponsored an event to teach people about the law's new parameters. Lifton was hopeful that local organizations who deal with sexual assault victims would be able to take this information and help their clients. The seminar did reveal that a window for most if not all child sexual assault cases to be opened will come up later this summer.

Starting on August 16 of this year and closing on August 13, 2020, for any victim of child sexual assault in New York State, regardless of age, will be able to file a civil lawsuit against either an abuser or an institution which covered for an abuser. This window of opportunity is allowing anyone to file a civil case against an abuser regardless of whether or not the statute of limitations has run out.

Jeff Dion, the CEO of the Zero Abuse Project, led a presentation detailing several facts about the new Child Victims Act. He spoke about how the culture of negligence within some institutions has to end and should be replaced by one of disclosure.

Vatican Lifts Envoy's Immunity over Sex Assault Claims: France

PARIS (FRANCE)
Agence France-Presse

July 8, 2019

The Vatican has lifted the diplomatic immunity of its Paris envoy under investigation for alleged sexual assault, the French foreign ministry said Monday.

Luigi Ventura, 74, faces four complaints of sexual abuse -- including that he molested a junior official at the Paris town hall. French prosecutors in March asked the Vatican to lift his immunity.

A spokesman said the foreign ministry "received confirmation from the Holy See that it had waived (Ventura's) immunity" in a letter that arrived late last week.

In February, French prosecutors revealed they were investigating the Italian-born archbishop over an incident at the town hall during a New Year's address by Mayor Anne Hidalgo.

During the ceremony, a city employee had their backside repeatedly groped, with the town hall filing a complaint on January 24. An investigation was opened the next day.

Two other people have since come forward and related incidents involving "similar gestures, hands on buttocks or thighs", which allegedly took place last year.

There was also a complaint filed in Ottawa by a man who made similar allegations about an incident in 2008 while Ventura was serving in Canada.

The papal nuncio -- the term for a Vatican ambassador -- spoke to the police in early April, with judicial sources saying it was "at his request". They gave no further details.

A career diplomat with the Vatican, Ventura has held the position in Paris since 2009.

He also served in Brazil, Bolivia and Britain before being appointed papal nuncio to Ivory Coast, Burkina Faso and Niger, Chile and then Canada.

Why the ‘Metropolitan Plan’ Doesn’t Work

NEW YORK (NY)
America Magazine

July 8, 2019

By Rita Ferrone

The now-glaring weakness of the USCCB’s 2002 Dallas Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People was that it made no provision for dealing with bishops who engage in sexual misconduct. In the wake of the scandal surrounding Theodore McCarrick, who had escaped the consequences of his abuses for decades, the American bishops realized this gap had to be closed. Without some mechanism for holding bishops accountable, the trust that the hierarchy hoped to rebuild after the devastating revelations of clergy abuse of children could never be achieved.

In the course of discussions in the months following the McCarrick revelations, two proposals emerged: an independent lay-run board could investigate a bishop and report to Rome, or a case could be referred to the metropolitan bishop of the region (a metropolitan is the bishop of the chief see of an ecclesiastical province, usually an archdiocese), who would oversee the investigation and send his findings to Rome. In either case, the pope would make a final determination of the fate of the bishop.

Not surprisingly, the latter option (first proposed by Cardinal Blase Cupich of Chicago) was the one favored by most American bishops and the Vatican. It decentralizes the work of investigating accusations. It avoids thorny practical questions about who chooses the members of the lay board. And, critically, it sidesteps the canonical “problem” of lay people in the church being placed in a position of authority over bishops.

The guidelines issued this spring by Pope Francis endorsed the “metropolitan plan.” At their June meeting in Baltimore, the American bishops adopted it, though with some debate over whether lay involvement in the process should be mandatory or optional. They made it optional.

Diocese of Tulsa speaks out after priest accused of sexual misconduct

TULSA (OK)
Channel 2 News

July 8, 2019

The Diocese of Tulsa is speaking out after allegations of sexual misconduct with a minor were levied against one of its priests.

The Catholic Diocese of Tulsa says Father Joe Townsend was on sabbatical one year ago, but it wasn't connected to the allegations.

The Diocese says Townsend denies the allegations. Townsend is on administrative leave, and no more information about the case will be released until the investigation is complete.

The Diocese says they will release a list of priests with credible accusations against them.

Michigan AG charges 6th priest with sex abuse

DETROiT (MI)
Detroit News

July 8, 2019

By Oralandar Brand-Williams

A sixth Catholic priest was charged Monday with criminal sexual conduct by Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel as part of an ongoing investigation.

The Rev. Joseph "Jack" Baker was arrested Monday morning in Wayne County by special agents from the Michigan Attorney General's Office. He was arraigned in 29th District Court and given a $500,000 personal bond.

Baker, who was released after the arraignment early Monday afternoon, was ordered by Judge Laura Mack to wear a tether.

Baker is charged with one count of first-degree criminal sexual conduct-sexual penetration with a person under the age of 13. His probable cause conference is scheduled for July 18 in 18th District Court in Westland and his preliminary examination is scheduled for July 25, also in 18th District Court.

Mack is recusing herself from further proceedings. No details were given early Monday afternoon as to why the judge is stepping aside from the case. Her actions are expected to be outlined later Monday when a recusal form is filled out and approved by 29th District Court.

Baton Rouge Diocese adds two more names to list of clergy accused of abuse

BATON ROUGE (LA)
The Advocate

July 7 , 2019

By Lea Skene

The Diocese of Baton Rouge on Sunday released two more additions to its list of Catholic clerics who have been credibly accused of sexual abuse, bringing the total now to 43.

Baton Rouge Bishop Michael Duca released the initial list in January, which included 37 names but has since been supplemented multiple times. Duca said from the beginning that it would evolve as other diocese release their own lists amid a nationwide push for transparency from church leaders.

The two names added Sunday to the Diocese of Baton Rouge's list are the Revs. Joseph Guidry and Robert Limoges. Dan Borné, a spokesman for the diocese, released the names in a statement to media Sunday.

Guidry was included in the abuse list that the Diocese of Jackson, Mississippi, released in March, and Limoges was included in the Diocese of Lafayette's list, which was made public in April.

Borné said neither faced credible accusations of abuse while serving within the Diocese of Baton Rouge but have been credibly accused in those other areas.

Lyon abuse priest removed from clerical state as scandal heads towards civil trial

LONDON (ENGLAND)
The Tablet

July 8, 2019

By Tom Heneghan

A Church court in France has removed from the clerical state Bernard Preynat, the former priest accused of sexual abuse by over 70 youths while they were under his supervision. Preynat’s activities are part of a major scandal that included a civil conviction for Lyon Cardinal Philippe Barbarin for failing to report him.

Preynat, 74, received "the maximum penalty provided by Church law" because of "the facts and their recurrence, the large number of victims" and his abuse of his authority as chief and chaplain of a boy scout troop, the Lyon ecclesiatical court said on 4 July.

He "can now devote himself more fully to studying each of the victims' claims for financial compensation," it added. More than 20 of his alleged victims have filed for damages of over 10,000 euros each.

Morning Bulletin: Accused Priest Steps Down

NEW YORK (NY)
West Side Rag

July 8, 2019

A priest accused of sexual abuse has stepped down. “Eight accusers have claimed they are victims of Monsignor John Paddack, who on Tuesday told parishioners at the Church of Notre Dame on W. 114th St. that he will be resigning his post there….“’Msgr. Paddack has written to his parishioners to tell them that, although he denies the allegations against him, for the good of the parish and the people, he has decided to step aside while the investigation into the allegation proceeds,’ Archdiocese spokesman Joe Zwilling told the Daily News.”

Redemption Song

RICHMOND (VIRGINIA)
Richmond Magazine

July 8, 2019

By Grady Trexler

Sonny Hoge, the outreach pastor at Celebration Church and Outreach Ministry, stands in the lobby with a multicolored bouquet in hand. It’s the night before Mother’s Day, and he’s handing a carnation to each woman who walks into the gymnasium where the church holds worship services. He’s greeting attendees and asking how their week went.

Every Saturday at 6 p.m., hundreds gather in this former flea market off Midlothian Turnpike for music, Scriptures and prayer. The churchgoers — a racially diverse mix of families and children, young adults, and older people — sit on folding chairs looking up at a stage with a huge sign spelling out “Jesus” in capital letters suspended above. Suits and ties have no place here; most attendees are clad in T-shirts and jeans. A man in a motorcycle jacket weaves through the crowd, shaking hands with everyone he meets.

Hoge’s presence signals a rejuvenation in the life of the church, which had faltered after its charismatic founder’s fall from grace several years ago. Like others drawn in by former pastor Geronimo Aguilar’s compelling vision of a place for people in need of a fresh start to connect with God, Hoge attended a service in 2004 and soon found himself immersed in the church’s mission of reaching out to Richmond’s low-income communities.

“I went one Saturday night, and I was hooked.” —Sonny Hoge, Celebration Church outreach pastor

Nearly a decade later, Aguilar’s arrest on charges of sexual abuse involving 11- and 13-year-old girls in Texas threatened to tear down everything that members such as Hoge had worked so hard to build. Attendance languished, finances dwindled, and Hoge left, unsure that he’d ever return.

Francisco: "Me gustaría visitar la Argentina el año próximo"

[Francis: "I would like to visit Argentina next year"]

ROME (ITALY)
La Nacion

July 7, 2019

By Joaquín Morales Solá

La intención del Pontífice es volver al país que lo vio nacer, aunque sea fugazmente; en Roma, reflexionan que "necesita que los dirigentes argentinos lo dejen ser papa" y aseguran que le dedica muy poco tiempo a las cuestiones políticas del país

"Me gustaría visitar la Argentina el año próximo". Esa será la única frase que el papa Francisco pronunciará sobre su país. ...

[GOOGLE TRANSLATION: The Pontiff's intention is to return to the country where he was born, albeit fleetingly. In Rome, they reflect that "he needs the Argentine leaders to let him be a Pope" and promise that he devotes very little time to the political issues of the country.

"'I would like to visit Argentina next year." That will be the only phrase that Pope Francis will pronounce on his country. ...]

Detroit priest removed by archdiocese because of 'credible' sexual abuse allegation

DETROIT (MI)
Free Press

July 7, 2019

By Kirkland Crawford

The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Detroit said Sunday that it removed a prominent priest from public ministry after reviewing what it described as a “credible allegation” that he had sexually abused a child decades ago.

The Rev. Eduard Perrone was suspended from ministry Friday, a month after The Associated Press began asking the pastor himself, the archdiocese and law enforcement authorities about a former altar boy’s allegations that Perrone had groped him.

Archdiocese officials told Perrone’s congregation at Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary Parish during services Sunday that members of the local archdiocese review board found a “semblance of truth” to the accusations, but that they are maintaining a presumption of innocence.

Some parishioners expressed shock when they heard, and one woman walked out of the service to gather herself outside. After Mass, a number of people stopped at the back of the church to ask questions of two archdiocesan officials and pick up a written statement about Perrone.

The pastor is prohibited from representing himself as a priest or wearing clerical attire while the Vatican reviews the allegations, the archdiocese said in the written statement.

The statement also said the archdiocese had reported the allegation to local law enforcement and the Michigan attorney general’s office. The attorney general’s office declined to comment last month, but it has an open investigation into clergy abuse in the Catholic Church in Michigan and charged five men who were priests with 21 counts of sexual misconduct in May.

The Detroit Archdiocese on Sunday added Perrone’s name to its list of dozens of credibly accused priests, many deceased. More than 140 religious orders and Roman Catholic dioceses have released similar lists. Most of those lists were either released or significantly updated since a Pennsylvania grand jury last summer detailed hundreds of cases of alleged abuse.

Perrone, who co-founded a nonprofit group called Opus Bono Sacerdotii in 2002 to support priests facing allegations of abuse or other problems, did not respond to requests for comment on Sunday. At the rectory where he lived, a woman who answered the door said there was “no way” to reach Perrone and asked a reporter to pray for the priest.

Last month, Perrone denied any wrongdoing when the AP asked him about the allegations that years ago, he would invite altar boys to his mother’s lake house where he would wrestle with them in the water for hours. At times, the wrestling turned to inappropriate grabbing and groping, said a former altar boy who spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity to protect his privacy.

Perrone said it was the first he heard of any allegations against him.

“Never inappropriate touching,” he said. “I never ever would have done such a thing.”

Robert Claffey, 76, is already serving more than a decade in prison

WARRNAMBOO (AUSTRALIA)
The Standard

July 8, 2019

By Karen Sweeney

A south-west pedophile priest has admitted to more offending, but his lawyer argues he shouldn't be given a longer jail sentence because he's already been vilified.

Robert Claffey, 76, is serving more than a decade in prison for sexual crimes against children, but on Monday he admitted abusing another two boys when he was a parish priest in Ballarat in the 1980s.

Claffey's previous offences happened in various western Victorian cities and towns, including Ballarat, Warrnambool, Apollo Bay and Portland, between 1970 and 1992.

Now, prosecutors have called for a lengthier non-parole period as Claffey's victim count rises.

But his lawyer appealed for his release date to remain the same because he's already been "hunted" by the media and vilified by the community after being moved from parish to parish by the Catholic Church while he offended.

One of the victims was aged between 12 and 15 at the time he was abused, the other was aged between six and seven.

Claffey was a priest at Our Lady Help of Christians Church in Wendouree and abused his first victim while providing counselling to the boy in his bedroom. He kissed, touched and abused the boy.

Then he used religion to ensure the boy's compliance, telling the teen that their talks were secret - like confession - and it would be a sin tell anyone.The younger boy was molested twice by Claffey.

July 7, 2019

Ampleforth head steps aside as inspection finds more safeguarding failures

LONDON (ENGLAND)
The Tablet

July 2, 2019

By Liz Dodd

Among the most serious criticisms made in the ISI report was that the school still did not implement its safeguarding policy effectively

Ampleforth College is in crisis after an inspection report found it was failing to reach child protection standards, and its acting head is stepping down.

The Tablet can reveal that Deirdre Rowe will be leaving after just ten months in post. The announcement of her departure, which a spokesperson for Ampleforth said was decided on in March, comes after a highly critical inspection report that found the school did not meet standards for safeguarding, leadership, behaviour, bullying and complaints handling.A leading Catholic independent school, once described as the "Catholic Eton", its former pupils include Conservative peer Julian Fellowes and actor Rupert Everett.

The inspection, a Progress Monitoring Visit, was unannounced and conducted in May at the request of the Department for Education (DfE) to check progress had been made on issues highlighted in a November visit, including safeguarding.

Indian cardinal says Curia reform will have ‘Francis effect’

DENVER (CO)
Crux

July 6, 2019

By Inés San Martín

Rome - Cardinal Oswald Gracias of Bombay, India, is one of Pope Francis’s closest advisers. He’s a member of the council of cardinals re-writing the Vatican’s constitution, and he was also tapped to be one of the four coordinators of a recent Church summit on the protection of minors.

Gracias told Crux said that the reorganization of the Roman Curia - the central government of the Catholic Church - will have a “Francis effect,” and have evangelization, service and charity as its three key pillars.

Crux spoke with Gracias on July 3 about the Vatican’s new constitution, a possible papal visit to India, and other issues. What follows are excerpts of that conversation.

Crux: You were in Rome last week for the meeting of the council of cardinals that advises the pope, and now you’re back. What brought you to the Eternal City this time?

Gracias: Several things, meetings … I’m participating in the anglophone meeting for the protection of minors that brings together English-speaking bishops from around the world. I also had a meeting at the Secretariat of State to follow up on the February meeting [the summit on sexual abuse.]

The pope recently issued two motu proprios that are connected to that meeting, which focused on the protection of minors. When will we see the next follow-up to that meeting?

We’ve had a few meetings already, and I hope that by the end of the year we’re going to have formalized our contributions. Some changes in canon law might still follow, and we also want to put more flesh on the pope’s motu proprio.

IICSA: Canon Bursell renews plea to Parliament to render seal of confession obsolete

LONDON (ENGLAND)
Church Times

July 4, 2019

By Hattie Williams

If children are to be protected, Parliament “must intervene” in the debate on the future of the seal of confession in the Church of England by changing civil law to introduce mandatory reporting, a former diocesan chancellor, Canon Rupert Bursell QC, has said.

Canon Bursell, who is retired, was giving evidence on Thursday morning to the final public hearing being conducted by the Independent Inquiry into Child Sex Abuse (IICSA) on the failures of Anglican Church to protect children from sexual abuse.

He was questioned in detail by the lead counsel to the Anglican investigation, Fiona Scolding QC, on the history of church doctrine surrounding the seal of confession since the Reformation, and the ongoing argument on whether the law should be amended to require all disclosures of abuse — by perpetrator or victim — are immediately reported to the statutory authorities. This is a subject on which he has expressed views to the inquiry before (News, 16 March 2018).

“I do believe that there should be a mandate that anything that leads to knowledge or reasonable suspicion of abuse, particularly child sexual abuse, should be outside the seal of the confessional,” Canon Bursell said.

Because of the doctrinal history of the seal, however, an amendment to the relevant canon, as the Anglican Church of Australia had done, while possible, would be “too complicated” and take “far too long” to address the urgency of child protection, he said. It had taken the General Synod “20 or 30 years” to ordain women to the priesthood and episcopate.

Could Pope Francis deliver yet another ‘July surprise’?

DENVER (CO)
Crux

July 6, 2019

By John L. Allen Jr.

Rome - Once upon a time, Rome in July was a tranquil place for those whose professional activities unfold in and around the vacation.

Popes suspended their audiences and left town, seeking to escape the brutal summer heat, so Vatican personnel and Vatican-watchers alike could while away leisurely days catching up on reading, taking long lunches and equally long naps, and just savoring la vita dolce. (Total honesty? Right now, I’m deeply nostalgic for those days.)

Famously, St. John Paul II had a swimming pool installed at his summer retreat in Castel Gandolfo outside Rome in 1979 so he could take dips in the dog days of July and August. When Pope emeritus Benedict XVI was elected in April 2005, one of the first items on his to-do list was to organize a summer vacation to Les Combes in Valle d’Aosta, in northern Italy by the Alps, that July.

Then, Pope Francis happened.

This energizer bunny of popes has laid waste to the old days of July as a time of lethargy and repose. Just consider what the month of July has brought over the last six years.

July 2013: A papal outing to Lampedusa to signal Francis’s solidarity with immigrants; World Youth Day in Brazil, including the “Who am I to judge” mother of all soundbites; and approval of a miracle clearing Pope John Paul II’s path to sainthood.

July 2014: Francis’s first meeting with victims of clerical sexual abuse; his second interview with Eugenio Scalfari, in which the nonagenarian Italian journalist had Francis basically saying that priestly celibacy is on the way out; and the first-ever papal visit to a Pentecostal church, one located in southern Italy and pastored by a friend from Argentina.

Could Pope Francis deliver yet another ‘July surprise’?

DENVER (CO)
Crux

July 6, 2019

By John L. Allen Jr.

Rome - Once upon a time, Rome in July was a tranquil place for those whose professional activities unfold in and around the vacation.

Popes suspended their audiences and left town, seeking to escape the brutal summer heat, so Vatican personnel and Vatican-watchers alike could while away leisurely days catching up on reading, taking long lunches and equally long naps, and just savoring la vita dolce. (Total honesty? Right now, I’m deeply nostalgic for those days.)

Famously, St. John Paul II had a swimming pool installed at his summer retreat in Castel Gandolfo outside Rome in 1979 so he could take dips in the dog days of July and August. When Pope emeritus Benedict XVI was elected in April 2005, one of the first items on his to-do list was to organize a summer vacation to Les Combes in Valle d’Aosta, in northern Italy by the Alps, that July.

Then, Pope Francis happened.

This energizer bunny of popes has laid waste to the old days of July as a time of lethargy and repose. Just consider what the month of July has brought over the last six years.

July 2013: A papal outing to Lampedusa to signal Francis’s solidarity with immigrants; World Youth Day in Brazil, including the “Who am I to judge” mother of all soundbites; and approval of a miracle clearing Pope John Paul II’s path to sainthood.

July 2014: Francis’s first meeting with victims of clerical sexual abuse; his second interview with Eugenio Scalfari, in which the nonagenarian Italian journalist had Francis basically saying that priestly celibacy is on the way out; and the first-ever papal visit to a Pentecostal church, one located in southern Italy and pastored by a friend from Argentina.

Priest at heart of French cardinal's cover-up trial is defrocked

PARIS (FRANCE)
La Croix International

July 5, 2019

By Céline Hoyeau

Bernard Preynat was found guilty of committing criminal sex acts against minors under 16 years of age

Bernard Preynat is no longer a priest, according to the verdict handed down on July 4 by the Archdiocese of Lyon ecclesiastical court.

The former French Scout chaplain of Sainte-Foy-lès-Lyon was accused of sexual assaults on more than 70 Scouts in the 1970s-1980s.

'Finally'

It's been years of waiting but the satisfaction is evident among Preynat's victims.

The development should have been taken more than 30 years ago, said Didier Bardiau, also kown as François Devaux, "with his first confession."

Preynat was "found guilty of committing criminal acts of a sexual nature against minors under 16 years of age" and dismissed from the clerical state.

This is "the maximum penalty provided for by Church law in such a case," said the ecclesiastical tribunal - made up of three priests - responsible for studying his criminal case, in its verdict.

It is justified, added the statement, "in view of the facts and their recurrence, the large number of victims, the fact that Father Bernard Preynat abused the authority conferred on him by his position within the Scout group he had founded and which he had led since its creation."

The procedure had been suspended for one year

Already suspended from all ministry and sacraments, Preynat, soon to be 75, has one month to appeal to the court of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

This decision comes after several years of twists and turns. Once the decision obtained from Rome had been lifted, the Archdiocese of Lyon had opened, at the request of the Vatican, an administrative canonical procedure.

But this one presented a double pitfall: The final decision was left to the Archbishop of Lyon, judge and party in the case; and it did not include the question of financial compensation.

For obscure reasons - the diocese claiming that it could not interfere with civil justice - the proceeding had been suspended for one year. It finally resumed in August 2018, this time with an independent ecclesiastical court and the possibility of paving the way for financial compensation.

On the importance of the internal forum and the inviolability of the sacramental seal

VATICAN CITY
Holy See Press Office

July 1, 2019

By Cardinal Mauro Piacenza

[Note: The following is the Google translation of the first paragraphs of the original Italian document.]

"With the Incarnation the Son of God has united in a certain way with every man"[1] ; with his gestures and his words, he illuminated his highest and inviolable dignity; in himself, dead and risen, he restored fallen humanity, overcoming the darkness of sin and death; to those who believe in him he opened the relationship with his Father; with the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, he consecrated the Church, a community of believers, as his true body and participated in his own prophetic, royal and priestly power, so that he would be in the world as the extension of his own presence and mission, announcing to the men of all times the truth, guiding them to the splendor of its light, allowing their life to be truly touched and transfigured.

In this time of human history so troubled, the growing techno-scientific progress does not seem to correspond to an adequate ethical and social development, but rather a real cultural and moral "involution" which, forgetting about God - if not hostile - becomes incapable to recognize and respect, in every sphere and at every level, the essential coordinates of human existence and, with them, of the very life of the Church.

"If technical progress does not correspond to progress in the ethical formation of man, in the growth of the interior man [...] , then it is not progress, but a threat to man and the world"[2] . Even in the field of private and mass-media communications the "technical possibilities" grow out of proportion, but not love for the truth, commitment to research, sense of responsibility before God and men; a worrying disproportion between means and ethics is outlined. Communicative hypertrophy seems to turn against the truth and, consequently, against God and against man; against Jesus Christ, God made man, and the Church, its historical and real presence.

A certain "craving" for information has spread in recent decades, almost regardless of their real reliability and opportunity, to the point that the "world of communication" seems to want to "replace" reality, both by conditioning perception and by manipulating its understanding . From this tendency, which can take on the disturbing traits of morbidity, unfortunately the ecclesial structure itself, which lives in the world and sometimes assumes the criteria, is not immune. Even among believers, frequently, precious energies are employed in the search for "news" - or real "scandals" - suited to the sensitivity of certain public opinion, with goals and objectives that certainly do not belong to the theandric nature of the Church. All this to the grave detriment of the announcement of the Gospel to every creature and the needs of the mission.

In fact, invoking the judgment of public opinion as the last tribunal, information of all kinds is made known too often, also concerning the most private and confidential spheres, which inevitably touch the life of the Church, induce - or at least favor - rash judgments unlawfully and irreparably damage the good reputation of others, as well as the right of every person to defend their intimacy (cf. can. 220 CIC). In this scenario, the words of Saint Paul to the Galatians sound particularly current: "For you, brothers, have been called to freedom. Provided this freedom does not become a pretext for living according to the flesh [...] . But if you bite and devour each other, look at least not to destroy each other completely "( Gal 5,13-15).

In this context, a certain worrying "negative prejudice" towards the Catholic Church seems to assert itself, whose existence is culturally presented and socially re-understood, on the one hand, in the light of the tensions that can occur within the same hierarchy and, on the other, starting from the recent scandals of abuse, horribly perpetrated by some members of the clergy. This prejudice, oblivious to the true nature of the Church, to its authentic history and to the real, beneficial incidence that it has always had and has in human life, sometimes translates into the unjustifiable "claim" that the Church herself, in certain matters, come to conform its own legal order to the civil systems of the states in which it finds itself living, as the only possible "guarantee of correctness and rectitude".

In the face of all this, the Apostolic Penitentiary considered it appropriate to intervene, with this Note , to reaffirm the importance and promote a better understanding of those concepts, typical of ecclesial and social communication, which today seem to have become more foreign to public opinion and sometimes to the same civil legal systems: the sacramental seal, the confidentiality inherent in the internal extra-sacramental forum, the professional secrecy, the criteria and the limits proper to any other communication.

Vatican says priests must defend seal of Confession ‘to the shedding of blood’

FRONT ROYAL (VA)
LifeSiteNews

July 5, 2019

By Diane Montagna

Rome - Priests are called to defend the seal of Confession even to the point of “shedding blood,” the Vatican has said amid increasing pressure from secular authorities to force clergy to reveal what they hear during the sacrament.

In a note released this week by the Apostolic Penitentiary (the tribunal of the Roman curia tasked with overseeing matters related to the internal forum), Cardinal Mauro Piacenza said “the confessor’s defense of the sacramental seal, if it were necessary usque ad sanguinis effusionem, represents not only an act of dutiful ‘loyalty’ towards the penitent, but much more: a necessary witness – a ‘martyrdom’ — given directly to the salvific uniqueness and universality of Christ and the Church,” i.e. to the sacredness of the sacrament.

Cardinal Piacenza, who serves as Major Penitentiary, said the Vatican tribunal considered it “urgent” to reaffirm the “importance” and promote “a better understanding” of the seal of confession, which today he said is “widely understood or even, in some cases, opposed.”

R.I. Catholic Diocese is asked: Where are the names of the other accused priests?

PROVIDENCE (RI)
Providence Journal

July 2, 2019

By Katherine Gregg

The diocese on Monday did not include the names of at least 45 priests accused of sexual assault in Rhode Island.

Providence - “Where are the rest?”

That was the question priest-abuse victim Ann Hagan Webb posed Monday after looking at the 50 names on the list of accused pedophiles the Roman Catholic Diocese of Providence made public that day.

A warrior in the successful fight to give Rhode Island’s sexual-abuse victims more time to sue, Webb knew the page number of the filing in a case titled Young V. Gelineau where the diocese told a court that the accusations in its files against “90-plus priests over a 35-year-period” would fill “100,000 to 130,000 pages of documents.”

The lawyers representing Bishop Thomas J. Tobin were seeking to convince the Rhode Island Supreme Court to relieve them of having to produce the “77-78 linear feet of documents” that Christopher Young’s lawyers were seeking “in the hopes of finding evidence of ‘cover-ups’ of alleged priest misconduct.”

In making the case why this would be hugely burdensome, the lawyers representing the bishop told the court: “The number of priests referenced in one way or another in the Diocese files was approximately 125,” but the number had since been “reduced to 95 by excluding priests who were not alleged to have committed sexual assaults.”

The math: The diocese on Monday did not include the names of at least 45 priests known to have been accused of sexual assault in Rhode Island.

Asked Tuesday why the Diocese did not name the 45 on the list of “credibly accused” priests, deacons and clergy the diocese published on its website Monday morning, spokeswoman Carolyn Cronin said: “In all prior instances where the Diocese has compiled lists of accused priests, it did so without regard to any assessment of credibility.”

Cork Bishop: 'Taoiseach needs to learn from 'sinning priest' comment'

CORK (IRELAND)
BreakingNews.ie

July 7, 2019

The new Bishop of Cork and Ross has said that Taoiseach Leo Varadkar needs to learn from comments he made about Fianna Fáil leader, Micheál Martin.

During a Dáil debate this week, the Taoiseach said the opposition leader reminds him of a priest who preaches then sins behind the altar.

Leo Varadkar subsequently apologised for the remarks.

Bishop Fintan Gavin said the Taoiseach needs to be respectful of victims of abuse who were also offended by his comments.

Ottawa-area priest found guilty of sexually abusing boys in 1960s and '70s

OTTAWA (CANADA)
CBC

July 5, 2019

By Paola Loriggio

An Ottawa-area priest preyed on vulnerable teens, luring them with sports and alcohol as he gratified his sexual desires, an Ontario court said last week in finding him guilty of sexual assault-related charges linked to incidents in the 1960s and '70s.

In 2017, William McGrory was charged with indecent assault and gross indecency — outdated offences that no longer exist in the Criminal Code — in connection with three complainants, but court documents say one of them died, prompting two counts of the offences to be dropped.

McGrory pleaded not guilty and his lawyers argued that his accusers, identified only as J.B. and R.G., were not credible because there were inconsistencies in their accounts.

During a seven-day trial before a judge alone that began in April, court heard the boys, now in their 60s, had difficult family situations and grew close to McGrory, who was involved in church youth groups. The priest would play football and hockey with them, then drink alcohol with them afterward, court heard.

Prominent Detroit priest removed from pulpit

DETROIT (MI)
Associated Press

July 7, 2019

The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Detroit said Sunday that it removed a prominent priest from public ministry after reviewing what it described as a “credible allegation” that he had sexually abused a child decades ago.

The Rev. Eduard Perrone was suspended from ministry Friday, a month after The Associated Press began asking the pastor himself, the archdiocese and law enforcement authorities about a former altar boy’s allegations that Perrone had groped him.

Archdiocese officials told Perrone’s congregation at Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary Parish during services Sunday that members of the local archdiocese review board found a “semblance of truth” to the accusations, but that they are maintaining a presumption of innocence.

Some parishioners expressed shock when they heard, and one woman walked out of the service to gather herself outside. After Mass, a number of people stopped at the back of the church to ask questions of two archdiocesan officials and pick up a written statement about Perrone.

The pastor is prohibited from representing himself as a priest or wearing clerical attire while the Vatican reviews the allegations, the archdiocese said in the written statement.

The statement also said the archdiocese had reported the allegation to local law enforcement and the Michigan attorney general’s office. The attorney general’s office declined to comment last month, but it has an open investigation into clergy abuse in the Catholic Church in Michigan and charged five men who were priests with 21 counts of sexual misconduct in May.

It’s a sin to tar the good name of all priests

LONDON (ENGLAND)
Sunday Times

July 7, 2019

By David Quinn

Taoiseach’s gaffe reveals how the image of church leaders as hypocrites has been drilled into the Irish psyche without question

While I am having a pint with a couple of people in a city-centre pub one evening, a fellow comes up to me and announces: “I want you to know that you are the worst person in Ireland and I hope you have a horrible, horrible life.”

My two companions are shocked but not entirely surprised. One of the hazards of being a columnist is that from time to time you will be spotted by someone who hates your guts — and wants you to know it. The chances of this happening go up when your views are, well, unfashionable.

Sunday Sit-Down With William Lori, Archbishop of Baltimore and Apostolic Administrator of the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston

WHEELING (WV)
The Intelligencer

July 7, 2019

Archbishop William Lori of Baltimore, apostolic administrator of the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston. Lori led the investigation into the former bishop in West Virginia, Michael Bransfield.

Editor’s note: Fallout from the 13-year tenure of former Wheeling-Charleston Diocese bishop Michael Bransfield continues, as an investigative report leaked last month details excessive spending by the bishop and sexual harassment of priests and seminarians. Archbishop William Lori of Baltimore is currently serving as apostolic administrator in West Virginia, and was charged by Pope Francis with leading the investigation into Bransfield’s time in West Virginia.

Lori faces potential conflicts of his own with the investigation, as he was one of a number of priests to receive upward of $350,000 from Bransfield — money that then was reimbursed to the former bishop through diocesan funds. Lori sat down with the Sunday News-Register last week in Baltimore to talk about the church in West Virginia and its future, his investigation, the issues that have been raised with how the report was handled and the reforms he’s putting in place for the next bishop.

– The Catholic Church in West Virginia has had a challenging year, as fallout from the tenure of former bishop Michael Bransfield continues. There’s been a finding of excessive spending; credible allegations of sexual harassment of young priests; alleged kickbacks and overpayment of doctors at Wheeling Hospital that now has the hospital — and thus the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston, which is its owner — the subject of a federal lawsuit from the U.S. attorney in Pittsburgh; the closing of diocesan schools. All of these things and others happened during Bishop Michael Bransfield’s 13 years in West Virginia. In your opinion, what is Michael Bransfield’s legacy in West Virginia?

Archbishop Lori: You mentioned a lot of very difficult things that happened under his tenure during his time as bishop of Wheeling-Charleston. Those are difficult things, and those things will unfortunately be part of his legacy. I would like to make a distinction, though, between the things that pertain to his own personal comportment and style as a bishop, which pertain to him personally, as opposed to the things that the bishop faced in trying to administer the diocese. With regard to his own person, the things that are roiling us all now are, indeed, the overspending, his own personal behavior, the lack of controls — those kinds of things are very troubling to people, and those are the things we hope the new bishop will address.

But there are other things that every bishop has to worry about, and one of them is sustaining Catholic schools when the enrollment goes down. Administering a hospital in this day and age is a very challenging business for anyone; while there is a lawsuit underway, I might mention that we have new management at the hospital, I might also mention that it’s a really great hospital. It didn’t get that way (by accident); it’s really a good hospital because there’s been a lot of care and attention given to it, and it’s a major employer there in Wheeling.

So the bishop, like every bishop, he had to face some challenges, like every bishop he did some very good things in the diocese but unfortunately I think the things that showed energy and vision have been in some sense really undermined by issues of personal behavior. That’s most regrettable.

– The legacy Michael Bransfield leaves behind — the spending, the sexual harassment allegations, let’s focus on those in particular because those issues are what prompted you now to oversee the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston as its apostolic administrator — what was the damage done to the Diocese and the faithful in West Virginia by these actions?

Catholic priest under investigation

BARTLESVILLE (OK)
Examiner Enterprise

July 7, 2019

By Roseanne McKee

On Friday, Father John O’Neill, Pastor of St. John Before the Latin Gate, in Bartlesville alerted parishioners on the parish website’s News and Events page that a former priest, Joe Townsend, who had served at St. John Before the Latin Gate in 1995-96, has been placed on administrative leave following a report of sexual misconduct with a minor. The parish website post, which may be found online at https://www.stjohn-bartlesville.org/news-and-events, is entitled “Fr. John’s Comments About the Most Recent Statement from the Diocese.”

St. John is a Parish of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Tulsa, where Townsend, currently serves.

In his website post, O’Neill asked parishioners to report any abuse to authorities.

He wrote: “I am asking that if anyone has knowledge of abuse of a minor either in this case or by any other person affiliated with the Catholic Church, please first call the DHS statewide Abuse Hotline, 800-522-3511. They will direct you in further steps. I would ask that you report it to local law enforcement.

“To report knowledge of any abuse in this case, you should also call the Pastoral Response Hotline at 918-307-4970. If you are more comfortable reporting anything through me , you may call me at 918-336-4353 x 150 to begin the process of reporting abuse within the diocese. Please know that I am available to assist you in this.”

Fight over ‘enormous task’ of collecting clothing donations divides a N.J. church

NEWARK (NJ)
Star Ledger

July 7, 2019

By Kelly Heyboer

A Bergen County church ministry that collected nearly 300 tons of clothing and household goods each year for the needy in New Jersey and around the world may have been too good at its mission.

Supporters say Catholic Church officials abruptly removed a clothing collection bin at St. Andrew’s Parish in Westwood last month and stripped local control of the charity from parishioners without warning in a move that has sparked a fight within the parish.

“We’ve helped millions of people around the world and they shut it down in a day,” said Greg Ryan, the longtime head of the parish’s Human Concerns Ministry.

Ryan said he arrived at the church recently to find the clothing donation bin in the parking lot, which often had to be emptied daily because of the program’s popularity in the area, had a sign saying it would no longer accept donations.

NY priest who supports LGBT rights just got himself suspended

Patheos blog

July 7, 2019

By Barry Duke

FATHER John Duffell would certainly have had a black mark placed against him when, in 2011, he told an aspiring young priest to lie about his sexuality.

It happened at a Catholic conference on sexuality held at Fordham University, New York. Duffel told delegates that “the church is perhaps the only way of affecting change in the world”, but added: “The church is not perfect.”

To an audience member who asked, in writing, how he should deal with the feeling that he is “broken” after being told he cannot enter the priesthood because he is gay, Duffell answered:

You’re not broken, the system is broken, and therefore you deal with it as a broken system; you lie.

Then the priest, a friend of pop star Lady Gaga, attended an LGBT fundraiser in his church hall in 2017. His parish’s Gay Fellowship partnered with the Born This Way Foundation, an LGBT-rights group founded by Lady Gaga, to hold a dance at the Blessed Sacrament Church.

Matthew Cullinan Hoffman, writing for LifeSiteNews, exploded:

Under the leadership of Cardinal Dolan, the Archdiocese of New York has become ever more involved with homosexual activism that openly contradicts Catholic doctrine on human sexuality and even celebrates behavior that the Church condemns as deeply sinful and ‘intrinsically disordered.’

Well, as the saying goes, revenge is a dish best eaten cold, and Duffell has been indefinitely suspended from ministry after a canonical penal process found him guilty of serial sexual misconduct.

Gardai probe claims of clerical sex abuse at north inner city hostel of horrors

DUBLIN (IRELAND)
Dulbin Live

July 7, 2019

By Sylvia Pownall

Gardai probing a hostel for boys which operated in the 1960s and 1970s believe they’ve uncovered a paedophile ring run by clerics.

The half-way house – which opened under the name “The Boys Club” – is the subject of an investigation by officers attached to the Sexual Crime Management Unit.

One former resident, who has come forward to give a detailed statement, outlined how “hundreds” of priests visited the hostel on Eccles Street in Dublin’s north inner city.

They included evil predator Brendan Smyth, who is suspected of abusing more than 140 children over a 40-year period.

The man, now in his 60s, says he was raped at the age of 15 by a senior cleric who frequented the hostel and later took him on a “retreat”.

July 6, 2019

Catholic Priest Arrested In Kerala For Sexually Abusing Minor Boys

MUMBAI (INDIA)
India Times

July 7, 2019

By Bobins Abraham

In a shocking case, the Kerala Police have arrested a Catholic priest for allegedly sexually abusing nearly half a dozen boys.

The priest, identified as Father George, alias Jerry was arrested on Sunday from Perumbadom in Ernakulam district.

According to police Fr. George was the director of boys home, which sheltered children from poor and broken families.

He was arrested on Sunday morning based on the complaint of some of the parents.

What is even more shocking is that Fr. George had been sexually abusing the boys for over six months and nobody including other victims knew about it.

It was during a conversation between a few of the boys they realized that they were not the priest's only victim.

Longtime friends speak out in defense of Pennsylvania priest accused of abuse

ALTOONA (PA)
Tribune Democrat

July 6, 2019

By Dave Sutor

Donald Dusza, Tony Stopka, Frank Wyland, Shari Stopka and Sam Piccioni grew up together, attended Bishop Carroll High School together, traveled together and shared life's joys and sorrows together.

And now, the longtime friends are standing together as one of them faces a serious, life-changing, potentially damning accusation.

Dusza was pastor of Prince of Peace parish in Northern Cambria until late last month, when Roman Catholic Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown Bishop Mark Bartchak placed him on leave from public ministry. An allegation of sexual abuse – reportedly to have taken place in the 1980s – had been made against the 63-year-old Twin Rocks native.

The Stopkas and Wyland met at Piccioni's house in Ebensburg to talk about the allegation they say is incompatible with the person they have known for decades.

“Over 50 years, we retained a friendship,” Tony Stopka said. “That's a friendship that's lasted through going to separate colleges, either staying local or leaving the area for significant times.

Another View: Government turns its back on billionaire’s sex-abuse victims

PORTLAND (ME)
Press Herald

July 6, 2019

Prosecutors broke the law when they negotiated an agreement that allowed Jeffrey Epstein to avoid a trial, and the deal should be thrown out.

Private lawyers allowed sexual predator Jeffrey Epstein to escape justice. Epstein’s new defense team works for the federal government.

Billionaire money manager Jeffrey Epstein, center, in 2008, could have faced life in prison if federal prosecutors had pursued sex-crimes charges against him. Tribune News Service/Uma Sanghvi, The Palm Beach Post

The U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Georgia claimed last week that even though prosecutors in South Florida broke the law when they approved an outrageously light sentence for Epstein, the deal must stand. Byung Pak may not actually be on Epstein’s legal team, but he has placed the Department of Justice on Epstein’s side.

To review, Epstein is a billionaire money manager whose friends include President Trump, former President Bill Clinton and Prince Andrew. Between 1998 and 2006, Epstein recruited roughly three dozen underage girls – generally from poor and troubled families – to his house in Palm Beach and sexually abused them.

Epstein could have faced federal sex trafficking charges. He could have faced life in prison. Instead, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida – Alex Acosta, now Trump’s labor secretary – gave Epstein immunity on federal charges and allowed him to plead guilty to minor state charges. Then-Palm Beach County State Attorney Barry Krischer went along. Epstein served 13 months in jail – he was allowed out about half the time – and had to register with the state as a sex offender.

Sex in God’s house

LONDON (ENGLAND)
The Guardian blog

July 5, 2019

By Bob Majiri Oghene Etemiku

Over the past six months, we experienced several embarrassing incidents related to our Christian places of worship. It is fast becoming an epidemic now. In my own place, two girls became pregnant in the choir.

Prior to that, the youth leader had impregnated someone. His punishment was a seat at the back of the church but he regained his position after he eventually married the girl he impregnated. The two girls, the one less than 18 had just completed her WAEC and had been looking for help with school fees. According to her, the fellow who impregnated her made a promise to her to send her to school even after she gives birth. We cannot at the time of writing this if she ever approached the church authorities for assistance with her school fees before she fell into the arms of that wolf. The second girl’s case is a bit odd because unlike the first girl, you would take her for a much-matured woman who would probably understand the wiles of men and would likely have the experience to deflect them. However, what is curious in both cases is that both men have bolted: both have their phones switched off. Prior to the Biodun Fatoyinbo, some tongues could not help but wag.

We need women to serve as pastors and leaders

CAPE GIRARDEAU (MO)
Southeastern Missourian

July 6, 2019

By Tyler Tankersley

The Houston Chronicle recently featured a heartbreaking series of articles that catalogued decades of abuse and cover-up by Southern Baptist pastors across the country. In the past two decades there have been over 700 instances of sexual abuse in Southern Baptist churches. And we have heard stories that have plagued the Roman Catholic church of abusive priests who have been protected by their superiors rather than prosecuted for their crimes.

While no denominational body is immune to instances of abuse, the Roman Catholic Church and the Southern Baptist Convention seem to be the organizations that had the most high-profile instances of abuse. Interestingly, the Catholic Church and the Southern Baptist Convention also happen to be the largest denominational organizations in the world that have something in common: Both of them prohibit women from serving as pastoral leaders. This is almost certainly a cause of correlation, but I also wonder if there is some causation at work, as well.

While it is encouraging to see both the Roman Catholic Church and the Southern Baptist Convention beginning to take some steps toward preventing further abuse, I wonder if these actions will go far enough. These actions took place in the context of a highly male-dominated theological construct and unless that construct itself is being called into question, I fear that very little will actually change.

Morrisey blasts Diocese for amended motion

CHARLESTON (WV)
The Inter-Mountain

July 6, 2019

By Steven Allen Adams

West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey had harsh words this week for the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston after it filed an amended motion to dismiss a case Morrisey brought against it.

The diocese filed an amended motion to dismiss the civil suit filed in March in Wood County Circuit Court accusing the diocese and former bishop Michael Bransfield of knowingly hiring pedophiles and not conducting background checks on employees in diocese’ schools and summer camps.

The original lawsuit, accusing the diocese of violating the West Virginia Consumer Credit and Protection Act, said the diocese had clergy and employees accused of sexual misconduct with children in Wood, Ohio, Brooke and Hancock counties. The civil complaint also accuses the diocese of not disclosing these issues to parents.

“The diocese did not issue its list of credibly accused priests until after issuance of our first investigative subpoena in fall 2018, and continues to demonstrate a pattern of concealing information until external pressure from our office and the media forces its hand,” Morrisey said.

In May, Morrisey amended the complaint to add additional evidence and additional breaches of the Consumer Credit and Protection Act. The diocese first filed a motion to dismiss the case in April, stating Morrisey lacks legal authority under the Consumer Credit and Protection Act to sue the diocese.

“Our lawsuit chronicles the diocese’s decades-long pattern of concealing criminal behavior of priests as it relates to sexual abuse of children, while it advertised its schools and camps as safe learning environments,” Morrisey said.

In Wednesday’s filing, attorneys for the diocese wrote that Morrisey’s amended complaint doesn’t change anything. The diocese believes Morrisey has no authority to file suit and accuses Morrisey of using the Consumer Credit and Protection Act to violate the separation of church and state.

“The amended complaint does not cure the deficiencies noted in the motion to dismiss…It compounds them,” according to a memorandum filed along with the amended motion to dismiss.

“Riddled with continuing misleading and egregious factual inaccuracies, the amended complaint does not save the case from dismissal,” the memorandum stated. “Rather, it expressly demonstrates that (Morrisey) would have this court bless an erroneous use of the West Virginia Consumer Credit and Protection Act for the statutorily unauthorized purpose of regulating Catholic schools.”

Tulsa priest placed on leave amid sexual misconduct investigation

TULSA (OK)
Tulsa World

July 5, 2019

By Andrea Eger

The Diocese of Tulsa and Eastern Oklahoma announced Friday that a local priest has been placed on leave amid an investigation of an allegation of sexual misconduct with a minor.

The Rev. Joe Townsend, who was ordained in May 1988 according to the diocese’s website, is under internal investigation conducted by “professional third-party investigators,” which will be reviewed by a board of lay people, the Diocesan Review Board, stated Harrison Garlick, chancellor and attorney for the Tulsa diocese.

It was unclear from a Friday afternoon press release whether any related law enforcement investigation is underway. When asked, Dave Crenshaw, a spokesman for the diocese told the Tulsa World “out of respect to both the accused and alleged victim, the press release is all we can share until the investigation is complete.”

NY priest who raised funds for Lady Gaga non-profit accused of sexual coercion

DENVER (CO)
Catholic News Agency

July 5, 2019

A New York priest who told a prospective seminarian to lie to Church officials about his sexuality has been removed from active ministry after allegations of coercive sexual misconduct.

“I write to share some unpleasant and somber news concerning Father John Duffell, your just retired parish administrator,” Cardinal Timothy Dolan wrote in a July 1 letter to parishioners of New York’s Blessed Sacrament Parish.

“Father Duffell has been directed not to publicly exercise his priestly ministry due to an allegation from the past that he abused his position of authority in a violation of his promise of celibacy.”

“The allegation was made first to the District Attorney, and then brought to our attention. This allegation involves an adult; it does not involve a minor. It is important that the archdiocese take such allegations seriously,” Dolan wrote.

A source close to the priest told CNA that the allegation involved serial misconduct over a period of years.

Dolan's letter said that as the matter is being investigated, “Father Duffell’s rights under canon (church) law are being protected, and he had the opportunity to defend himself during a penal process that the archdiocese initiated. He also has the presumption of innocence of the allegation. He and his advocate had the opportunity to review all of the evidence and respond to it.”

July 5, 2019

Bishop Bransfield’s ‘Gifts’ to Vatican Officials: Were They Ethical?

DENVER (CO)
National Catholic Register

July 5, 2019

By Edward Pentin

As more reports emerge of donations and gifts received by several high-ranking Vatican officials from retired West Virginia Bishop Michael Bransfield, how licit were these gifts and what are the Vatican’s regulations on receiving donations?

Last month, The Washington Post reported that several Vatican cardinals and bishops received checks from Bishop Bransfield, former bishop of Wheeling-Charleston, who distributed $350,000 in total to 11 high-ranking Church leaders. Bishop Bransfield is currently under investigation for sexual harassment of adults and financial misconduct.

None of the checks are reported to have had conditions or favors attached, and the Vatican officials have not been accused of acting illicitly. But several of those in receipt of such donations have now pledged to return the money after Bishop Bransfield was accused of serially sexually harassing or coercing seminarians and young priests and misusing diocesan funds on a lavish lifestyle that included $2.4 million spent on travel and $4.6 million on renovations of his residence.

The Post said it was not clear — from documents it had obtained — why Bishop Bransfield gave the gifts. The funds apparently derived from a wealthy New York heiress who left a large tract of land in West Texas to the diocese in the late 1800s. Decades later, oil was discovered on the land, leading to diocesan income from mineral rights that would average nearly $15 million a year.

Diocese paid nearly $11 million in abuse settlements, legal fees

PITTSBURGH (PA)
Post Gazette

July 5, 2019

By Peter Smith

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh has spent $10.8 million on victim compensation and legal fees related to sexual abuse by clergy over nearly three decades.

It has also spent roughly $5 million more toward a minimum but livable compensation for priests suspended for abuse.

That’s according to a financial accounting released this week as pledged by Bishop David Zubik earlier this year in a pastoral letter on the sexual-abuse crisis that flared locally after the release in August of a statewide grand jury report on six dioceses, including Pittsburgh.

The grand jury alleged abuse by more than 90 Pittsburgh priests across seven decades, many of whose names had not been made public before the report.

“The ultimate impact of child sexual abuse is ongoing suffering endured by the victims-survivors — the toll taken on their faith and their capacity to trust and to love,” he said in a statement. “Catholics and the public have a right to know what the church has done to respond, and to see that we have sought for many years to provide assistance to victims.”

The total payments are low compared to those of many dioceses nationwide, some of which have paid in the nine figures and filed for bankruptcy. Catholic entities in the United States have paid an estimated $3 billion in settlements since the 1980s. The Pittsburgh diocese has a current Catholic population of more than 600,000 across six counties.

The Pittsburgh figure is likely to rise due to an ongoing out-of-court victim-compensation program set up by the diocese.

One major factor keeping Pittsburgh’s figure low has been Pennsylvania’s statute of limitations, which has largely shielded dioceses from litigation over long-ago offenses of the type that have led some in other states to file for bankruptcy.

RI non-profit group asks Bishop Tobin to release 'secret files'

PROVIDENCE (RI)
WJAR NBC 10 NEWS

July 2, 2019

There's more fallout a day after the Diocese of Providence released a list of credibly accused members of the clergy.

Some are saying more needs to be done and are urging the diocese for more transparency.

“We are not satisfied with just a list,” Dr. Robert M. Hoatson, who is the co-founder and president of Road to Recovery, Inc., said. “We want the assignment histories of all of these priests and deacons listed very, very carefully.”

Road to Recovery is a non-profit group that helps victims of sexual abuse. Hoatson, who is a former priest and a sexual abuse survivor himself, is calling on Bishop Thomas J. Tobin to release all files, including the "secret" files, for every clergymen who has been credibly accused of sexually abusing of children, teenagers, or vulnerable adults.

Boston-based attorney Mitchell Garabedian, who was portrayed in the movie “Spotlight,” shared similar sentiments.

“It is time for the Diocese of Providence to practice full transparency and accountability by listing the names of all credibly accused priests and by releasing all documents in its files indicating the extent of the cover up and the complicity of supervising priests,” Garabedian noted in a statement.

Statute of limitations removed for child sex abuse cases in Tennessee

NASHVILLE (TN)
WZTV FOX 17 News

July 2, 2019

By Nikki Junewicz

It was an emotional day inside the State Capitol as House Bill 565 was signed into law by Governor Lee. It removes the statute of limitations for child sex abuse cases in Tennessee.

Among those there to witness the historic moment were four of the survivors who fought for its passage. They say this is a day they've been waiting for their entire lives.

For many of us, thinking back on our childhoods is nostalgic and happy. But for victims of sexual abuse, a trip down memory lane, brings heartache, pain, confusion, resentment.

Tina Bland-Ullery, Joanna Yoder, Donna Coulter, and Amanda Cormier first met at the signing, but they share an important bond. Each has ties to Tennessee and was abused as a child.

"I was raised in a very strict Mennonite community over in Pulaski and was sexually abused from the time I was three from the time until I was 21 by five members of my community," explained Yoder.

Coulter, who's from La Vergne, says her assailant was her father.

Motion to keep documents secret raises concerns with church sex abuse victims

NEW ORLEANS (LA)
WVUE Fox 8

July 1, 2019

By Amanda Roberts

Every time Morris Daniels talks about the abuse he says received at the hands of defrocked deacon George Brignac, it’s clearly a painful experience.

“When you’re a victim of this, it never goes away it doesn’t fizzle away,” Daniels said.

Daniels settled with the church in March regarding the abuse at Holy Rosary in the 1980s. Part of the agreement meant keeping the settlement amount secret. But Daniels said he explicitly refused to sign a gag order.

“I told them from the beginning to have my real face, my real name, my real story. I’m not John Doe, I’m Morris Daniels and I’m a victim of Deacon Brignac," he said.

And that’s why Daniels said a new motion filed in connection to a different case infuriates him so much.

The victim -- known only as John Doe -- is suing the Catholic Church and defrocked deacon George Brignac. His attorneys want to have all documents from the Archdiocese relating to settlements, compromises and/or payments of abuse claims dating back to 2002.

However, attorneys with the church claim that those documents contain confidential, private information related both to Brignac and other third parties. Now, church attorneys have filed a motion granting them the right to keep those documents secret.

Legal analyst Bobby Hjortsberg said while this is a standard legal proceeding, it doesn’t look good.

“I can see why people would think the Archdiocese is trying to hide things. The Archdiocese has made settlement agreements with other defendants, and in those agreements there’s been an agreement not to discuss terms, and some things this case is seeking is terms of those settlement agreements,” Hjortsberg said.

Want people to leave the church? Try this.

Patheos blog

July 5, 2019

By Deacon Greg Kandra

Incredible:

Retired priest Ulrich Zurkuhlen caused consternation in the city of Münster, northwest Germany, when he dedicated his sermon to the concept of forgiving priests who had sexually abused minors.

Zurkuhlen’s remarks come at a difficult time for the Roman Catholic Church, as it grapples with continued allegations, from various parts of the world, of priests’ predatory conduct and church attempts to cover it up.

In 2018, the German Bishops’ Conference published a report revealing that 1,670 priests, roughly 4.4% of clerics, had abused 3,677 people between 1946 and 2014 in Germany.

The controversial sermon took place in the Holy Spirit Church of Münster. The internet portal Kirche-und-Leben.de (Church and Life) reported that parishioners were incensed, with some 70 members of the congregation walking out in protest.

Several parishioners reportedly interrupted the 79-year-old Zurkuhlen and tried to argue with him. A worshipper told Kirche-und-Leben that the situation became chaotic and the priest was not able to finish the sermon.

Victims of abuse were said to have been present as the priest spoke.

In an interview with Kirche-und-Leben.de, Zurkuhlen griped about the fact that even bishops refer to predator priests as “criminals,” despite the fact that these men were also good clerics in their communities.

Pope accused of ignoring sex abuse priest’s ‘terrifying dossier’

Patheos blog

July 5, 2019

By Barry Duke

THE Vatican’s third most powerful prelate, Archbishop Peña Parra – pictured above with Pope Francis – was never subjected to an ‘open and thorough investigation’ for ‘troubling accusations’ of sex abuse that date back decades.

The accusations even suggest that he and another Catholic priest had been implicated in the death of two people in Venezuela but never faced prosecution.

The accusation was made this week by Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, a former papal ambassador to the US. Viganò said the high-ranking prelate was not investigated despite the existence of what he calls a “terrifying dossier” sent to Pope Francis that gives names and dates regarding his alleged misbehaviour.

Viganò states that one accusation, involving Peña Parra seducing two candidates for a seminary in 1990, was reported by the alleged victims’ parents to the police, and the veracity of the accusations were confirmed in writing to the Secretariat of State by both the rector of the major seminary and by seminary’s spiritual director.

Viganò told the Post that “I have seen these documents with my own eyes,” and that the documentation as well as that pertaining to other accusations should still be on file in the Holy See:

If it has not been destroyed.

Parra, who was installed in October of last year as the Substitute of the Secretariat of State, the second in charge of the most influential Vatican dicastery, has been under a cloud of suspicion following reports in the Italian media in 2018 of an investigation made by his bishop in the 1980s regarding accusations of homosexuality made against him anonymously.

However, the accusations mentioned by Archbishop Viganò are far more serious, including sexual predation against seminarians, adultery, and even a deadly sex game. He asserted:

This might even be a scandal surpassing that of McCarrick, and it must not be allowed to be covered by silence.

Tulsa priest put on administrative leave after allegation of sexual misconduct with minor

TULSA (OK)
News Channel 2

July 5, 2019

A Tulsa priest has been placed on Administrative Leave by the Diocese of Tulsa and Eastern Oklahoma.

In a statement released by Harrison Garlick, Chancellor and in-House Counsel, it was stated: As the head of the Diocese of Tulsa & Eastern Oklahoma, Bishop Konderla is fully committed to the Policies & Procedures for the Protection of Children & Young People. As part of that commitment, Bishop Konderla has placed Father Joe Townsend, a priest of the Diocese, on administrative leave due to a non-frivolous allegation of sexual misconduct with a minor.

According to the statement, Father Joe Townsend is presumed innocent. He is fully cooperating with the investigation and denies all allegations of misconduct.

The Diocese is asking anyone with knowledge or concerns to come forward at this time.

Persons are invited to contact local law enforcement and call the diocesan Pastoral Hotline at (918) 307-4970.

Callers to the hotline may leave messages anonymously, if preferred.

The Diocese of Tulsa and Eastern Oklahoma say that out of respect for the accused and the alleged victim, no further details will be released until the investigation is complete.

Utah, Arizona dismiss bar complaints against LDS Church lawyer who gave advice on when to report sex abuse

SALT LAKE CITY (UT)
Salt Lake Tribune

July 5, 2019

By Nate Carlisle

In a case that highlighted when lay clergy within The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints might report sex abuse, the agencies that regulate attorneys in Utah, Arizona and California have dismissed complaints a prosecutor filed against a lawyer representing the Utah-based faith.

Arizona’s was the last bar association to dismiss the complaint filed against Joseph Osmond, a lawyer with the Salt Lake City firm of Kirton McConkie. In an April 29 letter, a senior counsel for the State Bar of Arizona wrote that the case had been investigated and staff determined “no probable cause exists for the filing of a formal complaint."

“The charges have, therefore, been dismissed.”

The letter was addressed to the complainant, James Schoppmann, chief deputy of the Mohave County Attorney’s Office in Kingman, Ariz. Schoppmann, who shared the letter and similar notices from the Utah and California bars with The Salt Lake Tribune, had complained that Osmond gave legal advice in a state where he was not licensed to practice, and that advice caused a case of child sexual abuse to go unreported for a time.

Court documents allege a now-teen was sexually abused from 2006 through April 2016. In January 2018, a grand jury in Mohave County indicted one of the teen’s parents on four felony counts related to abuse. Then, in April 2018, another grand jury indicted the second parent on one felony count of child abuse and two felony counts of failure to report child abuse.

Is Reform Possible, Within the Current Institutional Structure of the Church?

Patheos blog

July 5, 2019

By William M. Shea

Is true and sweeping reform possible under the current government structure of the church? I think not. After all, the first revelation of the spate of crimes took place in 1985, thirty-five years ago. The essential facts were set before the American bishops at the time and they declined to accept the report. They would not discuss the matter. In the Dallas charter of 2002 bishops pointed their reform efforts at priests and ignored their own crimes. For any ordained church leader, low or high, to even suggest a change in clerical authority itself is to make himself a parish. The structure has been many times made a matter of dogma, including at Vatican II. Yet the damage hasn’t ceased and that is the failure of church leaders. The Vatican’s “cone of silence” squashed even the question of any limit to ordained leadership, not to mention serious public discussion of it.

Lack of support

Despite an occasional effort, bishops have been unable or unwilling to provide communal support for priests that might sustain their efforts at moral probity and deep spiritual life. Some of this may rest on the lack of spiritual depth and maturity on the part of bishops themselves. It would seem that they do not regard themselves as ministering to priests in spite of official Church rhetoric. Priests have very little if any spiritual community, especially with their bishops. In my own experience in the priesthood I had a five minute discussion with bishops only twice in nineteen years, once to ask for a transfer from a parish (1964) and once when I was resigning (1979), and never with anyone one of the dozen New York auxiliary bishops. When I was desperate at the end of a fifteen year wrestling with celibacy I had to turn to a Jesuit spiritual director for council. I never got the impression that any New York bishop was interested in helping priests.

The tragedy of clerical life is not American alone, but is shared by the Irish church as well, and the churches in Canada, Poland, Germany, the Netherlands, Australia, Chili and probably the churches worldwide, over the same sins of priests and the same episcopal irresponsibility. The problems are systemic.[1] They must be met systemically.

Dallas Catholic diocese blasted over announcement of allegations against another former priest

DALLAS (TX)
Morning News

July 5, 2019

By David Tarrant

An advocacy group for abuse survivors criticized the Dallas diocese this week for quietly adding a new name to its list of clergy accused of sexual abuse of a minor months after church leaders promised to be open and transparent in cases of clergy sex abuse.

The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, known as SNAP, issued a statement Wednesday blasting the Dallas diocese for releasing incomplete information about an allegation regarding Fr. Peter Barusseau from 1960.

SNAP’s statement said the diocese should have included details about when the accusation against Barusseau surfaced and when diocesan officials decided the allegation was credible.

“Given that the Diocese of Dallas has only done the bare minimum when it comes to keeping communities informed about abusive priests, the news about Fr. Barusseau has us concerned that there are other accused priests that have been left off this list,” the statement said.

The Dallas diocese last month posted Barusseau’s name to its list of clergy with allegations of sexual abuse of a minor deemed credible by church officials. His inclusion came five months after the diocese released its initial list of 31 names of credibly accused clergy since 1950.

Dallas’ list was part of a statewide transparency effort amid public and law enforcement scrutiny on the Catholic Church worldwide over its handling of decades of sexual abuse claims against clergy members.

Combined, all Texas dioceses released lists that included nearly 300 names of clergy members who have been "credibly accused" of sexual abuse of children over the past seven decades.

Catholics Walk Out of Sermon After Priest Urges Forgiveness for Sexual Predators

Patheos blog

July 5, 2019

By Hemant Mehta

Around 70 Catholics walked out of a service after retired priest Ulrich Zurkuhlen urged everyone to practice forgiveness… for predator priests who had been found guilty of molesting children.

Zurkuhlen was trying to make the case that no one is purely evil and that the pedophiles were also “good clerics in their communities,” but the Church members, some of whom were reportedly victims of sexual abuse, weren’t having it.

Several parishioners reportedly interrupted the 79-year-old Zurkuhlen and tried to argue with him. A worshipper told Kirche-und-Leben that the situation became chaotic and the priest was not able to finish the sermon.

When asked about the reaction his sermon caused among worshippers, Zurkuhlen said that it was “a real shock.” He lamented that he was unable to get his point across, especially the biblically important meaning of forgiveness, to what he called “the screaming mob.”

Ah, yes. That’s a good idea. Insult the people making a good point while doubling down on your bad one.

The problem isn’t his claim that bad people have their good moments. It’s that the Catholic Church’s leaders have a long history of defending predator priests and ignoring abuse victims until they’re forced to do so. Even now, Zurkuhlen seems more interested in finding a silver lining in sexual abuse than seeking justice for victims of the Catholic Church.

UWS Priest Accused Of Molesting Boys Steps Down

UPPER WEST SIDE (NY)
Patch

July 5, 2019

By Brendan Krisel

A Catholic priest has resigned from his Upper West Side parish following multiple sexual abuse allegations, according to a letter sent by the priest to his parishioners.

Monsignor John Paddack will step down from his role as the administrator at the Church of Notre Dame on West 114th Street "for the good of you parishioners, the parish, and the church," while the accusations against him are reviewed, Paddack wrote in the letter.

Rafael Mendoza went public with abuse allegations against Paddack in March, claiming that the priest molested him as a student at Cardinal Hayes High School in the 90s. Mendoza called on the New York Archdiocese to suspend Paddack so that he cannot have any more contact with children. Mendoza and four other unnamed victims claimed they were abused by Paddack between 1988 and 2002 when the priest taught at three different high schools, according to lawyers representing the alleged victims.

"He took advantage of me when I was at my weakest point," Mendoza said Tuesday. "I believe he should be removed. I don't know if he is still [abusing] anyone else or any kids out there."

Mendoza said Paddack abused him in 1996 during his freshman year at Cardinal Hayes High School in the Bronx when he was just 14 years old. Mendoza was new to the school and said he was abusing pills and suicidal when he reached out to Paddack, the school's counselor, for help.

Ex-Ann Arbor priest charged with 8 sex assault felonies

ANN ARBOR (MI)
Michigan Live

July 5, 2019

By Darcie Moran

A former Ann Arbor and Jackson priest accused of sexually assaulting an altar boy nearly 30 years ago has been formally charged.

Timothy M. Crowley, 70, was arraigned Saturday, June 29 in Washtenaw County on eight felony counts of criminal sexual conduct, court records show.

Crowley’s arrest was announced in May along with that of four other priests amid a large-scale investigation by the Michigan Attorney General’s office into sex abuses in Catholic dioceses.

Crowley faces four counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct and four counts of second-degree criminal sexual conduct for incidents between 1986 and 1990 at St. Thomas the Apostle Catholic Church, at 530 Elizabeth St. in Ann Arbor.

Michigan's Attorney General is investigating hundreds of complaints of clergy abuse.

Ordained in 1976, Crowley served as a parochial vicar in Brighton, Flint and at Jackson’s St. Mary, Star of the Sea.

He served in Jackson from 1982-84, according to an affidavit filed in his criminal case. There, Crowley is accused of giving a 10-year-old altar boy cigarettes and alcohol, and touching his buttocks and genitalia over his clothing.

The boy also attended St. Anthony’s in Hillsdale and St. Thomas in Ann Arbor when Crowley served as pastor at those churches from 1984-87 and 1987-93, respectively, according to court filings.

Investigators say Crowley repeatedly gave the boy cigarettes and alcohol, and forced him to watch homosexual pornography while Crowley masturbated. They also accuse him of molesting him and threatening to kill him if he told nuns or his parents of the abuse.

Bishops Received Money and Complaints about Bransfield, Report Says

DENVER (CO)
Catholic News Agency

July 5, 2019

Allegations of financial impropriety against former Wheeling-Charleston Bishop Michael Bransfield went unheeded for years, according to a new report. Letters from lay men and woman, and from Bransfield’s own chancery staff raised serious concerns about the bishop’s spending and that he was using diocesan resources to “purchase influence.”

On July 3, the Washington Post reported that concerns about Bransfield’s spending were raised as early as 2012 with senior Church authorities in the Unites States and Rome. Several of those to whom complaints were made were themselves recipients of gifts of money from the bishop.

Bransfield’s resignation was accepted by Pope Francis last September, eight days after he turned 75, the age at which diocesan bishops are required by canon law to submit a letter of resignation to the pope. Following allegations of sexual and financial misconduct by him over a period of years, local metropolitan Archbishop William Lori of Baltimore was ordered by Pope Francis to conduct an investigation. Lori subsequently barred Bransfield from public ministry in both Wheeling-Charleston and Baltimore.

On Wednesday, The Post reported that specific concerns had been raised years earlier about the use of financial gifts to Church authorities by Bransfield, and the role they may have played in delaying action against him.

In an August 2018 letter addressed to Lori, Bransfield’s own judicial vicar, Monsignor Kevin Quirk, said he believed the gifts bought the bishop latitude.

German priest causes church walkout as preaches for predator priest forgiveness

BERLIN (GERMANY)
Deutsche Welle

July 5, 2019

Retired priest Ulrich Zurkuhlen caused consternation in the city of Münster, northwest Germany, when he dedicated his sermon to the concept of forgiving priests who had sexually abused minors.

Zurkuhlen's remarks come at a difficult time for the Roman Catholic Church, as it grapples with continued allegations, from various parts of the world, of priests' predatory conduct and church attempts to cover it up.

In 2018, the German Bishops' Conference published a report revealing that 1,670 priests, roughly 4.4% of clerics, had abused 3,677 people between 1946 and 2014 in Germany.

The controversial sermon took place in the Holy Spirit Church of Münster. The internet portal Kirche-und-Leben.de (Church and Life) reported that parishioners were incensed, with some 70 members of the congregation walking out in protest.

Several parishioners reportedly interrupted the 79-year-old Zurkuhlen and tried to argue with him. A worshipper told Kirche-und-Leben that the situation became chaotic and the priest was not able to finish the sermon.

Victims of abuse were said to have been present as the priest spoke.

In an interview with Kirche-und-Leben.de, Zurkuhlen griped about the fact that even bishops refer to predator priests as "criminals," despite the fact that these men were also good clerics in their communities.

"Nobody is just profoundly evil," the priest said. "Goodness and guilt are often combined with each other or stand side by side without touching," he added.

God, organized religion, or both

PORTSMOUTH (OH)
Daily Times

July 3, 2019

By Melissa Martin

Talking about religion can be a touchy topic—even among Christian believers.

The Most Post-Christian Cities in America: 2019 is a recent research study conducted by Barna research; an evangelical Christian polling firm. The ongoing study surveyed a random sample of 21, 378 American adults over a ten-year period. Visit their website for more detailed information. www.barna.com.

Please keep in mind that not all studies are created equal and all contain margins of error. Plus, Barna, a for-profit company, is commissioned to conduct research projects and they sell books. Nonetheless, I found the results interesting.

How did Ohio fare?

Among Ohio’s cities, Toledo was highest on the list in the number 35 spot—47 percent of residents considered themselves as post-Christian. In Columbus, 42 percent of residents qualify as post-Christian and the city ranked in the number 59 spot. Youngstown-Warren came in at 41 percent in the number 63 spot. Cleveland-Akron-Canton came in at 39 percent. Dayton and Cincinnati both tied at 38 percent.

To be identified as post-Christian, an individual had to meet nine or more of the factors: Do not believe in God. Identify as atheist or agnostic. Disagree that faith is important in their lives. Have not prayed to God (in the last week). Have never made a commitment to Jesus. Disagree the Bible is accurate. Have not donated money to a church (in the last year). Have not attended a Christian church (in the last 6 months). Agree that Jesus committed sins. Do not feel a responsibility to “share their faith.” Have not read the Bible (in the last week). Have not volunteered at church (in the last week). Have not attended Sunday school (in the last week). Have not attended religious small group (in the last week). Bible engagement scale: low (have not read the Bible in the past week and disagree strongly or somewhat that the Bible is accurate). Not Born Again.

I did not get a call from the Barna group, did you? The southern areas of Ohio are considered to be a part of the Bible Belt region—heavily influenced by socially conservative evangelical Protestantism. Results may have been different based on Belt Bible residents’ responses.

However, the larger cities in Ohio tell a story about declining Christianity.

Ruth Krall, Looking Slant: Oppressive Ideologies and Belief Systems

LITTLE ROCK (AR)
Bilgrimage blog

July 3, 2019

By William Lindsey

The essay by Ruth Krall that follows below is the fourth in a series of essays entitled "Recapitulation: Affinity Sexual Violence in a Religious Voice," which I've had the honor to publish on Bilgrimage in the past weeks. The first essay in this series appeared in two installments, here and here. The second appeared in another two installments, here and here. The third essay is here. As Ruth's introduction to the essay below notes, it follows on her three preceding essays, which hypothesize the endemic natural of religious and spiritual leader sexual abuse of followers by asking what might be the role played by various ideologies in establishing institutional climates that faciliate abuse and then cover it up. As with some of Ruth's previous essays in this series, I'm posting this one in two parts: part one is below.

Bishop of Chester argued against lifetime ban for paedophile priest

CAROL STREAM (IL)
Christianity Today

July 5, 2019

The Bishop of Chester blocked a life-time ban from ministry being imposed on a minister who was jailed for child pornography, an independent inquiry has heard.

It emerged during a public hearing by the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse that the Rt Rev Dr Peter Forster recommended that Rev Ian Hughes should instead receive a 20-year ban.

This was despite the Church of England's own regulations - called the Clergy Discipline Measure - stating that a lifetime ban should be automatically imposed on ministers with child abuse convictions.

The shorter length recommended by the bishop received the approval of the President of the Tribunals after Dr Forster wrote to ask that the guidelines not be applied in this instance.

Mr Hughes was sent to prison for 12 months in 2014 over child pornography charges after he was found to have 8,200 indecent images of children in his possession.

Analysis: Vatican calls for trust, Catholics wait for transparency

ROME (ITALY)
Catholc News Agency

July 5, 2019

By Ed Condon

This week, Cardinal Mauro Piacenza, prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Penitentiary, issued a document defending the sacramental seal, as civil governments in California, Australia, and other places attempt to pass laws that would force priests to reveal what they hear in the confessional.

Piacenza also defended professional confidentiality, including the pontifical secret, and appeared to take aim at the use of leaked Vatican information in the media – suggesting leaks from the Vatican are detrimental to the public good.

“In a time of mass communication, in which all information is ‘burned’ [leaked] and with it often unfortunately also part of people's lives, it is necessary to re-learn the strength of word, its constructive power, but also its destructive potential,” the cardinal warned.

Following a year in which scandals of episcopal misconduct and accountability have combined to create a crisis of confidence in Church leadership in some places, reaction to the application and violation of confidentiality in the Church illustrates the emerging fault lines in a debate between parts of the hierarchy and faithful, in which both sides accept the need for transparency, though often with very different understandings of the word.

July 4, 2019

‘Credibly accused’ are the shame of our state

NEWPORT (RI)
Newport Daily News

July 4, 2019

By Jim Gillis

We saw them this week, portraits of Catholic clergy “credibly accused” of sexually abusing children, a rogues’ gallery of grown men who preyed on youngsters.

The Diocese of Providence has a long history of denial, obfuscation and cover-up on this topic. So it’s significant Bishop Thomas J. Tobin released the names of 50 men, most now dead.

The release invites as many questions as it provides answers. It’s short on specifics, particularly how many attacks went on and what action the church took.

I think we now know the diocese here (and dioceses across the country) shifted accused priests from parish to parish, sliding them like chess pieces across the state. It amounted to a protection racket for pedophiles.

You may recognize some of the names on the list, several of whom served in Newport County. Father James Silva, for instance, assaulted one of my best friends when he as an altar boy at Jesus Saviour Church.

Maybe releasing the names provides further healing ... or none at all. I was taught to respect priests as a boy, though I never had any interest in serving on the altar.

Bishop of Chester tells IICSA that paedophile cleric was ‘penitent’

LONDON (ENGLAND)
Church Times

July 3, 2019

By Hattie Williams

A CLERIC who was convicted of possessing 8000 indecent images of children should be able to minister again because he was “penitent” at the time of his arrest, was probably “lured” into downloading the images, and would not have carried out the abuse itself, the Bishop of Chester, Dr Peter Forster, has maintained.

The cleric, Ian Hughes, was found guilty in 2014 of possessing 8200 indecent images of children — 800 of the “worst kind” — and sentenced to a 12-month custodial sentence (News, 31 January 2014).

In oral evidence to the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA), on Wednesday, Dr Forster confirmed that he had written to the tribunal judge of the case, Sir Andrew McFarlane, to persuade him to go against guidelines of the Clergy Discipline Measure (CDM), which stated that a lifelong ban be automatically imposed after a conviction of child abuse.

“They are guidelines, they have to be interpreted,” Dr Forster said. “I felt that in [Mr Hughes’s] case — given his relative youth, the fact that he was entirely penitent from the outset as to what had happened, and [that] his previous record of ministry was excellent — it was worth raising the possibility of a 20-year ban.

“The problem is that once you impose a lifetime ban there is no way to reverse it. . . if for 20 years he had lived out the penitence.”

Priest assigned to Stonehill College in 1970s among ‘credibly accused’

BROCKTON (MA)
The Enterprise News

July 4, 2019

By Cody Shepard

A deceased priest who was assigned to Stonehill College in the 1970s has been “credibly accused” of sexual abuse, according to the Roman Catholic Diocese of Providence.

Robert Marcantonio, who died in October 1999 at the age of 56, was one of 50 priests named this week as credibly accused of sexually abusing children. The names of the priests and where they were assigned are now published on the diocese website.

Marcantonio was assigned to Stonehill College in Easton from 1975 to 1979. He served as a counseling psychologist and director of counseling services.

There are no known accusations of sexual abuse while Marcantonio was assigned to the Easton college. But a lawsuit previously filed in Des Moines, Iowa states that Chancellor Daniel P. Reilly and other church officials were notified in 1970 that Marcantonio had sexually abused more than two dozen boys while he was assigned in Rhode Island. The lawsuit stated church officials decided to send him to Iowa for graduate work and to receive psychiatric treatment.

Between 1970 and 1975, Marcantonio was assigned to various locations in Iowa, according to the list released this week by the diocese. He was at St. Thomas Aquinas Church in Ames from 1970-75; Iowa State University from 1971-75; Ames High School from 1972-73; and Drake University in Des Moines in 1974.

Although the Rhode Island Diocese does not list Marcantonio as having been assigned to St. Cecilia Church in Ames, he was accused of sexually abusing at least two boys there. The Archdiocese of Dubuque in Iowa has confirmed Marcantonio was at the church.

https://bit.ly/2JdPyCZ

KANSAS CITY (MO0
Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

Vatican trial is set for KC predator priest
He abused kids, then was promoted to bishop
But victims say “No trial – just defrock him now”
SNAP also wants another KC bishop to be restricted
Under new rules, he can be banned from church gatherings
And 2 more ‘credibly accused’ clerics are exposed for first time

WHAT
Holding signs and childhood photos at a sidewalk news conference, clergy sex abuse victims and their supporters will release letters to
--Pope Francis urging him to immediately defrock of a credibly accused child molesting bishop who abused at least eight KC kids, &
--KC’s current bishop urging him to deny 2 former KC bishops – both proven wrongdoers - from attending future church functions.
They will also disclose the names of and details about two more credibly accused KC predator priests for the first time.

WHEN
Friday, July 5 at 11:15 a.m.

Frenchman accusing Vatican diplomat takes case to Rome

PARIS (FRANCE)
Associated Press

July 3, 2019

One of a half-dozen men who have accused the Vatican’s ambassador to France of groping them is taking his complaint directly to the Vatican after claiming the Holy See had invoked diplomatic immunity in a French criminal probe.

Mathieu De La Souchere met with one of Pope Francis’s sex abuse advisers on Wednesday after filing a police report in Paris earlier this year. He accused Archbishop Luigi Ventura of touching his buttocks repeatedly in public, during an official reception Jan. 17 at Paris city hall, where he is an employee.

The Paris prosecutor’s office has opened an investigation into alleged sexual aggression. The Vatican said Ventura was cooperating with the investigation. But De La Souchere said the French case was essentially stalled over the immunity question.

“The French government’s request to the Vatican to lift the diplomatic immunity remained unanswered,” he told The Associated Press.

His lawyer plans to file the complaint with the Vatican City State’s criminal tribunal next week. The tribunal largely follows the Italian penal code and is separate from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which handles sex abuse-related crimes under the Catholic Church’s canon law.

“This new judicial step here in the Vatican we hope will be one more step toward the trial that all the victims in France are waiting for,” De La Souchere said after meeting with Father Hans Zollner, a founding member of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors.

De La Souchere met with Zollner and another man who has accused Ventura. Crux has reported as many as a half-dozen men have accused Ventura of unwanted groping over the course of his diplomatic postings, which have included Canada and Chile.

Ventura’s whereabouts are unknown, but he attended a meeting of all the Holy See’s apostolic nuncios, or ambassadors, at the Vatican last month. His lawyer didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment. Vatican spokesman Alessandro Gisotti said Ventura “has fully and voluntarily cooperated with French judicial authorities who are in charge of his case, and will continue to do so.”

Former Southern Baptist official charged with sexual assault pleads guilty to lesser crime

NASHVILLE (TN)
Baptist News Global

July 3, 2019

A former Southern Baptist missionary and denominational worker on Tuesday pleaded guilty to misdemeanor assault 11 years after the denomination’s International Mission Board substantiated allegations of sexual abuse against him but did not report it the police.

Mark Aderholt, who resigned as associate executive director and chief strategist for the South Carolina Baptist Convention shortly before his arrest last July on charges of sexual assault of a minor, was ordered to spend 30 days in jail and pay a $4,000 fine.

After that, if he successfully completes 24 months of deferred adjudication, a form of probation, the conviction will not remain on his criminal record. Aderholt, 47, is currently in custody at the Tarrant County Correction Center.

Anne Marie Miller, the woman who told police that Aderholt sexually abused her when she was 16 and he was a 25-year-old student at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in 1996-1997, said many people have expressed the opinion that he deserved a stiffer sentence, but she felt vindicated by hearing his admission of guilt.

“Over the last year, I have learned how unspeakably complicated the criminal justice system is,” Miller, an author of several books, said in a statement on her website. “So many variables go into each and every case.”

“While I think we all can agree that Mr. Aderholt is not facing the criminal penalty he should be, the DA’s office asked for my input and wishes during plea negotiations,” she said. “This included taking into consideration the emotionally charged prospect of a jury trial, facing a relentless and brutal cross-examination by his defense attorney, the impact of a trial on my family and a potential verdict of not guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. I fully trust the prosecuting attorney and the final outcome.”

In a victim’s impact statement she read to Aderholt in court, Miller said nine years ago she was diagnosed with complex post-traumatic stress disorder because of what he did to her.

“You sexually abused me,” Miller said. Despite that, Miller said she has forgiven Aderholt and grieves over the pain his actions have caused his family.

“I used to believe that in order for this ordeal to be over, you needed to tell the truth and ask me to forgive you. I know now that’s not the case,” she said. “This is over because I have spoken the truth. It’s over because I have forgiven you. Your lies have no more power.”

“This is over, Mark. This is the end.”

Taoiseach apologises over 'sinning priest' comments

DONNYBROOK (IRELAND)
RTE - Raidió Teilifís Éireann

July 4, 2019

By Edel McAllister

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has apologised for his comments to Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin where he likened him to a sinning Catholic priest.

He said: "I offended people who I never intended to offend. I want to apologise for that and withdraw it.

"I have tremendous respect for priests, for the sacrifice that they give in the lives that they lead.

"And I have tremendous respect for people of faith. You know it didn't come out the way I intended it and sometimes these things happen."

The Taoiseach has faced strong criticism over his comments in the Dáil yesterday.

Independent TD Mattie McGrath called on the Taoiseach to come into the house and apologise for his comments.

He described them as "outrageous" and "utterly revolting".

Fianna Fáil TD Mary Butler said the government had committed to a eliminating discrimination on grounds of religion in the programme for government.

"Unfortunately there was no such tolerance or respect shown to the Catholic religion yesterday," Ms Butler said.

Aurora clergy speak out in support of Wayside Cross child sex offenders staying put

AURORA (IL)
The Beacon-News

July 3, 2019

By Megan Jones

The pastor of Warehouse Church in Aurora sees himself in a unique position - his church sits directly between Wayside Cross Ministries and McCarty Park.

As a lifelong Aurora resident, the Rev. Randy Schoof said he is deeply committed to the safety of its citizens. But the 19 convicted child sex offenders who live at Wayside Cross near the park are not a risk to safety, and if anything, it is more of a risk to let these men scatter throughout the city unsupervised, Schoof said.

Eight clergy members gathered in the chapel of Wayside Cross Wednesday to speak out and show their support for the men who were told they have to move out of the mission in downtown Aurora because they live too close to McCarty Park. Under state law, registered child sex offenders are prohibited from living within 500 feet of a school, playground or daycare facility.

Aurora Mayor Richard Irvin repeated his stance Tuesday, saying that state laws concerning child sex offenders are clear.

“Wherever they go, it can’t be within 500 feet of where children play,” Irvin said.

After the city created addresses for all of its parks in late 2018, city staff realized the mapping tool used by Aurora police was incorrectly tracking the distance from one property to another, city officials have said, including the distance from McCarty Park to Wayside. Instead of mapping from property line to property line as the law states, the tool was measuring from the middle of one property to the other, they said.

Irvin said the eviction notices sent to Wayside were not in retaliation for the mission housing infamous “Ripper Crew” member Thomas Kokoraleis beginning in the spring.

Archbishop Vigano: key Vatican official is accused abuser

Catholic World News blog

July 4, 2019

Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano has revealed that one of the most influential prelates at the Vatican has been accused of sexual abuse.

The archbishop, the former apostolic nuncio to the United States, said a “terrifying dossier” has been compiled about alleged offenses by Archbishop Edgar Peña Parra, the assistant Secretary of State. “This might even be a scandal surpassing that of McCarrick,” Archbishop Vigano said.

As assistant Secretary of State—known commonly as the sostituto—Archbishop Peña Parra supervises the daily flow of paperwork at the Vatican, and meets regularly with the Pope. The sostituto is commonly regarded as the third most powerful figure at the Vatican, after the Secretary of State and the Pontiff himself.

Archbishop Vigano says that evidence of Archbishop Peña Parra’s misconduct with seminarians had been submitted to the Vatican as early as 2002. A native of Venezuela, Archbishop Peña Parra had been serving in the Vatican diplomatic corps when he was chosen by Pope Francis to become sostituto last year. The appointment was announced in August, just after the explosion of the McCarrick scandal.

Archbishop Vigano made his charge in an interview, conducted by email, with the Washington Post. While the bulk of the interview was published by the Post in June, the newspaper did not include the archbishop’s most stunning charges.

Archbishop Vigano also said that sexual misconduct had been discovered in a seminary on the Vatican grounds, and the perpetrator had been ordained to the priesthood while his victims had been dismissed. He said that abuse charges are still covered up by Vatican officials.

French priest at heart of church abuse scandal defrocked

LYON (FRANCE)
CNA

July 4, 2019

The French Catholic church has defrocked a priest charged with abusing dozens of boy scouts in a scandal that saw a cardinal convicted of a cover-up, according to a ruling seen by AFP Thursday.

The allegations against priest Bernard Preynat sparked the biggest crisis in the French church in decades, drawing in its most influential cleric, Cardinal Philippe Barbarin.

The decision was taken by the church's ecclesiastical court.

"In light of the facts and their recurrence, the large number of victims, the fact that Bernard Preynat abused the authority vested in him within the scout group... the court has decided to impose the maximum penalty under Church law in such a case, namely, the removal of his status as a priest," it said.

Preynat, 74, has one month to appeal the ruling.

Clergy sex abuse survivor reacts to Diocese of Harrisburg compensation program offer

HARRISBURG (PA)
Fox 43 News

July 3, 2019

By Jack Eble

On Tuesday, a spokesperson with the Diocese of Harrisburg said administrators for its Survivor Compensation Program have made offers to all participating survivors.

As of now, no payments have been made.

"The Diocese and Bishop Gainer continue to offer our profound sorrow, prayers and assistance to all survivors of clergy abuse,” said spokesperson Rachel Bryson.

A survivor anonymously told FOX43 his story of abuse at the hands of a former Diocese of Harrisburg priest, Herbert Shank, last year.

He said he received his offer at the beginning of this week and is now weighing his options.

“They call it compensation. I’m not sure you are ever able to compensate someone for the abuse that happened to myself and to all the people that are survivors," said the survivor, who remains anonymous.

The Survivor Compensation Program was set up by the Diocese of Harrisburg in February as a response to the Grand Jury Report on child sex abuse within six Catholic Dioceses in Pennsylvania in an attempt to make financial amends to victims.

Our source explains he and his group of attorneys submitted information regarding the abuse from Shank.

July 3, 2019

Saskatoon diocese updates policies to prevent abuse, misconduct in Catholic Church

OTTAWA (CANADA)
Canadian Broadcast Corporation

July 4, 2019

A man who suffered at the hands of a serially abusive priest is welcoming changes made by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Saskatoon aimed at preventing future abuses.

Over the last several months, the diocese has been working to update policies around abuse and misconduct, establishing several new positions outside of the bishop's office and the Saskatoon pastoral centre to receive and investigate claims of abuse.

The new positions include an intake officer, a serious misconduct investigator and a victim support co-ordinator.

Brenda FitzGerald, who led the committee reviewing and updating the policies, said positions such as the intake officer will be filled by people who have an academic and professional background in the field of sexual assault, abuse and trauma.

"This was a really significant move to ensure that we would have [a system] as open and as transparent and as ... sensitive to concerns of someone coming forward as possible, by not having the diocese investigate themselves," she said. "That was a major change."

Gary Mulligan, 73, was abused by Rev. William Hodgson Marshall while he attended Saskatoon's St.Paul's High School in the '60s. It's been reported that Marshall had a two-way mirror into the boy's locker room at the school and had abused several of his students.

Powerful Catholic group seeks to censure state House Democrat for his ‘vicious anti-Catholicism’

HARRISBURG (PA)
Patriot News

July 3, 2019

By Ivey DeJesus

A powerful Catholic lobbying group is ratcheting up the condemnation against a House Democrat “for his bullying and his vicious anti-Catholicism.”

The Catholic League is asking the Pennsylvania House of Representatives to support a measure that would censure Rep. Brian Sims, the Philadelphia Democrat who earlier this spring was involved in incidents outside a Planned Parenthood clinic where he serves as an escort.

In a written statement, the Catholic League said it seeks to censure Sims “for his threats, his misogyny, and his religious bigotry.”

“This man is not fit to be a dog catcher, never mind a sitting member of the Pennsylvania legislature. What more does it take to censure him?” the organization’s statement reads.

The latest call from the group represents the second effort on its part to penalize the lawmaker.

The issue stems out of two incidents that happened in May outside a Planned Parenthood clinic in Philadelphia. During one encounter, Sims called a protester “an old white lady” and during another, he harassed Ashley Garecht of Lower Merion Township, Montgomery County, and offered to give $100 to Planned Parenthood if someone could identify the three teen-age girls who accompanied her. The incidents are posted on anti-abortion rights website Life Site.

A Bristol photographer reported his sexual abuse. His priest didn’t make the list of the ‘credibly accused.’

PROVIDENCE (RI)
Providence Journal

July 3, 2019

“My report was less than credible?”

That was Bristol photographer Stephan Brigidi’s reaction to a glaring omission, to him, on the list of “credibly accused” priests that the Roman Catholic Diocese of Providence posted on its website on Monday.

The name that was missing was the name of the “inebriated” priest at Saint Agnes parish in Providence who, he told the diocese, had fondled his genitals and attempted to kiss him when he was a 14- or 15-year-old altar boy, in a devout Catholic family, in the mid-1960s.

Brigidi, now 68 years old, said he had not felt compelled to file a complaint until he saw a quarter-page ad the diocese place placed in The Providence Journal last Nov. 29 that said, in part:

“The Diocese urges anyone who has been the victim of sexual abuse, or with credible knowledge of such abuse, by any member of the Catholic Church, to report allegations to RI State Police, local law enforcement, the RI Attorney General’s Office, and Kevin O’Brien, Director, Diocesan Office of Compliance.”

WHY WE OPPOSE THE SELECTION OF DAVID BOSHART AS PRESIDENT OF ANABAPTIST MENNONITE BIBLICAL SEMINARY

In Account blog

June 27, 2019

By Lisa Pierce, Stephanie Krehbiel and Hilary Jerome Scarsella

Several weeks ago, we published two narratives on our survivor story blog Our Stories Untold, both written by our Director of Theological Integrity Hilary Jerome Scarsella. In the first narrative, Hilary tells her experience of being raped in 2009 by a fellow student at Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary, and the subsequent failure of the school to respond to that assault as a sexual assault. In the second narrative, Hilary describes the successful restitution process she went through with AMBS this year, a process made possible in large part because AMBS’s outgoing president, Sara Wenger Shenk, set the tone with her respectful and trauma-informed treatment of Hilary and of myself as Hilary’s advocate.

Many of you reading know just how rare this is. Higher education administrators are not, as a group, known for handing it well when survivors make demands. And to be clear: there are no just outcomes without demands. Hilary made demands; this was not a successful process because she was in any way compliant. Survivors frequently walk away from processes like these having been essentially branded as an enemy of the institution. That didn’t happen here, and it’s largely to Sara’s credit, because Sara demonstrated an understanding that restitution isn’t just window dressing.

New information revealed about West Virginia Catholic Church

CHARLESTON (WV)
WTRF TV

July 3, 2019

The Survivors Network says a deeper dive by journalists into the West Virginia Catholic church sex and finances scandal reveals even more corruption than previously known.

SNAP officials are reacting to a new article published by the Washington Post.

The Post reports that a number of church members and employees wrote high ranking church officials warning them about Bishop Bransfield’s improper conduct, but were essentially ignored.

The Post also reports that “Bransfield wrote more than 500 checks to other clerics during his 13 years in West Virginia.

SNAP officials released a statement on the article saying

“In light of this new and disturbing information, we call on every one of the 500 clerics who got checks from West Virginia’s bishop to return that money to West Virginia Catholics, and we call on law enforcement officials – in the state and elsewhere – to look more vigorously and skeptically at church funds.”

Estate of suicide victim wants Maryknolls to disclose former priest’s records

WESTCHESTER (NY)
Daily Voice Plus

July 3, 2019

By Bill Heltzel

The estate of an Ulster County man who killed himself earlier this year is asking a court to compel the Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers to identify and preserve records of a priest who allegedly sexually assaulted the decedent for eight years when he was a boy.

Catherine Gallagher, the sister of Ralph “Chip” Gallagher, petitioned Westchester Supreme Court on June 7 to appoint a neutral party to preserve records, identify potential witnesses and notify others who may have come into contact with the priest when they were children.

“The Maryknolls take these claims very seriously,” attorney John P. Hannigan, of Bleakley Platt responded, “and we’re looking into assembling the facts.”

He later characterized the demands as a “thinly veiled effort” by Catherine Gallagher’s attorney, Barbara Hart of Lowey Dannenberg in White Plains, “to identify potential clients.” That would be an improper use of legal procedure, he stated in a court filing.

The Maryknolls, a Roman Catholic religious order based in Ossining, is primarily a missionary organization that combats poverty, provides health care, runs orphanages and schools, and advances social justice issues in Asia, Africa and Latin America.

Ralph Gallagher was born in Mount Kisco and grew up in Chappaqua. When he died in January, he was living in Phoenicia, where he was a self-employed carpenter.

The petition concerns Edward Flanagan, who joined the Maryknolls 1956 as a religious brother, was ordained as a priest in 1964, voluntarily withdrew from the order in 1971 and died in 2016.

In the 1960s, he was assigned to the Church of St. John and St. Mary in Chappaqua.

Flanagan had been a guest in the Gallagher’s Chappaqua home over the years and family members attended his ordination into the priesthood.

Gallagher was first assaulted in 1962, according to the petition, when he was 4 years old. The alleged assaults continued through 1970, when he was 11, and included an incident in the Bahamas.

Flanagan had received significant psychological counseling, the petition states, yet the religious order moved him from position to position and allowed him to continue working with families and children.

The petition does not explain how it is known that Flanagan assaulted Gallagher.
BishopAccountability.org, does not list Flanagan on its database of U.S. Catholic clergy accused of sexually abusing children.

Another Name Added to Diocese of Dallas’ List of Accused Priests

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

July 3, 2019

The Diocese of Dallas has added another name to its list of clerics accused of child sexual abuse. We call on church officials in Dallas to explain two key facts to the public about this case: first, when did the accusations against Fr. Peter Barusseau surface, and when were they deemed “credible” by church officials?

The list put out by Dallas church officials in January was already woefully incomplete as it left off key details such as the work histories of the accused priests, when the allegations against them were received, and what church officials did in response to those allegations. Such information is critical to understanding what went wrong in the past, who was involved in the wrongdoing, and what must be done to prevent cases of abuse in the future.

Given that the Diocese of Dallas has only done the bare minimum when it comes to keeping communities informed about abusive priests, the news about Fr. Barusseau has us concerned that there are other accused priests that have been left off this list. Considering that the Diocese of Dallas was raided by police in May, it would appear that the Dallas Police Department shares our concerns.

Warnings about West Virginia bishop went unheeded as he doled out cash gifts to Catholic leaders

WASHINGTON (DC)
The Washington Post

July 3, 2019

By Robert O'Harrow Jr. and Shawn Boburg

Senior Catholic leaders in the United States and the Vatican began receiving warnings about West Virginia Bishop Michael Bransfield as far back as 2012. In letters and emails, parishioners claimed that Bransfield was abusing his power and misspending church money on luxuries such as a personal chef, a chauffeur, first-class travel abroad and more than $1 million in renovations to his residence.

"I beg of you to please look into this situation," Linda Abrahamian, a parishioner from Martinsburg, West Virginia, wrote in 2013 to the pope's ambassador to the United States.

But Bransfield's conduct went unchecked for five more years. He resigned in September 2018 after one of his closest aides came forward with an incendiary inside account of years of sexual and financial misconduct, including the claim that Bransfield sought to "purchase influence" by giving hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash gifts to senior Catholic leaders.

"It is my own opinion that His Excellency makes use of monetary gifts, such as those noted above, to higher ranking ecclesiastics and gifts to subordinates to purchase influence from the former and compliance or loyalty from the latter," Monsignor Kevin Quirk wrote to William Lori, the archbishop of Baltimore, in a letter obtained by The Washington Post.

At least four senior clerics outside West Virginia who received parishioner complaints about Bransfield also accepted cash gifts from him, more than $32,000 in all, according to an analysis of letters and other documents obtained by The Post.

The previously unreported Quirk letter and the complaints from parishioners raise questions about when Catholic leaders first knew of Bransfield's conduct and why they took no action for years. They also reveal the roots of a church financial scandal that exploded into public view in June with a Washington Post account of the findings of a Vatican-ordered investigation of Bransfield.

Five lay investigators concluded early this year that Bransfield abused his authority by sexually harassing young priests and spending church money on personal luxuries, according to their final report and other documents obtained by The Post. Bransfield spent $2.4 million on travel, often flying in private jets, as well as $4.6 million in all to renovate his church residence, church records show. His cash gifts to fellow clergymen totaled $350,000, the records show.

Bransfield drew on a little-known source of money for the diocese: millions of dollars in annual revenue from oil wells in west Texas, on land that was donated to the diocese a century ago. The wells have yielded an average of about $15 million annually in recent years.

Bransfield wrote more than 500 checks to other clerics during his 13 years in West Virginia, gifts for which he was reimbursed by the diocese. The recipients who also received parishioner complaints include Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, then the nuncio, the pope's ambassador to the United States; Cardinal Raymond Burke, then the leader of the church's judicial authority in Rome; Archbishop Peter Wells, then a senior administrator in the pope's Secretariat of State at the Vatican; and Lori, the archbishop in Baltimore who later oversaw the Vatican investigation launched after Quirk's account.

109 or 43? Attorney Says Number of Accused Abusers in Phoenix Diocese Matters

PHOENIX (AZ)
New Times

July 3, 2019

By Michael Clancy

Did the Diocese of Phoenix provide a home to 109 clergymen accused of sexual abuse?

A new report compiled by one of the nation’s leading law firms on clergy sexual abuse identified that many, saying they lived, worked, retired or visited in the territory of the diocese.

Many of the accused have been convicted of their crimes. Others were the subjects of civil lawsuits, and quite a few died before the accusations were revealed. Some were “credibly accused,” as the church says, in other dioceses and came to the Phoenix diocese later, sometimes no longer allowed to work as priests.

According to the diocese, none are working here now.

The latest compilation of perpetrators comes from Jeff Anderson and Associates, which has been involved in clergy abuse cases since the early 2000s.

About 50 priests, other clergy, and church staffers were identified 16 years ago, when Bishop Thomas O’Brien was still in office. Some of the identities were released by the diocese, others through the court system, and direct contact between abuse victims and the media.

On its website, the diocese now lists only 43, but it has not been updated to reflect religious communities, such as Jesuits and the like, that have ministries in the diocese.

It’s confusing.

The additional numbers in the Anderson report come from the inclusion of names released by religious orders that have ministries in the Phoenix area, and by adding in priests who were ordained in other dioceses, then came to Phoenix to vacation, work, or retire. The final group would be listed as accused abusers in their home dioceses.

Several on the Anderson list worked for other dioceses in the area now covered by the Phoenix diocese, which was carved out of the dioceses of Gallup, New Mexico, and Tucson in 1969. The diocese covers Maricopa, Yavapai, Mohave, and Coconino counties, as well as the Gila Indian Reservation. Navajo and Apache counties remain part of the Gallup Diocese, as well as the entire Navajo Reservation. The remainder of the state is part of the Diocese of Tucson.

IICSA: Bishop of Buckingham criticises ‘unhealthy’ level of bishops’ power

LONDON (ENGLAND)
The Church Times

July 3, 2019

By Hattie Williams

THE “unhealthy and excessive” centralisation of power in bishops in the Church of England means that they are not being held accountable for safeguarding decisions which should not be theirs to make in the first place, the Area Bishop of Buckingham, Dr Alan Wilson, has said.

He was giving evidence on Tuesday to the final hearing being conducted by the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) to investigate safeguarding in the Anglican Church.

“The centralisation of all sort of things on bishops is unhealthy and excessive, and that raises the question of the accountability of bishops,” he said.

Asked by the chair of the Inquiry, Professor Alexis Jay, whether he thought that diocesan bishops should play a part in decision-making in cases of alleged abuse, Dr Wilson said: “No. Emphatically no. And that’s one of the fundamental problems with where we are right now.”

He called for an independent safeguarding body to hold bishops and dioceses to account. It was unreasonable to expect diocesan safeguarding advisers to do this.

“You cannot expect somebody who is a mid-range employee of the bishop to hold the bishop to account. It simply doesn’t work that way. . . Advice is just advice. If they [the bishop] respond badly, who is to hold them to account on that advice?”

Marquette University seeks to ‘help people heal’ from trauma

MILWAUKEE (WISCONSIN)
Crux

July 3, 2019

By Christopher White

Responding to trauma has become something of a vocation for Dr. Mike Lovell, an engineer turned university president, who in recent years has unexpectedly made trauma care a centerpiece of his professional life, despite having no background in it.

What began as a Marquette University campus wide focus on health inequities and disparities has turned out not only to have ramifications for the surrounding city of Milwaukee, but also the entire Catholic Church, which has once again found itself plagued by the clergy sexual abuse crisis this past year.

“We must first recognize that people have been harmed and the first thing we can do as an institution is to help people heal,” Lovell told Crux in an interview from his office that overlooks Milwaukee and is directly across from the Church of the Gesu - one of the Midwest’s most iconic Catholic monuments.

PRIEST WITH A SWASTIKA” WAS SUSPECTED OF CHILD MOLESTATION

LAVAL (CANADA)
The Gal Post

June 27, 2019

By Lilly Nice

In Belarus opened a new criminal case against the priest from the village of Gatovo (Minsk region) Konstantin Burykina, better known as “the priest with the swastika.” About this informed the official representative of the Investigative Committee, Yulia hancharova, writes TUT.BY.

According to her, we are talking about a crime against sexual integrity of a minor. “Any details on ethical considerations will not be disclosed” — said the interlocutor of the edition.

A criminal case under part 3 of article 167 of the criminal code (“Violent actions of sexual character”). The perpetrator could face imprisonment of eight to 15 years.

Burykina detained in 2016 after, according to relatives, he “moved someone the way” led by Belarusian powerlifting Federation (BFP). During the investigation, information surfaced that the priest kept the house file with the military chronicle of the Third Reich, was worn on the hand (according to others, on the breast) tattooed with symbols of fascism, and in his office hung a chandelier in the shape of a swastika.

During interrogation he said that in 2000, he was appointed spiritual head of the Russian neo-Nazi paramilitary organization “Russian national unity” (RNU), which aims at the restoration of historical Russia — great, little and White Russia — as a nation-state. “Hold them spiritual conversations, meetings, baptized and married. (…) Nothing wrong just did not see, and then it seemed to me that they have become destructive. (…) We are with them ceased contact” — recalled the priest. As a result, in 2017 Burykina was convicted of illegal possession of weapons and ammunition and sentenced to three years in prison.

Court tells police to cease ‘coercive’ activity against Indian cardinal in cover-up case

MUMBAI (INDIA)
Crux

July 3, 2019

By Nirmala Carvalho

A court in India has told police not to take any further action against Cardinal Oswald Gracias of the Archdiocese of Bombay and two of his auxiliary bishops in a case where they are accused of not informing the authorities of an abuse accusation against a priest.

Father Lawrence Johnson was arrested in 2016 on allegations of the sexual abuse of a child, but the family of a boy abused by the priest met with Gracias on November 30, 2015, just hours before the cardinal was scheduled to leave for Rome.

Gracias maintains that when he arrived in Rome, he asked his Auxiliary Bishop John Rodrigues to inform the authorities in conformity of the 2012 Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, but the family had already done so.

Another auxiliary bishop, Savio Dominic Fernandes, is named in the complaint, even though he was outside the city at the time.

Records show the family went to the police on Nov. 30, 2015, made the official First Incident Report shortly thereafter, and Father Lawrence Johnson was arrested Dec. 2.

July 2, 2019

Fake News About Brebeuf Jesuit School

DENVER (CO)
National Catholic Register

July 2, 2019

By Patrick Reilly

According to secular news reports about Brebeuf Jesuit High School in Indianapolis, which Archbishop Charles Thompson declared to be no longer Catholic, you’d think the decision was all about the Church’s eagerness to fire a “gay” teacher.

Likewise, articles about Cathedral High School in northeast Indianapolis, which upheld its Catholic identity by dismissing one of its teachers, also emphasize the teacher’s sexuality.

Such is “fake news”—it’s rooted in some fact, but not in truth. In fact, the Indianapolis situation is primarily about a Catholic school’s obligations to teach the faith clearly and without contradiction.

The Indianapolis Star proclaimed, “Indianapolis Archdiocese Cuts Ties with Jesuit School Over Refusal to Fire Gay Teacher.” FOX News claimed Brebeuf was “Stripped of ‘Catholic’ Label Over Gay Teacher.” Newsweek announced that Cathedral “Fires Gay Teacher,” and the USA Today headline likewise reported that Cathedral “Is Firing a Gay Teacher.”

And now, a New York Times contributor has lectured the bishops on the need to defend our “L.G.B.T.Q. brothers and sisters.” The article is titled, “How to Defy the Catholic Church.”

To be sure, at both Brebeuf and Cathedral the teachers under scrutiny are identified as “gay”—but what caused the controversy is not that directly, but instead their public actions contradicting what they are supposed to be teaching in a Catholic school. Both entered into civilly approved same-sex marriages. Such public scandal makes someone ineligible to teach in a genuinely Catholic school, and this would be true of scandal leading children into any type of grave sin, whether homosexual or otherwise.

Please don't let this issue die

VICTORIA (AUSTRALIA)
The Advocate

July 2, 2019

By Carol Oliver

Thank heavens, I am not religious. Which is not to say that I don't respect those people who are. We are all entitled to our beliefs, and many religions have played a huge and positive part in the lives of individuals and societies for centuries.

But right now - despite news fading rapidly into the ether - I remain scandalised by the widespread abuse and cover up by religious figures around the world.

It's bad enough to hear about one abuser in a family or community, but the depth and breadth of abuse in the Catholic Church is unforgivable. So when the Pope says he's ashamed of the church's failure to adequately address "repellent crimes", I go into a giant cringe because it appears to be too little ... and way too late.

Of course, he is not personally to blame and I am sure he's probably a good bloke. But because the institution of the church created and covered up these crimes, and because he is the leader at this time, I find his responses too polite and vague. It seems to me he had the chance to re-energise respect and allegiance for believers by rooting out perpetrators so that, by example, the church could uphold its own laws as well as those of society.

Reaction pours in after Diocese releases clergy abuse report

PROVIDENCE (RI)
ABC 6 News

July 2, 2019

By Daniel Keith

One day after the Diocese of Providence released its bombshell report naming 50 priests and deacons credibly accused of abuse against minors, reaction is pouring in from lawmakers, lawyers, and even former priests.

The investigations were conducted by a former State Police detective who was able to investigate each account independently, according to the Diocese website.

After the report was released, Bishop Tobin said the church is being as transparent as possible, but some believe the church is hiding something.

Robert Hoatson is a former priest and now president of the New Jersey-based victim advocacy group Road to Recovery. As a victim of clergy abuse himself, and with knowledge of the workings of the church, he claims that Bishop Tobin is hiding some crucial information from the public.

He calls this information "the secret files", claiming that each Bishop has access to complete files related to claims of abuse, in accordance with church law, Hoatson said.

"Bishop Tobin did not publish any of the information that we need. The files, the details, the names and information of each and every priest named in that list [Monday] is crucial," Hoatson said, as he donned signs outside the Diocese. "We are not satisfied with the list that was published [Monday]."

The report names 50 priests and deacons, with 17 that are still alive. But in court documents from 2007, the church said they were aware of 125 allegations of priests within the jurisdiction.

The list was released just hours before Gov. Raimondo signed a bill into law that extends the statute of limitations for victims.

That law's sponsor is Carol Hagan McEntee (D-Narragansett, South Kingstown) who said that the report does not say how many victims each priest had, as well as leaving out information that she calls a safety issue.

"Unless they're dead, it really doesn't tell you where they [live] now. So I think that's important information, especially for parents to have," McEntee said.

Diocese of Harrisburg: Payment offers made to all child sex abuse victims who participated in compensation program

HARRISBURG (PA)
Fox 43 News

July 2, 2019

By Sean Naylor

Administrators of the Diocese of Harrisburg Survivor Compensation Program have made payment offers to all victims of child sex abuse who participated in the program, according to a statement from the diocese.

“The administrators for our independent compensation program have made offers to all survivors who participated in the program,” the statement said.

It added that as of Tuesday, July 2, no payments have been made.

“The Diocese and Bishop Gainer continue to offer our profound sorrow, prayers and assistance to all survivors of clergy abuse,” the statement concluded.

Public schools can learn from Catholics in handling sex abuse

DENVER (CO)
Catholic News Agency

July 2, 2019

After an investigative series by the Chicago Tribune uncovered numerous cases of sexual abuse and cover-up in the city’s public schools, a local commentator is looking to the Archdiocese of Chicago as an example of putting safeguards for children into practice.

In an article last week, Kristen McQueary, a columnist and member of the Chicago Tribune editorial board, highlighted the scandal surrounding Chicago Public Schools (CPS) and the need for greater transparency regarding sexual abuse there.

Police investigated 523 reports that children were sexually assaulted or abused inside city public schools from 2008 to 2017, or an average of one report each week, McQueary reported.

“Former Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Chicago Public Schools officials for months fought records requests from Tribune reporters on sexual assaults within schools,” she said.

“CPS only relented under threat of a lawsuit...It was not an exercise in protecting students.”

For Margaret McKenna, past clergy abuse is haunting her anew

PROVIDENCE (RI)
Boston Globe

July 2, 2019

By Amanda Milkovits

Margaret A. McKenna says she was around 12 or 13 when a young priest in the rectory across from her home in Central Falls took her for a drive to Lincoln Woods State Park and fondled her in the car.

She remembers him saying that no one would believe her if she told, but she could confess her sins to him. He sought her out for months, touching her in the school, in his car, at the rectory.

McKenna, who would go on to become the president of two Boston universities, has shared her story many times — with a priest when she was young, with the Rhode Island State Police, with Bishop Thomas J. Tobin of Providence, with Rhode Island legislators in March — and yet she said she felt invisible when the Providence diocese released a list Monday of nearly 50 clergy accused of child molestation.

The late Rev. Peter Tedeschi — the priest she’d accused of molesting her in the 1960s — was listed as “publicly accused.” He and the late Monsignor Anthony Deangelis were separated from those the diocese deemed “credibly accused.”

RI lawmakers spurn AG’s request to use grand jury for report on clergy abuse

PROVIDENCE (RI)
WPRI Target 10 News

July 2, 2019

Attorney General Peter Neronha says Rhode Islanders may learn less about sex abuse in the Catholic Church because lawmakers decided to bury a bill that would have allowed grand jury reports to be made public even without indictments.

Neronha’s bill — which failed to get a vote before the General Assembly recessed Friday — is garnering new attention this week after the Diocese of Providence released a list of 50 clergymen “credibly accused” of sexually abusing minors. It’s unclear how many additional accusations were not deemed credible by church officials.

Neronha, who is conducting his own investigation into past claims of sexual abuse in the church, said publishing information gathered by a grand jury could provide greater transparency surrounding a historically opaque issue. Pennsylvania’s attorney general took that route in compiling an explosive report on abuse in the church that came out last year.

“While our legislation would have no impact on our ability investigate clergy sex abuse, it could have a profound impact on what the public eventually learns about the investigation,” Neronha said in a statement.

Priests owe it to God not to report abuse confessions

Patheos blog

July 2, 2019

By Barry Duke

AN intransigent Vatican is digging its heels in over pressure to have priests report sexual abuse confessions to the authorities, and is complaining of anti-Catholic bias.

According to this report, a document issued by the Vatican’s Apostolic Penitentiary, which deals with issues of the sacrament of confession, said no government or law could force clergy to violate the seal:

Because this duty comes directly from God.

The document, which did not mention any countries or the sexual abuse crisis, complained of:

A worrying negative prejudice against the Catholic Church.

Most countries’ legal systems respect the religious right of a Catholic priest not to reveal what he has learnt in confession, similar to attorney-client privilege.

But the sexual abuse crisis that has embroiled the Catholic Church around the world has seen this right challenged more frequently.

In Australia, an inquiry into child abuse recommended that the country introduce a law forcing religious leaders to report child abuse, including priests told of it during confession.

So far, two of Australia’s eight states have introduced laws making it a crime for priests to withhold information about abuse heard in confession. Others are still considering their response.

Editorial: Long-overdue list from the Diocese

PROVIDENCE (RI)
Providence Journal

July 2, 2019

Sunlight is the best disinfectant. It was right of Providence Bishop Thomas Tobin to release a list of 50 clergy members who had been “credibly accused” of sexually abusing children.

We saw the faces of some of the accused spread across the front page of The Providence Journal Tuesday — many of them surely guilty of monstrous acts of cruelty and betrayal. Readers no doubt scanned the list for clergy that had worked in their churches. Only 19 of the 50 are still alive, and none still serve the diocese.

In a letter that Mr. Tobin read in a video, the bishop said that publishing the list “is a difficult but necessary moment in the moment in the life of our Diocesan church.”

He said “our thoughts and prayers turn first of all to those who have been harmed by the grave sin of sexual misconduct by clerics — priests and deacons — over the years.” He offered to the victims, their families and faithful Catholics who have been “rightly scandalized by these disgraceful events ... the profound apology of the Church and the Diocese of Providence. We pray fervently that God will give you the grace of healing and peace.”

The list was released as Gov. Gina Raimondo signed into law a new measure extending from seven years to 35 the time limit for victims to file suits against their molesters. The legislation generally looks forward. Institutions through which molesters acted are protected from further lawsuits if the seven-year statute of limitations has already passed, except in cases of recovered memory.

Nun Faces Court, Accused Of Helping Priests Rape Deaf Children

AUSTRALIA
10 Daily News

July 2, 2019

By Katie Hill

A Roman Catholic nun is due face court tomorrow, after a new request for 'preventative detention' was made following a new accusation of abuse. Kosaka Kumiko allegedly helped priests cover up rape at an institution for deaf students in Argentina. The abuse allegedly took place in bathrooms, dorms, a garden and a basement at the school north west of Buenos Aires. Five priests were arrested following raids in November 2017, Kumiko was taken into custody in April 2017. The accused, who was released on bail of $2 million, claims she is innocent and will fight to clear her name.

Upper West Side priest steps down amid sexual abuse allegations

NEW YORK (NY)
Daily News

July 2, 2019

By Michael Gartland

A priest at an Upper West Side church is stepping down amid accusations that he sexually abused a number of children, a New York Archdiocese spokesman said.

Eight accusers have claimed they are victims of Monsignor John Paddack, who on Tuesday told parishioners at the Church of Notre Dame on W. 114th St. that he will be resigning his post there.

“Msgr. Paddack has written to his parishioners to tell them that, although he denies the allegations against him, for the good of the parish and the people, he has decided to step aside while the investigation into the allegation proceeds,” Archdiocese spokesman Joe Zwilling told the Daily News.

Paddack’s accusers claim he abused them at various postings throughout the city, including Cardinal Hayes High School in the Bronx, St. Joseph by the Sea High School on Staten Island and the Church of the Incarnation in Upper Manhattan.

De Pere-based St. Norbert Abbey plans to publicize list of priests accused of molesting children

GREEN BAY (WI)
Press-Gazette

July 2, 2019

By Haley BeMiller

The names of priests at St. Norbert Abbey accused of molesting children could be made public this summer.

The abbey is in the final stages of reviewing sexual assault allegations against Norbertines over the years, the Green Bay Press-Gazette has learned. Montie Chavez, a spokesperson for St. Norbert, said the abbey aims to release the names of those priests by the end of summer.

Chavez declined to identify the independent agency handling the investigation, but the Right Rev. Dane Radecki, abbot of St. Norbert Abbey, told the Press-Gazette earlier this year that Praesidium was assisting with it. Praesidium is an organization that works with Catholic dioceses on their responses to clergy abuse.

Norbertines, sometimes known as Premonstratensians, differ from diocesan priests in the vows they take, according to St. Norbert's website. Locally, the order is based at an abbey in De Pere and serves Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church and Holy Cross, among other parishes. Their priests also work at four Catholic schools, including St. Norbert College.

St. Norbert's findings would follow the release of a list by the Catholic Diocese of Green Bay earlier this year of 48 priests with "substantial allegations" of sexual abuse of a minor against them. The diocese initially released 46 names but added two more as additional survivors came forward.

The abbey's investigation also comes amid heightened scrutiny of the Catholic church as survivors and their advocates call for greater transparency worldwide. Pressure is coming from the Vatican, too, as Pope Francis recently issued a decree requiring clergy to report abuse to church officials.

Meanwhile, at least 14 state attorneys general in the U.S. have launched their own investigations into clergy abuse.

Allegations against Norbertine priests have surfaced throughout the years. Perhaps the most well-known is former priest James Stein, who was convicted in 2004 of sexually assaulting a 14-year-old boy in a hot tub at the abbey.

Another priest added to Dallas Catholic diocese's 'credibly accused' list for 1960 sexual abuse allegation

DALLAS (TX)
Morning News

July, 2, 2019

By David Tarrant

The Dallas Catholic Diocese has added a new name to its list of clergy members credibly accused of sexual abuse of children.

The diocese, embroiled in scrutiny over its handling of past sexual abuse allegations, posted on its website over the weekend that Peter Barusseau was accused of abusing a minor while serving in North Texas. The diocese's short news item says the alleged abuse occurred in 1960. Diocese leaders did not release any further details about the alleged abuse.

According to church records, from 1960-61, Barusseau substituted for other priests at Immaculate Conception in Denton, St. Anthony in Dallas and St. Mary in Sherman.

Born in 1909, Barusseau is believed to be dead, but the diocese is attempting to confirm his date of death with his home diocese in France.

The diocese first released its list of 31 credibly accused clergy — both living and dead — on Jan. 31. The list was part of a joint transparency effort by all Texas dioceses. Combined, those lists included nearly 300 names of clergy members who have been "credibly accused" of sexual abuse of children since 1950.

Catholic Charities appeal ends far short of $11 million target

BUFFALO (NY)
Buffalo News

July 2, 2019

By Jay Tokasz

The 2019 Catholic Charities appeal finished more than $1.5 million short of an $11 million goal, as the Buffalo Diocese struggled to overcome dismay over its handling of clergy sexual abuse claims.

The Catholic human service agency did not have a final tally of the amount raised, said spokeswoman Rose Caldwell, adding that a full announcement would happen in mid-July.

But, she said, “To my knowledge, there hasn’t been any major significant change that would put it over goal.”

Sunday was the final day of the annual appeal. A progress tracker at the Catholic Charities website shows the appeal raised $9,251,843. The final tally might end up being more, but Caldwell she was not aware of any large last-minute gifts that would have closed the gap.

It was the first time since 2010 that the appeal fell short of goal.

NY church officials sue insurers over future abuse claims

NEW YORK (NY)
Associated Press

July 2, 2019

The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New York has filed a lawsuit against more than two dozen insurance companies seeking to compel the firms to cover claims filed by people who say they were abused by clergy members.

Church officials anticipate that numerous alleged abuse victims will file lawsuits under New York's Child Victims Act. The new state law gives victims a one-year window to file claims alleging sex abuse that were previously barred by the statute of limitations.

The archdiocese says in its lawsuit filed Friday in Manhattan state Supreme Court that many of its insurers "intend to dispute, limit, or deny coverage" for abuse.

Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed the Child Victims Act into law in February. The one-year window to file claims starts in August.

Priest on Administrative Leave for Abuse Allegations Allowed to Quietly Retire, SNAP Responds

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

July 2, 2019

A priest who faces at least three child sex abuse allegations was allowed to quietly retire. This kind of move flies in the face of church officials’ repeated promises to be open and transparent in cases of clergy abuse. We call on Toledo Catholic officials to go public with the results of their internal “investigation” into the allegations against Fr. Nelson Beaver as soon as it is completed.

“One thing I believe the diocese should explain immediately is what their spokesman meant when she said ‘all of the civil complaints have been dealt with,’” said Claudia Vercellotti, leader of SNAP Toledo. “Was she referring to the end of the criminal investigations, or did she mean that accusers have sued, and that they have settled their claims or dropped them? If it is the latter, church officials should come clean on exactly how many ‘civil complaints’ against Fr. Beaver were filed, and if any or all of the settlements were subject to non-disclosure agreements. Parishioners and parents in Toledo deserve answers to these questions.”

Priests accused of sex abuse served in almost every RI city and town

PROVIDENCE (RI)
WPRI Target 12 News

July 2, 2019

By Eli Sherman, Ted Nesi, Darren Soens, Kim Kalunian

When the Roman Catholic Diocese of Providence gave the late Rev. Robert Marcantonio his 16th and final pastoral assignment in 1989, he’d already been accused of sexually abusing minors multiple times over the previous two decades.

Marcantonio, who died in 1999, started out at Sacred Heart Church in West Warwick in 1967. Within three years diocesan leaders were alerted that he had molested multiple boys, according to documents compiled by the group BishopAccountability.org.

Rather than remove Marcantonio from ministry, however, the diocese sent him to Iowa. He returned to Rhode Island in 1975 and resumed active ministry, spending four years at St. John Vianney Church in Cumberland and then a decade at Rhode Island College, along with overlapping assignments at the University of Rhode Island, Bryant College and the U.S. Navy Reserve. More abuse allegations followed.

The Providence Diocese finally removed Marcantonio from ministry in 1989, according to a list of “credibly accused” priests released Monday by Bishop Thomas Tobin. His alleged misconduct was hardly a secret: a year after his removal, Marcantonio was the subject of an explosive investigative report on WPRI 12 that led then-Bishop Louis Gelineau to revoke the station’s right to televise Thanksgiving and Christmas Masses.

Over the 22 years leading up to his removal, Marcantonio served as a pastor at five parishes, six colleges, a high school and a seminary, spanning three states. Survivor advocates say such frequent reassignments were a common trend for abusive priests.

“Moving around predators was typical,” said Tim Lennon, president of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, or SNAP.

Pampanga archdiocese relieves priest accused of abuse

By CBCP News

July 1, 2019

Manila, Philippines

A Catholic priest has been accused of sexual abuse and was relieved of his duties, a church leader said Sunday.

The alleged victim, a 17-year-old girl, was not identified. She accused Fr. Daniel Baul of abuse that happened at a church-based center for women and children in Pampanga.

A formal complaint was made by the alleged victim to the authorities which resulted in the issuance of a warrant of arrest.

The Archdiocese of San Fernando said it is cooperating with officials investigating the case, but provided no other information.

Archbishop Florencio Lavarias said they would exert all efforts “so that truth and justice may be served for both parties”.

“As a matter or protocol, the accused, though innocent until proven guilty, has been relieved from his assignment,” Lavarias said.

He also said that “pastoral care” is being extended to the alleged victim, while the archdiocese is conducting its own investigation.

Woman Speaks Out Against Fordham Alum Who Sexually Assaulted Her

NEW YORK (NY)
The Observer

July 2, 2019

By Sophie Partridge-Hicks

Nine years ago, Esther Harber was sexually assaulted by a Fordham Alumnus. After years of attempting to resolve the issue within the Catholic Church, Harber has decided to make her story public with the goal of protecting others in the future. She hopes that, by sharing her story, necessary change will be made to the Catholic Church and the way it supports victims of sexual assault.

Harber says she was raped by the Reverend Edwin Erhimeyoma in 2010. At the time of the assault, Rev. Erhimeyoma was pursuing a doctoral degree at Fordham’s Graduate School of Religion and Religious Education, which he completed in 2015. According to Bob Howe, assistant vice president for communications at Fordham University, Fordham was never informed of the allegations against Erhimeyoma.

Harber shared in an interview with the Catholic News Agency (CNA) that she had met Erhimeyoma while she was working as a lay missionary serving women and children in New York CIty. Erhimeyoma was a priest at Holy Rosary Parish, a church in Edgewater, New Jersey, which Harber often visited. Over the next two years, the two engaged in what Harber calls an abusive relationship.

Pope Francis on path to healing wounds of abuse scandal, says nuncio

OTTAWA (CANADA)
Canadian Catholic News

July 2, 2019

By Deborah Gyapong

Pope Francis is leading efforts to heal the wounds of the sexual abuse scandals so the Church can fulfill her mission, says Canada’s apostolic nuncio.

“Pope Francis sees the Church as a community of men and women who live for others, who care for those in need, for those who are injured, for those who find themselves on the margins of life,” Archbishop Luigi Bonazzi told a gathering of about 300 people, including diplomats, bishops, church officials, lay leaders and friends at a June 27 reception at his Ottawa residence honouring the sixth anniversary of Pope Francis’ election. “But in order to heal others, we need to be cared for and healed ourselves.”

Bonazzi, the Vatican’s representative in Canada, spoke of Pope Francis’ “unique image” of the Church as a “field hospital,” based on the story of the Good Samaritan.

“Precisely to help and ensure the good health of the Church, which in recent times has found itself sick and wounded by the serious scandals of sexual abuse, Pope Francis is leading a serious and ongoing process of healing and reconciliation, a process which had one of its most significant moments in the convocation last February, of bishops and religious Superiors from around the world on The Protection of Minors in the Church.”

The nuncio called it an open and transparent process, noting Pope Francis is not asking the Church to “hide or ignore” her wounds, but to instead put Christ at the centre since He is the One who can heal them.

Tommy: The seal of confession should be broken if it means saving kids

NEW ORLEANS (LA)
WWL Radio

July 2, 2019

By Tommy Tucker

“The defense of the sacramental seal and the sanctity of confession can never constitute some form of connivance with evil, on the contrary, they represent the only true antidote to evil that threatens man and the whole world,” states the note signed by the head of the penitentiary, Cardinal Mauro Piacenza on July 1.

What all of the above means, simply stated, is that if you’re a priest hearing the confession of a pedophile who says he’s molesting a child, you can’t tell anyone. You can’t tell the police. You can’t tell the Bishop. You can’t tell parents to keep their kids away the pedophile. In other words, you forgive the offender and send him on his way. Most experts will tell you a pedophile cannot be cured; so odds are you’re sending him off, cleansed of his sins, to victimize more children.

I’m a cradle Catholic, but, I gotta tell ya, that’s the most un-like Christian thing I can imagine. Do you REALLY think, in your heart of hearts, that Jesus would approve of that? My heart tells me that CHILDREN ALWAYS COME FIRST! If there’s only food for one, they eat FIRST. If there’s only shelter for one, THEY SLEEP INSIDE. If only one person can be protected it is, WITHOUT DOUBT, THE CHILD.

https://www.star-telegram.com/living/religion/article232168802.html

FORT WORTH (TX)
Star Telegram

July 1, 2019

By Nichole Manna

The June 2018 resignation of the Rev. Richard Kirkham, of Prosper, is valid, according to the Diocese of Fort Worth, which received a decree on the matter from the Congregations for Clergy at the Vatican.

Under Catholic Canon law, Father Kirkham remains a priest of the Diocese but must vacate the parish rectory, the Diocese of Fort Worth said in a statement.

“The Congregation has lifted the suspension of Father Kirkham, but he is without assignment. Bishop (Michael) Olson will assess how to proceed after meeting with Father Kirkham; however, he will not return as pastor of St. Martin de Porres,” the statement from the Diocese said.

Olson asked Kirkham to resign after a letter Kirkham wrote to another priest in Dallas was deemed intimidating, manipulative and inappropriate by the bishop.

Armed with new lawyers, man appeals dismissed lawsuit alleging abuse by former SBC leader

NASHVILLE (TN)
Baptist News Global

July 1, 2019

By Bob Allen

One of Houston’s leading law firms is handling the appeal of a lawsuit alleging sexual abuse by former Southern Baptist Convention leader Paul Pressler.

A district judge recently signed final orders dismissing the three remaining claims in a lawsuit filed by Gareld Duane Rollins Jr., a 54-year-old man who says sexual abuse that began when he was a teenager sent him on a downward spiral of substance abuse and multiple arrests that continued until he made an outcry statement to a prison psychologist in 2015.

Last year Houston Judge Ravi K. Sandill dismissed counts of abuse alleged prior to 2004, saying the claims are too old to litigate due to the state’s statute of limitations.

Rollins filed a notice of appeal June 18 represented by attorneys with Baker Botts, a firm with history dating back to the Republic of Texas in 1840 that now employs about 725 lawyers in 14 cities around the globe.

Rollins discharged his former lawyer, Daniel Shea, in April. Shea previously represented Rollins in a lawsuit against Pressler settled in a confidential agreement in 2004.

Catholic Diocese of Richmond announces third-party hotline for reporting ethical misconduct

RICHMOND (VA)
Richmond Times-Dispatch

July 2, 2019

By C. Suarez Rojas

Parishioners, employees, volunteers and clergy in the Catholic Diocese of Richmond have a new way to report suspected misconduct that isn’t sexual abuse.

As of Monday, the diocese has a third-party company, EthicsPoint, managing an anonymous hotline intended for people to report financial mismanagement or administrative issues in local churches, offices and schools in the diocese’s jurisdiction. The diocese covers most of the state.

The implementation of the new ethics hotline comes as the diocese is reckoning with its admission that approximately 50 of its priests have been credibly accused of sexually abusing children in incidents that took place between the 1950s and 2000s.

In a video announcing the hotline, Richmond Bishop Barry Knestout said the diocese hopes more people will feel encouraged to report misconduct, but that sexual abuse allegations should continue to be reported to law enforcement authorities and child protective service agencies before a caller contacts the diocese’s confidential sexual abuse hotline.

“We must uphold the commitments we have made and the legacy we have been handed in a fair and honorable manner. This includes reviewing existing policies and procedures and revising them in order to ensure that the diocese is providing the tools and environment needed to strengthen our Church, our communities and one another,” Knestout said in a letter to the church community.

A report from the National Catholic Reporter about fraud in churches published earlier this year quotes a Diocese of Richmond officer who said all of the diocese’s parishes are regularly audited and mandated to have procedures for money collection and accounting.

The article also mentions recent major embezzlement cases in the archdioceses of Philadelphia and Miami, and the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph, Missouri.

Knestout has declined to be interviewed by the Richmond Times-Dispatch at least four times since August, but has said in communications with parishioners that the diocese is committed to improving transparency.

Protecting seal of confession called essential for civilized society

WASHINGTON (DC)
Catholic News Service

July 1, 2019

By Chaz Muth

When Ethan K. Alano walks into the reconciliation room at Queen of Peace Catholic Church in Salem, he bares his soul before God and goes into detail about his sins during confession. Alano’s trust in the priest is solid.

He is certain that anything he says in the confessional is confidential, allowing him to air his sins in complete specificity so that he may receive a just penance, reaffirming his relationship with the Lord.

That penitential confidence is a centuries-old rite in Catholicism and protecting it from governmental intrusion goes beyond tradition, religious freedom and church law, said Auxiliary Bishop Peter L. Smith of Portland, who also is a canon lawyer.

It disenfranchises the sacrament if the faithful believe there is the slightest possibility that civil authorities could compel a priest to reveal what they have shared in the confessional, Bishop Smith told Catholic News Service in a May interview.

In the confessional, “people encounter the mercy of God,” he said. “They encounter God’s forgiveness of them, but they also encounter the Lord helping them to live their lives more fully as he calls them to. So, that’s what we should experience in the sacrament of reconciliation.”

It’s the humanitarian benefit for the individual and society that has motivated the church in making the priest-penitent privilege absolute.

So much so that the Code of Canon Law states the penalty for a priest who violates the seal of confession is automatic excommunication, which can only be lifted by the pope himself.

Sacramento Catholic Diocese lists new victims of alleged clergy abuse

SACRAMENTO (C)
ABC 10 News

July 1, 2019

There is new fallout following ABC10's exclusive discussion with Bishop of the Sacramento Catholic Diocese Jaime Soto. Now the Sacramento Diocese has identified five new victims, bringing the total of known survivors to 135.

San Fernando diocese cooperating with probe on priest accused of sex abuse

MANILA (PHILIPPINES)
Manila Bulletin

July 2, 2019

By Leslie Aquino

The Archdiocese of San Fernando in Pampanga said it was cooperating with officials investigating the case of Father Daniel Baul, who has been accused of sexual abuse.

Pampanga Archbishop Florencio Lavarias said they would exert all efforts “so that truth and justice may be served for both parties”.

He also revealed that the concerned priest has already been relieved from his assignment as a matter of “protocol”.

“As a matter of protocol, the accused, though innocent until proven guilty, has been relieved from his assignment,” Lavarias said in a CBCP News post.

He also said that “pastoral care” was being extended to the alleged victim, while the archdiocese is conducting its own investigation.

Former Charlotte priest listed among credibly-accused clergy in the Diocese of Providence

CHARLOTTE (NC)
WBTV News

July 2, 2019

A former Catholic priest in Charlotte was listed among credibly-accused clergy in the Diocese of Providence in Rhode Island.

William Tanguay served the Diocese of Charlotte from 1995 to 2002, and worked with the Hmong Ministry.

Tanguay’s name was listed by the Diocese of Providence in Rhode Island where he also served for years.

He’s served in the church since 1969 and was removed from the ministry in 2002. The church did not detail any of the allegations, or if they’re based in Charlotte.

The Diocese of Providence released the list Monday and provided the following statement on its website.

At the direction of the Bishop, the Director of Compliance was tasked with conducting an independent, thorough and objective review of files dating back to 1950, a year used by many other dioceses as a benchmark. Many files were several decades old, and the Director was not the initial investigator. The Director reviewed all diocesan files compiled over seventy years, and employed his training and expertise as a twenty-three year State Police detective to make assessments and judgments regarding the available and developed evidence within the files. In some instances, the Director made additional inquiries to corroborate and bolster certain allegations. In some cases of his own choosing, the Director of Compliance consulted the Director of Outreach and Prevention and/or the Diocesan Review Board for further advice. In all instances, however, the Director of Compliance ultimately exercised his own independent, expert judgment in determining whether to place particular clergy on the list.

The Catholic Diocese of Charlotte has not yet released a full list of names of credibly-accused clergy, but the Diocese says they plan to release that list by the end of the year.

Survivors Label Providence Roman Catholic Diocese List Of Credible Priest Abusers Incomplete

BOSTON (MA)
WGBH News

July 1, 2019

By Marilyn Schairer

Rhode Island survivors of clergy sex abuse are saying that the list of 50 clergy members credibly accused of sexual abuse released Monday by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Providence, Rhode Island is far from enough.

Psychologist Dr. Ann Hagan Webb, who is a member of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP), said she's certain the list is incomplete.

“It feels like damage control. It's a little bit too late, certainly,” she said. “This list is names they have known for a very long time. There are priests on there that have been moved around 15 times.”

Hagan Webb, who says she was molested by her parish priest in West Warwick, Rhode Island between the ages of 5 to 12, said she hopes the authorities step in and prosecute.

The Providence diocese posted on its diocese website 50 names of clergy, religious order priests and deacons that are “credibly” accused of sexual abuse. The published list includes 19 men who are still alive, although all have been removed from ministry. The diocese list also posts where each of those “credibly” accused men once worked.

SNAP said in a statement that it hopes the release of this information will lead to safer, more informed communities, and that survivors will be encouraged to come forward and make a report.

July 1, 2019

Paul Muschick on Allentown Diocese job cuts: Abuse victims should keep filing claims

ALLENTOWN (PA)
The Morning Call

July 2, 2019

By Paul Muschick

The Catholic church clergy sex abuse scandal has claimed new victims — employees who were let go or suffered other consequences because the church finally had to compensate victims.

The Allentown Diocese announced Monday that it has cut operating costs and is reducing its office work force by 24 percent. Pay freezes were instituted and departments were restructured.

A news release said the changes were necessary so the diocese could “continue its charitable and pastoral mission throughout its five counties while freeing up funds to compensate victims of clergy sexual abuse.”

Most of the 23-person reduction occurred through attrition, including a voluntary retirement program, the diocese said. A spokesman wouldn’t disclose how many workers were laid off.

I feel for people who lost their jobs or suffered other repercussions. But if they’re looking for someone to blame, don’t blame the abuse victims who filed claims and were compensated. Blame church officials for not heading off this problem decades ago.

Remember, the diocese could sell assets and borrow money. Those were other sources it said it could tap when it opened the compensation fund in April. The diocese doesn’t have to make its staff bear the brunt.

It also could cut back on the charitable services it provides. That’s a tough choice, and could create even more victims — the aid recipients who don’t get the help they need. But it’s an option.

Allentown and other Pennsylvania dioceses created compensation funds in response to a grand jury report released last summer that detailed sexual abuse accusations against 301 priests statewide who had abused hundreds of children over several decades.

The seal of confession and mandatory reporting: a survey of state laws

NEW YORK (NY)
America Magazine

July 1, 2019

By Ellen K. Boegel

The Catholic Church is campaigning against California’s proposed changes to its mandatory child abuse reporting law that could compromise the ancient Catholic defense of the “seal of the confessional.” Currently, clergy members are mandated reporters of child abuse and neglect, but need not report abuse if their reasonable suspicions are based on “penitential communications.” Several bills have been proposed that would eliminate or limit this reporting exception.

The version of SB 360 passed by the California Senate and scheduled for a July 9 hearing before the Assembly’s Public Safety committee narrows the definition of penitential communications to those similar to the Sacrament of Reconciliation, in that they must be “made in the manner and context that places the clergy member specifically and strictly under a level of confidentiality that is considered inviolate by church doctrine.” The bill, if enacted, would also require reporting of child abuse revealed through “penitential communications between a clergy member and another person that is employed at the same site or facility as the clergy member” and “between a clergy member and another clergy member.”

This change is significant, but SB 360 does not apply to most confessions and, as currently written, would not change California’s Evidence Code, which retains the priest-penitent privilege and grants everyone the right “to prevent another from disclosing a penitential communication.” The laws of other states are more severe and less religiously accommodating, although practical considerations have limited their impact on religious adherents.

King of the mountain: For 20 years, a Lil’wat chief keeps a lonely vigil in the B.C. woods

PEMBERTON (CANADA)
Globe and Mail

July 1, 2019

By Nancy MacDonald

Hubert Jim says he can smell visitors long before he ever sees them. The wind, he says, carries their scent: sunscreen, deodorant, soaps, shampoos – all of it sickly sweet, unmistakably human and foreign to the alpine wilderness he calls home.

This sounds, of course, like total hokum. But a few hours after saying it, Hubie, as Mr. Jim is better known, suddenly went pounding down the winding one-kilometre trail leading to a sturdy, log bridge he built years ago. There, on the far side of the churning, white waters of the Cayoosh Creek stood a pair of bemused retirees from Britain, blinking in the hot, spring sun. They were stretching their legs – a pit stop on a camper trip across the province. Hubie had apparently nosed them out.

He was 37 when he moved to the mountain for good. This fall Hubie turns 57, marking almost 20 years living alone in a shack in B.C. grizzly territory, 40-kilometres northeast of Pemberton. Unless he is forcibly removed, Hubie, a Lil’wat Nation hereditary chief, says he will die here.

The protest camp named Sutikalh was erected in 2000 by a group of First Nations people aiming to stop the last, pristine watershed on Lil’wat lands from being turned into a ski hill. The resort would rival Whistler, the co-host of the 2010 Winter Olympics and playground to the global super rich that also happens to be located on the traditional territories of the Lil’wat Nation.

Within a year, every protester except Hubie had gone home.

Construction on the Cayoosh Resort at Melvin Creek was mothballed owing to Indigenous opposition. The developers – former Olympian Nancy Greene Raine and her husband, Al Raine, the mayor of Sun Peaks, B.C. – however, could still build on the land in the future depending on the outcome of consultations with First Nations in the area. Because of this, Hubie still doesn’t feel it is safe to leave the mountain untended.

“So much of the world has already been destroyed,” he says. “I’m looking after the mountain not just for the Lil’wat, but so the whole world can enjoy it.”

Fall River diocese’s list of accused priests still unfinished

FALL RIVER (MA)
WPRI TV

July 1, 2019

By Eli Sherman and Ted Nesi

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Fall River is continuing to conduct an internal review into sexual abuse allegations against its priests and clergymen, but is still not setting a date for when a list of credible accusations will be released.

Fall River Bishop Edgar Moreira da Cunha announced in January he had hired William Gavin, a former FBI assistant director, as an independent consultant to review all past claims of sexual abuse against Fall River clergy. Gavin’s hiring followed a reorganization of personnel files last fall.

The bishop said at the time he expected the review would be done “in the spring.” However, diocesan spokesperson John Kearns said Monday the review wasn’t finished yet and he didn’t know when it would be.

“I don’t want to speculate at this point,” Kearns told WPRI 12. “When the review is finished, we will be publishing the list.”

BishopAccountability.org, a website that tracks the Catholic abuse crisis nationwide, lists 31 members of the Fall River diocese who have faced some past accusation of sexual abuse. The diocese includes Bristol County, Cape Cod and the Islands, as well as Marion, Mattapoisett and Wareham.

In a January letter to the region’s Catholics, de Cunha indicated he expected the list would reveal relatively few unknown abuse cases.

“While most of these names have already been reported in the media, the publication of a list is necessary for greater transparency on our part in response to clerical sexual abuse,” he wrote. “I wish that this information could be made available sooner; yet it takes time and diligence to compile a list that is accurate and complete.”

Fall River’s diocesan leaders also established an Office of Safe Environment a year ago, led by retired law enforcement officers, to oversee child protection in the diocese.

Allentown Diocese cuts office staff by nearly 25% to pay for sex abuse victims

ALLENTOWN (PA)
Morning Call

July 1, 2019

By Emily Opilo

The Allentown Diocese has cut its office staff by nearly a quarter and enacted a pay freeze to help compensate victims of clergy sexual abuse, officials announced Monday.

The cuts, effective last Friday, were centered in the diocesan’s administrative office, where 96 people worked prior to the reductions, according to a news release from diocese spokesman Matt Kerr. Most of the cuts were made through attrition, and a voluntary retirement program was offered, according to the diocese.

Kerr would not disclose how many of the 23 affected positions were eliminated via layoffs.

A victim’s compensation fund was created earlier this year in response to a grand jury report released last summer that detailed sexual abuse accusations against 301 priests statewide who had abused hundreds of children over several decades. The report named 37 priests from the Allentown Diocese, and the diocese itself added another 15 names until the list.

A five-month window to file claims with the fund will close in September.

Allentown has set aside millions for the fund, which will not tap future collections from masses, or school and parish funds, according to the diocese. The fund was expected to be built on available cash, borrowed money and the sale of assets.

While no future collections will be used, the diocese’s existing assets were accumulated via donations -- the church’s only source of revenue -- and investments of that money made by the diocese, Kerr said Monday.

Diocese officials would not specify in April how much money was available in the fund, but said it would provide a public report on the number of victims and the total amount paid to them at the conclusion of the program.

The number of claims filed so far, which has not been disclosed, was not a factor when making the staffing reductions, Kerr said.

Priest accused of sex abuse retires

TOLEDO (OH)
The Blade

July 1, 2019

By Nicki Gorny

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Toledo announced a routine series of clergy appointments and transfers on Monday, including the retirement of the Rev. Nelson Beaver, who remains on administrative leave as the diocese continues an internal investigation into sexual abuse allegations against him that began to emerge last year.

Authorities in Williams County, where an initial allegation of sexual abuse of a minor arose in October, closed their investigation at the request of the accuser in March. The allegation had dated back more than 25 years. In the course of that months-long investigation, two additional and also decades-old allegations arose in Lucas County and in Huron County.

Lucas County authorities did not investigate the allegation, which would have fallen beyond the statute of limitations, in line with the wishes of the accuser.

Huron County authorities, who did not respond to repeated requests for comment from The Blade in March, have since closed their investigation, Kelly Donaghy, diocesan spokesman said. That leaves the matter to the diocese, which will investigate according to its own policy and ultimately determine whether Father Beaver, who is now retired or of “senior status,” is suitable for ministry.

NY Archdiocese Sues Insurers After Coverage Denied for Child Sex Abuse Claims

NEW YORK (NY)
New York Law Journal

July 1, 2019

By Dan M. Clark

The Archdiocese of New York has filed a lawsuit against its various insurers over the years after one company said it’s not planning to cover claims brought through a new law enacted this year that will open a window for older victims of child sex abuse to file civil litigation in New York.

I was groomed by my teacher aged 11 after he offered to ‘teach me how to kiss’

LONDON (ENGLAND)
The Sun

July 1, 2019

By Amy Nickell

However this wasn't an innocent childhood romance - perverted Graham was Rachel's 28-year-old teacher, and he would go on to abuse the teen over three years.

Rachel says: "You think you're grown up and as a teenager you know everything but you realise you don't and you are still a child.

"That makes what Graham did worse because it's taking away somebody's innocence, and that's what he did to me."

Sadly, she's not alone. In the last five years in the UK over 200 teachers have been struck off as a result of sexual misconduct with students.

Groomed and sexually abused, married mum-of-one Rachel, now 43, kept her personal ordeal secret for 25 years.

Shepherding amid scandal: Archbishops talk about healing

WASHINGTON (DC)
Catholic News Service

July 1, 2019

By Cindy Wooden

The first time Archbishop Michael J. Byrnes of Agana, Guam, celebrated Mass in his cathedral, he had to cross a picket line to do so.

Australian Archbishop Peter A. Comensoli of Melbourne said Catholics in his archdiocese are angry.

The two were among 30 archbishops from 25 nations who received their palliums — woolen stoles — from Pope Francis June 29.

In interviews with Catholic News Service before the Mass, both archbishops spoke of the impact of clerical sexual abuse on the people of their dioceses and said survivors are the members of their flocks most in need of care.

The first week of August, both Archbishop Byrnes and Archbishop Comensoli will celebrate their first anniversaries as archbishop of their dioceses. For both archdioceses, it has been a year of coming face-to-face with the abuse crisis.

Archbishop Byrnes was an auxiliary bishop of Detroit when Pope Francis sent him to Guam in October 2016 as the coadjutor bishop with special powers in the midst of accusations of sexual abuse and financial mismanagement against Guam’s Archbishop Anthony Apuron.

The appointment “was a little overwhelming,” the archbishop said. Guam was far away and Catholics there were in an uproar.

Meeting Pope Francis before he went to Guam for the first time, he said he told the pope that when a sports team is doing badly, the important thing is to return to the fundamentals and that’s what he planned to do in Guam: “Being friends with Jesus Christ.”

But “my first meeting when I arrived in Guam was with lawyers,” he said. “At that time we had six complaints of sexual abuse of minors and to date over 230 victims have come forward — it’s a lot for a small island.”

BREAKING: Diocese of Providence Names Priests “Credibly” Accused of Sexual Abuse

PROVIDENCE (RI)
GoLocalProv News Team

July 1, 2019

The Diocese of Providence on Monday morning released the names of clergy, diocesan and religious order priests as well as deacons, who have been "credibly" accused of sexual abuse of minors. Bishop Tobin stated last year that the names would be released in 2019.

In February, the Diocese of Providence’s Rhode Island Catholic Conference in written testimony to the House Judiciary Committee disclosed that the church has made tens of millions of dollars in payments to sexual abuse victims over the past few decades.

The testimony had been offered in opposition to legislation -- recently passed by the General Assembly -- to extend the statute of limitation of those who are sexually abused from the existing seven years to up to 35 years.

Payments to Victims

The disclosure of the payments may, in part, be an indicator as to the Diocese's financial issues and why the church failed to make proper contributions to the pension fund of the now collapsed St. Joseph Health Services retirement fund -- the largest pension fund failure in Rhode Island history.

“Reflecting [on] our commitment to justice, the Diocese of Providence has resolved over 130 claims and paid out over $21 million in legal settlements. Additionally, a pastoral outreach program has provided victims with nearly $2.3 million for the cost of counseling in order to facilitate healing and wholeness. There have been many long-standing and effective efforts towards prevention here,” said the Church in written testimony to the House committee.

Last October, the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests (SNAP), a national non-profit, has called on Democratic candidate for Rhode Island Attorney General Peter Neronha to commit to investigating the Diocese of Providence.

How Karma Became a B*tch For John Capparelli, a Serial Predator Priest With Wrestling Fetish

Wrestling World blog

July 1, 2019

By Joan Jalbuena

The community of Henderson in Nevada, located just south of Las Vegas is a small one of only about 300,000 people. It’s a quiet place, which is why, earlier this year they were shocked to rack up their third homicide in a year.

The victim was a 70 year old man, who was supposedly “quiet” and who neighbors believed was merely a retired teacher who occasionally ran tutoring sessions in his home.

According to Fox 5, the Henderson police were conducting a welfare check at the home of John Capparelli, at around 9:30 am on March 9. They found Capparelli’s body in the kitchen. He had been shot in the neck in an apparent robbery.

It was only then that his neighbors realized that their “quiet” neighbor had come to their community to hide allegations of a dark past.

Capparelli was a defrocked priest accused of molesting multiple boys in the guise of “teaching” them to wrestle.

Capparelli had been a Catholic Priest for the period of 1980 to 1992, until multiple allegations of sexual misconduct were brought against him. Several young men alleged that he had groped them and worse. He was suspended from the church in 1992.

Even after he was defrocked, however, Capparelli continued to work with children and young boys as a public school teacher, said a report from NJ.com. He only stopped in 2011 after a report in the Star-Ledger made public, the allegations against him.

“Submission” wrestling
An earlier story that the NJ.com ran about John Capparelli’s life in New Jersey also reveals that Capparelli was linked to a fetish website called nhb-battle.com, which he was supposed to be running out of his home in Belleville.

Two of Capparelli’s victims during the years he was a priest have been vocal about their molestation at his hands. They were to testify against Capparelli during his hearing with the New Jersey State Board of Examiners but didn’t get a chance to as the case reached a settlement.

“I am happy that after all this time, he’s finally being held accountable,” said Rich Fitter, who has stated that Capparelli used to touch him inappropriately during “submission wrestling” matches in the 1980s.

“He should not be around children. To me he should be in jail,” said Fitter.

According to Fitter and another of the alleged victims, Andrew Dundorf have shared their experiences with Capparelli both which involve “wrestling”.

Vatican court rejects laws obligating priests to report sexual abuse revealed in confessions

ROME (ITALY)
CBS News

July 1, 2019

By Anna Matranga

The Vatican's highest court issued a document on Monday approved by Pope Francis strongly reiterating Catholic teaching that priests may not, under any circumstances, reveal information learned inside the confessional. The document was a response to mounting political and social pressure for priests to report details of sexual abuse of minors acquired during confessions to authorities.

The document states that any legislation aimed at forcing priests to report such information would be an "unacceptable offense" against the church's freedom from secular power, as well as a violation of the religious freedoms of both the penitent and the confessor.

The Vatican said it felt it was "necessary to intervene," to explain the importance of the confessional seal to the church, and to promote understanding of it.

Diocese releases list of clergy ‘credibly accused’ of sex abuse

PROVIDENCE (RI)
Providence Journal

July 1, 2019

By Brian Amaral

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Providence on Monday morning released a list of clergy, priests and deacons who have been “credibly accused” of sexually abusing children.

The list, posted on the diocese’s website just after 8 a.m., represented generations of private torment for victims and public disgrace for abusers and their enablers. It includes 50 names, 19 of them still living but none still active.

The state recently extended the statute of limitations for victims to file lawsuits over child sexual abuse from seven years to 35.

To find the list of credibly accused Diocese of Providence priests and deacons, click here.

Bishop Thomas J. Tobin announced in December that the list would be released sometime in 2019; in a statement, the diocese said it hopes the list will provide “healing and consolation.”

The list was broken down into several categories, including credibly accused living clergy, credibly accused living deacons, credibly accused deceased clergy, credibly accused deceased religious order priests, and two “publicly accused” deceased clergy. All but one of the 19 living clergy and deacons were listed as “removed from ministry.” The one who wasn’t removed had resigned before an allegation was received, the diocese said.

One priest was born in 1904, and was ordained in 1930. He died in 1977, before any allegation was received. The youngest living credibly accused priest is now 60, and was ordained in 1990.

Diocese of Providence Posts List of Clergy Accused of Abuse

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

July 1, 2019

This morning, the Diocese of Providence, RI has finally taken the step of posting the names of clergy who have been accused of abuse. Now we call on church officials in Rhode Island to aggressively reach out to parishioners, informing them of this list and urging anyone with information or allegations of their own to report to local police and prosecutors.

While it is likely that this list was only published in response to growing public pressure, we hope that the release of this information will lead to safer, more informed communities We also hope that survivors who may be suffering in silence will be encouraged to come forward and make a report to police and the attorney general.

Unfortunately, the list released today Rhode Island church officials only includes names, ages, years of ordination, and their current status. While this information is valuable, it is not enough for a complete list. Bishop Thomas Tobin should work immediately to update his list and include, at a minimum, the work histories of each accused priest so that communities where abusers served know to look for survivors in their midst. Similarly, he should include information about when the archdiocese first received the allegations and what they did in response. Only by knowing what went wrong to enable abusers in the past can we best know how to prevent similar situations in the future.

Former Church of England Boys' Society lay leader at Sutherland jailed for sexual assaults on boys over 20-year period

AUSTRALIA
The Leader

June 28, 2019

By Murray Trembath

A former Church of England Boys' Society lay leader and scripture teacher at Sutherland has been sentenced to a minimum three years and seven months jail for historical child sexual assault offences.

Many of the offences occurred in church-run camps for boys in Royal National Park.

William Richmond Sandwell, 78, of Loftus, appeared in the District Court, Downing Centre, after a jury found him guilty of 11 child sexual assault offences, committed against six children between 1965 and 1985.

Sandwell, who also used the name Sandell at one time, denied the offences.

Among "survivors" in court for the sentencing was Alexander Hayes, who now lives in Perth.

Mr Hayes said outside the court Sandwell's assaults on him between the ages of 11 and 15 had had a "catastrophic effect on my life and a horrific impact on many families, including his own."

Reforming the Church with 'no possibility of return'

VATICAN CITY
La Croix

June 28, 2019

By Robert Mickens

How Pope Francis is initiating processes of Church reform that will be hard to undo

How many cardinals does it take to help Pope Francis reform the Roman Curia? And how many years do they need to get the job done?Many Catholics – at least those who are hoping the pope can succeed in decentralizing ecclesial power away from the Vatican – have grown frustrated that after some six years there have been no definitive answers to those questions.After meeting roughly five times annually, the Council of Cardinals (a body initially made of eight members or C8, then quickly expanded to C9 and more recently depleted to C6) has still not given the pope a final draft for a new apostolic constitution to reform the Church's central offices.But they are getting closer.